The Fannie Bolton Story


Fannie Bolton to E. G. White, February 9, 1894

I have desired very much to see you, but thought that I should not. I know that my presence would cause you pain. I have thought over all the past since my connection with you from the first, and see nothing but cruelty and sin in it all. It seems to me my course has been that of a blundering egotist all the way through. I have had and have manifested a lamentable lack of faith in God, and in His personal providences, and have never fully submitted self to the control of His Spirit. I can see just how Satan has come and has always found something in me whereby he could work to harrass and distress those with whom I was associated. Self has never died fully and therefore a door was left for the entrance of the enemy. The bottom of all my trouble has been self, and that is Satanic. I would keenly regret ever having had an association with the work, only that I still believe that God will work it for good, and from my heart I thank Him for the revelation He has given me of myself, and of my Saviour’s compassion. I thank Him for this last bitter cup, and feel to say from the bottom of my heart, “The will of God be done.” FBS 32.4

No words can tell you how grieved I feel for the presumptuous course I took at Preston, in assuming to correct what I thought was a fault in you. I fear that this bitter doing of mine will never leave your memory. But rueing is not undoing. The course I took towards Emily and all, was very far from right. My heart was pressed by sorrow, was down physically to trample me under foot, and the Lord could not help me because of my unbelief. I do not, cannot, justify myself in the course I have taken. There was grace in Christ for every emergency, and I am condemned, and without excuse. Then about coming with you here to Australia, I fear I did you a terrible wrong again by my lack of faith in God. I felt that you were the servant of God, and that should I be with you, there would be more hope of my salvation, than if I remained in any other branch of the work. I thought that were I editing your writings, I should be found in the time of the judgment giving meat in due season. But all this was putting you and the work in the place of the Saviour. I did not dare venture all on Christ. FBS 32.5

When I came to Australia there was a heavy load on my heart, that I had never cast on the Lord, and besides everything else, this doubt of God’s love to me made everything dark. What can I say to you for all the care and grief I have been the means of bringing upon you, who are so heavily burdened for the work of God? O, I pray your forgiveness. Pray to God for me, saying, “Father, forgive her; for she has not known what she has been doing.” FBS 33.1

In doing the work, I have looked at what was perplexing, and handling it day after day, have lost the real sense of its sacredness, and began to look upon it from a literary standpoint alone. I don’t know that it is quite just to put it in that way, either; for I have had a sense of what it was to me, and to all, above that of a mere literary matter; but it is very clear that I did not have the exalted sense of its sacredness which I should have had. I have felt that I needed human sympathy and recognition, and this has led me to talk to others of what I had to do to the work. This was self of course, yet I must say what is only the truth, that I never cast a doubt upon the inspiration of the work. I have always declared, and believed the testimonies, and have never felt to doubt their divine origin. I am sure that everyone with whom I have spoken will tell you this fact. Sr. Daniells said that she said to her husband or to someone that my faith in the testimonies confirmed hers. When I spoke to Sr. Salisbury, asking her to forgive me for any word I had spoken to her in regard to my work on the matter, she said that instead of my influence leading her to discredit the testimonies in any way, she had been greatly strengthened by my faith, and that her husband had remarked on this change in her in this particular. She would be glad to tell you this herself. I have written to Elder Daniells and Elder Rousseau, telling them the mistake I have made in mentioning my troubles to them. I have told them that the trouble was self, and not the work, and I have gone to the root of everything, I think. But my faith in the testimonies is stronger today than ever, and I feel that I want to put my whole influence on the side of upbuilding the faith of God’s people in this great and sacred work. There is a proverb that says, “Experience is a dear school teacher, and fools will learn under no other.” So it seems with me. But my submission to God is now entire, I hope and pray. I want this work to go to the bottom. I do not care how fully you expose this matter regarding my wicked selfishness. I want self to be rebuked, to be reproved, to be stabbed to the heart. My concern is not to have this matter hushed up from my brethren, even though it may lose for me all confidence, but that I may indeed die to self. FBS 33.2

Through this trial God has dealt mercifully and kindly with me. Like a child who has been severely chastened, who turns to the father who has corrected, so I have been, and He like a pitying Father and Saviour, has taken me close to His great heart of love. However severe the testimony may be, I know it cannot be without a ray of hope for me. “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” FBS 33.3

I do not dare to ask for a reinstatement in the work. I do not wish to try your soul any further, and it may be that God sees me too weak to endure the test. Humiliating as it is, to go out of the work in disgrace and defeat, yet this would be far preferable to going through any more failures on this point. The Lord will have to begin with me at the bottom of the ladder. Maybe sometime, when it is demonstrated that Christ liveth in me, you may need help and I, like Peter who went at last to prison and to death, may yet do this work with no manifestation of self, but heartily as unto the Lord. I am not without hope. Mary Steward was dismissed, and the Lord has taken her through a school of a different character, and given her His blessing, and she is likely to be recalled to the work. Maybe the great wheel will turn sometime in my direction. But I submit all to God; He made me, died for me, weeps for me, loves me still, and will direct my path if I submit it all to Him. FBS 33.4

I am sorrowful, yet rejoicing; chastened, but not killed. I praise the Lord for this trial, this exposure of self, and through His mercy, feel nothing but love to all, and abhorrence of self. O, Sr. White, pray that this may be no superficial work. Let the testimony go to the bottom of the trouble. I have felt that I could not live at your house any more, because of the unhappiness of Preston, but I want to tell you today that I never loved you as I do now. The kind manner in which you spoke to me the other day, all your gentleness and kindness to me, all your faithfulness in dealing with my painful faults, testifies to me the nobility of your soul in Christ. My dear sister, of whom I am not worthy in the least, forgive me. Like Aaron and Miriam, who spoke against Moses, I would ask of you to “pray for me,” that I may be entirely healed. God will certainly hear your prayers in my behalf. He has not given me up yet, hopeless as my case may appear to men. At times the waves of despair have swept over me, but the Lord has let His promises shine into the darkness. I do not ask or expect that any of my brethren will do anything but condemn me. It is all I deserve, but it will not make any difference, since Jesus does not cast me away, but is willing to make me into another vessel as He thinks best, since what He tried to do for me was marred by my selfish resistance of His hand. O that it may only be the time when my name may be changed from Jacob to Israel! O that the salvation of God may come to my soul in renewing me into a new creature in Christ Jesus! O that the old man of sin may be crucified now and forever! O that I may have the assurance that “I am crucified with Christ, nevertheless I live, yet not I, but Christ liveth in me!” FBS 34.1

I give up all hope of a place in your work at present. I am all unworthy. I wait on God. I beg of you to cast all the care that my course has brought upon you, on God, and may the love of God yet make my life a blessing instead of a curse to you, the anointed of the Lord, is my prayer. FBS 34.2