Ellen G. White and Her Critics


Weeds in the Elmshaven Garden

Charges have much in common with weeds. They spring up in the most unexpected places, grow rank without cultivation, and are quickly scattered to far places by the winds that carry their seeds abroad. And so, though we may clear all the tall weeds, long standing, and most of the small ones, from the Elmshaven garden, in which Mrs. White once quietly walked, we cannot say that the seed of some new weed may not blow that way in the future or that there may not even yet lurk some small weeds by shrub or flower bed. But that a few such weeds have eluded us really matters not at all. Once the tall weeds have been cleared away sufficiently that Mrs. White can clearly be seen, those remaining stand revealed for what they truly are, obnoxious intruders in a beautiful garden. EGWC 534.2

We have found that these weeds, though luxuriant and tall, were not deeply rooted, but rather, surface feeders. They had often fed upon a strange kind of soil called rumor, hearsay, and gossip—and what stimulating nutriment these provide for a certain type of vegetation! The weeds took no pains to send their roots deep down in search of the subsoil of hard facts or sound logic. Botanists, we understand, believe that some plants can sustain themselves almost wholly from the breezes that blow upon them; they seem to possess a singular ability to draw from the air certain ingredients to maintain their life. At least this is true of some of the weeds that have confronted us. They have had no root whatever, but have been sustained only by the air breathed upon them by those who planted them, a breath now hot with animosity, now cold with derision. But they seem to have withered when exposed to the breath of investigation. EGWC 534.3

We have also found a kind of weed that thrives only in the shade, and in the shade it takes on strange and impressive colorings. Such have required for their destruction only that they be exposed to the light of day. EGWC 535.1

Some weeds have proved to be of a climbing nature, their tendrils reaching out everywhere. We have sought to eradicate these, not by attacking each small tendril, but by cutting the main stem at the base. If those who have sowed such weeds seek to show that we have not completed our task because some tendrils remain, we think we need only to point to the severed stem. EGWC 535.2

It has been beyond the range of this book to discuss, except in an incidental way, the person or the character of Mrs. White, the greatness or the extent of her labors, the beauty or the significance of her writings. That task has been ably performed by others, some of them men who walked and talked with her as they journeyed together on the heavenly pilgrimage. We commend those works to all who sincerely wish to learn more fully of this frail handmaiden of the Lord, who now stands forth clearly in her Elmshaven garden, amid the flowers, with the light of heaven shining upon her face. EGWC 535.3