Letters and Manuscripts — Volume 4 (1883 - 1886)


Lt 117, 1886

Butler, G. I.

Orebro, Sweden

June 25, 1886

Portions of this letter are published in EGWE 197; ChL 44.

Dear Brother Butler:

W. C. White and I read your letter yesterday, and as I was about to send you a letter which I had written to my son Edson, I will enclose with it a letter to you, and I need not tell you that we are very glad to hear all that you have to communicate. Our conference thus far has moved off well. At first there was some holding off on the part of Elder Matteson. I had a long talk with his wife and told her that Brother Olsen was not to take Matteson’s place, but to help him in the work, and both were not able to do one-half of that which should be done in these kingdoms. 4LtMs, Lt 117, 1886, par. 1

I hope now from this time there will be a decided change for the better. I have been writing close letters to Elder Matteson in regard to many points of his manner of labor where it should change, and I did not wish him to refer to this, as much of it was so painful for me to write, knowing it would wound him sorely. I dreaded to have the sore touched, and I wanted to heal the wound by all kindness and sympathy and courtesy on my part; and now there seems to be all openness on his part, and he seems to feel we do not want to hurt him, but to help him. 4LtMs, Lt 117, 1886, par. 2

Now we feel that Elder Matteson has done a good work. He has written and preached and not spared himself; but he is a very feeble man in more respects than one, and it is impossible for him to give a robust mold to the work. He is in a large degree sickly and needs the grace of God, the help of the great Physician to make him spiritually strong. I am glad Brother Olsen has come. He is greatly needed, for the people know no other laborer but Brother Matteson, and they think their existence would end if he should leave them. We do not want he should leave them, but we want that now a different element shall be introduced into the work that should have been here years ago. 4LtMs, Lt 117, 1886, par. 3

There are to be one or two ordained at this conference, and we shall urge that they spend some time in England where they can get an education in speaking English so that everything shall not come through one man, Elder Matteson. I am willing to invest means that this shall be done, for all are poor, quite poor, in these kingdoms. There are a number of young men who are being educated and drilled in the present effort being made here that anticipate giving themselves to the work in some of its branches. But O dear, there have been so few branches that it is a mystery what they could do. But there will be a broadening, I trust, after this effort here. 4LtMs, Lt 117, 1886, par. 4

I must now go to the morning meeting, half-past six o’clock. There are a few outsiders in every morning. I have now spoken eight times in this place since last Sabbath. Yesterday was a holiday, and we did not expect many to the meeting; but the house was full, and I had great freedom speaking to the people from the last chapter of Daniel—“And they that be wise,” etc. [Daniel 12:3.] There was deep feeling in the congregation, and I do pray that the words spoken may do good to souls. I believe God will and does bless our efforts. I am so thankful for strength given me of God, but I tell you, my brother, I have to fight some hard battles with the enemy; and Jesus comes to my aid, and then infirmities are overcome and I rejoice; but for me, it is to struggle and fight at every step. I am not discouraged, because Jesus gives me His Spirit, His grace, and His salvation. 4LtMs, Lt 117, 1886, par. 5

I have spoken eight times since last Sabbath and have written sixty pages of matter, all for the present needs of the work and of the cause, for the churches in the kingdoms, and for the camp meetings yet to be held: and I believe God will work for us in great power if we will only give Him a chance. The Lord wants us to do our work that He has given us to do with energy and perseverance, as if success depended wholly on our efforts, and to look to God and trust in Him as the One who could make the work a success by His power, working with our efforts. 4LtMs, Lt 117, 1886, par. 6

9 a.m. Just came from morning meeting. I spoke about thirty minutes from these words, “Go forward.” [Exodus 14:15.] Thus God commands us to make an advance move. I related to them in what poverty the truth of God found those who received it in America, how we labored in privation and hunger and destitution to carry forward the work, and how step by step we advanced by faith. It required moral courage, earnest effort, perseverance that would not be baffled or repulsed. That is the way the work must go here in these kingdoms. The work must be pushed, and I shall work here, not studying the French manners or customs, the manners and customs and habits of England, the manners and customs of Sweden, Denmark, or Norway, but the will and way of God. Men of all nationalities must come to God’s plans. And I find the work must be pushed here in the same manner as it was pushed in America in its infancy. We can do nothing, but the Lord can do all things. 4LtMs, Lt 117, 1886, par. 7

The people here are poor. I told them we were all poor in the commencement of the work, but we denied self, and we were determined to do something and “go forward,” and the Red Sea opened before us. Step by step we advanced until we are what we are today through the mercy and blessing of God. When you do your part, God will do for you. You must not work in your own strength, but walking humbly with God, trusting in Him and praying and believing, your prayers will be answered. Go forward and God will not fail you. All heaven is interested in the salvation of fallen man; and if we do on our part all that we can possibly do, then the Lord will do on His part. Onward to victory. 4LtMs, Lt 117, 1886, par. 8

I have been shown that there are thousands of honest souls in these kingdoms that are living up to the best light they have. They want the light God has for them, and they will receive it. If we work in humility and in faith, we shall see a good army raised up to elevate the standard of righteousness. These are the words I gave them, and many more like words. There were about seventy present; some were outsiders. 4LtMs, Lt 117, 1886, par. 9

There was a very solemn feeling in the meeting, and the Spirit of the Lord was with us, moving upon hearts. All is moving in harmony. I think the believers have thought themselves too poor to do anything, or but very little, to sustain the work, and Brother Matteson has not helped them to think they could do anything in tract and missionary work. 4LtMs, Lt 117, 1886, par. 10

They have managed generally to pay his expenses in traveling. This was good as far as it went, but they need to be educated to systematic benevolence, to the tithing system. This will be for their spiritual interest and for the growth of the work. We are all doing what we can here, and may the Lord work mightily is my prayer. 4LtMs, Lt 117, 1886, par. 11

You speak of England. I feel just as you do. There must be the very best gifts that America can send to make a break in this field; and when the work is once started, then I believe we shall see a great work done. These gifts have been with our people a long time. Now let others arouse. Let others go to work and spare these for a time. If Elder Waggoner could come, if he is in any condition where the Lord will work for him, then we would be glad to see him here in England, for his help would be an advantage in many respects. It might be well for Brother Wilcox’s wife to come if it is thought advisable by you on that end of the line. He has hold now, and might, with some others’ gifts worked in, do better than any new hand. Think of this. Test the matter of Sister Wilcox’s coming, and try to ascertain whether she will be a burden or a help to her husband. 4LtMs, Lt 117, 1886, par. 12

We will stay over here another summer, if need be, to help in England. I cannot feel free to leave until a more broad and able effort is made to get access to another class of people. I am willing, the moment our work is done, to go to America or to Australia, but I am not free yet to leave Europe with the work in the shape it is in now. We must see a greater work done. We must trust in the Lord fully. We must do His will. 4LtMs, Lt 117, 1886, par. 13

I have sent you some things to be read to the churches or camp meetings, according to your best judgment. I have written to Brother Sharp some time ago to go according to the counsel of his brethren. I mentioned England because it was not far and expensive to reach and was in great destitution of laborers. 4LtMs, Lt 117, 1886, par. 14

In regard to Elder Andrews, would it not be best for his family to connect with him and he remain? This is mere suggestion. In regard to poor Michigan, I feel bad. I would willingly go from church to church and see if I could not help things if Providence should so direct, but I wait to have the Lord indicate my duty. Sometimes I feel that I must see our people in America and talk with them; then I see that the work would be left to drag on as imperfectly as it has done unless we can keep working perseveringly until we see a better state of things. 4LtMs, Lt 117, 1886, par. 15

W. C. White’s judgment and counsel are appreciated by all wherever he goes. I am surprised that those who have not know him so readily accept his counsel. But in regard to Brethren Haskell and Farnsworth’s coming to England, we say, Come, and we will unite our forces. We will go to England and we will work together and push things. “Without Me ye can do nothing.” [John 15:5.] Jesus will help us. He will not leave us. We will see of His mighty power. 4LtMs, Lt 117, 1886, par. 16

Tell us, will Elder Waggoner come to England? Is he fit to come? May the Lord help you, my brother. Cling to the arm of infinite power. He will help you and strengthen and bless you. What should we do without Jesus? We should faint by the way, but we have a living Saviour. I now entreat you to do less work and put the burden upon others. It will not pay. We have too few burden-bearers already, and I beg of you to speak less and make others do more speaking and help them with your counsel. This would be so much better than to have you break down where the people could not have your labor at all and your counsel at all. I do not advise you to shoulder the responsibilities at Battle Creek until you have more help to unite with you in the work. 4LtMs, Lt 117, 1886, par. 17

I feel deeply over your constant, wearing labor. Please to make others work and you do very much less. God does not want you or Elder Haskell sacrificed. He wants you to lay off work and be more a planner, a manager. There will be times when your special labors will be positively a necessity, but I protest against your taking up so much labor. God does not require it of you, and you must not do it. Will you heed advice? Will you let others learn to bear responsibilities even if they make blunders while you are a living man to show them how to work? 4LtMs, Lt 117, 1886, par. 18

I have been shown that yourself and Elder Haskell must at your age be laying the burdens on others. Attend fewer camp meetings, speak and work less at the camp meetings you attend, and this will force others to the front to be obtaining an experience which is essential for them. In order to do this, you must do less and others must do more. We want the help of every one of the old hands, and the work is, I have been shown, growing more and more important. We want these experienced men as counselors. We cannot spare them. This is not the voice of Sister White, but it is the message to you from God. Will you heed it, both of you? Will you be prudent? Will you be managers and work less? 4LtMs, Lt 117, 1886, par. 19

I leave this matter with you. I hope that you will not sacrifice yourselves, because numerous calls come in insisting that you must attend their camp meetings. You must leave more of these to be conducted by others. 4LtMs, Lt 117, 1886, par. 20

And now I can say no more. The Lord bless you, my brother, and your wife and your boys. May you be spared to each other and the blessing of God attend you is my prayer. 4LtMs, Lt 117, 1886, par. 21

I will not send the letter to Edson with this. May do so after a little more reflection. 4LtMs, Lt 117, 1886, par. 22