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Experiences in Australia

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    The Apostasy of Brethren McCullagh and Hawkins.

    (104) Following close upon the disaffection of Brethren Shannan and Hawkins came the apostasy of Brethren McCullagh and Hawkins.EA 311.1

    In the summer of 1896 a severe sickness, which almost cost Elder McCullagh his life, caused him to move to Adelaide, to seek the benefits of a milder climate. At the close of the Adelaide camp-meeting that summer, he with Elder Hawkins, a Wesleyan minister, who had recently been converted to the truth, was left to bind off the work of the camp-meeting. For a time Brother Wilson and his wife labored with them. When they returned to Tasmania, these two men were left to work together.EA 311.2

    The first news of the apostasy reached Melbourne in the form of the resignation of these two brethren, which they sent to Elder Daniells, saying that they could no longer conscientiously be connected with Seventh-day Adventists.EA 311.3

    Elder Daniells telegraphed the word to us, and we at once (105) made arrangements for Brother G.B. Starr and his wife to go to Adelaide, and for Brother Pallant to carry on the work in Queensland in Brother Starr’s absence.EA 311.4

    Brethren Daniells and Colcord went immediately to Adelaide, where they found a determined rebellion. When they arrived, Brn. McCullagh and Hawkins refused to converse with them. They had given out an appointment for a meeting on Sunday evening, and asked Brother Daniells to speak in the tent that same evening. This he refused to do, going instead to hear them. They had repeatedly said that they would have nothing to say against Seventh-day Adventists.EA 311.5

    It was found that these men, while under the pay of the Conference, had been working in a most subtle manner, until the whole church was being carried away by their deceptions. Their entrancing theory was, The Holy Spirit, Sanctification, Nothing but Christ. Doctrines, they taught, were of no value. They had presented these deceptive theories, working as the great Apostate worked in heaven in the first rebellion. Indeed their work seemed a repetition, on a small scale, (106) of the working of the first great rebel.EA 311.6

    In all my experience I have never met with such deep laid plottings, as was revealed in this apostasy. These men gave no intimation of their purpose until they had everything prepared to make the break, and carry the whole church with the. Without intimating to me one word of any difficulty, or giving me opportunity to speak for myself, they had visited from house to house and told the most wicked falsehoods about me and my work. It was not merely the apostasy of these two brethren that we had to regret; it was their power to hurt the church, and to make a lie appear to be truth. “I know; for I have been with them,” these accusers say. “I know the ins and outs of the matter,” and many thought they spoke the truth. Nearly the entire church was captivated by their presentations.EA 311.7

    Elder Haskell was summoned to Adelaide. It was thought that as he had ordained both Elder McCullagh and Elder Hawkins, he might possibly be able to save these poor deluded men. He stood there amid the difficulties arising from the apostasy, and met the workings of Satan through human agencies.EA 311.8

    (107) After earnest labor for the church, nearly all those who were deceived were able to say, “The Lord hath redeemed us from the snare of the fowler, and we are escaped.” They saw their error in listening to the words of these men, and again took their position for the truth.EA 311.9

    I felt deeply over the sudden apostasy of Brother McCullagh. I cannot say the apostasy of Brother Hawkins; for he was greatly deceived by one who was himself deceived by Satan. The raid that was made against me was mostly of Brother McCullagh’s devising. He began the work of disaffection by criticism. For two years he had been finding fault with every minister in the work, and had been serving the enemy of God by uniting with him in the work of accusing the brethren. The first step in this direction is a dangerous one for any human being to take.EA 311.10

    Here is where these brethren fell; and this is where many will fall. To complain of our brethren in the ministry, to be suspicious of the gifts the Lord has set in the church, to seek for spot or stain in the action of our fellow-workers, is to follow in the enemy’s steps. He who chooses to obtain this class (108) of education will find Satan standing ready to help in a masterly manner. Then, having criticized all that to him appears out of joint, he will commence to weave webs of falsehood, abusing the confidence that has been reposed in him, and seeking to destroy the reputation of those who have ever been his truest friends. This was the class of work done in Adelaide.EA 312.1

    We should work earnestly to close the door against those who in this way are serving under Satan’s banner; for they are doing their best to counterwork the prayer of Christ: “Neither pray I for these alone, but for them also which shall believe on me through their word, that they all may be one: as Thou, Father, art in Me, and I in Thee, that they also may be one in US that the world may believe that Thou hast sent Me. And the glory which Thou gavest Me I have given them, that they may be made perfect in one; and that the world may know that Thou hast sent Me, and hast loved them as thou hast loved Me.” To his disciples Christ said, “A new commandment give I unto you, that ye love one another; as I have loved you, that ye also love one another. By this shall all men know that ye are My disciples, (109) if ye have love for one another.”EA 312.2

    Our work is to stop surmising evil of our brethren. We should seek to press together, and thus fulfill the longing of Christ to see his chosen people love one another as he loves them. “Lord, who shall abide in Thy tabernacle?” the psalmist asks, “Who shall dwell in Thy holy hill? He that walketh upright,” is the response, “and worketh righteousness, and speaketh the truth in his heart. He that backbiteth not with his tongue, nor doeth evil to his neighbor. In whose eyes a vile person is condemned, and he honoreth them that fear the Lord. He that sweareth to his own hurt, and changeth not. He that putteth not out his money to usury, nor taketh reward against the innocent. He that doeth these things shall never be moved.”EA 312.3

    “These are the things that ye shall do: Speak ye every man the truth to his neighbor; execute the judgment of truth and peace in your gates, and let none of you imagine evil in your hearts against your neighbor, and love no false oath; for all these are things that I hate, saith the Lord.”EA 312.4

    “These things I command you, that ye love one another. If (110) the world hate you, ye know that it hated Me before it hated you. If ye were of the world, the world would love its own; but because ye are not of the world, but I have chosen you out of the world, therefore the world hateth you.” We read of the false witness borne of Christ, and we know that every child of rebellion will do this evil work. If they spoke against Christ, who was without spot or stain, they will surely speak against his followers. What reproach they head upon Christ. Shall we complain when we are made partakers of His reproach? “Remember the word that I spake unto you,” Christ said, “The servant is not greater than His Lord. If they have persecuted Me, they will also persecute you; ifEA 312.5

    they have kept my sayings, they will keep yours also.”EA 313.1

    Those who draw away from us, and remain not in the truth, will fabricate reasons why they did not remain steadfast. They will do as Satan did,—cast the reproach upon the someone else. God himself will be accused of unfairness. But should not the professed followers of Christ be afraid to treat their brethren and sisters as the Jewish nation treated the world’s Redeemer?EA 313.2

    * * * * *

    (111) Up to the time of his apostasy, my association with Brother McCullagh had been most pleasant. When we first came to Cooranbong for the purpose of viewing the land preparatory to its purchase, Brother McCullagh came with us. He was quite sick at the time, suffering from inflammation of the throat, stomach and lungs. The morning after the decision was made to purchase the land, we had a season of prayer for Brother McCullagh. The Spirit of the Lord laid the weight of his case upon me, and indicted prayer in his behalf. As we pressed our petitions for his recovery to the throne of God, the room seemed full of the presence of God, the room seemed full of the presence of God, and then and there our brother was healed. He had brought his spring cot to Cooranbong, designing to remain a couple of weeks at the least; but the next day he felt that his stomach and throat were healed, and he went back to Sydney to continue his work. Apparently an excellent work was done for our brother. We regarded this blessing which was given us, and especially to Brother McCullagh, as an evidence that our decision to purchase the land was according to the will of God.EA 313.3

    (112) Brother McCullagh continued in earnest labor for a long time, until his sickness in the summer of ‘96. In this illness I visited him, and spoke to him in reference to his health, showing that there was a great necessity of his having the proper kind of food. I told him that if he were neglectful in this, the Lord would not work a miracle to counteract the effects of wrong habits of eating and drinking. These were the first words I had spoken to him of a serious character in regard to his diet.EA 313.4

    I had spoken to Brother McCullagh in regard to his being careful of his diet because I knew that his stomach was irritated. I had sat at their table a very few times, but I never made a raid against them because I could not approve of the diet prepared for Brother McCullagh and his child. I have had great light from the Lord upon the subject of health reform. I did not seek this light; I did not study to obtain it, it was given me by the Lord to give to others. I present these matters before the people dwelling upon general principles, and sometimes if questions are asked me at the table, I answer according to the truth. But I have never made a raid upon anyone in regard to (113) anyone in regard to that which is upon the table. I would not consider such a course at all courteous. I am a vegetarian. I refuse to eat the flesh of dead animals, when I know that it is filled with disease of every kind. I have made no secret in testifying in reference to the health reform essential for Christians. I have never made this question a test; but I have given to all the instruction the Lord has given me, and I shall continue to do this. I shall continue to warn others of the dangers of meat-eating, giving facts which have come under my observation, and showing the dangers of meat-eaters.EA 313.5

    In April 1896, meetings for Bible instruction were held in Cooranbong, and I urged Elder McCullagh and his wife to come to them. I told him that we would take care of him and his wife, but that circumstances were such we could not accommodate Christabel. W.C. White’s children and Edith Ward, whom I had taken as a member of my family, were enough children to be together. I told Brother McCullagh that if they could find a place for Christabel among Sabbath-keeping friends, we would do everything in our power to care for him and his wife. But they came late, and secured a place with Brother Sherwin’s family. (114) This was quite a distance away, and they were often absent from meetings.EA 313.6

    I was very desirous that Brother McCullagh should have all the benefit possible from these meetings; for matters had been presented before me so clearly that I knew he was in danger. I knew that his mind was under strong temptation. He talked these temptations to his wife, and together they were causing in the churches of Sydney a state of things that would produce a harvest that would not be pleasant to garner. Sister McCullagh’s missionary visits and Brother McCullagh’s influence tended to counteract the work for the accomplishment of which much money and labor had been expended.EA 314.1

    It was in mercy to them, and to Brother McCullagh in particular, that we wished him to attend the meetings in Cooranbong, and receive all the blessing possible; for at that time he was really anchored nowhere, but was on the point of cutting himself loose from us as a people. Not one word was spoken to me by either Brother or Sister —— in regard to McCullagh’s feeling of disaffection, which had existed before he left (115) Sydney. On one occasion during this meeting, Brother McCullagh was especially blessed of God. He confessed that he had been blessed, and that he saw things in a different light than ever before, and his countenance reflected the light shining upon him. We all hoped that during this meeting he had received a blessing, and was strengthened to resist temptation.EA 314.2

    I ever showed the most tender sympathy for Brother and Sister McCullagh; for I knew that Christ was touched with the feelings of their infirmities. At one time when I had decided testimony for them, I did not present it, but tried to follow the example of Christ in presenting general principles.EA 314.3

    When I was at Hastings, New Zealand, Brother and Sister McCullagh sent me a letter, saying that their daughter was at the point of death, and asking our prayers in their behalf. We did pray for the whole family, for all had been passing through a siege of diphtheria. That night the true situation of the family was laid open before me. I wrote out many pages in regard to the mismanagement of their child. The light given me was plain and decided. I did not send this testimony at that time. I wrote Brother and Sister McCullagh a short letter, in which I entreated them for Christ’s sake and their own sake to seek the Lord, to confess to him their wrong course they had pursued toward their child. I then pleaded with God in their behalf. My soul was wrought up in an agony as I thought the child was dying, and that even that little child had deceived and falsified. (I begged the parents to seek God for themselves and for their child.) I knew that it would be better for her to die now than to live to become what she surely would unless the parents took the matter decidedly in hand, and in the name of the Lord did the work which every parent should do.EA 314.4

    (116) It was some time after this that I visited Ormondville, and in the little hall which they had hired for their meetings, I bore my testimony. The Spirit of the Lord was upon me. I did not name their child in my public testimony, but laid down principles of the duty of parents to their children, and the relation of children to parents, showing the great responsibility of parents. After the meeting Sister McCullagh came to me. She said, “The Lord gave you those words to speak; for they meant me. I never had the subject of the responsibility of parents in the education and training of their children presented to me in this light. I shall feel ever grateful to you for this counsel.”EA 314.5

    As I talked with Sister McCullagh, I really thought she would do as she said. And as I had laid the matter out in a general way before the people, I thought that perhaps it would not be necessary for me to send the personal testimony I had written. But I spoke again and again upon the duty developing on parents to work unitedly in the duty of training their children for the future immortal life.EA 315.1

    (117) While at Hastings, New Zealand, I wrote many pages to them, but I did not give it to them, hoping that the plain testimony I had borne to all would obviate the necessity of speaking to them personally. When I saw that other children were in danger because of their child, I spoke a word of warning to the parents of these children, telling them to keep their children under their own eyes.EA 315.2

    But the time came when all restriction was removed from me. I had written Brother and Sister McCullagh quite a lengthy testimony, a message from the Lord that Sister McCullagh’s influence was not helpful to the members of the church in and about Sydney, that in visiting the families, she was plainly sowing seed which would imperil the church. Her influence was not strengthening and upbuilding, but was of a character to create suspicion and suggest ideas that created disaffection and disunion; and we knew that this work had been done. It did not please the Lord that the family should remain as it was; for the influence of both mother and daughter was displeasing to him. “Report, and we will report it?” they said by their actions. This mischievous gossiping was sowing seeds of evil. Knowing (118) all this, I gave them the warning. I did not parade their defects before a church or a people; but I wrote to them. I thought that if we could correct the evil without making trouble, we would do so; but the church must not be injured by such conversation, such complaining, such jealous surmisings. I sent them the light given me by the Lord; but in the place of reforming, they tried to destroy my influence. O what a work has been done.EA 315.3

    (I spoke to them in regard to the education and training of Christabel; for I knew that did not manage the child in a way that accorded with the word of God. The words I spoke were not harsh, but were the truth, which they needed. This was before they came to Cooranbong.)EA 315.4

    Brother McCullagh had often said that Sister White was his best friend, and a great help to him. I had ever befriended him. He had often been entertained at my house, and eaten at my table. Our association together had been most pleasant. And now, without any change in my attitude toward him, without any warning, without uttering one word to me of what he considered me to be guilty, he handled my name in a public meeting, pouring (119) out upon me all the venom he could well represent in words. He had no provocation to do this. What spirit could have taken possession of him but the spirit that inspired Lucifer and Judas? The fury of the spirit that led to this unchristian step, to break up the friendship that had existed, the Christian unity that Christ prayed might exist among his followers, speaks for itself in language that cannot be misinterpreted. I was not present to answer the charges made against me. Had I been, I should have demanded a hearing just as soon as it could have been arranged. It was my due.EA 315.5

    Shall we call this step the moving of the Spirit of God? We see not one sign of Christlikeness in this way of treating matters. There is a moral as well as a mental mania; when this takes control, humanity seems to drop out of the being. Another power takes possession and controls. In the case of Brother McCullagh, mental self-delusion was strongly combined with an infatuated moral perversion. He was as deluded as those of whom Christ said, “They shall put you out of the synagogue; yea, the time cometh that whosoever killeth you will think he doeth God service.”EA 315.6

    (120) Christ warned Peter that he would deny Him, but in his self-confidence Peter said, “No, Lord, I never will.” He thought himself perfectly secure, and protested against being misjudged, denying the necessity of any warning. He declared that though all should be offended in Christ, yet he never would. Christ had before said to Peter, “Satan hath desired to have you, that he may sift you as wheat: but I have prayed for thee, that thy faith fail not. And when thou art converted, strengthen thy brethren.” And when Peter denied Christ, declaring that he knew not the Man, Jesus turned and looked upon him. Had he spoken, he would have said, I pardon your transgression.” Satan has not power even to sift without permission from God, and Christ was watching the terrible sifting of him for whom he had prayed. The fall of Peter was the development of the natural elements of his character. Under testing trial these revealed themselves. When Peter saw this, his repentance was sincere, and strength came where there had been weakness.EA 316.1

    The greatest tirade may be made against me, but it will not change in the least my mission and my work. The Lord gave me the message when I was only sixteen years old, and I have (121) engaged in public labor ever since. The message the Lord has given me to bear has been in a straight line from light to light, upward and onward from truth to advanced truth. Because I was faithful in the discharge of my duty; because I bore a decided testimony against the existing wrongs, and the influence that would be exerted by Brother and Sister McCullagh unless there was a change in their religious experience, their hearts were turned from me. God is pleased with holiness of heart, and displeased with sin. Holiness may be much talked of and exalted, but if it is not taught and practiced in the home life, it is of no value to those who think they have great light on sanctification and holiness. As for the claims that these brethren make, that their conscience and the Holy Ghost have led them to take the position they have against me and against the truth, the Lord has given them no such commission. They cannot do anything against the truth, but for the truth. The Lord is a God of truth. He never leads a man to walk in crooked paths, directly contrary to the principles of truth and righteousness.EA 316.2

    Those who think that the change in the sentiments of one or two will cause the whole body of Sabbath-keepers to turn (122) aside and follow a new torchlight that has never been kindled from the divine altar, will find themselves disappointed. They will lie down in sorrow. “Pride, arrogancy, and a proud mouth do I hate, saith the Lord.” The action of these two brethren appear to God in a peculiarly sinful light. If Sabbath-keeping Adventists are all wrong, what evidence shall we expect to receive in the correction of supposed existing wrongs. Will the revealing of the dragon spirit have a convincing power? Will the betrayal of sacred trust give evidence of the teaching of the Holy Spirit?EA 316.3

    To witness the gradual corruption of a child is most painful to my heart, because that child is a member of God’s human family. Can parents see their children becoming vicious and unclean in thought and practice without feeling deep sorrow? How is it then when the Lord’s children turn from the light and the leading of His Spirit, and with their own hands tear down the pure and holy things in which they have delighted, and which they have reverenced, and have been building up for years. Does not God feel the rebellion of his children? And when, as a moral judge he is called to pass sentence against them, as unruly (123) and dangerous subjects, does it not grieve his heart of love? “As I live,” saith the Lord, I have no pleasure in the death of the wicked; but that the wicked turn from his way, and live.”EA 316.4

    O better, far better would it have been for Brother McCullagh to have died in peace while he was anchored in Jesus. What confidence can he have in his future line of faith any more than in the past.EA 317.1

    * * * * *

    We have had to pass through this experience again and again. This apostasy brought trial to us, and largely increased my burdens and writing. But we must expect to meet these trials and disappointments. The apostle Paul warned his disciples, “Take heed therefore unto yourselves and to the flock of God, over the which the Holy Ghost hath made you overseers, to feed the flock of God, which He hath purchased with His own blood. For I know this, that after my departing shall grievous wolves enter in among you, not sparing the flock. Also of your own selves shall men arise, speaking perverse things, to draw away disciples after them.”EA 317.2

    (124) Paul wrote also to Timothy: “As I besought you to abide still at Ephesus, when I went unto Macedonia, that thou mightest charge some that they teach no other doctrine, neither give heed to fables nor endless genealogies, which minister questions, rather than godly edifying, which is in faith; so do. Now the end of the commandment is charity out of a pure heart, and of a good conscience, and of faith unfeigned; from which some having swerved, have turned aside unto vain jangling; desiring to be teachers of the law; understanding neither what they say, nor whereof they affirm. . . . Now unto the King eternal, immortal, invisible, the only wise God, be honor and glory forever and ever. This charge I commit unto thee son Timothy, according to the prophecies which went before on thee, that thou by them mightest war a good warfare; holding faith and a good conscience which some having put away, concerning faith have made a shipwreck.”EA 317.3

    If these men who went out from us had, as faithful stewards, searched deep into the word of God, and heeded Paul’s words in the sixth chapter of Ephesians, they would now be standing (125) firmly in the faith. Paul enjoins us: “Stand therefore, having your loins girt about with truth, and having on the breastplate of righteousness.” These men did not yield to Bible truth. They thought to wrap themselves up in a spurious sanctification which would accord with any false theories which men might choose to accept. They added not to their faith, but rather detracted from it. “A good man out of the treasure of his heart, bringeth forth good things; but an evil man, out of the evil treasure of his heart, bringeth forth evil things.” There is no middle ground to occupy. The heart is either given to God to be purified, and sanctified and refined, or it is the sport of Satan’s temptations.EA 317.4

    “That servant which knew his lord’s will, and prepared not himself, shall be beaten with many stripes. But he that knew not, and did commit things worthy of stripes, shall be beaten with few stripes. For unto whomsoever much is given, of him shall much be required; and to whom men have committed much, of him will they ask the more.” The number of talents, the proportion of light, which each has received, will determine the returns which the Lord will require. He will ask for principle (126) and interest. Those who have known the truth, who have been blessed with the influence of the Holy Spirit, who have appreciated the truth, but who have turned from it, will not be treated simply as impenitent sinners. Their guilt is aggravated because of their knowledge of the truth. They have misrepresented the words and actions of the faithful servants of God, who have sought to lead the straying feet into paths of holiness. They have put an evil construction on the actions of those who have labored for the erring. If such continue to corrupt their way before the Lord, the whole world will rise in judgment against them. In the judgment, Brother McCullagh, and those who have pursued a similar course, unless they have had the example before them of these cities, warning them not to follow the same course.EA 317.5

    The experience of Israel, in the rebellion of Korah, Dathan and Abiram, was repeated in the apostasy of Brethren McCullagh and Hawkins. These men worked upon the minds of certain of the children of Israel, and through their deceptive (127) reasoning two hundred and fifty princes of the assembly, men of renown, gathered themselves together against Moses and Aaron, and said to them, “Ye take too much upon you, seeing that all the congregation are holy, every one of them, and the Lord is among them; wherefore then do ye lift yourselves up above the congregation of the Lord.”EA 318.1

    These things were written for our learning, upon whom the ends of the world are come. The circumstances of the apostasy in Adelaide so nearly resembled the outbreak in the camp of Israel, that we can see it is of the same piece. Brethren McCullagh and Hawkins worked in the same lines, and the evil leaven spread among many who were displeased with something in their experience with us as a people, and who they were prepared to be influenced by the leaven of sinful murmuring, as were the children of Israel. The one who led these men always stands ready to take the disaffected ones today and start a rebellion. Ever watching for an opportunity, he works upon the mind with all deceivableness of unrighteousness in them that perish.EA 318.2

    Satan is the father of lies, and the accuser of the brethren. (128) God’s people must be on their guard. None of us can occupy middle ground. We are either decided believers in the truth the subjects of faith, and holding the truth in righteousness, or we are the most guilty, the most inexcusable of those who profess godliness, and deserving of the wrath of the Lamb. O that those who can so readily enter by and forbidden paths, who contradict and cast away their former experience, could see what awaits those who deny the Holy Spirit’s leading, and are willing to be led by the agencies of evil. The judgment will present a scene the like of which the universe has never beheld. To what a pass will they come who have made light of the work of the Holy Spirit, and called its workings a delusion. The sentence of death will be passed upon all who, having light and evidence, like the Jews have refused to come to the Light, that their deeds should be reproved.EA 318.3

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