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Manuscript Releases, vol. 21 [Nos. 1501-1598]

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    MR No. 1551—Severe Problems Resolved at the 1880 Milton, Oregon, Camp Meeting

    (Written May 26 and 27, 1880, from Milton, Oregon, to James White.)

    I sent you a letter a few days since reporting our meetings, I think up to Sunday or including Sunday. We had a good attendance. Sunday there was the best of attention. I spoke with freedom and power upon the subject of Christ riding into Jerusalem.21MR 245.1

    I have been burdened continually since I have been here. I know that we have a battle before us on the pledge question. They are so sore over the matter, and Van Horn might have bridged the gulf if he had been doing his duty. Van Horn's neglect on one hand and their feelings and irritation on the other hand was a perplexing state of things. They all thought I was going to make a drive upon them, and they had braced themselves to meet it. They thought I would justify Elder Van Horn and blame them. But we went straight forward, working to reach the hearts of the people. Monday I talked against a heavy pressure. I then told them how I felt and that they must be converted to God. I pressed home upon them their state of backsliding.21MR 245.2

    I then asked them to come forward, every one who wished to be converted. There were several seats quickly filled. Then we gave them opportunity to speak and many testimonies were borne right to the point. Confessions of sins were made with many tears. We had a praying season. My heart was drawn out in earnest prayer to God. I felt like Jacob, “I will not let Thee go, except Thou bless me” (Genesis 32:26). And we did indeed receive the blessing of God. Light came in amid the darkness. Two took their stand with us for the first time. After we rose from prayer many again bore testimony.21MR 245.3

    One man said while Sister White was praying he felt his heart changed, his mind and thoughts and feelings changed. “Why,” said he, “it is only one year since I was the most wicked man that could be found anywhere in this region. I saw the truth and accepted it and am trying hard to be a Christian, but I have felt hatred in regard to a neighbor of mine who has injured me. I could have killed him. I could not overcome this revengeful feeling, but while Sister White was praying Jesus and His mercy and compassion and forgiving love were so clearly manifested to me that it broke me all to pieces. Oh, that hatred is gone, brethren. It is gone, I am a changed man. I was never so happy in my life. I never felt such peace. I love God as I never expected to. Why, I am a new man. I believe I am a new man.” This man is a wonder to all, the reformation seen in his life. He has a violent revengeful temper which is his greatest enemy.21MR 245.4

    Other testimonies were borne of the deepest interest. Mother Maxson stated she had felt unreconciled to the death of her husband. She had ever leaned on him. She could not see why they should be deprived of his help in the church, but she had the blessing of God. His peace was in her heart and every rebellious thought and feeling must be cherished no more. She must learn to stand alone and work all she could to help and bless others.21MR 246.1

    This was a meeting of victory. Advancement was made. We have been steadily gaining ground but it is the hardest. I knew the time must come when I should have to bear my testimony in reproof here.21MR 246.2

    Elder Haskell and I have not dared to have Van Horn's or Jones's testimony come in until we had made as deep an impression as possible upon the people and the spirit of reformation and genuine revival and waking up had taken place. I never saw a man put in so much labor as Haskell. He is in constant labor. We have a Bible class every day, tract and missionary meetings. Elder Van Horn has spoken twice, Elder Jones once, Elder Colcord once.21MR 246.3

    This morning after passing almost a sleepless night, I spoke at five o'clock in the morning to our brethren and sisters one hour. I took up the matter of their pledges. I took up the matter calmly, told them although they had not established confidence in my work or testimony, yet this would make no difference with me. I should bear my testimony all the same.21MR 246.4

    I told them what had been shown me, that Elder Loughborough was a zealous worker in the cause. His whole heart had been in the work. He entered California, that new field of labor, and he was willing to place himself in the humblest position, endure any and every privation, economize, live cheap and poor, labor early and late for the infant cause in California. He was entrusted as financier. Means were quite easily earned in California and as easily parted with—nothing hardly to show for it. He commenced to draw and to urge his brethren to invest in the cause of God—to pledge—and this would be an inducement to save. He was frequently sharp and pointed and urgent and he generally succeeded in raising means. He had educated himself for this work. He was strong and zealous in this branch of the business.21MR 246.5

    He came to this northern Pacific [area] and entered upon his work here, and when the Spirit of the Lord had come in and softened hearts under the influence of the Spirit of God, pledges were made. Then when the immediate influence of the Spirit of God was removed, selfishness and worldliness pervaded the soul and unbelief came in; there was a drawing back. There were a few cases, one or two pledges made, that the men had no earthly means as they could see how to pay their pledges, but they did pledge.21MR 246.6

    Now, [I said to the people], if Elder Loughborough did carry the matter a little too strong, was it any selfish motive (that) led him to this? Was he made richer by it? Was it gain to him?21MR 247.1

    You are disappointed because you have not seen in Elder Van Horn a live working man. You would have in Elder Loughborough such a man, that meant business. Had you walked out by faith, trusting in God, and without murmuring done the best you could, that is all God would have required. But you began to murmur at once without waiting to see what God would do for you, and you have incurred the displeasure of God and weakened your own souls, discouraged yourselves and had heart irritation, hard, unbrotherly feelings, and been generally backsliding from God.21MR 247.2

    With all this discouragement upon you of your own unbelief and follies, Elder Van Horn has given you no encouragement. He has withdrawn his labors from the field, and the sheep and lambs have been suffering and dying spiritually for the want of a faithful, interested shepherd to care for them.21MR 247.3

    Last year again the Lord tested you in regard to pledging. You made your pledges under the softening influence of the Spirit of God, and you felt the same drawing back afterwards as two years before. And if this is the test of God He will repeat that test, bringing you over the ground again and again until your will and your way is made the will and way of God.21MR 247.4

    Now, I wish you to understand fully that God does not want, neither will he accept, an offering made grudgingly and murmuringly. [For] all that you have given with this spirit you will receive no reward, for not one cent of your money will God accept, only as you make it a freewill offering, feeling that it is a pleasure for you to be acting stewards of God, the Lord passing the means into your hands and you passing it out as His cause demands. If you have not means to pay your pledge, then don't grumble. The Lord does not require what you have not. Do the very best you can.21MR 247.5

    Now there are noble brethren here whom God loves, but the enemy has deceived you to rob you of a blessing. All this irritation and heart burning must be overcome; quit you like men, be strong. Stop wrangling and murmuring. There is no company of Sabbathkeepers more willing to do and to use their means to advance the cause than you before me. If you can only see something done!21MR 247.6

    Elder Van Horn has done a great wrong. He has lessened your confidence in any helpers that might be sent you, so that you have become discouraged and jealous and suspicious. Now all this must cease. Elder Van Horn has proved himself unworthy of the presidency of your conference, and this makes me sad indeed. God designed he and his (wife) Adelia should stand side by side—Adelia making up the deficiencies of her husband in financial ability, and they two would make a complete whole, but they have burdened themselves with domestic cares and let these come in to the detriment of the cause of God, which work he was here to advance.21MR 248.1

    Well, this is a little of what I said, I was very clear and very close, and I am relieved of a burden and yet I feel such a weight of responsibility still. The testimony is received. Everybody is relieved, and now the cool morning. I told them God did not want their unwilling offerings, makes them feel so ashamed. They say they will pay their pledges and will do what they have repeatedly declared they would not do, pledge again whenever pledges were required.21MR 248.2

    So we see this terrible evil which has threatened the cause here is now in a fair way of completely being healed. The testimonies alone could have done this. No human power could have reached this church, but after working earnestly six days and the Spirit of the Lord softening their hearts, the healing virtues from Jesus came in. I could not have done anything if I had not stated Elder Van Horn's case just as it was. This course has astonished me in regard to (the) complete indifference Adelia has held [toward] him.21MR 248.3

    This afternoon I spoke about two hours upon the subject of temperance. I had perfect freedom, and my words made a deep impression. I spoke upon intemperance in dressing as well as in eating and drinking. We shall frame a pledge including dress here at this camp meeting. Our sisters need this as much as our brethren need the pledge upon tobacco and liquor. The pledge was circulated and thirty names signed to it.21MR 248.4

    This meeting was only among our own people, and the pledge was circulated last year, so I think this is doing quite well. Elder Haskell is now having a Bible class and I am resting, sitting on the bed writing to you. Mary is preparing an article of mine for Review and Herald on intemperance in dress.21MR 248.5

    I have seen a sister named Townsend, an intelligent old lady, firm in the truth, who was born in Sydney, Maine. She says in reading Life Incidents she is aware of many facts and incidents you relate. She has no knowledge of ever seeing you, but meetings were held close by where she lived. Her maiden name was Sawtell.21MR 249.1

    There are many sound, intelligent, men and women whom we met, some of the excellent of the earth, but there might have been (I told the people and Van Horn) double the number if there had been faithful effort made and he had taught the converts to the truth how to work and keep up the different branches of the work and let their influence tell as far as possible on the cases of others, bringing their neighbors and friends to the light of truth. Here is my burden of testimony—to get the members of the church in working order—and (a) working church will be a living church. I am grateful to God for the evidences of His power that He does work with our efforts.21MR 249.2

    I begin to feel burden to bear my testimony in the East. In dreams I am before the people there, talking with great power and my testimony affecting hearts. What my future is I cannot tell. I wait and watch and pray and the Lord will teach. He will lead and guide me. I want to walk in all humility of mind and walk in His love and in His fear, laboring for souls as they [who] must give an account. My heart cries out daily for the living God. I want my heart stayed upon God continually.21MR 249.3

    Dear husband, the Lord will be our helper. He will be our fortress. We shall never be left destitute of His Spirit, while we make God our trust.21MR 249.4

    In regard to Corliss coming to the coast, we are inclined to think it all right. I think the matter was managed in such a way as to lead him to feel that he was of great consequence, and there will be a reaction. All was said that could be said in the paper to call him to the field he had purposed to come [to]. No more parade should have been made over the matter and no more could be said than was said. What has held him may be a waiting for a most earnest invitation with a list of names or a petition for [him] to come to the coast. But we felt forbidden to do or say anything further. This sudden change of feelings in reference to Corliss I fear may prove his injury. These strong moves to lift up and to cast down are fearfully damaging to the usefulness of our ministers.21MR 249.5

    I feel sure that there have been feelings and motives at work in this matter which God has nothing to do with, if my dreams are correct. Time will reveal what now is not so plain. But no more call will be made to those who have been mentioned. God will send by whom He will. The cause is His. The work is His. If any one has been held back from answering to the Spirit of God in their movements, I am sorry, but we leave this matter for God to settle.21MR 249.6

    Elder Haskell or self cannot pitch the tent and deliver lectures in San Francisco and Oakland. But while men have been called they have not come, and if they have neglected their duty, God will hold them responsible for the work which might have been done and should have been done and was not done. Wrong feelings and false ideas lie at the bottom of this which someone is responsible for.21MR 250.1

    Thursday morning, May 27—Our five o'clock social meeting has just closed. Advancement has been made. Elder Van Horn met the case in humble confession before the people for his neglect. The spirit of confession came in. Brother Nichols took a good stand. I spoke about thirty minutes and there was a break. We feel that the work is going well, but it has moved slowly. When we come into meeting today, we shall make a call for those who pledged and cannot pay. I shall then propose to pay for them and thus provoke my brethren to good works. I think this will make a break in the meetings, still more marked. Oh, how much this people have needed instruction. Our work is only for the churches. We cannot break new fields. We must confine our labors to the churches.21MR 250.2

    I am sorry that San Francisco and Oakland could not have had labor which God designed should be the case while we were in California to help with our testimony. The purpose of God has not been carried out. Someone who has neglected duty will be held accountable. I hope it is not you, but I dreamed it was you that held laborers from coming to California by wrong views and ideas of your own, and men would have come had you not hindered them by your version of things. Your very words, your very attitude, were given me in a plain dream. These men would have been at work now if you had not hindered them. I was forbidden in a dream from saying one word more in urging men to come who had been publicly invited.21MR 250.3

    Those who waited for anything further than this should not have it. These things trouble me considerably sometimes.21MR 250.4

    I expect to attend the Eastern camp meetings. The Lord will strengthen me for the work. I am worn but I intend to work till I fall at my post. I have not the heart anxiety to prolong my life longer than God can use me in His cause effectively.21MR 250.5

    In regard to the draft for five years back, I have promised my sister if she would have her teeth out I would give her a set of teeth. She wrote me she had done so. The cost was twenty dollars. I sent her fifteen in a draft because that amount happened to be on hand. I was not aware I made such a blunder in addressing the letter. I thank you for sending the check to her. I wondered she said nothing about it, but it is all now explained.21MR 250.6

    We remember you in your prayers. We believe that God will let the clear light shine upon you and make you free in Him.—Letter 30, 1880.21MR 251.1

    Ellen G. White Estate

    Silver Spring, Maryland,

    February 28, 1991.

    Entire Letter.

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