(Written September 18 to 26, 1885, from Basle, Switzerland, to G. I. Butler.)
I attended the morning meeting. There was quite a large gathering of Germans, French, Italians, and English. The prayers were offered in all these languages. The Lord was near to bless His people. My heart was drawn out in earnest supplication that this meeting might be the beginning of better days for the laborers in these fields and for all assembled. I pleaded earnestly with God that heavenly wisdom might be given to everyone engaged in the work, that at this important council the Spirit of Jesus would soften and subdue hearts. I had the assurance of His word and Spirit that the Lord would hear and would answer our prayers. Nearly all our American brethren bore good testimonies, as did also Elders Matteson and Oyen.
I have had testimonies for this people especially on the necessity of love and unity. I have felt urged by the Spirit of God to keep before them the necessity of being teachable, easy to be entreated; that it was entirely out of place for Christ's servants to be self-sufficient and independent. I have tried to impress upon them that we are individually bound together in the web of humanity, and all that we do has relation to others, and any one
man is not a whole. It is not safe to follow one man's mind and one man's judgment. We are to be helps to one another but never to be the shadow of any man. God would have us think and act as free moral agents, gathering light from Him to reflect upon others, while we must be willing to be entreated of our brethren and to gain wisdom from men of experience.
I spoke upon James 3:13-18. Words went home to hearts. No one man is to consider himself authority in all things. We should be willing to learn one from another. Great and noble-minded men are teachable. Selfish and narrow minds are not willing to be taught. It is the privilege of men associating with men to lay under tribute every man's mind with which they come in contact, absorbing every particle of common sense that they can gain by the experience and education of others. If there are things that are not of value, cast that aside. If the heart is humble, the purpose true, they will have sanctified ears and perception to distinguish between the true and the false.
After meeting Dr. Vincenzo Guerini, and Italian, filled a tooth for me. He is a refined gentleman, a dentist. He is considered the best workman in Naples. He is fully in the truth. A man of excellent spirit.
September 19 . A half past six a.m. had a consultation with Brethren Bourdeau, Whitney, and their families. We were considering the best way to help the Italian Mission. We can see only one way, if we can bring it to pass--to connect Brother and Sister Mallon from Torre Pellice with the Basle Publishing House, and A. C. Bourdeau with his family go to Italy and occupy their house. Then Brother and Sister Mallon would feel that the work would go forward in Italy should they leave. Their property is involved, and by
disposing of their printing material they could relieve themselves of financial embarrassment and still have their house and a lot left. May the Lord direct, is our prayer. The talent of Brother and Sister Mallon is much needed in the publishing house in Basle.
Brother D. T. Bourdeau spoke in the early morning meeting. In the afternoon I spoke to the people from Colossians 1:24-29. I felt great weakness before going into the desk. I pleaded most earnestly with God in prayer to help me and to bless the people in a special manner. The Spirit of the Lord rested upon me and upon the people. I was followed by three interpreters, German, French, and Danish, but this did not embarrass me in the least. The heavenly angels were in our midst. I was blessed in speaking, the people blessed in hearing. I cannot see but that my message is having a better impression than on the minds of my American brethren and sisters.
After the discourse we had a most precious meeting. Our brethren of all nationalities spoke of being greatly blessed, and of being very grateful to God for the word spoken. One brother who has been laboring in Naples, Bieglia by name, had been unwilling to come under the control of the conference. Yet he depended on them for means to carry on the work in his own way. He had manifested a spirit of independence. He expressed himself with deep feeling, and confessed his unconsecrated condition. He said, "I have heard and read about the mission of Sister White, but now I have seen and handled this matter myself. I acknowledge that the power of God has come to my heart through her testimony. I receive it as from God. I humble myself
before God. God's voice in reproof of my sins has come to me through Sister White."
Other testimonies acknowledged the blessing of God which the people had received. Surely we could say with Jacob, "The Lord is in this place." Many with tears say this is the best meeting that they ever experienced. Our American brethren seemed to be blessed and bore testimonies with brokenness of heart. They were excellent, humble testimonies. The testimonies of the Spirit of God are received. I really think the testimonies for some reason have greater power upon our American brethren who are over here in Europe than when I addressed them in America.
We sit down again in quiet in our room. It is four hours that we have been in meeting. Brother Bourdeau regretted that I had not spoken in the early part of the day, for he feared the people would become drowsy through weariness, but I saw no sleepiness; all seemed to listen with intense interest. After one hour there was a Bible class held.
September 20 . I had a private interview with Brother [A. A.] John in regard to his manner of labor in holding open-air meetings. He now thinks that he had better connect with Elder R. F. Andrews in Ireland. Sister Ribton has written to him an urgent letter for labor where she is. I had talked with Brother Whitney in regard to Brother and Sister Mallon uniting their talent with the publishing house in Basle. It is thought best to carry this through. May the Lord help in working up this matter.
I attended the morning session of the council. I was requested to speak in regard to holding tent meetings in Europe. I told them that according to the light the Lord had given me tents could be used to good
advantage in some places and if conducted properly would result in great good. I did not know at the time why they called me out on this, but learned it was because Brother John had previously spoken rather against tents being the best for meetinghouse purposes.
I then presented my objections in regard to open-air meetings. They are very wearing to our ministers, because taxing to the vocal cords. The voice is strained to an unnatural pitch, and would be greatly injured by this method of labor. Another objection was that discipline and order could not be preserved; such labor would not encourage studious habits in diligently searching the Scriptures to bring from God's storehouse things both new and old. The worker is not qualifying himself to become a thorough workman; he cannot possibly prove his own work by concentrating his labors to bring out and organize a church. He does not do the very work so essential to be done, not only to preach but to follow up his labor by ministering, by becoming acquainted with interested ones, going to their homes, opening to them the Scriptures around the fireside, making plain essential points of present truth, and removing the objections which always will arise when the truth is brought in conflict with error.
The Bible talks, the humble, earnest prayer with the family, accomplish a greater work than the most powerful discourse can accomplish without this personal effort. In the open-air meetings there cannot be that complete work done in binding off the work, that he may present every man perfect in Christ Jesus.
Sometimes great good may be done by this manner of labor. But as a practice it is better to reach the people in some other way. Our ministers
have not the physical strength to endure the taxation of the vocal organs in this kind of labor. Our ministers should be guarded in regard to preaching long discourses. It is a great tax upon the speaker and a tax upon the people to digest so much matter. Sermons of one half the length would be of far more value than the long sermons usually preached, which are wearing out the strength of the ministers by exhausting efforts that are not necessary.
If ministers would work intelligently in their ministry, they would have left a source of strength to be given to more personal efforts and to the work that is essential to be done for the perfection of the work in all its parts. Many of our workmen wear themselves out when God does not require it. Many of them cripple their energies, or become martyrs to their imprudence. Our workers need to become educated upon these points. There is a great work to be done in this cause, and the laborer can do much more work if he does not preach at one time so long as to weary himself and his hearers.
September 21 . Reports of labor and the manner of laboring, and the extending of the work into new fields, were discussed. I attended the morning meeting. There were two seasons of prayer, both in French and English. Brother Mallon bore an excellent testimony. He is an Italian, having a printing office and publishing a paper. His wife is an excellent woman--intelligent, and speaks several languages. She translates and is a real general. I spoke to the people in reference to the laborers going out two by two. I told them that this was Christ's arrangement. I spoke at some length on this point.
Meetings in the forenoon were upon the work of entering new fields and of carrying forward the work in the most economical manner. W. C. White related with what poverty the message was proclaimed in its first rise. He spoke ably and with deep feeling. I followed, relating our experience in our early work. I spoke of the embarrassment of the cause now because of empty treasuries. The only course I could see to pursue was to lay these empty treasuries before the Lord and plead for Him to supply the great need. I exhorted the workers to have more faith. The Lord has means somewhere entrusted with His stewards, and He now calls for this means to be invested in His work.
I have had to break off writing to have an interview with Brother Albert Vuilleumier. He is in some perplexity. His brethren urge him to be ordained, but he wishes to wait one year longer. He will work, he says, all the same, but he fears that he has not sufficient experience. I believe him to be an excellent man. He wished to know how he should present the truth in entering new fields, whether the Sabbath should be presented first. I told him that the best and wisest plan would to be to dwell upon subjects that would arouse the conscience. He could talk upon practical godliness, devotion, and piety, and present the self-denying, self-sacrificing life of Jesus as our example until they will see the contrast between that and their self-indulgent life and become dissatisfied with their unchristian lives.
Then present to them the prophecies; show them the purity and binding claims of the law of God. Not one jot or tittle of this law is to lose its force, but hold its binding claims upon every soul to the end of time. When the law of God is made void, when the Christian world is joined with the
Catholic and the worldly in making of none effect the commandments of God, then God's chosen people arise to defend the law of Jehovah.
This is the guile that Paul used; this is the wisdom of the serpent and the harmlessness of the dove. When we come to a community acquainted with our faith, this cautious course need not be pursued, but in every case special efforts should be made to come close to hearts by personal labor. Avoid running down the churches. Do not let the people receive the idea that your work is to tear down; it is to build up, and to present the truth as it is in Jesus. Dwell much upon the necessity of vital godliness.
September 21 . Brother and Sister Whitney, Brother and Sister Mallon, W. C. White, and myself had a conversation in regard to Brother and Sister Mallon connecting with the office. Sister Mallon was our interpreter. Her husband cannot speak English. We greatly desire that this change should be made, for the talent they possess is greatly needed in this printing office. The work would be enlarged and publications multiplied in different languages. In case Brother Mallon should leave Italy, then someone would have to take their place to hold what has already been gained to the cause of truth and gather in others.
We see no one to go but Brother A. C. Bourdeau. Italy would be a good field for him to work in. His experience would enable him to do a good work, we hope. We told them that Daniel and Augustine should labor together and help each other. In the next six months work should be put forth in or near Geneva, where several colporteurs have been at work. From Brother Mallon we learned many important facts in regard to the Italian field. It
will require a strong, determined, persevering effort to move things there, but when once the work takes hold, there will be numbers gathered to the cause of truth.
We expect to see the work of God advancing rapidly the coming year in fields which we now contemplate the workers entering. I feel very solemn in view of the work that God would have done in this country, and consider that if it can be entered upon in the right way the Lord will make the cause of truth to triumph.
We must make special efforts while the angels are holding the four winds, but there is constant danger of going forth to labor in self-confidence and leaving Christ out of the question. We want a strong hold from above; we want to press our petitions to the throne of grace; we must grasp the promises of God by living faith, in America and also here in Europe. In Christ we can be a host. Without Christ defects and mistakes will be seen in all the work. We are nearing the end; we are doing up the last great work for eternity; we are learning ourselves, and teaching others, that a people may be prepared to stand in the day of God's preparation. We cannot afford to work at random; we cannot afford to be doubleminded; we should now consecrate all our powers to God without reserve.
We should not work to the point where we exhaust our powers and cut short our days, but work in accordance with the laws of life and health, and do no more than we can do intelligently and with thoroughness. We have thought too much depended on what we could do, and have not depended enough on the Lord God of Israel to work for His people. God does not require any one of us to preach long discourses and offer long prayers, and raise the
voice to a high pitch, and hold so many meetings that the physical and mental powers are nearly wrecked.
September 22 . We had a very precious season in the early morning meeting. There were many prayers offered in French and English, and a number of interesting testimonies were given. I then gave a little talk upon faith, setting before them that it is our unbelief that is offensive to God, and withholds us from God. If our faith is in accordance with our light and privileges in this age, then heaven is open before us, and the rich promises of God are fulfilled concerning us; nothing is wanting that Christ requires. The experience and character of His followers should be equal to the talents received.
Faith, obedience, and love are to be developed in the character, equal to the light and grace given. If there is not an increase of faith, there will be a decrease of light and blessings. Light is shining, and if we follow the light our experience will grow brighter and brighter unto the perfect day. All who walk in the truth will be renewed in knowledge and true holiness, and will be obtaining daily victories over self, pride, and the love of the world.
If there is not an improvement of the talents given of God, our condemnation will be in proportion to the grace and truth bestowed. If these were abundant and powerful, then our condemnation will be in accordance with them. The general distrust of God, the dwelling in an atmosphere of constant unbelief, is an offense to God; it is dishonoring to His name; it is distrusting His word. Without faith it is impossible to please God.
Many testimonies were borne by the hearers in response, through the translator, expressing their gratitude to God, acknowledging that they were seeing new light, and that faith was better understood by them. They could see now why they had not advanced more in Christian experience. It was because they had wanted to walk by sight and not by faith. Some then urged that the meeting continue one week longer. They said the lessons they were having from Sister White were of great value to them; that they were gaining much knowledge by the Bible studies and the instruction given upon the work of colporteurs and canvassers. The meetings of counseling together made it essential that all should remain. The decision was in accordance with the proposition.
September 23 . I attended early morning meeting and had great freedom in prayer to our heavenly Father for the special blessing upon those assembled. I had a spirit of intercession that the servants of God should be fully qualified by the descent of the Holy Spirit to do their great work to perfection. The Spirit of the Lord was indeed in our midst, and there was a solemn impression that rich blessings are prepared for those who love God. While praying I felt deeply impressed that the church of Christ is called to respond to the light given, to the privileges granted them to be a powerful and holy people, a name and praise in all the earth. This is what Jesus is able to do for His church, and this is what He desires she shall be; and on this ground alone she can meet the claims of the gospel and enjoy its fullness. We seemed to be brought very near to God. Several excellent testimonies were borne of advancement and appreciation of the benefits they were receiving.
I made remarks from James 1:3 and onward in regard to appropriating faith. I presented before them the precious promise, "If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not, and it shall be given him. But let him ask in faith, nothing wavering" [verses 5, 6]. God requires heart service. To obey is better than sacrifice; without obedience and pure love the richest offering is too poor to be presented to the Owner of all things. The Lord gave me great freedom in presenting these ideas before the people, and I think they were received and appreciated.
We met Elders Bourdeau and their wives, Elder Whitney and wife, and Brother Kellogg. We were to consider the matter of Brother A. C. going to Torre Pellice, Italy, to commence a work there. We told them that this work would move slowly at first, but if they labored in wisdom souls would be converted. When one or two souls were converted they would begin to labor for others, and there would be an army for the Lord raised up in that place. There are quite a number of places in the valley, and if they made a beginning the work would spread through all these places. Many honest souls were buried up in the rubbish of superstition and erroneous doctrines, which they received from their preachers, who educate the people to look to them as if they were the true teachers of righteousness.
There will be at some time, I know not how soon, a disturbance in the valleys of Italy. The confidence of the people in their teachers will be shaken; the eyes of many will be opened, and the truth will be proclaimed among them. It seemed light to us that A. C. Bourdeau should commence his work in these valleys, while Brother and Sister Mallon were still there.
[It also seemed light to us] that Daniel and Albert Vuilleumier should commence in a place near Geneva, and thus the work go forward, the two Bourdeaus uniting when it was positively necessary.
We thought it wisdom to advise Charlie Andrews to go to America, with the purpose of learning to become an efficient workman in the binder's trade. Mother Andrews could have her choice to go to Italy with Martha and her husband, to remain in Basle, or go with Charles to America. Up to this point all ideas and decisions were unanimous.
Then Daniel presented his ideas in regard to France and Italy--that they should become a separate conference, standing separate from Switzerland. The means of France and Italy should not go into the conference at Basle, but be managed by these conferences, when as yet there were scarcely enough in either place to hold a meeting. I told Brother Daniel that this would not be in accordance with God's will. He pleaded that it would be better for the French that they should not unite with the Swiss Conference, for they were independent and naturally jealous, and if pressed to rules or order, there would be revolutionary feelings.
I told him these were the strong reasons that I would urge why they should unite with the Swiss Conference, and their interests be blended together, and they should not take on an independent spirit, but as followers of Christ be subject one to another. This is the very means that God has ordained that one shall have influence over another, and all be transformed and molded after the divine Pattern, that all the believers in Christ are to be sanctified through the truth.
The truth is one. It will take people from France and Italy and, mingling them with other elements, soften and refine them through the truth. Teach them that in humility and union there is strength. The love of Christ
and living faith would have a transforming power upon the man, upon his ideas, upon his character. The temper and the life experience will be softened and ennobled by divine truth. The influence of the truth is to take away from man that which is impetuous and rebellious, and bring him into harmony with heaven. God's purpose is to bring all into harmony and unity on the platform of truth as it is in Jesus. There are to be no separate interests formed or maintained by the believer in present truth.
The cause in Europe is yet in its infancy. I can see in this proposition of Brother D. T. [Bourdeau] that which alarms me. It has not the divine enlightenment. God's will is that the interests of every lover of truth shall be combined. Whatever God requires is the very best and safest course to follow. Now we find it profitable to yield obedience to God's plans. All who embrace the truth must be educated from the very first that their own ideas and will are not to be a power, but we are to study God's will. His will is to become our will. Our ways must be submitted to God's ways.
The truth is all-powerful and far-reaching. It will unite nationalities in one great brotherhood. I told them I could not see a greater evil to the now weak cause in Europe than that which Daniel was urging. Then Brother Daniel began to soar. He repeated his grievances in times past--the abuse he had suffered from his brethren in Battle Creek, that he was placed under Brother Andrews in Europe. He became very excited. I told them I had no more to say, and left the room. When he wants my counsel again I shall tell him that when he is willing to act like a reasonable man, I will talk with him.
This idea that French must stand French, and the Germans stand Germans, and thus the nationalities stand apart in their independence, is a device of the devil. It is the truth alone that saves the nationalities. The truth proves its power. It comes from God and it is His own Spirit in its agency which renders it effectual in the conversion and sanctification of those who hear and accept it. The sufficiency is not in the preacher, but in the mighty agency of the Holy Spirit, which gracious influence transforms the soul, bringing every thought into subjection to Jesus Christ.
Christ in men unites them on one grand platform, preparing for the uniting in one family in heaven. It is the truth that makes men one, and removes national prejudice. God forbid that any one of us will plan and devise to keep up separate interests. Nothing but the quick and powerful word of God, working in the heart of His delegated messengers to give the knowledge of the glory of Christ, can gain victorious results, which are essential for the blending of hearts and minds that they may be of the same judgement, speaking the same things.
Our private conference ended, I went into council, and resolutions were presented in reference to A. C. [Bourdeau's] removal into Italy. I presented some of the reasons I had given in the private council, why this change was advisable. These were well received. The decision was carried.
Then came the case of Brother Beglia. He was advised by the council not to confine his labors to Naples, but to go into new fields. I then stated that this was according to the mind of the Spirit of God for the workers to change from field to field, for should they be confined to one field there would be danger of the work being carried forward after one man's ideas. God would not have His church in any place to receive the mold
of one man's mind, and He would not have His workers cherish the idea that no man can understand the situation of the church and do for them quite as well as himself.
The Lord speaks to His delegated servants. He will give them the very message He wants them to have. The work of all bears the mark of imperfection. Self becomes interwoven more or less with the work. If the workers have weakness in some points of character, these defects are revealed and too often influence the people. Some cherish these weaknesses as a virtue, but another laborer coming into this field may be strong upon the very points where the other is weak, and he may be able to give a more perfect mold to the work. He presents new ideas and gives new impressions. The workers in any field must not become the people's pets, and idols, among the truth-believing people. One more council meeting is passed into eternity with its burden of record.
September 24 . I went into the early morning meeting. I engaged in prayer, and my burden was for a special blessing upon the laborers, that they might be fitted up for the great work before us. I bore my testimony in regard to coming up to our high privilege. I presented before them the words of Christ, "if any man thirst, let him come unto Me, and drink." The promise is, "The water that I shall give shall be in him a well of water springing up unto everlasting life." I was afraid the meeting would close and we fail to receive all the good that the Lord has in store for us. I urged upon my brethren to make the most of the present opportunities to exercise greater faith that they would receive help and strength from the great Source of strength.
I told them that they should be constantly guarded not to build up separate interests between the different nationalities. Some have pleaded that we must be very careful in our labor, for these people have peculiarities and the truth must be presented to them with the greatest care. There is much more made of this than there should be. We have one Lord, one faith, one baptism. The gospel of Christ is to reach all classes, all nations, all tongues and people. The influence of the gospel is to unite in one great brotherhood.
We have only one model to imitate, and that is Christ. Then we shall all be in perfect harmony; nationalities will blend in Jesus Christ, having the same mind, the same judgment, speaking the same things, and with one mouth glorifying God. This is the work the world's Redeemer is to do for us. If we accept the truth as it is in Jesus, national prejudices and jealousies will be broken down, and the spirit of truth will blend hearts in one. We will love as brethren; we will esteem others better than ourselves; we will be kind and courteous, meek and lowly, easy to be entreated, full of mercy and good fruit.
I warn my brethren, Keep your partition walls down. In all your efforts as God's workmen, "preach, warning every man, and teaching every man in all wisdom, that we may present every man perfect in Christ Jesus" (Col. 1:28). This can be done only by striving to meet the peculiarities of the different nationalities. Do not, my brethren, interpose yourselves between the work and God, for God knows better than you how to reach these men and women, and He will clothe His message to this people with that power which will reach their hearts and unite them with us in warning the world by
giving the trumpet a certain sound. Men are not infallible, and we are not to bend to men's fallibility and human judgment.
The third angel's message is infallible. It is to unite a people to do a special work, preparing them with perfection of character to unite in one great family in the mansions Christ has gone to prepare for those who love Him. And all the laborers are God's workmen to present infallible truth, to do the work of blending hearts in one. Never let your words or your efforts be directed to the end to disunite that which God would have united. You should influence France to work for the upbuilding of the cause in Switzerland. Do not encourage a one-sided interest, but all labor to cement together that they may have a molding influence on one another, that if any of the nationalities are encouraging peculiar ideas, that one may have a reformatory influence upon the other. Urge upon all to receive Christ's mold and imitate Christ's character. The apostle states, "Ye are all one in Christ Jesus." Christ in the German believer will recognize Christ in the French believer.
"Now I beseech you, brethren, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that ye all speak the same thing, and that there be no divisions among you; but that ye be perfectly joined together in the same mind and in the same judgment" (1 Cor. 12:10). The truth will have the same molding influence upon hearts whatever their nationalities. Every human heart that accepts the truth will bow to the majesty of its sway, and when Christ is abiding in the heart by faith they will be of one mind, for Christ is not divided. They will be strong in His strength, happy and united in His peace. The truth is the same in its subduing power upon all hearts. It will refine and ennoble the character of the receiver.
This testimony was for the good of the people, especially for all the workers in this new field; but up jumps Daniel [Bourdeau] as though all I had said had been especially directed to him. He explained and justified and talked out his purpose, and made public the matter which we were seeking to keep dark. All our efforts had been to establish confidence in Daniel and to encourage his heart to be a man. Up to this point he seemed to be doing nobly; but he had cherished the pet plan of keeping France and Italy an independent conference, and to have me thwart this plan was next to death to him. Now he becomes the subject of Satan's strong temptations.
I had, during the meeting, spoken upon general principles, setting before our brethren the harm of long sermons and prayers, and loud talking, presenting to them the sure results of such a manner of labor. This he took all to himself. Now I had overturned his imaginary castle that he was building, and he acted as though he had received his death blow. He attended but a few meetings, and was working himself up into a frenzy. He was packing up to go home Friday morning. I had no desire to talk with him. I felt discouraged in regard to his case. I had no hope of leading him to see the offensive character of his course before God. A. C. [Bourdeau] wished me to talk with his brother and try to help his mind, but I had no courage to say a word more to him.
The Lord had been at work in the meetings. He gave me precious words to speak to the people day after day, not only to comfort but to set before them the necessity of a radical change of heart, a transformation of character, that the laborers should go forth to their fields of labor imbued with the Spirit of Christ. I had treated Daniel tenderly, but the evil in
the heart was not eradicated; it was only slumbering, ready to burst forth on the slightest provocation. That provocation had come, and now the results. We went along with the meetings, but Daniel entered no more into the spirit of them.
September 25 . I attended the early morning meeting. My soul seemed in an agony as I prayed to God for Him to work. I knew our case was urgent. The ministers were not having that work done for them that must be accomplished before the Lord would work with any power. I felt that my prayer was heard, that the answer would come. Daniel was absent, taking counsel with Daniel and the adversary of souls. He was determined to go back to Geneva. His wife wept and implored him to stay. She said she could not go home with him in his state of mind. He said, "Well, so be it; we can separate as well now as any other time." I was solicited to try to do something to help him.
I prayed over the matter, and felt a burden upon my soul to speak to him again. I had walked my room in an agony of mind, saying to myself, I cannot talk with him; I cannot meet his defiant, stubborn spirit. He was like a man bereft of his reason. He would talk all the time, and while others were talking would break in upon them.
I sent for him and his wife to come to my room. Brethren Whitney, A. C. Bourdeau, Brother Lane, and W. C. White were all that were present. I began in a very decided but solemn manner to address him. He said he would rather see me alone. He repeated what he had suffered at Battle Creek, and in Vermont, from the abuse of his brethren. I told him I wished him to be silent, that I had the word of the Lord for him.
He became silent, and I gave such a message as I wish never to speak again to mortal man. I told him to look back upon his past life and see that when his track was crossed he had manifested the same spirit that now possessed him. It was the spirit of the devil, to all intents and purposes. [I told him] that I had no mild words to pet this demon racing within him, but I would combat it. I set before him his course--when he could not have his own way he was in a perfect frenzy. A man with as little self-control as he had was unfit to be entrusted with grave responsibilities in the work and cause of God. How could he expect [that] his brethren would have unlimited confidence in him when he at times abandoned himself to be controlled by Satan's power? His only hope was in being a converted man through and through. I asked him what dependence we could place in him if when his ideas were crossed the raging demon was aroused. I told him for his soul's sake not to leave the house until he was a converted man.
He felt abused because he thought I had made remarks to hit him. I said, Let us look back over the few days that we have passed together in these precious meetings. The most urgent appeals have been made by the Spirit of God. The true Christian character has been presented again and again. The fullness of the blessings of the gospel of Christ has been presented to the people. No one could doubt but that the presence and power of God had been in our midst. Now after all these tokens of good from the Lord, because some ideas of yours are not received, you open the door of your heart to the devil, and let him control the citadel of the soul. We have dealt very tenderly with you. We have been dealing on general principles before the congregation, presenting the true Christian character.
Some who had been teaching the truth to others, themselves needed to learn its first principles--mercy and the love of Jesus. Some who ought to be strong men in Christ as far as experience is concerned, are weak as babies. Their age and experience, opportunities and privileges, should make them strong men under temptation, but their life and character reveals they are only children. Some come to this meeting with great self-confidence --firm to carry out their own ideas. Decided testimonies have been given to me to meet these cases. The arrows from the Lord's quiver wounded you. Why do you place yourself as a target, then flutter as though wounded? Why not get out of my way, and let the testimony from God be set home by His Holy Spirit to hearts that need this? You get up and begin to excuse yourself, and justify yourself, thus exposing yourself to the congregation, saying to all, "Sister White means me, but all do not understand my case." You are, by this course, hedging up my way and hurting yourself.
I remember in the Beethoven Hall in Portland, Maine, those who were looking for Christ's coming met there to preach the second advent. Upon one occasion the hall was crowded. No less than eight ministers were present who were in opposition to the message given. Brother Edmunds arose and said, "We have a message from the Lord to the people, but when we proclaim it, lifting up our voice like a trumpet to show the people their transgressions, and the house of Israel their sins, the ministers are offended, and say, 'You are abusing me.' They step in between us and the people and say, 'You are severe; you hit us.' But we say to the ministers, 'Stand aside from between us and the people, and let the sharp arrows of the Almighty reach the hearts of the people, and you will not then be hurt; but if you catch
every arrow from the Lord's quiver, do not blame us. With tears I implore you to stand aside and let the warning voice arouse the people that they may get ready for the great day of the Lord."
Daniel, we entreat of you to set your heart in order that you will no longer be as a target continually being wounded. You have a determined will that is hard to bend. A few times in your life you have made a surrender to God, and you need to make that surrender again. Whenever your ideas are crossed, however perverted, then you lose that self-control so elevated and noble in the Christian character; you become untamable, unreasonable. Your self-love and independence become so strong [that] there is not one in your house or in connection with you who does not feel your presence and arbitrary power that will permit no liberty of conscience. By this course you alienate your brethren and even your own kindred from you. You force them to take a position at variance with you, and then you feel that they abuse you. Your own course pursued brought around these results. Your brethren saw these defects, that should you carry out your mind the results would be disastrous to the cause of God.
Now, consider how many times Jesus has forgiven you and taken His willful and rebellious child back to His arms. He has pitied and forgiven you the heavy debt you owed to Him, and yet notwithstanding this amazing love exercised toward you, you go forth like a debtor presented in the Scriptures whom God forgave an enormous debt but who found one of his fellow servants which owed him a few pence and he laid hands on him and "took him by the throat, saying, Pay me that thou owest, and thrust him into prison till he should pay the debt."
For you to pursue a course similar to this, Daniel, is poor policy. God in mercy has forgiven you great sins, and your brethren, whom you grieve and afflict with your wrong, who have studied and planned how to help you--if their decisions and plans injured your dignity, you have held them to strict account. You will relate your grievances while you have no just sense of your own wrongs which led to the necessity of the action of your brethren in your case. Unless you are a thoroughly converted man before you leave this house, I believe the Spirit of God will never make another appeal to you. It is life or death with you. You will surely be stricken down with paralysis, or the devil will drive you to suicide. I have, in the message hitherto borne to you, tried to establish you in the confidence of your brethren. [I have tried] to strengthen and settle you; but if you leave this house with the devil as your counselor, you are a lost man.
I have not in this message any comfort to give to Satan. The arrows of the Almighty must wound you so sorely that you will feel that you need a physician. "I have torn," saith God, "and I will heal; I have smitten and I will bind you up." When you come, meek and lowly, then Jesus will pardon your transgressions. I charge you not to leave this house till the power of the enemy is broken.
We then knelt in prayer; my soul was drawn out in an agony for Daniel Bourdeau. He prayed for himself rather faintly. I prayed again and again, with strong crying and tears, for God to cast out the devil. Brother A. C. and Marian, his [D.T.'s] wife, prayed with great brokenness of spirit. A terrible struggle was going on with Daniel. He did not fully surrender, but his face looked as though soul and body were rent asunder. He made concessions but had not yet yielded.
September 25 . In the evening we had a ministers' meeting. I had feared that Daniel would not be present, but he came into the meeting. I opened the meeting with prayer. The spirit of earnest intercession was upon me, and the power of God was in our midst. Daniel prayed after me; he began to break and confess. We had a remarkable meeting. All prayed with weeping and humiliation of soul and hearty confessions.
I told them all that the object of our assembly together was to seek the Lord. I told them I was alarmed that at this late stage of the meeting, being Friday, that Satan was developing his power; he was stronger than they. We must have more than human help; we must seek God unitedly, and with strong faith claim His grace and strength to help us just now.
Brother Vuilleumier offered a most earnest prayer. I could not understand a word of it, since it was in French, but the Spirit of the Lord pervaded the meeting. Brother Matteson's prayer was full of the Spirit. All seemed to humble themselves before God. Brother Andrews began to feel and confess his coolness and to plead with God for help. Brother Wilcox began to throw his heart into the work. The council had advised his stay another year in England. This seemed to take life and soul out of him, and he took to his bed. He was quite sick for three days. He had a hard battle to fight. He needs a great work done for him before he can be a true missionary.
Light, precious light, was breaking in. My peace was like a river; Jesus was very near to me--how full of light and love, to impart to all who diligently seek Him! This was indeed a precious season to our souls
September 26 was set apart as a season for fasting and prayer. I slept but little Friday night, but went into the ministers' meeting in the morning. I opened the meeting with prayer; the Lord poured upon me the spirit of supplication for my ministering brethren. Angels of God were in the building. Daniel broke out in most urgent prayer. He confessed and confessed, and pleaded for the forgiveness of God. Prayers and tears were mingled together. It was a most precious season. I bore a message with many tears, stating the solemn work of the watchmen and the necessity of faithfulness. The power of God rested upon me and upon those who heard. I never heard Brother Matteson talk as he did in that meeting. He seemed so humble, and his face shone with spiritual light. Every testimony was borne with deepest feeling. The crust over Elder Andrews is breaking. Daniel made a good confession in every way.
What a precious meeting this was to us all. The Lord's presence was in the meeting, and His power to bless. This has been a season of taxing labor to me, but the Lord has given me strength for my day. Daniel says he is now going to cease building up himself, and propping up Daniel Bourdeau, and poring over his past difficulties. He says he never loved his brethren as now. He is going to talk faith and hope and courage, and be a strong man for God. May the Lord give him might in the inner man. He says the peace of God is in his heart.--Letter 23, 1885. Ellen G. White Estate Washington, D. C. April 10, 1986. Entire Letter.