|At Issue Index Table of Contents Previous Next|
A LAST TRIBUTE TO THE LORD'S MESSENGER
THROUGHOUT HIS leadership of the Hutchinson Theological Seminary, M. L. Andreasen bore in mind the counsels of the Testimonies, which he would translate into Danish while preaching, and which he followed as he understood them in the school program. "Believe his prophets, so shall ye prosper,"1 was amply borne out in the whole work-study program at the seminary.
Not everyone who had had the opportunity to know both Ellen White and her writings profited by the acquaintance. A certain minister who knew Sister White "to be an unassuming, modest, kind-hearted, noble woman" and who had "been in their [the White] family time and time again, sometimes weeks at a time,"2 published a book entitled Seventh-day Adventism Renounced seven years before M. L. became an Adventist. In his book the author utterly reversed his assessment of Ellen White's character and work. The fourth (and last) time D. M. Canright had been reconciled to the church before his final departure, he had admitted, "The real trouble lies close to home, in a proud, unconverted heart, a lack of real humility, and unwillingness to submit to God's way of finding the truth."3 "When Brethren Butler, White, Andrews, Haskell, or others have said
something that wounded my feelings, I have let that destroy my confidence in the truth."4
M. L. had never met this man whose writings have been a discouragement to many seekers for truth during the years. Their paths crossed under unusual circumstances.
On July 16, 1915, Ellen White went to her rest in her Elmshaven home, where M. L. had visited her a few years before. The funeral was held in Battle Creek. M. L. was present.
He saw the sanitarium's palms, ferns, and lilies that covered the platform of the great tabernacle where James and Ellen White had spoken so many times. He admired the symbolic floral pieces representing a broken wheel, a broken column, and an open Bible with the words, "Behold, I come quickly; and my reward is with me."5 M. L. was seated near the bier, as he had been chosen to be one of the guards of honor who were to serve two at a time, one at the head, the other at the foot. Besides M. L., there were L. H. Christian from Chicago, C. S. Longacre from the General Conference Religious Liberty Department, and pastors from Grand Rapids, Indianapolis, and Chicago, completing the six.6
For two hours more than 4,000 persons had been filing by, taking a last look, paying their last respects.7 M. L. had especially noticed two aged brothers, one an Adventist, the other not. Both had appeared to be deeply moved. When M. L.'s turn came to take his position on guard, he noticed that the two brothers were still standing back at their pew. Suddenly one of them turned to the other and whispered something. Then the two men made their
way to the aisle and again joined the throng that was still moving toward the front. When they arrived, the old former Adventist leader rested his hand upon the side of the casket, and with tears rolling down his cheeks, said brokenly, "There is a noble Christian woman gone." 8
D. M. Canright had once again spoken truly. M. L. heard him. Eighteen years later, when president of Union College, Andreasen wrote;
I was one of the guards of honor when the body of Mrs. E. G. White lay in state in the tabernacle in Battle Creek, Michigan, and was on duty at the time Mr. Canright approached the casket. I heard the above words uttered by D. M. Canright, and testify to their correctness.9
12 Chron. 20:20.
2D. M. Canright, "A Plain Talk to the Murmurers," Review and Herald, April 26, 1877.
3————, "To Those in Doubting Castle," ibid., Feb. 10, 1885.
4Canright, "Items of Experience," ibid.. Dec. 2, 1884. "Life Sketches of Ellen G. White (Mountain View, Calif.: Pacific Press Pub. Assn., 1915), pp. 462, 463.
5Life sketches of Ellen G. White (Mountain View, Calif.: Pacific Press Pub. Assn., 1915), pp. 462, 463.
6Ibid., p. 463.
8W. A. Spicer, The Spirit of Prophecy in the Advent Movement, p. 127.
9Quoted in W. H. Branson, Reply to Canright (Takoma Park, Washington, D.C.: Review and Herald Pub. Assn., 1933), p. 288.