Original Testimonies 11-13
TESTIMONYFOR THE CHURCH,
BY ELLEN G. WHITE.
OF THE SEVENTH-DAY ADVENTIST PUBLISHING ASSOCIATION,
BATTLE CREEK, MICH.
DEAR BRETHREN AND SISTERS: My apology for calling your attention again to the subject of dress, is, that some do not seem to understand what I have before written, and an effort is made by those who, perhaps, do not wish to believe what I have written, to make confusion in our churches upon this important subject. Many letters have been written to me, stating difficulties, which I have not had time to answer; and now to answer the many inquiries, I give the following statements, which it is hoped will forever put the subject at rest, so far as my testimonies are concerned.
Some contend that what I wrote in Testimony for the Church, No. 10, does not agree with my testimony in the work entitled, How to Live. They were written from the same view, hence they are not two views, one contradicting the other, as some may imagine; but if there is any difference, it is simply in the form of expression. In Testimony to the Church, No. 10, I stated as follows:
"No occasion should be given to unbelievers to reproach our faith. We are considered odd and singular, and should not take any course to lead unbelievers to think us more so than our faith requires us to be.
"If some who believe the truth should think it would be more healthful for the sisters to adopt the American Costume, yet if that mode of dress should cripple our influence among unbelievers that we could not so readily gain access to them, we should by no means adopt that mode of dress, if we suffered much in consequence. But some are deceived in thinking there is so much benefit to be received from this costume. Where it may prove a benefit to some, to others it is an injury.
"I saw that God's order has been reversed, and his special directions disregarded, by those who adopt the American Costume.
"I was referred to Deut. xxii, 5. 'The woman shall not wear that which pertaineth unto a man, neither shall a man put on a woman's garment, for all that do so are abomination unto the Lord thy God.'
"God would not have his people adopt the so-called Dress Reform. It is immodest apparel, wholly unfitted for modest, humble females who are Christ's followers.
"An influence is increasing to have women in their appearance and dress as near like the other sex as possible, and fashion their dress very much like the men, but God pronounces it abomination. 'In like manner also that women adorn themselves in modest apparel, with shamefacedness and sobriety.' 1 Tim. ii, 9.
"Those who feel called out to join the movement of Women's Rights, and the so-called Dress Reform, might as well sever all connection with the third angel's message. The spirit which attends the one cannot be in harmony with the other. The Scriptures are plain upon the relations and rights of women and men. Spiritualists have, to quite an extent, adopted this singular mode of dress. Seventh-day Adventists, who believe in the restoration of the gifts, are often branded as Spiritualists. Let them adopt this costume, and their influence is dead. The people would not listen to them, but would place them on a level with Spiritualists.
"With the so-called Dress Reform, there goes a spirit of levity and of boldness just in keeping with the dress. Modesty and reserve seem to depart from many of them as they adopt that manner of dress. I was shown that God would have us take a course consistent and explainable. Let the sisters adopt the American Costume, and they destroy their own influence and that of their husbands. They would be a by-word and a derision. Our Saviour says, 'Ye are the light of the world. Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in Heaven.'
"There is a great work for us to do in the world, and God would not have us take a course to lessen or destroy our influence with the world."
The foregoing was given me as a reproof to those who are inclined to adopt a style of dress resembling that worn by men; but at the same time I was shown the evils of the common style of woman's dress, and to correct these, also gave the following from Testimony to the Church, No. 10:
"We do not think it in accordance with our faith to dress in the American Costume, or wear hoops, or go to an extreme in wearing long dresses, which sweep the sidewalks and streets. If females would wear their dresses so as to clear the filth of the streets an inch or two, their dresses would be modest, and kept cleanly much more easily, and would wear longer. Such a dress would be in accordance with our faith."
I will now give an extract from what I have said upon this subject:
"Christians should not take pains to make themselves gazing-stocks by dressing differently from the world. But if, in accordance with their faith and duty in respect to their dressing modestly and healthfully, they find themselves out of fashion, they should not change their dress in order to be like the world; but they should manifest a noble independence, and moral courage to be right, if all the world differ from them. If the world introduce a modest, convenient, and healthful mode of dress, which is in accordance with the Bible, it will not change our relation to God, or to the world, to adopt such a style of dress. Christians should follow Christ, and conform their dress to God's word. They should shun extremes. They should humbly pursue a straightforward course, irrespective of applause or of censure, and should cling to the right, because of its own merits.
"Women should clothe their limbs with regard to health and comfort. They need to have their limbs and feet clad as warmly as men. The length of the fashionable female dress is objectionable for several reasons.
"1. It is extravagant and unnecessary to have the dress of that length that it will sweep the sidewalks and streets.
"2. A dress thus long gathers dew from the grass, and mud from the streets, which makes it uncleanly.
"3. In its bedraggled condition it comes in contact with the sensitive ankles, which are not sufficiently protected, quickly chilling them, and is one of the greatest causes of catarrh, and of scrofulous swellings, and endangers health and life.
"4. The unnecessary length is an additional weight upon the hips and bowels.
"5. It hinders the walking, and is also often in other people's way.
"There is still another style of dress which will be adopted by a class of so-called Dress Reformers. They will imitate the opposite sex, as nearly as possible. They will wear the cap, pants, vest, coat, and boots, the last of which is the most sensible part of the costume. Those who adopt and advocate this style of dress, are carrying the so-called Dress Reform to very objectionable lengths. Confusion will be the result. Some who adopt this costume may be correct in their views in general upon the health question, and they could be instrumental in accomplishing vastly more good if they did not carry the matter of dress to such extremes.
"In this style of dress God's order has been reversed, and his special directions disregarded. Deut. xxii, 5. 'The woman shall not wear that which pertaineth unto a man, neither shall a man put on a woman's garment; for all that do so are abomination unto the Lord thy God.' This style of dress, God would not have his people adopt. It is not modest apparel, and is not at all fitting for modest, humble, females, who profess to be Christ's followers. God's prohibitions are lightly regarded by all who would advocate the doing away of the distinction of dress between males and females. The extreme position taken by some Dress Reformers upon this subject, cripples their influence.
"God designed there should be a plain distinction between male and female dress, and has considered the matter of sufficient importance to give explicit directions in regard to it; for the same dress worn by both sexes would cause confusion, and great increase of crime. St. Paul would utter a rebuke, were he alive, and should behold females professing godliness with this style of dress. 'In like manner also, that women adorn themselves in modest apparel, with shamefacedness and sobriety; not with broided hair, or gold, or pearls, or costly array; but (which becometh women professing godliness) with good works. The mass of professed Christians utterly disregard the teachings of the Apostles, and wear gold, pearls and costly array.
"God's loyal people are the light of the world, and the salt of the earth. And they should ever remember that their influence is of value. Were they to exchange the extreme long, for the extreme short dress, they would, to a great extent, destroy their influence. Unbelievers, whom it is their duty to benefit, and seek to bring to the Lamb of God, would be disgusted. Many improvements can be made in the dress of females in reference to health, without making so great a change as to disgust the beholder.
"The female form should not be compressed in the least with corsets and whale bones. The dress should be perfectly easy that the lungs and heart may have healthy action. The dress should reach somewhat below the top of the boot; but should be short enough to clear the filth of the sidewalk and street, without being raised by the hand. A still shorter dress than this would be proper, convenient, and healthful for females, when doing their housework, and especially, for those women who are obliged to perform more or less out-of-door labor. With this style of dress, one light skirt, or at most, two, are all that is necessary, and these should be buttoned on to a waist, or suspended by straps. The hips were not formed to bear heavy weights. The heavy skirts worn by females, their weight dragging down upon the hips, have been the cause of various diseases, which are not easily cured, because the sufferers seem to be ignorant of the cause which has produced them, and they continue to violate the laws of their being by girding the waists and wearing heavy skirts, until they are made life-long invalids. Many will immediately exclaim, 'Why, such a style of dress would be old-fashioned!' What if it is? I wish we could be old-fashioned in many respects. If we could have the old-fashioned strength that characterized the old-fashioned women of past generations it would be very desirable. I do not speak unadvisedly when I say that the way in which women clothe themselves, together with their indulgence of appetite, is the greatest cause of their present feeble, diseased condition. There is but one woman in a thousand who clothes her limbs as she should. Whatever may be the length of the dress, females should clothe their limbs as thoroughly as the males. This may be done by wearing lined pants gathered into a band and fastened about the ankle, or made full and tapering at the bottom; and these should come down long enough to meet the shoe. The limbs and ankles thus clothed are protected against a current of air. If the limbs and feet are kept comfortable with warm clothing, the circulation will be equalized, and the blood will remain healthy and pure, because it is not chilled or hindered in its natural passage through the system."
The principle difficulty in the minds of many, is in regard to the length of the dress. Some will have it that "the top of the boot," has reference to the top of such boots as are usually worn by men, which reach nearly to the knee. If it was the custom of women to wear such boots, then these persons should not be blamed for professing to understand the matter as they have; but as women generally do not wear such boots, these persons have no right to understand me as they have pretended.
In order to show what I did mean, and that there is a harmony in my Testimonies on this subject, I will here give an extract from my manuscripts written about two years since:-
"Since the article on dress has appeared in 'How to Live,' there has been with some a misunderstanding of the idea I wished to convey. Some have taken the extreme meaning of that which I have written in regard to the length of the dress of females, and have evidently had a very hard time over the matter. They have discussed the question of shortning the dress of females, with their distorted views of the matter, until their spiritual vision became so confused that they could only see men as trees walking. They thought they could see a contradiction in my article on dress, recently published in How to Live, and that article on the same subject contained in Testimony for the Church, No. 10. I must contend that I am the best judge of the things which have been presented before me in vision; and none need to have fears that I shall by my life contradict my own testimony, or that I should fail to notice any real contradiction in the views given me.
"In my article on dress, in How to Live, I have tried to present a healthful, convenient, economical, yet modest and becoming style of dress for Christian sisters to wear, if they should choose so to do. I have tried, perhaps imperfectly, to describe such a dress. 'The dress should reach about to the top of the boot, but should be short enough to clear the filth of the side-walk and street without being raised by the hand.' Some have contended that by the top of the boot, I meant to be understood such high-topped boots as men usually wear. But by 'the top of the boot,' I designed to be understood the top of a boot, or gaiter shoe, usually worn by women. If I had thought I should have been misunderstood, I would have written more definitely. If it was the custom for women to wear high-topped boots like men, I could see sufficient excuse for this misunderstanding. I think the language is very plain as it now reads, and no one need to be thrown into confusion. Please read again: 'The dress should reach somewhat below the top of the boot.' (Now look at the qualification:) 'But should be short enough to clear the filth of the side-walk and street, without being raised by the hand. A still shorter dress than this would be proper, convenient, and healthful for females, when doing their house work, and especially, for those women who are obliged to perform more or less out-of-door labor.'
"I can see no excuse for reasonable persons' misunderstanding and perverting my meaning. In speaking of the length of female dress, if I had reference to high-topped boots reaching nearly to the knee, why should I add, 'but the dress should be short enough to clear the filth of the side-walk and street, without being raised by the hands?' If high-topped boots were meant, the dress would most certainly be short enough to keep clear of the filth of the streets without being raised, and would be sufficiently short for all working purposes. Reports have been circulated that 'Sister White wears the American Costume,' and that this style of dress is generally adopted and worn by the sisters in Battle Creek. I am here reminded of the saying, that 'a lie will go around the world while truth is putting on his boots.' One sister gravely told me that she had received the idea that the American Costume was to be adopted by the Sabbath-keeping sisters, and if such a style of dress should be enforced, she should not submit to it, for she never could bring her mind to wear such a dress.
"In regard to my wearing the short dress, I would say, I have but one short dress, which is not more than one finger's length shorter than the dresses I usually wear. I have worn this short dress occasionally. In the winter I rose early, and putting on my short dress, which did not require to be raised by my hands to keep it from draggling in the snow, I walked briskly from one to two miles before breakfast. I have worn it several times to the Office, when obliged to walk through light snow, or when it was very wet and muddy. Four or five sisters of the Battle Creek church have prepared for themselves a short dress to wear while doing their washing and house cleaning. A short dress has not been worn in the streets of the city of Battle Creek, and has never been worn to meeting. My views were calculated to correct the present fashion, the extreme long dress, trailing upon the ground, and also to correct the extreme short dress, reaching about to the knees, which is worn by a certain class. I was shown that we should shun both extremes. By wearing the dress reaching about to the top of a woman's gaiter boot, we shall escape the evils of the extreme long dress, and shall also shun the evils and notoriety of the extreme short dress.
"I would advise those who prepare for themselves a short dress for working purposes, to manifest taste and neatness in getting up such a dress. Have it arranged to order, to fit nicely the form. Even if it is a working dress, it should be made becoming, and should be cut after a pattern. Sisters when about their work should not put on clothing which would make them look like images to frighten the crows from the corn. It is more gratifying to their husbands and children to see them in a becoming, well-fitting, attire, than it can be to merely visitors or strangers. Some wives and mothers seem to think it is no matter how they look when about their work, and when they are seen only by their husbands and children; but they are very particular to dress in taste for the eyes of those who have no special claims upon them. Is not the esteem and love of husband and children more to be prized than that of strangers, or common friends? The happiness of husband and children should be sacred to every wife and mother above all others. Christian sisters should not at any time dress extravagantly, but at all times dress as neat, modest, and healthful, as their work will allow."
The foregoing-described dress we believe to be worthy of the name of THE REFORM SHORT DRESS. It is being adopted at the Western Health Reform Institute, and by some of the sisters at Battle Creek, and other places, where the matter is properly set before them. In wide contrast with this modest dress is the so-called "American Costume," resembling very nearly the dress worn by men. It consists of a dress resembling a coat, vest, and pants. This dress reaches about half way from the hip to the knee. This dress I have opposed from what has been shown me, which is in harmony with the word of God; while the other I have recommended as modest, comfortable, convenient, and healthful.
Another reason which I have to offer to you, my dear brethren and sisters, as an apology for calling your attention again to the subject of female dress, is that not one in twenty of my sisters, who profess to believe the Testimonies, have taken the first step in the Dress Reform. It may be said that sister White generally wears her dresses in public longer than the dress she recommends to others. To this I reply, When I visit a place to speak to the people, where the subject is new and prejudice exists, I think it best to be careful and not cut off the ears of the people by wearing a dress which would be objectionable to them. But when I have brought the subject before them, and fully explained my position, I then appear before them in the Reform Dress, illustrative of my teachings.
As to the matter of wearing hoops, the reform in dress has got entirely out of sight of them. It cannot use them. And it is altogether too late to talk about wearing hoops, large or small. My position upon the hoop question is precisely what it ever has been, and I hope not to be held responsible for what others may say on this subject, or for the course pursued by those who put on hoops. I protest against the perversions of my private conversations on this subject, and ask that what I have written and published be regarded as my settled position.
IN the vision given me in Rochester, N.Y., Dec. 25, 1865, I was shown that a most solemn work was before us. Its importance and magnitude are not realized. As I marked the indifference which was everywhere apparent, I was alarmed for ministers and people. There seemed to be a paralysis upon the cause of present truth. The work of God seemed stayed. Ministers and people are unprepared for the time in which they live, and nearly all who profess to believe present truth are unprepared to understand the work of preparation for this time. In their present state of worldly ambition, and their lack of consecration to God, their devotion to self, their own selfish interests characterizing their lives, they are wholly unfitted to receive the latter rain, and having done all to stand against the wrath of Satan and his inventions to cause them to make shipwreck of faith, by first fastening upon them some pleasing self-deception. They think they are all right when they are all wrong.
Ministers and people must make greater advancement in the work of reform. They should commence without delay to correct their wrong habits of eating, drinking, dressing, and working. I saw that quite a number of the ministers were not awake upon this important subject. Ministers are not all where God would have them. The result is, with some there is but little fruit of their labors. Ministers are not safe from Satan's temptations. They are the very ones that Satan will seek to ensnare. If he can succeed in lulling one minister to carnal security, and by thus doing divert his mind from the work, or deceive him with regard to his own true condition before God, he has accomplished much. Ministers should be ensamples to the flock of God.
I saw that the cause of God was not progressing as it might, and as it should. Ministers fail to take hold of the work with that devotion, decided perseverance and energy, which the importance of the work demands. They have a vigilant adversary to contend with, whose diligence and perseverance is untiring. The feeble effort of ministers and people can bear no comparison with those of their adversary, the Devil. On one side they are battling for right, and have the help of God and holy angels. They should be strong and valiant, and wholly devoted to the cause in which they are engaged, having no separate interest. They should not be entangled with the things of this life, that "they may please Him who hath chosen them to be soldiers."
On the other side, Satan and his angels with all his agents on earth, are making every effort, using every device, to advance error and wrong, to cover up their hideousness and deformity with a pleasing garb. Selfishness, hypocrisy, and every species of deception, he clothes with a garment of apparent truth and righteousness. He triumphs in his success, even with ministers and people who profess to understand his wiles. The greater distance they keep from their great Leader, Jesus Christ, the less they are like him in character, and the more close is their resemblance in life and character to the servants of their great adversary, and the more sure is he of them at last. While they profess to be servants of Christ, they are servants of sin.
Ministers have received their wages, and some have their minds too much on their wages. They labor for wages, and lose sight of the sacredness and importance of the work.
Some become neglectful and slack in their labor, pass over the ground, and are weak and unsuccessful in their efforts. Their hearts are not in the work. The theory of truth is clear. Many of them had no part in searching out this truth by hard study and earnest prayer, and have had no experience of its preciousness and value, by being compelled to sustain their positions on the truth against the opposition of its enemies. They do not see the necessity of preserving a spirit of entire consecration to the work. Their interest is divided between themselves and the work.
I saw that before the work of God can make any decided progress, ministers must be converted. They will, when converted, place less estimate upon wages, but far more value upon the important, sacred, solemn work which they have accepted at the hand of God to perform, and which he requires them to do faithfully and well, as those who must render to him a strict account. A faithful record is daily made by the recording angels of all their works. All their acts, and even the intents and purposes of the heart, stand faithfully revealed. Nothing is hid from the all-seeing eye of "Him with whom we have to do." Those who have thrown their whole energies into the cause of God, and feel that the work of God is a part of them, and have ventured out and have invested something in this all-sacred work, will labor not merely for wages. They will not be eye-servants, and seek to please themselves, but consecrate themselves and all their interests to this solemn work.
Some in their public labors with the churches are in danger of making mistakes from a lack of thoroughness. It is for the interest of ministers and God's cause that they should search closely, try their motives, and be certain to divest themselves of selfishness; and watch, that while they preach straight truths to others they do not fail to live by the same rule. Let not Satan substitute something else for the deep heart work. They should be thorough with themselves, and with the cause of God, lest they should work for wages and lose sight of the high, important, and exalted character of the work. They should not let self rule instead of Jesus Christ. Be careful, and not say to the sinner in Zion, "It shall be well with him," when God has pronounced a curse upon him.
Ministers must arouse and manifest life, zeal, and a devotion to the work, that they have for quite a length of time been almost strangers to, because they have failed to walk with God. The cause of God in many places is not improving. Soul work is needed. The people are overcharged with surfeiting and drunkenness, and the cares of this life. They are entering deeper and deeper into a spirit of worldly enterprise. They are ambitious to get gain. Spirituality and devotion are rare things. The spirit that prevails is to work, work, to accumulate and add to that which they already possess. What will be the end of these things, was the burden of my inquiry.
Conference meetings have amounted to nothing lasting. Those who attend the meetings carry their spirit of enterprise with them. Ministers and people frequently bring their merchandise to these large gatherings, and the truths spoken from the desk fail to impress the heart. The sword of the Spirit, the word of God, fails to do its office work; it falls tamely upon the hearers. The exalted work of God is made to connect too closely with common things.
The ministers must be converted before they can strengthen their brethren. A reformation is needed among our people, but it should first begin its purifying work with the ministers. They are watchmen upon the walls of Zion, to sound the note of warning to the careless, the unsuspecting; also to portray the fate of the hypocrite in Zion. It seemed to me that some of the ministers had forgotten that Satan was yet alive, as persevering, earnest, and artful as ever; seeking to allure souls from the path of righteousness.
Ministers should not preach themselves, but Christ and his righteousness. One important part of their work is to faithfully present to the people the Health Reform, as it stands connected with the third angel's message, as a part and parcel of the same work, which they should not fail to enter into themselves, and should urge it upon all who profess to believe the truth. Ministers should have no separate interest aside from this great work. Their energies are all needed here. They should not engage in merchandise, in peddling, or in any business aside from the one great work of leading souls to the truth. The solemn charge given to Timothy, rests with equal weight upon them, laying upon them the most solemn obligations, and most fearful and awful responsibilities. "I charge thee therefore before God, and the Lord Jesus Christ, who shall judge the quick and the dead at his appearing and his kingdom, Preach the word; be instant in season, out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort, with all longsuffering and doctrine. But watch thou in all things, endure afflictions, do the work of an evangelist, make full proof of thy ministry."
Our wrong habits of life have lessened our mental and physical sensibilities, and all the strength we can acquire by right living, and placing ourselves in the best relation to health and life, should be devoted unreservedly to the work which God has assigned us. With our enfeebled, crippled energies, we cannot afford to use the little we possess to serve tables, or to mingle merchandise with the work God has committed to us. Every faculty of mind and body is now needed. The work of God requires this, and no separate business can be engaged in aside from this great work, without taking time, strength of mind and body, and lessening the vigor and force of labor connected with the work of God. The ministers will not have all that time for meditation and prayer, and all that strength and clearness to understand the cases of those who need help, that they should have, to be pre-prepared to "be instant in season, out of season." A word fitly spoken, given at the proper time, might save some poor, erring, doubting, fainting, soul. Paul exhorted Timothy: "Meditate upon these things, give thyself wholly to them, that thy profiting may appear to all."
In the commission Christ gave to his disciples, he tells them, "Whatsoever ye shall bind on earth, shall be bound in Heaven, and whatsoever ye shall loose on earth, shall be loosed in Heaven." If this is the awful responsible work of God's ministers, how important that they give themselves wholly to it, and watch for souls as they that must give an account. Should any separate or selfish interest come in here and divide the heart from the work? Some ministers linger about their homes, and will run out on a Sabbath, and then return and exhaust their energies in farming, or in home matters. They labor for themselves through the week, and then spend the remnant of their exhausted energies in laboring for God. But he does not accept with approbation such feeble efforts. They had no mental or physical strength to spare. At the best their efforts would be feeble enough. But after they have been engrossed and entangled all through the laboring days of the week, with the cares and perplexities of this life, they were wholly unfitted for the high, the sacred, important, work of God. The destiny of souls hangs upon the course they pursue, and the decisions they make. How important then that they should be temperate in all things, not only in their eating, but in their labor, that their strength may be unabated and devoted to their sacred calling.
There has been a great mistake made by brethren who professed present truth, by introducing merchandise in the course of a series of meetings, and thus diverting minds from the object of the meetings, by their traffic. If Christ was now upon earth, as at his first advent, he would drive out these peddlers and traffickers with a scourge of small cords, whether they be ministers or people, as when he entered the temple anciently, "and cast out all them who sold and bought in the temple, and overthrew the tables of the money changers, and the seats of them that sold doves. And he said unto them, It is written, My house shall be called the house of prayer, but ye have made it a den of thieves." These traffickers might have pleaded an excuse, that these articles they held for sale were for sacrificial offerings. But gain was their object,-to obtain means, to accumulate.
I was shown that if the moral and intellectual faculties had not been clouded by wrong habits of living, ministers and people would have been quick to discern the evil result of mixing sacred and common things together. Ministers have stood in the desk and preached a most solemn discourse, and then diverted the minds from the impressions received, and destroyed the fruit of their labor, by entering into merchandise, acting the part of a salesman, even in the house of God. If the sensibilities had not been blunted, they would have had discernment to know that they were bringing sacred things down upon a level with common. The burden should not rest upon ministers, laboring in word and doctrine, to enter into the sale of publications. Their time and strength should be held in reserve, that their efforts may be thorough in a series of meetings. Their time and strength should not be drawn upon to become salesmen, when the books can be properly brought before the public by some who have not the burden of preaching the word resting upon them. In entering new fields it may be necessary for the minister to take publications with him, to offer for sale to the people; and it may be necessary in some other circumstances also to sell books and transact business for the office of publication. But such work should be avoided, whenever it can be done by others. Ministers have all that they ought to do to preach the word; and after they have urged solemn truth upon the people, they should maintain a humble dignity, as the preachers of exalted truth, and as representatives of the truth they presented to the people. After their labored effort, they need rest. Selling even books upon present truth, is a care, a tax to the mind, a weariness to the body. If there are those that still have a reserve force, and can be taxed without doing injury to themselves, the work resting upon them is weighty, and is but just commenced when they have spoken the truth to the people. Then comes the exemplary preaching, the watchful care, the seeking to do good to others, the conversation, and visiting at the fireside from house to house, entering into the condition of mind and the spiritual state of those who listened to the discourse from their lips; exhorting this one, reproving that one, rebuking the other, and comforting the afflicted, suffering, and desponding. They should have the mind as free from weariness as possible, that they may be minute men, "instant in season, out of season." They should obey the injunction given by Paul to Timothy: "Meditate upon these things; give thyself wholly to them."
The responsibility of the work rests very lightly upon some. They feel that after they leave the desk their work is done. It is a burden to visit, a burden to talk, and the people who are really desirous to get all the good there is for them, and wish to hear and learn, that they may see all things clearly, are not benefited and satisfied. Ministers excuse themselves because they are weary, and yet some exhaust their precious strength, and spend their time in work, which another could do just as well as they. They should preserve moral and physical vigor, that as faithful workmen of God, they may give full proofs of their ministry. In every important place there should be a depository for publications. And some one who really appreciates the truth, should manifest an interest to get these books into the hands of all who will read. The harvest is great but the laborers are few; and the few experienced laborers now in the field have all they should do to labor in word and doctrine. Men will arise who claim that God has laid upon them the burden of teaching others the truth. All such should be proved and tried. They should not be relieved from all care, neither should they be lifted into responsible positions at once, but should be encouraged, if they deserve encouragement, to give full proofs of their ministry. It would not be the best course for such ones to pursue, to enter into other men's labors. Let them exercise the talent they have in connexion with one of experience and wisdom, and he can soon see whether they are capable of exerting an influence that will be saving. Such young preachers who have never had wearing labor, and felt the draught upon their mental and physical strength, should not be encouraged to hope for a support independent of their own physical labor, for this will only injure them, and will be a bait to entice men who realize nothing of the burden of the work, or the responsibility resting upon God's chosen ministers. They will feel competent to teach others when they have scarcely learned the first principles themselves.
Many who profess the truth are not sanctified by the truth they profess, and are not endowed with wisdom; they are not led and taught of God. God's people are, as a general thing, worldly-minded, and have departed from the simplicity of the gospel. This is the cause of their great lack of spiritual discernment in the course they have pursued toward ministers. If a minister preaches with freedom, instead of dwelling upon the truths he uttered, and improving upon them, showing themselves not to be "forgetful hearers, but doers of the work," some will praise the minister to his face. They will exalt him by referring to what he has done. They dwell upon the virtues of the poor instrument, but forget Christ who employed the instrument. Ministers have fallen through exaltation, ever since the fall of Satan, who was once an exalted angel in glory. Unwise Sabbath-keepers have pleased the Devil well by praising their ministers. Were they aware that they were aiding Satan in his work? They would have been alarmed had they realized what they were doing. They were blinded; they were not standing in the counsel of God. I lift my voice of warning against praising or flattering your ministers. I have seen the evil, the dreadful evil, of praising ministers. Never, never speak a word in the praise of ministers to their faces. Exalt God. Ever respect a faithful minister; realize his burdens; lighten them if you can, but do not flatter him; for Satan stands ready at his watchtower to do that kind of work himself.
Ministers should not use flattery or be respecters of persons. There ever has been, and still is, great danger of erring here. Making a little difference with the wealthy, flattering them, if not in words, by special attention. There is danger of "having men's persons in admiration" for the sake of gain, and in doing this they endanger the eternal interest of that wealthy man. The minister may be his especial favorite, and he will be very liberal with him, and this gratifies the minister, and he in turn lavishes praises upon the benevolence of his liberal donor. His name may be exalted by appearing in print, and yet that liberal donor may be all unworthy of the credit given him. His liberality did not arise from a deep, living principle to do good with his means, to advance the cause of God because he appreciated it, but from some selfish motive, anxious to be thought liberal. He may have given from impulse, and his liberality have no depth of principle at the root. He may have been moved upon by listening to stirring truth, which for the time being loosed his purse strings; yet after all his liberality has no deeper motive. He gives by spasms; his purse opens spasmodically, and closes just as securely, spasmodically. He deserves no commendation, for he is in every sense of the word a stingy man; and unless thoroughly converted, purse and all, will hear the withering denunciation, "Go to, now, ye rich men, weep and howl for the miseries which shall come upon you. Your riches are corrupted, and your garments are moth eaten." Such will awake at last from a horrible self-deception. Those who praised their spasmodic liberalities, helped the Devil in his work of deceiving them; making them think that they were very liberal, very sacrificing, when they knew not the first principles of liberality or self-sacrifice.
Some men and women make themselves believe that they do not consider the things of this world of much value, but prize the truth and its advancement higher than any worldly gain. Many will awake at last to find themselves undeceived. They may have once appreciated the truth, and earthly treasures in comparison with truth appear to them valueless; but after a time they became less devotional, especially as their earthly treasure accumulated. Although they have enough for a comfortable sustenance, yet all their acts show they are in no wise satisfied. All their works testify that their hearts are bound up in their earthly treasure. Gain, gain, is their watchword. To this end every member of the family participates in their labor. They give themselves scarcely any time for devotion, or for prayer. They work early and late. Sickly, diseased women, and feeble children, whip up their flagging ambition, and use up the vitality and strength they have, to reach an object, to gain a little, make a little more money. They flatter themselves that they are doing this that they may help the cause of God. Terrible deception! Satan looks on and laughs, for he knows that they are selling soul and body through their lust for gain. Flimsy excuses they are continually making for thus selling themselves for gain. They are blinded by the god of this world. Christ has bought them by his own blood, but they rob Christ, rob God, tear themselves to pieces, and are almost useless in society.
They devote but little time to the improvement of the mind, and but little time to social or domestic enjoyment. They are of but little benefit to any one. Their lives are a terrible mistake. Those who thus abuse themselves, feel that their course of unremitting labor is praiseworthy. They are destroying themselves by their presumptuous labor. They are marring the temple of God by continually violating the laws of their being through excessive labor, and think it a virtue. When God calls them to account, when he requires of them the talents he has lent them, with usury, what can they say? what excuse can they make? Were they heathens, who knew nothing of the living God, and in their blind, idolatrous zeal, threw themselves under the car of Juggernaut, their cases would be more tolerable. But they had the light, they had warning upon warning, to preserve their bodies, which God calls his temple, in as healthy a condition as possible, that they may glorify God in their bodies and spirits which are his. The teachings of Christ they disregarded: "Lay not up for yourselves treasures upon earth, where moth and rust doth corrupt, and where thieves break through and steal. But lay up for yourselves treasures in Heaven, where neither moth nor rust doth corrupt, and where thieves do not break through nor steal. For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also." They let worldly cares entangle them. "But they that will be rich, fall into temptation, and a snare, and into many foolish and hurtful lusts which drown men in destruction and perdition." They worship their earthly treasure, as the ignorant heathen does his idols. Many flatter themselves that their desire for gain is that they may help the cause of God. Some promise that when they have gained such an amount, then they will do good with it, and advance the cause. But when they have realized their expectations they are no more ready to help the cause of present truth than before. They will again pledge themselves that after they purchase that desirable house, or piece of land, and pay for it, then they will do a great deal to advance the work of God by their means. As the desire of their heart is attained, they have less disposition, far less than in the days of their poverty, to aid in the advancement of the work of God. "He also that received the word among the thorns, is he that heareth the word; and the care of this world, and the deceitfulness of riches, choke the word, and he becometh unfruitful." The deceitfulness of riches has led them on, step by step, until they lose all love for the truth, and yet they flatter themselves that they believe the truth. They love the world, and the things of the world. The love of God, or of the truth, is not in them.
Many deliberately arrange their business matters in such a manner, to gain a little more money, that it must necessarily bring a great amount of hard labor upon those laboring out of doors, and their families in the house. Bone, muscle, and brain, of all are taxed to the utmost; for a great amount of work is before them to be done; and the excuse is, they must accomplish just all that they possibly can, or there will be a loss, something will be wasted. Every thing must be saved, let the result be what it may. What have they gained? Perhaps they have been able to keep the principal good, and add to it. But, on the other hand, what have such lost? Their capital of health, that which is invaluable to the poor man, as well as the rich; their stock of health has been steadily diminishing. The mother in the house, and the children, have made such repeated draughts upon their fund of health and strength, as though their extravagant expenditure would never exhaust their capital, until they are surprised to find it forfeited, their vigor of life exhausted. They have nothing left to draw upon in case of emergency. The sweetness and happiness of life is embittered by racking pains and sleepless nights. Physical and mental vigor is gone. The husband and father who made the unwise arrangement of his business, it may be with the full sanction of the wife and mother, for the sake of gain, as the result may bury the mother and one or more of the children. Health and life were sacrificed for the love of money. "For the love of money is the root of all evil: which while some coveted after, they have erred from the faith, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows."
There is a great work to be accomplished for Sabbath-keepers. Their eyes must be opened, and they see their true condition, and be zealous and repent, or they will fail of everlasting life. The spirit of the world has taken possession of them, and they are brought into captivity by the powers of darkness. They do not heed the exhortation of the apostle Paul, "And be not conformed to this world; but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect will of God." With many, a worldly spirit, with covetousness and selfishness, predominates. Those who possess it are looking out for their own especial interest. The selfish, rich man does not interest himself in the things of his neighbors, unless it be to study how he can advantage himself at their disadvantage. The noble and god-like in the man is parted with, sacrificed for selfish interests. The love of money is the root of all evil. It has blinded their vision, and they do not discern their obligations to their God or to their neighbors.
Some flatter themselves that they are liberal because they at times donate freely to ministers, and for the advancement of the truth. These same accounted liberal men are close in their deal, ready to overreach, although they have abundance of this world, which binds upon them great responsibilities as God's stewards. Yet, when dealing with a poor, hard-laboring brother, they will be exacting to the last farthing. Instead of favoring the poor man, if there is a poor side to the bargain, that is the poor man's legacy-his own look out. The sharp, exacting, rich brother, has all the advantage, and adds to his already accumulated wealth, because of the misfortune of his poor brother. He prides himself because of his shrewdness, but is with his wealth heaping up to himself a heavy curse. He has laid a stumbling-block in the way of his poor brother. He has cut off his ability to benefit him with his religious influence by his close calculation and meanness. All this lives in the memory of that poor brother. The most earnest prayers and apparently zealous testimonies he may listen to from his rich brother's lips, will only have an influence to grieve and disgust. He looks upon him as a hypocrite; a root of bitterness springs up whereby many are defiled. The poor man cannot forget the advantages taken of him; neither can he forget his being crowded into difficult places because he was willing to bear burdens, while the wealthy ever had some excuse ready why he did not put his shoulder under the load. The poor man may be so imbued with the Spirit of Christ that he may forgive the abuses of his rich brother. True, noble, disinterested benevolence, is too rarely found among the wealthy. In their ambition for wealth, they overlook the claims of humanity. They cannot see and feel the cramped, disagreeable position of their brethren in poverty, who, perhaps, have labored as hard as themselves. Like Cain they will say, "Am I my brother's keeper?" "I have worked hard for what I have; I must hold on to it." Instead of praying, "Help me to feel my brother's woe," their constant study is to forget that he has any woes, any claims upon his sympathy or liberalities.
Many Sabbath-keepers who are wealthy, are guilty of grinding the face of the poor. Do such think that God takes no notice of their little acts of meanness? If their eyes could be opened, they would see an angel following them every where they go, in their families, at their places of business, making a faithful record of all their acts. The True Witness is on their track, declaring, "I know thy works!" I cried out in anguish of spirit as I saw this spirit of fraud, of overreaching, of meanness, even among some professed Sabbath-keepers. This terrible evil, this great curse, is folding around some of the Israel of God in these last days, making them a detestation to even noble-spirited unbelievers. This is the people professedly waiting for the coming of the Lord.
There is a class of poor brethren who are not free from temptation. They are poor managers; have not wise judgment; they wish to obtain means without waiting the slow process of persevering toil. Some are in such haste to better their condition, that they will engage in different enterprises, without consulting with men of good judgment and experience. Their expectations are seldom realized; they lose instead of gaining, and then comes temptations and a disposition to envy the rich. They really want to be benefited by the wealth of their brethren, and have trials because they are not. They are not worthy of receiving especial help. They have evidence that their efforts have been scattered. They have been changeable in business; full of cares and anxiety, bringing but little returns. Such persons should lean to the counsel of those of experience. But frequently they are the last ones to seek advice. They think that they have superior judgment, and will not be taught. These are often the very ones who are deceived by those sharp, shrewd, peddlers of patent rights, whose success depends upon the art of deception. They should learn that no confidence, whatever, can be put in such peddlers. But the brethren are credulous in regard to the very things they should suspect and shun. They do not take home the instruction of Paul to Timothy, "But godliness, with contentment, is great gain. And having food and raiment, let us be therewith content." Let not the poor think that the rich are the only covetous ones. While the rich hold what they have with a covetous grasp, and seek to obtain still more, the poor are in great danger of coveting the rich man's wealth. There are very few in our land of plenty who are really so poor as to need help. If they pursue a right course, they can in almost every case be above want. My appeal to the rich is, Deal liberally with your poor brethren, and use your means to advance the cause of God. The worthy poor, who are made poor by misfortune and sickness, deserve your especial care and help. "Finally, be ye all of one mind, having compassion one of another; love as brethren; be pitiful, be courteous."
Men and women professing godliness, expecting translation to Heaven without your seeing death, I warn you to be less greedy of gain, less self-caring. Redeem by noble acts of disinterested benevolence, your godlike manhood, your noble womanhood. Gain back true nobility of soul, and heartily despise your former avaricious spirit. From what God has shown me, unless you zealously repent, Christ will spue you out of his mouth. Sabbath-keeping Adventists profess to be followers of Jesus Christ. The works of many of them belie their profession. "Ye shall know them by their fruits. Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of Heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in Heaven."
I appeal to all who profess to believe the truth, to consider the character and life of the Son of God. He is our example. His life was marked with disinterested benevolence. He was ever touched with human woe. He went about doing good. There was not one selfish act in all his life. His love for the fallen race was so great he took upon himself the wrath of his Father, and consented to suffer the penalty of man's transgression, to save guilty man, plunged in degradation because of sin. He bore the sins of man in his own body. He hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin, that we might be made the righteousness of God in him.
True generosity is too frequently eaten up by prosperity and riches. Men and women in adversity, or in humble poverty, will sometimes express very great love for the truth, and especial interest for the prosperity of the cause of God, and for the salvation of their fellowmen, and will tell what they would do if they only had the means. God frequently proves them; he tests them; he prospers them; blesses them in basket and in store, far beyond their expectations. But their hearts are deceitful. Their good intentions and promises are like the rolling sand. The more they have, the more they desire. The more they are prospered, the more eager are they for gain. Some of these, who were once even benevolent in their poverty, become penurious and exacting. Money becomes their god. They delight in the power money gives them; the honor they receive because of it. Said the angel, Mark ye how they stand the test. Watch the development of character under the influence of riches. Some were oppressing the needy poor. They would obtain their wages for the lowest figure. They were overbearing; money was power to them. God's eye, I saw, was upon them. They were deceived. "And behold I come quickly; and my reward is with me, to give every man according as his work shall be."
Some who are wealthy do not withhold from ministers. They keep up their Systematic Benevolence exactly, and pride themselves upon their punctuality and generosity, and think their duty ends here. This is well as far as it goes. But their duty does not end here. God has claims upon them that they do not realize. Society has claims upon them; their fellowmen have claims upon them. Every member of their family has claims upon them. All these claims should be regarded; not one should be overlooked or neglected. Some men give to ministers, and put into the treasury with a satisfaction, as though it would entitle them to Heaven. They think that they can do nothing to aid the cause of God, unless they are constantly having a large increase. They feel that they could in no wise touch the principal. Should our Saviour speak the words to them as to the certain ruler, "Go sell all that thou hast, and give to the poor, and thou shalt have treasure in Heaven; and come and follow me," they would go away sorrowful, choosing like the ruler to run the risk of retaining their idols, riches, rather than to part with them to secure treasure in Heaven. This ruler claimed that he had kept all the commandments of God from his youth up, and, confident in his fidelity, his righteousness, thinking that he was perfect, he asks, What lack I yet? Jesus immediately tears off his sense of security by referring to his idols, his possessions. He had other gods before the Lord, which were of greater value to him than eternal life. Supreme love to God was lacking. Thus it is with some who profess to believe the truth. They think they are perfect; think that there is no lack, when they are far from perfection, and are cherishing idols which will shut them out of Heaven.
Men and women pity the Southern slaves, because they are bound down to labor, while slavery exists in their own families. Mothers and children are allowed to toil from morning till night; they have no recreation. A ceaseless round of labor is before them, and crowded upon them. They profess to be Christ's followers, but where is the time for them to meditate and pray, and obtain food for the intellect, that the mind, with which we serve God, may not be dwarfed in its growth for want of something to feed upon? God has claims upon every individual, to use the talents he has committed to them to his glory; and by improving these talents, gain other talents also. God has laid obligations upon us to benefit others. Our work is not done in this world for the good of others until Christ shall say in Heaven, "It is done. He that is unjust, let him be unjust still; and he which is filthy, let him be filthy still; and he that is righteous, let him be righteous still; and he that is holy, let him be holy still." Many seem to have no realizing sense of their responsibility before God. They are required to strive to enter in at the straight gate, because many shall seek to enter in and shall not be able. Heaven requires of them to interest themselves to induce others to strive also for an entrance in at the straight gate. A work is before young and old to earnestly labor, not only to save their own souls, but the souls of others. There are none who have reasoning faculties but that have some influence; and that influence is used either to hinder souls from striving to enter in at the straight gate, by their own indifference in regard to the matter, or to urge the necessity upon others of diligently striving by their own example, in putting forth earnest, persevering, untiring, efforts themselves. There is no one who occupies a neutral position here. Doing nothing to encourage others, and doing nothing to hinder them. Says Christ, They that gather not with me scatter abroad. Take heed, old and young; you are either doing the work of Christ, to save souls, or the work of Satan, to lead them to perdition. "Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in Heaven." The young can exert a powerful influence, if they will give up their pride and selfishness, and devote themselves to God, but as a general thing they will not bear burdens for others. They have to be carried themselves. The time has come when God requires a change in this respect. He calls upon young and old to be zealous and repent. If they continue in their state of lukewarmness he will spue them out of his mouth. Says the True Witness, "I know thy works." Young man, young woman, your works are known whether they be good or whether they be evil. Are you rich in good works? Jesus comes to you as a counselor. "I counsel thee to buy of me gold tried in the fire, that thou mayest be rich; and white raiment that thou mayest be clothed, and that the shame of thy nakedness do not appear; and anoint thine eyes with eye salve, that thou mayest see."
THE HEALTH REFORM.
IN the vision given me in Rochester, N. Y., Dec. 25, 1865, I was shown that our Sabbath-keeping people have been negligent in acting upon the light which God has given in regard to the Health Reform; that there was yet a great work before us; and that, as a people, we have been too backward to follow in God's opening providence as he has chosen to lead us.
I was shown that this work of Health Reform was scarcely entered upon yet. While some feel deeply, and act out their faith in this work, others remain indifferent and have scarcely taken the first step in reform. There seems to be in them a heart of unbelief, and as this reform restricts the lustful appetite, many will shrink. They have other gods before the Lord. Their taste, their appetite, is their god; and when the axe is laid at the root of the tree, and these who have indulged their depraved appetites at the expense of health are touched, and their sin pointed out, and their idols shown them, they do not wish to be convinced, and some will cling to hurtful things which they love, although God's voice should speak directly to them, to put away those health-destroying indulgences. They seem joined to their idols, and God will soon say to his angels, Let them alone.
I was shown that the Health Reform is a part of the third angel's message, and is just as closely connected with this message, as the arm and hand with the human body. I saw that we as a people must make an advance move in this great work. Ministers and people must act in concert. God's people are not prepared for the loud cry of the third angel. They have a work to do for themselves which they should not leave for God to do for them. He has left this work for them to do. It is an individual work. One cannot do this work for another. "Having these promises, dearly beloved, let us cleanse ourselves from all filthiness of the flesh and spirit, perfecting holiness in the fear of God." Gluttony has been the prevailing sin of this age. Lustful appetite has made slaves of men and women, and has beclouded their intellects and stupefied their moral sensibilities to such a degree that the sacred, elevated, truths of God's word have not been appreciated. The lower propensities have ruled men and women.
In order for the people of God to be fitted for translation, they must know themselves. They must understand in regard to their own physical frames, that they can, with the psalmist, exclaim, "I will praise Thee, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made." They should ever have the appetite in subjection to the moral and intellectual organs. The body should be servant to the mind, and not the mind to the body.
I was shown that there was a much greater work before us than we have yet had any idea of, if we would insure health by placing ourselves in the right relation to life. Dr. Jackson has been doing a great and good work in the treatment of disease, and in enlightening those who have all their lives been in ignorance in regard to the relation that eating, drinking, and working, sustain to health. God in his mercy has given his people light through his humble instrument, that in order for them to overcome disease, they must deny a depraved appetite, and practice temperance in all things. He has caused great light to shine upon their pathway. Shall those who are "looking for that blessed hope, and the glorious appearing of the great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ, who gave himself for us, that he might redeem us from all iniquity, and purify unto himself a peculiar people, zealous of good works," be behind the religionists of the day who have no faith in the soon appearing of our Saviour? The peculiar people whom he is purifying unto himself, to be translated to Heaven without seeing death, should not be behind others in their good works. Their efforts to cleanse themselves from all filthiness of the flesh and spirit, perfecting holiness in the fear of God, should be as far ahead of any class of people on the earth, as their profession is more exalted than that of others.
Some have sneered at this work of reform, and have said it was all unnecessary; that it was an excitement to divert minds from present truth. They have said that matters were being carried to extremes. Such do not know what they are talking about. While men and women professing godliness are diseased from the crown of the head to the soles of their feet, while their physical, mental and moral energies are enfeebled through gratification of depraved appetite, and excessive labor, how can they weigh the evidences of truth, and comprehend the requirements of God? If their moral and intellectual faculties are beclouded, they cannot appreciate the value of the atonement or the exalted character of the work of God, or delight in the study of his word. How can a nervous dyspeptic be ready always to give an answer to every man that asketh him a reason of the hope that is in him, with meekness and fear? How soon would a nervous dyspeptic become confused and agitated, and his diseased imagination lead him to view matters in altogether a wrong light, and he dishonor his profession while contending with unreasonable men, by a lack of that meekness and calmness which characterized the life of Christ? Viewing matters from a high religious stand-point, we must be thorough reformers in order to be Christ-like.
I saw that our heavenly Father has bestowed upon us this great blessing of light upon the Health Reform, that we may obey the claims which he has upon us and glorify him in our bodies and spirits which are his, that we may finally stand without fault before the throne of God.
I was shown that our faith requires us to elevate the standard, and make an advance. While many question the course pursued by other health reformers, they, as reasonable men, should do something themselves. Our race is in a deplorable condition, suffering from disease of every description. Many have inherited disease, and are great sufferers because of the wrong habits of their parents; and yet they pursue the same wrong course in regard to themselves and their children which was pursued toward them. They are ignorant in regard to themselves. They are sick and do not know that their own wrong habits are causing them immense suffering.
There are but few as yet that are aroused sufficiently to understand how much their habits of diet have to do with their health, their characters, their usefulness in this world, and their eternal destiny.
I saw that it was the duty of those who have received the light given from Heaven, and have realized the benefit of walking in the light, to manifest a greater interest for those who are suffering for want of knowledge. I saw that Sabbath-keepers who are looking for the soon appearing of their Saviour should be the last to manifest a lack of interest in this great work of reform. Men and women must be instructed. Ministers and people should feel that the burden of the work rests upon them to agitate the subject, and urge it home upon the people.
I was shown that we should provide a home for the afflicted, and those who wish to learn how to take care of their bodies that they may prevent sickness. We should not remain indifferent and compel our sick who are desirous of living out the truth, to go to popular water-cure institutions for the recovery of health, where no sympathy for our faith exists. If they recover health it may be at the expense of their religious faith. Those who have suffered greatly from bodily infirmities are weak in both mental and moral strength. As they realize the benefit derived from correct application of water, the right use of air and a proper diet, they are led to believe that the physicians who understood how to treat them thus successfully, cannot be greatly at fault in their religious faith; that as they are engaged in the great and good work of benefiting suffering humanity, they must be nearly or quite right. And thus our people are in danger of being ensnared through the efforts made to recover their health at these establishments.
Again I was shown that those who are strongly fortified with religious principles and are firm in the faith of obeying all God's requirements, cannot receive that benefit from the popular health institutions of the day that others of a different faith can. Sabbath-keepers are singular in their faith. To keep all God's commandments as he requires them to do, in order to be owned and approved of him, is exceedingly difficult in a popular watercure. They have to carry along with them at all times the gospel sieve and sift everything they hear, that they may choose the good and refuse the bad.
The water-cure establishment at Dansville, has been the best institution in the United States. They have been doing a great and good work as far as the treatment of disease is concerned. Yet we cannot have confidence in their religious principles. While they profess to be Christians, they recommend to their patients, card-playing, dancing, and attending theaters, all of which have a tendency to evil, or to say the very least, have the appearance of evil, and are directly contrary to the teachings of Christ and his apostles. Conscientious Sabbath-keepers who visit these institutions for the purpose of regaining health, cannot receive the benefit they would if they were not obliged to keep themselves constantly guarded lest they compromise their faith and dishonor the cause of their Redeemer, and bring their own souls into bondage.
I was shown that Sabbath-keepers should open a way for those of like precious faith to be benefited without their being under the necessity of expending their means at institutions where their faith and religious principles are endangered, and where there is no sympathy or union with them in regard to their belief.
I was shown that God in his providence had directed the course of Dr. H. S. Lay to Dansville, that he might there obtain an experience he would not otherwise have had, for he had a work for him to do in the Health Reform. As a practicing physician, for years he had been obtaining a knowledge of the human system, and God would now have him by precept and practice obtain a knowledge of how to apply the blessings he has placed within the reach of man, and thus be prepared to benefit the sick, and instruct those who lack knowledge how to preserve the strength and health they already have, and by a wise use of pure water, air and diet, Heaven's remedies, prevent disease.
I was shown that Dr. Lay was a cautious and strictly conscientious man; a man that God loves. He has passed through many trials, which have worked for his good, although he could not at all times while passing through them, see how he could be benefited by them. Dr. Lay is not a man that will become exalted, while he believes the truth and follows in its path. He is not a man that will be arbitrary or over-bearing. He is too fearful of putting on that dignity which his position would allow him to maintain. He will counsel with others, and is easy to be entreated, and his great danger will be a willingness to take on burdens which he ought not to bear. He sees and feels what ought to be done, and will be in danger of doing too much. He is extremely sensitive and sympathetic, and will feel to the very depth all the cases of his patients; and, if he is permitted, will carry so heavy a load of responsibility as to be crushed under its weight.
I was shown that men and women of influence should help Bro. Lay with their prayers, their sympathy, their hearty co-operation, their cheering, hopeful words, and their counsel and advice, all of which will be appreciated by him. His position cannot be an enviable one. If he assumes so great responsibilities it will not be from choice, or to obtain a livelihood; for he can procure this in a much easier way and avoid the care, anxiety, and perplexity, which such a position would bring upon him. Duty alone will lead him; and when he is once convinced where lies the path of duty, he will follow it, and stand at his post, let the consequences be what they may; and he should have the sympathy and co-operation of those who have influence, those whom God would have stand by his side and sustain him in this laborious work. Dr. Lay could, so far as this world is concerned, do better than in the position he now occupies. I was shown that it would be a most difficult position for him to be placed in. Many would have no idea of the magnitude of the enterprise, and many who have no experience would want things to go according to their ideas; and some would wonder why the poor could not come and be treated for nothing, and would be tempted to think that it was a money-making enterprise after all; and this one, and that and the other, would wish to have something to say, and would have just about so much fault to find let matters go as they would; for I was shown that some would consider it a virtue to be jealous, and stand out and oppose. They pride themselves on not receiving everything just as soon as it comes. Like Thomas they boast of their unbelief. But did Jesus commend unbelieving Thomas? As he granted him the evidence he had declared that he would have before he would believe, Jesus saith unto him, "Thomas, because thou hast seen me thou hast believed, blessed are they that have not seen, and yet have believed."
I was shown that there is no lack of means among Sabbath-keeping Adventists. At present their greatest danger is through their accumulations of property. Some are continually increasing their cares and labors. They are overcharged; and the result is God and the wants of his cause are nearly forgotten by them; and they are spiritually dead. They are required to sacrifice to God an offering. A sacrifice does not increase, but decreases and consumes.
Here, I was shown, was a worthy object for God's people to engage in; and where they can invest means which will advance the glory of God. I was shown that there was an abundance of means among our people which was only proving an injury to those who were holding on to it.
Our people should have an institution of their own, under their own control, for the benefit of the diseased and suffering among us, who wish to have health and strength, that they may glorify God in their bodies and spirits which are his. Such an institution, rightly conducted, would be a means of bringing our views before many whom it would be impossible for us to reach by the common course of advocating the truth. As unbelievers shall resort to an institution devoted to the successful treatment of disease, and conducted by Sabbath-keeping physicians, they are brought directly under the influence of the truth. By becoming acquainted with Sabbath-keepers, and our real faith, their prejudice is overcome, and they are favorably impressed. By thus being placed under the influence of truth, some will not only obtain relief from bodily infirmities, but their sin-sick souls will find a healing balm.
As the health of invalids improves under judicious treatment, and they begin to enjoy life, they have confidence in those who have been instrumental in their restoration to comfortable health. Their hearts are filled with gratitude, and the good seed of truth will find a lodgement in the heart more readily, and will, in some cases, be nourished, spring up, and bear fruit to the glory of God. One such precious soul saved, will be worth more than all the means which will be needed to establish such an enterprise.
Some will not have moral courage enough to yield to their convictions. They are convinced that Sabbath-keepers have the truth; but the world and unbelieving relatives are obstacles to their reception of truth. They cannot bring their mind to the point to sacrifice all for Christ. Yet some of this last-mentioned class will go away with their prejudice removed, and will stand as defenders of the faith of Sabbath-keeping Adventists.
Some who will come to such an institution and go away restored, or greatly benefited, will use their influence in favor of Sabbath-keepers, which will be the means of introducing our faith in new places, and raising the standard of truth where it would have been impossible to gain access had not prejudice been first removed from minds by a tarry among our people for the object of gaining their health.
And some will prove sources of trial as they go to their homes. Yet this should not discourage any, or hinder them in their efforts in this good work. Satan and his agents will do all they can to hinder, to perplex, and bring burdens upon those who earnestly engage with all their hearts to advance this work of reform.
There is a liberal supply of means among our people to carry forward this great enterprise without any embarrassment, if all will feel the importance of the work. All should feel a special interest in sustaining this enterprize; and especially those who have means, should invest in it. A suitable home should be fitted up for the reception of invalids, that they may, through the use of proper means and the blessing of God, be relieved of their infirmities, and learn how to take care of themselves, and thus prevent sickness.
Many who profess the truth are growing close and covetous. They need to be alarmed for themselves. They have so much of their treasure upon the earth, that their hearts are on their treasure. They have much the largest share of their treasure in this world, and but little in Heaven; therefore their hearts and affections are placed on earthly possessions instead of on the heavenly inheritance. There is now a good object before them where they can use their means for the benefit of suffering humanity, and also for the advancement of the truth. This enterprise should never be left to struggle in poverty. These stewards to whom God has entrusted means should now come up to the work and use their means to the glory of God. Those who through covetousness withhold their means will find it will prove to them a curse rather than a blessing.
I was shown that those to whom God has entrusted means should invest something in providing a fund to be used for the object of benefiting the sick worthy poor, who are not able to defray the expenses of receiving treatment at the institution. There are some precious, worthy poor whose influence has been a benefit to the cause of God. A fund should be deposited, without calling for returns, to be used for the express purpose of treating such of the poor as the church where these poor reside shall decide are worthy to be benefited with this fund.
Those who have of their abundance, and are thinking that the poor will be unable to avail themselves of the benefits derived from the treatment of disease at the institution, where means are required for labor bestowed, should give of their abundance for this object, that such an institution need not in its infancy while struggling to live, become embarrassed, by a constant expenditure of means without realizing any returns.
TESTIMONY FOR THE CHURCH,
BY ELLEN G. WHITE.
OF THE SEVENTH-DAY ADVENTIST PUBLISHING ASSOCIATION,
BATTLE CREEK, MICH.
YOUNG Sabbath-keepers are given to pleasure-seeking. I saw that there is not one in twenty that knows what experimental religion is. They are constantly grasping after something to satisfy their desire for change, for amusement, and unless they are undeceived and their sensibilities aroused, so that they can say from the heart, "I count all things but loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus, my Lord," they are not worthy of him, and will come short of everlasting life. The young, generally, are in a terrible deception, and yet profess godliness. Their unconsecrated lives are a reproach to the Christian name, and their example is a snare to others. They hinder the sinner, for in nearly every respect they are no better than unbelievers. They have the word of God, but its warnings, admonitions, reproofs and corrections are unheeded, as are also the encouragements and promises to the obedient and faithful. God's promises are all on condition of humble obedience. One pattern only is given the young, and I feel alarmed as I witness everywhere, in every place, the frivolity of young men and women who profess to believe the truth. How do their lives compare with the life of Christ? God does not seem to be in their thoughts. Their minds are filled with nonsense. Their conversation is only empty, vain talk. Their ear is keen for music, and the Devil knows what organs to excite to animate, to engross, and charm the mind, so that Christ is not desired. The spiritual longings of the soul for a growth in grace, for divine knowledge, are wanting.
I was shown that the youth must take a higher stand, and make the word of God the man of their counsel and their guide. I saw that solemn responsibilities rest upon the young, which they lightly regard. The introduction of music into their homes, instead of inciting to holiness and spirituality, has been the means of diverting their minds from the truth. Frivolous songs, and the popular sheet-music of the day seem congenial to their taste. The instruments of music have taken time which should be devoted to prayer. Music, when not abused, is a great blessing; but when put to a wrong use is a terrible curse. It excites, but does not impart that strength and courage which the Christian can find at the throne of grace alone, while humbly making known his wants, and with strong cries and tears pleading for heavenly strength to be fortified against the powerful temptations of Satan. Satan is leading the young captive. Oh! what can I say to lead them to break his power of infatuation! He is a skillful charmer, luring on the young to perdition. Listen to the instructions from the inspired book of God. I saw that Satan had blinded the minds of the youth, that they could not comprehend the truths of God's word. Their sensibilities were so blunted that they regard not the injunctions of the holy apostle:
"Children, obey your parents in the Lord: for this is right. Honor thy father and thy mother (which is the first commandment with promise), that it may be well with thee, and thou mayest live long upon the [new] earth." Children who dishonor their parents, and disobey them, and disregard their advice and instructions, can have no part in the earth made new. The purified new earth will be no place for the rebellious, the disobedient, the unthankful, ungrateful son or daughter. Unless such learn obedience and submission here, they will never learn the lesson hereafter, and the peace of the ransomed will never be marred by the disobedient, unruly, unsubmissive children. No commandment-breaker can inherit the kingdom of Heaven. Will all the youth please read the fifth commandment spoken by Jehovah from Sinai, and engraven with his own finger upon tables of stone? "Honor thy father and thy mother, that thy days may be long upon the land which the Lord thy God giveth thee." "Children, obey your parents in all things; for this is well pleasing unto the Lord."
I was referred to many passages of Scripture that are plain, instructing the young, showing them clearly the will of God concerning them. These plain teachings they must meet in the judgment. Yet there is not one young man or woman in twenty who professes the present truth, who heeds these Bible teachings. They do not read the word of God enough to know its claims upon them, and yet these truths will judge them in the great day of God, when young and old will be judged according to the deeds done in the body.
Says John, "I have written unto you, young men, because ye are strong, and the word of God abideth in you; and ye have overcome the wicked one. Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world. And the world passeth away, and the lust thereof; but he that doeth the will of God abideth forever."
This exhortation to young men extends also to young women. Their youth does not excuse them from the responsibilities resting upon them. The youth are strong. They are not worn down with the weight of years, and with cares. Their affections are ardent, and if they are withdrawn from the world, and are placed upon Christ and Heaven, doing the will of God, they will have a hope of the better life that is enduring, and they will abide forever, being crowned with glory, honor, immortality, eternal life. If the youth live to gratify the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, they are seeking for the things of the world, are pleasing their great adversary, and separating themselves from the Father. And when these things that are sought after pass away, their hopes are blasted and their expectations perish. Separated from God, then will they bitterly repent their folly of serving their own pleasure, of gratifying their own desires, and for a few frivolous enjoyments, of selling a life of immortal bliss that they might have enjoyed forevermore. "Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world," says the inspired apostle. Then the warning, "If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him." It is an alarming fact that the love of the world predominates in the minds of the young. They decidedly love the world and the things that are in the world, and for this very reason the love of God finds no room in their hearts. Their pleasures are found in the world, and in the things of the world, and they are strangers to the Father and the graces of his Spirit. Frivolity and fashion, and empty, vain talking and laughing, characterize the life of the youth generally, and God is dishonored. Titus exhorts the youth to sobriety. "Young men, likewise, exhort to be sober-minded. In all things shewing thyself a pattern of good works; in doctrine showing uncorruptness, gravity, sincerity, sound speech that cannot be condemned; that he that is of the contrary part may be ashamed, having no evil thing to say of you."
I entreat the youth for their souls' sake to heed the exhortation of the inspired apostle. All these gracious instructions, warnings, and reproofs, will be either a savor of life unto life or of death unto death. Many of the young are reckless in their conversation. They choose to forget that by their words they shall be justified, or by their words be condemned. Take heed to the words of our Saviour: "A good man out of the good treasure of the heart bringeth forth good things, and an evil man out of the evil treasure of the heart bringeth forth evil things. But I say unto you, that every idle word that men shall speak they shall give account thereof in the day of judgment; for by thy words thou shalt be justified, and by thy words thou shalt be condemned." How little regard is paid even to the instructions of the heavenly Teacher. The word of God is either not studied at all, or if it is, its solemn truths are not heeded, and these plain truths will rise up in judgment and condemn them.
Words and acts testify plainly what is in the heart. If vanity and pride, love of self and love of dress fill the heart, the conversation will be upon the fashions, the dress, and the appearance, but not on Christ or the kingdom of Heaven. If envious feelings dwell in the heart, the same will be manifested in words and acts. Those who measure themselves by others, and do as others do, and make no higher attainments, and excuse themselves over the wrongs and faults of others, are feeding on husks, and will remain spiritual dwarfs as long as they gratify the Devil by thus indulging their own unconsecrated feelings. Some dwell upon what they shall eat and drink, and wherewithal they shall be clothed. Their hearts are filled with these thoughts, and they flow out from the abundance of the heart, as though these things were their grand aim in life, their highest attainment. They forget the words of Christ, "Seek ye first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things shall be added unto you." The youth have their hearts filled with their own love of self, which is manifested in their desire to see their faces daguerreotyped by the artist; and they will not be satisfied with being once represented, but they will sit again and again for their picture, hoping they will appear a little better, and excel all their previous efforts, and appear really more beautiful than the original. Their Lord's money is squandered in this way, and what is gained? Merely their poor shadow upon paper. The hours that ought to have been devoted to prayer, are occupied upon their own poor selves,--precious hours of probation are thus wasted. Satan is gratified to have the attention of youth attracted by anything to divert their minds from God, so that the deceiver can steal a march upon them, and they, unprepared for his attacks, be ensnared. They are not aware that the great Heavenly Artist is taking cognizance of every act, every word, and their deportment; and that even the thoughts and intents of the heart stand faithfully delineated. Every defect in the moral character stands forth revealed to the gaze of angels, and they will have the faithful picture presented to them in all its deformity at the execution of the judgment. Those vain, frivolous words are all written in the book. Those false words are written. Those deceptive acts, with the motives concealed from human eyes, but discerned by the all-seeing eye of Jehovah, are all written in living characters. Every selfish act is exposed. The young generally conduct themselves as though the precious hours of probation, while mercy lingers, are one grand holiday, and that they are placed in this world merely for their own amusement, to be gratified with a continued round of excitement. Satan has been making special efforts to lead the youth to find happiness in worldly amusements, and to justify themselves in thus doing, by endeavoring to show that these amusements are harmless, innocent, and even important for health. The impression has been given by some physicians that spirituality and devotion to God are detrimental to health. This suits the adversary of souls well. There are persons with diseased imaginations who do not rightly represent the religion of Christ; such have not the pure religion of the Bible. Some are scourging themselves all through their life because of their sins; all they can see is an offended God of justice. Christ and his redeeming power, through the merits of his blood, they fail to see. Such have not faith. This class are generally those who have not well-balanced minds. Through disease transmitted to them from their parents, and an erroneous education in youth, they have imbibed wrong habits, injuring the constitution, affecting the brain, causing the moral organs to be diseased, and making it impossible for them upon all points to think and act rationally. They have not well-balanced minds. Godliness and righteousness is not destructive to health, but is health to the body and strength to the soul. Says Peter: "He that will love life, and see good days, let him eschew evil, and do good; let him seek peace and ensue it: for the eyes of the Lord are over the righteous, and his ears are open unto their prayers; but the face of the Lord is against them that do evil. But and if ye suffer for righteousness' sake, happy are ye; and be not afraid of their terror, neither be troubled."
The consciousness of right-doing is the best medicine for diseased bodies and minds. The special blessing of God resting upon the receiver is health and strength. A person whose mind is quiet and satisfied in God is in the pathway to health. To have a consciousness that the eyes of the Lord are upon us, and his ears open to hear our prayers, is a satisfaction indeed. To know that we have a never-failing Friend in whom we can confide all the secrets of the soul, is a privilege which words can never express. Those whose moral faculties are beclouded by disease are not the ones to rightly represent the Christian life, or the beauties of holiness. They are too often in the fire of fanaticism, or the water of cold indifference or stolid gloom.
The words of Christ are of more worth than the opinions of all the physicians in the universe. "Seek ye first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things shall be added unto you." This is the first great object,--the kingdom of Heaven, the righteousness of Christ. Other objects to be attained should be secondary to these. Satan will present the path of holiness as difficult, while those of worldly pleasures will be strewed with flowers.
In false and flattering colors will the tempter array the world with its pleasures before you. Vanity is one of the strongest traits of our depraved natures, and Satan knows that he can successfully appeal to it. He will flatter you through his agents. You may receive praise of men and women. It may gratify your vanity, foster in you pride and self-esteem, and you may think that it really is a great pity for you, with such advantages, such attractions, to come out from the world and be separate, and become a Christian, to forsake your companions, and be alike dead to their praise or censure. Satan tells you that with the advantages you possess you could to a high degree enjoy the pleasures of the world. Let such consider that the pleasures of earth will have an end, and that which they sow they shall also reap. Are personal attractions, ability, or talents, too valuable to devote to God, the author of your being? he who watches over you every moment? Are your qualifications too precious to devote to God?
The young will urge that they need something to enliven and divert the mind. I saw that there was pleasure in industry, a satisfaction in pursuing a life of usefulness. Some still urge that they must have something to interest the mind, when business ceases,--some mental occupation or amusement to which the mind can turn for relief and refreshment amid cares and wearing labor. The Christian's hope is just what is needed. Religion will prove to the believer a comforter and a sure guide to the fountain of true happiness. I saw that the young should study the word of God, and give themselves to meditation and prayer, and they will find that their spare moments cannot be better employed. Young friends, you should take time to prove your own selves, whether you are in the love of God. Be diligent to make your calling and election sure. All depends upon your course of action, whether you secure to yourselves the better life. "Wisdom's ways are ways of pleasantness, and all her paths are peace." For the young to contemplate the future abode of the righteous, the everlasting reward, is a high and ennobling theme. Dwell upon the marvelous plan of salvation, the great sacrifice made by the King of glory to prepare the way that you might be elevated through the merits of his blood, and by obedience finally be exalted to the throne of Christ. This subject should engage the noblest contemplation of the mind. To be brought into favor with God,--what a privilege! To commune with Him,--what can more elevate, refine, and exalt us above the frivolous pleasures of earth? To have our corrupt natures renovated by grace, our lustful appetites and animal propensities in subjection, and we standing forth with noble, moral independence, achieving victories every day, will give peace of conscience which can arise alone from right doing.
I saw, young friends, that with such employment and diversion as this, you might be happy. But the reason you are restless is, you do not seek to the only true source for happiness. You are ever trying to find out of Christ that enjoyment which is found alone in him. In him are no disappointed hopes. Prayer! Oh, how is this precious privilege neglected. The reading of the word of God prepares the mind for prayer. One of the greatest reasons why you have so little disposition to draw nearer to God by prayer is, you have unfitted yourselves for this sacred work by reading fascinating stories, which have excited the imagination and aroused unholy passions. The word of God becomes distasteful, the hour of prayer is not thought of. Prayer is the strength of the Christian. When alone, he is not alone; he feels the presence of One who has said, "Lo, I am with you alway."
The young want just what they have not, namely, RELIGION. Nothing can take the place of it. Profession alone is nothing. Names are registered upon the church-books upon earth, but not in the book of life.
I saw that there is not one of the youth in twenty who knows what experimental religion is. They serve themselves, and yet profess to be servants of Christ; but unless the spell which is upon the youth is broken, they will soon realize that the portion of the transgressor is theirs. As for self-denial or sacrifice for the truth's sake, they have found an easier way above it all. As for the earnest pleadings with tears and strong cries to God for his pardoning grace, and strength from him to resist the temptations of Satan, they have found it unnecessary to be so earnest and zealous; they can get along well without. Christ, the King of glory, went often alone in the mountains and desert places to pour out his soul's request to his Father, but sinful man, in whom is no strength, thinks he can live without so much prayer.
Christ is their pattern, his life was an example of good works. A man of sorrows and acquainted with grief. He wept over Jerusalem, because they would not be saved by accepting the redemption he offered them. They would not come to him that they might have life. Compare your course of life with that of your Master, who made so great a sacrifice that you might be saved. He was a man of sorrows, acquainted with grief, frequently spending whole nights upon the damp ground in agonizing prayer. You are seeking your own pleasure. Listen to the frivolous, light and vain conversation, hear the laugh, the jesting, the joking. Is this imitating the pattern? Still listen,--is Jesus mentioned? Is the truth the theme of conversation? Are they glorying in the cross of Christ? It is this fashion, that bonnet, that dress, what that young man said, or that young lady said, or the amusements they are planning. What glee! Are angels attracted and pressing close around them to ward off the weight of darkness Satan is pressing in upon and around them? Oh, no. See, they turn away in sorrow. I see even a tear upon the faces of these angels. Can it be that angels of God are made to weep? It is even so.
High and eternal things have little weight with the youth. Angels of God are in tears as they write in the roll the words, the acts, the doings of professed Christians. Angels are hovering around that dwelling. The young are there assembled; there is the sound of vocal and instrumental music. Christians are here assembled, but what is that you hear? It is a song, a frivolous ditty, fit for the dance hall. Behold the pure angels gather the light which enshrouds them closer around them, and darkness envelops those in that dwelling. The angels are moving from the scene. Sadness is upon the countenance. Behold angels weeping. This I saw acted over a number of times, all through the ranks of Sabbath-keepers, and especially in Battle Creek. Music has occupied the hours which should be devoted to prayer. Music is the idol which many professed Sabbath-keeping Christians worship. The Devil has no objection to music, if he can make that a channel through which to gain access to the minds of youth. Anything will suit his purpose that will divert the mind from God, and engage the time which should be devoted to his service, and which will exert the strongest influence in holding the largest numbers, paralyzed by his power, with a pleasing infatuation. Music is made one of Satan's most attractive agencies to ensnare souls; but, when turned to a good account, it is a blessing. When abused, it leads the unconsecrated to pride, vanity, and folly. When music is allowed to take the place of devotion and prayer, it is a terrible curse. Young people assemble together to sing, and, although professed Christians, frequently dishonor God and their faith by their frivolous conversation and their choice of music. It is not congenial to their taste to make sacred music their choice. I was directed to the plain teachings of God's word, which have been passed by unnoticed. All these words of inspiration will condemn in the judgment those who have not heeded them.
The apostle Paul exhorts Timothy "by the commandment of God our Saviour and Lord Jesus Christ:" "I will therefore that men pray everywhere, lifting up holy hands, without wrath and doubting. In like manner also, that women adorn themselves in modest apparel, with shame-facedness and sobriety; not with braided hair, or gold, or pearls, or costly array; but, which becometh women professing godliness, with good works."
Peter exhorts: "Wherefore gird up the loins of your mind, be sober, and hope to the end for the grace that is to be brought unto you at the revelation of Jesus Christ; as obedient children, not fashioning yourselves according to the former lusts in your ignorance; but as he which hath called you is holy, so be ye holy in all manner of conversation; because it is written, Be ye holy; for I am holy."
The inspired Paul exhorts Titus to give special instructions to the church of Christ, "that they may adorn the doctrine of God our Saviour in all things." He says: "Teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly, in this present world; looking for that blessed hope, and the glorious appearing of the great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ; who gave himself for us, that he might redeem us from all iniquity, and purify unto himself a peculiar people, zealous of good works."
Peter exhorts the churches to "be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the Devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour." "But the end of all things is at hand; be ye therefore sober, and watch unto prayer."
Again he says, "But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts; and be ready always to give an answer to every man that asketh you a reason of the hope that is in you, with meekness and fear; having a good conscience; that, whereas they speak evil of you, as of evil doers, they may be ashamed that falsely accuse your good conversation in Christ. For it is better, if the will of God be so, that ye suffer for well doing, than for evil doing."
Are the youth in that position where they can give an answer to every man that asketh a reason of their hope with meekness and fear? The youth, I saw, fail greatly to understand our position. Terrible scenes are just before them, a time of trouble which will test the value of character. Those who have the truth abiding in them will then be developed. Those who have shunned the cross, neglected the word of life, and pay adoration to their own poor selves, will be found wanting. They are ensnared by Satan, and will then learn too late that they have made a terrible mistake. The pleasures they have sought after prove bitter in the end. Said the angel, "Sacrifice all for God. Self must die. The natural desires and propensities of the unrenewed heart must be subdued." Flee to the neglected Bible; the words of inspiration are spoken to you, pass them not lightly by, for you will meet every word again, to render an account whether you have been a doer of the work, shaping your life according to the holy teachings of God's word. Holiness of heart and life are necessary.
As servants of Jesus Christ, every one who has taken his name and has enlisted in his service, must be a good soldier of the cross. They should manifest in their lives that they are dead to the world, and that their lives are hid with Christ in God.
Paul writes to his Colossian brethren as follows: "If ye then be risen with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ sitteth on the right hand of God. Set your affection on things above; not on things on the earth. For ye are dead, and your life is hid with Christ in God. When Christ, who is our life, shall appear, then shall ye also appear with him in glory." "And above all these things put on charity, which is the bond of perfectness. And let the peace of God rule in your hearts, to the which also ye are called in one body; and be ye thankful. Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom; teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord. And whatsoever ye do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God and the Father by him."
To the Ephesians he writes: "See then that ye walk circumspectly, not as fools, but as wise. Redeeming the time, because the days are evil. Wherefore be ye not unwise, but understanding what the will of the Lord is. And be not drunk with wine, wherein is excess; but be filled with the Spirit; speaking to yourselves in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord; giving thanks always for all things unto God and the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ."
God can be glorified by songs of praise from a pure heart filled with love and devotion to him. When consecrated believers assemble together, their conversation will not be upon the imperfections of others, or savor of murmuring or complaint; charity, or love, the bond of perfectness, will encircle them. Their hearts, filled with love to God and their fellowmen, flow out naturally in words of affection, sympathy, and esteem for their brethren. The peace of God ruling in their hearts, their words are not vain, empty, and frivolous, but to the comfort and edification of one another. If Christians will obey the instructions given to them by Christ and his inspired apostles, they will adorn the religion of the Bible, and save themselves much perplexity and severe trials, which they attribute to their afflictions in consequence of believing unpopular truth. This is a sad mistake. Very many of their trials are of their own creating, because they depart from the word of God. They yield to the world, place themselves upon the enemy's battle-field, and tempt the Devil to tempt them. By adhering strictly to the admonitions and instructions of God's word, prayerfully seeking to know and do his righteous will, they feel not the petty grievancies daily occurring. The gratitude dwelling in their hearts, the peace of God ruling in them, causes them to make melody in their hearts unto the Lord, and by words make mention of the debt of love and thankfulness due the dear Saviour, who so loved them as to die that they might have life. Not one who has an indwelling Saviour will dishonor him before others by producing strains from a musical instrument which call the mind from God and Heaven to light and trifling things.
The young are required in whatsoever they do, in word or deed, to do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God and the Father by him. I saw that but few of the youth understand what it comprises to be Christians, to be Christ-like. They will have to learn the truths of God's word before they can conform their lives to the pattern. There is not one young person in twenty who has experienced in their lives that separation from the world which God requires of them in order to become members of his family, children of the heavenly King. "Wherefore come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean; and I will receive you, and will be a Father unto you, and ye shall be my sons and daughters, saith the Lord Almighty."
What a promise is here made upon condition of obedience. Do you have to cut loose from friends and relatives in deciding to obey the elevated truths of God's word? Well, take courage, God has made provision for you, his arms are opened to receive you. Come out from among them and be separate, and touch not the unclean, and he will receive you. He promises to be a father unto you. Oh, what a relationship is this! higher and holier than any earthly ties. If you make the sacrifice, if you have to forsake father, mother, sisters, brothers, wife and children, for Christ's sake, you will not be friendless. God adopts you into his family; you become members of the royal household; sons and daughters of the heavenly King who rules in the Heaven of heavens. Can you desire a more exalted position than is here promised? Is it not enough? Said the angel, "What could God do for the children of men more than he has already done? If such love, such exalted promises, are not appreciated, could God devise anything higher, anything richer and more lofty? All has been done for the salvation of man that God could do, and yet the hearts of the children of men have become hardened. Because of the multiplicity of the blessings God has surrounded them with, they receive them as common things and forget their gracious Benefactor."
I saw that Satan was a vigilant foe, intent upon his purpose of leading the youth to a course of action entirely contrary to that which God would approve. He well knows that there is no class that can do as much good as young men and young women who are consecrated to God. The youth, if right, could sway a mighty influence. Preachers, or laymen advanced in years, cannot have one-half that influence upon the young in communities that the youth, devoted to God, can have upon their associates. They ought to feel that a responsibility is resting upon them, to do all they can to save their fellow mortals, even at a sacrifice of their pleasure and natural desires. Time, and even means, if required, should be consecrated to God, and these professing godliness should feel the danger those are in who are out of Christ. Soon their probation will close. These who might have had influence in saving souls, had they stood in the counsel of God, yet failed to do their duty through selfishness, indolence, or because they were ashamed of the cross of Christ, will not only lose their own souls, but the blood of poor sinners will be found in their garments. Such will have to render an account for the good that they could have done had they been consecrated to God, but did not do because of their unfaithfulness. Those who have really tasted the sweets of redeeming love will not rest, cannot rest, until those with whom they associate are made acquainted with the plan of salvation. Young men and women should inquire, "Lord, what wilt thou have me to do? How can I honor and glorify thy name upon the earth?" Souls are perishing all around us, and yet where is the burden the youth bear to win souls to Christ. Those who attend school could have influence; but who names the name of Christ, and who do you see in earnest conversation, pleading with tender earnestness with their companions to forsake the ways of sin and choose the path of holiness?
I was shown that this is the course the believing young should take, but they do not; it is more congenial to their feelings to unite with the sinner in sport and pleasure. I saw that the young have a wide sphere of usefulness, but they see it not. If they would now exert their powers of mind in seeking ways to approach perishing sinners, that they might make known to them the path of holiness, and by prayer and entreaty win even one soul to Christ, what a noble enterprise! One soul to praise God through eternity! One soul to enjoy happiness and everlasting life! One gem in their crown to shine as a star forever and ever! But even more than one can be brought to turn from error to truth, from sin to holiness. Says God, by the prophet, "And they that turn many to righteousness shall shine as the stars forever and ever." Then those who engage with Christ and angels in the work of saving perishing souls, are richly rewarded in the kingdom of Heaven.
I saw that many souls might be saved if the young were where they ought to be, devoted to God and to the truth; but the young generally occupy a position where constant labor must be bestowed upon them, or they will become of the world themselves. They are a source of constant anxiety, of heartache. Tears flow on their account, and agonizing prayers are wrung from the hearts of parents in their behalf. They move on, reckless of the pain their course of action causes. They plant thorns in the breasts of those who would die to save them, and have them become what God designed they should, through the merits of the blood of Christ.
The youth exercise their ability to work out this or that nice piece of art, but feel not that God requires them to turn their talents to a better account, that of adorning their profession, and seeking to save souls for whom Christ died. One such soul saved is of more value than worlds. Gold and earthly treasure can bear no comparison to the salvation of even one poor soul.
Young men and young women, I saw that God has a work for you to do; take up your cross and follow Christ, or you are unworthy of him. While you remain in listless indifference, how can you tell what is the will of God concerning you? and how do you expect to be saved, unless as faithful servants you do your Lord's will? Those who possess eternal life will all have done well. The King of glory will exalt them to his right hand, while he says to them, "Well done, good and faithful servants." How can you tell how many souls you might save from ruin, if, instead of studying your own pleasure, you were seeking what work you could do in the vineyard of your Master? How many souls have these gatherings for conversation and the practice of music been the means of saving? If you cannot point to one soul thus saved, turn, oh! turn to a new course of action. Begin to pray for souls; get near to Christ, close to his bleeding side. Let a meek and quiet spirit adorn your lives, and let your earnest, broken, humble petitions ascend to him for wisdom, that you may have success in not only saving your own soul, but the souls of others. Pray more than you sing. Do you not stand in need of prayer more than singing? God calls upon you to work, young men and women; work for him. Make an entire change in your course of action. You can do a work that those who minister in word and doctrine cannot do. You can reach a class the minister cannot affect.
RECREATION FOR CHRISTIANS.
I WAS shown that Sabbath-keepers as a people labor too hard, without allowing themselves change, or periods of rest. Recreation is needful to those who are engaged in physical labor, yet still more essential for those whose labors are principally mental.
I was shown that it is not essential to our salvation, nor for the glory of God, for us to keep the mind laboring, even upon religious themes, constantly and excessively. There are amusements which we cannot approve, because Heaven condemns them,--such as dancing, card-playing, chess, checkers, &c. These amusements open the door for great evil. Their tendencies are not beneficial, but their influence upon the mind is to excite and produce in some minds a passion for those plays which lead to gambling, and dissolute lives. All such plays should be condemned by Christians. Something should be substituted in the place of these amusements. Something can be invented, perfectly harmless.
I saw that our holidays should not be spent in patterning after the world, yet they should not be passed by unnoticed, for this will bring dissatisfaction to our children. On these days when there is danger of our children partaking of evil influences, and becoming corrupted by the pleasures and excitement of the world, let the parents study to get up something to take the place of more dangerous amusements. Give your children to understand you have their happiness and best good in view.
Let families unite together and leave their occupations which have taxed them physically and mentally, and make an excursion out of the cities and villages a few miles into the country, by the side of a fine lake, or in a nice grove, where the scenery of nature is beautiful. They should provide themselves with plain, hygienic food, and spread their table under the shade of some tree, or under the canopy of heaven, provided with the very best fruits and grains. The ride, the exercise, and the scenery, will quicken the appetite, and they can come around a repast which kings might envy.
Parents and children on such occasions should feel as free as air from care, labors, or perplexities. Parents should become children with their children, making it as happy as possible for them. Let the whole day be given to recreation. Exercise of the muscles in the open air, for those whose employment has been within doors and sedentary, will be beneficial to health. All who can, should feel it a duty resting upon them to pursue this course. Nothing will be lost, but much gained. They can return to their occupations with new life and new courage to engage in their labor with new zeal. And such have gained much, for they are better prepared to resist disease.
I saw that but few have a realizing sense of the constant, wearing labor upon the brains of those who are bearing the responsibilities of the work in the Office. Confined day after day, and week after week, within doors, a constant strain upon the mental powers is surely undermining the constitutions of these men, and lessening their hold on life. These brethren are in danger of breaking suddenly. They are not immortal, and without a change they must wear out and be lost to the work.
Precious gifts we have in Brn. Smith, Aldrich, and Amadon. We cannot afford to have them ruin their health through close confinement and incessant toil. Where can we find men to supply their places, with their experience? Two of these brethren have been fourteen years connected with the work in the Office, laboring earnestly, conscientiously, and unselfishly, for the advancement of the cause of God.
These brethren have had scarcely any variation or change, except what fevers and sickness have given them. They should have a change frequently; should devote a day wholly to recreation with their families, who are almost entirely deprived of their society. All may not be able to leave the work at a time, but they should so arrange their work that one or two may leave, leaving others to supply their places, and then give others the same opportunity they have had.
I also saw that these brethren, Aldrich, Amadon, and Smith, should, as a religious duty, take care of the health and strength which God has given them. God does not require them to become martyrs just now to his cause. They will obtain no reward for making this sacrifice, for God wants them to live. Their lives can better, far better, serve the cause of present truth, than their death.
I saw that if either of these brethren should be suddenly prostrated by disease, no one should regard it as a direct judgment from the Lord. It will only be the sure result of the violation of nature's laws. They should take heed to the warning given them, lest they transgress and have to suffer the heavy penalty.
I saw that these brethren could benefit the cause of God by attending as often as practicable Convocation Meetings, at a distance from the place of their confinement and labor. It is impossible for their minds to be enlivened and invigorated as God would have them, to pursue the work so important, which requires healthy nerves and brain, while they are incessantly confined at the Office.
I was shown that it would be a benefit to the cause at large for these men, standing at the head of the work at Battle Creek, to become acquainted with their brethren abroad by associating with them in meeting. It will give the brethren abroad confidence in those who are bearing the responsibilities of the work, and will relieve the brethren bearing these burdens, of the taxation upon the brain, and will make them better acquainted with the progress of the work and the wants of the cause. It will enliven their hopes, renew their faith, and increase their courage. Time thus taken will not be lost, but be spent to the very best advantage. These brethren have qualities making them capable of enjoying social life to the highest degree. They would enjoy the society of brethren abroad at their homes, and would benefit and be benefited by interchange of thought and views. Especially do I appeal to Bro. Smith to change his course of life. He cannot exercise as others in the Office can. Indoor, sedentary employment, is preparing him for a sudden breakdown. He cannot always do as he has done. He must have more life in the open air, having periods of light labor, of some special nature, or exercise of a pleasant, recreative character. Such confinement as he has imposed upon himself would break down the constitution of the strongest animal. It is cruel, it is wicked, a sin against himself, which I raise my voice in warning against. Bro. Smith, more of your time must be spent in the open air, riding, or in pleasant exercise, or you must die, your wife become a widow, and your children who love you so much become orphans. Bro. Smith is qualified to edify others in the exposition of the word. He can serve the cause of God, and be benefited himself, by making efforts to get out to the large gatherings of Sabbath-keepers, and let his testimony be borne to the edification of those who are privileged to hear him. This change would bring him more out of doors, and in the open air. His blood flows sluggishly through his veins for want of the electrifying air of heaven. He has done his part in the work at the Office well, but still he has needed the assistance of the electricity of pure air and sunlight out of doors, to make his work still more spiritual and enlivening.
June 5, 1863, I was shown the necessity of my husband's preserving his strength and health, for God had yet a great work for us to do. In his providence we had obtained an experience in this work from its very commencement, and thus our labors would be of greater account to his cause. I saw that my husband's constant and excessive labor was exhausting his fund of strength, which God would have him preserve. If he continued to overtask his physical and mental energies as he had been doing, he would be reaching down into the future, and using up his future resources of strength, and exhausting the capital, and would break down prematurely, and the cause of God be deprived of his labor. He was much of the time performing labor connected with the Office which others might do; also business transactions which he should avoid. God would have us both reserve our strength to be used when he especially required it, and do that work which others could not do, and for which he has raised us up, preserved our lives, and given us a valuable experience, to be a benefit to his people.
I did not make this public, because it was given especially to us. If this caution had been fully heeded, the affliction under which my husband has been a great sufferer would have been saved. The work of God seemed urgent, and to allow of no relaxation or separation from it. My husband seemed compelled to constant, wearing labor. His anxiety for his brethren liable to the draft, and to meet the rebellion in Iowa, kept the mind constantly strained, and the physical energies were utterly exhausted. Instead of having relief, burdens never pressed heavier; and care, instead of lessening, was trebled. But there certainly was a way of escape, or God would not have given the caution he did, or else would have caused that he should not break down under such taxation. I saw that had he not been especially sustained by God he would have realized the prostration of his physical and mental powers much sooner than he did.
When God speaks, he means what he says. When he cautions, it becomes those noticed to take heed. Why I now speak publicly is because the same caution which was given my husband has been given some connected with the Office. They, I saw, were just as liable to be stricken down unless they change their course of action as was my husband. I am not willing that others should suffer as he has done. But that which is the most to be dreaded is, to be lost for a time to the cause and work of God, when the help and influence of all are so much needed.
Those connected with the Office cannot endure, by considerable, the amount of care and labor that my husband has borne for years. They have not the constitution, the capital to draw upon, which my husband has had. They can never endure the perplexities, and the constant, wearing labor which has come upon him, and which he has borne for twenty years. I cannot endure the thought that one in the Office should sacrifice strength and health, through excessive labor, and their usefulness prematurely end, and they be unable to work in the vineyard of the Lord. It is not merely the gatherers of the fruit that are the essential laborers, but all who assist in digging about the plants, watering, pruning, and lifting up the drooping, trailing vines, and leading their tendrils to entwine about the true trellis, the sure support. None of these workmen can be spared.
The brethren in the Office feel that they cannot leave the work for a few days for a change, for recreation; but it is a mistake. They can, and should do so. How much better to leave for a few days, even if there is not as much work accomplished, than to be prostrated by disease and be separated from the work for months, and perhaps never be able to engage in it again?
My husband thought it wrong for him to spend time in social enjoyment. He could not afford to rest. He thought the work in the Office would suffer if he should. But after the blow fell upon him, causing physical and mental prostration, the work had to be carried on without him. I saw that these brethren engaged in the responsible labor in the Office should work upon a different plan, make their arrangements to have change. If more help is needed, obtain it; and let relief come to these who are suffering with constant confinement and with brain labor. They should attend Convocation Meetings. They need to throw off care, share the hospitality of their brethren, enjoy their society and the blessings of the meetings. They will thus receive fresh thoughts, and their wearied energies will be awakened to new life, and they will return to the work far better qualified to perform their part, for they better understand the wants of the cause.
Brethren abroad, are you asleep to this matter? Must your hearts be made faint by another of God's workmen, whom you love, falling. These men are the property of the church. Will you suffer them to die under the burdens? I appeal to you to advise a different order of things. I pray that God may never allow the bitter experience to come to any one of the brethren in the Office that has come upon us. Especially do I commend Bro. Smith to your care. Shall he die for want of air,--the vitalizing air of heaven. The course he is pursuing is really shortening his life. Through confinement in-doors his blood is becoming foul and sluggish, the liver is deranged, the action of the heart is not right. Unless he works a change for himself, nature will take the work into her hands. She will make a grand attempt to relieve the system by expelling the impurities from the blood. She will summon all the vital powers to work, and the whole organism will be deranged, and all this may end in paralysis or apoplexy. If he should ever recover from this crisis, his loss of time is great; but the probabilities of recovery are very small.
If Bro. Smith cannot be aroused, I advise you, brethren, who have an interest in the cause of present truth, to take him as Luther was taken by his friends, and carry him away from his work.
Since writing the above I learn that most of Thoughts on the Revelation was written in the night, after his day's work was done. This was the course which my husband pursued; I protest against such suicide. The brethren whom I have mentioned, who are so confined in the Office, in attending meetings and taking periods of recreation are serving the cause of God. They are preserving themselves in the best conditions of physical health and mental strength to devote themselves to the work. They should not be left to feel crippled because they are not earning wages. Their wages should go on, and they be free. They are doing a great work.
THE REFORM DRESS.
IN answer to letters of inquiry from many sisters relative to the proper length of the dress, I would say, that we have in our part of the State of Michigan adopted the uniform length of about nine inches from the floor. I take this opportunity to answer these inquiries in order to save the time in answering many letters.
I should have spoken before, but have waited to see something definite on this point in the Health Reformer. I would earnestly recommend uniformity in length, and would say that nine inches as nearly accords with my views of the matter as I am able to express in inches.
As I travel from place to place, I do not find the Reform Dress rightly represented, and am made to feel the necessity of something more definite being said, that there may be uniform action in this matter. This style of dress is unpopular, and for this reason neatness and taste should be used by those who adopt it. I have once spoken upon this point, yet some fail to follow the advice given. There should be uniformity as to the length of the Reform Dress among Sabbath-keepers.
Those who make themselves peculiar by adopting this dress should not think for a moment that it is unnecessary to show order, taste and neatness. Our sisters, before putting on the Reform Dress, should obtain patterns of the pants and sack worn with the dress. It is a great injury to the Dress Reform to have persons introduce into a community a style which in every particular needs reforming before it can rightly represent the Reform Dress. Wait, sisters, till you can put on the dress right.
In some places there exists great opposition to the short dress. But when I see some dresses worn by the sisters I do not wonder that people are disgusted, and condemn the dress. Where the dress is represented as it should be, all candid people are constrained to admit that it is modest and convenient. In some churches I have seen all kinds of reform dresses, and yet not one answering the description presented before me. Some appear with white muslin pants, white sleeves, dark delaine dress and a sleeveless sack of the same description as the dress. Some appear with a calico dress and pants cut after their own fashioning, not after "the pattern," without starch, or stiffening to give them form, and they cling close to the limbs. There is certainly nothing in these dresses manifesting taste or order. Such a dress would not recommend itself to the good judgment of sensible-minded people. In every sense of the word it is a deformed dress.
Sisters who have opposing husbands have asked my advice in regard to their adopting the short dress, while their husbands would not consent to their doing so. I advise them to wait. I do not consider the dress question of such vital importance as the Sabbath. Here there is no hesitation admitted. The opposition which they might receive would be more injurious to health than the dress would be beneficial. Several of these sisters have said to me, "My husband likes your dress; he says he has not one word of fault to find with it." This has led me to see the necessity of our sisters representing the Dress Reform aright, by manifesting neatness, order, and uniformity in dress.
I shall have patterns prepared to take with me as we travel, ready to hand to our sisters whom we shall meet, or to send by mail, to all who may order them. Our address will be given in the Review.
Those who adopt the short dress, should also manifest taste in the selection of colors. Those who are unable to buy new cloth, must do the best they can in exercising a little more taste and ingenuity in fixing over old garments, making them new again. Be particular to have the pants and dress of the same color and material, or you will appear fantastic. Old garments may be cut after a correct pattern, and arranged tastefully, and appear like new again. I beg of you, sisters, not to form your patterns after your own particular ideas. There are correct patterns and good tastes. There are also incorrect patterns and bad tastes.
This dress does not require hoops, and I hope it will never be disgraced by them. Our sisters need not be under the necessity of wearing many skirts to distend the dress. They appear much more becoming, falling about the form naturally, over one or two light skirts. Moreen is excellent material for outside skirts; it retains its stiffness, and is durable. If anything is worn in skirts, let it be very small. Quilts are unnecessary. Yet I frequently see them worn, and sometimes hanging a trifle below the dress. This gives the dress an immodest, untidy appearance. White skirts, worn with dark dresses, do not become the short dress. Be particular to have your skirts cleanly, neat and nice, made of good material, and in all cases let them be at least three inches shorter than the dress. If anything is worn to distend the skirt let it be small, and at least one quarter or one half a yard from the bottom of the dress or out-side skirt. If a cord, or anything answering the place of cords, is placed directly around the bottom of the skirt, it distends the dress merely at the bottom, where it should not be, and throws out the dress, making it appear very unbecoming when sitting or stooping.
As we travel from place to place none need fear that I shall make Dress Reform one of my principal subjects. Those who have heard me upon this matter will have to act upon the light that has already been given. I have done my duty; I have borne my testimony, and those who have heard me and read that which I have written, must now bear the responsibility of receiving or rejecting the light given. If they choose to venture to be forgetful hearers, and not doers of the work, they run their own risk, and will be accountable to God for the course they pursue. I am clear. I shall urge none, condemn none. This is not the work assigned me. God knows who his humble, willing, obedient children are, and will reward them according to their faithful performance of his will. To many the Dress Reform is too simple and humbling to be adopted. The cross they cannot lift. God works by simple means to separate and distinguish his children from the world. Some have so departed from the simplicity of the work and ways of God that they are above the work, not in it.
I was referred to Num. xv, 38-41. "Speak unto the children of Israel, and bid them that they make them fringes in the borders of their garments throughout their generations, and that they put upon the fringe of the borders a ribbon of blue: And it shall be unto you for a fringe, that ye may look upon it, and remember all the commandments of the Lord, and do them; and that ye seek not after your own heart and your own eyes, after which ye use to go a whoring: That ye may remember and do all my commandments, and be holy unto your God. I am the Lord your God, which brought you out of the land of Egypt, to be your God: I am the Lord your God." Here God expressly commanded a very simple arrangement of dress for the children of Israel for the purpose of distinguishing them from the idolatrous nations around them. As they looked upon their singularity of dress from the world, they were to remember that they were God's commandment-keeping people, and that he had wrought in a miraculous manner to bring them from Egyptian bondage to serve him, to be a holy people unto God, not to serve their own desires, or observe and do according to the idolatrous nations around them, but to remain a distinct, separate people, that all who looked upon them might say, These are they whom God brought out of the land of Egypt, who keep the law of ten commandments. An Israelite was known to be such as soon as seen, for God through simple means distinguished him as his.
The order given by God to the children of Israel to place a ribbon of blue in their garments did not have any direct influence on their health, only as God would bless them by obedience, and the ribbon would keep in their memory the high claims Jehovah had upon them, and prevent their mingling with the nations, eating swine's flesh and luxurious food detrimental to health, and uniting in their drunken feasts.
The Reform Dress God would have his people now adopt, not only to distinguish them from the world as his "peculiar people," but a reform in dress is essential to physical and mental health. God's people have lost their peculiarity to a great extent, and have been gradually patterning after, and mingling with, the world, until they are like them in many respects. This is displeasing to God. He directs them as he did the children of Israel anciently, to come out from the world and forsake their idolatrous practices, and to not follow their own hearts (for their hearts are unsanctified), or their own eyes, which have led to a departure from God and a uniting with the world.
Something must arise to lessen the hold of God's people upon the world. The Dress Reform is simple and healthful, yet there is a cross in it. I thank God for the cross. I cheerfully bow to lift it. We have been so united with the world, we have lost sight of the cross, and do not suffer for Christ's sake.
We do not wish to get up something to make a cross, but if God presents to us a cross- we should cheerfully bear it. In the acceptance of the cross, we are distinguished from the world. The world love us not, and ridicule our peculiarity. Christ was hated of the world, because he was not one of the world. Can the followers of Christ expect to fare better than their Master? If they pass along without receiving censure, or frowns from the world, they may be alarmed, for it is their conformity to the world which makes them so much like them; they have nothing to arouse their envy or malice. There is no collison of spirits. The world despise the cross, "For the preaching of the cross is to them that perish foolishness; but unto us which are saved it is the power of God." 1 Cor. i, 18. "But God forbid that I should glory, save in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom the world is crucified unto me, and I unto the world." Gal. vi, 14.
SURMISINGS ABOUT BATTLE CREEK.
IN 1865 I saw that some have felt at liberty through envious feelings to speak lightly of Battle Creek. Some look suspiciously on all that is going on there, and seem to exult if they can get hold of any thing to take advantage of that comes from Battle Creek. But God is displeased with such a spirit, such a course of action. From what source do churches abroad obtain their light and knowledge of the truth? It has been from the means which God has ordained, which center at Battle Creek. Who have the burdens of the cause? It is those who are zealously laboring at Battle Creek, and while churches that are scattered abroad are relieved from the burdens and heavy trials which necessarily come upon those who stand in the forefront of the hottest battle, and while these are excused from perplexities and wearing thoughts attendant upon those who engage in making highly-important decisions in connection with the work to be accomplished for the remnant people of God, they should feel thankful, and praise God that they are thus favored, and should be the last to be jealous, envious, and fault-finding, occupying a position,--"Report, and we will report it."
At Battle Creek they have borne the burdens of the conferences, which have been upon many, or nearly all of the church, a severe tax. Many in consequence of the extra labors borne have brought upon themselves debility, which has lasted for many months. They have borne the burden cheerfully, but have felt saddened and disheartened by the heartless indifference of some, and the cruel jealousy of others, after they have returned to the several churches from whence they came. Speeches are thoughtlessly made,--by some designedly, by others carelessly,--concerning the burden-bearers there, and concerning those who stand at the head of the work. God has marked all these speeches, all these jealousies, all these envious feelings, and a faithful record of it is kept. Men and women thank God for the truth, and then turn around and question and find fault with the very means Heaven has ordained to make them what they are, or what they ought to be. How much more pleasing to God for them to act the part of Aaron and Hur, and help hold up the hands of those who are bearing the great and heavy burdens of the work in connection with the cause of God. Murmurers and complainers should remain at home, where they will be out of the way of temptation, where they cannot find food for their jealousies, evil-surmisings and fault-findings; for the presence of such is only a burden to the meetings, clouds without water.
All who feel at liberty to censure and find fault with those whom God has chosen to act an important part in this last great work, had better be converted and obtain the mind of Christ. Let them remember those of the children of Israel who were ready to find fault with Moses, whom God had ordained to lead his people to Canaan, and to murmur against even God himself. They should remember that all these murmurers fell in the wilderness. It is so easy to rebel, so easy to give battle before considering matters rationally, calmly, and settling whether there is anything to war against. The children of Israel are our example upon whom the ends of the world are come.
In regard to Battle Creek, it is easier with many to question and find fault than to tell what should be done. This responsibility some would even venture to take, but they would soon find themselves deficient in experience, for they would run the work into the ground. If these talkers and fault-finders would themselves become burden-bearers, and pray for the laborers, they would be blessed themselves and bless others with their godly example, with their holy influence and lives. It is easier for many to talk than to pray, and such lack spirituality and holiness, and their influence is an injury to the cause of God. Instead of feeling that the work at Battle Creek is their work, that they have an interest in its prosperity, they stand aside more as spectators, to question and find fault. Those who do this are the very ones who lack experience in this work, and who have suffered but little for the truth's sake.
THOSE Sabbath-keeping brethren who shift the responsibility of their stewardship into the hands of their wives, while they are capable of managing the same themselves, are unwise, and in the transfer displease God. The stewardship of the husband cannot be transferred to the wife. Yet this is sometimes done to the great injury of both. Believing husbands have sometimes transferred their property to their unbelieving companions, hoping thereby to gratify them, disarm their opposition, and finally induce them to believe the truth. But this is no more nor less than hiring peace, or hiring them to believe the truth with the means God has lent them to advance his cause. This transfer is to one who has no sympathy for the truth, and what account will such render when the Great Master requires his own with usury?
Believing parents have frequently transferred their property to their unbelieving children, thus putting it out of their power to render to God the things that are his. By so doing, they lay off that responsibility which God has laid upon them, and place in the enemy's ranks means which God has entrusted to them to be returned to him by being invested in his cause when he shall require it of them. It is not in God's order that parents, who are capable of managing their own business, should give up the control of their property, even to children who are of the same faith. They seldom possess the devotion to the cause they should, and they have not been schooled in adversity and affliction, so as to place a high estimate upon the eternal treasure, and less upon the earthly. The means placed in the hands of such is the greatest evil. It is a temptation to them to place their affections upon the earthly, and trust to property, and feel that they need but little besides. Means coming into their possession which they have not acquired by their own exertion, they seldom use wisely.
The husband who transfers his property to his wife, opens for her a wide door of temptation, if she be a believer or unbeliever. If a believer, and her peculiar traits of character are penurious, rather inclined to selfishness and acquisitiveness, how much harder will be the battle for her with her husband's stewardship and her own to manage. In order for her to be saved, she must overcome all these peculiar, evil traits, and imitate the character of her divine Lord, seeking opportunity to do others good, loving others as Christ has loved us. She should cultivate the precious gift of love, possessed so largely by our Saviour. His life was characterized by noble, disinterested benevolence. His whole life was not marred by one selfish act.
Whatever the motives of the husband, he has placed a terrible stumbling-block in his wife's way, to hinder her in the work of overcoming. And if the transfer be made to the children, the same evil results may follow. His motives God reads. If he were selfish, that his means might be retained, and he has made the transfer as a covert to conceal his covetousness, and excuse himself from doing anything to advance the cause, the curse of Heaven will surely follow. God reads the purposes and intents of the heart. He tries the motives of the children of men. His signal, visible displeasure, may not be manifested as in the case of Ananias and Sapphira, yet their punishment in the end will in no case be lighter than that which was inflicted upon them. In their trying to deceive men, it was deceiving and lying to God. "The soul that sinneth it shall die." Such can no better stand the test of the judgment, than the man to whom was committed the one talent who hid it in the earth. When God called him to account, he accused him of injustice. "I know thee that thou art an hard man, reaping where thou hast not sown, and gathering where thou hast not strewed; and I was afraid, and went and hid thy talent in the earth [where the cause of God could not be benefited with it]; lo, there thou hast that is thine." Saith God, "Take therefore the talent from him, and give to him that hath ten talents, and cast ye the unprofitable servant into outer darkness; there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth." This man was afraid that his lord would be benefited with the improvement of his talent.
I saw that there were many who have wrapped their talent in a napkin and hid it in the earth. They seem to think that every penny that is invested in the cause of God is lost, beyond redemption to them. To those who feel thus, it is even so. They will receive no reward. They give grudgingly, only because they feel necessitated to do something. God loveth the cheerful giver. Those who flatter themselves that they can shift their responsibility upon wife or children, are deceived by the enemy. Such a transfer will not lessen their responsibility. They are accountable for the means Heaven has entrusted to their care, and in no way can they excuse themselves of this responsibity, until they are released by their rendering back to God that which he has committed to them.
The love of the world separates from God. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him. It is impossible for any one to discern the truth while the world has their affections. The world comes between them and God, beclouding the vision, and benumbing the sensibilities to that degree that it is impossible for them to discern sacred things. God calls upon such: "Cleanse your hands, ye sinners, and purify your hearts, ye double minded. Be afflicted and mourn. Let your laughter be turned to mourning and your joy to heaviness." Those who have stained their hands with the pollution of the world, are required to cleanse themselves from its stains. Those who think they can serve the world and yet love God, are double minded. But they cannot serve God and mammon. They are men of two minds, loving the world and losing all sense of their obligation to God, and yet professing to be Christ's followers. They are neither one thing nor the other. They will lose both worlds unless they cleanse their hands and purify their hearts through the pure principles of truth. "He that saith he abideth in him, ought himself also to walk even as he walked. Herein is our love made perfect, that we may have boldness in the day of judgment; because as he is, so are we in this world." "Whereby are given unto us exceeding great and precious promises; that by these ye might be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust."
It is worldly lust that is destroying true godliness. Love of the world, and the things that are in the world, is separating from the Father. The passion for earthly gain is increasing among those who profess to be looking for the soon appearing of our Saviour. The lust of the flesh, the lust of the eye, and the pride of life, control even professed Christians. They are seeking for the things of the world with avaricious lust, and many will sell eternal life for unholy gain.
PROPER OBSERVANCE OF THE SABBATH.
Dec. 25, 1865, I was shown in regard to the observance of the Sabbath, that there has been too much slackness. There has not been promptness to fulfill the secular duties within the six working days which God has given to man, and a carefulness not to infringe upon one hour of the holy, sacred time, God has reserved to himself. I saw that there was no business of man's that should be considered of sufficient importance to cause him to transgress the fourth precept of Jehovah. There are cases that Christ has given us where we may labor even on the Sabbath in saving the life of man or of animals. But for our own advantage, in a pecuniary point of view, to violate the letter of the fourth commandment, we are Sabbath-breakers, and become guilty of transgressing the whole of the commandments; for if we offend in one point, we are guilty of all. If in order to save property we break over the express command of Jehovah, where is the stopping-place? where set the bounds? Transgress in a small matter, and look upon such things as a matter of no particular sin on our part, and the conscience becomes hardened, the sensibilities blunted, and we can go still further, until labor to quite an extent may be performed, and we still flatter ourselves that we are Sabbath-keepers, when according to Christ's standard we are breaking every one of God's holy precepts. There is a fault with Sabbath-keepers in this respect. But God is very particular, and all who think that they are saving a little time, or advantaging themselves by infringing a little on the Lord's time, will meet with loss sooner or later. God cannot bless them as it would be his pleasure to do, for his name is dishonored by them, his precepts lightly esteemed, and instead of obtaining gain, God's curse will rest upon them, and they will lose ten or twenty fold more than they gain. "Will a man rob God? yet ye have robbed me, this whole nation."
God has given man six days in which he may work for himself, and he has reserved to himself one day in which he is to be specially honored. He is to be glorified, his authority respected. And yet man will steal a little of the time God has reserved for himself, and thus rob God. God reserved the seventh-day as a period of rest for man, for the good of man as well as for his own glory. He saw that the wants of man required a day of rest from toil and care, that his health and life would be endangered without a period of relaxation from the care and taxation upon him through the labor and anxiety of the six days.
The Sabbath was made for man, for the benefit of man; and to knowingly transgress the holy commandment forbidding labor upon the seventh-day is a crime in the sight of Heaven which was of such magnitude under the Mosaic law as to require the death of the offender. But this was not all that the offender was to suffer, for God would not take a transgressor of his law to Heaven. He must suffer the second death, which is the full and final penalty for the transgressor of the law of God.
IN Rochester, N. Y., Dec. 25, 1865, I was shown many things concerning the people of God in connection with the work of God for these last days. I saw that many professed Sabbath-keepers would come short of everlasting life. They fail to take warning from the course pursued by the children of Israel, and fall into some of their evil ways, which if continued in, they will fall like them, and never enter the heavenly Canaan. "Now all these things happened unto them for ensamples, and are written for our admonition, upon whom the ends of the world are come."
Many, I saw, would fall this side of the kingdom. God is testing and proving his people, and many will not endure the test of character, the measurement of God.
I saw that many would have close work to overcome their peculiar traits of character, and be without spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing, unrebukable before God and man. Many professed Sabbath-keepers will be no special benefit to the cause of God or the church, without a thorough reformation on their part. Many Sabbath-keepers are not right before God in their political views. They are not in harmony with God's word, and are not in union with the body of Sabbath-keeping believers. Their views do not accord with the principles of our faith. Light has been given sufficient to correct all who wish to be corrected. All who still retain their erroneous political principles, which are not in accordance with the spirit of truth, are living in violation of the principles of Heaven. Therefore as long as they thus remain, they cannot possess the spirit of freedom and holiness.
Their principles and positions in political matters are a great hindrance to their spiritual advancement. They are a constant snare to them, and a reproach to our faith; and if they retain these principles they will eventually be brought into just the position the enemy would be glad to have them in, where they will finally be separated from Sabbath-keeping Christians. These brethen cannot receive the approval of Heaven while they lack sympathy for the oppressed colored race, and are at variance with the pure, republican principles of our government. Heaven has no sympathy with rebellion upon earth any more than with the rebellion in Heaven, when the great rebel questioned the foundation of God's government in Heaven. He was thrust out, with all who sympathized with him in his rebellion.
IN the view given me in Rochester, N. Y., Dec. 25, 1865, I was shown that the subject of usury should engage the attention of Sabbath-keepers. Wealthy men have no right to take interest from their poor brethren, but from unbelievers they may exact usury. "And if thy brother be waxen poor, and fallen in decay with thee, then thou shalt relieve him. Take thou no usury of him, or increase; but fear thy God; that thy brother may live with thee. Thou shalt not give him thy money upon usury, nor lend him thy victuals for increase. Thou shalt not lend upon usury to thy brother, usury of money, usury of victuals, usury of anything that is lent upon usury. Unto a stranger thou mayst lend upon usury, but unto thy brother thou shalt not lend upon usury, that the Lord thy God may bless thee in all that thou settest thine hand to, in the land whither thou goest to possess it."
God has been displeased with Sabbath-keepers for their avaricious spirit. Their desire to get gain is so strong upon them that they have taken advantage of their poor, unfortunate brethren in their distress, and have added to their already-abundant means, when their poorer brethren have been distressed and necessitated for the same means. Am I my brother's keeper? is the language of their hearts.
A few years since some of the poorer brethren were in danger of losing their souls through wrong impressions. Everywhere Satan was tempting the poorer brethren in regard to the wealthy. These poor were looking to be favored, and expecting it, when it was their duty to rely upon their own energies; and had they been favored, it would have been the worst thing that could have been done for them. All through the ranks of Sabbath-keepers Satan opened the door of temptation to some among the poorer class that he might overthrow them. Some have lacked judgment and wisdom in their poverty; have taken their own course; have not been willing to ask advice, or to follow advice, and have had to suffer through the result of their miserable calculation; and yet these same ones would feel that they should be advantaged by their brethren who have property. These things needed to be corrected. The first-mentioned class did not realize the responsibilities resting upon the wealthy, nor the perplexity and cares they were compelled to have because of their means. All they could see was that they had means to handle while they themselves were cramped for the same. But the wealthy have, as a general thing, regarded all the poor in the same light, when there is a class of poor who are doing the best in their power to glorify God, to do good, to live for the truth; and such were of solid worth. Their judgment was good, their spirit precious in the sight of God; and the amount of good that they accomplished in their unpretending way, was ten-fold greater than that accomplished by the wealthy, although they might give large sums on certain occasions. The rich fail to see and realize the necessity of doing good, of being rich in good works, ready to distribute, willing to communicate.
DECEITFULNESS OF RICHES.
MEN and women professing to believe the truth do not all have discernment. They fail to appreciate moral worth. They who boast much of their fidelity to the cause, and talk as though they believe that they know all that is worth knowing, are not humble in heart. They may have money and property, which is sufficient to give them influence with some, but will not raise them one jot into favor with God. Money has power. Money sways a mighty influence. Excellence of character and moral worth are overlooked, if possessed by the poor man. Does God care for money? for property? The cattle upon a thousand hills are his. The world and all that is therein are his. The inhabitants of the earth are as grasshoppers before him. Men and property are but as the small dust of the balance. He is no respecter of persons. Yet men of property have frequently looked upon their wealth and said, By my wisdom have I gotten me this wealth. Who gave them power to get wealth? He, who gave them strength to get wealth, which, when they have gotten, instead of giving Him the glory take the glory to themselves, will prove them and try them, and will bring their glorying to the dust, and will remove their strength and scatter their possessions. Instead of a blessing, they will realize a curse. No act of wrong, of oppression, of deviation from the right way, should be for a moment tolerated any sooner in a man who possesses property than in a poor man who has none. All the wealth and riches that the most wealthy ever possessed will not be of sufficient value to cover the smallest sin before God, or be accepted as a ransom for their transgressions. Repentance, true humility, a broken heart and a contrite spirit, alone will be accepted of God. No man can have true humility before God unless the same is exemplified before others. Repentance, confession, and forsaking, alone are acceptable to God.
Men who have riches have, many of them, obtained them by close deal, by advantaging themselves, and disadvantaging their poorer fellowmen, or their brethren; and these very men glory in their shrewdness, in their keenness in a bargain.
Every dollar thus obtained, and the increase of it on their hands, will have attached to it the curse of God to that degree and weight according to the value and increase of the money thus obtained.
As these things were shown me, I could see the force of our Saviour's words, "It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle, than for a rich man to enter into the kingdom of God." Those who possess the ability of acquiring property, unless constantly on the watch, will turn their acquisitiveness to bad account, fall into temptation, overreach, not maintin strict honesty, receive more for a thing than it is worth, and sacrifice the generous, benevolent, noble principles of their manhood for sordid gain. I was shown many men who profess to be Sabbath-keepers, who so love the world and the things that are in the world, that they have been corrupted by the spirit and influence of the world; the divine has dropped out of their characters, the satanic creeping in, transforming them to serve the purposes of Satan, to be instruments of unrighteousness. Then in contrast with these men were shown me the industrious, honest, poor men, who will stand ready to help those who need help, who would rather suffer themselves to be disadvantaged by their wealthy brethren than to manifest so close and acquisitive a spirit as they manifest; men, who will esteem a clear conscience, and right, even in little things, of greater value than riches. They are so ready to help others, so willing to do all the good in their power, that they do not accumulate; their earthly possessions do not increase. If there is a benevolent object to call forth means or labor, they are the first to be interested in and respond to it, and will frequently do far beyond their real ability, and thus deny themselves some needed good, to carry out their benevolent purposes. Although these men can boast of but little earthly treasure, and for this reason may be looked upon as deficient in ability, judgment, and wisdom, their influence not esteemed by men, and they counted of no special worth, yet how does God regard those poor, wise men? They are, I saw, regarded precious in his sight, and although not increasing their treasure upon earth, yet are laying up for themselves a treasure in the heavens, incorruptible, and in doing this manifest a wisdom as far superior to the wise, calculating, acquisitive, professed Christian, as the divine and godlike is superior to the earthly, carnal, and satanic. It is moral worth that God values. A Christian character unblotted with avarice, possessing quietness, meekness and humility, is more precious in the sight of God than the most fine gold, even the golden wedge of Ophir.
Wealthy men are to be tested more closely than they have ever yet been. If they stand the test and overcome the blemishes upon their character, and as faithful stewards of Jesus Christ render to God the things that are God's, to them it will be said, "Well done, good and faithful servant; thou hast been faithful over a few things, I will make thee ruler over many things; enter thou into the joy of thy Lord."
I was then directed to the parable of the unjust steward. "And I say unto you, make to yourselves friends of the mammon of unrighteousness, that when ye fail, they may receive you into everlasting habitations." "He that is faithful in that which is least, is faithful also in much; and he that is unjust in the least, is unjust also in much. If therefore ye have not been faithful in the unrighteous mammon, who will commit to your trust the true riches? And if ye have not been faithful in that which is another man's, who shall give you that which is your own?"
If men fail to render to God that which he has lent them to use to his glory, and thus rob God, they will make an entire failure. God has lent them means which they can improve upon, and be constantly laying up treasure in heaven, by losing no opportunity of doing good with their means. But if like the man who had one talent, they hide it, fearing that God will get that which their talent gains, they will not only lose the increase which will finally be awarded the faithful steward, but also the principal which God gave them to work upon. They will not have laid up treasure in Heaven, because they have robbed God, and they lose their earthly treasure also. No habitation on earth, and no friend in Heaven to receive them into the everlasting habitation of the righteous.
Christ declares that no servant can serve two masters, for either he will hate the one and love the other, or else he will hold to the one and despise the other. Ye cannot serve God and mammon--cannot serve God and your riches too. "The Pharisees also who were covetous, heard all these things, and they derided him." Mark the words of Christ to them: "Ye are they who justify yourselves before men; but God knoweth your hearts; for that which is highly esteemed among men [which is riches, acquired by oppression, by deception, by overreaching, by fraud, or in any dishonest manner,] is abomination in the sight of God." Then Christ presents the two characters, the rich man who was clothed with purple and fine linen, and who fared sumptuously every day, and Lazarus, who was in abject poverty, and loathsome to the sight; and who begged the few crumbs which the rich man despised. Then our Saviour shows his estimate of the two. Lazarus, although in so deplorable and mean a condition, had true faith, true moral worth, which God sees, and which he considers of so great value that he takes this poor, despised sufferer, and places him in the most exalted position, while the honored and wealthy ease-loving rich man is thrust out from the presence of God, and is plunged into misery and woe unutterable. God did not value the riches of this wealthy man, because he had not true moral worth. His character was worthless--his riches did not recommend him to God, nor have any influence to draw to himself the favor of God.
In this parable Christ would have his disciples shun the course pursued by the Pharisees, of judging or valuing men by their wealth, or by the honors they received of men; for while they might possess both riches and worldly honor they were valueless in the sight of God; and more than this, were despised and rejected of him,--cast out from his sight as disgusting to him because there was no moral worth or soundness in them. They were corrupt, sinful and abominable in his sight. The poor man, despised of his fellow mortals, and disgusting to their sight, was valuable in the sight of God because he possessed moral soundness and worth, thus qualifying him to be introduced into the society of refined, holy angels, and to be an heir of God and joint-heir with Jesus Christ.
In Paul's charge to Timothy he warns him of a class who will not consent to wholesome words, but who place a wrong estimate on riches. He says, "If any man teach otherwise, and consent not to wholesome words, even the words of our Lord Jesus Christ, and to the doctrine which is according to godliness; he is proud, knowing nothing, but doting about questions and strifes of words, whereof cometh envy, strife, railings, evil surmisings, perverse disputings of men of corrupt minds, and destitute of the truth, supposing that gain is godliness: from such withdraw thyself. But godliness with contentment is great gain. For we brought nothing into this world, and it is certain we can carry nothing out. And having food and raiment, let us be therewith content. But they that will be rich fall into temptation and a snare, and into many foolish and hurtful lusts, which drown men in destruction and perdition. For the love of money is the root of all evil: which while some coveted after, they have erred from the faith, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows. But thou, O man of God, flee these things; and follow after righteousness, godliness, faith, love, patience, meekness. Fight the good fight of faith, lay hold on eternal life, whereunto thou art also called, and hast professed a good profession before many witnesses. Charge them that are rich in this world, that they be not highminded, nor trust in uncertain riches, but in the living God, who giveth us richly all things to enjoy; that they do good, that they be rich in good works, ready to distribute, willing to commucate; laying up in store for themselves a good foundation against the time to come, that they may lay hold on eternal life."
This important charge to Timothy is not carefully considered and heeded. How few heed the charge which Paul commissioned Timothy to make to the rich. Paul in his letter to Timothy would impress upon his mind the necessity of giving such instruction as shall remove the deception which so easily steals upon the rich, that because of their riches they are superior to those who are in poverty; and because of their ability to acquire, think themselves superior in wisdom and judgment--supposing that gain is godliness. Here is the fearful deception. They flatter themselves that their acquisitiveness is godliness. Paul though says, "Contentment with godliness is great gain."
I saw that although rich persons might devote their whole lives to the one object of getting riches, yet as they brought nothing into the world, they cannot carry anything out. They must die and leave that which cost them so much labor to obtain. They staked their all, their eternal interest, to obtain this property, and have lost both worlds. He then shows what risks men will run to become rich. They are determined to be rich; this is their study; and in their zeal eternal considerations are overlooked. In getting riches they are blinded by Satan, and make themselves believe it is for good purposes they desire this gain, and they strain their consciences, deceive themselves, and are constantly coveting riches and gain, and have erred from the faith, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows. They have sacrificed their noble, elevated principles, given up their faith for riches, and if they are not disappointed in their object, are disappointed in the happiness they supposed riches would bring. They are entangled, perplexed with care, are slaves themselves to their avarice, and compel their families to the same slavery, and the advantages they reap are "many sorrows." Charge them that are rich in this world that they be not highminded, nor trust in uncertain riches, but in the living God who richly giveth us all things to enjoy; not to hoard up and take no good of their riches, become slaves to retain that which they already possess, and to gain a little more, deprive themselves of the comforts of life to retain or increase their earthly treasure.
The apostle Paul shows the only true use for riches, and bids Timothy charge the rich to do good, that they be rich in good works, ready to distribute, willing to communicate; for in so doing they are laying up in store for themselves a good foundation against the time to come,--referring to the close of time,--that they may lay hold on eternal life. The teachings of Paul harmonize perfectly with the words of Christ, "Make to yourselves friends of the mammon of unrighteousness, that when ye fail they may receive you into everlasting habitations." Godliness with contentment is great gain. Here is the true secret of happiness, and real prosperity of soul and body.
[As the following, which was a personal message, is applicable to very many, I give it for the benefit of all.]
DEAR BRO. A--: I recollect your countenance among several others that were shown me in vision in Rochester, N. Y., Dec. 25, 1865. I was shown that you were upon the back-ground. Your judgment is convinced that we have the truth, but you have not as yet experienced the sanctifying influence of the truth. You have not followed closely the footsteps of our Redeemer, therefore are unprepared to walk even as he walked.
As you listen to the words of truth, your judgment says it is correct, it cannot be gainsayed; but immediately the unsanctified heart says, These are hard sayings, who can hear them? that you had better give up your efforts to keep pace with the people of God, for new and strange and trying things will be continually arising; you will have to stop sometime, and you may just as well stop now, and better than to go any further.
You cannot consent to profess the truth and not live it; you have ever admired a life consistent with profession. I was shown a book; your name was written in it with many others. Against your name was a black blot. You were looking upon this and saying, It can never be effaced. Jesus held his wounded hand above it and said, "My blood alone can efface it. If thou wilt from henceforth choose the path of humble obedience, and rely solely upon the merits of my blood to cover thy past transgressions I will blot out thy transgressions and cover thy sins. But if you choose the path of transgressors you must reap the transgressor's reward. The wages of sin is death."
I saw evil angels surrounding you, seeking to divert your mind from Christ, causing you to look at God as a God of justice, and losing sight of the love, compassion and mercy of a Saviour crucified, that would save to the uttermost all that come unto him. "If we sin (said the angel), we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous."
When under the pressure of mental anxieties, when you are hearkening to the suggestions of Satan, and murmuring and complaining, some ministering angel is commissioned to bear you the succour you need, and put to shame the language of your unbelieving mind. You distrust God; you disbelieve in his power to save to the uttermost. You dishonor God by this cruel unbelief, and cause yourself much needless suffering. I saw heavenly angels surrounding you, driving back the evil angels, and looking with sorrow and pity upon you, and pointing you to Heaven, the crown of immortality, saying, "He that would win must fight."
Although you have been in doubt and perplexity, you have not dared to venture to entirely sever the connecting link between you and God's commandment-keeping people. You have not yet yielded all for the truth's sake; you have not yet yielded yourself, your own will. You fear to lay yourself and all that you have upon the altar of God. You fear that you may be required of him to yield back to God some portion of that which he has lent you. Heavenly angels are well aware of our words and actions, and even of the thoughts and intents of the heart. You, dear brother, have too many fears that the truth would cost you too much, but this is one of Satan's suggestions. Let it take all that you possess, and it does not cost too much; the value received, if rightly estimated, is an eternal weight of glory. How small is that which is required of us. Little is the sacrifice that we can make in comparison with that which our divine Lord made for us. And yet a spirit of murmuring comes over you because of the cost of everlasting life. You have had severe conflicts (as well as others of your brethren at B--,) with the great adversary of souls. You have several times nearly yielded the conflict, but the influence of your wife and daughter has prevailed. These members of your family would obey the truth with their whole heart could they have your influence to sustain them.
Your daughters look to you for example. They think their father must be right. Their salvation depends much upon the course which you pursue. If you cease striving for everlasting life, you will carry your children to a great degree with you, will bow down the spirit of your faithful wife, crush her hopes, and lessen her hold on life. How can you in the judgment meet these to testify that your unfaithfulness proved their ruin.
Several times I saw that you had yielded to the suggestions of Satan to cease striving to live out the truth; for the tempter told you that you would fail with the best endeavors you might make, and with all your weakness and failings it was impossible for you to maintain a life of devotion and prayer. I was shown that your wife and eldest daughter have been your good angels, to grieve over you, to encourage you to resist in a measure the powerful suggestions of Satan; and through your love to them you have been induced to again try to fix your trembling faith upon the promises of God. Satan is waiting to overthrow you that he may exult over your downfall, and those who are trampling under foot the law of God you strengthen in their rebellion. It is impossible for you to be strong until you take a decided stand for the truth.
Systematic Benevolence looks to you as needless; you overlook the fact that it originated with God, whose wisdom and judgment is unerring. This plan he ordained to save confusion, to correct covetousness, avariciousness of spirit, selfishness and idolatry. This system was to cause the burden to rest lightly, yet with due weight upon all. The salvation of man cost a dear price, and God has so ordained that man should aid his fellow-man in the great work of redemption. If he excuses himself from this, he is unwilling to deny himself, that others may be partakers with him of the heavenly benefit, he proves himself unworthy of the life to come, unworthy of the heavenly treasure which cost so great a sacrifice, even the life of the Lord of glory, which he freely gave to lift man from degradation, and to exalt him to become heir of the world. Gods wants no unwilling offerings, no pressed sacrifice. Those who appreciate the work of God, those who are thoroughly converted, will give the little required of them cheerfully, and consider it a privilege to bestow.
Said the angel, Abstain from fleshly lusts which war against the soul. The Health Reform you have stumbled at. It looks to you to be a needless appendix to the truth. It is not so; it is a part of the truth. Here is a work before you which will come closer and be more trying than anything which has yet been brought to bear upon you. While you hesitate and stand back, failing to lay hold upon the blessing it is your privilege to experience, you suffer loss.
You are stumbling over the very blessing which Heaven has placed in your path designed to make your progress less difficult. The very things which will prove the greatest blessing to you, Satan determines to present before you in the most objectionable light, that you may combat that which would prove for your physical and spiritual health. Of all men you are one to be benefited with health reform. The truth received on every point in this matter of reform will be of the greatest advantage. You are a man that a spare diet will benefit. You were in danger of being stricken down in a moment by paralysis, and one half of you becoming dead. A denial of appetite is salvation to you, while you view it as a great privation. Why the youth of the present age are not more religiously inclined is because of the defect in their education. It is not true love which is exercised toward children to permit in them the indulgence of passion, or permit disobedience of your laws to go unpunished. "Just as the twig is bent the tree inclines."
A mother should ever have the co-operation of the father, in her efforts to lay the foundation for a good Christian character in her children. A doting father should not close his eyes to the faults of his children, because it is not pleasant to administer correction. You both need to arouse, and with firmness, not in a harsh manner, but with determined purpose, let your children know they must obey you.
A father must not be a child, moved merely by impluse. A father is bound to his family by sacred, holy ties. Every member of the family centers in the father. His name is "house-band," the true definition of husband. He is the law-maker, illustrating in his own manly bearing sterner virtues, energy, integrity, honesty, and practical usefulness. The father in one sense is the priest of the household, laying upon the altar of God the morning and evening sacrifice, the wife and children uniting in prayer and praise. With such a household Jesus will tarry, and through his quickening influence your joyful exclamations shall yet be heard, and amid higher and more lofty scenes, saying, "Behold I, and the children whom thou hast given me." Saved, saved, eternally saved! Escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust, and through the merits of Christ become heirs of immortality.
I saw that but few fathers realize the responsibility resting upon them. They have not learned to control themselves, and until this lesson is learned they will make poor work in governing their children. Perfect self-control will act as a charm upon the family. When this is attained, a great victory is gained. Then can they educate their children to self-control.
My heart yearns over the church at B--, for there is a work to be accomplished there. It is God's design to have a people in that place. There is material there for a good church, but there is considerable work to be done to remove the rough edges and prepare them for working order, that all may labor unitedly and draw in even cords. It has hitherto been the case, when one or two feel the necessity of arousing and standing unitedly and more firmly upon the elevated platform of truth, that a portion will not make efforts to arise. Satan puts in them a spirit to rebel, to discourage those who would advance. They brace themselves when urged to take hold of the work, and a stubborn spirit comes upon some, and when they should help, they hinder. Some will not submit to the planing-knife of God. As it passes over them, and the uneven surface is disturbed, they complain of too close and severe work. They wish to get out of God's work-shop, where their defects may remain undisturbed. They seem to be asleep as to their condition; but their only hope is to remain where the defects in their Christian character will be seen and remedied.
Some are indulging lustful appetite which wars against the soul, which is a constant drawback, a hindrance to their spiritual advancement. They bear an accusing conscience constantly, and are prepared, if straight truths are talked, to be hit. They feel condemned, and as though subjects had been purposely selected to hit their case. They feel grieved and injured, and withdraw themselves from the assemblies of the saints. They forsake the assembling of themselves together, for then their consciences are not so disturbed. They soon lose their interest in the meetings and their love for the truth, and, unless they entirely reform, will go back and take their position with the rebel host who stand under the black banner of Satan. If all these will crucify fleshly lusts which war against the soul, they will get out of the way, where the arrows of truth will pass harmlessly by them. While they indulge lustful appetite, cherish their idols, they make themselves a mark for the arrows of truth to hit, and if truth is spoken at all, they must be wounded. Satan tells some that they cannot reform, that health would be sacrificed should they make the attempt, and leave the use of tea, tobacco, and flesh-meats. This is the suggestion of Satan. It is these hurtful stimulants which are surely undermining the constitution and preparing the system for acute diseases, by impairing Nature's fine machinery, battering down her fortifications erected against disease and premature decay.
Those who make a change and leave off these unnatural stimulants, will for a time feel their loss and suffer considerably without them, as does the drunkard who is wedded to his liquor. Take away intoxicating drinks, and he feels terribly. But, if he persists, he will soon overcome the dreadful lack he suffers. Nature will again come to his aid and remain at her post until he again substitutes, in the place of Nature, the false prop. Some have so benumbed the fine sensibilities of Nature that it may require a little time for her to recover from the abuse she has been made to suffer through the wrong and sinful habits of man, through the indulgence of an acquired, depraved appetite, which has depressed and weakened her powers. Give Nature a chance and she will rally, and again perform her part nobly and well. The indulgence of these idols is destructive to health, and has a benumbing influence upon the brain, making it impossible to appreciate eternal things. They cannot rightly value the salvation Christ has wrought out for them by a life of self-denial, continual suffering, and reproach, and finally yielding his own sinless life to save perishing man from death.
I WAS shown that Sabbath-keeping Adventists should not engage in life insurance. This is a commerce with the world which God does not approve of. Those who engage in this enterprise are uniting with the world, while God calls his people to come out from among them and to be separate. Said the angel, "Christ has purchased you by the sacrifice of his life. What! know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost, which is in you, which ye have of God; and ye are not your own? For ye are bought with a price; therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God's. For ye are dead, and your life is hid with Christ in God; when Christ who is your life shall appear, then shall ye also appear with him in glory." Here is the only life insurance which can be engaged in which Heaven sanctions.
Life insurance is a worldly policy, which leads our brethren who engage in it to depart from the simplicity and purity of the gospel. Every such departure weakens our faith and lessens our spirituality. Said the angel, "But ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people: that ye should show forth the praises of Him who hath called you out of darkness into his marvelous light." As a people, we are in a special sense the Lord's. Christ has bought us. Angels that excel in strength surround us. Not a sparrow falls to the ground without the notice of our Heavenly Father. Even the hairs of our head are numbered. God has made provision for his people. He has a special care for them, and they should not distrust his providence by engaging in a policy with the world.
God designs that we should preserve in simplicity and holiness our peculiarity as a people. Those who engage in this worldly policy invest means which belongs to God, which he has entrusted to them to use in his cause, to advance his work. In life insurancy but few will realize any returns, and even these returns without God's blessing will prove an injury instead of a benefit. Those whom God has made his stewards have no right to place in the enemy's ranks that means which he has entrusted to them to use in his cause.
Satan is constantly presenting inducements to God's chosen people to attract their minds from the solemn work of preparation for the scenes just in the future. He is in every sense of the word a deceiver, a skillful charmer. He clothes his plans and snares with coverings of light borrowed from Heaven. He tempted Eve to eat of the forbidden fruit. He made her believe that she would be greatly advantaged by tasting of that fruit.
Satan leads his agents to engage in various inventions and patent rights, and different enterprises, that Sabbath-keeping Adventists, who are in haste to be rich, may fall into temptation, become ensnared and pierce themselves through with many sorrows. He is wide awake, busily engaged leading the world captive, and through the agencies of worldlings he keeps up a continual pleasing excitement to draw the unwary who profess to believe the truth to unite with worldlings. The lust of the eye, the desire for excitement and pleasing entertainment, is a temptation and snare to God's people. Satan has many finely-woven, dangerous nets, covered with apparent innocency, but with which he is skillfully preparing to infatuate God's people. There are pleasing shows, entertainments, phrenological lectures, and an endless variety of enterprises, constantly arising calculated to lead the people of God to love the world and the things that are in the world. Through this union with the world faith becomes weakened, and means are transferred to the enemy's ranks which should be invested in the cause of present truth. Through these different channels Satan is skillfully bleeding the purses of the people of God, and for it the displeasure of God is upon them.
ADVERTISE THE PUBLICATIONS.
I HAVE been shown that we were not doing our duty in the direction of gratuitous circulation of small publications. There are many honest souls who would be brought where they would embrace the truth by this means alone. Should there be on each copy of these small tracts an advertisement of our publications, and the place where they can be obtained, it would result in the circulation of the larger publications, and the Review, Instructor and Reformer.
These small tracts of four, eight, or sixteen pages, can be furnished for a trifle, from a fund raised by the donations of those who have the cause at heart. When you write to a friend you can enclose one or more without increasing postage. When in conversation with persons in the cars, on the boat, or in the stage, who seem to have an ear to hear, you can hand them out. They should not be promiscuously scattered at present like the autumn leaves, but judiciously and freely handed to those who would be likely to prize them. This will be advertising our publications, and the Publishing Association, in a manner that will result in much good.
THE people are perishing for want of knowledge. Says the apostle, "Add to your faith virtue, and to virtue knowledge," &c. To the faith of the gospel the first work is to seek to add virtuous and pure principles, and thus cleanse the mind and heart for the reception of true knowledge. Disease of almost every description is pressing upon the people, who seem to be willing to remain ignorant of the means of relief, and the course to pursue to avoid disease.
The great design of God in the Health Institute was that knowledge might be imparted, not only to the comparatively few who should attend it but that the many might be instructed as to home treatment. The Health Reformer is the medium for rays of light to shine out to the people. It should be the very best health journal in our country. It must be adapted to the wants of the common people, ready to answer all proper questions, and fully explain the first principles of the laws of life, and how to obey them and preserve health. The great object to be had in view by the publication of such a journal should be the good of the suffering people of God. The common people, especially those too poor to attend the Institute, must be reached, and instructed by the Health Reformer.
THE HEALTH REFORM.
IN the vision given me December 25, 1865, I saw that the Health Reform was a great enterprise, closely connected with the present truth, and that Seventh-day Adventists should have a home for the sick where they could be treated for their diseases, and also learn how to take care of themselves so as to prevent sickness. I saw that our people should not remain indifferent upon this subject, and leave the rich among us to go to the popular water-cure institutions of the country for the recovery of health, where they would find opposition to, rather than sympathy with, their
views of religious faith. Those reduced by disease, suffer not only for the want of physical, but also of mental and moral strength; and afflicted, conscientious Sabbath-keepers cannot receive the benefit at these institutions where they feel that they must be constantly guarded lest they compromise their faith, and dishonor their profession, as at an institution where its physicians and conductors are in sympathy with the truth connected with the third angel's message.
Those who have suffered greatly, and are relieved by an intelligent system of treatment consisting of baths, healthful diet, proper periods of rest and exercise, and the beneficial effects of pure air, are led to conclude that those who successfully treat them are right in matters of religious faith, or at least, cannot greatly err from the truth, and thus our people, if left to go to those institutions whose physicians are corrupt in religious faith, are in danger of being ensnared. The institution at Dansville, N. Y., I then saw (in 1865) was the best in the United States. So far as the treatment of the sick is concerned, they have been doing a great and good work; but they urge upon their patients dancing and card-playing, and recommend attendance at theaters and such places of worldly amusement, which is in direct opposition to the teachings of Christ and the apostles.
Those connected with the Health Institute now located at Battle Creek, should feel that they are engaged in an important and solemn work; and in no way should they pattern after the physicians at the institution at Dansville in matters of religion and amusements. Yet, I saw that there would be danger of imitating them in many things, and losing sight of the exalted character of this great work. And should those connected with this enterprise descend from the exalted principles of present truth, to imitate in theory and practice those at the head of institutions where the sick are treated only for the recovery of health, and should they cease to look at their work from a high religious stand-point, the especial blessing of God would not rest upon our institution any more than upon those where corrupt theories are taught and practiced.
I saw that a very extensive work could not be accomplished in a short time, as it would not be an easy matter to find physicians whom God could approve, who would work together harmoniously, disinterestedly and zealously, for the good of suffering mortals; keeping prominent that the great object to be attained through this channel is not only health, but perfection and the spirit of holiness, which cannot be attained to with diseased bodies and minds. This object cannot be obtained merely by working from the worldling's standpoint.
God will raise up men and qualify them to engage in the work, not only as physicians of the body, but of the sin-sick soul, who will be spiritual fathers to the young and inexperienced.
I was shown that the position of Dr. Jackson in regard to amusements was wrong, and that his views of physical exercise were not all correct. The very amusements he recommends hinder the recovery of health in many cases, where one is helped by them. And physical labor for the sick, is to a great degree condemned by Dr. Jackson, which proves in many cases the greatest injury, while such mental exercise as playing at cards, chess, and checkers, excites and wearies the brain, and hinders recovery. Light and pleasant physical labor will occupy the time, improve the circulation, relieve and restore the brain, and prove a decided benefit to the health. But take from the invalid all such employment, and he becomes restless, and, with a diseased imagination, views his case as much worse than it really is, which tends to imbecility.
For years past I have been shown from time to time that the sick should be taught that it was wrong to suspend all physical labor in order to regain health. In thus doing the will becomes dormant, the blood circulates through the system sluggishly, and grows more impure. Where there is danger of the patient's imagining his case worse than it really is, indolence will be sure to produce the most unhappy results. Well-regulated labor gives the invalid the idea that he is not totally useless in the world, that he is, at least, of some benefit. This will afford him satisfaction, give him courage, and impart to him vigor, which vain, mental amusements can never do.
The view that those persons who have abused both their physical and mental powers, or who have broken down in mind or in body, must, in order to regain health, suspend activity, is a great error. In a very few cases entire rest for a short period may be necessary, but these instances are very rare. In most cases the change would be too great. Those who have broken down by intense mental labor, should have rest from wearing thought, yet to teach them that it is wrong for them to exercise their mental powers to a degree, and even dangerous for them to do so, would be to increase their diseased imaginations of their condition, and lead them to view it as worse than it really is. Such become still more nervous, and a great trouble and annoyance to those who have the care of them. In this state of mind, their recovery is doubtful indeed.
Those who have broken down by physical exertion must have less labor, and that which is light and pleasant, and more rest. But to shut them away from all labor and exercise, would in many cases prove their ruin. The will goes with the labor of their hands, and those accustomed to labor would feel that they were only machines, to be acted upon by physicians and attendants, and the imagination would become diseased. Inactivity is the greatest curse that could come upon such. Their powers become so dormant that it is impossible for them to resist disease and languor, which they must do in order to regain health.
Dr. Jackson has made a great mistake in regard to exercise and amusements, and a still greater in his teachings of religious experience and religious excitement. The experimental religion of the Bible is not detrimental to health of body or mind. The exalting influence of the Spirit of God is the best restorative for the sick. Heaven is all health, and the more fully the heavenly influences are felt, the more sure the recovery of the believing invalid. The influence of these things has reached us as a people in some degree. Sabbath-keeping health reformers must be free from all these. Every true and real reform will bring us nearer to God and Heaven, closer to the side of Jesus, and increase our knowledge of spiritual things, and deepen in us the holiness of Christian experience.
That there are unbalanced minds that impose upon themselves fasting that the Scriptures do not teach, and prayers and privations of rest and sleep which God has never required, is true. This is why many such are not prospered and sustained in their voluntary acts of righteousness. They have a pharisaical religion which is not of Christ, but of themselves. These trust in their good works for salvation. They vainly think to earn Heaven by their meritorious works instead of relying, as every sinner should, upon the merits of a crucified, risen, and exalted Saviour. These are almost sure to become sickly. But Christ and true godliness are health to the body and strength to the soul.
Let invalids do something, instead of occupying their minds with a simple play, which lowers them in their own estimation, and leads them to think their lives useless. Keep the powers of the will awake, for the will aroused and rightly directed, is a mighty soother of the nerves. Invalids are far happier with employment, and their recovery is more easily effected.
I saw that the greatest curse that ever came upon my husband and sister Lay, was the instructions they received at Dansville, N. Y., in regard to remaining inactive in order to recover. The imaginations of both were diseased, and their inactivity resulted in the thought and feeling that it would be dangerous to health and life to exercise, especially if in doing so they became weary. The machinery of the system so seldom put in motion, lost its elasticity and strength, so that when they did exercise, their joints were stiff and their muscles were feeble; and every move required great effort, and of course caused pain. Yet this very weariness would have proved a blessing to them, had they, irrespective of feeling or unpleasant symptoms, persevered and resisted the disposition to follow their inclinations to inactivity.
I saw that it would be far better for sister Lay to be with her family by herself, and feel the responsibilities resting upon her. This would awaken into life her dormant energies. I was shown that the broken-up condition of this dear family while at Dansville was unfavorable to the education and training of their children. These children, for their own good, should be learning to take responsibilities in household labor, and feeling that some burdens in life rest upon them. The mother, engaged in the education and training of her children, is employed in the very work God has assigned to her, and for the sake of which he has in mercy heard the prayers offered for her recovery. She should shun wearing labor, but above all should she avoid a life of inactivity.
When the vision was given me at Rochester, N. Y., I saw that it would be far better for these parents and children to form a family by themselves. The children should each do a part of the family labor, and thus obtain a valuable education which could not be obtained in any other way. Life at Dansville, or in any other place, surrounded by waiters and helpers, was the greatest possible injury to mother and children.
Jesus speaks to sister Lay, to find rest in him; and to let her mind receive a healthy tone by dwelling upon heavenly things, and earnestly seeking to bring up her little flock in the nurture and admonition of the Lord. In this way can she best assist her husband, by relieving him of the feeling that she is the object of so much of his attention, care and sympathy.
As to the extent of the accommodations of the Health Reform Institute at Battle Creek, I was shown, as I have before stated, that we should have such an institution, small at its commencement, and cautiously increased, as good physicians and helpers could be procured, means raised, and the wants of invalids should demand; and all should be conducted in harmony, strictly in accordance with the principles and humble spirit of the third angel's message. And as I have seen the large calculations of some, hastily urged by those who have taken a leading part in the work, I have felt alarmed, and in many private conversations and in letters, I have warned these brethren to move cautiously. My reasons for this are, that without the especial blessing of God, there are several ways in which this enterprise might be hindered for a time at least, either of which would be detrimental to the institution, and an injury to the cause. Should the physicians fail, through sickness, death, or any other cause, to fill their places, the work would be hindered till others were raised up; or should means fail to come in when extensive buildings are in process of erection, and the work stop for want of means, capital would be sunk, and a general discouragement would come over all interested; also there might be a lack of patients to occupy present accommodations, consequently a lack of means to meet present expenses. With all the efforts in every department, put forth in a correct and judicious manner, with the blessing of God on all these efforts, the Institution will prove a glorious success, while a single failure in any one direction might sooner or later prove a great injury. It should not be forgotten that out of many hygienic institutions started in the United States, within the last twenty-five years, but few maintain even a visible existence at the present time.
I have publicly appealed to our brethren in behalf of an institution to be established among us, and have spoken in the highest terms of Dr. Lay, as the man who has in the providence of God obtained an experience to act a part in this work, as physician. This I have said upon the authority of what God has shown me. I would unhesitatingly repeat all that I have said, if necessary. I have not a feeling to draw back from one sentence that I have written or spoken. The work is of God, and must be prosecuted with a firm, yet cautious hand.
The Health Reform is closely connected with the work of the third message, yet it is not the message. Our preachers should teach the Health Reform, yet they should not make this the leading theme in the place of the message. Its place is among those subjects which set forth the preparatory work to meet the events brought to view by the message, among which it is prominent. We should take hold of every reform with zeal, yet should avoid giving the impression that we are vascillating, and subject to fanaticism. Our people should furnish means to meet the wants of a growing Health Institute among us, as they are able to do without giving less for the various wants of the cause, and let the Health Reform and the Health Institute grow up among us as other worthy enterprises have grown, taking into the account our feeble strength in the past, and our greater ability to do much in a short period of time now. In this respect let the Health Institute grow, as other interests among us have, as fast as it can safely and rest upon a sure basis, and not cripple other branches of the great work, of equal, or of greater importance at this time. For a brother to put a large share of his property, whether he has much or little, into the Institute, so as to be unable to do as much in other directions as he otherwise should, would be wrong. And for him to do nothing would be as great a wrong. With every stirring appeal to our people for means to put into the Institute, there should have been a caution not to rob other branches of the work; especially should the liberal poor have been cautioned. Some feeble, poor men with families, without a home of their own, and too poor to go to the Institute to be treated, have put from one-fifth to one-third of all they possess into the Institute. This is wrong. Some brethren and sisters have several shares who should not have one, and should for a short time attend the Institute, having their expenses paid, or partly paid, from the charity-fund. I do not see the providence of God in making great calculations for the future, and letting those suffer who need help now. Move no faster, brethren, than the unmistakable providence of God opens the way before you.
The Health Reform is a branch of the especial work of God, for the benefit of his people. I saw that in an Institution established among us, the greatest danger would be of its managers departing from the spirit of the present truth, and from that simplicity which should ever characterize the disciples of Christ. A warning was given me against lowering the standard of truth in any way in such an institution, in order to help the feelings of unbelievers, and thus be more sure of their patronage. The great object of receiving unbelievers into the institution is to lead them to embrace the truth. If the standard be lowered, they will get the impression that the truth is of little importance, and they will go away in a state of mind harder of access than before.
But the greatest evil resulting from such a course would be the influence it would have upon the poor, afflicted, believing patients, which would affect the cause generally. They have been taught to trust in the prayer of faith, and many of them are bowed down in spirit because the prayer of faith is not now more fully answered. I saw that the reason why God did not hear the prayers of his servants for the sick among us more fully was, that he could not be glorified in so doing while they were violating the laws of health. And that he designed the Health Reform and Health Institute to prepare the way for the prayer of faith to be fully answered, and thus faith and good works go hand in hand in relieving the afflicted among us, and in fitting them to glorify God here, and to be saved at the coming of Christ. God forbid that these afflicted ones should ever be disappointed and grieved in finding the managers of the Institute working only from a worldly standpoint, instead of adding to the hygienic practice the blessings and virtues of nursing fathers and nursing mothers in Israel.
But let no one obtain the idea that the Institute is the place for them to come and be raised up by the prayer of faith. That is the place to find relief from disease by treatment, and right habits of living, and to learn how to avoid sickness. But if there be one place under the heavens more than another where the soothing, sympathizing prayer should be offered, by men and women of devotion and faith, it is at such an Institute. Those who treat the sick should move forward in their important work with strong reliance upon God for his blessing to attend the means he has graciously provided, and to which he has in mercy called our attention as a people, such as pure air, cleanliness, healthful diet, proper periods of labor and repose, and the use of water. None of them should have a selfish interest outside of this important and solemn work. To care properly for the physical and spiritual interests of the afflicted people of God who have reposed almost unlimited confidence in them at great expense, will require their undivided attention. No one has so great a mind, or is so skillful, but that the work will be imperfect after they have done their very best. Let those to whom are committed the physical, and also to a great extent the spiritual interests of the afflicted people of God, beware how they, through worldly policy, or a desire to be engaged in a great and popular work, or personal interest, call down upon themselves and this branch of the work in which they are engaged, the frown of God. Neither should they depend upon their skill alone. If the blessing, instead of the frown of God, be upon the Institution, angels will attend patients, helpers, and physicians to assist in the work of restoration, so that in the end the glory will be given to God, instead of feeble, short-sighted man taking it to himself. Should these men work from a worldly policy, and should their hearts be lifted up, and they feel to say, "My power, and the might of my hand hath done this," God would leave them to work under the great disadvantages of their inferiority to other institutions in knowledge, experience and facilities. They could not then accomplish half as much as other institutions do.
I saw the beneficial influence of out-door labor upon those of feeble vitality and depressed circulation, especially upon females who have induced these conditions by too much confinement in-doors. Their blood has become impure and feeble for want of pure air and exercise. Instead of being held in-doors by amusements, there should be out-door attractions. I saw there should be connected with the Institute ample grounds, beautified with flowers, and planted with vegetables and fruits, where the feeble could find a proper amount of labor to do, appropriate to their sex and condition, at suitable hours. These grounds should be in the care of an experienced gardener, to direct all in a tasteful, orderly manner.
The relation I sustain to this work demands of me an unfettered expression of my views. I speak freely, and choose this medium to speak to all interested. What appeared in Testimony No. 11 concerning the Health Institute, should not have been given until I was able to write out all I had seen in regard to it. I did not design to say anything upon the subject in No. 11, and sent all the manuscript that I designed for that Testimony, from Ottawa Co., where I was then laboring, to the Office at Battle Creek, stating that I wished them to hasten out that little work, as it was much needed, and as soon as possible I would write No. 12, in which I designed to speak freely and fully concerning the Institute. The brethren at Battle Creek especially interested in the Institute, knew I had seen that our people should cast in of their means to establish such an institution. They therefore delayed the publication of No. 11 to write to me that the influence of my testimony in regard to the Institute was needed to immediately move the brethren upon the subject, and that No. 11 would wait till I could write. This was a great trial to me, as I knew I could not write out all I had seen, for I was then speaking to the people six or eight times a week, visiting from house to house, and writing hundreds of pages of personal testimonies and private letters. This amount of labor, with unnecessary burdens and trials thrown upon me, unfitted me for labor of any kind. My health was poor, and my mental sufferings were beyond description. Under these circumstances I yielded my judgment to that of others, and wrote what appeared in No. 11 in regard to the Health Institute, being unable then to give all I had seen. I did wrong. I must be allowed to know my own duty better than others can know it for me, especially on matters which God has revealed to me. I shall be blamed by some for speaking as I now speak. Others will blame me for not speaking before. The disposition manifested to crowd the matter of the Institute so fast has been one of the heaviest trials I have ever borne. If all those who have used my testimony to move the brethren, had been equally moved by it themselves, I should be better satisfied. Should I delay longer to speak my views and feelings, I should be blamed the more by both those who think I should have spoken sooner, and those also who may think I should not give any cautions. For the good of those at the head of the work, for the good of the cause and the brethren, and to save myself great trials, I have freely spoken.
EXTRACTS FROM LETTERS.
[THE two following extracts are from letters which I addressed to those at the head of the Health Institute, the first one, the first of May, 1867, and the second, in June following.]
"A Health Institution God would have established which will in its influence be closely connected with the closing work for mortals fitting for immortality; one that would have no tendency to weaken the religious principles of old or young, which would not improve the health of the body to the detriment of spiritual growth. The great object of this Institution should be to improve the health of the body that the afflicted might more highly appreciate eternal things. If this object is not continually set before the mind, and efforts are not made to this end, it will prove a curse instead of a blessing, spirituality will be regarded a secondary thing, and the health of the body and diversion will be made primary.
"I saw that the high standard should not be lowered a particle in order that the Institution might be patronized by unbelievers. If any choose to come while the conductors of the Institution occupy the exalted spiritual position God designs they should, there will be a power that will affect the hearts of unbelievers, and with God on their side and angels enlisted, his commandment-keeping people can but prosper. This Institution is not to be established for the object of gain and to accumulate, but to aid in bringing God's people into such a condition of physical and mental health as will enable them to rightly appreciate eternal things, and to correctly value the redemption so dearly purchased by the sufferings of our Saviour. This Institution is not to be made a place for diversion or amusement. Those who cannot live unless they have excitement and diversion, will be of no use to the world; none are made better for their living. They might just as well be out of the world as to be in it.
"I saw that the view which Dr. Jackson sought to instill into the minds of others, that spirituality was a detriment to the health of the body, was but the sophistry of the Devil. Satan found his way into Eden and made Eve believe that she needed something more than that which God had given for her happiness, that the forbidden fruit would have a special exhilarating influence upon her body and mind, which would exalt her even to be equal with God in knowledge. But the knowledge and benefit she thought to gain was to her a terrible curse.
"There are persons with diseased imaginations; religion is to them a tyrant, to rule them as with a rod of iron. With such it is a constant mourning over their depravity, and groaning over supposed evil. Love does not exist in their hearts; a frown is ever upon the countenance. They are chilled with the innocent laugh from the youth, or from any one. They consider it a sin to have recreation or amusement. The mind must be wrought up to just such a stern, severe pitch. This is one extreme. Others think that the mind must be on the stretch to invent new amusements and diversion to gain health. They learn to depend on outward excitement, are uneasy without it. Such are not true Christians. They go to another extreme. The true principles of Christianity open before all a source of happiness; the height and depth, the length and breadth of it are immeasurable. It is Christ in us a well of water springing up into everlasting life. It is a continual wellspring that the Christian can drink from and never exhaust the fountain.
"What brings sickness of body and mind to nearly all, is dissatisfied feelings and discontented repinings. They have not God, they have not the hope which reaches to that within the vail, which is as an anchor to the soul both sure and steadfast. All with this hope will purify themselves even as he is pure, and will not have the restless longings, the repinings, the discontent, the lack of love, the continual looking for evil and brooding over borrowed trouble, having a time of trouble beforehand, with anxiety stamped upon every feature with no consolation but a continual, fearful looking for of some dreadful evil.
"God is dishonored by such. The religion of Christ is brought into disrepute. Such have not love for God, nor love for their companions nor children. The affections of such are morbid. But vain amusements will never correct the minds of such. They need the transforming influence of the Spirit of God in order to be happy, and to be benefited with the mediation of Christ, and to realize consolation, divine and substantial. 'For he that will love life and see good days, let him refrain his tongue from evil, and his lips that they speak no guile. Let him eschew evil, and do good; let him seek peace and ensue it. For the eyes of the Lord are over the righteous, and his ears are open unto their prayers; but the face of the Lord is against them that do evil.'
"Those who have experimental knowledge of the above scriptures are truly happy. They will consider the approbation of heaven higher than any earthly amusement; Christ in them the hope of glory, will be health to the body and strength to the soul. The simplicity of the gospel is fast disappearing from professed Sabbath-keepers. How can God prosper us, I enquire a hundred times a day. Prayer is almost obsolete. How little praying, how little bearing the cross of Christ who bore the shameful cross for us.
"I cannot feel that things are moving at that Institution as God would have them move. I fear that he will turn his face from it. I was shown that physicians and helpers should be of the highest order. Those who have an experimental knowledge of the truth, who will command respect, and whose word can be relied on. They should be persons whose imaginations are not diseased, persons who have perfect control of themselves, who are not fitful or changeable, persons who are free from jealousy and evil surmisings; persons who have a power of will that will not yield to slight indispositions; persons who will think no evil, unprejudiced, who think and move calmly, considerately, having the glory of God, and the good of others ever before them. Never should one be exalted to any responsible position to gratify them or because they desire it, but because they are qualified and have the fitness for the position. Those who have responsibilities upon them, should be proved and give evidence that they are free from jealousy, that they will not be of that kind who will take a dislike to this or that one, while they will have a few favored friends, taking no notice of others. God grant that they may move just right in that Institution."
"DEAR BRO. LAY:--My mind has been exercised considerably upon one or two points. When I get where I am writing letters to you night after night in my sleep, I then think it time to carry out my convictions of duty. When I was shown that Dr. Jackson erred in some things in regard to the instructions he gave to his patients, I saw that you had received the same ideas in many things, and that the time would come when you would see correctly in regard to the matter. These are concerning work and amusements. I was shown in nine cases out of ten that to allow light work, and even to urge it upon most of the patients, would prove more beneficial than to urge them to remain inactive and idle. There needs to be a power of the will kept active, which is the greatest help to recover the health, and to arouse the dormant faculties. Remove all labor from those who have been overtaxed all their lives, and in nine cases out of ten the change will prove an injury. This instruction has proved one of the greatest injuries to my husband. I was shown that physical, out-door exercise was far preferable to in-door; but if this cannot be brought about, light employment would occupy and divert the mind, and prevent it from dwelling upon little ailments and symptoms, and will prevent home-sickness. This do-nothing system, I saw, had been the greatest curse to your wife and my husband. God gave employment to the first pair in Eden; because he knew that they would be happier thus employed. From what has been shown me, this do-nothing system is a curse to soul and body. Light employment will not excite or tax the mind or strength any more than amusements. The sick get where they look at their poor feelings, and often think themselves utterly unable to do anything, when I saw if they would arouse the will and compel themselves every day to do an amount of physical labor, they would be far happier, and improve much faster. I shall write more fully upon this point hereafter."
NOTE. I understand from a recent Rochester paper that "card playing" is no longer practiced as an amusement at "Our Home" in Dansville, N. Y.
TESTIMONY FOR THE CHURCH,
BY ELLEN G. WHITE.
OF THE SEVENTH-DAY ADVENTIST PUBLISHING ASSOCIATION,
BATTLE CREEK, MICH.:
AGAIN I feel it my duty to speak to the Lord's people in great plainness. It is humiliating to me to point out the errors and rebellion of those who have long been acquainted with us, and have known our work. I do it to correct wrong statements that have gone abroad concerning me and my husband, calculated to injure the cause, and as a warning to others. Were it that we only were to suffer, I would be silent, but when the cause is in danger of reproach and suffering, I must speak, however humiliating. Proud hypocrites will triumph over our brethren because they are humble enough to confess their sins. God loves his people who keep his commandments, and reproves them, not because they are the worst, but the best people in the world. "As many as I love," says Jesus, "I rebuke and chasten."
I would call especial attention to the remarkable dreams given in this little work, all with harmony and distinctness illustrating the same things. The multitude of dreams arise from the common things of life, with which the Spirit of God has nothing to do. There are also false dreams, as well as false visions, which are inspired by the spirit of Satan. But dreams from the Lord are classed in the word of God with visions, and are as truly the fruits of the spirit of prophecy as visions. Such dreams, taking into the account the persons who have them, and the circumstances under which they are given, contain their own proofs of their genuineness.
May the blessing of God attend this little work. E. G. W.
Sketch of Experience
From December 19, 1866, to October 20, 1867.
HAVING become fully satisfied that my husband would not recover from his protracted sickness while remaining inactive, and that the time had fully come for me to go forth and bear my testimony to the people, I decided, contrary to the judgment and advice of the church at Battle Creek, of which we were members at that time, to venture a tour in Northern Michigan, with my husband in his extremely feeble condition, in the severest cold of winter. It required no small degree of moral courage and faith in God to bring my mind to the decision to risk so much, especially as I stood alone, with the influence of the church, including those at the head of the work at Battle Creek, against me.
But I knew that I had a work to do, and it seemed to me that Satan was determined to keep me from it. I had waited long for our captivity to be turned, and feared precious souls would be lost if I remained longer from the work. To remain longer from the field seemed to me worse than death, and to move out we could but perish. So, on the nineteenth of December, 1866, we left Battle Creek in a snow storm for Wright, Ottawa Co., Mich. My husband stood the long and severe journey of ninety miles much better than I feared, and seemed quite as well when we reached our old home at Bro. Root's as when we left Battle Creek. We were kindly received by this dear family, and as tenderly cared for as Christian parents can care for invalid children.
We found this church in a very low condition. With a large portion of its members the seeds of disunion and dissatisfaction with one another were taking deep root, and a worldly spirit was taking possession of them. And notwithstanding their low state, they had enjoyed the labors of our preachers so seldom, they were hungry for spiritual food. Here commenced our first effective labors since the sickness of my husband. Here he commenced to labor as he used to, though in much weakness. He would speak thirty or forty minutes in the forenoon of the Sabbath and on first-day. I filled up the rest of the time, and then spoke in the afternoon of each day, about an hour and a half each time. We were listened to with the greatest attention. I saw that my husband was growing stronger, clearer and more connected in his subjects. And when on one occasion he spoke one hour with clearness and power, with the burden of the work upon him as he used to speak, my feelings of gratitude were beyond expression. I arose in the congregation, and for nearly half an hour tried with weeping to give utterance to them. The congregation felt deeply. I felt assured that this was the dawn of better days for us. We remained with this people six weeks. I spoke to them twenty-five times, and my husband spoke twelve times. As our labors with this church progressed, individual cases began to open before me, and I commenced to write out testimonies for them, amounting in all to one hundred pages. Then commenced labor for those persons as they came to Bro. Root's where we were stopping, and with some of them at their homes, but more especially in meetings at the house of worship. In this kind of labor I found that my husband was of the greatest help. His long experience in this kind of work, laboring with me in the past, had qualified him for it. And now that he entered upon it again he seemed to manifest all that clearness of thought, good judgment and faithfulness in dealing with the erring, of former days. In fact no other two of our ministers could have rendered me the assistance that he did.
A good and a great work was done for this dear people. Hearty and full confessions of wrongs were freely made, union was restored, and the blessing of God rested down upon the work. My husband labored to bring the church up to the figures which should be adopted in all our churches upon Systematic Benevolence, which resulted in raising the amount to be paid into the treasury annually by that church, about three hundred dollars. Those in the church who had been in trial about some of my testimonies, especially respecting the dress question, on hearing the matter explained, became fully settled. The health and dress reform was adopted, and a large amount was raised for the Health Institute.
Here I think it my duty to state that as this work was in progress, unfortunately a wealthy brother from the State of New York, visited Wright, after calling at Battle Creek and there learning that we had started out contrary to the opinion and advice of the church, and those standing at the head of the work at Battle Creek. He chose to represent my husband, even before those for whom we had the greatest labor, as being partially insane, consequently his testimony was of no weight. His influence in this matter, as stated to me by Bro. Root, the elder of the church, set the work back at least two weeks. I state this that unconsecrated persons may beware how they in their blind, unfeeling state, cast an influence in an hour which may take the worn servants of the Lord weeks to counteract. We were laboring for those of wealth, and Satan saw that this wealthy brother was just the man for him to use. May the Lord bring him where he can see, and in humility of mind confess, his wrong.
By two weeks more of the most wearing labor, with the blessing of God we were able to remove this wrong influence and give full proofs to that dear people that God had sent us to them. As further results of our labors, seven were soon after baptized by Bro. Waggoner, and two in July by my husband at the time of our second visit to that church.
The brother from New York returned to Battle Creek with his wife and daughter, not in a state of mind to give a correct report of the good work at Wright, or to help the feelings of the church at Battle Creek. As facts have since come out, it appears that he injured the church, and the church injured him, in their mutual enjoyment from house to house of taking the most unfavorable views of our course, and making it the theme of conversation. About the time this cruel work was going on, I had the following dream:
I was visiting Battle Creek in company with a person of commanding manners and dignified deportment. In my dream I was passing around to the houses of our brethren. As we were about to enter, we heard voices engaged in earnest conversation. I heard the name of my husband frequently mentioned. I was grieved and astonished to hear our firmest professed friends relating scenes and incidents which had occurred during the severe affliction of my husband, when his mental and physical powers were palsied to a great degree. I was grieved to hear the voice of the professed brother from New York before mentioned, representing in an earnest manner, and in an exaggerated light, incidents which those at Battle Creek were ignorant of, while our friends in Battle Creek, in their turn, related that which they knew. I became faint and sick at heart, and in my dream came near falling, when the hand of the person with me sustained me, saying, "You must listen. You must know this, even if it is hard to bear."
At the several houses we approached, the same subject was the theme of conversation. It was their present truth. Said I, "Oh, I did not know this! I was ignorant that such feelings existed in the hearts of those whom we have regarded as our friends in prosperity, and our fast friends in suffering, affliction, and adversity. Would I had never known this! These we have accounted our very best and truest friends."
The person with me repeated these words: "If they would only engage as readily, and with as much earnestness and zeal in conversation upon their Redeemer, dwelling upon his matchless charms, his disinterested benevolence, and his merciful forgiveness, his pitiful tenderness to the suffering, his forbearance and inexpressible love, how much more precious and valuable would be the fruits."
Said I, "I am grieved. He has not spared himself to save souls. He stood under the burdens until they crushed him, and when he was prostrated, broken physically and mentally, to gather up words and acts and use them to destroy his influence, after God has put his hand under him to raise him up, that his voice may again be heard, is cruel and wicked."
Said the person who accompanied me, "The conversation where Christ and the characteristics of his life is the theme dwelt upon, will refresh the spirit, and the fruit will be unto holiness and everlasting life." He then quoted these words: "Whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things." These words so impressed me that I spoke upon them the next Sabbath.
My labors in Wright were very wearing. I then had much care of my husband by day, and sometimes in the night. I gave him baths, and took him out to ride, and twice a day, cold, stormy or pleasant, walked out with him, and used the pen while he dictated his reports for the Review. I wrote many letters, besides the many pages of personal testimonies, most of No. 11, besides visiting and speaking as often, as long and earnestly as I did. Bro. and sister Root fully sympathized with me in my trials and labors, and watched us with the tenderest care, to supply all our wants. Our frequent prayers were that the Lord would bless them in basket and in store, in health as well as in grace and spiritual strength. And I felt that a special blessing would follow them. Though sickness has come into their dwelling since, yet I learn by Bro. Root that they enjoy better health than before. And among the items of temporal prosperity he reports that his wheat fields have produced twenty-seven bushels to the acre, and some forty, while the average yield of his neighbors' fields has been only seven bushels per acre.
Jan. 29, 1867, we left Wright, and rode to Greenville, Montcalm Co., forty miles. It was the most severely cold day of the winter. We were glad to find a shelter from the cold and storm at Bro. Maynard's. This dear family welcomed us to their hearts and to their home. We remained in this vicinity six weeks, laboring with the churches at Greenville and Orleans, and made Bro. Maynard's hospitable home our head-quarters.
The Lord gave me freedom in speaking to the people. In every effort made I realized the sustaining power of God. And as I became fully convinced that I had a testimony for the people, which I could bear to them in connection with the labors of my husband, my faith was strengthened that he would yet be raised to health to labor with acceptance in the cause and work of God. His labors were received by the people. He was a great help to me in the work. Without him I could accomplish but little. With his help, in the strength of God, I could do the work assigned me. The Lord sustained him in every effort he put forth. As he ventured, trusting in God, regardless of his feebleness, he gained in strength, and improved with every effort. As I realized that my husband was regaining physical and mental vigor, my gratitude was unbounded in view of the prospect that I again should be unfettered to engage anew and more earnestly in the work of God, standing by the side of my husband, and we laboring together unitedly in the closing work for God's people. Previous to his being stricken down, the position he occupied in the Office confined him the greater part of the time there. And as I could not travel without him I was kept necessarily at home much of the time. I felt that God would now prosper him while he labored in word and doctrine, and devoted himself more especially to the work of preaching. Others could do the labor in the Office, and we were settled in our convictions that he would never be confined to the Office again, but be free to travel with me, and we both bear the solemn testimony God would have us to his remnant people. I sensibly felt the low state of God's people, and every day I was aware I had gone to the extent of my strength. My manuscript for No. 11 we had sent while in Wright to the Office of publication, and I was improving almost every moment when out of meeting in writing out matter for No. 12. Both my physical and mental energies had been severely taxed while laboring for the church in Wright. I felt that I should have rest, but could see no opportunity for any relief. I was speaking to the people several times a week, and writing many pages of personal testimonies. The burden of souls was upon me, and the responsibilities I felt were so great I obtained but a few hours of sleep each night.
While thus laboring, in speaking and in writing, letters were received from Battle Creek of a discouraging character. As I read them I felt an inexpressible depression of spirits, amounting to agony of mind, which seemed for a short period to palsy my vital energies. For three nights I scarcely slept at all. My thoughts were troubled and perplexed.
I concealed my feelings as well as I could from my husband and the sympathizing family we were with. None knew the labor or burden upon my mind, as I united with the family in morning and evening devotion, and sought to lay my burden upon the great Burden-bearer. But my petitions came from a heart wrung with anguish, which made my prayers broken and disconnected because of uncontrollable grief.
The blood rushed to my brain, frequently causing me to reel and nearly fall. I had the nose-bleed frequently, especially after making an effort to write. I was compelled to lay by my writing, but could not throw off the burden, anxiety and responsibilities upon me, as I realized that I had testimonies for others which I was unable to present to them.
I received still another letter informing me that it was thought best to defer the publication of No. 11 until I could write out that which I had been shown in regard to the Health Institute, as they wanted the influence of my testimony to move the brethren, as they stood in great want of means. I then wrote out a portion of that which was shown me in regard to the Institute, but could not get out the entire subject because of pressure of blood to the brain. Had I thought that No. 12 would have been delayed so long I should not in any case have sent that portion of the matter contained in No. 11. I supposed when I should rest a few days I could again resume my writing. But to my great grief I found that my brain was in a condition making it impossible for me to write. The idea of writing testimonies bearing a general application, and also personal, was given up, and I was in continual distress because I could not write them.
In this state of things we decided to return to Battle Creek, and there remain while the roads were in a muddy, broken-up condition, and I there complete No. 12. My husband was very anxious to see his brethren at Battle Creek, and speak to them, and rejoice with them in the work God was doing for him. I gathered up my writings and we started on our journey. On the way we held two meetings in Orange, and had evidence that the church was profited and encouraged. We were ourselves refreshed by the Spirit of the Lord. That night I dreamed I was in Battle Creek looking out from the side glass at the door, and saw a company marching up to the house, two and two. They looked stern and
determined. I knew them well and turned to open the parlor door to receive them, but thought I would look again. The scene was changed. The appearance now presented was like a Catholic procession. One of the company bore in his hand a cross. Another had a reed. And as they neared the house, the one carrying a reed made a circle around the house, saying three times, "This house is proscribed. The goods must be confiscated. They have spoken against our holy order." Terror seized me, and I ran through the house, out of the north door, and found myself in the midst of a company some of whom I knew, but I dared not speak a word with them for fear of being betrayed. I tried to seek a retired spot where I might weep and pray without meeting eager, inquisitive eyes everywhere I turned. I repeated frequently, "If I could only understand this! If they will tell me what I have said, or what I have done!" I wept and prayed much as I saw our goods being confiscated. I tried to read sympathy or pity for me in the looks of those around me, and marked several countenances of those whom I thought would speak with me, and comfort me, if they did not fear that they would be observed by others. I made one attempt to escape from the crowd, but I saw that I was watched, and I concealed my intentions. I commenced weeping aloud, and saying, "If they would only tell me what I have done, or what I have said!"
My husband, who was sleeping in a bed in the same room, heard me weeping aloud, and awoke me. I found my pillow wet with tears, and a sad depression of spirits upon me.
Bro. and Sr. Howe accompanied us to West Windsor. We were received and welcomed by Bro. and Sr. Carman. Sabbath and first-day we met the brethren and sisters from the churches in the vicinity, and had freedom in bearing our testimony to them. The refreshing Spirit of the Lord rested upon those who felt a special interest in the work of God. Our conference meetings were good, and nearly all bore testimony that they were strengthened and greatly encouraged.
In a few days we found ourselves again at Battle Creek, after an absence of about three months, where, on the Sabbath of March 16, my husband delivered before the church the sermon on Sanctification, phonographically reported by the editor of the Review, and published in No. 18, Vol. xxix. He also spoke in the afternoon with clearness, and on first-day forenoon. I bore my testimony with usual freedom.
We spoke to the church in Newton, Sabbath 23d, with freedom, and labored with the church at Convis the following Sabbath and first-day. We designed to return North, and went thirty miles, but were obliged to turn back on account of the condition of the roads.
My husband was terribly disappointed at the cold reception he met at Battle Creek, and I was also grieved. We decided that we could not bear our testimony to this church till they gave better evidence that they wished our services, and concluded to labor in Convis and Monterey till the roads should improve. The two following Sabbaths we spent at Convis, and have good proofs that a good work was done, as the best of fruits are now seen.
It is painful for me here to state that we were received with great coldness by our brethren, from whom, three months before, I had parted in perfect union, excepting on the point of our leaving home. I came home to Battle Creek like a weary child, who needed comforting words and encouragement.
The first night spent in Battle Creek, I dreamed that I had been laboring very hard and had been traveling for the purpose of attending a large meeting. I was very weary. Sisters were arranging my hair and adjusting my dress, and I fell asleep. When I awoke, I was astonished and indignant to find that my garments had been removed, and there had been placed upon me old rags, pieces of bed quilts knotted and sewed together. Said I, "What have you done to me? Who has done this shameful work of removing my garments and replacing them with beggars' rags?" I tore off the rags and threw them from me. I was grieved, and with anguish I cried out, "Bring me back my garments which I have worn for twenty-three years, and have not disgraced them in a single instance. Unless you give me back my garments I shall appeal to the people who will contribute and return me my own garments which I have worn twenty-three years." I have seen the fulfillment of this dream. We met reports at Battle Creek which have been circulated to injure us, which have no foundation in truth. Letters have been written by some making a temporary stay at the Health Institute, and by others, living in Battle Creek, to churches in Michigan and other States, expressing fears, doubts and insinuations in regard to us.
I was filled with grief as I listened to a charge from a fellow-laborer, whom I had respected, that they were hearing from every quarter things which I had spoken against the church at Battle Creek. I was so grieved I knew not what to say. We found a strong, accusing spirit against us. As we became fully convinced in regard to the existing feelings, we felt homesick. We felt so disappointed and distressed that I told two of our leading brethren that I did not feel at home, as we met, instead of welcome and encouragement, distrust and positive coldness, and that I had yet to learn that this was the course to pursue toward those who had broken down in their midst by over-exertion and devotion to the work of God. I then said that we thought we should move from Battle Creek and seek a more retired home.
Grieved and wounded in spirit beyond measure, I remained at home, dreading to go anywhere among the church for fear of being wounded. Finally, as no one made any effort to relieve my feelings, I felt it to be my duty to call together a number of experienced brethren and sisters, and meet the reports which were circulating in regard to us. Weighed down and depressed, amounting to anguish, I met the charges against me, giving a recital of my journey East, one year since, and the painful circumstances attending that journey.
I appealed to those present, to judge whether my connection with the work and cause of God would lead me to speak lightly of the church at Battle Creek, from whom I had not the slightest alienation of feelings. Was not my interest in the cause and work of God as great as it was possible for theirs to be? My whole experience and life were interwoven in the work and cause of God. I had no separate interest aside from the work. I had invested everything in this cause. I had considered no sacrifice too great for me to make in order to advance it. I had not allowed the fond love and affection for my darling babes to hold me back from performing my duty as God required it in his cause. I had separated from my nursing children, and allowed another to act the part of mother to my precious babes. Affection and maternal love throbbed just as strongly in my heart as in the heart of any mother that lived. I had given unmistakable evidences of my interest in, and devotion to, the cause of God. I had shown by my fruits, how dear was this cause to me. Could any produce stronger proof than myself? Were they zealous in the cause of truth? I more. Were they devoted to it? I could prove greater devotion than any one living engaged in the work. Had they suffered for the truth's sake? I more. I had not counted my life dear unto me. I had not shunned reproach, suffering, or hardships. When friends and relatives have despaired of my life, because disease was preying upon me, I have been borne in my husband's arms to the boat, or cars, and after traveling until midnight, we found ourselves in the city of Boston, without means. We walked by faith seven miles on two or three occasions. We traveled as far as it seemed possible that my strength would allow, and then knelt on the ground and prayed for strength to proceed. Strength was given, and we were enabled to labor earnestly for the good of souls. We allowed no obstacle to deter us from duty, or separate us from the work.
The spirit manifested in this meeting distressed me greatly. I returned home still burdened, as no one made any effort to relieve me, by acknowledging they were convinced they had misjudged me, and that their suspicions and accusations against me were unjust. They could not condemn me, neither did they make any effort to relieve me.
For fifteen months my husband had been so feeble that he had not carried his watch or his purse, or driven his own team when riding out. But with the present year he had taken his watch, and purse, though empty in consequence of our great expenses, and driven his own team. He had, during his sickness, refused at different times to take money of his brethren, to the amount of nearly one thousand dollars, telling them that when he was in want he would let them know it. We were at last brought to want. My husband felt it his duty first, before becoming dependent, to sell what we could spare. He had some few things at the Office, and scattered among the brethren in Battle Creek, of little value, which he collected and sold. We sold nearly one hundred and fifty dollars worth of furniture. At this point of time, our only and very valuable cow died. My husband tried to sell our sofa for the meeting-house, offering to give ten dollars of its value, but could not. He then for the first time addressed a note to a brother stating that if the church would esteem it a pleasure to make up the loss of the cow, they might do so. But nothing was done about it, only to charge my husband with being insane on the subject of money. They knew him well enough to know he would never ask for help unless stern necessity drove him to it. And now, that he had done it, judge of his feelings and mine when it was seen that no notice was taken of the matter only to use it to wound us in our want and deep affliction.
At this meeting my husband humbly confessed that he was wrong in several things of this nature, which he never should have done, and never would have done but for his fear of his brethren, and a desire to be all right, and to be in union with the church. This led those who were injuring him to apparently despise him. We were humbled into the very dust. We were distressed beyond expression, and in this state of things started to fill an appointment at Monterey. While journeying I was suffering the keenest anguish of spirit. I tried to explain to myself why it was that our brethren did not understand in regard to our work. I had felt quite sure that when we should meet them they would know what spirit we were of, and that the Spirit of God in them would answer to the same in us, his humble servants, and there would be union of feelings and sentiment. This had not been the case. We were distrusted and suspiciously watched, which was a cause of the greatest perplexity I ever experienced. As I was thus thinking a branch of the vision given me at Rochester, Dec. 25, 1865, came like a flash of lightning to my mind, which I immediately related to my husband as follows:
I was shown a cluster of trees, standing near each other, forming a circle. Running up over these trees was a vine which covered the trees at the top, and rested upon them, forming an arbor. Soon I saw the trees swaying to and fro, as though moved by a powerful wind. One branch after another of the vine was shaken from its support, and began to drop, until the vine was shaken loose from the trees, except a few tendrils which were left clinging to the lower branches. A person came up and severed the remaining, clinging tendrils of the vine, and it lay prostrated upon the earth.
The distress and anguish of my mind, as I saw the vine lying upon the ground, was beyond description. I saw many pass and look pityingly upon the vine, and I waited anxiously for a friendly hand to raise it; but no help was offered it. I inquired why no hand raised the vine. Presently I saw an angel come to the apparently-deserted vine. He spread out his arms and placed them beneath the vine and raised it and stood it upright, saying, "Stand toward Heaven, and let thy tendrils entwine about God. Thou art shaken from human support. Thou canst stand, in the strength of God, and flourish without it. Lean upon God alone, and thou shalt never lean in vain, or be shaken therefrom." I felt inexpressible relief, amounting to joy, as I saw the neglected vine cared for. I turned to the angel and inquired what these things meant. Said he, "Thou art this vine. All this thou wilt experience, and then, when these things occur, thou shalt fully understand the figure of the vine. God will be to thee a present help in time of trouble."
From this time I was settled as to my duty, and never more free in bearing my testimony to the people. If I ever felt the arm of the Lord holding me up, it was at that meeting. My husband was also free and clear in his preaching, and the expression of all was, We have had an excellent meeting.
After we returned from Monterey I felt it my duty to call another meeting, as my brethren made no effort to relieve my feelings. I decided to move forward in the strength of God and again express my feelings, and free myself from the suspicions and reports circulated to our injury. I bore my testimony, and related things which had been shown me in the past history of some present, warning them of their dangers, and reproving their wrong course of action in the past. I stated that I had been placed in most disagreeable positions. Frequently in the visions given me matters relating to families and individual cases were brought before me of a private nature, reproving secret sins. I have labored with some for months in regard to wrongs which others knew nothing of. As my brethren see these persons sad, and hear them express doubts in regard to their acceptance with God, and hear them express feelings of despondency, they have cast censure upon me, as though I was to blame for their being in trial, when they were entirely ignorant of what they were talking about. I there protested against persons sitting as inquisitors upon my course of action. It has been the disagreeable work assigned me to reprove private sins. I should sin against God, and wrong the individuals, were I, in order to save suspicious feelings and jealousy arising, to give a full explanation of my course, and make public things which should be kept private from those who have no business with them. I have to keep private reproofs of private wrongs to myself, locked in my own breast. Let others judge as they may, I will never betray the confidence reposed in me by the erring and repentant, or reveal to others that which should only be brought before the ones that are guilty. I told those assembled they must take their hands off, and leave me free to act in the fear of God. I left the meeting relieved of a heavy burden.
Here I will give two testimonies, one of them addressed to all engaged in the work at the Review Office, written March, 1867, the other addressed to the young, laboring in the Office. I am sorry to say that all those warned, have, more or less, disregarded these testimonies, and now have to confess that they pursued a course contrary to that pointed out by the testimonies. The first is as follows:--
"I was shown, while in Rochester, N. Y., Dec. 25, 1865, some things concerning those who are engaged in the work at the Office, also in regard to ministers whom God has called to labor in word and in doctrine, that neither of these should engage in merchandise or traffic. They are called to a more sacred, elevated work, and it would be impossible for them to do justice to the work and still carry on their merchandise and traffic.
"Those engaged at the Office should have no separate interest aside from the work. If that attention and care is given to the work in which they are engaged which it demands, they should not be further taxed. They have done all they should do. If trafficking which has no connection with the work of God engages the mind and occupies time, the work will not be done thoroughly and well. At the best those engaged in the work have no physical and mental energy to spare. They are to a greater or less degree enfeebled. Such a cause, such a sacred work, in which they are employed, should engage the powers of the mind; they should not work mechanically, but be sanctified to the work, and act as though the cause was a part of them, as though they had invested something in this great and solemn work. Unless they thus take hold of this matter with interest, their efforts will not be acceptable to God.
"Satan is very artful, busy and active. His special power is brought to bear upon those who are now engaged in the work of preaching and in the publication of present truth. All in connection with this work need to keep the whole armor on, for they are the special marks for Satan to attack.
"I saw that there was danger of becoming unguarded, and Satan obtaining an entrance, and imperceptibly divert the mind from the great work. I saw that there was danger of those connected with the work at the Office, who fill responsible positions there, getting above the work, and losing humbleness of mind, and the simplicity of the work which has hitherto characterized it.
"It was Satan's especial object in striking down one at the head of the work, who had a thorough experience in the rise and progress of present truth, that he might be got out of the way, that Satan might come in and imperceptibly affect minds that were not thoroughly experienced and consecrated to the work. God designed to raise my husband to health after others had become acquainted with the burdens he has borne, and had felt some of the weariness attending these burdens, while at the same time they will never throw their whole soul, energies of mind and body, into the work, and venture what he has ventured. It would never be their duty to do as he has done, for they could not pass through a twentieth part of what he has endured and stand at their post.
"Satan designs to obtain a foot-hold in that Office, and unless there is a united effort, and thorough watchfulness, he will accomplish his object. Some will get above the simplicity of the work, and will feel that they are sufficient when their strength is perfect weakness. God will be glorified in this great work. And unless there is deep and constant humility and a firm trust in God, there will be a trusting in self, a self-sufficiency, and one or more will drink the bitter cup of affliction.
"As the work increases, the greater the necessity for thorough trust and dependence on God and a thorough interest in, and devotion to, the work. Selfish interests should be laid aside. There should be much prayer, much meditation, for this is highly necessary for the success and prosperity of the work. A spirit of traffic should not be allowed in any one who is connected with the work in the Office. If it is permitted, the work will be neglected and marred. Common things will be placed too much upon a level with sacred things.
"There is great danger of some connected with the work laboring merely for wages. While they invest no special interest in the work, their heart is not in the work, and they have no special sense of its sacredness, and exalted character. Another special danger would be of those at the head of the work becoming lifted up, exalted, and the work of God be marred, bearing the impress of man, of the human, instead of the divine. Satan is wide awake, persevering, yet Jesus lives, and all who make him their righteousness, their defence, will be especially sustained.
I was shown that brethren Smith, Aldrich and Walker, were in danger of injuring their health by remaining a considerable part of their time in heated rooms, not sufficiently ventilated. These named need more physical exercise. Their employment is sedentary, and too much of the time they breathe heated air, unpurified by the pure out-of-door air. Their lack of exercise causes a depressed circulation, and they are in danger of injuring their health permanently by not paying heed to the laws of their being. If they violate the laws of their being, they will just as surely, at some future period, suffer the penalty in some form as my husband has suffered it. They will not be sustained any sooner than he. Neither of these are capable of enduring but a small part of the taxation physically and mentally, which he endured. And they take the work with the heaviest battles fought, the sorest trials passed through, to establish the cause in its present standing. And yet a great and solemn work is before us, and it calls for devotedness from these men, and also from Bro. Amadon, who is in danger of exaltation. God will prove him and try him, and he must be girded about with truth, having on the armor of righteousness, or he will fall by the hand of the enemy.
"All these mentioned need to attend most strictly and perseveringly to a healthful, spare diet, for all are in danger of congested brains, and paralysis may drop one or more, or all of these, if they continue living carelessly or recklessly.
"I saw that God had especially selected Bro. Aldrich, to engage in a great and exalted work. He would have cares and burdens, and yet all these could be so much more easily borne with true devotion and consecration to the work. Bro. Aldrich, you need a deeper draught from salvation's fountain, a more thorough draught from the fountain of sanctification. Your will has not yet been fully submitted to the will of God. You move on because you think you cannot do otherwise; but to walk in cheerful light, because you can see that Christ Jesus leads the way before you, you have failed to do.
"Standing in the responsible place you do, all this has hurt your own soul, and influenced others. If you walk contrary unto God, he will walk contrary unto you. God wants to use you, but you must die to self, sacrifice your pride. The Lord designs to use you in his cause if you will follow his opening providence, and heartily and fully sanctify yourself, and cleanse yourself from all filthiness of the flesh and spirit, perfecting holiness in the fear of God."
The following is the second testimony, written in May, 1867, addressed to the young, laboring in the Office:
"DEAR YOUNG FRIENDS who are employed at the Office of Publication at Battle Creek: A burden is resting upon me in regard to you. I have been repeatedly shown that all who are in connection with the work of God in publishing the present truth which is to be scattered to every part of the field, should be Christians, not only in name, but in deed and truth. Their object should not be merely to work for wages, but all engaged in this great and solemn work should feel that their interest is in the work, and that it is a part of them. Their motives and influence in connecting themselves with this great and solemn work must bear the test of the judgment. None should be allowed to become connected with the Office of Publication who manifest selfishness and pride.
"I was shown that lightness and folly, joking and laughing, should not be indulged by those engaged in the work in the Office. Those engaged in the solemn work of preparing truth, to go to every part of the field, should realize that their deportment has its influence. If they are, while reading and preparing solemn truth for publication, jesting, joking, laughing and careless, their hearts are not in the work, or sanctified through the truth. They do not discern sacred things, but handle truth that is to test character, truth which is of heavenly origin, as a common tale, as a story, merely to come before minds and be readily effaced.
"While in Rochester, I saw that we had everything to fear in regard to the Office. From a health stand-point, not one connected with the Office realized the necessity of thorough ventilation. Their rooms were overheated, and the atmosphere was poisoned by impurities caused by exhalations from the lungs, and other causes. It is impossible for the higher powers of the mind to be in a healthy condition and be fully susceptible of the impressions of pure and holy truths with which they have so much to do, unless they appreciate, and place the value they should upon the pure, vitalizing air of heaven.
"I was shown that those who are so closely connected with revealed truth, and yet their lives, their deportment, give no special evidence that they are made better by the truth which is kept so constantly before them--their lives do not testify to the fact that they are loving the truth and its sacred requirements more and more fervently. They are growing harder and will be less and less affected by the truth and work of God, until they find themselves destitute of the emotions of the Spirit of God, dead to the heavenly impress of truth, and eternal things are not discerned, but placed upon a low level with common things. This, I saw, had been the case with some connected with the Office, and all have been remiss in this respect to a greater or less degree.
"I saw that the work of present truth should engage the interest of all. The publication of truth is God's ordained plan, as a means of warning all, comforting all, reproving all, exhorting all, convicting all, to whose notice the silent, voiceless messengers may be brought. Angels of God have a part to act in preparing hearts to be sanctified by the truths published, that they may be prepared for the solemn scenes before them. None in that Office are sufficient of themselves for the important work of discreetly managing matters connected with the publication of the truth. Angels must be near them to guide, to counsel, to restrain, or the wisdom and folly of human agencies will be apparent.
"I saw that frequently angels were in the Office, in the folding room, in the room where the type is being set. I was made to hear the laughing, the jesting, the idle, foolish talking. Again, the vanity, the pride and selfishness exhibited. Angels looked sad, and turned away grieved. The words I had heard, the vanity, the pride and selfishness exhibited, caused me to groan with anguish of spirit, as angels left the room in disgust. Said an angel, "The heavenly messengers came to bless, that the truth carried by the voiceless preachers might have a sanctifying, holy power to attend its mission; but those engaged in its work were distant from God, possessing so little of the divine, and were so conformed to the spirit of the world, that the powers of darkness controlled them, and they could not be made susceptible of divine impressions." At the same time these young were deceived, and thought they were rich and increased in goods and had need of nothing, and knew not that they were poor and miserable, blind and naked.
"I saw that those who handle precious truth as they would sand, know not how many times their heartless indifference to eternal things, their vanity, self-love and pride, their laughing and senseless chatting, have driven holy messengers of Heaven away from the Office.
"The deportment, words and acts, of all in that Office should be reserved, modest, humble and disinterested, as was their Pattern, Jesus, the dear Saviour. They should seek God and obtain righteousness. The Office is not the place for sport, for visiting, for idlers, for laughing or useless words. All should feel that they are doing a work for their Master. These truths which they read, that they act their part to arrange to get before the people, are invitations of mercy, are reproofs, are threatenings, warnings or encouragements. They are doing their work. They are savors of life unto life, or of death unto death. If rejected, the judgment must decide the matter. The prayer of all in the Office should be, O God! make these truths which are of such vital importance clear to the comprehension of the humblest minds. May angels accompany these silent preachers and bless their influence, that souls may be saved by these humble means.
"The heart should go out in fervent prayer, while the hands are busy, and Satan will not find such ready access, and the soul, instead of being lifted up unto vanity, will be constantly refreshed, will be like a watered garden. Angels will delight to be near these souls. Their presence will be continually encouraged by those engaged in the work. A power will attend the truths published. Divine rays of light from the heavenly sanctuary will attend the precious truths sent forth, those who read will be refreshed and strengthened, and souls who are opposed to truth will be convicted and compelled to say, These things are so, they cannot be gainsayed.
"All, I saw, should feel that the Office is a holy place, as sacred as the house of God. But God has been dishonored by the frivolity and lightness that has been indulged in by some connected with the work. Strangers from abroad, I saw, often went away from the Office disappointed. They had associated it with everything sacred; but when they saw the youth, or any one connected with the Office, possessing but little gravity, and careless in words and acts, the impression they took away caused them to doubt, after all, if this is really the work of God to prepare a people for translation to Heaven. May God bless this to all concerned."
We returned north, and on our way held a good meeting at West Windsor, and on reaching home held meetings at Fairplains and Orleans, and gave some attention to the matter of building, planted garden, and set out grapes, blackberries, raspberries, and strawberries. Then in company with a good delegation we returned to the General Conference at Battle Creek.
The first Sabbath on our way we spent at Orleans, and observed the fast. It was a day of great solemnity with us. We sought to humble ourselves before God, and with brokenness of spirit, and much weeping, we all prayed fervently that God would bless and strengthen us to do his will at the Conference. We had some faith and hope that our captivity would be turned at the meeting.
When we came to Battle Creek, we found our previous efforts had not accomplished that which we had hoped. Reports and jealousy still existed, and my soul was filled with intense anguish. I wept aloud for some hours, unable to restrain my grief. While in conversation with a friend with whom I had been acquainted for twenty-two years, he related to me reports that he heard that we were extravagant in expending means.
I enquired wherein had we been extravagant. He named the purchase of an expensive chair. I then related the circumstances. My husband was greatly emaciated, and it was most painful and exceedingly wearisome for him to sit any length of time in a common rocking-chair, and for this reason he would lie down upon the bed or lounge a great share of the time. I knew this was no way for him to obtain strength. I begged him to sit up more; but the chair was an objection. On my way east to attend the bedside of my dying father, I left my husband at Brookfield, N. Y., and while at Utica, looked for a spring, sofa-seat chair. They did not have one made at the price I wished to pay, which was about fifteen dollars. They offered me a very excellent chair without rockers, but with rollers, price thirty dollars, for seventeen. I knew this was the chair in every respect. But the brother with me urged me to get a chair which we would have to wait to have made, and which was only three dollars less. The chair offered for seventeen dollars possessed the real value in itself. But I yielded to the judgment of another, waited to see the cheaper chair put together, paid for the chair myself, and it was carried to my husband. I met this report in Wisconsin and Iowa. Who can condemn me? I would, had I the same to do over again, do as I did, with this exception: I would rely upon my own judgment, and purchase a chair costing a few dollars more, and worth double the one I got. Satan sometimes so influences minds that bowels of mercy do not exist. The iron seems to enter the heart, and the human and divine drop out.
Other reports had also reached me that a sister had stated in Memphis and Lapeer that the Battle Creek church had not a particle of confidence in sister White's testimony. The question was asked if they had reference to the written testimony. The answer was, No, not to her published visions, but the testimonies borne in meeting to the church, because her life contradicts them. I again requested an interview with a few select, experienced brethren and sisters, including the individuals who had circulated these things. I there requested, wherein my life had not been in accordance with my teachings, that they would now show me. If my life had been so inconsistent as to warrant the statement that the church at Battle Creek had not a particle of confidence in my testimony, it could not be a difficult matter to present the proofs of my unchristian course.
They could not produce anything to justify the statements made. Confessions were there made that they were all wrong in the reports circulated, and that their suspicions and jealousies were unfounded. I freely forgave those who had injured us, and told them all I would ask on their part was to counteract the influence they had exerted against us, and I would be satisfied. They promised to do this, but have not done it.
There were many things, either utterly false or greatly exaggerated, bearing against us, freely talked over in different families at the time of the Conference, and most looked upon us, especially my husband, with suspicion. A crushing feeling was with some of influence. We were in want, and my husband had tried to sell loose property, and he was thought to be wrong for this. He had stated his willingness to have his brethren make up the loss of our cow, and this was looked upon as a grievous sin. We supposed our property at Battle Creek as good as sold, and bought and began to build in Greenville. As we could not sell, in our cramped position my husband wrote to different brethren to hire money. For this they condemned him, and charged him with the sin of grasping for money. And the brother minister most active in this work was heard to say, "We do not want Bro. N. to buy Bro. White's place, for we want his money for the Health Institute." What could we do? No way could we turn but we must be blamed. Only sixty-five hours before my husband was stricken down, he stood until midnight in a house of worship calling for $300.00 to finish paying for that house; and to give his call force he headed the subscription with $10.00 for himself and $10.00 for me. Before midnight the sum was nearly raised.
The elder of that church was an old friend, and in our extreme want and friendless condition my husband wrote to him, stating that we were in want, and if that church now wished to return the $20 we would receive it. At the time of the Conference this brother called on us and made the matter a serious wrong. But before he came to our house he had taken some stock at least in the general infection. We felt these things most keenly, and if we had not been especially sustained by the Lord we could not have borne our testimony at the Conference with any degree of freedom.
Before we returned from the Conference, brethren Andrews, Pierce, and Bourdeau, had a special season of prayer at our house, in which we were all greatly blessed, especially my husband. This gave him courage to return to our new home. And then commenced his keen sufferings in regard to his teeth, and our labors reported in the Review. He stopped preaching only one week in his toothless condition, but labored at Orange, Wright, in the church at home, at Greenbush and Bushnell, as before, preaching and baptizing.
After returning from the Conference, a great uncertainty came upon me in relation to the prosperity of the cause of God. Doubts existed in my mind where none had been six months before. I viewed God's people as partaking of the spirit of the world, imitating its fashions, getting above the simplicity of our faith. And it seemed that at Battle Creek they were backsliding from God, and it was impossible to arouse their sensibilities. The testimonies given me of God had the least influence, and were the least heeded in Battle Creek of any part of the field. I trembled for the cause of God. I knew that God had not forsaken his people; but their sins and iniquities had separated them from God. At Battle Creek is the great heart of the work. Every pulsation is felt by the members of the body all over the field. If this great heart is in health, a vital circulation will be diffused all through the body of Sabbath-keepers. If the heart of the work is diseased, the languishing condition of every branch of the work will attest the fact.
My interest was in this work. My life was interwoven with it. If Zion prosper, I am happy. If she languish, I am sad, desponding, discouraged. I saw that God's people were in an alarming condition, and his favor was being removed from them. I pondered upon this sad picture, day and night, and have plead in bitter anguish, "O Lord, give not thine heritage to reproach. Let not the heathen say, Where is their God?" I felt cut loose from every one at the head of the work, and was virtually standing alone. I dared not trust any where. In the night I have awakened my husband, saying, "I am afraid I shall become an infidel." Then I would cry for the Lord to save me by his own powerful arm. I could not see as the testimonies I had borne were regarded, and entertained thoughts that perhaps my work in the cause was done. We had appointments at Bushnell, but I told my husband that I could not go. He soon returned from the post office, with a letter from Bro. Matteson, containing the following dream:
"DEAR BROTHER WHITE: May the blessing of God be with you, and these lines find you still prospering and improving in health and spiritual strength. I feel very thankful to the Lord for his goodness to you and trust that you may yet enjoy perfect health and freedom in the proclamation of the last message.
"I have had a remarkable dream about you and Sr. White, and feel it to be my duty to relate the same to you as far as I can remember. I dreamed that I related the dream to Sr. White, as well as the interpretation thereof, which also was given me in the dream. When I awoke something urged me to get up and write down all the particulars, lest I should forget them, but I neglected to do so, partly because I was tired, and partly because I thought it was nothing but a dream. But seeing that I never dreamed of you before, and that this dream was so intelligent, and so intimately connected with you, I have come to the conclusion that I ought to tell you. The following is all that I can remember of it:
"I was in a large house where there was a pulpit somewhat like those we use in our meeting-houses. On it stood many lamps which were burning. But these lamps needed a constant supply of oil. Quite a number of us were engaged in carrying oil and filling into the lamps. Bro. White was busily engaged, with his companion. And I noticed that Sr. White filled in more oil than any other. Then Bro. White went to a door which opened into a warehouse, where there were many barrels with oil. He opened the door and went in, and Sr. White followed. Just then a company of men came along. They carried a great quantity of black stuff that looked like soot. Then they heaped it all upon Bro. and Sr. White, until they were completely covered with it. I felt much grieved and looked anxiously to see the end of these things. I could see Bro. and Sr. W. both working hard under the soot to get out from it. After a long struggle they came out as bright as ever. The evil men and the soot all disappeared. Then Bro. and Sr. White engaged again more heartily than ever in supplying the lamps with oil, but Sr. W. still had the precedence.
"I dreamed that the following was the interpretation. The lamps represented the remnant people. The oil, the truth and heavenly love, of which God's people need a constant supply. The people engaged in supplying the lamps were the servants of God laboring in the harvest. Who the evil company were in particular I could not tell, but they were men moved upon by the Devil, who directed their evil influence specially against Bro. and Sr. White. They were in great distress for a season, but were at last delivered by the grace of God, and their earnest struggle and efforts. Then finally the power of God rested upon them, and they acted a prominent part in the proclamation of the last message of mercy. But Sr. White had a richer supply of heavenly wisdom and love than the rest.
"This dream has rather strengthened my confidence in the Lord, that he will lead you out and finish the work of restoration that is begun, and that you shall once more enjoy the Spirit of God as you did in times past, yea more abundantly. Forget not that humility is the door that leads to the rich supplies of the grace of God. May the Lord bless you and your companion and children, and grant us to meet in the heavenly kingdom.
"Yours in bonds of Christian love.
"Oakland, Wis., July 15, 1867."
This dream gave me some encouragement. I had confidence in Bro. Matteson. His case had been shown me in vision, before I had seen him with my natural eyes, in contrast with L. G. Bostwick, of Wisconsin. The latter was utterly unworthy the name of Christian, much less to be a messenger. Bro. Matteson was shown me possessing humility, and if he maintained consecration to God, he was being qualified to point souls to the Lamb of God. Bro. Matteson had no knowledge of my trials of mind. Not a line had ever passed between us, and the dream coming when and from whom it did, looked to me like the hand of God reached forth to help me.
We had upon us the care of building with hired money, which caused perplexity. We kept up our appointments, and labored extremely hard all through the hot weather. And, for want of means went into the field together, hoeing, raking and cutting hay. I took the fork and built the stack, while my husband, with his feeble arms, pitched the hay to me. I took the brush and painted the inside of much of our house. In these things we both wearied ourselves too much. Finally, I suddenly failed and could do no more. I fainted several mornings, and my husband had to attend the Greenbush Grove Meeting without me.
Our, old hard-riding carriage had been killing us and our team. Long journeyings with it, the labors of meetings, home labors and cares, were too much for us, and I feared that my work was done. My husband tried to encourage me, and urged me to start out again to fill our appointments at Orange, Greenbush, and Ithaca. Finally, I resolved to start, and, if I was no worse, continue the journey. I rode ten miles kneeling in the carriage on a cushion, and leaned my head upon another in my husband's lap. He drove, and supported me. The next morning I was some better, and decided to go on. God helped us to speak in power to the people at Orange, and a glorious work was done for backsliders and sinners.
At Greenbush I had freedom and strength given me. At Ithaca the Lord helped us to speak to a large congregation whom we had never met before.
In our absence, brethren King, Fargo and Maynard decided that we should, in mercy to ourselves and team, have a light, comfortable carriage, so on our return took my husband to Ionia and purchased the one we now have. This was just what we needed, and would have saved me much weariness in traveling in the heat of summer.
At this time came earnest requests for us to attend the Convocation Meetings in the West. As we read these touching appeals, we wept over them. My husband would say to me, "Ellen, we cannot attend these meetings. At best I could hardly take care of myself on such a journey, and should you faint, what could I do? But Ellen, we must go;" and as he would thus speak, his tearful emotions would choke his utterance. In return, while pondering on our feeble condition, and the state of the cause West, and feeling that the brethren needed our labors, I would say, "James, we cannot attend those meetings West--but we must go." At this point, several of our faithful brethren, feeling our condition, offered to go with us. This was enough to decide the matter.
In our new carriage we left Greenville, Aug. 29, to attend the general gathering at Wright. Four teams followed us. The journey was a comfortable one, and very pleasant in company with sympathizing brethren. The meeting was one of victory.
September 7 and 8 we enjoyed a precious season with the brethren in Allegan county, assembled at Monterey, and had an excellent meeting.
Here we met Bro. Loughborough who had begun to feel the wrongs existing in Battle Creek, and was mourning over the part he acted in connection with these wrongs, which had injured the cause and brought cruel burdens upon us. By our request he accompanied us to Battle Creek. But before we left Monterey, he related to us the following dream:--
"When Bro. and Sr. White came to Monterey, Sept. 7th, they requested me to accompany them to Battle Creek. I hesitated about going, thinking that it might be duty to still follow up the interest in Monterey, and thinking, as I expressed to them, that there was but little opposition to them in Battle Creek. After praying over the matter several days, I retired one evening anxiously soliciting the Lord for light in the matter.
"I dreamed that myself, with a number of others, members of the Battle Creek church, were on board a train of cars. The cars were low,--I could hardly stand erect in them. They were illy ventilated, having an odor in them as though they had not been ventilated for months. The road over which they were passing was very rough, and the cars shook about at a furious rate, sometime causing our baggage to fall off, and sometimes throwing off some of the passengers. We had to keep stopping to get on our passengers and baggage, or repair the track. We seemed to work sometime and make little or no headway. We were indeed a sorry-looking set of travelers.
"All at once we came to a turn-table, large enough to take on the whole train. Bro. and Sr. White were standing there, and as I stepped off the train, both of them said, "This train is going all wrong. It must be turned square about." They both laid hold of cranks that moved the machinery, turning the table, and tugged with all their might. Never did men work harder propelling a hand-car than they did at the cranks of the turn-table. I stood and watched till I saw the train beginning to turn, when I spoke out and said, "It moves," and laid hold to help them. I paid but little attention to the train, we were so intent upon performing our labor of turning the table.
"When we had accomplished this task, we looked up, and the whole train was transformed. Instead of the low, illy-ventilated cars, on which we had been riding, they were broad, high, well-ventilated cars, with large, clear windows. The whole trimmed and gilded in a most splendid manner,--more elegant than any hotel, or palace car I ever saw. The track was level, smooth and firm. The train was filling up with passengers whose countenances were cheerful and happy, yet there was an expression on them of assurance and solemnity. All seemed to express the greatest satisfaction in the change which had been wrought, and the greatest confidence in the successful passage of the train. Bro. and Sr. White were on board, this time. Their countenances were lit up with holy joy. As the train was starting, I was so overjoyed I awoke, with the impression on my mind that that dream referred to the church, and matters connected with the cause in Battle Creek. My mind was perfectly clear in regard to my duty to go to Battle Creek, and to lend a helping hand in the work there. Glad am I now that I have been here to see of the blessing of the Lord, accompanying the arduous labors of Bro. and Sr. White in setting things in order here.
"J. N. LOUGHBOROUGH."
Before we left Monterey, Bro. Loughborough handed me the following dream in writing, which he had about the time of the death of his wife. This was also a matter of encouragement to me:--
"'The prophet that hath a dream, let him tell a dream.' Jer. xxiii, 28.
"One evening, after meditating upon the afflictions of Bro. and Sr. White, their connection with the work of the third angel's message, and my own lack in standing by them through their affliction; and after trying to confess my wrongs to the Lord, and imploring his blessing upon Bro. and Sr. White, I retired to rest.
"I thought in my dream that I was in my native town, at the foot of a long side-hill. I spoke with considerable earnestness and said, Oh! that I might find that all-healing fountain! I thought a beautiful, pleasant, well-dressed young man came along, and said very pleasantly, 'I will conduct you to the spring.'
"He led the way, and I tried to follow on. We went along the hill-side, passing with much difficulty three boggy, wet places, through which small streams of muddy water were flowing, which there was no other way of crossing only to wade through. Having accomplished this, we came on to nice, hard ground, and a place where there was a jog in the bank, and a large spring of the purest, sparkling water was boiling up. A large vat was placed there, very much like the plunge-tub at the Health Institute at Battle Creek. A pipe was running from the spring to the vat, at one end, and the water was overflowing at the other. The sun was shining brightly, and the water sparkled in its rays.
"As we approached the spring the young man said nothing, but looked toward me and smiled with a look of satisfaction, and waved one hand toward the spring, as much as to say, Don't you think that is an all-healing spring? Quite a large company of persons came up to the spring on the opposite side from us, and Bro. and Sr. White were at their head. They all looked pleasant and cheerful, yet a holy solemnity seemed to be on their countenances.
"Bro. White seemed greatly improved in health, cheerful and happy, but looked tired, as though he had been walking quite a distance. Sr. White had a large cup in her hand, which she dipped in the spring and drank of the water, and then passed it to the others. I thought Bro. White was addressing the company, and said to them, 'Now you will have a chance to see the effects of this water.' He drank of it, which instantly revived him, as well as all others who drank of it, and caused a look of vigor and strength in their countenances. I thought while Bro. White was talking and taking once in awhile a draught of the water, he clapped his hands on the side of the vat and plunged in three times. Every time he came up he was stronger and stronger, but kept talking all the while, and exhorting others to come and bathe in 'the fountain,' as he then called it, and drink its healing stream. His voice, as well as that of Sr. White seemed melodious. I felt a spirit of rejoicing to think I had found the spring. Sr. White was coming toward me with a cup of the water to drink. I rejoiced to such an extent that I awoke before I drank of the water.
"The Lord grant that I may drink largely of that water, for I believe it is none other than that of which Christ spoke, which will 'spring up unto everlasting life.'
"J. N. LOUGHBOROUGH.
"Monterey, Mich., Sept. 8, 1867."
On the fourteenth and fifteenth of Sept. we held profitable meetings at Battle Creek. Here my husband with freedom struck a bold blow at some sins of those who stand in high places in the cause, and for the first time in twenty months attended evening meetings, and preached evenings. A good work was begun, and the church, as published in Review, gave us the pledge to stand by us, if on our return from the West we would continue our labors with them.
In company with Bro. and Sr. Maynard, and brethren Smith and Olmstead, we attended the large western meetings, the principal victories of which have been fully given in the Review.
While attending the meetings in Wisconsin I was quite feeble. I had labored far beyond my strength at Battle Creek, and nearly fainted in the cars on the journey. It was with difficulty I spoke to the people. I had for four weeks suffered much with my lungs. Sabbath evening a fomentation was applied over my throat and lungs, but the head cap was forgotten, and the difficulty of the lungs was driven to the brain.
In the morning, as I arose from my bed, I felt a singular sensation upon the brain. Voices seemed to vibrate upon the brain, and everything seemed to be swinging before me. As I walked, I reeled, and came near falling to the floor. I took my breakfast, hoping to be relieved by so doing, but the difficulty only increased. I grew very sick and could not sit up. I vomited freely. Sr. Sanborn gave me a bath, and I lay down. My husband came to the house after the forenoon meeting, saying that he had given an appointment for me to speak to the people in the afternoon. It did seem impossible for me to stand before the people. My husband asked what subject I would speak upon. I could not gather or retain a sentence in my mind. I thought, if God will have me speak he will surely strengthen me. I will venture by faith. I can but fail. I staggered to the tent with a strangely-confused brain. I told the preaching brethren on the stand if they would sustain me by their prayers, I would speak. I stood before the people in faith, and in about five minutes my head and lungs were relieved. I spoke without difficulty to fifteen hundred eager listeners, more than one hour. After I ceased speaking a sense of the goodness and mercy of God came over me, and I could not forbear rising again and relating my sickness and the blessing of God which had sustained me while I was speaking. I have been improving in health since that meeting. My lungs have been greatly relieved.
In the West we met reports amounting to little less than slander against my husband, which were current at the time of the General Conference and were carried to all parts of the field. As a sample I will state one. It was that my husband was so crazy for money that he had engaged in selling old bottles. The facts are these. When we were about to move, I asked my husband what we should do with a lot of old bottles on hand. Said he, "Throw them away." Just then our Willie came in and offered to clean and sell the bottles. I told him to do so, and he should have what he could get for them. And when my husband rode to the post office, he took Willie and the bottles into the carriage. He could do no less for his own faithful, little son. Willie sold the bottles and took the money.
On their way to the post office my husband took a brother connected with the Review Office into the carriage, who conversed pleasantly with my husband as they rode to and from the post office, and because this brother saw Willie come out to the carriage and ask his father a question relative to the value of the bottles, and then saw the druggist in conversation with my husband relative to that which so much interested Willie, he immediately, without saying one word to my husband about it, reported that he had been down town selling old bottles, and therefore must be crazy. The first we heard about the bottles was in Iowa, five months after.
These things have been kept from us, so that we could not correct them, and have been carried, as it were, upon the wings of the wind by our professed friends. And we have been astonished to find by investigation and by recent confessions from nearly all the members of this church that some one or more of the false reports have been fully credited by nearly all, and feelings of censure, bitterness, and cruelty have been kindled in the breasts of those professed Christians to almost a flame against us, especially against my feeble husband who is struggling for life and liberty. Some have had a wicked, crushing spirit, and have represented him as wealthy, yet grasping for money.
My husband called for a counsel of brethren to meet with the church before whom matters could be investigated, and have false reports met. Brethren from different parts of the State came. My husband has fearlessly called on all to bring what they could against him that he might meet it openly, and thus put an end to this private slander. He fully confessed his wrongs which he had before confessed in the Review, in public meeting, and to individuals, and explained many matters upon which false and foolish charges were based, which convinced all of the falsity of the charges.
And while looking up matters relative to the real value of our property, to his astonishment, and that of all present, we found that it amounted to only $l500.00, his horses and carriage, and remnants of editions of books and charts, the sale of which for the past year, as stated by the secretary, has not been equal to the interest on the money he owes to the Publishing Association. These books and charts at present cannot be regarded of much value, and certainly not to us in our present condition.
When in health my husband had no time to keep accounts, and during his sickness his matters were in the hands of others. The inquiry arose, What has become of his property? Had he been defrauded? Had mistakes been made in his accounts? Or had he, in the unsettled condition of his affairs, given to this and that good object, not knowing his real ability to give, and not knowing how much he gave?
As one good result of the investigation, confidence in those who have had charge of accounts relative to our matters is unshaken, and there are no good reasons to account for our limited means on the ground of errors in the accounts. Therefore, in looking over his business matters for ten years, and his liberal manner of handing out means to help the cause in all its branches, the best and most charitable conclusion is that our property has been used in the cause of present truth. My husband has kept no accounts, and what he has given can be traced only from memory and what has been receipted in the Review. The fact that we are not worth but a little, appearing at this time when my husband has been represented as wealthy and still grasping for more, has been a matter of rejoicing to us, as it is the best refutation of the false charges which threatened our influence and Christian character.
Our property may go, and we will still rejoice in God, if it be used to the advancement of his cause. And we have cheerfully spent the best of our days, the best of our strength, and have worn nearly out in the same cause, and feel the infirmities of premature age, and yet we will rejoice. But when our professed brethren represent us as wealthy, worldly, grasping for more, and bleed our character and influence, it is then we feel keenly. Let us enjoy the character and influence we have dearly earned for the past twenty years, with even poverty and a slight hold on health and this mortal life, and we will rejoice, and cheerfully give to the cause the little there is left of us.
The investigation was a thorough one, and resulted in freeing us from the charges brought against us, and restoring feelings of perfect union. Hearty, and heart-rending confessions of the cruel course toward us here have been made, and the signal blessing of God has come upon us all. Backsliders have been reclaimed, sinners have been converted, and forty-four have been buried in baptism. My husband baptized sixteen, and Brn. Andrews and Loughborough, twenty-eight. We are encouraged, yet much worn. My husband and myself have had the burden of the work which has been very laborious and exciting. How we have, in our feeble state, gone through with the investigation, with the feelings of nearly all against us, endured the preaching, the exhortations, late evening meetings, and at the same time prepared this work--my husband working with me copying and preparing it for the printers, and reading proof--God only knows. Yet we have passed through it, and hope in God that he will sustain us in our future labors.
We now believe that much in the foregoing dreams was given to illustrate our trials arising from wrongs existing at Battle Creek, our labors in clearing ourselves from cruel charges, and also our labors, with the blessing of God, in setting things right. If this view of the dreams be correct, may we not hope, from other portions of them not yet fulfilled, that our future will be more favorable than the past?
In concluding this narrative, I would say that we are living in a most solemn time. In the last vision given me, I was shown the startling fact that but a small portion of those who now profess the truth will be sanctified by it, and be saved. Many will get above the simplicity of the work. They will be conformed to the world, cherish idols, and become spiritually dead. The humble, self-sacrificing followers of Jesus will pass on to perfection, leaving the indifferent, and lovers of the world, behind.
I was pointed back to ancient Israel. But two of the adults of that vast army that left Egypt entered the land of Canaan. Their dead bodies were strewn in the wilderness because of their transgressions.
Modern Israel is in greater danger of forgetting God and being led into idolatry than was God's ancient people. There are many idols which are worshiped even by professed Sabbath-keepers. God especially charged his ancient people to guard against idolatry, for if they should be led away from serving the living God his curse would rest upon them. If they would love him with all their heart, with all their soul, and with all their might, he would abundantly bless them in basket and in store, and would remove sickness away from the midst of them.
A blessing or a curse is now before the people of God; a blessing if they come out from the world and be separate, and walk in the path of humble obedience; and a curse if they unite with the idolatrous, who trample upon the high claims Heaven has upon them. The sins and iniquities of rebellious, ancient Israel are recorded and the picture presented before us as warnings, that if we imitate their example of transgression, and depart from God, we shall as surely fall as did ancient Israel. "Now all these things happened unto them for ensamples; and they are written for our admonition upon whom the ends of the world are come."
RESPONSE FROM THE BATTLE CREEK CHURCH.
WE esteem it a privilege as well as a duty to respond to the foregoing statement of Sr. White. We have been favored with an acquaintance of many years with the labors of these servants of the Lord. We have known something of their sacrifices in the past, and have been witnesses of the blessing of God that has attended their plain, searching, faithful testimony. We have long been convinced that the teachings of the Holy Spirit in these visions were indispensable to the welfare of the people who are preparing for translation into the kingdom of God. In no other way can secret sins be rebuked, and base men who "creep in unawares" into the flock of God, be exposed and baffled in their evil designs. Long experience has taught us that such a gift is of inestimable value to the people of God.
We believe also that God has called Bro. White to bear a plain testimony in reproving wrongs thus made manifest, and that in this work he should have the support of those who truly fear God.
We have learned by painful experience, also, that when these testimonies are silent, or their warning lightly regarded, coldness, backsliding, worldly-mindedness and spiritual darkness take possession of the church. We would not give glory to man; but we should be recreant to our sense of duty not to speak in strong and pointed language our views of the importance of these testimonies. The fearful apostasy of those who have slighted and despised them has furnished many sad proofs of the dangerous business of doing despite to the Spirit of grace.
We have been witnesses of the great affliction through which Bro. and Sr. White have passed in the severe and dangerous sickness of Bro. White. The hand of God in his restoration is to us most apparent. Probably no other one upon whom such a blow has fallen, ever recovered. Yet a severe shock of paralysis, seriously affecting the brain, has, by the good hand of God, been removed from his servant, and new strength granted him both in body and mind.
We think the action of Sr. White in taking her sick husband on her northern tour, in December last, was dictated by the Spirit of God. And that we, in standing opposed to such action, did not move in the counsel of God. We lacked heavenly wisdom in this matter, and thus erred from the right path. We acknowledge ourselves to have been, at this time, lacking in that deep Christian sympathy that was called for by such great affliction; and that we have been too slow to see the hand of God in the recovery of Bro. White. His labors and sufferings in our behalf entitled him to our warmest sympathy and support.
But we have been blinded by Satan, in respect to our own spiritual condition.
A spirit of prejudice respecting means came over us during the past winter that caused us to feel that Bro. W. was asking for means when he did not need it. We now ascertain that at this very time he was really in want; and we were wrong in that we did not inquire into the case as we should. We acknowledge that this feeling was unfounded and cruel, though it was caused by misapprehension of the facts in the case.
We now accept with deep sorrow of heart the reproof given us in this testimony, and we ask that wherein we have erred from the right, through our lack of spiritual discernment, we may find forgiveness of God and of his people.
The labors of Bro. and Sr. White with us for a few days past have been attended with the signal blessing of God. Not only have deep and heartfelt confessions of backsliding and wrong been made, but solemn vows of repentance and of returning to God have accompanied them. The spirit of God has set its seal to this work in such a manner that we cannot doubt. Many of the young have been brought to Christ, and nearly every person connected with this church has received a share of this heavenly blessing.
Let our brethren abroad understand that our hearts are in sympathy with Bro. and Sr. White, and we believe them called of God to the responsible work in which they are engaged, and that we pledge ourselves to stand by them in this work.
In behalf of the church.
J. N. ANDREWS, >
J. N. LOUGHBOROUGH, >
JOSEPH BATES, >
D. T. BOURDEAU, >> Committee.
A. S. HUTCHINS, >
JOHN BYINGTON, >
At a meeting of the church, Monday evening, Oct. 21, the foregoing report was unanimously adopted.
URIAH SMITH, >
G. W. AMADON, > Elders.
"Cutting and Slashing."
THIS expression is often used to represent the manners and words of those who reprove those who are wrong, or are supposed to be wrong. It is properly applied to those who have no duty to reprove their brethren, yet are ready to engage in this work in a rash and unsparing manner. It is improperly applied to those who have a special duty to do in reproving wrongs in the church. Such have the burden of the work, and feel compelled, from a love of precious souls, to deal faithfully.
From time to time for the past twenty years the Lord has shown me that he had qualified my husband for the work of faithfully dealing with the erring, and had laid the burden upon him, and if he should fail to do his duty in this respect he would incur the displeasure of the Lord. I have never regarded his judgment infallible, nor his words inspired; but I have ever believed him better qualified for this work than any other one of our preachers because of his long experience, and because I have seen that he was especially called and adapted to the work; and, also, because, when some have risen up against his reproofs, I have, in many cases, been shown that he was right in his judgment of matters, and in his manner of reproving.
In regard to reproving, an accusing spirit has followed my husband, by those reproved, and their sympathizers, for twenty years, which has worn upon him more than any one of the cruel burdens he has unjustly borne. And when he fell beneath his burdens, many of those who had been reproved rejoiced; and from a mistaken idea of my view of his case, Dec. 25, 1865, were much comforted with the thought that the Lord at that time reproved him for "cutting and slashing." This is all a mistake. I saw no such thing.
That my brethren may know what I saw in the case of my husband, I give the following, which I wrote and handed to him the next day after I had the vision:
I was shown in vision, Dec. 25, 1865, the case of the servant of the Lord, my husband, Elder James White. I was shown that God had accepted his humiliation, and the afflicting of his soul before him, and had accepted his confessions of his lack of consecration to God, and his repentance for the errors and mistakes in his course which has caused him such sorrow and despondency of mind during his protracted illness.
I was shown that his greatest wrong in the past, has been an unforgiving spirit toward his brethren who have injured his influence in the cause of God, and brought upon him extreme suffering of mind by their wrong course. He was not as pitiful and compassionate as our heavenly Father has been toward his erring, sinning, repenting children. Those who have caused him the greatest suffering, when they heartily and fully came up to the point, and acknowledged their wrongs, he could and did forgive, and could fellowship them as brethren. But although the wrong was healed in the sight of God, yet he sometimes in his own mind probed that wound, and by referring to the past he suffered it to fester and make him unhappy. A murmuring spirit came in against his brethren, and against the Lord, that he had in his past course suffered so much when he thought it might be avoided. In this way he lived over the past and revived his past trials which should have passed into oblivion, instead of his embittering his life with such unprofitable remembrances. He has not always realized the pity and love that should be exercised toward those who have been so unfortunate as to fall under the temptations of Satan. They were the real sufferers, the losers, not he, as long as he was steadfast, possessing the Spirit of Christ. And when these souls should begin to see their errors, they had a hard battle to work their way to the light by humble confessions. They had Satan to contend with, their own proud spirit to overcome, and they needed help from those who were in the light to bring them from their blind, discouraging, condition, where they could begin to hope and obtain strength to bruise Satan under their feet.
I saw that my husband has been too exacting toward those who were wrong, and had injured him. He let dissatisfied feelings dwell in his heart, which could be of no benefit to the erring, and could but make his own heart very unhappy, and unfit him for the peace of God to dwell there, which would lead him in everything to give thanks to God.
I saw that God had permitted his mind to be desponding in regard to his own errors and mistakes; and to despair nearly of the forgiveness of God, not because his sins were of such magnitude, but to give him an experience how painful and agonizing to be without the forgiveness of God, and that he might understand this scripture, "If ye forgive not men their trespasses, neither will your Heavenly Father forgive you your trespasses." I saw that if God should be as exacting and deal with us as we deal with one another, we might all be thrown into a state of hopeless despair.
I was shown that God had suffered this affliction to learn us much that we could not otherwise have learned in so short a time. The Lord would have us go to Dansville, for our experience could not be thorough without it. It was necessary for us to see, and more fully understand that it was impossible for his people who obey the truth and are keeping his commandments, to live up to their convictions of duty, and unite with the leaders at Dansville; and their principles, so far as serving God is concerned, cannot unite any better than oil and water. It is only those of the purest principles and the greatest independence of mind, who think and act for themselves, having the fear of God before them, and trusting in him, who can safely remain any length of time at "Our Home." Those who are not thus qualified should not be recommended to that Institution, for their minds will become bewildered by their smooth words, and poisoned by their sophistry which originates with Satan.
Their influence and teachings in regard to the service of God, and a religious stand, is in direct opposition to the teachings of our Saviour and his disciples. By precept and example they lower the standard of piety, and say that Christians, in order to be followers of Christ, must not separate from the world, but can mingle with the world, and participate in its pleasures, and they need not sorrow for their sins. These leaders would not encourage their adherents to imitate the life of Christ in prayerfulness, sobriety, and dependence upon God. Persons of conscientious minds and firm trust in God cannot receive one-half the benefit at "Our Home" that those can who have confidence in the religious principles of the leaders of that institution. Such have to stand braced against much of their teachings, so far as religious principles are concerned, sifting everything they hear lest they should be deceived and Satan obtain advantage over them.
I saw that, as far as disease and its treatment is concerned, "Our Home" is the best Health Institution in the United States. Yet the leaders there are but men, and their judgment is not always correct. Dr. J. would have his patients believe that his judgment is perfect, even as the judgment of God. Yet he often fails. He exalts himself as God before his patients, and fails to exalt the Lord as their only dependence.
Those who have no trust or confidence in God, who can see no beauty in holiness, or the cross-bearing life of the Christian, can receive the most benefit at "Our Home" of any Health Institution in the United States. The great secret of their success is the control they have over the minds of their patients.
I saw that my husband and myself could not receive the benefit that many could of different experience and faith. Said the angel, "God has not designed that the mind of his servant, whom he has chosen for a special purpose, to do a special work, should be controlled by any living man, for that is His prerogative alone.
I saw that angels of God kept us while we were at Dansville. They were round about us, sustaining us every hour. But the time came when we could not benefit, nor be benefited, and then the cloud of light, which had rested with us there, moved away, and we could find rest only in leaving Dansville and going among the brethren in Rochester where the cloud of light rested.
I saw that God would have us go to Dansville for several reasons. Our position while there, the earnest prayers offered, the manifest trust we had in God, the cheerfulness, courage, hope and faith, he inspired us with amidst our afflictions, had its influence, and was a testimony to all that the Christian had a source of strength and happiness that the lovers of pleasure were strangers to. God gave us a place in the hearts of all of influence at "Our Home," and in the future as the patients now there should be scattered to their different homes, our labors will bring us again to their notice, and when we are assailed, some at least, will be our defenders.
Again, in going to Dansville the Lord would have us be benefited by an experience which we would not obtain while at Battle Creek, surrounded with sympathizing brethren and sisters. We must be separated from them lest we should lean upon them, instead of leaning upon, and trusting in, the Lord alone. Separated almost entirely from God's people, we were shaken from every earthly help, and led to look to God alone. In thus doing we obtained an experience we could not have had if we were not at Dansville.
When my husband's courage and hope began to waver, then we could not benefit any one at Dansville, and we could not be benefited by a further experience in that place. God would not have my husband remain there shorn of his strength, but it was his will in his state of weakness that he should go among his bretheren who could help him bear his afflictions. In our affliction, while separated from God's people, we had an opportunity for reflection, and to carefully review our past life, to see the mistakes and wrongs, and humble ourselves before God, and to seek his face by confessions, humility, and frequent, earnest prayers. While engaged in active labor, bearing the burdens of others, pressed with many cares, it was impossible for us to find time to reflect and carefully review the past, and learn the lessons God saw it was necessary we should learn. I was then shown that God could not glorify his name by answering the supplications of his people, and raising my husband to health in answer to their prayers while we were at Dansville. It would be like uniting his power with the power of darkness. Had God been pleased to manifest his power in restoring my husband, the physicians at "Our Home" would have taken the glory which should be given to God.
Said the angel, "God will be glorified in the restoration of his servant to health. God has heard the prayers of his servants. His arms are beneath his afflicted servant. God has the case, and he must, although afflicted, dismiss his fears, his anxiety, his doubts and unbelief, and calmly trust in the great yet merciful God, who pities, loves, and cares for him. He will have conflicts with the enemy, but should ever be comforted with the remembrance that a stronger than the enemy has charge of him, and he need not fear. By faith rely on the evidences God has been pleased to give, and he will gloriously triumph in God."
I saw that God was giving us an experience which would be of the highest value to us in the future in connection with his work. We are living in a solemn time, the closing scenes of this earth's history, and God's people are not awake. They must arouse and make greater progress in reforming their habits of living, in eating, in dressing, in laboring and resting. In all these they should glorify God and be prepared to battle our great foe, and to enjoy the precious victories God has in reserve for those who are exercising temperance in all things, while striving for an incorruptible crown.
I saw that God was fitting up my husband to engage in the solemn, sacred work of reform, which he designs shall progress among his people. It is important that instructions should be given by ministers in regard to living temperately. They should show the relation which eating, working, resting and dressing, sustain to health. All who believe the truth for these last days, have something to do in this matter. This reform concerns them, and God requires them to arouse and interest themselves in this matter. He will not be pleased with their course if they regard this question with indifference.
The abuses of the stomach, and gratification of appetite, are the fruitful source of most church trials. Those who eat and work intemperately and irrationally, talk and act irrationally. An intemperate man cannot be a patient man. It is not necessary to drink alcoholic liquors in order to be intemperate. The sin of intemperate eating, eating too frequently, too much, and of rich, unhealthy food, destroys the healthy action of the digestive organs, and affects the brain, and perverts the judgment, destroying rational, calm, healthy thinking and acting. And this is a fruitful source of church trials. Therefore in order for the people of God to be in an acceptable state with him, where they can glorify God in their bodies and spirits which are his, they must, with interest and zeal, deny themselves, deny the gratification of their appetites, and exercise temperance in all things. Then may they comprehend the truth in its beauty and clearness, and carry it out in their lives, and by a judicious, wise, straight-forward course, give the enemies of our faith no occasion to reproach the cause of truth. God requires all who believe the truth to make special, persevering efforts to place themselves in the best possible conditions of bodily health, for a solemn and important work is before us. Health of body and mind is required for this work, and is as necessary for a healthy religious experience, and to advance in the Christian life, and progress in holiness, as the hand or foot is necessary to the human body. This great work God requires of his people, to cleanse themselves from all filthiness of the flesh and spirit, perfecting holiness in the fear of the Lord. All those who are indifferent and excuse themselves from engaging in this work, and leave the work which God requires them to do for the Lord to do for them, will be found wanting when the meek of the earth, who hath wrought his judgments, are hid in the day of the Lord's anger.
I was shown that if God's people, without making efforts on their part, wait for the refreshing to come upon them and remove their wrongs and correct their errors, and depend upon that to cleanse them from filthiness of the flesh and spirit, and fit them to engage in the loud cry of the third angel, they will be found wanting. The refreshing, or power of God, comes only on those who have prepared themselves for it by doing the work which God bids them, namely, to cleanse themselves from all filthiness of the flesh and spirit, perfecting holiness in the fear of God. In some respects, I was shown, my husband's case is similar to those waiting for the refreshing. If he should wait for the power of God to come upon his body and to feel that he was made whole before he made efforts, or acted in accordance with his faith, saying, When the Lord heals me I will believe and do this or that, he might continue to wait, and would realize no change; for the fulfillment of God's promise is only realized by those who believe and work in accordance with their faith. I saw that he must believe God's word, that his promises are for him to claim, and they will never, no never, fail. He should walk out by faith, relying upon the evidences that God has been pleased to give, and act toward the point of being a well man as much as possible. Said the angel, "God will sustain him. His faith must be made perfect by works; for faith alone is dead. It must be sustained by works. A living faith is always manifested by works."
I saw that my husband would be inclined to shrink from making efforts in accordance with his faith. Fear and anxiety in regard to his own case has made him timid. He looks at appearances, at disagreeable feelings of the body. Said the angel, "Feeling is not faith. Faith is simply to take God at his word." I saw that in the name and strength of God my husband must resist disease, and, by the power of his will, rise above his poor feelings. He must assert his liberty in the name and strength of Israel's God. He must cease thinking and talking about himself as much as possible. He should be cheerful and happy.
I did see, Dec. 25, 1865, as I have many times before seen, that Eld. M. E. Cornell had often erred and had done much harm by a rash, unfeeling course toward those he supposed were in fault. I had often seen that his work was in new fields, and that when he should bring a company out upon the present truth, he should leave the work of disciplining them to others, as his style of dealing, arising from his lack of judgment, rash spirit, and want of patience, disqualified him for this work.
I will here give the testimony I had for Bro. C. written Dec. 26, 1865, to show what I did see in his case, and because of the general application of much of the testimony, and also, because he has made no response whatever to what I saw Dec. 25, 1865, only in stating to others that the Lord in that view reproved my husband for cutting and slashing.
I would here state that another object in giving the following testimony is that our brethren may more fully understand that Bro. C.'s work is in new fields, and that they may not set temptations in his way to leave his work, by urging him to labor here and there among the churches, and to settle here or there.
BRO. CORNELL: I was shown, Dec. 25, 1865, that a good work had commenced in Maine. Especially was the field of labor shown me where a company has been raised up as fruits of the labors of Bro. Andrews and yourself, where they had manifested their interest and love for the truth by erecting a house of worship.
There is yet a great work to be done for this company. Quite a number have been converted to the theory of the truth. They see a beauty in the connecting chain of truth, all uniting in a harmonious, perfect whole. They love the principles of the truth, yet have not realized its sanctifying influence. Some have decided from the weight of evidence, yet are exposed to the perils of these last days, such as the deceptions and snares of Satan laid for the inexperienced, through Satan's agents, even ministers who despise the truth, and trample upon the law of God themselves, and teach all who will listen to them to do the same.
These souls have received unpopular truth, and cannot be safe only as they make God their trust, and are sanctified by the truth which they profess. They have taken an important step, and now need a religious experience which will make them sons and daughters of the Most High God, and heirs to the immortal inheritance purchased for them by his dear Son.
Those who have been instrumental in presenting the truth to them should not withdraw their labors at this important period. They should still persevere in their efforts, until they are gathered into the fold of Christ.
This people should receive sufficient instruction for them to understandingly obtain the evidence for themselves that the truth is to them salvation.
I saw that God would do a still greater work in Maine if all who labor in the work are consecrated to God, and trust, not to their own strength, but labor in the Strength of Israel.
I was shown that brethren Andrews and Cornell have labored hard, and have not had the rest they should have given themselves to preserve health. With care should they labor, observing periods of rest. With this rest their physical and mental vigor will be retained, and their labor be much more efficient. Bro. Cornell is a nervous man, and moves much from impulse. Mental depression influences his labor very much. At times he feels a want of freedom and thinks it is because others are in darkness or wrong, or that something is the matter, he can hardly tell what, and he makes a drive somewhere, and upon somebody, which is liable to do great harm.
If he would quiet himself when in this restless, nervous condition, and rest, and calmly wait on God, and enquire if the trouble was not in himself, he would save wounding his own soul, and wounding the precious cause of God.
I saw that Bro. Cornell was in danger of becoming elevated and lifted up, if he was enabled in his discourses to strongly move the feelings of the congregation. He would often think himself the most effectual preacher on that account. He deceives himself sometimes here. Although he may be for the time the most acceptable preacher, yet he may fail to accomplish the most good. It is not an evidence that a preacher is the most useful who can affect the feelings to the greatest degree.
When Bro. Cornell is humble, and makes God his trust, then can he do much good. Angels come to his help, and he is blessed with clearness and freedom. But Bro. Cornell, after a time of special victory, has been too often lifted up, and thought himself equal to anything, that he was something, when he was only an instrument in the hands of God. After such seasons, angels of God have left him to his own weak strength, then he would too frequently charge upon his brethren and the people the darkness and weakness he felt, when he was the one at fault.
At such times he frequently bears down upon this one, and that one, and, while in this unhappy state of mind, feels that he must remove, and commence labor elsewhere, when his work is not half done.
I saw that Bro. Cornell was in danger of going into battle in his own strength, and he will find that strength but weakness in the conflict. He has often been successful in combats with opposers of our faith, while he made God his trust. But he has sometimes felt elated with the victory God has given truth over error, and he has taken the glory to himself in these conflicts. Self has been magnified in his eyes. I was shown that in his two last combats he did not engage in them with the right spirit.
Previous to the first he became exalted, while he was flattered by men who love not the truth. As he listened to, and acted some part in a discussion carried on between two who were neither of them in the faith, Bro. Cornell became lifted up, and thought himself sufficient to enter the battle with any one. And while he was so confident, he was in the very act, shorn of his strength.
God was displeased with his disregard of the counsel of Bro. Andrews. His sufficient spirit came near making the discussion an utter failure. At these special combats, unless there is a decided gain, there is always a loss. They should never be rushed into heedlessly, but every move should be made cautiously, with the greatest wisdom, for far more is pending than in a national battle. Satan and his host are all astir at these conflicts with truth and error, and if the advocates of truth go not into battle in the strength of God, Satan will manage to out-general them every time.
In the second combat there was much, very much at stake. Yet here again Bro. Cornell failed. He did not engage in that conflict feeling his weakness, and in humility and simplicity rely in upon the strength of God. He again felt a sufficiency in himself. His past victories had lifted him up. He thought that the powerful victories he had gained, were very much in his aptness in using the powerful arguments furnished in the Word of God.
I was shown that the advocates of truth should not seek discussions. But whenever it is necessary for the advancement of the cause of truth and the glory of God, that an opponent be met, how carefully, and with what humility, should the advocates of truth go into the conflict. They should, with heart-searching confessions of sins, and earnest prayer, and often fasting for a time, entreat that God would especially help them, and give his saving, precious truth, a glorious victory, that error might appear in its true deformity, and its advocates be completely discomfited. Those who battle for the truth, and meet opposers of the truth, should realize that they are not meeting merely a man, but that they are contending with Satan and his angels, who are determined that error and darkness should retain the field, and the truth be covered up with error. As error is more in accordance with the natural heart, it is taken for granted to be clear, because men who are at ease, love error and darkness, rather than to be reformed by the truth. They do not love to come to the light, lest their deeds should be reproved.
If those who stand in vindication of the truth, trust in the weight of argument, with but a feeble reliance upon God, and thus meet opponents of truth, nothing will be gained on the side of truth, but there will be a decided loss. Unless there is an evident victory in favor of truth, the matter is left worse than before the conflict. Those who might have formerly had convictions in regard to the truth, set their minds at rest, and decide that error is truth, because in their darkened state they cannot perceive that the truth had the advantage.
These two last discussions did but little to advance the cause of God, and it would have been better had they not occurred. Bro. Cornell did not engage in them with a spirit of self-abasement, and with a firm reliance upon God. He was puffed up by the enemy, and had a spirit of self-sufficiency and confidence, not becoming a humble servant of Jesus Christ. He had on his own armor, not the armor of God.
Bro. Cornell, God had provided you with a laborer of deep experience, and the ablest in the field. He was one who had been acquainted in his own experience with the wiles of Satan, one who had passed through most intense mental anguish. He had been permitted in the all-wise providence of God to feel the heat of the refining furnace, and there learned that every refuge but God would fail, and every prop upon which he could lean for support would prove but as broken reeds. You should have realized that Bro. Andrews had as deep an interest in the discussion as yourself, and you should have listened, in the spirit of humility, to his counsel, and been benefited with his instructions. But Satan had an object to gain here, to defeat the purpose of God, and he stepped in to take possession of your mind, and thereby thwart the work of God. You rushed into battle in your own strength, and angels left you to carry it on. But God in mercy to his cause would not suffer the enemies of his truth to obtain a decided victory, and in answer to the earnest, agonizing prayers of his servant, angels came to the rescue. There was not an utter failure, but a partial victory, that the enemies of his truth should not exult over the believers in the truth. Nothing was gained by that effort, when there might have been a glorious triumph of truth over error. There were two of the ablest advocates of truth by your side. You three men, with the strength of truth, against one man who was seeking to cover up truth with error. You could in God have been a host, had you entered the conflict right. Your self-sufficiency caused it to be almost an entire failure.
Never should you enter a discussion where so much is at stake, relying upon your aptness to handle strong arguments. You should, in the spirit of humility, in the spirit of Jesus, who has bid you learn of him, who is meek and lowly in heart, with firm trust in God enter the conflict, if it cannot be well avoided. And then in order to glorify God and exemplify the character of Christ, you should never take any unlawful advantage of your opponent. You should lay aside sarcasm and playing upon words. Remember, you are in a combat with Satan and his angels, as well as the man. Jesus, who overcame Satan in Heaven, and vanquished the fallen foe and expelled him from Heaven, and who died to redeem fallen man from his power, when at the grave of Moses, disputing about his body, did not bring against him a railing accusation, but said, "The Lord rebuke thee."
In your two last discussions you despised counsel, and would not listen to God's servant whose whole soul was devoted to the work. God in his providence provided you an adviser, whose talents and influence entitled him to your respect and confidence, and it could in no way injure your dignity to be guided by his experienced judgment. God's angels marked your self-sufficiency, and with grief turned from you. He could not safely display his power in your behalf, for you would have taken the glory to yourself, and your future usefulness would be of but little account. I saw, Bro. Cornell, that you should not, in your labors, lean upon your own judgment, which has so often led you astray. You should lean to the judgment of those of experience, and stand not upon your own dignity, and feel so self-sufficient that you cannot take the advice and counsel of experienced fellow-laborers.
Your wife has been no special help to you, but rather a hindrance. Had she received and heeded the testimonies given her more than two years ago, she would now be a strong helper with you in the gospel. But she has not received and really acted upon that testimony. If she had, her course would have been entirely different. She has not been consecrated to God. She shuns burdens, and loves her ease, and does not deny herself. She indulges in indolence, and her example is not praise-worthy, or worthy of imitation, but an injury to the cause of God. At times she exerts a powerful influence over you, especially if she feels home-sick or discontented. Again, in church affairs she has an influence over you. She forms her opinion of this brother or that sister, and expresses dislike or strong attachment, while it has frequently been the case that the very ones she takes into her heart have been a source of great trial to the church. Her unconsecrated state leads her to feel very strong attachments to those who manifest great confidence and love for her, while precious souls whom God loves may be passed coldly by, because no fervent expressions of attachment are heard from them toward herself and Bro. Cornell. And yet the love of these very souls is true, and is to be more highly prized than that of those who make such protestations of their regard. The opinion your wife forms has a great influence on your mind. You often think as she thinks, and take it for granted that she is correct, and you often act in church matters accordingly.
You must exemplify the life of Christ, for solemn responsibilities rest upon you. Your wife is responsible to God for her course. If she is a hindrance to you, she must render an account to God. Sometimes she arouses and humbles herself before God, and is a real help. But she soon falls back into the same inactive state, shunning responsibilities, excusing herself from mental and physical labor. Her health would be far better were she more active, and would she engage more cheerfully and heartily in physical and mental labor. She has the power, the ability, but has not the will, the disposition, and will not persevere in cultivating a love for activity. God cannot do anything for her in her present condition. She has something to do to arouse herself and devote to God her physical and mental energies. God requires it of her, and she will be found an unprofitable servant in the day of God, unless there is a living up to the light he has given, and a thorough reformation on her part. Until this reformation takes place, she should not be at all united with her husband in his labors.
God will bless Bro. Cornell and sustain him, if he moves forward in humility, leaning upon the judgment of experienced fellow-laborers.
Be Not Deceived.
THE work of Satan is to deceive, and lead God's people from a right course. He will leave no means untried. He will come upon them where they are least guarded, hence the importance of fortifying every point. The Battle Creek church did not mean to turn against us. They are as good a church as lives. But there is much at stake at Battle Creek, and Satan will bring all his artillery against them, if by so doing he can hinder the work. We deeply sympathize with this church in their present humbled condition, and would say, Let not a spirit of triumph arise in any heart. God will heal all the wrongs of this dear people, and yet make them a mighty defense of his truth if they walk humbly and watch and guard every point of the attacks of Satan. This people is kept continually under the fire of the enemy. No other church would probably stand it as well, therefore look with a pitying eye toward your brethren at Battle Creek, and pray God to help them in keeping the fort.
When my husband was inactive, and I was kept at home on his account, Satan was pleased, and no one was pressed by him to cast upon us such trials as are mentioned in the foregoing pages. But when we started out Dec. 19, 1865, he saw that there was a prospect of our doing something in the cause of Christ to the injury of his cause, and that some of his deceptions upon the flock of God would be exposed. He felt called upon to do something to hinder us. And in no way could he so effectually do this as to lead our old friends at Battle Creek to withdraw their sympathy from us, and cast burdens upon us. He took the advantage of every unfavorable circumstance, and drove matters as by steam power.
But, thank God, he did not stop us, nor fully crush us. Thank God that we still live, and that he has returned graciously to bless his erring, but now repenting, confessing people. Brethren, let us love them the more, and pray for them the more, now that God manifests his great love unto them.
ELLEN G. WHITE.
Reformed Dress Patterns.
IWILL furnish patterns of the pants and sack, to all who wish them; free to those not able to pay; to others for not less than 25 cents a set. The paper costs me 6 cents a pattern. Address me at Greenville, Montcalm Co., Mich. I shall take them with me wherever I travel, until all are supplied.
ELLEN G. WHITE.
To Our Friends.
WE would express our gratitude to friends who have kindly sent us means to pay for our new carriage and harness. We have responded to many of these donations by letter. If we have not responded to all, let those who have received none, notify us of the fact at Greenville, Montcalm Co., Mich., where we hope to hear from many of our old friends. We will, as we find time, respond to your letters.
ELLEN G. WHITE.