I saw that the wives of the ministers should help their husbands in their labors and be exact and careful what influence they exert, for they are watched, and more is expected of them than of others. Their dress should be an example. Their lives and conversation should be an example, savoring of life rather than of death. I saw that they should take a humble, meek, yet exalted stand, not having their conversation upon things that do not tend to direct the mind heavenward. The great inquiry should be: “How can I save my own soul, and be the means of saving others?” I saw that no half-hearted work in this matter is accepted of God. He wants the whole heart and interest, or He will have none. Their influence tells, decidedly, unmistakably, in favor of the truth or against it. They gather with Jesus, or scatter abroad. An unsanctified wife is the greatest curse that a minister can have. Those servants of God that have been and are still so unhappily situated as to have this withering influence at home, should double their prayers and their watchfulness, take a firm, decided stand, and let not this darkness press them down. They should cleave closer to God, be firm and decided, rule well their own house, and live so that they can have the approbation of God and the watchcare of the angels. But if they yield to the wishes of their unconsecrated companions, the frown of God is brought upon the dwelling. The ark of God cannot abide in the house, because they countenance and uphold them in their wrongs.
Our God is a jealous God. It is a fearful thing to trifle with Him. Anciently, Achan coveted a golden wedge and a Babylonish garment, and secreted them, and all Israel suffered; they were driven before their enemies. And when Joshua inquired the cause, the Lord said: “Up, sanctify the people, and say, Sanctify yourselves against tomorrow: for thus saith the Lord God of Israel, There is an accursed thing in the midst of thee, O Israel: thou canst not stand before thine enemies, until ye take away the accursed thing from among you.” Achan had sinned, and God destroyed him and all his household, with all they possessed, and wiped the curse from Israel.
I saw that the Israel of God must arise and renew their strength in God by renewing and keeping their covenant with Him. Covetousness, selfishness, love of money, and love of the world, are all through the ranks of Sabbathkeepers. These evils are destroying the spirit of sacrifice among God’s people. Those that have this covetousness in their hearts are not aware of it. It has gained upon them imperceptibly, and unless it is rooted out, their destruction will be as sure as was Achan’s. Many have taken the sacrifice from God’s altar. They love the world, love its gain and increase, and, unless there is an entire change in them, they will perish with the world. God has lent them means; it is not their own, but God has made them His stewards. And because of this, they call it their own and hoard it up. But, oh, how quick, when the prospering hand of God is removed from them, it is all snatched away in a moment! There must be a sacrificing for God, a denying of self for the truth’s sake. Oh, how weak and frail is man! How puny his arm! I saw that soon the loftiness of man is to be brought down, and the pride of man humbled. Kings and nobles, rich and poor, alike shall bow, and the withering plagues of God shall fall upon them.
Number Three—Testimony for the Church
Chapter 25—Be Zealous and Repent
Dear Brethren and Sisters,
The Lord has shown me in vision some things concerning the church in its present lukewarm state, which I will relate to you. The church was presented before me in vision. Said the angel to the church: “Jesus speaks to thee, ‘Be zealous and repent.’” This work, I saw, should be taken hold of in earnest. There is something to repent of. Worldly-mindedness, selfishness, and covetousness have been eating out the spirituality and life of God’s people.
The danger of God’s people for a few years past has been the love of the world. Out of this have sprung the sins of selfishness and covetousness. The more they get of this world, the more they set their affections on it; and still they reach out for more. Said the angel: “It is easier for a camel to go through a needle’s eye, than for a rich man to enter into the kingdom of God.” Yet many who profess to believe that we are having the last note of warning to the world, are striving with all their energies to place themselves in a position where it is easier for a camel to go through a needle’s eye than for them to enter the kingdom.
These earthly treasures are blessings when rightly used. Those who have them should realize that they are lent them of God and should cheerfully spend their means to advance His cause. They will not lose their reward here. They will be kindly regarded by the angels of God and will also lay up a treasure in heaven.
I saw that Satan watches the peculiar, selfish, covetous temperament of some who profess the truth, and he will tempt them by throwing prosperity in their path, offering them the riches of earth. He knows that if they do not overcome their natural temperament, they will stumble and fall by loving mammon, worshiping their idol. Satan’s object is often accomplished. The strong love of the world overcomes, or swallows up, the love of the truth. The kingdoms of the world are offered them, and they eagerly grasp their treasure and think they are wonderfully prospered. Satan triumphs because his plan has succeeded. They have given up the love of God for the love of the world.
I saw that those who are thus prospered can thwart the design of Satan if they will overcome their selfish covetousness by laying all their possessions upon the altar of God. And when they see where means are needed to advance the cause of truth and to help the widow, the fatherless, and afflicted, they should give cheerfully and thus lay up treasure in heaven.
Heed the counsel of the True Witness. Buy gold tried in the fire, that thou mayest be rich, white raiment that thou mayest be clothed, and eyesalve that thou mayest see. Make some effort. These precious treasures will not drop upon us without some exertion on our part. We must buy—“be zealous and repent” of our lukewarm state. We must be awake to see our wrongs, to search for our sins, and to zealously repent of them.
I saw that the brethren who have possessions have a work to do to tear away from these earthly treasures and to overcome their love of the world. Many of them love this world, love their treasure, but are not willing to see it. They must be zealous and repent of their selfish covetousness, that the love of the truth may swallow up everything else. I saw that many of those who have riches will fail to buy the gold, white raiment, and eyesalve. Their zeal does not possess intensity and earnestness proportionate to the value of the object of which they are in pursuit.
I saw these men while striving for the possessions of earth; what zeal they manifested, what earnestness, what energy to obtain an earthly treasure that must soon pass away! What cool calculations they made! They plan and toil early and late, and sacrifice their ease and comfort for earthly treasure. A corresponding zeal on their part to obtain the gold, white raiment, and eyesalve will bring them in possession of these desirable treasures and life, everlasting life, in the kingdom of God. I saw that if any need eyesalve, it is those who have earthly possessions. Many of them are blind to their own state, blind to their firm grasp upon this world. Oh, that they may see!
“Behold, I stand at the door, and knock: if any man hear My voice, and open the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with Me.” I saw that many have so much rubbish piled up at the door of their heart that they cannot get the door open. Some have difficulties between themselves and their brethren to remove. Others have evil tempers, selfish covetousness, to remove before they can open the door. Others have rolled the world before the door of their heart, which bars the door. All this rubbish must be taken away, and then they can open the door and welcome the Saviour in.
Oh, how precious was this promise, as it was shown to me in vision! “I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with Me.” Oh, the love, the wondrous love of God! After all our lukewarmness and sins He says: “Return unto Me, and I will return unto thee, and will heal all thy backslidings.” This was repeated by the angel a number of times. “Return unto Me, and I will return unto thee, and will heal all thy backslidings.”
Some, I saw, would gladly return. Others will not let this message to the Laodicean church have its weight upon them. They will glide along, much after the same manner as before, and will be spewed out of the mouth of the Lord. Those only who zealously repent will have favor with God.
“To him that overcometh will I grant to sit with Me in My throne, even as I also overcame, and am set down with My Father in His throne.” We can overcome. Yes; fully, entirely. Jesus died to make a way of escape for us, that we might overcome every evil temper, every sin, every temptation, and sit down at last with Him.
It is our privilege to have faith and salvation. The power of God has not decreased. His power, I saw, would be just as freely bestowed now as formerly. It is the church of God that have lost their faith to claim, their energy to wrestle, as did Jacob, crying: “I will not let Thee go, except Thou bless me.” Enduring faith has been dying away. It must be revived in the hearts of God’s people. There must be a claiming of the blessing of God. Faith, living faith, always bears upward to God and glory; unbelief, downward to darkness and death.
I saw that the minds of some of the church have not run in the right channel. There have been some peculiar temperaments that have had their notions by which to measure their brethren. And if any did not exactly agree with them, there was trouble in the camp at once. Some have strained at a gnat and swallowed a camel.
These set notions have been humored and indulged altogether too long. There has been a picking at straws. And when there were no real difficulties in the church, trials have been manufactured. The minds of the church and the servants of the Lord are called from God, truth, and heaven to dwell upon darkness. Satan delights to have such things go on; it feasts him. But these are none of the trials which are to purify the church and that will in the end increase the strength of God’s people.
I saw that some are withering spiritually. They have lived some time watching to keep their brethren straight—watching for every fault to make trouble with them. And while doing this, their minds are not on God, nor on heaven, nor on the truth; but just where Satan wants them—on someone else. Their souls are neglected; they seldom see or feel their own faults, for they have had enough to do to watch the faults of others without so much as looking to their own souls or searching their own hearts. A person’s dress, bonnet, or apron takes their attention. They must talk to this one or that one, and it is sufficient to dwell upon for weeks. I saw that all the religion a few poor souls have consists in watching the garments and acts of others, and finding fault with them. Unless they reform, there will be no place in heaven for them, for they would find fault with the Lord Himself.
Said the angel: “It is an individual work to be right with God.” The work is between God and our own souls. But when persons have so much care of others’ faults, they take no care of themselves. These notional, faultfinding ones would often cure themselves of the habit if they would go directly to the individual they think is wrong. It would be so crossing that they would give up their notions rather than go. But it is easy to let the tongue run freely about this one or that one when the accused is not present.
Some think it is wrong to try to observe order in the worship of God. But I have seen that it is not dangerous to observe order in the church of God. I have seen that confusion is displeasing to the Lord, and that there should be order in praying and also in singing. We should not come to the house of God to pray for our families unless deep feeling shall lead us while the Spirit of God is convicting them. Generally, the proper place to pray for our families is at the family altar. When the subjects of our prayers are at a distance, the closet is the proper place to plead with God for them. When in the house of God, we should pray for a present blessing and should expect God to hear and answer our prayers. Such meetings will be lively and interesting.
I saw that all should sing with the spirit and with the understanding also. God is not pleased with jargon and discord. Right is always more pleasing to Him than wrong. And the nearer the people of God can approach to correct, harmonious singing, the more is He glorified, the church benefited, and unbelievers favorably affected.
I have been shown the order, the perfect order, of heaven, and have been enraptured as I listened to the perfect music there. After coming out of vision, the singing here has sounded very harsh and discordant. I have seen companies of angels, who stood in a hollow square, everyone having a harp of gold. At the end of the harp was an instrument to turn to set the harp or change the tunes. Their fingers did not sweep over the strings carelessly, but they touched different strings to produce different sounds. There is one angel who always leads, who first touches the harp and strikes the note, then all join in the rich, perfect music of heaven. It cannot be described. It is melody, heavenly, divine, while from every countenance beams the image of Jesus, shining with glory unspeakable.
Chapter 26—The East and the West
The Lord has shown me in vision some things in regard to the East and the West which I feel it my duty to set before you. I saw that God has been opening the way for the spread of present truth in the West. It requires much more power to move the people in the East than in the West, and at present but very little can be accomplished in the East. Special efforts should be made at the present time where most good will result.
The people in the East have heard the proclamation of the second coming of Christ, and have seen much of the display of the power of God, and have fallen back into a state of indifference and security where it is almost impossible to reach them at present. After uncommon efforts are made in the East, with the best gifts, but very little is accomplished.
I saw that the people in the West could be moved much more easily than those in the East. They have not had the light of the truth, and have not rejected it, and their hearts are more tender and susceptible to the truth and the Spirit of God. The hearts of many in the West are already prepared to eagerly receive the truth; and as the servants of God go out to labor for the salvation of precious souls, they have much to encourage them in their arduous work. As the people are anxious to hear, and many embrace the truth, the gift which God has given His servants is called out and strengthened. They see that their efforts are crowned with success.
I saw that tenfold more has been accomplished in the West than in the East with the same effort, and that the way is opening for still greater success. I have seen that much can be done at present in Wisconsin, and still more in Illinois, and that efforts to spread the truth must be made in Minnesota and Iowa. It will take effect in many hearts there. There was a large, very large, field of labor spread out before me in vision, which has not yet been entered; but there is not self-sacrificing help enough to fill half the places where the people are all ready to hear the truth, and many to receive it.
New fields of labor, entirely new, must be visited; many will have to go a warfare at their own charges, enter such fields with the expectation of bearing their own expenses. Here, I saw, is a good opportunity for the stewards of the Lord to act their part and support those who carry the truth to these places. It should be a great privilege for these stewards to render to God that which belongs to Him. By so doing they will discharge a Scriptural duty and free themselves of a portion of their earthly treasure, which is now a burden to many who have an abundance. It will also add to their treasure in heaven.
I saw that the Eastern tent should not be carried over and over the same ground. If need be, those who accompany the tent should go a warfare at their own charges; they should pitch the tent where the truth has not been presented, and the tent when thus pitched should be well supplied with laborers.
I saw that there had been a failure in going over the same old ground, year after year, with almost exactly the same gifts. If possible, the most acceptable gifts should be obtained. It would be better, and accomplish more good, if there were fewer tent meetings, and a stronger force, or company, with different gifts to labor. Then there should be a longer tarry in a place where an interest is awakened. There has been too much haste in taking down the tent. Some begin to be favorably impressed, and there is need that persevering efforts be put forth till their minds become settled and they commit themselves on the truth. In many places where the tent has been pitched, the ministers stay till the prejudice begins to wear away, and some would then listen with minds free from prejudice; but just then the tent is taken down and sent on its way to another place. The rounds are gone over, time and means spent, and the servants of God can see but very little accomplished through the tent season. But few are brought to acknowledge the truth, and God’s servants, having seen but very little to cheer and encourage them, and call out the gift within them, lose instead of gaining in strength, spirituality, and power.
I saw that special efforts should be made in the West with tents; for the angels of God are preparing minds there to receive the truth. This is why God has moved on some in the East to move to the West. Their gifts can accomplish more in the West than in the East. The burden of the work is in the West, and it is of the greatest importance that the servants of God should move in His opening providence.
Testimonies for the Church, Vol. 1 pp. 139-148
Discussion Questions – Day 14:
- What did you think of today’s reading?
- Did you have any questions?
- Did anything challenge you?
- How were you blessed? What will you apply to your life?
- What was something new that you learned?