Chapter 46—Fanaticism in Wisconsin
I saw that the Lord especially directed my husband in going west last fall instead of going east as he at first decided. In Wisconsin there was a wrong to be corrected. The work of Satan was taking effect, and would destroy souls if not rebuked. The Lord saw fit to choose one who had had experience with fanaticism in the past, and had witnessed the working of Satan’s power. Those who received this instrument of God’s choosing were corrected, and souls were rescued from the snare which Satan had prepared for them.
I was shown that this device of Satan would not have taken so readily in Wisconsin if the minds and hearts of God’s people had been united and in union with the work. The spirit of jealousy and suspicion still existed in the minds of some. The seed sown by the Messenger party had not been entirely rooted out. And while they professed to receive the third angel’s message, their former feelings and prejudices had not been given up. Their faith was adulterated, and they were prepared for Satan’s deception. Those who drank in the Messenger spirit must make clean work, and have every particle of it rooted out, and receive the spirit of the third angel’s message, or it will cleave to them like the leprosy, making it easy for them to draw off from their brethren in present truth. It will be easy for them to think that they can go, an independent company, alone to heaven, and easy for them to fall into Satan’s snare. He is very unwilling to let go his hold in Wisconsin. He has other deceptions prepared for those who are not united with the body.
I saw that persons who had been so enshrouded in darkness and deception that Satan had controlled not only the mind but the body, would have to take a most humble place in the church of God. He will not commit the care of His flock to unwise shepherds, who would mistake and feed them poison instead of wholesome food. God will have men care for the flock who can feed them with clean provender, thoroughly winnowed. Oh, what a blot, what a reproach, have these fanatical movements brought upon the cause of God! And those who held so fast to this spirit of dark fanaticism, notwithstanding the plain evidences that it was from Satan, are not to be relied upon; their judgment is not to be considered of any weight. God sent His servants to Brother and Sister G. They despised correction, and chose their own course. Brother G was jealous and stubborn, and his future course must be marked with great humility; for he has proved himself unworthy of the confidence of God’s people. His heart is not right with God, neither has it been for a long time.
I saw that Satan’s object has been to lead persons in Wisconsin into gross fanaticism. He has controlled their minds, and led them to act in accordance with the deception they were under. When his object was accomplished, and they had run the length of the course which he had marked out for them, he was willing that they should acknowledge that wrong, and then he would try to push them to an opposite extreme, to deny the gifts and operations of God’s Spirit. Satan took advantage of Brother and Sister G’s lack of union with the body. They desired to take an independent course, and to lead instead of yielding to be led. Brother G has a jealous disposition, which, together with his independence, has kept him to one side; for with this spirit he could not be a true yokefellow with his ministering brethren. Sister G is of a jealous disposition, and possesses much firmness. She lacks experience, and has not been sound in the faith or united with the body. Her heart has risen up against the gifts of the church. There was a lack of meekness and humility in her articles sent to the Review for publication.
Everything seemed prepared for the work of Satan. He led many on to lay aside reason and judgment, and to be governed by impressions. The Lord requires His people to use their reason, and not lay it aside for impressions. His work will be intelligible to all His children. His teaching will be such as will commend itself to the understanding of intelligent minds. It is calculated to elevate the mind. God’s power is not manifested upon every occasion. Man’s necessity is God’s opportunity.
I was shown companies in confusion, exercised by a wrong spirit, all making loud prayers together, some crying one thing and some another; and it was impossible to tell what was piped and what was harped. “God is not the author of confusion, but of peace.” Satan stepped in and controlled matters as he pleased. Reason and health were sacrificed to this delusion.
God does not require His people to imitate Baal’s prophets, to afflict their bodies and cry out and shout, and throw themselves into almost every attitude, having no regard for order, until their strength fails through sheer exhaustion. Religion does not consist in making a noise; yet when the soul is filled with the Spirit of the Lord, sweet, heartfelt praise to God glorifies Him. Some have professed to have great faith in God, and to have special gifts and special answers to their prayers, although the evidence was lacking. They mistook presumption for faith. The prayer of faith is never lost; but to claim that it will be always answered in the very way and for the particular thing we have expected, is presumption.
When the servants of God visited —— and ——, this delusion was sifted. Evidence was given that this work was spurious. But the spirit of fanaticism was stubborn, and would not yield to the light there given. Oh, that those who were in error had been corrected by God’s servants whom He sent to them! Then and there God wished them to acknowledge that they had been led by a wrong spirit. Then there would have been virtue in the confession of their wrongs. Then they would have been saved any further following out of Satan’s plans, and would have made no further progress in this dreadful delusion. But they would not be convinced. Brother G had sufficient light to take his stand against that fanatical work; but he would not decide from the weight of evidence. His stubborn spirit refused to yield to the light brought him by the servants of God; for he had regarded them with suspicion, and watched them with a jealous eye.
I saw that the greater the light which the people reject, the greater will be the power of deception and darkness which will come upon them. The rejection of truth leaves men captives, the subjects of Satan’s deception. After the Conferences at —— and ——, the subjects of this delusion were left to still greater darkness, to enter deeper into this strong delusion, and bring upon the cause of God a stain which would not soon be wiped away. A fearful responsibility is resting upon Brother G. While professing to be a shepherd he suffered the devourer to enter the flock, and looked on while the sheep were torn and devoured. God’s frown is upon him. He has not watched for souls as one who must give account.
I was pointed back, and saw that God had not blessed his labors for some time past. The Lord’s hand has not been with him to build up the church, and convert souls to the truth. His heart is not right with God. He has not possessed the spirit of the third angel’s message. He shut himself away from union and sympathy with God’s people before this delusion arose, and this is one reason why he was left in such darkness. God does not leave His faithful, consecrated servants in darkness as to the character of such a fanatical spirit, to raise no cry to warn the people. When the servants of God brought the light, and raised their voices against this delusion, he knew not the voice of the True Shepherd speaking through them; his jealousy and stubbornness led him to regard it as the voice of a stranger. Shepherds of the flock, above all others, should understand the voice of the Chief Shepherd. God wants His people to be a holy and powerful people. When the spirit of holiness and perfect love abounds in the heart, working in those who profess the name of Christ, it will be like a refining fire, consuming the dross and scattering the darkness. Whatever is of the spirit of Satan takes the attitude of defense, and quickly works out its own destruction. But truth will triumph.
Chapter 47—Concealing Reproofs
I was shown the course of H and I. Although reproved, they have not corrected their wrongs. The people of God, especially in the State of New York, have been affected by their wrong course. Their influence has been injurious to the cause of God. For the last ten years they have been often presented before me in vision, their wrongs have been shown me, and I have written to them concerning these things. But they were careful to conceal from their brethren the fact that they had been reproved, fearing it would have a tendency to destroy their influence. Those who were affected by their wrong course, should have been benefited by the reproofs which they received. I should have placed these messages in the hands of judicious brethren in the church, that if necessary, all might understand the instruction the Lord saw fit to give His people. But when I related the messages given me for these brethren to anyone but themselves, they censured me in the most unsparing manner. This caused me so much suffering of mind that I have been led to conceal what the Lord has given me in regard to the wrongs of individuals.
It was pride of heart which led these brethren to manifest so much fear lest others should know that they had been corrected. If they had humbly confessed their wrongs to the church, they would have acted out the faith they professed to have in the visions, and the church would have been strengthened to receive correction and confess their faults. These teachers stood in the way of the flock. They set them a wrong example, and the church have looked to them, and when reproved have inquired: “Why have not these ministers been reproved, when we are following their teachings?” A door has thus been opened for Satan to tempt them as to the truthfulness of the visions.
The brethren have been deceived and wronged. They believed that we were in union with these teachers, and followed their instructions, when they were all wrong. I have written to these ministers in anguish of spirit as I have seen the cause of God wounded by their injudicious course. How anxiously have I watched the effect of these messages. But they laid them aside, and the brethren were not permitted to know anything about them, therefore could not be benefited by the instructions which the Lord saw fit to give.
My labor has been most discouraging, as I have seen that what God designed has not been accomplished. Often I have inquired in distress: Of what account is all my labor? These brethren took this position: We believe the visions, but Sister White, in writing them, put in her own words, and we will believe that portion which we think is of God, and will not heed the other. This course they have pursued, and have not corrected their lives. They have professed to believe the visions, but have acted contrary to them. Their example and influence have raised doubts in the minds of others. It would have been better for the cause of present truth had they both opposed the gifts. Then the people would not have been deceived, and would not have stumbled over these blind teachers. We have hoped and prayed that they might get right, and exert a good influence upon the flock; but hope has died, and we cannot, dare not, hold our peace longer. We have wronged the church of God, in that we have not spoken out before.
Chapter 48—The Cause in Ohio
Since our visit to Ohio in the spring of 1858, H has done what he could to exert an influence against us; and where he thought he could affect individuals, he has done so by circulating reports to stir up wrong feelings. When we visited Ohio in the spring of 1858, a message was given me in regard to him and his family. This testimony was given to him. But very few persons knew that I had a message for him. He rose in rebellion against it, and, like some others who have been reproved, took the position that persons had prejudiced my mind against his family, when the vision pointed out the same faults in them that I had repeatedly seen for ten years. He said that he believed the visions, but that I was influenced by others in writing them.
What a conclusion! The Lord has a special work to perform through one of the acknowledged gifts, but suffers the message given to be adulterated before it reaches the person whom He wishes to correct! Of what use are the visions if persons regard them in this light? They put their own construction upon them, and feel at liberty to reject that portion which does not agree with their feelings. H knows that every word of the vision given for him in Ohio was correct. And when he could keep the message from the church no longer (for it was called for, and read at the —— Conference last fall), he acknowledged it all true. But he has kept up a blind warfare against that which he knew to be correct.
He has not ruled well his own house, and for the last ten years has been reproved for this. The frown of God has been upon him because he did not restrain his children. These children have been corrupt and a proverb of reproach, and have exerted a corrupting influence where they have lived. Every time they have been presented before me, I have been carried back to Eli, and shown the wickedness of his ungodly sons and the judgment which followed from God. I have been shown that the family of H has disgusted unbelievers, and brought a reproach upon the cause of present truth. The message given me in the spring of 1858 for Ohio, especially ——, was not received by many. It cut too close, and the hearts that were not deeply imbued with the spirit of the truth, rebelled against it.
The ministers who have labored in that State have not exerted a right influence. Hints and insinuations have been thrown out against Brother and Sister White, and the managers of the work at Battle Creek, which have found a ready reception in the hearts of many, especially the credulous and faultfinding. Satan knows how to make his attacks. He works upon minds to excite jealousy and dissatisfaction toward those at the head of the work. The gifts are next questioned; then, of course, they have but little weight, and instruction given through vision is disregarded.
Ministers who have labored in Ohio have done their share of causing dissatisfaction. H has condescended to move in a low sphere, breathing out a spirit of dissatisfaction, eagerly listening to false reports, gathering them up, and virtually saying: “Report, … and we will report it.” He has worked in an underhand manner, carried false reports in regard to our dress, and our influence in Ohio, and has encouraged the idea that Brother White was speculating. He has not had the slightest union with us. He has felt very bitter toward us. And why? Simply because I have related to him what the Lord had shown me in regard to his family and his loose, slack manner of bringing them up, which has brought upon him the frown of God. He has regarded with jealous, unreconciled feelings the part we have acted in the cause of present truth.
The brethren in Ohio have been encouraged to look with distrust and suspicion at those who are in charge of the work at Battle Creek, and have stood prepared to rise against positions taken by them. Brother J has taken his position firmly, without regard to the body. He has imagined that evils would arise from headquarters that he must contend against. He placed himself in array for battle when there was no fighting to be done. He planted himself firmly to resist something which never arose. Many of the brethren in Ohio cherished the same feeling, placing themselves in opposition to something that never appeared. Their warfare has been unwise. They have been ready to cry out, Babylon, until they are a complete Babylon themselves.
Ministers have stood directly in the way of the work of God in Ohio. They should stand out of the way, that God may reach His people. They step in between God and His people, and turn aside His purposes. Brother J has exerted an influence in Ohio which he must labor to counteract. I saw that there were those in Ohio who would take the right position with right instructions. They have been willing to sustain the cause of present truth, but have seen so little accomplished that they have become discouraged. Their hands are feeble, and need staying up. I saw that the cause of God is not to be carried forward by pressed offerings. God does not accept such offerings. This matter is to be left wholly to the people. They are not to bring a yearly gift merely, but should also freely present a weekly and monthly offering before the Lord. This work is left to the people, for it is to be to them a weekly, monthly, living test. This tithing system, I saw, would develop character, and manifest the true state of the heart. If the brethren in Ohio have this matter presented before them in its true bearing, and are left to decide for themselves, they will see wisdom and order in the tithing system.
Ministers should not be severe, and draw upon any one man, and press means from him. If he does not give just as much as another thinks he should, they are not to denounce him, and throw him overboard. They should be as patient and forbearing as the angels are. They should work in union with Jesus. Christ and angels are watching the development of character, and weighing moral worth. The Lord bears long with His erring people. The truth will be brought to bear closer and closer, and will cut off one idol after another, until God reigns supreme in the hearts of His consecrated people. I saw that God’s people must bring to Him a freewill offering; and the responsibility should be left wholly upon the individual, whether he will give much or little. It will be faithfully recorded. Give the people of God time to develop character.
Ministers of God should bear the pointed testimony. The living truths of His word should be brought to bear upon the heart. And when the people in Ohio have a worthy object placed before them, those whose hearts are in sympathy with the work will freely impart of their means to advance the cause of God. The Lord is testing and proving His people. If any have no heart in the work, and fail to bring their offerings to God, He will visit them; and if they continue to cling to their covetousness, He will separate them from His people. I saw that there must be a system which will draw upon all. Young men and young women who have health and strength, have felt but little burden of the work. They are accountable to God for their strength, and should bring a freewill offering to the Lord. And if they will not do this, His prospering hand will be removed from them.
I saw that the special hand of God has not been with the work in Ohio to prosper the cause there. There is a lack; there should be among preachers and people a close examination, a faithful searching of heart, to find the cause of so great a lack of the Spirit of God. Their sacrifices and offerings have nearly dried up. Why do not the truths of God’s word warm the heart and lead to self-denial and sacrifice? Let the ministers search and see what kind of an influence they have exerted. There has been with Brother J an independent spirit that God does not approve. His influence has not told for the union of God’s people or the advancement of the cause.
I have seen that those who have had but a few years’ experience in the cause of present truth, are not the ones to lead out in the work. Such should manifest a delicacy in taking positions which will conflict with the judgment and opinion of those who witnessed the rise of the cause of present truth, and whose lives are interwoven with its progress. God will not select men of but little experience to lead out in this work. He will not choose those who have had no experience in the sufferings, trials, opposition, and privation endured to bring this work up to the platform on which it now rests. It is now easy, compared with what it once was, to preach the third angel’s message. Those who now engage in this work, and teach the truth to others, have things made ready at their hand. They cannot experience such privations as laborers in present truth have endured before them. The truth is brought out for them. Arguments are all prepared. Such should be careful how they become exalted, lest they be overthrown. They should be very careful how they murmur against those who endured so much in the very commencement of the work.
Testimonies for the Church, Vol. 1 pp.229-238
Discussion Questions – Day 23
- Is there anything that you learned that you had wondered about?
- Was there anything timely in this reading that related to your present situation?
- Did you make any decisions based upon this counsel?
- What Bible principles were amplified in this reading?