Testimonies for the Church, Vol. 1, pp. 239-248 Day 024

Those experienced laborers who toiled under the burden when it was heavy and there were few to help bear it, God regards. Be careful how you reproach them, or murmur against them; for it will surely stand to your account, and the prospering hand of God will not be with you. Some brethren who have the least experience, who have felt no burden, and have done little or nothing to advance the cause of present truth, and who have no knowledge of matters at Battle Creek, are the first to find fault with the management of the work there. And those who do not observe order in their temporal concerns, and command their households after them, are the ones who oppose system, which will ensure order in the church of God. They exhibit no nice taste in worldly matters, and are opposed to anything of the kind in the church. Such persons should have no voice in matters of the church. Their influence should not have the least weight upon others.

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Chapter 49—Entire Consecration

Dear Brother and Sister K,

In my last vision I was shown some things in regard to your family. The Lord has thoughts of mercy concerning you and will not forsake you unless you forsake Him. L and M are in a lukewarm condition. They must arouse and make efforts for salvation, or they will fail of everlasting life. They must feel an individual responsibility and have an experience for themselves. They need a work wrought in their hearts by the Holy Spirit of God, which will lead them to love and choose the society of God’s people above any other, and to be separate from those who have no love for spiritual things. Jesus demands a whole sacrifice, an entire consecration. L and M, you have not realized that God requires your undivided affections. You have made a holy profession, yet have sunk down to the dead level of ordinary professors. You love the society of the young who have no regard for the sacred truths which you profess. You have appeared like your associates, and have been contented with as much religion as would render you agreeable to all, without incurring the censure of any.

Christ demands all. If He required less, His sacrifice was too dear, too great to make to bring us up to such a level. Our holy faith cries out, Separation. We should not be conformed to the world, or to dead, heartless professors. “Be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind.” This is a self-denying way. And when you think that the way is too strait, that there is too much self-denial in this narrow path; when you say, How hard to give up all, ask yourselves the question, What did Christ give up for me? This question puts anything that we may call self-denial in the shade. Behold Him in the garden, sweating great drops of blood. A solitary angel is sent from heaven to strengthen the Son of God. Follow Him on His way to the judgment hall, while He is derided, mocked, and insulted by that infuriated mob. Behold Him clothed in that old purple kingly robe. Hear the coarse jest and cruel mocking. See them place upon that noble brow the crown of thorns, and then smite Him with a reed, causing the thorns to penetrate His temples, and the blood to flow from that holy brow. Hear that murderous throng eagerly crying for the blood of the Son of God. He is delivered into their hands, and they lead the noble sufferer away, pale, weak, and fainting, to His crucifixion. He is stretched upon the wooden cross, and the nails are driven through His tender hands and feet. Behold Him hanging upon the cross those dreadful hours of agony until the angels veil their faces from the horrid scene, and the sun hides its light, refusing to behold. Think of these things, and then ask, Is the way too strait? No, no.

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In a divided, halfhearted life, you will find doubt and darkness. You cannot enjoy the consolations of religion, neither the peace which the world gives. Do not sit down in Satan’s easy chair of do-little, but arise, and aim at the elevated standard which it is your privilege to attain. It is a blessed privilege to give up all for Christ. Look not at the lives of others and imitate them and rise no higher. You have only one true, unerring Pattern. It is safe to follow Jesus only. Determine that if others act on the principle of the spiritual sluggard you will leave them and march forward toward the elevation of Christian character. Form a character for heaven. Sleep not at your post. Deal faithfully and truly with your own soul.

You are indulging an evil which threatens to destroy your spirituality. It will eclipse all the beauty and interest of the sacred pages. It is love for storybooks, tales, and other reading which does not have an influence for good upon the mind that is in any way dedicated to the service of God. It produces a false, unhealthy excitement, fevers the imagination, unfits the mind for usefulness, and disqualifies it for any spiritual exercise. It weans the soul from prayer and love of spiritual things. Reading that will throw light upon the sacred volume, and quicken your desire and diligence to study it, is not dangerous, but beneficial. You were represented to me with your eyes turned from the Sacred Book and intently fixed upon exciting books, which are death to religion. The oftener and more diligently you peruse the Scriptures, the more beautiful will they appear, and the less relish will you have for light reading. The daily study of the Scriptures will have a sanctifying influence upon the mind. You will breathe a heavenly atmosphere. Bind this precious volume to your hearts. It will prove to you a friend and guide in perplexity.

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You have had objects in view in your life, and how steadily and perseveringly have you labored to attain those objects! You have calculated and planned until your anticipations were realized. There is an object before you now worthy of a persevering, untiring, lifelong effort. It is the salvation of your soul—everlasting life. And this demands self-denial, sacrifice, and close study. You must be purified and refined. You lack the saving influence of the Spirit of God. You mingle with your associates and forget that you have named the name of Christ. You act and dress like them.

Sister K, I saw that you have a work to do. You must die to pride and let your whole interest be in the truth. Your eternal interest depends upon the course you now pursue. If you obtain eternal life, you must live for it and deny self. Come out from the world, and be separate. Your life must be marked with sobriety, watchfulness, and prayer. Angels are watching the development of character and weighing moral worth. All our words and acts are passing in review before God. It is a fearful, solemn time. The hope of eternal life is not to be taken up upon slight grounds; it must be settled between God and your own soul. Some will lean upon others’ judgment and experience rather than be at the trouble of a close examination of their own hearts, and will pass along for months and years with no witness of the Spirit of God, or evidence of their acceptance. They deceive themselves. They have a supposed hope, but lack the essential qualifications of a Christian. First there must be a thorough heart work, then their manners will take that elevated, noble character which marks the true followers of Christ. It requires effort and moral courage to live out our faith.

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God’s people are peculiar. Their spirit cannot mingle with the spirit and influence of the world. You do not wish to bear the Christian name and yet be unworthy of it. You do not desire to meet Jesus with a profession only. You do not wish to be deceived in so important a matter. Thoroughly examine the grounds of your hope. Deal truly with your own soul. A supposed hope will never save you. Have you counted the cost? I fear not. Now decide whether you will follow Christ, cost what it will. You cannot do this and yet enjoy the society of those who pay no heed to divine things. Your spirits cannot mingle any more than oil and water.

It is a great thing to be a child of God, and a joint-heir with Christ. If this is your privilege, you will know the fellowship of Christ’s sufferings. God looketh upon the heart. I saw that you must seek Him earnestly, and raise your standard of piety higher, or you will certainly fail of everlasting life. You may ask the question: Did Sister White see this? Yes; and I have tried to place it before you and give you the impressions which were given me. May the Lord help you to take heed.

Dear brother and sister, watch your children with jealous care. The spirit and influence of the world are destroying all desire in them to be true Christians. Let your influence be to draw them from young companions who have no interest in divine things. They must make a sacrifice if they win heaven at last.

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Chapter 50—Personal Experience

September 20, 1860, my fourth child, John Herbert White, was born. When he was three weeks old, my husband felt it to be his duty to travel. It was decided at the Conference that Brother Loughborough should go west and he go east. A few days before they were to leave, my husband was greatly depressed in mind. At one time he thought he would give up the journey, yet he feared to do so. He felt that he had something to do, but was shut in by clouds of darkness. He could not rest or sleep. His mind was in continual agitation. He related the state of his mind to Brethren Loughborough and Cornell, and bowed before the Lord with them to seek counsel of Him. Then the clouds parted, and the clear light shone. My husband felt that the Spirit of the Lord was directing him west and Brother Loughborough east. After this they felt clear as to their duty and moved accordingly.

In my husband’s absence we prayed that the Lord would sustain and strengthen him, and obtained the assurance that He would go with him. About one week before he was to visit Mauston, Wisconsin, we received letters for publication from Sister G purporting to be visions given her of the Lord. As we read these communications, we felt distressed; for we knew that they were not from the right source. And as my husband knew nothing of what he was about to meet at Mauston, we feared he would be unprepared to meet the fanaticism, and that it would have a discouraging influence upon his mind. We had passed through so many such scenes in our early experience, and had suffered so much from unruly, untamable spirits, that we dreaded to be brought in contact with them. I sent in a request for the church at Battle Creek to pray for my husband, and at our family altar we earnestly sought the Lord in his behalf. With brokenness of spirit, and many tears, we tried to fasten our trembling faith upon God’s promises, and we had the evidence that He heard us pray and that He would stand by my husband and impart to him counsel and wisdom.

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While looking in the Bible for a verse for Willie to commit to memory to repeat in the Sabbath school, this scripture arrested my attention: “The Lord is good, a stronghold in the day of trouble; and He knoweth them that trust in Him.” I could but weep over these words, they seemed so appropriate. The whole burden upon my mind was for my husband and the church in Wisconsin. My husband did realize the blessing of God while in Wisconsin. The Lord was to him a stronghold in time of trouble and sustained him by His free Spirit while he bore a decided testimony against the wild fanaticism there.

While at Mackford, Wisconsin, my husband wrote me a letter in which he stated: “I fear that all is not well at home. I have had some impressions as to the babe.” While praying for the family at home, he had a presentiment that the child was very sick. The babe seemed lying before him with face and head dreadfully swollen. When I received the letter, the child was as well as usual; but the next morning he was taken very sick. It was an extreme case of erysipelas in the face and head. When my husband reached Brother Wick’s, near Round Grove, Illinois, he received a telegram informing him of the sickness of the child. After reading it, he stated to those present that he was not surprised at the news, for the Lord had prepared his mind for it, and that they would hear that the child’s head and face were greatly affected.

My dear babe was a great sufferer. Twenty-four days and nights we anxiously watched over him, using all the means that we could for his recovery and earnestly presenting his case to the Lord. At times I could not control my feelings as I witnessed his sufferings. Much of my time was spent in tears and humble supplication to God. But our heavenly Father saw fit to remove the loved one.

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December 14 he was taken worse, and I was called up. As I listened to his labored breathing and felt his pulseless wrist, I knew that he must die. The icy hand of death was already upon him. That was an hour of anguish for me. We watched his feeble, gasping breath until it ceased, and could but feel thankful that his sufferings were ended. When my child was dying, I could not weep. My heart ached as though it would break, but I could not shed a tear. At the funeral I fainted. We were disappointed in not having Brother Loughborough to conduct the funeral services, and my husband spoke upon the occasion to a crowded house. We then followed our child to Oak Hill Cemetery, there to rest until the Life-giver shall come, to break the fetters of the tomb and call him forth immortal.

After we returned from the funeral, my home seemed lonely. I felt reconciled to the will of God, yet despondency and gloom settled upon me. We could not rise above the discouragements of the past summer. From the state of God’s people we knew not what to expect. Satan had gained control of the minds of some who were closely connected with us in the work, even of some who had been acquainted with our mission and seen the fruit of our labors, and who had not only witnessed the frequent manifestation of the power of God, but had felt its influence upon their own bodies. What could we hope for in the future? While my child lived, I thought I understood my duty. I pressed my dear babe to my heart and rejoiced that at least for one winter I should be released from any great responsibility, for it could not be my duty to travel in winter with my infant. But when he was taken from me, I was again thrown into great perplexity.

The condition of God’s cause and people nearly crushed us. Our happiness ever depends upon the state of the cause of God. When His people are in a prosperous condition, we feel free; but when they are backslidden and there is discord among them, nothing can make us joyful. Our whole interest and life have been interwoven with the rise and progress of the third angel’s message. We are bound up in it, and when it does not prosper, we experience great suffering of mind.

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About this time, my husband, as he reviewed the past, began to lose confidence in almost everyone. Many of those whom he had tried to befriend had acted the part of enemies, and some whom he had helped the most by his influence and from his own scanty purse, were continually trying to injure him and cast burdens upon him. One Sabbath morning, as he was going to our place of worship, such an overpowering sense of injustice came over him that he turned aside and wept aloud, while the congregation waited for him.

From the commencement of our labors we have been called to bear a plain, pointed testimony, to reprove wrongs and spare not. And all the way there have been those who have stood in opposition to our testimony, and have followed after to speak smooth things, daub with untempered mortar, and destroy the influence of our labors. The Lord would rein us up to bear reproof, and then individuals would step right in between us and the people to make our testimony of no effect. Many visions have been given to the effect that we must not shun to declare the counsel of the Lord, but must occupy a position to stir up the people of God, for they are asleep in their sins. But few have sympathized with us, while many have sympathized with the wrong and with those who have been reproved. These things crushed us, and we felt that we had no testimony to bear in the church. We knew not in whom to confide. As all these things forced themselves upon us, hope died within us. We retired to rest about midnight, but I could not sleep. A severe pain was in my heart; I could find no relief and fainted a number of times.

My husband sent for Brethren Amadon, Kellogg, and C. Smith. Their fervent prayers were heard, relief came, and I was taken off in vision. Then I was shown that we had a work to do, that we must still bear our testimony, straight and pointed. Individuals were presented before me who had shunned the pointed testimony. I saw the influence of their teachings upon God’s people.

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The condition of the people in —— was also presented before me. They have the theory of truth, but are not sanctified through it. I saw that when the messengers enter a new place, their labor is worse than lost unless they bear a plain, pointed testimony. They should keep up the distinction between the church of Christ, and formal, dead professors. There was a failure in this respect in ——. Elder N was fearful of offending, fearful lest the peculiarities of our faith should appear; the standard was lowered to meet the people. It should have been urged upon them that we possess truths of vital importance, and that their eternal interest depended upon the decision they there made; that in order to be sanctified through the truth, their idols would have to be given up, their sins be confessed, and they bring forth fruit meet for repentance.

Those who engage in the solemn work of bearing the third angel’s message must move out decidedly, and in the Spirit and power of God fearlessly preach the truth and let it cut. They should elevate the standard of truth and urge the people to come up to it. It has too frequently been lowered to meet the people in their condition of darkness and sin. It is the pointed testimony that will bring them up to decide. A peaceful testimony will not do this. The people have the privilege of listening to this kind of teaching from popular pulpits; but those servants to whom God has entrusted the solemn, fearful message which is to bring out and fit up a people for the coming of Christ should bear a plain, pointed testimony. Our truth is as much more solemn than that of nominal professors, as the heavens are higher than the earth.

 

Testimonies for the Church, Vol. 1 pp. 239-248


Discussion Questions – Day 24

  1. Discuss how Christ was uplifted in the reading.
  2. Discuss a point that you sensed the Holy Spirit was speaking to you on.
  3. What can we learn from the history of those who went before us that we can apply today?
  4. How should we pray for our church today?

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