I saw that some have been very jealous for you, fearing that you would not be rightly dealt with, and not have justice done you by your ministering brethren. Such should stand out of the way, and be faithful to confess their own wrongs, and let all the censure and weight of your wrongs rest upon your own head. God designs that they shall rest there until you thoroughly remove them by repentance and hearty confession. Those who have a perverted sympathy for you cannot help you. Let them manifest zeal in repenting of their own backslidings, and leave you to stand for yourself. You have been altogether out of the way, and unless you make thorough work, confess your wrongs without censuring your brethren, and are willing to be instructed, you can have no part with God’s people.
You have stood aloof from those upon whom God has laid the heavy burden of His work. While my husband already had the labor and burden which three men should have shared, you have injured him by remarks and hints, and have helped others to bring burdens upon him. You must see this. You have had no special burden laid upon you, but have had time for reflection and study, rest and sleep, while my husband has been obliged to labor day after day, and often long into the night, and sometimes when he did lie down to rest, he could not sleep, but could only weep and groan for the cause of truth, and the injustice of his brethren toward him, whose whole interest and life was devoted to the cause.
He has had the care and responsibility of the business in the office, the care of the paper, and much care of the churches in different states. And yet some of his ministering brethren have helped to perplex and distress by their unwise course. You with some others have looked upon Brother White as a business character, not enjoying much religion. Such do not know him. Satan deceives many in regard to him. God has seen fit to lay the burden of His work upon him, to choose him to lead out in different enterprises, and He has selected one who is sensitive, and can sympathize with the unfortunate; who is conscientious, and yet independent; who will not cover sin, but will be quick to see and feel wrong, and to reprove it and give no place to it, even if he has to stand alone in consequence. This is why he suffers so keenly. His brethren generally know nothing of his burdens, and some care nothing about them, but by their own unwise, crooked course add to his cares and perplexities. Heaven marks these things. Men who have no weight or burdens upon them, who can have hours of ease, with nothing in particular to do, who can reflect, and study, and improve their minds, can manifest great moderation. They see nothing to urge them to manifest any special zeal, and are ready to spend hours in private conversation. Some look upon such as being the best and holiest men on earth. But God sees not as man sees. God looks at the heart. Those who have such an easy position will be rewarded according to their works.
The position occupied by my husband is not an enviable one. It requires the closest attention, care, and mental labor. It requires the exercise of sound judgment and wisdom. It requires self-denial, a whole heart, and a firm will to push matters through. In that important position God will have a man to venture, to risk something; to move out firmly for the right, whatever may be the consequences; to battle against obstacles, and waver not, even though life be at stake.
The weight and responsibility of this work lead to great carefulness, cause sleepless nights, and call forth earnest, fervent, agonizing prayer to God. The Lord has led my husband forward to take one responsible position after another. Censure from his brethren wrings his soul with anguish, yet he must not falter in the work. Fellow laborers having an appearance of godliness oppose every advance which God leads him to make, and his precious time must be occupied in traveling from place to place, laboring with distress of mind among the churches to undo what these professed brethren have been doing. Poor mortals! They mistake matters; they have not a true sense of what constitutes a Christian. Those who have been thrust out to bear a plain, pointed testimony, in the fear of God to reprove wrong, to labor with all their energies to build up God’s people, and to establish them upon important points of present truth, have too often received censure instead of sympathy and help, while those who, like yourself, have taken a noncommittal position, are thought to be devoted, and to have a mild spirit. God does not thus regard them. The forerunner of Christ’s first advent was a very plain-spoken man. He rebuked sin, and called things by their right names. He laid the ax at the root of the tree. He thus addressed one class of professed converts who came to be baptized of him in Jordan: “O generation of vipers, who hath warned you to flee from the wrath to come? Bring forth therefore fruits meet for repentance…. And now also the ax is laid unto the root of the trees: therefore every tree which bringeth not forth good fruit is hewn down, and cast into the fire.”
In this fearful time, just before Christ is to come the second time, God’s faithful preachers will have to bear a still more pointed testimony than was borne by John the Baptist. A responsible, important work is before them; and those who speak smooth things, God will not acknowledge as His shepherds. A fearful woe is upon them.
This strange fanaticism in Wisconsin grew out of the false theory of holiness, advocated by Brother K—a holiness not dependent upon the third angel’s message, but outside of present truth. Sister G received this false theory from him, carried it out herself, and zealously taught it to others. This nearly destroyed her love for the sacred, important truths for this time, which, if she had loved and obeyed, would have proved an anchor to hold her upon the right foundation. But she, with many others, made this theory of holiness or consecration the one great thing, and the important truths of God’s word were of but little consequence, “if the heart was only right.” And poor souls were left without an anchor, to be carried about by feeling, and Satan came in and controlled minds and gave impressions and feelings to suit himself. Reason and judgment were despised, and the cause of God was cruelly reproached.
The fanaticism into which you have fallen should lead you and others to investigate before deciding in regard to this appearance of consecration. Appearance is not positive evidence of Christian character. You and others are afraid of receiving a little more censure than is due you, and you look with earnestness upon a seeming error or wrong in others, or a neglect from them, and feel injured. You are too exacting. You have been wrong and have deceived yourself. If others have misjudged you in some things, it is no more than might be expected, considering the circumstances. You should, with the deepest sorrow and humility, mourn your sad departure from the right, which has given occasion for a variety of feelings and views and expressions in regard to you; and if in every particular you do not consider them correct, you must let them pass, and lay not censure upon others. You must confess your faults without censuring any other one, and cease complaining that your brethren have neglected you. They have given you more attention than you deserved, considering the position you have for years occupied. If you could see these things as God regards them, you would ever despise the complaints you make, and would humble yourself under the hand of God. “Behold, to obey is better than sacrifice, and to hearken than the fat of rams. For rebellion is as the sin of witchcraft, and stubbornness is as iniquity and idolatry.”
Chapter 64—Unity of Faith
Professed believers in and about —— do not come up to the work, and practice the truths which they profess. A blighting influence is upon the cause in northern Wisconsin. If all had felt that attachment for the Review which God designed they should, they would have been benefited and instructed by the truths it advocates. They would have had a correct faith, a settled position upon the truth applicable for this time, and would have been guarded and saved from this fanaticism. The sensibilities of many are blunted; false excitement has destroyed their discernment and spiritual eyesight. It is of the highest importance now for them to move understandingly, that Satan’s object may not be fully accomplished in overthrowing those whom he has had power to deceive.
When those who have witnessed and experienced false exercises, are convinced of their mistake, then Satan takes advantage of their error, and holds it constantly before them, to make them afraid of any spiritual exercise, and in this way he seeks to destroy their faith in true godliness. Because they were once deceived, they fear to make any effort by earnest, fervent prayer to God for special aid and victory. Such must not let Satan gain his object, and drive them to cold formality and unbelief. They must remember that the foundation of God standeth sure. Let God be true, and every man a liar. Their only safety is to plant their feet upon a firm platform, to see and understand the third angel’s message, to prize, love, and obey the truth.
Christ is leading out a people, and bringing them into the unity of the faith, that they may be one, as He is one with the Father. Differences of opinion must be yielded, that all may come into union with the body, that they may have one mind and one judgment. 1 Corinthians 1:10: “Now I beseech you, brethren, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that ye all speak the same thing, and that there be no divisions among you; but that ye be perfectly joined together in the same mind and in the same judgment.” Romans 15:5, 6: “Now the God of patience and consolation grant you to be like-minded one toward another according to Christ Jesus: that ye may with one mind and one mouth glorify God, even the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.” Philippians 2:2: “Fulfill ye my joy, that ye be like-minded, having the same love, being of one accord, of one mind.”
All the people of God should have an interest in His cause. There has been a lack of this interest among the brethren in Wisconsin. There has also been a lack of energy. Some think it no sin to idle away their time, while others who love the precious cause of truth, economize their time, and in the strength of God exert themselves and labor hard that their families may be made neat and comfortable, and they have something besides to invest in the cause, that they may do their part to keep the work of God moving and lay up a treasure in heaven. One is not to be eased and others burdened. God requires those who have health and strength of body, to do what they can, and use their strength to His glory, for they are not their own. They are accountable to God for the use they make of their time and strength, which are granted them of Heaven.
The duty to help in the advancement of truth does not rest only upon the wealthy. All have a part to act. The man who has employed his time and strength to accumulate property is accountable for the disposition he makes of that property. If one has health and strength, that is his capital, and he must make a right use of it. If he spends hours in idleness and needless visiting and talking, he is slothful in business, which God’s word forbids. Such have a work to do to provide for their own families, and then lay by them in store for charitable purposes as God has prospered them.
We are not placed in this world merely to care for ourselves, but we are required to aid in the great work of salvation, thus imitating the self-denying, self-sacrificing, useful life of Christ. Those who love their own ease better than they love the truth of God, will not be anxious to use their time and strength wisely and well, that they may act a part in spreading the truth. Many of the young in Wisconsin have not felt the weight of the cause or the necessity of their making any sacrifice to advance it. They can never gain strength until they change their course and make special efforts to advance the truth, that souls may be saved. Some deny themselves and manifest an interest and have double labor, because of their untiring efforts to sustain the cause they love. They make the cause of God a part of them; if it suffers, they suffer with it; when it prospers, they are happy.
Proverbs 3:9, 10: “Honor the Lord with thy substance, and with the first fruits of all thine increase: so shall thy barns be filled with plenty, and thy presses shall burst out with new wine.” Those who are slothful may quiet themselves with the thought that God requires nothing of them because they have no increase. This will be no excuse for them; for if they had diligently employed their time, if they had not been slothful in business, they would have had increase. Had they resolutely exerted themselves to earn something to cast into the treasury of God, ways would be opened for them, and they would have some increase to devote to the cause of God, and thus to lay up a treasure in heaven.
Chapter 65—Northern Wisconsin
While in Roosevelt, New York, August 3, 1861, different churches and families were presented before me. The different influences that have been exerted, and their discouraging results, were shown me. Satan has used as agents individuals professing to believe a part of present truth, while they were warring against a part. Such he can use more successfully than those who are at war with all our faith. His artful manner of bringing in error through partial believers in the truth, has deceived many, and distracted and scattered their faith. This is the cause of the divisions in northern Wisconsin. Some receive a part of the message, and reject another portion. Some accept the Sabbath and reject the third angel’s message; yet because they have received the Sabbath they claim the fellowship of those who believe all the present truth. Then they labor to bring others into the same dark position with themselves. They are not responsible to anyone. They have an independent faith of their own. Such are allowed to have influence, when no place should be given to them, notwithstanding their pretensions to honesty.
Honest souls will see the straight chain of present truth. They will see its harmonious connections, link after link uniting into a great whole, and will lay hold upon it. The present truth is not difficult to be understood, and the people whom God is leading will be united upon this broad, firm platform. He will not use individuals of different faith, opinions, and views, to scatter and divide. Heaven and holy angels are working to unite, to bring into the unity of the faith, into the one body. Satan opposes this, and is determined to scatter, and divide, and bring in different sentiments, that the prayer of Christ may not be answered: “Neither pray I for these alone, but for them also which shall believe on Me through their word; that they all may be one; as Thou, Father, art in Me, and I in Thee, that they also may be one in Us: that the world may believe that Thou hast sent Me.” John 17:20, 21. Jesus designed that the faith of His people should be one. If one goes forth preaching one thing, and another differing with him preaches something else, how can those who believe through their word be one? There will be difference of sentiments.
I saw that if God’s people in Wisconsin would prosper, they must take a decided position in regard to these things, and thereby cut off the influence of those who are causing distraction and division by teaching sentiments contrary to the body. Such are wandering stars. They seem to emit a little light; they profess and carry along a little truth, and thus deceive the inexperienced. Satan endows them with his spirit, but God is not with them; His Spirit does not dwell in them. Jesus prayed that His disciples might be one, as He is one with the Father, “that the world may believe that Thou hast sent Me.” The oneness and unity of God’s truth-believing remnant people carries powerful conviction to the world that they have the truth, and are the peculiar, chosen people of God. This oneness and unity disconcerts the enemy, and he is determined that it shall not exist. The present truth, believed in the heart and exemplified in the life, makes God’s people one, and gives them a powerful influence.
Had professed Sabbathkeepers in Wisconsin earnestly sought and labored to be in union with the prayer of Christ, to be one as He is one with the Father, Satan’s work would have been defeated. If all had sought to be in union with the body, the fanaticism which has brought so deep a stain upon the cause of present truth in northern Wisconsin would not have arisen; for it is the result of drawing off from the body, and seeking to have an original, independent faith, regardless of the faith of the body.
In the last vision given at Battle Creek I was shown that an unwise course was taken at —— in regard to the visions at the time of the organization of the church there. There were some in —— who were God’s children, and yet doubted the visions. Others had no opposition, yet dared not take a decided stand in regard to them. Some were skeptical, and they had sufficient cause to make them so. The false visions and fanatical exercises, and the wretched fruits following, had an influence upon the cause in Wisconsin to make minds jealous of everything bearing the name of visions. All these things should have been taken into consideration, and wisdom exercised. There should be no trial or labor with those who have never seen the individual having visions, and who have had no personal knowledge of the influence of the visions. Such should not be deprived of the benefits and privileges of the church, if their Christian course is otherwise correct, and they have formed a good Christian character.
Some, I was shown, could receive the published visions, judging of the tree by its fruits. Others are like doubting Thomas; they cannot believe the published Testimonies, nor receive evidence through the testimony of others; but must see and have the evidence for themselves. Such must not be set aside, but long patience and brotherly love should be exercised toward them until they find their position and become established for or against. If they fight against the visions, of which they have no knowledge; if they carry their opposition so far as to oppose that in which they have had no experience, and feel annoyed when those who believe that the visions are of God speak of them in meeting, and comfort themselves with the instruction given through vision, the church may know that they are not right. God’s people should not cringe and yield, and give up their liberty to such disaffected ones. God has placed the gifts in the church that the church may be benefited by them; and when professed believers in the truth oppose these gifts, and fight against the visions, souls are in danger through their influence, and it is time then to labor with them, that the weak may not be led astray by their influence.
Testimonies for the Church, Vol. 1 pp. 319-328
Discussion Questions – Day 32
- What enlightened you in this reading?
- What challenged you?
- Did anything surprise you?
- What changes of thought or action do you intend after reading this?