Testimonies for the Church, Vol. 1, pp. 429-438 Day 043

I saw that we are now in the shaking time. Satan is working with all his power to wrest souls from the hand of Christ and cause them to trample underfoot the Son of God. An angel slowly and emphatically repeated these words: “Of how much sorer punishment, suppose ye, shall he be thought worthy, who hath trodden underfoot the Son of God, and hath counted the blood of the covenant, wherewith he was sanctified, an unholy thing, and hath done despite unto the Spirit of grace?” Character is being developed. Angels of God are weighing moral worth. God is testing and proving His people. These words were presented to me by the angel: “Take heed, brethren, lest there be in any of you an evil heart of unbelief, in departing from the living God. But exhort one another daily, while it is called today; lest any of you be hardened through the deceitfulness of sin. For we are made partakers of Christ, if we hold the beginning of our confidence steadfast unto the end.” God is displeased that any of His people who have known the power of His grace should talk their doubts, and by thus doing make themselves a channel for Satan to transmit his suggestions to other minds. A seed of unbelief and evil sown is not readily rooted up. Satan nourishes it every hour, and it flourishes and becomes strong. A good seed sown needs to be nourished, watered, and tenderly cared for; because every poisonous influence is thrown about it to hinder its growth and cause it to die.

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Satan’s efforts are more powerful now than ever before, for he knows that his time to deceive is short. Brother Hull, I saw that you had injured yourself greatly by exposing your weakness and telling your doubts to those who are Satan’s agents. You have been deceived by soft words and fair speeches, and have exposed yourself in a most reckless manner to the attacks of Satan. How could you thus wound yourself and reproach God’s word? You have recklessly rushed upon Satan’s battleground, and it is no marvel that your mind is so stupid and unfeeling. Already has Satan through his agents poisoned the atmosphere you breathe; already have evil angels telegraphed to his agents upon earth in regard to the course to be pursued toward you. And this is one whom God has called to stand between the living and the dead; this is one of the watchmen stationed upon the walls of Zion to tell the people the time of night. A heavy responsibility rests upon you. If you go down, you will not go alone; for Satan will employ you as his agent to lead souls to death.

I saw that angels of God were looking sorrowfully toward you. They had left your side and were turning mournfully away, while Satan and his angels were grinning in exultation over you. If you had yourself battled with your doubts and not encouraged the devil to tempt you, by talking out your unbelief and loving to dwell upon it, you would not have attracted the fallen angels about you in such numbers. But you chose to talk your darkness; you chose to dwell upon it; and the more you talk and dwell upon it, the darker and darker you grow. You are shutting out from you every ray of heaven’s light; and a great gulf is coming between you and the only ones who can help you. If you proceed in the way you have started, misery and woe are before you. God’s hand will arrest you in a manner that will not suit you. His wrath will not slumber. But now He invites you. Now, just now, He calls upon you to return unto Him without delay, and He will graciously pardon and heal all your backslidings. God is leading out a people who are peculiar. He will cleanse and purify them, and fit them for translation. Every carnal thing will be separated from God’s peculiar treasures until they shall be like gold seven times purified.

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I saw that it was a cruel position for Brethren A and B to be in, to be serving the purposes of Satan by suffering their minds to run just as he would lead them in the channel of unbelief. Their greatest sin was in talking out these dark doubts, this midnight unbelief, and drawing other minds into the same dark channel.

God’s people will be sifted, even as corn is sifted in a sieve, until all the chaff is separated from the pure kernels of grain. We are to look to Christ for an example and imitate the humble pattern. You do not feel reconciled to the discipline you need and do not exercise and practice that self-denial which Christ requires of those who are truly heirs of salvation. Those who are engaged in the work of saving souls are co-workers with Christ. His was a work of disinterested benevolence, of constant self-sacrifice. Those who have had so great a sacrifice made for them that they might become partakers of His heavenly grace should in their turn sacrifice and deny self to aid in the great work of bringing others to the knowledge of the truth. Self-interest should be laid aside; selfish desires and self-comfort should not now stand in the way of God’s work in saving souls. God’s ministers are laboring in Christ’s stead; they are His ambassadors. They are not to study their ease, comfort, pleasure, desires, or convenience. They must suffer for Christ, be crucified with Him, and rejoice that they can in every sense of the word know the fellowship of the sufferings of Christ.

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I saw that ministers who labor in word and doctrine have a great work before them; a heavy responsibility rests upon them. In their labor they do not come close enough to hearts. Their work is too general, and often too scattered. Their labor must be concentrated to the very ones for whom they are laboring. When they preach from the desk, they only commence their work. They must then live out their preaching, ever guarding themselves, that they bring not a reproach upon the cause of God. They should illustrate by example the life of Christ. 1 Corinthians 3:9: “For we are laborers together with God.” 2 Corinthians 6:1: “We then, as workers together with Him, beseech you also that ye receive not the grace of God in vain.” The minister’s work is not done when he leaves the desk. He should not then throw off the burden and occupy his mind with reading or writing unless this is actually necessary. He should follow up his public labors by private efforts, laboring personally for souls whenever an opportunity presents, conversing around the fireside, beseeching and entreating souls in Christ’s stead to be reconciled to God. Our work here is soon to close, “and every man shall receive his own reward according to his own labor.”

I was shown the saints’ reward, the immortal inheritance. Then I was shown how much God’s people had endured for the truth’s sake, and that they would count heaven cheap enough. They reckoned that the sufferings of this present time were not worthy to be compared with the glory which should be revealed in them. The people of God in these last days will be tried. But soon their last trial will come, and then they will receive the gift of eternal life.

Brother Hull, you have suffered reproach for the truth’s sake. You have felt the power of the truth and of an endless life. You have had God’s Spirit witness with yours that you were owned and accepted of Him. I saw that if you gird on the armor anew, and stand at your post, resisting the devil and fighting manfully the battles of the Lord, you will be victorious, and will soon lay off your armor and wear a conqueror’s crown. Oh, is not the inheritance rich enough? Did it not cost a dear price, the agony and blood of the Son of God? I call upon you in the name of the Lord to awake. Break away from the awful deception which Satan has thrown over you. Lay hold on everlasting life. Resist the devil. Evil angels are around you, whispering in your ears, visiting you with lying dreams, and you listen to them and are pleased. Oh, for the sake of Christ, for your own soul’s sake, tear away from this dreadful influence before you grieve God’s Spirit entirely from you.

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Sabbath, June 6, 1863, I was shown some things in regard to the work of God and the spread of the truth. Preachers and people have too little faith, too little devotion and true godliness. The people imitate the preacher, and thus he has a very great influence upon them. Brother Hull, God wants you to come nearer to Him, where you can take hold of His strength, and by living faith claim His salvation, and be a strong man. If you were a devotional, godly man, in the pulpit and out, a mighty influence would attend your preaching. You do not closely search your own heart. You have studied many works to make your discourses thorough, able, and pleasing; but you have neglected the greatest and most necessary study, the study of yourself. A thorough knowledge of yourself, meditation and prayer, have come in as secondary things. Your success as a minister depends upon your keeping your own heart. You will receive more strength by spending one hour each day in meditation, and in mourning over your failings and heart corruptions and pleading for God’s pardoning love and the assurance of sins forgiven, than you would by spending many hours and days in studying the most able authors, and making yourself acquainted with every objection to our faith, and with the most powerful evidences in its favor.

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The reason why our preachers accomplish so little is that they do not walk with God. He is a day’s journey from most of them. The more closely you watch your own heart, the more watchful and guarded you will be, lest by your words or acts you dishonor the truth, give occasion for the tongue of slander to follow you and the truth, and cause souls to be lost through your neglect of self-examination, of heart study, and of vital godliness. The holy deportment of the minister of Christ should be a rebuke to vain, frothy professors. The beams of truth and holiness shining from your serious, heavenly conversation will convict others and lead them to the truth, and those around you will be compelled to say, God is with this man, of a truth. It is the carelessness and looseness of professed ministers of Christ that gives them so little influence. There are many professors, but there are few praying men. If our preachers were men who prayed more in secret, who carried their preaching into practice in their families, who ruled their houses with dignity and gravity, their light would indeed shine to those around them.

Brother Hull, I have been shown that if you would dedicate yourself to God, hold communion with Him, meditate much, watch your failings, mourn and lament before the Lord in the deepest humility on account of them, relying upon Him for strength, you would be in the most profitable business in which you were ever engaged; for you would be drinking at a living fountain, and could then give others to drink from that same fountain which revived and strengthened you.

Dear brother, unless there is a change in your Christian character, you will fail of everlasting life; for our busy foe will lay his snares for your feet, and if you are not near to God, you will fall into the net. You feel restless and uneasy, and study is your element; but you sometimes fail in the subject. When you should be studying your own heart, you are engaged in reading books. When you should by faith be drawing near to Christ, you are studying books. I saw that all your study will be useless unless you faithfully study yourself. You are not acquainted with yourself, and your mind dwells but little upon God. You are self-confident, and pass along without knowing that self must die if you would be a successful minister of Christ. You lack sobriety and gravity out of the pulpit. These things counteract your pulpit labor.

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Ever since your case was first presented to me in vision, I have seen a lack in you. Your mind is not elevated. You stand in the desk and handle the most holy, sacred, elevating truths in an able manner; but when treating upon the most solemn subjects, you often bring in something comical to create a smile, and this frequently destroys the force of your whole discourse. You handle solemn truths with ease, but do not live them, and that is the reason why the heavenly endorsement is lacking. Many whose ears you have pleased will talk of the smart discourse, the able preacher, but are no more impressed with the necessity of obeying the truth than before they listened to it. They go on transgressing God’s law as before. It was the minister that pleased them, not the truths which he uttered. You remain at so great a distance from God that His power does not set home the truth. You should live religion at home, and it would have an influence to elevate your family, to elevate your wife. When at home you throw off restraint and act like a boy; the weight of the truth and the burden of the work do not rest upon you. You are not choice of your words or of your example.

Your only safety is in studying yourself, your weakness and failings. Do not cease to guard yourself. Watch yourself more closely when at home. Watch yourself when away from home. You neglect your closet duties, lay off your armor, and give up to a spirit of recklessness that drives angels from you and from your family. Do not neglect to search your own heart at home. Lavish not all your affections upon your family. Preserve your heart’s best affections to devote to Jesus, who has redeemed you by His blood. When at home, be fitting up all the time for your Master’s business when you shall be away from home. If you do this, you will have on the armor every moment. Your soul’s highest desire will be to glorify God, to do His will upon earth, and you will have sweet confidence and trust in Him. You will not feel so restless, but will have a constant theme for meditation, devotion, and holiness. I was referred to 1 Corinthians 9:27: “But I keep under my body, and bring it into subjection: lest that by any means, when I have preached to others, I myself should be a castaway.” You have a work to do to understand yourself. Be not flattered by remarks which unwise and foolish brethren may make concerning your efforts. If they praise your preaching, let it not elate you. If God’s blessing attends your labors, fruits will be seen. Your preaching will not merely please, but will gather in souls.

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Brother Hull, you must be guarded on every side. I saw that whatever divides the affections, or takes away from the heart supreme love for God, or prevents unlimited confidence and entire trust in Him, assumes the character and takes the form of an idol. I was pointed to the first great commandment: “Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind.” There is allowed no separation of our affections from God. Nothing is to divide our supreme love for Him or our delight in Him. Your will, wishes, plans, desires, and pleasures must all be in subjection. You have something to learn, to exalt the Lord God in your heart, in your conversation, in all your acts; and then Jesus can teach you, and help you, as you cast your net on the right side of the ship, to bring it to shore full of fishes. But without the help of Christ in casting your net, you may toil weeks, months, and years without seeing much fruit of your labor.

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I saw that you would be tempted to feel that your brethren want to gauge you, that they want to put too much restraint upon you. But your brethren only want you to live according to the instructions of God’s word, and God wishes to bring you there, and angels are watching you with the deepest solicitude. You must conform your life to the word of God, that you may be blessed and strengthened of Him, or you will fall out by the way, and while you preach to others, you yourself will be a castaway. But you may be an overcomer, and may win eternal life. You are recovering yourself from the snare of Satan, but he is preparing other snares for you. God will help and strengthen you if you seek Him earnestly. But study yourself. Try every motive; let it not be your aim to preach brilliant discourses to exhibit Moses Hull, but seek to exhibit Christ. Simplify the truth to your hearers so that small minds may comprehend it. Make your discourses plain, pointed, and solemn. Bring the people to a decision. Make them feel the vital force of truth. If any speak one word of flattery to you, rebuke them sharply. Tell them that Satan has troubled you with that for some time, and they need not help him in his work.

When among the sisters, be reserved. No matter if they think you lack courtesy. If sisters, married or unmarried, show any familiarity, repulse them. Be abrupt and decided, that they may ever understand that you give no countenance to such weakness. When before the young, and at all times, be grave, be solemn. I saw that if Brother Loughborough and yourself make God your strength, a work will be accomplished by you for His poor people, for two can be a host. Come close to each other, pray together and separately, be free with each other. Brother Hull should confide in Brother Loughborough’s judgment, and listen to his counsel and advice.

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Chapter 80—Unconsecrated Ministers

Ministers who preach the third message should labor because they feel that God has laid upon them the burden of the work. Our ministers are placed above want, if they exercise any degree of economy. If they lack, they will be in want in any position in which they may be placed. Give them the most favorable chance and they would spend all they receive. This has been the case with Elder Hull. Such need an almost inexhaustible fund to draw from in order to be satisfied.

Those who fail to manage wisely in temporal matters, generally lack in spiritual things. They fail to build up the church. They may possess natural talents and be called smart speakers, and yet lack moral worth. They may draw large congregations and raise considerable excitement; but when the fruit is sought for, there is very little, if any, to be found. Such men frequently get above the work and lose their love for the simplicity of the gospel. They are not sanctified through the truths they preach. This has been the case with Elder Hull. He has lacked that grace which establishes the soul and elevates and ennobles the character of the man. It is a good thing that the heart be established with grace. This is the ground of our steadfastness.

In places where Elder Hull has given a course of lectures, the people have been pleased with his witticisms and his peculiar style of preaching, yet but few have embraced the truth as the result of his labors; and even of these quite a proportion soon renounce the faith. Many have been disappointed that there was so little fruit to be found after his labor. I was shown the reason. Humility, simplicity, purity, and holiness of life were lacking. He has thought that his smart labor was invaluable, and that the cause would hardly exist if he should be disconnected from it; but if he could have known the anxiety which the real laborers in the cause, who have tried to help him, have suffered on his account, he would not have had so high an estimate of his own labors. His course has been a continual burden to the cause, and it would have prospered better without his influence. The anxiety of his brethren to save him from falling has led them to do too much for him in point of means. They have been pleased with his preaching talent, and some have been so indiscreet as to extol him and show a decided preference for him above other preaching brethren whose influence would tell for the advancement of the cause anywhere. This has hurt him. He had not sufficient humility or enough of the grace of God to stand against the flattery of his brethren. May God help these brethren to feel over their mistake and never again to be guilty of injuring a young minister by flattery.

Testimonies for the Church, Vol. 1 pp. 429-438

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