Testimonies for the Church, Vol. 1, pp. 569-578 Day 057

Number Thirteen—Testimony for the Church

Introduction

Again I feel it my duty to speak to the Lord’s people in great plainness. It is humiliating to me to point out the errors and rebellion of those who have long been acquainted with us and our work. I do it to correct wrong statements that have gone abroad concerning my husband and myself calculated to injure the cause, and as a warning to others. If we only were to suffer, I would be silent; but when the cause is in danger of reproach and suffering, I must speak, however humiliating. Proud hypocrites will triumph over our brethren because they are humble enough to confess their sins. God loves His people who keep His commandments, and reproves them, not because they are the worst, but because they are the best people in the world. “As many as I love,” says Jesus, “I rebuke and chasten.”

I would call especial attention to the remarkable dreams given in this little work, all with harmony and distinctness illustrating the same things. The multitude of dreams arise from the common things of life, with which the Spirit of God has nothing to do. There are also false dreams, as well as false visions, which are inspired by the spirit of Satan. But dreams from the Lord are classed in the word of God with visions and are as truly the fruits of the spirit of prophecy as visions. Such dreams, taking into the account the persons who have them and the circumstances under which they are given, contain their own proofs of their genuineness.

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May the blessing of God attend this little work.

Chapter 102—Sketch of Experience

From December 19, 1866 to April 25, 1867

Having become fully satisfied that my husband would not recover from his protracted sickness while remaining inactive, and that the time had fully come for me to go forth and bear my testimony to the people, I decided, contrary to the judgment and advice of the church at Battle Creek, of which we were members at that time, to venture a tour in northern Michigan, with my husband in his extremely feeble condition, in the severest cold of winter. It required no small degree of moral courage and faith in God to bring my mind to the decision to risk so much, especially as I stood alone, with the influence of the church, including those at the head of the work at Battle Creek, against me.

But I knew that I had a work to do, and it seemed to me that Satan was determined to keep me from it. I had waited long for our captivity to be turned and feared that precious souls would be lost if I remained longer from the work. To remain longer from the field seemed to me worse than death, and should we move out we could but perish. So, on the 19th of December, 1866, we left Battle Creek in a snowstorm for Wright, Ottawa County, Michigan. My husband stood the long and severe journey of ninety miles much better than I feared, and seemed quite as well when we reached our old home at Brother Root’s as when we left Battle Creek. We were kindly received by this dear family and as tenderly cared for as Christian parents can care for invalid children.

We found this church in a very low condition. With a large portion of its members the seeds of disunion and dissatisfaction with one another were taking deep root, and a worldly spirit was taking possession of them. And notwithstanding their low state they had enjoyed the labors of our preachers so seldom that they were hungry for spiritual food. Here commenced our first effective labors since the sickness of my husband. Here he commenced to labor as in former years, though in much weakness. He would speak thirty or forty minutes in the forenoon of both Sabbath and first day, and I would fill up the rest of the time, and then speak about an hour and a half in the afternoon of each day. We were listened to with the greatest attention. I saw that my husband was growing stronger, clearer, and more connected in his subjects. And when on one occasion he spoke one hour with clearness and power, with the burden of the work upon him as when he used to speak, my feelings of gratitude were beyond expression. I arose in the congregation and for nearly half an hour tried with weeping to give utterance to them. The congregation felt deeply. I felt assured that this was the dawn of better days for us.

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We remained with this people six weeks. I spoke to them twenty-five times, and my husband twelve times. As our labors with this church progressed, individual cases began to open before me, and I commenced to write out testimonies for them, amounting in all to one hundred pages. Then commenced labor for these persons as they came to Brother Root’s, where we were stopping, and with some of them at their homes, but more especially in meetings at the house of worship. In this kind of labor I found that my husband was a great help. His long experience in this kind of work, as he had labored with me in the past, had qualified him for it. And now that he entered upon it again he seemed to manifest all that clearness of thought, good judgment, and faithfulness in dealing with the erring, of former days. In fact, no other two of our ministers could have rendered me the assistance that he did.

A great and good work was done for this dear people. Wrongs were freely and fully confessed, union was restored, and the blessing of God rested down upon the work. My husband labored to bring up the systematic benevolence of the church to the figures which should be adopted in all our churches, and his efforts resulted in raising the amount to be paid into the treasury annually by that church about three hundred dollars. Those in the church who had been in trial about some of my testimonies, especially respecting the dress question, became fully settled on hearing the matter explained. The health and the dress reform were adopted, and a large amount was raised for the Health Institute.

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Here I think it my duty to state that as this work was in progress, unfortunately a wealthy brother from the State of New York visited Wright after calling at Battle Creek and there learning that we had started out contrary to the opinion and advice of the church and those standing at the head of the work at Battle Creek. He chose to represent my husband, even before those for whom we had the greatest labor, as being partially insane and his testimony consequently as of no weight. His influence in this matter, as stated to me by Brother Root, the elder of the church, set the work back at least two weeks. I state this that unconsecrated persons may beware how they in their blind, unfeeling state cast an influence in an hour which may take the worn servants of the Lord weeks to counteract. We were laboring for persons of wealth, and Satan saw that this wealthy brother was just the man for him to use. May the Lord bring him where he can see, and in humility of mind confess, his wrong. By two weeks more of the most wearing labor, with the blessing of God, we were able to remove this wrong influence and give that dear people full proof that God had sent us to them. As a further result of our labors, seven were soon after baptized by Brother Waggoner, and two in July by my husband at the time of our second visit to that church.

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The brother from New York returned with his wife and daughter to Battle Creek, not in a state of mind to give a correct report of the good work at Wright or to help the feelings of the church at Battle Creek. As facts have since come to light, it appears that he injured the church, and the church injured him, in their mutual enjoyment from house to house in taking the most unfavorable views of our course and making it the theme of conversation. About the time this cruel work was going on, I had the following dream:

I was visiting Battle Creek in company with a person of commanding manner and dignified deportment. In my dream I was passing around to the houses of our brethren. As we were about to enter, we heard voices engaged in earnest conversation. The name of my husband was frequently mentioned, and I was grieved and astonished to hear those who had professed to be our firmest friends relating scenes and incidents which had occurred during the severe affliction of my husband, when his mental and physical powers were palsied to a great degree. I was grieved to hear the voice of the professed brother from New York before mentioned, relating in an earnest manner, and in an exaggerated light, incidents of which those at Battle Creek were ignorant, while our friends in Battle Creek, in their turn, related that which they knew. I became faint and sick at heart, and in my dream came near falling, when the hand of my attendant supported me, and he said: “You must listen. You must know this even if it is hard to bear.”

At the several houses we approached, the same subject was the theme of conversation. It was their present truth. Said I: “Oh, I did not know this! I was ignorant that such feelings existed in the hearts of those whom we have regarded as our friends in prosperity, and our fast friends in suffering, affliction, and adversity. Would I had never known this! We have accounted these our very best and truest friends.”

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The person with me repeated these words: “If they would only engage as readily and with as much earnestness and zeal in conversation upon their Redeemer, dwelling upon His matchless charms, His disinterested benevolence, and His merciful forgiveness, His pitiful tenderness to the suffering, His forbearance and inexpressible love, how much more precious and valuable would be the fruits.”

I then said: “I am grieved. My husband has not spared himself to save souls. He stood under the burdens until they crushed him; he was prostrated, broken physically and mentally; and now to gather up words and acts and use them to destroy his influence, after God has put His hand under him to raise him up that his voice may again be heard, is cruel and wicked.”

Said the person who accompanied me: “The conversation where Christ and the characteristics of His life are the themes dwelt upon will refresh the spirit and the fruit will be unto holiness and everlasting life.” He then quoted these words: “Whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things.” These words so impressed me that I spoke upon them the next Sabbath.

My labors in Wright were very wearing. I had much care of my husband by day, and sometimes in the night. I gave him baths, and took him out to ride, and twice a day, cold, stormy, or pleasant, walked out with him. I used the pen while he dictated his reports for the Review, and also wrote many letters, in addition to the many pages of personal testimonies, and most of No. 11, besides visiting and speaking as often and as long and earnestly as I did. Brother and Sister Root fully sympathized with me in my trials and labors, and watched with the tenderest care to supply all our wants. Our prayers were frequent that the Lord would bless them in basket and in store, in health as well as in grace and spiritual strength. And I felt that a special blessing would follow them. Though sickness has since come into their dwelling, yet I learn by Brother Root that they now enjoy better health than before. And among the items of temporal prosperity he reports that his wheat fields have produced twenty-seven bushels to the acre, and some forty, while the average yield of his neighbors’ fields has been only seven bushels per acre.

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January 29, 1867, we left Wright, and rode to Greenville, Montcalm County, a distance of forty miles. It was the most severely cold day of the winter, and we were glad to find a shelter from the cold and storm at Brother Maynard’s. This dear family welcomed us to their hearts and to their home. We remained in this vicinity six weeks, laboring with the churches at Greenville and Orleans, and making Brother Maynard’s hospitable home our headquarters.

The Lord gave me freedom in speaking to the people; in every effort made I realized His sustaining power. And as I became fully convinced that I had a testimony for the people, which I could bear to them in connection with the labors of my husband, my faith was strengthened that he would yet be raised to health to labor with acceptance in the cause and work of God. His labors were received by the people, and he was a great help to me in the work. Without him I could accomplish but little, but with his help, in the strength of God, I could do the work assigned me. The Lord sustained him in every effort which he put forth. As he ventured, trusting in God, regardless of his feebleness, he gained in strength and improved with every effort. As I realized that my husband was regaining physical and mental vigor, my gratitude was unbounded in view of the prospect that I should again be unfettered to engage anew and more earnestly in the work of God, standing by the side of my husband, we laboring unitedly in the closing work for God’s people. Previous to his being stricken down, the position he occupied in the office confined him there the greater part of the time. And as I could not travel without him I was necessarily kept at home much of the time. I felt that God would now prosper him while he labored in word and doctrine, and devoted himself more especially to the work of preaching. Others could do the labor in the office, and we were settled in our convictions that he would never again be confined, but be free to travel with me that we both might bear the solemn testimony which God had given us for His remnant people.

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I sensibly felt the low state of God’s people, and every day I was aware that I had gone to the extent of my strength. While in Wright we had sent my manuscript for No. 11 to the office of publication, and I was improving almost every moment when out of meeting in writing out matter for No. 12. My energies, both physical and mental, had been severely taxed while laboring for the church in Wright. I felt that I should have rest, but could see no opportunity for relief. I was speaking to the people several times a week, and writing many pages of personal testimonies. The burden of souls was upon me, and the responsibilities I felt were so great that I could obtain but a few hours of sleep each night.

While thus laboring in speaking and writing, I received letters of a discouraging character from Battle Creek. As I read them I felt an inexpressible depression of spirits, amounting to agony of mind, which seemed for a short period to palsy my vital energies. For three nights I scarcely slept at all. My thoughts were troubled and perplexed. I concealed my feelings as well as I could from my husband and the sympathizing family with whom we were. None knew my labor or burden of mind as I united with the family in morning and evening devotion, and sought to lay my burden upon the great Burden Bearer. But my petitions came from a heart wrung with anguish, and my prayers were broken and disconnected because of uncontrollable grief. The blood rushed to my brain, frequently causing me to reel and nearly fall. I had the nosebleed often, especially after making an effort to write. I was compelled to lay aside my writing, but could not throw off the burden of anxiety and responsibility upon me, as I realized that I had testimonies for others which I was unable to present to them.

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I received still another letter, informing me that it was thought best to defer the publication of No. 11 until I could write out that which I had been shown in regard to the Health Institute, as those in charge of that enterprise stood in great want of means and needed the influence of my testimony to move the brethren. I then wrote out a portion of that which was shown me in regard to the Institute, but could not get out the entire subject because of pressure of blood to the brain. Had I thought that No. 12 would be so long delayed, I should not in any case have sent that portion of the matter contained in No. 11. I supposed that after resting a few days I could again resume my writing. But to my great grief I found that the condition of my brain made it impossible for me to write. The idea of writing testimonies, either general or personal, was given up, and I was in continual distress because I could not write them.

In this state of things it was decided that we would return to Battle Creek and there remain while the roads were in a muddy, broken-up condition, and that I would there complete No. 12. My husband was very anxious to see his brethren at Battle Creek and speak to them and rejoice with them in the work which God was doing for him. I gathered up my writings, and we started on our journey. On the way we held two meetings in Orange and had evidence that the church was profited and encouraged. We were ourselves refreshed by the Spirit of the Lord. That night I dreamed that I was in Battle Creek looking out from the side glass at the door and saw a company marching up to the house, two and two. They looked stern and determined. I knew them well and turned to open the parlor door to receive them, but thought I would look again. The scene was changed. The company now presented the appearance of a Catholic procession. One bore in his hand a cross, another a reed. And as they approached, the one carrying a reed made a circle around the house, saying three times: “This house is proscribed. The goods must be confiscated. They have spoken against our holy order.” Terror seized me, and I ran through the house, out of the north door, and found myself in the midst of a company, some of whom I knew, but I dared not speak a word to them for fear of being betrayed. I tried to seek a retired spot where I might weep and pray without meeting eager, inquisitive eyes wherever I turned. I repeated frequently: “If I could only understand this! If they will tell me what I have said or what I have done!”

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I wept and prayed much as I saw our goods confiscated. I tried to read sympathy or pity for me in the looks of those around me, and marked the countenances of several whom I thought would speak to me and comfort me if they did not fear that they would be observed by others. I made one attempt to escape from the crowd, but seeing that I was watched, I concealed my intentions. I commenced weeping aloud, and saying: “If they would only tell me what I have done or what I have said!” My husband, who was sleeping in a bed in the same room, heard me weeping aloud and awoke me. My pillow was wet with tears, and a sad depression of spirits was upon me.

Brother and Sister Howe accompanied us to West Windsor, where we were received and welcomed by Brother and Sister Carman. Sabbath and first day we met the brethren and sisters from the churches in the vicinity and had freedom in bearing our testimony to them. The refreshing Spirit of the Lord rested upon those who felt a special interest in the work of God. Our conference meetings were good, and nearly all bore testimony that they were strengthened and greatly encouraged.

Testimonies for the Church, Vol. 1 pp. 569-578

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