The following is the second testimony, written in May, 1867, and addressed to the young who were laboring in the office:
Dear Young Friends who are employed in the office of publication at Battle Creek: A burden is resting upon me in regard to you. I have been repeatedly shown that all who are connected with the work of God in publishing the present truth to be scattered to every part of the field should be Christians, not only in name, but in deed and in truth. Their object should not be merely to work for wages, but all engaged in this great and solemn work should feel that their interest is in the work, and that it is a part of them. Their motives and influence in connecting themselves with this great and solemn work must bear the test of the judgment. None should be allowed to become connected with the office of publication who manifest selfishness and pride.
I was shown that lightness and folly, joking and laughing, should not be indulged by the workers in the office. Those engaged in the solemn work of preparing truth to go to every part of the field should realize that their deportment has its influence. If they are careless, jesting, joking, and laughing while reading and preparing solemn truth for publication, they show that their hearts are not in the work or sanctified through the truth. They do not discern sacred things, but handle truth that is to test character, truth which is of heavenly origin, as a common tale, as a story, merely to come before the mind and be readily effaced.
While in Rochester I saw that we had everything to fear in regard to the office from a health standpoint; that not one connected with it realized the necessity of thorough ventilation. Their rooms were overheated, and the atmosphere was poisoned by impurities resulting from exhalations from the lungs, and other causes. It is impossible for their minds to be in a healthy condition so as to be rightly impressed by the pure and holy truths with which they have so much to do, unless they place the proper value upon the pure, vitalizing air of heaven.
I was shown that if those who are so closely connected with revealed truth give no special evidence in their lives that they are made better by the truth which is kept so constantly before them, if their lives do not testify to the fact that they are loving the truth and its sacred requirements more and more fervently, they are growing harder, and will be less and less affected by the truth and work of God, until they find themselves destitute of the emotions of the Spirit of God, dead to the heavenly impress of truth. Eternal things will not be discerned by them, but will be placed upon a low level with common things. This, I saw, had been the case with some connected with the office, and all have been remiss in this respect to a greater or lesser degree.
I saw that the work of present truth should engage the interest of all. The publication of truth is God’s ordained plan as a means of warning, comforting, reproving, exhorting, or convicting all to whose notice the silent, voiceless messengers may be brought. Angels of God have a part to act in preparing hearts to be sanctified by the truths published, that they may be prepared for the solemn scenes before them. None in that office are sufficient of themselves for the important work of discreetly managing matters connected with the publication of the truth. Angels must be near them to guide, to counsel, and to restrain, or the wisdom and folly of human agencies will be apparent.
I saw that angels were frequently in the office, in the folding room, and in the room where the type is set. I was made to hear the laughing, the jesting, the idle, foolish talking. Again, I saw the vanity, the pride and selfishness exhibited. Angels looked sad and turned away grieved. The words I had heard, the vanity, pride, and selfishness exhibited, caused me to groan with anguish of spirit as angels left the room in disgust. Said an angel: “The heavenly messengers came to bless, that the truth carried by the voiceless preachers might have a sanctifying, holy power to attend its mission; but those engaged in this work were so distant from God, they possessed so little of the divine, and were so conformed to the spirit of the world, that the powers of darkness controlled them, and they could not be made susceptible of divine impressions.” At the same time these youth were deceived and thought they were rich and increased in goods and had need of nothing, and knew not that they were poor and miserable, blind and naked. Those who handle precious truth as they would sand know not how many times their heartless indifference to eternal things, their vanity, self-love, and pride, their laughing and senseless chatting, have driven the messengers of heaven away from the office.
In deportment, words, and acts all in that office should be reserved, modest, humble, and disinterested, as was their Pattern, Jesus, the dear Saviour. They should seek God and obtain righteousness. The office is not the place for sport, for visiting, for idlers, for laughing or useless words. All should feel that they are doing a work for their Master. These truths which they read, which they act their part to prepare to send out to the people, are invitations of mercy, are reproofs, threatenings, warnings, or encouragements. These are doing their work as a savor of life unto life, or of death unto death. If rejected, the judgment must decide the matter. The prayer of all in the office should be: “O God, make these truths, which are of such vital importance, clear to the comprehension of the humblest minds! May angels accompany these silent preachers and bless their influence, that souls may be saved by this humble means!”
The heart should go out in fervent prayer while the hands are busy, and Satan will not find such ready access, and the soul, instead of being lifted up unto vanity, will be constantly refreshed, will be like a watered garden. Angels will delight to be near such workers, for their presence will be continually encouraged by them. A power will attend the truths published. Divine rays of light from the heavenly sanctuary will attend the precious truths sent forth, so that those who read will be refreshed and strengthened, and souls that are opposed to the truth will be convicted and compelled to say: These things are so; they cannot be gainsaid.
All should feel that the office is a holy place, as sacred as the house of God. But God has been dishonored by the frivolity and lightness indulged by some connected with the work. I saw that strangers from abroad often went away from the office disappointed. They had associated it with everything sacred; but when they saw the youth, or others connected with the office, possessing but little gravity, careless in words and acts, it caused them to doubt whether, after all, this is really the work of God to prepare a people for translation to heaven.
May God bless this to all concerned.
Chapter 104—Conflicts and Victory
Experiences from April 26, 1867 to October 20, 1867
We returned north, and on our way held a good meeting at West Windsor, and after reaching home held meetings at Fairplains and Orleans, and also gave some attention to the matter of building, planted our garden, and set out grapes, blackberries, raspberries, and strawberries. Then in company with a good delegation we returned to the General Conference at Battle Creek.
The first Sabbath on our way we spent at Orleans and observed the fast. It was a day of great solemnity with us; we sought to humble ourselves before God, and with brokenness of spirit and much weeping we all prayed fervently that God would bless and strengthen us to do His will at the Conference. We had some faith and hope that our captivity would be turned at that meeting.
When we came to Battle Creek we found that our previous efforts had not accomplished what we had hoped. Reports and jealousy still existed. My soul was filled with intense anguish, and I wept aloud for some hours, unable to restrain my grief. In conversation a friend with whom I had been acquainted for twenty-two years related to me reports which he heard, that we were extravagant in expending means. I inquired wherein we had been extravagant. He mentioned the purchase of an expensive chair. I then related the circumstances. My husband was greatly emaciated, and it was exceedingly wearisome and even painful for him to sit long in a common rocking chair, and for this reason he would lie down upon the bed or lounge a great share of the time. I knew that this was no way for him to obtain strength and begged him to sit up more, but the chair was an objection.
On my way east to attend the bedside of my dying father, I left my husband at Brookfield, New York, and while at Utica looked for a spring, sofa-seat chair. The dealers had none made at the price which I wished to pay, which was about fifteen dollars, but they offered me a very excellent chair, with rollers instead of rockers, price thirty dollars, for seventeen. I knew that this was the chair in every respect. But the brother with me urged me to wait to have a chair made, which would cost only three dollars less. The chair offered for seventeen dollars possessed the real value in itself; but I yielded to the judgment of another, waited to see the cheaper chair put together, paid for it myself, and had it carried to my husband. The report concerning our extravagance in purchasing this chair I met in Wisconsin and Iowa. But who can condemn me? Had I the same to do over again, I would do as I did, with this exception: I would rely upon my own judgment, and purchase a chair costing a few dollars more, and worth double the one I got. Satan sometimes so influences minds as to destroy all feelings of mercy or compassion. The iron seems to enter the heart, and both the human and the divine disappear.
Reports also reached me that a sister had stated in Memphis and Lapeer that the Battle Creek church had not the slightest confidence in Sister White’s testimony. The question was asked if this referred to the written testimony. The answer was, No, not to her published visions, but to the testimonies borne in meeting to the church, because her life contradicts them. I again requested an interview with a few select, experienced brethren and sisters, including the persons who had circulated these things. I there requested that they would now show me wherein my life had not been in accordance with my teachings. If my life had been so inconsistent as to warrant the statement that the church at Battle Creek had not the slightest confidence in my testimony, it could not be a difficult matter to present the proofs of my unchristian course. They could produce nothing to justify the statements made, and they confessed that they were all wrong in the reports circulated, and that their suspicions and jealousies were unfounded. I freely forgave those who had injured us, and told them that all I would ask on their part was to counteract the influence they had exerted against us, and I would be satisfied. They promised to do this, but have not done it.
Many other reports against us, all either utterly false or greatly exaggerated, were freely talked over in different families at the time of the Conference, and most looked upon us, especially my husband, with suspicion. Some persons of influence manifested a disposition to crush us. We were in want, and my husband had tried to sell loose property, and he was thought to be wrong for this. He had stated his willingness to have his brethren make up the loss of our cow, and this was looked upon as a grievous sin. Supposing that our property at Battle Creek was as good as sold, we bought and began to build in Greenville. But we could not sell the Battle Creek property, and in our cramped position my husband wrote to different brethren to hire money. For this they condemned him and charged him with the sin of grasping for money. And the brother minister most active in this work was heard to say: “We do not want Brother E to buy Brother White’s place, for we want his money for the Health Institute.” What could we do? No way could we turn but we were blamed.
Only sixty-five hours before my husband was stricken down, he stood until midnight in a house of worship calling for three hundred dollars to finish paying for that house; and to give his call force he headed the subscription with ten dollars for himself and the same for me. Before midnight the sum was nearly raised. The elder of that church was an old friend, and in our extreme want and friendless condition my husband wrote to him, stating that we were in want, and if that church now wished to return the twenty dollars we would receive it. At the time of the Conference this brother called on us and made the matter a serious wrong. But before he came to our house he had taken some stock at least in the general infection. We felt these things most keenly, and if we had not been especially sustained by the Lord we could not have borne our testimony at the Conference with any degree of freedom.
Before we returned from the Conference, Brethren Andrews, Pierce, and Bourdeau had a special season of prayer at our house, in which we were all greatly blessed, especially my husband. This gave him courage to return to our new home. And then commenced his keen sufferings from his teeth, also our labors reported in the Review. He stopped preaching only one week in his toothless condition, but labored at Orange and Wright, with the church at home, at Greenbush and Bushnell, preaching and baptizing as before.
After returning from the Conference, a great uncertainty came upon me in relation to the prosperity of the cause of God. Doubts existed in my mind where none had been six months before. I viewed God’s people as partaking of the spirit of the world, imitating its fashions, and getting above the simplicity of our faith. It seemed that the church at Battle Creek were backsliding from God, and it was impossible to arouse their sensibilities. The testimonies given me of God had the least influence and were the least heeded in Battle Creek of any part of the field. I trembled for the cause of God. I knew that the Lord had not forsaken His people, but that their sins and iniquities had separated them from God. At Battle Creek is the great heart of the work. Every pulsation is felt by the members of the body all over the field. If this great heart is in health, a vital circulation will be felt all through the body of Sabbathkeepers. If the heart is diseased, the languishing condition of every branch of the work will attest the fact.
My interest is in this work; my life is interwoven with it. When Zion prospers, I am happy; if she languishes, I am sad, desponding, discouraged. I saw that God’s people were in an alarming condition, and His favor was being removed from them. I pondered upon this sad picture day and night, and pleaded in bitter anguish: “O Lord, give not Thine heritage to reproach. Let not the heathen say, Where is their God?” I felt that I was cut loose from everyone at the head of the work and was virtually standing alone. I dared not trust anyone. In the night I have awakened my husband, saying: “I am afraid that I shall become an infidel.” Then I would cry for the Lord to save me by His own powerful arm. I could not see that my testimonies were regarded, and I entertained the thought that perhaps my work in the cause was done. We had appointments at Bushnell, but I told my husband that I could not go. He soon returned from the post office with a letter from Brother Matteson, containing the following dream:
“Dear Brother White: May the blessing of God be with you, and these lines find you still prospering and improving in health and spiritual strength. I feel very thankful to the Lord for His goodness to you, and trust that you may yet enjoy perfect health and freedom in the proclamation of the last message .
“I have had a remarkable dream about you and Sister White, and feel it my duty to relate the same to you as far as I can remember. I dreamed that I related it to Sister White, as well as the interpretation thereof, which also was given me in the dream. When I awoke, something urged me to get up and write down all the particulars, lest I should forget them; but I neglected to do so, partly because I was tired, and partly because I thought it was nothing but a dream. But seeing that I never dreamed of you before, and that this dream was so intelligent, and so intimately connected with you, I have come to the conclusion that I ought to tell you. The following is all I can remember of it:
“I was in a large house where there was a pulpit somewhat like those we use in our meetinghouses. On it stood many lamps which were burning. These lamps needed a constant supply of oil, and quite a number of us were engaged in carrying oil and filling them. Brother White and his companion were busily engaged, and I noticed that Sister White poured in more oil than any other. Then Brother White went to a door which opened into a warehouse, where there were many barrels of oil. He opened the door and went in, and Sister White followed. Just then a company of men came along, with a great quantity of black stuff that looked like soot, and heaped it all upon Brother and Sister White, completely covering them with it. I felt much grieved, and looked anxiously to see the end of these things. I could see Brother and Sister W. both working hard to get out from under the soot, and after a long struggle they came out as bright as ever, and the evil men and the soot disappeared. Then Brother and Sister White engaged again more heartily than ever in supplying the lamps with oil, but Sister W. still had the precedence .
“I dreamed that the following was the interpretation: The lamps represented the remnant people. The oil was the truth and heavenly love, of which God’s people need a constant supply. The people engaged in supplying the lamps were the servants of God laboring in the harvest. Who the evil company were in particular I could not tell, but they were men moved upon by the devil, who directed their evil influence specially against Brother and Sister White. The latter were in great distress for a season, but were at last delivered by the grace of God and their own earnest efforts. Then finally the power of God rested upon them, and they acted a prominent part in the proclamation of the last message of mercy. But Sister White had a richer supply of heavenly wisdom and love than the rest .
“This dream has rather strengthened my confidence that the Lord will lead you out and finish the work of restoration that is begun, and that you will once more enjoy the spirit of God as you did in times past, yea, more abundantly. Forget not that humility is the door that leads to the rich supplies of the grace of God. may the Lord bless you and your companion and children, and grant us to meet in the heavenly kingdom. Yours in bonds of Christian love .
“John Matteson .
July 15, 1867.”
Testimonies for the Church, Vol. 1 pp. 589-598