When my husband was inactive, and I was kept at home on his account, Satan was pleased, and no one was pressed by him to cast upon us such trials as are mentioned in the foregoing pages. But when we started out, December 19, 1866, he saw that there was a prospect of our doing something in the cause of Christ to the injury of his cause and that some of his deceptions upon the flock of God would be exposed. He therefore felt called upon to do something to hinder us. And in no way could he so effectually do this as to lead our old friends at Battle Creek to withdraw their sympathy and cast burdens upon us. He took advantage of every unfavorable circumstance and drove matters as by steam power.
But, thank God, he did not stop us nor fully crush us. Thank God that we still live and that He has returned graciously to bless His erring, but now repenting, confessing people. Brethren, let us love them the more and pray for them the more now that God manifests His great love to them.
Number Fourteen—Testimony for the Church
Chapter 109—Publishing Personal Testimonies
In Testimony No. 13 I gave a brief sketch of our labors and trials from December 19, 1866, to October 21, 1867. In these pages I will notice the less painful experience of the past five months.
During this time I have written many personal testimonies. And for many persons whom I have met in our field of labor during the past five months I have testimonies still to write as I find time and have strength, but just what my duty is in relation to these personal testimonies has long been a matter of no small anxiety to me. With a few exceptions I have sent them to the ones to whom they related and have left these persons to dispose of them as they chose. The results have been various:
1. Some have thankfully received the testimonies and have responded to them in a good spirit and have profited by them. These have been willing that their brethren should see the testimonies and have freely and fully confessed their faults.
2. Others have acknowledged that the testimonies to them were true, but after reading them have laid them away to remain in silence, while they have made but little change in their lives. These testimonies related more or less to the churches to which these persons belonged, who could also have been benefited by them. But all this was lost in consequence of these testimonies’ being held private.
3. Still others have rebelled against the testimonies. Some of these have responded in a faultfinding spirit. Some have shown bitterness, anger, and wrath, and in return for my toil and pains in writing the testimonies they have turned upon us to injure us all they could; while others have held me for hours in personal interviews to pour into my ears and my aching heart their complaints, murmurings, and self-justifications, perhaps appealing to their own sympathies with weeping, and losing sight of their own faults and sins. The influence of these things has been terrible upon me and has sometimes driven me nearly to distraction. That which has followed from the conduct of these unconsecrated, unthankful persons has cost me more suffering and has worn upon my courage and health ten times more than all the toil of writing the testimonies.
And all this has been suffered by me, and my brethren and sisters generally have known nothing about it. They have had no just idea of the amount of wearing labor of this kind which I have had to perform, nor of the burdens and sufferings unjustly thrown upon me. I have given some personal communications in several numbers of my testimonies, and in some cases persons have been offended because I did not publish all such communications. On account of their number this would be hardly possible, and it would be improper from the fact that some of them relate to sins which need not, and should not, be made public.
But I have finally decided that many of these personal testimonies should be published, as they all contain more or less reproof and instruction which apply to hundreds or thousands of others in similar condition. These should have the light which God has seen fit to give which meets their cases. It is a wrong to shut it away from them by sending it to one person or to one place, where it is kept as a light under a bushel. My convictions of duty on this point have been greatly strengthened by the following dream:
A grove of evergreens was presented before me. Several, including myself, were laboring among them. I was bidden to closely inspect the trees and see if they were in a flourishing condition. I observed that some were being bent and deformed by the wind, and needed to be supported by stakes. I was carefully removing the dirt from the feeble and dying trees to ascertain the cause of their condition. I discovered worms at the roots of some. Others had not been watered properly and were dying from drought. The roots of others had been crowded together to their injury. My work was to explain to the workmen the different reasons why these trees did not prosper. This was necessary from the fact that trees in other grounds were liable to be affected as these had been, and the cause of their not flourishing and how they should be cultivated and treated must be made known.
In this testimony I speak freely of the case of Sister Hannah More, not from a willingness to grieve the Battle Creek church, but from a sense of duty. I love that church notwithstanding their faults. I know of no church that in acts of benevolence and general duty do so well. I present the frightful facts in this case to arouse our people everywhere to a sense of their duty. Not one in twenty of those who have a good standing with Seventh-day Adventists is living out the self-sacrificing principles of the word of God. But let not their enemies, who are destitute of the first principles of the doctrine of Christ, take advantage of the fact that they are reproved. This is evidence that they are the children of the Lord. Those who are without chastisement, says the apostle, are bastards and not sons. Then let not these illegitimate children boast over the lawful sons and daughters of the Almighty.
Chapter 110—The Health Institute
In former numbers of Testimonies for the Church I have spoken of the importance of Seventh-day Adventists’ establishing an institution for the benefit of the sick, especially for the suffering and sick among us. I have spoken of the ability of our people, in point of means, to do this; and have urged that, in view of the importance of this branch of the great work of preparation to meet the Lord with gladness of heart, our people should feel themselves called upon, according to their ability, to put a portion of their means into such an institution. I have also pointed out, as they were shown to me, some of the dangers to which physicians, managers, and others would be exposed in the prosecution of such an enterprise; and I did hope that the dangers shown me would be avoided. In this, however, I enjoyed hope for a time, only to suffer disappointment and grief.
I had taken great interest in the health reform and had high hopes of the prosperity of the Health Institute. I felt, as no other one could feel, the responsibility of speaking to my brethren and sisters in the name of the Lord concerning this institution and their duty to furnish necessary means, and I watched the progress of the work with intense interest and anxiety. When I saw those who managed and directed, running into the dangers shown me, of which I had warned them in public and also in private conversation and letters, a terrible burden came upon me. That which had been shown me as a place where the suffering sick among us could be helped was one where sacrifice, hospitality, faith, and piety should be the ruling principles. But when unqualified calls were made for large sums of money, with the statement that stock taken would pay large per cent; when the brethren who occupied positions in the institution seemed more than willing to take larger wages than those were satisfied with who filled other and equally important stations in the great cause of truth and reform; when I learned, with pain, that, in order to make the institution popular with those not of our faith and to secure their patronage, a spirit of compromise was rapidly gaining ground at the Institute, manifested in the use of Mr., Miss, and Mrs., instead of Brother and Sister, and in popular amusements, in which all could engage in a sort of comparatively innocent frolic—when I saw these things, I said: This is not that which was shown me as an institution for the sick which would share the signal blessing of God. This is another thing.
And yet calculations for more extensive buildings were made, and calls for large sums of money were urged. As it was then managed, I could but regard the Institute, on the whole, as a curse. Although some were benefited healthwise, the influence on the church at Battle Creek and upon brethren and sisters who visited the Institute was so bad as to overbalance all the good that was done; and this influence was reaching churches in this and other states, and was terribly destructive to faith in God and in the present truth. Several who came to Battle Creek humble, devoted, confiding Christians, went away almost infidels. The general influence of these things was creating prejudice against the health reform in very many of the most humble, the most devoted, and the best of our brethren, and was destroying faith in my Testimonies and in the present truth.
It was this state of matters relative to the health reform and the Health Institute, with which other things were brought to bear, that made it my duty to speak as I did in Testimony No. 13. I well knew that that would produce a reaction and trial in many minds. I also knew that a reaction must come sooner or later, and, for the good of the Institute and the cause generally, the sooner the better. Had matters been moving in a wrong direction, to the injury of precious souls and the cause generally, the sooner this could be checked, and they be properly directed the better. The further the advance, the greater the ruin, the greater the reaction, and the greater the general discouragement. The misdirected work must have such a check; there must be time to correct errors and start again in the right direction.
The good work wrought for the church at Battle Creek last fall, the thorough reform and turning to the Lord by physicians, helpers, and managers at the Health Institute, and the general agreement of our brethren and sisters in all parts of the field relative to the great object of the Health Institute and the manner it should be conducted, to which is added the varied experience of more than one year, not only in the wrong course, but also in a right direction, give me more confidence that the health reform and the Health Institute will prove a success than I ever had before. I still fondly hope to see the Health Institute at Battle Creek prospering and in every respect the institute shown me. But it will take time to fully correct and outgrow the errors of the past. With the blessing of God this can and will be done.
The brethren who have stood at the head of this work have appealed to our people for means, on the ground that the health reform is a part of the great work connected with the third angel’s message. In this they have been right. It is a branch of the great, charitable, liberal, sacrificing, benevolent work of God. Then why should these brethren say: “Stock in the Health Institute will pay a large per cent,” “it is a good investment,” “a paying thing”? Why not as well talk of stock in the Publishing Association paying a large per cent? If these are two branches of the same great, closing work of preparation for the coming of the Son of man, why not? Or why not make them both matters of liberality? The pen and the voice that appealed to the friends of the cause in behalf of the publishing fund held out no such inducements. Why, then, represent to wealthy, covetous Sabbathkeepers that they may do great good by investing their means in the Health Institute, and at the same time retain the principal, and also receive large per cent for the simple use of it? The brethren were called upon to donate for the Publishing Association, and they nobly and cheerfully sacrificed unto the Lord, following the example of the one who made the call, and the blessing of God has been upon that branch of the great work. But it is to be feared that His displeasure is upon the manner in which funds have been raised for the Health Institute, and that His blessing will not be upon that institution to the full, till this wrong shall be corrected. In my appeal to the brethren in behalf of such an institution, in Testimony No. 11, page 492, I said:
“I was shown that there is no lack of means among Sabbathkeeping Adventists. At present their greatest danger is in their accumulations of property. Some are continually increasing their cares and labors; they are overcharged. The result is, God and the wants of His cause are nearly forgotten by them; they are spiritually dead. They are required to make a sacrifice to God, an offering. A sacrifice does not increase, but decreases and consumes.”
My view of this matter of means was that there should be “a sacrifice to God, an offering;” and I never received any other idea. But if the principal is to be held good by stockholders, and they are to draw a certain per cent, where is the decrease, or the consuming sacrifice? And how are the dangers of those Sabbathkeepers who are accumulating property decreased by the present plan of holding stock in the Institute? Their dangers are only increased. And here is an additional excuse for their covetousness. In investing in stock in the Institute, held as a matter of sale and purchase like any other property, they do not sacrifice. As a large per cent is held out as an inducement, the spirit of gain, not sacrifice, leads them to invest so largely in the stock of the Institute that they have but little if anything to give to sustain other and still more important branches of the work. God requires of these close, covetous, worldly persons a sacrifice for suffering humanity. He calls on them to let their worldly possessions decrease for the sake of the afflicted ones who believe in Jesus and the present truth. They should have a chance to act in full view of the decisions of the final judgment, as described in the following burning words of the King of kings:
Matthew 25:34-46: “Then shall the King say unto them on His right hand, Come, ye blessed of My Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world: for I was an hungered, and ye gave Me meat: I was thirsty, and ye gave Me drink: I was a stranger, and ye took Me in: naked, and ye clothed Me: I was sick, and ye visited Me: I was in prison, and ye came unto Me. Then shall the righteous answer Him, saying, Lord, when saw we Thee an hungered, and fed Thee? or thirsty, and gave Thee drink? When saw we Thee a stranger, and took Thee in? or naked, and clothed Thee? Or when saw we Thee sick, or in prison, and came unto Thee? And the King shall answer and say unto them, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these My brethren, ye have done it unto Me.
“Then shall He say also unto them on the left hand, Depart from Me, ye cursed, into everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his angels: for I was an hungered, and ye gave Me no meat: I was thirsty, and ye gave Me no drink: I was a stranger, and ye took Me not in: naked, and ye clothed Me not: sick, and in prison, and ye visited Me not. Then shall they also answer Him, saying, Lord, when saw we Thee anhungered, or athirst, or a stranger, or naked, or sick, or in prison, and did not minister unto Thee? Then shall He answer them, saying, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye did it not to one of the least of these, ye did it not to Me. And these shall go away into everlasting punishment; but the righteous into life eternal.”
Again on page 494 of Testimony No. 11, I said: “There is a liberal supply of means among our people, and if all felt the importance of the work, this great enterprise could be carried forward without embarrassment. All should feel a special interest in sustaining it. Especially should those who have means invest in this enterprise. A suitable home should be fitted up for the reception of invalids that they may, by the use of proper means and the blessing of God, be relieved of their infirmities and learn how to take care of themselves and thus prevent sickness.
“Many who profess the truth are growing close and covetous. They need to be alarmed for themselves. They have so much of their treasure upon the earth that their hearts are on their treasure. Much the larger share of their treasure is in this world, and but little in heaven; therefore their affections are placed on earthly possessions instead of on the heavenly inheritance. There is now a good opportunity for them to use their means for the benefit of suffering humanity and also for the advancement of the truth. This enterprise should never be left to struggle in poverty. These stewards to whom God has entrusted means should now come up to the work and use their means to His glory. To those who through covetousness withhold their means, it will prove a curse rather than a blessing.”
In what I have been shown and what I have said, I received no other idea, and designed to give no other, than that the raising of funds for this branch of the work was to be a matter of liberality, the same as for the support of other branches of the great work. And although the change from the present plan to one that can be fully approved of the Lord may be attended with difficulties and require time and labor, yet I think that it can be made with little loss of stock already taken, and that it will result in a decided increase of capital donated to be used in a proper manner to relieve suffering humanity.
Testimonies for the Church, Vol. 1 pp. 629-638