This temple was supported by seven pillars, all of transparent gold, set with pearls most glorious. The wonderful things I there saw, I cannot describe. Oh, that I could talk in the language of Canaan, then could I tell a little of the glory of the better world. I saw there tables of stone in which the names of the 144,000 were engraved in letters of gold.
After beholding the glory of the temple, we went out, and Jesus left us and went to the city. Soon we heard His lovely voice again, saying: “Come, My people, you have come out of great tribulation, and done My will, suffered for Me, come in to supper; for I will gird Myself and serve you.” We shouted, “Alleluia, glory,” and entered the city. Here I saw a table of pure silver; it was many miles in length, yet our eyes could extend over it. I saw the fruit of the tree of life, the manna, almonds, figs, pomegranates, grapes, and many other kinds of fruit. I asked Jesus to let me eat of the fruit. He said: “Not now. Those who eat of the fruit of this land, go back to earth no more. But in a little while, if faithful, you shall both eat of the fruit of the tree of life and drink of the water of the fountain. And,” said He, “you must go back to the earth again, and relate to others what I have revealed to you.” Then an angel bore me gently down to this dark world. Sometimes I think I can stay here no longer, all things of earth look so dreary. I feel very lonely here, for I have seen a better land. Oh that I had wings like a dove, then would I fly away and be at rest.
Brother Hyde, who was present during this vision, composed the following verses, which have gone the rounds of the religious papers, and have found a place in several hymn-books. Those who have published, read, and sung them have little thought that they originated from a vision of a girl persecuted for her humble testimony.
We have heard from the bright, the holy land; We have heard, and our hearts are glad; For we were a lonely pilgrim band, And weary, and worn, and sad. They tell us the saints have a dwelling there— No longer are homeless ones; And we know that the goodly land is fair, Where life’s pure river runs.
They say green fields are waving there, That never a blight shall know; And the deserts wild are blooming fair, And the roses of Sharon grow. There are lovely birds in the bowers green, Their songs are blithe and sweet; And their warblings, gushing ever new, The angels’ harpings greet.
We have heard of the palms, the robes, the crowns, And the silvery band in white; Of the city fair, with pearly gates, All radiant with light. We have heard of the angels there, and saints, With their harps of gold, how they sing; Of the mount, with the fruitful tree of life, Of the leaves that healing bring.
The King of that country, He is fair, He’s the joy and light of the place; In His beauty we shall behold Him there, And bask in His smiling face. We’ll be there, we’ll be there in a little while, We’ll join the pure and the blest; We’ll have the palm, the robe, the crown, And forever be at rest.
Chapter 10—Withholding Reproof
About this time I was subjected to a severe trial. If the Spirit of God rested upon anyone in meeting, and he glorified God by praising Him, some raised the cry of mesmerism; and if it pleased the Lord to give me a vision in meeting, some would say that it was the effect of excitement and mesmerism. Grieved and desponding, I often went alone to some retired place to pour out my soul before Him who invites the weary and heavy-laden to come and find rest. As my faith claimed the promises, Jesus would seem very near. The sweet light of heaven would shine around me, and I would seem to be encircled by the arms of my Saviour, and would there be taken off in vision. But when I would relate what God had revealed to me alone, where no earthly influence could affect me, I was grieved and astonished to hear some intimate that those who lived nearest to God were most liable to be deceived by Satan.
According to this teaching, our only safety from delusion would be to remain at a distance from God, in a backslidden state. Oh, thought I, has it come to this, that those who honestly go to God alone to plead His promises, and to claim His salvation, are to be charged with being under the foul influence of mesmerism? Do we ask our kind Father in heaven for bread, only to receive a stone or a scorpion? These things wounded my spirit, and wrung my soul with keen anguish, well nigh to despair. Many would have me believe that there was no Holy Spirit, and that all the exercises that holy men of God experienced were only the effect of mesmerism or the deception of Satan.
Some had taken extreme views of certain texts of scripture, refraining wholly from labor, and rejecting all those who would not receive their ideas on this and other points pertaining to religious duty. God revealed these errors to me in vision, and sent me to instruct His erring children; but many of them wholly rejected the message, and charged me with conforming to the world. On the other hand, the nominal Adventists charged me with fanaticism, and I was falsely represented as the leader of the fanaticism which I was laboring constantly to arrest.
Different times were set for the Lord to come, and were urged upon the brethren. But the Lord showed me that they would pass by, for the time of trouble must take place before the coming of Christ, and that every time that was set, and passed, would weaken the faith of God’s people. For this I was charged with being the evil servant that said: “My Lord delayeth His coming.”
These statements relative to time setting were printed about thirty years ago, and the books containing them have been circulated everywhere; yet some ministers claiming to be well acquainted with me, state that I have set time after time for the Lord to come, and those times have passed, therefore my visions are false. No doubt these false statements are received by many as truth; but none who are acquainted with me or with my labors can in candor make such report. This is the testimony I have ever borne since the passing of the time in 1844: “Time after time will be set by different ones, and will pass by; and the influence of this time setting will tend to destroy the faith of God’s people.” If I had in vision seen definite time, and had borne my testimony to it, I could not have written and published, in the face of this testimony, that all times that should be set would pass, for the time of trouble must come before the coming of Christ. Certainly for the last thirty years, that is, since the publication of this statement, I would not be inclined to set time for Christ to come, and thus place myself under the same condemnation with those whom I was reproving. And I had no vision until 1845, which was after the passing of the time of general expectation in 1844. I was then shown what I have here stated.
And has not this testimony been fulfilled in every particular? The First-day Adventists have set time after time, and notwithstanding the repeated failures, they have gathered courage to set new times. God has not led them in this. Many of them have rejected the true prophetic time, and ignored the fulfillment of prophecy, because the time passed in 1844, and did not bring the expected event. They rejected the truth, and the enemy has had power to bring strong delusions upon them that they should believe a lie. The great test on time was in 1843 and 1844; and all who have set time since then have been deceiving themselves and deceiving others.
Up to the time of my first vision I could not write; my trembling hand was unable to hold my pen steadily. While in vision, I was commanded by an angel to write the vision. I obeyed, and wrote readily. My nerves were strengthened, and my hand became steady.
It was a great cross for me to relate to the erring what had been shown me concerning them. It caused me great distress to see others troubled or grieved. And when obliged to declare the messages, I would often soften them down, and make them appear as favorable for the individual as I could, and then would go by myself and weep in agony of spirit. I looked upon those who had only their own souls to care for, and thought if I were in their condition I would not murmur. It was hard to relate the plain, cutting testimonies given me of God. I anxiously watched the result, and if the persons reproved rose up against the reproof, and afterward opposed the truth, these queries would arise in my mind: Did I deliver the message just as I should? Could there not have been some way to save them? And then such distress pressed upon my soul that I often felt that death would be a welcome messenger, and the grave a sweet resting place.
I did not realize the danger and sin of such a course, until in vision I was taken into the presence of Jesus. He looked upon me with a frown, and turned His face from me. It is not possible to describe the terror and agony I then felt. I fell upon my face before Him, but had no power to utter a word. Oh, how I longed to be covered and hid from that dreadful frown! Then could I realize, in some degree, what the feelings of the lost will be when they cry: “Mountains and rocks, fall on us, and hide us from the face of Him that sitteth on the throne, and from the wrath of the Lamb.”
Presently an angel bade me rise, and the sight that met my eyes can hardly be described. Before me was a company whose hair and garments were torn, and whose countenances were the very picture of despair and horror. They came close to me, and rubbed their garments upon mine. As I looked at my garments, I saw that they were stained with blood. Again I fell like one dead at the feet of my accompanying angel. I could not plead one excuse, and longed to be away from that holy place. The angel raised me to my feet, and said: “This is not your case now, but this scene has passed before you to let you know what your situation must be if you neglect to declare to others what the Lord has revealed to you. But if you are faithful to the end, you shall eat of the tree of life, and shall drink of the river of the water of life. You will have to suffer much, but the grace of God is sufficient.” I then felt willing to do all that the Lord might require me to do, that I might have His approbation, and not feel His dreadful frown.
Chapter 11—Marriage and Subsequent Labors
August 30, 1846, I was united in marriage to Elder James White. Elder White had enjoyed a deep experience in the advent movement, and his labors in proclaiming the truth had been blessed of God. Our hearts were united in the great work, and together we traveled and labored for the salvation of souls.
We entered upon our work penniless, with few friends, and broken in health. My husband had inherited a powerful constitution, but his health had been seriously impaired by close application to study at school, and in lecturing. I had suffered ill-health from a child, as I have related. In this condition, without means, with very few who sympathized with us in our views, without a paper, and without books, we entered upon our work. We had no houses of worship at that time. And the idea of using a tent had not then occurred to us. Most of our meetings were held in private houses. Our congregations were small. It was seldom that any came into our meetings excepting Adventists, unless they were attracted by curiosity to hear a woman speak.
At first I moved out timidly in the work of public speaking. If I had confidence, it was given me by the Holy Spirit. If I spoke with freedom and power, it was given me of God. Our meetings were usually conducted in such a manner that both of us took part. My husband would give a doctrinal discourse, then I would follow with an exhortation of considerable length, melting my way into the feelings of the congregation. Thus my husband sowed and I watered the seed of truth, and God did give the increase.
In the autumn of 1846 we began to observe the Bible Sabbath, and to teach and defend it. My attention was first called to the Sabbath while I was on a visit to New Bedford, Massachusetts, earlier in the same year. I there became acquainted with Elder Joseph Bates, who had early embraced the advent faith, and was an active laborer in the cause. Elder B. was keeping the Sabbath, and urged its importance. I did not feel its importance, and thought that Elder B. erred in dwelling upon the fourth commandment more than upon the other nine. But the Lord gave me a view of the heavenly sanctuary. The temple of God was opened in heaven, and I was shown the ark of God covered with the mercy seat. Two angels stood, one at each end of the ark, with their wings spread over the mercy seat, and their faces turned toward it. My accompanying angel informed me that these represented all the heavenly host looking with reverential awe toward the holy law which had been written by the finger of God. Jesus raised the cover of the ark, and I beheld the tables of stone on which the Ten Commandments were written. I was amazed as I saw the fourth commandment in the very center of the ten precepts, with a soft halo of light encircling it. Said the angel: “It is the only one of the ten which defines the living God who created the heavens and the earth and all things that are therein. When the foundations of the earth were laid, then was laid the foundation of the Sabbath also.”
I was shown that if the true Sabbath had always been kept, there would never have been an infidel or an atheist. The observance of the Sabbath would have preserved the world from idolatry. The fourth commandment has been trampled upon; therefore we are called upon to repair the breach in the law, and plead for the downtrodden Sabbath. The man of sin, who exalted himself above God, and thought to change times and laws, brought about the change of the Sabbath from the seventh to the first day of the week. In doing this, he made a breach in the law of God. Just prior to the great day of God, a message is sent forth to warn the people to come back to their allegiance to the law of God which antichrist has broken down. By precept and example, attention must be called to the breach in the law. I was shown that the third angel, proclaiming the commandments of God and the faith of Jesus, represents the people who receive this message and raise the voice of warning to the world, to keep the commandments of God as the apple of the eye, and that in response to this warning many would embrace the Sabbath of the Lord.
When we received the light upon the fourth commandment, there were about twenty-five Adventists in Maine who observed the Sabbath; but these were so diverse in sentiment upon other points of doctrine, and so scattered in location, that their influence was very small. There was about the same number, in similar condition, in other parts of New England. It seemed to be our duty to visit these frequently at their homes, and strengthen them in the Lord and in His truth, and as they were so much scattered, it was necessary for us to be on the road much of the time. For want of means we took the cheapest private conveyance, second-class cars, and lower-deck passage on steamers. In my feeble condition I found traveling by private conveyance most comfortable. When on second-class cars, we were usually enveloped in tobacco smoke, from the effects of which I often fainted. When on steamers, on lower deck, we suffered the same from the smoke of tobacco, besides the swearing and vulgar conversation of the ship hands and the baser portion of the traveling public. At night we lay down to sleep on the hard floor, dry goods boxes, or sacks of grain, with carpetbags for pillows, and overcoats and shawls for covering. If suffering from the winter’s cold, we would walk the deck to keep warm. When oppressed by the heat of summer, we would go upon the upper deck to secure the cool night air. This was fatiguing to me, especially when traveling with an infant in my arms. This manner of life was by no means one of our choosing. God called us in our poverty, and led us through the furnace of affliction, to give us an experience which should be of great worth to us, and an example to others who should afterward join us in labor.
Our Master was a man of sorrows; He was acquainted with grief; and those who suffer with Him will reign with Him. When the Lord appeared to Saul in his conversion, He did not purpose to show him how much good he should enjoy, but what great things he should suffer for His name. Suffering has been the portion of the people of God from the days of the martyr Abel. The patriarchs suffered for being true to God and obedient to His commandments. The great Head of the church suffered for our sake; His first apostles and the primitive church suffered; the millions of martyrs suffered, and the Reformers suffered. And why should we, who have the blessed hope of immortality, to be consummated at the soon appearing of Christ, shrink from a life of suffering? Were it possible to reach the tree of life in the midst of the Paradise of God without suffering, we would not enjoy so rich a reward for which we had not suffered. We would shrink back from the glory; shame would seize us in the presence of those who had fought the good fight, had run the race with patience, and had laid hold on eternal life. But none will be there who have not, like Moses, chosen to suffer affliction with the people of God. The prophet John saw the multitude of the redeemed, and inquired who they were. The prompt answer came: “These are they which came out of great tribulation, and have washed their robes, and made them white in the blood of the Lamb.”
When we began to present the light on the Sabbath question, we had no clearly defined idea of the third angel’s message of Revelation 14:9-12. The burden of our testimony as we came before the people was that the great second advent movement was of God, that the first and second messages had gone forth, and that the third was to be given. We saw that the third message closed with the words: “Here is the patience of the saints: here are they that keep the commandments of God, and the faith of Jesus.” And we as clearly saw as we now see that these prophetic words suggested a Sabbath reform; but as to what the worship of the beast mentioned in the message was, or what the image and the mark of the beast were, we had no defined position.
Testimonies for the Church, Vol. 1 pp. 69-78
Discussion Questions – Day 7
- How should we accept plain, cutting Testimonies, delivered with such distress and pain of the messenger?
- What will be the result to the messenger who does not deliver the messages which God gives? Can you relate to this?
- Discuss the privations endured by the Whites as they were called to labor in the Adventist message? For what purpose was this experience chosen for them?