Testimonies – Vol. 2, Day 086

We no longer mark out a way nor seek to bring the Lord to our wishes. If the life of the sick can glorify Him, we pray that they may live; nevertheless, not as we will but as He will. Our faith can be just as firm, and more reliable, by committing the desire to the all-wise God, and, without feverish anxiety, in perfect confidence, trusting all to Him. We have the promise. We know that He hears us if we ask according to His will. Our petitions must not take the form of a command, but of intercession for Him to do the things we desire of Him. When the church are united, they will have strength and power; but when part of them are united to the world, and many are given to covetousness, which God abhors, He can do but little for them. Unbelief and sin shut them away from God. We are so weak that we cannot bear much spiritual prosperity, lest we take the glory, and accredit goodness and righteousness to ourselves as the reason of the signal blessing of God, when it was all because of the great mercy and lovingkindness of our compassionate heavenly Father, and not because any good was found in us.

We should ever exert an influence which will be sanctifying on those around us. This saving, ennobling influence has been very feeble at —–. Many have mingled with the world and partaken of its spirit and influence, and its friendship has separated them from God. Jesus has passed a day’s journey in advance of them. They can no longer hear His voice of counsel and warning, and they follow their own wisdom and judgment. They follow a course which appears right in their own eyes, but which afterward proves to be folly. God will not allow His work to be mixed with worldly policy. Shrewd, calculating men of the world are not the men to take leading positions in this most solemn, sacred work. They must either be converted, or engage in that calling which is appropriate to their world-loving inclinations, and which does not involve such eternal consequences. God will never enter into partnership with worldlings. Christ gives everyone his choice: Will you have Me or the world? Will you suffer reproach and shame, be peculiar, and zealous of good works, even if hated of the world, and take My name, or will you choose the esteem, the honor, the applause and profits the world has to give, and have no part in Me? “Ye cannot serve God and mammon.”


Chapter 22—Courage in the Minister

Dear Brother G,

I have been shown that you were greatly deficient in your duties as a minister. You lack essential qualifications. You do not possess a missionary spirit. You have not a disposition to sacrifice your ease and pleasure to save souls. There are men, women, and youth to be brought to Christ who would embrace the truth could they have the light presented to them. In your own vicinity there are those who have an ear to hear.

I saw you seeking to instruct some; but at the very time when you needed perseverance, courage, and energy, you became fainthearted, distrustful, discouraged, and dropped the work. You desired your own ease, and allowed an interest which might have increased, to go down. There might have been an ingathering of souls; but the golden opportunity passed for that time, because of your lack of energy. I saw that unless you decide to gird on the whole armor, and are willing to endure hardness as a good soldier of the cross of Christ, and feel that you can spend and be spent to bring souls to Christ, you should give up your profession as a minister and choose some other calling.


Your soul is not sanctified to the work. You do not take the burden of the work upon you. You choose an easier lot than that which is appointed to the minister of Christ. He counted not His life dear unto Himself. He pleased not Himself, but lived for others’ good. He made Himself of no reputation, and took upon Himself the form of a servant. It is not enough to be able to present the arguments of our position before the people. The minister of Christ must possess an undying love for souls, a spirit of self-denial, of self-sacrifice. He should be willing to give his life, if need be, to the work of saving his fellow men, for whom Christ died.

You need a conversion to the work of God. You need wisdom and judgment to apply yourself to the work and direct your labor. Your labors are not required among the churches. You should go out in new places and prove your work. Go with a spirit to labor to convert souls to the truth. If you feel the worth of souls, the least indication for good will rejoice your heart, and you will persevere, although there may be labor and weariness in the effort. After you have once agitated the subject of truth, do not leave that place if there is the least indication for good. Do you expect a harvest without labor? Do you expect that Satan will readily allow his subjects to pass from his ranks to the ranks of Christ? He will make every effort to keep them bound in fetters of darkness under his black banner. Can you expect to be victorious in winning souls to Christ without earnest effort, when you have such a foe to face and battle?

You must have more courage, more zeal, and put forth greater efforts, or you will have to decide that you have mistaken your calling. An easily discouraged minister does injury to the cause he desires to promote, and injustice to himself. All who profess to be ministers of Christ should learn wisdom by studying the history of the Man of Nazareth, and also the history of Martin Luther and the lives of other Reformers. Their labors were arduous, but they endured hardness as faithful soldiers of the cross of Christ. You should not shun responsibilities. With modesty, you should be willing to be advised, to be instructed. After you have received counsel from the wise, the judicious, there is yet a Counselor whose wisdom is unerring. Fail not to present your case before Him and entreat His direction. He has promised that if you lack wisdom and ask of Him, He will give it to you liberally and upbraid not. The sacred, solemn work in which we are engaged calls for wholehearted, thoroughly converted men, whose lives are interwoven with the life of Christ. They draw sap and nourishment from the living Vine, and flourish in the Lord. Although they feel the magnitude of the work, and are led to exclaim, “Who is sufficient for these things?” yet they will not shrink from labor and toil, but will labor earnestly and unselfishly to save souls. If the undershepherds are faithful in all their duty, they will enter into the joy of their Lord and have the satisfaction of seeing souls saved in heaven through their faithful efforts.


Chapter 23—Closeness in Deal

Dear Brother H,

I have been waiting for an opportunity to write you, but have been hindered. After my last vision I felt it to be my duty to speedily lay before you what the Lord was pleased to present to me. I was pointed back and shown that for years in the past, even before your marriage, there had been in you a disposition to overreach in trade. You possessed a spirit of acquisitiveness, a disposition for close dealing, which was detrimental to your spiritual advancement and greatly injured your influence. Your father’s family viewed these matters from the world’s standpoint rather than from the high, exalted standard quoted by our divine Lord: “Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy strength, and with all thy mind; and thy neighbor as thyself.” In this you have failed. To deal in any way closely and unjustly is displeasing to God. He will not pass over errors and sins in this direction without thorough confession and forsaking.


I was pointed far back and shown the loose manner in which you regarded these things. The Lord marked the transaction of carrying to market that load of animals that were so inferior that they could not be profitable to keep, therefore were prepared for food and carried to market to be bought and introduced into the human stomach. One of these was placed upon our table for some time to feed our large family in the days of our poverty. You were not the only one to be blamed in this. Others of your family were alike guilty. It matters not whether it was designed that they should be bought and eaten by us or by worldlings. It is the principle of the thing which displeased God; you transgressed His command. You did not love your neighbor as you did yourself, for you would be unwilling to have the same thing done to you. You would consider yourself insulted. An avaricious spirit led to this departure from Christian principles, and caused you to descend to a species of trading which advantaged yourself at others’ disadvantage.

When the meat-eating question was presented before me five years ago, showing how little the people knew what they were eating for food in the shape of flesh meats, this transaction of yours was shown. The effect of eating the meat of these unhealthy animals is diseased blood, sickness, and fevers. Many instances of the kind were shown me as being acted over daily by worldlings. You, my dear brother, have not seen this wrong on your part as the Lord sees it. You have never felt that it was a great sin on your part. Many things of like character have taken place in your life, which you will find that the recording angel has faithfully chronicled, and which you will meet again, unless by repentance and confession you make these wrongs right.


I was bidden to wait and see. I was directed to speak plainly, give general principles, and leave you to make the application yourself. I was shown that God would not frequently point out the wrongs committed by His people, but would cause to be given in their hearing general principles, close, pointed truths, and all should be open to conviction to see, to feel, and understand whether or not they are condemned. You have not dealt closely and faithfully with your own soul. Said the angel: “I will prove him, I will test him, I will walk contrary unto him, until he acknowledges the hand of God in thus dealing with him.”

I saw that while in —– those connected with your family did not move right. You manifested a close spirit, savoring of overreaching and dishonesty. You could have had no influence for good in that place until you had redeemed the past by an entire change of conduct in dealing with your fellow men. Your light was darkness to the people, and your influence while there was a great detriment to the cause of present truth. You brought reproach upon the truth, and your close dealing caused your name to be a byword among the people. You frequently fell below the standard of many worldlings in regard to honorable dealing. Elder I can do no good in —–. His words are as water spilled upon the ground, for the reason that he was connected with you and took part in this close trading. In many respects he became like a worldling in business transactions. He was close and was fast becoming selfish. His course in many things was calculated to destroy his influence and was not becoming a minister of Christ. Said the angel in the vision given at Rochester, New York, in 1866: “My hand shall bring adversity. He may gather, but I will scatter until he redeems the past and makes clean work for eternity.” Every true Christian should feel above condescending to the low, bartering, trading spirit of worldlings.


You are not a miser; you love to be benevolent, free, open-hearted, and openhanded; but that which is wrong in you is the spirit mentioned in this letter, of not loving your neighbor as yourself; it is the neglect of seeing your wrongs and making them right when the clear, forcible light of truth has told you too plainly your duty. You are a lover of hospitality, and God will not give you over to be deceived by the great deceiver of mankind, but will come directly to you and show you where you err that you may retrace your steps. He now calls upon you to redeem the past, and to come up upon a higher plane of action, and let your life record be unspotted with avarice or selfish love of gain.

Your judgment in worldly things will become foolishness unless you dedicate all to God. You and your wife are not devotional. Your spirituality is not what God would have it to be. Paralysis seems to be upon you; yet you are both capable of exerting a strong influence for God and for His truth, if you adorn your profession with well-ordered lives and godly conversation. You frequently get in too great a hurry, and then become impatient and fretful, and order your help in a hurried manner. This is detrimental to your spiritual advancement.

Time is short, and you have no time to delay the preparation of heart necessary to labor earnestly and faithfully for your own soul, and for the salvation of your friends and neighbors, and all who come under your influence. Ever aim to so live in the light that your influence can be sanctifying upon those with whom you are associated in a business capacity or in common intercourse. There is fullness in Jesus. You can obtain strength from Him which will qualify you to walk even as He walked, but there must be no separation of affections from Him. He requires the entire man, the soul, body, and spirit. When you do all on your part which He requires, He will work for you, and bless and strengthen you by His rich grace.


Chapter 24—Oppressing the Hireling

Dear Brother J,

A great solemnity has rested upon my mind since the vision given Friday evening, June 12, 1868. I was shown that you do not know yourself. You have not felt reconciled to the testimony given in your case and have not made thorough work to reform. I was referred to Isaiah: “Is not this the fast that I have chosen? to loose the bands of wickedness, to undo the heavy burdens, and to let the oppressed go free, and that ye break every yoke? Is it not to deal thy bread to the hungry, and that thou bring the poor that are cast out to thy house? when thou seest the naked, that thou cover him; and that thou hide not thyself from thine own flesh?” If you do these things, the blessings promised will be given.

You may raise the inquiry, “Wherefore have we fasted,” “and Thou seest not? wherefore have we afflicted our soul, and Thou takest no knowledge?” God has given reasons why your prayers were not answered. You have thought that you had found reasons in others and have charged the fault upon them. But I saw that there are sufficient reasons in yourself. You have a work to do to set your own heart in order. You should realize that the work must begin with yourself. You have oppressed the destitute and have benefited yourself by taking advantage of their necessities. In regard to means, you have been close and dealt unjustly. You have not possessed that kind, noble, and generous spirit which should ever characterize the life of a follower of Christ. You have oppressed the hireling in her wages. You saw a poorly clad, hard-working person who you knew was conscientious and God-fearing; yet you took advantage of her because you could do so. I saw that the neglect of seeing and understanding her wants, and the small wages paid her, are all written in heaven as done to Jesus in the person of one of His saints. As you have done this unto the least of Christ’s disciples, you have done it unto Him. Heaven has regarded all your closeness to those who have served in your house, and it will stand faithfully chronicled against you unless it is repented of and restitution made. One wrong move does more harm than can be undone in years; if the wrongdoer could see the extent of the evil, it would wring from his soul cries of anguish. You are selfish in regard to means. In the case of Brother K the angel of God pointed to you and said: “Inasmuch as ye have done this to one of Christ’s disciples, ye have done it to Jesus in His person.”


The cases I have mentioned are not the only ones. I would you could see these things as Heaven has opened them before me. There is a sad deception upon minds. It is the religion of Christ that you need. He pleased not Himself, but lived to benefit others. You have a work to do, and should lose no time in humbling your heart before God, and by humble confessions remove the blots from your Christian character. Then can you engage in the solemn work of laboring for the salvation of others without making so many mistakes.

What has your time amounted to, spent as it has been spent while engaged in a work which God did not set you about? Impressions have been made on minds, and experiences gained, which it will require much labor for them to efface. Souls will wander in darkness, perplexity, and unbelief, and some will never recover. With fasting and earnest prayer, with deep heart searching, stern self-examination, lay bare the soul; let no act escape your critical examination. Then, with self dead and your life hid with Christ in God, offer your humble petitions. If you regard iniquity in your heart, the Lord will not hear you. If He had heard your prayers, you would have been exalted. Satan has stood by, prepared to make the most of the advantage he has gained.


Oh, how important it is that faithfulness in little things characterize our lives, that true integrity mark all our course of action, and that we ever bear in mind that angels of God are taking cognizance of every act! That which we mete to others shall be meted to us again. A fearfulness should ever attend you lest you should deal unjustly, selfishly. By sickness and adversity the Lord will remove from us much more than we obtain by grinding the face of the poor. A just God truly estimates all our motives and actions.

I was shown Brother and Sister L. The love of the world has so eaten out true godliness and benumbed the powers of the mind that the truth fails to have a transforming influence upon the life and character. The love of the world has closed their hearts to compassion and to a consideration of the wants of others; its spirit has separated them from God. Brother and sister, you have a work to do to get from beneath the rubbish of the world; you need to make earnest efforts to overcome your love of the world, your selfishness, and your penuriousness. These are sins which are cursing God’s people. I was pointed back to the community in which you lived previous to your moving to —–. You were close and exacting in deal there, taking advantage every time that you could well do so. I tried to find in your lives acts of noble self-sacrifice and benevolence, but could not, they were so rare. Your light has shone before others in such a manner that they have felt disgusted with you and your faith. The truth has been reproached by your closeness and overreaching in deal. May God help you to see all, and to have that hatred for this evil that He has. Let your light so shine that others by seeing your good works may be led to glorify your Father who is in heaven. God has been displeased with your course, for it has been marked by self-interest. He is still displeased with it, and will deal with you in judgment, unless you rid yourself of this spirit of littleness, and seek to be sanctified through the truth. Faith without works is dead, being alone. Faith will never save you unless it is justified by works. God requires of you to be rich in good works, ready to distribute, willing to communicate, laying up in store for yourselves a good foundation against the time to come, that you may lay hold on eternal life.

Testimonies for the Church, Vol. 2 pp. 149-158