You are extremely sensitive. You feel deeply and have not possessed the power to throw off care, perplexity, and discouragement of mind. I saw that God would be to you a very present help if you would only trust yourself with Him; but you worry yourself out of the arms of your dear, loving Saviour. “He that spared not His own Son, but delivered Him up for us all, how shall He not with Him also freely give us all things?” What a precious promise is this! We may claim much of our kind heavenly Father. Great blessings are in reserve for us. We may believe in God, we may trust Him, and by so doing glorify His name. Even if we are overcome of the enemy, we are not cast off, not forsaken and rejected of God. No; Christ is at the right hand of God, who also maketh intercession for us. “If any man sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous.”
I want to say, my sister, you need not cast away your confidence. Poor, trembling soul, rest in the promises of God. In so doing, the enemy’s fetters will be broken, his suggestions will be powerless. Heed not the whisperings of the enemy. Go free, oppressed soul. Be of good courage. Say to your poor, desponding heart: “Hope thou in God: for I shall yet praise Him, who is the health of my countenance, and my God.” I know that God loves you. Put your trust in Him. Think not of those things which bring sadness and distress; turn from every disagreeable thought and think of precious Jesus. Dwell upon His power to save, His undying, matchless love for you, even you. I know that the Lord loves you. If you cannot rely upon your own faith, rely upon the faith of others. We believe and hope for you. God accepts our faith in your behalf.
You have tried to do right, and God is pitiful and compassionate to you. Be cheerful, and bid adieu to gloom and doubts. In indulging these doubts, you dishonor God. There is peace in believing, and joy in the Holy Ghost. Believing brings peace, and trusting in God brings joy. Believe, believe! my soul says, believe. Rest in God. He is able to keep that which you have committed to His trust. He will bring you off more than conqueror through Him who hath loved you. May the Lord bless you and strengthen your trembling faith, is our prayer. We commit these few lines to you, trusting they may do you good.
Chapter 46—A Self-Caring, Dictatorial Spirit
Dear Brother U,
I was shown in the last vision that you would need to watch yourself with jealous care, or your peculiar temperament would control you. You erred while engaged in praying for Sister V, and took upon yourself the same dictatorial, overbearing spirit which has been the curse of your life. You bore down on Brother W when, considering your failures in the past, you should have been unassuming and modest. It will be very difficult for you to overcome the habit of watching others, and noticing little things, and speaking out in a decided, censuring manner. All this you have nothing to do with. Just as sure as you are overcome in a small degree in this direction, the door is open for a greater failure. There is no safety for you but in constantly controlling yourself and possessing your soul in patience. You cannot accomplish any great work, but, if right, may do a little good in the cause of God. But your influence need not injure; if you are guarded and sanctified to God, you may be able to speak a peaceful word of comfort and to bear testimony to the great riches of God and the undying love of Jesus.
Let your heart be softened and melted under the divine influence of the Spirit of God. You should not talk so much about yourself, for this will strengthen no one. You should not make yourself a center, and imagine that you must be constantly caring for yourself and leading others to care for you. Get your mind off from yourself into a more healthy channel. Talk of Jesus, and let self go; let it be submerged in Christ, and let this be the language of your heart: “I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me.” Jesus will be to you a present help in every time of need. He will not leave you to battle with the powers of darkness alone. Oh, no; He has laid help upon One that is mighty to save to the uttermost.
Be not self-caring. Overcome your notions, your little peculiarities, and seek only to represent Jesus. When talking or praying in meeting, do not be too lengthy. You have failed here. You can remedy this. Lengthy speaking and praying is injurious to yourself and is no benefit to those who hear. You will have close work to be an overcomer. Yet you can do it if you engage in the work calmly. Here you need to guard yourself. You are uneasy, hurried, nervous. This you may also overcome.
You have an earnest, anxious desire to do right and meet the approval of God. Continue your earnest, persevering efforts, and be not discouraged. Be patient. Never censure. Never let the enemy beguile you from your watch. Watch as well as pray. After you pray, watch thereunto. The effort is your own; no one can do this work for you. Take hold of the strength of God, and as fast as you see your errors in the past, redeem the time.
Chapter 47—A Forgetful Hearer
Dear Brother Y,
In the last view given I was shown that you do not understand yourself. You have a work to do for yourself which no one can do for you. Your experience in the truth is short, and you have not been thoroughly converted. You place a higher estimate upon yourself than you will bear. I was pointed back to your past life. Your mind has not been elevated, but has dwelt upon subjects not calculated to lead to purity of action. You have had habits which were corrupt, and which have tainted your morals. You have been too familiar with the other sex, and have not possessed modesty of deportment. You would be well suited were there greater familiarity encouraged between men and women, much after Dr. A’s theory. Your influence at —– was not good. You were not a proper person for that place; your light and trifling conversation disqualified you to exert a good influence. The character of your music was not such as to encourage elevated thoughts or feelings, but rather to degenerate.
For some weeks in the past your influence has been improving; but you lack firmness of principle. You are deficient in many things, and in some things you must know where you fail. The follies of your youth have left their impress upon you; you can never recover what you have lost through impure habits. These things have so benumbed your sensibilities that sacred things are not clearly discerned. You cannot, with your present experience, resist temptation. You cannot endure trials. You are not sanctified through the truth. You have taken hold of the truth, but it has not taken hold upon you to transform you by the renewing of your mind. You are a self-deceived man. Oh, do not, I entreat you, remain deceived in regard to your true condition! You have not felt deep conviction because of your sins, and in humility sought the Lord with anguish of heart that your transgressions might be blotted out. You could not see that your ways were so sinful before God. Therefore the work of reformation has not been wrought in your soul.
You have clothed yourself with a self-righteous garment to cover up the deformity of sin; but this is not the remedy. You know not what true conversion is. The old man is not dead in you. You have a form of godliness, but not the cleansing power of God. You can and do talk and write smoothly, and as far as your words go, they may possibly be correct; but the true language of the heart is not spoken. You are enough acquainted with yourself to know this. Your case is perilous; yet God pities you, and will save you if you fall all broken at His feet, feeling your impurity and vileness, your rottenness of soul, without the transforming power of God.
My brother, I do not wish to discourage you, but to lead you to investigate your motives and acts as in the light of eternity. Break away from Satan’s snare. Do not, I beg of you, lead any person to think of you in a more elevated light than you can bear, for when this deception shall be removed, and your true self appear as you are, there will be a reaction. You do have convictions of the Spirit of God and feel the force of truth when you listen to it; but these sacred, softening impressions wear away, and you are a forgetful hearer. You are not established, strengthened, and settled in the truth. You have thought it best for your interest to adopt the truth, but you have not yet experienced its sanctifying influence. Now we would entreat of you, be not deceived, God is not mocked. It is not too late for you to become a Christian; but do not move by impulse. Weigh every move well, and deceive not your own soul.
Chapter 48—Remedy for Sentimentalism
Dear Sister B,
In the vision given me June 12 I was shown your case. You are in a sad state, not so much because of actual disease, although you are not well, but because of imaginary inability to labor. Several years ago I was shown that you suffered your mind to dwell too much upon the boys. You have frequently made them the theme of conversation, and your mind has run in a channel not profitable to your spiritual advancement. You have fallen into a train of thinking which has led to evil results. You have injured and abused your own body, and brought upon yourself an imbecile state of mind. You have indulged in a lovesick train of thought and feeling until you are almost ruined, soul and body. Your indisposition to exercise is very bad for you. Useful employment in bearing home burdens, and engaging in useful labor, would overcome this sickly, sentimental state of feeling sooner than any other means.
You have been sympathized with too much. To relieve you from all responsibility has been a very great mistake. Nearly all your thoughts are now upon yourself. You are fretful, and your mind dwells upon sad things, and pictures your condition as very bad, and you are even settling it in your mind that you can never get well unless you are married. In your present state of mind you are not fit to marry. There is no one who would wish you in your present helpless, useless condition. If one should fancy he loved you, he would be worthless; for no sensible man could think for a moment of placing his affections upon so useless an object.
The sad, gloomy state of your mind, which leads you to weep and feel that life is not desirable, is the result of allowing your thoughts to run in an impure channel, upon forbidden subjects, while you indulge habits that are steadily and surely undermining your constitution and preparing you for premature decay. It would have been far better for you had you never gone to —–. Your stay there injured you. You dwelt upon your infirmities, and mingled in society which was corrupting in its influence. Miss C was a corrupt, evil-minded woman. Her association with you increased the evil which was already upon you. “Evil communications corrupt good manners.” At the present time your condition is not acceptable in the sight of God; yet you imagine that you have no desire to live. But should you be taken at your expressed wish, and your life cease, your case would be hopeless indeed. You are neither prepared for this world nor the next.
You imagine that you cannot walk, or ride, or even exercise, and you settle into a cold, dead apathy. You are a grief and anxiety to your indulgent parents, and no comfort to yourself. You can rally, you can work, you can shake off this terrible indifference. Your mother needs your aid; your father needs the comfort you can give him; your brothers need a kindly care from their elder sister; your sisters need your instruction. But here you sit upon the stool of indolence, dreaming of unrequited love. For your own soul’s sake, have done with this folly. Read your Bible as you have never read it before. Engage in home duties, and lighten the cares of your overburdened, overworked parents. You may not be able to do a great amount at first, but every day increase the task you set yourself. This is the surest remedy for a diseased mind and an abused body.
If you possess earnestness and steadiness of purpose, your mind will come back, in a degree, to dwelling upon more healthful, pure subjects. Self-indulgence has degenerated by degrees into such a wantonness of will as knows not how to please itself. Instead of regulating your actions by reason and principle, you suffer yourself to be guided by every slight and momentary impulse. This makes you appear variable and inconstant. It is vain for others to seek to please you, for you could not please yourself, even if all your wishes were indulged. You are a capricious child and have become sick of yourself through very selfishness.
This wretched state is the result of unwise sympathy and flattery. You have had a very good mind, but it has become unbalanced by being directed in a wrong channel. You now amount to little else than a blank in society. This need not be. You can do for yourself that which no one else can do for you. You have duties to perform, but you have so long yielded to a helpless condition that you imagine you cannot do them. The will is at fault; you have the power, but not the will.
You are pining for love. Jesus calls for your affections; if you will devote them to Him, He will rid you of all this sickly, sentimental, impure love, found in the pages of a novel. In Jesus you may love with fervor, with earnestness. This love may increase in depth and expand without limit, and not endanger health of body or strength of mind. You need love to God and to your neighbor. You must awake, you must shake off this deception which is upon you, and seek pure love.
Your only hope of this life and the better life is to seek earnestly for the true religion of Jesus. You have not a religious experience. You need to be converted. Your listless, indolent, selfish sadness will then give place to cheerfulness, which will be beneficial to body and mind. Love to God will ensure love to your neighbor, and you will engage in the duties of life with a deep, unselfish interest. Pure principles should underlie your actions. Inward peace will bring even your thoughts into a healthful channel. Devote yourself to God, or you will never gain the better life.
You have duties to perform to your parents. You should not be discouraged if you become weary at first. It will not prove a lasting injury. Your parents frequently become exceedingly weary. It will not be half so injurious to you to become very weary in useful labor as for your mind to be dwelling upon yourself, fostering ailments and yielding to despondency. A faithful fulfillment of home duties, filling the position you can occupy to the best advantage, be it ever so simple and humble, is truly elevating. This divine influence is needed. In this there is peace and sacred joy. It possesses healing power. It will secretly and insensibly soothe the wounds of the soul, and even the sufferings of the body. Peace of mind, which comes from pure and holy motives and actions, will give free and vigorous spring to all the organs of the body.
Inward peace and a conscience void of offense toward God will quicken and invigorate the intellect like dew distilled upon the tender plants. The will is then rightly directed and controlled, and is more decided, and yet free from perverseness. The meditations are pleasing because they are sanctified. The serenity of mind which you may possess will bless all with whom you associate. This peace and calmness will, in time, become natural, and will reflect its precious rays upon all around you, to be again reflected upon you. The more you taste this heavenly peace and quietude of mind, the more it will increase. It is an animated, living pleasure which does not throw all the moral energies into a stupor, but awakens them to increased activity. Perfect peace is an attribute of heaven which angels possess. May God help you to become a possessor of this peace.
Chapter 49—Duty to Orphans
Dear Brother and Sister D,
Your late visit and conversation with us have suggested many thoughts, of which I cannot forbear placing a few upon paper. I was very sorry that E had not carried himself correctly at all times; yet, when you consider, you cannot expect perfection in youth at his age. Children have faults, and they need a great deal of patient instruction.
That he should have feelings not always correct is no more than can be expected of a boy of his age. You must remember that he has no father or mother, no one to whom he can confide his feelings, his sorrows, and his temptations. Every person feels that he must have some sympathizer. This boy has been tossed about here and there, from pillar to post, and he may have many errors, many careless ways, with considerable independence, and he may lack reverence. But he is quite enterprising, and with right instruction and kind treatment, I have the fullest confidence that he would not disappoint our hopes, but would fully repay all the labor expended on him. Considering his disadvantages, I think he is a very good boy.
When we entreated you to take him we did it because we fully believed it was your duty and that in doing so you would be blessed. We did not expect that you would do this merely to be benefited by the help that you would receive from the boy, but to benefit him, to do a duty to the orphan—a duty which every true Christian should be seeking and anxiously watching to perform; a duty, a sacrificing duty, which we believed it would do you good to take up, if you did it cheerfully, with a view to being the instrument in the hands of God of saving a soul from the snares of Satan, of saving a son whose father devoted his precious life to pointing souls to the Lamb of God who taketh away the sin of the world.
From what was shown me, Sabbathkeeping Adventists have but a feeble sense of how large a place the world and selfishness hold in their hearts. If you have a desire to do good and glorify God, there are many ways in which you can do it. But you have not felt that this was the result of true religion. This is the fruit which every good tree will produce. You have not felt that it was required of you to be interested in others, to make their cases your own, and to manifest an unselfish interest for the very ones who stand most in need of help. You have not reached out to help the most needy, the most helpless. Had you children of your own to call into exercise care, affection, and love, you would not be so much shut up to yourselves and to your own interests. If those who have no children, and whom God has made stewards of means, would expand their hearts to care for children who need love, care, and affection, and assistance with this world’s goods, they would be far happier than they are today. So long as youth who have not a father’s pitying care nor a mother’s tender love are exposed to the corrupting influences of these last days, it is somebody’s duty to supply the place of father and mother to some of them. Learn to give them love, affection, and sympathy. All who profess to have a Father in heaven, who they hope will care for them and finally take them to the home He has prepared for them, ought to feel a solemn obligation resting upon them to be friends to the friendless and fathers to the orphans, to aid the widows, and be of some practical use in this world by benefiting humanity. Many have not viewed these things in a right light. If they live merely for themselves, they will have no greater strength than this calls for.
Testimonies for the Church, Vol. 2 pp. 319-328