Testimonies for the Church, Vol. 3, pp. 309-318 Day 172

Brother and Sister A, while among your brethren you have too frequently made it a practice to make arrangements agreeable to yourselves and to take a course to gather attention to yourselves, without considering the convenience or inconvenience of others. You are in danger of making yourselves a center. You have received the attention and consideration of others when, for the good of your own souls as well as for the benefit of others, you should have devoted more attention to those you visited. Such a course would have given you far greater influence, and you would have been blessed in winning more souls to the truth.

Brother A, you have ability to present the truth to others. You have an investigative mind; but there are serious defects in your character, which I have mentioned and which must be overcome. You neglect many of the little courtesies of life because you think so much of yourself that you do not realize that these little attentions are required of you. God would not have you burden others while you neglect to see and do the things that someone must do. It does not detract from the dignity of a gospel minister to bring in wood and water when needed or to exercise by doing necessary work in the family where he is entertained. In not seeing these little important duties and improving the opportunity to do them, he deprives himself of real blessings and also deprives others of the good that it is their privilege to receive from him.

Some of our ministers do not have an amount of physical exercise proportionate to the taxation of the mind. As the result they are suffering from debility. There is no good reason why the health of ministers who have to perform only the ordinary duties devolving upon the minister should fail. Their minds are not constantly burdened with perplexing cares and heavy responsibilities in regard to the important institutions among us. I saw that there is no real reason why they should fail in this important period of the cause and work if they will pay due regard to the light that God has given them in regard to how to labor and how to exercise, and will give proper attention to their diet.


Some of our ministers eat very heartily and then do not exercise sufficiently to work off the waste matter which accumulates in the system. They will eat and then spend most of their time sitting down, reading, studying, or writing, when a share of their time should be devoted to systematic physical labor. Our preachers will certainly break down in health unless they are more careful not to overload the stomach by too great a quantity of even healthful food. I saw that you, Brother and Sister A, were both in danger on this point. Overeating prevents the free flow of thought and words, and that intensity of feeling which is so necessary in order to impress the truth upon the heart of the hearer. The indulgence of appetite beclouds and fetters the mind, and blunts the holy emotions of the soul. The mental and moral powers of some of our preachers are enfeebled by improper eating and lack of physical exercise. Those who crave great quantities of food should not indulge their appetite, but should practice self-denial and retain the blessings of active muscles and unoppressed brains. Overeating stupefies the entire being by diverting the energies from the other organs to do the work of the stomach.

The failure of our ministers to exercise all the organs of the body proportionately causes some organs to become worn, while others are weak from inaction. If wear is left to come almost exclusively upon one organ or set of muscles, the one most used must become overwearied and greatly weakened. Each faculty of the mind, and each muscle, has its distinctive office, and all are required to be equally exercised in order to become properly developed and to retain healthful vigor. Each organ has its work to do in the living organism. Every wheel in the machinery must be a living, active, working wheel. All the faculties have a bearing upon one another, and all need to be exercised in order to be properly developed.

Brother and Sister A, neither of you enjoy physical, domestic labor. Both of you need to cultivate a love for the practical duties of life. This education is necessary for your


health and will increase your usefulness. You think too much of what you eat. You should not touch those things which will give a poor quality of blood; both of you have scrofula.

Brother A, your love for reading and your dislike for physical taxation, while talking and exercising your throat, make you liable to disease of the throat and lungs. You should be guarded and should not speak hurriedly, rattling off what you have to say as though you had a lesson to repeat. You should not let the labor come upon the upper portion of the vocal organs, for this will constantly wear and irritate them, and will lay the foundation for disease. The action should come upon the abdominal muscles. The lungs and throat should be the channel, but should not do all the work.

I was shown that the manner in which you and your wife eat will bring disease, which, when once fastened upon you, will not be easily overcome. You may both bear up for years and not show any special signs of breaking, but cause will be followed by the sure results. God will not work a miracle for either of you to preserve your health and life. You must eat and study and work understandingly, following enlightened conscience. Our preachers should all be sincere, genuine health reformers, not merely adopting the reforms because others do, but from principle, in obedience to the word of God. God has given us great light upon the health reform, which He requires us all to respect. He does not send light to be rejected or disregarded by His people without their suffering the consequences.

Pioneers in the Cause

I was shown that neither of you really know yourselves. If God should let the enemy loose upon you, as He did upon His servant Job, He would not find in you that spirit of steadfast integrity that He found in Job, but a spirit of murmuring and of unbelief. Had you been situated at Battle Creek during my husband’s illness, at the time of the trial of our brethren and


sisters there, when Satan had special power upon them, both of you would have drunk deep of their spirit of jealousy and faultfinding. You would have been among the number, as zealous as the rest, to make a diseased, careworn man, a paralytic, an offender for a word.

You are inclined to offset your deficiencies by magnifying and dwelling upon the wrongs you suppose exist in Brother and Sister White; and had you an opportunity, as those had in Battle Creek, you would venture to go to greater lengths than did some of them in their wicked crusade against us; for you have less faith and less reverence than some of them had, and would be less inclined to respect our work and our calling.

I was shown that, notwithstanding you have before you the sad experience and example of others who have become disaffected and have murmured and been faultfinding and jealous of us, you would fail to be warned by their example, and God would test your fidelity and reveal the secrets of your hearts. Your distrust, suspicions, and jealousies would be revealed, and your weaknesses exposed, that you might see them and understand yourselves, if you would.

I saw you listening to the conversation of men and women, and saw that you were only too pleased to gather up their views and impressions that were detrimental to our labors. Some found fault with one thing, and some with another, as did the murmurers among the children of Israel when Moses was their leader. Some were censuring our course, saying that we were not as conservative as we ought to be; we did not seek to please the people as we might; we talked too plainly; we reproved too sharply. Some were talking in regard to Sister White’s dress, picking at straws. Others were expressing dissatisfaction with the course that Brother White pursued, and remarks were passing from one to another, questioning their course and finding fault. An angel stood before these persons, unseen by them, busily writing their words in the book which is to be opened to the view of God and angels.

Some are eagerly watching for something to condemn in


Brother and Sister White, who have grown gray in their service in the cause of God. Some express their views that the testimony of Sister White cannot be reliable. This is all that many unconsecrated ones want. The testimonies of reproof have checked their vanity and pride; but if they dared, they would go to almost any length in fashion and pride. God will give all such an opportunity to prove themselves and to develop their true characters.

Some years ago I saw that we would yet have to meet the same spirit which rose at Paris, Maine, and which has never been thoroughly cured. It has slumbered, but it is not dead. From time to time this spirit of determined murmuring and rebellion has cropped out in different individuals who have at some time been leavened with this wicked spirit which has followed us for years. Sister A, this spirit has been cherished by you to some extent, and has had an influence to mold your views and feelings. Sanctimonious infidelity has been gradually growing in the mind of C, and it is not now easy, even for her, to get rid of it. This same determined spirit which held D and others in Maine in a fanatical delusion so long, against every influence to lead them to the truth, has had a powerful, deceptive influence over E’s mind in —–, and the same influence has affected you. You were of that calm, determined, unyielding temperament that the enemy could affect, and the same results, only in a greater degree, will attend your influence, if wrong, as attended that of Sister E.

Feelings of suspicion, jealousy, and unbelief have for years been gaining power upon your mind. You have a hatred for reproof. You are very sensitive, and your sympathies arise at once for anyone who is reproved. This is not a sanctified feeling, and is not prompted by the Spirit of God. Brother and Sister A, I was shown that when this spirit of faultfinding and murmuring should be developed in you, when it should be manifested and the leaven of dissatisfaction, jealousy, and unbelief which has cursed the life of E and her husband should appear, we would have a work to do to meet it decidedly and


give that spirit no quarter; and that, until this should be developed, I should keep silent, for there was a time to speak and a time to keep silent. I saw that, should apparent prosperity attend the labors of Brother A, unless he was a thoroughly converted man he would be in danger of losing his soul. He does not have becoming respect for the position and labors of others; he considers himself second to none.

I was shown that temptations will continually increase in regard to the labors of Brother and Sister White. Our work is a peculiar work, it is different in character from that of any others who labor in the field. God does not call ministers who have only to labor in word and doctrine to do our work, neither does He call us to do only their work. We each have, in some respects, a distinct work. God has been pleased to open to me the secrets of the inner life and the hidden sins of His people. The unpleasant duty has been laid upon me to reprove wrongs and to reveal hidden sins. When I have been compelled by the Spirit of God to reprove sins that others did not know existed, it has stirred up the natural feelings in the hearts of the unsanctified. While some have humbled their hearts before God, and with repentance and confession have forsaken their sins, others have felt a spirit of hatred rise in their hearts. Their pride has been hurt when their course has been reproved. They entertain the thought that it is Sister White who is hurting them, instead of feeling grateful to God that He has in mercy spoken to them through His humble instrument, to show them their dangers and their sins, that they may put them away before it shall be too late for wrongs to be righted.

Some are ready to inquire: Who told Sister White these things? They have even put the question to me: Did anyone tell you these things? I could answer them: Yes; yes, the angel of God has spoken to me. But what they mean is: Have the brethren and sisters been exposing their faults? For the future, I shall not belittle the testimonies that God has given me, to make explanations to try to satisfy such narrow minds,


but shall treat all such questions as an insult to the Spirit of God. God has seen fit to thrust me into positions in which He has not placed any other one in our ranks. He has laid upon me burdens of reproof that He has not given to any other one. My husband has stood by my side to sustain the testimonies and to give his voice in union with the testimony of reproof. He has been compelled to take a decided stand to press back the unbelief and rebellion which has been bold and defiant, and which would break down any testimony that I might bear, because the ones reproved were cut and felt deeply over the reproof given. This is exactly as God designed. He meant that they should feel. It was necessary that they should feel before their proud hearts would yield up their sins and they would cleanse their hearts and lives from all iniquity.

In every advance move that God has led us to make, in every step gained by God’s people, there have been ready tools of Satan among us, to stand back and suggest doubts and unbelief, and to throw obstacles in our way, to weaken our faith and courage. We have had to stand like warriors, ready to press and fight our way through the opposition raised. This has made our work tenfold harder than it otherwise would have been. We have had to stand as firm and unyielding as a rock. This firmness has been interpreted to be hardheartedness and willfulness. God never designed that we should swerve, first to the right and then to the left, to gratify the minds of unconsecrated brethren. He designed that our course should be straightforward. One and another have come to us, professing to have a great burden for us to have us go this way or that, contrary to the light that God has given us. What if we had followed these false lights and fanatical impressions? Surely our people should not then put confidence in us. We have had to set our faces as flints for the right and then press on to work and duty.

Some among us have been ever ready to carry matters to extremes, to overreach the mark. They seem to be without an anchor. Such have greatly injured the cause of truth. There


are others who seem never to have a position where they can stand firmly and surely, ready to battle if need be when God calls for faithful soldiers to be found at the post of duty. There are those who will not make a charge upon the enemy when required of God to do so. They will do nothing until others have fought the battle and gained the victory for them, and then they are ready to share the spoils. How much can God count upon such soldiers? They are accounted as cowards in His cause.

This class, I saw, gained no experience for themselves in regard to warfare against sin and Satan. They were more inclined to fight against the faithful soldiers of Christ than against Satan and his host. Had they girded on the armor and pressed into the battle, they would have gained a valuable experience which it was their privilege to have. But they had no courage to contend for the right, to venture something in the warfare, and to learn how to attack Satan and take his strongholds. Some have no idea of running any risk or venturing anything themselves. But somebody must venture; someone must run risks in this cause. Those who will not venture and expose themselves to censure will stand all prepared to watch those who do bear responsibilities, and will be ready, if there is a semblance of chance, to find fault with them and injure them if they can. This has been the experience of Brother and Sister White in their labors. Satan and his host have been arrayed against them, but these were not all; when those who should have stood by them in the warfare have seen them overburdened and pressed beyond measure, they have stood prepared to join Satan in his work to discourage and weaken them, and, if possible, drive them from the field.

Brother and Sister A, I have been shown that as you have traveled you have been looked up to and highly esteemed, and treated with greater respect and deference than was for your good. It is not natural for you to treat with like respect those who have borne the burdens which God has laid upon them


in His cause and work. Both of you love your ease. You are not inclined to be turned out of your course or to inconvenience yourselves. You desire to have things bend to your convenience. You have large self-esteem and exalted opinions of your acquirements. You have not had the perplexing cares and burdens to bear, and the important decisions to make which involved the interests of God’s cause, that have fallen to the lot of my husband. God has made him a counselor to His people, to advise and counsel such young men as yourself, as children in the truth. And when you take that humble position which a true sense of your real state will lead you to take, you will be willing to be counseled. It is because of the few responsibilities you have borne that you do not understand why Brother White should feel more deeply than you. There is just this difference between you and him in this matter. He has invested thirty of the best years of his life to the cause of God, while you have had but few years of experience and have had comparatively nothing of the hardships to meet that he has had.

After those who led out in this work have labored hard to prepare the truth and bring the work up ready to your hand, you embrace it and go out to labor, presenting the precious arguments which others, with inexpressible anxiety, have searched out for you. While you are amply provided for in point of means, your weekly wages sure, leaving you no reason for care or anxiety in this direction, these pioneers of the cause suffered deprivations of every kind. They had no assurance of anything. They were dependent upon God and upon the few truehearted ones who received their labors. While you have sympathizing brethren to sustain you and fully appreciate your labors, the first laborers in this work had but very few to stand by them. All could be counted in a few minutes. We knew what it was to go hungry for want of food and to suffer with cold for the want of suitable clothing. We have traveled all night by private conveyance to visit the brethren, because we had no means with which to defray the


expenses of hotel fare. We traveled miles on foot, time and again, because we had no money to hire a carriage. Oh, how precious was the truth to us! how valuable souls purchased by the blood of Christ!

We have no complaints to make of our sufferings in those days of close want and perplexity, which made the exercise of faith necessary. They were the happiest days of our lives. There we learned the simplicity of faith. There, while in affliction we tested and proved the Lord. He was our consolation. He was to us like the shadow of a great rock in a weary land. It is unfortunate for you, my brother, and for our young ministers generally, that you and they have not had a similar experience in privation, in trial, and in need; for such an experience would be worth to you more than houses or lands, gold or silver.

When we refer to our past experience of excessive labor and want, and of laboring with our hands to support ourselves and to publish the truth at the very commencement of the work, some of our young preachers of but few years’ experience in the work seem to be annoyed and charge us with boasting of our own works. The reason of this is that their own lives have been so free from wearing care, want, and self-sacrifice that they know not how to sympathize with us, and the contrast is not agreeable to their feelings. To have presented before them the experience of others which is in such wide contrast with their own course does not make their labors appear in so favorable a light as they would have them.

When we commenced this work we were both in feeble health. My husband was a dyspeptic; yet three times a day, in faith, we made our supplications to God for strength. My husband went into the hayfield with his scythe, and, in the strength that God gave him in answer to our earnest prayers, he there earned, by mowing, means with which to purchase us neat, plain clothing and to pay our fare to a distant state to present the truth to our brethren.

Testimonies for the Church, Vol. 3 pp. 309-318