Including Contents and links to numbers 1-22
Foreword: this Foreword and Contents written October, 2001 (updated 2021) by Daniel Winters; email@example.com
This page has the first three in a series of 33 Testimonies to the Church written by Seventh-day Adventist co-founder, Ellen White, that were published over the years from 1855 to 1889. These are the original Testimonies, some of which were compiled into the familiar 9-volume Testimony books in later years, some of which were changed in the 9-volume set, and some parts were just left out. Note: Links to the first 22 Testimonies follow.
This particular book was taken from a photo-copy of a photo-copy of a photo-copy.... and as such, the original spellings were left as in the original even where it seems to be an obvious mistake. For example: in one place "understauding" was left as is. Testimony Number 9 has: "PARENTS AND CHILDREN." twice, so it is shown here twice, in the exact order as the original. A complete list of what seem to be typesetting mistakes will be put in the PDF & RTF versions of this book you can download freely. May this be a powerful means to wake up us Laodiceans, and may we make the mark of distinction between those who serve God, and the world very clear, is my prayer.Contents:
Lack of Consecration.Number Two.
The Two Ways.Number Three.
Be Zealous And Repent.Number Four.
Young Sabbath-keepers.Number Five.
ANSWER TO PRAYER.Number Six.
SLACKNESS REPROVED.Number Seven.
GREAT DISTRESS COMING, AND GOD'S PEOPLE NOT PREPARED FOR ITNumber Eight.
FAMILY RELIGION.Number Nine.
THE REBELLION.Number Ten.
DANGERS OF THE YOUNG.Number Eleven.
YOUNG SABBATH-KEEPERS.Number Thirteen.
From December 19, 1866, to October 20, 1867.
During the period of sixteen years Mrs. W. has published her Testimonies to the Church in a series of pamphlets, which, at this date, number twenty. But as the editions of the first numbers were small, and have long since been exhausted, we are not able to furnish the series complete to the numerous friends who subsequently embrace the views of Seventh-day Adventists. The call for these Testimonies being large, we re-publish, and offer them in this form.
And we are happy to do this, inasmuch as the testimonies, given under the trying, and ever-changing circumstances of the past sixteen years, ever breathing the same high-toned spirit of scriptural piety, contain in themselves the best evidences of their being what they profess to be.
There are in them matters of a local and personal character, which do not have a direct bearing upon our time. But as many have desired it, we give them complete.
NOVEMBER 20, 1855, while in prayer, the Spirit of the Lord suddenly and powerfully came upon me, and I was taken off in vision. I saw that the Spirit of the Lord has been dying away from the church. The servants of the Lord have trusted too much to the strength of argument, and have not had that firm reliance upon God that they should have. I saw that the mere argument of the truth will not move souls to take a stand with the remnant, for the truth is unpopular. The servants of God must have the truth in the soul. Said the angel "They must get it warm from glory, carry it in their bosoms, and pour it out in the warmth and earnestness of the soul to those that hear." A few that are conscientious are ready to decide from the weight of evidence, but it is impossible to move many with a mere theory. There must be a power to attend the truth; a living testimony to move them.
I saw that the enemy was busy to destroy souls. Exaltation has come into the ranks, and there must be more humility. There is too much of an independence of spirit indulged in among the messengers. It must be laid aside, and there must be a drawing together of the servants of God. There has been too much a spirit like this, "Am I my brother's keeper?" Said the angel, "Yea, thou art thy brother's keeper. Ye must have a watchful care for thy brother; be interested for his welfare, and cherish a kind, loving spirit toward him. Press together; press together." God designed man should be open-hearted, and honest, without affectation, humble, meek, with simplicity. This is the principle of Heaven. God ordered it so. But poor, frail man has sought out something different -- to follow his own way, and carefully attend to his own self-interest.
I asked the angel why simplicity had been shut out from the church, and pride and exaltation come in. I saw that this is the reason why we have almost been delivered into the hand of the enemy. Said the angel, "Look ye, and ye shall see that this feeling prevails, Am I my brother's keeper?" Again said the angel, "Thou art thy brother's keeper." Thy profession, thy faith, requires thee to deny thyself and sacrifice to God, or thou wilt be unworthy of eternal life, for it was purchased for thee dearly, even by the agony, the sufferings, and blood of the beloved Son of God."
I saw that many in different places, East and West, were adding farm to farm, and land to land, and house to house, and they make the cause of God their excuse, saying they do this that they may help the cause. They shackle themselves so that they can be of but little benefit to the cause; some buy a piece of land and labor with all their might to pay for it. Their time is so occupied that they can spend but little time to pray, and serve God, and gain strength from him to overcome their besetments. They are in debt, and when the cause needs their help they cannot assist, for they must get free from debt first. And as soon as they are free from debt they are farther from helping the cause than before, for they involve themselves again in adding to their property, and flatter themselves that this course is right, that they will use the avails in the cause, when they are actually laying up treasure here. They love the truth in word, but not in work. They love the cause just as much as their works show. They love the world more, and the cause of God less; and their attraction to earth grows stronger, and the attraction to Heaven weaker. Their heart is with their treasure. They set the example to those around them that they are intending to stay here, that this world is their home. Said the angel, "Thou art thy brother's keeper."
I saw that many have indulged in needless expense merely to gratify the feelings, the taste, and the eye, when the cause has needed the very means, and when some of the servants of God were poorly clothed, and crippled in their labor for lack of means. Said the angel, "Their time to do will soon be past. Their works show that self is their idol, and to it they sacrifice. Self must first be gratified; their feeling is, "Am I my brother's keeper?" Warning after warning many have received, but heeded not. Self is the main object, and to it every thing must bow.
I saw that the spirit of sacrifice was almost gone from the church. Self-denial has almost failed; self and self-interest come first, and then if they can as well as not they will do what they think they can for the cause. Such a sacrifice I saw was lame and not accepted of God. All should be interested to do their utmost to advance the cause. I saw that those who have no possessions here, but have strength of body, were accountable to God for their strength. They should be diligent in business and fervent in spirit; they should not leave those that have possessions to do all the sacrificing. I saw that they could sacrifice, and that it was their duty to do so as well as those that have property. But often those individuals that have no possessions do not realize that they can deny themselves in many ways; can lay out less upon their bodies and to gratify their appetite, and find much to spare the cause and lay up in Heaven a treasure.
I saw it was even so, "From even unto even shall ye celebrate your Sabbath." Said the angel, "Take the word of God, read it, understand, and ye cannot err. Read carefully, and ye shall there find what even is, and when it is." God had been upon his people for commencing the Sabbath as they have. I was directed back to the first rise of the Sabbath. I followed the people of God up to this time, and did not see that God was displeased, or frowned upon them. I inquired why it had been thus, that at this late day we must change the time of commencing the Sabbath. Said the angel, "Ye shall understand, but not yet, not yet." Said the angel, "If light comes, and that light is set aside, or rejected, then comes condemnation and the frown of God; but before the light comes there is no sin, for there is no light for them to reject." I saw that it was in the minds of some that the Lord had shown that the Sabbath commenced at six o'clock, when I had only seen that it commenced at "even," and it was inferred that even was at six. I saw the servants of God must draw together, press together.
I was then shown the case of Stephenson and Hall of Wisconsin; that they were convicted while we were at Wisconsin in June, 1854, that the visions were of God; but they examined them and compared them with the Age to Come, and because the visions did not agree with their views of the Age to Come, they sacrificed the visions for the Age to Come. And while on their journey East, last spring, they were both wrong and designing. They have stumbled over the Age to Come, and they are ready to take any course to injure the Review, and its friends must be awake and do what they can to save the children of God from deception. They are uniting with a lying and corrupt people. They have had evidence of this; and while they were professing sympathy and union with my husband, they (especially Stephenson) were biting like an adder behind his back. And while their words were smooth with him, they were inflaming Wisconsin against the Review and its conductors; especially was Stephenson active in this matter; and their object has been to have the Review publish the Age to Come, or destroy its influence. And while my husband was open-hearted and unsuspecting, seeking ways to remove their jealousy, and frankly opening to them the affairs of the Office, and trying to help and assist them, they were watching for evil, and observing every thing with a jealous eye. Said the angel as I beheld them, "Think ye, feeble man, that ye can stay the work of God? Feeble man, one touch of his finger can lay thee prostrate. He will suffer thee but a little while."
I was pointed back to the rise of the Advent doctrine, and even before that time, and saw that there had not been a parallel to the deception, misrepresentation and falsehood that has been practised by the Messenger party, or such an association of corrupt hearts under a cloak of religion. Some honest hearts have been influenced by them, concluding that they had at least some cause for their statements, -- thinking them incapable of uttering such glaring falsehoods. I saw that such will have evidence of the truth of these matters. The church of God should move straight along, as though there was not such a people in the world.
I saw that decided efforts should be made to show those who are unchristian in their lives, their wrongs, and if they do not correct their lives, they should be separated from the precious and holy, that God may have a clean and pure people that he can delight in. Dishonor him not by linking the clean with the unclean.
I was shown some coming from the East to the West. I saw that it should not be the object of those who leave the East for the West, to get rich, but to win souls to the truth. Said the angel, "Let thy works show it is not for honor, or to lay up a treasure on earth, that ye have moved West, but to hold up and exalt the standard of truth." I saw that those who move West should be like men waiting for their Lord. "Be a living example," said the angel, "to those in the West." Let your works show that you are God's peculiar people, and that you have a peculiar work, the last message of mercy to the world. Let your works show to those around you that this world is not your home." I saw that those who have entangled themselves should go free, and break the snare of the enemy. Lay not up treasure upon earth, but show by your lives that you are laying up treasure in heaven. If God has called thee West, he has a work for thee to do, an exalted work. Let your faith and experience help those who have not a living experience. Let not the attraction be to this poor, dark speck of a world, but let it be upward to God, glory, and Heaven. Let not the care and perplexity of farms here engross thy mind, but ye can safely be wrapt up in contemplating Abraham's farm. We are heirs to that immortal inheritance. Wean thy affections from earth, and dwell upon heavenly things.
I saw that great responsibility rests upon parents. They must not be led by their children, but must lead them. I was referred to Abraham. He commanded his household after him, and it was remembered of God. He was faithful in his house. I was then referred to the case of Eli. He restrained not his children, and they were wicked and vile in Israel. They led Israel astray by their wickedness. And when God made known their sins to Samuel, and the heavy curse that was to follow, because Eli restrained them not, God said their sins should not be purged with sacrifice nor offerings forever. When Samuel told Eli what the Lord had shown him, Eli submitted to it and said, "It is the Lord, let him do what seemeth him good." The curse of God soon followed. Those wicked priests were slain, and thirty thousand of Israel were also slain, and the ark of God was taken by their enemies. And when Eli heard that the ark of God was taken, he fell backward and died. All this evil resulted from Eli's not restraining his sons. I saw if God was so particular as to notice such things anciently, he is no less particular in these last days.
Parents must govern their children, correct their passions, and subdue them, or God will surely destroy the children in the day of his fierce anger, and the parents who have not governed their children will not be blameless. Especially should the servants of God govern their own families, and have them in good subjection. I saw they were not prepared to judge or decide in matters of the church, unless they could rule well their own house. They must have order at home first, and then their judgment and influence will tell in the church.
I saw that the reason why visions have not been more frequent of late, is, they have not been appreciated by the church. The church have nearly lost their spirituality and faith, and the reproofs and warnings have had but little effect upon them. Many of those who have professed faith in them, have not heeded them.
Some have taken an injudicious course; they have talked their faith to unbelievers, and when the proof was asked, they have read a vision instead of going to the Bible for proof. I saw this course was inconsistent, and it prejudiced the unbelievers against the truth, for the visions could have no weight with them. They had never seen them, and knew nothing of the spirit of them, and they should not be referred to, in their case.
When at Battle Creek, Mich., May 5, 1855, I saw that there was a great lack of faith in the servants of God, as well as the church. They were too easily discouraged; were too ready to doubt God; too willing to believe they had a hard lot, and that God had forsaken them. I saw that this was cruel. God had so loved them as to give his dearly beloved Son to die for them, and all Heaven was interested in their salvation; yet it was hard, after all that has been done for them, to believe and trust so kind and good a Father. He has said he was more willing to give the Holy Spirit to them that ask him, than earthly parents are to give good gifts to their children. I saw that the servants of God and the church were too easily discouraged. When they asked their Father in Heaven for things they thought they needed, and because it did not immediately come, their faith wavered, their courage fled, and a murmuring feeling took possession of them. This I saw displeased God.
Every saint that comes to God with a true heart, in faith, and sends their honest petitions to him, will have their prayers answered. Their faith must not let go of the promises of God if they do not see or feel the immediate answer of their prayers. Be not afraid to trust God. Rely upon his sure promise, "Ask and ye shall receive." God is too wise to err, and too good to withhold any good thing from his saints that walk uprightly. Man is erring, and although his petitions are sent up from an honest heart, he does not always ask for the things that are good for himself, or that will glorify God. When this is so, our wise and good Father hears our prayers, and will answer; sometimes immediately, but gives us the things that are for our best good and his own glory.
If the children of God could see his plan, they would know that he gives them that which is for their best good. Although they may not receive just the things they expected, or asked for, yet their prayers were answered. Nothing hurtful was given, but the blessing they most needed, in the place of something they had asked for, that would not have been good for them, but to their hurt.
I saw if we did not feel immediate answers to our prayers, we should hold fast our faith, let no distrust come in; for that will separate us from God. If our faith wavers, we shall receive nothing from him. Our confidence in God should be strong, and when we need it the most, the blessing will drop upon us like a shower of rain.
When the servants of God have prayed for his Spirit and blessing, it sometimes comes immediately, but it is not always then bestowed. At such times faint not. Let thy faith hold fast the promise, that it will come. Let thy trust be fully in God, and often that blessing will come when you need it the most, and unexpectedly you will receive help from God, when you are speaking the truth to unbelievers, and with clearness you can speak the word, and with power.
It was represented to me like children asking a blessing of their earthly parents that love them. They ask something that the parent knows will hurt them; the parent gives them the things that will be good and healthy for them, in the place of that which the child desired. I saw that every prayer that was sent up in faith from an honest heart will be heard of God and answered, and the one that sent up the petition will have the blessing when he needs it the most, and it will often exceed his expectations. Not a prayer of the true saint is lost if sent up from an honest heart in faith.
When at Oswego, N. Y., June, 1855, I was shown that God's people have been weighed down with clogs, that there had been Achans in the camp. The work of God has progressed but little, and many of God's servants have been discouraged because the truth in N. Y. has taken no more effect, and that there have been no more added to the church. The Messenger party has arisen, and we shall suffer some from their lying tongues, and misrepresentations, yet we should bear it all patiently; for they will not injure God's cause now they have left us, as much as they would have injured it by their influence had they remained with us. God's frown has been brought upon the church on account of individuals with corrupt hearts being in it.
They have wanted to be foremost when God, or their brethren, did not place them there. Selfishness and exaltation has marked their course. A place has opened for all such now, where they can go and find pasture with those of their kind. And we should praise God that in mercy he has rid the church of them. God has given many of them up to their own ways, to be filled with their own doings. An excitement and sympathy now leads them, which will deceive some; but every honest one will be enlightened as to the true state of this company, and they will remain with God's peculiar people, and not be affected by the influence of those who have been given up by God to their own ways, to be filled with their own doings. I saw that God had given these people opportunity to reform, had enlightened them as to their love of self and other sins; but they would not heed it. They would not be reformed, and he mercifully relieved the church of them.
I saw that the people of God must put on the armor and arouse. Christ is coming, and the great work of the last message of mercy is of too much importance for us to leave it, and come down to answer such falsehoods, and misrepresentations, and slander, as the Messenger party has fed upon, and has scattered abroad. Truth, present truth, we must dwell upon it. We are doing a great work, and cannot come down. Satan is in all this, to divert our minds from the present truth, and the coming of Christ. Said the angel, "Jesus knows it all. In a little from this their day is coming. All will be judged according to the deeds done in the body. The lying tongue will be stopped. The sinners in Zion will be afraid, and fearfulness will surprise the hypocrites."
I saw that we should not put off the coming of the Lord. Said the angel, "Prepare, prepare, for what is coming upon the earth. Let your works correspond with your faith." I saw that the mind must be staid upon God, and our influence should tell for God and his truth. We cannot honor God when we are careless and indifferent. We cannot glorify him when we are desponding. We must be in earnest and secure our soul's salvation, and try to save others. All importance should be attached to this, and everything besides should come in secondarily.
I saw the beauty of Heaven. I heard the angels sing their rapturous songs; I heard them sing praise, honor, and glory, to Jesus. I could then realise something of the wondrous love of the Son of God. He left all the glory, all the honor he had in Heaven, and was so interested for our salvation that he patiently and meekly bore every indignity and slight that man could heap upon him. He was wounded, smitten, and bruised; he was stretched on Calvary's cross and suffered the most agonizing death to save us from death, that his blood might wash us and we be raised up to live with him in the mansions he is preparing for us, enjoy the light and glory of Heaven, and hear the angels sing, and sing with them.
I saw that all Heaven is interested in our salvation, and shall we be indifferent? Shall we be careless, as though it was a small matter whether we are saved or lost? Shall we slight the sacrifice that has been made for us? Some have done this. They have trifled with offered mercy, and the frown of God is upon them. God's Spirit will not always be grieved. It will depart, if grieved a little longer. After all that has been done to save them that a God could do, if they show by their lives that they slight Jesus' offered mercy, death will be their portion, and it will be dearly purchased. It will be a dreadful death; for they will have to feel the agony that Christ felt upon the cross to purchase for them redemption, which they have refused. And they will then realize what they have lost, eternal life and the immortal inheritance.
I have seen an angel standing with scales in his hands, weighing the thoughts and interest of the people of God, especially the young. In one scale were the thoughts and interest tending Heaven-ward; in the other scale were the thoughts and interest tending to earth. And in this scale were thrown all the reading of story books, thoughts of dress and show, vanity, pride, &c. Oh, what a solemn moment! The angels of God standing with scales, weighing the thoughts of the professed children of God -- those who profess to be dead to the world and alive to God. The scale filled with thoughts of earth, vanity, and pride, quickly went down, notwithstanding weight after weight rolled from the scale. The scale with the thoughts and attractions to Heaven went quickly up as the other went down, and oh! how light was the scale. I can relate this as I saw it, but never can I give the solemnity and vivid impression stamped upon my mind, as I saw the angel with the scales weighing the thoughts and interest of the people of God. Said the angel, "Can such enter Heaven? No, no, never. Tell them the hope they now possess is vain, and unless they speedily repent, and get salvation, they must perish."
A form of godliness will not save them. They must have a deep and living experience; this alone will save them in the time of trouble. Then their work will be tried of what sort it is, and if it is gold, silver, and precious stones, they will be hid as in the secret of the Lord's pavilion. But if their work is hay, wood, and stubble, nothing can shield them from the fierceness of Jehovah's wrath.
The young, as well as the older, will have to give a reason of their hope. But the mind designed by God for better things, formed to serve him perfectly, has dwelt upon foolish things instead of eternal interests. And that mind that is left to wander here and there, is just as capable of understanding the truth, the evidence of keeping the Sabbath from the word of God, and the true foundation of the Christian's hope, as it is to study the appearance, the manners, dress, &c. Those who suffer their minds to be diverted with foolish stories and idle tales, feed their imagination, but to such the brilliancy of God's word is eclipsed. The mind is led directly from God; the interest in his precious word is gone. Here is a book given us to guide our feet through the perils of this dark world to Heaven. It tells us how we can escape the wrath of God, and also tells of the sufferings of Christ for us, the great sacrifice that has been made for us that we might be saved and enjoy the presence of God for ever. And if any come short at last that have heard the truth, as they have in this land of light, it will be their own fault. They will be without excuse. The word of God tells us how we may be perfect Christians, and escape the seven last plagues; but they took no interest to find this out. Other things diverted the mind, idols were cherished by them, and God's holy word has been neglected and slighted. God has been trifled with by professed Christians, and when that holy word shall judge them in the last day, they will be found wanting. That word that they have neglected for foolish story books, tries their lives. It is the standard, and their motives, words, works, and the manner they use their time, are all compared with the written word of God, and if they come short, then their cases are decided for ever.
I saw that there was a measuring yourselves among yourselves, and comparing your lives with the lives of others. This I saw should not be. No one is given us as an example but Christ; he is our true pattern, and each should strive to excel in imitating him. We are co-workers with Christ, or co-workers with the enemy. We either gather with Christ, or scatter abroad. We are decided, whole-hearted Christians, or none at all. Says Christ, "I would thou wert cold or hot. So then because thou art lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will spue thee out of my mouth."
I saw that some hardly know yet what self-denial or sacrifice is, and what it is to suffer for the truth's sake. But I saw that none will enter Heaven without making a sacrifice. They should cherish a spirit of sacrifice and self-denial. Some have not sacrificed themselves, their own bodies, on the altar of God. They indulge in hasty, fitful temper, and gratify their appetites, and attend to their own self-interest, regardless of the cause of God. Those who are willing to make any sacrifice for eternal life, will have it. And it will be worth suffering for, worth crucifying self for, and sacrificing every idol for.
At the Conference at Battle Creek, May 27, 1856, I was shown in vision some things that concern the church generally. The glory and majesty of God were made to pass before me. Said the angel, "He is terrible in his majesty, yet ye realize it not; terrible in his anger, yet ye offend him daily. Strive to enter in at the straight gate, for wide is the gate and broad is the way that leadeth to destruction, and many there be which go in thereat; because straight is the gate and narrow is the way that leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it." These roads I saw were distinct, separate, in opposite directions. One leads to eternal life; the other to death, eternal death. I saw the distinction in these roads, also the distinction between the companies traveling these roads. The roads are opposite; one is broad and smooth, the other is narrow and rugged. So the parties that travel these roads are opposite in character, in life, in dress, and conversation.
Those traveling in the narrow way are talking of the joy and happiness they will have at the end of the journey. Their countenances are often sad, yet often beam with holy, sacred joy. They do not dress like the company in the broad road, nor talk like them, nor act like them. A Pattern has been given them. A Man of sorrow and acquainted with grief opened that road for them, and traveled that road himself. His followers see his footsteps, and are comforted and cheered. He went through safely, so can they if they follow his footsteps. In the broad road all are occupied with their persons, their dress, and the pleasures in the way. Hilarity and glee they freely indulge in, and think not of their journey's end, of the certain destruction at the end of the path. Every day they approach nearer their destruction, yet they madly rush on faster and faster. Oh, how dreadfully this looked to me!
I saw many traveling in this broad road who had written upon them, "Dead to the world, The end of all things is at hand, Be ye also ready." They looked just like all the vain ones around them, except a shade of sadness which I noticed upon their countenances. Their conversation was just like the gay, thoughtless ones around them; but they would occasionally point to the letters on their garments with great satisfaction calling for the others to have the same upon theirs. They were in the broad way, yet they professed to be of that number who were traveling the narrow way. Those around them would say, "There is no distinction between us, We are all alike, We dress, and talk, and act alike."
Then I was pointed back to the years 1843 and 1844. There was a spirit of consecration then, that there is not now. What has come over the professed, peculiar people of God? I saw the conformity to the world, the unwillingness to suffer for the truth's sake. I saw a great lack of submission to the will of God. I was pointed back to the children of Israel after they left Egypt. God in mercy called them out from the Egyptians, that they might worship him without hindrance or restraint. He wrought for them in the way by miracles, he proved them, he tried them by bringing them into straight places. After the wonderful dealings of God, and their deliverance so many times, when tried or proved by God, they murmured. Their language was, "Would to God we had died by the hand of the Lord in the land of Egypt."
I saw that many who profess to believe the truth for these last days, think it strange that the children of Israel murmured as they journeyed, and after the wonderful dealings of God to them, should be so ungrateful, and forget what God had done for them. Said the angel, "Ye have done worse than they." I saw that God had given his servants the truth so clear, so plain, that it cannot be resisted. Every where they go they have certain victory. The enemies cannot get round the convincing truth. Light has been shed so clear, that the servants of God can stand up any where and let truth, clear and connected, bear away the victory. This great blessing has not been realized and prized. If any trial arises, some begin to look back, and think they have a hard time. Some of the professed servants of God do not know what purifying trials are. They make trials sometimes for themselves, imagine trials, and are so easily discouraged, so easily hurt, self dignity is so quick to feel, that they injure themselves, injure others, and the cause. Satan magnifies and puts things into the mind that, if given way to, will destroy the usefulness and influence of such.
I saw that some had felt tempted to take themselves from the work, to labor with their hands. I saw that if the hand of God should be taken from them, and they left subject to disease and death, then such would know what trouble is. It is a fearful thing to murmur against God. They do not bear in mind that the way they are traveling is a rugged, self-denying, self-crucifying way, and they must not expect every thing to move on as smoothly as though they were traveling in the broad road.
I saw that some of the messengers are so easily discouraged, self is so quickly hurt, they imagine themselves slighted and injured when it is not so. They think their lot hard. Such realize not how they would feel should the sustaining hand of God be withdrawn, and they pass through anguish of soul. Their lot, they then would see, would be ten-fold harder than it was before, while they were employed in the labor of God, suffering trials and privations, yet withal having the approbation of God. Some that are laboring in the cause of God know not when they do have an easy time. They have had so few privations, have hardly known any thing of want or wearing labor, or burden of soul, that when they have an easy time, their lives almost entirely free from anguish of spirit, are favored of God, they know it not, and think their trials great. I saw that unless such have a spirit of self-sacrifice, and are ready to labor cheerfully, not sparing themselves, God will release them. He will not acknowledge them as his self-sacrificing servants; but will raise up those who will labor, not slothfully but in earnest, and will know when they have an easy time. God's servants must feel the burden of souls, and weep between the porch and the altar, and cry, "Spare thy people, Lord."
Some of the servants of God have given up their lives, to spend and be spent, for the cause of God, while their constitutions are gone, and they are almost worn out with mental labor, incessant care, toil, and privations, while others have not had, and would not take, the burden upon them. Yet just such ones think they have a hard time, because they never have experienced hardships. They never have been baptized into the suffering part, and never will be as long as they manifest so much weakness, and so little fortitude, and love their ease so well. Let these servants feel the woe upon them if they preach not the gospel, and it will be enough; but all do not feel this.
I was shown the conformity of some professed Sabbath-keepers to the world. Oh, I saw it was a disgrace to their profession, a disgrace to the cause of God! They give the lie to their profession. They think they are not like the world, but they are so near like them in dress, in conversation, and actions, that there is no distinction. I saw them decorating their poor mortal bodies, which are liable any moment to be touched by the finger of God, and laid upon a bed of anguish. Oh, then, as they approach their last change, mortal anguish racks their frames, and the great inquiry then is, "Am I prepared to die; prepared to appear before God in judgment and stand the grand review?" Ask them then how they feel about decorating their bodies, and if they have any sense of what it is to be prepared to appear before God, they will tell you that if they could take back and live over the past, they would correct their lives, shun the follies of the world, its vanity, its pride, and would adorn the body with modest apparel, and set an example to others around them. They would live to the glory of God. Why is it so hard to lead a self-denying, humble life? Because professed Christians are not dead to the world. It is easy living after we are dead; but they have a disposition to dress and act as much like the world as possible, and yet go to Heaven. Such seek to climb up some other way. They do not enter through the narrow way and straight gate.
I was shown the company present at the Conference. Said the angel, "Some food for worms,*1 some subjects of the seven last plagues, some will be alive and remain upon the earth, to be translated at the coming of Jesus."
Solemn words were these, spoken by the angel. I asked why so few were interested in their eternal interest, so few preparing for their last change. Said the angel, "Earth attracts them, its treasures seem of worth to them." They find enough to engross the mind, and have no time to prepare for Heaven. Satan is ever ready to plunge them deeper and deeper into difficulty, and as one perplexity and trouble is off the mind he begets within them an unholy desire for more of the things of earth, and thus their time is gone, and when it is too late they see they have nothing substantial. They have grasped at shadows and lost eternal life.
Such will have no excuse. Many, I saw, dressed like the world to have influence; but here they make a sad mistake. If they would have a true and saving influence, let them live out their profession, show their faith by their righteous works, and make the distinction great between the Christian and the world. I saw that the words, the dress, and actions, should tell for God. Then a holy influence will be shed upon all, and all will take knowledge of them that they have been with Jesus; and unbelievers will see that the truth we profess has a holy influence, and that faith in Christ's coming affects the character of the man or woman. If any wish to have their influence tell in favor of truth, let them live it out, and imitate the humble Pattern.
I saw that God hates pride, and that all the proud, and all that do wickedly, shall be stubble, and the day that cometh shall burn them up. I saw that the third angel's message must yet work like leaven upon many hearts that profess to believe it, and purge away their pride, selfishness, covetousness, and love of the world.
Jesus is coming, and will he find a people conformed to the world? And will he acknowledge them as his people? Oh, no. None but the pure and holy will he acknowledge as his. Those that have been purified and made bright through suffering, and have kept themselves separate, unspotted from the world, he will own as his.
As I saw the dreadful fact that God's people were conformed to the world, with no distinction, only in name, between many of the professed disciples of the meek and lowly Jesus, and unbelievers, my soul felt deep anguish. I saw that Jesus was wounded and put to an open shame. Said the angel, as with sorrow he saw the professed people of God loving the world, partaking of the spirit of the world, and following its fashions, "Cut loose! cut loose! lest he appoint thee thy portion with hypocrites and unbelievers outside of the City. Thy profession will only cause thee greater anguish, and thy punishment will be greater, because ye knew his will, but did it not." I saw that those who profess to believe the third angel's message often wound the cause of God by lightness, joking, and trifling. This evil I was shown was all through our ranks. I saw that there should be an humbling before God, and that the Israel of God should rend the heart and not the garments. Childlike simplicity is rarely seen; the approbation of man is more thought of than to fear to displease God. Said the angel, "Set thine heart in order, lest he visit thee in judgment, and the brittle thread of life be cut, and ye lie down in the grave unsheltered, unprepared for the judgment. Or if ye do not make your bed in the grave, unless ye soon make your peace with God, tear yourselves from the world, your hearts will grow harder, and ye will lean upon a false prop, a supposed preparation, and find out your mistake too late to secure a well-grounded hope."
I saw that some professed Sabbath-keepers spent hours that were worse than thrown away studying this or that fashion to decorate the poor, mortal body. While you make yourselves appear like the world, and as beautiful as you can, remember that the same body may in a few days be food for worms. And while you fix it up to your taste to please the eye, you are dying spiritually. God hates your vain, wicked pride, and he looks upon you as a whited sepulcher; but within full of corruption and uncleanness.
Mothers set the example of pride to their children, and while so doing, sow seed that will spring up and bear fruit. The harvest will be plenteous and sure. That which they sow they shall reap. There will be no failure in the crop. I saw, parents, that it is easier for you to learn your children a lesson of pride, than a lesson of humility. And that Satan and his angels stand right by your side to make the act of yours, or the word that you may speak to them, effectual, to encourage them to dress, and in their pride to mingle with society that is not holy. O, parents, you plant a thorn in your own bosoms that you will often feel in anguish. And when you would counteract the sad lesson you have learned your children, you will find it a hard thing. It is impossible for you to do it. You may deny them things that will gratify their pride, yet that pride lives in the heart, longing to be satisfied, and nothing can kill this pride but to have the quick and powerful Spirit of God find the way to the heart, and work like leaven there, and remove it.
I saw that young and old neglect their Bibles. They do not make that book their study and the rule of life, as they should, especially the young. Most of them are ready, and find plenty of time, to read almost any other book. But the Word that points to life, eternal life, is not perused and daily studied. That precious, important book that is to judge them in the last day, is scarcely studied at all. Idle stories have been attentively read, while the Bible has been passed by, neglected. A day is coming, of clouds and thick darkness, when all will wish to be thoroughly furnished by the plain, simple truths of the word of God, that they may meekly, yet decidedly, give a reason of their hope. This reason of their hope, I saw, they must have to strengthen their own souls for the fierce conflict. Without this they are wanting, and cannot have firmness and decision.
Parents had much better burn the idle tales of the day, and the novels, as they come into their houses. It would be a mercy to their children. Encourage the reading of these story-books, and it is like enchantment. It bewilders and poisons the mind. I saw that unless parents awake to the eternal interest of their children, they will surely be lost through their neglect. And the possibility of these unfaithful parents' being saved themselves is very small. Parents, I saw, should be exemplary. They should exert a holy influence in their families. They should let their dress be modest, different from the world around them. You should rebuke pride in your children, if you value their eternal interest. Faithfully rebuke this pride, and encourage it not in deed or word. I saw that this pride must be torn out of our families. Oh, the pride that was shown me of God's professed people. It has increased every year, until it is now impossible to designate professed Advent Sabbath-keepers from all the world around them. Much, I saw, was expended for ribbons and laces for the bonnets, collars,*2 and other needless articles to decorate the body, while Jesus, the King of glory, who gave his life to redeem them, wore a crown of thorns. This was the way their Master's sacred head was decorated. He was "a man of sorrows and acquainted with grief." "He was wounded for our transgressions; he was bruised for our iniquities; the chastisement of our peace was upon him, and with his stripes we are healed." And the very ones that profess to be washed by the blood of Jesus, can dress up, and decorate their poor, mortal bodies, yet dare to profess to be the followers of the holy, self-denying, humble Pattern. Oh, I wish that all could see this in the light that God sees it, and showed it to me. It seemed too much for me to bear, to feel the anguish of soul that I felt as I beheld it. "God's people," said the angel, "are peculiar; such he is purifying unto himself." I saw that the outside appearance was an index to the heart. When hung with ribbons, collars, and needless things, it plainly shows that all this is in the heart, and unless that such persons are cleansed from their sins, they can never see God, for the pure in heart alone will see him.
I saw that the axe must be laid at the root of the tree. Such pride should not be suffered in the church. It is these things that separate God from his people, that shuts the ark away from them. Israel has been asleep to the pride, and fashions, and conformity to the world, in their very midst. They advance every month in pride, covetousness, selfishness, and love of the world. When the truth affects the heart, it will cause a death to the world, and the ribbons, laces, and collars will be laid aside, and if dead, the laugh, the jeer, and scorn of unbelievers, will not move them. They will feel an anxious desire to be separate from the world, like their Master. They will not imitate its pride, fashions, or customs. The noble object will be ever before them, to glorify God, and gain the immortal inheritance. This prospect will swallow up all besides of an earthly nature. God will have a separate and distinct people from the world. And if any have a desire to imitate the fashions of the world, that they do not immediately subdue, just so soon God ceases to acknowledge them as his children. They are the children of the world, and darkness. They want to be as much like the world as possible, and those that profess to have put on Christ, by thus doing put him off, and show that they are strangers to grace, strangers to the meek and lowly Jesus. If they had acquainted themselves with him, they would walk worthy of him.
I saw the companions of the messengers. Some of them are no help to their husbands, yet they profess the third angel's message. They think more of studying their own wishes and pleasure than the will of God, or how they can hold up the hands of their husbands by their faithful prayers and careful walk. I saw that some of them take such a willful, selfish course, that Satan makes them his instruments, and works through them to destroy the usefulness and influence of their husbands. They feel at liberty to complain and murmur if they are brought through any straight places. They forget the sufferings of the ancient Christians for the truth's sake, and think they must have their wishes and their way, and follow their own will. They forget the sufferings of Jesus their Master. They forget the man of sorrows, that was acquainted with grief, he who had not where to lay his head. They do not care to remember that holy brow, pierced with a crown of thorns. They forget him who, bearing his own cross to Calvary, fainted beneath its burden, not merely the burden of the wooden cross, but the heavy burden of the sins of the world were upon him. They forget the cruel nails driven through his tender hands and feet, and his expiring, agonizing cries, "My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?" And after all this suffering endured for them, they feel a strong unwillingness to suffer for Christ's sake.
These individuals, I saw, were deceiving themselves. They have no part nor lot in the matter. They have got hold of the truth, but the truth has not got hold of them. When the truth, the solemn, important truth, gets hold of them, self will die, and the language will not be, "I shall go here, and shall not stay there;" but the earnest inquiry will be, "Where does God want me to be? Where can I best glorify him, and where can our united labors do the most good?" Their will should be swallowed up in the will of God. The lack of consecration, and the willfulness that some of the messengers' companions possess, will stand in the way of sinners; and the blood of souls will be upon their garments. Some of the messengers have borne a strong testimony in regard to the duty, and the wrongs of the church. It has not had its designed effect; for their own companions needed all the straight testimony that had been borne. And the reproof came back upon themselves with great weight. They let their companions affect them, and drag them down, and prejudice their minds, and their usefulness and influence is lost, and they feel desponding and disheartened, and realize not the true source of the injury. It is close at home.
I saw that these sisters are closely connected with the work of God if he has called their husbands to preach the present truth. These servants, if truly called of God, will feel the importance of the truth. They are standing between the living and the dead, and must watch for souls as they that must give account. Solemn is their calling. And their companions can be a great blessing to them, or a great curse. They can cheer them when desponding, comfort them when cast down, and encourage them to look up and trust fully in God when their faith fails. And they can take an opposite course, look upon the dark side, and think they have a hard time, have no faith in God, and talk their trials and unbelief to their companions, have a complaining, murmuring spirit, and be a dead weight, and even a curse, to them.
I saw that the companions of the messengers should help their husbands in their labors, and be exact and careful what influence they exert; for they are watched, and more is expected of them than others. Their dress should be an example. Their lives and conversation should be an example, and savor of life, rather than death. I saw that they should take an humble, meek, yet exalted, stand, and not have their talk upon things that do not tend to direct their minds heavenward. The great inquiry should be, "How can I save my own soul, and be the means of saving others?" I saw that there was no half-hearted work in this matter, accepted of God. He wants the whole heart and interest, or he will have none. Their influence tells, decidedly, unmistakably, in favor of the truth, or against it. They gather with Jesus, or scatter abroad. An unsanctified companion is the greatest curse a messenger can have. Those servants of God that have been, and are still so unhappily situated as to have this withering influence at home, should double their prayers, their watchfulness, and take a decided, firm stand, and let not this darkness press them down. They should cleave closer to God, be firm and decided, rule well their own house, and live so that they can have the approbation of God, and the watch-care of the angels. But if they yield to the wishes of their unconsecrated companions, the frown of God is brought upon the dwelling. The ark of God cannot abide in the house, because they countenance and uphold them in their wrongs. Our God is a jealous God. It is fearful to trifle with him. Anciently, Achan coveted a golden wedge, and a Babylonish garment, and secreted them, and all Israel suffered. They were driven before their enemies. And when Joshua inquired the cause, the Lord said, "Up, sanctify the people, and say, Sanctify yourselves against the morrow; for thus saith the Lord God of Israel, There is an accursed thing in the midst of thee, O Israel: thou canst not stand before thine enemies, until ye take away the accursed thing from among you." Achan had sinned, and God destroyed him, and all his household, with all they possessed, and wiped the curse from Israel.
I saw that the Israel of God must arise, renew their strength in God by renewing and keeping their covenant with him. Covetousness, selfishness, love of money, and love of the world, are all through the ranks of Sabbath-keepers. These evils are drying up the sacrifice of God's people. Those that have this covetousness in their hearts are not aware of it. It has gained upon them imperceptibly. And unless it is rooted out, their destruction will be as sure as Achan's was. Many have taken the sacrifice from God's altar, and they love the world, love its gain and increase, and unless there is an entire change they will perish with the world. God has lent them means. It is not their own; but God has made them his stewards. And because of this, they call it their own, and hoard it up. But oh, how quick, when the prospering hand of God is removed from them, is it all snatched away in a moment. There must be a sacrificing for God, a denying self for the truth's sake. Oh, how weak and frail is man. How puny his arm. I saw that soon the loftiness of man is to be brought down, and the pride of man humbled. Kings and nobles, rich and poor, alike shall bow, and the withering plagues from God shall fall upon them.
*1 Sister Clarissa M. Bonfoey, who fell asleep in Jesus only three days after this vision was given, was present, in usual health, and was deeply impressed that she was one that would go into the grave, and stated her convictions to others.
*2 The question has often been asked me if I believed it wrong to wear plain linen collars. My answer has always been, No. Some have taken the extreme meaning of what I have written about collars, and have maintained that it was wrong to wear one of any description. I was shown expensively wrought collars, and expensive and unnecessary ribbons and laces, which some Sabbath-keepers have worn, and still wear, for the sake of show and fashion. I did not design to be understood, by naming collars, that nothing like a collar should be worn, or by naming ribbons, that no ribbons at all should be worn.
DEAR brethren and sisters, the Lord has shown me in vision some things concerning the church in its present lukewarm state, which I will relate to you. The church was presented before me in vision. Said the angel to the church, "Jesus speaks to thee, 'Be zealous and repent.'" This work I saw should be taken hold of in earnest. There is something to repent of. Worldly-mindedness, selfishness and covetousness, have been eating out the spirituality and life of God's people.
The danger of God's people for a few years past, has been the love of this world. Out of this have sprung the sins of selfishness and covetousness. The more they get of this world the more they set their affections on it, and still they reach out for more. Said the angel, "It is easier for a camel to go through a needle's eye, than for a rich man to enter into the kingdom of God." Yet many who profess to believe that we are having the last note of warning to the world, are striving with all their energies to place themselves in a position where it is easier for a camel to go through a needle's eye, than for them to enter the kingdom.
These earthly treasures are blessings when a right use is made of them. Those who have them, should realize that they are lent them of God, and should cheerfully spend their means to advance his cause. They will not lose their reward here. The angels of God will kindly regard them, and they will also lay up a treasure in Heaven.
I saw that Satan watches the peculiar, selfish, covetous temperaments of some that profess the truth, and will tempt them by throwing prosperity in their path, offering them the riches of earth. He knows if they do not overcome their natural temperaments here, they will stumble and fall by loving mammon, and worshiping their idol. Satan's object is too often accomplished; the strong love of the world overcomes, or swallows up the love of the truth. The kingdoms of the world are offered them, and they eagerly grasp their treasure, and think they are wonderfully prospered. Satan triumphs because his plan has succeeded. They have given up the love of God for the love of the world.
I saw that those who are thus prospered can thwart the design of Satan, by overcoming their selfish covetousness, by laying upon the altar of God all their possessions. And when they see an opportunity where their means is needed to advance the cause of truth, and to help the widow, the fatherless and afflicted, cheerfully let them go, and lay up treasure in Heaven.
Heed the counsel of the true Witness. Buy gold tried in the fire that thou mayest be rich, white raiment that thou mayest be clothed, and eye-salve that thou mayest see. Make some effort. These precious treasures will not drop upon us without some exertions on our part. We must buy; "be zealous and repent" of our lukewarm state. We must be awake to see our wrongs, and to search up our sins, and to zealously repent of them.
I saw that the brethren who have possessions have a work to do, to tear away from their wealth and love of the world. Many of them love this world, but are not willing to see it. They must be zealous and repent of their selfish covetousness, that the love of the truth may swallow up everything else. I saw that many of those that have riches will fail to buy the gold, white raiment, and eye-salve. Their zeal does not possess intensity and earnestness proportionate to the value of the object they are in pursuit of.
Then I saw these men while striving for the possessions of earth. What zeal they manifested! What earnestness! What energy to obtain an earthly treasure that must soon pass away! What cool calculations they make. They will plan and toil early and late, and sacrifice their ease and comfort for an earthly treasure. A corresponding zeal on their part for the gold, white raiment, and eye-salve, will bring them in possession of these desirable treasures, and life, everlasting life, in the kingdom of God. I saw that if any need eye-salve, it is those who have these earthly possessions. Many of them are blind to their own state. Blind to the firm grasp they have of this world. Oh, that they may see.
"Behold, I stand at the door and knock; if any man hear my voice, and open the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with me."
I saw that many had so much rubbish piled up at the door of their heart that they could not get the door open. Some have difficulties between themselves and their brethren to remove. Others have evil tempers, selfish covetousness, to remove, before they can open the door. Others have rolled the world before the door of their heart, which bars the door. All this rubbish must be taken away from the door, and then can they open the door, and welcome the Saviour in.
Oh, how precious was this promise, as it was shown to me in vision. "I will come in to him, and sup with him, and he with me." Oh, the love, the wondrous love of God. After all our lukewarmness and sins, he says, "Return unto me, and I will return unto thee, and will heal all thy backslidings." This was repeated by the angel a number of times. "Return unto me, and I will return unto thee, and heal all thy backslidings."
Some, I saw, would gladly return. Others will not let this message to the Laodicean church have its weight upon them. They will glide along, much after the same manner they have, and will be spued out of the mouth of the Lord. Those only who zealously repent will have favor with God.
"To him that overcometh will I grant to sit with me in my throne, even as I also overcame, and am set down with my Father in his throne." We can overcome. Yes, fully, entirely. Jesus died to make a way of escape for us, that we may overcome every evil temper, every sin, every temptation, and sit down at last with him.
I saw that it was our privilege to have faith, and salvation. The power of God has not decreased. His power, I saw, would be just as freely bestowed now as formerly. It is the church of God that have lost their faith to claim, their energy to wrestle, as did Jacob, and cry, "I will not let thee go except thou bless me." Enduring faith has been dying away. It must be revived in the hearts of God's people. There must be a claiming of the blessing of God. Faith, living faith, always bears upward to God and glory. Unbelief, downward to darkness and death.
I saw that there have been some peculiar temperaments, who have had their notions by which to measure their brethren. And if they did not exactly agree with them, there was trouble in the camp at once. Some have strained at a gnat, and swallowed a camel.
These set notions have been humored and indulged altogether too long. There has been a picking at straws. And when there were no real difficulties in the church, trials have been manufactured. The minds of the church, and servants of God, are called from God, truth, and Heaven, to dwell upon darkness. Satan delights to have such things go on. It feasts him. But these are none of the trials which are to purify the church, and that will increase in the end the strength of God's people.
I saw that some are withering spiritually. They have lived some time watching to keep their brethren straight; watching for every fault, to make trouble with them. And while doing this, their minds are not on God, nor on Heaven, nor on the truth; but just where Satan wants them-on some one else. Their souls are neglected, they seldom see or feel their own faults, for they have had enough to do to watch the faults of others, without so much as looking to their own souls, to search their own hearts. A person's dress, a bonnet, an apron, takes their attention. They must talk to this one, or that one, and it is sufficient to dwell upon for weeks. I saw that all the religion a few poor souls have, is to watch the garments and acts of others, and find fault with them. Unless they reform, there will be no place in Heaven for them, for they would find fault with the Lord himself.
Said the angel, "It is an individual work to be right with God." The work is between God and our own souls. But when some have so much care of others' faults, they take no care of themselves. Most of these notional, fault-finding ones, would cure themselves of these habits, if they would go directly to the individual they think is wrong. It would be so crossing, that they would give up their notions rather than go. But it is easy to let the tongue run freely about this one, or that one, when the accused is not present.
Some think it wrong to try to observe order in the worship of God. I have seen that confusion is displeasing to God, and that there should be order in singing, and order in praying. We should not come to the house of God to make that a place to pray for our families, unless deep feelings shall lead us, while the Spirit of God is convicting them. Generally, the proper place for us to pray for our families is at the family altar. When the subjects of our prayers are at a distance, the closet is the proper place to plead with God for them. When in the house of God, our prayers should be for a present blessing. And we should expect God to hear and answer our prayers. Such meetings will be lively and interesting.
I saw that in singing, all should sing with the Spirit, and understanding also. God is not pleased with jargon and discord. Right is always more pleasing to God than wrong. And the nearer the people of God can get to correct, harmonious singing, the more he is glorified, and the church benefited, and unbelievers favorably affected.
I was shown the order, the perfect order, of Heaven. I have been enraptured, as I have listened to the perfect music there. And after I have come out of vision, the singing here has sounded very harsh and discordant.
I have seen companies of angels, who stood in a hollow square, every one having a harp of gold. At the end of the harp was an instrument to turn, to set the harp, or change the tunes. Their fingers did not sweep over the strings carelessly, but the fingers must touch different strings to produce different sounds. There is one angel who always leads, first touches the harp, strikes the note, then all join in the rich, perfect music of heaven. It cannot be described. It was melody, heavenly, divine, while from every countenance beamed the image of Jesus, which shone with glory unspeakable.