The Review and Herald



February 20, 1866

Our Late Experience


It is due our friends who have manifested a true interest in our welfare, that we give them a statement of our experience during our present affliction. The 16th of August last, the affliction came upon my husband which has made him a sufferer until the present time. I am aware that some of his professed friends who have been watching us with a jealous eye, have secretly rejoiced in his affliction, and like Job's comforters, charge him with being afflicted because of his sins. But I leave all these professed friends with the Lord. My husband's affliction in the wise providence of God will accomplish the purpose that he designs—will test the sincerity of friends, will reveal the jealous and fault-finding, and those who love to accuse, and who would exult could they discover a supposed wrong in Bro. White. RH February 20, 1866, par. 1

My husband has never professed to be anything more than a mortal man, subject to errors and infirmities; yet his whole soul and interest have been in the work of God. His happiness has been interwoven with the success of the truth. As the cause of God has prospered, he has rejoiced. When the cause suffered on account of rebellion, he has been afflicted, and his soul has been bowed down with heaviness. He is now a sufferer because of transgression against the laws of his being. His sin has not been in unjust deal with others, nor in neglect of the wants of those who have needed sympathy and aid, nor in disregarding the widow and fatherless in their affliction. Neither has he sinned in lifting up himself above his brethren, and despising their counsel and advice. He has sinned against himself and against God in overtaxing the energies of his system, which were renewed and invigorated in answer to our earnest, unceasing prayers ten years ago, when consumption had brought him to the brink of the grave. Prolonged, unceasing labor, without rest or recreation, has told upon his physical and mental energies. RH February 20, 1866, par. 2

For twenty years he has labored constantly in this work, rejoicing in the prosperity of the cause, and bowed down with intense anguish when it has suffered and been made to bleed by its professed friends turning traitors, and tearing down that which they once built up. Very many times when no visible sign might have been given to others, has his heart ached with a terrible energy that God alone could understand. RH February 20, 1866, par. 3

For years my husband has suffered with occasional numbness of limbs. He has especially been thus afflicted when he has had a weight of distress upon his spirits, and his cautiousness has caused him to feel an overwhelming sense of responsibility in regard to the salvation of souls, and the prosperity of the cause, as he has seen the unrighteous course of some who professed the truth. He has many times awaked in the night with numbness of the limbs, and has been obliged to rub them with energy to bring them again to their right feeling. He has frequently suffered with severe pain in his limbs, especially after long speaking, which made it impossible for him to sleep. He has occasionally sprung from the bed when partially asleep, and rushed to the window to obtain air before he could breathe. His heart seemed to him to stop its beating. He has also suffered with pain in his back and left side. It has been for years very tedious to him to sit for a great length of time in the same position, or ride all day in a carriage. After returning from the Office at night, it has been very wearisome, and often painful, to remain long in a sitting posture. He has found the greatest relief in lying down upon the sofa, or lounge. Notwithstanding he suffered almost constantly with pain in a greater or less degree in some portions of his body, yet he labored on, doing more work than one or two well men should have done. RH February 20, 1866, par. 4

Last Spring we received a most pressing invitation from Bro. Ingraham to come to Wisconsin. He entreated us if we ever responded to an urgent call for help, to respond to his request, for help he must have. We knew that Bro. Ingraham needed help and encouragement. We knew that we needed rest of body and mind. We had deprived ourselves almost entirely of social and domestic enjoyment, in order to complete our writing, and had looked forward to at least a short period of rest, at the close of the General Conference. At the close of that Conference we found ourselves excessively exhausted in physical and mental strength; yet duty seemed to urge us West, and we dared not remain at home. We had not in years past consulted our own ease and pleasure, and God had sustained us. Would he not sustain us now? We thought it the safest course to venture. We summoned all the energy we could, and started on our journey. RH February 20, 1866, par. 5

We attended meetings in Wisconsin, and went to the farthest extent of our strength. Our diet was not such as would nourish the strength. We could obtain but little fruit. I could not relish the food. My stomach was constantly weak and swollen, and the jar of riding in a carriage caused such pain in the region of that organ, as was almost insufferable. After our first meeting, we were compelled to tarry a few days at Bro. Loudon's, in Janesville, to rest. There we could obtain fruit at the market, and we lived on bread and fruit. We felt refreshed, after a little rest, to continue our journey to Hundred Mile Grove. The cars took us to Madison, and there we found a brother from Lodi waiting the arrival of the train in expectation of meeting only Eld. Loughborough. He had come prepared to take him to Lodi, twenty miles distant. He was not expecting my husband and myself. His conveyance was therefore not easy or comfortable for us all. The roads were bad. It seemed to us that we should be compelled through weariness and pain to stop, or obtain a more comfortable conveyance. But I felt determined to endure it. We remembered past days, when we had let nothing stand in the way of duty, and had journeyed when weak and suffering, enduring fatigue, cold, and hunger, and had never yet been turned from our purpose, but pressed through every difficulty, and God has sustained us. Our lives had been preserved, and we would trust in him still. If we should hire a more easy conveyance, some weak brother or sister might take advantage of it, and say Bro. and sister White had become so exalted they could not ride in a humble wagon. My sufferings increased, until we were obliged to stop and beg some straw from a stack, with which my husband filled the body of the wagon. Upon this I sat down, a place having been made for my feet, and rode until the journey was completed, which was at 1 o'clock the next morning. We were seven hours riding twenty miles. The Lord strengthened us to continue our journey to Hundred Mile Grove, the next day, and to bear testimony in the meetings held in that place. RH February 20, 1866, par. 6

We felt it to be our duty to visit Iowa before returning to Michigan. We had no knowledge of the rebellion of Elders Snook and Brinkerhoff, but we felt that there was a work for us to do in that State. On our way to Pilot Grove, Iowa, we first heard of the rebellion, which was only a few hours before we met its leaders face to face in the meeting-house. We labored with intense feeling to save the poor sheep who had been wounded and torn, and left bleeding by these unfaithful shepherds. Our efforts were crowned with success. While engaged in labor to meet opposition, falsehood, and insult, low prejudice, and jealousy, we had thought but little of our health. The blessed results that followed our labors, cheered us amid the gloom which we felt as we beheld what results these two shepherds had accomplished in their dreadful work of tearing to pieces the flock of God. RH February 20, 1866, par. 7

Our overtaxing labors in Iowa told upon the strength of my husband. His labors in meeting this rebellion were of such a nature as to arouse his zeal, and lead him beyond what a prudent consideration for his health would have allowed. But if he could, after his return home, have had a period of entire rest, and, entire freedom from anxiety and care, he would have recovered from the effects of that journey. But the work that these false ministers had been doing for months in preparing for a determined rebellion, in gathering testimonies of falsehood from rebels and traitors, such as Moses Hull, Ransom Hicks, and many others of like stamp—some of whom had figured largely in the so-called “Messenger of Truth,” made it necessary for us to write again, to save the honest from being deceived, when we had anticipated a little period of rest. This extra labor was too much for us, when we were already worn with intense mental excitement from the rebellion in Iowa. RH February 20, 1866, par. 8

When the time came to attend our appointment in Memphis, we needed rest of body and mind. A constant strain had been upon us for months. Our nights were spent in broken sleep, because of bodily infirmities. Yet we urged up our exhausted energies, arose at midnight, walked about a mile to the depot, and stepped on board the train which was to take us to Detroit. We were obliged to wait at Ridgeway about two hours for the arrival of a train from the east, before the stage would leave for Memphis. My husband laid down upon a bench in the depot, and slept about fifteen minutes, which relieved his weariness in a measure. We rode about seven miles, to Bro. Gurney's, and obtained some rest and sleep, to prepare us to attend the evening appointment. The meetings in Memphis were those of labor. My husband here performed the amount of labor which was sufficient for two men who possessed a good degree of strength. His vital energies were exceedingly depressed, yet his zeal in the cause of God urged him on presumptuously to exhaust, by over labor, the little strength that remained. Our meetings closed on Sunday evening, after 11 o'clock. We retired after midnight, and arose at daybreak to take the stage for the cars. The cars missed connection, and we did not arrive at our home till past midnight. RH February 20, 1866, par. 9

My husband slept but little, and would not be prevailed upon to rest the next day. He thought his business required his presence at the Office. Night found him exhausted. His sleep was broken and unrefreshing, yet we rose in the morning at 5 o'clock to take our usual walk before breakfast. We stepped into Bro. Lunt's garden, and while my husband attempted to open an ear of corn I heard a strange noise, and looking up saw his face flushed, and his right arm hanging helpless at his side. His attempt to raise his right arm was ineffectual—the muscles refused to obey the will. RH February 20, 1866, par. 10

I helped him into the house, but he could not speak to me until in the house he indistinctly uttered, “Pray, pray.” We dropped upon our knees and cried to God who had ever been to us a present help in time of trouble. He soon uttered words of praise and gratitude to God, that he could use his arm. His hand was partially restored, but not fully. We sent for an electric battery, but none of us had experience sufficient to apply electricity in this critical case. A proposition was made to have the owner of the battery called to apply it. The physician came and applied the battery. We were trying to exercise faith in God. We called in a few who had faith, and our earnest petitions ascended to Heaven for help from above. The rich blessing of Heaven came frequently upon us all. Still there seemed to be a draw-back to our faith—the physician applying the battery. We prayerfully considered the matter, and when he next came, told him we should no longer need his services. After this we felt no hindrance to our faith. My husband and myself felt the need of our drawing near to God. And as we by confessions and prayer drew near to God, we had the blessed assurance that he drew near to us. How unspeakably precious was the sense of God's boundless mercy toward us, his afflicted children! The stroke that had fallen upon my husband might have been final, or left him with one-half of his body palsied and dead. We wept for joy, that amid our affliction the care of God was toward us. The mighty Maker of the world—the omnipotent Ruler of the universe, was our Father! Precious, exceedingly precious, were these seasons of communion with God! Much of the time my husband was happy in the Lord. Day and night the praise of God was upon his lips, and the sick room was truly a heavenly place. RH February 20, 1866, par. 11

The first five weeks of our affliction we spent at our own home. For wise purposes our heavenly Father did not see fit to raise my husband to immediate health in answer to our earnest prayers, although he seemed preciously near to comfort and sustain us by his Holy Spirit. RH February 20, 1866, par. 12

We had confidence in the use of water as one of God's appointed remedies, but no confidence in drugs. My vital energies were too much exhausted for me to attempt to use water in my husband's case. His wearing labors had long been bringing about the result, and could we expect God to work a miracle to heal him without our using the means or agencies he had provided for us? As there was no one in Battle Creek who dared take the responsibility of administering water in my husband's case, we felt that it might be duty to take him to Dansville, N. Y., where he could rest, and water be applied by those well skilled in its use. We dared not to follow our own judgment. We asked counsel of God, and after a prayerful consideration of the matter decided to go. My husband endured the journey well—much better than we had feared. RH February 20, 1866, par. 13

We remained in Dansville about three months. We obtained rooms a short distance from the institution. Our accommodations were by no means pleasant. Our room was small, and the sun visited it but a few minutes in the morning. Yet we did not feel this as we should, had we been confined to it. We were both able to walk out and be in the open air much of the time; and every day, except Sabbath and first-day, we took treatment, which did not leave us much time to be in our room. RH February 20, 1866, par. 14

Some may have thought that we had given up our faith that God would raise my husband to health in answer to prayer, when we went to Dansville, and placed ourselves under the care of physicians there. But not so. While we did not feel like despising the means God had placed in our reach for the recovery of health, we felt that God was above all, and he who had provided water as his agent, would have us use it to assist abused Nature to recover her exhausted energies. We believed that God would bless the efforts we were making in the direction of health. We did not doubt that God could work a miracle, and in a moment, restore to health and vigor. But should he do this, would we not be in danger of again transgressing—abusing our strength by prolonged, intemperate labor, and bring upon ourselves even a worse condition of things? RH February 20, 1866, par. 15

If we violate the laws of our being we must pay the penalty. Suffering, more or less, will follow every violation of Nature's laws. But when we repent of our transgressions, and commence earnestly the work of reform; when we do all that we can to redeem our errors, by placing ourselves in the best possible condition to regain the strength that we in our zeal lost; then we are in just that position where we can exercise faith in God, and ask him to do that for us which we cannot do for ourselves. We may rely upon God's promises, and believe that his power will repair even Nature's broken-down machinery, and we be placed where we can labor again in the cause of God more understandingly, wisely preserving the strength God has given us instead of crippling it by excessive labor. RH February 20, 1866, par. 16

“Our Home” at Dansville was the only place I could think of where we could go and be free from business and care. Were we to go among those of our faith anywhere, they would not be prepared to realize our worn out condition, especially the condition of my husband. We have so long borne the burden of the work which has compelled us to act with that determination of character, which has known nothing of turning aside, giving back and yielding to circumstances, that our brethren and sisters would be unprepared to understand that we must be free from every anxiety, and that they must not trouble us with questions requiring thought, nor introduce to us matters which would in the least excite or depress the mind. We chose to go to Dansville, and be, as it were, isolated from our brethren, and lost in a certain sense to the work and cause of God, and to feel no responsibility resting upon us of the cause in which we had unitedly labored with all our energies for twenty years. RH February 20, 1866, par. 17

We were unable to attend Dr. Jackson's morning lectures but a few times for the following reasons: The first and greatest reason was, the heated atmosphere of the hall had a painful and benumbing influence upon the brain of my husband. When he dwelt upon the subject of Health, we were too deeply interested for the good of our wearied minds, for our minds would begin to travel, comparing Dr. J.’s philosophy with facts established in our minds, which had been received from higher and unerring authority. The mind would become excited and weary. Especially was this the case with my husband. And again, when Dr. Jackson and other physicians advanced and sought to sustain ideas that we could not receive from our religious standpoint, especially in regard to amusements and pleasure, dancing, card-playing, theater going, etc., we could not see harmony between his religious teachings, and the teachings of Christ recorded in the New Testament. RH February 20, 1866, par. 18

We had nothing to do with religious controversy, nor with advancing our views, nor in getting together those of our faith and having meetings. We went to Dansville for rest of body and mind. And although we expected to hear and see that which we could not receive and unite in, yet these things, notwithstanding our efforts to the contrary, would excite the mind more or less; and in the long wakeful nights we were comparing the life of Christ, and his teachings in regard to what constitutes a Christian, with the teachings on this point set forth at that institution, and we could not harmonize them. RH February 20, 1866, par. 19

As we have taken an active part in the Health Reform, and have twice been at Dansville, once as visitors, and once as patients, and have spoken in high terms of the skill of their physicians in curing disease by the application of water, and other hygienic remedies, many have supposed that we approbated and received all that was taught by the leaders of that institution. The questions have frequently been asked us, not only by our people, but by leading men of other denominations, “Do you sanction the card-playing, dancing, and attending theaters? I understand they profess to be religious, and that they mix all these amusements with their religion.” It has been necessary for us to speak plainly and say that we have had no part nor lot in these matters, and we do not approve of such amusements being recommended by Christian men and women as innocent. I heard more than one mother at Dansville remark that she had extolled the physicians at Dansville to her children, yet would not have her sons hear them recommend these amusements for anything; for she had instructed her children that the influence of these amusements was evil; that she had known them to be thus in her observant experience, and had not seen in them redeeming features that would lead her to change her opinion in regard to their pernicious influence, especially on the young. I have been asked, “Could you with safety send your youthful children, away from your influence, to that institution to learn the correct manner of living, and to regain lost health?” I was compelled to say that I could not, unless they were children who had marked independence of mind, and firm religious principles. This alone proves a safeguard against those who would attempt to gloss over these amusements by calling them harmless, and needful for health, and try to persuade them to join in the dance, the card-playing, and theater-going. RH February 20, 1866, par. 20

God has committed to my care children, not to train for worldly amusement, but for Heaven; and it is my duty to place them in the best possible conditions to understand their duty to God, and to become heirs of immortality. It is impossible for me to be guiltless if I place them in the way of temptation, where there is danger of their being thrown into every class of society, and being corrupted by surrounding influences. There is enough frivolity existing all around us, having a tendency to discourage serious impressions, and to put God out of the mind. Thousands of youth have bid fair to be an honor to their parents, and useful members in society, who have in an evil hour yielded to the Tempter who came in the form of a professed friend, and for the first time broke over the barrier to their conscience and attended the theater, to see and hear the performance of some celebrated actor. Everything fascinates them—their imagination is lively—their senses, their hearts, are carried away captive—they are intoxicated with excitement. They leave the theater; but their imagination continues to dwell upon the scenes they have witnessed, and they are anxious to go again, and again. They acquire a passion to witness theatrical performances. At times they may be convicted that card-playing and attending theaters are not having a beneficial influence upon their health and morals; yet they do not possess sufficient fortitude and independence to tear away from these exciting pleasures. They may strengthen themselves with the thought that physicians have not only attended theaters themselves, but have recommended others to do so, and these physicians were Christians. They thus stifle conscience with the example of worldly, pleasure-loving, professed Christians. They have learned to play cards, considering it an innocent amusement. In attending the theater they place themselves in the most dangerous company, and are exposed to the deceptive, fascinating charms of the gambler, the sensualist, and that class of females “whose steps take hold on hell.” They yield to temptation, and continue their downward course until their consciences become seared, and they will not hesitate to degrade themselves by any vice. RH February 20, 1866, par. 21

Christians are those who follow Christ. “Wherefore come out from among them and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean, and I will receive you.” Tenderness of conscience in regard to these amusements should never be called precision and narrowness of mind. How can Christians call that innocent which is a snare to the soul, which has led thousands in the road to certain ruin? I cannot believe a true follower of Christ will touch a card for amusement, nor read novels, nor attend balls and theaters. If they have learned of Him who is meek and lowly of heart, they will have disrelish for former pleasures and amusements. There will be possessed by the devoted Christian, a living principle in the soul, influencing the mind, employing the affections, and guiding the will, which will give force to the whole character. Their efforts will be to lead souls away from sinful pleasures to the path of holiness, by the bright reflection of their exemplary, blameless lives. RH February 20, 1866, par. 22

I shall ever remember with gratitude, the kind attention and respect we received, not only from physicians at “Our Home,” but also from the helpers. The attendants in the bath-rooms, and waiters at the table were as attentive to our wants as we could wish. They seemed desirous to make our stay with them as pleasant and happy as it was in their power to do. RH February 20, 1866, par. 23

(To be continued.)