Spiritual Gifts, vol. 2


Chapter 18—Publishing and Traveling

On his return my husband was impressed that it was his duty to write and publish the present truth. He was greatly encouraged and blessed as he decided thus to do. But again he would be in doubt and perplexity. He was penniless. There were those who had means, but they chose to keep it. He at length gave up in discouragement, and decided to look for a field of grass to mow. As he left the house a burden was rolled upon me, and I fainted. Prayer was offered for me, and I was blessed, and taken off in vision. I saw that the Lord had blessed and strengthened my husband to labor in the field one year before. He had made a right disposition of the means he there earned, and that he would have a hundred fold in this life, and, if faithful, a rich reward in the kingdom of God. But the Lord would not now give him strength to labor in the field, for he had another work for him. And if he ventured into the field he would be cut down by sickness. He must write, write, write, and walk out by faith. My husband immediately commenced to write. When he came to some difficult passage we would call upon the Lord to give us the true meaning. 2SG 114.1

He published a small sheet at Middletown, eight miles from Rocky Hill, and often walked this distance and back again, although he was then lame. He brought the first number from the printing-office, and we all bowed around it, asking the Lord with humble hearts and many tears, to let his blessing rest upon the feeble efforts of his servant. He then directed the paper to all he thought would read it, and carried it to the post-office in a carpet-bag. Every number was taken from Middletown to Rocky Hill, and ever before preparing them for the post-office, they were spread before the Lord, and earnest prayer mingled with tears, were offered to God that his blessing would attend the silent messengers. Very soon letters came bringing means to publish the paper, and the good news of many souls embracing the truth. 2SG 115.1

July 28th, 1849, my second child, James Edson White, was born. When he was six weeks old we went to Maine. September 14th a meeting was appointed at Paris. They had not had a meeting for one year and a half. Brethren Bates, Chamberlain and Ralph were present, also brethren and sisters from Topsham. F. T. Howland, a notable fanatic, was present. He had long troubled God's children with his errors, and his harsh, rabid spirit. Honest souls, whom the Lord loved, but had long been in error, were at the meeting. While engaged in prayer the Spirit of the Lord rested upon Bro. S. Howland, and his face was white, and a light seemed to rest upon it. He went towards F. T. Howland, and bid him in the name of the Lord leave the assembly of the saints; that he had torn the hearts of God's children, and made them bleed, “Leave the house or God will smite you.” That rebellious spirit, never before known to fear, or yield, sprang for his hat, and in terror left the house. The power of God descended, something as it did on the day of Pentecost, and five or six who had been deceived and led into error and fanaticism, fell prostrate to the floor, parents confessed to their children, and children to their parents, and to one another. Bro. J. N. Andrews with deep feeling exclaimed, “I would exchange a thousand errors for one truth.” Such a scene we have seldom witnessed of confessing and pleading with God for forgiveness. That meeting was the beginning of better days to the children of God in Paris, to them a green spot in the desert. The Lord was bringing out Bro. Andrews to fit him for future usefulness, and was giving him an experience that would be of great value to him in his future labors, that he should not be influenced by the experience of others, but decide for himself concerning the work of God. 2SG 116.1

At that meeting I learned that my mother had stepped upon a rusty nail in a board, which had passed through her foot. She had tried every remedy, but nothing removed the inflammation, or eased the pain. We went immediately to Gorham, and found her foot dreadfully swollen. The neighbors had proposed every remedy they could think of, but they accomplished nothing. Mother was threatened with lock-jaw. The next morning we united in prayer for her. I believed that God would restore her to perfect soundness. She was unable to kneel. With a deep sense of my unworthiness, I knelt at my mother's feet and besought the Lord to touch her with his healing power. We all believed that the Lord heard prayer. With the Spirit of the Lord resting upon me, I bid her in the name of the Lord rise and walk. His power was in the room, and shouts of praise went up to God. Mother arose and walked the room, declaring the work was done, all the soreness gone, and that she was entirely relieved from pain. That day she rode thirty-eight miles to Topsham to attend a conference there, and had no more trouble with her foot. 2SG 117.1

Some were anxious to have us visit New York State again; but feeble health sunk my spirits, and it was a time of trial and great despondency with me. I told them that I dare not venture unless the Lord should strengthen me for the task. They prayed for me, and the clouds were scattered, yet I did not obtain that strength I so much desired, but I resolved to walk out by faith and go, clinging to the promise, “My grace is sufficient for you.” God had been my helper hitherto, and why should I now doubt? I will still trust in the strong arm of Jehovah. If like Paul I am to be troubled with a thorn in the flesh, I will not murmur. It will cause me to feel my dependence upon God, and to walk tremblingly before him. On that journey our faith was tried, but we obtained the victory, and my strength increased, and I could rejoice in God. All the strength the Lord had given me was needed to labor in New York. Many had united upon the truth since our first visit, but there was much to be done for them. I will here give an extract of a letter written by my husband, from Volney, N. Y., Nov. 13th, 1849. 2SG 118.1

“Dear Bro. Howland:—Nov. 3d, we attended a conference at Oswego. There was a large gathering. The increase of Sabbath-keepers since last spring in this region has been more than one half. But there are trials here of a serious nature. We find work enough. Here are some fiery spirits who have much zeal, but little judgment, whose principal message is, “Sell that ye have and give alms.” They press the truth in such a manner and spirit as to disgust, try and harden those who have their hundreds they might use in the cause of God. Thus a sore dividing spirit exists. The Lord has revealed these things to Ellen, and she has borne her testimony that both parties were wrong. This testimony I think is received. Tobacco and snuff are being cleared from the camp with very few exceptions. 2SG 119.1

“Selling is a subject that should be treated in a cautious manner. O what a responsibility rests upon God's stewards! With their money they may ruin some of us, and by withholding it from those whom God has called to feed the flock, souls will sink and starve and die. The Lord is about to straighten out all who will be straightened. His work will move on. Amen.” 2SG 119.2

Our labor was difficult. Some of the poor seemed to be envious of the rich, and it needed much wisdom to reprove the errors of the poor without strengthening the hands of the rich. If we reproved the selfishness of the rich, the poorer class would zealously cry, Amen. We presented before both classes the responsibility resting upon the wealthy to make a right use of that which God had lent them, and held up before them the suffering cause of God, which was the true object of their liberalities, and where their means could be well applied. 2SG 120.1

I was also shown that it was not the duty of the wealthy to help those who had health and could help themselves. That some were in very poor circumstances who need not be thus situated. They were not diligent in business. They lacked economy and good management, and it was their duty to reform, and instead of receiving help from their brethren, they should carefully husband their time and provide for their own families, and have something to help the cause of God. That they were as accountable to God for the strength which he had given them as the rich man was for his property. 2SG 120.2

Some of the poor were zealous to attend every conference, taking their whole families with them, consuming a number of days to get to the place of meeting, and then burdening those who provided for the meeting with their unruly children. These were no help in the meetings, and they manifested no fruits of receiving any benefit themselves. They seemed to possess a careless, loafing spirit, which was an injury to the cause. In this way precious time which they were accountable for, was wasted, and in cold weather they must suffer, unless helped by their brethren. These things stood in the way of those who had means. They were constantly vexed with the course of these individuals. And as we labored for the good of the wealthy, these stood directly in our way. It was difficult to impress both classes with a sense of their duty. Yet after much labor and many trials, there seemed to be a reform, and there was more order in the church. The Lord blessed our labors, and often revealed himself to us in remarkable power. 2SG 121.1

We designed going to Lorraine to hold a meeting there, but our little Edson was taken very sick. We carried this matter before the Lord, and felt it to be our duty to go, trusting in him. We prayed for our sick child, and then I took him in my arms in winter, and rode thirty miles, keeping my heart uplifted to God for his recovery. When we arrived, Edson was in a perspiration, and was better. But again our faith was tried. In the course of the meeting the fever returned upon the child. He was suffering with inflammation upon the brain. All night we watched over our child, earnestly praying that the disease might be effectually rebuked. We tried to exercise faith, regardless of appearance, and our petitions were heard, and the child recovered. It did seem to us that an angel of God touched him. Our meeting in Lorraine was greatly blessed of God. The hearts of the scattered ones were comforted, and some acknowledged with tears that they had been fed with truth. We returned to Volney free in the Lord. 2SG 121.2

We then decided that it was our duty to labor in the State. My husband felt a burden upon him to write and publish. We rented a house in Oswego, and borrowed articles from our brethren, and commenced house-keeping. There my husband wrote, published, and preached. It was necessary for him to keep the armor on every moment, for he often had to contend with professed adventists who were advocating error, and preaching definite time, and were seeking to prejudice all they could against our faith. We took the position that the time they set would pass by. I was shown that the honestly deceived would then see the deception of some whom they then had confidence in, who were zealously preaching time, and they would be led to search for truth. 2SG 122.1

At this time there was quite an excitement among the Methodists in Oswego. They held many meetings, and their leaders were very zealous, praying for and exhorting sinners to be converted. Some of the adventists who were preaching time, often joined them in their meetings, and then would tell us that a glorious work was going on among the Methodists, that God was with them, or they would not be thus blessed. The question was often asked, “What do you think of Bro. M.? The Lord works through him in a special manner. He and his wife visit from house to house conversing with sinners, and praying for them, and Bro M. was engaged so zealously in prayer last night for the mourners who came forward to the anxious-seats, that he broke a blood-vessel, and was carried to his home in a feeble condition.” They triumphed over the believers in present truth. I told them to wait and see the result of the matter, and referred them to Hosea 5:6, 7. 2SG 123.1

But in the midst of the revival M. was arrested and placed in confinement in what was called the “black hole,” while his Methodist brethren were left to carry on the revival. He was suspected of retaining public money for his own use. The matter was investigated, and he took God to witness that he had not a cent of their money. And as his wife was about to be searched, she left the room. She was watched, and seen to hide something in the snow. And as she returned and joined her husband in protesting their innocence, one of the men who watched her, took a bag of money from the snow, brought it in and held it up before them. 2SG 123.2

We visited Camden, about forty miles from Oswego. Previous to going I was shown the little company there who professed the truth, and saw one among them, a female, who professed much piety, but was a hypocrite, and was deceiving the people of God. Sabbath morning quite a number collected, but the deceitful woman was not present. I inquired of a sister if this was all their company. She said it was. This woman lived four miles from the place, and the sister did not think of her. Soon she entered, and I knew her. In the course of the meeting she talked quite lengthy, said she had perfect love, and enjoyed holiness of heart. That she did not have trials and temptations, but enjoyed perfect peace and submission to the will of God. The brethren and sisters were strangers to me, and they seemed to have confidence in her, and I feared that they would not receive my testimony if I should state what had been shown me in regard to her. I inquired concerning this person, and was informed that she appeared to be the most zealous one among them. I left the meeting with sad feelings, and returned to Bro. Preston's. That night I dreamed that a secret closet was opened to me, filled with rubbish, and I was told that it was my work to clear it out. With the aid of a lamp I removed the rubbish, and told them the room could be supplied with more valuable things. 2SG 124.1

Sunday morning we met with the brethren. My husband arose to preach on the parable of the ten virgins. He had no freedom in speaking, and proposed that we have a season of prayer. We bowed before the Lord and engaged in earnest prayer. The dark cloud was lifted, and I was taken off in vision, and again shown the case of this woman. She was represented to me to be in perfect darkness. Jesus frowned upon her and her husband. That withering frown caused me to tremble. I saw that she had acted the hypocrite, professed holiness, while her heart was full of corruption. After I came out of vision I related what I had seen with trembling, yet with faithfulness. I was severely tried, and troubled for the people of God. Would those present believe the testimony? The woman put on a calm appearance and said, “I am glad the Lord knows my heart. He knows that I love him.” Then her husband rose in anger, and laying his hand on the Bible said, “The Bible is all we want, I shall not give up the Bible for visions.” His wife affected to check him, saying, “Don't husband, dear, don't talk, the Lord knows me, and will take care of it all.” Then she vindicated herself, saying, “If my heart could only be opened that you might see it.” I knew the minds of some were unsettled, whether to believe the vision, or let her appearance weigh against the testimony borne, for her appearance was perfectly calculated to get sympathy. I had discharged a painful duty and God would take care of the result. As we left, she said she had no hard feelings against me, and that she should pray for me, and if I got to heaven I should see her there. We returned with Bro. Preston's family, and that night the Lord met with us. I believed that the Lord would show his people the truth, and justify the vision. The neighbors said that I had abused the poor woman. 2SG 125.1

Not long after this, terrible fear seized this woman. A horror rested upon her, and she began to confess. She even went from house to house among her unbelieving neighbors, and confessed that the man she had been living with for years was not her husband, that she ran away from England and left a kind husband and one child. She also confessed that she had professed to understand medicine, and had taken oath that the bottles of mixture she made cost her one dollar, when they cost her only twelve cents. Said that she had taken thirty dollars from a poor man by taking a false oath, and many such wicked acts she confessed, and her repentance seemed to be genuine. In some cases she restored where she had taken away wrongfully. In one instance she started on foot forty miles to confess. We could see the hand of God in this matter. He gave her no rest day nor night, until she confessed her sins publicly, that God's work might be vindicated. 2SG 126.1