Spiritual Gifts, vol. 2

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Chapter 28—Extreme Trials

After Anna's death, my husband's health became very poor. He was troubled with cough and soreness of lungs, and his nervous system was prostrated. His anxiety of mind, the burdens which he bore in Rochester, his labor in the Office, the sickness and repeated deaths in the family, the lack of sympathy from those who should have shared his labors, together with his traveling and preaching, were too much for his strength, and he seemed to be fast following Nathaniel and Anna to a consumptive's grave. It was a time of thick gloom and darkness. A few rays of light occasionally parted these heavy clouds, giving us a little hope, or we should have sunk in despair. It seemed at times that God had forsaken us. 2SG 194.2

The “Messenger” party, the most of whom had been reproved through visions for their wrongs, framed all manner of falsehoods concerning us, and concerning the visions. Psalm 32:1, 2, was often brought forcibly to my mind. “Fret not thyself because of evil doers, neither be thou envious against the workers of iniquity, for they shall soon be cut down like the grass, and wither as the green herb.” 2SG 195.1

Some of the writers of the “Messenger” even triumphed over the feebleness of my husband, saying, that God will take care of him, and remove him out of the way. When he read this he felt some as Wickliffe did as he lay sick. [Monks and Alderman “hastened to the bedside of the dying man, hoping to frighten him with the vengeance of heaven.” Said they, “You have death on your lips, be touched by your faults, and retract in our presence all you have said to our injury.” “He begged his servants to raise him on his couch. Then feeble and pale, and scarcely able to support himself, he turned towards the friars who were waiting his recantation, and opening his livid lips, and fixing on them a piercing look, he said with emphasis, ‘I shall not die, but live, and again declare the evil deeds of the friars.’” They left the room in confusion, and the reformer recovered to perform his most important labors.—D’ Aubigne's History of the Reformation 5:93.] Faith revived, and my husband exclaimed, “I shall not die, but live and declare the works of the Lord and may yet preach their funeral sermon.” 2SG 195.2

The darkest clouds seemed to shut down over us. Wicked men, professing godliness, under the command of Satan, were hurried on to forge falsehoods, and to bring the strength of their forces against us. If the cause of God had been ours alone, we might have trembled; but it was in the hands of Him who could say, No one is able to pluck it out of my hands. Jesus lives and reigns. We could say before the Lord, The cause is thine, and thou knowest that it has not been our own choice, but by thy command we have acted the part we have in it. 2SG 196.1

My husband became so feeble that he resolved to free himself from the responsibilities of publishing, which had been urged upon him. He was editor and proprietor of the Review and Herald, until it reached Vol. vii, No. 9. No one ever asked him to give the Review, Instructor, and the publication of books, into other hands, or leave the position of editor. No one suggested anything of the kind to him. It was his choice that he might be relieved, and that the Office might be established beyond the influence of those men who had cried, Speculation! He never claimed the property in the Office which had been donated to be used for the benefit of the cause. He called upon the church to take the Office at Rochester, and establish it where they pleased, and suggested that it be managed by a publishing committee, and that no one connected with the Office should have personal interest in it. As no others claimed the privilege, the brethren in Michigan opened the way for the Office to come to Battle Creek. At that time my husband was owing between two and three thousand dollars, and all he had beside the books on hand, was accounts for books, and some of them doubtful. The cause had apparently come to a halt, and orders for publications were very few and small, and my husband feared that he would die in debt. Brethren in Michigan assisted us in obtaining a lot, and building a house, and the deed was made out in my name, so that I could dispose of it at pleasure after the death of my husband. 2SG 196.2

Those were days of sadness. I looked upon my three little boys, soon, as I feared, to be left fatherless, and thoughts like these forced themselves upon me. My husband dies a martyr to the cause of present truth; and who realizes what he has suffered, the burdens he has for years borne, the extreme care which has crushed his spirits, and ruined his health, bringing him to an untimely grave, leaving his family destitute and dependent? Some who should have stood by him in this trying time, and with words of encouragement and sympathy helped him to bear the burdens, were like Job's comforters, who were ready to accuse and press the weight upon him still heavier. I have often asked the question, Does God have no care for these things? Does he pass them by unnoticed? I was comforted to know that there was One who judgeth righteously, and that every sacrifice, every self-denial, and every pang of anguish endured for his sake, was faithfully chronicled in heaven, and would bring its reward. The day of the Lord will declare and bring to light things that are not yet made manifest. 2SG 197.1

About this time I was shown that my husband must not labor in preaching, or with his hands. That a little over exercise then would place him in a hopeless condition. At this he wept and groaned. Said he, “Must I then become a church pauper?” Again I was shown that God designed to raise him up gradually. That we must exercise strong faith, for in every effort we should be fiercely buffeted by Satan. That we must look away from outward appearance, and believe. Three times a day we went alone before God, and engaged in earnest prayer for the recovery of his health. This was the whole burden of our petitions, and frequently one of us would be prostrated by the power of God. The Lord graciously heard our earnest cries, and my husband began to recover. For many months our prayers ascended to heaven three times a day for health to do the will of God. These seasons of prayer were very precious. We were brought into a sacred nearness to God, and had sweet communion with him. 2SG 198.1

I cannot better state my feelings at this time than they are expressed in the following extracts from a letter I wrote to Sr. Howland: 2SG 199.1

“I feel thankful that I can now have my children with me, under my own watchcare, and can better train them in the right way. For weeks I have felt a hungering and thirsting for salvation, and we have enjoyed almost uninterrupted communion with God. Why do we stay away from the fountain when we can come and drink? Why do we die for bread when there is a storehouse full? It is rich and free. O my soul, feast upon it, and daily drink in heavenly joys. I will not hold my peace. The praise of God is in my heart, and upon my lips. We can rejoice in the fullness of our Saviour's love. We can feast upon his excellent glory. My soul testifies to this. My gloom has been dispersed by this precious light, and I can never forget it. Lord help me to keep it in lively remembrance. Awake, all the energies of my soul! Awake, and adore thy Redeemer for his wondrous love. 2SG 199.2

“Souls around us must be aroused and saved, or they perish. Not a moment have we to lose. We all have an influence that tells for the truth, or against it. I desire to carry with me unmistakable evidences that I am one of Christ's disciples. 2SG 200.1

“We want something besides Sabbath religion. We want the living principle, and to daily feel individual responsibility. This is shunned by many, and the fruit is carelessness, indifference, a lack of watchfulness and spirituality. Where is the spirituality of the church? Where are men and women full of faith and the holy Spirit? My prayer is, Purify thy church, O God. For months I have enjoyed freedom, and I am determined to order my conversation, and all my ways, aright before the Lord. 2SG 200.2

“Our enemies may triumph. They may speak lying words, and their tongue frame slander, deceit and falsehood, yet will we not be moved. We know in whom we have believed. We have not run in vain, neither labored in vain. A reckoning day is coming, and all will be judged according to the deeds done in the body. It is true the world is dark. Opposition may wax strong. The trifler and scorner may grow bold in their iniquity, yet for all this we will not be moved, but lean upon the arm of the Mighty One for strength. 2SG 200.3

“God is sifting his people. He will have a clean and holy people. We cannot read the heart of man. But he has provided means to keep the church pure. A corrupt people has arisen who could not live with the people of God. They despised reproof, and would not be corrected. They had an opportunity to know that their warfare was an unrighteous one. They had time to repent of their wrongs; but self was too dear to die. They nourished it, and it grew strong, and they separated from the peculiar people of God, whom he was purifying unto himself. We all have reason to thank God that a way has been opened to save the church, for the wrath of God must have come upon us, if these corrupt individuals had remained with us. Every honest one that may be deceived by these disaffected ones, will have the true light in regard to them if every angel from heaven has to visit them, and enlighten their minds. We have nothing to fear in this matter. 2SG 201.1

“As we near the judgment all will manifest their true character, and it will be made plain to what company they belong. The sieve is going; let us not say, Stay thy hand, O God. We know not the heart of man. The church must be purged, and will be. God reigns, let the people praise him. I have not the most distant thought of sinking down. I mean to be right and do right. The judgment is to set, and the books be opened, and we judged according to our deeds. All the falsehoods that may be framed against me will not make me any worse, nor any better, unless they have a tendency to drive me nearer my Redeemer.” 2SG 201.2

The following is from an article I wrote for the Review, published January 10, 1856: 2SG 202.1

“We have felt the power and blessing of God for a few weeks past. God has been very merciful. He has wrought in a wonderful manner for my husband. We have brought him to our great Physician in the arms of our faith, and like blind Bartimaeus have cried. ‘Jesus, thou Son of David, have mercy on us;’ and we have been comforted. The healing power of God has been felt. All medicine has been laid aside, and we rely alone upon the arm of our great Physician. We are not yet satisfied. Our faith says, Entire restoration. We have seen the salvation of God, yet we expect to see and feel more. I believe without a doubt that my husband will yet be able to sound the last notes of warning to the world. For weeks past our peace has been like a river. Our souls triumph in God. Gratitude, unspeakable gratitude fills my soul for the tokens of God's love which we have of late felt and seen. We feel like dedicating ourselves anew to God.” 2SG 202.2