Spiritual Gifts, vol. 2


Chapter 29—Captivity Turned

From the time we moved to Battle Creek, the Lord began to turn our captivity. We found sympathizing friends in Michigan who were ready to share our burdens, and supply our wants. Old tried friends in Central New York and New England, especially Vermont, sympathized with us in our afflictions, and liberally assisted us in time of distress. 2SG 203.1

At the conference at Battle Creek in November, 1856, God wrought for us. The minds of the servants of God were exercised as to the gifts of the church. If God's frown had been brought upon his people because the gifts had been slighted and neglected, there was a pleasing prospect that his smiles would again be upon us, and he would graciously revive the gifts again, and they would live in the church, to encourage the fainting soul, and to correct and reprove the erring. New life was given to the cause, and success attended the labors of our preachers. The publications were called for, and proved to be just what the cause demanded, so that by turning them out to the Committee at a discount, my husband was enabled to pay all his debts. His cough ceased, and the pain and soreness left his lungs and throat, and he was gradually restored to health, so as to preach three times on the Sabbath, and three times on first-day with ease. This wonderful work in his restoration is of God, and he shall have all the glory. The last four or five years have been the happiest of our life. 2SG 203.2

The paper called the “Messenger of Truth,” soon went down, and the discordant spirits who spoke through it are now scattered to the four winds. We leave them, with their falsehoods they have framed. They will have to render an account to God. All their sins are faithfully registered in heaven, and they will be judged according to their deeds. 2SG 204.1

The publication of the Review, Instructor, and books, was commenced under most discouraging circumstances. The friends and supporters of the cause were then very few, and generally poor, and it was by extreme labor and economy that the truth was published. For several years we suffered more or less for want of suitable food and clothing, and deprived ourselves of needed sleep, laboring from sixteen to eighteen hours out of the twenty-four, for want of means and help to push forward the work. 2SG 204.2

Again, the present truth was not then as clear as it is now. It has been opening gradually. It required much study and anxious care to bring it out, link after link. By care and incessant labor, and overwhelming anxiety, has the work moved on, until now the present truth is clear, and its evidence by the candid undoubted. And now as the present truth is brought out clear, and there are many writers, it is a light task to conduct the Review to what it was at the first. 2SG 204.3

In the struggle in bringing up the Review and Instructor where the number of paying subscribers is sufficient to meet the expenses, and in the publication of numerous tracts, pamphlets and books, my husband nearly lost his life. He then gave all away into the hands of the Publishing Committee as the property of the church. Like a man commencing in poverty to improve a new farm, and when he has spent the strength of manhood in improving it, gives it to others. Since December 1, 1855, my husband has received for his services in the Review Office, four dollars and nine cents a week. He might have had more, but has chosen not to take it. I do not make these statements with one murmuring feeling. It is a pleasure to me in this work to state the facts in the case. We have acted from choice for the good of the cause. Its prosperity, and the confidence of its true friends are worth a thousand times more to us than the good things of this life. We are raised above want, and this is sufficient for all true believers in the third message. For this we feel grateful to God. I would here express our gratitude to our friends. First, to those who lent my husband money to publish without interest. This enabled him to purchase stock at the lowest rates, publish large editions of our books, and manage his business to advantage. The interest at ten per cent on money thus put into his hands would have amounted to near one thousand dollars. It was worth to him, he thinks, twenty per cent. Had it not been for this, the Office must have gone down, unless sustained in some other way. Second, our numerous personal friends, have been liberal. Many to whom I sent the several numbers of my testimonies, sent to me in return, some ten-fold, and some more. Some, who have never helped us a dime, have appeared to feel very bad to see us raised above want and dependence; but if the Lord has put it into the hearts of our personal friends to raise us above want, that our testimony may not be crippled by the galling sense of dependence, I do not see how these persons can help it. 2SG 205.1

In December, 1855, I fell and sprained my ankle, which confined me to crutches six weeks. The confinement was an injury to my lungs. I attended meeting in my afflicted state, and tried to labor for the good of some souls who seemed to manifest interest to become Christians. At the close of one of these meetings I felt very weary, but a request came for us to visit Bro. S.’ s family, and pray for some of their children who had been afflicted. My judgment told me that I had not strength to go farther; but finally consented to go. While praying, something seemed to tear on my left lung, and I was distressed. After I returned home I could not get a long breath. My lung seemed to be filling. Our family bowed before the Lord and earnestly prayed that I might be relieved. I found relief, but discharged blood from my lung. I have not been entirely free from pain in the left lung since that time. After this I suffered with a dull, heavy pain in my head for three weeks, when the pain became intense. I tried every means in my power to remove the distress, but it overcame me. It was inflammation on the brain. I entreated those around me not to let me sleep, fearing I should never wake to consciousness. I did not expect to live, and wished to spend my moments while reason lasted in talking with my husband and children, and giving them up into the hands of God. At times my mind wandered, and then again I realized my critical situation. My husband called for a few who had faith to pray for me. The Spirit of the Lord rested upon me, and my grateful thanks ascended to our great Physician who had mercifully relieved me. 2SG 206.1

A conference was held at Battle Creek in May, 1856. While we were very busy preparing for the meeting, and little Willie, then about twenty months old, was playing around the house, I was startled by a scream of distress. My little boy was brought to me by Sr. Jane Fraser apparently lifeless. He was found standing upon his head in a tub of water. The attention of Sr. F. was arrested by a faint gurgling sound. His little arms and face were purple, and he was entirely breathless. We cut off his wet clothes, and rolled him on the grass, when he manifested a faint sign of life. We took him before a fire, and by heating flannels produced some heat in his body. He breathed with difficulty. I kissed him, and he opened his eyes languidly, and tried to return the token of affection with his pale cold lips. 2SG 207.1

The Lord spared our dear babe to us, when to all appearance he was already in death's cold embrace. O how grateful we felt to God for his mercy to us. I felt very solemn as I heard in the still evening the cry, “Child lost!” and then the description of some mother's little one, whose fate was in uncertainty. I clasped my little Willie to my heart, and thought how near we came to losing our dear boy. 2SG 208.1

But we were yet to pass through another severe trial. At the conference a very solemn vision was given me. I saw that some of those present would be food for worms, some subjects for the seven last plagues, and some would be translated to heaven at the second coming of Christ, without seeing death. Sr. Bonfoey remarked to a sister as we left the meeting-house, “I feel impressed that I am one that will soon be food for worms.” The conference closed Monday. Thursday Sr. B. sat at the table with us apparently well. She then went to the Office as usual, to help get off the paper. In about two hours I was sent for. Sr. B. had been suddenly taken very ill. My health had been very poor, yet I hastened to suffering Clara. In a few hours she seemed some better. The next morning we had her brought home in a large chair, and she was laid upon her own bed from which she was never to rise. Her symptoms became alarming, and we had fears that a tumor, which had troubled her for nearly ten years, had broken inwardly. It was so, and mortification was doing its work. 2SG 208.2

Friday about seven o'clock she fell asleep. She had her senses until her eyes closed in death. She stated that her pilgrimage was almost ended, and that she had no fears of death. We united in prayer, and she responded. She kissed us, and bid us an affectionate farewell. She seemed very solicitous for my health, and was grieved if I manifested distress. We were unprepared for her death. To lose her, was a living loss. Eight years she had shared our joys and trials, and she had never proved untrue. We have missed her cheerful society, and her sisterly affection, and her care in our family. We laid her in Battle Creek burying-ground to rest until the sleeping saints awake to immortality. 2SG 209.1

Immediately after Sr. B.’s death, my health failed rapidly. I had a severe cough, and raised some blood. I thought I should soon follow her to the grave. There was to be a tent meeting at Monterey, and we were invited to attend. My children were my greatest anxiety. How could I leave them? They had been deprived of our care so much, that they needed attention from one that could feel an interest for them. I left them, with a mother's keenest feelings, and thought, as I parted with them that I might not be permitted to return to them alive. I was assured by one of the sisters, that my children need not trouble my mind, that they would have especial care for them. I rode in much suffering to Monterey, coughing almost incessantly. 2SG 210.1

Sabbath morning we went into a grove to have a season of prayer. We were soon to go to the tent, and I was so weak that it was impossible for me to sit up long at a time. We felt like pleading with the Lord for his sustaining grace. We there committed my case to Him who while on earth was ever touched with human woe, and claimed the promises for strength and grace. The Spirit of the Lord rested upon me, and with a firm trust in the promises of God, we went to the meeting. I bore my testimony during that meeting five times, and continued to grow stronger. My cough did not leave me at once, yet I knew the Lord had given me strength as I needed it; for nothing but his power could have carried me through that meeting. 2SG 210.2

When I returned home, I found that my children had been neglected by those who had assured me that they should be cared for. I felt grieved. My greatest anxiety had been for my children, to bring them up free from evil habits. Our work had been to travel, and then write and publish. Henry had been from us five years, and Edson had received but little of our care. For years at Rochester, our family was very large, and our home like a tavern, and we from home much of the time. I often felt grieved as I thought of others who would not take burdens and cares, who could ever be with their children, to counsel and instruct them, and to spend their time almost exclusively in their own families. And I have inquired, Does God require so much of us, and leave others without burdens? Is this equal? Are we to be thus hurried on from one care to another, one part of the work to another, and have but little time to bring up our children? Many nights, while others have been sleeping, have been spent by me in bitter weeping. I would plan and frame some course more for the advantage of my children, then objections would arise which would sweep away these calculations. I was keenly sensitive to wrongs in my children, and every wrong they committed brought on me such heart ache as to affect my health. 2SG 211.1

I have wished that some mothers could be circumstanced for a short time as I have been for years, then they would prize the blessings they enjoy, and could better sympathize with me in my privations. We have prayed and labored for our children, and have restrained them. We have not neglected the rod, but before using it have first labored to have them see their faults, and then have prayed with them. We have our children understand that we should merit the displeasure of God, if we excused them in sin. And our efforts have been blessed to the good of our children. Their greatest pleasure is to please us. They are not free from faults, but we believe that they will yet be numbered with the lambs of Christ's fold. 2SG 212.1