Spiritual Gifts, vol. 2


Chapter 30—The West

In 1855 I was shown the danger of those brethren who moved from the East to the West of becoming worldly minded, and warnings were given me for them. I saw that it was right that some of the brethren East should move West; that the brethren in those rugged, New England States have more experience, and are more accustomed to endure trials and hardships than the brethren West; and that it is in the order of God that some move West. But there are those who have it in their minds to move West for the sake of gain. This should not be their object. Their object should be to glorify God, and advance his cause. And to accomplish this, they must live out their faith, and show that they regard the present truth above everything else. I saw that it would be in the order of God for brethren in the East to associate with those West, and if they were standing in the counsel of God, they could be of great benefit to the brethren West by their example and experience. 2SG 212.2

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, 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 world, but let it be upward to God, glory and heaven. Let not the care and perplexity of farms here engross the mind, but contemplate Abraham's farm. We are heirs to that immortal inheritance. Wean your affections from earth, and dwell upon heavenly things. 2SG 213.1

If those moving from the East to the West had regarded these warnings, and had stood in the counsel of God, he would have wrought through them to the salvation of many souls. But many who moved West have set an example of love for this world and covetousness, and their works have shown that their object in settling West was for gain, and not to save souls. The special frown of God has rested upon those who have taken this course, especially upon some the Lord had called into the gospel field. 2SG 214.1

Soon after we embraced the view that the testimony to the Laodicean church applied to this time, we visited Round Grove, Ills. I will here give an extract from a letter written to Bro. Howland's family, Nov. 23, 1856. 2SG 214.2

“We are now at Bro. E.’s. Many hundred miles separate us. We have had some interesting seasons since we came to this place. There is quite a settlement of Sabbath-keepers here, from Vermont, New York and Michigan. They have been in a low state. God has afflicted Bro. E., and removed his wife. Three times she was reproved by vision, and the third time I was shown if she did not stand out of her husband's way, that he might be free to teach perishing souls the truth, God would move her out of the way. It is even so; she sickened and died. Her passage to the tomb was dark. O, it is dangerous to stand in the way of the work of God, and choose our own selfish course. Our God is merciful, yet he will not bear always. His tender Spirit is easily grieved. If ever I felt like moving carefully it is now. We must walk softly before the Lord. I feel anxious to have Jesus with me. If he goes before us, we can be of some use to others, and do good. We came to this place with trembling, but the Lord has wrought for us. We have had victory in our seasons of prayer, and victory in meeting. The melting power of God rests upon the hearers. The testimony to the Laodiceans has had an effect here. 2SG 214.3

“Last Sabbath all felt like seeking for vital godliness. After the meeting closed, Bro. and Sr. S. came to spend the evening with us. Their two eldest daughters accompanied them. The Spirit of the Lord led us out in earnest supplication for them. The Lord touched their hearts, and they wept and confessed their sins and prayed before the Lord, and before rising they decided to give up the world, its pride and folly, and turn to the Lord with all their hearts. It was a scene of rejoicing for the parents. They were unable to express their deep gratitude to God. Heaven seemed very near. It was a confessing, melting season. All seemed anxious to humble themselves before God, and manifest a zeal in repenting of their sins, that the Saviour might come in to their hearts and sup with them and they with him. 2SG 215.1

“Jesus lives today, and we can rejoice in a whole Saviour. It was a whole Saviour that died on Calvary's cross; a whole sacrifice that was made for us; and it is our privilege to accept and enjoy a whole and free salvation. Do not let us compare ourselves with others. A true and living Pattern is given us, which is perfect. Let us look away from all others, and imitate that Pattern. “He that gathereth not with me, scattereth abroad.” O let us gather with Christ, and imitate his lovely example and character. God requires the whole heart. He has purchased it. It is his property. Withhold not from Christ that which belongs to him. Are our affections divided? Let them be so no more. Let our words and actions tell for God. We are seeking for glory, honor, immortality, eternal life. What a glorious hope is ours! Salvation is what we must have. Life, spiritual life, pray for it, wrestle for it. It is our privilege to enjoy it. We cannot glorify God with a dead faith. I have made my mark high for heaven and eternal life.” 2SG 216.1

We labored some weeks in Round Grove, and the Lord blessed our efforts. In a vision given me there, I was shown the state of those brethren who had moved to Wawkon, [Waukon,] Iowa. Nearly all of them were in darkness, opposed to the work of God. Their sympathy was withdrawn from the Review Office, and from the church of God generally. Satan had planted the seeds of dissatisfaction, and the fruit was ripening. It was what might be called a more respectable “Messenger party.” 2SG 217.1

I saw that they needed help, that Satan's snare must be broken, and precious souls rescued. I did not see that it was our duty to go to them, but as I had been shown their condition, I felt anxious to go. It was a great distance, and in the winter. It was exceedingly difficult, and somewhat dangerous a journey, yet I felt urged on, to go to Wawkon [Waukon]. My mind could not be at ease until we decided to go trusting in the Lord. It was then good sleighing. Preparations were made to go with two horses and a sleigh, but it rained for twenty-four hours, and the snow was fast disappearing. My husband thought the journey must be given up. My mind could not rest. It was agitated concerning Wawkon [Waukon]. Bro. H. said to me, “Sr. White, what about Wawkon [Waukon]?” Said I, “We shall go.” “Yes,” said he, “if the Lord works a miracle.” Many times that night I was at the window watching the weather, and about day-break there was a change, and it commenced snowing. The next night about five o'clock, we were on our way to Wawkon [Waukon], brethren E. and H., husband and self. We held meetings with the brethren at Green Vale, Ills., and were there blocked in nearly a week with a severe snow-storm. Thursday we ventured to pursue our journey. Weary, cold and hungry, we called at a hotel a few miles from the Mississippi river. The next morning, about four o'clock, it commenced raining. We felt urged on, and rode through the rain, while the horses broke through the snow at almost every step. We made many inquiries about crossing the river, but none gave us encouragement that we could cross. The ice was mostly composed of snow, and there lay upon the top of it one foot of water. When we reached the river Bro. H. arose in the sleigh and said, “Is it Iowa, or back to Illinois? We have come to the Red sea, shall we cross?” We answered, “Go forward, trusting in Israel's God.” We ventured upon the ice, praying as we went. We were carried safely across, and as we ascended the Iowa bank of the river, we united in praising the Lord. A number told us after we crossed, that no amount of money would have tempted them to cross, and that a number had broken in. They could not save their teams, and barely escaped with their lives. We rode that afternoon six miles from Dubuque. The Sabbath was drawing on, and we put up at a hotel to rest over the Sabbath. In the evening we united in singing some of our best hymns. The boarders collected to listen, and Bro. E. hung up the chart and gave a short lecture. They invited us to call on our return, saying they would warrant us a house, and a good congregation. 2SG 217.2

Sunday, we continued our journey. I never witnessed so cold weather. The brethren would watch each other to see if they were freezing. And we would often hear, “Brother, your face is freezing, you had better rub the frost out as soon as possible!” “Your ear is freezing!” “You nose is freezing!” I found my coon-skin robe of real service. 2SG 219.1

We reached Wawkon [Waukon] Wednesday night, and found nearly all of the Sabbath-keepers sorry that we had come. Much prejudice existed against us, for much had been said concerning us calculated to injure our influence. We know that the Lord had sent us, and that he would there take the work into his own hands. Satan had put his hand in among the company at Wawkon [Waukon], to mould their minds to suit himself. 2SG 219.2

Our earnest prayers went up to God for him to work and reveal his power, and we felt like patiently waiting his salvation. At an evening meeting I was taken off in vision. The power of God fell upon the company. Every one was constrained to acknowledge that it was of God. I related what the Lord gave me for that people, which was, “Return unto me, and I will return unto thee, and heal all thy backslidings. Tear down the rubbish from the door of thy heart, and open the door, and I will come in and sup with thee, and thou with me.” 2SG 219.3

I saw that if they would clear the way, and confess their wrongs, Jesus would walk through our midst in power. Sr. L. began to confess in a clear, decided manner, and said she thought they had got away where we could not find them; but she was glad that we had come. As she confessed, the flood-gates of heaven seemed suddenly opened, I was prostrated by the power of God. Sr. H. N. S. fell from her chair helpless. It seemed to be an awful, yet glorious place. I had no strength for two hours, but seemed to be wrapped in the glory of God. A great work was accomplished that night. The meeting held past midnight. 2SG 220.1

The next day the meeting commenced where it left off the night before. All who had been blessed retained the blessing. They had not slept much, for the Spirit of God rested upon them through the night, and they came with it to the meeting. Confessions were made of their disunion of feelings with us, their wrong feelings, and their backslidden state. Others were slain by the power of God that day. Our meeting continued without intermission from ten o'clock a. m. until five o'clock p. m. Bro. J. N. A. was prostrated by the power of God, and lay helpless some time. He felt thankful, he said, that we had come, and believed that the Lord had sent us. 2SG 220.2

In the evening the labor left us who had come to the place, and the brethren and sisters in Wawkon [Waukon] had the burden rolled upon them, and they labored for each other with zeal and with the power of God upon them. Countenances that looked sad when we came to the place, now shone with the heavenly anointing. It seemed that angels from heaven were passing from one to the other in the room, to finish the good work which had commenced. Bro. J. N. L., who had left the work to which God had called him, and had begun to work at his trade, cried out, that he had laid up his hammer, that he had driven the last nail. We soon bid our brethren in Wawkon [Waukon] farewell, and started on our homeward journey. Bro. J. N. L. was again at liberty to labor in the gospel field. 2SG 221.1

I have since been shown the snare Satan had contrived to overthrow those at Wawkon [Waukon], and then through their influence, affect others. A disaffected party had settled in W., and honest souls, ignorant of their state of feelings, and reposing confidence in them, felt that it would be a great blessing to enjoy their society, but they were sadly disappointed. Instead of finding freedom, it was bondage. With some, there was a selfish desire for gain, a close, penurious spirit, and they took a course to injure the cause of God, and bring reproach upon the truth. Bro. J. N. L. in discouragement had gone to work at his trade. He was just about to purchase land, and make it his home there, when we visited the place. Satan had prepared things to his own mind. But the Lord sent us to the place in season to break Satan's snare, that the captives might be released. 2SG 221.2