Testimonies for the Church, vol. 4


Labors in California

My husband labored but little in California. His restoration seemed to be deferred. Our prayers ascended to heaven no less than three, and sometimes five, times a day; and the peace of God often rested upon us. I was not in the least discouraged. Not being able to sleep much nights, a large share of the time was spent in prayer and grateful praise to God for His mercies. I felt the peace of God ruling in my heart constantly, and could indeed say that my peace was as a river. Unforeseen and unexpected trials came upon me, which, in addition to my husband's sickness, nearly overwhelmed me. But my trust and confidence in God were unshaken. He was truly a present help in every time of need. 4T 283.4

We visited Healdsburg, St. Helena, Vacaville, and Pacheco. My husband accompanied me when the weather was favorable. The winter was rather a trying one to us; and as my husband had improved in health, and the weather in Michigan had become mild, he returned to be treated at the sanitarium. Here he received great benefit, and resumed writing for our papers with his usual clearness and force. 4T 284.1

I dared not accompany my husband across the plains; for constant care and anxiety, and inability to sleep, had brought upon me heart difficulties which were alarming. We felt keenly as the hour of separation drew on. It was impossible to restrain our tears; for we knew not that we should meet again in this world. My husband was returning to Michigan, and we had decided that it was advisable for me to visit Oregon and bear my testimony to those who had never heard me. 4T 284.2

I left Healdsburg for Oakland the 7th of June and met with the Oakland and San Francisco churches under the large tent in San Francisco, where Brother Healey had been laboring. I felt the burden of testimony and the great need of persevering personal efforts on the part of these churches to bring others to the knowledge of the truth. I had been shown that San Francisco and Oakland were missionary fields and ever would be. Their increase of numbers would be slow; but if all in these churches were living members and would do what they might do in getting the light before others, many more would be brought into the ranks and obey the truth. The present believers in the truth were not interested for the salvation of others as they should be. Inactivity and indolence in the cause of God would result in backsliding from God themselves, and by their example they would hinder others from going forward. Unselfish, persevering, active exertion would be productive of the very best results. I tried to impress upon them that which the Lord had presented before me, that He would have the truth presented to others by earnest, active laborers, not those who merely profess to believe it. They should not present the truth in words merely, but by a circumspect life, by being living representatives of the truth. 4T 284.3

I was shown that those who compose these churches should be Bible students, studying the will of God most earnestly that they may learn to be laborers in the cause of God. They should sow the seeds of truth wherever they may be, at home, in the workshop, in the market, as well as in the meetinghouse. In order to become familiar with the Bible, they should read it carefully and prayerfully. In order to cast themselves and their burden on Christ, they must begin at once to study to realize the value of the cross of Christ and learn to bear it. If they would live holy lives they must now have the fear of God before them. 4T 285.1

It is trial that leads us to see what we are. It is the reason of temptation that gives a glimpse of one's real character and shows the necessity for the cultivation of good traits. Trusting in the blessing of God, the Christian is safe anywhere. In the city he will not be corrupted. In the counting room he will be marked for his habits of strict integrity. In the mechanic's shop every portion of his work will be done with fidelity, with an eye single to the glory of God. When this course is pursued by its individual members, a church will be successful. Prosperity will never attend these churches until the individual members shall be closely connected with God, having an unselfish interest in the salvation of their fellow men. Ministers may preach pleasing and forcible discourses, and much labor may be put forth to build up and make the church prosperous; but unless its individual members shall act their part as servants of Jesus Christ, the church will ever be in darkness and without strength. Hard and dark as the world is, the influence of a really consistent example will be a power for good. 4T 285.2

A person might as well expect a harvest where he has never sown, or knowledge where he has never sought for it, as to expect to be saved in indolence. An idler and a sluggard will never make a success in breaking down pride and overcoming the power of temptation to sinful indulgences which keep him from his Saviour. The light of truth, sanctifying the life, will discover to the receiver the sinful passions in his heart, which are striving for the mastery, making it necessary for him to stretch every nerve and exert all his powers to resist Satan, that he may conquer through the merits of Christ. When surrounded by influences calculated to lead away from God, his petitions must be unwearied for help and strength from Jesus that he may overcome the devices of Satan. 4T 286.1

Some in these churches are in constant danger because the cares of this life and worldly thoughts so occupy the mind that they do not think upon God or heaven and the needs of their own souls. They rouse from their stupor now and then, but fall back again in deeper slumber. Unless they shall fully rouse from their slumbers, God will remove the light and blessings He has given them. He will in His anger remove the candlestick out of its place. He has made these churches the depositary of His law. If they reject sin, and by active, earnest piety show stability and submission to the precepts of God's word, and are faithful in the discharge of religious duty, they will help to establish the candlestick in its place, and will have the evidence that the Lord of hosts is with them and the God of Jacob is their refuge. 4T 286.2