Testimonies for the Church, vol. 1


Chapter 63—Jealousy and Faultfinding

Brother G,

At —— you asked me some questions of which I have been thinking much. From my conversation with you, I am convinced that you do not realize the part you have acted and the wound you have brought upon the cause of God. That which had been shown me in regard to you, came vividly before me, and I have compared that which has been recently shown me with the testimony published in regard to you in Testimony No. 6, and I cannot see the least apology for your course. Before you were a partaker in, and lent your influence to, the late fanaticism in Wisconsin, you were not right in the sight of God. 1T 311.1

Brother G, if you had honestly followed the light, you would never have pursued the course you have taken. You have willfully, stubbornly followed your own course, and relied on your own judgment, refusing to be led. The Lord sent you help, but you refused to accept it. What more could heaven have done for you than has been done? When you have thought that others were more highly esteemed than yourself, you have felt dissatisfied and irritated, and have been pettish and distant like a spoiled child. You have wished to be highly esteemed, but have taken a course to greatly lower yourself in the estimation of those whose approbation you desire. 1T 311.2

Before your fanatical course you were jealous of those at Battle Creek, and have thrown out hints which would excite suspicion. You have been jealous of my husband and myself, and have surmised evil. Envy and suspicion have been united. Under an appearance of conscientiousness you have suggested doubts in regard to the movements of those who are bearing the burden of the work at Battle Creek, and have thrown out hints in regard to matters of which you were wholly ignorant, and utterly incapable of judging rightly. The burden of matters there was not laid upon you. I was shown that God would not select a person with a mind constituted like yours, and lay heavy burdens upon him, and call him to fill the most responsible positions; for self-esteem would be so prominent that it would be ruinous to himself and to God's people. Had you esteemed yourself less, you would have had less jealousy and suspicion. 1T 311.3

Brother G, had you fully united with the body, and stood in union and sympathy with those whom God has seen fit to place at the head of the work; had you accepted the gifts which God has placed in the church, and committed yourself fully in regard to them; had you established yourself decidedly upon all points of present truth, and drawn in even cords with those of experience in the cause, you and yours would have been perfectly free and safe from this delusion. You would have had an anchor which would have held you. But you have taken an indefinite position, fearing that you would gratify those whose whole soul was in the work and cause of God. God requires you to stand firmly, decidedly, upon the platform with your brethren. God and holy angels were displeased with your course, and would bear with your folly no longer. You were left to follow your own judgment which you had so highly esteemed, until you should wish to be taught, and without jealous, stubborn feelings, without complaining or censuring others, learn of those who have felt the burden and weight of the cause of God. You have been reaching out for an original position of your own, seeking to lead out independent of the body, where you would be approved and exalted, until I saw that God had given you up to manage and manifest that wisdom you thought superior to others, and you were left to your blind judgment to figure in the most unreasonable, foolish, wild fanaticism that ever cursed Wisconsin. 1T 312.1

And yet I was shown that you did not realize the influence of your past course upon the cause, and your present position and duty in regard to that fanaticism. Instead of working with all your energy to free yourself and counteract the influence you exerted, you came up out of all this excusing yourself and censuring those whom God sent to you, and ready to dictate, and even to suggest a plan whereby the Lord might have arrested you by His servants pursuing some different course from that which they did pursue. Your judgment was perverted by Satan's power, and while enshrouded in darkness you were an incompetent judge of the best course to be pursued toward you. If you knew just what course the servants of God ought to pursue in order to help you, you knew enough to come out yourself. God gave you your choice, to be taught, to be instructed through His servants in His own appointed way, or to go on, maintain your willful course, and fall into bewildering fanaticism. 1T 312.2

You chose to have your way. And now you have only yourself to blame. You profess to be a watchman on the walls of Zion, a shepherd to the flock, yet you saw the poor sheep torn and scattered and gave no warning. “Son of man, I have made thee a watchman unto the house of Israel: therefore hear the word at My mouth, and give them warning from Me. When I say unto the wicked, Thou shalt surely die; and thou givest him not warning, nor speakest to warn the wicked from his wicked way, to save his life; the same wicked man shall die in his iniquity; but his blood will I require at thine hand. Yet if thou warn the wicked, and he turn not from his wickedness, nor from his wicked way, he shall die in his iniquity; but thou hast delivered thy soul.” “Nevertheless if thou warn the righteous man, that the righteous sin not, and he doth not sin, he shall surely live, because he is warned; also thou hast delivered thy soul.” Ezekiel 3:17-19, 21. 1T 313.1

The sin of those in Wisconsin who went into fanaticism rests more heavily upon you, Brother G, than upon any other one. You were an unfaithful watchman. You discerned not the evil, because you were unfaithful. God sent His faithful watchmen who stood in the light and could discern the evil to warn you and the erring flock. Had you then listened to the warning, a great amount of evil would have been saved. Your influence would have been preserved. You would have stood out of the way, that the testimony of the servants of God might reach the distracted flock. The erring would not hear the voice of God through His chosen servants. They made their spirit strong against the warning of the watchmen sent to them, and strengthened themselves in their unreasonable, self-deceived course. The shepherd would not hear. He was offended because this fanaticism was handled so decidedly. He perceived not the danger. He saw no haste in the matter. He had sufficient light to decide, but was too willful and too suspicious of God's servants to yield to their testimony. 1T 313.2

Brother G wished to wait until the fanaticism should develop, and it went on just as Satan would have it, until it did develop with terrible results. There were not reasonable, sensible manifestations to characterize that work as being of God. The Lord's servants executed their mission, freed their garments from the blood of souls, and kept themselves clear of the cursed influence, while you bear the fearful weight of the sin of this woeful fanaticism. You have deeply regretted it, yet do not see your own wrongs in relation to it. You censure and blame the weak, erring sheep for leading you out of the way. What is a watchman for, unless it be to watch for evil and give the warning? What is a shepherd for, unless it be to watch for every danger lest the sheep be harmed and destroyed by wolves? What excuse could a shepherd plead for suffering the flock to stray from the true pasture, and be torn and scattered and devoured by wolves? How would an excuse stand made by the shepherd that the sheep led him astray? They left the true pasture, and led him out of the way? Such a plea would tell with force against that shepherd's ability to watch over the sheep. No more confidence could be placed in him as a faithful shepherd to care for the sheep, and bring them back as they might stray from the right path. 1T 314.1

The reproach resting upon the cause in regard to Sister A rests heavily upon you. You made much of her exercises and experience. She was weak, yet could in a measure fill her place in her family and keep her children together; but she had been from her home but a short time before her reason was dethroned. The backslidden state of the professed Sabbathkeepers in —— led you to influence Sister A to leave her family who needed her care, and come to —— that her influence might help the Sabbathkeepers there. An unhealthy excitement marked her course. Some of the inexperienced were deluded. The weak mind of Sister A was overtaxed, and disease fastened upon the brain. And the cause of God is deeply wounded and reproached on account of this. Brother A has been wronged; he must now suffer under a living trouble, and his children must be scattered. Those whose influence led to these sad consequences, have a work to do to relieve the mind of Brother A, and by a faithful and full acknowledgment to him of the sin of the course pursued, and the wrong done him, counteract the evil as far as possible. 1T 315.1

Had you been standing in the counsel of God, acknowledging the gifts of His Spirit as occupying their proper place in the church; had you been in heart and principle with the Review, established upon the strong truths applicable for this time; had you been giving meat in due season to the people of God, your influence in —— and vicinity would have been very different. You would have had a pointed testimony to bear in harmony with those who are leading out in this great work. Individual wrongs would have been reproved. Faithful labor would have brought up the Sabbathkeepers there, so that they would not have been behind other churches. But they have almost everything to learn. You should have borne a pointed testimony, impressing upon them the necessity of sacrificing, and all doing a part to bear the burden of the cause. You should have brought them up upon systematic benevolence, leading all to act a part and exert themselves to do something to advance the cause of truth. Your indefinite position, and leaving matters so loose and slack in —— has had a bad influence upon the cause there. The opposition you felt and talked out in regard to organization and the advance of God's people, has borne fruit which can be seen in many places in northern Wisconsin. 1T 315.2

If you had been a prompt, thorough laborer, keeping pace with God's opening providence, the fruit now manifested would be of an altogether different character. Souls would be decided somewhere, either wholly for or against the commandments of God and other truths connected with the third angel's message. They would not be hanging on the skirts of Zion to weigh down those who would be right. But there has not been faithfulness manifested by you. Straight and thorough work has not been made. You have not encouraged in the church, by a pointed application of truth, the necessity of everyone practically, harmoniously carrying out his profession; and many are not as willing to exert themselves to do something to advance the truth, as they are to be gratified with listening to the truth. They love the cause in word and profession, but not in deed and in truth. 1T 316.1

Your position has led many in and about —— to think less highly of the Review than they otherwise would have done, and they have held very lightly the truths found in it. Thus the Review failed to have the influence upon them that God designed it should have. And everyone has followed his own course, and done that which seemed right in his own eyes; hence all are far upon the background, and unless there is a thorough work accomplished for them, they will be weighed in the balance and found wanting. 1T 316.2

I was shown that you seek to throw the result of your wrongs upon others, but as a watchman God holds you responsible. You have most humble confessions to make in ——, ——, ——, and other places where your influence has been exerted in opposition to God's servants. Brother and Sister B have been greatly injured by this fanaticism. They have been embarrassed temporally as well as spiritually, and nearly ruined by this deception of Satan. Brother G, you have run to great lengths in this sad fanaticism; your body has been affected as well as your mind, and you now seek to charge it all upon others. You have not a true sense of your position and course in the past. You are free to confess that which others have done, and that which you did not do; but you have failed to confess that which you did do. 1T 317.1

Your influence in —— has been injurious. You were opposed to organization, and preached against it in an indefinite manner, not so boldly as some might have done, but you went just as far as you dared to go. In this way you have many times gratified your envious feelings, and created distrust and uncertainty in the minds of many, when if you had come out openly, you would have been plainly understood and could have done but little mischief. When charged with advocating sentiments contrary to the faith of the body, you would not acknowledge it, but mystified your position, and made it appear that the brethren misunderstood you, when you know that the charge was correct. As you now are, the church cannot depend on you. When you manifest the fruits of an entire reform, and give evidence that you are converted, and have overcome your jealousy, then God will again trust His flock to your care. But until you make thorough restitution, you will exert the best influence by staying at home, and being “not slothful in business.” 1T 317.2

By your noncommittal position, and by your course in this fanaticism you have done more injury to the cause of God in Wisconsin than you have done good in all your life. Our faith has been made disgusting to unbelievers; a wound, an incurable wound, has been given to the cause of God, and yet many, with yourself, seem astonished that so much is said and made of this fanaticism. One evil seed sown takes root, grows rank, and bears fruit, and there is an abundant harvest. Evil flourishes and needs no culture while the good seed sown needs to be watered, carefully tended, and continually nourished, or the precious plants will die. Satan, evil angels, and wicked men are trying to root up and destroy the good, and it requires the greatest vigilance, and the most constant care, to have it live and flourish. An evil seed sown cannot be easily rooted out. It spreads, and springs up in every direction, to crush out the precious seed; and if left alone it will grow strong, and shut out the rays of the sun from the precious plants, until they grow sickly and die. 1T 317.3

We met your influence at ——. The division existing there would not have been had you taken a right position, and received the word of the Lord through His servants. But this you would not do. God's servants had to deal plainly with your wrong course. Had they taken stronger ground, and been much more severe with the course you had pursued, God would have approved them. It would have been better had you remained entirely away from ——, for every time God's servants exposed that fanaticism, the reproof hit Brother G, and you shrank, felt abused, neglected, etc. You pursued your blind course among different families in ——; you labored for sympathy, and created opposition of feeling against Brethren C, D, and E. You felt wrong, felt slighted; you talked and acted out your feelings, and thus created jealousy and distrust in many minds in regard to God's servants whom He had especially sent to you. Your course destroyed the force of their testimony on some minds; but some felt thankful that light had come, and that Satan's snare was broken, and they had escaped. Others felt hard, and decided against the testimony borne, and there was a division in the body. You can take the responsibility of this. We have had to labor for the church in —— with distress of spirit to do away the wrong influence and impressions you had created. You have a work to do there. 1T 318.1

I saw that some have been very jealous for you, fearing that you would not be rightly dealt with, and not have justice done you by your ministering brethren. Such should stand out of the way, and be faithful to confess their own wrongs, and let all the censure and weight of your wrongs rest upon your own head. God designs that they shall rest there until you thoroughly remove them by repentance and hearty confession. Those who have a perverted sympathy for you cannot help you. Let them manifest zeal in repenting of their own backslidings, and leave you to stand for yourself. You have been altogether out of the way, and unless you make thorough work, confess your wrongs without censuring your brethren, and are willing to be instructed, you can have no part with God's people. 1T 319.1

You have stood aloof from those upon whom God has laid the heavy burden of His work. While my husband already had the labor and burden which three men should have shared, you have injured him by remarks and hints, and have helped others to bring burdens upon him. You must see this. You have had no special burden laid upon you, but have had time for reflection and study, rest and sleep, while my husband has been obliged to labor day after day, and often long into the night, and sometimes when he did lie down to rest, he could not sleep, but could only weep and groan for the cause of truth, and the injustice of his brethren toward him, whose whole interest and life was devoted to the cause. 1T 319.2

He has had the care and responsibility of the business in the office, the care of the paper, and much care of the churches in different states. And yet some of his ministering brethren have helped to perplex and distress by their unwise course. You with some others have looked upon Brother White as a business character, not enjoying much religion. Such do not know him. Satan deceives many in regard to him. God has seen fit to lay the burden of His work upon him, to choose him to lead out in different enterprises, and He has selected one who is sensitive, and can sympathize with the unfortunate; who is conscientious, and yet independent; who will not cover sin, but will be quick to see and feel wrong, and to reprove it and give no place to it, even if he has to stand alone in consequence. This is why he suffers so keenly. His brethren generally know nothing of his burdens, and some care nothing about them, but by their own unwise, crooked course add to his cares and perplexities. Heaven marks these things. Men who have no weight or burdens upon them, who can have hours of ease, with nothing in particular to do, who can reflect, and study, and improve their minds, can manifest great moderation. They see nothing to urge them to manifest any special zeal, and are ready to spend hours in private conversation. Some look upon such as being the best and holiest men on earth. But God sees not as man sees. God looks at the heart. Those who have such an easy position will be rewarded according to their works. 1T 320.1

The position occupied by my husband is not an enviable one. It requires the closest attention, care, and mental labor. It requires the exercise of sound judgment and wisdom. It requires self-denial, a whole heart, and a firm will to push matters through. In that important position God will have a man to venture, to risk something; to move out firmly for the right, whatever may be the consequences; to battle against obstacles, and waver not, even though life be at stake. 1T 320.2

The weight and responsibility of this work lead to great carefulness, cause sleepless nights, and call forth earnest, fervent, agonizing prayer to God. The Lord has led my husband forward to take one responsible position after another. Censure from his brethren wrings his soul with anguish, yet he must not falter in the work. Fellow laborers having an appearance of godliness oppose every advance which God leads him to make, and his precious time must be occupied in traveling from place to place, laboring with distress of mind among the churches to undo what these professed brethren have been doing. Poor mortals! They mistake matters; they have not a true sense of what constitutes a Christian. Those who have been thrust out to bear a plain, pointed testimony, in the fear of God to reprove wrong, to labor with all their energies to build up God's people, and to establish them upon important points of present truth, have too often received censure instead of sympathy and help, while those who, like yourself, have taken a noncommittal position, are thought to be devoted, and to have a mild spirit. God does not thus regard them. The forerunner of Christ's first advent was a very plain-spoken man. He rebuked sin, and called things by their right names. He laid the ax at the root of the tree. He thus addressed one class of professed converts who came to be baptized of him in Jordan: “O generation of vipers, who hath warned you to flee from the wrath to come? Bring forth therefore fruits meet for repentance.... And now also the ax is laid unto the root of the trees: therefore every tree which bringeth not forth good fruit is hewn down, and cast into the fire.” 1T 321.1

In this fearful time, just before Christ is to come the second time, God's faithful preachers will have to bear a still more pointed testimony than was borne by John the Baptist. A responsible, important work is before them; and those who speak smooth things, God will not acknowledge as His shepherds. A fearful woe is upon them. 1T 321.2

This strange fanaticism in Wisconsin grew out of the false theory of holiness, advocated by Brother K—a holiness not dependent upon the third angel's message, but outside of present truth. Sister G received this false theory from him, carried it out herself, and zealously taught it to others. This nearly destroyed her love for the sacred, important truths for this time, which, if she had loved and obeyed, would have proved an anchor to hold her upon the right foundation. But she, with many others, made this theory of holiness or consecration the one great thing, and the important truths of God's word were of but little consequence, “if the heart was only right.” And poor souls were left without an anchor, to be carried about by feeling, and Satan came in and controlled minds and gave impressions and feelings to suit himself. Reason and judgment were despised, and the cause of God was cruelly reproached. 1T 322.1

The fanaticism into which you have fallen should lead you and others to investigate before deciding in regard to this appearance of consecration. Appearance is not positive evidence of Christian character. You and others are afraid of receiving a little more censure than is due you, and you look with earnestness upon a seeming error or wrong in others, or a neglect from them, and feel injured. You are too exacting. You have been wrong and have deceived yourself. If others have misjudged you in some things, it is no more than might be expected, considering the circumstances. You should, with the deepest sorrow and humility, mourn your sad departure from the right, which has given occasion for a variety of feelings and views and expressions in regard to you; and if in every particular you do not consider them correct, you must let them pass, and lay not censure upon others. You must confess your faults without censuring any other one, and cease complaining that your brethren have neglected you. They have given you more attention than you deserved, considering the position you have for years occupied. If you could see these things as God regards them, you would ever despise the complaints you make, and would humble yourself under the hand of God. “Behold, to obey is better than sacrifice, and to hearken than the fat of rams. For rebellion is as the sin of witchcraft, and stubbornness is as iniquity and idolatry.” 1T 322.2