Testimonies for the Church, vol. 1


Chapter 119—The Husband's Position

Dear Brother and Sister D,

While speaking in meeting Sunday afternoon, I could scarcely refrain from calling your names and relating some things which had been shown me. I saw that Brother D did not occupy that position in his family which God would have him. Sister D takes the lead; she possesses a strong will, which has not been subdued as God requires; and in order to please his wife and keep her from despondency, Brother D has yielded to her. Her judgment has swayed him, and he has not been a free man for years. 1T 707.1

When Brother D first engaged in the work of teaching the truth, he was little in his own eyes, and God used him as His instrument. But I saw that for some time in the past he has not humbled himself under the hand of God. He has trusted to his own wisdom and weak judgment, and Satan has been obtaining an advantage over him. Instead of relying solely upon God, and staying himself upon His strength, he has had his judgment perverted by the influence of his wife. She has stood in a position to see, to hear, to understand, all that was going on around her. Did she possess a sanctified judgment and heavenly wisdom, then would she see through sanctified eyes, and hear through sanctified ears. She would make a right use of her eyes and ears. She has not done this. “Who is blind, but My servant? or deaf, as My messenger that I sent?” God does not wish us to hear all that is to be heard, or to see all that is to be seen. It is a great blessing to close the ears, that we hear not, and the eyes, that we see not. The greatest anxiety should be to have clear eyesight to discern our own shortcomings, and a quick ear to catch all needed reproof and instruction, lest by our inattention and carelessness we let them slip and become forgetful hearers and not doers of the work. 1T 707.2

Brother D, for some time in the past your labors have not been as wisely and successfully directed as formerly. Your course of action has not borne the impress of God. Your wife has managed your temporal matters and borne burdens which were too heavy for her to bear, while you have been absent. This has excited your sympathy, and had a tendency to pervert your judgment, so that you have placed too high an estimate upon her qualifications because of her capability in managing your temporal matters. Satan has been watching his opportunity to make as much as possible to his own advantage of your confidence in your wife. He has purposed to trammel you and destroy you both. You have to a great degree thrown off your stewardship upon your wife. This is wrong; she will have all she can do to bear her share of the responsibility, without bearing that which comes upon you and for which God will hold you accountable. 1T 708.1

Sister D has been deceived in some things. She has thought that God instructed her in a special sense, and you both have believed and acted accordingly. The discernment which she has thought she possessed in a special sense, is a deception of the enemy. She is naturally quick to see, quick to understand, quick to anticipate, and is of an extremely sensitive nature. Satan has taken advantage of these traits of character and has led you both astray. Brother D, you have been a bondman for quite a length of time. Much of that which Sister D has thought was discernment has been jealousy. She has been disposed to regard everything with a jealous eye, to be suspicious, surmising evil, distrustful of almost everything. This causes unhappiness of mind, despondency, and doubt, where faith and confidence should exist. These unhappy traits of character turn her thoughts into a gloomy channel, where she indulges a foreboding of evil, while a highly sensitive temperament leads her to imagine neglect, slight, and injury, when it does not exist. All these things stand in the way of the spiritual advancement of you both, and affect others to just that extent that you are connected with the cause and work of God. There is a work for you to do: Humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God, that you may be exalted in due time. These unhappy traits of character, with a strong, set will, must be corrected and reformed, or they will eventually cause you both to make shipwreck of your faith. 1T 708.2

Brother D, you have a duty to do. Assume the stewardship you have resigned, and in the fear of God take your place at the head of your family. You must be shaken from the influence of your wife, and rely more fully upon God, and look to Him to lead you and guide you. God has not specially instructed Sister D, or given her light to teach others their duty. Neither you nor your wife can occupy the position God would have you, while things remain as they now are. You will never be established, strengthened, and settled until you allow your wife to take the position a wife should. While she occupies her proper place, respect her judgment, consult with her in regard to your plans, but be very cautious about taking it for granted that her judgment is as the judgment of God. Consult with your brethren upon whom God has seen fit to lay the burden of the work. Had you thus advised with those whose counsel you should have sought, you would not have committed so great an error, so sad a blunder, as you did in the case of E. God's cause was wounded and reproached in this case. Your wife thought she had light in this case; but her impressions were not of God, but of the enemy, because he saw that you could be affected in this direction. Your trusting so completely to your wife's judgment is contrary to heaven's arrangement. Satan has designed in this way to cut you off, in a great measure, from the influence of your fellow laborers and your brethren in general. 1T 709.1

You have had trials that you would not have had if you had not considered your wife in a position where God has not placed her. You have too implicit confidence in her judgment and wisdom. She has not been consecrated to God, therefore her judgment has not been consecrated. She is not a happy woman, and the unhappy train her mind has taken has greatly injured her physical and mental health. Satan has designed to unsettle you and cause your brethren to lose confidence in your judgment. Satan is seeking to overthrow you. When God specially calls your wife to the work of teaching the truth, then should you lean to her counsel and advice, and confide in her instructions. God may give you both, as possessing an equal interest in and devotion to the work, equal qualifications to act a prominent part in the most solemn work of saving souls. The great work before her is to be diligent in making her calling and election sure, to cease watching others, and now begin the work to be very jealous of herself. She should seek to bless others by her godly example, her cheerfulness, fortitude, courage, faith, hopefulness, joy, in that perfect trust, that confidence in God, which will be the result of sanctification through the truth. An entire conformity to the will of God she must have. Christ says to her: “Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself. On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets.” 1T 710.1

The above was written at Mount Pleasant, Iowa, October 4, 1867. I could not find time to finish the testimony and copy it, so laid it by, and did not have time to finish it until I returned from the East to Greenville, Michigan, when I took it in hand, January 30, 1868. 1T 710.2

Dear Brother and Sister D: You should have had this long ago, but our labors have been so hard that I could not possibly get the time to write. Every place that we visited brought before my mind much that I had been shown of individual cases, and I have written in meeting, even while my husband was preaching. 1T 711.1

The vision was given me about two years ago. The enemy has hindered me in every way he could to keep souls from having the light which God had given me for them. First, my husband's case was so perplexing, so distressing, that I could not write. Then the discouragements brought upon me by my brethren kept me in a condition of sadness and distress, unfitting me for labor of any description. When we started to travel last summer, I commenced to write, but we have traveled from place to place so rapidly that all we could do was to attend the meetings. There was much work to be done. I practice rising at four o'clock in the morning, to take hold of my writing. Yet constant, exciting labor in meeting so taxes the brain that I am unprepared for writing, my head is so weary. 1T 711.2

I regret that you could not have had this before, but even now may God make it a blessing to you, is my sincere prayer. You, my dear brother, may have seen these things and corrected them ere this. I hope so, at least. You and also your wife have our sympathy and prayers. We have an interest for her as well as for yourself. Her soul is precious. We beseech her in Christ's stead to seek for a meek and quiet spirit, which in the sight of God is of great price. An angel pointed me to Sister D and repeated these words: “Whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things.” Here is the healthful train of thought for the mind to follow. When it would go in a different channel, bring it back. Control the mind. Educate it to dwell only on those things which bring peace and love. 1T 711.3

I commit this to you, hoping and praying that God may bless it to you, and that you both may obtain a fitness to be counted worthy of eternal life. 1T 712.1