Testimonies for the Church, vol. 3


Chapter 9—The Work at Battle Creek

In a vision given me at Bordoville, Vermont, December 10, 1871, I was shown that the position of my husband has been a very difficult one. A pressure of care and labor has been upon him. His brethren in the ministry have not had these burdens to bear, and they have not appreciated his labors. The constant pressure upon him has taxed him mentally and physically. I was shown that his relation to the people of God was similar, in some respects, to that of Moses to Israel. There were murmurers against Moses, when in adverse circumstances, and there have been murmurers against him. 3T 85.1

There has been no one in the ranks of Sabbathkeepers who would do as my husband has done. He has devoted his interest almost entirely to the building up of the cause of God, regardless of his own personal interests and at the sacrifice of social enjoyment with his family. In his devotion to the cause he has frequently endangered his health and life. He has been so much pressed with the burden of this work that he has not had suitable time for study, meditation, and prayer. God has not required him to be in this position, even for the interest and progress of the publishing work at Battle Creek. There are other branches of the work, other interests of the cause, that have been neglected through his devotion to this one. God has given us both a testimony which will reach hearts. He has opened before me many channels of light, not only for my benefit, but for the benefit of His people at large. He has also given my husband great light upon Bible subjects, not for himself alone, but for others. I saw that these things should be written and talked out, and that new light would continue to shine upon the word. 3T 85.2

I saw that we could accomplish tenfold more to build up the cause by laboring among the people of God, bearing a varied testimony to meet the wants of the cause in different places and under different circumstances, than we could to remain at Battle Creek. Our gifts are needed in the same field in writing and in speaking. While my husband is overburdened, as he has been, with an accumulation of cares and financial matters, his mind cannot be as fruitful in the word as it otherwise would be. And he is liable to be assailed by the enemy; for he is in a position where there is a constant pressure, and men and women will be tempted, as were the Israelites, to complain and murmur against him who stands in the most responsible position in the cause and work of God. 3T 85.3

While standing under these burdens that no one else would venture to take, my husband has sometimes, under the pressure of care, spoken without due consideration and with apparent severity. He has sometimes censured those in the office because they did not take care. And when needless mistakes have occurred, he has felt that indignation for the cause of God was justifiable in him. This course has not always been attended with the best results. It has sometimes resulted in a neglect on the part of those reproved to do the very things they should have done; for they feared they would not do them right; and would then be blamed for it. Just as far as this has been the case, the burden has fallen heavier upon my husband. 3T 86.1

The better way would have been for him to be away from the office more than he has been, and leave the work with others to do. And if, after patient and fair trial, they proved themselves unfaithful, or not capacitated for the work, they should have been discharged, and left to engage in business where their blunders and mistakes would affect their own personal interests and not the cause of God. 3T 86.2

There were those who stood at the head of the business of the Publishing Association who were, to say the very least, unfaithful. And had those in particular who were associated with them as trustees been aware and their eyes not blinded and their sensibilities not paralyzed, these men would have been separated from the work long before they were. 3T 86.3

When my husband recovered from his long and severe sickness, he took hold of the work confused and embarrassed as it was left by unfaithful men. He labored with all the resolution and strength of mind and body that he possessed to bring the work up and to redeem it from the disgraceful perplexity into which it had been brought by those who had their own interests prominent and who did not feel that it was a sacred work in which they were engaged. God's hand has been reached out in judgment over these unfaithful ones. Their course and the result should prove a warning to others not to do as they have done. 3T 86.4

The experience of my husband during the period of his sickness was unfortunate for him. He had worked in this cause with interest and devotion as no other man had done. He had ventured and taken advance positions as Providence had led, regardless of censure or praise. He had stood alone and battled through physical and mental sufferings, not regarding his own interests, while those whom God designed should stand by his side left him when he most needed their help. He had not only been left to battle and struggle without their help and sympathy, but frequently he had to meet their opposition and murmurings—murmurings against one who was doing tenfold more than any of them to build up the cause of God. All these things have had their influence; they have molded the mind that was once free from suspicion, trustful, and confiding, and caused him to lose confidence in his brethren. Those who have acted a part in bringing about this work will, in a great degree, be responsible for the result. God would have led them if they had earnestly and devotedly served Him. 3T 87.1

I was shown that my husband had given his brethren unmistakable evidences of his interest in, and devotion to, the work of God. After he had spent years of his life in privation and unceasing toil to establish the publishing interests upon a sure basis he gave away to the people of God that which was his own and which he could just as well have kept and received the profits from had he chosen so to do. By this act he showed the people that he was not seeking to advantage himself, but to promote the cause of God. 3T 87.2

When sickness came upon my husband, many acted in the same unfeeling manner toward him that the Pharisees did toward the unfortunate and oppressed. The Pharisees would tell the suffering ones that their afflictions were on account of their sins, and that the judgments of God had come upon them. By so doing they would increase their weight of suffering. When my husband fell under his weight of care, there were those who were merciless. 3T 88.1

When he began to recover, so that in his feebleness and poverty he commenced to labor some, he asked those who then stood at the head of matters at the office for 40 per cent discount on a one-hundred dollar order for books. He was willing to pay sixty dollars for the books which he knew cost the Association only fifty dollars. He asked this special discount in view of his past labors and sacrifices in favor of the publishing department, but was denied this small favor. He was coolly told that they could give him but 25 per cent discount. My husband thought this very hard, yet he tried to bear it in a Christian manner. God in heaven marked the unjust decision, and from that time took the case in His own hands, and has returned the blessings removed, as He did to faithful Job. From the time of that heartless decision, He has been working for His servant, and has raised him above his former health of body, clearness and strength of mind, and freedom of spirit. And since that time my husband has had the pleasure of passing out with his own hands thousands of dollars’ worth of our publications without price. God will not utterly forget nor forever forsake those who have been faithful, even if they sometimes commit errors. 3T 88.2

My husband has had a zeal for God and for the truth, and at times this zeal has led him to overlabor to the injury of physical and mental strength. But the Lord has not regarded this as so great a sin as the neglect and unfaithfulness of His servants in reproving wrongs. Those who praised the unfaithful and flattered the unconsecrated were sharers in their sin of neglect and unfaithfulness. 3T 88.3

God has selected my husband and given him special qualifications, natural ability, and an experience to lead out His people in the advance work. But there have been murmurers among Sabbathkeeping Adventists as there were among ancient Israel, and these jealous, suspicious ones, by their suggestions and insinuations, have given occasion to the enemies of our faith to distrust my husband's honesty. These jealous ones of the same faith have placed matters before unbelievers in a false light, and the impressions made stand in the way of many embracing the truth. They regard my husband as a schemer, a selfish, avaricious man, and they are afraid of him and of the truth held by us as a people. 3T 89.1

When the appetite of ancient Israel was restricted, or when any close requirement was brought to bear upon them, they reflected upon Moses, that he was arbitrary, that he wished to rule them, and to be altogether a prince over them, when he was only an instrument in God's hand to bring His people into a position of submission and obedience to God's voice. 3T 89.2

Modern Israel have murmured and become jealous of my husband because he has pleaded for the cause of God. He has encouraged liberality, he has rebuked those who loved this world, and has censured selfishness. He has pleaded for donations to the cause of God and, to encourage liberality in his brethren, has led off by liberal donations himself; but by many murmuring, jealous ones even this has been interpreted that he wished to be personally benefited by the means of his brethren and that he had enriched himself at the expense of the cause of God; when the facts in the case are that God has entrusted means in his hands to raise him above want so that he need not be dependent upon the mercies of a changeable, murmuring, jealous people. Because we have not selfishly studied our own interest, but have cared for the widow and the fatherless, God has in His providence worked in our behalf and blessed us with prosperity and an abundance. 3T 89.3

Moses sacrificed a prospective kingdom, a life of worldly honor and luxury in kingly courts, choosing rather to suffer affliction with the people of God than to enjoy the pleasures of sin for a season, for he esteemed the reproach of Christ greater riches than all the treasures of Egypt. Had we chosen a life of ease and freedom from labor and care we might have done so. But this was not our choice. We chose active labor in the cause of God, an itinerant life, with all its hardships, privations, and exposure, to a life of indolence. We have not lived for ourselves, to please ourselves, but we have tried to live for God, to please and glorify Him. We have not made it an object to labor for property; but God has fulfilled His promise in giving us a hundredfold in this life. He may prove us by removing it from us. If so, we pray for submission to humbly bear the test. 3T 89.4

While He has committed to our trust talents of money and influence, we will try to invest them in His cause, that should fires consume and adversity diminish, we can have the pleasure of knowing that some of our treasure is where fires cannot consume or adversity sweep away. The cause of God is a sure bank that can never fail, and the investment of our time, our interest, and our means in it is a treasure in the heavens that faileth not. 3T 90.1

I was shown that my husband has had threefold the care he should have had. He has felt tried that Brethren R and S did not help him bear his responsibilities, and has felt grieved because they did not help him in the business matters in connection with the Institute and the Publishing Association. There has been a continual advancement in the work of publishing ever since the unfaithful were separated from it. And as the work increased, there should have been men to share the responsibilities; but some who could have done this had no desire, because it would not increase their possessions as much as some more lucrative business. 3T 90.2

There is not that talent in our office that there should be. The work demands the choicest and most select persons to engage in it. With the present state of things in the office my husband will still feel the pressure that he has felt, but which he should no longer bear. It is only by a miracle of God's mercy that he has stood under the burden so long. But there are now many things to be considered. By his persevering care and devotion to the work he has shown what may be done in the publishing department. Men with unselfish interests combined with sanctified judgment may make the work at the office a success. My husband has so long borne the burden alone that it has told fearfully upon his strength, and there is a positive necessity for a change. He must be relieved from care to a great degree, and yet he can work in the cause of God in speaking and writing. 3T 90.3

When we returned from Kansas in the autumn of 1870, both of us should have had a period of rest. Weeks of freedom from care were necessary to bring up our exhausted energies. But when we found the important post at Battle Creek nearly deserted, we felt compelled to take hold of the work with double energies, and labored beyond our strength. I was shown that my husband should stand there no longer unless there are men who will feel the wants of the cause and bear the burdens of the work, while he shall simply act as a counselor. He must lay the burden down, for God has an important work for him to do in writing and speaking the truth. Our influence in laboring in the wide field will tell more for the upbuilding of the cause of God. There is a great amount of prejudice in many minds. False statements have placed us in a wrong position before the people, and this stands in the way of many embracing the truth. If they are made to believe that those who occupy responsible positions in the work at Battle Creek are designing and fanatical they conclude that the entire work is wrong and that our views of Bible truth must be incorrect, and they fear to investigate and receive the truth. But we are not to go forth to call the people to look to us; we are not generally to speak of ourselves and vindicate our characters; but we are to speak the truth, exalt the truth, speak of Jesus, exalt Jesus, and this, attended by the power of God, will remove prejudice and disarm opposition. 3T 91.1

Brethren R and S love to write; so does my husband. And God has let His light shine upon His word, and has led him into a field of rich thought that would be a blessing to the people of God at large. While he has borne a triple burden, some of his ministering brethren have let the responsibility drop heavily upon him, consoling themselves with the thought that God had placed Brother White at the head of the work and qualified him for it, and that the Lord had not fitted them for the position; therefore they have not taken the responsibility and borne the burdens which they might have borne. 3T 91.2

There should be men who would feel the same interest that my husband has felt. There never has been a more important period in the history of Seventh-day Adventists than the present. Instead of the publishing work diminishing, the demand for our publications is greatly increasing. There will be more to do instead of less. My husband has been murmured against so much, he has contended with jealousy and falsehood so long, and has seen so little faithfulness in men, that he has become suspicious of almost everyone, even of his own brethren in the ministry. The ministering brethren have felt this, and for fear that they should not move wisely, in many instances have not moved at all. But the time has come when these men must labor unitedly to lift the burdens. The ministering brethren lack faith and confidence in God. They believe the truth, and in the fear of God they should unite their efforts, and bear the burdens of this work which God has laid upon them. 3T 92.1

If, after one has done the best he can in his judgment, another thinks he can see where he could have improved the matter, he should kindly and patiently give the brother the benefit of his judgment, but should not censure him nor question his integrity of purpose any sooner than he himself would wish to be suspected or unjustly censured. If the brother who feels the cause of God at heart sees that, in his earnest efforts to do, he has made a failure, he will feel deeply over the matter; for he will be inclined to distrust himself and to lose confidence in his own judgment. Nothing will so weaken his courage and godlike manhood as to realize his mistakes in the work that God has appointed him to do, a work which he loves better than his life. How unjust, then, for his brethren who discover his errors to keep pressing the thorn deeper and deeper into his heart, to make him feel more intensely, when with every thrust they are weakening his faith and courage, and his confidence in himself to work successfully in the upbuilding of the cause of God. 3T 92.2

Frequently the truth and facts are to be plainly spoken to the erring, to make them see and feel their error that they may reform. But this should ever be done with pitying tenderness, not with harshness or severity, but considering one's own weakness, lest he also be tempted. When the one at fault sees and acknowledges his error, then, instead of grieving him, and seeking to make him feel more deeply, comfort should be given. In the sermon of Christ upon the mount He said: “Judge not, that ye be not judged. For with what judgment ye judge, ye shall be judged: and with what measure ye mete, it shall be measured to you again.” Our Saviour reproved for rash judgment. “Why beholdest thou the mote that is in thy brother's eye; ... and, behold, a beam is in thine own eye?” It is frequently the case that while one is quick to discern the errors of his brethren, he may be in greater faults himself, but be blind to them. 3T 93.1

All who are followers of Christ should deal with one another exactly as we wish the Lord to deal with us in our errors and weaknesses, for we are all erring and need His pity and forgiveness. Jesus consented to take human nature, that He might know how to pity, and how to plead with His Father in behalf of sinful, erring mortals. He volunteered to become man's Advocate, and He humiliated Himself to become acquainted with the temptations wherewith man was beset, that He might succor those who should be tempted, and be a tender and faithful high priest. 3T 93.2

Frequently there is necessity for plainly rebuking sin and reproving wrong. But ministers who are working for the salvation of their fellow men should not be pitiless toward the errors of one another, nor make prominent the defects in their organizations. They should not expose or reprove their weaknesses. They should inquire if such a course, pursued by another toward themselves, would bring about the desired effect; would it increase their love for, and confidence in, the one who thus made prominent their mistakes? Especially should the mistakes of ministers who are engaged in the work of God be kept within as small a circle as possible, for there are many weak ones who will take advantage if they are aware that those who minister in word and doctrine have weaknesses like other men. And it is a most cruel thing for the faults of a minister to be exposed to unbelievers, if that minister is counted worthy to labor in the future for the salvation of souls. No good can come of this exposure, but only harm. The Lord frowns upon this course, for it is undermining the confidence of the people in those whom He accepts to carry forward His work. The character of every fellow laborer should be jealously guarded by brother ministers. Saith God: “Touch not Mine anointed, and do My prophets no harm.” Love and confidence should be cherished. A lack of this love and confidence in one minister for another does not increase the happiness of the one thus deficient, but as he makes his brother unhappy he is unhappy himself. There is greater power in love than was ever found in censure. Love will melt its way through barriers, while censure will close up every avenue of the soul. 3T 93.3

My husband must have a change. Losses may occur at the office of publication for want of his long experience, but the loss of money cannot bear any comparison to the health and life of God's servant. The income of means may not be as large for want of economical managers; but if my husband should fail again, it would dishearten his brethren and weaken their hands. Means cannot come in as an equivalent. 3T 94.1

There is much to be done. Missionaries should be in the field who are willing, if need be, to go to foreign countries to present the truth before those who sit in darkness. But there is little disposition among young men to consecrate themselves to God and to devote their talents to His service. They are too willing to shun responsibilities and burdens. They are not obtaining the experience in burden bearing or the knowledge of the Scriptures that they should have to fit them for the work that God would accept at their hands. It is the duty of all to see how much they can do for the Master who has died for them. But many are seeking to do just as little as possible and are cherishing the faint hope of getting into heaven at last. It is their privilege to have stars in their crown because of souls saved through their instrumentality. But alas! indolence and spiritual sloth prevail everywhere. Selfishness and pride occupy a large place in their hearts, and there is but little room for heavenly things. 3T 94.2

In the prayer that Christ taught His disciples was the request: Forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us. We cannot repeat this prayer from the heart and dare to be unforgiving, for we ask the Lord to forgive our trespasses against Him in the same manner that we forgive those who trespass against us. But few realize the true import of this prayer. If those who are unforgiving did comprehend the depth of its meaning they would not dare to repeat it and ask God to deal with them as they deal with their fellow mortals. And yet this spirit of hardness and lack of forgiveness exists even among brethren to a fearful extent. Brother is exacting with brother. 3T 95.1