Testimonies for the Church, vol. 2


Chapter 5—Selfishness and World Loving

Dear Brother and Sister G,

I have for some time designed to write to you. As the light which the Lord has given me came distinctly before me, some things pressed themselves forcibly upon my mind while standing before the people at -----. I had hoped that you would stay to another meeting, and that the labor there commenced could have been continued. But I am sorry to see that when our brethren attend a Conference, they do not generally feel the importance of first preparing for the meeting. Instead of consecrating themselves to God before they come, they wait till they get to the meeting to have the work done for them there. They bring home along with them, and the things that they have left behind are considered of more value and importance than a preparation of heart for His coming. Therefore nearly all leave no better than when they came. Such meetings are attended with great expense, and if those who come are not profited, there is a loss to them, and they make the labor exceedingly hard for those who feel the burden of the work upon them. Our people left that Conference too soon. We might have seen a more special work from God had all remained and engaged in the work. 2T 55.1

Sister G, I have a message to you. You are far from the kingdom. You love this world, and this love has made you cold, selfish, exacting, and penurious. The great object of interest with you is the powerful, mighty dollar. How little you know how God looks upon one in your condition. You are in a terrible deception. You are conformed to the world instead of being transformed by the renewing of your mind. Selfishness and self-love are exemplified in your life to a great degree. You have not overcome this unhappy defect in your character. If this is not remedied, you will lose heaven, and your happiness here will be greatly marred. This has been the case already. The dark cloud which has followed you, overshadowing your life, will grow larger and blacker until your whole sky is clouded. You may turn to the right, and there will be no light, and to the left, and you cannot discover a ray. 2T 56.1

You make trouble for yourself where there is no trouble, because you are not right. You are unconsecrated. Your complaining, penurious spirit makes you unhappy and displeases God. During your life you have been looking out for yourself, seeking to make yourself happy. It is poor work, unprofitable business. The more you invest here the heavier will be the loss. The less stock you take in this business of serving yourself the greater will be the saving on your part. You are a stranger to disinterested, unselfish love, and while you see no special sin in the absence of this precious trait you will not be diligent to cultivate it. 2T 56.2

You loved your husband and married him. You knew that when you married him you covenanted to become a mother to his children. But I saw a lack in you in this matter. You are sadly deficient. You do not love the children of your husband, and unless there is an entire change, a thorough reformation in you, and in your manner of government, these precious jewels are ruined. Love, manifestation of affection, is not a part of your discipline. Shall I tell you the truth and become your enemy by so doing? You are too thoroughly selfish to love the children of another. I was shown that the fruit of your union would not be prospered and blessed with strength, life, and health, and God's spirit would leave you to yourself, unless you are thoroughly proved and tested, and right up those things in which you are so deficient. As your selfishness withers and blights the young hearts around you, so will the curse of God wither and blight the pledges of your selfish love and union. And if you continue your selfish course, God will come still closer to you and remove your idols one after another from before your face until you shall humble your proud, selfish, unsubdued heart before Him. 2T 56.3

I saw that you would have a fearful account to render in the day of God because of your unfulfilled trust. You are making the lives of those dear children very bitter, especially the daughter's. Where is the affection, the loving caress, the patient forbearance? Hatred lives in your unsanctified heart more than love. Censure leaps from your lips more than praise and encouragement. Your manners, your harsh ways, your unsympathizing nature, are to that sensitive daughter like desolating hail upon a tender plant; it bends to every blast until its life is crushed out, and it lies bruised and broken. 2T 57.1

Your administration is drying up the channel of love, hopefulness, and joy in your children. A settled sadness is expressed in the countenance of the girl, but, instead of awakening sympathy and tenderness in you, this arouses impatience and positive dislike. You can change this expression to animation and cheerfulness if you choose. “Does not God see? Does He take no knowledge?” were the words of the angel. He will visit for these things. You voluntarily took upon you this responsibility, but Satan has taken advantage of your unhappy, unlovable, and unloving disposition, your self-love, your closeness, your selfishness, and it now appears in all its deformity, uncorrected, unsubdued, girding you about as with iron bands. Children read the countenance of the mother; they understand whether love or dislike is there expressed. You know not the work you are doing. Does not the little sad face, the heaving sigh welling up from a pressed heart in its yearning call for love, awaken pity? No, not in you. It places the child at a still greater distance from you and increases your dislike. 2T 57.2

I saw that the father had not taken the course that a father should. God is not pleased with his position. Another has stolen the father's heart from the blood of his blood and bone of his bone. Brother G, you have been very deficient in discernment. As the head of the house, you should have taken your position and not permitted things to go as they have gone. You have seen that things were not right and have sometimes felt anxious, but fear of displeasing your present wife and making unhappy discord in your family has led you to remain silent when you should have spoken. You are not clear in the matter. Your children have no mother to plead for them, to shelter them from censure by her judicious words. 2T 58.1

Your children, and all other children who have lost the one in whose breasts maternal love has flowed, have met with a loss that can never be supplied. But when one ventures to stand in the place of mother to the little stricken flock, a double care and burden rests upon her, to be even more loving if possible, more forbearing of censure and threatening than their own mother could have been, and in this way supply the loss which the little flock have sustained. You, Brother G, have been like a man asleep. Take your children to your heart, encircle them with your sheltering arms, love them tenderly. If you fail to do this, “Found wanting” will be written against you. 2T 58.2

There is a work for you both to do. Forever cease your murmurings. Brother G, suffer not the close, penurious, selfish spirit of your wife to control your actions. You have been drinking in the same spirit, and you have both robbed God. The plea of poverty is upon you lips, but Heaven knows it is false; yet your words will be all true; you will be poor indeed, if you continue to cherish the love of the world as you have done. “Will a man rob God? Yet ye have robbed Me. But ye say, Wherein have we robbed Thee? In tithes and offerings. Ye are cursed with a curse.” Wipe off this curse as fast as possible. 2T 59.1

Brother G, as God's steward, look to Him. It is He to whom you are to give account of your stewardship, not to your wife. It is God's means that you are handling. He has only lent it you a little while to prove you, to try you, to see if you will be “rich in good works, ready to distribute, willing to communicate,” laying up in store for yourselves a good foundation against the time to come, that ye may lay hold on eternal life. God will require His own with usury. May He help you to prepare for the judgment. Let self be crucified. Let the precious graces of the Spirit live in your hearts. Turn out the world with its corrupting lust. “Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him.” If your profession is as high as heaven, and yet you are selfish and world-loving, you can have no part in the kingdom with the sanctified, the pure and holy. “Where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.” If your treasure is in heaven, your heart will be there. You will talk of heaven, eternal life, the immortal crown. If you lay up your treasure on earth, you will be talking of earthly things, worrying about losses and gains. “What shall it profit a man, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul? Or what shall a man give in exchange for his soul?” 2T 59.2

There is light and salvation for you if you will only feel that you must have it or perish. Jesus can save to the uttermost. But, Sister G, if God has ever spoken by me, you are terribly deceived in regard to yourself, and must have a thorough conversion, or you will never be one of that number who have come up through great tribulation, having washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the Lamb. 2T 60.1