Testimonies for the Church, vol. 2


Chapter 23—Closeness in Deal

Dear Brother H,

I have been waiting for an opportunity to write you, but have been hindered. After my last vision I felt it to be my duty to speedily lay before you what the Lord was pleased to present to me. I was pointed back and shown that for years in the past, even before your marriage, there had been in you a disposition to overreach in trade. You possessed a spirit of acquisitiveness, a disposition for close dealing, which was detrimental to your spiritual advancement and greatly injured your influence. Your father's family viewed these matters from the world's standpoint rather than from the high, exalted standard quoted by our divine Lord: “Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy strength, and with all thy mind; and thy neighbor as thyself.” In this you have failed. To deal in any way closely and unjustly is displeasing to God. He will not pass over errors and sins in this direction without thorough confession and forsaking. 2T 152.1

I was pointed far back and shown the loose manner in which you regarded these things. The Lord marked the transaction of carrying to market that load of animals that were so inferior that they could not be profitable to keep, therefore were prepared for food and carried to market to be bought and introduced into the human stomach. One of these was placed upon our table for some time to feed our large family in the days of our poverty. You were not the only one to be blamed in this. Others of your family were alike guilty. It matters not whether it was designed that they should be bought and eaten by us or by worldlings. It is the principle of the thing which displeased God; you transgressed His command. You did not love your neighbor as you did yourself, for you would be unwilling to have the same thing done to you. You would consider yourself insulted. An avaricious spirit led to this departure from Christian principles, and caused you to descend to a species of trading which advantaged yourself at others’ disadvantage. 2T 153.1

When the meat-eating question was presented before me five years ago, showing how little the people knew what they were eating for food in the shape of flesh meats, this transaction of yours was shown. The effect of eating the meat of these unhealthy animals is diseased blood, sickness, and fevers. Many instances of the kind were shown me as being acted over daily by worldlings. You, my dear brother, have not seen this wrong on your part as the Lord sees it. You have never felt that it was a great sin on your part. Many things of like character have taken place in your life, which you will find that the recording angel has faithfully chronicled, and which you will meet again, unless by repentance and confession you make these wrongs right. 2T 153.2

I was bidden to wait and see. I was directed to speak plainly, give general principles, and leave you to make the application yourself. I was shown that God would not frequently point out the wrongs committed by His people, but would cause to be given in their hearing general principles, close, pointed truths, and all should be open to conviction to see, to feel, and understand whether or not they are condemned. You have not dealt closely and faithfully with your own soul. Said the angel: “I will prove him, I will test him, I will walk contrary unto him, until he acknowledges the hand of God in thus dealing with him.” 2T 154.1

I saw that while in ----- those connected with your family did not move right. You manifested a close spirit, savoring of overreaching and dishonesty. You could have had no influence for good in that place until you had redeemed the past by an entire change of conduct in dealing with your fellow men. Your light was darkness to the people, and your influence while there was a great detriment to the cause of present truth. You brought reproach upon the truth, and your close dealing caused your name to be a byword among the people. You frequently fell below the standard of many worldlings in regard to honorable dealing. Elder I can do no good in -----. His words are as water spilled upon the ground, for the reason that he was connected with you and took part in this close trading. In many respects he became like a worldling in business transactions. He was close and was fast becoming selfish. His course in many things was calculated to destroy his influence and was not becoming a minister of Christ. Said the angel in the vision given at Rochester, New York, in 1866: “My hand shall bring adversity. He may gather, but I will scatter until he redeems the past and makes clean work for eternity.” Every true Christian should feel above condescending to the low, bartering, trading spirit of worldlings. 2T 154.2

You are not a miser; you love to be benevolent, free, open-hearted, and openhanded; but that which is wrong in you is the spirit mentioned in this letter, of not loving your neighbor as yourself; it is the neglect of seeing your wrongs and making them right when the clear, forcible light of truth has told you too plainly your duty. You are a lover of hospitality, and God will not give you over to be deceived by the great deceiver of mankind, but will come directly to you and show you where you err that you may retrace your steps. He now calls upon you to redeem the past, and to come up upon a higher plane of action, and let your life record be unspotted with avarice or selfish love of gain. 2T 155.1

Your judgment in worldly things will become foolishness unless you dedicate all to God. You and your wife are not devotional. Your spirituality is not what God would have it to be. Paralysis seems to be upon you; yet you are both capable of exerting a strong influence for God and for His truth, if you adorn your profession with well-ordered lives and godly conversation. You frequently get in too great a hurry, and then become impatient and fretful, and order your help in a hurried manner. This is detrimental to your spiritual advancement. 2T 155.2

Time is short, and you have no time to delay the preparation of heart necessary to labor earnestly and faithfully for your own soul, and for the salvation of your friends and neighbors, and all who come under your influence. Ever aim to so live in the light that your influence can be sanctifying upon those with whom you are associated in a business capacity or in common intercourse. There is fullness in Jesus. You can obtain strength from Him which will qualify you to walk even as He walked, but there must be no separation of affections from Him. He requires the entire man, the soul, body, and spirit. When you do all on your part which He requires, He will work for you, and bless and strengthen you by His rich grace. 2T 155.3