Testimony for the Church. — No. 1

Testimony for the Church—No. 1

Testimony for the Church

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November 20th while in prayer, the Spirit of the Lord suddenly and powerfully came upon me, and I was taken off in vision. T01 1.1

I saw that the Spirit of the Lord has been dying away from the Church. The servants of the Lord have trusted too much to the strength of argument, and have not had that firm reliance upon God that they should have. I saw that the mere argument of the truth will not move souls to take a stand with the remnant, for the truth is unpopular. The servants of God must have the truth in the soul. Said the angel, “They must get it warm from glory, carry it in their bosoms, and pour it out in the warmth and earnestness of the soul to those that hear.” A few that are conscientious are ready to decide from the weight of evidence, but it is impossible to move many with a mere theory of truth. There must be a power to attend the truth, a living testimony to move them. T01 1.2

I saw that the Enemy was busy to destroy souls. Exaltation has come into the ranks, and I saw that there must be more humility. There is too much of an independence of spirit indulged in among the messengers. It must be laid aside, and there must be a drawing together of the servants of God. There has been too much a spirit like this, “Am I my brother's keeper?” Said the angel, “Yea thou art thy brother's keeper. Ye must have a watchful care for thy brother, be interested for his wellfare [welfare], and cherish a kind, loving spirit towards him. Press together, press together.” God designed man should be openhearted, and honest, without affectation, humble, meek, with simplicity. This is the principle of heaven. God ordered it so. But poor frail man has sought out something different—to follow his own way, and carefully attend to his own self-interest. T01 1.3

I asked the angel why simplicity had been shut out from the Church, and pride and exaltation come in. I saw that this is the reason why we have almost been delivered into the hand of the Enemy. Said the angel, “Look ye, and ye shall see that this feeling prevails. Am I my brother's keeper?” Again, said the angel, “Thou art thy brother's keeper.” Thy profession, thy faith requires thee to deny thyself and sacrifice to God, or thou wilt be unworthy of eternal life, for it was purchased for thee dearly, even by the agony, the sufferings, and blood of the beloved Son of God.” T01 2.1

I saw that many in different places. East and West, were adding farm to farm, and land to land, and houses to houses, and they make the cause of God their excuse, saying they do this that they may help the cause. They shackle themselves so that they can be but little benefit to the cause; some buy a piece of land and labor with all their might to pay for it. Their time is so occupied they can spend but little time to pray, and serve God, and gain strength from him to overcome their besetments. They are in debt, and when the cause needs their help they cannot assist for they must get free from debt first. And as soon as they are free from debt they are farther from helping the cause than before, for they involve themselves again in adding to their property, and flatter themselves that this course is right, that they will use the avails in the cause, when they are actually laying up treasure here. They love the truth in word, but not in work. They love the cause just as much as their works show. They love the world more and the cause of God less, and their attraction to earth grows stronger, and the attraction to heaven weaker. Their heart is with their treasure. They set the example to those around them that they are intending to stay here, that this world is their home. Said the angel, “Thou art thy brother's keeper.” T01 2.2

I saw that many have indulged in needless expense, merely to gratify the feelings, the taste, and the eye, when the cause has needed the very means, and when some of the servants of God were poorly clothed, and crippled in their labor for lack of means. Said the angel, “Their time to do will soon be past. Their works show that self is their idol, and to it they sacrifice. Self must first be gratified, their feeling is, “Am I my brother's keeper?” Warning after warning many have received, but heeded not. Self is the main object, and to it every thing must bow. T01 3.1

I saw that the spirit of sacrifice was almost gone from the Church, self-denial has almost failed, self and self interest come first, and then if they can as well as not, they will do what they think they can for the cause. Such a sacrifice I saw was lame and not accepted of God. All, I saw, should be interested to do their utmost to advance the cause. I saw that those who have no possessions here, but have strength of body, were accountable to God for their strength. They should be diligent in business and fervent in spirit, they should not leave those that have possessions to do all the sacrificing. I saw that they could sacrifice, and that it was their duty to do so, as well as those that have property. But often those individuals that have no possessions do not realize that they can deny themselves in many ways, can lay out less upon their bodies, and to gratify their tastes, and apetites [appetites], and find much to spare the cause, and lay up in Heaven, a treasure. I saw that there was loveliness and beauty in the truth, but take the power of God away, and it is powerless. T01 3.2

I saw it was even so, “From Even to Even shall ye celebrate your Sabbath.” Said the angel, “Take the word of God, read it, understand, and ye cannot err. Read carefully, and ye shall there find what Even is, and when it is.” I asked the angel if the frown of God had been upon his people for commencing the Sabbath as they have. I was directed back, back to the first rise of the Sabbath. I followed the people of God up to this time, and did not see that God was displeased, or frowned upon them. I inquired why it had been thus, that at this late day we must change the time of commencing the Sabbath. Said the angel, “Ye shall understand, but not yet, not yet.” Said the angel, “If light comes, and that light is set aside, or rejected, then comes condemnation and the frown of God, but before the light comes there is no sin, for there is no light for them to reject.” I saw that it was in the minds of some that the Lord had shown that the Sabbath commenced at six o'clock, when I had only seen that it commenced at “Even,” and it was inferred that Even was at six. I saw the servants of God must draw together, press together. T01 4.1

I was shown the case of Stephenson and Hall of Wisconsin. I saw that they were convicted while we were at Wisconsin, in June 1854, that the visions were of God, but they examined them and compared them with the Age to come, and because the visions did not agree with their views of the Age to come, they sacrificed the visions for the Age to come. And while on their journey East, last Spring, they were both wrong and designing. They have stumbled over the Age to come, and they are ready to take any course to injure the Review; and its friends must be awake and do what they can to save the children of God from deception. They are uniting with a lying and corrupt people. They have had evidence of this. And while they were professing sympathy and union with James, they (especially Stephenson) were biting like an adder behind his back. And while their words were smooth with him, they were inflaming Wisconsin against the Review and its conductors. Especially was Stephenson active in this matter. And their object has been to have the Review publish the Age to come, or destroy its influence. And while James was open-hearted and unsuspecting, seeking ways to remove their jealousy, and frankly opening to them the affairs of the Office, and trying to help and assist them, they were watching for evil, and observing every thing with a jealous eye. Said the angel as I beheld them, “Think ye, feeble man, that ye can stay the work of God. Feeble man, one touch of his finger can lay thee prostrate. He will suffer thee but a little while.” T01 5.1

I was pointed back to the rise of the Advent doctrine, and even before that time, and saw that there had not been a parallel to the deception, misrepresentation and falsehood that has been practiced by the Messenger party, or such an association of corrupt hearts under a cloak of religion. Some honest hearts have been influenced by them, concluding that they had at least some cause for their statements, thinking them incapable of uttering such glaring falsehoods. I saw that such will have evidence of the truth of these matters. I saw that the Church of God should move straight along as though there was not such a people in the world. T01 5.2

I saw that decided efforts should be made to show those who were unchristian in their lives, their wrongs, and if they do not correct their lives, they should be separated from the precious and holy, that God may have a clean and pure people that he can delight in. Dishonor him not by linking or uniting the clean with the unclean. T01 6.1

I was shown some coming from the East to the West. I saw that it should not be the object of those who leave the East for the West to get rich, but to win souls to the truth. Said the angel, ‘‘Let thy works show it is not for honor, or to lay up a treasure on earth, that ye have moved West, but to hold up and exalt the standard of truth.” I saw that those who move West should be like men waiting for their Lord. “Be a living example,” said the angel, “to those in the West.” Let your works show that you are God's peculiar people, and that you have a peculiar work, the last message of mercy to the world. Let your works show to those around you that this world is not your home.” I saw that those who have entangled themselves should go free, break the snare of the Enemy. Lay not up treasure upon earth, but show by your lives that you are laying up treasure in heaven. If God has called thee West, he has a work for thee to do, an exalted work. Let your faith and experience help those who have not a living experience. Let not the attraction be to this poor, dark speck of a world, but let it be upward to God, glory and heaven. Let not the care and perplexity of farms here engross thy mind, but ye can safely be wrapt [wrapped] up in contemplating Abraham's farm. We are heirs to that immortal inheritance. Wean thy affections from earth and dwell upon heavenly things. T01 6.2

I saw that great responsibility rests upon parents. They must not be led by their children, but must lead them. I was referred to Abraham. He commanded his household after him, and it was remembered of God. He was faithful in his house. I was then referred to the case of Eli. He restrained not his children, and they were wicked and vile in Israel. They led Israel astray by their wickedness. And when God made known their sins to Samuel, and the heavy curse that was to follow, because Eli restrained them not, God said their sins should not be purged with sacrifice nor offerings forever. When Samuel told Eli what the Lord had shown him, Eli submitted to it and said, “It is the Lord, let him do what seemeth him good.” The curse of God soon followed. Those wicked priests were slain, and thirty thousand of Israel were also slain, and the Ark of God was taken by their enemies. And when Eli heard that the Ark of God was taken, he fell backward and died. All this evil resulted from Eli's not restraining his sons. I saw if God was so particular as to notice such things anciently, he is no less particular in these last days. T01 7.1

Parents must govern their children, correct their passions, and subdue them, or God will surely destroy the children in the day of his fierce anger, and the parents who have not governed their children will not be blameless. Especially should the servants of God govern their own families, and have them in good subjection. I saw they were not prepared to judge or decide in matters of the Church, unless they could rule well their own house. They must have order at home first, and then their judgment and influence will tell in the Church. T01 7.2

I saw that the reason why visions have not been more frequent of late, is, they have not been appreciated by the Church. The Church have nearly lost their spirituality and faith, and the reproofs and warnings have had but little effect upon them. Many of those who have professed faith in them, have not heeded them. T01 8.1

Some have taken an injudicious course; they have talked their faith to unbelievers, and when the proof was asked, they have read a vision instead of going to the Bible for proof. I saw this course was inconsistent, and it prejudiced the unbelievers against the truth, for the visions could have no weight with them. They had never seen them, and knew nothing of the spirit of them, and they should not be referred to, in their case. T01 8.2

E. G. White.

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We, the undersigned, being eye-witnesses when the above vision was given, deem it highly necessary that it should be published, for the benefit of the Church, on account of the important truths and warnings which it contains. T01 8.3

Jos. Bates,
M. E. Cornell,
J. H. Waggoner,
J. Hart,
G. W. Amadon,
Uriah Smith.

Note.—The above vision was read before thirty-six members of the Battle Creek Church, on the evening of Nov. 24th, who gave their unanimous vote for its publication. It can be had by addressing E. G. White, Battle Creek, Mich. Those who would encourage the circulation of such matter, can do so by assisting in its publication. T01 8.4

S. T. Belden. T01 8.5