Letters and Manuscripts — Volume 1 (1844 - 1868)


Ms 4, 1868

Testimony—Laying Burdens on Others



This manuscript is published in entirety in 2T 118-124.

In the vision given me June 12, 1868, I was shown the danger of the people of God looking to us, to Brother and Sister White, and thinking that they must come to us with their burdens and seek counsel of us. This ought not to be so. They are invited by their compassionate, loving Saviour to come unto Him when weary and heavy laden, and He will relieve them. In Him they will find rest. In taking their perplexities and trials to Jesus they will find the promise in regard to them fulfilled. As in their distress they experience the relief which is found alone in Jesus, they obtain an experience which is of the highest value to them. Brother and Sister White are striving for purity of life and to bring forth fruit unto holiness, yet they are nothing but erring mortals. Many come to us with the inquiry, Shall I do this? Shall I engage in this enterprise? Or, In regard to my dress, shall I wear this article or that? 1LtMs, Ms 4, 1868, par. 1

I tell them, You profess to be disciples of Christ. Study your Bibles. Read carefully and prayerfully the life of our dear Saviour when He lived among men upon the earth. Imitate His life, and you will not be found straying from the narrow path. We utterly refuse to be conscience for you. If we tell you just what you must do, you will look to us to guide you, instead of going directly to Jesus for yourselves. Your experience will be founded in us. You must have an experience for yourselves which shall be founded in God. Then you can stand amid the perils of the last days, and be purified and not consumed amid the fires of affliction, through which every saint must pass in order to have the impurities removed from his character preparatory to receiving the finishing touch of immortality. 1LtMs, Ms 4, 1868, par. 2

Many of our dear brethren and sisters think that they cannot have a large gathering unless Brother and Sister White attend, and in many places they realize that something must be done to move the people to more earnestness and decided action in the work and cause of truth. They have had ministers to labor among them, yet they realized a greater work must be done, and look to Brother and Sister White to do it. This, I saw, was not as God would have it. 1LtMs, Ms 4, 1868, par. 3

In the first place there is a deficiency with some of our ministers. They lack thoroughness. They do not take on the burden of the work and reach out to lift just where the people need help. They do not possess discernment to see and feel just where the people need to be corrected, reproved, built up and strengthened. Some of them labor weeks and months in a place, and there is actually more to do when they leave than when they commenced. Systematic benevolence is dragging. It is one part of the ministers’ labor to keep up this branch of the work. Because this is not agreeable, some neglect their duty. They talk the truth from the Word of God, but do not impress the people with the necessity of obedience. Therefore many are hearers, but not doers. The people feel the deficiency. Things are not set in order among them, and they look to Brother and Sister White to make up the deficiency. 1LtMs, Ms 4, 1868, par. 4

Some of our ministering brethren have glided along without settling deep into the work and getting hold of the hearts of the people. They have excused their lack with the thought that Brother and Sister White would bring up these things, for they were especially adapted to the work. These men have labored, but not in the right way. They have not borne the burden. They have not helped where help was needed. They have not corrected deficiencies which needed to be corrected. They have not entered with whole heart and soul and energies, into the wants of the people, and time has passed and they have nothing to show for it. The burden of their deficiencies falls back on us, and they encourage the people to look to us. They present the idea that nothing will accomplish the work but our special testimony. 1LtMs, Ms 4, 1868, par. 5

God is not pleased with this. Ministers should take greater responsibilities and not entertain the thought that they cannot bear their message which will help the people where they need help. If they cannot do this, they should tarry in Jerusalem till they be endued with power from on high. They should not engage in a work they cannot perform. They should go forth weeping, bearing precious seed, and return from the effort rejoicing, bringing their sheaves with them. 1LtMs, Ms 4, 1868, par. 6

Ministers should impress upon the people the necessity of individual effort. No church can flourish unless its members are workers. The people must lift where the minister lifts. I saw that nothing lasting can be accomplished for churches in different places unless they are aroused to feel that a responsibility rests upon them. Every member of the body should feel that the salvation of their own souls depends upon their own individual effort. Souls cannot be saved without exertion. The minister cannot save the people. He can be a channel through which God will impart light to His people, but then after the light is given it is left with the people to appropriate the light, and in their turn let the light shine forth to others. The people should feel that an individual responsibility rests upon them not only to save their own souls but to engage earnestly in the salvation of those who remain in darkness. 1LtMs, Ms 4, 1868, par. 7

Instead of the people looking to Brother and Sister White to help them out of their darkness, such should be earnestly engaged in helping themselves. If they should begin to hunt up others worse off than themselves, and should try to help them, they would help themselves into the light sooner than in any other way. If the people lean upon and trust in Brother and Sister White, God will humble them among you or remove them from you. You must look to God and trust in Him. Lean upon Him, and He will not forsake you. He will not leave you to perish. Precious is the Word of God. “Search the scriptures, for in them ye think ye have eternal life.” [John 5:39.] These are the words of Christ. The words of inspiration carefully and prayerfully studied and practically obeyed will thoroughly furnish you unto all good works. Ministers and people must look to God. 1LtMs, Ms 4, 1868, par. 8

We are living in an evil age. The perils of the last days thicken around us. Because iniquity abounds, the love of many waxes cold. Enoch walked with God three hundred years. Now the shortness of time seems to be urged as a motive to seek righteousness. Should it require that the terrors of the day of God be held before us in order to compel us to right actions? Enoch’s case is before us. Hundreds of years he walked with God. He lived in a corrupt age when moral pollution was teeming all around him. He trained his mind to devotion, to love purity. His conversation was upon heavenly and divine things. He educated his mind in this channel, and he bore the impress of the divine. His countenance was lighted up with the light which shineth in the face of Jesus. 1LtMs, Ms 4, 1868, par. 9

Enoch had temptations, as well as we. He was not surrounded with society any more friendly to righteousness than that which surrounds us. The atmosphere he breathed was tainted with sin and corruption the same as that which we breathe. Yet he lived a life of holiness. He was unsullied with the prevailing sins of the age in which he lived. And so may we remain as pure and uncorrupted as did the faithful Enoch. He was a representation of the saints living amid the perils and corruptions of the last days. For his faithful obedience to God he was translated. So also those who “are alive and remain,” who are faithful, will be translated to heaven. [1 Thessalonians 4:17.] They will be removed from a sinful and corrupt world to the pure joys of heaven. 1LtMs, Ms 4, 1868, par. 10

The course of God’s people should be upward and onward to victory. A greater than Joshua is leading on the armies of Israel. One is in our midst, even the Captain of our salvation, who has said for our encouragement, “Lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world.” [Matthew 28:20.] 1LtMs, Ms 4, 1868, par. 11