Letters and Manuscripts — Volume 3 (1876 - 1882)


Ms 7, 1882

Testimony Regarding Battle Creek


December 1882

This manuscript is published in entirety in PH155 12-24.

(This has been written since my recovery to health.) 3LtMs, Ms 7, 1882, par. 1

I feel deeply concerning the church at Battle Creek, where are located our important institutions. This great heart of the work either sends forth to every branch of the work a healthy or a sickly and diseased influence. The true condition of the cause of God in Michigan is deplorable. But few realize the spiritual lethargy that prevails. The church at Battle Creek have not made thorough work in repenting and confessing their past sins. Many today hate the light which discovers their wrongs and errors. False repentance is deceiving souls to their ruin. Persons will make spasmodic efforts and appear to feel remorse for their course of action, but they do not become converted and soon evidence that the heart is untouched. All the good impressions are soon effaced, and they will return to their same course of faultfinding, whispering, back-biting, and reporting evil which they have felt troubled over. They declare to others by their own course of action that their repentance was not genuine, that their sorrow was not godly sorrow. 3LtMs, Ms 7, 1882, par. 2

The Lord has sent you testimonies of instruction, of rebuke and warning. Some have come to the light that they may see and know their errors and that they may put them away. Others are deceived and deluded in regard to their spiritual standing before God. They do not bring their character and works to the test by comparing them with the Word of God and the declaration of Scripture that plainly condemn their course and mark out the only true path for them to walk in. These have not had true Bible repentance. The Word of God has not been their rule of action. It has not been received with deference and reverence as it should have been. This Word requires of them true sorrow for sins and thorough confession if they would have from the Redeemer peace and pardon. 3LtMs, Ms 7, 1882, par. 3

There are men standing in responsible positions who teach one thing and practice another. While they have been forward to condemn their brethren, their own characters are more faulty in the sight of God than the ones they would criticize and condemn. These men are blind leaders of the blind, and both leaders and those led by them will be ruined unless there are true repentance and heartfelt confession before God. 3LtMs, Ms 7, 1882, par. 4

Those who bind souls in deception are themselves deceived. They form their judgment of duty from the general practice of professed Christians who have a form of godliness, but who deny the power thereof. They have a superficial, hasty, erroneous conception of the nature of virtue and of piety. It is their opinion that if not guilty of outbreaking sins that human eyes can discern, they are not called upon to show the fruits of true repentance and sorrow for sin. This is in direct contradiction to the words of inspiration. These souls are ignorant of the natural depravity of the heart and the constant danger of apostasy, like ancient Israel, from the requirements of God. 3LtMs, Ms 7, 1882, par. 5

These men look upon themselves as needing no godly sorrow. They will not trouble their minds and repent before God of their errors and failures, which have been the means of leading souls away from Christ. They have not connected with God and employed their talents to His glory. They really think they will degrade their characters by manifesting genuine repentance and confessing their faults one to another. They are so far separated from God that they estimate the favor of the world as the favor of God. They flatter themselves in their self-sufficiency that with such good characters as they have, as estimated of men, they would be degrading themselves to manifest shame and sorrow for sin. A broken heart and a contrite spirit the Lord will not despise. Bible repentance is to them associated with degradation. The Word of God presents the only true standard of what is innocent and what is virtuous, true, and excellent, and unless these respectable sinners shall meet the Bible standard, they will be weighed in the balances of the sanctuary and found wanting. We may be pleasantly satisfied with the measurement of ourselves, but be wholly wanting when weighed in the balances of God. 3LtMs, Ms 7, 1882, par. 6

Your work last winter was a shame, a disgrace to any professing the name of Christian. God was in your midst, a silent witness to all your transactions. The mob spirit prevailed. The mob spirit was encouraged, although there was some remonstrance made. The ones who indited it, the ones who were leaders in it, stand condemned before God as verily as did Belshazzar when engaged in his sacrilegious feast. The same God was in your midst who revealed Himself to the king as the bloodless hand traced the characters on the wall, “Weighed in the balances” and “found wanting.” [Daniel 5:27.] Men may say you are all right or men may condemn, but it is of but very little consequence. The balances in which the world weighs men may pronounce the imperfect, the wanting, of right weight and full measure, while God’s measurement and weight say, “Wanting.” When God weighs motives and character, it means something that should fill the soul with terror as it did the guilty king. 3LtMs, Ms 7, 1882, par. 7

It is no light matter to be wanting when judged by One who never makes a mistake, One who has shown mortals compassion, sympathy, and love. To be wanting in sincerity, in true love to Christ, who died that He might give life and peace and hope to those lost and undone by sin, to be wanting in brotherly kindness and love to Christ’s brethren whom He has redeemed with the price of His own blood—can we afford this? “Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me.” [Matthew 25:40.] It is Christ you have abused, maligned, in the person of His saints. Wanting when the Judge shall sit upon His throne, when the Book of Life is opened and He turns each page to see the names written in the book, when your name is pronounced, when the accounts of your life are balanced! There is no respectable sinner who will be passed by in that grand and awful reckoning. 3LtMs, Ms 7, 1882, par. 8

The Lord calls upon these self-flatterers to see themselves as they are and let His Spirit and His grace work effectually on the heart, which will bring it into contrition and repentance. If they do not do this, they fail to fall upon the Rock and be broken. The only alternative is, the Rock must fall upon them and grind them to powder. The proud heart will do almost anything rather than break. 3LtMs, Ms 7, 1882, par. 9

A charge of great guilt stands against you in Battle Creek. This charge from the Spirit of God makes repentance and sorrow and humble confessions necessary. Whatever your profession, your position of responsibility in this work, God requires this of you before your sins and iniquities can be pardoned. Because your brethren and nominal professors may look upon you as correct and faultless is no reason that you are so. You do not fear and love God. You do not tremble at His Word. Your consciences are hardened and unimpressible. You have not been jealous of yourselves lest you dishonor your Redeemer. You have not been fearful of conformity to the world in your manners, your tempers and your actions. 3LtMs, Ms 7, 1882, par. 10

You have lost reverence for the servants whom God has sent to you with words of counsel, reproof, and warning. Did you not fear to treat God’s messengers with disrespect? What means has God instituted to correct His people and to instruct them? Men chosen of God to do His work. Every time you have fallen under temptation in disregarding the words of His chosen servants, you have become weaker to resist wrong and have less clearness of discernment to distinguish right and truth from error and darkness. All through Michigan are the testimonies borne of your work to condemn you. You have strengthened evils which God condemns. You have encouraged, by your practice, conformity to the world, which God condemns and pronounces enmity against God. However admired you may be of the unconsecrated and of worldly men, it is nothing in your favor. Even those who profess to love the truth may flatter you and exalt you; this is still nothing in your favor. You may deceive men, but God reads the heart. 3LtMs, Ms 7, 1882, par. 11

You have provoked the displeasure of a just and holy God because of your unchristian spirit toward those of like faith. You have shown no respect for the men whom God is using in His cause, because they could not but condemn your course of harshness and want of brotherly love. The testimonies of the Spirit of God were unheeded. You knew not the voice that was calling you to repentance. You have shown you were not in harmony with the Spirit of God. So far were you carried away with your assumptions and imaginings that God’s words to you have found no response in your hearts. God’s holy will, His honor, and His fear have been of slight consideration with you. The Lord has been treated with dissimulation and disrespect. 3LtMs, Ms 7, 1882, par. 12

You will urge you have an unblemished character, but God’s eye discerns impurities and condemns you as transgressors of His law. While you claim to be keeping His commandments, you have been envious, jealous, fault-finding, uncourteous, unkind, cruel, and unforgiving. The commandments showing the duty man owes to his fellow man have been transgressed. You have loved self and hated your brother, when the Lord says, “Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself,” “Love one another as I have loved you.” [Leviticus 19:18; John 13:34.] How much, Lord? That you will suffer insult, reproach, contempt, abuse, and death if need be, for His sake. This is the love that Christ has given to men to practice. You have a work to do to meet the mind of the Spirit of God, to repent and confess your sins before God, and to right your wrongs as far as is possible for you to do. You have no time to lose. 3LtMs, Ms 7, 1882, par. 13

Some will go into the grave with their sins unconfessed because William Gage, Brother McLearn, and several others have thrown themselves as bodies of darkness between God and the people, that the light He has sent them should be of no account. Does not God call for thorough repentance and humiliation, that His frown be removed from the church? Those who have, by their irreverence and flippant speeches, removed the solemn impressions of the Spirit of God from the minds and hearts of the people, and those who have sat by in silence, consenting to this wrong, have a work to do for their own souls and to make diligent work in seeking to work in harmony with the Spirit of God in calling the people to repentance and humiliation before God. I was shown that unless this work should be done there would be a falling into a similar error. Character will be attacked. Those who are ready to censure and talk and hint and misstate will do this work; another subject will be presented for them to feed upon. They have headed off on one point, and they will seize another person and work diligently to mangle character. 3LtMs, Ms 7, 1882, par. 14

The trouble is, religion is professed but not practiced. The Spirit of Christ will dwell in the hearts of His followers. The condition of the cause of God will cause the deepest suffering of mind and anguish of soul. Oh, that the history of the past would influence the present! Oh, that all would feel to the depths of their souls that they have it as a privilege and duty individually to be earnest believers in the truth and co-laborers with their self-denying Saviour, who has loved them and given His life for them! Our course of action must elevate our faith and lead us to glorify God. The present apathy, the fearful want of genuine piety so plainly seen among us as a people, is due to our neglect to reverence and obey God’s plainly expressed will. Can this sin be wiped out by any other means than true repentance and heartfelt confession? The very fact that this has not been done is sufficient reason why the Lord’s rebuke is still upon you. 3LtMs, Ms 7, 1882, par. 15

You are not a converted people. The love of Jesus does not dwell in your hearts, and you are just as ready to fasten upon some other one, to dissect his character, to become like Jehu in zeal, to ferret out everything you can of a nature to condemn him, as you have been in the case of Brother [G. H.] Bell. The spirit is there. The root of bitterness has not been dug out, but will spring into life and flourish wonderfully if it has a chance. The same suspicion, the same jealousies, the same spirit of insubordination, the same disrespect for men whom God has acknowledged as His servants, the same riding over authority that caused your present trouble are not dead; they are only quelled to arouse again in greater force if a favorable occasion should offer. This spirit has never been expelled. 3LtMs, Ms 7, 1882, par. 16

The suspicions, the dark hints, the venom, the bitterness that have existed against Dr. [J. H.] Kellogg will be put in more active operation. Thus I have seen. He has been faulty, he has erred, [but] he has confessed it like a man and Christian, and I hold nothing against him. But if you can find some excuse to neglect your own heart work by dwelling upon what you term the wrongs of another, you will do it with the greatest satisfaction. Build over against your own house, repent of your own sins, let the grace of Christ control those tongues that are set on fire of hell, that would fan a spark into an uncontrollable flame. 3LtMs, Ms 7, 1882, par. 17

Repent and be converted before it shall be forever too late. You have trifled with the Spirit of God altogether too long. You have insulted the Spirit of God, and you do not know where you are. Do not find fault with anyone but your own selves. Unless you overcome your disposition to accuse, to tattle, to magnify the wrongs of others while you neglect the culture of your own soul, you will be more and more self-deceived, more blinded to the true state of your own heart, and your day of opportunity and privilege to be wise for yourselves will pass. You will be fastened in Satan’s snare for time and eternity. 3LtMs, Ms 7, 1882, par. 18

Oh, what zeal you manifest to condemn another and justify and laud yourselves! God has had no share in molding your affections toward one and inspiring you with bitterness and reproach for another. Self-love, self-esteem has been gratified to your harm. Your reverence for sacred and holy things has not been increased. Your sense of duty and the obligations you owe to God have not been more clearly discerned. You have brought down sacred things on a level with the common things. Now you have no sense of your wrong. You see no need of repentance, and unless you do see and realize something of the evil of your past wrongs, you will surely be given over to blindness of mind and hardness of heart. You will walk farther away from the light into confusion and every evil work. Should your probation end today, the portion of many would be with the unbelievers. 3LtMs, Ms 7, 1882, par. 19

I speak to every member of the church. In Christ’s name, guard your thoughts, control your feelings. Let your speech be such that heaven can approve. No longer be so sadly deceived as to think you are doing God’s work and God’s will in persecuting your brethren with your tongue, with your strong prejudice and jealousies. 3LtMs, Ms 7, 1882, par. 20

Why do you delight in making your wicked speeches and indulging your wicked feelings against Dr. Kellogg? Has he not sufficient burdens to carry? Dr. [W. J.] Fairfield is unworthy of your confidence. He has apostatized from the faith, but you patronize him, not because he honors God, not because he believes the truth, but because the man pleases you. God has written against his name, “Weighed in the balances” and “found wanting.” [Daniel 5:27.] Has not Dr. Kellogg all the burdens he can carry? Would you crush him to the earth with your suspicions prompted of Satan? Would you feel great pleasure in seeing the Health Institute go down? Is this what you desire? Can you explain your course of action to make it harmonize with the Word of God? What account will you render to God for your wicked surmising, your taking the judgment seat and judging your brother? Oh, Christianity, precious Christianity, how much needed and how little practiced! One victim after another is made to suffer because [he is] tortured and persecuted by those who profess to love Jesus and to be learning of Him. 3LtMs, Ms 7, 1882, par. 21

How far you will be left to work as Satan’s agents, to oppress, to accuse, to wound and bruise the soul, we cannot determine. But the Lord’s eye is over all. He knows every thought, every deed, every action, and He will judge you as your works have been. I never so longed for Jesus to come as at this time, that the wickedness of the wicked may come to an end. If every member of the church would try to find what good there is in one another, what a heaven we should have on earth! Cherishing bitterness and suspicion toward one person makes us feel hard and cold and distrustful of everybody. The peace of Christ has no place in the heart that thinketh evil. This mischievous talk of Professor Bell, of Dr. Kellogg, of different ones is purely the work that Satan instigates. Division, distrust, jealousy, evil surmising are sown as thistle seed is cast to the winds. Satan puts his magnifying glass before your eyes and everything is viewed as he wills it. Peace flees away. The false tongue should be treated with hot coals of juniper. 3LtMs, Ms 7, 1882, par. 22

Dr. Kellogg has made mistakes. He has erred. His errors have injured my husband. Dr. Kellogg sees his mistakes and feels them and has confessed them, while those who were more guilty than he in abusing his mind, in placing things before him in an exaggerated light and relating as facts things which had no foundation in truth, led him to feel an assurance that his feelings were correct. His mind was kept stirred up by tattlers, mischief-makers, false reporters. My husband was hunted to death, and those who have acted their part faithfully for Satan saw him in his coffin, removed from the strife of tongues. He died of a broken heart, and the Lord let him rest. I hold no grudge against anyone. I felt to the very depths of my soul over the treatment my husband received, and I have forgiven those who have done this work. I pray the Lord to forgive them. 3LtMs, Ms 7, 1882, par. 23

I warned you not to do to another as you had done to him. And when you begin your attacks upon one and then another that do not agree with your ways and please your fancies, I am determined to resist your influence and stand up for the oppressed. Will you send others to their death by your persecuting tongues, your suspicions, your envies, your jealousies? Will you cultivate the worst traits of character in indulging in censuring, backbiting, and falsehood? Is this the element that you love? And will you choose this atmosphere, which is the poison of hell? What think you of Jesus? You may talk of His love, you praise and bless His name, you may adore Him all you please, but cease your praise and your flatteries of finite men, and also cease your wicked faultfinding, cease to murder character. 3LtMs, Ms 7, 1882, par. 24

When you see a man loaded down with responsibilities in a position where, if you let reason bear sway, you must know he has very much to perplex him and try his patience and test his wisdom, when you see a man fighting the battles with almost everything against him, then will you show the Satan side of your character and add your influence to the popular cry, Crucify him, Crucify him? Why not practice the law of kindness? Why not dwell upon the good traits of character? Why keep before you and on your lips words that savor of distrust, that show the very worst imaginings are in the heart? Why will you not practice the law of love? Why not cultivate a tender, pitiful, kind spirit? Why be so cold, unfeeling, heartless, Satanic? Why rejoice in iniquity rather than in the truth? 3LtMs, Ms 7, 1882, par. 25

Oh, let us be Christians! Let us be true, pure, holy, and let sympathy and love into our hearts. This is a work we may all have a part in. This is a work which will tell for time and for eternity. God help us to be true to one another. Satan is always an accuser, one who tears down but never builds up. What if you should now change the course of action and begin to think well and speak well of your brethren and sisters? Would it not be Christlike to manifest this fruit of the Spirit, “thinketh no evil,” “is not puffed up,” “hopeth all things,” “believeth all things,” not of evil, not false reports, but all that is pure, good, and “of good report”? [1 Corinthians 13:4-7; Philippians 4:8.] “Little children,” says the beloved disciple, “love one another.” [1 John 3:11, 18, 23.] 3LtMs, Ms 7, 1882, par. 26

The Lord is coming. We have a work to do for ourselves, a work to do for one another. Christ has bound up our souls with the infinite God. We had a higher, nobler calling than to devise and report evil of one another. You have driven one to the grave, another from your midst, for the want of brotherly love and compassion, and is not this record in the books of heaven enough? Will you double your guilt? Will you blacken your already darkened record? I call upon these men and women, whatever their profession may be, to be swift to hear counsel of God, entreaties of His Spirit, and slow to speak. Think not evil one of another lest ye be condemned. Whatever we do, whatever we say, wherever we are, we can never cease our responsibility to God. He has appointed our work. It is not to bite and devour one another, but it is to labor earnestly, kindly, tenderly in all love, to help one another to resist our common foe. God has given us the means, the faculties, and the opportunities, and He holds us accountable for using them well. 3LtMs, Ms 7, 1882, par. 27

When we work with an eye single to God’s glory, we shall love the purchase of His blood and work for them and seek to bless them in every way possible, and then shall we have praise of God and may consider ourselves as co-laborers with Him, as building for eternity. Everyone, whether minister or lay member, is God’s ambassador, executing His work. The flippant speech, the jesting and joking are all out of place now. The Judge standeth before the door. Our accountability to God, fully accepted and faithfully met, will balance our characters. We shall outgrow the tendencies to be superficial. We shall be, through the grace given unto us, raised above everything that is mean and selfish and impure. It will make us have an interest for our brethren, for they are the purchase of the blood of Christ. It will make us realize that we have something great and good to live for. This close connection with God will make our lives earnest, cheerful, and strong under difficulties, hopeful amid discouragements that will be the lot of all. 3LtMs, Ms 7, 1882, par. 28

The lovers of pleasure more than lovers of God will not enjoy our company, for our conversation, our deportment, the spirit of Christ we cherish, will rebuke their spirit and give no encouragement to their vain propensities. The church now most wants men whose minds can comprehend and bear the thought of their responsibility to God, men who are made strong by the consciousness that they are doing God’s work and that they will do it with fidelity. Satan’s work is to make us contented with superficially doing our work and meeting our responsibilities, and he has been wonderfully successful here. 3LtMs, Ms 7, 1882, par. 29

Those who believe in Jesus will live to do His will. Those who acknowledge that Jesus is the Redeemer of the world and yet live for themselves in all their words and actions, contradict their faith and testify to the world that they do not believe in Jesus Christ. Sacrifice and self-denial will be met at every step in the Christian path. If we walk with Christ, we shall see His triumph and share His glory. Like our divine Master, we will be made perfect by suffering. Those whose lives are one with Christ will not be full of mirth and worldliness and pleasure-loving now. There is work to do, earnest work to warn the world, earnest labor to wash our robes of character and make them white in the blood of the Lamb. There will be a wholesome fear which will lead to sobriety and balance the character, a fear lest a promise being made us on certain conditions, we should seem to come short of meeting those conditions. This distrust of self will lead us to be circumspect in action. 3LtMs, Ms 7, 1882, par. 30

Christ had travail of soul. All who are colaborers with Him will have travail of soul, will be burden bearers. Their anxiety will not be to tear one another to pieces and exalt themselves, but their work will be to help one another, to strengthen one another in the most holy faith. While they will be diligent to make their own calling and election sure, they will also be earnest and faithful to do their work for God that others shall not fail of everlasting life. Pride and ambition will be humbled in the dust. 3LtMs, Ms 7, 1882, par. 31

We are to meet those we associate with. When the judgment shall sit and the books shall be opened and when all shall be judged according to their works, how can we meet those we have treated with neglect, those we have envied, those we have tried to tear down and wounded and bruised their souls, destroyed their influence and awakened a spirit of hatred against them so that they were crippled and hedged up in doing the work God would have them to do? 3LtMs, Ms 7, 1882, par. 32

God is in earnest with us. God help us to be wise unto salvation. 3LtMs, Ms 7, 1882, par. 33