Testimony To the Brethren in Western New York

Testimony To the Brethren in Western New York


To the Brethren in Western New York:

I have a deep interest for you. If I keep silent I shall not be excused. The testimonies which I had for different ones in O. have been written but with great pain of heart. But I did not dare do otherwise with the light given to me from Heaven. In my last vision I was shown that these testimonies have not been received, and wrought that reformation in life that God designed they should. PH104 1.1

I saw that when the cause was weak, and poverty pressed upon us, we strained every nerve laboring unselfishly early and late to press forward the work of God, not even regarding our lives. We were consecrated to the work. We bore to individuals the testimony which God gave us to bear. We suffered neglect and want; but these in comparison with the trials unnecessary brought upon us by our brethren in R. and vicinity, were easily endured. The wrong course of others made the removal of the press from R. a necessity. I saw that the angel of mercy was winging his way from R. I was shown that the rebellion started there. God marked the families engaged in this work, and they did not all make a thorough confession of their sins and put them away as they should have done. PH104 1.2

Some fully realized the necessity of correcting their faults and worked earnestly to redeem the past, and God accepted their efforts. But if, after one failure, they were betrayed again into the same error, that former error with their present sin stood marked against them in the books of Heaven. PH104 2.1

God had given fearful warnings and threatenings, pleadings and entreaties, which alike had been disregarded. I was shown that whether they would hear or close their ears in hardness of heart, the warnings, entreaties, and reproofs must not cease. I was cited to the disciples, commissioned of our Lord to go forth and preach the kingdom of Heaven at hand, “And he said unto them, In what place soever ye enter into an house, there abide till ye depart from that place. And whosoever shall not received you, nor hear you, when ye depart thence, shake off the dust under your feet for a testimony against them. Verily I say unto you, it shall be more tolerable for Sodom and Gomorrah in the day of Judgment, than for that city.” PH104 2.2

The crime of slighting the warnings of reproof as stated in our Saviour's words “whosoever shall not received you nor hear you,” &c., insures the penalty which he has pronounced against such offenders and makes them subject to the great displeasure of God. This sin, if not repented of, not confessed, but still retained and cherished, will bring them, in the sight of God, into a position worse than wicked Sodom and Gomorrah in the day of Judgment, because they had greater light than they of the doomed cities. PH104 2.3

These have slighted the opportunities given them of Heaven. They have rejected the messages which, if received, would have been their salvation. They are indifferent and are disposed to quibble because they think they can pervert certain expressions, and in their blindness of heart, seek to believe, and to show to others, that the testimonies are untrue, because they imagine their cases are not correctly represented. They are working against God and their own souls. Because they do not see their own defects of character is no evidence that the testimonies are not true. PH104 3.1

How hard it is for people to understand their own errors, their minds being blinded by the world; but God has sent them light, and set before them their true condition that they might see and correct their faults. If they trust to their own understanding instead of the light God has given them, then are they of that class that Jesus describes, who will not come to the light lest their deeds be reproved. They choose darkness rather than light. God shall lay his hand upon them in anger, they will then feel that the words of warning they have slighted are fearful realities. Then those who justify their wrong course, and are unwilling to see their errors, will with anxiety which they cannot cover with excuses and evasion, cry from unfeigned lips, “Lord, Lord, We have done this good work, and we have done this in the cause!” but the terrible response comes “I knew you not.” PH104 3.2

There is a time when all will feel disinterested anxiety. It is when a messenger comes, as came to Hezekiah, one who cannot be turned aside, bearing a message of startling abruptness, “Set thine house in order, for thou shalt die and not live!” Those who have been often reproved and have hardened their hearts in their own willful course of sin and neglect of duty, will be terribly in earnest then. The selfish, worldly man, whose life was a fevered excitement, a pursuit of the treasures of earth, will then be anxious to secure the true riches, but all too late! PH104 4.1

Those who loved selfish enjoyment, ease and indulgence, and have neglected God-giving opportunities, and the ennobling things pertaining to the better life, and have bartered away the good and lovely for the superficial interests of the world, will be in earnest then, when the realities of eternity open before them, and the scales fall from their eyes. A frantic cry will be raised, “Give us of your oil; for our lamps are gone out!” PH104 4.2

Just this state of things will be realized in O. The anguished sufferers will wildly appeal to relatives and friends for prayer and comfort in that fearful hour. But these will be powerless to redeem the brother whom they helped to fasten in chains of unbelief and darkness. PH104 4.3

If Brn. A., O., and L., had rightly appreciated the sin which drove us from R., had they fully received the light God had given them, and taken his warnings to heart, nothing could have induced them to settle in R., the place from which we were driven by neglect, unbelief, and rejection of the message God had given us for them. In feebleness and discouragement we toiled on under difficulties. But for the help of God we would have lost hope and gone into the grave. Had those families not returned to R., they would not have been broken up as they have been, and the fearful calamities which have filled hearts with grief and inexpressible sadness, would not have occurred. PH104 5.1

But, notwithstanding these circumstances of actual occurrence, there are those so thoroughly leavened with the spirit of rebellion, that, like the children of Israel, they will not learn by the things they suffer. They lay their afflictions to other causes than the true one. When God brings them over the ground again and again, as he did ancient Israel, to test and prove them, they fall as naturally as before into the same questioning and rebellion. So did ancient Israel. They did not take the reprovings of God to heart, and greatly humble themselves before him, and make thorough work that needed not to be repented of. When trials arise and the test comes close, it is revealed that the seeds of rebellion have not been killed but left to germinate and spring up again whenever a favorable opportunity offers. PH104 5.2

I have been shown that the rebellion that started in R. has never been eradicated from all hearts. The root of bitterness, the hatred of reproval of sin, the despising of counsel, the selfishness, has lived in the hearts especially of the family of Bro. L. They have not all reformed. They have not turned unto the Lord with full repentance of soul. When the leaven of disaffection and malice begins to work in some unsanctified hearts, then will the whole lump be leavened. The smouldering fire of prejudice and rebellion will break forth afresh when there is any motion to fan it to life. PH104 6.1

I have been shown that the next in order will be God's retribution. God has warned but they have refused to hearken. They have walked in the imagination of their own hearts and chosen their own way, and God will choose the evils which must come upon them. The course which has been pursued by Bro. L. is most perverse and inexcusable, for he has the example of others who have taken the same course, and the penalty resulting has been all wrought out in their experience. There is less excuse for him than for them for he had their example before him to avoid. PH104 6.2

Satan has beset him with questionings, evil surmisings and doubts, to stir up unbelief, and he has suggested thoughts to his mind which have in turn been transmitted to others, who would never have otherwise been troubled with them. Satan has used him us his instrument to do his work. His wife's influence in B. C. was not what it should have been. That untamable tongue has done much evil. Their children have not been properly trained by them, and they were not in favor of their receiving discipline at school. PH104 6.3

This family and the family of Bro. G., by their lax discipline and neglect of duty in restraining and educating their children to usefulness and obedience, has had a demoralizing influence upon the society of B. C. There now exists, among the children and youth, a spirit to rise up and defy authority, break down discipline, despise reproof, and encourage a spirit of dissipation. PH104 7.1

There is a lack of reverence for the voice and influence of those whom God has chosen to stand at the head of the work. This is as great an insult as can be given to the Spirit of God. It is rejecting Christ in the person of his saints. Years cannot efface the influence from the church and school of one undisciplined family of children who have been neglected, and who are not properly educated to usefulness and duty. The influence thus exercised was not realized until the leaven of evil had nearly leavened the lump. PH104 7.2

The greater amount of souls that fail of perfecting Christian character, fail because of the perversity of their natures, and thereby lose Heaven. Children who are not trained to submit to parental authority will fail to respect higher claims. They will not be inclined to answer the demands of high Heaven. The fearful neglect of parents professing to believe present truth is bringing darkness into their minds and sin and crime into their families. This evil of lax training is terrible in its results. Bro. L. has been warned, reproved, counseled, and encouraged. He is without excuse. He has been childish. He has been very sensitive. He has much independence of mind. He could dictate and lead but he would not be led. It was not agreeable to him to consult with those in the office who could instruct him in regard to the nature of the work that he might labor intelligently and successfully. PH104 7.3

If my husband directed, and if, under a multitude of cares, he was in haste and his words were not as cautiously chosen as might be, this brother took offense. He is of that inflammable character that he needed to see and understand the existence of this evil in himself and correct it, in order to connect with the work of God. After we came back from California we felt strangely as though we had no home. We came to B. C. from attending the large camp-meetings west. We were in perfect health. But we found such a state of things existing in B. C. that our souls were burdened continually. We attend meeting after meeting of the most affecting character. PH104 8.1

Bro. L----- heard the explanation my husband made of matters and things in connection with the cause and work of God. Bro. L----- made some admissions but he did not right his wrong doing. He justified himself and left the most cruel censure upon others. He lost control of himself and was for the time insane, because he was brought to a point where he must account for the course he had pursued. This was the spirit he usually manifested when his track was crossed. He gave the lie to different ones who made statements of matters and things, and finally left for O-----. PH104 8.2

He returned again and other efforts were made to help him to see, to feel and to correct the wrong course he had taken, but with similar results. He confessed that he was sorry for what he had said but did not acknowledge that he had no reason for the suspicions and jealousies he had entertained. I bore my testimony to Bro. and sister -----, each could discern the other's defects in character, but were not inclined to see their own. Especially was this the case with sister -----. The course she here pursued grieved me to the heart. She gave expression to thoughts which struck directly at my honesty and integrity. By her words and actions she betrayed my confidence and questioned my motives, showing a heart of unbelief such as I had never before met with in any person professing the present truth. She seemed to be insanely angry because her track was crossed. She had generally ruled and carried her points at all hazards, but in this matter her plans were not the best for the prosperity of the cause and there were those who dared to tell her so. Oh the perversity of human nature! If these persons had removed the stumbling blocks from the church at B.C. by hearty confessions, they might have cured the evil, healed the wounds. PH104 9.1

But it was evident that those who were reproved did not see their true state. If they had the church would have been relieved and they would have relieved their own souls. But they failed to do the work which they ought to have done. The most thorough confessions should have been made on their parts. The course of Bro. B----- and those who had come to B.C. to help us bear burdens was wrong. These brothers seemed to be crushing us beneath their own weight of darkness in the place of relieving us from our cares. The sense of the inconsistencies of those who ought to have better judgment nearly cost me my life. Ten fold labor was brought upon us. Those who had professed to be my best friends betrayed me. PH104 10.1

My sisters generously offered to assist me in sewing. While others remain free from care and have their time daily to attend to their sewing and keep their wardrobe in order about two weeks sewing once or twice a year is all I can usually command. In preparing my wardrobe, both long and short dresses were made. Of the former, there were one or two for travelling, and to appear in before those who are ignorant of our faith and of dress reform, whose minds are balancing in favor of the truth. We do not wish to bring before such hearers any question that is not vital, to divert their minds from the great and important subject, for Satan takes advantage of everything that can possibly be used to divert and distract minds. PH104 10.2

I had explained all this fully. But notwithstanding all this, my sisters were so weak they could not appreciate my motives, and were too glad of a pretext to lay aside the reform dress making my example their excuse. I had felt that, for me, discretion was highly essential while laboring in California, for the salvation of souls. With Paul, I could say I became all things to all if by any means I might save some. I did not do anything secretly. I frankly gave my reasons. But unsanctified hearts which had long galled and chafed under the cross of dress reform, now took occasion to make a bold push and throw off the reform dress. They have taken advantage of my necessity to misinterpret my words, my actions, and motives. PH104 11.1

My position upon health and dress reform is unchanged. I have been shown that God gave the dress reform to our sisters as a blessing, but some have turned it into a curse, making the dress question a subject of talk and of thought, while they neglected the internal work, the adorning of their souls by personal piety. Some have thought religion consisted in wearing the reform dress, while their spirits were unsubdued by grace. They were jealous and fault finding, watching and criticizing the dress of others, and in this neglected their own souls and lost their piety. PH104 11.2

If the dress reform is thus turned to a curse, God would remove it from us. God bestowed blessings upon ancient Israel and withdrew them again because those blessings were despised and became a cause of murmuring and complaint. PH104 12.1

There have been those who have carried the dress reform to extremes, and they have urged me to do the same; they have pressed and crowded this matter. I saw that these very ones had marked defects in their characters which they were overlooking, while they were urging on the dress reform. I saw such a lack of real principal and genuine piety, that I have been discouraged in trying to make my position understood. I have worn the reform dress myself excepting in the cases mentioned, where I feared its effect upon souls just lifting the heavy cross of the Sabbath. At our large camp-meetings where I have spoken to from two to three thousand, I have worn the reform dress. PH104 12.2

A sister from O. remarked that she wished she had that confidence in regard to the reform dress she once had; and intimated that the testimonies had thrown doubt upon her mind in regard to it. This was because the persons who carry matters to extremes, had been cautioned not to make the dress question a test of Christian fellowship. What influence do these things have to undermine the confidence in my testimonies! It is not the testimony that is at fault, but perverse human nature. PH104 12.3

Said I: “If I have written anything, or said anything to that effect, name it.” She could not produce any statement, but she had received the impression, she could not tell in what way. I fear that such persons, in their hearts, despise the dress reform and wish some excuse to lay it off. PH104 13.1

The troubles and perplexities brought upon us by our brethren and sisters, hindered us from getting out a large number of tracts that we had designed to have prepared for the press, and made ready for the camp-meetings. For three weeks my soul was terribly burdened, because those who had professed unshaken confidence in the testimonies for seventeen years, were so ready to yield them up when the reproofs given were for them and crossed their track. PH104 13.2

For three weeks I slept only about two hours during the night. One night I did not sleep at all, my mind seemed it [to] fail. I could neither read nor write. Pain was constantly in my head. Who is responsible for this three weeks of suffering and uselessness? Who is responsible for the neglect of the work which ought to have been done? We have had no tracts nor publications to distribute at these large gatherings when we should have had precious matter, in a desirable form, to scatter among those who came to hear. PH104 13.3