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    Chapter 37—Testimony for the Church

    I have been shown that Satan has not been stupid and careless these many years, since his fall, but has been learning. He has grown more artful. His plans are laid deeper, and are more covered with a religious garment to hide their deformity. The power of Satan now to tempt and deceive is ten-fold greater than it was in the days of the apostles. His power has increased, and it will increase, until it is taken away. His wrath and hate grow stronger as his time to work draws near its close.2SG 277.1

    God knows how Satan is working, and sends his angels to watch over his children, to protect them from the Devil's power. And the battle is constantly going on between the angels of God, and the Devil's angels. The angels of God are clothed with a complete armor, the panoply of heaven, and, although surrounded with deadly foes, fear nothing, for they are doing the will of their loved Commander. They enter the darkest places to rescue the children of God from the snares of Satan, and their presence causes the evil angels to fall back. And as the evil angels are defeated, they utter terrible imprecations against the injustice of God, and against his angels.2SG 277.2

    I saw that the angels of God are not to force or bend the will of the individual they watch over. They are to gently chide, warn and guard. Satan can never force back these holy angels from their charge. None can do this but the individuals that they are watching over. If these individuals continue to grieve these tender, holy angels; if they go astray from their counsel and warnings, and choose an independent course of their own, they will drive these angels from them. If the will is submitted to them, they will bend it in the heavenly channel, and they will ever be on the watch for their interests, leading them from a thousand dangers, preventing their lives being taken by Satan, and, if they are inclined to go a wrong course, stand in the path before them to prevent their ruin.2SG 277.3

    But if individuals continue to retain their own will, choose their own course, and have their own way, the angels leave them in sadness. Then Satan comes in to control the will, and bend the mind, and smiles in hellish triumph at his success.2SG 278.1

    I saw that the great condescension for man has been made. Jesus condescended to the shameful death of the cross, and now man in his turn must condescend and bow. He must yield up his will and pleasure if he would follow in the only road to heaven. I saw that God would not compel any to be saved. Jesus has made the great sacrifice, and if man will freely, gladly accept it; if he will choose life, he can have it. But his life must be one of continual yielding.2SG 278.2

    I was pointed back, and saw the condition of God's people in 1844. Then God was pleased with them, and his love rested upon them. I was carried down still further, and saw that they were not as devoted. Instead of going on from strength to strength, they have been growing weaker. They do not possess living faith. Their fruits are not such as will please God. A stupid indifference hangs upon them. They lack fervent piety. They manifest but very little melting love for Jesus, and warm affection for their brethren.2SG 279.1

    And I saw what God marked above everything else was their contented state. They have the truth. None can successfully oppose, and they enjoy it, as if the Saviour had no work for them to do in the salvation of souls. They comfort themselves that they are safe, and leave the work of the Lord to others, and by degrees they relax their efforts and fall into an indifferent, formal state. There are souls to save all around them, but they leave that for their ministers, and they have lost their activity and zeal, and their patience in seeking to lead others to the truth. Many, I saw, had become weary of well doing. They are shut up to themselves, and seek to shun burdens. They fold their hand in peace at home, as though they had no part to act in the advancement of the work of God.2SG 279.2

    I saw the great lack of nursing fathers and mothers in Israel. And I saw why there are not more is because they will not take the burden, and fill the place which God would be pleased to have them occupy. Self must be denied in order to fill this place. Earnest prayer, and faithful watch-care for others will take the place of ease and indifference. And often worldly interests will suffer a little. They may have to visit some brother or sister, or some inquiring friend who needs help, just when they wish to accomplish some worldly object. But if they lose a little of the earthly treasure here, and do their Master's will, they will lay up treasure in heaven. Their Master for their sake became poor, that they through his poverty might be made rich.2SG 280.1

    I was shown that God would reward those who will bear responsibilities, and with energy push his work forward and stand in the forefront of the battle. God will choose those who will venture something in his work. But there are those who will not fill the place that God would be pleased to have them fill.2SG 280.2

    I saw that God had made my husband a burden-bearer since 1844, that he might obtain an experience to fill the place in the work he designed for him to occupy. In order to do this he has had to take responsibilities and to risk something on the success of this message. God would be pleased if others would feel the same interest, and move with the same energy, but many will not venture. I saw that God was displeased with those who do not take the burden themselves, and then stand ready to murmur at the one upon whom he lays the heavy burden. If others would come up and bear the burden he has borne for years, and venture all; life, health, strength, time, everything, to push this work ahead, trusting alone to the success of the message, then God would release him from such heavy responsibilities.2SG 280.3

    I saw that the blessing of the Lord has rested upon every essential move that has been made to advance his cause, and steadily has the work progressed. One difficulty after another has been surmounted. It is because God's hand was in the work. I saw that some do not realize that selfishness is at the bottom of their murmuring. God's humble instrument moves too fast for their faith, and his venturing out as he has done has reproved their slow and unbelieving pace. And there has been satisfaction taken in watching and finding fault. Hints have been thrown out, doubts expressed, which have had their influence. Their faith was not strong enough to keep pace with him. Had they possessed that strong faith and self-denial which they should have had, those who have the ability and means might do much in stirring up the people of God; and if they would venture out and risk something on the result and success of this message, it would inspire faith in the hearts of the remnant, and there would be activity and zeal in pushing forward this great work.2SG 281.1

    I was shown that the work was not left in the hands of any one upon earth. Angels of God have charge of the work, and they counsel and direct God's people through chosen agents, and thus the work moves forward. I was shown that God in his own wise providence raised my husband above dependence and want, that his testimony and influence might not be crippled by the galling sense of dependence. God will use him as his instrument to speak with freedom, independent of man, and in his strength raise his voice, and with his example call upon the people to arouse, and assist with their substance in moving forward this great work. And any that wish to be convinced, can be, that it is not selfishness, nor to obtain any advantage himself that he pursues this course. But his object is to advance the work of God, which is dearer to him than life.2SG 282.1

    I saw that it was easier for those who look on to complain, and find fault, than to suggest and lead in a better course. It is very easy and cheap to suggest doubts and fears, but it is not so readily undertaken to tell what shall be done.2SG 282.2

    I was pointed back and saw that amid all the hatred and devices of Satan, God had spared the life of my husband, although Satan pressed him sore to take it away a few years since. The Lord wrenched him from the enemy's power, and raised him up to still act for him—to walk out on his faith, to be a succorer to the needy, and to strengthen and uphold his servants whom he has called into the field. I saw that God has stayed him on the right hand and on the left that he should not go to extremes. This has not been the work of man, but the mark of God's hand is seen in it. His work will go forward. Simple instruments God will choose to carry forward this great work, to carry out the mind and will of the Great Master at the head of the work.2SG 283.1

    By some there is shunning of the living testimony. Cutting truths must not be shunned. It needs something besides theory to reach hearts now. It needs the stirring testimony to alarm and arouse; that will stir the enemy's subjects, and then honest souls will be led to decide for the truth. There has been and still is with some a disposition to have everything move on very smoothly. They see no necessity of straight testimony.2SG 283.2

    Sins exist in the church that God hates, but they are scarcely touched for fear of making enemies. Opposition has risen in the church to the plain testimony. Some will not bear it. They wish smooth things spoken unto them. And if the wrongs of individuals are touched, they complain of severity, and sympathize with those in the wrong. As Ahab inquired of Elijah, “Art thou he that troubleth Israel?” they are ready to look with suspicion and doubt upon those who bear the plain testimony, and like Ahab overlook the wrong which made it necessary for reproof and rebuke. When the church depart from God they despise the plain testimony, and complain of severity and harshness. It is a sad evidence of the lukewarm state of the church.2SG 283.3

    Just as long as God has a church, he will have those who will cry aloud and spare not, who will be his instruments to reprove selfishness and sins, and will not shun to declare the whole counsel of God, whether men will hear or forbear. I saw that individuals would rise up against the plain testimonies. It does not suit their natural feelings. They would choose to have smooth things spoken unto them, and have peace cried in their ears. I view the church in a more dangerous condition than they ever have been. Experimental religion is known but by a few. The shaking must soon take place to purify the church.2SG 284.1

    Preachers should have no scruples to preach the truth as it is found in God's word. Let the truth cut. I have been shown that why ministers have not more success is, they are afraid of hurting feelings, fearful of not being courteous, and they lower the standard of truth, and conceal if possible the peculiarity of our faith. I saw that God could not make such successful. The truth must be made pointed, and the necessity of a decision urged. And as false shepherds are crying, Peace, and are preaching smooth things, the servants of God must cry aloud, and spare not, and leave the result with God.2SG 284.2

    God has given his servants the present truth so clear and plain that their opponents cannot stand before them. This great blessing, I have seen, has not been realized and prized. Some who are laboring in the cause of God have had so few privations, known so little of want or wearing labor, or burden of soul, that when they have an easy time they know it not, and think their trials great. I saw that unless such have a spirit of self-sacrifice, and are ready to labor cheerfully, not sparing themselves, God will release them.2SG 285.1

    Some of the servants of God have given up their lives to spend, and be spent, for the cause of God. They are almost worn out with mental labor, incessant care, toil and privations. Others have not had, and would not take, the burden upon them. Yet just such ones think they have a hard time, because they never have experienced hardships. They never have been baptized into the suffering part, and never will be, as long as they manifest so little fortitude, and love their ease so well. Let these servants feel the woe upon them if they preach not the gospel, and it will be enough.2SG 285.2

    Could some be placed back ten or twelve years, and labor through the discouragements that then existed, they would find a great change in the labor now, compared with what it was then. Then the friends of the cause were few, their means limited, and it was a constant battle against error and fanaticism. Privation and want were then endured by God's servants without murmuring. I have had more fears for our preachers now than ever before. A laborer in the gospel field, will feel a burden for souls if he fills the place God designs him to fill. He will labor in the desk, and out of it. While at the fireside he will enter into the feelings of those who have listened to solemn, important truth from his lips. He will watch for souls as one that must give an account.2SG 286.1

    Sabbath-keepers, remember that the outside appearance is an index to the heart, and while you are so anxious to imitate the fashions of the world; while your heart is in these things, you are like them, you have their spirit, and have lost the truth out of your heart. While you study your appearance to look as near like the world as possible, remember your Redeemer. Upon his head was a crown of thorns. The greatest concern some Sabbath-keepers have is their outward appearance. They are fostering pride, and will perish with their pride unless they entirely reform. Many make vain excuses for wearing hoops. They cannot endure the idea of being peculiar. I saw that Sabbath-keepers should not give the least influence to a fashion carried to such a ridiculous length.2SG 286.2

    But while some are following the fashion, and manifest so much pride about their appearance, some others take the other extreme, and dress odd and slack, and destroy the influence they might have with unbelievers. Some hold themselves in a position to watch the dress of others, and find fault with every article they think not just right. If a sister is dressed orderly, and taste is manifested in her dress, the trial is raised, the sister is proud. I saw that some are withering spiritually. They have been watching for every fault to make trouble with. They neglect their own souls. They seldom see or feel their own faults, for they have had all they could do to watch the faults of others. A dress, a bonnet, an apron, takes their attention; they must talk with this one, and that one about the matter, and it is sufficient for them to dwell upon for weeks. All the religion a few poor souls have, is to watch the garments and acts of others, and find fault with them. Unless they reform, there will be no place in heaven for them, for with this spirit they would find fault with Jesus and angels.2SG 287.1

    Some who are very careless in their dwellings and of their persons, consider it pride to be neat and are tried with those who are neat and cleanly. I saw that neatness and order in dress, and cleanliness throughout the dwelling, should be strictly observed by Sabbath-keepers, who are looked upon as strange, and are watched for their faults. Their influence should be holy. The sacred truths which we profess will never degrade the receivers, and make them coarse and rough, neglectful of their persons, and untidy in their houses. If the receiver has slack habits, the truth elevates him, and works for him a thorough reformation. Unless the truth has this effect, the individual has not felt its saving power. A careless and disordered dress is no mark of humility. Here some have deceived themselves. The life, the acts, the words, will tell whether the individual possesses true humility, and the dress will correspond with the fruits manifested. A pure fountain cannot [send] forth sweet water and bitter. Cleanse the fountain and the streams will be pure. The house of God is often desecrated by Sabbath-keepers’ children. Their parents allow them to run about the house, play, talk, take the attention of the people, and manifest their evil tempers in the very meetings where they have assembled to worship God. I have seen that in the assembly of the saints a holy stillness should reign. But the house where God's people assemble is often made a perfect babylon, a place of confusion and disorder. This is displeasing to God. If the parents have not government, and cannot control their children in meeting, God would be better pleased for them to remain at home with their unruly children. They had better suffer the loss of meetings, than to have a large number annoyed, and their meetings spoiled. If parents leave their children uncontrolled, unsubdued at home, they cannot have them do as they wish in meeting. Who should be the sufferers in this case? Certainly, the parents. They should not feel afflicted if others do not wish to have their peace disturbed when they meet to worship God.2SG 288.1

    Parents, you must be the sufferers in this matter, and it may lead you to see and fulfill your neglected duty. If you carry your children to the house of God, they should be made to understand that they are where God meets with his people. There is not that order observed among Sabbath-keepers in this respect that there is in the nominal churches. Parents, you have a work to do. Subdue your children at home, and then you can govern them in the house of God.2SG 289.1

    The Lord has shown me that his grace is sufficient for all our trials; and although they are greater than ever before, yet if we trust wholly in God, we can overcome every temptation, and through his grace come off victorious.2SG 289.2

    If we overcome our trials, and obtain victory over the temptations of Satan, then we endure the trial of our faith, which is much more precious than gold, and are stronger, and better prepared to meet the next. But if we sink down, and give way to the temptations of Satan, we get no reward for the trial, and shall not be so well prepared for the next. In this way we shall grow weaker, and weaker, until we are led captive by Satan at his will. When temptations and trials rush in upon us, let us go to God, and agonize with him in prayer. He will give us grace and strength to overcome, and break the power of the enemy.2SG 290.1

    God has shown me that he gives his people a bitter cup to drink to purify and cleanse them. They can make it still more bitter by murmuring, complaining, and repining. But those who receive it thus, must have another draught, for the first does not have its designed effect upon the heart. And if the second does not effect the work, then they must have another, and another, until it does have its designed effect, or they will be left impure in heart. I saw that this bitter cup can be sweetened by patience, endurance and prayer, and that it will have its designed effect upon the hearts of those who thus received it, and God will be honored and glorified.2SG 290.2

    I have frequently seen that the children of the Lord neglect prayer, especially in secret; and that many do not exercise that faith which is their privilege and duty, and often wait for that feeling which faith alone can bring. Feeling is not faith, but the two are distinct. Faith is ours to exercise, but the blessing is God's to give. The grace of God comes to the soul through the channel of living faith, and that faith it is our power to exercise.2SG 291.1

    True faith lays hold of and claims the promised blessing before it is realized and felt. I have seen that we must send up our petitions in faith within the second vail, and take hold of the promised blessing, and claim it as ours. And we are then to believe that the blessing is ours, and that we receive it, because our faith has hold of it, and according to the Word it is ours. “What things soever ye desire when ye pray, believe that ye receive them, and ye shall have them.” Here is faith, naked faith, to believe that we receive the blessing, even before we realize it. When the promised blessing is realized and enjoyed, faith is swallowed up. But many suppose they have much faith when sharing largely of the Holy Spirit, and that they cannot have faith unless they feel the power of the Spirit. Such confound faith with the blessing that comes through faith. The very time to exercise faith is when we feel destitute of the Spirit. When thick clouds of darkness seem to hover over the mind, then is the time to let living faith pierce the darkness, and scatter the clouds. True faith rests on the promises contained in the word of God, and those only who obey the Word, can claim the glorious promises contained in it. “If ye abide in me, and my words abide in you, ye shall ask what ye will, and it shall be done unto you.” John 15:7. “Whatsoever we ask we receive of him, because we keep his commandments, and do those things that are pleasing in his sight.” 1 John 3:22.2SG 291.2

    As inquiries are frequently made as to my state in vision, and after I come out, I would say that when the Lord sees fit to give a vision, I am taken into the presence of Jesus and angels, and am entirely lost to earthly things. I can see no farther than the angel directs me. My attention is often directed to scenes transpiring upon earth.2SG 292.1

    At times I am carried far ahead into the future and shown what is to take place. Then again I am shown things as they have occurred in the past. After I come out of vision I do not at once remember all that I have seen, and the matter is not so clear before me until I write, then the scene rises before me as was presented in vision, and I can write with freedom. Sometimes the things which I have seen are hid from me after I come out of vision, and I cannot call them to mind until I am brought before a company where that vision applies, then the things which I have seen come to my mind with force. I am just as dependent upon the Spirit of the Lord in relating or writing a vision, as in having the vision. It is impossible for me to call up things which have been shown me unless the Lord brings them before me at the time that he is pleased to have me relate or write them.2SG 292.2

    It has been a matter of great perplexity to me to know what course to pursue with messages given me for individuals. I have often written messages of reproof for different ones, and given them to these persons, and they have laid them away, and have said nothing about them. Their course has shown in many instances that they were not affected by the messages, and they have continued to have a bad influence in the church, who were ignorant of the reproof given.2SG 293.1

    My course is now clear to wrong the church no longer. If reproofs are given I dare not commit them alone to the individuals to be buried up by them, but shall read what the Lord has seen fit to give me, to those of experience in the church, and if the case demands, bring it before the whole church. The great delicacy which some have manifested lest others should learn that they have been reproved, proceeds from a lack of humility, and unwillingness to acknowledge their wrongs. The minds of many have been abused by individuals that have been reproved by vision, and their minds prejudiced, because they had no knowledge of what the Lord had revealed. I shall keep these things secret no longer. God's people must know what the Lord has been pleased to reveal, that they be not deceived and led astray by a wrong spirit.2SG 293.2

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