The Work at Battle Creek. IN a vision given me at Bordoville, Vt., Dec. 10, 1871, I was shown that the position of my husband has been a very difficult one. The pressure of care and labor has been upon him. His brethren in the ministry have not had these burdens to bear, and they have not appreciated his labors. The constant pressure upon him has taxed him mentally and physically. I was shown his position to the people of God was similar, in some respects, to that of Moses to Israel. There were murmurers against Moses, when in adverse circumstances, and there have been murmurers against him.
There has been no one in the ranks of Sabbath-keepers who would do as my husband has done. He has devoted his interest almost entirely to the building up of the cause of God, regardless of his own personal interests, and at the sacrifice of social enjoyment with his family. In his devotion to the cause, he has frequently endangered his health and life. He has been so much pressed with the burden of this work that he has not had suitable time for study, meditation, and prayer. God has not required of him to be in this position, even for the interest and progress of the work of publishing at Battle Creek. There are other branches of the work, other interests of the cause, that have been neglected through his devotion to this one. God has given us both a testimony which will reach hearts. He has opened before me many channels of light, not only for my benefit, but for the benefit of his people at large. The Lord has also given my husband great light upon Bible subjects, not for himself alone, but for others. I saw that these things should be written and talked out, and new light would continue to shine upon the word. I saw that we could accomplish tenfold more to build up the cause, in laboring among the people of God, bearing the varied testimony to meet the wants of the cause of God in different places and under different circumstances, than to remain at Battle Creek. Our gifts are needed in the same field in writing and in speaking. While my husband is overburdened, as he has been, with an accumulation of cares and financial matters, his mind cannot be as fruitful in the word. And he will be liable to be assailed by the enemy, for he is in a position where there is a constant pressure, and men and women will be tempted, as were the Israelites, to complain and murmur against him who stands in the most responsible position to the cause and work of God. While standing under these burdens that no other one would venture to take, he has sometimes, under the pressure of care, spoken without due consideration and with apparent severity. He has sometimes censured those in the Office because they did not take care. And when needless mistakes have occurred, he has felt that indignation for the cause of God was justifiable in him. This course has not always been attended with the best results. It has sometimes resulted in a neglect to do the very things which they should do, for fear they should not do them right, and then would be blamed for it. Just as far as this has gone, the burden has fallen heavier upon my husband.
The better way would have been for him to have been from the Office more than he has, and left the work with others to do. And if they prove themselves unfaithful, or not capacitated for the work, after patient and fair trial, they should be discharged, and left to engage in business where their blunders and mistakes will effect their own personal interests and not the cause of God.
There were those who stood at the head of the business of the Publishing Association who were, to say the very least, unfaithful. And had those in particular who were associated with them as trustees been awake, and their eyes not blinded, and their sensibilities unparalyzed, they would have been separated from the work long before they were.
When my husband recovered from his long and severe sickness, he took the work confused and embarrassed as it was left by unfaithful men. He worked with all the resolution and strength of mind and body that he possessed, to bring the work up, and to redeem it from the disgraceful perplexity it had been brought into by those who had their own interests prominent, and who did not feel that it was a sacred work in which they were engaged. God's hand has been reached out in judgment over these unfaithful ones. Their course and the result should prove a warning to others, not to do as they have done.
The experience of my husband during the period of his sickness was unfortunate for him. He worked in this cause with interest and devotion as no other man had done. He had ventured and taken advance positions as Providence had led, regardless of censure or praise. He had stood alone and battled through physical and mental sufferings, not regarding his own interests, while those whom God designed should stand by his side left him when he most needed their help. He was not only left to battle and struggle without their help and sympathy, but frequently he had their opposition to meet, and they murmured against him who was doing tenfold more than any of them to build up the cause of God. All these things have had their influence, and have molded the mind that was once free from suspicion, trustful, and confiding, to lose confidence in his brethren. Those who have acted their part in bringing about this work will, in a great degree, be responsible for the result. God would have led them if they had earnestly and devotedly served him.
I was shown that my husband had given his brethren unmistakable evidences of his interest in, and devotion to, the work of God. After he had spent years of his life in privation and unceasing toil to establish the publishing interests upon a sure basis, he then gave away to the people of God that which was his own, and that which he could just as well have kept, and have received the profits from, had he chosen so to do. He showed the people in this act that he was not seeking to advantage himself, but to promote the cause of God.
When sickness came upon my husband, many acted in the same unfeeling manner toward him that the Pharisees did toward the unfortunate and oppressed. The Pharisees would tell the suffering ones that their afflictions were on account of their sins, and that the judgments of God had come upon them. In thus doing, they would increase their weight of sufferings. When my husband fell under his weight of care, there were those who were merciless.
When beginning to recover, so that in his feebleness and poverty he commenced to labor some, he asked of those who then stood at the head of matters at the Office forty per cent discount on a one hundred dollar order for books. He was willing to pay sixty dollars for the books which he knew cost the Association only fifty dollars. He asked this special discount in view of his past labors and sacrifices in favor of the publishing department. But he was denied this small favor. He was coolly told that they could give him but twenty-five per cent discount. My husband thought this very hard, yet he tried to bear it in a Christian manner. God in Heaven marked the unjust decision, and from that time took the case in his own hands, and has returned the blessings removed, as he did to faithful Job. And from the time of that heartless decision he has been working for his servant. God raised him up above his former health of body, clearness and strength of mind, and freedom of spirit. And he has, since that time, had the pleasure of passing out with his own hands thousands of dollars' worth of our publications without price. God will not utterly forget nor forever forsake those who have been faithful, even if in their course errors sometimes occur.
My husband has had a zeal for God and for the truth, and at times this zeal has led him to overlabor, to the injury of physical and mental strength. But this was not regarded of God as great a sin as that of neglect and unfaithfulness of his servants in reproving wrongs. Those who praised the unfaithful, and flattered the unconsecrated, were sharers in their sin of neglect and unfaithfulness.
God has given my husband especial qualifications, natural ability, and he selected him and gave him an experience to lead out his people in the advance work. There have been murmurers among Sabbath-keeping Adventists as was among ancient Israel, and these jealous, suspicious ones have given occasion to the enemies of our faith, by their suggestions and insinuations, to distrust my husband's honesty. These jealous ones of the same faith have placed matters before the unbelievers in a false light. These impressions stand in the way of many embracing the truth. They regard my husband as a schemer, a selfish, avaricious man, and they are afraid of him, and the truth we as a people hold. Ancient Israel, when their appetite was restricted, or when any close requirement was brought to bear upon them, reflected upon Moses; that he was arbitrary, that he wished to rule them, and be altogether a prince over them, when Moses was only an instrument in God's hands to bring his people into a position of submission and obedience to God's voice.
Modern Israel have murmured and become jealous of my husband because he has plead for the cause of God. He has encouraged liberality, he has rebuked those who loved this world, and has censured selfishness. He has plead for donations to the cause of God, and has led off by liberal donations himself, to encourage liberality with his brethren; but by many murmurers and jealous ones, even this has been interpreted that he wished to be personally benefited with the means of his brethren, and that he had enriched himself at the expense of the cause of God, when the facts in the case are, that God has entrusted means in his hands to raise him above want so that he need not be dependent upon the mercies of a changeable, murmuring, and jealous people. Because we have not selfishly studied our own interest, but have cared for the widow and the fatherless, God has in his providence worked in our behalf, and blessed us with prosperity and an abundance.
Moses had sacrificed a prospective kingdom, a life of worldly honor and luxury in kingly courts, chosing rather to suffer affliction with the people of God, than to enjoy the pleasure of sin for a season, for he esteemed the reproach of Christ greater riches than all the treasures of Egypt. Had we chosen a life of ease and freedom from labor and care we might have done so. But this was not our choice. We chose active labor in the cause of God, an itinerant life with all its hardships, privations, and exposure, to a life of indolence. We have not lived for ourselves, to please ourselves, but we have tried to live for God, to please and glorify him. We have not made it an object to labor for property; but God has fulfilled his promise in giving us an hundred-fold in this life. He may prove us by removing it away from us. If so, we pray for submission to humbly bear the test.
While he has committed to our trust talents of money and influence, we will try to invest it in his cause, that should fires consume and adversity diminish, we can have the pleasure of knowing that all our treasure is not where fires can consume or adversity sweep away. The investment of our time, our interest, and our means in the cause of God is a sure bank that can never fail―a treasure in the Heavens that faileth not.
I was shown that my husband has had three-fold the care he should have had. He has felt tried that brethren —— and —— did not help him bear his responsibilities, and has felt grieved because they did not help him in the business matters in connection with the Institute and Association. There has been a continual advance of the work of publication since the unfaithful have been separated from it. As the work increased, there should have been men to have shared the responsibilities; but some who could do this had no desire, because it would not increase their possessions as much as some more lucrative business. There is not that talent in our Office that there should be. The work demands the most choice and select persons to engage in it. With the present state of things in the Office, my husband will still feel the pressure that he has felt, but which he should no longer bear. And it is only by a miracle of God's mercy that he has stood under the burden so long. But there are now many things to be considered. He has by his devotion to the work, and persevering care, shown what may be done in the publishing department. Men with unselfish interests combined with sanctified judgment, may make the work at the Office a success. My husband has so long borne the burden alone that it has told fearfully upon his strength, and there is a positive necessity for a change. He must be relieved from care to great degree, and yet he can work in the cause of God in speaking and writing.
When we returned from Kansas in the autumn of 1870, we both should have had a period of rest. Weeks of freedom from care was necessary to bring up our exhausted energies. But when we found the important post at Battle Creek nearly deserted, we felt compelled to take hold of the work with double energies, and labored beyond our strength. I was shown that my husband should stand there no longer, unless there are men who will feel the wants of the cause and bear the burdens of the work, while he shall simply act as a counsellor. He must lay the burden down; for God has an important work for him to do in writing and speaking the truth. Our influence in laboring in the wide field will tell more for the upbuilding of the cause of God. There is a great amount of prejudice in many minds. False statements have placed us in a wrong position before the people, and this is in the way of many embracing the truth. If they are made to believe that those who occupy responsible positions in the work at Battle Creek are designing and fanatical, they conclude that the entire work is wrong, and that our views of Bible truth must be incorrect, and they fear to investigate and receive the truth. But we are not to go forth to call the people to look to us; we are not to generally speak of ourselves, and vindicate our character; but to speak the truth, exalt the truth, speak of Jesus, exalt Jesus, and this, attended by the power of God, will remove prejudice and disarm opposition. Brn. —— and —— love to write; so does my husband. And God has let his light shine upon his word and let him into a field of rich thought that would be a blessing to the people of God at large. While he has borne a triple burden, some of his ministering brethren have let the responsibility drop heavily upon him, consoling themselves with the thought that God had placed Bro. White at the head of the work and qualified him for it, and he had not fitted them for the position, therefore they have not taken the responsibility and borne the burdens they might have borne.
There should be men to feel the same interest my husband has felt. There never has been a more important period in the history of Seventh-day Adventists than at the present time. Instead of the publishing work diminishing, the demand for our publications is greatly increasing. There will be more to do instead of less. My husband has been murmured against so much, and has contended with jealousy and falsehood so long, and he has seen so little faithfulness in men, that he has become suspicious of almost every one, even of his own brethren in the ministry. The ministering brethren have felt this, and for fear that they should not move wisely, in many instances, have not moved at all. But the time has come when these men must unitedly labor and lift the burdens. The ministering brethren lack faith and confidence in God. They believe the truth, and in the fear of God they should unite their efforts and bear the burdens of this work which God has laid upon them. If after one has done the best he can in his judgment, and the other thinks he can see where he could have improved the matter, he should kindly and patiently give the brother the benefit of his judgment, but should not censure or question his integrity of purpose any sooner than he would wish to be suspected or unjustly censured himself. If the brother who feels the cause of God at heart sees, in his earnest efforts to do, that he has made a failure, he will feel deeply over the matter, for he will be inclined to distrust himself, and lose confidence in his own judgment; nothing will weaken his courage and God-like manhood, like a sense of his mistakes and errors that he has made in the work God has appointed him to do, which work he loves better than his life. How unjust then for his brethren that discover his errors to keep pressing the thorn deeper and deeper into his heart, to make him feel more intensely when with every thrust he is weakening faith, courage, and confidence, in himself to do, and to work successfully in the upbuilding of the cause of God. Frequently the truth and facts are to be plainly spoken to the erring to make them see and feel their error, that they may reform. But this should ever be done with pitying tenderness, not with harshness or severity, but consider their own weakness, lest they also be tempted. When the fault is seen and acknowledged, then comfort should be given instead of grieving him, and seeking to make him feel more deeply. In the sermon of Christ upon the mount, he said, "Judge not, that ye be not judged; for with what judgment ye judge, ye shall be judged; and with what measure ye mete, it shall be measured to you again." Our Saviour reproved for rash judgment. "Why beholdest thou the mote in thy brother's eye;" and, "behold a beam is in thine own eye." It is frequently the case that while one is quick to discern the errors of his brethren, he may be in greater faults himself, and is blind to his own errors. We should, all who are followers of Christ, deal with one another exactly as we wish the Lord to deal with us in our errors and weaknesses, for we are all erring, and need pity and forgiveness of God. Jesus consented to take human nature, that he might know how to pity, and that he might know how to plead with his Father in behalf of sinful, erring mortals. He volunteered to become man's advocate, and he humiliated himself to become acquainted with the temptations wherewith man was beset, that he might succor those who should be tempted, and he be a tender and faithful high priest.
There is frequent necessity for plainly rebuking sin and reproving wrong. But ministers engaged in the work of the salvation of their fellow-men, should not be pitiless toward the errors of one another, and should not make prominent the defects in their organization. They should not expose or reprove their weaknesses. They should inquire if such a course would bring about the desired effect with themselves, would it increase their love for, and confidence in, the one who thus made prominent their mistakes. Especially should the mistakes of ministers who are engaged in the work of God be kept within as small a circle as possible, for there are many weak ones who will take advantage if they are aware that those who minister in word and doctrine have weaknesses like other men. And it is a most cruel thing for the faults of a minister to be exposed to unbelievers, if that minister in future is counted worthy to labor for the salvation of souls. No good can come of this exposure, but only harm. God frowns upon this course, for it is undermining the confidence of the people in those whom God accepts to carry forward his work. The character of every fellow-laborer should be jealously guarded by brother ministers. Saith God, "Touch not mine anointed, and do my prophets no harm." Love and confidence should be cherished. A lack of love and confidence in one minister for another does not increase the happiness of the one thus deficient, but as he makes his brother unhappy, he is unhappy himself. There is greater power in love than was ever found in censure. Love will melt its way through barriers, while censure will close up every avenue of the soul.
My husband must have a change. Losses may occur at the Office of publication for want of his long experience; but the loss of money cannot bear any comparison to the health and life of God's servant. The income of means may not be as large for want of economical managers. But if my husband should fail again it would dishearten his brethren and weaken their hands. Means cannot come in as an equivalent.
There is much to be done. Missionaries should be in the field, willing, if need be, to go to foreign countries to present the truth before those who sit in darkness. But there is little disposition among young men to consecrate themselves to God, and to devote their talents to his service. They are too willing to shun responsibilities and burdens. They are not obtaining an experience in burden-bearing, nor in the knowledge of the Scriptures, that they should have to fit them for the work that God would accept at their hands. It is the duty of all to see how much they can do for the Master who has died for them. But many are seeking to do just as little as possible, and cherish the faint hope of getting into Heaven. It is their privilege to have stars in their crown because of souls saved through their instrumentality. But, alas! indolence and spiritual sloth prevail everywhere. Selfishness and pride occupy a large place in their hearts, and there is but little room for heavenly things.
In the prayer Christ taught his disciples was the request, "Forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us." We cannot repeat this prayer from the heart and dare to be unforgiving, for we ask the Lord to forgive our trespasses against him in the same manner we forgive those who trespass against us. But few realize the true import of this prayer. If those who are unforgiving did comprehend the depth of its meaning, they would not dare to repeat it, and ask God to deal with them as they deal with their fellow-mortals. And yet this spirit of hardness and lack of forgiveness exists, even among brethren, to a fearful extent. Brother is exacting with brother.