If all who have influence felt the necessity of co-operation and would seek to answer the prayer of Christ, that they may be one as He is one with the Father, the cause of present truth would be a power upon this coast. But the people of
God are asleep, and do not see the wants of the cause for this time. They do not feel the importance of concentrated action. Satan is ever seeking to divide the faith and hearts of God's people. He well knows that union is their strength, and division their weakness. It is important and essential that all of Christ's followers understand Satan's devices and with a united front meet his attacks and vanquish him. They need to make continual efforts to press together even if it be at some sacrifice to themselves.
The people of God, with various temperaments and organisations, are brought together in church capacity. The truth of God, received into the heart, will do its work of refining, elevating, and sanctifying the life and overcoming the peculiar views and prejudices of each. All should labour to come as near to one another as possible. All who love God and keep His commandments in truth will have influence with unbelievers and will win souls to Christ, to swell the glad songs of triumph and victory before the great white throne. Selfishness will be overcome, and overflowing love for Christ will be manifested in the burden they feel to save souls for whom He died.
I was shown many families who are not living as Jesus would have them; they have a work to do at home before they can make advancement in the divine life. I was shown the case of Brother B and was pointed back to the time when he first accepted the truth. It then had a transforming influence upon his life. Self was in a measure lost in the interest he felt for the truth. He sought to show his faith by his works, and his personal interests were made secondary. He loved the work of the Lord and cheerfully sought to advance the interest of His cause; the Lord accepted his efforts to serve Him, and the hand of the Lord prospered him.
I was shown that Brother B displeased God and brought great darkness upon himself when he set up his judgement in opposition to that of his brethren in regard to the true way to observe the Sabbath. Brother B's interest was at stake, and he refused to see the correct bearing of the question
under consideration. He never would have taken the course he did when he returned from the East, if he had been in the light. I was then carried to another point in his history and saw him journeying. While among unbelievers he did not let his light so shine before men that they by seeing his good works would glorify our Father which is in heaven. He was forgetful of God and of his duty to rightly represent his Saviour in every place and upon all occasions.
Brother B is especially weak upon some points; he loves praise and flattery; he loves pleasure and distinction. He exalted himself and talked much and prayed little, and God left him to his own weakness; for he did not bear fruit to the glory of God. On that journey he had an opportunity to do a great amount of good, but he did not realize that he was accountable to God for his talents and that as a steward of God he would be called to an account whether he had used his ability to please himself or to glorify God. If Brother B had felt the power of the love of Christ in his own heart, he would have felt an interest for the salvation of those with whom he was brought in contact, that he might speak to them words which would cause them to reflect in regard to their eternal interest.
He had an opportunity to sow the seed of truth, but he did not improve it as he should. He should have carried his religion with him while among his relatives. His holy profession and the truth of God should have blended with all his thoughts, feelings, words, and actions. Christ commands His followers to walk in the light. Walking means moving onward, exerting ourselves, exercising our ability, being actively engaged. Unless we exercise ourselves in the good work to which our Saviour has called us, and feel the importance of personal effort in this work, we shall have a sickly, stunted religion. We gain new victories by our experience in working. We gain activity and strength by walking in the light, that we may have energy to run in the way of God's commandments. We may gain an increase of strength at every step we advance heavenward. God will bless His people only
when they try to be a blessing to others. Our graces are matured and developed by exercise.
I was shown that while Brother B was at Battle Creek he was weak in moral power. He had not been seeking to cling to God and preserve his soul in purity of thought and action, and he was left to follow his own mind and to receive impressions that were detrimental to his spiritual interest. He met those who perverted the truth and was led by them to believe things that were untrue; and as he had opened the door to the enemy and received him as an angel of light, he was readily overcome by temptation.
He became wickedly prejudiced and was suspicious of the very ones in whom God would have him have confidence. He saw things in a perverted light, and the meetings, which should have been to him a great source of strength, were an injury. This was as Satan would have it, that Brother B might lose confidence in the men whom God had appointed to lead out in this work. He became at variance with them and with the heart of the work. He was like a vessel at sea without an anchor or a rudder. If he could not have confidence in those at the head of the work he would have confidence in no one.
Brother B has but little reverence or respect for his brethren; he thinks that his judgement and his knowledge and abilities are superior to theirs; therefore he will not receive anything from them, nor trust to their judgement, nor seek to counsel with them, unless he can lead and teach them. He will act according to his own judgement, irrespective of his brethren's feelings, their griefs, or entreaties. When he separated his confidence from the heart of the work, Satan knew that, unless this confidence could be restored, he was sure of him. Brother B's eternal interest depends upon his accepting and respecting the helps and governments which God has been pleased to place in the church. If he follows a course of his own choosing he will eventually find out that he has been altogether upon a wrong track and that he has deceived himself to his ruin. He will take first one turn, then another, and yet after all miss the true and only path which leads to heaven.
There are thousands who are travelling the road of darkness and error, the broad road which leads to death, who flatter themselves that they are in the path to happiness and heaven; but they will never find the one nor reach the other. Brother B needs the helps that God has placed in the church, for he cannot constitute a church of himself, and yet his course shows that he would be satisfied to be a complete church, subject to none. Brother B long since lost his consecration to God; he did not guard the avenue of his soul against the suggestions of Satan. I saw that angels of God were writing his words and actions. He was going further and further from the light of heaven. When the grace of God does not especially control you, Brother B, you are a hard man to connect with. You have great self-confidence and firmness, which are felt in your family and in the church. You have but little reverence and respect for anyone. You do not possess the grace of humility.
Brother B returned to this coast in great darkness; he had lost his love for the truth and his love for God. His natural feelings controlled him, and he was proud. He loved himself, and he loved money better than he loved the truth and his Redeemer. I was shown that his course after he returned to the coast was a dishonour to the Christian name. I saw him joining hands with the gay lovers of pleasure. He grieved his brethren and wounded his Saviour and put Him to open shame before unbelievers. I saw that from this time he did not take pleasure in the service of God or in the advancement of the truth. He seemed to possess a zeal to search the Scriptures and different authors, not that he might become established upon important points of present truth which the providence of God had furnished him through men of His choice, but to find a new position and to advance new views in opposition to the established faith of the body. His researches were not made for the glory of God, but to promote self.
When Brother B once takes a position on the wrong side, it is not according to his nature to see his error and confess
his wrong, but to fight it out to the last, whatever may be the consequences. This spirit is ruinous to the church and ruinous in his family. He needs to soften his heart and let in tenderness, humility, and love. He needs benevolence and noble generosity. In short, he needs to be thoroughly converted, to be a new man in Christ Jesus. Then his influence in the church will be all right and he will be just the help they need. He will have the respect and love of his family and will command his household after him. Duty and love like twin sisters, will be his helps in the management of his children.
I saw that Sister B had much to grieve over in the course that her husband had pursued toward her; that her life had been very sad, when he was able to make it happy. She seemed to be dispirited and to keenly feel that she was neglected and unloved by her husband. In his absence she at times felt nearly distracted and became jealous and distrustful in regard to him. Satan was present with his temptations, and she looked upon some things in an exaggerated light. All this might have been saved had Brother B preserved his consecration to God. I was carried on still further and saw that he was walking in unbelief and darkness while he was flattering himself that he alone had the true light. The further he separated from God the less love did he have for his brethren and for the truth.
I was shown Brother B questioning one after another of the points of our faith which have brought us out from the world and made us a separate and distinct people, looking for the blessed hope and the glorious appearing of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. His unbelief and darkness have not moved the main pillars of our faith. The truth of God is not made of none effect by him. It remains the truth still, but he has had some influence upon the minds of his brethren. The reports of lying lips in regard to my husband and me, which he brought from the East, had an influence to create suspicions and doubts in the minds of others. Those unacquainted with us could not stand in our defence. The church in -----, I saw, might have numbered three times as
many as it now does, and might have had tenfold greater strength, had not Brother B played himself into the hands of the enemy. In his blind unbelief he has done all that he could to discourage and scatter the believers in the truth. In his blindness he has not realised that his course was grievous in the sight of God. The discouragement and darkness which he has caused have made the labours of Brother C doubly hard, for his influence has not only been felt by the church in -----, but by other churches.
Brother B has strengthened unbelief and an opposing influence which Brother C has had to meet. I saw that we would meet the same and that it would take time to eradicate the old root of bitterness whereby many have been defiled; that there is a time to speak and a time to keep silent; that when God should lay upon us the burden to speak we should not hesitate, whether men would hear or whether they would forbear; and that we should press the matter through if it left some outside the church and outside the truth. God has a great and important work for somebody to do in -----, and at the right time it will be done, and truth will triumph.
Those of our brethren who had not obtained an experience for themselves in present truth could not answer the arguments of Brother B, and although they could not receive the views advocated by him, they were more or less affected by his talk and reasoning. Some have felt no spirit of freedom when they met for worship. They were afraid upon the Sabbath to speak out their real feelings and faith, expecting that he would criticise what they would say. There has been death in the meetings and but little freedom.
Brother B desires that others should look up to him as a man who can explain the Scriptures, but I was shown that he is deceived and does not understand them. He has started upon a wrong track in seeking to get up a new faith, an original theory of faith. He would uproot and misplace those waymarks which show us our correct bearings, that we are near the close of this earth's history. He may flatter himself that he is being led of the Lord, but it is surely another spirit.
Unless he changes his course entirely, and is willing to be led and to learn, he will be left to follow his own ways and make entire shipwreck of faith.
Some have been so blinded by their own unbelief that they could not discern the spirit of Brother B. They might have been helped by him if he had been standing in the counsel of God. He could have led them to the light instead of increasing their confusion of faith and their perplexities. But he has been a stumbling block, a blind leader of the blind. Had he made straight paths for his feet, the lame would not have been turned out of the way, but would have been healed. He has refused to walk in the light of truth which God has given His people, and those who would walk in the light he has hindered.
He feels that it is an honour to suggest doubts and unbelief in regard to the established faith of God's commandment-keeping people. The truth that he once rejoiced in is now darkness to him, and, unless he changes his course, he will fall back into a mixture of the views of the different denominations, but will agree in the whole with none of them; he will be a distinct church of himself, but not under the control of the great Head of the church. By bringing his views in opposition to the faith of the body, he is disheartening and discouraging the church. He sees that if the body of Sabbathkeepers have the truth he is in darkness, and this he cannot admit. The truth condemns him, and instead of seeking to bring his soul into harmony with it, surrendering to its claims and dying to self, he is seeking a position where he will not be under condemnation.
I was shown that if he continues in his present course, blinded to his real condition, he will be glad after a while to find some pretext for giving up the Sabbath. Satan is surely leading him, as he has led many others, away from the body in a course of deception and error. How much safer for Brother B to bring his soul into harmony with the truth than to misinterpret Scripture to bring it into harmony with his ideas and actions. If he would bring his actions into harmony with the principles of God's law he has a task on his hands
of which he has scarcely dreamed. The carnal heart is at enmity with God. It is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be.
The insinuations and open speeches of those who are our enemies in Battle Creek were received by Brother B while on his journey East, and he returned with bitter and wicked feelings in his heart against those at the heart of the work and especially against me and my work. He had no good reason for the feelings he cherished and the views he expressed in regard to my labours and testimonies. The unbelief and prejudice which had corrupted his own soul he sought to instil into the minds of others. He did this with considerable effect. At first, many were influenced by his sophistry and darkness, for he can make assertions and draw inferences as though he were handling positive facts. He knows how to press matters and is of ready speech. His words had influence with some who were unconsecrated and who wished to have it just as he represented in regard to our work and our calling. He had influence and excited prejudice in the minds of some whom we could have helped, had he not closed our way so that we could not gain access to them. Of this class were Brother and Sister D.
In this Brother B may see the fruits of his course, and there are others who were influenced in the same way, with the same results, so far as their faith and confidence in the truth are concerned. As soon as Brother B or any others decide that the men who have had the most to do in bringing the cause of present truth up to its present condition are not led of God, but are scheming and designing men, deceiving the people, then the course for them to pursue in order to be consistent is to renounce the entire work as a delusion, a fraud. In order to be consistent, they must throw all overboard. This Brother B has almost imperceptibly to himself been doing, and this others have done. He will at some future time, if not now, review his work with different feelings than he now has. He will see the work which he has been doing during the past few years as God sees it, and will not
view it with the satisfaction he now feels. When he sees the miserable work in which he has been engaged for a few years past, his proud boasting of wisdom and superior knowledge will have an end, and he will repent in bitterness of soul, for the blood of souls is on his garments.
If Brother B had wanted to view things correctly and had felt the possibility of being deceived, he would have come to Brother and Sister White with the reports injurious to their reputation and would have given them an opportunity to speak for themselves. The reports which he brought away across the plains to the Pacific Coast bear false witness, thus breaking the law of God. He will one day meet the hard speeches, as well as the deceptive sophistry instigated by Satan, which he has instilled into minds to injure the influence of my husband and myself. This matter lies not between Brother B and me, but between him and God.
God has given us our work, and if He has given us a message to bear to His people, those who would hinder us in the work and weaken the faith of the people in its truth and verity are not fighting against the instrument, but against God, and they must answer to Him for the result of their words and actions. All who have spiritual discernment may judge of the tree by its fruits. Brother B stands forth as one enlightened by God to undeceive the people in regard to our work and mission. All may see, if they will, the fruit growing upon this tree. Brother B, is it to eternal life, or is it to death?
After Brother B received from Battle Creek this special knowledge, which led him to take a course to belittle our work and mission, he felt at liberty to join with the unbelieving in the dissipation of pleasure, and by his levity of conduct he brought reproach upon the cause of Christ and great suffering upon his wife. Was he so blinded that he had no conviction that he was seeking to tear down what God was building up? Had he no thoughts that he might be fighting against God? The work which he has been doing angels have recorded in heaven, and he will have to answer for it when
every work shall be brought into judgement to bear the inspection of the infinite God. In his blindness Brother B has been lifting his puny arm to fight against God while flattering his deceived soul that he was doing God service. Every man's work is to be tried by the fire of the last day, and only gold, silver, and precious stones will stand the test.
God will not be trifled with. He may bear long with men, but He will visit their transgressions and render to every man as his works have been. Although men may talk boastingly and pride themselves upon their wisdom, one breath from the lips of God can bring their honour and glorying to the dust. I was shown that Brother B will be inexcusable in the day of God, when every case is weighed in the balances of the sanctuary. He knows better than to do as he has done. He has had sufficient evidence to determine the character of the work which God has committed to us. The fruits of this work are before him, which he can see and understand if he will.
Brother B's self-confidence is most wonderful, and is a fearful snare to him. If he does not overcome this dangerous trait in his character, it will prove his ruin. He is in his natural element when he is battling and controverting points of doctrine; he will question and quibble and be at variance with his brethren until Satan so controls his mind that he really thinks that he has the truth and his brethren are in error. He does not stand in the light and has not the blessing of God, for it constitutes a part of his religion to oppose the settled points of God's commandment-keeping people. Are all these deceived? and is Brother B the only man to whom God has given correct truth? Is not God just as willing to give His devoted, self-sacrificing servants a correct understanding of the Scriptures as to give it to Brother B for them?
Does Brother B try his course by this simple test: "Does this light and knowledge that I have found, and which places me at variance with my brethren, draw me more closely to Christ? does it make my Saviour more precious to me and make my character more closely resemble His?" It is a natural, but not a pleasing, trait in our characters to be keen in
our perceptions, and tenacious in our remembrance, of the faults and failings of others.
Brother B does not try to be in union with his brethren; his self-confidence has led him to feel no special necessity for union. He feels that their minds have been cast in a mould inferior to his own and that to receive their opinions and counsel as worthy of attention would be a great condescension. This self-confidence has shut him away from the love and sympathy of his brethren and from union with them. He feels that he is too wise and experienced to need the precautions which are indispensable to many. He has so high an opinion of his own abilities and such a reliance upon his own attainments that he believes himself prepared for any emergency. Said the heavenly angels, pointing to Brother B: "Let him that thinketh he standeth take heed lest he fall." Self-confidence leads to neglect of watchfulness and of humble, penitential prayer. There are outward temptations to be shunned and inward foes and perplexities to be overcome, for Satan adapts his temptations to the different characters and temperaments of individuals.
The church of Christ is in constant peril. Satan is seeking to destroy the people of God, and one man's mind, one man's judgement, is not sufficient to be trusted. Christ would have His followers brought together in church capacity, observing order, having rules and discipline, and all subject one to another, esteeming others better than themselves. Union and confidence are essential to the prosperity of the church. If each member of the church feels at liberty to move independently of the others, taking his own peculiar course, how can the church be in any safety in the hour of danger and peril? The prosperity and very existence of a church depend upon the prompt, united action and mutual confidence of its members. When, at a critical time, one sounds the alarm of danger, there is need of prompt and active work, without stopping to question and canvass the whole subject from end to end, thus letting the enemy gain every advantage by delay, when united action might save many souls from perdition.
God wants His people to be united in the closest bonds of Christian fellowship; confidence in our brethren is essential to the prosperity of the church; union of action is important in a religious crisis. One imprudent step, one careless action, may plunge the church into difficulties and trials from which it may not recover for years. One member of the church filled with unbelief may give an advantage to the great foe that will affect the prosperity of the entire church, and many souls may be lost as the result. Jesus would have His followers subject one to another; then God can use them as instruments to save one another; for one may not discern the dangers which another's eye is quick to perceive; but if the undiscerning will in confidence obey the warning, they may be saved great perplexities and trials.
As Jesus was about to leave His disciples, He prayed for them in a most touching, solemn manner that they all might be one "as Thou, Father, art in Me, and I in Thee, that they also may be one in Us: that the world may believe that Thou hast sent Me. And the glory which Thou gavest Me I have given them; that they may be one, even as We are one: I in them, and Thou in Me, that they may be made perfect in one; and that the world may know that Thou hast sent Me, and hast loved them, as Thou hast loved Me." The apostle Paul in his first epistle to the Corinthians exhorts them to unity: "Now I beseech you, brethren, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that ye all speak the same thing, and that there be no divisions among you; but that ye be perfectly joined together in the same mind and in the same judgement."
God is leading a people out from the world upon the exalted platform of eternal truth, the commandments of God and the faith of Jesus. He will discipline and fit up His people. They will not be at variance, one believing one thing, and another having faith and views entirely opposite, each moving independently of the body. Through the diversity of the gifts and governments that He has placed in the church, they will all come to the unity of the faith. If one man takes
his views of Bible truth without regard to the opinions of his brethren, and justifies his course, alleging that he has a right to his own peculiar views, and then presses them upon others, how can he be fulfilling the prayer of Christ? And if another and still another arises, each asserting his right to believe and talk what he pleases without reference to the faith of the body, where will be that harmony which existed between Christ and His Father, and which Christ prayed might exist among His brethren?
God is leading out a people and establishing them upon the one great platform of faith, the commandments of God and the testimony of Jesus. He has given His people a straight chain of Bible truth, clear and connected. This truth is of heavenly origin and has been searched for as for hidden treasure. It has been dug out through careful searching of the Scriptures and through much prayer.
Brother B is doubting point after point of our faith. If he is right in his new theories, the body of Sabbathkeepers is wrong. Shall the established faith in the strong points of our position, which has led us out from the world and united us a distinct and peculiar people, be given up as erroneous? Shall we receive the faith of this one man, with the evidences he gives us of the fruits of his religious character? Or will Brother B yield his judgement and opinions, and come to the body? If he had not blinded his soul by receiving prejudice, and by cherishing wicked opposition to the work of God, he would not have been left to such darkness and deception.
He is a ready talker and will persistently urge his opinions and will not yield to the weight of evidence against him. It is cruel for him to stand in the way of the prosperity of the church, as he has done. The world is large; he has all the privileges that he can ask of going out among unbelievers and converting them to his theories; and when he can present a well-organized body that he has been the means of converting from sin to righteousness, then, and not before, should he press his peculiar views upon the church of God, which is
pained and disheartened with his darkness and error. He has no right to build upon another man's foundation his wood, hay, and stubble to be consumed by the fires of the last day.
I was shown that the only safe position for Brother B is to sit at the feet of Jesus and learn the way of life more perfectly. His doctrine shall drop as the rain, and His speech shall distil as the dew, upon the heart of the humble and teachable. Brother B must obtain a teachable disposition. He is not to sit as a judge, but as a learner; not to cavil, but to believe; not to question and find fault and oppose, but to listen. Pride must give way to humility, and prejudice must be exchanged for candour, or the gracious words of Christ will be in vain to him. My brother, you may reason with your blind judgement and unsanctified mind until the day of God and not advance a step toward heaven; you may debate and investigate and search learned authors, and even the Scriptures, and yet grow more and more self-deceived, and become darker and darker, as did the Jews in reference to Christ. What was their fault? They rejected the light which God had already given them and were seeking for some new light by which they might so interpret the Scriptures as to sustain their actions.
You are doing the same; you pass over the light that God has seen fit to give you in the publications upon present truth and in His word, and are seeking doctrines of your own, theories which cannot be sustained by the word of God. When you become as a little child, willing to be led, and when your understanding is sanctified and your will and prejudices surrendered, such a light will be shed abroad in your heart as will illumine the Scriptures and show you present truth in its beautiful harmony. It will appear like a golden chain, link joined to link in a perfect whole. "Except ye be converted, and become as little children, ye shall not enter into the kingdom of heaven." "Learn of Me," says Christ; "for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls."
If you have indeed entered the school of Christ, He expects you to manifest in your character and deportment the
lowliness which is so beautifully exemplified in His character. Christ will not undertake to teach the self-righteous, self-conceited, and self-willed. If such come to Him with the inquiry, What is truth? He gives them no answer. It is only the meek that He will guide in judgement; the meek will He teach His way. Solomon was naturally endowed with good judgement and large reasoning powers, but he acknowledged himself before God as a little child. He sought for wisdom from God with humility, and he sought not in vain. If you really search for the truth with the right motive you will come with the body, for they have the truth. If you are searching the Scriptures and different authors that you may find doctrines which will coincide with your own preconceived opinions, and if you have already settled your faith, then you will be boastful, self-confident, and unyielding.