Dear Brethren: The Lord has shown me in vision some things in regard to the East and the West which I feel it my duty to set before you. I saw that God has been opening the way for the spread of present truth in the West. It requires much more power to move the people in the East than in the
West, and at present but very little can be accomplished in the East. Special efforts should be made at the present time where most good will result.
The people in the East have heard the proclamation of the second coming of Christ, and have seen much of the display of the power of God, and have fallen back into a state of indifference and security where it is almost impossible to reach them at present. After uncommon efforts are made in the East, with the best gifts, but very little is accomplished.
I saw that the people in the West could be moved much more easily than those in the East. They have not had the light of the truth, and have not rejected it, and their hearts are more tender and susceptible to the truth and the Spirit of God. The hearts of many in the West are already prepared to eagerly receive the truth; and as the servants of God go out to labor for the salvation of precious souls, they have much to encourage them in their arduous work. As the people are anxious to hear, and many embrace the truth, the gift which God has given His servants is called out and strengthened. They see that their efforts are crowned with success.
I saw that tenfold more has been accomplished in the West than in the East with the same effort, and that the way is opening for still greater success. I have seen that much can be done at present in Wisconsin, and still more in Illinois, and that efforts to spread the truth must be made in Minnesota and Iowa. It will take effect in many hearts there. There was a large, very large, field of labor spread out before me in vision, which has not yet been entered; but there is not self-sacrificing help enough to fill half the places where the people are all ready to hear the truth, and many to receive it.
New fields of labor, entirely new, must be visited; many will have to go a warfare at their own charges, enter such fields with the expectation of bearing their own expenses. Here, I saw, is a good opportunity for the stewards of the Lord to act their part and support those who carry the truth
to these places. It should be a great privilege for these stewards to render to God that which belongs to Him. By so doing they will discharge a Scriptural duty and free themselves of a portion of their earthly treasure, which is now a burden to many who have an abundance. It will also add to their treasure in heaven.
I saw that the Eastern tent should not be carried over and over the same ground. If need be, those who accompany the tent should go a warfare at their own charges; they should pitch the tent where the truth has not been presented, and the tent when thus pitched should be well supplied with laborers.
I saw that there had been a failure in going over the same old ground, year after year, with almost exactly the same gifts. If possible, the most acceptable gifts should be obtained. It would be better, and accomplish more good, if there were fewer tent meetings, and a stronger force, or company, with different gifts to labor. Then there should be a longer tarry in a place where an interest is awakened. There has been too much haste in taking down the tent. Some begin to be favorably impressed, and there is need that persevering efforts be put forth till their minds become settled and they commit themselves on the truth. In many places where the tent has been pitched, the ministers stay till the prejudice begins to wear away, and some would then listen with minds free from prejudice; but just then the tent is taken down and sent on its way to another place. The rounds are gone over, time and means spent, and the servants of God can see but very little accomplished through the tent season. But few are brought to acknowledge the truth, and God's servants, having seen but very little to cheer and encourage them, and call out the gift within them, lose instead of gaining in strength, spirituality, and power.
I saw that special efforts should be made in the West with tents; for the angels of God are preparing minds there to
receive the truth. This is why God has moved on some in the East to move to the West. Their gifts can accomplish more in the West than in the East. The burden of the work is in the West, and it is of the greatest importance that the servants of God should move in His opening providence.
I saw that when the message shall increase greatly in power, then the providence of God will open and prepare the way in the East for much more to be accomplished than can be at the present time. God will then send some of His servants in power to visit places where little or nothing can now be done, and some who are now indifferent will be aroused and will take hold of the truth.[* THE REMAINDER OF THIS ARTICLE IS FROM A VISION GIVEN AT ROUND GROVE, ILLINOIS, DECEMBER 9, 1856.]
I saw that God has warned those who have moved from the East to the West. He has shown them their duty, that it must not be their object to get rich, but to do good to souls, to live out their faith, and tell those around them that this world is not their home.
The warning was sufficient, if it had been heeded; but many failed to consider what God had shown. They rushed on and on, and became drunk with the spirit of the world. "Look back," said the angel, "and weigh all that God has shown in regard to those moving from the East to the West." Have you obeyed it? I saw that you had gone entirely contrary to God's teachings, purchased largely, and instead of your works saying to those around you that you are seeking a better country, they have plainly declared that your home and treasure were here. Your works have denied your faith.
Nor is this all. The love that should exist between brethren has been lacking. "Am I my brother's keeper?" has been manifest; a selfish, covetous spirit has been in the hearts of the brethren. Instead of looking out for the interests of the brethren and caring for them, there has been manifested in deal a close, selfish spirit that God despises. Those who make
so high a profession, and who number themselves among the peculiar people of God, saying by their profession that they are zealous of good works, should be noble and generous, and should ever manifest a disposition to favor their brethren instead of themselves, and should give their brethren the best chance. Generosity begets generosity. Selfishness begets selfishness.
I saw that through the past summer the prevailing spirit has been to grasp as much of this world as possible. The commandments of God have not been kept. With the mind we serve the law of God; but the minds of many have been serving the world. And while their minds were all occupied with things of earth and serving themselves, they could not serve the law of God. The Sabbath has not been kept. By some the work of six days has been carried into the seventh. One hour, and even more, has often been taken from the commencement and close of the Sabbath.
Some of the Sabbathkeepers who say to the world that they are looking for Jesus' coming, and that they believe we are having the last message of mercy, give way to their natural feelings, and barter, and trade, and are a proverb among unbelievers for their keenness in trade, for being sharp, and always getting the best end of a bargain. Such would better lose a little and exert a better influence in the world, and a happier influence among brethren, and show that this world is not their God.
I saw that brethren should feel interested for one another. Especially should those who are blessed with health have a kind regard and care for those who have not good health. They should favor them. They should remember the lesson taught by Jesus of the good Samaritan.
Said Jesus: "Love one another, as I have loved you." How much? His love cannot be told. He left the glory that He had with the Father before the world was. "He was wounded
for our transgressions, He was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon Him; and with His stripes we are healed." He patiently bore every indignity and scorn. Behold His agony in the garden, when He prayed that the cup might pass from Him! Behold His sufferings on Calvary! All this for guilty, lost man. And Jesus says: "Love one another, as I have loved you." How much? Well enough to give your life for a brother. But has it come to this, that self must be gratified, and the word of God neglected? The world is their God. They serve it, they love it, and the love of God has departed. If ye love the world, the love of the Father is not in you.
The word of God has been neglected. In that are the warnings to God's people which point out their dangers. But they have had so many cares and perplexities that they hardly allow themselves time to pray. There has been a mere empty form without the power. Jesus prayed, and, oh, how earnest were His prayers! And yet He was the beloved Son of God!
If Jesus manifested so much earnestness, so much energy and agony, how much more need for those whom He has called to be heirs of salvation, dependent upon God for all their strength, to have their whole souls stirred to wrestle with God and say: "I will not let Thee go, except Thou bless me." But I saw that hearts have been overcharged with the cares of this life, and that God and His word have been neglected.
I saw that it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle, than for a rich man to enter the kingdom. "Lay not up for yourselves treasures upon earth, where moth and rust doth corrupt, and where thieves break through and steal: but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust doth corrupt, and where thieves do not break through nor steal: for where your treasure is, there will your heart be also."
I saw that when the truth is presented, it should be in the power and Spirit. Bring the people to the point to decide. Show them the importance of the truth--it is life or death. With becoming zeal, pull souls out of the fire. But, oh, the blighting influence that has been cast by men professing to be waiting for their Lord, and yet possessing large and attractive lands! The farms have preached louder, yes, much louder, than words can, that this world is their home. The evil day is put off. Peace and safety reign. Oh, the withering, blighting influence! God hates such worldly-mindedness. "Cut loose, cut loose," were the words of the angel.
I was shown that all should have an eye single to the glory of God. Those who have possessions have been too willing to excuse themselves on account of wife and children. But I saw that God would not be trifled with. When He speaks, He must be obeyed. If wife or children stand in the way and hold back, they should say as Jesus said to Peter: "Get thee behind Me, Satan." Why tempt ye me to withhold from God what justly belongs to Him, and ruin my own soul? Have an eye single to the glory of God.
I saw that many would have to learn what it is to be a Christian--that it is not in name; but it is having the mind of Christ, submitting to the will of God in all things. Especially will the young who have never known what privations or hardships are, who have a set will, and do not bend that will to the glory of God, have a great work to do. They go along very smoothly until their will is crossed, and then they have no control over themselves. They have not the will of God before them. They do not study how they can best glorify God, or advance His cause, or do good to others. But it is self, self, how can it be gratified? Such religion is not worth a straw. Those who possess it will be weighed in the balance and found wanting.
The true Christian will love to wait and watch for the teachings of God and the leadings of His Spirit. But with
many, religion is merely a form. Vital Godliness is lacking. Many dare to say, I will do this, or that, or I will not do this; and the fear of offending God is scarcely thought of. Those thus described, I saw, could not enter heaven as they are. They may flatter themselves that they will be saved, but God has no pleasure in them. Their lives do not please Him. Their prayers are an offense to Him.
Christ now calls them: "Be zealous and repent." He kindly and faithfully admonishes them to buy gold, white raiment, and eyesalve. They can choose either to be zealous, and partake largely of salvation, or be spewed out of the mouth of the Lord as disgusting, and be thrust from Him. God will not bear always. He is of tender pity, yet His Spirit will be grieved away for the last time. Mercy's sweet voice will be no more heard. Its last precious notes will have died away, and those described will be left to their own ways, to be filled with their own doings.
I saw that those who profess to be looking for the coming of the Lord should not have a close, penurious spirit. Some of those who have been called to talk the truth, and to watch for souls as they that must give an account, have wasted much precious time for the sake of saving a little, when their time was worth a great deal more than that which they gained. This displeases God. It is right that economy should be used, but it has by some been stretched into meanness with no other object than to add to their treasures, which will shortly eat their flesh like fire, unless they as faithful stewards make a right disposal of their Lord's goods.