Since our visit to Ohio in the spring of 1858, H has done what he could to exert an influence against us; and where he thought he could affect individuals, he has done so by circulating reports to stir up wrong feelings. When we visited Ohio in the spring of 1858, a message was given me in
regard to him and his family. This testimony was given to him. But very few persons knew that I had a message for him. He rose in rebellion against it, and, like some others who have been reproved, took the position that persons had prejudiced my mind against his family, when the vision pointed out the same faults in them that I had repeatedly seen for ten years. He said that he believed the visions, but that I was influenced by others in writing them.
What a conclusion! The Lord has a special work to perform through one of the acknowledged gifts, but suffers the message given to be adulterated before it reaches the person whom He wishes to correct! Of what use are the visions if persons regard them in this light? They put their own construction upon them, and feel at liberty to reject that portion which does not agree with their feelings. H knows that every word of the vision given for him in Ohio was correct. And when he could keep the message from the church no longer (for it was called for, and read at the _____ Conference last fall), he acknowledged it all true. But he has kept up a blind warfare against that which he knew to be correct.
He has not ruled well his own house, and for the last ten years has been reproved for this. The frown of God has been upon him because he did not restrain his children. These children have been corrupt and a proverb of reproach, and have exerted a corrupting influence where they have lived. Every time they have been presented before me, I have been carried back to Eli, and shown the wickedness of his ungodly sons and the judgment which followed from God. I have been shown that the family of H has disgusted unbelievers, and brought a reproach upon the cause of present truth. The message given me in the spring of 1858 for Ohio, especially -----, was not received by many. It cut too close, and the hearts that were not deeply imbued with the spirit of the truth, rebelled against it.
The ministers who have labored in that State have not exerted a right influence. Hints and insinuations have been thrown out against Brother and Sister White, and the managers of the work at Battle Creek, which have found a ready reception in the hearts of many, especially the credulous and faultfinding. Satan knows how to make his attacks. He works upon minds to excite jealousy and dissatisfaction toward those at the head of the work. The gifts are next questioned; then, of course, they have but little weight, and instruction given through vision is disregarded.
Ministers who have labored in Ohio have done their share of causing dissatisfaction. H has condescended to move in a low sphere, breathing out a spirit of dissatisfaction, eagerly listening to false reports, gathering them up, and virtually saying: "Report, . . . and we will report it." He has worked in an underhand manner, carried false reports in regard to our dress, and our influence in Ohio, and has encouraged the idea that Brother White was speculating. He has not had the slightest union with us. He has felt very bitter toward us. And why? Simply because I have related to him what the Lord had shown me in regard to his family and his loose, slack manner of bringing them up, which has brought upon him the frown of God. He has regarded with jealous, unreconciled feelings the part we have acted in the cause of present truth.
The brethren in Ohio have been encouraged to look with distrust and suspicion at those who are in charge of the work at Battle Creek, and have stood prepared to rise against positions taken by them. Brother J has taken his position firmly, without regard to the body. He has imagined that evils would arise from headquarters that he must contend against. He placed himself in array for battle when there was no fighting to be done. He planted himself firmly to resist something which never arose. Many of the brethren in Ohio cherished the same feeling, placing themselves in opposition
to something that never appeared. Their warfare has been unwise. They have been ready to cry out, Babylon, until they are a complete Babylon themselves.
Ministers have stood directly in the way of the work of God in Ohio. They should stand out of the way, that God may reach His people. They step in between God and His people, and turn aside His purposes. Brother J has exerted an influence in Ohio which he must labor to counteract. I saw that there were those in Ohio who would take the right position with right instructions. They have been willing to sustain the cause of present truth, but have seen so little accomplished that they have become discouraged. Their hands are feeble, and need staying up. I saw that the cause of God is not to be carried forward by pressed offerings. God does not accept such offerings. This matter is to be left wholly to the people. They are not to bring a yearly gift merely, but should also freely present a weekly and monthly offering before the Lord. This work is left to the people, for it is to be to them a weekly, monthly, living test. This tithing system, I saw, would develop character, and manifest the true state of the heart. If the brethren in Ohio have this matter presented before them in its true bearing, and are left to decide for themselves, they will see wisdom and order in the tithing system.
Ministers should not be severe, and draw upon any one man, and press means from him. If he does not give just as much as another thinks he should, they are not to denounce him, and throw him overboard. They should be as patient and forbearing as the angels are. They should work in union with Jesus. Christ and angels are watching the development of character, and weighing moral worth. The Lord bears long with His erring people. The truth will be brought to bear closer and closer, and will cut off one idol after another, until God reigns supreme in the hearts of His consecrated people. I saw that God's people must bring to Him a
freewill offering; and the responsibility should be left wholly upon the individual, whether he will give much or little. It will be faithfully recorded. Give the people of God time to develop character.
Ministers of God should bear the pointed testimony. The living truths of His word should be brought to bear upon the heart. And when the people in Ohio have a worthy object placed before them, those whose hearts are in sympathy with the work will freely impart of their means to advance the cause of God. The Lord is testing and proving His people. If any have no heart in the work, and fail to bring their offerings to God, He will visit them; and if they continue to cling to their covetousness, He will separate them from His people. I saw that there must be a system which will draw upon all. Young men and young women who have health and strength, have felt but little burden of the work. They are accountable to God for their strength, and should bring a freewill offering to the Lord. And if they will not do this, His prospering hand will be removed from them.
I saw that the special hand of God has not been with the work in Ohio to prosper the cause there. There is a lack; there should be among preachers and people a close examination, a faithful searching of heart, to find the cause of so great a lack of the Spirit of God. Their sacrifices and offerings have nearly dried up. Why do not the truths of God's word warm the heart and lead to self-denial and sacrifice? Let the ministers search and see what kind of an influence they have exerted. There has been with Brother J an independent spirit that God does not approve. His influence has not told for the union of God's people or the advancement of the cause.
I have seen that those who have had but a few years' experience in the cause of present truth, are not the ones to lead out in the work. Such should manifest a delicacy in
taking positions which will conflict with the judgment and opinion of those who witnessed the rise of the cause of present truth, and whose lives are interwoven with its progress. God will not select men of but little experience to lead out in this work. He will not choose those who have had no experience in the sufferings, trials, opposition, and privation endured to bring this work up to the platform on which it now rests. It is now easy, compared with what it once was, to preach the third angel's message. Those who now engage in this work, and teach the truth to others, have things made ready at their hand. They cannot experience such privations as laborers in present truth have endured before them. The truth is brought out for them. Arguments are all prepared. Such should be careful how they become exalted, lest they be overthrown. They should be very careful how they murmur against those who endured so much in the very commencement of the work.
Those experienced laborers who toiled under the burden when it was heavy and there were few to help bear it, God regards. Be careful how you reproach them, or murmur against them; for it will surely stand to your account, and the prospering hand of God will not be with you. Some brethren who have the least experience, who have felt no burden, and have done little or nothing to advance the cause of present truth, and who have no knowledge of matters at Battle Creek, are the first to find fault with the management of the work there. And those who do not observe order in their temporal concerns, and command their households after them, are the ones who oppose system, which will ensure order in the church of God. They exhibit no nice taste in worldly matters, and are opposed to anything of the kind in the church. Such persons should have no voice in matters of the church. Their influence should not have the least weight upon others.