This expression is often used to represent the manners and words of persons who reprove those who are wrong or are supposed to be wrong. It is properly applied to those who have no duty to reprove their brethren, yet are ready to engage in this work in a rash and unsparing manner. It is improperly applied to those who have a special duty to do in reproving wrongs in the church. Such have the burden of the work and feel compelled, from a love of precious souls, to deal faithfully.
From time to time for the past twenty years I have been shown that the Lord had qualified my husband for the work of faithfully dealing with the erring, and had laid the burden upon him, and that if he should fail to do his duty in this respect he would incur the displeasure of the Lord. I have never regarded his judgment infallible, nor his words inspired; but I have ever believed him better qualified for this work than any other one of our preachers, because of his long experience, and because I have seen that he was especially called and
adapted to the work; and also because in many cases where persons have risen up against his reproofs, I have been shown that he was right in his judgment of matters and in his manner of reproving.
For the past twenty years those who have been reproved, and their sympathizers, have indulged an accusing spirit toward my husband, which has worn upon him more than any other one of the cruel burdens he has unjustly borne. And when he fell beneath his burdens, many of those who had been reproved rejoiced, and from a mistaken idea of my view of his case, December 25, 1865, were much comforted with the thought that the Lord at that time reproved him for "cutting and slashing." This is all a mistake. I saw no such thing. That my brethren may know what I did see in the case of my husband, I give the following, which I wrote and handed to him the next day after I had the vision:
I was shown in vision, December 25, 1865, the case of the servant of the Lord, my husband, Elder James White. I was shown that God had accepted his humiliation, and the afflicting of his soul before Him, and his confessions of his lack of consecration to God, and his repentance for the errors and mistakes in his course which have caused him such sorrow and despondency of mind during his protracted illness.
I was shown that his greatest wrong in the past has been an unforgiving spirit toward those brethren who have injured his influence in the cause of God and brought upon him extreme suffering of mind by their wrong course. He was not as pitiful and compassionate as our heavenly Father has been toward His erring, sinning, repenting children. When those who have caused him the greatest suffering acknowledged their wrongs heartily and fully, he could and did forgive them, and fellowship them as brethren. But although the wrong was healed in the sight of God, yet he sometimes in his own mind probed that wound, and by referring to the past he suffered it to fester and make him unhappy. The fact that he had in
his past course suffered so much which in his opinion might have been avoided, led him to indulge a murmuring spirit against his brethren and against the Lord. In this way he lived over the past and revived trials which should have passed into oblivion instead of embittering his life with unprofitable remembrances. He has not always realized the pity and love that should be exercised toward those who have been so unfortunate as to fall under the temptations of Satan. They were the real sufferers, the losers, not he, as long as he was steadfast, possessing the spirit of Christ. When these souls began to see their errors, they had a hard battle to work their way to the light by humble confessions. They had Satan to contend with, and their own proud spirit to overcome, and they needed help from those who were in the light to bring them from their blind, discouraging condition, where they could begin to hope and obtain strength to bruise Satan under their feet.
I saw that my husband had been too exacting toward those who were wrong and had injured him. He indulged dissatisfied feelings, which could be of no benefit to the erring and could but make his own heart very unhappy, unfitting it for the peace of God to dwell there, which would lead him in everything to give thanks. The Lord permitted his mind to be desponding in regard to his own errors and mistakes, and to nearly despair of forgiveness, not because his sins were of such magnitude, but that he might know by experience how painful and agonizing it would be to be without the forgiveness of God, and that he might understand the scripture: "If ye forgive not men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses." I saw that if God should be as exacting as we are, and should deal with us as we deal with one another, we might all be thrown into a state of hopeless despair.
I was shown that God had suffered this affliction to come upon us to teach us much that we could not otherwise have
learned in so short a time. It was His will that we should go to -----, for our experience could not have been thorough without it. He would have us see, and more fully understand, that it is impossible for those who obey the truth and are keeping His commandments, to live up to their convictions of duty and unite with the leaders at -----; so far as serving God is concerned, their principles can unite no better than oil and water. It is only those of the purest principles and the greatest independence of mind, who think and act for themselves, having the fear of God before them and trusting in Him, who can safely remain any length of time in -----. Those who are not thus qualified should not be advised to go to that institution, for their minds will become bewildered by the smooth words of its conductors and poisoned by their sophistry, which originates with Satan.
Their influence and teachings in regard to the service of God and a religious life are in direct opposition to the teachings of our Saviour and His disciples. By precept and example they lower the standard of piety and say that they need not sorrow for their sins or separate from the world in order to be followers of Christ, but can mingle with the world and participate in its pleasures. These leaders would not encourage their adherents to imitate the life of Christ in prayerfulness, sobriety, and dependence upon God. Persons of conscientious minds and firm trust in God cannot receive one half as much benefit at ----- as those can who have confidence in the religious principles of the leaders of that institution. The former have to stand braced against much of their teachings, so far as religious principles are concerned, sifting everything they hear lest they should be deceived and Satan obtain advantage over them.
I saw that, as far as disease and its treatment is concerned, ----- is the best health institution in the United States. Yet the leaders there are but men, and their judgment is not always
correct. The leading physician there would have his patients believe that his judgment is perfect, even as the judgment of God. Yet he often fails. He exalts himself as God and fails to exalt the Lord as the only dependence. Those who have no trust or confidence in God, and who can see no beauty in holiness or in the cross-bearing life of the Christian, can receive more benefit at ----- than at any other health institution in the United States. The great secret of the success at this place is in the control which the managers have over the minds of their patients.
I saw that my husband and myself could not receive as much benefit there as could those of different experience and faith. Said the angel: "God has not designed that the mind of His servant, whom He has chosen for a special purpose, to do a special work, should be controlled by any living man, for that is His prerogative alone." Angels of God kept us while we were at -----. They were round about us, sustaining us every hour. But the time came when we could not benefit nor be benefited, and then the cloud of light, which had rested with us there, moved away, and we could find rest only in leaving there and going among the brethren in Rochester, where the cloud of light rested.
I saw that God would have us go to ----- for several reasons. Our position while there, the earnest prayers we offered, our manifest trust in God, the cheerfulness, courage, hope, and faith with which He inspired us amidst our afflictions, had an influence and were a testimony to all that the Christian has a source of strength and happiness to which the lovers of pleasure are strangers. God gave us a place in the hearts of all of influence at -----, and in the future as the patients now there shall be scattered to their different homes, our labors will bring us again to their notice, and when we are assailed, some at least will be our defenders. Again, in going to -----, the Lord would have us benefited by an experience which we would not
obtain while at Battle Creek, surrounded by sympathizing brethren and sisters. We must be separated from them, lest we lean upon them instead of leaning upon the Lord and trusting in Him alone. Separated almost entirely from God's people, we were shaken from every earthly help and led to look to God alone. In so doing we obtained an experience which we could not have had if we had not gone to -----.
When my husband's courage and hope began to waver, we could not benefit anyone at that place and could not be benefited by a further experience there. It was the will of God that my husband should not remain there shorn of his strength, but that in his state of weakness he should go among his brethren who could help him bear his afflictions. While separated from God's people in our affliction, we had an opportunity to reflect, to carefully review our past life, and see our mistakes and wrongs, and to humble ourselves before God and seek His face by confession, humility, and frequent, earnest prayer. While engaged in active labor, bearing the burdens of others, and pressed with many cares, it was impossible for us to find time to reflect and carefully review the past, and learn the lessons which God saw that it was necessary for us to learn. I was then shown that God could not glorify His name by answering the supplications of His people and raising my husband to health in answer to their prayers, while we were at -----. It would be like uniting His power with the power of darkness. Had He been pleased to manifest His power in restoring my husband, the physicians there would have taken the glory which should be given to God.
Said the angel: "God will be glorified in the restoration of His servant to health. God has heard the prayers of His servants. His arms are beneath His afflicted servant. God has the case, and he must, although afflicted, dismiss his fears, his anxiety, his doubts and unbelief, and calmly trust in the great yet merciful God, who pities, loves, and cares for him. He will
have conflicts with the enemy, but should ever be comforted with the remembrance that a stronger than the enemy has charge of him, and he need not fear. By faith rely on the evidences which God has been pleased to give, and he will gloriously triumph in God."
I saw that the Lord was giving us an experience which would be of the highest value to us in the future in connection with His work. We are living in a solemn time amid the closing scenes of this earth's history, and God's people are not awake. They must arouse and make greater progress in reforming their habits of living, in eating, in dressing, in laboring and resting. In all these they should glorify God and be prepared to give battle to our great foe and to enjoy the precious victories which God has in reserve for those who are exercising temperance in all things while striving for an incorruptible crown.
I saw that God was fitting up my husband to engage in the solemn, sacred work of reform which He designs shall progress among His people. It is important that instructions should be given by ministers in regard to living temperately. They should show the relation which eating, working, resting, and dressing sustain to health. All who believe the truth for these last days have something to do in this matter. It concerns them, and God requires them to arouse and interest themselves in this reform. He will not be pleased with their course if they regard this question with indifference.
The abuses of the stomach by the gratification of appetite are the fruitful source of most church trials. Those who eat and work intemperately and irrationally, talk and act irrationally. An intemperate man cannot be a patient man. It is not necessary to drink alcoholic liquors in order to be intemperate. The sin of intemperate eating, eating too frequently, too much, and of rich, unwholesome food, destroys the healthy action of the digestive organs, affects the brain, and perverts the judgment, preventing rational, calm, healthy thinking
and acting. And this is a fruitful source of church trials. Therefore in order for the people of God to be in an acceptable state with Him, where they can glorify Him in their bodies and spirits which are His, they must with interest and zeal deny the gratification of their appetites, and exercise temperance in all things. Then may they comprehend the truth in its beauty and clearness, and carry it out in their lives, and by a judicious, wise, straightforward course give the enemies of our faith no occasion to reproach the cause of truth. God requires all who believe the truth to make special, persevering efforts to place themselves in the best possible condition of bodily health, for a solemn and important work is before us. Health of body and mind is required for this work; it is as essential to a healthy religious experience, to advancement in the Christian life and progress in holiness, as is the hand or foot to the human body. God requires His people to cleanse themselves from all filthiness of the flesh and spirit, perfecting holiness in the fear of the Lord. All those who are indifferent and excuse themselves from this work, waiting for the Lord to do for them that which He requires them to do for themselves, will be found wanting when the meek of the earth, who have wrought His judgments, are hid in the day of the Lord's anger.
I was shown that if God's people make no efforts on their part, but wait for the refreshing to come upon them and remove their wrongs and correct their errors; if they depend upon that to cleanse them from filthiness of the flesh and spirit, and fit them to engage in the loud cry of the third angel, they will be found wanting. The refreshing or power of God comes only on those who have prepared themselves for it by doing the work which God bids them, namely, cleansing themselves from all filthiness of the flesh and spirit, perfecting holiness in the fear of God.
I was shown that in some respects my husband's case is similar to that of those waiting for the refreshing. If he should
wait for the power of God to come upon his body, to feel that he was made whole before he made efforts in accordance with his faith, saying, When the Lord heals me I will believe and do this or that, he might continue to wait and would realize no change, for the fulfillment of God's promise is only realized by those who believe and then work in accordance with their faith. I saw that he must believe God's word, that His promises are for him to claim, and they will never, no, never, fail. He should walk out by faith, relying upon the evidences that God has been pleased to give, and work, as much as possible, to the point of becoming a well man. Said the angel: "God will sustain him. His faith must be made perfect by works, for faith alone is dead. It must be sustained by works. A living faith is always manifested by works.''
I saw that my husband would be inclined to shrink from making efforts in accordance with his faith. Fear and anxiety in regard to his own case have made him timid. He looks at appearances, at disagreeable feelings of the body. Said the angel: "Feeling is not faith. Faith is simply to take God at His word." I saw that in the name and strength of God my husband must resist disease and, by the power of his will, rise above his poor feelings. He must assert his liberty, in the name and strength of Israel's God. He must cease thinking and talking about himself as much as possible. He should be cheerful and happy.
I did see, December 25, 1865, as I have many times before seen, that Elder F had often erred and had done much harm by a rash, unfeeling course toward those whom he supposed to be in fault. I had often seen that his work was in new fields, and that when he should bring out a company upon the present truth he should leave the work of disciplining them to others, as his style of dealing, arising from his rash spirit, his lack of patience and of judgment, disqualified him for this
work. I will here give the testimony which I had for Brother F, written December 26, 1865, to show what I did see in his case and because of the general application of much of the testimony and also because he has made no response whatever, only in stating to others that the Lord in that view reproved my husband for cutting and slashing. I would here state that another object in giving the following testimony is that our brethren may more fully understand that Brother F's work is in new fields, and that they may not place temptations in his way to leave his work, by urging him to labor here and there among the churches, or to settle here or there.