In Testimony No. 13 I gave a brief sketch of our labors and trials from December 19, 1866, to October 21, 1867. In these pages I will notice the less painful experience of the past five months.
During this time I have written many personal testimonies. And for many persons whom I have met in our field of labor during the past five months I have testimonies still to write as I find time and have strength, but just what my duty is in relation to these personal testimonies has long been a matter of no small anxiety to me. With a few exceptions I have sent them to the ones to whom they related and have left these persons to dispose of them as they chose. The results have been various:
1. Some have thankfully received the testimonies and have responded to them in a good spirit and have profited by them. These have been willing that their brethren should see the testimonies and have freely and fully confessed their faults.
2. Others have acknowledged that the testimonies to them were true, but after reading them have laid them away to remain in silence, while they have made but little change in their lives. These testimonies related more or less to the churches to which these persons belonged, who could also have been
benefited by them. But all this was lost in consequence of these testimonies' being held private.
3. Still others have rebelled against the testimonies. Some of these have responded in a faultfinding spirit. Some have shown bitterness, anger, and wrath, and in return for my toil and pains in writing the testimonies they have turned upon us to injure us all they could; while others have held me for hours in personal interviews to pour into my ears and my aching heart their complaints, murmurings, and self-justifications, perhaps appealing to their own sympathies with weeping, and losing sight of their own faults and sins. The influence of these things has been terrible upon me and has sometimes driven me nearly to distraction. That which has followed from the conduct of these unconsecrated, unthankful persons has cost me more suffering and has worn upon my courage and health ten times more than all the toil of writing the testimonies.
And all this has been suffered by me, and my brethren and sisters generally have known nothing about it. They have had no just idea of the amount of wearing labor of this kind which I have had to perform, nor of the burdens and sufferings unjustly thrown upon me. I have given some personal communications in several numbers of my testimonies, and in some cases persons have been offended because I did not publish all such communications. On account of their number this would be hardly possible, and it would be improper from the fact that some of them relate to sins which need not, and should not, be made public.
But I have finally decided that many of these personal testimonies should be published, as they all contain more or less reproof and instruction which apply to hundreds or thousands of others in similar condition. These should have the light which God has seen fit to give which meets their cases. It is a wrong to shut it away from them by sending it to one person
or to one place, where it is kept as a light under a bushel. My convictions of duty on this point have been greatly strengthened by the following dream:
A grove of evergreens was presented before me. Several, including myself, were laboring among them. I was bidden to closely inspect the trees and see if they were in a flourishing condition. I observed that some were being bent and deformed by the wind, and needed to be supported by stakes. I was carefully removing the dirt from the feeble and dying trees to ascertain the cause of their condition. I discovered worms at the roots of some. Others had not been watered properly and were dying from drought. The roots of others had been crowded together to their injury. My work was to explain to the workmen the different reasons why these trees did not prosper. This was necessary from the fact that trees in other grounds were liable to be affected as these had been, and the cause of their not flourishing and how they should be cultivated and treated must be made known.
In this testimony I speak freely of the case of Sister Hannah More, not from a willingness to grieve the Battle Creek church, but from a sense of duty. I love that church notwithstanding their faults. I know of no church that in acts of benevolence and general duty do so well. I present the frightful facts in this case to arouse our people everywhere to a sense of their duty. Not one in twenty of those who have a good standing with Seventh-day Adventists is living out the self-sacrificing principles of the word of God. But let not their enemies, who are destitute of the first principles of the doctrine of Christ, take advantage of the fact that they are reproved. This is evidence that they are the children of the Lord. Those who are without chastisement, says the apostle, are bastards and not sons. Then let not these illegitimate children boast over the lawful sons and daughters of the Almighty.