Dear Brethren and Sisters:--For some months past my spirit has been much depressed. God has seen fit to use me, a feeble instrument, for a few years past by giving me visions. This place I have not desired. I have ever known that it would cause me many hours of anguish of spirit. Messages have been given me, and it has been enjoined upon me to be faithful in declaring them. My feelings have been sensitive, and while with the fear of God before me, I have been obliged to faithfully relate what God has shown me, my sufferings of mind have been intense.
And then when I have seen how little the visions have been heeded, and what little effect they have had upon others, I have been discouraged. The visions have been of late less and less frequent, and my testimony for God's children had been gone. I have thought that my work in God's cause was done, and that I had no further duty to do, but to save my own soul, and carefully attend to my little family; have a good influence over my children, pray with them, and for them, that they may be saved.
I have greatly feared they might be left without a father's care. My husband's poor health has made me tremble for the future. My prospects looked dark. I have tried to bear up with good courage, but have nearly all the time carried with me an aching heart. I have seldom told my feelings, for I believed it to be wrong to talk trials and darkness to others, as it would have an effect to discourage them, and weaken their faith.
At our late Conference at Battle Creek, in Nov. God wrought for us. The minds of the servants of God were exercised as to the gifts of the Church, and if God's frown had been brought upon his people because the gifts had been slighted and neglected, there was a pleasing prospect that his smiles would again be upon us, and he would graciously and mercifully revive the gifts again, and they would live in the Church, to encourage the desponding and fainting soul, and to correct and reprove the erring.
Our trembling faith has again pierced the clouds of darkness that have been gathering over us, and is fixed upon our Eternal Sun, whose beams have again dispersed our gloom. And with hope and confidence we will do our duty to those around us; declare faithfully what God bids us, let the consequences be what they may. He that bids us speak will take care of the consequences if we do his will. Jesus will not lay upon us any greater burden than we can bear.
All have an influence, and that influence tells for God and heaven, or for Satan and hell. I cannot, I dare not hold my peace. I must warn those in danger to escape the wrath of God. A great work must be done for us. We are contented to have at too great a distance from God. Our hearts are not right before him, or we should feel deep longings of soul for a devotedness to his cause.
Are we willing to search our own hearts, and compare our lives with our holy Pattern! We are too well satisfied with a form. We must have the power of godliness in the soul. We must have our minds running in the right channel. Our conversation is too much upon things of earth. And when we meet to worship God, it takes time to get the mind fixed upon God, or in a heavenly frame to serve him. We have had so few thoughts of God and heaven, we cannot approach him with confidence in faith; and we pray and labor in darkness, when it is our privilege to be in the light.
There must be a living to God out of meeting. Our thoughts must be upon heavenly things, and a cheerful, happy frame of mind we should cherish, and then when we meet to worship, we can pray in faith, can come right to the point without wading through so much darkness. We must possess a spirit of consecration. This poor earth seems to be like a load stone. It draws our minds and occupies them so that there is but little room for heavenly thoughts and principles. This need not be so. My own experience tells me that heaven can attract us. We can keep our thoughts upon Jesus and his lovely character, and upon our priceless treasure. We can be strong in God. We can have an increase in faith. We must hold the victory as we obtain it, and then it will be easy believing. If we continue to hold the victory, our faith will grow. This is the only way we can be overcomers, and at last come off victorious.
But how often we get a little victory, feel that God had heard us pray, and when any trial arises, and dark clouds and adversity come, we yield up what we have obtained. Our faith dies, and we again encourage unbelief to come into our souls. And when we would make another effort for freedom of soul, it is much harder for us to come up to the point, to take God at his word than before. We must first mourn about ourselves, and sorrow that we are so dark; and we have to make a greater effort for victory than before.
Let us have that faith that takes hold of the promises of God, and will not let go; faith that will live in adversity, clouds and gloom, and although trembling, will find its way through every obstacle, up within the second vail, and there grasp the desired blessing. A dead faith will do us no good. We must have a living faith, and then we shall have a living experience.
We have felt the power and blessing of God for a few weeks past. God has been very merciful. He has wrought in a wonderful manner for my husband. We have brought him to our great Physician in the arms of our faith, and like blind Bartimaeus have cried,"Jesus thou Son of David, have mercy on us;" we have been comforted. The healing power of God has been felt. All medicine has been laid aside, and we rely alone upon the arm of our great Physician. We are not yet satisfied. Our faith says, Entire restoration. We have seen the salvation of God, yet we expect to see and feel more. I believe without a doubt that my husband will yet be able to sound the last notes of warning to the world.
For weeks past our peace has been like a river. Our souls triumph in God. Gratitude, unspeakable gratitude, fills my soul for the tokens of God's love, which we have of late felt and seen. We feel like dedicating ourselves anew to God; devoting ourselves to work. We desire to be a living sacrifice to God, and to shed a holy influence. My very being longs after God. I thirst, I pant for living waters.
Our example and lives tell either for heaven, eternal life, or darkness and death. Our lives should be holy, and we should oft hold communion with God, draw nourishment from Jesus the living vine, that our souls may flourish in the Lord. Then can we exert a holy influence. How holy should those live who believe we are having the last message of mercy to the world. We should take a humble, meek stand, and yet the very truths that we profess will lead us to exalt the standard, and to occupy an elevated position, far above the low, vain, joking trifler of the world.
True christian humility will lead us to this. A sense of our own weakness and frailty will lead us to lean upon One that is mighty to save, whose delight is to impart strength and courage to the humble, self-abased suppliant. Humility is the greatest ornament a christian can wear. Jesus loves to honor such, and lift them up. There is a fullness in Jesus. We can partake of his rich grace, and abundant salvation. We can rejoice in a whole Saviour, and have unwavering trust and confidence in God. We are too faithless, too doubting. Our faith in God's precious promises should grow every day. If we hold the victory over the powers of darkness it must be by constant, persevering watchfulness and almost unceasing prayer. It must be an every day work. If we grow in grace and in knowledge of the truth, we must have the words of our mouth select, and seasoned with grace. God will help in our efforts. Angels will watch over us, and our soul will be like a watered garden. E. G. White.