EXPERIENCE AND VIEWS
to Saratoga Springs.
XXII. Removal to Saratoga Springs
Our conference at West Milton was held in a barn. It was well filled, and was an interesting and profitable meeting. We tarried at Ballston Spa a number of weeks, until we became settled in regard to publishing at Saratoga Springs. We then rented a house, and sent for Bro. and Sr. Belden, and Sr. Bonfoey who was then in Maine taking care of little Edson, and with borrowed household stuff we commenced house keeping.
While at Saratoga Springs, Sr. Annie R. Smith, who now sleeps in Jesus, came to live with us and assist in the work. Her help was needed. My husband expresses his feelings in a letter to Bro. Howland, dated Feb. 20, 1852, as follows: "We are usually well, all but myself. I cannot long endure the labors of traveling, and the care of publishing. Wednesday night we folded and wrapped No. 12 until 2 o'clock in the morning, then retired, and I coughed till daylight. Pray for me. The cause is prospering gloriously. Perhaps the Lord will not have need of me longer, and will let me rest in the grave. I hope to be free from the paper. I have stood by it in extreme adversity, and now when its friends are many, I feel free to leave it, if some one
can be found who will take it. I hope my way will be made clear, Lord direct. We hope to hear from you and your dear family, and from our little Henry. I can hardly pen these lines from incessant coughing. Consumption is my portion unless God delivers immediately."
While at Saratoga we met with many discouragements. The brethren in that vicinity were not in a prosperous condition. There were errors and wrong influences to be corrected. H. C. had but little of this world's goods, and took an extreme position on the text, "Sell that ye have and give alms," and was dissatisfied with his wealthy brethren because they were not more liberal. They were accused of being worldly minded, covetous and selfish. Neither party was right. Some of those possessing property were covetous. On the other hand, H. C. did not employ his time and strength as he should, that he might provide for his own, and have something himself to aid the cause. His course cut off our testimony. We tried to hold up the true object which called for means.
Bro. S. was willing to do anything for the cause of God when a suitable object was presented, but he did not feel called upon to sell his home farm, while he had available means which would meet the present wants of the cause.
But H. C.'s family gave him no rest.
"Sell that ye have and give alms, and help the poorer brethren," was their cry. Bro. S. was desponding, and the reason was assigned, "He is covetous, and God will not bless him until he disposes of his possessions." But it was H. C. who was covetous. He coveted the good things of Bro. S., and felt tried if he was not willing to divide with him the fruits of his hard labor in cultivating his land, while H. C. took an easy course, trusted in the Lord as he said, and did but very little.
Often did this oppressed brother come from Milton to Saratoga to ask our advice as to the course he should pursue. Said he, "They say this heavy weight about my heart is because God frowns upon me, because I do not sell." He said he had ready means to use wherever the Lord called. We told him not to sink in discouragement, that if it was his duty to sell, the Lord was as willing to let him know it, and feel the burden, as to teach it to his brethren. Once he came, dizzy and distressed, having become nearly blind on the way. We felt sure his distress was in consequence of disease of the heart, and told him so; that it was not because of neglected duty, for he was willing to do anything.
As two of H. C.'s family were passing through Bro. S.'s yard, they passed a flock of turkeys, and made some remarks calculated to move Bro. S.'s generous heart, and he promised
them a thanksgiving dinner of turkeys. The fowls were killed, and quite a number were to be distributed among H. C.'s family, and two were reserved for our family. We called on Bro. S., and quite a number of H. C.'s family were there. The turkeys were shown me, and it was told me how they were to be disposed of. I felt sad. I knew although we were poor, yet we could deny ourselves of many things, and thus aid the cause of God. I talked plainly upon this matter. I told Bro. S. and those present the true object of self-denial; that sacrificing was to help the suffering cause of truth, and not to gratify the feelings of these poorer brethren who were fully able to provide for themselves, and even do more than this. I told them that the duty of self-denial and sacrificing did not rest alone upon the rich, that the poor had a part to act, and like the widow cast in their mites.
I then referred them to the case of Bro. Wheeler, whom God had called to preach the message. Poverty had compelled him to labor in the woods with his axe to sustain his family, when he should be out in the gospel field; that there was a suitable object for our charity. I begged of Bro. S. to sell the turkeys and send the avails to Bro. W., and stated that I should not feel at liberty to take those reserved for me. I was struck with the selfish remark made by one present, "Bro. S. can let
you have the turkeys and help Bro. W. besides. There is plenty more where these came from." This was the selfish spirit planted in the hearts of some. At the same time their exhortations were frequent and earnest, "Sell that ye have and give alms." Selfishness was in their hearts, and they were unwilling to make any sacrifice.
The next day Bro. S. brought us two nice turkeys. We immediately sent them to market and received one dollar lacking five cents. I told Bro. S. that I would send one dollar to Bro. Wheeler. "Well," said Bro. S., "I will do something too," and he handed out thirty dollars which was much needed by Bro. W., and enabled him to labor again in the gospel field. After we moved from Saratoga Springs to Rochester, we received a letter informing us that Bro. S. was dead. He died of apoplexy. O, thought I, some who have oppressed that dear brother, and reproached him so unsparingly, and had false dreams and burdens which they spun out of their own bowels to extort from him means which should have been applied to God's cause, will have to give an account of these things. He received no sympathy from them while his heart was pressed, as though a heavy weight was upon it. When in distress he was told, "When you do your duty, sell and give alms, you will be free and in the light."
That aching heart is now
still. He rests until the morning of the resurrection, when we believe he will come forth immortal. Our testimony in Saratoga and vicinity was rejected by the covetous poor, and also by the rich, and the cause went down.
In a vision given me while at Saratoga Springs, I was shown a company in Vermont, with a female among them who was a deceiver, and the church must be enlightened as to her character, lest poisonous error should become deeply rooted among them. I had not seen with my natural eyes the brethren in that part of the State. We visited them, and as we entered Bro. B.'s dwelling a female came forward to receive me, whom I thought to be Sr. B.'s mother. I was about to salute her when the light fell upon her face, and lo! it was Mrs. C., the woman I had seen in vision. I dropped her hand instantly, and drew back. She noticed this, and remarked upon it afterwards. The church in Vergennes and vicinity collected together for meeting. There was confusion of sentiment. Bro. E. E. believed the Age to Come, and some were in favor of S. Allen, a notable fanatic, who held views of a dangerous character, which if carried out would lead to spiritual union and breaking up of families. We delivered the message which the Lord had given us.
Sunday noon Mrs. C. was talking quite eloquently in regard to backbiting. She was very
severe, for she had heard that speeches had been made against her fanatical proceedings. Just then Sr. B. entered saying, "Will you please walk out to dinner?" Mrs. C. instantly replied, saying, "This kind goeth not out save by fasting and prayer. I do not wish any dinner." In a moment my husband was upon his feet. The power of God was upon him, and the color had left his face. Said he, "I hope it will go out! In the name of the Lord, I hope it will go out!" and said to Mrs. C., "That evil spirit is in you, and I hope it will go out! I rebuke it in the name of the Lord!" She seemed to be struck dumb. Her glib, smart tongue was stilled for once.
But she had sympathizers. This is generally the case. It commenced with the fall of Satan in heaven, and angels who sympathized with him fell also. Those who are wrong, and co-workers with Satan, will ever find those who will sympathize with them when they are reproved. They have great fear that their feelings will be hurt. Bro. and Sr. B. sympathized with this deceitful woman. They thought her to be about right. But we did not feel discouraged. The Lord had taken this matter into his own hands, and would deliver his church who had been burdened and oppressed.
That afternoon as we united in prayer, the blessing of the Lord rested upon us, and I was again shown the case of this deceived
woman, and the danger of the church in listening to such teaching as came from her lips. Her course was calculated to disgrace the cause of God. Mrs. C. had a lawful protector, and with him should she abide, or in his company travel, and that by her fanatical course she had forfeited all claims to christian fellowship. And that the course of H. A. and Mrs. C. should be shunned, and protested against. And if the church did not cut loose from those who pursued such a course, and lift their voice against it, they would incur God's frown, and be partakers with them in their evil deeds. And that the Lord had sent us to the church with a message, which if received, would save them from greater danger than they yet realized.
Many had known, and deeply felt these wrongs, but others had viewed things differently. But they began to breathe free again, and receive strength to bear their plain testimony against wrongs which they knew had existed. They knew that I had not received information from any earthly source, and that the Lord had revealed these things to me; and they testified that I had related the matter better than they could, who were acquainted with all the circumstances. We had another interview with Bro. and Sr. B. The Lord was opening their eyes to see things in their true light. We returned from that journey with feelings of satisfaction,
knowing that the Lord had wrought for his people.