Letters and Manuscripts — Volume 1 (1844 - 1868)




Lt 1, 1858

Loughborough, Mary

Green Springs, Ohio

March 3, 1858

This letter is published in entirety in 21MR 252-257. See also Annotations.

Dear Sister Mary [Loughborough]:

We are now at Brother Sharp’s. They have recently embraced the truth. Seem to be first rate people. We have suffered in mind considerably since we have been here. I have felt deep agony of soul. I have looked back at a few past months and as I realize how little I have imitated Jesus’ self-sacrificing, devoted life, I am led almost to despair. As I examine the life of our Saviour, the great sacrifice He has made for us, and then be led through His sufferings and anguish, my heart melts within me. O, what suffering and agony, endured to save lost and fallen man! And this salvation is extended to us freely if we will accept it, if we will suffer with Christ, deny ourselves for His sake. 1LtMs, Lt 1, 1858, par. 1

Dear Mary, last Monday I was shown in vision some things that bear with weight upon my mind. I was led through the life of Christ to see His meek, self-denying life. This great sacrifice was to obtain for us a great salvation. And if we obtain this great salvation it must be by our making a sacrifice on our part. As Jesus sacrificed for us, we must sacrifice for Jesus. As He denied Himself for us, we must deny ourselves for Jesus. As He endured privation and suffering for us, so we must endure privation and suffering for Jesus. As He was tempted of Satan, as He was buffeted by Satan forty days then left for a season and angels ministered unto Him, so we shall be buffeted by Satan for a season; and if we resist him these seasons will be followed by grace and strength from God imparted unto us by His angels. 1LtMs, Lt 1, 1858, par. 2

As Jesus endured agony and often was in lonely prayer and in agony of spirit, pleading with His Father, so we, if we are truly Christ’s followers, will often feel agony of soul and will pour out our earnest prayer to our Father; we shall groan in spirit after God. But these seasons when the soul is enshrouded in darkness will not drive the true Christian from God. I was shown that the disciples of Christ, without an exception, are not their own. Jesus has bought them with a dear sacrifice, His own blood. He claims them. Their time, their strength, are His. Their will, their mind, are subject to His will. Their will is yielded, given up. They wait and watch for the will and counsel of God to be manifested concerning them. 1LtMs, Lt 1, 1858, par. 3

I saw that the will is either submitted to Jesus for Him to govern and lead, or the person retains or sets up his or her own will, not willing to submit to Jesus against his own peculiar desires or will. Then Satan steps in and he molds this will to his own pleasure. 1LtMs, Lt 1, 1858, par. 4

Christ or Satan has the government of the will, and we are the subjects of one or the other. I was pointed to Christ. Although He was tempted of the devil forty days, yet His will was submitted to the will of His Father and He yielded not, although He was tempted in every way by Satan—stronger than any of His disciples have ever been tempted. His will was not yielded to the will of the enemy for a moment. 1LtMs, Lt 1, 1858, par. 5

Now, dear Mary, it is possible for your will to be subject to the will of God. Unless you do yield your will to God, choose His way, His pleasure, His will, instead of your own, I saw that you were none of His. He will not own you, He will not accept you. He leaves you for Satan to take possession of the will that you would not yield to Him, and Satan will mold this will as he pleases. I was shown that the plan of salvation was laid out, and God will not change or deviate in His plan to save any one. 1LtMs, Lt 1, 1858, par. 6

God has made one great condescension to save erring, lost man: He yielded His dearly Beloved from His bosom, to suffer indignity, scorn and hate, to die an ignominious death upon the cross. If any one will be His disciple now he must live a self-denying life. His will must die. The plan of salvation is laid. Now man must condescend, now man must yield. His life must be a continual yielding. God does not deviate or change from His plan at all, to save any. The great condescension has been made. Now it all lies with man, whether he will accept the plan God has laid down, whether he will yield his will to the will of God. God does not change now to accommodate man. He is left now to choose life or death. If he chooses life, he chooses the cross, the suffering, self-denying life of Christ, and he must not go murmuring along at the ruggedness of the way. 1LtMs, Lt 1, 1858, par. 7

The life of Christ and His sacrifice, the Innocent suffering for the guilty, should forever still the least murmur or complaint. It should be accounted a privilege to suffer for Christ and thus glory in the cross of Christ. I saw that He is honored by the lives of those who eagerly lay hold of salvation, those who consider it a privilege to suffer for Jesus. 1LtMs, Lt 1, 1858, par. 8

Mary, dear Mary, I have seen that God’s providence has placed John and you where you are. God has been working for you both that you, Mary, may be left without excuse. That time has come. Now it is for you to come up, to eagerly grasp the merits of Christ’s blood, lay hold of the plan of salvation, submit your will to the will of God, choose to suffer with Christ or choose your own will, your own way, travel the way of the transgressor and lose eternal life, lose heaven. You can serve God if you will. You can devote yourself to Him and redeem the time. 1LtMs, Lt 1, 1858, par. 9

Mary, dear Mary, if you remain a little longer in your present state I fear that God will not pity, He will not bear always. Mary, I fear for you greatly. I was shown that God lays out the work for John. He must perform it. Just as long as he remains a servant of God he must go at His bidding. God does not lay out His work to gratify the will or pleasure of any. If John should follow as you would wish, follow your will, your pleasure, he is no longer a servant of Jesus Christ; for your will is unsanctified, not subject to God’s will. Fearful have been the responsibilities you have been willing to take upon yourself. Only let your will be gratified and you would risk the consequences. Dear Mary, I saw that you were a slave, yes, a slave, to your own unsubdued will. You are in complete bondage. It holds control and cruel power over you. 1LtMs, Lt 1, 1858, par. 10

I saw that your will, your set will, must die—or your hopes of eternal life; both cannot live at the same time. I was shown that the Lord will lay out the work for John, and you must leave all to follow Jesus. Then, Mary, will you realize the blessing of God. Then can you say, The yoke of Christ is easy, His burden light. 1LtMs, Lt 1, 1858, par. 11

I was pointed back and saw some of those that professed to be John’s best friends have been frowned upon by God for their close, snug dealing to one of His chosen servants. Verily, they will have their reward. John has been moved this way and that in doubt and perplexity, but God has wrested him out of the hand of those that would have his labors for nought, those that have been willing to add additional burdens to those that God has laid upon him, those that would be unmoved if they saw him working with his hands; and the Lord in His wise and merciful providence provided him a place of rest, a field of labor where many will appreciate and be benefitted by his labor. 1LtMs, Lt 1, 1858, par. 12

Mary, your will has often pulled John one way, when God directed him in another. You have operated in opposition to the will and way of God. I saw all these years that your life has been linked with John you could have been a coworker with John, laying up for yourself a reward. But for the sake of gratifying a special desire or will of your own, you have murdered your way along, making yourself miserable by your lack of consecration and often embittering John’s life and making him miserable. 1LtMs, Lt 1, 1858, par. 13

You can make John happy that he ever saw you and that you ever linked your life with his wandering life. You chose him, a messenger of God. You knew his calling. I saw your life was an unpleasant one before you chose John. You can make him regret his connection by your following your own way and pleasure. John is mortal. He has loved you, Mary; do not drive him to regret his choice. God’s eye is upon every movement, every act. You can redeem the time and make a straight work for eternity. Yield your will to the will of Christ and all will be well. Think not the way of salvation is a hard way. Look, look at the life of Christ. What suffering endured for man! 1LtMs, Lt 1, 1858, par. 14

Mary, you must die to Rochester. It will only be to the injury of yourself and others in your present state to visit Rochester. God has been reaching down His hand to save you. It was God’s will that you should not go to Rochester last fall; it would have proved your ruin. John would have been driven from the field to laboring with his hands. God would not have it so. He laid out the work for John, to save you both. I saw that you can never have the light of God’s countenance until you acknowledge the hand of God in all this. He has wrought for you, but you have shut your eyes to His work. If you humbly submit to God, then will it please God to have you visit Rochester for you can glorify God. I saw that John must fix his eye upon his captain, Jesus, follow the counsel of God, whether it meets your will or not. He must be steadfast. His course must be fixed, but with the greatest tenderness and care should he deal with Mary, never wounding with words, but yet be decided. 1LtMs, Lt 1, 1858, par. 15

Mary, dear Mary, do consecrate yourself to God; then can you be happy; then can His Spirit rest upon you. 1LtMs, Lt 1, 1858, par. 16

Mary, I feel the deepest interest for you. I love you. I know that your happiness depends upon the course of your action. And unless it is entirely different in many respects than it has been, you cannot have life, have salvation. I have written this letter sadly, discouragingly. My heart aches while I write. Gladly would I write encouragingly if I had it to write. I was in hopes that God would never give me another message for you. I fear the use you will make of it, and it will prove a savor of death unto death. Mary, I have felt agony of soul. I have cried in agony for above an hour. 1LtMs, Lt 1, 1858, par. 17

Mary, your only happiness is in submitting to God. Will you submit to Him? Will you yield to the claims of salvation? If you get right before God, it will be His will to have John labor some in Rochester; but if you go there with John, your heart not right in the sight of God, your influence would not be saving. The enemies of God and the truth would exult, John’s soul would be weighed down in anguish, and it would be of no avail for him to labor. If you are united in the work of God, trusting in Him, your will in subjection to God’s will, then acknowledge the leading of God and His will concerning you, and you will gain a victory not to be easily lost. 1LtMs, Lt 1, 1858, par. 18

The time has come when God must be glorified by a humble acknowledgement that His way and will is to be preferred to your own way and will, and your unconsecrated will yielded. The time has come now when you can establish yourself in the hearts of the brethren and sisters, when you can form a character. All have felt to pity and sympathize with you on account of your situation. Now the Lord has safely and happily delivered you. You are pleasantly situated, with a home of your own. You are without an excuse. God does not require John to place himself under embarrassment and trial and want for the sake of gratifying an unconsecrated desire or will that, if followed, will lead to certain death. 1LtMs, Lt 1, 1858, par. 19

I saw that John must be free and follow his conviction of right. He has been tossed about, not knowing which way to go or what to do. God has chosen for him a place, situated you both comfortably, and his mind now is at rest, and God will lead him in a straight path, and he must follow. You have no friends or relatives that are too dear to sacrifice or leave for God, to obey or follow Him. If you love them more than Jesus, you are not worthy of Him, and will have no part with Jesus. Here is a sacrifice to make right here. The heart will govern the mind. Have your heart right and consecrated and there will be no trouble with your will. I speak plainly. I look upon you as in the greatest danger. I want to save you. I beg of you to submit to God. There is no more required of you than is required of every Christian. Will you obey the requirements? Will you submit to God? 1LtMs, Lt 1, 1858, par. 20

Mary, I will ever be your true friend. I will love you. I will do all in my power for you; but to encourage you to do wrong, I never shall. 1LtMs, Lt 1, 1858, par. 21

John, I saw that James and you, as ministers of Jesus Christ, must watch your words, and your minds must dwell upon the truth. Whoever you are with, don’t talk at random. Let your words be solemn. The day of the Lord is at hand. I was pointed to the life of John the Baptist. His life was without pleasure. It was sorrowful and self-denying. He proclaimed Christ’s advent and then could not see and enjoy the power manifested by Christ. He knew that when Jesus should fully establish Himself as a Teacher he must die. He was cruelly beheaded. I saw that the least disciple that followed Jesus, witnessed His miracles, heard the comforting words that fell from His lips, was greater than John the Baptist; that is, more exalted and honored, had more pleasure in his life. 1LtMs, Lt 1, 1858, par. 22

We are proclaiming Christ’s second advent. Our walk should be sober; our conversation upon Jesus, upon the truth; and we should glory in the cross of Christ. 1LtMs, Lt 1, 1858, par. 23

I have written in great haste. Have not time to look over and correct mistakes. Reserve no copy, so you must preserve this for me again. 1LtMs, Lt 1, 1858, par. 24

In love. 1LtMs, Lt 1, 1858, par. 25