Letters and Manuscripts — Volume 1 (1844 - 1868)

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Manuscripts

Ms 1, 1868

Testimony Regarding Brother Dennis

Watrousville, Michigan

February 28, 1868

Previously unpublished.

I was shown the case of Brother Dennis. His experience in connection with this work has been superficial. He has never yet seen the sinfulness of sin. I was shown that it would have been far better for the cause of present truth had he never professed to believe it, had he never joined the ranks of Sabbathkeeping Adventists. He has been considered as a sample of the people who believe the truths which are peculiar in this degenerate age. The natural heart will turn from the truth and catch hold of any excuse at hand to ease the conscience and resist the convictions of the Spirit of God. Oh, what a miserable representative of the truth has been the life of Brother Dennis! His name is a byword in the mouths of those who love not the cross of Christ, and some honest souls really think that the ranks of Sabbathkeepers are made up of material like this man. 1LtMs, Ms 1, 1868, par. 1

Satan was willing he should in name and profession become a Sabbathkeeper, while no reformation was wrought in his character. He pushes such unworthy, unconsecrated ones into the ranks of Sabbathkeepers to keep conscientious, worthy persons out. As such are convicted of the truth and are weighing evidence, Satan is at hand to lead those who are decidedly opposed to the truth, and who have no sympathy for Sabbathkeeping Adventists, to bring up the cases of these unconverted, unconsecrated men and women and say, “There is such a one, a Sabbathkeeper; look at his course. All of them are made up of just such people. Look at Dennis. You know he is not an honest, honorable man. He is a rascal; and if you know when you are well off, keep out of such company. You had better save your good name and have nothing to do with this strange people.” Thus has this man Dennis been a reproach to the cause of God, a stumblingblock to sinners, a disgrace to the truth. 1LtMs, Ms 1, 1868, par. 2

I was shown that God, who never slumbers and sleeps, has a faithful record of the lives of all men. Angels are upon their track and follow them in their acts of life, and nothing escapes their notice. Everything is open to their scrutinizing gaze. I was shown that the education of this man has been sadly deficient. His life has been marked with loose, lax morals. He has considered any course that he might pursue to advantage himself, even at the disadvantage of others—by prevaricating, by deceiving, by false statements—and yet bear a passably fair character before his fellow men that he is a smart fellow, a shrewd man. His name was presented before me by the recording angel, all covered with spots as black as ink. “These things,” says the angel, “have not been seen in their true hideousness. His character is all full of deformity and he sees it not. These things have become second nature. He has thought to depart from rectitude in this, that, and the other in order to be advantaged, that he would obtain some good to himself.” Thus Satan leads souls on to sin that by so doing they can gain some coveted object. Oh what a deception! The desired thing, when gained, proves to be like the apples of Sodom—fair and beautiful without, but when opened is found to contain nothing but ashes. 1LtMs, Ms 1, 1868, par. 3

I was pointed to his marriage and the separation from his wife. He was wrong in marrying the woman. He loved her not, but her little means was a bait, a temptation not to be resisted. He married the woman for her money, and his marriage relation was unhappy indeed. This woman was not a prudent, cautious woman. She was infatuated, and was persistent to marry the man of her choice. She sacrificed her own happiness and that of her children at the altar of blind passion. She awoke from her deception, and her love—so strong—grew cold. She said many bitter things, irritating in their nature, which made the gulf of separation wider and wider. The love of money led to all this unhappiness. Brother Dennis, the love of money is the root of all evil. How much have you sacrificed to this love? Your benevolence and your manhood. What have you gained? The apples of Sodom. God’s curse has been resting upon you and His prospering hand has not attended your course in life. Does it pay to sacrifice so much for a life of sin, of error and wrong, when the wages is death? 1LtMs, Ms 1, 1868, par. 4

Your wife—who has left you—was in fault, as well as yourself. Yet your course evidenced to all who understood the matter that her money was the motive of your marriage. You did not love her or her children. You took the responsibility upon you of supporting all, both mother and children, but just as long as you were aware of the fact that there was a fund of surplus means, you did not see the necessity of earnestness, industry, and perseverance to live without this means and reserve this to the ones to whom it belonged—the mother and children, especially the latter. You were restless, dissatisfied, unhappy, because of this money. It was the apple of discord. At length she felt that your marriage with her was for her money and she appealed for help to her friends, who gave it to her, and then gave notoriety to your course. 1LtMs, Ms 1, 1868, par. 5

She did not awake any too soon. The demon had taken possession of you because there was money within your reach, which you could not fully command. The love of money is the root of all evil. The course the mother pursued in separating from you, was right. If then she had devoted herself to her children, and carried out habits of economy and industry, she would have secured to herself a measure of happiness. But her lack of discernment of character has again brought her into trouble where her marriage relation sets upon her as fetters. 1LtMs, Ms 1, 1868, par. 6

If, when you professed to believe the truth, you had been sanctified through the truth, you would have seen the sinfulness of your past life and would have felt thoroughly humbled and confessed your wrongs to her who was once your wife, and made thorough work in undoing your past wrongs. But instead of this you excused yourself, sin did not appear exceeding sinful, and you passed over sins of magnitude as small items not worth noticing. In seeking to obtain the heart of your present wife you deceived her—made her think you were a worthy man and had been abused. The sister you married made a sad mistake. It would have been better had she never married you. 1LtMs, Ms 1, 1868, par. 7

You misrepresented the facts in regard to your case to the ministers preaching present truth, and then made what you could of their counsel gained by your prevarication. You have linked a precious child of God to your side. Yet, since her marriage, her zeal for God and her devotion to Him have greatly lessened. She has been separating, in her affections and union, from the people of God. She has entertained the idea that her husband has been dealt with too severely, and that he has not been regarded in the right light; that he was not as wrong as many of his brethren supposed. There she has deceived her own soul. The brethren could only view him from the things developed in his character. Much they know nothing about; but God, whose eyes are too pure to look upon and sanction iniquity, has written in His book the true character which is hidden from the eyes of short-sighted mortals. This sister must possess her soul in patience, cling to God, devote to Him the wealth of her affections, and she will never here be disappointed, never be turned away. 1LtMs, Ms 1, 1868, par. 8

I was shown that a great work was before Brother Dennis. He has felt very bitterly toward those who have in the fear of God stood separate from him and have felt that they could not cover up his wrongs. He has had hatred in his heart, and possesses a revengeful spirit towards those who oppose instead of justifying his course. Oh, if he could once view his character and life as God views it, he would not consider his lifetime any too long to repent of the past events of his life. It is not duty now to separate from his present wife, but to live with her and seek to make her happy. She must draw nigh to God and He will draw nigh to her. 1LtMs, Ms 1, 1868, par. 9

Brother Dennis, wherein you have appropriated to your own benefit means which belonged to your wife divorced, it should be restored as soon as you can do so and not bring your own family to actual want. More than this, in your past life where you have played the gouge game and, through wrong means or false pretenses, deprived others of that which was their right, if it is possible, restore; and if this shall be out of your power, write or acknowledge the wrong and seek to make all right with God and man. Your character must be entirely reformed. There must be a transformation of the mind. A thorough conversion is needed, an entire change of life. 1LtMs, Ms 1, 1868, par. 10

If this change takes place, then may he yet gain a good character for heaven. I fear that the necessity for this thorough reformation will never be seen by him. He can yet be saved if he will take the necessary steps required for a transformation of life that Jesus may be formed in him, the hope of glory. Every defect in his character will have to be remedied, be refined as gold seven time purified. If he sees the deception of the heart, that the heart is deceitful above all things and desperately wicked, and becomes jealous of himself, conscientious, he may yet become an heir of immortality. 1LtMs, Ms 1, 1868, par. 11

My fears are that he will never make thorough work and that he will be found wanting in the day of God, his character all spotted over with imperfections, sin, and corruptions. His only hope is in humble, thorough repentance and humility. Let him die to self, be crucified to self. Let the life show that the truth has accomplished a good work for him, then can he exemplify the truth to others by his consistent life and godly conversation. He can be an honor to the cause of present truth if he takes hold of the work. Light is for him if he will come to the light. But I fear, through what I have seen, that he loves darkness rather than light, and that his sensibilities are so benumbed by sin and wrong that they are blunted, his conscience seared, and sacred things are dragged down to a level with common things. 1LtMs, Ms 1, 1868, par. 12

That which ye sow, that ye shall reap. The harvest is sure, an abundant crop you will have. You are sure of a crop. No frost shall blight, no mildew blast it, no palmerworm devour it. 1LtMs, Ms 1, 1868, par. 13

He will reap that which he has sown. A terrible harvest awaits him. Affliction’s bitter cup he will drink. Now there is an opportunity for wrongs to be righted, sins to be repented of. Humble confessions now should be made and he be reconciled, as far as lies in his power, to his fellow men. 1LtMs, Ms 1, 1868, par. 14

Salvation and immortality are granted the faithful overcomer, those who by patient continuance in well doing sought for glory, honor, immortality, eternal life. This is worth a lifelong effort. 1LtMs, Ms 1, 1868, par. 15