Letters and Manuscripts — Volume 1 (1844 - 1868)

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Lt 3, 1847

Bates, Joseph

Gorham, Maine

July 13, 1847

This letter is published in entirety in 5MR 95-98. See also Annotations.

Dear Brother Bates:

As James is at work and sisters are from home thought I would employ myself in writing a line to you. My health is quite good for me. My faith is still strong that that very same Jesus that ascended up into heaven will so come in like manner as He went up, and that very, very soon. I have had many trials of late; discouragement at times has laid so fast hold upon me it seemed impossible to shake it off. But thank God, Satan has not got the victory over me yet, and by the grace of God he never shall. I know and feel my weakness, but I have laid hold upon the strong arm of Jehovah, and I can say today I know that my Redeemer liveth, and if He lives I shall live also. O how good it would be to meet with a few of like precious faith to exhort and comfort one another with words of holy cheer from the Word of God. The sheep are now scattered, but thank God they are about to be gathered to a good pasture. 1LtMs, Lt 3, 1847, par. 1

O how sweet it will be to meet all the blood-washed throng in the city of our God. ‘Tis then we’ll sing the song of Moses and the Lamb as we march through the gates into the city, bearing the palms of victory and wearing the crowns of glory. 1LtMs, Lt 3, 1847, par. 2

Brother Bates, you write in a letter to James something about the Bridegroom’s coming, as stated in the first published visions. By the letter you would like to know whether I had light on the Bridegroom’s coming before I saw it in vision. I can readily answer, No. The Lord showed me the travel of the Advent band and midnight cry in December, but He did not show me the Bridegroom’s coming until February following. Perhaps you would like to have me give a statement in relation to both visions. At the time I had the vision of the midnight cry I had given it up in the past and thought it future, as also most of the band had. I know not what time J. Turner got out his paper. I knew he had one out and one was in the house, but I knew not what was in it, for I did not read a word in it. I had been, and still was very sick. I took no interest in reading, for it injured my head and made me nervous. After I had the vision and God gave me light, He bade me deliver it to the band, but I shrank from it. I was young, and I thought they would not receive it from me. I disobeyed the Lord, and instead of remaining at home, where the meeting was to be that night, I got in a sleigh in the morning and rode three or four miles and there I found J. T. He merely inquired how I was and if I was in the way of my duty. I said nothing, for I knew I was not. I passed up chamber and did not see him again for two hours, when he came up, asked if I was to be at meeting that night. I told him, no. He said he wanted to hear my vision and thought it duty for me to go home. I told him I should not. He said no more, but went away. I thought, and told those around me, if I went I should have to come out against his views, thinking he believed with the rest. I had not told any of them what God had shown me, and I did not tell them in what I should cut across his track. 1LtMs, Lt 3, 1847, par. 3

All that day I suffered much in body and mind. It seemed that God had forsaken me entirely. I prayed the Lord if He would give me strength to ride home that night, the first opportunity I would deliver the message He had given me. He did give me strength and I rode home that night. Meeting had been done some time, and not a word was said by any of the family about the meeting. 1LtMs, Lt 3, 1847, par. 4

Very early next morning J. Turner called, said he was in haste going out of the city in a short time, and wanted I should tell him all that God had shown me in vision. It was with fear and trembling I told him all. After I had got through he said he had told out the same last evening. I was rejoiced, for I expected he was coming out against me, for all the while I had not heard any one say what he believed. He said the Lord had sent him to hear me talk the evening before, but as I would not, He meant His children should have the light in some way, so He took him. There were but few out when he talked, so the next meeting I told my vision, and the band, believing my visions from God, received what God bade me to deliver to them. 1LtMs, Lt 3, 1847, par. 5

The view about the Bridegroom’s coming I had about the middle of February, 1845. 1LtMs, Lt 3, 1847, par. 6

While in Exeter, Maine, in meeting with Israel Dammon, James, and many others, many of them did not believe in a shut door. I suffered much at the commencement of the meeting. Unbelief seemed to be on every hand. There was one sister there that was called very spiritual. She had traveled and been a powerful preacher the most of the time for twenty years. She had been truly a mother in Israel. But a division had risen in the band on the shut door. She had great sympathy, and could not believe the door was shut. (I had known nothing of their differences.) Sister Durben got up to talk. I felt very, very sad. At length my soul seemed to be in an agony, and while she was talking I fell from my chair to the floor. It was then I had a view of Jesus rising from His mediatorial throne and going to the holiest as Bridegroom to receive His kingdom. They were all deeply interested in the view. They all said it was entirely new to them. The Lord worked in mighty power setting the truth home to their hearts. Sister Durben knew what the power of the Lord was, for she had felt it many times; and a short time after I fell she was struck down and fell to the floor, crying to God to have mercy on her. When I came out of vision, my ears were saluted with Sister Durben's singing and shouting with a loud voice. Most of them received the vision, and were settled upon the shut door. Previous to this I had no light on the coming of the Bridegroom, but had expected Him to this earth to deliver His people on the tenth day of the seventh month. I did not hear a lecture or a word in any way relating to the Bridegroom's going to the holiest. 1LtMs, Lt 3, 1847, par. 7

I had but very few privileges in 1842, 1843, & 1844. My sisters both went to the camp meetings in New Hampshire and Maine, while my health prevented me from going to but one, in Maine. I know the light I received came from God, it was not taught me by man. I knew not how to write so that others could read it till God gave me my visions. I went to school but very little on account of my health. I do not think I went to school a day after I was twelve years old, and did not go then but a few days at a time, when sickness would cause me to take my bed for weeks and sometimes for months. The first I wrote anything that could be called writing was after I had been sick [and] the prayer of faith was put up for me, and healing [Here the sheet ends, and the remainder of the letter is gone.] 1LtMs, Lt 3, 1847, par. 8