Letters and Manuscripts — Volume 1 (1844 - 1868)


Lt 6, 1856

Cornell, M. E.; Palmer, D.; Kellogg, J. P.



Portions of this letter are published in 5MR 237. See also Annotations.

To Brethren Cornell, Palmer, and Kellogg:

I was pointed back to the church meeting held at Battle Creek at the time when Brother and Sister Cornell’s case was investigated. I saw that the work commenced well for Brother and Sister Cornell, but it did not go deep enough. The brethren were so rejoiced that Brother and Sister Cornell see where they erred that they did not continue their faithful warning and reproof, and our brother and sister did not continue to reach to the bottom and overcome every wrong. The enemy stepped right in, and Brother Cornell hardly felt satisfied with the course pursued by the brethren when his case was investigated. 1LtMs, Lt 6, 1856, par. 1

He began to feel jealous of Brother Smith. Hard feelings crept in and he felt a repulsive feeling towards him. I saw these feelings were all wrong. I saw Brother Kellogg conversing with Brother Cornell and he was open-hearted and faithfully told him his feelings. They separated, and Brother Cornell kept turning the matter over and over in his mind. Satan made every word mean a great deal. Jealousy put a bad construction upon his motives, and from that time the work of the enemy was fully commenced to separate these brethren. 1LtMs, Lt 6, 1856, par. 2

And Brother Cornell began to push Brother Kellogg. He looked back to last summer, and every word or expression was magnified and made the most of. I saw that when the conference was appointed here at Battle Creek, Brethren Kellogg and Palmer should have come, but they did not. They lost much [they] might have had, and had they attended the conference the existing trouble would have been saved. 1LtMs, Lt 6, 1856, par. 3

I then saw Brother Waggoner did not move right in coming so hastily back to Jackson. The blame rested wholly upon himself, but as he was in difficulty Brethren Palmer and Kellogg should have made the best of it and taken hold to relieve his pressing necessity and not wait for particular feelings to guide them. Necessity is necessity and it must, if possible, find immediate relief. 1LtMs, Lt 6, 1856, par. 4

I saw that Brother Kellogg had been observing for some time that the cause of God did not rise and progress. I saw that he had looked at Sister Angeline and considered that she was burdening her husband. I saw that when Brother Cornell felt like going to a place to labor and she did not feel reconciled to it, it was hard for her to cheerfully submit to her husband. She thought her feelings must be regarded. She had strong, wilful feelings about the matter. She had a way of her own about it, and at such times, if her wishes were not yielded to, she often had a nervous fit. All this was caused by unsubdued temper, and at such times Brother Cornell would be in doubt whether he had pursued the right course in being decided and moving according to the dictates of his own conscience, or whether he had not better have yielded to her wishes more, on account of her poor health. 1LtMs, Lt 6, 1856, par. 5

His sympathies were awake at once and he has yielded his sense of duty altogether too much, and it has only fed this willful, unsubdued spirit. It is these things that are a great reason for her poor health. The only way for Angeline to get the victory over this is to govern herself and submit to God, consecrate herself to God, yield up her will and her stubborn spirit, and then these nervous fits would not occur. These things hinder the work of God and throw Brother Cornell into a state of anxiety and care, cripple his usefulness and mar the work of God. 1LtMs, Lt 6, 1856, par. 6

These things have caused Brother Kellogg to lose confidence in Angeline, and he knew that Brother Cornell had been influenced by these things. Angeline had affected him and he looked back to the investigation at Battle Creek where the work commenced well and honestly and correctly, but did not go as thorough and deep as it ought to have gone. His confidence in Brother and Sister Cornell was shaken. 1LtMs, Lt 6, 1856, par. 7

Brother Kellogg had tried to be a faithful and true steward and administer as God had prospered him. He saw no fruit of scarcely anything he had done, and settled it in his mind that he would be doubly assured that the objects of his charity should be worthy before he would impart his means to them. He became discouraged. Unbelief came in, and when Brother Palmer went to Brother Kellogg burdened, Brother Kellogg was tried. It did not look right to him. He looked at his own poor health, and almost every one of his family that could help him were invalids. He looked at his son, who had very nearly lost his life by traveling with the tent and enduring so much exposure, and he looked at Brother Palmer’s family in almost perfect health; he compared the plain manner of his wife’s and children’s clothes to the different course Sister Palmer had taken in dressing herself and children, and he felt that he was misjudged. 1LtMs, Lt 6, 1856, par. 8

He could not see that he had lost the spirit of sacrifice. He gave way to his feelings, and the temptation of the enemy came in. He yielded, was hasty. He saw this afterwards, was convinced he manifested wrong feelings, and confessed it. 1LtMs, Lt 6, 1856, par. 9

The proposition of Brethren Palmer and Kellogg was correct, to let this difference of opinion drop. This would have been just right. If Brother Cornell had been standing in the counsel of God how easy could he have been peacemaker and fulfil one duty of his calling. How easy then for the breach to be healed. It should have been Brother Cornell’s study, How can I help the cause of God and prevent an open rupture here? One Holy Ghost meeting would have healed the wound; but instead of healing the difficulty, Brother Cornell made a wide breach. 1LtMs, Lt 6, 1856, par. 10

Then instead of the Lord’s working, Brother Cornell began to work. He was not then God’s instrument, but going at his own bidding. And, instead of feeling, Who is sufficient for these things? and with prayer and tears going to Brother Kellogg, and like a child entreating him as a father, he felt sufficient for the work. He had a self-dignity and an exalted spirit and he pushed the matter through to cut off one that was more experienced in the cause of God than himself. He was blind to his own weakness, blind to his own heart, and the sweet, melting Spirit of God was not with him. 1LtMs, Lt 6, 1856, par. 11

As Brother Kellogg was pursued in this matter, he hardly knew what to make of it. He was astonished, and he gave way to his feelings and manifested a wrong spirit. I saw the work against Brother Kellogg was cruel. He had been desponding, had lost his faith and looked upon the dark side too much, and had distrusted God. But his brethren could have come in and comforted him and encouraged him and he would have overcome these feelings and when God should call upon him to aid His children he would have cheerfully assisted. 1LtMs, Lt 6, 1856, par. 12

I saw that the burden that has been upon him has been almost too much for him. His children have lain near his heart and their eternal interest has been his main study, while others—who have neglected the spiritual interest of their children—are not prepared to sympathize with him in his anguish of spirit if he saw his children going astray and losing their interest in the truth. The course of his son Smith has almost crushed him, and while his heart has been sore stricken his comforters have been like Job’s. The brethren could have soothed him in his anguish, but instead of this the iron entered their hearts and he has been thrust with side and shoulder. 1LtMs, Lt 6, 1856, par. 13

I saw the course of Brother Dickinson’s family in regard to Smith was most cruel and unnatural. The advice for children to disregard the special wishes of their parents—this cannot be too highly censured. I saw if God had not had a kind regard for Brother Kellogg in this time of severe trial, his mind would have strained; but God’s hand has been beneath him. 1LtMs, Lt 6, 1856, par. 14

I saw that Brother Cornell had not counseled with his aged brethren as he should have done; he was too independent. Those who have brought up a family and, like Abram, have commanded them after themselves, are almost always better prepared to judge in matters of the church than young preachers. Some of the preachers have got out of their place. They have felt perfectly qualified in church matters when their own hearts were not right. I saw that Brother Cornell must die to self-dignity and must get rid of jealousy, for it is cruel as the grave. 1LtMs, Lt 6, 1856, par. 15

Said the Angel, “God’s children are as the apple of His eye, and when you touch them to hurt them you touch the apple of God’s eye.” [Zechariah 2:8.] Said the Angel, “The oil and the wine have been hurt. Hurt not the oil and the wine.” [Revelation 6:6.] Said the Angel, “Rebuke not an elder, but entreat him as a father.” [1 Timothy 5:1.] This, I saw, did not mean preachers, but aged men, those that are fathers in experience. This has been overlooked in Brother Kellogg’s case. He has been treated more like a disobedient child than a father. 1LtMs, Lt 6, 1856, par. 16

I saw that with great trembling should the young preachers receive an accusation against their fellow laborers and the old hoary-headed fathers of the church. I saw there was not that weeping spirit and meek spirit among the preachers there should be. I saw that all that was required of Brother Cornell was to break all down before God, have a humble, childlike spirit, and then will he plant himself firmly in the hearts of his brethren. I saw you must be careful how you stretch out your hand to bring rebels into the camp, lest the Lord destroy you and them together. If God has honest ones among the Messenger Party that have left us, they will find enough to do to come all the way back, confessing humbly their wicked course. We must not meet them halfway. Let them make thorough work themselves, then shall we know that God has wrought for them. 1LtMs, Lt 6, 1856, par. 17

In love. 1LtMs, Lt 6, 1856, par. 18