Letters and Manuscripts — Volume 1 (1844 - 1868)


Ms 1a, 1859

The Cause in Vermont


August 1859

Previously unpublished. See also Annotations.

I was shown the state of things in Vermont. They should have order among them and have everything done up exact, straight and square. There is too much leaving things at loose ends. There should be order in regard to appointing meetings, and an understanding [of] who is to labor in these meetings. There should be a perfect understanding that the help is sufficient to carry through these meetings in a right way, that the congregation should be held, and that interest should exist all through the meeting. I saw that rather than to appoint meetings and the efforts be feeble and the gifts such as not to interest, it would be better not to have such meetings, for the hearers judge the cause and the work to be all of one piece, and decide for error instead of truth. 1LtMs, Ms 1a, 1859, par. 1

I was shown that the churches in Vermont have been weakened by leaving the important truth to dwell on little things—to dwell on articles of dress and take notice of little things. There is a faultfinding spirit—neglecting their own soul’s interest to keep their brethren and sisters straight. They neglect the great principles of our faith to descend to little particulars. There has been a stiff, unbending spirit with some in Vermont and a desire to bend others to their ideas of right and to their notions, and they have been tried if other minds did not run in the same channel with their own concerning little things. 1LtMs, Ms 1a, 1859, par. 2

Feeling has governed some. They felt bad about this brother or that sister. They had on some article of dress, or there was some article of furniture in their house that you did not feel that they should have. But this does not concern you. Your feelings may be wrong. Dwell upon the important, saving truth, the great principles of our faith and religion, and then leave the brother or sister to the Lord and the angels to convict them of their wrong in dress or furniture or fixings. If they really love God and have extravagance about them, the Lord is just as willing to show them their wrong and convict them of their sin as He is to convict you, or somebody else, or lay a burden on some other one. 1LtMs, Ms 1a, 1859, par. 3

Preach the truth, and if the truth is received in the heart it will affect the receiver and purge wrongs from him. Don’t be in too great haste. Leave the Spirit of the Lord time to do its work, time to correct wrongs; then the individual has an experience that is worth everything to him. I saw that the brethren in Vermont must not move from impulse, but from principle; must not be governed by feeling or impressions, because they are liable to be deceived if they trust here or rely there. They must preach present truth straight, plain, and clear, and not come down from the important things to little things that do not concern them. 1LtMs, Ms 1a, 1859, par. 4

There must be a more strict attention paid by all to their own eternal welfare, to cultivate the good seed sown in their own heart, or before they are aware of it, while they are intently watching their brother or sister, poisonous weeds are choking the good seed in their own hearts. And are they then in a situation to remove or correct the wrong in their brethren? Oh no. 1LtMs, Ms 1a, 1859, par. 5

I saw that some, when reproved by the gifts God has placed in the church, immediately commence to retaliate, begin to watch to see if they can’t find something in an article of dress, in the instrument God uses—the reprover—or in others, to find fault with. They encourage a faultfinding, complaining spirit and bring the displeasure of God upon them more than it was before. They add sin to sin. Instead of putting away their wrong, they hide it or cover it by gratifying their carnal mind in accusing their brother or sister. 1LtMs, Ms 1a, 1859, par. 6

I have been shown the case of those brethren who feel that God has called them into His vineyard. If God has called them, the burden and weight of the work will rest upon them; they will feel the burden of the message with power, and they will not exercise their gift so much among believers who have an understanding of the truth but among those in new fields, laboring by every effort, by prayer and holy living and talking the truth, to raise up a company of Sabbathkeepers. They will not run much among the brethren, accomplishing but little. 1LtMs, Ms 1a, 1859, par. 7

I saw that some brethren have not fully understood their work. The Lord has not called them to give themselves up wholly or unreservedly to the work of teaching the truth to others. They can assist in the work, do errands for the Lord, but they should not throw themselves wholly on the church as called and chosen servants of Jesus Christ are required to. They are not called to travel extensively from state to state. [Manuscript is incomplete.] 1LtMs, Ms 1a, 1859, par. 8