Letters and Manuscripts — Volume 1 (1844 - 1868)


Ms 2, 1857

Church Trials

Ulysses, Pennsylvania

July 24, 1857

Portions of this manuscript are published in 1T 164-168. See also Annotations.

Testimony for the Church in Central New York; Vision given at Ulysses, Pennsylvania, July 6, 1857.

I have seen in regard to the state of the cause in New York. I have seen that there have been so many church trials that God had not the least to do with, that the church have lost their strength and they know not how to regain it. The love for one another has been gone; a faultfinding, accusing spirit has prevailed. It has been considered a virtue to hunt up everything about one another that looked wrong and make it appear fully as bad as it was. The bowels of compassion that yearn in love and pity towards brethren have been all dried up by faultfinding, picking at everything bearing the appearance of wrong, until the noble feelings of the soul are withered. The mind should be elevated to dwell upon eternal scenes, heaven, its treasures, its glories, and should take sweet and holy satisfaction in the truths of the Bible and searching up the precious promises that His Word affords to comfort and lift up the mind from trifles to weighty, eternal things. 1LtMs, Ms 2, 1857, par. 1

But, oh, how different has the mind been employed! Picking at straws! Church meetings, as they have been held, have been a living curse to New York. These manufactured trials have given free liberty to evil surmisings. Jealousy has been fed. Hatred has existed, but they know it not. A wrong idea has been in the minds of the brethren to reprove without love, hold others to your idea of what is right, and spare not, but bear down with crushing weight. 1LtMs, Ms 2, 1857, par. 2

I saw that many in New York have had so much care for their brethren, to keep them straight, that they have neglected their own hearts. They are so fearful that their brethren will not be zealous and repent [that] they forget that they have wrongs that must be righted, and with their hearts unsanctified they try to right their brethren. Now the only way the church in New York can arise is to attend to their own individual cases, and each set his own heart in order. If sin is plain upon a brother, breathe it not to another, but with love for the brother’s soul, with a heart full of compassion, with bowels of mercies, tell him the wrong, then leave it upon the brother and God. You have discharged your duty. You are not to pass sentence. 1LtMs, Ms 2, 1857, par. 3

You have made it too light an affair to rein up a brother, condemn him, and hold him under condemnation. There has been a zeal of God but not according to knowledge. If all set their own hearts in order, when they meet together their testimony would be ready to come from a full soul, and the people around that believe not the truth would be moved. The witness of the Spirit would tell to their hearts that you are the children of God. Our love for each other should be visible to all. It will tell. It will have influence. 1LtMs, Ms 2, 1857, par. 4

I saw that there is a way for the church in New York to arise. Individually take hold of the work in earnest; be zealous and repent. And after all wrongs are righted that you have knowledge of, then believe God accepts. Go not mourning, but take God at His word; seek Him diligently, and believe that He receives you. A part of the work is to believe. He is faithful that has promised. Climb up by faith. 1LtMs, Ms 2, 1857, par. 5

I saw that in New York they can arise as well as in other places, and they can drink of the salvation of God. They can move understandingly, and each one have an experience for himself in this message of the True Witness to the Laodicean church. The church feel that they are down, but know not how to arise. The intention of some may be ever so good [and] they may confess; yet I saw they were watched with suspicion and so they were made an offender for a word, until they have no liberty, no salvation. They dare not act out the simple feelings of the heart, because they are watched. Everything is stiff and unnatural. It is God’s pleasure that His people should fear Him, and have confidence before each other. 1LtMs, Ms 2, 1857, par. 6

I saw that many had taken advantage of what God had shown about the sins and wrongs of those in New York. They had taken the extreme meaning of what had been shown in vision, and then confessed it until it has had the tendency to weaken the faith in what God has shown, and also to discourage and dishearten the church. I was also shown that with delicate and tender compassion should brother deal with brother. Delicately should he deal with feeling. And I saw that it is the greatest work that ever yet was done, and the nicest point to touch the wrongs of another. With the deepest humility should a brother do this, considering his own weakness, lest he should also be tempted. 1LtMs, Ms 2, 1857, par. 7

I have seen the great sacrifice Jesus made to redeem man. He did not consider His own life too dear to sacrifice. “Love one another as I have loved you,” He said. [John 13:34.] Ask yourself the question, Do you feel, when a brother errs, you could give your life to save him from that error, and that danger? It places him in [danger] of losing his soul. If you feel thus, you can approach him and affect his heart. You are just the one to visit that brother. But it is a fearful truth that many who profess to be brethren are not willing to sacrifice their opinions or judgment to save a brother. There is but little love for one another. A selfish spirit has been manifested. 1LtMs, Ms 2, 1857, par. 8

Discouragement has come upon the church. They have been loving the world, loving their farms, cattle, etc. Now Jesus calls them to cut loose, to lay up treasures in heaven, buy gold, white raiment, and eyesalve—precious treasures that will obtain for the possessor an inheritance in the kingdom of God. 1LtMs, Ms 2, 1857, par. 9

The people of God must move understandingly. They must know that every known sin is confessed; then it is their privilege and duty to believe that Jesus accepts them. They must not wait for others to plow through the darkness, obtain the victory, then enjoy it. Such enjoyment will last no longer than [until] the meeting closes. There must be a serving God from principle instead of feeling. Morning and night obtain a victory for yourselves in your own family. Let not your daily labor hinder this. Take time to pray, and believe as you pray that God hears you. Have faith mixed with your prayers and it will be effectual. You may not at all times feel the immediate answer, but then it is your faith is tried. You are proved to see whether you will trust God, whether you have living, abiding faith. “Faithful is he that calleth you, who also will do it.” 1 Thessalonians 5:24. 1LtMs, Ms 2, 1857, par. 10

Walk the narrow plank of faith, trust all on the promises of God. Trust God in darkness; that is the time to have faith. But you often let feeling govern you. You look at yourselves when you do not feel comforted by the Spirit of God. You do not trust enough in Jesus, precious Jesus. You do not make His worthiness to be all, all, as you should. The very best you can do will not make you merit the favor of God. It is Jesus’ worthiness that will save us; His blood cleanses us. Do what you can on your part. Be zealous and repent, then believe. 1LtMs, Ms 2, 1857, par. 11

Confound not faith and feeling together. They are distinct. Faith is ours to exercise. This faith we must exercise. Believe, believe. Let your faith take hold of the blessing and if your faith takes hold of it, it is yours by faith. Your feelings have nothing to do with this faith. When faith brings the blessing to your heart, then you rejoice in the blessing. It is no more faith but feeling. The feeling has swallowed up the faith. 1LtMs, Ms 2, 1857, par. 12

The people must steadily arise and come out from their darkness and let their light shine. They are standing right in the way of the work of God. They must let the message of the third angel do its work upon their hearts, clear the rubbish away from the door and open the door and let the Saviour in. God is dishonored by your long, faithless prayers and exhortations—confessing, but no reforming. I saw you must look away from the unworthiness of self and exalt Jesus. Talk of light, of heaven, and you will have light. Talk darkness and you will have darkness. 1LtMs, Ms 2, 1857, par. 13

I saw that Brother Edson has not taken his place in the church. He has kept back for fear of getting out of his place. I saw that Brother Edson has good judgment in matters of the church. It needs collected, patient, persevering men to judge in matters of the church. A hurried spirit must not decide. Brother Edson must take his place. 1LtMs, Ms 2, 1857, par. 14