Letters and Manuscripts — Volume 1 (1844 - 1868)
Lt 18, 1861
Buck, H. G.
Battle Creek, Michigan
January 19, 1861
Portions of this letter are published in 5MR 292-293.
Dear Brother [H. G.] Buck:
Your case was presented before me, and I saw that you were in a dark place. Instead of being a help and strength to God’s people you cause them sadness and are a weight, causing them much perplexity. Your spirit is not controlled by the Spirit of God. You are not subdued by grace, and in your present condition have no work to do in His cause, for He will not accept your labors. 1LtMs, Lt 18, 1861, par. 1
Your heart is not right. Self is too much esteemed by you, and self-will and a hard, unsubdued spirit controls you. You might ere this have been a successful laborer in the cause of God had you been cherishing the graces of the Spirit of God; but you have strengthened yourself in your own spirit and have been unwilling to learn or submit to your brethren. You have felt a hard, bitter, severe spirit if they did not agree with you. You have felt at liberty to act independently of the body and rise in opposition to anything introduced by them which did not meet your mind or agree with your feelings. You have acted from impulse and manifested your own natural feelings. 1LtMs, Lt 18, 1861, par. 2
You cannot be of use in the cause of God, for you are worse off than those whom you would try to benefit. You have not yet overcome self or learned self-control. You have not been purified by obeying the truth and have ever had too many to sympathize with you in your crooked course. You as an individual have had a work to do which you have not done, and your case looked dark and almost hopeless. If you had felt the purifying influence of the truth and thus gone into new places and by your exertions raised up a company, then you would have given fruits [to show] that the hand of the Lord was with you. But you can never benefit the church without a thorough reform. 1LtMs, Lt 18, 1861, par. 3
God will not accept any effort you may make, for you are not true to the cause of God. Your faith is not pure in His sight. You have brought upon the church overwhelming trials, and your feelings towards Brother Henry Hilliard have been wrong. The Lord loves the spirit of Brother Henry. Your words have been bitter. You have had sympathizers. Calista has sympathized with you and has not realized what spirit she was of. The church should stand entirely loose from your spirit and influence and then they will not feel such heavy burdens and anxious care. You do not see your wrong course and make thorough work as you go. Your harsh, hard spirit has never been fully subdued. You have needed to be converted for some years, then the spirit of the meek and lowly Jesus would have been manifested in your words, carried out in your life and acts. 1LtMs, Lt 18, 1861, par. 4
Says the True Witness, “I know thy works.” [Revelation 3:15.] Angels of God are weighing moral worth. The Lord is reviving the living, pointed testimony which will help develop character and purify the church. If you had suffered the truth to purify you, your labors would have been blessed to the church, but you chose your own course, to follow your own way, and you have not been baptized with the spirit of the third angel’s message, and your labors cannot benefit the cause of God. 1LtMs, Lt 18, 1861, par. 5
The minister of God should have true, thorough, heart work. Then his manners and deportment will take that elevated, noble character which will secure the respect of unbelievers and the love and confidence of God’s people. And while he is compelled to bear the pointed testimony, yet it is his duty to be agreeable and in all his manners courteous that, if possible, he may win souls to the truth. 1LtMs, Lt 18, 1861, par. 6
While we are commanded to separate from the world it is not necessary that we be coarse and rough and descend to utter low expressions, and make our remarks as rugged as possible. No, no. The truth is designed to elevate the receiver, to refine his taste and sanctify his judgment. There should be a continual aim to imitate the society we expect soon to associate with—angels of God who have never fallen by sin. Our characters should be holy, our manners comely, our words without guile, and we should go on step by step until we are all fitted for translation. There is a work to be done to attain to this. We must live out our holy faith and carry out the plan of addition. Add to our faith virtue, to virtue knowledge, etc. 1LtMs, Lt 18, 1861, par. 7