Letters and Manuscripts — Volume 1 (1844 - 1868)


Lt 33, 1861

Frisbie, Brother


January 1861

Previously unpublished.

Dear Brother Frisbie:

While at Battle Creek I was shown some things in relation to you. I saw that you had lost the power and influence of the third angel’s message. I was directed to the perplexing state of your father’s affairs—everything in confusion and out of order just as Satan would have it. You have the same slack manner of leaving things that your father had—taking things easy—which brings a great amount of perplexity in the end. And while you are so fully engrossed in temporal matters and reveal such a lack of the spirit of the message yourself, it is wrong to pretend to be laboring for the good of the church. 1LtMs, Lt 33, 1861, par. 1

The people are influenced by the spirit their preachers manifest, and if you are not in a condition to bind up and strengthen the church, your place is at home or attending to your temporal matters. At times the Lord has blessed you with freedom and given you success. Then you would become exalted and think that your gift was calculated to do a great work, and that you could enter into cities and large villages. In this you reach beyond your measure. You are not qualified for such places and would only be trampled over by opposers, and the cause of truth be injured. 1LtMs, Lt 33, 1861, par. 2

You can do the most good in new places. Go to a place and there remain until a company is raised up. And then do not leave that company for the wolves to come in and tear to pieces. Visit them often. Look after them as a shepherd would look after his flock. I saw that instead of going round among the large churches where they are well established, you should feel the burden especially of those raised up in new places, little companies situated in dark places. They need to be looked after often. But it has been the case with you that you have neglected and left these little companies to perish. This is wrong. 1LtMs, Lt 33, 1861, par. 3

I saw that a work must be accomplished for you or you are useless in the cause of God. Your first attempting to write books for publication was all wrong. You have had a strong desire to write and publish, but this is not your calling. God has qualified men to do this work, and as you engaged in it, the Lord withdrew His Spirit and blessing from you and you were left to go in your own strength. You do not now see why it is not your privilege to write and publish, and you have felt very unreconciled to Brother White because he has been faithful and plain with you in this matter. 1LtMs, Lt 33, 1861, par. 4

You have felt jealous and envious of Brother White, and your course after he first came to Michigan was very displeasing to God. You saw him in feebleness and discouragement, and Brother Waggoner and yourself were united, and your feelings and work at that time and the influence you cast, were cruel. It has been noticed of God. You have never yet realized the crooked feelings you then had. You will be a weak man until you make straight and thorough work in regard to the past. 1LtMs, Lt 33, 1861, par. 5

Brother Frisbie, while you lack spirituality so much it is no advantage to the churches for you to labor among them. You are in a cold, lukewarm state. You lack ambition and energy. You disappoint the people of God wherever you go. They expect you to come and help them, but you leave them lower than you find them. You shun the straight testimony. You lack moral courage to lay your hand decidedly upon wrong and reprove, rebuke, and exhort. Your habits are careless and neglectful about your home, in your temporal affairs, and you manifest the same disposition in spiritual matters. 1LtMs, Lt 33, 1861, par. 6

You leave things in a careless manner in the church. You pass along with crooked and half-hearted ones, and bear a smooth, general testimony calculated to perfectly suit the half-hearted, careless, and drowsy, and the church becomes dead. You do not take upon you the burden and then manifest energy, life, and ambition to have the matters of the church done up thoroughly as you go. You would prefer to shun this burden and let the one that follows after you attend to the laborious part while you slide along in an easy manner from church to church with an easy, peaceful testimony, perfectly calculated to lull the careless to carnal security. You want and must have the straight living testimony or your labors are worse than lost. The Lord will have efficient laborers in His cause. Elegant speech is not necessary, but the power of God is necessary, and without it there is nothing accomplished. 1LtMs, Lt 33, 1861, par. 7

Your moving to Wright and then back to Battle Creek has had a tendency to discourage the church in Wright. You looked for the church to do for, and interest themselves for, your family, when you failed to do the duty in regard to your family which belonged to you. You are too indolent, love your ease too well, and your wife bears burdens which belong to you to bear. If you bear the straight testimony and exert a good influence, it would be a pleasure for the church to do for your family. You should be faithful in home duties and not leave too much burden upon the brethren. When they see you manifest the care and diligence that you should manifest in your temporal concerns to see that you leave your wife comfortable, it will influence them to come up to do their duty. Your influence in Wright has had a tendency to scatter instead of to gather and build up. The lack of care you take upon yourself has a wretched influence upon the cause of God. 1LtMs, Lt 33, 1861, par. 8

You should pray more and talk less. You must be more economical of your time. You spend too much time in talking. Act as though your time was worth something. Not only do you lose your time, but the time of the one you talk to is lost, and you will be accountable for the time of both. It is your duty to look more after the comforts of your own family. You know their wants better than their brethren do. Prepare things for their comfort. Before you leave your home go to your brethren and tell them freely what your wife needs in your absence. Leave her as well supplied as you can, and then, before you leave, appoint two brethren as agents to see what she needs and have them report to the church, and there will be no lack. 1LtMs, Lt 33, 1861, par. 9

Your lack of order is calculated to tear any church to pieces. If you are careful of your spare moments and do not spend so much time in idleness or talking, you can make your home comfortable, orderly, and happy. There has been a great lack on your part in these things. You have looked for your brethren to do what you could do, but did not. It is not your duty to leave your wife unless you can leave her comfortable. This you can do by spending more of your time and labor at home, and you will fail of your duty as a Christian unless you do this. You leave your brethren to do what belongs to you to do. 1LtMs, Lt 33, 1861, par. 10

I saw that you encouraged Brother Edgar to travel as a laborer. God has not called him. When the Lord is moving upon an individual to labor for the salvation of souls, the burden of the work will rest upon him. He will not feel like entering into other men’s labors, but will strike out into new places, enter new ground, and although he may suffer want and privation, he will labor on and give full proof of his ministry, bringing out souls as the fruit of his labor. But the principal burden with Brother Edgar is his support. He does not feel the burden of the work upon him, and it is wrong for him to spend his time in traveling from place to place, accomplishing nothing. If such ones do not have a decided influence to benefit the church and build them up, it leaves them lower. Brother Edgar has been deceived in regard to his calling. 1LtMs, Lt 33, 1861, par. 11

Brother Frisbie has lacked judgment in talking to Brother Edgar and to his brethren that he had a duty to travel and labor. It takes the Holy Spirit to select laborers. There are individuals that can exhort and pray with a degree of freedom in conference meetings. This is well. Just such ones are needed in the church. But they may lack the essential qualifications for laborers in the vineyard of the Lord. Let them fill their place in the church but push them not into a work they do not understand, and that they have no experience in. These things discourage the church. They interest themselves to help such ones, and then see no fruit of their labor. 1LtMs, Lt 33, 1861, par. 12

You, Brother Frisbie, have felt grieved and severely tried with Brother White because he has reproved you. You have thought him too severe, that he could take a course that would not cut you so deeply. You would choose an easier manner to be approached. But this you will be disappointed in. Every reproof given will conflict with your natural feelings and mortify your pride of heart. You fail right here. You want what you say to be smooth, so as not to offend your hearers. You wish it to agree with their feelings, and the straight testimony is walked all around. You have not the burden of the work. Brother White has labored for your good and the good of the cause in speaking to you plainly. He has suffered and suffered in his feelings, hoping to get rid of the disagreeable task, until he felt that the Lord would be displeased, and then he has spoken. But you have held yourself ready to be tempted with jealousy that you were slighted and have been tried which has shut the light of God’s countenance from you. 1LtMs, Lt 33, 1861, par. 13

A different work is laid upon Brother White than is laid upon you. Gladly would he exchange his work for yours if God would so order it, but no, he must fulfill his mission and you must fulfill yours. You know but little of trials and burdens or self-denial. You gratify your appetite, use stimulating drinks, as tea. Your influence should be to discourage the use of tea and coffee, but it has been to encourage their use in the churches. Ministers of Christ are looked up to as an example. One minister visits the churches preaching against these hurtful stimulants; Brother Frisbie follows after and uses tea to excess. Such things throw the churches into confusion. When the effects of tea are gone from your system there is a languor, a weakness. You use tea. It stimulates you, makes you feel a great deal better until the influence of it wears away, then you are worse off than before. It becomes ministers of Christ to deny themselves of these things and exert an influence to have their use discontinued among Sabbathkeepers and the means spent for these things be put into the treasury of God. 1LtMs, Lt 33, 1861, par. 14

Brother Frisbie, I was pointed back and saw that you greatly lacked judgment in taking a gift from a poor brother in Hastings, a gift of cattle, to be used for yourself and the church. He was conscientious, and wished to do all he could to mend his past course, which had not been correct. God accepted this offering, but you did wrong to receive it. Your judgment should have taught you to refuse such a gift from a poor family, for it was their main dependence. That gift distressed him and in consequence he suffered. I saw that you could not be clear or justified until you pay the full value of those cattle, as you received them from the brother’s hands, and the interest of the value of the portion you were benefited with while they were in your hands. 1LtMs, Lt 33, 1861, par. 15

Here is another evidence of your careless, loose manner of getting along. That family is suffering for sympathy and help. You should have looked after that family and inquired into their circumstances to see if they were not distressed because of that gift. But this you failed to do. It is your duty to labor and strive earnestly for the Spirit of God and not venture out to labor without it. Preach the straight truth which will lead the men of wealth to lay their treasures upon the altar. Enforce upon them their duty. Then show diligence yourself. Labor for the good of your family. When you are not zealously engaged in the work of God labor with your hands. Help yourself. God does not approve your indolent habits. Your uncomplaining wife might have many things for her comfort she does not have, but the lack is on your own part. 1LtMs, Lt 33, 1861, par. 16