Letters and Manuscripts — Volume 1 (1844 - 1868)


Lt 17, 1861

Ingraham, W. S.

Battle Creek, Michigan

January 17, 1861

Portions of this letter are published in 10MR 22.

Dear Brother [William S.] Ingraham:

The past year has been a year of peculiar trials to me. It has been a year of discouragements and suffering. Twenty-four days and twenty-four nights we watched our suffering little one, but it seemed to be our heavenly Father’s will to take him from us. We feel to submit to His wise providence. Much of the time during his sickness I was mourning and pleading before the Lord that, if consistent with His will, my precious one might be spared. I could give vent to my feelings with bitter tears. But when my little one was dying I could not weep. I fainted at the funeral, but although my heart ached to bursting I could not shed a tear. For one week this anguish pressed me. My mind was in a continual study as to why it should be so. 1LtMs, Lt 17, 1861, par. 1

We could not rise above the discouragements we passed through in the past summer. As to the state of God’s people, we knew not what we might expect. Satan had affected our best friends, those who knew us, those who were acquainted with our mission and had seen the fruit of our labors and witnessed the manifestation of the power of God so many times. What could we hope for in the future? 1LtMs, Lt 17, 1861, par. 2

While my baby lived, I thought I knew what my duty was. I pressed him to my heart and rejoiced that at least for one winter I should be released from any great responsibility, for it was not my duty to travel in winter with my infant. But when he was removed I was again thrown into great uncertainty. The drowsy state of God’s people nearly crushed me. A horror of great darkness came over me. I could not sleep through the night, for a severe pain was in my heart. I could find no rest in any position [in which] I might lie. Finally I fainted, and continued to faint a number of times, until my husband was seriously alarmed. He feared I must die. He sent for the brethren to come and pray for me. Their fervent and effectual prayers prevailed with God. I was relieved, and immediately taken off in vision. The cause of God in different places was then presented before me. Many things you will see in pamphlet form, but individual cases were shown me which have occupied much of my time for two weeks in writing. 1LtMs, Lt 17, 1861, par. 3

I was shown some things in regard to you. I saw that the living, pointed testimony had been crushed in the church. You have shunned to lay your hands decidedly upon wrong and have felt tried with those who have felt compelled to do so. Disaffected and crooked ones have had your sympathy, which has had a tendency to make you a weak man, and your feelings have not been in harmony and union with straight, pointed testimony which has been set home to individuals: “Thou art the man.” [2 Samuel 12:7.] 1LtMs, Lt 17, 1861, par. 4

God’s servants are not excused if they shun pointed testimony. They must reprove and rebuke individuals who deserve [reproof and rebuke]. You have too often stretched out your hand to shield these persons from the censure which they deserved and the reproofs which the Lord designed they should have. If these persons failed to reform, their lack is laid to your account. Instead of watching for their danger and warning them of it, you have felt tried with those who have followed the convictions of duty and have reproved and warned the guilty. 1LtMs, Lt 17, 1861, par. 5

It is a fearful age, and the greatest danger now is of self-deception. Individuals blind to their own fearful condition reach the standard of piety which they and their friends have set up. They are fellowshiped by their brethren and are satisfied, while they fail entirely to reach the gospel standard set up by our divine Lord. If they regard iniquity in their heart the Lord will not hear them. With many it is not only regarded in the heart but openly carried out in the life. Yet in many cases it receives no rebuke or censure. 1LtMs, Lt 17, 1861, par. 6

You have had feelings of opposition to the pointed, straight testimony. Your feelings against James were all wrong at Crane’s Grove at the time of the discussion, and you affected others. The work that God designed to have accomplished for certain ones proved a failure. If you had stood in the counsel of God at that time, a great work would have been done. The Spirit of the Lord was grieved. Individuals were not corrected of their wrongs, and since that have built themselves up, and you are guilty in this matter. 1LtMs, Lt 17, 1861, par. 7

I saw that you sympathized with Horace Cushman, and your course in regard to him has injured and crippled your influence. It is impossible for Horace Cushman to be fellowshiped by the church. He has placed himself where his case cannot be reached by the church, where he cannot have any communion with, or voice in, the church. He has placed himself there in the face of light and truth. He has chosen his own course and cannot commune with God’s people. He has followed the inclinations of his corrupt heart, violated the holy law of God, and censure must ever rest upon him. If he repents ever so heartily the church must let his case alone and not meddle with it. If he goes to heaven it must be alone, without the sympathy or fellowship of the church. A standing rebuke from God and the church must ever rest upon him, that the standard of morality be not lowered to the very dust. 1LtMs, Lt 17, 1861, par. 8

Brother Ingraham, you must bear a living, pointed testimony and stand out of the way of the work of God and His people. Step not in between God and His people and wrap up and smooth down the sharp testimony, or lift your voice against the reproof and severe censure He lays upon individual wrongs and sins. God is purifying His people. Stand out of the way that the work be not hindered, and instead of feeling opposition to cutting reproof and pointed testimony, use your influence to set it home. A plain, smooth testimony God will not accept. Ministers must cry aloud and spare not. They must weep between the porch and the altar and cry, Spare Thy people, Lord! 1LtMs, Lt 17, 1861, par. 9

You fail in your family, fail in family government. You do not subdue evil temper and passion in your children. Your wife does not take hold with you, that together you may correct and rule your own household. The Lord has given you a powerful testimony, but yet you lack and must be corrected upon these things or your testimony will dry up and you be a weak man. 1LtMs, Lt 17, 1861, par. 10

I saw that Brother Lindsay has no duty to travel and preach. God has not laid the burden upon him. He lacks the essential qualifications. The Lord requires of him that he be “not slothful in business; fervent in spirit, serving the Lord.” Romans 12:11. 1LtMs, Lt 17, 1861, par. 11