Letters and Manuscripts — Volume 1

367/519

Lt 11, 1864

Mears, Brother

NP

1864

Previously unpublished.

Dear Brother Mears:

I will now try to write to you some things which have been shown to me in your case. I was shown that you could do good in the cause of God if some defects were remedied in your character. You have in many things pursued a straightforward course, and in some things have been a little too sharp. You have not had that compassionate tenderness, that brotherly love, which would be a blessing to the cause of God. Your efforts for the good of God’s people might be far greater if you would guard yourself on some points. You need greater tenderness and compassion, and to be brought more closely into sympathy with your brethren. If you feel that one of your brethren is wrong, you are inclined to hold him off and be distant. This is not the way to convince him of his error and win him to correct feelings. 1LtMs, Lt 11, 1864, par. 1

You are beguiled to talk too much of yourself, relating stories in which you have acted a part. Again, you think that you have had a hard time and made sacrifices when your sufferings and sacrifices are not worth mentioning when compared with the sacrifice Christ has made in our behalf. After we have done all in our power for the dear Saviour, we are to say we are unprofitable servants. It is impossible for us to do too much to save souls and be coworkers with Jesus Christ. To engage in the work of God with a feeling that we are doing a great deal and that the Lord and the brethren are under obligation to us because we do something in God’s service, is all wrong. 1LtMs, Lt 11, 1864, par. 2

When you go from place to place you want to go willingly, cheerfully, heartily; have the truth and its power diffused through your entire being. Let it flow out from your lips in words that will melt and burn their way through the cold formality and ignorance and prejudice of those you meet and wish to benefit. Let your fervor and earnest zeal kindle the fire upon the altar of other hearts. 1LtMs, Lt 11, 1864, par. 3

You are using God-given probationary time, and this is too precious to be used in talking of unimportant matters in connection with self. Every hour that passes goes into eternity with its burden of record, never to return, never to be amended. Then let each moment be so employed that we shall not be ashamed when the books shall reveal the record of everyday life. Self should be hid behind Jesus. We should not make ourselves and our lives a criterion for others or seek to mold others by our experience. We may present the example of Christ, His life of self-denial and self-sacrifice, and dwell upon His spotless purity, His matchless love. We have a large field in the truth to give food for thought. We must show in the burden of our labors that the truth is everything and we are nothing. 1LtMs, Lt 11, 1864, par. 4

You have had your seasons of discouragement and distress, and apprehensions gather in fancied failures and defeats and in magnified sufferings and self-denials and sacrifices. It is at this time that faith should be exercised which will grow strong in conflict with doubt. Your hands too frequently slip off from the promises of God. You settle under the cloud as though there were no way through. You talk failure, you talk discouragements, and unbelief strengthens every moment. 1LtMs, Lt 11, 1864, par. 5

You are like Peter. You venture into the water; it is overwhelming you and you are sinking because you have your eyes withdrawn from Jesus to your danger. Peter’s only hope was in his Saviour. He cried in his peril and anguish, “Lord, save me.” Matthew 14:30. That arm was stretched out to save with words of gentle reproof, “O thou of little faith, wherefore didst thou doubt?” Matthew 14:31. His doubt came in withdrawing his eyes from Jesus and fixing them upon himself and the troubled, tumultuous waves. Had he looked confidingly to Jesus he would have been as safe walking upon the waves as upon solid land. 1LtMs, Lt 11, 1864, par. 6

Your conversation, my brother, has not always been upon heaven and heavenly things. You permit your talk to center too much upon yourself and you weary those who listen to your relation of details that are of no special, vital interest to them. If you talk faith only when everything looks prosperous, this is no virtue; but when there are difficulties, then is the time to have faith. Faith strengthens by exercise. Let faith press through the clouds and you will have gained an experience of the highest value. 1LtMs, Lt 11, 1864, par. 7

How often have you prayed for more faith and peace in Christ, but even while you prayed the blackest cloud you ever realized has settled over your soul and the wrath of God seemed to be hanging over you! Oh, how amazed have you felt in your anguish! You could not understand that in this very perplexity and distress God was answering your prayer, was driving you to earnest effort, to persevering faith, that when you should be tested sufficiently and your faith proved, He might lift the cloud and reveal to you His own clear light, and diffuse through your soul that peace which passeth knowledge. 1LtMs, Lt 11, 1864, par. 8

God would lead out His people if they would be led, and give them an experience at every step. Above every cloud is written in living characters, “Every one that asketh receiveth; and he that seeketh findeth; and to him that knocketh it shall be opened.” Matthew 7:8. 1LtMs, Lt 11, 1864, par. 9

Brother Mears, your efforts in meetings have need to be of a different character. You fail to come directly to the point. You talk of too many things. Come to the pith of the matter at once. Leave self out of the question and stop in good season before others become wearied with your lengthy remarks. The greatest wisdom and the nicest tact are required in dealing with minds. You need to educate yourself in this direction if you become of use in the cause of God. 1LtMs, Lt 11, 1864, par. 10

There is another subject that I must mention. I was shown that your children have not been making advancement in the divine life, and they never will until they go back in the past life of girlhood and take up their course of error and wrong and make crooked things straight. This you may not understand. I was taken back and shown that your children in their school associations have pursued a course wholly inconsistent with our faith. They were forward. They loved the society of young men and their course was not only unbecoming in modest young ladies who profess no religion, but was a reproach to their parents who believe exalted truth, and a reproach to the cause of God. 1LtMs, Lt 11, 1864, par. 11

The precious cause of God has been brought into disrepute by their frivolous course of conduct, by their coquetry and their flippant behaviour. God frowned upon their course. It is all written in the books of heaven—these children’s deception and prevarications and downright falsehoods, to escape censure which they knew their course of conduct merited and would surely receive from you if you were cognizant of the real facts as they existed. 1LtMs, Lt 11, 1864, par. 12

You may say, “It is hard to bring these things up now. My three eldest children have married and have homes of their own.” I would not mention these things but for the fact that they cannot be free before the people of God and feel clear in their own souls until they make straight their crooked course and confess the falsehoods they have uttered to deceive their father and mother. The mother thought the father was a little too exacting and in his discipline too severe, and she must be indulgent and favor her children to counteract what she thought was the over-severe discipline of the father. This indulgence upon the part of the mother, and excusing their faults, has had a very bad influence upon the children. Brother Mears in some things has been overexacting, but in nearly all things had his rules and judgment been respected more it would have been far better for every member of the family. 1LtMs, Lt 11, 1864, par. 13

There are wrongs committed by some of the girls in trifling with affections which have wounded, which wound cannot be healed. There are wrongs which cannot be cured. Some of these exist and now all that your children can do is to make humble confessions and show deep and sincere repentance before God, and this is the least that they can do. The effect of their course upon young men, in trifling with their affections, has been most disastrous. This has passed into eternity with its record to be revealed in the judgment, unless they shall make thorough work for repentance as far as in them lies, and pardon is written. 1LtMs, Lt 11, 1864, par. 14

Did these girls think when they prevaricated and denied that they had been guilty of levity of conduct when they knew they had, that God did not know, that God had not written it all in His book? Your children loved amusements and loved pleasure and fun and frolic, but they studiously kept these things from their parents, and the eyes of their parents were blinded. They were not ignorant that their children had errors and faults, but they did not think that they would tell them direct falsehoods; but this they have done; and while they bear this violated conscience, and while suspicion of bearing false witness rests upon others who told the truth, these girls, if they should live till they were grey-headed, would bear a violated conscience. 1LtMs, Lt 11, 1864, par. 15

Their course in their youth was not modest, sober, and candid. Their future life and experience may teach them this, but they will constantly be in danger of prevarication and deception, and will be deceived themselves and deceive others unless they go back and make past wrongs right as far as they can do so by thorough confession. This will cause death to self and will be like taking out the right eye and cutting off the right arm; nevertheless, not one particle of deception nor the least impurity of character can dwell in the presence of that pure and holy God who dwelleth in light unapproachable. 1LtMs, Lt 11, 1864, par. 16

We are doing up work for eternity. Brother Mears, you come down with unsparing criticism upon the youth who venture to pursue a course of folly not half as bad as that which your children have carried on in and out of your house, and you blinded to it. All this has had its burden of influence to be seen in the judgment. Not one of your elder children is in an accepted state with God. They have a work to do which no one can do for them. They need a change of heart, a most thorough heart conversion, or they will perish with the wicked in the general ruin. 1LtMs, Lt 11, 1864, par. 17

This is painful for me to write you, I assure you, but consider me not your enemy because I tell you the truth. The future happiness of your children depends upon the course they now take. They cannot be happy in their future life unless they make past wrongs right as far as humiliation, repentance, and confessions are concerned. God’s eye is upon all the acts of the children of men. Their most secret acts and even the thoughts of their hearts are recorded for the judgment. Nothing but the blood of Jesus can avail to wash away the stains of sin and remove the wrinkles in the moral character, traits that must be seen and overcome before God can pardon the transgressions and blot them out of His book of records. 1LtMs, Lt 11, 1864, par. 18

These children that have knowingly let anyone rest under censure, or even suspicion of falsehood, which should rest upon their own heads because of their own wrongs, will feel the displeasure of God upon them. He will visit them for these things. 1LtMs, Lt 11, 1864, par. 19

There are in the church those who are weak-handed and feeble in spiritual strength, self-made invalids. Their own sins separate them from God. They have not confidence, because their sins stare them in the face. Every act of known transgression should call forth tears of repentance and humble acknowledgments. Never can the souls of your daughters be clear of the blood of their young companions till they have humbled their proud hearts before God, and by confession to their young associates show that they see and heartily repent, and despise their course of folly in the past. 1LtMs, Lt 11, 1864, par. 20

Your daughters knew better. They had precious, glorious light, yet they yielded themselves to Satan as captives of his will. The light they had received makes their wrongs more aggravating in the sight of God. Your children have loved to have their own way. They have a fearful stubbornness of heart. Their will is not submissive; it is by nature at enmity with God. But the time has come when there must be an entire transformation or the case is hopeless. The truth of God must penetrate down into the dark vaults of the depraved heart and discover the secret, hidden sins and glossed-over depravity or they risk an exposure in the day of God before assembled millions, and will hear the terrible denunciation, “Depart from me, ye that work iniquity.” Matthew 7:23. 1LtMs, Lt 11, 1864, par. 21

God will make no compromise with sin. May your children find out their sins by close searching of heart and put them away, rather than run the risk of passing along until the discovery and exposure is made by the lightening flash of God’s wrath, at the great day when every case is brought into review before God, and all will receive according to the deeds done in the body, whether they be good or evil. 1LtMs, Lt 11, 1864, par. 22

May your children count the cost of submission to God. He demands the whole heart, the entire affections. How many golden years of their lives have passed into eternity, and in God’s great book of records there are found facts as they exist. He came to find fruit in the lives of these children and found neither buds nor blossoms, but leaves, nothing but leaves. 1LtMs, Lt 11, 1864, par. 23

If your children expect to follow Christ they must deny self and lift the cross that Christ has appointed for them to bear. They may count the cost. Can they make thorough work for eternity; will they do this? Will they give up everything that is wrong? As they have loved to please themselves and have their own way, will they now surrender to God and consent gladly to be led by God? Will they submit to yield everything? Will they take up the block of stumbling, which they have cast in the path of the young? Any favorite, sinful pleasure must be forever yielded and they find a higher pleasure in the service of their Redeemer, and in abandoning every wrong. This will pay in the end. It will cost a great effort to make clean and thorough work for the judgment, but it pays, it pays. Get the guilt of sin from the conscience and there will be a sweet happiness and rest in the yoke and burden Christ will lay upon them, which will surpass every sinful pleasure and gratifying indulgence. 1LtMs, Lt 11, 1864, par. 24

If you, Brother and Sister Mears, see these things and the elder children see them and make thorough work, the younger children may be saved from the follies of the elder ones. May the Lord make these words, written in faithfulness, a blessing to you all, is the sincere prayer of your sister. 1LtMs, Lt 11, 1864, par. 25