Letters and Manuscripts — Volume 1 (1844 - 1868)


Lt 23, 1868

Friends in Burlington

Battle Creek, Michigan

April 27, 1868

Portions of this letter are published in 9MR 280-281.

Dear Friends in Burlington:

Some things have been shown me in regard to you which you should have had long ago, but sickness in my family and many cares caused me to forget it. I related the matter to Brother Dodge and commenced writing, but never finished. 1LtMs, Lt 23, 1868, par. 1

I was shown that the church at Burlington are too mixed up. Some there have accounted neatness and order [as] pride, and have counted slackness and disorder [as] humility. Here I saw that they made a sad mistake. Their ideas are too low. They must elevate their minds and feelings, and it is impossible for them to make thoroughgoing Christians or such disciples as Jesus owns unless they observe strict habits of order and cleanliness. Their persons should be kept perfectly clean, their clothing clean and in order, their houses clean and orderly, their premises in order. If they leave everything around them at loose ends, just the same lack will be seen in their religious experience. I saw that it was impossible for a person lacking order and cleanliness to make a consistent Christian until he should see the evil of such a course and reform. 1LtMs, Lt 23, 1868, par. 2

There must be a work done for the church at Burlington, for they are far below what they should be, and some of them, by their slack habits and by their actions, miserably represent our faith and disgust unbelievers. They are too low. The truth of God received in the heart and carried out in the life will tend upwards. The truth elevates but never degrades. The truth practiced ennobles and refines the believer. It does not make one coarse and rough. No, it refines his taste, sanctifies his judgment, and is continually fitting up the believer to dwell with holy angels in a glorious, pure heaven, where there can never enter any unclean thing. 1LtMs, Lt 23, 1868, par. 3

I was shown that God wants His servants to admonish the church when they fail in these things. The houses of all should be cleanly and orderly. Their dress should be cleanly, for angels of God will not deign to minister where all is filth and uncleanness. 1LtMs, Lt 23, 1868, par. 4

I saw that God is no less particular now than He was anciently. He gave special direction to the children of Israel to observe cleanliness in their camps, to wash their clothes, etc., etc., lest the Lord should pass by and see their uncleanness and would not go out with their armies to battle against their enemies. I was shown that in this God wished His Israel to practice habits which would ensure them health and would keep them elevated above the heathen around them, for they were His peculiar treasure which He was sanctifying to Himself. Nothing would be more displeasing to God than for them to have disregarded His special commands and persisted in being unclean; and if they had done so the consequences would be that God would visit them with curses instead of blessings, with defeat instead of victory. If any family among Sabbathkeepers dare continue in slack, disorderly habits and risk it, they will be visited with a curse instead of a blessing, for they will be the means of bringing a reproach upon all Sabbathkeepers and will cause the heathen to make them a byword and a proverb. 1LtMs, Lt 23, 1868, par. 5

In these last days, especially, should all seek to elevate their lives for they are fitting for translation and must be without spot or wrinkle or any such thing—perfect before God, pure in heart and life, holy—and then will their light shine. You need not imitate the fashions of the world in order to have influence, but in order to have influence you must all take an exalted position that your influence may tell. You who are looking for Christ’s coming should be the most orderly, systematic, cleanly people upon the earth; but it has not been thus. Some have acted as though it was no matter what they wore, how their houses or persons appeared, and that these slovenly manners were tokens of humility. Instead of this it is a true sign hung out to unbelievers of what is within; you are judged accordingly. God help you to arise. 1LtMs, Lt 23, 1868, par. 6

In love. 1LtMs, Lt 23, 1868, par. 7