Letters and Manuscripts — Volume 1 (1844 - 1868)

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Lt 22, 1861

Friends in Caledonia

Battle Creek, Michigan

January 22, 1861

Portions of this letter are published in 1Bio 466; 5MR 293.

Dear Friends in Caledonia:

The church in Caledonia has been shown me. I saw everything in confusion—brethren pulling apart, no brotherly love and sweet union. While the brethren were troubled and fearing Crozier’s influence, his proud boasting caused them to tremble and be weak. Satan was satisfied, but at the tent meeting at Caledonia the Lord gave His servants victory and lifted His people above the influence of the proud boasters. Then Satan came in another form to sow disunion among brethren, and tangle them up in a net of words, jangle, and strife. 1LtMs, Lt 22, 1861, par. 1

I saw that the manner of dress the sisters adopted was foolish and wrong. It was immodest apparel, unbecoming professors of present truth. It has brought a stigma upon them and lowered them in the estimation of unbelievers around them. It had the appearance of evil and a wretched influence. Such a lack of judgment and wisdom deserve the severest censure. 1LtMs, Lt 22, 1861, par. 2

I saw Brother Farnham had taken a willful, set course. He has been willing to differ with his brethren and have independent judgment. He has not sought for peace and union, and unless he lays aside his idols and abstains from filthy stimulants, which injure his constitution and becloud his mind, the church will pass on and he [will] be separated from them and left behind. He must reform or he will be weighed in the balance and found wanting. There will be yet a thorough sifting in the Caledonia church. 1LtMs, Lt 22, 1861, par. 3

The case of Brother Andrews was presented before me. He lacks religion; he needs to be converted. First, let there be a heart work, then his manner and deportment will take that elevated character which will secure to him the respect of unbelievers and the love and fellowship of God’s children everywhere. Nothing but a painful course of persevering, untiring effort will bring him to a confidence, unshaken by doubt, that he is accepted as a child of God. He has rested down without this assurance, but what will it avail him to have a name to live and still be dead? He will not, cannot, desire to meet Jesus with a profession only; he cannot wish to be deceived in so important a matter. The truth of God must sanctify the heart and life. It has not yet done this. Self is not controlled and manifestations of passion are noticed and marked. 1LtMs, Lt 22, 1861, par. 4

Angels are witnessing every word, every act, and every manifestation of passion. Every fretful, angry word is recorded, and a blot is placed against their names. Every deviation from right in deal is noticed and a strict record is kept of it all. I saw, Brother Andrews, that your life was marked with dark spots. There is a lack of patience in your family. You give way to fretfulness, become often irritated. This is wrong. You should aid your wife just as much as you can, to take care of those numerous little ones that tax the patience, weary the nerves, and make her irritable. The mother has not hopeful, encouraging words spoken to her by the father of her offspring. Everything is out of order; everything is in confusion. 1LtMs, Lt 22, 1861, par. 5

The mother has become discouraged in her wearied round of duties and cares; her disposition has become soured. She has made feeble efforts to overcome, and hold a place among God’s people, but she does not sweeten her burdens and trials by resignation and prayer. She has not really analyzed her feelings and searched her heart to see whether Jesus was really formed in her, the hope of glory. The mother has a burden, but the grace of God, if she seeks for it, will enable her to bear it. The father should do his duty and cheerfully help the mother. Their only hope depends upon their seeking true religion which governs their acts and controls the life. A spirit of truth must take hold of the heart and purify the life. Self must die, evil temper must be overcome and idols laid aside. The graces of the Spirit must be manifested. 1LtMs, Lt 22, 1861, par. 6

I was shown the case of Brother and Sister Crideman. She looks at her troubles and at the difficulties which surround her and sinks under the weight of discouragements. Brother Crideman fails of doing his duty in his family and does not interest himself to help share the burden his wife bears. He should take some responsibility of the children upon him, and assist his wife in training them. He is accountable for his children. God will not excuse him in this matter. He throws off the burden and it displeases God. He must take hold of the burden and bear his share, look for the comforts of his family as much as he possibly can, be economical of his moments, and try to make home orderly and happy. He is too fretful and impatient. 1LtMs, Lt 22, 1861, par. 7

His wife suffers and worries, and he should be prepared to give her a comforting, cheering word, which would lighten her load and wipe that settled frown from her brow. She does not have all that control of her spirit that she should, and when she yields to temptation and speaks wrong, it destroys her confidence in God and throws her into a state of despair. She must consecrate herself to God. He pities her. And then she must guard the door of her lips and must not let her spirit chafe and fret and get harsh. She must discipline herself and then every burden will be much lighter. The parents lack government. They should take hold of the work in earnest together, have perfect union themselves, and then labor to train their children. 1LtMs, Lt 22, 1861, par. 8

Other cases were presented before me. They needed to have a thorough reformation. Some are so untidy in their houses that God will not enter their dwelling, for they are unclean in His sight. Their clothing and persons are filthy. God notices these things, and such untidy, slack persons are not Christians, however high may be their profession. Without a reform they will be left to one side for they cannot go on with God’s people. They let their children do as they please and leave them uncontrolled. 1LtMs, Lt 22, 1861, par. 9

I was shown the case of Brother and Sister Hardy. They have not stood together, united in the work of God. The enemy has desired to sift Brother Hardy as wheat. He has tried to control his mind and lead it in the wrong channel. But the Lord has had His eye over Brother and Sister Hardy for good. God calls upon them to press together and unite their effort with those of the church who are earnestly striving to obtain the victory and come into the liberty of the children of God. Sister Hardy has grieved and felt very anxious on her husband’s account, as she has seen him looking and watching my husband and myself with a jealous eye. Her prayers have been heard, and God will reveal Himself unto them. 1LtMs, Lt 22, 1861, par. 10

I saw the Lord was reviving the living, pointed testimony which will help develop character and purify the church. 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 so as to disgust people. The truth is designed to elevate the receiver, to refine his taste and sanctify his judgment. There should be a continued aim to imitate the society that we expect soon to associate with, namely angels of God who have never fallen by sin. Our characters should be holy, our manners comely, our words without guile, and we should follow on step by step until we are fitted for translation. There is a work to be done to attain to this. We must live upon the plan of addition. Add to your faith virtue, etc. 1LtMs, Lt 22, 1861, par. 11

Brother Gerould did not take the wisest course in the church troubles. Some difficulties might have been avoided with a little more wisdom and discretion on his part. 1LtMs, Lt 22, 1861, par. 12

May the Lord help you all to make thorough work for repentance is my prayer. 1LtMs, Lt 22, 1861, par. 13