Letters and Manuscripts — Volume 1 (1844 - 1868)


Lt 16, 1868

Taylor, Brother

Greenville, Montcalm County, Michigan

June 20, 1868

Portions of this letter are published in 2T 156-161.

Dear Brother Taylor:

A very great solemnity has rested upon my mind since the vision given me Friday eve June 12. I must write very briefly, coming directly to the point. I was shown the effort which has been made for Brother Goodwin has not been in the order of God. The enemy has sought to insinuate himself, and leads minds in a wrong direction to take on a burden that God did not lay upon them when they were unprepared for the work. You, Brother Taylor, have erred. God cannot do this great work for Brother Goodwin in answer to your prayers, for it would prove the ruin of yourself and others. You would become exalted. You are not humble enough to bear this great work according to your desire. 1LtMs, Lt 16, 1868, par. 1

All such moves as you have been engaged in, which God does not especially lead you to make, result in terrible injury and discouragement to the work and cause of God. This move has been fanatical, and will prove a lasting injury to the church. Minds have become perplexed. Some have thought that they had faith, but when they were convinced that the Lord was not especially directing them and they were asking not according to the will of God, they were thrown into doubt. Self had more to do in this work than the Lord. 1LtMs, Lt 16, 1868, par. 2

In the first place I was shown, my dear brother, that you do not know yourself. You have not felt reconciled to the testimony given in your case, and have not made a thorough work to reform. I was referred to Isaiah. “Is not this the fast that I have chosen? to loose the bands of wickedness, to undo the heavy burdens, and to let the oppressed go free, and that ye break every yoke? Is it not to deal thy bread to the hungry, and that thou bring the poor that are cast out to thy house? when thou seest the naked that thou cover him; and that thou hide not thyself from thine own flesh?” Isaiah 58:6, 7. If you do these things, the blessings promised will be given. 1LtMs, Lt 16, 1868, par. 3

You may be making the inquiry, “Wherefore have we fasted, ... and thou seest not? Wherefore have we afflicted our soul, and thou takest no knowledge?” Verse 3. God has given reasons why your prayers were not answered. You have thought that you had found reasons in others and charged the fault upon them, and that a lack in them has hindered your prayers. 1LtMs, Lt 16, 1868, par. 4

Dear Brother, there exist, I saw, sufficient reasons in yourself. You have a work to do to set your own heart in order. You should realize that the work must begin with yourself. You have oppressed, you have taken advantage of the necessity of the destitute to advantage yourself. In regard to means, you have been close and have dealt unjustly. You have not possessed a kind, noble, and generous spirit which should ever characterize the life of a minister of Jesus Christ. 1LtMs, Lt 16, 1868, par. 5

I was shown the case of Sister Baker, who is a precious child of God unto whom angels minister. They have marked every wrong. Here you oppressed the hireling in her wages. You saw her poorly clad, a hardworking girl whom you knew was conscientious and God-fearing, yet you took advantage of her because you could do so. I saw that the small wages and the neglect of seeing and understanding her wants are all written in heaven as done to Jesus in the person of one of His saints. “As ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me.” Matthew 25:40. Heaven has regarded all your closeness toward those who have served in your house and it will stand faithfully chronicled against you unless restitution is made and it is all repented of. You have cost suffering of mind and anguish of spirit. 1LtMs, Lt 16, 1868, par. 6

Yet this was not as great a wrong in the sight of a heart-searching God as that you committed toward Brother Fuller, a faithful servant of Christ. You were not actuated by a right spirit when you advantaged yourself at his disadvantage. Who could better take the portion or burden you placed upon him than yourself? You did not love your neighbor as yourself. You did not do unto others as you would have them do unto you. You had no family burdens. He had. The pressure and burden of care, of anxiety, told upon Brother Fuller. He labored far beyond his strength to extricate himself from perplexity and to make his family comfortable, which brought on a long sickness, bringing him to the brink of the grave. Look this all over. How many weeks the cause of God was deprived of his labor through a wrong on your part! One wrong move does harm which, if we could see the extent of the evil, would wring from the soul of the wrongdoer cries of anguish and fear. You are selfish in regard to means. In the case of Brother Fuller, the angel of God pointed to you and said, “Inasmuch as ye have done this to one of Christ’s disciples, ye have done it to Jesus in His person.” 1LtMs, Lt 16, 1868, par. 7

The cases I have mentioned are not the only ones. These instances are not solitary ones. I would you could see these things as heaven has opened them before me. Brother and Sister Whipple are in great fault. The love of this world has closed their hearts to compassion, to consideration of the needs of others. It is the religion of Christ that you need and that they need. There is a sad deception upon minds. Christ pleased not Himself. He lived for others’ good. He lived to benefit others. You have a work to do and should lose no time in humbling your hearts before God and by humble confessions remove the blot from your Christian character. Then can you engage in the solemn work for the salvation of others without making so many mistakes. What has the time amounted to, spent as it has been, engaged in a work which God did not set you about? Impressions have been made, experience gained, which will require much labor for them to unlearn and take back; souls will wander in darkness and unbelief and perplexity, and some will never recover. They have been under a delusion, expecting a great miracle to be wrought. How bitter their disappointment! 1LtMs, Lt 16, 1868, par. 8

It is a great work that you entered upon unbidden, a work which none should feel sufficient for until all their lives have been closely investigated by themselves and every wrong corrected with deep heart searching, with earnest prayer, with fasting, with stern, close self-examination of the life, the motives. Lay bare the soul, and let no act escape criticism. Then, with self dead and the life hid with Christ in God, offer the humble petition. If ye regard iniquity in your heart, the Lord will not hear you. Had God heard your prayer you would have been exalted. Satan has stood by, prepared to make the most of the advantage he has gained. Oh, how important it is that faithfulness in little things characterize our lives, that true integrity mark all our course of action, that we ever bear in mind that angels of God are taking cognizance of every act. That which is meted to others shall be meted to us again. 1LtMs, Lt 16, 1868, par. 9

A fearfulness should ever attend you lest you should deal unjustly, selfishly. I have ever felt that my hired girl, who wearied herself to bear the burden of the housework, was entitled to my fullest sympathy and sincere respect and careful attention in regard to her health, lest she should become too weary or be overtaxed. I have felt that every true Christian should thus do. My hired help are just as much respected and as kindly cared for as my own children. Should I be deficient here I should expect to merit the displeasure of God. 1LtMs, Lt 16, 1868, par. 10

We have now a small family. I pay my hired girl two dollars and a half per week. She has time to do her own sewing, has all the stationery she wants, and postage stamps without charge, and if I have articles of clothing she needs which I do not really need, I give them to her freely. One year ago, when we were so cramped for means that we were reduced very low, I paid my hired girl two dollars per week and hired my washing and ironing done. I have ever felt that those who do my work were Christ’s disciples and that their ministering angels do always behold the face of our Father which is in heaven. I have, since our circumstances have been more favorable, made up the wages of that hired girl to two dollars and a half per week. 1LtMs, Lt 16, 1868, par. 11

I pity the servants of the household who work, work, delve, delve for the small sum of even two dollars and a half per week; but when we grind them down to fifty cents or one dollar, even taking advantage of their necessity, God is displeased and His curse will surely follow us. He can and will, by sickness and adversity, remove from us much more than the sum we obtained by grinding the face of the poor. A just God truly estimates all our motives and actions. 1LtMs, Lt 16, 1868, par. 12

I was shown the cases of Brother and Sister Whipple. The love of the world has so eaten out true godliness and benumbed the power of the mind to estimate the truth that its influence does not affect the life and character sufficiently to have a transforming power. 1LtMs, Lt 16, 1868, par. 13

The spirit of the world has separated you from God, Brother and Sister Whipple. You have a work to do to get from beneath the rubbish of the world and make earnest efforts to overcome your love of the world, your selfishness, your penuriousness. I was pointed back to the community in which you lived previous to your moving to Battle Creek. You were close and exacting in deal, taking the advantage in every place where you well could, to advantage yourself. I tried to find in your life acts of noble self-sacrifice and benevolence, but could not—they were so rare. Your light has so shone before others that they have felt disgusted with you and your faith. The truth has been reproached by your closeness in deal, your overreaching. 1LtMs, Lt 16, 1868, par. 14

May God help you to see all, and to have that hatred for this evil that He has. Self and self-interest have marked your course. Let your light so shine that others, by seeing your good works, may be led to glorify your Father which is in heaven. God has been, and still is displeased with your course. He will deal with you in judgment unless you rid yourself of this spirit of littleness and seek to be sanctified through the truth. Faith without works is dead, being alone. Faith will never save you without it is justified by works. God requires of you to be rich in good works, ready to distribute, willing to communicate; laying up in store for yourselves a good foundation against the time to come, that ye may lay hold on eternal life. 1LtMs, Lt 16, 1868, par. 15

I was shown that you have oppressed the hireling in his wages. You have taken advantage of your chances and secured your help at the lowest figure, taking advantage of circumstances. This has not been pleasing to God. You should have paid your help liberally, given them all that they earned; but instead of this, because you could do so, you have thought to advantage yourself while they were disadvantaged. God knows, He sees, He reads. The Searcher of hearts is acquainted with the thoughts, the purposes and intents of the heart; and every dollar that has been gain to you in this way, if retained, will be scattered through adversity and affliction. 1LtMs, Lt 16, 1868, par. 16

The world, the world, the world has been the order of the day with you, and the salvation of the soul has become secondary. Oh that you could see as in the light of eternity just how God views these things! You would be alarmed and would not rest until you had made restitution. You had light upon health reform, yet you did not receive it and live up to it. You gratified the appetite and indulged your boy to eat when and what he chose, teaching him a sad lesson; you continued the work upon the high pressure plan in your love for the world. The hand of God was removed and you were left to your own weakness. Then you both tottered over the brink of the grave. Yet you learned not the lessons in many things God would have you learn. You retained your love for the world, your selfish love for gain. Your small, close dealing was not done away. 1LtMs, Lt 16, 1868, par. 17

You did not appreciate the kind care and sympathy and watchful tenderness of the true-hearted, unselfish, God-fearing sister with you. If you had, you would have manifested a spirit of noble benevolence, above every cheap, close dealing with her who had been true to you. You have ground the face of the poor; you have dealt unjustly. There is that scattereth and yet increaseth; and withholding more than is meet tendeth to poverty. 1LtMs, Lt 16, 1868, par. 18

It seemed to me, as these things were presented before me, that Satan had possessed such power to blind minds through a love of the spirit of the world that even professed Christians forgot or lost all sense of the fact that God lives, and that His angels are making a record of all the doings of the children of men—that every mean act, ever small deal, stamps the life record. Every day bears its burden of record, of unfulfilled duties, of neglect, of selfishness, of deception, of fraud, of overreaching. What an amount of works, evil works, are accumulating for the final judgment! When Christ shall come His reward is with Him and His work before Him to render to every man according as his works have been. What a revelation will then be made! What confusion of face to some as the acts of their lives are revealed upon the pages of history! 1LtMs, Lt 16, 1868, par. 19

“Hearken, my beloved brethren, Hath not God chosen the poor of this world, rich in faith, and heirs of the kingdom which he hath promised to them that love him? But ye have despised the poor. ... What doth it profit, my brethren, though a man say he hath faith, and have not works? Can faith save him? If a brother or sister be naked and destitute of daily food, and one of you say unto them, Depart in peace, be ye warmed and filled; notwithstanding ye give them not those things which are needful to the body; what doth it profit? Even so faith, if it hath not works, is dead, being alone.” James 2:5, 6, 14-17. 1LtMs, Lt 16, 1868, par. 20

You may believe all the truth, yet if its principles are not carried out in your lives your profession will not save you. Satan believes and trembles. He works, he knoweth his time is short, and he has come down in great power to do his evil work according to his faith. Yet God’s professed people do not support their faith by their works. They believe in the shortness of time, yet are just as eagerly grasping after this world’s good as though the world were to stand as it now is a thousand years. Selfishness marks the course of action of many. 1LtMs, Lt 16, 1868, par. 21

“But whoso hath this world’s good, and seeth his brother have need, and shutteth up his bowels of compassion from him, how dwelleth the love of God in him? My little children, let us not love in word, neither in tongue; but in deed and in truth. And hereby we know that we are of the truth, and shall assure our hearts before him. For if our heart condemn us, God is greater than our heart, and knoweth all things. Beloved, if our heart condemn us not, then have we confidence toward God. And whatsoever we ask, we receive of him, because we keep his commandments, and do those things which are pleasing in his sight.” 1 John 3:17-22. 1LtMs, Lt 16, 1868, par. 22

Divest yourselves of selfishness and make thorough work for eternity. Redeem the past, and do not represent in Battle Creek the holy truth you profess as you have done where you have lived hitherto. Let your light so shine that others by seeing your good works may be led to glorify our Father in heaven. Stand upon the elevated platform of eternal truth. Regulate all your business transactions in this life in strict accordance with the Word of God. 1LtMs, Lt 16, 1868, par. 23

I leave these hastily written lines with you; and may God make them a blessing to you is my prayer. 1LtMs, Lt 16, 1868, par. 24

Your sister in Christ. 1LtMs, Lt 16, 1868, par. 25