Letters and Manuscripts — Volume 1

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Lt 5a, 1864

Hutchens, Brother

Battle Creek, Michigan

February 23, 1864

Previously unpublished.

Dear Brother Hutchens:

We received your letter in due time but have been unable to answer it until now and will try to answer your question. Willie is just recovering from lung fever. We have been obliged to watch over him day and night until we are much worn. We feared that our dear Willie was to be removed from us, but in answer to our earnest petitions the Lord has stayed the progress of disease and spared our dear boy to us. 1LtMs, Lt 5a, 1864, par. 1

I was shown your labor in connection with the cause of God, that it had not been as beneficial in advancing the work as the names mentioned in my testimony. You have moved in your labor too much from impulse. The cause of God has needed a correcting influence upon this point instead of a leading influence. Your example has rather encouraged impulsive movements. Your influence upon the church has not been right at all times. 1LtMs, Lt 5a, 1864, par. 2

You have by your words and influence encouraged doubts to arise in many minds in regard to positions taken by those upon whom God has laid the burden of His work, and who, in their experience, have followed the opening providence of God. Instead of helping, you have hindered. You have taken your position upon the wrong side. Your feelings have arisen in opposition to any new and important advance. Instead of your trying to find evidences in favor of the positions conscientiously taken by your brethren, in whom you should have confidence, you have labored to raise objections and cast them in the way, which has encouraged doubt and infidelity upon the very things God would have them and you believe. 1LtMs, Lt 5a, 1864, par. 3

Your fears have been that as a people we should become like the world. Those who follow God’s leading [and] providence have not made any greater advance in uniting in and partaking of the spirit of the world than that class who have expressed so much fear that we should become like nominal professors and the world. God would have ministers and people move steadily, consistently, and have influence with the world. They should not draw by jerks, work when they feel like it, and when they choose become stubborn and refuse to move at all. God would have all draw in even cords. Move from principle. 1LtMs, Lt 5a, 1864, par. 4

In your experience you have been fanatical and carried matters to extremes. You have had great faith in small things and acted with zeal in these things which proved to be all wrong. Such a zeal was not according to knowledge or good sound reason. Such a gift cannot be relied upon and cannot be safely followed in the church. 1LtMs, Lt 5a, 1864, par. 5

You have your ideas and expect others to carry them out. You make too much of small things, while things of the greatest importance you have treated with indifference because every objection was not removed from your mind, and you have unwisely awakened unbelief in the minds of others who had confidence in you. 1LtMs, Lt 5a, 1864, par. 6

You have interested yourself in things of minor importance, noticed articles of dress, little acts and words unworthy of notice which should not call forth reproof or remarks from you. Your holy example will be the greatest corrector of these things. You have suffered yourself to become irritated about small matters and have arbitrarily borne down upon others when in many things you were more faulty than they. 1LtMs, Lt 5a, 1864, par. 7

I was shown that your influence has not been what it should have been in Brother Barrows’ family. You have been notional and exacting. You have not had that influence to happily unite and harmonize the feelings of parents and children as was your duty and privilege. You have dictated too much and had too much voice in things connected with that family which had a tendency to cut off your influence from the unbelieving children, and separated them in part from their parents. It would have been better for that family if your influence had not been there. 1LtMs, Lt 5a, 1864, par. 8

You have not a happy disposition. You are naturally selfish, exacting, and fault-finding, and indulge in arbitrarily censuring others who do not always deserve censure. You do not make that Christian compassionate allowance for others which their case deserves. You are generally looking out for your own interest and choosing that which would be pleasant for yourself and do not take sufficiently into account the happiness, interest, and convenience of others. You have not fully overcome these unhappy traits in your Christian character. These things destroy your influence. You have not overcome a peevish disposition and your usefulness is crippled. 1LtMs, Lt 5a, 1864, par. 9

You should take a more elevated position. You should draw more from Christ, and then you will not be under the necessity, in order to create interest or to have something to labor for, to descend to little particulars and bear down upon others. 1LtMs, Lt 5a, 1864, par. 10