Letters and Manuscripts — Volume 1 (1844 - 1868)


Lt 4, 1864

Phillips, Brother

Battle Creek, Michigan

January 12, 1864

See variant Lt 4b, 1864. Portions of this letter are published in 1T 455.

Dear Brother Phillips:

In the vision given me June 6, I was shown some things in regard to you. I saw that you have been very selfish and were wrapped up in self, and were close and penurious. 1LtMs, Lt 4, 1864, par. 1

You have engaged in patent rights, which has been a great hindrance to your spiritual advancement. Your course has been wrong. Your faith has given you influence among Sabbathkeeping brethren, and then you have injured them by recommending your patents to them. You have made it in your way to tarry with them, sleep in their beds and eat at their tables, and have interested them in and urged upon them some of these patents, removing objections which would arise in their minds to thus investing means. Many became entangled and found themselves involved, all on account of the confidence they had in you. The trouble of mind which some have felt on account of their expectations not being realized, has discouraged and almost driven them to despair. 1LtMs, Lt 4, 1864, par. 2

You have led poor brethren into expense to benefit yourself. You have lost the spirit of the truth. The secret of your backsliding is your extreme love of gain. You have been worldly minded in every sense of the word, and the truth has lost its charms for you. God does not approbate your course. His frown is upon you. 1LtMs, Lt 4, 1864, par. 3

You injured the cause of truth by your attachment for Mary Lyon. That was no sanctified, reasonable attachment. You appeared like a man mesmerized, bewitched, and befooled. If the truth with its sanctifying influence had lived in your heart you would not have been thus deceived and led astray. 1LtMs, Lt 4, 1864, par. 4

But the reason of all these failings on your part was back in the past. You were not what God required you to be when you went around with the tent. Your love of ease, love of self, led you to shun responsibilities and shirk the burdens upon others. You were ever seeking to have an easy time and God did not give you strength and health for you to exercise for your own convenience and benefit. Had you dedicated yourself to God and conscientiously and unselfishly followed in the path of duty, God would have strengthened you and used you to His glory. You have fallen into many snares. Your influence has been an injury instead of a benefit and blessing. 1LtMs, Lt 4, 1864, par. 5

You have drawn believers in present truth into difficulty and you have now a duty to do to repair the injury done these brethren. You have a work to do. Brethren in different States have felt embarrassed to a greater or less degree with these miserable inventions, which have obtained their confidence because recommended by believers in the truth. You have traveled about with your patents and made it in your way to go among your brethren as much as possible that your expense of entertainment might be small, and in return have left them that which has been an annoyance and perplexity instead of a blessing. 1LtMs, Lt 4, 1864, par. 6

You have a work to do to get rid of your supreme selfishness. You are becoming so close and love money so well that every penny looks large to you, and the noble, generous traits of your character are changed to love of money, desire to accumulate and lay up. You have gained some money, but oh, at what a loss, what an expense! The saving power of faith and the truth has been cruelly sacrificed. 1LtMs, Lt 4, 1864, par. 7

Brethren in present truth should let these uncertain enterprises alone. They should seek some safe, steady employment, even if the income be small. They should not be given to much change. 1LtMs, Lt 4, 1864, par. 8

Many of our brethren involve themselves by engaging in new enterprises which look flattering, but in a short time they find themselves disappointed and their means gone—means which should have been used to support their families and advance the cause of present truth. Then come remorse, regret, and self-reproach, and some conscientious ones cast away their confidence and lose their spiritual enjoyment; and in consequence of mental distress, their health suffers also. 1LtMs, Lt 4, 1864, par. 9

Those who believe the truth should practice economy, live upon plain, wholesome food, always making it a rule to live within their means. Brethren should never engage in new enterprises without consulting those of experience who are good managers in temporal and spiritual matters. Amid a multitude of counselors there is safety. By doing this they would save themselves much perplexity and would enjoy happiness of mind. If in want, they would have the sympathies of their brethren and their aid if needed. 1LtMs, Lt 4, 1864, par. 10

Brethren had better be contended with a small income and handle that little prudently rather than run risks to better their condition and suffer continual losses thereby. I was referred to (Proverbs 28:19, 20): “He that tilleth his land shall have plenty of bread: but he that followeth after vain persons shall have poverty enough. A faithful man shall abound with blessings: but he that maketh haste to be rich shall not be innocent.” (Verse 22): “He that hasteth to be rich hath an evil eye, and considereth not that poverty shall come upon him.” (Proverbs 20:21): “An inheritance may be gotten hastily at the beginning; but the end thereof shall not be blessed.” 1LtMs, Lt 4, 1864, par. 11

[P.S.] After sending my last letter to you George handed me one you had written him. I decided not to make this public. If you will only heed the admonitions of your brethren and the testimonies given, it is all we desire. 1LtMs, Lt 4, 1864, par. 12

N.B. I had this all prepared to send you just as it is when yours came. I now send a few lines more. 1LtMs, Lt 4, 1864, par. 13