Letters and Manuscripts — Volume 1 (1844 - 1868)

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Lt 12, 1861

Church at Caledonia

Orleans, Michigan

December 1861

Previously unpublished.

While in Roosevelt, N.Y., I was shown some things in vision relating to the church at Caledonia. While at Battle Creek in October I was again shown the state of things in Caledonia: that they are in a state of great confusion and weakness; that the cause of God is reproached by their divided, scattered state. Their weakness is laid open to the heathen around them and they are accountable to God for the influence they have exerted. Instead of winning souls to the truth, Satan has been permitted by them to work as he pleased among them, setting brethren and sisters at variance with each other. Satan is the accuser of the brethren and, as though this were not enough, brethren professing to be Christ’s followers strengthen the enemy’s forces and join him in accusing their brethren. Angels are grieved and turn from the confusion. Yet I was shown that there is hope. Jesus still pities and wants to bless them. 1LtMs, Lt 12, 1861, par. 1

I was shown that every effort that had been made among you of late by Brethren Bates and Frisbie has only made matters worse and thrown things into greater confusion. Hearts are not right. Each is watching the others to find fault with their course and unless this is entirely stopped and each attends to his own soul, and closely examines his own heart, you must go down. These unhappy divisions need not be. It is all the working of Satan which is encouraged among you. There is an individual independence which must be yielded. 1LtMs, Lt 12, 1861, par. 2

I was shown that God had not blessed those who were formed into a church. They were not ready nor fit for this move. There must be a thorough work accomplished, deep humility manifested before God, each building off against his own house, or Satan’s strong deceptions will hold minds until it is too late. I was shown that questions which gender strife must be repressed, and the brethren must strive to get just as near together as they can. 1LtMs, Lt 12, 1861, par. 3

I was shown that some were in a discouraged, desponding state. Some who had not been embraced in the organization stood looking on, and they were watching to see the course of those who had been embraced in the church. Such were in a critical condition. Some had fallen back to their old habits, using tobacco and other indulgences, and yet knew that we had the truth. Their minds could find rest nowhere among another class of professed Christians, and the divided state of those who professed to believe the truth and professed to be walking in church capacity was only a hindrance to them, for they were in no condition to help them or to restore them from their error and wrong course into which they had fallen. The wrath of God was kindled against both classes. Both must repent and seek to redeem the past. 1LtMs, Lt 12, 1861, par. 4

Commence anew. Christians professing to believe the most solemn message ever imparted to mortals were seeking a quarrel with each other like little children. You disgrace the truth. Worldlings are more consistent. There is a lack of principle with some of the professed people of God, a great lack of forbearance and patience with each other, which places them all in almost a hopeless condition. Instead of trying to be united and not noticing little things unworthy of a moment’s thought, they give way to evil propensities. And because things do not go just exactly to suit your minds, you find fault, hate and despise each other. You tempt the devil to tempt you. 1LtMs, Lt 12, 1861, par. 5

I was shown that Brother Gerould looked at matters very nearly right. His views were consistent and right in regard to useless articles, as coffee and tea and tobacco. Yet he has suffered his feelings upon these things to carry him too far. By taking so stiff a course, he placed himself where he could not help others and he has felt impatient because all did not take that view of matters which he knew was consistent and right. When conversing with his brethren he lacked forbearance and patience. So did they. They were unwilling to receive instruction from him, and these interviews only made matters worse. No matter how aggravating the course of his brethren, Brother Gerould must exercise Christian patience and forbearance, and in due time, if he takes this course, he will have influence. 1LtMs, Lt 12, 1861, par. 6

I was shown the wrong course of Brother Farnham. Had he been standing in the counsel of God he would not have upheld Sister Bryant in her wrong course, but censured it as it deserved. Brother Farnham, much of the trouble existing in the church rests upon you. Some of it you caused. If you had taken a humble course you could have prevented much of it. When the testimony was sent you in regard to your wrong, instead of receiving it and trying to reform, you began to complain and make appeals to others for sympathy. 1LtMs, Lt 12, 1861, par. 7

You had sympathizers, and what was the result? Those who sympathized with you doubted the testimony and it was even carried to unbelievers, and you caused the work of God to be looked upon suspiciously. You have had independent feelings and thought your judgment very good when it lacked in almost every respect. You are set and think others must see things just as you view them, and you are quite firm in your position. 1LtMs, Lt 12, 1861, par. 8

You have exerted a wrong influence against Brother Gerould and have felt quite a satisfaction in having others look upon him with distrust. I saw that you had just as lief differ from Brother Gerould as not, and then would calmly set to work ingeniously to have others view the matter as you viewed it. I saw that you had desired to fill a higher office in the church. If you should, it would ruin you, for you are unqualified for it. 1LtMs, Lt 12, 1861, par. 9

You must commence the work in earnest for yourself. Commence the work at home among your children. Strive to remove the sadness and cloud from the brow of your wife. Teach your children to obey her. Discipline them to love her. She fails to do her duty, and the children control her and cause her grief and anguish. She has a work to do to be decided, to correct the wanton words and disobedience. A few battles will teach them who is to govern. She has sunk under this load, and you have let her sink and remain there. Unitedly take hold of this work and teach the children implicit obedience to the mother that bore them. 1LtMs, Lt 12, 1861, par. 10

You have a great work to do, Brother Farnham, that you have not seen or realized. It is all that you can do to work for yourself and your house. You were shown me in a critical, dangerous condition. Your eternal interest depends upon the course you now pursue. Make diligent work and redeem the past and counteract the influence you have exerted. 1LtMs, Lt 12, 1861, par. 11

I was shown that Brother Andrews and his wife at first were hardly willing to receive the testimony. He could not understand some things. He was perplexed and troubled, yet sought to improve, and had been reforming. Yet the standard was not attained where the Lord wants him to stand. 1LtMs, Lt 12, 1861, par. 12

In regard to the testimony that he must be converted, it was like this: his case was represented to me like Peter’s. Peter was ardent, quick, full of zeal, and he asserted that he would not only suffer for his Lord but die for Him. In the garden of Gethsemane his zeal led him to raise the sword and cut off the ear of the servant of the High Priest. But soon after he denied his Lord and even cursed and swore. Then Jesus looked upon him in sadness and grief, which broke Peter’s heart and he repented and then was converted and prepared to strengthen his brethren. Was not Peter converted when he manifested such ardent zeal for his Lord? What did Jesus say to him? “Satan hath desired to have you, that he might sift you as wheat. ... When thou art converted,” Peter, “strengthen thy brethren.” [Luke 22:31, 32.] 1LtMs, Lt 12, 1861, par. 13

Brother Andrews’ hasty, quick temper brings him into trouble and destroys his peace and happiness and injures the cause he loves. The sanctifying influence of truth will make him a patient man, and he must not allow his mouth to open when he feels this hot, passionate temper rising. In this work of overcoming he must not be discouraged if he does not overcome all at once. This work is not accomplished in a moment. He must pray. His companion must take hold with him and together work earnestly, zealously, to overcome. Eternal life is worth a lifelong, persevering, untiring effort. The truth will accomplish that for the receiver which nothing else can. 1LtMs, Lt 12, 1861, par. 14

I saw in regard to the brethren and sisters in Caledonia [that] it would not be of the least use to investigate matters as they had occurred in Caledonia. The hearts of many were unsanctified. Each wanted to have his own way and was not willing to be reproved or corrected, and acting in their unsanctified condition almost everything was wrong. And all must break down together, take hold of the work in earnest, get their own souls right, set their hearts in order, and then it will be easy to come together. Love will exist. Everyone has a part to act, a work to do. They must manifest zeal in repenting or God’s Spirit will be withdrawn from them. They will not know the very time when God left them. They suffer themselves to be deceived; think they are right when they are all wrong. 1LtMs, Lt 12, 1861, par. 15

I would now exhort you to heed the light given you lest it become darkness—and how great will be that darkness! Every one of you must stop looking at others and get right himself before God. Every particle of this spirit of faultfinding must cease. I greatly fear that all the labor we spent among you in our weariness has been in vain. You would rather have your own way, exercise your own judgment, and live in just such ungodly distraction as you have lived. Is this your choice in Caledonia? What peace and happiness can you expect from such a course? God calls upon you now to repent, to cease your faultfinding and jangling, and return to Him. Will you obey? 1LtMs, Lt 12, 1861, par. 16

I ask in the name of my Master, Who will be on the Lord’s side? Who will covenant to leave watching for the faults of each other and only confess, with deep humility, his own faults? Don’t be so very anxious to each measure off just that degree of the censure that this one or that one should have. God requires of every one of you broken hearts and contrite spirits. He calls for the deepest humility, because you have been such miserable representatives of the truth you have professed. 1LtMs, Lt 12, 1861, par. 17

The blood of souls will rest upon you unless you cease your contentions and little differences and arise, elevate the standard. Redeem the past and show to others by your life that sweet union exists among you. 1LtMs, Lt 12, 1861, par. 18

You lack Jesus. Almost every one needs to be converted. Sister Bascom needs a thorough work done for her or she will fail at last. Brother Cridemer needs a thorough reform. He must feel the transforming influence of the Spirit of God or he will fall into some delusion. Self, dear self, reigns in Caledonia and God is forgotten. 1LtMs, Lt 12, 1861, par. 19

I am afraid of you. I will not cry smooth things unto you. I cry, Repent, repent and be converted, or you will perish. Bring forth fruit meet for repentance or the True Witness will soon spue you out of His mouth. He will not have His truth brought into disgrace by you and His suffering cause bleed on account of your crooked, wayward course. You are stumblingblocks to those who would believe. 1LtMs, Lt 12, 1861, par. 20

I cannot hold my peace. I speak plainly in the fear of God. I entreat and warn you. Will you take hold of this work? Fast and pray individually until you are broken in spirit and can say, “I live, yet not I, for Christ liveth in me.” [Galatians 2:20.] 1LtMs, Lt 12, 1861, par. 21

I was shown the position you might be in—enjoying the favor of God. But you have not yet made the first effort to occupy that position which would be pleasing to God and that He could delight to bless you. Every one of you should seek to agonize for an indwelling Saviour and full consecration to God. 1LtMs, Lt 12, 1861, par. 22

You have known but little of the influence of the truth upon the heart, but you may know it. You may experience it. You may have a living experience in the things of God. Souls around Caledonia are in a condition to be helped and to receive the truth, but with such an example as Caledonia has set them, they feel disgusted and the cause of God has been deeply wounded by those professing to love it. 1LtMs, Lt 12, 1861, par. 23

May God help you see your condition is my prayer. 1LtMs, Lt 12, 1861, par. 24