Letters and Manuscripts — Volume 1 (1844 - 1868)


Ms 6, 1868

Our Travels


July 1868

Portions of this manuscript are published in 7MR 220-221.

The last sketch of my experience closed May 20. After the General Conference at Battle Creek closed we devoted our time to writing and laboring in behalf of the church. We felt much burdened on account of the vanity, pride, and love of the world existing in the church at Battle Creek. We felt urged by the Spirit of God to bear a pointed testimony reproving their errors and sins, and especially their neglect of duty to those who in the providence of God are brought within the circle of their influence. While speaking, the solemn and awful presence of God seemed to be in the meeting and I immediately fell to the floor and was shown in vision many things. The light given me laid me under new responsibilities and additional burdens to give others the reproofs, the warnings, and the encouragements the Lord had given me for them. We labored a few weeks in Battle Creek and saw some making earnest efforts to draw nigh to God by humble confessions and humiliation before Him. We were encouraged to hope that the good work commenced would be carried forward until the church would be revived, their love to God and for the truth increased, and they feel that they were called upon to redeem the time. 1LtMs, Ms 6, 1868, par. 1

June 15 we returned to our home in Greenville, much worn in consequence of constant anxiety and hard labor. Brother Smith accompanied us. For several weeks I could not perform mental or physical labor. My husband and I visited the grove frequently and pleaded with God for health and strength to continue to labor in His cause. We realized the answer to our prayers. We were strengthened to do a large amount of important writing and also to bear our testimony when necessary. The condition of the church in Battle Creek was a continual anxiety and burden to me; this had a depressing influence upon our spirits and health. 1LtMs, Ms 6, 1868, par. 2

July third we left Greenville in company with Brother Smith, to visit Wright. My husband spoke Sabbath forenoon, with freedom. He stated that while the world at large were celebrating our national independence a few of us were observing an institution as old as the world, the rest day of Jehovah. My husband spoke upon the importance of keeping the very day of the week upon which God rested if we would observe the true memorial of His rest, as the people of the country were observing the fourth of July in commemoration of the independence of the people. 1LtMs, Ms 6, 1868, par. 3

In the afternoon I spoke to the people in reference to the responsibility resting upon the church to let the light shine to others, that God had permitted to shine upon them. If they valued the truth and salvation that they were partakers of, they should be interested to help others to receive the great blessing they were enjoying. In every town, city, and village there are hearts susceptible to truth, and if those who profess the truth would meekly and judiciously recommend the same by their consistent lives, many would yield obedience to its requirements and take their position with the people of God. The responsibility of this great work should be felt and shared by all who profess to be followers of Jesus. Very much depends upon those who have the light in their possession. The work must be carried forward by those who believe. They should give themselves to the work with greater earnestness and energy. Nothing can be done without exertion and diligence. 1LtMs, Ms 6, 1868, par. 4

This meeting was well attended and there seemed to be a good interest among the people. We felt encouraged with the evidences manifested to take hold anew of the work of God. Here the subject of general camp meetings was introduced and they unanimously voted in favor of such meetings. 1LtMs, Ms 6, 1868, par. 5

July 11 there was a monthly gathering at Greenville. The brethren from Stanton, Bushnell, and Orleans were present. The house of worship was well filled. My husband spoke in the forenoon upon (Hebrews 11:14): “For they that say such things declare plainly that they seek a country,” even a heavenly. This discourse was practical and impressive. He spoke of the necessity of exemplifying faith by works. If Christians, while professing to believe that the end of all things is at hand, fasten their affection upon their earthly treasure, devoting all their energies of bone, brain, and muscle to accumulating worldly possessions, their works deny their faith, for they declare plainly that they are expecting to stay a great while here and have no necessity for seeking a better country. God would scatter the treasures that the heart’s affections are upon—if not before, the fires of the last days will consume the idolized treasures of the earth. This meeting was interesting to all present. Danish brethren gave an interesting statement of the work that had been commenced among the Danes. Several were examining our faith with interest and are expected to be fully converted to the truth. 1LtMs, Ms 6, 1868, par. 6

Our attention has been called to the wants of the widows and fatherless. There has been a decided lack in giving that sympathy and timely aid that all of this class demanded of us as Christians. Much might have been done by farmers who have an abundance and they would never feel the lack of the help they should bestow, but those whose wants were supplied would be made more comfortable and happy. There are many homes which the orphans might share and be a blessing. Although they may be a care at times, and a burden, yet this is just what many need to aid them to overcome their selfishness. Those who shun all responsibilities will lose many a blessing that they might gain. Especially are the fatherless and motherless needed to bless and enliven the homes of those who are childless. 1LtMs, Ms 6, 1868, par. 7

Selfish hearts would take children for the purpose of the work that they would do and to benefit themselves, while they have but little idea of benefiting those that they take to their homes. To take the burden of patiently instructing and encouraging them to learn how to properly do the duties of this life, and how to secure the better life, is a work but very few have any knowledge of. There are those who are willing to make homes for the orphans and for the destitute if they can obtain advantage themselves by so doing. Many need children in their homes to share their thoughts and care and to teach them lessons of love and forbearance. Those who have no children toward whom they are called to exercise care, to bear with, to be patient and forgiving towards when they do wrong, are in great danger of becoming selfish, narrow, and covetous. 1LtMs, Ms 6, 1868, par. 8

Those who do for the homeless and the needy in this life are imitating the example of Jesus. He inconvenienced Himself to help us. He suffered and endured and bore with sinful mortals. Are they willing in their turn to do and suffer and bear with the helpless and needy, although they may be erring and tax the patience of those who have the care of them? But this is exactly the experience needed. Those who shun responsibilities and seek to avoid all that is unpleasant in life will be useless in this life and will not amount to anything in the next. We have taken the responsibility of two children. One lives with us; the other we have found a home for in Battle Creek while he learns the printers’ trade. 1LtMs, Ms 6, 1868, par. 9

About this time I learned that Sister Chipman was working at a hotel in Greenville and had given up the Sabbath. I had met Sister Chipman at Monterey and was deeply interested in her case. I had not seen or heard directly from her until the news was brought to us of her being at Greenville. My husband and I talked over the matter and decided immediately to learn the particulars of this case. We found Sister Chipman in discouragement. She had sought to find a boarding place in a Sabbathkeeping family but was refused. She then found employment at the hotel and was obliged to work on the Sabbath. Her faith had not changed but her peculiar trials had driven her to hopelessness and despair and she had yielded to the pressure of circumstances and given up the Sabbath. We took her to our home and sought to encourage her. 1LtMs, Ms 6, 1868, par. 10

We were at this time especially exercised in regard to the duty of the followers of Christ to carry out the principles of the last six commandments, and love their neighbor as themselves. If they obey the law of God they will be aroused to true Christian zeal which works for the benefit of those who need help. I attended a general meeting at Orleans. The friends from the region around about were present. The subject of the wants of the needy was considered and Brother King was appointed to look after those who needed aid and advice and counsel. 1LtMs, Ms 6, 1868, par. 11

We felt like entreating the followers of Christ to imitate the life of our great Exemplar who was self-denying. His life was characterized by disinterested benevolence. If His followers indeed work the works of Christ, they will not be indifferent to the cases of those who are less prosperous than themselves; especially will they feel that God has claims upon them to bless the needy, to visit the fatherless and widows in their affliction. If Christians will show that they are influenced by feelings of benevolence and compassion and an earnest desire to help and bless those who need food and clothing, and if they are ready with kindly words to help the discouraged and desponding, they have found an avenue to their hearts. They can counsel and warn and entreat with the spirit of genuine Christian kindness. 1LtMs, Ms 6, 1868, par. 12

Christian zeal without kindly deeds of love is a spurious article. The tenderness of love seen in the acts of benevolence to relieve the wants of the needy will open a way to the heart for the entrance of divine truth. If the heart glows with Christian zeal, the hands will be nerved to Christian duty. 1LtMs, Ms 6, 1868, par. 13