Letters and Manuscripts — Volume 1 (1844 - 1868)


Lt 16, 1861

To the Church at Roosevelt, New York


August 3, 1861

Portions of this letter are published in 5MR 60-62; 7MR 113-114; 15MR 124-125.

Dear Brethren and Sisters,

The state of the church was presented before me. I saw many things in a tangled, perplexed condition. I was shown that God would not condescend to unravel every difficulty and explain every trial. The brethren and sisters are, many of them, unconsecrated, and when individual wrongs are reproved some stand prepared to triumph over those reproved. On account of these things, God will not reveal many church difficulties, for many interpret the visions to suit their own peculiar ideas, and God is grieved, His church weakened, and the cause dishonored by childish contentions and by misinterpreting what He has seen fit to reveal. I saw that God would soon remove all light given through visions unless they were appreciated and the church make a better use of them than they have done. 1LtMs, Lt 16, 1861, par. 1

The church must search carefully in meekness, and with humble hearts, for their own wrongs which have separated God from them. They must remember that the heart is deceitful above all things and desperately wicked. Self-justification must be laid aside, and all possess yielding spirits. 1LtMs, Lt 16, 1861, par. 2

As I write, matters come plainly to my mind. I was shown some individual cases. Brother Pangburn’s family lacks consecration. Brother Pangburn does not understand himself. He needs a thorough work of reformation. His temperament is fitful, changeable; he moves from impulse. He does not possess the heavenly adorning, the ornament of a meek and quiet spirit. He must be converted before he can progress. A profession of the truth will avail him nothing. He must show by his fruits that he is a follower of the meek and lowly Saviour. He possesses a hasty and self-important spirit, and does not control his own spirit. He looks out carefully for his own interest, sometimes greatly to the disadvantage of his brethren. He can never prosper and live in the light until he has a care and interest for his brethren and is willing to be reproved and instructed by them. He lacks the nobleness of soul becoming the profession of his faith. 1LtMs, Lt 16, 1861, par. 3

Brother Pangburn thinks his brethren have misused him because they have spoken of his faults. Brother Pangburn, you are at fault; you cause yourself trouble. You do not control yourself in your family or with your brethren. You are the greatest enemy you have. When you control yourself and possess a noble, generous spirit, becoming a follower of Jesus, you will have peace, union, and love with your brethren, and can make thorough work. You are fluctuating, and do not move from cool judgment. You must thoroughly reform or be weighed in the balance and found wanting. Your brethren can have no fellowship with your spirit until you give evidence of a genuine work, and bring forth fruits to God’s glory. 1LtMs, Lt 16, 1861, par. 4

I was shown the case of Brother Edson, that he should not think because God’s afflicting hand is upon him that His anger is kindled against him. I saw that Brother Edson had taxed his physical strength until it was exhausted, prostrated; but God loves him, and if he will lean upon Him He will bring him up. He will not forsake him now. I saw that God regarded the sacrifice made by him and Sister Edson. They had sacrificed for the good of the cause of God and had left their pleasant house and farm and he had stood as one of the Lord’s minutemen to use his means to advance the cause of present truth. And now adversity and affliction have come upon him. 1LtMs, Lt 16, 1861, par. 5

Satan has been permitted to afflict and annoy him that, if possible, their minds might be carried back to that pleasant farm and they regret the sacrifice they have made. Satan has not gained his object in thus afflicting. God designs to bring the family nearer to Him. He has not left or forsaken them. He will bring them through the furnace purified and refined if they will lean upon and trust in Him. The state of God’s cause has affected the courage of Brother and Sister Edson, yet God has His eye upon them and will visit them in mercy. They should have the sympathy and love of their brethren and they should favor him. 1LtMs, Lt 16, 1861, par. 6

The case of Brother Manly Ross was presented before me. I saw he intended to be true and right. He has a work to do. There is danger of some misconstruing Brother Manly’s frank manner. He must possess a willing spirit to acknowledge his wrongs and must not justify himself and brace himself against his brethren, but yield to their judgment, counsel, and advice. 1LtMs, Lt 16, 1861, par. 7

The church must be subject to one another, willing to be counseled, reproved, and directed by the body. Dear self is the most obstinate person the follower of Jesus has to contend with. There must be humility and forbearance in the church. Self must be overcome and those looking for Christ’s appearing must possess the power of endurance and self-control if they would have God’s Spirit with them. 1LtMs, Lt 16, 1861, par. 8

Some have been looking with jealous eye upon the moves made at Battle Creek. They fear they should become Babylon if they organize. I was shown the churches in Central New York have been perfect Babylon, confusion; and unless there can be a plan or system arranged whereupon the church can act, enforce, and carry out order, they have nothing to hope for; they must scatter into fragments. 1LtMs, Lt 16, 1861, par. 9

I was shown that Brethren Ross, Preston, and some others have been holding back, fearing to venture and adopt the only plan that can cause union of action and health in the body. Brother Wheeler’s influence has not been right in this direction. After all the light given and the strong reasons presented, which no one could gainsay, his course and the course of those of experience helping him in holding back, is wrong and inexcusable in them. It is no virtue in them to wait until compelled to acknowledge that God is in this work by every difficulty being removed from their minds and no chance to resist any longer. This is not the course for experienced brethren to take. God is not pleased with these things. God requires them to venture out and bear some responsibility as well as to have a few venture out and receive censure and dissatisfaction from others while they wait till the battle is fought and the instruments of God’s choosing are wounded and faint. They choose to look on and see how the battle turns. They do not come up to the help of the Lord. 1LtMs, Lt 16, 1861, par. 10

I saw that A. Ross must be cautious of his words. He has not regarded slavery in a Bible light. He does not see it as God sees it. Brother Ross has expressed himself unguardedly and has exerted a wrong influence. He is watched, and he will surely be in a dangerous position unless he strives to counteract the influence his words have carried. As a people we must use great caution. As we do not engage in the war, and pray for union and preach in regard to union, suspicions are aroused. And if one like Brother Ross expresses sentiments not fully comprehended, but taken that he favors the South, this people will be branded as Secessionists, and in this excited state of the people but a word would set them on fire and destroy our safety. Brother Ross’s views are not correct in regard to the institution of slavery. 1LtMs, Lt 16, 1861, par. 11

The influence of teachers upon the body has not been right. They have not made known their decided faith and taken a firm stand that all might understand their position and know where to find them. These uncertain teachers who are unwilling to venture and bear any responsibility had better remain in silence until they can tell the time of night, and lead God’s people safely and feed them with clean provender, thoroughly winnowed. These uncertain teachers have nourished the elements of disunion and confusion. Each should look well to his own soul and rule his own spirit. If each would do this, and watch self as eagerly as he watches his brethren, the elements of union would exist in the heart and every separating bar would be broken to fragments. Hearts would flow together like two drops of water. Then there would be power and strength in the ranks of Sabbathkeepers far exceeding anything we have ever yet seen. 1LtMs, Lt 16, 1861, par. 12

We are living in a most solemn period. Satan and evil angels are arrayed against us with mighty power. The world is on their side to help them, and the most lamentable fact is that professed Sabbathkeepers, claiming to believe important, solemn truth, unite their forces with the combined influences of the powers of darkness to distract and hinder or tear down that which He has required His chosen instruments to build up. Some do not work directly to tear down, but indirectly. They look on with indifference, express doubts, suspicion, fears, and need greater evidence than a doubting Thomas. They will not, or do not, put their hand to the work with zeal and exert their energies to build up. Their influence is recorded as one which retards the work of advance and reform among God’s people. 1LtMs, Lt 16, 1861, par. 13

Said the angel, “Those who do not gather with Christ scatter abroad.” [Matthew 12:30.] There is no such thing as a neutral position. Every one has influence and his influence tells for or against. Individuals have stood ready to oppose every step of advance of God’s people as God in His providence has led them. And those who would venture out have their hearts saddened and distressed by the lack of union and action on the part of their ministering brethren. 1LtMs, Lt 16, 1861, par. 14

The case of Brother Sprague’s wife was presented before me. She possesses an uncomplaining, kind, courteous spirit. She bears no ill will, no revengeful feelings. She feels interested for others. Yet she makes no profession of our faith. She possesses a principle of right and amiable and excellent traits of character. If she would identify herself with God’s people, acknowledge Jesus as her Saviour, put away her unbelief, she would be an ornament to the Christian faith and would exert a powerful influence. 1LtMs, Lt 16, 1861, par. 15

Then God’s people were presented before me. O, the lack of forbearance and patience with one another, the lack of brotherly love, of meekness, of self control, while professing to be followers of Christ, subjects of His special grace! Oh, what a reproach to Christ! What a reproach to God’s cause! Brethren and sisters professing His name suffer evil traits to appear in their lives and they are stumblingblocks to those who have not professed to be Christ’s followers. The reality of experimental religion and infidelity often blushes at the wayward course of professed Christians. 1LtMs, Lt 16, 1861, par. 16

The course of Brother Sprague’s wife is a living example to those who profess to be transformed by the renewing of the Holy Spirit. And when the brethren and sisters lack love for one another and manifest selfishness and independence, unwilling to yield to one another, the course of Brother Sprague’s wife should silence their contentions. Her example is worthy [of] the imitation of those who profess to be Christians. Professed followers of Christ will have a fearful account to render to God for their wayward course. Angels are grieved and turn from them for their jangling and strife. They have furnished infidels with arguments against the reality of religion, and the truths of the Bible. 1LtMs, Lt 16, 1861, par. 17

The weakest saint in Roosevelt or Central New York can be a powerful preacher by holy living, carrying out the truth in their lives. Truths more sacred than any ever imparted to mortals upon earth have been committed to our trust, yet we as a people have not been faithful to our trust. Our fruits have borne witness that our faith is weak and inefficient, unable to accomplish God’s designs. Our unfaithful Sabbathkeepers are the worst enemies the truth can have. There is power in the truth and it will work a thorough reformation in the life when it takes hold of the heart. Many have taken hold of the truth, but the truth has not taken hold of them. 1LtMs, Lt 16, 1861, par. 18

I was shown the apostasy of God’s people. They have departed from God and are forming a union with the spirit of the world. As one fashion after another is introduced, one after another gradually falls back from their steadfastness and partakes of the spirit of the world and lose their peculiarity. It is a cross to the natural heart to be peculiar. It is a cross to come out from the world and be separate. And as individuals cease warring against the influence of the world and give up the conflict, they become Satan’s easy prey. They become weary of the warfare and are taken in the snare. 1LtMs, Lt 16, 1861, par. 19

Little by little the influence of the world steals upon them, and after the first step is taken to have friendship with the world the next is prepared, and darkness enshrouds them as they advance. And as they conform to the world they lose the transforming influence of the Spirit of God and their course does not look bad in their own eyes. They think themselves quite well off. They profess the truth. They don’t mean to backslide, but they grow weaker and weaker. God’s Spirit is withdrawn; they are of the world. They are spued out of the mouth of God, and they know it not. 1LtMs, Lt 16, 1861, par. 20

There has not been so glaring a departure from God. It was gradual, and they know not the time when God left them, for they were so assimilated to the world that heaven’s light was withdrawn, and they are left blind, wretched, and naked. They dress very nearly like the world, making just a little difference on account of their profession. 1LtMs, Lt 16, 1861, par. 21

Hoops, I saw, should be discarded from the ranks of Sabbathkeepers. Their influence and practice should be a rebuke to this ridiculous fashion, which has been a screen to iniquity. Its first rise was from a house of ill-fame in Paris. Never was such iniquity practiced as since this hoop invention; never were there so many murders of infants and never were virtue and modesty so rare. It has almost departed from this enlightened land, and Sodom and Gomorrah will rise up in the judgment and condemn those who live in this enlightened age, for if they had received the light which now shines upon the inhabitants of earth they would have repented long ago. But the people of the earth are filling the measure of the cup of their iniquity and every soul who professes to be God’s chosen, peculiar people, who imitates their example in any degree, will perish with them. 1LtMs, Lt 16, 1861, par. 22

God’s people must cease dabbling with the spirit and practice of the world, and preserve their peculiarity as those who profess to be separate from the world, dead to the world, not conformed to the world but transformed by the renewing of their mind. Those who profess to have a heavenly inheritance must have the mind of Christ or they are not His children. God will have a separate and peculiar people. Their faith is peculiar, their prospects are peculiar and glorious, and with the heavenly inducement presented before them, if they will not value it of sufficient importance to lead them to a separation from the fashions, extravagance, and practices of the world, they will receive their portion with them. The friendship of the world is at enmity with God. 1LtMs, Lt 16, 1861, par. 23

God calls upon us to elevate the standard. It has been left to trail in the dust. We must take an elevated position. But the fashions of the world hold many of God’s professed people in bondage. They so earnestly desire to have friendship with the world that they mangle their feelings and make wretched work of following Christ. They want heaven and this world too, but such will certainly lose both worlds. They can now take their choice in these hours of probation. Their fruits will show their choice. For a life of obedience God will grant us the rich reward, but He calls for entire consecration and nothing short of this will He accept. 1LtMs, Lt 16, 1861, par. 24

I was shown Isa. 3:12: “As for my people, children are their oppressors and women rule over them.” I saw that this text applies to these last days of peril. Children are not generally controlled. They are suffered to come up with their wills unsubdued. They are indulged in pride and at last the parents must yield to them. Children receive the sympathy of their mothers, and the mothers affect the fathers. Satan comes more readily to the women and children and works through them to influence the fathers, and then unitedly, without an opposing influence, they imperceptibly slide downward, and yet have a name to live; but they are dead. No name, I saw, of such stands registered in the book of life. Their professions are the same, yet God never counts by the profession. The acts, the works, the fruits testify to whom they belong. They are servants of the world, slaves to fashion, and the opinions of unbelievers have much weight with them. Those who have moral courage and the living principle within them will decide to be peculiar, to take their position and stand firmly. 1LtMs, Lt 16, 1861, par. 25

I was shown that perplexity and fear have seized all hearts. God is punishing this nation for their sins. The sin of slavery has long existed. It has been a curse to this nation. The cries and groans and agony of God’s creatures, held in bondage, placed upon a level with brute creatures by their fellow men, have risen to heaven. The fugitive slave law that went forth was calculated to crush out of man every noble, generous feeling of sympathy that should arise in his heart for the oppressed and suffering slave. It was in direct opposition to the teachings of Christ. God’s scourge is now upon the North, that they have so long submitted to suffer slavery to exist and their fellow man be held in hopeless slavery, tyrannized over and tortured just as passionate man chooses to act out the demon. If they murder their fellow man, no matter; he is considered no more than a brute by them. I saw that the inhabitants of earth have nearly filled their cup of iniquity. 1LtMs, Lt 16, 1861, par. 26


Brother Woodruff, please return this to me at Battle Creek. If anyone wishes to retain a copy, he can copy it, but I wish the original. 1LtMs, Lt 16, 1861, par. 27

(Signed) E. G. White

(Recopied February 4, 2014, to include the last five paragraphs which had been separated from the original and formerly filed as Ms 6, 1867.)