Letters and Manuscripts — Volume 2 (1869 - 1875)


Ms 2, 1869

Testimony to the Mount Pleasant Church

Battle Creek, Michigan

May 1869

Portions of this manuscript are published in 4MR 339.

I was shown the case of the brethren in Mount Pleasant, Iowa. I saw that Brethren Hare and Fairfield were at variance. They dishonor the cause by their lack of union. They make their own peculiar ideas prominent, when they are aware that in thus doing they raise the combativeness of each other. 2LtMs, Ms 2, 1869, par. 1

Brother and Sister Fairfield have a work to do to set their own house and hearts in order. Brother Fairfield’s former experience in Campbellism has been unfortunate for him. He has brought along many things connected with that peculiar belief which he has engrafted in the third angel’s message. It has no part with that message. He has not seen and felt the necessity of the Spirit of God upon the heart to influence the life, the words and acts. He has made his religious experience too much of a form. 2LtMs, Ms 2, 1869, par. 2

The theory of the truth he has seen and acknowledged, but the special work of sanctification through the truth he has not become acquainted with. Self has appeared. If anything was spoken in meeting which did not meet his standard, he would rebuke, not in love and humility, but harshly, with severe, cutting words. This strong language is not proper for any Christian to use, especially one who has need of much greater experience himself, and who has very many wrongs to correct. 2LtMs, Ms 2, 1869, par. 3

When Brother Fairfield is about his labor, he is not as circumspect in his words and acts as our holy faith requires. He speaks lightly. His light does not shine in such a manner before men that they will be led to glorify our Father who is in heaven. He does not feel the weight and burden of the work. He does not consider that [in] his business he is brought into association with men who are watching him, that he is a spectacle unto the world, to angels, and to men. He does not consider that he is laboring with men for whom Christ died, that he can be a living preacher to them, and an efficient minister of righteousness, showing by his blameless life that the peace of God is ruling in his heart, and controlling his acts and dictating his words, which, if fitly spoken, will be like apples of gold in pictures of silver. 2LtMs, Ms 2, 1869, par. 4

His manner of enlightening men in regard to the truth too frequently drives them farther from the truth. He contends, and thus raises the opposer’s combativeness, and then he takes advantage of the clearness of our position and glories in the evidences or arguments with which he can overwhelm an opponent. He gets no credit for such preaching as this. Holy, exemplary living will go farther than the most overwhelming evidences pressed upon men with a triumphant, strong spirit. Let unbelievers see that your faith has an influence upon your life to soften and refine and make you tender-hearted, kind and courteous, and it will be, in some cases, like good and precious seed dropped into good soil, which will take root, and spring up and bear fruit to the glory of God in a great measure in argument with others. 2LtMs, Ms 2, 1869, par. 5

There has been a decided lack in the family of Brother Fairfield. Brother and Sister Fairfield have permitted their daughter to control them instead of their controlling her. They have permitted the rules of their house to be overborne, which has been no benefit to her, and an injury to the younger members of the family. Satan has controlled the mind of this daughter. He has worked through her to bring a cloud of darkness into the family. An example has been set before the children of disregard for the wishes, and disrespect for the authority of, the parents which has affected the young minds of the children. A little leaven has endangered the whole lump. 2LtMs, Ms 2, 1869, par. 6

I was shown that Brother Hare has a great work to do to set his house and heart in order. He has an organization not the most happy for the development of a good Christian character. Brethren Hare and Fairfield both have set notions and ideas of their own. Brother Hare has his standard to which he wishes to bring others, and he presses and urges and is exacting. He mistakes his duty many times in this direction. He moves without waiting for God to move upon him. He talks too much and urges his ideas. These two men, Brethren Hare and Fairfield, have been united in church capacity yet how little union there has been between them. There has been discord in meetings. Brother Fairfield would have the meetings go according to his peculiar standard and if they do not, his severe words come. God is displeased with all this. Bro. Hare has his standard entirely different from Brother Fairfield, in many respects, and he does not feel at rest unless he can move the minds of others according to his views. Here are elements in the church to distract and divide and cause unhappiness. 2LtMs, Ms 2, 1869, par. 7

Brother Hare is too worldly-minded. The cares of this life engross his attention. The eternal enterprise is made a secondary thing. He has an avaricious spirit. He is close, penurious and selfish. He is blinded to himself. He thinks he is rich and increased in goods and has need of nothing, when he is poor and miserable and blind and naked. He needs the heavenly anointing, the eye salve that he may make an application of it that he may see if he thinks his brethren are wrong. He possesses a hard, unyielding spirit which at times is detrimental to all around him. Brother Hare, by his works, denies the faith which he professes. He professes to be a pilgrim and a stranger upon the earth seeking a better country, even a heavenly. He professes to be waiting for and loving the appearing of the great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ, who is to change our vile bodies and fashion them like unto His most glorious body. How does his fruit compare with his professed faith? He loves this world. He loves the things of this world. The treasures of earth have his affection, and God is not honored by his life. We are a spectacle unto the world, to angels, and to men. Men and women “for whom Christ died” are looking upon him. 2LtMs, Ms 2, 1869, par. 8

I deeply regret to state that they are not led to glorify our Father in Heaven because of the light emanating from his blameless life. His life should be filled with self-denial and good works. Men take knowledge of him that his faith is not desirable, for it does not wean him from the world. He acts as eager after the things of the world as worldly men in general, and they have no confidence in the truth he presents of the near coming of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. 2LtMs, Ms 2, 1869, par. 9

Our brethren are paralyzed. Oh, what will rouse them to value less highly earthly enterprises and to place a true estimate upon the enterprise of eternal life? Why do not our brethren who make so great a profession see that their words, their acts and their life is a savor of life unto life or of death unto death? Why do they not arouse is my painful inquiry. We shall all be rewarded as our works have been. Not one will pass through the pearly gates of the city of God who has not been purified, sanctified, and weaned from every idol. To those who have been truly faithful, Christ will say, “Well done, good and faithful servant; thou hast been faithful over a few things, I will make thee ruler over many things: enter thou into the joy of thy Lord.” Matthew 25:23. Goodness and faithfulness are required of every one who is a candidate for everlasting life. Oh, why do not those who have the clear light of truth let their light shine? 2LtMs, Ms 2, 1869, par. 10

I saw that the truth of God was reproached, brought into disrepute by Brother Hare’s lack of consecration. He does not live out the truth. Great responsibilities rest upon every one who professes the truth to exemplify in his life the life of Christ. Brother Hare, as Christ’s representative upon [the] earth, is required to be like the pattern, full of goodness and compassion. He is required to live an unselfish life, uncorrupted amid the corruption of this world. His heart should be filled with love to his fellow men, such enduring, unaffected, fervent, zealous love as dwelt in the bosom of Jesus Christ, which led Him to die for a fallen world. Says Christ, “Love one another as I have loved you.” [John 13:34.] 2LtMs, Ms 2, 1869, par. 11

The world is larger to Brother Hare than everything else beside. He can never have a treasure in heaven until he shows by his fruit that his heart is not upon earthly treasure. He must have broader, deeper, and more extended views of the value of heavenly, immortal treasures. His example before his children is constantly saying, This world contains my treasure. God help him to express in his life better things than this. Brother Hare has ability. If he were consecrated, he could do good. But he cannot love the world, and the things of the world as he does, and yet have the love of Christ dwelling in him. God calls him to come up upon a higher plane of action, to work from a higher standpoint than he ever yet has done. His works show that he places a high value upon the perishable things of earth, while he places a low estimate upon the immortal inheritance. He must work. He must talk less in his family and let his example preach more powerfully than words can. 2LtMs, Ms 2, 1869, par. 12

“Wherefore gird up the loins of your mind, be sober, and hope to the end for the grace that is to be brought unto you at the revelation of Jesus Christ. As obedient children, not fashioning yourself according to the former lust in your ignorance: But as He which hath called you is holy, so be ye holy in all manner of conversation; because it is written, Be ye holy, for I am holy. And if ye call on the Father, who without respect of persons judgeth according to every man’s work, pass the time of your sojourning here in fear. Forasmuch as ye know that ye were not redeemed with corruptible things, as silver and gold, from your vain conversation received by tradition from your fathers; but with the precious blood of Christ as of a lamb without blemish and without spot.” 1 Peter 1:13-19. 2LtMs, Ms 2, 1869, par. 13

Silver and gold, houses and lands, should not be your god. These are valueless to redeem you. But magnify the blood of Christ, and pass the time of your sojourning here in fear. 2LtMs, Ms 2, 1869, par. 14

“But ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people; that ye should show forth the praises of Him who hath called you out of darkness into His marvelous light: which in time past were not a people, but are now the people of God: which had not obtained mercy, but now have obtained mercy. Dearly beloved, I beseech you, as strangers and pilgrims, abstain from fleshly lusts, which war against the soul; having your conversation honest among the Gentiles: that, whereas they speak against you as evildoers, they may by your good works, which they shall behold, glorify God in the day of visitation.” 1 Peter 2:9-12. 2LtMs, Ms 2, 1869, par. 15

God requires purity of heart and life. Nothing short of this will He accept. You are living in a community which is watching to see what influence the truth has upon the life of its advocates. Many have not had the light to reject. Many have been disgusted with the lives of those who profess the truth, and have said, “I live as well as they.” “I shall go to heaven as well as they.” Talking the truth does not move them, because they do not see it exemplified in the daily walk and conversation of its advocates. Its influence is not carried into their business, their deal, and God is dishonored. 2LtMs, Ms 2, 1869, par. 16

Sister Hare must seek to separate her affections from earthly things, and set them upon things above. Their children need more instruction—example as well as precept. They need, as a household, to be converted. 2LtMs, Ms 2, 1869, par. 17

I was shown the case of Brother Sharp. He has not yet felt the transforming influence of the truth. He has been weak. He has not had the living principle underlying his course of action. He has lived for self. Self has been the controlling principle, the pivot on which his actions have turned. He lacks steadiness of purpose. He lacks in diligence and perseverance. He loves his ease. His conversation has not been of a character to elevate but rather to lower. It has been of a cheap order. He has brought reproach upon the cause of Christ and brought our faith into disrepute. He has not lived a Christian life. His life has been aimless. He must seek to correct his slack habits. He took upon himself the responsibility of a family when he was wholly unprepared to take the responsibility of properly taking care of himself. 2LtMs, Ms 2, 1869, par. 18

I was shown that these early marriages are immature. His affections had not matured. They have not been a happy family. There has been a lack with both parties. Neither of them have had a firm purpose to serve God with singleness of heart. Their lives have been a failure. 2LtMs, Ms 2, 1869, par. 19

Sister Sharp has a work to do. She does not encourage habits of neatness and order. She is slack, and frequently untidy. She must get up out of this state of apathy and indolence. She does not realize her expectations in the married life. Yet now she should make the best of her lot and make the life of her husband as pleasant as she can. She must arouse herself to diligence, and educate herself to habits of order and industry. She should bear in mind that all is harmony and order in heaven, and every Christian should begin to cultivate this upon earth. If she would be happy, she must be cheerful and patient and kind, industrious, orderly, tidy, and elevated in conversation. God requires this of her. A reformation is needed on her part to work the works of righteousness from a pure heart. She should put away gossiping and talking. Talk less and work more, and become an exemplary Christian. 2LtMs, Ms 2, 1869, par. 20

Brother Sharp has not been as careful as he should in his business transactions. God speaks to him to arise. His friends and relatives should see in him humility of mind. He is prone to love self, to love his own amusement, and to seek for happiness. He never will find it. He must go in search of duty. He should have his life characterized by faithfulness in little things; then it will become easier to be faithful in larger things. If he is slack and careless in things of this life, he will also be in things of eternal interest. Brother and Sister Sharp, seek to be forbearing to one another, cheerful and courteous. Seek every day to be the true followers of the dear Redeemer. 2LtMs, Ms 2, 1869, par. 21

The church need a great work wrought for them. 2LtMs, Ms 2, 1869, par. 22