Letters and Manuscripts — Volume 2 (1869 - 1875)


Lt 10, 1873

Smith, Uriah

Potterville, Michigan

May 14, 1873

Portions of this letter are published in 5MR 313.

Dear Brother [Uriah] Smith:

We received your letter last evening, but we could not really understand your letter. 2LtMs, Lt 10, 1873, par. 1

I do not think that you understand your own position. The Lord has not left you in darkness. He has followed you with testimonies of reproof and warning for years. During this time you have not sensed your condition. You thought you were in need of nothing. You could not see why you were not about right. The testimonies of reproof have appeared to you uncalled for. Your great lack has been of coming up and taking your position in seeing and reproving wrong. I called upon you at your house to try to help you. I felt that I had a duty to do in saying to you what I did in regard to the case of Brother Aldrich, that your non-committal position sustained him in his wrong course. Your influence and Harriet’s did sustain and justify the cause of J. M. Aldrich. 2LtMs, Lt 10, 1873, par. 2

God was reproving his wrongs through my husband and through visions, but notwithstanding the testimonies of reproof, the wrongdoers had your sympathies and the reprover of wrong your suspicions and distrust. J. M. Aldrich pleased those who had but little spiritual discernment. The course pursued by J. M. Aldrich was not pleasing to God. His influence had a tendency to draw away from Christ. He was moral and intelligent, of good address and interesting, but the heart was not right, and beneath the surface the character was defective. Moral, spiritual power was weak. His influence upon you and many others was not of a spiritual character. However agreeable his society, however amusing and attractive his conversation, he did not gather with Christ. 2LtMs, Lt 10, 1873, par. 3

Had you received the testimony God gave in regard to J. M. Aldrich, you would have been saved from spiritual declension and great spiritual blindness and deception. You were pleased with the external J. M. Aldrich. The Lord’s eye searched the inmost recesses of the heart and life. Had you prized the light God sent to you, you would have discerned the wrongs existing in J. M. Aldrich and in the integrity of your soul would have stood with those whom God moved upon to reprove wrong and sin. As you seek to accommodate yourself to the spirit and feelings of those who are not right with God, you imbibe their spirit and you cannot escape the contagion of their worldly spirit or avoid being influenced by the atmosphere which affects them. You do not perceive any danger. You see no necessity for any warning of danger or reproof because of wrong. 2LtMs, Lt 10, 1873, par. 4

You and Harriet have despised reproof and warning. The Lord knows the value of the soul. He who withheld not His own beloved Son to save man, would warn and reprove when He sees there is any hindrance to souls attaining salvation. God sees their dangers and sends words of warning to awaken fear; but if those warned are not devotional, if spiritual darkness has blinded their eyes, they cannot see their danger. This, I have been shown, was your position. 2LtMs, Lt 10, 1873, par. 5

Uriah, you and Harriet have lived at so great a distance from the breath of heaven and the influence of the society of heavenly angels that your feelings and fancy have been in unison with the sympathies which unite human society. You assimilated more and more to their temperament, although they breathe not the atmosphere of heaven and are not in communion with God. This friendship and congeniality with those who are not right with God only brings you into darkness, leads you to love the things from beneath, and alienates you more from things above. Yet you are in a perfect deception in regard to these things. A spiritual lethargy has been from year to year gathering and growing upon you until it threatens to destroy your usefulness and your souls, while at the same time there may not be marked transgression or grievous wrong to human eyes. While you feel that all is right, you have imperceptibly been sliding away from God, and inhaling an atmosphere that will stupefy your moral sense of right and wrong and confuse your spiritual judgment so that you cannot discern right. Wrong will appear right, and right will appear wrong. 2LtMs, Lt 10, 1873, par. 6

You could be a man after God’s own heart, if you stood unaffected by deleterious influences. If you moved among these influences unaffected by them, preserving a devotional spirit, you would create an atmosphere around you which would prove a safeguard to these influences which are virtually irreligious and would enable you to exert a saving power over those who have influenced you. You could, by consecration to God, maintain a high degree of spirituality and so surround yourself with the light of heaven that you would be in no danger of contamination in the sphere of action to which God has called you by His providence. If you would not follow inclination, if you would guard your affections and bind yourself to Christ with the strongest cords of devotion and love, making friendship and relationship and everything in this life secondary to the glory of God, then you need not walk in darkness, for God will be by your side, an ever present Friend. 2LtMs, Lt 10, 1873, par. 7

Brother Uriah, you remarked to me that you could not go with Brother White in his course of dealing with Brother Aldrich, that things were charged to Brother Aldrich that he was not guilty of. I asked you wherein. You referred to the debt of lumber that Aldrich was blamed for selling to Russell, when he was not to blame in the matter. I then explained to you the facts in the case. You could not remember anything in regard to the circumstances, although to my certain knowledge you were there and witnessed the whole matter. But your discernment was perverted. You could not feel over the matter and discern the true situation of unfaithful men. This feeling expressed, confirms that which has been shown me in reference to your position in connection with these men who were unfaithful and dishonest before the Lord. I saw that you did not discern between right and wrong, that you would call darkness light and light darkness; that notwithstanding the course of these men had been demonstrated, the result of their course fully developed—and it was evident to all who had the Spirit of God and discernment that the curse of God was upon these men—yet you could not see what they had done so much out of the way that you could not excuse and pass over. 2LtMs, Lt 10, 1873, par. 8

In sympathizing with them in their wrong, you were a partaker with them. You sustained them in their positions. In the last view given me, I saw that in standing on the wrong side in these cases, your judgment was perverted, your discernment blinded. You thought that if Brother White would not stir up things by reproving, everything would move along quite smoothly. He, you thought (as did Ahab in the case of Elijah), was the troubler of Israel. 2LtMs, Lt 10, 1873, par. 9

In the case of William Gage, you could not see what there was so much out of the way with him. You enjoyed to chat and laugh with him. You could not see why he was not the man for the place. If you could have seen as God seeth, if you could have looked upon his case as God viewed it, you could have taken your position, and your words and actions could have been of such a character that you could have had a transforming influence over him. Your position in the office is of such importance that if you take an easy position, let wrongs and sins pass along as though nothing was the matter, it will be next to an impossibility for others to correct these wrongs. Your non-committal position, saying and doing nothing unless it be to strengthen the side God is seeking to weaken, stands directly in the way of those who would correct error and who would set things in order. In William Gage’s case, your influence sustained him, and you were a partaker of his sins. God’s frown is upon the entire family. 2LtMs, Lt 10, 1873, par. 10

Your lax government is seen in your own family. Your firmness does not serve you. You permit your children to come up instead of training them, restraining them, and disciplining them. This same deficiency is carried out and developed in the office and in the church. There is a defect in your character, to be easy and pleasant and agreeable to those who are an offense to God, while those who are thrust in by the Lord to bear reproof and testimony of warning you think unduly severe and stirring up strife. Harriet has had great influence upon you in your married life, in molding your character; for this she must answer to God. 2LtMs, Lt 10, 1873, par. 11

I can but call to mind the princes of renown that were with Korah, Dathan, and Abiram in rising up against Moses, saying, “Ye take too much upon you, seeing all the congregation are holy, every one of them, and the Lord is among them; wherefore then lift ye up yourselves above the congregation of the Lord?” Numbers 16:3. 2LtMs, Lt 10, 1873, par. 12

After the matter was demonstrated, those who rebelled were destroyed. The next morning the people murmured against Moses more decidedly than ever, charging the death of these mighty men upon Moses, saying, Ye have killed the people of the Lord. Their judgment and discernment had so long been molded and directed in the wrong channel, sympathizing with the wrong and calling sinful men whom God was continually reproving and correcting, holy, that they honestly thought things were just as they appeared to them. The terrible exhibition they had witnessed of how God regarded their murmuring and complaining only settled them the more firmly that all this was chargeable upon Moses. He was, they honestly thought, at the bottom of the whole matter, and these good men that the earth swallowed up, were the martyrs standing in defense of Israel. 2LtMs, Lt 10, 1873, par. 13

The very same spirit that existed in the armies of Israel exists now. The very same hatred of reproof and the very same spirit is seen when efforts are made to correct wrongs and set things in order among the people of God now, as in the days of Korah, Dathan, and Abiram. 2LtMs, Lt 10, 1873, par. 14

If you had no feelings against my husband, Uriah, why did you persist in reading those letters in meeting? After I had conversed with you and fully set before you his true feelings in regard to you, and after I told you of his feeble condition of health, where was your tender sympathy and love seen for my husband in his feebleness? 2LtMs, Lt 10, 1873, par. 15

He had shown how much he had your interest at heart by seeking to work things and plan for you temporal matters that you might be advantaged. You had not cause for your feelings. Your feelings, I have not the least hesitancy in saying, were unjust and cruel. And I think a spirit comes upon you to sustain wrong so firmly that if you knew, and some others knew, that your course would bring discouragement upon my husband which would cost him his life, you would in this particular instance have a special zeal to carry out your feelings, even to the bitter end. But your zeal does not get aroused to correct real wrong that God reproves and heaven condemns [in] sinners who have hindered the work of God and cursed His cause, who have been entreated and reproved and warned repeatedly for years. Your firmness slumbers and does not come to you, and you are powerless to reprove and withstand, notwithstanding the honor of God’s cause is in peril. 2LtMs, Lt 10, 1873, par. 16

At the meeting at our house, God’s Spirit was there. This power was upon my husband and was manifested in a marked and wonderful manner. But this made no impression upon you. Earnest prayer was offered to God in your behalf. We were burdened for you. Brethren Andrews and Waggoner were greatly blessed, but your own spirit resisted the pleadings of God’s Spirit. If I know anything of the Spirit of God, you would not let the Spirit of God affect you. You hardened your heart and stiffened your neck like a rebellious, self-willed child. 2LtMs, Lt 10, 1873, par. 17

Oh, how appropriate would all this firmness have been if exercised to correct those who were wrong, who were in sin, who were dishonest before God, whom His frown was upon! You can have a set will, a determination, when you choose to have it, but unfortunately it is on the wrong side. The very one who deserved your sympathy and your love and affection and thoughtful consideration did not get it. Had you come up to the help of God by the side of my husband and united with my husband to call wrong, wrong, and dishonesty, dishonesty, there would be an entirely different state of things in the office and in the church. The human heart is deceitful above all things and desperately wicked. Oh, that your energy and determination could be exercised in standing for the right! 2LtMs, Lt 10, 1873, par. 18

My husband’s life has been nearly sacrificed more than once by those connected with him in the work and cause at Battle Creek. Yet he does not awaken sympathy. He does not excite pity. But those who have brought reproach upon the cause of God have your pity and your sympathy. I was shown that Brother Smith and Brother White should stand together as two pillars in that office. Pillars are the most important part of the building. They support the building. If these two would have stood united in heart, the tone of the office would have been much more exalted. God calls for workers in the office and in the church, men who will realize the greatness of the work and be wise builders in this great cause. Eternity alone will reveal the results of such workmen. God’s eye is upon every worker in the building. 2LtMs, Lt 10, 1873, par. 19

The importance of everyone’s influence is measured by the great Inspector. The riches of glory are reserved as a reward for faithful workers, for the perfection of the building they are erecting. Its symmetry and beauty depend upon the united faithfulness of the true, willing workers. Those who would give indulgence to sin are unfaithful workers, in whatever position they may be serving. God designed that Uriah should be a very important and efficient worker in rearing the great building. But he was in danger of suffering the work to be marred and corrupted where he should be vigilant to see that it was perfect. Council after council may meet, and unless Uriah shall manifest more earnest interest in his position, everything will be lax and the work done unfaithfully. 2LtMs, Lt 10, 1873, par. 20

Zeal is required of those in responsible positions in the office. Not a zeal to clothe wrong with a dress of righteousness, or to make sin appear purity. By calling things by their right name, Uriah may stir, he may irritate, yet this will be the very work God would have him do, let the result be what it may. The work is God’s, and He designated that Brother Smith should be a finished worker, writing, preaching, and visiting different states and spreading the knowledge of the truth in every possible way he can. But he is not safe unless he works in unison with the Spirit of God, and God works through him. If he refuses to be the workman God would have him, God will have a man ready to do the work He designated Uriah should do. 2LtMs, Lt 10, 1873, par. 21

God would have Brother Smith visit foreign countries as His missionary if he would do the work of God thoroughly and faithfully. If the same irresponsible position is carried out by him in the future as in the past, the most limited his influence the better. He will not, he cannot, build up any cause. The same lax, irresponsible course he has manifested in his family, and carried out in the office and in the church, disqualify him for being a man after God’s own heart. He does the work of God negligently. The curse of God rested upon Meroz not because guilty of enormous crimes above others, but for neglect. There was a work that Meroz shunned, “Curse ye Meroz, said the angel of the Lord, curse ye bitterly the inhabitants thereof; because they came not to the help of the Lord, to the help of the Lord against the mighty.” Judges 5:23. 2LtMs, Lt 10, 1873, par. 22

The powers of darkness are at work and are brought to bear more upon those who are engaged in advancing the interests of God’s cause. Satan will come in at every avenue, every spot that is not guarded. There will always be a work to do to defend the right and to condemn the wrong. I saw that Brother Smith’s mind had been molded by his past experience in his connection with Sister Smith, that his sense of wrong is not acute. Satan would plant his hellish banner in his own house and in the office and he not perceive it, but think it was the banner of the cross of Christ. Brother Smith’s position has been a defective one. God wants men who have spiritual eyesight, or they are good for nothing in His cause. 2LtMs, Lt 10, 1873, par. 23

“Cursed be he that doeth the work of the Lord deceitfully (margin—negligently), and cursed be he that keepeth back his sword from blood. Moab hath been at ease from his youth, and he hath settled on his lees.” Jeremiah 48:10, 11. 2LtMs, Lt 10, 1873, par. 24

The wrath of God was kindled against Saul because he did not carry out his work of justice in smiting Amalek and utterly destroying them. “And it shall come to pass at that time that I will search Jerusalem with candles, and punish the men that are settled on their lees; that say in their heart, The Lord will not do good, neither will He do evil.” Zephaniah 1:12. 2LtMs, Lt 10, 1873, par. 25

Brother Smith has excellent qualifications, but he has a work to do that he has excused himself from performing, and he has not sustained those whom God has called to reprove sin and wrong. Therefore spiritual blindness has come upon him. 2LtMs, Lt 10, 1873, par. 26