Letters and Manuscripts — Volume 3 (1876 - 1882)


Lt 54, 1876

Cornell, M. E.



Previously unpublished.

Dear Brother [M. E.] Cornell:

I feel that at this time I should speak and that it would be sin in me not to speak. Your case has been very largely shown me in vision. And the close acquaintance with you for the time while we were in Napa, and also since we have been in Oakland, is a most perfect picture of what was presented before me. I was shown that you were inclined to gather sympathy to yourself, to center your mind upon yourself and talk much in regard to yourself, to make your case a specialty. In new places you were really gaining the attention of the people to encourage their sympathies for you, when at the same time you did not in reality earn these sympathies or deserve them. 3LtMs, Lt 54, 1876, par. 1

I saw that upon many points you were very weak. If while laboring with another you saw that you were not more highly estimated than your fellow laborer, your courage was gone. You appealed to your own sympathies and really thought but few men in life had so hard a lot as yourself. I saw that you had great physical strength but your own peculiar temperament and passions were your greatest enemy. I was shown your labors in the cause of God were no more arduous than those of your brethren in general, and in some respects they frequently labored much harder than yourself. You have been inclined to shun the laborious part, leaving others heavily taxed because you failed in time and place to do your part. 3LtMs, Lt 54, 1876, par. 2

Your plea ever was that you were not well, you felt sick, while at the same time I saw that you were deluding yourself with this deception, for it was not a reality when you said last night that doctors could not tell what ailed you. I said to myself, True enough. No earthly physician could prescribe for you. But He who made man, the Great Physician, understands your case. Your imagination is diseased. You are sound as far as physical strength is concerned, but your mind is sick. You let it dwell upon yourself and upon things which you should not. Truly you have a diseased mind. It is not natural for you to love devotion. You have but little faith. Your mind and heart are unsanctified. You are not a Bible student. You idle away much precious time that should be used in qualifying yourself as an able workman. I saw that your thoughts were not in obedience to Christ. Purify the fountain and the streams will be pure. 3LtMs, Lt 54, 1876, par. 3

I saw that your complaining and talking of your troubles and how hard and excessively you labored is in very many cases a delusion of the mind. It had no foundation in truth. At times you have had to labor quite hard but no harder than other ministers who have not more than two-thirds the capital of strength to draw upon that you have. 3LtMs, Lt 54, 1876, par. 4

I saw that you carry your chronic whining and complaining even into the pulpit. You will spend time in apologies because your unfitness to labor, your exhaustion, making excuses for yourself, that have a tendency to weary and disgust your hearers, while some few who are sympathetic are constantly pitying you and are ready to humor your whims and to pet your ailments. 3LtMs, Lt 54, 1876, par. 5

I saw that had you continued to grow in the knowledge of the truth you might now be an able workman in the cause of present truth. But I saw that your arguments were not as thorough and conclusive as they might be, for you were superficial. You do not love thorough application. 3LtMs, Lt 54, 1876, par. 6

I saw that you needed physical exercise which you were not inclined to take if there was work in it. Every poor feeling you would cherish and make it an excuse for not engaging in labor that was not exactly pleasing to you, when labor—physical exercise in useful labor—would have been of more advantage to you than your whining and talking over your ailments and being waited upon by women. You should have will power and work with an eye single to God’s glory. Your face, I saw, was a transcript of your thoughts. An expression of distress was there pictured, which is becoming habitual. Joy and peace and happiness, when in your heart, will be reflected in your countenance. You will not then go around with a distressed look as though you were a great mental and physical sufferer. 3LtMs, Lt 54, 1876, par. 7

Our ministers neglect physical exercise altogether too much. No man or woman can have health while the muscles are left without being used. Exercise will occupy your thoughts and mind. Every muscle in your body should be brought into active use each day of your life. Then the blood will be equalized and no one organ will be overtaxed. 3LtMs, Lt 54, 1876, par. 8

I say to you, Brother Cornell, from the light God has given me, go to work when you have nothing else to do. Give your mind something to do in searching the Scriptures with much prayer. Then give the muscles something to do in manual labor. The time spent in petting yourself and talking over your trials [would] better be spent in studying your Bible, in prayer, and exercise of the physical [powers]. God has given you a good machine in your body and He designed you should put every part of this wonderful machinery to service. Let me tell you, from what God has shown me, your sickness is more imaginary than real. You did not do more than two-thirds the labor you were capable of doing, if you would treat your body right, call to your aid willpower, and labor with cheerfulness. You are dependent upon excitement and approbation to do much. You must see this and obtain the victory or your labors will not be of great service to the cause of God. 3LtMs, Lt 54, 1876, par. 9

I was shown that when you first labor in a place you generally create an excitement. When souls begin to take hold of the truth you begin to drop down in your feelings. You do not feel that very much is pending and you allow your mind to dwell upon yourself and begin to draw the sympathies of the people to you. Then the influence you exert is sickly. It tastes strongly of M. E. Cornell. If you were not converted upon these points, you would do far better to leave entirely the work of the ministry and labor with your hands, for God will not accept your labor and you do verily nothing. When you think you are laboring hard you are like a man carrying a lantern, but the light shines not to others for your own body comes directly between the light and the people. You thrust yourself in and make yourself a specialty, rather than the truth and Jesus Christ. 3LtMs, Lt 54, 1876, par. 10

This grumbling has become second nature. You have poor feelings, sometimes have a cold, sometimes the system is clogged; the pores are not opened because physical exercise has been shunned. You do not love to bear burdens or responsibilities. Nature is yet strong and is constantly making efforts to set you right. You will have fever and ague or catarrh or some infirmity which all might have been saved if you had lived just in accordance with the laws of health. You frequently eat fruit between meals. This is a tax upon the stomach. 3LtMs, Lt 54, 1876, par. 11

While having so little exercise, if you eat irregularly and of food that is not very simple and plain, God would have to work a miracle daily to keep you well. You lay a great burden upon the system, which tax is felt upon the mind. Your thoughts cannot be clear. Your lack of clear thought brings discouragements. The most close and spare diet would correct your system and keep your mind clear without all this fretting and whining. 3LtMs, Lt 54, 1876, par. 12

Put it away, Brother Cornell, not for a week but forever. You can but die, and it would be better for you to die in real wear and service than in imagination. I saw that angels will not be attracted to your presence. God will not send help to you while you are having no faith. You insult the cause of God. You do not correctly represent Christ when you keep up this murmuring and complaining. Put it away forever. 3LtMs, Lt 54, 1876, par. 13

Stand up in your Godlike manhood and bear your troubles. You are not having the greatest trials that ever come to mortals. Your trials are not worth mentioning. You are a very selfish man in talking and dwelling so much upon yourself. Drop that whine out of the tone of your voice. Lay hold on faith. Seize the promises of God. Put away the carnal mind which is at enmity with God. You may be a cheerful and happy man if you will train your thoughts and your feelings in the right channel. An ambassador of Jesus Christ should be a cheerful man, bearing a countenance that attests that the Sun of Righteousness shines upon him, and that the Lord is the health of his countenance. 3LtMs, Lt 54, 1876, par. 14

A cheerful Christian, whose cheerfulness does not consist in light and trifling conversation, but whose cheerfulness flows from the inward peace of mind, will carry sunshine with him everywhere. You are not thus, Brother Cornell. You do not serve God with delight. You act like a pettish child who wishes to shirk every task and burden rather than to manifest the love of Christ and the power of His truth in the heart to make you joyful and to accept affliction joyfully, looking up, trusting in God. 3LtMs, Lt 54, 1876, par. 15

A gloomy and dejected Christian is out of place anywhere. If the Word of God dwells in you richly and abounds, you will know how to cast the light of His glory upon the work in which you are engaged and upon all with whom you are associated. 3LtMs, Lt 54, 1876, par. 16

One who teaches the truth must have material, and power to use that material to the very best advantage. The Word of God thoroughly furnishes us to all good works, but if the builder has not and does not try to use the material with which God has furnished him, he cannot build up a church of living character. The trouble with you is you have not the love of Christ in the heart as is your privilege. It is the undying love of Christ in the soul, possessing the heart and affections, which educates both minister and people. “The love of Christ constraineth us,” said the apostle. [2 Corinthians 5:14.] The soul all aglow with love to God and his fellow men never comes to a standstill in his resources. At the very point of exhaustion his power, as it lies in God, is invariably renewed. It is not the power of eloquence but the love of Christ in the soul revealed in the countenance and words that melt their way to the heart of the sinner. The love of God in the soul will have tireless persistency and perseverance that no obstacles can overcome. The power of example will do more in bringing souls to Christ than can any preaching that is not backed up by example. 3LtMs, Lt 54, 1876, par. 17

Those who put themselves in front of this work must take the yoke of Christ and learn of Him. The mystery of the ministry of Christ is in drawing souls to Christ and fashioning lives after the divine Model. 3LtMs, Lt 54, 1876, par. 18

If you follow the Lord in humility, bearing His yoke, and are forgetful of self, reaching by faith to take the work He gives you, there will scarcely be a limit to your attainments. 3LtMs, Lt 54, 1876, par. 19