Letters and Manuscripts — Volume 3 (1876 - 1882)


Lt 37, 1879

Cornell, Brother and Sister



Previously unpublished.

Dear Brother and Sister Cornell:

I received your letter to us and read it with surprise. I know that you are mistaken in regard to Elder Corliss’s feelings. Satan has tempted you with jealousy. Elder Corliss has not said anything to us to injure your influence; nothing but words of sympathy and kindness and love has been spoken of you. He has deplored your feelings of discouragement and wished me to encourage you to take hold of the work with interest and hope, for there is work to do everywhere. 3LtMs, Lt 37, 1879, par. 1

You are certainly deceived by the devil in your feelings. You state that there would have been no trouble in Texas or on the way had it not been for Elder Corliss. What you mean or what James Cornell and family mean by making such assertions, I cannot determine, for there is not the slightest truth in it. I know what I am writing. The want of consecration, of self-denial, of piety to God is the only trouble with you. The charges you and Brother James and his family have made against Elder Corliss are grave, if there is any truth in them. If not, you are placing yourself in Satan’s power by your insinuations, your envy, and jealousy. 3LtMs, Lt 37, 1879, par. 2

I have had only the deepest interest for you that you would make a success in your work and in your life of overcoming. I feel sad, for I see by your letter you are placing yourself upon the enemy’s ground. You should be earnest and zealous to connect with God, to educate and train yourselves to love prayer, for the prayer of faith and watching there unto will give you special confidence in God and fortify and strengthen you for conflicts and trial. God is your strength. You have heretofore in your life depended much upon the praise of men. You have been stimulated by the approval of others. God would have you realize now that a curse only will rest upon those who trust in man and make flesh their arm. The work that God gives us to do must be done with fidelity. 3LtMs, Lt 37, 1879, par. 3

You say you have not had a fair chance for your life. What kind of a statement is this? Has there been a man or minister in our ranks that has had so great a chance as yourself? That has been so often recreant to duty, and whose influence has been so detrimental to the cause of God? I like not your language. God has been speaking to you in warnings and reproof the last twenty years. How have you treated these warnings? How have you improved your probationary time? You are at your old work, petting and sympathizing with yourself, all because you are not a bold soldier of Jesus Christ. 3LtMs, Lt 37, 1879, par. 4

Your own course makes you a weak man. If you listen to gossip and talebearing, and let this affect your deportment, you will be worthless anywhere. There are gossips in Battle Creek, gossips in Boulder, and gossips everywhere you may go. If your own soul is leaning upon God, if you are drawing strength and nourishment from Him, all the gossips in the world will not change your course one hair. 3LtMs, Lt 37, 1879, par. 5

God has been merciful to you, very merciful to you both. Now instead of letting envy and jealousy be harbored in your soul, empty it speedily of all such rubbish, and give place to meekness, gentleness, patience, kindness, and love. Until you do this, trouble only will follow you. 3LtMs, Lt 37, 1879, par. 6

You have been unwise in Boulder in your magic lantern business. It has hurt you more than any speech made against you. You have not only injured yourself but us, by saying we sanctioned it. There is so little devotion and spirituality with you, your heart is naturally so perverse, that it is not safe for you to engage in any such speculation, for you wean your soul from God and absorb your mind and interest in matters of minor consequence, and the result is barrenness of soul and separation from God. The cause of truth has been reproached in Boulder by your course of action. 3LtMs, Lt 37, 1879, par. 7

You do not have power to withstand temptation. Instead of your talking and James’ talking in regard to the course others have pursued, let your souls be drawing near to God in penitence and humiliation lest you lose the boon of eternal life. James does not see himself; he is deceived in himself; he is self-conceited, stubborn, and extremely selfish, and needs the converting power of God upon his heart or he will never see the kingdom of heaven. His life has been like the barren fig tree, destitute of fruit, self-important, self-deceived. 3LtMs, Lt 37, 1879, par. 8

Angeline is not devotional. Her reading hurts her. She is not advancing and making the efforts essential to redeem the past. She may do this. She may grow in grace and in spiritual strength. She may exert a good influence. She may do good to others. 3LtMs, Lt 37, 1879, par. 9

You are both too dependent upon the approbation of others. It keeps you in bondage. You want to put your trust in God. You want to work away from selfishness. You want to have all your acts wrought in God, working with an eye single to the glory of God. Hang your helpless souls upon Him. Your standing aloof from meetings, taking no part in them, and remaining away, shows that you are not right with God. Something is wrong. You need closely to investigate your motives and feelings, comparing them with the Word of God, and to cleanse the soul temple from envy and mistrust and selfishness. You both have feelings similar to those of Cain. It is dangerous. It will ruin you unless you make earnest efforts to work away from this spirit. 3LtMs, Lt 37, 1879, par. 10

In regard to James [Cornell] and family and the feelings of Brother McDearmon and some others in Texas—which led to charging Brother Corliss with making trouble—the charges are not true. I know all about it. I do not think Elder Corliss perfect by any means. He is impetuous and has many faults. Yet I will give no quarter to the complaints James and family and others have made. They have had no ground for this, only what has originated in their own imagination. Brother Corliss was, I think, the only one who really looked out for our interest on the road from Texas. I have no complaints to make of Farnsworth or of Brother Moore or Jimmy. They had their burdens; so had James Cornell. He was sick and needed the best of care to endure the journey. But that John Corliss was severe, selfish, or mischief-making on the way, I deny. James and family have done considerable mischief in their talk. 3LtMs, Lt 37, 1879, par. 11

I am sorry your mind has been abused. I will not give any quarter to these statements, for they result from selfish hurts, envious feelings, and unhappy jealousy. All this satanic spirit, similar to that which Olmstead has manifested, I will not encourage. He would not hesitate to create disaffection if he could build up himself. 3LtMs, Lt 37, 1879, par. 12

I have a word of caution to give you: Be careful what spirit you cherish. Be careful how you encourage James Cornell and family in their selfish, unconsecrated spirit which they have possessed for years. There must be a most thorough reformation in the parents and children or none of them will enter the kingdom of heaven. I know whereof I speak. I testify the things I do know. 3LtMs, Lt 37, 1879, par. 13

If you feel the burden of the work of God, you must pursue a different course than you have done and must labor disinterestedly. You are working for eternity, and may God help you to labor with His Spirit. It is no time now to harbor jealousy and distrust and envy. Empty the soul of all this contemptible rubbish. Get away from yourself, looking continually unto Jesus, the Author and Finisher of your faith. It is no time now to be petulant, factious and independent, or to be discouraged and stubborn. God is dealing with us. We must be careful, for we are treading on holy ground. Satan and his angels are persevering and earnest in their efforts. We must work, believe, and pray for eternal life. James Cornell is in great peril of losing not only his life in this world, but the life which is to come, all through his own folly and stubbornness. Let not your words and your actions strengthen one another in your folly. 3LtMs, Lt 37, 1879, par. 14

Your work, Brother and Sister Cornell, is to fear God and work righteousness. Cleanse the soul temple of its defilement; lay hold on eternal life. You will make yourself weak by pursuing the course you do, and you alone can make yourself weak. Your soul connected with God will have strength and fortitude which nothing can shake. Show by your works that you have the cause of God at heart. Labor here or there or anywhere in humbleness, in meekness, in lowliness of mind. If God blesses, you are blessed; if He curses, you are cursed. 3LtMs, Lt 37, 1879, par. 15

Sister Angeline should discipline her heart and mind. Let her work for the Master, and the reward she will have daily will repay her a thousandfold. She needs to sacrifice her idol of reading. Her indulging in this passion of reading is dwarfing her mind and unfitting her for the practical duties of religious and domestic life. Her influence in this respect is very bad upon others, especially the youth. How can the Lord bless Angie when her mind is thus perverted to a wrong use, her time worse than wasted, opportunities and privileges neglected for selfish gratification? Her Bible is neglected. I tell you, these things make you weak; these things rob you of spirituality; these things will prove your eternal ruin, unless you reform at once. It is not safe to venture another step in the direction you are now traveling. Story reading must be abandoned. If you are connected with God, your deportment among your brethren, your Christian zeal, your love for souls, will give you power with the people and influence that no one can counteract. 3LtMs, Lt 37, 1879, par. 16

I feel your danger, I sense your peril; I want you to win the immortal life, and I plead with you to make haste, turning your footsteps in the path of holiness, the high pathway cast up for the ransomed of the Lord to walk in. We want that you should feel the necessity of disciplining your minds, of perfecting Christian character. There is work enough to be done if you were humble enough and consecrated enough to do it; but you are not. God will help those who help themselves. God will let His power rest upon you if you will come where He can work for you. You have had the Spirit of God as you have tried to speak in Boulder when you came to Him for help, putting away your hateful feelings. God will work for you still. He will not forsake a penitent, humble soul who comes to Him. Let him take hold of My strength and make peace with Me, and he shall make peace with Me. 3LtMs, Lt 37, 1879, par. 17

Do not, I beseech of you, appeal to your own sympathy, neither be discouraged, although the way may seem to be very dark. 3LtMs, Lt 37, 1879, par. 18

I was sorry to have you plead in your own behalf for your writings, considering the burden, the anxiety, the sorrow you have been to the people of God. Many souls have been lost through your course of wrong, while you were professing to be a representative of Jesus Christ. I have heard this matter talked of, and I think all that the conference are waiting for is to see that your influence and course in the future, your usefulness as a minister, will warrant their doing something for you. If you do not show steadfastness of purpose and show that your course is such as to warrant the confidence of the conference, I think their feelings and decision will be that the harm you have done the cause of God is far greater than the good, and that God would not be pleased with your efforts in books or any other way. If you show that you can be trusted, if you can exert a good influence, you will have more mercy shown you. This is simple justice. You will have benevolence and compassion and love shown you in regard to your writings. That you deserve one cent, I cannot admit, for I know the result of your past course. 3LtMs, Lt 37, 1879, par. 19

You have a straightforward course to pursue, in poverty or in prosperity. Trust in God, and cease to plead your own cause, cease to sympathize with yourself. Criticize yourself severely and then look to God for pardon, and walk in humility, showing a thorough reformation in your life. Eternal life—what a boon! Strive for it, and God will help your efforts. 3LtMs, Lt 37, 1879, par. 20

In love. 3LtMs, Lt 37, 1879, par. 21

Please read carefully. Copy if you choose, and send me the original. 3LtMs, Lt 37, 1879, par. 22

[Note in response:] Read several times and now returned by request, with many thanks. M.E.C. 3LtMs, Lt 37, 1879, par. 23