Letters and Manuscripts — Volume 3 (1876 - 1882)


Lt 46, 1880

Sanborn, Isaac

Battle Creek, Michigan

October 30, 1880

Previously unpublished.

Dear Brother Sanborn and wife:

In my last vision some things were shown me in reference to your labors and that of your wife. I was shown that you both place too high an estimate upon your labors. Brother Sanborn, your work in the South has not been of that character to exert the best influence. You started in all wrong. You gave the impression that the labors that had been done by ministers who had labored there were all wrong and you found fault with this movement and that movement and went to work to fix things after your ideas. This is the very worst work you could have done. 3LtMs, Lt 46, 1880, par. 1

When preachers have gone into a new field and labored hard and suffered privations, then to have another man enter that same field and begin his work to unsettle the confidence of all in what his brother ministers have done and give the impression that a wrong mould has been given the work and you must remodel it, is a very selfish course and is not dictated by the Spirit of God. Such labors taste strong of the dish. 3LtMs, Lt 46, 1880, par. 2

I was shown that (you) were self-sufficient, exalted in your own estimation, and that you needed to come out of and work away from self. You need humility and meekness of mind and then your labors will not be in vain in the Lord. It does not require a college education to make a man useful in his field of labor, but it is essential that he be closely connected with God and continually working, and while working, receiving the education from Jesus Christ, who is the greatest educator the world ever knew. You have been building up self. 3LtMs, Lt 46, 1880, par. 3

You have not felt your weakness and your ignorance and the positive necessity of your closely connecting with the God of wisdom and of power in order for your labors to be acceptable in the Lord. You have given the impression that you understood better than other ministers how the work should be done. Now the facts in the case are [that] you do not see and sense how Isaac Sanborn can do without God. You need to humble yourself under the mighty hand of God and both yourself and your wife learn more fully, “without Me ye can do nothing.” [John 15:5.] If the Spirit of Christ dwells in you, then you will reveal the true characteristics of a Christian. You would not manifest a self-sufficient, important spirit. You would always manifest kindness, respect for other’s feelings, and place a higher estimate upon their labors than upon your own. 3LtMs, Lt 46, 1880, par. 4

If you would always manifest noble generosity, kindness, forbearance, longsuffering, gentleness, and true goodness, you would represent Christ in your words and in your actions and even in the expression of your countenance. Your conversation would be expressions of meekness and would not be proud and boastful. You would see so little in your poor self to exalt, you would walk in all humility of mind, in all meekness and lowliness. Humility is a Christian grace you both need to become acquainted with. 3LtMs, Lt 46, 1880, par. 5

You must not, as you have done, belittle the labors of your brethren. You have terribly mixed and confused matters in the South where you have labored. You have tried to have others feel your superiority to all other laborers. You have dictated [to] others; cast down some; exalted others, and if this is your wisdom of management, the less the cause of God have of such labor the better. 3LtMs, Lt 46, 1880, par. 6

I might specify many things, but do not feel at liberty to now. I only feel at liberty to say, “Search your own heart, humble yourself under the mighty hand of God.” [1 Peter 5:6.] 3LtMs, Lt 46, 1880, par. 7

You have not tried to help and to encourage all who could to labor in the field where so much is to be done. You have very selfishly acted in these things. Jesus gave His life for you that you might be elevated from the degradation of sin and exalted to become children of God. Have you both manifested that love for souls Christ has manifested for you? Have you not been very exacting and has not selfishness been cherished by you both? 3LtMs, Lt 46, 1880, par. 8

Your influence in your fields of labor since your marriage has been very objectionable. You do not leave a pleasant wake behind you. Self is so thoroughly mixed in with all your labor, God will not accept it. You both need to connect with other laborers that you may work in harmony with them. Off by yourself, your own peculiar ways and habits are interwoven with your work and Christ’s ways and Christ’s Spirit have but little part in your labor. 3LtMs, Lt 46, 1880, par. 9

You both feel sufficient to go by yourself and labor where your work will not be criticized. Your usefulness will soon come to an end unless you change and are both blessed with the grace of humility and make God’s ways your ways. Unless you shall do this your work will be of no real advantage to the cause of God. We are living in the last days and the time is too momentous and solemn to be passed away in an indifferent manner. 3LtMs, Lt 46, 1880, par. 10

When you are yourself with the same mind that dwelt in Christ Jesus, you will then do good, but when pride and self-conceit rule in your life and character, the cause is better off, far better off, without your labor. True meekness, devotion and consecration to God will find for you a place in the hearts of all God’s people and will clothe you with dignity not assumed but genuine. 3LtMs, Lt 46, 1880, par. 11

The life of Christ is our Pattern to seek to excel not by belittling others’ labors, but in good works. In manifesting an unselfish interest for others, God will bless and care for you. The Majesty of heaven became a servant. He did not avoid weariness. He traveled on foot from place to place, teaching by the wayside as He journeyed. 3LtMs, Lt 46, 1880, par. 12

You are both too much like the salt that has lost its savor. You need a power from God which will be felt by those who make God their trust and consecrate themselves to Him. His words and works of sympathy through you will bless others and will reflect back blessings upon yourself. Oh, that you could have one view of your inefficiency and weakness without the special help and grace of God. Could you see how you have worked in your own strength, you would be disgusted with the picture. Your strength can only come from making Christ your righteousness, having close union with Him. 3LtMs, Lt 46, 1880, par. 13

I feel at liberty to write no more at present. I will write more particulars in regard to past influences in your labor if God’s Spirit urges me to do so. 3LtMs, Lt 46, 1880, par. 14

In love. 3LtMs, Lt 46, 1880, par. 15