Letters and Manuscripts — Volume 3 (1876 - 1882)


Lt 50, 1880

Harris, Chapin


September 1880

Portions of this letter are published in 4MR 226-228; 9MR 384.

Brother Chapin Harris:

I am pleased to receive a letter from you and was pleased to read your suggestions that it was your mind to remain where you are until you have proved yourself or undone the influence you have exerted. I am pleased that you feel thus. I have, you will see, written very positively and plainly, for thus the matter was shown me, and the regard I have for your soul prompted me to relate your case as it was shown me, as one of great peril. It will be difficult for you to see it thus, but in a dream last night you were saying to your mother, “If this is the way the case really is, there is no use for me to try for I should fail.” 3LtMs, Lt 50, 1880, par. 1

Said I, “Chapin Harris, when you try with all perseverance and determined will to retrace your steps and recover yourself from Satan’s snare (that you have manifested to carry out your own purposes and your own way and to entangle your soul) you will escape from your bondage and be a free man. But it will require a strong will, in the strength of Jesus, to break up the force of habit [and] dismiss the adversary of souls that has been entertained by you so long. Exchange guests, and welcome Jesus to take possession of the soul temple. But He does not share the heart with Satan. You can, even now in this late period, make a determined effort, not in your strength but the strength of Jesus. 3LtMs, Lt 50, 1880, par. 2

But Chapin, you have done your mother a great wrong. You have despised her counsel when that counsel was in harmony with the Spirit of God. You have set aside her judgment when that judgment was wise and right. Self-confident and perverse had been your course to bring her to terms, but she would have displeased God had she shown the least sympathy for you and Mattie Stratton’s course. She did the will of God in setting her face decidedly against the course you were pursuing with her who was the bane of your life. 3LtMs, Lt 50, 1880, par. 3

Your great mistake has been in opposing your will to that of your mother. God does not lay censure upon her in this matter. But you have proved a disobedient son. You have not honored your mother. You have broken the fifth commandment. Now, Chapin, let your course change entirely. This separating yourself from your mother is the work of Satan. Change this order of things, my dear boy. Draw nigh to God and He will draw nigh to you. He will cleanse you from the defilement of sin. He loves you for you cost the price of blood; but your course to your mother has been very wrong. Make all things right here. Let your heart break before God and confess and forsake those things which have separated you from God. This is the work of repentance that you must begin with your mother. You will never come to the light unless you do this. Leave no work undone that you can do to make wrongs right, for you have come now to the crisis. 3LtMs, Lt 50, 1880, par. 4

You will now go decidedly forward or backward to Egyptian darkness. There must be no halting between two opinions. Your case is, “Others save with fear, pulling them out of the fire; hating even the garment spotted with the flesh.” Jude 23. This is why I am so thorough now. I do think it would be best for you to prove yourself at home, where you have so decidedly failed, before you shall go elsewhere. Redeem yourself on the field of battle where Satan has conquered you through the artifices of an unprincipled girl. 3LtMs, Lt 50, 1880, par. 5

When you shall have proved yourself to have moral courage to stand where you should have stood years ago, then God may entrust you with some work in His cause; but you are not fit for this work now. You want sorrow, not sorrow that worketh death, but sorrow, the fruit thereof is life and in the end joy. Your faith must be tried where it has proved recreant. You will have the trial, you will be proved of God. If you come forth as pure gold, then God will use you. Be not faithless, but believing. Your trial will not be for the present joyous, but rather grievous, but it will afterwards yield the peaceable fruit of righteousness. “Whom the Lord loveth He chasteneth, and scourgeth every son whom He receiveth. If ye endure chastening, God dealeth with you as with sons; for what son is he whom the father chasteneth not?” Hebrews 12:6, 7. 3LtMs, Lt 50, 1880, par. 6

God will not lay on us more than He will impart strength to bear, for He knoweth our frame. He remembereth that we are dust. Had your judgment been sanctified, you would not have been left in darkness by following your own course; you could have cut yourself loose from the power and influence of one whose example and influence has been to demoralize and had to sacrifice everything that is valuable for her unworthy society. Now your steps must be down deep in the valley of humiliation. You have felt, my mountain stands sure. I can keep it myself. But your past experience and your present position is one that should give you clear discernment of man’s depravity because of his departure from God. 3LtMs, Lt 50, 1880, par. 7

You have felt contempt and even set feelings of hatred to your mother. You have not thus interpreted your feelings and actions, but this is the way the Lord regards the matter and is the record standing against you in the books of heaven. Those who have sympathized with you have also a work to do by humble confession and crucifixion of self. 3LtMs, Lt 50, 1880, par. 8

Now, my dear boy, for Christ’s sake, enter into no further deception in your course. Work as for eternity. Confer not with yourself, but let your heart break before God lest that stone fall upon you and grind you to powder. 3LtMs, Lt 50, 1880, par. 9

What more shall I say to you? What can I say? I want you to be saved. I want you to stand perfect before God. But you must understand there is no excuse that will stand in your favor before God for the sorrow and the anxiety and discouragement you have brought upon the cause of God by your perverted course, as though the carrying out of your plans were superior to every temporal or spiritual interest. Your course has been unchristian and you must see it thus before you will ever extricate yourself from the snare of Satan. 3LtMs, Lt 50, 1880, par. 10

Yours in love. 3LtMs, Lt 50, 1880, par. 11