Letters and Manuscripts — Volume 3 (1876 - 1882)

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Lt 3, 1882

Gage, Brother

Healdsburg, California

April 1, 1882

Portions of this letter are published in ChL 12.

Dear Bro. Gage:

I have felt urged to write you and to caution you in regard to the influence you may exert in Battle Creek. Although no information has come to me up to this date to lead me [to] think that you might be pursuing a wrong course, to your own injury and that of the church, yet I have been wonderfully impressed by dreams in reference to yourself, Elder Stone, Elder [Uriah] Smith, his wife and children, and quite a number of others who were mingling with the world. 3LtMs, Lt 3, 1882, par. 1

Over your heads floated a banner with words inscribed “Worldly Policy.” I looked with amazement upon the company and then stepped up to you who seemed with much assurance to be leading the company, [and said], “Do you know what banner is waving over your heads?” You looked up in surprise and said, “There is no banner carried by any of our party.” “But,” said I, “there is a banner over you, held by a hand. The person I cannot distinguish.” You insisted that there was no such banner, and yet with strong, bold letters inscribed upon it, that banner wafted above you. 3LtMs, Lt 3, 1882, par. 2

I had three dreams of about the same import. You, Elder Stone, and Henry Hearns, his sister, and a large number of others, were assembled in concert. It was in every sense a union with the world. There was mirth; there were songs, not one [of which] would reflect one beam of light into the minds of those assembled the glory of God. But while you, professing the truth, were thus engaged, a hand was tracing characters on the wall. 3LtMs, Lt 3, 1882, par. 3

“I know thy works, that thou art neither cold nor hot: I would thou wert cold or hot. So then because thou art lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will spue thee out of my mouth.” Revelation 3:15, 16. 3LtMs, Lt 3, 1882, par. 4

I called the attention of Brother Stone, and some others who were present, to the writing. They seemed to be trying to read it, but said, “I cannot see anything particular in that lettering.” But to me it was plain and distinct, and I was fearfully afraid. But a careless indifference seemed to be settled upon the whole company. They resumed their mirth, their jesting and singing. Many musical instruments were employed. 3LtMs, Lt 3, 1882, par. 5

I turned to make my way out of the door, saying, “God’s counsels and warnings and reproof have been despised. ‘Because thou sayest, I am rich, and increased with goods, and have need of nothing; and knoweth not that thou art wretched, and miserable, and poor, and blind, and naked.’ ‘To him that overcometh will I grant to sit with me in my throne, even as I also overcame, and am set down with my Father in His throne.’” Revelation 3:17, 21. 3LtMs, Lt 3, 1882, par. 6

I am certain that you do not apprehend your danger. You are in darkness. Brother Gage, you have not a strong influence on the side of God, but on the side of the world. You have an influence. You lead others toward the world. You are a lover of excitement. 3LtMs, Lt 3, 1882, par. 7

I was shown your connection with your wife’s sisters. You partook of their spirit. You were in many respects of the same mind, of the same spirit. You have not a tender, sensitive conscience, and as you have ever been unable to deny self and be an overcomer, you have failed to obtain an experience which now might be to you of the highest value. God would have separated from the spirit and influence of the world [those] whom He can mould and assimilate to His image. 3LtMs, Lt 3, 1882, par. 8

You love praise and excitement and to bring yourself to the front. You care far more for the approbation and praise of men than for the approval of God. You lead others. They do not know where you are leading them, neither do you, because you go on haphazard, heedless, impulsive, without sound judgment, or heavenly wisdom. God has warned you. God has counseled you. Have you trembled at His Word? Have you resisted temptations? Have you separated yourself more and [more] from worldly influences? 3LtMs, Lt 3, 1882, par. 9

We are in constant danger of being overcome with the pleasure—loving spirit of this age, and why? Because we fail to drink of that living water that Christ offers to give us. The more closely we are connected with Christ, the more earnestly we shall hunger and thirst for His righteousness. But we are now in a day of peril. Satan is at work with the utmost diligence to secure to himself the souls of men. He works with all deceivableness of unrighteousness. He comes as an angel of light. He has some excuse to put in the minds and hearts of those who love idols and choose them before God. He will take Scripture to present to the mind, to justify a course of action which God disproves. You are doing this work. 3LtMs, Lt 3, 1882, par. 10

I was shown that you had done this again and again. Your standard is low. You can see where others err and will be sharp and denunciatory upon them, but [you are] deceived in regard to your own heart. You will surely lose eternal life, notwithstanding your profession of faith, unless you are converted and become meek and lowly, pure and undefiled. You are in constant danger from making friendship with the world. “Know ye not that the friendship of the world is enmity with God? Whosoever therefore will be a friend of the world is the enemy of God.” James 4:4. 3LtMs, Lt 3, 1882, par. 11

You love the standard of Bible religion, and yet you are so blinded by the self-indulgent spirit you have ever indulged. You do not sense it. You endanger others with your lax views and habits. Your course of action does not correspond with your faith. We as a people must be wide awake, ever on the alert, and vigilant, lest we wander from the right track and stumble and fall. 3LtMs, Lt 3, 1882, par. 12

There is carnal [??] all around us, pleasure-lovers everywhere, outside display, outward decorations, to the neglect of the heavenly adorning, the meek and quiet spirit which is in the sight of God of great price. 3LtMs, Lt 3, 1882, par. 13

How careful should you be and Elder Smith and Elder Stone, and everyone of you who have had the light, to search the testimonies of the Spirit of God in your families, and let them see you regard them as the voice of God to them and to you. Then be sure to follow the light God has given you, lest you be left to blindness of mind and hardness of heart. 3LtMs, Lt 3, 1882, par. 14

You know scarcely nothing of what it is to represent Christ in your life and in your character. You lead others away from their integrity. I cannot be very hopeful that anything I may say shall have any special weight with you or with Elder Stone or with Henry Hearns and with quite a number of others, because the words that I have spoken to you, the testimonies of the Spirit of God, you have not regarded, because they cut directly across your own inclinations. You have a light and trifling spirit. 3LtMs, Lt 3, 1882, par. 15

Brother Gage, you are not a consistent Christian. God has warned and cautioned that we shall be watchful Christians. It is not enough that we do not run willfully into open and glaring sins. We must be quick in our perceptions of danger and ready for the hasty and unexpected attacks of Satan. 3LtMs, Lt 3, 1882, par. 16

God’s Word shows us the perils of the last days, but I have seen the self-indulgent, pleasure-loving spirit [that] has been fostered and indulged [in], until our own people, professing to believe the most solemn truth ever given to the world, help compose the number whom inspiration tells us will, in the last days, be found with these characteristics. 3LtMs, Lt 3, 1882, par. 17

“For men shall be lovers of their own selves, covetous, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, without natural affection, trucebreakers, false accusers, incontinent, fierce, despisers of those that are good, traitors, heady, highminded, lovers of pleasures more than lovers of God; having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof.” 2 Timothy 2-5. 3LtMs, Lt 3, 1882, par. 18

All these sins are not found in one [person]. But some one or more of these characteristics are existing in different ones. We want to be sure and not be found in this position ourselves and to exert all the power of influence to keep others from representing sins which are here specified. 3LtMs, Lt 3, 1882, par. 19