Letters and Manuscripts — Volume 3 (1876 - 1882)

470/474

Ms 5, 1882

With Believers at Ukiah, California

NP

1882

Portions of this manuscript are published in 3Bio 220-221.

We left Healdsburg December [8, 1882]. Brother and Sister Healey and Sister Ings accompanied me to Ukiah, Sister Ings and myself in one carriage, Brother and Sister Healey in another carriage. We rode fifty miles from Healdsburg to Ukiah. 3LtMs, Ms 5, 1882, par. 1

The weather was beautiful; the roads most of the way, good. When we had traveled about twenty-six miles, we came to the pleasant residence of Brother and Sister Cochran, who embraced the truth in Oakland. They lived in Brooklyn and moved from Brooklyn to their mountain home six miles from Cloverdale on the direct road to Ukiah. From this point the road was narrow, running by the stream; and while the rocks and hills were high upon one side, there was a deep precipice upon the other side, while the water ran below. There were some very striking, grand views in nature. One immense rock rose hundreds of feet towards heaven. As we looked upon these grand scenes of nature, we had less and less estimate of ourselves. We felt deeply humbled, and our hearts’ language was, “How marvelous are Thy works, O God.” 3LtMs, Ms 5, 1882, par. 2

“The voice of him that crieth in the wilderness, Prepare ye the way of the Lord, make straight in the desert a highway for our God. Every valley shall be exalted, and every mountain and hill shall be made low: and the crooked shall be made straight, and the rough places plain: and the glory of the Lord shall be revealed, and all flesh shall see it together: for the mouth of the Lord hath spoken it. The voice said, Cry. And he said, What shall I cry? All flesh is grass, and all the goodliness thereof is as the flower of the field: The grass withereth, the flower fadeth: because the Spirit of the Lord bloweth upon it: surely the people is grass.” Isaiah 40:3-7. 3LtMs, Ms 5, 1882, par. 3

“All thy works shall praise thee, O Lord.” Psalm 145:10. “I am the Lord, and there is none else.” Isaiah 45:5. Serious and solemn thoughts of God’s greatness and His majesty almost overwhelmed me. 3LtMs, Ms 5, 1882, par. 4

About dark we arrived at Ukiah and were welcomed kindly and entertained at the home of Brother and Sister Myer. We were strangers to these friends but a few months since. We formed their acquaintance at the last camp meeting, and our hearts are made glad as we see this little center of converts to the truth advancing step by step, growing stronger amid opposition. They are becoming better acquainted with the suffering part of religion. Our Saviour instructed His disciples that they should be despised for His name’s sake. “Blessed are ye, when men shall revile you, and persecute you, and shall say all manner of evil against you falsely, for my sake. Rejoice, and be exceeding glad: for great is your reward in heaven: for so persecuted they the prophets which were before you.” Matthew 5:11, 12. 3LtMs, Ms 5, 1882, par. 5

Jesus told His followers that they should have persecution and that even destroying their lives would be esteemed a service done to God and to the world. What deception is upon minds! What darkness that will not discern the truth—and those who accept the truth of heavenly origin are scorned and derided and slighted and evil spoken of by pastors and teachers! But they are in good company. 3LtMs, Ms 5, 1882, par. 6

Jesus has traveled the way before them. Every indignity and insult and outrage which cruel hearts could invent was exercised upon the world’s Redeemer, and the pathway of the church from the first dawn of Christianity to the present time has been a path of trial and persecution of the faithful. In our day we are favored with more quiet and peaceful times. We have been protected by the civil power in the enjoyment of our Christian privileges, but human nature is human nature still. Influenced and controlled by the enemy of truth, it will be seen that it has undergone no material change, for the world serves the enemy of righteousness and he is ever opposed to Jesus Christ. The very same hostility and envy and jealousy toward Christ which prompted the rejection of Him and the murderous cry, “Crucify Him, crucify Him” [Luke 23:21], which led to the arresting of men and women, confining them in prison, and exiling them to solitude and to rigorous labor, still exist. When the law shall withdraw its protecting power, when it shall exercise its power against those who keep the law of God, [this hostility will again be manifested] with malignant energy. 3LtMs, Ms 5, 1882, par. 7

There has been exercised against those who conscientiously observe the seventh-day Sabbath a spirit of enmity and hatred that reveals beyond a doubt that its possessors have no part in Christ, but are partakers of the spirit of the prince of the power of darkness. 3LtMs, Ms 5, 1882, par. 8

We were privileged to meet with the little company who, with the exception of one, have newly come to the faith. We met our beloved Sister Moor, whose society for years we have enjoyed in San Francisco. We were made very sad to see her sinking under a disease pronounced incurable. She was given over by physicians to die. She was a great sufferer. When I visited her at one time about five years ago in San Francisco, I asked her if she desired any one thing that we might present to the Lord. She replied, “Ask the Lord to remove this disagreeable, afflicting pain.” We presented the case to God and humbly asked Him to remove this pain and give relief to our sister. She related in our little meeting that the prayer was answered. The pain left her, and she had none of it since. Her dropsy had disappeared. By a miracle of God’s mercy, her life has been spared these five years in answer to the prayer of faith. My husband, before he left the coast five years since, administered to her at her bedside what he supposed was the last sacrament. The hand that passed to her the emblems of the broken body and spilled blood of our Lord and Saviour is folded quietly upon the breast in his last sleep until the trump of God shall call him forth from the tomb to immortal life. Sister Moor is still with us to witness to the truth and the verity of the promises of God. 3LtMs, Ms 5, 1882, par. 9

The testimonies borne in this meeting had the right ring. We have the most solemn and deepest feelings of sympathy and love for these lambs of the flock scattered in little companies, left alone a great share of the time to battle with unbelief and opposition. A storm of calumny and reviling will pursue those who have moral courage to embrace unpopular truth. Those who lift the cross to keep the seventh-day Sabbath will need all the support and encouragement which can be given them from those of experience. Some will grow weary of protracted and continued effort and ceaseless turmoil and be strongly tempted to seek ease and repose. They may choose indolence and the world and be no more [counted among] the little few who keep God’s commandments. Those who are among the overcomers are reformers. They will not show timidity or cowardice or selfishness, for these will characterize no true follower of Jesus. There is work to be done by every soul, sturdy blows to be struck against error and customs. There is no compromise in the gospel, no indulgence for any specie of ungodliness, though it may be clothed with the costly garments of wealth, pride, and honorable position. Sin is sin wherever it is found. Christ had no sweet words of forbearance and charity for persistently impenitent and incorrigible transgressors. 3LtMs, Ms 5, 1882, par. 10

Evening after the Sabbath I spoke in the courthouse to the people upon Christ riding into Jerusalem and the barren fig tree. The Son of God came to our world that He might draw all men unto Him. He came, He says, not to send peace but a sword. [Matthew 10:34.] His followers must walk in the light of His glorious example. They are not to question at what cost of labor and trial and suffering. There is a work for each and all to undertake to maintain the truth in its purity and push the triumphs of His cross and extend His kingdom. 3LtMs, Ms 5, 1882, par. 11

God grant that the seed sown may not be in vain. Our work is to sow the seed, not knowing which shall prosper, this or that. Our work is not to meet and contradict the variety of false statements men will make about me and my work. These men, professing to be messengers of God, publish and preach that which is most agreeable to their own natures; they pour out from unsanctified hearts and lips the basest falsehoods, that have no foundation in truth. Why don’t you meet them? Why don’t you resort to the law? says one. This is not my work. 3LtMs, Ms 5, 1882, par. 12

I ask, Did Jesus do this when He was on earth? He had to meet just such things. He was abused and insulted. He was reviled, but He reviled not again. He was pursued with falsehood and with calumny. He passed on, doing His work with fidelity, whether meeting censure or praise. The denunciations of Christ against the bold transgressor who professed piety were unsparing and terrible. He showed no indulgence to falsehood and impurity. Whatever was dishonoring to God, He met with stern rebuke. The rich, the titled, and the earthly honored, the rulers, and the teachers of the people did not escape the righteous indignation and condemnation which He visited upon all transgressors of the law of God. 3LtMs, Ms 5, 1882, par. 13

The scribes and Pharisees made high pretension to godliness, but did not practice what they enjoined upon the people. Christ said of them, “They bind heavy burdens and grievous to be borne, and lay them on men’s shoulders; but they themselves will not move them with one of their fingers.” [Matthew 23:4.] “They ... love the uppermost rooms at feasts, and the chief seats in the synagogues.” [Verses 5, 6.] They “shut up the kingdom of heaven against men,” neither going in themselves not permitting others to enter; who for a pretense made long prayers, but secretly devoured widows’ houses; who compassed sea and land to make one proselyte, but left him more than ever the child of hell; who paid tithe of mint and anise and cummin, but omitted the weightier matters of the law, judgment, mercy, and the love of God; who made clean the outside of the platter, but practiced the grossest extortion and excess; who were like whitened sepulchers, beautiful without, but inwardly full of dead men’s bones and all uncleanness. They built the tombs of the prophets and garnished the sepulchers of the righteous, but their fathers killed the prophets, and their own hearts were full of deceit and iniquity. These were denounced by our Saviour as formalists, hypocrites, fools, and blind guides, serpents, a generation of vipers, who would receive retribution from the hand of divine justice. [Verses 13-38.] 3LtMs, Ms 5, 1882, par. 14

What could bring from the lips of our Saviour such denunciations? The answer is, They closed their ears to the precious light which He came from heaven to bring them. They had refused His prophets, and when God sent His only Son, they refused to listen to Him. They clung to ancient customs and practices, and they would not walk in the new and living way. They spurned the proclamation of salvation through Christ. They were blinded to the glorious light of redemption, which was brought to them by Jesus. This was not the result of excusable ignorance, but sprang from the force of selfish and corrupt motives. They did not desire to embrace a reform and promote changes which would detract from their dignity. Wealth and honorable position were their ambition. They were opposed to gospel reform. They would roll back the tide of human progress. This people deserved the withering rebukes of the Lord. The Jews provoked their fate because they closed their eyes to light. 3LtMs, Ms 5, 1882, par. 15

These things are written for our admonition, upon whom the ends of the world are come. If we travel in the same path, if we pursue a similar course of theirs, we shall suffer the rebuke of God as they suffered it. Those whom Jesus came to bless and save, those who were made by Him the object of tender solicitude and of unwearied labors, were made responsible for the light which shone upon their pathway. Jesus loved them. He wept over them in boundless compassion and love. 3LtMs, Ms 5, 1882, par. 16

I would have the young converts to this truth think of the cheerful submission of Christ to humiliation, to insult and mockery, to secure the triumphs of the truth and the redemption of man. All who will be the followers of Jesus must sink self in Jesus. “If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross and follow me.” Matthew 16:24. To save our good name, our reputation, or even to gain the whole world, will be but a poor compensation for the loss of the soul. Men sacrifice eternal riches for temporal honor and temporal gain. The time in which we live calls for decided action, according to the increased light shining upon us near the close of time. 3LtMs, Ms 5, 1882, par. 17

We have no reason to believe that large numbers will embrace the truth and that the most learned and the professedly most pious will see and acknowledge the truth. These men have selfish interests to maintain, which, unless yielded, will not allow them to receive truth which would militate against their popularity. They know that if they accept the truth, it will be at the sacrifice of their popularity. The reform will be attended by losses, sacrifices, reproaches, falsehoods of every kind. Friends who have once been in harmony with them, although professed followers of the meek and lowly Saviour, will pass them by unnoticed; enemies of righteousness will in many cases be prompted with the spirit of the great adversary and will become enraged. 3LtMs, Ms 5, 1882, par. 18

Our motives for reforms will be misapprehended, our sufferings and distress of mind for the welfare of others will be disregarded, our labors will be judged to be productive only of harm. We will have to suffer insult and reproach and abuse, and those who were fast friends will be so far estranged from God and the true spirit of righteousness that they will think the end justifies the means and will say all manner of evil against us. They will make it appear to others that we are as black as midnight darkness. 3LtMs, Ms 5, 1882, par. 19

The friends of truth, who dare not go contrary to the convictions of their own conscience, fearing God rather than man, will be proscribed and denounced and spoken against by a time-serving generation. The laws of the land will finally be against them. Church and state will be united to raise a standard of their own to gauge men’s consciences, while God’s law, the only standard of right, will be trampled upon and despised. Those who have an eye single to the glory of God will be looking continually to Jesus, who is the author and finisher of our faith. The world’s Redeemer attracts their attention to the great future which lies beyond this life, the eternal weight of glory which the overcomer will share. 3LtMs, Ms 5, 1882, par. 20

In places where the truth is newly introduced, there will be many who are honest. God will test them, and those who see and acknowledge the truth more readily must ever prosecute the reforms in the meekness of Christ. Men may be won, but not driven into the truth. None can be compelled to travel the narrow path of holiness cast up for the ransomed of the Lord to walk in. 3LtMs, Ms 5, 1882, par. 21

A spirit of candor and consideration should be exercised toward all who do not yet see the truth as we do. There are many things to be considered. Ministers stand in between the truth and the people. They interpret the Scriptures to suit their own minds and positions. They will not enter the path of truth themselves, and those who would, they hinder. They will make the most determined effort to turn away the ears of the people from the truth and turn them to fables. Jesus says of this class, as of the scribes and rulers, Ye know not the Scriptures nor the power of God. [Mark 12:24.] And He said this to those who were teaching in the schools of the prophets. 3LtMs, Ms 5, 1882, par. 22