Letters and Manuscripts — Volume 3 (1876 - 1882)

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Lt 30, 1882

Butler, G. I.

Oakland, California

July 12, 1882

Portions of this letter are published in 3Bio 201; 9MR 104-105.

Brother Butler:

I received your letters, one enclosed with Elder [S. N.] Haskell’s and a lengthy one sent directly to me. 3LtMs, Lt 30, 1882, par. 1

I am at this time doing a great amount of labor. I speak every Sabbath and Sunday afternoon, dividing my labor between Oakland and San Francisco. At the same time I have felt urged by the Spirit of the Lord to get out private testimonies for Battle Creek and general testimony for the people of God all over the field. I have also been writing for Volume Four. These many burdens are making me work too hard. Yesterday I wrote thirty pages. 3LtMs, Lt 30, 1882, par. 2

One week ago last Monday I went to Healdsburg to gather up my writings and for a time to tarry in Oakland where I could be near the press; then I could also labor in Oakland and in San Francisco. On the Fourth the Healdsburg Sabbath school was to meet in a grove for a convocation meeting, taking their luncheon with them. Elder Waggoner, Brethren Saunders, Morrison, Brownsberger, and Willie White were a committee to lay plans for the school. They were present at this gathering a portion of the time. 3LtMs, Lt 30, 1882, par. 3

I had told them I could not be present and they must excuse me. But lo, about noon a man was sent up the hills to our home, a distance of six miles, to say that they could not excuse me, that I must come. So, as usual, I had no heart to say No, and I went. 3LtMs, Lt 30, 1882, par. 4

I met a company of fifty assembled in a little park belted with trees and surrounded with rugged mountains. Refreshments were placed upon the table linen which was spread upon the grass. Thanksgiving was offered to the gracious Giver of all our mercies, and then the hungry company ate with relish the good food abundantly prepared to supply a much larger number. After this was the exercise of singing, and intercession was made to God for His blessing. 3LtMs, Lt 30, 1882, par. 5

While seated in this beautiful, retired park, free from all confusion and bustle, a sweet peace came over my spirits. I seemed to be taken away from myself, and the bright home of the saints was presented vividly before me. In imagination I gathered with the saints around the wide-spreading tree of life. Friends and dear home relatives who had been separated from us by death were gathered there. The redeemed, white-robed multitude, who had washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the Lamb, were there. No flashing guard stood around the tree of life, barring our approach. With happy, joyous songs of praise, the voices were blended in perfect harmony as we plucked of the fruit from the tree of life. 3LtMs, Lt 30, 1882, par. 6

For a time I lost all thought of time, of place, or occasion—of everything earthly. Heaven was the subject of my contemplation—heaven, the much longed-for heaven. I seemed to be there, where all was peace, where no stormy conflicts of earth could ever come. Heaven, a kingdom of righteousness where all the holy and pure and blest are congregated—ten thousand times ten thousand and thousands of thousands—living and walking in happy, pure intimacy, praising God and the Lamb who sitteth on the throne! Their voices were in perfect harmony. They never do each other wrong. Princes of heaven, the potentates of this mighty realm, are rivals only in good, seeking the happiness and joy of each other. The greatest there is least in self-esteem, and the least is greatest in his gratitude and wealth of love. 3LtMs, Lt 30, 1882, par. 7

There are no dark errors to cloud the intellect. Truth and knowledge, clear, strong, and perfect, have chased every doubt away, and no gloom of doubt casts its baleful shadow upon its happy inhabitants. No voices of contention mar the sweet and perfect peace of heaven. Its inhabitants know no sorrow, no grief, no tears. All is in perfect harmony, in perfect order and perfect bliss. 3LtMs, Lt 30, 1882, par. 8

Our company was thirsty for water which could only be obtained from the river. My imagination saw the “pure river of water of life, clear as crystal, proceeding out of the throne of God and of the Lamb.” On either side of this river was the tree of life “which bare twelve manner of fruits, and yielded her fruit every month: and the leaves of the tree were for the healing of the nations.” [Revelation 22:1, 2.] The Great Shepherd was leading His flock to living fountains of water and to green pastures, new and delightful scenery opening continually before His people. 3LtMs, Lt 30, 1882, par. 9

Heaven, sweet Heaven, the saints’ eternal home, the abode for the toilers, where the weary who have borne the heavy burdens through life find rest, peace, and joy! They sowed in tears, they reap with joy and triumph. Heaven is a home where sympathy is alive in every heart, expressed in every look. Love reigns there. There are no jarring elements, no discord or contentions or war of words. 3LtMs, Lt 30, 1882, par. 10

With our deepest study and our broadest experience we shall never be able to describe heaven or our senses to comprehend it. All that is pure, all that is excellent and lovely are there. The possession of heaven is endless bliss, infinite glory, riches, and knowledge. The character of heaven is perfect love, holiness, peace. We know these things now only in part. “Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither hath entered into the heart of men, the things which God hath prepared for them that love Him.” [1 Corinthians 2:9.] It is the discipline imposed upon us all to walk by faith and not by sight. 3LtMs, Lt 30, 1882, par. 11