Letters and Manuscripts — Volume 4 (1883 - 1886)


Lt 8, 1884

Van Horn, Isaac D.

Healdsburg, California

February 26, 1884

Previously unpublished.

Dear Brother Van Horn:

I have today sent you a copy of the testimony given for you some time ago, read to you and Adelia in Oregon. I would not now have taken the pains to look through stored-away copy to find this and copy it if I did not feel that it would be for your good to have it. I tried many times to find it but could not. I found it last Friday, after a long and diligent search. Please read it carefully. 4LtMs, Lt 8, 1884, par. 1

I have heard you, my much respected brother and sister, express regret that you left Oregon, and I have heard you say that you were forced, as it were, away, that the course Brother Waggoner took was not altogether as it should be. Now, my brother, I was relieved of a great burden when you left Oregon. You should have left one year before you did; that one year there was nothing special accomplished. Adelia was an invalid. Had you both left one year earlier, we should have been one year ahead; had you left two years earlier, we should have been two years ahead. Not that you did not do anything, but there should have been done a much larger work. 4LtMs, Lt 8, 1884, par. 2

I remember the words of my husband when you were sent into this new field. They were these: Isaac and Adelia, God would have you enter this new field together unitedly in the work. I would not trust you, Isaac, alone where you might lack in the financial working of the cause. Adelia will help you out with her business tact, where you would be more inclined to be easy and not thorough in the work. Adelia will be your good ______ to spur you up to energy. Both of you will make a perfect whole. God would have Adelia in the field. He would have you work side by side together, for this, the Lord has shown, was His will. We can afford to pay you better wages with Adelia to help you, than for your labors alone. The Lord will bless you together. 4LtMs, Lt 8, 1884, par. 3

Now, my dear brother and sister, you know how these plans were not carried out. I well know that there was dissatisfaction everywhere, especially in Washington Territory. They said that they helped you financially and then you left them and never came near them; you know why. But I had not to receive this from their lips, for it had been shown me from a higher Source. Your business was to raise a family of children. God’s work was neglected. I need not repeat that which the testimony has already presented before you. The field was not worked up as it should have been. All were disappointed. Elder Van Horn has a good preaching gift; if he had not left other parts of the work undone, it would be far advanced. 4LtMs, Lt 8, 1884, par. 4

God did not ordain that you should take Adelia out of the field. God did not ordain that you should accumulate family cares to take yourself out of the field. An enemy hath done this. Satan worked, and he has done just what he meant to do—to burden you with cares, that you could not do justice to God’s work. As you look upon your little flock, dear, precious little ones, to your finite human comprehension you may say, “It pays.” 4LtMs, Lt 8, 1884, par. 5

As God has presented it to me as it will appear on the books of heaven, it is not as you regard it. Selfishness is at the root of this whole matter. God called for missionaries—self-denying, self-sacrificing missionaries—to do a special work in His vineyard. You both worked in that manner to close the missionary field God had opened. You opened a private missionary field, and the burdens, difficulties, hindrances, unbelief and sadness of spirit have come of having your own way in the place of accepting God’s way. I felt so thankful that your removal was made in such a way that it made it as easy as possible for you. You were not sent into a new field, but you were welcomed, loved, and all your efforts were appreciated here in California. 4LtMs, Lt 8, 1884, par. 6

Brother Boyd was sent in your place. They commenced as no missionary should in this age, expecting the events we are in the near future, with increasing their family; but the case was different. The one, God had qualified and fitted for a special work; the other He had not so qualified. The one could not devote time to maternity and the cares of a family without devoting all or nearly all there was of her to the work, and require that her husband be kept largely from the field for this new private missionary field. 4LtMs, Lt 8, 1884, par. 7

The mold that was given to the cause of God was not as God would have it. Isaac, with his qualifications, should have educated workers and not have done all the work himself, but from his hand should have come forth laborers to do a good work in the missionary field. He should have been a teacher of men and less preacher. All thought there was no such preacher as Brother Van Horn, while they could but see there was a lack to get up the work in order and thoroughness. It was left to ravel out, for much labor is needed beside preaching, which the people did not have. 4LtMs, Lt 8, 1884, par. 8

Now, my dear children, you have never seen this matter as it is. I have seen it to my great grief. My great fears are you will repeat in some degree the experience of the past and will take things easy, love to preach, but fail where, with a different kind of labor, you may make a success. 4LtMs, Lt 8, 1884, par. 9

You told me, Elder Van Horn, that you were sure Elder Boyd was a failure in Oregon, [that] leading brethren did not like him at all. A pain went through my heart when you said this. Elder Boyd’s talent is far inferior to yours as far as preaching is concerned; but preaching, if it were as eloquent as Apollos or the apostle Paul, will not build up and widen without another kind of labor, pastoral effort with this preaching talent. Personal effort must be made; an aggressive warfare is essential, for the battle [is] to be carried into the very gates and houses. This was not done; but here is a poorer speaker entered after you where your manner of labor had left the field about as bad as it could be, as far as widening, advancing, venturing something is concerned; but with this man there is a financial tact, a determination to do something. All your ideas were painfully circumscribed; now it will be hard for Brother Boyd in this field, if he works differently from what you have done. A people accustom themselves to have little done and if anyone does differently from the former laborer, they feel that everything is going to pieces. 4LtMs, Lt 8, 1884, par. 10

Brother Raymond may be a good man, but has not tact. You might have given him a different stamp in the beginning, but I fear he will never receive it now. The golden moment has passed; he is very narrow. 4LtMs, Lt 8, 1884, par. 11

Brother Starbuck is very narrow in his ideas and in his comprehension. If means are required to do something, they think it rashness because of your manner of labor. God forbid that you should not see this and change decidedly, change your manner of labor. I have had no words with Brother Boyd. He writes that censure has been laid upon him but gives no particulars. He is not the best of speakers, which is against him, but he has enterprise and a heart to work, and God will help him. 4LtMs, Lt 8, 1884, par. 12

Now, my dear brother, you are to be guarded when you leave a field. Those who were your ardent friends [will] sorely feel their loss when a minister comes who has less ministerial ability, although he may far exceed you as a worker. Those who loved you will not see the good he is trying to do to advance the work, but will keep before them, “Oh those good discourses we heard from Elder Van Horn! If we could only have Elder Van Horn back!” Letters have come to you, because you told me so, with bitter complaints. How did you treat these letters? Did you open the door for the temptations of the enemy to come in? Did you sympathize with your faultfinding brethren, those who really hate Brother Boyd because he does not possess the same easy turn of mind as that of Brother Van Horn? If you communicate with these brethren, do you appeal to your own sympathies and allow them to feel that you have not been treated right? I was shown some time ago that very little could be done by Brother Raymond or Starbuck with their ideas and state of feeling. Now, please closely investigate the true cause. 4LtMs, Lt 8, 1884, par. 13

Had you done your duty as a faithful minister of Christ, the necessity for your removal and another gift coming in would have been avoided; but your neglect left this field in a bad condition. No man could enter that field without having a hard, unenviable lot. Do you, my brother, see the matter as it is? I beg of you to cease your communicating with your brethren in Oregon unless you can help them. I beg of you to put away envy out of your heart and every feeling that will rather be gratified to see a brother in some respects less capable than yourself. He deserves your sincere pity and heartfelt prayers in following in your tract to try to bind off your raveling-out work. I wish it clearly understood that nothing has been related to me by Brother Boyd, but I know how the field was. I know [that] the men who have not been educated and drilled up to the several branches of the work at the right time to do something, to expect something, and to move ahead by faith, will not be prepared for advancement. 4LtMs, Lt 8, 1884, par. 14

A vote of censure has been passed upon Brother Boyd. What it is for, time will tell; I cannot, nor anyone else on this side of Oregon. What right have they to do this? The General Conference sent Brother Boyd to Oregon, and the General Conference are the ones to be consulted and asked to remove him if they could not tolerate him. 4LtMs, Lt 8, 1884, par. 15

Now, Brother Van Horn, please do not do anything to alienate hearts from Elder Boyd by your sympathies exercised for yourself or your brethren in Oregon. You should feel that the censure of the Lord is decidedly upon your course in Oregon. Now, if there can be aroused a dissatisfaction fanned by you ever so gently, how much evil you may do in this respect, the Lord only knows. Be careful, be guarded, and do not feel disposed to censure others, but get right yourself in regard to Oregon. I want you to see and feel where your mistakes have been, else you will preach your good discourses but fail decidedly to work in other directions to keep up the financial interest of the cause. We are too near the judgment now to venture to let feelings come in, too near the great white throne to neglect one word from the Lord, be it palatable or unpalatable. Let us search our hearts, our motives, our spirit, our feelings, and be in harmony with heaven. Jesus, precious Saviour, will help you; but do not feel that your past work needs no mending. 4LtMs, Lt 8, 1884, par. 16

I love you both as dear children. I love you too well to pass over a course that is wrong in you, that I know is wrong, when you have made a providence for yourself as a better way than the providence of God. We have no time to lose. You have a work to do to educate men. You can do it if you will set yourself to the work to educate young men to fit them for workers in the cause. You shirk from doing those things that will tax your mind and your physical strength; but you can do it and should do it, for the Master wants you to do it. 4LtMs, Lt 8, 1884, par. 17

Do not, I entreat of you, sympathize with the complainers in Oregon. God will leave them, I fear, to themselves if they have a spirit of murmuring. 4LtMs, Lt 8, 1884, par. 18

Brother Jones is being shut away from the work, nearly all his powers bent upon acquiring property. Frankie is a selfish, worldly-minded woman, and she stands directly in the way of the work. The world, the world, property, is the ambition. Oh that God may pity us poor, weak, failing mortals, before it shall be said in heaven, “It is done.” Let us work for time and for eternity. Let us do all we can on our part, do it unselfishly, do it with an eye single to God’s glory, work in that manner that when the Master comes He may say, “Well done, good and faithful servant.” [Matthew 25:23.] Let us humble our hearts before God; let us be earnest, zealous, and work from an unselfish standpoint, work as Jesus works. 4LtMs, Lt 8, 1884, par. 19

I go to St. Helena today. I have been doing work from three o’clock in the morning and have had an ill turn, but am better now. It was a slight shock of paralysis, for I have not had one days’ rest since I left here the twelfth of August for the East. Shall get no rest until Volume 4 is published. Have some more to do yet. I have written you this since four thirty this morning, before breakfast. 4LtMs, Lt 8, 1884, par. 20

Love to Adelia and all the dear ones. 4LtMs, Lt 8, 1884, par. 21