Letters and Manuscripts — Volume 4 (1883 - 1886)


Lt 20, 1884

Smith, Uriah

East Portland, Oregon

June 27, 1884

This letter is published in entirety in 20MR 356-360.

Dear Brother:

There is a matter that must have attention. There is a man by the name of J. N. Bunch laboring in the Missouri Conference. He is preaching. This man has no right to be engaged in this work at all. I fear he will leave a terrible stain upon the cause of God. I have been shown some things in regard to him which are of that character that makes him unworthy of confidence as a Christian. I do not know whom to write to, but I thought you might know who are the proper ones to be entrusted with this matter. But something ought to be done. 4LtMs, Lt 20, 1884, par. 1

I wrote to him while he was attending school at Healdsburg, stating to him that he had no duty in the line of teaching others the truth. His character was not of that stamp that he would honor the cause of God. He left soon for Oregon, then I saw his name in the report of labor as a worker in the cause. I will write this much to you, hoping that you will see that something is done in the matter. His course is very questionable. I shall write to him, but cannot for a little time. 4LtMs, Lt 20, 1884, par. 2

Our labor in both these conferences have been very, very hard. The mould that Elder Van Horn left upon these two conferences was of that character to make it exceedingly hard for any minister who should follow after him. 4LtMs, Lt 20, 1884, par. 3

It has been three years since I visited these conferences. The upper conference was a success. We found the spirit of faultfinding against the General Conference decisions and against them as a conference. We were able through God [to] break this up. 4LtMs, Lt 20, 1884, par. 4

Brother [W. L.] Raymond has done a work that was tearing down—new views after the order of the views Brother Owen presented to the council for examination. The same was done with Brother Raymond’s views. A council heard his arguments and then wrote out their answer. He has consented to abide by the decision of his brethren. 4LtMs, Lt 20, 1884, par. 5

From that which the Lord has been pleased to show me, there will arise just such ones all along and many more of them claiming to have new light which is a side issue, an entering wedge. The widening will increase until there is a breach made between those who accept these views and those who believe the third’s angel’s message. Just as soon as these new ideas are accepted, then there will be [a] drawing away from those whom God has used in this work, for the mind begins to doubt and withdraw from the leaders because God has laid them aside and chosen more humble men to do His work. This is the only interpretation they can give to this matter, as the leaders do not see this important light. 4LtMs, Lt 20, 1884, par. 6

God is raising up a class to give the loud cry of the third angel’s message. “Of your own selves shall men arise, speaking perverse things, to draw away disciples after them.” [Acts 20:30.] It is Satan’s object now to get up new theories to divert the mind from the true work and genuine message for this time. He stirs up minds to give false interpretations of Scripture, a spurious loud cry, that the real message will not have its effect when it does come. This is one of the greatest evidences that the loud cry will soon be heard and the earth will be lightened with the glory of God. 4LtMs, Lt 20, 1884, par. 7

The Lord gave me great power before the people on the Sabbath. About fifty came forward for prayers. Many of that number were seeking the Lord for the first time. Backsliders came back with confessions, well wet down with tears. 4LtMs, Lt 20, 1884, par. 8

Sunday I had great freedom in speaking upon temperance. The power of the subject was never seen and felt by me as upon this occasion. The people from the city listened attentively. Several unbelievers who have used tobacco since their youth have left it off and say they will not touch it [any] more. We left the ground, ten o’clock p.m., stepped on board the train, and were on our way for East Portland. Tuesday morning the cars stopped at Multnomah Falls for twenty minutes, that all the passengers who chose might ascend to have a clear view. I undertook to go and I would not go back. It was very steep. There would be steps made, then quite a distance zigzig, then more steps. This was repeated many times until we stood upon a [rustic] bridge made to bridge a chasm above the first fall. This is the Bridal Veil. 4LtMs, Lt 20, 1884, par. 9

The water pours from the top of a mountain about 900 feet high, and as the water descends, it breaks upon the jutting rocks, scattering off in beautiful spray. Here was the most beautiful sight to look upon. I would have enjoyed it could I have spent an entire day viewing this scene, but we were grateful for the few moments (although it cost laborious climbing) standing on the bridge made for this purpose to view this enchanting scene of nature—above us eight hundred feet the water rolling from the mountain tops, dashing upon the cliffs and rocks, throwing the water like a veil on every side, and below us this water accumulating from the flow above dashing in a larger fall over the rocks. 4LtMs, Lt 20, 1884, par. 10

This was the work of the great Master Artist, and we could but exclaim, “How wonderful are all Thy works, Lord God Almighty.” We feel subdued and awed in the presence of such manifestations of the great God. I thought of the psalmist who calls upon everything, animate and inanimate to join in one chorus of thanksgiving to God. He, thus calling upon the senseless and irrational, is the most powerful rebuke to those blessed with intelligence if their souls do not glow and their lips proclaim the majesty and glory of God. “Praise ye him, sun and moon; praise him, all ye stars of light. Praise the Lord from the earth, ye dragons, and all deeps: fire, and hail; snow, and vapours; stormy winds fulfilling His word.” [Psalm 48:3-8.] 4LtMs, Lt 20, 1884, par. 11

All these agencies of God in nature are summoned to bring their tribute of praise, and who among God’s creatures will be silent! Every star as it walks its course, and every breeze as it sweeps the earth, and every cloud as it darkens the firmament, every shower of rain and every ray of sunshine, all are uttering the praises of God and publishing the glories of the Lord God who reigneth in the heavens. 4LtMs, Lt 20, 1884, par. 12

We arrived on the campground Tuesday noon. Wednesday I was stricken with sickness. A burning fever came upon me, and for three days and almost four I was not dressed. The prospect of my laboring looked very dark. But Sabbath at five o’clock I was helped to the stand and talked about thirty minutes. Sunday I spoke about one hour and [a] half to a tent full, with great clearness and freedom, and have been gathering up my strength day by day ever since. But the work in this conference was of the same character as the work above, only more so. We have had one of the hardest battles we ever had to engage in. 4LtMs, Lt 20, 1884, par. 13

The leading men in this conference seem to have no respect for the General Conference. The people have no respect for ministers or president. Brother Boyd was despised by them. Elder Van Horn was a pleasing speaker, and they despised the man because he could not speak as fluently as Elder Van Horn. They contrasted the gifts to his face in the assembly. Brother Boyd has felt [hurt] to the very depths of his soul, yet his love for the cause has made him cling to the work of God under discouragements that but few would have borne as nobly as he has done. 4LtMs, Lt 20, 1884, par. 14

We cannot give you all particulars. We had men hard to deal with, difficult to be impressed. The labors of our ministers were accounted of no more value than their own wisdom and judgment. The only thing they did not dare to reject was the Testimonies. To these they did bow after long delay. 4LtMs, Lt 20, 1884, par. 15

Last night I ventured in my feebleness to speak, and the Lord gave me great freedom. The tent was full of outsiders and our people. All listened as for their lives. I presented Peter’s ladder of progress before them and the final abundant entrance into the everlasting kingdom. The Lord gave me His Spirit and His power as I described the overcomer’s reward. 4LtMs, Lt 20, 1884, par. 16

Friday morning there had been a little rift in the cloud now and then during the meeting, but to be covered again in blackness and darkness. I arose unrefreshed with a broken night’s sleep. Four nights I had but little sleep. While I was speaking to the people, one minister was left to open the meeting; the rest resorted to a grove to plead with God in prayer. They were blest and had faith that we should see of the salvation of God. 4LtMs, Lt 20, 1884, par. 17

Friday morning at five o’clock we commenced our meeting, and I arose and talked a short time telling them we had waited for these leading men to take a position which God could approve and let His Spirit into the meeting. We had no more appeals to make to them and no more time to lose in waiting for them. They had stood directly in the way of our work from the first, and now our work was for these who had come to this meeting to be benefited. I had two front seats cleared and asked those who were backslidden from God and those who had never started to serve the Lord, to come forward. They began to come. Other seats were cleared, and finally there was the whole body [of] seats of the tent filled; about one dozen were in the side seats. 4LtMs, Lt 20, 1884, par. 18

Then the Spirit of God like a tidal wave swept over the congregation. Such solemnity! Deep, earnest, heartfelt confessions were made. These men who had stood like icebergs melted under the beams of the Son of righteousness. They came right to the point. They made thorough work. Confessions were made with weeping and deep feeling. We had a most solemn, blessed season of intercession, and then closed the meeting and took our breakfast and assembled again at eight o’clock to finish the work. Parents confessed to children and children to parents, husbands to wives and wives to husbands, brothers to sisters, and sisters to brothers. It seemed like the movement of 1844. I have not been in a meeting of this kind for many years. After the hard fought battle the victory was most precious. We all wept like children. 4LtMs, Lt 20, 1884, par. 19

Brother Boyd spoke of his gratitude while the tears rained from his face. Oh, I praise the Lord. I praise Him for He is to be praised. In the Lord’s mercy, He laid me by from hard labor, for rest and repairs, and I will trust Him with my whole heart. I will trust Him. 4LtMs, Lt 20, 1884, par. 20

There seems to be an entirely new atmosphere in the camp. Elder Boyd yesterday was elected as president of this conference, but the very ones who had treated him shamefully did not come out fully and freely, and he declined. He told them he could not serve them; he longed for peace and rest. Yet he would proclaim the third angel’s message while he had breath. But now, today, he has accepted and will serve them as president. The work now goes off like clockwork in the conference business. Oh, what a work the Lord can do in a short time! 4LtMs, Lt 20, 1884, par. 21

I have given you but little particulars. It is so childish and inconsistent and miserable a mess that I do not think [it] possible for me to write. These murmurings, faultfindings, these exalting little motes to mention this. Making a man an offender for a word is a grievous sin in the sight of God. But this battle has turned; victory through Jesus Christ is ours. And we know the battle must be fought some time, and it must be done without yielding one inch to gratify and please this faultfinding, disorderly element. 4LtMs, Lt 20, 1884, par. 22

We never saw so much dust and storm raised against a man that when investigated there was not the least thing for it all, as in this case. O, what work Satan can make with human hearts that are not daily partakers of the divine nature. I did not expect to write this when I commenced, but I felt so thankful I wanted to tell you. 4LtMs, Lt 20, 1884, par. 23

Much love to Sister Harriet and your dear children. Annie in particular. May the Lord bless this child and may she win a crown of glory. 4LtMs, Lt 20, 1884, par. 24