Letters and Manuscripts — Volume 4 (1883 - 1886)


Lt 10a, 1885

[Waggoner, J. H.]

[Christiania, Norway]

[November 4, 1885]

Variant of Lt 10, 1885. Previously unpublished.

Dear Brother [Waggoner]:

Letters have come to me from Brother and Sister [Grainger], giving an account of the meetings in [Healdsburg]. Many letters of confession have come from different ones, expressing genuine repentance for sin. 4LtMs, Lt 10a, 1885, par. 1

I wrote to Brother [Lockwood] concerning the revival work in [Healdsburg], that I did not doubt but that it was of God, and I was grateful to have the Lord work by whom He would. But at such a time the test and trial of faith might come. Fanaticism might reveal itself among the members of the church, and there would be danger that they would think too much of the man by whom the Lord had wrought and give him the glory which was alone due to God. I wrote to the members of the church and urged them to take up the work which they had so long been guilty of neglecting. I appealed to them to show an interest in behalf of unbelievers, to visit them, to hold Bible readings with them, and to seek to bring them to a knowledge of the truth. If God had illuminated their souls by His Spirit, it was that light might be reflected upon others. 4LtMs, Lt 10a, 1885, par. 2

I wrote cautiously, and yet I dared not condemn the work, lest I should be found fighting against God. But I understand that you and Elder [Loughborough] and some others have not hesitated to do this. I learn that Elder [Daniels] has been forbidden to preach, that his credentials have not been renewed. Did God give you light from heaven, directing you to take this course, or, prompted by a feeling that Elder D had injured you, did you move in your own spirit? My brother, you may see some things which you think you should condemn in Elder D. He is hasty, and feels strongly, and acts impulsively. He is not perfect; but I know how God regards him—as a man of erring, impulsive disposition, but yet one who loves and fears Him, one who will reach hearts, if he has the support of those in whom he can have confidence. Whatever the occasion of personal feeling which exists between you, there should be on your part the forbearance of long experience manifested and the calm reason of a father displayed. 4LtMs, Lt 10a, 1885, par. 3

Do you wish the Lord to judge you as you have judged your brother? I cannot approve your course in this matter; for it was not prompted by the Spirit of God. The lord forgave him, the debtor, who owed him a large sum; but the man went out and demanded of another the payment of a debt of a very small amount, exclaiming with vehemence, “Pay me that thou owest.” [Matthew 18:27, 28.] Because his fellow servant could not pay the debt, he seized him and put him in prison till the claim could be met. I think this parable represents your course in this matter. 4LtMs, Lt 10a, 1885, par. 4

Has not Elder D had far less experience, far less light, fewer advantages, fewer opportunities, fewer warnings and appeals than you have had? I do not doubt but that he has erred in some things, but has his error been of such a character as to make him unworthy of a place among God’s people? Answer this for your own soul; for you will surely be dealt with by your heavenly Father as you deal with others. The fact that you take the view of Elder D that you do at present is no reason why his labors should be rejected as if they were not of God. 4LtMs, Lt 10a, 1885, par. 5

I do not feel assured as I desire to do that you are drawing near to God, purifying your soul through obedience to the truth. I feel that God is not with you, and that this is why your discernment is taken away. God has sent you warnings. Do you heed them? I beg of you to free yourself from the snare of Satan. Do not feel for a moment that the Lord is dependent upon you to do a certain work; you are dependent upon Him; He can work through whom He will. Whatever your position may be, God will not excuse sin in you any more than He will excuse it in the weakest of His children. You will be judged according to the light and knowledge you have had. You should look well to your own soul before you condemn others. You should give to others the compassion that you desire should be shown to you. 4LtMs, Lt 10a, 1885, par. 6

You are ready to crush one whom you think has not treated you as he should by your severity. Should God deal with you as you have dealt with Elder D, there would be no hope for your future. O how glad I am that our cases are not left to be judged by man! We should seek for a spirit of tenderness, compassion, and love. The Lord would have you put away this spirit of harshness, and humble yourself before Him. May He set this matter before you as it really is, and may you so seek Him in humility of heart, that your sins may go beforehand to judgment. 4LtMs, Lt 10a, 1885, par. 7

Men of sound judgement, who have the compassion of Christ, should attend the meetings at [Healdsburg] and prayerfully investigate the work. No one should stand afar off and denounce it. What is the fruit of this work? “By their fruits ye shall know them.” [Matthew 7:20.] There will be fanatical ones in such meetings who will be liable to go to extremes. If the spirit of fanaticism were not developed under such circumstances, it would be a new thing under the sun. 4LtMs, Lt 10a, 1885, par. 8

Just such a work as I hope has been done in [Healdsburg] will be done in every one of our churches through ways and means that we do not anticipate. Let sins be confessed. Let the work of repentance and turning to the Lord go forward everywhere. Men may denounce the revival work that will be done, because it does not come just as they expect. Fanaticism may come in, as it so often does when God works in a special manner. The gospel net will gather in its meshes both bad and good; but who will dare to cast the whole away because all are not the right kind of fish? 4LtMs, Lt 10a, 1885, par. 9

If you had not barred the way, the Spirit of the Lord might have come into the camp meeting. I have been shown that there is so little of the work of repentance and conversion, so slight a manifestation of the operation of the Spirit of God on the hearts of men, transforming the life and cleansing the soul from sin, that many would not be able to discern the working of the Spirit of God should it come among us in great power. Its workings would be regarded by them as fanaticism. God will surely work through means that we do not expect, and let us beware that we be not found fighting against Him. 4LtMs, Lt 10a, 1885, par. 10