Letters and Manuscripts — Volume 4

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Lt 10, 1885

Waggoner, J. H.

Christiania, Norway

November 4, 1885

See variant Lt 10a, 1885. Portions of this letter are published in TSB 182-184; 5MR 243, 245.

Dear Brother Waggoner:

I have somewhat to say unto thee. Letters have come to me from Brother and Sister Grainger and Sister Mills, giving an account of the meeting in Healdsburg. Many letters of confession have come to me from different ones. Sisters Ross, Decker, Baker, Brother and Sister Harris, and Brother and Sister Howard all really express in their letters genuine repentance for sin. 4LtMs, Lt 10, 1885, par. 1

Brother Lockwood wrote me that he had proposed raising money to pay Elder Daniels’ debts. I wrote back that this was a wrong move. The work done in Healdsburg I did not doubt was of God, and I was grateful to have the Lord work by whom He will. I had no envy, no jealousy that this result did not follow my earnest, wearing labors for that church. I believed God was working with them, but now was their time of trial and test. Fanaticism might reveal itself among them and that there would be danger of their thinking too much of the man and giving Elder Daniels the glory. I urged them to take up the long-neglected work of which the church had been guilty and show an interest and labor for outsiders, visit them, hold Bible readings with them, and seek to bring them to a knowledge of the truth. 4LtMs, Lt 10, 1885, par. 2

I understand that Brother Daniels was not at the camp meeting. I told him he ought to have been there and taken all he could with him. If God had given souls the illumination of His Spirit, it was for a purpose. This light was to be reflected upon others. I wrote cautiously, and yet I would not have dared to come out and condemn the work, lest I should be found fighting against God. But I understand that you and Elder Loughborough and some others have done this. I am written to for advice and counsel. Now, my brother, you may see some things which you think you should condemn in Elder Daniels. He is hasty; he feels strongly and acts impulsively; but whatever occasion of personal feeling exists between you, there should have been on your part the forbearance of long experience and the calm reason of a father. I have letters stating that Elder Daniels was forbidden to preach. His credentials were not renewed. Did God give you light from heaven to do this? or did you move in your own spirit, prompted by your injured feelings? I do not like this kind of work. What right had you or any one of you to pursue the course you have toward Elder Daniels? He is not a perfect man, but I know how God regards him—as a man of erring, impulsive disposition, but one who loves and fears Him, and one who will reach hearts if he has those in whom he can have confidence as counselors to help him. 4LtMs, Lt 10, 1885, par. 3

I hear you took the Healdsburg people in a tent and stated that if you were at liberty to relate some things which you knew concerning Elder Daniels, they would regard the work as you did; and thus you left a blot on one of God’s servants, leaving them to think and imagine the worst things in his life. 4LtMs, Lt 10, 1885, par. 4

Is this the way God has dealt with you? Do you wish the Lord to take your case in hand and deal with you as you have dealt with Elder Daniels? Your course in this I cannot approve. The Lord’s Spirit is not in it. The lord forgave the debtor who owed him a large sum, but the man went out and demanded a debt of another creditor which was a very small sum. He went to him exclaiming with vehemence, “Pay me what thou owest.” [Matthew 18:27, 28.] And because he could not, he seized him and put him in prison till he should pay the debt. This I think represents the case. I will wash my hands from all such transactions. 4LtMs, Lt 10, 1885, par. 5

You could not do a worse thing to separate the Healdsburg church from you than this. Why did you allow that hard, old, overbearing, arbitrary spirit which God has reproved many times to come in and possess you? Has not Elder D. had far less experience than you, fewer advantages, far less light, fewer opportunities and warnings and appeals than you have had? And if his credentials shall not be granted him, in the sight of a holy God, should not yours be withheld? I want you to look at this matter just as it is. I felt that you were the last man to exercise criticism and severity toward any one. God does not require it of you. You have shown yourself in many respects a far weaker man than Elder Daniels. You have shown less power of self-control than he has done. You have no right to lord it over God’s heritage. You will surely be dealt with by your heavenly Father as you deal with and judge others. 4LtMs, Lt 10, 1885, par. 6

I wrote you from Great Grimsby, but I did not send it. I felt such pity for you, such pity for your weakness. I will send it when I get back to Basel. 4LtMs, Lt 10, 1885, par. 7

Now the case of Elder Daniels has been presented before me, and I know him much better than you do. Because you may take views of him as you now do is no reason why his labor should be pronounced not of God. Just such a work as I hope has been done in Healdsburg will be done in every church in our land, and through ways and means that we do not look for. Let this work go forward everywhere. Let sins be confessed. Let iniquities be revealed. Let it extend far and near. This work will be done. Men may pronounce against it because it does not come in their exact line. Fanaticism will also come in as it always has done when God works. The net will gather in its meshes both bad and good, but who will dare to cast the whole thing overboard because all are not of the right kind of fish? I feel deeply over this matter. I do not doubt but that Elder D. has erred in some things, but has his error been of that character that it makes him unworthy of a place among God’s people? Answer this to your own soul. 4LtMs, Lt 10, 1885, par. 8

The Lord would have you lay off this spirit of sharpness, and He would have you less sharp and more humble. In my prayers for you, and in my dreams, I do not feel that assurance that I desire that you are drawing near to God, purifying your soul through obedience to the truth. I fear God is not with you, and this is why your discernment is taken away. I have had some most distressing dreams which make me tremble for you. And then when you venture to exercise your power in the way you have done toward Eld. D., I have to tell you freely, I have no confidence in it. Take your iron heel off from the man. When you get upon the track of one whom you think has not treated you as he should, you bear down heavier and heavier, and with crushing power. Should God deal with you according to the magnitude of the offense 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 want the spirit of tenderness and of compassion and love. May the Lord set the matter before you as it really is, and may you so humble yourself before God that your sins may go beforehand to judgment. God has sent you warnings. Do you heed them? 4LtMs, Lt 10, 1885, par. 9

In my dreams you are in peril, in danger of losing your soul through neglect to renounce the hidden things of dishonesty, and to come to the clear light and freedom of the Spirit of God, making your heart pure and clean through the sanctification of the truth. You have not clear spiritual discernment, and how could you do as you have done in regard to matters at Healdsburg? Not one word of complaint has come to me through Elder D., but members of the church in whom I have confidence have written to me, and I feel sad enough. I have not answered one of these letters yet. I have not had time. But I beg of you to wrench yourself from the snare of Satan. Do not feel for one moment that the Lord is dependent upon you to do a certain work. You are dependent upon the Lord, and He can work through whom He will. But before you judge and condemn others, look well to your own soul. Give others just that compassion that you want shown to you. 4LtMs, Lt 10, 1885, par. 10

You want a personal piety, a daily experience in the things of God, and to sense the importance of pure and holy principles governing your course of action in all things. If you obtain the confidence of those for whom you labor, you must be circumspect in life and character, if you would have them believe you to be a true child of God, a special instrument in His hands to do His work. You may then vindicate the Sabbath, and you may be successful, as a polished instrument of God, in securing converts to the truth. 4LtMs, Lt 10, 1885, par. 11

Brother, be thankful for these words. Be thankful that it is not too late for wrongs to be righted. Do not feel called upon to pronounce sentence against any one. Do not, I beseech of you, give place to the devil. I beg of you, for Christ’s sake, to break every foul snare of Satan. I beg of you to not let your sun set in darkness and gloom of despair. I beseech of you not to let the weak traits of your character overcome you, that God will set you aside as unfit for any part in His work. O my brother, I want to see you a free man. I want to see you triumphing over Satan. I want to see you marching in through the gates into the city of God a conqueror. I want to see you receive the riches of the immortal inheritance. But whatever your position has been, God will not excuse sin in you more than in the weakest of His children. According to your light and knowledge you will be judged. Do not, I entreat of you, feel that your course has been a light matter. God warned you of your danger, but after He warned you, you did worse; you gave yourself up to work wickedness. What is your position before God? How stands your record in God’s books? 4LtMs, Lt 10, 1885, par. 12

I want that there should be men of judgment who have the compassion of Christ, who shall visit Healdsburg and remain there long enough to investigate and pray and attend the meetings, and not stand away off and then denounce the work. What is the fruit of this work? By their fruits ye shall know them. There will be fanatical ones. Sister Baker cannot be relied upon. She knows not what manner of spirit she is of. She will be liable to take extreme views, and some others will do the same. If there were not some of this spirit, it would be a new thing under the sun. 4LtMs, Lt 10, 1885, par. 13

But if you had not barred the way, the Lord’s Spirit might have come into your camp meeting. I have been shown that there is so little of the work of repentance and true conversion as the operation of the Spirit of God on hearts, transforming the life and its inward workings, cleansing the soul from sin, that should this Spirit of God come among us, many would not discern it. They would not think it was a God-send. The blessing of God in its workings would be considered fanaticism. I pray you not allow your personal feelings to rule you, for God will as surely work through means that we do not expect; and let God work in any way He will. 4LtMs, Lt 10, 1885, par. 14

I do not regard Eld. D. as a man well balanced. I do not regard you as a man well balanced. You have great weakness in some points. He has great weakness in some points. May God help you to set your own soul in order and make clean work for eternity. 4LtMs, Lt 10, 1885, par. 15

My brother, you have had the respect of the church, old and young. But your course is condemned of God, and you have not had His Spirit, and you are not a free man. You have pursued a course that has caused your good to be evil spoken of. The very things that transpired at the Piedmont Sabbath school reunion I would not have occurred for thousands of dollars. You, a gray-haired man, lying at full length with your head in the lap of Georgie Chittenden. Had I done my duty, I would have rebuked you there. Many saw this and made remarks about it. After such exhibitions as this, of what value would be your admonitions to them to be guarded against everything of this free and easy familiarity? You have yourself neutralized your efforts to elevate the young by your example. The course of intimacy with Sister Chittenden and her family has been a subject of remark. And how could you expect to have influence with the young as a father when such manifest want of judgment and such weakness have been exhibited by you. If you will only be a man in your old age, instead of a sentimental lover; if you would only be guarded, God would not remove His wisdom from you as He has done. Your reputation would have been dearer to you than your very life. Better, far better, go down to the grave with honor untarnished than to live with a reproach upon your name. 4LtMs, Lt 10, 1885, par. 16

Now look, my brother, at the years you have been living in unlawful sympathy and love with another man’s wife. And you have a daughter who would be glad to give you attention and sympathy and make a home for you, but you have been so completely infatuated that everything in this life that was sensible and proper has been distasteful and insipid to you. I do not feel that the charm is broken, that you are a free man. You have not broken the snare. The Lord is not supreme with you. Now, my brother, it would be folly for you to think that you have wisdom to discern spiritual things while you have been growing weaker and weaker for years in moral power and separating from the God of wisdom. The letters written to your wife are harsh and unfeeling. The withdrawing of your support in a large degree is not wisdom or right on your part. And had she not a cause when she was at Oakland to be jealous of you? Did not she see in you the interest, sympathy, and love you gave to Sister Chittenden? Now, for Christ’s sake, save your harsh condemnation of others, for this shows that you are not Christlike, that you have another spirit. I write thus plainly because I feel deeply that you need to make a more determined effort than you have done, before you stand free in the sight of God. All your sharpness and overbearing comes from you with an ill grace. Do humble yourself under the hand of God. Do make sure of the favor of God, and put sin away from you. 4LtMs, Lt 10, 1885, par. 17

There are but few who know to what extent this intimacy has gone, and God forbid it shall be known and your influence lost to God’s cause and your soul lost. I beg of you to not take it upon you to pronounce judgment against anyone but yourself. 4LtMs, Lt 10, 1885, par. 18