Letters and Manuscripts — Volume 5 (1887-1888)


Lt 67, 1887

Patchen, D. H.

“Campground,” New Bedford, Massachusetts

August 21, 1887

Previously unpublished.

D. H. Patchen

Dear Sir:

Your communication is received. I will state I have made it a point never to travel on the Sabbath, when it can be avoided, for I have respect unto God’s holy day. On this occasion, has been an exception. We designed to leave New Bedford on the steamer Wednesday night; but a violent storm coming up, it was deemed unwise to venture, and this brought us in on the Sabbath. There was also important work to be done on the campground for our people, which burden we dared not lay off, and we could not [have] even seen a large portion of our people if we had left Wednesday night. We therefore bore our testimony to the people twice more and then left when night came. 5LtMs, Lt 67, 1887, par. 1

We took our berths in sleeper and awoke in early morning in Cleveland, and the trunks we did not design to leave the depot; but they were brought up. I deeply regret the whole matter, and yet I do not now see how we could have done that work which seemed necessary to be done in order to leave Bedford campground. We could, truly, have lost a day, but we thought they were nearly destitute of laborers, if Elder Farnsworth left and we learned Elder Smith would not be on the ground. Therefore, we felt compelled to be here, and we would never have traveled on the Sabbath on our own business, for our own advantage, but only to do the work the Lord had for us to do in His cause. But it is against my principle to give occasion for the least appearance of evil. 5LtMs, Lt 67, 1887, par. 2

Anciently in the service of the sanctuary, God required that sacrificial offerings be made more upon the Sabbath than any other day. This was work, but it was not servile work. It was not labor for a livelihood. It was not done for gain or for selfish interest. It was done in the service of God. 5LtMs, Lt 67, 1887, par. 3

This is how I regard the matter now in this instance. I hope that this will not be repeated, for we shall try to the very utmost of our ability to avoid it. But I think the Lord had a work for me to do, although it was the Sabbath on this ground, yesterday. If I erred, it was a sin of ignorance, for I would not show disrespect to God in anything. I would sooner take off my right hand. As for myself, Sabbath is the most heavy day of labor that I have to bear, but it is in God’s service. I would not lose the opportunity of doing His work on His holy Sabbath. 5LtMs, Lt 67, 1887, par. 4

Now, my brother, I would say that even if I committed a sin in coming to this ground in the early morning on the Sabbath, yesterday, what does that affect your duty in any way? This does not make the word of inspiration of none effect. Nevertheless, the foundation of God standeth sure. Truth is truth, and the defects of any one will not be excuse for you if they do not live up to the Bible requirements. You can show them by your example a better way, by meeting the standard yourself and answering to all of God’s claims upon you. Bible truth is not made of none effect because some of those who claim to believe it do not show works corresponding with their faith. It is with pain I see that our sisters do not in all things conform their dress to the Bible standard, and on Monday I designed to bear a close testimony on this point. But will their defection be an excuse for you to neglect to do your duty? Can you plead these things as an excuse in the judgment? 5LtMs, Lt 67, 1887, par. 5

In regard to gloves, I am different from many, for I cannot enjoy to have them on my hands; therefore, I have no temptation in that direction; but all of us are not educated and trained alike, and if we should take up these little points in matter of dress, we would create a spirit of criticism, of setting others to watch others, so that the grand, important truths for this time would be lost sight of in the little points of dress. God has truth for the people which if received will sanctify the soul. The truth we want; the truth we must have. 5LtMs, Lt 67, 1887, par. 6

Christ prayed that His disciples might be sanctified through the truth. Thy Word is truth. [John 17:17.] This is what you need; this is what I need—the truth as it is in Jesus. 5LtMs, Lt 67, 1887, par. 7

We see and deplore the least exhibitions of display. We labor on this point, but we dare not make any of these things an excuse for not reading God’s Word and obeying His commandments. No man, no woman can be ruined by another’s neglect of duty unless he consents this shall be. You are God’s employed servant, bought with a price. You are not your own. No one can ruin you; no power of wrong in another; no power of Satan can drag you down, if your will is placed on the side of God’s will. Your ruin can never begin till the will consents. If you resolutely prove true, honest to your God, to render to Him the service He claims, then you can be the light of the world. If you do God’s will, you will retain your integrity and save your own soul by your own righteousness through Jesus Christ. While you make Christ your pattern, to copy, you will not be in danger of copying the defective characters of any one. There is only one perfect pattern which is Christ Jesus. You are invited to come and learn in Christ’s school, learn His meekness, His lowliness, and wear His yoke and lift His burdens. God help you to accept the truth because it is the truth revealed in the Scriptures. God has not left us to make mistakes, for He has left us a perfect example, a perfect pattern; and if we are diligent to copy His life and His example, we shall not have time or disposition to criticize others in that manner that they will become to us a stumbling block. God is true. His Word is infallible. Our feet planted on the platform of truth, we are on the Rock, solid rock, where storm and tempest cannot beat us off. This is our only safety. The important truths for this time will exert an influence on our character that we will be like Christ, holy, harmless, and undefiled. 5LtMs, Lt 67, 1887, par. 8