Letters and Manuscripts — Volume 12 (1897)


Lt 120, 1897

Wessels, Peter

“Sunnyside,” Cooranbong, New South Wales, Australia

March 10, 1897

Portions of this letter are published in TSB 128-129.

I am sorry that you feel injured because I let Brother Robinson have a copy of the letter I sent to you. I did not do this to injure you in any way. You had yourself written me that you had made matters known to him concerning yourself, and he thought you should confess the whole matter to the church. I thought that letter would prevent any such movement, and keep the matter as private as possible. I do not in any way favor his reading the matter to your mother. She has an abundance of sorrows to carry. I did not sanction any public exposure. I thought that the letter, which condemned the sin, also encouraged you to hope and trust in God. I supposed that it would help Brother Robinson to help you. If it has added to your affliction, making matters any worse for you, I am sincerely sorry. 12LtMs, Lt 120, 1897, par. 1

Whenever I have written a message of reproof, I have always sent one copy to the minister who is officiating in the church, that he may have wisdom to recover such ones as are in danger through temptation, giving them such advice as they need. I also knew, under existing circumstances, that it would not be possible to give you credentials as a shepherd, recommending you to the confidence of the people, because knowing your course of action, if you should in any way be overcome, the Lord would make the conference guilty of the sin of which you are guilty. 12LtMs, Lt 120, 1897, par. 2

The Lord would not favor the children of Israel, because of Achan’s sin, and the displeasure of God was not only upon Achan, but upon all Israel. “The children of Israel committed a trespass in the accursed thing: ... and the anger of the Lord was kindled against the children of Israel.” [Joshua 7:1.] He permitted thirty and six men to be slain to signify His displeasure against the sin in the encampment of Israel. Joshua was greatly afflicted. He knew not of the sin, or of the reason why the army of Israel was defeated. “And Joshua rent his clothes and fell to the earth upon his face before the ark of the Lord until the eventide, he and the elders of Israel, and put dust upon their heads. 12LtMs, Lt 120, 1897, par. 3

“And Joshua said, ... O Lord, what shall I say, when Israel turneth their backs before their enemies! ... And the Lord said unto Joshua, Get thee up; wherefore liest thou thus upon thy face? Israel hath sinned, and they have also transgressed my covenant which I commanded them; for they have even taken of the accursed thing, and have also stolen, and dissembled also, and they have put it even among their own stuff. Therefore the children of Israel could not stand before their enemies, but turned their backs before their enemies, because they were accursed; neither will I be with you any more, except ye destroy the accursed thing from among you.” “Up, sanctify the people, and say, Sanctify yourselves against tomorrow: for thus saith the Lord God of Israel, There is an accursed thing in the midst of thee, O Israel: thou canst not stand before thine enemies, until ye take the accursed thing from among you.” [Verses 6-8, 10-13.] 12LtMs, Lt 120, 1897, par. 4

You can see that the unknown sin existing among the tribes of Israel was charged against the whole church in the wilderness. Success in warfare against their enemies could not be given them until this evil thing was searched out, until they had done all in their power to expel the wrong and cleanse it from the encampment. God had testified, “Neither will I be with you any more, except ye destroy the accursed thing from among you.” [Verse 12.] 12LtMs, Lt 120, 1897, par. 5

I present this before you that you may not feel that the church has done a grievous thing against you, that they have done you a personal injury and desire to hurt you as a man. The Lord has placed men in responsible positions to guard the church which is the flock of God, and certain duties which the Lord requires of His church are enjoined upon them as His appointed agencies. Should they neglect to do this work devolving on them, the Lord charges the guilt of the wrongdoing upon the whole church. Until that wrong is corrected, and thoroughly purged from the church, the blessing of God will not rest upon it. 12LtMs, Lt 120, 1897, par. 6

The Lord will be honored by the people who claim to be His children. Any hidden impurities He will have searched out and thoroughly corrected, that the evil may in no wise exist and bring the displeasure of God upon the church. The sons of Eli did wickedly, and a message was sent to Eli in regard to their wicked practices. “Now Eli was very old, and heard all that his sons did unto all Israel. ... And he said unto them, Why do ye such things? for I hear of all your evil doings by all this people. Nay, my sons; for it is no good report that I hear: ye make the Lord’s people to transgress. If one man sin against another, the judge shall judge him; but if a man sin against the Lord, who shall entreat for him? Notwithstanding they hearkened not unto the voice of their father, because the Lord would slay them.” [1 Samuel 2:22-25.] 12LtMs, Lt 120, 1897, par. 7

Eli did not remove the transgressors from their office. “And there came a man of God unto Eli, and said unto him, Thus saith the Lord, Did I plainly appear unto the house of thy father, when they were in Egypt in Pharaoh’s house? And did I choose him out of all the tribes of Israel to be my priest, to offer upon mine altar, to burn incense, to wear an ephod before me? and did I give unto the house of the fathers all the offerings made by fire of the children of Israel? Wherefore kick ye at my sacrifice and at mine offering, which I have commanded in mine habitation; and honorest thy sons above me, to make yourselves fat with all the chiefest of the offerings of Israel my people? Wherefore the Lord God Israel saith, I said indeed that thine house, and the house of thy father should walk before me forever; but now the Lord saith, Be it far from me; for them that honor me I will honor, and they that despise me shall be lightly esteemed.” [Verses 27-30.] 12LtMs, Lt 120, 1897, par. 8

Please read the first, second, and third chapters of 1 Samuel carefully and attentively. 12LtMs, Lt 120, 1897, par. 9

I present this matter again before you, for your attentive consideration. If the officers who have charge in any branch of the work of God dishonor Him in any line connected with His work, the Lord lays that charge upon the whole church. He will not serve with any man’s sin. Those in positions of trust are to honor God by a faithful duty toward all, ministers or laymen. They are to do faithful work as representatives of the character of Jesus Christ, to maintain order and purity of morals in the church, so that there shall be no unrighteousness practiced in selfish dealing, brother with brother, or in breaking down the barriers which the Lord has erected to preserve the clean, pure virtues of His people. No liberties must be indulged, men with women or women with men, to become familiar with the uncovering of their nakedness. This, by searching the Scriptures, you will see that the Lord expressly forbids as a crime, a sin. 12LtMs, Lt 120, 1897, par. 10

But, as I have placed this matter so fully before you, I need not repeat. My brother, your sin was not confined to yourself. You were doing great dishonor to God by lustful practices, educating the young girls in practices which are ruinous to their morals, and also destroying to their bodies. All such things are an abomination in the sight of God. I do want you to understand this sin, and never approach unto anything of this character again, as long as life shall last, for it is a crime against the youth, which you should see, and see in all its destructive influence. These very ones you have educated will submit their bodies for others to corrupt. The restraints are gone. A minister, a shepherd of the flock has done this. 12LtMs, Lt 120, 1897, par. 11

I know also that the Lord has not left you, that He will pardon your transgression. But I do not want you to create a sentiment with your mother or with any one else that knows of the matter that Brother Robinson is your enemy. He has a work to do as one whom the Lord has entrusted with large responsibilities. It is a duty devolving upon the officers of the church to guard the flock of God over which they are overseers. Should they neglect to do this, the Lord will call them to an account. 12LtMs, Lt 120, 1897, par. 12

I hope you will not feel bitter toward Brother Robinson, even though you think he has done you harm, needlessly, in reading matters to your mother which were very humiliating for her to know. If you do entertain these feelings, the Lord will not bless you, but will turn His face away from you. 12LtMs, Lt 120, 1897, par. 13

I do not advise that this matter be made public before the whole church. It may be that you will be unwise, and pursue a course that will make this a necessity. But if you will walk humbly before God, as you should do, and draw nigh to God, He will draw nigh to you. If you are contrite in heart, He will pardon your sin if you repent. The Lord loves you, but you have hurt and wounded Christ in injuring the souls of His heritage. 12LtMs, Lt 120, 1897, par. 14

My brother, it behooves you to walk carefully and softly before God. The greatest hindrance to the perfection of your Christian character will be putting a light importance upon the matter under consideration. You have a wife and precious children to live for, to teach and to encourage in every holy practice. Here is a sufficient work to keep your affections pure and uncontaminated. The conscientious regard and discharge of all your duties will help you to preserve alive the love of God in your heart for wife and children, and above all, the love for God, remembering that God is ever present with you. 12LtMs, Lt 120, 1897, par. 15

Now, as one that loves your soul, I entreat you for Christ’s sake not to have hard feelings toward the officers of the church, whose duty it is to keep the church as pure as possible in every respect. Therefore you should not feel bitter against them because they do their duty in the fear of God. If they make a mistake, bear in mind that your course of action has placed them in great perplexity to know just what they should do. Do not create a sympathy in the mind of your mother, which will lead her love for her children to cause her to have feelings which should not exist in her heart. Because you think you are injured, you will separate her affections from, and destroy her confidence in, the church officers in the very things they are required to do. 12LtMs, Lt 120, 1897, par. 16

Now, my dear brother, come close to Jesus, and He will pardon your transgressions and forgive your sins. 12LtMs, Lt 120, 1897, par. 17