Lt 27, 1868

Lt 27, 1868

Smith, Hannah and Mary

Attica, New York

December 18, 1868

Previously unpublished.

Dear Sisters Hannah and Mary [Smith]:

I designed writing to you ere this, but I have traveled so much and labored so very hard, I had no time or strength for writing. I am now using my dinner basket as a stand. 1LtMs, Lt 27, 1868, par. 1

While at Adams Center I was shown some things in regard to matters at Battle Creek. The Battle Creek church is in continual danger of pride, and love of the world. The lust of the flesh, the lust of the eye, and the pride of life, are constantly controlling the youth. None have been more easily influenced by the same selfish spirit which controls the world-loving youth than yourselves. 1LtMs, Lt 27, 1868, par. 2

I was shown that you do not yet know yourselves, and will not be prepared to shun the errors of the past until you understand them as they are. 1LtMs, Lt 27, 1868, par. 3

I was shown the three sisters, especially Hannah and Mary, that you have lived selfish lives; self-gratification has been your ambition. Ways were opened for you to earn means quite readily, yet you did not feel that the cause of God had any special claims upon you. When means were earned, like pleasure seekers, you set to work to plan how you could use it for your own gratification. Large means were spent in dress and trimmings, and in your trip East. As this visit was not to glorify God but to display yourselves, your influence was in accordance with your object. You spent much time in arranging your hair and dressing as worldly young ladies do, and manifested so little devotion to God, so little of the spirit of Jesus—who came not to be ministered unto, but to minister—so much pride and display, that your deportment was a reproach to our faith and a dishonor to the cause of Christ. I looked to see wherein you had sought to know and do the will of God on that journey. 1LtMs, Lt 27, 1868, par. 4

Did your light so shine that others by seeing your good works were led to glorify your Father who is in heaven? Wherein did your influence attract the mind to Christ and divert it from the world? I could not see wherein your journey had done good, but very many instances where it had done much harm, for you were considered representatives of those who profess the truth at Battle Creek. 1LtMs, Lt 27, 1868, par. 5

Again this Scripture was presented: “Honor thy father and thy mother; that thy days may be long upon the land which the Lord thy God giveth thee.” [Exodus 20:12.] I saw that you had transgressed this commandment; you had duties devolving upon you at home which you should have been performing: lightening the cares of your father and mother, taking the labor upon yourselves which fell upon them, because you would not bear the burdens Heaven designed you should. 1LtMs, Lt 27, 1868, par. 6

What was your father doing while you were upon that pleasure trip, seeking for your own happiness? He was sometimes seen with his saw-buck and saw, acting in the capacity of a wood sawyer, at different houses; bowing his back to burdens, while his hair and beard were frosted with age. What a sight was this for angels to look upon—your venerable father condescending to the laborious task of sawing wood for families, while his three daughters were expending more or less, chasing after pleasure, displaying themselves, dressing their persons, dressing their hair, while their mother was toiling at home and the father performing labor that would weary the robust young man. Did you think, children, that you were dishonoring your parents in thus doing? And dishonoring God, whose servants you profess to be? 1LtMs, Lt 27, 1868, par. 7

When you were at home the cares of your parents were increased, for they waited upon you, ministered to you, instead of your waiting upon them and ministering to them. You are deficient, wonderfully deficient in the useful branches of household labor, cooking, washing, and taking care. Asenath engaged in caretaking more than the other two; but there was a lack here, a decided lack with all. In the vision given last June the Lord was pleased to present before you the condition of your family: your selfishness, the lack of your parents—their sin before God in bringing you up free, in a great measure, from life’s cares and burdens, in flattering your pride, in blinding their eyes to your faults and withal excusing your errors, while your lives were unconsecrated. 1LtMs, Lt 27, 1868, par. 8

After this plain testimony, reproving your selfishness, again you seek your own pleasure and spend means to take another pleasure trip. Your sister Asenath had been with you for quite a length of time. You had, as it were, but just parted, yet you take the long journey to the West. 1LtMs, Lt 27, 1868, par. 9

You display yourselves, but do not magnify Christ. Your influence was not to inspire others with devotion or love to God, but rather to lead them to seek their pleasure and thus separate from God. But where was your father all this time? He had been suffering a long, painful sickness, with but a faint prospect of recovery; yet, finally, by the blessing of God he is seen a man among men, but infirm and crippled; leaning upon his crutches, he is peddling paper to earn a little means, while his two daughters are spending more or less means upon a pleasure trip to please themselves. “Honor thy father and thy mother.” Were you doing this in your selfish trip West? Your parents needed your help; they needed your care, your love. You could have ministered unto them; but instead of this you were pleasing yourselves. It is very hard for you to see yourselves aright. 1LtMs, Lt 27, 1868, par. 10

May God forgive your parents for the part they have acted in the past in making you what you are, for it will be like the gall of bitterness to them. Their misapplied affection has not increased your affection for them, but only directed your minds to yourselves—to please self, to esteem self, to display self. Your lives have not been a blessing to others; you have not been unselfishly seeking to make others happy, and bless others with your influence, and thus leave a bright track behind you. As your past life stands, Christ will not say, “Well done, good and faithful servants.” [Matthew 25:23.] You lack both goodness and faithfulness. Souls have been turned into the downward road through your influence. 1LtMs, Lt 27, 1868, par. 11

You do not yet see yourselves. I entreat you, if you have respect for the truth and for heaven, do not dishonor the precious cause of your Redeemer longer through your unconsecrated lives. Take your home burdens and you will not be so readily inclined to run into vanity and selfishness. 1LtMs, Lt 27, 1868, par. 12

With eyes enlightened, look carefully into your own spirit; read your hearts; try your motives. Lay your soul bare for close and jealous investigation. As you are, you must fail of everlasting life. Your foundation is built upon the sand, which will be swept away with wind and rain. When the overflowing scourge shall pass over, your foundation will be tested, and it cannot stand. 1LtMs, Lt 27, 1868, par. 13

Mary, you have become blinded: you cannot discern true moral worth; you do not estimate and weigh your acts. May God pity you, for pride and self-esteem has given you a perverted idea of true modesty of deportment. 1LtMs, Lt 27, 1868, par. 14

You lack humility and sincerity. I want you to view these things as they are; divest yourself of self-love and pride long enough to view your own character correctly. A work is yet to be done for you which you cannot appreciate, because you do not discern the requirements of God. 1LtMs, Lt 27, 1868, par. 15

The judgment is just before us, when the work of every man and woman must be tried. All will be rewarded according as their works have been. An impartial Judge then views character stripped of all outward gloss. 1LtMs, Lt 27, 1868, par. 16

A thorough transformation must take place with you both before you can possess that meek and quiet spirit which in the sight of God is of great price. 1LtMs, Lt 27, 1868, par. 17

I write this in the depot. We have been waiting here four hours; we have been blocked in with snow. 1LtMs, Lt 27, 1868, par. 18

In love. 1LtMs, Lt 27, 1868, par. 19