Dear Brother J: A great solemnity has rested upon my mind since the vision given Friday evening, June 12, 1868. I was shown that you do not know yourself. You have not felt reconciled to the testimony given in your case and have not made thorough work to reform. I was referred to Isaiah: "Is not this the fast that I have chosen? to loose the bands of wickedness, to undo the heavy burdens, and to let the oppressed go free, and that ye break every yoke? Is it not to deal thy bread to the hungry, and that thou bring the poor that are cast out to thy house? when thou seest the naked, that thou cover him; and that thou hide not thyself from thine own flesh?" If you do these things, the blessings promised will be given.
You may raise the inquiry, "Wherefore have we fasted," "and Thou seest not? wherefore have we afflicted our soul, and Thou takest no knowledge?" God has given reasons why your prayers were not answered. You have thought that you had found reasons in others and have charged the fault upon them. But I saw that there are sufficient reasons in yourself. You have a work to do to set your own heart in order. You should realize that the work must begin with yourself. You have oppressed the destitute and have benefited yourself by taking advantage of their necessities. In regard
to means, you nave been close and dealt unjustly. You have not possessed that kind, noble, and generous spirit which should ever characterize the life of a follower of Christ. You have oppressed the hireling in her wages. You saw a poorly clad, hard-working person who you knew was conscientious and God-fearing; yet you took advantage of her because you could do so. I saw that the neglect of seeing and understanding her wants, and the small wages paid her, are all written in heaven as done to Jesus in the person of one of His saints. As you have done this unto the least of Christ's disciples, you have done it unto Him. Heaven has regarded all your closeness to those who have served in your house, and it will stand faithfully chronicled against you unless it is repented of and restitution made. One wrong move does more harm than can be undone in years; if the wrongdoer could see the extent of the evil, it would wring from his soul cries of anguish. You are selfish in regard to means. In the case of Brother K the angel of God pointed to you and said: "Inasmuch as ye have done this to one of Christ's disciples, ye have done it to Jesus in His person."
The cases I have mentioned are not the only ones. I would you could see these things as Heaven has opened them before me. There is a sad deception upon minds. It is the religion of Christ that you need. He pleased not Himself, but lived to benefit others. You have a work to do, and should lose no time in humbling your heart before God, and by humble confessions remove the blots from your Christian character. Then can you engage in the solemn work of laboring for the salvation of others without making so many mistakes.
What has your time amounted to, spent as it has been spent while engaged in a work which God did not set you about? Impressions have been made on minds, and experiences gained, which it will require much labor for them to efface.
Souls will wander in darkness, perplexity, and unbelief, and some will never recover. With fasting and earnest prayer, with deep heart searching, stern self-examination, lay bare the soul; let no act escape your critical examination. Then, with self dead and your life hid with Christ in God, offer your humble petitions. If you regard iniquity in your heart, the Lord will not hear you. If He had heard your prayers, you would have been exalted. Satan has stood by, prepared to make the most of the advantage he has gained.
Oh, how important it is that faithfulness in little things characterize our lives, that true integrity mark all our course of action, and that we ever bear in mind that angels of God are taking cognizance of every act! That which we mete to others shall be meted to us again. A fearfulness should ever attend you lest you should deal unjustly, selfishly. By sickness and adversity the Lord will remove from us much more than we obtain by grinding the face of the poor. A just God truly estimates all our motives and actions.
I was shown Brother and Sister L. The love of the world has so eaten out true godliness and benumbed the powers of the mind that the truth fails to have a transforming influence upon the life and character. The love of the world has closed their hearts to compassion and to a consideration of the wants of others; its spirit has separated them from God. Brother and sister, you have a work to do to get from beneath the rubbish of the world; you need to make earnest efforts to overcome your love of the world, your selfishness, and your penuriousness. These are sins which are cursing God's people. I was pointed back to the community in which you lived previous to your moving to -----. You were close and exacting in deal there, taking advantage every time that you could well do so. I tried to find in your lives acts of noble self-sacrifice and benevolence, but could not, they were so rare. Your light has
shone before others in such a manner that they have felt disgusted with you and your faith. The truth has been reproached by your closeness and overreaching in deal. May God help you to see all, and to have that hatred for this evil that He has. Let your light so shine that others by seeing your good works may be led to glorify your Father who is in heaven. God has been displeased with your course, for it has been marked by self-interest. He is still displeased with it, and will deal with you in judgment, unless you rid yourself of this spirit of littleness, and seek to be sanctified through the truth. Faith without works is dead, being alone. Faith will never save you unless it is justified by works. God requires of you to be rich in good works, ready to distribute, willing to communicate, laying up in store for yourselves a good foundation against the time to come, that you may lay hold on eternal life.
I was shown that you have oppressed hirelings in their wages. You have taken advantage of circumstances and secured your help at the lowest figure. This has not been pleasing to God. You should have paid your help liberally, all that they earned. God sees and knows. The Searcher of hearts is acquainted with the thoughts, the intents and purposes of the heart. Every dollar that has been gained by you in this way, if retained, will be scattered through adversity and affliction. The world, the world, the world, has been the order of the day with you. The salvation of the soul has become secondary. Oh, that you could see, in the light of eternity, just how God views these things. You would be alarmed and would not rest until you had made restitution.
You had light upon health reform, but you did not receive and live up to it. You gratified the appetite and taught your boy a sad lesson by indulging him in eating when and what he chose. In your love for the world you continued to work upon the high-pressure plan. The hand of God was removed,
and you were left to your own weakness. Then you both tottered over the brink of the grave, yet you failed to learn the lesson in many things which God would have you learn. You retained your love for the world. Your selfish love for gain, your small, close dealing, was not put away. You did not appreciate the sympathy, kind care, and watchful tenderness of the one who had the care of you in your sickness. If you had, it would have led you to manifest a spirit of noble benevolence above any cheap dealing with her who had been true to you. You have ground the face of the poor; you have dealt unjustly. "There is that scattereth, and yet increaseth; and there is that withholdeth more than is meet, but it tendeth to poverty."
It seemed to me, as these things were presented before me, that Satan had possessed such power to blind minds through a love of the world, that even professed Christians forgot, or lost all sense of the fact that God lives and that His angels are making a record of all the doings of the children of men; that every mean act, every small deal, is placed upon the life record. Every day bears its burden of record of unfulfilled duties, of neglect, of selfishness, of deception, of fraud, of overreaching. What an amount of evil works is accumulating for the final judgment! When Christ shall come, "His reward is with Him, and His work before Him," to render to every man according as his works have been. What a revelation will then be made! What confusion of face to some as the acts of their lives are revealed upon the pages of history!
"Hearken, my beloved brethren, Hath not God chosen the poor of this world rich in faith, and heirs of the kingdom which He hath promised to them that love Him? But ye have despised the poor." "What doth it profit, my brethren, though a man say he hath faith, and have not works? can faith save him? If a brother or sister be naked, and destitute of daily
food, and one of you say unto them, Depart in peace, be ye warmed and filled; notwithstanding ye give them not those things which are needful to the body; what doth it profit? Even so faith, if it hath not works, is dead, being alone." You may believe all the truth; yet if its principles are not carried out in your lives, your profession will not save you. Satan believes and trembles. He works. He knows his time is short, and he has come down in great power to do his evil works according to his faith. But God's professed people do not support their faith by their works. They believe in the shortness of time, yet grasp just as eagerly after this world's goods as though the world were to stand a thousand years as it now is.
Selfishness marks the course of many. "But whoso hath this world's good, and seeth his brother have need, and shutteth up his bowels of compassion from him, how dwelleth the love of God in him? My little children, let us not love in word, neither in tongue; but in deed and in truth . And hereby we know that we are of the truth, and shall assure our hearts before Him. For if our heart condemn us, God is greater than our heart, and knoweth all things. Beloved, if our heart condemn us not, then have we confidence toward God. And whatsoever we ask, we receive of Him, because we keep His commandments, and do those things that are pleasing in His sight."
Divest yourselves of selfishness and make thorough work for eternity. Redeem the past and do not represent the holy truth you profess where you now live as you have where you have lived hitherto. Let your light so shine that others by seeing your good works may be led to glorify our Father in heaven. Stand upon the elevated platform of eternal truth. Regulate all your business transactions in this life in strict accordance with the word of God.