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Life Sketches Manuscript

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    Fruits of the No-work Doctrine

    There were some in Paris, ME, who believed that it was sin to work. Elder Jesse Stevens was the leader in this error, and exerted strong influence over others. For years he had been a Methodist preacher, and was considered a humble, faithful Christian. By his zeal for the advent message and apparently holy living, he had won the confidence of many, and some believed him to be especially directed by God.LSMS 143.4

    The Lord gave me a reproof for this man, declaring that he was going contrary to the word of God in abstaining from labor, in urging his errors upon others, and in denouncing all who did not receive them. He rejected every evidence which the Lord gave to convince him of his error, and was determined to make no change in his course. He took weary journeys, walking great distances to places where he would receive only abuse, and thought that in so doing he was suffering for Christ's sake. Impressions were followed and reason and judgment were laid aside.LSMS 143.5

    Not only did the Lord give me a faithful message for this man, but also I was sent long distances to warn the people of God against the errors he was urging upon them. At one time I was shown that I must go to Paris, ME, for a meeting was appointed there which I must attend. I followed the direction given me, and upon arriving learned that Elder Stevens had notified the brethren that there was to be a great meeting the next day at the house of Brother C. in which an important matter was to be brought out. He urged all to attend.LSMS 144.1

    The next morning we went to the place appointed for the meeting. When Elder Stevens came in and saw us present, he seemed troubled. The meeting opened with prayer. Then as I tried to pray, the blessing of the Lord rested upon me, and I was taken off in vision.LSMS 144.2

    Elder Stevens had declared that he would listen to nothing but the Bible. I was shown the teachings of the Bible in contrast with his errors. I then saw that the frown of God was upon him because he was leading honest, conscientious souls astray. They saw inconsistencies in his faith, and their judgment told them he was wrong, yet they feared to differ with him.LSMS 144.3

    His object in appointing that meeting had been to make an effort to strengthen the cords of error with which he had bound these souls.LSMS 144.4

    I saw that God would work for the salvation of His people; that Elder Stevens would soon manifest himself, so that all the honest in heart would see that he was not actuated by a right spirit, and that his career would soon close. Soon afterward the snare was broken, and he had but little more influence over the brethren. He denounced the visions of being of the devil, and continued to follow his impressions, until his mind was deranged and his friends were obliged to confine him. At last he made a rope of some of his bed clothing, with which he hanged himself, and his followers were brought to realize their condition.LSMS 145.1

    God ordained that the beings He created should work. Upon this their happiness depends. Healthy young men and women have no need of cricket, ball playing, or any kind of amusement just for the gratification of self, to pass away the time. There are useful things to be done by every one of God's created intelligences. Someone needs from you something that will help him. No one in the Lord's great domain of creation was to be made a drone. Our happiness increases and our powers develop as we engage in useful employment.LSMS 145.2

    Action gives power. Entire harmony pervades the universe of God. All heavenly beings are in constant activity, and the Lord Jesus, in His life work, has given an example for everyone. He went about “doing good.” God established the law of obedient action. Silent but ceaseless, the objects of His creation do their appointed work. The ocean is in constant motion. The springing grass, which today is, and tomorrow is cast into the oven, does its errand, clothing the fields with beauty. The leaves are stirred to motion, and yet no hand is seen to touch them. The sun, moon, and stars are useful and glorious in fulfilling their mission.LSMS 145.3

    At all times the machinery of the body continues its work. Day by day the heart throbs, doing its regular, appointed task, unceasingly forcing its crimson current to all parts of the body. Action, action, is seen pervading the whole living machinery. And man, his mind and body created in God's own similitude, must be active in order to fill his appointed place. He is not to be idle. Idleness is sin.LSMS 146.1

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