Letters from Mary Dana (1845) Letter 9

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[Please note that Spirit & Truth Fellowship International does not necessarily agree with the full content of this letter, however we think it is a very valuable and historical document that needs to be available online for all to read and study.]

MY DEAR SIR,

I have received, perused, and reperused your affectionate letters, and thank you for them. They were dictated, I know, by the most ardent love for me, and zeal for the honor and glory of the dear Redeemer. But they are altogether an appeal to my feelings, and are founded, I think, upon incorrect premises. And I will tell you why I say so. You write thus: “Crushed and almost heart-broken, my beloved friend, I have just risen from my knees, where, if ever my soul was poured out in prayer, it has been now for you, that God would, in his great mercy, for his dear Son’s sake, and especially for your own soul’s sake, even now arrest your hand before it tears the crown from the head of our glorious and exalted Saviour. O, how my heart clings to him when I see him thus sorely wounded in the house of his friends.” My dear friend, the strength of your feelings has misled you. What an expression! “Tears the crown!” I speak the truth, and I weep while I write it, when I declare that I would sooner die than rob the blessed Saviour—my once crucified, but now risen and glorified Lord, my Advocate, my Intercessor with the Father—of one particle of the honor and glory which is his due. Every word that the Bible speaks concerning him I believe to be true. I believe that “God hath highly exalted him, and given him a name which is above every name, that at the name of JESUS every knee should bow, and every tongue confess that He is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.” I love my Lord and Master in sincerity and in truth—”whom having not seen, I love; in whom, though now I see him not, yet believing, I rejoice with joy unspeakable, and full of glory.” I go to the Father only through him, because I believe that He is “the way, and the truth, and the life,” and that “other foundation can no man lay.” And when I arrive at Heaven, which I shall certainly do if I heartily strive to do the will of my Father which is in Heaven, I expect to unite with my dear sainted husband and son, and with “many angels round about the throne, and the beasts and the elders—ten thousand times ten thousand, and thousands of thousands—saying with a loud voice, Worthy is the Lamb that was slain to receive power, and riches, and wisdom, and strength, and honor, and glory, and blessing!” We read in 2 Pet. i. 17, that he “received from God the Father honor and glory, when there came such a voice from the excellent glory, (there is, we know, a glory that excelleth,) this is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.” Why may we not say to that Son of God, “Thou art worthy to receive?”

It is hard, my dear friend, to accuse me of tearing the crown from my glorious Redeemer’s head; and yet I know that the expression is dictated by your love to that Redeemer, and so I freely forgive it. Aye, more; I rejoice that you love him so well; but do not take it for granted that I do not love him, because I cannot render him the supreme homage which I honestly think belongs to God alone. The crown is still upon his head; he is at the head of the mediatorial kingdom, and will be there until that hour when “cometh the end, when he shall have delivered up the kingdom to God, even the Father, when he shall have put down all rule, and all authority, and power. For he must reign till he hath put all his enemies under his feet. The last enemy that shall be destroyed is death. For he hath put all things under his feet. And when he saith, all things are put under him, it is manifest that He is excepted, which did put all things under him. And when all things shall be subdued unto him, then shall the Son also himself be subject unto him that put all things under him, that GOD may be all in all.” It must take a very explicit statement of the doctrine that there are three equal persons in one God, to set aside a text so full, so unqualified, so clear as this; given, as it seems to me, in consideration of our weakness and want of knowledge.

My friend thinks that I have not acted with due respect to my beloved parents in not going to them at first with my doubts and fears. At first sight it may appear so, but I see from the manner in which my first communication, which I meant should be kind and respectful, has been received by you all, except my father, that I was right to take the course I have. Now do not misunderstand me—I am a reasonable being—I feel that I have been an honest, sincere, and industrious inquirer after truth, notwithstanding the insinuation that I have gone with my doubts to “professed friends on the other side.” I know you will believe me when I declare that this is not true. In the spirit and letter of the declaration, it is not true. In the solitude of my own chamber, the Holy Scriptures, my own mind, and, I trust, the Spirit of God, have done the work. You have not received my communication in anger, but has any one a right to take it for granted that I have relied on my own strength; have been under individual influence; have been taken advantage of by Satan, or any other adversary; have been given up to believe a strong delusion; have tried to reason myself into a belief of Unitarianism; have yielded to the pride of intellect; have in heart wandered away from God; have followed the leadings of my naturally proud and independent spirit; have rejected a doctrine because it is incomprehensible? Have I ever made this last assertion? Did I say I rejected the doctrine of the Trinity because it was incomprehensible? No, dear friend, I have not said so. I have rejected it because I cannot find it in the Bible. If I could satisfy myself that it was there, I would instantly receive it, however incomprehensible. [1]

Were I disposed to retort, I might say that those who receive the doctrine of the Trinity are the persons who are depending upon human reason. It appears to me they fall into two strange and opposite errors. They first construct the doctrine upon inference and human reason, and then prostrate reason to receive it. I do not take it for granted that those who differ from me must of necessity be wrong, and in a soul-ruining error; I only say that I cannot see as they do. What fallible creature should dare to say that he knows he is right?

You all lay more stress upon the consequences of my change than upon anything else. Consequences should be considered fully, fairly, intently, and deliberately; but are they of the first importance? And are you sure that I lose sight of them altogether? I leave these questions with you; your answer to them I know will be right.

I wish you to place every argument before me; I want to be tested; I bless God for the late singular and providential occurrences in our immediate family circle; they came just at the right time. These circumstances, and a consideration of the consequences to which you have so feelingly and justly alluded, will doubtless lead me to caution; but you must go further before I can give up my opinions. You must convince me that they are unscriptural and untenable, and I will honestly and instantly renounce them. But when all you say amounts to this, we are right, and you are wrong—you are blind, but we can see; I acknowledge that I am not in a fair way to be convinced. My friend says: “I bless God that I have not talents which lead me to reject all that I cannot understand.” I have already said that this is not my reason for rejecting the doctrine of the Trinity, but I bless God that he has given me talents which render me capable of judging for myself what is revealed; and for the right use of those talents I am accountable to God. I could comment on one or two texts in your letter—one of which is misquoted—and tell you in what light I view them, but you do not seem to wish any approach to argument, so I forbear.

I believe that for a long time I have been a follower of God, as a dear child, though not always a dutiful one, and often I have had occasion, like Peter, to weep bitterly over my sins. I believe that I have been in a doctrinal error all my life, but it was an involuntary one. I hope and believe that, as a true worshipper, I “worship the Father in spirit and in truth; for the Father seeketh such to worship him.” I believe that I am Christ’s, and “Christ is God’s.” I believe that “we are not redeemed with corruptible things, as silver and gold, but with the precious blood of Christ, as of a Lamb without blemish and without spot; who verily was foreordained before the foundation of the world, but was manifest in these last times for us, who by him do believe in God, that raised him from the dead, and gave him glory, that our faith and hope might be in GOD.” I believe that Jesus is gone into Heaven, and is “on the right hand of God, (how can he be God, and be also on God’s right hand?) angels, and authorities, and powers being made subject to him.”

My friend begs me not to attempt to shake the faith of others. My friend ought to know me better. They have their Bibles, and I have mine. If they and I follow the directions therein contained, we shall all arrive at Heaven, where we shall see the Saviour as he is, and be forever with the Lord. But sooner than feel that I am an object of suspicion and fear in this respect, I would prefer to exile myself to the ends of the world, and live and die alone. And this reminds me that my friend uses this expression, “now more alone, if you persist.” “Persist” in what, my dear friend? You have chosen an unfortunate word. It sounds as if you thought that I was merely taking this course because it was right in my own eyes. Is it wrong for me to “persist” in adhering to what are are my honest opinions? But I meant principally to turn your attention to the word alone. If I persist, who will be most alone, you or I? I know you do not do me the injustice to believe that I am without natural affection, and all these expressions I overlook, regarding them as an evidence of your love, though I could not in candor do otherwise than mention them. Dear friend, I want your prayers; I want your faithfulness; I want every test which you can give me; but judge not me, nor any one else, “that ye be not judged.”

O my Heavenly Father! If I have done dishonor to thy beloved Son, in whom thou art well pleased, I beseech thee to convince me of it by the illuminating influences of thy Holy Spirit. Thy Son has taught us how to pray, and has told us that whatever we shall ask the Father in his name, he will do it—in thy Son’s name I ask thee for direction at this most momentous era of my life. And while I pray to be made meek and lowly of heart, I thank thee, that, as I humbly hope, thou hast not given me the spirit of fear, “but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind.” And may the talents which thou hast given me, be consecrated to thine honor and glory, and to the spread of the Redeemer’s kingdom; these things I ask in thy dear Son’s name. Amen and Amen.

[Please note that Spirit & Truth Fellowship International does not necessarily agree with the full content of this letter, however we think it is a very valuable and historical document that needs to be available online for all to read and study.]


Endnotes:

1. The modern doctrine of the Trinity is, to me, so plainly a contradiction, that I deem it impossible it could be found in a revelation from God. Back to top