Latter Day Saints' Messenger and Advocate/Volume 2/Number 8/Commentary on letters
The following is the copy of a letter from certain members of the Irvinite church, (so called,) in England, presented to certain elders of the Church of Latter Day Saints, on the evening of the 10th of June, 1835, by a gentleman named in the same, at the time, calling himself a communicant and preacher of that church.
"To the Saints of the Most High:
Dear brethren in the Lord—
At the council of the pastors of our church, held March 28, 1835, upon the propriety of the Rev. John Hewitt visiting you, it was resolved and approved, that as he had an anxious desire to go to America to see the things that are spoken of in one of your papers, brought here by a merchant from New York, he should have, as he desired, the sanction of the council, and if it pleased the Lord, his approval.
"The Lord hath seen our joy and gladness to hear that He was raising up a people for himself in that part of the New World, as well as here—O may our faith increase that he may have evangelists, apostles and prophets filled with the power of the Spirit, and performing his will in destroying the works of darkness."
"The Rev. Mr. Hewitt was professor of mathematics in Rother'm Independent Seminary, and four years pastor of Barnesly Independent church. He commenced preaching the doctrines we taught about two years since, and was excommunicated—many of his flock followed him, so that eventually he was installed in the same church, and the Lord's work prospered. As he is a living epistle you will have, if all be well, a full explanation. Many will follow should he approve of the country, &c. who will help the cause, because the Lord hath favored them with this world's goods."
We had an utterance during our meeting, which caused us to sing for joy. The Lord was pleased with our Brother's holy determination to see you, and we understand that persecution had been great among you, or would be; but we were commanded not to fear, for he would be with us—Praise the Lord."
"The time is at hand when distance shall be no barrier between us, but when, on the wings of love, Jehovah's messages shall be communicated by his saints. The Lord bless our brother and may he prove a blessing to you. Be not afraid of our enemies, they shall, unless they repent, be cast down by the Lord of hosts. The workers of iniquity have been used by the Prince of darkness to play the counterfeit, but discernment has been given to us that they were immediately put to shame by being detected, so that the flock never suffered as yet by them."
"Grace, mercy and peace be unto you from God our Father and from the Spirit, Jesus Christ our Lord,—Amen.
Your brother in the gospel."
(signed) "THOMAS SHAW."
"Barnesly, April 21st, 1835."
One object, and only one, has induced us to lay the foregoing letter from England, before our readers—and that is, the good of the cause of God. It might have remained in our possession perhaps for years in silence had it not been for circumstances which we will briefly mention:
After the arrival of Mr. Hewitt in this country, he held an interview with certain elders of this church, at which time our belief in the gospel was freely and frankly laid before him—from which, in general, he did not dissent, only that he did not believe the book of Mormon. He professed to be a member of the "Irvinite', church, (so called) and said that church believed in the gift of tongues, visions, &c. and that himself had been favored with communications from heaven.
Some time since we saw a notice in the Painesville Telegraph, signed by the said Hewitt, denying ever having been a member of the "Irvinite" church, or of having brought letter to this. We confess our astonishment at the sight of such an article, and feel to deplore the corruption of men who can so bare facedly deviate from the truth, when he must have known that his visit here could not have been forgotten so soon.
Having this sample of the man's character, we knew not how soon he might leave the country and perhaps still pretend to fellowship with the church which he represented here. And having given bro. Pratt's letter a place in the Advocate, he might also be induced to make his way to that society in Toronto, and do the cause of Christ an injury. Brother Pratt will now be prepared, in the event Hewitt should attempt any thing of that nature, to set the matter in a proper shape, and his brethren know in what manner they have been represented in this country by a man who no doubt, left England with the confidence and esteem of a people who have been vilified and traduced. Editor.
The following letter is from our esteemed friend and br. Parley P. Pratt. Elder Pratt not knowing of the change in the editorial department of this paper, addressed br. Whitmer, which will explain a sentence in the last clause. We are not forward in giving news in advance, neither do we think proper to entertain our readers with accounts from travelling elders, unless they have been successful in baptizing more or less, but the peculiar situation of br. Pratt, and the great stir which has been made about that people called Irvinites, has induced us to publish his letter entire. If the Lord continues to give elder Pratt access to that people, (which he will if they are honest before him,) then we may expect soon to hear of his success in that place; but if not, he will have the satisfactory reflection, that he has performed his duty in warning them to flee from the awaiting destruction, so plainly set forth in the prophets of God. And we hope not only that br. Pratt may meet with great success where he is now laboring, but that all others, who are proclaiming the gospel, may be instrumental in gathering out the elect of the Lord from the midst of a perverse generation. We say, may they be blessed with much wisdom, may they abound in all prudence, may the authority of the holy ministry attend them, may great grace be upon them, and may the Lord our God preserve them from the wicked devices and corrupting snares of a race of men whose hearts are far from the truth. Editor.