SHAKER TESTIMONIES of the Life, Character, Revelations and Doctrines of Mother Ann Lee, and the Elders with Her.
Published by the Shakers in 1816; Reprinted 1888.  
        Lust, Pride and Covetousness

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On-line at PTW: November 30, 1997
  Last update: August 6, 2013

“Testimonies of Mother Ann Lee and the Elders”

Authentic Excerpt from: Chapter XXXXII, pages 226-229

Lust, Pride and Covetousness



19. Rebecca Slosson, and a number of other Sisters being at Watervliet, in January, 1784, and being one day employed in washing, Mother Ann came into the room, and reproved them sharply for their wastefulness, and said, “It is a sin to waste soap, or any thing else that God has given you.   If you knew the sufferings for sin, you would fear God in all you do and say.” Rebecca Slosson.

20. In the spring of 1784, Jonathan Lougee visited the Church at Watervliet; he hailed from Canterbury, N.H.  While there Mother Ann reproved him for not coming oftener.  She said, “The people in your parts are wealthy, but covetous.   You ought to hate your covetousness and your lusts, and forsake them, and be joyful and cheerful, and take up your crosses and serve God.” Johathan Lougee.

21. At Ashfield, Mother Ann spoke to the Believers as follows: “You all have the nature of lust in you; if you have not given away to particular actions, yet you are all lost in that nature which you received from your forefathers; you have been born and brought up in it, and have still persisted in bringing up your children in the same manner, building them up in their lust and pride, fixing and adorning them from their infancy, yea, even from the breast, to allure the eyes of the opposite sex.  And your teachers never taught you any better; for they never did any better themselves.  If you had followed the dictates of your own consciences, you would not have been so far sunk and lost in these things.”  “I felt the lost situation of the people in America while I was in my own land.  I felt that there were souls here who would be glad to receive the gospel when it was offered to them.   Now the gospel is opened to you and if you will obey it, and take up your crosses against your carnal natures, you will find a victory over them.”  She also said, “I labored in tribulation and sorrow and sufferings, to gain the victory over my carnal nature, and had no one to help me, but God alone; but it is not so with you; for you can have help whenever you need.” Phebe Spencer.

22. Soon after Phebe Chase received the gospel, she was much wrought upon in outward operations.  Feeling somewhat ashamed of her operations, and thinking it would do the world no good to see them, she strove to conceal herself at such times, to avoid being seen by the world; but never opened her feelings to any one about the matter.  About this time she was at Harvard, and saw Mother Ann, whom she had never seen before.  Mother told her what her thoughts and feelings had been, and said, “You ought to let your light shine, that others may see your works, your faith, and repentance, that they may take knowledge of the way of God.  You ought to stand forth, and let the world see the great power of God which you have upon you, and it will convict them.” Phebe Chase.

23. At David Hammond’s, in Petersham, Elder James reproved an aged man for disobedience to Mother.  She had told him to go to J. M.’s to dinner; he replied that he had given D. M. a fat lamb, and he would take dinner there.  After dinner Elder James reproved him, saying, “All the lambs of your flock will not atone for one act of disobedience.  Samuel said, ‘To obey is better than sacrifice, and to hearken, than the fat of rams;’ but I say, to obey is better than sacrifice; and to hearken than all your fatlings.” John Robinson.

24. At Ashfield, while Elder James was speaking, one evening, to an assembly of people, his hand was stretched out by the power of God, toward the men, and he advanced in that direction, to a man whom he led forth into the midst of the assembly.  At the same instant, another Elder’s hand being extended, in the same manner toward the women, he advanced and led forth a woman.   The man and woman being brought forth, Mother Ann exclaimed to them, “I know what you have been about,– you have been clapping hands with the devil,– you have been into your lusts, – you need not think to come here to cover your sins; for the gift of God will search you out.”  They both kneeled down, owned the truth of the testimony, and confessed their sin. John Wadley.

25. Some of the Believers at Harvard, being bound in their affections to their children, who were married, and living after the course of the world, discovered more anxiety to provide for them, than for their Believer children.  This being made known to the Elders, labors were made to purge out that fleshly sense, and to teach those who had set out to follow Christ in the regeneration, what their real duty was in such cases.

26. Afterward, Father James Whittaker addressed the Believers in public assembly, on the same subject, saying “If you are after your worldly children, any more than the rest of the worldly, you are in the flesh effectually.  Christ said, ‘Who is my mother? and who are my brethren but they who do the will of my Father who is in heaven.’  And if you claim any other relation, the present ministration does not claim you.  Take heed lest you have to suffer in hell while your wicked children are making an ungodly use of that which you give them.” Abijah Wooster.

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