Chapter 30


TWO and a half months before Noyes's arrest his sister Mary, wife of Larkin G. Mead, made the following written confession of salvation from sin, which was published in The Spiritual Magazine:

Brattleboro, August '5, 1847.

Dear Brother:
"This is the record, that God bath given to us eternal life; and this life is in his Son." "If thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thy heart that God bath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved."

I believe that Jesus Christ is in me a risen savior, and that

I am saved from sin and its consequences; and may his strength be made perfect in weakness.

Your sister,

REMINISCENCE BY NOYES DECEMBER 23, 1850 There are two or three particular days in my life that project into peculiar prominence. The day I found Christ and gained victory over sin at New Haven was one. And there was one day in our terrible campaign at Putney that was as soul-stirring as any I ever saw. It was when Mary Mead came down from Montpelier to Putney There was no time in the whole course of our trials when the storm beat so heavily as it did that morning. I went to my bedroom and lay down to


think. My mind was in chaos-no light in any direction. All that I could say was, that God knew how things were going and would see that all went right. But it seemed as if the vindication of the truth was impossible, as if the Devil in the shape of law and brutality had won the entire advantage. While in that state of mind I had an inspiration as distinct as a voice from heaven, that victory had come, and that God would give me a sign of it immediately. In half an hour Mary came.

The circumstances of her visit were these: Mr. Mead was in the Senate, and she was with him at Montpelier. When they heard about my arrest, she decided to come. She held her mind calm, and entreated Mr. Mead not to commit himself until he heard from her. The importance of her visit was greatly increased by the fact that she had the respect and confidence of the surrounding community. As Colonel Keyes said, she was "not a woman to be humbugged," and the people stood watching. They all expected her to fall upon us and sink us. And truly, her coming did not look like a sign of victory. To take a mind like hers fresh from the world and bring it up square to such tremendous doctrines as we professed and practiced seemed hopeless.

I marched into the room as if going to the gallows, determined to die like a man. I sat down and just opened my mouth in simplicity, and she heard me in a calm, respectful spirit. God took charge of the conversation. 1 had great freedom in setting before her our position. To my astonishment she yielded point after point, and took all quietly. When I had finished, she was satisfied that we were true and good people. Her endorsement at this crisis was like a ree~nforcement of "twelve legions of angels." It paralyzed the village. Although the enemy gathered again, yet my mind always recurs to that day as the beginning of victory.



You will wish me to relieve your mind in respect to affairs here. You said they would tell me everything. I have conversed with all with whom 1 am particularly acquainted, and I have not heard anything or seen anything that leads me to think them in any way licentious. On the contrary, I must still think they are led l)y the spirit of God, and are the children of God in the midst of a wicked and adulterous generation. I am still ready to believe that all will yet be right, and to await the event. John has given me many of his views, and will give you the same, if you desire it. Neither you nor I will be called to anything that we shall not see the directing hand of God in, if we look for it and desire it. They all seem in good spirits, and peace and harmony prevail here.



Putney, November 4, 1847.

Dear Mother:
Mary left here this morning. . . . Away from her family cares, with her heart directed toward God in constant prayer, thinking deeply as she journeyed alone, she prepared herself to meet us. She made up her mind that, if she gave us up, she must give up God in the heavens. .

In a conversation of two or three hours length John gave her a clear and beautiful exposition of his new theory of society, related to her as far as he could without exposing her to be called on for a wituess the facts in Mrs. '5 case, and left her to infer facts in general. Before she went away she knew all that could be told. And how do you think she stood it? She expressed herself in this way: "I had but a grain of faith, but it has removed this great mountain." "I


am a perfect miracle to myself." "A thought just now came across me which made the perspiration start, but it lasted only two or three minutes; 1 am perfectly quiet." In such language she poured forth her heart. In the first conversation she shed tears, her face was crimson, she made some objections; but the conclusion was a peaceful assent to the truth.

God has responded niost beautifully to her confession of him in the paper. She says she has a great deal more self-confidence than she had. . . . On the other hand, in her reception of this truth God has confessed us, bringing all her reputation and influence a timely offering to his cause. .

It is a time of much spiritual experience and advance in the different members of our body. Mrs. Campbell could tell you a long story. Her reputation has given her dying pangs. The confession of this thing is just the same as death. John told Mary she had passed through all the death she ever would. .

Your loving daughter,


Hamden, Connecticut, November 6, 1847.

Dear Charlotte:
Last evening The Spiritual Magazine and a letter from Mr. Mead arrived. The paper tells pretty plainly of some outburst among you, and I expect that all will be wondering. Mr. Mead of course is dreadfully horrified, shudders, begs and warns, has wept and prayed. He is really to be pitied on some accounts, but in others he is only reaping what he has sown. He has never acted a ma~y part towards a confession of Christ, and now I don't know how he will come out unless he is an infidel. Poor Mary! I hope her tears are worthy of a bottle for future use.




Montpelier, November 7, 1847

Brother Miller: . . .
I was glad to hear from so good authority that you Perfectionists are not all "going to the devil." To all I hear of Putney affairs I have only to say, I am not able yet to associate in my mind the names of my dear family friends there with-adultery. When I become convinced that John's theological speculations end in a community of persons, I shall think the sooner he is shut up in some kind of a prison the better for all concerned. .

Remember me to friends and believe me,

Yours as ever,


Brattleboro, November 10, 1847.

Brother John:
When I left you at Putney, I said I had had no revelations of the truths you were propagating, but my confidence in you had hitherto been such that 1 must still trust you. I came home with a full determination to know the truth and to abide by it at any sacrifice. My mind was entirely occupied with it for three days. My prayers and entreaties with many tears were, that I might know the truth, that I might be led in the right way. I read the Bible with great earnestness. I was not moved by any external influences, for I entirely refused to talk with Horatio or Mary[1] upon the subject. (They called to see me very soon after I returned.) Mr. Mead did not mention the subject in his letter, and no one else has spoken to me about it. I always defended you on the ground that you kept close to the Bible. But I have come to the conclusion in this last

1 Horatio's wife, Mary Chand1er. - G. W. N.


instance, God being my helper, that I cannot follow you, for you have left the Bible. If there is any meaning to the words of the Bible, it is certainly against you.

I had written much the same as this to Mother, but finally concluded to send for Harriet to come and see me before I sent it. I do not know whether Harriet got my letter. As I have heard nothing from you, I am constrained to write this to you and send Mother's letter to her.

Your sister,


Putney, November 11, 1847.

Dear Sister Mary:
Your letter has not disturbed the friendly feelings of my heart toward you. I am pleased with the independence you have manifested both toward the world and toward me. After all your self-distrust, conscientious decision and energy equal to Mother's have come to the birth in your character.

I am also pleased with your determination to stick to the Bible at all hazards. If I have really left it, you have my full consent to leave me. But you remember that I made the Bible the foundation of my discourse when you received my views. You then examined the Bible in the atmosphere of Putney; you have since examined it in the atmosphere of Brattleboro. You then examined it in a spirit which sustained you "miraculously;" you have since examined it in your own weakness. You then examined it with my help; you have since examined it with no help hut your own understanding. You are sure of your conclusion from the Bible; I am at least equally sure of mine from the same source. Whether your talent, opportunity of investigation, and spiritual illumination render your conclusion more trustworthy than mine, you may judge.


I wish you to remember that I have heretofore helped you in the understanding of the Bible on some difficult points, and it may be that I am called to the privilege of helping you on the point now in discussion. If I am, God will teach you to give heed to my word as well as to search the Scriptures. In the old gospel times persons as well as books received honor from God. "He that receiveth you, receiveth me," said Christ to his disciples. Whether I have given you sufficient proof that I am a disciple and have this honor, you again may judge. Certain it is that you have freely received me hitherto as an authenticated disciple of Christ, and your only reason for rejecting me now is that after three days earnest study you have come to the conclusion that I am in error on a subject which I have studied earnestly for fourteen years. I think this neither wise nor safe.

Mr. Mead says, if my theological speculations have ended in community of persons, the sooner I am in prison the better. This hasty and illiberal judgment coming from a Unitarian, whose creed is toleration and who endorses the censures which his sect bestows on Calvin for burning Servetus and on the Puritans for hanging and harassing the Salem witches and the Quakers, presents a curious picture of human weakness. The Quakers were insubordinate to human governments, the witches practised magnetism, Servetus taught heresy. We also are charged with these offenses, and the first representative of Unitarianism we meet recommends that we be incarcerated forthwith!

I am about to present the Bible argument on the subject of heavenly morality in a form suitable for constant reference. I advise you again to suspend judgment and keep quiet till you see what I have to say.

Yours in remembrance and hope,



Putney, November 13, 1847.

Sister Mary:
I am satisfied with your position as defined in the last part of your letter.

As to deception, remember that your first letter to Mr. Mead was quite as deceptive as any of our proceedings. Yet it was honest and inspired. Paul was 'a deceiver and yet true " Remember that the truth concerning the third heaven, where the will of God is done as the Lord's prayer asks that it may be done on earth, was not lawful to be uttered in the times when the Bible was written, and therefore is not to be sought on the surface of the Bible but in such radical hints as you will find referred to and discussed in my past writings.

You speak as though I had said little on this subject heretofore. You will find that I have said a great deal. The second coming, holiness and this subject make the threefold cord of my testimony. I will refer you to the seventh and tenth numbers of The Witness, Vol. I ; to an article entitled "The Crisis of Perfectionism Past" in The Perfectionist, Vol. 3, No.24; to my "Declaration of Independence," The Perfectionist, Vol. 3, page 61; and to the whole of the two numbers of The Spiritual Moralist. You find nothing in The Berean on this subject. Read in The Berean "Marriage Nailed to the Cross," and especially "The Condensation of Life."

In answer to your objection that we are not in the resurrection I affirm that we are just as deep in the resurrection as we are in the freedom of heaven. Neither is yet perfected. The coming of one is necessarily coincident with the coming of the other. The freedom of heaven is the sunshine that melts the snows of death. Read the article "The Kingdom of God Has Come."


Be quiet, search the Scriptures, ask for the spirit of revelation and wisdom, and remember me with such respect and love as you know I deserve, and all will yet be well between us.

Your brother,


Chapter 31: The Flight | Contents