In our time the Dean Laestadius began to work in the Lapland of Tornio like John the Baptist in the wilderness of Judea. He began to wake up sorrowless sinners by sermons of law putting according to folk's manner to speak their life in front of their eyes. He even shows in his sermons that such life brings forth to the destruction of hell if a change of the heart and mind do not happen through repentance, penitence and living faith upon Lord Christ.
This doctrine effected first wrath among the majority in the areas of Lapland and the parish of Pajala, and even on the shores of Finland and Tornio people got a sting of ears of the voice of Laestadius. It is no wonder that such folks got an illnes in the gall, because all harlots, thieves, drunkards, liquor dealers and fighting men were trusting on God's grace without repentance. That is why they do neither tolerate nor hear the sermons of repentance. The liquor dealers said first in the parish of Karesuando that "if such kind of sermons will be kept, the Church will become empty." But when the preaching had gone on in two years time, folks even from other communities came to the services, so that all people had not place in the Church. All who God by His word and Spirit woke up, felt the power and became enlightened by the doctrine and sermons of the Dean Laestadius, even though the sermons were not kept in decorated words. That is why the naturally virtuous folks get angry, both the lords and farmers, when according to the Holy Bible the rebirth is demanded in the following sermons, "even if the rebirth should have taken place already as child in the baptisement."
It is even shown that selfrighteousness is not valid as the foundation of the salvation. This is not tolerated by the civilized world which trusts on its own honesty. This is the greatest reason to the accusations which the lords of the world and the liquor dealers made against him. That is why Laestadius got angry enemies when he did not leave the lords of the world and the sorrowless glergy without punishment.
Note this, dear reader, that he was persecuted as all the preachers of righteousness are persecuted. He was able to tell me about this at the time when many did not see a coming change, that the persecution is approaching. It is possible that a false sect can appear beside the right [Church]. So it happened even in Koutokeino, of which the Bishops of Norway wanted to accuse Laestadius. But it was not Laestadius' fault, because he had not such men at that time, which he could have been able to send to Koutokeino in right time when it still had been possible to advice them.
He sent me, and gave me the office to keep schools in the parishes of Jukkasjarvi and Gallivare, where the Lappish people in that time were under the flood of liquor and adulterous life, drowning into a natural and eternal destruction, just like in the parish of Karesuando.
Now the seventeeth year is at hand since the Dean Laestadius' death. The field of God is still flourishing beautifully both in the Laplands of Tornio and Lulea. On the shores of Tornio, in Finland, Norway and even into America has the work and revival movement, that Laestadius began, expanded. A great multitude have already with joy met the end of their life.
We said above that Laestadius' sermons which he kept in the Church effected first wrath in the hearts of a lot of people, but when they became awakened, the wrath was changed into love, and they confessed their sins and asked forgiveness, and they have paid their evil deeds. The consequence of that is the fact, that even this year a lot of evil deeds are paid, when young people have awakened in the province of Lapland. But all have not yet made repentance. All field is not the good ground, as Christ says. There are still harlots, thieves, companions of thieves and liquor dealers. Laestadius preached in his sermons which he kept in the Church repentance even to virtuous harlots, honest thieves and honorable liquor dealers. These sheep of slaughter he according to his own words led for sake of the hungry sheep.
He has through his sermons of law prepared the road for Lord Jesus into the hearts of the folks just like John the Baptist. He has shown the Lamb of God to the awakened ones and built up the road from the Garden to Golgotha. He has even put he bleeding, thorncrowned King in front of the eyes of those who are sorrowful because of their sins, and he has led them to acquaintance with living Lord Jesus. He has preached to the awakened ones that the sins may not prevent them to believe through Christ the forgiveness of sins. The corruption [of sin] which is not deleted must not sink the partakers of grace into doubts. You may understand this, [dear] reader! that he calls the sorrowless people: the thieves of grace, [namely] those who trust upon God's grace without the change of the heart and the mind, those who even do carnal deeds. The selfrighteousness of the virtuous ones is not valid as the foundation of salvation, because they lack the living faith and the feeling of blessedness. They even lie without the Holy Ghost spiritually dead.
The Dean Laestadius has said that those whom the Christians in behalf of God in the name of the Lord testify the forgiveness of sins, are not thieves of grace. And this is what the doctrine of Christ also has shown. In the begining of the awakening the most part of people in the Churches of the parishes of Karesuando and Pajala were sorrowless. That is why Laestadius had to preach more law than at the present time. Now the most part of people who come to the meeting places and prayerhouses are believers and through law awakened ones. The preachers and those who declare the word of God must preach gospel and testify the forgiveness of sins through Jesus' name and blood, so that they may be able to by faith receive the grace of the Lord.
Beloved readers and coming generations. Take heed of the sermons of the Dean Laestadius! because he is the first and best laborer on God's field in the province of Lapland. God has blessed and given growth for his and his disciples' labor. The fields have become white for the time of harvest. The field of God is ready for harvest in many places. Indeed we wish for rain from heaven so that the flowers of eternity would grow on the graves of the laborers of the field.
Builders, build the spiritual house on the foundation of the Prophets and apostles in which Jesus Christ is the best corner stone, on which the whole building stands. On the same foundation has the Dean Laestadius built. Let us still remain in that hope that he through his sermons wakes up his tired disciples who have been waking and striving nearly thirty years' time in their most precious faith and traveled in the holy way. These firstborn have got thousands of brothers and sisters, born of God, even during the last years.
Be free, you into freedom redeemed flock! Remain on the mount of Zion, in the city of the living God, it is, in the congregation of the living God. In this congregation are the souls and the hearts which are sprinkled by the bloody sermon of gospel. They are released from bad conscience through faith upon Lord Jesus. Let us be diligent in the law of Christ in order to love each others. There is still one sheepfold and one shepherd according to the word of the Lord. Work for keeping the congregation united! Let us praise God through Jesus Christ that the Lord has woke up even clergy men to continue the work of Laestadius! - God will always take care of his matter. - Repentance and forgiveness of sins is still preached according to the commandment of the Lord.
We will even finally remind, because voices have been heard that the followers of Laestadius have changed the doctrine after his death, that it is not true. Because all that nowadays has been preached, has been the same doctrine as that which has been preached at Laestadius' time, even though Luther and Laestadius have in their sermons, which they have kept in the Church, put the law of Moses to quideline for such Christian congregations which are carnal in their life, in that intention, that God's righteousness through law would chastise them to fly to Christ, through faith receive the forgiveness of sins for sake of Jesus' name and blood, and even the righteousness of Christ which is the pure wedding garment in front of God's bright face, and even get powers through the Spirit to mortify the carnal deeds. The law is not set for those who are justified, says Paul. But nevertheless we are not without law. We have the law of Christ. It says that we should love each other. The love of Christ demands to reject all ungodliness. The holy life will become upbuilt through faith upon Lord Christ. Thus the law has been our schoolmaster [to bring us] unto Christ. But when the faith came, then we are not more under that schoolmaster.
The Dean Laestadius has not bound the awakened consciences with the law if the sermons are right understood, but he teaches [people] to believe and rebukes those who commit the sin of unbelief, calling it selfrighteousness, so that our righteousness would not come through the law. Because all of those who are of the works of the law, are under the curse, says Paul. And if the righteousness would come through the law, then Christ would have died in vain.
Be free, you redeemed flock! Christ Jesus is by God set for us to wisdom, righteousness, sanctification and redemption. - All peaceless consciences, own by the faith of the heart through the mouthly confession and through the faith of the heart, the salvation for sake of Jesus' name.
Glory to God the Father and the Son and the Holy Ghost for ever! Amen. Halleluja!
You will hear more about the conversion and Christianity of Laestadius in the biography. - I have written this and said the truth. By Laestadius educated teacher of the children.
Saivonmuotka July 1877.