Letters and Manuscripts — Volume 1 (1844 - 1868)


Lt 6, 1867

Lay, Brother and Sister

Greenville, Michigan

May 6, 1867

Portions of this letter are published in 5MR 388-389.

Dear Brother and Sister Lay:

For several days my mind has been exercised to write you, but I have been so utterly prostrated by exercise of body and mind that I could not bring myself to the task of writing. 1LtMs, Lt 6, 1867, par. 1

As I was relating things which I had seen in regard to different ones at Battle Creek, your case came so vividly before me that I could not at that time, neither have I been able since, to force it from my mind. 1LtMs, Lt 6, 1867, par. 2

In the vision given me at Rochester, I was shown that God in His providence has been especially leading Brother Lay to obtain an experience that would be beneficial to himself and to the cause of God. I was shown that Sister Lay has suffered much with disease and infirmity both of body and mind. Yet if she would pursue a right course she would greatly improve her condition of health physically and mentally, that she need not be in the depressed state that she has been in for some time. Her imagination was diseased and she thought herself in a worse condition of health than she was in, in reality. 1LtMs, Lt 6, 1867, par. 3

Habit is very strong upon Sister Lay. She has believed herself in a very critical condition when she was simply mistaken. The mind and imagination was diseased. The power of the will would have carried her above very many ailments which were slight, at which the mind became alarmed, and yielded to symptoms. She need not have been in the inactive state that she was in the length of time she thus remained had she, regardless of symptoms and her fears, said with courage, I will be of use in the world. I will be free from disease. But she yielded to weariness. When she exercised a little, a dread was continually before her mind that she would be worse, that it was impossible for her to do this or that, when at the same time the doing of the very thing she thought she could not do but at the risk of life would have been of great advantage to her, and would have improved her health instead of injuring it. 1LtMs, Lt 6, 1867, par. 4

All through your life, Sister Lay, you have had, to a greater or less degree, a diseased imagination. God designed your affliction for your good, that it should remove from you many things detrimental to you, and which had proved a leaden weight to your husband. You have not realized your condition, or the effect both your physical and mental infirmities have had upon your husband. They have made him a weak man, in every sense of the word, when he might have been strong. He has suffered in mind intensely, when it all might have been saved had you viewed things calmly, rationally, and as a Christian wife should. 1LtMs, Lt 6, 1867, par. 5

There has been, dear sister, a failure with you for years which you have not realized—a set will of your own which has never been subdued. You consider your judgment inferior to none. Therefore, when you get your mind running in a wrong channel you cannot be advised or corrected by your husband. In short, you are headstrong and will not yield to reason and view things calmly, rationally. You are naturally of a jealous turn of mind, and unless the grace of God is especially abiding upon you, you yield to your own spirit and do not control your own will, way, and words. And O, how bitter, how hard at such times is the life of your husband! He has often coveted death, and has frequently been driven almost to insanity, and yet you did not, would not, realize his sufferings, but only kept before yourself a picture of your supposed wrongs when there has been scarcely the slightest thing for you to build such feelings upon. It has been a diseased imagination which has done all this mischief. 1LtMs, Lt 6, 1867, par. 6

You have not understood and appreciated your husband. While he has been thoroughly kind to you, you have distrusted him and nursed suspicious feelings toward him that he slighted you or did not value you as he should, when he has really estimated your capabilities higher than they can bear the test. Dear Sister Lay, you can be, I saw, a great benefit to your husband. Stand by his side, help him bear his burden instead of laying your whole weight upon him and being a burden yourself. It is the Spirit of God you want. You have no occasion for jealousy of the slightest order in regard to your companion. He loves you and has ever given you the first place in his heart, next to his Maker, and frequently he has swerved from his duty to his God to meet you and gratify your wishes to save himself worse trials, when he should have stood up in the fear of God and risked the consequences. Your spirit has been strong and he has felt that he could not stand against it. 1LtMs, Lt 6, 1867, par. 7

Brother Lay has erred in times back. He—as well as yourself—has been a lover of hospitality and has enjoyed the company of his brethren at his table when it was an injury to you, a tax to your physical energies. He has been of an extremely sensitive nature, and it has led him to take special pains to make all at home at his house, because he has experienced too frequently the chilling atmosphere which pervades the homes of some. But he sinned ignorantly. Sister Lay, your husband, as a physician, has had to cultivate social qualities of mind, a cheerfulness in the presence of others, a courtesy to all, when a heavy ache has been in his heart all the time, and he has been studying, What can I say? What can I do to help Julia? You have not understood your husband. The experience you have had at Dansville has greatly helped you to appreciate his worth, and yet, dear sister, you must view things from a higher, more elevated standpoint. 1LtMs, Lt 6, 1867, par. 8

God has laid upon him responsibilities which you do not have to bear. Give him all that respect and reverence due your husband and fear not that you will not have his love, his affections. You can pursue a course to chill the most earnest love, the most devoted affections. Would you lean upon the strong affections of your husband and be happy in his love, never harbor a thought or breathe a breath, a word of distrust in regard to his love for you. Never let jealousy live in your heart or abide there one moment. He deserves no such suspicion. Consider your godly husband above the slightest suspicion. 1LtMs, Lt 6, 1867, par. 9

I was shown that while at Dansville you both learned much, but heaven designed to accomplish a still greater work for you both if you would walk in the way that God could work for you. Dr. Lay saw errors in the chief physician at Dansville in regard to the course he pursued toward Mrs. Jackson, which he would never be influenced to imitate. He abhors all such fondness and familiarity as this man exhibited towards females. Yet I was shown that God would not have him remain a much longer time at Dansville, for he would be in danger of receiving some things or viewing some things in the same light, or much in the same light, as Dr. Jackson viewed them, which would hinder his influence in the position God would have him fill. 1LtMs, Lt 6, 1867, par. 10