Letters and Manuscripts — Volume 2 (1869 - 1875)




Lt 1, 1870

King, Brother

Battle Creek, Michigan

February 19, 1870

Portions of this letter are published in 11MR 201.

Dear Brother King:

I wrote you in the letter entrusted to Brother Toll, in regard to the child that is living with you. You all said that she was a good, affectionate, sweet child when she came to your house. I love her much. I have ever felt an interest for her. 2LtMs, Lt 1, 1870, par. 1

When I have seen any one from your place, I have inquired particularly in regard to her. I have felt sad to learn that Lena was farther from being a Christian than when she came to live with you. In short, that she hates everything like the truth or Adventism. Her mother was so anxious for the salvation of her children. She sent them from her care and entrusted them to strangers. She had confidence in Sabbathkeepers, that their influence would be of a sanctifying nature upon her children. Have you considered how that mother would feel to have her children return to her not only unconverted, but infidels in regard to the truth and religion? 2LtMs, Lt 1, 1870, par. 2

Have you done your duty, Brother King, in your own house? When you saw that the influence was not what it should be over Lena, that she was becoming less and less susceptible to the influences of the truth, why have you not been awake to inquire and learn the cause? 2LtMs, Lt 1, 1870, par. 3

I made special inquires of your wife in regard to Lena. She told me she hated the truth and religion, that she talked to her a great deal, but she could not make the least impression upon her. She hated to hear the truth mentioned. What influence could thus operate upon the mind of this child to excite such prejudices and create such determined opposition? 2LtMs, Lt 1, 1870, par. 4

You were that child’s guardian. You told me when I suggested a doubt in regard to your wife’s being the proper person to have the care of a child, that you should keep close watch; that if you saw the influence was not good and was going to hurt the child, you would not keep her, but find a place for her where she would be under the right influence. Now this child, I learn, is going home unconverted, prejudiced against Christians and against the truth. Are you satisfied with this? Are you clear in this case? Will not the blood of her soul be found upon your garments? No doubt you have done all you could for this child, and loved her with a father’s affection, and have gained her love and strong affections in return. No doubt she has been a great comfort to you. But are these reasons of sufficient weight to keep the child under an influence in your house which has had the tendency to wither, blast, and desolate, in the heart of this child, hope, faith, and confidence in Christians and in the truth? 2LtMs, Lt 1, 1870, par. 5

Have you been so blind you have not reasoned from cause to effect? Is there not a cause for this state of things? My heart aches sadly for the mother and for the child. 2LtMs, Lt 1, 1870, par. 6

I charge the condition of this child to the influence of your wife. Look at your children, separated from you, separated from Christians and the truth. Trace the effect to the cause. Their home was no home to them. Their stepmother never entered into their feelings, never let her sympathies go out in token of love and interest for them. Herself, her plans, her interest was ever prominent. She selfishly made herself a center, and all must follow her directions or there was no peace. Home was made a hell. Continual censure, petty bickering and faultfinding were the order of the day. “Why do you do so?” “And why do you do this?” “Now Lena,” or, “Now Isaac, you shall do this,” or “you shan’t do that.” “I won’t have it in my house.” Inquisitively prying into their plans, interfering in all their arrangements, stirring up bitterness in their hearts, which led to a despising of anything she might say or do, hating her authority. Then she has laid her complaints before you, which has had at times too great an influence upon you. 2LtMs, Lt 1, 1870, par. 7

This state of things has improved somewhat, because the cause is removed. The children have left your home. If Sister King had possessed the qualifications which every one should have who takes the charge of children, she would have gained respect from your children. She would have acted so prudently that she could have gained their love. 2LtMs, Lt 1, 1870, par. 8

But the matter now before me is with regard to Lena. Your wife should never have the care of children. She has no love for children in her nature. She cannot sympathize with children. She has a peculiar faculty of stirring up all the evil there is in children. She pecks at them, crosses their plans, and is very close and selfish. She makes herself despised. This is a terrible influence to bring a child under. Could you not see this? Have you been asleep to this? I think your wife has worked the ruin of quite enough without having any more material to work upon. 2LtMs, Lt 1, 1870, par. 9

No doubt your wife has changed in some respects, but oh, how small is the reformation in her compared to what must be before she can be admitted to heaven! 2LtMs, Lt 1, 1870, par. 10

Let your light so shine before men that they, by seeing your good works, may glorify our Father which is in heaven. What kind of a light has your wife let shine? 2LtMs, Lt 1, 1870, par. 11

When I have heard of your taking her with you as you go to help the churches in different places, I involuntarily sighed, “Lord, deliver Thy people from the body of this death.” 2LtMs, Lt 1, 1870, par. 12

Your wife is no help to you. She is too much wrapped up in her own selfishness to be spiritual-minded or to converse on spiritual things. The making of a dress is of greater consequence to her than the salvation of a soul. 2LtMs, Lt 1, 1870, par. 13

To love her neighbors as herself she knows nothing about. To love the Lord with all her heart, she has no experience in. Self is the center of attention and attraction. Her wants are above every sacred and eternal interest. Her closeness, her selfishness, will surely shut her from the kingdom of heaven if it is not overcome. 2LtMs, Lt 1, 1870, par. 14

I saw, in the last vision given in Adams Center, that you yield to her too much. You are in a degree molded by her views and ideas. You must break yourself loose. Hold firmly to God and His requirements, if everything and everybody around you sinks or swims. 2LtMs, Lt 1, 1870, par. 15

Satan is on your track. You need to be wide awake or he will out-general you. To deny self has no part in the experience of your wife. Poor, blinded, deceived soul, she has so little idea how God regards her course of action. 2LtMs, Lt 1, 1870, par. 16

Moral worth is estimated by what we do. Our acts, our works testify of our moral standing. There is no other true measurement. Christ was our Pattern. How important to imitate the only true Pattern given. His was a life of disinterested benevolence. He went about doing good. He denied Himself. We are required to follow in His footsteps. 2LtMs, Lt 1, 1870, par. 17

We feel so great an interest in Lena. We propose to have her and her sister that is at Brother Olmsteads come to Battle Creek and we will have a care for them and labor especially for their salvation. We will have them attend Brother Bells school. He may do them good. Perhaps we may, in the strength of God, remove this prejudice that has closed about this poor child. Perhaps it would be well for the brother to come also and attend Sabbath school and meetings here. They all may be reached yet. Think and pray over this matter and send them or bring them yourself if you can make it convenient to do so. Lena needs help immediately. The manners of your wife, her inquisitive disposition, her curiosity, her lack of affection and real love, has made her positively disgusting and repulsive. 2LtMs, Lt 1, 1870, par. 18

Oh, my brother, I beg of you, do not humor your wife’s penuriousness. This sin of covetousness is idolatry and is eating out her vitals. Her Christian character is very objectionable. She cannot discern Christian excellence. The truly righteous and the rebellious in the truth are about upon the same level with her. Sacred things are not discerned. Sacred and common things are upon the same level. She has never been truly converted, so that she can say, Old things have passed away; all things have become new. The things I once hated I now love, and the things I once loved I now hate. That transformation has never been experienced by your wife, which must be felt by her if she ever hears from the lips of the Master, “Well done, thou good and faithful servant; enter thou into the joy of thy Lord.” [Matthew 25:21.] 2LtMs, Lt 1, 1870, par. 19

She has been faithful in looking out for herself, caring for herself, following her own desires and will. No reward will she ever have for this. To yield her will, her opinion and ways to others and submit herself to God she has never done. Her life has been all a mistake, a terrible mistake. How is she viewing this? Does she think she has made life a success? Does she think she is pleasing God when fretting and complaining and worrying about the little matters of her home? 2LtMs, Lt 1, 1870, par. 20

Brother King, expand. Don’t let the views and acts become narrowed down to the contracted measure of your wife. Let your mind be elevated above the earthly to the eternal, the immortal. May God help you to keep unspotted from the world, is my prayer. 2LtMs, Lt 1, 1870, par. 21

In love. 2LtMs, Lt 1, 1870, par. 22