Letters and Manuscripts — Volume 2 (1869 - 1875)


Lt 39, 1875

Abbey, Brother



Previously unpublished.

Dear Brother [Ira] Abbey:

I feel it to be my duty to write you a few words this morning. 2LtMs, Lt 39, 1875, par. 1

We deeply sympathize with you in your perplexities and in your trials, but we do think you have made a sad mistake in your management of Arthur’s case. You have allowed his case to affect you and throw you off your balance. You appear excited. You talk excited, like a man beside himself. I caution you to calm down. All this stir and bluster and excitement is giving notoriety to matters that would not and should not have publicity. The very least you have to say about either in condemnation or vindication of Arthur’s case, the better. Had you let it entirely alone, it would have been better for you, better for Arthur, and better for the reputation of the Institute. You are calling the attention of minds to this matter that would know nothing or comparatively nothing about it if you had kept still. You are excited; you are thrown off your balance, and you do not move with consideration and wisdom. 2LtMs, Lt 39, 1875, par. 2

Arthur’s case had been managed with the greatest discretion by the directors. Reports had been made and circulated, some patients and helpers had some little knowledge of these things, and the very best and most consistent course was pursued that could be to remove Arthur from the Institute. When his presence was no longer, then these matters would not live in the mind, but die out just as we hoped they would do for poor Rosetta’s sake. They had died out as far as we had knowledge. I sent word by Dr. Ginley to persons who had given publicity in some degree to these things that if they continued to report or gossip in reference to these matters, they would receive their walking tickets in less than one week. The matter had been managed shrewdly in the very best manner whether Arthur was guilty or not. He and Rosetta were at our house. He was obliged to move his things from the White house and here was an excuse or reason to cover the matter of Arthur’s leaving the Institute. All saw him busily engaged at our house and moving, so that no surprise was manifested or questions asked. 2LtMs, Lt 39, 1875, par. 3

Rosetta had appeared to feel deeply in regard to Arthur’s being at the Institute. She said she would not, if she could have a voice in the matter, have him rubbing down those old bones of the sick patients. She cried and entreated my husband to use his influence to get Arthur away from the Institute, for she was opposed to his remaining there and he should not remain a day longer if she could help it. All these things bore with weight, and for the interest and good of all parties, this course was pursued, thought to be the very best that could be in releasing Arthur until matters were arranged. And it all worked well till Brother Abbey came and under a nervous excitement he has talked the matter and given publicity to it, keeping alive that which was dying out. Rosetta now comes to me and asks if Arthur is not to go back into the Institute. He is losing his time. These conflicting statements it is difficult to understand, what Rosetta meant in wanting him to leave the Institute and what she means in wanting him to return to it again when she was so earnest for him to leave. We cannot see how Arthur can again have a place in the Health Institute and receive the respect he has had. 2LtMs, Lt 39, 1875, par. 4

Your state of mind is such [that] the least you talk with any one the better it will be. You are doing great injury to yourself and greater injury to Arthur by your excitable manners, your extravagant expressions, and insane remarks. Your earnest talk on the street and in the stores is exciting remarks. Now do stop just where you are, Brother Abbey, and reflect with your usual good judgment, and do be more careful. Your earnest, decided manner and gesticulations and excitement are arousing curiosity to know what is the matter. People will misjudge you. They will think that you are being accused or suffering under mistreatment or injustice from the men whom you have been connected with. We are all your true friends. We will help you if we can, but you must give us a fair chance and not make it so hard for us, which will make it also harder for yourself. Have you let go your hold on God? Has He not proved to be your helper under very trying circumstances? 2LtMs, Lt 39, 1875, par. 5

Brother Abbey, I fear that some will think that you are under the influence of liquor or are really feeling the lack or letting down that is felt in the unstrung nerves of a man who has used stimulants and is deprived of it. No one has suggested this to me, but very many are asking me, What is the matter with Brother Abbey? He appears almost beside himself. I fear that Arthur, Rosetta, and Lillie have placed matters before you in such a light as to stir you up and unnerve you. I feel sorry for you. As your true friends, my husband and myself entreat of you to calm down, be patient. Put your trust in God. You need not feel daggers against Arthur if he has proved to be greatly to blame and if he has sinned greatly. I say, If. 2LtMs, Lt 39, 1875, par. 6

“Let him that thinketh he standeth take heed lest he fall.” 1 Corinthians 10:12. 2LtMs, Lt 39, 1875, par. 7

The carnal heart needs to be subdued every day or it will war against right and triumph over virtue. 2LtMs, Lt 39, 1875, par. 8

Arthur has not only practiced self-abuse on his own person, but he had practiced it upon others. And I am sorry to say he has gone to great lengths. Now God is more pitiful and merciful than man. Many hide their sins and pass along as very good men who are corrupting their ways almost daily before God in secret iniquity and abominable practices. 2LtMs, Lt 39, 1875, par. 9

We do not feel disposed to believe the worst of the reports circulated against Arthur. We want to save him, but the course you are pursuing of such a pitch of excitement will lead him to deception and falsehood to cover up sins that he has been guilty of that should he admit, he fears he would be degraded in your eyes and find no mercy from you, for you have manifested a very hard and unmerciful spirit at times. The case of Brother Kellogg is one where you were unmerciful and unjust. Others might be mentioned. Your spirit in bearing down upon one in wrong is terribly crushing at times. Remember you are not guiltless of sin and wrongs. 2LtMs, Lt 39, 1875, par. 10

Remember God has spoken pardon to you very many times. Let mercy melt and soften and subdue your heart, I beg of you. As you hope for mercy, be merciful to others. Arthur has given occasion for speech against him. He has given occasion for his reputation to be questioned. His purity is very questionable. When this is the case, even if some have exaggerated the matter a great deal, the least said about it the better. Do not allow yourself to be driven to desperation and destroy the confidence of your brethren in your judgment and in your self-control. And do not drive Arthur to ruin by forcing him into the temptation to deceive to cover up and deny things that he knows he is guilty of. 2LtMs, Lt 39, 1875, par. 11

Bow in humiliation before God, humble your spirit before Him and seek with all your heart for a full confirmation of His Spirit and surrender yourself to His will to be molded and fitted for the pure society of the angels of God. We will help you if you will let us. 2LtMs, Lt 39, 1875, par. 12

Do not do one thing about Brother Jones’ matters. You are not in a calm condition to attend to such matters. Talk but little, and pray more, and be just as merciful to the erring as you would have God be merciful to you. 2LtMs, Lt 39, 1875, par. 13

The Lord loves and pities you more than we can. Jesus sees and knows your temptations. He knows how hard you have to battle against tendencies which are constantly striving for the mastery. In the name of Jesus you may subdue these. Come into harmony with the Spirit of God, be subdued, humbled, and sanctified by the grace of God, and let not Satan triumph over you now in this late hour. You have gained many a victory over the carnal heart, and you may gain many more victories in the name of the mighty Conqueror. Jesus lives and pleads in your behalf. Let Him not plead in vain. The cause of God is rising and triumphing. 2LtMs, Lt 39, 1875, par. 14

You may have a new conversion and rise and triumph with it. Your help is needed. Your influence sanctified can do good. You may be a blessing yet to the cause of God if you will die to self, be distrustful of self, and depend alone upon the grace of God. Soon the warfare will be over and then you want to lay off your armor honorably and nobly at the feet of your Redeemer. 2LtMs, Lt 39, 1875, par. 15

My heart yearns for you with a great tenderness. God loves you so much more than we can, for you are the purchase of the blood of Christ. You must not feel for a moment that we are withdrawing our sympathy from you. No, no, no. But we feel sorrowful that we do not see you in working order. We want you to overcome every wrong feeling, every wrong destructive habit, and give yourself to God, a living sacrifice, not only to do but to suffer the will of God. We want you should stand with the remnant people of God to the last, waiting the appearing of the Son of man in the clouds of heaven. Let your light shine forth to others. You have had a precious experience in the things of God. 2LtMs, Lt 39, 1875, par. 16

You may be terribly perplexed and distressed at times in regard to yourself and others, but if you let go from above to what will you fasten? Satan has a purpose to sift you as wheat and lead you to dishonor the cause of your Redeemer, but it must not be. It cannot be. Christ is the Light of life. You are, as it were, just in sight of the city of God, just in sight of the golden gates, just within reach of the crown which you may win if you will. You may be a glorious victor. Let sadness be gone and unbelief be driven back. Look to the Rock that is higher than you. If you look only to your poor, imperfect, sinful self, you lose sight of the precious Saviour and are molded into your own image instead of the Divine likeness. 2LtMs, Lt 39, 1875, par. 17

Come right up, Abbey. God loves you. All heaven is interested in your salvation, but you need to die to self and let Jesus reign in your mortal body and give no place to sin. “Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. Draw nigh to God, and He will draw nigh to you.” James 4:7, 8. 2LtMs, Lt 39, 1875, par. 18

Men may talk of personal independence, but it amounts to but little for good when this independence is maintained against the offices which God’s own merciful providence has ordained for man’s redemption, sanctification, and final salvation. Surrender to God, humble your heart before Him, and then you may be the means of saving the soul of Arthur. It is evident you do not understand the case, and you are working like a quack surgeon who is trying to cure a fracture of the limb, who makes the limb worse by his unskillful efforts [so] that it inflames and has to be taken off, and the man loses his life. 2LtMs, Lt 39, 1875, par. 19

Just stop right where you are. Calm down Rosetta as best you can, and not agitate her unnecessarily. God help you to discern where you fail and give you true light to mend your ways and then to help others who are in error to see their errors which are dragging them down to perdition. You may, in the hands of God be the means of saving souls from death and hiding a multitude of sins. But you must be pitiful, be courteous. You must let the refining influence of the Spirit of God soften your heart and subdue your soul. Put away every particle of low speeches and vulgarism. Put away everything like intoxicating beverages out of your house and out of your sight. Before you leave Battle Creek, sign the Temperance pledge. If your wife asks for one drop of spirituous liquor, tell her no. You have spent the last cent for the vile stuff you ever shall. In your case, it must be touch not, taste not, handle not. 2LtMs, Lt 39, 1875, par. 20

There must be an entire cutting off of the least indulgence that will lead you into temptation. Banish everything like stimulants from your house and invest not a penny in medicine for horses, or in any other way. Horses had better die than you indulge your soul. You are in danger of making a disgraceful failure of perfecting Christian character. God loves you, and wants to save you. And unless you make a thorough change in your habits and in your feelings, you will have a dreaded future. If you do follow the counsel of God you may improve your remaining probation and be an instrument of righteousness in God’s hands. You may win glorious victories, see souls saved through your gentleness, patience, sympathy, and love; and you may add jewels in the Redeemer’s crown. 2LtMs, Lt 39, 1875, par. 21

Will it pay, Brother Abbey, will it pay to make a desperate effort for the victory? Will it pay to subdue self and keep your body under? Will it pay to subdue your appetites and passions and come in close communion with God, that He may sanctify, refine, and purify and ennoble your character that angels shall be attracted to your presence and you at last gain the immortal reward? Will it pay, will it pay? 2LtMs, Lt 39, 1875, par. 22

Oh, yes, yes; I answer yes, a thousand times over. It will pay. Come right up to your high calling in Christ Jesus. Place your hand in the hand of your sympathizing Redeemer. The faster you cling to His hand, the firmer will He cling to you until you are seated with Him on His throne. God bless your efforts to overcome. 2LtMs, Lt 39, 1875, par. 23