Letters and Manuscripts — Volume 2 (1869 - 1875)


Lt 4, 1871


Battle Creek, Michigan

March 16, 1871

Previously unpublished.

Dear Alexander:

I feel much troubled over your case. I cannot feel reconciled to the thought of your going on in a reckless course, hardening your heart against the influences of God’s Spirit, setting your will against the wishes of your widowed mother. Oh, how much you need to subdue Alexander, and gain a noble victory over self. How much you need Jesus for your friend and counselor. How much you need the tender softening, comforting influences of His Holy Spirit. You, my dear boy, possess naturally a proud, rebellious spirit. You have not opened your heart to the Saviour, who died for you to redeem you to God. You prefer rather to be considered a hardened sinner than to be known as a humble penitent, confessing your sins. You are now where Satan has control of your mind, and you are so deceived you think it brave to pursue a headstrong course. 2LtMs, Lt 4, 1871, par. 1

Remember, my dear boy, that every tear you bring to your mother’s eye, every sorrow to her heart, is registered in heaven. Can it be possible that you will plant thorns in your mother’s pillow and wrench sighs and groans from her lips because she is burdened on your account? How stands your record in heaven? 2LtMs, Lt 4, 1871, par. 2

The Word of God enjoins upon children the command to honor their parents. If the mother has the double burden to bear because of her widowhood, how hard and cruel must be the heart of a son to rebel against her authority and wound her heart by his wayward course. God lives and He will visit for these things. But Alexander, we cannot think that you are settled to resist the Spirit of God, set your heart against the truth and feel brave in your impenitence and in resisting the truth. Will you venture to grieve the Spirit of God from you? Oh, my young friend, don’t be afraid or ashamed of trying to do right. You are not happy. Your conscience is not at rest. Christ has invited you to come to Him. He invites you, “Come unto me, all ye that labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.” Matthew 11:28. You may indeed be sinful, more sinful than you think, but your sinfulness is no excuse for delaying to bring your burden to Christ and accept the full forgiveness tendered to the penitent believer. To be a half believer is bad, for it makes a weak, vacillating character. Half belief in the truth excludes the joy that they might receive in a full faith and opens the door for an army of doubts and fears and miserable forebodings. How cheerily, how bravely can you move along and bear the burdens and perform the duties resting upon you, although they may appear severe, if you only bear in your breast a clear conscience. 2LtMs, Lt 4, 1871, par. 3

Dear boy, I write for your good. Would your ambition, your future recollections [be pleasant] with the thought that [at] a time when you could as a dutiful, faithful son have been a comfort to your widowed mother, a stay to her, you refused and chose to take your own self-willed course and be a grief, a burden, a weight? Dear boy, think of this. 2LtMs, Lt 4, 1871, par. 4

Serious obligations are resting upon you at this time. Your mother needs your help. There is a garden to make this summer. Who will do this? You can cultivate that land and raise much that you could live on in the fall and winter. When all the children are doing what they can, you, the one that is able and strong, a young man, step out, take your own course and leave the family to worry and distress themselves over your case. A blot, Alex, will rest upon your name if you do this. You will be considered by all an ungrateful child. What can be worse than a thankless child? 2LtMs, Lt 4, 1871, par. 5

Now, Alex, we are anxious for you. We want you to form a good character for this life and then you will be forming a character for the better life. Jesus loves you. He died for you. He wants you to come to Him just as you are, helpless and sinful. He will wash you in His own blood and purify you for the society of the heavenly angels. Will you come to Him? Your soul is worth saving and we cannot endure to see you working against your own present interest and your eternal interest. 2LtMs, Lt 4, 1871, par. 6