Letters and Manuscripts — Volume 2 (1869 - 1875)


Lt 2, 1870

Chase, Mary

Battle Creek, Michigan

March 2, 1870

Portions of this letter are published in OHC 312.

Dear Sister Mary [Chase]:

I have some things I feel it my duty to write you, that I cannot as well say to you. I wish you to see and read these things upon paper. 2LtMs, Lt 2, 1870, par. 1

I felt rather sad this morning to learn you had spoken before members of my family in regard to Brother Waggoner’s private matters. I knew these things, but not one of my family, not even my dear Lucinda, had heard one word from my lips in reference to this most distressing, humiliating affair. My respect for Brother Waggoner would lead me to silence in regard to his wife’s being untrue to him, even if I were in the habit of loving to talk and of dwelling upon the disagreeable things in the experience of others. 2LtMs, Lt 2, 1870, par. 2

Sister Mary, can you not see a great lack of prudence in thus talking out as you did? These things are against you, and lead those who hear you, if they have discernment, to decide that you are not a prudent woman, and to be afraid of your tongue. 2LtMs, Lt 2, 1870, par. 3

You have a work to do for yourself, Mary, that no one can do for you. You love to talk and you talk a great deal of unnecessary, unprofitable, and positively injurious talk. I know you cannot enjoy peace and serenity of mind while you indulge in so much talking. This has become a habit with you, until you do not think you talk much, when you talk a great deal. You say things that come into your mind, and afterward forget you said them and to whom you did say them. If, from a sense of duty, they mention what you have said, you feel that they are your enemies, seeking to injure you. 2LtMs, Lt 2, 1870, par. 4

You have suffered much from the wrongs of your husband, but, Mary, I fear you have not been free from blame. Have you not been fretful and overbearing? This appears even worse in a woman than in a man. Have you not been self-willed many times, and have not your words stirred up hatred and strife in your husband? The theme of your conversation, dear sister, nearly everywhere has been—your own errors? No! but the abusive course of your husband. This subject has been dwelt upon so much by you that peace has not dwelt in your heart. The blessing of God has not abided upon you. 2LtMs, Lt 2, 1870, par. 5

Now, dear sister, I pray you to look candidly at the matter and see if you have not made a great mistake in your life. By your words ye shall be justified, and by your words condemned. Our thoughts, acts, and words are open to the inspection of God and the holy angels. Out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaketh. You have so long dwelt upon the disagreeable topic—your husband’s course of wrong—that it is as natural as your breath for you to introduce the matter at once in conversation. We have felt sad that you would thus give publicity to your home troubles. 2LtMs, Lt 2, 1870, par. 6

You have so long dwelt upon the dark side of the picture that you fail to see any bright side. You talk of these things so much your soul is in darkness. Talk upon cheerful, happy subjects and you will encourage a more contented, happy frame of mind. You seem to be in your element when you are expatiating upon the sins and wrongs of others. Talk light and faith and love and gratitude and you will encourage these heavenly gifts. Talk darkness, unbelief, and upon the sins and errors of others, and you will be unable to retain a cheerful, happy, contented, peaceful spirit. 2LtMs, Lt 2, 1870, par. 7

Mary, you have work to do to subdue self. You need a new, a deep, a thorough conversion. Then you will talk less and meditate and pray more. I fear that God has not been glorified by the sisters getting together so frequently, visiting from house to house and devoting so many hours to talking. I greatly fear that spirituality has not been increased or the soul of any made better. In such gatherings there is generally much said by talking women that does harm and only harm. There is so great a temptation to gossip and engage in unprofitable conversation that God can in no way be glorified. Mary, my sister, you call the minds of others from God and the truth to dwell upon darkness, and Satan delights to have the mind diverted from heavenly things and attracted to things of minor importance that are calculated to weaken the soul. You are too much interested in watching others, in talking of your own and others’ trials and difficulties. 2LtMs, Lt 2, 1870, par. 8

Mary, it is an individual work to be right with God. No one can do this work of overcoming for us. The work is between God and our own souls. You will not have to answer for your husband’s sins and wrongs, but while your mind is continually dwelling upon his wrongs, and your tongue so ready to tell his faults—not to select few of your relatives who are acquainted with your peculiar trials, but to almost anyone you may become acquainted with, especially if they are Sabbathkeepers—you have failed to cultivate a meek and quiet spirit, you fail to win. This has been your great burden, and you have not, while you have been thus viewing and talking out your husband’s faults, seen your errors and wrongs. 2LtMs, Lt 2, 1870, par. 9

In your own family you are too ready to speak and to ready to censure and dictate. If censure would work a reformation then it might be excusable. But it seldom has this effect. We do not think you have taken a prudent course in your own family. You have been unhappy and have made but little effort to conceal your discontented state of feelings. Many times you would save yourself much trouble by a soft answer. You know you can not cure things and that the only way to have peace is to endure, to be patient, meek, kind, and forbearing. Never speak from passion. You have done this often. You have felt that you must bring all around you to see and feel as you do, and you are too anxious to have your own will and your own way. 2LtMs, Lt 2, 1870, par. 10

You have not shown that you were a happy woman. You have failed to exhibit to your children a peace of mind that would recommend religion and the truth to them. You have said so much, when in their society, of their father and his course, and you have been so strong in your feelings, that you have created sympathy for Mr. Chase instead of obtaining it for yourself. If you would show a desire or a willingness to hide your trials, to conceal your disgrace in your own family, your children would have been more inclined to take their stand by your side. But, dear sister, your much talking in a strong manner has separated even the sympathies of your children in a great measure from you. 2LtMs, Lt 2, 1870, par. 11

If you would look to God for strength and leave your burdens and sorrows with the Burdenbearer, and not leave your burden of trials upon those who have their own burdens and trials and griefs to bear, you would better please God and find strength that you have not realized. This would be a blessing to yourself, a blessing to your children, a blessing to all with whom you associate. Your children would see that the truth you profess has done a good work for you. They would see that there was a power in the truth you profess that has a transforming influence upon your life; that it gives you power to endure, wisdom to keep silent, and grace to bear up above a weight of wrong that, without the sanctifying influence of the truth, would crush you. 2LtMs, Lt 2, 1870, par. 12

If you would ever bear in mind that if Mr. Chase does not reform and obey the commandments of God he must be the sufferer, he must be forever separated from God and the holy angels and all the redeemed, and must be punished with the second death, you would be stirred with pity. That which he sows he will also reap, and the God of justice will reward every man according as his works have been, whether they have been good or evil. If he continues as he has to follow a course of sin, this world, with all its sorrows, sadness, misery, and continual suffering, will be all the heaven he will ever enjoy. Resolve, then, in the strength of God to make his home as pleasant for him as possible. Do not try to make his home unhappy and as wretched as it is in your power to do, because he has been untrue and abusive to you. 2LtMs, Lt 2, 1870, par. 13

You must learn of Him who has invited you, “Come unto me all ye that labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest to your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.” Matthew 11:28-30. The meek and lowly Saviour invites you to learn of Him, who, “when he was reviled, he reviled not again; when he suffered, he threatened not; but committed Himself to Him that judgeth righteously.” 1 Peter 2:23. “He was oppressed, and He was afflicted, yet He opened not His mouth.” Isaiah 53:7. 2LtMs, Lt 2, 1870, par. 14

Here is your example. Have you followed it? Answer this question to your own soul and to God. Has not self had much to do in reporting your trials? What virtue has there been in this? Has it lightened your afflictions to dwell upon them and make the most of them? You have but little sense of how much you talk to others of the darkness and trials in your experience. No doubt yours has been an unhappy life. But, Mary, are you without sin? You have possessed too much of a combative spirit. You have had greater independence than humility. You have pursued a course to irritate rather than to pacify. 2LtMs, Lt 2, 1870, par. 15

I would not advise you to wear the short dress. It is against you. You have appeared headstrong to your children in persisting in wearing the short dress. I should not have put it on were I similarly situated to yourself. You have been very set and exacting in these matters of minor importance, such as dress, but have neglected the weightier matters—judgment and the love of God. Your heart has grown stout and unyielding, closed in a great measure to the genuine, pitying love that dwelt in the bosom of Jesus. The short dress adopted by you and the relation of your troubles and grievances, shut you out of the hearts of your children. They are weary of hearing the same story every time they meet you and they say, “Mother is half crazy and a fanatic.” They became prejudiced against you and the faith you cherish. Every wrong word you speak, every hasty, impatient word you utter is all charged back upon your peculiar faith. Your light does not so shine before others that they will, by seeing your good works, be led to glorify our Father in heaven. 2LtMs, Lt 2, 1870, par. 16

You have talked too much, in too positive a manner. You have had but little love and affection mingled with your efforts. 2LtMs, Lt 2, 1870, par. 17

Mary, we expect at the conference a large collection of brethren and sisters. You will be observed, because you are Brother White’s sister. Be prudent, be circumspect, be choice of your words, keep your troubles to yourself; keep them out of sight. Magnify Jesus, talk of Jesus, His dying love for lost and perishing sinners. When you shall return to your home, do not talk about Father. Do not tell his peculiarities. Let all die. Never hint a word but that he is doing as well as can be expected for one of his advanced age. God will bless you if you will talk less and pray more. You are forward to talk. God help you to keep your tongue as with a bridle. Get right, Mary; get right; watch and pray, lest you enter into temptation. 2LtMs, Lt 2, 1870, par. 18

Dear sister, a few words more and I will not tax your patience longer. That which I have hitherto written has been by candlelight while conversation is carried on with others at the same time. I wish to speak more directly and decidedly upon a few points, especially upon the tongue. 2LtMs, Lt 2, 1870, par. 19

When we consider that not a small part of the sins of every individual are the sins of the tongue, we cannot be too careful how we hear and how we speak of what we do hear. We should be on our guard constantly, lest we talk too much. If we do not talk to the purpose, the less we say the better; and if we do talk and are gifted with the very best powers of conversation, we weary those whose company we are in by too much conversation of even the best quality. But when the conversation is not of that elevated character to edify, bless, and encourage those who listen to us, we had far better leave their circle dissatisfied with ourselves because we said no more, than for them to be out of patience with us because we said so much. Dear sister, we can glorify God by our conversation, or dishonor Him. Frequently we can honor God better by reflection and silence than by talking. 2LtMs, Lt 2, 1870, par. 20

We need to study from cause to effect. You should beware of talking without reflection or when you have nothing to say which will cheer, encourage, or elevate the mind. Mary, you are not accustomed to reflecting before you speak, or to have thoughts before you utter them. 2LtMs, Lt 2, 1870, par. 21

I noticed that if persons come in to see Father and he begins to tell them his plans or endeavors to engage in conversation with them, you frequently jump in before Father, take the words out of his mouth, say them for him, and, in short, talk so much and so fast that he settles back discouraged in regard to being heard. This hurts you and wounds Father and Mother. They may not speak as fast and as quick as you can, yet when they talk they have something worth saying and it is a satisfaction to them to say it, without being shut off by your hurried and earnest conversation. Father has a high sense of propriety and I know he frequently feels mortified and hurt by your being so forward to make new acquaintances and to talk with them so freely as you do. 2LtMs, Lt 2, 1870, par. 22

Father is a man of great independence of mind, and when he advances anything which does not agree with your views and feelings, it is so natural for your combativeness to be excited and you advance something a little different. Let Father think as he will. Do not oppose his wishes or advance to Mother your opinions differing with Father. This only keeps you in an unhappy state of mind and makes them unhappy also. 2LtMs, Lt 2, 1870, par. 23

We do not wish to see you gloomy or spiritless, but, as you value your good name and to be appreciated by those who are cautious and can read character, and those who love and serve God, have decision to let it appear that you are not in your favorite element, dissecting your husband’s character, relating your sufferings endured because of his sins and wrongs, and dwelling upon your trials as though you were a martyr. 2LtMs, Lt 2, 1870, par. 24

Dear sister, if you continue to feel and talk in regard to your home trials, home privacies, and in regard to the unpleasant things in the history and character of others, telling their faults and dwelling upon their wrongs, you do it at the expense of character, usefulness, happiness, and heaven. In visiting circles there is a habit or an idle way of discussing character in which wrong impressions are given and carried. This seems to be the almost common resort of filling up the time. This conversation may appear harmless, not designed to reach the ears of the person who has been the subject of conversation. Yet they do generally come to the persons in ways and manners which you did not expect, and always in an exaggerated form which separates those persons from these talkers and shakes their confidence in them, that ever after they are looked upon with suspicion. Their integrity is questioned. Their influence as Christians is greatly lessened, if not entirely destroyed. 2LtMs, Lt 2, 1870, par. 25

Dear Sister Mary, we feel sorry that you are not happy. You yourself stand in the way of your happiness. By beholding we become changed. You look upon your trials and talk so much upon them that you are under a cloud nearly all the time. You see trials, see clouds, see the unpleasant, but overlook the mercies and blessings of God. Mary, make it a point never to speak of your trials and troubles to any one, not even your own children, unless you know that your condition will be improved in so doing. Jesus lives; thank God you have a compassionate, living, tender Saviour who knows your every trial. Oh my sister, let the abundant grace of God soften, refine, and elevate you. The refining furnace is to remove the dross. When the Refiner sees His image reflected in you perfectly, He will remove you from the furnace. You will not be left to be consumed or to endure the fiery ordeal any longer than is necessary for your purification. But it is necessary for you, in order to reflect the divine image, to submit to the process the Refiner chooses for you, that you may be cleansed, purified, and every spot and blemish removed—not even a wrinkle left in your Christian character. May the Lord help you, my dear sister, to submit your will and your way and to choose to have the will and work of God accomplished in you. Then will your life be a blessing to yourself, a blessing to all around you. You will be a light in your home, a ray of sunshine instead of a cloud, a shadow. Look up, Mary, look up. Jesus lives. Jesus loves. Jesus pities, and He will receive you with all your burden of care and trouble if you will come to Him and lay your burden upon Him. He has promised He will never leave or forsake those who put their trust in Him. 2LtMs, Lt 2, 1870, par. 26

In much love. 2LtMs, Lt 2, 1870, par. 27