Letters and Manuscripts — Volume 3 (1876 - 1882)


Lt 6, 1877

Clough, Mary

Oakland, California

November 3, 1877

Portions of this letter are published in MRmnt 119.

Dear Niece Mary:

I was grieved two weeks ago that you made the Lord’s Sabbath a day of pleasure and excursion. I told you that I felt you had done wrong, and I had passed a sleepless night. You answered that I should be thankful that you came back when you did, for they wished you to stay through the week. I told you I had no objection to your spending the week after you had spent the Sabbath away as you did. You could take time to go in the week days if you desired. And now at the commencement of the Sabbath again without one word to any of us, you go again to make a pleasure day of the day the Lord has set apart and blessed and sanctified as a day of sacred rest. 3LtMs, Lt 6, 1877, par. 1

You told me in Battle Creek you had felt conscientious in regard to the observance of the Sabbath on our account; you had not worked upon that day, for the fourth commandment read, “thou, nor thy son, nor thy daughter, thy manservant, nor thy maidservant, nor thy stranger that is within thy gates.” [Exodus 20:10.] The commandment is very specific, I know, and I felt glad that you understood its bearings. I have been intensely anxious that you should not only see the light of truth, but obey it, in keeping the commandments of God. If you have evidence and reject it, darkness and blindness of mind will be the natural consequence. I had hoped that connection with us and our work would lead you to see the importance of receiving and obeying the truth. God has claims upon you. Your talents, all that you have, belong to God. If these were sanctified to His service, you would be a co-worker with Christ. You could be eminently useful in leading others to the truth. I saw years ago that God in His providence would connect you with His work, that you might have evidences of the truth yourself and receive it if you would. If you would accept the truth, God would make you a channel of light; but at the same time I was shown that your natural feelings would arise to repel the truth, your pride of heart would be an obstacle that would be difficult for you to overcome. Your mind has been affected considerably with skepticism, and this would be a great barrier to your accepting the clearest evidence in favor of our unpopular truth. But I was shown that you might accept the truth and be sanctified through the belief of the truth and fitted for the kingdom of God and a life which runs parallel with the life of Jehovah. God will accept your efforts, He will be honored through your labors if you connect with heaven. 3LtMs, Lt 6, 1877, par. 2

But if you closed your eyes to the truth, refused to obey the requirements of God, after being sufficiently tested, our work would be disconnected; for it would be impossible for such a work as God has given me, being done to His acceptance and glory by one who regarded the truth even indifferently. I saw that Jesus loved you and looked pityingly upon you, and was inviting you to come to Him with all your burdens and lay them with yourself upon the Burden-bearer. All your good traits of character, your talents of ability, are the gift of God given you to be used to His glory. You may devote these to the world; or you may devote them to your Redeemer and have at last spoken to you by the dear Saviour, “Well done good and faithful servant.” [Matthew 25:23.] 3LtMs, Lt 6, 1877, par. 3

God will not be trifled with. You may flatter yourself that your views are not narrow but broad and extended, so is the broad road that leads to death. There is a path cast up for the ransomed of the Lord to walk in, the path of holiness. You have a power of resistance against the evidences of truth which is perfectly astonishing, which nothing short of infinite power, united with your human efforts, can overcome. You have held out day after day and week after week against motives which one would think would be amply sufficient to convince and settle any mind susceptible to the influence of truth. What you want is a humble and contrite heart and [to] overcome by the help of God this terrible power of resistance. Whatever course you may choose to pursue, be it to remain indifferent to the truth or to receive it, God will never give up His rightful claim. He will never cease to command, however you may be determined to refuse to obey; and if you die following your own will, refusing the will of God, He will eventually justify the reasonableness of your condemnation before the assembled universe. Not one of the countless millions of the human family will stand alone before God, pleading that He had done all that He could to comply with the conditions of salvation revealed in His Word, and yet they are unsaved. Every one who fails to obtain the immortal life will be self-condemned, with not an excuse to offer before God. 3LtMs, Lt 6, 1877, par. 4

Christ invites the weary and heavy laden to come to Him for rest. He does not ask them to make an effort to fit themselves to come, but He invites them to come just as they are, poor, wretched and blind and naked and in want of all things. On no other terms can you be received. He will give salvation, but not sell it. If you continue in the face of light and evidence to cherish your unbelief, you will become less and less susceptible to the influence of the Spirit of God, and our work will necessarily be disconnected. You will love those things and enjoy those things which God through His humble instrument is continually warning against. And there can be no harmony between us in spirit or sentiment. 3LtMs, Lt 6, 1877, par. 5

When you went the first time upon the Sabbath, it cost me a sleepless night and great perplexity to know just what course we should pursue in this case so that guilt of the violation of the fourth commandment would not rest upon us. And your absence for pleasure or amusement again on the Sabbath brought not only wakefulness, but heartache. Anything you do or say that merely concerns you and me I can get along with, but any disrespect shown to God is not so easily disposed of. 3LtMs, Lt 6, 1877, par. 6

If you give yourself to these things upon the Sabbath, I have no confidence that the blessing of God will attend your efforts in doing the work, which is the work of God. Your mind cannot be any way prepared for that work while it is diverted from it so directly. I have no wish to control you, no wish to urge our faith upon you, or to force you to believe. No man or woman will have eternal life unless they choose it, only those who choose it with all the self-denial and cross-bearing that is involved in the Christian life. I have no wish to force you against your own will anywhere or in any thing, but I will say I am disappointed. I had no thought, but if you had the privilege of seeing the truth you would accept it. I thought the same of your mother. But I am now feeling that you would prevent her from deciding for that which her conscience told her was truth. This you may think is all erroneous supposition. But it is just what I saw you would eventually do, if you determinedly resisted the truth. I have not the least desire should this be the case to connect with my relatives in my peculiar work; for God could not be glorified in any such union. I am laboring with all my energies in God to do His work in winning souls to the truth, my own sister after the flesh and my niece laboring in an opposite direction, counteracting the work God has given me to do, by their indifference or resistant position. 3LtMs, Lt 6, 1877, par. 7

The light will shine upon all who will cherish it. Those who choose darkness rather than light will not be forced against their inclination to accept the light. I feel in earnest in this matter. The truth we cherish is to me a solemn reality, and in no way to be trifled with. If your conscience can allow you after all the evidence you have had to still resist the evidences of truth, and while connected with us in our peculiar work in so marked a manner trample upon the Sabbath of the fourth commandment without compunctions of conscience, then our spirits can no more harmonize. Our paths must diverge. 3LtMs, Lt 6, 1877, par. 8

God will test every one of us. He will give privileges and opportunities to all and a sufficient amount of evidence to balance the mind in the right direction if they choose the truth. “And they that shall be of thee shall build the old waste places. Thou shalt rise up the foundations of many generations, and thou shalt be called the repairer of the breach, the restorer of paths to dwell in. If thou turn away thy foot from the Sabbath, from doing thy pleasure on My holy day; and call the Sabbath a delight, the holy of the Lord, honorable, and shalt honor Him, not doing thine own ways, nor finding thine own pleasure, nor speaking thine own words, Then shalt thou delight thyself in the Lord; and I will cause thee to ride upon the high places of the earth, and feed thee with the heritage of Jacob thy father; for the mouth of the Lord hath spoken it.” Isaiah 58:12-14. 3LtMs, Lt 6, 1877, par. 9

We have volunteered to be of the number to repair the breach that has been made in the law of God, in breaking down and trampling upon the fourth commandment. This is our work, to be repairers of the breach, the restorer of paths to dwell in. We do not expect praise of men, or worldly honor while we do the work. But we expect and receive the approval of God, which to us is the highest honor that can be given. 3LtMs, Lt 6, 1877, par. 10

We want you to share this honor. “Come out from among them, and be ye separate, and touch not the unclean; and I will receive you. I will be a Father unto you, and ye shall be My sons and daughters, saith the Lord Almighty.” [2 Corinthians 6:17, 18.] This calls for separation from the world on the condition of being children of God. 3LtMs, Lt 6, 1877, par. 11

Dear Mary, I love you as devotedly as I ever loved my own children. My heart would nearly break should we be separated, and yet I know we must drift apart without a change in you. I shall never come to you; and unless you come to us, we must eventually be separated. 3LtMs, Lt 6, 1877, par. 12

I see very much to be done. [Spirit of Prophecy] Vol. 4 I want to write immediately. My life [sketches] I wish to commence on and revision of other works. Vol. 1 Spirit of Prophecy to revise. But I can’t touch these unless your attitude shall change. You have not been situated as many have who have accepted the truth. Your way is made comparatively easy. You would make no particular sacrifice as far as employment is concerned, for there would be work for you to do for God in almost any department of the cause of truth. 3LtMs, Lt 6, 1877, par. 13

God will work for you and make you an able instrument if you will yield your will and affections to His will, and if you will become a child of obedience. But if you remain in resistance to the truth, God will remove His light from you and you will be left to take your own course and meet the result at last. I hope you will not say as your mother said to me in regard to breaking the Sabbath, she would risk it. God forbid that you should dare to risk it and pursue a course of disobedience. You have tenfold more light in reference to the truth than your mother. I still have faith that she will accept the truth if you do not hedge up her way. I have written in love and have written because I dare not do otherwise. 3LtMs, Lt 6, 1877, par. 14