Letters and Manuscripts — Volume 3 (1876 - 1882)


Lt 5a, 1877


Battle Creek, Michigan

June 9, 1877

Previously unpublished.

Dear Children:

I have arisen very early to find time to write to you. 3LtMs, Lt 5a, 1877, par. 1

I am not well. My heart pains me much of the time. The children will be a care to me, but I love them as my own, and this will make my care much lighter. I had hoped that you would both feel that it would be a pleasure to you to bear this much responsibility. I thought that Emma might find a field of usefulness here that would be a blessing to her as well as to the children. I left them for this purpose as an experiment. I saw that Emma was in great danger of centering her mind on herself and shunning responsibilities that would take her mind from herself. I think the worst thing that you can both do is to get into your house a set of books, storybooks, that fascinate the mind, but give it no strength in the end. It is amusement to occupy precious hours of time, but God has given us all our work and will inquire, What have you done for Me? Hours are too precious to be spent without something to show for them. 3LtMs, Lt 5a, 1877, par. 2

If Emma had felt as God would have her to feel, she would have seen in the opportunity given her to take charge of these children, a Godsend to get her mind off from her reading and devote her time as a home missionary to educate and discipline these two children. She was fully capable of doing this, but her heart was not in it, her sympathies not drawn out for the children. The fact that she was not related to them was enough to cut off any special love, sympathy, or interest for them. Selfishness, Emma, is growing upon you, and oh, you must meet it in the day of God. 3LtMs, Lt 5a, 1877, par. 3

I fear for your record. I wish that your mind were not continually surfeited with storybooks. It unfits you for usefulness and the improvement of your duties. It dwarfs and narrows your mind instead of educating and improving it. You were fully capable of doing justice to these children, of loving them and receiving the love in return, but you have put away from you this blessing. It will never be presented to you again. 3LtMs, Lt 5a, 1877, par. 4

Jesus identifies Himself with suffering humanity. “I was an hungred, and ye gave Me no meat: I was thirsty, and ye gave Me no drink: I was a stranger, and ye took Me not in: naked, and ye clothed Me not: sick, and in prison, and ye visited Me not.” “Inasmuch as ye did it not to one of the least of these My brethren, ye did it not to Me.” Matthew 25:42, 43, 45. 3LtMs, Lt 5a, 1877, par. 5

If you, Edson and Emma, can help others and see when you can help yourself more in helping them, you will, if perfectly pleasant and agreeable to yourselves, do so; but if you are not attracted in the direction, if there are disagreeables attached to these duties, you will refuse promptly every one of them. 3LtMs, Lt 5a, 1877, par. 6

Do not think I feel tried with you. I do not. I love you and I write you this not to reprove so much for the past [as] to have an influence to open your eyes to the future, to look beyond self, to do good as you have opportunity. 3LtMs, Lt 5a, 1877, par. 7

Our little girls, as far as paying for what they eat is concerned, can now amply pay that by the willingness to run errands and do the things they can do with the young strength. I am glad they are with us because I have so long learned to bear the burdens of life and of looking out for others, it is a great pleasure to me. God will bless His free-hearted workers. He knows whom they are. Every thought and every feeling and every motive is fully understood by the heart-searching God. 3LtMs, Lt 5a, 1877, par. 8

I feel, dear Emma, that your mind’s power is taxed with reading, that you do not relish the Bible, neither do you enjoy religious duties and answer the claims of God upon you. If you shun responsibilities as you have done, you will not meet the mind and will of God. Free your hearts from selfishness, connect with heaven, and may the life of our great Exemplar be your pattern. 3LtMs, Lt 5a, 1877, par. 9

We pray for you every day, and we greatly desire that you should be full-grown Christians, growing up into Christ, your living Head. 3LtMs, Lt 5a, 1877, par. 10

Aim for perfection of Christian character. Let no such thing as failure be thought of, looking unto Jesus who is the Author and Finisher of your faith. 3LtMs, Lt 5a, 1877, par. 11

My dear children, the foregoing has been laid aside, for I have not felt well enough to write. I hope that you will both be true to yourselves and to God, laying up for yourselves a good foundation against the time to come, that you may lay hold on eternal life. 3LtMs, Lt 5a, 1877, par. 12

I would be pleased to hear from you both in regard to your present spiritual condition. God bless you, my children. God work for you is my prayer. We love you and would be glad to see you, but when this may be we know not. 3LtMs, Lt 5a, 1877, par. 13

In much love for you, 3LtMs, Lt 5a, 1877, par. 14