Letters and Manuscripts — Volume 3 (1876 - 1882)

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Lt 5, 1881

Bourdeau, Brother and Sister [A. C.]

Spring Arbor, Michigan

May 21, 1881

Previously unpublished.

Dear Brother and Sister A. C. Bourdeau:

I have received a letter from Brother [J. N.] Andrews. He expresses anxiety in regard to rumors that your brother, Daniel [Bourdeau], anticipates returning to Europe erelong. He feels sure that it was the course he pursued which brought upon him so great perplexity and distress; that it has brought upon him the present state of his ill health; and if he comes now, he knows it would kill him. 3LtMs, Lt 5, 1881, par. 1

I write to you to know if this is the calculation of Daniel. If so, I must use all my influence to prevent it, for I speak that which I do know, that it will not be his duty to go to Europe now, and I fear, never. His peculiarities of character are such that they counteract the influence he might have when these strong traits are not in active exercise. I do hope he will be content where he is and not be restless and uneasy continually. He was but little short of an insane man much of the time he was in Europe, and he, instead of helping Brother Andrews, hindered and discouraged him. With his strong will, will he set himself to work to carry out his impulsive feelings calculated to ruin the cause of truth? 3LtMs, Lt 5, 1881, par. 2

I have no evidence that he has changed materially in his character or that he sees his course in Europe in the true light. He needs the converting power of grace every day, subduing and softening his heart and modifying his intense feelings. He needs to educate himself to be less severe in his family and put away the arbitrary rule to have everything controlled by his mind. It is his course and his influence that has shattered the nervous system of Sister Bourdeau so that her constitution is not what it might be. Sister Bourdeau is moulded too much by his strong spirit. She becomes confused and her judgment and reason become warped to view things incorrectly. Of all the people in the world engaged in the cause of God, these are the last to engage in the work in Europe. 3LtMs, Lt 5, 1881, par. 3

Brother Daniel might have been a fit man for the place had he made himself thus by keeping self under control, and if his headstrong spirit had been subdued to the control of the Spirit of God. But his strong will overbears reason, and just as he deals with his own wife and children, will he deal with the church. He rules too much, and he is not easy to be entreated. There is that selfishness about him that he fails to see and overcome. I believe Daniel wants to be a Christian, but he does not begin at his own heart to conform his life and character to the life and character of Christ. Self is mixed and mingled with everything he undertakes. Now these are the reasons that Brother Daniel will not be a fit man for Europe. These defects will be a hindrance to the work wherever he may labor, but in a new field where the people must be educated and moulded, where prejudices are strong, where obstacles to the people embracing the truth are many, these defects are tenfold more injurious. If Daniel Bourdeau goes to Europe, it will be on his own individual responsibility, for the people will not send him until they shall have the fullest evidence that he is fitted for the work. 3LtMs, Lt 5, 1881, par. 4

He is a man of intense feelings, and he concentrates his mind upon one point to the exclusion of others. Even little matters are to him large, and he dwells upon them and views them in too strong a light. I feel deeply for the cause of God. We need levelheaded, well balanced minds to devise and plan in this state of the work, and men, faithful as was Caleb, to execute and bear down all obstacles and urge forward the right. 3LtMs, Lt 5, 1881, par. 5

I learn that your wife is in poor health. Let her come to Battle Creek and take treatment. It shall be as easy for you as possible. Do not delay the matter. 3LtMs, Lt 5, 1881, par. 6

I would not be misunderstood. I love Brother Daniel, but he needs a refining work to go forward in his own heart in order to deal kindly, justly, and mercifully at home and in all places. I have written to Brother Daniel, but I fear I did not send it to the office. I left in so great haste. I will look the matter up when I return to Battle Creek. 3LtMs, Lt 5, 1881, par. 7

I feel the tenderest feelings for you all, especially for Sister Bourdeau in her affliction. 3LtMs, Lt 5, 1881, par. 8

In much love. 3LtMs, Lt 5, 1881, par. 9