Letters and Manuscripts — Volume 4 (1883 - 1886)


Lt 6, 1885

Andrews, Edith



This letter is published in entirety in 10MR 53-58.

Dear Sister Edith Andrews:

Your case has been presented before me. God has given you abilities, and you should use every faculty to His glory. There are dangers which you need to avoid. You need to learn to be unselfish in the home life. Your character needs to be molded after the divine model. A mold has already been given to your character which is not for your best good. 4LtMs, Lt 6, 1885, par. 1

False views of life prevail everywhere. We meet this evil in our daily intercourse with society. If you cherish these false views, there will grow from them other errors, which not only affect your character, but the characters of those with whom you associate. 4LtMs, Lt 6, 1885, par. 2

Right thinking lies at the foundation of rightdoing. It is not safe to follow inclination, or to allow a peculiar temperament, inherited or cultivated, to control the mind. 4LtMs, Lt 6, 1885, par. 3

There are precious souls whose usefulness has been greatly lessened by misconceptions. By cherishing false ideas, they have weakened their physical and mental powers, cutting short lives that might have been preserved for many years. 4LtMs, Lt 6, 1885, par. 4

We do the truth violence and injure ourselves and others when we live in careless indifference with regard to our relation to God. The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom. 4LtMs, Lt 6, 1885, par. 5

God is love. He it is whom we should love supremely. The wealth of our affection may flow without restraint in this divine channel. To love God supremely and our neighbor as ourself—this is the fulfilling of the law. 4LtMs, Lt 6, 1885, par. 6

Many love self supremely. They seek their own enjoyment, disregarding the good of others. Those in whose hearts love of self is strong will hate those who refuse to sustain them in a wrong course of action. 4LtMs, Lt 6, 1885, par. 7

There is a great deal said about religion, and many claim to possess religion, but true religion is very rare. There are many external forms, but in many cases these only serve as a cloak, to cover up the most soul-destroying selfishness. 4LtMs, Lt 6, 1885, par. 8

True religion may be distinguished from its counterfeit. There is a test which shows the difference between the precious coin and the base metal. This test is to be daily applied. “By their fruits ye shall know them.” [Matthew 7:20.] Do we reveal love for God and His truth? Do we love our neighbor as we love ourselves? 4LtMs, Lt 6, 1885, par. 9

True religion shines forth in self-forgetfulness. The religion which must be closed within monastic walls in order to grow is no religion at all, but a mere form. It is amid the activities of life, in the everyday contact with one another, that we are to reveal that love which is made of deeds. Like a thread of gold this love must run through the daily experience. 4LtMs, Lt 6, 1885, par. 10

To separate one’s self from all the disagreeable things of life, to choose a certain line of work to the exclusion of all other things, is self-pleasing. 4LtMs, Lt 6, 1885, par. 11

The youth must fasten themselves firmly to God. Then they will see that they have a part to act in the world’s work. They will see duties to be performed. These duties will not always be agreeable! Notwithstanding this, they are to be performed cheerfully and willingly. 4LtMs, Lt 6, 1885, par. 12

The essence of true religion is a desire to be useful to others, to lighten their burdens and lessen their cares, to do not merely the most pleasing things, but all that needs to be done. It calls for the crucifixion of selfishness. Happiness will come to those who live this religion. 4LtMs, Lt 6, 1885, par. 13

Those who neglect the common duties of life—which somebody must do—to pursue a course of self-pleasing, are gaining a one-sided education. Only those who forget self, who are always studying the happiness and needs of others, are building a symmetrical character. Remember that every action adds to or takes from the happiness of others. 4LtMs, Lt 6, 1885, par. 14

In neglecting the duties which someone must do, in withdrawing to your room to put upon paper in glowing language your devotion to God and the truth, or to relate some incident which has taken place, were you not pleasuring self? Was this done solely for the glory of God? Did no selfishness alloy the pure gold of your action? Was it not your duty to help those who were taking weary steps to add to the general comfort and convenience of the family? Did not the duties they performed lie directly in their pathway? Was there no cross for you to bear? 4LtMs, Lt 6, 1885, par. 15

God’s law is broken by those who disregard the good of others. Those who seek to do good to others act upon true principle. Self-love does not control the life. As we do this, we are making a record which we shall be reluctant to meet when the judgment shall sit and the books shall be opened. 4LtMs, Lt 6, 1885, par. 16

Every unselfish action makes the character more Christlike. When self is crucified, a change takes place in the life. The heart responds to the touch of the heavenly angels. The wrong tendencies transmitted as a birthright and strengthened by education are dropped out of the life. The current of the thought is changed. A love broad, deep, noble, Christlike, fills the heart and overflows to all Christ’s children. Whenever the time and attention are absorbed in self-gratification, the law of God is broken. 4LtMs, Lt 6, 1885, par. 17

No one has a right to live only for self. The mind should never be confined in the narrow chambers of self. God has given us a broader sphere of action. The life is to be inspired by deeper, truer motive. A true, noble life is characterized by thoughtful attention to the needs of others. The love of Christ in the soul is a constant wellspring of joy, ever flowing forth to others. 4LtMs, Lt 6, 1885, par. 18

We talk of graduating from our colleges, but there is no graduation from the school of Christ. Throughout the ceaseless ages of eternity Christians will be learners in this school. 4LtMs, Lt 6, 1885, par. 19

Those who when they graduate from college think that they have learned all they need to learn have a very imperfect idea of education. If they looked at the matter in a right light, they would see that their education in practical life was just commencing. They must now use their knowledge and skill in new and untried ways. They will meet with many disappointments. They will be confronted by disagreeable duties. There will be need for patient, persevering effort. They are now to put their education to practical use. Day by day they will need divine power. 4LtMs, Lt 6, 1885, par. 20

There are girls who dislike housework, who would much rather employ their time in sedentary work. This is a great mistake. Many girls die for want of physical exercise. When a girl employs part of her time in domestic work, both she and her mother are blessed. She learns what is of great use to her when the health and happiness of those she best loves depend upon her practical experience. 4LtMs, Lt 6, 1885, par. 21

As possessors of God’s free gift of life, we should do all in our power to reach the highest degree of usefulness. Those who do not possess a well-balanced mind in a sound body will fail in their lifework. 4LtMs, Lt 6, 1885, par. 22

Attention to health is one of our most important duties. We owe this to ourselves, to society, and to God. Young men and young women are proverbially careless in regard to their health. Hundreds die in early life, not because of a dispensation of providence, but because of a dispensation of carelessness. Many girls go half clad in cold weather. Others choose to sit reading or writing when they should be taking physical exercise. God gave them organs for use. The living machinery is not to be allowed to rust from inaction. To keep all the powers of the body equally taxed will require self-restraint. 4LtMs, Lt 6, 1885, par. 23

The lives of many who have suffered premature death might have been prolonged to old age had they acted intelligently. Disease and death have become common because of the unpardonable ignorance of those who ought to know better. Exercise is indispensable to the health of every organ. If one set of muscles is used to the neglect of others, the living machinery is not being worked intelligently. 4LtMs, Lt 6, 1885, par. 24

When physical exercise is taken, the circulation is quickened. The heart receives blood faster and sends it to the lungs faster. The lungs work more vigorously, furnishing a greater amount of blood, which is sent with stronger power through the entire being. Exercise gives new life and strength to every part of the body. 4LtMs, Lt 6, 1885, par. 25

The nerves gain or lose strength in accordance with the way in which they are treated. If used too long and too severely, they are overtaxed and weakened. If used properly, they gain strength. 4LtMs, Lt 6, 1885, par. 26

In order to have health, equilibrium of action must be maintained. The mind must harmonize with this, or the benefits are not realized. If physical exercise is regarded as drudgery, the mind takes no interest in the exercise of the different parts of the body. The mind must be interested in the exercise of the muscles. In the education of the youth, physical exercise must be combined with mental taxation. 4LtMs, Lt 6, 1885, par. 27

Young girls who have health never know how to appreciate its value. If their employment is sedentary, they have a distaste for other branches of labor. They complain of great weariness if they take exercise. This should be to them a convincing fact that they need to train their muscles. 4LtMs, Lt 6, 1885, par. 28

Those who have [not] been accustomed to think and plan for anyone but themselves, who find no pleasure in making themselves useful, lose a great amount of happiness. Sentimentalism is a dangerous element to come into the life and experience of the youth. 4LtMs, Lt 6, 1885, par. 29