Letters and Manuscripts — Volume 4 (1883 - 1886)


Lt 4, 1885

Andrews, Edith

Basel, Switzerland

November 21, 1885

Portions of this letter are published in OHC 158; 2MCP 632; TMK 95.

My dear afflicted Sister:

I wish to write you a few lines. I deeply sympathize with you in your sufferings under the hand of disease. The prospect of your recovery is uncertain. How long your stay will be prolonged it is impossible for us to tell. God alone knoweth the future. But while you have time, while reason and life are granted you, I beseech of you that the mistakes of your life shall not become the ruling power in your last days. If you see your mistakes, confess them. Do not further mar the experience of the young men in the office; do not allow them to be flattered with your accepted attentions which they may bestow; but if you would not link your life with them, should you recover health and strength, then sever the cord of these special attentions and preferences. Be not dishonest with them while your feet are on the brink of the eternal world. Be true to yourself, true to your God, true to your associates. 4LtMs, Lt 4, 1885, par. 1

Your love, your attentions, your friendship have been human and not divine. You have not been one to lead these youth into the path your Saviour has traveled. You have not encouraged self-denial and self-sacrifice in the youth with whom you have associated. They do not look upon your Christian life as God looks upon it. They have idolized you, given their love and sympathy to you, and it has flattered and pleased you. You have held, as it were, an admiration society of each other, and you have been no help to the young. The youth have injured you by their flattery. 4LtMs, Lt 4, 1885, par. 2

Your life has been so filled with human sympathy and human attention that you have not appreciated the love of Christ. You have had an undercurrent in your life which the books of heaven register as double-dealing. This is a great offense to God. I know your feet have not been placed in the footprints of the Man of Calvary. Can we by any means on our part guide these feet aright, that you may stand on the Rock? I caution you to believe not every spirit, but try the spirits whether they are of God. Oh, my sister, your life has not been what it might have been. Had you drawn your sentiments and conclusions from the Scriptures rather than from hereditary tendencies; had you not followed inclinations rather than where the True Shepherd leads the way; had you read books less and searched the Scriptures more earnestly, you would have been enabled to discern between the false and the true Christian life and character. Your life has been filled with sentimentalism in one sense, your powers have been perverted. There is nothing we should dread so much as being ignorant of Satan’s devices. 4LtMs, Lt 4, 1885, par. 3

I hope your associates that have been so devoted to you will not be the means, now in these important moments left you, of blinding your eyes to your great soul need. Do not, I beseech of you, deceive your own soul. Do not deceive others that know your want of devotion, your want of true Christian experience, so that that life which has been a snare to others, imperiling their souls, will be regarded in their spiritual blindness as a martyr’s life, worthy of veneration. God does not regard it thus. 4LtMs, Lt 4, 1885, par. 4

Last Sabbath I thought I could see a ray of light in your testimony in the expression that you wanted a new conversion. This is what you need and must have. Delay it not. Confess your errors and forsake them, and leave as true and correct a representation as you possibly can of the Christian’s life behind you. Let no doubt be left on any mind as to your true repentance and your true conversion. Satan has thrown the bandage across your eyes, that you cannot see yourself as you are. Others have idolized you for the virtue, the lovely character they thought you possessed. But a selfish love for admiration has had a controlling power upon your life. Oh, look and see, while your affectionate words and manifestations of love have been lavished upon human objects, showing that you could give expression to these sentiments, how little has Christ had of that love. How little love and warm affection have you given your mother. You have not only robbed her of these, but how little have you spoken of Jesus. He has been excluded from your daily converse. Your influence has been to attract minds to yourself, to draw them away from Jesus, away from sacred devotion, to center their love and affections upon you. They have done this, not because of your resemblance to Jesus, not because of your genuine piety, but because they were pleased with you. They saw not and sensed not that with a firmness of purpose, worthy of a better cause; you have followed your own judgement and impulses and have done very much as you were inclined to do, notwithstanding advice and counsel to the contrary. But now the case becomes exceedingly solemn. You are most assuredly losing your hold upon this life, and your faith is not firmly grasping the hand of Jesus. I feel burdened for you. I beg of you to leave nothing undone in righting every wrong. 4LtMs, Lt 4, 1885, par. 5

I realize in treating of this matter I am dealing with a soul that is judgment bound. I dare not flatter you. Let the strength God has given you be employed, even at this late hour, in seeking for the peace of Christ. Cast yourself unreservedly in repentance, and contrition, and faith on Jesus Christ. Come to Him at this solemn moment with simplicity. Satan has had advantage over you, and over others through you. They have idolized you, not because of your devotion to Jesus, but through human sympathy and affection. It is time that you cut every earthly cord. No longer seek to find amusement for yourself that time shall pass by more rapidly, but treasure every moment. Make the most of your God-given opportunities while life is prolonged. Seek earnestly to obtain a better knowledge of Jesus and a fitness for the future life. With that character with which you go down into the grave, you will come up in the resurrection. It is not the character that is changed at the resurrection, but it is the body that will be changed. This mortal will put on immortality, this corruptible shall put on incorruption. Jesus is waiting now at the eleventh hour to reveal Himself to you. If you will hear His voice and open the door of your heart through repentance and faith, He will come in and abide with you. 4LtMs, Lt 4, 1885, par. 6

My dear sister, it is trying for me to make statements to you as I do in this letter. I dare not conceal the plain facts from you. There are not in you the virtues that many ascribe to you. May God give you spiritual eyesight, that you may discern your great need. You have a work to do to sever the tendrils that have entwined about you, and let them be entwining about God. You have no time to lose in doing up your work while life lasts and exercising that repentance that needeth not to be repented of. Do not leave anything undone on your part. I do not want you to banish from your mind the real work for eternity which you have strangely neglected. Every work will appear as it is in the judgment. It may be glossed over here, but there it will stand revealed in its true character. 4LtMs, Lt 4, 1885, par. 7

Will you, my dear child, look especially to this matter and move intelligently? You cannot ignore the past; you have something to do with the past and the present. You have confessions to make in regard to the past; and how anxiously I have hoped to see you engaged in this work without presenting it before you again. Some weeks ago I spoke with you earnestly in regard to this matter. And now again I urge it upon your attention, not because I wish to cause you pain, but because I wish to save you from future sorrow and regrets that will bring you no relief. I love your soul; but it is very hard for you to see and acknowledge a wrong without any vindication of self. It is like taking out a right eye; like severing the right arm. 4LtMs, Lt 4, 1885, par. 8

Your foolish associates have petted you and given you their preferences, and you in your turn have given them your attention. You have encouraged young men to entertain the idea that you loved them and allowed that intimacy which should exist only between persons who had exchanged vows of becoming all to each other. Now this has injured you more than you will ever see in its full bearing. And it has injured those whose hopes you have raised, and who have been disappointed in your refusing at last to marry them. If this had only been acted over once, then the matter would not have been as bad on your part, but the same attentions you would give to a fresh subject. I have talked with you most earnestly in the fear of God, showing you how offensive was this sin of trifling with hearts in the sight of God. 4LtMs, Lt 4, 1885, par. 9

You have through your influence, while carrying the impression of leading minds to God, been leading them to center their affection upon you; and God has been robbed of the devotion and heart-worship that He claims. You have been cherished, and idolized, and worshiped, because these young men loved you as their ideal of perfection. They have been deceived. Their idol was clay, erring, faulty clay. You are not even bearing the image of the divine. These young men have not that true, earnest, thorough devotion to the work of God that they once had. Their affections have been divided. I want you to see this and sense it and repent of it because you really feel the need of pardon. 4LtMs, Lt 4, 1885, par. 10

I hope that you will become more in earnest now, while disease is slowly wearing away your life forces. The voice from heaven has been appealing to you from the Word of God; the message borne by His servants during the late conference should have so impressed your heart as to lead you to heartily abhor yourself and put away the evil and make earnest work for repentance. The Spirit of God urges me to write these words to you. Jesus died to save you. The grand purpose of His life on earth was to save men and women, that they may comprehend the grand purposes of the plan of redemption and the rich provisions made for their salvation. 4LtMs, Lt 4, 1885, par. 11

The corruptions that are in the world, all the unholy influences on every side are working ever to draw us down to a low level, that we shall be satisfied with human influences to take the place of the divine, that our sensibilities may become blunted and perverted through a wrong course of action. Conscience becomes feeble and the religious faculties become dwarfed, and eternal interests are brought down on a level with common things. Our natural and cultivated tendencies are to lead away from God and heaven until the grace of God works a transformation. The lower nature is ever inclined to bear sway. We are slaves to self-indulgence and frequently seek it in ways that God has reproved, until a low level is reached in the religious life, and the image of God is nearly obliterated from the soul. Now God will pardon and bless if we come to Him with full contrition of soul. But if no confessions and repentance come into the life, then our names will be spued out of the lips of Jesus. Our names will be blotted out of the book of life. The soul must feel its degradation and its need of a physician. Jesus has promised to bless those who come to Him in humility of soul. 4LtMs, Lt 4, 1885, par. 12

Oh, that you would feel what the character of the past life has been, that it has been a deception and has poisoned the springs of true happiness, weakened and depraved the will, preventing its being used in the right direction, while it has been as firm as steel in the wrong direction. The soul needs cleansing by the blood of Jesus. Let us be thankful that it is not now too late for wrongs to be righted. Oh, now with subdued heart, turn to Jesus; lay hold on the hope set before you, with broken and contrite heart. Jesus offers free pardon and proposes to call you His daughter, and you may call Him by the endearing name “Father.” He will give you grace to help you in your weakness, and He will lead you to the light. You may have peace. But oh, that will of yours, to carry out your own inclinations: what a power it has been! How others have exalted you and thought you were perfection; but you have not led them heavenward. Will you now come to Jesus while your reason and a measure of strength are given you? 4LtMs, Lt 4, 1885, par. 13

God will make you free if you come to Him in sincerity in your soul’s great need. But do not seek to keep the time, these golden moments, filled up with unimportant matters to amuse you and make you forget the past errors of your life. Do your work now of confession, and by faith lay hold of Jesus’ blood. Animals’ spirits will only answer to serve us in health and sunshine. Let sad affliction come, let trials enter our circle, and the sunshine leaves us when we need it most. Companions will amuse us with light and cheerful talk; they will frequently flatter us with attention; but the thoughts and heaviness return to us again as unwelcome guests. These are lessons that you have to learn, late: that it is not that which is around us, not place or circumstances, but what is in us; not what we have, but what we really are that makes us have genuine happiness. We want a clear conscience, a spirit under command; and unless we have this, we always depend upon others for sympathy, for appreciation and comfort. And when deprived of human props, we find our spirits dark and uninteresting and cold. Meditation is not pleasant. Self-examination is dreaded. God wants that mind in the right place, centered upon Himself as the Source of peace and happiness and joy, else that mind will be discontented unless drinking in flattery and praise. 4LtMs, Lt 4, 1885, par. 14

You have lost a rich experience, and it would be the worst kind of dishonor to God to regard your life as a success, or as any criterion for others to follow. It can in many respects only stand as a beacon of warning to prevent other souls from being deluded as you have been. But, dear child, your soul is precious. Jesus died for you, and now it is not too late for you to come to Jesus, to look and live. Thank God that Jesus lives to intercede for you. You are not left to vain regrets and disappointments. What this life fails to give the child of God we may by faith see richly furnished in the future life. We must be thoroughly dissatisfied with ourselves before we will feel the need of a Saviour to whom we may look and live. True faith in Christ is obedience to His commandments and to follow His example. The peace that passeth understanding is true belief in Christ, which unites us to Him as the branch is united to the living vine. 4LtMs, Lt 4, 1885, par. 15

The heaviest burden is our own sins, and we do not want in word or in action to encourage anyone to be unconcerned in regard to his errors and mistakes. Much less would we seek to while away the few remaining hours of one, who is apparently about to die, with flattering hopes and seek to amuse and distract the mind, that it shall not candidly contemplate whether he has made his calling and his election sure. If ever there were a time when we should know ourselves, know whether we have been building upon sliding sand or upon solid rock, it is when our accounts for this life are to be closed up, to be unsealed and read in the great day of final settlement. Life looks to many desirable, presenting joy and happiness; but life has its troubles. Living is the solemn reality of the grave. We surely need to build now on solid rock, that we may not be moved from our foundation. 4LtMs, Lt 4, 1885, par. 16

Let nothing, Edith, engage your attention now that will hinder you from making thorough work for eternity. You need a strong arm to lean upon now, and how helpless you would be without God. Let us be full of gratitude that it is not too late to make an entire surrender to God. Go to Him now, weak, sinful, helpless, and let this be the language of your soul, “Save, Lord, or I perish.” “Simply to Thy cross I cling.” Jesus is willing to help you, but you must feel your need of Him. You must not try to divert your mind from the real work before you of preparation. You are not ready to die; your sins are not confessed; they are not forgiven. But they may be both confessed and forgiven, and all your burdens may seem light. Grasp by faith the good hope of eternal life. That earnest seeking of God, that love you did not give to Jesus in your life, give to Him now in your weakness and helplessness. 4LtMs, Lt 4, 1885, par. 17

Jesus is ready to be found of you. He first loved you, but what ingratitude have you shown to Jesus. Your soul has not been attracted to Jesus. Peace is found in the unfailing promise of God. There has been great need of your searching the Scriptures, but other reading has pleased you better than your Bible. But now become acquainted with God. When your associates visit you, and may try to beguile or divert your mind, tell them the moments for you are golden, that you have yet to learn the songs of Canaan. You have yet to become acquainted with your Redeemer—that the hours are too precious to be squandered; that all your remaining strength must be carefully devoted to securing your soul’s salvation. 4LtMs, Lt 4, 1885, par. 18

The future life is to be secured. The promises are rich and full and glorious. These must be appropriated to yourself. Jesus the dear Saviour loves you. He has white robes and crowns of everlasting life for you. The dear Savior will lead you by the fountains of living waters. There will be no chilling winds, no wintry colds, but an eternal summer. There is light for the intellect; love that is abiding, sincere. There will be health and immortality; vigor for every faculty. There will be shut out forever every sorrow and every grief. But the songs of Zion must be learned below before they can be sung in heaven. Where there is no love for God in the heart, there is no joy in contemplating heavenly things. Where a holy heaven has not attractions, it cannot stand as supreme before the imagination. 4LtMs, Lt 4, 1885, par. 19

Oh, my dear child, you need a Physician now, for you are sick—soul-sick. Those who think themselves worthy of admiration from human beings will underrate the offers of pardon from the precious Intercessor. The great purpose of the Bible is to lead us to a pure and holy life here in this world, preparatory for the sinless life in the presence of Jesus and the holy angels. We must be without spot, without wrinkle, or any such thing. Oh, that in your aspirations, in your life while looking to others for sympathy you had taken your Bible and pondered the messages from God to fallen man. You need to dwell upon the assurances of God’s Word, to hold them before the mind’s eye. Point by point, day by day, repeat the lessons there given, over and over, until you learn the bearing and import of them. We see a little today, and by meditation and prayer, more tomorrow. And thus little by little we take in the gracious promises until we can almost comprehend their full significance. 4LtMs, Lt 4, 1885, par. 20

Oh, how much we lose by not educating the imagination to dwell upon divine things, rather than upon the earthly. We may give fullest scope to the imagination, and yet, “Eye hath not seen, ear hath not heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love Him.” [1 Corinthians 2:9.] Fresh wonders will be revealed to the mind the more closely we apply it to divine things. We lose much by not talking more of Jesus and of heaven, the saints’ inheritance. The more we contemplate heavenly things, the more new delights we shall see and the more will our hearts be brim full of thanks to our beneficent Creator. Consider the wonderful love of God in giving His only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him might not perish but have everlasting life. Oh, why do the professed followers of Christ become charmed and all absorbed with human frail beings and set their affections upon them and bow to them as to a deity, while Jesus is seeking to win our love and engage our thoughts, to bind us to His own heart by the disclosures of the tenderest sympathy and inexpressible love. No earthly parent has pled more earnestly with an erring child than Christ pleads for us before His Father’s throne, while we are transgressors of His law. No human lips have ever followed with more tender expostulations the erring ones. Have, then, a care how you treat this marvelous love. Read the rich promises of God and believe them. Ponder upon them. Listen to the voice of unspeakable love and pity. In Him we have redemption through His blood. As many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God. God help you, my precious child, to come to Jesus just as you are, just as the sinner should come, in faith with repentance. Cut loose the tendrils; let them not entwine about earthly things, but let them entwine about God. You may never be lonesome, never feel that you are alone, if you will take Jesus as your Companion and your everlasting Friend. Learn the lessons now upon your sickbed that you failed to learn in your past life. Trust in Jesus fully as your Saviour, whose death has redeemed you; as your Intercessor, whose pleadings above avail with the Father and secure us peace, pardon. Our names are engraven on the palms of His hands, as our King to whom we must render a reverent and affectionate obedience. Jesus is the believer’s life, his hope, his joy. Love is the growth of faith and trust, to have Christ formed in us, to look to Him as a Friend and Counselor. 4LtMs, Lt 4, 1885, par. 21

You have not this experience. You have ever been reaching out for human sympathy, human love, and you have led others to center their affections upon you. You have not loved Jesus, nor served Him. To make God’s grace our own, we must do our part most faithfully, work to keep our souls in the love of Jesus, and then we shall bring forth fruit meet for repentance. We are to seek, that we may find; knock, that it may be opened unto us. Every provision has been made for us, and the Bible leaves the responsibility upon us. If we are not saved it is our own fault. I invite you to come to Christ and to come just now; do not resist the Spirit. You must lay hold of eternal life. The forgiveness of sin is promised to him who repents and believes, the crown of life to him who is faithful. 4LtMs, Lt 4, 1885, par. 22

Your experience has not been of the right stamp, and I do not wish yourself or others should consider that your experience in the religious life is safe for them to imitate. The design of God in giving us rich promises is stated by the Apostle Peter, that we “might be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust.” [2 Peter 1:4.] We must have earthly, worldly tastes transformed to the divine and heavenly. Heaven would be no heaven to you or to me if our tastes and our meditations and our temper were not Christlike. The pure and heavenly mansions which Christ has gone to prepare for His children are such as the redeemed alone can value by being made meet for them by the inward work of grace in their hearts. I might picture to you the blessedness of heaven, the crowns laid up for the conquerors, the white linen which is the righteousness of Christ, the palm branches of victory, and the harps of gold. But all these alone will not make heaven a place of bliss for any one of us. Without any of these, if we had pure and holy characters, we would be happy, for we would have Jesus and His love. Purity and innocence and conformity to Christ’s character will make heaven enjoyable. All the faculties will be strengthened, all in harmony. Perfect bliss can only dwell in the heart where Christ reigns supreme. Christ came to our world to die, the Just for the unjust, the Sinless for the sinful; that He might elevate and ennoble men and women and stamp His divine image upon them. For this His Spirit strives with us, that there may be an ever-advancing vigor and perfection of spiritual life which is the way we become partakers of the divine nature, having the likeness of Christ’s character. 4LtMs, Lt 4, 1885, par. 23

My dear child, I beseech of you to seek God earnestly by confessing and putting away everything displeasing to God. He will accept you and give you light and peace and joy. 4LtMs, Lt 4, 1885, par. 24