Letters and Manuscripts — Volume 4 (1883 - 1886)


Lt 19, 1886

Haskell, S. N.

Christiania, Norway

July 12, 1886

Portions of this letter are published in EGWE 206; 4MR 327-328; 6MR 92-94.

Bro. Haskell:

W. C. White has read two letters from you, one just received with the sketch of the work in Australia. You speak of Sr. Burnham’s going to Aus. if I were willing. I would not hold Sr. B. although I appreciate her labors. About the 25th of May, in answer to a letter that she wrote to me, I advised her not to go to Aus. on account of her health. She has enough work to do where she is, and her health is so poor she can only do a limited amount. I shall be obliged to give up my articles in the paper, but if Sr. Eliza desires to go, I withdraw all objections. It is her own health that made it seem inconsistent to me for her to go to a far-off country. I would suggest that there are those in Battle Creek who have ability and health combined that you could secure to go to Australia that would make it much more reasonable and profitable to the cause there. 4LtMs, Lt 19, 1886, par. 1

Sr. Burnham is a good worker, but her health is the only thing that led me to discourage her going. I send this to you at once. Meant to have written it before, but was taken sick at Orebro so that everything was put out of my mind. 4LtMs, Lt 19, 1886, par. 2

In regard to the school at South Lancaster, I should make some response to the remarks you have made. I think should we compare ideas we should not differ. You may leave directions for those whom you leave in charge of the school at South Lancaster to do after certain rules, and they may, like machines, do after these certain rules, but at the same time fail to bring in another element which would be, under certain circumstances, highly essential to combine with the carrying out of these rules in order to have everything done with equity and justness, that the work may stand perfect and complete in all its parts. God has given me light in these things, and I was shown that there was constant danger of the persons in charge at South Lancaster becoming narrow and critical and exacting and your school dwindling out. 4LtMs, Lt 19, 1886, par. 3

Those who are connected with these instrumentalities of God have the greatest missionary field in the world where they can exercise their tact and ability and reveal their love to God in seeking to save the souls of the youth under their charge. They need to preserve the missionary spirit continually. The true missionary spirit will be exercised where it is most needed to save the youth. The young are not perfect, they are full of faults and wrong tendencies; many have transmitted to them as a legacy defective characters, and if wrong tendencies are allowed to strengthen through unwise management in their earlier years, it will require patient, persevering efforts to mold them and educate them in the right direction. 4LtMs, Lt 19, 1886, par. 4

There is a transformation needed in those connected with the school. They need tact and wisdom to consider the circumstance of every case, entering into the feelings and bringing sympathy, tenderness, and love into their dealing with the minds of the youth. Let each interested worker make it a point to obtain the confidence of his students, then he can do anything with them he chooses. I am a mother and have dealt largely with children, and I know that we must have the Spirit of Christ with us continually and our own spirit under control, or we shall make a failure. Children will be cheerful, full of life, and inclined to mischief, and they may carry their love for amusement too far; but these things should not be regarded as sins. If the managers should unbend from their grave looks and from their dignity and mingle with the children in their innocent sports and amusements at proper times, they would have far more influence over then. If the lines are held too firmly, there will be a breaking loose somewhere. There is a case I will mention that has come before me. 4LtMs, Lt 19, 1886, par. 5

Sister B belongs to the Christiania church. She has been one that has helped Bro. Oyen to furniture so that he would not have to buy and has helped different families cheerfully and gladly. Sister Dahl has a son only fifteen years old who was, at considerable expense, sent across the broad waters to attend the South Lancaster school. Well, the boy writes to the mother that he has been expelled from the school, that he wanted to go to the camp-meeting and was told he could not go; nevertheless he did go, and he says for this and some other reasons which he gave he was expelled. Now why did not these good friends deal with that boy as they would have been pleased to have a child of their own dealt with? Why was not this a good missionary work for them to engage in, to write to the mother and clearly state the facts in the case? The mother had had confidence enough in them to place her boy in their charge. Was not this then their plain duty? The mother is in great anxiety for her boy. Martha Matteson says that he was one of the worst boys in school, that he was a thief and did many wrong things. If this is a true statement, why did not some one write to the mother and notify her before sending the boy adrift? 4LtMs, Lt 19, 1886, par. 6

The mother had means to give her boy a thorough education, and why should she be left in the dark to conjecture and surmise anything and everything in regard to her boy? Why should this boy or any boy in like circumstances be treated thus, turned adrift in a foreign country, his mother and sisters separated from him by the broad Atlantic Ocean? Would they have wanted one of their children treated in like manner? Was not this the very course to take to force the boy to go to the bad? He has a step-father, his mother married unwisely, who has run through for her a large property. She feels distressed beyond measure when she learns the boy is with his step-father, doing nothing, and therefore must be doing ill. 4LtMs, Lt 19, 1886, par. 7

She would have sent for the boy to come home at once, but she knows that he would have society here that would only be congenial to him in his present state of mind. There are those to whom he would tell his story and create prejudice. Was the boy cared for as he should have been? Was there anyone who possessed the missionary spirit to take a personal interest in him, to win his heart? Was his clothing looked after? Was it mended and kept neat and tidy? Was there a mother, with a mother’s heart and tender sympathy, who could appreciate the situation of a lad in a strange country, separated from mother and sisters? Would it not be well to read the direction God gave to Moses in regard to their duty to care for the strangers among them? Will you please to place this letter in the hands of the mothers in Israel in your school, if you have any, and let them criticize their own work, what they have done and what they have not done that they should have done, to have a transforming influence over this boy. They would do a good work should they succeed in reforming him, and he would be a jewel in their crown in the kingdom of God. 4LtMs, Lt 19, 1886, par. 8

The sister of this lad occupies an important position in the office at Christiania. She is a woman of excellent disposition. Her whole heart is in the truth. She acts as reporter and translator. She has decided to go with Br. and Sr. Oyen to America, but the office here would meet with a great loss should she go. There is now no one to supply her place as reporter and secretary. But the mother feels so deeply over her wandering son that she urges her daughter to go to America to look after him and try to save him. 4LtMs, Lt 19, 1886, par. 9

Another daughter, Kristene Dahl, has been a member of my family since last November. She embraced the truth while with us. She is a true Christian and has the spirit of a true missionary worker. All feel that the boy has been bad enough, no doubt, but I do not think they feel satisfied with the course that has been pursued toward him. Such things as this will bar the way to others’ sending their children to America to be educated. The mother’s and daughters’ hearts are fully in the truth. Means would have been sent to America to have brought this boy home had they not feared the influence of the elder son who has not the least inclination to the truth, but is preparing for the position of a captain in the army. 4LtMs, Lt 19, 1886, par. 10

Brother Haskell, there are many branches that are included in the missionary department, and God forbid that they should neglect the home missionary work for the youth and look far beyond to do a work at a distance. I have stated this case more fully because it may represent the cases of others. This expelling of students at South Lancaster has a bad look to it; and be assured, as matters now stand, I would be the last person to recommend youth to go to South Lancaster away from the watchcare of their parents to attend school unless I had greater evidence that there was a true missionary spirit exercised constantly to save the erring and inexperienced youth. If for some misdemeanor they are turned adrift to become the sport of Satan’s temptations, my advice would be, Parents, keep your children at home where they can have a mother’s prayers and a mother’s influence. Send them to no place where you have not evidence that there are mothers in Israel who will pity and sympathize with the weak and erring, who can pray with them and weep with them and work for their salvation as Christ has worked for us to save us poor, erring, defective characters. 4LtMs, Lt 19, 1886, par. 11

If Christ should drop us and have no more patience with our weakness and blunders, who have had so great light, we would certainly perish. We must not readily let go of the souls for whom Christ has died because they are sinful and erring. I tell you before God that I cannot feel that the best efforts have been made to bind the hearts of the youth to their instructors. There are many hearts that are starving for light, for words of kindness and approval. There is great danger of feeling that we are compelled to have much criticism, and the precious love of Christ has not been a ruling element in the labors put forth. There is a dearth of tender words and thoughtful little acts which true love would prompt. 4LtMs, Lt 19, 1886, par. 12

Some of our experienced brethren and sisters, while working in Worcester, acted in a very indiscreet manner. They were walking into Satan’s snare. We labored earnestly to correct this evil. We did not discharge them from the work, withdraw the hand of fellowship, and send them adrift; and is it wise to deal with the youth and young and inexperienced in this manner? We see experienced, gray-headed men fall into sin; we pity them; we have our compassion stirred for them, and we do not denounce them and leave them in a state of discouragement. We are weak, erring mortals, defective in character; and if we had not a pitying Redeemer, our case would be hopeless. And why should the youth be so readily given up? Why should we consider them past hope and drop them so easily? Why push them into the very arms of the devil, in the place of plucking them as brands from the burning? There is danger of our instructors of youth forgetting that they were once children, that they needed to be borne with patiently, sympathized [with], loved, and pitied when they fell into temptation and needed much long-suffering to be exercised toward them. 4LtMs, Lt 19, 1886, par. 13

A sister once desired me to find her a child to adopt and told me the qualifications the child must have. She did not want a child prone to selfishness, but one that had a sweet disposition and would be obedient, one who would never deceive or tell an untruth, one who had qualities and would make a capable, useful, intelligent woman. I said: “Sister, do you think that in taking such a child you are doing a deed of mercy? Such a child would be fit for heaven, and not fitted for the atmosphere of your home. You desire one that possesses qualities that you have not yourself. If you can obtain such a child, you will be fortunate. If you want to do real missionary work, and wish me to find you a child with faults and errors such as are subject to humanity, and then seek to the utmost in your power, in the name of Jesus, to work for the interest of that child, then I will find such a child for you. This would be doing true missionary work, to mold the child after the divine Pattern. You would be doing the work Christ came to the world to do for us poor, fallen souls. 4LtMs, Lt 19, 1886, par. 14

“And while you are engaged in this work of educating and training a soul for the future immortal life, you are in a school yourself, learning self-control, practicing virtues you wish the child to practice. You will be kind and patient because you want to set the child a good example; you will be circumspect in all your conduct because you want the child to be circumspect. You will guard your words, never manifesting impatience, because you want this child to be patient. You will not fret and scold because you do not want the child to fret and scold. You will seek to be earnest and true in the service of God because you want that child to reverence God and appreciate spiritual things. I can find you an imperfect child, full of faults and errors, to entrust to your care if you will only undertake to do the missionary work faithfully for the Master.” 4LtMs, Lt 19, 1886, par. 15

I am glad to say that this sister was ashamed of her narrow ideas and selfish motives. 4LtMs, Lt 19, 1886, par. 16

I fear the reason we have not many more youth among us is we expect too much of children and do not treat them as if they had rights as older people. They have disappointments, temptations, and trials just as hard for them to bear as those have of mature experience. May God help us to have a sense of our own shortcomings and put away the criticism and severity which we have woven into our characters, excluding the love of Jesus. We need to bring love into our Christian character. Oh, how wearied Christ must be with our stupidity, our disobedience, our oft rebellion, and yet He does not give us up. He loves us still. 4LtMs, Lt 19, 1886, par. 17

Said Christ, “Love one another as I have loved you.” [John 13:34.] What a depth and breadth to such an injunction as this. This will require soul struggle which Jesus revealed in His life; they will pray as Jesus prayed; they will entreat and plead for the erring as Christ importuned with His Father for sinful rejecters of His love and His salvation. 4LtMs, Lt 19, 1886, par. 18

I do think the older members of the church have too little sympathy and forbearance for the youth, and they have very many lessons to learn at the feet of Jesus, that they exercise patience to young sinners as the old sinners wish patience to be shown to them. I advise and exhort that those who have charge of the youth shall learn how to adapt themselves to meet the youth where they are, by learning useful lessons themselves of Him who was meek and lowly of heart, that they may bring into their life and character the love of Jesus. They should be kind, cheerful, and courteous, and bind the hearts of the youth to their hearts by the strong cords of love and affection. 4LtMs, Lt 19, 1886, par. 19

Do not be afraid to let them know that you love them. If the love is in the heart, give it expression, do not smother it. When they gather about the table to partake of God’s precious bounties, make this a season of cheerfulness. Do not make it a season of grave decorum as though they were standing about a coffin, but have it a social season where every countenance is full of joy and happiness, where naught but cheerful words are spoken. And the youth should not feel that they are under an eye that is watching them, ready to reprove and condemn. Approve whenever you can; smile whenever you can; do not arrange your countenance as though a smile would bring the condemnation of heaven. Heaven is all smiles and gladness and gratitude. I wish we all knew more about heaven and would bring its pure, healthful, holy, influence into our lives, for then we would bring sweet joy into many a life that needs it. 4LtMs, Lt 19, 1886, par. 20

In association with one another, we should cultivate habits and ways and manners that would attract and invite the confidence of the young. Satan has abundance of alluring temptations to charm and captivate the youth. If Christians would bring more pleasantness into their lives, they would make religion and truth a power for good. I verily believe that few know how to deal with the young. They need more of the spirit that pervades heaven, before their own religious life will be as the sweet perfume, and before they can exert a proper influence over the faulty, erring youth who, notwithstanding all their faults, have a depth of love and affection if it could only be called forth by love and affection. 4LtMs, Lt 19, 1886, par. 21

Oh, that we could be more like Christ and not repulse, but attract. With what judgment ye judge, ye shall be judged. With what measure ye mete, it shall be measured to you again. God will deal with us as we deal with one another. Then let us be very careful that we do not become pharisaical, but let us be Christlike. This your school in South Lancaster needs. 4LtMs, Lt 19, 1886, par. 22

If anyone has a motherly influence that tries to help and encourage the young, do not let the idea be entertained that she is teaching them to be rebellious; because there is a kind, courteous spirit manifested to help the young, do not let this be interpreted as working against the instructors of the youth. It will certainly be a contrast to the attitude of some, and the children will prefer to be in the company of those who have a sunny temperament, who possess some joyfulness and gladness; but this should not create envy or jealousy or evil surmisings. 4LtMs, Lt 19, 1886, par. 23

This spirit of cheerfulness and hope and joy must be an element in your school, or it will never flourish and grow up and become a missionary field as every school should be. 4LtMs, Lt 19, 1886, par. 24

Now be careful that no rules are made that are unreasonable; and then be careful, that if these rules are transgressed, not to expel or cut off the transgressor without every effort being made in love, in kindness, to awaken the offender to a sense of his wrong. Do not reprove him before the school, for then his pride is aroused, his combativeness makes a stand. Do not reprove him before his young companions, lest they shall triumph or incite him to rebellion. Take him alone, and with tenderness and love show him his error; pray with him; if you have any tears to shed, weep over him, and tell him you cannot endure to separate him from the school, for then he would lose self-respect and might become reckless; that you love his soul and will give him another trial; then throw around him every influence in your power to help him. Work as earnestly as you would to rescue a life from drowning. Fight against Satan in behalf of the erring. If this course had been pursued in our institutions, many a youth today would stand among the noblest of our workers, who is lost to the truth, lost to the work, all because of injudicious management. 4LtMs, Lt 19, 1886, par. 25

I will not sanction this at all; I will lift up my voice against it; I will work against this cold, cast iron, unsympathizing religion as long as I have strength to wield my pen. The Lord knows there is enough of this element in the churches in our land. My soul is pained beyond measure as I see so little of the love of Jesus. We need to live very close to Jesus, to have wise discrimination, to have wisdom to speak a kind word, that will have a soothing and comforting influence at the right time, throwing sunshine into the minds and hearts. Oh, for the sunshine of the Son of righteousness to rise in our hearts! 4LtMs, Lt 19, 1886, par. 26

Jesus never needlessly spoke a harsh word. He never gave pain to sensitive hearts. He never suppressed the truth, but He always uttered the truth in love. Jesus who paid so high a price for the souls of men had a wonderful reverence for humanity. All, from the highest down to the little child, were sacred and precious in His sight. In every one He saw a being lost, a being whose love He might win, and restore, or whom, by a harsh word, He might repulse and drive beyond hope. He softened the very tones of His voice to the most tender pathos to the sorrowful and suffering. 4LtMs, Lt 19, 1886, par. 27

The truth as it is in Jesus should come into our hearts, clothed in the warm radiance of love. Whoever in his habits or manners makes the truth unpleasant commits a sin against God. The truth, although it cuts and wounds the soul, must be spoken in order to save the soul. Yet truth is still lovely, and we cannot be loyal to truth and present it in a manner making it repulsive. Many a precious youth who might be saved by gentle manners has drifted away from Christ and the truth by harshness and want of tact. God would have us wise to use our powers for good. We need to be converted through and through. The warm love of Jesus in the heart will lead to warm, unselfish thoughts. Gentleness is wiser far than force. 4LtMs, Lt 19, 1886, par. 28

If Christ looked upon us as sharply and critically as we look upon one another, we could not bear the test. He does not withdraw His love, but continues to let it flow to us, although we have many blemishes and ill-treat His goodness. We sin against God, but His mercy never fails us; His love is working still to save us. He bears long with our neglect, forgetfulness, ingratitude, and disobedience. He never grows impatient with us. The wrongs He endures from us are of far greater magnitude than the trivial grievances we must endure from others. Then let us have very tender thoughtfulness for those around us and not condemn them harshly. Jesus delights in mercy. We must recount over and over again what Jesus has borne for us. We are soon to meet these precious youth that we are instructing now around the throne of God. 4LtMs, Lt 19, 1886, par. 29

The truth must be brought into the life and into the character, and we exemplify the life of Christ. Those who profess the truth should show its graces, its loveliness in the life. The warmth of love dwelling in the soul expresses itself in sympathy, in kindness for all. These show that they have peace with God and an indwelling Saviour. They will never magnify the defects of others. They look at the best and not at the worst features in the character. 4LtMs, Lt 19, 1886, par. 30

Love is the fulfilling of the law. Not selfish love, but love that goes out to others in deeds. Be cheerful, let the soul be uplifted to God, reflecting the rays of the Sun of righteousness. Oh, for Jesus to take possession of our souls and sanctify us and refine us, that we may be a blessing to others. 4LtMs, Lt 19, 1886, par. 31

Let the young receive the impression that Bible religion practiced in the life does not make us gloomy and joyless. Hear what Christ says upon the subject: 4LtMs, Lt 19, 1886, par. 32

“If ye keep My commandments, ye shall abide in My love; even as I have kept My Father’s commandments and abide in His love. These things have I spoken unto you, that My joy might remain in you, and that your joy might be full.” “Hitherto have ye asked nothing in My name: ask, and ye shall receive, that your joy may be full.” John 15:10; 16:24. 4LtMs, Lt 19, 1886, par. 33

We do not have right conceptions of the life of Christ. There is pleasantness and fulness of joy in the religion of Jesus. Gloomy spirits are not a token of piety. Amid all the sorrows of Christ, while walking under the deep shadow of the cross, He bore a heart of cheerfulness and joy. Wherever He moved, joy and gladness sprang up in His path. He did not frown upon children’s plays. He misrepresents Christianity who brings into religion a cold, rigid, joyless character, that is ready to frown upon innocent gladness and would repress pure pleasure. Jesus loves to see His children happy. 4LtMs, Lt 19, 1886, par. 34

I wish all who profess to love Christ had correct ideas of what constitutes genuine religion. Every instructor of youth should be a happiness maker. We want to bring all the joy, peace, and cheerfulness into our lives that is possible. We want to make melody in our hearts to the Lord. Many lives would be prolonged if they would unbend from the strain which has been upon them and be glad and happy. They should take real pleasure in seeing the children joyful and happy. 4LtMs, Lt 19, 1886, par. 35

Christ loved children, He attracted them, but never repulsed them. The children loved Jesus and never dreaded His presence. It would do the teachers good should they unbend from their dignity occasionally and at proper times become more like children. Meet the children where they are, then you can lift them up into almost any position. 4LtMs, Lt 19, 1886, par. 36

There is such a thing as over-governing in the home or in the school. There has been something of this, I think, in South Lancaster. I hope they will closely examine this matter and see if they cannot make some changes. Let them see if they have not something to do for the souls of those that they have expelled. What efforts have they made to redeem them and bring them back? If they have not felt a burden in this line a little practical experience might soften and subdue their own souls. 4LtMs, Lt 19, 1886, par. 37

You may think this is a strange letter, but I have written this because I feel it my duty to write it, and I hope all who are connected with the school at South Lancaster will try to have perfect harmony in their work. I know you all desire the school to prosper, but you may have to look a little deeper and study more closely as to the best ways and means to make the school a success. No one has complained to me, but I speak the things I know. I have made earnest appeals and cautioned Bro. Ramsey and Bro. Robinson that they should be kind, patient, and forbearing in their management of the youth. I knew a decided change in the management must take place. All connected with the school should overcome narrow ideas and plans. 4LtMs, Lt 19, 1886, par. 38

I would consider it a great privilege to attend the meetings in America, especially in Portland, but I know this cannot be. I came over here to see what we could do to help the cause in Europe. We could do the people but little good to come so far and rush through from place to place, touching here and there and obtaining no thorough knowledge of the wants of the people. We shall be just as glad to return to America as our brethren would be pleased to have us. It is a task to speak through an interpreter, and there is much to be done in plain, decided talk, in seeking to set things in order, and devising various plans of operations. 4LtMs, Lt 19, 1886, par. 39

I will be patient; I will not be guided by my feelings; I will not become discouraged; I will not be beaten off from the work by infirmities. The customs and habits of the people are not always agreeable to us, but this is a small matter. There are souls to be saved; Christ died for them. I will try and do my duty. I would love the retirement of my home at Healdsburg; but if I am faithful, there is a better home preparing for me where I shall find peace and rest. A work is to be done, and the Lord help us to do it with fidelity. 4LtMs, Lt 19, 1886, par. 40

Much love to your wife and all the children of God. 4LtMs, Lt 19, 1886, par. 41