Letters and Manuscripts — Volume 4 (1883 - 1886)


Lt 29, 1884

Salisbury, Brother

Battle Creek, Michigan

November 20, 1884

Portions of this letter are published in 2SM 329; OHC 317.

Dear Brother Salisbury:

My mind has been troubled on your account, and I do not feel clear unless I write to you some things that have been shown me in regard to your spiritual condition. Last spring many things were shown me in regard to different families that were not what God would want them at home. 4LtMs, Lt 29, 1884, par. 1

I saw you were greatly deficient in this respect. You allow your imagination to control your reason and your attitude in your family. Sickness has afflicted your wife, bringing upon you additional burdens and cares and expense. You have fretted over this. Every one must accept this providence of God and meekly bow to His dispensations. Every soul has anxieties and worries in their daily life. There are continual irritations and annoyances coming to every family. You are tired and nervous, but had you a right hold from above as a Christian should have, you would be not only a hearer of the Word but a doer as well. The practical Christian will live for God, doing His duty in the face of all hindrances. 4LtMs, Lt 29, 1884, par. 2

There are tangled briers through which every follower of Christ must travel. The feet, the hands, may be torn by them, but still the way is onward. The feelings you have had toward your family are not that of a reasonable man. You have felt that they were to you a burden too heavy to carry, and this has not been in thoughts only but expressed in words, in your actions and deportment. 4LtMs, Lt 29, 1884, par. 3

When your wife was very sick you tried to do your duty to her but when she began to improve, then Satan came with his temptations, and you listened to his suggestions. You have thought, How can I live peacefully amid vexing and irritating things and the multitude of little worries and fretting which come in my home life which I cannot evade? This is a diseased imagination. You must, you should gird up the loins of your mind, not let it dwell upon these matters where Satan is trying to lead your mind. Call it back to duty to your married vows and [do] not get the impression that your lot is so hard and unbearable. Let not your mind be occupied with other women outside your family. Give your affections, your love, to her [whom] you have vowed to love and cherish. You cannot prosper until you are a changed man. Your ideas must change. You must have more clear and rational ideas of your duty to God and [to] your family. It is not enough to get along day by day in a sort of maze, not knowing where you will drift next—fluctuating, speaking and acting unworthy [of] a Christian, then feeling remorse and then acting upon the same plan again. 4LtMs, Lt 29, 1884, par. 4

Life to you should be no burden. You should live victoriously, even mastering your experience, weaving into it brightness, joy, and hopefulness. As a follower of Christ live a truly Christian life whatever the circumstances surrounding you may be. Do not, for Christ’s sake, pursue a course to wean the affections of your wife from you. For you to make straight paths for your feet is to live as Jesus would live and behave as Jesus would have you. You will please remember you are making a record in the books of heaven such as you would not be pleased to meet in the judgment. 4LtMs, Lt 29, 1884, par. 5

You should live a life that will please God and [give] evidence to all connected with you of the genuineness of your Christianity. Your life must be lived in the very circumstances God in His providence placed you. Your fretful, harsh words to your wife are to her like the cruel hail beating upon the precious plants. You cannot divest yourself of the responsibilities of your family, and would not if you could; therefore, you must make the best of your circumstances and surroundings as you are placed. Whatever you are to make of your life must be made amid your every day experience. It is just where you are [that] you must fight the battles of life over and over again. Here you must either win your victories or be defeated and driven from the field of battle. 4LtMs, Lt 29, 1884, par. 6

You often think your lot hard and wish it otherwise, that you had a life free from perplexities, a life of greater freedom from care with no briers or thorns, worries or provocations. Is this the life you desire? Then do your utmost to make it so. Your efforts, through Christ, will do much toward removing the briers, the thorns. 4LtMs, Lt 29, 1884, par. 7

Be always gentle. Never let your words wound your wife and bruise her soul that she shall carry a sad, grieved heart day after day, for this is a slow death like slow poison. Show your wife you appreciate her. Be gentle, kind, patient, forbearing with your children. Never, never speak words to your wife or children that will irritate. Forbear the expressions you have allowed yourself to make again and again. Long after they have passed from your memory, they live to wound, to bruise the soul of your wife and children. You will be the means of the ruin of the souls of your wife and children unless you are a thoroughly changed man in spirit, unless you view these matters in altogether a different light. 4LtMs, Lt 29, 1884, par. 8

Remove from your wife every vexing thing, not alone for her sake but for your sake also. Your aspirations are not what they should be, whatever your life is to be made, whether it is beautiful or marred. Others may have more desirable positions than ours but here is your lot and my lot, and we must make the very best we can out of it. Many men with eight or ten in the family praise God that they have ten dollars per week and you have double this. Here is something to be thankful for. 4LtMs, Lt 29, 1884, par. 9

Every week you should lay by in some secure place five or ten dollars not to be used up unless in case of sickness. With economy, you may place something at interest. With wise management you can save something after paying your debts. 4LtMs, Lt 29, 1884, par. 10

Accept the battles of life on your field and stop not to long for the chances some others have, for, while you are doing this, you are overlooking the present privileges [and] opportunities which God places in your path, which will pass never more to return. 4LtMs, Lt 29, 1884, par. 11

You must overcome this restless discontent. The place where we find ourselves we must do our best in, for it may be the Master’s design we shall live our life right here, fight our battles on this ground, [and] become strong men and women in God through surmounting difficulties that appear on our ground of conflict. 4LtMs, Lt 29, 1884, par. 12

God [knows] what is for our best good. The peculiar discipline to which we are subjected is discipline to bring out, not the worst and most unlovely traits of character, but the meekness and loveliness of Christ, developing the precious graces of Christ. 4LtMs, Lt 29, 1884, par. 13

You need to learn in Christ’s school to become Christlike. God adapts His grace to the peculiarities of each one’s necessities. My grace is sufficient for you. As your burden grows heavier, look up and by faith cling more firmly to the hand of Jesus, your mighty helper. As difficulties thicken about His people amid the perils of the last days, He sends His angels to walk all the way by our side, drawing us closer and still closer to the bleeding side of Jesus. And as the greater trials come, lesser trials are forgotten; the heart feels the need of more firm trust and becomes calm. You must remain pure and true and firm, remembering your character is being imprinted upon books of heaven—just as the features are imprinted upon the polished plate of the artist. There is no circumstance or place or difficulty or hardship where we cannot live beautiful lives of Christian fidelity and approved conduct. 4LtMs, Lt 29, 1884, par. 14

You should not be satisfied with the life you are now living. It is a faulty life. You should discipline yourself to live a faultless, gentle, unspotted life in every place and under every circumstance. The true victory is not found in shunning trials—getting rid of them—but in meeting them heroically, enduring them patiently. Then you will avoid the many harassing trials that you think are almost unendurable. Give your wife sunshine in the place of frowns, pleasant words in the place of irritating, stinging words. What confidence can she have in your missionary work when its influence upon you is what it is—unkind at home, hasty, denunciatory, fault-finding—anything but a Christian at home. 4LtMs, Lt 29, 1884, par. 15

I was astonished at your course as it has been presented before me. You must love your wife. You must cease your complaining and treat her tenderly, lovingly. What has she done that you should thus treat her? What have you done? Please review the past and then break this spell that is upon you, which will certainly prove your ruin and the sure ruin of your family. Your wife needs love and affection. Never leave the impression upon her that she is a burden. There is no reason at all why your life should not be happy; but you are, in the course of action, making yourself think you have a hard time, when it is a delusion of the enemy. Be cheerful, kind and affectionate at home. Be a real home missionary. 4LtMs, Lt 29, 1884, par. 16

There are duties for you in the family from which you cannot excuse yourself. No other mortal must take the time, the care, the love, the devotion belonging to your wife. Jesus is your pattern. Copy the pattern. You have made many crooked lines and many blotted pages which you regret, but not half deeply enough. Yet you must not become discouraged. You must keep a brave heart, an unfaltering purpose, a calm and joyful confidence in God. When you see your weakness, then you will feel your need of leaning more fully upon Jesus. You must grow into Christ’s likeness at home. Do missionary work for the dear ones at home. Their souls are as precious in the sight of God as the souls of others, and these demand kindly care, loving words, tender affection. Flee to Jesus now. Change your course and encourage your wife. You imagine many things that are all wrong. God help you to be firm and true to principle. 4LtMs, Lt 29, 1884, par. 17