Letters and Manuscripts — Volume 4

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Lt 25, 1885

Vaucher, Jules Alfred

Geneva, Switzerland

December 16, 1885

Portions of this letter are published in LYL 47-48; 8MR 429-430.

Dear Friend:

I understand that you have desired to have my judgment in regard to matters that trouble you in reference to marriage with Brother Vuilleumier’s daughter. I understand that the father of the one upon whom you have placed your affections is not willing that his daughter should connect with you in marriage. While I would feel due sympathy for you because of your disappointment, I would say that who should feel interested in his own child more than her own father; and also her mother? The very fact of your urgency of this matter against the wishes of the parents is evidence that the Spirit of God has not the first place in your heart and a controlling power upon your life. You have a strong will, a firm, persistent determination to carry out anything you have entered upon. 4LtMs, Lt 25, 1885, par. 1

Will my brother please look to his own spirit and criticize his motives and see if he has a single eye in this matter to act in all things for the glory of God? I was shown the cases of several in Switzerland who were very much exercised upon the subject of marriage, that they had their minds so fully engrossed with this subject that they were disqualifying themselves to do the work God would have them to do. Some of these were in Basel, but not all. There were several in other places. From what I learn of your case, you must be one of these, for one was presented before me who would not submit to any objections to his marriage. He was a young man of determined will, but this persistency of will he interpreted as an evidence that his plans and purposes were right when he was deceived in himself. 4LtMs, Lt 25, 1885, par. 2

Now, my brother, will you show that you want your will to be in subjection to the will of God? I have been shown that in these last days there was a great desire in the minds of youth to marry, and it was the case that many of these marriages were instigated by the enemy. There is a bewitching power in the subject of marriage, and I was shown that many become bewildered and think it the very attainment of bliss to enter the marriage relation; but it is far from this as time has proved, for both have become dwarfed in spiritual things and have proved that in the place of helping one another they were great hindrances to each other. There was a young man shown me who was seeking to become one of the family of Bro. Albert Vuilleumier whom he did not seem to accept. He was in great trial and worriment of mind. I cannot but think this applies to you. This brother was not fitted in any sense to take the responsibilities of a husband or of a family, and should the union be formed now there would be great unhappiness as the result. The young man was not prepared for the marriage life in any way, and it was a snare of the enemy to bring him into a position of desperation where his strong will would assume control that would not submit to any reason. 4LtMs, Lt 25, 1885, par. 3

Now, my brother, my advice is for you [to] give your mind and affections to God and lay yourself on the altar of God. Gird up the loins of your mind, for unless yourself and some others shall come into a more yielding, teachable frame of mind on this subject, you will be unfitted for the work of God. 4LtMs, Lt 25, 1885, par. 4

There is the fifth commandment that must be respected, and had this commandment been more respected than it has been—had children been obedient to their parents and thus honored them—how much suffering and misery would have been spared! The inexperienced child cannot discern what is for her best good and how to wisely choose a companion that will make her life pleasant and happy; and an unhappy marriage is the greatest calamity that can befall both parties. 4LtMs, Lt 25, 1885, par. 5

But we are living in the last days. Christ is soon to come; and in the place of the workers’ having their minds absorbed with the question of marriage, they had better be studying to show themselves approved unto God, workmen that God shall bless and God shall make a channel of light. If the truth has a sanctifying power upon the life and character, the minds will not be so fully and entirely taken up with one [another] that it will be next to death to separate their affections. God wants your affections. God wants all that there is of you. Will my brother closely examine his heart and see whether he is in the love of God or not? Will he see what feelings are arising there against Bro. Albert Vuilleumier because he cannot bring his mind to consent to there being a union between you and his daughter? If you were indeed learning in the school of Christ to wear His yoke, to lift His burdens, to learn of Jesus’ meekness and lowliness of heart, you would not urge your will and your wishes so persistently. 4LtMs, Lt 25, 1885, par. 6

Now, my brother, there were several shown me in this continent who were not in a position to do all that good that they might do in the capacity of laborers. There has been a spirit of criticism cherished. In the place of winning souls they would drive them. Some who had made a great mistake in their labors, they were very narrow in their ideas. They felt that it was their privilege to be conscience for others. They must make a raid against dress and would take on great burdens in reference to the dress of the sisters. They felt it their duty to tell them how to dress. These men were not, while doing this, actuated by the Spirit of God, but they were prompted by their own spirit—traits of character which must be overcome in the place of ruling and becoming a power in the church. I think you are one of this class who, had you a wife, would want that she should lose her identity in you—you prescribe for her what she should wear, what she should do, and you would leave her no liberty of conscience. You would be dictatorial, overbearing, and crush out individual independence. 4LtMs, Lt 25, 1885, par. 7

Will you please to look carefully into your own heart, for if you see aright you will see that the love of Jesus has but a little place in your heart. There is much I could say more upon this important subject, but I will address a few more words to you and leave the matter at this time. 4LtMs, Lt 25, 1885, par. 8

I advise you to humble your heart before God and put away your own will and leave yourself in the hands of God, feeling that if it is right and in accordance with the will of God, then you would move forward in the matter of marriage; if it is not the will of God, you do not wish to take this step. Then just leave this matter for the Lord to manage. Do not unfit yourself through your strong will to carry your points at all hazards. Stop where you are and inquire, What is the spirit that controls me? And then inquire whether, with your present strong, untamable spirit, you would be a man to make any woman happy, whether you would be fit for the kingdom of heaven. Are you loving God with all your heart? Are you loving your neighbor as yourself? 4LtMs, Lt 25, 1885, par. 9

The very first duty that rests upon Bro. Vuilleumier’s daughter is to obey her parents, to honor her father and her mother. This she can do if you will not keep her mind in a state so unsettled that she cannot do her duty to her parents. The mother needs the help of her child; and when she will become a few years older, then she will understand better how to choose a husband that will make her life smooth and happy. A woman that will submit to be ever dictated to in the smallest matters of domestic life, who will yield up her identity, will never be of much use or blessing in the world and will not answer the purpose of God in her existence. She is a mere machine to be guided by another’s will and another’s mind. God has given each one, men and women, an identity, an individuality, that they must act in the fear of God for themselves. 4LtMs, Lt 25, 1885, par. 10

I would advise Sister Vuilleumier to claim the privilege of her daughter’s services as due her as long as she feels it for her own and her daughter’s interest. This is the mother’s duty to sacredly guard the future happiness of her beloved child. If she feels that a marriage is to be contracted that would not be for the welfare and happiness of her loved one, it is her privilege to say whom she would not have her daughter connected with; and it is her daughter’s duty to obey. This is God’s plan and should be carried out to the letter. There are so many unhappy marriages, can we be surprised that parents are cautious and want to guard their children from any connection which may not be wise and best? 4LtMs, Lt 25, 1885, par. 11

Will you, my brother, show more devotion to God, more earnestness in His service, more of the love of Jesus, less of criticism, greater kindness, pity, and love, and labor earnestly for the future, immortal life. 4LtMs, Lt 25, 1885, par. 12

With love to your soul, I remain, 4LtMs, Lt 25, 1885, par. 13

Your Sister in Christ. 4LtMs, Lt 25, 1885, par. 14