Letters and Manuscripts — Volume 5 (1887-1888)


Lt 10, 1888

Daniels, Brother and Sister [E. P.]

Healdsburg, California

April, 1888

This letter is published in entirety in PH096 8-22. +Note

Dear Brother and Sister [E. P.] Daniels:

When I think of your worn and nervous condition when we were united in our labors in Lemoore, Selma, and Fresno, I am troubled on your account. The April meeting is before us, and I am perplexed over many matters that I know will call for much taxing labor on my part. 5LtMs, Lt 10, 1888, par. 1

My brother, I know that you want to be right with God, but you do not keep yourself firmly in the right way. If you kept a steady hold from above, you would be an efficient laborer in the cause of God, but there are many influences within and without that are striving for the mastery, and you are lacking in fixedness of purpose to go forward and upward to gain the heavenly prize. There are dangerous avenues before you leading off from the right path, and none are more exposed to peril than yourself, although you do not imagine yourself in danger. 5LtMs, Lt 10, 1888, par. 2

You frequently grow impatient at the words of counsel and caution that God addresses to you through His servants. You will not think that there can be danger in your pathway until you are entangled and can see afterward that you have made a mistake; then you become discouraged. 5LtMs, Lt 10, 1888, par. 3

Your case was opened before me in Switzerland, as you well know. I saw you were in danger from your hereditary tendencies and your habits of life. You are of that nature that you should fear to follow your strong and sometimes fierce impulses. The more experience you gain in spiritual things, the more deeply you will realize your own weakness and feel your need of clinging close to the Lord as your Counsellor. 5LtMs, Lt 10, 1888, par. 4

One of the deplorable effects of the original apostasy was the loss of man’s power to govern his own heart. When there is a separation from the Source of your strength, when you are lifted up in pride, you cannot but transgress the law of your moral constitution. It is then that you break away from the control of conscience, and perverted habits and practices gain the ascendancy over reason; impulse bears sway and carries you away from the control of principle. You indulge in disloyal feelings, and you need to be restored to yourself almost as much as you need to be restored to your God. You do not heed warnings as you should, because you do not think them applicable to your case. I tremble for your safety. 5LtMs, Lt 10, 1888, par. 5

The church in Fresno has reenacted that which has taken place in other churches. Some have been all taken up with your preaching and have been charmed with your manners as a man. At times the Lord has seemed to be very near and has spoken through you, and then, had you lived out what you preached, you would have been a savor of life unto life; but you have not kept in a humble and lowly spirit. You knew that your influence and labors were appreciated, and it hurt you when others referred to your mistakes in financial management. You spoke in a way to draw upon the sympathy of your brethren, and they thought they were doing God’s service in placing means in your hands; in this they were deceived. They did not know your weakness, and it was the worst thing that they could have done for you. It was like the unwise indulgence of parents to unreasonable children. You needed to learn many lessons to bring into your daily practical life. 5LtMs, Lt 10, 1888, par. 6

If you would make a success as a representative man in the truth, you will have to practice economy. You should not allow yourself to be tossed to and fro by the exercises of your mind or to be affected by circumstances. Your surroundings color your religious experience and are woven into your discourses, and the weakness of your character is made apparent under temptation and trial. You do not think but that your mountain standeth sure. You do not realize that you are in an enemy’s land, where foes are lurking behind every bush and jutting rock to surprise you when off your guard. If you would but realize your weakness and overcome your defects of character, you could do much. You can and must do this. If you would have eternal life, you would watch unto prayer, sending your earnest, longing desires to the mercy seat with a perseverance and determination that could not be denied, and when the enemy came in like a flood, the Spirit of the Lord would lift of a standard against him. 5LtMs, Lt 10, 1888, par. 7

You are in danger of losing the confidence of your brethren because you do not practice that which you preach. At one time you urge one thing and at another time another, because some ideas strike you in a different light. You are not rooted and settled in the truth, and therefore you are easily moved. There must be deep heart work in your case, for I have been shown that unless you have power to resist inclination and impulse, you will be overcome by the enemy of God and man. You need to cultivate genuine faith, for it is inseparable from repentance, transformation of character, and the bringing forth of the fruits of the Spirit. The reason you have not overcome many of the weaknesses of your character is not because you are satisfied with yourself as you are, but you have not the moral courage to war against your inclinations. You should be determined to accept the light which God has given you, which has called your attention to His precepts and injunctions, and follow the expressed will of God. 5LtMs, Lt 10, 1888, par. 8

For years testimonies have followed you upon the subject of economy and the wise expenditure of means, but neither yourself nor your wife has made decided changes in your practices. You love display; you love indulgence of appetite; you love to gratify your taste. The same traits of character shown in yourself are reproduced in your children, and you will reap that which you have sown. There never can be sufficient means granted you for your labors to sustain you in your indulgence in extravagant, spendthrift habits. Why do you not learn [from] those brethren who comfortably support themselves and their families on less money than you receive for your labors? The reason that you are in embarrassed circumstances is not because your wages are not enough to support you as a Christian, but [because] you do not manage your means in such a way as to keep you from embarrassment. If you had twenty dollars a week, you would still complain of financial pressure. 5LtMs, Lt 10, 1888, par. 9

In Healdsburg the Lord wrought through you, not because you were perfect, but in spite of your imperfections. Self was mingled with your work. When you realized that the spirit and power of God were working with the people, if you had humbled yourself, if you had walked carefully and tenderly before God, feeling your unworthiness and His goodness, the influence you left in Healdsburg would have been far better than it now is. You charge all your financial embarrassment to circumstances. 5LtMs, Lt 10, 1888, par. 10

You can talk well in regard to parents training their children. Your wife, whom I love and respect in the Lord, would make an excellent lecturer upon this subject. But your practice contradicts the excellent principles that you have presented. She does not practice her own teachings. When your customs are seen and your home life practices revealed, the people become confused and disgusted. You do not train your children for usefulness, to practice self-denial, and to keep the way of the Lord. Why are you so irresolute in purpose, so feeble in action, so vacillating in principle, so weak in faith? These things are a mystery to those who have an opportunity to become acquainted with you in the pulpit and at home. Elder Daniels, they see you one day strong and self-assured; next day they see in you a complete change. You affirm strongly things exactly opposite to what you affirmed as strongly the day before. If you were indulging in the use of wine, beer, or brandy, I could see a reason for this changeableness. But I sincerely hope that you will not form the habit of indulging in intoxicating drinks, for then Satan will be able to do with you what he will. The wine you recommended to be that which should be used freely and without evil effects, I used one tablespoon for a time, but I was afraid of it. 5LtMs, Lt 10, 1888, par. 11

When I was shown the great need of reform in the education and training of your children, I was filled with pain that I cannot express, because I saw that you did not act your part in bringing about the best good of your children. You need the work of the Spirit of God in your own heart, for right principles are not governing your life. If you were right with God, you would not be doing as you have been doing in reference to your children; you would not present such an example as you have in their management. You should depend far less upon self and far more upon Jesus. If you were closely connected with God, you would rule your children wisely. 5LtMs, Lt 10, 1888, par. 12

Zua is impulsive; she lacks experience in the right direction; she needs to be guided and restrained instead of being indulged and flattered. If you were discerning, if your souls were imbued with the sanctifying power of the truth, you would need no advice in regard to her attending Snell’s Seminary. If you were asked concerning the daughter of another, you would know just what course parents should pursue in relation to the education of their child. You have placed barriers in the way of Zua’s salvation, for you have yourselves chosen as her associates the vain, the proud, the unbelieving. 5LtMs, Lt 10, 1888, par. 13

Sister Daniels loves dress. She is weak on this point and desires to see her children arrayed according to the customs of a fashionable world. The Word of God has specified how Christians should dress, and parents are to see that His directions are carried out, rather than the wishes of their children. God will hold parents accountable for sowing seeds of vanity in the hearts of their little ones. Paul writes concerning the dress of women, saying, “In like manner also, that women adorn themselves in modest apparel, with shamefacedness and sobriety; not with broidered hair, or gold, or pearls, or costly array; but which becometh women professing godliness, with good works.” 1 Timothy 2:9, 10. And Peter writes, “Whose adorning let it not be that outward adorning of plaiting the hair, and of wearing of gold, or of putting on of apparel; but let it be the hidden man of the heart, in that which is not corruptible, even the ornament of a meek and quiet spirit, which is in the sight of God of great price.” 1 Peter 3:3, 4. 5LtMs, Lt 10, 1888, par. 14

My brother, how can your wife, in the fear of God, rebuke the sins of fashionable follies and love of dress when you are seeking to meet the world’s standard? Can you present an example to the world in the dress of your children? Have you, Sister Daniels, not encouraged your daughter to dress as other school girls dress who have not the fear of God before them, whose whole aim is to make a display? Can the Master sanction your course in placing your daughter where she is constantly in the society of those whose conversation, whose manners, [and] whose characters bear only the worldly mold? 5LtMs, Lt 10, 1888, par. 15

Your daughter may receive a certain polish, a gloss which may please her parents and give her ideas as to what constitutes a lady, but it may be entirely contrary to the express will of God. Is the refinement of the world that which will elevate her in the scale of moral value with God? Will she have as great a care to possess a meek and quiet spirit that she will meet the self-sacrificing Redeemer as she has to meet the approval of her worldly associates? You knew that the tendencies of your child would lead her to imitate the fashion she sees so as not to appear odd and singular. 5LtMs, Lt 10, 1888, par. 16

You may say that there are many Sabbathkeepers who dress just like the world. This has always been so and always will be so. Christ said, “It is written, Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God.” Matthew 4:4. Are you not set as a shepherd to watch for souls as one who must give an account? 5LtMs, Lt 10, 1888, par. 17

Sister Daniels, you have not met your solemn responsibilities as a mother in aiding your daughter to deceive her father in regard to her dress and expenditures. Both of you have been deceived and carried away with false ideas in regard to the training of your children. You must be thoroughly transformed by the grace of Christ, so that you can teach your children by precept and example, the good and right way. Zua is full of affectation and deception. She is superficial in nearly all her attainments. Her school life has given her an outside polish, but her heart is unrenewed, for she has no love for God, no love for the society of Christians. She is in the ranks of the enemy, and should she die today she would not enter the kingdom of heaven. Paul is in no better condition, and your youngest girl is far from having a lovely character. Your own training is in every way defective. May the Lord have mercy on you all, that you may not lose your soul and the souls of your children. 5LtMs, Lt 10, 1888, par. 18

We are urged by the Spirit of the Lord to bear a pointed testimony against the idolatry of dress in this age. If we are right with God, we will discard everything of a deforming character, such as panniers, bustles, unnecessary plaiting, and fashionable arrangement of the dress upon the body. Ministers and ministers’ wives should be an example in reproving the fashionable display in our sisters who claim to believe the truth. They should have their children dressed in a way that God would approve, presenting them to the church in simplicity and modesty of apparel. Far greater pains should be taken to instruct them so that they shall have beautiful characters and keep the way of the Lord than to have them make a stylish appearance, taking the way of the Sodomites. 5LtMs, Lt 10, 1888, par. 19

The Scriptures say, “As for my people, children are their oppressors and women rule over them.” Isaiah 3:12. “Behold, this was the iniquity of thy sister Sodom, pride, fullness of bread, and abundance of idleness was in her and in her daughters, neither did she strengthen the hands of the poor and needy. And they were haughty, and committed abomination before me: therefore I took them away as I saw good.” Ezekiel 16:49, 50. 5LtMs, Lt 10, 1888, par. 20

I appeal to you in the name of the Lord to study your Bibles, to be doers of the Word, and to educate your children that they may know the way of the Lord so that the curse of Eli may not come upon you. 5LtMs, Lt 10, 1888, par. 21

Children should be kept as free as possible from the demoralizing influences of the fashions of this age. Fathers who minister in word and doctrine should have their children [be] examples of what they teach to others in the pulpit. When you realize the responsibility that rests upon you, your life and character will be elevated and ennobled, and you will seek to reach the high standard God has erected. Ministers should be far more earnest and anxious to train their children so that they shall meet the Lord’s standard than that their children shall meet the approval of the world. 5LtMs, Lt 10, 1888, par. 22

I do not wish you to be blindfolded by the enemy, to feel flattered because your daughter is praised and petted by those who do not keep the commandments of God. What if sickness or death should come upon your children? What if their reason should be taken away and their souls unsaved? Where would the blame lie? Has your work been done according to the light and knowledge you have had? Have you followed the directions of Holy Writ? Have you not educated and trained your child to love fashionable dress because you have not firmness of principle to deny her desires? Have you taught your children that they must have a moral courage in order to be God’s peculiar treasures, separate from the spirit and habits of those who love not God and keep not His commandments? 5LtMs, Lt 10, 1888, par. 23

If Zua should take a course according to the Bible directions, she would have no inclination to remain at the Seminary in Oakland. Have you not given permission for your daughter to go out from among those of like faith into the society of those whom her natural inclination chooses as companions and associates? The Lord said to the people of Israel: “Gather your children into your houses with you and strike your doorposts with blood, that the destroying angel shall not cut down your children.” [Exodus 12:22, 23.] If they were found in the homes of the Egyptians, they would perish with unconsecrated idolaters. Now, you are utterly at fault; you are letting the enemy take your children out of your hands, separating them from those who are connected with God and allowing them to drift into the society of worldlings. “Consistency, thou art a jewel.” 5LtMs, Lt 10, 1888, par. 24

Unless you change, you will constantly erect barriers around your children to hold them away from Christ. You will bind them with the world because it pleases their carnal minds. When the angel with the writer’s inkhorn places a mark upon those who love Jesus and keep His commandments, another angel will follow with destroying weapons in his hands, and the commandment will go forth, “Slay utterly old and young, both maids, and little children, and women: but come not near any man upon whom is the mark; and begin at my sanctuary.” Ezekiel 9:6. Will you not carefully look at these things and think upon them? Will you not, for the sake of your children, do the work for which God has made you responsible? 5LtMs, Lt 10, 1888, par. 25

I feel greatly burdened over these things. The children of Sabbathkeepers who have had their own way and have been gratified in all their wishes will, in consequence of their selfishness, idolatry, and unrighteousness, be unfit for heaven, but they will be fit for the last plagues. Unless parents arouse from their present condition and do their appointed work, they will perish with their children. 5LtMs, Lt 10, 1888, par. 26

Paul is a boy who has good qualities as well as objectionable traits of character that have been cultivated and indulged rather than restrained. You have not taught him the sinfulness of a sullen, stubborn disposition and firmly restrained this growing evil. Even in the expression of his countenance your indulgence is leaving its mold. The impressions made in youth are most abiding, and early life is the best time to cultivate correct habits. Paul has been encouraged to be exacting and particular in his diet, but you should set the food before him and never allow him to turn from it in disdain, calling for something that you have not provided. He may cherish his exacting habits in regard to his diet until he shall be disagreeable to himself and all connected with him. If he were obliged to labor according to his strength, hunger would give him a relish for his food and remove his murmuring. Decided measures should be taken in this matter. I love this son of yours; he can be molded in the right way, for, if properly trained, he will respond after a time. 5LtMs, Lt 10, 1888, par. 27

You should never allow your children to find fault with their food, to murmur because spice, pepper, pickles, and condiments are not placed before them. You should not allow them to indulge largely in meat-eating, unless you want them to become nervous, irritable, and discontented. 5LtMs, Lt 10, 1888, par. 28

Give your boy something to do. Teach him to be industrious. He has naturally no love for work; he loves indolence and seeks to shirk responsibility. If you want your children to bless you, teach them to be useful and self-denying. Restrict their reading. They should not be allowed to pore over the pages of novels or story books filled with the tales of lust and knavery, for it will not leave a heavenly influence on their minds. They are young and inexperienced and will be just what you make them. All such habits of reading will cut up by the roots the principles of virtue which enter into the formation of a good, firm character. Novel reading is like taking poison and will sooner or later reveal its bitter results. The mark for good or evil made upon the characters of your children is not written in the sand, but is traced as on enduring rock. Their associations will have to be guarded, for what is learned from the words and habits of their companions will mold the whole after-life. The company your children keep, the principles they now adopt, [and] the habits they now form are settling the destiny of their future with an almost infallible certainty. 5LtMs, Lt 10, 1888, par. 29

Heretofore, what I have said to you has left no lasting impression, but will you not now become a different man? If you do not, I greatly fear that you will depart from the faith. I pray you to keep the path of honor and truth. Do not accept money as a gift from your brethren. Bring your wants within your means. Make no extravagant purchases for yourself or for your children. May your wife be the help and strength to you that she should be in aiding you to correct your deficiencies, which mar your work and which ought not to exist. 5LtMs, Lt 10, 1888, par. 30

There are personal weaknesses which may make you feel that you should leave the ministry so that your lot would be easier. You may feel that some other employment would be better for you financially; but you would find that it would be a mistake. You are not qualified to become a financier. Your hopes are large; you have glowing anticipations that have never yet been realized and never will be. You make large outlays on the preparation for future promises of real success, but you will be disappointed. But if you endure unto the end as a humble, faithful, godly shepherd of the flock, your reward will be a crown of glory that fadeth not away. The good hand of the Lord is over you in that you are permitted to bear the glorious message of truth to others. May the Lord give you such clear views of Jesus that your soul will be enraptured. I commit these plain words to you both, to tell you that one-half your usefulness is counteracted by defects that you can and must overcome. Make thorough work for eternity, as in the sight of God. 5LtMs, Lt 10, 1888, par. 31

Elder Daniels, I am your friend because I tell you the truth. You are engaged in a solemn work, and as an ambassador of Christ, I desire that you should make no failure, but give full proof of your ministry. Pray much, my brother; talk less. Pray that you may be endowed with wisdom and courage necessary to accomplish the work, whatever it may be. Say before God, “I will do my duty with an eye single to Thy glory.” 5LtMs, Lt 10, 1888, par. 32

Difficulties will arise in your path, and you may feel the deficiency of your character, the littleness of your ability as a minister of the gospel in comparison with the greatness of the work. But if you had the greatest intellect that was ever given to man, it would not be sufficient for your work. “Without me, ye can do nothing,” says our Lord and Saviour. [John 15:5.] The result of all we do rests in the hands of God. You should look upon Christ, His self-denial, the reproach He endured, the abuse He bore for man, that you may be well-balanced. When the blessing of God attends your labors, you should become neither vain nor ambitious. When disaster comes, you should not be depressed; success should not elate you. The prosperity of the cause of God should always be kept in view. May the Lord help you not to have a fluctuating faith, but a faith that will lay hold upon God with steady, persevering confidence, whatever may betide. 5LtMs, Lt 10, 1888, par. 33