Letters and Manuscripts — Volume 5 (1887-1888)


Lt 40, 1888

Harper, Walter

Healdsburg, California

August 29, 1888

This letter is published in entirety in 13MR 296-298.

Brother Harper:

I received your two letters, but I have labored so hard here in Healdsburg that I was not in a condition to write to you. I have not slept since 1:00 a. m. and I am now writing to you while others are asleep. 5LtMs, Lt 40, 1888, par. 1

I cannot see what more can be done in this case, and I think that the only thing that you can do is to give up your wife. If she is thus determined not to live with you, both she and you would be most miserable to attempt it. And as she has fully and determinedly set her stakes, you can only shoulder your cross and show yourself a man. 5LtMs, Lt 40, 1888, par. 2

In regard to divorce, I am not prepared to say. She has had all the light that I can give her, and it is useless to keep this matter constantly before her when she is perfectly decided to follow her own judgment. You asked me if I thought, if your wife left you, that you should marry again. I would say [that] if one understanding all the circumstances should choose to marry you, if you had not been married, I see no objections. But I am not fully prepared to give my judgment, whether in a Bible point of view you could marry again. My mind is so fully occupied that it is not possible for me to consider this vexed question of marriage and divorces. I wish I could help you, but that, I fear, is not possible. 5LtMs, Lt 40, 1888, par. 3

I think if you had shown less anxiety it might have been different. But I will not write more, for I am quite weary, having written ten pages of note paper to Laura. 5LtMs, Lt 40, 1888, par. 4

I hope you will be a man. Lay aside this matter; go to your labor; do your duty irrespective of everyone else on the earth, self-forgetting, self-denying, self-sacrificing. In this will be your power. Jesus our Redeemer comes to men and says, “I love you. I want to make you happy.” He shows His hands and His feet and says, “I have suffered for your sake. I bear the shafts that are aimed at you. I will carry your burdens, I will shelter you. Trust in My surety, and you shall have the great reward of life forevermore.” 5LtMs, Lt 40, 1888, par. 5

I say, Put your trust in God. Your mind has been perplexed and occupied with this matter regarding your wife. Now, in the name of Jesus, lay this matter down; leave your case with the Lord. Let your experience humble you. Christ is with the weak and the tempted and forsaken to give them His divine sympathy and rest. You need rest of mind. Give up Laura and fasten your affections on God. He will give you relief. Time is short; you have no time to stop and pity yourself. Go to work for the Master. Do your duty to the very best of your ability. Do not give up to discouragement; walk humbly with God; seek communion with God. Do not let your disappointment make you self-centered—to think of yourself, talk of yourself. 5LtMs, Lt 40, 1888, par. 6

Our brief existence in this world derives its chief character and importance from the fact that it is the season of preparation for an endless life. All other talents and possessions that may be conferred upon us sink into insignificance when compared with that which makes us capable of improvement which will be as lasting as eternity. Ability in the service of God is as a wellspring of life. 5LtMs, Lt 40, 1888, par. 7

All the gifts and possessions of this life, all the pleasing pictures of selfish enjoyment are of no weight when weighed in the balances against eternity. We shall live with honor and satisfaction to ourselves and with wise regard to our own welfare so far as we make all earthly things help us in our preparation for the great future life. Live for God. Be kind; be courteous. Let not this disappointment ruin you. Cast off your melancholy. God will help you if you will be true to Him. Remember, the eye of God is upon you, searching the depths of your soul. 5LtMs, Lt 40, 1888, par. 8

You must preserve the idea that obligations are mutual. If God has done everything for you, then you must willingly do everything for God that is in your power. You must feel your obligation, and this will keep you on the right side, and you will say, “These things must be done because they are right, and some other things must not be done because they are wrong.” 5LtMs, Lt 40, 1888, par. 9

May the Lord help, strengthen, and bless you to do your best. Look away from earthly things, earthly idols, and worship the Lord thy God and serve Him with thy whole heart and with thy whole soul, and then you will be wholly devoted to the Lord. 5LtMs, Lt 40, 1888, par. 10

I must close; this is sixteen pages of notepaper written by lamplight. 5LtMs, Lt 40, 1888, par. 11