Letters and Manuscripts — Volume 5 (1887-1888)


Lt 27, 1887

Ballou, George

Basel, Switzerland

April 3, 1887

Previously unpublished.

Brother Geo. Ballou:

I have had some reports of your course, which was not unexpected to me. I had a very plain and decided conversation with you, which I wrote in my diary, but I cannot find it now. This conversation was at St. Helena. Fearing that some one might hear us, we had our conversation out of doors, walking from the institute to my house on the hill. I think I told you your dangers, that your mind ran into a low, defiling channel. I spoke of your persistent attempts to kiss a sister, and that this was not prompted by pure and holy feelings, for if you had true piety and purity you would not have thought that such things were proper. You had ardent self-confidence, you talked of yourself, extolled yourself, lifted up yourself to notice, and felt that great powers rested in yourself. All this self-esteem and self-sufficiency was without a foundation. I told you then that you were unfit for the ministry; unless you were a converted man and your soul temple was cleansed from its defilement, you would most assuredly fall under temptation of Satan and bring a reproach upon the cause of God. 5LtMs, Lt 27, 1887, par. 1

We were engaged in conversation, I should think nearly one hour, and you were so self-inflated you did not feel or sense your danger. Before we ceased talking, you did seem to have some sense of your dangers and faithfully promised me that you would change your course entirely or give up preaching. Almost everything your eyes look upon suggests something impure to your imagination. Your thoughts have not been girded about, but have had loose rein. 5LtMs, Lt 27, 1887, par. 2

In the meetings we held at Oakland I bore remarks expressly for you, and I felt that unless you there should meet with a change of heart, you would go on from one degree of guilt to another. You did make some confessions. You stated in the meeting that if the brethren knew you as you were, they would be surprised that you would attempt to preach the truths to others. You have not sinned ignorantly. I warned you as a mother would warn a son. You made the remark that no one had ever mentioned these things to you before, and you had not thought the case was one-half as bad as I represented it. Since that conversation, since our meetings in Oakland, I have had very feeble confidence in your piety or in your religion. When I heard of the effort made in Petaluma, I was sorry that you were connected with that effort, for I did not think you would make any success. I have looked upon you as an unclean man. 5LtMs, Lt 27, 1887, par. 3

I have been shown that should your wife speak out the true sentiments of her heart, she could tell you that there was another chapter in her experience that was not made known to others that was eating into her life, besides the sorrowful experience of her early years. You show attention to ladies that cuts to the heart of your wife. You are free in your talk and in your deportment with women. What was your behavior toward your wife’s sister? You were attentive to Hattie. You loved Hattie, but not your wife. You live not true to your marriage vows. And your free attentions, and kissing, and love-making to you wife’s sister and to other ladies have been open to me, and I have expected that you would go on from step to step in your self-confidence until you would make shipwreck of your faith. Your mind has run in an impure channel. You have not been elevated, ennobled, refined, but have taken a low level while claiming to be a watchman upon the walls of Zion. 5LtMs, Lt 27, 1887, par. 4

Is it any marvel that the Lord cannot do much for His people when there are hearts full of corruption while their lips are uttering the sacred truths of God’s Word? Should the Lord’s servants cultivate the feeling that in every place we stand before the people, in every plan and work we are doing the will of God upheld by His hand, their life will have a meaning and a sacredness which will be revealed in good works. Every service, every sacrifice which God requires will leave a solemn impression on the sincere soul. The thoughts of the heart, the words of the lips, and every plan and act of the outward life will be most worthy and appreciated when the presence of the infinite One is most deeply felt. 5LtMs, Lt 27, 1887, par. 5

All wrongdoing is a departure from God. Oh, that man would remember that he is ever in the presence of the Lord God of hosts. The pure in heart see God in all His works, the corrupt in heart have evil imaginings in all that they look upon. This is your case. 5LtMs, Lt 27, 1887, par. 6

I hear you desire to be a physician. I would lift my warning voice that not an institution that I am acquainted with shall take you in your base and corrupt passions and imaginings in which you have indulged until the whole man is defiled. You seek to be a physician because you can then have the privilege of tampering with women and girls. You know that you exercise the power of your strong will upon their minds until the barriers are broken down and they will yield to you as a bird to the serpent’s charm. I cannot but speak, painful as it is to me; you are a hypocrite. You clothe your base purposes and hellish lusts with the garments of sanctity to deceive and allure and ruin souls, and then say, “What have I done?” You would clothe your conduct, vile and criminal in the sight of God, with angel robes. The very atmosphere surrounding your soul is like a poisonous miasma. You know the truth and have corrupted your way before God. In the path you have been traveling lies immorality of every sort and depravity of ever description. 5LtMs, Lt 27, 1887, par. 7

The mission of God’s faithful watchmen in this age is not to help on the moral corruption, but to stay its progress. Terrible evils, dark, satanic, defiling to soul and body, have lifted their bold head, and God calls for His servants to cry aloud, and spare not, lift up thy voice like a trumpet, and show My people their transgressions, and the house of Jacob their sins. Let there be a positive, decided movement to meet this tide of moral corruption. 5LtMs, Lt 27, 1887, par. 8

Married men charmed with other men’s wives, and married women and young girls seeking to attract attention of married and unmarried men, the curse which we hope to avoid, has come into our midst, and decided measures must be taken, or the camp will be leavened with this slime of Satan. God calls upon His faithful ones to arrest, if possible, this tide of moral pollution which is sweeping over our world. Vice has its known, avowed supporters, those whose craft it is to ruin soul and body. But ministers, watchmen upon the walls of Zion, shepherds over the flock of God, instead of watching the flock, pollute souls and bodies of those over whom they claim to be shepherds. They are spreading corruption. 5LtMs, Lt 27, 1887, par. 9

You wish to study as a physician where your polluted mind may, with its vile imaginings, be fully gratified. If you attempt this work, with pen and voice I will certainly expose you. I will not be afraid to say, This man is a wolf in sheep’s clothing. He is overbearing, tyrannical, and little capable of a human heart, of true, pure, uncorrupted sympathy. It is not a sudden impulse, a sudden overwhelming temptation that has come to you, but it is the habit of years of practice, the cultivation of the base passions; and yet you have been preaching the solemn third angel’s message. And you would be a physician. Who would trust their wives, their daughters, to your lustful eyes? God pity you, for I see no chance for you. Not that God will not have mercy should you repent; but I do not see how such a mind as yours can have that repentance, that contrition of soul, that will meet the mind of the Spirit of God. 5LtMs, Lt 27, 1887, par. 10

Your case has weighed upon my spirits because you have not resisted temptation. Your low passions have had the control. When those who know the Scriptures as you do sink so low, we must almost come to the conclusion that the world is fast falling into hopeless corruption, because the facts acted before us are just what the Scriptures declare should be just prior to the second appearing of Christ. How can they, in the face of light and evidence, increase the moral corruption by secret precept and practice and leading unsuspecting minds to confusion of ideas as to what constitutes sin? We can only regard the world as in the light of the description given in the Word of God. 5LtMs, Lt 27, 1887, par. 11

There are strong realities we are required to meet. There never was an age when so much might be done as now to help forward the great work of reform, the great cause of truth, in reclaiming the world. Vice is being unmasked in its most appalling forms even among those who claim to believe the truth. But as men of corrupt minds and tainted morals are growing worse, there should be on the other hand those who are seeking to be more pure. But we must look to our own soul’s interest now; knowing the truth or professing it will not save us. Will our churches become corrupted with licentiousness? While men who claim to be God’s messengers are holding up the standard of God’s Word in order to bring sound doctrines into actual contact with men’s souls, the truth must produce sound practice in their own lives. The power of sound words is to be prized; but unless backed up by daily practice in right actions, they will leave the teacher in no better condition than Chorazin and Bethsaida. The truth of God must be interwoven in the life practice, or it will save neither teacher nor listener. We can expect that no heart will be improved by a mere nominal assent to the truth. The power of its pure principles must be brought into the character to elevate, soften, refine, and beautify the whole man. 5LtMs, Lt 27, 1887, par. 12

The only means of purifying man is to make him like-minded with God. The mind of God must become the mind of man. Man is still degraded; his only hope is in battling with every inherent tendency to evil and becoming a partaker of divine nature. The truth can do naught for your heart unless it is brought into the soul, sanctifying it by its pure influence. There are whited sepulchers among us, whitewashed or sin-covered-over and concealed for years, but God sees what is within. All is impurity, all is moral deformity still in the eyes of Him who judges righteous judgment. Oh, how much we need religion. You have it not. You do not commune with God. You puffed up yourself, but the fruit of righteousness has not appeared in your life. You have not borne rich clusters of grapes, but thorn berries. Holiness, mercy, truth, purity, and love of God are not abiding principles in your heart. The result is that the outside of the platter may appear clean, but the inside is corrupt. 5LtMs, Lt 27, 1887, par. 13

We have great light, but this will not save any soul. It is the pure heart, the willing mind, the earnest spirit, the God-fearing that will be saved. What will be the end of these things? Our ministry must be cleansed from its moral defilement. Our churches must be cleansed. There must be greater spirituality to discern evil, to repress it, crowd it out of our ranks. I cannot speak hopeful words to you now. I am filled with shame and indignation at your course. May God pity you. 5LtMs, Lt 27, 1887, par. 14