Letters and Manuscripts — Volume 5 (1887-1888)


Lt 4, 1888

Prescott, Brother and Sister

Healdsburg, California

September 10, 1888

Portions of this manuscript are published in 5MR 18; 10MR 345. +Note

Dear Brother and Sister Prescott:

Willie received a letter from you in regard to the course of Mary Roth. I am much disappointed in her and very much perplexed to know what to do. I wrote to her stating what I had heard from a letter from you, and then I laid my letter aside to think over it and re-read it. After thinking of it a day or two and prayerfully considering this matter, I decided not to send it, fearing it would not work favorably for your influence, neither for mine. If the reports you have heard are all correct, then our sister Mary Roth is not walking in the light and views things in a perverted light. Any hasty, abrupt movement might increase her danger and increase the darkness that is around her, and she might as the result stumble and fall into some of the many gins and pits Satan has prepared for the feet of the unwary. 5LtMs, Lt 4, 1888, par. 1

Now I consider that Sister Mary has cost us too much anxiety and earnest sympathy to be given up lightly without making persevering, untiring efforts to save her from making grave mistakes. 5LtMs, Lt 4, 1888, par. 2

We have had very much to say in regard to foreign missions. We have, as a people, expended a large amount of means in our interested efforts to have the work progress in setting the truth in all its bearings before the people of other nations. I carried a heavy burden while in Europe, and while there, I left <about two thousand> [dollars] of the Lord’s entrusted money to advance the work in its different branches. I accepted the charge of Mary and her brother Paul from the hands of a very dear family who love and fear God, pledging myself to be their friend and so, to the utmost of my influence, to see that they were properly cared for and that Mary should, at my expense, receive treatment at the sanitarium at Battle Creek and that Paul, who is a conscientious young man, should be placed where he could be qualifying himself to become a laborer in Switzerland or wherever duty may call him to labor. Those who have shared with me in this work, I am truly grateful to, for I consider it a good work. 5LtMs, Lt 4, 1888, par. 3

I have great fears that many in Battle Creek do not realize what it means to be home missionaries. Will we consider it costs the parents of these dear children a severe struggle to part from their loved ones while busy tongues, in Tramelan their home, suggested every disagreeable result from their going to America? But the parents gave up their children, and they were placed in your midst, and we hope to have others also come to America from the different nationalities to receive knowledge and perfect their education, essential to go forth to labor for the salvation of souls. We want them to return to their home and country with the most favorable impression of America and not to return with prejudices confirmed, which will be a great hindrance to the union which with all our power of influence we have sought to effect between the believers in other nations and those in America. Should any return with an unfavorable report, then it will defeat the very object we have labored to bring about. I have trembled all the time, fearing that there would not be all that tact, that wisdom, that courtesy, that tender forbearance with those of other nationalities brought into your midst, whose education and habits are so different from those in America. But above everything else, I have feared that the tongue of gossip would play mischief with these persons whom we have influenced to come across the broad Atlantic. 5LtMs, Lt 4, 1888, par. 4

There are those, you well know, who love to seize upon any pretense to frame a story to tell that will work disastrously to souls if willing ears receive it. Now, I am afraid of these reports. I am afraid of those who do the reporting, who make no effort to come in close, friendly relation with Mary. I know what sad work it has made for some of God’s servants, who have gone into their graves when they might have lived if it had not been for the state of things produced by these talkers, and I know these talkers still live to talk, to report, to exaggerate, to misstate, and [to] lead others astray to do these things. Misunderstandings are liable to arise that might be easily cured if they would only go to the persons and talk with them. 5LtMs, Lt 4, 1888, par. 5

Now, my respected Brother and Sister, you and I are a part of the great web of humanity, and we have parts to act in reference to the souls with whom we associate. When reports shall come to you or to me which leave a disagreeable sensation upon our feelings, the only safe course for us to pursue is to go to the one who has become our informer. It may be one whom we have confidence in, who would not knowingly do a wrong action, but, through customs that have prevailed, has done what many others have done—taken up a report against his neighbor and laid it at your door. 5LtMs, Lt 4, 1888, par. 6

Did you go to these individuals yourselves as ones interested in their welfare, as those who cared for the souls of these strangers in their midst and talk with them kindly, not as accusers, but as kind, tender workers with Jesus Christ to save a soul from deception and ruin? If you say, “No,” I thought I would come to you first; then open your Bible and just read the directions given by the One who so valued human souls that He left heaven, and although He was rich, for our sakes [He] became poor, that we through His poverty might be made rich. He has given clear and definite specifications how we should treat each other, and we must enforce the words of Christ by giving importance to them by our own example, doing as Christ has told us to do. This is our only safe course, and the only course Christ will accept in our relation [to] and treatment of one another. If in every case this were followed, the words of Christ carried out to the letter, what a flood of evil might be prevented. This gossip is the plague spot in Battle Creek. 5LtMs, Lt 4, 1888, par. 7

Now I advise you to go and see Mary Roth. Her soul is as precious as your soul or mine. We cannot afford to let Satan come in and wrench her out of our hands. The very best home missionary work may be done for these precious souls for whom Christ has died. Especial pains should be taken with these dear ones that a right mold may be given to their character and that they should have every kindness, every affection granted them, that they may return to their homes with kind and grateful hearts, with memory’s hall hung with pictures that make their hearts tender with love to contemplate because of the happiness, the loving-kindness, the tender solicitude manifested for their souls. The deeds done in this line are deeds of true, genuine missionary work, which will be cherished sacredly through time and will be as far-reaching as eternity. 5LtMs, Lt 4, 1888, par. 8

I thought I would write to Mary and I did, but dared not send it. The very thought that you had written others and my letter had been written in response, would place you in a light of one who had neglected his duty, [set] plainly before him in the Bible, and I do not want these children, Paul and Mary, to lose confidence in you. I want they should see that you are their friends, that you love them and have a care for their souls. Mary may have made mistakes, for are we not all erring mortals? She may have through association with persons become deceived, but are there not those who have wisdom and the love of Jesus who can help the erring to recover themselves out of the snare of the enemy? Shall we cut the threads that bind these souls to pure and truthful influences because we are disgusted with the things they say and do? 5LtMs, Lt 4, 1888, par. 9

I think of how much Jesus has had to bear with our perversity. How many, many times we have disappointed Jesus, but He has not cut us off, but worked for us still. Then let us work kindly, patiently for the erring ones. They need help. Jesus said, “I came not to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance.” [Mark 2:17.] This is the great work that is greatly neglected and that needs to be done to help those whom Satan is working to lead into false paths that he might secure them to his service. Many, many souls he has secured that, had the Lord’s professed people been workers together with God, might have been saved. 5LtMs, Lt 4, 1888, par. 10

I write these things in love, not to reproach you but [to] tell you how I view these things from the light which the Lord has given me. There is plenty of this uninteresting cross-lifting to do, but oh, it pays, it pays. “Brethren, if any man be overtaken in a fault, ye which are spiritual, restore such an one in the spirit of meekness, considering thyself, lest thou also be tempted.” Galatians 6:1. “Wherefore lift up the hands which hang down, and the feeble knees; and make straight paths for your feet, lest that which is lame be turned out of the way ... Follow peace with all men and holiness, without which no man shall see the Lord; looking diligently lest any man fail of the grace of God, lest any root of bitterness springing up trouble you, and thereby many be defiled.” Hebrews 12:12-15. “Brethren, if any of you do err from the truth, and one convert him, let him know that he which converteth the sinner from the error of his way shall save a soul from death, and shall hide a multitude of sins.” James 5:19, 20. 5LtMs, Lt 4, 1888, par. 11

My dear Brother and Sister whom I highly esteem in the Lord, let us come upon the high platform of the Bible. Let us seek by precept and example to induce others to stand firmly on Bible principles. What blessed union would be the result! I fear our labors are too few and far between for those who do commit errors. I fear we say by deportment and works, “Come not near me, I am holier than thou” [Isaiah 65:5], and we fail to reach out the hand, strong and firm, to grasp the hands that are weak. Oh, that the Lord will breathe upon us His Holy Spirit! We have a work to do—not to help the perfect, [for] they do not need us—but to help those who have errors. 5LtMs, Lt 4, 1888, par. 12

I have confidence in Mary Roth, that she is not willfully doing wrong, but if she has done wrong, let those who are workers together with God do their appointed work in the spirit of meekness, not as an inquisitor, but as one of Christ’s earnest workers. The heart must not be filled with sternness and rebuke, but with the healing balm of Christ’s love. Talk kindly, lovingly, and angels of God will do the work of God upon the heart, for you are laborers together with God. Mind this, and act ever as if you were in the presence of Jesus Christ and workers together with Christ, and bow and pray with them, for precious souls cost our self-sacrificing Redeemer too heavy a price to be easily given up. He bears long with the perversity of men and woman and youth, and those who are laborers together with God do not become easily discouraged, but will bear all things in this kind of work for Jesus’ sake. 5LtMs, Lt 4, 1888, par. 13

Let us ever bear in mind our debt to Jesus Christ and remember how long He has loved us and borne with us in all our wanderings. Every day, every night, and every hour His eye follows us, inviting us to return to His love. All along He has been shaping His providences, shaping His blessings, timing and tempering our chastisements precisely and accurately for our good. He is a watchful, earnest, and interested worker, working that He may do us good and work out for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory. We may have erred and abused His mercies, but He is ready to pardon and receive us back again to His great heart of infinite love. What shall we render back to God for all these blessings and for His constant, matchless grace? Do unto others as He has done for you. With your human affection, your Christ-like gentleness, your burning love to save souls, lay hold upon those who are ready to die around you, souls who need help, souls for whom Christ died; be laborers together with God. Then lay hold of His strength with all your strength, for He alone can save. He alone can know the strength of the temptations wherewith the souls that are ready to die have been assailed. He alone can teach with His divine power the sin-pained, sin-wounded soul. He works with your human efforts, and the soul is brought back again from Satan’s snare, saved through the instrumentality of loving, tender human hearts, Christ Himself co-operating with human effort. What joy in heaven in the presence of the angels of God—a joy which human imagination can never comprehend! A soul redeemed, a soul rescued, causes the angels to touch the golden harps and fill all heaven with songs of joy and victory. 5LtMs, Lt 4, 1888, par. 14

Dear Brother and Sister, let us be workers together with God, looking up the weak and halting, heeding the words of Christ, “Be watchful and strengthen the things that remain that are ready to die.” [Revelation 3:2.] Yes, we must be watchful if we outgeneral the activity of Satan. We must be watchful if we turn a sinner from the error of his ways and save a soul from death. 5LtMs, Lt 4, 1888, par. 15

If you see souls that are tainted with error, disaffected, criticizing, do not give them occasion to say, “No man cares for my soul.” Draw them within the sphere of your influence. Especially should this be the work with those of foreign countries, for they are to do a work which it may be you cannot now take in. God will work with human effort. When one entertains wrong impressions, if honest, they think them to be truth. Everything is viewed in a distorted light, and then unbelief sits at the door of the heart to keep every angel of mercy away which would reflect light amid the darkness. Thousands have gone down to complete discouragement because those who ought to have been watchful were not watching for their souls, seeking to lead them to the light. 5LtMs, Lt 4, 1888, par. 16

Let us ourselves be all light in the Lord. I know that you will have many things to grieve you and discourage you in the case of others, but do not be discouraged. You both have need of control, forbearance, and forgiveness, and you must be ready to teach others. 5LtMs, Lt 4, 1888, par. 17