Letters and Manuscripts — Volume 8

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Lt 68a, 1893

Walling, May

Wellington, New Zealand

May 15, 1893

Previously unpublished.

Dear Niece May Walling:

I have had a dream. I was in the school building, and as I had taken upon myself the responsibility of defraying your expenses at the school, I was very much interested to know how you were getting along. I have written to you about taking up certain lines of study during vacation, and in my dream I inquired about this and other things concerning you. I had much anxiety in regard to your course of action, for I had been seriously impressed that you were not making the most of your time. In the past you had cared so little about improving your time, and had so little regard for the amount of money I expended for you, that I feared a repetition of that course. Still, as you are several years older, I hoped you had become wiser. 8LtMs, Lt 68a, 1893, par. 1

I have not received one line telling me what you are doing, or how you are spending the precious time allotted for the improvement of your mind and cultivation of your manners. 8LtMs, Lt 68a, 1893, par. 2

In my dream, I had opened before my mind the fact that you intended to spend your time according to your own inclination. I remonstrated with you and said, “May, you have disappointed and grieved me. How can I ever trust you during this term of school? In the past four months you have had your will and way; you have not respected authority, and have not put your mind at work to accomplish that which would show an appreciation of your advantages. You do not know yourself, and do not see your errors. Unless there is a decided reformation in you, you will misrepresent me and bring great burdens upon me.” 8LtMs, Lt 68a, 1893, par. 3

The matter that I now open before you has been shown me by the Spirit of the Lord. Your spirit and influence while in my home was not in some matters pleasing to the Lord. Your determination to do as you pleased and acknowledge no authority was a repetition of the course you and Addie took while in the home of Willie. Not wishing to burden my mind, he did not tell me of the disagreeable atmosphere created in his home by you girls. Had I known how things stood, I should have had a change at once. I knew nothing about it until about the time of the Lansing camp meeting. I was then taken from my home by my Guide who said, “Follow me.” I was taken to the room where you girls were assembled, and I heard your and Addie’s talk. It is now no wonder to me that Any Rand would not come with me. If she had come, I know the influence you had exerted with reference to Willie and myself would have vanished. When it seemed best for you to go with me, I reluctantly consented. 8LtMs, Lt 68a, 1893, par. 4

You have been faithful in giving me treatment; but the same spirit of independence was, to a degree, carried on in my house; and when I saw that your influence was tearing down my influence, I presented the matter before you; but did you heed my words? As I could not have things otherwise, I made up my mind to bear it with as good grace as I could. 8LtMs, Lt 68a, 1893, par. 5

I was made sad by the course you pursued after we came to the school. I would not give you any occasion to criticize and make remarks about me; but I then decided that the Lord would not be pleased to have you connected with me longer. 8LtMs, Lt 68a, 1893, par. 6

Light has been given me that you need transformation of character, and to see yourself in a light you have never yet done. Your criticism of myself and others, your habit of contradicting, before others, almost anything I might say shows disrespect. In these things you certainly do not know your place. 8LtMs, Lt 68a, 1893, par. 7

Connected with other things, the course you took at Preston was such a painful experience to me that the thought of housekeeping distresses me. 8LtMs, Lt 68a, 1893, par. 8

The light that I receive of the Lord in regard to you is that unless there is a humbling of your heart before the Lord, and you are truly converted, you will have a demoralizing influence in the school or wherever you may go. 8LtMs, Lt 68a, 1893, par. 9

I am hurrying to finish this letter before Brother Starr leaves for Melbourne; but as I have much copy to get ready for Fannie, and he is soon to leave, I greatly fear it will have to lay over till another boat. I shall not feel clear unless I write to Brother Rousseau (in answer to a letter he wrote me) telling him that he must not allow in you one instance of criticism. The seeds you have already sown in this direction will bear their harvest. If Brother Prismall’s case has not been any warning to you in this line, please tell me what will have a correcting influence upon you. 8LtMs, Lt 68a, 1893, par. 10

One thing is forever settled; I could never again have you a member of my family, without decided evidence that you were truly converted. My position and my work are of such a character that all connected with me must be a help to me in more ways than one; they must be under authority; they must do as I wish and direct, without subjecting me to criticism and instituting a spirit of determined animosity; they must come into orderly habits. This is slavery to you and Addie, and I cannot subject myself to your disorganizing influence. When I have asked you to do certain things, you have taken the matter to others to get their opinion and then done just as you pleased. Now, I could not have my peace and happiness marred, and those around me demoralized, for it would dishonor God. 8LtMs, Lt 68a, 1893, par. 11

Well, Brother and Sister Starr have gone. Just as they left, a letter came from Brother Rousseau, answering some inquires I had made about you. I asked him how you were spending your time. He said that you had studied some, but that you did not appear to be disposed to apply your mind to study. He said that you seemed to prefer housework, though no one had asked you to do it. Though you took it upon yourself, he feared he would be to blame for allowing it; but when he remonstrated with you, you told him that you were not going to let Jessie Israel kill herself doing the work. Were you the mistress of the establishment? Was there no one else who had as wise judgment as yourself? Were you the one to take the responsibility of managing? This, my child, was not praiseworthy in you. 8LtMs, Lt 68a, 1893, par. 12

Brother Rousseau concludes that you will exert a wrong influence in the school. I am afraid of the same thing. Your criticism and your speaking to the girls in a manner reflecting upon the judgment of the managers will be as leaven, causing others to do the same. Your course in all respects must be to respect authority, and not show that you consider May Walling’s ideas should be carried out. You are none too slow to give expression to your ideas. This is against me, and I deeply regret that it is the case. 8LtMs, Lt 68a, 1893, par. 13

Your course reflects upon my training and development of character, and brings reproach upon me. Is this the kind of discipline that shows forth itself in May? I am very sorry of this because, as in the case of Mary Clough, our family associations cannot be repeated. It is better for us to be separated. The things I have mentioned are of such a character as to make of none effect my authority and give you the supremacy, if you are connected with me. When you have so little real judgment as to exercise your criticisms, to dispute my word, and to make statements from your standpoint which place things in a different light (no matter who is present), you have a wrong influence and make of none effect my labors for the improvement of others. 8LtMs, Lt 68a, 1893, par. 14

May, I do not wish to discourage you, but I do wish to arouse you to make a decided reformation. If you see these things as the Lord sees them, you will reform. You scarcely know yourself. If you did, you would not get out of your proper place so often, and would see that it is entirely proper for you to respect your superiors and ever concede to authority. Your influence was detrimental to Anna [Rasmussen?]. I feel remorse of soul when I consider the situation at Preston, to think that I allowed you to do your way in my house and disregard my expressed wishes and entreaties. You hurt Anna, and she has received a mold that will not be readily effaced. This can never be repeated. 8LtMs, Lt 68a, 1893, par. 15

Four months have passed into eternity. What have you to show for those four months of opportunity and privileges? The example of Maggie Hare is before you, to show what determination [and] perseverance can accomplish. She is determined to do her best and make the most of her privileges. 8LtMs, Lt 68a, 1893, par. 16

Your great hindrance is that you fail to sense the value of moments. Many times a day you spend minutes in cleaning your fingernails, until you have formed a habit in this line. Cut your nails, and if kept close you need not devote so much time to keeping them free from soil. 8LtMs, Lt 68a, 1893, par. 17

You do not make determined efforts to overcome your slow habits. In giving treatment, you handle yourself with due rapidity. But when tidying up a room, you spend all of twice as long as you should. Now, no one who employs help would be willing to pay as much for a girl who spends so much time about her work, as one who would do it in half the time. 8LtMs, Lt 68a, 1893, par. 18

Everything you handle is minutely examined, and time is lost in this way. If you determined to overcome these slow, dilatory habits, you could do so. You could put a little quickly into your movements. “But,” you say, “Aunt Ellen, I can’t be quick.” You may not be as quick as some others; but you may, by diligent self-culture, make wonderful changes if you would set about the matter in earnest. But you do not seem disposed to get out of a certain groove. You place yourself, stubborn as a mule, and say, “I can’t,” but it means, “I won’t try.” You seem to be molded, and unwilling to receive advice or counsel to make changes. As I have had the expense and burden of educating you, I am virtually the only mother you have; and it is my duty to speak to you decidedly, and tell you of your errors and mistakes, however disagreeable it may be to you to have them placed before you. 8LtMs, Lt 68a, 1893, par. 19

I say you can put your mind on the subject of making great improvements. Criticize no one except yourself. It is not proper; it is not respectful; it is not Christian. You need to make many decided improvements in yourself, else your position is fixed in life as a second-class hand. This need not be. You have good taste in many things which I wish you to retain. You have talents you need to cultivate. There are not many girls who have had the opportunities you have had the last four months who would have passed their time “so busily” but have nothing to show for it. If you had appreciated the time and applied yourself to learn typewriting, shorthand, and perfecting yourself in the studies you neglected at school, when you knew I was paying your tuition, you could in four months have made great advancement. 8LtMs, Lt 68a, 1893, par. 20

Your inclination is to sit up late at night and lie late in the morning. You love to get into the companionship of the girls and let your tongue run on things when silence is eloquence. Your talk certainly did not inculcate ideas that were worth preserving, but you were gratifying a propensity for which you have been reproved many times. 8LtMs, Lt 68a, 1893, par. 21

They are grand truths in the Word of God, worthy not only of close study but to be woven into the practical life; but your conversation is on trifling matters. The extravagance in time wasted—and worse than wasted—which is set to your account, is not small. 8LtMs, Lt 68a, 1893, par. 22

For every idle word we must be brought into judgment. “By thy words thou shalt be justified, and by thy words thou shalt be condemned.” [Matthew 12:37.] Now, all must finally give an account to God for the deeds done in the body. What have you done during these four months of vacation? How much advancement have you made in your own improvement? 8LtMs, Lt 68a, 1893, par. 23

I have written 400 pages of letter paper, spoken 50 times, spent considerable time in traveling, and sought to be a blessing to the families where I have been. I have improved my moments, knowing that I must render an account of them to God. Christ is my Owner. He has bought me with the price of His most precious blood. I must at all times watch and pray and preserve my self-respect as a Christian in a manner becoming to the holy faith I profess. 8LtMs, Lt 68a, 1893, par. 24

“Know ye not that ... ye are not your own, but ye are bought with a price? Therefore glorify God in your body and your spirit which are God’s.” [1 Corinthians 6:19, 20.] It is your duty to be an example to all with whom you are brought in contact. We are required to grow in grace and the knowledge of the Truth. “So grow up into the full stature of men and women in Christ Jesus.” 8LtMs, Lt 68a, 1893, par. 25

The deficiency in the character must be supplied with efficiency and improvement. This is due to Christ Jesus, to whom we belong. While your own particular tastes are gratified in your nicety and order, you do not realize that yourself, the living machinery, should be brought under training to exactitude and order. Always make your calculation not to fall a half an hour behind the time given you. Cultivate promptitude. 8LtMs, Lt 68a, 1893, par. 26

Be ye perfect; your Father in heaven is perfect. It is Jesus Christ who gave the delicate tints to the lily with its robe of purity and loveliness. He has given us bodies fearfully and wonderfully made. Now, you have had in your mind some excuse why you have not used your time in improving your mind. If you could look into the books of record kept by Him who is an ever-present witness to all your words and actions, the excuses which may have seemed valid to you would appear worthless. You will not want to meet this record in the day of judgment, and present the excuses you now give. 8LtMs, Lt 68a, 1893, par. 27

Extravagance in the use of time is a sin for which you are accountable. You need to be constantly watchful and prayerful, lest you enter into temptation. You are a professed follower of the holy, crucified Redeemer. As such you are called to bear an unflinching witness for God before all with whom you associate. I had hoped and flattered myself by your silence that you (knowing my wishes so well, so often repeated to you since I left Melbourne), wished to surprise me your advancement in the lines of study I had suggested to you. 8LtMs, Lt 68a, 1893, par. 28

Now, May, let us understand each other at the commencement of this term of school. I do not propose to pay your board bill for the past four months unless you can make it distinct and clear that you have followed my counsel in doing your best to educate yourself. Extravagance in time or money is sin. I cannot do you so great harm as to use the means I have acquired by constant and continuous labor, to encourage in you a disposition to fritter away your time, or to waste golden moments that should be spent in acquiring education in those branches where you are deficient. 8LtMs, Lt 68a, 1893, par. 29

Devote to study the hours you spend in expressing your opinions. You seem to consider your experience of such value that it is a criterion for others; but the books of heaven bear altogether a different record: “Weighed in the balance and found wanting.” [Daniel 5:27.] Thus it will stand through eternity unless you give heed to the counsels of God, and see your need of an entirely different experience. Pray much and show your wisdom by keeping silence. You frequently ventilate your ideas when you would better say nothing. 8LtMs, Lt 68a, 1893, par. 30

Now, May, the Lord has presented your case before me, else I would not have made the venture to have you come with me. I hoped that I could help you. Your self-sufficiency and your self-confidence have been shown me; also your deception in regard to your religious standing. I was shown that unless yourself, as well as your sister Addie, were transformed in character, you would never pass the portals of the city of God. This determined me to give you every privilege in my power. 8LtMs, Lt 68a, 1893, par. 31

I tried to encourage you, but I fear this did you no good. Your violent attachment to Sister Daniells was not the outworking of a sanctified heart but an inordinate desire to be esteemed by Brother and Sister Daniells. You wanted to bind yourself up with them in strong bonds of friendship. Praise and flattery blinded your eyes. All this is sentimentalism, the fruit of unsanctified desire, self-worship, and the worship by yourself of the human agent. 8LtMs, Lt 68a, 1893, par. 32

When you were exchanging letters so abundantly, you would better have been uplifting your supplication to God, “Renew in me thy spirit.” Your desire, fastened upon the human agent, should [have] turned toward Jesus who gave His life for you. Your obligations of love to me have never been manifested in any marked manner. But my great anxiety has been that your obligations of love and devotion to Jesus have been manifested so feebly. You lavished your love in words and actions upon those for whom you took a fancy, while those who had done all that was in their power to do, call forth none of this devotion. 8LtMs, Lt 68a, 1893, par. 33

Now, Jesus has done all, even to the giving of His precious life for you, that He might, through His grace, perfect His character in you, and lift you up and cleanse and purify you from your inherited and cultivated objectionable traits of character. 8LtMs, Lt 68a, 1893, par. 34

Will you give the counsels of Jesus attention and respect? Will you give Him your undivided affections, that perfect obedience that He requires? When you do this, when you submit your soul to God, subordinate to His will, you will know what it means to say, “I delight to do thy will, O my God.” [Psalm 40:8.] The joy will not then be all on one side. Has the Lord no joy in His human agents who have surrendered their will to His, to love, obey, and glorify Him? Jesus asks you, “Will you give up to Me the absolute control of thyself? Wilt thou be content to make it thy study to please Me, and Me only? Wilt thou seek to know My way and My will in all things?” 8LtMs, Lt 68a, 1893, par. 35

Just as Elder Starr was leaving, a letter came to me from Brother Rousseau, in response to the letter I had written him requesting that he should have an especial guardianship over you. I asked him to take an especial interest in examining you to see in which branches you were deficient, and, as an educator, to appoint your studies, that by close application you might make up where you had failed in your school life. Then I asked him to tell me plainly if you were improving the opportunities now within reach for your education. I had not been able to get any information in regard to how May was spending her time, and I was feeling very anxious over the matter. He wrote me some things that gave me fears that whatever cost I might incur to place you where you might redeem the past, would be unappreciated by you, even at your present age. 8LtMs, Lt 68a, 1893, par. 36

Unless decided, determined effort is made on your part to break up your old habits and a disposition to follow inclination and a course of your own choosing, all the efforts that I might make would only meet with disappointment. I should feel that my money had been poorly invested, that it would much better have been used in sending to school ones who would have a more keen sense of their deficiencies and an appreciation of the opportunity afforded them to make up their lost time. 8LtMs, Lt 68a, 1893, par. 37

Now, my dear child, is your opportunity. If you treat the blessing as you treated the opportunity given you in your younger days, God will hold you accountable for your indolence and positive neglect to walk in the light He has given you, which has been before you for years, line upon line and precept upon precept. The way in which you treat your present opportunity will decide much in reference to your case. Your propensity to idle away precious moments is a most discouraging thing in you, because you are so utterly unconscious of any wrong in so doing. You show a fussiness, a being busy, which amounts to nothing at all. It does not tell, or have any weight, for good. 8LtMs, Lt 68a, 1893, par. 38

I have written plain things to you. You have made some admissions and confessions, but do you reform? Do you exercise yourself into that repentance that needeth not to be repented of? 8LtMs, Lt 68a, 1893, par. 39

I had written these ten pages, but had withheld them until now. I send them now because I fear your influence in the school. Your deficiencies you may, in your deception, flatter yourself are virtues; but this would be a terrible delusion. I cannot write more now. 8LtMs, Lt 68a, 1893, par. 40

May 26

Willie went on the cars early this morning. He has decided to go by the boat that leaves at two o’clock. 8LtMs, Lt 68a, 1893, par. 41

I hope you will receive these words with a right spirit. I hope you will show respect for authority. I have the words of Brother Rousseau that you show but little deference and respect for authority. Has your experience these last months been such that I should hear this of you? My daughter, shall I, the one who has been mother to you, be humiliated by hearing this expressed of you by one whom I highly respect in the Lord? I must urge upon you to respect authority. 8LtMs, Lt 68a, 1893, par. 42

The Saviour offers to establish a union between Himself and you, as well as every other believer, but do you say, “Yes, Lord”? The love you have expressed for others, for reasons you nor I can explain, has not worked for you the development of lovely traits of character. It reveals an infatuation which has no foundation in sound judgment. It is something that is questionable and not the outgrowth of the sanctification of the spirit of God, but the indulgence of a feeling that has no root in Jesus Christ. 8LtMs, Lt 68a, 1893, par. 43

When the soul is brought into harmony with Christ, we will be one. “That they all may be one as Thou, Father, art in Me and I in You, that they may be one in us. ... I in them, and Thou in Me, that they may be made perfect in one; and that the world may know that Thou hast sent Me, and hast loved Me [them] as Thou as loved them [Me].” [John 17:21, 23.] This is a union that does not embrace one person or two or three persons, to the exclusion of others. All the advance steps in the Christian life lead to this love for all who believe in Jesus Christ. 8LtMs, Lt 68a, 1893, par. 44

Will you, in your first lesson of typewriting, copy this long letter, for I never want the burden of writing another of like character. You see that it is not written perfectly. I think you would rather have it this way than for anyone else to copy it, and know its contents. It is for you; therefore copy it, and read it carefully, and heed the words written. 8LtMs, Lt 68a, 1893, par. 45