Letters and Manuscripts — Volume 9 (1894)


Lt 78, 1894

Starr, Brother and Sister [G. B.]

George’s Terrace, St. Kilda Road, Melbourne, Australia

March 20, 1894

Portions of this letter are published in OHC 169, 183; 2MCP 800. +Note

Dear Brother and Sister Starr:

I am troubled, much troubled. I see that in many things there must be a reformation in Brother and Sister Rousseau and Brother and Sister Daniells; and some things have been presented to me in reference to you. In your manifestation of affection for each other be guarded when in the presence of others. Do not regard your love for each other as something to be revealed and made so prominent to the view of others. You will be misapprehended. In this endearing attention to each other you have fallen into habits that in many respects are not beneficial to those who witness it. 9LtMs, Lt 78, 1894, par. 1

There are the young men and women who think married life is all bliss and sunshine, and that it must be the earnest effort of their life to bind up their interest in marriage, when they have not a knowledge of what constitutes marriage obligations. Others look on these special love tokens as intended for effect. By others whose life has been destitute of that love which should have been cherished, you are looked upon as examples of what married life should be, and you inspire feelings that do not produce precious fruits of love, but envy, jealousy, and discontent. The husband is jealous that his wife does not give him such expressions of love as he sees you receive, and the wife feels that her life is a great blank, destitute of the love she ought to have. Let these special attentions and expressions of affection be restricted to the privacy of your own room. 9LtMs, Lt 78, 1894, par. 2

This overflowing affection for each other must be guarded. Sister Starr is in positive danger of placing her husband where God should be. This quality of affection grows into selfishness and blind idolatry. There is a snare in all this. Its diverts the affections from God. Sister Starr and Sister Daniells both need to consider carefully what is the real texture of their love. Is Christ placed first? “I the Lord thy God am a jealous God.” [Exodus 20:5.] He will not accept a divided heart; He must be worshipped with the undivided affections, then nothing will be missing in our life. The joy of grace makes the life even; it gives hope to the hopeless; it gives assurance to faith, for its foundation is Christ, the solid Rock. God commands us, “Thou shalt have no other gods before Me.” [Verse 3.] And Jesus says, “If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow me.” [Luke 9:23.] 9LtMs, Lt 78, 1894, par. 3

A certain man asked of Christ, “What shall I do to inherit eternal life? He said unto him, What is written in the law? how readest thou? And he answering said, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy strength, and with all thy mind; and thy neighbor as thyself. And he said unto him, Thou hast answered right: this do, and thou shalt live.” [Luke 10:25-28.] This is the great test for every soul, for every character. It points directly to the inner sanctuary of the soul’s affections, and claims for God the first place, the first thoughts, the first action. The claims of God are to take no second place. 9LtMs, Lt 78, 1894, par. 4

Now, my sister, I have a few plain words to say to you, which may surprise you. You have not been, in all respects, a doer of the words of Christ, which specify your duty—supreme love to God, and love to your neighbor as yourself. Closely examine yourself by this standard, and see if there has not been a manifest deficiency on your part. You have not pursued the wisest course towards Sister Daniells and Sister Rousseau. If you had taken a less rigid course, you could have won them both, you could have helped them both. You have lacked much in true Christian sympathy and tenderness toward them. You have not come near to them in the spirit of Christ, with His patience and love. That overflowing tenderness which you both express in so many ways to each other should have been revealed in Christlike sympathy for those very sisters who needed your help. Oh, had there been united prayer offered to Heaven daily, all this estrangement would not have been. 9LtMs, Lt 78, 1894, par. 5

Mistakes were made in Sister Rousseau’s case. You both misjudged her physical condition, and what a train of evil has grown out of your mistakes the judgment alone will reveal. You have selfish attachments and selfish love. If persons fail to estimate you as you think they ought, you do not come near to them, irrespective of their attitude toward you, and do the work which God has laid upon you to do. During the past night I was shown, by a representation, some of the things which have taken place. Sister Daniells and Sister Rousseau were in a proper manner asking favors of you, and had you cherished for them the love that is so abundantly outflowing to your husband and your relatives, you would have complied with the request, even if it had not been really convenient to do so; but your attitude manifested a spirit which was read by them as disobliging, and which they contrasted with what their own action would have been under similar circumstances. You did not take special pains to show these sisters that you wanted to be one with them, and thus answer the prayer of Christ for His disciples. 9LtMs, Lt 78, 1894, par. 6

The Lord is not pleased with those who profess to be His followers if they do not study diligently and work in harmony with the heavenly intelligences, that they may become perfect in character, complete in Him who has enjoined this on every son and daughter of Adam. A neglect to work according to the example given in the life of Christ is a neglect of the great salvation which Christ suffered and died to make it possible for every human being to obtain. By faith we are to take hold of the assurance of Him who cannot lie. “Thou shalt call his name Jesus; for he shall save His people from their sins.” [Matthew 1:21.] It is neglect to be a doer of His Word that has separated the soul from God, divided the affections, and established human idols where God should be supreme. 9LtMs, Lt 78, 1894, par. 7

I call your attention to the positive necessity that you cherish love and sympathy, and do not pronounce judgment upon those who fail to come up to your ideas. Through this misjudging, you have failed to help Sister Daniells and Sister Rousseau as you ought to have done. The same coldness and hardness of spirit that has been reproved in this brother, Willie Sisley, exists, in a degree, in yourself, and God reproves it in you. You did not cherish mercy and a conciliatory spirit. You did not love your neighbor as you loved yourself. You want respect, you want love, and you should give to all as you would receive. Sister Starr, it is largely due to yourself that this sad condition of things has existed in the school building. In many instances you selfishly kept yourself to yourself, when you might have given kind words, and manifested the sympathy which ever dwelt in the bosom of Jesus. 9LtMs, Lt 78, 1894, par. 8

Many times you could have taken special pains to gratify the wishes of these two sisters, the wives of our ministers, missionaries in the same field. Both have suffered much physically. You had responsibilities upon you, and that very fact should have been enough to make you feel the necessity of encouraging the confidence of these sisters, in sympathy and tenderness striving to be one, obeying the law of God, the great standard of righteousness. If God spared not His own Son when He assumed our fallen nature and became our Substitute and Surety, then He will not spare those who have no divine oneness with the Father, and who have no participation in His councils because of sin. If we neglect to avail ourselves of this great salvation, it is our own loss. If over Him, the only begotten Son of God, who became a partaker of human flesh and blood with the rest of the brethren, was laid the law of righteousness, exacting obedience in every jot and tittle of its holy, just, and good commands, shall these requirements be ignored or disobeyed by Sister Daniells, Sister Rousseau, or Sister Starr? Shall any of these specifications be passed by? 9LtMs, Lt 78, 1894, par. 9

We are individually to represent the love and tenderness of Christ for one another. God expects more of you, my sister, than you have given to these sisters in the faith. Sister Starr, your position of trust, instead of authorizing you to keep at a distance from these sisters, required you to give them every kindness and attention in your power to make it pleasant for them. They did not meet your ideas, and you misjudged them. You might have been a great blessing to them, but your distance, your coldness, established such a condition of things that they were blinded. Satan distorted everything to their imagination in regard to yourself and, yielding to temptation, they lost all confidence in your religion. Finally there was nothing which you did that was right in their eyes. They made mistakes, and the enemy gained victories where he might have been resisted and defeated. 9LtMs, Lt 78, 1894, par. 10

But as the matter was presented to me, you could have made the path of these sisters much smoother, you could have gratified them by complying with their desires, pleasing their tastes as you would wish your taste to be gratified. A willingness to meet their wishes would have done no harm to the school, but would have been a real advantage in bringing means to it by their patronage. This is a work of mismanagement by those who were responsible. 9LtMs, Lt 78, 1894, par. 11

You felt contempt for the course of Sister Daniells and Sister Rousseau, when a little conciliation now and then as circumstances demanded, and deference to their position, would have saved them from being thrown on Satan’s battleground and cherishing feelings that reacted upon yourself. This is a line of work you will have to see and take up in a more earnest, decided manner than you have hitherto seen or understood was your duty. “Give to him that asketh thee, and from him that would borrow of thee turn not thou away.” [Matthew 5:42.] This principle comes in the line of our duty in our association with one another. This was your great lack in the school; your overflowing love needed a much broader channel, but you prescribed it to certain limits. You perseveringly carried out your way, and some of the students cannot look upon their association with you and the school as they ought to, and might have looked upon it, if you had let the love of Jesus, in soft, melting rays, break up the icy coldness which ought never to exist in the heart of any Christian. 9LtMs, Lt 78, 1894, par. 12

Sister Starr, let us see what the Lord seeth: “Ye have heard that it hath been said, Thou shalt love thy neighbor, and hate thine enemy. But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them that despitefully use you and persecute you; that ye may be the children of your Father which is in heaven: for he maketh his sun to rise on the evil and on the good, and sendeth rain on the just and on the unjust. For if ye love them which love you, what reward have ye? do not even the publicans the same? And if ye salute your brethren only, what do ye more than others? do not even the publicans so? Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect.” [Verses 43-48.] 9LtMs, Lt 78, 1894, par. 13

Now, my sister, this cast-iron is a part of your character; shall it not melt away under the blessed beams of the Sun of Righteousness? You can and do embrace certain ones in your affections, and you will do many things for them; but those who do not please you, whom you think faulty, need that love which Christ manifested for poor, sinful man in that while they were yet sinners He gave Himself for them. We all need the divine touch. The Lord loves and pities the weak and suffering ones, and we that are strong ought to bear the infirmities of the weak. The fact that Christ took human nature upon Him means much to every one of us. We are to be taken into complete union with the human nature of Christ, into oneness with Christ, in spirit and in His work of redemption. Joining ourselves to Christ, we have His Spirit, we are branches of the living Vine stock, and in Christ we are to bear the fruit of Christlikeness, for the branches bear fruit like that of the parent vine. 9LtMs, Lt 78, 1894, par. 14

If the Lord has quickened you by His grace, if love is stirred within you for special ones, that love is to grow and embrace the very ones who need it most. Please bear in mind that your brother Willie is set in his own ways. He knows but little by experience of that divine love which embraces those who need it most, that love which does not turn from, and refuse its healing influence to those who are defective or who do not exactly meet one’s ideas. 9LtMs, Lt 78, 1894, par. 15

The religion of Jesus can bless only where it influences; if we exclude its influence, we fail of the blessing. In little things as well as great, we must have the accommodating spirit of Jesus. Do you know, my sister, that you have something to do to cultivate tender compassion in word and in action? The expression of a healthful tenderness will have a controlling power. A negative position will never melt and subdue hearts. A gracious influence on your part would have changed the whole last year’s history of several. The little things of life possess an importance beyond our conceptions. It is the little things that are training the soul, disciplining for progress and sanctification. Selfishness must die. Every species of selfishness must be rooted out of the heart. 9LtMs, Lt 78, 1894, par. 16

We are in great danger of misapprehending the purposes of God and His claims upon us. Many things might have been improved in your association with the school. There was no need that you three sisters should be so far separated in your feelings and sympathies. If all selfishness had been uprooted from the heart, and you had individually loved God supremely, and your neighbor as yourself, you would have been in unison. The idols must be expelled from the heart, and the idol self is hard to kill. The Lord Jesus has been grieved with you all three. You have all dishonored His name by your want of love and kindness and Bible courtesy. Now you each need to go to the very bottom of this matter, and cleanse the soul temple from every species of selfishness. Let Christ abide in each heart, and then the Spirit of Christ in one will recognize the same Spirit in another. 9LtMs, Lt 78, 1894, par. 17

During the past night I have had scenes presented before me, and the burden of a message laid upon me, and I have taken my pen, hours before daylight, to write these lines. In other pages I have presented some perils and warnings and reproofs to which the Lord would have sisters Daniells and Rousseau take heed. Now I address Sisters Daniells, Rousseau, and Starr, as I have had your cases presented before me in connection with your experience at the school. That experience might have been of an altogether different order; but thank God it is not too late for wrongs to be righted. One mind, one judgment, could not be sufficient to devise plans and direct the work. 9LtMs, Lt 78, 1894, par. 18

No one mind is alone sufficient to exert a healthful, well-balanced influence in the school. In the providence of God you three sisters, with your different temperaments, were brought in connection with the school that you might unite in the work. Unity in diversity is God’s plan. Among the followers of Christ there is to be the blending of diverse elements, one adapted to the other, and each to do its special work for God. Every individual had his place in the filling up of one great plan bearing the stamp of Christ’s image. God is one. 9LtMs, Lt 78, 1894, par. 19

There are grievous mistakes and misapprehensions among those who claim to be Christians. To every man, woman, and child, God has given a work to do in His moral vineyard. One is fitted to do a certain work, another has a different work, for which he is adapted, another has a still different line; but each is to be the complement of the others. When you three sisters came in connection with the school, you should have put forth special effort, in union with the Holy Spirit of God, to blend together in the work. All three were needed, and not one was to regard herself individually as capable of being a complete whole. From the very first you should have taken time to understand each other, instead of standing apart to watch and criticize and judge each other. If each had tried to find points of resemblance in each, and to be a help to each, one supplying the lack of another, how different would have been the outcome. One may have keener perceptions in some things than another, let this be accepted and appreciated; there is nothing amiss in giving due credit to each one’s ability. 9LtMs, Lt 78, 1894, par. 20

It would be the greatest misfortune if one man’s mind or one woman’s mind should exert a controlling power in any of our institutions. The Spirit of God, working in and through the diverse elements, will produce harmony of action. There is to be no master spirit, regarded as in itself sufficient for the situation. There is to be only one master spirit—the Spirit of Him who is infinite in wisdom, and in whom all the diverse elements meet in beautiful, matchless unity. 9LtMs, Lt 78, 1894, par. 21

How great the diversity manifested in the natural world. Every object as its peculiar sphere of action; yet all are found to be linked together in the great whole. Christ Jesus is in union with the Father, and from the great Center this wonderful unity is to extend through the different orders of being, through all classes and diversities of talents. We are all to respect one another’s talent; we are to harmonize in goodness, in unselfish thoughts and actions, because the Spirit of Christ, as the living, working agency, is circulating through the whole, even as the sap flows from the parent stock through every branch, every fiber of the leaf, and produces fruit of the same character as that of the vine stock. Jesus declared, “I am the vine, ye are the branches.” [John 15:5.] Every branch centers in the vine stock and is to do its appointed work, not in imitation of another, but in its own capacity. 9LtMs, Lt 78, 1894, par. 22

This is a small portion of the lessons that have been given to me for each of us to study. The Lord had a work for each of you to do; the connection of the different characters would scarcely make a perfect whole; but if all were working under the supervision of Christ, the great Unit, there would be harmonious blending, each fitting into her position, no one wrestling for supremacy, seeking to be the highest. This was God’s plan, but it was spoiled because there was a failure to learn of Jesus His meekness and lowliness, and to find rest in wearing Christ’s yoke and bearing His burden. Self has been struggling for recognition. 9LtMs, Lt 78, 1894, par. 23

It is so hard for us to learn that the little things supply the actual discipline of life. This training of the soul by the Holy Spirit’s working through the human agent, is the progressive sanctification of the Spirit, a growth from glory to glory, unto the perfect likeness of the character of Christ. It is not striking actions that produce unity; it is the mold of the Holy Spirit upon the character. The grace of Christ works in the education and training, using every principle on which a well-balanced education is founded. It is a continual, persevering influence that trains the soul after the likeness of the character of Christ. The enemy worked by his spirit upon human minds when the door was opened to him. 9LtMs, Lt 78, 1894, par. 24

Sister Starr might and should have pursued a different course. But her own traits of character bore sway, and led her to separate herself from these sisters. She looked upon them as in the wrong, and would not concede to their ideas and plans, or favor them in regard to diet. This she could have done with little inconvenience had her mind and will been in harmony with the Spirit of Christ. Arrangements were not made for providing the most healthful articles of food, and the food was not prepared in the most healthful manner, in abundance for the needs of all. The influence of other minds was needed to correct this deficiency. The wisdom and counsel of others should have been regarded in the preparation of articles for the table, that all might have their wants supplied, with wholesome, substantial food. 9LtMs, Lt 78, 1894, par. 25

There was need of continual improvement in the matter of diet, that none might feel compelled to withdraw from the table and obtain supplies for themselves, in order to have food to sustain health and life. Those who had money to use supplied the deficiency, in a large measure, with extras in their rooms. This was not a correct principle, and led to incorrect habits. 9LtMs, Lt 78, 1894, par. 26

Sister Starr, in the position she occupied and with her lack of experience, needed counsel in regard to the preparation of food, which she did not feel willing to receive from these sisters. Although not placed in her especial position of trust, they could have helped her by combining their knowledge and experience with hers, and she should have been willing to receive suggestions, which would often have made decided changes. 9LtMs, Lt 78, 1894, par. 27

There must be a radical change in the table supplies. Students pay a good price for their board, and they should have their food prepared in a different style from that in which it has been prepared; this may be done with no more expense. Knowledge, experience, and adaptability have been the great want. 9LtMs, Lt 78, 1894, par. 28

The human agencies needed the Spirit of God every hour in the day, that would be molding the spirit into the image of Christ. Differences of character exist by nature, but our unity depends upon the degree in which we yield to the transforming influence of the Spirit of God. Through the grace of Christ, some persons possess precious traits of character, a kindly and genial disposition; their very rebukes are imbued with tenderness, for the Spirit of Christ seems manifest in them. Others manifest opposite traits of character. The Lord has need of Christians in this great work. The power of His grace will mold and fashion character according to the divine Model, renewing it in softness and beauty, in conformity to His own blessed image. 9LtMs, Lt 78, 1894, par. 29

What we all need is a more pure, Christlike sympathy; not sympathy for those who are perfect—they do not need it—but sympathy for poor, suffering, struggling souls who are often overtaken in fault, sinning and repenting, tempted and discouraged. The effect of grace is to soften and subdue the soul. Then all this cold unapproachableness is melted, subdued, and Christ appears. The love of God alone can open and expand the heart, and give to love and sympathy a breadth and height that is without measure. Those who love Jesus will love all the children of God. The sense of personal infirmities and imperfections will lead the human agent to look away from self to Christ; and the Saviour's love will break down every cold, Pharisaical barrier; it will banish all harshness and selfishness, and there will be a blending of soul with soul, even with those who are opposite in temperament. 9LtMs, Lt 78, 1894, par. 30

The goodness and forbearance of God, His self-sacrificing love to sinful men, must lead all who discern His grace to manifest the same, to give sympathy liberally to others. The wonderful example of the life of Christ, the matchless tenderness with which He entered into the feelings of the oppressed soul, weeping with those that wept, rejoicing with all that rejoiced in His love, must have a deep influence upon the character of all who love God and keep His commandments. 9LtMs, Lt 78, 1894, par. 31

They will give sympathy, not grudgingly but liberally; by kindly words and acts they will try to make the path just as easy for weary feet as they desire the path to be made for their feet. As we receive daily and hourly the blessing of God, we can do no less to show our gratitude than to have a kindly unselfish interest in those for whom Christ has died. Have we blessings? Yes, we have. Well, Christ says, Pass them along to others, not to a favored few, but to all with whom we come in contact. We must give grace for grace; for the Holy Spirit will remove light and blessing which is selfishly enjoyed, and not diffused to others. 9LtMs, Lt 78, 1894, par. 32