Letters and Manuscripts — Volume 10

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Lt 17, 1895

Caldwell, W. F.

Avondale, Cooranbong, Australia

September 6, 1895

Portions of this letter are published in TSB 206-207; 1MCP 157; Te 32; CD 131, 137-138, 333; FBS 40; 3MR 307-308; 4MR 364-365.

Brother Caldwell: 10LtMs, Lt 17, 1895, par. 1

This morning, as I came from the school ground, I saw your horse fastened to a tree before the tent occupied by Fannie Bolton. After a while I went to the tent. A lady from Newcastle and Jessie Israel were visiting Fannie. You were sitting down, writing on the typewriter. Why did you not take the typewriter at once into the dining tent? What impression can such a course make upon the mind of the young girl visiting at the school. It made an impression that was anything but favorable. 10LtMs, Lt 17, 1895, par. 2

Your freedom with young women is improper, but is so natural and common to you that you think nothing of it. The Word of God has told you that you are to abstain from the very appearance of evil; but do you? You are a married man, with a wife and two boys whom you have left in America, and this fact should be sufficient, without any further prompting, to lead you to cultivate sobriety and carefulness in your association with others. 10LtMs, Lt 17, 1895, par. 3

When I conversed with you at Granville on this point, you always met me with the excuse that you had always been sociable with young ladies, and thought that this was no harm. But the burden did not leave me. This has been repeated over and over again. If you have always been free and sociable, even in your married life, and have shown so much liberty in giving attention to ladies, what surprise should it be to you that your wife should take the same liberties? It is a source of temptation for your wife, to think that you, professedly a Christian, did not conduct yourself as a husband should; and she has had your example before her, to be as free in the society of young men as you have been in the society of young women. 10LtMs, Lt 17, 1895, par. 4

Your wife has had cause to wean her affections from you. By professing to believe the truth, you place yourself under sacred responsibility; but you have not represented Christ in your home life. By your own impatience and rashness of temper, you have so impressed your wife, that she has not been inclined to accept the truth, though she believes it. It is best for you to make decided changes in your character, and put far from you impatience and roughness. Seek the Lord for guidance, for you do not know yourself. If your selfish gratification is continued, your life will not be after the divine similitude. Naturally you are a passionate man, quickly stirred and often unreasonable; but you are not quick to discern your own mistakes, which are of frequent recurrence. You excuse yourself, and try to make the defects of others apparent, that your own may be covered up. 10LtMs, Lt 17, 1895, par. 5

You have appealed to your wife to accept the truth, but you yourself have not been purified by obeying the Word of God. Your own course of irritability and exaction has made of none effect all your efforts. Satan has used you as an agent to keep your wife from the truth. Her mother has been charged with this influence; but had you given your wife unselfish affection in accordance with your marriage vow, your married life would have shown an entirely different record. Your past life has not been blameless. Always persistent in carrying out your own way, you sacrificed truth to accomplish your ends; you were determined to marry the one whom you had chosen, even though you had to give up the Sabbath to do so. 10LtMs, Lt 17, 1895, par. 6

After uniting in marriage with an unbeliever, you were troubled over the matter. Even before this union had taken place you thought that you would afterwards keep the Sabbath, and you thought that perhaps, yes, of course, you could convince her of the truth. You did commence to keep the Sabbath once more, but the very fact of conceding to her wishes for a time weakened your influence with her. She had very little faith in your piety; and the evidence that was constantly before her, showing that you would do as you pleased, did not increase her confidence in you, or her love for you. You are being constantly watched by unbelievers who wait for a chance to criticize you with keenness and severity. What you say in the church is not of half as much consequence as the exhibition of a Christian character in your daily life. 10LtMs, Lt 17, 1895, par. 7

You know that you have been self-willed, opinionated, strong to carry out your own devising, and apt to irritate your wife because she did not come to your terms. You have not made the truth attractive by being sanctified through its power. Hard, unkind thrusts have too readily come from your lips. Frequently things have occurred, when, had your wife been a horse, you would have beaten her unmercifully. Your hasty passion, contemptuous scorn, and cruel petulance have not made her life happy, or given her confidence in you. Have you called to mind her words to you, when she heard that you purposed to leave her and your children for a foreign country? Have you called to mind your reply, and the words that passed to and fro between you? It would be surprising if you should forget, notwithstanding that you have a very treacherous memory. I write these things to you because you are deceiving Fannie, and she is apparently totally blind and infatuated. 10LtMs, Lt 17, 1895, par. 8

By leaving her, you have given your wife great cause to conclude that you did not care for her. You have told your side of the question with reference to your married life, and all who believe this, as you have represented it, will sympathize with you; but the Lord knows the whole history of this matter. Your readiness to accept the society of young ladies is a reproach to me and to the cause of God. You do not realize that you are continually making an impression, favorable or unfavorable, for the religion of the Bible, on the minds of your fellow men. 10LtMs, Lt 17, 1895, par. 9

The home circle should be regarded as a sacred place, a symbol of heaven, a mirror in which to reflect ourselves. Friends and acquaintances we may have, but in the home life they are not to meddle. A strong sense of proprietorship should be felt, giving a sense of ease, restfulness, [and] trust. But your association with other women and girls has been a source of temptation to them, leading them to take liberties, and overstep the restraint which the marriage relation imposes on every man and woman. You have not perceived it, but your love of amusement, and the spirit you have encouraged has not impressed others with the sacredness of the marriage relation. Practical home life is the great test of character. By his tender thoughtfulness in the home, by the exercise of patience, kindness, and love, a man determines his character. 10LtMs, Lt 17, 1895, par. 10

Placing yourself in the society of Fannie as much as you did while at Melbourne had not only the appearance of evil, but was evil. You enjoyed it, but you should have had discernment to understand that by your course of action you were encouraging others in the same path. 10LtMs, Lt 17, 1895, par. 11

I am now going to Tasmania, and you and Fannie will remain at Avondale. After my absence, you will feel inclined to associate together more freely, because I am not present to hold the fort. I fear you will dishonor the truth by your familiarity. I decidedly protest against this. Keep yourself out of Fannie’s tent, or else a scandal will be created. You are giving a wrong example to young men and young women by your course of action. There are those who would only be too glad to get something which they could use against Sabbath keepers. I beseech you to come to your senses. 10LtMs, Lt 17, 1895, par. 12

The Lord has given me light for you on the subject of temperance in all things. You are intemperate in your eating. Frequently you place in your stomach double the quantity of food your system requires. This food decays; your breath becomes offensive; your catarrhal difficulties are aggravated; your stomach is overworked; and life and energy is called from the brain to work the mill which grinds the material you have placed in your stomach. In this, you have shown little mercy to yourself. 10LtMs, Lt 17, 1895, par. 13

You are a gourmand when at the table. This is one great cause of your forgetfulness and loss of memory. You say things which I know you have said, and then turn square about, and say that you said something entirely different. I knew this, but passed it over as the sure result of overeating. Of what use would it be to speak about it? It would not cure the evil. 10LtMs, Lt 17, 1895, par. 14

When you expressed your desire for Fannie to move her things into my tent and become a member of my family, I knew that you did not know what you were talking about. The idea was inconsistent; but I felt that I must keep quiet, or I would speak very strongly. Then you stated plainly that you wanted Fannie to help in the cooking, “for your stomach’s sake” [1 Timothy 5:23], because you liked her cooking, and enjoyed the food she prepared. I said to myself, Poor, foolish, selfish man. You demonstrated what had been laid before me in clear lines, that you were selfish, and would work in any way to accomplish your ends. 10LtMs, Lt 17, 1895, par. 15

The Lord designs that we should enjoy eating, but His rebuke is upon all who make a god of their stomachs. You have no control over your appetite, and you treat your stomach as inconsiderately as you have treated your wife. Cause must produce effect. When food is taken into the stomach, think of the amount you are eating, and what a task you impose upon nature’s delicate machinery by overeating. Give your stomach much less to do. Ask God for His Holy Spirit to work upon your mind and character. You will not then be guilty of making your stomach your god. 10LtMs, Lt 17, 1895, par. 16

Meals taken at irregular hours are an injury to the stomach. Before it has had its period of rest, it is called into action to take care of more food, and is worked like a slave until the food is converted into the same state as that previously taken. The delicate organs of the stomach become inflamed and enfeebled. 10LtMs, Lt 17, 1895, par. 17

A spoiled stomach means an enfeebled mind and a diseased memory. What is dyspepsia? It is the result of indigestion, and is generally brought on by over-taxation of the digestive organs. Less food taken into the stomach would serve better for the building up of the system than a larger portion, which distends the stomach, and causes flatulence. If you would not eat to repletion, even of wholesome food, the health of your memory and your moral discernment would be greatly increased. As it is, you do not retain the knowledge you receive. 10LtMs, Lt 17, 1895, par. 18

If you were temperate in all things, you would see in the requirements of God a moral looking glass. When you looked into it, you would see your defects, and you would not go away, as you have repeatedly done, to forget what manner of man was there revealed. It would act as a school master to bring you to Christ, the sin-pardoning Saviour. But your treatment of yourself is a great obstacle in the way of your perfecting a Christian character. If you would study from cause to effect, you would know that you were rash in your eating. 10LtMs, Lt 17, 1895, par. 19

The human organism is a wonderful piece of machinery, but it can be abused. The stomach can be, and often is overtaxed and compelled to serve it tyrannical master like a slave. The transformation of good into good blood is a wonderful process, and all human beings should be intelligent upon this subject. In order that the digestive fluids may be called into action, and the saliva become mixed with the food, the teeth must do their work carefully and thoroughly. Each organ of the body gathers its nutrition to keep its different parts in action. The brain must be supplied with its share, the bone with its portion. The great Master Builder is at work every moment, supplying every muscle and tissue, from the brain to the ends of the fingers and toes, with life and strength. 10LtMs, Lt 17, 1895, par. 20

Day by day the human structure performs its work under the great Master Architect, who superintends every function of the body, seeking to make it into a glorious temple for Himself. This is beyond the comprehension of any physician unless he has a knowledge of God, the great Master Builder. If he does not seek to know God, and to become intelligent in regard to His constant and ceaseless miracle-working power, he will abuse God’s building. 10LtMs, Lt 17, 1895, par. 21

When God works so wondrously, man, the human agent, should become intelligent in regard to the machinery of his body, that this temple of God shall not be misused, and become the habitation of devils, the hold of every foul spirit, and the cage of every unclean and hateful bird. But thousands upon thousands are ignorant of the house they live in. David exclaims, “I am fearfully and wonderfully made.” [Psalm 139:14.] Then let us consider this matter carefully, exercising self-denial and temperance in all things. 10LtMs, Lt 17, 1895, par. 22

Overtaxing the stomach is a common sin, and when too much food is used the entire system is burdened. Life and vitality, instead of being increased, are decreased. This is as Satan plans to have it. Man uses up his vital forces in unnecessary labor in taking care of an excess of food. By taking too much food, we not only improvidently waste the blessings of God, provided for the necessities of nature, but do great injury to the whole system; we defile the temple of God; it is weakened and crippled; and nature cannot do its work wisely and well, as God has made provision that it should. 10LtMs, Lt 17, 1895, par. 23

Because of the selfish indulgence of his appetite, man has oppressed nature’s power, by compelling it to do work it never should be required to do. Were all men acquainted with the living, human machinery, they would not be guilty of doing this, unless, indeed, they loved self-indulgence so well that they would continue their suicidal course and die a premature death, or live for years a burden to themselves and to their friends. 10LtMs, Lt 17, 1895, par. 24

Tea and coffee are poisons which should never be taken into the system. For the time being, they act as a stimulant, but nature, which has been elevated above par, is soon let down as far below par as it was temporarily exalted. These drinks, which people think give them strength, weaken and destroy the healthful action of nerves and muscles. 10LtMs, Lt 17, 1895, par. 25

Alcoholic drinks and tobacco derange the whole human machinery, and destroy the building of God’s temple. Those that use these things greatly dishonor God, depriving Him of the acceptable service which He requires. They are like the builder who laid upon his foundation stone hay, wood, and stubble, to be consumed by fire; their lives are lost through ignorance, when Christ their Redeemer has made every provision to restore the moral image of God in man if he will co-operate with God, instead of working counter to God by self-indulgence and intemperance in eating and drinking. I am glad you do not use these harmful things. 10LtMs, Lt 17, 1895, par. 26

It is selfish indulgence to place upon the table a great variety of dishes, food that is too rich, pastry, condiments, dishes that are highly flavored to make them appetizing. Such things are used as dessert, and are a temptation to add to the food already taken into the stomach. Plain, simple pie may serve as dessert, but when one eats two or three pieces merely to gratify an inordinate appetite, he unfits himself for the service of God. Some, after partaking largely of other food, will take dessert, not because they need it, but because it tastes good. If they are asked to take a second piece, the temptation is too great to be resisted, and two or three pieces of pie are added to the load placed upon the already overworked stomach. He who will do this has never educated himself to practice self-denial. 10LtMs, Lt 17, 1895, par. 27

The victim of appetite, he is so wedded to his own way that he cannot see the injury he is doing to himself. The evil does not end here; but its result is seen in a cross, perverse, impatient spirit. It is not possible for the intemperate man to possess a calm, well-balanced character, and if he handles dumb animals, the extra cut of the whip which he gives God’s creatures, reveals the disturbed condition of his digestive organs. In the home circle the same spirit is seen. 10LtMs, Lt 17, 1895, par. 28

Be a merciful master to your stomach, which is God’s property. Do not abuse it as you have been doing; for you will wear it out, and pain and disease will surely come, for the Lord will not work a miracle to re-create the vitality of the digestive organs, only for abuse. God would have every one of his human agents reason from cause to effect. The violation of the laws of nature is the violation of the law of God. 10LtMs, Lt 17, 1895, par. 29

Individually, we should work for God, and for correct habits of eating and drinking. Learn from His Word what things He has expressly forbidden us to eat, for eating and drinking has much to do in the formation of character. All who are servants of the living God will feel zealous and anxious to bring every physical, mental, and moral power into willing obedience to Him. A great lesson is learned when we bring, not only our possessions and entrusted talents to God, but when every part of the living tabernacle is consecrated to His service. The great and solemn consideration should be to acknowledge God by the manifestation of a spirit controlled by His will. 10LtMs, Lt 17, 1895, par. 30