Letters and Manuscripts — Volume 11

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Lt 69, 1896

McCullagh, S.

“Sunnyside,” Cooranbong, Australia

July 11, 1896

Portions of this letter are published in AH 241, 310; CD 425; CG 261, 390; 1MCP 169; 2MCP 407, 579-580; 3SM 290; Te 149-150; VSS 123; 4Bio 276-277.

To Brother McCullagh:

The foregoing [Lt 40, 1893] was written in Hastings. I intended to give it to you while at Ormondville, but did not do so, because I gave a discourse there in which I took up very plainly the principles stated in this letter. You both heard my words, spoken under the power of the Holy Spirit, and Sister McCullagh told me that she received this message as given to herself, for she needed it. She said that she had never seen the case presented in that light before, and that she would make a decided change in her course of action in regard to her child. But this work has been strangely neglected. 11LtMs, Lt 69, 1896, par. 1

It is my first duty to present Bible principles. Then, unless there is a decided, conscientious reform made by those whose cases have been presented before me, I must appeal to them personally. I have often spoken in the presence of you both on these important subjects, but have never felt that the time had come for me to address you personally; for I could not be sure that you would understand the warning, and work diligently to reform, and I feared that you would both make a wrong use of the matter sent you. 11LtMs, Lt 69, 1896, par. 2

All through my acquaintance with her, I have had a tender, heartfelt solicitude for Sister McCullagh. I have felt anxious to help her out of the rut in which she has been traveling, but this I have not been able to do. She has misrepresented and misinterpreted my words, and for her own sake, I cannot keep silent. I feel that the time has come for me to speak. When I heard of Brother McCullagh’s recent illness, I felt that I had a special work to do for Sister McCullagh, that I must open things before her. But I did not wish to bring any additional burden upon Brother McCullagh, for I knew that he could not bear it. He sees some errors in his wife’s methods, but he does not see that he is in danger himself because of her influence over him. 11LtMs, Lt 69, 1896, par. 3

I shall come right to the point, for what I have to say must be said. Neither of you have walked in the light which has been given in regard to health reform. Sister McCullagh, you have evidenced that you were not susceptible to truth by disregarding these principles. You have not put yourself in the channel of light by placing yourself on the right side of the question, but by your course of action, you have tempted your husband to digress. His influence has not been sufficient to correct your wrong habits, but your influence has led him to disregard the principles of healthful living. It was your duty to walk in the light given you on this subject, but you have neglected to do so, and an improper, unhealthful preparation of food has been the result. 11LtMs, Lt 69, 1896, par. 4

The principles of health reform should be brought into the life of every Christian. Men and women who disregard these principles cannot offer to God a pure, vigorous devotion, for a dyspeptic stomach or a torpid liver make the religious life an uncertainty. Eating the flesh of dead animals has an injurious effect upon spirituality. When meat is made the staple article of food, the higher faculties are overborne by the lower passions. There things are an offense to God and are the cause of a decline in spiritual life. Keep out of the stomach everything that will disturb the digestive organs; discard all food that affords no nourishment for the system. I hope Sister McCullagh will feel her responsibility in this matter, and will do all she can to help her husband prolong his life by learning how to cook. 11LtMs, Lt 69, 1896, par. 5

In no way, as a wife or a mother, could you have been more useful, my sister, than by preparing the food to be eaten in a healthful manner. But before your husband had time to learn what constituted health reform, you cast reproach upon its principles. By painstaking efforts you might have gained an education which would enable you to cook wholesome, nourishing food in a palatable manner, for health reform does not mean a poverty-stricken diet. But the articles of food which Brother McCullagh has been obliged to eat if he subsisted at all have been improperly prepared. You have put temptation in his way, and to this he owes a diseased and inflamed stomach which is always hankering for something which will remove the debility caused by indigestion. 11LtMs, Lt 69, 1896, par. 6

The health is in no way improved by the use of those things which stimulate for a time, but afterwards cause a reaction which leaves the system lower than before. Tea and coffee whip up the flagging energies for the time being, but when their immediate influence has gone, a depression is the result. These beverages have no nourishment whatever in themselves. The milk and sugar it contains constitutes all the nourishment afforded by a cup of tea or coffee. Often tea that has been damaged is preserved by coloring it with that which contains poison, and in this way it is offered for sale. Can Sister McCullagh think that while she takes her case in her own hands, and continues to eat and drink as she pleases, putting temptation in her husband’s way by offering him tea as a refreshing beverage, that God will work a miracle to counteract the evil effects of this course of action? 11LtMs, Lt 69, 1896, par. 7

After drinking a cup of tea, which she may call weak, Sister McCullagh feels stimulated, and in this frame of mind she says that which is unwise. Her conversation is not pure, for only those lips are without guile, only those words pure, that fulfill the requirements of the Lord, and He has told us to speak evil of no man. The voice and the tongue are designed by God to be a blessing to man, but when these precious, heaven-sent instruments are put to a wrong use, they do much harm. 11LtMs, Lt 69, 1896, par. 8

For the Sabbath we should not prepare a more liberal supply or a greater variety of food. Instead of this, the food provided for that day should be more simple, and less should be eaten, in order that the head may be clear and the mind vigorous to comprehend spiritual things. Highly seasoned dishes hinder the entrance of truth, and overeating befogs the mind. The most precious words may be heard and not appreciated because the mind is confused and embarrassed by an improper diet. By overeating on the Sabbath, God’s people have done more to dishonor Him than they think. 11LtMs, Lt 69, 1896, par. 9

The true follower of God is temperate in all things. The principles of temperance are far-reaching, and there is danger that those who have received great light on this subject will fail to appreciate this light. God requires that his people living in these last days, overcome every hurtful practice, presenting their bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto him, that they may win a seat at his right hand. It is our duty to take ourselves in hand, and strive to bring our minds, our wills, and our tastes into conformity with the requirements of our Creator. The grace of God alone can enable us to do this; by its power our lives may be brought into harmony with right principles. We shall reap that which we sow, and only those who bring themselves into subjection to the will of God are truly wise. 11LtMs, Lt 69, 1896, par. 10

Whatever we do in the line of eating and drinking should be done with the special purpose of nourishing the body, that we may serve God to His name’s glory. The whole body is the property of God, and we must give strict attention to our physical well-being, for the religious life is closely related to physical habits and practices. All we have and are belongs to God; all is His property, and should be used in His service. You must learn this lesson, my sister, before you can merit a place among the undefiled. 11LtMs, Lt 69, 1896, par. 11

You have cherished wrong sentiments in your heart; you have thought, May I not do what I please with myself? Is not my body my own property? No; “ye are not your own.” [1 Corinthians 6:19.] You have been bought with a price, and you have obligations which you owe to God, to your family, and to those with whom you associate. Your course of action influences others, and for this reason your habits and practices must be carefully guarded. God claims your time; for it belongs to him. He demands that the words you speak shall honor and glorify him. He requires that your influence tell on the side of right. 11LtMs, Lt 69, 1896, par. 12

The great Master-Artist alone is the rightful owner of the works of His hands. By creation and by redemption we are His. The very dust out of which we were formed is His production; and “hath not the potter power over the clay?” [Romans 9:21.] Rightfully, He claims our entire service. “What? know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost, which is in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own? For ye are bought with a price; therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God’s.” [1 Corinthians 6:19, 20.] 11LtMs, Lt 69, 1896, par. 13

O the great tenderness and mercy of God! I would, my sister, that you had a deeper sense of your accountability to Him. If you do not reach a higher standard in the Christian life, you will do much harm as the wife of a minister of God. Naturally you are inclined to criticize, accuse, and pick at flaws. How much harm you have done in this respect, you cannot know; you have influenced your husband in such a way that he has taken wrong views of persons and their work, and has been disqualified for doing the work of the Lord as acceptably as he might have done. By precept and example you have planted seeds of bitterness which have sprung up and borne fruit after their own kind. 11LtMs, Lt 69, 1896, par. 14

You cannot be too careful of what you say, for the words you utter show what power is controlling your mind and heart. If Christ rules in your heart, your words will reveal the purity, beauty, and fragrance of a character molded and fashioned by His will. But since his fall Satan has been an accuser of the brethren, and you must be on guard, lest you reveal the same spirit. 11LtMs, Lt 69, 1896, par. 15

The Lord demands that our words be of the very best quality; that our tongues be truthful at all times. Any vestige of prevarication is an offense to Him. Every word we speak needs the most careful consideration, lest it mislead those who are weak in the faith. From the light which God has given me, I know that by your unadvised words you have left wrong impressions on the minds of some in Sydney and suburbs, and much time will be needed to counteract the effects of these impressions. What you have thus expressed in words has not been true, but has been the result of your own imagination. No longer rely on a spurious spirituality. Consecrate yourself daily to God, and then you will believe the truth, and conscientiously talk and practice it. 11LtMs, Lt 69, 1896, par. 16

Sister McCullagh, your management in the home is not good. The education you might have obtained in your youth you did not, which has been a great loss to you. I was led into your inner life from a child, and shown your past experience. In your childhood you were unwilling to receive a training in useful lines. You resisted the attempts made to teach you to study, sew, or do domestic work. Impatient of discipline and restraint, you resorted to any subterfuge that would free you from application. You misled your mother by statements that were not true, and thus gained your own way. The education that would have enabled you to stand at the head of a family you did not obtain, because you disliked to apply yourself to useful duties and avoided them all you could. Solid timbers were not brought into your character-building. 11LtMs, Lt 69, 1896, par. 17

The spirit you revealed when a child was brought into your girlhood experience, and has been woven into your married life. The exertion disagreeable to you then is disagreeable to you now; and this has been a drawback to your spiritual advancement. The want of the education you should have obtained, has been keenly felt by yourself, your husband, and your child. You could have improved very much, by redeeming the past, had Bible truths been received into your heart and mind, and revealed in your daily practice; but this has not been the case; and your home duties have been hard for you. 11LtMs, Lt 69, 1896, par. 18

It is all-important that a mother patiently instruct her child, that she may grow up with systematic habits and a knowledge of how to perform the daily duties which will always have to be done. The example set by the mother in this respect is powerful; be it right or wrong, it will be followed by the child. Had you submitted to discipline in your youth, had you obtained an education in economy and dispatch, you would find it much easier to train your daughter. She must be given the right kind of an education if you desire her to grow up into usefulness. Do not forget to give her a training in domestic work. Instruct her in the different lines of this work, in order that she may be a help to you and to those around her. It will be necessary to set apart some time for recreation; and this recreation should also be of that character which will educate her for usefulness. 11LtMs, Lt 69, 1896, par. 19

Your child has a nervous temperament, and her diet should be carefully guarded. She should not be allowed to choose that food which will gratify the taste without affording proper nourishment. Children are easily persuaded to indulge, and they should never be urged to eat a variety of food. Everything placed before them should tend to strengthen brain, bone, and muscle. Your daughter’s appetite must be regulated, for she has not been educated to eat only at the regular times. Hearty suppers should not be given her, then she will have an appetite for breakfast. Never let her go from home to school without her breakfast. Do not venture to give full scope to your inclinations in this matter. Place yourself entirely under the control of God, and He will help you to bring all your desires into harmony with His requirements. 11LtMs, Lt 69, 1896, par. 20

My sister, you have a work to do which is not pleasant and agreeable if you would regain your lost influence over your child. You have not advanced with the developments of her mind. Be careful lest the mistakes of your childhood be repeated in her training. You have not always been truthful before her. Untrue statements have been made in her hearing, and being sharp and quick, she has seen this, and has followed in a similar course. You have prevaricated to her, and she has little respect for you or for your discernment. 11LtMs, Lt 69, 1896, par. 21

You little know how many falsehoods your child has uttered, while looking directly in your face. To others you have said, “Christabel never told me a lie.” But this statement was a falsehood, and those who heard it know it to be so. At different times others have told you the truth concerning your child. But you looked in her face, saying, “Christabel never told me a falsehood. I will take her words before the statements of those who have told me different.” 11LtMs, Lt 69, 1896, par. 22

My sister, can you be surprised that your daughter has little confidence in her mother’s word? You have educated her to be untruthful; and the Lord is grieved to see one of His little ones led in the wrong path by her mother. You child is not your own; you cannot do with her as you like, for she is the property of the Lord. Exercise a steady, persevering control over her; teach her that she belongs to God. With such a training, she will grow up to be a blessing to those around her. But clear, sharp discernment will be necessary, in order that you may repress her inclination to rule you both, to have her own will and way, and to do as she pleases. 11LtMs, Lt 69, 1896, par. 23

Remember that in your child you have a pupil whose influence is far-reaching. And the influence she exerts upon those around her will either be elevating, purifying, and ennobling, or like a poisonous malaria. 11LtMs, Lt 69, 1896, par. 24

Sister McCullagh, you need to be converted. Your religious experience must be of an entirely different character from what it has been in the past. It is time for you to gird up the loins of your mind and strive earnestly and sensibly, by the grace of God, to lead your child heavenward. Press forward against the powers of darkness. Carry forward your home government faithfully and conscientiously. Speak always in a calm, earnest voice, in which no trace of passion is expressed. Passion is not necessary to secure prompt obedience. A fitful government—at one time holding the lines firmly, and at another allowing that which has been condemned—is ruination to a child. 11LtMs, Lt 69, 1896, par. 25

You have taken little interest in the light given in reference to the training of children; but it is not right for you to thus demerit your responsibilities. You cannot be too careful how you train your child; for the instruction you give will influence her whole life. If in after years she gives her heart to the Lord, her religious experience will bear the mould of her home training. If this training has been defective, her spiritual life will be likewise marred and imperfect. 11LtMs, Lt 69, 1896, par. 26

My sister, you have a duty to perform toward your daughter. Her character must be molded and fashioned for the kingdom of God, and in this work you need the grace of Jesus Christ. A Christian mother will ever be wide awake to discern the dangers that surround her children. She will keep her own soul in a pure, holy atmosphere; she will regulate her temper and principles by the Word of God, and will faithfully do her duty, living above the petty temptations which will always assail her. Look well to the education you are giving your child, lest Satan take her out of your hands, and use her as an instrument with which to do his work. Maintain a faithful guard over her as one who rightly estimates the temptations which she must encounter. 11LtMs, Lt 69, 1896, par. 27

You must awake if your child is spared to you. When you are really transformed in character, as you must be, you will see things in an entirely different light. Your mind will be purified, elevated, and cheered by a sense of the solemn, sacred responsibilities resting upon you; and you will earnestly strive to guide the footsteps of your daughter in the heavenly way. 11LtMs, Lt 69, 1896, par. 28

Brother McCullagh, you have labored far beyond your strength. You treat yourself as though you were a horse, recklessly imperilling the life which God has given you by straining yourself to the utmost. You work till you are all tired out, and then you pity yourself, and reach out for sympathy. Brooding over this has done you no good. God does not require you to work till you have no strength to think rationally. You have injured your vital organs by using your voice improperly, by pitching it in too high a key. Less preaching and more Bible lessons would do much to preserve your health. 11LtMs, Lt 69, 1896, par. 29

You have placed too high an estimate on your labors. Remember that your labors are of value with God only as you work the works of God. You have at times thought that no one could help the people but yourself, but for some time you have been sowing other than pure wheat. Seed has been sown which will bring forth tares. Suspicions have been aroused which have no true foundation. Your words and actions need to be closely guarded. Take more time to study the Word of God, that you may have food for the people that will nourish their souls. 11LtMs, Lt 69, 1896, par. 30

When I am assured that the truth has been brought into your lives, my brother and sister, I shall take courage, and believe that God will work in your behalf by giving both of you mental, moral, and spiritual efficiency. Sister McCullagh will then have a greater desire for her own family to be true, and pure, and holy, and conscientious in all its practice. She will not shun the cross of temperance. She will cease sowing the seeds of doubt and distrust, and will work in harmony with the truth of God for this time. 11LtMs, Lt 69, 1896, par. 31

For Christ’s sake, my brother and sister, heed the words which I have written, for it has cost me a great effort to write them. You have your destiny in your own hands; by your actions you can make or mar it. I tremble for you both, for you are subject to misconceptions. Never give others the impression that you think your brethren do not appreciate you. All such impressions are as the seeds of tares. Be careful never to drop the tiniest seed of doubt or distrust, for this will bring upon you the displeasure of God. 11LtMs, Lt 69, 1896, par. 32

In simple, humble faith cast your care upon Jesus, and you will have rest and peace. Abide under the shadow of the cross of the crucified Redeemer. Banish ingratitude, for, if cherished, it will kill the love of God in your heart. Rest in the assurance that you are in the hands of God. He will take care of you. Can you not trust your life, your character, your all, in the hands of the faithful, loving Jehovah? It is His desire that you should both perfect a Christian character, and by yielding yourself into His keeping, you may be “complete in Him.” [Colossians 2:10.] 11LtMs, Lt 69, 1896, par. 33