Letters and Manuscripts — Volume 14 (1899)


Lt 97, 1899

Chick, Sister

“Sunnyside,” Cooranbong, New South Wales, Australia

June 26, 1899

Portions of this letter are published in 11MR 162. +Note

Dear Sister:

I am compelled to write to you by this morning’s mail in regard to your son. I think it would be well for you to come to Cooranbong and take him away with you; if not, some one must go to the expense of taking him to Sydney. That the boy is converted is all a mistake. He has not submitted his will to the will of the Lord. He will not be advised or counselled. Perhaps he would be brought to his senses by the rod, which I fear has not been used in his case. The Word of the Lord says, “Chasten thy son while there is hope, and let not thy soul spare for his crying.” “He that spareth his rod hateth his son: but he that loveth him chasteneth him betimes.” [Proverbs 19:18; 13:24.] 14LtMs, Lt 97, 1899, par. 1

I am confident that the only way by which this lad can be brought to his senses is for him to feel that he has a master. Words are wasted on him, for he has not the slightest respect for principal or teacher. He acts as though he were a man, with judgment superior to any other being. What does this all mean? He is a spoilt child, and his determined disobedience and rebellion will be his eternal ruin unless this spirit can be subdued. 14LtMs, Lt 97, 1899, par. 2

The work that has been going on in this school is an offense to God. The only thing that can be done is to observe the strictest discipline. Now is the time when children and youth should lay a good foundation against the time to come, that they may lay hold upon eternal life. Now, just now, the youth, young men and young women, are to take their stand. Their character-building cannot be reared in strength and beauty unless it rests upon the sure foundation, Jesus Christ. 14LtMs, Lt 97, 1899, par. 3

Our school is not what is usually termed a reformatory school, yet it is so in fact, and every child and youth is to be brought under strict discipline, for many parents have failed in understanding their accountability as parents. They have been blind, and have not taken straightforward methods in the training of their children. They have indulged them, and passed over and excused the evils in their characters. They do not suppose it possible that the minds of their children could be corrupted by evil thoughts. 14LtMs, Lt 97, 1899, par. 4

Your lad has not yet felt his need of a Saviour. He is under the control of an evil, insubordinate will, and he needs to be placed in a reformatory school, where the strictest discipline is maintained, until he understands that he cannot manage himself and do as he pleases. I have talked with him, but he is woefully lacking in good, sound sense. Had he been taught to obey when he was a baby in his mother’s arms, had he been instructed in his youth to do the will of his mother, who stands in the place of God to her children, he might have developed a different character. But as he now stands, he is an offense to God and those who would do him good. He is the saddest specimen of a child that I have seen in all my experience. He speaks with the utmost contempt of everything here. 14LtMs, Lt 97, 1899, par. 5

On Sabbath he managed by some cunning to run away. He had hid his trunk somewhere in the bush, and his preparations were all made. Then he prevailed on another lad to go with him. When the time came for the students to fall into line and walk two and two to the church, these two boys were missing. A search was instituted, but they could not be found. Then it was discovered that his trunk was gone. The greatest anxiety was felt by the teachers, and the manager, Mr. Reekie, took his wheel and went as rapidly as possible to the station in search of him. 14LtMs, Lt 97, 1899, par. 6

When almost there he met the boys coming back. They were carrying the trunk between them, and you may be sure they were hungry, tired boys. The cars had passed before they reached the station, and therefore your son did not go. All this performance was carried on upon the Sabbath. Your son stated that he would get away, he would not stay. All talk and reasoning is thrown away on him. He said that he had received a letter from his mother saying that he could come home. He was asked for the letter, but he said that he had burned it. “Lying lips are an abomination to the Lord; but they that deal truly are his delight.” [Proverbs 12:22.] 14LtMs, Lt 97, 1899, par. 7

It is of no use to keep your son here. As for the grace of Christ, he is a stranger to it, and what deception he will yet practice we know not. What does it mean? He seems to be a boy who at thirteen years of age supposes he is to form attachments with the idea of marriage. In this respect he acts like a lad who has not common sense. Sister Goldthorpe’s daughter came up here, and what for? Why come to Cooranbong unless she was to attend school? It is this child that your son in enamored with. Who has permitted this attachment to take place between these children? What does it all mean? In regard to this boy and girl love, we permit it not in the school. The writing notes or letters between boys and girls is checked at once. 14LtMs, Lt 97, 1899, par. 8

In this matter as in all others, your son thinks that he is to do as he likes. He says that he has always done just as he likes, and always will, that he has never worked, and never will. This school is highly appreciated by old and young who have a desire to obtain an education in right lines, but it is no school for your son. He cannot learn anything. This one boy has made more trouble than any ten boys who are submissive. 14LtMs, Lt 97, 1899, par. 9

We cannot see any other way for you to do than to take your boy home with you and do with him the best you can. As you have allowed him to discipline you in the place of your disciplining him, the outlook is most discouraging. He is a rare specimen Satan’s working on the human mind. And all talk with him is of no value. Words are wasted on him. He said to me, “You had better spend your money on some one else besides me. It will not be of the least use for you to waste your money.” He has not the least idea of doing what is told him, only as he is compelled to do it. What will be the future of such a lad, it is impossible to conjecture. He can frame falsehoods and utter them as easily as he can breathe. He says, “I have always done just as I please, and I always will do as I please. I have always had my own way, and I always mean to have it.” 14LtMs, Lt 97, 1899, par. 10

The report goes from Sister Goldthorpe’s daughters that he is converted, but we see not in him the slightest sign of conversion. The hard spirit of the boy seems strange for one so young. He seems to have no power to distinguish between right and wrong. He acts as though he had no conscience, but only a set, determined will of his own. He talks big things, as if he were a man, to act as a man. What this all means in a boy thirteen years old is a mystery. Let me tell you that Sister Goldthorpe and yourself should never give the slightest license or the least encouragement to the fancies of children in the lovesick, sentimental line, unless you would reap a most bitter harvest. These things are often treated as funny, something to [be] amused over. But the very first indications should be repressed. 14LtMs, Lt 97, 1899, par. 11

Do not think I have no sympathy for you, for I have. But you must understand these things, and know for yourself that an altogether different course of action is needed in the training of your boy. If he is to be left to his own will—wise, yes, very wise in an evil way full of self-importance and self-conceit—ruin is the sure result. The Lord can save him; but he, I think, would try to instruct the Lord, rather than be instructed. 14LtMs, Lt 97, 1899, par. 12

I advise you, my sister, to come to Cooranbong yourself, and then decisions can be made, and you can take your son back with you. His heart is closed against all good impressions and all good advise. He has no respect for counsel or advice, and we fear that his influence over the youth of his own age will cause constant trouble. Gladly would we see some change in him, but there has not been a break yet. 14LtMs, Lt 97, 1899, par. 13

Last Friday and Sabbath were important days in the school. The Spirit of the Lord came in and wrought upon the hearts of the students. There had been some young men and young women who had not kept the rules of the school, and they confessed of their own accord. They did not wait to be found out. There was great humiliation and confession. A good work was going on; but at this time your boy was planning how he could run away, and I suppose is planning still how he can make that perverse will of his master everything on the school ground. This will not be suffered. 14LtMs, Lt 97, 1899, par. 14