Letters and Manuscripts — Volume 14

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Lt 96, 1899

Henry, S. M. I.

“Sunnyside,” Cooranbong, New South Wales, Australia

June 21, 1899

Portions of this letter are published in 3SM 51, 79-80; 7MR 159-161.

Dear Sister Henry:

I rise in the early hours, half past two a.m., to write you a few lines. Elder Irwin has been with us now for about two weeks. He has with him a little note book in which he has noted down perplexing questions which he brings before me, and if I have any light upon these points, I write it out for the benefit of our people, not only in America but in this country. I cannot prepare all these letters to go now. They will go in the next mail. This mail goes to Sydney this morning to reach the boat which leaves today. 14LtMs, Lt 96, 1899, par. 1

I receive your letters, which I prize highly, but I have not been able to do them justice in considering and answering them. When I see that I am not understood by my brethren who know me best, I am convinced that I must take more time to express my thoughts. The Lord gives me light which I dare not do otherwise than communicate, and a great burden is upon me. I fear and tremble for the safety of souls in responsible positions. I am constantly at work, sometimes rising at twelve, one, and two o’clock. 14LtMs, Lt 96, 1899, par. 2

When I am misunderstood, and my words misinterpreted, I am afraid. I fear that I have been premature, or have not expressed myself as I ought. But when the same dangers to those I respect and love are repeated, while I am so far away, I feel an earnestness to save these souls from making mistakes, and I write most earnest things to explain the situation. Then afterward, when I find that I have caused sorrow to hearts, but not reform, my soul is sick and sad and depressed. I am not able to close my eyes in sleep, and a heavy weight is upon me that I cannot throw off. I can only wait and pray, asking the Lord what this all means. I will write fewer personal letters and go to my Bible subjects. Although I am acquainted with many things I might unfold, I should bear in mind the words of Christ to His disciples “I have many things to say unto you, but ye cannot bear them now.” [John 16:12.] 14LtMs, Lt 96, 1899, par. 3

I feel like keeping many things to myself, but Brother Irwin has conversed with me and asked me for light, which I have been instructed to give him. I would much prefer to meet the people in America face to face than to send to them written communications. There are many who interpret that which I write in the light of their own preconceived opinions. You know what this means. A division in understanding, and diverse opinions is the sure result. How to write in a way to be understood by those to whom I address important matter is a problem I cannot solve. But I will endeavor to write much less. Owing to the influence of mind upon mind, those who misunderstand can lead others to misunderstand by the interpretation they place upon the subjects from my pen. One understands them as he thinks they should be, in accordance with his ideas. Another puts his construction upon the written matter, and confusion is the sure result. I am afraid. I tremble as I consider that unless the minds of our brethren are under the control of the Holy Spirit, they will certainly read these things in a perverted light. But enough of this. 14LtMs, Lt 96, 1899, par. 4

My sister, I love Jesus. I love the principles He taught, and I shall ever present them just as He has expressed them. If the opinions of those I love are crossed by them, so it must be, for I dare not turn to the right or to the left to express the mind of God. My life-work is too solemn a matter to be trifled with. I have learned that reproof and correction of erroneous ideas is a most serious business. The demand on any mind or soul is not that he is required to have skill or genius to create, but to have that humility that will be taught, to appreciate the care of God expressed in his behalf, and to step out of a wrong path into a right and safe path, for his own soul’s interest and for the safety of other souls who will follow him in bringing in wrong principles. 14LtMs, Lt 96, 1899, par. 5

My sister, it is our safety to keep Christ uplifted as the Author and Finisher of our faith, and then follow His example to do His will, irrespective of consequences. If there is first a willing mind, there will be no lack of light and help from the Source of all power. The Lord will lead every one who will place his hand in His. He never lets go the hand of any one, unless it is withdrawn. 14LtMs, Lt 96, 1899, par. 6

My sister, let your heart ever repose in confidence in God. The Lord will be to you a present help in every time of need. He does not need to work through other minds to lead His chosen ones. He is desirous of communicating through those who seek Him with all their heart. While we put our entire trust in our Redeemer we are perfectly safe. We have a large work to do, and we are to have respect unto the recompense of reward. And more than this, we are to use every God-given faculty that others through our influence and Christlike example may have the same respect that we have. 14LtMs, Lt 96, 1899, par. 7

I hope, my sister, that you will have an influence in the Women’s Christian Temperance Association to draw many precious souls to the standard of truth. The Lord is drawing many to an examination of the truth, and you need not fail nor be discouraged. Sow beside all waters. There are good waters in which you can sow the seeds of truth, even if you do not dwell publicly upon the prominent features of our faith. It would not be wise to be too definite. The oil of grace revealed in your conscious and unconscious influence will make known that you have the light of life. This will shine forth to others in your direct, positive testimony upon subjects on which you can all agree, and this will have a telling influence. 14LtMs, Lt 96, 1899, par. 8

My heart is with you in this work of temperance. I speak most decidedly on this subject and it has a telling influence upon other minds. Often the testimony is borne, “I have not used any tobacco, wine, or any stimulant or narcotic since that discourse you gave upon temperance.” Now, they say, “I must furnish myself with enlightened principles for action; for I want others to know the benefits I have received. This reformation involves great consequences to me and all with whom I come in contact. I will choose the better part, to work with Christ with settled principles and aims, to win a crown of life as an overcomer.” 14LtMs, Lt 96, 1899, par. 9

Be of good courage, my sister. The Lord is your helper. You ask me in reference to the publications of books on certain subjects of moral purity. I cannot now take time to write you as I would be pleased to, for the mail must leave this morning. I have had an experience in these lines that I would be pleased to write to you of, but I cannot do this today. In the talks you may have with women on this subject, give them all the light and help you can. But I would not advise the publication of pamphlets, for they would not be appreciated. The Lord will surely lead you to feel the intense interest in these matters that I do; but your words will just as surely be misconstrued, and this will cut off your influence to a certain degree and create a state of things for which you are not prepared. If I could see you, I would communicate to you things which I cannot place upon paper. I now say, The Lord bless you, Sister Henry. 14LtMs, Lt 96, 1899, par. 10

In love. 14LtMs, Lt 96, 1899, par. 11