Letters and Manuscripts — Volume 14 (1899)


Ms 152, 1899

The Temple of God Must be Holy


October 30, 1899 [typed]

Portions of this manuscript are published in TSB 15; 3SM 419; 4MR 380-381, 398.

One about to marry a wife should stop to consider candidly why he takes this step. Is his wife to be his helper, his companion, his equal, or will he pursue toward her such a course that she cannot have an eye single to the glory of God? Will he venture to give loose rein to his passions and see how much care and taxation he can subject his wife to without extinguishing life, or will he study the meaning of the words, “Whatsoever ye do, in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus?” [Colossians 3:17.] 14LtMs, Ms 152, 1899, par. 1

A missionary is selected to go to a foreign country, and he decides that he can have more influence, and do better work, if he is married to some woman who can help him. This is well, but let those who select these missionaries make close investigation and see if they have consecrated themselves body, soul, and spirit to God, to preserve their powers for the work that is suffering to be done. Men and women who have no settled purpose, who are not consecrated to the work, should not be sent at great expense to labor in other fields. 14LtMs, Ms 152, 1899, par. 2

Those who are planning to be missionaries should consider how great and perplexing are family responsibilities, how much time and energy they consume. Her family cares and household burdens call the mother away from the work, and necessitate the father devoting much of his time to the home life. Ere long we are to be brought into strait and trying places, and the many children brought into the world will in mercy be taken away before the time of trouble comes. Then why entail so much responsibility upon the wife? Souls that are perishing in their sins must be labored for, yet this work we have scarcely touched with the tips of our fingers. Let not men and women go forth as missionaries unless they understand what it means to be a missionary. The true missionary is a laborer together with God, to go where God’s spirit leads, to hold himself free from earthly embarrassments to labor for the salvation of souls. 14LtMs, Ms 152, 1899, par. 3

The apostle writes, “Wives, submit yourselves unto your own husbands, as unto the Lord. For the husband is the head of the wife even as Christ is the head of the church: and he is the saviour of the body. Therefore as the church is subject unto Christ, so let the wives be to their own husbands in everything.” [Ephesians 5:22-24.] Men have taken an advantage of this Scripture. Men who do not possess a particle of Christianity, and whose habits and practices are below those of the brute creation, quote this Scripture, that they may gain unlimited control over the bodies of their wives, that they may indulge their animal passions and still justify their incontinence. The body is abused and degraded until the mental powers of both husband and wife are enfeebled. Nature endures the cruel taxation of mind and system, until she can endure no longer the unnatural abuse, and the wife sinks into a premature grave. 14LtMs, Ms 152, 1899, par. 4

The wicked practices carried on [in] the bedchamber are making our world a very Sodom. And women suffer in silence because the Bible says, “Wives, submit yourselves unto your own husbands.” [Verse 22.] But the marriage vow does not sanction the abuse of the body. The wife is the Lord’s property, and she should therefore act conscientiously. She should not allow her body to be abused and enfeebled. She is a child of God, purchased by an infinite price, and she is to glorify God in her body and in her spirit, which are God’s. 14LtMs, Ms 152, 1899, par. 5

Again the apostle writes, “Husbands, love your wives, and be not bitter against them.” “Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ loved the church, and gave himself for it.” [Colossians 3:19; Ephesians 5:25.] How can a man love his wife, who subjects her to continual child-bearing? Before her strength is recovered from one trying ordeal, she is subjected to another. There is no real love in this; it is merely the low, sensual gratification of animal passion. How can that man keep the glory of God in view? What does he know of the pure, elevated attribute of love? 14LtMs, Ms 152, 1899, par. 6

Christ loved the church, “and gave himself for it, that he might cleanse it by the washing of water by the word, that he might present it to himself without spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing; but that it should be holy and without blemish. So ought men to love their wives as their own bodies. He that loveth his wife loveth himself: for no man ever yet hated his own flesh: but nourisheth it and cherisheth it, even as the Lord the church: for we are members of his body, of his flesh, and of his bones. For this cause shall a man leave his father and his mother, and shall be joined to his wife: and they twain shall be one flesh.” [Verses 25-31.] 14LtMs, Ms 152, 1899, par. 7

Will the man who loves his wife as Christ loved the church imperil her life, and cut her off from all missionary service, by filling her hands and mind with the grave responsibilities which children bring with them into the world? Will he gratify his own passion to the sacrifice of his wife, subjecting her as often as possible to the painful ordeal of maternity? Is this cherishing the wife as Christ nourishes and cherishes the church? In pursuing such a course, is the husband studying the spiritual and physical good of his wife, that he may present her to God without spot and blameless? 14LtMs, Ms 152, 1899, par. 8

That man is not fit to stand as the head of his wife who does not realize his obligations to God to purify himself even as He is pure, and to present his body to God a living sacrifice. If he enervates his system by base earthliness and corrupt practices, how can he present his body a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God? The husband who stands as the head of his wife as Christ stands as the head of His church, who loves his wife as he loves his own body, and cherishes and nourishes her as Christ the church, will not act in a way to destroy either his own powers or the powers of his wife. 14LtMs, Ms 152, 1899, par. 9

“Grace be to you,” Paul writes, “and peace from God the Father, and our Lord Jesus Christ, who gave himself for our sins, that he might deliver us from our sins according to the will of God and our Father.” [Galatians 1:3, 4.] “Examine yourselves, whether ye be in the faith: prove your own selves. Know ye not your own selves, how that Jesus Christ is in you, except ye be reprobates? ... Now I pray God that ye do no evil: not that we should appear approved: but that ye should do that which is honest, though we be as reprobates.” [2 Corinthians 13:5, 7.] 14LtMs, Ms 152, 1899, par. 10