Letters and Manuscripts — Volume 16 (1901)


Lt 166, 1901

McClure, Brother and Sister

St. Helena, California

October, 1901

Portions of this letter are published in CG 249-250.

Brother and Sister McClure,—

The time has come for me to speak in regard to Rodney. I have been lying on my bed trying to sleep, but the word of the Lord has come to me, saying, “Speak the words I shall give you to speak.” Rodney has been presented to me as a young man who has turned into evil ways. He hates righteousness, and he has broken through all the barriers that keep him from evil. I have carried the burden of the knowledge of his sinful, corrupted life until I am compelled to speak. 16LtMs, Lt 166, 1901, par. 1

The case has been laid open before me. For the past year Rodney has been rapidly increasing in perversity. I have hoped that you would both see your duty and do it. But for the third time the matter has been laid before me, and I must speak. You have both erred in the training of this lad. Instead of you managing him, he has managed you and has led you into temptation. You have placed confidence in his word when there was no truth in him. He has deceived you because you are easily deceived. 16LtMs, Lt 166, 1901, par. 2

If the boy were only injuring himself, the trouble would not be so great, though great enough. But he exerts an evil influence over others. Satan uses him to tempt and allure others. He has injured others and continues to injure them. His evil doings are steadily increasing, and the Lord has given me a message for you. Knowing that he has given himself over to an evil course, you justify him by sustaining him, keeping him with you, and feeding and clothing him. Thus you make it easy for him to associate with youth whom he can easily lead away from uprightness of character. 16LtMs, Lt 166, 1901, par. 3

You have little if any control over him. He will not heed your instruction, but persists in having his own way, persists [in] associating with the evil companions he has chosen, irrespective of your suffering of mind and of the reproach he is bringing on you and on the cause of God. While he continues to follow this course, you would be guilty in sustaining him even if he were your own son. You have the Word of the Lord. Let him know what it means to work for his own support. 16LtMs, Lt 166, 1901, par. 4

The Searcher of hearts said of Abraham: “I know him, that he will command his children and his household after him, and they shall keep the way of the Lord, to do justice and judgment.” [Genesis 18:19.] Abraham cultivated home religion. The fear of the Lord was felt in his household, and He who blesses the habitations of the righteous richly rewarded him. “I know him, that he will command his children after me. He will not betray sacred trusts. He will keep my law.” Brother and Sister McClure, you have tried to persuade. You have not commanded. 16LtMs, Lt 166, 1901, par. 5

The Lord is our lawgiver and our judge. We are His by creation and by redemption, and we are to place ourselves under His control. The Lord has given rules for the guidance of parents and children. All are to keep the way of the Lord to do justice and judgment. Everything depends on the right discharge of parental duty. Instruction is given in the Word of God, line upon line, precept upon precept. No one need err. He who ventures to disregard God’s commands is running a terrible risk. 16LtMs, Lt 166, 1901, par. 6

You know and Rodney knows that God has a law. Rodney does not sin ignorantly. He has chosen to surround his soul with a poisonous atmosphere. He exerts his influence against truth, against righteousness. Satan uses him to lead other youth in false paths. His companionship is deceiving, and while you sustain him, you are a partaker with him of his sins. When parents or guardians furnish youth with money, knowing that it will be used in Satan’s way, they favor an evil work. 16LtMs, Lt 166, 1901, par. 7

The case of Eli is before us as an admonition and a warning. Eli was a fond father. He saw the course his sons were taking, but he failed to punish them. They did wickedly and he restrained them not. He knew that evil existed in the camp of Israel, he knew that his sons were committing terrible sins, but he did not face the situation firmly and bravely. His blind affection for his sons kept him from punishing them as he should. The sure result was an increase of iniquity. 16LtMs, Lt 166, 1901, par. 8

Sin was found in Eli because of his neglect. Knowing of the evil course his sons were following, he should have removed them from the service of God. He should have seen that just punishment was dealt out to them. But he was not firm and decided in his efforts to eradicate the moral leprosy. He permitted evil to gain strength and iniquity to increase. He neglected his duty, and Israel was contaminated by the course of his sons. 16LtMs, Lt 166, 1901, par. 9

The Lord gave Eli special instruction to deal with this evil as a ruler of Israel, but Eli did not do his duty. Warning after warning was unheeded, and at last God refused to pardon the transgressors. And not only were the sons to receive according to their deeds. The parents were to suffer also. Neither sacrifice nor offering would be accepted by God. The word of the Lord came to Samuel saying, “Behold, I will do a thing in Israel, at which both the ears of every one that heareth it shall tingle. In that day I will perform against Eli all things which I have spoken concerning his house; when I begin, I will also make an end. For I have told him that I will judge his house for ever for the iniquity which he knoweth; because his sons made themselves vile, and he restrained them not. And therefore I have sworn unto the house of Eli, that the iniquity of Eli’s house shall not be purged with sacrifice nor offering for ever.” [1 Samuel 3:11-14.] 16LtMs, Lt 166, 1901, par. 10

The sad history of Eli’s punishment and neglect has been recorded as a lesson for all parents, to show the importance of purity in speech and practice, and the importance of firmly restraining children. Those parents who neglect to take decided measures for the restraint of evil in their children will be punished as surely as Eli was punished. 16LtMs, Lt 166, 1901, par. 11

What a contrast to the case of Eli is the case of Abraham. Abraham respected the word of the Lord. He sought to know the mind of God. He did not close his eyes to transgression, or allow God to be dishonored in his household. He commanded his children and his household after him to do justice and judgment. 16LtMs, Lt 166, 1901, par. 12

Disobedience must be punished. Wrong-doing must be corrected. The iniquity that is bound up in the heart of a child must be met and overcome by parents and teachers. Wrong must be dealt with promptly and wisely, with firmness and decision. Hatred of restraint, love of self-indulgence, indifference to the things of eternity, must be carefully dealt with. Unless evil is eradicated, the soul will be lost. And more than this: he who gives himself up to follow in Satan’s lead seeks constantly to entice others. 16LtMs, Lt 166, 1901, par. 13

From our children’s earliest years we should seek to subdue in them the spirit of the world. The spirit of evil is increasing to an alarming extent in our churches, killing spirituality. 16LtMs, Lt 166, 1901, par. 14

Rodney’s continual opposition to good should now be exposed, and a warning should be given to the students in the Healdsburg school not to associate with him. He has developed a depravity that makes him unworthy of confidence. 16LtMs, Lt 166, 1901, par. 15

I may be obliged to say more than I have said in this letter. 16LtMs, Lt 166, 1901, par. 16

Rodney is like a millstone, dragging down the very ones who have been so tender [toward] him, whose blindfolded affection has hidden his faults. He has been treated so softly that he now thinks he can do his wicked work with impunity. He has no regard for God’s holy law. Brother and Sister McClure are weighed down by his conduct. Unless they shake off the cause of their misery, this burden will bring premature death. Already their spiritual strength, vitality, and godliness have been greatly depreciated by their association with the adopted son they have loved so fondly. He might have been a comfort, a help, a strength to them; but he has made haste to abandon truth, decency of conduct, purity and righteousness, and has plunged into sin as though to show how boldly he can travel in the path of transgression. What cares he for the aching hearts, the sadness and discouragement, brought to those who have fostered him so tenderly, indulging him to his present and eternal injury? Iniquity was early bound up in the heart of this boy, and he now resists every effort made to reform him. 16LtMs, Lt 166, 1901, par. 17

To tolerate language of disrespect and blasphemy, to continue to bestow favors on one who has no sense of appreciation, is aggravating the evil, making it more sure that God will take the punishment in His own hands. As those who have acted as this boy’s parents are not capable of restraining him, I am instructed that the best thing for them to do from henceforth is to let him know what it means to earn his own livelihood. He has been the inmate of a Christian home, but he has never had a Christian heart. He has despised the truth of God and quenched the Holy Spirit. He has practiced theft and swearing; he has lived in licentious association with the most depraved characters, and yet you have favored him. He has ruled, though you have had the word of the Lord that it is an insult to Jehovah to allow your home to be polluted by this boy. 16LtMs, Lt 166, 1901, par. 18

When will parents learn that whatever may be the practices of the world, those who have the care of children are to teach them to keep the way of the Lord, requiring faultless, undeviating obedience, showing them plainly that no disobedience will be tolerated? 16LtMs, Lt 166, 1901, par. 19

Sister McClure, your adopted son has done you great injury spiritually. As he has chosen the path that leads to all evil, it is now your duty to show your condemnation of such a course. Let this be a witness that you do not seek to justify or varnish over the evil. The boy’s actions are indeed causing you great sorrow of heart. God desires you to understand that your wills are paralyzed. While you cherish this ungodliness in your home, your hearts are losing their hope, their vitality, their hold on God. Be not deceived by any pretext. How can you deal aright with church matters while the counterinfluence in your home is weakening your discernment? 16LtMs, Lt 166, 1901, par. 20

Sister McClure, you have cherished and nourished a boy who has no sense of respect or reverence. He is strangling your souls to death. The time has come when your home should be thoroughly purged from all that defiles it. Then you can take in pure, clean youth who will realize that obligations are mutual. Then you can try to win souls to Jesus. But you can do nothing in this work while you sustain in your home this ungodly youth, incorrigible, impudent, unconverted, unthankful, unholy. 16LtMs, Lt 166, 1901, par. 21

There is a work for you to do, and may God give you grace to do it. Arise, and unitedly command your household after you in the way of the Lord. 16LtMs, Lt 166, 1901, par. 22