Letters and Manuscripts — Volume 17 (1902)


Lt 117, 1902

Butler, Hiland

“Elmshaven,” St. Helena, California

July 28, 1902

This letter is published in entirety in 21MR 105-107.

Dear brother Hiland Butler,—

I am sending you with this a copy of a letter that I wrote to Brother and Sister Keck some time ago. The matter referred to in this letter was not mentioned to me by your father. Not one word has he ever spoken to me on this subject or I to him. 17LtMs, Lt 117, 1902, par. 1

I know, my brother, that your father is in need of your help. He desires your help, and I cannot see why he should not have his desire. You can best serve God and His cause by fulfilling the claims that your father has on you. 17LtMs, Lt 117, 1902, par. 2

I was much gratified to see your father in so good a state of mind spiritually. “God moves in a mysterious way, His wonders to perform.” One thing we must all do. We must be careful to follow the Lord “whithersoever he goeth.” [Revelation 14:4.] You are in danger of looking to men for guidance. 17LtMs, Lt 117, 1902, par. 3

There is much to be done in the cities of the South, in Greater New York, and in many other cities. Will you not join your father in his work for the great, needy Southern field. I wish you to feel that compliance with the wishes of your father is to be held above any other earthly obligation. Were I in your place, and should my father plead for my help in his work, I should feel that I was going contrary to God’s will by refusing to work at his side. 17LtMs, Lt 117, 1902, par. 4

The words of the Lord Jesus were spoken to bless men and make them happy. He came to the world to bless all whom He could. In the place of using imperative command, He seems to lay aside the spirit of the legislator, and to strive to rescue from earthliness all that would accord with His purity and advance His work. Blessing after blessing flowed forth from His lips, as the gushing forth of a long-sealed current of rich life. Every sentence was a rich jewel from the treasure house of truth. 17LtMs, Lt 117, 1902, par. 5

From the ambitious favorites of the world, Christ turned to those they disowned, pronouncing all blessed who received His light and life. To the poor in spirit, the meek, the lowly, the sorrowful, the despised, the persecuted, He opens His arms of refuge, saying, “Come unto me, all ye that labor, and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you”—the yoke of submission—“and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart, and ye shall find rest unto your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.” [Matthew 11:28-30.] 17LtMs, Lt 117, 1902, par. 6

Christ presents before the learner every virtue, every feature of Christian excellence. He adds one endowment after another to the possessor of His graces, until at last He looks on him with delight. 17LtMs, Lt 117, 1902, par. 7

“Blessed are the poor in spirit,” He declares. [Matthew 5:3.] In their spiritual poverty, He can discern wealth infinitely more enduring than the possessions of earth can give. 17LtMs, Lt 117, 1902, par. 8

Today Christ is ready to give abundantly. He will withhold from us nothing that is for our good. He longs to find channels ready to receive the blessings that He has to bestow. 17LtMs, Lt 117, 1902, par. 9

The Lord has been your Helper. He will be your Helper still. But you must remember the longing desire of your father. Remember the command that God has placed in the Decalogue: “Honor thy father and thy mother; that thy days may be long upon the land which the Lord thy God giveth thee.” [Exodus 20:12.] This is God’s charge to you. Upon every child rests the responsibility of doing all in his power to minister to the happiness of his parents. Whoever seeks to lead you to disregard your father’s wishes might better repent before God. 17LtMs, Lt 117, 1902, par. 10

My brother, the son of one whom I greatly respect and love in the Lord, I advise you to comply with your father’s request. Do not gratify the enemy by speaking words that a son has no right to speak to his father. I beg of you not to reproach your father. You should not feel as you do; for your father has done nothing that God condemns. His condemnation exists only in the minds of men. He has in no wise dishonored his children. He is keeping the way of the Lord, to do justice and judgment. The Lord is opening the way before him that he may do a great and good work for His people. Christ is his Saviour, and in beholding Christ, he will be changed into His image. 17LtMs, Lt 117, 1902, par. 11

Your father has been a kind, tender husband. For many years he served faithfully her whom he has always loved. Death separated him from the one who for so long had been his special charge. Then his sister was taken from him, and his home was broken up. Is it any wonder that under these circumstances he should, after your mother’s death, become attached to a woman in whose conversion to the truth he was instrumental? This woman is not young, but of an age to be a help to him in his work. Should your father’s age have stood as a barrier to his happiness? 17LtMs, Lt 117, 1902, par. 12

I wrote to Brother and Sister Keck about this matter. He wrote me a letter in reply. Of this reply I will say nothing; for it is an expression of unbelief. I understand Brother Keck’s feelings in this matter; but I greatly fear that they have not the endorsement of divine sanction. I fear that Brother and Sister Keck will hurt their own souls and that your father will have to suffer because some people’s feelings were greatly shocked when there was nothing whatever to be shocked about. 17LtMs, Lt 117, 1902, par. 13

Had your father married this lady, I believe that the Lord would greatly have blessed them both. But I do not think, seeing that the matter has been treated as it has, it will go any further. Those who refuse to sanction this union should remember that one day they must meet the result of their action. But I must leave this matter with those who have been acting a part in it. 17LtMs, Lt 117, 1902, par. 14

I write this in much love to you both. 17LtMs, Lt 117, 1902, par. 15