Lt 26, 1884

1884

Lt 26, 1884

Bell, G. H.

Portland, Maine

September 11, 1884

Previously unpublished.

Dear Brother Bell:

I have felt many weeks that I must see or write to you. I expected to meet you at the Worcester meeting, but was disappointed. We met some things there that troubled me not a little—it was the youth paying their addresses to young ladies. This spirit, we felt, must be rooted out entirely. Last February, I think it was, while at Crystal Springs, in the night season, a very solemn view was given me of the closing scenes of this earth’s history and the dangers and duties of our people. The colleges, the teachers, the professors, were shown me and the grave responsibilities resting upon them. Lt26-1884.1

I was shown the past and present of your life and was made very sad, as some things were shown me, in that you have not followed the light which God has given you. Your own imprudence, your own impetuous, passionate temperament, lies at the foundation of the great troubles that existed in Battle Creek. You had not done right. You were not correct in your ways, and this weakness and sin on your part was the beginning of letting out of strong waters. Lt26-1884.2

Your friends vindicate your course because you were about to be crushed. This caused them great trials and great perplexities. We had fond hope that you had learned a lesson so that you would distrust yourself, be willing to be counseled and advised, and that you would be circumspect in all your course of action, and by your close connection with God show to those who are prejudiced against you (because you have given them occasion to pass judgment upon your course of action) that you were pressing on to the right, obtaining victories daily. Lt26-1884.3

But I was shown that you have not overcome your weakness and that your own unsanctified feelings were gaining the mastery. You are pursuing a course that will give triumph to your enemies and burden and distress those who have loved you, respected you, and spoken in your behalf. I was shown you inviting the company of young ladies, paying them attention and receiving attention from them, binding them to you, fascinating them by words and acts which you know well how to exercise. Lt26-1884.4

I saw the frown of God upon your course. It was not purity [or] elevated, sanctified, holy impulses that prompted you to desire young ladies or young women or married women to be attached to yourself and to desire of them attentions which have at least the appearance of evil. You have done much of this kind of work. It has had that influence upon the minds of girls that you could exercise your spirit and power over them, if you were disposed, to their ruin. You have had this matter reproved in your past course of action. You have seen your name bandied about through the papers, and reproach brought on the precious cause of God. And yet another trial was given you, but you did not show that you were reformed. You have kept on this same course of action and taught the youth to deceive by secretly being in your society. You have taken liberties with them in your attentions that have left a mold or impress upon their minds and upon their deportment that will never be fully effaced. Lt26-1884.5

I was at [a] meeting when young girls made confessions. I knew what these confessions meant, while many did not. I do not feel that you are a safe man to take charge of youth. God has set before you your dangers, but you did not see them or sense them. We dare not encourage you to have charge of youth, not because you have not ability, but because you have so little power of self-control. Lt26-1884.6

I think if you could take your family out of Battle Creek into some less prominent place and remain with them where there are not so many to watch and see your defects and the strange defects of your family, you could serve the cause of God better than in any other way. You will certainly prove a great burden to the cause of God unless you are a transformed man, or you leave the work and connect as little as possible with the institutions of responsibility. I cannot now say one word in your vindication. You have allowed your mind to take a low level, and it is this that has left you shorn of your strength, that is wrecking you physically and mentally. Why do you not connect yourself with young men, love their society, choose them as companions? This would be proper, but your association with young ladies and your preferment for their society is a blot upon your character, and is ruin to the youth you thus prefer and pet and favor. Lt26-1884.7

I have more [to say] but cannot write more—am not well. Lt26-1884.8