Lt 65, 1886

Lt 65, 1886

Chapman, Sister


December 31, 1886

This letter is published in entirety in 5T 542-549.

Dear Sister:

My heart is drawn out in love and sympathy for you, because your mistaken ideas have created a state of things which has brought about the sure results, and the end is not yet. You have not seen the danger of your associating so freely with your relatives. They have had far greater influence to mold you and yours than you have had to mold them. Because they are your relatives makes them none the less dangerous and makes them no less transgressors of God’s holy law. Their course is fully as offensive to God as any others who refuse light and truth and will not listen to any evidence. Injurious impressions have been made upon your mind and influenced your course of action. I have sought most earnestly to treat on general principles when you have been present in order to meet your case, and I think you have felt over the matter for the time being. I have not felt urged to make to you personal appeals until the Spirit of the Lord should impress my mind upon the point. Well this time has come. God has made every provision to bring salvation within our reach. He will not thrust it upon us against our consent. He has laid down conditions in His Word, and we are to diligently, interestedly, with heart and mind set to the task of finding out the condition lest we shall make some mistake in this matter and not secure our title to the mansions above. 4LtMs, Lt 65, 1886, par. 1

We cannot serve God and love the world. We cannot center our affections on worldly relatives who have no desire for truth. We may seek in every way while associated with them to let our light shine to them. Our words, our sentiments, our deportment, our customs and practices should not in any sense be molded by their ideas and customs. We are to show forth the truth in all our relation with them. If we cannot do this, the less association we have with them the less harm it will be to our spirituality. We have a heaven to win, and it is on conditions of obedience; and if we place ourselves in right positions and unite in drawing about us associates whose influence has a tendency to make us forgetful of the high claims the Lord has upon us, we invite temptation, and we become weak in moral power to resist temptation. We partake of the spirit and cherish the ideas of those pleasant, intelligent good friends, and we come to place sacred and eternal things below the ideas of our good friends. We are in short becoming leavened just as the enemy of righteousness designed we should be. And the young brought under these influences are more affected than those older. Everything leaves its impress upon the minds of the young—the countenance they look upon, the voices they hear, the places they visit, the company they keep, the books they read. It is impossible to overestimate the importance for this world and the next what associations we choose for ourselves and more especially for our children. The first years of youth are of more value than any after period. 4LtMs, Lt 65, 1886, par. 2

Now advances will be made decidedly in a right or wrong direction. There are any amount of frivolous attainments that may be made and any amount of solid, valuable knowledge in practical life in becoming acquainted with God. Much useful knowledge may be gained in the first fifteen years of one’s life in solid education, in knowledge how to strengthen every faculty that God has given them in trust. The most important and essential for our present and eternal good is the knowledge of divine truth revealed in the Word of God. We are living in a period when everything that is false and superficial is exalted above the real and natural and enduring. The mind must be kept free, not encumbered with trashy stories that have no influence to strengthen the ideas or give power to memory or mental talents. Keep the mind free from everything that will bias it in the wrong direction. The thoughts will be just of that character as the food we provide for them. A knowledge of the true guide, the Word of God is essential for our salvation. The time devoted in needless, little unimportant things would be strengthened in contemplating the wonderful mysteries of the plan of salvation, and to bend every God-given power to know the ways of the Lord, that our feet may not stumble upon the dark mountain of unbelief or stray from the path of holiness cast up through infinite sacrifice for the ransomed of the Lord to walk in. The strength of intellect, the substantial knowledge gained in this are acquisitions which the gold of Ophir could not buy. The price of it is above gold and silver. It is this kind of education that the young generally do not choose. They will urge their wants and their likes and dislikes and their preferences and inclinations; but if the parents have correct views of God, of the truth, of the influences of associations, they will feel their God-given responsibility to take the lines of control and firmly guide the inexperienced youth in the right way, knowing that which they sow they will also reap. 4LtMs, Lt 65, 1886, par. 3

Could my voice reach the parents all through the land, I would warn them not to yield to the desires of their children to choose their companions or associates. Little do parents study and little do they consider that injurious impressions are far more easily made upon the minds of the young than are divine impressions, for Satan is constantly at work to efface the right ideas and correct principles by urging in false ideas and erroneous principles. Therefore the associations should be the most favorable for the growth of faith and the establishment of the heart in the truth revealed in the Word of God. If children are placed where the conversation is upon unimportant, earthly things, their minds come to the same level. If they see the principles of piety are slurred at and our faith disrespected and belittled, and sly objections to the truth are dropped in their hearing, these things fasten upon the mind and are molding the character. If they fill their minds with stories, be they fictitious or true, they occupy the room which should be given to substantial reading and scientific studies. What havoc with the mind has this appetite for reading brought about; how it has cut up the very roots of sincerity of principle and true godliness which lie at the foundation of the formation of a symmetrical character. It is like a slow poison taken into the physical system, and which sooner or later will reveal its bitter fruits. The mark is made not on sand, but on enduring rock. The associations formed are of a character to withdraw them from every influence that would interfere with or break up their health-destroying habits. They are impatient if they cannot have their own way. The advice of Christians is distasteful. They are traveling the road to hell, and any influence which seeks to lead them in an opposite direction stirs the worst impulses of the human heart. They are creatures of circumstances. The weaving into their life these early ties unfavorable to religious impressions powerfully controls every subsequent step. 4LtMs, Lt 65, 1886, par. 4

With the youth, the company they keep, the principles which they adopt, the habits they form will settle the question of their usefulness here and their future eternal interest with a certainty that is infallible. Let the youth be placed in the most favorable circumstances possible. Let the parents not consent and concede to the inclinations of the children, but let them go on in the plain path of duty to which God has called them, restraining, denying with kindness yet with firmness and determination the wrong desires, and lead with earnest, prayerful, persevering effort the steps of their children not in the path of the world, but away from the world upward to heaven. Children should not be left to drift into whichever way they are inclined, and go into avenues which lead away from the right path and which are open on every side. None are in as great danger as those who apprehend no danger and are impatient to words of caution and counsel. It is because I feel your danger, my sister, that I write you now as I do. While there may be many to flatter you and enjoy your hospitality without seeking to impart a blessing in right counsel, I must warn you of unseen danger which will imperil your present and eternal happiness. We are approaching stormy times, and we want to study the true foundations of our faith. We want to search the law book to see if our title to the immortal inheritance is without a flaw. 4LtMs, Lt 65, 1886, par. 5

Our people have been regarded as too insignificant to be worthy of notice, but a change will come; the movements are now being made. The Christian world is now making movements which will necessarily bring the commandment-keeping people of God to notice. There is a daily suppression of God’s truth for the theories and false doctrines of human origin. There are plans and movements being set on foot to enslave the consciences of those who would be loyal to God. The law-making powers will be against God’s commandment-keeping people. Every soul will be tested. Oh, that we would as a people be wise for ourselves and by precept and example impart that wisdom to our children. Every position of our faith will be searched into; and if we are not thorough Bible students, established, strengthened, settled, the wisdom of the world’s great men will be too much for us. The world is busy, anxious, and devoted. All are in the pursuit of some course that God has no part in. Evil is eagerly pursued as though it were righteousness, error as though it were truth, and sin as though it were holiness. Darkness is thickening, covering the earth, and gross darkness the people, and shall God’s peculiar people at such a time as this be asleep? Shall those who hold the truth be silent as if paralyzed? 4LtMs, Lt 65, 1886, par. 6

Infidels declare that if they believed what Christians profess to believe, they would be far more in earnest than they. If we believe that the end of all things is at hand, what manner of persons ought we to be in all holy conversation and godliness. Every soul who believes the truth will have corresponding works. They will be earnest, solemn, and unwearied in their efforts in seeking to win souls to Christ. If the truth is first planted deep in their own souls, then they will seek to have it planted in the hearts of others. The truth is kept altogether in the outer court, sister. Bring it in, plant it in the heart, and let it control the life. The Word of God should be studied and obeyed, then the heart will find peace and rest and joy. The aspirations will be for heavenly things, but when truth is kept apart from the life, in the outer court, cold and shivering, the heart is not warmed with the glowing fire of God’s goodness. 4LtMs, Lt 65, 1886, par. 7

The religion of Jesus is by many reserved for certain days, certain occasions, laid aside and neglected. The abiding principle of truth is not merely for a few hours on the Sabbath or for a few days of charity, but it is to be brought into the heart, refining, sanctifying the character. If there is a moment when man is safe without the special light and strength from heaven, then he may dispense with the truth of God which should be his counselor and guide. God’s pure, holy Word must be a controlling power upon the life. The Bible is giving forth its lessons to us if we will take them to heart. Abraham was in favor with God. The Lord said, I know Abraham 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. Abraham was honored of God because he would cultivate home religion and cause the fear of the Lord to circulate through his tent. It is God that speaks and says, “I know him, that he will command.” [Genesis 18:19.] There will be no betraying of sacred trust on his part, no yielding to any but one guide. There is a law. Abraham will keep it. No blind affection will cloud his sense of right and interfere between God and the souls of his children. That kind of indulgence which is the veriest cruelty will not lead Abraham astray. Parents and children are God’s property, to be ruled by Him. By combined affection and the influence of authority, Abraham ruled his house. God’s Word has given us our rules for guidance. These rules form the standard from which there can be no swerving, if we keep the way of the Lord. God’s will must be paramount. The question for us to ask is not what have others done, what will my relatives think, or what will they say of me if I pursue this course, but what has God said? Parent nor child can prosper in any course excepting in the way of the Lord. 4LtMs, Lt 65, 1886, par. 8

I am thankful that you have noble sons who are seeking to walk in the ways of the Lord, and I hope you will discern more clearly in path of duty in respect to your associations and the associations of your children, and this will determine whether you grow spiritually or be dwarfed in the religious life. Obedience to the stern dictates of conscientious convictions must be met even though it may be difficult, yet you gain moral power. Duties are often crosses which we must lift. Prayer and praise to God are not always offered without a struggle. Self-denial and the cross-bearing lie directly in paths that we must travel if we reach the gates of the city of God. Jesus has led the way, will we follow? We must be workers together with God; not alone in our own salvation, but in doing all we can for the salvation of others. Thus we become partners in the great plan of redemption and will be sharers in the eternal weight of glory by and by. God calls upon you to press your way to the mark of the prize of the high calling which is in Christ Jesus. [Philippians 3:14.] May the Lord bless you is my prayer. But remember if united with Christ you are a co-worker with Christ. Our piety and religious duties will become narrowed down to our own interest unless we are partakers of the Spirit of Christ daily. Interest for the souls of others is calculated to give breadth and depth and stability to Christian character. 4LtMs, Lt 65, 1886, par. 9

The Lord is coming. We are nearing home, and we want to take large inspirations of the heavenly atmosphere, then we will become identified with the Saviour in all His plans. We shall be elevated and shall be able to elevate others, and shall be efficient in good works. I love you, and this is why I have written so largely. 4LtMs, Lt 65, 1886, par. 10