An Appeal to the Youth
Eagle Harbor, N. Y., July 26, 1861
My Dear Children, Henry and Edson,
We have not forgotten you, dear boys; but we often think of you, and pray that blessing of God may be with you. We are anxious that you should form correct habits. We are from you so much, and you are left so much to yourselves, that you may be in danger of falling into careless habits, which will not increase your happiness, and which may make those around you unhappy. I have just been reading in a book entitled, “How to be a Man.” I will copy a few lines, and you can apply as your case is met. “Slovenliness. A slovenly boy makes himself a deal of needless trouble, and greatly tires the patience of his mother. If you go into his room you find it always in confusion. His things are scattered about, here and there, some on the bed, some on the chairs, and some on the floor, but none in their places. He either has no particular place for anything, or else he takes no pains to put things in their places. He leaves a thing where he uses it. Hence if he wants anything he never knows where to look for it, unless he happens to remember where he used it last. He must waste his time in hunting for it. Hence you will often hear him impatiently inquiring if any one has seen his things, when he ought himself to know where they are. If he goes into another person's room, whatever article he lays his hand upon is misplaced. And so it is if he uses any of his father's tools. He never thinks of putting anything where he found it. He throws it down carelessly wherever he happens to be, or else puts it in the wrong place. With these untidy habits, is associated carelessness. He never seems to be thinking what he is about. He lays his hat on a chair, or throws it upon the floor. Thus he tries the patience of his mother, and makes himself unwelcome at his own home.” AY 68.2
Dear children, I do not write merely for your amusement, but for your improvement. Learn where you fail, and then commence the work of reform in earnest. You must learn order. Have set hours to work in the garden, set hours in the heat of the day to arrange your garden seeds, set hours to read and improve your minds. Spend no precious moments in bickerings and finding fault with each other. This disturbs your own happiness, and pleases the enemy. Remember the eye of God is ever upon you. Endeavor to please him in all your acts. Make your peace with him while you are in health. Your parents have a deep interest for you. Our greatest desire is that you may be subjects of grace. You will never be saved against your will. You must prize salvation, and submit to be saved in the Lord's appointed way. Humble repentance of sin, and faith in Jesus as your Saviour, will be required on your part, and He is faithful that hath promised. He will accept you, and give you of his salvation. If you deny yourselves in many things, and refrain from sin for a season only, this will not be sufficient. It is a life of obedience which will please God and be acceptable to him. Delay not to make an entire consecration to God, that your names may be recorded in the Lamb's book of life. AY 70.1
Your affectionate Mother.
My Dear Willie,
I have just finished a letter to your brothers, and will now write you a few lines. I was glad to hear that you loved to visit grandpa and grandma White. Tell them that we have not forgotten them. We wish them to have a special care for their health. We hope they are well and happy. You must do your part to make them happy. They love you, Willie, very much, because you are not mischievous, and do not make them trouble by disarranging grandfather's tools. You should never grieve them by being noisy, for this often annoys aged people. AY 71.1
Be mild and gentle. You know that you dislike very much to play with rough, noisy boys. You feel annoyed with their ways. When you notice their failures, never do what you dislike in them. You have been a great comfort to us, because you have always been so anxious to do as we wished you to. This is right. You will be happy as long as you possess this spirit, and are so obedient. Visit your grandparents often, and study to make them happy, and they will always love you. Don't forget to pray, Willie. You love to go aside with your mother and spend a few moments in prayer. You can do the same although I am not with you. Jesus, the dear Saviour, will hear you just the same when alone. Don't neglect these seasons of prayer, my dear boy. AY 71.2
Your affectionate Mother.