From Letters of Love and Counsel for “Our Girls”
What pleasure it would give me to have a good, quiet talk with you on this subject, of which you doubtless have heard much, and upon which you have thought more than you would be willing to confess. If I were with you and could look into your faces, some of the emotions of your hearts could be seen there, and it might be much easier to help you out of the perplexities that surround this most important subject.
But I am truly thankful for the privilege of writing to you, and will do all I can to help you to decide for yourselves which is the religion that will be profitable for this life and in death. From the letters written you can see how impossible it is to write on any subject without including something pertaining to religion; for it is woven in and out in various ways through every circumstance and condition in the life of everyone of us, though we may not have known it. Oh, how necessary for each one to carefully examine into everything connected with so serious, so weighty, and so sacred a matter—the welfare of precious souls! There are some who scoff at religion, and think, or try to make themselves think, that it is foolish. They laugh and make sport and count themselves very high-minded and brave in resisting all endeavors to win them to more serious thought, and delight to appear very hard-hearted. How little they know what they are doing!
When in my seventeenth year, I left my country home and school to enter a high school. My heart was very tender, and any little affecting incident related in public or private would bring tears to my eyes. Soon, noticing that most of the student girls did not show any emotion, and a few times catching a look of ridicule cast upon myself, I began to resist every tender and true feeling that moved my heart. In a very short time it seemed to be turned to stone; and love, sympathy, kindness, and gentleness had fled, and I was so alone; no one near or dear to me; cold, superficial, living only for myself. I grew alarmed and can well remember humbling myself before God and entreating Him to give me a tender heart; and though I knew not the way of salvation, He answered my cry and gave me my desire. May this warn some not to harden their hearts, and may it show some the remedy. If you could only realize the weight of your words and actions on others, you surely would be very careful how you treat religion. Many girls are under religious influence, but are not attracted thereby because the allurement of worldly things is stronger. Are you acting wisely? It has been acknowledged that man is a religious being; there is a nature within that desires to love and worship some god: therefore, without instruction even savages have their worship. Anything thus honored is an idol or god. Idols of gold, silver, wood, and stone, graven by art and man’s device, have been worshipped and honored in various ways. Different religions with creed and form of worship are found in every nation. But there is but one pure religion, one God who is worthy of worship; though he is an unknown God to many, he is maker of all things, and commands us to love and serve him alone. We are His offspring and each has an immortal soul, which is only satisfied by the pure religion.
There was a man of India who was trying to find something to satisfy his spiritual nature. He tried first one religion and then another until he had tried all he knew of, but as he expressed it, “I thirsted still”; for not one of them supplied the longing desire of the soul. A missionary was scattering the leaves of testaments among the people and one was given to this man, who carried it home with him many miles, and with much difficulty had it read to him. The leaf was from the gospel of John and included these verses: “Jesus answered and said unto her, Whosoever drinketh of this water shall thirst again: But whosoever drinketh of the water that I shall give him shall never thirst; but the water that I shall give him shall be in him a well of water springing up into everlasting life.” (John 4:13-14) These words so pleased him that he journeyed back to the distant town where he had obtained the leaf, to find the missionary and learn more of this wonderful religion. His labor was rewarded; for he found the Lord’s servant, who instructed him in the way of salvation until he obtained the Spirit of God, which is the well of living water. So much did he appreciate what he had obtained that he spent the rest of his life in visiting from house to house, telling to many the good news, that there was a religion that could satisfy every longing of the soul.
Every religion holds out inducements to attract and retain individuals to its worship; and the adversary of all good, the devil, uses these religions to deceive souls that he may delight in their destruction. But everyone who is intensely earnest and perfectly honest before God to know what is the pure religion, will find help from Him. This pure religion is very closely counterfeited, and these counterfeits offer many like attractions; but as the impure coin can be discerned by detective skill, so these impure religions can be discovered by the strong detectives—the Holy Spirit and the word of God. Hence, we see the need of careful and prayerful study of God’s word, the Holy Bible; and in this land of religious freedom, no one is excusable for neglecting such an important duty. But you say you do not love to read it, and think it dull and unattractive. If you were as earnest to know about things concerning the soul as everyone should be, you would think you had found a precious gold mine, and would begin to dig for its hidden treasure. While there are many very precious things all may comprehend by its careful study, yet the deepest, most sacred and joyous truths are reserved for those who are truly worshipers of the true God; for they have the Holy Spirit, who unfolds or reveals the things of God. The God of love, our Father, offers to all who will faithfully love and serve him, an endless life of glory in a beautiful place prepared for them. He gives a salvation that saves and purifies his subjects from sin, bringing each one into perfect harmony with His will, thus making this life one of purest joy.
Some think the religion of the Bible a severe service they see only the outward things, that with their natural hearts seem to be very disagreeable. But that is not true. The service of the Lord is just right, and suits perfectly every one that loves him with the whole heart. Could a kind and loving father require anything of his children that would not be for their good? God is our Father and is more loving than our natural parents. Therefore we know His service is not severe or in any way contrary to us when we are His by the new birth; for “Ye must be born again.” (John 3:7) The joy of the Lord is as far above the joy of the world as heaven is above the earth, and can only be understood by those who have experienced it in pure salvation.
Now, dear girls, as I desire for you that which will be for your greatest good, my prayer is that you may become more earnest in considering this subject.
This article is a chapter from the book Letters of Love and Counsel for “Our Girls”, by Jennie C. Rutty, copyright 1897. The Lord blessed us in being able to borrow a copy of this book from some dear folks. We wanted to share it with you also. Read and be blessed!
—Elois Spinks (Abigail’s mother)