inability to labour. Several years ago I was shown that you suffered your mind to dwell too much upon the boys. You have frequently made them the theme of conversation, and your mind has run in a channel not profitable to your spiritual advancement. You have fallen into a train of thinking which has led to evil results. You have injured and abused your own body, and brought upon yourself an imbecile state of mind. You have indulged in a lovesick train of thought and feeling until you are almost ruined, soul and body. Your indisposition to exercise is very bad for you. Useful employment in bearing home burdens, and engaging in useful labour, would overcome this sickly, sentimental state of feeling sooner than any other means.
You have been sympathised with too much. To relieve you from all responsibility has been a very great mistake. Nearly all your thoughts are now upon yourself. You are fretful, and your mind dwells upon sad things, and pictures your condition as very bad, and you are even settling it in your mind that you can never get well unless you are married. In your present state of mind you are not fit to marry. There is no one who would wish you in your present helpless, useless condition. If one should fancy he loved you, he would be worthless; for no sensible man could think for a moment of placing his affections upon so useless an object.
The sad, gloomy state of your mind, which leads you to weep and feel that life is not desirable, is the result of allowing your thoughts to run in an impure channel, upon forbidden subjects, while you indulge habits that are steadily and surely undermining your constitution and preparing you for premature decay. It would have been far better for you had you never gone to -----. Your stay there injured you. You dwelt upon your infirmities, and mingled in society which was corrupting in its influence. Miss C was a corrupt, evil-minded
woman. Her association with you increased the evil which was already upon you. "Evil communications corrupt good manners." At the present time your condition is not acceptable in the sight of God; yet you imagine that you have no desire to live. But should you be taken at your expressed wish, and your life cease, your case would be hopeless indeed. You are neither prepared for this world nor the next.
You imagine that you cannot walk, or ride, or even exercise, and you settle into a cold, dead apathy. You are a grief and anxiety to your indulgent parents, and no comfort to yourself. You can rally, you can work, you can shake off this terrible indifference. Your mother needs your aid; your father needs the comfort you can give him; your brothers need a kindly care from their elder sister; your sisters need your instruction. But here you sit upon the stool of indolence, dreaming of unrequited love. For your own soul's sake, have done with this folly. Read your Bible as you have never read it before. Engage in home duties, and lighten the cares of your overburdened, overworked parents. You may not be able to do a great amount at first, but every day increase the task you set yourself. This is the surest remedy for a diseased mind and an abused body.
If you possess earnestness and steadiness of purpose, your mind will come back, in a degree, to dwelling upon more healthful, pure subjects. Self-indulgence has degenerated by degrees into such a wantonness of will as knows not how to please itself. Instead of regulating your actions by reason and principle, you suffer yourself to be guided by every slight and momentary impulse. This makes you appear variable and in constant. It is vain for others to seek to please you, for you could not please yourself, even if all your wishes were indulged. You are a capricious child and have become sick of yourself through very selfishness.
This wretched state is the result of unwise sympathy and flattery. You have had a very good mind, but it has become unbalanced by being directed in a wrong channel. You now amount to little else than a blank in society. This need not be. You can do for yourself that which no one else can do for you. You have duties to perform, but you have so long yielded to a helpless condition that you imagine you cannot do them. The will is at fault; you have the power, but not the will.
You are pining for love. Jesus calls for your affections; if you will devote them to Him, He will rid you of all this sickly, sentimental, impure love, found in the pages of a novel. In Jesus you may love with fervour, with earnestness. This love may increase in depth and expand without limit, and not endanger health of body or strength of mind. You need love to God and to your neighbour. You must awake, you must shake off this deception which is upon you, and seek pure love.
Your only hope of this life and the better life is to seek earnestly for the true religion of Jesus. You have not a religious experience. You need to be converted. Your listless, indolent, selfish sadness will then give place to cheerfulness, which will be beneficial to body and mind. Love to God will ensure love to your neighbour, and you will engage in the duties of life with a deep, unselfish interest. Pure principles should underlie your actions. Inward peace will bring even your thoughts into a healthful channel. Devote yourself to God, or you will never gain the better life.
You have duties to perform to your parents. You should not be discouraged if you become weary at first. It will not prove a lasting injury. Your parents frequently become exceedingly weary. It will not be half so injurious to you to become very weary in useful labour as for your mind to be dwelling upon yourself, fostering ailments and yielding to despondency. A faithful fulfilment of home duties, filling the position
you can occupy to the best advantage, be it ever so simple and humble, is truly elevating. This divine influence is needed. In this there is peace and sacred joy. It possesses healing power. It will secretly and insensibly soothe the wounds of the soul, and even the sufferings of the body. Peace of mind, which comes from pure and holy motives and actions, will give free and vigorous spring to all the organs of the body.
Inward peace and a conscience void of offence toward God will quicken and invigorate the intellect like dew distilled upon the tender plants. The will is then rightly directed and controlled, and is more decided, and yet free from perverseness. The meditations are pleasing because they are sanctified. The serenity of mind which you may possess will bless all with whom you associate. This peace and calmness will, in time, become natural, and will reflect its precious rays upon all around you, to be again reflected upon you. The more you taste this heavenly peace and quietude of mind, the more it will increase. It is an animated, living pleasure which does not throw all the moral energies into a stupor, but awakens them to increased activity. Perfect peace is an attribute of heaven which angels possess. May God help you to become a possessor of this peace.