You had your own head very much at ----- and took liberties that should not have been allowed for a moment. When you or your sisters were reproved you felt insulted and reported the matter to your mother as though you had been abused. You exaggerated, and she was nervous and easily excited and irritated if she thought her position and dignity were not respected. She was displeased that anyone should dictate to her children, and she did not conceal her displeasure. She spoke improperly to those who should have commanded her respect. Your mother showed great lack of wisdom in taking your part and censuring those whom she should have thanked rather than blamed. She hurt you and did a work for you that she can never fully repair. You triumphed because you thought yourself secure from censure, thought that you could do as you pleased. Your mother's eye was not always upon you; and if it had been, she could not have discerned your evil tendencies.
At school you had a good and noble teacher, yet you felt indignant because you were restrained. You thought that because you were the daughter of G your teacher should show a
preference for you and should not take the liberty to correct and reprove you. Your sisters also partook of the same spirit. You carried your complaints to your parents; they heard your version of matters and sympathised with you more or less, and their feelings were stirred by your exaggerated reports. They injured you. You had not been as strictly disciplined as you should have been. Yet you were offended because you could not have your own way, but were compelled to yield to the decided, thorough manner of Brother H's instructions. While in school, you were sometimes troublesome, impudent, and defiant, and greatly lacked modesty and decorum. You were bold, selfish, and self-exalted, and needed firm discipline at home as well as at school.
Your mind is impure. You were relieved from care and labour altogether too long. Household duties would have been one of the richest blessings that you could have had. Weariness would not have injured you one tenth as much as have your lascivious thoughts and conduct. You have received incorrect ideas in regard to girls' and boys' associating together, and it has been very congenial to your mind to be in the company of the boys. You are not pure in heart and mind. You have been injured by reading love stories and romances, and your mind has been fascinated by impure thoughts. Your imagination has become corrupt, until you seem to have no power to control your thoughts. Satan leads you captive as he pleases. You are not happy. You do not love God or His people. You have a bitter spirit toward those who see your true character. You seem to blame them for the view they take of your case, but you are the one to blame. Your conduct has been such as to call forth cautions and warnings. You have only yourself to censure in this.
You are a dangerous associate, and have done much harm by your influence in -----. You have led instead of being led
You have dishonoured God and are accountable to Him for the work of evil which you have wrought by your influence. Your conduct has not been chaste, modest, or becoming. You have not had the fear of God before your eyes. You have so often dissembled in order to accomplish your plans that you bear a violated conscience. My dear girl, unless you stop just where you are, ruin is surely before you. Cease your daydreaming, your castle-building. Stop your thoughts from running in the channel of folly and corruption. You cannot safely associate with the boys. A tide of temptation is roused and surges in your breast, having a tendency to uproot principle, female virtue, and true modesty. If you go on in your wilful, headstrong course, what will be your fate?
A new year has dawned upon us. What have you determined to do? What have you resolved shall be the record borne up to God by the ministering angels of your work from day to day? What words that you have uttered will appear in the page of the book of records? What thoughts will the Searcher of hearts find cherished by you? He is a discerner of the thoughts, of the intents and purposes of the heart. You have a fearful record of the past year, which is laid open to the view of the Majesty of heaven and the myriads of pure, sinless angels. Your thoughts and acts, your desperate and unsanctified feelings, may have been concealed from mortals; but remember, the most trivial acts of your life are open to the view of God. You have a spotted record in heaven. The sins you have committed are all registered there.
God's frown is upon you, and yet you appear destitute of feeling; you do not realise your lost and undone condition. At times you do have feelings of remorse; but your proud, independent spirit soon rises above this, and you stifle the voice of conscience. You are not happy, yet you imagine that if you could have your own way unrestrained you would be
happy. Poor child! you occupy a position similar to that of Eve in Eden. She imagined that she would be highly exalted if she could only eat of the fruit of the tree which God had forbidden her even to touch, lest she die. She ate, and lost all the glories of Eden.
You should control your thoughts. This will not be an easy task; you cannot accomplish it without close and even severe effort. Yet God requires this of you; it is a duty resting upon every accountable being. You are responsible to God for your thoughts. If you indulge in vain imaginations, permitting your mind to dwell upon impure subjects, you are, in a degree, as guilty before God as if your thoughts were carried into action. All that prevents the action is the lack of opportunity. Day and night dreaming and castle-building are bad and exceedingly dangerous habits. When once established, it is next to impossible to break up such habits, and direct the thoughts to pure, holy, elevated themes. You will have to become a faithful sentinel over your eyes, ears, and all your senses if you would control your mind and prevent vain and corrupt thoughts from staining your soul. The power of grace alone can accomplish this most desirable work. You are weak in this direction.
You have become wayward, bold, and daring. The grace of God has no place in your heart. In the strength of God alone can you bring yourself where you can be a recipient of His grace, an instrument of righteousness. Not only does God require you to control your thoughts, but also your passions and affections. Your salvation depends upon your governing yourself in these things. Passion and affection are powerful agents. If misapplied, if set in operation through wrong motives, if misplaced, they are powerful to accomplish your ruin and leave you a miserable wreck, without God and without hope.
The imagination must be positively and persistently controlled if the passions and affections are made subject to reason, conscience, and character. You are in danger, for you are just upon the point of sacrificing your eternal interests at the altar of passion. Passion is obtaining positive control of your entire being--passion of what quality? of a base, destructive nature. By yielding to it, you will embitter the lives of your parents, bring sadness and shame to your sisters, sacrifice your own character, and forfeit heaven and a glorious immortal life. Are you ready to do this? I appeal to you to stop where you are. Advance not another step in your headstrong, wanton course; for before you are misery and death Unless you exercise self-control in regard to your passions and affections, you will surely bring yourself into disrepute with all around you, and will bring upon your character disgrace which will last while you live.
You are disobedient to your parents, pert, unthankful, and unholy. These miserable traits are the fruits of a corrupt tree. You are forward. You love the boys, and love to make them the theme of your conversation. "Out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaketh." Habits have become powerful to control you; and you have learned to deceive in order to carry out your purposes and accomplish your desires.
I do not consider your case hopeless; if I did, my pen would not be tracing these lines. In the strength of God you can redeem the past. Your name is already a byword in -----; but you can change this by using the powers which God has given you. You may even now gain a moral excellence so that your name may be associated with things pure and holy. You can be elevated. God has provided for you the necessary helps. He has invited you to come to Him, and has promised to bear your burdens and give you rest of soul. "Learn of Me," says the divine Teacher, "for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls." You have long been above
this lowliness and meekness. You will have to learn this important lesson of the divine Teacher before you can find the rest promised. You have thought so much of yourself, of your own smartness, that it has led you to such affectation and vanity as to make you almost a fool. You have a deceitful tongue, which has indulged in misrepresentation and falsehood. Oh, my dear girl, if you could only arouse, if your slumbering, deadened conscience could be awakened, and you could cherish a habitual impression of the presence of God, and keep yourself subject to the control of an enlightened, wakeful conscience, you would be happy yourself and a blessing to your parents, whose hearts you now wound. You could be an instrument of righteousness to your associates. You need a thorough conversion, and without it you are in the gall of bitterness and in the bonds of iniquity. You may imagine yourself free when following the lead of your own wayward, pernicious mind; but you are in the most degrading bondage. Without the principles of religion, you may consider yourself an object of envy; but all who are good and virtuous will regard your character with pity and your course with abhorrence. You can become a partaker of the divine nature if you will escape the corruption that is in the world through lust; or by being a partaker of it, you may sink down in this corruption and bear the impress of the satanic.
You have younger sisters whom you can bless with your influence. You can reflect a sweet, precious light in your father's family and make his heart glad; or you can be a dark shadow, a cloud, a storm which shall desolate. Your passion for reading is of such a character that if indulged it will pervert the imagination and will prove your ruin. Unless you restrain your thoughts, your reading, and your words, your imagination will become hopelessly diseased. Read your Bible attentively, prayerfully, and be guided by its teachings. This is your safety.
Keep clear of the boys. In their society your temptations become earnest and powerful. Put marriage out of your girl's head. You are in no sense fit for this. You need years of experience before you can be qualified to understand the duties, and take up the burdens, of married life. Positively guard your thoughts, your passions, and your affections. Do not degrade these to minister to lust. Elevate them to purity, devote them to God.
You may become a prudent, modest, virtuous girl, but not without earnest effort. You must watch, you must pray, you must meditate, you must investigate your motives and your actions. Closely analyse your feelings and your acts. Would you, in the presence of your father, perform an impure action? No, indeed. But you do this in the presence of your heavenly Father, who is so much more exalted, so holy, so pure. Yes; you corrupt your own body in the presence of the pure, sinless angels, and in the presence of Christ; and you continue to do this irrespective of conscience, irrespective of the light and warnings given you.
Remember, a record is made of all your acts. You must meet again the most secret things of your life. You will be judged according to the deeds done in the body. Are you prepared for this? You are injuring yourself physically and morally. God has enjoined upon you to preserve your body holy. "Know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost, . . . and ye are not your own? For ye are bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God's." Will not God judge you for debasing to lust the passions and affections when He claims the wealth of your affections and your entire being to be devoted to His service?
Again I warn you as one who must meet these lines in that day when the case of everyone shall be decided. Yield yourself
to Christ without delay; He alone, by the power of His grace, can redeem you from ruin. He alone can bring your moral and mental powers into a state of health. Your heart may be warm with the love of God; your understanding, clear and mature; your conscience, illuminated, quick, and pure; your will, upright and sanctified, subject to the control of the Spirit of God. You can make yourself what you choose. If you will now face rightabout, cease to do evil and learn to do well, then you will be happy indeed; you will be successful in the battles of life, and rise to glory and honour in the better life than this. "Choose you this day whom ye will serve."