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The Third Letter To Henri Frey (Letter 48, 1887)

Mrs. Ellen G. White

In this letter Mrs. White mentions the office in Basel sening Henri to England to a conference where it was believed his life would be turned around, but instead of that taking place, he made new acquaintances that continued his sad life of sin. In this letter she especially pointing out his defiance in the face of necessary rebuke, and the mistaken sympathy of those who were in league with him.

" I have not ceased to bear your case to the throne of God, that He would not allow the enemy to delude and ensnare your soul; but I have had much burden of heart for you, because I have seen that you were inclined to choose the society of those who would be no moral strength to you, and you have not felt your danger in so doing." {Lt 48, 1887, par. 1}

"The very first evidence of amendment to God, and those whom your influence has burdened, is the acknowledgment of your sin. Why was not this confession made sooner? Why was not the conscience tortured because of sin? It is wonderful to see how sin, like its originator, gets possession of the soul and will hold it until ejected by a full confession. If this is not done, the heart becomes defiled. The sin is hidden in the breast where it is entertained. It hates the light and will not come into the light, lest its deeds shall be reproved; your soul is loath to render a verdict against sin. Your heart is so filled with justification of wrong that your tongue refuses to be brought where any verdict will be given against heart and hands that have worked unrighteousness. There is no one thing wherein our folly shows itself more than in these hurtful concealments. Contrary to the customs and practices of the world, God’s plans, God’s injunctions are: Confess, and live. “He that hides his sins shall not prosper, but he that confesseth and forsaketh them shall find mercy.” [Proverbs 28:13.]" {Lt 48, 1887, par. 22}

Henri Frey

Grimsby, England

July 19, 1887

Previously unpublished.

Brother Henri Frey:

I have a few words to say to you this morning, and I pray God to give me wisdom that my pen shall not trace one word but that is in accordance with His Holy SpiritI have already written you two letters which I felt urged by the Spirit of God to write you. Those letters were written you with much pain of heart, because I was aware that you did not see and feel the need of any such communication. I have not ceased to bear your case to the throne of God, that He would not allow the enemy to delude and ensnare your soul; but I have had much burden of heart for you, because I have seen that you were inclined to choose the society of those who would be no moral strength to you, and you have not felt your danger in so doing. {Lt 48, 1887, par. 1}

Since coming to Grimsby I learn that Sr. Green and her daughter are in much distress on your account, and they have advised with Eld. Lane with reference to your case. They wish to talk with me, but as yet I have not conversed with them directly. It is through them that I learn with much sorrow that you have been reproved by those standing at the head of the office in Basel, and they were much distressed, especially the mother, who is much troubled about the matter. This is the first intimation I have heard of this matter, and I need not express to you my grief and my sadness that you feel that you have been dealt unjustly by and that you talk of going to Battle Creek to work in the Review office. {Lt 48, 1887, par. 2}

Now, my brother, you do not discern what manner of spirit you are of. I am aware of how much pain any such decision as God’s servants have made at Basel has cost them, and the course pursued toward you was only doing that which it was their duty to do. If there were not those at the head of such an establishment to look after the morals of those connected with such an institution, what condition of things would exist? Would it be a place where God’s honor would dwell? Would it be a place where the moral and religious principles of youth would be strengthened and confirmed? or would it be a place where, by precept and example, the youth connected with that institution would be educated in beer and wine drinking and in the use of tobacco? Now your health, my brother, has been injured by your wrong habits. You have indulged a perverted appetite. You have had customs and habits the evils of which, for love of your soul, I have set before you plainly that you might see and correct them before it should be forever too late. You know that I have not flattered you, but I have tried to set before you your dangers as they exist; and O how anxiously I have watched to see a reform on your part, a change of conduct with you! But with sorrow I have not seen a decided change! I have in the fear of God presented before you what you may be if you fear God as did Daniel and resist temptations as he did in the courts of Babylon. He honored God by seeking to do God’s will. He firmly brought the power of His will to his aid by placing that will on the Lord’s side rather than on the side of Satan. And God gave Daniel wisdom and knowledge and understanding. {Lt 48, 1887, par. 3}

God expects men to co-operate with Him in the work by placing their wills in harmony with His will, and how sorry you make the dear Saviour and the heavenly angels by opening your heart to the temptation of SatanYou have had the privilege of choosing associates that would exert an influence over you for good, but you have of your own will placed yourself in the society and companionship of those who would only do you harm, and thus have surrounded your soul with an atmosphere that has a tendency to weaken moral power, and to encourage intemperate habits. {Lt 48, 1887, par. 4}

You have had little moral strength to resist temptations. Howsoever much you may have desired to be honored as Daniel was, you have not pursued that course that Daniel did in order to maintain moral dignity, purity, and righteousness. We will honor your dignity when we see that you have honor enough for your own dignity to be a man true to God, to keep your pledge made before God, with the holy angels as witnesses. Now do not seek to preserve a false dignity; earn respect yourself, then you will have it, and no man can rob you of it. I beg of you, when reproved for your wrong course, do not do as Satan did in heaven; he maintained, because he was the most honored of all the angels, that he must not be taught or be reproved. He would not have lost his place in heaven had he not in pride refused to be set right by even God Himself. He so persistently presented his case as one aggrieved and abused that he carried a third of the holy angels with him in his fall. What will it amount to you if you have the sympathy of poor, shortsighted mortals and do not pursue a course so that you can have the favor of God? Who of your human friends can look into your heart and discern its secret workings? Who can help you by saying soft and pleasant words to you to break the force of the reproofs and warnings that God sends to His erring ones? There are those who will have no more spiritual discernment than to call evil good and good evil, and you are at so great a distance from God that you do not discern the voice of the True Shepherd from that of a stranger. {Lt 48, 1887, par. 5}

You may follow any voice that pleases your ear, that speaks words of flattery to you, but they do not and cannot cancel one sin that is written in the books of heaven. The Judge of all the earth declares, “I know thy works;” “By their fruits ye shall know them.” [Revelation 3:15; Matthew 7:20.] It is not what knowledge you have, nor what exalted privileges you have had, that elevates you in the scale of moral value with God, but what you are in heart and principle in His sight. Do you work the works of God? Are you Christlike? You are handling sacred things and are exalted to heaven as was Capernaum in point of privileges, but like that city you may not be benefited with the light and with the grace bestowed upon you because you do not bring the same into your life and character. {Lt 48, 1887, par. 6}

The associates you persevere in keeping are separating you from God. Away from God you have no moral power, and you seek to supply your great deficiency by enlisting the sympathies of others as a man misjudged, as a man abused, when the simple truth and not half of that you know is laid home to your own soul. Now those who would sympathize with you in your wrongdoing are your very worst enemies, and they are doing mortal injury to your soul; for in this attitude they repel and condemn the servants whom God has appointed, His delegated servants, men who have had years of experience, and through whom He works to repress evil, to reprove sin and all unrighteousness. There is reproving, rebuking to be done, else sin will lift its hideous head and triumph over righteousness. In every age of the world, the wrongdoer has received the sympathy of those who do not discern the works of God, and the ones who are soul-burdened, grieved, agonized, because they see souls imperiled, because they see the evil workings of those in responsible positions, have no sympathy because they have lifted the cross and done the disagreeable work of reproving sin and wickedness in men who are handling sacred things. They receive as their reward reproaches. Their motives are misjudged, and they are considered hard, overbearing, and unchristianlike. {Lt 48, 1887, par. 7}

Satan wants this should be just so. You have thought thus. You have a defiant spirit. Now it will not answer to have this spirit, because it will prove your eternal ruin. It is the spirit that Satan suggests. Humble your heart under the reproof; you know that you deserve it. In the place of making light of your wrongs which grieve the Holy Spirit of God, confess your faults with meekness and soul sorrow, and no one will receive you and help you any more gladly than these very men that you have misjudged. {Lt 48, 1887, par. 8}

The office at Battle Creek or the office on the Pacific Coast would not accept your services in the state you now are. How much has been said, what testimonies have been borne to you and others in Basel, and what little impressions they have made upon you all. I know whereof I speak. I have spoken words of encouragement; I have spoken of the love of God; I have told you how abhorrent was sin in His sight; I have warned, entreated, and prayed for you all. This was no more than my duty, but only think of Jesus whom you have grieved—Jesus, who made so great a sacrifice for you, who gave Himself for you that He might cleanse you from all iniquity, and purify you unto Himself that you should be peculiar and zealous of good works. Shall all this be in vain? Will you grieve the Holy Spirit of God, and then comfort yourself with human sympathy? Will you pursue a defiant course? If so, your ruin is sure. {Lt 48, 1887, par. 9}

It must be that the office at Basel shall be renovated. I have known that it must come. I have known that the frown of God would be upon its managers if they did not promptly and earnestly take hold of these matters that were a dishonor to God, a reproach to the truth, and set things in order. They have felt an interest in the associations that their young friends were forming. They have felt very anxious in this respect over you, and more than one whom you now regard as dealing harshly with you has prayed and wept over you. But they have duties to discharge which are very taxing to them and very unpleasant, or they will be unfaithful servants. And the very men that need to be sustained and pitied receive no sympathy, while the one who grieves daily the Spirit of God, who puts Him to an open shame, is the one who receives the sympathy. He pities himself, he excuses himself, he regards in the worst possible light every effort made to elevate, to ennoble him, and makes the worst possible use of the reproofs, of the warnings God sends him. Have you not had consideration? I know you have. There has been long forbearance with you. But what response has been made to all these efforts in your behalf? They have not been appreciated. They have seen that which you could not see, that the company you now keep, the principles you now adopt, the habits you are now forming are likely to settle the future with you with a certainty which is well nigh infallible. Well do they understand that the minds, the manners, and the characters of the workers in the office are an index of their future moral standing of all who shall connect with it. {Lt 48, 1887, par. 10}

The connection is very close between the present and the future. Now is the sowing time. The harvest will have to be reaped. Every step taken now will show itself in the interests and results of the years to come as long as time lasts. An unfortunate step taken now by you may lead to your lifelong misery and unhappiness, and should you now take the right steps, humble your heart before God, you may have a reviving light that will shine all along your pathway, growing brighter and brighter until the perfect day. “Whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap.” [Galatians 6:7.] {Lt 48, 1887, par. 11}

Let all the associations you form in your business, in companionship for leisure hours, and in alliance for life be with an eye single to God’s glory. Let all be entered upon with earnest, humble prayer. You will then show that you do honor God, and God will honor you. But if you do, as I greatly fear you are now doing, discard the counsel of your brethren, and choose to maintain your own unchristianlike course, if you continue to choose for your associates those whom you know can give you no moral or physical strength, if you continue to connect as you have done with the irreligious, the impure, the skeptical, the intemperate, you will fix your character after a mold that will cause Satan to triumph and that will grieve the dear Saviour and cause great sorrow to your brethren whom I know love your soul. {Lt 48, 1887, par. 12}

You know who has said, “He that walketh with wise men shall be wise, but a companion of fools shall be destroyed.” [Proverbs 13:20.] You have had the privilege to associate with those who would help you if you desired their society. You have chosen the company of those who would not elevate you and strengthen your morals or your spiritual interest. All this is because you have not been imbued with the Spirit of Christ. Your destiny is being fixed for two worlds. Let me see young men assert themselves in the school or the workshop or the office, and it needs no prophet’s testimony to predict what they will be, what they will do, when they shall become full-grown men. You have had your choice of associations, but you have not chosen the society of those who would be any help to you. {Lt 48, 1887, par. 13}

Little do you think how deep an interest is felt in your welfare; but above all, God, your maker, looks down upon you and blends His claims with your highest welfare. I have bought thee with My own blood. “Ye are not your own.” [1 Corinthians 6:19, 20.] Shall all this interest in heaven and on earth be felt for you in vain? Will you suffer yourself to be infatuated, dazzled by Satan’s sophistry? Be sure of what kind and quality of feelings you have. You may feel that the men in responsibility cannot spare you, that your labors are so valuable that they cannot possibly do without them; but from what God has been pleased to show me of what the workers should be in the office at Basel, unless there is an entire change in your attitude, a transformation in your character, God would be displeased with them if they retained you in connection with the sacred work of God, when you are certainly influenced by the wrong spirit, and not by the Spirit of Christ. {Lt 48, 1887, par. 14}

The youth look at you placed in a position the most responsible, and yet so weak in moral power that you dishonor God, dishonor the truth, and bring reproach upon the office. The youth see you taking a course of wrong, and they are easily persuaded to follow your example. Warnings are not heeded, because in your blindness, your perverted spiritual and moral taste, they are not felt to be appropriate for you. So skilfully has Satan baited his hook, that you are caught with his bait. Some fatal step will be taken by you ere you will perceive or suspect the danger to yourself. If your advisors, your sympathizers could see what they are doing, they would change their course of action if they had any regard for your soul. Should you go to America, you would carry yourself with you, and Satan would just as surely be found there as in Basel. If you are not man enough, with all the light presented before you, and daily handling sacred things as you are, to stand for right and maintain righteousness, and help those who carry the heavy responsibilities in Basel, think you that God would accept you as laborer together with Him in Battle Creek? {Lt 48, 1887, par. 15}

You will find anywhere you go a class of inferior minds, those who have a hatred to restriction of what they call their liberties, who hate reproof, who despise counsel; and that company you will choose just as surely in Battle Creek as you have done in Basel. Shall you decide to be a man in God’s sight? There are those to be met with everywhere who have no fixed principles. It is hard for them to resist temptation, let it come from what quarter, and in what form it may, and every precaution must be taken to surround them with influences that will strengthen their moral power. Let them be separated from these helpful influences and associations, be thrown with a class who are irreligious, and they will soon show that they have no real hold from above; they trusted in their own strength. They have been praised and exalted when their feet were standing in sliding sand. They are like Reuben, unstable as water, having no inward rectitude, and like Reuben they will never excelWhat you need is to see your dependence upon God and to have a resolute heart. Be a man where you are; show strength of character where you are; be able, through Christ Jesus, to say, No, I will not do this great wickedness and sin against GodThat kind of easy good nature which can never nerve itself to give a decided refusal to any proposal that would injure his moral and religious influence in the sight of God and of man is always under the control of Satan far more than under the control of the Spirit of God. They are led into evil very easily because they have a very accommodating disposition, and it hurts them to give a square No: “I will not do this wickedness and sin against God.” [Genesis 39:9.] If invited to take a glass with merry men or women, they are led as an ox to the slaughter; they join with the impious, who laugh at the ready compliance afterwards. There is no interior strength to fall back upon. They do not make God their trust. They have no high principles of duty. You are too self-confident in some things. You feel too wise to be taught and feel injured if cautioned and reproved. You will soon make shipwreck of faith unless you humble your heart before God. {Lt 48, 1887, par. 16}

Were your labors of double and triple value to the office to what they have been, we should say in no case should you be allowed to remain without an entire change in your moral and spiritual standing, for this influence would be constantly creating a condition of things that would counterbalance all you could do and would bring God’s frown upon the men who suffered such things to exist. {Lt 48, 1887, par. 17}

I might say much more, but I will only say now, Humble your heart before the Lord, I beseech you; and when you are truly converted, you will be a blessing, you will not be a burden, but a burden-bearer. You will not grieve the Saviour nor your brethren. The dangers to which you are exposed lie directly with yourself. Then I beg of you, for your soul’s sake, to turn away from your sympathizers, repent before God, and He will pardon you and make you a blessing and not a curse. {Lt 48, 1887, par. 18}


E. G. White.

July 20

Grimsby, England

This letter was designed to be sent last night, but it was not mailed and I add a few words this morning. I have just come from pleading with God in your behalf. What, I ask you, have you to complain of in the treatment you have received at the hands of your brethren who are placed as stewards of God over the souls of those in their employ, who must watch for souls as they that must give an account? When the council in England was held, I interceded that your expenses should be paid to attend, and the brethren, although their means were limited, felt that they would do anything to help you, to strengthen you, to elevate you, and to help you if possible to reach higher, holier attainments. {Lt 48, 1887, par. 19}

Can you think how bitterly we were disappointed that our best motives and efforts in your behalf for your good should result in heavier burdens to us? In place of your being engrossed with the greatness and the solemn nature of the work of God, and placing yourself in close connection with God, our good intentions were turned into a channel of temptation to you. And thus it will ever be in your case unless you are changed in heart. Can you not discern the enemies working for your soul? Can you not see that your brethren love your soul and want not only to save it, but the souls of the youth who are connected in any way with the sacred work of God? Where is your burden as a child of God for the souls of other youth that are brought in connection with you. Have you no sense of their peril, no interest in their salvation? Had you felt as one in your position should have felt, you would have pitied these men whom you were burdening, these who were grieved on your account. {Lt 48, 1887, par. 20}

Your letter states that when reproved, “you answered not a word.” I put it in this way: you defiantly looked those in the eye who were laboring for you as a bold sinner would do. Now do you see anything in this attitude to be proud of, to boast of? Should you not, if you have a sensitive heart, a living principle to be a Christian, have manifested to your tempters the boldness and the courage to look them steadfastly in the eye, and say, No, I fear God, I will not betray my trust. I am entrusted with sacred responsibilities, I must answer to God for every word and action of mine in the judgment, should my words, my example lead souls away from obedience to God. “No, no; I will not walk in the way of sinners.” But after you have violated your sacred promises, when reproved, how much more appropriate it would have been for you to say, as did David, the king of Israel, under the reproof of Nathan, although thunder struck to have his sin laid open before him in so aggravating a character; he humiliates himself, and exclaims, conscience-stricken, “I have sinned against the Lord.” [2 Samuel 12:13.] He said these words in sincerity, for they came from a repentant heart. {Lt 48, 1887, par. 21}

The very first evidence of amendment to God, and those whom your influence has burdened, is the acknowledgment of your sin. Why was not this confession made sooner? Why was not the conscience tortured because of sin? It is wonderful to see how sin, like its originator, gets possession of the soul and will hold it until ejected by a full confession. If this is not done, the heart becomes defiled. The sin is hidden in the breast where it is entertained. It hates the light and will not come into the light, lest its deeds shall be reproved; your soul is loath to render a verdict against sin. Your heart is so filled with justification of wrong that your tongue refuses to be brought where any verdict will be given against heart and hands that have worked unrighteousness. There is no one thing wherein our folly shows itself more than in these hurtful concealments. Contrary to the customs and practices of the world, God’s plans, God’s injunctions are: Confess, and live. “He that hides his sins shall not prosper, but he that confesseth and forsaketh them shall find mercy.” [Proverbs 28:13.] {Lt 48, 1887, par. 22}

There are enough inexperienced professors of godliness whose names are on the church books in Basel who know so little of sanctification through the truth that they think it is a nice thing for you to put on a bold front and show those who reprove Henri Frey that they have more than their match. Satan did this very way when he was in heaven after he sinned. But all such advisors, all such sympathizers are doing the devil’s work. David was a king, ruling kingdoms, but God told Nathan to go to that king with the keenest, sharpest reproof. Nathan’s words were given him of God. They were resolute words. He was God’s messenger. If the Lord has placed men in a responsible position at the mission at Basel, it is not for them to do as did Eli, connive at sin, by letting sin pass unreproved. For already the Lord has spoken that there is a demoralized state of things coming into the office through just such men as yourself, Albert Dietschy, and others. And unless these men should faithfully discharge their God-given responsibility, the Lord would hold them accountable for the sins that exist, and evils resulting therefrom. {Lt 48, 1887, par. 23}

Do you envy the position of these men who are obliged to do this work in order not to incur the frown of God? Is it not an unenviable position to be placed in? The words they speak are not their own words, but they are contrary to their nature. But these men are God’s watchmen, heralds of the great King: “Thus saith the Lord God.” Nathan laid before David all the favors God had bestowed upon him. He is upbraided with the mercies of God that have been abused and misapplied. Would you have these miserable comforters who would tell you how they would do under similar circumstances? They are agents of the devil, no matter what they profess, or who they are. Your soul is in peril. It is defiled. Your course has been unchristianlike, a dishonor to the truth and to the cause of God you profess to love. And these ill-advisors would lead you to that very boldness you claim to have shown under reproof, which is but the justification of a course of wrongdoing, which, should you continue in, will be the ruin of your soul. Can you not discern that your true friends are those who will tell you your faults? Do you count those your best friends who will make light of sins which are grievous in the sight of the holy God? God’s children are betrayed into sin; but if they are really, sincerely children of God, they will not remain in sin, maintaining and vindicating their sin. David had not the heart and face to stand out against the message of God. With David there were flashes of guiltiness. A reproof from God was upon his conscience, but he had no compunctions that worked heart repentance until the reproof came from God directly to him, “Thou art the man.” [2 Samuel 12:7.] {Lt 48, 1887, par. 24}

Now, my brother, I love your soul. And in order to save your soul, I have written you two long letters of a similar character as this, not because I wish to hurt or wound you, but to arouse you to see what your dangers are. While others are sleeping between three and four o’clock in the morning, I arise to write this. I am burdened for your soul. Your only hope is to be a truly converted man. All your ability cannot excuse one sin, but it greatly aggravates your sin in the sight of God. May the Lord help you to apply these words to yourself, so that you may make sure work in repenting, is my prayer. {Lt 48, 1887, par. 25}


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