Letters and Manuscripts — Volume 1 (1844 - 1868)


Lt 5, 1868

White, J. E.

Watrousville, Michigan

February 27, 1868

Portions of this letter are published in 5MR 392-393.

Dear Son Edson:

We came sixteen miles from Tuscola to this place today. It has snowed all day. Last night six inches of snow fell. We see so much work to be done we know not how to attend to it all. Calls for help come in from every direction. We see the work of God as we pass from place to place. We could not have better attention from those who come to hear. Last Sunday afternoon between twenty and thirty came forward for prayers. Monday was stormy and yet we held a meeting, but many were attending a funeral of a Sabbathkeeper at Watrousville. Brother Andrews gave a discourse upon the occasion. Many were so situated they could not move forward in baptism. One young man alone went forward, about your age. He was convicted and arose in the congregation and stated he wanted to be a Christian. He is an excellent young man. 1LtMs, Lt 5, 1868, par. 1

We have come back from St. Charles to finish our work here. We hope to see many souls turning with full purpose of heart to the Lord. This is a great field. 1LtMs, Lt 5, 1868, par. 2

We left home to be gone only two weeks. At Alma, brethren from Tittabawassee urged us to visit them before sleighing broke up, for a river divided the town. If there was a thaw it would be impossible for a part of the church to attend the meetings. We at last consented to go. Then came the brethren from Watrousville, Vassar, and Tuscola. Brother Spooner came with a splendid team to take us right along to Tuscola. But the work was not done at Tittabawassee and they had to go home without us. We held twelve meetings in that place with excellent success. Fifteen were baptized. 1LtMs, Lt 5, 1868, par. 3

Sister Baley, who spent some time at the Institute, had a husband, a lawyer and justice of the peace. He there decided to obey the truth, bore his testimony to that effect. Left his business, came twelve miles, attended meetings daytimes and evenings, was there Tuesday all day. His daughter, a young woman, also made a start, was baptized. Her father said he had not better be baptized then, for he had a work to do [to] straighten up the past. He had been a scheming lawyer and he must do a work to undo many things in the past before he was fit to go into the water. May the Lord help him to make every wrong right and do up his work faithfully and well. The judgment will test every man’s work. 1LtMs, Lt 5, 1868, par. 4

Two brothers, whose wives kept the Sabbath, had not united with those who kept the Sabbath. But at this meeting they both enlisted in the army of the Lord. We pled long for them until they would; then the children of Brother Whitman, three of their sons,—one your age, two younger. They all came forward at last,—the fathers and mothers pleading and entreating the children. These children were baptized with the father, except one. I will not relate particulars, for I should exhaust my strength. 1LtMs, Lt 5, 1868, par. 5

There is a subject that bears with some weight upon my mind which I will mention. I have frequently asked myself what could you have done with so much money. Edson, I am answered in a dream, you are not a health reformer in principle. You do not live up to the light God has given and while you neglect one ray of light that the Lord has graciously permitted to shine upon your pathway, you will be in darkness. When you boarded yourself, did not you spend money for nuts, candies and hurtful things and eat these between meals and at any time? I concluded that your frequent headaches were caused by the indulgence of your appetite. You gratified the taste to the injury of the stomach and the result was jaundice and the loss of time to the amount of six weeks. Listen to the words of Christ, “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.” 1 Corinthians 6:19, 20. 1LtMs, Lt 5, 1868, par. 6

If you take a course which brings debility, beclouds the sensitive nerves of the brain, you cannot render to God perfect service. You cannot glorify Him upon the earth. “I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service. And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God” concerning you. [Romans 12:1, 2.] How desirable to be in a condition where you can prove in your own experience the good, the acceptable will of God. Conformity to the world can never bring this desired knowledge; to be transformed is the condition of obtaining this blessing. 1LtMs, Lt 5, 1868, par. 7

Abstain from flesh lusts which war against the soul. The gratification of appetite so benumbs the brain that spiritual things are not discerned. 1LtMs, Lt 5, 1868, par. 8

My son, you have the privilege of gaining great victories. Subdue your lustful appetite. 1LtMs, Lt 5, 1868, par. 9

I am willing you should go and see Grandfather whenever it will not interfere with your studies and with the strict observance of the Sabbath. But, dear son, I have been thinking that to take dinner with your grandparents was not the best, especially on the Sabbath. They do not prepare food in a manner I would like to have you eat. I fear that like the Israelites, appetite controls reason and you lust after the flesh pots of Egypt. Edson, if you choose to take your dinners [on] Sabbath [at] Grandpa’s because you can eat that food which God has said was not the best for health, to gratify depraved appetite, be assured you will not retain the blessing of God or health. God will not bless you in departing from the light He has given and choosing to follow the imagination of your own heart. 1LtMs, Lt 5, 1868, par. 10

Edson, God is a searcher of the heart. All our purposes and motives are revealed and naked to the gaze of heavenly angels and His own sight. Every departure from the light He has given is recorded, and these deviations will hinder the growth in grace and heavenly knowledge, will prevent being partakers of the divine nature, not having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust. 1LtMs, Lt 5, 1868, par. 11

Edson, do you know that I have serious fears of your being an overcomer. You possess too much love for self-gratification and at the same time your undertakings are marked with a lack of thoroughness. You are not persevering, steady to your purpose, firm, established, settled. You have not power to resist temptation. I fear you will leave matters unfinished in the working out of your salvation with fear and trembling. Edson, study not your appetite, but how you can show yourself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed. Edson, do not your grandparents use pork and meat, mince pies, and etc.? I must insist that while we pay your board, you be regular at your meals for your physical and moral health. 1LtMs, Lt 5, 1868, par. 12

I beg of you to read in Volume Four, of Spiritual Gifts, what the Lord has been pleased to communicate to your mother. Read Spiritual Gifts, Volume Three, and all. Read How to Live. Don’t deceive your own soul, be true to your own convictions of duty, true to your own soul. “Be not deceived, God is not mocked.” [Galatians 6:7.] The Lord requires your affections. Says Christ, “Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy strength, and with all thy mind; and thy neighbor as thyself.” Luke 10:27. 1LtMs, Lt 5, 1868, par. 13

Oh, Edson, I fear for you. I do not feel that you are doing all God requires of you to perfect holiness in His fear. In regard to school, remain at the school [where] you are until you cease attending school. Encourage stability of mind, overcome your disposition to change, to be fitful. Begin with your appetite, bring that in subjection. Control yourself in every respect as you regard your salvation. Don’t prove to be void of principle. 1LtMs, Lt 5, 1868, par. 14

Do you believe the light God has given? If you do, act up to the light given; don’t take lenity from anyone in Battle Creek who does not restrain their appetite. If their profession is as high as heaven, yet if they choose to gratify themselves contrary to the will of God, it will not lessen your sin in so doing one jot. You can be a boy of brilliant intellect if you have your habits all in accordance with health and walk in the path of righteousness. 1LtMs, Lt 5, 1868, par. 15

Your father says, Where are those letters you had of his? Why don’t you send them? Several have written inquiring why no notice was taken of the letters and money sent, while some have been noticed. They have not seen them mentioned. We have had no letter from you for some time. 1LtMs, Lt 5, 1868, par. 16

In love, 1LtMs, Lt 5, 1868, par. 17

Your mother. 1LtMs, Lt 5, 1868, par. 18

P.S. Edson, I recommend to you to get Spiritual Gifts, read them a portion aloud in the family every night. Brother Andrews puts many to blush. He rises in the morning at four o’clock. Reads several chapters in Spiritual Gifts and in the Bible. If he needs to read and reread Spiritual Gifts and the Bible to become familiar with the contents, some others ought to be as diligent in reading them. 1LtMs, Lt 5, 1868, par. 19