Letters and Manuscripts — Volume 1 (1844 - 1868)


Lt 6, 1868

White, J. E.

Tuscola, Michigan

March 2, 1868

Portions of this letter are published in 2Bio 228-229.

My Dear Son Edson:

I am much exhausted today after our labors among the people; therefore you must not expect a lengthy letter. We expected at this time to be at St. Charles. We started early this morning, at half past six. We rode five miles and we all suffered. Brother Griggs volunteered to take his team and take us to Tuscola. Sister Griggs accompanied her husband. She had a boy about eleven months old which she took with her. 1LtMs, Lt 6, 1868, par. 1

This ride was tedious. The wind blew fiercely and the snow was blown about by the wind [so] that we could not see the road. We decided we must all suffer; especially the child was in danger. We decided to turn back. In doing this we faced the wind and I think we should have frozen had we not used the bed blankets and got down in the bottom of the sleigh, our back to the wind. 1LtMs, Lt 6, 1868, par. 2

We were glad enough to get within shelter of Brother Spooner’s comfortable home. 1LtMs, Lt 6, 1868, par. 3

The day we sent the letters to you from Watrousville, we had a very solemn meeting in the evening. Had a very plain, pointed testimony for one, Dr. Denis. He flattered some, but saw that it would do no good and quieted down. He had prevaricated, acted dishonestly and overreached. Next morning we rode sixteen miles to Brother Spooner’s. Sabbath we went two miles to Tuscola. Your father spoke in the forenoon. At noon, stepped into Brother Palmer’s a few rods away, and had a foot bath prepared for your father, and his lunch. I chose to leave my eating until after I had spoken. The house was well filled. I spoke for two hours upon the tongue, the conversation. 1LtMs, Lt 6, 1868, par. 4

After I had ceased speaking, your father said those who wished to go could do so, we were going to have a conference meeting. While this was going on, I ran out into Brother Palmer’s and ate an apple and graham biscuit and hurried back to the schoolhouse. I then spoke to several, relating testimony I had for them. Spoke one hour comforting some, reproving others, but the testimony was more especially to impress upon those particularly in fault the sin of hasty speaking, jesting, joking, laughing. All this was wrong and detrimental to their growth in grace. Some felt exceedingly tried, especially Sister Doud. She came to see me in the morning accompanied by her husband. She was crying and said to me, “You have killed me, you have killed me clean off. You have killed me.” Said I, That is just what I hoped the message I bore would do. I found their greatest difficulty was that the testimony was given before others, that if I had sent it to them alone, it would have been received all right. Pride was hurt, pride was wounded terribly. We talked awhile, and they both cooled down wonderfully and said they felt differently. 1LtMs, Lt 6, 1868, par. 5

Brother Doud accused me of violating Scripture by not telling the fault between them and we alone. We told him this Scripture did not touch the case; there was no trespass here against me; that the case before us was one of them that had been mentioned by the apostles, those who sin reprove before all, that others may fear. You may judge this storm did not help us any in the preparation for the meeting. When we entered the schoolhouse, we found the people nearly all assembled; about one hundred forty were present. 1LtMs, Lt 6, 1868, par. 6

Your father wished me to speak in the forenoon. As I laid off my cloak, Brother Miller came and said I was invited to speak in the afternoon in the Methodist meetinghouse, which had been dedicated a few days [before]. Your father spoke with great clearness upon the law and gospel. There was the very best attention. I have never heard anyone handle the subject as your father, in such a clear, convincing manner. After this discourse, we took a few mouthfuls and entered the Methodist meetinghouse, [which was] crowded full. Twenty stood, because there were no seats. I spoke from these words, “Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart and with all thy mind and with all thy soul, etc.” [Matthew 22:37.] I brought in the life, trial, crucifixion, death, resurrection, ascension and second coming of Christ. The Methodist minister and his people were all present. I had freedom in speaking, although there were no arrangements made to lower the windows and the house was very much heated and the stove smoked. I spoke about one hour and half. The people gave the very best possible attention. After I sat down, your father spoke a few minutes and closed the meeting. I was surprised to learn that the Methodist minister spoke from this text in the forenoon. The people wondered how I came to speak upon the very text. One of the wealthiest and most influential men in town inquired who had informed Mrs. White that the minister received ideas that he had never thought of before and thought he would learn something. Your father’s discourse was the subject of conversation everywhere. The general impression was, no one could get away from the conclusion that the Sabbath was binding. 1LtMs, Lt 6, 1868, par. 7

We returned to Brother Spooner’s wearied exceedingly. We longed for rest, but found we could not have it. About one dozen young sisters and older brethren and sisters filed into the sleighs and we had a houseful. 1LtMs, Lt 6, 1868, par. 8

Martha Harrison has been almost ensnared by Satan. She is a fine girl, has excellent talents, but has been engaged to an unbeliever. Her parents have opposed her, but not bitterly, have tried persuasion and flattery. She is a musician and has played the organ for the churches. We have labored hard for her and at length she arose in our meetings. When I was pleading with her to choose Christ or the world, she arose with her lover present and boldly declared, “I choose Christ.” As I spoke in the Methodist house, her father, mother and lover were present and she introduced her parents to us and they urged us to go to their home and spend the night. We declined, for we were too weary to visit. After Martha returned home, said she, “Oh, I so much wish to go to Brother Spooner’s to meet Brother and Sister White once more.” Her father came in and said, “Martha, your wish has been granted. Brother Miller’s sleigh is here for you.” Brother Miller had taken pains to go four miles to bring Martha and one or two more who were desirous to come. We found Martha assembled with quite a large number gathered together. We conversed and then had a conference meeting, engaging in solemn, earnest prayer. It was truly pleasing to hear Sister Martha confess to God in prayer how she had strayed away from the fold and how grateful she was for the labors of God’s servants to admonish, encourage, and instruct in the way of salvation. It was refreshing to all to see Martha coming back with confession and prayer. There was still another case. 1LtMs, Lt 6, 1868, par. 9

Sister Sturges [was] placed in discouraging circumstances, her friends opposed and spiritualists, and they have been laying a snare for this poor child, Carrie, to marry her to a doubtful spiritualist old enough to be her father. Our coming has been opportune to break up two of these fatal snares and rescue souls from the grasp of Satan. 1LtMs, Lt 6, 1868, par. 10

Our interview and labors for this people are now closed. Oh, God grant that we may see some fruit of our labors in the future more than we now see. 1LtMs, Lt 6, 1868, par. 11

Martha Harrison’s father is a wealthy merchant; therefore her danger is greater than many in more humble circumstances. Flattered, caressed, by those who would lead her from the side of Christ and from unpopular truth. Just as soon as the meetings closed at Vassar, she returned six miles to her home and a sleigh was waiting to take her twelve miles to a Methodist protracted meeting. But she told her father if Brother and Sister White came, he must come for her. True to his promise, he went for his daughter and we feel that Martha will now be fortified. She said she had never counted the cost before, never had been tested by the truth before. She had a terrible struggle. It was surely a death to the world. 1LtMs, Lt 6, 1868, par. 12

Oh, what a work we are engaged in, the destiny of souls in our hands. What a responsibility! Who is sufficient for these things? 1LtMs, Lt 6, 1868, par. 13

Edson, my son, I implore you to give all to God, make no reservation, dedicate yourself to God, obtain an experience in the things of God. In this you are deficient greatly. Oh, let not your lack of thoroughness be carried into your religious experience. If it is, you will fail of heaven. Be true to your own soul, make thorough work for eternity. Break your heart in pieces. Don’t try to save self one particle, let self die. 1LtMs, Lt 6, 1868, par. 14

Now, Edson, in your studies be thorough, make the most of your time. Let your music lie pretty much still. A few weeks more is all we feel it is duty to give you of education. You must bear your own weight and learn economy and steadiness of purpose. Be industrious, have stick-to-itiveness, don’t be fluctuating. I am interested deeply for you. 1LtMs, Lt 6, 1868, par. 15

Your mother. 1LtMs, Lt 6, 1868, par. 16

Tomorrow, if not too severe, we go to St. Charles. The next day to Green Bush. The next to Battle Creek. Hope to hear from you there. 1LtMs, Lt 6, 1868, par. 17

Your mother. 1LtMs, Lt 6, 1868, par. 18