Letters and Manuscripts — Volume 1 (1844 - 1868)


Lt 28, 1868

White, J. E.; White, W. C.

On the cars from Albany to Springfield

November 4, 1868

Portions of this letter are published in 3MR 175-176; 2Bio 252-253.

Dear Sons Edson and Willie:

I will try to write you amid the jostling of the cars. We are on our way to visit your Aunt Sarah [Belden], who is very low with consumption. Poor sufferer! We have hastened to her as soon as we could after the close of the Olcott meeting. Four years since, I visited Connecticut to stand by the bed of your grandfather while the last sands of life’s hourglass were running out. Now we are called to the same state and same family to witness the decay of my sister and comfort her in the conflict she must have in giving up her children, five in number, the eldest one year and a half younger than Willie. As she is reconciling herself to laying down her life’s burdens, I may make the struggle less severe and soothe and heal the lacerated heart. 1LtMs, Lt 28, 1868, par. 1

Dear children, before we received the letters from your Uncle Stephen [Belden] and one also from Sister Chamberlain, representing the case of your Aunt Sarah as very critical, we had sent our appointment to the Review for different points in New York. After these letters came we presented the case to God. At two o’clock in the morning I awoke with distress of mind, anxious to understand our duty—whether we should go to Connecticut or fill our appointments in New York. I prayed for some time and fell asleep and dreamed I was in Connecticut. In a woodshed, your Uncle Stephen was bowed in prayer earnestly praying to God. His prayer was plaintive for God to send him help: that we might be sent to him in this, his state of necessity, and give him counsel. I dreamed the same the second time, and felt my duty was plain to go to Connecticut, and arrange our appointments for the eastern states accordingly. Our purpose was to remain a few weeks in New York, and then return to enter our new home at Battle Creek and get our dear children home, that our family again be united. 1LtMs, Lt 28, 1868, par. 2

We hope that in our absence you will both seek to be contented. Put up with little inconveniences and seek to be cheerful and happy in the position you are in. I hope to have a letter of particulars from you, and you will tell me just how you feel, and the exercises of your mind. We hope you will be obtaining an experience daily in the things of God, seeking to become more and more heavenly-minded, being partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust. 1LtMs, Lt 28, 1868, par. 3

Dear children, seek to be Christians, seek to possess the graces of humility. Don’t seek for pomp, for show. Lay aside everything of foolishness, for all this is evidence of a shallow character, of a superficial mind. A thorough, substantial character looks above parade in dress, in deportment, in actions. Keep learning, my children; you will never be too old to learn, and never old enough to graduate. Ever keep the position of learners. Be self-reliant, yet teachable. Realize your individual responsibility, yet at the same time encourage a habit of looking after others’ happiness, of seeking to do others good. This was the work of our divine Lord. Jesus came not to be ministered unto, but to minister to others. If we would labor to imitate Christ we could not but be happy. 1LtMs, Lt 28, 1868, par. 4

There is much that I might write, but I cannot at this time. We give ourselves to the work of God and hope you, our children, will help us in the laborious, self-denying work before us. Don’t fail to pray, to keep in a praying mood, and you will be fortified against Satan’s temptations. 1LtMs, Lt 28, 1868, par. 5

Yesterday we put in a box some things for Battle Creek. In the basket in a small box I put two shirts. By changing the necks they will be right for you. In love to you, my dear children. 1LtMs, Lt 28, 1868, par. 6