Letters and Manuscripts — Volume 1 (1844 - 1868)
Lt 21, 1861
White, Henry; White, J. E.; White, W. C.
Plum River, Illinois
March 25, 1861
This letter is published in entirety in 13MR 34-36.
My Dear Sons Henry, Edson, and Willie:
I have been troubled in mind in regard to you, Edson. The evening after the Sabbath I dreamed I was watching over you. You had been very sick, and were dying. Oh, the anguish of my heart in that hour! I could not have the evidence that you loved God and were prepared to die. I called Henry to me and told him that he and Willie were all that were left me. The three-fold cord was broken, and how lonely we all felt. I thought in my dream of the death struggle of my dear babe, and next of Edson, and then of the unprepared state in which he died; and it seemed that my heart would break. I awoke myself weeping aloud. 1LtMs, Lt 21, 1861, par. 1
Dear children, this dream has caused me to reflect, and has cast a sadness upon my spirit that I cannot immediately throw off. You are none of you too young to die. Do you understand the plan of salvation? Your righteousness cannot recommend you to God. I do not think that you are yet adopted into His family. Our sins caused Jesus to die a shameful death that through His sufferings and death we may receive pardon. Can we receive the forgiveness of sin before we feel that we are sinners? and before we realize the sinfulness of sin? I think not. When we sincerely repent before God of our sins, we shall feel that without the pardoning blood of Christ we must perish. When we cast ourselves in our wretchedness wholly upon the mercy of Christ, and feel that unless He saves us we perish; when we yield our own will, our own way, and plead for Jesus to control our will and actions, then we come into a position where we can receive and appreciate pardon and the forgiveness of sin. 1LtMs, Lt 21, 1861, par. 2
I am not writing to reprove you, children. You have been very kind, obedient children to us. Sometimes wayward, but not stubborn. I hope you do not look at others who act wrong and flatter yourselves that you are righteous because you do better than they, but think seriously upon the good instruction you have had, and then inquire if you should not be far in advance of what you are. In short, have you not had sufficient light to yield your hearts to God, and love to follow Jesus, and be influenced by His sweet Spirit? 1LtMs, Lt 21, 1861, par. 3
You may ask, Why does Mother think I am not a child of God? One evidence is, you do not love to attend meetings on the Sabbath, and when you do go, sometimes go to sleep. Edson, especially, fixes himself in an easy position and takes a nap when he should be listening to the instructions given from the Word of God. 1LtMs, Lt 21, 1861, par. 4
Then again when we have family prayers, and when every one of you should feel grateful to God for His care over you through the night, you do not always seem as interested as I could wish in the hour of prayer, but have your eyes wide open, looking at the floor or around you. If you loved God you would love the hour of prayer, and while others are praying would close your eyes, and would try to fix your mind on God and would be lifting your heart to Him for strength to do right through the day. God deserves your gratitude and love. And while you lack in these things you cannot be the children of God. 1LtMs, Lt 21, 1861, par. 5
Other things I might mention: You do not love to condescend always to each other. Jesus says, “Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called the children of God.” [Matthew 5:9.] If you make peace with each other, if you condescend to one another’s wishes instead of your own, you are peacemakers and Jesus calls you “Blessed.” 1LtMs, Lt 21, 1861, par. 6
If either of you should die and be laid in the silent grave, how would you who live feel? Every unkind word would be revived, every little unkindness would be a thorn in your heart. 1LtMs, Lt 21, 1861, par. 7
Your affectionate Mother. 1LtMs, Lt 21, 1861, par. 8