Letters and Manuscripts — Volume 2 (1869 - 1875)


Lt 12, 1869

[White, J. E. and Emma] [Children]


September 1869

Portions of this letter are published in 2Bio 276.

Dear children:

I am writing in bed. While in Battle Creek I was very sick, but improved in answer to prayer. My husband and I started in company with Brother Dodge in our carriage to go to Greenville. In Vermontville, I became so ill a bed and pillows were procured of the landlord of the hotel and laid in the wagon of Brother Dodge. I cannot tell you how I accomplished that journey. I was too sick to remember anything about it, but for three weeks I was unable to sit up. Elder Andrews, with Erzberger, was tarrying with us. They united in prayer with my husband in my behalf and the severe pain left me, but [am] very weak. I could not sit up without fainting. The camp meeting at Owasso was to be held in a couple of weeks and I was very anxious to attend it, but was too weak to sit up or ride in a carriage. 2LtMs, Lt 12, 1869, par. 1

Physicians at the Health Institute at Battle Creek wrote to me that it would not be prudent to attend this meeting. They feared it would be at the sacrifice of life if I should venture. Dr. Chamberlain was sent down to Greenville to nurse me and use her influence to keep me from attending the meeting. I was unable to walk. I crept on my hands and knees to a closet in my room and there I presented the state of my feebleness before the Lord. It seemed to me if I should remain, the enemy would obtain a victory that would please him. He was at work to prevent me bearing my testimony to the people. I felt burdened with the message of truth. I pled with God to help me. My supplications went up to God for strength to attend this meeting. While praying it seemed to me I should go, but how, I could not determine. 2LtMs, Lt 12, 1869, par. 2

A sweet peace came to my soul and I felt that I could commit the keeping of my soul and body to my Saviour. I thought then I should go with my husband to the meeting and proposed to ride out with Dr. Chamberlain in an easy carriage a short distance to test the matter. Cushions were placed in the bottom of the carriage and I knelt. The horse walked slowly, but the jar produced such intense pain and faintness I was glad to be lifted out of the carriage, placed on a bed, and then they all decided it was not best for me to venture. This was to me a hard struggle between the flesh and the earnest desire to bear the message God had given me for His people. 2LtMs, Lt 12, 1869, par. 3

Days and nights of wearing pain and exhaustion had brought me very low. My right hip was affected with sciatica so that I was unable to walk without assistance. Arrangements were made for Willie and myself to be left with Brother Maynard’s family while all the rest journeyed to the meeting. That day I kept my petition before the Lord for strength. 2LtMs, Lt 12, 1869, par. 4

The next morning I awoke with a strong determination to make the effort to attend the meeting and began to devise ways and means to that end. We presented the matter before the Lord as we bowed in prayer at the family altar. His Spirit and power came upon me, and I felt it to be my duty to walk out by faith and make the attempt, trusting in the Lord God of Israel. I dared not resist the convictions, notwithstanding that it was my duty to attend the meeting. I told them to bring the easy covered carriage to the door, put in a mattress and pillows, put a board from the door to the carriage, and with their help I could walk into the carriage. This we did. I was to ride ten miles to Orleans, stop and rest at Brother Olmstead's, and then in their company go on to Ionia to take the cars. 2LtMs, Lt 12, 1869, par. 5

Willie was my driver. When we reached Brother Olmstead’s, the house was closed. They had already left for the meeting. Willie says, “Shall we go back, Mother?” 2LtMs, Lt 12, 1869, par. 6

I said, “No, we will go on to Ionia.” That was ten miles farther. I saw it was impossible for me to go the entire way by carriage. If we could reach the cars in season I could go by the cars while Willie would drive the team 60 miles around. The last five miles I had but little strength of body or mind. 2LtMs, Lt 12, 1869, par. 7

We met friends in the depot, Brother and Sister Olmstead and others on the way to the meeting, but here my strength seemed to fail. They took me from the carriage and cared for me the best they could. Congestion of the brain came on and they applied water and ice to my head. I knew but little during that ride on the cars. As soon as we arrived at [the] depot at Owasso, word was sent to my husband to come with [an] easy carriage for me. And when I was placed on a bed in the tent, I wept for joy. I knew I was where I ought to be. I solicited the prayers of my ministering brethren and our sisters who knew what it was to exercise faith. The sweet, subduing power of God came into my heart. I wept freely, not tears of sorrow or grief, but happy tears of gratitude. My soul was aglow with the love of God. I felt then how precious indeed was Jesus. Angels of God seemed to be all around me, and I believe they were. Such peace and rest and perfect content and happiness was a sufficient reward for my walking out in faith. I did trust the Lord and He had not failed me. 2LtMs, Lt 12, 1869, par. 8

The tent seemed filled with the bright shining of the angels of heaven. I was assisted to the stand by my husband and son Edson. I was enabled to speak to the people. While speaking, it seemed to me holy angels were around me. I felt no weariness, no suffering. I was lifted above my infirmities and was never more blest with freedom and clearness and power than when bearing my testimony. But when my message was ended, I found myself still a cripple, needing my husband’s arm to lean upon and the arm of my son Edson on the other side to almost carry me to my tent. But I was not sorry for a moment that I came. The sweet Spirit of the Lord rested upon me in rich measure. This meeting was one of importance. There the Lord revealed Himself to me as a present help in every time of need. How I longed to have strength day by day and be helpful and not dependent. But I dare not leave the field of labor because of infirmities. I must work in feebleness. I must trust and wait, relying upon God as my strong helper, my tower of strength, my refuge into which I could run and be safe. 2LtMs, Lt 12, 1869, par. 9

Satan must be repelled at every step. My life was one scene of conflict, continual battle, no rest, no laying off the armor; but for me I was convinced, sick or well, I must be prepared for instant action, ready to obey the Captain of my salvation. No time to look and ponder upon myself. No time to consult ease or convenience, or pleasure, or to engage in worldly temporal employment. My work was before me to do the will of the Master, to listen for His word of command, and obey at this time. 2LtMs, Lt 12, 1869, par. 10

In my great weakness the Lord strengthened me greatly. The lies of sheer malice and enmity, the pure fabrications of iniquity uttered and circulated to defeat the proclamation of truth, were powerless to affect the minds of those who were really desirous to know what is truth. I did not doubt for a moment but the Lord had sent me that the honest souls who had been deceived might have an opportunity to see and hear for themselves what manner of spirit the woman possessed who have been presented to the public in such a false light in order to make the truth of God of none effect. 2LtMs, Lt 12, 1869, par. 11

There was a large general gathering of the First-day Adventists at Springfield. Elders Waggoner, Cornell, Sister Chamberlain who accompanied me, attended this meeting. We quietly pitched our tent and attended the meetings. At one time the ministers were engaged in business and there was a social meeting at the stand. I arose, spoke a few moments upon faith. I did not introduce one item that we did not all believe, but the ministers rushed out of the tents where they were doing business,—Elder Himes and Grant and several others and seemed to be greatly disturbed. Elder Grant interrupted me and stopped me while I was speaking. They all seemed to be very much disturbed at our presence. They were asked by one of our party what Mrs. White had done that she could not have the privilege of speaking in a social meeting. 2LtMs, Lt 12, 1869, par. 12

The answer came, “We don’t want her influence here on the ground. Her very presence hurts us.” And why did it hurt them? “Why,” was asked, “should the presence of Mrs. White hurt them?” They did not answer. Mrs White’s appearance and deportment was a refutation of their falsehoods and the light they had presented her in before the people. These very ministers arranged to have a few come to the tent of the Seventh-day Adventists and inquire if they had pamphlets setting forth their faith in regard to the seventh-day Sabbath. These were handed to them free, but we found this a plan to entrap us. This device succeeded. Those who had secured the favor went directly to the ones who had gotten this up,—to headquarters—and early the next morning Elder Himes united with Elder Grant in an arbitrary manner and ordered us to take down our tent and leave the ground. 2LtMs, Lt 12, 1869, par. 13

Mrs. Chamberlain, who had been acquainted with Elder Himes years back, asked him if this treatment was what should be expected of Adventists. She asked him if he did not remember he had been entertained courteously at her house by Brother Chamberlain of Middletown, Connecticut, and inquired how this treatment accorded with the treatment he had received from them as their guest; that the churches exercised against Adventists this same spirit when they proclaim the coming of the Lord. 2LtMs, Lt 12, 1869, par. 14

But they considered our influence and presence was a detriment to them, if we did not open our lips to say a word in their meeting. While on the ground we attended meetings in a large size tent—“Non-resurrection of the Wicked”—and although we could not agree with their views and accept their doctrines, they treated us with courtesy. We thought in this experience at this meeting of our early experience, the neglect, contempt and opposition we received from the nominal churches because we believed in the soon coming of our Lord in the clouds of heaven. They separated us from their company. They hated the very name of Adventists. Elder Himes and Father Miller, and those who were united with them in the work, received just such treatment from the churches as they were repeating now to Seventh-day Adventists. 2LtMs, Lt 12, 1869, par. 15

Our company inquired what they had done to deserve such treatment. What was the ground of their offense, and nothing could be brought but [that] the influence was dangerous. We were, it is true, Seventh-day Adventists, keeping the Bible Sabbath, advocating the Bible doctrine of the soon personal coming of Christ, as they were doing. The cry was “you are drawing away our church members, causing confusion.” But these men had forgotten that they were now in their turn acting the part of persecutors. 2LtMs, Lt 12, 1869, par. 16

We inquired what offense we had been guilty of. We had not pressed our way to advocate doctrines in their meetings which they called heresy. We had not been loud and boisterous and disturbed one of their meetings. Will you tell us what crime we are guilty of? We do hold to the claims of the original Sabbath, the seventh day. This is the ground of our offense, and when you can show us from the Word of God that the first day has been sanctified and set apart for sacred time, then we will yield up our faith. But we cannot make void the law of God and refuse to keep His commandments and receive the commandments of men. But all our words only increased this bitterness and anger. 2LtMs, Lt 12, 1869, par. 17

A portion of our company left the ground in compliance with the unchristian and ungentlemanly orders Elder Waggoner experienced. This work stands registered in the books of heaven. They will meet it again just as it was transacted. The whole difficulty hinged on this. They had uttered so many falsehoods, held us up in such a ridiculous light before the people that our presence merely was a refutation of this unchristian work of opposition. Men may be sincerely pious and yet have errors of character, errors of understanding and corruptions cherished in their hearts, but those who are in league with him who loveth and maketh a lie, are in the most pitiable, deplorable condition a man can be in. The truth, the precious truth, coming from the lips is to be revered; but he that utters lies, he that blackens character to attain an object of his own, he who gathers up tidbits of slander and who has the poison of asps under his tongue, needs the curative process to be treated with hot coals of Juniper. 2LtMs, Lt 12, 1869, par. 18

We left the encampment with the exception of Elder Waggoner. We had an appointment Sunday in Boston. My husband accompanied me to South Lancaster. I was very feeble and the journey was too much for me and I was prostrated with sickness. We had an appointment next Sabbath and first day in Boston. My husband went alone. I sought the Lord in earnest prayer. I would not let go my hold upon the Mighty One of Israel. I was a cripple and suffered great pain all the time and went alone before God. I presented my case to the mighty Healer. He did hear me; He did answer me. In a moment relief came, a change took place in my system and I stood upon my feet free, able to walk without support. I praised the Lord with my whole heart. No one was with me. I was alone before God. His ear alone heard my cry. My supplications came up before Him and my prayer was answered. Jesus, how precious He seemed to me that Sabbath. I decided that I would trust in the Lord fully and not yield one inch to the enemy. But my faith was tried again and again. 2LtMs, Lt 12, 1869, par. 19

We did not wish to draw any one away from the truth, but we had Bible truth and we wished, if possible, to remove the prejudice that had been excited against us and come nearer to those Adventists who were in faith and doctrine the same as ourselves except in regard to the Sabbath of the fourth commandment. The churches were deceived by the representation of Seventh-day Adventists that they were a deluded set of fanatics. We wished to show them we were not as we were represented by many of the ministers. True, we believed in the Sabbath of the fourth commandment, simply because God had spoken and we must obey. We could not accept the word of man that the first day was the Sabbath when the Word of the Lord said the seventh day was the Sabbath. The question was, Shall we obey the commandments of men and reject the commandments of God? These men who held up Seventh-day Adventists as deluded, were themselves in strong delusion. They had leaned to their own understanding, rejecting light and truth until they were the ones who were in strong delusion, believing falsehoods as truth. None are compelled to believe. God gives sufficient evidence that all may decide upon the weight of evidence, but He never has nor never will remove all chance for doubt, never will force faith. In His Word is a correct line of duty. Principles are laid down which apply to every variety of case. None need to err unless they are better pleased to follow their own perverted imagination than the light of God's revealed Word. 2LtMs, Lt 12, 1869, par. 20

Satan is presenting error through professed Christian ministers clothed with garments of truth. Those who will stand in defense of unpopular truth, which, if accepted, will separate from the world, making them a distinct and holy people, they become objects of Satan’s malignity and he will use men and evil angels that with the constant assaults they may distress, perplex, [and] destroy them. This is the enmity of Satan on the one hand. God works through His agents, faithful sentinels of truth, to vindicate His honor, to arrest sin, to drive back the prevailing wickedness and bring back man to his obedience to God’s law. 2LtMs, Lt 12, 1869, par. 21

On the other hand, Satan’s work is to hide the fact that sin is the transgression of the law, and to cast down the laws as a system of oppression, a restriction of rights, a yoke of bondage. Thus Satan has worked ever since his fall. Thus he will work with increasing earnestness and power and might to establish himself in making void the law of God and developing his enmity against that holy, just, and good law. Although the promise has been made long ago that the gates of hell shall not prevail against the true and lowly subjects of God, yet, like their Master, they suffer from opposition and persecution through the workings of the powers of darkness through human agencies. God’s law lives. It is His immutable will published to the world, and will stand notwithstanding the enmity of Satan. 2LtMs, Lt 12, 1869, par. 22

We received letters from brethren in Boston who were holding a tent meeting there urging my husband and self to come to Boston, that Elder Grant was doing his utmost to present Mrs. White in a most ridiculous light before the people. Those who had never seen me or heard me speak, thought so good a man [as] Elder Grant appeared to be would not make statements publicly that had no truth for their foundation, that if they could hear Mrs. White for themselves it would lull the efforts made to win souls from the truth. 2LtMs, Lt 12, 1869, par. 23

He was presenting Mrs. White as the leader of the Seventh-day Adventists and then held her up in the most ridiculous light before the people. There was no personal enmity between Elder Grant and myself, for we had no acquaintance; but it was the enmity to God’s law that prompted his remarks. It was not enmity to me that originated with Elder Grant, but it was that old serpent, the Devil, that was using him as his agent. This is the enemy’s working. He was disloyal to God, a transgressor of His law so that disloyal Satan and disloyal men will be sure to unite in a desperate raid against the law of Jehovah. All who trample down the law of Jehovah may have no bands of union between themselves except upon one question, to make void the law of God. They may jar and jangle among themselves, but on one point they are linked as with iron bands—that of opposing the law of Jehovah. Satan’s spirit of frenzy seemed to take possession of the man. Reason and judgment were overborne by hatred to the doctrines of truth, and they could not meet the arguments with a “Thus saith the Lord” from the law and the testimony. They used the best weapons they had,—abuse, false statements, ridicule, scorn and contempt. Our brethren urged that the people had not heard Mrs. White for themselves and begged that in behalf of the people, she would come. 2LtMs, Lt 12, 1869, par. 24

I had the assurance [that] should I go to Boston, the Lord would go with me. Every jar in the carriage to take me from one depot to another, seemed unbearable. Yet I had comfort, faith, and strong courage to go forward. I had a testimony for the people in Boston. I had great freedom in speaking to the people. I was in the path of duty. The same God who created the stars and marshaled them in the heavens in perfect order, [who] notices the sparrows fall, and numbers the hairs on our head, would be my strength, my support, and my helper. Why should I be in doubt? Pain and suffering sink into nothingness before the strong promises of God. I will go where He may lead the way, depending upon the God of Jacob. 2LtMs, Lt 12, 1869, par. 25

Those who were not permeated with the same spirit of enmity as Elder Grant and the opposers of truth, were convinced and many stated that the reports they had heard, the statements made, could not be true for the Spirit of the Lord attended Mrs. White’s testimony. One possessed of the devil, doing the devil’s work, could never speak as Mrs. White did in lifting the minds of the people up from earth and earthly things to Jesus and heaven, and the eternal weight of glory. Mrs. White had no raid to make against those who were doing their utmost to misrepresent and malign her, but she bore her testimony, making no reference to her opposers or the falsehoods uttered. She vindicated the honor of God’s law, to hold up Jesus in His beauty, purity and loveliness. There was nothing in the words spoken, nothing to give the least excuse for the statements that had been made against her. 2LtMs, Lt 12, 1869, par. 26

Sunday she spoke with great freedom upon the work of Christ in our world, His sufferings, His trial and His crucifixion, resurrection and ascension. She dwelt upon His hatred of sin, His denouncing every evil, His life, His character of untainted purity which was a rebuke to the hypocrite, the whited sepulchers, who deceived the people with a pretense of holiness and hearts full of corruption. Jesus could hate only one thing, that was sin. These were the producing causes of bitter hostility. Had He allowed some license to the transgressor, had He praised the evil worker, had He called sin holiness and holiness sin, then He would not have [been] hurried out of the world. Jesus would have been hailed with shouts of praise had He tolerated sin and allowed evil license to passions when He stood in vindication of truth [and] righteousness. He was sneered at, despised, rejected. Jesus exposed Himself to every kind of insult and abuse. He endured the contradiction of sinners against Himself. 2LtMs, Lt 12, 1869, par. 27