Letters and Manuscripts — Volume 2 (1869 - 1875)


Lt 19a, 1875

White, J. E.; White, Emma

Sparta, Wisconsin

June 24, 1875

Portions of this letter are published in 3MR 177-178; 4MR 181-186; 11MR 132-133.

On the cars, near Sparta, Wisconsin.

Dear Children, Edson and Emma:

We have closed our third camp meeting. We were well cared for on the ground. We had a small tent, carpeted and swept clean each day. Our friends at Monroe were attentive to all our wants. They furnished us two bedsteads and bedding. Brethren Smith and Colcord occupied the tent with us. Our table was set in our tent and well furnished through the meeting. Sister Gillet was as a mother to us, kind, thoughtful, and ever willing to do all she could for our rest and comfort. Other sisters shared with her in their liberality in supplying our table. We feel thankful to these kind friends for their liberalities and their timely help. 2LtMs, Lt 19a, 1875, par. 1

Father Stowell is living at Monroe with Mrs. Corenne Chase, his daughter. Tuesday just as the sun was setting Brother Chase hired a livery team and we had a pleasant ride through the city of Monroe. Sixteen or seventeen years ago we labored in a large tent in Monroe. Willie was then a small boy. Brother Sperry and his wife and Brethren Ingraham and Sanborn all labored in the tent at this meeting. Byron Sperry and Willie were then small boys of about four years of age. They were playmates and dressed nearly alike. Now these baby playmates have grown to manhood. Both the father and mother of Byron have closed their labors and rest in hope in Jesus, waiting until His voice shall call forth the righteous dead from their graves to a glorious immortal life. 2LtMs, Lt 19a, 1875, par. 2

Monroe was a very small place seventeen years ago. It has grown so fast, forgetting the outgrowing its weakness, that I could scarcely recollect I had ever been in the place before. Monroe is a very pretty place in a flourishing condition. We were well entertained at Mr. Chase’s. All of us who lodged in the house Tuesday night were from New England. We breakfasted at a table spread with New England fare. 2LtMs, Lt 19a, 1875, par. 3

We parted with our friends in the morning to go on our way to the next camp meeting. We had no rest. We engaged in writing as soon as the camp meeting commenced. All our leisure moments were occupied in writing. After the camp meeting closed we had to take hold of our writing again. 2LtMs, Lt 19a, 1875, par. 4

We lay down to sleep Tuesday night about eleven o’clock. In the night we were awakened by a fearful storm. The warring of the elements was very grand and solemn. The lightning flashed. One blaze of light followed another in such quick succession that it seemed like one continued stream of light. The thunder rolled; peal after peal rolled through the earth, and there were reports as though parts of the earth were shattered like breaking glass. I never listened to anything like it before. The heavens were lighted up with the full blaze of lightning. It was awfully grand. In the morning about sunrise the entire heavens presented an appearance of burnished brass. 2LtMs, Lt 19a, 1875, par. 5

We saw many trees shattered and fallen as the result of the storm. Brother Owlson Downing, Brother Smith, your father and myself took the train westward. We changed cars at Hanover Junction. There we had to wait three hours. The depot was small and not well ventilated. Two respectable-looking ladies seemed quite at home. They took out their pipes and commenced smoking. This was a little more than we could well endure. We found to our joy that the settees were movable. We took a couple of these out upon the platform where there was pure air to feed our lungs. We here spread out our bread and fruit which had been provided for us by our friends at Monroe. We enjoyed our luncheon. 2LtMs, Lt 19a, 1875, par. 6

We had some little time to write, which we improved. About six o’clock we came to Lodi Station. Willie will understand why we decided to stop off here and take the morning train. We could only ride until eight o’clock and then stop at a hotel all night to connect with the morning train. We all tarried with Brother Jordan’s family. Your father brought his bread and strawberries for our luncheon on the way. 2LtMs, Lt 19a, 1875, par. 7

In the night I was again awakened by the heavy thunder and the continued blaze of lightning. The rain seemed to descend in torrents. We arose at half past three and prepared to go to the cars. Brother Jordan’s family made our call with them very pleasant and comfortable. He took us to the depot with his team. 2LtMs, Lt 19a, 1875, par. 8

On our way we passed a lake three miles long, called the Devil’s Lake. It has no outlet or inlet and in most places is bottomless. Here is built a large hotel. There is beautiful scenery here. We learned that considerable damage had been done by last night’s storm. We passed a log house where one man was killed by the lightning. One log house, it is reported, is utterly demolished, utterly torn to pieces. How much damage the storms of the two past nights have done is yet to be learned. The inmates of the house that was torn to pieces were none of them killed. The conductor said he met a man driving for the doctor and learned that all were more or less injured, and he was going for medical aid. 2LtMs, Lt 19a, 1875, par. 9

The lamps are being lighted. We shall soon pass through a tunnel. We have passed through three tunnels; the last was the longest. I inquired of the conductor its dimensions. He told me it was 3,812 feet long and 266 feet underground. 2LtMs, Lt 19a, 1875, par. 10

The conductor tells us there is beautiful scenery before us. We find it ever so: granite rocks, beautiful trees, green fields, and cultivated lands. Here is revealed indeed a beautiful picture of nature’s loveliness. The air is pure. Nature seems fresh-robed in her natural lovely dress of green. The waving grain and cultivated soil, the lofty trees with their bright green foliage, make even this world very beautiful. God has given to us tokens of His love. We may read His love in the book of nature. Every tree, every shrub and bud and blooming flower tells, us God is love. We look up through the things of nature, which God has hung before our senses in His created works, and we adore the Giver. 2LtMs, Lt 19a, 1875, par. 11

The train is delayed a short time. There has been a washout. But the conductor thinks the train will not be long delayed. We are again moving, passing slowly over the dangerous road. 2LtMs, Lt 19a, 1875, par. 12

We shall get to the campground tonight. No rest. Just time to get from meeting to meeting. 2LtMs, Lt 19a, 1875, par. 13

At the Jewel Hotel in Wyoming, about three o’clock. We are disappointed in getting through tonight. We learned about one hour since that there were several breaks in the road and no means of transfer. One washout is forty rods long. We have secured a room in a hotel until tomorrow at eleven o’clock when we shall, if Providence favors, go on to the camp meeting. We deeply regret this delay, but make it a point to be surprised at nothing that may occur and not to become impatient or faultfinding. This place presents a very attractive appearance and the surrounding scenery is lovely. There are low bluffs covered with trees and verdure. 2LtMs, Lt 19a, 1875, par. 14

We were very glad to get letters from Willie and Lucinda and Elder Loughborough. We have great interest in the work on the Pacific Coast. We are pleased with any news from home. 2LtMs, Lt 19a, 1875, par. 15

It is painful to witness, as we pass from place to place, the reckless, frivolous conduct of many of the youth. The Bible, from beginning to end, attaches the greatest importance to internal rectitude. The books of Moses, the Psalms of David, the Proverbs of Solomon, the Epistles, and our Saviour’s teachings present the idea that every man is to be tried by his principles—not by his profession, his talk, or his appearance, but by his principles. If he lacks here, although he may present a good outward appearance, within he may be full of impurity. The heart must be renewed, for out of the heart are the issues of life. The tree must be made good or the good fruit will not appear. 2LtMs, Lt 19a, 1875, par. 16

“Marvel not,” said Christ to Nicodemus, “that I said unto you, Ye must be born again.” John 3:7. God must create in man a clean heart before he will walk in His statutes and keep His commandments to do them. A new moral taste has to be created before man will love to obey the law of God. There must be a connection with heaven which will make men formed in the image of God partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust. We are required to love God supremely, which love we will show by obedience to all His commandments, and by trusting in Christ implicitly. The great principles of truth must be established in the heart and be revealed in the life by love, faith, humility, and obedience, showing that the religion of Christ has a controlling power over the entire man. 2LtMs, Lt 19a, 1875, par. 17

I have thought much upon the Hammond revival. There is a great variety of modern inventions to improve the evils existing in society. We have seen very little enduring good result from merely taking advantage of the impulse of the moment to induce men to promise or resolve to leave their sinful course. Reformation in men is very much needed, but the reformation made under excitement will seldom outlive the excitement in which it originated. It resembles the early dew which vanishes away. Conversions produced by moving the feelings through the relation of anecdotes and sensational songs do not bear the impress of heaven, but of man’s hand. Heart work is needed. The state of the heart regulates the life. The sinner needs to have clearly defined to his understanding what sin is, that he may work understandingly to repent of sin, which is to repent of transgressing the Father’s law. When this is fully comprehended by reasoning minds, the seed is sown for a true and thorough conversion. 2LtMs, Lt 19a, 1875, par. 18

Multitudes of varied faith will arise in these last days and will be crying, “Lo here!” “Lo there!” [Luke 17:21.] Such have found some way for the sinner rather than the Bible way, which teaches that repentance toward God for the transgression of His law and faith in Jesus Christ the world’s Redeemer, is the only door through which the sinner may enter. Let the mind and heart be imbued with the principles of God’s law. Then they will yield obedience to its sacred claims, and gamblers will decrease and the wine cup be abandoned. 2LtMs, Lt 19a, 1875, par. 19

We have a very great many instances among us where men of debased appetites and with wrong habits have been brought before the law of God, the true mirror, and shown the defects existing in their moral characters, and then have been pointed to the atoning blood of a crucified Redeemer as the only remedy for sin. Their moral sensibilities have been aroused. They have been made to feel their human weaknesses when plied with temptations. They have felt that a belief in the truth alone could save them. They have accepted present truth. They have been truly converted. They have maintained their integrity in circumstances of great peril, and kept their garments undefiled. The sustaining power of genuine truth in the heart has revealed stern integrity of character and true moral worth. They have not an emotional religion. They have not a surface work. They have found true rock bottom. Real inward principle characterizes their lives. They stand on the elevated platform of God’s holy law, and by faith they grasp the atoning blood of Christ which cleanses them from sin. 2LtMs, Lt 19a, 1875, par. 20

David sinned. He transgressed the law of God. A prophet was sent of God to reprove and convict David of his great sin. This prophet did not sing to David sensational songs; neither did he relate simple, humorous anecdotes. He brought before him an illustration of his own case in a figure and let David pass sentence upon himself, then he stated, “Thou art the man.” [2 Samuel 12:1-7.] David repented before God, whose law he had transgressed, and relied for pardon on the efficacy of the blood of Christ. 2LtMs, Lt 19a, 1875, par. 21

Look at men who are professedly converted under the excitement of feeling. They are not brought to face the great moral mirror, the law of God, which discovers to them the defects in their character. The law of God is presented to them as a yoke of bondage in contrast to the freedom of the gospel. Cannot these men read in the Word of God for themselves, “Where there is no law there is no transgression”? [Romans 4:15.] They feel no binding claims of the law of God; as a natural consequence they have not a sensitive conscience toward sin. They have not a fixed principle. We may see such Christians in the churches everywhere—see them today one thing, and tomorrow another. Let wealth and fame allure them and their feelings, which were wrought upon, will change. 2LtMs, Lt 19a, 1875, par. 22

There is no sacrifice of feeling or conscience which this class of spurious converts will not make to gain the prize. Do such men honor the Bible standard of true piety? Never, never. They are unsound at heart. Just when temptations arise, when the decision must be made whether they will follow inclination or principle, you will see that there is not firmness when it is really needed. If they do not deny their Lord like a Judas, or sell their honor like a [Benedict] Arnold, it is because they have not been tempted to do this. Oh, how much to be admired is a true, sincere Christian! Such an one will be loyal to God and true to his Saviour, living a life of unsuspected purity, cultivating habits of the strictest temperance, making the Word of God his daily study, earnest and faithful to duty, not wearying in well doing, growing up into full stature in Jesus Christ his Head. 2LtMs, Lt 19a, 1875, par. 23

What training or education can bear comparison with that of preparing men to be obedient to the law of God, spoken from Sinai and engraven in stone? 2LtMs, Lt 19a, 1875, par. 24


P.S. I can write no more at this time. Take all these statements and do what you can with them. Get out an interesting article. We will bring the camp meetings to those who cannot attend them. 2LtMs, Lt 19a, 1875, par. 25