Letters and Manuscripts — Volume 2 (1869 - 1875)


Lt 22, 1870

White, J. E.; White, Emma

Battle Creek, Michigan

December 16, 1870

Portions of this letter are published in 3MR 296-297.

Dear Children, Edson and Emma:

We greatly desire to see you and visit with you and shall do so, we think, as soon as your Father can be spared to leave matters here at Battle Creek. Your Father has all the burdens he can stand up under at the present time. I sometime fear the results of such constant, long, continued labors upon his part; but what can be done? There is no one qualified to take his place. If he leaves to be gone a few days, there are many things [that] go wrong and then he is much perplexed. 2LtMs, Lt 22, 1870, par. 1

We hope that better times will come soon. Yet, how and when we fail to see. Father was obliged to go to Detroit Tuesday. I accompanied. We tarried at Jackson over night. Arose at two a.m., took the cars at four for Detroit. Your Father tramped over the city upon urgent business of a most perplexing nature all day until five o’clock, then we took the cars and returned to Jackson. We retired at ten p.m. The next day returned home. We had an appointment at Convis Sabbath and first-day. Sunday, a funeral discourse was to be preached, but [when] we came to Battle Creek we found that there had been two deaths in our absence. Shield’s wife and Sister Bruce Graham had died. Father went to the house Shield’s occupied and prayed with them. The family went on the cars for the east the same day. Father attended the funeral of Bruce Graham’s wife [on] Sabbath. Had to send Uriah and Brother Bell to Convis to have meetings with them in our place. 2LtMs, Lt 22, 1870, par. 2

We are amid the dying and the dead. I have just received a letter from your Aunt Lizzie. She states Samuel McCann is very bad off; has been bleeding at the lungs again. Mary, Sister Harriett’s eldest living daughter, has had three bleeding turns. Lizzie states it is very sickly. Typhoid fever rages to a fearful extent. 2LtMs, Lt 22, 1870, par. 3

Our lives are not secure. We are in danger every moment. When we feel comparatively safe, our lives may be in danger. Our only safety is in living the life of the righteous that our last end may be like His. I fear, children, you do not have that interest in religious things that you should. What can I say to reach your hearts? I fear, Edson, that your little farm possesses greater attractions to you than the Christian life. Heavenly things are neglected for temporal. It is not safe to have the mind all engrossed with the things of this life. This is a poor world at the best, deprived of the blessing of God, and there is nothing but disappointment and sorrow for us. Jesus and His love can sweeten all our afflictions and reconcile us to all our disappointments. 2LtMs, Lt 22, 1870, par. 4

Dear children, I hope you will not think you can get along and prosper without the blessing of God. Watchfulness, untiring watchfulness and earnest prayer, is our only safety. “For in such an hour as you think not, the Son of man cometh.” [Matthew 24:44.] There is no safety only in seeking a moral fitness for the kingdom of heaven. 2LtMs, Lt 22, 1870, par. 5

My very dear children, be not content to live in a backslidden state destitute of the Spirit of God. The Light of life you need every moment. You cannot afford to live for your own selfish interest. God has claims upon you, my dear children, that you cannot be released from [even] if you desire it. You must both render an account to God for every day of your life. Your daily life record is passing up to God. What does it bear? Does it tell of unsanctified desires, unfulfilled duties, unfaithfulness, slighting the mercies Jesus freely presents for our acceptance; or will it tell of self-denial and persevering effort to separate from sin and iniquity that we may perfect holiness in the fear of God? What, children, I ask you, does the recording angel testify of you? The heavenly artist is faithfully daguerreotyping your life for you to meet again. Live not merely for the present, I beg of you. Let not selfish interest shut out your Saviour from your minds and hearts. If you have neglected heavenly things, if you have been swallowed up in worldly cares, if your conversation has been mainly upon the interest you have in this life, repent of this without delay and heed the words of Christ, who died to save you, “Seek ye first the kingdom of God and his righteousness and all these things shall be added unto you.” Matthew 6:33. 2LtMs, Lt 22, 1870, par. 6

With Christ as your Friend, you are rich, have you ever so limited a possession. Without Jesus, you would be poor indeed [even] if you were worth thousands. Precious Jesus, lovely Saviour. Give to God your hearts’ best and holiest affections. Will you both pledge yourselves before God to serve Him whatever may be your condition or circumstances as far as this life is concerned? You will obey and honor God. 2LtMs, Lt 22, 1870, par. 7

I fear, Edson, that you are all taken up with your little place and your business and your work hurries you, and Jesus and His salvation is neglected. You cannot, my dear son, afford to lose heaven for the things of this inconstant life. Jesus invites you two children, Edson and Emma, to come to Him just as you are and surrender all to God. Take time to meditate, time to pray, and don’t forget God as soon as you rise from your knees. Watch unto prayer. Be in earnest, be persevering. Begin your married life just right. Help one another to greater consecration. You can both have the presence and love of God daily. 2LtMs, Lt 22, 1870, par. 8

Edson, when perplexed or crossed in your wishes or ways, you show it. You are inclined to speak short and quick, even harsh and disrespectful. Do not ever allow this even for once in your family. Be kind, be courteous, be tender, be affectionate, respect the feelings of one another every time. Do not be betrayed even once in indulging in a perverse, irritable temper. If you do, you will soon lose respect for one another. Above all things, do not banter one another even in jest. The intention may be innocent, but words in jest [and] joking wound and destroy the confidence in each other. Speak what you mean to each other distinctly, plainly, affectionately, and you will save many hours of trouble. Let your love and interest for one another be with sincerity and unwearied. 2LtMs, Lt 22, 1870, par. 9

Edson, you may be troubled in the field and become irritated. Don’t carry that trouble over the threshold of the door, not for even once. It may cost you an effort to efface all traces of irritation, and wear a smile, but do it, my son, do it, by all means. You will be repaid fourfold, for the spirit you manifest, be it sunshine or shadow, will be reflected back upon you again. If you both make God your trust and go to Him in humility, He will help you and render you the aid you desire. “Ask and ye shall receive, seek and ye shall find, knock and it shall be opened unto you.” [Matthew 7:7.] 2LtMs, Lt 22, 1870, par. 10

May God help you to both strive for the victory over self. This lesson you have yet to learn, Edson, or you will not be happy. We hope there will be mutual forbearance on the part of both. God help you to bear with the errors and mistakes of each other. You have not an experience, but we have. Be tender. Again I would say to each other, be courteous, be pitiful; do not leave a wound to rankle in the heart. If a hasty word is spoken take it [back] by confession as soon as possible, and heal the wound and keep in the sunshine, and you will not only be happy yourselves, but be a blessing to others. 2LtMs, Lt 22, 1870, par. 11

My dear children, I must close. Write me not merely about worldly things. I would prize a little history of your religious exercises and your advancement in the divine life, or of your trials. I cannot bear to read letter after letter without the least reference to Christ. 2LtMs, Lt 22, 1870, par. 12

Write me, Emma, all about how you get along. Both of you write. 2LtMs, Lt 22, 1870, par. 13

Edson, Aunt Lizzie is very anxious to have yours and Emma’s picture taken together. Please send to E. V. Bangs, West Gorham, Maine. Also send one to Harriett McCann. 2LtMs, Lt 22, 1870, par. 14

Your mother. 2LtMs, Lt 22, 1870, par. 15