Letters and Manuscripts — Volume 2 (1869 - 1875)


Lt 21a, 1871

White, J. E.



Portions of this letter are published in 10MR 386.

[To Edson White:]

[First part missing] ... on working, as we anticipate the solemn event. We are not, because we are in the attitude of waiting and watching, to be indolent, doing nothing. But as we view the great event of Christ’s coming, and we see the necessity of watching and waiting for it, we must unite zeal and diligent industry to our waiting and watching, A life of idleness or mere meditation and abstraction will not answer for the waiting, watching ones. Neither will it be safe or justifiable for the waiting, watching ones to become so busy in worldly matters that they cease to watch and forget their peculiar position as waiting ones. They should not be in a busy excitement like worldlings and become surfeited and drunken with the cares of this life. A drunken man is bewildered. The fine organs of the brain are beclouded. This is exactly the position of the professed Christian who allows the cares of this life and the deceitfulness of riches to have such a powerful influence upon them as to eclipse the attractions of heaven. They become insane in their worldly pursuit. 2LtMs, Lt 21a, 1871, par. 1

The drunkard loses all sense of his obligations to his family and friends and will gratify his craving for drink, although in thus indulging his appetite he is bartering away his house, his food, and his clothing. Those who profess to love God and rush on in worldly enterprises, plunging deeper and deeper into care and labor to secure worldly possessions, may see their counterpart in the insanity of the common drunkard who will have strong drink to his own misery. 2LtMs, Lt 21a, 1871, par. 2

The world-loving, professed Christian is drunken with the crazing, benumbing influence of the desired appetite for gain. For this worldly gain, heaven with all its sweet and exalted charms is put out of mind and forgotten. They do not prize heaven or eternal life, for their spiritual powers are benumbed with the anxious desire for gain. Like the drunkard, the worldly-possessed Christian is so taken up with worldly attractions and plans and gains [that] his obligations to God and his fellow men has no weight upon him. He gratifies his appetite for the love of this world, although by so doing he loses the heavenly mansions, the glorious rest God has prepared for those who love Him. He parts with peace of mind and joy of soul. The approbation of God he sacrifices, and toils on in the way of the transgressor to receive the wages, in the end, which the God-forgotten, God-dishonoring worldling receives, which is death! death! death! 2LtMs, Lt 21a, 1871, par. 3

Is not this worldly-loving spirit at such a sacrifice a greater exhibition of insanity than even that shown by the drunkard? God had warned the lover of strong drink. He has told him the influence and result of gratifying the appetite. “Wine is a mocker, strong drink is raging; and whosoever is deceived thereby is not wise.” Proverbs 20:1. “Who hath woe? who hath sorrow? who hath contentions? who hath babbling? who hath wounds without cause? who hath redness of eyes? They that tarry long at the wine; they that go to seek mixed wine. Look not thou upon the wine when it is red, when it giveth his color in the cup, when it moveth itself aright. At the last it biteth like a serpent, and stingeth like an adder. Thine eyes shall behold strange women, and thine heart shall utter perverse things. Yea, thou shalt be as he that lieth down in the midst of the sea, or as he that lieth upon the top of a mast. They have stricken me, shalt thou say, and I was not sick; they have beaten me, and I felt it not: when shall I awake? I will seek it yet again.” Proverbs 23:29-35. 2LtMs, Lt 21a, 1871, par. 4

The warnings have been given by God in regard to the love of the world and the cares of this life. “Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him.” 1 John 2:15. It is just as easy for one to place the affections upon a small treasure as a large one. “And these are they which are sown among thorns; such as hear the word, and the cares of this world, and the deceitfulness of riches, and the lusts of other things entering in, choke the word, and it becometh unfruitful.” Mark 4:18, 19. “And take heed to yourselves, lest at any time your hearts be overcharged with surfeiting, and drunkenness, and cares of this life, and so that day come upon you unawares.” Luke 21:34. 2LtMs, Lt 21a, 1871, par. 5

I might quote many more passages of Scripture, but I have not the room. We are required to cultivate personal piety to train the mind to become familiar and intelligent upon religious matters. I do not wish to be understood that a life only of prayer and quiet is the extent of our duty as Christians. We must be workers. “Not slothful in business; fervent in spirit; serving the Lord.” Romans 12:11. 2LtMs, Lt 21a, 1871, par. 6

Every effort should be put forth to exemplify the virtuous character of Christ and be zealous in being right and working righteousness. God has given to every man his work and He expects a corresponding return. Some are capable of filling responsible positions, others fill a more humble sphere. They may have but two talents, while others of still less influence have but one. But all, by diligent trading with unwearied diligence, can make successful investments and double the talents committed to their trust. And if all accomplish the duty severally to the best of their ability, their fidelity will be tested and accepted. None should mourn that they cannot glorify God with talents that they never had in trust. They are responsible for only what they have. If the one talent is put to a good use, God will accept the improvement, be the returns ever so small. Some will do nothing unless they can do a large thing, handle large talents. Such aspire after great things, to do a great work and overlook the daily opportunities right in their sphere of usefulness to serve their Master. The interest required will be no larger than the entrusted capital. 2LtMs, Lt 21a, 1871, par. 7

My son, God will require His own with usury. It is not our capital we are improving or abusing. It is the Lord’s, and we shall have to render a strict account of our stewardship. The light has shone upon you. Your privileges and opportunities have not been small. You know the right way. Do you inquire daily, “What shall I do to glorify God?” How stands your record in heaven? God will call the names of all, one by one, and how will you answer to your name? Will the Master say to you, Well done, good and faithful servant? Will He bid you enter into the joy of your Lord? [Matthew 25:21.] 2LtMs, Lt 21a, 1871, par. 8

Your motives will soon be scrutinized. Will fidelity stand opposite your name? What has been your success in working for your Master? Have your mental endowments made those within the sphere of your influence wiser, better, or have your talents been left to rust in the earth, to be abused and witness against you in the judgment? You may exert a noble, elevating influence upon others by your purity of life, your virtue, your love for God and heavenly things. Your example before your hired help may be such that they will know you are a Christian. Your works of love for God, your devotion to His cause may say to them that there is a reality in the religion you profess. 2LtMs, Lt 21a, 1871, par. 9

The talents that are yours today may be demanded of you on the morrow. Up, up to duty. The heavenly Master has given you an example. He was often wearied in body and in spirit, yet hear Him say, “I must work the works of him that sent me, while it is today; the night cometh when no man can work.” John 9:4. 2LtMs, Lt 21a, 1871, par. 10

Can you, my dear Edson, take your place by the side of Jesus? Have you suffered for Him and loved Him and worked for Him who died to bring to you salvation? Follow the dear Saviour through His pilgrimage of matchless love upon the earth and then to His ascension, while the straining eyes of His disciples looked wistfully towards the cloud of attraction, their bosoms swelling with first fear and then hope as the cloud vanishes in the distant heavens. He has entered heaven with His divine form and He ever liveth to make intercession for us. O, my son, who can comprehend the mystery of divine love? 2LtMs, Lt 21a, 1871, par. 11

Stephen was permitted to see His Saviour who had walked upon the earth, a man among men. The divine light beamed forth from heaven and lighted the way that the disciple might discern His Master and proclaim to His murderers and to His humble followers the sight which enraptured him as he beheld Jesus standing at the right hand of God. That same Jesus says to you, I am acquainted with your sorrows. I have endured them. I know your temptations and conflicts. I have encountered them. I know your soul anguish which pressed from your tears. I also have wept. “Fear not.” “I am he that liveth, and was dead; and, behold, I am alive forevermore.” Revelation 2:17, 18. 2LtMs, Lt 21a, 1871, par. 12

He bears [on] His human heart, which loved and pitied and sympathized with unutterable tenderness, all the woes of humanity. What a subject is this for contemplation,—our citizenship in heaven where our living, loving Jesus is, that same Jesus that ascended from the Mount of Olives. He will be a present help to us in time of trouble. God will be your strength. Trust in Him. Look to Him by faith. May God help you and bless you is the prayer of your 2LtMs, Lt 21a, 1871, par. 13

Loving mother.