Letters and Manuscripts — Volume 2 (1869 - 1875)


Lt 59, 1874

White, J. E.; White, Emma

Battle Creek, Michigan

November 6, 1874

Previously unpublished.

Dear Children, Edson and Emma:

We received your letters, Edson, this morning. We were glad to hear from you. We pray for you, that God will give you grace to walk carefully and humble before Him. 2LtMs, Lt 59, 1874, par. 1

There must be an entire change in your life and character before you can be of that number whom God will choose to labor for Him. The experience you might have gained you have not. And you have now to obtain that experience you should have at the present time. 2LtMs, Lt 59, 1874, par. 2

I have carried a very sad heart on your account, because I could not, by anything I could do or say, make impressions of any duration on your mind. You had no power to resist temptation. 2LtMs, Lt 59, 1874, par. 3

You have been superficial in all you undertake. I have for years been trying to impress upon you the necessity of faithfulness and thoroughness in all you do, but all this labor has not accomplished the work. Your careless, superficial habits of doing business have clung to you, as well as your independence. Until you are convicted of these things and see their sinfulness, you will never have that repentance that needeth not to be repented of. How much time, precious, golden time, which your Redeemer had purchased for you by His own blood, have you squandered! Nothing to show for it whereby God could be glorified! You have felt this at times, but habit has been strong upon you, and Emma has helped you to pursue the same course over and over again. 2LtMs, Lt 59, 1874, par. 4

Now children, I write to you in reference to these things because I do not want you or Emma to take hold of these things indifferently, feeling you have both done about as well as you could and father and mother are really hard upon you, and [you] be ready to charge the result of your own failures or circumstances on the course of others. 2LtMs, Lt 59, 1874, par. 5

Your misspent life is the result of your own course. You have not felt the sin of your course, therefore have not reformed. Self-confident and independent, you have worked almost any card to bring about and carry out your plans; and then your father, but more especially your mother, because of their love for you, have come in to help you out of the difficulties you have brought upon yourself. This has hurt you because it did not leave you to see and feel the mistakes you were making. We have done with this now. We must, as the last resort, leave you to pursue your own course and feel the weight of consequences yourself. 2LtMs, Lt 59, 1874, par. 6

If you think you have done the best you could, and go on as you have done, you must bear it, and feel the expense of self-indulgence, of following inclination rather than duty. If either of you should get sick, we would do our best to nurse you to health. But in regard to means, you and Emma must learn its value, and to know by your own labor how hard it is earned, before you will learn to economize and use means carefully. Think candidly, soberly, both of you, for I am decidedly in earnest. I know that neither of you can ever have the true riches until you are more faithful in that which is least, which last means temporal matters. Faithfulness in the littles will weigh with God as to whether you can be entrusted with higher responsibilities. Earn your reputation now, I beg of you. 2LtMs, Lt 59, 1874, par. 7

We have not dared to advise or counsel the brethren in California to give you positions of trust, for we feared it would prove to be an injury to God's cause and ruin yourself. Oh, I wish we could have that evidence in your case that we long to have that you are both walking humbly and carefully before God, seeking not your convenience, not your pleasure, and not doing those things that are agreeable and letting alone those things which do not seems pleasant and agreeable. I wish we had the evidence that you both were truly converted to God. I have greatly doubted whether you have, either of you, had a genuine experience in the things of God. If you had, you would not have gone so wide of the true standard of holiness, your lives so unlike the life of Christ. Will you go on deceiving your own souls that you are about right when you are very far from God? 2LtMs, Lt 59, 1874, par. 8

The prayer from my burdened heart is daily, May God save my children, my poor, deceived, blinded children, who are poor, miserable, blind, and naked, and feel that they are in need of nothing. 2LtMs, Lt 59, 1874, par. 9

The reason why I write so plainly is that I know you cannot be saved as you are. You must have your hearts made tender and mellow by the divine influence of the Spirit of God. I inquire over and over, Is there anything I should say that I have not said? Is my soul free and clear from the blood of the souls of my children? 2LtMs, Lt 59, 1874, par. 10

When you see the past as you should, when your heart is under the influence of the transforming power of God, we shall read letters from you of entirely a different tune. Your spirit will be in unison with the spirit of our labor; spirit will answer to spirit. We shall read lines that you have both traced expressing love to Jesus and gratitude of soul that He has permitted you both, who have only been cumberers of the ground, to live to bear blossoms and fruit to the glory of God. 2LtMs, Lt 59, 1874, par. 11

I long to see words flowing from your pen which express the living experience of your soul. Time is short and what is done must be done quickly. You can never more be entrusted to any great and important work until you are thoroughly converted, changed in heart, in purposes, in life, and you both are dead to self and alive to Jesus Christ. You must both, my children, work from a different standpoint, in spiritual as well as temporal matters. The very same loose, superficial management you have carried in your temporal concerns, you have carried out in spiritual matters. But now, after so long a time, “Today if ye will hear his voice, harden not your hearts.” [Hebrews 4:7.] If Christ will graciously accept you today, with all your imperfections and your unprofitable lives, what a condescension in divine mercy, what a blessing from God to you! 2LtMs, Lt 59, 1874, par. 12

The Saviour of the world was a man of sorrows and acquainted with grief. He was exposed to ridicule and the fiercest of hatred of those whom He came to bless. He was rich but became poor, that we through His poverty might have eternal riches. Christ endured the most trying temptations of Satan, that as the Captain of our salvation He might have an experience in all the woes of men and know how to succor those who should be tempted. As Christ went without the camp bearing our reproach, we should not murmur or complain when we suffer justly as the result of pursuing a course our Redeemer has warned us not to take. We should gird up the loins of our minds and not faint when we are tempted but, like Him, be able to withstand the fiery darts of the devil. 2LtMs, Lt 59, 1874, par. 13

God will help you, my children, and will give you precious victories if you seek for His grace aright. It will be fatal to you to go on supposing you are nearly right and find out at last you were all wrong; you leaned upon a false hope and did not make God your trust; your mistake was fatal. Now, my children, I entreat of you to dig deep and lay your foundation sure upon the eternal Rock. Rivet your hopes, your very being, your all, to the eternal Rock. 2LtMs, Lt 59, 1874, par. 14

I entreat of you to make no delay. Let not one night or one day go over your head without a special move on your part. Make an entire surrender to God, agonize before God, both of you. Like Jacob cry, “I will not let thee go except thou bless me.” [Genesis 32:26.] When you come with brokenness of heart before God, feeling your entire worthlessness and sinfulness, saying with all your heart, “Lord, nothing in my hands I bring, simply to Thy cross I cling,” Jesus will meet you. Jesus will accept you and love and bless you both. I want you to make a thorough business of this matter and leave nothing undone on your part. The promise is spoken by God; it will be verified. “What things soever ye desire, when ye pray, believe that ye receive them, and ye shall have them.” Mark 11:24. 2LtMs, Lt 59, 1874, par. 15

Faith is simple; grasp the promises of God with unwavering faith. Commence at the very beginning like a soul seeking God for the first time. Make every step surely and do not, for your soul’s sake, think you may serve God at will and let it alone at pleasure. Let the most perfect and thorough honesty mark your life. It will not answer to deviate from the strictest integrity for one moment. Don’t venture on that track even once. Preserve your integrity even if it be at the sacrifice of life. Keep your accounts strictly. You are a bookkeeper and you may have every item of your business in black and white, plain for the investigation of any proper person. Any negligence in this respect is altogether wrong. 2LtMs, Lt 59, 1874, par. 16

You have, my children, both of you, capabilities that may, if consecrated, be of great use to the cause of God. But all your capability will not be a substitute for genuine piety and a correct religious experience. We cannot let you go on a false hope and find yourselves at last with hypocrites and unbelievers, outside the city of God. 2LtMs, Lt 59, 1874, par. 17

Now is your time to secure a hope in Jesus Christ, to be rich in good works and lay up for yourselves a good foundation against the time to come that you may lay hold on eternal life. 2LtMs, Lt 59, 1874, par. 18

Heaven, my children, is worth making any and every effort for. If you lose heaven, oh, of what account will your life have been? All a terrible failure. Do not have it so. You may choose life, eternal life, if you will. Through self-righteousness and carelessness, you may lose your confidence in God, and through the deceitfulness of sin lose the eternal reward. Oh, children, make so earnest efforts for everlasting life that you will be sure to gain it. You must not fail. 2LtMs, Lt 59, 1874, par. 19

Today has been a good day for Battle Creek. Your father spoke in the forenoon to a full house. He spoke well. I spoke with great freedom in the afternoon, and immediately at the close of the meeting we repaired to the river and your father baptized Brother Frisbie and wife and their excellent daughter. It was a very interesting scene. 2LtMs, Lt 59, 1874, par. 20

We are thankful to God that Willie has been spared to us. He is now improving, but cannot study, neither will he be able to study for three months to come. We have patients coming in all the time to the Health Institute, and scholars are coming in to the school. The responsibility increases upon those who profess to represent Christ, to walk even as He walked, to live as He lived, to be self-denying and self-sacrificing as was our Redeemer. 2LtMs, Lt 59, 1874, par. 21

Sister McDearmon is here keeping house for Burleigh. We will write you soon how we have disposed of your goods. Will make an effort this week to sell them and get all we can for them. 2LtMs, Lt 59, 1874, par. 22

I wish you could state in your letters something about the [Walling] children. We know not whether they are on the way or where. 2LtMs, Lt 59, 1874, par. 23


P.S. We have an excellent housekeeper—Lillie Lane. We prize her. She is a good cook and good at sewing, neat, and skillful. 2LtMs, Lt 59, 1874, par. 24

Your father is getting overburdened with cares. He will have to run away for a time. He cannot work so hard as he has done since he returned here. 2LtMs, Lt 59, 1874, par. 25

One word more: your lack of economy has been a grief to us. You have felt that there was no virtue in being so close in calculation and in denying self when your father had means, but whose means are we handling? Not ours, children; not our own, but the means lent us of God to be wisely improved, for He will require it of us again with usury. 2LtMs, Lt 59, 1874, par. 26

You scorn to economize in many things as your parents have done, and as you may yet feel the necessity of doing, unless you make a decided change in your habits of life. Now, children, don’t lay this away and say it is no use for you to try. You have so long been sliding downhill, you will have hard work to climb up, up, up. You must go step-by-step the steep ascent. Patience will be required, perseverance, and unfaltering faith. 2LtMs, Lt 59, 1874, par. 27

I would advise you, Edson, if you can get a good school to do so, not merely as a music teacher but teacher of the sciences. You may gain an experience in this way you will fail to gain in any other manner. See if you cannot do something in this line. Unless you see your deficiencies and make a decided reform, you will never be called of God to do a work for Him and to be especially connected with His cause. 2LtMs, Lt 59, 1874, par. 28

Why is it that while we are trying to caution, to guard you, to make the most earnest appeals, that at that very time you will pass on in self-sufficiency and make some moves which make your faithfulness questionable? I think it is because evil angels have more control of you than the angels of light. What you need is the religion of Jesus Christ. Wrong views of sin work great mischief every way. We are in constant danger of mistaking our true character and our relations to God. We are in danger of encouraging false hopes, and through the deceitfulness of sin exertion and effort in the right direction are paralyzed. We may esteem sin a light thing. We may look at it from the worldling’s standpoint, and we may take counsel of our inclinations and conclude that we are about right after all and that sin is not exceedingly sinful. 2LtMs, Lt 59, 1874, par. 29

When your time is engaged to do a certain work for which you are hired, remember nothing is a sufficient excuse for you to be negligent of your time and to bring in matters of your own. You may say, I do certain things at night, after my day’s work is done. But this is not right, for this very extra time put in to serve yourself unfits you to work with all that zeal and to do that amount of labor you should do without injury to your physical strength. You had not any too much physical and mental energy to devote to your work when the unemployed hours were spent in rest and recuperating, preparatory for your next day’s labor. 2LtMs, Lt 59, 1874, par. 30

Should you work all the hours required, for which you are paid, and then crowd in matters of your own, you would weary yourself with these things in late hours, and as the result feel diminished energy the following day, feeling utterly incapable, doing justice to nothing. You see, you rob your employer in order to serve self. For this unfaithful scheming, Aldrich lost not only his position in the office but he lost his life. Walker, for this same manner of working, made blunders and mistakes, was unfaithful in his duty, lost his position and has gone into dissipation. Poor man! All that there is of you is to be given to your employer, for he has hired your time. And it is your duty to do nothing for your selfish interest which shall overtax your strength and make you less valuable in performing the very work you are employed to do. 2LtMs, Lt 59, 1874, par. 31

To be a faithful servant in all things which concern the business of this life is a great thing, but to be unfaithful in the performance of the duties which relate to your eternal interest is a far more important matter, attended with momentous results. Your soul is stake here. God help you to see what you are and what you must be in order to inherit eternal life, is my prayer. Oh, be thorough, be sure that you are not superficial here. [Today], tomorrow, next week, you know not [when] the Master may say, Give an account of thy stewardship. 2LtMs, Lt 59, 1874, par. 32