Letters and Manuscripts — Volume 2 (1869 - 1875)


Lt 60, 1874

White, J. E.

Battle Creek, Michigan

November 10, 1874

Previously unpublished.

Dear Edson:

We have passed through a severe trial. We feared we might not keep your brother Willie, he was so sick. But we have prayed in faith. The Lord has answered our prayers. We could not endure the thought that while growing old and feeble we could not have one son with us upon whom we could lean. Two lie in Oak Hill Cemetery waiting the sound of the trump. Only two sons living, and we [are] separated from them most of the time. This is indeed to me at times a great affliction. Then I think of Jesus, who left heaven and His glory behind and clothed His divinity with humanity and came to this world to seek and save the perishing. He suffered as we never can. He bore our griefs and was tempted in all points like as we are. When I think of our great Exemplar, I hush every murmur and feel grateful that I have the honor of sharing, even in the least degree, the privilege of bearing the cross of Christ. 2LtMs, Lt 60, 1874, par. 1

Our prayers follow you continually that you may not be surprised that you will be proved and tested of God. There will be those who will appreciate your trials, having passed over the ground themselves. There will be others who have never practiced self-denial and who will claim to be Christians, but they are not. Do not take these for your example. These cannot help you. They made the mistake of seeking happiness and enjoyment in following inclination. They never gave themselves to Christ, but have kept themselves to themselves to do as they pleased with themselves. They have not made a practice of going to God as a servant to his master, and asking Him for counsel to learn His will and then trying to do it, however humiliating to self. They are never happy. This life is a pretense. They have not solid peace. 2LtMs, Lt 60, 1874, par. 2

Do not, my son, consider it a success to shun responsibility while you leave the heavy burdens for other shoulders to bear. Bind yourself upon the altar of God in willing, holy alliance to Him who gave Himself for you, and in suffering for Him you will find a higher happiness than can ever be known by those who live to please and indulge self. Let duty be your watchword. Have enthusiastic devotion to truth, to purity. Let everything pure, virtuous, good and lovely in Christ, become the soul-stirring principles of your life. When you do this you will not desire to be studying the best way of enjoying yourself. The self-denying, the dutiful, [and] the brave are always happy. The Lord does not want His children to be unhappy. They manufacture their own unhappiness and bring sorrow upon themselves because they choose their own way rather than God’s way. 2LtMs, Lt 60, 1874, par. 3

The world is full of disappointed youth and men of mature age; and men whose life work is about ended, who have been toilers all their lives and who have met disappointment at every turn because they did not follow Him who is the light of the world. They worked blindly, making great efforts, ever expecting some coming good, pouring out all their strength, and coming to the end of life without finding happiness after all. They set their hearts to gain things that would never satisfy the deepest want of the soul. The Lord frequently thwarts our purposes for our good, and through disappointments and trials reveals to us our real want of the Light of life. 2LtMs, Lt 60, 1874, par. 4

Edson, come to the Source of your strength, your happiness, and your power. Christ became poor that He might make many rich. Your Saviour descended to the lowest depths of human woe that He might, with His divine arm, lift up fallen men to be blessed with His infinite mercy. All who will may be partakers of that mercy. For their salvation, His glory shines forth, His mercy pleads, and who can resist and remain impenitent? Who needs to give up on despair? 2LtMs, Lt 60, 1874, par. 5

In this view of the matter, what ought we to do? What ought you to do? There are the lost and perishing out of Christ everywhere. There are the troubled, the tempted, the desponding, the reckless, the defiant, the hardened in sin. Among all these there is work to be done. It is not enough that you try to save your own soul, but there are those for whom Christ has died who call for help. In order to be co-laborers with Christ we must put self out of sight. Christ died for you. He has suffered for you. He has also brought salvation within the reach of all, and if you are a partaker of the precious gift, it is your privilege and duty so to love Christ that you will love all for whom Christ has died. [You] will not study your convenience and your ease, but how you can best save the souls of your fellow men. 2LtMs, Lt 60, 1874, par. 6

Christ submitted to reproach, to poverty, to shame and agony for your sake and for every sinner. For this you should love Him, trust Him, deny self, [and] put yourself to any inconvenience to bear the message of peace, consolation, and hope to those who are out of Christ. Christ offers them pardon with the gift of eternal life. 2LtMs, Lt 60, 1874, par. 7

Take up the work which Christ has left for you to do, and without hope of reward or appreciation, even in this life, tread in the self-denying footsteps of your Redeemer. Take hold of the strength of the One mighty to save. Whatever you do, keep your heart pure. Preserve childlike simplicity, and the conflicts and troubles of the world will scarcely ruffle your spirit. You will have joy and peace within. Connected with God you may exert an influence which will be instrumental in bringing many souls to Jesus Christ. Work, my son, work for time and for eternity. 2LtMs, Lt 60, 1874, par. 8