Letters and Manuscripts — Volume 2 (1869 - 1875)


Lt 52, 1874

White, J. E.; White, Emma

Kokomo, Indiana

September 25, 1874

Portions of this letter are published in TDG 277.

My Dear Children, Edson and Emma:

I was unable to sleep the latter part of the night, through anxiety. I felt like pleading with God in behalf of my children. I cannot throw off this burden, separated from you much of the time. I feel intensely, but God will bless you if you ask Him. 2LtMs, Lt 52, 1874, par. 1

I feel as never before the solemnity of the time in which we live, especially as I have to bear testimony to young men who feel that they are competent to teach the truth to others. The kind of workman whom God will accept has been vividly set before me in vision. God will accept those who have a sensitive conscience, who have a keen sense of the enormity of sin. 2LtMs, Lt 52, 1874, par. 2

I have just been writing out a testimony of reproof for Brother Hutchins of Ohio. Some men attempt to preach who are not fit for the work. They lack consecration. There is one man in my mind now who is a ready speaker, but needs conversion. He needs the Spirit of God to work with his efforts. He should become acquainted with God by holding communion with Him. Oh, how few have a living, daily experience in the things of God. How many professors base their hope of being Christians not on what they now are, but on some past exercise in days gone by. 2LtMs, Lt 52, 1874, par. 3

Genuine conversion brings us daily into communion with God. There will be temptations to meet, and a strong undercurrent drawing us from God to our former state of indifference and sinful forgetfulness of God. No human heart can remain strong without divine grace. No man can remain converted unless he takes care of himself and the Master has a care for him. Unless the heart holds fast to God, and God holds fast to him, he will become self-confident and exalted and will surely stumble and fall. 2LtMs, Lt 52, 1874, par. 4

The power of God through faith was Paul’s dependence. “I live, yet not I,” he exclaims in his humility, “but Christ liveth in me.” [Galatians 2:20.] “I therefore so run, not as uncertainly; so fight I, not as one that beateth the air: but I keep under my body, and bring it into subjection: lest that by any means, when I have preached to others, I myself should be a castaway.” 1 Corinthians 9:26, 27. Paul was in such constant dread, lest his evil propensities should get the better of him, that he was constantly battling with firm resistance, unruly appetites and passions. If the great apostle felt like trembling in view of his weakness, who has a right to feel self-confident and boastful? The moment we begin to feel self-sufficient and confident then we are in danger of a disgraceful failure. 2LtMs, Lt 52, 1874, par. 5

Our only sure defense against besetting sins is prayer, daily and hourly prayer. Not one day zealous and the next careless, but through watchfulness and earnestness becoming vitalized by intercourse with God. Prayer is necessary, and we should not wait for feeling, but pray, earnestly pray, whether we feel like it or not. Heaven is open to our prayers. Prayer is the channel that conducts our gratitude and yearnings of soul for the divine blessing to the throne of God, to be returned to us in refreshing showers of divine grace. With very many, this channel is allowed to freeze up, and then the connection with heaven is interrupted. Sad indeed is the professed follower of Christ when his connection with the great Head is broken off. Oh, that we would spend more time upon our knees and less time in planning for ourselves and in thinking we may do some great thing. 2LtMs, Lt 52, 1874, par. 6

With prayer, our Redeemer has coupled watchfulness. “I say unto you all, Watch.” [Mark 13:37.] There is not a Christian upon the earth whose heart will not bear close watching. The approach of the tempter is sly, and his purposes concealed. We need to agonize with God in prayer that old habits which we have cherished until they have giant strength shall not master and control us. We want to watch, every moment. You especially need to watch your thoughts and your tongue; and watch for opportunities to do good. Like Mary, be found at the feet of Jesus, humble, devoted, learning of Him; and like Martha, be ever active, watching for opportunities to be of service in doing good to others in this life. We may thus obtain a fitness for the better life. 2LtMs, Lt 52, 1874, par. 7

The very best way to secure a fitness for the higher life is to watch unto prayer. Says Christ, “Watch ye therefore, and pray always.” [Luke 21:36.] Our eyes should be consecrated to God by watching with the closest diligence lest Satan steal a march upon us and involve us in difficulty. Again we need to watch that we may see opportunities of doing good. We need to watch our purses lest we let dimes and dollars pass therefrom for selfish gratification, to please the eye of lustful fancy, or to gratify the taste. Our tongues should be sanctified, that in every word may be confessions of Jesus; and our hands should be devoted to hard work for Christ in pulling sinners out of the fire. 2LtMs, Lt 52, 1874, par. 8

What a work is before us! How earnest should we be that this work is real, and not child’s play. Genuine conversion will stand the test of temptation. God is our strength in every trial. The trial of our faith is more precious than of gold. Oh, how anxious many of us are to shun difficulties! Yet the apostle declares, “Tribulation worketh patience; and patience, experience; and experience, hope.” [Romans 5:3.] 2LtMs, Lt 52, 1874, par. 9

My children, dig deep, and lay the foundation sure. Is your foundation shaky? Have you past things in your lives written in the books of God in heaven that have not been repented of and stand against your names still? Oh, look at these things carefully! 2LtMs, Lt 52, 1874, par. 10

I have just written a testimony to the daughters of Brother Mears. Three of his eldest daughters now have families of their own, but I was carried back to their schoolgirl days, when their course was crooked and they sought to conceal their folly from their father by deception, prevarication, and falsehood. I saw that these stood written against them in the books of heaven, and they could have no strength to advance in the divine life or to perfect Christian character until they went back and took up the course of their past wrongs and made straight work. Their influence had been injurious to the cause of God. 2LtMs, Lt 52, 1874, par. 11

Oh, how many are building upon a sandy foundation! There are huge cracks in the structure, and the building is liable to come down in the first gale of fierce temptation. This building, so illy constructed, is not riveted to the eternal Rock, Christ Jesus. The cracks appear in the lives of many professors, showing that they have not built on the solid Rock, Christ Jesus. Be careful how you build. In Christ’s Sermon on the Mount, He spoke of two classes of builders. One built upon the sand, the other, solid rock. Both houses looked secure, but the testing hour was to come. The wind blew, the storm beat upon them both, the floods came, and lo, one is gone. The ruins lie strewn about everywhere. The building is swept away. The sandy foundation could not bear the pressure of tempest and floods. It is in ruins. 2LtMs, Lt 52, 1874, par. 12

The house riveted to the rock stands firm, unmoved by the fiercest temptations. In building securely for eternity there is but one sure Foundation. God is rich in resources, but there is only one provision made. “Other foundation can no man lay than that is laid, which is Jesus Christ.” 1 Corinthians 3:11. 2LtMs, Lt 52, 1874, par. 13

In our sinfulness we had no righteousness of our own to stand upon, and Christ came from the royal courts of heaven to bring to us His righteousness. We had no strength, but Jesus offers to put His infinite arm beneath us. When our life is united to Jesus Christ and we rely solely and wholly upon the atonement, looking to Jesus for pardon and support, we indeed have Jesus, the eternal Rock, for our foundation. 2LtMs, Lt 52, 1874, par. 14

We are builders. Every day we are laying a brick. We are adding grace to grace, one good deed upon another—of faith, patience, temperance, benevolence, courage, self-denial, brotherly love, courtesy, and humility. A well-developed character is harmonious, and not a jumble of opposites and inconsistencies. “Ye are God’s building,” says the apostle. [Verse 9.] Grow up, my children, a beautiful temple to God, and at last you will enter in through the gates into the city. 2LtMs, Lt 52, 1874, par. 15