Letters and Manuscripts — Volume 2 (1869 - 1875)


Lt 23, 1873

White, J. E.; White, Emma

Omaha, Nebraska

December 24, 1873

Portions of this letter are published in TDG 367; OHC 44; 11MR 125.

Dear Children, Edson and Emma:

We are seated in the cars at Omaha en route to California. We have made our transfer all right. Now we have only one more change to make before we shall reach Oakland, California. This is appreciated by us, who have so great an amount of baggage. We slept excellently well last night. Your father is feeling quite well for him. He is cheerful. We have seen but little snow thus far. The weather is mild indeed for this season. In two days we shall reach the summit, then we may be sensible of a change and experience cold weather. 2LtMs, Lt 23, 1873, par. 1

We hope you may be prospered of God. If we have His care and His approval, we shall make a success wherever we are and in whatever we may engage. Without the blessing of God, any amount of prosperity will fail to be a success. Our first anxiety should be to secure God as our friend. “Let him take hold of my strength, that he may make peace with me; and he shall make peace with me.” Isaiah 27:5. 2LtMs, Lt 23, 1873, par. 2

Do not make it a business to serve yourselves and become indifferent in regard to the claims of God upon you. You are His property. Have fixed principles. Consider Jesus has bought you at an infinite cost. Your thoughts should be kept pure; they are the Lord’s. Give them to Him. We can merit nothing from God. We can give Him nothing which is not His own. Will we keep back from God what is His own? Do not rob God and pawn His time, His talents, and His strength with the world. He asks your affections. Give them to Him. They are His own. He asks your time, moment by moment. Give it to Him. It is His own. He asks your intellect. Give it to Him. It is His own. 2LtMs, Lt 23, 1873, par. 3

Remember the words of the inspired apostle, “Ye are not your own. For ye are bought with a price.” [1 Corinthians 6:19, 20.] You are bought, children, even if you perish. The Lord wants His own property. When we have given to God soul, body, and spirit; when we have kept appetite under the control of enlightened conscience, and wrestled against every lust, showing that we consider each organ as God’s property, intended for His service; when all our affections move in harmony with the Lord’s mind, fastening on objects “which are above, where Christ sitteth on the right hand of God” [Colossians 3:1]—then we have given the Lord His own. O God, “all things come of thee, and of thine own have we given thee.” [1 Chronicles 29:14.] 2LtMs, Lt 23, 1873, par. 4

God knows the thoughts and intents and purposes of the heart. It is not only your privilege, but your high duty to live for God and for Him alone. Whatever may be your surroundings or your prospects, convenient or inconvenient, God’s claims are the same. You will see those around you who have centered their thoughts upon themselves and had so great care and love for themselves that the Lord had no chance to manifest His love and care for them. Had these given themselves to God to serve Him, and left all their interest in His hands, He would have cared for them. 2LtMs, Lt 23, 1873, par. 5

Dear children, on no consideration live for yourselves alone. There are those who ever need the help you can give them. Jesus gave Himself for us. What a condescension! Let us deny self and bless others. Glorify God by choosing His way, His will. He will be your wise counselor and your fast, unchanging Friend. “God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten Son” for its redemption. [John 3:16.] It is a marvel with the angelic host that the humiliation and death of the Son of God should not call men to repentance, that such a Saviour, who made so great a sacrifice to ransom man, should be rejected and scorned. 2LtMs, Lt 23, 1873, par. 6

The apostle asks, “Who hath bewitched you that ye should not obey the truth?” Galatians 3:1. So strong and powerful are the evidences on which our faith rests that the unbelief of men seems incredible. The sorcery of the power of darkness has charmed and deluded the senses to chain reasoning minds in the darkness of unbelief. Christ bore our sins in His own body on the tree, and who can read this and can restrain the thought that will follow, What must sin be, if no finite being could make atonement? What must its curse be, if Deity alone could exhaust it? The cross of Christ testifies to every man that the penalty of sin is death, and if he continues in sin, inconceivable wretchedness will be awarded him. Oh, must there be some strong, bewitching power which holds the moral senses, steeling them against the impressions of the Spirit of God? I entreat of you, as Christ’s ambassador and as your mother, to be diligent in securing the grace of God. You need it every day, that you make no mistake in your life. 2LtMs, Lt 23, 1873, par. 7

It is well to feel your dependence on God. You may feel that you are competent to manage yourself, to lay plans and execute them in your own judgment. This is unsafe for you or for anyone to do. I speak of the things I know. Take God, children, into your counsel. Seek Him for guidance. He will not be sought of in vain. God would have you labor for Him. There is work for you to do in His vineyard. Bring your will into conformity to the will of God. I entreat of you not to let these precious hours of probation pass without spiritual advancement. In no case allow your moral powers to become dwarfed. They need cultivating continually, that they may be put to use for the salvation of souls. 2LtMs, Lt 23, 1873, par. 8

Heaven with its attractions is before you, an eternal weight of glory, which you may lose or gain. Which shall it be? Your life and your character will testify the choice you have made. I feel the more anxious because I see so many indifferent upon the subjects of infinite importance. They are always busy here and there about matters of minor importance, and the one great subject is put out of their thoughts. They have no time to pray, no time to watch, no time to search the Scriptures. They are altogether too busy to make the necessary preparation for the future life. They cannot devote time to perfect Christian characters and in diligence to secure a title to heaven. 2LtMs, Lt 23, 1873, par. 9

Children, if you have life eternal, you must be earnest and work to the point. 2LtMs, Lt 23, 1873, par. 10

We are nearing Ogden. We must prepare to change cars. 2LtMs, Lt 23, 1873, par. 11