Letters and Manuscripts — Volume 2 (1869 - 1875)


Lt 15a, 1871

White, J. E.; White, Emma

South Boston, Massachusetts

November 15, 1871

Portions of this letter are published in TDG 328; 5MR 397.

Dear Children, Edson and Emma:

We are now visiting at Brother [Stratton]. We were heartily welcomed in New England by our friends in Lancaster and Boston. Your father is now at Dr. Trall’s on business. He returns tomorrow. 2LtMs, Lt 15a, 1871, par. 1

We visit Maine before we return. Your Uncle Samuel [McCann] is very sick. He is not expected to live through spring. Our next appointments are New Hampshire, Maine, Rhode Island. 2LtMs, Lt 15a, 1871, par. 2

We visited Dio Lewis and found him an overworked man. He is liberal, open-hearted, and frank. The doctor has been overworking his brain. Your father enjoys the change. He resolves now not to confine himself so closely to Battle Creek. We have had excellent meetings, but I feel somewhat anxious for you, my children, lest your attention will be so fully absorbed with temporal matters that the Saviour will not find a place in your affections. 2LtMs, Lt 15a, 1871, par. 3

You mention the obligations you feel to some who have been very kind to you. This is right. Obligations are mutual. We should ever cherish feelings of gratitude to those who have shown us favors in times of need. But these feelings that are so readily called into exercise by the kindness and disinterestedness of our friends should respond to the love and compassion of our benevolent heavenly Friend. Think, dear children, of the claims of God and let them call forth devotion. The friendship expressed by nearest and dearest relatives and friends is so far surpassed by the revelation of Jesus Christ that the former is dumb and expressionless when compared with the latter. It is natural that the heart should entertain sentiments of the warmest affection toward those who have done or suffered something for us. 2LtMs, Lt 15a, 1871, par. 4

Let me lead you to the scene of the crucifixion and show you the Son of God dying in your stead. Will not the spectacle of the cross of Christ awaken every feeling of gratitude? Will it not sweep away the coldness and indifference which steels the senses to the great sacrifice made in our behalf? Oh, why does not the cross of Christ awaken gratitude and incite to cheerful obedience? 2LtMs, Lt 15a, 1871, par. 5

Our hearts should be naturally softened, but they are not. They should be obedient and submissive, while they are cold and insensible and hard-hearted. Here, dear children, God has qualified you to exercise certain feelings in response to the exceeding love manifest to you in the gift of His dear Son, and if you do not exercise these feelings when there is the greatest manifestation to call them into action, how can God look upon such indifference? You will naturally display love to every earthly friend, but your best and heavenly Benefactor is treated with indifference. Satan, the adversary of souls, is constantly at work with his devices and enchantments, stealing away the senses and deadening the feelings to our highest interest. To all the little matters of life the affections are given free play, but in eternal interest the affections are trammeled, bound as by magical cords. These can only be loosed by looking unto Jesus, the Author and Finisher of your faith. Love for Jesus Christ must be exercised, be cultivated. There must be a yielding of allegiance to Him, and breaking the cords of Satan. 2LtMs, Lt 15a, 1871, par. 6

The love of Jesus calls forth our most ardent love in return. He not only died our Sacrifice but He has obtained for us a home unsurpassed by any earthly home. He has purchased for us everlasting happiness and eternal glory. The price paid is beyond estimate; it cannot be computed; neither can the happiness and glory which was purchased be measured. It is a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory. 2LtMs, Lt 15a, 1871, par. 7

There are so many who endure privation and pursue at considerable sacrifice a course which promises advantages in the future. They forego present comfort for a future inducement as an equivalent, but here Jesus presents eternal life as the reward of obedience, and if paltry things of earthly gain will be sacrificed for some future good, how much more should ease, pleasure, and present worldly advantages be sacrificed for the incomparable riches and glory of the future immortal life. Let not the sorcery of earthly enchantments steal the affections from God and harden the heart to eternal interest. Look at the things that are unseen. Enshrine Jesus in the heart. Love Him with your whole soul, for it is not possible for you to love Him with the ardor He deserves. 2LtMs, Lt 15a, 1871, par. 8

The call comes; it is time for meeting. 2LtMs, Lt 15a, 1871, par. 9