Letters and Manuscripts — Volume 2 (1869 - 1875)

Lt 19b, 1874

White, J. E.; White, Emma

Bloomfield, California

April 27, 1874

Portions of this letter are published in 2Bio 411-412; 5MR 313-315.

Dear Children, Edson and Emma:

You have been neglected of late in our anxiety and earnest efforts to start in the work on this coast as God would have it. I know that there is a right way to commence it, and to be guided in this way and sustained by the help of God in this way is what we most earnestly desire. Our human judgment is not to be relied upon, but the will and way of God is sure to bring success. 2LtMs, Lt 19b, 1874, par. 1

We came to this place last Friday to attend quarterly meeting. The Conference Committee on this coast was expressly notified to be here, for there were important matters to be considered. We were to consult together and devise plans for the carrying forward of the work of present truth on this coast. We must ascertain, as far as possible, whether the people professing to love the truth will make efforts for its advancement, and will cooperate with us in widening and extending and building up the work of God on this coast this present year. 2LtMs, Lt 19b, 1874, par. 2

We cannot endure the thought of another year passing and we see no special work done. I set before our people the work they might do. I appealed to them that every soul professing to believe the truth should arise and begin to build. I told them, Would that the words of the heavenly Teacher would arouse them to action! “Why stand ye here all the day idle?” “Go work today in my vineyard.” [Matthew 20:6; 21:28.] 2LtMs, Lt 19b, 1874, par. 3

We set before our brethren the great work to be done, and that all heaven is interested in this work and is waiting their demands upon the heavenly reserve of power for just such purposes. Will they arouse to personal effort? We wished to know whether we should have works corresponding with our faith or stand by with folded hands, acting no part in the work. I appealed to my brethren, whether they would hug the shore or launch out into the deep waters and let down their nets individually for a draught; whether they would fish in shallow waters or the deep waters. I endeavored to impress their minds with the fact that to us had been entrusted sacred truths. 2LtMs, Lt 19b, 1874, par. 4

God had made us the repository of His law, not that we should keep this light hidden under a bushel or under a bed, but set it in a candlestick, that it may give light to the world. The enemy is rejoiced to have those who profess present truth to be indifferent, neglectful of the souls of others. “A little while,” said Christ to the Jews, “is the light with you.” [John 12:35.] How many are dying around us who have never heard a sermon upon present truth, who have never heard a word published upon the truth! A lifetime is a brief period, and yet the longest we can have to work out our own salvation and point others to the way by precept and example. 2LtMs, Lt 19b, 1874, par. 5

I urged them to think of the greatness of the work to be done, and the necessity of their having a deep and living experience in spiritual things, that they would not make laughing work of this matter. Where eternal interests are involved, our character must be molded, be transformed by the grace of Christ to the divine image, that we may work intelligently as Christ worked to save souls. 2LtMs, Lt 19b, 1874, par. 6

How long and interestedly men labor to acquire a profession or trade that they may make a success of their worldly business! And how much greater is the inducement, how much more is involved, in the enterprise of eternal life! How fearful to make a mistake here! How earnest we should be that all our powers be brought into action to save our own souls and the souls of our fellow men! Will it not pay to put tact and skill and persevering energy into this work as we do in obtaining an education in temporal, worldly, business matters? Think of the greatness of the work to be done! 2LtMs, Lt 19b, 1874, par. 7

I entreated of our brethren to do something, to do it now, and if brethren here in California were not intending to do more in the present season than they had been doing heretofore, our duty was plainly before us to return east and attend the camp meetings. Was it not time now to make extended efforts in place of pitching their tents in the smallest places? Imitate the great Teacher. His example is worthy of being followed. He placed Himself in the great thoroughfare of travel, where people were going to and from all nations of the world. The great lessons of truth were heard and accepted by many, and His utterances were carried to all parts of the world and repeated as the wisest sayings. This important truth was not kept in a dark corner. “Let your light so shine before men.” [Matthew 5:16.] Here it is the design of God that others should see the light. Your ideas are too limited. 2LtMs, Lt 19b, 1874, par. 8

San Francisco, Oakland, San Jose, and many other places equally important should have the truth. Not many will receive it in [any] of these places, but if one candle is lighted, then the moral darkness will not be so dense. Other candles may be lighted from that one. I ask you to consider, Have we indeed the last message of mercy to be given to the world? If we have the truth, we have a great and important work before us. We should keep a close connection with God, for it is through His power alone we can reach hearts and minds with a truth which requires self-denial and the lifting of the cross to obey it. The work must go to regions beyond. The world is to be warned, the message of truth must be heard, and will be heeded by some, and be to them a savor of life unto life, while to others it is a savor of death unto death. 2LtMs, Lt 19b, 1874, par. 9

Noah fulfilled the will of God in bearing God’s message to an impenitent, pleasure-loving, corrupt people—the inhabitants of the Noachic world. Only eight of that vast population accepted the warning, fled for refuge into the ark, and were saved. The message of Noah condemned the world. God will have men who will give the message of warning in this age of the world. All will have sufficient light to accept the saving truth, obey God’s requirements in keeping all His commandments, and be saved. Jesus, the Saviour of the world, declares that the same unbelief will exist prior to the coming of Christ as prevailed before the flood. But the fact that moral darkness covers the earth and gross darkness the people shall not change our course of duty in lifting up our voice in warnings, showing the people professing to be children of God their transgressions, and the house of Jacob their sins. 2LtMs, Lt 19b, 1874, par. 10

We are bearing the mighty, the most solemn, testing message ever given to the world. I have a part to act in this, and my brethren have a part to act in it. To every man God has given his work, according to their several ability. 2LtMs, Lt 19b, 1874, par. 11

Children, let your light shine forth to others. If you live only for yourselves, the heavenly benediction of “Well done” [Matthew 25:21] will not be yours. We must not live for self, but to be a blessing to others. The heart unrefreshed with the dew and rain of heaven becomes distrustful, discontented. Both God’s mercies and judgments are alike misinterpreted and unimproved. There is not a walking in the light. He that walketh in darkness knoweth not whither he goeth. He forgets that he is a steward of the grace of Christ. If we as a people have the truth, as we believe without a doubt we have, there is no time to be lost. We must work to get the message of warning before all we possibly can. Ministers have a work to do. Laymen cannot meet the accountability and be idle. 2LtMs, Lt 19b, 1874, par. 12

We have had many seasons of prayer to God for wisdom to move in God’s order. After much prayer your father expressed it as his opinion that now was the best time to start a paper on this coast, in accordance with the light the Lord has given in reference to it. We will move out cautiously. Your father’s plans are these: to start a weekly paper; to have the type set and the printing done at some city on this coast. Oakland is on the direct line of the railroad to and from Chicago to San Francisco. 2LtMs, Lt 19b, 1874, par. 13

This is the work of God. We take hold of it in the name of the Lord. He will give us strength. By faith we claim His power to help us. We feel that we cannot rest until we see the work moving forward more surely, earnestly, and upon a more elevated, broader platform than it has hitherto done on this coast. We have our preferences where we would love to be and love to work, but these must not come in to control us. God has a perfect right to us, to ours, a right to say go or come, do this or that, and we as His agents must do His will freely, not our own will. Our means, our children, ourselves are all His. He is our Creator. If we can only honor God, how grateful we should be. We must save souls to Jesus Christ. If God blesses and honors our plans, we shall see souls saved as the result. 2LtMs, Lt 19b, 1874, par. 14