Letters and Manuscripts — Volume 2

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Lt 51, 1874

White, J. S.

Kirkville, New York

September 10, 1874

Portions of this letter are published in 2Bio 450; 5MR 437; 6MR 302-303; 10MR 31-32.

Dear Husband:

This day I received letters from you, the first word from you since we parted. I feel so sorry that you have had a burden-bearing time. Every time you thought you might go with me to the meetings I felt greatly pleased, but I did not dare to urge you, fearing I might err as I had done in your going to California. 2LtMs, Lt 51, 1874, par. 1

Now, dear husband, do not, I entreat of you, do too much. I have tried to labor under discouraging circumstances. I had diarrhea all through the Lancaster meeting. Then I went to Maine, called one night at Sister Harriet’s, found her coughing her life away but could not relieve her. Visited Lizzie next night. Both Reuben and she were glad, so glad, to see me they acted out their pleasure in trying to do all they could for my comfort. 2LtMs, Lt 51, 1874, par. 2

Lizzie went with me to Saco in Lucinda’s place, while Lucinda went direct to Pishon’s Ferry. Samuel and Mary are well situated on an excellent farm on a hill. Water which is constantly flowing from a mountain spring is brought into the house, which makes the work easier for Mary. They both were social. No prayers, no blessing at the table in either of my sister’s houses. I went forward myself and prayed with them at Mr. Foss’s. They seemed glad to have me do it. I had to wait one hour at Lewiston Falls. Ellen was working in the shoe factory. Poor woman, she looks worn, but works on. Lizzie says she has the most lovely disposition of any woman she ever saw—always modest, sober, sensible, and yet retiring. She is killing herself with work. 2LtMs, Lt 51, 1874, par. 3

At the Maine meeting all were exceedingly disappointed not to see you. I told them if we stayed in Michigan this winter we would certainly come and see them. The new ones who have lately embraced the truth want to see you. 2LtMs, Lt 51, 1874, par. 4

Friday morning I was taken sick, flowing, and have continued the business until today. So you see that I have had difficulties to labor under, but I have stood in my place every time. I should have written more had it not been for this, for it made me so weak that after I had spoken, I felt that I could not write one line. 2LtMs, Lt 51, 1874, par. 5

I expected to meet you here, but I believe God will lead you. I commit all to Him. He knows what is best for us, for His cause, and His people. We wait and hope and pray that God will in His providence open your way and lead you to the position you should take. I know God wants you to live and plan and counsel His people, but not to work and bear unnecessary burdens. 2LtMs, Lt 51, 1874, par. 6

Oh that God would teach us His way and make plain our duty in His cause! In regard to California, I have felt a great desire to be at the camp meeting and have thought I should be there. Someway I could not get rid of this impression. Last Monday night we rode all night in the cars; arrived at Boston about eight o’clock. Lucinda was sick all day. 2LtMs, Lt 51, 1874, par. 7

In the afternoon Brother Wood took me out to Brother Nichols’. He was glad to see me. He looks feeble, his clothing rather rusty. He talks intelligently. He has a clear intellect yet. He had considerable to say upon the generation. We prayed together and left. Henry did not come into the room. I did not go to hunt him up; I thought it might not be best. Left Brother Nichols ten dollars. He was thankful for it. 2LtMs, Lt 51, 1874, par. 8

I attended their regular Tuesday night prayer meeting, and we had a very good meeting. Brother Andrews was present. I met him at Brother Stratton’s. He came to give me his testimony in reference to the piece Grant had written. He left Brother Stratton’s before I was up in the morning. I had no opportunity to bid him good-by and I did not care to say good-by. We may never, never meet again. 2LtMs, Lt 51, 1874, par. 9

There are thirty-four tents on the ground beside the two large tents. Brother Butler spoke this forenoon. I spoke this afternoon. The people seemed to manifest some feeling. May God help and arouse them out of sleep. 2LtMs, Lt 51, 1874, par. 10

We rode all last night, for I felt that I could not bear the taxation of an entire day dragging along in the cars. It is easier and the best to sleep over the route. 2LtMs, Lt 51, 1874, par. 11

Brother Butler labors hard. He is in full sympathy and union with you. I never heard Brother Andrews preach more pointedly and clearly and with more of the Spirit’s unction than at the Maine camp meeting. Brother Butler talked so plainly to the people upon their backwardness in regard to systematic benevolence, the new ones, most of whom are wealthy, were thrown into great trial. 2LtMs, Lt 51, 1874, par. 12

I tried to bind up their bruises. They said they did not complain at the straight talk, but it was Sunday evening when many worldlings were present. I tried to help their minds and I think I did. I went to the tent and talked with them. 2LtMs, Lt 51, 1874, par. 13

Brother Low took Lucinda and me to Kendall Mills to take the express train, for none left Pishons Ferry Monday night. 2LtMs, Lt 51, 1874, par. 14

Brother Butler works hard and tries to do everything he can, but I thought, with you, he might have made an apology for you after he had said so much about the disappointment. I made apology at Lancaster, just as you have in the paper; also, at Maine and among my relatives I made you stand high, just as you should stand before the people. 2LtMs, Lt 51, 1874, par. 15

Lucinda and I are all ready to follow your suggestions if you feel settled I should not go to Ohio. Please telegraph to me at Maulin’s Station for the campground at Kirkville, then it will be brought direct to the ground. 2LtMs, Lt 51, 1874, par. 16

I hope you will be of good courage and trust fully in God. He will guide you in judgment. We have written to Haskell today to be on hand at the Ohio and Indiana meetings. 2LtMs, Lt 51, 1874, par. 17

I may get another letter from you. Brother Butler seems to feel badly, but I do not know just what to say to him. He is left in uncertainty. Will you telegraph us what to do? 2LtMs, Lt 51, 1874, par. 18

In much love. I am disappointed in not seeing you. I do want to see you ever so much. 2LtMs, Lt 51, 1874, par. 19

Dear husband, since writing the above I have been meditating, and I feel that it is important that we move constantly having the good of the cause in view. You know in California you felt uneasy and dissatisfied, and thought that you would feel better in Battle Creek. You have crossed the plains; now please look at the matter carefully before deciding to return. Do not charge your brethren with neglect and get up feelings against them. I believe Brother Butler would help you if he knew how to help you. He has confidence in you, great confidence, and you may not place a correct interpretation upon his feelings. He has ever had times of depression, but he has tried to move from a sense of duty irrespective of his feelings; yet he could not feel joyful when he was depressed. 2LtMs, Lt 51, 1874, par. 20

Now, my dear husband, God is not pleased with our complaining of our brethren who are conscientiously doing with their ability all they know to do, as well as we are trying to do with our ability. 2LtMs, Lt 51, 1874, par. 21

I think you might remain in Battle Creek if you would not do those things that God has not called you to do. God has not called you to lay sidewalks or move privies, but to be a counselor to His people and aid them in large and important plans. Now we are here this side of the plains, let us remain till our work for which we came is done. Let us not move hastily. Our testimony would be a great blessing to the cause of God in the state of Maine, in Massachusetts, Vermont, and other places. I am just as willing to work here as in California. Edson is doing well, thrown on his own responsibility. He has a chance to develop character and bear responsibilities and feel the burden that he could not feel if he was having us to lean upon. Let us spend this winter in the East till we can feel that all is done we can do, and go West next spring if the Lord will. 2LtMs, Lt 51, 1874, par. 22

Dear husband, I do not feel that we should be impulsive. If I had my choice it would be to spend the winter in California, but does the Lord will this? I see work everywhere to be done, and I want to do this work faithfully and hopefully. Let us hide in God. He is acquainted with every trouble, every grief, every perplexity, and every physical weakness. He will be our Helper and our God. Let us hide in Jesus and wait for His salvation. I feel that I must go to the Ohio meeting unless you are fully settled to go to the California camp meeting. Even then I can get home in season to go, for it would not be of great account if we were not there the very first days of the meeting. But I fear that wherever you may be, you will be inclined to do too much. God will be your helper in doing just those things you cannot let alone, but you should not exhaust your precious strength on little jobs of secular business. Little matters all tax you. 2LtMs, Lt 51, 1874, par. 23

You dear, precious soul, what shall I say to help and encourage you? What shall I say to you to give you comfort and light? Only look up, only believe, and don’t let us charge upon any one the blame of our poor feelings, for this will only increase our grief instead of helping it. God loves you, and He will be to you a tower of strength. Love your brethren and try to think that they do just as well as we. 2LtMs, Lt 51, 1874, par. 24

We must have a strong hold of God. We must not look at the tumultuous waves. Look to Jesus and walk by faith. One touch, one word, one look from Him can remove disease, despondency, and gloom. Look up, dear husband. Look up, not down, not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are unseen, which are eternal. 2LtMs, Lt 51, 1874, par. 25

But you know the whole story; I cannot tell you anything new. You know God loves you and I pray that you may be sustained every day by His power. God will help you now, just now. He will give you health. He will not leave you to discouragement and feebleness. No, no; the Sun of Righteousness will arise upon you with healing in His beams. There is health in the dear Saviour; there is joy and hope and courage. 2LtMs, Lt 51, 1874, par. 26

Now, my dear husband, let us believe with all our soul and never let go of God’s promises. 2LtMs, Lt 51, 1874, par. 27

In haste, 2LtMs, Lt 51, 1874, par. 28

Your Ellen.

Sister Emilie Fellows will be at Battle Creek this week. She should be matron of the Health Institute, I believe. Sister High is coming to the Institute again. She has made complaints to me of the high price of room that was not suitably furnished. I hope that no one will have reason of complaints. I talked plans with her. 2LtMs, Lt 51, 1874, par. 29

I hope that nothing I have written will cast burdens on your mind. If you are really settled to go to California, let nothing I have written change your purpose. I merely suggest. I do not want you to make any moves you will afterwards regret. I know that we can do good in California and good in Michigan and good in New England. 2LtMs, Lt 51, 1874, par. 30