Letters and Manuscripts — Volume 2 (1869 - 1875)


Lt 29, 1874

White, J. E.; White, Emma

Oakland, California

May 23, 1874

Portions of this letter are published in 2Bio 418.

My Dear Children, Edson and Emma;

We received and read Edson’s letter last night. We are sorry that you have no better occupation. In this respect we cannot help your case. You have shaped your own course, my son. We have, perhaps, felt too anxious to save just such a state of things with yourself that you now experience. Our mature experience led us to caution and warn and entreat you to pursue a course to gain a reputation for yourself, but Edson, you have looked so constantly to your own interest, regardless of your parents, that we have felt that it would be sin in us to sustain you longer in a course we knew was not receiving the sanction of God. 2LtMs, Lt 29, 1874, par. 1

It has been inexpressibly painful for me to come to the position I have taken. My love for my children is very deep. I would be willing to die for them could I by dying be the means of arousing them to see their true state and come into that nearness with God that He could safely use them as polished instruments to His glory in saving souls for whom Christ died. It is no small cross to withdraw, in a measure, from you, and be compelled to feel that all our efforts in the direction of helping you in your embarrassments have only resulted in your maintaining an independence unbecoming a son and a Christian. 2LtMs, Lt 29, 1874, par. 2

We fear we have done you great injury in frequently letting you have means that you have not earned. This has blinded your eyes to your true position. You have trusted to your ability and have not seen your inefficiency to make a discreet use of means. You have been improvident of means with which we have supplied you. We have not left you to find out the weak points in your character. You have passed on, self-confident, self-important, unwilling to take advice of your parents. Notwithstanding the obligation and duties resting upon children to care for their parents, it has all come on the other side in your case. We have cared for you, and unless you could be especially benefitted yourself, you have felt no burden to put your interest aside and waive your plans to benefit your parents. Emma and yourself, I think, have been of the same mind—perfectly content to be shut up to yourselves, following your inclination and making duty a secondary consideration. 2LtMs, Lt 29, 1874, par. 3

Now Edson, if you have not found out that God will not especially bless those whose interest is wholly for self, and if you do not feel that you would and must pursue an entirely different course, you would only be a burden to us rather than a help. As it is, we feel that we can no longer use money upon you which will not bring us relief or happiness in helping us to do the great work God has given us to do, or in glorifying God more directly by your own efforts. The means God has entrusted to us must and shall be used to advance the cause of God. When you surrender yourself wholly to God and realize His claims upon you, both of you feeling that you can work in any place and do anything that seems to be duty to bless others and glorify God, then you may expect the Lord will bless you. God will not especially prosper with health and happiness those who do not feel under any obligation to devote their strength in faith to His service. 2LtMs, Lt 29, 1874, par. 4

We feel that we have made the last propositions to you that we ever shall in regard to your uniting your efforts with us. We have made proposition after proposition which has not seemed pleasant or flattering to your ambitious mind. Now we leave you to propose and tell what you want. If you have come to that state of mind where you feel that mutual obligations are the only right way, God will prosper the right and He will bless the self-denying and self-sacrificing. 2LtMs, Lt 29, 1874, par. 5

Our children have been very dear to us, but they are no more precious in the sight of God than any other of the sons and daughters of Adam. Their being our children will not tell a particle in their favor, or excuse the smallest sin in the sight of God. We should not be selfishly shut up to our children and do for them that which we would condemn in others should they pursue the same course toward their children. We must have a disinterested benevolence. 2LtMs, Lt 29, 1874, par. 6

Our means must henceforth go from our hands directly to the cause of God. It must not be improvidently used or built up in any case that which God is not prospering and building up. We are not our own. We have been bought with a price, therefore it devolves upon us to glorify God with our bodies and spirits which are God’s. Our means is not ours. We are only God’s stewards of means and we are under solemn obligations to use this means to save souls, to spread the light and glorify His name. 2LtMs, Lt 29, 1874, par. 7

We have had duties to do to you to help you, to counsel and advise you, but you have not reciprocated it. Now the duty is on the other hand. We have no propositions to make to you farther than this: When you come into the position of a faithful son to his parents, feeling that duties and responsibilities to your parents are resting upon you, we shall reciprocate it. We will not be behind in this matter. You have a character to redeem as a son fulfilling his duties to his parents. We leave you both with your consciences and with God. We will not make duties for you. But you have the Word of God and the light of testimony in reference to your case. You have a work to do in redeeming the past. When you are converted you will commence to work at the right point. Until a reformation takes place with you we are better separated, and we cannot take any responsibility in your case. You must earn a reputation for yourself. 2LtMs, Lt 29, 1874, par. 8

Your father has but little responsibility now in Battle Creek. He is publishing a paper here, and he is working very hard. We are praying that he may be sustained in his arduous efforts to build up the cause of God upon the Pacific Coast. We are not living for ourselves. When the time shall come that we shall be engrossed in our own especial interest, then I hope to live no longer. I live for others’ good. 2LtMs, Lt 29, 1874, par. 9

My dear boy, my heart yearns after you. I long to see you with humble heart before God. “The meek will He guide in judgment: and the meek will He teach His way.” Psalm 25:9. Oh, settle into God. Be at peace with God. Secure the favor of God, which is better than the favor of princes. Have the fear of God continually before you. When your heart is right with God He will open ways for you. 2LtMs, Lt 29, 1874, par. 10

I have spoken to the people today. There are twenty-five who are just commencing to keep the Sabbath. I spoke from the last verses of Malachi, third chapter, and first three verses of the fourth chapter. I had great freedom. The Spirit of the Lord rested upon us and blessed the word spoken. 2LtMs, Lt 29, 1874, par. 11

In the afternoon there was a social meeting and about fifteen spoke who had just started out to obey the truth. These are the very best of society. God is doing a great work in Oakland. Such a meeting as we have had today! So many testimonies from these who have kept the Sabbath for the first time! The interest increases all the time. The second tent will be pitched in East Oakland, two or three miles from where it now stands. 2LtMs, Lt 29, 1874, par. 12

There will be a printing office established here; also a Health Institute established here. And men of God will be needed—self-sacrificing, devoted men. May the Lord provide men for the work who are the very men for the place is our constant prayer. 2LtMs, Lt 29, 1874, par. 13

God is helping your father. He can do considerable work if he has no special discouragements of mind. God has used him to His glory here in getting the work started. We stand high in the community here. 2LtMs, Lt 29, 1874, par. 14

Write often. May God bless you, my children, in giving you clear views of yourselves. 2LtMs, Lt 29, 1874, par. 15

Your Mother. 2LtMs, Lt 29, 1874, par. 16