Letters and Manuscripts — Volume 2 (1869 - 1875)


Lt 16a, 1870

White, J. E.; White, Emma

Pleasanton, Kansas

October 1870

Portions of this letter are published in 6MR 301, 315.

[To Edson and Emma:]

[First page is missing. Similar to Lt 16, 1870.]

... left Michigan, for the first camp meeting of the season. This is the work of God,—a miracle of His mercy. I praise Him for this evidence of His love and care for me. 2LtMs, Lt 16a, 1870, par. 1

We had a profitable meeting at Tipton, Indiana. We had freedom in bearing our testimony, and the people heard the word gladly. Elder E. L. [Lane] has done a good work in that State. He is liked everywhere, and is meeting with excellent success. God bless the young men who are laboring for their Master. Elder L[ane] has not had an encouraging or an easy time. He has suffered privations and hardships, yet he has no disposition to complain. Would that one hundred such men could start out in humility to work for the Lord. 2LtMs, Lt 16a, 1870, par. 2

Tuesday afternoon [October 11] we left the encampment at Tipton. At the depot we were accosted by two ladies, members of the Methodist church, who had come for the purpose of speaking with me. One had been brought up a Friend, and still retained her “thee” and “thou.” Both seemed to have had an experience in the things of religion. They were much pleased with my discourse Sunday afternoon. They, with other Christian women in the place, believed that woman can exert a powerful influence by public labor in the cause of God; but a large class, including the ministers of the several denominations, held that she was entirely out of her place in the desk. 2LtMs, Lt 16a, 1870, par. 3

On learning that I was to speak at the campground, both parties determined to go and hear me, agreeing that if I proved myself able to expound the Scriptures to the edification of my hearers, the ministers should cease their opposition to woman’s speaking, and, on the other hand, if my remarks failed to be edifying, the ladies would accept the ministers’ views upon the point. 2LtMs, Lt 16a, 1870, par. 4

These two ladies came to the meeting feeling that much was at stake. Said they, “We prayed earnestly that God would give you freedom and the power of His grace; and our expectations were more than realized. God helped you to speak. Such an impression was made on this community as was never known before. You have told us truths of which many were ignorant. All will have matter for serious thought. Prejudice against woman’s speaking is gone. If the people had known that you would speak to the public, any of the churches in the place would gladly have opened their doors to you.” These Christian women then urged us to stay and speak again, but we told them it was impossible. They also invited us to come to the Methodist camp meeting next year, promising us a good hearing. They then bade me Godspeed, and we parted. 2LtMs, Lt 16a, 1870, par. 5

Soon the cars started, and we were on our way to Indianapolis, where we spent the night. The next morning we started for St. Louis, and at that place took a sleeping-car for Kansas City. Just opposite us, in this car, sat a fine-looking man who, as we afterward learned, was an infidel. In the course of conversation he remarked that he believed the Bible record a lie, and that if God had caused all the misery we see in the world, because of Adam and Eve’s transgression, He was not a God of mercy and goodness; and he further stated his belief that we are merely creatures of circumstance, not being in the least accountable for the evils that have befallen our race. This remark not being addressed to myself, I made no reply, but they awakened these thoughts: 2LtMs, Lt 16a, 1870, par. 6

In one sense we are the creatures of circumstance. We have brought suffering upon ourselves through our own unwillingness to submit to God’s requirements. If God’s people, when they came out of Egypt, would have obeyed the specific directions given them from Heaven, they would have been preserved from disease. But depraved appetite was strong, and this they would indulge at the expense of health, and even of life itself. Thus it has ever been, from that day to the present: a continual departure from God’s wise arrangements, the indulgence of appetite and sinful desires, has brought misery and disease of every type. 2LtMs, Lt 16a, 1870, par. 7

We slept well through the night, and awoke in the morning refreshed and invigorated. The skeptic was looking blue. He told us the day before that he had left the use of coffee, because it injured him; but he now acknowledged that he drank a cup of the beverage before retiring, and it so excited his nerves that he could not sleep. He had passed a most miserable night. Truly, here was a “creature of circumstance!” God had not brought this suffering upon him; he had indulged appetite at the expense of health and comfort. 2LtMs, Lt 16a, 1870, par. 8

In the car were children who had been stuffed with chicken, pie and cake, and then were crying with pain; they were afflicted with colic. “Creatures of circumstance!” There were pale-faced children with colds and coughs, their limbs half-naked or covered with only a thin flannel stocking, “Creatures of circumstance!” There were tobacco-users, sallow, consumptive,—“Creatures of circumstance!” One lady who had eaten a hearty supper was so uncomfortable that she dared not sit down or go to rest. “Creatures of circumstance!” How much of the misery which we see can be traced directly to the cause—wrong habits which have brought their sure result! 2LtMs, Lt 16a, 1870, par. 9

When we entered the waiting-room at the depot at Kansas City, we found it crowded with emigrants of the lower class, who were so filthy in their persons and clothing as to be absolutely repulsive. The huge box stove was heated to redness, and every window was tightly closed. The sickening sensation which we experienced in that atmosphere was absolutely overpowering. We could not endure it. It was a cold morning, but we took our hand baggage, climbed a hill some distance from the depot and there, seated on a ledge of rock beneath a tall oak tree, with the frost lying on the ground around us, we ate our cold lunch. Refreshed by our walk in the keen morning air, we returned to the depot and were soon on our way to Pleasanton, [Kansas]. 2LtMs, Lt 16a, 1870, par. 10

And now you will wish to hear something about the meetings here. We have had excellent freedom. The people are hungry for the Word of God. Some were one week coming in their large covered wagons. One man traveled in this way 300 miles; he spent ten days in making the journey, and did not reach the campground till the last day of the meeting. Delegates came from Missouri, begging for help in their State. Such entreaties I never heard before. 2LtMs, Lt 16a, 1870, par. 11

At our meetings the people sat with streaming eyes, devouring every word. The Lord gave me a sweet blessing last Sabbath afternoon. His love filled my heart. The congregation was deeply affected, and many came forward for prayers. 2LtMs, Lt 16a, 1870, par. 12

We see very much to do everywhere. If God will give us strength, we will cheerfully follow in the path of duty. The Macedonian cry is heard from all directions. Oh, how we want to answer all these calls; but this is impossible. Sometimes these things cause me great anxiety; then I reflect that the cause is the Lord’s, the work is His, and He will carry it forward in His own time and way. 2LtMs, Lt 16a, 1870, par. 13

But I know that much responsibility rests upon the followers of Christ. They can be workers, if they will consecrate themselves wholly to God. I entreat the Lord to impart to me new strength daily to speak the words of life to those who are ready to perish. 2LtMs, Lt 16a, 1870, par. 14

My dear children, you should feel it a religious duty to preserve your health, that you may glorify your Maker by perfect service. Let all your habits be correct. You should be governed by principle in this matter. Sickness is prevailing everywhere, and it is now specially important to proper attention to all the laws of health. In all that we do, our object should be, not the gratification of pride or of appetite, but the glory God. 2LtMs, Lt 16a, 1870, par. 15

Emma, guard against wearing your dresses too tight. Give all the vital organs full room to work without obstruction. I trust that you will both be governed by fixed principles and never violate your conscience. 2LtMs, Lt 16a, 1870, par. 16

Live for the glory of God. Be tender, kind, and courteous to each other. The happiness of your life will consist in making God your trust, and in seeking to make each other happy. Practice self-control. It is so easy to speak thoughtlessly, words that grieve and wound. Do not venture to trifle with each other’s feelings. Practice patience, encourage love, discipline yourselves to guard every word and action, and study how you can be a blessing to each other. 2LtMs, Lt 16a, 1870, par. 17

Love is a delicate plant; rude blasts frequently bruise it if they do not uproot it entirely. 2LtMs, Lt 16a, 1870, par. 18

Never make a third person your confidante. Your private life is sacred; keep the barriers high, that no one may presume to intrude into the sacred circle. Be calm and tranquil, patient, forbearing, and forgiving. 2LtMs, Lt 16a, 1870, par. 19

A word more: do not speak a word in jest that will injure or reflect upon each other. Never recount the mistakes, or errors, or faults of each other in the presence of a third person, or in company, be the circle ever so select. Live for God and for each other. 2LtMs, Lt 16a, 1870, par. 20

May the best of Heaven’s blessings rest upon you, my much-loved children. We pray for you every day. 2LtMs, Lt 16a, 1870, par. 21