Letters and Manuscripts — Volume 3 (1876 - 1882)


Lt 1a, 1879

White, J. E.

Denison, Texas

January 1, 1879

Previously unpublished.

Dear Son Edson:

I wrote you yesterday, and before I was prepared to send the letter, it had to go in that mail or be delayed. 3LtMs, Lt 1a, 1879, par. 1

Now, my son, I wrote to you just as I viewed matters, not to hurt you, but to help you. You must know that I have more correct views of these things than yourself. I greatly desire that you should be a man of God and one who can be depended upon. This is what the Lord would have you to be. We are just entering a new year, and I want that you should commence it with humility and with an entire consecration to God. “Meditate upon these things; give thyself wholly to them; that thy profiting may appear to all.” 1 Timothy 4:15. This was the advice given by Paul to Timothy. He was exposed to temptation and was inexperienced. Paul saw his dangers and warned him how best to shun the temptations to which he was exposed. 3LtMs, Lt 1a, 1879, par. 2

Timothy had chosen a high and sacred calling. He had entered the Christian ministry and had devoted himself to the work of reforming his fellow men. He was commissioned of God, and yet to a great extent he was to be the framer of his own course. His success as a man and as a minister depended in a great degree upon the plan which he should pursue and the course of action he should adopt. In order to guard and counsel him, Paul, just prior to his martyrdom, dictated the two epistles which bear Timothy’s name. Here certain principles of action are prescribed and counsel and warnings given which it would be well for you and many others to read carefully. Timothy is enjoined to meditate upon them, give them his serious consideration, and carry them out faithfully, that his profiting might appear to all in his influence and intercourse with men. 3LtMs, Lt 1a, 1879, par. 3

Many youth fail from want of due caution and foresight. They calculate upon certain and sure success, but for lack of judicious, careful weighing of matters on all sides, they meet nothing but disappointment and failure. Youth is a season of great ardor, great folly, and great mistakes. It takes years of disappointment and reverses for youth to learn the deceitfulness of the world, so that they will not be flattered with every prospect and will engage in their various employments with the whole heart and strength. The earnestness of youth should be devoted to improvement. Improvement is the order of life progress. This is the will of God, and He has wisely placed old men and young men in the world together, that the young, with fresh zeal and earnestness, may push onward the work of reformation, while the aged shall guide and control it. While the youth are forward for improvement, they also make great mistakes. They rush ahead without due caution, heedless of consequences, and frequently meet with failure and defeat. 3LtMs, Lt 1a, 1879, par. 4

It has been in your history, failure and defeat; one speculation after another has presented itself where you thought money could come into your hands faster, and one plan after another has been adopted week by week. You ventured into a little deeper water, taking upon yourself new obligations. But the result has been, instead of finding yourself the possessor of a fortune, you were bankrupt. The loss of means was the smallest part of the difficulty. The confidence of others in your character was shaken. 3LtMs, Lt 1a, 1879, par. 5

But why need you have failed? Because you did not profit by advice and counsel of those of experience. Blind judgment excuses this matter, and I fear the lessons that will make you a man of trust, a man of usefulness and of sound judgment, are not yet learned. These failures might be avoided if young men would heed the lesson Paul gave to Timothy, would meditate upon those things which are so closely connected with their success in this life and their happiness in the future life. 3LtMs, Lt 1a, 1879, par. 6

God will use you to His glory, if you work earnestly with self out of sight and God’s honor in view. Try it, my son, try it. Your mother loves you and wants to save you from trouble. 3LtMs, Lt 1a, 1879, par. 7