Letters and Manuscripts — Volume 3 (1876 - 1882)

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Lt 8a, 1879

White, J. E.; White, Emma

Denison, Texas

January 20, 1879

Portions of this letter are published in UL 34.

Dear Children, Edson and Emma:

We have had considerable snow for Texas. But all seem to enjoy it. I have just received a letter from you. I feel to praise God for any tokens of good for us and for you, my dear children. I know that all who are saved in the kingdom of God will have battles to fight against Satan; and I know that he will work every device to secure you to himself, for through you he could afflict us and weaken our courage and bring a burden of care upon us. But I am glad for every letter that we receive expressing your feelings of determination to press on and fight the good fight of faith. You say you love Jesus and mean to devote your lives to His service. Precious resolution! 3LtMs, Lt 8a, 1879, par. 1

The more you preserve your Christian integrity to know and understand for yourself the way of life and salvation, the less of the worldly mold will be upon you. The more you know of Jesus, the more you will desire to know, and the more ignorant you will feel that you are in regard to things of eternal interest. We want the right spirit, the teachable spirit, willing to learn in Christ’s school the lessons of humility and meekness. “Learn of Me,” said the heavenly Teacher, “for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls. For My yoke is easy and My burden is light.” Matthew 11:29, 30. 3LtMs, Lt 8a, 1879, par. 2

It is when we seek to carry our own burdens and when we manufacture a yoke for our own necks that the yoke is grievous and the burden becomes heavy. We want Christ’s meekness; then little things will not irritate us. 3LtMs, Lt 8a, 1879, par. 3

We may have zeal in working, but this is not all that we need. We want true Christian sympathy. We want self and our will submerged in the will of Christ. We want an eye single to the glory of God. We want to be continually anxious and working for the honor and glory of God. The soundness of our principles will be tested, and the strength of our loyalty will be proved. 3LtMs, Lt 8a, 1879, par. 4

I wish all could see as I have seen the sharp, keen, persevering workings of Satan to tempt and to deceive. His vigilance never relaxes. He has ready access to souls because they are not attentive to heed the warnings God has given them. Counsels and reproofs are found in the Word of God, and it is as the voice of God directly speaking to them—yes, to you, my children—that they shall not be ensnared. Dear children, heed these warnings. Be not careless and inattentive. 3LtMs, Lt 8a, 1879, par. 5

The great indifference of hundreds makes them walk into Satan’s snare when, if watchful and guarded, they might escape. So many invite the enemy to tempt them. They walk so carelessly that they become an easy prey. They throw wide open the citadel of the soul and invite his entrance, place themselves in circumstances where they will be entrapped. 3LtMs, Lt 8a, 1879, par. 6

There is something wonderful in the history of our people. They are increasing rapidly in members. Converts to the faith in a single year are not few, but many. They are blessed with spiritual and temporal prosperity. Will it lift them up? Will it make them thankful, zealous, and more earnest and vigilant? Is not lukewarmness becoming more and more apparent? Is there not marked evidence of careless indifference, of want of spiritual power? Is there not a backsliding from health reform? I feel alarmed for our people; such is the disposition to mingle with worldly men and expect power from them that is not pleasing to God. While we are not to be secluded and consider that our work is to colonize and bind up large interests in one or two places to the neglect of the fields spreading out before us, we are to remain just the people God designed we should be, gathering the divine rays of light from the Son of righteousness, and diffusing these rays amid the moral darkness that covers the earth. 3LtMs, Lt 8a, 1879, par. 7