Letters and Manuscripts — Volume 3 (1876 - 1882)

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Lt 7, 1877

White, J. E.; White, Emma

Battle Creek, Michigan

July 22, 1877

Portions of this letter are published in TDG 212; 3Bio 66.

Dear Children, Edson and Emma:

We are truly itinerants. We are engaged in getting settled again at housekeeping. Your father has been absent in company with Willie one week in Indiana and Chicago. I have not been able to write much of late. The confinement and close application is working unfavorably for me healthwise. The cheerfulness and courage that I have usually had, at the present time is not. Continual pain of the heart and spine has a strangely depressing influence upon my spirits. I feel but little anxiety how it terminates, but I have one anxiety that overbalances every other consideration, that I may flee to the Stronghold. I would present duty with thoroughness, and for this reason I would be grateful for more strength. Frequently the very best evidence that we can have that we are in the right way is that the least advance costs us effort and that darkness shrouds our pathway. It has been my experience that the loftiest heights of faith we can only reach through darkness and clouds. 3LtMs, Lt 7, 1877, par. 1

I know it would be dangerous for me to leave the great matter of preparation for a sickbed. I may have no sickbed. The summons to me may come without a moment’s warning. The next step may be in eternity. Solemn thought. It is not safe for us to cherish doubts and fears, for these grow by looking upon and talking them. I feel to reach up my hand and grasp the hand of Christ as did the sinking disciple on the stormy sea. I want to do my work with fidelity, that when I shall stand [before] the great white throne and am called to answer for the things done in the body which are all written in the book, that I may see souls standing there also to testify I warned them, I entreated them to behold the Lamb of God that taketh away the sins of the world. Oh, will there be souls then, saved through my instrumentality? Through Christ, I would set before the people an open door. “Behold, I have set before thee an open door, and no man can shut it.” Revelation 3:8. 3LtMs, Lt 7, 1877, par. 2

The city of God with all its attractions is saying, Come. If we can by a holy life, by entreaties, by prayers, by warnings, point the sinners to the way of escape and fasten their attention to the heavenly gates open to receive them; if by faith they can see that the entrance into life is an open door, everything is gained. The earthly attractions will fade away, the heavenly will win and charm the soul. 3LtMs, Lt 7, 1877, par. 3

I have not in my affliction given up labor. I have precious seasons in addressing the people. God is good and gracious, of tender mercy. I have more of His love and of His favor than I deserve. 3LtMs, Lt 7, 1877, par. 4

Your father and mother are both worn, unable to endure physical taxation. The least excitement, agreeable or disagreeable, affects me painfully. I commence traveling again while at the same time I am preparing [Spirit of Prophecy] Volume Three. God may spare my life to complete it. The future is with the Lord. What use would it be to me or what encouragement to others to dwell on my affliction? We may have to lean upon our children and have their help, comfort, to be a blessing to us. We have everything to be thankful for in that we have Jesus. I hope the sin of ingratitude will never be charged to me. I want a living, abiding sense that God is the best and truest Friend I have, and I want to trust Him with my whole heart. 3LtMs, Lt 7, 1877, par. 5

Dear children, the hindrances that hold us back from perfecting Christian characters are in ourselves. Jesus can remove us. The cross He requires us to bear will create strength in us more than it consumes and removes our heaviest burdens to take the burdens of Christ which are light. Conflicts and trials we must meet in the discharge of duty. Christ has called us to glory and to virtue. The life He has, through His own suffering and death, prepared for us to lead would never have cost us a pain or grief if we had never left it. Every self-denial and every sacrifice we make in following Christ are so many steps of the lost sheep returning to the fold. The doors of the heavenly Canaan are opened wide and bid us all come in. We will not climb up some other way, but enter through the door. God help you, my children, make thorough work for eternity. 3LtMs, Lt 7, 1877, par. 6

Mother.