Letters and Manuscripts — Volume 3 (1876 - 1882)


Lt 36, 1876

White, J. E.; White, Emma

Columbus, Ohio

August 10, 1876

Previously unpublished.

Dear Children, Edson and Emma:

I received letters from you both soon after my letter was sent to you. 3LtMs, Lt 36, 1876, par. 1

We are now at your Uncle John White’s. We arrived here last night about five o’clock. We found your Uncle John and Aunt Ann absent at Delaware [County, Ohio]. Ann’s father, Mr. Williams died six months ago. His widow, Ann’s stepmother, died while on a visit in Massachusetts. Her body was brought to Delaware in [a] metallic coffin. Your uncle and Aunt Ann were at Delaware to attend the funeral. Young John telegraphed to his father and he returned on the eight o’clock train, so we had quite a little visit after all. Your Uncle John and Aunt Ann were very glad to see us and we had an excellent visit with them Thursday in camp. When we started again on our way, we went in company with your uncle and aunt in the cars for fifteen miles. Then we parted, they going to the funeral of the stepmother and we to camp meeting. 3LtMs, Lt 36, 1876, par. 2

We change cars to pursue our course to Norwalk. We were to wait four hours at one station, two at another; but by some means the morning train was delayed and we were all ready for the delayed train to pick us up. We expected to get here at eight o’clock at night, but we hired a team from Monrovia to take us five miles to the camp ground. We found a tent all ready for us with board floor and carpet on it, nice bed made upon bedstead, two black stuffed sofa chairs, a very nice new table and washstand. But lo, as soon as we had got well in the tent, it commenced raining and it poured down in torrents. The ground where some of the tents were pitched was in a hollow and in thirty minutes we were surrounded with one foot of water. Our boards in [the] tent overflowed and the carpet is all wet, and here we sit looking at the dismal prospect—not very flattering I assure you. The heavy rain has ceased, but it continues to rain, not so hard. Some have pitched their tents on a rise of ground. They are all right. Well, I have sat right down in the midst of the damp and wet to write you a few lines. 3LtMs, Lt 36, 1876, par. 3

My dear children, I feel deeply in earnest that you should go forward trusting in God. Do nothing rashly. Do not be discouraged, but press through difficulties. Make it a settled point to control your feelings. Do not feel at liberty to talk out or act out your feelings. 3LtMs, Lt 36, 1876, par. 4

Make a success of your business. This time go forward in the fear of God, trusting in Him. Do not sacrifice religion to plans and schemes. You have struck off on your own hook, and now do not make a failure but move with the greatest caution. Do not imagine you must have this [or that] and cannot get along in your work without more outlays. Your father is very much in need of means at the present time to carry forward the business he contemplates in charts, lithographing and steel engravings of his and my pictures for our books. We never have seen so hard times everywhere as the present. When the crops come in, times may brighten some. We now regret deeply investing so much means in the different enterprises on the Pacific Coast. We need just that means to do business east, investing in publishing charts. There never was a time when this business could be done at a cheaper figure than now. 3LtMs, Lt 36, 1876, par. 5

Edson, it is perfectly terrible that Montrose should charge you such exorbitant interest. Our means is invested in Pacific Coast meetinghouses at ten percent while you are charged such prices. I wish we had some of our tied-down means, but we have not. 3LtMs, Lt 36, 1876, par. 6

Now, dear children, be careful of your means. Do not have many wants and do not keep buying machinery. Work the best you can, if at inconvenience, till times change and money [is] more plentiful. Do not trust to your own strength. Look to God for guidance; trust in Him, make most earnest efforts to keep your souls in the love of God. 3LtMs, Lt 36, 1876, par. 7

Dear Edson, I charge you to preserve and cultivate these precious traits of character that will make a life of usefulness. Cherish the tender ties that bind your hearts to the family circle. Do not in your haste to acquire become rash and sacrifice your manhood. Without all due respect and deference to age and position and experience, you will surely meet with great loss. It is natural for the young to start new enterprises, to explore new fields and modes of action. Let this new improvement be to purify your own souls and benefit the moral tone of society. Let your efforts tend to the purification of your own life and the lives of others. 3LtMs, Lt 36, 1876, par. 8

In this work have Godlike energy. You can go through this world but once. Leave no black and ugly blots or hard and shameful record on the pages of the heavenly record. Go forward, Edson, in your Godlike manhood with heroic and undaunted resolution to bless the world. Make your mark high. Catch the inspiration from the Word of God, which says, “I write unto you, young men, because ye are strong, and the word of God abideth in you, and ye have overcome the wicked one.” 1 John 2:14. 3LtMs, Lt 36, 1876, par. 9

Show yourself a man in the sight of God and of angels, a man who means to make the most of his abilities by living for God, for his fellow men and for truth. Put the armor of righteousness on and wear against all falsity and wickedness in yourself and in others, ready to war the good warfare; the first to engage in a good work, and the last to become weary and discouraged in this battle. Be ready to answer to the call of duty, Here am I, send me. What errand can I do for the Lord? What work can I do to glorify His name? Do not exhaust all your energies in serving yourself merely. Anything done for Christ is great and will be sure to bring a great reward. The Lord will bless your efforts in cherishing a high regard for your father whom God has honored. Because you cannot do a great and marked work, do not sit down in idleness and do nothing for God; neither need you wait until you shall see your works appreciated by others. You are to work for God, looking to Him for strength and grace. 3LtMs, Lt 36, 1876, par. 10

How easy for you to lead men to do what they would not do if left to themselves! Use your influence in winning souls to Christ to do God’s work. Do not feel that no responsibility rests upon you to save souls. Do not wait for better opportunity. God calls upon you and upon Emma to work just where you are. Now is your time. Those who long to do good, will find plenty of opportunities close at hand. Christ calls for young men to carry the work of truth forward, but first He requires of them to be faithful in that which is least. You are called upon to do your part in resisting worldliness, wickedness, pride, unholy ambition, and to consecrate yourselves without reserve. Keep your spirits humble. 3LtMs, Lt 36, 1876, par. 11

It will be, it has been, the bane of your life to be looking out for self and hunting for happiness. I want you to see the necessity of the cultivation of the beauty of holiness, the loveliness of a meek and lowly mind, a life of pure and cheerful trust in Jesus, your Saviour; a humble, trustful, happy, confiding life, walking in the path of duty and simple, trusting faith. This path is found only by those who are willing to take the hand of Christ and be led. The sweet graces of tenderness and simplicity of heart are ornaments that are like choice gold. 3LtMs, Lt 36, 1876, par. 12

Father and Brother Smith are talking in regard to finance, in regard to means. Where the margin is to work upon is the perplexing question. Only eleven hundred in the bank and five hundred of that due to Marsh for paper, [and] the Michigan Conference to be settled with. They are contemplating sending to the insurance companies east for loan of means on interest. 3LtMs, Lt 36, 1876, par. 13

In this state, Ohio, a good part of the state is flooded. No crops can be expected. Hard times, hard times, is heard everywhere. So, my son, be careful. Work as best you can with as little outgoes [as possible]. I hope you will not fail. I hope you will work carefully, economically, and here your safety depends. You may keep above board. 3LtMs, Lt 36, 1876, par. 14

I have great interest for you, my children. You have had great light and God has been very compassionate to you, very merciful, and long-suffering. Move in such a way as not to tie your hands fast. Do not bind up your talents in a napkin and hide it in the earth. Move guardedly. God has claims on you. How long shall He search for fruit and find nothing but leaves? God wants you to trust in Him and look to Him with confidence. 3LtMs, Lt 36, 1876, par. 15

I must close. I leave these lines with you [and] hope they will not be passed by indifferently. 3LtMs, Lt 36, 1876, par. 16