Letters and Manuscripts — Volume 3 (1876 - 1882)


Lt 42a, 1878

White, J. S.


July 1878

Fragment. Portions of this letter are published in OHC 232.

[Dear Husband:]

... I have urgent invitations to come to Petaluma and lecture on temperance to the Women’s Christian Union Society one week from next Sabbath. I go today to Petaluma and then to fill my appointment in Santa Rosa and Healdsburg. Shall get around among the churches as soon as possible. It requires much thoughtful study and earnest prayer to do the work that needs to be done in California, to bring our brethren and sisters to see and understand their individual accountability to God, to reach the highest standard of spiritual advancement, and to act their part to advance the cause of God. If we could only impress them with their individual accountability, and they would get the world away from between them and Jesus, then they would work with an eye single to the glory of God. Selfish interests would not absorb their minds and come in for their first service. 3LtMs, Lt 42a, 1878, par. 1

If you can see your way clearly, come to California. We must look to Jesus and Him alone for our duty. We must not be too greatly influenced by even our brethren. We must look to the Captain of our salvation for marching orders. We will stand ready to hear the voice of our Master and to do His will. Then we will have His presence to go with us, and our words and works will be wrought in God. 3LtMs, Lt 42a, 1878, par. 2

I shall do what I can in the love and fear of God. He will give me a testimony to reach hearts if I walk humbly, trusting in Jesus. I find with many a disposition to find fault with others. There will be no spiritual advancement until they overcome this and learn to esteem others better then themselves. I have met this difficulty everywhere I have labored, and I have sought most earnestly to impress our people with the importance of self-examination. Dwelling upon the faults of the brethren, criticizing their words, their actions, and getting upon the judgment seat to condemn their brethren—these I consider the greatest evils that can come into a church. Such are self-deceived. Should they criticize themselves, they would see far graver faults to condemn in themselves. Should they examine their own hearts, they would discover traits of character petted and indulged, which are offensive to God. When will this course of envy and evil surmising be put away from our churches? Satan exults to see this spirit prevail in our churches. 3LtMs, Lt 42a, 1878, par. 3

What precious victories we might gain in the name of Jesus if we would be doers of the words of Christ! “By this shall all men know that ye are My disciples, if ye have love one for another.” John 13:35. Oh, how hard many make the Christian life! They climb the steep, briary path, staggering under imposed burdens, as though they must tinker up the characters of others. They make the way to heaven very hard. They do not experience the sweet peace of Christ. They do not grasp the help Jesus gives them, but they are continually grieving over supposed wrongs of others and overlook the cheering, blessed tokens for good all along their pathway. Just as soon as one has a vivid and all-absorbing consciousness of his own personal accountability to God and of his duty to his fellow men, and senses that his influence is far-reaching, stretching into eternity, he will not be satisfied with a low standard, he will not be faultfinding and critical of others. He will make his own life what he would wish the lives of others to be. He will live only in Christ, utterly and wholly dependent on Him for every beauty and loveliness of character. This is the burden of my labor—to get the minds of the people away from envy, jealousy, evil surmising. I try to impress upon them their duty to answer in their own lives the prayer of Christ, that His disciples may be one, even as He is one with the Father. This blessed oneness, this unity of believers, is the credential we bear to the world that God has sent His Son. “That they may be one, even as We are one, that the world may believe that Thou hast sent Me.” [John 17:22, 21.] What joy would it bring to my heart if this sweet unity prevailed. If self would be overcome, all wrath, all bitterness, all malice, all contention and evil speaking be put away from Christ’s followers. Self wants the supremacy. Self is struggling for the mastery. If the professed followers of Christ would only follow Him, if they would only humble themselves under the hand of God, what a work might be accomplished! 3LtMs, Lt 42a, 1878, par. 4

Well, dear husband, 3LtMs, Lt 42a, 1878, par. 5

“We shall not always labor,
We shall not always cry.
The precious boon of eternal life
There is resting by and by.”
3LtMs, Lt 42a, 1878, par. 6

We will press closer and still closer to the bleeding side of Jesus. We will do our work with fidelity. There is no relief in this war, but we will not get our eyes upon ourselves. Let our pens, our voices bring hope and good cheer to souls that need it so much. If we can lift up the bowed down, comfort the desponding, bring light to those who are in darkness, we are then doing the work God has given us, binding ourselves with cords of love to humanity and coming close to our brethren. This is God’s work we are doing. In it we will represent Jesus. Our words, our actions must be fragrant with the love of Jesus. If we fall at our post in faithful service, we shall receive the benediction from Jesus, “Well done.” [Matthew 25:21.] We have nothing, we are nothing, which we do not receive from Jesus. Our lives are not our own. Duties are coming to us from every point, and if imbued with the Spirit of the Master, we can do our work well. God bless you is my prayer. 3LtMs, Lt 42a, 1878, par. 7

Your Ellen.