Letters and Manuscripts — Volume 3 (1876 - 1882)

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Lt 10a, 1877

White, J. E.; White, Emma

South Lancaster, Massachusetts

August 30, 1877

Previously unpublished.

Dear Children, Edson and Emma:

The last news you had from us was of father’s sudden attack. After this he was very quiet, uncomplaining, troubled with gloom and depression. He did not sit up but a few moments at a time. When he attempted to walk, he needed someone to steady him. I could give him but little attention, for I was sick and taking treatment myself every day to break up a most obstinate cold. 3LtMs, Lt 10a, 1877, par. 1

We thought the camp meetings would not see us. We had several seasons of prayer, but with no special results. Wednesday I felt that I must attend the Eastern camp meeting at Groveland, if I went alone, and certainly father did not seem anyway able to go. But I never felt more reluctant to leave him than on this occasion. I finally urged him to go. I thought it would be better for him than to remain where his mind would be called out to have decisions to make and counsel to give. We prayed over this matter, he and I alone. I anointed him with oil and prayed for him an hour before we were to take the cars, and he consented to accompany us—Elder Smith, Sister Ings, to have a care for us, and myself. 3LtMs, Lt 10a, 1877, par. 2

We felt on the journey that we were in the line of duty. Father seemed more cheerful, very feeble, but he rested well nights. He slept as sweetly as a little child. 3LtMs, Lt 10a, 1877, par. 3

We arrived at Groveland Sabbath morning. There was no train leaving Boston after we arrived at eight o’clock p.m. The rain commenced to pour out of the heavens just as we were about to step from the cars, but brethren were on hand with umbrellas to protect us. We found accommodations in Sister Harris’ tent where we were well cared for, but the rain made everything damp. 3LtMs, Lt 10a, 1877, par. 4

I spoke Sabbath from these words of Paul: “Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword? As it is written, For Thy sake we are killed all the day long: we are accounted as sheep for the slaughter. Nay, in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him that loved us. For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.” Romans 8:35-39. 3LtMs, Lt 10a, 1877, par. 5

I had great freedom in dwelling upon the establishment of the Christian church, showing that Paul was hunted from place to place by the bigoted Jews. They would give him no rest, but stirred up both Jews and Gentiles in opposition and to persecute and attempt to assassinate him. Paul knew what it was to preach Christ and Him crucified under difficulties. Yet as he looked over his trying experience, he faced future trials and threatenings of suffering like a bold soldier of the cross of Christ and exclaimed, “I am persuaded,” etc. [Verse 38.] Just such opposition those who keep the Sabbath of the fourth commandment may expect to receive. They have tasted of the same spirit of malice, of unreasonable opposition, from the First-Day Adventists. In Newburyport John Pierson had acted over the same part Miles Grant had acted and was still acting. He had made me the subject of his falsehood and with bitterness of malice had sought to disgust the people, that they would have no more to do with the Sabbath. But his efforts turned against himself; he overdid the matter. He was following Elder Canright with the bitter spirit of opposition, blowing out poison against the visions. 3LtMs, Lt 10a, 1877, par. 6

The power of God rested upon me and upon the audience. I then called them forward. One hundred and fifty responded to the call. Many were seeking God for the first time. Fervent prayer was offered for these, and opportunity was given them to bear testimony. Many spoke with deep feeling. The quivering lips and tearful eyes evidenced that their hearts were touched. We called to mind the words of our dear Redeemer: “Joy shall be in heaven in the presence of the angels over one sinner that repenteth, more than over ninety and nine just persons, which need no repentance.” Luke 15:7. And what a sight was this for heaven to look upon! What a sight for the followers of Christ to behold! And what joy should animate the hearts of those who have tasted the love of God and been partakers of the heavenly benefits to witness the youth of ten years, the young men and young women, the middle-aged, and men and women of gray hairs, all united in penitence, in tears and humility seeking Jesus to pardon their sins. If there is joy in heaven, there should certainly be inexpressible joy upon the earth. 3LtMs, Lt 10a, 1877, par. 7

If I had seen no more, and if I had no more to say at this meeting, I should feel confident that God would have me bear the testimony I had borne that day. 3LtMs, Lt 10a, 1877, par. 8

Brother Robinson spoke in the evening. Elder Canright came upon the ground Sunday morning with a request that I should go to Danvers and speak to the people there on Monday night. I ventured to say I would go, trusting in the Lord to give me strength. My throat and lungs were still very sore, and made speaking difficult. Sunday forenoon Elder Smith spoke upon the Eastern Question, just the subject the people wished to hear. The cars and three steamboats were pouring the living freight upon the ground until we thought that there were nearly as many as last year. And indeed there were more attentive listeners than last year. The mammoth tent was well seated, with backs to the seats. 3LtMs, Lt 10a, 1877, par. 9

Sunday afternoon I was not prepared to witness such an immense crowd. Before me was a sea of heads and a living wall of thousands standing, who could find no room under the canvas. The Lord strengthened me to speak upon the subject of temperance above one hour with great freedom of spirit and clearness of voice. The audience was quiet and seemed deeply interested. Before I stepped from the stand I was again solicited, as last year, to speak to the temperance club in Haverhill the next Monday night the same words they had heard that day. I was sorry I could not grant the request. My appointment had gone out that I would speak at Danvers. They pled for the appointment to be given out one week from the following Monday, but we expected to attend the Maine camp meeting and were obliged to refuse. 3LtMs, Lt 10a, 1877, par. 10

Notwithstanding I had held the people some time, they seemed unwilling to leave the tent and the grounds. Elder Smith improved the hour at five o’clock in addressing the large crowd upon the mark of the beast. Brother Haskell spoke in the evening to a large and attentive audience, and the great day of the meeting was over. Many had listened to the truth, and the day of final reckoning will reveal the results of that day’s meeting. We hope and pray that the good seed sown may spring up and bear fruit to the glory of God. 3LtMs, Lt 10a, 1877, par. 11

Several not of our faith thanked me for the discourse given upon temperance. The words addressed to Christian mothers in reference to educating their children in strictly temperate habits and habits of self-control, in order that they will have moral stamina to resist temptation to indulgence and dissipation, they said were just what was needed. They said they had never heard the subject handled in that light before, and they had received ideas that would lead them to work from a different standpoint in their families than they had hitherto. 3LtMs, Lt 10a, 1877, par. 12

Monday morning Elder Canright and Brother Stone came on the ground from Danvers. We had special seasons of prayer for your father. In the morning meeting he went upon the stand and spoke a short time with considerable feeling. His words were calculated to arouse the people to the necessity of more careful and circumspect living and more perfect faith and thorough trust in God. The greatness of the work for this time and the necessity of determined effort to carry it forward in the strength of God were the burden of his remarks. 3LtMs, Lt 10a, 1877, par. 13

I spoke again to those present and addressed my remarks especially to the young. We then called for all to come forward who wished to be Christians and all who had not the evidence of their acceptance with God and who desired the prayers of the servants of God. Two hundred responded to the call and separated themselves from the congregation. This was a most interesting occasion. Angels of God seemed to be under the tent, and heaven seemed very near. After a season of prayer, those who came forward went into a family tent, and special labor was put forth for them. We again met at the stand for candidates to be examined for baptism. Thirty-nine were accepted, and the crowd moved toward the water. Rowboats and steamers filled with people lingered to witness the ordinance. The banks rise from the river about sixty feet. People were congregated on this steep embankment and on the ridge of the bank, and perfect order and respectful attention were preserved till the whole thirty-nine were baptized, and the crowd dispersed in as respectful a manner as though they had attended a funeral. 3LtMs, Lt 10a, 1877, par. 14

At six o’clock we stepped on board the cars for Danvers, a distance of fourteen miles away. My throat and lungs still caused me considerable suffering. I went into the stand feeling that God must be my strength or I should certainly fail. Before me in the tent and outside were nearly one thousand people. As soon as I stood upon my feet I felt the special blessing of God resting upon me. I had no pain. I spoke for one hour and fifteen minutes with great freedom to an interested audience of as noble-looking, intelligent people as I ever saw assembled for meeting. 3LtMs, Lt 10a, 1877, par. 15