Letters and Manuscripts — Volume 3 (1876 - 1882)


Lt 3b, 1881

White, W. C.; White, Mary

Newton, Michigan

April 19, 1881

Portions of this letter are published in 3Bio 156-157; 6MR 306; 14MR 282.

Dear Children, Willie and Mary:

We started last Thursday evening for Spring Arbor. Came as far as Brother Hilliard’s, at Newton. Started next morning for Spring Arbor with our team—Elder [D. M.] Canright, your father, Marian Davis, and I. We went as far as Ceresco and decided it would be cruelty to the horses to go farther. Father consented to have Marian and myself return to Brother Hilliard’s while Elder Canright and himself went on the cars to Spring Arbor. Sabbath I spoke here to a small number, but although few, they needed help. Such little companies always need encouragement and prize it when they do have it. I had much satisfaction in speaking to them. 3LtMs, Lt 3b, 1881, par. 1

Sunday we intended to return home, but it commenced to rain and has continued to rain all day and all night and rains this morning. We are in a good harbor and shall not go out in the rain. Father returns today. With the exception of colds, I am improving in health and of my lameness, but confined still to crutches. 3LtMs, Lt 3b, 1881, par. 2

We found Sister Hilliard much depressed, in an unbelieving state, looking to herself and dwelling upon her unworthiness until her mind is almost unbalanced. But I have, by the blessing of God, said some things to relieve her. She is more cheerful. 3LtMs, Lt 3b, 1881, par. 3

I have sought to direct her eye of faith to Jesus and lead her, in the place of talking and pondering upon herself, to meditate upon the mercy, the goodness, and excellency of the character of our Surety and Substitute, Jesus the Righteous, the spotless Lamb of God; and to hang her helpless, care-troubled soul upon the helpful Burden-bearer. 3LtMs, Lt 3b, 1881, par. 4

I think we fail here wonderfully, and as the consequence remain weak when we might be strong. We are desponding when we might be hopeful. I dare not take the eye of faith from Jesus to the boisterous billows as did poor, trembling Peter, lest I sink. I see enough turmoil, confusion, and perplexity to distract and confuse me should I look upon them and dwell upon them. I say many times a day, Help, Lord, for Thou alone canst help and I will trust in Thee fully and entirely. The work is Thine, the cause is Thine. Thou wilt not suffer Thy Truth to be reproached. 3LtMs, Lt 3b, 1881, par. 5

I cannot see any way to help matters here at Battle Creek. I will not afflict my soul so much that I cannot do anything. I just wait and pray, doing my work in humbleness of mind and in quietness of spirit and say little about things. I have increased courage as I do this. If I wrench myself one way and the other, I only weaken and worry myself and help things none at all. 3LtMs, Lt 3b, 1881, par. 6

I dare not give counsel, even to my brethren. It is a perilous time. There was never such a state of things as now in Battle Creek. But we may be brought still lower before God will reach down His arm to lift us up. We need to feel and sense our weakness and feel our great need of help from God before help will come. 3LtMs, Lt 3b, 1881, par. 7

When one poor mortal will try to stand under heavy burdens as though he must carry them or everything perish, he will be crushed under them and find, after all, God did not want him to make himself the burden-bearer. But when we lay these burdens upon Jesus and then do what little we can in His strength and not feel that everything depends on us, we can keep serenity of mind, calmness of spirit, and shall be in a condition to do much more effective service. 3LtMs, Lt 3b, 1881, par. 8

Now, dear children, I hope you will be of good courage and not do too much. We are nothing. Jesus is everything. In ourselves we are nothing. Said Christ, “Without me ye can do nothing.” [John 15:5.] Let us then do all in the strength of Jesus. 3LtMs, Lt 3b, 1881, par. 9

Mary, I have a favor to ask of you. Will you get a small box and put in it small pink roots and slips, a few choice rose cuttings, fuchsia, and geraniums. And send me also, at the same time, if thought best, some one or two or more of my scrapbooks that contain pieces especially treating on the mother’s duty and influence in her family. I would like that little, blue-covered book for youth and any other books that would help me in the work we design to get out, Mother’s Influence. We want these things as soon as they can reach us. 3LtMs, Lt 3b, 1881, par. 10

Mary, if you would like to wear my cotton flannel night-dress or anything of mine you can use, do so. I am wearing now your cotton flannel nightdresses. I learn that no stockings can be knit such as you want, but I will get cotton yarn and have Aunt Mary knit you some stockings and will send you what we have on hand. Do you want [that] I should send your woolen stockings and socks? Is there anything in the line of clothing you want us to make for you and send? I have a nice dressmaker at work for me for two dollars per week, and she can do anything you would like to have done. Has Willie a vest pattern? She might make him a vest if he has a pattern. 3LtMs, Lt 3b, 1881, par. 11

In much love to all. 3LtMs, Lt 3b, 1881, par. 12

P.S. We will spend next winter in California. I never want to risk another winter East. 3LtMs, Lt 3b, 1881, par. 13