Letters and Manuscripts — Volume 3 (1876 - 1882)

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Lt 11, 1880

White, James

Oakland, California

March 15, 1880

Portions of this letter are published in TDG 83.

Dear Husband:

I have written some on the boat since coming here. I find a letter from you to me and have read your letters to Willie. 3LtMs, Lt 11, 1880, par. 1

I feel sad as I read because I see the same spirit of controversy which is bringing to yourself and others unhappiness. Will this controversy never end? Is it to be kept up till the judgment? This is the work of the enemy. Satan will keep words and surmisings penned in letters constantly brewing if we will allow him to do so. But this must not be. There is never an understanding gained by letters. Your suppositions in regard to the feelings of Elder Waggoner are not correct. He feels as any man can but feel under the circumstances. But not an expression or any act has yet given the impression he feels toward you as you think he does. He is a sick, broken-down man, and needs sympathy more than censure, and the time taken to write these explanatory letters, which always have the influence to make you more confirmed in your feelings and in your ideas, had better be left unwritten. You shall have your letters returned soon. 3LtMs, Lt 11, 1880, par. 2

We see enough to do here calling for thought, [and] for prayer that God would help us in the present emergency to come upon a proper business foundation than to be engaged in writing letters of affirmation or of denial. We feel the need of the grace of God. Time is precious. It is short, and while differing one with another and manufacturing trials by written words, we had better be humbling our souls before God. Temptations come in abundance from without and need not and should not originate with ourselves to weaken one another and lay stumbling blocks in the pathway of one another. We need to cherish love in our hearts. We should not be ready to think evil of our brethren. We must put the least constructions on what they do or what they say. We must be Bible Christians. “Seeing ye have purified your souls in obeying the truth through the Spirit unto unfeigned love of the brethren, see that ye love one another with a pure heart fervently.” 1 Peter 1:22. 3LtMs, Lt 11, 1880, par. 3

We must not be heedless in regard to our own souls’ salvation. “Examine yourselves whether ye be in the faith; prove your own selves.” 2 Corinthians 13:5. 3LtMs, Lt 11, 1880, par. 4

We are not to pass on indifferently. We must inquire into the character of our thoughts and feelings, our tempers, purposes, words and deeds. We are not safe unless we are constantly and successfully warring against our own sinful corruptions. We must consider whether we are an example of Christian holiness; whether we are in the faith. Unless we search diligently, examining our hearts in the light of God’s Word, self-love will prompt to a much better opinion of ourselves than we should have. We must not be so earnest in our efforts to set others right that we shall neglect our own souls. We need not be so zealous for our brethren, and in this zeal neglect the work that needs to be done for ourselves. Another’s wrong will not make our cases any nearer right. There is an individual work to be done for ourselves, which we should in no wise neglect. “Judge not that ye be not judged. For with what judgment ye judge, ye shall be judged: and with what measure ye mete, it shall be measured to you again.” Matthew 7:1, 2. 3LtMs, Lt 11, 1880, par. 5

If we are filled with mercy and love of God, a corresponding effect will be produced upon others. We have nothing of which to boast. All is the gift of a beneficent Saviour. We must attend to our own souls diligently. We must walk in humility. We want no war garments on, but the garments of peace and righteousness. May the Lord teach us how to wear His yoke and how to bear His burdens. Everything in this cause and in this work may be accomplished with a kind, conciliating spirit. We may be courteous always, and never be afraid of being too much so. We must practice showing good will toward all men. We must give our brethren credit for conscientiousness as well as we wish them to credit us with it. The profession many of our people make is not worth a straw, because they have not love to God and love for their brethren. They have not the grace of God. My burden of soul is to arouse them to a necessity of true conversion to God, the inner work of the Spirit of God in the soul. 3LtMs, Lt 11, 1880, par. 6

There is such a lack of love, of tender forgiveness, of brotherly kindness, of forbearance one for another, that Christ is ashamed to call them brethren. They do not cherish that spirit that was in Jesus. Seeing this lack, feeling it, sorrowing over it, I cannot, oh, I cannot be a party in fostering this spirit of suspicion, of jealousy, of censuring, of blame. Paul writes, “Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, and have not charity, I am become as sounding brass, or a tinkling cymbal. And though I have the gift of prophecy, and understand all mysteries, and all knowledge; and though I have all faith, so that I could remove mountains, and have not charity, I am nothing. And though I bestow all my goods to feed the poor, and though I give my body to be burned, and have not charity, it profiteth me nothing.” 1 Corinthians 13:1-3. 3LtMs, Lt 11, 1880, par. 7

Charity, I have been shown, was love to God and man, which we must cherish if we are children of God. Although a man should have the power of explaining or making known the deep counsels of God as revealed in His Word, yet if he has not love to God and man, it will be of no credit to him. If he has all faith which is seen in miraculous manifestations and has not the grace of love, it is nothing—no virtue in it. 3LtMs, Lt 11, 1880, par. 8

“Charity suffereth long and is kind; charity envieth not; charity vaunteth not itself, is not puffed up. Doth not behave itself unseemly, seeketh not her own, is not easily provoked, thinketh no evil; rejoiceth not in iniquity, but rejoiceth in the truth; beareth all things, believeth all things, hopeth all things, endureth all things.” 1 Corinthians 13:4-7. 3LtMs, Lt 11, 1880, par. 9

Here the apostle describes the fruits growing upon the Christian tree. Let it be our endeavor, dear husband, to reach the Bible standard ourselves and be an example of patience, of courtesy, and forbearance. 3LtMs, Lt 11, 1880, par. 10

You inquire about our fare. We got thirty dollars each off from Omaha. My head is quite tired. I must stop writing by gas light. 3LtMs, Lt 11, 1880, par. 11

March 16

I was so tired. I fell asleep in my chair and had to retire. I will say Elder [S. N.] Haskell and Willie [White] went up town and made a success of getting our tickets for thirty dollars less on a ticket than the usual fare. Seventy dollars each, our tickets cost. They also obtained favorable prices on freight. I did not know but [that] they had written all about it. 3LtMs, Lt 11, 1880, par. 12

My trust is in God. My prayer is to Him day and night for guidance and strength. I hope you will enjoy good health and the Spirit of freedom and assurance in God. I am glad to learn of the good work in Battle Creek. 3LtMs, Lt 11, 1880, par. 13

Yours in love, 3LtMs, Lt 11, 1880, par. 14

Your Ellen.