Letters and Manuscripts — Volume 3 (1876 - 1882)

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Lt 29, 1880

White, James

Milton, Oregon

May 20, 1880

This letter is published in entirety in 21MR 206-212.

[Dear Husband:]

On the campground. Above two weeks and no letters from any one. We seem to be shut out from the world. Not a line has come from any one except a deed from Battle Creek for me to sign. One word from Brother Kellogg, stating that Brother White was setting out hedge and had bought back our place of Bow; that is all. 3LtMs, Lt 29, 1880, par. 1

We came to the ground this morning. All are as busy as bees making their city of tents, hammering, clearing up brush and stretching their tents. Loads are coming in. 3LtMs, Lt 29, 1880, par. 2

Last night I spoke in the city of Walla Walla. Brethren had camped on the Walla Walla River. They heard of the appointment and came to the meeting. One wagon-load of men, women and children we met en route for Brother Wood’s. Sister Maxon’s daughter with her three children were in the wagon. Had been three days on the road. Came more than one hundred miles. Part of their company turned back to Walla Walla and attended our meeting. 3LtMs, Lt 29, 1880, par. 3

The poor scattered sheep have been left to be torn by wolves, and starve without food. They are coming in from all directions. These poor souls have had no labor and yet they seem to cling to the truth, but are starving for food. I think there never was a place where my testimony was more needed, than in this region of country. They seem to be deeply affected [by] what they hear. It takes hold upon their hearts. My prayer is continually, Lord work in any way, send by whom thou wilt. Make me an instrument of righteousness. Give me Thy word to give to the people. Make me a channel of light. 3LtMs, Lt 29, 1880, par. 4

I never felt the necessity as now of watching unto prayer. I want my every word and action to correctly represent the holy faith we profess. Oh, I do not want that Christ should be ashamed of me as His follower. We must speak and act in that manner we wish others to speak and act. We want to be so connected with God that we will let our light shine in our words, our spirit and our deportment. We must know that we are in Christ and Christ in us, or we cannot teach and lead others. 3LtMs, Lt 29, 1880, par. 5

Elder Colcord we have just met. No letters to us. They arrived in good spirits and I think are just the ones for this country as far as finance is concerned. [I. D.] Van Horn will probably be called to some other field. He is not the man for this field. He lacks promptness and energy. Adelia [Van Horn] holds him back from his labor and he will consent to be held. They have three children. She centers all her powers on them and labors to have him do the same and has about succeeded. 3LtMs, Lt 29, 1880, par. 6

I have had much distress of mind and felt so burdened I could at times scarcely breathe without sighing. What we can do for this people is more than I can tell. I feel just helpless. They are so far back they need everything done for them, and unless the Lord helps us, we shall be unable to do anything. Oh, how feeble are all the efforts of man. I have one hope and that is that the Lord has sent us and will not leave us to be helpless. 3LtMs, Lt 29, 1880, par. 7

Last Tuesday night I felt pressed as a cart beneath sheaves. While praying in Brother Wood’s family, I wept in agony of soul with strong crying and tears. I sought the Lord after I went to my room. I could not forebear, crying aloud. My heart was grieved for the people of God—the sheep of His pasture. Most of the night was spent in prayer. After two o’clock, I slept until about four, that is all. Tears and prayers were my meat through the night. 3LtMs, Lt 29, 1880, par. 8

Wednesday night I was very free in speaking in Walla Walla. Thursday, came on the ground. Meeting commenced that night. Slept but about one hour. Friday, meetings all day. I spoke in the afternoon with great freedom in a very pointed manner, but the darkness seemed so great. There has been great prejudice against me which I had not known, but I am not troubled about this. God can remove it away. He can work for us. 3LtMs, Lt 29, 1880, par. 9

Sabbath, May 22

Dear Husband:

This day opened with gentle showers. Took sitz bath last night. Slept well, but had a nervous headache. We had an excellent Sabbath School, one hundred and twenty in School. They did very well. Mary questioned the children’s division and did first rate. I spoke about thirty minutes to the School. 3LtMs, Lt 29, 1880, par. 10

Elder [S. N.] Haskell preached with great plainness. I went out to the stand with trembling. My head throbbing with pain. I spoke from the fifty-eighth chapter of Isaiah. The Lord spoke through me. The words came in demonstration of the Spirit and power, almost faster than I could articulate them. The congregation was nearly all in tears. I called them forward and about fifty came forward and they bore testimony. All were weeping like children. All felt the power and presence of God. There was indeed the revealing of His power. Hearts were subdued and broken before God. 3LtMs, Lt 29, 1880, par. 11

A Dunkard preacher bore an excellent testimony. One white-headed man bore testimony that he thought he was not able to come to the meeting but when he read in the paper that Elder [I. D.] Van Horn and Sister White were to be present he thought he must come. He came one hundred and forty miles on horseback and on foot. He had not heard an Advent sermon for six years. The meeting he had had that day was precious indeed. The discourse he had listened to from Sister White would be food for him a long time. He was well paid for his journey if he received no more. Said he could not stay but a few days, but must return home. In going and coming, this man in feeble health, would travel two hundred and eighty miles to hear two or three discourses. 3LtMs, Lt 29, 1880, par. 12

This is the first day I could say I know certainly I am in the way of my duty in coming to Oregon. But I know now, I have a testimony for this people. This has been a day, a Sabbath, I shall never forget, for Jesus has come very near to me. I felt enshrouded in light and peace and joy filled my soul. All at this meeting will look back upon this Sabbath as one of the best of their lives. 3LtMs, Lt 29, 1880, par. 13

Truly God has spoken to the hearts while we were speaking to the ears of the people. God can do more in one moment by His Spirit than we can with our own labor in a lifetime. Jesus never seemed so precious to me as now. The Word of His grace is manna to the believing soul. The precious promises of God are food to the hungry soul. We have experienced today the promise, “They shall be abundantly satisfied with the fatness of thy house; and thou shalt make them drink of the river of thy pleasures.” [Psalm 36:8.] 3LtMs, Lt 29, 1880, par. 14

It has been a continual cross for me to be so far away from you and friends I love, but when I know that I am in the path of obedience I am happy. Privations are nothing, trials are nothing, distress and anguish of soul for others I can bear without a murmur. Only let me know that I am doing the will of my heavenly Father and I am content. I feel that I would not shrink from any hardship or difficulty if it is for Jesus’ sake. I want to understand more clearly the ways of God and the glorious plan of redemption, the extent and limitation of our accountability, and the weighty truths of the Word of God. I feel my own nothingness and that Jesus is all and in all. 3LtMs, Lt 29, 1880, par. 15

Let us come very near to God, advancing in the divine life step by step. The more grace we receive will enlarge our capacities to apprehend and enjoy greater light, breadth and depth of His love; and we shall have intense longing to know the fulness of that infinite love which passeth knowledge. 3LtMs, Lt 29, 1880, par. 16

Our brethren have just come from evening meeting. Elder [I. D.] Van Horn preached a wordy, fluent discourse, but without point, generalizing everything, but hitting nothing. Oh, how my heart aches when I see his self-complacency. 3LtMs, Lt 29, 1880, par. 17

Sunday May 23

It is a very cool morning. Our tent is the most comfortable on the ground. Three tents in a row take all the ministers and their wives, Mary and me. We choose to cook and eat at one table. Our tents are all very small. After the table was removed out of the tent, we all prepared for family prayer. I felt the time had come to make direct appeals to the ministers, especially Brethren Jones and [I. D.] Van Horn. Brother Jones has done all that has been done of any account in the line of labor for the past year. 3LtMs, Lt 29, 1880, par. 18

Brother and Sister Colcord, Brother and Sister Jones, Elder [S. N.] Haskell, Mary and I composed the company assembled. I then bore to them a most pointed testimony and charged the state of the churches upon the course Elder [I. D.] Van Horn had pursued in doing nothing, letting the flock go without labor while he was making it his principal business to raise up a family. We had a most profitable season reading the manner of Paul’s labor showing that he carried the burden upon his soul continually. He did not lay it off or forget his responsibility for one moment. We spent some time in reading Scriptures and then we bowed in prayer. It was a weeping, confessing time. There was an humbling of the soul before God. 3LtMs, Lt 29, 1880, par. 19

I think Elder [I. D.] Van Horn begins to see something of his true condition and as he is naturally a conscientious man, I think he will not rest until there is a reformation in himself and he works upon a different plan than he has hitherto worked. He has felt that he was invested with all the authority of a president of the Conference, while he has neglected his work in almost every particular and the cause shows his shameful neglect. 3LtMs, Lt 29, 1880, par. 20

Our season of prayer was most solemn and characterized with deep earnestness in prayer and in acknowledgment of mistakes and wrongs, neglect of duty, and leaving the poor sheep and lambs to perish without food. I feel more and more the necessity of those whom God has made His watchmen of being as God designed they should be, examples to the flock over which God has made them overseers. 3LtMs, Lt 29, 1880, par. 21

Elder [S. N.] Haskell spoke this forenoon with freedom to a tent full. I have just left the stand. I spoke upon Christ’s riding into Jerusalem. I had great freedom and the people listened as for their lives. Oh, that the word spoken may take hold upon souls, that we may all do our part well and stand acquitted in the day of final accounts. 3LtMs, Lt 29, 1880, par. 22

The thought that I shall never meet that company again until the judgment shall sit and the books shall be opened and every one’s account is balanced, makes me feel very solemn. Oh, that God will help me to do my work with faithfulness. Who shall I meet in that great day? Will there be any in this congregation saved through the words spoken to them today? 3LtMs, Lt 29, 1880, par. 23

A letter has been just brought me from you without date, so I cannot tell how long it has been on the way. Willie remailed it the fourteenth. Today is the 23rd. 3LtMs, Lt 29, 1880, par. 24

I sent you a long letter containing account of the meeting in Southern California directly, after I sent the one you mention. You probably received it soon after. Sometimes I have been too nervous to write. Once Mary wrote for me. I have written you several letters since I came to Washington territory. I am very much pleased to get this letter from you because it relieves my mind of a great anxiety. I know nothing what God has for me in the future, but I do hope to have clear light in regard to my duty and to do everything as for eternity. 3LtMs, Lt 29, 1880, par. 25

We shall try to work hard here in this camp meeting, and shall not be able to do anything without the Lord’s help. He will be with me. He will, I know that He will, for I make Him my only trust and He will help me while I work in all humility of mind. I see the necessity of constant watchfulness and unceasing prayer. My heart is drawn out after God constantly. We can do great things in His strength. The Lord will help; the Lord will strengthen, and will bless. 3LtMs, Lt 29, 1880, par. 26

I hope you will see your way clearly and will be strong in God to battle against every wrong and stand free in God, in the power of His grace and lowliness and meekness. You can be a great blessing to His people when divested of self. Jesus will take possession of the soul and be developed in the life and character. Perhaps I feel too much, but I do feel to the very depths, the great work to be done, and the few to engage in this great work. 3LtMs, Lt 29, 1880, par. 27

I am in continual fear I shall not act well my part and do all that I might do. The Lord does help me in the Testimonies, that I know. I could not, no, I could not of myself do this work. I trust to the Lord to take care of you. 3LtMs, Lt 29, 1880, par. 28

The Dunkard minister was in this morning and begged of me to write to some of his church a letter that will encourage them. They meet with great opposition from their Dunkard friends and he says they would regard a letter from me as from the Mother in Christ, and it would be next thing to their coming to meeting. They could not come to this meeting for several are sick and need these to care for them. I would go to this church if I could, but it is seventy-five miles by private conveyance over a rough road. Dayton is half-way. There is a church at Dayton. I do not know how it will be. I may go there yet. In all probability I shall not come to Oregon again. 3LtMs, Lt 29, 1880, par. 29

I may spend some longer time here than two months. May the Lord teach me my duty. I am expected to speak at Portland on my return from this place between the camp meeting and the one at Salem. Please direct your next letters to Salem. It takes so long for letters to go across the continent. 3LtMs, Lt 29, 1880, par. 30

There is much work to be done here and it needs carefulness in doing it for the subject of means was carried too far and by Elder [J. N.] Loughborough and then the opposite course being taken by Elder [I. D.] Van Horn and he doing nothing to keep up the finances, leaves things in a very disagreeable shape. They are like scared pigeons whenever the subject of means is touched; but we hope that some things may yet be done with the aid of the Spirit of the Lord after the manner it was revealed yesterday that they will be inclined to regard the tithing and offerings to God in a different light than they have hitherto done. But our only help is in God. He will not leave us in this emergency. All are gaining confidence that God has given me a testimony working through me, and if I can reach them, I will be so grateful to God, for I love their souls and I want them to make a success of overcoming. Oh, the value of the soul! Who can estimate it! My cry to God is, Help me to save souls; make me a savor of life unto life. 3LtMs, Lt 29, 1880, par. 31

Oh, my dear husband, if we can both war the good warfare, if we can both come off victorious and both rest in the city of God, what a rest that will be! How we shall appreciate it. We may have respect unto the recompense of reward. We may prize heaven. We have suffered together, labored together, and if we can be so happy as to enjoy the reward together, then all is gained on our part. 3LtMs, Lt 29, 1880, par. 32

We can afford to toil here, afford to be pilgrims and strangers. If I lose heaven, I lose everything. Oh, I do want to see Jesus and live in His presence and I do want you should see Him. We should see Him together. Praise Him together. Be crowned together. We will live wholly for God. We will make most earnest efforts for the crown of life. We will seek to get all into glory [that] we can, [so] that we may enter with the joy of our Lord. 3LtMs, Lt 29, 1880, par. 33

Jesus is our strength, our support, the crown of our rejoicing. Every one brought into the truth and soundly converted may be the means of bringing others to the knowledge of the truth and through that one, churches may be raised up and scores brought to Jesus Christ. We may, neither one of us live long, but it is our privilege to enshrine ourselves in the hearts of those who love God, and when we lay off the armor, we want to look back with pleasant recollections upon the souls saved through our instrumentality. 3LtMs, Lt 29, 1880, par. 34

May God bless you, my husband, with His grace. This is the continual prayer of 3LtMs, Lt 29, 1880, par. 35

Your Ellen.