Letters and Manuscripts — Volume 3 (1876 - 1882)

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Lt 26, 1880

White, James

Campground between Lemoore and Hanford, California

April 23, 1880

Portions of this letter are published in OHC 134, 162; 11MR 64.

Dear Husband:

I am not sure when this may reach you, as the road has been blockaded with terrible snow storms and avalanches have demolished freight trains. When we took the cars for this route, there were fifty stout men waiting to take cars for the blockaded roads for the purpose of shoveling snow. It took six engines to drag the cars even a short distance. There had been no mails for two days, and they said it would take more than two days to remove the obstructions so that they could get through with mails. Telegraph wires are down and general calamity seems to be on California. Levees are giving way and Sacramento is flooded. There is great damage done by these last rains. It has rained nearly all the time for three weeks. Most of the time it has poured. It is about the first rain they have had in this country. 3LtMs, Lt 26, 1880, par. 1

But our campground is a good, grassy place. No trees for shelter. There is as respectable [a] class of people as I [have] ever met in camp meeting. My expectations are more than met. It is cool, and the sun has shone all day beautifully. There were meetings all day yesterday and have been meetings all day today. Elder [S. N.] Haskell spoke this morning. I spoke to a good audience this afternoon. I had freedom in speaking. There was a large audience of outsiders. We hope and pray good may be done at this meeting. 3LtMs, Lt 26, 1880, par. 2

Two more loaded wagons have just come in. The people seem so glad and thankful for the privilege of a meeting. They are begging for it to [be held] two weeks, but we dare not promise them any such thing. There is so much to be done. But it seems we have appointed the meeting at just the time to suit the people here. The whole community is stirred in regard to this meeting. The First-Day Adventists have flooded the community with Grant’s books and it has created a great excitement to see the woman that so much is said against. 3LtMs, Lt 26, 1880, par. 3

While I am writing, Willie is speaking to them in regard to their Sabbath School—how it should be conducted. I am going to find out the number of tents and then will report. 3LtMs, Lt 26, 1880, par. 4

The air is just such as would suit you. We are in full sight of the Sierra Nevada mountains with their eternal snows. The air comes, apparently, from these snow banks. 3LtMs, Lt 26, 1880, par. 5

I feel to the very depths of my soul for the starving people. I have been seeking to draw the people nearer to God, to have them see the need of possessing Christ as well as professing him. I have spoken plainly today, exalting the standard which they must reach. In order to have the salvation they so much need, they must look closely to their own hearts and discern the defects of character. In their own lives they must represent Christ and seek to glorify Him. Three ministers were present this afternoon. Elder Wood preached a good discourse in the evening. There were from two to three hundred present. 3LtMs, Lt 26, 1880, par. 6

April 24

It is a beautiful morning, cool, but clear. The coast range of mountains is now more clearly discerned and the Sierra Nevada range stands out cool and white in plain view. 3LtMs, Lt 26, 1880, par. 7

Prayer meeting was well attended at five o’clock in big tent. We were called again to [the] big tent at nine o’clock for Sabbath School. Willie thinks it the very best Sabbath School he has met anywhere. The best order was preserved, the most interest manifested. It has been an excellent exercise. I spoke a short time and then parents came forward with their children, from one to four or five to speak with me. It really touched my heart. I spoke to these dear children and felt like blessing them in the name of Jesus. There is as good a company here of brethren and sisters as I have met in any place. They seem to appreciate the truth. They have intelligence. I have never met, upon a ground, a company so neat and orderly as I have met here. 3LtMs, Lt 26, 1880, par. 8

Elder [S. N.] Haskell should have rest. This morning he had an ill turn, absence of thought. His mind could not and would not act. He labors incessantly and with the best of results; but I fear that unless he has rest he will be past re-creation before long. Elder Haskell went away and sought God most earnestly, and he gave an excellent discourse this forenoon. I heard the discourse while lying down in my tent. 3LtMs, Lt 26, 1880, par. 9

It is now five o’clock p.m. Meeting just closed. I spoke upon “Behold, what manner of love,” etc. [1 John 3:1.] I had a large congregation. Many were unbelievers. Some came twenty and thirty miles. One man, the most violent opposer, came twenty miles. His daughter believes the truth and he has opposed her greatly. I had much freedom in speaking. I invited the people forward. About one hundred and forty came forward. Many bore testimony in tears, confessing their sins. The Lord seemed very near as we prayed for these souls who where seeking the Lord. 3LtMs, Lt 26, 1880, par. 10

I was especially drawn out in prayer, and the Lord seemed very near. The atoning blood seemed efficacious. My heart was broken before God, and I had precious evidences of His love and of His goodness and His willingness to bless us. O, I am so grateful for this revealing of His power. I could but weep and praise God. How I did want that all should have living faith in the unfailing promises of God. These promises are mine, because I am a sinner; therefore I claim them. I risk my salvation on these promises. 3LtMs, Lt 26, 1880, par. 11

Those who came forward are assembled in several tents to seek God more earnestly. The feeling has been deepening since the meeting commenced, and yet they do not walk out as they might and believe for present salvation. They look to themselves and seek to make themselves righteous by their good works and they do not walk out by faith, believing that Jesus will do that work for them which they can not do for themselves, if they should try their lifetime. Genuine conversion unites the heart in clinging faith to the Friend of sinners. The heart is joined to the heart of infinite love. The life of the truly converted is knit by hidden links to the heart of Jesus. Because Christ lives, he will live also. His destiny is bound to Jesus. He is kept by the power of God through faith unto salvation. 3LtMs, Lt 26, 1880, par. 12

Oh, how clearly I see that what the church needs is patience, prayer, and unselfish, persevering work. We need those who will follow Christ fully, whose head, hands, ears, and every faculty and power are consecrated to Jesus. It is not purse power or brain power, but heart power we need. True godliness, in simplicity, will overpower genius, eloquence and wealth, in its influence in the church. The living eloquence of a godly life will be felt in this life and will reach through to the immortal life. 3LtMs, Lt 26, 1880, par. 13

We must pray more, and in faith. We must not pray and then run away as though afraid we should receive an answer. God will not mock us. He will answer, if we watch unto prayer—if we believe we receive the things we ask for, and keep believing, and never lose patience in believing. This is watching unto prayer. We guard the prayer of faith with expectancy and hope. We must wall it in with assurance and be not faithless, but believing. The fervent prayer of the righteous is never lost. The answer may not come according as we expected, but it will come, because God’s Word is pledged. Jesus recognized Nathanael praying under the fig tree, and every sincere prayer will bring its returns. 3LtMs, Lt 26, 1880, par. 14

Sunday morning, April 25, 1880

The sun shines beautifully this morning. There is no appearance of rain. We could not have a more favorable time for meeting than we are now having. The moon is bright. The people have its light in coming and returning from the meetings in the evening. Elder [S. N.] Haskell preached last evening. As the result of the meeting yesterday, eight additions were made to our numbers. We hope for still more. The five o’clock meeting has just closed. Elder Haskell gave instructions how to do missionary work. His remarks upon courtesy and Christian politeness were highly proper. 3LtMs, Lt 26, 1880, par. 15

I am hungry and want my breakfast so much. I do not choose this red ink, but some one has borrowed my ink and has not brought it back. 3LtMs, Lt 26, 1880, par. 16

After Breakfast: We had a meeting at nine o’clock where many precious testimonies were borne that yesterday the Lord met with them and blessed them. They had never felt as now, the defects in their character, and they were determined to pray and watch and become victors. One man had been a gambler. He stated in a meeting in the tent that he had tried again and again to leave off his gambling, but he could not. There was an infatuation about the game which would draw him irresistibly to the gambling table. When he heard this truth, he believed it was truth and embraced it. Then he was told Jesus was our Helper and if we prayed to Him, He would give strength to overcome all these bad habits. He went to Him in prayer and since he had relied upon Him, he had never been to the gambling table; and now he was disgusted with that which had been once so fascinating. He related this in a very affecting, simple manner. 3LtMs, Lt 26, 1880, par. 17

I will write no more now, but will give further particulars as [the] meetings progress. 3LtMs, Lt 26, 1880, par. 18

Sunday. The people are pouring in. There are no less than one thousand upon the ground. Elder [S. N.] Haskell spoke in the forenoon with great freedom. I spoke to the crowd in the afternoon. The Lord blessed me in speaking. Elder Wood spoke in the evening. 3LtMs, Lt 26, 1880, par. 19

Our meetings have continued to increase in interest. Many outsiders attend daily. We had intended to close the meetings Wednesday, today, but the brethren begged so earnestly for us to continue the meetings, we have consented to continue them over another Sabbath and First Day. 3LtMs, Lt 26, 1880, par. 20

Some very valuable ones have taken their position upon the Sabbath. One man, called Judge Gray, is wealthy and a man of excellent repute. The community has boasted saying, “You don’t get such men as Judge Gray to believe your doctrine.” But yesterday afternoon Judge Gray arose and spoke very intelligently. I called the people forward after I had ceased speaking and Judge Gray and his wife came forward. Then they both spoke. He bore an excellent testimony. Said he had been waiting these five days, dreading the cross, but he must take his stand. 3LtMs, Lt 26, 1880, par. 21

He said, “People said, ‘They are a poor people; no rich ones are among them.’ Well, I am poor, and therefore am just the one to be with them. They are seeking to gain the heavenly treasure, therefore I will seek it with them. ‘Well,’ says the world, ‘they are illiterate. There are no learned ones among them.’ I am ignorant, too, and I will count myself with them and connect with Jesus Christ, the Source of knowledge and wisdom. He will teach me the knowledge of His will. Says the world, ‘They are low.’ Well, I will come with them low at the foot of the cross, humble my proud heart, and Jesus will exalt me with them who love Him, by and by.” 3LtMs, Lt 26, 1880, par. 22

This man was an infidel, but he will be a strength to the cause of God here. 3LtMs, Lt 26, 1880, par. 23

Our camp meeting is on his land. He gives all the feed, straw for horses and other use, and every accommodation he can to those who come. 3LtMs, Lt 26, 1880, par. 24

There is no want of anything here. Although the people are generally poor, they have pledged liberally for the Cause—between two and three thousand dollars. I never saw a more willing and a more respectable people than we find here. 3LtMs, Lt 26, 1880, par. 25

We have had some most precious seasons of prayer and the angels of God have walked through our midst. The people are growing stronger. 3LtMs, Lt 26, 1880, par. 26

April 29 was a day long to be remembered by us. After speaking to the people, we called them forward, and about one hundred responded. There were fervent prayers offered. I had a most earnest spirit of intercession. When we arose, the countenances of a number were light and shining. They spoke and said they had been blessed; never felt as they did that day. Peace and joy were glowing in their hearts. We are seeking to have thorough work made, and deep and earnest work is now going forward. This morning was the best of the series of meetings held. Brother confessed to brother on their knees, and there was weeping and forgiveness and joy. The angels of God are on this encampment. 3LtMs, Lt 26, 1880, par. 27