Letters and Manuscripts — Volume 3

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Lt 16, 1880

White, James

Oakland, California

March 24, 1880

Portions of this letter are published in TDG 92; OHC 296.

Dear Husband:

I have just returned from Healdsburg. Last Friday Sister [Lucinda] Hall accompanied me to Petaluma, where I had appointments to speak to the Ladies Christian Temperance Union Association. We were heartily welcomed by Brother Chapman’s family. Sabbath I met with those gathered in the little house of worship. There was a well-filled house. There were some from Stony Point, from Bloomfield, and one from Santa Rosa. Brother and Sister Palmer were present, and the brethren and sisters residing in Petaluma. I had much freedom in speaking to those assembled from this text: “Ye are the salt of the earth”; “Ye are the light of the world,” etc. [Matthew 5:13, 14.] 3LtMs, Lt 16, 1880, par. 1

The Lord gave me words to speak to the people. How clearly it was impressed upon my mind that it is the privilege of the Christian to connect with the Source of light, and through this living connection become the light of the world. Christ’s true followers will walk in the light as He is in the light and therefore they will not travel in an uncertain way, stumbling because they walk in darkness. The great Teacher is impressing upon His hearers the blessing which they may be to the world, represented as the sun rising in the east in dispelling the mist and shadows of darkness. The dawn gives place to day, the sun, gliding, tinting and then glorifying the heavens with its blaze of light is a symbol of the Christian life. As the light of the sun in light and life and blessing to all that live, so should Christians, by their good works, by their cheerfulness and courage, be the light of the world. As the light of the sun chases away the shades of night and pours its glories on valleys and hills, so will the Christian reflect the Sun of Righteousness which shines on him. 3LtMs, Lt 16, 1880, par. 2

Before the consistent lives of Christ’s true followers, ignorance, superstition, and darkness will pass away, as the sun dispels the gloom of night, in like manner the disciples of Jesus will go into the dark places of the earth, disseminating the light of truth until the pathway of those in darkness shall be illuminated by the light of truth. 3LtMs, Lt 16, 1880, par. 3

In what contrast to this is the life of the professed child of God who is as the salt without the savor. He has no vital connection with God, and like the worthless salt—which Christ describes as being thenceforth good for nothing but to be cast out and trodden under foot of men—he has no saving properties. Thus is the life of a professed follower of Christ if he has not a living connection with Jesus Christ. These sunless professors are shadows of darkness. They see nothing to praise God for. They love to dwell in an atmosphere of doubt. If they listen to the truth, they are suffering their minds to watch for something which they think they can start a controversy, and discern some hook upon which to hang their doubts. They go forth from the blessing God has placed within their reach, and in mercy brought to them through His servants, to turn the light given them into darkness. And how great is that darkness! 3LtMs, Lt 16, 1880, par. 4

It is a sin for men thus to abuse the benefits which God sends to those who so much need help and light. In the place of accepting the blessing of God as such, they turn it into a curse by encouraging unbelief, obstinately holding positions of difference as persistently as if the salvation of their souls depended upon their looking upon the dark side, talking their suspicions and doubts, strengthening unbelief, and helping others in the same path of doubts and infidelity. Is it any marvel that such ones are not a light to the world? Can we be surprised that such ones never grow in grace and the knowledge of the truth? 3LtMs, Lt 16, 1880, par. 5

This class are never purified, sanctified through the truth, because truth is not the element they love. The miasma of doubt and unbelief is their favorite element. The angel of God may stand by the side of His messenger and dictate the words he utters, and the very men these words should help will not be helped by them because their own ideas and will and way are chosen before the will and way of God. This class cannot be the light of the world unless they are transformed and shall feel that it is sin, a grievous sin, to let one dark shadow cloud the pathway of others. 3LtMs, Lt 16, 1880, par. 6

All may be channels of light if they will connect with the Source of light. They can communicate the bright rays of light to the world. None need to strengthen unbelief by talking darkness. Every expression of doubt strengthens unbelief. Every thought and word of hope, courage, light, and love strengthens faith and fortifies the soul to withstand the moral darkness that exists in the world. Those who talk faith will have faith, and those who talk discouragements will have discouragements. By beholding we become changed in harmony with the subject of our thoughts and conversation. 3LtMs, Lt 16, 1880, par. 7

After the discourse we had a social meeting and there were good testimonies borne. This meeting seemed to be an encouragement to those who have been trying to live and be steadfast in the faith, although our ministers have seldom given them any help because of so many calls in every direction. 3LtMs, Lt 16, 1880, par. 8

I rode home with Brother Chapman’s family and rested until evening, then rode into the city again and spoke in the Methodist Church. The Methodist minister introduced me to the congregation. I spoke for about one hour upon temperance. Sunday afternoon I spoke again upon temperance by the request of the Ladies Christian Temperance Union. I had an attentive audience and was free. As near as I can learn, all were pleased with the lecture. Brother and Sister Chapman, especially, were enthusiastic over it. They think it will be the means of removing much prejudice. 3LtMs, Lt 16, 1880, par. 9

Lee has been in all these places, Santa Rosa, Healdsburg, Petaluma, and I know not wherever, but his influence does not amount to much. 3LtMs, Lt 16, 1880, par. 10

In regard to the publication of the testimonies, I hardly know what to say. I suppose there will be those who will make a handling of the matter if anything is left out. I mean to have the matter upon dress reform ready in a short time, but I labor so much, I find but little time to write. I think now I shall return East in June and attend campmeetings, although I think it would be better for my health to remain here in Colorado in hot weather. 3LtMs, Lt 16, 1880, par. 11