Letters and Manuscripts — Volume 3 (1876 - 1882)


Lt 6, 1881

White, J. E.; White, Emma

Hampton, Iowa

June 16, 1881

Portions of this letter are published in TDG 176; 4MR 96.

Dear children, Edson and Emma:

We left the regular route at Marshall and took the trail this morning at half past six for Hampton. This is a very pretty town of about two or three thousand inhabitants, three hours’ ride on cars from Marshall. 3LtMs, Lt 6, 1881, par. 1

Brother Myer and his wife attended our camp meeting and urged us to come to Hampton and for me to speak upon the subject of temperance. I expect we were a little imprudent to do this, after laboring so hard as we did at the camp meeting. Brother and Sister Myer live about two miles from the depot. They are the wealthiest Sabbathkeepers in all our ranks. They seem to be excellent people, but he, I think, is rather close with his means. We thought by coming here we might be instrumental in securing some of this means to the cause of God. We may not be able to do more now than to gain their confidence, and at some future time solicit means from them. On the subject of means we wish to move guardedly. Our people are sore upon this matter of continually urging means from them. I cannot sanction this course. I think it has been carried to extremes. 3LtMs, Lt 6, 1881, par. 2

We endured the journey to Des Moines well. There were omnibuses but no carriage for me as we were next expected. We dragged up four miles to the campground, walking every step. The fairground was our encampment. Certainly it was the most beautiful spot for camp meeting we have ever occupied. Connected with this is a museum, a collection of animals—wolves, buffaloes, deer, antelope, choice birds. These are kept in buildings somewhat as at Woodard’s gardens. Anyone can go in to see the animals for ten cents; children accompanied by parents, free. There are quite a number of buildings on the place. Families live in these houses and take care of the place. It was altogether a grand place. 3LtMs, Lt 6, 1881, par. 3

We were not expected; no provision had been made for us. Our trunks were not sent on and did not come till Sabbath about noon. Elder [G. I.] Butler had a tent pitched, but I tell you there was not preparation made to make us comfortable. We were obliged to accept a very uncomfortable provision from beginning to end. 3LtMs, Lt 6, 1881, par. 4

Sabbath it rained hard. There was a very strong wind. Our bed was on the floor of the tent. After speaking, my clothing was wet. I could not get it dry, and when [I] put [it] on, it seemed cold. [This] chilled the blood from the surface and drove it to the heart. I had severe palpitation which nearly prostrated me; but as the sun came out, circulation was established, and I found relief. 3LtMs, Lt 6, 1881, par. 5

I spoke to the people Friday evening. I was lifted above infirmities and was especially free in the Lord. Many of the people seemed to be starving for the Bread of Life. They were rejoiced to see us and to hear us again. It was a pleasure to feed the sheep and lambs who accepted the message we brought them. Father spoke in the afternoon on Friday. 3LtMs, Lt 6, 1881, par. 6

Sabbath morning I addressed the Sabbath school. I was free in the Lord. Father spoke in the afternoon. In the afternoon I had power in addressing the people upon Peter’s ladder of sanctification. I then invited them forward and above two hundred responded. Social meeting followed, and then prayers, and then meetings in the tents. The work seemed to be just begun. Father was especially free in prayer and speaking. Elder [Uriah] Smith spoke in the evening. 3LtMs, Lt 6, 1881, par. 7

Sunday a bedstead was found for us, a stove was placed in our tent, and we were made more comfortable, but our food was a picked-up affair from first to last. 3LtMs, Lt 6, 1881, par. 8

The good work begun on Sabbath should have been carried forward in Sunday morning meetings, but we were disappointed. Tract and missionary meetings occupied all the time until preaching. 3LtMs, Lt 6, 1881, par. 9

As we were about to commence meetings in the afternoon, we had a storm which was very severe. It rained and blew like a hurricane. About twenty men kept up the big tent. They feared every moment it would go down. Sister Glasscox would not stay in our tent, fearing it would come down. She went to one of the wooden buildings, but was told these were frail structures and more unsafe then the tent. She rushed out of it into the first tent she came to and had not been there three minutes before it came down upon her, and she crawled out, white and frightened, and made her way to the next tent, dripping wet. She said she wished she had stayed in Brother White’s tent; she would have been better off. But we had a pretty precarious time of it. Leroy Nicola was holding a rope about the center pole on one side and Father on the other side, while I lay on the bed covered up, with the rain and hail pelting in upon us. Almost everything exposed was wet. 3LtMs, Lt 6, 1881, par. 10

It was half past three o’clock before I could venture to speak. It soon commenced raining again, making it difficult for anyone’s voice to be heard. Planks were brought in, two seats removed, and I stood in the center of the tent on the planks where all could hear me. I had special strength given me at this time, and a deep impression was made upon the people. We thought of leaving Monday, but the work was not finished. After I had spoken, Sister Simons gave me a bath and put me to bed for the night. 3LtMs, Lt 6, 1881, par. 11

I had lain but one hour when I was sent for, to go into [a] business meeting. I dressed, and found I was to speak to the point of whether our people should vote for prohibition. I told them, “Yes,” and spoke for twenty minutes. 3LtMs, Lt 6, 1881, par. 12

We consented to remain till Tuesday morning. Monday I spoke at [the] nine o’clock social meeting for one hour. This was by far the most solemn exercise of the meeting. I was pressed as a cart beneath sheaves. The Spirit of God was upon me and poured out the truth to the people in words that went to their hearts. I then invited them forward, and the center seats of the mammoth tent were soon full. There was deep feeling. Many confessions were made to one another. Many tears were shed. Elder Butler’s son Hiland spoke for the first time indicating that he wanted to be a Christian. Ministers and people felt that the Lord was preciously near. 3LtMs, Lt 6, 1881, par. 13

This was a good day for the people in Iowa. Our meeting did not close until about one o’clock. About half past two your father spoke upon baptism, then all went to the water and twenty-six were baptized. 3LtMs, Lt 6, 1881, par. 14

The mammoth tent was crowded full in the evening and I spoke for the last time. I had the burden of the Word of the Lord, and it was not I but the Lord speaking to the people through clay. 3LtMs, Lt 6, 1881, par. 15

I could not cease speaking. The precious gift of salvation and the redemption for all those who will accept it seemed so marvelous, so far beyond our finite conception, that language was tame and could not portray the infinite blessings brought within our reach by the world’s Redeemer. His greatness condescended to our feebleness. 3LtMs, Lt 6, 1881, par. 16

Jesus, precious Saviour! We may study the love of the Father in that He gave His dear Son to die for a fallen world. As we study this inexpressible love in the light of the cross of Calvary, we are filled with wonder, with amazement. We see mercy, tenderness, and forgiveness blended harmoniously with justice and dignity and power. Jesus bids the sinner to look to Him and live. “I,” He says, “have found a ransom.” [Job 33:24.] The gulf of perdition opened by sin is bridged by the cross of Calvary. Penitent, believing souls may see a forgiving Father reconciling us to Himself by that cross of Calvary. 3LtMs, Lt 6, 1881, par. 17

The knowledge of Christ reveals the depths of sin and its offensive character, while by faith we see the cleansing stream, the blood of Christ which washes away every spot, every stain of sin. This salvation is not half appreciated. Salvation brought to us through the blood of Jesus is not estimated of priceless value. By faith this gift must be fully accepted as the great gift of God through Jesus Christ. The burden of our sins and of our sorrows was laid upon One who is merciful to pardon, mighty to save. 3LtMs, Lt 6, 1881, par. 18

Why are we so cold? Why are we worldly? Why are we so careless? Why does not the love of Jesus burn upon the altar of our hearts? He carried the burden of our sins, of our sorrows; why do we not have greater faith? Why do we not trust fully and receive by faith everything from that hand which was nailed to the cross that it might be all-powerful to save? Why cannot we trust that love which has been expressed to us in such infinite sacrifice that we might live? Look in faith to the cross. Look and live. This will be our study and song throughout eternity. 3LtMs, Lt 6, 1881, par. 19

I spoke to the people until nearly ten o’clock. Then Sister Simons gave me a bath, and about eleven o’clock I was lost in slumber. 3LtMs, Lt 6, 1881, par. 20