Letters and Manuscripts — Volume 4 (1883 - 1886)


Lt 35, 1885

White, W. C.

Gytteborg, Sweden

November 17, 1885

Portions of this letter are published in 3Bio 327-328.

Dear Son Willie:

We are one day’s journey on our way to Basel. We could go no farther last night and stopped here at a good hotel. They had two beds in a small recess, but a good, large parlor. They brought in an iron bedstead that folds up, opened it, and made a bed on that for me. I took the two large pillows which you are acquainted with in the beds in Sweden and made me a good feather bed. Our large roll that you are so well acquainted with was checked, and we could not get it from the cars. 4LtMs, Lt 35, 1885, par. 1

I have arisen at half-past three. I have had a good bath, and now I am taking a little time to write to you. On the cars yesterday I felt just tired enough to sleep. We all four did good business at it, and when we had to change cars (for we were at the end of the road) I awoke first, and we but barely got our things out of the cars into the train we were to go on. Our people were so sleepy they seemed almost benumbed. The day was fine and the scenery resembled in some degree the roughness of California. It seemed that the land almost everywhere was nothing but nigh bluffs and rugged rocks. There were little patches of ground between the high bluffs that were made the most of by cultivation, as in Colorado. 4LtMs, Lt 35, 1885, par. 2

But you will be anxious to hear how our meetings came out. Sabbath I spoke to the people upon Joshua and the angel, and I think the minds of many were impressed. I spoke plainly in regard to the Sabbath and its importance as a part of the message. The house was full. Brother Hansen left as soon as I had done speaking. Brother Oyen in the afternoon read the message I had written, or a portion of it that had been translated, which was sixteen pages of that large foolscap. There was not time for many testimonies to be borne afterward. Brother Hansen made no response, but he sent word that he would be pleased to take me over the city on Sunday forenoon, and I responded that I would be pleased to go. He showed me every attention, and I managed to bring in again the vexed question of the Sabbath. He said he meant to get round to change his position just as soon as he could, and we had a very pleasant social time. He sat in the carriage where Sara generally sits. Annie sat beside him to interpret. He said if I would promise to come next spring he would make extra efforts to learn to talk and to understand English. I told him I thought without a doubt I would come. 4LtMs, Lt 35, 1885, par. 3

In the afternoon I was to speak to the church at three o’clock, and the congregation was about half outsiders. The house was crowded to overflowing. I spoke on Daniel. “And they that be wise shall shine as the brightness of the firmament and they that turn many to righteousness as the stars forever and ever.” [Daniel 12:3.] The Lord gave me much freedom in speaking, and there were many melted to tears. 4LtMs, Lt 35, 1885, par. 4

I bid them all farewell and while they were singing tried to make my escape, for I saw our faithful coachman waiting at the door. But I was not to escape so easily. There was a rush for me, and one and another took my hand, kissed it, and with tears running down their faces, told me how much good my message had done them. They held my hand so firmly and lovingly I could not withdraw it readily, while others were waiting to shake hands with me. The carriage was surrounded. We just had to wait, and then I was so sorry I had not waited in the house and shaken hands with every one of them. 4LtMs, Lt 35, 1885, par. 5

We had to get up early as the cars went at half-past six. The coachman came for us at quarter before six. At the depot we met a large number of our friends again. Brother and Sister Hansen were present, and their daughter and Annie, Brother and Sister Olsen, and several that I was introduced to for the first time. 4LtMs, Lt 35, 1885, par. 6

This last meeting left a good feeling with nearly all, and I am inclined to think that all has been done that could be done on this visit. I am glad that you will visit Christiania on your way to Basel. They need help and will continue to need help for some time. Brother Olsen, I think, will do them good when he shall come to this country. 4LtMs, Lt 35, 1885, par. 7

I would not leave this place until you return if I had an assurance it was duty to stay here. But we cannot stay one day after Sunday unless we meet with the loss of our tickets entirely. And then Italy may require some help; we may be called there. I expect Satan will work with masterly activity to make of none effect our labor in Christiania, but we can only do our part. God must do the rest. 4LtMs, Lt 35, 1885, par. 8

I felt very weary in speaking and writing. I left twenty-seven of those largest pages of foolscap for the church. May the Lord save His people from Satan’s snare. Oh, that God would give more of His grace! Time is so short. We cannot afford to move blindly now. We must give the trumpet a certain sound. I do not want to do anything to discourage a soul. 4LtMs, Lt 35, 1885, par. 9

Brother Hansen’s case is one that must be treated wisely, or we will lose him and Satan will triumph. While we must exalt the truth, we must seek to draw these souls who are certainly deceived to the light. Annie thinks that he has confidence in me, but that he has considerable in himself too. 4LtMs, Lt 35, 1885, par. 10

As I lay off this burden of labor for the church in Christiania, I am feeling some burden in regard to matters in Healdsburg. I cannot but feel sad every time I consider the turn things have taken there. I feel a sadness and a remorseful regret over the state of things, for I know just as well the afterresults of such matters as though the future were presented before me in a panoramic view. Why cannot we learn the precious lessons of Christ in His school as He has invited us—of meekness and lowliness of heart, to wear His yoke, to lift His burdens, and thus become one with Christ? Must our heavenly Father humiliate us by bringing us down into the valley of humiliation as the only way to give us the proper estimate of ourselves? We need to move steadfastly to behold Christ in order to think little of ourselves. 4LtMs, Lt 35, 1885, par. 11

I feel distressed when I see that some men of large experience think little of their sins and much of their virtues. They get as high as possible in their own eyes rather than to see themselves as God sees them. When men speak against them, they are stirred and angry. There is no stopping to see and closely investigate whether they have not reason for this unfavorable impression. 4LtMs, Lt 35, 1885, par. 12

When the Lord shows and reproves sin, there is a turning away from the subject as from a disagreeable picture, but they do not cease to sin. The work of soul cleansing is not pleasant, the bruising of self is not pleasant, but the health of the soul depends upon this close, critical work. Pride, cruel in its influence, is cherished. Our Saviour has rebuked pride as exhibited by the Pharisee in his self-congratulation, and he is represented as spreading his virtues before God, whose eye reads the intents and the purposes of the soul. 4LtMs, Lt 35, 1885, par. 13

I call upon you, my brethren, to fear this fatal spell. It is on many of you, and it makes you deaf and blind to compassion, to mercy, to truth. Your friends may praise you, be satisfied with you as you are. Every look, every word, every action may flatter you. They think you do so much good work that God will accept it; it will recommend you to God’s favor. But let me remind you that God’s judgment is totally different from human judgment. Let us not slumber on in our imperfections until the second death. I find myself pondering the Healdsburg church and its revival and the condemnation of it with a sadness I cannot express by pen or voice. 4LtMs, Lt 35, 1885, par. 14

There was a church who had been deep in the experience of a new work, and it was worthy of a careful, tender, God-fearing investigation when there was the least suspicion that things were not all reliable. Elder Daniels might not be perfect in his plans, in his spirit, in some of his movements, but there should have been the most prayerful study how to cure the to-be-feared, existing evil without marring and wounding the work of God and endangering souls. It was not one man’s case alone to be dealt with, but a large and important church was involved, whose whole after-experience would bear the marks of the present management. This spirit to denounce and condemn so readily, as if it were a small matter to tear a man up by the roots, has been manifested many times. It is a work that savors of Satan wherever it is seen; and as a people who are seeking to save souls rather than to blast and destroy, we need to mix into our manners and ways of dealing with men and women more of the compassion and love of Jesus and less of self. I have seen the harm done by our brethren’s seeing something wrong in a man and then questioning or picking him to pieces and leaving no good thing in him, but just discarding him as a useless piece of timber, that I am most thoroughly distressed over this kind of management. Let the love of Jesus melt the iron out of your souls, and let sweet sympathy and compassion come in for those who show imperfections. 4LtMs, Lt 35, 1885, par. 15

I have read the letter of Brother Jones to W. C. White, and this is all the light I now have about the management of matters at Healdsburg. And I do not say that Elder Daniels has been right in all things. He has, without question, done and said many unwise things. But will you forbid him to work because there are mistakes and errors mingled with his work? Have my brethren a perfect record of their manner of labor? Have they not had errors in judgment mingled with their best endeavors? Were they cast aside, condemned as unworthy to do anything in the vineyard of the Lord? 4LtMs, Lt 35, 1885, par. 16

From the letters written I have reason to judge a good work was begun in Healdsburg. Those who felt it was wrong, and condemned it, committed, I believe, one of the greatest errors. And now the condemnation has been made, it will be as in similar cases after once the work of a brother or the manifestations in a church are condemned; then there is a seizing hold of very little things to make good the decision that they made hastily and in an unwise manner. Thus I look at the matter. 4LtMs, Lt 35, 1885, par. 17

I have only the letters from Brother Jones, written to W. C. White, that tell what they have done. I do not condemn these brethren or their work, but I cannot endorse it; I cannot see divine wisdom or Christlike tenderness and compassion in the work. You may think it is now your duty to remodel matters, uprooting the confidence of the church in what has been done. But the end is not yet. I see too much the mold of man in this matter. Had not the decision and judgment been made in the haste of a denunciatory spirit, and had these brethren had more of Jesus in their hearts and made the efforts they did at Healdsburg, they would have a different testimony to bear. There is terrible danger of an erring brother’s falling into the hands of men who will deal with him in a very different manner than he would wish to be dealt with himself, under similar circumstances. 4LtMs, Lt 35, 1885, par. 18

Brethren, it is high time that revivals similar to the one that has stirred the church in Healdsburg should come to every Seventh-day Adventist church in our land, else the church will not be prepared to receive the latter rain. A work must be done for the individual members of the church. They will confess one to another. They will forsake their sins and their confessions will go beforehand to judgment, or their names will be blotted out from the book of life. Christ will not take their names upon His lips, to plead with His Father in their behalf. And whenever this work begins and wherever it is seen, there will be the working of the power of Satan—envy, jealousy, evil surmising will be in exercise. There will also be some who should attend to their own individual cases who will want to set their brethren and sisters right. They will feel a great burden for others, and fanaticism will come in and matters will be carried to extremes, and this will not be any evidence that the work from the beginning to end is wrong, but the most conclusive evidence that God is at work. Therefore the devil works to counteract the work of God. 4LtMs, Lt 35, 1885, par. 19

If there is a true, there will be, most assuredly, a counterfeit. It would be to me one of the most marvelous things in all my experience of the last forty years, if a brother of Elder Daniels’ temperament could, without special help from God every hour, manage so large and important [an] interest as has been going on in Healdsburg. But although he may not reveal perfection in all things, although he may be hasty and impulsive, I see no reason to denounce him, discourage him, and stop his labors. I did think my brethren would show more of the divine in their management of such men and of such a manifestation. 4LtMs, Lt 35, 1885, par. 20

Why I dwell so much on this now is because there will be most remarkable movements of the Spirit of God in the churches, if we are the people of God. And my brethren may arise and in their sense of paring everything [not] done after their style, lay their hand upon God’s working and forbid it. 4LtMs, Lt 35, 1885, par. 21

I know what I am talking about. Your management alarms me. I have no confidence in this kind of work you have been engaged in. You have placed matters in a miserable shape. Confusion has come into the church. A different course might have been taken by our brethren and saved all this bad result of reaction. There are always some who will be overzealous, who will follow impressions, who are never well and healthfully balanced, who are always first in the fire and then into the water. They are extremists, overdo everything they touch, and yet some of these are honest. These have precious qualities, and these are not to be misjudged and cast away as worthless. 4LtMs, Lt 35, 1885, par. 22

May the Lord have mercy upon His people and pity the sheep of His pasture. If those who would pronounce against this work were themselves zealous, full of faith, and showing piety and devotion, then the work coming from their hands would bear the marks, not of self, but of Christ Jesus. As a people we are far from having the spiritual works of God in our midst. The zeal for active energy and work will not supply the place of the Spirit of God, which is needed to work with the efforts of the worker, that those who embrace the truth shall witness the piety and the godly zeal and fervent devotion of the worker and obtain correct views of what it means to be a Christian. 4LtMs, Lt 35, 1885, par. 23

Those who do work for God must have devotion and piety mingled with their activity. Then they will be ensamples to the flock. All the promises of God are on condition of obedience. When these conditions are fully met by the people of God, the Lord has pledged His word to fulfil on His part. He will not deny Himself, He will not disappoint His believing ones. The Holy One of Israel is unchangeable. 4LtMs, Lt 35, 1885, par. 24

Faith has not lost its power, nor humble obedience its reward. Let the individual members of the church seek God by humble confession of their sins and putting them away. 4LtMs, Lt 35, 1885, par. 25

The Lord’s people are in the great day of atonement, and just such a work as is reported being done in Healdsburg will go to every church in our land. They will occupy the same position as did the congregation of Israel in the type. They were waiting with humble hearts for the coming out of the High Priest from the Most Holy Place to bless the people. They were confessing their sins, and these sins were borne into the sanctuary and the atonement was being made in behalf of the sinner. In the place of God’s people now being so self-satisfied because so continually occupied in the service and busy working of the cause, these very responsibilities should drive them to prayer and deep, earnest, spiritual heartsearching, that no sin may remain unconfessed and that no sin may be cherished and practiced by them. God reads the heart and the purpose of every soul. He knows the works of all. 4LtMs, Lt 35, 1885, par. 26

We are, as a people, professing to believe and advocate the most solemn truths ever given to man in trust for the world. But many are as far from having works corresponding to the holy trust as was the Jewish nation. The converting power of the Lord needs to go through their hearts and sanctify their thoughts and cleanse their souls as this work was needed by the Jewish nation. I am not speaking blindly or extravagantly. We need Christian love and Christian faith. We must come up higher. We must have the converting power of God, or we shall be laid aside as filthy, polluted vessels, unfit for the Master’s use. Our Lord will have a pure church. In His prayer to His Father He urged His petition in behalf of His people: “Sanctify them through Thy truth; Thy word is truth.” [John 17:17.] We have limited faith and sinful hearts, and God cannot work in power for us; and if He should work for our brethren, our hearts could not rejoice with them, for our unsanctified conceptions and discernment could not distinguish the work of God from the counterfeit. 4LtMs, Lt 35, 1885, par. 27

We are in the antitypical day of atonement. Time is passing; the cases of all are being decided. Have they done the will of God? Have they correctly represented the holy, sacred character of the truth? Have they taught the law of God to others while their own hearts are not loyal and true to its requirements, and their words and characters are not in accordance with their faith? Oh, how far in spirit and in works do we come from answering the prayer of Christ, which was not limited to the first disciples, which prayer includes all the promises given to His disciples. “Neither pray I for these alone, but for them also which shall believe on Me through their word; that they all may be one; as Thou, Father, art in Me, and I in Thee, that they all may be one in Us, that the world may believe that Thou hast sent Me. And the glory that Thou gavest Me I have given them; that they may be one, even as We are one.” [Verses 20-22.] 4LtMs, Lt 35, 1885, par. 28

We are in the antitypical day of atonement, and our position now is to confess and forsake our sins. Whenever the church has confessed and forsaken her sins and believed and walked in the ways of God’s commandments, according to the privileges and light given her, then according to her living faith and obedience the Lord has manifested His power from on high. She has represented Christ, and her light has shone forth to the world in clear and steady rays, leading others by her godly example to honor and glorify God. We are not contending as we should for the faith that was once delivered to the saints, having no carnal weapons of warfare, no envy, no jealousy, no evil surmising, no love for supremacy. 4LtMs, Lt 35, 1885, par. 29

If the life of Christ’s followers today were hid with Christ in God, we should see the mighty workings of His Holy Spirit. But the Lord lets us feel and realize from time to time how weak we are, how unlike Jesus in spirit, and this is why He can do so little for us. We take the glory to ourselves and become unbalanced. May the Lord have mercy upon us and in this day may we, while mercy lingers, place ourselves in right relation to God. If we did not seek for the honor that comes from men, the Lord would bestow upon us His honor. Divine power would be imparted, and we would have Christ as a wall of fire about us and a glory in our midst. The fulness of the blessing of the Gospel has never been withheld from them who walk uprightly. And if as a people, who claim to keep God’s law, we were indeed doers of the law, we would have the favor of God. 4LtMs, Lt 35, 1885, par. 30

But how many, many, who claim to be among God’s commandment-keeping people, have departed from the holy commandments which have been delivered unto them. If they had walked in the light, been obedient to the light, they would today have been a power in the world and stood on as much higher, holier ground than the primitive Christians as their light and sacred truth were greater than theirs. God’s providence for His people is progressive. There is to be continual advancement in faith, in experience, in holy confidence, and a moving forward and upward as God leads the way. They are rising higher and higher in spiritual attainments in the knowledge and the love of God. But the claims of God are today far in advance of our faith and our obedience. We have not complied with the conditions in which the fulfilment of the promises are suspended. We have not taken God at His word and accepted the promises and received the blessing presented to us. 4LtMs, Lt 35, 1885, par. 31

Christ said of a people, He could not do many mighty works there because of their unbelief. [Matthew 13:58.] Will we humble ourselves before God? Will we put sins and deception out of our hearts? Will we be as merciful and tender and pitiful of others as we wish them to be of us? God help us to love one another. 4LtMs, Lt 35, 1885, par. 32

How my brethren dared to take the position they have done in regard to the work at Healdsburg I cannot conjecture, only as that their discernment and wisdom have departed from them. If such a work comes to us, how dare we to pronounce against it because we see that the instrument is only a fallible, erring man? How did you know but that the angels of God had come in to work, although man may take the glory to himself? My earnest, agonizing prayers have been that just such a manifestation of God’s power would come to this people. At such a time there will be those who will not be moved, who will pick up everything that looks objectionable, and present these and discard the whole. Now if there were those who had the burden, if they had gone to Healdsburg not to condemn, but to rejoice if they could see fruits that God was at work, and with firm and well-balanced judgment guided the matter, in love presented cautions, letting the good stand as God’s work, the evil as the work of the enemy who will ever seek to intrude deceptions when God works, then you would have done a good work. Now you have left the minds dazed and confused, not knowing what is of God and what is not. If they give up that God has wrought for them, they are thrown on Satan’s battlefield to be ever suspicious and established in unbelief. May the Lord teach us wisdom. 4LtMs, Lt 35, 1885, par. 33


Willie, please send to Lizzie N. Bangs, West Gorham, Maine, a draft for twenty dollars for her especial use, as a New Year’s gift. 4LtMs, Lt 35, 1885, par. 34

Brother Heman Gurney, will you please send to Battle Creek several packages of pumpkin powder to be brought to Europe when Willie comes? And if you know of any who have dried corn or small dried fruits, will you please interest them to send what they can spare, as a donation to this mission? These things cannot be obtained here as corn and pumpkin. We shall spend the winter here; and as we have not been situated to buy fruit and take care of it here, these favors requested would be highly appreciated. 4LtMs, Lt 35, 1885, par. 35

This may be copied for Monterey, and fruit can be brought here just as well as not. Now, my son, I will not write any more now. You see, I had only this paper in the satchel. That is why I use it. Our satchels are in the freight care. We take the boat at nine o’clock. Sarah has just got out of bed. 4LtMs, Lt 35, 1885, par. 36