Letters and Manuscripts — Volume 4 (1883 - 1886)


Ms 19, 1885

Talk/Talk Before the European General Council

Basel, Switzerland

September 21, 1885

See edited variant Ms 14, 1885. Portions of this manuscript are published in 4MR 408-409; 6MR 130-133.

I was just thinking about the world’s Redeemer when the Roman tax collections came to the disciples for the tax money. They had nothing to give them. But they brought the matter before Christ. He said to Simon, “Go thou to the sea, and cast an hook, and take up the fish that first cometh up; and when thou hast opened his mouth, thou shalt find a piece of money: that take, and give unto them for Me and thee.” Matthew 17:27. 4LtMs, Ms 19, 1885, par. 1

Peter was one of the disciples of Jesus, one who was laboring in His cause, and yet he had not enough money to pay the required tax. Their Master was the Majesty of heaven; He owned the world, and He had no possessions in the world. He took His position among the poor and lowly of earth. 4LtMs, Ms 19, 1885, par. 2

We know how our cause started. We know that we have counted pennies and means in every way in order that we might have enough means for the bare necessaries of life and to carry us from place to place, to present the truth to others. I well remember the first conference that was ever held by our people. It was in Connecticut. My husband worked at cutting cordwood at twenty-five cents a cord to earn money to take us to this meeting. He was not accustomed to this kind of labor, and the rheumatism came in his wrist. He was unable to sleep nights, and night after night our prayers ascended, that God would relieve him of pain. He said, “Wife, we must keep five dollars on hand, and even if we get short of food we must not use that.” I fainted to the floor with a nursing child in my arms more than once for the want of necessary food to eat. But when the call came from a few faithful souls, Cannot you come and hold a meeting with us in Connecticut, we felt the Lord would have us go. When my husband settled with his employer, he had ten dollars. With this we made the journey. 4LtMs, Ms 19, 1885, par. 3

My husband in his youth by the slip of an ax, while [cutting] heavy timber, sliced off a piece of his ankle bone so that he was not able to bear the weight of his body upon the heel of his right foot for several years. When in our great need he engaged to work in the harvest field, there were several hands employed beside himself who were irreligious, rough men. They agreed among themselves to make it hard for the minister; for as he was unaccustomed to such stern, hard work, they would run him down and drive him from the field. He knew at that time nothing of this; but before he went into the field, we sought the Lord most earnestly that He would strengthen and protect him in this manifest duty as He had done in preaching His word. As he entered the field, they put the minister to lead in mowing the swath. He took a wide swath. Those who followed, he saw, took narrow swaths and bent to with all their energies to keep up close to him which led him to quicken his steps. He worked rapidly, but they had gone across the large field but twice when they threw down their scythes and said, “White, do you mean to kill yourself and us? We give up this trial. We thought you were a minister and could not know by experience how to handle a scythe; but we give you the credit of being far ahead of us and the best mower we ever saw, and you have taken no beer or liquor this hot day. When you came into the field as a worker, we were mad. We did not want a minister in our company; and we agreed to give you a hard one, and you have gone steadily on, and we have to give up. We crown you as a leader and captain in the field.” My husband thanked them for their compliments, but he felt that he had One to thank whom they did not love, trust, or serve—the God of heaven. 4LtMs, Ms 19, 1885, par. 4

This day’s work proved to him a blessing in more ways than one. It broke down the stiff prejudice that existed against him as a minister; and the severe strain of nerve and muscle he was under while enduring the heat of the noonday sun, followed by several men to drive him ahead, the cords in the limbs relaxed, he found himself bringing his wounded foot squarely to the ground. After this he stepped so firmly, no one would imagine he had ever been lame, but he was troubled with pain in his ankle when he attempted to walk long distances, but he walked nine miles from Rocky Hill to Middletown, Connecticut, to the post office to carry the first paper ever published by Seventh-day Adventists. Before these papers were sent, we knelt down before God and with many tears craved His blessing upon them. 4LtMs, Ms 19, 1885, par. 5

Urgent invitations came from New York for us to hold a series of meetings among them. What could we do? We had no means, we were poor. We prayed over the matter, and my husband decided to buy a scythe and go into the harvest field and earn money for to take us to New York. He was an invalid, could not retain food upon his stomach; but we prayed over the matter morning and night, and he was strengthened. He worked thus until he earned forty dollars, which paid our fare to New York. 4LtMs, Ms 19, 1885, par. 6

I was shown at that time that light was shining out from my husband’s pen, and these rays of light were penetrating the darkness of error and the beams of light were increasing and growing brighter and more powerful. 4LtMs, Ms 19, 1885, par. 7

It was at this meeting that the truth began to spread in New York. My husband worked at handling stone for months until his fingers were worn through and dropped blood; and this, too, was the very place where he had stood in the desk before thousands of people to proclaim the coming of Christ. Through injustice of his employer he did not receive the money for his labor, and we were in want. He obtained a few things for our absolute necessities. 4LtMs, Ms 19, 1885, par. 8

My husband went through the streets of Brunswick, Maine, with a bag upon his shoulder in which were a few beans and a little meal and rice and flour to keep us from starvation. When he entered the house singing, “I am a pilgrim and I am a stranger,” I said, Has it come to this? Has God forgotten us? Are we reduced to this? He lifted his hand and said, “Hush, the Lord has not forsaken us. He gives us enough for our present wants. Jesus fared no better.” I was so worn that as he said this, I fainted from the chair. The next day a letter came asking us to go to another conference. We had no money. When my husband went to the post office for his mail, he found a letter containing five dollars. When he returned he gathered the family together and offered a prayer of thanksgiving. This is the way the work began. 4LtMs, Ms 19, 1885, par. 9

At one time light came that we should go to Portsmouth. But we had no money. We got all ready and were waiting when a man came riding very fast to our door. Jumping from his wagon, he said, There is some body here that wants money. I have come fourteen miles at the highest speed my horse would go. Said my husband, We are all ready to start to attend an important meeting, but were waiting for money. We shall not have time to catch the cars now unless you take us. He did so, and we had just time to reach the cars, step upon the platform without purchasing tickets when the car started. This was the way the Lord educated us to trust in Him. In this way the truth has entered many places. Our faith and trust in God have been tested and tried again and again. For years we labored constantly to carry forward the work under the pressure of feebleness and great poverty. We have tried to the best of our ability to save means in every way possible, that the work of God might go forward. I had about the time of Bro. Ertzenberger’s visit to America a present of a nice silk dress which cost forty-five dollars. Brother Andrews had just sent word that there was a great need of money to carry forward the work. I thought it was my privilege to so use the gift I had received that those who generously presented it to me would receive a reward and lay up treasure in heaven. I went to a merchant and told him to sell it for me for all he could get. He sold it for fifty dollars, and I sent the money to this mission. When others knew what I had done, they donated much larger sums. Thus the act of my doing this little brought in means from other individuals, so that Brother Andrews wrote us that the very sum needed came at the right time, and he expressed gratitude to God for this timely response. 4LtMs, Ms 19, 1885, par. 10

We are establishing missions and building churches all through America. Already we have $23,000 laid up in the bank of heaven. As I could not sell property that I wished to sell, I have hired money and, paying eight per cent interest, invested it in the cause. Our foreign mission treasury is now empty. In many places in America they have been having very close times. A night before last, I dreamed that I was pleading with God and presenting to Him our empty treasury. I awoke, myself pleading that He would send means to advance His work. Now I propose that we have living faith to ask God to supply our needs. The Lord has money that He has entrusted to His stewards for to do this needed work. Are these men, are these women where God can impress them with His Spirit? 4LtMs, Ms 19, 1885, par. 11

A short time ago we wanted so much to build a boarding house in Healdsburg, California, to be connected with the school there. But we had no means to do it with. I said to my son, All we can do is to pray. We did pray. Our supplication went up to heaven with many tears for the Lord [to] send us means. In about three hours’ time, I heard a knock at my door. Upon opening it, I found a sister there. Said she, I do not wish to disturb you while writing, but I have some money that I want to invest in the cause. Can you tell me where this money is most needed? Where shall it be placed? My heart was filled with gratitude to God. Yes, indeed, we had a place for it. She gave us (to the college) $5,000, enough to supply our present great needs, and said she felt thankful that she could help the cause of God in any way. And the tears ran down her face to think that she had now found a safe deposit for what had so long been only a source of care and anxiety. There are others who should see and feel the needs of God’s cause and do likewise. Why cannot we carry these things to God in prayer? We depend too much upon one another and too little upon God. 4LtMs, Ms 19, 1885, par. 12

I have lain awake night after night, turning over in my mind how we could help the different missions in the best way, and I am in just as much perplexity now as before. I can see no other way but to pray, believe, and act as God gives us wisdom. The Lord has gold and silver. The earth and all its treasures belong to Him. The cattle upon a thousand hills are His also. If we trust in Him, exercising living faith, He will send help to advance His work. He has always proved Himself a prayer-hearing and a prayer-answering God. 4LtMs, Ms 19, 1885, par. 13