Letters and Manuscripts — Volume 4 (1883 - 1886)

221/448

Lt 2, 1886

White, J. E.; White, Emma

Orebro, Sweden

June 24, 1886

Portions of this letter are published in TDG 184; 3MR 393-399.

Dear Children Edson and Emma:

We left Basel June 15 and came to Hamburg in company with Sarah and Christine Dahl. W. C. White preceded us. He started the morning of the fourteenth in company with Elders Whitney and Conradi. These visited Leipsic on business and were quite successful. We met W. C. on the evening of the sixteenth. We took the boat at Kiel at midnight. We were accommodated with a stateroom and had an opportunity to sleep from two until five o’clock. After the boat arrived, we had to go through the preliminaries of the customhouse. That over, we made our way to the waiting room, placed our numerous satchels and bundles together, and took some refreshments—hot milk and bread. We then took up our baggage and stepped into the cars. 4LtMs, Lt 2, 1886, par. 1

Upon examination, one satchel was missing. W. C. White rushed back to the boat and to the waiting room, but it was not found. We thought we would have to stop over a train, which was bad for us, as it would bring us into Orebro on the Sabbath. There we stood with our luggage piled on the platform, undecided what to do. It came happily into our mind that the satchel must have been taken by mistake and was on the very train we intended to take. In a moment or two all our luggage was again placed into the car which was occupied by two gentlemen. One talked imperfect English, and we were glad that he could speak as well, as Christine had left us the night before for Norway. This gentleman helped us much in every way he could, as we were making every arrangement to secure the missing satchel. 4LtMs, Lt 2, 1886, par. 2

After we had gone on our way, at the first station out, a gentlemen was seen swinging the missing satchel from the car window. The cars tarried a few moments, and we met the gentleman and his party, who were Americans taking a trip through Europe. The gentlemen said the daughter had discovered that the satchel was not theirs. They were as pleased to get rid of it as we were to receive it. He said he had such a stack of baggage that they did not discover the satchel at once. 4LtMs, Lt 2, 1886, par. 3

We arrived at Copenhagen at eleven o’clock, and hired a hack to take us directly to the boat, which was to leave in half an hour. So we made close connections. The boat landed us at Malmo. We had no trouble here to make ourselves understood, as there stands a man dressed in uniform with a broad, silver-looking sash across his chest, passing under the right arm, which signifies his office. Here those of all languages may make themselves understood. 4LtMs, Lt 2, 1886, par. 4

We took our lunch and then stepped on the cars and were favored with a compartment to ourselves. We had been riding two nights and nearly two days, and there was some sleeping done, although the seats were very hard. They were not spring seats, but cushion. They have no regular sleeping-cars attached to the trains as in America. We were told that we would have to change at midnight, but all of a sudden the door of our compartment was thrown open, and a dignified official bristling with regimentals talked away in Swedish, which we could not understand but one word, and that was s-t-r-a-e-k-s, which meant “immediately.” We were half asleep, but we grasped satchels, blankets, and bundles, and stood in sleepy surprise on the platform. Everything in a pile; but it did not turn out as bad as we expected. We were appointed to another compartment in another car on the same train and made to understand that this would save us the disagreeable changing at midnight, so we found they had made a special arrangement in our favor. 4LtMs, Lt 2, 1886, par. 5

At two in the morning it was daylight. The sun arose at three. At four a.m. we were again aroused by “straeks, straeks.” We learned that we must leave immediately. Again we grasped our scattered belongings, and hurried from the car, and stood on the platform, waiting further orders. We were shown into another compartment on the train. Here we rode one hour, and then changed again, waiting one hour at the depot. Then stepped on board the train, and arrived at Orebro at ten minutes after seven. 4LtMs, Lt 2, 1886, par. 6

We found no one waiting for us. One Swedish coachman seemed determined to take our satchels right out of our hands, but we held to them valiantly. Although he talked eloquently in Swedish, we knew not a word he said. We found a place to leave our baggage, and walked about one mile to the place where we had made it our home when we were here in the fall. We were pleased to meet our Brethren Olsen and Oyen here, and they felt outgeneraled in their calculations. They thought we could not possibly come until noon. They had been at every train the day before, expecting to meet us, and they said they gave the coachman special directions to bring us to the house, and this explained the earnest persistency of the man who wanted to take our satchels. We had been riding three nights and two days, and were very weary. 4LtMs, Lt 2, 1886, par. 7

We found excellent accommodations. Three furnished rooms were prepared for us that had been occupied by girls attending school, but who had gone home on vacation. We are very pleasantly situated with kitchen and two good rooms to do our own cooking. We have a girl to do our housework under Sarah’s directions and with her help. 4LtMs, Lt 2, 1886, par. 8

I have now spoken six times. Sabbath we had a good meeting, and I had freedom in speaking. Sunday at six o’clock the hall which holds four hundred people was densely packed. I could scarcely press my way through to get to the stand. It was thought that more than a hundred had to go away because they could not get in. I had much freedom in speaking. The crowd listened with the greatest attention, and I hope and pray that they will take heed to the word spoken. I have spoken four times in the morning meeting, and from the testimonies borne in the morning meetings which Brother Matteson has interpreted to us, they appreciate the words spoken as much as in America. 4LtMs, Lt 2, 1886, par. 9

I spoke yesterday in the business meeting about thirty minutes. I tried to impress upon them the necessity of their broadening their ideas and enlarging their plans. There is very much that needs to be done in educating and in molding the work in these kingdoms. 4LtMs, Lt 2, 1886, par. 10

This is quite an old place, and the inhabitants are of the most intelligent class of people. The country around here is a good farming community, and this seems to be an enterprising place. There are twelve thousand inhabitants. They have here a rapid running river from which are taken many fish. There are most beautiful parks, roads nicely laid out, and seats to accommodate all classes. 4LtMs, Lt 2, 1886, par. 11

It is the practice of W. C. White and myself to walk in the parks about nine o’clock. The sun sets about half-after nine, and at half-past ten we can write by daylight. It is now midsummer. Yesterday there were standards beautifully decorated and all kinds of trees and branches of trees, flowers, and shrubs borne by our window in preparation for the morrow, which is a holiday. This midsummer day they observe day and night in the groves with entertainments and amusements and decorations, as the fourth of July is celebrated in America. No business is done today. 4LtMs, Lt 2, 1886, par. 12

Well, our meetings are going forward well. There are advancements being made. I spoke to them yesterday in regard to there being regular organized efforts to carry forward the work more thoroughly and taking advantage of all the ability possible to push it. There has been a great want of well-organized efforts. Elder Matteson has worked hard both in writing and speaking. He has a great deal to do in translating and to keep the papers going. He has not physical force to do all that is required. He is a feeble man, and as he is so weak in physical strength, he dreads to take the responsibility to introduce anything new and seek to bring the people up to it. 4LtMs, Lt 2, 1886, par. 13

I set before them how we had done the work in America. And I could not see but that they would have to work in the same manner in these kingdoms as we had worked in America. The cry is constantly urged that this people must have a different kind of labor than in America, but I told them that human nature was the same, and the hearts would be reached with the same kind of labor put forth in much the same manner as we had worked in America. 4LtMs, Lt 2, 1886, par. 14

I could not see but that systematic benevolence must be enjoined upon the people here as well as in America, even if their donations were small. The Lord would bless them in conscientiously doing what they could. God has revealed in His Word His appointed way that His work should be carried forward. Those who have small talents must do according to their ability, but [all] must feel that they have a part to act to sustain the work. They must organize tract societies and act as though they expected the Lord to do something for them. The Israelites had to obey the command, “Go forward” [Exodus 14:15], when the Red Sea barred their way; and when they did advance, their feet were in the very waters when the Lord opened the path before them. We want to exercise much more faith than we have hitherto done. 4LtMs, Lt 2, 1886, par. 15

A Dream Concerning J. E. White

I dreamed some things in regard to you, Edson, some parts of which are clear and others not so clear. There was a large meeting in the open air, and you were speaking in this meeting, and the blessing of the Lord was upon you. Your countenance seemed to be lighted up when a number came to you to question some things in regard to yourself, and your mind was being diverted from the work. I said to them, “Let Edson alone, keep your hands off. God has given him a work to do, and he has been hindered by the enemy’s devices long enough. As he is placing his feet in the right path, God has not told you to divert his feet from that path.” The next that I remember, we were in a meeting in a room. You were answering questions of criticism. I rebuked them in the name of the Lord, and told them that God had not given them any such work to do. 4LtMs, Lt 2, 1886, par. 16

Now, my son, I want you to give yourself wholly to the Lord. I have not been ignorant of the feelings that have existed toward you; in some things you have given occasion for them to misjudge you. But I have no sympathy with the jealousies and envies that have been developed. But I hope that you will take so discreet a course that these things will no longer exist. I hope you will not show weakness in being beaten off from the work God would have you to do, by unjust suspicions and envious feelings of some who ought to know that all such revealings are not of Christ. 4LtMs, Lt 2, 1886, par. 17

Now you must allow that I am better acquainted with your duty than some of your brethren are who judge hastily, and from appearances and from hearsay make incorrect decisions. Come just as near to your brethren as you can. I charge you before God and the Lord Jesus Christ to walk in the light which the Lord has given you in regard to your work, and do it manfully. Put on the armor, and work wherever you can. If you are treated coldly and with suspicion, do not be discouraged. Christ is your Master; you are His servant; you must expect that these things will occur; for Satan wants to hurt you and he wants to make my heart ache. God has given you a work to do and I will not consent for you to leave it. Your work has been pointed out to you again and again, and you must not be beaten off from it by prejudice or suspicion. Take the advice and counsel of your brethren in whom we repose confidence. But those poor souls who do not know their own heart, do not let their words or deportment discourage you. Do all you can to free yourself from burdens of business which are not connected especially with the work of God. But keep your souls in the love of God. The Lord will not excuse you in neglect of your duty because you meet with feelings of suspicion and jealousy. 4LtMs, Lt 2, 1886, par. 18

If Captain Eldridge is not to work in the interest of the Review and Herald, be sure and obtain him to do your work, rather than to have his talent employed by those out of our faith. This I have advised you before. You say you tremble to make such a move, thinking it will excite against you great suspicion and that there will be alienation of feelings. But I do not think that this should be regarded so that your interests will be in peril. I want that you should be free as possible to do the very work God would have you do. I would have you unload all that is possible; take a noble, straightforward course; be kind; be courteous to even those who think ill of you. But you must not disregard the voice of God in order to turn aside the shafts of Satan through those who had better be engaged in setting their own souls right with God. But give heed to my words, which are from God, to walk in great humility. Hide yourself in Jesus; be meek and lowly of heart. You are God’s property. God has made your mind fruitful in the truth. You are adapted to do a certain work for the Master, if heart and mind are sanctified to God. If you walk with Jesus by your side, you will have His grace to come forth from every trial purified, refined, ennobled to better work for God. 4LtMs, Lt 2, 1886, par. 19

Oh, my son, I do not want that you should make a failure. The time for us to work will soon be ended. I want you to cling to Jesus. Hang your helpless soul upon Him. You must depend on God for your light, for your encouragement, and for His strength. While you should respect counsel, you must look to God for yourself; for finite men may not always see as God sees the way He would have you walk and the responsibilities you should assume. 4LtMs, Lt 2, 1886, par. 20

You need a counselor that will not err; one whom hearsay will not prejudice; one whom narrow ideas will not unbalance his judgment. A path opens on one side, but whether it is the path for you to walk in or to shun is that which you do not discern, and no mortal man can tell you. Another path closes before you, and whether it is the turning aside in another direction or to try your steadfast purpose, none are wise enough to determine. You need a Guide, a Power unseen by mortal eyes, who can judge your motives and the purposes and intents of your heart to guide your ways. The Star in the East will guide your ways if you will only follow it. You are never alone. You are never in a place where you have no one to have interest in you. Our heavenly Father has given His Son to die for you. The cross of Calvary testified that He takes a deep interest in your welfare, for you are the purchase of the Son of God. And you are the subject of many prayers. If you but feel right and do right, all will be well. If you ask the help of God, you will not ask in vain. The Lord is at work in many ways to win your hearty confidence. In nothing does He take more delight than to have you unburden, come to Him for light and strength, and He has promised that you shall find rest to your soul. If you will find heart and voice to pray, He will be sure to hear, and an arm will be reached down to save you. There is a God that hears prayer; and when all other resources fail, He is your refuge, a very present help in time of trouble. 4LtMs, Lt 2, 1886, par. 21

The secret of the Lord is with them that fear Him, and He will show them His covenant. My son, I point you in every difficulty to the Saviour. The promise is positive, “If any man lack wisdom, let him ask of God, who giveth to all men liberally and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him.” [James 1:5.] What greater assurance could you ask? Such promises are to your Mother of more value than choicest gold. 4LtMs, Lt 2, 1886, par. 22

If you go to God with a humble, believing heart, to seek for guidance in your perplexity, then it is your privilege to rest your case with Him. Heaven and earth may pass before the promise would fail. Then take God at His Word. You did believe His promises when you were only three years old. Have the simplicity of a child now, and come to Jesus in clinging faith. Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and your confidence will never be betrayed, never be turned against you. Look at Jacob pleading with God on the plains of Pennel. His prayer was heard and answered, and he obtained a mighty victory. Consider the case of Moses pleading with God, “Show me Thy glory.” [Exodus 33:18.] And the Lord heard him. Refresh your mind with the many cases that have come to God and been heard and answered. It is better to trust in the Lord, than to put confidence in princes. Bring your case to the great Intercessor who is standing before the mercy seat, pleading in behalf of sinful man. I love Jesus; for He has never disappointed me. If you allow the speeches of even your brethren to take away your heart and faith, and turn your feet out of the path of duty, God will neither excuse nor bless you. If you allow cold and unsympathizing ones to discourage you, you will never enter the city of God as a conqueror. Learn to depend implicitly on the Lord Jesus. Study your Bible; for this is the voice of God speaking to you. Ask counsel of God, and you shall receive it. Counsel you will have from some source, and if those in whom you put confidence are not in the counsel of God themselves, they will not be safe advisers. Take counsel of God. “Learn of Me,” says Jesus; “for I am meek and lowly of heart: and ye shall find rest to your souls.” [Matthew 11:29.] 4LtMs, Lt 2, 1886, par. 23

You need light; seek it every day from the Sun of righteousness. I am your mother, and I say to you in the name of the Lord, Put on the whole armor of righteousness. God has given you ability and tact, and enlightened your mind in the Scriptures, and He wants you to use every ability that He has given you to His glory. You will ever meet with things calculated to discourage you; but you have a living Saviour, Jesus is the Captain of your salvation. Obey His orders. 4LtMs, Lt 2, 1886, par. 24

Now, Edson, I commit you to God. Take no step, form no plan, enter into no business arrangements, engage in no new pursuits, and in your present business turn often aside by yourself to implore the blessing of the mighty God of Jacob. You had better meet with the loss of all things than to lose your soul. If you seek Him, the Lord will guide you in counsel and afterwards receive you to glory. But do not neglect to do good wherever you can use your talents entrusted to you of God. Do not be extremely sensitive. You are never to lose self-control. Cultivate calm forethought. Be patient. You will show yourself a strong man if you will keep all excitable feelings under command of reason. Be courteous to all, pleasing in disposition, kind and condescending in deportment to the very ones whom you may think may be working against you, falsifying your motives, misstating your actions, over which you frequently become provoked and lose your self-command. This only hurts you and does not help the case at all. If others do you wrong, they wound themselves a great deal more than they wound you. No one doubts the sincerity of the religion of some who greatly lack courtesy, forbearance, and a pleasing disposition. There seems to be a great want of kindness in their make-up. They need the softening, subduing influence of the Spirit of God. 4LtMs, Lt 2, 1886, par. 25

Now, Edson, my son, it will not pay for you to indulge in wrong feelings because others do this. Bring all the compassion and tenderness and beauty of Christian meekness into your life, and your usefulness will be increased fourfold. You will have heaven’s approval and the confidence of those who love and fear God. Cultivate the habit of thinking before you shall speak. Meditate and pray before you make a decision, and never allow the opinions of any man or woman to discourage you from doing God’s will. And learn to put the very best construction you can upon the conduct of others. Do not regard every man your enemy because they do not meet you with a smile; and it is best not to suspect evil. One of the special graces which is given us in the Word of God is “Thinketh no evil.” [1 Corinthians 13:5.] The very fact that we may be continually suspecting evil will so affect our attitude as to create the very evil which is suspected. Go calmly and fearlessly on, trusting in God; and keep down all feelings of resentment. Commit your case to God, and He will take care of you, my son. You will find it impossible to live in this world without having your feelings sometimes, and your temper, tried; but pray then the more earnestly. Pursue this course, and see if sweet peace will not take possession of your soul. Let them say what they will in regard to your course; if it is wrongfully, God knows all about it. And may the God of peace sanctify you wholly, soul and spirit, is the prayer of your mother. 4LtMs, Lt 2, 1886, par. 26

*****

Since writing the foregoing, I have spoken twice; yesterday at four o’clock the Lord helped me to speak to a hall full. I did not expect a congregation on this holiday, but there was a company of noble-looking people, and they seemed interested. Many shed tears. I spoke from Daniel. “They that be wise shall shine as the brightness of the firmament; and they that turn many to righteousness as the stars for ever and ever.” [Daniel 12:3.] I think there was a good impression made upon the hearers. I tried to set before them the importance of their working with Jesus to reflect light to others. This morning I spoke again in morning meeting, about 70 present, from these words, “Go forward.” [Exodus 14:15.] The Lord blessed me, and I think He blessed others. 4LtMs, Lt 2, 1886, par. 27

W. C. White just came in [at] quarter-past two. They have organized a tract society, and this is an advanced step from what has been in the past. We now go to Christiania after this meeting closes, which will be Sunday. Then, after remaining there two weeks, we commence our homeward journey, stopping in Copenhagen two weeks, where there will be meetings held and an institute to give a drill to those who think to give themselves to the work. 4LtMs, Lt 2, 1886, par. 28

So, you see we have yet four weeks’ work before us, and we do want to be baptized with the Holy Spirit and be preparing to do the work of God intelligently. I am of good courage, but I would like so much to get home to California when my work here is done. I did not choose this kind of labor, to speak through an interpreter, but I am quite accustomed to it now. 4LtMs, Lt 2, 1886, par. 29

Now, my dear children, do, I beseech of you, walk humbly with God. Remember that the end is near, and whosoever has a part in the city of God will be victors. Love, I beseech of you, my children, to walk in such a manner that you will, by your influence, lead other minds heavenward. 4LtMs, Lt 2, 1886, par. 30

Yours with love, Mother. 4LtMs, Lt 2, 1886, par. 31

Send your letters to us at Basel as usual. 4LtMs, Lt 2, 1886, par. 32

P. S. My son, you must not let pass from your mind the letters I have written to you in regard to your own defects of character. You need, and Emma needs, constantly to gather up the warnings and the reproofs God has given you. Neglecting to heed these warnings is one cause of your present financial embarrassment, and you should gird up your mind and not invent ways to expend means. Keep near the shore, and do not lay out money on any new primary enterprises and then feel the financial pressure. You need to take advice of those you know want to help you. Your temptation is to enter into new projects. God help you to keep clear. It is your duty, for you are the Lord’s. 4LtMs, Lt 2, 1886, par. 33