Letters and Manuscripts — Volume 5 (1887-1888)


Lt 81, 1887

White, J. E.; White, Emma

Basel, Switzerland

January 19, 1887

Portions of this letter are published in TDG 27.

Dear children Edson and Emma:

I wish you a Happy New Year. I have neglected to write you. I have had another attack of malaria. It lasted me three weeks. I suffered very much pain. I was poisoned at Christmas. I was sent for to give a dedicatory discourse to our brethren in Tramelan who had just built a small meetinghouse—the first separate house of worship from the publishing house in Europe. 5LtMs, Lt 81, 1887, par. 1

We had an excellent meeting, and all seemed much pleased. Brother Ertzenberger interpreted Sabbath. Sunday I spoke to three hundred people in a commodious hall. I had freedom in speaking. John Vuilleumier interpreted for me. 5LtMs, Lt 81, 1887, par. 2

Sunday morning we saw quite a collection of persons in the road not but a little way distant. We heard that a man was found frozen. Friday night we had a very severe snow storm. A few days previous we had a very severe snow storm. The trees were loaded with snow, and the [snow was] more than two or three feet deep and drifted in many places much deeper than this. The man was an intemperate man and wandered out of the road into drifts and lay down and died. 5LtMs, Lt 81, 1887, par. 3

Tramelan is the first place where the truth entered in Europe. Here was the first church, and our brethren have been very anxious I should have a chance to speak to the people in the village of Tramelan. We had an excellent congregation and the best of attention. We felt that it was a success. I was poisoned in Tramelan. The house where I made my home was very convenient and everything was done for my comfort possible, but this was a large house where no less than six families lived, and there was a water closet on each floor, and that closet had not a drain attached, and the effluvia that came from these drifted into every room in the house, and it was not many hours before I began to feel the strange sensations on the roof of my tongue and was sure I was inhaling the poison. I was sick to my stomach, and soon followed excruciating spasms of pain, making it impossible to eat. Nevertheless, I spoke twice with much freedom. Sunday I was alarmed for myself, and as soon as I was through speaking, took the train of cars for home. I could not sit up the three hours on the route, and when I reached home, W. C. White met me at the door and knew I was sick. I took treatment, but not as thorough as I should. Monday night we had a Christmas celebration for the children, and I spoke on the occasion. I also spoke on New Year’s Sabbath and spoke on Sunday morning to our workers and all connected with the building, but I grew worse and finally was unable to sit up. 5LtMs, Lt 81, 1887, par. 4

It seemed that [I] was in for a severe time and I had it, three weeks, but I felt all the time the peace of heaven in my heart, and I was grateful and happy. I kept thinking I was laid up for repairs. I am now improving so fast I can ride out and walk out. We are all now in a very good condition of health. 5LtMs, Lt 81, 1887, par. 5

Our family consists of Brother and Sister Ings, W. C. White, Mary K. White, and Mabel White, Marian Davis, Sarah McEnterfer, and a hired girl that speaks only German and French. Brother and Sister Mason we will have in our family. They will not be here until next Friday. We received a letter from Brother Whitney that they had a safe but rough passage. They are all in London now. W. C. W. will leave here for Norway in less than two weeks, to be gone about three weeks. Important business is to be attended to in Norway. The middle of next month the conference in Switzerland will be held. 5LtMs, Lt 81, 1887, par. 6

I have just returned from a ride into Germany to mail papers from the office there which seem quite a little sum of postage, and in that small ride of three miles and back we had the most terrible stench from carts that take off in immense barrels the water closet deposits. This is emptied upon the grounds, and the result upon me is very bad. I shall have to be exceedingly careful, or I shall have another attack of malaria. 5LtMs, Lt 81, 1887, par. 7

We have most beautiful roads. We have had considerable snow and steady cold weather without any thaw since December came in. We are very busy the whole of us now. 5LtMs, Lt 81, 1887, par. 8

Sarah takes dictations from W. C. White and writes out the discourses I have given, which she has taken in shorthand. Sister Ings is following Marian and taking off on calligraph the chapter for Volume One. My time, when able to write, has been upon that book. I wish to get all the matter in shape for the printers if possible before leaving Basel. Mary White takes care of baby and is preparing morning talks that have been given in Battle Creek and in other places. 5LtMs, Lt 81, 1887, par. 9

I am of good courage. I feel deeply the need to live moment by moment and allow nothing to come in to make me forget God and His great love for fallen man. I want no will of my own in anything. I want constant communion with God. Everything else but Jesus seems of but little value. God in His promises distinctly pledges Himself to answer prayer. He invites us to “ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you.” Matthew 7:7. Precious promise. I think I love Jesus more and more. O how much we need to cultivate faith. What a privilege that we sinful mortals have the privilege of speaking with God. In the closet, when walking the streets, when engaged in labor, our hearts can be ascending to God for counsel, our souls drawn out after God, a breath from heaven. All these soul longings God will hear. All our troubles we may take to God. His hand of infinite love is moved to supply our needs. How thankful I am that we have only one day to live at a time. One day to keep our souls stayed upon, one day to watch, one day to progress in the spiritual life, and thus our days may be fruitful, precious days to us. 5LtMs, Lt 81, 1887, par. 10

We have a soldier’s duty to perform, victories to gain, for we must not be ignorant of Satan’s devices. We pray and then watch lest Satan shall steal upon us and make us forget our need of prayer, our need of vigilance and watching thereunto. In the Christian warfare, unless there is a sharp eye on the adversary and a sharp eye on ourselves, we shall be led into Satan’s snare. Our security depends on the state of our hearts. God help us to take heed to ourselves, or we shall certainly lose heaven. Little departures from right, little indulgences, seem a trifling thing at present, but Satan will lead us on a track that will separate us from righteousness and from God. We want not our ways, but God’s ways. We want to strive with all the powers of being for to bruise Satan under our feet and be sure that we are right with God, that we have a clear title to our immortal inheritance. 5LtMs, Lt 81, 1887, par. 11

We may have to be stripped of everything before we will come in humble submission to be led, guided, and controlled by the will of God. We want humble, trusting, childlike confidence, meekness, lowliness, no self-confidence, but humble trust in Jesus. What traits of character are we cultivating?—that which will be enduring as eternity? Is our time spent in busy activity, but our souls unblessed and our heavenly Father not glorified? Eternal life is worth a lifelong, persevering, untiring effort, and we cannot afford to make haphazard work. When our soul’s highest interest is concerned, we cannot afford to keep Jesus in the outer courts away from our souls. 5LtMs, Lt 81, 1887, par. 12

God help you to consider every moment, every hour of your life of great value in the work of saving of the soul. Well, this must go now or wait a couple of days. Good night, children. In much love to yourselves, to Sister McDearmon. 5LtMs, Lt 81, 1887, par. 13

I feel great interest for you all. I want you to be faithful soldiers of Jesus Christ. Cannot read this over; it must go. 5LtMs, Lt 81, 1887, par. 14

Write as often as possible, Emma. 5LtMs, Lt 81, 1887, par. 15