Letters and Manuscripts — Volume 6 (1889-1890)


Lt 113, 1890

Children and Fellow Workers in my Home


[December 30 or 31, 1890]

Previously unpublished.

Dear Children and Fellow Workers in my Home:

I have long known that the want of religion in my household was a great drawback to my influence in Battle Creek. That those connected with me and with my work, handling matter which the Lord has moved upon me to write and bring before His people, are so little influenced by these words of counsel and reproof, is constantly starting questions in the minds of others, as to the validity of the work God has given me. If of God, why does it not have more influence upon her family, those of her household? Sure enough, this is the question. What does it mean? 6LtMs, Lt 113, 1890, par. 1

This is a weight upon my soul every time I return to my home. I feel responsible for the influence going out from my home, and when Satan is working so earnestly to make of none effect the testimonies given of God for me to give to the people, the weak spirituality of my own family and the atmosphere in my own house is counteracting my influence in the church at Battle Creek. 6LtMs, Lt 113, 1890, par. 2

I deeply regret, now, that I made the preparations that I did, to be at the expense of fitting up rooms for my family and workers. I am pained at heart when I consider how stands my family, not in a position to give me spiritual strength, but to keep drawing upon my power and vitality to keep even the appearance of religion and form of godliness in my home. This is why I consented to take this journey. This is one reason why I have partially consented to be from home all winter. Those connected with me do not try to lift with me, do not feel any special responsibility to be workers together with God. 6LtMs, Lt 113, 1890, par. 3

The members of my family ought to feel their individual responsibility to keep my mind free from perplexities, to individually keep their own souls in the love of God so that they can increase my usefulness. But their ideas are so low, the standard of piety so vastly different from that which the Lord presents before me, that the testimonies given me of God are counteracted in the living examples in my own household. My usefulness is curtailed, and those who come to our house expecting to see at the table staunch health reformers and at the altar of prayer a vital, living atmosphere, find themselves disappointed because the self-denial, the lifting the cross, the carrying a weighty individual responsibility in connection with light and knowledge [are lacking]. There is an apparent irreligious atmosphere surrounding the individual members of the family that is the subject of remarks anything but favorable to me and the spirit and influence of the sacred work given to me. 6LtMs, Lt 113, 1890, par. 4

I have been repeatedly told that those who compose the members of my family are a puzzle to many. How can Sister White harmonize these elements with the work and these testimonies she bears to others in regard to the order and spirituality of their home life? The remark is made, “There does not seem to be any more grace, any more signs of the moving of the Holy Spirit upon the individual members of the household, Marian excepted, than in families who have been rebuked and admonished.” 6LtMs, Lt 113, 1890, par. 5

I see this, I feel it keenly. My family should be a strength to me and not weakness, an increase to my usefulness and a strength to my influence and not a constant source of anxiety detracting from my influence. They should be, according to the light coming to them, living jets of light in the temple of God, the moral treasures of the church. If the light constantly shining from heaven upon them does not improve their spiritual condition, it has an influence to condemn. If the multiplied agencies of heaven are not properly cherished and appropriated, it leaves them in greater shadows of darkness, for the light and blessings unimproved become darkness to them. If they do not heed the instructions and admonitions given to others, they are deepening the darkness about them. They become less and less susceptible to the influences of the Spirit of God, and their hearts become hardened under the much light given, because they are not softened and humbled and subdued by the light God has set before them. 6LtMs, Lt 113, 1890, par. 6

What does it amount to for me to collect a household around me to help me to do the work which is supposed to arouse others to feel their spiritual necessity and to be sanctified through the truth, when those connected with me have no real depth of feeling or experience in relation to the work and make no decided changes in life or character, but are apparently unmoved, uninfluenced? In the place of being laborers together with God to second all my efforts, to uphold my hands, they work by their influence and example on Satan’s side of the question and counteract my work and my efforts; and my work has not power to change this order of things. 6LtMs, Lt 113, 1890, par. 7

Every one connected with me should be all the time better qualified for the service of God and manifesting an intelligent, increasing zeal and earnestness to know how to put to the best use all their powers in the service of Jesus Christ. “None of us liveth to himself.” [Romans 14:7.] The words and works are fruit that we bear and are either advancing others in the way to heaven or drawing them apart from God. 6LtMs, Lt 113, 1890, par. 8

I have looked at the right hand and at the left, before and behind me, to see what I could do to change this order of things, and the current is too strong for me. I have not strength to keep up a perpetual conflict. When I come home, I want peace and rest and to see that the love and fear of God is the atmosphere in my home. To keep up any form of religion, I have to carry the burden. There is little spirituality in the home, but a dead, settled, irreligious element that brings upon me such regret, such remorse, that it is a relief to be away from home. When I see God working upon human hearts in my home, when I see some advance in Christian experience, when I see a living principle to carry out and follow the light shining from heaven upon the pathway of each one, then I shall feel that home is a place for me, that angels of God will be in my home, that my family honor God and fear to walk contrary to His expressed will. 6LtMs, Lt 113, 1890, par. 9

As it is now, I have no home. I have a place to sleep and to eat, but that which constitutes a home for me in the highest sense, the presence of God that I so much prize, the fear of God, that which makes a heaven of my home, is not there. And I am growing old, and sick and tired of lifting and carrying the burdens in active labor away from home. And when I come to my home I cannot have relief for a moment, for there are burdens that I must still lift and keep pressing and urging to keep up even an appearance of religion in the home; and I know there is no heart in the work. 6LtMs, Lt 113, 1890, par. 10

Who are laborers together with God and with me, who are increasing in spirituality, who have a growing, earnest desire to be strong in God and the power of His might, who are training up for God’s service? What is the sum of their moral responsibility? Are these members of my family channels of light through whom God can communicate light? Are they instruments of righteousness, or are they channels whom Satan can use to hedge up my way and make of none effect my influence? 6LtMs, Lt 113, 1890, par. 11

I want piety and devoted Christian influence around me. That which God wants I should have, all those who fear God and obey His will. Activity cannot supply this necessity. There is need of a moral fitness for the work of God, disinterested devotedness to be helpers with me in the gospel, to save souls unto Jesus Christ. I want those who are sober-minded and yet cheerful, carrying a weight of influence proportionate to the importance of the subjects which they are handling. If these sacred matters have so little influence on those who handle them, how can I expect they will have any mastering effect on others’ minds? 6LtMs, Lt 113, 1890, par. 12

How can I plead and speak effectively for the pure and undefiled religion to be brought into families with its transforming power, when it is the very element so necessary in my own household, and then I must plead for religion in my home? How can any work for God, to be a light and example to others and to save souls, when there is not evidence [that] the reclaiming power of Christ has changed their characters, when self is indulged, when idols are cherished and worshiped? 6LtMs, Lt 113, 1890, par. 13

These things should arouse every soul. Self-indulgence reigns. Self is a controlling power. How can I expect to have any thorough, saving influence in Battle Creek unless the rules and principles I am compelled to bear to others are respected and honored in my own home? How shall my family cooperate with me in the work of saving souls to Jesus Christ when they are light, trifling, irresponsible? The world is selfish, indulging self. How can we hope to save them unless we show a marked transformation in our own habits and practices under the grace of Jesus Christ? If we are not, individually, the models of grace and disinterestedness, we are stumbling blocks to sinners. What can be the record in the books of heaven of those who know the way of truth and salvation and live to please themselves? 6LtMs, Lt 113, 1890, par. 14

Christ is drawing the world unto Himself. The followers of Christ are the agents through whom He works. If these agents are not a peculiar people, distinct from the world in good works, how can they be laborers together with God? Worldly selfishness, or unconsecrated characters in any respect, cannot be operated on by the Spirit of Christ. There must be in Christ’s workers a complete contrast to the world in taste, in habits, in disposition. This is the preparation essential to success. 6LtMs, Lt 113, 1890, par. 15

Oh, for such a working force connected with me, instrumentalities for God, workers who are discerning, penetrating, and possessed with a conviction of Christian consistency in being like Christ, feeling that they are not their own, marked with the blood of Christ, set apart for Christ’s service, resolved that through the grace of Christ they will be wholly for God and will work with God in deep humility. 6LtMs, Lt 113, 1890, par. 16

Jesus calls upon us individually, Go work today in My vineyard. [Matthew 21:28.] Will we seek the Lord while He is to be found? Will we call upon Him while He is nigh? Will we devote the last remaining hours of 1890 in humbling ourselves before God, casting ourselves at the feet of Jesus, confessing our sins that they may go beforehand to judgment, removing every stumbling block out of the way of sinners? Let us not close our eyes to our guilt and our deficiencies, but confess our sins while it is called today, seek forgiveness of those we have hurt by our unconsecrated influence, and improve now in character. Christ is waiting to be gracious. “He that exalteth himself shall be abased; and he that humbleth himself shall be exalted.” [Luke 18:14.] God will work with those who prepare the way by tearing away the rubbish from the door of the heart, by confession, and by opening the door so that Jesus shall come into their hearts. The measure of our success in spiritual things is according to our present humility. Unless this humbling of self shall take place under the mighty hand of God, the most painful discipline will come to us, in the providence of God, that will humble us. 6LtMs, Lt 113, 1890, par. 17

We must sympathize with Christ in all His work in acting from the highest possible views of Christian motives and duty. How seldom do you individually look to heaven and in the light of Christ measure every enterprise as God looks upon it, enquiring, “Is this the way of the Lord?” We cannot have our own will and our own way, regardless of God’s expressed will and His way, unless we separate our souls from God and take the way that Satan beckons us to take. 6LtMs, Lt 113, 1890, par. 18

Who in our household makes the work of Christ his own? Who is feeling the value of the human soul, the value of his own soul, that all the powers entrusted to him of God shall be fully developed—not to do work for Satan but to do the work of God intelligently, that his own soul shall be strengthened, established, settled in doing the way of the Lord? There must be compassion for the suffering souls out of Christ and great carefulness to keep your individual souls in constant communion with Christ, the source of all light and power. Then we become channels of light. The simple action of mind on mind will make every soul in communion with God a light-giver to the world. Shall our household have the converting power of God on life and character? 6LtMs, Lt 113, 1890, par. 19

The question was asked by the lawyer what he should do that he might have eternal life. Christ bade him answer his own question, “What is written in the law? how readest thou? And he answering said, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy strength, and with all thy mind; and thy neighbor as thyself. And he said unto him, Thou hast answered right: this do, and thou shalt live.” Luke 10:26-28. Here, dear household, are the conditions of eternal life. It is well to intelligently count the cost, now, and decide whether eternal life is worthy of the renunciation of everything else to obtain it. 6LtMs, Lt 113, 1890, par. 20