Letters and Manuscripts — Volume 7 (1891-1892)


Lt 94, 1892

White, J. E.

Preston, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia

May 5, 1892

Previously unpublished.

My Dear Son Edson,

You write in Willie’s letter that you are now about to engage in a new enterprise which will get us all out of debt in a short time. My son, I say, Don’t do this. I see in this only another infatuating delusion of the enemy. Did you not have the same glowing prospects before you in your late plans and enterprises? Were you not lured on by the hope of great profits to come? And yet what have these amounted to? Why, there would be such a success in your business if you could have just a little more means for present emergencies, and I knew that if I did not consent to sign the notes you presented, you would say that it would have been a success if you could have had just the amount at the right time. Thus one enterprise has been entered into after another with the same result—disappointment. 7LtMs, Lt 94, 1892, par. 1

Now I, your mother, beseech you in the name of Christ to stop and learn the lessons that He would teach you. “Seek ye first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things shall be added unto you.” [Matthew 6:33.] I regard this new business enterprise as another scheme of Satan to lure you on, keep you elated with the hope of wonderful success just ahead; and the result is time and money consumed, and heavy debts for me to meet. Now, my son, this cannot go on any longer. I am distressed beyond measure that you write me no letters. The worldly projects, the disappointments, have, I fear, weaned your affections even from your mother. 7LtMs, Lt 94, 1892, par. 2

This last proposition, I wish you fully to understand, I take no stock in. I cannot give you one word of encouragement. Should you get involved, it would hurt my soul to have to let you work your own way out, for you would think me cruel, and would, unless converted, have perverted ideas in regard to yourself and your mother. This project is another thread to bind you away from me, away from your Redeemer who gave His life for you, that you should not perish, but have everlasting life. 7LtMs, Lt 94, 1892, par. 3

Satan desires to have you, that he may sift you as wheat. He presents his pleasing inducements; you see wonderful gain; you count the income, but not the liabilities, the outgoes; and before you are aware, you are involved. You will borrow of some one, and rather than have you do this, I have attached my name to notes. I could not endure the disgrace of your being overwhelmed with debt. This financial embarrassment you consider your misfortune; but I consider, I know, it is because you will not heed the counsel and warnings of the Spirit of God. Other voices, the voice of a stranger, you follow, but not the voice of the Lord. 7LtMs, Lt 94, 1892, par. 4

Were you seeking to know and to do the will of God, were you feeling your accountability to God, and that your will must be submerged in the will of God, then I should be a happy mother, and would praise the Lord for the comfort and help given me in you, my son Edson. 7LtMs, Lt 94, 1892, par. 5

The last trial, in the building of the last boat, and all the circumstances connected with it, nearly cost me my life. You can never know how I have waited for you to see your wrong in this matter, and repent and confess before God, that He might forgive and heal you. I have carried the burden on my soul ever since, for I knew that unless you should see how cruel it was for you to pursue the course you did, in the face of warnings, entreaties, and of positive promises on your part, you would never come to the right position before God. 7LtMs, Lt 94, 1892, par. 6

You have grieved the Spirit of God, and shall this record pass on to the judgment unconfessed, unrepented of? Will you deceive and flatter your soul that you were doing right to cast aside the warnings and counsels given you of the Lord to follow your own inclination? My son, if you ever enter the kingdom of heaven, you have a work to do to humble your heart, to confess your wrongs, and turn square about and seek to do the will of God. Your sin of disregarding counsel, of selfish independence, risking everything to have your own will, to follow your own independent judgment, is great, for you have no lack of knowledge. You know the requirements of God’s Word. You are thoroughly instructed in the Word of truth. 7LtMs, Lt 94, 1892, par. 7

You have bitterness of soul because you think you have been treated unfairly. I know that in some things you have not been treated right, but is this any excuse for turning your face away from Jesus? What has the dear Saviour done that you should not love and serve Him with your whole heart? No one can hurt you as much as you can hurt yourself. Jesus has given His life for you. He says, “I will never leave thee nor forsake thee.” [Hebrews 13:5.] You could stand, having your hand placed in the hand of Jesus, and boldly say, “The Lord is my helper; I will not fear what man shall do unto me.” [Verse 6.] 7LtMs, Lt 94, 1892, par. 8

You have been severely tempted, you have been on the enemy’s ground [so] often, and turned from the counsel of God, that I fear it does not appear to you a grave and terrible thing to give the enemy every advantage by doing the very thing the Lord has warned you not to do. 7LtMs, Lt 94, 1892, par. 9

You will be severely tempted over that which I now write to you. Satan will work upon your imagination, leading you to consider yourself abused, misjudged, but I beseech you to break with the enemy. If you are in doubt or difficulty about any matter of duty or business, seek wisdom of God as a little child and the promise is, “If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not, and it shall be given him. But let him ask in faith, nothing wavering. For he that wavereth is like a wave of the sea driven with the wind and tossed. For let not that man think that he shall receive any thing of the Lord.” [James 1:5-7.] Be determined [that] you want to know the will of God, and that if you know His will, you will do it. 7LtMs, Lt 94, 1892, par. 10

Your discernment is not clear. You take up with pleasing inducements, and are sure of success, but one all-important matter you fail to bring into your reckoning, “Without me ye can do nothing.” [John 15:5.] These are the words of Christ. Will you, my son, consider how many flattering projects have appeared to you as certain of success which have taken from you and me, but have added nothing? Will it be thus to the end of the chapter? Has not the Lord plainly pointed out your duty? 7LtMs, Lt 94, 1892, par. 11

The Lord has a word to speak to you: “Continue thou in the things which thou hast learned and hast been assured of, knowing of whom thou hast learned them; and that from a child thou hast known the Holy Scriptures, which are able to make thee wise unto salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus. All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, that the man of God may be perfect, throughly furnished unto all good works.” [2 Timothy 3:14-17.] 7LtMs, Lt 94, 1892, par. 12

The Lord has given you quick discernment in the Scriptures; this is a rare and valuable treasure, and He has appointed you your work, to impart to others the light He has graciously given you. If you do not improve the light you have, it will be taken from you. To leave the work given you of God, and take up the work that you choose to do, has not the approval of God. Had you engaged in the work that the Lord gave you to do, you would have been blessed in bringing many souls to Jesus. But you have misapplied your talents, worked much of the time on your own projects, without the help of the Lord to work with you; and failure, failure, has been the result. Satan has had his way; but shall it be so, my dear son, any longer? 7LtMs, Lt 94, 1892, par. 13

You are now encompassed with entanglements, but if you give yourself unreservedly to God, without trying to make terms with the Lord that you will first clear yourself from debt or gain a financial standing, the Lord can help you out. This is your first work. Give yourself to the Lord without any reservation. Then your restless, ever-living energy will have its source in God. You have just the energy, quick-sightedness, and qualifications that, if sanctified, would be a power for good. But you are passing away your time, growing older, worrying yourself with hard, unsatisfying labor, receiving no reward in this life, neither in the life to come, no honor in this world, and none from God. 7LtMs, Lt 94, 1892, par. 14

The Lord Jesus would make you a channel of light if you will be led and molded by Him. But just as sure as you hold on to some of your own work, that takes pre-eminence and soon crowds out the work God has given you to do. Let not one thread bind you to any enterprise so that you cannot serve God with your whole heart, might, mind, and strength. O, how many blessings the Lord has held before you, but Satan interposed some worldly scheme, which eclipsed the heavenly inducement. What good you might do in this country—Australia—[you have] just the talent to reach the people. O that God would so impress your mind that you would give yourself to His work! You have had a work to do for the salvation of souls, and you could have gone on from strength to strength, from character to character, if you had followed on to know the Lord. 7LtMs, Lt 94, 1892, par. 15

The Lord by His Holy Spirit has told you His will; who is to blame that you have not obeyed the voice of the Lord which has been speaking to you, saying, “This is the way; walk ye in it”? [Isaiah 30:21.] Satan has found the weak points of your character, which have been plainly opened before you that you might overcome them. You do not resist him; you do not overcome these temptations. If you continue to yield to them in following your independent judgment, he will work on that line to ruin your soul. God gave you a work to do, and you were blessed in doing that work. Had you given yourself without reserve to the work of God, you would not have had to work so hard as you have done, and it counts so little because the sanction of God is not upon much of the work you have done. 7LtMs, Lt 94, 1892, par. 16

Now I beseech you, my son, to break this chain which Satan has forged to bind you away from the work of God. Investment after investment of means, of time, of hard labor, has been put into different enterprises, and the influence you might have had in saving souls has been crippled because of your desire to have your own way. Will you in the judgment think this is paying business? What will you answer to the Judge of all the earth when He shall present to you the record of your actions in following your independent judgment, and refusing to walk in the counsel of the Lord Jesus? 7LtMs, Lt 94, 1892, par. 17

Edson, is it not time you seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, rather than these various enterprises? Will you continue to leave the future life out of your reckoning? I have been racked with pain night after night, and during my wakeful hours your case has been the subject of my prayers. Distinct to me would come the warnings God has given you, the encouragements also that He has sent you; and ever one course has been pointed out: for you to labor in His vineyard. 7LtMs, Lt 94, 1892, par. 18

I have known, for it has been distinctly opened to me time and again, that when with young men in your employ, your influence is not a savor of life unto life. You have become as one of them in conversation, in spirit, and then you could not afterward maintain your dignity and exert an influence in helping them seek the Lord. Had you felt your responsibility to represent Jesus at all times, you could have exerted a strong influence over them and been the means of saving many souls. 7LtMs, Lt 94, 1892, par. 19

When you started anew in your business in Battle Creek, had you humbled your heart before God, had you confessed your errors, had you fallen upon the Rock Christ Jesus and been broken, had you taken your stand firmly that you would not enter into any kind of business which would lead you to regard eternal things as of secondary consequence and close the door to Jesus, then you would have discerned the dangers, and you would not now have been in your present condition of spiritual weakness. You are in no wise ignorant of the progressive character of spiritual life. Notwithstanding you have not had the encouragement you really needed, from those who should have been helpers, you cannot make this an excuse, for Jesus has promised to be a present help in every time of need. 7LtMs, Lt 94, 1892, par. 20

How can you expect to maintain spiritual life while neglecting duties, disobeying God, and grieving the Holy Spirit? At times you have had precious glimpses of Jesus’ love, which have kept you from many snares of the enemy. You needed Jesus at every step; had you followed Him, you would have had an increasing knowledge of the weakness of human wisdom, the depravity of human nature, and in every work you proposed to undertake, you would have sought wisdom from God. 7LtMs, Lt 94, 1892, par. 21

I have had many hours of deep pain of heart that my letters written to you in regard to your dangers have received no word of response, no word of confession or acknowledgment. I have been left all in uncertainty as to what influence these appeals have had upon you. If you have any reason to treat your mother in this manner, why not tell me so? Why leave me to suppose you considered my cautions and the light which I have tried to give you as idle tales? Does my past course in connection with you and your wife deserve this at your hands? Should I be left in uncertainty as to what you do mean? I have remorse of soul, and lie pleading with God amid my pain of body, that if I have made a mistake, after the light that God has given me, in still attaching my name to your notes, He would forgive me. 7LtMs, Lt 94, 1892, par. 22

I have had a great desire to show you that I loved you and wanted to help you. This may have led me to go too far in seeking to help you out of embarrassing difficulties. Now as I am sorely afflicted and may never be able to cross the broad waters again and meet you, my son, once more, I feel more deeply anxious than I can express for you to make your wrongs right. I lift my wasted, almost helpless, hands to God, and pray with tears that if I have erred, it may not result in the loss of your soul. You are the burden upon me day and night. 7LtMs, Lt 94, 1892, par. 23

I thought I understood my son, but I do not any more. I have seen that every effort I have made to break the spell of temptation upon you has failed of the desired effect; it has seemed only to make you more determined. You have hated reproof, despised counsel that in any way interfered with your plans, and as far as you could, have carried out your own ideas until you could go no farther. Is this the course to be pursued in the work of overcoming? I have no hope of any change in you for the better unless you shall see that your own will, your own way, your own independence, can no longer be a controlling power. Unless your will is yielded up to God’s will, you will find it hard work in whatever you undertake, for the Lord is not with you. 7LtMs, Lt 94, 1892, par. 24

I review the past, my life in connection with yours, and here is my burden: How many mistakes and misapprehensions have I made in seeking to help you out of financial embarrassment, only to start out afresh and repeat the experiment? Here I want to know just what to say. May the Lord help me to see my accountability, what I have done or said to place you in your present position of backsliding from God. I have been awakened by the words addressed to you by Jesus, “Turn ye, turn ye; for why will ye die?” [Ezekiel 33:11.] “Every moment of your probation is precious, more precious than fine gold. Seek the Lord while he may be found; seek the Lord with all your heart. Call upon him while he is nigh.” It is not yet too late for wrongs to be righted. God has borne long with your perversity, and His hand is stretched out still. 7LtMs, Lt 94, 1892, par. 25

I may again cross the broad waters, but as I now am, and have been for months, it would be simply impossible. We may never see each other’s faces again, in this life. I feel that my work is not finished. I do want my children to be children of God. I want them to have eternal life. I cannot endure the thought that one of them shall perish. I cannot write much more, my hands and shoulders pain me so much. Edson, will you cast aside this letter as you have others I have written to you? What respect do you show to your mother to say not a word to relieve her distress? Will you relieve my mind, by any expression, whether you receive or reject my efforts? 7LtMs, Lt 94, 1892, par. 26

May the Lord speak to your heart; may the sorrow of heart I have so long endured on your account be seen in some degree by you. I entreat you to stop your life of busy activity, and consider for time, and bring eternity into your reckoning. Whatever others have done to discourage you, they must answer to God for that; but you do not belong to them, you are the property of Christ, and must give an account of your time and of the money expended in having your own way. 7LtMs, Lt 94, 1892, par. 27

Oh, that you would turn square about and through the grace of Christ be just what He has made provision for you to be. The whole matter rests with you. What this one has done, or another has failed to do, will be no excuse for you. You know your duty, and they must answer to God for themselves; you must answer for yourself. Help has been abundantly provided for you. Looking unto Jesus, the Author and Finisher of your faith, He will tell you the good and the right way. Gather up the rays of light God has given you and do His will now; this is your only hope. Jesus says, “To him that overcometh will I grant to sit with me in my throne, even as I also overcame, and am set down with my Father in his throne.” [Revelation 3:21.] 7LtMs, Lt 94, 1892, par. 28