Letters and Manuscripts — Volume 7 (1891-1892)


Lt 57, 1892

White, J. E.


October 1892

Previously unpublished.

[Edson White:]

(Do not run over this letter and then throw it aside. If you do, you will not honor your mother. Take it; read it; heed it as you ought to do, and no longer follow your own way. I have read this over and over and I will not feel clear to withhold it.) 7LtMs, Lt 57, 1892, par. 1

Willie gave me your letter to read. I read not the portion in regard to Brother and Sister Mason for I was not in any condition healthwise to do so then. For a few days I have been suffering more pain, for some reason, and have to let my mind rest entirely. The pain is in my spine. Any tax of the mind brings on this pain and then I cannot have a moment’s ease. 7LtMs, Lt 57, 1892, par. 2

This morning I thought I would write, although it is three weeks before the mail goes, and then it will be five weeks before you get this. I told Willie I could not take the responsibility of answering by telegraph as you desired. The exercise of my mind had been such in reference to your spiritual condition that I have, under great burden, written you many letters while suffering great pain. I have written you under the influence of the Spirit of the Lord, and there has been not one line from which I could even infer that you accepted the warnings or cautions and entreaties of the Spirit of the Lord. 7LtMs, Lt 57, 1892, par. 3

What more can I say to you? It is of no use for me to repeat that which I have already written, and I cannot see how, under the circumstances, you could expect me to respond to your request. I should do this in violation of my own conscience. I have not lost my love and interest for you, although so far separated from you. But without positive evidence of a decided change in your spiritual condition, I cannot respond as you desire. I know that unless you do surrender to God I could not put trust and confidence in you to be connected with me, as you have been, in business relations, and we so far away that we can have no direct influence over your plans and course of action. 7LtMs, Lt 57, 1892, par. 4

I shall not be free from worriment and perplexity unless this manufacturing firm is broken up. When pressed with debts—no less than ten thousand dollars, with interest to pay on that amount—I am under obligation to those who have trusted me to see that they shall not lose one dollar by me. Your positive assurances to me, which I believed, have led me to put my name to notes to secure money for the business, with the prospect I should not have a cent to pay; and then hundreds of dollars have had to be paid by me, the bank sending me letters for the payment of this money. I cannot move in this darkness any longer, and I thought I had expressed the same to you in my letters. Therefore I can only say, Read these letters carefully, for the Lord is speaking to you through your mother. 7LtMs, Lt 57, 1892, par. 5

Willie has not known, with the exception of one letter, anything I have written you. He has no knowledge of my writing this. Of course I solicit his mind and his judgment, as your brother who has an interest in you as I have. 7LtMs, Lt 57, 1892, par. 6

I am certain of one thing—you have no real sense of the burdens I have borne, the sufferings of mind I have endured, on your account. I have had all the affection and sympathy and love that a mother could have, and you have had evidence of this. But I do not mean to repeat the experience of Eli although I know that in my past experience in connection with you I have been misunderstood, and the appearance has been against me and against your brother Willie, that we have pursued the course toward you that we have. 7LtMs, Lt 57, 1892, par. 7

The confidence of our brethren in our judgment, and in the testimonies the Lord has given me, has been shaken. They know not the letters of appeal, of reproof and warnings given your mother for you, and therefore they have judged me from outward appearance. I am compelled to bear testimony against the course some in responsible positions were taking, and your pursuing your own course of action independent of Willie’s and my advice and counsel, has made of little effect my work in Battle Creek in the name of the Lord, in their behalf. 7LtMs, Lt 57, 1892, par. 8

The past, as far as you are concerned in connection with us, has been to me a constant anxiety. You would make very much of a word of encouragement from human agents whom the enemy was leading to influence your mind to a course of action that reflected dishonor on your mother and brethren, but you were too blind to perceive to where these things were tending—to uproot the confidence of my brethren in me. I ought to have had their confidence in my mission and in my God-given work. My son, the thought of these things has been almost more than I could bear. But as my words have had so little influence in the past, they may be useless here. My only hope is that you will not go on, infatuated and blinded by the enemy, to make moves which will involve you in insurmountable difficulties so that you will become discouraged and care naught for God or the truth. But I will say no more. Read again the letters I have written you. 7LtMs, Lt 57, 1892, par. 9

I have not had all that faith and confidence in Brother and Sister Mason that you have had. You have taken them into your confidence yourself. It was not our counsel you followed in this matter, although we assented to it after you had fixed the matter. I do not want them connected with my business in any way. I know not that they have wronged me, but I have no confidence in human agents, whoever they may be, who are not under the divine counsel. Satan will control the minds that are not under the control of divine agencies. Whatever the purpose may be, however fair the resolves, unless the Lord shall move by His Spirit upon the living human agency in giving wisdom and grace, if connected with me in any business I shall be made to suffer; and the appearance will be of such a character as to oppress me and lead to misunderstanding of me, and a shaken faith in the messages God has given me to bear. This is Satan’s object in keeping you in this position that you have been in for years. 7LtMs, Lt 57, 1892, par. 10

When you kindled a fire and walked in the sparks of your own kindling in regard to that boat business, Satan triumphed over me through you. You dishonored your mother, and you dishonored your word; you followed impulse and your independent judgment. When you must know how much sorrow and distress I was enduring all the time for the church, you went on and on in your own headstrong course. You told me you would have no more to do with boats and that I should have no more cause for anxiety on that score, but not one word of explanation or confession has come from you. Now, my son, I love you still; but to take your version of matters and act upon them I dare not. Things will look to you all straight and bright, and this leads to your assurance, but I do not take the view of these things you do. 7LtMs, Lt 57, 1892, par. 11

Satan ventured to come to Christ and tempt Him and present before Him the kingdoms of the world and the glory of them if He would acknowledge his supremacy. But He resisted the devil with “It is written.” [Matthew 4:4, 7, 10.] Can we be surprised that Satan will present before human minds glowing expectations that will seduce them into ambitious projects, one succeeding another, if he can dishearten and discourage me thereby? My son, the whole of this matter I have presented to you, but you have not taken heed to counsel or advice. Should another occupy the position in these things that you have done, how quickly would words of condemnation fall from your lips! Is it possible you do not discern how much burden and distress and perplexity your course has caused me? 7LtMs, Lt 57, 1892, par. 12

I hope you will not have to meet these things in the judgment. I hope that you will not be so absorbed in activity, in business, that you will not take time to consider. I positively dare not answer you by telegram as you suggest. I will not move in the dark. I have had light. I have had your peril presented to me in such clear lines I should dishonor God should I take the course you desire, to manifest a confidence in your management which I cannot have. 7LtMs, Lt 57, 1892, par. 13

I know not as any others will do any better in connection with me than you have done, but any course that they may pursue will not have that vital effect on me as if it was my own son. If they take from me by mismanagement all that I possess, I can tell the Lord all about it, and I will trust Him who has promised to be the widow’s God and husband. But I want not a connection with you in business in any way, making it even a possibility for me to lose through your lack of wisdom and want of judgment. This would cut me to the heart and might destroy my life. Let you and me keep distinct from all business transactions. It is best. 7LtMs, Lt 57, 1892, par. 14

I do not know what Willie will think of this. I may read it to him before the mail goes. It may not be wise to send this without his understanding my position. When you seek the Lord with all your heart, when you see the sinfulness of that independence of judgment you have cherished, and will come to receive counsel from your mother and brother, then it is we will know it is safe to connect with you. But the past experience has taught me I cannot have confidence in human nature that is not under the control of the Spirit of God. You could have been a help to me, a great help in every way, but I leave this matter now. 7LtMs, Lt 57, 1892, par. 15

I write this that there may be no misunderstanding my position toward you. I love you and I will do everything to save you, but God forbid I do anything to ruin your soul and imperil the souls of others who receive the warnings and cautions God has given to your mother. 7LtMs, Lt 57, 1892, par. 16

I have changed my mind and decided to send this. Willie has not read it. Yesterday I read his letter to you, and I see that his letter was running the same as mine to you. 7LtMs, Lt 57, 1892, par. 17

In love. 7LtMs, Lt 57, 1892, par. 18

Ellen G. White, Mother.