Letters and Manuscripts — Volume 8 (1893)


Lt 115, 1893

White, Edson; White, Emma

Napier, New Zealand

March 1893

Previously unpublished.

[Edson and Emma White:]

We came to Napier from Auckland. Left Kaeo Wednesday, March 15. Brother Starr, his wife, and I were taken in a boat by Brother Metcalf to the harbor Whangaroa. We had an appointment to speak in the hall owned by Mr. Lame, who, I think, is of the order called The Brethren. His wife is Father Hare’s oldest daughter. 8LtMs, Lt 115, 1893, par. 1

We first rode in the boat up to the landing close by Mr. Lawrence’s front yard. He came out of his house to receive us, and he very kindly helped me in the landing and up the steps into the house. It was indeed a nice establishment. He married a daughter of Father Hare’s. She keeps the Sabbath. He is no professor. We remained with them about two hours, and being very tired I lay down to rest. Sister Starr called me. We again took the boat for Major Lame’s where the meeting was to be. We found him in a nice location, a large establishment. He is carrying on a large business in boat-making and is at the head of a large number of workmen. 8LtMs, Lt 115, 1893, par. 2

When we entered the house we were received very coolly. We felt that we were not welcome, and everything was as cold as an iceberg. Major Lame said to Elder Starr he was not pleased to have a meeting appointed on their night when they have a prayer meeting. Elder Starr said he did not know anything about it being prayer meeting night. “Well,” he said, “Joseph Hare knew all about it;” and he thought he ought to have known better than to have sent that appointment. We felt sorry enough and my soul was chilled, and I tell you I was not very much enthused. I was weary and compassed with infirmities. We walked to the place of meeting, feeling sad; but I determined to rise above this depression and witness for Jesus. 8LtMs, Lt 115, 1893, par. 3

After the meeting opened I arose to speak. The unbelief and prejudice were so strong that a thick granite wall seemed to bar our way. Oh, how I longed for warmth and power. And it came! The Lord gave me His Holy Spirit and I was perfectly free. I spoke of the love of Jesus and His great sacrifice made in our behalf that we might have happiness in this life by being obedient to all of God’s commandments, and the blessing of the future life. “Blessed are they that do his commandments, that they may ... enter in through the gates into the city” and “have right to the tree of life.” [Revelation 22:14.] 8LtMs, Lt 115, 1893, par. 4

I spoke one hour, feeling that I was shut in with God. His peace was as a river and His righteousness as the waves of the sea. I was carried out of and away from myself. Oh, how little humanity appeared to me—small as the dust of the balance. “The nations are as a drop of a bucket.” “He taketh up the isles as a very little thing.” [Isaiah 40:15.] Oh, how precious it is to feel the presence of the Holy Spirit! 8LtMs, Lt 115, 1893, par. 5

Elder Starr spoke with much spirit and deep feeling. Then Major Lame arose and commended the words spoken. 8LtMs, Lt 115, 1893, par. 6

I had not talked five minutes before I felt the freedom of the Holy Spirit of God had cut up their prejudice by the roots. We were in an entirely different atmosphere soon after the meeting had commenced, for the Spirit of God made a place for itself. After the meeting closed one of their deacons or elders took hold of my hand firmly. “Oh,” said he, “I thank you for the words you have spoken. They were so new, so grand, and I shall never forget them.” He was filled with such deep feeling he could hardly speak. Tears rolled down his face, and he could scarcely articulate his words for his emotion. “Oh,” said he, “what fields of contemplation have you opened up to my mind, and to others also, that are food and good pasturage for my soul. I praise the Lord you held this meeting tonight.” Others spoke just as ardently, and Major Lame thawed out and was as glad of the meeting as any one of us. 8LtMs, Lt 115, 1893, par. 7

In the early morning we were on the little boat. Mr. Lawrence and a hired man were using the oars, Brother Starr guiding at the helm. We were taken all safe to the Clansman. We saw the larger boat, guided by Joseph Hare, come on its way from Kaeo with its load of passengers—Brother Samuel Hare and wife, Brother Wesley Hare, and Brother Joseph Hare’s wife. There were passengers for the camp meeting. Willie White and Emily were also among the passengers. They could not leave when we did because of the appointment, which was in the providence of God. We met at the steamer. We had a fine passage. Major Lame was very social and courteous. 8LtMs, Lt 115, 1893, par. 8

We find that those who professedly kept the truth in Kaeo had not manifested in its presentation the spirit and love of Jesus. Their zeal had been in advocating a theory and dwelling upon controversial subjects. It is sad to see the truth and Jesus Christ misrepresented by its advocates. Unless the truth sanctifies the soul, making us more after Christ’s likeness, it is of no value to us. If the truth makes us no more lovely in character, then it is not saving truth to us. Truth enthroned in the heart will make man pure and keep him pure. Caprice and changing passions—envy, jealousies, evil surmisings—deface the image of God in man. 8LtMs, Lt 115, 1893, par. 9

I see that which makes me tremble. The Word of the Lord is not supreme with those who claim to believe the Word. God cannot alter His Word without ceasing to be true. That Word cannot bend to men’s liking, and if it will not bend they break its requirements. No man can judge the Word of God. He must get his religion from the Bible. The many who have lost their first love labor at wonderful disadvantage. They know not how to deal with human minds. They are harsh, arbitrary, dictatorial, and commanding; and the truth is judged by unbelievers to be the cause or foundation of the miserable spirit which some possess who claim to believe the truth. 8LtMs, Lt 115, 1893, par. 10

We had a very pleasant passage on the Clansman to Auckland. We changed at Auckland by going just a few steps to the boat Wairarapa, which was to take us to Napier. The boat did not sail until afternoon. 8LtMs, Lt 115, 1893, par. 11

April 17

Wellington, New Zealand

My writing ends rather abruptly, but the time I had to write during the conference was very limited, and I have just jotted down a few lines here and there, now and then. We purpose to spend some months here in New Zealand, for they need help so much. 8LtMs, Lt 115, 1893, par. 12

This is a good field in which to work. There have been professed believers who have shown by their fruits the character of the tree. They have been miserable representatives of the truth. They have left a stigma upon the cause of truth, misrepresented the truth, and brought dishonor upon it so that we will have a much harder task than we at first supposed to do away with the prejudice and bad odor that have come in consequence. Oh, why will not every soul consider that there is a judgment and that every one will meet the exact record of his life? 8LtMs, Lt 115, 1893, par. 13

We think now of remaining in this country until after the conference in November. I have not May with me. She was not well. Emily Campbell and I get along nicely, and Emily is a girl of solid sense and is attentive to my wants. I would not have you suppose I reflect on May. She was faithful to me, but she has not been well since she left the sanitarium. I send her to school the next term. It would have cost so much for traveling expenses—more than one hundred dollars. With that money I can give her a term in school. We intended to return to Australia in three months, but we cannot see it duty to leave. The three months has ended and we are now in the fourth month. Much love to you, my children. 8LtMs, Lt 115, 1893, par. 14