Letters and Manuscripts — Volume 8 (1893)


Lt 124, 1893

White, J. E.

Wellington, New Zealand

July 18, 1893

Portions of this letter are published in TMK 137; GH 07/1898.

Dear Son Edson:

I received your last letter after your long silence, and [in my letter to you] stated to you that Willie was in Melbourne or in Sydney, and I had sent your letter directly to him the next mail that left; but yesterday I was searching for a letter and lo, there appeared before my astonished eyes your letter that had not left Wellington at all. 8LtMs, Lt 124, 1893, par. 1

Now I will explain: After your letter came I was bitterly grieved and disappointed in you. I knew that you had been, as you say, “not religiously inclined” for a long time, and my soul carried the weight day and night of a son rebellious to God and to his mother, as Christ carried the weight of rebellious Jerusalem. But I knew the light from heaven was coming constantly through His messengers and that you were where you could come to the light if you would, and I thought you would; but when I read your letter I cannot tell you how I felt. That night I had a strange scene presented before me, which I will relate hereafter. I arose long before day because I could not sleep, and commenced to write to you and related the dream with my pen, upon paper. 8LtMs, Lt 124, 1893, par. 2

I could not sleep. I prayed in an agony of my mind for a long time, under a sense of the terrible fact that one of my two sons—all left of my family—had joined the enemy’s ranks and was refusing the salvation purchased for him by the Son of God. It was something awful to me. The turning away from great light and choosing darkness—I knew better than yourself all that this meant. I feared it was sinning willfully after you had a knowledge of the truth. 8LtMs, Lt 124, 1893, par. 3

After a time I fell asleep but awoke startled and rose up in bed. My left arm and the left side of my head were numb. I could not make Emily hear, and I did all I could for myself to get action in the left arm. After a while I felt a tingling sensation in my nerves and such sharp pain in my head. That day Emily and I rode out to Island Bay. We were out hours. I dared not keep in the house. During the day the mail went to Melbourne. Emily had got it all ready to go the day before. I could do nothing at all in any line. She was obliged to go with Sister Brown one hour’s ride on cars to see her [Sister Brown] to her mother’s. She was ill and threatened with fever and was not to be trusted alone on the cars. 8LtMs, Lt 124, 1893, par. 4

In the morning I thought of your letter. It must go to Willie. All I know is, I thought for certain I put it in the envelope. I certainly sent him what I thought was your letter, but here it is discovered yesterday, not yet sent. I am sorry for this, because the enemy has so perverted everything before your mind in reference to your brother, there is nothing that should be done to strengthen these unjust feelings. 8LtMs, Lt 124, 1893, par. 5

After I thought I had sent the letter, I gave up doing anything. My head would not produce a thought. It seemed like a seething furnace. I thought of father’s wanting every window open in the coldest winter weather. It was midwinter with us, but I could not sit where there was any fire in the grates, and I had no fire in my room. 8LtMs, Lt 124, 1893, par. 6

Elder Israel brought over his large fur lap robe, and I wrapped myself in it. Thus I continued for two or three weeks, my head so tired I could not write. Anyone coming into my room set my heart in terrible agitation and I was completely unnerved. I rode out in the air. I felt better. Every ride cost me nearly two dollars, but I went out three times per week. 8LtMs, Lt 124, 1893, par. 7

Then word came from Sister Caro, dentist, that she might be expected any day to extract my teeth. I thought, I am in no condition to have teeth extracted, but I said, Let her come; it cannot be worse for me than it now is. Elder Israel and Brother Simpson were desirous I should fulfill a promise to speak at Petone, seven miles from Wellington, before I had my teeth out, for then I must wait two or three months. I consented to speak in the hall at Petone. I rode out in a hack but felt so weak and prostrated it seemed I could not collect my thoughts to speak. 8LtMs, Lt 124, 1893, par. 8

I selected a familiar subject and stood up to speak, when that subject was obliterated completely from my mind and another subject given me. “Walk while ye have the light, lest darkness come upon you.” [John 12:35.] The closing scenes of this earth’s history went like a procession before my mind. The judgment scene was portrayed before me in its awful, solemn reality. I was taken out of and away from myself and spoke under the deep movings of the Spirit of God. Believers and unbelievers listened as if spellbound. God’s presence was in the meeting. The power of God was upon me in a marked manner, thrilling through my whole being. Deep impressions were made upon the people. 8LtMs, Lt 124, 1893, par. 9

We rode home, but I felt a change had come upon me, and from that time the words once spoken in St. Helena were vividly engraved on my mind. “Satan is the destroyer; I am your Restorer” was verified to me. 8LtMs, Lt 124, 1893, par. 10

Then came Sister Caro in a short time and extracted eight teeth and the Lord has mercifully sustained me. I have tried not to let the family know my real condition. I knew it; they did not. They thought I had written too much, but it was not that. It was trouble of soul on your account, known only to God. Since that meeting I have been increasing in strength and firm trust in God, and my head is able to work again. But all the relief I could get for weeks before was in riding in the open air and keeping my head upon a pillow. It seemed I was too tired to hold it up, and pains sharp and keen as a knife ran through it often. But it is now July 18. July the fifth I parted with my last teeth. 8LtMs, Lt 124, 1893, par. 11

Now, my son, I have written these particulars that you shall understand the reason if your questions are not immediately answered. Your brother Willie is not to blame, for he has not your letter. I cannot get it to him at once. A steamer will not leave here before Thursday noon direct for Sydney. Then you will have to wait until the next mail shall go to America, which is three full weeks, and I am sorry, so sorry. In another letter I will tell you what alarmed me so much about you. Now I do not consider your case beyond hope, only as you shall make it so by sowing stubbornness and resistance to the Spirit of God. Thus you silence the voice of conscience and reap the harvest you have sown. Your only course is to seek the Lord while He may be found. Little by little you have carried your inclination where you would, in a most persevering manner, and it remains now your only course to pursue to put your inclination under the control of the Spirit of God. 8LtMs, Lt 124, 1893, par. 12

Men are greatly under the influence of their own words. You are not conscious how much you are affected by your words. You accustom yourself to speak in a certain way, and your thoughts and actions follow your words. One accustoms himself to assert certain things in regard to himself, and at last he comes to believe them. Our thoughts produce our words and our words react upon our thoughts. If a man forms the habit of using sacred words reverently, he will form the custom of carefulness of speech, knowing that there is a witness to every word uttered. When the feelings become excited and the speech is exaggerated, the mode of speaking is always extreme. It acts and reacts upon ourselves. 8LtMs, Lt 124, 1893, par. 13

The Word declares, “By thy words thou shalt be justified, and by thy words thou shalt be condemned.” Matthew 12:37. If our words act upon ourselves they act more powerfully upon others. There is great mischief done by words spoken. God alone knows and measures the result of a careless, exaggerated mode of speaking. There is much swearing done in spirit, and sometimes in words that are the unconscious productions of the inward thoughts. God help my son Edson! Whatever others’ course may be, you are not answerable for their course of action. But you stand before God answerable for what you are yourself in His presence. 8LtMs, Lt 124, 1893, par. 14

The opinions and judgment of men cannot make one hair white or black with your character. Your character is what you make it in the sight of a pure, holy, and just God. You are reproducing your own character in others. You may express many things that will create in other minds a course of thought which will lead them into false paths. God may spare you to outlive your exasperated feelings and come to have sensible thoughts. You may outlive your doubts, and through repentance toward God and faith in Jesus Christ escape from the snare of the fowler. You may pass into the sunshine of faith, but oh, you may never be conscious—in your rebellion against God, in your exasperated extravagant feelings expressed in words—that these words are doing their mischievous work in the soil of the hearts of others, and poisoning it. Here is a harvest some must reap. 8LtMs, Lt 124, 1893, par. 15

“The tongue is a fire, a world of iniquity: so is the tongue among our members, that it defileth the whole body, and setteth on fire the course of nature; and it is set on fire of hell.” James 3:6. That tongue of yours was consecrated to God by prayers and surrender to Him before you were born. You were chosen of God for the noble calling of a Christian, to adorn the doctrine of your God and Saviour in all things. Your life was to vindicate the light given by God to your mother. For this were you chosen, to glorify God by being a witness daily of the sacred and eternal truth, demonstrating in character that Christ is formed within, the hope of glory. 8LtMs, Lt 124, 1893, par. 16

God would not have you walk in darkness as if He had taken away all inward light from all outward things. God designed you should be a comfort, a stay, a support to your mother, and that you should be cheerful and uplifting, joyous in God, as becomes those who are rich in faith and heirs of the kingdom, and whose inward peace of soul reflects its cheerful, sanctified beams upon all around you. You have made a mistake in your association with men. Young men in your employ have not had a right example in your conversation. 8LtMs, Lt 124, 1893, par. 17

There are tests and trials which come to you, and will come, but will you at such times almost curse God? You will be beneath His chastening hand. Will you then draw apart from God and say, I want not Thy ways but my ways? There are times when Christians suffer by abuse in their connection with men. There are connivings at evil. There are feelings created in a sensitive, proud spirit. At times, in the presence of some evil deed we cannot approve, silence is golden and the most decided condemnation that can be given to wrong actions. There are times when in the presence of men whom we think would injure us and are injuring us, the kindliest words spoken would only call forth bitter retaliation. Then it is best to keep silent. At times, for our own sake, our strength is to keep still. 8LtMs, Lt 124, 1893, par. 18

Oh, my son, you needed self-examination all these years. You need to turn your thoughts inward, and in diligent searching examine your own individual self critically to see if every action will bear the test of the grand and solemn review. Stand in awe before God and sin not, for remember the wages of sin is death. My soul is drawn out in pity and warning to you. “Seek ye the Lord while he may be found, call ye upon him while he is near: let the wicked forsake his way, and the unrighteous man his thoughts: and let him return unto the Lord, for he will have mercy upon him; and to our God for he will abundantly pardon.” Isaiah 55:6, 7. Oh, wound not Jesus, the One who died for the salvation of your soul! “Abhor that which is evil; cleave to that which is good.” Romans 12:9. 8LtMs, Lt 124, 1893, par. 19

Come to the Lord just as you are. Raise the standard for Christ Jesus and have all your words select, seasoned with salt. Cultivate true dignity, through the grace of God possessing a higher, holier sympathy. God calls upon you to cease to do evil and learn to do well. Let your words feel the influence of the converting power of God. Let wholesome words be spoken. 8LtMs, Lt 124, 1893, par. 20

You need now the transforming grace. You need now the refining, elevating, ennobling Spirit of God. Fall upon the Rock and be broken. It is not too late for wrongs to be righted. God has a right to your time, your talents. You may say, Have I not a right to do what I will with myself? I answer, No. You are indebted to One who has paid the ransom money in His own life. Your body, my son, is not your own. Christ has paid the ransom money for it. Give it to Him. Return to God His own. Your heavenly Father daily maintains you. You have God’s stamp upon you, and He asks your faith and obedience in Him, the full surrender of yourself to His service, to follow Him through evil report as well as good. 8LtMs, Lt 124, 1893, par. 21

We are admonished to consider the world’s Redeemer, “him that endureth such contradiction of sinners against himself, lest ye be wearied and faint in your minds. Ye have not yet resisted unto blood, striving against sin. And ye have forgotten the exhortation which speaketh unto you as unto children, My son, despise not thou the chastening of the Lord, nor faint when thou art rebuked of him: for whom the Lord loveth he chasteneth, and scourgeth every son whom he receiveth. If ye endure chastening, God dealeth with you as with sons; for what son is he whom the Father chasteneth not? But if ye be without chastisement, whereof all are partakers, then are ye bastards, and not sons.” Hebrews 12:3-8. 8LtMs, Lt 124, 1893, par. 22

Will you consider it is God alone who can continually put enmity between the seed of the woman and the serpent’s seed. After the transgression of man, his nature became evil. There was peace between Satan and fallen man. Had there been no interference on the part of God, man would have formed an alliance against heaven and in the place of warfare among themselves carried on nothing but warfare against God. There is no native enmity between fallen angels and fallen men. Both are evil, and that through apostasy. And evil, wherever it exists, will always league against good. Fallen angels and fallen men join in companionship. 8LtMs, Lt 124, 1893, par. 23

The wise general of fallen angels calculated that if he could induce men as he had angels to join in rebellion, he would use them as his agents of communication with men to league in rebellion against heaven. Just as soon as one separates from God, he has no power of enmity against Satan. The enmity on earth between men and Satan is put there supernaturally. Unless the converting power of God is brought daily to bear upon the human heart, there will be no inclination to be religiously inclined, but men will choose to be captives of Satan rather than free men to Jesus Christ. “I,” says God, “will put enmity.” [Genesis 3:15.] Man cannot put it. When the will is brought into subjection to the will of God, it must be through man’s inclining his heart and will to be on the Lord’s side. 8LtMs, Lt 124, 1893, par. 24

I am sorry that all these words are needed but I will, as your mother, do all I can possibly do to save your soul. I am sorry, very sorry, that I have thought to do this by lifting your responsibilities when you were suffering the sure result of refusing counsel and refusing God’s warnings and the entreaties of His grace. 8LtMs, Lt 124, 1893, par. 25

As all our efforts have failed—decidedly failed—in that direction, now I can only hope and pray and ask God, who hath wisdom, to deal with your case. I leave this now. I enclose this in an envelope, seal it up for you when next month’s mail shall be sent to you. I wish to write on the life of Christ and so I have tried to relieve my soul of this heavy load. 8LtMs, Lt 124, 1893, par. 26


You asked, Emma, in regard to the chair. The springs were too stiff. I could not use it. But when I return to Melbourne I shall have lighter springs put in it; then I can use it. I purchased an easy chair in Auckland and am using it. I could not have taken that chair on this journey. 8LtMs, Lt 124, 1893, par. 27

It was so heavy. The lower part of my spine is very tender and will not bear any pressure, not the least. 8LtMs, Lt 124, 1893, par. 28

It is now time to close up my mail. Thank you, Edson, for the pocket dictionary. I think it a valuable little book. I forgot to send Willie his, but will send it next mail. What did you do with my Jessie and carriage? Please tell me. I know not when I shall return to America. 8LtMs, Lt 124, 1893, par. 29

In much love, 8LtMs, Lt 124, 1893, par. 30