Letters and Manuscripts — Volume 9 (1894)


Lt 80, 1894

White, J. E.

“Norfolk Villa,” Prospect St., Granville, New South Wales, Australia

November 6, 1894

Portions of this letter are published in 4MR 262-263; 11MR 28. +Note

Edson White

Dear Son:

I feel burdened this morning to write some things of which I have been dreaming during my sleeping hours. Abraham was a representative man, he manifested courtesy, kindness, and love to his fellow men. Daniel was also a representative man. The religion of Christ influenced him to be courteous in the midst of idolatrous associates. He spoke no harsh words, and he won the favor and tender regard of those with whom he came in contact. He educated himself to be obedient, to practice kindness, and to conform himself to every practice of the Babylonish court that did not reflect dishonor upon God. Though he was thus obedient, he never bore himself as a slave, but acted as one who had the right to stand in constant integrity and manhood. God gave him knowledge and understanding. I need not dwell upon this case, for you are well acquainted with it. 9LtMs, Lt 80, 1894, par. 1

You have written to me expressing the fact that at times you are sorely tried because your brethren do not encourage you or give you the kind of help that Christians expect from each other. Let not any course that your brethren in the faith may pursue toward you, however much it may try your soul, have any influence upon you to lead you to distrust your Saviour. You may not be praised or flattered, you may never receive the encouragement you expect from some men, because they are not laborers together with God and do not wear the yoke with Christ. Several times in your life you have suffered from misrepresentation, and have felt the sting of words of discouragement, and you cannot expect that Satan will not attack you again in these same lines. 9LtMs, Lt 80, 1894, par. 2

Men may face courageously a grave peril, but become cowards in meeting petty annoyances. Satan knows how to prepare his temptations in such a way that they will wear upon the nerves, and irritate the temper, and cause men to lose their self-control. Satan triumphs when he can use to do this work men who claim to be Christ’s chosen servants. He delights to make men who are professing to keep the commandments of God his agents in breaking these commandments. But men who become his agents do not love God supremely, or their neighbors as themselves. They do not give evidence that they love one another as Christ has loved them. They have lost sight of their Leader, and are following another leader who directs them to bruise and wound the souls of those who need their help. 9LtMs, Lt 80, 1894, par. 3

Your only course is to lean your whole weight upon Christ. Ever bear in mind that we are now upon trial. In this life we are to form a character either after the divine similitude, or after the similitude of the rebellious one who lost his glorious estate and forfeited his exalted position in the heavenly courts. You have experienced what it means to have no arm reached out in tender Christlike pity and compassion, and [you] also know that “his own arm brought salvation.” [Isaiah 59:16.] Christ invites you to wear His yoke, to lift His burden, He says, “Learn of me; for I am meek and lowly of heart, and ye shall find rest unto your souls.” [Matthew 11:29.] 9LtMs, Lt 80, 1894, par. 4

There is one thing which you will always be safe in doing, and that is in loving God supremely, and in loving your fellow men. Your hardest conflict will come in making [a] success of keeping the straight and narrow path which leads to eternal life. In order to do this, you must die daily. You will meet with prejudice, you will meet with opposition; if you are seeking to serve God you will meet with treatment that will be contrary to your natural disposition. Paul said, “I die daily.” [1 Corinthians 15:31.] Do not become provoked when you suffer wrongfully. Hold fast your integrity in Jesus Christ. 9LtMs, Lt 80, 1894, par. 5

There will be, and there are those in positions of sacred responsibility who do not maintain a vital connection with God. From them an influence comes forth that would weaken your faith in your brethren. It is not your place to combat their prejudices. They need a Saviour to save them from themselves as much as you need a Saviour to save you from yourself. They have educated themselves to criticize and to pick to pieces until criticism has become a part of their character. They criticize me. They are continually questioning my course of action, and they will question the course of anyone who has any relation with me. Poor souls, they are self-deceived, and know not what manner of spirit they are of. 9LtMs, Lt 80, 1894, par. 6

It is for you to carry through the work that you feel <convicted> God has given you. If I had become discouraged under the petty criticism that has been made upon me by those who claim to believe the truth, I should have left the work long ago. This is God’s work, and it is positive and aggressive, and must be carried steadily forward against the oppositions and suppositions of finite men. There are souls who will hear criticism from men in responsible positions, and they will accept these criticisms as true on account of their source. They would not cherish the reports as true if they knew they were false. They bear no special malice to Edson White, but because they have formed their characters in such a way that they live on the supposed faults and shortcomings of others, they are ready to catch at words of misrepresentation, when these words come from men who, they suppose, know what they are talking about. They repeat their suspicions however unjust they may be, and thus the leaven works, and brings about circumstances that are hard to meet, and trying to bear. 9LtMs, Lt 80, 1894, par. 7

Men who are not in vital connection with Jesus Christ will receive wrong impressions. The work of God has been retarded because so many have taken up misrepresentations. They have been too cowardly to go to the one who is the subject of suspicion, and tell him about it, <and point out the facts,> but they have gone to others, and repeated what somebody has told them. 9LtMs, Lt 80, 1894, par. 8

Now, my son, I counsel you that no matter who shall attempt to weaken your hands, to look away from every human agency to God. I have no doubt but that the Lord is working in a wonderful manner in your behalf, and that Jesus Christ has opened the way for you to do a work <in His service> which Satan would do his uttermost to hinder. He may seek to block up your way, but be not discouraged. <Watch unto prayer. Cling to [the] hope set before you in the Gospel. Hold fast your confidence in Jesus.> It is the work of God to save souls who are ignorant, helpless and hopeless. 9LtMs, Lt 80, 1894, par. 9

<You may be having this experience to make your heart tender and helpful to many who need comfort and pleasant words.> Pay as little attention to the annoying part of this matter as possible, and set your face as a flint toward Zion. Let those who enjoy criticizing, who choose to suspect you, pursue their own course of action, but do you press on in the meekness and lowliness of Christ, nor by spirit nor by word, retaliate on them. <Be pleasant toward all.> 9LtMs, Lt 80, 1894, par. 10

Do your work with steadfast purpose, with purity of heart, putting into <the work> your whole might, mind, soul and strength. Lean alone upon the arm of God. Time and again you have tried to do the work that God has signified was your work, but you have longed so much for human sympathy and human recognition that when you did not obtain it, you withdrew your hand from the hand of Christ, though he was the very One in whom you could have trusted implicitly, and who has promised to be a present help in every time of need. He says, “Lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world.” [Matthew 28:20.] “I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee.” [Hebrews 13:5.] God has chosen you from the beginning of your life to salvation through sanctification of the Spirit and belief of the truth. Therefore stand fast. 9LtMs, Lt 80, 1894, par. 11

We shall all be tempted; but woe unto him who gives himself up to be Satan’s agent to tempt and discourage souls. My son, do nothing, either in thought or action, that is of a retaliatory nature. “Wherefore in all things it behoved him to be made like unto his brethren, that he might be a merciful and faithful high priest in things pertaining to God, to make reconciliation for the sins of the people. For in that he himself hath suffered, being tempted, he is able to succor them that are tempted.” “For we have not an high priest which cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities; but was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin. Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in every time of need.” [Hebrews 2:17, 18; 4:15, 16.] 9LtMs, Lt 80, 1894, par. 12

“For it became him, for whom are all things, and by whom are all things in bringing many sons unto glory, to make the Captain of their salvation perfect through suffering. For both he that sanctifieth, and they that are sanctified are all of one; for which cause he is not ashamed to call them brethren.” [Hebrews 2:10, 11.] “Seeing you have purified your souls in obeying the truth through the Spirit unto unfeigned love of the brethren, see that ye love one another with a pure heart fervently.” [1 Peter 1:22.] “Let love be without dissimulation. Abhor that which is evil; cleave to that which is good. Be kindly affectioned one to another with brotherly love; in honor preferring one another.” [Romans 12:9, 10.] “Now the end of the commandment is charity out of a pure heart, and of a good conscience, and of faith unfeigned; from which some having swerved have turned aside unto vain jangling.” [1 Timothy 1:5, 6.] 9LtMs, Lt 80, 1894, par. 13

The peace of Christ is of great value to each one of us, but this peace comes not from the human agent. It is necessary that we rest in the love of Jesus. I sincerely hope and pray that you and your boat’s family or crew may everyone be in living connection with God. It is of the highest importance that each one shall obtain an individual experience in the things of God. Let every one look to God for counsel and obey the leadings of His Spirit, and counsel with your brethren. God is pleased when His workers are united. 9LtMs, Lt 80, 1894, par. 14

But ever bear in mind you must be in harmony with God. You must hear His knock at the door of your heart. Jesus says, “I counsel thee to buy of me gold tried in the fire that thou mayest be rich; and white raiment, that thou mayest be clothed and that the shame of thy nakedness do not appear; and anoint thine eyes with eyesalve, that thou mayest see. As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten; be zealous therefore and repent. Behold, I stand at the door, and knock: if any man hear my voice, and open the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with me.” [Revelation 3:18-20.] The Lord says, “If any man thirst let him come unto me and drink.” [John 7:37.] No human agent can supply that which will satisfy the hunger and thirst of the soul. 9LtMs, Lt 80, 1894, par. 15

It is right that I should tell you <and encourage you> that the Lord designs that you should be His messenger, and that you should open the Scriptures to others. This work He designed that you should fulfill when you gave yourself into His hands to be controlled by His will, to be molded and fashioned after the similitude of His character, for then He could use you as a vessel unto honor. 9LtMs, Lt 80, 1894, par. 16

A great work is to be done in our world. And I feel burdened and distressed when I see men and women exerting an influence that will place obstruction in the way of those who <have a burden to work> and are willing to work. I know that they do not know what spirit is inspiring them. <You may pity them, but do not retaliate.> 9LtMs, Lt 80, 1894, par. 17

I would say to you and your company, as you go to your field of labor, go in the name of Jesus of Nazareth. Those who feel a religious zeal to block your way are moving blindly, and cannot see afar off. I have written much to be prepared for the next American mail, of which I will send you copies. 9LtMs, Lt 80, 1894, par. 18

There are many families who could be a great blessing if they would take their belongings and settle in some of our town or country locations. Many should move into regions beyond, and become just what Christ has said that those who believe in Him should be. “Ye are the salt of the earth: but if the salt have lost his savor, wherewith shall it be salted? It is henceforth good for nothing, but to be cast out, and to be trodden underfoot of men.” [Matthew 5:13.] 9LtMs, Lt 80, 1894, par. 19

In His lesson of the vine and the branches, Jesus says, “I am the vine, ye are the branches: he that abideth in me, and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit; for without me ye can do nothing.” [John 15:5.] “Every branch in me (those who claim to believe in Me) that beareth not fruit he taketh away: and every branch that beareth fruit he purgeth it, that it may bring forth more fruit. ... Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, except it abide in the vine; no more can ye, except ye abide in me.” [Verses 2, 4.] <We must pray for grace to endure the purging.> 9LtMs, Lt 80, 1894, par. 20

<Consider my children,> Christ is the vitalizing power. Those who do not day by day eat the flesh and drink the blood of the Son of man cannot bear the image of Christ. The nourishment of the branches comes from the parent stock. Though every branch is separate and distinct, yet all are united in the <parent> vine, and are nourished by the vine, and bear the same fruit as does the vine. But those who simply unite with the church, and are not united with the living vine, are as branches that are tied on, and not grafted in the vine. As they have no living connection with Christ, as they are not partakers of the divine nature, their hereditary and cultivated tendencies to evil appear in their lives. They are still wild scions, and bear no fruit to the glory of God, and they become a burden to the church. They hang upon the church side, but they bear fruit upon the world’s side. 9LtMs, Lt 80, 1894, par. 21

Christ has told us plainly, so that we may not be deceived, that we shall know them by their fruits, and adds, “Do men gather grapes of thorns, or figs of thistles? Even so every good tree bringeth forth good fruit; but a corrupt tree bringeth forth evil fruit. A good tree cannot bring forth evil fruit, neither can a corrupt tree bring forth good fruit. Every tree that bringing not forth good fruit is hewn down, and cast into the fire. Wherefore by their fruits ye shall know them.” [Matthew 7:16-20.] 9LtMs, Lt 80, 1894, par. 22

Christ has defined the relation that believers should maintain towards unbelievers. Concerning their work to the world, Jesus declared, “Ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you; and ye shall be witnesses unto me, both in Jerusalem and all Judea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth.” [Acts 1:8.] Through the work of His disciples the great plan for the saving of man was to be completed, and the divine signature placed upon missionary work. The Captain of their salvation left the truth in their hands, and it was to be presented to the world and multiplied in the world by the saving of men. Souls were to know the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom He had sent. 9LtMs, Lt 80, 1894, par. 23

The character of Christ is to be reproduced in His followers. The grace of Christ was to be bestowed in rich abundance, producing in men a character after the divine similitude. Jesus says, “Herein is my Father glorified, that ye bear much fruit; so shall ye be my disciples.” [John 15:8.] “The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, temperance.” [Galatians 5:22, 23.] Those who have vital connection with Jesus Christ will bear this quality of fruit. 9LtMs, Lt 80, 1894, par. 24

Jesus Christ is one with the Father, and the whole heavenly universe is bound up with God and Christ. Heavenly intelligences manifest respect and love one for another, while giving their adoration to God. The family of heaven represents what the family on earth should be, and what it will be when every follower of Christ is fully identified with Him, when each one identifies his interest with that of his brethren. Then the prayer of Christ will be answered, when He said, “Neither pray I for these alone, but for them also which shall believe on me through their word; that they all may be one; as thou, Father, art in me, and I in thee, that they also may be one in us: that the world may believe that thou hast sent me.” [John 17:20, 21.] The church will then be “the salt of the earth.” [Matthew 5:13.] 9LtMs, Lt 80, 1894, par. 25

The world needs the influence of every believer, as salt which has not lost its savor. Believers need the work of sanctification wrought in the soul by the operation of the Holy Spirit; they need a daily transformation of character, a renewing of the divine image, a growth in righteousness and true holiness. This must be experienced in order that the attributes of Christ may be revealed in His followers. Of His church the Lord Jesus says, “Ye are the salt of the earth.” [Verse 13.] Then why is it that the church does not realize that <through the grace given> she is to be a saving power in the world? When the church understands its position in the world, the missionary power of Christianity will be multiplied according to her light and knowledge. 9LtMs, Lt 80, 1894, par. 26

As a people we are responsible for souls that are perishing out of Christ. Every soul joined to Christ is to be a living, active representative of the Saviour of men. Every one who have been born again has a work to do for Jesus. Souls are crying out, “Send us help. We are starving for the bread of life, we are thirsting for the waters of salvation.” Will our church members be content to sit and feed upon the Word of life, and feel no burden to carry the precious truth to those who are in the darkness of error? Will they be content to feel that they have the truth, when others are cherishing strong delusions, and are believing a lie? Have the professed followers of Christ any conception of the infinite price that has been paid to ransom souls from the power of Satan? 9LtMs, Lt 80, 1894, par. 27

We realize that there is great need of a strong united influence to co-operate with the Captain of our salvation in order to take the spoil from the power of Satan, to release souls from the servitude of the evil one, and to make them free men and women in Christ Jesus. Shall not every one seek to stimulate some other one in working for their neighbors, and for their own church members? Shall not our people pray earnestly, unitedly, and perseveringly for spiritual vitality? The fountain of grace and knowledge is overflowing from the inexhaustible abundance of the fullness of God. Shall we not repeat the invitation, “Come unto me,” (not unto any human agent) “all ye that labor, and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.” [Matthew 11:28.] 9LtMs, Lt 80, 1894, par. 28

At every opportunity shall we not echo the words of Christ? Shall we not bear in mind that religion can bless only where it influences? Shall we exclude ourselves from the privilege of giving to our <household and> neighbors and to the world the last message of mercy? Shall we not rather show by <our> earnestness that we believe just what we profess to believe—that the Lord is soon coming? This is our work, and to every man God has given his work. Selfish interests are not to intervene between us and the work. The Lord says, “Seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.” [Matthew 6:33.] 9LtMs, Lt 80, 1894, par. 29

If the church members, in the place of standing in the marketplace idle, would listen to the voice of Jesus and take heed to His command as He says, “Go work today in my vineyard” [Matthew 21:28], there would soon be less ignorance of how to do work for the Master. Those who believe the truth must soon be arrayed before the judgment seat of Christ to give an account of the way in which they have traded upon their Lord’s entrusted talents. The Lord has given talents to men and women, and they have misappropriated them <selfishly.> 9LtMs, Lt 80, 1894, par. 30

Many feel that they do not know how to go to work. The Saviour says, “Have salt in yourselves.” [Mark 9:50.] Work as Christ has given you an example. It is the business of every believer to salt the earth with His influence, to let the light of truth shine forth to arouse the attention of those who are dead in trespasses and sins. It is evident that many have a mere casual faith. They have no living experience. There is no growing up into efficiency and power to do the work that is everywhere demanded. 9LtMs, Lt 80, 1894, par. 31

A dead, saltless religion will never be a savor of life unto life. I beg of you to take heed to the warning, lest you be placed with the indolent servant who hid his talent in the earth. A working church will be a living church. But while many are listeners, there are others who may go forth from our churches, not in their own strength, but in the strength of the Lord of Israel. Those who will not disseminate the light that God gives them will not have increased light. God will not give idlers His rich grace to feed upon. “If any would not work, neither should he eat.” [2 Thessalonians 3:10.] 9LtMs, Lt 80, 1894, par. 32

Shall the members of the church come up to the judgment unprepared because they have no sheaves to bring to the Master? One and another will say, While I was busy here and there he was gone. Who was gone? Some soul was gone away from your influence where he can never more be reached, he was dropped into the grave unprepared. Every one has talents of value to use in winning souls to Christ. But whether you are ministers or laymen, if you claim to have a connection with Christ and do not possess Christlike attributes, you are not fit for service. You are as salt that has no savor, that is fit only to be cast out and trodden under the feet of men. 9LtMs, Lt 80, 1894, par. 33

We ourselves must be saved by the grace of God; but when we feel the quickening influence of the divine life, when the soul is thoroughly warmed by the grace of God, then the impulse comes to tell <others> what God has done for your soul and communicate that which you have received. Those who have never experienced the tender, winning love of Christ can never lead others to the Fountain of life. 9LtMs, Lt 80, 1894, par. 34

To comment upon the gospel in a lifeless, commonplace way, to give a lifeless testimony, wearies rather than edifies. But the love of Christ in the heart is a constraining power, and causes men to speak forth in sincerity that which they really believe. The words of a believer will be a savor of life unto life. He will not give a stone, but bread, precious bread. Christ in the heart is a working, powerful agency. He will be revealed in the conversation, in the tender, pitiful spirit, in the uplifting, in the elevating of the soul with whom the Christian associates. 9LtMs, Lt 80, 1894, par. 35

“Let your speech be alway with grace, seasoned with salt.” [Colossians 4:6.] I entreat our ministering brethren to “preach the Word” in short discourses that can be easily understood. [2 Timothy 4:2.] Carry your message with you in house to house labor, and roll upon men and women the responsibility, not only of hearing the Word, but of practicing it, and of communicating it to others. In harmony with Jesus’s instruction, the early disciples went everywhere telling of Christ and His resurrection from the dead. Every conversation should be seasoned with the grace of God, and all lightness, all joking, should be excluded. The Lord is at hand. Be cheerful, be thankful, but be not light and <trifling, cheap and> jovial. 9LtMs, Lt 80, 1894, par. 36

There is not only danger that those in positions of trust will fail to encourage individuals in trading upon their talents, but there is also <danger> that those who do little or nothing themselves for Christ will also seek to discourage someone who is trying to work in the Lord’s vineyard. Keep your hands off! Educate every one who is drawing from Christ the streams of salvation. It is not necessary that the Word of God should be disseminated only by a few ordained ministers. The truth must be sown beside all waters. 9LtMs, Lt 80, 1894, par. 37

The grace of God will not long abide in the hearts of those who have opportunities to communicate it, and yet whose lips are silent. They will soon find that they have nothing to tell. The grace of Christ is not private property. It must go to those who know not the truth as it is in Jesus. O, if the people of God would but realize how great is their accountability, they would deny self, they would lift the cross, they would go everywhere seeking to save souls that are perishing. God has given this promise for our encouragement, “He that goeth forth and weepeth, bearing precious seed, shall doubtless come again with rejoicing, bringing his sheaves with him.” [Psalm 126:6.] 9LtMs, Lt 80, 1894, par. 38