Letters and Manuscripts — Volume 17 (1902)


Lt 81, 1902

White, J. E.

“Elmshaven,” St. Helena, California

May 20, 1902

Previously unpublished. +Note

My dear Son,—

I was very sorry that you did not come to St. Helena in response to my telegram. I was glad to see Brethren Butler and Palmer. I think the result of their visit will bring relief to many minds. We have given them the best counsel that we could. 17LtMs, Lt 81, 1902, par. 1

There are some things that I have thought it best not to write to you about, lest I should be misunderstood. And on account of the strain that I have been under for the last week or two, my letters for a while must be few. 17LtMs, Lt 81, 1902, par. 2

I have committed your case to God. He knows how to deal with it. But I cannot refrain from continuing to caution you about buying property, and making financial investments, though what I say seems to have but little weight. You are tempted to attribute my cautions to what some one has said or written to me, and my words have little weight with them, unless they are words of approval. 17LtMs, Lt 81, 1902, par. 3

I know you to be in a precarious condition, both in body and mind, and I am anxious for you to make me a visit as soon as you can get away from your work in the South. Could you come just now, I could give you strawberries and cherries from my place. We have a small strawberry patch, and three large cherry trees. Soon both strawberries and cherries will be gone. Just now the birds are greatly enjoying the cherries. They are having a feast of fat things. In a week from now, the cherries on another tree will be ripe. Cherry picking is going on all over this part of the state. Our peach trees are covered with fruit, but it will not be ripe for a month or two yet. 17LtMs, Lt 81, 1902, par. 4

I shall be glad indeed to have you and Emma visit us, and take time to rest and regain strength. I am in much hope that you can get away soon. You would enjoy the sight of the roses climbing up the side of the house, right to the windows of the second story. If I wished to pick some, all I should have to do would be to open my window and reach out my hand. 17LtMs, Lt 81, 1902, par. 5

Next week we drive over to the Petaluma camp-meeting, which holds from June 5-15. In the middle of July we may visit Los Angeles. 17LtMs, Lt 81, 1902, par. 6

I have been deeply impressed that I must do all I can to help those who are interested in the Southern field. And I must stand before the people of God as one whom He has sent, not as a false prophet. My son, will you now be very careful not to do anything that will misrepresent the instruction God has given me, so that no suspicion may rest on me as sanctioning any wrong course? At the very time when it is positively necessary that the greatest caution be shown in regard to the outlay of means, you will be empted to give way to the natural impulse to spend money rashly. 17LtMs, Lt 81, 1902, par. 7

I have made appeals for the work in the South. I have called attention to the poverty and the needs of this field. For you at this time to make any unwise investment would confirm the fears, the distrust, and the criticisms of those in responsible positions. I fear that on the minds of some you have made the impression that I sanction your investment in boat-building. They do not know how much I suffer over these things, nor do I ever want them to know. 17LtMs, Lt 81, 1902, par. 8

I wish to say that since you have consented to a proposed settlement in regard to the restitution fund, and have agreed that the settlement made at the Nashville Union Conference should stand, never, never bring the subject up again. Let there be no resurrection of the subject. Lay aside all your criticisms of the responsible men in Battle Creek. Cease to make scathing remarks either to them or about them to others. You cannot help them in any way by keeping their minds in a ferment. “Judge not, that ye be not judged. For with what judgment ye judge, ye shall be judged; and with what measure ye mete, it shall be measured to you again.” [Matthew 7:1, 2.] If these men have failed to do the right thing, remember that they must answer to God for themselves. And remember, my son, that none of us is faultless. 17LtMs, Lt 81, 1902, par. 9

Remember that every word of criticism you speak will react on you. If you want these men to change, you must show that you have changed. Help them in every way you can, but never reprove them; for they will not take your reproof. Let God handle their cases. You will do no good by contending for your rights as a worker in the gospel field. Show wisdom in management. In gentleness and compassion, help every one who needs help, “considering thyself, lest thou also be tempted.” [Galatians 6:1.] Your work is with your own soul, not with those whom you know you can never help by words of reproof. Strive to bring about unity and harmonious action. Do not be rash or impetuous when your way is questioned. Remember that a Christian is one whose heart is influenced and controlled by the love of God. 17LtMs, Lt 81, 1902, par. 10

The Lord has given you most positive warnings, marking out distinctly the course you should follow, and giving the reasons why you should be free from all business entanglements. Instruction has been given you line upon line, precept upon precept. Then, my dear son, walk in the light. Follow Him who is the Way, the Truth, and the Life. “Walk worthy of the vocation wherewith ye are called;” “and have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather reprove them.” [Ephesians 4:1; 5:11.] How? By your own carefulness in following the warnings given you. Let your circumspect actions and Christlike words be to the heedless, disrespectful soul, a reproof. Your attitude will be an argument in favor of Christianity. You will see and resist temptation. Your words will be, “Come with us, and we will do thee good.” [Numbers 10:29.] Your path will be a sure path, with no uncertainty as to its direction or termination. 17LtMs, Lt 81, 1902, par. 11

“He that walketh in darkness knoweth not whither he goeth.” [John 12:35.] When he thinks that he is at his journey’s end, he may be far from his goal. He may find out that he has not taken up his cross and followed Jesus, the Way, the Truth, and the Life; and therefore he has missed the road. If you follow Jesus, your road is plain before you. You know where it leads—that it is sure to bring you to the entrance of the mansions that Christ has gone to prepare for those that love Him. 17LtMs, Lt 81, 1902, par. 12

Thousands traverse the broad road. But they walk in darkness, and will never reach heaven. The path of self-denial and self-sacrifice is the only path that will bring us to the city of God. “Strait is the gate and narrow is the road that leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it.” [Matthew 7:14.] All who find it step in the footprints of Christ. This is the way to eternal life, to heaven. He who follows this path is certain to find perfect joy and life, everlasting life. Although his onward course is sometimes difficult and often wearisome, let him move forward steadfastly, trusting as a little child in the loving guidance of Him who “keepeth the feet of his saints.” [1 Samuel 2:9.] Let him have confidence and assurance, knowing that he will be kept from going astray. 17LtMs, Lt 81, 1902, par. 13

My son, the path has been plainly pointed out to you. Are you willing to walk in the light? Hear Christ’s voice, “He that followeth me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life.” [John 8:12.] Get rid of every pressing care. Do not again involve yourself in debt. This is Satan’s snare for the ruin of your soul. 17LtMs, Lt 81, 1902, par. 14

You have no right to live to yourself. And in one sense, you do not desire to do this. You could not be happy in doing it. You have been bought with a price; “therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God’s.” [1 Corinthians 6:19, 20.] Do not follow your own injudicious fancies. The Lord has given you evidence of His great love for you, and how grateful you should be. 17LtMs, Lt 81, 1902, par. 15

You ought to be a great help to Brother Palmer. He needs the softening, subduing influence of the Holy Spirit. In no case should you lead him to be content with reaching a low standard. He needs help in regard to the wise expenditure of means. As a wise, faithful steward, help him all you can. 17LtMs, Lt 81, 1902, par. 16

You need to reach a much higher standard. Let your heart be subdued by the Holy Spirit. You need a reconversion, else you will not be a true minister of the gospel. Put all bitterness and malice out of your heart. Daily seek God for strength and grace. In your daily work, in your family, in your business transactions, remember that you are responsible for the influence exerted by your words and spirit. Honor God by following the path marked out by a Father’s hand for every Christian. Every day, every hour, let your obedient love flow forth through the channels He has ordained. Do all things unto the Lord. This will invest your words and actions with a heavenly dignity, refining, purifying, ennobling them. Carry with you the consciousness that you are God’s servant, and that you are to represent Christ in character. When, at all times and in all places, you follow the example set you, your influence will be a savor of life unto life. 17LtMs, Lt 81, 1902, par. 17

God help you to remember that you are a living epistle, read and known of all men. Live the life that the Lord Jesus lived on this earth, and you will be a strength to your associate workers. God is your refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble. 17LtMs, Lt 81, 1902, par. 18

Those whom God has made stewards of means must practice His lessons of economy. They must live out the instruction Christ has given. I am so sorry that you have a burden of debt. I feel deeply over this, because it is a stumbling block to all who are tempted. You have large hope, and the outcome looks so favorable, so promising, that you launch out into business enterprises. And then what? Borrow from all who will lend to you. Oh, how sick at heart it makes me! My son, I entreat of you to keep within your borders; for every repetition of the past confirms the fear that you are a man who cannot be trusted with financial matters. 17LtMs, Lt 81, 1902, par. 19

May 22

Yesterday, Elder Butler rode over to Healdsburg, accompanied by W. C. White, May, and the twins. It was a very nice day. I expected to go with the company, but the night before, I was exceedingly nervous. Sara had to work over me for some time before I could get to sleep. The strain on me for the last few days has been very heavy. I put great intensity of thought into the effort to give the brethren wise counsel regarding the Southern field. I dared not do anything that would tax my brain or spine. I knew that I would have to be careful. 17LtMs, Lt 81, 1902, par. 20

The visit of Elder Butler and Brother Palmer was an important one. They spoke of you in the most tender terms, but they both think that you should have a period of rest. I advise you to take no responsibilities at present that you can avoid. Be exceedingly careful how you invest means. I pray for you most earnestly. 17LtMs, Lt 81, 1902, par. 21