Lt 46a, 1874

Lt 46a, 1874

White, J. E.; White, Emma

Battle Creek, Michigan

August 5, 1874

Previously unpublished.

Dear Children, Edson and Emma:

Sister McDearmon has just left. She has been visiting us. I read your letter, Edson, to her. I was thankful to read her such a good letter from you. I believe you to be sincere and in earnest. I pray and believe that God will help you, my dear children, in all your efforts. Your happiness we wish to see promoted by your full consecration to God and devotion to His work. You both have an experience to gain in this direction and should not shun responsibilities, but learn to take them and bear them cheerfully and manfully. You have already lived too long for self and studied your own inclination and pleasure and have lost a rich experience in noble efforts in good works. You may both do nobly with the help of God if you will. 2LtMs, Lt 46a, 1874, par. 1

Sister McDearmon thinks Emma is a little homesick. But this, my daughter, will not answer. You must not allow any such feelings of unrest and discontent and repining to take possession of you. We expect to return soon, and then I will be a true mother to you, affectionate and sympathizing, and will counsel you. I think we will be happy. 2LtMs, Lt 46a, 1874, par. 2

But our happiness will depend very much upon the course we ourselves choose to pursue. Our first work is to train the body, to educate the taste and appetite. Yourself and Emma are not free from the taint of scrofula, and both of you need conscientiously to carry out health reform in all its branches. Your face, Edson, tells the condition of your liver, while Emma has a tendency to weakness of lungs. You should both, from principle, exercise strong willpower to control your appetite. Let your diet be of the most healthful kind, and the daily exercise in cheerful, useful labor be such as to secure a well-balanced circulation. 2LtMs, Lt 46a, 1874, par. 3

I have been shown that God will not insure either of you health if you are indulging your fancy and have not moral power to control the appetite. Your indulgence in articles you know are not the best for your health is doing its work upon the constitution, although it is not realized for the time being. You may do great injury to the brain and nerves by an improper course in eating and in exercise. 2LtMs, Lt 46a, 1874, par. 4

You will be tempted to indulge in light reading. Do not give the mind to story reading. This does not educate and develop the mind, but narrows it and makes it feeble, incapable of close application to intellectual pursuits. Between the mind and the body there is an intimate and mysterious relation. The one acts and reacts upon the other. A restless, dissatisfied mind gives no quiet or rest to the body. You should not indulge the propensity to love reading that does not improve and impart knowledge, for this is dwarfing the mind so that you will have no inclination to engage in useful and elevated activity. Exercise should not be by impulse, but from a sense of duty to do good and promote health. Storybooks that only amuse and do not strengthen and develop the mind are an injury. Precious hours have been wasted in this direction, and this has unfitted Emma as well as Edson for the relish of religious exercises and for calm judgment and wise decisions. 2LtMs, Lt 46a, 1874, par. 5

God’s time! Think of it, children, it is God’s time, not yours. You must render an account of how you use this time. You need that exercise which shall call into action the whole muscular system, as well as the exercise of the mental powers. Emma should take special pains to expand her chest, that her breathing may be full, deep, and free, in the exercise of all the vital functions. She has her life in her own hands. She may form a good chest or she may encourage the predisposition to consumption by centering her thoughts upon herself, favoring herself, and becoming tender, sensitive, and impressible. She needs to adopt a course of living not to make a bad quality of blood—for this will be very poor policy—but to secure the very best quality of blood. Humors are encouraged and strengthened by eating largely of meat, and irregularity in eating has its train of evils that none of us should choose. 2LtMs, Lt 46a, 1874, par. 6

I have recently had my attention called to this subject by the case of Lillie Abbey. Her mother has favored her because her lungs were weak. She has eaten three meals a day, and between meals. She has a delicate appetite, and cannot eat what the helpers and patients eat at the Health Institute. I had a testimony for Lillie which I had given her once. She had not heeded it. I bore it again to her. You, Emma, were shown me in about the same condition. You were neglecting the very things which will bring to you health, and were in danger of petting and favoring yourself, and becoming helpless, inefficient, and sick when you might just as well have happiness and health. 2LtMs, Lt 46a, 1874, par. 7

You have both lived too much for yourselves. I saw that Emma was much at fault here. She studied her pleasure, her happiness, and flattered herself that this was the way to secure happiness. Edson has done the same. We have but one life to live. Many think that life should be a free and happy one, that they should choose their own course, enjoy themselves, and spend as they go. But where is your treasure in heaven? 2LtMs, Lt 46a, 1874, par. 8

My children, you may make your course through this world bright and attractive or uninviting and repulsive. Just as long as you two choose to serve yourselves, gratify the taste, and be of no special benefit to others, you cannot be happy. Emma, God designed you should live not merely to please yourself but to do good. You should, my daughter, have all your habits of that character to harmonize with the laws of health and favor moral culture. Your habits should be well considered, whether they are of that character to give strength to moral sentiment over the animal powers. You may make yourself an intellectual being or you may cripple all your God-given faculties to taste, to dress, and to pleasure, and you, my daughter, live to eat, to drink, and sleep, but in no case to answer the end of your being. Moral imbecility, as well as physical feebleness, will follow such a course. The world will be no better for your having lived in it. Those who perfect Christian character must be temperate in all things. 2LtMs, Lt 46a, 1874, par. 9

I feel called upon now to bid you both to awake and commence life anew. I am distressed, Edson, to meet debts here in Battle Creek that have been accumulated on every hand. Brother Lindsay came to me with the matter, for one and another were dunning him to know when Edson White would pay them. I do not censure you for the past. Let that be forgotten, except as a warning for the future. You may begin life anew now. 2LtMs, Lt 46a, 1874, par. 10

I realize the position of you both. Emma is no economist. She is no help to Edson in this direction. She wants things she could do without and will have to learn this experience before either of you can be right and be self-supporting. You both have imaginary wants, but God would have you learn lessons in self-denial and economy. God calls upon you both to be transformed and no longer live for yourselves. Live within your means. Be very careful to do your duty with strictest integrity. Hide not or excuse your failings, for you both have yet to learn the use of money. You have closed your eyes and hardened your hearts to any reproofs in this direction. But God has spoken to you, Edson, and to you, Emma, in regard to your dangers and errors. Will you heed His voice? Will you now obtain the experience you both ought to have had some years ago? Remember you are not at liberty to do as you please with even your own bodies and your minds. Christ has purchased you by an infinite price. 2LtMs, Lt 46a, 1874, par. 11

When you violate the laws of health in eating or in drinking or in any wrong habit, you transgress the laws of God. You may educate the appetite, you may practice self-denial and encourage self-control, until you can both stand forth as victors upon the point of appetite. Your health and life depend upon this. You are both shortening your days and crippling your usefulness by present gratification. Your appetite and following your pleasure stand in the way of your usefulness and your spiritual advancement. You are diminishing the natural, healthful development of mind and soul by impairing the body. Emma is robbing the world of the usefulness she might be to it if she would cultivate her intellect. She is robbing God of the energies and mental faculties which should be devoted to His service. There will come a time when she would pay any price for a new lease of her life, that she may make her mark in the world and leave her good works behind her. She needs to feel that God has not placed her in this world for her amusement but to glorify Him in a life of useful service. 2LtMs, Lt 46a, 1874, par. 12

Lay off the yoke you have laid upon your own necks and exchange it for the yoke of Christ. Bring all your burdens and perplexities and griefs to the dear Saviour in simple, humble, trusting faith. Work for God, dear children. Emma, you will never be happy until you forget self and work for God. Crowd all the good works you can into heaven. See what you can do to bless others by your words and actions. You both ought by this time to be far advanced in Christian experience and prepared to help others to see the light and the truth. Don’t live for yourselves. Remember the Pattern. Follow His example. 2LtMs, Lt 46a, 1874, par. 13

I want you both to grow in grace and the knowledge of the truth. Do not hinder each other from perfecting Christian character, but help one another. Be zealous to speak right words, to encourage each other in self-denial and self-sacrifice. Jesus left all for us. He became poor, that we through His poverty might be made rich. What will we do for the salvation of our fellow men? God help you to feel that you are answerable for the light which you have had. Hide it not under a bushel or under a bed, but put it on a candlestick, that it may give light to all that are in the house. The house is the world. 2LtMs, Lt 46a, 1874, par. 14

God makes us accountable for the precious, saving truths we have accepted. We shall each have to show at least one soul saved through our influence or we cannot enter into the joy of our Lord. We shall not experience that joy unless we can see at least one soul redeemed that we have been the means of bringing to glory. Think of this. Do not feel that you have no responsibility to resist and press back the tide of moral darkness that is flooding our world. Oh, my children, there is a great work before each of us. Let us take it up, whether we live or die, and be determined we will do some good in the world. Keep your souls in the love and light of God and He will be with you to work with your efforts and help you. 2LtMs, Lt 46a, 1874, par. 15

I am glad you have a place of responsibility now. Show, my children, that you are fitting for greater trusts. Do your part in the love and fear of God with an eye single to His glory. Be determined you will make a success where you are. Be so faithful, so true, that not a blemish, not a stain, will rest upon you but that your record will be true and clean in heaven. Remember we have a wily foe ever on the alert to draw us away from duty and from God. But do not give the least place to the suggestions of the enemy. Do not allow any habits of negligence or carelessness to grow upon you, but be very earnest and vigilant in your duty. Show that you may be trusted and that you may be depended upon. 2LtMs, Lt 46a, 1874, par. 16

I beg of you, Emma, not to get uneasy and restless and dissatisfied, but be content and cheerful and happy. It matters but little where we are or what position we may be in, if we have the approval of God. We can carry happiness with us if we will. This should be our first consideration. We known not how soon our probation may close upon earth, and how soon we may be called to pass through the deep waters of affliction and trial. But God lives and reigns. Only be true and living Christians, and I shall be the happiest of mothers. You cannot avoid trials and perplexities, but amid them all, do not get rash and impatient and headstrong. Counsel with others and be willing to be advised. Love to yield your way and your wishes, and seek that sweet union with the Spirit of God that will make you at peace with everyone. You need to cultivate lowliness of mind, to seek earnestly for a meek and quiet spirit, which God values. 2LtMs, Lt 46a, 1874, par. 17

You may be a means of great good to others. I want you to be earnest now. Do not procrastinate, Edson and Emma. Seek for a deep knowledge of the divine will. Be every moment seeking to God for more strength, wisdom, and knowledge. I love you and want you to be saved with an everlasting salvation. 2LtMs, Lt 46a, 1874, par. 18

Last Thursday Willie accompanied me to Allegan. I tarried at Brother Littlejohn’s over night. They received us heartily. I had a good visit with Brother Littlejohn. Friday I rode about two miles out with Brother Dr. Lay. He was to see patients. I was to call on Brother Rhodes. I had a praying season with him and his wife. Returned with the doctor and stayed at Dr. Lay’s over night. 2LtMs, Lt 46a, 1874, par. 19

I spoke to the people at Allegan—a full house, both forenoon and afternoon—then rode up to Monterey and called on Brother Rumery. I called the family together, had a praying season with them, and then I talked with Brother Rumery above one hour. He had been making no effort to serve God. How I pitied that man—to have to confess that he had no power to overcome his love of money. I talked very pointedly to him. I urged him to pay Brother Jones for the means he had put into the shop Brother Rumery had bought at Allegan. I hope he will do this, and set Brother Jones free from these dunning creditors. I think he will try to do something. I have just written him twenty-eight pages. I spoke to the brethren at Monterey on Sunday. There was a full house. I then talked with George Lay about two hours. I got him to promise to attend the camp meeting. I then rode back to Allegan. 2LtMs, Lt 46a, 1874, par. 20

Brother Littlejohn’s mother heard me speak Sabbath, and Brother Littlejohn says her prejudice is gone and it will make it so much easier for him. You see I have no time to study my pleasure or to play. Brother Littlejohn has been a very sick man. One eye nature has dropped out of her economy and we fear he will lose the other unless God mercifully delivers him. He is a precious man. He will not be able to be at the camp meetings. 2LtMs, Lt 46a, 1874, par. 21

Your mother, Emma, was sent for by Burley to come and bring the children, for his mother and the recently widowed sister and her daughter were making him a visit. She, the sister, returns to New York tomorrow. 2LtMs, Lt 46a, 1874, par. 22

My dear children, be determined to do well, and to be well and happy in the love of God. I want to see you so very much. You are both very dear to me. Write, Emma dear; I want to hear from you. I expect father and Lucinda tonight. It is now nearly ten o’clock. Although it is late, I must write you a few lines in regard to some things I have not felt at liberty to write you until now. They press upon my mind with such force I cannot forbear. 2LtMs, Lt 46a, 1874, par. 23

In my last vision I was shown the cases of several who were deficient in that education essential for the attainment of Christian perfection and for the greatest usefulness in this life. I was shown, Emma, that you were selfish; you thought of yourself, planned for yourself. Your pleasure and your own enjoyment were your first consideration. You greatly failed to carry out in your life the life of Christ. You had not educated yourself to have willpower to control your appetite. You had not become a health reformer, because you would not bring your mind up to the point of self-denial. I was shown that your habits were constantly at war with the laws of your being. You will eat and do those things which are not in accordance with the laws of life and health, and as a consequence you will feel the effect of your unhygienic habits upon your health. You have too little principle and move too much from impulse, following inclination. 2LtMs, Lt 46a, 1874, par. 24

When disease fastens upon you, or rather when nature shall protest against the abuse she has received, you will be in danger of losing your life. And then you will feel to regret your following inclination rather than the light God has given upon the important subject of health. God will not work a miracle to preserve you in health when you have felt no special anxiety to keep in harmony with His Spirit and do, on your part, according to the light given you to keep yourself in health. The Spirit of God will not be trifled with by any of us. 2LtMs, Lt 46a, 1874, par. 25

You have never felt the necessity of individual duties and personal obligations to do your part in exerting a correct and right influence. The education of your girlhood was not the best. You were relieved from bearing responsibilities and followed inclination too much. 2LtMs, Lt 46a, 1874, par. 26

To deny self, to be disciplined to take up life’s burdens and be interested to do the greatest amount of good for others, you have not experienced. Yourself is a center. Whatever course Edson is taking, you do not burden your soul to feel a responsibility to take a course to help him, because it is not agreeable or pleasant. You drift along, taking things as they come, but having no molding influence upon his life and character in the right direction. You love quiet and ease and peace, but want your own inclinations gratified and your notions indulged. You have not been learning that the path of holiness is a path of self-denial and sacrifice. 2LtMs, Lt 46a, 1874, par. 27

When your thoughts are filled with useful ideas and you are living not for your pleasure but to glorify God, you will be a more noble, happy woman. But you are a dwarfed child, and, I saw, ever would be a child, as far as a life of usefulness is concerned, unless you change your ideas of what constitutes a true woman and her life duties. Your taste, your ideas of gratifying and pleasing yourself are a child’s experience, but not the experience of the true woman. You have not outgrown your childish experience and have not matured mentally and morally. You lack stamina, and therefore cannot understand the sweets of true enjoyment and real, substantial happiness. 2LtMs, Lt 46a, 1874, par. 28

The trifling variations of life in pleasure and diversion amuse the mind, but cannot yield happiness. Therefore there is a feeling of unrest, a void, a lonesomeness, a homesickness—a vague want of something, you know not what. This is because you are not self-reliant, feeling your individual responsibility and what God requires of you in this world, bearing your weight of responsibility, taking up your life duties, performing your part in the drama of life, living for others’ good rather than for self alone. Daily, constant, responsible employment is the stepping stone to mental and moral development and to usefulness and happiness. 2LtMs, Lt 46a, 1874, par. 29

I do not accuse you or censure you for not doing work enough, but God has shown me you are cultivating the education of your childhood in shunning responsibilities. You need mind development, soul-redeeming, and elevating employment. Our mental activity will not grow without exercise. God made our powers for use, not to rust. All that is useful and elevating in life depends upon our own exertions. If God had intended that any of us should be idle, He would have built houses, made clothes, cooked food, formed characters to be purchased without exertion on our part, accumulated knowledge and had everything in preparation that we need for mind and body, ready made at our hands. But this is not God’s plan. In the providence of God our happiness is arranged to depend upon our active efforts. To have another do the very things we can and should do for ourselves deprives us of a source of happiness at our command. In this we rob ourselves of one of the richest blessings that God has designed we should have. 2LtMs, Lt 46a, 1874, par. 30

You, my precious Emma, may do and be what you are not now. When God calls for an account of your stewardship, how can you answer with any honor to yourself? How naked, how fruitless, will your life appear when the judgment sits and the books are opened! All the record of your life, all your words stand there revealed. You went here, you did this or that because it added to your amusement and pleasure. I saw the book of records opened. I searched for unselfish, good works. I looked for true self-denial in blessing others. I anxiously watched the turning of every page, and as the last was turned, I groaned, No fruit! Is it possible there is no fruit? Her life’s work is ended, golden, probationary time gone forever, and no fruit! Nothing but leaves! Nothing but leaves! 2LtMs, Lt 46a, 1874, par. 31

I looked to see how you received this intelligence, for self-gratification, selfish indulgence, your own pleasure and your own amusement were standing out distinctly upon every line. Your face was covered. You said, “My life, oh, my life has been a farce, a terrible mistake! I have amused myself in many ways, but not glorified God. I have filled my mind with storybooks when I could have been acquiring knowledge.” 2LtMs, Lt 46a, 1874, par. 32

I turned to the angel and in agony of spirit I said, Let her have a little longer probation. Give her one more trial. He assented, and you sadly looked again over the records, to see where your life had been such a terrible failure and said, “Now it is all the more severe and difficult, because I have everything to unlearn and learn anew. I see now that had my life been as it should have been, had I had a firm and correct principle, had I understood my duty, I could have been a great help to my husband. My influence has done much to make his life as well as my own a failure.” 2LtMs, Lt 46a, 1874, par. 33

Emma, you looked up again in great distress and asked, “Is it too late now for me to redeem the past failures of my listless, aimless, irresponsible life and become useful and apply my powers of body and mind to a good end? And may I gain strength where I am so deficient, to fulfill my God-given mission in this life?” The answer came, “You may if you do not procrastinate. You may if you make earnest and determined efforts. You may win great victories if you do not consult your wishes, your pleasure and inclination, and if you will ever bear in mind that true worth and true usefulness is not a legacy inherited but the fruit of exertion. Every act of true self-denial for others’ good, every denial of pleasure and self-gratification, every noble responsibility borne from principle for the glory of God, will efface the record standing against your name.” 2LtMs, Lt 46a, 1874, par. 34

You may say, “Why have you withheld this from me so long?” Because I knew you would not receive it and work upon this light given, and then I should feel that condemnation was upon you. But now I give you the light God has given me, and from henceforth the responsibility rests upon you. You want, my dear daughter, enough to do that your mind may not be empty. A woman with but little employment for her hands and less for her mind can only be the shadow of a woman. Women are not born, but made. If she neglects to educate the mind, she will become weak and inefficient, ever dependent upon others, swayed by a wrong influence. And she will succumb to circumstances and shirk every disagreeable responsibility. You have a work to do, Emma. You will have to arouse your dormant energies and begin to live, while you do live, to be a blessing to others. 2LtMs, Lt 46a, 1874, par. 35

You may now be gaining an education in practical, intellectual life. Do not dwarf your mind to the reading of storybooks and become a mental dyspeptic, but save every thought, every particle of mental force to be exercised in something useful. You may now train the mind. Take up some taxing employment to call into exercise the dormant faculties. Cannot you learn to keep accounts? The time you idle away needlessly in reading you can be improving in taxing the mind to keep accounts, in taking lessons in bookkeeping, in studying how you can improve your mental powers by active exercise. This may not be agreeable to you because it will require stern training and much self-denial. You have both now a good field to try your abilities. What will you do, Emma? You may help Edson to do things promptly, at the right time. You may encourage him in the right direction. 2LtMs, Lt 46a, 1874, par. 36

I was shown you have had ideas that you could preserve life and make your happiness by selfish gratifications and indulging your fancies and your inclinations, in shunning responsibilities and favoring yourselves. It is in doing the will of God and following the path of duty that you will be blessed and will experience genuine happiness with no selfishness mixed with it. I saw that God would bless you in well-doing, and this is the only hope you can have of happiness. Your happiness is in your own hands, and of your own making. You can carry with you happiness or misery. I hope, children, that you will help one another to be happy, cheerfully submitting your will and your way to the will of God. Make God your friend and counselor. Now is your opportunity to gain wisdom. 2LtMs, Lt 46a, 1874, par. 37

I hope, Edson and Emma, you will both put away the childishness of inexperienced youth, and calmly face the realities of life and take on its burdens. What we make for ourselves now shall be ours in the future life. Wisdom gained in this life shall not be lost, but will live to be a brightness and a crown of glory in heaven. Our characters are the workmanship of our own hands. We may wash our robes of character in the blood of the Lamb. We may have pure, spotless robes of character if we will take the pains in investigate and learn where we are deficient, and seek to improve where we lack. Our education depends very much upon our own efforts. If we choose, Christ will superintend our education in this grand work. Educate, educate! Live upon the plan of addition, and God will multiply His grace and strength. I feel so earnest for you both to awake out of your selfish, deceived sleep and begin life in earnest. Be self-denying and economical. 2LtMs, Lt 46a, 1874, par. 38

But I must close this long letter. It is now late. I have been sitting up [waiting] for your father to come. He will arrive at three o’clock, Willie says. I have now written forty pages this day, and I am feeling so weary I can scarcely hold up my head. Farewell for tonight. 2LtMs, Lt 46a, 1874, par. 39

Wednesday Morning, August 6

I was awakened from sleep by the voice of father about twelve o’clock. I was glad to see him. Lucinda tarried at the Institute. 2LtMs, Lt 46a, 1874, par. 40

They are, I understand, all well at Oakland. Father bore the journey well. Lucinda, he says, is doing well. 2LtMs, Lt 46a, 1874, par. 41

Write me at once and I shall be so glad to hear from you. Be careful, exact, and faithful. Let nothing call you to neglect your duty. Do not let your pleasure or your inclination divert your minds from the responsibilities of your position. Prove yourselves now; be true to your duty, and may God help you both to be victorious overcomers. 2LtMs, Lt 46a, 1874, par. 42

Your Mother. 2LtMs, Lt 46a, 1874, par. 43

Preserve all my letters. I may wish some selections from this for some purpose. 2LtMs, Lt 46a, 1874, par. 44

Your Mother. 2LtMs, Lt 46a, 1874, par. 45