Manuscript Releases, vol. 19 [Nos. 1360-1419]


MR No. 1391—A Call to Commitment in Youth

(Written from Ashland Crossing, Iowa, June 2, 1871, to “Dear Children” [Edson and Emma White].)

We have been spending a few days at our home in Washington. It is a beautiful place. There are flowers and shrubs of almost every variety. Shade trees and fruit trees in abundance. All nature is radiant with brightness of early summer. But much as I admire this beautiful place, which is a picture of loveliness, I can hardly call it home. We have never been permitted to remain here longer than a few days at a time. Yet why should I regret this? The work of God is dearer to us than pleasant homes and beautiful scenery. 19MR 189.1

If we can only gain the inheritance among the sanctified, and have apportioned to us in the heavenly Canaan a part of Abraham's farm, we will be satisfied. Shall we not enjoy it all the more for being pilgrims and strangers here? John saw in holy vision the redeemed host saved, eternally saved, arrayed in white robes around about the throne. John was told by the heavenly messenger, “These are they which came out of great tribulation, and have washed their robes, and made them white in the blood of the Lamb. Therefore are they before the throne of God, and serve Him day and night in His temple: and He that sitteth on the throne shall dwell among them. They shall hunger no more, neither thirst any more; neither shall the sun light on them, nor any heat. For the Lamb which is in the midst of the throne shall feed them, and shall lead them unto living fountains of waters: and God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes” [Revelation 7:14-17]. 19MR 189.2

Children, let us as a family wash our robes of character and make them white in the blood of the Lamb. We must be earnest, self-possessed, firm, decided, and persevering if we are overcomers and have on the white robe of Christ's righteousness—a fitness for the society of heavenly angels, for the mansions Jesus has gone to prepare for those who love Him. Home sweet home! Shall we not prize that rest that remaineth for the people of God? We shall see Jesus, Him whom our souls love. 19MR 190.1

Dear children, Jesus loves you and He wants you to reach the highest Christian standard. You must come out from the world and be separate, untainted by its corrupting influences. There is a large class of professed Christians who assimilate to the world, conform to its customs, its practices, its forms. It takes all their time to meet the world's forms and ceremonies and superfluities and parade, and they have no time to pray and study the heavenly chart and learn meekness and lowliness of heart in Christ's school. The outside appearance is the burden of their life. The beauty, the loveliness of character they are not laboring to obtain, for this is not necessary to meet the world's standard. 19MR 190.2

Your mother, my son Edson, dedicated you to God as soon as you were born. You are the subject of many prayers, and your precious Emma we have fully taken into our heart as our daughter. We love you both and we want you day by day to form characters of moral worth that God will accept. We are not anxious you should bear the worldly stamp or that you should have that cheap praise and uncertain honor that the world bestows. I do not wish you to imitate the example of worldlings, but to copy the character of Christ, to be a partaker of the Divine nature, having escaped the corruption which is in the world through lust. “Know ye not that the friendship of the world is enmity with God? Whosoever therefore will be a friend of the world is the enemy of God” [James 4:4]. 19MR 190.3

Your religious life must rise above the standard of public opinion if it abides the searching investigation of the Judge of all the earth. Should the shadow of death gather about you, you will never regret that you were a lover of God more than a lover of pleasure. You will never regret that you did not participate in worldly dissipation. Your only regret will be that you did not love Jesus more fervently, that you did not devote more time to helping others to see their danger and turn their feet in paths of holiness and heaven. 19MR 191.1

In devoting your time, Edson and Emma, to useful employment, you close a door to the tempter. Nothing besides prayer will deflect him so effectively as earnest, useful labor. Can you not see, my children, of how much greater value is the approval of God than the friendship of this world? Will it improve your condition in the day of final reckoning to know that the world was pleased with you? All earthly honors are soon to pass away. It is moral worth that will endure, and will stand the test of trial. 19MR 191.2

In these days of superficial attainments, of false show, the temptation to be satisfied with a mere outside polish is peculiarly strong. Your safety, my children, is in being content to enjoy a quiet, unassuming position. Seek more earnestly the inward adorning; be not content with hollow forms, with time-serving policy. If you could but realize the capabilities of the human mind and your own accountability for the Creator's gifts, the wise improvement of these talents would constitute your chief happiness. It would give you a joy, pure, unselfish and ennobling. 19MR 191.3

You should learn to rely upon your own energies and upon your heavenly Father. Youth who have been thrown upon their own resources will generally put forth the effort necessary to develop and invigorate their moral and intellectual energies. There are too many youth like the swaying willows that grow beside the meadow brook. You want to make your life the sturdy oak, springing from hardy soil amid the clefts of the rock. These have battled with the storm and tempest and yet grown into giant proportions. The great men who have done service to our country were not reared in the lap of luxury. Our greatest men are self-made. 19MR 192.1

All earthly honor is perishable, all earthly treasures valueless when we are passing from this life. There will be nothing enduring but the heavenly treasure, and the favor of God will be more valuable than choice gold. There is time now to prepare for the future immortal life. It will not answer to neglect the preparation essential for our heavenly home. But many will be found wanting in that great day. The precious hours of probation will have passed by unimproved, and when it is too late the mournful cry will be heard, The harvest is passed, the summer is ended, and my soul is not saved. When the righteous Judge shall proclaim the destiny of all fixed—“He which is filthy, let him be filthy still and he that is holy, let him be holy still”—it will be a time when the most careless, the most trifling will come to their senses and discern that the truly wise were those who loved God and kept His commandments. 19MR 192.2

Long have the gates stood ajar for you, long has the heavenly light been shining upon your path. Let it not be slighted, but gather up its precious rays to reflect upon others. Jesus loves us and we should love one another. We should be meek and lowly, pure and undefiled, and if we are thus we shall meet the approval of God here, and the blessed “Well done” when the Master comes.—Letter 27, 1871. 19MR 192.3

Ellen G. White Estate

Washington, D. C.,

May 12, 1988.

Entire Letter.