The Review and Herald



January 7, 1896

The Australian Camp-Meeting


Our third Australian camp-meeting was held in Armadale, a populous suburb of Melbourne, about three miles southeast from the center of the city. During the early part of the year our brethren had planned for the meeting to be held in Ballarat, a city of thirty thousand people, about ninety miles north from Melbourne. There is a faithful little church there that needed strengthening, and as the Australian Conference is in debt, it seemed desirable to hold the meeting where it would be less expensive than in Melbourne. RH January 7, 1896, par. 1

But the Lord has been giving me light about the work to be done in our large cities. The people in the cities are to be warned, and the message should go to them now. The time will come when we cannot work so freely in the large cities; but now, the people will listen to the message, and this is our time to work most earnestly for the people in the centers of population. Many will hear and obey, and carry the message to others. RH January 7, 1896, par. 2

The interest which began to be awakened by the camp-meeting held two years ago in Brighton, should be carried forward by a camp-meeting in some part of Melbourne each year. When our brethren took these things into consideration, they decided that the meeting should be held in Melbourne, and in their search for a ground were led to locate in Armadale. The first plan was to locate the meeting at Northcote, where it would be convenient for our brethren and sisters. But the Lord hedged up the way at Northcote, and led them to a locality convenient to densely populated suburbs where the message had never been given. RH January 7, 1896, par. 3

During the meeting we have had abundant evidence that the Lord has been guiding both in the location and in the work of the meeting. A new field has been opened, and an encouraging field it appears to be. The people did not swarm upon the ground from curiosity, as at our first meeting in Brighton, and as at Ashfield last year. The majority came straight to the large meeting tent, where they listened intently to the word; and when meeting was over, they quietly returned to their homes, or gathered in groups to ask questions or discuss what they had heard. RH January 7, 1896, par. 4

The interest steadily increased from the beginning of the meeting. The evening discourses, given by Elders Prescott, Corliss, and Daniells, all presented the truth as it is in Jesus Christ. Hardly a discourse was given during the whole meeting that could be called a doctrinal sermon. In every sermon Christ was preached, and as the great and mysterious truths regarding his presence and work in the hearts of men were made clear and plain, the truths regarding his second coming, his relation to the Sabbath, his work as Creator, and his relation to man as the source of life, appeared in a glorious and convincing light that sent conviction to many hearts. With solemnity the people said, “We have listened to truth to night.” RH January 7, 1896, par. 5

A Bible study was usually given at three o'clock each afternoon. These studies followed the same lines as the evening discourses, and they were regularly attended by scores besides those living on the camp-ground. The forenoons were mostly occupied by meetings of the Australian and Union Conferences, the tract society, the Sabbath-school association, and the publishing and school interests. RH January 7, 1896, par. 6

The early morning hour, before breakfast, was set apart and generally observed as a silent hour for individual study and prayer. Occasionally, a general meeting was held at this hour. We have found blessing in setting apart a season when every soul could feel that there was time to pray and to study the word of God without interruption. The half-past eight morning hour was devoted alternately to district prayer-meetings and general social meetings. Although quite feeble during most of the meeting, the Lord has strengthened me to bear my testimony here. During the three weeks of the meeting I have usually spoken Sabbath, Sunday, and Wednesday afternoons, besides short talks in the morning meetings. RH January 7, 1896, par. 7

Sabbath morning, October 19, Elder Corliss gave valuable instruction to our people. In the afternoon, I spoke from the fourth chapter of John, dwelling upon the conversation of Christ with the woman of Samaria, in which he said, “If thou knewest the gift of God, and who it is that saith to thee, Give me to drink; thou wouldest have asked of him, and he would have given thee living water.” A testimony meeting followed, in which praise and glory were given to God for his unspeakable goodness and matchless love to fallen man in giving Jesus, his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. All seemed to have a desire to lift up Jesus higher and still higher. Some outsiders took part, one minister testifying that the blessing of God was in the meeting, and that it was good to be there. We felt much pleased to see so large an attendance, and were impressed with the fact that more than half were persons we had never met in general meeting before. RH January 7, 1896, par. 8

Sunday morning, Elder Wilson, from New Zealand, gave a most profitable, although plain and simple, discourse. It was beautiful in its simplicity. The simpler the teaching, the more the under shepherd represents the Chief Shepherd. In the afternoon the tent was full to overflowing. Quite a number stood on the outside, and all listened with deep interest, and the Lord strengthened me as I bore a plain testimony to the people, dwelling especially upon our obligation to acknowledge God in all our ways, and to seek more and more to obtain a knowledge of God, as presented in Christ's prayer in the seventeenth chapter of John. RH January 7, 1896, par. 9

In the evening Professor Prescott gave a most valuable lesson, precious as gold. The tent was full, and many stood outside. All seemed to be fascinated with the word, as he presented the truth in lines so new to those not of our faith. Truth was separated from error, and made, by the divine Spirit, to shine like precious jewels. It was shown that perfect obedience to all the commandments of God is essential for the salvation of souls. Obedience to the laws of God's kingdom reveals the divine in the human, sanctifying the character. RH January 7, 1896, par. 10

In visiting the people with the Echoes, and inviting them to the meetings, one of the workers met a woman who had been keeping the Sabbath for about twelve months. She had never heard the living preacher, but in studying the Bible she was convicted that she was keeping the wrong day, that the seventh day was the true Bible Sabbath. She is now attending the meetings, and feasting upon the truth. There are many interesting cases developing, that are just on the point of taking their stand. RH January 7, 1896, par. 11

The Lord is working in power through his servants who are proclaiming the truth, and he has given brother Prescott a special message for the people. The truth comes from human lips in demonstration of the Spirit and power of God. RH January 7, 1896, par. 12

The meetings have been well attended by the people of Armadale and Malvern, both afternoons and evenings, and on Sundays and Wednesdays large numbers have come from the distant suburbs. The people say: “You cannot appreciate the change of feeling about your meeting and work. It has been commonly reported that you do not believe in Christ. But we have never heard Christ preached as at these meetings.” “There is no life in our churches. Everything is cold and dry. We are starving for the Bread of Life. We come to this camp-meeting because there is food here.” As they see our stenographers reporting the discourses, they plead that they be printed soon, and placed within their reach. One who is a Sunday-school teacher, took copious notes of Elder Prescott's discourse on “God and Caesar,” and then made copies for two ministers who were interested in the subject. RH January 7, 1896, par. 13

On every side we hear discussion of the subjects presented at the camp-meeting. One day as Elder Corliss stepped out of a train, the guard [conductor] stopped him with the request that he explain Colossians 2:16. They stopped, and as the crowd rushed by, the explanation was given, and from Leviticus 23:37, 38 it was shown that there were sabbaths besides the Sabbath of the Lord. Earnest requests have been sent in that some of the addresses be given in the Melbourne town hall. RH January 7, 1896, par. 14

As two gentlemen were coming to a Sabbath afternoon service, one remarked to the other, “These are a strange people. All we shall hear will be Moses and Sinai. After the meeting, he came to Elder Daniells, and expressed very great surprise at what he had heard. He told him what they had said, and added that he could hardly believe his ears. He had heard nothing but the plain gospel. Another man who had been considerably opposed to the work was prevailed upon to attend one of the meetings, and has since told a friend that it will be a distinct loss to the spiritual interests of the community when the Adventists go away; for Christ has been indeed exalted in these meetings. RH January 7, 1896, par. 15

A former Wesleyan local preacher's family are all interested, and thoroughly convinced of the truth. Even the children ask why they should “keep the pope's Sunday when they know it is not the true Sabbath.” A lady who lives some distance away has been reading the Echo, and came here expressly to attend some of the meetings. In the very first one she attended, Professor Prescott made a call for those who would follow the Lord to stand. She arose, and has since been baptized. A widow who has been attending most of the meetings has now kept three Sabbaths. One lady who was much prejudiced finally came to the meeting to satisfy her children, but just as soon as the service was over, she rushed out of the tent, not wishing to speak to any one. However, she came again, and it happened that the subject was “Sunday in the New Testament;” the choir followed with, “I Will Follow Thee, My Saviour,” and she says she could not get that song out of her mind; it rang in her ears continually. She is now earnestly seeking for truth. RH January 7, 1896, par. 16

Camp-meetings are a success in arresting the attention of the people. Many who attended the Brighton meeting two years ago have been present at the Armadale meeting. They went through that meeting without deciding to obey the truth, but are manifesting a greater interest here, and some have taken their position now in obedience to the truth. Twenty were baptized, Sunday, November 10. RH January 7, 1896, par. 17


November 21.