Testimonies to Southern Africa


Letter C

Hanover Road

Victoria Park

Adelaide, S.A.

Nov. 7, 1892

Dear Brother and Sister _____,

Sunday I visited Brother_____'s family. His wife once belonged to the church but she read what Elder Canright wrote about me and became disaffected and left the church. If she had received the watchful care of a faithful shepherd she would have been saved to the cause of God. I spent two hours with this brother and sister and talked to them and prayed with them. She was bathed in tears all the time I was talking. Oh how sorry I felt for this poor sheep who strayed from the fold and was left to perish because no shepherd's tender sympathy and loving care was exercised to bring her back to the fold! Our only hope is that the Lord will in His wisdom clear the doubts and fog from the mind of this sister. TSA 41.1

One soul—how precious it is, and how carefully should we deal with the purchase of the blood of God's only begotten Son! Precious souls cost too much to be handled roughly. They need tenderness, kindly forbearance and very gentle and wise treatment. I could not rest until I went to find the lost sheep, although I had no invitation. Oh how glad I am that we have Jesus, who knows every heart! All our churches need much ministering done in them. TSA 41.2

We are glad to report that our school has thus far proved a success. We pray the Lord to work in a manifest manner for the school that men and women may be qualified to go forth as missionaries, and be enabled to work in the various lines. TSA 41.3

We feel that much has been lost in many ways in the past history of Seventh-day Adventists because they have not heeded the testimonies given them of God for the last thirty years. These testimonies have plainly pointed how the children should be educated; that they are God's property, and should wisely improve the ability and talents that God has entrusted them. This should be their subject of thought and conversation—the heathen nations who are in darkness and the nations who have received the gospel. Every missionary meeting should be alive with interest, every one who loves Jesus carrying to the meeting a spirit of zeal enthused with the Spirit of Christ. The necessities of those who have not the truth should be upon the naked soul and we present them to God and say, “Here am I, send me.” But there are fields already ripe for the harvest in civilized countries who need the truth for this time. We must not close the eye and the mind to the necessities of the world. The spirit of Paul, the great apostle to the Gentiles, was stirred, when he saw the city wholly given to idolatry. How was it that Jesus wept over Jerusalem? It was when He drew near and beheld the city. TSA 41.4

There is work for every one to do who has named the name of Christ. Will he do it? If we would be duly impressed with the value of souls we must oft look to Calvary and see the dying Son of the infinite God giving up His life for a lost world. We must look, and contemplate how He estimated man. We must be imbued with His spirit. The sight of our eyes, the contemplation of the mind will certainly affect the soul, and set in operation practical effort to save the perishing. Thus the missionary work will be placed upon its proper basis. TSA 42.1

In every family, especially where there are children, there is a want of deeper piety, of the sanctifying grace of Christ brought into the home. Missionary endeavour should consist more in imparting than in receiving. The question is, Are not home duties—home missionary work—neglected? I answer, Yes, Were the love and fear of God circulating through every household, the children and youth instructed as they should be, the conversation of an educational character, that they should feel their accountability to use their intellect and hearts to do the work assigned them of God, the children would co-operate with their parents in the dedication of their time and talents to the service of God. In this kind of education and labour the expenditure would not exceed the receipts. Christian activity and growth of personal piety will be symmetrical and proportionate. TSA 42.2

Those who are most actively employed in doing with interested fidelity their work to win souls to Jesus Christ are the best developed in spirituality and devotion. Their very active working formed the means of their spirituality. There is danger of religion losing in depth that which it gains in breadth. This need not be, if, in the place of long sermons, there is wise education given to those newly come to the faith. Teach them by giving them something to do, in some line of spiritual work, that their first love will not die but increase in fervour. Let them feel that they are not to be carried and to lean for support on the church; but they are to have root in themselves. They can be in many lines, according to their several abilities, useful in helping the church to come nearer to God, and working in various ways to act upon the elements outside the church which will be a means of acting beneficially upon the church. The wisdom and prosperity of the church casts a telling influence upon her favour. The psalmist prayed for the prosperity of the church. “God be merciful unto us, and bless us; and cause His face to shine upon usThat Thy way may be known upon the earth, Thy saving health among all nations.” TSA 42.3

Our Redeemer spent whole nights in prayer to His Father; and the foundation of the Christian church and missionary activity was laid in the very element of prayer. The disciples were of one accord in one place, calling upon the Lord that the outpouring of His Holy Spirit might come upon them. While the Holy Spirit is given richly through various channels, the more we seek it the wider will be the diffusion. Thus earnest work being done to save souls, there will be constantly furnished us a necessity for renewed application to the Source of all power; and thus there will be established an habitual communication between the soul and God. The fountain of the water of life is constantly drawn upon by faith, and is never exhausted. TSA 43.1

The work is progressive—action and reaction. Love and devotion to God will give activity to benevolence, and benevolence will increase faith and spirituality. Oh how much we need heavenly wisdom! Well, is it not promised us? “If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him. But let him ask in faith, nothing wavering. For he that wavereth is like a wave of the sea driven with the wind and tossed. For let not that man think that he shall receive any thing of the Lord.” Oh what an assurance is this! How full and broad! Let us take the promise just as it reads. The Lord wants us to come unto Him with full assurance of faith, believing His word, that He will do just as He said He would. TSA 43.2

Would that we might feel the importance of educating every individual member of the church to do something. We should individually sense the solemn obligation of the Christian to bring into activity all his divinely entrusted resources and capabilities, to do to the utmost of his power the work the Lord expects him to do. “Arise, shine; for thy light is come, and the glory of the Lord is risen upon thee.” TSA 44.1

Were our sensibilities alive we would discern the designs of God. “I have put you in possession of the seas, put the world in possession of my gospel that missionary ships might be sent out to the islands of the sea.” We need more faith, more sanctified ability. High and ennobling motives are before us. We have no time, no words to spend in controversy. That time devoted to debating is needed in sending up the prayer of faith to God for the descent of the Holy spirit to subdue and break the heart of stone, that it shall become a heart of flesh. There is need of sanctified energy. The armies of heaven are on the move and where is the human agent to co-operate with God? TSA 44.2

We now need skilful generals to organize into working companies the Lord's believing children. Nothing must be looked upon as too great for us to undertake, if the Captain of the Lord's host plans the work and arranges the battle and leads us forth, “terrible as an army with banners.” Every movement will be a victory. We need Jesus as our constant Leader. TSA 44.3

Men and means are needed in this field. I think of poor Melbourne, bound about with poverty and in need of a church. As the work increases there must be plans devised to keep alive the interest, that it shall not die. The Lord has means for us somewhere. Appeals must be made to the stewards of God for help. We need wisdom from above to calculate wisely and to proportionate the improvements that must be made with economy. Self-denial must be practised everywhere. Many of the scanty rills of beneficence which now water and enrich the garden of the Lord are brought there by much effort. More, very much more must be done by individuals in economizing their resources that they may do more for God. I feel deeply over the restricted resources in this country. There must be help for us to carry forward the work. All we can do is to pray the Lord to move upon the hearts of men to do the work that devolves upon them. Self-indulgence, selfishness exists to a large degree. May the converting power of God change the hearts and characters.—Letter 44, 1892. TSA 44.4