Letters and Manuscripts — Volume 7 (1891-1892)


Ms 29, 1892

Diary, February 1892

Preston, Melbourne, Australia

February 13-29, 1892

Portions of this manuscript are published in TDG 61; OHC 368; 3MR 377; MR728 22.

Sabbath, February 13, 1892

[Preston, Melbourne, Victoria]

I rode to Melbourne in our own carriage. My son Willie and Brother Stockton linked their arms and bore me up the long steps of the stairway where our people were assembled in a hall to worship. Although compassed with infirmities and suffering pains through my hips and limbs, also my shoulders and left arm—for my right arm is not helpless—the Lord strengthened me to speak to His people. I was not able to bow my knees in the opening prayer or when I entered the desk, as I usually do, but the form is not the essential part. My heart went up to God in earnest prayer, and He did help me and, I believe, gave me a decided message for the people assembled. It was a crowded hall. Oh, how thankful I am that I can speak words of truth to the people. 7LtMs, Ms 29, 1892, par. 1

If I do not venture to attempt to raise my arms, I am able to speak without that intense rheumatic pain. I had to be borne down, as I ascended, in a chair made by two men with their arms locked together. The stairways are steep and narrow, but the entreaties of the people—believers and unbelievers—are strong. I try to do my best, and the Lord helps me. If I have to give up even this privilege, I will say, The Lord’s will shall be my will, His way my way. 7LtMs, Ms 29, 1892, par. 2

February 14, 1892

Preston, Melbourne

I will continue to pray. I will not fail nor be discouraged. When our people see that my mind is as clear upon scriptural subjects as it ever has been, they urge me with tears to speak to them. Then I consent, and the Lord makes my mind fruitful so that food is given to the people, and the hungry souls bear their testimony as being blessed of the Lord. But after I ride twelve or fourteen miles to my home, there is the after suffering. 7LtMs, Ms 29, 1892, par. 3

I keep praying, and will not murmur. Brother Tenney says he always finds me with a smiling countenance. They assemble in my rooms oft for counsel, and when I suffer with any movement of my body I think, Will it pay? The Lord does bless me. It appears as a reality to me that His presence is with me and He blesses my words when I utter them. I try to prevent all movements of my arms lest I should shriek out with pain. I can write with my right hand [and] can use my arm from the elbow down. The Lord’s special blessing comes to me in this. I thank His holy name. 7LtMs, Ms 29, 1892, par. 4

Truth has never been more clearly impressed upon my mind than during this sickness, and I praise the Lord that I have voice to express the words He gives me to give to the people. Praise His holy name! 7LtMs, Ms 29, 1892, par. 5

I thank the Lord for a clear, discerning mind. My heart’s trust is in the Lord God. 7LtMs, Ms 29, 1892, par. 6

February 15, 1892

Preston, Melbourne, Australia

We have been in our hired house five weeks today. I have not entered Melbourne since I left it. Day after day has been about of the same order—suffering severely with malaria and rheumatic fever. I have ridden out three times, but the Echo wagon is not a suitable carriage for me to get into. There is no back to the seat, and the seat is very narrow. Fannie and Marian have ridden out with me by putting in chairs, but we see we must have a carriage at once, and our brethren are looking up one for me. May the Lord give us wisdom in this matter, is my prayer. I have not one penny to spend needlessly. 7LtMs, Ms 29, 1892, par. 7

I have not had anything of a particular character to write. I could have traced nights of suffering and days of suffering, but I do not choose to do this. I will trace these words: I have had comfort and hope and peace and assurance in the Lord. I have been able to write some upon the life of Christ. I praise the name of the Lord that my reason is spared to me. I offer to God my tribute of praise daily for this great blessing. Every part of my body is in deepest suffering, but my head, my heart, is not disturbed at all. My right hand is not troubled. I can hold a pen and, oh, I have so many things taught me of God! Yesterday was a precious season to me. 7LtMs, Ms 29, 1892, par. 8

Brother and Sister Gates are abiding with us for a few days. We feel it to be a privilege to have them in our home. Last evening as the sun was setting we had a precious season of prayer. The blessing of the Lord was indeed present with us. 7LtMs, Ms 29, 1892, par. 9

We were made sad last Friday to hear of the death of Brother Tay with inflammation of the lungs. We pray earnestly for Sister Tay. The Lord will sustain. He always does this, and He will not fail His child in her great need. 7LtMs, Ms 29, 1892, par. 10

February 22, 1892

Preston, Melbourne, Victoria

The thought has impressed itself upon my mind that, as I have no change in my physical health, it is not best to relate my pains or my hours of sleeplessness at night. So day after day passes, and my experience is the same. My body is full of rheumatic pains. I have no appetite or pleasure in eating, and when sitting a short time, it is a most painful process to rise. My limbs refuse to obey my will, and if I move them at all I suffer much pain. 7LtMs, Ms 29, 1892, par. 11

I have many thoughts that I am not sent to this country of the Lord. I feel at times an assurance that the Lord’s will was for me to remain in California, in my own home, and write as I should be able to write upon the life of Christ. Of one thing I am certain—that the people need help in this country. And I feared it might be selfishness in me, or seeking my ease, to refuse to go to Australia. 7LtMs, Ms 29, 1892, par. 12

During my life I have tried to do that which was opposed to my inclination, because Christ our Pattern lived not to please Himself. Repeatedly, at large expense, I have thought I had secured a place of retirement and rest where I could write out the life of Christ, when some earnest call would come from somewhere where help was needed, and request would be made for me to bear my testimony among the churches. I dared not say Nay. I at once responded that I would do according to the strength given me of God. After this work was finished in my feebleness, then other duties in Battle Creek called for labor which required me to carry the burden night and day, being much in prayer in the hours of the night when I could not sleep. 7LtMs, Ms 29, 1892, par. 13

When I journeyed to California, I verily believed I could remain there through the winter, but many expressed their minds that now was the time to go to Australia. I dared not settle down, but went, according to the voice and light of my brethren. Now when I came to Australia the burden did come upon me, and I labored just as I had hitherto done. After this work was done, I could do no more. I found a house and retired five miles out of the city where we now are. Daily I suffered with inflammatory rheumatism and malaria combined, no appetite, full of fever, passing sleepless nights. 7LtMs, Ms 29, 1892, par. 14

The day I left Melbourne I felt the malaria and rheumatism so strong that I feared coming down sick in North Fitzroy, Melbourne, to be tortured with the open sewers and the nuisance of numerous water closets in the back premises. There were a few more meetings to be held in the ministerial institute. When I climbed into the Echo office delivery wagon, Elder Starr and Willie thought I might have waited till the meetings closed, which they thought required their undivided attention, and I could render them some help if I stayed. But I knew better than they what I had suffered and would have to suffer in the future, because I had not left before this. I thought they simply knew nothing of my condition. They had thought because I had been sustained for so many times when outward appearance said impossible, that I should be able to work on this line to the close of my mission. 7LtMs, Ms 29, 1892, par. 15

I knew at this time I must follow my own judgment. While perfectly willing to work to the extent of my strength and through the grace given me of God do my best, I knew the Lord was merciful and of tender compassion and would not willingly afflict or grieve the children of men. 7LtMs, Ms 29, 1892, par. 16

I believe firmly that the Lord would have approved if I had tarried at Healdsburg, within my own doors, sitting under my own vine and fig trees, writing a portion of each day upon the life of Christ. This book is needed so much. And now the question is up, Shall I go to New Zealand and spend three months in the very worst part of the season and be subject to inconveniences, rough accommodations and the miserable preparation of food, and entail upon myself great suffering? They say it rains much of the time in New Zealand, and is raw and cold in winter. There is but little preparation to warm the rooms, and after this long period of invalidism through rheumatism and malaria, I am less capable of bracing against disease than when I came to Australia. 7LtMs, Ms 29, 1892, par. 17

Here I see work to do everywhere. Everything in regard to religious experience seems to be far, far behind any expectations. Let me, in my weakness and invalidism, go among those who are unacquainted with my past labors and they will not receive as exalted ideas of the testimonies as before I went among them. Even in Battle Creek some of our brethren, who had known my labors and self-sacrifice and the messages God had given me for His people, made the remark that Sister White was getting old and sick, therefore her testimonies were not reliable, that they could not look upon them in the light they had done. If the temptations of Satan find access to the hearts of those in America, what may be expected in regard to those who are seeing my face in the flesh for the first time? I here make my stand. I call a halt, and unless a miracle is wrought in my behalf, I cannot consent to go to New Zealand. I am not able. 7LtMs, Ms 29, 1892, par. 18

The people in this country have much to learn religiously. Habits are to be molded after Christ’s order. The irreligious habits of former years have put their image and superscription upon them, and they are inclined to think they know a great deal that they do not know. They will have to learn the very first principles of the gospel of Christ, which are a preparation for the real life work of the genuine Christian before he can grow in grace and the knowledge of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. 7LtMs, Ms 29, 1892, par. 19

Unless those who claim to believe the truth for this time submit to the training of God on earth for the future life, they will never see the King in His beauty. They have almost everything to learn in religious experience. They must cultivate patience, kindness, meekness, goodness, sympathy, and tender compassion for one another. All their rough, uncourteous, un-Christlike disposition must be purged away, for none of these unkind attributes are of Christ, but after the satanic order. The pure, heavenly graces are received and flourish in mind, heart, and character only as man becomes a partaker of the divine nature, having overcome the corruptions which are in the world through lust. Heaven must begin on earth for every soul who will enter the heavenly mansions above. 7LtMs, Ms 29, 1892, par. 20

But here am I, prisoned through malaria, suffering intensely day and night. Yet I will not complain. If the Lord sees fit to spare my life to stand forth in strength to give the message, I will do the work in accordance with the grace given; but to pass from place to place in my helplessness, unable to take a step to help myself, is not a good representation. May the Lord heal me; then I will try again in the name of the Lord to give the people what the Lord has given me. 7LtMs, Ms 29, 1892, par. 21

Tuesday, February 23 [?], 1892

Willie, May Walling, and I rode to North Fitzroy. We went on to Melbourne, two miles and a half. We found an institution where electrical baths are given. I took one bath and felt considerably limbered up from the vice-like grasp of inflammatory rheumatism. I have tickets for two baths more which will be continued until I take six, which costs me two pounds. I am encouraged that these baths will help me and break up this rheumatism. But, oh, what sufferings I go through to get into these baths! I rode fifteen miles, and was very tired when I stepped into the cottage home. I had eaten but little in the morning and it was about three o’clock before I ate lunch. 7LtMs, Ms 29, 1892, par. 22

Tuesday night was a distressing night to me. My nervous system seems to be much enfeebled. I am invited often by the enemy to look at the dark side of the picture, give up, and become discouraged, as new features appear, of a discouraging nature. But I try to cling to Jesus and not give up. I feel as one stretching out my hands all the day long crying after God. He will restore me. He will not leave nor forsake anyone who trusts in Him. My suffering in moving is so severe I cry out in agony, but the Lord knows all about this. If my life is to be a suffering one, the Lord Jesus can strengthen me to endure it all. The Lord will help me. 7LtMs, Ms 29, 1892, par. 23

Friday, February 26, 1892

[Preston, Melbourne]

We rode into Melbourne and I took a second electrical bath. Rode two miles and a half and rested a couple of hours at Stephen Belden’s home in Melbourne; lay down. Then we returned home. I was very tired. That night could not rest. I was full of pain and so nervous that I could not lie in one position. I am obliged to lie and sleep on my back. The nights are long and painful. I have a sort of a tackle that I can reach, and it helps to move my wearied body, and I do the best I can. I suffer at every movement made. 7LtMs, Ms 29, 1892, par. 24

I wish to give some idea of the suffering, that it may encourage others if they are placed in such a suffering condition as I am. I may never recover the use of my limbs. I have a clear mind. It seems that the care of our churches demand wise generalship, which they do not have, and they will beg of me to help them. I do try, with all my infirmities. 7LtMs, Ms 29, 1892, par. 25

I have an easy phaeton and it is brought up to the platform, then a plank is placed on the platform, and one person on one side and another on the other side helps me to move along the platform without having to lift my feet, and I am placed in the phaeton. I then ride to the place of meeting. Then two men-one on one side of the chair and the second on the other side—carry me up the long hallways. In the same way I am then taken up to the pulpit steps, and I can speak to the people as long as one hour. Then the same process is gone through with to get me into my phaeton. I consent to do this, for my head is clear. I can write. I am thankful for a clear brain. Our ministers come to me for counsel, and I am able to help them. 7LtMs, Ms 29, 1892, par. 26

Sabbath, February 27, 1892

[Preston, Melbourne]

Although I slept so little, I decided to try to walk by faith and ride into North Fitzroy and speak to the church. Willie and Brother Faulkhead seated me in a chair and lifted me onto the platform. I could not lift my limbs to step up on the second step. I was strengthened to speak to the people solemn and important truths. My mind is clear, while my limbs were painful. I was not sorry that I went. 7LtMs, Ms 29, 1892, par. 27

In the evening we assembled in the parlor and read the Scriptures. The family then engaged in prayer. I cannot bow my knees. My heart was drawn out after the Lord. He does bless me. Our hearts were made tender by His Holy Spirit. We then united in singing, and the Lord seemed very preciously near. 7LtMs, Ms 29, 1892, par. 28

In the evening Byron and Sarah Belden came in, but I found my strength was exhausted. My head was so weary I could not think of the name of Fannie Bolton. May Walling worked over me a long time. I was fixed in bed, but I could not rest. I was obliged to get off the bed about four times during the night and, with great exertion and much pain, scuffle my feet to walk from my bed to the sofa bed. My nerves and muscles were in such awful agony that I could not find relief in any position. This was the hardest night I have passed during my stay in this country. All I could do was pray for patience and grace to bear pain. 7LtMs, Ms 29, 1892, par. 29

Sunday, February 28, 1892

It seems very pleasant this morning, but we have a land breeze and that is very trying. Willie, May Walling, and I rode to the Echo office. It was pleasantly cool when we went. Returning was uncomfortably hot. I lay down after our ten-mile ride and was completely exhausted. 7LtMs, Ms 29, 1892, par. 30

This afternoon is simply indescribably hot, and the air lifeless. There is some breeze, but that is hot. I do not remember ever having any such sensations in the hottest days in America. Everyone—even the oldest inhabitants—has the same account to give of this weather. 7LtMs, Ms 29, 1892, par. 31

I look with great desire to be in America, and cannot overcome the impression that it is a cruel thing for me to be subjected to this terrible, changeable climate. Sabbath day it was comfortably cool. Today is exactly the reverse—uncomfortable and oppressive. 7LtMs, Ms 29, 1892, par. 32

I shall not consider it my duty to go to New Zealand and subject myself to circumstances as I have done in this place, to my sorrow. If I am able to stand upon my feet and talk to the people, then it is considered I am enduring the climate and all my surroundings well. Thus it will be wherever I go. People who do not know me nor understand what I have endured do not imagine the pains I suffer in consequence of unfavorable surroundings. I am strongly convicted that I ought not to be here. My brethren should have relieved me of this burden—coming to this country at my age, and when I was worn with overlabor. 7LtMs, Ms 29, 1892, par. 33

Monday, February 29, 1892

Preston, Melbourne, Victoria

The past night has not been pleasant to me. I was in so much pain I could not lie still and sleep. I had a lounge prepared in the next room, and I changed my position from lounge to bed four times, but I did obtain sleep the last two hours of the night. The appearance is that we shall have a beautiful day. 7LtMs, Ms 29, 1892, par. 34

My prayer is, Thou, Oh Jesus, Thou art my Restorer. Give me health, freedom from suffering, and strength to act—in Thy strength—the part which is allotted to me. 7LtMs, Ms 29, 1892, par. 35

I believe I shall recover from this painful affliction of nerves and muscles, and that activity will come to me again; but I see that it is necessary that I have more care for this poor suffering body than I have yet had. I must not do as I have done these many years—disregard pain and weariness and put all that there is of me into the present labor that demands attention. I must consider that I am mortal. I must not be presumptuous. I must not be constantly drawing upon my future resources of strength to answer all the appeals made by my brethren who do not know the effort I am compelled to make to do this work of speaking at all. 7LtMs, Ms 29, 1892, par. 36