Letters and Manuscripts — Volume 7 (1891-1892)


Ms 7, 1892

The Work of the Church

Hanover Road, Victoria Park, Adelaide, S. Australia

October 11, 1892

Previously unpublished.

I am now in Adelaide. In many respects it resembles Copenhagen, but on a much smaller and less elaborate scale. 7LtMs, Ms 7, 1892, par. 1

We have a little cottage of six rooms all furnished, the weekly rent of which is one pound five shillings sterling. The church have kindly hired us a horse and phaeton, for which they pay a pound str. a week. We feed the horse and, as Elder Daniells is with us, he cares for him. Nearly every day I ride. We have been having considerable rain and clouds and cool weather. The inhabitants say it is generally very hot here at this season. 7LtMs, Ms 7, 1892, par. 2

I am glad to report to you that I am recovering my health. I am not able to kneel or to use my limbs to ascend steps or stair. I can manage with help to climb two or three steps that are not too high; but I cannot do more than this now. I have been here two weeks today and have been strengthened by the Lord to speak to this people five times: have spoken Sabbath and Sunday forenoons. Last Sunday I spoke twice. In the morning I spoke to a good congregation and at five o’clock to our own people on missionary labor. The Lord gave me His precious blessing. 7LtMs, Ms 7, 1892, par. 3

Last Sabbath after the forenoon meeting we had a thunderstorm and lightning which continued all night. A very mild thunder storm is considered as terrific and powerful, while we from America would think no more of it than the low rumbling of the trains. 7LtMs, Ms 7, 1892, par. 4

We’ve had storms and clouds most of the time since we’ve been here, and we long for sunshine. The residents say that at this season of the year it is generally quite hot and the grass begins to look gray. Now every thing is in its glory. As we ride to and from the city, a distance of about two miles, the air is perfumed with orange blossoms. Wherever we go are the pleasant parks, roomy and abundant. There is much pains taken to cultivate flowers. I have never seen a city, in any country, that is laid out and planned for pleasantness and health as Adelaide. 7LtMs, Ms 7, 1892, par. 5

But my great burden is how are these people in North Adelaide, in East Adelaide, and the different suburbs, to be reached with the truth? The church membership is about one hundred and fifty which is more than one half of what the membership is in Melbourne. But where are the workers? There is no minister abiding here. 7LtMs, Ms 7, 1892, par. 6

Elder Curtis used to live here and preach to the people, but he was not a shepherd of the flock. He would tell the poor sheep he would rather be horsewhipped than to visit. He neglected personal labor, therefore pastoral work has not been done in the church itself or in its borders. But when the shepherd leaves the sheep, the chief Shepherd takes the charge of them. The deacons and elders of the church have acted <in some things> wisely and worked <sometimes> judiciously to keep the church in order; and we find them in a much better condition that we supposed. We are happily disappointed. 7LtMs, Ms 7, 1892, par. 7

But when I look over the years that have passed and consider what might have been done if the man who was entrusted with the position of a shepherd to the flock had been a faithful steward of God, watching for souls as one that must give an account, what a work might have been done in this new field! If the preacher had done the work as a pastor, I believe there would now be a large number rejoicing in the truth. 7LtMs, Ms 7, 1892, par. 8

I am pained to the heart when I see those who claim to be Christians carry so little burden for souls. Oh, what can I say to those who are so idle, careless, and indifferent in regard to the work for the Master. Jesus has bought us with His own blood. Whatever may be our ability or calling, God has committed to us our individual responsibilities, and to every man He has given his work. This work cannot be transferred to another. Individual effort is to be exercised to seek and to save the lost. As he is God’s workman, he is required to become more and more efficient by practice, and better qualified to work the works of God, and educated and trained in the science of spiritual husbandry. “Ye are God’s husbandry, ye are God’s building.” [1 Corinthians 3:9.] 7LtMs, Ms 7, 1892, par. 9

There should be wise workmen in every church. Workmen who seek God as to the best methods of saving the tempted, the tried, the erring, so as to lose not one. It is verily a plan of Satan for our churches to be so inefficient and helpless, depending upon the minister to do the work which they should do, and which they must do if they ever receive the words from the lips of Christ, “Well done thou good and faithful servant: thou hast been faithful over a few things, I will make you ruler over many things: enter thou into the joy of thy Lord.” [Matthew 25:21.] 7LtMs, Ms 7, 1892, par. 10

If men, who are appointed to do some work for the Master for which they are not fully qualified, place themselves under the great Teacher and learn of Him to work as He worked; and place themselves in connection with the Source of all power, and light, and strength, should they remain in ignorance? Should they remain dwarfs in religious growth? Why should they not grow in grace and in the knowledge of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, growing up to the full stature of men and women in Christ Jesus? Our churches must have greater efficiency. 7LtMs, Ms 7, 1892, par. 11

Every believer should realize that he has pledged himself to be wholly the Lord’s servant, to do His will. He is not his own, his time is not his own, his strength and his talents are not his own; but he is bought with a price, and is required to seek most earnestly to know the will of God concerning his duty in all things. Such a one will soon learn the advantages of entire surrender to God, and of working on Christian principles, having an eye single to the glory of God. If he goes weighted with the Spirit of the message of truth, he will feel weak in himself; but as he walks by faith, he experiences the grace of God which is sufficient for every trial, under every circumstance. 7LtMs, Ms 7, 1892, par. 12

As a co-worker with Jesus Christ, he is fully entitled to the cheering assurance that the Holy Spirit is his great Helper, in short does the work while he is but the instrument in His hands. If he feels his powerlessness, that is as it should be; but when he looks and trusts in Jesus, he knows that God is Omnipotence. At every post of duty he must be girded with a power which he does not possess. Help, divine help has been provided and pledged by God to him. The greatest, the most deadly struggles, the sorest trials and besetments, constitute the very emergencies when he may take hold by living faith upon the strength of the Mighty One and like Jacob say, “I will not let thee go except thou bless me.” [Genesis 32:26.] 7LtMs, Ms 7, 1892, par. 13

The workers—God’s husbandry—when pressed sore by the enemy will feel their need and will look to the Author and Finisher of their faith and obtain from God wisdom and power and grace that they may fill their positions of trust. “Ye are laborers together with God.” [1 Corinthians 3:9.] In this work there will be new and living experiences. The soul in its helplessness will be driven by the great necessity to cast all its care and burden upon Jesus Christ. 7LtMs, Ms 7, 1892, par. 14

Why, the worker can do nothing without Jesus. I am not speaking of ministers only, but of every living soul who has given himself to God as His servant. Indolence cannot once be tolerated by God who “gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” [John 3:16.] 7LtMs, Ms 7, 1892, par. 15