Letters and Manuscripts — Volume 7 (1891-1892)
Ms 40, 1892
Preston, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia
February 13, 1892
In consenting to leave America to come to Australia, it was because I thought it would be a want of faith on my part if I did not come. There seemed to be a decided wish on the part of our responsible workers that the time had come when my testimony should be borne in Australia. There were several things that seemed to be objections to my coming. I had labored constantly in speaking and writing, and to outward appearance, at my age I needed a period of quietude from active labor and to engage in the work of getting out a new edition of The Life of Christ. The latter seemed to me a sufficient reason why I should not go to Australia. My workers were in America, and I could see no prospect for any change, any lightenment of burdens or responsibilities. And the books that had been so long called for were needed. 7LtMs, Ms 40, 1892, par. 1
I prayed much over the matter, and duties nigh seemed so numerous I could not then feel the necessity of going four weeks upon the water to grasp duties afar off in a strange country. I made every effort to respond to the expressed wish of my brethren. Then difficulties of a very trying character presented themselves. My secretary, who had been my traveling companion for seven years, was taken sick, and the probabilities were that she would have a severe ordeal to pass through. I attended the Lansing camp meeting, and malaria fastened itself upon me. But I was enabled, by the strength given me of God, to look over an accumulated mass of writing and selected those things I had written in regard to the life of Christ. 7LtMs, Ms 40, 1892, par. 2
This book was so much needed that in counseling with my brethren it was thought advisable to take my workers with me and remain in Australia until The Life of Christ was ready for the press. I was completely prostrated in Healdsburg, California, and should have had entire freedom and rest from care, but there was my home in Healdsburg to be sold, and much business to be done to prepare for Australia. 7LtMs, Ms 40, 1892, par. 3
I did find some rest on the boat, but there was much I felt the church needed, and on the boat I wrote two hundred pages. I was not sick enough to throw up my food, but I was threatened a number of times. We were favored all through the journey with good weather. We spoke in Honolulu while the boat tarried several hours. I spoke in Auckland with much freedom and felt a deep interest in the believers in that place, and in those who were ranked unbelievers. 7LtMs, Ms 40, 1892, par. 4
I spoke twice in Sydney, and then we came to Melbourne. I labored hard, without having an opportunity to become acclimated. I know that the Lord gave me a message for the people. But as soon as my work was done, we found us a cottage in the suburbs of Melbourne, five miles from the Echo office. For two weeks I was able to work only through the blessing of the Lord coming upon me while I was standing upon my feet. For four weeks I have been a great sufferer with rheumatism in my limbs, back, shoulders, and arms. It has caused me great pain to move my limbs or arms. I have not been able to speak to the people and have not visited Melbourne, since coming to our own hired house, until yesterday. We rode down in our carriage, and Willie and Brother Stockton bore me in their arms up the long stone steps to the chapel, where I was able to stand and speak nearly one hour [from] Matthew 5:1-6. The Lord refreshed me while speaking to our people and I received no harm. 7LtMs, Ms 40, 1892, par. 5
This confinement and inability to visit the churches in company with Elder Starr and his wife was a disappointment to me, and I could not explain matters—the why and wherefores of these suffering days and worse nights for the past few weeks. One thing I have learned—it would be sinful to fret, for it would not be any comfort to my soul and to those around me. I have said, The Lord sees that I need repairs; nerve, muscle, and brain need the restoring power of God. I called to mind the verses which have been a comfort to me many times in my affliction: 7LtMs, Ms 40, 1892, par. 6
“I see not a step before me
As I tread on another year;
But the past is in God’s keeping,
The future His mercy shall clear,
And what looks dark in the distance
May brighten as I draw near.
“O restful, blissful ignorance;
Tis blessed not to know;
It stills me in those mighty arms,
Which will not let me go,
And hushes my sad soul to rest
On the bosom which loves me so.
“So I go on, not knowing,
I would not if I might.
I would rather walk in the dark with God,
Than go alone in the light.
I would rather walk with Him by faith,
Than walk alone by sight.
“My heart shrinks back from trial
Which the future may disclose,
Yet I never have a sorrow
But what the dear Lord chose.
So I send the coming teardrops back
With the whispered word, ‘He knows.’” 7LtMs, Ms 40, 1892, par. 7
Many hours I have passed in wakefulness and pain, but I have had the precious promises of God brought so fresh and with reviving power to my mind. The dear Saviour has been very near to me, and I love to meditate upon the love of Jesus. His tender compassion and the lessons which He gave to His disciples become clear and so full of meaning that they are the feeding of the soul upon heavenly manna. When pressed with constant burdens and continuous labor, as I have been since my return from Europe, I have no periods of rest; and when the Lord sees fit to say, “Lie there patiently, and reflect;” and when the Holy Spirit brings many things to my memory, precious beyond expression, I do not know what reason I have to complain. 7LtMs, Ms 40, 1892, par. 8
I have borne decided testimonies to my brethren assembled in conference. The Lord sustained me, and now He bids me be patient in affliction. He does not propose to have His people look to Sister White to lift them out into the light, but to look to the light that is set before them. Will they heed the words of warning, of reproof, of instruction, of encouragement, and appropriate the light which the Lord has permitted to shine upon their pathway? Will they walk in the light while they have the light? If the Lord has, in His great mercy, sent them messages for their good, He will not give them increased light until they improve upon the light He has already given. Jesus said in His lessons, “Walk in the light while ye have the light, least darkness come upon you.” [John 12:35.] There has been a rejoicing in the light, a glad reception of messages given, and now the universe of heaven is waiting to see the fruits of a decided advancement in growth of grace and knowledge of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. 7LtMs, Ms 40, 1892, par. 9
The precious promises of God are to be believed, received by faith. The Comforter comes to discharge His duties to the church. The Holy Spirit addresses Himself to the hearts of men. There is chaff among the wheat. There is sin cherished, sin loved, sins which will have to be brought home to the heart and convince the conscience. 7LtMs, Ms 40, 1892, par. 10
“Howbeit when he, the Spirit of truth, is come, he will guide you into all truth: for he shall not speak of himself; but whatsoever he shall hear, that shall he speak: and he will show you things to come. He shall glorify me: for he shall receive of mine, and shall show it unto you.” John 16:13, 14. The great Pleader shall go into all the world, asserting My rights, indicating My claims, and writing My name upon human hearts. He shall pass into human hearts, diffusing Himself through all their capacity, throwing light into the understanding. Thus saith the world’s Redeemer. 7LtMs, Ms 40, 1892, par. 11
The Holy Spirit goes on convicting the sinner, piling up his condemnation, until the powers of the soul awaken and exclaim, “What must I do to be saved?” [Acts 16:30.] The divine Spirit, working with the human agent, has drawn the sinner, condemned by the law, to Jesus Christ. “God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” John 3:16. All heaven is waiting and ready to co-operate with the human agent to expel sin from the soul and supply the vacuum with the Holy Spirit. 7LtMs, Ms 40, 1892, par. 12
We ask, do our brethren and sisters stand on higher ground than before the Lord sent them special help according to their request? Have they advanced day by day? Do the Christians who claim to believe the truth practice all the truth in their daily life? The Lord has been putting many things before my mind during these weeks of enforced helplessness. And how much owest thou unto thy Lord, for the precious old truths that have been brought from beneath the rubbish and presented to the hearts with power as a new revelation? How have you treated these truths? Have you brought them into the Sanctuary of the soul? Have you revealed to the heavenly intelligences that you do receive the truth by acting upon them? 7LtMs, Ms 40, 1892, par. 13