Letters and Manuscripts — Volume 7 (1891-1892)


Lt 23c, 1892

Robinson, A. T.

North Fitzroy, Victoria, Australia

July [20], 1892

Portions of this letter are published in TSA 63-66.

Dear Brother:

I wrote you a few weeks ago, and will now write a few lines. I shall expect to hear from you in time. We find that there is much to be done here. They had a room in the Echo Office in which to worship, but as they were much cramped for room in which to do business, they had to use the meeting room for their printing business. Now we have no meeting house except in a hired hall used for all kinds of assemblies. It is not a fit place in which to worship God. There is no light except what comes from a sky light, no proper ventilation, and no means to heat it in the winter. I could and should attend meetings as often as possible; but no one supposes it safe for me to do so, so I have not attended meeting since the cold rough weather set in. 7LtMs, Lt 23c, 1892, par. 1

Brother Rousseau and wife came on the last steamer from America. We are using all our powers to do what we can to establish a school here in Melbourne. Rents are high; but two buildings in a terrace composed of four houses have been decided on for twenty dollars per week. 7LtMs, Lt 23c, 1892, par. 2

Brother and Sister Starr, who have been laboring in New Zealand, have now returned. We expect them to dinner today. 7LtMs, Lt 23c, 1892, par. 3

Afternoon. Our company have come and gone. We had a pleasant visit. I can sit up but a short time in a chair, so could not visit much. But I was so pleased to see them, especially Brother and Sister Rousseau fresh from America. 7LtMs, Lt 23c, 1892, par. 4

All seem to be highly pleased with the building selected for the school. The surroundings are very fine; a fine park of sixty acres of land is just across the road. This will do for a beginning. The plans will now be pushed vigorously. Much depends upon the success of the school to advance the cause of the truth in this country. 7LtMs, Lt 23c, 1892, par. 5

I cannot see how anything special is to be done here without calling for means. There are but very few Sabbathkeepers who have anything of a surplus. They have been very liberal with their means in advancing the work. But the boom curse came to Melbourne, and has extended through the border of the colonies, and now for the past year everything is at a discouraging standstill. The papers say that there are five thousand out of work in Melbourne whose families are starving. We never heard of such distress in America. Measures have been taken to feed hundreds and thousands. Men beg the privilege of picking our scraps from the swill barrels to satisfy the pressing demands of hunger. I never saw or heard of such numbers starving, literally starving, for the lack of enough to eat to keep life in their bodies. 7LtMs, Lt 23c, 1892, par. 6

There are souls continually coming into the truth, and yet scarcely anything is being done because servants are wanted to serve the Master, to preach the truth as it is in Jesus. Calls are coming in from all directions for men and women to come and teach the truth, but who shall we send? The openings are many but the means is wanting. 7LtMs, Lt 23c, 1892, par. 7

Although I have been for more than seven months a great sufferer, yet I am not sorry that I came. At first I was troubled about it, for I did not want to come; but the Lord gave me special testimonies for His people. His power rested upon me. I did not spare myself at all. But I have told you the rest in my former letter. At times I have longed to give up the contest. Then disease came upon me so heavily, I was sick and helpless, yet not ready to die. I would have considered it a luxury to have buried my head in the bed covers and cried to my heart’s satisfaction. But no, I must keep up. 7LtMs, Lt 23c, 1892, par. 8

I must have courage, though I was growing more and more helpless all the time. I would inquire, “Why am I here?” I did not want to come. But this was only for a short time. I said, “I am here. The conference sent me here, and now I shall stay here until I know the Lord leads me away.” I am having a rich experience in faith and trust in God under affliction, and I am learning to walk with the Lord in darkness. With my hand in the hand of Christ, all is brightness, and I live in the sunshine of His presence. 7LtMs, Lt 23c, 1892, par. 9

There are lessons for each child to learn in the line of firm trust and implicit obedience. Jesus gave His life for us, that we should not perish, but believe in Him and have everlasting life. And shall we distrust God for one moment, when He has given us such evidence of His love? No, no; my soul cries out for the living water of life that I may refresh others. 7LtMs, Lt 23c, 1892, par. 10

There is a work to be done here in Australia and New Zealand, and I cannot see how the work can stand still now. We must have a meetinghouse in this great city of Melbourne, and a school building in Victoria—a school building in that locality where the Lord shall indicate by His providence is the place. Where the means is coming from I know not. But some of the Lord’s stewards have the money we need so much, and the only course we can take is to pray. I would gladly lay hold and invest means, but I have it not. I have pledged to appropriate here one thousand dollars royalty coming from the books in foreign languages sold in America. That is the best I can do. 7LtMs, Lt 23c, 1892, par. 11

As a people we must practice self-denial and economy. Every soul should make a covenant with God by sacrifice. We should not expend money in extra expensive clothing and rich furniture. We are pilgrims and strangers seeking a better country even an heavenly. Time is short, and every dollar not necessary to be used in supplying positive wants should be brought in as a thank offering to God. It is the Lord’s, and the Lord has presented to me that houses of worship, and schoolhouses, should be erected through this country and in the islands of the sea; that our leading men should not build for display, or to gratify ambition and pride. If the Lord has favored them above their brethren in other countries, let them in true liberality assist those who greatly need to be helped to find a standing place, and give character to the work. The Lord is no respecter of persons or of places. The work is one great whole. The world is our field, and I have made decided appeals to our brethren in America to bind about their wants, and to devise and plan everything in a simple, modest, comfortable style, that corresponds with our faith. 7LtMs, Lt 23c, 1892, par. 12

When I consider that the Lord has placed ample means in the hands of His servants to be used not improvidently, but wisely, not extravagantly, but economically as the case seems to demand, there would not be a dearth of means in the treasury, but an ample supply to meet the demands for this time, to plant the banner of truth in many dark places of the earth. But the blessing which the Lord has bestowed upon His stewards, with few exceptions, is misappropriated, bound up in selfish enterprises where God does not direct. 7LtMs, Lt 23c, 1892, par. 13

Carefully should every dollar be considered, that it shall not be expended to please fancy, to administer to pride in expensive buildings, but to administer where there is a necessity, working in lines where God is working to establish His kingdom in the earth in harmony with the prayer given by Christ, “Thy kingdom come, Thy will be done in earth as it is in heaven.” [Matthew 6:10.] Let the works harmonize with the prayer, for men are the human agents through whom the divine agents are working. “We are laborers together with God: ye are God’s husbandry, ye are God’s building.” [1 Corinthians 3:9.] The Lord’s work calls for laborers everywhere. As God bountifully gives, we should deliberately, prayerfully resolve that we will honor God with our substance and with the firstfruits of our increase. 7LtMs, Lt 23c, 1892, par. 14

All things belong to God, and all the good which man enjoys is the result of divine beneficence. He is the great and bountiful Giver. God lays His hand upon all possessions and says, “I am the rightful owner of all these goods.” O, that the hearts of the people of God would be moved! To every man to whom the Lord has entrusted goods will come the temptation of the enemy to withhold it from its rightful channel. Satan will seek to divert the means so that it shall not serve the cause of God. 7LtMs, Lt 23c, 1892, par. 15

Well, Brother Robinson, I do hope that Brother Wessels will try to help us just now here in Australia, for we need it badly. There is everything to be done, and nothing with which to do it. We need men and women who will move with their families into mission fields and work while the day lasts. Souls are perishing for the bread of life, for the waters of salvation. There is no time now for the building of grand edifices. Let everything be done with an eye single to the glory of God. We are to lift up the cross of Calvary before all nations, tongues and people; but instead of doing this, many are hiding their talents of ability under a bushel, and the means which should carry forward the work is buried in the world. 7LtMs, Lt 23c, 1892, par. 16

Lift the cross higher, that many may behold and look and live. Christ died for the world, and His command is, “Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature.” [Mark 16:15.] The Lord would give us no such commission without placing resources at our command sufficient for the work. Will men act the part of faithful stewards, appropriating God’s means where He designed it should be used? Shall souls famishing for the bread of life be denied the heavenly manna? Who will sacrifice for Christ’s sake? Who will present in its rich fulness the righteousness of Christ? Will the church who claim to believe the truth, the blood-bought church, do this work? 7LtMs, Lt 23c, 1892, par. 17

If you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, if His love can move your heart, and His glory be dear to you, be faithful to your trust. Unite your influence with that of the heavenly agencies and devote your God-given energies, your entrusted talents, to the work of saving souls. Your talents will increase by winning souls to Christ. Paul may plant, Apollos water; but God giveth the increase. God calls for the co-operation of a devoted church. Their co-operation with Him will prove that they really believe that which they teach. Let the children of God give evidence of their faith by their actions. Every one is pledged before God to do all that is possible to win souls to Christ. God calls for the dedication of soul, body and spirit to the work. 7LtMs, Lt 23c, 1892, par. 18

Unless the truth sanctifies the soul, unless it leads to humility and meekness, self-denial and self-surrender, the enemy will gain influence on his side. Let the effort made be in harmony with sacred truth of heavenly origin. The Holy Spirit will be imparted and the church will be consistent, and will fulfil the injunction, “Arise, shine; for thy light has come, and the glory of the Lord is risen upon thee. For, behold, the darkness shall cover the earth, and gross darkness the people; but the Lord shall arise upon thee, and His glory shall be seen upon thee.” [Isaiah 60:1, 2.] They will live not unto themselves, but unto Christ who died for them, and rose again, and liveth to make intercession for the saints. 7LtMs, Lt 23c, 1892, par. 19

In God we can do valiantly, for the Lord will move upon the heart by His Holy Spirit, and add daily unto the faith of such as shall be saved. How I long to direct our brethren in America to look to Jesus, to study His life and character, and manifest disinterestedness, self-denial and devotion to the service of Christ, becoming thereby a power for good in the world. 7LtMs, Lt 23c, 1892, par. 20

Brother Robinson, tell all who labor in Africa that they must have characters that can be identified as Christlike. Property will not give us a character; but union with Christ will invest every movement we make with interest, give power to all our actions, and bring us into harmony with Christ’s perfection. 7LtMs, Lt 23c, 1892, par. 21