Letters and Manuscripts — Volume 8 (1893)


Lt 9a, 1893

Brethren in America

Wellington, New Zealand

August 1, 1893

Portions of this letter are published in HM 11/1893; 5MR 232; 11MR 1-7.

Dear Brethren in America,

I am thankful to be able to write to you that I am improving in health; and although I have passed this winter in the city of Wellington, which has not a healthful climate because of constant storms and high winds, yet the Lord has blessed me. I was nearly prostrated for some weeks, about two months passed. 8LtMs, Lt 9a, 1893, par. 1

I had an appointment to Petone and the subject I thought to speak upon was the necessity of growth in grace, but it was taken from me. In its place a most solemn warning was given me for the congregation in regard to the withdrawal of the Spirit of God from the world and the judgments of God, which were plagues of sickness, disasters by sea and by land, destruction everywhere in our world by fire and flood, earthquakes in “divers places,” and the words of Christ, “And as it was in the days of Noe, so shall it be also in the days of the Son of man. They did eat, they drank, they married wives, they were given in marriage, until the day that Noah entered into the ark, and the flood came and destroyed them all. Likewise also as it was in the days of Lot; they did eat, they drank, they bought, they sold, they planted, they builded; but the same day that Lot went out of Sodom it rained fire and brimstone from heaven, and destroyed them all. Even thus shall it be in the days when the Son of man is revealed.” [Luke 21:11; 17:26-30.] 8LtMs, Lt 9a, 1893, par. 2

I felt deeply the power of God resting upon me as I warned the people that the end of this earth’s history was soon to close, and we could see the fulfillment of the words of warning of the Lord Jesus Christ. And we are indeed in the time which Christ has foretold would be the state of our world. 8LtMs, Lt 9a, 1893, par. 3

The Spirit of the Lord was upon me, and from that time I have had physical strength. For a while before, I was unable to write, my mental machinery was about <ready> to stop; but it was quickened by the power of God, and I praise His holy name for what He has done for me in giving me the “balm of Gilead,” and the healing power of the great Physician. [Jeremiah 8:22.] 8LtMs, Lt 9a, 1893, par. 4

We see a great work to be done in this field, and [we] long to have facilities to work with. I will speak of Wellington. It is a place where churches are abundant and [there are] plenty of ministers. But I have never been in a place where prejudice was so perseveringly and determinedly carried on as it is in this place. This is the capital and great center of New Zealand. A mission should be established here. A church, if ever so humble, should be erected. It will take money to do this. 8LtMs, Lt 9a, 1893, par. 5

It is not God’s plan, although the gold and silver are His own, to send His angels from heaven to build churches in any town or city. He has made man His almoner, His steward of trust, and the Lord’s field is a very extensive one. “But ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you: and ye shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth.” [Acts 1:8.] This was the commission given to the disciples, and here has been a place where the people have determined that the banner of truth should not be lifted. There is a branch of the International Tract and Missionary Society established here; but there is no house of worship, and no one who obeys the truth, of any means, with the exception of one man, Brother Mountain; and there are none who have a house they own. We have to be dependent upon halls, and the church members will not come to these halls. There is a skating rink, where temperance meetings and religious meetings were held in the summer season, but this is owned by a proprietor of a brewery, and all these things are barriers in the way. 8LtMs, Lt 9a, 1893, par. 6

Ministers tell their congregations that there is danger of them in going to hear [the Adventists]. They tell them that they have not any special interest in Wellington, that they have no one who will believe in their doctrines. If they should make some church members believe in their doctrines, <and they have no one to represent them there,> where will they go to worship? They have no place to worship. They are only adventurers. They will come to the place and preach their devilish doctrines, and mislead the minds of the people, and then go away and leave them. And “Where would you be should you be deceived by these strange doctrines?” 8LtMs, Lt 9a, 1893, par. 7

And yet God has a people in this place; and how can we reach them? Only through a steady, persevering effort carried on judiciously. A humble house of worship should be erected, and the people know that they are not to be left out in the cold. Many minds are half persuaded, but dare not make the final decision. Workers are needed, and money is needed to erect a house of worship. If we can get a hold here, then the door is opened to get a hold in other <large> cities. Dunedin and Christchurch are prominent places. 8LtMs, Lt 9a, 1893, par. 8

Brother Masters and family live in Dunedin and are doing quite a large work in canvassing for our books. He is sure and safe, and true as steel in his business with the office in Wellington. The money is always ready to be returned when the books are delivered, <which is a rare thing in this country.> We have been holding meetings in Elder Israel’s house. We have done everything possible to get the people out to the halls, but they would not come. <We have to preach much to secure empty seats.> 8LtMs, Lt 9a, 1893, par. 9

Sister Dr. Caro, a dentist, came from Napier, a ten hours’ journey on the cars to Wellington to extract my teeth and prepare the way for an underset of teeth which I greatly needed. There was a minister on the cars from Ormondville where Brother McCullagh is laboring, and who opposed him fiercely. He was in conversation with a minister from Wellington, and they were comparing notes. One said that McCullagh was doing much harm in Ormondville, but he thought that he had thoroughly settled the business with him. The minister from Wellington said that there had been a Mrs. Starr and a Mrs. White in Wellington trying to fasten their heresies upon the people. But they warned their congregations not to go in to hear. “Well,” said the minister from Ormondville, “I heard they had no success in Wellington.” And the reply was, “No, but we find the minds of the people are unsettled, and they managed to get the people uneasy, and they are plying us with questions hard to be answered.” 8LtMs, Lt 9a, 1893, par. 10

This was the substance of the conversation, related by these ministers, that Sister Caro overheard on the train coming here. And we know that there are quite a number interested and inquiring and “unsettled.” 8LtMs, Lt 9a, 1893, par. 11

Sister Tuxford and I were walking out one day, and an aged man, venerable in appearance, came toward me with every expression of joy upon his countenance, grasped my hand, and said, “How glad I am to see you. My son just saw you <from> his grocery store <on the corner> and said, ‘There is Mrs. White coming down the hill.’” Said he, “I did not wait one minute. I rushed out to meet you and speak with you. I heard you preach several times in Auckland. And I thank the Lord your words went right to my heart.” The son came up and introduced the aged gentleman as his father. The son is also interested in the truth. He has a license as an exhorter from the Wesleyan church. 8LtMs, Lt 9a, 1893, par. 12

I had a favorable interview with the father, Mr. Langford, and his son requested an interview with me. I gave the father Steps to Christ and Patriarchs and Prophets to take with him to Auckland. His family are bitterly opposed to him. They are Wesleyans. He is a believer in some other doctrine as well, for he believes in the gifts being in the church. He wrote after his return home that his wife and daughter were reading the books given by Sister White, and they were greatly changed in spirit. We expect that they will attend the meeting in Auckland in October or November. 8LtMs, Lt 9a, 1893, par. 13

Then there were several who attended our meetings regularly, who are business men. They believe the truth but are halting, having not decided to obey. If we could have a house of worship, we think a church could be raised up here without a doubt. But without one thing to give character to the work here, we cannot see how these people will be warned. The ministers are active, and Satan’s seat seems to be in this place. But it is too important a place to be yielded without a strong effort, and this cannot be without some evidence. The truth will be vindicated and sustained in Wellington. 8LtMs, Lt 9a, 1893, par. 14

I cannot express my feelings. Sometimes I think it is best for me to return to America, for we can do so little. When our people in America shall feel that this field is as important as the fields in America, that souls are <just> as precious here as there, I think they would not take the whole, or nearly all the money from the treasury to add building to building; and in the face of all our pleading <and warnings given in reference to this subject for years, they> carry so light [a] burden for these foreign fields, tying our hands so we cannot work, only to the greatest disadvantage. We have nothing wherewith we can make even a start by calling out the people. And unless something more is done than our brethren have yet done in these fields, I wish to return to America <as soon as possible> and leave the burden of responsibility upon the <conference.> I think a few of the responsible men had better visit this part of the world and get their eyes open and their view extended to see there are many places where there is nothing being done. If they should send a few thousand dollars that are being invested where the truth has a firm hold, and give us something to work with, to give us even a standing place to unfurl the banner of truth that others may rally around the standard, it would be wholly in accordance with the commission of Jesus Christ. The important missionary work ought to have more money and more workers. 8LtMs, Lt 9a, 1893, par. 15

We have come here to this country, with my workers, which has cost me, personally, an extra two thousand dollars from my own means, beside the large extra expense of the conference to do a work, but without [your] furnishing us with <facilities> [and] the things we have earnestly pled for. I entreat of you to extend your vision and broaden your ideas in the place of investing so largely in your supposed necessities and swallowing up all the available means in the treasury. Give us something [so] that we may work in cities where there are not any souls who have an interest in the truth, who must be warned and aroused, and [then] the kingdom of God shall be built up. 8LtMs, Lt 9a, 1893, par. 16

God does not purpose to do your work, but He requires that you give some chance that the seeds of truth may be sown in places where the soil has never been broken. The seed sown in these cities will be watered by the Lord of heaven, and there will be an increase. The leaven of truth must be first hidden in the meal before it will leaven the lump. Once get the truth planted in new fields, in cities where they have never heard, and then the increase and progress will follow. 8LtMs, Lt 9a, 1893, par. 17

The people know nothing of the truth. <They are ignorant of truth.> They know nothing of the reasons of our faith. They believe what the church ministers tell them. And is there then to be no effort made, that they shall know <what is truth for this time?> What can be done in these cities without money to start the work? If you continually see places where you think <you can> use the means to advantage, must these countries be left and the ground not plowed nor sown? Will the Lord be pleased with this kind of neglect? 8LtMs, Lt 9a, 1893, par. 18

The field is the world. America is not the whole world, only a little piece of it. I know there are many calls for means in all foreign countries; but here there is such a condition of means, financially, that we cannot depend on means coming from these fields until we have some facilities to till the soil and sow the seed. 8LtMs, Lt 9a, 1893, par. 19

I think I shall have to turn my face homeward and go among our churches in America, and see if I cannot arouse an interest that something shall be done, <for all I may trace with pen and ink, seems to be regarded as idle tales.> I never expect to return, myself, to this field, but I can see that some workers, even private families, <ought to> get the missionary spirit and come this way. 8LtMs, Lt 9a, 1893, par. 20

Dear brethren, I will write a few words more. What I ask is, What were we sent here for unless to understand by observation the real situation and needs of the field, and report, for you to send us the facilities to use <in> this country. I fear I made a mistake in using the royalty on foreign books where the books were sold; I thought that was the right thing to do, <and> to use only the royalty upon foreign books sold in America. But when I see and feel our bare-handed situation here, I know that things are not as God designed they should be. 8LtMs, Lt 9a, 1893, par. 21

I am reminded of a family of children. One is more prepossessing than the others, and that one is favored. Gifts and considerations are made without stint, <with partiality,> and the others are left to get along as best they can. I think this is a good symbol of the present things in America and this country. God knows we have done what we could, but [we are] crippled in every way; our hands tied, without workers or money. The places that have nothing done in them need money and devising and planning to create an interest. I rejoiced when I heard that the Holy Ghost had been poured out upon our people in America, and I have been anxiously waiting new developments in America as was seen after the Holy Spirit descended on the day of Pentecost. I thought similar fruits would be seen, that the missionary spirit of God would burn in the hearts of all upon whom the Spirit of God was manifestly moving. 8LtMs, Lt 9a, 1893, par. 22

If there is not a decided change in spirit and [in] the character of the work, if men and women have received increased light, what are they doing? What are they doing to warn men and women who do not understand that the Lord is soon coming? He goeth out of His place to punish the inhabitants of the world for their iniquity. “The earth shall disclose her blood, and shall no more cover her slain.” [Isaiah 26:21.] Where, I ask, is the burden for souls that are perishing out of Christ? Who will go forth without the camp bearing the reproach? Who will leave pleasant homes, and dear ties of relationship, and carry the precious light of truth to far off lands, but not beyond the domain of God? Every day and every moment <comes> to those who have entrusted to them the light of truth with terrible significance, that men and women in every clime and land are fitting themselves—for weal or woe fixing their own destinies—for eternity. 8LtMs, Lt 9a, 1893, par. 23

God has expended amazing sacrifices upon men, and mighty energies for the reclaiming of man from transgression and sin to loyalty and obedience, but I have been shown that He does nothing without the co-operation of human agencies. Every endowment of grace and power and efficiency has been liberally provided, and the strongest motives presented, to arouse and keep living in the human heart the missionary spirit, that divine and human agency may be combined. What more has been done in self-denial, in moving out of Battle Creek, in carrying the light, the influence of God’s Spirit testifying to the truth, to regions where the standard has never yet been lifted? Did the Lord of heaven open you the windows of heaven and pour you out a blessing at the last conference? What use have you made of the gift of God? He has supplied the motive forces of which He has made a lodgement in your hearts, that with patience and hope and untiring vigilance you might set forth Jesus Christ and Him crucified, that you [might] send the note of warning that Christ is coming the second time with power and great glory, calling men to repent of their sins. If Battle Creek does not arouse now and go to work in missionary fields, they will fall back into deathlike slumber. How did the Holy Spirit work upon your hearts? By the energies of the Holy Spirit it was stimulating you to exercise of the talents God has given. Let every man and woman and youth employ them to set forth the truth for this time, making personal efforts, going into the cities where truth has never been and lifting the standard. 8LtMs, Lt 9a, 1893, par. 24

In the blessing God has bestowed upon you, have not your energies been quickened, and the truth, been more deeply impressed upon your soul, and its relating importance to perishing souls out of Christ Are ye <witnesses> for Christ in a more distinct and decided manner after the manifest revealing of God’s blessing upon you? The Holy Spirit’s office work is to bring decidedly to <your> mind the important vital truths. Is this <extra endowment> to be bound up in a napkin and hidden in the earth? No, no, it is to be put out to the exchangers; and as man uses his talents, however small, the Holy Spirit takes the things of God and presents them anew to the mind. He makes the neglected Word to be a vivifying agency through the Spirit. It is quick and powerful upon human minds, not because of the smartness, the educational power of the human agency, but because the divine power works with the human; and it is the divine that deserves all the credit. Shall selfishness and <ease> of those who have earthly comforts, and <attractive> homes and lives of ease, allure us? Shall we cease as moral agencies to use our powers to the saving of souls? Shall our voices be indistinct? Then God will put His curse upon us that have had so great light and inscribe upon the walls of our homes, “lovers of pleasure more than lovers of God.” [2 Timothy 3:4.] He will put a tongue in the stones, and they will speak; but God demands of you in Battle Creek to go forth. 8LtMs, Lt 9a, 1893, par. 25

Resolve, not in your own strength, but in the strength and grace given of God that you will consecrate to God, now, just now, every power, every ability. You will follow Jesus because He bids you, and you will not ask, Where? or what reward shall be given? It is well with you if you obey “Follow me.” Your work is to lead every one to the light by judicious, well-put-forth efforts; under the guardianship of the divine Leader will to do, resolve to act without a moment’s delay to make terms with God. When you die to self, when you surrender to God to do your work, to let every ray of light [that] God has been giving you shine forth in good works, you are not alone. God’s grace stands forth to work with every effort to enlighten the ignorant and those who do not know that the end of all things is at hand. But He will not be your substitute to do your God-given work. Light may shine in abundance, but the grace given will not convert your soul only as it arouses you to co-operate with divine agencies. You are called up to be active soldiers, to put on the divine armor, and put forth energy, divine power working with the human to break the spell of the worldly enchantments. 8LtMs, Lt 9a, 1893, par. 26

Again I call for the help that we ought to have had, the means we must have, if anything is accomplished in this country. Let your minds be drawn out for perishing souls. Obey the impulse given by high heaven. Grieve not the Holy Spirit by delay. Resist not God’s methods of recovering poor souls from the thraldom of sin. To every man was given his work. Then do the very best with the powers God has given you, and He will accept your efforts put forth with an eye single to His glory. To every man He has given his work according to his ability. 8LtMs, Lt 9a, 1893, par. 27