Letters and Manuscripts — Volume 8 (1893)


Ms 75, 1893

Early Labors in Australia (1891-1892)



Portions of this manuscript are published in OHC 120; 4Bio 31-33.

When the work, newly started in Australia, was in need of help, our brethren in America desired me to visit this field. They urged that as one whom the Lord was especially teaching, I could help the work here as others could not. I felt no inclination to go and had no light that it was my duty. The journey was a dread to me. I desired to remain at home and complete my work on The Life of Christ and other writings. But as the matter was introduced, and the responsible men of the conference expressed their conviction that I in company with others should visit this field, I decided to act in accordance with their light. I feared that my own unwillingness to go was the reason why I had no more evidence on the point. 8LtMs, Ms 75, 1893, par. 1

I made the long journey and attended the conference held in Melbourne. I bore a decided testimony. The Lord gave me tongue and utterance to reprove, to entreat, and to present principles of the greatest importance to the people and to the work. The burden was heavy upon me, and just before the conference closed, I was stricken with a severe illness. For eleven months I suffered from malarial fever and inflammatory rheumatism. 8LtMs, Ms 75, 1893, par. 2

During this period I experienced the most terrible suffering of my whole life. I was unable to lift my feet from the floor without suffering great pain. My right arm, from the elbow down, was the only part of my body that was free from pain. My hips and my spine were in constant pain. I could not lie on my cot for more than two hours at a time, though I had rubber cushions under me. I would drag myself to a similar bed to change my position. Thus the nights passed. 8LtMs, Ms 75, 1893, par. 3

But to all this there was a cheerful side. My Saviour seemed to be close beside me. I felt His sacred presence in my heart, and I was thankful. These months of suffering were the happiest months of my life, because of the companionship of my Saviour. He was my hope and crown of rejoicing. I am so thankful that I had this experience, because I am better acquainted with my precious Lord and Saviour. His love filled my heart. All through my sickness His love, His tender compassion, was my comfort, my continual consolation. 8LtMs, Ms 75, 1893, par. 4

Physicians said I would never be able to walk again, and I had fears that my life was to be a perpetual conflict with suffering. But I would not give up, and the constant effort that I made, because of my faith that I could still be the Lord’s messenger to the people, accomplished a great change in my health. Some of the meetings that I attended at this time were from four to twelve miles from home. On some of these occasions I was enabled to speak for a full hour at a time. The fact that I could speak in public in spite of my crippled condition was an encouragement to my brethren and sisters. 8LtMs, Ms 75, 1893, par. 5

During those eleven months of suffering I continued my work of writing. My right arm from the elbow down was whole, so that I could use my pen, and I wrote twenty-five hundred pages of letter paper for publication during this period. 8LtMs, Ms 75, 1893, par. 6

When I was first convinced that I must give up my cherished plan to visit the churches of Australia and New Zealand, I questioned seriously whether it was ever my duty to leave America and come to this far-off country. Many sleepless hours of the night I spent in going over our experience since we left America for Australia. It was a time of continual anxiety, suffering, and burden-bearing. I felt at first that I could not bear this inactivity. I think I fretted in spirit over it; and at times darkness gathered about me. This unreconciliation was at the beginning of my suffering and helplessness, but it was not long before I saw that the affliction was a part of God’s plan. I carefully reviewed the history of the past few years, and the work the Lord had given me to do. Not once had He failed me. Often He had manifested Himself in a marked manner, and I saw nothing in the past of which to complain. I realized that like threads of gold, precious things had run through all this severe experience. 8LtMs, Ms 75, 1893, par. 7

Then I prayed earnestly and realized continually sweet comfort in the promises of God: “Draw nigh to God, and he will draw nigh to you.” [James 4:8.] “When the enemy shall come in like a flood, the Spirit of the Lord shall lift up a standard against him.” [Isaiah 59:19.] These promises were fulfilled to me. I knew Jesus came sacredly near, and I found His grace all-sufficient. My soul stayed upon God. I could say from a full heart, “I know in whom I have believed.” [2 Timothy 1:12.] “God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able, but will with the temptation make a way of escape, that ye may be able to bear it.” [1 Corinthians 10:13.] Through Christ I came off more than conqueror. 8LtMs, Ms 75, 1893, par. 8

My time of physical suffering was made a blessing to me. Although not raised up in answer to prayer, I found a compassionate Saviour who loved me and revealed Himself to me. The comfort and blessing I received in answer to prayer helped me to bear my great suffering. I decided that the Lord had determined something concerning me which I could not understand, and I was content to trust all with Him. I kept saying, God knows what is best; my Saviour sees that which in my humanity I do not see. “Whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the first-born among many brethren.” [Romans 8:29.] I will not fret and murmur; I will not give up in discouragement. I will leave myself in the hand of God. He will not forsake me while I put my trust in Him. He will transform me into His image, and accomplish His will in me. 8LtMs, Ms 75, 1893, par. 9

When we comply with the Written Word then we are to walk by faith. We dishonor God when we fail to trust Him after He has given such wonderful evidence of His compassionate love in the gift of His Son. We are to keep looking to Jesus, offering up our prayers in faith, taking hold of His strength. If we would give more expression to our faith, rejoice more in the blessings that we know we have, we would daily have greater cheerfulness and strength. 8LtMs, Ms 75, 1893, par. 10

Feeling and faith are as distinct from each other as the east is from the west. Faith is not dependent on feeling. Daily we should dedicate ourselves to God and believe that Christ understands and accepts the sacrifice, without examining ourselves to see if we have that degree of feeling that we think should correspond with our faith. Have we not the assurance that our heavenly Father is more willing to give the Holy Spirit to them that ask Him in faith than parents are to give good gifts to their children? We should go forward as if to every prayer that we send to the throne of God we heard the response from the One whose promises never fail. Even when depressed by sadness it is our privilege to make melody in our hearts to God. When we do this the mists and clouds will be rolled back, and we will pass from the shadow and darkness into the clear sunshine of His presence. 8LtMs, Ms 75, 1893, par. 11

If we educated our souls to have more faith, more love, greater patience, a more perfect trust in our heavenly Father, we would have more peace and happiness as we pass through the conflicts of this life. The Lord is not pleased to have us fret and worry ourselves out of the arms of Jesus. He is the only source of every grace, the fulfillment of every promise, the realization of every blessing. “They that follow me,” He says, “shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life.” [John 8:12.] Our pilgrimage would indeed be lonely were it not for Jesus. “I will not leave you comfortless,” He says to us. [John 14:18.] Let us cherish His words, believe His promises, repeat them by day and meditate upon them in the night season and be happy. 8LtMs, Ms 75, 1893, par. 12

It has been a great blessing to know that my Saviour was close beside in day periods and in the night, and the assurance was given me of His presence. 8LtMs, Ms 75, 1893, par. 13

W. C. White was called away from Melbourne to New Zealand, accompanying Elder Daniells. But there were council meetings appointed in my rooms in my hired house and I was made as comfortable as possible. Elder Tenney was one of the ministers who oft visited me, and many ministers and laborers called upon me and we had praying seasons. I could not kneel, but the Lord did always manifest Himself unto me in my severe sufferings. I had precious seasons of prayer, and the abundant grace of Christ was my strength and joy. I enjoyed communion with my precious Saviour during my wakeful hours of the night. 8LtMs, Ms 75, 1893, par. 14