Letters and Manuscripts — Volume 8 (1893)


Ms 79, 1893

Diary. Labors in Palmerston, N.Z.

Palmerston, New Zealand

April 13-17, 1893

Portions of this manuscript are published in 4Bio 89-90.

Thursday, April 13, 1893

Palmerston, N. Z.

This is a pleasant day. We feel thankful to the Lord for His blessing in giving us pleasant weather. We rise early and make our preparations to leave this convenient home and our hospitable friends to visit Palmerston. 8LtMs, Ms 79, 1893, par. 1

I rode with Emily and Willie in the second-class cars for the first time since my severe illness. We could make me a comfortable seat with cushions, and I think I did not suffer any more in the second class than I should in the first, and we would have to pay one pound, one shilling extra for us three if we rode in first class. We left Napier at half past eleven o’clock and arrived at Palmerston at half past four. We were welcomed at the depot by Brother and Sister McOlivors, whose hospitality Emily and I enjoyed during our stay from Thursday evening until Monday morning. 8LtMs, Ms 79, 1893, par. 2

Friday, April 14, 1893

We are very thankful to our heavenly Father for His goodness and mercy and love to us who are so unworthy. Through the kindness of a neighbor we are furnished with horse and phaeton to ride out whenever we choose. 8LtMs, Ms 79, 1893, par. 3

This neighbor is a member of the state church, an Episcopalian. We rode out, Emily and I, Brother Israel driving to show us around the place. We see that this is a central place; many lines of railway come into Palmerston. This is an important point, and the testimony is that it is a healthy location. Leading out from this place are important places that should hear the message of truth. 8LtMs, Ms 79, 1893, par. 4

Ministers are needed. The Macedonian cry is coming in from different places, “Come over and help us.” [Acts 16:9.] There should be missionaries in all these fields; and there is no reason, that the Lord will accept, why there are not. Those who have the truth should have a deep interest for the souls of their fellow men and labor unselfishly for their salvation. 8LtMs, Ms 79, 1893, par. 5

Brother Robert Hare labored in this place three months. He pleased the people. He was considered a very smart man. His discourses were more after the fanciful order than to preach Christ and Him crucified. He has been so fearful of losing his congregation that he dared not bring out the plain Bible requirements, fearing it would be objectionable to the people. When he was called from the field, Elders Daniells and Israel labored; but it was not the presentation of truth which they wanted, but pleasing discourses. To dwell on practical godliness did not suit their appetite. 8LtMs, Ms 79, 1893, par. 6

Jesus Christ and Him crucified must be the burden of the discourses if the people are convicted and converted. There must be an uplifted Saviour as their only hope, their stronghold in every emergency, a tower of strength to every soul that believes. The gospel is the power and wisdom of God in its in-working influence on the human heart. Several put their names on the covenant paper, but as soon as Elder Hare left they gave up all their faith. The Holy Spirit’s agency in its operations never tendered their hearts. The head may be able to assent to the truth, but unless the heart is penitent and convicted and converted, an assent to the truth accomplishes nothing. 8LtMs, Ms 79, 1893, par. 7

Elder Starr and his wife came in the train from Napier at half past four. 8LtMs, Ms 79, 1893, par. 8

Saturday, April 15, 1893

Palmerston, N. Z.

We had a very pleasant day, for which we thank our heavenly Father. We had an early call, just [for] a few minutes, from Elder Starr and Sister Starr. We were glad to meet them again. Elder Starr spoke in the morning in the little hall hired for the purpose. I spoke in the afternoon. A very few outsiders were in. I was led out with words of comfort and encouragement for the little few who had met together to worship God. 8LtMs, Ms 79, 1893, par. 9

A large part of the audience was children and youth. I addressed words to them, to instruct and help them in doing right, in loving the Lord Jesus in the early years of their life. “Those that seek me early shall find me.” Proverbs 8:17. I think the lambs of the flock are left or passed over with but little effort to have them understand they may give their hearts and lives to Jesus in their childhood and youth. The simplicity of the lessons of Christ could be understood by children. 8LtMs, Ms 79, 1893, par. 10

Sunday, April 16, 1893

Sunday was another pleasant day. We held our services in the Theater Royal and had a good congregation who listened attentively as I presented before them the love of Christ [from] (1 John 3), first four verses. I had freedom in speaking of the great gift of God to our world in giving His only begotten Son to save all who should believe on Him, and the Lord blessed the word to them that heard it. 8LtMs, Ms 79, 1893, par. 11

I am convinced that had this field been properly worked when the field was first entered, there might have been a large church raised up as the fruit of well directed labor, presenting the truth in all its bearings as it is in Jesus. But there is a mistake made in sending one man only to enter upon the work of opening new fields. 8LtMs, Ms 79, 1893, par. 12

Jesus sent His disciples two and two. He knew that one man’s mind and plans and methods might not be altogether perfect; another mind, differently constituted, would see things more clearly in its bearings; and with both united in love and harmony, seeking the Lord in prayer together, planning and studying together, communing with each other as to the very best course to be pursued in the presentation of truth, far more work would be done that would not prove a failure. Where both are laboring earnestly to keep their own souls in the love of God, praying much for the divine influences of the Holy Spirit to cooperate with the human agent, there is the promise of sure success. 8LtMs, Ms 79, 1893, par. 13

The truth as it is in Jesus the people must have, or they will die in their sins. “Without me,” says Christ, “ye can do nothing.” [John 15:5.] The lessons Jesus Christ gave to men are the most precious subjects when presented in their simplicity before the people. Christ’s words, Christ’s example, are the power and wisdom of God in saving them that believe. They are comprehensive, adapted to all classes—them that are nigh, them that are afar off. They are not the assertions of men, not uncertainties, not speculations, not idle tales. Peter has expressed it in these words: “For we have not followed cunningly devised fables, when we made known unto you the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, but were eye witnesses of his majesty.” 2 Peter 1:16. 8LtMs, Ms 79, 1893, par. 14

Elder Starr preached in the Theater Royal in the evening with much freedom on the inspiration of the Scriptures. Oh that the words spoken may touch some hearts, and may the Lord open the darkened chambers of the mind to understand and receive the wheat and discard the chaff! Error and falsehood are presented—fables for the people to feed upon. “What is the chaff to the wheat?” [Jeremiah 23:28.] 8LtMs, Ms 79, 1893, par. 15

Monday, April 17, 1893

Palmerston, N. Z.

I arise at three o’clock to make ready for the early morning train at half past six a.m. Awake Emily at five, and hasty preparations are made. Willie is on hand, and Elders Israel and Starr, and there is the rolling up of bedding and the packing of trunks ready for the luggage wagon. Elder Starr and Sister Starr remain a few days to visit and to set things in order, while we go on to Wellington to get off important American mail. We bid adieu to our friends that have courteously entertained us, step into the little box of a hack, and are taken one mile and a half to the depot; here we part with Brother Starr. 8LtMs, Ms 79, 1893, par. 16

Elder Israel, W. C. White, Emily, and I find ourselves alone in the second-class car, which is arranged with two long seats running lengthwise of the car after the same style as the horse cars in America, but without cushions. A seat is made comfortable for me, and I fell thankful that the car is not crowded. The scenery is not very interesting. There are large tracts of wooded land, as in a new country, the land is burned over. There are dead trees standing, and logs and trees cover the ground. We see some nice residences. This train stops at every little way station to lead and unload freight. We pass through sections of country abounding in pretty tree ferns and mecow [?] and fields of pampas grass with their light colored feathery stalks, trees in abundance abounding not with mistletoe as in America, but mecow bunches and a variety of foreign substances which, like parasites, sap the nourishment from the tree until it dies. We passed through thirteen tunnels. 8LtMs, Ms 79, 1893, par. 17

For a time we had the car to ourselves, but passengers were then getting on the train and leaving it after riding a short distance. Maoris were our companions much of the way. One tall, stalwart, intelligent Maori, dressed in European style, came through with us most of the way and Willie gave him Medical Missionary to read. He seemed interested, for he read the paper earnestly. It was said he was son of the chief. We had a rainy day. 8LtMs, Ms 79, 1893, par. 18

Sisters Israel and Tuxford met us at the train. Sisters Brown and Harris had joined our party a few stations before reaching Wellington. We were taken to the mission buildings occupied by a branch of the International Tract Society and book repository. We find here convenient rooms. 8LtMs, Ms 79, 1893, par. 19