Letters and Manuscripts — Volume 8 (1893)


Ms 86, 1893

Diary, October to November 1893. Labors at Gisborne, New Zealand.

Gisborne, New Zealand

October 8 - November 11, 1893

Portions of this manuscript are published in 4MR 97, 103.

Sunday, October 8, 1893

Gisborne, N. Z.

Sunday morning we were anchored in the bay waiting for the launch to take us out to the landing in Gisborne. We had a very good night’s rest and were so thankful to our heavenly Father. I feel very tired, moving about and changing so constantly. At the landing we saw Sister Bruce and Sister Lylee [?], Brother Wade and Brother Johnson. We were taken in a hack to Sister Bruce’s. She lives in a nice cottage and a large room was assigned me. It opens upon a broad piazza, and the morning sun shines warm into the room. This is a quiet place to rest and sleep. There are no houses near, so we have a chance to walk out and it seems like a place in the country. There are two large evergreens in the yard, and nice flowers. We feel very much at home here and may remain four or five weeks. It is but very little help in ministerial labor they get here, and they feel they have been neglected. Appointment was given out for me the first night, Sunday evening. We had a goodly number out. Mr. Bruce was out to hear me speak. 8LtMs, Ms 86, 1893, par. 1

Monday, October 9, 1893

Monday rode out with two-wheeled trap and a steady old horse. The trap, which they call a sulky, shook me around considerably, but the ride did me good. Gisborne is a very pleasant place. Mr. Bruce left this morning for his country sheep ranch. His wife will remain with us two weeks, then go out to help her husband while he has much to do in sheep shearing. They invite us to remain the same as if they were here, and be at home. I think we should accept the invitation, for the people here need more help than they have had. 8LtMs, Ms 86, 1893, par. 2

Elder Wilson spoke in the S.D.A. church; not a large number out—only a few. 8LtMs, Ms 86, 1893, par. 3

Tuesday, October 10, 1893

Emily and I rode out and were two hours slowly riding about. I felt better for being in the open air. 8LtMs, Ms 86, 1893, par. 4

Wednesday, October 11, 1893

Brother and Sister Wilson, Sister Bruce, Emily, and I rode out a few miles and took dinner near the beach in a little clump of brush. There was a nice stream flowing close by where we ate our dinner. Then we gathered greens, and after going down on the beach we returned to our home. 8LtMs, Ms 86, 1893, par. 5

Thursday, October 12, 1893

Thursday evening I spoke to the little company assembled. We saw there was interest manifested by those not of our faith, and we were deeply in earnest to help them all we could. 8LtMs, Ms 86, 1893, par. 6

Friday, October 13, 1893

We feel drawn out in earnest prayer to God to open the way whereby we shall reach the people. In conversing with Elder Wilson and those of the church who are bearing responsibilities, we canvassed the subject of how to get a hearing in Gisborne. The prejudice is firm and stubborn, as it is everywhere we go in this country. We decided that we will try open air meetings and test the matter. 8LtMs, Ms 86, 1893, par. 7

Saturday, October 14, 1893

We had a very precious meeting in the little church. There were hearts that felt, and may the Lord lead many to decide to lift the cross and obey God. 8LtMs, Ms 86, 1893, par. 8

Sunday, October 15, 1893

Sunday at three p.m. we assembled according to appointment in the government paddock adjoining the post office. There was a large congregation out to hear. Some thought they could smoke in the very midst of the people and others outside those seated, but we kindly invited them not to smoke and after a little solicitation they either went away at a distance or put their pipes in their pockets. 8LtMs, Ms 86, 1893, par. 9

The Lord gave strength and voice and His Holy Spirit that I had great freedom in speaking to the people in the open air. Several Maoris were there who were well dressed. One named Carroll has been chosen to represent this district in the legislature. He opposes prohibition. He would restrict drunkenness but does not sanction vetoing the evil decidedly. This is no more than could be expected from one who loves to take a dram himself. The Lord gave me success and victory. 8LtMs, Ms 86, 1893, par. 10

Thursday, October 19, 1893

Attended evening meeting and the Lord gave words for the people who came out to listen to the Word. 8LtMs, Ms 86, 1893, par. 11

Saturday, October 21, 1893

The Lord’s Supper was celebrated, preceded with the ordinance of feet washing. I spoke to the little church from Isaiah 58. 8LtMs, Ms 86, 1893, par. 12

Sunday, October 22, 1893

We again assembled in the government paddock, and we had a large attendance. There was all that quietness that was seen in any of our meetinghouses. 8LtMs, Ms 86, 1893, par. 13

Saturday, October 28, 1893

Spoke to the church with great plainness in regard to walking in the light. Sister Lockwood, who has now received the truth, was baptized today and intends to return to her home in the country and act in the capacity of nurse and also seek to let her light shine among her people, the Maoris. She has manifested the greatest interest to attend all the meetings and learn all that she possibly could in regard to the truth. 8LtMs, Ms 86, 1893, par. 14

Elder Wilson has presented the scriptural subjects in a very clear and convincing manner. Two women from the Salvation Army have attended the six o’clock morning meetings and the evening meetings and are searching the Scriptures. They seem to be longing and thirsting to understand what saith the Scriptures. Both are widows with large families dependent upon their labors for support. 8LtMs, Ms 86, 1893, par. 15

Captain Werege [?] stopped off from the boat and came to see me. W. C. White sent a little package of paper by him to me. We had a pleasant interview but he seemed anxious to be on his way to Ormondville where he was to unite with Brother McCullagh to help the Norwegian brethren. Brother McCullagh has had a hard, trying time in his labor in that place. 8LtMs, Ms 86, 1893, par. 16

When we went to Ormondville the Lord gave me a decided testimony and the truth had a triumph. After the council of the brethren in Hastings, Brother McCullagh returned to Ormondville and several were baptized by immersion. This seemed to awaken the spirit of the dragon. A minister by the name of Willis, a Baptist, has done all in his power, by the bitterest opposition, to hinder the work of Brother McCullagh. But notwithstanding all his efforts in falsehoods, misrepresentations, wresting the Scriptures and perverting the Word of God, precious souls who would search the Scriptures for themselves have been convinced and have taken their stand firmly on the truth. 8LtMs, Ms 86, 1893, par. 17

His boasts have been that he would wipe them out; he would bring them to nothing. And seeing he could not do this, that souls are being converted to the truth, his rage was as is represented in Revelation: “And the dragon was wroth with the woman, and went to make war with the remnant of her seed, which keep the commandments of God, and have the testimony of Jesus Christ.” [Revelation 12:17.] 8LtMs, Ms 86, 1893, par. 18

He stirred up the people with his assertions and lying reports so that it has seemed to be a hindrance. There was a little building, one bare little room, that had been used for a house of worship. Our people wished to purchase it as they [the owners] wanted to sell it. When they learned that Seventh-day Adventists wanted it, they refused to sell it to them for any price. They rent to them but would not sell. And now the key was demanded. This unworthy, false shepherd had leavened the minds of the people so they would no longer rent the little building, so cheap and poor, as too good for Seventh-day Adventists. 8LtMs, Ms 86, 1893, par. 19

Brother McCullagh told them he had an appointment out and he could not give them the key until after this meeting. He had believers and unbelievers present and laid the facts of the case before them. There were no wealthy men; they were poor. But Elder McCullagh presented the matter of erecting a plain little house of worship, for what else could they do? There was a commendable zeal manifested and before that meeting closed the word in every mouth and in every heart was “We will arise and build!” [See Nehemiah 2:20.] One donated a lot of land, another lumber, and another glass and window frames, and thus it went on. Some would do the work free. And the matter was settled and Seventh-day Adventists had the sympathy of the people. A decided victory was gained. 8LtMs, Ms 86, 1893, par. 20

Sunday, October 29, 1893

We held our evening meeting in Theater Royal and a large number were present. The Lord gave me much freedom in speaking from 1 John 3:1-4. There was deep feeling in the congregation. Many were in tears. The presence of Christ was there. It was a very solemn meeting. Oh how my heart yearned for souls! The contribution more than paid all expenses. 8LtMs, Ms 86, 1893, par. 21

Friday, November 3, 1893

Friday Mr. Bruce, his wife and Sister Johnson returned from their country home thirty miles distant. It had looked as if it might rain all day, but no rain came. We heard Sister Wade was quite ill. Sister Wilson and I rode a short distance, then returned, and she visited our afflicted sister and gave her quite a thorough treatment which worked favorably. We hoped the Pitcairn would arrive today but there is no appearance of it. 8LtMs, Ms 86, 1893, par. 22

Saturday, November 4, 1893

Sabbath it rained very hard all day. Sister Caro came. We were glad to see her again. She spends one week here in working in her line of business and returns with us on the steamer to Napier Sabbath night. I hope the steamer will not leave until the Sabbath is fully past. Elder Wilson spoke to the people and gave an excellent discourse. I didn’t attend meeting, because no carriage was here to take me to meeting for all supposed it was so rainy I would not be out. I was surprised to see Sister Wade at the dinner hour at Sister Bruce’s. Her treatment gave her relief. We learned the Pitcairn was in. After dinner Captain Christenson and a brother from Auckland and Willie came and we had a very pleasant interview. Had not seen Willie for six weeks. All attended Sabbath school but Willie, Emily and I. We had much important counsel together. 8LtMs, Ms 86, 1893, par. 23

Sunday, November 5, 1893

Sunday visited with Willie and rode out with him. Everything in nature looked so clean and living green after the rain. We rode past the hospital grounds. They have but small buildings but amply sufficient to supply the necessities of this place. It is a very pretty place—cheerful premises and good, comfortable looking house. We returned to our home at Sister Bruce’s and the whole family left for the visit to the Pitcairn. Quite a large number visited the vessel and were highly pleased with the missionary ship. 8LtMs, Ms 86, 1893, par. 24

I spoke to a large number in Theater Royal upon Christ’s riding into Jerusalem. Willie and Captain Christenson spoke a short time to those assembled to see the Pitcairn, making appropriate remarks. 8LtMs, Ms 86, 1893, par. 25

Monday, November 6, 1893

I feel somewhat exhausted from speaking last evening. I arose at five o’clock. W. C. White, Elder Wilson and wife took their breakfast in the room I occupy. We have had a little council meeting as to when we should leave, and decided we must leave on the first boat. Brother McCullagh was very desirous we should spend a little time at Ormondville on our way to Wellington. This we have concluded was duty. We shall therefore hasten on our way as soon as the first boat shall take us to Napier. This week ends our labors in this place and we go on to Napier, speak there, then to Hastings, where Elder Wilson speaks in the evening. We join him and pass on to Ormondville and then make decision how long to remain in Ormondville, as we shall accommodate ourselves to the circumstances. After a season of prayer we part with W. C. White, he sailing on the Pitcairn to Wellington and we remaining to take the next boat to Napier. 8LtMs, Ms 86, 1893, par. 26

Sister Wilson and I rode out. Took dinner at Sister Neal’s and then we rode out again. Visited Sister Wade who is sick in bed. She had called a physician, and he had given her something that relieved her distress. 8LtMs, Ms 86, 1893, par. 27

Tuesday, November 7, 1893

Tuesday morning. It is a beautiful day. There is not much breeze. It is cooler this morning. 8LtMs, Ms 86, 1893, par. 28

Sister Wilson accompanied me to visit Mrs. Davis, a dressmaker who has been convicted of the truth. Brother and Sister Reed, when here in Gisborne, gave her Bible readings, and she was deciding to obey the truth. Then a Presbyterian minister visited her and the plain “Thus saith the Lord” in Scripture was confused and mixed up with “Thus saith the human agent.” She accepted the assertions of man rather than the plain Thus saith the Lord; she had far rather have the word spoken by finite man than the words spoken by God and any excuse that should bring to her a release from conviction was gladly received. Smooth words saying Peace, peace, were a soothing plaster to her heart, convicted of sin, and she slipped from her neck the yoke of Christ. And because the minister said the Sabbath—the seventh day God plainly specified—was not the Sabbath, she was deceived, for she wanted not the truth because it involved a cross. 8LtMs, Ms 86, 1893, par. 29

We labored with her and read to her what saith the Lord and then we prayed with her. Sister Wilson prayed and she prayed for herself and the presence of the Holy Spirit of God was with us. The woman was, we knew, under the strivings of His Holy Spirit. She asked, if she should accept the Sabbath, would it be wrong for her to go to her church on Sunday? I told her I had naught to say upon that point. My burden was for her to be convicted of sin as a transgressor and to obey God and show herself an obedient child of God. When she made the surrender of herself without reserve to God, then He would bless her and let His precious light shine into the chambers of her mind and the soul temple. He had given the promise, “If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him. But let him ask in faith, nothing wavering; for he that wavereth is like a wave of the sea driven by the wind and tossed. For let not that man think that he shall receive any thing of the Lord. A double minded man is unstable in all his ways.” James 1:5-8. 8LtMs, Ms 86, 1893, par. 30

This sister said she was proud, worldly-minded, and enjoyed not the Spirit of God. I tried to show her that if she saw light and would walk in that light she would see more light and greater clearness as she advanced; then she would gain confidence to take all her troubles and perplexities to God, not to man, and the Lord would guide her and bless her as she put her trust wholly in Him. She must obtain an experience for herself. She should consider no one should be conscience for her. The Lord is to be her Counselor, her Instructor, her wisdom, sanctification, and her righteousness. 8LtMs, Ms 86, 1893, par. 31

Wednesday, November 8, 1893.

This day after writing all I dared to write, Sister Wilson accompanied me to see a sister not of our faith who takes in her house women from the country who are to be confined. The doctors’ bills are so very extravagant for every visit. This sister, not of our faith, expressed a desire to see Mrs. White. I consented to visit her. 8LtMs, Ms 86, 1893, par. 32

We had a pleasant visit and, we trust, a profitable one. She introduced the Sabbath and said the seventh day was the Bible Sabbath, but her after remarks, I discovered, were that we must concede to customs and practices more or less as circumstances required in order to hold an influence in the world. We had a precious praying season with this woman and invited her to come to the picnic of the Sabbath school, for all the little church and as many as would. We would be so glad to meet and become acquainted with each other. She seemed pleased with the idea. 8LtMs, Ms 86, 1893, par. 33

We then made a call on a Sister Hensley, a widow woman whose appearance was that of a sincere Christian. She has seven children. Has been united with the Salvation Army, but since we have been holding meetings in Gisborne she has attended with a Sister Gray who has four children to support [and] who is also a widow. These women have brought their Bibles with them and mornings and evenings have listened to the discourses and have learned, they say, a great deal of the Bible and appreciate that which they have been privileged to hear. Both women are dependent upon their own labor to support their families. We have a great desire that they shall know all the truth and become loyal and true to the Lord God in keeping all His commandments. We tried to present the truth of the law of God just as given in His Word in (Exodus 20:8-11): “Remember the sabbath day, to keep it holy. Six days shalt thou labor, and do all thy work: but the seventh day is the sabbath of the Lord thy God: in it thou shalt not do any work, thou, nor thy son, nor thy daughter, thy manservant, nor thy maidservant, nor thy cattle, nor thy stranger that is within thy gates: for in six days the Lord made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that in them is, and rested the seventh day: wherefore the Lord blessed the sabbath day, and hallowed it.” 8LtMs, Ms 86, 1893, par. 34

(Exodus 31:13): “Speak thou also unto the children of Israel saying, Verily my sabbaths ye shall keep: for it is a sign between me and you throughout your generations; that ye may know that I am the Lord that doth sanctify you.” Take in this whole chapter and let its force be acknowledged. Verses 14-18. 8LtMs, Ms 86, 1893, par. 35

Thursday, November 9, 1893.

Thursday there was a Sabbath school picnic a few miles from Gisborne. We crossed the river in a boat and found a sightly location for the day. It being a little windy, we were sheltered by canvas to break the wind. All of the church with few exceptions were present, and several not of our faith also came by invitation to the gathering. It was the Prince of Wales’ birthday and is honored by making it a holiday. Baskets of provisions were brought on the ground, tablecloths were spread on the green grass, plenty of provisions of a simple, wholesome character were placed upon them, and all partook of the refreshment with keen relish. We then—several in number—resorted to the protection of the canvas to shelter us from the wind while the children were enjoying themselves in innocent amusement. 8LtMs, Ms 86, 1893, par. 36

I was introduced by Sister Johnson to a sister who was asking questions in reference to the Sabbath and bringing texts of Scripture to prove we should not keep Saturday as Sabbath, that any seventh part of time was just as well. We took up the objections and showed their fallacy, and then the immutability of the law of God. 8LtMs, Ms 86, 1893, par. 37

Our numbers were steadily increasing. I then presented the Bible evidence for the perpetuity of the Sabbath of the fourth commandment. There were no less than eight who were not keeping the Sabbath and they listened with eager interest. 8LtMs, Ms 86, 1893, par. 38

After talking one hour, giving the reasons why we should keep the seventh day, the Sabbath of the fourth commandment, the husband of the woman who had introduced the subject came and threw himself on the ground and began to give his supposed proof texts for the observance of Sunday. As I had talked one hour and at three o’clock was to speak to all, I gave over into Brother Wilson’s hands this man who was trying with a self-confident spirit to show that the seventh day had been changed to the first. 8LtMs, Ms 86, 1893, par. 39

But the blindness of the spiritual eyesight seems astonishing, and what abundance of evidence—with a plain “Thus saith the Lord”—some men will reject, while they accept as evidence assertions and the theories of the “fathers” to substantiate theories of error. 8LtMs, Ms 86, 1893, par. 40

The time came that I must speak. All collected, and parties which had taken a boat ride came to hear, so I had quite a congregation, and the Lord gave me perfect freedom in speaking to them. All seemed to feel well satisfied with the day of recreation. There was not extravagant excitement in pleasures. All was conducted with moderation and with happiness and peace. 8LtMs, Ms 86, 1893, par. 41

Friday, November 10, 1893

Rained nearly all day; nevertheless our trunks were packed and all the goods we could spare to send to the wharf prepared, to be put on the launch which would convey them to the steamer. This was all we could do. We were thankful to the Lord for this opportunity. 8LtMs, Ms 86, 1893, par. 42

Saturday, November 11, 1893

Gisborne, N. Z.,

Sabbath. Raining still. We felt very anxious for Mr. Wade, that he should walk in the knowledge of the truth—that which he knows to be truth. Will he close his shop and take his position before his children to obey the statutes and commandments of God? He can carry his family with him. The youngest lad, thirteen years old, has decided that he will be a child of God and obey His commandments, and today he received baptism with three others: Sister Rob, whom we found backslidden and filled with discouragements, for she has been passing through a furnace of trials; a daughter of Brother and Sister Johnson’s; and a son of a man who has never professed religion. He is about fourteen years old. Four received baptism before the morning meeting. 8LtMs, Ms 86, 1893, par. 43

We had a very excellent meeting. We invited all who wished to give their hearts to God to come forward. Well, before we ceased to plead for them about all the church members came forward and we had a very precious season of prayer with them. All witnessed for Jesus but one lad, who had been baptized and who was timid and could not get courage to speak. Yet that countenance he bore was a living testimony. The stamp of God was upon it, witnessing to his conversion. He was one of the lambs of Christ’s fold. This was our last meeting. 8LtMs, Ms 86, 1893, par. 44

The boat did not come from Auckland until some past seven. We drove down to Sister Neal’s, close by the wharf where we take the launch. We waited one, two hours, then the whistle told us the boat had come. We could not get in the first time the boat went to the steamer. We had to return to Sister Neal’s and wait until nine o’clock. Sister Caro did get in after the plank was withdrawn by stepping over the side of the boat. Again we went to the launch but had to wait all of one hour for the luggage and passengers to unload. It was fearfully dark and rained hard. 8LtMs, Ms 86, 1893, par. 45

We finally went on board the launch and scrambled up on the deck, which was slippery and wet, but Emily Campbell and Arthur Wade stood close by me so that if the boat lurched I should not be sent off into the sea. Here the rain came down fast, and we had no shelter from the rain. There was a little cabin, but we did not want to go in a close place where we could get no fresh air. It did not take long to get to the steamer, and we were rejoiced to get into our berth. Sister Caro had taken care of all the baggage—Elder Wilson’s and our luggage: had hands to help her and the porters to place them in the staterooms. These experiences are tests and trials we have frequently to experience, but patience must have its perfect work. 8LtMs, Ms 86, 1893, par. 46