Letters and Manuscripts — Volume 8 (1893)


Lt 6b, 1893

Haskell, S. N.

Kaeo, New Zealand

February 22, 1893

Portions of this letter are published in 3MR 325.

Dear Brother Haskell:

We left Auckland Monday. The boat steamed out of the dock at 7:00 p.m. This was a small boat, with no staterooms on deck. The rooms below had very little room in them and were ventilated by a porthole, which would be closed if ever windy or in case of storm. 8LtMs, Lt 6b, 1893, par. 1

Our party, Elder Starr and wife, Emily Campbell, W. C. White, and I all were of one mind that I should not go below, but remain on deck. We had brought on board an adjustable wire spring cot, and this was prepared for me. I was first placed in an easy chair I had found, or Willie and Elder Starr had found, in Auckland. It was thought best for me to sit in it until the smokers were out of the social hall, which was the only place that the captain and steward thought they could place me if I could not remain on deck. The wind blew, very strongly, so I was bundled up to keep me from taking cold; but I became very weary. My nerves were tired, and my limbs would not remain still. They pained me; I thought it was impossible for me to remain. There was a company of musicians on board, from Auckland, and they exercised their skill in instrumental music; but I became so weary, I wished I could lie down. 8LtMs, Lt 6b, 1893, par. 2

I spoke eight times in Auckland; except twice, I had spoken in the evenings which forbade my sleeping but little at night. Twice I had spoken in the town hall; the night before I had spoken in the hall, and I could not get rest until late. And the tax of getting off the American mail was severe upon me. But after eleven o’clock the steward and Willie helped me to my quarters for the night. They conducted me to the other side of the boat, where there was the least wind, and there was my spring cot. They had used their ingenuity, (and it required some thought and planning) to put up rugs to shield me from the wind, and yet leave a passage way for the passengers and the workmen to pass. I can assure you it was a relief to lie down and straighten out my limbs which had become hot, nervous, and painful. I had become so weary I was in a burning fever for about three hours, then I slept a little. 8LtMs, Lt 6b, 1893, par. 3

Emily was in a steamer chair on one side of me, and Willie in another steamer chair on the other side of me. About two o’clock I saw an enormous rock in mid-ocean. I learned the next morning from the Captain [that] this rock was 1,353 feet high named Baronga. It is a little island belonging to a group called “The Hen and Chicken Group.” I was half a mind to wake W. C. White, and Emily, but I knew they were both very weary and let them sleep, so they missed the sight. 8LtMs, Lt 6b, 1893, par. 4

The morning came, but I was advised if comfortable to keep on my cot. Of course, none of us removed our clothing. We were all hungry. I had plenty of sea air for which I was grateful to my heavenly Father. 8LtMs, Lt 6b, 1893, par. 5

Every one on the boat seemed to be interested in our party and watching for opportunities to serve us. They certainly had my thanks for all their kind attentions and services. The Captain was kind and courteous. He said to his steward [that] Mrs. White was to have everything done for her, that was in their power, to make her comfortable and her trip pleasant. 8LtMs, Lt 6b, 1893, par. 6

We came to Russel Harbor, a small place, but quite interesting in appearance. Mountains were all around this place except where it was on the water side. This seemed to be the stopping place for most of the passengers. In approaching Russel, there were islands of rocks, and on the sides of the rocks were trees and vegetation growing very high up. As we thought we were going straight into harbor the anchor was cast, for a fog had settled down upon us. The Captain said, “We are caught in a fog, and I will not run any risks, for the peril may involve the boat and passengers.” And we honored his judgment. 8LtMs, Lt 6b, 1893, par. 7

For about one hour the fog did not lift, and the sun did not penetrate it. Then the musicians, who were to leave the boat at this place, entertained the impatient passengers with music, well selected and well rendered. It did not jar upon the senses as the previous evening, but was soft and really grateful to the senses, because it was musical. Between eight and nine o’clock the fog lifted. The sun had penetrated through it, and it was wonderful how rapidly most of the fog was swept away, leaving the harbor clear and perfectly safe to be entered by the boat. 8LtMs, Lt 6b, 1893, par. 8

I called to mind how many times this very symbol had been realized in our Christian experience. We dared not venture in a mist of perplexity, and were obliged to stand still and see the salvation of God. The words from the living oracles teach us [that] when tried and tempted and surrounded with difficulties, the safe course for us to pursue is to patiently wait, to be of good courage, and [to] commit the keeping of soul and body to God. “Who is among you that feareth the Lord, that obeyeth the voice of His servant that walketh in darkness and hath no light? Let him trust in the name of the Lord, and stay upon his God.” [Isaiah 50:10.] 8LtMs, Lt 6b, 1893, par. 9

This is the only safe course for any one of us—to keep our minds and hearts by faith stayed upon Jesus Christ, the Sun of Righteousness. Watch and pray, and the bright beams from the Sun of Righteousness will disperse the fog and clouds and shine in its brightness more precious, more clear, to our spiritual senses than if there had been naught to interpose between Jesus and our souls. We could show our trust and confidence in the Sun of Righteousness that, though hidden for a moment, it would again appear. 8LtMs, Lt 6b, 1893, par. 10

Our work was to wait on the Lord and stay our souls upon our God, and we are not to become impatient and rash and presumptuous and be of that class whom the Lord describes as, “Behold all ye that kindle a fire, that compass yourselves about with sparks, walk in the light of your fire, and in the sparks that ye have kindled. This shall ye have of mine hand, ye shall lie down in sorrow.” [Verse 11.] Our only safety is to walk humbly before the Lord and to trust in Him continually with all the understanding, according to His revealed will, and to “serve him with all the heart.” [Deuteronomy 11:13.] 8LtMs, Lt 6b, 1893, par. 11

We must not, when fogged, make a venture, and rush some way, when we do not know it is the way of the Lord. We see no light, yet create light in our own finite wisdom and follow human inventions, when the Lord designed that we should look to Him, seek counsel of Him, and at every step inquire of His word and seek Him in prayer for light and knowledge. “Thus saith the Lord, In an acceptable time have I heard thee, and in a day of salvation have I helped thee, and give thee for a covenant of the people, to establish the earth, to cause to inherit the desolate heritages.” [Isaiah 49:8.] 8LtMs, Lt 6b, 1893, par. 12

We need daily to cultivate faith and love for God, for the stronger we shall become in faith, the more ardent in our love, the more we are tried and tested and proved. But if we have faith no more settled than the waves of the sea, “Let not that man think that he shall receive anything from the Lord.” [James 1:7.] We must cultivate faith that will not shrink though tried by many a foe. We must cultivate hope and courage in the Lord. The Sun of Righteousness, apparently obscured, will shine forth and scatter the light or the more dense fog, for His brightness is not extinguished, only hidden for a moment. That greater appreciation shall be manifested by us all when the bright beams of righteousness appears and we will, for the momentary hiding, consider how terrible it would be to have the precious brightness of Christ forever hidden from us. 8LtMs, Lt 6b, 1893, par. 13

The Lord gives us an individual experience that we may understand how to diffuse the light and knowledge we have received in the school of Christ of the providence of God, of His tender, watchful care and sympathy. 8LtMs, Lt 6b, 1893, par. 14

While the boat was waiting in the harbor to unload the cargo, the Captain and his officials seemed anxious to give us all the information possible in reference to important points which attracted our attention. The fog had delayed us more than an hour. We did not enter the harbor Whangaroa until dark and could scarcely take in the scenery. One point defined on the rock was a face so much resembling the Duke of Wellington that it was thus called. This is called, the Captain said, the prettiest harbor in New Zealand. 8LtMs, Lt 6b, 1893, par. 15

As the boat was being made fast to the wharf, Brethren Joseph and Metcalf Hare came on the boat and greeted us with a hearty welcome. Our delay had not hindered us, for we must still delay a short time, for the boat was dependent upon the tide to help the boat home to Kaeo. Had we been one or two hours earlier, we would have had to wait for the tide to be in our favor. 8LtMs, Lt 6b, 1893, par. 16

Most of the way, we had the new moon to brighten for us this six-mile ride. The oars were handled by [the] experienced hands of Brethren Joseph and Metcalf Hare. We were passing much of this distance through a narrow channel. W. C. White handled the helm under the direction of these [brethren]. We could not see at times any opening. The granite rocks and hills seemed to bar our way, but there was a way for us, an open passage for us as we advanced. Thus it will ever be in our religious experience. We know not where the Lord is leading us, we can see only obstructions, but as in this ride on the waters, the oars are in skillful hands, and the voice or motion of the hand expresses the course the boat is to follow, to the right or to the left. 8LtMs, Lt 6b, 1893, par. 17

I was surprised to see this large boat managed by two oars in the hands of Brethren Hare, and with their directions, go to the right or to the left. The words of (James 3:4) were brought to my mind. “Behold the ships, which, though they be so great, and are driven of fierce winds, yet they are turned about with a very small helm, whithersoever the governor listeth.” We had a practical fulfillment of the obedience of the boat going whithersoever the governor listeth. We were favored with quiet waters, almost as smooth as glass. We were thus brought close up to the rear of Bro. Joseph Hare’s premises, and we walked up the steps into the yard and into the open door of his house. Then we were entertained over night. 8LtMs, Lt 6b, 1893, par. 18

Wednesday we left Joseph Hare’s to go to Father Hare’s, three miles from Kaeo. The scenery on the way was very attractive—meadows and hills seemed to enclose us on every side. The mountains were clothed with verdure, and trees and the beautiful tree-ferns were a sight pleasant to the eye. 8LtMs, Lt 6b, 1893, par. 19

Thursday it began to rain, and we had rain, rain all day. In the morning Brother Metcalf Hare came on horseback for our American mail clad in a rubber suit. He took the mail to Kaeo and Brother Joseph went in his boat to the harbor six miles to put the mail on the steamer. It rained all day Thursday and Friday. The water from the hills poured down into the valleys, and there was a wonderful flood such as had not been seen for thirty years. 8LtMs, Lt 6b, 1893, par. 20

Immense logs were drifted into cultivated fields from miles above, where they had been resting for years, and corn fields were hopelessly ruined. Brother Joseph Hare lost fifty hives of bees and all the poultry of a choice selection. The barn floor was washed away and the cattle—horse, colt, and cow—were carried out into the flooded fields. The colt was injured by getting entangled in the wire fence. Although cut up considerably, he rescued it. The cow put [out] for the mountains, and did not make her appearance until the flood had subsided. 8LtMs, Lt 6b, 1893, par. 21

Many families were driven from houses. Pianos were placed upon tables, but even then were much injured, for the water was several feet deep. For days after we could see the beds and bedding, and clothing of every description, out to dry on the fences. It reminded us of the Pennsylvania flood. The Wesleyan minister’s house was built on a high hill, and thirty left their houses, drowned out by the flood, were kindly entertained; and other houses were filled with the drowned out inhabitants. 8LtMs, Lt 6b, 1893, par. 22

The mail goes today, and I have been on boats,[and] in meetings, and have but little mail to send. Every place we enter calls for my speaking. Of all for whom we labor, the Brethren Hare are the most discouraging. 8LtMs, Lt 6b, 1893, par. 23