Letters and Manuscripts — Volume 9 (1894)


Lt 30, 1894

Haskell, S. N.

Norfolk Villa, Prospect St., Granville, N. S. W., Australia

August 13, 1894

Portions of this letter are published in 4Bio 164-165.

Dear Brother:

We are in the midst of stirring times just now. Bro. Shannon, who lives in Sydney, has been arrested and prosecuted for working on Sunday. He owns houses and builds houses. He is a stone mason, and in and out-of-the-way place was stirring up some mortar, in a quiet way that could offend no one, on Sunday July 29th. It seems that spies were watching him, and he was reported to the officers, and arrested. A fine was imposed in accordance with the law made by Charles the II, and it was required that he either pay the fine or submit to confinement for two hours in the stocks. 9LtMs, Lt 30, 1894, par. 1

Elder McCullagh and several others brethren were present at the trial. My secretary, Sr. Emily Campbell, was also present to take shorthand notes of the proceedings. If I can get the reports from the secular papers, I will send them to you. 9LtMs, Lt 30, 1894, par. 2

The authorities of Sydney find that they have an elephant on their hands, and they are at a loss to know what to do in this affair. They do not covet the record that it would give them in carrying out a punishment invented under the profligate rule of Charles II. Bro. Shannon refuses to pay the fine, and as all his property is in his wives name, the authorities can find nothing on which to levy to pay the fine. The papers are publishing the matter extensively and are expressing their indignation at such legal transactions in no soft style. 9LtMs, Lt 30, 1894, par. 3

We think that now is the time to take advantage of the circumstances, and proclaim the truth to the people. Magistrates, lawyers, and men in high position are anxious to know something of the Seventh-day Adventists. They desire to be enlightened as to our views, and principles. Bro. McCullagh is the only man on the ground at present to do anything. Last Thursday he was in conversation with the magistrate and the officers in the court room, and one of the officers coming out made the remark that if that man kept on talking, he would convert them all. Yesterday Bro. McCullagh was visiting the prominent men in Sydney, and he laid the case before them in a true light, showing them that this prosecution was nothing short of religious persecution. He represented it to them as a repetition of the spirit and actions of the dark ages when religious intolerance was triumphant, when dissenters from the popular faith were robbed of their goods and tortured for their religious principles. 9LtMs, Lt 30, 1894, par. 4

Just now there is a wonderful stir in Sydney. This prosecution has awakened an intense interest. The authorities are collecting the statements that were made in regard to the persecution of the Firth Brothers in Parramatta, and they say that they will present these things at the next parliament and work for the repeal of that miserable old law. They are much perplexed to know what to do in regard to carrying out the sentence concerning Bro. Shannon’s case—that of collecting his fine or placing him for two hours in the stocks. I think that they will probably not carry out the sentence. 9LtMs, Lt 30, 1894, par. 5

We are expecting some brethren from Melbourne every day. In response to an urgent call, Bro. Corliss went to Tasmania to labor. Willie was called to Melbourne to attend important meetings there, and he has now been away three weeks. We all feel that either Elder Corliss, Colcord or Daniells should be here, to make as much as possible out of the interest created by this prosecution. We are expecting that someone will arrive today, and shall be disappointed if no one comes. 9LtMs, Lt 30, 1894, par. 6

Elder Wilson came from New Zealand some days ago, accompanied by Bro. Teasdale. He tarried in Sydney a few days, and then visited the school grounds at Dora Creek with Bro. Teasdale. Both of them were much pleased with the location. Both of them then went to Melbourne. I will enclose a letter that was written to me by Willie. More than one hundred have embraced the truth in Melbourne and its suburbs. The work is still advancing in Victoria. The Echo office seems to be in a healthful condition now, but as the times are very hard, they do not yet really meet expenses. They are now setting into operation plans by which they may stand on vantage ground. 9LtMs, Lt 30, 1894, par. 7

It is early morning, and Emily has just come in and has informed me that last night she went about two miles to visit Bro. Mccullagh, to see what could be done about getting help for holding meetings in Sydney. The brethren are trying to get a hall. Some one should be on the ground just now. Bro. McCullagh reports that there is a wonderful excitement created over this case. The facts of the case were placed before the governor, and he has sent in his decision to “go no further with this case.” What turn matters will take it is impossible for us to determine. We are waiting developments. 9LtMs, Lt 30, 1894, par. 8

There are souls embracing the truth between Castle and Pennant Hills. Bro. McCullagh has just visited the school teacher who lives at Pennant Hills. For weeks he has been reading books that have been furnished him by Bro. and Sr. Goodman. He is deeply interested in Great Controversy, and says that he never has read such a book. He wants Mrs. White to come to Pennant Hills and hold meetings in his house, and he will insure her a congregation. Another man who keeps a store has a large room above his store which he has offered to hold meeting in. At the time it was offered there was no one who could accept the invitation, but we think that there should be no longer any delay. 9LtMs, Lt 30, 1894, par. 9

The Lord is at work. His Holy Spirit is striving with hearts, but there is such a scarcity of laborers that we cannot respond to the calls. Two very nice persons have recently taken their stand upon the truth. Two Sabbaths ago he closed up his shop, and said that no more work should be done on the seventh day Sabbath at his place. Before Elder Corliss left for Tasmania, he had meetings at his house in the early hours of the morning for the benefit of the church, and this brother rode down to his place to obtain instruction from the Bible; for Elder Corliss was giving Bible readings. 9LtMs, Lt 30, 1894, par. 10

Twenty precious souls have accepted the truth at Seven Hills. Adults and children number forty who assemble on the Sabbath for Sabbath School and meeting. They are now building at neat, little church. O, how thankful I feel that I had some means with which to help them in this enterprise, for every one of them is very poor. I first pledged five pounds, thinking I could do no more on account of the various calls that were made for money to advance the work; but when I found that the small sum of three hundred dollars could not be raised, I doubled my subscription. Still the money could not be raised to the required sum, and I again doubled my subscription, which made my donation twenty pounds; but they were unable even then to meet the amount, and I gave five pounds more. The building is now well along, and all are of good courage. 9LtMs, Lt 30, 1894, par. 11

How thankful I am for the goodness of God, because that in His great mercy and love He has made me a steward of means, so that I can do something to advance the work in its different lines. We are grateful to God that even one soul is interested and is found taking his position upon the platform of eternal truth. If all heaven rejoices that one soul is saved, what rejoicing must there be in heaven that twenty souls in one region have decided to obey the truth. This means the salvation not only of themselves but of their children, the consecration of entire households to God. 9LtMs, Lt 30, 1894, par. 12

Canright’s book has been sent in through all this country; but better it be sent in here while I am on the ground, than after I am away or than before I came. Some have been confused by his statements; but their confusion has lasted but a little while, and then the dark atmosphere of Satan’s creating has been dispersed, and the experience they gained because of the trial was of a character to settle, strengthen, and confirm their faith rather than to move them away from the solid rock foundation. On every hand we see opportunities for using our means. Poverty and distress are everywhere. I will not see the people suffer for the want of food and clothing so long as the Lord give me something to do with. I will dispense to the poor. 9LtMs, Lt 30, 1894, par. 13

Throughout New South Wales we have been tested and tried with the influenza epidemic. Nearly every family has been afflicted in the cities and country towns. Some are now very, very sick. Their lives are hanging in the balance. We pray for the sick, and do what we can financially, and then wait the result. When patients are under the doctor’s care we can do little by way of treatment, for should the case prove unfavorable, we should be charged with taking life. One day last week there were eleven funerals. Those who eat meat do not recover from the attack as readily as those who do not eat meat. Children do not seem to suffer so much as the adults and the aged. I have been severely attacked, and have not been able to attend meetings for four weeks; but have not given up to take to my bed one day. I have written my number of pages nearly every day, though I have been coughing and sneezing and bleeding at the nose. Bro. Rousseau has been sick, and for some weeks Bro. Colcord has been confined to his bed. 9LtMs, Lt 30, 1894, par. 14

Nearly every one around has suffered but I thank the Lord I am improving and am of good courage in the Lord. We shall do all we can in the name of the Lord. I am full of thankfulness to the Lord that I do not have to look on helplessly, and groan and pray in seeing my brethren and sisters in distress for want of food and clothing. I do not need to say simple, Be ye warmed and be ye clothed, and yet do nothing to relieve them. I have experienced the truth of God’s word, “It is more blessed to give than to receive.” [Acts 20:35.] God’s people are being tried and tested, and may God grant that I may be able to help them through the trial they have the endure for the truth’s sake, and by so doing be able to cling to Jesus more firmly than ever. 9LtMs, Lt 30, 1894, par. 15

<Let Elder Olsen see this. You may make what use of these [letters] you please. Some of these will be published, I’m sure.> 9LtMs, Lt 30, 1894, par. 16