Letters and Manuscripts — Volume 9 (1894)


Lt 24, 1894

Haskell, S. N.


April 1894

Portions of this letter are published in 6MR 134-135. +Note

Bro. Haskell,

We received your short but interesting letter. We feel very thankful for the interest you have manifested in securing money for the missionary work in this country. There are doors opened all around to work in cities and country places, and we seek to live as economically as possible, that we may have something to help students to attend school with the purpose of qualifying them to engage in some branch of the work in the Lord’s great vineyard. Then every place where a little company is raised up there must be a house of worship built, if it be ever so humble, and in every place we need to make an investment, if we would inspire those newly come to the faith to work in earnest activity to “Arise and build” [Nehemiah 2:20], when they first decide for the truth. When any enterprise arises calling for investment of means, we must lead out, with a donation of four or five pounds and upward, if we [are to] see the work advance. 9LtMs, Lt 24, 1894, par. 1

Again I thank you for your disinterested efforts in securing means for the various enterprises that must be entered into if the work shall progress and the kingdom of Christ be extended. I will try to send you a short article I wrote just as our people were contemplating the purchase of supplies for the school. This is our principle, to work economically in every line; and I believe that if we do this, means will be forthcoming to sustain the work. It has cost us a large sum to move to this place, but as there are workers in Melbourne now, we deemed it to be our duty to go into the regions beyond. 9LtMs, Lt 24, 1894, par. 2

The Lord’s vineyard embraces the world, and we are to see the various necessities in all places and try to supply these demands as far as possible. A good work is begun in Melbourne, and the work is only started. “Men and means” is our cry. As far as possible we are educating the workers to make the work self-sustaining by their contributions and by the practice of strict economy. This we present by our own practice. Not a piece of furniture is purchased merely for appearance. We buy at auction odd pieces of furniture, not seeking to have the pieces harmonize, if they will answer the purpose. If they are odds and ends, defaced and worn, we touch them up with stain and varnish, which costs but little. We are determined to maintain the principle that we are pilgrims and strangers, and we are soon to move <from this earth> to a better country, even an heavenly. 9LtMs, Lt 24, 1894, par. 3

Bro. Starr came from a sale of goods a few days ago. He said, “I did so want to purchase a wardrobe, a beautiful piece of furniture, with mirror <in front,> that went for <less than four> pounds <when it must have cost ten,> but I remembered we are pilgrims and strangers, and decided not to buy it.” I said, “You did right. I do not want even the appearance of costly furniture in my house, for it would contrast strangely with the other articles.” He bought <two> plain, old-fashioned little bureaus for me, <one costing five, the other> three dollars, and a secondhand washstand for himself for <a small sum.> This is the way we have worked. We are getting everything for durability, things that will bear rough handling and transporting from place to place <and not break or come to pieces.> We have been and still are very <hard pressed> for means. <The Lord sees it all, He will not leave us in destitution, although in strait places. The one thousand dollars which you say is forthcoming will supply our present necessities and keep the machinery moving.> 9LtMs, Lt 24, 1894, par. 4

Bro. James of Kellyville had a nice little farm, on which there rested a debt. When hard times came, he could not meet the interest, and the farm was sold from under him. He now takes his family to “regions beyond.” [2 Corinthians 10:16.] In my talk last Sabbath I encouraged him that this might be the very way the Lord was working to bring the truth to those who would receive it into good and honest hearts. He would permit trials to come upon His people in temporal things, uprooting them from their homes and sending them into new places to let their light shine forth to others in moral darkness who must be warned. All who have been converted from error to truth have a sacred responsibility to lift the standard for Jesus, wherever they may be. “Ye are my witnesses,” saith the great Teacher. [Isaiah 43:10.] 9LtMs, Lt 24, 1894, par. 5

Bro. McKenzie has been a real estate agent, a bookkeeper; he earned large wages, but in the land boom he ran in debt in purchasing a farm, building a house, and buying expensive furniture. He has an excellent wife. When they accepted the truth he lost his position, and then the banks failed, he had nothing to meet his pressing necessities, and he was sold out. A pressing call came to the Echo office for a loan of a few pounds to buy some of his furniture. When bid off at auction, a man not of our faith bought the whole lot. He will give any one the privilege of buying back for McKenzie any articles that went very low, so that he may not be left entirely destitute. Ten pounds was sent him from Melbourne for his present relief, and his brethren in Paramatta raised what they could for him. I learn they have been three days at a time without food, <with the exception of a limited supply of dry bread.> Thus the practice of running in debt which prevails in this country, ends in disaster. After Bro. McKenzie embraced the truth, the doors for labor were closed upon him. He has now nothing the man calls his own. We see the folly of a man’s having only one trade. 9LtMs, Lt 24, 1894, par. 6

These cases are multiplying. Another Bro. named McCann came to me for assistance. Bro. McCann is a worthy member of the Paramatta church. He has nine living children, the eldest a young woman about twenty years of age. He had a small, rocky farm <of only ten acres, but a good house upon it,> and could raise but little on it. He mortgaged it, and since the hard times came, he finds it difficult to raise the interest money, which is to be paid quarterly. This brother came to me and said, “Sister White, I have not a soul that can help me. Will you do it?” He asked if I could lend him seven pounds, ten [shillings], for three months; but not one of our party had money enough even to pay for the transportation of our goods from Melbourne to this place. We had to borrow from the Tract and Missionary Society in Sydney, and they were short. The Echo office could not even let me have of my own money deposited there. As soon as the canvassers make their delivery, then the office will have means. 9LtMs, Lt 24, 1894, par. 7

I told Bro. McCann I expected Willie from Melbourne, and if he brought me money, I would let him have what he asked for, even if I had to do without purchasing what little fruit is still to be found in the market for a supply [for] the coming winter. But Willie brought no money from Melbourne. I could not bear to see this family sold out of house and home <as the keen, hardhearted sharpers would like to do.> The railroad was negotiating for one acre of his ten, and the claim had been sent in; if he could get the pay for this acre, he could wipe out a portion of the debt, and then the station built near his home, the property he still held would be increased in value and would sell readily. I puzzled my brain to know what I should do. 9LtMs, Lt 24, 1894, par. 8

I thought of one family who might have money. I solicited them to lend me ten pounds; that would give me enough for my present necessity and the seven pounds ten, would save this man from foreclosure of the mortgage. I readily secured the money where, if he had asked for it, he could have obtained nothing. They had so little faith that he could repay it. They knew I would pay them. Bro. Starr and I went up last Monday, and one grateful man and his godly wife received the favor. We might have delayed and hesitated, and the next day or two the summons would have been received to vacate the house and premises <and he be left with his large family destitute.> 9LtMs, Lt 24, 1894, par. 9

So you see how essential it is to have something on hand just at this time to meet present emergencies. If this large family had been bereft of home, some of us, if Christians, would have had to help him more than seven pounds to relieve his distress. Now he hopes to sell out in a few months and get a cheaper place. He has a nice house, and will, we hope now, tide over the difficulty. 9LtMs, Lt 24, 1894, par. 10

Two of their children have been at service. The young woman twenty years old had received three dollars per week before they accepted the Sabbath. They found a place for her, where she now is, nursing a sick woman. The conscientious mother made the engagement for her daughter with the express agreement that she should keep the Sabbath. She is a member of the Paramatta church. But the employers paid no attention to the agreement and set her to washing all day on Sabbath. Now her parents have given notice that she cannot work for them. If she leaves the place without notice, she loses the wages <she has earned.> The girl was the receive only six shillings <in the place of twelve,> with the understanding that she was not to work on the Sabbath, except to prepare food for them to eat and care for the wants of the sick woman. 9LtMs, Lt 24, 1894, par. 11

Bro. McCann and family say that however straightened their circumstances they must keep the Sabbath according to the commandment. The father secured a place of service for his son, with the agreement that the son should do no servile work on the Sabbath day. Well, the employer set the boy to cutting up chaff on the Sabbath. The father sent a second son to work all day Friday to help cut up the chaff, to place things in a favorable condition, so that the first boy could keep the Sabbath, but the employer set him to doing still more servile work on the Sabbath, so that the father, who fears God, has given notice for his son to leave. The employers are pleased with the boy’s faithfulness and begged the parents to let him stay at least two weeks, till they could find another boy. 9LtMs, Lt 24, 1894, par. 12

Thus you see how difficult it is to find work and keep the Sabbath. Unbelievers think our brethren overscrupulous. Bro. McCann says his boy will have to work by the day, here and there, as he can pick up something to do. Now this little history tells the story in a mild form for all who are left at the mercy of the people who fear not God nor regard man. 9LtMs, Lt 24, 1894, par. 13

Thus you see in purchasing land for school purposes, plans must be laid that shall enable parties to hold a large tract, so that poor brethren may come and purchase little farms, where they can support their families and educate their children. This is in accordance with that which I have ever had presented before me. It will have to be done in many places, simply acting the example of Christ. The pressure is coming stronger and stronger on the Sunday question, which will place our people in <far more> trying circumstances <than those similarly situated in America.> All these things must be considered. 9LtMs, Lt 24, 1894, par. 14

We have not ceased to present these subjects to the Lord in earnest prayer, that He who led the armies of the children of Israel in the wilderness should guide His people in the present state of things. We pray that He will indicate where our school shall be located, and what measures must be entered upon to secure sufficient land for cultivation, that the Sabbathkeepers who love and fear God may be made self-sustaining. <Brother Lawrence and Willie have been on this business, searching for land, three days and nights absent; today we hope to see them.> 9LtMs, Lt 24, 1894, par. 15

Poverty, poverty abounds everywhere. The Lord has given us full directions in Isaiah what course Christians should pursue toward their fellow men in building up the old waste places, raising up the foundation of many generations. Keeping holy the Sabbath seems to be closely connected with the works of mercy and necessity <plainly marked out,> bringing “the poor that are cast out to their house, when thou seest the naked, that thou cover him: and that thou hide not thyself from thine own flesh.” [Isaiah 58:12-14, 7.] 9LtMs, Lt 24, 1894, par. 16

And then the promise is, “Then shall thy light break forth as the morning, and their health shall spring forth speedily, and thy righteousness shall go before thee; the glory of the Lord shall be thy rereward. Then shall they call (offer up supplications to God), and the Lord shall hear and answer; thou shalt cry, and he shall say, Here I am. If thou take away from the midst of thee the yoke, the putting forth of the finger, and speaking vanity;” [Verses 8, 9]—What does this mean? just this: when one is brought into straight places, men are not to become judges of their fellow man, and accuse him of making mistakes and reproach him for his course of action, and pass sentence upon him, while they exalt their own superior wisdom because misfortune and disappointments and blasted hopes have not been the bitter cup they have been compelled to drink. Their brother is not to be thus judged, for he may have done the very best he knew how to do, and stands innocent of all condemnation before God. Then his brethren are not to do this wicked thing, and press the afflicted soul whom Satan is seeking by his temptations to dishearten and discourage and destroy. <Let us remember, Satan is an accuser of the brethren day and night.> 9LtMs, Lt 24, 1894, par. 17

Why should men, who are wholly dependent upon the mercy of God, be so hard and unsparing toward their fellow men? Why should they take it for granted that the Lord loves them and regards them as so much better than the soul afflicted because of <peculiar> temporal embarrassments? The Lord is looking on, all the universe of heaven is marking the words and the actions of man toward his fellow man, to see if the mercy and the love of Christ are revealed in character, in compassion, tenderness, and helpfulness. If words of reproach are spoken to the unfortunate and oppressed, be assured that man has not Christ abiding in his heart; Christ is not working through him, He is not imparting to him His attributes, which are love, tenderness, and benevolence. All of us are working out a character before the heavenly universe. If men help Satan in oppressing their fellow men, those men will receive and reap the harvest they have sown. 9LtMs, Lt 24, 1894, par. 18

The religion of Christ is no inefficient element; it is a wonderful working agency to uplift, to bless and to relieve human suffering. The love of God we must have in the heart; we must cultivate love for suffering humanity. Nothing can take so strong a hold on the heart as the abiding, growing sense of our responsibility to our God who is constantly imparting to us. Nothing reaches so fully down to the deepest motives of conduct in the treatment of our fellowmen as a sense of the pardoning love of Christ <in the soul.> In the cross of Calvary, the law and the Gospel meet; mercy and truth have met together, righteousness and peace have kissed each other. 9LtMs, Lt 24, 1894, par. 19

We read in Isaiah, “If thou draw out thy soul to the hungry, and satisfy the afflicted soul; then shall thy light rise in obscurity: and thy darkness be as the noonday: and the Lord shall guide thee continually, and satisfy thy soul in drought and make fat thy bones; and thou shall be like a watered garden, and like a spring of water, whose waters fail not.” [Verses 10, 11.] And the psalmist says, “Blessed is he that considereth the poor: the Lord will deliver him in time of trouble. The Lord will preserve him, and keep him alive; and he shall be blessed upon the earth: and thou wilt not deliver him unto the will of his enemies. The Lord will strengthen him upon the bed of languishing; thou wilt make all his bed in his sickness.” [Psalm 41:1-3.] 9LtMs, Lt 24, 1894, par. 20