Letters and Manuscripts — Volume 9

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Ms 5, 1894

Regarding the Work in Brighton and Williamstown

Brighton and Williamstown, Victoria, Australia

February 1894

Portions of this manuscript are published in 10MR 74-76.

Yesterday, Sunday, in company with Brother and Sister Starr and several others, I went on the cars twelve miles to Williamstown and spoke in the afternoon to a tent full of people, the very best part of the community. I had been for some weeks compassed with infirmities, and thought it next to impossible to speak, but finally I went; and the Lord strengthened me. I was enabled to bear the message of warning given me of God. All listened with the most earnest interest, and I was glad I did not disappoint them. I then had some conversation with Captain Press and his wife, who is the president of the W.C.T.U. Mrs. Press came to visit me in my tent at Middle Brighton. She is a vegetarian, not having tasted animal food for several years. She has been pleading with me to speak in one of the meetings of their society in Melbourne. Elder Starr and his wife have visited Mr. and Mrs. Press, and Brother Starr also was urged to speak to the ladies of the W.C.T.U. 9LtMs, Ms 5, 1894, par. 1

They are very anxious to receive lessons in regard to hygienic cooking. We are so sorry that we have not even one person who is qualified in these lines and authorized to give lessons. But we shall do all we can to teach in this direction. Several of our sisters who have had some knowledge will undertake the task. They have plainly stated to these friends that they are not professional cooks, but the answer is, “Tell us what you know.” The W.C.T.U. have a very nice hall where they hold their meetings, and a restaurant connected with it, so every provision is made. They want our workers to come to the restaurant and to charge a sufficient sum to cover all expenses. This week the first lessons will be given. We hope to so relate ourselves to these people that quite a large number will unite with us in belief of the truth. 9LtMs, Ms 5, 1894, par. 2

Elder Grant visited Williamstown while he was in Australia and presented the doctrines of immortality only in Christ. Several received the light on this point, and some of them were in attendance at the camp meeting in Middle Brighton, and urged that meetings be held at Williamstown. As soon as the meetings on the campground closed, Elders Israel and Baker pitched a tent in Williamstown and quite an interest is being awakened there. Yesterday above two hundred were in attendance. This is the largest congregation they have yet had at the tent. The people are now inviting our ministers to come to their homes. Certainly there is evidence of a deep interest, and it seems to be growing. There is not one believer in the truth in the place. But we hope that a church may be raised up both here and at Middle Brighton. 9LtMs, Ms 5, 1894, par. 3

There are other towns, very many, that should be entered. These are now better prepared to have labor done in them since the camp meeting which was so largely attended and the sound of which has gone out far and near. Those in Williamstown who embraced the views presented by Miles Grant were excluded from the Methodist church. Now more light is unfolded to them upon the Sabbath and other points of Bible truth, and they are convicted. We hope they will be led on from point to point until they take the whole truth. 9LtMs, Ms 5, 1894, par. 4

Several in Middle Brighton of the very best class have come out clear and decided in the truth as the fruit of the camp meeting. This brings joy and rejoicing to our hearts. Elder Corliss and Elder Hare are laboring with a tent in that most beautiful suburb. In one family, named Malcolm, five members have accepted the truth. The aged mother, two daughters, a son and his wife. One daughter has been a missionary in China. She is an intelligent, fine-looking woman and an interesting speaker. She is now attending the Bible School, eagerly feasting on the truth and qualifying herself for her future work. 9LtMs, Ms 5, 1894, par. 5

I am going to ride out today to Middle Brighton, to make some visits. Those who acknowledge the truth approve it with the whole heart and are greatly blessed. The Bible, they say, is a new book to them. I cannot now tell the exact number who have received the truth in this one locality alone as the result of the camp meeting. 9LtMs, Ms 5, 1894, par. 6

Several from Melbourne have also decided to obey it. When one sister took her stand upon the truth her husband said, “You may give up the seventh-day Sabbath or leave my home.” They were Wesleyans. She left home, and then her daughter, a girl of sixteen years, took her stand on the Sabbath, and the father told her to leave. The mother heard this and went home for her daughter. The husband and father said, “Well, have you decided to give up that Sabbath and come back and live with me?” She replied, “No, I came for my daughter whom you have turned out of doors.” “But what are you going to do?” he questioned. “I am going to support myself and daughter. She may help me as she can.” 9LtMs, Ms 5, 1894, par. 7

He begged on his knees for his wife to give up these terrible doctrines. She had been a very timid woman, but the truth made her strong and she said, “No, I shall never give up the Sabbath: I shall keep it as long as I live. I must obey God.” “Well,” he said, “if you will come back, you and my daughter may keep the Sabbath, but promise you will not go to the meetings.” She would make no such promise. “I will be a faithful wife to you in everything,” she said, “but should I listen to your proposals, and disobey God, I should not be a faithful child to Him, and therefore should not be a faithful wife to you or a faithful mother to my children.” “Well,” he said, “I am in great distress of mind. Will you go to our minister and talk with him?” At first she refused, saying that she knew her duty and need not go to the minister to learn it. But as he continued to entreat her, she finally consented. It was then ten o’clock at night. 9LtMs, Ms 5, 1894, par. 8

They roused up the minister, and the man laid the whole matter before him—how he had turned his wife out of doors because she had kept the Sabbath. “Now,” said he, “did I do right in this and in saying to my daughter that if she kept the Sabbath she could not stay in my house? I want you to tell me, did I do right in thus treating my wife?” The minister answered, “You did perfectly right under the circumstances.” The man responded with much vehemence, “No, I did not do right. I abused my wife, and was unkind and abusive to my child. I see now how shameful was my course in treating a woman, the mother of my children, in so heartless a manner.” He then asked the forgiveness of his wife and said she should come back to his house. No restrictions should be placed upon her. She should be at liberty to do as she thought right. He felt greatly troubled over the course he had taken. So the wife was reinstated in her own home, more respected and loved than before this fiery opposition broke upon her. Our brethren think that the husband will be converted to the truth. 9LtMs, Ms 5, 1894, par. 9

Among those who accepted the truth in Melbourne are two brothers by the name of Anderson, who keep a large music store. They were baptized one week ago. They have since had some trouble. The father-in-law of one of the brothers, connected with them in the business, said to them, “The store must be opened on Saturday.” The son-in-law answered, “Not while our names stand on the sign can we open the music store on Saturday.” The wives of these men have not yet taken their stand. They are so mixed up with the world that it is hard to make suitable impressions that will divorce them from worldly idolatry. The brothers anticipate opposition, but they are firm and decided. 9LtMs, Ms 5, 1894, par. 10

We learned yesterday that Elder Corliss in his visiting in Brighton came across a man and his wife, an old couple, who have kept the Sabbath for ten years. They did not attend any of the meetings on the campground, did not know that there had been a camp meeting. Several persons are on the point of decision. Mr. Hill and his family seem to consider that so much is involved in this matter of changing their belief, we fear they are turning their ears from the truth. But we have not given up all hope yet. They have come to visit the school today. Brother and Sister Starr had my horse last Sabbath to make calls on several in Middle Brighton, and they feel in no way disheartened by the outlook. 9LtMs, Ms 5, 1894, par. 11

Elder Starr and his wife remained at Williamstown yesterday for the evening service as Brother Starr was to speak. Maggie Hare and May Israel accompanied me home, Brother and Sister Starr saw us on the car, and my horse and carriage were waiting for me at the station. I was real glad that I did not allow infirmities to prevent me from going to Williamstown; it would have been a disappointment to them. Brother and Sister Starr took breakfast with us this morning, so we learned of the meeting last night. There were nearly as many present as in the afternoon, and they were deeply interested. 9LtMs, Ms 5, 1894, par. 12

Brother Starr is anxious for Brother Rousseau, who is in Sydney, to return, that he may be free to visit among the people and become acquainted with those that are interested and help them. Brother Starr has charge of the school in Brother Rousseau’s absence. He speaks three times a week and wants to do much more. He is doing his best in every line, and he is an acceptable worker. I am glad that we have him with us. Brethren Israel and Baker feel cheerful and are much encouraged that the people come out to hear them, apparently with as much interest as to hear others of the preachers. 9LtMs, Ms 5, 1894, par. 13