Letters and Manuscripts — Volume 10 (1895)


Lt 31b, 1895

Harper, Walter

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

March 7, 1895

Portions of this letter are published in WM 332.

Dear Brother Harper:

I received your letter, with other letters, from America yesterday. I have written to you and sent you copies of letters also. I am pleased to hear that you are doing so well at the canvassing work, for we want you to send us all you can consistently to help advance the work of God, which is staggering under financial pressure. The end is near, and we need now as never before to watch and pray and wait in faith and hope, looking for our Lord’s appearing. We see that it requires a much more persevering effort in this country to bring the people to a decision than in America. The Scriptures seem like a new revelation to them. The people sit and listen as though charmed, but it seems far more to them to decide in this part of the globe than in America. The times are so hard, and they have to learn what it is to trust in God. 10LtMs, Lt 31b, 1895, par. 1

Many are convinced, but if they decided to obey, they would immediately lose their position. O, they think they would be so glad to keep the Sabbath if their families could be furnished with the mere necessities of life; but to see their children without bread is too large a test for them. Others, after hearing for some time the truth, and feeling its power applied to their hearts by the Holy Spirit, decide to obey and find rest and peace and joy in the Lord. 10LtMs, Lt 31b, 1895, par. 2

Sabbath before last, I spoke in Ashfield to a hall well filled. The Lord blessed me and the people, and a most precious testimony meeting was held. Then May Lacey, W. C. White’s intended wife, drove our horse, Jessie, eleven miles back to Granville. On Sunday, we rode twelve miles to Petersham, and I spoke Sunday evening. The tent was filled, and many stood outside. All listened with the deepest interest. The whole community seemed to be awakening to the idea that there are precious truths for them which they have not received or as much as heard of. Calls are coming in from the suburbs all around us, and there is earnest work to be done. 10LtMs, Lt 31b, 1895, par. 3

Oh, how I long for some of the means that is being wasted in unnecessary things for selfish gratification. The $1,000 loaned me I have invested in helping in the payment of the land on which to locate the school. I donated $1,000 more than my last year’s wages, after paying tithe on the same. I am now paying the expenses of two workers in Ashfield and Petersham. They are capable men, but the conference had not money to pay them, and rather than go in debt deeply, they thought of dispensing with their labor. The ministers who carry on the work in these cities are Brother Robert Hare and Brother McCullagh. They have all they can possibly do in this special line of work. Meetings are held every evening but one where the tent is pitched, and three evenings in the week at Ashfield. They are now calling for one evening more. 10LtMs, Lt 31b, 1895, par. 4

The two men, Brother Collins and Brother Pallant, who are paid from my purse, have been doing visiting, getting access to families, interesting them by personal labor, and giving them Bible readings. Both are capable men, and will soon be ordained to the ministry. As much depends upon the work of visiting, talking and praying with the people, and opening the way of truth to them, as in giving discourses, and I could not let them go out of the work. I pay them each $7 per week, and they board themselves. They barely make a living. Brother Collins has a wife and two children. Brother Pallant has a wife and two aged parents to help to support, so you see they have to practice close economy. They love the work; their hearts are in it. The Lord is using them, and I praise His holy name. 10LtMs, Lt 31b, 1895, par. 5

There are women of excellent ability who, I think, should be connected with the work. One, a worthy woman, has been a teacher on Norfolk Island. She left there to educate her children, two nice young girls. She has been canvassing in order to sustain her family, who have, you may be sure, no luxuries. This sister, Edwards by name, is a pre-possessing woman of excellent qualifications; and if I could make my purse stretch a little further, I would say, “Sister Edwards, take right hold, and visit the families you know are interested in the truth, and talk with them.” We have no women workers here now, since we let Sister Walker go up to Queensland at the earnest call of Bro. Starr for women workers in the homes of those who are interested hearers of the truth. 10LtMs, Lt 31b, 1895, par. 6

We feel deeply over the situation—[the] dearth of workers—but we can only go as far as our purse will allow. If someone could be induced to purchase my place in Battle Creek, I would be able to do more, but I do not know how to hold back even as it is. I have no meat or butter upon my table. We live very plainly, and our furniture is very plain, bought secondhand, and in jots and tittles as we can get it. In moving from place to place, we have no anxiety about breakage, for it is all old-fashioned and strong. I see several people to whom I long to say, “Go right into the work, and I will give you one pound per week and your board,” but I dare not now. 10LtMs, Lt 31b, 1895, par. 7

Mr. Walling has taken from me in all $2000, besides the $1000 I paid the lawyers just before coming to this country. So you can see that he has cost me $3000, besides $3000 in the expense of educating and training his children. Oh, how I need that $3000 to invest in the truth! I shall, if I remain here and am connected with the school interest, need to have a humble house built for myself and my workers. May the Lord direct me is my most earnest prayer. I was not able to sleep past one o’clock this morning, and sent the most earnest prayer to God that he would direct me in all things. 10LtMs, Lt 31b, 1895, par. 8

I am obliged to pay $300 per year for rent, and that is just a little more than half the price the house was to bring a few months before we rented it. It is a healthy place, very pleasant and convenient. We have the only place where our ministers can be accommodated, and we keep a free hotel; the comers and the goers are always welcome, although it costs quite a large sum. I will always make the Lord’s servants welcome. The people here are too poor to entertain. I have not eaten one meal outside of my own home in New South Wales, only as I carried my provision with me when I visited the families. 10LtMs, Lt 31b, 1895, par. 9

The poor, our family have had to assist in food and clothing, and to help the widow and fatherless by money gifts as well as food and clothing. This is a part of our work as Christians which cannot be neglected. Christ said, “The poor ye have always with you” [Matthew 26:11], and in this part of the Lord’s vineyard, that is literally true. Doing good in all its forms is enjoined upon the Lord’s missionaries by the Holy Scriptures. Read 2 Corinthians 9. You see, our work is not only to preach, but as we see suffering humanity in the world, we are to help them in their temporal necessities. Thus we will be instruments in the hands of God, “being enriched in everything to all bountifulness, which causeth through us thanksgiving to God, for the administration of this service, and not only supplieth the wants of the saints, but is abundant also by many thanksgivings unto God. Whiles by the experiment of this ministration they glorify God for your professed subjection unto the gospel of Christ, and for your liberal distribution unto them and unto all men.” [Verses 11, 12.] We have, as Christians, to be missionaries. Holy and beneficent action, flowing from pure love to God and the souls for whom Christ died, constitutes the highest development of evangelical piety, and is the most conclusive evidence that we can give to the world that our religion is not spurious and selfish and hypocritical. “By their fruits ye shall know them.” [Matthew 7:20.] 10LtMs, Lt 31b, 1895, par. 10

Those who have given themselves to the Lord will yoke up with Christ and will work in Christ’s lines, ever looking to Jesus for wisdom and correct judgment as to how to move. Many bring their zeal and natural temperaments into their benevolence; they move by impulse: they give to those to whom they take a notion to give; and others who are every bit as worthy they, like the priest and Levite, look upon them, but do not feel any particular interest, and pass by on the other side, which is the side of indifference and neglect. Doing good in all its forms is enjoined in the Holy Scriptures, but prudence and careful consideration are needed to know how to show mercy and help the really needy. 10LtMs, Lt 31b, 1895, par. 11

The way that is profitable to both parties is to help them to help themselves; open ways before them in the place of giving them money; find some work for them to do; manifest discretion; and be sure we make such use of means as will do the most good for the Lord’s poor in the present and future. There is such a thing as following impulse, and bestowing upon the poor in such a way as to injure them by encouraging them to expect to receive help and to depend upon others in the place of exercising their own ingenuity and power to help themselves. Indolence must not be encouraged. 10LtMs, Lt 31b, 1895, par. 12

One thing we can be assured of in our missionary work. The Holy Spirit is to come to the aid of every true seeker, for God has said He is “more willing to give the Holy Spirit to them that ask him than parents are to give good gifts to their children.” [Luke 11:13.] Under the guiding influence of the Holy Spirit, self will not be made prominent. The natural temperament should not be strengthened into selfishness. We should keep the eye steadily fixed upon Jesus, that we may know best by studying and contemplating his character how to work in Christ’s lines. 10LtMs, Lt 31b, 1895, par. 13

We have a line of duty, clear and plain, laid open before us. It is to seek most earnestly for thorough consecration to missionary work. We are to seek the salvation of souls for whom Christ has made the sacrifice of everything pleasant and agreeable in order to lift men and women, youth and children, to comprehend the great salvation which He has made possible. He has given His own life that those who live upon His merits by faith, should not perish, but have everlasting life. He gave Himself for the world, shedding His blood to obtain possession of His own creatures, His by creation and by redemption. 10LtMs, Lt 31b, 1895, par. 14

When the human agents, who claim to be followers of Jesus Christ, consider that the giving of Jesus Christ for the life of the world was to save precious souls from eternal death, that in Him they might have life and have it more abundantly, they will appreciate the sacrifice that He has made. We are to be co-laborers with Jesus Christ in our own salvation, not merely in saving our own souls, but in becoming channels of light to diffuse light to others, and in this way we show our faith by our works. 10LtMs, Lt 31b, 1895, par. 15

Christ brought health to the bodies of those for whom He labored, and by that means was able to reach their souls. Having cleansed physical impurities and afflictions, the way was prepared to reach the citadel of the soul. In co-operating with Jesus Christ, in doing good to the souls and bodies He estimated of such value that He gave His life for them, we shall reap our reward. The work is opening up in this country, nigh and afar off. Will everyone who claims to be a follower of Jesus Christ do their duty as Christians that the Lord has given them to do? Will they consider that they are handling the Lord’s money, and make the best use of the means entrusted to them? 10LtMs, Lt 31b, 1895, par. 16

We are fearfully behind the spirit of our holy faith in our conceptions of duty. Our faith must be more and purer than it is now. Do we believe the Word of God? What sacrifice are we making in self-denial? Has the Word of God power to move our consciences so that we will be doers of the Word? Are we doing missionary work in the Spirit of Jesus Christ? We hear of several keeping the Sabbath in Gouldbourn, a place between Sydney and Melbourne. These newly come into the truth must be looked after and their needs be attended to. Oh, that church members would realize their responsibility! 10LtMs, Lt 31b, 1895, par. 17