Letters and Manuscripts — Volume 11 (1896)


Lt 110, 1896

Wessels, John

Northcote, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia

October 29, 1896

Portions of this letter are published in 3SM 248; TMK 289; 1MCP 248. +Note

Dear Brother, John Wessels:

My mind is drawn to communicate to you this morning. We have been to Adelaide to attend the camp meeting. We have witnessed a greater interest there than we have seen in any of our large gatherings before. We remained in Adelaide over three Sabbaths and Sundays. There was most decided Bible truths presented in clear lines, and the whole community are stirred. They say they never heard such preaching before that they never saw the Bible presented in such clearness and power. 11LtMs, Lt 110, 1896, par. 1

We left Adelaide October 19th. Brother Haskell and my secretary and myself tarried a couple of days at Ballarat, visited the sick and spoke to the little company who could not attend the camp meeting. I spoke once, Elder Haskell spoke three times. We then came to Melbourne and have been holding meetings in North Fitzroy. They have a very neat building, a chapel, new, sweet and nice in which to worship God. O how thankful we all are that we need not meet in the dirty, ill-ventilated halls surrounded with outhouses that defile the air with disgusting odor. Everything is new and nice about the <house and> premises, <but all is severely plain.> 11LtMs, Lt 110, 1896, par. 2

They are in debt for the chapel nine hundred pounds, but the Lord will open the way so that it shall be paid. I am urging all to strictly economize in their outlay of means, and in everything that they suppose they must have <but can do without,> and leave the house dedicated to God free of debt. 11LtMs, Lt 110, 1896, par. 3

I have been setting before our people that everyone should study and economize in their dress and furniture, and in all things consider when they spend a pound or even a shilling, could I not do without this? Is it necessary for me to spend this money? Could I not better glorify God by self-denial, and invest this means to lift the debt and stop the interest on the money invested in this house built for the worship of God? I advised them to look over their treasures that have accumulated in their parlors and see if these things could not be sold and the money put into the house of God, that it shall glorify Him by being free from debt. 11LtMs, Lt 110, 1896, par. 4

Those who have bracelets, and wear gold and ornaments, had better take these idols from their persons and sell them, even if it should be for much less than they gave for them, and thus practice self-denial. Time is too short to adorn the body with gold or silver or costly apparel. I know a good work can be done in this line. Jesus, the Commander in the heavenly courts, laid aside His crown of royalty and His royal robe and stepped down from His royal throne, and clothed His divinity with the habiliments of humanity and for our sakes became poor, that we through His poverty might come into possession of eternal riches, and yet the very ones for whom Christ has done everything that was possible to do, to save perishing souls from eternal ruin, feel so little disposition to deny themselves anything that they have money to buy. 11LtMs, Lt 110, 1896, par. 5

The Lord is soon to come, and His reward is with Him and His work before Him to give every man according to his work. I try to set before the people that we are handling the Lord’s money to accomplish the most important work that can be done. They can, individually, through denial of self, do much more if all do a little, and the many little rivulets will make quite a current sent flowing heavenward. 11LtMs, Lt 110, 1896, par. 6

True, it is difficult for all to take in the situation. Self, self, self, must be served and glorified; and how hard [it is] for all to become laborers together with God. Oh, that a spirit of self-sacrifice might come to every church, and thus every soul nigh and afar off might learn the value of money, and use it while they can, and say, “Of Thine own, Lord, we give Thee.” [1 Chronicles 29:14.] 11LtMs, Lt 110, 1896, par. 7

In company with W. C. White and my secretary, I visited Williamstown. It was a pleasure to my soul to look upon the congregation that had been raised up as the result of the first camp meeting held in Victoria, at Brighton, three years ago. These are wholehearted, devoted souls who live in the fear of God. Not one Sabbathkeeper was there in this place when the camp meeting was in Brighton. Some of the very choicest have embraced the truth and are zealous workers, doing missionary labor to bring the light before others. The Lord has greatly blessed them; several of whom were introduced to me are now deciding to obey the truth. 11LtMs, Lt 110, 1896, par. 8

One lady invited me to her home to sit at her table. They have a nice, comfortable home, and while sitting around the family board she told me her experience. She said she had been a very worldly woman thinking only of dress and amusements. She did not have any interest in attending the tent meetings held at Williamstown. Her mother had received the truth and tried to have her daughter attend the meetings. 11LtMs, Lt 110, 1896, par. 9

The daughter thought she would go once to please her mother. It was when I was to speak, and the Holy Spirit gave me the message and the strength to speak most earnestly in regard to our obligations to observe all the commandments of God. I stated that if Satan’s work had succeeded in heaven the law of God would have been changed, but this could not be, for His law was a transcript of His character and as unchangeable as His character. If any change was possible in the law of God it would have been made then and there and saved the rebellion in heaven. But as it was not altered to meet the request of Satan, he worked upon the minds of the heavenly angels by his false representations and crooked ways and brought them into such a position of apostasy that he with all his sympathizers were turned out of heaven, and [he] lost his high and holy position in the heavenly courts. 11LtMs, Lt 110, 1896, par. 10

After his fall, he worked upon the minds of Adam and Eve and seduced them from their loyalty. This was done so cautiously that the sin was not detected, and then when Adam and Eve disobeyed God and fell, Satan’s work went on and has been going on in the same line ever since. 11LtMs, Lt 110, 1896, par. 11

Now if the law of God could have been changed and altered to meet man in his fallen condition, then Adam would have been pardoned and retained his home in Eden, but the penalty of transgression was death, and Christ became man’s substitute and surety. Then was the time, could the law of God have been changed, to have made this change and retained Christ in the heavenly courts, that the immense sacrifice made to save a fallen race might have been avoided. But no, the law of God was changeless in its character and therefore Christ gave Himself a sacrifice in behalf of fallen man, and Adam lost Eden and was placed with all his posterity upon probation. 11LtMs, Lt 110, 1896, par. 12

Had the law of God been changed in one precept since the expulsion of Satan from heaven, he would have gained on earth after his fall, that which he could not gain in Eden before his fall. He would have received all that he asked for. We know that he did not, therefore the law of God remains with all its binding force upon every human being upon the face of the earth. 11LtMs, Lt 110, 1896, par. 13

Men may ignore the law; they may disregard every precept of it, but it still remains unalterable as the throne of God, and the salvation of every soul is determined by obedience or disobedience. 11LtMs, Lt 110, 1896, par. 14

When the statement was made, obedience or disobedience is deciding our eternal destiny, she said she felt that her heart and her motives were being searched as by a lighted candle. She thought her limbs would not sustain her body to get her to her home. She was stricken to the very depth of her soul, and she took her position at once, and gave herself unreservedly to God. She said she found peace and pardon and salvation and she loves God more, and the truth more every day. O that this might be the expression of thousands! 11LtMs, Lt 110, 1896, par. 15

Now there is at Williamstown a living, growing, prosperous church. Then there is another church of about forty members that was raised up after the Brighton camp meeting at Hawthorne. And last year a church was raised up as the result of the camp meeting in Armadale. Thank the Lord for His goodness and mercy and love. 11LtMs, Lt 110, 1896, par. 16

On Sunday afternoon I spoke to a full congregation in the new chapel at North Fitzroy. I had a most solemn message. The first, second, and third chapters of Revelation. The truth was felt and many hearts were deeply moved. Elder Haskell has preached every evening but one since Sabbath. Elder Hare spoke once before he left for Western Australia to commence work in the regions beyond. 11LtMs, Lt 110, 1896, par. 17

Brother and Sister Farnsworth and Sisters Ingels and Graham came from the camp meeting Tuesday night. They bring excellent reports. The congregation continues to fill the tent, and last Sabbath and Sunday all could not get in the large tent. The work goes on just as firmly and with just as much animation as at first. Several have taken their stand for the truth and are very happy in their decision. The very first people in the city are convinced of the truth. Will they search the Scriptures as did the noble Bereans to see for themselves if these things are sustained by the Word of God? Oh, that they may plant their feet on the Eternal Rock. 11LtMs, Lt 110, 1896, par. 18

Meetings will continue all summer, for the whole region round about is stirred, and there are many important localities about Adelaide that must be worked. The opposition has been treated just as it should be. No notice taken of it. There has been a challenge for discussion made by a man named Green, who has shown himself anything but a saint since the work commenced in Adelaide, but his challenges are unnoticed. We have gone right forward, advancing truth and the righteousness of the law irrespective of the devil’s ragings. This man has been answered. “We are doing a great work and cannot come down!” [See Nehemiah 6:3.] 11LtMs, Lt 110, 1896, par. 19

But I did not expect to write, as I have, such a long letter. I have something to lay before your consideration. We see the necessity of a sanitarium in Sydney. Brother Semmens has been working in this line on a limited scale with good success, and we need you to come and help us to establish a sanitarium in the city or suburbs of Sydney. They you can be employed, and your means and talent in doing good work for the Master. We are in suffering need of a health institution. Will you come over and help us? You and your wife would be a great blessing here to the cause of God, and it would be a blessing to yourselves. 11LtMs, Lt 110, 1896, par. 20

We invite you to come, and can see no prospect of your making advancement spiritually as you are now situated. Your only hope is to break away from your present associations and give yourselves unreservedly to God to do His will, and you can find that work to do in this line that will help forward the work of God. In doing this, you will yourself be blessed as you exercise your God-given ability to do His service. Jesus, by the law of sympathetic love, bore our sins, took our punishment, and drank the cup of the wrath of God apportioned to the transgressor. What can we do better than to co-operate with God in His work? He bore the cross of self-denial and self-sacrifice for us that we might have life, eternal life, and will we bear the cross for Jesus and honor His name and glorify Him? 11LtMs, Lt 110, 1896, par. 21

My brother and sister, think of these things and may the Lord help and strengthen you to do His will and glorify His name. For the joy that was set before Him He endured the cross, despised the shame. Can you, my brother and sister, be wholly Christians and give to God an undivided heart? You have but a little time to work. O, redeem the past while you may. Make no delay. Lay up your treasure above, close beside the throne of God. 11LtMs, Lt 110, 1896, par. 22

Will you respond to this letter and let me know what you will do? I hope you will read the letter I send to your mother and brothers Philip and Henry. 11LtMs, Lt 110, 1896, par. 23

I highly respect your mother. May the Lord preserve her life and health to be a blessing to her daughters and her sons and their wives and children. You can safely honor your mother for the Lord loves and honors her. 11LtMs, Lt 110, 1896, par. 24

In much love in Christ Jesus to my brother and sister. 11LtMs, Lt 110, 1896, par. 25