Letters and Manuscripts — Volume 12 (1897)


Lt 145, 1897

White, W. C.

“Sunnyside,” Cooranbong, New South Wales, Australia

August 15, 1897

Portions of this letter are published in PC 88-90; 2MR 177; 11MR 174. +Note

Dear Son Willie:

I do not know how or where to write to you. I hoped that the steamer would reach Sydney in time for us to get the mail evening after the Sabbath, but no letters came. I will now try to write a little, but my head is not really fit to write at all. It needs perfect quietude and rest. I am up this morning at half past two o’clock, and I will write you as best I can. 12LtMs, Lt 145, 1897, par. 1

Last week Sara and I went to Sydney. We had some things to buy, and I thought it time for me to speak to our people. We took care of ourselves in my hired room at the Health Home. I had not been able to write for something more than a week, and I could not write while in Sydney. Sabbath I spoke to the church at Ashfield. It was a rainy day, but Brother Jannett took me to the church in his conveyance. The congregation was not as large as it would have been had the weather been fair; but the Spirit of the Lord was in our midst, and good testimonies were borne. I am sure the church is doing much better since McCullagh and his wife are not there to visit from family to family, reporting, and encouraging reports of doubt, unbelief, and false witness. They have manufactured falsehoods, and the people’s eyes have been opened to see how the conference has been taxed by those who have drained the treasury. 12LtMs, Lt 145, 1897, par. 2

Sister Jannett was not at the meeting. She was sick in bed. Brother Jannett and his daughter were present, and I believe that they are improving. They have no sympathy with McCullagh. He wrote to them, offering to come to Sydney if the church would pay his expenses, and sustain him. Brother Jannett answered his letter, and he says that he will let me have a copy of the letter. He has not heard from McCullagh since. McCullagh has accepted a position in a Baptist church at a little distance from Adelaide. 12LtMs, Lt 145, 1897, par. 3

All our people in Ashfield seemed glad to see me again. Our brethren were very anxious that I should attend the service in Newtown in the afternoon. It had been raining all day, and I thought there would not be many out. But Brother Baker told me that he had written to the people, telling them that I would speak to them in the afternoon, and he was very anxious that I should go. The rain was pouring down, and Sara said, “They will not expect you.” But I did not feel free to remain in my room. We walked to the station, and when we got to Newtown, Brother Jannett’s son was there with the carriage to take us to the hall. We were favored, for the rain ceased until we were safely indoors, so we did not get wet. I was surprised to see the hall full of people. I had great freedom in speaking to them. The Lord gave us His Holy Spirit, and we had an excellent meeting. The social meeting was very good. I was so glad that I did not allow the rain to stop me from going. I returned to Summer Hill refreshed in spirit and strengthened in body. 12LtMs, Lt 145, 1897, par. 4

That night I had a long talk with Brother Baker after he had read me a letter that he had received from Brother Daniells in reference to camp meetings for this season. The plans laid down in this letter did not in some respects suit us. We thought that it had been decided to hold a camp meeting in Sydney at the close of the school term, thus binding off the school work by giving the students an opportunity to attend the meeting. We have worked with might and main to have the school what it ought to be, but if Brother Daniells’ plan were followed, the school would have to be cut short four weeks sooner than was calculated, to enable the students to enter the canvassing field before the holidays. I cannot at present coincide with this, although the object is a very good one. They desire the students to earn enough means by canvassing to partly pay for their next term of school, but I cannot yet take in the plan as right. 12LtMs, Lt 145, 1897, par. 5

We have labored hard to keep in check everything in the school like favoritism, attachments, and courting. We have told the students that we would not allow the first thread of this to be interwoven with their school work. On this point we were as firm as a rock. I told them that they must dismiss all idea of forming attachments while at school. The young ladies must keep themselves to themselves, and the young gentlemen must do the same. The school was established at a great expense, both of time and labor, to enable students to obtain an all-round education, that they might gain a knowledge of agriculture, a knowledge of the common branches of education, and above all, a knowledge of the Word of God. 12LtMs, Lt 145, 1897, par. 6

Previous to the opening of the school, the burden laid upon me in regard to the school, was so heavy that I could not sleep. I knew that Brother Herbert Lacey was not in any way prepared, even as a teacher, much less as a principal. The committee, deficient in knowledge, and without saying a word to me in regard to the matter, voted that he should be principal. We let this matter stand till Brother Hughes arrived. But the Lord showed me that in Elder Haskell and Hetty Hurd, now the wife of Elder Haskell, he had help prepared for us. I then felt relieved. 12LtMs, Lt 145, 1897, par. 7

Brother Haskell was very loath to take the responsibility of teaching Bible in the school, but said that in this emergency he would take the place, and as soon as persons were educated to do the work, they would step out. I did not mean to tell Brother Haskell what the Lord had revealed to me, but circumstances occurring as they did, I was obliged to make known to him the way of the Lord in the matter. I told him that the Lord had said that He would provide help in Brother Haskell, and that he would be mouthpiece for Him, and give him His Spirit. 12LtMs, Lt 145, 1897, par. 8

When Brother Hughes came, he was made principal. Knowing the Word of God, Elder Haskell has taken hold of the work with courage, zeal, and energy. There seems to be plenty for him to do. He brings treasures from the Word in new and fresh lines, and all pronounce his lessons to be intensely interesting. 12LtMs, Lt 145, 1897, par. 9

Sister Haskell is matron, and she is the best in that line that I have ever seen. She is as firm as a rock to principle, and yet is wise and tender. She links love and Christlike sympathy with discipline. 12LtMs, Lt 145, 1897, par. 10

I am so glad that we have not had the experience we had in Melbourne in young people forming attachments, girls with young men, and young men with girls. We have told the students that this cannot be. Some of the leading ones in disorder thought the restraint in this line too hard, but we have called all these things by their right name. We have told them plainly what we would have, and what we would not have. Again and again I stood before the school with messages from the Lord in regard to the deleterious influence of free and easy association between young men and young women. 12LtMs, Lt 145, 1897, par. 11

I told the students that if they did not keep themselves to themselves and make the most of their time, serving the Lord with mind, heart, soul, and strength, the school would not benefit them, and those who had paid their expenses would be disappointed. I told them that no frivolity would be tolerated, and that if they were determined to have their own will and their own way, it would be better for them to return to their homes, that they might be under the guardianship of their parents. They could return to their homes at any time, if they decided not to stand under the yoke of obedience, for we did not design to have a few leading spirits demoralizing the other students. 12LtMs, Lt 145, 1897, par. 12

I told them that I would not call them by name, but that I knew the unruly ones, for this has been revealed to me. When they found the yoke of perfect obedience too much of a restraint, they were at liberty to leave; but while in the school, they must conform to the discipline of the school. We would have no larriking connected with the school. Those who would not be Christian gentlemen, could not be benefited by the instruction, and were at liberty to leave. 12LtMs, Lt 145, 1897, par. 13

I turned to the principal and teachers, and addressed them. I told them that God had laid upon them the responsibility of watching for souls as they that must give account. The wrong course pursued by some of the students would mislead other students if it were continued, and God would hold the teachers responsible. I told them that some will attend the school who have not been disciplined at home. Their ideas of proper education and its value are perverted. If these were allowed to carry things their own way, the object of establishing a school in Cooranbong would be defeated, and the sin would be charged against the guardians of the school, as though they had committed it themselves. 12LtMs, Lt 145, 1897, par. 14

Those whom the Lord has presented to me as not being properly trained in the home life, who have not thought it necessary to use the powers of their mind and their physical strength and ingenuity as members of the home firm, will always look upon order and discipline as needless restraint and severity. Again and again the Lord has presented this matter before me in clear lines. The teachers must be carefully picked. No haphazard work must be done in the appointment of teachers. Those who have devoted years to study, and yet have not gained the education essential to fit them to teach others in the lines the Lord has marked out, should not be connected with our schools as educators. They need to be taught the first principles of true, all-round education. 12LtMs, Lt 145, 1897, par. 15

We are living in solemn times, and the reason why there are so many failures in our schools is because teachers neglect to keep the way of the Lord. Some teachers feel the burden and carry the load of responsibility. Others do surface work. They fail to see that the woeful influence of this deficiency is seen in the words and deportment of their students. This influence counterworks the influence that God-fearing teachers, who aim to meet the high standard of Christian education, seek to exert. 12LtMs, Lt 145, 1897, par. 16

I would that the teachers in our schools could be of God’s selection and appointment. Souls will be lost because of the careless work of professedly Christian teachers, who need to be taught of God day by day, else they are unfit for the position of trust. 12LtMs, Lt 145, 1897, par. 17

Teachers are needed who will strive to weed out their inherited and cultivated tendencies to wrong, who will come into line, wearing themselves the yoke of obedience, and thus giving an example to the students. The sense of duty to their God, and to their fellow beings, with whom they associate, will lead such teachers to become doers of the Word, and to heed counsel as to how they should conduct themselves. 12LtMs, Lt 145, 1897, par. 18

God holds every one responsible for the influence that surrounds his soul, on his own account, and on the account of others. He calls upon young men and young women to be strictly temperate and conscientious in the use of their faculties of mind and body. Their capabilities can be developed only by the diligent use and wise appropriation of their powers to the glory of God and the benefit of their fellow men. 12LtMs, Lt 145, 1897, par. 19

To know what constitutes purity of mind, soul, and body is the highest class of education. Paul the apostle sums up in his letter to Timothy the attainments possible for him, by saying, “Keep thyself pure.” [1 Timothy 5:22.] Impurity of thought or action will never be seen in the child of God. The body is represented as the temple of the Holy Spirit. Every encouragement and the richest blessings are held up before the overcomers of evil practices, but the most fearful penalties are laid upon those who profane the body and defile the soul. 12LtMs, Lt 145, 1897, par. 20

Students and teachers, blessed are the pure in heart—now; not, Blessed will be the pure in heart. “Blessed are the pure in heart; for they shall see God.” [Matthew 5:8.] Yes; as did Moses, they shall endure the seeing of Him who is invisible. They have the assurance of the richest blessings, both in this life and in the life that is to come. 12LtMs, Lt 145, 1897, par. 21

Avoid exciting the brain. Too much study stimulates the brain and increases the flow of blood to it. The sure result of this is depravity. The brain cannot be unduly excited without producing impure thoughts and actions. The whole nervous system is affected, and this leads to impurity. The physical and mental powers are depraved, and the temple of the Holy Spirit is defiled. The evil practices are communicated, and the consequences cannot be estimated. I am compelled to speak plainly on this subject. 12LtMs, Lt 145, 1897, par. 22

The proportionate taxation of the powers of mind and body will prevent the tendency to impure thoughts and actions. Teachers should understand this. They should teach students that pure thoughts and actions are dependent on the way in which they conduct their studies. Conscientious actions are dependent on conscientious thinking. Exercise in agricultural pursuits, and in the various branches of labor is a wonderful safeguard against undue brain taxation. No man, woman, or child who fails to use all the powers God has given him can retain his health. He cannot conscientiously keep the commandments of God. He cannot love God supremely and his neighbor as himself. 12LtMs, Lt 145, 1897, par. 23

Many whom God has qualified to do excellent work by giving them powers to use to His glory, accomplish little because they attempt little. Thousands who come into the world pass through life as though they had no definite object for which to live, no standard to reach. Such will obtain a reward proportionate to their works. Health and a clear conscience will attend those who work faithfully, keeping the glory of God in view. 12LtMs, Lt 145, 1897, par. 24

There are many who are mere fragments of men. In Christ is seen the perfection of Christian character. He is our Pattern. His life was not a life of indolence or ease. He lived not to please Himself. He was the Son of the infinite God, yet He worked at the carpenter’s trade with His father. As a member of the home firm, He faithfully acted His part in helping to support the family. 12LtMs, Lt 145, 1897, par. 25

All are capable of using their talents in God’s service. God asks them only to do their best. Those who study the life of Christ and yoke up with Him, will not use the brain only, but will reason from cause to effect, and will use every part of the human machinery. The Lord designs that useful labor shall be part of every man’s life. 12LtMs, Lt 145, 1897, par. 26

The flood of corruption that is sweeping over our world is the result of the misuse and abuse of the human machinery. Men, women, and children should be educated to labor with their hands. Then the brain will not be overtaxed, to the detriment of the whole organism. Time is a talent, to be wisely employed. The voice is a talent, to be used in communicating knowledge that will make men pure, holy, and refined. The tongue should be educated to speak in such a manner that God will be magnified. “Lord, increase my faith,” will be the prayer of the true child of God. [Luke 17:5.] “Deliver me from evil thoughts and perverse actions.” Thus he is enabled to say with boldness, “Behold, God is my salvation: I will trust and not be afraid. For the Lord Jehovah is my strength and my song; he also is become my salvation.” [Isaiah 12:2.] Completeness of Christian character is possible. How? “Ye are complete in him.” [Colossians 2:10.] 12LtMs, Lt 145, 1897, par. 27

Well, it is now half past twelve p.m. I commenced writing this early this morning, and before breakfast I had written over eleven pages. While writing the twelfth and so much of the thirteenth, word was sent from the school for me to go over and meet with them in consultation. Brethren Daniells and Baker have been in Cooranbong since Wednesday. I have been in counsel with the board since early morning. The rest of the time they will spend in considering matters that need attention. I have talked much in regard to the importance of agricultural work. I did not intend to write you more than a few lines, but the Lord gave me something to write on this subject, and I have written it. 12LtMs, Lt 145, 1897, par. 28

Brother Daniells came up here with a proposition that the camp meeting be held in Melbourne as soon as the school closed, and that to this end, the school would better close one month sooner than appointed, and that after the Melbourne meeting, the Sydney meeting be held. Our brethren in New South Wales could not see matters in this light. Brother Daniells talked it over, and was at first quite decided that his plan was right, but he saw that the minds of the brethren were not inclined to accept his proposition. 12LtMs, Lt 145, 1897, par. 29

Our plan was to have the school continue till the time appointed for it to close, that the delegates to the camp meeting might come up and visit it, and see what has been done, so that they might use their influence in behalf of the school. From here, they could go right to the camp meeting. The students could attend this meeting; and then the camp meeting in Melbourne could follow. Brother Daniells felt much disappointed that the Melbourne camp meeting would have to be held in December, for then, as we experienced at Brighton, the pest of flies is so severe. Those in Victoria could not bear to think of having their camp meeting in December. 12LtMs, Lt 145, 1897, par. 30

I suggested the advisability of cutting the school short two weeks, and commencing the Sydney camp meeting two weeks earlier than the time proposed. Brother Daniells thought a few moments, and heartily accepted the plan. This will bring the Melbourne camp meeting in November. Instead of continuing the school until October 27, it will close on the 13th. This plan will improve the situation. The students will fill up their time on the camp meeting, and will be under the control of their teachers. They will be provided for by the school. 12LtMs, Lt 145, 1897, par. 31

This camp meeting will close in time for the delegates to go to Melbourne by the Cook’s excursion, which will save a large amount in fares. Brother Hughes suggested that the teachers hold school six days in the week in the place of having Sunday as a holiday. The time they spend at the camp meeting will fully complete their term, and will give them every advantage, so there will be no complaints. All are in harmony with this plan, so that matter is decided. Elder Daniells and Elder Baker will do their best to work to the point. They must, they say, commence at once to make preparation for the camp-meeting in Sydney. 12LtMs, Lt 145, 1897, par. 32

We hope you will reach home before the school closes, October 13. The camp meeting will commence Thursday, October 16. The delegates should be here as early as possible before school closes, that they may have time to get a view of the situation, and know what has been done on the school land, that they may report the result. We do so much want you to come home. 12LtMs, Lt 145, 1897, par. 33

We decided in our council meeting to commence the third building, making it two stories, instead of three. As long as we have room enough, we will make the building larger on the ground. We will not have a third story, but will let the roof of the building extend higher, and make it strong enough, so that rooms can be made if desired. We will let this remain without putting in rooms until there is necessity for more room. There will be a laundry, and such conveniences as are essential, connected with the second building. We will be pleased to lay our plans before you, if you reach here in season. 12LtMs, Lt 145, 1897, par. 34

We shall begin at once to plan for the meetinghouse. We must have a house that will be an honor to the cause we profess to love. We want no extras, but we want a house that will bear the divine signature. We cannot plan for a house as small as the Ashfield church; for we have the students to accommodate, and we want the auditorium to be of good size. We should have help from all our churches in this. 12LtMs, Lt 145, 1897, par. 35

This is all the business I shall send you now. We are all well. May is anxiously expecting a letter from you, that will tell her when you will arrive at home. Will you please let us know something definite. If you have not yet started homeward, let us know when we may look for you. I shall speak to Brother Connell, telling him that I have no need of him longer. Your house is built now. I have held him to use the horses in drawing brick and sand and various things. Brother James is now able to do all we have to do. Therefore I shall tell Brother Connell that we have no need of another hired man. 12LtMs, Lt 145, 1897, par. 36