Letters and Manuscripts — Volume 12 (1897)


Lt 90, 1897

Lindsay, Brother and Sister

“Sunnyside,” Cooranbong, New South Wales, Australia

August 18, 1897

Portions of this letter are published in 1MCP 327; 12MR 218-221; 4Bio 316-317.

Dear Brother and Sister Lindsay:

We received your welcome letter, with the draft enclosed. We thank you, my Brother and Sister Lindsay, and your mother, for this donation to our meetinghouse. In the past I have been handicapped in regard to the means wherewith to arise and build. But if we had moved out by faith, I have not a doubt but that the means would have been furnished. The Lord had been stirring my mind on this subject. In the night season I was addressing the people, saying “Arise and build.” [Nehemiah 2:20.] “This people say, The time is not come, the time that the Lord’s house should be built. Then came the word of the Lord by Haggai the prophet, saying, Is it time for ye, O ye, to dwell in your ceiled houses, and this house lie waste? Now therefore, Thus saith the Lord of hosts, Consider your ways. ... Go up to the mountain, and bring wood, and build the house: and I will take pleasure in it, and I will be glorified, saith the Lord.” [Haggai 1:2-5, 8.] 12LtMs, Lt 90, 1897, par. 1

Some time ago I talked with Elder Haskell, and we thought that I could hire from Sister James of Ballarat, money enough to make a beginning, and then the Spirit of the Lord would move upon our people to donate to the work we were doing, not going to do. But although the matter was understood, and everything, I thought, settled, when I wrote to Sister James regarding our purpose to have a church built at once, she wrote me that she could not let me have the money; for her son had been unfortunate in business, and was deeply in debt, and they felt that they must help him out of his misfortunes. So that hope was gone. 12LtMs, Lt 90, 1897, par. 2

We then arranged to occupy a room in the upper story of the school building, and we were very glad of this chance during the winter. But the attendance at the school is much larger than we dared to hope, and now they need the room. There are now above eighty students at the school, and more are expected in a day or two. 12LtMs, Lt 90, 1897, par. 3

Last Sabbath Brethren Daniells and Baker were here. They came up to decide in regard to camp meetings, when and where they should be held, and to counsel in regard to putting up the church building and the main school building. We had a very excellent opportunity of counselling together! 12LtMs, Lt 90, 1897, par. 4

On Sabbath Elder Daniells gave an excellent discourse. The meeting room was crowded full of interested hearers. Our brethren decided with us that we must arise and build, and that we would see if it were not possible to furnish means sufficient to enclose the meetinghouse, making it quite small, the seating capacity being only enough for two hundred. We were glad that so many were in favor of having a church built. I wanted our brethren to see the great need of a church, and I desired to carry the people with us in every decision, for this would be much more pleasant than to have divided sentiments. They now realize the situation, and see that there is need of a church, not fitted up with chairs, but with convenient, stationary seats. In the room which we now occupy, the chairs and school desks are so arranged that the people cannot kneel in worship. 12LtMs, Lt 90, 1897, par. 5

Friday Brethren Baker, Daniells, and I met in counsel. We took matters up quite fully, and decided that a meetinghouse must be built. We decided to start the work at once, and then in a few weeks we would have a place of worship. I saw that the faith of the brethren was limited. They wanted the building small, to hold only two hundred. I was glad to carry these brethren with us in this, and in regard to building, additional light would be given. I had been building a humble cottage for Willie, but I would not allow the house of worship to be narrow and contracted. It should be large enough to accommodate three hundred. 12LtMs, Lt 90, 1897, par. 6

Friday afternoon, when our mail was brought, your letter with the draft came. You can see how it found us, but with a very small sum of money, only £100, that we were sure we could use. When your draft came, we felt to praise the Lord, who had put it into your hearts to give of your means to help in building a house for the Lord, that His people might worship Him decently and in order. We had been praying most earnestly that the Lord would supply us with sufficient means to purchase the material. We had decided to make a beginning with the £100, knowing that the Lord would not leave us without means to complete the house. Your timely donation was certainly an answer to the most earnest prayer to our heavenly Father. Now we shall arise and build. 12LtMs, Lt 90, 1897, par. 7

This manifest blessing, coming to us after we had decided that we must build, filled our hearts with the deepest gratitude to God, and to you, His servants, whose hearts the Holy Spirit moved to do this. Please read the ninth chapter of second Corinthians. I have been enabled to understand this Scripture again and again, and when I opened your letter, and saw the draft, I realized the truth of the words, “For if there be first a willing mind, it is accepted according to what a man hath, and not according to that he hath not. For I mean not that other men be eased, and ye burdened: but by an equality, that now at this time your abundance may be a supply for their want, that their abundance also may be a supply for your want; that there may be equality: as it is written, He that had gathered much had nothing over, and he that had gathered little, had no lack.” [2 Corinthians 8:12-15.] 12LtMs, Lt 90, 1897, par. 8

Sunday after breakfast I was called to attend a board meeting at the school. I had not been able to sleep after half past one that morning. We talked over matters until noon, and were thankful to be able to harmonize in regard to the camp meetings, when and where the first meetings should be, and in regard to many vexed questions. That night our brethren left for Sydney. 12LtMs, Lt 90, 1897, par. 9

On Monday I was requested to meet our brethren and sisters to plan where our meetinghouse should be erected. There is a beautiful spot of land, forming a gentle rise, at a little distance from the main road. I remembered distinctly seeing this spot of land when we first visited this place in 1894 with ideas of purchasing it. We remarked upon this spot, and admired it. It is not thickly timbered, and there is no under brush. There are only a few large monarchs of the forest to be taken out, and the land will be prepared for building. 12LtMs, Lt 90, 1897, par. 10

We were impressed that this was the place on which to erect the church. We saw no valid reason why this building should not be on the very best location that the land afforded, but we thought that we might wait till Willie White came home, which will be in two or three months. I supposed that we would do this, and rush nothing hastily. I returned home to Sunnyside, and having risen at half past one that morning to write my American mail, I retired early. In the night season I was considerably exercised, and I rose early, and write the enclosed letter. I felt greatly stirred in spirit. 12LtMs, Lt 90, 1897, par. 11

We will now get our own people together, and see what we can do toward raising means for the church building. All here are poor. One man from Morisset, who has recently embraced the truth, has some property in land and houses, which he rents. He will probably do something. There are also those who will give labor. If we could secure £100 in labor, we would be very much pleased. We shall do our very best to raise what means we can. The building will go up if we do our best; for the Lord will honor our faith. 12LtMs, Lt 90, 1897, par. 12

Earnest movements have been made here in the Parliaments to have God acknowledged in the government of this nation. Earnest efforts have been made to prevent this, knowing that it meant nothing less than religious bigotry and oppression. When religion is mixed with civil government, it means much to Seventh-day Adventists. A union of church and state means a recognition of a spurious sabbath, and a failure to respect the conscientious observance of the Sabbath of the fourth commandment. 12LtMs, Lt 90, 1897, par. 13

This movement, demanding that all observe as sacred an idol sabbath, resembles the act of Nebuchadnezzar in making a golden image, and setting it up for all to worship. In the interpretation of the king’s dream, Daniel had told him, “Thou art this head of gold.” [Daniel 2:38.] The dream was given the king to show him that earthly kingdoms were not enduring, but would pass away and be followed by the kingdom of the Prince of heaven, which should fill the whole earth. But Nebuchadnezzar determined to make an image like that which he had seen, only it was to be made all of gold. This idol of gold was to be a most imposing spectacle, and was to take the place of God, and be worshiped as God. 12LtMs, Lt 90, 1897, par. 14

The Sunday idol is set up as was this image. Human laws demand that it be worshiped as sacred and holy, thus putting it where God’s holy Sabbath should be. Men speak great swelling words, and exalt their power, placing themselves where God should be. Sitting in the temple of God, they strive to make themselves as God, showing themselves to be God. When Pilate said of Christ, “I find no fault in him,” the priests and elders declared, “We have a law, and by our law he ought to die.” [John 19:6, 7.] As the advisers of Nebuchadnezzar hit upon the scheme of ensnaring the Hebrew captives, and causing them to bow to the idol by leading the king to proclaim that every knee should bow to the image, so men will strive today to turn God’s people from their allegiance. But the men who sought to destroy Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, were themselves destroyed. Those who make cruel enactments, seeking to destroy, are destroyed by the recoil of their actions. 12LtMs, Lt 90, 1897, par. 15

When the power invested in kings is allied to goodness, it is because the one in responsibility is under the divine dictation. When power is allied with wickedness, it is allied to satanic agencies, and it will work to destroy those who are the Lord’s property. The Protestant world have set up an idol sabbath in the place where God’s Sabbath should be, and they are treading in the footsteps of the Papacy. For this reason, I see the necessity of the people of God moving out of the cities into retired country [places], where they may cultivate the land, and raise their own produce. Thus they may bring their children up with simple, healthful habits. I see the necessity of making haste to get all things ready for the crisis. 12LtMs, Lt 90, 1897, par. 16

Petitions signed by thousands have been sent in, asking that the civil and religious interest be not blended. Those present in some of the large assemblies state that they witnessed the most disgraceful uproar and disorder. Clergymen professing to be in the service of God, uttered blasphemies. They care no more for the Bible and its holy teachings than do infidels. When men will lay aside a plain “Thus saith the Lord,” and accept human enactments, you may be sure that they are revealing the attributes of the great apostate. 12LtMs, Lt 90, 1897, par. 17

All false religions run counter to the commandments of God. Those who accept these religions have no inward purity and beauty. They depend on their position of authority to compel those who acknowledge God as their Creator and their Sovereign to bow to human enactments without a question. They depend upon outward display, upon outward beauty, trusting to its subtle influence upon the senses. When a church depends on parade, ceremonies, and display, be sure that inward holiness is wanting. To make up for the absence of the Spirit of God, to conceal spiritual poverty and apostasy, the outside is made attractive. Thus the Protestant churches are following the footsteps of Rome, depending not on Christ, the divine Teacher, but upon their ornaments and shrines. Embroidered altars and magnificent architecture attract and hold the senses. Thus men become entrapped by the enemy. So the great golden image, impressive and attractive, with beautiful music to charm the senses, did honor to the prince of darkness. 12LtMs, Lt 90, 1897, par. 18

The great men of Babylon are filled with envy, jealousy, and hatred because the three Hebrew captives had been exalted above the heathen servants of the king. This led them to long for revenge. When these three Hebrews, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, refused to fall down and worship the golden image that had been set up, the report was brought to the king that the Hebrews had affronted him by their disregard for his command. The king sent for them, and with apparent surprise asked them if they had ventured to disregard his command by refusing to worship the image. He seemed to be ignorant of the fact that men could have a conscience stronger even than a king’s command. He did not think that they could refuse to obey when the alternative was so dreadful, and when to obey would bring them honor. But the Hebrew children calmly but decidedly refused to obey, declaring that they could not worship the image. They would not violate their conscience, even to obey the word of a great king. 12LtMs, Lt 90, 1897, par. 19

Conscience in regard to the things of God, is a sacred treasure, which no human beings, whatever be their position, have a right to meddle with. Nebuchadnezzar offered the Hebrews another chance, and when they refused it, he was exceedingly angry, and commanded the burning fiery furnace to be heated seven times hotter than it was wont to be heated. He told the captives that he would cast them into this furnace. Full of faith and trust the answer came, Our God whom we serve is able to deliver us; if he does not, well: we commit ourselves to a faithful God. [Daniel 3:15-18.] 12LtMs, Lt 90, 1897, par. 20

At this the king was exceedingly angry, and his actions were violent and furious. He ordered Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego to be cast bound into the burning fiery furnace. But thank the Lord, He forgets not His own. As the faithful men were cast into the furnace, the Lord revealed Himself in person. Christ stood by their side, and all four walked in the furnace. The flames recognized the presence of Him who is mighty in power and efficiency. The Lord of heat and cold required obedience from nature, and the flames lost their power to consume. In Hebrews we read of those who by their faith quenched the violence of fire. [Hebrews 11:34.] 12LtMs, Lt 90, 1897, par. 21

The fury of the king was changed as he saw that the men who had cast Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego into the furnace were themselves consumed, while the three Hebrew children were unhurt. The Hebrew youth had faith in God. The memory of the promises given by God through Isaiah about one hundred years before was revived in their minds: “When thou passest through the waters, I will be with thee, and through the rivers, they shall not overflow thee; when thou walkest through the fire, thou shalt not be burned, neither shall the flame kindle upon thee.” [Isaiah 43:2.] 12LtMs, Lt 90, 1897, par. 22

The nobles saw the king’s countenance grow pale as he looked toward the furnace with an intense gaze. He was astonished, “and rose up in haste, and spake, and said unto his counsellors, Did not we cast three men bound into the midst of the fire? They answered and said unto the king, True, O king. He answered and said, Lo, I see four men loose, walking in the midst of the fire, and they have no hurt, and the form of the fourth is like the Son of God. Then Nebuchadnezzar came near to the mouth of the burning fiery furnace, and spake and said, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, ye servants of the most high God, come forth and come hither. 12LtMs, Lt 90, 1897, par. 23

“Then Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego came forth out of the midst of the fire. And the princes, governors, and captains, and the king’s counsellors, being gathered together, saw these men, upon whose bodies the fire had no power, nor was an hair of their head singed, neither were their coats changed, nor the smell of fire had passed on them. 12LtMs, Lt 90, 1897, par. 24

“Then Nebuchadnezzar spake and said, Blessed be the God of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, who hath sent his angel, and delivered his servants that trusted in him, and have changed the king’s word, and yielded their bodies, that they might not serve nor worship any god, except their own.” [Daniel 3:24-28.] 12LtMs, Lt 90, 1897, par. 25

I have been interrupted in my writing. A young half-caste Maori sister, Miss Nicholia, who has embraced the truth, and a young man, the son of a Tahitian prince, who looks just like a Maori, have just come from Auckland on the boat that brought Brother Bond and his family, and Brother and Sister Brandstatter, to Sydney. This Sister Nicholia has come to school to learn all she can. She wants to translate Steps to Christ and some of our works. We dare not for one moment turn her aside. They came only yesterday. We think that this son of a prince is thinking of remaining through the school term. He has been travelling all over the world. He has enough money to pay his own way. What will come of this remains to be seen. 12LtMs, Lt 90, 1897, par. 26

Sister Nicholia has embraced the truth. What we will do with her, we do not yet know. She dresses somewhat after the Maori fashion. She comes highly recommended by Brother Steed. She has no property, having given it all to her mother before she embraced the truth, and now her mother has disowned her, and will not let her have back a penny of the money she gave her. We must do everything free for her. 12LtMs, Lt 90, 1897, par. 27