Letters and Manuscripts — Volume 12 (1897)


Lt 126, 1897

Wessels, Brother and Sister [John]

“Sunnyside,” Cooranbong, New South Wales, Australia

May 18, 1897

Portions of this letter are published in 7MR 174-175; 8MR 367-368; 4Bio 305, 307. +Note

Dear Brother and Sister John Wessels:

We received your letter on the last boat from Africa. About one week since, I had an ill turn through over work and inability to sleep. My heart is my weak organ, and it testified to me that I must be more careful and take on fewer burdens. 12LtMs, Lt 126, 1897, par. 1

I am so glad that Brother Haskell and Sister Hurd Haskell are with us. They both have ideas that are in harmony with the principles which the Lord has been teaching me for the last fifty-two years. In the past I have stood almost alone as far as bearing responsibilities are concerned. Brother Metcalfe Hare has been one in mind with me; but the burden has been very heavy for me to carry. The Lord said that He had help for me, one who was to share our responsibilities, and He would move upon his heart to come and connect with me in the work. We were glad to meet Elder Haskell at Adelaide. His services were of much value to us at that camp-meeting. His experience and knowledge of the truth, commencing in so early a stage of our history as Seventh-day Adventists, was needed in this country. From his youth upward, he has been a self-denying, self-sacrificing man. And now his age and grey hairs give him the respect of all who know him. 12LtMs, Lt 126, 1897, par. 2

We rejoice to tell you that we now have two buildings. The one first started is completed. The second is enclosed. This is as far as we can go at present, but we can use it all the same, for it is much better than anything we have had since coming to this region. We are more than pleased; we are deeply thankful <we have a better room for meetings.> Some feared that we could not commence the school at the time appointed. They looked at the still unfinished building, which was to be used for dining room, kitchen, boys’ sleeping rooms, and meetinghouse. Only a few of the weatherboards were on this building, no floors were laid, and a cistern of large circumference was to be dug, to provide water for both buildings. And we had only about three weeks before the time for the school to open. 12LtMs, Lt 126, 1897, par. 3

We appointed a meeting for Sunday morning, and called the church together. They are all poor. Several I have had to help from my own funds, by giving them food, clothing, and money. Brother Haskell had been sent for to visit Adelaide, when he was doing the best kind of work here, going out and digging in the earth, that we might be prepared when the rain came. Every bit of water has to come from a hole in the ground, and that has to be sunk deeper to bring water from beneath. 12LtMs, Lt 126, 1897, par. 4

We missed Brother Haskell’s counsel; but Sister Haskell, Brother Hare and myself counselled together, and in the meeting we laid the situation before the people, and presented the work that must be done. We then called for donation of money or labor; for the last of our funds has been expended. I told them I would give the time of all my workmen for two weeks. Two of these men volunteered to give one week’s work. Both have large families to support. Another of my workmen said that he owed the school a donation of two weeks’ work. Others offered themselves, and at nine o’clock that day thirty men, women, and children were on the ground, ready to commence operations. 12LtMs, Lt 126, 1897, par. 5

One brother, with a screw machine forced the floor boards into position, while the women, <Sara McEnterfer and Sister Haskell,> drove the nails. Thus the lower floor of the entire building was laid. Some thought it a strange thing that we had “lady carpenters,” but the very fact of the emergency gave them a stimulus, and the ladies did not spend their time in gossiping. An aged brother, Brother Tucker, who, I think, your mother must have seen in Cooranbong, aged seventy-nine, was, in his working days, a carpenter and cabinet maker. He helped in various ways. He put the first coat of paint on the window casings and the doors. This was a great help. Two unbelievers from Sydney were laying in the brick in the cistern, and the women passed them the brick, sliding them down the boards from above. The cistern is twelve feet deep. Other women passed brick to a brother who was laying the floor of the cellar. Others were cleaning the floors and windows of the completed building. 12LtMs, Lt 126, 1897, par. 6

For three weeks the work went forward with expedition and cheerfulness, and the school began the very day appointed. Brother Haskell had been telegraphed for—to return to Cooranbong—and we were glad to meet him. He had been called away because of the apostasy of two of the ministers, who had obtained the sympathies of the church. Brother Haskell’s testimony and labors, connected with the labors of Elders Daniells and Colcord, were needed to undeceive the church. God blessed their efforts. Such subtle working, under the influence of Satan has seldom been seen, and <the same> will be seen in the future history of the cause, because Satan is working with intensity of earnestness and unwearied zeal to carry things his own way against God and the truth. The church at Adelaide has gained an experience that will be of value to it, and only a few were lost to the cause. Brother and Sister Starr are laboring there at present, and some souls have taken their stand for the truth. 12LtMs, Lt 126, 1897, par. 7

Our school has been in progress since April 28. At first the attendance was rather small, but it is increasing. We have a primary department, in which the attendance numbers fifteen. 12LtMs, Lt 126, 1897, par. 8

Each morning at six o’clock Brother Haskell speaks from the Scriptures, giving a Bible lesson. This is free to all, and there is a goodly company out each morning, for it is a blessing to all. This study lasts for one hour. These meetings are intensely interesting. The subject thus far has been the Sanctuary question, and we are highly gratified to see the interest manifested. All are much interested in the way he presents the subject. He speaks in a clear, simple style, and brings in much Scripture to sustain every point. He feels that altogether too little has been said upon this subject, for it is the central pillar that sustains the structure of our position at the present time. 12LtMs, Lt 126, 1897, par. 9

I am so thankful to our heavenly Father that some of the old, experienced chosen ones of God who, like John, have grown grey in the work of advocating the truth, are here. In our experience we have seen some who although they apparently believed the truth, were not in the truth, and the truth was not in them. Some shall depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits, and doctrines of devils, and when once they open the heart to unbelief, Satan comes in to possess the soul. The rapid change that takes place in the character and in the countenance, shows whom they have chosen as leader. 12LtMs, Lt 126, 1897, par. 10

The men who have lately apostatized say that the Sabbath does not amount to much. It makes no difference whether we keep it, or do not keep it. They say they are preaching sanctification, but where does their sanctification come in. They began the work of disaffection by their criticism. Here is where they fell, and here is where many will fall. To complain of our brethren in the ministry, to be suspicious of the gifts the Lord has set in the church, to always be finding spot and stain in something said or done is to follow the enemy. If one chooses to obtain this class of education, Satan will help him in a masterly manner. After the criticizers tell all that appears to them to be out of joint, they go into the manufacturing business, and commence to weave webs of falsehood. They abuse the confidence that has been reposed in them, and strive to destroy the reputation of the very ones that have ever been their truest friends. 12LtMs, Lt 126, 1897, par. 11

This was the class of work done at Adelaide. All should work earnestly to close the door to that class who are serving under Satan’s banner, and doing their best to counterwork the prayer Christ made to His Father just prior to His crucifixion: “Neither pray I for these alone, but for them also which shall believe on me through their word, that they all may be one; as thou, Father, art in me, and I in thee, that they also may be one in us; that the world may believe that thou hast sent me. And the glory which thou gavest me I have given them, that they may be one even as we are one; I in them, and thou in me, that they may be made perfect in one; and that the world may know that thou hast sent me, and hast loved them as thou hast loved me.” [John 17:20-23.] “A new commandment I give unto you, that ye love one another; as I have loved you, that ye also love one another. By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one for another.” [John 13:34, 35.] 12LtMs, Lt 126, 1897, par. 12

Our work is to stop surmising evil of our brethren. We should seek ever to press together, and thus fulfill the longing of Christ to see His chosen people love one another as He loves them. “Lord, who shall abide in thy tabernacle? who shall dwell in thy holy hill? He that walketh uprightly, and worketh righteousness, and speaketh the truth in his heart. He that backbiteth not with his tongue, nor doeth evil to his neighbor, nor taketh up a reproach against his neighbor. In whose eyes a vile person is condemned, but he honoreth them that fear the Lord. He that sweareth to his own hurt, and changeth not. He that putteth not out his money to usury, nor taketh reward against the innocent. He that doeth these things shall never be moved.” [Psalm 15:1-5.] Notice particularly the response to the question, and the answer given in verses two and three. 12LtMs, Lt 126, 1897, par. 13

“These are the things that ye shall do: Speak ye every man the truth to his neighbor; execute the judgment of truth and peace in your gates, and let none of you imagine evil in your hearts against his neighbor, and love no false oath; for all these are things that I hate, saith the Lord.” [Zechariah 8:16, 17.] This is the evil we are to guard against. We read of the working of Satan in bearing false witness against Christ, and we know that every child of rebellion will do this evil work. They spoke against Christ, who was without stain or spot, and they will speak against His followers. Why then are not the professed followers of Jesus Christ afraid to treat their brethren and sisters as the Jewish nation treated the world’s Redeemer? 12LtMs, Lt 126, 1897, par. 14

“These things I command you that ye love one another. If the world hate you, ye know that it hated me before it hated you. If ye were of the world, the world would love his own, but because ye are not of the world, but I have chosen you out of the world, therefore the world hateth you. Remember the word that I said unto you, The servant is not greater than his lord. If they have persecuted me, they will also persecute you. If they have kept my sayings, they will keep yours also.” [John 15:17-20.] What reproach they heaped upon Christ! Shall we complain when we are made partakers of His reproach? Those who have drawn away from us, who have not remained in the truth, will talk, they will fabricate reasons as to why they did not remain steadfast. They will do just as Satan did, cast reproach upon some one else. God will be accused of unfairness. 12LtMs, Lt 126, 1897, par. 15

The Lord is leading out a people to stand in these last days, to keep by pen and voice their testimony before the world. They will present a far better report than faultfinding, lying presentations. 12LtMs, Lt 126, 1897, par. 16

The truth may be overlaid with falsehood; it may be misrepresented, misapplied, reproached, and scandalized. But the truth never dies. For a time its luster may be dimmed, but it shines forth again, speaking with a force that is of no human power. Christ is the Way, the Truth, and the Life. But although He is all this, He was rejected. Why did the people not believe on Him? Why did they not acknowledge Him? That question can only be answered in the judgment. 12LtMs, Lt 126, 1897, par. 17

The Word of God is our sure guide. We will follow the Word. It was given to us to eat and digest, and all who eat of this Word will find no pleasure in relating falsehoods. We have counsel in the Word. The Lord Jesus knew just what we needed. He knew that many would say, “Lo here is Christ,” and “Lo there is Christ.” But what said the one who knew all things? “Go ye not after them.” [Matthew 24:23; Luke 21:8.] He knows what all my cares and what all my temptations will be, and He speaks to me from the treasure house of His Word. And I believe that which He saith. 12LtMs, Lt 126, 1897, par. 18

There is not a smile on a poor man’s face, there is not a tear in a poor man’s eye, that is independent of the providence of God. We will not in any case be turned away from the truth, but we will continue to believe, until the truth shall triumph gloriously. Bear in mind, if any man shall say to you who have had light in regard to the truth, the Word God has given you—“Lo, here is Christ, or there, believe it not. For there shall arise false Christs and false prophets, and shall show great signs and wonders, insomuch that, if it were possible, they shall deceive the very elect. Behold, I have told you before. Therefore if they shall say unto you, Behold, he is in the desert, Go not forth; behold, he is in the secret chambers, Believe it not. For as the lightning cometh out of the east, and shineth even unto the west; so shall also the coming of the Son of man be.” [Matthew 24:23-27.] 12LtMs, Lt 126, 1897, par. 19

We must be on guard. We must watch and pray. “Thou hast a few names even in Sardis, which have not defiled their garments, and they shall walk with me in white, for they are worthy. He that overcometh, the same shall be clothed in white raiment, and I will not blot out his name out of the book of life, but I will confess his name before my Father, and before his angels. ... Because thou hast kept the word of my patience, I will also keep thee from the hour of temptation, which shall come upon all the world, to try them that dwell upon the earth. Behold, I come quickly; hold that fast which thou hast, that no man take thy crown.” [Revelation 3:4, 5, 10, 11.] 12LtMs, Lt 126, 1897, par. 20