Letters and Manuscripts — Volume 12 (1897)


Lt 113, 1897

Slocum, Sister [Booth]

“Sunnyside,” Cooranbong, New South Wales, Australia

June 9, 1897

Portions of this letter are published in WM 333-334; PH048 16.

Dear Sister Booth Slocum:

I have been writing to Gilbert Collins, and will send you a copy of the same. I am drawn out to make an appeal for the cause of God here in New South Wales, Australia. You will see by my letter to Gilbert Collins that we are engaged in the work of God as missionaries in this locality. I have no time to write much, for the mail goes tomorrow; but I ask you, my sister, if you can help us with means to put up a meetinghouse in Cooranbong. I have hired five thousand dollars from South Africa, and five hundred besides, on which I pay interest. I dare not make myself responsible for any more on this line. I ask you to make an offering to the Lord. We know that the time has come when the Lord’s house should be built in this place. 12LtMs, Lt 113, 1897, par. 1

We know that money is in the fullest sense a talent committed to the servants of God to use for the advancement of His work. “The silver is mine, and the gold is mine, saith the Lord of hosts.” [Haggai 2:8.] We should look upon all, every penny that we have, as absolutely the Lord’s. We cannot regard our possessions as our own property. I have invested my means, as fast as it has come in, in building meeting houses in different localities and to sustain the laborers in the gospel field. 12LtMs, Lt 113, 1897, par. 2

Those in this country who receive the truth are mostly poor; and in the winter time it is a hard matter for them to sustain their families. Since writing the foregoing, a letter was brought to me from a brother Pocock, a man who was a coach builder. He was in great poverty two years ago, and we gave him work. He was obliged to leave his family, a wife and five children, in the suburbs of Sydney, and come to Cooranbong, about ninety miles off, to obtain work. Before this he was in partnership with his brother, who also is a coach builder. But when he embraced the Sabbath, he lost his situation; he worked for small wages, and finally he could get no work. 12LtMs, Lt 113, 1897, par. 3

He is an intelligent, refined man, an able teacher in the Sabbath School, and is a sincere Christian. We kept him as long as we had work that he could do, and when he left, he modestly asked if we could let him have a few books on present truth; for he had none. I gave him about six dollars’ worth of books. He also asked if we had any cast off clothing that we could give him, that his wife might make over for the children. I provided him a box of clothing, for which he was very grateful. 12LtMs, Lt 113, 1897, par. 4

This was a year ago. In the letter just received, he asks in a very modest way if we have any cast off clothing that we could send him for his family for this winter. Sr. Carswell and members of our family have just been visiting several families who are very destitute, and who have embraced the truth since we came to Cooranbong. The fathers are fishermen. But fishing is no longer a paying business, as they catch but few fish. 12LtMs, Lt 113, 1897, par. 5

Last evening we had a Dorcas society [meeting] in our home, and my workers who help in the preparation of my articles for the papers, and do the cooking and sewing, five of them, sat up until midnight, cutting out clothing. They made three pairs of pants for the children of one family. Two sewing machines were running until midnight. I think there was never a happier set of workers than were these girls last evening. 12LtMs, Lt 113, 1897, par. 6

We made up a bundle of clothing for this family, and thought it was about all we could do. Sister Carswell is now on this errand of mercy to this poor family, cutting out garments from the material provided. There are also other families to be supplied. And now comes another request, and we must supply them with things for winter wear. Thus it has been ever since we came to this country. We shall certainly heed the call to send a box of clothing to these needy ones. I merely tell you these things that you may know that we are surrounded by poverty. The wife of this fisherman is to be baptized next Sabbath. The poor have the gospel preached unto them. The people of this locality have very little of this world’s goods. 12LtMs, Lt 113, 1897, par. 7

We have worked in every line to establish the truth in this country. Brother Haskell has given me of his means to help in lifting the standard of truth. He has laid nothing up. I have invested his means in building chapels, and in the school work. I lay up nothing, but today am paying interest on ten thousand dollars. The injunction, “Owe no man anything,” does not touch this kind of working. [Romans 13:8.] I walk by faith. I trust that when the call comes to me, for this money loaned me, I shall be able to repay it after a few months’ notice, but could not possibly do this now. 12LtMs, Lt 113, 1897, par. 8

“But this I say, He which soweth sparingly, shall reap also sparingly, and he which soweth bountifully shall reap also bountifully. Every man according as he purposeth in his heart, so let him give; not grudgingly, or of necessity, for God loveth a cheerful giver. And God is able to make all grace abound toward you, that ye, always having all sufficiency in all things, may abound to every good work: (as it is written, He hath dispersed abroad, he hath given to the poor: his righteousness remaineth forever. Now he that ministereth seed to the sower both minister bread for your food, and multiply your seed sown, and increase the fruits of your righteousness;) being enriched in everything to all bountifulness, which causeth through us thanksgiving to God. 12LtMs, Lt 113, 1897, par. 9

“For the administration of this service not only supplieth the want of the saints, but is abundant also by many thanksgivings unto God; whiles by the experiment of this ministration they glorify God through your professed subjection to the gospel of Christ, and for your liberal distribution unto them and unto all men; and by their prayer for you, which long after you for the exceeding grace of God for you. Thanks be to God for his unspeakable gift.” [2 Corinthians 9:6-15.] 12LtMs, Lt 113, 1897, par. 10

The Lord rewards every man according to his works. He invites to co-operate with Him, and graciously condescends to use the means He has placed in our hands in carrying forward His work. We feel so sorry that the work of God is often crippled and left undone for want of the funds in somebody’s hands, who ought to say as did David, “Blessed be the Lord God of Israel, our father, for ever and ever.” “Thine, O Lord, is the greatness and the power and the glory and the victory and the majesty: for all that is in the heavens and the earth is mine. Thine is the kingdom, O Lord, and thou art exalted as head above all. Both riches and honor come of thee, and thou reignest over all; and in thine hands is power and might, and in thine hand it is to make great, and to give strength unto all. Now therefore, our God, we thank thee, and praise thy glorious name. But who am I, and what is my people, that we should be able to offer so willingly after this sort? For all things come of thee, and of thine own have we given thee.” [1 Chronicles 29:10-14.] 12LtMs, Lt 113, 1897, par. 11

As Christian workers, we are not to seek money from worldly, unconverted people by pressing and teasing. We are not to imitate the churches by instituting bazaars and various God-forbidden expedients to bring in a little means. We see no directions in the Word for fancy fairs, concerts, and other objectionable practices for raising funds to advance His work. The curse of God is upon all this kind of work. It is polluting and degrading the work of God, defiling His holy temple. 12LtMs, Lt 113, 1897, par. 12

God calls for His own in gifts and freewill offerings. And the giver receives no equivalent more than the promise of God. Self-denial is to be practiced. Self-sacrifice is enjoined in the Word of God. “He that will come after me,” said Christ, “let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me. So shall he be my disciple.” [See Mark 8:34.] 12LtMs, Lt 113, 1897, par. 13

We are engaged in a great work. Many fields are calling for messengers to be sent to them. But because of the lack of means in the treasury, the messengers cannot go. Christ’s work was to preach the gospel to the poor. The Lord is soon to come, and we need to make every sacrifice possible to open new fields. This is an entirely new field. There are places which should be entered close by us. Newcastle is only twenty miles from Cooranbong in one direction. Maitland, another large place, is twenty miles in another direction. These places have been, and are now being, canvassed for our books. But no effort has been made to minister the Word. 12LtMs, Lt 113, 1897, par. 14

But I must stop here. Will you send us means to carry forward the work of God? As soon as the school buildings are finished and a meetinghouse erected, we shall enter new fields. Mission fields are opening everywhere. I ask you, my sister, to read my letter to others in New Bedford or in the suburbs of New Bedford, and help the cause of God. 12LtMs, Lt 113, 1897, par. 15

Yours in love. 12LtMs, Lt 113, 1897, par. 16