Letters and Manuscripts — Volume 12 (1897)


Lt 186, 1897

White, W. C.

“Sunnyside,” Cooranbong, New South Wales, Australia

February 4, 1897

Portions of this letter are published in 4Bio 289-290.

Dear Son Willie:

It seems a very long time since you left us and yet it is not so long that we can hear from you of your arrival at San Francisco. The boat from San Francisco has been four days beyond her time. There is anxiety expressed, and a boat has been sent from Auckland to see if she can be found and may need help, or the conviction and fears be confirmed that she may be lost. We feel afraid we shall not receive our mail. 12LtMs, Lt 186, 1897, par. 1

This day Sara, Maggie, Minnie Hawkins, Edith, Ella May and Mabel went to Healy’s Mills to gather blackberries. Connell took Bindy and cart and ladders and prepared the way for the picking of blackberries. Our party brought back about twenty-five quarts, Ella May and Mabel about eight quarts. The sun was very hot and it was rather a task, but all were glad that they went. They are very rich berries but not very large. In two weeks they will go again, for in that time others will ripen. 12LtMs, Lt 186, 1897, par. 2

Sara and I rode down to the station, Morisset, expecting to find fruit—peaches from Radley. But there was no fruit. We brought back bags of chaff for horses. We met there Mr. Pringle, who asked why we did not come out and get blackberries; said there were plenty of them about his place. It was cloudy and we thought it a good opportunity. It has been very hot for several days. All the womenfolk went but May and me. 12LtMs, Lt 186, 1897, par. 3

Brother Connell is helping Brother James to prepare for a barn. We seem to need one. Brother James works. He had done all he could do on school land and our land at present. He said he could put up the barn with mostly round trees. It will be rural but strong and just as good for all purposes as if made of sawed lumber. Brother Hare thought I had better let him have the job. 12LtMs, Lt 186, 1897, par. 4

Well, our mail came, bringing the first intelligence from you since you left Auckland. We were very glad of this little. The enclosed, from Brother Owen, I will consider, and write him. 12LtMs, Lt 186, 1897, par. 5

Five o’clock p.m. Our family have returned with very few berries. The report was exaggerated. The berries were inaccessible although they had ladders. We have been very much in need of rain. We have had a little—soft showers—today and our people had a little wetting. They looked like wet hens, but were very pleasant over the matter, but thought it was not a paying trip. But it gives them a change. I was glad Marian went, for she needs just such exercise. May brought her boys over to our house, and she prepared dinner for Brethren Connell and Tucker and me, and the little girl adopted by Brother Baker. 12LtMs, Lt 186, 1897, par. 6

When you receive our letters you will see that we have changed our minds in regard to building on. The two rooms would be four hundred dollars and that settled the business with me. I said, “I will not build and invest money like that.” This embraced the whole business of panty, plastering, and chimney. We could not build this now because the water has failed, unless rain comes. We have had slight showers today, but we fear this will not relieve the situation. If it shall rain tonight there will be water to run the sawmill. 12LtMs, Lt 186, 1897, par. 7

Brother Hare came to see me this morning in regard to sand to use in building him a house. We then talked over matters, and he is very much pleased with Brother James. He works and accomplishes something. The barn was figured on to cost three hundred dollars. Brother James says it need not cost more than half that sum, and I have let him have the job of putting it up, paying him the wages he has agreed to work for. Not a board can be spared to us until the school buildings are prepared with lumber. Then he says the timbers and boards shall be sawed for the house we wish much to put up for you. We have let Semmens have thirty-five pounds and we can do no more. I have not been able to go to Sydney yet. 12LtMs, Lt 186, 1897, par. 8

The influence of Brethren Lawrence and Shannon has been bad, and we feel sad over this matter. I have done all in my power to change the order of things. I know the Holy Spirit began to work on the mind of Brother Lawrence as never before. He said he meant the work should go deep. He did not want it to stop there. He could see that the cow trade was not on right principles. But it was only a few days until I had another interview with him and he took it all back, and said he could not see that there was anything wrong in the cow trade. Well, he is just where he was before. And she, Sister Lawrence, is a Pharisee and, I think, the daughter of a Pharisee. She is full to the very brim with self-righteousness, and her tongue wags constantly. I think the woman is unbalanced in mind. The sooner they take themselves to regions beyond, the better. They may go to America. They may stop in New Zealand. If they can manage to trade or work so as to benefit themselves they will do so, and will, in their turn, trade with others to get all out of them possible for the very property they have bought at loss to the school. 12LtMs, Lt 186, 1897, par. 9

They have not a sense of what Bible religion requires, and I am sure as far as religion is concerned, they will do harm everywhere they go. They misinterpret, they will misrepresent the character of God and of Jesus Christ. 12LtMs, Lt 186, 1897, par. 10

We had no trouble in regard to the convent place. We have done exactly the work that should be done in moving. We left the posts and other poles enclosing the yard, left the gate, took the wire screening and brought away everything. The bullock team moved the ice chest to the mill. Lillian has your secretary. She has a room at Healy, in the hotel. The Catholic priest says, “His Eminence wants to sell the place.” It is advertised, he says, for sale. May left the house sweet and clean, and the priest says it was in “beautiful order.” Not one objection has been raised to our going in and out of the yard, taking anything we had not removed. Russell gives us all the liberty we want. 12LtMs, Lt 186, 1897, par. 11

Brother Lawrence came to Connell, asking for my horse and cart to move their goods. The horse, hands, and cart, were employed constantly in moving your things, and I told Connell they simply could not have it. Lawrence told Connell, “You know it is not my wish to go,” as though it was his duty to move him. He said his horse, the one bought of the school, did not stand good, but they were out in good time, and the tent is their home while they remain in Cooranbong. They gave him work at five shillings per day, drawing sand from my premises for the school buildings. And now water has to be drawn for the sawmill boiler. We are hoping for rain. If it does not come in a few days the mill must stop. We are having clouds, but very little rain. 12LtMs, Lt 186, 1897, par. 12

I have carried a heavy load and am much better healthwise than when you left, but I become exhausted quickly and suddenly and cannot rally readily. I want to do very much and can do so very little. I am quite free writing the last upon the history of Christ, but it draws upon me. I feel so intensely that I find my strength is spent in a short time. I am left here to carry as heavy a load I have ever carried in my life, to deal with men who think that they know everything when they know nothing as they ought to know it. 12LtMs, Lt 186, 1897, par. 13

Elder Haskell is as far as Auckland, but I know not when he will come here. He may be on the next Monday’s boat. If he does not come I shall do the best I can, but it may finish me up, for there is not a living soul here that can have one spark of influence to help me in my work. I do not exaggerate at all. I have spoken five Sabbaths in succession in Cooranbong, besides having four meetings to see if Lawrence’s case cannot be helped, but I have given that matter up. His selfishness is deeper and his blindness in spiritual things the greatest and most incurable of any case I have had anything to do with. 12LtMs, Lt 186, 1897, par. 14

I dare not leave the place. I feel singular about things, but the Lord is good and I can trust in Him fully. He will not deceive. He will not falsify. He will be truth and we can depend on Him. Oh, when I think how much light these have had who cause me so great sufferings of mind in their selfish, unrighteous practice, I think of our Saviour as a Man of sorrow and acquainted with grief, wounded for our transgressions, bruised for our iniquities; the chastisement of our peace was upon Him, and with His stripes we are healed. I feel that we should not complain if we are made partakers with Christ of His sufferings. If we are willing to stand bravely and unwaveringly, steadfast unto the end, we shall see the King in His beauty. We shall see Him face to face, and His name will be in our foreheads. We must have increasing faith. We must not fail nor be discouraged. 12LtMs, Lt 186, 1897, par. 15

But I felt that it was not a wise thing to do, to leave not one soul in all New South Wales that could help me. If the Lord has thought best to make me to bear to His people the messages He has given me, He means I shall have someone who shall cooperate with me, that such tremendous burdens shall not rest upon me, as have done since coming to Cooranbong. I often can sleep only a few hours. The value of the truth, its exalted character, is ever before me; then the low standard of Christian principles in practice, by those who have been long in the truth, is so painful to my soul. The littleness, the narrow-mindedness, the selfishness, and the destitution of Christlikeness seem so prevalent that I am questioning indeed, When the Lord cometh, will He find faith on the earth? Will He find pure, uplifting, purifying faith that works by love and cleanseth the soul? 12LtMs, Lt 186, 1897, par. 16

I would feel so rejoiced if I could see a growth in principle. But such principles of selfishness as have been practiced and are being practiced have a leavening influence upon the whole class of workers on these grounds. It must not live. It shall not survive. It must be expelled from our borders. Who will work with me to carry forward the work? There is no one here that has spiritual influence. I do the praying as I open the meetings. I do the speaking and carry the load. “God help me” is my prayer. 12LtMs, Lt 186, 1897, par. 17

February 5

I could not sleep after three o’clock. I have been up writing. It is now daylight. I have been out to see whether we have had much rain. I think we may be encouraged. It has rained considerable. The mill will have water for the boiler and can keep at work. I feel that we have reason to praise God that the working hands will not be compelled to stop work. There must be greater efforts made to have water facilities on the school grounds. If they can do no better, they can have large cisterns made, such as I have. I think there should be strenuous efforts made, but when I said this to Brother Hare, he said, “We must do it, but the present funds must go into buildings. We cannot spend a shilling if we can possibly avoid it.” Sand is one shilling per load, but I have told them I would donate the sand they draw for the school buildings. They think it the most precious sand bed for the purposes they could have. This will save them quite a sum. If I had a shilling for every load, I might be able to apply it on interest money, as I have no one to help me in the religious line of labor. This I need. 12LtMs, Lt 186, 1897, par. 18

I have been trying to visit Sydney, but exhaustion comes every night so that I fall asleep in my chair. While Marian was conversing with me last evening before dark, I lost myself every few moments and was dreaming of the plans to create a higher, holier activity in religious things. I think I fell asleep six times before dark, and then had to crawl into my bed before dark. 12LtMs, Lt 186, 1897, par. 19

I wish, if it were the will of God, Edson could be with me. I wish Brother Starr could be here. It is not right to have no more religious help than we have here. It is not as God would have it. I shall do what I can, and if it takes my life, then I have done what I could. The strain is on me every moment. The work is not being done in this vicinity that ought to be done. I dare not visit, and I know of no one that is visiting, to do one bit of good in their conversation. Is this the will of God, that I should go loaded down as I am because there is no means to provide workers in these new fields? One year more, I shall be seventy years old, and yet I never have done more hard, taxing, trying labor in my life. 12LtMs, Lt 186, 1897, par. 20

As a people we must keep the standard high. A practical exhibition of the purity of Christian character and Christian principle is worth more than all the sermons and creeds in our world. The world is watching us and will criticize us in all our temporal affairs, with keenness and severity. That which is spoken in the church is not of half as much value as the right words and the right actions in workshops, in the field, in the buying and in the selling. We must not forget we are making impressions, favorable or unfavorable, in regard to Bible religion, on the minds of others who are watching to find some excuse for themselves, why they are not obeying the truth. Christianity will lead to industry, frugality, economy, while it will not give one inch of encouragement to selfishness. Bible religion extirpates avarice, overreaching, robbery in deal, and every species of dishonesty. In dealing with unbelievers there must be strict principles observed that will honor God’s Word and do service to Christ. “Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself.” [Leviticus 19:18.] 12LtMs, Lt 186, 1897, par. 21