Letters and Manuscripts — Volume 12 (1897)


Lt 214, 1897

Farnsworth, Brother and Sister

Sunnyside, Cooranbong, New South Wales, Australia

June 16, 1897

Previously unpublished.

Dear Brother and Sister Farnsworth:

This morning the regular steamer goes to England and I have not written you. Yesterday I intended to write you, but I had visitors, making it impossible. First, Brother and Sister Wilson, then Brother Herbert Lacey came in, and the day was completely used up. But I must write a few lines this morning. 12LtMs, Lt 214, 1897, par. 1

I have been quite ill for weeks with heart difficulty, which oppressed my breathing and brought on general weakness. After Brother and Sister Haskell came in to connect with the school, great relief came to me, but I had braced up too long, and as soon as I felt the load lifted I found myself so weak I knew not how to rally, but for five days I have been improving, and feel more natural. Three or four weeks I could not sit at the table or have any matters that would require thought brought before [me]. I could scarcely remember the names of my workers to speak them. The sound of the human voice seemed a great way off, and I was generally weak in physical strength. Now I am coming up, for which I am very thankful. 12LtMs, Lt 214, 1897, par. 2

The school is, considering the discouragements we have had before it commenced, doing well. I know the Lord provided us special help in Brother [Haskell] and Sister Hurd Haskell. Brother Herbert Lacey was sick with fever in Sydney. Brother Hughes had not come, and Brother Haskell was called to Adelaide. The Lord saw fit to lay upon me, under the circumstances, a great burden from the commencement of the work here in this locality. Those brethren who should have stood by us faithful and true, Shannon and Lawrence, did us great harm. These men yoked up together and stood under the banner of the power of darkness to murmur and speak evil and to report falsely as they see in their perverted judgment. Shannon went further than Lawrence, for himself and wife did us every possible harm their tongues could do, and Brother and Sister Lawrence were in harmony with them. The Lord wrought through me in behalf of Brother Lawrence, but nearly his whole life practice was working upon wrong principles. His wife’s tongue is the great talent she possesses, and it is not sanctified but is a member that, actively used, is not calculated to benefit anyone. 12LtMs, Lt 214, 1897, par. 3

I carried the load for the soul of Brother Lawrence. He did break, and his heart was touched by the Spirit of God, but notwithstanding he made his confession to me, under the home influence, when next I saw him, his own perverted ideas were as strong as ever. Money is his god, and if you have anything to do in the securing of means from him, I shall be disappointed. The practice of a lifetime is not easily overcome. I have little hope in this case. 12LtMs, Lt 214, 1897, par. 4

As far as Sister Lawrence is concerned, her tongue needs to be treated with the hot coals of juniper before it will be exercised to do good, and only good. The same selfish principles that have controlled the father will be a power of control over mother unless she is daily converted to God. If you can in any way break up this terrible selfishness, there is some hope of them. Unless it is broken up, cut out by the roots, they will do harm wherever they may be. But be assured we are relieved of a great burden here on this ground. But I have much distress of mind in regard to their influence wherever they may locate. They need a transformation of character. 12LtMs, Lt 214, 1897, par. 5

Brother Lawrence has had many words to say in regard [to] his helping with his money in Cooranbong, but he did not help with his money. I tried to hire money and pay interest on the same before I sent to South Africa for the loan of money. But I could not obtain it. If you can get him to invest means in Christ’s church to build a sanitarium, do it, but we see that every point is well guarded. 12LtMs, Lt 214, 1897, par. 6

In all my experience I have never met men or women that were more self-centered. Self, self, self is the theme of their conversation. He has not an experience in spirituality. He can say our words of prayer, he can understand portions of Scripture, but he has no sense of what it means to practice the principles of genuine Christlike love for doing good. He was, I said, broken in spirit. “Oh,” said he, “just as soon as I decided to surrender wholly to God, I felt light and His blessing. Now tell me, Sister White, step by step, what I must do. I now see how miserable, blind, and naked I have been. I have had my mind so trained in buying at low figures and selling for increased sums that this has become an all absorbing [occupation], and religious work I could not do. I had no light and tact and ability in that line.” And yet he was chosen as an elder of the church, but was so only in name. 12LtMs, Lt 214, 1897, par. 7

“I hope you will not let me alone. I hope you will show me what my duty is. Oh, I do not want to stop here. I have just begun to see my whole life has been a selfish, self-centered life, but it shall be so no more. I want to change my whole manner of life, and if God will accept me and give me something to do for Him, then I will thank Him.” 12LtMs, Lt 214, 1897, par. 8

But all her efforts were, at this time, to justify herself as doing and being just right in all things. She was a Christian, but if so, her tongue was never converted. She talked and talked and talked, and said nothing [that] would be the least help to any poor soul that needed help. 12LtMs, Lt 214, 1897, par. 9

Willie thought we must keep him upon the ground here and perhaps we could help him, and he had so much to say of his experience in working lands and cultivating orchards we hired him for six shillings per day, but his experience was no more than men whom I paid three and four shillings per day. When that wicked tongue was working in Sister Lawrence, I decided the woman must be insane. She would repeat the same things over and over again and again with as much earnestness and vim as she could possibly put into her words. I let them have a house of two rooms close by me for two shillings per week, one room sealed up—that room where the twins were born. There was a pantry and wide piazza, two tanks for water. 12LtMs, Lt 214, 1897, par. 10

Brother Lawrence desired to have the piazza enclosed. I should have let him do this at his own expense, but I foolishly thought he would understand the proper thing to do, and would have at least said, “I will do the work if you will find the lumber and windows,” but I knew the power of her tongue and paid him his full wages and did not increase the rent on the house. The expense of that addition to me I could ill afford, but he did not pay me one penny more for all this outlay of means, and then she was telling everyone the rent was too high. 12LtMs, Lt 214, 1897, par. 11

I [was] paying him six shillings per day for his work until I could not stand it any longer and told him I could not employ him. But she kept her tongue in lively action. She told me her husband said if Sister White would build cottages all over her place and rent them for two shillings per week, she would become a rich woman. But I tell you this that if she does report in regard to matters here, tell her she is being [a] false witness, and do not heed her stories. 12LtMs, Lt 214, 1897, par. 12

If she had been away from the place and Brother Lawrence had been free from her everlasting clacking tongue, then the work that we labored to do for his soul would have been, I believe, a savor of life unto life, but her talk would counteract all we could do. She bore testimony in Sabbath meeting, after he made some confession, that she had written to Battle Creek that if they had any money they wanted wasted to send it here to Cooranbong; and after long labor with her in regard to such statements, she repeated, “I shall tell them at Battle Creek if they had any money they wanted wasted to send it here, for they could do this, and were doing it.” Then I said, “If you must, expect me to write to them of the course you both have pursued and that God will judge you as one who bears false witness.” 12LtMs, Lt 214, 1897, par. 13

Every move we made that she knew anything about was criticized. Now she may, when she becomes acquainted, use that unruly member to present matters as she views them and [this] is why I write to you. I think all his talk about a sanitarium is [only] talk. If he could see how he could get two pounds for one invested, I think you would have a sanitarium. But it should not be under the jurisdiction of either of these: Brother or Sister Lawrence. This work we tried to do for Brother Lawrence was counteracted by her tongue influence. And when they left this locality, we were relieved, and hope our experience with them is at an end. The selfishness we have seen is not possible [to] trace upon paper. But if anything can be done to save his soul, for Christ’s sake do it. If he is in earnest and has money to invest in a sanitarium, by all means accept it, but be sure your papers are in definite black and white. 12LtMs, Lt 214, 1897, par. 14

Did I send you the testimonies that I gave to Brother Lawrence? Please say so if I did not, and I will send them to you. After I had let them have the testimonies for three weeks, then they were returned to me with no response. Whether they were received or refused I shall, if I have a copy, put them in the hands of Brother Teasdale. If you have a copy, will you please to do this: let him read them and his wife. They may need them. I feel sorry for him. I am sorry for Sister Lawrence. They stand in each other’s way and make no advance in spirituality. The interest of the church should not be entrusted to either of them, for they will do nothing to advance the work, but will leave their mold upon it which will be deleterious. I leave this matter now for your own special benefit, and, unless necessary, you need not let them know that I have written to you this letter. If it is essential, I have no objection. 12LtMs, Lt 214, 1897, par. 15

Brother Farnsworth, Brother Haskell favored me with the privilege of reading your letter to him. I am very glad you have pushed through the meetinghouse. And I am sorry that there is a debt hanging upon it. If I had the means at my command, I would help you. But here is the main building of our school to go up, and a meetinghouse we must have so that we can have a suitable place to worship God. The students have come in far beyond our expectation, and the building is becoming crowded. More students are coming from Sydney. One came yesterday. Three more will come in about one week. Brothers Daniells, Baker, and Palmer were here to visit the premises. They were delighted with the improvements. 12LtMs, Lt 214, 1897, par. 16

I mentioned to you how hard it had been for us to work and become established in this locality when we knew Brethren Rousseau and Daniells had no faith in the success of locating a school here. Brother Rousseau was converted on this subject before he left for America two years ago last July. Brother Daniells has said nothing until recently. He wrote me a letter of confession that he now could see he had not come up like a man and helped us to carry the heavy load. He simply had no faith in the location or in the favorable prospects of a school. But he was now seeing he had done wrong, and had left us [to] push, when he did not stand by us (Willie and myself) and push with us. 12LtMs, Lt 214, 1897, par. 17

But Farnsworth, now he would do his best and throw his whole interest in with us. When these brethren came here about two weeks ago they were fully satisfied, and Brother Daniells confessed to me that he had done wrong, that the Lord was not pleased [with] the position he had taken, and with tears in his eyes he expressed his grief. “And now,” said he, “I take my position fully with you, and I will work with you and strain every nerve and muscle to make this school a success.” I thank the Lord for this, for we do need all the encouragement that there is for us. The students are a good class, generally. There are some not as we would be glad to have them, but they will need help, and we sincerely hope that they will have it here. 12LtMs, Lt 214, 1897, par. 18

You speak in regard to the teachings in organization. Yes, it was every word of it correct, but when organization [has] become, through the administrations, so mingled with the imperfections of human agents, we had best have our eyes anointed with the eyesalve that we may see. We have now to follow our Leader Jesus Christ individually, and withdraw our implicit confidence in the organizations that are handled by men who know not the voice of the true Shepherd. “My sheep hear my voice and they follow me, but a stranger will they not follow.” [John 10:27, 5.] You, nor I, need not become confused, my brother. You or I need not to learn our duty from Battle Creek. We have our Bibles, the Word, and a living Saviour at hand. We can gain the most precious experience when we shall rely upon One who never makes a mistake—our hearts softened and subdued, humbled under a sense of His compassion and His great love wherewith He hath loved us. We will seek light from God, and it will come to us in individual experience. Be of good help and good courage in the Lord, for He will be your helper and our God. Praise His holy name. 12LtMs, Lt 214, 1897, par. 19

My brother, my sister, looking unto Jesus who is the Author and Finisher of our faith, we will catch the divine rays of light and advance, walking in the light as He is in the light. I am seeing many good things coming out of great disappointments and great trials. How glad we ought to be that this first great apostasy has, in this country, not done us much greater harm. How thankful we should be that the secret working of the enemy was revealed and the enemy’s work exposed. These things may and will come here in this country as we have had in America, but we must rivet our souls to no sand mountains lest the wind will blow them upon us and bury us beneath their rubbish. Fasten our souls to the eternal Rock of ages. Help them in any and every country to be true to principle, but when the Word of the Lord to His people is only a jest and by-word, we will not expect such to be our safe counselors. 12LtMs, Lt 214, 1897, par. 20

It is best for us [to] follow the Light of the world and obtain fresh and new experience every day. What saith the great apostle? “For the which cause I also suffer these things. Nevertheless, I am not ashamed, for I know whom I have believed, and am persuaded that he is able to keep that which I have committed unto him against that day.” [2 Timothy 1:12.] That which we commit to Christ Jesus is beyond the reach of time’s changes and the apostasies of poor, fallen humanity. Our interest for time and for eternity is safe with Him who hath loved us. The Lord will deliver us from every evil work, and will preserve us unto His heavenly kingdom, to whom be glory forever and ever. We will look unto Jesus, our only hope. 12LtMs, Lt 214, 1897, par. 21

In love. 12LtMs, Lt 214, 1897, par. 22

I have much to say but this must go. Please write us [as] often as you can. We will be pleased to hear from you. I feel so thankful to God that I have better health. My soul is often bowed down with inexpressible anguish as I realize how few know my Saviour. 12LtMs, Lt 214, 1897, par. 23