Letters and Manuscripts — Volume 13 (1898)


Lt 3, 1898



February 2, 1898

Portions of this letter are published in Ev 475; 7BC 989. +Note

My Brethren:

The Lord has given light in regard to the building of the school in Cooranbong. But Satan came in with his temptations, and the trials he brought upon us have caused him to triumph. At the first, through the united influence of Elders Rousseau and Daniells, the school was hindered for two years. These brethren had had no experience in this line of work, and they took their position on the side of unbelief and doubt. They acted the part of unbelievers. They trusted to their own human wisdom, and left God out of their counsel. This led to entanglements. 13LtMs, Lt 3, 1898, par. 1

These men had worked the rich soil of Iowa, and because this did not appear so rich in color, they united in saying that it was not the land we should have. They telegraphed me to come to Sydney. When I arrived, I found these two brethren determined not to accept the land in Cooranbong. They said they would search for better land. 13LtMs, Lt 3, 1898, par. 2

Brother Reekie was then in the mission in Sydney. The bargain for the land had been made, and I told them to take the land, and if they decided that it was not the place they should have, I would purchase it myself, and make settlements for the poor families upon it. But nothing we could say made the least impression on their minds. They would not accept the land. My testimony was of no account with them. They were so strong and firm, that W. C. White was afraid to venture. This union of sentiment between these two men brought upon us a great burden and hindrance. 13LtMs, Lt 3, 1898, par. 3

If the work had been carried forward according to the light God had given, if the place had been purchased, and the deeds made out in my name, as I told them, we should not have had to sustain the losses that have come to us. The mistake has not been in the devising of the work on the land, the planting of the orchard, the draining of the swamp. None too much land has been cleared. All this was necessary. We were in need of the produce of the soil for the support of the school. We were not too early in setting the trees; but so much complaint was made of the means invested in the land, that the work that was needed to be done to the orchard was not accomplished, and the second year proved a partial failure. I did what I could. Had they been faithful, my hired workmen might have done much more than they did; but I did all in my power, in accordance with the light God had given. I had full confidence that if the land was properly worked, it would yield its treasures. 13LtMs, Lt 3, 1898, par. 4

The criticizing and false reports carried to Melbourne, to Africa, and by letter to other places round, were pleasing to the enemy, but they did not please God. They left the impression on minds that Brethren Hare and White had proved themselves a failure. No man has a right to pronounce judgment upon things which he simply “supposes,” when he knows nothing of the possibilities and probabilities of the work. They would do no better were they in responsible places. Men should not decide upon this question within the narrow compass of a three-years’ test. He who knows the end from the beginning has laid no censure upon these men for a foolish outlay of means. 13LtMs, Lt 3, 1898, par. 5

The Lord calls upon those on this ground—even if mistakes which have been made in this new enterprise are apparent—to attach no blame to any soul until they know that God Himself condemns. Say to all complainers and criticizers, Had you been on the ground in responsible positions, you might have made many more blunders than have been made. 13LtMs, Lt 3, 1898, par. 6

The work that should be done by those who love to criticize is to study the Bible, as well as read it. The truth is represented as treasure hid in a field, and in order to discover and come into possession of it, there will need to be a most careful, diligent search. Mere surface work is not enough. But little more than this has been done on these grounds. Minds must bend to the task of ascertaining from the Word the thought of God. There must be a taxing of the intellect in dependence upon the Holy Spirit to open the understanding. “If thou thirst [criest] after knowledge, and liftest up thy voice for understanding: if thou seek after her as silver, and searchest for her as for hid treasure, then shalt thou understand the fear of the Lord, and find the knowledge of God.” [Proverbs 2:3-5.] 13LtMs, Lt 3, 1898, par. 7

This earnestness and diligence and persevering labor is to be put forth in our regular labor also. In felling the trees, in breaking the soil preparatory to sowing the seed, every toiler has a lesson to learn. And just in the way in which the land is treated, will be the spiritual work on the human heart. Those, who by vigilant, intelligent, persevering effort would be benefitted by the tilling of the soil, must break up the fallow ground of the heart, with the help of the softening, subduing influence of the Holy Spirit. Thus the cultivation of the soil will prove the education of the soul. 13LtMs, Lt 3, 1898, par. 8

If properly managed, the cultivation of the soil will not be considered drudgery. The work is to be done intelligently. Study to begin the training process in the work done on the land. That which is done should be explained to the worker, just as in any trade. And the blessing of the Lord will rest upon those who are working upon the land, and learning spiritual lessons from nature. In cultivating the soil, the student little knows what treasures will open up before him. While he is not to despise the instruction he may gather from minds that have had an experience, and from the information that intelligent men can impart, he should gather lessons for himself. This is a part of his education. 13LtMs, Lt 3, 1898, par. 9

In tilling the soil, one will propose that the work be done one way, another will suggest that some other plan be adopted, and while there should be minds to advise and plan, we are all to gather all the knowledge possible. We must not despise counsel, but accept all the help that can be brought in. 13LtMs, Lt 3, 1898, par. 10

The Lord designs that the school shall also be a place where a training may be gained in women’s work—cooking, house-work, dressmaking, bookkeeping, correct reading and pronunciation. They are to be qualified to take any post that may be offered—superintendents, Sabbath school teachers, Bible workers. They must be prepared to teach day schools for children. 13LtMs, Lt 3, 1898, par. 11

Agencies of every kind are to be brought to bear upon the poor around us. Bible classes should be held in different localities. Medical missionary work will do much for those places where there is so little knowledge of how to care for the suffering. Counsel must be given to those who are in difficulties, relief to the more serious cases. A mission house must be built as soon as possible; then if any are sick at the school, they can be taken away to the mission house. There must be missionary nurses. There will be hospital duties to perform. 13LtMs, Lt 3, 1898, par. 12

Let all bear in mind that the tree of life bears twelve manner of fruits. This represents the spiritual work of our earthly missions. The Word of God is to us the tree of life. Every portion of Scripture has its use. In every part of the Word is some lesson to be learnt. Then learn how to study your Bibles. This book is not a heap of odds and ends. It is an educator. Your own thoughts, students, must be called into exercise before you can be really benefitted by Bible study. Spiritual sinew and muscle must be brought to bear upon the Word. The Holy Spirit will bring to remembrance the words of Christ. He will enlighten the mind, and guide the research. 13LtMs, Lt 3, 1898, par. 13

Some may be perplexed to know the real purpose of every book in the Bible; but as they make it their book of study, the conviction will grow that the divine Intelligence has prepared that book for the education of the human race, to express His own thoughts and intentions concerning the children of men. 13LtMs, Lt 3, 1898, par. 14

The Word of God is a complete body, pervaded by one divine life, just as the tabernacle of flesh, our outward form, is a complete structure, every part united to and dependent for life upon the other. Each member has its special office, each is connected with the other to form a complete whole. So every book of the Bible is adapted to the human being in every phase of life, to secure a special result—to make the human family complete in Christ. 13LtMs, Lt 3, 1898, par. 15

The appreciation of the Bible grows with its study. It has a wonderful self-preserving power. The testimony of every true searcher of the Word of God is, “I had no knowledge of the treasures, the depths of instruction in all essential lines, that the word of God contains.” The wealth of that hidden treasure is inexhaustible. Which ever way the student may turn, he finds displayed the infinite wisdom and glory of God. 13LtMs, Lt 3, 1898, par. 16