Letters and Manuscripts — Volume 13 (1898)


Lt 33, 1898

Wessels, Brother and Sister [John]

“Sunnyside,” Cooranbong, New South Wales, Australia

January 25, 1898

Portions of this letter are published in WM 193; 8MR 57.

Dear Brother and Sister John Wessels:

I learn that Sister Sarah Peck arrived in Sydney the first of last week. She had a very good passage and is now making a short visit with Brother and Sister Haskell. Sister Sara McEnterfer goes with me to Sydney this week, to spend the Sabbath and Sunday with the people in Stanmore. 13LtMs, Lt 33, 1898, par. 1

There are those who are still inquiring for the truth, and personal labor is being given them in Bible readings and seasons of prayer. Up to the present time, thirty-nine have been baptized. Three of these are from the Ashfield church, the rest have been converted to the truth since the camp meeting; and still the interest is increasing. Those who have never heard me speak are desirous to hear me, and are requesting that I shall come to them. I shall do this if the Lord is willing. This is a great work, and it bears the signet of heaven. 13LtMs, Lt 33, 1898, par. 2

Those who have embraced the truth have had special labor given them. There has been constant, vigilant watching for souls. Those who were interested began at once to invite the ministering brethren to come to their houses. Never in our experience have we seen this done on so large a scale as in this series of meetings. The ministers of the other churches were on their vacation, and this gave our workers an excellent opportunity to make the best impression upon the people. When the ministers returned, they found plenty to do, for the very best workers in their churches were taking their position for the truth. 13LtMs, Lt 33, 1898, par. 3

One newly converted man said that he had been under conviction since the Ashfield camp meeting, three years ago. This man has been employed in a firm for fourteen years. He was receiving £3.10 a week. He had a wife and a family of three or four children to keep. It was a severe trial to them. Many of his friends and relations were watching his case, to see how he would come out. At last he notified the firm that he could not work any more on the Sabbath. He said that he would put in all his time by working extra hours, but his employer was very much annoyed that the Sabbath was creating so much stir, and he determined that he would be rigid, and give no quarters. He told this brother that he would retain him one month, and if he did not change his faith, he must then go. 13LtMs, Lt 33, 1898, par. 4

When the time was up, Brother Sharpe came to his wife with the news that he was discharged. She was not so fully established in the truth as was he. She had but little faith, and was so overcome and disappointed that she went into a spasm, and for a time her case was a most critical one. But the Lord was merciful, and He pitied the poor, suffering soul. Prayer was offered in her behalf, and the Lord helped her. She was very much alarmed when she learned that this had nearly caused her death. She was greatly humbled. 13LtMs, Lt 33, 1898, par. 5

For one week brother Sharpe was in trial. He could get no work. His employer would not give him a recommendation. I wrote to W. C. White that we must get him something to do. Word came that there was an opening in Melbourne, but £2.10 was all they could promise him at first. But before this word could reach him, the proprietor of another firm in the same business in Sydney sent word that he desired an interview with Brother Sharpe. The head clerk of this man was on a vacation, and in his absence, the proprietor himself had done his work. He found that he brought in £15 per month more, and this alarmed him. 13LtMs, Lt 33, 1898, par. 6

He saw that his workman had dishonestly robbed him of his just dues. He heard of the discharge of Brother Sharpe, and learned that his employer had perfect confidence in his honesty, but that he would not retain him because he kept the Sabbath, and that this was his only objection. He said, If he is conscientious, and will risk losing a good situation rather than give up the truth, that is the very man I want. He took him in gladly, and felt that he had secured a favor. He gave him the same wages he had before received, a very much larger and pleasanter room in which to work, and the Sabbath, saying that he did not want any bonus time put in. 13LtMs, Lt 33, 1898, par. 7

This was the Lord’s doing. Brother Sharpe was a spectacle to the world, to angels, and to men. He was rejoiced, and he and his wife were baptized one week ago last Sabbath. They are a very thankful couple. His experience has been a great blessing to his wife. She said, When the Lord opened the way so abundantly to my husband, I felt the reproof come to me, O thou of little faith, wherefore didst thou doubt? 13LtMs, Lt 33, 1898, par. 8

Another couple attended all the meetings in the tent, and the morning meetings, which were help by Brother Haskell. They had seasons of prayer in the morning, and the blessing of the Lord rested upon them. This man, his wife and daughter, knew from the Word that they were hearing the truth, line upon line, precept upon precept, here a little and there a little. The truth was opened to them, and those who had ears to hear were attracted by its spell. The Holy Spirit impressed the truth upon their hearts. All was new to these convicted ones. The Bible became to them a treasure house of knowledge. 13LtMs, Lt 33, 1898, par. 9

But there were those who would not candidly search the Word, like the noble Bereans, to see if these things were so. Their eyes were blinded because they would not see and acknowledge the evidence given them. These reported the falsehoods that Canright had published, and, having a disposition to reject evidence, and loving falsehood themselves, they did their best to throw these seekers off the track of truth. But this family brought the points that troubled them to our ministers, who were feeding the flock of God with pure provender, thoroughly winnowed from the chaff. Then all their perplexities were removed. 13LtMs, Lt 33, 1898, par. 10

These people were becoming familiar with the truth, and could make error appear in its falsity. The husband, Brother Stuckey, was in the employ of the government printing establishment, and was receiving good wages. He thought to first ascertain if his employers would expel him; but he was deeply convicted, and ventured to go forward in baptism. This man and his wife were greatly blessed. Then he laid the case before his employer, and, without any objection, received the Sabbath. Among the number who have accepted the message are four men holding positions in government firms, and this brings the truth to the front. There are also men who are in charge of Sunday schools, and one man is a local preacher. Nearly all who have embraced the truth are men of influence, who, if soundly converted, will be men who can communicate the truth to others. This is what we need so much. 13LtMs, Lt 33, 1898, par. 11

Several have commenced to pay their tithe, and this is a wonderful help just now. The churches in the suburbs of Sydney greatly needed financial strength, and God is giving it to us more than we have had in the past. And still the work is embracing new families. Three ministers and their wives are laboring constantly, preaching and visiting, opening the Scriptures, and presenting the truth as it is in Jesus. 13LtMs, Lt 33, 1898, par. 12

I could wish that you were on the ground now, that we might counsel together. I think could the medical missionary work be more fully developed, as it ought to be, this would make an impression preparatory to the more testing message which must be given to the world. 13LtMs, Lt 33, 1898, par. 13

I have not felt like continually urging you to come, because the whole situation has been presented before you. In the accessions we have had to the truth since the camp meeting, there are businessmen, who will be a great help to us. Some who embraced the truth in the early efforts made, after we came to this country, seemed to think that if they received the truth, we must surely look after them and supply their temporal needs. We did do this largely, but soon learned that they were offended if we did not continue to do so. This came very heavily upon me for three or four years. But some of this class went out from us. Others are still with us. We help them some, but they are doing much better. 13LtMs, Lt 33, 1898, par. 14

The medical missionary work is doing all that we can expect. Dr. Caro will unite with the work, and he has a very interesting way, which helps him to find access to the people. We shall be much pleased to see you. We feel very much encouraged when we see those embracing the truth who are not what we call wealthy men, but conscientious and God-fearing, who, we have reason to believe, love the truth. As soon as they became interested in the truth, they began to plan for a house of worship, and these families pledged what they would give to the building. But as they became more decided, they doubled their subscriptions. These families are paying tithe. 13LtMs, Lt 33, 1898, par. 15

The promise to those who will bring all their tithes into the storehouse is, “Bring ye all the tithe into the storehouse, that there may be meat in mine house, and prove me now herewith, as the Lord of hosts, if I will not open you the windows of heaven, and pour you out a blessing that there shall not be room enough to receive.” [Malachi 3:10.] 13LtMs, Lt 33, 1898, par. 16

These directions are presented to the people as the part that God requires them to act; and they see it, not as the word of man, but as the word of the living God. Such rich and full promises are for all to understand. If men will do their part, God will certainly do His part. He never fails in any of His agreements with His people. 13LtMs, Lt 33, 1898, par. 17

Oh, how pleasant it is to forget self, and co-operate with God in the closing scenes of this earth’s history. The work is aggressive. We do not now experience that mean, contemptible opposition, so violent in its demonstration, that we did in 1894 and 1895. We see the Holy Spirit working on human hearts. I am very grateful for this. We are called upon to link up with Christ, to wear His yoke, and bear His burdens. 13LtMs, Lt 33, 1898, par. 18

Human selfishness would make a monopoly of eternal life. The scribes and Pharisees, in the days when Christ was in the world, desired to make a local and national benefit of all the gifts of heaven, and exclude the rest of God’s family in the world. But Christ came to break down every wall of partition. He came to show to the world that His gift of mercy and love is as unconfined as the air we breathe, the water we drink. That gift is free to all the world. 13LtMs, Lt 33, 1898, par. 19

David’s sin has been the sin of selfish men in every age. They have made efforts to number Israel, to count the people; but Christ lifted up His voice to proclaim that the gift of eternal life was free to all who would receive Him as a personal Saviour. “For God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth on him shall not perish but have everlasting life.” [John 3:16.] There is no nationality, tribe, or clans with God. He is the Maker of all mankind. It would be as just to put a price upon the air and light, the showers of rain, and every other blessing that God gives to our world, as to exclude from any sect, rank, or class of people the light shining from the throne of God. Christ declared that whosoever will may take of the water of life freely. [Revelation 22:17.] 13LtMs, Lt 33, 1898, par. 20

The Lord has shown who it is that will not enter heaven and comprise the family of God. Of the angels who kept not their first estate, the Word of Inspiration declares that God has reserved them in everlasting chains, under darkness, unto the judgment of that great day. [Jude 6.] We are to thank God that we are prisoners of hope. The voice comes down from generation to generation, I have found a ransom. 13LtMs, Lt 33, 1898, par. 21

“And he saw that there was no man, and wondered that there was no intercessor: therefore his arm brought salvation unto him; and his righteousness, it sustained him. For he put on righteousness as a breastplate, and an helmet of salvation upon his head; and he put on the garments of vengeance for clothing, and was clad in zeal as a cloak.” [Isaiah 59:16, 17.] 13LtMs, Lt 33, 1898, par. 22

By faith we are to do the work of Christ, as represented in His words to the prophet Isaiah: “The Spirit of the Lord God is upon me, because the Lord hath anointed me to preach good tidings unto the meek, he hath sent me to bind up the broken hearted; to proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prison to them that are bound; to proclaim the acceptable year of the Lord, and the day of vengeance of our God; to comfort all that mourn; to appoint unto them that mourn in Zion, to give unto them beauty for ashes, the oil of joy for mourning, the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness; that they might be called trees of righteousness, the planting of the Lord, that he might be glorified.” [Isaiah 61:1-3.] 13LtMs, Lt 33, 1898, par. 23

This is the work we want to do more fully in this country. We want to represent Christ by reaching out to others. We are to work under the commission Christ gave to His disciples, “Go ye therefore and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost, teaching them to observe whatsoever I have commanded you, and, lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world.” [Matthew 28:19, 20.] This then is our work, to reach the people who are neglected, and win them to Christ. Until recently our people have made but little or no effort to help these. 13LtMs, Lt 33, 1898, par. 24

Christ came not to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance. He would have every soul regard the efficacy of His blood as of unlimited value, able to save unto the uttermost all whom we can persuade to come to Him. He would have every individual of our race, formed in His image, remember that God is infinite, and that His love revealed in the atonement of Christ, in favor of all mankind, makes manifest the value He places on humanity. He bids them come to Him and be saved. To the Source of all our mercies we must come. He will use men as His agents to win their fellow men from sin. He is the Giver of all our mercies. While His common blessings are given to the world, shall the stigma of selfishness and exclusiveness be reserved for grace alone? 13LtMs, Lt 33, 1898, par. 25

“I am the light of the world,” Christ declares, a blessing to all classes, even as the light of heaven is given to benefit all the human race. [John 8:12.] The more men through false ministry have been made apostates to the law of Jehovah, the more urgent is the call for the help of every human agent to connect with the world’s Redeemer in seeking to save that which is lost. He came to demolish every wall of partition, to throw open every compartment in the temple, our world, that every soul may have free access to God, that every soul may see that God is looking upon him individually, and through His agencies, saying, Turn ye, turn ye, for why will ye die? 13LtMs, Lt 33, 1898, par. 26

The message of mercy that Christ brought from the Father is meant for all the world. Christ enriched the world with His own attributes of grace. But men have been untrue to God and His appointments. They have not acted in the place of Christ, nor have they been touched with human woe. God desires that we shall have hearts that will respond to Christ’s heart of sympathy, leading us to relieve suffering humanity. 13LtMs, Lt 33, 1898, par. 27

All who will come within the call of Christ, who will receive Him as their personal Saviour, will have eternal life. Herein is love. How can we express it? It is a love so deep, so broad, so full, so free, that it penetrates everywhere. It lifts out of Satan’s circle the poor souls who have been deluded by his hellish deceptions, and places them within reach of the throne of God, encircled by the rainbow of promise. That one soul saved will let his light shine forth upon the world that lieth in darkness. Then shall we not work in Christ’s lines? In connecting finite man with the infinite God, an honor that is beyond expression is conferred upon us. We are “laborers together with God.” [1 Corinthians 3:9.] 13LtMs, Lt 33, 1898, par. 28

“Therefore we ought to give the more earnest heed to the things which we have heard, lest at any time we should let them slip. For if the word spoken by angels was steadfast, and every transgression and disobedience received a just recompense of reward, how shall we escape if we neglect so great salvation, which at the first began to be spoken by the Lord, and was confirmed unto us by them that heard him, God also bearing them witness, both with signs and wonders and with divers miracles and gifts of the Holy Ghost, according to his own will? ... For verily, he took not on him the nature of angels: but he took on him the seed of Abraham. Wherefore in all things it behoved him to be made like unto his brethren, that he might be a merciful and faithful high priest in things pertaining to God, to make reconciliation for the sins of the people. For in that he himself hath suffered being tempted, he is able to succor them that are tempted.” [Hebrews 2:1-4, 16-18.] 13LtMs, Lt 33, 1898, par. 29

O what a God we have connected with us by the strongest ties! His spontaneous love calls for love, deep, earnest, and full, from every soul whom He has redeemed. He has a work for us to do in this world. For our sakes He became poor, that we through His poverty might be made rich. What do these riches comprehend? A life that measures with the life of God, an eternal weight of glory. He has collected all the riches of heaven, and laid upon all the resources of His infinite nature for all who will consent to return to their loyalty. He has given all heaven to our world. He has given to us a gift to convince us that there is no love that can measure with the love of God; and He would have His children express their love in return, by obedience to His commandments. “The Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth. ... And of his fulness have all we received, and grace for grace.” [John 1:14, 16.] 13LtMs, Lt 33, 1898, par. 30