Letters and Manuscripts — Volume 14 (1899)


Lt 49, 1899

Wessels, Peter

Hamilton, Newcastle, New South Wales, Australia

January 1, 1899

Portions of this letter are published in 4Bio 420. +Note

Peter Wessels:

We have been in this place now since December 22. This city is only twenty-two miles from Cooranbong. If we raise a church here it will be of great value in strengthening our interest in this place and in Cooranbong. At Awaba, a station eight miles from Cooranbong, and about fourteen from Newcastle, we have excellent Sabbathkeepers. 14LtMs, Lt 49, 1899, par. 1

We expected this would be a very small camp meeting. We feared that the holidays would call away the pleasure lovers and also those who wanted to learn the truth. But as I stood before the people, I saw the very countenances that had been presented before me, with the earnest, longing cry, “We want the truth; we want the bread of life.” 14LtMs, Lt 49, 1899, par. 2

On the second Sunday after I had spoken, Willie and I were leaving the tent that I might avoid exposure, by clothing being wet with perspiration, when a man of about sixty years of age came running from the tent after us. I was just entering my room when he reached out his hand and said, “I must speak to you. My wife was sick, and I sent for the doctors and ministers, but they could not help her. We had purchased Mrs. White’s beautiful books, Patriarchs & Prophets and The Great Controversy. She searched them diligently, and declared she had found just what she wanted. They made the Scriptures so plain, she said, that she could take right hold of their meaning, and she died in hope and peace. I am searching these books through myself,” he continued, “and expect to find what my wife found.” We have heard many speak of these books. Newcastle has been thoroughly canvassed for them. 14LtMs, Lt 49, 1899, par. 3

Some of the first men in Newcastle have linked themselves up with Dr. Caro, and one has proposed to go to Sydney with him. Dr. Caro said to me, I hope he will not come until we get our bathrooms. Two wealthy gentlemen, he told me, came to the sanitarium, looked it over, and proposed to take treatment. But when they saw the bathrooms, they were disappointed, and said, I am sorry, but I could never consent to take baths in such a place as this. I would be ashamed to have my people know I had been here. This is a great trial for the doctor. He is well liked. He is simplicity itself in speaking, but he is pointed and plain, as well as pleasant and kind. 14LtMs, Lt 49, 1899, par. 4

About that time I received from the Pacific Press nearly three hundred pounds. Elder Haskell was in great trouble. The tent he was using was so old that it leaked like a sieve. The only thing I could do was to let my debts remain unpaid, and let the managers of the Health Home have one hundred pounds, and Brother Haskell another hundred. I made a donation of £10 to purchase a new tent. This I felt we must have. We hired a large tent for the Newcastle meeting. We paid fifteen pounds for the use of it during that time, and another £5 for the extra week. We had to use it after the camp meeting broke up until the new tent was made. 14LtMs, Lt 49, 1899, par. 5

We felt that we would make any and every sacrifice in order to open this new field—Sydney, Cooranbong, Newcastle and Maitland. Because of financial straits we have had to work at a disadvantage from the very commencement of the work. There were those on the school ground who knew not what manner of spirit they were of. When in the meeting held at Cooranbong God gave me a testimony to bear to His people, these men took me by the hand, and said, The Spirit of the Lord was upon you today. You spoke with the power of the Holy Spirit. But they have since turned back. 14LtMs, Lt 49, 1899, par. 6

When the plans and methods were presented for carrying forward the work on the first school buildings erected, and one and another of the carpenters saw that they could not make large wages upon the school building, they became dissatisfied and refused to work. From sheer necessity we were forced to employ those who would work for the lowest wages, because all the money we had was £1,000 I had hired in order to make a beginning. The tempter came to those who were dissatisfied, and worked upon their minds until he had obtained what he wanted. He loaded them down with his burden of evil surmising, and the very ones who had accepted the testimony, opened their lips to utter falsehoods, just as the Jews did in the days of Christ. 14LtMs, Lt 49, 1899, par. 7

When Christ’s first sermon was preached in Nazareth, the people all wondered at the gracious words that proceeded from His lips. But when He spoke words that cut across their ideas, the enemy took possession of them. They tore Him from His elevated position as speaker, and hurried Him to the eminence on which their city was built. They would have cast Him down headlong had not angels guarded Him. 14LtMs, Lt 49, 1899, par. 8

The evidence that those on this ground had, that the Lord had led me and spoken by His Holy Spirit through me, was brushed away as a cobweb, and their tongues were unbridled to say any impulsive thing. The false report has been carried far and near, even to Africa. But although our souls were sad and distressed because these false reports were circulated, yet we knew we were where the Lord would have us, as the future results would show. The Word of the Lord is unchangeable. The Lord would work, and no power could hinder. No human selfishness should be allowed to control matters. No ungodly principles in buying or in selling should be encouraged anywhere on this ground. To the unconverted, who view matters from the lowlands of human selfishness, unbelief, and indifference, right principles and methods appear wrong. 14LtMs, Lt 49, 1899, par. 9

But the true workers will walk by faith and work by faith. Sometimes they grow weary with watching the slow advancement of the work, where the battle wages strong between the forces of righteousness and sin. But if they refuse to fail or be discouraged, they will see the clouds break away, and the promise fulfilled from God’s point of view. Through the mist and cloud that Satan is ever throwing across their pathway, they will see the bright beams of the Sun of Righteousness. The glory of the Lord is to fill the whole earth. We concluded to rest in the Lord, to trust wholly in Him who is our only hope. Although those we hoped would prove to be true helpers could not understand the situation, and withdrew from us, we continued our work. We have all acted our part, and we have seen poor families acting their part, doing what they could. 14LtMs, Lt 49, 1899, par. 10

Two school buildings are completed, and the main building is now going up. The meetinghouse is finished and paid for, but there are fences to be built and trees to be set out, to make the place pleasant and attractive. Nothing must be done that is not essential. But the things that need to be done, in order that the work of God in our school shall not be hindered, must be done. 14LtMs, Lt 49, 1899, par. 11

One thing all the children of God need to learn to do is to pray in faith, and then seek to work in harmony with their prayers. In this way they co-operate with God. Let each one be sure not to sit for weeks and months on Satan’s stool of idleness, waiting for higher wages, for thus he throws himself directly in the enemy’s way, giving him every advantage. 14LtMs, Lt 49, 1899, par. 12

There are in every church two classes, those who want to lead, and those who are willing to be led. We cannot always have the privilege of planning the work, although we may feel able to do it. It may be that it would be a great blessing for some one else to do the planning, and become educated to know how, even if we suppose we know how to do everything. It is very nice to encourage those that will to do a great work, while the wise ones are aroused, not to be ready to criticize, but to advise and counsel. It is a splendid lesson to learn how to submit. The Lord tries every man just where he needs trying. If he needs his hands tied, the Lord permits them to be tied and his mouth closed. 14LtMs, Lt 49, 1899, par. 13

The Lord tries us in different ways, as I realize just now. When I would have gone to Ballarat, I am allowed to become weak and suffering. I must give up my visit to Ballarat, but it may be because my voice is needed in these places close by. There is a chain of places from Newcastle to Morisset on the railway line. Toronto is a large village, a resort of pleasure lovers. We design to visit all these places, Mount Vincent, Toronto, Awaba. As circumstances are, I must interpret this affliction as providential. I know I never in all my life before worked so hard as at Newcastle. On the last Sunday afternoon, when the crowds were filling the tent, and two thousand people were before me, I felt weak and helpless. But I cast myself upon Christ’s strength, and I was sustained. All seemed intensely interested, and now the workers begin to gather in the sheaves. 14LtMs, Lt 49, 1899, par. 14

I have never in my previous illnesses felt as I have in this one. I think it was because I had not recovered from my great taxation in Brisbane and Rockhampton. But I will now lighten my work of speaking. God give me wisdom to refrain when I feel the spirit of the message like fire shut up in my bones. The burden of souls is upon me, and I cannot hold my peace. 14LtMs, Lt 49, 1899, par. 15