Letters and Manuscripts — Volume 14 (1899)


Lt 48, 1899


“Sunnyside,” Cooranbong, New South Wales, Australia

March 20, 1899

Portions of this letter are published in WM 335-336; PM 394. +Note

Dear Brother:

Sister Sara McEnterfer in company with Brother James, my farmer, has just gone to visit Brother Coulston, who lives six miles from here in the bush. This brother has embraced the truth since we came to Cooranbong. He was a fisherman, uneducated, yet possessing considerable natural ability. Before accepting the truth, he smoked night and day; but the truth took hold upon his heart. He received it and gave up his pipe, and the Lord blessed him in this. Then came another battle on the question of drinking tea. He went to the Lord for strength, and He helped him to renounce his habit. Leaving off the eating of the flesh of dead animals was a severe trial for the poor fisherman, but he passed through step by step, and obtained a bright experience. In a most wonderful manner the Lord has brought this man near to himself. Brother Coulston is showing by his life that he has a living connection with God. His testimony is always full of rich experience. 14LtMs, Lt 48, 1899, par. 1

Brother Coulston has been soundly converted, and his fellow fishermen think it the most wonderful case on record. The refining influence and power of the religion of Christ has transformed the man. He has attended no school but the school of the great Teacher, and he is a new man in Christ. His case has been, as every case should be, a recommendation to the truth we are advocating. He seems to be led and taught by God, and he is teaching others. He and his eldest children, eight, ten, and twelve years old, walk six miles to Sabbath school and meeting when the weather will permit. 14LtMs, Lt 48, 1899, par. 2

Brother Coulston is a fisherman, but he could not support his family by fishing, and so moved away into the bush, to a place a mile from where carriages can go. He took up a bit of land and is cultivating it. He is living mostly upon what he produces. He is a boatmaker, and sold his boat to purchase this land. His father, mother, and brother live near him, and we expect them all to receive the truth. 14LtMs, Lt 48, 1899, par. 3

Now news has come to us that our beloved brother has come down with typhoid fever. Mr. Pringle is the only man in the village who knows anything about giving treatment without drugs; but six weeks ago he was called upon to attend Mr. Barnes, who was also down with typhoid. He has stayed with him night and day, and has now returned to his home, worn out with the strain. So he cannot be depended on to nurse Brother Coulston. 14LtMs, Lt 48, 1899, par. 4

Sara and Brother James have gone up to see what the situation is. If Brother Coulston can be moved, he must be brought within our reach, even if he has to be carried on a litter. We cannot let him lie there and die, to leave his wife and children to the mercy of whoever will have mercy upon them. 14LtMs, Lt 48, 1899, par. 5

There is no house to which Brother Coulston can be taken. We tried to hire a little house of three rooms, about a quarter of a mile from us. But the owner learned that Brother Coulston was sick of typhoid fever, and he said that we would be welcome to the house, only that he dared not introduce the typhoid fever into the neighborhood. The house stands alone, fully two miles from the neighborhood, but this man has lost a son by typhoid fever, and he is afraid to bring it within miles of his home. 14LtMs, Lt 48, 1899, par. 6

What shall we do with our sick? Not a stroke has yet been made on the hospital, which we so much need, simply because we have no money. In the mail before last, Elder Loughborough sent five hundred dollars as a loan. We felt that now we could make a beginning, but the draft was sent through the Echo office, so it had to go there. Sometimes we are obliged to wait for months for money sent in this way, for they do not have it to send us. The brethren in Battle Creek must understand that when money is loaned to me, they are not to appropriate the money there, and make me dependent on the Echo Office. This has been done over and over again. Months have passed in which we could get but little, and often nothing. Let your means come direct to us, especially at this time, when we are obeying the word of the Lord, “Go forward.” [Exodus 14:15.] 14LtMs, Lt 48, 1899, par. 7

March 21

Sara has just returned with the good news that Brother Coulston is much better. He was attacked, but Mr. Pringle, who was able to visit him, found him a very different subject from Mr. Barnes. Brother Coulston is a health reformer, and when his case was given vigorous treatment, the fever was mastered. He is weak, but is up and dressed, and is cheerful and happy in the Lord. Sara says that the corn he is growing will help largely to sustain his family. They have a hand mill, and grind this corn over and over until it is fine. From this they make their bread, for they have not money to purchase fine flour. We shall send them some flour. This is the work that has been done in several cases. We have just helped men to help themselves. Brother Coulston has that in him that will not allow him, if he has health, to depend on any one. But the man who purchased his boat has paid him nothing, for he could not. 14LtMs, Lt 48, 1899, par. 8

W. C. White saw Brother Coulston’s necessity, and borrowed eight pounds from our blacksmith and loaned it to him, that he might make a beginning. And all are glad and more than astonished to see the beginning he has made. About twelve acres have been cleared and planted with sweet corn and field corn. The sweet corn they will eat, and the field corn they will sell. The vegetables that have been grown help a great deal in supporting the family. The little lads are working with their father like little farmers. They are so earnest and full of zeal that it is amusing to look at them and see how happy they are in their work. They have not much society besides their own family connections, but they are in the very best school they could be in. 14LtMs, Lt 48, 1899, par. 9

We feel thankful to God for what we see, and we shall encourage those who come into the truth to take up land which they can cultivate, and so sustain themselves. 14LtMs, Lt 48, 1899, par. 10

Brother Hungerford belongs to a good family. His brother is in business in Sydney. His family looked upon Brother Hungerford as one who would not amount to much. He kept a livery stable, but seemed to have no desire to better his condition. He used tobacco freely, and for nine months his wife supported the family. She thought it quite hard to have to give her means, earned by washing, to keep him in tobacco. They were all taken sick with influenza. Sara was sent for. She took charge of the mother and children, and sent for Brother Simmons to take care of the father. Sara said that the house contained the poorest supply of the necessities of life that she ever saw. The mattresses on the bed were made of old bags filled with course grass, with grain sacks sewed together for covers. There were only one or two chairs in the house. The necessities of the family were relieved, and with vigorous treatment they recovered in a few weeks. 14LtMs, Lt 48, 1899, par. 11

The father and mother embraced the truth, and the father threw his pipe in the fire behind the chimney logs. Willie and I employed him to work for us as soon as he was able. He now has steady work at the school, in various lines, and is improving every day. He says he recognizes the great good the truth has done for him. He feels now that he can look upon himself as a man. Others are as much surprised as he is. His shiftless ways have left him. He is a man of excellent appearance. His forehead is large and broad, and I could not see why a man with such a head should be unable to support himself. We supplied the family with clothing and food, but this part of the program is over. That large head, we believe, will be of some account yet. 14LtMs, Lt 48, 1899, par. 12

There are other cases I might tell you about, but you can see from what I have written that our medical missionary field is a large one. 14LtMs, Lt 48, 1899, par. 13

Last Friday W. C. White and Elder Daniells went to Sydney. Sara accompanied me to Newcastle. I spoke on Sabbath and Sunday afternoons to as nice a congregation as you would wish to see. The tent was not full, either on Sabbath or Sunday, but the most interesting people were before me. A baptismal service was held one week ago. Considerable opposition was encountered by two families. Brother Lord’s eldest son’s wife was baptized with her husband. Her brother, sister, and mother interfered and tried to dissuade her. When they saw that she was determined, they acted like mad people. Her brother seized her arm and tried to hinder her by main force, talking vehemently at the same time. But she was firm and would not yield. Then her sister and mother cursed her and old Mrs. Lord, her mother-in-law. They laid all the blame on Mrs. Lord. Again and again the sister cursed her, and raising her hands, of course to the devil, she prayed that both her sister and Mrs. Lord might be taken sick and die, as the result of being baptized. 14LtMs, Lt 48, 1899, par. 14

As the brother and sister tried to force young Mrs. Lord away, a police officer came up, and said to the mother, “This is a matter that concerns your daughter alone. You have no right to interfere, and I shall prevent you going farther. She must have liberty to follow her own convictions.” 14LtMs, Lt 48, 1899, par. 15

Another case was that of a husband and wife. This man had always been kind to his wife, but he was very much opposed to her being baptized. He tried to prevent her from going forward,and when he saw that she would not yield, he swore most dreadfully, saying that he would kill her, that he would never live with her again. Nevertheless she went forward in baptism. 14LtMs, Lt 48, 1899, par. 16

Last Sabbath afternoon this man sat in the meeting with his wife, his children on either side of them. His countenance wore a sad, serious expression, for he was ashamed of himself. We think that he will accept the truth. He is a baker, and is the only one in Newcastle who bakes Graham bread. 14LtMs, Lt 48, 1899, par. 17

On Sunday Brother Starr visited another man and his wife. The husband is fully convinced that the seventh day is the Sabbath, but the wife stands in the way. She opposes him very strongly. These people both sat on the front seat during the afternoon meeting, and I learned afterward that they were deeply impressed. I had chosen as my subject the coming of the Lord, but as soon as I read my text, I was led to speak on a different subject—the law of God. I had great freedom in speaking. 14LtMs, Lt 48, 1899, par. 18

After the discourse Brother Starr said to the husband and wife whom he had visited, “You see, Mrs. White carried you over the very ground I went over, giving you the same proof texts that I gave you.” “Yes,” the wife said, “I supposed you told her what you had said to us, for she quoted the same scriptures.” Brother Starr told her he had not said one word to me on the subject. “Now,” said Brother Starr, “you should see that the Lord is calling you by His servants to believe the truth.” She said, “It is very singular, for the last text [she] quoted was the same that you gave us.” This made a great impression on their minds. 14LtMs, Lt 48, 1899, par. 19

After speaking, I took the cars. To avoid the confusion of a crowded car, it was proposed that I should ride first class. I consented to this, for I understood that the tickets would only cost sixpence more. But when I learned that we would have to pay one shilling each extra, I said, No, I will not pay double price for one hour’s ride. We had a more favorable journey than I expected, and saved our two shillings. At such a time as this, it is not right to pay out even a sixpence or a shilling unnecessarily. 14LtMs, Lt 48, 1899, par. 20

Before Brother Lord accepted the truth, he held a responsible position in the railway service. He occupied one of the elevated rooms on the line and worked the brakes—a position requiring the most careful management. But when he accepted the Sabbath, he lost his situation, and for three weeks he had no work. He has a large family, consisting of eight boys and a married daughter and her husband to keep. He had but one pound left when a dispatch was sent to him to come to Sydney. He thought it might be possible that he was to be taken back, but no, he was told that if he would work on Saturday he would have his position, but only on that condition. He asked his employer if he would not give him a pension of £50 a year, as he had given others. But this was refused him. 14LtMs, Lt 48, 1899, par. 21

Brother Lord felt that he could not remain longer in Newcastle without work, and he came to Cooranbong to procure a piece of land. He heard of a place of two hundred acres which was to let, and on which were two buildings. But in one of these the white ants had eaten the woodwork so badly that it had to be torn out and used for kindling wood. The house remaining has no ceiling beyond the rough rafters, and altogether it is not a very encouraging place to move into. 14LtMs, Lt 48, 1899, par. 22

Last night we sent our cart and platform wagon to bring the family from the station. The two teams have gone today to bring up the goods. Not a cent of money has Brother Lord, and he has had to borrow £2 in order to get his goods here. But the Lord will help those who do their best to help themselves, and who put their trust in Him. It was an unusual sight to see at our breakfast table this morning the seven boys with their father and mother. The eldest son, who is married, is helping to put up buildings on the school ground. The married daughter and her husband are also living in Cooranbong. 14LtMs, Lt 48, 1899, par. 23

This is the kind of missionary work we must do in this country in helping these people to get a start. We feel that Brother Lord and his wife have excellent material in them. If we can get money to start the food manufacturing business, there will be work for those who have ability. There are several families here now who have had much trial of faith. Want has stared them in the face. But they are now at work. 14LtMs, Lt 48, 1899, par. 24

Another excellent family live in a little house built up on a rocky piece of land about fifty miles from this place. The father is one of our best Sabbathkeepers. He was a fine workman, a coach builder and first class painter. But the Sabbath stands in the way of his prosperity. These people raise scarcely anything, for their land is so rocky. When Brother Pocock built his house there, he had to carry all the building material on his back up a steep incline which no horse and wagon could climb. 14LtMs, Lt 48, 1899, par. 25

He took his family to this place, and then we employed him in our house to paint and do other work. When he was leaving, he asked if we had any books we could give him. He told us that he had a small Sabbath school, but had no money to get any books. We furnished him with many of my books, and then he asked if we had any cast off clothing we could spare. We told him that we would help him, and he went away feeling rich. We have sent him a couple of boxes of clothing each year, and he says they have bought nothing in the line of clothing for the family during this time. Our editors are all eager to do this work. 14LtMs, Lt 48, 1899, par. 26

Brother Pocock has worked with his neighbors, until several persons have embraced the truth. One, a farmer, is quite well-to-do. 14LtMs, Lt 48, 1899, par. 27

In spite of their poverty Brother Pocock’s family are always neat and are devoted, earnest, God-fearing, God-loving Christians. We have just learned how they are situated, and are trying to settle them on the school land and given him work, so that they may at least have enough to eat. Our hands are fully employed in this kind of missionary work—helping the excellent of the earth to help themselves and maintain their independence, and teaching the shiftless and those who have no work to do something, that they may through right methods become the excellent of the earth. 14LtMs, Lt 48, 1899, par. 28

We are glad to do this work. 14LtMs, Lt 48, 1899, par. 29

I have given my largest works to families out of the truth, and I hear the testimonies of some that it was these books, silently reflecting the light upon the Word of God, that converted them to the truth. I have given away to families no less than five hundred dollars’ worth of books, and by this means the work is constantly going forward. 14LtMs, Lt 48, 1899, par. 30

Responsibilities are constantly crowding in upon us, and it is our work to cast the net on the right side of the ship. We must economize, and then help those who come into the truth. Those who are thrown out of employment are to be looked after carefully. They are not to be carried, but helped to get a start. We must speak words of encouragement to all who have the moral courage to receive and confess the truth. We must try to find a place for those who possess intelligence, that this intelligence may not decrease but increase. There is work for all who have physical strength but have not tact to set themselves to work. And they should be willing to take up the burden the Lord lays upon them, according to their several ability. 14LtMs, Lt 48, 1899, par. 31

I often present before the workers of every class the truth that Christ honored labor. He understands how to encourage the worker. Our Saviour is touched by human woe, whatever it may be. He is our Burden-bearer. He gives to the weary ones the invitation, “Come unto me, all ye that labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me, for I am meek and lowly in heart, and ye shall find rest unto your souls.” [Matthew 11:28, 29.] We must each come to this precious Saviour for counsel. 14LtMs, Lt 48, 1899, par. 32

He never makes a mistake. Men who are not feeding on Christ, eating His flesh and drinking His blood, will make mistakes. They may reason from their own human standpoint, from policy principles, but they need more than this. They must have the Lord’s ways, the Lord’s thoughts. They must have the Holy Spirit working in them and through them. 14LtMs, Lt 48, 1899, par. 33

We see the work of God advancing in Newcastle. Already twenty-three have been baptized, and about fifteen more, I understand, purpose to go forward at the first opportunity. The merchants, and businessmen in general, say that there never was anything like this seen in Newcastle before. They say that the influence of the work is extending everywhere. 14LtMs, Lt 48, 1899, par. 34

There is a special work to be done for the miners. Many of them are interested and are convicted of the truth. There needs to be a special effort made for the proprietors of the mines. This class of work has not yet been entered upon. There must be missionaries who will carry the work to the miners. May the Lord go before us, that we may know how to do this work. 14LtMs, Lt 48, 1899, par. 35

The city of Newcastle is settled somewhat in this way. The city lies in the center, with suburbs scattered round it in every direction. Missionaries must be sent to these suburbs. First the Bible readings are to be given to every class in every portion of the city. Then the message is to go to the suburbs around. 14LtMs, Lt 48, 1899, par. 36

This work cannot be completed in a short time. A meetinghouse must be erected as soon as possible. We cannot tell where the money for this is coming from, but we shall go forward, and work and watch and pray. If we can get at the best classes among the miners, they can, when converted, work for their brethren. The Word had come from the proprietors of the coal mines that a great change has come over the men who have come out to the tent to hear. But there needs to be a different kind of work done than mere preaching and giving Bible readings. Some one must get at the working class in the mines and those in the outside ring. 14LtMs, Lt 48, 1899, par. 37

This matter is lying with great weight on my mind, and I communicate to you the thoughts that are burdening my soul. The net is to be cast into this sea of people, and we are to draw with all our strength. I believe many souls would respond if the work could be carried on as I shall recommend. If our workers will search the Scriptures with the people, some will certainly hear the voice of the true Shepherd. They will appreciate the Word of God as it is brought to them in this simple manner. Railway stations are to be visited. Calls have come from different suburbs, and there must be work done in them. Those souls in poverty need to know the only true God and Jesus Christ whom He has sent. If they can once obtain an intelligent knowledge of the truth, what joy and hope will enter their lives. Their families will be blessed. Christ is the bread of life, and all who eat of Him will be invigorated, and hope and joy and peace will enter their hearts. 14LtMs, Lt 48, 1899, par. 38

We need those who will shoulder the burden and meet these men just where they are. These people need to understand that Christ receiveth sinful men. The Word of God can be effectually taught them by using nature as a lessonbook. As they dig for the hidden treasure, the earthly things, tell them how to labor for spiritual things, that as they have to work to get out the coal, so they must labor to discern the treasures that are hidden beneath the surface of God’s Word. If they will apply themselves to this task, they will discover treasures that are more valuable to them than coal mines. These men must know what is truth, what is Bible truth. Their intellect must be awakened to receive the truth as it is in Jesus. As the miners ask for light, it must be given to them in clear rays. 14LtMs, Lt 48, 1899, par. 39

When a question was brought to Christ, His answer was, “Have ye not read?” “What saith the Scripture?” [Matthew 12:3.] Christ could have answered every perplexing question to Him, but He did not do this. He directed His questioners to the great storehouse of light and knowledge. He was not always to be with them in human form, and He would put into their hands the Word of the living God. “How readest thou?” He said; “Search the Scriptures.” [Luke 10:26; Matthew 5:39.] He referred them to His own inspired textbook, that when tempted by the enemy, they might meet him as He had done, saying, “It is written.” Thus the truth would be sent home to the heart, and Satan would be driven back. Satan can have no power over the soul that relies on the living testimony. 14LtMs, Lt 48, 1899, par. 40

“The entrance of thy word giveth light; it giveth understanding unto the simple.” [Psalm 119:130.] Those who are humble enough to inquire, What saith the Scriptures? will not go from the search unsatisfied. The testimony brought to us by the pope, the minister, is not the sure word of unerring prophecy. It is the assertion and commandment of men. When the eternal interests of your soul are involved, you can rest upon nothing with safety but the Word of the living God. A “Thus saith the Lord” is of the highest value. The most eloquent and powerful reiteration of men’s ideas is as nothing compared with the Word of Jehovah. That Word stands sure forever. It is as firm as the everlasting hills. Upon it we may rely. To every man God has given his work, and in this work we have a sure and safe guide. If we will believe with the whole heart, we may know just how to do the work appointed us in reaching souls, for we shall have an unerring guide. 14LtMs, Lt 48, 1899, par. 41