Letters and Manuscripts — Volume 14 (1899)


Ms 158, 1899


Maitland, New South Wales, Australia

November 26, 1899

Portions of this manuscript are published in 4MR 44.

Today is my birthday. Another year of my life has passed into eternity. Seventy-two years ago today my life in this world commenced. I am still able to labor, to watch unto prayer, to speak to hundreds of people for more than an hour at a time. At such times I am imbued by the Spirit of God to bear my testimony. 14LtMs, Ms 158, 1899, par. 1

I have spoken for the last four Sabbath and Sunday afternoons to large congregations, besides speaking several times during the week. Once during the camp meeting I was solicited to speak to the women of the W.C.T.U. in Maitland. They greatly desired to hear me, they said, even though I only spoke for ten minutes. A goodly number of intelligent women were present. After being introduced to the congregation, I spoke for an hour. They the president introduced me personally to the members of the society. Since my talk to them, several of these women have attended our meetings. 14LtMs, Ms 158, 1899, par. 2

This camp meeting has been attended by the largest number of intelligent men and women we have ever seen at any of our camp meetings in Australia. There are more of the members of the other churches present than we usually see in our meetings. Among those who have been regular attendants are three brothers by the name of Kerr. They have a large drapery establishment in town. 14LtMs, Ms 158, 1899, par. 3

These men are not satisfied with their religious teachers. The eldest of the brothers told me that their minister was receiving a salary of five hundred pounds a year, but he did not give the people the spiritual help they needed. Politics and war were the themes largely dwelt upon, and these have no power to strengthen spirituality. 14LtMs, Ms 158, 1899, par. 4

The love of the world, of dress and fashion, is fast making the church a worldly, lifeless body. Mr. Kerr said that if the minister would visit the homes of the people, a change would be seen in the lives of the members of the church; but instead of doing this work, the minister was often met with a bat and ball on his way to the cricket grounds. 14LtMs, Ms 158, 1899, par. 5

I sent Mr. Kerr my book Desire of Ages, and he and his wife came to thank me for the present. We had a pleasant talk together. I am going to leave with the two other brothers Great Controversy and Patriarchs and Prophets. They can exchange them, and thus learn the contents of all. This afternoon two of the Kerr brothers, with their wives were, present at the meeting in the tent. I hope that these three brothers will accept the truth. 14LtMs, Ms 158, 1899, par. 6

I am giving away many of my books, because I desire the people to have the precious light the Lord has given me. I know of several families who have been converted by reading the books I have given them. 14LtMs, Ms 158, 1899, par. 7

I am deeply interested in the people I have met in Maitland. One year ago last October, before I left home for Brisbane, Queensland, I was so exhausted that I feared to venture. No one gave me any encouragement to go. They said that for me to attend the camp meeting in Queensland would be presumption. “Well,” I said, “if you feel that way, it may be best for me to rest at home.” That night I seemed to be addressing one company after another. The people seemed to be astonished at the words spoken to them. 14LtMs, Ms 158, 1899, par. 8

I saw other companies, some nigh and some afar off, who with their hands lifted entreatingly were crying, “We are starving for the Word of the Lord. Will you not come and help us?” Some were searching the Scriptures, and they needed some one to explain the Word to them, even as the Ethiopian eunuch needed Philip. 14LtMs, Ms 158, 1899, par. 9

One who has often instructed me said, “God has precious ones in all the churches at all the towns from Cooranbong to Queensland. They are as sheep having no shepherd. The shepherds feed themselves, but they feed not the flock. Lift the standard in new territories. The people are ignorant of the Scriptures. The fields are white unto the harvest. The Holy Spirit will accompany the presentation of the truth.” 14LtMs, Ms 158, 1899, par. 10

I immediately decided to attend the Queensland meeting. Brethren Haskell, Daniells, and W. C. White accompanied me. Others united with us in labor, and the Lord gave us large and interested congregations. After camp meeting, a long, strong pull was made by Brother and Sister Haskell and others. Through perseverance and constant vigilance a company of believers was raised up and a church built, a sacred place, where all may worship God in spirit and in truth. For this we have reason to praise the Lord. 14LtMs, Ms 158, 1899, par. 11

After the Brisbane meeting I went to Rockhampton. On the way there I was taken very sick, and I thought I should die. But as soon as I stepped off the boat, a brother told me that an appointment was out for me to speak that night in a large hall in Rockhampton. I rode out four miles over a rough road in a stiff spring wagonette, to the place where we were to stay. I was too sick to eat, yet I rode back that night, spoke to the people, and rode home. I was sick all the time I was in Rockhampton, yet that four miles of rough road had to be traversed again and again. I spoke on Sabbath to our own people and on Sunday afternoon with great freedom in a large hall in Rockhampton. Then spoke on Monday night, just before going on board the boat. On the way to Brisbane I was very sick and unable to eat, but the Lord sustained me. 14LtMs, Ms 158, 1899, par. 12

We have had an excellent camp meeting in Maitland. Men and women have walked three and four miles to attend the meetings. Last week twenty interested ones came from a town several miles away. On the last Sunday some who came to the early morning meeting remained till the close of the day, which with very little intermission was filled with meetings. These people seem to be the same as those I saw in my dream. Many of them have been church members for many years, some for fourteen years, others for twenty, and others for forty; but they all say that they never heard the Bible explained as it is explained at the tent. Some bought Bibles on the ground, that they might mark the passages and trace out the subjects presented. Women of excellent appearance say that they have learned more of the Bible since the tent has come to Maitland than in all the former years of their life. “Why have we not heard these things from our own ministers?” they ask. 14LtMs, Ms 158, 1899, par. 13

While our ministers are speaking, the people sit as though astonished, their eyes riveted on the speaker. They leave the tent saying, We never heard anything like this before. We want to hear more. 14LtMs, Ms 158, 1899, par. 14

The Lord has given His servants great freedom. We know that the Holy Spirit was in our meeting. The health talks which have been given here have exerted a large influence. Dr. Caro talks with interest to the people everywhere. The ministry of the Word and medical missionary work must blend. They must be united as the hand is united to the body. Medical missionary work connected with the preaching of the Word for this time, is just the instruction and the power the people need. The Lord’s vineyard must be worked equally. New territory is to be added to God’s kingdom. We are far behind where we should be. Could we have had the means invested by our people in America in erecting unnecessary buildings, we would have been years ahead of where we are today. 14LtMs, Ms 158, 1899, par. 15