Letters and Manuscripts — Volume 14 (1899)


Lt 166, 1899

Irwin, G. A.

“Sunnyside,” Cooranbong, New South Wales, Australia

October 24, 1899

Portions of this letter are published in 11MR 52.

Dear Brother Irwin:

I have written to Elder Haskell a very short, imperfect history of our visit to Queensland. I will now write you a few words. I find that I am tired after my journey to Queensland. 14LtMs, Lt 166, 1899, par. 1

Brother and Sister Herbert Lacey and their sister Margaret are to remain in Toowoomba to follow up the work. Brother and Sister Lacey will be free to labor from house to house and give Bible readings. I shall try to help them all I possibly can by urging them to do the work thoroughly and solidly. Brother Lacey did excellent work in Newcastle. He likes Toowoomba and the people there. The people are very kind, and it is a mystery to us why they did not come out to the meetings. 14LtMs, Lt 166, 1899, par. 2

Brother Starr writes us that he has secured a very nice park in Maitland free of charge for the camp meeting. This is indeed a favor. The meeting commences one week from next Thursday. We shall take our horse and phaeton to Maitland, that we may have it to use while there. I have sent letters to Edson and Frank Belden, which you may see. 14LtMs, Lt 166, 1899, par. 3

Now, my brother, there are some things which, as president of the General Conference, you are the proper one to attend to. Who has charge of matters concerning the Battle Creek school? If the conference assumed the responsibility of building the addition to the College, have the reasons put forward for erecting this addition been considered? I understand it was built with the view of providing accommodation for ministerial institutes. This was directly contrary to the light given me. I was instructed that ministers taken from their fields of labor and held in a series of meetings in Battle Creek would not be so well prepared for the work as if they gave themselves wholly to consecrated labor in the destitute fields where the standard of truth is to be uplifted. If they studied the Word of God with a teachable spirit, praying and watching unto prayer, and working as well as praying, angels of God would open their understanding to perceive the truth in its beauty. 14LtMs, Lt 166, 1899, par. 4

The time devoted to fitting ministers for their work would be much better employed in seeking to take the knowledge of truth to those who are in darkness, without God and without hope in the world. In such labor there is a variety of minds to deal with, and God will bless His servants greatly as they look to Him for wisdom, believing that the Holy Spirit will come to those who are hungering and thirsting and begging for the bread of life to give to their neighbors. 14LtMs, Lt 166, 1899, par. 5

Trials will come, but these are to educate the worker to look to Jesus. Trusting in his heavenly Father, he is to go forward, working out his own salvation with fear and trembling. For it is God that worketh in him, both to will and to do of His own good pleasure. Christ said of some, “Ye will not come unto me that ye might have life.” [John 5:40.] Let us all who have a knowledge of the truth obey the words, “Go work today in my vineyard;” and thus obtain greater knowledge. [Matthew 21:28.] 14LtMs, Lt 166, 1899, par. 6

I ask, Did the conference make themselves responsible for the debt on that last addition to the College? or did they retain that portion of the building they wished erected to accommodate their own purposes? Is there not part of the College building which belongs to the conference, the debt on which the conference should carry? Will you inquire in regard to this? Did the conference pay the full amount of their share in the indebtedness of the school, or did it put its burden on the school? Again, should not this unnecessary building, which the school does not need, be made use of in some way by the conference, thus relieving the school of the burden it should never have created, but which, in direct opposition to the counsel of God, it did create? 14LtMs, Lt 166, 1899, par. 7

If Dr. Kellogg uses this building, who is responsible for seeing that the rent is used to help to lessen the debt on the school? 14LtMs, Lt 166, 1899, par. 8

The light given me by the Lord is that wise men, men with financial intelligence, should visit our schools in every country, and keep an account of their financial strength or financial weakness. This matter should not be left to ministers or committee men, who have not time to take this burden. The teachers are not to be left with this responsibility. These matters of school business call for talent which has not been provided. In the case of church schools, men of financial wisdom should look over the accounts once, twice, or thrice a year, to ascertain the true standing of the school, and see that enormous expenses do not pile up. 14LtMs, Lt 166, 1899, par. 9

The workers in this new field, Australia, are not to follow the tread of the leaders in America, who have neglected to exercise clear-sighted judgment. This is the reason of the discouraging state of things that now exists. The teachers are discouraged. Some way must be devised, if possible, for teachers to take lower wages without distressing themselves. Let there be positive self-denial in every line. 14LtMs, Lt 166, 1899, par. 10

Ministers have been brought in to carry responsibilities which they were in no way fitted to bear. Lay these responsibilities upon men who have tact, men who can give themselves to business, who can visit the schools and keep account of the financial condition, who can also give lessons in bookkeeping. The work should be inspected several times each year. Let the ministers act as counsellors, but lay not on them the financial responsibilities. 14LtMs, Lt 166, 1899, par. 11

In localities where believers are few, let two or three churches unite in erecting humble church school buildings. Let all share the expense. It is high time for Sabbathkeepers to separate their children from worldly associations and place them under the very best teachers, who will make the Bible the foundation of all study. If authors have the knowledge and temperament to enter some of these open fields as educators, they can, by so doing, inscribe the truth on the tablets of the soul. By giving wise instruction to parents and children they will make a record in the heavenly courts that angels will rejoice to read. Practical work among fathers and mothers will be a ministry that God will bless. The Bible is the grandest, the most truthful, elevated, and ennobling story book that can be presented to human minds. 14LtMs, Lt 166, 1899, par. 12

The Lord would have painstaking efforts made in these lines. True missionary work done by teachers who are daily taught by God would bring many souls to the knowledge of the truth as it is in Jesus. Children thus educated will impart to others the light and knowledge received. 14LtMs, Lt 166, 1899, par. 13

But I must stop right here. God bless you, is my prayer. 14LtMs, Lt 166, 1899, par. 14