Letters and Manuscripts — Volume 14 (1899)


Lt 83, 1899

Norman, Captain

“Sunnyside,” Cooranbong, New South Wales, Australia

May 4, 1899

This letter is published in entirety in DG 106-110.

My Brother in Christ Jesus:

I feel very grateful to my heavenly Father, who has answered our prayers in His own time and His own way. Often in our experience we have been brought into very strait places, but the Lord has answered our petitions and has greatly blessed us. Again and again we have presented our cases before the Lord, wrestling as did Jacob before he met his brother Esau. Some months ago the assurance was given me to call upon our brethren in America for help. The Lord said, “Continue to pray, continue to ask. I will move upon hearts, and means will come in the way I have appointed.” Since receiving this communication from the Lord, I have felt no distrust. I have awakened in the night season with these words upon my lips: The gold and silver is the Lord’s, and He will not fail us in our emergency. 14LtMs, Lt 83, 1899, par. 1

How wonderful is the way of our Lord! It is His glory to impart to us the things we most need. In the night season I have seen the arm of Omnipotence outstretched to guide us, and lead us onward and still onward. “Go forward,” the Lord said, “I understand the whole case, and I will send you help. Continue to pray. Have faith in Me: it is for My name’s glory that you ask, and you shall receive. I will be honored before those who are watching critically for your financial failure. They shall see the truth triumph gloriously. And whatsoever ye ask in My name believing, ye shall receive.” 14LtMs, Lt 83, 1899, par. 2

I have often been instructed in cases of perplexity as to the path of duty. Where there is a sincere desire to do the will of God apart from all selfish, personal consideration, the Lord will hear and answer prayer. 14LtMs, Lt 83, 1899, par. 3

If we rely upon the promises God has given in His Word, we may with assurance go forward in spite of discouraging appearances. The Lord will raise us up helpers in men whom He will move upon by His Spirit to impart to us in our necessity. Every lawful scheme for advancing the work of saving perishing souls will be a success. We are to see and acknowledge the working of God’s special providence. The Lord authorizes us to pray, declaring that He will hear the prayers of those who trust, not in their finite wisdom, but in His infinite power. He will be honored by those who draw nigh to Him, who faithfully do His service. “Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on thee, because he trusted in thee.” [Isaiah 26:3.] 14LtMs, Lt 83, 1899, par. 4

The Lord has made you a steward of means. I thank my heavenly Father for impressing you to identify your interests with the work of advancing His kingdom in our world. The safest rule of action is to abide closely by God’s Word. The Christian is given the invitation to carry his burdens to God in prayer, and to fasten himself closely to Christ by the cords of living faith. 14LtMs, Lt 83, 1899, par. 5

I have a request to make of you, my brother in Christ Jesus. Will you appropriate a certain sum to create a fund for the education of workers to give Bible readings in families after camp meetings have closed? During this time we can also hold meetings for the children on Sabbath and Sunday afternoons. This rule we have followed in our camp meetings here. There was not one Sabbathkeeper among the citizens of Newcastle when the tent was pitched there. Since then thousands have had an opportunity to hear the truth, and we know that many of them heard it gladly. They seemed to be hungry for the truth. 14LtMs, Lt 83, 1899, par. 6

During the Newcastle camp meeting children’s meetings were appointed. The best teachers were appointed, and during the week from one hundred to one hundred and twenty children came to the meetings each day. These were given precious lessons on the love of Christ and His willingness to save all who would come to Him. Between three and four hundred children came out to the meetings held on Sabbath and Sunday afternoons. The children behaved well, and when they returned to their homes they told their parents about the lessons they had learned. Some of these parents have received the truth. 14LtMs, Lt 83, 1899, par. 7

Tent-meetings have been continued in Newcastle since the camp meeting closed, and thirty-five have been converted and baptized. Many more are interested. Wonderful conversions have been witnessed among men who had not attended a religious meeting for years before coming to the tent. Smokers and liquor-drinkers have seen themselves in the gospel mirror as transgressors of the law, and have in repentance received Christ as their personal Saviour. The ministers are astonished, for they see those who were smokers and beer drinkers no longer smoking and drinking, but changed and converted. This to them seems like a miracle. 14LtMs, Lt 83, 1899, par. 8

A house has been hired for the ministers and their wives and those whom they are educating to give Bible readings from house to house. The people are invited to ask their friends and neighbors to these meetings, and opportunity is given for them to ask questions on the lessons given. These are occasions of deep interest. I have great confidence in this method of labor. The workers who are hunting and fishing for the souls of men and women labor hard from morning till night. Often their appointments are not over till ten o’clock. 14LtMs, Lt 83, 1899, par. 9

Work has now been begun in Wallsend, a suburb of Newcastle, ten miles from Newcastle, and in Maitland, a town twenty miles from Newcastle. This is a large field, and we shall employ workers who will give their whole time to the work. Elder Haskell and his wife are now laboring in Newcastle. They have tact and skill, and teach the truth both in public, and from house to house. There will be no other ministers there besides Elder Haskell and the Bible readers. No less than twelve workers are needed in this place, for it is a large field. 14LtMs, Lt 83, 1899, par. 10

In the past I have appropriated means to sustain this kind of work, but my fund is now exhausted, for in this field the calls have been continual. Missionary work has been done in many cities. 14LtMs, Lt 83, 1899, par. 11

The ministers’ wives join their husbands in this work, and accomplish that which their husbands could not possibly do. In order to do the work, these sisters have to hire someone to do their housekeeping. It takes the very best talent to do this class of missionary work, and the women who do it should receive a suitable amount for their work. But because of the dearth of means, our sisters have received very little pay, yet they have faithfully worked on, without any definite provision being made for them. Less qualified workers, who are receiving instruction by precept and example, are paid one pound a week, out of which they pay their board. But as yet the minister’s wives have been paid nothing. 14LtMs, Lt 83, 1899, par. 12

I wish to create a fund for the payment of these devoted women who are the most useful workers in giving Bible readings. I am also led to say that we must educate more workers to give Bible readings, and I come right to the point. Will you consent to make me your steward, entrusting me with certain amount to be invested in educating and sustaining workers, and also in helping to erect the humble meetinghouses we have to build? I have invested means in every house of worship save one which has been built by our people in Australia. 14LtMs, Lt 83, 1899, par. 13

I think I have made the case plain. If you desire, I will send you a half-yearly statement of how your money has been invested. 14LtMs, Lt 83, 1899, par. 14

I have been determined to advance the work here, and to do this, I borrowed one thousand pounds from Africa. A few months ago this loan fell due, but is has been extended for one year at four and a half percent. I have also borrowed money from America at five and six percent. I am not pressed to pay this money, but when it is called for, it must be paid. Those who lent it to me felt that it would be safer in my possession than in the bank; but now some of them are in straitened circumstances. One or two are widows, and they must have their money sooner or later. I tell you this that you may know why I ask you to help me to raise this fund to keep workers in the field. 14LtMs, Lt 83, 1899, par. 15