The Ellen G. White 1888 Materials

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Chapter 122—To S. N. Haskell

H-13-1892

North Fitzroy, August 22, 1892.

Dear Brother Haskell,—

We received your letters last Thursday evening. The coming of the mail with news from our American friends is always a great event to us. As soon as we get off the mail to America we begin to reckon the days when the mail will arrive. I was somewhat surprised to learn that your wife had safely taken the long journey to California. And I sincerely hope and pray that she will have the peace of Christ, and rest content, and be happy in His love. This is her privilege. Jesus loves this daughter of Abraham and He will not be unmindful of her, but will care for her as a tender mother cares for her child. I think of her with sympathy and tender compassion. 1888 993.1

We ought to cherish more than we do the thought that God is love. He has demonstrated the fact that He loves us although we are weak and perverse and sinful. I am glad your wife is in California and I hope she will receive every needed attention. I hope she will not desire to go back over the road to South Lancaster. I am glad that you write me particulars, and I am thankful to report that I am gaining in strength and do not suffer as much as I have done. I am unable to sleep much at night, and am glad the nights are shortening and the days are lengthening. Emily Campbell builds my fire at five o'clock and then she helps me dress, for I cannot dress or undress myself or comb my hair. Think how it seems to me to be so helpless; but the Lord is good, and in word or thought I would not fret or murmur. He doeth all things well. I believe He will restore me to health and I shall yet bear my testimony in Australia and New Zealand. 1888 993.2

The school in Melbourne opens this week. Students are coming in. The brethren in the school are desirous that we should move near by. They are located in St. Kilda, not far from Prahran. I determined to ride over there, though it is a distance of ten miles from here, and going and coming would make a journey of twenty miles. But I endured the journey well. I was pleased with the location and with the building, for they can be accommodated nicely. 1888 994.1

There are four tenement houses in the terrace. The school occupies two of these buildings, and the others are occupied by other parties. Our brethren are anxious to obtain one of these tenements so that we could occupy it, but we do not know that we can secure it. They think if we were close by the school I could speak to the students without difficulty. This I am willing to do, if the way opens for us to secure a house free from the curse of open drains or sewage. Where the school is located there is no sewage that will offend. 1888 994.2

The terrace stands alone, and on either side of the buildings are two acres of land. Everything is favorable in surroundings. A beautiful park is close by, and large, imposing buildings are all around. The deaf and dumb asylum, an institution for the blind, and the Wesleyan College are near by. The rents are high in this part of the city. We tried to secure a small wooden tenement which has none of the conveniences we have here, although they ask the same price as we pay now, $25.00 a month. Should we take a building in the terrace where the school is located, we should have to pay ten dollars per week. I cannot see how I could pay that sum; but they will try to secure it if they can, for they say that dollars and cents should not be taken into consideration if I can benefit the school. We are praying to the Lord to open the way if He would have us move near the school. 1888 994.3

August 23. I have slept only about two hours through the night that has passed. I am sleeping so little that I do not know how long I shall stand the strain. During the night season I devoted some time to prayer for it seemed to me that if there was ever a time when we needed to watch and pray continually, it is now. The Lord is soon to come, and the end of all things is at hand. The watchmen should be wide awake now and see eye to eye. Solemnity should be upon us all. There are to be but two classes in our world, the obedient and the disobedient. Our only hope is God. He loves us, and we must continue in the words spoken by Jesus. What pleases God? It is the loving obedience of every individual soul. The obedience of heavenly beings pleases God, and the sinner who unreservedly surrenders himself to do God's way pleases God. We must listen as God says of Jesus, “This is my beloved Son in whom I am well pleased: hear ye Him.” 1888 994.4

Jesus reveals the Father's character, publishes the Father's grace, and in Him dwelleth all the fullness of the Godhead bodily. 1888 995.1

I see perplexities on every side. As character develops man and woman will take their position, for varied circumstances brought to bear upon them will cause them to reveal the spirit which prompts them to action. Every one will reveal the character of the bundle with which he is binding himself. The wheat is being bound up for the heavenly garner. The true people of God are now bound up for the heavenly garner. The true people of God are now pulling apart, and the tares are being bound in bundles ready to burn. Decided positions will be taken. Satan will move upon minds that have been indulged, upon men who have always had their own way, and anything presented to them in counsel or reproof to change their objectionable traits of character is considered faultfinding, binding them, restraining them, that they cannot have liberty to act themselves. The Lord in great mercy has sent messages of warning to them, but they would not listen to reproof. Like the enemy who rebelled in heaven, they do not like to hear, do not correct the wrong they have done but become accusers, declaring themselves misused and unappreciated. 1888 995.2

Now is the time of trial, of test, of proving. Those who, like Saul, will persist in having their own way will suffer, as he did, loss of honor and finally the loss of the soul. God has a people, and they will be a tried people, but the people will be humble. They are under the guidance of the Holy One in thought, in word, in deed. Can any of us find a path more pleasant than that in which the Eternal One leads the way? Self must die. The truth of God places us in a path cast up for the ransomed of the Lord to walk in. It is a narrow path; there is no self-glorying in it. But many will forsake this path where the true light shines and will walk in the sparks of their own kindling. Look at Dr. Burke. Here is a representation of Saul, proving his own ways. What does he gain? Happiness? Peace? No. He has placed himself in the rank and file of the great rebel. 1888 996.1

Can nothing be done to save him? 1888 996.2

August 24. I am now in the room occupied by Brother and Sister Starr, half sitting, bolstered up on their bed writing to you. Our entire family are here. We left Preston this morning as soon as possible after breakfast; drove ten miles to our school building. 1888 996.3

The opening exercises were this morning. I endured my long ride well. I was carried up stairs in a chair by two men; after resting a while on the bed I was taken again down in the chair into the room appropriated for a chapel, where the opening exercises of the school were held. Elder Tenny spoke appropriate words, about forty minutes, and then I was called upon to speak. I was willing and gladly expressed my feelings in reference to the establishment of a school in Australia, and I had special freedom in speaking. Then Willie spoke well for about half an hour. His words were well chosen. Elder Starr then made good remarks. Then Elder Rousseau spoke well. Everything passed off very nicely, and all seemed pleased. 1888 996.4

Sister Ethredge, who is living in Adelaide, was a missionary. She is seeking to sell her place in Adelaide, that she can send her sons to this school. She was to sail in the Pitcairn to unite with Brother and Sister Reed in their work upon the Island. But she was taken sick and could not go. 1888 997.1

We consider the opening was good. All are pleased with the buildings and location for the school. This is rather remarkable, for generally some have criticisms to make; but we have not heard one word of dissatisfaction expressed or even intimated. 1888 997.2

We had conversation after the meeting with Elder Starr. The question was in reference to a teacher of grammar for the advanced classes. There is no perplexity in regard to the first classes of grammar, but we need well qualified teachers in all branches, and we hope Elder Olsen will find either man or woman that can come to Australia as a thorough teacher. If only Sydney Brownsberger had kept himself straight, he would be just the one to come. But the question is whether his record will not follow him. We scarcely dare venture the matter and run the risk. That the man has sincerely repented I have not a doubt, and I believe the Lord has forgiven him. But if obliged to make explanations it would not be an easy matter to do; so what shall we do with Sydney Brownsberger? Leave him where he is a prey to remorse, and to be useless the remainder of his life? I cannot see what can be done. O for wisdom from on high! O for the counsel of One who reads the heart as an open book! How Satan watches for souls to bind them with his hellish cords that they become lost to the work and almost helpless in his hands. “Watch and pray, lest ye enter into temptation.” 1888 997.3

August 28. Last Friday Emily and I rode over to the school buildings and took dinner with them. On the way we looked at buildings to see if they would serve us, but all [were] unfavorable, sunless, or wedged in with other buildings. We had others still to visit when the storm struck us. (It was) a severe spurt of hail storm, so we made our way about one mile to the school and I was carried in a chair by three men up to Elder Starr's room. We met Willie there at two o'clock and we went again in search of houses. We could spend but little time and it was a failure—no house for us. Everything that is desirable will cost us from thirty to forty dollars per month. We are seeking the Lord most earnestly for Him to guide us with His counsel and give us grace to do His will. We want to be just where the Lord would have us to be. Were it not for the school, I would not go through the process of moving, for we are pleasantly situated; but there is an urgent desire expressed that we be near the school building that I can, as my strength will permit, give the students short talks. I know this is best, and therefore I desire to do this. 1888 997.4

The school opened with twenty students and several more expected to attend but could not, up to the time of opening, see their way clearly in regard to finances. Every room is filled with teachers and pupils. 1888 998.1

Elder Daniells and his wife were permitted to take a room and board in the building. They are not teachers but are very useful in many ways. He is to labor in the churches, which are suffering for help. Ministerial labor must be given to them. Brother Starr and his wife have a room. Brother Rousseau and wife have a room. Then the helpers and teachers have to be accommodated in the building. But whatever is going to be done with the students is a puzzling question. Either a cheap edifice is to be made of boards, or a tent will have to be pitched and serve as a dining-hall, or something planned. Many more will come in soon. You know something about the situation. Money is hard to get, and the prices of schooling and board must be sufficient to cover the expenses. I could not favor the placing the tuition so low that there would be an accumulation of debts that could not be met. I think this rushing forward, setting low prices upon books, upon tuition, of students’ board and rooms, is very poor policy. Let the number benefited share the expense, and if persons need to be helped, then help them. But those who can pay should pay. 1888 998.2

We are glad the school is located in the very best locality. We shall have to begin to plan to build a meetinghouse; but where is the money coming from? We meet now in a dirty, unwholesome, ill-ventilated building. Oh! my heart sickens at the thought of worshiping God in these places used for theaters and for shows. It must not be; but you know it costs to build here, anywhere. There was a mistake in locating the office where it is hemmed into a crowded block—no chance to enlarge unless it be heavenward. The time is not far distant when the office will be disposed of and a far better one secured, and suitable buildings erected for office, church, and school. As yet there is no way that we can devise, but the Lord knows best, “The cattle upon a thousand hills” are His, and He can work for those here in Australia if they will walk humbly with God. 1888 999.1

I see so large a stock of human nature ready to spring into action that sometimes I am disheartened. I fear that the Lord cannot safely work for His people for He will not administer unto sin, or cover these selfish, unconsecrated workers with His robe of righteousness unless there is a deeper consecration, a more earnest faith. How can the Lord work for us? How can the Lord send us means to build churches and schools when the mold of unconsecrated minds will be upon the work? And unless there is decided transformation of character, I dare not expect the Lord to make bare His arm and reveal Himself in our behalf as a number working for God. 1888 999.2

I have my fears for Battle Creek, that the light that has been shining upon them will not exalt them to a deeper, higher plain of action. Day and night these words are ringing in my ears, “Woe unto thee, Chorazin! woe unto thee, Bethsaida! for if the mighty works, which were done in you, had been done in Tyre and Sidon, they would have repented long ago in sackcloth and ashes... And thou, Capernaum, which art exalted unto heaven, shalt be brought down to hell: for if the mighty works which have been done in thee, had been done in Sodom, it would have remained unto this day.” I tremble for Battle Creek. Oh that God would roll back the mist and clouds that are gathering over her at the present time. But our trust must be in the Lord God of Israel. Jesus, precious Saviour, Thou alone canst be the help of Thy people. We are amid the perils of the last days, and it makes my heart ache to read the articles in the Review that published to the world that we are at variance. One feels moved to present the coming conflict in strong lines as he views it. 1888 999.3

Then our good Brother Smith gives the trumpet a counter blast, to make of none effect the warnings given in the same issue. Even if he did see that Elder Jones was too fast, what was his work? Go to Brother Jones, talk with him before his piece was inserted in the Review. This would be doing the works of Christ; but to put that article in the paper from Elder Jones and then Elder Smith write, as he has done, an article in the same issue, is entirely contrary to the light which the Lord has given me. Better let the articles of Elder Jones remain unpublished than, in the face of our enemies and the world which are watching to see something which they can use against believers, to present them in an unfavorable light to the world. This, I was shown, should not be done. That there will be alienation and disunion, I do not doubt, for this is the very work Satan is determined shall be, but which cannot be if the professed believers will heed the words of Jesus Christ. 1888 1000.1

This seems to be a seed after the same order of the Minneapolis meeting that is dropped into the soil already prepared for it which will produce a harvest of its kind. But we must look unto Jesus. 1888 1000.2

Sadness and discouragement must not be cherished because we have a strong and mighty Leader. I think of the disciples in that sore tempest; the boat labored with strong winds and heavy gales. They have given up their efforts as hopeless, and while the hungry waves talk with death, amid the storm a light form is seen walking upon the foam-capped billows. This presence which should have been a blessing and hope to them, was a terror. They thought it a precursor of death. But a voice is heard amid the roar of the tempest, “Be of good cheer, it is I, be not afraid.” 1888 1000.3

Oh how many are in this time of peril making a hard pull against a head sea! The moon and stars seem to be hidden by storm clouds, and in despondency and despair many of us say, “It is no use; our efforts are as nothing. We shall perish. We have toiled at the oars, but without any success.” 1888 1001.1

When Jesus, whose eye has been upon them in all their efforts, speaks, “Be of good cheer, it is I, be not afraid,” in the fourth watch of the night, Jesus comes to His disciples walking upon the foam-capped billows. Then the disciples cried out, “It is a spirit, it is a spirit.” When the known voice is heard above the tumult of the storm, “Be not afraid, it is I,” comes to the tempted ones. 1888 1001.2

Jesus is just as near to us amid scenes of tempest and trial as He was to His followers who were tossed on the Sea of Galilee. We must have calm, steady, firm, unwavering trust in God. Now is our time, my brother, to not be moved away from our Stronghold by anything that shall arise. We must now have an individual experience in holding fast unto God. Christ is on board the vessel. Believe that Christ is our Captain, that He will take care, not only of us, but of the ship. Satan will work with his masterly power to separate the soul from God. We hear the different voices sounding from every quarter that our attention shall be taken from the true issue in this time. The end is near and let there not be a confusion of voices to misguide and mislead some astray. To say, “Peace, peace,” to these souls who have long resisted the voice of the True Shepherd, who have contended long against Omnipotence, is to quiet his conscience to [the] sleep of death. Will man in his pride forsake his own best interests by cherishing thoughts or doing deeds opposed to the mind and Spirit of God. God has been pleased to show me that men who ought to know the voice of the True Shepherd will be more ready to accept the voice of the stranger and follow in unsafe, forbidden paths because of the stubbornness of their human nature. 1888 1001.3

Dark hours of trial are before the church because they have not obeyed the warnings and reproofs and counsel of God. What a bewitching power comes upon human minds to do contrary to the oft repeated will of God, and close the eyes and stop the ears, when Jesus is calling to them to hear His voice. He says, “My sheep hear My voice.” 1888 1002.1

That night in that boat was to the disciples a school where they were to receive their education for the great work which was to be done afterwards. The dark hours of trial are to come to every one as a part of his education for higher work, for more devoted, consecrated effort. The storm was not sent upon the disciples to shipwreck them, but to test and prove them individually. Before the great trouble shall come upon the world such as has never been since there was a nation, those who have faltered and who would ignorantly lead in unsafe paths will reveal this before the real vital test, the last proving, comes, so that whatsoever they may say will not be regarded as voicing the True Shepherd. The time of our educating will soon be over. We have no time to lose in walking through clouds of doubt and uncertainty because of uncertain voices. 1888 1002.2

We may stand close to the side of Jesus. Let none in his pride of self opinion shirk one hard lesson or lose the blessing of one hard discipline. Humble yourselves under the hand of God, warn all that they do not in stubbornness choose their own way and act like undisciplined, untrained children. Whatever be our condition in life, our business, we have a sure Guide. Whatever be our condition, He is our Counselor. Whatever be our loneliness, He is our Friend in Whom we may ever trust. When voices on every hand are heard to lead us to wander away into false paths there is a voice that is true that is heard, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. You may stop your contention over little items and differences. “Believe in me; I am the true Shepherd.” “I and my Father are one. I in them, and they in me.” “And that the world may believe that thou hast sent me and hast loved them as thou hast loved me.” 1888 1002.3

The Lord would have us answer the prayer of Christ. Seek for unity and oneness. Seek for harmony, then we bear to the world a living testimony of the light of Jesus Christ. 1888 1003.1

Ellen G. White