Bible Echo and Signs of the Times

16/28

1892

January 1, 1892

From America to Australia

EGW

Visit to Honolulu

November 12, we went on board the steamship Alameda, at San Francisco, California, for our long voyage across the Pacific Ocean. The last parting words were spoken, and at 4 o'clock our good ship left the dock, and steamed out of Golden Gate against a strong headwind. The restless sea rocked and tossed us about, quite to the discomfort of the passengers; but after the first day we had very pleasant, smooth sailing; the captain said that he could hardly remember having had so pleasant a voyage. BEcho January 1, 1892, par. 1

Our vessel, though comparatively small, and not so elegant as many of the Atlantic boats, was thoroughly comfortable, convenient, and safe. The officers were kind and gentlemanly. We had about eighty cabin passengers, and forty in the steerage. Among the former were eight ministers, several of whom were returning home from the great Methodist Conference in Washington. Religious services were held twice each Sunday, in the social hall, and occasionally on deck for the steerage passengers. BEcho January 1, 1892, par. 2

One week from California we reached the Sandwich Islands. The scene presented from the steamer as we approached Honolulu was very beautiful. The mountains rising at a little distance from the water's edge, and clothed with the rich green of the tropics, and the city in its setting of palms and other tropical trees, appeared especially attractive after gazing for seven days on the boundless expanse of waters. We were met at the wharf by friends living in the city. Men, women, and children greeted us so heartily that we could not but feel at home among them. We were glad to welcome these dear friends, and to meet again Bro. Starr and his wife, who had been about five weeks on the island, laboring among the people, and speaking in the churches, by invitation, with good effect. BEcho January 1, 1892, par. 3

The business part of the town is very indifferent, but the residences are fine. They have broad verandas, and are surrounded with green lawns, which are beautified with all kinds of tropical trees and flowers. We saw beautiful avenues of royal palms; trees and vines, shrubs and hedges, brilliant with flowers; cocoa palms laden with the brown, heavy-looking fruit; bread-fruit and mango trees, fields of pineapples, and patches of taro, the staple food of the natives; with many other trees and plants that I cannot name. BEcho January 1, 1892, par. 4

For six miles back of the city the road gradually ascends a mountain valley, to the “Pali,” or precipice, a point of interest, both for its historical association, and for the fine landscape view which is obtained from it. Standing on the rocky edge of the precipice, we look down 1,200 feet, while on either side the bare, rocky summits tower to a height of 3,000 feet. Below is a rich green plain, dotted with rice and sugar plantations, and hills around which the brown road winds in and out; beyond all is the broad blue sea, the white surf breaking along the shore. BEcho January 1, 1892, par. 5

It was near the head of this valley, about the close of the eighteenth century, that the last native chief of the island made a stand with his forces against Kamehameha I., who was trying to bring all the islands under one government. The chief's forces were defeated, and, fleeing up the valley, many were driven over the precipice, and dashed in pieces on the rocks at its base. It is said that the bones of these unfortunate warriors are still to be found scattered on the plain. BEcho January 1, 1892, par. 6

Our steamer was not to leave Honolulu till past midnight; and at the earnest desire of our friends I consented to speak in the evening. The hall of the Young Men's Christian Association was secured for the purpose. I spoke from 1 John 3:1-4, dwelling upon the great love of God to man, as expressed in the gift of Jesus that we might become children of God. The Spirit of the Lord was present. At the close of the meeting we were gratified to make the acquaintance of some of the leading members of the Young Men's Christian Association. BEcho January 1, 1892, par. 7

Samoa and Auckland

On Friday, November 27, we reached the Samoan Islands, after a pleasant voyage of seven days from Honolulu. We had expected extremely hot weather in passing through the tropics, but in this we were happily disappointed. Only a few days were uncomfortably warm. On Tuesday, November 24, when we crossed the equator, the air was so cool that we found our wraps needful on deck. BEcho January 1, 1892, par. 8

Our steamer cast anchor off Apia, which is situated on the island of Upolo, and is the principal town of the Samoan Group. The harbor or bay of Apia is a beautiful expanse of water, shut in by coral reefs, over which the surf is constantly breaking. The island is clothed in the richest and most luxuriant verdure. The mountains rise almost from the water's edge; cocoa palms grow all along the shore and far up the mountain sides, which are clothed in green to the very summits. The town of Apia consists of two rows of small white buildings on either side of a narrow street that winds along the shore. BEcho January 1, 1892, par. 9

Through an opening in the reef that encloses the harbor, vessels pass in and out; another reef lying nearer the shore prevents them from reaching the dock; but passengers are taken on shore in boats. Before us is a reminder of the terrible storms that sometimes visit this lovely spot. On the reef between us and the shore lies the hull of a German vessel that was wrecked in the hurricane of March, 1889, when seven men-of-war and fifteen merchant vessels were either stranded or wholly destroyed. BEcho January 1, 1892, par. 10

Before our steamer comes to anchor, we see boats and the canoes of the natives coming out to meet us; and soon we are surrounded with them. The natives are physically well developed, and are said to have the finest physique of any of the South Sea peoples. They are of a light brown color. Most of them are destitute of clothing except a cloth or mat about the loins; many are elaborately tattooed. Some wear broad-brimmed straw hats, some turbans, while many have the hair dressed with lime, giving them the appearance of wearing a white cap. The canoes were laden with pineapples, bananas, oranges of a bright green color but of excellent flavor, mangoes, limes, cocoa-nuts, and other tropical fruits, shells and coral, mats and cloth, together with baskets and fans, very neatly woven from the native grasses. BEcho January 1, 1892, par. 11

Most of our party went ashore, and had an opportunity of seeing the natives in their homes. The huts are made by spreading over a wooden framework a covering of palm leaves and native grasses. For the floor, the ground is covered with gravel or pounded coral, on which is spread a coarse matting. Mats form the beds at night, and the table and seats by day; large leaves and cocoa-nut shells serve as dishes. Our party were greeted cordially by the natives, who brought them flowers, and seemed anxious to show their feelings of kindness. At one o'clock P.M. the anchor was lifted, and soon our boat was again on its way over the broad Pacific. BEcho January 1, 1892, par. 12

November 26, the day before we reached Samoa, was my birthday. As I contemplate the past year, I am filled with gratitude to God for his preserving care and loving-kindness. At times I have been afflicted in body and depressed in spirits; but the Lord has been my Redeemer, my Restorer. Many have been the rich blessings imparted to me. In the time of my greatest need, I have been enabled to hold fast my confidence in my Heavenly Father. The powers of darkness are restrained; for Jesus, our Advocate, lives to make intercession for us. He is able to save us, soul, body, and spirit, and to make us vessels unto honor, meet for the Master's use. We are living in a perilous time, when all our powers must be consecrated to God. We are to follow Christ in his humiliation, his self-denial, his suffering. We owe everything to Jesus, and renewedly I consecrate myself to his service, to lift him up before the people, to proclaim his matchless love. BEcho January 1, 1892, par. 13

Between Samoa and Auckland we crossed the day-line, and for the first time in our lives we had a week of six days. Tuesday, December 1, was dropped from our reckoning, and we passed from Monday to Wednesday. BEcho January 1, 1892, par. 14

At daylight of December 3, the coast of new Zealand was in sight, and about noon our boat reached the dock at Auckland. This is a beautiful harbor, and the town on the hills above presents a fine appearance. We had hoped to meet Elder Gates of the Pitcairn here; but in this we were disappointed; and my son, W. C. White, remained a few days to see him, rejoining us at Sydney. As our boat touched the wharf, a number of brethren stepped on board, and introduced themselves to us, and we had a glad meeting. On landing, we rode to the house of Bro. Edward Hare. Here we found a pleasant home, and were refreshed with delicious strawberries, oranges, bananas, and more substantial viands. Then we had a very enjoyable ride into the country. The fresh, sweet air filled with the fragrance of wild roses, sweet-brier, and new-mown hay, reminded us of our northern summer, the green hedges separating the fields are like England, while there is much in the landscape that resembles California. The vegetation and the general appearance of the country is that of the temperate zone rather than the tropics. BEcho January 1, 1892, par. 15

In the evening we met with the church at their house of worship, and I spoke to them in regard to the necessity of receiving Christ as their personal Saviour. BEcho January 1, 1892, par. 16

In Australia

We entered Sydney harbor at seven o'clock on the morning of December 8. The sea rolled heavily during the night, and it was difficult to keep safely in our berths; but all our party were able to be on deck as we entered the harbor, which is one of the most beautiful in the world. Before we reached the landing, we could see our friends on shore, and could distinguish Bro. and Sister Daniells, the only ones present whom we knew, and soon a hearty and tender welcome was accorded us. After a wholesome and well-prepared breakfast at Bro. Daniells’, our party, with the canvassers, Bible-workers, and a few friends, united in a precious season of worship. We remained in Sydney one week, and had an opportunity to see something of this large and beautiful city. I spoke to the people twice, at the commencement of the Sabbath and on Sabbath morning. The Lord gave me special freedom, and the people rejoiced in the message of truth, which, as they testified, filled their hearts with joy, peace, and the love of God. Bro. Starr spoke on Sunday evening with good acceptance. BEcho January 1, 1892, par. 17

On reaching Melbourne, December 16, we found our friends at the station, waiting for us, some whom we knew and some whom we did not know, and we were heartily welcomed by all. Horses and carriages were waiting, and conveyed us two or three miles to the Echo Office. In Federal Hall, in the office building, we found a large company assembled to welcome us to Australia, and to unite with us in thanksgiving to God for his preserving and tender care during the long passage across the water. Elder Starr, W. C. White, and myself each addressed a few words to those whom we were meeting for the first time in a new country; and as we united in a season of prayer the Lord blessed us together. After the benediction, we were introduced to many of the brethren and sisters. BEcho January 1, 1892, par. 18

On Sabbath, December 19, I spoke in Federal Hall. I had freedom, and my soul was blessed as I spoke the words of life to an attentive congregation. There was a social meeting in the afternoon, when many precious testimonies were borne. My heart was made glad in the Lord, and I could not but exclaim, “What hath God wrought?” as I looked upon this large company who have accepted the Bible just as it reads, thus placing their feet on the solid platform of truth, and heard them speak of their faith, believing as a child believes and trusts its parents. Humility in obedience to God is a hard lesson for fallen humanity to learn. There is something in the human, unsanctified heart that rises up in opposition to inspired truth, when it requires separation from former associations and customs in taking a position on the Sabbath which the Lord has blessed and sanctified as his memorial of creation. May the light of these who have had courage, and sincerity, and simplicity of faith, shine forth in good works, that many more may be added to the church, of such as shall be saved. Elder Starr also has spoken several times, giving the flock meat in due season. BEcho January 1, 1892, par. 19

On Christmas day our hall was full. Many had come in from Sydney, Adelaide, Ballarat, and the smaller churches. The Lord gave me much of his Spirit in speaking of the first advent of Christ, when angels heralded his birth to the waiting shepherds and sang their glad songs over the plains of Bethlehem. BEcho January 1, 1892, par. 20

We see in the people here the intelligence, heartiness, and simplicity that characterize the lovers of the Truth in America. Many express gratitude to God that he has sent his servants here. BEcho January 1, 1892, par. 21