Lt 86, 1897

Lt 86, 1897

Lawrence, Brother

Cooranbong, New South Wales, Australia

December 21, 1897

Previously unpublished. +Note

Brother Lawrence:

The Lord is very merciful, of tender pity, full of compassion and loving-kindness. I have been very sick, but the Lord has spared my life. Still, I am quite weak. My soul has been very much weighed down for months, and I attribute my sickness to this more than to anything else. 12LtMs, Lt 86, 1897, par. 1

We have been moving forward here in Cooranbong in the work which the Lord has signified should be done. He has shown that we should in our preparation and building for the school be giving an education to the workers, combining physical labor with the taxation of the brain. This will give a strength and vigor to the brain that it could not other wise have. 12LtMs, Lt 86, 1897, par. 2

We considered this the place where the school should be located, and commenced work at once to the plan which God has specified. The students are to be laborers as well as learners. The land is to be cleared and cultivated, and trees planted in the grounds. I commenced building my house, and when the foundation was laid, I also had preparations made for raising fruit and vegetables. The light given me of the Lord is that the poverty that exists in this region need not be, for with industry the soil can be cultivated. Moments are not to be wasted in idleness. Our time is the Lord’s, and is as precious as gold. When it is carefully treasured and put to use, it will show important results. If properly worked, the land will yield its treasures. 12LtMs, Lt 86, 1897, par. 3

When we first came to this place with the object of securing land to put up buildings, we were made to realize the inconvenience of depending on Sydney or Newcastle for our vegetables and fruit. They came to us from the market, we paying for the fruit and also four shillings a shipment to the man who was employed to buy and ship to us. This we considered a moderate price. Then frequently when the fruit would come to us so that it would have to lie over Sabbath and in the hot weather much of it spoiled. We knew that with a large family of students we could not well work in this way. There must be trees planted and a good orchard of such fruits as peaches, apricots, oranges, lemons, apples, and other fruits. We did this at once. The trees in the school orchard and mine, were planted about the last of September, 1895. In September 1896 these trees were in blossom, and in November we ate fruit from them. 12LtMs, Lt 86, 1897, par. 4

This move we considered a wise one, and now we have thrifty orchards. For the good of the trees we stripped them of nearly all their fruit this year, leaving only specimens of each kind. These specimens were most excellent. This move we believe to be right. It cost money to clear the acres of land to put into orchard, but no more than we could expect. 12LtMs, Lt 86, 1897, par. 5

Meanwhile our fund of money was running short. Laborers among our own people who needed work were plentiful. These had families to support, and we were glad to employ them. But although they worked at moderate wages, it seemed as if our buildings could not go up until we had more means. We prayed about the matter, and, while in a dream, I was instructed that the Lord’s people, the Wessels family, had some of the Lord’s money that I should ask them to loan to us. I sent to them for one thousand pounds, and they did the very thing I believed they would do. I felt that the Holy Spirit would speak to them and move upon their hearts to let us have the use of that money we so much needed. It came, and we felt very grateful for this timely assistance. 12LtMs, Lt 86, 1897, par. 6

Those who were doing the work of responsible men know how this money came. I had ventured out by faith to hire money to carry forward the work, and it was necessary to use every dollar with greatest economy. The first school building must be built of the material that would cost the least money; workmen must be employed who would work their eight hours per day for as little wages as possible; every thing must be conducted on an economical scale. We were not situated as they are in America, where they have every facility at hand, and can build with half the amount of money that a building can be put up in this country. There, if they come to a crisis, and there is a dearth of means, there are many churches that can be called upon to help. Here we could do nothing, even if we should try our best to raise means to carry forward the work. 12LtMs, Lt 86, 1897, par. 7

The first building was put out by tender, but we acted no part in that with the exception that I had the privilege of laying the first brick, the cornerstone. The next day we were en route for Melbourne, on our way to the Adelaide camp meeting. We were absent about two months. Meanwhile we were made sad to hear of the many bitter things that Brother Shannon and his wife had carried to Melbourne against the whole work in Cooranbong. 12LtMs, Lt 86, 1897, par. 8

I had employed Brother Shannon to put up buildings which had given him work from September until April. He was then given the job of building the meetinghouse in North Fitzroy; but our hearts were pained because of the influence he exerted in his representations of Cooranbong and the management here. This was just the work Satan wanted some one to do. He knew he could exert his power far better if he could employ in this work some one who had been in Cooranbong, and had worked there, one who had watched and criticized, and had represented matters so as to destroy the faith of all to whom he talked. Those he did not see to converse with had the report through others, and these were not slow to communicate. 12LtMs, Lt 86, 1897, par. 9

Thus the leaven of evil had been absorbing to itself thoughts and feelings that are not true. False impressions have been given. These things have made me regret that I employed Brother Shannon upon these grounds at all, for he has caused us all much sorrow and shame. He has brought burdens upon those who we know are in partnership with Jesus Christ to establish buildings here in this locality. 12LtMs, Lt 86, 1897, par. 10

The Lord has set these men to work in His service, and He has never given to any man the work of creating disaffection and disloyalty among the workers. The building was put out to tender in order to find out who were the ones who would do good, honest work for the least possible wages. Those who had the management of affairs could not do otherwise. They had not money in the treasury to hand out profusely to those who should be employed. Brother Shannon had just as good opportunities as the others had, but he decided that he could not make sufficient wages. This soured him, and he looked upon his side of the question and not upon the other side. But he has not acted the part of a Christian gentleman, or a Christian brother. He has made us feel sorry that we encouraged him to come and work for us. 12LtMs, Lt 86, 1897, par. 11

Those who act unreasonably, who would hurt the work of God and injure the prospects of our school that we are laboring so hard to bring into existence, cannot expect to enjoy the blessing of God. Brother Shannon has done us much harm, more than he will care to answer for in the judgment. His work on buildings is good, but he wants to be more expensive than we can possibly afford with our limited means. We could not afford to put one shilling more than was positively necessary into the building of our school. 12LtMs, Lt 86, 1897, par. 12

We have no chapel, and about one hundred meet on Sabbath to worship in the room about the mill. In hot weather it is oppressive; in the colder weather it is not safe owing to the exposure. In view of this, how could the stewards of God do otherwise than have the building placed in the hands of those who will require the least means? The wages of those who accept the work on the school building is not much over five shillings per day; but if their wages are no more [than] this, God can make up the deficiency and give them contentment and satisfaction and His blessing, which alone are gold and silver and precious stones. 12LtMs, Lt 86, 1897, par. 13

Then why should Brother Shannon be so unkind when we are doing all we possibly can to advance God’s work? Brother Shannon had been favored with work when he could not obtain employment in Hobart. Work was given him at Sunnyside for seven or eight months at two dollars per day, working eight hours besides his board, [and] his wife’s for her cooking. They also had a furnished tent. The ones who we thought would surely be the ones to help us in the work Satan has filled with his spirit to work against the work of God. But this is God’s work, and it will go forward! And those who cling to the work, ready to do their duty in the various branches and show themselves men, God will bless and prosper. 12LtMs, Lt 86, 1897, par. 14

Brother Lawrence and his wife came from America to do missionary work. A call was made for those who were self-supporting to come to Australia. Farmers were called for who could not only teach how to work the land, but to stand as missionaries to teach the truth as well. Such families were needed here. We had hoped that Brother Lawrence was one who could do God service in his line of work if consecrated to Him. When the funds were so low, it was a question with us what we should do. 12LtMs, Lt 86, 1897, par. 15

Brother Lawrence was offered work in caring for the orchard, working eight hours a day, at four shillings, until there should be an increase of money in the treasury. But he refused to work for less than six shillings per day. He spent two or three months in idleness, while the orchard was suffering for the need of work to be done in it. He would not work for four or five shillings. This is the man who we thought would be a helper, a laborer together with God. 12LtMs, Lt 86, 1897, par. 16

The life belongs to God. He has claims upon the consecrated service of all mankind. Our life in this world is connected with God moment by moment, and we are to consider our entire dependence upon Him. Life, every hour, every moment, kept and preserved by the power of God, is a most precious talent, and brings the receiver of this great gift blessings in unselfish work for the Master. 12LtMs, Lt 86, 1897, par. 17

“Sunnyside,” Cooranbong, December 1897 12LtMs, Lt 86, 1897, par. 18

There have been matters presented to me in the night season and I cannot sleep past twelve o’clock. Several persons were present when the Spirit of the Lord came upon me, and I was constrained to speak with great plainness. I will give you the substance of that which was said: 12LtMs, Lt 86, 1897, par. 19

You asked, “Sister White, Why did you present the things you did before the men assembled?” Because the Lord bade me take persons with me and set things before you in their presence, not simply in order to warn you, and let it end there, but to reveal the evil thing by the light given; and not only to show you the evil in your practice, but to be a warning to those who were dealing with God in connection with His work, that they might know that your example could not be considered right. The sinful practices which have seduced you through a life time should be seen as bearing the rebuke of God. The course you have pursued is a course of presumption before Him, which he will not tolerate in you or any individual. 12LtMs, Lt 86, 1897, par. 20

God has commissioned me to tell you the truth not only in public but with pen. Your course of action is contemptible in the sight of God. The measurement of your interest in the work of God on the school ground is measured by your transactions in deal. Your idleness for months, while seeing and understanding the necessities of the case and the urgency of the work to be done, your transactions in buying and selling your cow and horse stand as a blot against you, which added to many transactions of like character reveal that you are unfitted to be a steward of God. Your covetous propensities have been revealed as verily as were those of Judas. You have yielded to the same temptations which beset him, and the Lord has bidden me to speak plainly. 12LtMs, Lt 86, 1897, par. 21

Now is your time to see and understand, to repent and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out. I have not one excuse to make for the plain testimony I have borne you. I have given you the word of the Lord. It remains now to be seen whether you have any spiritual conception to see and take in your guilt in using your God-given talents to abuse Him and the souls for whom He has died. If you are not capable of seeing these things, then there will be no evidence of decided change, no transformation of character. There will be no restoration, no healing from Christ. It will be said of you, “Thou art weighed in the balances, and art found wanting.” [Daniel 5:27.] 12LtMs, Lt 86, 1897, par. 22

The holy God has given safe and correct rules for the guidance of all. There must be no betraying of the truth, no yielding to any guide but One. There can be no sinless swerving from His principles. God has a law, and the men who will to do His will through the grace of Christ, will keep it. God’s law is eternal justice and equity. No man is to rob his fellow men. All are subjects of the Lord. 12LtMs, Lt 86, 1897, par. 23

But the will of God has been perverted in the qualifications He has given you for better things. The first principles of holiness are yet to be learned by the one with whom God’s will and ways are not regarded and obeyed. There is no deception so hopeless as that of living in disobedience to God. 12LtMs, Lt 86, 1897, par. 24

I have a deep interest for you, and I ask you, “Will you now <continue to> listen to the tempter whom you have encouraged?” You have kept his principles before you and acted out his attributes. God declares “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom.” [Psalm 111:10.] In keeping of His commandments there is great reward. All the goods and cattle in this world would not be sufficient compensation for one act in departing from the law of God. The devil has been your teacher in these <deceptive> principles in place of the Lord. 12LtMs, Lt 86, 1897, par. 25

It would not be wise nor profitable to accept all that the tempter offered the world’s Redeemer for the least departure from a “Thus saith the Lord.” Temptation is to be firmly resisted in whatever form it may come. Will you make a decided effort? I beg of you not to allow your wife to confuse your mind with her many words. <She does not understand and know the ways of the Lord.> God is not leading her. She has not an abiding Christ. She talks enough to confuse any mind <who listens to her. It is a jingle of words, and she> often knows not many things that she has said. 12LtMs, Lt 86, 1897, par. 26

O, the tongue! What mischief it has done! What mischief it may do while the heart is not imbued with the Spirit of God. Your own character, <Sr. Lawrence,> needs to be transformed. Your excitable speeches are a dishonor to God. You must excuse me from having any further conversation with you. I would not trust you to repeat my words. 12LtMs, Lt 86, 1897, par. 27