Ellen G. White: The Australian Years: 1891-1900 (vol. 4)

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The Visit to Melbourne and Ballarat

In her next letter to Edson, written on February 2, she laid before him the plans for the coming weeks. Letters from A. T. Robinson, conference president residing in Melbourne, told of plans for a general meeting to run through several days; these had influenced her planning: 4BIO 342.4

For some time Elder Robinson has been pleading for Elder Haskell and Sister White to visit Melbourne. Sixty have taken their stand for the truth there, and he wants me to bear my testimony to the people. I shall leave for Melbourne in about ten days. W. C. White and Sara will accompany me. I shall probably visit Adelaide, and hold some public meetings, for there the apostasy of McCullagh and Hawkins occurred one year ago, and I have been daubed with all kinds of mud. For this reason I wish to visit Adelaide, and speak the truth as a witness for Christ.—Letter 38, 1898. 4BIO 343.1

As she contemplated this trip to the south, she mentioned her high hopes of the fruitage of the two camp meetings held in late 1897: 4BIO 343.2

The work in Melbourne is just as promising as it is in Sydney. Since the camp meeting held there, forty-three have decided to keep the Sabbath. Brother A. T. Robinson and his wife are the main workers, and Brother Herbert Lacey and his wife are also engaged in the work. I have no doubt ... that no less than one hundred souls will be added to the church in Melbourne, and one hundred souls in Sydney.—Letter 6, 1898. 4BIO 343.3

So in company with her son and Sara McEnterfer she left Cooranbong on Wednesday, February 23, and arrived in Melbourne before the Sabbath. She found the camp meeting tent at Balaclava, near Melbourne, still standing, and night and weekend evangelistic meetings being held. Over a period of four weeks she spoke seven times. On March 20, when the tent was blown down in a sandstorm, the evangelistic meetings were moved to a hall. That weekend Ellen White and Sara McEnterfer, along with the conference president, A. T. Robinson, were in Geelong, some forty miles southwest of Melbourne. Money was scarce, and they made the four-hour trip by boat for eighteen pence each; this included the return fare. By train the cost would have been eight shillings each. Writing of it Ellen White commented, “A penny saved is as good as a penny earned.”—Letter 176, 1898. 4BIO 343.4

Back in Melbourne on Tuesday, March 22, Ellen White determined that her strength should not be used in casual visiting, even with close friends. Of this she made an enlightening comment to Edson: 4BIO 343.5

It is a tax I am not called to endure.... When I do the things the Lord gives me to do, then I can endure the strain. When I step out of the channel He has given me, I am not sustained.—Letter 177, 1898. 4BIO 344.1

She visited the publishing house in Melbourne, speaking to the workers there. She later wrote to two of the employees: 4BIO 344.2

The Echo publishing house is God's own institution, and had it not been for the Lord's care for it, it would not now be in existence.... The publishing institution has struggled hard to bring in, through the grace of God, a pure, sacred, holy atmosphere in every department of the work. But while a great change has been made, and there is a better class of workers, there is not yet a true appreciation of the distinction between an institution which bears the divine credentials and a common workshop.... 4BIO 344.3

Let everyone now at work in the Echo office, in every branch of the work, bear in mind that it is not common but sacred things you are handling. Treat this work as the work of God.—Letter 39, 1898. 4BIO 344.4