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


Chapter 7—(1893) On to New Zealand

Ellen White looked forward to spending a week with the Parramatta church while en route to New Zealand. Parramatta was a beautiful community, a suburb of Sydney. Robert Hare and David Steed had held evangelistic meetings there, beginning in March, 1892, and a church of fifty members had been raised up, with a Sabbath school of seventy. Those accepting the message were described as “no mean citizens,” representing “excellent families and possessing some means” (Letter 34, 1892). 4BIO 69.1

The congregation was determined to have a house of worship. Beginning with donations amounting to £420 ($2,100), [Note: The exchange rate held steady throughout the years Ellen White was in australia, very close to five dollars to the british pound. Ellen White moved easily from one to the other.] a good lot and building materials were purchased. Within three weeks’ time of the laying of the foundations, the building was erected with donated labor, and Sabbath meetings were being held in it. It was dedicated on Sabbath, December 10. The next day, 480 people crowded into the new church at what was called its opening meeting (The Bible Echo, January 15, 1893). This was the first church building owned by Seventh-day Adventists in continental Australia. A little chapel had been erected in Bismark, Tasmania, in 1889. 4BIO 69.2

As funds were being raised in September, Ellen White, who had received a gift from friends in California of $45 with which to buy a comfortable chair for use during her illness, appropriated the money to aid in building the Parramatta church. She explained to her friends who had given her the money that she wished them to have something invested in the Australian missionary field (Letter 34, 1892). 4BIO 69.3

Leaving Melbourne on Thursday, January 26, the party arrived in Sydney on Friday. Ellen White met with the church at Parramatta on Sabbath morning, and this introduced a full week of meetings. There was a question in the minds of some as to whether she was well enough to speak in the town hall on Sunday night and also take the Sabbath-morning service as planned. She determined in the strength of God to go forward with the Sabbath-morning worship service, and spoke with great freedom from John 14 to an audience that filled the house (Letter 127, 1893). 4BIO 70.1

Sunday night she spoke in the Parramatta town hall. It was well filled also, and she reports: 4BIO 70.2

The people listened with great attention, and the people here, believing the truth, are much pleased. But I do not feel satisfied. I needed physical strength that I could do justice to the great and important themes that we are dealing with. What a work is before us!—Ibid. 4BIO 70.3

In addition to speaking in the church on Tuesday and Thursday nights, she visited in the community, as well, where she was well received. She was told that the wife of a local minister had declared: “Mrs. White's words are very straight; she has gone deeper than any of us in religious experience. We must study the Word to see if these things be so.”—DF 28a, “Experiences in Australia,” p. 316. 4BIO 70.4

For the Seventh-day Adventist pastor, Robert Hare, she had words of counsel and instruction that she arranged to read to him and his wife. After listening for a time, with a troubled look he declared that he might as well give up preaching. Ellen White tells the story: 4BIO 70.5

I said to him, “That is what I expected you to say, for it is your way to take reproof in just this spirit. Your past experience has been presented to me. You think you are humble, but if you were so in truth, you would not act as you are doing. The Lord reads your heart. He is acquainted with our dangers. He loves you, and He wants to save you. 4BIO 70.6

“It is because you do not understand your errors, and the defects in your character, that He sends you warnings and encouragements. You should receive these as blessings, the most to be appreciated of anything He sends you. 4BIO 70.7

“I have done my duty in setting before you your true situation.... Brother Hare, study the lessons that Christ gave to His disciples, and let their simplicity charm you. Seek to have the mind of Christ, and you will teach as He taught.”— Ibid., 317, 318. 4BIO 71.1

Ellen White wondered how the testimony would be received. She was pleased when she met him in the evening to find him seemingly a changed man. 4BIO 71.2

But in all this Ellen White herself struggled with discouragement. On the second Sabbath morning, before taking the church worship service, she felt depressed and wished that she had not promised to speak. But when she stood on her feet to address the congregation, she reports: 4BIO 71.3

The Lord gave me special help. Ideas came to me when speaking that had not before been in my thoughts. I was instructed, as well as instructing others. I spoke from the words of Christ in Matthew 13:12-17, and dwelt especially on the last verse: “Verily I say unto you, That many prophets and righteous men have desired to see those things which ye see, and have not seen them; and to hear those things which ye hear, and have not heard them.” 4BIO 71.4

I showed them that those now living on the earth are favored above all people in the possession of precious advanced light. I felt the importance of my subject, and I know that I had the Holy Spirit's help in bringing things to my remembrance in an impressive manner. I praised the Lord that He gave power to the weak, and that to me who had not strength He increased strength.— Ibid., 322, 323. 4BIO 71.5

Then she opened up her heart in a way she seldom did. She questioned whether the time had not come to cease her public labors. She wrote: 4BIO 71.6

I have seasons of temptation, when infirmities press so heavily upon me, and at such times I ask myself, “Am I really in the way of my duty? Is it not time I retired from active labor?” 4BIO 71.7

Then when I stand before the people after such a battle with the enemy, the Holy Spirit comes to me as a divine helper. I have the assurance that my work is not to close yet. My mind is clear, and I am able in words to make truth forcible, because the Lord is my helper. 4BIO 72.1

Let us be of good courage in the Lord, lift up Jesus at all times, grasp His might by faith, for He is our strength and our efficiency. “Bless the Lord, O my soul: and all that is within me, bless His holy name.”— Ibid., 323. 4BIO 72.2