Lt 18, 1898

1898

Lt 18, 1898

Jones, C. H.

Balaclava, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia

March 23, 1898

Portions of this letter are published in Ev 432-433, 437, 446-447.

Dear _____:

I have now been in Melbourne for four weeks next Friday. I have spoken seven times in the tent to interested audiences. One week ago I spoke by urgent request to the church at North Fitzroy. But I do not have as much freedom when speaking to our churches as I do when speaking to those who have not heard the last message of mercy. Those who have a knowledge of the truth should have root in themselves, and should feel an intense interest for the poor souls to whom the light of truth has not been presented. My heart is much burdened for those who are ignorant of the truth, in the darkness of error. Light has been given me in reference to our last camp meetings in Melbourne and Sydney. Lt18-1898.1

I was shown that our people make a great mistake when, after holding a camp meeting and gathering a few souls, they take down the tents and feel that their duty is done. Their work had only just begun. They have preached doctrines that are new and strange to the people who heard them, and then left the seed sown to be picked up by the birds, or else to wither away for want of moisture. The Lord is not pleased with this manner of working. After the truth has been presented to souls, there are those, ministers, friends, and acquaintances, who will pick up the seed sown if possible. These human birds make the truth appear as error, and do not give the one convicted any rest until they have devoured the seed by false assertions. Lt18-1898.2

What should be done? After the camp meeting is over, establish a mission. Let the very best workers that can be found be organized into a company to sell our literature and also give away papers to some that cannot buy. Preparatory work is not of one-half the value that the after work is. After the people have heard the reasons of our faith, let the house-to-house work begin. Become acquainted with the people, and read to them the precious words of Christ. Lift up Jesus crucified among them, and soon those who have listened to the messages of warning from the ministers of God in the tent, and have been convicted, will be drawn out to inquire in regard to what they have heard. Lt18-1898.3

This is the time to present the reasons of our faith with meekness and fear, not a slavish fear, but a cautious fear lest you should speak unadvisedly. Present the truth as it is in Jesus, with all meekness and lowliness, which means with simplicity and in sincerity, giving meat in due season, and to every man his portion of meat. Lt18-1898.4

This work requires you to watch for souls as they that must give an account. If you have a love for souls, you will reveal a tender solicitude for them. You will offer humble, earnest, heartfelt prayers for those whom you visit. The fragrance of Christ’s love will be revealed in your work. He who gave His own life, His own flesh and blood, for the life of the work will work with the unselfish worker to make an impression upon human minds. Lt18-1898.5

The tenderness of Christ must pervade the hearts of the workers. In San Francisco and Oakland some work has been done, but much more than a thousand times more should be done to reach the people where they are. The message is first to go to the higher classes. Thus the parable represents the work to do done. They must hear the invitation. Lt18-1898.6

Our ministers have a broader work to do than merely to preach. They are to minister in word and doctrine, but they are to do more than this. They must do less sermonizing, and give appropriate labor by seeking for the lost sheep. They are false shepherds if they do not seek for souls, watching for them as they that must give an account. This is the work in which they should earnestly and thoroughly engage. Give the birds no chance to pick up the seed sown. Keep on the track of souls. Show tact and skill when visiting families. Pray with them and for them. Bear the truth to them in great tenderness and love, and returns will surely come. If the minister and his wife can jointly engage in this work, they should do so. Lt18-1898.7

Seeking, watching for souls, means to have travail of soul for those ready to perish. This is the work that was taken up after the camp meetings in Melbourne and Sydney. One house opened its doors for Bible readings. As those in the house became interested, they desired their neighbors should hear also, and invited them to come and hear the wonderful things found in the Word of the living God. Public services were held nearly every evening during the week and on Sabbath and Sunday. These meetings have been kept up in both Melbourne and Sydney. Lt18-1898.8

In Stanmore, a suburb near Sydney, the tent has stood since October. Fifty three have been baptized, and the last letter I received states that others are convicted, but not yet fully converted. The visiting from house to house has accomplished a great good, and I know that the end is not yet. Quite a number who did not attend the camp meeting at all have been converted. As souls became interested, they began to pledge money for a meetinghouse without being asked. Before they had as yet taken their stand, one man and his wife pledged five pounds each, and after they were converted to the truth, they doubled their pledges. Four men who have taken their stand were in government employ. Two were given the Sabbath. The other two, who had been in their positions for fourteen and sixteen years, were dismissed. Lt18-1898.9

One brother, Bro. Sharpe, took his position firmly, and lost his place. For one week his faith was tried, and then he secured a better place. The gentleman who now employs him heard that he had lost his situation. This gentleman was at this time keeping his own books while his bookkeeper took a vacation. He saw that he was trusting an unfaithful steward, for he found that his deliveries brought him in fifteen pounds more per month than when his bookkeeper kept the books. He heard that Brother Sharpe had lost his position, and he went to the man who had employed him, and asked about it. He was told that Mr. Sharpe had been dismissed. Lt18-1898.10

He asked if Mr. Sharpe had proved dishonest, and was told that he had not. “Did he do his work well?” he asked. Brother Sharpe’s former employer answered, “Yes; he was the most trustworthy hand I had, and his place is now filled by a man I cannot trust.” “Then why did you let such an honest, faithful worker leave your establishment?” The answer was, “He said that he had conscientious scruples in regard to the seventh day Sabbath. He said that he would make up his time by putting in extra time during the week; but I want no Sabbathkeeping influence about my premises.” “You have made a mistake,” the merchant replied; and he left the store determined to secure Brother Sharpe’s services if he could find him. Lt18-1898.11

He did find him, and secured him at the same wages he had formerly received, three pounds, ten shillings per week. He gave him a room larger and better healthwise for his work, and said, “You are at liberty to keep Saturday, and I require no bonus. You may have the whole of Saturday as a holiday.” (Here in Australia half a day on Saturday is given to the workers.) Lt18-1898.12

Brother Stuckey, who holds an important position in government employ, was given the Sabbath. His wife and daughter are with him in the faith. Another family of excellent influence have taken their stand. They are conscientious, and train their children well. They are temperate in eating and drinking, and before they heard the truth did not use tea, coffee, or meat. They are among the most precious ones who have taken hold of the truth. The husband lost his situation, but nevertheless they are happy in the love of God. The Lord will open a way for them. I presented them with my books, Great Controversy, and Patriarchs and Prophets, and other books. I do a great deal of this work, and it is a success in binding off the work. Lt18-1898.13

Others are fully decided, but their business is in a peculiar shape. The wife of one of them is one of the finest and firmest of those who have come out. Her husband says he will take his position soon. Lt18-1898.14

It is wonderful how many aged people the workers find who need but little labor to lead them to receive the truth, Sabbath and all. Why, they say, this is what we have been praying for. We knew that the Scriptures had much to say upon subjects that the clergymen did not and could not explain to us. These do little else but rejoice in the light and in the truth. Their joy seems to be full. Lt18-1898.15

The building of the chapel will establish these new believers. They will have a home where they can worship God and keep His holy Sabbath. Elder Haskell writes that in seven weeks from the time the foundation was laid, the church will be ready to dedicate. Lt18-1898.16

From the experience of the workers in Sydney, we see that the efforts made after a camp meeting has closed are of far more consequence than the work done before. For years I have been shown that house-to-house labor is the work that will make the preaching of the Word a success. If those interested are not visited by our workers, other ministers get upon their tracks, and confuse them by misquoting and wresting the Scriptures. These people are not familiar with the Word; they think that their ministers must be true and unprejudiced men, and they give up their convictions. But if our workers can visit those interested, to explain the Word of truth to them more fully, revealing the truth in contrast to error, they will become established. Lt18-1898.17

Had this work been done, earnestly and vigilantly, had the workers perseveringly watched for souls as they that must give an account, many more sheaves would have been the fruit of the seed sown at our camp meetings. Lt18-1898.18

This work has also been carried on in Balaclava, Melbourne. There are now no less than fifty new Sabbathkeepers as the result of this personal labor, this hunting for souls. Unless the workers appointed by God do the most interested hunting for lost sheep, Satan will succeed in his work of destroying, and souls will be lost that might have been found and restored. Lt18-1898.19

The success of the efforts made in Sydney and Melbourne gives us courage in the Lord. If these efforts had been made after all our camp meetings, as a part of the appointed plan, many more souls would have responded to the light given. If in the place of holding institutes to convert the ministers, and to fit them for the work, the ministers had been given a work to do in the places where camp meetings have been held; if after being fed with the bread of life by a miracle of God’s mercy, they were set to work to feed other souls, the directions given by the Lord would be carried out when He said, “Gather up the fragments that remain, that nothing be lost.” [John 6:12.] The ministers, after being set at work as hunters for souls, would obtain a greater experience than they would by listening to the teaching given in Ministerial Institutes. Lt18-1898.20

God calls for self-denying, self-sacrificing workers. Those who devote their God-given time to hunting for souls, travailing for souls, watching for souls as they that must give an account, will obtain a rich experience. This experience they may gain by following up the large interest created by our camp meetings. As they communicate the precious truth of God’s Word to others, their own hearts will be opened for the entrance of the Word. They will be instructed by the great Teacher. As they diffuse light to others, they will constantly receive more light. Lt18-1898.21

“The entrance of thy word giveth light; it giveth understanding unto the simple.” [Psalm 119:130.] The word simple does not here mean weak-minded. It means those who are graced with humility, with whom God can work, in whose hearts the truth is a living, acting principle. All such God calls upon to do personal labor, as well as to preach the Word with the simplicity that characterized the teaching of Christ. Lt18-1898.22

All along the line faithful workers are called for. Christ has opened a fountain for the sinful, suffering world, and the voice of divine mercy is heard, “Come, all ye thirsting souls; come and drink. You may take of the water of life freely. Ye weary, fainting, parched souls, come, and let him that heareth say, Come, and whosoever will, let him come.” [See Revelation 22:17.] Let every soul, women as well as men, sound this message. Then the work will be carried to the waste places of the earth. Lt18-1898.23

God calls for fishers of men. He calls for earnest workers, those who will be fishers of men. When the prophet Isaiah would describe the abundant blessings that would follow the abandonment of idolatry and the return of Israel to their loyalty to God, he says, “In that day the Lord shall open fountains in the valleys, and living springs in the deserts; and with joy the people shall draw water out of the wells of salvation.” [See Isaiah 41:18; 43:19, 20; 12:3.] Living streams will open to refresh all who are thirsting for the water of life. Lt18-1898.24

We need now to awake. We need to be in earnest. We have no time to lose. We are to go forward to victory. We must each engage in the warfare, pressing the battle to the gates. Not half is done that will be done when those who claim to believe the truth will work diligently. We have no time now to fold our hands. We must hunt for souls as the faithful shepherd hunts for his lost sheep. God help us to help each other, to do our best. Lt18-1898.25