Manuscript Releases, vol. 21 [Nos. 1501-1598]

76/99

MR No. 1576—Meetings in Melbourne and Vicinity; Commercial Work at the Echo Office; Charge Adequate Tuition

(Written April 21, 1898, from Stanmore, Sydney, N.S.W., to Brethren Irwin, Evans, Smith, and Jones.)

I received your letter, and will write a few lines now. 21MR 355.1

I was solicited to visit Melbourne before the tent would have to be taken down, but on account of the severe heat they dared not make the request too urgent. Elder Robinson thought my testimony must be given, as it was greatly needed. He and his wife were left to bear the responsibility of the work, giving Bible readings, conducting the Mission, and training several young men and women as workers. The work has rested heavily upon them. Sister Robinson has hired a girl to do her housework and is doing work every way as taxing as that of a minister. The women workers have not received pay, but this will be changed in due time. The cause is now hemmed in for want of means. 21MR 355.2

Besides having much work to do in council meetings, I spoke in the tent three times each week, riding from North Fitzroy, seven miles and back. I spoke nine times in Melbourne. I then visited Geelong, forty miles from Melbourne, going on the boat. The company there has had little labor. We had profitable meetings. Brother Robinson conducted the Sabbath school and spoke in the morning and evening and on Sunday evening. I spoke in the afternoon both Sabbath and Sunday. These meetings were a blessing to the church. We returned to Melbourne on Monday. 21MR 355.3

The tent was taken down and much search was made for a hall. We found a very poor hall, where we could hold meeting on the Sabbath, but we could have it only on Saturday as meetings were held there on Sunday by different religious bodies. We felt very sorry, for this was just at the time when souls were deciding for the truth, but it was not safe to keep the tent up because of the strong winds at this time of the year. 21MR 355.4

Forty in Balaclava have decided to obey the truth. One teacher from Ballarat, an excellent woman, has taken a decided stand, and is one of the very best workers in Balaclava now. A lady employed in Government House has taken the Sabbath. She is a matron in the laundry department. Sister Williams informed Lady Brassey of her change of views and she laid the matter before Lord Brassey. He said that he could not see that her keeping the Sabbath would bring any confusion. 21MR 355.5

Lord and Lady Brassey were about to visit England, and Lord Brassey gave Mrs. Williams a vacation during their absence and allowed her wages to go on for a period of six months. She referred Lord Brassey to the Echo Office for information concerning the faith. He said that was enough; he was having his Government work done at that Office, and was favorably impressed with the principles that were manifested by the managers and with the work that was executed in the office. 21MR 356.1

Some are very poor, and everything they eat has had to be provided for them, and their rent has to be paid. This cannot be avoided. We feel grateful to God for His tender love and compassion to the children of men, and we are in all things to follow Christ, to do as He would do were He in the world under the same circumstances. 21MR 356.2

A lot has been purchased on which to build a church here. I made a donation of twenty pounds but they must wait until I can obtain means. I must see if we can hire one hundred pounds to keep us until the Lord shall send us means. I have paid one hundred and five pounds toward the Stanmore church. After great hindrance, which we cannot explain, the land was bought and the building is up, but money does not seem to be in sight to pay the workmen and fully complete the work. But it will be dedicated next Sunday. 21MR 356.3

Elder Haskell, in connection with his wife, did noble work in the first term of school, and the Lord accepted the work done. Every student left the school converted. And just that kind of work has been done here at Stanmore, that the Lord has revealed to me for years was the work the unbelieving world must have done for them if they have the light and courage to take their position upon the Sabbath. 21MR 356.4

After the community has been stirred by a well organized camp meeting, then shall the workers pull up stakes and leave to attend another camp meeting and let the work ravel out? I say, Divide the workers and have some take right hold, giving Bible readings, doing colporteur work, selling tracts, etc. Let there be a mission home to prepare workers by educating them in every line of the work. This will not leave the work to ravel out. The good impressions the messengers of God have made upon hearts and minds will not be lost. 21MR 356.5

This house-to-house labor, searching for souls, hunting for the lost sheep, is the most essential work that can be done. Seventy-five souls have been organized into a church in Stanmore. We thank God for this. Fifty of these have embraced the truth since the camp meeting in Stanmore. 21MR 356.6

In Balaclava I had great freedom in speaking to the people. I spoke to them eight times, to the church in Geelong twice, to the North Fitzroy church three times, to the Office workers once, and to the managers. We had most solemn seasons reading to the responsible men the principles to be maintained in the Echo Office. In every branch there was much that needed to be separated from the Office and commercial work brought in of a character that will not belittle the mind and give it food that will be as a poisonous malaria. This labor was very severe upon me. 21MR 357.1

The burden I carried for the church in North Fitzroy was so heavy that I could not eat or sleep. I was in agony of soul because I could see the peril that all were in, peril which it was difficult to define with such exactness as to prevent misrepresentation as they should work to set things in order. Some were anxious I should explain every minutiae of the management as it should be, but I told them that that was not my work. 21MR 357.2

The commercial work should not be excluded from the Office, but much work that has been taken in should not be, as it has had an influence to belittle the mind and place sacred things upon a level with the common. 21MR 357.3

Satan will play his game of life for every soul employed there. He is unseen but working diligently to carry the youth along under his guidance. But the Lord is a strong, powerful, all-sufficient helper, if human intelligences will make the Word of God their meat and drink. As sure as they refuse to heed the counsel of God, the Lord cannot work with them. But just as long as they will walk humbly with God in earnest prayer the Lord will lift up for them a standard against the enemy. How wonderful are these words, how full and expressive of the watch-care of the angels of light! 21MR 357.4

And it becomes a subject of weighty importance that every worker in the Office shall have faith unfeigned and that they shall constantly work from sound, elevating principles. Let everyone respect himself or herself because Christ has paid a ransom for each soul. All are His bought captives, and they are to become His free sons, the sons of God. 21MR 357.5

If the Lord is believed, if the Lord Jesus is accepted as our personal Saviour, it will make us to be honored of all the angelic universe as sons of God, children of the heavenly King. Then may they say, “Goodness and mercy have followed me all the days of my life, and I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever.” The Lord will take the humble and contrite soul and bring him into connection with the excellent of the earth. This is the work the Lord Jesus longs to do for every soul that will come to Him. 21MR 357.6

Commercial work should in no case become all-absorbing. The Lord would have the truth go forth as a lamp that is trimmed and burning, because filled with the heavenly oil, in publications to go everywhere, and the business relations conducted by men who are under the great Master-worker. The commercial work should bring the believers in connection with the unbelievers that the truth, by being lived, may be as seed sown and its influence touch the ends of the earth. 21MR 358.1

As widely as this printed matter shall go, every believer should spread his influence in vindication of the truth. Therefore every worker should be connected with Christ, that he may have power to do a work that will bear the test of the judgment. Abundant provision has been made that, amid the greatest cares, a steadfast character may be maintained because the Lord and His ways are kept ever before the mind. 21MR 358.2

Is there no time to pray? No time to tell the Lord, “Thou must keep me by Thine own power”? Leaving the Lord out of sight will not lessen the cares but multiply them. A Christian spirit is as essential in active business lines as is having the Spirit of God in the place where prayer is wont to be made. All any of us need is to seek the Lord, and the grace of the Christian will be evidenced. All who seek Him find Jesus a very present help in every time of need. 21MR 358.3

Purest Christian principles must be maintained. There is a plague spot of selfishness that will make itself a place in the heart until it is expelled. Oh, the danger and shame of the many sacrificing to the lust of mammon rather than to the Holy One and the Just. 21MR 358.4

Some will hold fast their integrity. There will be no underhanded contrivances to take advantage of circumstances to favor one's self, so that it can be written in the book of heaven “unspotted from the world.” 21MR 358.5

The question is, Has every man taken up his cross and followed Christ? If he has, this settles the question of his discipleship. “If any man will be My disciple let him deny (not indulge and pet) himself, and take up his cross and follow Me” [See Matthew 16:24]. This is not merely a Christian duty, but the certain evidence of discipleship—the Christian duty. It is the one thing, the great test of character, the proof of discipleship, and our heirship to heaven. 21MR 358.6

This burden borne in Melbourne twice brought upon me a severe sickness, for it approached to a rending of the soul and body, because it was so difficult to adjust things with the old Sabbathkeepers as God would have them. We cannot convince them that they must be renewed, converted. And the thought that these old in the knowledge of the truth will counterwork the very things that we are trying to do in the saving of the souls ready to perish, is most painful. Their example in dress and in health reform is a barrier to the work. They sow their seeds of evil. My soul is weighed down over these matters. 21MR 358.7

After working most earnestly in company with Elder Robinson we went to Ballarat. But I had malaria; I could not eat. Bodily infirmities were upon me but my appointment was out. In the second-class compartment a bed was prepared with pillows, and I lay down and slept an hour. I had been unable to sleep because of the burden on my soul. 21MR 359.1

I was quite weak on Sabbath but attended the meeting, for the poor, hungry sheep must be fed. After Brother Robinson prayed I felt the spirit of intercession. I cried unto the Lord to strengthen me to speak. I was able to speak in a feeble voice. The Lord's blessing came into the meeting. 21MR 359.2

I asked the Lord for strength to fill my appointment Sunday in the large hall. I was still unable to eat except a couple of small, dry crackers, but when on Sunday I stood before the hearers I was strengthened, blessed, and the grace of Christ was upon me. Remarks were made by some—“No one would suppose Sister White was sick.” The speaking did not tire me. I spoke more than an hour and was not in the least weary. Elder Robinson spoke in the evening with great freedom. We returned Monday and the power of the enemy was broken. 21MR 359.3

I had then to complete writings to leave with the brethren in Melbourne. The movements made in Battle Creek in regard to means were placing us in this new field, where new and advancing work must be done, in a condition similar to that of the children of Israel when they were refused straw to make bricks but were told, “Go, gather straw for yourselves.” W. C. White was in Cooranbong, preparing for the opening of the school there. 21MR 359.4

Elder Haskell and his wife were in Stanmore, overseeing the building of the meetinghouse and carrying forward the education of the workers in the mission home, that he might as soon as possible leave this interesting work in other hands. But Elder Haskell must take the oversight of the building of the church and not allow the house-to-house labor to be left, for every week souls are found ready to take their stand, and a very precious company has been organized into a church. 21MR 359.5

All our anxiety is from some of the old Sabbathkeepers who are not advancing with the work and are full of jealousy because they are not receiving greater labor, when every soul of them should be a laborer together with God to gather in the souls that are ready to die. 21MR 359.6

W. C. White came to Melbourne and we worked with him to set things in order. There are great perplexities to know how to work and make bricks without straw. 21MR 359.7

May the Lord open the eyes of those who have pursued a course to bring about this condition of things. May He give them discernment and enable them to reason from cause to effect, that we in these distant missionary fields may not be punished because of the actions of others who have followed their own course, until the Lord is showing His displeasure by hedging up the way. We need to seek the Lord most earnestly, that we shall know what we must do at every step. “Let him that thinketh he standeth take heed lest he fall.” 21MR 360.1

There are ministers’ wives, Sisters Starr, Haskell, Wilson, and Robinson, who have been devoted, earnest, whole-souled workers, giving Bible readings and praying with families, helping along by personal efforts just as successfully as their husbands. These women give their whole time and are told that they receive nothing for their labors because their husbands receive their wages. I tell them to go forward and all such decisions will be revised. 21MR 360.2

The Word says, “The laborer is worthy of his hire.” When any such decision as this is made I will, in the name of the Lord, protest. I will feel it my duty to create a fund from my tithe money to pay these women who are accomplishing just as essential work as the ministers are doing, and this tithe I will reserve for work in the same line as that of the ministers, hunting for souls, fishing for souls. 21MR 360.3

I know that the faithful women should be paid wages as is considered proportionate to the pay received by ministers. They carry the burden of souls and should not be treated unjustly. These sisters are giving their time to educating those newly come to the faith, and hire their own work done and pay those who work for them. All these things must be adjusted and set in order and justice be done to all. 21MR 360.4

Proofreaders in the Office receive their wages, those who are working at housework receive their wages—two dollars and a half and three dollars a week. This I have had to pay and others have to pay. But ministers’ wives, who carry a tremendous responsibility, devoting their entire time, have nothing for their labor. This will give you an idea of how matters are in this conference. There are seventy-five souls organized into a church, who are applying their tithe into the conference, and as a saving plan it has been deemed essential to let these poor souls labor for nothing. But this does not trouble me, for I will not allow it to go thus. 21MR 360.5

Elder Haskell and his wife break up their mission home next Monday and take their position in the school. They are needed there. They are solicited to go out into the field and present the needs of the cause there, to raise money to sustain our schools. 21MR 360.6

I carry quite a number of students through this term. Our school is different from any school that has been instituted. The Bible is taking the place in the school that it should always have had. It is the great textbook, and we want it to succeed, and it will. Brother Haskell feels no duty to remain longer away from the school. He and his wife now take their places as Bible instructors. 21MR 361.1

There are now in Cooranbong some outside parties who are placing their children in the school. As Brother Haskell is not to visit the churches it will be necessary for Willie and Brother Robinson to go to our people and if possible raise means to sustain the school. I wish the Lord would place the necessities of His work before His people in America who can help if they would—those who spend money to please and glorify themselves, those who expend means on dress and to keep pace with the fashions of this degenerate age. Oh, so many live to please themselves! 21MR 361.2

In regard to the school's running in debt, the tuition has been altogether too low in America. Cannot those who conduct the schools in America understand that this is the only way out? Why do they keep the price so low? An increase in price of educational advantages would stop that increasing debt. 21MR 361.3

The students are to be fed, and they need good, nourishing food. They should not be stinted in the wholesome fruit and vegetarian diet, but cut off everything like the desserts. Let abundance of fruit be eaten with the meals, but custards and pastries are of no manner of use—all unnecessary. 21MR 361.4

Now when the wiseheads officiating in our schools study to run the school upon a sum wholly insufficient, year after year, they are engaged in a work that will bring debts; it cannot be prevented. They have begun this policy in Cooranbong, and the very same results will follow. There is no justice or requirement of God for them to make such loose calculations. They make it necessary to practice the closest economy, and it is not always wise to bring down the diet as a means of avoiding debt. 21MR 361.5

Economy must be practiced in every line to keep afloat and not be drowned with debts, but there is to be an increase in the sum paid for tuition. This was presented to me while in Europe and has been presented since to you and our schools, and the problem, “How shall our schools keep out of debt?” will always remain a problem until there are wiser calculations. 21MR 361.6

Charge higher rates for students’ educational advantages, and then let persons have the management in cooking who know how to save and economize. Let the best talent be secured, even if good, reasonable wages have to be paid. The binding about the edges is essential. When these precautions are attended to, you will not have increasing debts in your schools. 21MR 361.7

Let the teachers be health reformers, let them teach the Bible as the foundation study, let them practice the Word themselves. Let infidel books be laid aside and the Word of God find its place in every school. Some will say, “We shall have fewer students.” This may be, but those that you do have will appreciate their time and see the necessity of diligent work to qualify them for the positions they must fill. 21MR 362.1

If the Lord is kept ever before the students as the One to whom they should look for counsel, they will, like Daniel, receive of Him knowledge and wisdom. All will then become channels of light. Lay the matter before the students themselves. Inquire who of them will practice self-denial and make sacrifice to cancel the debt already incurred. With some students only the willing mind is needed. 21MR 362.2

God help the managers of our schools never to allow the outgoes to exceed the income, [even] if the school has to be closed. There has not been the talent that is needed in the management of our schools financially. These things God will require of the managers. Every needless, expensive habit is to be laid aside, every unnecessary indulgence cut away. When the principles so manifestly indicated by the Word of God to all schools are taken hold of as earnestly as they should be, the debts will not accumulate. 21MR 362.3

You inquire if I received the two hundred dollars. I have received it, and it came timely. Thank the Lord for the sum. Mission agencies in every field need funds. Hospitals and health homes are to be established, not in an expensive style, but to be made wholesome and cheerful, for the sick and poor we have always with us. 21MR 362.4

But I must not write more. I have for three mornings been up at two o'clock to write, but I have only written a small amount of that which I designed to send. Whatever may be the amount of means coming in, strictest economy is to be studied. Economy and care must be exercised in expending funds, not to please fancy but to study the limited means. Care must be used, economy practiced from the very highest motives, leaving all expenditures with God Himself, for it is God's money we are handling, and we can limit the supply by our want of foresight. 21MR 362.5

It is not best to purchase the cheapest things in furnishings, but the most serviceable and enduring. They may be more expensive at the time but if they are treated carefully they will not be the dearest in the end. Those who realize that all money is the Lord's will get into the habit of asking the Lord how it shall be used, as to what they shall purchase in the little things as well as in the large. This is the right principle to work upon. 21MR 362.6

The heavenly universe is more interested than we can imagine in all that concerns God's people, who are being fitted up for an inheritance among the sanctified and blessed. All that concerns His people concerns Himself, with whom they and all their interests are one. The habit of seeking counsel from God should be cultivated as a blessing granted us, showing that we take advantage of the wisdom God has provided through Jesus Christ in our behalf—Christ linked with humanity that humanity might link with Christ. 21MR 363.1

I have many things that I would be pleased to write but my letter is long and I must get it into the Office or it will not reach you by this mail. 21MR 363.2

A word more. Everyone connected with the cause and work of God must keep his talent of wits in cultivation or we shall make grave blunders. This means to set the Lord ever before us. May the Lord help us, is my prayer. Heartiness, improvement of talents, and thoroughness are to be cultivated, that no haphazard work will be done. 21MR 363.3

God help you, strengthen and comfort you, is my prayer. Look up always. Jesus is a risen Saviour. He is not in Joseph's tomb with a great stone rolled before the door. We have a living, risen Christ, who stands at the head of His church. I hope our people will hang their helpless souls upon God. He can bear your weight. He can carry all your burdens. 21MR 363.4

In much sympathy with all your perplexities, I will close this long letter.—Letter 137, 1898. 21MR 363.5

Ellen G. White Estate

Silver Spring, Maryland,

April 18, 1991.

Entire Letter.