Lt 131, 1898

1898

Lt 131, 1898

Smouse, Brother and Sister [C.]

NP

December 31, 1898

Portions of this letter are published in 4Bio 371-372, 374.

Dear Brother and Sister Smouse:

Our mail goes from Newcastle this evening to catch the steamer in Sydney. I write to thank you for the help you have given us in our great necessity in Australia. I thank you for this favor, and I thank your son and his wife also for their favor at this time. Your letter to Dr. Kellogg he sent to me. I was pleased that you desired to receive a letter from me; for I have reckoned you among my old friends when my husband was alive. I miss him just as much now as I ever have done. I often think what joy it would be to him were he alive to see the missionary work advancing in these new fields. It is the Lord’s own work. Lt131-1898.1

We planned to have a small camp meeting in Newcastle, twenty miles from Cooranbong. We thought we could plant the banner of truth here, and a church be raised up, as in Stanmore. It would be a special strength to Cooranbong, for Newcastle is our nearest place of trade, and it is a matter of importance to us to see a company raised up here. Newcastle has been thoroughly canvassed with our biggest and best books, but, until within the last three months, not a discourse has been preached in it by our people. Lt131-1898.2

It is a most difficult matter for our people to get into one of the established churches. I might say that it is impossible. Therefore we hoped that if a small camp meeting were held here, it would attract the attention of the people, and that some would come out and be converted. Lt131-1898.3

We have a very large tent, the largest we have ever had the privilege of speaking under. We knew that at this time of the year there is danger of fierce winds. We hired the tent for fifteen pounds, with the privilege of purchasing it if we could raise the money to do so. It has proved to be the most substantial tent we have ever seen. There has been a long drought in this Colony, but on Friday last, the rain began to fall, the tents had been pitched, and the meetings commenced Thursday evening. To our surprise, there was an attendance of a thousand people on the first night. Lt131-1898.4

On Friday night the wind blew a gale. All Sabbath there was a tempest of wind and rain. It looked rather discouraging, but no one seemed to be discouraged. On Sabbath quite a large number of those not of our faith were out to the meeting. I spoke in the afternoon. The Lord helped and strengthened me. I spoke from (John 15), “I am the true vine, and my Father is the husbandman.” All listened intently. I called for those who desired to consecrate themselves to God before the New Year commenced, to live in newness of life, to come forward. Quite a number came forward, and many bore their testimony. Lt131-1898.5

Our ministering brethren had excellent testimonies to bear of the special blessing of God received by them at this meeting. Then came the downpour and the tempest of wind, and the exercises were changed. Good strong voices sang with the spirit, and the understanding also, and the interest did not diminish in the least. It was nearing the close of the Sabbath, and prayer was offered by two of our ministers who revealed that they were moved by the Spirit of God. The whole congregation was blessed, for the Spirit of God was upon the people. The testimony was, It is the best Sabbath we have ever enjoyed. Lt131-1898.6

At the evening meeting the tent was full. Sunday early meeting was dropped out; for all hands were needed to repair the rents in the tents. But not a word of murmuring or complaint was heard, for all felt that we were on holy ground, and that the Captain of the Lord’s host was in our midst, and that we must walk softly before him. Every one seemed happy and joyful in God. The blessing of the Lord was upon the encampment. Lt131-1898.7

On Sunday afternoon I spoke with great freedom from John 14. Many people were assembled under the tent, and those who could not get in stood as a wall upon the outside. The Lord gave strength and freedom to speak to fifteen hundred people. They said that my voice could be heard distinctly in the family tents. I knew that Jesus and His angels were upon the campground and in the tents. Perfect order prevailed, and many in the large tent were affected to tears. Lt131-1898.8

This campmeeting is far exceeding our expectations. All say concerning the congregations, “It is marvelous in our eyes.” [Psalm 118:23.] Such interest, such a desire to attend the meetings during the week, is wonderful. During the holiday season in this country every attraction is presented to the people. There is horseracing and games of all kinds. Liquor drinking is at its height. But notwithstanding this, our congregations have been increasing rather than decreasing. Some come long distances, bring their lunch, and remain all day. Others remain to the afternoon and evening meetings. They seem to be hungry, starving for the truth. They say, We never heard the Scriptures presented before as we now hear them. We want to attend every meeting. Lt131-1898.9

This is a great work. As soon as I cease speaking, there is only a short intermission. Then one of our medical missionaries speaks upon health reform and medical missions. These talks greatly interest the people. Lt131-1898.10

Sister Peck has a class of one hundred small children. These she is instructing upon the kindergarten plan. These children are mostly from outside. The children are being helped. They tell their parents, and this is one means of reaching the parents. Then there is a young people’s meeting, where the youth are instructed in regard to giving themselves to the service of the Lord. Many have gained a rich experience by seeking the Lord with all their hearts. Lt131-1898.11

How I wish to see many souls converted. And then, what next? A plain, suitable church must be erected, and I believe the Lord will open the way to do this. I think we must purchase the tent we have hired, for we need this very much. We can hold our meetings in this tent until the meetinghouse is erected. There may have to be two buildings, as the suburbs of Newcastle are so far apart. Lt131-1898.12

I have faith that we shall see the salvation of God, not only in Newcastle, but in Maitland, a town twenty two miles from here. Lt131-1898.13

I am so much pleased with the prospect of having a hospital in Cooranbong. We shall call it a sanitarium, for it will be a branch of the sanitarium in Sydney. The Lord is working for us in this country. Lt131-1898.14

I think we entered Newcastle at the right time. The horse-racing, the cricket and football matches, the theaters and dances take away a class who would get the least good from the meetings. The best class of people, it seems to us, attend our meetings, and they are deeply interested. We do not conceal our banner of truth at all. We let them know that we are Seventh-day Adventists because we believe the Bible. The Bible, and the Bible only, is the foundation of our faith. Before these meetings close, the people will know from the Scriptures why we are a peculiar people. The word is the foundation of our faith. Lt131-1898.15

Our dependence is upon Christ. We have been purchased by His blood, and we are to be fully and entirely consecrated to Him; for He is our strength, our light, our salvation, our righteousness. And if our souls are saved at last, we must look to Him who has given His rich and abundant promises to be our strength and our salvation. All His approaches to our hearts, all His blessed agency within, are for our renovation. Thus He would uplift us, and restore in us the moral image of God. The Holy Spirit is promised, to illuminate, purify, elevate, and transform all who will believe into the likeness of Christ. He finds in us the spirit of the world, selfishness, pride, and rebellion against God. The Lord Jesus would detach us from the world, and recall us to be His children, and as His children, to obedience, to be doers of His Word and will. This is His purpose. Lt131-1898.16

Truth is omnipotent, but it does not work in the human agent in opposition to human will. Here is the turning point of freedom and responsibility. The heart can be closed to truth. It can refuse to submit. The Lord calls, “Come unto me, all ye that labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.” How are they to come? “Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly of heart, and ye shall find rest unto your souls.” [Matthew 11:28, 29.] Precious promise! Lt131-1898.17