The Review and Herald


February 11, 1896

The Tasmanian Camp-Meeting


Our first camp meeting in Tasmania was held in Hobart, November 28 to December 9, 1895. It was located just opposite the Newtown post-office, two miles from the center of Hobart. We were much pleased with the camp-ground. It was elevated considerably above the surrounding streets, and was reached by a flight of steps. A hawthorn hedge formed the enclosure, so that the encampment was hidden until we reached the entrance. Then the white tents, in their orderly arrangement in that grassy retreat, were an attractive sight. Hobart is surrounded by hills, rising one above another, and stretching away in the distance. Often they brought to our minds those precious words. “As the mountains are round about Jerusalem, so the Lord is round about his people from henceforth even forever.” RH February 11, 1896, par. 1

Besides the large meeting tent, the children's tent, and the reception, book, and dining tents, there were on the ground thirty-two family tents, occupied by our people. At the beginning of the meeting there were about sixty in the encampment, and toward the close, one hundred and seven. This was a larger number than we had expected, being fully half of all the Sabbath-keepers in Tasmania. Some who had thought it impossible to attend the meeting, gratefully acknowledged the providence of God in opening the way for them to come. RH February 11, 1896, par. 2

As there was no conference business to divide the time of the meetings, the ten days were spent in the study of the word. The early morning hour was devoted to private study and prayer. At 8:30 a. m. there was a general social meeting, at ten o'clock a lesson on some line of Christian work, at two o'clock a Bible study, and at 7:45 p. m. a sermon. The evening meetings were mostly conducted by Elders Prescott and Corliss. Much interest was manifested by the public, and the large tent was well filled, except in rainy and threatening weather. RH February 11, 1896, par. 3

A very profitable series of Bible studies with the youth was held each morning. There were about twenty in attendance. Children's meetings were held twice a day. After the morning lesson, on pleasant days, teachers and children took a long walk; and during the walk, by the banks of the river or in the grassy fields, a halt was called, and a short lesson from nature given. It was noticeable that on those days when the children had a ramble in the fields, they were very quiet and orderly in the camp. The attendance at the morning meetings when only the children of the camp were present, was thirty. In the afternoon, when the school children from the neighborhood came in, there were from fifty to sixty. RH February 11, 1896, par. 4

On the afternoon of the first Sabbath, I spoke from Luke 21:36: “Watch ye therefore, and pray always, that ye may be accounted worthy to escape all these things that shall come to pass, and to stand before the Son of man.” My soul was hungering and thirsting for the bread and water of life for myself and for every other soul. I realized that very much depends upon the presence and blessing of God at the first of the meeting. This is the best time to humble the soul before God, and to seek him earnestly. I knew that many present were longing for the realization that Christ was their personal Saviour. Christ was knocking, knocking at the door of their hearts. Would they let him come in as an honored guest? or would they, by dwelling upon commonplace matters, allow their God given faculties to become dwarfed and narrowed? Would they allow themselves to become overcharged with surfeiting and drunkenness and the cares of this life? RH February 11, 1896, par. 5

There is a world lying in wickedness, in deception and delusion, in the very shadow of death,—asleep, asleep. Who are feeling travail of soul to awaken them? What voice can reach them? My mind was carried to the future, when the signal will be given. “Behold, the Bridegroom cometh; go ye out to meet him.” But some will have delayed to obtain the oil for replenishing their lamps, and too late they will find that character, which is represented by the oil, is not transferable. RH February 11, 1896, par. 6

“God resisteth the proud, but giveth grace unto the humble. Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. Draw nigh to God, and he will draw nigh to you. Cleanse your hands, ye sinners; and purify your hearts, ye doubleminded. Be afflicted, and mourn, and weep; let your laughter be turned to mourning, and your joy to heaviness. Humble yourselves in the sight of the Lord, and he shall lift you up.” This was the work we needed to have done. I felt that this was a precious opportunity to invite souls to seek the Lord with us. All who were afflicted and troubled in mind, all who were in sorrow and despondency, all who had lost their first love, were invited to come forward, that we might unite with them in sending up the prayer of faith for the manifestation of the Holy Spirit. RH February 11, 1896, par. 7

A large share of the congregation came forward. I went down among the people, and going to the last seat in the tent, addressed several youth, inviting them to give their hearts fully to Jesus. All five of them went forward. Young girls whose hearts had been made tender, were weeping. I invited them also to come, and they responded. I knew that the angels of God were in that assembly, and my heart, that for the past five weeks had been sadly burdened and oppressed, seemed at rest, full of peace and trust in God. O, the riches of his goodness and love can never be expressed. RH February 11, 1896, par. 8

There were those who had been living in unbelief, doubting their acceptance with God. This distrust had made them miserable, but the Lord revealed himself to their souls, and they knew that he had blessed them. One sister had desired an interview with me, but I had been forced to ask her to wait until I was stronger. That day she took her trouble to Jesus, and found rest in his love. Many others testified that they had realized more of the presence of the Lord than ever before, and their hearts were filled with thankfulness. RH February 11, 1896, par. 9

On Sunday I spoke again, and several times through the week. The next Sabbath we had another revival effort, and most of the congregation came forward for prayers. I knew that the members of our churches needed a work done for them, in order that they might let their light shine to the world. A formal religion is powerless. Only the religion of the heart, intense and earnest, will move upon the hearts of the careless and world loving. RH February 11, 1896, par. 10

There is great need of heeding the words of Christ, “I Jesus have sent mine angel to testify unto you these things in the churches. I am the root and the offspring of David, and the bright and morning star. And the Spirit and the bride say, Come. And let him that heareth say, Come. And let him that is athirst come. And whosoever will, let him take the water of life freely.” Here is presented the free receiving and the free giving. We are to communicate the light that God has richly bestowed upon us. The blessing of the Lord, received, must be passed on to others. Some will say, “I am not fit to serve God. How can I do this work of communicating truth? The opposition to the commandments of God is so strong, what can I, a poor weak creature, do? It is well for you to realize your weakness, but you are to lean wholly upon God for strength. Is anything too hard for the Lord to do? RH February 11, 1896, par. 11

The arm of the Lord is not shortened that it cannot save. His ear is not heavy that it cannot hear. God can and will work through human agencies. He can sanctify the heart, and make the human agent a vessel unto honor. Take the word; read it, consider, pray over it; let it enter into your understanding; let the light flood the soul temple, that you may testify of these things in the churches. The word of God is infallible; accept it as it reads; look with confidence to God; trust him to qualify you for his service. We are not authorized to trust in ourselves; Christ is our helper, our sufficiency. It is his to give us the victory. Christ has brought life and immortality to light, and we are to look unto him, and take this great salvation which he has won for us through his own death. Only believe; walk by faith, not by sight. RH February 11, 1896, par. 12

There are many souls yearning unutterably for light, for assurance and strength beyond what they have been able to grasp. They need to be sought out and labored for patiently, perseveringly. Present Jesus because you know him as your personal Saviour. Let his melting love, his rich grace, flow forth from human lips. You need not present doctrinal points unless questioned; but take the word, and with tender, yearning love for souls, show them the precious righteousness of Christ, to whom you and they must come to be saved. RH February 11, 1896, par. 13

Satan is working with his masterly power to hold you back, to keep you in his army. Ever bear in mind that the powers of good and evil are striving for the mastery over every soul that is seeking Jesus. Satan works to drag the enquiring souls away from the cross; but Christ is drawing them, and all who are co-operating with Christ will exert a compelling influence in bringing others to him. RH February 11, 1896, par. 14

As laborers for the salvation of souls, ask wisdom from God, believing that he will bestow the gift you ask. Receive the precious endowment by faith, nothing doubting. As we seek God in sincerity, believing his word, acknowledging his goodness, his mercy, and his love toward ourselves, there flows forth from us the living water to refresh and revive the spirit of the humble and the contrite. The souls that are seeking for truth need to have words spoken to them in season, for Satan is speaking to them by his temptations. If you meet with repulse when trying to help souls, heed it not. Speak to those who will listen. Impart the knowledge of the truth you have obtained; but let it be the truth as it is in Jesus. Work while it is day; for “the night cometh, when no man can work.” Sow the seed in faith, and with an unsparing hand. Work as if you could behold the universe of heaven looking upon you. One soul saved is worth more than the whole world. All who are willing to examine and understand the truth, will find the precious, priceless hidden treasure. RH February 11, 1896, par. 15

Never forget that we cannot assimilate to the world, and be God's people. There is divinity in the word. In presenting the word to others, never make it a “suppose so,” a “guess,” or a “may be.” Speak as one who has authority from God through his word. Declare with Peter, “We have not followed cunningly devised fables, when we made known unto you the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, but were eye-witnesses of his majesty.... We have also a more sure word of prophecy; whereunto ye do well that ye take heed, as unto a light that shineth in a dark place, until the day dawn, and the day-star arise in your hearts.” RH February 11, 1896, par. 16

Throughout the meeting the Lord sustained me by his grace, so that I was able to speak to the people from time to time till the very close. Altogether, the meeting was a pleasant surprise to our own people and to the people of Hobart. Many said, “I thought this meeting would be a failure because of the hard times, and the difficulties that attend families leaving home for ten days; but it is a complete success. I rejoice to see so many here, and most of all that I am here, and that I hear the stirring truths from the word, and that God has let light into my heart and soul, and has given me courage for the conflict with temptation and sin.” Some said, “My feet were slipping; I was losing faith in the message, and did not realize the shortness of time, nor see our present danger. Now I rejoice that I came to this meeting. The presence of the Lord has been here. His Spirit has touched many hearts. He has greatly blessed me. I shall go to my home with a determination to work for the Master.” Some who for years have been praying that members of their families might give their hearts to God, were filled with joy at the fulfilment of their prayers. RH February 11, 1896, par. 17

The theme of the addresses and Bible studies was, Jesus Christ: his love, his sacrifice, his obedience to the will of God, his life as an example, his exaltation, his ministry, and his messages to the church. Much of the Spirit and power of God was felt as these things were dwelt upon, and all were impressed that our religion must be more a matter of the life, and less a matter of theory. RH February 11, 1896, par. 18

Sabbath afternoon, December 7, there were several who expressed a desire for baptism. On Sunday, fourteen were immersed in the water of the bay, as witness of their death to sin and resurrection to the new life. RH February 11, 1896, par. 19

At the close of the camp-meeting it was decided to continue evening meetings in the large tent for a week or two on the same grounds. Much interest is manifested to know more of the message, and there are many who need only the courage of their convictions to take their stand with us. The members of the Hobart church are greatly encouraged and strengthened, and they are now proposing to build a meeting-house of their own. RH February 11, 1896, par. 20

Our prayer is that the year 1896 may be a year of prosperity and growth for the cause in Tasmania; and it surely will be if those who have received light and blessing will labor in faith to present the same to others. RH February 11, 1896, par. 21