The Review and Herald

956/1902

October 18, 1898

Week of Prayer in Australia—No. 4

EGW

The week of prayer was a busy time for me, and for all our workers at the school and at “Sunnyside.” For several weeks I had been engaged in writing out matters that had been presented to me regarding our denominational institutions, and the spirit that must be cherished by the managers and workers, and also many matters regarding our educational work, which I hope soon to publish; but now I laid all other work aside, and gave my entire strength to the various meetings held in and around Cooranbong. RH October 18, 1898, par. 1

The first Sabbath was a day of earnest activity. From “Sunnyside” and the school, two teams and a boat were sent to Dora Creek to bring to the meetings those who were not able to walk so far. The people had been invited to bring their lunch, and come to the meeting prepared to spend the day, and they responded freely to the invitation. Some were much surprised that we would exert ourselves on the Sabbath to bring them to the meeting. They had been taught that Sunday-keeping consisted largely in physical inactivity; and they thought that because we were zealous in the matter of Sabbath-keeping, we would keep it according to the teachings of the Pharisees. We told our friends that in the matter of keeping the Sabbath, we studied the example and teachings of Christ, whose Sabbaths were often spent in earnest effort to heal and to teach; that we believed that one of our sisters who was nursing a sick family was keeping the Sabbath as much as the one who was leading a division in the Sabbath-school; that Christ could not please the Pharisees of his day, and that we did not expect that our efforts to serve the Lord would satisfy the Pharisees of our day. RH October 18, 1898, par. 2

Our meeting-house was well filled Sabbath morning with earnest listeners to the reading, “The End of All Things Is at Hand.” In the afternoon I spoke for half an hour, and then we had a social meeting. Church-members, students, and visitors testified freely, and all were blessed. We were glad that we had exerted ourselves to encourage old and young, believers and unbelievers, to come to the meeting. Knowing that the notice was short, and that some might come without lunch, we had provided abundance of plain food; and after some had been invited to the homes of our people, there were about forty who gathered under the broad-spreading gum-trees, and ate their food with thanksgiving and friendly conversation. After the meetings, our horses and carriages were again brought into service to carry some to their homes. RH October 18, 1898, par. 3

On Sunday morning I spoke to a congregation of between thirty and forty in the old schoolhouse at Dora Creek. Brother and Sister H. C. Lacey accompanied me, and led the singing. Most of those present were not of our faith, and they seemed deeply interested. I had perfect freedom, as I usually do in speaking to those who are hungry for truth. At the close of the meeting we arranged for our teams to go in the evening, to bring about twenty to the meeting at Cooranbong. RH October 18, 1898, par. 4

At the Sunday-night meeting, the progress of the cause of present truth in Australasia was briefly reviewed, and the present needs of the field were presented; also the work, and the financial embarrassments, of the Foreign Mission Board. What the cause in Australia and New Zealand has received from our brethren in America and Africa was clearly set forth; for it is only as we review our mercies and blessings, that we can be intelligently thankful. All were surprised to learn how much we have received, through the hands of the mission board, from our dear brethren in other lands. The lesson drawn from this study was that from those to whom much is given, much is required. Therefore we are under great obligation, here in Australasia, to give ourselves to the Master's work, and to educate and train our young men and women, that they may be fitted and ready to serve the Lord in home and foreign missions. RH October 18, 1898, par. 5

Monday was a busy day. At six in the morning, there was a meeting in the vestry of the church. Seventeen were present. I talked to them on faith. I am sure that we are not where we ought to be in this matter. Unbelief is the great obstacle in the way of our spiritual advancement. We all need to pray, “Lord, increase our faith.” Nearly all bore testimony, acknowledging their lack of faith, and their weakness because they have not put their whole trust in the Lord, and taken Christ as their personal Saviour. RH October 18, 1898, par. 6

At nine o'clock I attended a meeting of the students in the school chapel. About eighty were present, and the room was full. An hour was occupied in reading, and in talking to them about the necessity of their understanding how to exercise faith. This is the science of the gospel. The Scripture declares, “Without faith it is impossible to please God.” The knowledge of what the Scripture means when urging upon us the necessity of cultivating faith, is more essential than any other knowledge that can be acquired. We suffer much trouble and grief because of our unbelief, and our ignorance of how to exercise faith. We must break through the clouds of unbelief. We can not have a healthy Christian experience, we can not obey the gospel unto salvation, until the science of faith is better understood, and until more faith is exercised. There can be no perfection of Christian character without that faith that works by love, and purifies the soul. RH October 18, 1898, par. 7

The students in our schools need to study these words: “The testimony of the Lord is sure, making wise the simple. The statutes of the Lord are right, rejoicing the heart: the commandment of the Lord is pure, enlightening the eyes. The fear of the Lord is clean, enduring forever: the judgments of the Lord are true and righteous altogether. More to be desired are they than gold, yea, than much fine gold: sweeter also than honey and the honeycomb. Moreover by them is thy servant warned: and in keeping of them there is great reward.” Then they will be able intelligently to pray: “Who can understand his errors? cleanse thou me from secret faults. Keep back thy servant also from presumptuous sins; let them not have dominion over me: then shall I be upright, and I shall be innocent from the great transgression. Let the words of my mouth, and the meditation of my heart, be acceptable in thy sight, O Lord, my strength, and my redeemer.” RH October 18, 1898, par. 8

The youth have precious talents; but unless they consecrate these to God, they can not intelligently speak these words of the nineteenth psalm. When they understand the infinite sacrifice made for them, they will realize their responsibility as servants of Jesus Christ. If the humiliation and suffering borne by him in behalf of the human race are appreciated, a purer and more healthy atmosphere will surround the souls of those who take the name of Christian. RH October 18, 1898, par. 9

In the afternoon there was a general meeting at the church. I attended; and after engaging in prayer, I again talked to the people on the subject of faith, and told them my experience in the night season. I was then before a company, talking to them about faith. I was trying to show them that they must be able intelligently to voice the words of John, “Behold the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world.” Men must behold him as their sin-bearer. Then the word of God was opened before me in a most beautiful and striking light. Page after page was turned, and I read the gracious invitations and words of entreaty to seek God's glory and God's will, with the promise that all other things would be added. These promises and invitations stood out upon the page as in golden letters. RH October 18, 1898, par. 10

I said: Why do you not grasp the promises? Seek first to know God. Search the Scriptures. Feed on the words of Christ, which are spirit and life. Then your knowledge will grow. Study your Bibles. Study not the philosophy contained in many books, but study the philosophy of the word of the living God. Compared with this, other literature is of little consequence. Do not fill your minds with so many things that are cheap and unsatisfying. In the word of God is spread before you the richest banquet. This is the Lord's table, abundantly provided, whereof you may eat and be satisfied. RH October 18, 1898, par. 11

We need, during this week of prayer, to come to God in confidence. We must put away the darkness that would interpose between our souls and God. We must cultivate perfect trust in God, and make him our counselor. His love must be cultivated in the heart. Thanksgiving and praise should be offered to God. He wants the whole mind. “Follow peace with all men, and holiness, without which no man shall see the Lord.” God's word is full of assurances of what he will do for us if we will come to him and ask in faith. Faith is essential. It surrounds the soul with the atmosphere that pervades heaven. This is the rest that Christ has promised to all who come to him. RH October 18, 1898, par. 12

We ask you, brethren and sisters, to render to God offerings of thanksgiving for all his blessings. This includes not only the fruit of the lips, but the entire being; for this is the Lord's purchased possession. We must understand that the garden of the heart is to be cultivated. The weeds of selfishness are to be diligently uprooted. RH October 18, 1898, par. 13

As we cultivate the soil day by day, we may learn precious spiritual lessons. The fallow ground of the heart must be broken up. It must be warmed by the rays of the sun, and purified by the air. Then the seed, to all appearance lifeless and inactive, is to be dropped into the soil prepared for its reception. Trees also are to be planted, and cultivated with care. And after man has done his part, God's miracle-working power gives life and vitality to the things placed in the soil. Man is not to overlook the power of God, nor is he to neglect his part of the work, appointed to him by God. Man is not to be slothful. His industry is essential if he would have a harvest. And so it is with the work to be done in the human heart and mind. “The seed is the word of God.” “He that soweth the good seed is the Son of man.” RH October 18, 1898, par. 14

Christ is the author of all truth. He came down from heaven to give to the world the bread of life. “The Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us.” And yet how little do men understand the relation of earthly and heavenly things! And must the veil remain ever upon our eyes?—No, indeed. God designs that in this probationary time, man may comprehend the truths of his word. They are revealed to us and to our children. A treasure-house of precious jewels is opened to the minds of all who will search the word of God. RH October 18, 1898, par. 15

The Lord would have us become diligent learners of the things of his kingdom, and he would have us understand that as we receive knowledge, a responsibility rests upon us to go to work to communicate to others that which we have received. We must present the truth as it is in Jesus. Having received great light, and united with the church to do the service of God, we must labor to scatter the good seed, and thus in other minds and hearts prepare the way for the operation of the Spirit of God. RH October 18, 1898, par. 16

O, why do those who know the truth remain in a state of indifference to the wants of others? Why do they bring no sheaves to the Master? Why do they look to others to do the work which God has given them to do? I wish that every soul could have the experience that I had last night, and hear the words of counsel, reproof, and encouragement falling from the lips of the divine Teacher. He said: “The leaves of the tree of life are proffered you. They are sweeter than honey and the honeycomb. Take them, eat them, and your faintheartedness will pass away. Are you thirsty? Come. Whosoever shall drink of the water that I shall give him shall never thirst; but the water that I shall give him shall be in him a well of water springing up into everlasting life: he that cometh to me shall never hunger; and he that believeth on me shall never thirst.” RH October 18, 1898, par. 17

“And in that day thou shalt say, O Lord, I will praise thee: though thou wast angry with me, thine anger is turned away, and thou comfortest me. Behold, God is my salvation; I will trust, and not be afraid: for the Lord Jehovah is my strength and my song; he also is become my salvation. Therefore with joy shall ye draw water out of the wells of salvation. And in that day shall ye say, Praise the Lord, call upon his name, declare his doings among the people, make mention that his name is exalted. Sing unto the Lord; for he hath done excellent things: this is known in all the earth. Cry out and shout, thou inhabitant of Zion: for great is the Holy One of Israel in the midst of thee.” RH October 18, 1898, par. 18