Letters and Manuscripts — Volume 9 (1894)


Lt 31, 1894

Harper, Walter

Norfolk Villa, Prospect St., Granville, New South Wales, Australia

September 23, 1894

Portions of this letter are published in 6MR 21-22; RH 07/21/1896; 4Bio 164.

Dear Brother:

I received a check for one thousand dollars from you, and I thank you for the same. I think you will feel it your privilege and duty to donate this sum to the missionary work “in this region beyond.” [2 Corinthians 10:16.] We cannot expect to obtain money from any source that I know of in this country. If the Lord has made you a successful canvasser, and by this means you cannot only obtain your livelihood, but at the same time impart light to others, you have much for which to be thankful. I am thankful that you are trading on your Lord’s goods, and putting out your money to usury, in order that you may double your entrusted talent. 9LtMs, Lt 31, 1894, par. 1

I know of no field that is more needy than this one. My brother, I have not called for means from others, and failed to impart myself to the cause. I have invested my means with a free, willing mind, in order that I might help the cause in every department. When I have seen young men and women of ability whom I thought God could trust to work in some part of His vineyard, I have sent them to school, and have paid all the indebtedness for board and instruction. Several of these have been fitting up for the work, and I hear most excellent reports of their faithfulness. We see other youth who would be promising subjects to be educated to engage in the work of the Lord. Our hearts take them in, but our means is not sufficient to accomplish all that we would like to for them. 9LtMs, Lt 31, 1894, par. 2

I will send you a dedicatory discourse that was preached at the opening of a little meetinghouse in Prospect, a small village eight miles from Granville. Bro. Hickox labored in this place faithfully, and as a result twenty souls have embraced the truth, and have been organized into a church. As there was no place in which the people could meet, this small church had to be erected. The people are very poor, and could do but little toward building the church. I invested one hundred and fifty dollars in the enterprise. I gave the last five pounds just before entering the church on its opening, in order that we might dedicate the church free of debt. 9LtMs, Lt 31, 1894, par. 3

Every member of my family have done what they could. Emily Campbell and Mattie Lawrence gave one pound, Marian Davis gave two pounds, Fannie Bolton two pounds, and May Walling one pound. Brother and Sister Belden are earning such small wages that they could not give. About seven dollars was collected at the time of the dedication by passing the plate around. 9LtMs, Lt 31, 1894, par. 4

The people insisted that Sister White should give the dedicatory discourse, the report of which I will forward to you. The church is small, but is very neatly built. The people had decorated it with beautiful natural flowers and evergreens, and trimmed it with appropriate mottoes. The house was well filled with believers and unbelievers. Bro. McCullagh made the dedicatory prayer, Dr. Merrit Kellogg helped in the services and preached a very interesting discourse in the evening. This was a day long to be remembered by the believers at Prospect. 9LtMs, Lt 31, 1894, par. 5

We think that several more who are halting will yet take their position on the truth. They are thoroughly convinced of the truth, but have not faith to step out, for this would mean no work, no bread for their families. They have been hoping that some way would open so that they might see their way clear to take their position on the truth, and yet have a way of maintaining their families. Each family has given of their meager earnings to help build the little church, and they were at the dedication to see the church open. We shall pray and labor that the Lord may impress their minds with the peril of delay, and increase their faith so that they may have courage to take their stand. There are hundreds of people who are longing to step out on the truth, but having large families, they dare not venture, for they see starvation staring them in the face. 9LtMs, Lt 31, 1894, par. 6

On last Sabbath, Dr. Kellogg, Sister Campbell, and myself drove to Prospect and again met with the little flock there assembled. While Dr. Kellogg spoke to the people in the new church upon the plan of salvation, I sat in my phaeton and wrote a discourse that will preach to thousands. My subject was the love of God. If I can get it copied on the typewriter I will send a copy to you. 9LtMs, Lt 31, 1894, par. 7

We have our own horse and carriage and are enabled to help others in meeting their appointments in various places. The Parramatta church is one mile from our home, Prospect is eight miles, Kellyville eleven miles, Castle Hill twelve miles, and Sydney thirteen miles. Between Castle Hill and Pennant Hills, a very nice family have just taken their position on the truth. The father is a school teacher, and himself, wife and children have embraced the truth. He has property enough so that he can keep the Sabbath without suffering embarrassment. He was convicted and converted to the truth by reading the Great Controversy, loaned to him by Sister Goodman. I frequently receive letters in this country informing me of the fact that souls have been convicted and converted by reading Great Controversy. Some have taken their position on the truth who have never seen a Sabbathkeeper. I am [as] glad as I can be to hear of these cases. Recently such cases have been reported to me, to my great encouragement. This teacher and his wife are desirous of receiving baptism, and will soon have the privilege. 9LtMs, Lt 31, 1894, par. 8

Bro. Harper, we need more men who are working on the plan laid out in 2 Corinthians 9th chapter. “But this I say, he which soweth sparingly shall reap also sparingly; and he which soweth bountifully shall reap also bountifully. Every man according as he purposeth in his heart so let him give; not grudgingly, or of necessity; for God loveth a cheerful giver.” [Verses 6, 7.] If we act in the spirit of this counsel, we may invite the divine One to audit the accounts of our temporal matters. We may feel that we are only giving offerings from that which is our Lord’s entrusted gifts. All our offerings should be presented with cheerfulness, for they come from the fund which the Lord has seen fit to place in our hands for the purpose of carrying forward His work in the world, in order that the banner of truth may be unfurled in the highways and byways of the earth. 9LtMs, Lt 31, 1894, par. 9

If all who profess the truth would give to the Lord His own in tithes and gifts and offerings, there would be meat in the house of the Lord. The cause of benevolence would no longer be dependent on the uncertain gifts of impulse, and vary according to the changing feelings of men. God’s claims would be welcomed, and His cause would be considered as justly entitled to a portion of the funds entrusted to our hands. The Lord is our divine Creditor, and He has made us promises through the prophet Malachi that are very plain, positive and important. 9LtMs, Lt 31, 1894, par. 10

It means very much to us whether or not we are rendering back to God His own. He allows His stewards a certain portion for their own use, and if they will trade upon that which He claims, He will divinely bless the means in their hands. “Bring ye all the tithes into the storehouse, that there may be meat in mine house, and prove me now herewith, saith the Lord of hosts, if I will not open you the windows of heaven, and pour you out a blessing, that there shall not be room enough to receive it. And I will rebuke the devourer for your sakes, and he shall not destroy the fruits of your ground; neither shall your vine cast her fruit before the time in the field, saith the Lord of hosts. And all nations shall call you blessed: for ye shall be a delightsome land, saith the Lord of hosts.” [Malachi 3:10-12.] 9LtMs, Lt 31, 1894, par. 11

The only plan which the gospel has marked out for sustaining the work of God is one that leaves the support of His cause to the honor of man. With an eye single to the glory of God, men are to give to God the proportion which He has required. Viewing the cross of Calvary, looking upon the world’s Redeemer, who for our sake became poor, that we through His poverty might be made rich, we shall feel that we are not to lay up for ourselves treasures on the earth, but to lay up treasures in the bank of heaven which will never suspend payment or fail. 9LtMs, Lt 31, 1894, par. 12

The Lord has given Jesus to our world, and the question is, what can we give back to God in gifts and offerings to show our appreciation of His love? “Freely ye have received, freely give.” [Matthew 10:8.] How much more eager will every faithful steward be to enlarge the proportion of gifts to be placed in the Lord’s treasure house, than to decrease his offering one jot or tittle. Who is he serving? For whom is he preparing an offering? For the One upon whom he is dependent for every good [gift] which he enjoys. Then let not one of us who are receiving the grace of Christ give occasion for the angels to be ashamed of us, and for Jesus to be ashamed to call us brethren. 9LtMs, Lt 31, 1894, par. 13

Shall ingratitude be cultivated, and made manifest by our niggardly practices in giving to the cause of God? No, no. Let us surrender ourselves a living sacrifice, and give our all to Jesus. It is His; we are His purchased possession. Those who are recipients of His grace, who contemplate the cross of Calvary, will not question concerning the proportion to be given, but will feel that the richest offering is all too meager, all disproportionate to the great gift of the only begotten Son of the infinite God. Through self-denial, the poorest will find ways of obtaining something to give back to God. 9LtMs, Lt 31, 1894, par. 14

Time is money, and many are wasting precious time which might be used in useful labor, working with their hands the thing that is good. The Lord will never say, “Well done, thou good and faithful servant” [Matthew 25:21], to the man who has not taxed the physical powers which have been lent to him of God as precious talents by which to gather means, wherewith the needy may be supplied, and offerings may be made to God. The rich are not to feel that they can be content in giving of their money merely. They have talents of ability, and they are to study to show themselves approved unto God, to be earnest spiritual agents in educating and training their children for fields of usefulness. 9LtMs, Lt 31, 1894, par. 15

Parents and children are not to regard themselves as their own and [to] feel that they can dispose of their time and property as shall please themselves. They are God’s purchased possession, and the Lord calls for the profit of their physical powers which are to be employed in bringing a revenue to the treasury of the Lord. Were the thousand channels of selfishness cut off that now exist, and the means directed in the right channel, there would be a large revenue flowing into the treasury. 9LtMs, Lt 31, 1894, par. 16

Many purchase idols with money that should go to the house of God. No one can practice real benevolence without practicing genuine self-denial. Self-denial and the cross lie directly in the path of every Christian who is truly following Christ. Jesus says, “If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, take up his cross daily and follow me.” [Luke 9:23.] Will every soul consider the fact that Christian discipleship includes self-denial, self-sacrifice even to the laying down of life itself, if need be, for the sake of Him who has given His life for the life of the world? 9LtMs, Lt 31, 1894, par. 17

Christians who view Christ upon the cross are bound by their obligation to God, because of the infinite gift of His Son, to withhold nothing which they possess however dear it may be to them. If they possess anything that can be employed to draw any soul, no matter how rich or no matter how poor, to the Lamb of God who taketh away the sins of the world, they are to freely use it for this purpose. The Lord employs human agents to be co-workers with Him in the salvation of sinners. 9LtMs, Lt 31, 1894, par. 18

All heaven is actively engaged in furnishing facilities by which to extend the knowledge of the truth to all peoples, nations and tongues. If those who profess to have been truly converted do not let their light shine forth to others, they are neglecting the doing of the words of Christ. We need not tax ourselves with rehearsing how much has been given to the cause of God, but rather let us consider how much has been kept back from His treasury to be devoted to the indulgence of self in pleasure seeking and self-gratification. We need not reckon up how many agents have been sent forth, but rather recount how many have closed the eyes of their understanding so that they might not see their duty and minister to others according to their several ability. 9LtMs, Lt 31, 1894, par. 19

How many might now be employed were there means in the treasury to sustain them in the work! How many facilities might be used in extending the work of God as His providence opens the way! Hundreds could be employed in this field in doing good in various branches, but they are not here. Why? Selfishness keeps them at home. They love ease, and so remain away from the vineyard of the Lord. Some would go into regions beyond, but they have not the means to take them, for others have left undone that which they ought to have done. These are some of the reasons why a few workers have to go loaded down as a cart beneath sheaves, while others take no burden. 9LtMs, Lt 31, 1894, par. 20

Those who ought to be laborers in the vineyard will not undertake the work in faith and hope. The-stay-at-home, professed Christians are misrepresenting Jesus Christ. They refuse to be partakers with Him of His trials, of His humiliation, and of His burden-bearing. They do not wear His yoke. If they would engage all their powers for God, they would not work alone. But many feel no genuine burden for souls. Step by step they might work their way until by study and prayer they might become skillful in the Scriptures, and be able to lay hold with intense earnestness of the God of all grace, beseeching Him for His Holy Spirit to mold and fashion them and make them wise to win souls to Christ. 9LtMs, Lt 31, 1894, par. 21

Actual efforts must be put forth to save souls from sin and Satan. Why is it that men and women who know the truth do not work with all their God-given powers while mercy’s sweet voice is heard? Jesus is entreating, “Come unto me, all ye that labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart, and ye shall find rest unto your souls.” [Matthew 11:28, 29.] Many of those who are stay-at-home believers, are not taking upon them the yoke of Christ. They refuse to lift His burdens although He says “My yoke is easy, and my burden is light.” [Verse 30.] Christ carries the pressing weight, and bears the heaviest end of the yoke. 9LtMs, Lt 31, 1894, par. 22

A large number will not go out without the camp, bearing the reproach, as did Jesus their Master, and yet by their attitude, but their inconsistent conduct, they actually weaken the efforts of those who are bearing the heavy burdens. They know nothing of what it means to be meek and lowly of heart. They know nothing of what it means to be self-denying, of what it means to be a partaker with those who do go forth to labor in the cause of God. They misjudge the workers and depreciate their efforts. They are not prepared to sympathize with them in their trials, in their heartaches and disappointments. They cannot be partakers with their brethren in their sufferings, nor can they be partakers with Christ in His sufferings. Failing of this, they will not be partakers with Christ in His glory, nor enter into the joy of their Lord in seeing souls saved in His eternal kingdom as a result of their self-sacrificing efforts in being laborers together with God. 9LtMs, Lt 31, 1894, par. 23

The blessing of God cannot come upon those who are idlers in His vineyard. Professed Christians who do nothing neutralize the efforts of real workers by their influence and example. They make the grand and important truths they profess to believe appear inconsistent, and cause them to have no effect. They misrepresent the character of Christ. How can God let the showers of His grace come upon the churches who are largely composed of this manner of members? They are of no manner of use in the work of God. How can the Master say to such, “Well done, thou good and faithful servant ... Enter thou into the joy of thy Lord” [Matthew 25:21], when they have been neither good nor faithful? God cannot speak a falsehood. 9LtMs, Lt 31, 1894, par. 24

The power of the grace of God cannot be given in large measure to the churches. It would dishonor His own glorious character to let streams of grace come upon the people who will not wear the yoke of Christ, who will not bear His burdens, who will not deny self, who will not lift the cross of Christ. Because of their slothfulness, they are a hindrance to those who would move out in the work if they did not block up the way. God calls not for an empty charity that is but a name, but for liberal, open-handed charity. The liberality of God demands that His people render to Him His own in tithes and gifts and offerings. 9LtMs, Lt 31, 1894, par. 25

There are many who possess an empty benevolence, who make no retrenchments, practice no self-denial or self-sacrifice. They leave that for some one else to do; but God calls for men who through faith and prayer, will give themselves to the work, who will study, who will plan, and unite with their plans self-denial and self-sacrifice. This is the only kind of liberality that is after the order of Christ, and which will redound to the honor and glory of God. Until this benevolence is brought into active exercise, God’s blessing cannot come upon His people in its fulness and power. 9LtMs, Lt 31, 1894, par. 26

Every truly converted soul will be intensely desirous to bring others from the darkness of error into the marvelous light of the righteousness of Jesus Christ. The great outpouring of the Spirit of God, which lightens the whole earth with His glory, will not come until we have an enlightened people who know by experience what it means to be laborers together with God. When we have entire, whole-hearted consecration to the service of Christ, God will recognize the fact by an outpouring of His Spirit without measure; but this will not be while the largest portion of the church are not laborers together with God. God cannot pour out His Spirit when selfishness and self-indulgence is so manifest, when a spirit prevails that if put into words would express that answer of Cain, “Am I my brother’s keeper?” [Genesis 4:9.] 9LtMs, Lt 31, 1894, par. 27

If the truth for this time, if the signs that are thickening on every hand, that testify that the end of all things is at hand, are not sufficient to arouse the sleeping energy of those who profess to know the truth, then darkness proportionate to the light which has been shining, will overtake these souls. There is not a semblance of an excuse for their indifference that they will be able to present to God in the great day of final reckoning. There will be no reason to offer as to why they did not live and walk and work in the light of the sacred truth of the Word of God, and thus reveal to a sin-darkened world through their conduct, their sympathy, and their zeal, that the power and reality of the gospel could not be controverted. 9LtMs, Lt 31, 1894, par. 28

It is not the ministers alone, but the laymen who are not contributing all that they can, to persuade men by precept and example to accept the saving grace of Christ. With skill and tact, with wisdom received from above, they should persuade men to behold the Lamb of God who taketh away the sin of the world. When the hearts of the believers are warm with the love for God, they will do a continual work for Jesus. They will manifest the meekness of Christ and display a steadfast purpose that will not fail nor be discouraged. God will use humble men to do His work; for there is a large vineyard calling for laborers. Why stand ye here all the day idle? 9LtMs, Lt 31, 1894, par. 29

Christ pronounced a woe upon the cities and the people who had been favored with His labors, who had witnessed His gracious works, and listened to His gracious words and had failed to repent. To those who made a great profession of godliness while failing to bring forth corresponding works, He gave His most scathing rebukes. To the Pharisees He said, “Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For ye pay tithe of mint and anise and cummin and have omitted the weightier matters of the law, judgment, mercy, and faith; these ought ye to have done, and not to leave the other undone.” [Matthew 23:23.] The mercy and love of God will flow forth from the lips of those in whose heart abides the mercy and love of God. 9LtMs, Lt 31, 1894, par. 30

“Then began he to upbraid the cities wherein most of his mighty works were done, because they repented not: Woe unto thee, Chorazin, woe unto thee, Bethsaida! For if the mighty works, which were done in you, had been done in Tyre and Sidon, they would have repented long ago in sackcloth and ashes. But I say unto you, it shall be more tolerable for Tyre and Sidon at the day of judgment, than for you. And thou, Capernaum, which art exalted unto heaven, shalt be brought down to hell: for if the mighty works, which have been done in thee, had been done in Sodom, it would have remained until this day. But I say unto you, That it shall be more tolerable for the land of Sodom in the day of judgment than for thee.” [Matthew 11:20-24.] 9LtMs, Lt 31, 1894, par. 31

If those who have had great light will not respond to the invitation to become laborers with God, then God will take and use those who have had far less light and much fewer opportunities. Those who will work out their own salvation with fear and trembling, will realize that it is God that worketh in them to will and to do of His own good pleasure. There should be thousands who are fully awake and in earnest in the work of God, who should be bright and shining lights. There should be thousands who know the time in which we are living and who wait not to be urged, but who are constrained by the power of God to diffuse light, to open to others the truth that is so distinctly revealed in the Word of God. There is no time to lose. 9LtMs, Lt 31, 1894, par. 32

Men and women should be ministering in unenlightened communities in regions beyond. After they have awakened an interest, they should find the living preacher who is skillful in the representation of the truth and qualified to instruct families in the Word of God. Women who have the cause of God at heart can do a good work in the districts in which they reside. Christ speaks of women who helped Him in presenting the truth before others, and Paul also speaks of women who labored with him in the gospel. But how very limited is the work done by those who could do a large work if they would! There are families who have means which they could use for God’s glory in going to distant lands to let their light shine forth in good works to those who need help. Why do not men and women engage in the missionary work, following the example of Christ? 9LtMs, Lt 31, 1894, par. 33

But we can say nothing more than to repeat what has been said. Instruction has been given but how few have acted upon it! How few have been sufficiently interested to go without the camp bearing the reproach of Christ! God calls for personal effort from those that know the truth. He calls for Christian families to go into communities that are in darkness and error, to go into foreign fields, to become acquainted with a new class of society and to work wisely and perseveringly for the cause of the Master. To answer this call, self-sacrifice must be experienced. 9LtMs, Lt 31, 1894, par. 34

While many are waiting to have every obstacle removed, souls are dying without hope and without God in the world. Many, very many, for the sake of worldly advantage, for the sake of acquiring knowledge of the sciences, will venture into pestilential regions, and will go into countries where they think they can obtain commercial advantage; but where are the men and women who will change their location, and move their families into regions that are in need of the light of truth in order that their example may tell upon those who shall see in them the representatives of Christ? 9LtMs, Lt 31, 1894, par. 35

The Macedonian cry is coming from every quarter of the world, and men are saying, “Come over and help us” [Acts 16:9], and why is there not a decided response? Thousands ought to be constrained by the Spirit of Christ to follow the example of Him who has given His life for the life of the world. Why decline to make decided self-denying efforts in order to instruct those who know not the truth for this time? The chief Missionary came to our world, and He has gone before us to show us the way in which we should work. No one can mark out a precise line for those who would be witnesses for Christ. Those who have means are doubly responsible, for the means has been entrusted to them of God, and they are to feel their accountability to forward the work of God in its various branches. 9LtMs, Lt 31, 1894, par. 36

The fact that the truth binds souls by its golden links to the throne of God should inspire men to work with all their God-given energy, to trade upon their Lord’s goods in regions beyond, disseminating the knowledge of Christ far hence among the Gentiles. Many to whom God has intrusted means with which to bless humanity, have let it prove a snare to them, instead of letting it prove a blessing to themselves and others. Can it be that the property that God has given to you shall be permitted to become a stumbling block? Will you let His intrusted means, which has been given you to trade upon, bind you away from the work of God? Will you allow the trust which God has reposed in you as His faithful steward, serve to lessen your influence and usefulness by keeping you from being laborers together with God? Will you permit yourself to be detained at home in order to hold together the means which God has intrusted to you to put into the bank of heaven? 9LtMs, Lt 31, 1894, par. 37

You cannot plead that there is nothing to do, for there is everything to do. Will you be content to enjoy the comforts of your home, and not try to tell perishing souls how they may obtain the mansions Christ has gone to prepare for those who love Him? Will you not sacrifice your possessions in order that others may obtain an immortal inheritance? 9LtMs, Lt 31, 1894, par. 38

What are the principles of the law of God? “Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, ... and thy neighbor as thyself.” [Luke 10:27.] Every soul who obeys the first four commandments will obey the last six commandments and make manifest what is the duty of man to his fellow men. He will manifest tender, pitying love toward every one for whom Christ has died. He will consecrate himself to be a missionary, to be a laborer together with God. All who have the Spirit of Christ are missionaries; they derive zeal and energy from the chief Missionary. They will have the wisdom that comes from God, which is neither a blind impetuosity nor a cold, calculating Pharisaism, but springs from trust in God. “The wisdom that is from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, and easy to be entreated, full of mercy and good fruits, without partiality and without hypocrisy. And the fruit of righteousness is sown in peace of them that make peace.” [James 3:17, 18.] 9LtMs, Lt 31, 1894, par. 39

What can the universe of heaven think of those who profess to believe that Jesus Christ is the world’s only hope of salvation, when they do so little to make Him known to those who are in the darkness of error? In the great day when every case is decided for eternity, how enormous will seem the guilt of those who have failed to warn their associates in probationary time of the doom that awaits those who neglect so great salvation? What a revelation will then be made of what professed Christians might have done, and did not do! How many souls will they see that might have been saved through their instrumentality had they been laborers together with God! 9LtMs, Lt 31, 1894, par. 40

Many who profess to love God seem to be enclosed in an icy atmosphere, and the love of Christ has never melted their souls. The Lord Jesus says, “Bring ye all the tithes into the storehouse, that there may be meat in mine house, and prove me now herewith, saith the Lord of hosts, if I will not open you the windows of heaven, and pour you out a blessing, that there shall not be room enough to receive it. And I will rebuke the devourer for your sake, he shall not destroy the fruits of your ground; neither shall your vine cast her fruit before the time in the field, saith the Lord of hosts. And all nations shall call you blessed; for ye shall be a delightsome land, saith the Lord of hosts.” [Malachi 3:10-12.] 9LtMs, Lt 31, 1894, par. 41