Letters and Manuscripts — Volume 7 (1891-1892)


Lt 44, 1892

Wessels, Brother and Sister [P. W. B.]

Hanover Road, Victoria Park, Adelaide, S. A.

November 7, 1892

Portions of this letter are published in TSA 41-45.

Dear Brother and Sister [P. B.] Wessels,—

I thank my heavenly Father that He has given me strength to come about five hundred miles by rail to this place. We are pleasantly situated. I pay one pound and five shillings per week for the house and [it] has six furnished rooms. We live about two miles from the business part of the city. The church have hired a horse and phaeton for me for which they pay one pound sterling per week. Adelaide is a very beautiful city and we are here in the most favorable season. We have been here six weeks. 7LtMs, Lt 44, 1892, par. 1

I thank the Lord that I can now walk much better than I could before I came. I suffer much pain in my spine, and I would be unable to ride any, only for a spring seat I have had made. I have spoken eleven times in this city. The standing for an hour or longer at one time causes me much suffering, yet I felt constrained to speak. 7LtMs, Lt 44, 1892, par. 2

We have had some excellent meetings, and we have visited some who needed help. Sunday I visited Brother Holland’s family. His wife once belonged to the church, but she read what Elder Canright wrote about me and became disaffected and left the church. If she had received the watchful care of a faithful shepherd, she would have been saved to the cause of God. I spent two hours with this brother and sister and talked to them and prayed with them. She was bathed in tears all the time I was talking. Oh how sorry I felt for this poor sheep who strayed from the fold and was left to perish because no shepherd’s tender sympathy and loving care was exercised to bring her back to the fold! Our only hope is that the Lord will in His wisdom clear the doubts and fog from the mind of this sister. 7LtMs, Lt 44, 1892, par. 3

One soul—how precious it is, and how carefully should we deal with the purchase of the blood of God’s only begotten Son! Precious souls cost too much to be handled roughly. They need tenderness, kindly forbearance, and very gentle and wise treatment. I could not rest until I went to find the lost sheep, although I had no invitation. Oh how glad I am that we have Jesus, who knows every heart! All our churches need much ministering done in them. 7LtMs, Lt 44, 1892, par. 4

We are glad to report that our school has thus far proved a success. We pray the Lord to work in a manifest manner for the school, that men and women may be qualified to go forth as missionaries and be enabled to work in the various lines. 7LtMs, Lt 44, 1892, par. 5

We feel that much has been lost in many ways in the past history of Seventh-day Adventists because they have not heeded the testimonies given them of God for the last thirty years. These testimonies have plainly pointed [out] how the children should be educated, that they are God’s property, and should wisely improve the ability and talents that God has entrusted [to] them. This should be their subject of thought and conversation—the heathen nations who are in darkness and the nations who have received the gospel. Every missionary meeting should be alive with interest, every one who loves Jesus carrying to the meeting a spirit of zeal enthused with the Spirit of Christ. The necessities of those who have not the truth should be upon the naked soul, and we present them to God and say, “Here am I, send me.” [Isaiah 6:8.] 7LtMs, Lt 44, 1892, par. 6

But there are fields already ripe for the harvest in civilized countries who need the truth for this time. We must not close the eye and the mind to the necessities of the world. The spirit of Paul, the great apostle to the Gentiles, was stirred, when he saw the city wholly given to idolatry. How was it that Jesus wept over Jerusalem? It was when He drew near and beheld the city. 7LtMs, Lt 44, 1892, par. 7

There is work for every one to do who has named the name of Christ. Will he do it? If we would be duly impressed with the value of souls, we must oft look to Calvary and see the dying Son of the infinite God giving up His life for a lost world. We must look and contemplate how He estimated man. We must be imbued with His spirit. The sight of our eyes, the contemplation of the mind, will certainly affect the soul and set in operation practical effort to save the perishing. Thus the missionary work will be placed upon its proper basis. 7LtMs, Lt 44, 1892, par. 8

In every family, especially where there are children, there is a want of deeper piety, [of] the sanctifying grace of Christ brought into the home. Missionary endeavor should consist more in imparting than in receiving. The question is, Are not home duties—home missionary work—neglected? I answer, Yes. Were the love and fear of God circulating through every household, the children and youth instructed as they should be, the conversation of an educational character, that they should feel their accountability to use their intellect and hearts to do the work assigned them of God, the children would co-operate with their parents in the dedication of their time and talents to the service of God. In this kind of education and labor the expenditure would not exceed the receipts. Christian activity and growth of personal piety will be symmetrical and proportionate. 7LtMs, Lt 44, 1892, par. 9

Those who are most actively employed in doing with interested fidelity their work to win souls to Jesus Christ are the best developed in spirituality and devotion. Their very active working forms the means of their spirituality. There is danger of religion losing in depth that which it gains in breadth. This need not be if, in the place of long sermons, there is wise education given to those newly come to the faith. Teach them by giving them something to do in some line of spiritual work, that their first love will not die but increase in fervor. Let them feel that they are not to be carried and to lean for support on the church; but they are to have root in themselves. They can be in many lines, according to their several abilities, useful in helping the church to come nearer to God, and working in various ways to act upon the elements outside the church which will be a means of acting beneficially upon the church. 7LtMs, Lt 44, 1892, par. 10

The wisdom and prosperity of the church casts a telling influence upon her favor. The Psalmist prayed for the prosperity of the church, “God be merciful unto us, and bless us; and cause his face to shine upon us; that thy way may be known upon the earth, thy saving health among all nations.” [Psalm 67:1, 2.] 7LtMs, Lt 44, 1892, par. 11

Our Redeemer spent whole nights in prayer to His Father, and the foundation of the Christian church and missionary activity was laid in the very element of prayer. The disciples were of one accord in one place, calling upon the Lord that the outpouring of His Holy Spirit might come upon them. While the Holy Spirit is given richly through various channels, the more we seek it the wider will be the diffusion. Thus, earnest work being done to save souls, there will be constantly furnished us a necessity for renewed application to the Source of all power, [and] thus there will be established an habitual communication between the soul and God. The Fountain of the Water of Life is constantly drawn upon by faith, and [is] never exhausted. 7LtMs, Lt 44, 1892, par. 12

The work is progressive—action and reaction. Love and devotion to God will give activity to benevolence, and benevolence will increase faith and spirituality. Oh, how much we need heavenly wisdom! Well, is it not, promised us? “If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him. But let him ask in faith, nothing wavering. For he that wavereth is like a wave of the sea driven with the wind and tossed. For let not that man think that he shall receive any thing of the Lord.” [James 1:5-7.] Oh what an assurance is this! How full and broad! Let us take the promise just as it reads. The Lord wants us to come unto Him with full assurance of faith, believing His Word, that He will do just as He said He would. 7LtMs, Lt 44, 1892, par. 13

Would that we might feel the importance of educating every individual member of the church to do something. We should individually sense the solemn obligation of the Christian to bring into activity all his divinely entrusted resources and capabilities, to do to the utmost of his power the work the Lord expects him to do. “Arise, shine; for thy light is come, and the glory of the Lord is risen upon thee.” [Isaiah 60:1.] 7LtMs, Lt 44, 1892, par. 14

Were our sensibilities alive we would discern the designs of God. “I have put you in possession of the seas, put the world in possession of my gospel, that missionary ships might be sent out to the islands of the sea.” We need more faith, more sanctified ability. High and ennobling motives are before us. We have no time, no words, to spend in controversy. That time devoted to debating is needed in sending up the prayer of faith to God for the descent of the Holy Spirit to subdue and break the heart of stone, that it shall become a heart of flesh. There is need of sanctified energy. The armies of heaven are on the move and where is the human agent to co-operate with God? 7LtMs, Lt 44, 1892, par. 15

We now need skilful generals to organize into working companies the Lord’s believing children. Nothing must be looked upon as too great for us to undertake, if the Captain of the Lord’s host plans the work and arranges the battle and leads us forth, “terrible as an army with banners.” [Song of Solomon 6:4, 10.] Every movement will be a victory. We need Jesus as our constant leader. 7LtMs, Lt 44, 1892, par. 16

Men and means are needed in this field. I think of poor Melbourne, bound about with poverty and in need of a church. As the work increases there must be plans devised to keep alive the interest that it shall not die. The Lord has means for us somewhere. Appeals must be made to the stewards of God for help. We need wisdom from above to calculate wisely and [to] proportionate the improvements that must be made with economy. Self-denial must be practiced everywhere. Many of the scanty rills of beneficence which now water and enrich the garden of the Lord are brought there by much effort. More, very much more must be done by individuals in economizing their resources that they may do more for God. I feel deeply over the restricted resources in this country. There must be help for us to carry forward the work. All we can do is to pray the Lord to move upon the hearts of men to do the work that devolves upon them. Self-indulgence [and] selfishness exist to a large degree. May the converting power of God change the hearts and characters. 7LtMs, Lt 44, 1892, par. 17

I would be so thankful for more strength but the Lord is blessing me. I will not be ungrateful; I will wait upon the Lord and He will renew my strength. I have written to you, my brother, asking if you could assist us with means to build a house of worship and we hope to hear from you soon. We are in very straightened places here. Well, I believe the Lord will teach you what to do. 7LtMs, Lt 44, 1892, par. 18

Much love to your family, and all in the faith. 7LtMs, Lt 44, 1892, par. 19