Letters and Manuscripts — Volume 12 (1897)


Ms 2, 1897

Cooranbong School

“Sunnyside,” Cooranbong, New South Wales, Australia

January 18, 1897

Previously unpublished.

The Lord is speaking to men today through His Word, saying, “What doest thou here in idleness?” There are those here who claim to be the servants of God, and whom the Lord has needed to do His work, who have been grasping for high wages. Because their avaricious spirit could not be satisfied with less wages than five or six shillings per day, they would not work. All that the present condition of things would allow was four or five shillings, but because more was not offered, they said, “I will not work for that wage.” 12LtMs, Ms 2, 1897, par. 1

The establishment of a school here is a missionary enterprise. All are working on borrowed capital. Every dollar received has demanded 4 1/2 and some 5 percent interest. There is a great work to be done. Buildings cost much more money here than they do in America, for wood is very hard, and difficult to handle. Every outgo must be carefully guarded. This is the place for those who claim to have the missionary spirit and desire to do missionary work. 12LtMs, Ms 2, 1897, par. 2

God measures His people by His own unerring precepts. Will a man rob God of the time and the activity that He claims for His service? Time is very precious. Much can be accomplished in a day. But the Lord has never stipulated the eight-hour day system. He has said, “Work ... while it is day: the night cometh, when no man can work.” [John 9:4.] Again he says, “Why stand ye here all the day idle? Go work in my vineyard.” [Matthew 20:6; 21:28.] 12LtMs, Ms 2, 1897, par. 3

There is a great work to be done on every hand. Every physical, mental, and moral power is needed to carry it forward. Great changes are about to take place. We are soon to enter upon a great crisis, when no man can work. The aggressive power of the truth of God is dependent upon the cooperation of the human agent with God. His piety and zeal must be demonstrated, not by words of what he has done, or what he can accomplish, but in the manifestation of unselfish efforts to build up the work of God. 12LtMs, Ms 2, 1897, par. 4

But some are now acting a part with Satan, to tear down and scatter abroad. Would Brother Lawrence come to his senses, he would see and understand that the enemy is writing on the pages of heart and brain the very sentiments he would have imprinted there. It is Satan’s desire that he shall choose idleness rather than yield up and crucify his selfishness and covetousness, which is idolatry. While pitying and sympathizing with himself, he might have been sharing the burdens of others. 12LtMs, Ms 2, 1897, par. 5

God declares, Every talent that I have created is mine; every human agent that I have purchased is my property. What doest thou here, sitting on Satan’s idle stool, opening your mind to evil surmisings and criticisms. You are being conducted into the fields of Satan, where he holds the lines of control. You have studied how you could manage matters so much better than the men who are now doing that work. God holds you accountable for that wise calculation. You suppose that you have ability and wisdom. Then what are you accomplishing in your do-nothing position? You neither benefit yourself nor your fellow-man, but dishonor your Creator and your Redeemer. Desiring and resolving, and telling what you can do and have done, will accomplish nothing. 12LtMs, Ms 2, 1897, par. 6

We have been passing through a severe crisis. Important issues are hanging in the balance. And for months you have lost a large amount of your time, because you have failed to discern your own deficiencies and the long list of your robberies of God in burying His talents where they could not be improved. In your moral darkness you have been criticizing and complaining. I marvel that you have not warn out the patience of God. You have retarded the work which you could have advanced with your capital of money and with the ability which is not your own, but God’s. Thus you have sacrificed much of God’s property and time. Then after leaving others to bear double burdens, you commenced your criticisms. You felt yourself misused and badly treated, because others did not come to your terms and consider you capable of receiving large wages. But the very fact that you yielded yourself to be led by the enemy of all righteousness evidenced that you were not the man to build up the work in any place. Unless you could be benefited yourself, you refused to work. 12LtMs, Ms 2, 1897, par. 7

You have done very little, my brother, during the last few months to carry forward the work. And the leaven that you have planted by your example in grasping for the wages you desired or doing nothing has been communicated to others. Your course of action has had a deleterious influence upon the workers on this ground. It would have been far better had you never set your foot upon this soil, for you have introduced principles, in your connection with the work we have been trying to do, which God abominates. The leaven introduced by your attitude, your close, selfish dealing, God despises. You would obtain labor from men for very little, but yourself, who could accomplish no more, but less than they, have taken large pay as you could get. Had the Spirit of God been your Guide, you would have discerned how out of place and contrary to the Word of God was this eager, grasping spirit. You have said that you loved the place, and desired to see the work prosper. But how have you evidenced this? You have gathered to yourself every advantage possible. The Lord has no use for such a spirit on this ground. It is a leaven of evil, and to be introduced anywhere will be productive of the very worst results. 12LtMs, Ms 2, 1897, par. 8

What impression has Brethren Shannon and Lawrence left in this work? They have been acting as though they were the ones to be favored. Brother Lawrence has all his means in the Review and Herald Office. That institution is well established and supplied with facilities. They have building upon building, and are advantageously located, surrounded with churches. If in a strait place, they can call upon these churches for donations. Compare that situation with our own. Brother Lawrence says he has no confidence in the men who are doing the work. But if the men were questioned, and should express their honest opinions, they could show that they have much greater reasons for losing confidence in Brother Lawrence, because of his departure from Bible principles in business deals with his brethren. 12LtMs, Ms 2, 1897, par. 9

All who have made complaints in regard to Cooranbong and the school have given occasion for serious objection to their course of proceedings. They have no truthful reason for doing as they have done. Their real reason for disparaging Cooranbong as they have done was because they supposed that they were not treated as favorably as they ought to have been. But the Lord is in the establishment of a school here, and He will prosper the work notwithstanding the strife of tongues. What moral right had Brother Shannon to bear disparaging reports of Cooranbong and the management here? If things had been managed in accordance with Brethren Lawrence and Shannon’s proposals for wages, all would have been right. They would have had nothing to disturb them. But by following their plans, the little amount of means would not last to accomplish the work of building. They had to secure workers at a reasonable figure, with a prayerful consideration of the circumstances. 12LtMs, Ms 2, 1897, par. 10

The great surprise to me is that men who claim to be servants of Jesus Christ should place their influence in the way, and say those things which will create disaffection, and counterwork the work of God. Are they not afraid to do this? Are they not afraid to put their God-given powers to work to fight against God? I am sorry for these men who have given themselves to such a work, for when their eyes shall be anointed with eyesalve, and they see wherein they are wrong, they will regret it as long as time shall last. What have these brethren done to aid in the work that has been commenced here? Brother Lawrence has not brought any part of his means to loan to this destitute missionary field, either with or without interest, although he has been asked to do this. 12LtMs, Ms 2, 1897, par. 11

The excuse that Brother Lawrence has made for taking no part in this missionary work is that the work is not done as he thinks it should be done, that he has no confidence in the management of the work. And yet he would take from the little store of means to benefit himself. If all should be as penurious and covetous as he has shown himself to be, and demand as much for their services, but little advancement could be made. In the closest times he has not given practical evidence of his interest in Cooranbong by a willingness to help materially, but in the place of this he has drawn out all that he possibly could. These men have already done us much harm by their false representations which they have made. They have also done harm to themselves, and have revealed that they are not the men that we can rely upon in an emergency. 12LtMs, Ms 2, 1897, par. 12

It is essential for each one to deny self, to lift the cross, and follow a self-denying, self-sacrificing Redeemer. But these men though they have seen the way clearly, have turned to the other side, and have done great injustice to those who are trying to do their duty, irrespective of self-serving. With shame and sorrow these men will see that covetousness is idolatry. And why should they try to cause other minds to see through their perverted vision? Why should they try to make the situation hard and trying for those who are persuaded, by the light which the Lord has been pleased to give, to come to this place against their own inclination? Why should they, because everything has not advanced in a way to advantage themselves, try to tear in pieces and discourage those who would stand at the post of duty? Of all such Christ says, “He that is not with me is against me: and he that gathereth not with me scattereth abroad.” [Matthew 12:30.] 12LtMs, Ms 2, 1897, par. 13

Knowing that the Lord had led us to select Cooranbong as our school location, I invested one thousand dollars in the work. I entertained in my home without cost all comers and goers. All this was expensive work, but my home was made a home for all. From our first arrival in Granville, even before my goods were placed in my home, the entertaining began, and continued up to the time I left Granville. 12LtMs, Ms 2, 1897, par. 14

The Lord is greatly displeased with the principles that have been practiced here. All this blind, crooked devising, with nothing laid out straight and clear, tangible and explainable, is to cease in Cooranbong. The dickering in trade is contrary to all right methods and correct principles. The peculiar methods of the man is running through it all, and such things God does not approve. It is selfish, and woven with threads of unfairness and dishonesty. It is the spreading of the roots of selfishness that will not bear the approval of God. All these methods of deal must come to an end. A man appointed as manager must take the place as such, and faithfully guard the little facilities that are here. He must see that no robbery is practiced toward God, see that the outgoes and incomes are fair and executed on correct principles. This is a positive necessity in these colonies, even among Seventh-day Adventists. 12LtMs, Ms 2, 1897, par. 15

It is necessary for every man who names the name of Christ to be clean and pure in all his methods of dealing. Brother Lawrence has not done as he would be done by. He has worked with a spirit that God will not tolerate. And He will punish for these things unless there is sincere repentance and thorough conversion. These very men who have come to this place, and have been employed here, have done us a great wrong. They have added to the burdens already resting upon us, and made the way very hard. The Word of the Lord through the prophet Habakkuk is, “Woe to him that increaseth that which is not his! How long? and to him that ladeth himself with thick clay.” [Habakkuk 2:6.] “And I will bring distress upon men, and they shall walk like blind men, because they have sinned against the Lord: and their blood shall be poured out as dust, and their flesh as the dung. Neither their silver nor their gold shall be able to deliver them in the day of the Lord’s wrath; but the whole land shall be devoured by the fire of his jealousy; for he shall make even a speedy riddance of all them that dwell in the land.” [Zephaniah 1:17, 18.] 12LtMs, Ms 2, 1897, par. 16

Those who are really doing God’s service will not be so close, so penurious and selfish, that they will not understand the situation and accommodate themselves to it. There is altogether too little money in the treasury for those who may come to these grounds to consider that they are to be especially favored, and expect to have all the accommodations on one side. They must not think that the facilities can be established without self-sacrificing effort, most persevering energy, and determined resolution. Those who come here are not to figure down to the very closest in deal or favors to be bestowed, while at the same time they put the highest price upon their own services, and act as though the whole school accommodations, which has cost money, was for their special benefit, for them to use without returning anything to help these facilities to continue in a condition to be usable. 12LtMs, Ms 2, 1897, par. 17

There has been wrong management by some in these lines. Some have striven to get every possible advantage from the school facilities, and have given nothing to pay for the use of that which has cost money. The school is not to bend to the convenience of any such. It is for another purpose altogether. The school interest must be the first consideration, and those who come in expecting work to be given them at their own stated wages, when not one pound of that which they receive is put to the advantage and growth of the interest of the school, will not receive what they expect. But all who will be unselfish and will stand loyal in their service to God will be blessed of God. If every family that settles on the ground would consider themselves favored in being placed there, instead of feeling that they are conferring a favor, it would be more appropriate. But if they come to detract from the little fund that is in the possession of the school, if the advantages it already possesses is to be absorbed by the families settling here, then the school will never be a success. Her facilities will be taken away by those who serve their own interests and are completely blind to that which they should confer upon the school. 12LtMs, Ms 2, 1897, par. 18

Those who have stood ready to criticize and condemn and tear to pieces that which others have done, who feel under no obligation to bring in funds to help sustain this struggling institution to come in to existence, have not advantaged the school in any respect. And these should be the last ones, after they have been favored with a chance to work, to find fault. None of the money that these have drawn to themselves has been invested to help the enterprise in any way. But because the funds were limited, and money could not be drawn from the treasury for their own advantage, they have become disaffected, full of murmurings, full of complaints. The whole enterprise has been represented by them, by filling the minds of those who do not know the situation, with the leaven of their unholy influence. They have carried the bitterness of the root of selfishness, and planted it in any soil that might be prepared for it, to spring up and bear a harvest of poisonous fruit, that all who eat of it shall be defiled and may never recover. 12LtMs, Ms 2, 1897, par. 19

This is the picture that is represented to me here. But I thank God that there are, even in these trying times, those who are not eaten up with self. Thank God that there are some who are faithful standard bearers, some who have a knowledge of the will of God through the light of His Word; those who will honor their humanity by doing God service. All men must be sharp and keen in tracing the providence of God. They must engage heart and soul, mind and strength, to do the work allotted to them. And every one who has the spirit of the message will stand out in these times of apostasy and disloyalty. They will be true to the Word of God; they will honor the humanity that Christ came to make one with Himself, and [be] laborers together with God. 12LtMs, Ms 2, 1897, par. 20

Thus saith the Lord, Ye have done this to a people that have not perceived nor profited by the precepts and example which I have taught them to live and practice in their midst. They have served themselves, and have not served nor glorified and honored me. And my work and my devising they have snuffed at. And those who should have appreciated these things have given themselves up to dishonor me and work against my work, saith the Lord. And shall not I punish for these things? There has been brought upon the ground a spirit to act for self, to pursue a course of action I abhor. There must be no oppressing of the hireling in his wages; justice and mercy must be revealed. And there must be in the hireling no unfaithfulness, no transgression against Me. Those who reside upon the ground must not create burdens and perplexities by their unsanctified methods of deal. They are to consider and fear me, saith the Lord, for I will not work with their iniquitous practices. The methods of their business transactions have been the methods of the world, and not the way of the Lord. I have given them My Word, and if they walk contrary to My precepts, I will not serve with their iniquity. My word shall not return unto Me void. 12LtMs, Ms 2, 1897, par. 21

“Hear this, O ye that swallow up the needy, even to make the poor of the land to fail, saying, When will the new moon be gone, that we may sell corn? and the sabbath, that we may set forth wheat, making the ephah small and the shekel great, and falsifying the balances by deceit? That we may buy the poor for silver, and the needy for a pair of shoes; yea, and sell the refuse of the wheat?” [Amos 8:4-6.] 12LtMs, Ms 2, 1897, par. 22

“Wherewith shall I come before the Lord, and bow myself before the high God? Shall I come before him with offerings, with calves of a year old? Will the Lord be pleased with thousands of rams, or with ten thousands of rivers of oil? Shall I give my firstborn for my transgression, the fruit of my body for the sin of my soul? He hath showed thee, O man, what is good, and what doth the Lord require of thee, but to do justly, and to love mercy, and to walk humbly with thy God? The Lord’s voice crieth unto the city, and the man of wisdom shall see thy name: hear ye the rod, and who hath appointed it.” [Micah 6:6-9.] 12LtMs, Ms 2, 1897, par. 23

I would bear the message of the Lord to all who shall purpose to make a home in Cooranbong. We would have you come who are capable, through faith and works, through the grace given you of God, of keeping the way of the Lord. There is no desire in our hearts to invite those to come who have served themselves all their lives, and done after the imagination of their own hereditary and cultivated tendencies, showing that they are not transformed in character. I entreat of you not to come here supposing that your past experience is sufficient recommendation for you. The question is, What are the principles that you have practiced in your business dealing with the men of the world? If you have been a schemer, if you have not made the Word of God your rule of life, the sooner you make a change the better. If your practice has been to seek to advantage yourself to the disadvantage of another man, saint or sinner, you need to see that every transaction of the kind is molding and fashioning a character for you that will not stand the test of the judgment. 12LtMs, Ms 2, 1897, par. 24

The less we have of such men with such an experience the better can we, as a people, represent the character of Christ. If there are men and women who desire to come here who have always been self-centered, who have lived to serve their own interests, who do not see the necessity of being converted, they will not be wanted on these grounds or in this place. 12LtMs, Ms 2, 1897, par. 25

We want men and women who harmonize with Jesus Christ. Such will not taint and corrupt the principles of the youth we are preparing to educate upon strictly Bible principles. Those who profess to be children of God among Seventh-day Adventists, who walk in the same paths that are common with the world, keeping Bible religion far away from the heart, will you please leave a large space between Cooranbong and your present location. 12LtMs, Ms 2, 1897, par. 26

When the religion of the Bible is received into the heart, it overcomes the sordid love of gain. It makes a man refined and noble. He has a sense of his co-partnership with Jesus Christ, and his lessons are studied with the purpose of practicing them in every particular. Then the soul will have joy, Christ’s joy, for what can give peace and joy if not the power of God? What can spread sunshine throughout the soul like a sense of the presence of Jesus Christ, a realization of acceptance with God? 12LtMs, Ms 2, 1897, par. 27

Sins forgiven! O what a blessing! Sins pardoned! What can give peace to the soul like this? What can elevate and ennoble if not the restoration of the image of God in the soul? The Prince of peace can give peace, even in affliction. Who can wipe the tears from our eyes and soothe our sorrows if not He who came to earth as a Comforter, and who establishes His kingdom in the soul? When every part of man is consecrated to God, he will let the principles of that kingdom appear in his daily life. 12LtMs, Ms 2, 1897, par. 28

When we consider all the love and mercy that God has manifested toward men, shall any who profess to be followers of Christ choose to follow the practices of Satan, and represent the opposite of the character of Christ? Shall they act as if the truth were a galling yoke of bondage? Shall any who have that faith that works by love and purifies the soul complain of bondage, of restrictions, or the narrowness of the gate through which they must enter? Such souls have never yet yielded their hearts and bowed to the Majesty of heaven. They have never known what it means to rejoice in the love of God. O, if such souls could only know the enjoyment there is in walking in the paths of peace and holiness, they would be barricaded against the old selfish ideas of what constitutes paths of enjoyment, and their testimony would be, “His ways are ways of pleasantness, and all his paths are peace.” [See Proverbs 3:17.] 12LtMs, Ms 2, 1897, par. 29

Can men and women who are cherishing the passions of an evil heart; who, when a word of reproof from God is spoken, they are exasperated almost to madness—can such suppose that they will see His face and have His name in their foreheads? The imprint of God must first be made in the heart; Christ’s likeness of character must be exemplified. The joys of earth are polluted and unsatisfying. We must have the pure, satisfying favor of God. 12LtMs, Ms 2, 1897, par. 30

“And I thank Christ Jesus our Lord, who hath enabled me, for that he counted me faithful, putting me into the ministry; who was before a blasphemer, and a persecutor, and injurious: but I obtained mercy, because I did it ignorantly in unbelief. And the grace of our Lord was exceeding abundant with faith and love which is in Christ Jesus. This is a faithful saying, and worthy of all acceptation, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners, of whom I am chief.” [1 Timothy 1:12-15.] Let all who are followers of Christ do as did the great apostle. Consider what sort of a character he possessed before he received Christ by faith as his personal Saviour. Before he was a persecutor, a blasphemer, and injurious. Are there not those right in our midst who know the truth, who have had great advantages, who have had the living principles of genuine godliness set before them continually, and yet are not receiving the Word? And as a result they do many things in direct opposition to the word of God. 12LtMs, Ms 2, 1897, par. 31

Paul thought himself without fault until the commandment came home to his conscience. Then sin revived. It was seen in its true hideous character and Paul declares, “I died.” [Romans 7:9.] He says, “I did it ignorantly”—in the unbelief of what constitutes true godliness. [1 Timothy 1:13.] Those who are using their talents of speech to set forth things in Cooranbong in an objectionable light are none the less engaged in the same work of hurting Christ and persecuting Him by their wicked misrepresentations, because they themselves suppose that they have not been favored and advantaged. They were not given any just cause for their alienation; they were only revealing their own traits of character, [with] which, unless changed, transformed, subdued, they will not enter the kingdom of heaven. Age, experience, profession tells nothing with God if the heart’s principles are not heaven’s principles. 12LtMs, Ms 2, 1897, par. 32

“Howbeit for this cause I obtained mercy, that in me Jesus Christ might show forth all longsuffering, for a pattern to them which should hereafter believe on him to life everlasting.” [Verse 16.] This is the work to be diligently carried forward by all who are under the rule of Jesus Christ. They are to show forth their faith and love, which can have their ground only in the union of the soul with Christ. Every one who is under the control of Christ will frequently and strictly examine their principles in all their deal in temporal things. They will keep the commandments of God, for if they are lax here, those who shall receive the truth through their labors will be in danger of following the same example. Young men are sharp to detect the least unprincipled action. How much good or harm we do by our personal example will be known only in eternity. 12LtMs, Ms 2, 1897, par. 33

Personal holiness must become a part of all who have any connection with the Word of God. This is often left out. Sins are committed in little and large matters, in deal and usages; the property of others is often injured and not repaired. But God requires faithfulness in that which is least as well as the greater matters. If these habits and practices, this neglect of the little items, are allowed to grow, they will involve principles just as much as the larger things. Indiscretion and carelessness of property, if not rectified and made good, is sin. It is in this neglect of small things that the conscience becomes unimpressible and hardened to dishonest dealing. 12LtMs, Ms 2, 1897, par. 34

It is essential to practice the principles of restoration. A Christian spirit must be maintained in all this. The man, woman or child who is deviating from the path of strictest rectitude must have their duty placed before them. In this we may be called mean, narrow and cowardly. But is it cowardice to do right? And shall we seal our lips, and suffer sin to rest upon a brother because of this? 12LtMs, Ms 2, 1897, par. 35

These careless, slipshod principles are leavening the entire church. There is faithful work to be done in this line—work that has been strangely neglected. Young men and young women, whether in high or lowly positions, have an influence for good or evil upon those with whom they associate, and with whom they come into daily contact. Their words, their habits, their purity of conversation, all show on whose side they stand. 12LtMs, Ms 2, 1897, par. 36

The promise of God is, “If a man be just, and do that which is lawful and right, and hath not eaten upon the mountains, neither hath lifted up his eyes to the idols of the house of Israel, ... and hath not oppressed any, but hath restored to the debtor his pledge, hath spoiled none by violence, hath given his bread to the hungry, and hath covered the naked with a garment; he that hath not given forth upon usury, neither hath taken any increase, that hath withdrawn his hand from iniquity, hath executed true judgment between man and man, hath walked in my statutes, and hath kept my judgments, to deal truly; he is just, he shall surely live, saith the Lord.” [Ezekiel 18:5-9.] 12LtMs, Ms 2, 1897, par. 37