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Manuscript Releases, vol. 21 [Nos. 1501-1598]

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    MR No. 1560—Strengthening the Cause in the Sydney Area; The Importance of the Seventh-day Sabbath

    (Written February 11, 1898, from “Sunnyside,” Cooranbong, N.S.W., to Sister Gotzian.)

    I received a letter from Sister Ings in the last mail from America. I was at Stanmore when it came, and did not see my mail for several days after its reception at Cooranbong. Sara and I left Cooranbong Thursday evening, January 27. We found the work still progressing. During one of the evening meetings the rain had poured through the tent and broken up their meeting. As the congregation could not leave in the rain, they had a singing exercise, and when they could hear they had a Bible reading.21MR 292.1

    There are many still interested. Some excellent families are receiving the truth, and the interest holds good. The people were very anxious that I should come and speak to them. There are about fifty now who have taken their stand, and readings are given to quite a large number who are deeply interested; but it is about impossible to organize them into a church until there is a meeting-house erected.21MR 292.2

    The Sydney church have not a meetinghouse; they have been dependent upon halls in which to assemble to worship God. But the camp meeting recently held so near Sydney, which is now being followed up by the house-to-house labor of the mission, has brought out fifty souls, and there are yet many interested families. We shall expect no less than one hundred souls will receive the truth. An excellent class of people is interested, and several who have taken their stand are those who depend for a living upon government situations. Some of these own their own houses and have good pay for their work, and here comes the trial of their faith.21MR 292.3

    Two are fully with us. Brother Sharp, a very intelligent and capable man, lost his situation where he had been employed for fourteen years. He felt quite bad, and it so deeply affected his wife that she came near losing her life. When a business man in Sydney learned that Brother Sharp had lost his situation because he conscientiously observed the Sabbath, he said, “That is just the man I want in my work.” He immediately sent for Brother Sharp, employed him at once, giving him the same wages he had previously received, together with his time on the Sabbath. He paid him $17.50 (seventeen dollars and a half) per week. He also gave him a much pleasanter room, larger and better lighted, in which to do his work. He lost only one week's time. He was a very happy man.21MR 292.4

    Brother Stuckey, trembling fearfully at the thought of losing his situation, hung back some weeks before being baptized. He had not moral courage to make the venture, but he felt so wrought upon that he was baptized. Then after he had settled his duty with God, he went to his employer and told him that he could not conscientiously work on the Sabbath, and without one remonstrance the employer gave him the day. He was just the happiest man there was in Stanmore.21MR 293.1

    There are now three other men whose wives are in the truth; one has never been converted, the other two hold important positions and have held these positions, one, for eighteen years. He has the general oversight of the Post Office in Sydney, and it is a big step for him to take. None of these men are poor, but they have hardly faith to venture. They keep saying, I will not work on another Sabbath. It is very little work they are required to do on the Sabbath, as Saturday is a partial holiday and most of the day they may do just as they will.21MR 293.2

    I spoke on Sabbath. These men were all there, no less than three of them hanging in the balance. The wind blew so that the pulpit had to be moved near to the people to preserve me from taking cold. I had great freedom in speaking, and told them plainly that the Lord Jesus was in our midst. I asked them to turn to Exodus 31: “And the Lord spake unto Moses, saying, [Now, said I, listen attentively to what the Lord is saying unto you this day] Speak thou also unto the children of Israel, saying, Verily My Sabbaths ye shall keep: for it is a sign between Me and you throughout your generations; that ye may know that I am the Lord that doth sanctify you. Ye shall keep the Sabbath therefore; for it is holy unto you: every one that defileth it shall surely be put to death: for whosoever doeth any work therein, that soul shall be cut off from among his people” [Exodus 31:12-14]. I read to the close of the chapter.21MR 293.3

    Then I asked them if they would turn away from a plain “Thus saith the Lord” for the sayings of men, when they see that their assertions are entirely contrary to the Word of God. The Word has made the statement: “I am the Lord that doth sanctify you” if you observe the Sabbath. This is the only true sanctification in the Scriptures—that which comes from God because of obedience to his Commandments. Then we may know that the little companies assembled together to worship the Lord on the day which He has blessed and made holy have a right to claim the rich blessings of Jehovah.21MR 293.4

    He who has declared that His words are spirit and life should have their faith in strong exercise that the Lord Jesus is an honored Guest in their assemblies. “For where two or three are gathered together in My name, there am I in the midst of them” [Matthew 18:20]. If He is there, it is to enlighten and bless. Therefore, as we assemble together, we all have a solemn sense of the presence of God, and know that the angels of God are in the assembly. The messengers of the gospel know by experience its truth, power, and excellence. It is the hours of the Sabbath that are sacred and sanctified and holy, and every true worshiper who keeps holy the Sabbath should claim the promise, “That ye may know I am the Lord the doth sanctify you.”21MR 294.1

    I tried to make this point as impressive as possible, that the Sabbath day was a special occasion on which the people of the Lord were celebrating the memorial of His creation; that on the Sabbath the Lord was in the assembly to bless and sanctify, and if they have faith in the Lord, every Sabbath would be a day when His people, is a special manner, will be blessed in their acts of obedience in keeping the commandments of God.21MR 294.2

    The sacred hours are to be employed in conversation that is holy. This is a day set apart for special service, to give earnest heed to the word of God, and to give expression to their exercises of mind, to relate their experience and to express in exhortation their solicitude for the saving of the souls of those who know not the truth.21MR 294.3

    There is to be the greatest freedom in their conversation, speaking one to the other in reference to the truth, the labors and prayers in behalf of the souls ready to die. Tell the story of the interest that angels have in the salvation of the human souls for whom Christ has given His life; and if angels feel so great an interest in their salvation, should not these souls who are within the influence of the truth feel deep concern for their own souls?21MR 294.4

    The atonement and the intercession of Christ in their behalf should inspire the human agent with zeal and earnestness to set forth the truth and the riches of Divine grace, and the quickening influence of the cleansing power of the Holy Spirit will avail to touch the heart and convert the soul. The Sabbath is holy unto the Lord. Affectionate, personal, private conversation in regard to religious experience will be blessed of the Lord. “Then they that feared the Lord spake often one to another: and the Lord hearkened, and heard it, and a book of remembrance was written before Him for them that feared the Lord, and that thought upon His name. And they shall be Mine, saith the Lord of hosts, in that day when I make up My jewels, and I will spare them, as a man spareth his own son that serveth him” [Malachi 3:16, 17].21MR 294.5

    The Lord gave me His Spirit on that occasion and sent home the word spoken. Those who will honor the Lord in keeping His Sabbath holy will be blessed of the Lord. There is not more than one in one hundred who do honor to God in keeping His Sabbath from polluting it. The Word of God is not practiced by thousands who profess to be Christians. The looseness of the habits and practices in observing the Sabbath has become a customary thing. God help us to see that great blessings are enfolded in the observance of the Sabbath of the fourth commandment. The human agent cannot afford to lose these blessings by dishonoring God in their loose habits and practices. This is a day of meditation and of closely examining our own spiritual condition before God. “Examine yourselves, whether ye be in the faith.” On that day have no loose, cheap, common talk.21MR 295.1

    It is God's day, sanctified by Himself and made holy, and should be treated as a holy day. If God condescends to speak to man out of His holy Word, should we not have sanctified ears to hear and hearts to perceive? His words are entitled to be heard and received with reverence, faith, and submission. We have the Word of God. Let us make that book our companion on the Sabbath. It is God's revelation to man accompanied with unmistakable proofs of its origin. Then search the Scriptures, investigate every point of your faith in the light of the Word. How can we as rational beings who have souls to save or to lose, who are seeking for truth as for hid treasure, who are dependent upon God for instruction how to gain the eternal reward, how can we do otherwise than to take this Word and appreciate it, and be blessed of God?21MR 295.2

    February 9, 1898—Many things have called my attention since beginning this writing. Matters must be prepared on the Life of Christ, and after I thought it was done, in reading the manuscript, I saw that some other things must be written. Many matters besides must be considered.21MR 295.3

    Our brethren are working very hard to secure a lot for a meeting-house in Stanmore, a suburb of Sydney. These lots cannot be obtained for less than six or seven hundred pounds sterling, but we must build. The building will cost about six hundred pounds. We really need help, and if you can help us we would be very grateful; and if you can get help from any others, please do so. I expect to have to visit Sydney and Melbourne soon. There will be a general rally then and meetings will be held over two Sabbaths and Sundays. The weather is extremely hot in both these places.21MR 295.4

    There is a great work being done in Melbourne—forty or fifty have embraced the truth. Brother Robinson has been very anxious that I should come to Melbourne but I have not dared to leave the interest in Stanmore, as Sydney is a large center. We must have small houses of worship built in the suburbs, and we are now in selection of land-seeking to get as near Sydney as possible. We are to commence labor in Sydney proper if we can get a suitable place for a tent to be pitched and if the Lord opens the way for the standard to be raised.21MR 296.1

    We have not the advantages that you have in America of institutions that have given character and strength to our work. There are none here to be relied upon to come to our help. I sent to Africa for help, and two hundred pounds came to us in the providence of God just at the time we needed it in building in Cooranbong.21MR 296.2

    Sunday afternoon I spoke again to the people in the tent. The Lord gave me a decided testimony to bear in reference to acting upon the light and evidence received. The Lord would have the service of the whole mind and heart. Every capability is called for. I spoke from 2 Peter 1. The services were concluded by a special effort. There were many souls who came forward for prayers, and we united in earnest entreaty for the Lord to reveal Himself to them in His own way. This movement made a break, and the impression made was excellent. Some who had been long upon the point of decision took their position to keep the Sabbath. This was an advance movement, and decided victory was gained. We then felt how necessary [it is] for us to commence at once to build.21MR 296.3

    Sabbath the wind was strong. Elder Haskell told me that the tent was in a most precarious condition. There has been a break somewhere, and nothing but two small ropes held the tent from falling. He said his heart was uplifted to God that He would keep us and hold up the tent. A single gust of wind might have brought it down upon us. As soon as the Sabbath was past, the tent was made strong so that there was no danger.21MR 296.4

    Monday I was solicited to attend a meeting at Ashfield in the evening. I have not spoken evenings because I could not sleep after speaking, but I decided to comply with the request. Brother Baker hired a cab to take me to Ashfield, a distance of several miles, and to wait and bring me back after the discourse. I felt called upon to say some plain things to the church in counsel and reproof. Confessions were made. The parable of the elder son was there acted out most distinctly.21MR 296.5

    This church has been raised up as the result of the Ashfield camp meeting. A neat little church was erected, very nicely planned and tastefully arranged, but a debt of two hundred pounds was left upon the church. Since that time a second camp meeting has been held in Stanmore. Great interest has been created and extended into other suburbs close by. The elder son who ought to rejoice that the Lord is bringing the wandering sheep to the fold now felt envious and jealous because more labor could not be given to them. The Lord is now waking them up and several have been baptized again, and yet there are a few poor souls who are in some way influenced by Elder McCullagh who keeps up communications with them. He continues sowing his tares, and they in their turn resow them in other hearts.21MR 296.6

    If the churches who know the truth and have had great labor bestowed on them are now selfish and exacting and covetous for fear they will not have the ministry of the Word, it reveals that the Word would do them no real good if they had its ministry. They are not prepared to be benefited by the Word, by becoming doers of the Word, “For unto us was the gospel preached, as well as unto them: but the Word preached did not profit them, not being mixed with faith in them that heard it” [Hebrews 4:2].21MR 297.1

    I told them that some there present had been at the meetings when the Lord had spoken through His humble servant. They had felt His power on their own hearts, and then if words of unbelief had come from those who were under temptation, inspired from beneath with a spirit of criticism and envy and evil surmising, even words from Africa from some professing our faith, they received and nurtured it, and commenced to sow the same seed of unbelief in other minds far and near, and the truth was a very mixed crop. Their hearts were weak and their faith small, and the ministry of the Word would not profit those who heard, because, like the Pharisees, they have ears but they hear not, because their ears are not sanctified, they have eyes but they see not, because Satan has interposed his hellish shadow between God and their souls.21MR 297.2

    It is not evidence such ones need; this they have had, and are overfed with the precious banquet from heaven's storehouse, and then they go away and begin to criticize the messengers and the message God sends, until more food would only do them harm. Light from heaven has flashed upon them; they have had evidence piled upon evidence; what they need is not more evidence but a new heart, a converted soul, a new mind, a new purpose. Then they can hear and be blessed. When the enemy comes in like a flood, the Spirit of the Lord will lift up for them a standard against him. In the heart will be a burning desire to do something for the Master to give evidence of their love for the truth as it is in Jesus. God will demand lowly service of all.21MR 297.3

    But when, like Chorazin and Bethsaida, they reject light, great opportunities, and great privileges, greater privileges they will never have. But some have excused themselves from making any sacrifices, and when the heart desires to make excuses, they will be furnished abundance from the vigilant adversary of souls who has his work to do, and who is not at [a] loss for human channels through whom to work. The aptitude, the talents of influence, are brought in on Satan's side of the question to sow tares.21MR 298.1

    But those souls who are perverting their God-given capabilities by their words and works are scattering from the truth. They are not building up souls in the most holy faith. They are not making straight paths for their feet lest the lame be turned out of the way. They draw back from self-denial and self-sacrifice. They find fault with God and His Word in finding fault with those whom God has sent with His messages of mercy. What have these complainers, these accusers of the brethren, done to gather with Christ? What have they done to advance the work and cause of God in the earth? Have they not done only harm to the messengers and the message God has sent them? They are in the position of those who might have done good service for the Master, but who have missed opportunity after opportunity until their senses are blunted, their perceptions confused. They call evil good, and good evil; light they call darkness and darkness light, because, says Christ, they knew not the time of their visitation.21MR 298.2

    Oh, how many opportunities have come and gone when they could have been a blessing had they but been converted! But their minds are mixed with contradictory sentiments, and they have not perception to distinguish the wheat from the tares. May the Lord pity and forgive these unfaithful workers who dishonor God and do not love Jesus nor the truth. Self and self-righteousness are as filthy rags, yet they cling to them and will not receive the garments of Christ's righteousness. Christ says of these unfaithful stewards, “Ye have not honored Me in receiving My messengers; ye have not honored Me with your substance. Ye did it not unto Me. The opportunity has come and gone and thus stands your record in the great book of account. Thou gavest Me no water for My feet; thou gavest Me not the care and devotion of thy heart; My head with oil thou didst not anoint.” Oh, my God, grant that these souls may not always be under the educating power of the arch deceiver!21MR 298.3

    I left the meeting before it closed, in company with Sister Peck, and rode to Stanmore. I retired to rest about eleven p.m., but my mind had brought with me the burden for the souls of the church members in Ashfield. Oh, how my heart ached! I felt at times in an agony of spirit. I could not obtain sleep until two o'clock a.m. The privileges that are now ours seem so large and abundant, but truth must be brought into the practical life, and each be doers of the Word else it will not sanctify and save the soul. We must cooperate with all our faculties with the Lord Jesus Christ. He says, “Let him take hold of My strength, that he may make peace with Me; and he shall make peace with Me” [Isaiah 27:5]. Man is utterly dependent upon God. Christ says, “Without Me ye can do nothing” [John 15:5]. We must cooperate with God if we do His Word.21MR 298.4

    I devoted Tuesday to writing. Tuesday evening I spoke in Stanmore to the people assembled in the tent. The Lord blessed me with great freedom and power. I knew the angel of God was by my side. The power of the Holy Spirit was upon me. I returned to my room so thankful to God. The night before I was so burdened I could not sleep; this night I was so grateful to God I could not sleep till one o'clock. I awoke at half past three in the morning.21MR 299.1

    We left Stanmore with all our luggage. Sister Peck was with us. We went a few stations beyond and had to go through the process of changing cars, but we missed the train and had to return to Stanmore. That night I spoke again under the tent, and the Lord helped me and blessed me. I spoke upon faith, and many souls said they were helped. I slept a few hours that night and next morning we made connections. We had a compartment all to ourselves, and I lay down like a tired child and slept until within a few miles of Cooranbong. I have spoken twice on Sabbath in our new chapel here. Sabbath was quite warm, and I suppose from what I know of America that February 5 was not very warm where you are.21MR 299.2

    A letter came to me last night from Elder Haskell stating that the land, a beautiful spot, is now secured. I do not know the price, but I think they offered it cheaper than any we had yet looked at. Now the process of building goes forward. In eight days we leave here for Melbourne to spend some weeks there speaking to the people under the tent. And now I again invite you to help us and be my agent to get what help you can from others. In much love to you, my sister, Brother Zelinsky, and Sister Ings.—Letter 8, 1898.21MR 299.3

    Ellen G. White Estate

    Silver Spring, Maryland,

    February 28, 1991.

    Entire Letter.

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