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Experiences in Australia

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    The Queensland Camp-Meeting.

    (248) Our first Queensland camp-meeting was held in Brisbane, Oct. 14-24, 1898. For some weeks before this meeting my health was not good, and my work in writing very urgent. I decided that I would not go. The night I came to this decision I was shown in a dream several companies. Some of the people in these companies were in prayer; some were trying to read their Bibles, but they could not understand them. Perplexed in mind, and sorrowful in heart, they cried, “Who can explain the Scriptures to us? We are starving for the word of the Lord. We are in darkness. Will you not give us light?” Others with outstretched arms were crying, “Come over and help us.”EA 244.1

    As I considered these companies, one who has often instructed me, said to me, “Say ye not, there are four months, and then cometh harvest? Behold I say unto you, Lift up your eyes and (249) look on the fields; for they are white already to harvest. And he that reapeth receiveth wages, gathered fruit unto eternal life; that both he that soweth and he that reapeth may rejoice together.”EA 244.2

    I would fain have believed that these companies represented the places within thirty miles of Cooranbong,— Newcastle, Maitland, and several other localities nearer than this; for the standard of truth had not been lifted in these places. But again the scene was presented before me. The same voice said, “God has precious ones in all the churches of all the towns from Cooranbong to Queensland, who are ignorant of the truth for this time. They are as sheep having no shepherd. The shepherds feed themselves, but they feed not the flock. I have a people here. Seek for them. Open my word to them line upon line, precept upon precept, here a little and there a little. Lift the standard in new territories. The fields are white unto the harvest. The Husbandman waiteth for the precious fruit (250) of the earth, and hath long patience for it, until He receive the early and latter rain. The Holy Spirit will accompany the presentation of the truth.”EA 244.3

    Then said I, “I will go to the camp-meeting; for the Lord has taught me my duty. I dare not withhold myself.”EA 244.4

    We left home on the evening of October 12, and after one hour’s ride to Newcastle, changed to the express train to Brisbane. We travelled in a sleeper. Although much wearied, I felt very peaceful and quiet in the Lord; and I prayed most earnestly that the Lord would impress upon those attending the (251) camp-meeting the fact that it would not be what they could do that would make the meeting a success; but that their part in its success would depend upon their entire dependence upon God.EA 244.5

    I awoke early the next morning, along while before day. Looking out of the window, I saw two white clouds. After a time I fell asleep again, and in my dreams these words were spoken to me: “Look at these clouds. It was just such clouds as these that enshrouded the heavenly host who proclaimed to the shepherds the birth of the world’s Redeemer. “I awoke and looked out of the car window again, and there were the two large white clouds, as white as snow. They were distinct, separate clouds, one would approach and touch the other, and for a moment they would blend together; then they would separate, and remain as distinct as before. They did not disappear, but continued in sight throughout the forenoon. At twelve o’clock we changed cars, and I did not see the clouds anymore.EA 244.6

    During the day I was deeply impressed with the thought that angels of God, enshrouded in these clouds, were going before us, that we might rejoice in their guardianship, and in the assurance (252) that we should see of the salvation of God in the meeting to be held in Brisbane.EA 244.7

    After the meeting, when we had seen the wonderful interest manifested by the people, I was more than ever sure that heavenly angels were enshrouded in these clouds,- angels that were sent from the courts above to move on the hearts of the people, and to restrain those distracting influences which sometimes find access to our campgrounds, by which minds are diverted from the consideration of the vital truths that are daily presented. At this meeting thousands heard the gospel invitation, and listened to truths that they had never heard before. During the whole meeting there was no boisterous opposition or loud contention from those whose hearts were opposed to the law of God. Nor throughout the city was there any public opposition. This is an unusual experience; and we believe that angels of God were present to press back the powers of darkness, that unbelief should not prevail.EA 245.1

    When we arrived at Brisbane, we were met at the station by Brethren Daniells, Haskell, Wilson, and Palmer, and were taken in a cab to a comfortable house close to the campground. The next day was Friday, and all were busy completing the (253) preparations for the camp, and getting ready for the Sabbath.EA 245.2

    The camp-meeting was held in Woolloongabba, one of the southern suburbs of the city, about three miles from the general post office. The camp was composed of thirty-three tents, and was situated on high sloping ground, just far enough from the main thoroughfare to be free from the noise of passing carts and trams. Great economy had been exercised in fitting up the camp, yet everything was neat and orderly, and the entire ground presented an inviting appearance. At night the large tent and the grounds were brilliantly lighted with electricity, and this added much to the pleasure of those attending the evening meetings. The daily papers gave friendly and intelligent reports of the meetings. The electric tram cars carried large calico signs, calling attention to the camp-meeting. This, which we had looked forward to as a very small meeting, proved to be one of the most profitable and interesting meetings held in Australia.EA 245.3

    Our camp-meeting opened on Friday night, and at this first meeting the large tent was well filled. From the one hundred and seventy-five Sabbath-keepers in that large colony, over one hundred were at the meeting. Several had come from Townsville, (254) which is one thousand miles to the north, and there were a dozen or more from Rockhampton, which is half as far. The conference had engaged to pay the fare of a number of these, who would otherwise be unable to come. There were a few present who had attended one of our camp-meetings in the southern colonies; but to most of those present this was their first opportunity to attend a general meeting of our people. These people were greatly blessed, and their hungry interest to catch every word encouraged the speakers, and drew from them their richest treasures of knowledge and experience.EA 245.4

    Sabbath morning there was a good attendance at the Sabbath School. At the forenoon service Elder Haskell spoke from the words, “We would see Jesus.” Like the Greeks who had made this request, the people were deeply interested, and the discourse made a good impression.EA 245.5

    In the afternoon I spoke on the call to the supper recorded in Matthew 22. I made special reference to the man who came in without a wedding garment, and sought to arouse all to understand what would be the result if any were found without the wedding garment, the white linen, the robe of Christ’s (255) righteousness, provided for all by the King for all who are bidden to the supper. At an infinite coast to heaven, provision has been made that all may receive grace and sanctification of the Spirit, and be numbered with the blood-washed throng. The wedding garment must be put on in this life. In this life we are to be clothed with the righteousness of Christ.EA 245.6

    In the night season I was instructed that in this meeting we must each look to the Lord, and not to one another saying, “What shall this man do?” Each one must seek the Lord earnestly to know for himself what he is to do in the service of God. It takes all kinds of timber fitly to frame the building of which Christ is the chief cornerstone. We are to build together, not separately. We are to work unitedly. Every stick of timber is to find its place, that a united framework may be made,- a habitation of God through the Spirit. Our brethren and sisters are to understand that they each have a part in the work, and that their work is essential according to their ability. “We are laborers together with God.” We must give to every man his place; for if any part of the work is neglected, a complete habitation for God is not built.EA 246.1

    (256) About one hundred were present at the early morning meeting on Sunday. We realized that the Spirit of the Lord was present as we made intercession for ministers and people, and especially for those who were in feeble health. I spoke briefly showing the necessity of each one seeking the Lord for himself. When our hearts are sanctified by the truth, they will be in unity with the heart of Christ. Say, the apostle, “Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus.” Are self-seeking and self-exaltation pressing their way into your soul? Contemplate the life of Jesus your Saviour. Think how he humbled himself. He was Commander in the heavenly courts, but he laid aside his crown, his kingly robe, and clothed his divinity with humanity, that humanity might touch humanity and that divinity might lay hold upon divinity. For the sake of fallen man he humbled himself.EA 246.2

    Let none strive to be first, for if we do this, the spirit of self will work until there is no room for the Spirit of Christ. Let none climb up on the judgment seat, for God has placed none of us there. Let no one indulge in evil surmising. Let us all draw nigh to God, and wear (357) His yoke who humbled Himself that we might be uplifted. Let us educate the tongue to speak right words,—words that will encourage and strengthen our fellow man. Let us talk of goodness and mercy and the love of God. Put away all unbelieving words, all that is cheap or common. Then the angels of God will be with us and the peace of God will fill the soul. “Draw nigh to God, and he will draw nigh to you.” “Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.” Then “when the enemy shall come in like a flood, the Spirit of the Lord will lift up a standard against him.”EA 246.3

    In the testimony meeting that followed we felt the subduing influence of the Spirit of God. Many were weeping. There were those present who had been standing in their own light. Some had been quick to discover the evil and to talk of the evil in their brethren; but the good they had seen in the lives of their brethren they had not commended. Thus they had grieved the heart of Christ, and placed their own souls in jeopardy.EA 246.4

    During the meeting the wants of the cause were presented by Brethren Haskell, Daniells, Semmens, and W.C. White. All about us where fields white to the harvest, and we felt an intense desire that these fields should be entered and that the standard (258) of truth should be raised in every city and village. As we studied the vastness of the field, and the urgency of entering new fields immediately, we saw that hundreds of workers were needed where now there were but two or three, and that we must lose no time in building up those institutions where workers could be educated and trained. As the needs of the School, the Sanitarium, and the Health Food Worker were placed before them, our Queensland brethren and sisters took hold to do their best to help, and before the camp-meeting closed those present had pledged $725 to the work.EA 246.5

    As the meeting progressed, we had several days of hot winds. All Friday night the wind blew so strongly, and the large tent was let down. All the next day the wind continued and we could not raise our tent. Nevertheless we held our meetings. In the forenoon Brother Jesse Pallant was ordained to the work of the ministry. In the afternoon the dining tent was prepared for meeting, and I spoke to about sixty persons assembled there. After I had spoken I called forward those who wished to give themselves to the Lord in solemn covenant. Fourteen responded, and we had a season of prayer with them.EA 247.1

    After the Camp-Meeting.EA 248.1

    (259) The last days of the camp-meeting were full of interest. From all parts of Brisbane the people came daily, and the attendance at the evening meetings steadily increased, frequently men and women came long distances, saying that they had just learned about the meetings. During the second Sunday, the grounds were thronged. Some had been at the meeting the first Sunday, and came again, bringing friends; many we recognized as those who had come to the meeting for the first time. According to appointment, our meeting was to close the following day, but it was evident that the work of the meeting was not finished. It was too busy a time for consultation; for every worker on the ground was busy, visiting, entertaining the interested and the curious, distributing reading matter and holding short Bible readings with those who questioned about the doctrines taught at the meeting. Those who bore the burden of the meeting felt that an earnest effort must be made to follow up the interest and many prayers ascended that God would direct in planning and executing the work.EA 248.2

    In the night light came to me. It was represented to me that the cloud still rested over the (260) tabernacle. The cloud had not yet lifted, and the tents must not yet be taken down. This was our time to seek the Lord earnestly for wisdom and strength, and to labor with all our powers to give the warning message to the people. The people were under conviction, and this camp-meeting remained a necessity. I was not able to speak at the early meeting, but sent word that according to light given to me there ought to be nothing done unnecessarily to give the people the impression that the meeting had closed.EA 248.3

    Arrangements had already been made to keep the large tent standing for a week or two; but it was the plan of our people to take down the family tents as fast as possible, and let all go to their homes except the regularly appointed Bible workers. But now other plans were rapidly formed. A Bible study for workers was appointed to be held each morning; and our people were invited to remain on the grounds, and aid in the work of the following week. As many tents were left standing as possible and the families that remained to help keep up the public interest and enjoy the Bible studies were furnished the use of tents without charge. A score or more remained on the grounds for another week, and many others would have done so had they known beforehand of the opportunity.EA 248.4

    (261) For a few days after it was decided to continue the camp-meeting, it was quite a struggle for the workers to keep up heart, because of the distraction which attended the departure of friends, and the resettling preparatory for the summer’s work. At the Monday evening meeting, the congregation had voted a hearty request that the meetings continue, and each night through the week the large tent was well filled. The morning Bible classes, which were attended by about twelve workers, of varied experience and gifts, employed in following up the interests of the meeting; and as we say the extent of the field to be worked, we wished there were many more.EA 248.5

    Instruction Regarding Labor.EA 249.1

    (262) At the beginning of the Sabbath my heart went out in prayer to God that he would give wisdom to these workers, and in the visions of the night many words of instruction and encouragement were spoken to us. Ministers and workers were in a meeting where Bible lessons were being given. We said, we have the great teacher with us today; and we listened with interest to his words. He said; “There is a great worker before you in this place. You will need to present truth in its simplicity. Bring the people to the waters of life. Speak to them things which most concern their present and eternal good. Do not present subject that will arouse controversy,—things that it will require a person of experience by your side to defend. . . In all that you say, know that you have something that is worthy of the time you take to say it, and the time of the hearers to hear. Speak of those things which are essential, those things which will instruct, bringing light with every word.EA 249.2

    “Learn to meet the people where they are. Let not your study of the Scriptures be of a cheap or casual order. Let not your instruction be of a character to perplex the mind. Do not cause the people to worry over the things that you may see, (263) but which they do not see, unless these are of vital consequence to the saving of the soul. Do not present the Scriptures in a way to exalt self, and encourage vain-glory in the one who opens the Word to others. The work for this time is to train workers to deal with subjects in a plain, serious, and solemn manner. Three must be no time uselessly employed in this great work. We must not miss the mark. Time is too short for us to undertake to reveal all that might be opened up to view. Eternity will be required that we may know all the length, and breadth, and depth and height of the Scriptures. There are certain souls to whom certain truths are of more importance than others truths. Skill is needed in your education in Scriptural lines.EA 249.3

    “To the apostle John on the isle of Patmos were revealed the things that the Lord desired him to give to the people. Study these revelations. Here are themes worthy of our contemplation, large and comprehensive lessons, which all the angelic hosts are now seeking to communicate. Behold the life and character of Christ and study his mediatorial work. Here are infinite wisdom, infinite love, infinite justice, infinite mercy. Here are heights and lengths, breadths and depths, for our consideration. Numberless pens have been employed in presenting (264) to the world the life, the character, and the mediatorial work of Christ; yet every mind through whom the Holy Spirit has worked has presented these themes in a light that is fresh and new, according to the mind and spirit of the human agent.EA 249.4

    “The truth, if received into the heart, is capable of constant development and expansion. It will increase in brightness as we behold it; and as we aspire to grasp it, its height and breadth will ever increase. Thus it will elevate us to the standard of perfection, and fit us for our work by giving us faith in God. We want the truth as it is in Jesus; for we desire to make the people understand what Christ is to them, and what the responsibilities are that we are called upon to accept in him. As His representatives and witnesses, we need to come to a full understanding of the saving truths attained by an experimental knowledge.EA 249.5

    Teach the great, practical truths that must be stamped upon the soul. Teach the saving power of Jesus, in whom we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins.” All should be made to comprehend the power of the truth to those who receive it. “In him dwelleth all the fullness of the Godhead (265) bodily.” Men need to understand that the Deity suffered under the agonies of Calvary. The Majesty of heaven was made to suffer at the hands of wicked men,—religious zealots, who claimed to be the most enlightened people on the face of the earth. Men claiming to be the children of Abraham worked out the purpose of Satan on the innocent Son of the Infinite God. While Christ was bearing the heavy guilt incurred by man’s transgression of the law of God, while in the act of bearing our sins, or carrying our sorrows, he was mocked and reviled by the very men appointed to teach the law, and lead the people to love and obey God.EA 249.6

    “It was at the cross that mercy and truth met together, that righteousness and peace kissed each other. Let students and workers study this again and again, that they, setting forth the Lord crucified among us, may make it a fresh subject to the people. Teach that the life of Christ reveals an infinitely perfect character. Teach that as many received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name.” Tell it over and over again, that we may become the sons of God, members of the royal family, children of the (266) heavenly King. Let it be known that all who accept Jesus Christ and hold the beginning of their confidence firm unto the end, will be heirs of God, and joint heirs with Christ to an inheritance incorruptible and undefiled and that fadeth not away, reserved in heaven for you who are kept by the power of God through faith unto salvation, ready to be revealed at the last time.”EA 250.1

    The experiences of this meeting, with what has been presented to be at various times, regarding the holding of camp-meetings in large cities, lead me to advise that a large number of camp-meetings be held each year, even though some of them are small; for these meetings are a powerful means of arresting the attention of the masses. By camp-meetings held in the cities, thousands will hear the invitation to the feast, “Come, for all things are now ready.”EA 250.2

    After arousing an interest it is not wise to cut the meeting short, pull down the tents, and leave the people to think that the meeting is over. It is just then that the greatest good may be accomplished by faithful and earnest work. The meetings must be so managed that the public interest shall be maintained.EA 250.3

    (267) Sometimes a large number of speakers attend a camp-meeting for a few days, and just when the interest of the people is fully aroused, nearly all hurry away to another meeting, leaving two or three speakers behind to struggle against the depressing influence of the tearing down and removal of the family tents. How much better it would be if the meetings were continued for a longer time; if persons would come from each church prepared to stay a month or longer, helping in the meetings, and learning how to labor acceptably. Then they could carry a valuable experience to their churches when they returned home. How much better if some of the same speakers that aroused the interest of the people during the largest attendance at the meeting, would remain to follow up the work by a thoroughly organized protracted effort. To conduct meetings in this way would require that several be in progress at the same time, and this would not permit a few men to attend all the meetings. But we must remember that the work is to be accomplished “not by might, nor by power, but by my spirit, saith the Lord of Hosts.”EA 250.4

    After a meeting it may sometimes be difficult to hold the principal speakers for several weeks, to develop the interest (268) awakened. It may be expensive to retain the ground, and to keep a sufficient number of the family tents standing to maintain the appearance of a camp-meeting. It may be at a sacrifice that several families remain on the ground to assist the ministers and Bible workers in visiting and Bible study with those who come to the meetings, and in visiting the people at their homes, telling of the blessings received at the meetings, and inviting them to come. No doubt it will be difficult to secure a sufficient number of workers to carry forward the work successfully. But the result will justify the effort. It is by such earnest and energetic efforts as these that some of our camp-meetings have been instrumental in raising up strong working churches. And it is by just such earnest work that the third angel’s message must be carried to the people of our cities.EA 250.5

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