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Experiences in Australia

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    The Newcastle Camp-Meeting.

    When we reached the camp-meeting season for 1898, it was a serious question in the minds of the leading men of the New South Wales Conference whether we could hold a camp-meeting this year in the conference. The meeting held in Stanmore the year before had been a marked success. From it the truth had sounded forth to the people of Sydney; and, through the attendance of visitors from the country, a knowledge of Sabbath and Advent message had been carried to scores of towns and villages throughout the colony. But the expense of this meeting had left our little conference in debt, and it was feared that we would have to forego a cam-meeting this year, for the lack of funds.EA 252.1

    Finally it was proposed that we hold the meeting in Newcastle. As there had never been a camp-meeting in Newcastle, there would be no unfavorable comparisons if this were a small one. Being only twenty-five miles from Cooranbong, it was thought that the brethren of the Avondale church could assist much in fitting up the grounds and in furnishing supplies that would help to carry the meeting through without great expense. It was also thought that the time had fully come to present the truth to the eighty thousand people of Newcastle and its surrounding towns; and we knew that the best possible way of doing this would be to hold a camp-meeting, following it with tent-meetings, accompanied by visiting, Bible work, the selling of our religious and health books, by Christian Help work, and the establishment of a medical mission.EA 252.2

    Repeatedly light had come to me, encouraging us to put forth greater efforts in Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane, and indicating that the time had come for us to enter Newcastle. Several small companies were presented to me, and with them two larger companies were presented to me, and with them two larger companies that were stretching out their hands imploringly, saying, “Come over and help us. We are starving for the bread of life.” In the two larger companies, some were praying; some were weeping. A voice said, “They are as sheep without a shepherd. I will feed my flock. I will give them the living bread from heaven.” During the camp-meetings held in Brisbane and Newcastle, I recognized in the congregations assembled the two larger companies that I had seen calling for help.EA 252.3

    We had feared that this would be a small, thinly attended meeting, but our people came out well. From a membership of four hundred in the conference, there were over two hundred at the camp-meeting. And in the outside attendance we were pleasantly surprised. At the first evening meeting there were a thousand persons present. Contrary to our fears the holiday season proved the best season to secure a large attendance of the most earnest, serious people. I have never attended meeting where a deeper, more abiding interest was manifested.EA 252.4

    During the first Sabbath of the meeting, we felt that the heavenly angels were in the camp. The outside elements seemed working against us. A severe tempest of wind and rain arose, but no one seemed discouraged. The heavenly streams of the love of God flowed into our hearts, and the countenances of some revealed the Holy Spirit’s work. Several not of our faith took part in thanksgiving and praise to God. When the rain came down in torrents, we poured out our thanksgiving in songs and praise. Many testified that it was the best Sabbath meeting they had ever enjoyed.EA 252.5

    An Impressive Dream.EA 252.6

    During the night of the first Sabbath of the meeting, I seemed to be in meeting, presenting the necessity of our receiving the Spirit. This was the burden of my labor, that we should open our hearts to the Holy Spirit. On one occasion Christ told his disciples, “I have many things to say unto you, but ye cannot bear them now.” Their limited comprehension put a restraint on him. He could not open to them the truths he longed to unfold; for while their hearts were closed to them, his unfolding of these truths would be labor lost. They must receive the Spirit before they could fully understand Christ’s lessons. “The Comforter, which is the Holy Ghost,” Christ said, “whom the Father will send in my name, he shall teach you all things, and bring all things to your remembrance, whatsoever I have said unto you.”EA 252.7

    In my dream a sentinel stood at the door of an important building and asked everyone who came for entrance the question, “Have ye received the Holy Ghost?” A measuring line was in his hand, and only very, very few were admitted into the building. “Your size as a human being is nothing,” he said. “But if you have reached the full stature of a man in Christ Jesus, according to the knowledge you have had, you will receive an appointment to sit with Christ at the marriage supper of the Lamb; and through the eternal ages you will never cease to learn of the blessings granted in the banquet prepared for you.EA 253.1

    You may be tall and well-proportioned in self, but you cannot enter here. None can enter who are grown-up children, carrying with them disposition, the habits, and the characteristics which pertain to children. If you have nurtured suspicions, criticism, temper, self-dignity, you cannot be admitted; for you would spoil the feast. All who go in through this door have on the wedding garment, woven in the loom of heaven. Those who educate themselves to pick flaws in the characters of others, reveal deformities that make families unhappy, that turns soul from the truth to choose fables. Your leave of distrust, your want of confidence, your power of accusing, closes the door against you. Within this door nothing can enter that could possibly mar the happiness of the dwellers by marring their perfect trust in one another. You cannot join the happy family in the heavenly courts; for I have wiped all tears from their eyes. You cannot see the King in his beauty if you are not yourself a representative of his character.EA 253.2

    When you give up your own will, your own wisdom, and learn of Christ, you will find admittance into the kingdom of God. He requires entire, unreserved surrender. Give up your life for him to order, mold and fashion. Take upon your neck his yoke. Submit to be led and taught by him. Learn that unless you become as a little child you can never enter the kingdom of heaven.EA 253.3

    Abiding in Christ is choosing only the disposition of Christ, so that his interests are identified with yours. Abide in him, to be and to do only what he wills. These are the conditions of discipleship and unless they are complied with, you can never find rest. Rest is in Christ; it cannot be something apart from him.EA 253.4

    The moment his yoke is adjusted to your neck, that moment it is found easy; then the heaviest spiritual labor can be performed, the heaviest burdens borne; because the Lord gives the strength and the power, and he gives gladness in doing the work. Learn of me, he says, for I am meek and lowly in heart. He desires that your conception of spiritual things shall be purified from the dross of selfishness, the defilement of a crooked, coarse, unsympathetic nature. You must have an inward, higher experience. You must obtain a growth in grace by abiding in Christ. When you are converted, you will not be a hindrance, but will strengthen your brethren.”EA 253.5

    As these words were spoken, I saw some turn sadly away and mingle with the scoffers. Others, with tears, all broken in heart, made confession to those whom they had bruised and wounded. They did not think of maintaining their own dignity, but asked at every step, “What must I do to be saved?” The answer was, “Repent, and be converted, that your sins may go beforehand to judgment and be blotted out.” Words were spoken which rebuked spiritual pride. This God will not tolerate. It is inconsistent with his word and with our profession of faith. “Seek the Lord, all ye who are ministers of his. Seek him while he may be found, call upon him while he is near. “Let the wicked forsake his way, and the unrighteous man his thoughts; and let him return unto the Lord, and he will have mercy upon him; and to our God, or he will abundantly pardon.”EA 253.6

    As I presented these principles to the people in the Sabbath meeting, all seemed to feel that the Lord had spoken through the feeble instrument. We called upon those who wished to consecrate themselves to the Lord, and several responded. After these had borne their testimony, the rain came down in torrents. It seemed as if the windows of heaven were opened. I made this a symbol of what the Lord will do for his people in letting the latter rain of his rich blessing in truth and righteousness fall on them. We devoted some time to singing “The Evergreen Shore,” “Is My Name Written There?” “When the Mists Have Rolled Away,” and similar songs. As soon as the storm abated, we had a season of prayer, and Elder Daniells and Robinson prayed in the Spirit, as I had never heard them pray before.EA 254.1

    The Newcastle Camp-Meeting.EA 255.1

    There were no business meetings held in the Newcastle camp-meeting; and the people were free to devote their whole time to the spiritual interests of the meeting. The annual session of the conference had been held in the winter, just after the week of prayer; and the matter of raising funds for the school, the sanitarium, and the health food factory had been presented to all the churches a few weeks before. This gave to ministers and to people time to study the word, time to meditate, and opportunity to converse with those who visited the camp. It also left free to organize strong companies of workers to go out during the camp-meeting into Newcastle and its various suburbs to distribute literature, and to invite people to the meetings. But this means hundreds of persons were secured as regular attendants during the last half of the meeting, who might otherwise have thought little about it.EA 255.2

    The responsibilities of the meeting were wisely disturbed among many workers, so none were borne down by a crushing load. Brn. Daniells, Colcord, Tenney, and Starr spoke to the large audiences in the evenings. I usually attended the morning meetings, and spoke in the afternoon four times a week. Brn. Tenney and Lacey conducted daily meetings with the young people. The Bible studies on practical lessons given at these meetings were greatly appreciated; and before the camp-meeting closed, many of our young people took advanced steps in consecration. Bible studies were conducted in the large tent each day by Brn. Starr, Tenney, and Robinson.EA 255.3

    Lectures on health topics were given almost every day at five o’clock in the afternoon by Dr. Caro and Brn. Semmens and Reekie. These lectures awakened a great interest, and led to the organization of a large health club. (This work, if properly followed, should result in the establishment of a well-organized medical mission in Newcastle. But where can we look for the workers to conduct it, without weakening our work in Sydney? Our Sanitarium in Sydney ought to be put on such a footing that it could establish branches in other cities; and we pray earnestly that it may receive the support which the character of its work demands.)EA 255.4

    Children’s meetings were organized and led by Sister S.E. Peck, assisted by efficient Sabbath-School workers. A large number of children attended daily, but they were so quiet and orderly that by many their presence in the camp was hardly noticed. They seemed enthusiastic in their enjoyment of the meetings, and they exerted a strong influence for the encouragement of their parents to attend. I will give a brief outline of the work done, as written out by one who had a part in it. The Children’s Work.EA 255.5

    In the work done with and for the children at this meeting, an effort was made not only to help them, but to instruct and aid those who had been working, and others who wished a preparation for work, with the children in our Sabbath-schools.EA 255.6

    With this in view, the first Sabbath the children were organized into departments and classes, and the teachers began their work. Each day the teachers met for counsel and instruction. A part of the time of these meetings was devoted to the consideration of such subjects as—EA 255.7

    What makes a successful teacher?
    How to secure well-learned lessons. Value and danger of Object-Lessons.
    Need of Order, and how to secure it.
    Use of the Blackboard.
    EA 255.8

    The rest of the time was given to a careful study of the lessons to be given to the children. The subjects of the lessons given were as follows:—EA 255.9

    “Make Straight Paths for your Feet.”
    Parable of the Houses on the Rock and on the Sand.
    Parable of the Good Samaritan.
    Parable of the Prodigal Son.
    Parable of the Sower.
    EA 256.1

    Sabbath Dec. 31, 1898 EA 256.2

    The Sabbath School Lesson.
    Song Service.
    A Happy New Year, and How to Make It.
    The Evil of Small Sins.
    Parable of the Tares.
    Parable of the Lost Sheep.
    God’s Record Books, and the Book of Life.
    The New Jerusalem.
    The Sabbath School Lesson.
    The Candle Sermon: “Ye are the Light of the World.”
    EA 256.3

    A Lesson from Flowers and Fruit.EA 256.4

    The motto for the first week was “This Week for Jesus;” at the beginning of the second week it was changed to, “This Year for Jesus.”EA 256.5

    At the beginning of the work, there were six children in the primary department and fifteen in the kindergarten. As soon of the children in the surrounding neighborhood learned of the meetings being held for them, they began to attend, and each day found from twenty to thirty new ones added to our classes. The average daily attendance from the outside was between eighty and one hundred, and most of the children were very regular. The same spirit of attention, earnestness and order which characterized the services among the elder ones, marked the children’s meetings. Both in the class work and in the general review exercises the work was so arranged that the children had a part in doing as well as listening, and in this way they soon felt at home, and their eagerness to bear some part in the work testified to their interest.EA 256.6

    Each lesson opened with a general exercise, which was followed by the class studies; and at the close all reassembled for a brief review and song. In the opening exercises after the song and prayer, the motto, and all the memory verses previously learned were recited, either in concert or individually, or both. A short appropriate reading or recitation was given by one of the children who had previously volunteered to prepare it. The “Scripture Alphabet” was learned and recited by the children, each choosing his own letter and verse. The selection and learning of the verses were done at home, and these responsibilities placed upon the children proved an additional incentive for them to be present for the following day, and to be regular in attendance.EA 256.7

    The ready responses to the review exercises testified that the interest in the class work had been marked, and that many valuable truths had found their way into the hearts and minds of the children. As the children returned to their homes, the parents were surprised and pleased to hear them repeat the whole lesson. Many parents expressed in various ways their appreciation of the work that had been done for the children, and regretted that we must leave so soon.EA 256.8

    Several teachers from Sunday-schools attended the meetings, and expressed themselves as greatly pleased and benefitted by the work done. One gentleman, a Sunday-school superintendent, came on the grounds at the first of the meeting, as he afterward said, discouraged with his own work, and with a feeling of opposition to ours. He attended the children’s and teacher’s meetings regularly, and said that he gradually felt all his opposition leaving him, and found himself in hearty sympathy with our work. Before he had attended three lessons, he said he would like to become one of us; for he could feel a power which he did not know among his own people.EA 256.9

    Parents sometimes came with their children, and seemed as much interested as the little ones. Others, though not in harmony with their views, took the trouble neatly to dress their children, and allowed them to come. Some parents remarked that they did not know what we did with their children, but one thing was certain—the children would come, and they could not keep them at home. Some of the children came long distances, and we have reason to believe that much of the seed sown fell into good ground. Closing Work of the Meeting.EA 257.1

    On the second Sabbath the revival work was continued. After the morning service an appeal was made to the unconverted and those who desired to renew their connection with God. A large number responded. Then the congregation separated, those who were seeking a new experience being invited to another tent for counsel and prayer, while the rest of the congregation remained to engage in prayer for them. The effort was greatly blessed. To many it did indeed seem to mark the beginning of a new life.EA 257.2

    On the evening after the third Sabbath, Dr. Caro spoke to nearly 3000 persons on the subject “The Man and the Habit.” The lecture was illustrated by limelight views showing the terrible power of the habit as shown in the downward course of the drunkard, from the innocent child to the sin-hardened criminal. Solemn and instructive was this object lesson. The effects of the tobacco curse, the liquor curse, the opium curse, were vividly portrayed. Then a powerful appeal was made for the shielding of the youth from evil associations, and for the offer of a helping hand for the tempted and the fallen. At the close several hymns—“God be with You till we Meet Again” and others—were shown on the screen, and sung by the whole audience, with an earnest and feeling that made my heart glad.EA 257.3

    I never before attended a camp-meeting where it seemed so much as if the stately tread of the host of heaven was among us. Newcastle, with all its suburbs is deeply moved, and the interest extends to other towns and cities. Several ministers and workers remained here, and meetings continued in the large tent. We prayed for an abundant harvest from the seed that had been sown.EA 257.4

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