Clem Geue - About Sam Jones - 1978

It goes back to the years of 1850 ('51 and '52) when there was a big migration of Germans, people from Germany, over to South Australia, and they settled in communities in various areas and they gave these areas Bible names because they were highly religious people.  The district where my people lived was called Bethel which means the "House of God."  Another one was Bethany; one was Ebenezer, and so it went on-quite large areas of German-speaking people.  And they were very religious too; they belonged mainly to the Merabian religion.  Some of these folks were Lutherans, and so on.  My folks lived in the district which was called Bethel which means "House of God," but it proved that it was anything but that.  If anything, it should have been called the "House of Strife," because they had so much trouble amongst themselves religiously. 
          

It was in the year 1908 that our writer, Sam Jones, left Ireland.  He had heard the Gospel in the little town of Portadown, out from Belfast, so he was a Northern Irishman.  And it was marvelous how God worked to move him to bring the Gospel to that German community - an Irishman amongst the Germans.  It was the beginning of a wonderful bond of fellowship and friendship that lasted while Sam lived, and while my father was able to correspond with him because my father and mother were his first converts.  In the year 1908, Sam Jones came to Western Australia, and it was at the time, too, when things were still very difficult.  It was still the pioneering age; there were very few motor cars, and transport was difficult. So when Sam Jones and his companion landed there, they were told that in the southern part of our city of Perth was a little village where they probably could have meetings so the only way to go was to walk.  But there was very little response there, or hardly any.  So by this time, his companion felt that he couldn't face the hard conditions any longer there.  So he said to Sam that he felt he couldn't go any further; so Sam gave him the last bit of money they had and Sam struggled on alone.  For two nights, we hear, he slept in a dry river bed - no place to stay.  So he fell ill and some Gypsies found  him or met up with him, and they looked after him until he could recover sufficiently that he could meet the other workers.  And that brought him to the end of 1908. 
        

1909 was the first convention in my home state.  And there wasn't any in Western Australia, so the workers that were there were invited to South Australia to that first convention and then Sam Jones remained in South Australia for the next 20 years.  In 1909 was that first convention and we have that first record of Sam in South Australia in that hymn he wrote.  We have found the books; he was a great writer.  The reason why he wrote so much, it seems to be, is that he suffered a great deal with a heart condition which they were not able to treat in those days. So he never slept very well most times, and in his waking hours, he often wrote some of his hymns and his writings.  Now this is the first hymn we found in which he wrote (72), "The Truth of God so Precious I value More Each Day."  In this book that we have found, he has written this hymn in his own handwriting.  He has written, "It is one of my first hymns, written in the town of Gladstone, South Australia, in 1909."  So we knew then that he worked in the little districts of that state of which our community is at the bottom end of it.  So that was about 100 miles north of my people. You remember that hymn says, "The Truth of God so Precious, I value more each day," and the last line is, "Now I've a Tender Shepherd Who leads to pastures new."  I like the last two lines especially, where it says, "I never can forsake Him, He is My Guide."  That was Sam's motto right from the time he left Ireland - "He is my guide" - these words. All those hard conditions, lonely times, never made him give up, but kept moving on and the fact that he had said, "He is my Guide," moved him to keep coming closer and closer to our district. 
          

Sam got off at the railway train at Stockport, which is six miles from our home, and he asked the people in that area, could he have any mission in that place, but they said, "You go over to that district of Bethel; there's a community of Germans there that are fighting among themselves, and they seem to be in great disunity."  Now it happened like this, that when they took out residence in that country in 1850 and 1851, they were the first pioneers, and it was surveyed in 100-acre farms, and each had a farm like that and settled there.  But in the center of it, they had built a church - in the center of these hundred acre blocks.  A church, a school, a minister's residence, a band hall, and a teacher's residence. They were all very musical and all brought their bands from Germany.  And then they had their social gatherings and played for all the religious festivals.  There was a minister there at that time, and he seemed to be a very clever kind of man, and he had told these farmers, "You've all your own farms and all your business to tend to; if you put these 100 acres in my name, I can collect the receipts and I can pay out the accounts and I'll give you the results of it at the end of the year."  So they thought that was a good way out and they wouldn't have to bother about that side of the financial business. 
         

So after the years passed by he got too old to preach to their standard of things, and they had written to the headquarters in Germany for another minister.  So they wrote back that they had a young man that's well trained and can preach well, that they would send him out. So then the church committee told this old man that it was time for him to retire.  So he said, "Why should I?  I'm well able to continue."  So they said, "Well, we have a new man coming, and it's up to you to retire."  So he said, "You never told me about a new man coming."  So they said, "We didn't need to tell you; we're the governing body of all this here." "Well, he said, "I refuse to resign."  So they said, "You have to receive instructions from us."  But he said, "Well, you can't force me, because all this property is mine."  So they said, "You're only in trust here." He said, "However, the property is mine.  All of this, all the church buildings, everything belongs to me."  So then they got angry and they took it to court, and in summing up, the judge said, "He's got everything in a water-tight case; it belongs to him.  You can't do a thing."  So they took it to the appeal court, the high court.  They really couldn't afford it, but they were so upset over his attitude that they took him to high court.  And that appeal judge said the same thing, "It is a water-tight case;  It all belongs to him."  "But," he said, "I'll add this, he's acted as a man without a single Christian principle, a selfish-minded man."  So to get him out, he said, "The only way I'll leave this here is that you'll have to buy it at my price."  So he put  a very high price on it, so they had to really improverish themselves to get him out.  And then the new man came. 
            

It was just at that stage when Sam had landed in Stockport, and the people had said "You go over to the district of Bethel, that's where they need to hear the Gospel."  So he started to walk, no cars in those days. And in the distance he saw a man working in the field (that was my father), so he moved up to him.  Sam was still governed by that Spirit, "He is my Guide."  So they met, and he asked my father, "Now is there a place where we can have Gospel Meetings?"  My father asked him the usual questions, "What is your name?"  and he said, "Sam Jones."  So he said, "What do you represent?"  Sam said, "I just preach Jesus Christ for the love of Jesus."  It was that last phrase that struck the right chord in my father's heart, what he had longed to hear for a long time, somebody preaching for the love of Jesus.  So that was the great theme that moved Sam. In most of his hymns, you'll trace that he writes about the Love of God.  There is that one in our book (201), "Not beyond the Love of Jesus...boundless is His Love and Mercy, deeper than the deepest sea, vast, unending, never failing, sure for all Eternity...Not beyond the Love of Jesus, His vast unmeasured wealth of love, sweet the thought my heart retaineth, 'I am not beyond  His Love.'"  So you can trace that right through.  Some of those contrasted with that other one (254), "I Love the perfect Way that leads to God  and rest."  Hymn 201 says, "Love begets the Love He asketh."  Hymn 254 says the Love has been begotten where He says, "I Love the Perfect Way."  I think 5 times in that hymn he says, "I Love."  "I Love the Perfect Way...I Love to follow Jesus...I Love His Holy Name...I love the path He trod...(chorus) I Love My Shepherd true."  So this was the love that was a burning flame within Sam's heart. So when he said to my father, "For the love of Jesus." He proved it in every sense.  So my father said, "That's just what we need here.  They only preach here for the love of money and we have no end of trouble."  So my father said, "I'm only a junior here (my father was only married about 9 months then); you go to the new minister and you tell him you would like to preach in his church; because if you preach for the love of Jesus, you should be given a hearing.  'Twould be the answer to all our troubles here."  Then he said, "And if he won't give it to you, ask the chairman of the band hall.  Because we only use it two evenings a week; he should give it to you."  Then my father says he added something that he was surprised at the time he said it, "If they won't give it to you, you come and have meetings in our home."  (Because he thought that if anybody would preach for the love of Jesus he should be given a hearing, it's the greatest message.)  So by evening Sam was back and he said, "The new minister has refused to give the church because he says he can supply all the spiritual needs of the district.  The chairman of the band hall said they don't give it for religious meetings."  So my father got angry and he said, "They should have given it to you because that's a great message."  He said, "I'll honor my promise:  You come and have meetings in our home."  So that's how they started. Sam got a young companion from New Zealand by the name of Jim Balance, and my father said he was very young in the work and he couldn't preach at all because he was so nervous and shy.  He used to get tongue-tied before he got very far and Sam would very graciously say, "That's all right, Jim, you just sit down for awhile.  We'll sing a hymn, and you collect your thoughts and we'll try again."  My father said, "We don't remember a thing he said, but we remember his sincerity and his earnestness."  After the hymn, he'd get up again and try again, and that sincerity and earnestness was such a contrast to the fine orator of the minister.  So they knew the minister wasn't any better than the old man as far as having any feeling and consideration for his congregation. 
           

This young man (the new minister) didn't attend the mission until the whole district was turning out, and he heard the reports, some were siding with Sam, some were finding fault, so he thought, "Well, this has gone far enough."  So he let it be known that he'd expose them at the next service - Sam and Jim.  So he invited all the congregation to come and he said, "I'll tell you what they are like."  So everybody went to church that Sunday, and then he started, and he said, "Now, these men have come and we hardly know where they've come.  They'll be here today and gone tomorrow, and then you'll be left high and dry.  They cannot tell you any more than I can tell you."  And he said, "They are wolves in sheep's clothing."  He got all worked up.  "They are hypocrites of the worst kind.  Don't give them any hearing.  Never let them in your home.  And just tell them to move on."  My father just couldn't take it any longer, because he had heard enough to know the sincerity and earnestness of both, so he jumped up and he started to walk out.  Mother jumped up and followed him.  An uncle and aunt did the same thing.  Among the number, 24 of them walked out, and they kept calling out as they were going out, "Come, lost sheep, come back."  But they wouldn't go back. And as that number went out, he said, "Silly fools, they'll all be back in six months."  They never went back; that was the day of their decision.  Sam tested the meeting that night and they all stood up again, and they never turned back.  So then, of course it brought a great division into the whole district and amongst some homes too.  That was about the time Sam Jones wrote that other hymn (408), "No Reputation, with Jesus I go..."  You see, my father was a bandmaster and choir leader and so on, so when he made his decision, he resigned.  His music was his passion, his life, besides farming.  So then he burnt all the music he had because it was his temptation - marches, waltzes, all of them, he put away.  He went and sold his trumpet so he wouldn't be tempted to go into that social life again. 
         

We sometime later went over to our cousins.  It was passed from generation, all this band music and instruments, and they were trying to coax us into it.  So I said to my father one day, "Why did you sell your trumpet?"  "Well," he said, "For this reason, that it was my idol.  I polished it, admired it, I played it at every turn.  It's not wrong to have a trumpet if you own it, but if it owns you, it's an idol."  "It has the place God should have," he said.  "I'd discourage you from getting one, because you have my nature.  I'll teach you how to play the piano."  It was at that stage that a vacuum had more or less set in and Sam knew it.  So he wrote those words, "No Reputation with Jesus  I go; Willingly, cheerfully, my life to sow...Misunderstood and by worldlings despised..."  He said to my father, "Put a tune to that."  And that brought them closer together, an Irishman, and a German, who had nothing in common normally were being drawn closer and closer together. In that church that day there was one young girl that saw all this happening.  She had been to the meetings and her heart was won.  But her parents swung the other way and she told her parents afterwards, as they talked about this upheaval, she said, "Well, I would like to continue to go to those meetings."  They said, "You are not to go, they're the worst kind."  But she said, "They speak about Jesus and the love of Jesus."  But they refused to let her go, so for two years she was kept a prisoner, more or less.  She refused to go to church, they wouldn't let her go to the meetings, but she had a cousin that used to try to help her as much as he could.  He worked for my father and he was one of those that walked out that day.  Well, he went into the work then, and he joined up with Jim Jardine.  You may have heard of him, and they pioneered the work in Germany in 1913.



The war broke out then and they couldn't go to England because they came from Germany and were of German stock so they came over here to the States.  And I was surprised to find a link here in Wisconsin.  George Walker asked them (Arthur Schmidt was his name) to go up to that part because there were Germans there.  And he preached there for about four years, around there, very successful missions.  When I went to Marion the other day for that convention I found out, the people told me, that it was that convention ground that Arthur Schmidt helped to start in 1916. Now, I come out this way (Arthur was at our home the day I was born.  He helped me to toddle my fist steps and he said he'd take me to Germany for the work.  But that part didn't work out.)  And here at Marion where he had worked a mission, I met an old lady who had professed in this mission; and met another lady who said, "I'm living in the old school room where they had the mission," and she said, "It's been turned into a residence now."  I met the second generation by the name of Jeskys, whose parents had professed in Arthur's mission.  Well, it was Arthur Schmidt's cousin who wanted to go to meeting, but was refused.  Her name was Freda Schmidt.  She left home when she became 21, and the opportunity opened up for her to go into the work.  When she went into the work, she told her mother about it, and her mother turned on her; she said, "I'd rather see you dead in the cemetery than see you go."  But she said, "I'm preaching for the love of Jesus,"  Anyway, she kept going.


Then another side of the story was that when I was born in 1910, nine months after that upheaval (my people professed in April, 1910).  I was born in November, and evidently I was quite a handful.  So mother called her younger sister from over in another community, to be with her. So they took her to the meeting and she professed.  When she got back home she got into trouble, because Grandfather was very opposed to it, her father and he wrote one of the most hostile letters to my father that he ever got.  He said, "You're to blame.  You let those two men into your district, now to think that my daughter..." and then he said, "she's not to go to a single meeting."  Then she was a prisoner.  Soon he wrote to my father, "You've let these men in, that have torn homes apart."  It's sad, but then only a month or two later, one of my auntie's brothers got caught in an oil engine as he was starting it and he was torn to pieces in it.  Well, this softened grandfather a bit and then another uncle was out plowing with the horses, and when he was turning the corner, he over-balanced, and he pulled on the horses to stop, and they stopped with the wheel on top of him and he was killed.  So that softened my grandfather enough to let my auntie go to the meetings.  Her name was Olga Hastings.  So the two of them, my auntie and Freda Schmidt, went to Germany to preach in 1924, with a brother from here.  You may know his name, Arnol Sharman.  So the three went to Germany in 1924.  They were there for 52 years.  Arnold wrote to me two years ago and asked me to come to Germany to bring them home, their strength was gone.  My auntie was 87 at that time, and Freda was about 84.  So I had the conventions in Germany and brought them home, back to their own home.  Auntie lived to see that convention through and she died just three months after getting home, and Freda died about ten months later.  Both of them are buried in the same grave in the old home cemetery, beside my own mother, my uncle and aunt, and those two boys that professed in 1910, Walter Houston and Gustave Jennings.  So there were three from that generation to go in the work, and there were eight of us from the next generation.


Just to mention in closing about the hymns:  there is that one (253), "I'm Satisfied in Jesus Now."  When Sam was preaching then for 20 years or more in South Australia, he moved down to the city of Canberra in the southern end of South Australia, and it was a place where it was very hard to get a bach.  And somebody told him there was a large horse stable in the outskirts of the town and you may find a place there to stay.  So Sam was a great lover of animals, of nature and so on, he and his companion stayed the first night, and stayed on for more than that, working a mission there.  Some professed.  It was in those uninviting circumstances that he wrote that hymn, "I'm Satisfied in Jesus Now."  Not when I get out of here, but now.  It is one of the best hymns he's ever written.  In India, there was a Hindu lecturer of English who attended the meetings.  He didn't profess, but he was impressed by that hymn. After the service, he came and spoke to one of the brothers and said, "This is one of the finest hymns that I've seen, because every line is a complete statement and expresses a wonderful thought."  "Now," he says, "The finest line (I'm satisfied in Jesus now) is a statement, full and complete.  Then 'I feel the pressure of His hand, assuring me that He is mine.'  'My weary heart has found its home.'  Each a definite statement, full and complete.  Then the chorus, the best part of it, an expression again about the love of God:  'Oh, Fellowship supremely sweet, Oh matchless Love so pure, Divine; My soul has found a sure retreat, the lowly Jesus now is mine.'"


Perhaps I might speak about the other poet that lived there, a Scottish poet, Adam Lindsey Gordon.  He was before Sam's time.  He came out and joined the police force as a trooper.  He was a very daring, skillful rider.  Mt. Gambier is at the foot of an old volcano, a large crater filled as a lake now, very scenic, a picture.  Around the perimeter of it, they have built a road and Gordon was challenged one day that he couldn't jump his horse from one side of the bend right over to the other side, something like 50 feet.  So he took up the challenge, and he jumped his horse clean over the chasm.  If he'd missed, it was 350 feet down to the water, sure death.  Then he turned the horse around and galloped and jumped again the other way.  Why I mentioned this is that there is now a pillar marking this, it is called "Adam's Leap" marking what they call the greatest deed.  But then 18 miles away, he had his retreat.  He was a kind of restless type of man.  He was member of Parliament at one stage; he lived a very social life.  There were reckless things he did with his horse, but ever restless.  But he used to get to this retreat, 18 miles away where he had built a little home, a very fine, quiet spot.  That was, too, where Sam wrote some of the hymns when he worked a mission down there.  But he's long since dead, Adam Lindsey Gordon, but that was where he wrote a lot of his poetry, and that was where he wrote that fine verse that seemed to impress Sam so much.  It was, "Life is mostly froth and bubble, two things stand like stone:  kindness in another's trouble, courage in your own."  Well, he lived too fast a life, and at one stage he had to face the bankruptcy court because he had lived beyond his means.  The shame of it was more than he could take and he took a gun and went and shot himself down at the beach.  He had written, "Kindness in another's trouble, courage in your own" and he couldn't take it.  Sam had written those words, "My restless soul is calm and still; My weary heart has found its home."  This man never seemed to find it.


I was in London two years ago, and we were passing Westminster Abbey where some of the kings and queens and great people are buried.  On one side is the poet's corner and there is Adam Lindsey Gordon's bust in marble, just the date he was born and when he died.  But life was only froth and bubble to him.  Sam, as far as the world is concerned, is unrecognized, but his hymn lives to us still, "I'm Satisfied in Jesus Now."  Lindsey never found the secret of it, never really looked to the right source of it. Then I'll just finish with a hymn.  It isn't Sam's, but it is equally important to us because it's a West Australian hymn. It is 292.  It's a hymn that means a lot to me because I knew the man that wrote it, too, and it had its effect in my life.  It was written by a Baptist minister. Well, he wasn't one then.  He was a minister by the name of Radford, Eustace Radford.  In 1913, two sister workers were in the suburb of our city of Perth, and they met his wife.  They never had any children, but his wife was one of the finest women they ever met.  I just met her; I didn't know her well.  She was a very gracious lady, gentle, and because they  had no children they were very close to each other.  So she met these sister workers and she told them, "I think my husband will give you the church to preach in if you ask him."  So she spoke for them to him. And he agreed to let them have his church on the nights he didn't preach. So they held those meetings for awhile, but he didn't attend; however, he used to listen from the vestry.  It was getting him very disturbed and he couldn't gainsay what they said because it was all backed up by the scriptures.  So he had a talk with them one time, and then he confessed.  He said, "I've been listening.  I know what you preach is correct.  I know that I've been on the wrong track.  I'm willing to accept what you have said and follow the truth as it is in Jesus."  Then he said, "I would like you to come to my last service next Sunday; it's my last one.  I'll have to tell the congregation what has happened and I'd like you to be there."


So they went along.  He had a hymn, just a short prayer, then they had another hymn, and then he got up and he said (one of the sister workers told me this herself, the younger worker, she died just only recently), "I'm sorry to tell you that all these years I've been deceiving you ignorantly, and I have been deceived too.  But the two ladies have been preaching the truth as it is in Jesus and I recognize what is the right way now, and I'm willing to follow as it has been revealed to me.  I advise all you people to make the same decision as I and my wife have made."  Only one family responded.  The rest wouldn't.  So he gave out that hymn that's in our book (224), "O Jesus I have promised to serve Thee to the end.  Be Thou forever near me, my Master and my Friend."  I met him (Eustace Radford) in 1948 which was my second time back to Ceylon.  So leaving out of our city of Perth, the port is freemantle, was our last line with Australia.  The goodbyes had been said, and I didn't always feel the brightest leaving father and mother and so on, so he was down at the wharf and he must have been watching.  So he came over to me and he said, "I know how you're feeling.  We get down a bit sometimes. I'll tell you about a hymn that I wrote the night my wife died.  She died in 1932 and we were so close that when she died, I thought my world had all gone to pieces.  The bottom had dropped out of everything.  But I got down and prayed and asked God to help me, and then these words came to me:  'In times of deepest darkness, of sorrow and distress,  The Lord draws near to chasten, to comfort and to bless.  His hand outstretched in mercy corrects our wandering feet, and draws through mists and shadows to fellowship more sweet.'"  Then he said, "Now, listen to the second verse," and he put his hand on my shoulder, "How can we fear the future when love has planned the way which leads o'er hills and valleys to one eternal day?"  "Now," he said, "You're not going on a holiday, or kind of adventure of your own.  Love has planned the way.  So you've got nothing to fear.  How can you fear the future?"  And then another part of a verse came to him, "E'en death at last is conquered, the grave has lost its fear; and all faith sees is heaven, throw wide its portals here."  That part is on their tombstone in that cemetery where they are buried close to Sam Jones.  Then the last verse, "So, struggling soul, press onward, and keep the goal in view; What God has done in others, He, too, can do in you.  Fear neither past nor future; Let love the victory give, and through eternal ages your soul in Christ shall live."  I never forgot that old man's words.  I never saw him again, but he lives in my memory. Those things always come to me. He speaks about three fears there:  (1) How can we fear the future? (2) The grave has lost its fear. (3) Fear neither past nor future.  That man's words sent me on my way rejoicing back to these people, to Ceylon.


Well, that is a little bit of it. I often say the Kingdom of God is built on sacrifice, and it is maintained by sacrifice, mostly the great sacrifice of Jesus of leaving the Glories of Heaven, and then others' sacrifice to bring the Gospel to Sam Jones and the love of God gripped him and he counted it no sacrifice to leave the green fields of Ireland to come out to the primitive farms and the pioneering country of Western Australia with its lack of conveniences and comforts.  Love urged him on. "The Truth of God so Precious I value more each day."  That moved him to say, "He is My Guide." and then my father heard him say, "I preach for the love of Jesus," and saw the sacrifice of Sam and Jim, and he wasn't ashamed to jump up and leave the church that day for the last time.  I feel that even for myself, it is such a sacrifice of others here in the United States.  It was such a privilege to meet George Walker coming here in 1903 and see the love and zeal that he has.  Sacrifice is moving them on, maintained by sacrifice, but none of them counting it as sacrifice. The same is here, in this the state of California, where the servants labor, not counting it a sacrifice because love never counts anything it does as a sacrifice. It's a precious privilege to be with you.  I thank you for listening.


From a review of hymns old and new:  Sam Jones was born in Portadown, North Ireland, in 1877.  He went forth to preach in 1902 and in 1908 went to South Australia.  He moved to Western Australia about 1909, and from there to Tasmania, where he spent about twenty years.  He had not been home for 30 years when he came back to England in 1938.  He returned to Australia.  He died of heart failure on Sunday, April 14, 1946.  Sam Jones might well be called, "The sweet psalmist of Israel" in our day because of the number of hymns he wrote and their fragrance and spiritual thought.  He loved to dwell much on the theme of redemption and God's will and purpose to conform us to His image.


The following is a list of 104 of Sam's hymns found in our present book:  3, 14, 19, 22, 27, 29, 32, 34, 40, 42, 44, 50, 53, 67, 76, 77, 78, 80, 92, 94, 103, 107, 111, 114, 116, 121, 122, 126, 131, 134, 135, 136, 142, 143, 144, 145, 147, 148, 149, 150, 152, 154, 155, 162, 169, 177, 185, 186, 188, 190, 192, 194, 199, 200, 201, 202, 203, 205, 206, 211, 212, 213, 217, 219, 222, 233, 241,  246, 249, 250, 252, 253, 254, 262, 264, 268, 273, 274, 275, 290, 295, 307, 309, 311, 313, 316, 318, 326, 331, 336, 345, 346, 360, 371, 373,  374, 380, 390, 391, 393, 394, 396, and 408.



*  Written as it was spoken by Clem Geue (pronounced "GOY")

 
*  Hymn numbers are updated to the 1981 English edition