Letters and Manuscripts — Volume 6

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Lt 115, 1890

Olsen, O. A.

Battle Creek, Michigan

June 21, 1890

This letter is published in entirety in 1888 675-682.

Dear Brother Olsen:

I just returned from an eight-mile ride in the country. Your letter was found on my table. Thank you for writing to me. We answered the telegram from Nashua that Willie’s wife sleeps, that the funeral will be next Tuesday. But it cannot be before Wednesday. They leave Boulder today, June 21, and cannot get there before Tuesday. You see at once that I could not leave at this time. After the funeral, it is possible for me to go Thursday and be with you over Sabbath and Sunday. But I would have to have an attendant, and would it not be a needless expense? 6LtMs, Lt 115, 1890, par. 1

W. C. White is desirous I should be here at the meeting of the Ministers’ Council in July. So you see, I would have to come directly back over the ground again. I have decided it would not pay to attend the meeting at so great expense, and it might be very wearisome to me. 6LtMs, Lt 115, 1890, par. 2

I expect a letter from Willie with particulars, what arrangements to make for Mary’s funeral. I thought it is the least we can do to show as much respect as possible for the faithful one. 6LtMs, Lt 115, 1890, par. 3

I question whether I could bear the taxation of any camp meetings this season. That notice was put in the Review without one word spoken to me, without one word of encouragement from me. I made no statement from which inference could be drawn that I would attend one meeting this summer. My whole burden is to get my writings in shape for publication. I have not spared myself, but I have labored, I may say, day and night without periods of rest. I have been so burdened that I could not sleep. The Lord was setting things before me and He strengthened me to meet the different issues that were arising. When the meeting closed at Battle Creek I should have had complete rest if I could find it, for I had labored early and late, writing out important matters to meet and correct the prejudice, the misconstruing of things, the misinterpretation of matters. 6LtMs, Lt 115, 1890, par. 4

I will ask no pay of the conference for the remainder of the year, for I am not in a fit condition to travel and labor. I fear, without special direction from the Lord bidding me to go and bear my testimony, I shall be presumptuous. I know that Jesus is my Restorer, but [I shall be presumptuous] if I do as I have done, carrying the burdens I have carried without change or rest, and going wherever invited because I fear I should show want of faith if I do not go. Thus I have worked ever since I stepped from the steamer upon American soil, and Satan had worked up matters so that my burdens and labors could be fifty-fold greater than there was any need of these being. Brother Butler has been at the foundation of it all, but he makes no confession and writes in the papers as though he were all right. 6LtMs, Lt 115, 1890, par. 5

Now unless the Lord bids me, I shall not address the church here in Battle Creek until Elder Smith and those who have been in harmony with him show their colors. I set no stakes in this, but I will know that the Lord bids me before I get the burden on my soul for the ones for whom I have labored so hard without the least acknowledgment or response or retraction on their part. I have had to vindicate myself and my brethren, press with all my powers against the prejudice, unbelief, false statements, and misrepresentations until it almost gives me a nervous chill to think of the blindness and unreasonable Phariseeism that has been adjusted as a garment about men in prominent positions. If they have changed their course of criticism and scattering the seeds of doubt and unsettling the confidence of the churches in the testimonies, I ask, who is the wiser for it? What confession and restitution and restoring of confidence have they done? Will the past be blotted out of the books of heaven where they are registered without one humiliation on their part for wounding and bruising the souls of God’s people by their jealousies, evil surmisings and opposition to that which is pure Bible truth, just because they were unwilling it should come from the source which the Lord chose to send it? 6LtMs, Lt 115, 1890, par. 6

Well, Brother Olsen, I do not, cannot, believe it is duty for you to work on the high pressure plan. You may do this, and the more you do, the more it is considered you can do, and the lesser burdens others bear. Hold on, Bro. Olsen, put down the brakes, give yourself periods of rest and you will go forth fresh to endure another strain. But work less. For the sake of Christ who has bought you, work less. You have no right to draw from the bank until the last farthing is withdrawn. Leave a deposit, my brother. If the example of the men you mention, laborers for God who are going down into the grave, is not a sufficient rebuke to you and to me and others, please tell me what greater evidence we can have that it is duty to unload and to be careful to walk circumspectly and not presumptuously. Unload, Brother Olsen. Freshen up with periods of rest. 6LtMs, Lt 115, 1890, par. 7

You are attending too many camp meetings. Your presence is desirable and will be claimed, but it is duty for you to learn to say, “No, brethren, I will give you all the labor I can consistently and not imperil my health. If I should be laid upon a sick bed as is my brother, which will probably prove his dying bed, then my work ceases forever. I cannot give you either counsel or encouragement. Please then, brethren, I will do all I can and not abuse the powers God has entrusted to me to use wisely. May the Lord help me to do this.” 6LtMs, Lt 115, 1890, par. 8

My whole soul is grieved beyond expression as I see the dearth of laborers. I tell you, something is wrong. We want to see where we are making mistakes. Our conferences are not strengthening and growing in the knowledge of God and working as missionaries to create a missionary spirit, not merely for foreign fields, but they can look right about them and see the fields all white, ready for the sickle. Home missions have been sadly neglected. May the Lord work mightily upon human hearts and correct existing evils is my prayer. Elder Olsen, you complain of not being able to do one-half of what you ought to do. Is not this because there are so few doing anything? 6LtMs, Lt 115, 1890, par. 9

I have just received a letter from Sara giving the first account we have heard of Mary’s death. She died praising the Lord. Mary bade farewell with cheerfulness. Her children, especially, received her attention. Then Ella went upstairs weeping and she said, “I feel very sad, but somehow my heart is happy. It will be only a little while and I shall meet my dear mother, and I mean to so live that I can meet her in heaven.” Ella is nine years old the seventeenth of next January. Mabel, four the first of November next. Poor little motherless lambs! But the Lord will gently lead the lambs of the flock. Poor Willie is indeed bereaved. He never is demonstrative, therefore he will mourn alone and feel it deeper. My heart is sore and sad. They will be at Battle Creek Tuesday afternoon. I have received no news when the funeral will be. Suppose it will be Wednesday. 6LtMs, Lt 115, 1890, par. 10

I have just received a letter from the president of the Ohio Conference making an earnest plea for me to be at the camp meeting. Now that that notice was put in the paper I expect to receive many such pleading letters. But the way my testimonies have been treated by those who should have sustained me has made my most earnest labors with them and others whom they influenced of none effect. Let them now substitute that which they suppose is a better, safer thing than the labors of Sister White. Let these good brethren come in and strengthen the things that are ready to die. Brother Irwin says that spirituality is at a very low ebb all through the conference. 6LtMs, Lt 115, 1890, par. 11

Will those who have withstood my labors and made of none effect the light given of God for the people now take this responsibility and labor to bring in a better state of things? I am troubled deeply, but I have no light to attend any camp meetings. I do not see what use it is for me to bear my testimony, and the ministers that hear it feel it their privilege to receive or reject it as best pleases them. Let them work until they shall be convinced that God is in earnest with them. 6LtMs, Lt 115, 1890, par. 12

Well, I am praying for strength. My heart is weak and I am pained for the outlook which you mention. But do not kill yourself, for then we will have one less laborer who is enthused by the Spirit of God to work. 6LtMs, Lt 115, 1890, par. 13

Will you present to the camp meeting the necessity of handling Volume 4 [The Great Controversy]? It contains warnings and the prophecy of future events which will come. All should be informed that they may know how to meet these things—trials, deceptions, delusions of the devil. Here, again, Satan has wrought to keep from the people the very light needed for the present time. And no pen or voice is raised to set this thing before our people in its true bearing. I invested $3,000 to enlarge Volume 4, and have only received twelve cents and a half per copy. I own the plates and paid for the publishing of the book myself, and then our people shoved in the Bible Readings, a cheap book easily handled, and nearly every canvasser dropped Volume 4 to handle that book. 6LtMs, Lt 115, 1890, par. 14

Those educating the canvassers could, if they saw the necessity of this work, handle the matter in such a way that Bible Readings will not be all absorbing and be carried to the neglect of the very books containing the knowledge which the people need now. With proper instruction, the relative importance of the books handled could be set before the canvassers. But the understanding is blunted in this line as well as in other respects, that the light God has given to guard and instruct His people should be made of little or no account. The door is closed by their own course of action. The instruction given to me and bidden me give to the people that all may be enlightened is made of no importance. This has burdened me beyond expression. I must take my pen and lift my voice in urging the work on books that the Lord has signified to me must be brought before the people without delay. But who of our brethren has felt a burden to carry out the mind and will of God in this matter? 6LtMs, Lt 115, 1890, par. 15

There lie the books scarcely touched on the shelves. They fall dead from the press, and my money to reproduce books is tied up in these books unhandled. I thought I would have means coming in on the strength of large sales which were held up before me. I donated some fifteen hundred dollars the first year of labor in America after leaving Europe. All the money to meet these donations I hired at seven percent interest. I do not regret the donations because they were really needed. I have had to work every way to pay my helpers making books. I am going deeper and deeper in debt, and if this is the way the matters are to go I shall have to take my books in my own hands and see that the people have what God designs they shall have. I have given away copies of Volume 4 that amount to above $100. I cannot go on in this way much longer. I must stop working in getting out books unless there is a different principle that moves our brethren to circulate them. 6LtMs, Lt 115, 1890, par. 16

Volume 1 [Patriarchs and Prophets] is coming out nearly completed, after a long tedious delay for want of corrections. But I shall be driven to do something. Now the talk is, Volume 1 is out, and Volume 4 must lie over unhandled another year. I will not consent to it. If the system of canvassing is such that both books cannot be handled, one by one set of canvassers, another by another set of canvassers, then let Volume 1 remain still and Volume 4 be circulated. 6LtMs, Lt 115, 1890, par. 17

I have to confess that I have not felt that my work has been understood or appreciated. If God has given light for His people in these last days, what does it mean for brethren to let everything else come in and close the door to the very special light for this very time? How long shall this thing continue and I keep silent? If the machinery of canvassing has to run in this way, that they must have the whole control of the book selling, and in their work drop out the very works God has signified should come to the people, shall my hands be bound that I can do nothing? Shall I not make every effort in my power to get these books before as many as possible? 6LtMs, Lt 115, 1890, par. 18

I have thought of having boxes of books shipped to camp meetings, selling Volume 4 myself—it need not pass through the hands of canvassers if they are so reluctant to handle them—and I receive the profits after all expense is met. 6LtMs, Lt 115, 1890, par. 19

I have come to the positive necessity to plan and devise, and then change my plans and devise again, to get means to meet running expenses. I refuse to live in this way any longer. If my brethren allow me to carry this burden longer in this way, I will certainly know that God does not lead them and me. One of us is not moving in God’s order. I think it time to call a halt and see what powers are moving us. 6LtMs, Lt 115, 1890, par. 20

Every Sabbath-keeping family should have Volume 4. But have they? No, indeed. And then the world should have all that can be got before them, for it bears witness to the truth. I am not satisfied. I can but plan and devise some means day and night to carry out the purpose of God made known to me. I have waited for my brethren to act as long as I can afford to do this. Now, in the name of the Lord, I shall do something. My children hold their peace because they fear they will be charged with having selfish interest. The Lord looks on to see who has any burden, while Satan is moved from beneath to thwart the work of God with his hellish deceptions at this time. 6LtMs, Lt 115, 1890, par. 21

The Lord presented the matter before me and said, “Write all the things thou hast seen, and bear faithful witness to the people and prepare the way of the Lord.” Who has the responsibility of preventing this work from being done? Have I done all I should do, is the thought that worries me and robs me of sleep. 6LtMs, Lt 115, 1890, par. 22

Well, I will say no more on this point. But be assured I shall not much longer wait for my brethren in positions of trust to do their duty. If they see no need of doing anything, if they remain silent, then I shall not let the matter rest as it has done for more than one year. If their pens and voices have nothing to say, then God will hold me responsible to whom He has given light and said, “Write the things that thou hast seen and let the light go to all nations, tongues and people, into all the byways and highways. My angels shall prepare the way.” But Satan will work with masterly power not only among unbelievers, but believers, to close the door that the very special light shall not do its work. What am I to do, Elder Olsen? I have no rest day nor night in spirit. 6LtMs, Lt 115, 1890, par. 23

Much love to Sister Olsen. 6LtMs, Lt 115, 1890, par. 24