Letters and Manuscripts — Volume 7

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Lt 46, 1892

Olsen, O. A.

George’s Terrace, St. Kilda Road, Melbourne, Australia

December 13, 1892

Portions of this letter are published in 3SM 84-85; 5MR 454; 4Bio 45, 48, 50.

Elder O. A. Olsen:

The first term of our Bible School has just ended. Today we attended the closing exercises. The school room was well filled with students and those interested in the school. We had an excellent season together. Remarks were made by Brethren Rousseau, Starr, and Daniells, also by Willie and myself. Testimonies were borne by the students, expressing their gratitude to God for the opportunity they had had of attending the school, saying they had been blessed in their studies. They were especially grateful for the light received from the Word of God. They had been so happy in their associations. Many regretted that the school must close and this precious season come to an end. All the students seemed to be in perfect harmony with the teachers and with their associates. I never saw anything like this. Such tenderness and perfect unity. All were determined to be present and enjoy the next term. The school has been a success. Everything has moved off harmoniously. 7LtMs, Lt 46, 1892, par. 1

There were some of our people who did not send their children to [the] school; they were waiting to see if it would prove a success. I was reminded of those who pursued the same course away back in our early experience in the matter of organization. After the Lord had revealed His will and given light in reference to the matter, there were some, yes, quite a large number who did not give their support in this advance step. They kept entirely silent. A very few sustained my husband, and we fought the battle over and over again, obtaining a decided victory in every conflict. Some who did not oppose said that before taking their position, they would wait to see the working out of the enterprise. Some placed themselves in a position of questioning and criticizing, and others of noncommittal. 7LtMs, Lt 46, 1892, par. 2

The Lord did not honor their unbelief. In refusing to move forward until they knew for a certainty that the undertaking would succeed, they placed themselves where their influence hindered the work. These lost a precious blessing. They did not discern and follow closely the opening providence of God. They did not heed the command, “Go forward.” If the children of Israel had waited until they saw distinctly the path opened for them in the Red Sea, they would never have crossed it. But they obeyed the word, “Go forward,” and as their feet stepped into the very waters, the sea was rolled back, a path was opened before them, and they went safely over. [Exodus 14:15 ff..] 7LtMs, Lt 46, 1892, par. 3

Those in this country who waited to see whether the school would be a success before they would patronize it have lost a great blessing. Notwithstanding their unbelief, we went forward by faith. Those who attended the first term of the school have had most precious opportunities. The knowledge of the Bible they had gained will be worth more to them than gold and silver. 7LtMs, Lt 46, 1892, par. 4

The faculty have made few rules and have not had one case where discipline was required. Peace and harmony have reigned from first to last. The presence of Jesus has been in the school from its beginning, and the Lord has wrought upon the minds of teachers and pupils. Without an exception, all the pupils have responded to the efforts made in their behalf, advancing step by step in obtaining knowledge, by doing their best. This first term has proved a success beyond all that we had hoped for, and we praise the Lord for His blessing. 7LtMs, Lt 46, 1892, par. 5

During the conference here last December, I labored most earnestly. The Spirit of the Lord came upon me in a marked manner, and I spoke plainly. I seemed to be carried out of and away from myself. The manifestation of the Spirit was so evident that all acknowledge that it was of God. In speaking, I dwelt upon general principles, and I hoped to see decided evidence that the Spirit of God was working on the hearts of the members of the church, especially of those in the office. But the work was limited to a few. I then began to write out personal testimonies, but my severe illness prevented me from laboring for individuals. But I was present in many council meetings and read what I had written, setting forth general principles. The Lord gave me great freedom in this work. 7LtMs, Lt 46, 1892, par. 6

In many things I knew there was need of reform in the office; but I could not attend meetings in the public halls, so the people were deprived of my testimony. If we had had a comfortable place of worship, I might have attended meeting during much of the time in winter. I did all I could when it was deemed safe for me to go out. In September I went to Adelaide, and afterwards to Ballarat. I was absent from Melbourne three months. 7LtMs, Lt 46, 1892, par. 7

We returned December 12th. On the evening of the next day, Brother [Faulkhead] called to see me. The burden of his case was upon my mind. I told him that I had a message for him and his wife, which I had several times prepared to send them, but I had felt forbidden by the Spirit of the Lord to do so. I asked him to appoint a time when I could see them. 7LtMs, Lt 46, 1892, par. 8

He answered, “I am glad you did not send me a written communication; I would rather have the message from your lips; had it come in another way I do not think it would have done me any good.” He then asked, “Why not give me the message now?” I said, “Can you remain to hear it?” He replied that he would do so. 7LtMs, Lt 46, 1892, par. 9

I was very weary, for I had attended the closing exercises of the school that day; but I now arose from the bed where I was lying, and read to him for three hours. His heart was softened, tears were in his eyes, and when I ceased reading, he said, “I accept every word; all of it belongs to me.” 7LtMs, Lt 46, 1892, par. 10

Much of the matter I had read related to the Echo office and its management from the beginning. The Lord also revealed to me Brother [Faulkhead’s] connection with the Freemasons, and I plainly stated that unless he severed every tie that bound him to these associations he would lose his soul. 7LtMs, Lt 46, 1892, par. 11

He said, “I accept the light the Lord has sent me through you. I will act upon it. I am a member of five lodges, and three other lodges are under my control. I transact all of their business. Now I shall attend no more of their meetings, and shall close my business relations with them as fast as possible.” 7LtMs, Lt 46, 1892, par. 12

I repeated to him the words spoken by my guide in reference to these associations. Giving a certain movement that was made by my guide, I said, “I cannot relate all that was given to me.” Brother [Faulkhead] told Elder Daniells and others that I gave the particular sign known only by the highest order of Masons, which he had just entered. He said that I did not know the sign, and that I was not aware that I was giving the sign to him. This was special evidence to him that the Lord was working through me to save his soul. 7LtMs, Lt 46, 1892, par. 13

Our interview lasted four hours. Knowing how weary I was when Brother [Faulkhead] came in, May was greatly worried about me, but I told her she must not interrupt us, for a soul was at stake. At her request, Willie came in to protest against my prolonging the conversation, but I bade him not to disturb us. When at last Brother [Faulkhead] arose to leave, he found it too late for his homeward train. He could go by tram to North Fitzroy, five miles, but from there he must walk five miles to his home in Preston. He said he took the most unfrequented road, that he might have time to reflect, and he felt such relief, there was such a manifest change in his feelings, that he longed to meet some of his brethren that he might tell them of his thankfulness and his purposes. 7LtMs, Lt 46, 1892, par. 14

December 14

The students have left today. Many of them are to enter the canvassing field. This morning Brother Starr invited me to be present at their farewell meeting; and for the first time in ten months I tried, with Willie’s help to ascend the stairs. This I accomplished with less difficulty than I had anticipated. Thanksgiving to God flowed forth from my glad heart for this victory over infirmities. Our season of testimony was very precious; every student and teacher took part. The testimonies of the students were free and full, expressing their gratitude for the blessings they had received during the school term. 7LtMs, Lt 46, 1892, par. 15

That which seemed to be most prized by all was the religious advantages. They had learned what it means to be a Christian. They had learned the precious truths of God’s Word, how to serve the Lord in truth, which is perfect obedience. If they failed it should be their own fault, for everything had been done by their teachers to instruct them. Patiently and perseveringly they had been taught the good and the right way, and they intended to put in practice what they had learned. This was a precious meeting, the last that we should all have together. Brethren Rousseau and Baker have gone to Tasmania to remain during the week of prayer, and the house is emptying fast. 7LtMs, Lt 46, 1892, par. 16

At four p.m. Monday [?], I had another interview with Brother and Sister [Faulkhead]. I read twenty-four pages of what I had written for them; very straight lines were presented to him, but he accepted it all. Then we bowed in prayer. All three of us united in supplication to God, and He did come sacredly near unto us. What a change has taken place in Brother [Faulkhead]. All seemed to be so much astonished, they do not know how to accept the great blessing; they just weep and rejoice. 7LtMs, Lt 46, 1892, par. 17

We had all feared that Brother [Faulkhead] would leave the truth; and now the fact that his heart has become softened and subdued seemed too wonderful to our brethren; they are astonished at the manifestation of the power of God. The lost sheep has been brought back to the fold. None could reach him in regard to Freemasonry. He was fastening himself more and more firmly in the meshes of the enemy, and the only thing we could see to be done was to leave him to himself. But God be thanked, he is rescued from the snare of the fowler. 7LtMs, Lt 46, 1892, par. 18

Now there are others for whom I must labor personally, who have stood criticizing, gathering up faults and defects, talking of them, and making the most of them. Our brother has done this kind of work so long that all love for his brethren, as well as love for God and the truth, has been lost out of his heart. Unless his heart is broken before God, he will soon give up the truth. He had a rich experience in his first love for Jesus, but he has lost the first love. I feel so anxious that something shall be done to bring him back. 7LtMs, Lt 46, 1892, par. 19

Brother and Sister Salisbury arrived today. They had a pleasant passage of six weeks. 7LtMs, Lt 46, 1892, par. 20