Letters and Manuscripts — Volume 7 (1891-1892)


Lt 21, 1891

Olsen, O. A.

Sydney, Australia

December 13, 1891

Portions of this letter are published in 4Bio 22.

Dear Brother:

Last Friday evening I spoke to a goodly number of people in a hall in this city. They all felt very glad to see me and expressed their joy that I had been brought to them in safety. The Lord gave me much freedom in speaking to them. I was heartily welcomed to Australia by those who clasped my hand. Many spoke of the disappointment they had felt in not meeting me on the arrival of the boat that came into port previous to the arrival of the Alameda. Their expressions of joy were sincere and abundant, because the Lord had brought me in safety and I was able to speak to them notwithstanding my long voyage. 7LtMs, Lt 21, 1891, par. 1

A family was present of excellent repute whom the mission workers think will receive the truth. The workers had been holding Bible reading with them, but upon coming to fulfill one of their appointments, the man of the house told them that it would be better not to continue the readings because he had been informed by a woman who was there present that the Seventh-day Adventists were like the Jews and did not believe in Christ as their Saviour, but preached salvation through the keeping of the law. The family were alarmed at this statement, but Elder Daniells told them that this was not truth, the Seventh-day Adventists did believe in Christ as their only hope of salvation. They presented Christ as the Saviour, the sinner’s only hope. The man of the house then said, “I think it is only fair that you should have a hearing.” They had a very interesting time presenting the evidences that the seventh day was the original Sabbath. 7LtMs, Lt 21, 1891, par. 2

The woman who had filled their ears with her lying words manifested such bitterness of spirit, and displayed such temper, that the eyes of the family were opened to her real state, and they requested that she should not come to their house again to manifest this order of spirit. Friday evening these people were deeply interested, and they had abundant evidence as to our belief in Christ. The mission workers will look after this family with solicitude. 7LtMs, Lt 21, 1891, par. 3

On Sabbath I spoke to our people from the seventeenth chapter of John, from the words, “I sanctify myself, that they also may be sanctified through the truth.” [Verse 19.] The Lord gave me special freedom, and after I closed we had a social meeting. The testimonies borne were of a hearty, decided character. They said they had never before heard words that gave them such hope and courage in regard to justification by faith and the righteousness of Christ. They said they felt that the treasure house of truth had been opened before them, and the words had taken hold upon their souls, filling them with joy and peace and the love of God. One man rose, and with deep feeling he said that he had been a backslider, and no one was to blame but himself. He said the words spoken had taken hold of his soul and that he felt that he must be a converted man. He asked all present to forgive him. We had a most blessed meeting. 7LtMs, Lt 21, 1891, par. 4

Today twelve were baptized. Among them was a mother and daughter who went forward together. The daughter is an artist, and both are very intelligent women. We see that if I had depended upon Elder Daniells for help it would have been a mistake, for he has only a little glimmering of light upon the subjects of justification by faith and the righteousness of Christ as a free gift. His mind is now becoming enlightened. He is humble, confessing his lack, praying and digging for light. 7LtMs, Lt 21, 1891, par. 5

We have had several most important seasons of prayer. Others from families near by come in to join with us, and the room is so full at times that there is scarcely [a] place in which to kneel. The presence of Jesus is with us. The Lord has put upon me the spirit of intercession, and I have great freedom and assurance in prayer. We have many prayers offered, and all our hearts are softened and subdued by the Spirit of the Lord until we pray and weep and rejoice together. I am not sorry that I am here. 7LtMs, Lt 21, 1891, par. 6

All the people seem to believe the testimonies. There is no quibbling, no trifling over them, but they believe that God has spoken to them through the testimonies of His Spirit, and they try to practice their teachings. I can but feel that here are new bottles for the new wine. 7LtMs, Lt 21, 1891, par. 7

Brother Starr speaks to the people this evening, and the notices have been sent out. I did not wish to be advertised in order to create an interest, because we have to leave so soon for Melbourne, and it would probably set the opposing elements at work to hedge up the way with lies. After the Melbourne meeting, at a fitting time, I will speak to the people when a series of meetings can be held. I am much better than when I left America. I shall probably be obliged to purchase me a horse and carriage, that I may ride out and rest my head and get away from the city. When we get to Melbourne we shall know better where it will be best for us to make our home. May the Lord guide us and baptize us with His Holy Spirit that we may accomplish the very work He would have us accomplish. We are here on the ground, and very much is expected of us; we hope none will be disappointed. 7LtMs, Lt 21, 1891, par. 8

I shall think of you often and pray for you. We expect Willie tonight or tomorrow morning. Our brethren and sisters have come from the baptism, and they report that they have had a precious season. Among those baptised was a brother, his wife, and two children. They say it was a touching scene. 7LtMs, Lt 21, 1891, par. 9

December 13. Elder Daniells has gone to the boat to meet Willie. I hope the boat is in; it is time for its arrival. Elder Daniells has been quite sick with La Grippe. This malady has been sweeping through this country and has proved fatal to a marked degree, working as it did in America. 7LtMs, Lt 21, 1891, par. 10

Now I wish to ask you concerning the work in this country. Do you think it advisable to publish much in regard to our work in Australia? Will it not call out into exercise all the vindictive spirit of the dragon in our opponents? Canright’s book has been sent everywhere, and it has done a vast amount of harm; but the Lord can roll back this cloud of obstruction if we do our part in faith and humility. 7LtMs, Lt 21, 1891, par. 11

Brother Olsen, I feel deeply over the matter of our workers having genuine faith and humility. The great lack among our people is a lack of humility, and because of this there is little true simplicity, and the Lord cannot work with those who are striving to be first. This spirit will lead them to be last every time. Self-importance is a terrible obstruction to the working of the Spirit of the Lord. If He bestows His blessing upon those who are filled with self-importance, giving them success, they will take the glory to themselves. 7LtMs, Lt 21, 1891, par. 12