Letters and Manuscripts — Volume 9

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Lt 56, 1894

Olsen, O. A.

Campground, Ashfield, New South Wales, Australia

October 26, 1894

Portions of this letter are published in 4MR 414; 4Bio 167. +Note

Dear Brother:

We are now in the midst of our meeting. I have had no time to write you heretofore, and have little time to spare for writing now. I have been speaking and reading nearly every morning, and have spoken Wednesday, Sabbath, and Sunday afternoon to large crowds of people. This morning I went into the early morning meeting, but was faint, and returned to my room in the house. After eating something, I again went to the tent. Once more the faintness came, and I returned to my room. The third time I made the attempt, and was strengthened to bear a close, cutting testimony, and it produced a searching in the camp. Confessions were made, and the Spirit of the Lord moved upon hearts. 9LtMs, Lt 56, 1894, par. 1

I then ordered the horse and phaeton for a ride after breakfast, but Willie came in, and was anxious that I should go into the ministers meeting, which I did. The Spirit of the Lord came upon me, and I bore a message of warning and reproof. I told the brethren that for the last forty years the Lord had been revealing to me the necessity of harmony of action on [the] part of the ministers and the presidents of our conference. The president of the Conference should be careful to give respect to all who are laborers together with God. One man’s mind and judgment is not to control. The ministers who are connected with him in the work are to be respected and loved; criticism should have no room to work. 9LtMs, Lt 56, 1894, par. 2

Let envy and evil-surmising be expelled from the soul, for Satan, in disguise, is at work with all deceivableness of unrighteousness. Nothing can grieve the Spirit of God more than dissension and <lack of> appreciation of brethren. We are all suffering as the result of the characters we have received through inheritance and education. In order to have prosperity in labor, there must be <love and> confidence in and union with our brethren who are laboring just as earnestly and disinterestedly as we are ourselves. 9LtMs, Lt 56, 1894, par. 3

There are those who do not possess a harmonious character in all respects, yet God has accepted them as laborers together with Christ; then how out of place it is for one to stand apart from another because their ideas and judgment do not in all things agree. Let not these little things be made prominent. We must not forget that the church militant is not the church triumphant. <Our success in any religious effort depends upon our simplicity in Christ Jesus, and unity and love for one another.> 9LtMs, Lt 56, 1894, par. 4

Every man and woman has an atmosphere surrounding the soul, and its character is peculiar to the individual. But the transforming grace of Christ <is working to> bring believers into harmony. The love of Christ melts down all barriers. As the human agents grasp the truth, how precious it is! Their faith works by love and purifies the soul. All the little differences are swept away. 9LtMs, Lt 56, 1894, par. 5

The principles expressed in the prayer of Christ <to His Father just before His crucifixion is of> importance to be practiced by every Christian, especially by those who are engaged in the same work <as laborers together with God in> winning souls to Christ. If all would carefully study the prayer of Christ, they would learn the will and purpose of heaven, that the branches of the same vine are <in their diversity> united in the parent stock, each branch bearing precious clusters of fruit. 9LtMs, Lt 56, 1894, par. 6

I had most earnest words to speak to them, and there was a falling on the Rock and being broken. Heartfelt confessions were made by one to another. I have not seen in my brethren that sense of the sinfulness of drawing apart that <there> should be felt. But good confessions were made, and I bore most earnest testimony <in regard> to the great evil of dissension. <There is an> error <with our> brethren in the ministry, in showing <so> little respect and courtesy toward one another. Christ has given us decided testimony in regard to this matter. <Will we heed His words?> 9LtMs, Lt 56, 1894, par. 7

After the ministers’ meeting, Emily, Sister Rousseau and I rode out on what is called the Liverpool Road. We were much pleased with the scenery. The gardens abound with fragrant flowers. We saw the most lovely trees of great variety, and every kind of flowers—roses, lilies, and pinks—in great profusion. The houses are very costly, and many bear the sign, “To let.” Since the hard times have come, the more expensive houses have been given up for cheaper establishments. 9LtMs, Lt 56, 1894, par. 8

The campground is in one of the most popular suburbs of Sydney. We are pleased to see and speak to the large congregations of most intelligent people. They are interested, and say that they never heard such preaching before. On the Sabbath, after I had spoken upon the love of God, from (John 13:34, 35), one man whose hair is white with age said, “I never heard such preaching as that woman gave us since I was born into the world. These people make Christ the complete center and system of truth.” On Sunday we had an immense congregation. The large tent was full, there was a wall of people on the outside, and carriages filled with people in the street. 9LtMs, Lt 56, 1894, par. 9

The tents are a great surprise and curiosity to the people, and indeed these white, cotton houses interspersed among the green trees are a beautiful sight. 9LtMs, Lt 56, 1894, par. 10

Monday, October 22

A lady came from the country with two large and most beautiful bouquets for Mrs. White, the lady who spoke on Sunday. I told Emily to respond by giving her Steps to Christ, which pleased her very much. 9LtMs, Lt 56, 1894, par. 11

October 24

An elderly man who has a large, handsome residence close by brought a beautiful bouquet to Elder Israel, which he brought to me. I directed that Steps to Christ be given to him also. He desired Elder Israel to call upon him. A few days before, Brother Israel had opportunity to show him a kindness; on the occasion of his daughter’s birthday, he wished to make an awning in his garden under which to spread the table, and Brother Israel was able to accommodate him. This quite won his goodwill, and he has since attended several meetings. The whole country around is stirred, and editors and business men seem anxious to do all they can for us. 9LtMs, Lt 56, 1894, par. 12

Dinner is now over, and I will continue my writing. We have had a thunder storm, with hail as large as peas. The rain has ceased, and preparations are going on for the Sabbath. O, how we need the Holy Spirit’s power upon this ground to break and subdue the hearts! O, that these great Bible truths may be brought into immediate contact with life and character, that justification by faith through the atonement of the Son of God, the forgiveness of sins, may make hearts full of praise and thanksgiving to God. “To as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name.” [John 1:12.] We want to see the implanting of a new nature through the power of the grace of God. 9LtMs, Lt 56, 1894, par. 13

We have had excellent meetings, but camp meetings are new to these people, and they do not seem to comprehend that this is a holy convocation. There is too much of a visiting spirit, a depth of experience is wanting. We try to present living principles, but we must not be discouraged by the magnitude of the work which lies before us. 9LtMs, Lt 56, 1894, par. 14

God calls upon young men who are strong to take up their heaven-appointed work because they are strong. We have great faith in young men to whom the Lord has intrusted ability and talents that they may devote all to the service of God. Whatever these young men can do, they should do in the love and fear of God. The greatest work for each is to achieve a personal victory over themselves. 9LtMs, Lt 56, 1894, par. 15

Sunday evening

This morning I arose at four o’clock, and begun writing this which I now send to you; five pages were written yesterday morning, and afterward I attended meeting in a tent for young people. About forty were present. I had much freedom in speaking to them. Brethren Rousseau and Teasdale conducted the meeting. At the same time there was a general meeting for prayer and testimony in the large tent, and I went there also, and spoke for a short time with freedom. Many precious testimonies were borne, asking prayers for friends. In the afternoon I addressed a large congregation from John 15. I had special freedom and strength given me. Then we had a meeting of praise and thanksgiving to God. It was one of the most precious Sabbaths that we have enjoyed. Many bore this testimony: “The Lord’s name be magnified.” We praise His holy name for such freedom. Many not of our faith were present. 9LtMs, Lt 56, 1894, par. 16

The [camp] meeting is interesting to a large class, and fully as much so as at Melbourne. Early this morning I was up writing the address which goes to Battle Creek. Then we rode out [for] about three-quarters of an hour. This is one of the most beautiful suburbs of Sydney. Here are large handsome residences, and beautiful gardens with abundance of flowers. At this season everything is in its glory. I am so thankful that the Lord directed Bro. McCullagh, Willie, and myself to this place. We have one good, roomy cottage and a large, beautiful paddock, with excellent sod, clusters of trees, and single trees interspersed all over the ground. 9LtMs, Lt 56, 1894, par. 17

I have just had a visit from Sister Corliss. Brother Corliss has been much depressed, but since the ministers’ meeting, where the Lord’s presence was sensibly manifested, light and freedom have come into the meeting. Yesterday Brother Corliss poured out the truth to a large company. This forenoon he preached on Baptism, and the ministers say they never heard him speak with greater power. He outdid himself. When the Spirit of God talks through the human agent, he certainly will outdo himself. 9LtMs, Lt 56, 1894, par. 18

I am <deeply> distressed when I see that my ministering brethren have <manifested so> little confidence in their fellow laborers. <What does it mean?> If the ministers have any discernment, they must feel this keenly. This kind of work hurts my soul. Certainly the Lord is using Elder Corliss. If he does make some mistakes it is no more than those do who criticize and look with suspicion upon him. What is the use of continually irritating and bruising the souls of God’s servants? What is the use of taking the last bit of courage from a man? When one is treated with indifference, he is thrown on Satan’s battleground, and is tempted to surmise evil. 9LtMs, Lt 56, 1894, par. 19

It is best always to treat the Lord’s delegated servants with respect and candor, and to have confidence in them if they are accepted as laborers in the field and trusted with important interests. If they are not worthy of this confidence, tell them so; but if they are trusted to bear the message from God, then let the brethren encourage them, <hold up their hands,> and not push them on the battleground of the enemy. In the name of Jesus I protest against this kind of work. Let them not be bound <about with> restrictions as Elder Corliss was when he came here. I know that God is not pleased with any such proceedings. I am distressed beyond measure over these things, and will use all the influence I can command to change this objectionable order of things. 9LtMs, Lt 56, 1894, par. 20