Letters and Manuscripts — Volume 9 (1894)


Lt 60, 1894

Olsen, O. A.

Granville, New South Wales, Australia

April 3, 1894

Portions of this letter are published in TMK 306; YI 01/03/1895, 01/10/1895. +Note

Dear Brother Olsen,

I have been unable to sleep since half-past one o’clock this morning. After trying my best for some time to close the drawer of my thoughts, and finding myself unsuccessful, I thought it best to dress and make use of my pen. We are partially settled in Granville, one and a half miles from Parramatta. Our house is called “Per Ardua,” and we are pleased with it. It has not all the conveniences that we would wish, but is so much better than many of the houses in this country that we do not feel like complaining. All the rooms of the house are small with the exception of the room I occupy, which is 24 x 15 feet. Brother and Sister Starr are with us, and occupy a room 12 x 14. There are three other rooms of the same size. But we have a good-sized dining room and kitchen. 9LtMs, Lt 60, 1894, par. 1

We realize that moving is costly business. The freight on the steamer was unreasonable, and the duty was large. The duty on my large phaeton and on Stephen Belden’s small two-wheeled trap with harness cost fifteen dollars. Moving the goods out fifteen miles in vans and carts has swelled our bills to quite a sum. I do not want to move about so much. 9LtMs, Lt 60, 1894, par. 2

We are within one and a half miles of the Parramatta church, and within five minutes’ walk of the railway station. We are thirteen miles from Sydney. I am inclined to think that I shall not have much rest or retirement here, for there is no place in which our brethren can stop in Parramatta when they visit here, and it looks now as though our house would be a hotel for the comers and goers. I can but wish that I was much further from the two churches in Parramatta and Sydney. I long for retirement, but see not the least prospect of it here. 9LtMs, Lt 60, 1894, par. 3

Last Sabbath Elder Starr and myself spoke to the Parramatta church. I was drawn out to speak very plainly. I told them I had a message from the Lord for them to the effect that the condition of the church as a church was one that was not meeting the approval of God. A number had joined themselves to the truth who were unconverted in heart, for they had not permitted the transforming grace of Christ to make them new men and women in Christ Jesus. Self and selfishness were not dead for they were not sanctified in character through the truth which they professed to believe, and therefore could not represent their divine Lord to the world. 9LtMs, Lt 60, 1894, par. 4

I addressed them in substance thus, The Lord has presented your case before me as [being] far behind the providence of God. You have been favored with much light, with much preaching, and you are as persons surfeited with food. The shepherds have presented truth to you, but you have not appreciated the message or the messenger. You have thought it a part of your religion to criticize the words that have been given, and the manner in which the address has been spoken, and have taken it upon you to criticize the themes presented if they did not happen to meet your mind. Yet you have felt that you were misused if you did not have special attention in ministerial labor. You have not been benefited with the labor that has been given, because the word spoken was not mixed with faith in them that heard it. You were not doers of the words of Christ, and therefore had not discernment to understand your necessities. 9LtMs, Lt 60, 1894, par. 5

The word that God has given to His messengers to speak to you has had but little influence on your mind and little effect on your character. I want you all to understand that we have not come to labor for you especially, when you feel that it is your privilege to criticize the message and the messenger that God shall send. We have come to labor in “regions beyond.” [2 Corinthians 10:16.] There are many souls scattered through the cities, towns and villages around who are praying for light. Some of these are members of other churches, and there are many outside the church who know not what it is that they want. They are not at rest. They long for peace, the peace which the world cannot give, that comes alone from Jesus Christ. We have come to give the light of truth to souls who need it, and who will appreciate it. 9LtMs, Lt 60, 1894, par. 6

We have a message to bear to the world, and everyone who has a connection with the work of God is required to be a burden-bearer. You have been self-centered too long. You have been self-sufficient and without a vital connection with God, and you do not understand your needs. 9LtMs, Lt 60, 1894, par. 7

We would urge you now to understand the gift of God, and ask of Him living water, that He may be in you a well of water springing up unto everlasting life. Then you will refresh others; then you will not be anxious to have the highest place. You will not have a carnal ambition to crowd and elbow your way into notice and to take the highest place; but you will realize that your highest place is at the feet of the great Teacher to learn of Him who is meek and lowly in heart. You will realize that your part is to behold Jesus, to contemplate His perfections, to talk of Him, and to have your hearts all aglow with the love of God. Then you will possess Christ’s meekness and lowliness of heart. Then you will be in a condition to listen to words of truth, and to be benefited by them, for you will then practice the truth, and teach others also the truth as it is in Jesus. 9LtMs, Lt 60, 1894, par. 8

If you are left as a little flock to yourselves, you should seek God with all your heart for yourselves that the faith which you pose may be a working faith, a faith that is genuine, a faith that works by love and purifies the soul. Your cold, rough, harsh, uncourteous ways and manners will be clearly seen as they are as you behold the Pattern, for it is by beholding Jesus, by talking of Jesus, by contemplating Jesus, that you will see the offensive character of sin, of selfishness, of hardness of heart, and you will do the very thing that God requires you to do, and that you have not yet done. You will put away all self, self-importance, self-love, self-esteem, envy, evil-surmising and jealousy, and plead for the Holy Spirit to come into your hearts and abide with you. As you taste and see that the Lord is good, you will hunger and thirst after more of the Holy Spirit, and will make an entire surrender of your will and your way, your plans and ideas, to God, and will keep the way of the Lord. Your words and deportment must be guarded. 9LtMs, Lt 60, 1894, par. 9

The mighty cleaver of truth has taken you out of the quarry of the world. You were rough stones with jagged edges, bruising and marring whoever you came in contact with; but there is a work to be done to smooth off the rough edges. If you appreciated the value of the work that is to be done in the workshop of God, you would welcome the blows of the ax and the hammer. Your self-esteem will be hurt, your high opinion of yourself will be cut away by the ax and the hammer, and all the roughness of your character will be smoothed off, and when self and carnal propensities are worked away, then the stone will assume proper proportions for the heavenly building, and then the polishing, refining, subduing, burnishing processes will begin, and you will be molded after the model of Christ’s character. 9LtMs, Lt 60, 1894, par. 10

His own image is to be reflected in the polished character of His human agent, and the stone is to be fitted for the heavenly building. Angels of God look upon the human agent that thus reflects the brightness and glory of the character of Christ, and proclaims in the heavenly courts, “ye are laborers together with God; ye are God’s husbandry, ye are God’s building.” [1 Corinthians 3:9.] Here are precious stones growing up into an holy temple in the Lord. [See Ephesians 2:21.] 9LtMs, Lt 60, 1894, par. 11

But we deny Jesus Christ as the One who taketh away the sins of the world if we do not, after accepting the truth, reveal to the world the sanctifying effects of the truth on our own characters. If we are not better men and women, if we are not more kindhearted, more pitiful, more courteous, more full of tenderness and love, if we do not manifest to others the love that led Jesus to the world on His mission of mercy, we are not witnesses to the world of the power of Jesus Christ. 9LtMs, Lt 60, 1894, par. 12

Jesus lived not to please Himself. He gave Himself as a living, consuming sacrifice for the good of others. He came to elevate, to ennoble, to make happy all with whom He came in contact. Those who receive Christ will drop out all that is uncourteous, harsh and rough, and will reveal the pleasantness, the kindness that dwelt in Jesus, because Christ abides in the heart by faith. Christ was the light that shineth in darkness, and His followers are also to be the light of the world. They are to kindle their taper from the divine altar. The character that is sanctified through the truth adds the perfect polish. 9LtMs, Lt 60, 1894, par. 13

Christ is our model; but unless we behold Him, unless we contemplate His character, we shall not reflect His character in our practical life. He was meek and lowly in heart. He never did a rude action, never spoke a discourteous word. The Lord is not pleased with our blunt, hard, unsympathetic ways toward others. All this selfishness must be purged away from our characters, and we must wear the yoke of Christ. Then we shall become laborers together with God, and shall be fitting up for the society of heavenly angels. 9LtMs, Lt 60, 1894, par. 14

We are to be in the world, but not of the world. We are to be a representation of Jesus Christ. As the Lord of life and glory came to our world to represent the Father, so we are to go to the world to represent Jesus. He says, “I sanctify myself, that they also may be sanctified through the truth.” “Thy word is truth.” [John 17:19, 17.] We need, then, to become familiar with the Word of God, to study and to practice it in life. Then will the Word become the power of God unto salvation. 9LtMs, Lt 60, 1894, par. 15

“Yet a little while is the light with you.” [John 12:35.] This was the Saviour’s argument to the Jews, who were resisting all His efforts to reflect upon them the light of the Sun of Righteousness. This is the warning we would give to you who claim to believe the truth. “Yet a little while is the light with you.” We would ask you to consider the shortness of human life, how swiftly time is passing. Golden opportunities and privileges are within our reach. The plenteous, abundant mercy of God is waiting your demand upon its richest treasures. A Saviour is waiting to dispense His blessing freely, and the only question is, Will you accept them? The rich provisions have been made, and light is shining in a variety of ways, but this light will lose its preciousness to those who do not appreciate it, who do not accept and respond to it, or having received it, do not pass the light along to others. 9LtMs, Lt 60, 1894, par. 16

Your life, your soul, your strength, your capabilities, your powers of mind and body are to be regarded by you as entrusted capital to be improved for your Lord during the period of your life. You are to stand in your alloted order in God’s great army to work out His plan in saving your own soul and the souls of others. This you may do by living a consistent Christian life, by putting forth earnest efforts, by learning in the school of Christ His ways, His purposes, and subordinating your will and ways to the will and way of Christ. 9LtMs, Lt 60, 1894, par. 17

Will not all those who claim to be the children of God consider the words of the great Teacher? His words are not mysterious and hard to be understood. When the disciples thought they were hard to be understood, they made it evident that they were not united to Christ as the branch is united to the living vine. They were not true believers, and did not have true discernment. They misunderstood the words of Christ. That which was plain to those who had true faith, became a stumbling block to those who lacked spiritual discernment. They were offended because He spoke words to them that the natural heart could not comprehend, and they refused to walk any more with Jesus. 9LtMs, Lt 60, 1894, par. 18

Are there not some among the believers who love the world, and whose affections are so absorbed in their relatives and friends who obey not the truth, [so] that they are confused in mind, and through the temptations of Satan take their stand on his side, instead of on the Lord’s side? The love of God for fallen men is without parallel. 9LtMs, Lt 60, 1894, par. 19

Christ declares, “He that eateth my flesh and drinketh my blood hath eternal life, and I will raise him up at the last day. For my flesh is meat indeed, and my blood is drink indeed. He that eateth my flesh and drinketh my blood dwelleth in me, and I in him.” [John 6:54-56.] These were the words over which the disciples stumbled, but Jesus removed everything that might constitute a stumbling block, and said to them, “Doth this offend you? What and if ye shall see the Son of man ascend up where He was before? It is the Spirit that quickeneth, the flesh profiteth nothing: The words that I speak unto you, they are spirit and they are life.” [Verses 61-63.] It is the Word of God abiding in the heart that will quicken the spiritual faculties. 9LtMs, Lt 60, 1894, par. 20

We wish to impress upon our people who claim to believe the truth for this time that they need to heed the counsel of the True Witness who represents their state as spiritually fallen, and calls upon them in decided language to repent and to return to their first love. Who is our first love? The world’s Redeemer is our first love, and must ever remain our first love. The Christian is to live a life different from that of the worldling. The worldling lives a cheap quality of life. He consents not to spiritual life. It is he that has the love of God that has life. He whose hope is centered not in this world, but in Christ the great Center. 9LtMs, Lt 60, 1894, par. 21

Jesus has loved men, and has made every provision that the blood-bought souls shall have a new birth, a new life derived from His own life, as the branch derives its life from the parent stock. “He that hath not the Son, hath not life. He that hath the Son hath life.” [1 John 5:12.] Those who believe in Christ derive their motive power and the texture of their characters from Him in whom they believe. “Examine yourselves, whether ye be in the faith, prove your own selves. Know ye not your own selves how that Jesus Christ is in you, except ye be reprobates?” [2 Corinthians 13:5.] “Know ye not that your bodies are the members of Christ?” “What, know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you, which ye have of God, and that ye are not your own? For ye are bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit which are God’s.” [1 Corinthians 6:15, 19, 20.] 9LtMs, Lt 60, 1894, par. 22

Our position is plainly marked out. The endowment which we have of God is plainly described, and our accountability and duty is plainly stated. The declaration of Christ is given in language not to be misunderstood, “Except ye eat the flesh of the Son of man, and drink his blood, ye have no life in you.” [John 6:53.] 9LtMs, Lt 60, 1894, par. 23