Letters and Manuscripts — Volume 9

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Lt 62, 1894

Olsen, O. A.

Per Ardua, Williams Street, Granville, New South Wales, Australia

May 4, 1894

Portions of this letter are published in OHC 221; 4Bio 141.

Dear Brother Olsen,

We received your welcome, interesting letter last Monday. You will see that I have sent you quite a large mail which you will receive before this reaches you. I thought best to give you a copy of everything that I had written concerning matters with which you are acquainted in Melbourne. The anxiety of my mind made me sick, and I could find neither rest nor peace. I have sent the testimonies to those whom they concern, and now feel relieved. But we find plenty of work to do. We all see no opportunity to rest, and no place yet to write on The Life of Christ. 9LtMs, Lt 62, 1894, par. 1

This climate is better for me than that of Melbourne; but trials come in one way or another. We distribute ourselves over the field in the different directions in which work is to be done, and change about in a similar manner to that in which we changed about in Melbourne. Willie and I take Sydney one Sabbath, Brother Starr, Seven Hills or Parramatta as the circumstances demand, and Brother McCullagh Kellyville. I have spoken three Sundays at Seven Hills and I speak there again today (May 6th). 9LtMs, Lt 62, 1894, par. 2

I have visited Kellyville in order that I might know how to help Brother McKenzie. Brother and Sister Starr were with me, and we had a most precious season of prayer. Brother Martin has to meet great opposition from his wife. He has one daughter who is keeping the Sabbath. He took his wife to Seven Hills to hear me speak. I took her by the hand as he introduced her, and before I thought I called her “Sister Martin.” She says, “I am no sister. I do not believe as you do.” We hope the Holy Spirit will, with its subduing power, melt away her prejudice, in order that she may feel the warm, blessed rays of the Sun of Righteousness upon her heart. 9LtMs, Lt 62, 1894, par. 3

I have had great freedom in Kellyville, and in Seven Hills; but the atmosphere in the Parramatta church needs to be purified, refined, and sweetened with the love of God. We are seeking to do what we can for the people. I have spoken twice in the Parramatta church, and once in Kellyville. Sunday evening meetings are being held there occasionally. Brother Starr has been to Sydney and to Seven Hills on the Sabbath, and has several times spoken in the evening to help Brother Hickox in his work. Twelve families are now keeping the Sabbath, and several more are on the point of decision. 9LtMs, Lt 62, 1894, par. 4

Brother Starr has been trying to bring a different element into the Sydney church. One week ago last Sabbath he had personal labor with one family. Last Friday he labored with Brother Hardy on the tithing question, and on Sabbath he was there again. I have not seen him to know the result of his visit. Willie spoke to the Parramatta church. I was sick, and could not attend meeting in any place, and may not be able to go eight miles to Seven Hills. The tent was placed at Castle Hill, but the people would not come out to hear the truth. Publications have been circulated there, and now the prejudice is so modified, that we think best to include that in our circle. 9LtMs, Lt 62, 1894, par. 5

I attended the Parramatta [church] alone one week ago because the laborers were so distributed that there was no one to go with me. In Castle Hill there are two <families> keeping the Sabbath, <and two or three miles from this locality live> Brother Goodman and a sister. <The sister’s> husband is interested. They are people of influence and he is anxious that I should speak at Castle Hill. <I expect to speak there, in a large room, over a store. The man who owns the store has offered it for us to hold meetings in. I have an appointment there a week from next <Sunday.> 9LtMs, Lt 62, 1894, par. 6

Brother Goodman is a <very nice appearing man.> He is a baker, and he works about two hours on Friday night baking his bread. Help is needed there. 9LtMs, Lt 62, 1894, par. 7

<Brother Whiteman> purchased land at an exorbitant price, and before he heard the message of truth, he built a large two-story house. His brother had money in the bank, and told him to go ahead and that he would help him out. When the banks closed, the bank in which he had his money did not fail, but closed, and not a penny can be obtained. Brother <Whiteman> will now probably lose everything. The bank [that] holds his brother’s money refuses to make a transfer, but can close down upon him and take his all. This has discouraged him. We must include this place in our labors. 9LtMs, Lt 62, 1894, par. 8

Another man in Kellyville has come out firmly upon the Sabbath within two weeks. His wife has been keeping the Sabbath, and he has now decided to obey the truth. He will be a strength to the church, for he is a man, they say, that never lets go. 9LtMs, Lt 62, 1894, par. 9

We see now that we must enter into personal labor and visit from house to house, for great reforms must be made in families before we advance any further. On every side we have been closely pressed for means. The mission in Sydney is short of money, as is also the Echo office. We study economy in all lines. We have neither butter nor meat on our table. We were held at Melbourne so long that the fruit was mostly gone when we came here. We are trying to pick up odds and ends the best we can to supply our wants. We have <thirteen> in our family, and it takes some provender to satisfy their daily wants. 9LtMs, Lt 62, 1894, par. 10

Queensland has been waiting for some time for a laborer to go there. It was thought that Brother Hickox would be freed from his present field, and that he and Brother Starr could go together to this field; but the interest is increasing at Seven Hills, and they are now talking of building a meetinghouse, for there is no hall that can be used, nor is there any room in private houses large enough to accommodate an assembly. Six weeks is the least period appointed before Brother Hickox will be free. There has been talk of Brother Starr going alone to visit those already keeping the Sabbath, and to see what can be done in the line of working up the field. He was to have left one week ago; but as there was no money with which to pay his fare, he was detained, and is doing the work which needed to be done in this region, until something shall break away and give to our use a little money. We need money. 9LtMs, Lt 62, 1894, par. 11

The work is going well in Melbourne. Thirty have taken their position in Williamstown. Brother Israel is doing excellent work. The tent has been taken down. The people now meet in a hall, and yet the interest does not diminish. At Hawthorne, where Brethren Corliss and Hare are laboring, sixteen have decided to obey the truth. Something must be done toward building meetinghouses in these various places. Melbourne must have a house in which the people can worship God. There are meetings now being held in halls at Melbourne. Brighton is doing well. Brother Hare and Brother Colcord have that interest in hand, and they purpose to have another series of meetings there. 9LtMs, Lt 62, 1894, par. 12

April 22, 1894

Willie and I went twelve miles to Sydney on the cars, and there attended meeting. The Lord gave me a testimony for those assembled. I told them that when they lived up to the light God had given them, then He would let more and increased light shine upon them. I spoke from the following passage: “But this I say, He which soweth sparingly shall reap also sparingly; and he which soweth bountifully shall reap also bountifully.” [2 Corinthians 9:6.] The Lord compels no man, woman or child to give of their substance. He gives us His Word, and that reveals to us God’s requirements. “Every man according as he purposeth in his heart: so let him give, not grudgingly, or of necessity (as if compelled to give), for God loveth a cheerful giver. And God is able to make all grace abound toward you; that ye, always having all sufficiency in all things, may abound to every good work.” [Verses 7, 8.] 9LtMs, Lt 62, 1894, par. 13

The Source of all power is presented before us, the One who is rich in resources, so that we “having all sufficiency in all things may abound to every good work.” [Verse 8.] The Lord is bestowing His goods upon His people, and He expects that every individual will make Him corresponding returns. We should keep before the mind the fact that Jesus is soon coming, and that solemn obligation rests upon those who have received the light of truth, for we are to let it shine to others who are in darkness. No one will be approved of God if He waits in idle expectancy, dwelling upon the theory or doctrine of Christ’s second coming, yet doing very little to impart the light which God has graciously given him. Those who have received of the heavenly gift are required of God to impart the same to others. 9LtMs, Lt 62, 1894, par. 14

There is a great work to be done in warning the world, not alone by precept but by example. The soul must be prepared, through the purifying influence of the truth, for the coming of our Lord and Saviour in the clouds of heaven. This great event is before us. The end is near, and words of warning must be given to those who are nigh at hand, and to those who are afar off. We cannot be guiltless before God if we do not show our faith by our works. 9LtMs, Lt 62, 1894, par. 15

We should heed the exhortation given to Timothy: “Take heed unto thyself, and unto the doctrine, continue in them (having no changeable, fitful experience); for in so doing thou shalt save both thyself and them that hear thee.” [1 Timothy 4:16.] “Testifying both to the Jews and also to the Greeks, repentance toward God, and faith toward our Lord Jesus Christ.” [Acts 20:21.] This is the work that every converted soul will aim to do, because God has made him the depositary of sacred trusts. 9LtMs, Lt 62, 1894, par. 16

We are not to be idle. Those who are not consecrating all their powers to [be] ministers of the Word are not to be careless in the use of their time. God has made them responsible agents, and they are to be earnest workers, ever keeping the great day of God in view. Those who have not the burden of bearing to the world the solemn truths for this time are to use their God-given time and ability in becoming channels of light to those who sit in darkness. Have they physical strength? They are guilty before God if they do not use that strength. They should work with their hands and acquire means for the support of their own families and to supply the treasury of God, which is being continually drawn upon in order to sustain those who give their whole time to the teaching of the truth, going to those who are in darkness, whether they be nigh at hand, or in regions beyond. 9LtMs, Lt 62, 1894, par. 17

To every man God has given his work. Those who have not felt the responsibility resting upon them to use their God-given faculties in active labor are not doing their duty, even though they have a competency, and are not actually compelled to labor for a livelihood. God has given them hands and brain power, and He expects them to use both. For this they were created, and useful employment will bring its own daily reward in improved health and spirits. No one is to be idle. Christ said, “My Father worketh hitherto, and I work.” [John 5:17.] 9LtMs, Lt 62, 1894, par. 18

There are many who are absorbed in worldly business, and they do not give the Lord that devotion which is essential for their spiritual improvement. They tax brain, bone, and muscle to the uttermost, and gather to themselves burdens which lead them to forget God. Their spiritual powers are not exercised <as well as> their physical powers, and every day they are on the losing side, growing poorer and poorer in heavenly riches. 9LtMs, Lt 62, 1894, par. 19

There is another class who meet with loss because they are indolent and spend their powers in pleasing themselves, in using their tongues, and letting their muscles rust with inaction. They waste their opportunities by inaction, and do not glorify God. They might do much if they would put their time and physical strength to use by acquiring means with which to place their children in favorable positions to acquire knowledge; but they would rather let them grow up in ignorance than to exercise their own God-given ability to do something whereby their children might be blessed with a good education. Such men and women will be “weighed in the balance and found wanting.” [Daniel 5:27.] 9LtMs, Lt 62, 1894, par. 20

There is something for everyone to do in this world of ours. The Lord is coming, and our waiting is to be not a time of idle expectation, but of vigilant work. We are not to spend our time wholly in prayerful meditation, neither are we to drive and hurry and work as if this were required in order that we should gain heaven, while neglecting to devote time to the cultivation of personal piety. There must be a combination of meditation and diligent work as God has expressed it in His Word; we are to be “not slothful in business; fervent in spirit; serving the Lord.” [Romans 12:11.] Worldly activities are not to crowd out the service of the Lord. The soul needs the riches of the grace of God, and the body needs physical exercises, in order to accomplish the work that must be done for the promulgation of the gospel of Christ. 9LtMs, Lt 62, 1894, par. 21

Those who cultivate a spirit of idleness commit sin against God every day, for they do not put to use the power God has given them with which to bless themselves, and to be a blessing to their families. Parents should teach their children that the Lord means them to be diligent workers, not idlers in His vineyard. They must make a diligent use of their time if they are to be useful working agents, acting their part in the vineyard of the Lord. They are to be faithful stewards, improving every intrusted gift of power that has been bestowed upon them. 9LtMs, Lt 62, 1894, par. 22

Let the indolent man and woman consider the fact that God does not design that one class shall carry all the burden of labor, and another class do nothing to share in the work. To every man God has given his work, and each one is to act his part in the great work for humanity. In this way human agents will fulfill the purpose of God. Thus the lamp of the soul will not be neglected, if time is taken to pray and to search the Scriptures. The allotted task may be done, and the lamp of the soul be kept trimmed and burning. 9LtMs, Lt 62, 1894, par. 23