Letters and Manuscripts — Volume 10 (1895)


Lt 59, 1895

Olsen, Brother and Sister [O. A.]

Launceston, Tasmania

April [May] 12, 1895

See variant Lt 59a, 1895. This letter is published in entirety in 19MR 267-278. +Note

Dear Brother and Sister Olsen:

W. C. White, May Lacey White, and myself left the home of Bro. Lacey in Glenorchy about nine o’clock p.m. to take the cars for Launceston. My son and Miss May Lacey were married today by a clergyman who, though not of our faith, has favored our people, letting them have the use of his church without charge. The preparations for the marriage ceremony were carried out without one unpleasant feature. We would all have been much better pleased if one of our own ministers could have officiated at the marriage, but this could not be without incurring considerable expense, as we should have had to send for one of our brethren to come from New South Wales, where I think some are qualified to perform marriages. There was no minister in Tasmania who was authorized to act in this capacity. 10LtMs, Lt 59, 1895, par. 1

Brother and Sister Lacey have a large family, and they greatly desired that May should be married at home, and, of course, this is as it should be. At the request of the family, I offered prayer after the marriage ceremony was over. Brother and Sister Lacey invited eight persons besides the family to celebrate the occasion. We took the cars as I have stated, about nine o’clock that night, and in the morning arrived at Launceston, where Brethren Baker and Teasdale were waiting for us at the station. They had secured a room nearby for Mr. and Mrs. W. C. White. Brother and Sister Baker secured lodgings at a neighbor’s, in order that I might have accommodation at the house of Sister Rogers. Willie said that for the first time in his life he would be pleased if he could have a vacation of two weeks; but he did not even have one evening to enjoy the company of his companion. 10LtMs, Lt 59, 1895, par. 2

The evening before his marriage, he was obliged to attend a meeting, and we saw nothing of him until Thursday morning. There was no time for a recess, much [less] for days of leisure and pleasure. Months before his marriage, he planned to have a boat ride on this occasion, but his plan was not carried out. 10LtMs, Lt 59, 1895, par. 3

All day Wednesday we had been very busy. We visited the elder of the church at Hobart. At his home we spread our lunch on the table, and enjoyed our simple fare of bread and fruit. We had a precious season of prayer with the family, and I know that the blessing of the Lord rested upon us. We then visited at Brother Shannon’s house. He was not at home, but we had a little visit with his wife. The Malcolm family had moved to Hobart, and we called upon them. They were very glad to see us, and we had a profitable visit with them, engaging in a season of prayer that was much appreciated. 10LtMs, Lt 59, 1895, par. 4

The next day was filled with preparing for the marriage and packing for our journey to Launceston. I was very glad when all the bustle was ended, and we were seated in the cars enroute for Launceston. On Sabbath I spoke to the little company in Launceston who have turned their feet into the royal path cast up for the ransomed of the Lord to walk in. I had much freedom in speaking from the first chapter of Second Peter. As the result of the labors of Brethren Baker and Teasdale, seventeen are keeping the Sabbath in this place. These persons with their children numbered about forty. Brother Colcord, who left for Melbourne sooner than we did, spoke twice to this small company. Brother Corliss also spoke once or twice, then W. C. White and myself spoke on Sabbath and Sunday to those who attended the meeting. The people gave good testimonies. On Sunday we had a larger room, and a little larger audience. I had great freedom in speaking on the love of God for the human family, and apparently all listened with deep interest. 10LtMs, Lt 59, 1895, par. 5

After the meeting closed, a tall well-dressed lady hastened to the stand, grasped my hand, and said, “I am so glad to see you. I wish to thank you for writing the book, Great Controversy. It was the means of saving the soul of my son. He was sick, and we knew he could not live. He asked me to give him a book that would be a help to him religiously. I had purchased The Great Controversy, but had not read it myself, and I brought him the book. My son read it through with the deepest interest, and said, ‘I have found in this book what I have not found in any other book in your library. Every time I read it, I see the truth in a more beautiful light. Every time I open it, I find something that helps me. I am not afraid to die now, for I have found rest and peace in Jesus Christ.’” 10LtMs, Lt 59, 1895, par. 6

She told me that he had died in perfect peace. He was about thirty years of age at the time of his death, and he had requested that if ever she saw the author of the book, she should tell her how much good the work had been to him, making the path of salvation plain to his feet. She said, “I lend the book to one after another, and it is not at home hardly any of the time. Those who have read it say that they have never read a book that made the Bible so plain and clear to their understanding as this book.” 10LtMs, Lt 59, 1895, par. 7

When I asked the lady her name, she spoke so indistinctly that I could not catch it. I thought that some of our brethren would be able to tell me who she was, but they had never seen her before. They think however that they can find out who she is. If they cannot find out, they will never know into what families The Great Controversy has gone, and what good it has done through her circulation of it. 10LtMs, Lt 59, 1895, par. 8

The greatest trouble with the people in Tasmania is that they are more loyal to their ministers than they are to their God. They are a church-going people, and their ministers have warned them against listening to our ministers, and the result has been that only a few have come out to the tent meetings. The ministers declare that the presentation of any argument that is hard to meet is opposition to them. The work that has been done has sown good seed. 10LtMs, Lt 59, 1895, par. 9

I believe that God has a people in this place, and that they must be warned. The first essential thing is to get the ears of the people; but if those who have ears will not hear, no one can compel them to listen. This is the great difficulty in this country. We cannot get the people to contemplate the cross of Calvary and the great plan of redemption. It is when men are willing to see wondrous things out of the law of God, that the soul is gained. We feel sorry that a protracted effort should bring forth such meager results; but we know that the few who have accepted the truth can teach others, and thus an army be raised up to rally round the standard. The Lord has a work for each and all to do, and not one is excused. 10LtMs, Lt 59, 1895, par. 10

I read your letter in reference to my request not to receive wages for the past year. I have thought that I would give up writing for the papers entirely, and employ Fannie myself in getting out many things that need to be prepared. For a long time I have desired to have something prepared on the subject of Sanctification by Faith, for this subject has never appeared in the form that it should. 10LtMs, Lt 59, 1895, par. 11

I also would like to get out another Testimony, also a book for Christian parents that would especially define the mother’s duties, and revise a book on Christian Temperance, which needs to be done. I would also like to have a book prepared for the youth as this has long been urged upon me. 10LtMs, Lt 59, 1895, par. 12

I have considered the question, and have thought that I would refrain from sending articles to the Review and Herald, the Signs of the Times, and other periodicals for the space of one year. But the first thing that needs our attention is the work on The Life of Christ. But no one seemed in favor of my plan, and therefore I furnished articles just as abundantly as I have in the past. I have had no one who could report my sermons, and have written articles to be prepared for the papers. 10LtMs, Lt 59, 1895, par. 13

What do you think of my plan of dispensing with articles for the papers, so that Fannie, Marian, and I may all turn our minds to the making of books? We could get up a number of small books as I have suggested, and then after the period of a year I could again take hold of the paper work. We could work in these lines of preparing books, and take no money from the conference. I started with a full determination to write this year on The Life of Christ, but such earnest calls have been made for my labor in other fields, that I dared not refuse them, and so have not done what I expected to do on the book. 10LtMs, Lt 59, 1895, par. 14

I have written articles on different parts of the life and work of Christ, and after Fannie has prepared them, Marian has culled out of them matter that she could make use of in the book. But I have so many interruptions that I cannot write as I should. It is not much use for me to try to do this, and yet have the care of the churches, the responsibility of a household, and the work of a hotel-keeper, for comers and goers are continually creating an excitement at my home. 10LtMs, Lt 59, 1895, par. 15

In my dreams I am writing books and calculating for their publication. The Life of Christ has dragged along a long time, because I have not had time to write on these things as I should. I am seeking counsel of God in order to know what to do. 10LtMs, Lt 59, 1895, par. 16

I have never labored more earnestly for the churches than I have this past year, so I have no hesitancy in taking the same salary that I have in the past. In addition to all the labor that I have mentioned, I have also borne testimonies that have been very taxing to me, and have also had much work to do in feeding the hungry, clothing the naked, and in paying laborers who are employed in the cause. At the present time I am paying $19 per week in sustaining laborers in Ashfield, Petersham, and Canterbury. In no period of my labors has there been so great a draft upon my financial and spiritual resources as at the present. How long my resources will admit of this constant strain I am unable to say; but I am looking to Him whose resources are unlimited to supply every lack. 10LtMs, Lt 59, 1895, par. 17

The reason that I have to pay these laborers is that our Australian conferences are not able to pay laborers who ought to be in the field. Their funds are very low; but I could not consent to have the workers sent away to other fields at a time when it seemed that it was essential for them to work in the suburbs of Sydney. The opposition to our work is waxing stronger and stronger. Five ministers inspired with the power from beneath are rallying all their powers against us; but souls are continually embracing the truth. One baptism is speedily followed by another, and it does not seem the time to diminish our efforts. 10LtMs, Lt 59, 1895, par. 18

The Plymouth Brethren are in a white heat of indignation, and will not consent to let our brethren in Ashfield meet much longer in the hall where they have been accustomed to meet. Therefore we must do all we can to erect a place of worship. We cannot hang down our heads and beat a retreat. We have no need to faint or to be discouraged. The converts at Ashfield have done their uttermost in purchasing a tent worth $175, and we now have two tents where meetings can be held. I gave 5 pounds toward the tent, and shall probably have to give 40 pounds toward the house of worship. The people’s enthusiasm is now kindled, and we must not let it die down. 10LtMs, Lt 59, 1895, par. 19

After spending one week in Melbourne, we shall go on to Sydney. Elder Corliss and wife, W. C. White and wife, and myself will rally to the help of the brethren in the suburbs of Sydney. When some of the outposts about Sydney have had the message, we shall advance to Sydney, and put forth a protracted effort. We shall furnish two or three tents for different localities in the city, and will bring all the talent that we can command into the work. The Lord will give fitness for the work. We ourselves must drink of the water of life, if we would refresh souls who are thirsting for the water of salvation. You can see what is before us. I see no let up in this warfare for me. May the Lord God of Israel plan our battle for us, and qualify us to do a work which will bear the signature of heaven. 10LtMs, Lt 59, 1895, par. 20

We are glad that we held the convention when we did in Hobart. W. C. White gave 1 pound and I gave 3 pounds in order that food might be provided for those who should attend the convention, and who would have to come from Bismark and other places. We did this in order to remove every obstacle and make it possible for the people to attend the convention. I would not have had the people deprived of the instruction that was given at that meeting if it had taken five times as many pounds as it did. The poor must have the gospel message preached to them. It is as necessary to them as to those who are in good circumstances. 10LtMs, Lt 59, 1895, par. 21

The brethren are purchasing land somewhere in Melbourne upon which to build a church. Since the close of the camp meeting in Auckland a church has been erected in one of its suburbs for those who have lately accepted the truth. In all probability we shall have to have a place of worship erected in Hobart. It is very difficult to secure a place in which meetings can be held on Sunday and Sunday evenings. The church in which the brethren now meet on Sabbath was built by a dissenting minister of the Wesleyan order. He preaches independent of the conference, and is free to do as he pleases about letting us have his church. How long he will be generous enough to permit the Seventh-day Adventists to occupy his church is rather uncertain. You can see that a great work is to be done in every part of the colonies. 10LtMs, Lt 59, 1895, par. 22

My heart burns with desire to engage more fully in the work, but I find I am not able to do so. For four months I have been unable to obtain sufficient sleep. Last Friday night I passed through the most severe suffering that I have had for years. For months it has been impossible for me to sleep after the hours of twelve, one, two, and three o’clock in the morning. I rise at these untimely hours, light my fire, and begin writing. I work the entire day, and often speak three times in the week. 10LtMs, Lt 59, 1895, par. 23

Last Friday night I awakened in severe pain, and felt that I should suffocate for want of breath. I could obtain no relief. I thought I might die, my pulse was very feeble, missing every third beat. I dared not close my eyes in sleep. I made my prayer unto God that he might bring me relief. After midnight I went to sleep; but next morning my countenance revealed the suffering hours through which I had passed. I dared not sit up, but lay in bed most of the time until it was time to dress for meeting. An appointment had been given out that I should speak at three o’clock in the afternoon. If I had consulted my feelings I would not have tried to fulfill the appointment; but the Lord helped me as I exercised faith, and the fearful, sensations in my heart ceased. 10LtMs, Lt 59, 1895, par. 24

Scarcely able to stand, I took the cab to the meeting, but when I rose in the desk all my fear and trembling left me. I had not the slightest trace of feebleness. I spoke on the special love of God to His people, taking for a text, “Behold, what manner of love the Father hath bestowed upon us that we should be called the sons of God: therefore the world knoweth us not, because it knew him not.” [1 John 3:1.] A goodly number were assembled, and I noted that men and women of intelligence were before me. 10LtMs, Lt 59, 1895, par. 25

I spoke for over one hour, and felt that I could have spoken for still another hour without any inconvenience, but I thought it was best to close my discourse. All said that my voice was clear and strong, and that the words that I had spoken were the very words they needed to hear. I thanked the Lord with heart and soul and voice. Brethren Baker and Teasdale felt that their courage had been renewed, and that they could go forward with better heart and stronger faith. 10LtMs, Lt 59, 1895, par. 26

Last night on the steamer, although I was peaceful and free from pain, I could not sleep until toward morning. I am now writing in the “ladies saloon” while the passengers are taking their tea. I have not been able to write during the convention. I was made very comfortable at the home of Brother and Sister Lacey. I had all that I could do, though, in walking to and from the cars, in attending the early morning meetings, giving morning talks, and in speaking on Sabbaths and Sundays. I am glad I have visited Hobart and Bismark. We are now planning to keep the work alive in Tasmania, and we are looking about for laborers to send to this place. We have thought that Brother and Sister Wilson would make good laborers for this place, and are hoping that they will be inclined to come from New Zealand and take up the burden here. If anything is to result from our work in Tasmania, the people must have patient instruction, line upon line, and precept upon precept, here a little and there a little. 10LtMs, Lt 59, 1895, par. 27

What precious light and clear evidences we have concerning the truth for this time! I had no other idea than that you would be selected as the president of the General Conference. We pray earnestly for you that the Lord will give you a healthful experience, and clear understanding of His mind and will, and that you may be constantly imbued with the Holy Spirit. Both Willie and myself understand your perplexities and difficulties. I have a most intense desire that you shall keep an eye single to the glory of God, and that you will not allow any man’s judgment to control you. The Lord lives and reigns, and He is to be glorified in all those that come near unto Him. I have nothing but the most tender, pitying sympathy for you, my brother. 10LtMs, Lt 59, 1895, par. 28

It has been hard for me to give the message that God has given to me for those I love, and yet I have not dared to withhold it. I have to make my face as flint against the faces of those who set themselves so stubbornly to carry out their own way and to pursue their own unrighteous course. I would not do a work that is so uncongenial to me if I thought that God would excuse me from it. When I have written one testimony to the brethren, I have thought that I should not have any more to write; but again I am in travail of soul, and cannot sleep or rest. In the night season I am speaking and writing clear words of admonition. I waken so burdened in soul that I am again driven to take up my pen. In various ways matters are opened up before my mind, and I dare not rest, or keep quiet. 10LtMs, Lt 59, 1895, par. 29

I fear and tremble for the souls of men who are in responsible places in Battle Creek. If their works had no further influence than simply upon themselves, I could breathe more freely; but I know that the enemy is using men who are in positions of trust, and who are not consecrated to the work, and who know not what manner of spirit they are of. When I realize that men who are connected with them are also in blindness, and will not see the harm that is being done by the precept and example of these unconsecrated agents, it seems to me that I cannot hold my peace. I have to write, for I know that the mold that those men are giving to the work is not after God’s order. 10LtMs, Lt 59, 1895, par. 30

The faculty of speech is a precious gift, and if the noblest of our faculties, reason, is set to the task of knowing God, then the gift of speech may become a means of grace to others, a channel through which the knowledge of God may be communicated. But if we do not feel the need of knowledge, we do not obtain it, and cannot impart that which we do not possess. Christ came to our world to assume human nature, to come in connection with man. He used the gift of speech in making known the character of God. He came to speak the words that the Father had given Him. Jesus was the greatest Teacher our world ever knew. His language was simple, clear, and plain. He longed to communicate many things to His disciples that He did not communicate to them because He knew that they could not comprehend them. He said, “I have many things to say unto you, but ye cannot bear them now.” [John 16:12.] 10LtMs, Lt 59, 1895, par. 31

In the contemplation of the character of Christ, His humiliation, His agony in Gethsemane, His sentence in the judgment hall, His condemnation and scourging, His crucifixion and death, we can see what humanity will do when it is not under the control of the Spirit of God. When the question was asked, whether men would have Jesus, the innocent, holy Prince of heaven, or a base thief and murderer, they cried out, “Release unto us Barabbas.” [Luke 23:18.] To the question, What shall we do with Jesus? the hoarse cry was raised by men who were inspired by Satan, “Crucify him, crucify him!” [Verse 21.] 10LtMs, Lt 59, 1895, par. 32

In this scene is a representation of what those will do who stand under the black banner of the powers of darkness, and what will be the spirit of those whom we shall have to meet in the great crisis that is before us. If Christ had told the disciples all the details of these scenes of cruelty, they would not have comprehended them. Today we need greater faith in order that we may stand the test and the trial that is before us. Let us pray that the Lord will increase our faith. 10LtMs, Lt 59, 1895, par. 33