Letters and Manuscripts — Volume 10

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Lt 61, 1895

Olsen, O. A.

Norfolk Villa, Prospect St., Granville, Australia

February 2, 1895

Portions of this letter are published in Ev 355; TM 204-208; 7MR 52-53; 11MR 161.

Dear Brother:

I thank you for writing to me so fully. I am pleased to hear from you, and appreciate your letter because I know your time is limited. We present your case before God in our seasons of prayer. 10LtMs, Lt 61, 1895, par. 1

Fearing that something will arise that will bring burdens upon me and make it impossible for me to answer your letter, I will go at the matter at once. For the past week we have had our house full of people. One night we lodged seventeen. Sometimes we have more, and sometimes less company. But company has been the order of things ever since we came to New South Wales. They began to come even before we were properly settled. I love to entertain my brethren, but it does greatly hinder me in my writing. This much company makes it necessary to hire extra help at different occasions, and brings perplexity upon me. People frequently come at an inopportune time, just when I need strength to write out important matter. 10LtMs, Lt 61, 1895, par. 2

I need to enlarge my working force, and I wish I could procure the right kind of help to prepare books which are being called for by Dr. Kellogg and others. But it is difficult to procure this class of help. I could now use a good consecrated worker to the very best advantage in selecting and preparing matter for these books. My workers do all that they can, but I could use more help in the line of preparation of books for the present. This class of work requires tact, wisdom, and experience; and when you find a worker that can do this manner of work, please remember my need. 10LtMs, Lt 61, 1895, par. 3

You speak of the instruction that the Lord has given in regard to moving from Battle Creek, and you say you feel anxious over the way in which this matter has been handled in the past. Now, my brother, I also have been very much burdened over this matter, and have waked up at twelve, one, and two o’clock at night with heavy burdens upon me. 10LtMs, Lt 61, 1895, par. 4

One night I was in Battle Creek, and was bearing a decided testimony to the church. I was invited to attend a committee meeting, but I said, No, I cannot trust my message to your committees. Not all of those who compose your committee have a vital connection with God, and they will not comprehend the message that God has given me to bear. The church must hear my message, and I must speak in language that cannot be misinterpreted, in the same way that messages have been misinterpreted again and again in Battle Creek, so that men have been led to turn from the counsel of God, and to follow their own ideas and imaginations. You have evaded the true meaning of the message. You have not heeded the warnings, and this has made it necessary that additional messages should be sent to you, in order that you may avoid evil and accomplish the plan that God would have you [accomplish]. 10LtMs, Lt 61, 1895, par. 5

I stood before the church and presented matters in the light in which God has presented them to me. I said, Warnings have been sent to Battle Creek, reproving them for continually adding building to building, but His instruction has been interpreted in such a way as to mean just what those wanted it to mean who determined to carry out their own ideas. They were determined to have the testimony in harmony with their plans. They continually wrested and misinterpreted the word sent them. The money which was invested in enlarging the Battle Creek College to accommodate the ministers’ school would better have been invested somewhere else, for no more buildings were needed there. There were ample facilities provided for the education of students. It was not best that more students should come to the school for there was only talent and wisdom to manage a certain number. 10LtMs, Lt 61, 1895, par. 6

The ministerial institutes and schools could have been held in buildings that were already erected in Battle Creek, and the money used in enlarging the college, could have been invested to better advantage in erecting school buildings in other localities, and would have given character to the work that needed to be done in regions beyond. New buildings in Battle Creek meant encouragement for families to move to Battle Creek in order to educate their children in the college. But it would have been a far greater blessing to the children and to all concerned to be associated in some other locality, and in much smaller numbers. It would have been a far greater blessing to have erected smaller schools, that could have been conducted upon the plans more after the order that the Lord has presented. The congregating of people in Battle Creek is as much the fault of those who are in leading positions as it is the fault of those who have moved into this place. 10LtMs, Lt 61, 1895, par. 7

If the college in Battle Creek was broken up into smaller companies, and schools located in various places, improvement might be made, in physical, mental, and moral culture. Wherever schools are located there should be a primary department. The Lord has not said that there should be fewer buildings, but that there should be more buildings. The point is that these buildings should not all be centered in one place. The large amount of means invested in a few localities should be invested in providing facilities for a wider field, so that many more students could be better accommodated. The time has come for lifting the standard of truth in many places, for arousing interest, and extending the missionary field. The time has come when many more should have the message of truth brought to their attention. 10LtMs, Lt 61, 1895, par. 8

I have been bearing a testimony from God to you that there are better fields for missionary enterprise than Battle Creek, and yet you have been planning to have everything of the most convenient order in that field. There are better fields to be entered and worked than those on which you are expending so much means and labor. I have no more testimony to give to the people in Battle Creek to encourage them to move out, so long as there are so many counteracting agencies. Your large facilities are saying to the people, “Come to Battle Creek; move here with your families, and educate your children here.” 10LtMs, Lt 61, 1895, par. 9

But it would be far better if these families would remain where they are. If these people would encourage the church in which they are members, and establish small, humble school buildings in which to do service for God, they could accommodate their own children within their borders. There are men and women of talent who could be used in these limited schools, who would not know how to work after the manner in which they work in Battle Creek, and it is not essential that they should know how to work in this way. In these smaller schools they could bring good talent, and a condition of things could be brought about [in a] far less objectionable [way] than that which exists in Battle Creek. 10LtMs, Lt 61, 1895, par. 10

In these smaller schools a far more favorable condition of things could be brought about than that which exists at Battle Creek. The students would have fewer temptations to meet, and they could acquire an education that would be of value both in this life and in the future life. God would work with those who were consecrated to Him, who were patient, kind, and loving, and who would watch for souls as they that must give an account. Under the name of discipline, most painful manifestations have been called forth. Impressions have been left upon hearts and minds and characters, that are of an offensive order, because men who administered what they called discipline carried out their own unsanctified desires. The teacher cannot be acceptable to God who is unregenerated, who has not a living connection with heaven. He must be created anew in Christ Jesus, and place himself daily upon the altar, a living sacrifice. 10LtMs, Lt 61, 1895, par. 11

In your letter you express true sentiments. You say that “a people enjoying the great privileges and opportunities we enjoy here in Battle Creek, who have opportunities for instruction, information and training that we have, should certainly be in a condition to work in the Lord’s vineyard.” If the families who have moved into Battle Creek had possessed the true missionary spirit many of them would have felt that they had a work to do in the smaller churches from which they came. If they had been laborers together with God, they would have made proper use of their faculties in these small churches and in their home neighborhood. They would have been willing to make any sacrifice in order that they might enlighten and bless others around them. 10LtMs, Lt 61, 1895, par. 12

Those who rush into Battle Creek, leaving the churches that need their help to struggle along in feebleness, do it without directions from the Lord. Those who fail to work intelligently in their home churches, who are not living stones in the temple of God where they are, will not be likely to be any help in the church at Battle Creek. They will rather be a hindrance, dead weights that drag down the living machinery. If, after living in Battle Creek for years, it is found that they have made no advancement, how can it be thought that they will know better how to work if they remain years longer? In this way they learn to be slothful servants, and bury their talents in the earth instead of improving them. 10LtMs, Lt 61, 1895, par. 13

Those who are members of churches in scattered regions, or members of new churches in our cities, should be set to work at once. They should be entrusted with some responsibility in missionary lines as soon as they become believers in the truth. If Saul, who had been a persecutor of the church, could say that the primitive churches glorified God because of the revelation of His love in him, in turning him from Saul the persecutor, to be Paul the apostle, may not those who accept of the truth in our day be trained and educated to become missionaries wherever they may be located? If a church numbers only half a dozen, they should study their Bibles and know how to work for others. 10LtMs, Lt 61, 1895, par. 14

Those who appreciate the truth will reveal to others the fact that everyone ought to know God and to believe in Christ. But because everyone does not know God, because there are so many who are in error, it is incumbent upon the newly converted souls to reveal to others the goodness and mercy of God. Guilt is upon every soul who, having the knowledge of the truth, fails to impart that knowledge and does not represent the truth as it is in Jesus by both precept and example. He who does not act in accordance with the truth he has received, acknowledge divine superintendence, not trusting in himself, will fail of doing the work of God. But he who trusts in God will find a field of work prepared to his hand. 10LtMs, Lt 61, 1895, par. 15

Humble, simplehearted, trusting souls may do a work which will cause rejoicing in heaven, among the angels of God. Their work at home, in their neighborhood, and in the church will be in its results as far-reaching as eternity. It is because this work is not done that the experience of young converts never reaches beyond the ABC in divine things. They are always babies, always needing to be fed upon milk, and never able to partake of true gospel meat. 10LtMs, Lt 61, 1895, par. 16

Large gatherings in Battle Creek are a great mistake. Do you think the Lord can be well pleased to have still larger preparations made to accommodate a larger number of students, when such definite light has been given upon this subject, and instead of distributing the light into many places of the earth it is concentrated at Battle Creek, and many do not appreciate or improve the light that is given them? If they would go into missionary fields, and work in a small way, God would give many His Holy Spirit, who are now destitute of His grace. 10LtMs, Lt 61, 1895, par. 17

Parents can labor for the conversion of their children, and keep the spiritual interests fresh and wholesome in the home by bringing up their children in the nurture and admonition of the Lord. Wherever there are a few Sabbath schools, let the parents unite together in providing a place for a day school, where the children of the various Sabbath schools can come together. Let them employ a Christian teacher who as a consecrated missionary shall educate the children in such a way to lead them to become missionaries themselves. Work, work while it is day, for the night cometh in which no man can work. 10LtMs, Lt 61, 1895, par. 18

Parents must gird on the armor, and by their own example they must teach their children to be missionaries. Let parents put forth unselfish efforts, and the Lord will work with their efforts as they perseveringly teach their children to bear responsibilities. As the children practice the Bible lessons, they will receive an education of the highest value. Wherever there are Sabbathkeepers there is a missionary field. If parents are not able to send their children to school, let them hire an exemplary, religious teacher, who will feel it a pleasure to work for the Master in any capacity, who will be willing to cultivate any part of the Lord’s vineyard. 10LtMs, Lt 61, 1895, par. 19

Let mothers and fathers co-operate with the teacher and devote an hour daily to study, becoming learners with their children. Make the educating hour one of pleasure and importance, and your confidence will increase in this method of seeking for the salvation of your children. Your own spiritual growth will be more rapid as you learn to work for them. As you work in a humble way, unbelief will disappear. Faith and activity will impart to your experience ardor, assurance, and satisfaction, which will increase day by day as you follow on to know the Lord, and to make Him known. Your prayers will become earnest. You will have some real object for which to pray. 10LtMs, Lt 61, 1895, par. 20

The prevailing monotony of the religious round of service in our churches, needs to be disturbed. The leaven of activity needs to be introduced, that our church members may work along new lines, and devise new methods. The Holy Spirit’s power will move upon the hearts when this dead, lifeless monotony is broken up, and many will begin to work in earnest who never before thought of being anything but idle spectators. A working church on earth is connected with the working church above. God works, angels work, and men should work for the conversion of souls. Efforts should be made to do something while the day lasts, and the grace of God will be revealed that souls may be saved to Christ. Everywhere souls are perishing in their sins, and God is saying to every believing soul, “Hasten to their help with the message that I shall give you.” 10LtMs, Lt 61, 1895, par. 21

The Lord has made men his agents, and with heart filled with the love of Jesus, they are to co-operate with Him in turning men from error to truth. God blesses the earth with sunshine and with showers. He causes the earth to bring forth its plenteous treasures for the use of man. The Lord has made man His almoner to dispense His heavenly gifts by bringing souls to the truth. Will my brethren in America inquire how the precious, saving truth reached them when they were in darkness? Men and women brought their tithes and offerings unto God, and as means filled the treasury, men were sent out to advance the work. This same process must be repeated if souls in darkness are reached in this day. 10LtMs, Lt 61, 1895, par. 22

I have seen that there are many who are withholding their tithes altogether, and others are withholding a part, and yet the great missionary work increases year by year. We should learn to economize in our household expenditures. No needless expense should be incurred, because want and wretchedness, poverty and misery, of every description press upon our notice, and we are called upon to help those who are needy and distressed. We must see that those who need food and clothing are supplied, that those who are in soul-poverty may understand the goodness of salvation. 10LtMs, Lt 61, 1895, par. 23

It is when we engage in earnest work, working according to our several ability that God manifests Himself to us, and gives us grace for grace. A working church in travail for souls will be a praying church, a believing church, and a receiving church. A church whose members are found upon their knees before God, supplicating His mercy, seeking Him daily, is a church that is feeding upon the Bread of life, and drinking of the water of life. The promise, “Whatsoever ye shall ask of the Father in my name, he may give it you,” will be verified to them. [John 15:16.] 10LtMs, Lt 61, 1895, par. 24

Christlike activity pursued with persevering zeal will bring large returns. There will be an enlarged experience in love, and the human agent will have elevated views as to what God would do through him as he stands at his post of duty. Then will the church arise and shine, realizing that the glory of God has risen upon her, and that the darkness is receding. Missionary success will be proportionate to wholehearted, thoroughly consecrated effort. Every departure from true missionary effort, every failure to cherish the missionary spirit, has reacted upon the church, and there has been a decline of spirituality. But every earnest effort that has been made in missionary lines has brought spiritual health to the church, and has not only increased the membership of the church, but has increased its holy zeal and gladness. 10LtMs, Lt 61, 1895, par. 25

The commandment-keeping people of God erelong will be placed in a most trying position; but all those who have walked in the light, and have diffused the light, will realize that God interposes in their behalf. When everything looks most forbidding, then the Lord will reveal His power to His faithful ones. When the nation for which God has worked in such a marvelous manner, and over which He has spread the shield of Omnipotence, abandons Protestant principles, and through its legislature gives countenance and support to Romanism in limiting religious liberty, then God will work in His own power for His people that are true. The tyranny of Rome will be exercised, but Christ is our refuge. 10LtMs, Lt 61, 1895, par. 26

Many have been altogether too long in a sleepy condition. While some have worked intently, and have manifested unfailing energy, others have stood as spectators, and have been ready to make remarks of a critical character as to methods and results. This they are ready to do though they have never exercised their minds in originating any plans whereby precious souls might be saved for Christ. They stand ready to find fault with those who do something. When these indolent souls awake, and show some signs of returning consciousness, they are disappointed if others do not at once find them pleasant places in the work. It is a great shock to them to find out that work cannot be done without painstaking, self-denying, self-crucifying efforts. 10LtMs, Lt 61, 1895, par. 27

They expect success, and think that they must have the same order of success as did the apostles on the day of Pentecost. This success they will have when they go through the same experience of humble, self-denying sacrifice as did the apostles. When they present as earnest supplications from broken, contrite hearts as did the apostles, then the same proportion of success will attend their labors. “For thus saith the high and lofty One that inhabiteth eternity, whose name is Holy; I dwell in the high and holy place, with him also that is of a contrite and humble spirit, to revive the spirit of the humble, and to revive the heart of the contrite ones.” [Isaiah 57:15.] “To this man will I look, even to him that is poor and of a contrite spirit, and trembleth at my word.” [Isaiah 66:2.] 10LtMs, Lt 61, 1895, par. 28

The home missionary spirit is little known among us, and its manifestation is greatly needed in every line of the work. A portion of the church has begun to exhibit some activity along missionary lines. But if we do not awake more generally and fully, then those who know not the truth for this time will advance before us, and block up our way. How long will it require to wake up the idlers who for years have loitered in Battle Creek? When will they become faithful witnesses for God? How long will it be before they yoke up with Christ? How much time each day is set apart for the worship of God? How many have seasons for contemplation and for earnest prayer? 10LtMs, Lt 61, 1895, par. 29

How many have educated themselves in economical habits, so that they may have gifts and offerings for the Lord’s house? How many have had their heart warmed by the practical exercise of benevolence? How many have made earnest efforts to inspire others to work for the Master? To work at home successfully will need a spirit, faith, and perseverance that will not fail nor be discouraged. There is no one inactive in heaven, and no one will enter the mansions of bliss who has failed to show love for Christ, who has put forth no efforts for the salvation of others. 10LtMs, Lt 61, 1895, par. 30

Who can tell the work that might have been done in our churches if those who advocated the truth had not left these feeble churches, to crowd into Battle Creek? If all our people had been faithful, diligent, God-fearing servants of Christ, and had put forth efforts to make their influence as far-reaching as possible at home where they are, how many souls might have been saved! One taper kindled in one place might have been the means of kindling many others, and the result would have been that the voice of praise and thanksgiving would have been heard, and many would have said, “What hath God wrought! He has done exceeding abundantly above all that we asked or thought.” [Numbers 23:23; Ephesians 3:20.] 10LtMs, Lt 61, 1895, par. 31