Letters and Manuscripts — Volume 10 (1895)
Lt 53, 1895
Olsen, O. A.
Norfolk Villa, Granville, Australia
September 10, 1895
This letter is published in entirety in 1888 1421-1424.
For years I have carried a consuming burden for the cause of God in Battle Creek. I am now deeply troubled over the shape which matters are taking there, and the influence which is being exerted on the work everywhere. I ask you, my brother, how can you entrust A. R. Henry and Harmon Lindsay with so much responsibility in the work, and send them hither and thither to all parts of the field? They are not by precept and example giving the third angel’s message. The atmosphere which surrounds their souls, and which is revealed in spirit and influence, shows that they have lost the Spirit of God out of their hearts and their experience. They are made responsible for many, many things, while they do not feel their accountability to God. 10LtMs, Lt 53, 1895, par. 1
Brother [J. N.] Nelson who is in the office cannot be regarded as in exactly the same position as these men, but he needs a different mold of character. He has not that kind, Christian courtesy that will have a saving, fragrant influence upon the minds of those who associate with him or do business with him. Though he may hold to right principles, his manner of representing these principles is such as to make a disagreeable impression upon the minds of those associated with him. His words [and] his manner of expression create thoughts and feelings that are very objectionable. 10LtMs, Lt 53, 1895, par. 2
A good man is to manifest his principles, but he can do this in a way that will not make such a disagreeable impression upon those with whom he does business. God requires Brother Nelson to learn his lessons more perfectly in the school of Christ. His principles should be kept more vividly before his own mind, that they may bring forth in him the peaceable fruits of righteousness. His unfortunate manner of expression, and his spirit of criticism destroy his influence that, if sanctified, might be of real value. 10LtMs, Lt 53, 1895, par. 3
The Lord wants Brother Nelson to clothe himself with the garments of righteousness, and to bring into his practical life the sweetness and fragrance of the character of Christ. This brother possesses qualifications of mind and character that if sanctified daily for the Master’s use would enable him to become a vessel unto honor. But he needs the molding and fashioning of Jesus. “The love of money is the root of all evil: which while some coveted after, they have erred from the faith, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows. But then, O man of God, flee these things: and follow after righteousness, godliness, faith, love, patience, meekness. Fight the good fight of faith, lay hold on eternal life, whereunto thou art also called, and hast professed a good profession before many witnesses.” [1 Timothy 6:10-12.] 10LtMs, Lt 53, 1895, par. 4
I would say to Brother Nelson, Let your heart be joined to the heart of infinite love. Let your life be knit by hidden links to the life of Jesus. Let your life be hid with Christ in God; then because Christ liveth, you will live also. God wants you to let Him manage you, that you may be a lovable Christian. The Lord would have the natural and hereditary traits of character come under the pruning knife. Look steadfastly unto Jesus, that you may catch His spirit and cherish the qualities of Christlike character. Then it will be recognized by all who have any connection with you that you have learned of Christ His meekness, His affection, His tenderness, His sympathy. 10LtMs, Lt 53, 1895, par. 5
Never rest satisfied until you possess a loving and lovable spirit. Your words may come from the good treasure of the heart to strengthen, help, bless, and win all around you. True conscientiousness will make the religious life attractive. But your religion has altogether too much acidity to be palatable. You sour your influence by a stubborn, set determination; your critical censoriousness sets the teeth on edge. God help you, my brother, for you need melting. 10LtMs, Lt 53, 1895, par. 6
Others catch your spirit. The seeds we sow will bear harvest in goodness, patience, kindness, and love, or exactly the opposite. It is not your purpose to do wrong acts, but you do not see the necessity of doing pleasant acts, so that from you men receive a better impression of the Christian character. More of the spirit of the beloved disciple John would make you more fragrant and lovable, and a far better example of what constitutes a true Christian life. 10LtMs, Lt 53, 1895, par. 7
Many, many, need melting over. Be sound in principle, true to God, but do not manifest one stern, ungenial phase of character. God does not want you to incur contempt by manifesting a disposition like a ball of putty, but He does want you to be in principle as sound as a rock, yet with a healthful mellowness. Like the Master, be full of grace and truth. Jesus was incorruptible, undefiled, yet in His life were mingled gentleness, meekness, benignity, sympathy, and love. The poorest were not afraid to approach Him; they did not fear a rebuff. What Christ was, every Christian should strive to be. In holiness and winsomeness of character He is our model. 10LtMs, Lt 53, 1895, par. 8
“Learn of me,” says Jesus, “for I am meek and lowly in heart, and ye shall find rest unto your souls.” [Matthew 11:29.] We should all learn of Christ what it means to be a Christian. Let us learn of Him how to combine firmness, justice, purity, and integrity with unselfish courtesy and kindly sympathy. Thus the character becomes lovable and attractive. The beauty of holiness will disarm scoffers. 10LtMs, Lt 53, 1895, par. 9
The workers at the Review and Herald office will not enter into the kingdom of heaven, unless their characters reflect the character of Christ. The heart must receive the divine current, and let it flow out in rich streams of mercy and grace to other hearts. All who would win souls to Christ must be winsome. A word to the wise is sufficient. 10LtMs, Lt 53, 1895, par. 10