Letters and Manuscripts — Volume 10 (1895)


Lt 65, 1895

Olsen, O. A.

Norfolk Villa, Prospect St., Granville, Australia

June 19, 1895

See Lt 122, 1895. This letter is published in entirety in 1888 1394-1407 Materials.

Dear Bro. Olsen:

I wish to speak to you in confidence, as a mother would speak with her son. I fear and tremble for you. I know that in your councils you are in danger of acquiescing in the schemes that come from mistaken judgment. If the Lord is in the midst of your councils, beholding your order and love and fear, and your trembling at His word, then you are prepared to do His work unselfishly; but He will not be in partnership with any unjust transaction. 10LtMs, Lt 65, 1895, par. 1

After I gave you that matter in regard to the workings of the Office (just before I left Battle Creek), how long was it before the men whom it reproved and warned were called together to become acquainted with the message God had given them? Months after I had committed to your trust these words which God had given, you wrote to me that you had not yet called the parties together to read to them these important reproofs, cautions, and warnings. If I had then had a thought that the matter would be thus neglected under any consideration, I would have placed it before them myself. How much of the after working of selfishness, how much of the working out of wrong principles, might have been saved, the Lord alone will reveal at the right time. 10LtMs, Lt 65, 1895, par. 2

My brother whom I love in the Lord, it is not safe for you to link up so closely with men who you know are not in living connection with God. When I learned of these men, especially Captain Eldridge and A. R. Henry, being depended on and called to go to California and other localities, I knew that blindness in part had happened unto Israel. And now since Capt. Eldridge and Frank Belden are disconnected from the Office, the situation in many respects is not relieved. In your councils in connection with men who you know are not standing in the clear light, how can you feel safe to enter into the confederation of the publishing work? You must know that this means the placing of more power in the hands of these men and bringing every other institution into subordination, to be molded by the principles which control at Battle Creek. 10LtMs, Lt 65, 1895, par. 3

When you are fully awake to these things, you will see and know that the reproof of God has for years been upon these responsible men, yet they have not humbled their hearts, neither have they been converted, nor have they confessed where they have resisted the messages God has been giving to His people. They have shown contempt for both the messenger and the message, from the time Elders Jones and Waggoner were given a special message for these last days. Have you heard any confession from the lips of A. R. Henry? Have you heard any acknowledgment of his wrong course in resisting light and the messages God sends? Capt. Eldridge and Frank Belden have both confessed their wrongs. D. T. Jones, when separated from the influence of these men who have resisted the light, confessed his wrong in resisting the Spirit of God. Have you any real evidence of repentance and conversion on the part of A. R. Henry, and yet you place upon him great responsibilities? 10LtMs, Lt 65, 1895, par. 4

The responsibilities and the important business that mean so much to the integrity, purity, and upbuilding of the cause of God demand that there be a wise selection of working agencies. Just as long as you hold men in office, entrusting them with the very weightiest responsibilities, and yet they are not especially led and disciplined by the Holy Spirit, you give no chance for God to work to supply the vacancies that ought to have been made long ago. Your dealing with Elder Littlejohn stands in the books of heaven, “Weighed in the balances of the sanctuary and found wanting.” [Daniel 5:27.] Your dealing with Frank Belden, whatever his position or merits, is alike written in the books of heaven as, “Weighed in the balances of the sanctuary, and found wanting,” by the Watcher who marked the course of the king of Babylon. 10LtMs, Lt 65, 1895, par. 5

When Belshazzar’s period of probation closed, the Lord no longer protected him from the sure result of his own course of action. If a man puts his hand into the fire, it will be burned; the Lord does not work a miracle to save him. To reason as many will, that God ought to have prevented certain men from doing certain things, is fallacious reasoning. God sends warnings, entreaties, and reproofs to correct that which is wrong, to justify that which is righteous; God could in a most marked manner have prevented men from doing as they have done in your council meetings, for He can destroy and make alive. But He leaves men free to choose their own course of action. A man may throw himself over a precipice or into the dark waters of the sea, and God does not work a miracle to prevent it. God did not draw back the arm of Adam, and by physical restraint make it impossible for him to take the forbidden fruit. The Lord says, Thou shalt not do this wrong; if man chooses to give his will to Satan to do that wrong, the sin and its results lie at his own door. 10LtMs, Lt 65, 1895, par. 6

The working of matters in Battle Creek is in some things out of God’s order, and if left to continue, will result in making all things spotted, stained, and unacceptable to God. The Lord said to Adam, If you eat of the fruit of the tree of knowledge, you will bring death and woe into the world. If you are obedient to My word, you will be happy and live forever. If you disobey, you will die. God did not originate sin, but He permitted it. According to the beneficence of His own nature, He made man as a free moral agent, to set forth the wisdom, the love and the holiness of God, and the justice of all His doings. 10LtMs, Lt 65, 1895, par. 7

God proposed to take man into partnership with Himself. But if, like the inhabitants of the antediluvian world, men follow their own imagination and devising as capable of all wisdom, they will receive the result, as did the king of Babylon. They have reckoned without God, and will reap the consequences of their folly. To place in positions of responsibility men who are of a masterly, arbitrary disposition is always wrong, for their management brings the sure result. 10LtMs, Lt 65, 1895, par. 8

Both Elder Littlejohn and Frank Belden—whom I mention, not as the only cases, but as representative cases, have not been treated right; they have not been treated as man should treat his fellow man. Men have been permitted to rule, whose minds are not naturally superior to the minds of these men, and their hearts were not right with God. God was not glorified by their course of action. Wrong principles were the foundation of their wrong course. 10LtMs, Lt 65, 1895, par. 9

God has made men responsible beings, and placed them in circumstances favorable to obedience to His will. In the dignity of their God-given manhood, they are to be governed and controlled by God Himself, not by any human intelligence in our world. Man is ever to acknowledge that God lives and reigns; men are never to become lords over God’s heritage. They are to consider that “all ye are brethren.” [Matthew 23:8.] In the very fact that men are free moral agents, God teaches us not to be forced or compelled into any course of action, also that as responsible beings in co-partnership with God, we are to represent God in character. We are to have an interest in our brother, in our neighbor, in all around. 10LtMs, Lt 65, 1895, par. 10

The well-being of our child demands that we reveal the attributes of God in our own character. The child is God’s by creation and by redemption. No evil course of action must be sanctioned in that little one; no evil example, in spirit, in word, in action, should be seen in the parents, to be reproduced in the child. So it is on a larger scale with men in sacred trust; they are not to bring their own spirit into their life, they are not to walk by the sparks of their own kindling, and act out the peevish disposition of a child because they do not possess self-control. A man in stature should be a man in the development of his God-given talents and ability to be used in the service of God. He should consider that he is not working for himself, but for the benefit of human beings around him. 10LtMs, Lt 65, 1895, par. 11

If man is careless and disconnects from Jesus Christ, the source of his strength and efficiency, he works always in Satan’s lines in some way. He yields to temptation in accordance with his perverted ideas, and his course of action will be reproduced in his children, and through them in future generations. Then should not men feel the responsibility resting upon them to deal with human minds after the manner that God deals with them? The facts that God has presented in His Word should make men afraid of imparting to their offspring their own unsanctified attributes of character. It is for the interest of the children under their guardianship, that they live soberly, righteously, and godly in this present evil world. 10LtMs, Lt 65, 1895, par. 12

That which in God’s dealing with us may seem to be hardship is really mercy at every step, arousing the higher nature, and causing an abhorrence of sin and injustice, and leading us to guard against selfish practices, against artifice and injustice, against every defective trait of character. If men would practice the attributes of God, they would not have the painful consciousness of transmitting wrong tendencies and traits of character to their children, to be reproduced in their children, thus communicating the evils that might have been repressed. I merely touch upon these points now, but hope to write more fully at another time. 10LtMs, Lt 65, 1895, par. 13

Did the Lord counsel you to devise the various means to work and control human minds? No, I tell you, no. The case of Elder Littlejohn has been strangely mismanaged. He has appealed to me to set things right, but I have done nothing about it; it was not the time. Your course in the treatment of him was all wrong. It bears the signature of the adversary of souls. Your treatment of Frank Belden in his work was not right; it is strange fire, not the fire of God’s kindling. This kind of management must come to an end, else God will work in a way that will not be pleasing to those who have done this work. These men have not been right, they needed judicious management, but those who tried to manage them needed themselves to be managed. 10LtMs, Lt 65, 1895, par. 14

Did your devising in regard to the Gospel Primer meet the approval of God? No; the principle upon which you acted was wrong. Individual service is to be rendered to God, not to be controlled by [one] man, or by any set of men. Movements have been made which mean much in their outworking. An example has been given by men who are serving where they should not be, which is leavening your conferences. The presidents of conferences are being imbued with a spirit to rule, to require men to bow to their judgment; if any refuse, the course pursued toward them is such as to fill heaven with indignation. 10LtMs, Lt 65, 1895, par. 15

How can God move upon the churches to contribute their hard-earned means to be handled by men who are self-sufficient, selfish, and so arrogant and over-bearing that the frown of God is upon them? Our institutions need cleansing as did the temple when Christ was upon the earth. Man lords it over men’s consciences, man dictates to his fellow men as God. Everywhere throughout the field this spirit is leavening hearts with the same narrow and selfish purposes. Reaction must come, and who shall then set things in order? Jesus says, “He that will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow me.” [Luke 9:23.] 10LtMs, Lt 65, 1895, par. 16

The pure principles of the publishing institution have not been stoutly maintained. “Hath a nation changed their gods, which are yet no gods? but my people hath changed their glory for that which doth not profit.” (Read Jeremiah 2:11-14, 21, 22, 34.) 10LtMs, Lt 65, 1895, par. 17

The principles manifest in dealing with individuals, in restricting and repressing them, are not according to the mind of the Spirit of God. The Lord will not countenance this kind of work from your hands. He will not have His work and His cause bear the mark of any man’s injustice. I repeat the warnings. Be sure that you display the religion of love, not of bigotry. “Let your light so shine before men that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven.” [Matthew 5:16.] If you continue to advance in the same course you have pursued in dealing with God’s heritage, such a condition of things will soon be produced that God will manifest the folly and unrighteousness of men. 10LtMs, Lt 65, 1895, par. 18

Men in sacred office ought not to be sanctioned and upheld while they are going down to the world’s level, and dragging the banner of truth after them. In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth I urge that the world’s spirit and maxims, their likings, their principles, shall not leaven the churches. Shall the principles of heaven be discarded as in the days of Noah? Shall he that departeth from evil make himself a prey to sharp, critical, designing men? In the last work, the last influence, and the last warnings [to] the world, shall we give the trumpet an uncertain sound? There is a broad, clear, deep line drawn by the eternal God between worldly policy and the unselfish, undeviating principles of justice and righteousness and equity. 10LtMs, Lt 65, 1895, par. 19

God’s people are not to be treated as the servants of the conference, to be bound and released at its pleasure. God is dishonored, and it is time you called a halt. The men who live out Christ’s lessons in practical life are His co-workers. The man who acts upon worldly principles is serving another master. The two classes do not blend into one another imperceptibly like the colors of a rainbow; Christ’s likeness and Satanic attributes stand out as distinct as midnight in contrast with midday. The Christian differs from the worldling in nature, in taste, in pursuits. The words of the prophet Malachi need to be read, the warnings heeded, and the instructions practiced. From the first word to the last, this book should be our lesson sheet, in the home life, in the church, and before the world. God calls upon you, “Why halt ye between two opinions? If the Lord be God serve him, if Baal, then serve him.” [1 Kings 18:21.] 10LtMs, Lt 65, 1895, par. 20

God will not approve or bless the authorities at Battle Creek in turning things upside down, departing from the faith once delivered to the saints. Read Malachi 3:3. The whole chapter should be studied. Please read also 1 Samuel 2:12-17. If the extortion practiced by the sons of Eli was a sin before God, how does the sin of selfish men who have accepted $30 a week for their labor stand in the sight of a holy God. Where is seen the practice of the self-denial and self-sacrifice of Christ? What example has been given at the very heart of the work at Battle Creek? Is it an example of devotion and self-sacrifice that may be safely followed by other institutions just as worthy? 10LtMs, Lt 65, 1895, par. 21

God has tested men, tested their devotion, their principles. Those who have eagerly grasped all they could get, have revealed the true state of their hearts. Some have been very zealous that others who engage in the work just as earnestly as themselves shall have scarcely a chance to work in freedom with their God-given ability; all must come under the management of parties who have evidenced their willingness to have all they can possibly grasp to advantage themselves. The Lord sees all this. Does He serve with such a spirit? No, verily no. I tell you, my brethren, blindness in part has happened unto Israel. I have chapters concerning this wrong management, but I forbear. 10LtMs, Lt 65, 1895, par. 22

Brother Olsen, you told me you read to the board that which I wrote in reference to your sitting and listening to resolutions that meant oppression to others, [when] you said not a word in remonstrance, thus making yourself accountable for them, sanctioning them by your silence. How can you feel that you are doing God’s service in sending unconsecrated men long journeys to do business in connection with the cause, thus virtually saying, “This is my reliable force, men I can trust, whose integrity is firm; they are just the same in principles as myself”? These men only advance the more boldly, as there are none who dare to say, “Why do ye so?” What reason have you for putting so much dependence on A. R. Henry, Leroy Nicola, and others I might name, who in a crisis will be on the wrong side? What reason have you to think that the Lord is imparting divine wisdom to men who have revealed that they have no spiritual connection with Him? 10LtMs, Lt 65, 1895, par. 23

How much confidence [do] such men have that you believe the light God has been giving His people, when you make of none effect all the warnings given? Why was it that David clung to Joab, knowing that he was not a man that loved or feared God? Because Joab bound himself up with David, as a man of unswerving fidelity, ready to do just what David said! But was he the man approved of God? No. David left Solomon to do a work that he should have done himself in condemning wrongs. David said concerning Joab, He must not come with peace to the grave; and yet apparently his own life was bound up with that of Joab. 10LtMs, Lt 65, 1895, par. 24

The Lord has presented these things before me in many ways. Do not, I beg of you, pursue a course that will weaken the confidence of the people in your judgment, and righteousness, and your fair, square dealings with the weakest saint upon earth. 10LtMs, Lt 65, 1895, par. 25

The Lord permitted the men in the Review office to have an opportunity of manifesting what character they would develop. They have shown that they could not resist the temptation to commit robbery of God, if they had a chance, confederating to take from His treasury all they could grasp; some were ready to receive more than they did. They knew that this was unjust and dishonest. Are they as willing that others should have what is their due, because God has given them ability, tact, [and] mental capacity, equal and in advance of them? No, no; they would bring under contribution to the treasury every available talent of ability to acquire means to be employed in the advancement of the work! Their tact in this line of robbery is great. They felt authorized to accept of large remuneration of their own work, while restricting others, denying them the opportunities and means Providence had offered them to labor as His instrumentalities, to carry on His work. 10LtMs, Lt 65, 1895, par. 26

God says, “I hate robbery for burnt offering.” [Isaiah 61:8.] The men who value their own souls will, by the grace of God, guard against the first tinge of unfairness in deal, the first approach to the ungodly practices of the world, the practices that prevailed in the days of Noah and Lot. The poison has been at work for a long time, and others are drinking of the cup. Wake up, Brother Olsen, Wake up! 10LtMs, Lt 65, 1895, par. 27

I have had this matter presented before me: If one is moved by the Spirit of God to publish a book which is adapted to supply a need, to advance the truth, and the selfish spirit which has been manifested for years by responsible men in the publishing house shall work until the book is brought under their control, and they manage to absorb all the profits themselves, the one who prepares the book is deprived of the very thing the Lord designed he should have to do a certain work in His vineyard. This will not be the last of such devising. The beginning is not the end. 10LtMs, Lt 65, 1895, par. 28

That God who gave His life for the world has instrumentalities which He will use that you and your co-laborers little suspect. When the Lord puts His hand to the work, let men keep their hands off from the ark. I have been made to suffer keenly in more ways than one from the spirit that prevailed during my stay in Battle Creek. Night after night the Lord presented before me what would be. The council meetings were not of a character to inspire confidence in some of the leading men; they seemed to be so determined and so zealous. The Lord Jesus was looking upon some of these meetings with grieved disapproval. 10LtMs, Lt 65, 1895, par. 29

The same spirit that led to the course of action which was pursued toward me, has lived, and has been revealed toward others. We know that God is not pleased with your taking so great liberties to bring individuals to the terms you have decided upon in your councils. God is not working with the men who are laying their plans to gain control of everything. The Lord would have His institutions in different parts of the world stand in union with other institutions, but one is not to swallow up the others. Each is to maintain its own individuality, and the workers are to receive help from the institutions that have the largest revenue. The men who conduct matters in Battle Creek have much to learn on this point. God says, “I will have mercy, and not sacrifice.” [Matthew 9:13.] 10LtMs, Lt 65, 1895, par. 30

There is a disposition to grasp everything, to destroy individuality, and ignore individual accountability; yet no compunction has thus far been aroused. A state of things is coming in after the mold of men, and not after the Lord’s order. When the truth becomes an abiding principle in the soul, then we shall see the words of the prophet fulfilled; instead of the thorn, the fir tree will spring up, instead of the brier, the myrtle; and life’s desert will blossom as the rose. [Isaiah 55:13.] 10LtMs, Lt 65, 1895, par. 31

We have had an experience in the work of God. There were times when the enemy came in great power to destroy; from hour to hour the men of faith had to depend on the blessings that came from God. The great topic of interest was how to save the souls of those that were ready to perish. The great plan of salvation drew men close together in unity and love. The social intercourse was profitable. The love of the Redeemer and the ways and means of saving perishing souls was the burden of our hearts. Holiness, and the Author and Finisher of our faith, were the interesting subjects. Read Malachi 3:16, 17. 10LtMs, Lt 65, 1895, par. 32