Letters and Manuscripts — Volume 10 (1895)


Lt 59a, 1895

Olsen, Brother and Sister [O. A.]

Launceston, Tasmania

April [May] 12, 1895

Variant of Lt 59, 1895. +Note

Dear Brother and Sister Olsen:

We left Brother Lacey’s home quarter before nine o’clock p.m. for this place, W. C. White, and May Lacey White, and the mother of W. C. W. The marriage ceremony was performed by a clergyman not of our faith, one who has favored our people by letting them have the use of his church free. All the day preparations went off without one unpleasant feature. We would all have been much better pleased if we could have had a minister of our faith tie the marriage knot, but it simply could not be without waiting and incurring considerable expense. Our brethren in N.S.W., I think, have qualified themselves to do this kind of work, but that would avail nothing in Tasmania. 10LtMs, Lt 59a, 1895, par. 1

The great desire of the large family was that Mary should be married at her father’s house, and it was as it should be. At the special request of the family I offered a prayer after the marriage ceremony. There were entertained about eight beside the family of the ones we asked to come. Thursday night we rode all night on the cars, and found Brethren Baker and Teasdale waiting for us at the depot. They had secured a room for W. C. White and his wife in a home nearby. Brother and Sister Baker went to the neighbors and secured lodgings. I remained with Sister Rogers. Willie had said that for the first time in his life, he would be pleased to have a vacation of two weeks on the occasion of his marriage, but he could not arrange to have even one evening. 10LtMs, Lt 59a, 1895, par. 2

A meeting was appointed Wednesday night at Hobart, and we saw nothing of him until Thursday morning. There is no time, he thinks, for hardly a recess, much more days of leisure and pleasure. He planned months before to have a boat ride, but none of us entered a boat. 10LtMs, Lt 59a, 1895, par. 3

Wednesday we hired a horse and carriage to visit the elder of the church, Brother Large. We took our lunch, and spread it on the table, and then enjoyed our simple fare of bread and fruit. We then had a praying season which was very precious to us all. We felt we had the presence of God—Sister Lacey, Minnie Hawkins, her daughter, Willie and his mother. I know the blessing of the Lord rested upon us as we offered up our prayers to our heavenly Father. We then went to Brother Shannon’s. He was not at home. We had a little visit with his wife; then evening had come. We called on the family of Malcoms. They were so glad to see us. They had just moved to Hobart. We had a profitable visit with them, and a season of prayer which all appreciated very much. The next day was Thursday. 10LtMs, Lt 59a, 1895, par. 4

The preparation of the marriage, mingled with the packing, made a very busy day, but every thing passed off smoothly, and I must say I was glad when it was all ended, and we were quarter before nine seated in the cars for Launceston. I spoke on Sabbath at 11 a.m. to the little flock who have turned their feet into the royal path cast up for the ransomed of the Lord to walk in. My discourse was [from] 2 Peter 1. I had much freedom in speaking. There are, I think, seventeen that are keeping the Sabbath in this place as the result of labor there. There were about forty assembled, children and all. Brother Colcord left first, and he spoke twice to those who came out to hear—which was but very few. Next Brother Corliss tarried here, and spoke once or twice. Then our party spent Sabbath and Sunday speaking to those who attended. We had a precious season. Good testimonies were borne. Sunday we had a larger room, and there were more out, and I had great freedom speaking from (1 John 3), the love of God to the human family. The Lord blessed me with freedom, and all [apparently] listened with deepest interest. 10LtMs, Lt 59a, 1895, par. 5

After the meeting closed, a tall well dressed lady hastened to the stand, and grasped my hand, and saluted me. “O,” said she, “I am so glad to see you. I wish to thank you for writing that book, Great Controversy. It was the means of saving the soul of my son. He was sick. We knew he could not live. He asked for some book to read that could be a help to him religiously. I had purchased a book, The Great Controversy, but I did not seem to understand much about its contents. My son read it through with intense interest. He said, ‘Here is this book. I have found that which I could not find in any book in your library. I find the more I read, the more beautiful are the truths that are brought out, and every time I read it, I find something that helps me. I am not afraid to die now. I have found rest and peace in Jesus Christ.’ He died in perfect peace.” 10LtMs, Lt 59a, 1895, par. 6

I asked his age. She said, “He was about thirty years old, but that book was everything to him. He told me if I ever saw the one who wrote that book that I must tell her what it had done for him. I said I would. I said, ‘I will, for it will be an encouragement to her.’ He said, ‘Do so, Mother, for that book has made the way so plain I can walk in it. It is God’s message carrying light and blessing to others.’ I lend it to one and another, and it is not at home scarcely any of the time, and those who read it say they never read a book which made the Bible so plain and clear to their understanding.” I asked her name. She told me, but not speaking it distinctly enough to be sure. I thought our brethren would be able to tell me, and what was my surprise to learn that they knew not the woman, and that they had never seen her before. They think they can find out who she is. If they do not find the woman, they cannot know where that book so much prized has been traveling, and what it must have done in families. 10LtMs, Lt 59a, 1895, par. 7

The greatest trouble here has been the people are very much more loyal to their ministers than they are to their God. They are a church-going people, and they have been warned not to go out and hear, and the result has been small numbers have come out to the tent to hear. They say any argument that is hard to handle is an opposition [to them], but the work that has been done is the sewing of the seed. 10LtMs, Lt 59a, 1895, par. 8

I believe God has a people in this place, and they must be warned. Brethren Baker and Teasdale say that we had the largest number out that they have seen at any time. The first thing to do is to get the ears of people. But if those who have ears will not hear, no one can compel them to hear. This is the difficulty in this country. They have ears, but they hear not; eyes have they, but they see not. But if we can get them to contemplate the cross of Calvary, the great plan of redemption, then the soul is gained. The heart is willing to see the wondrous things out of His law. We feel so sorry when a long protractor effort has been made and yet there are so few souls as the result. But these few can teach others also, and there be an army raised up to rally around the standard. The Lord has work for each and all to do. Not one is excused. 10LtMs, Lt 59a, 1895, par. 9

I read your letter in reference to my request not to receive wages from the past year. I thought most earnestly of giving up the paper writing, writing not for any of them, and seeing if I could employ a worker for myself to get out the many things suffering to be done. 10LtMs, Lt 59a, 1895, par. 10

I have had the subject of sanctification by faith on my mind for a long time, genuine sanctification. It has never appeared as it should be. Testimony of the Church, No. 24 [34?], is a greatly needed book for Christian parents, especially defining [the] mother’s duties; and revising the book on Christian Temperance which needs so much to be done, and a book for the youth has long been urged upon me. 10LtMs, Lt 59a, 1895, par. 11

I considered the question, and thought I could give the Review and Herald a resting spell for one year, and also the Signs, and other periodicals; and first of all urge on the work on The Life of Christ. But I could not get a word in favor of this, and therefore I have furnished articles just as abundantly as heretofore. 10LtMs, Lt 59a, 1895, par. 12

I have not had a reporter, therefore I have written the articles from my pen for Fannie to prepare, while I have never done more earnest labor working for the churches than the past year; so I have not any hesitancy in taking the same salary that I have done. And in addition to all the labor mentioned, there have been private testimonies very taxing to me, and also another class of labor I must do—to feed the hungry, cloth the naked, [and] invest money to employ laborers. I am at the present time paying nineteen dollars per week for workers in Ashfield, Petersham, Canterbury, and the suburbs about Sydney. So you see there has not, in any period of my labors, been so strong 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. I am looking to Him who has no limit to His funds to supply every lack. 10LtMs, Lt 59a, 1895, par. 13

We found our Australian Conference could not carry the laborers so essential at this time for want of funds, and I could not consent to have them sent away into other fields at a point of time when the opposition was waxing stronger and stronger—five ministers rallying all their powers, inspired with a power from beneath—meanwhile, souls continually embracing the truth, and one baptism following another. How could we relax or diminish the efforts now? 10LtMs, Lt 59a, 1895, par. 14

The Plymouth brethren have warmed up to white heat, and taken away the hall, the place of meeting for our brethren in Ashfield. Therefore the next thing we must have is a meeting house. We must lift for all that we are worth, and get 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 new converts have done their uttermost to purchase a hundred and fifty dollar tent, and two tents are now running in the field in the suburbs of Sydney. I have five pounds towards the tent, and I shall probably have to give twenty pounds, maybe forty, for the house of worship. The enthusiasm is now up, and must not die down. 10LtMs, Lt 59a, 1895, par. 15

After spending one week in Melbourne, we go to Sydney—Elder Corliss and wife, W. C. White and his wife, and the mother to help them in this emergency. After the outposts about Sydney have had the message of warning, we advance to Sydney, and then will be a long protracted effort. Three or four tents will be furnished for different localities, and all the talent we can command will be brought into working order. The Lord gives fitness for the work. We must drink ourselves of the water of life before the well of water will be in us springing up into everlasting life, by refreshing souls thirsting for soul salvation. You see what is before us. I see no let up in this warfare for me. May the Lord God of Israel plan our battles for us, and qualify us to do a work which Heaven shall set its signature to. A great work is to be done. 10LtMs, Lt 59a, 1895, par. 16

We are glad we held the convention in Hobart. Willie and I made up a sum of four pounds, W.C.W. giving one pound, and I three, and prepared food for those who were living in the country in Bismark and other places. We would remove every obstacle from this people that it might be made possible for them to attend the convention. I would not have had them deprived of the instruction given at that meeting if we had had to pay five times as many pounds as we did. The poor must have the gospel message preached to them as well as those who are in well-to-do circumstances. 10LtMs, Lt 59a, 1895, par. 17

Now there is land being purchased for a building for a church to be erected in Melbourne. A new building has been erected in Auckland since the camp meeting in that place closed. There will, in all probability, have to be a meeting house built in Hobart. It is becoming very difficult to secure a place where there can be meetings held on Sundays and Sunday evenings. The church they now occupy was build by a dissenting minister of the Wesleyan order, I think, and how long he will favor us with his church remains to be seen. But it is very small. He built it himself to preach in it himself, and how long he will be so generous to let Seventh-day Adventists have it free, we cannot tell. 10LtMs, Lt 59a, 1895, par. 18

You see a great work is to be done everywhere in these colonies. My heart burns with a desire to engage more fully in the work, but this I learn I am not able to do. Last Friday night was the most suffering night I have had for years. It has been four long months since I have been able to sleep sufficiently. I rise, make my [fires], and write as early as 12 p.m., 1 a.m., and two o’clock in the morning, and work the entire day, and speak often three times in the week. 10LtMs, Lt 59a, 1895, par. 19

I was awakened in the night mentioned, and nearly suffocated for breath, and my heart felt very painful. I suffered much. I could obtain no relief. I thought I might die, but my prayer was made to God that He might give me relief. I dared not close my eyes in sleep. My pulse was very feeble, and missing every third beat. Past midnight I slept, and next morning my countenance revealed I had suffered. But I dared not sit up. I lay in bed until time to dress for the meeting. Notice had been given that I would speak at three p.m. Had I consulted my feelings I could not have gone forward. By faith the Lord helped me, and the pain and fearful sensations in my heart ceased. I was scarcely able to stand. The cab took me to the meeting, and when I stood up all my fears and trembling left me. I had not the slightest trace of feebleness. I spoke upon the special love of God as expressed in (1 John 3), “Beloved, what manner of love,” etc. There were a goodly number assembled, and there were men and women [of intelligence] before me. 10LtMs, Lt 59a, 1895, par. 20

I spoke above one hour, [and felt that I could have spoken for an] hour longer, but thought it not best. All said my voice was full, and the words spoken were just what they needed to hear. I thanked the Lord with my 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 59a, 1895, par. 21

Last night I had no fears, and felt in no peril from heart difficulty. I was peaceful and free from pain, but sleepless until toward morning. I am now writing in the ladies’ saloon while the passengers are at supper. I have not been able during the convention to write. I have had my home at Brother Lacey’s, and have been comfortable. The walking to and from the cars, and speaking Sabbaths and Sundays, and attending early morning meetings, and giving morning talks, have been all I could do. But I am glad I have visited Hobart and Bismarck. Now we are planning how to keep the work alive in these places, and we must have some one or ones to labor in Tasmania. We have thought of Brother Wilson and wife now in New Zealand, and we hope that they will be inclined to come to Tasmania and work here; for if anything is expected of this people, they must have patient education, line upon line, precept upon precept, here a little, and there a little. 10LtMs, Lt 59a, 1895, par. 22

I ask you, what think you of my plan of laying aside all writing articles for papers, and Fannie, Marian, and I turning our minds and powers to book making—getting our small books as I have suggested in this letter. Then I can take hold again after one year’s period. That is, working in another line to prepare books, and taking no money from the Conference. I have, the past year, had such constant labor, after starting with such full determination to carry through the writing of The Life of Christ. Then such earnest calls have been made, I have not dared to refuse them, so I have done next to nothing on that book. Marian’s chance is to search every article and cull out all she can, and make the best use of it she can. I have so many interruptions. It is not much use to have the care of churches, and incur the responsibilities of the household, and keep a hotel with comers and goers creating excitement, and I still be able to write book. But I am in my dreams writing books and calculating for their publications. I am seeking counsel of God. The Life of Christ has dragged along fearfully, and the people need it. “The Sermon on the Mount” has been a long time in preparation, and the people need this book. I must be of an understanding mind and have a pure heart, else I can do nothing. 10LtMs, Lt 59a, 1895, par. 23

What precious light and clear evidences we have of the truth of this time. I had no other idea but that you would be selected as president of the General Conference. We pray for you most earnestly that the Lord would give you a healthful, clear understanding of His mind and His will, and then that you shall be worked by the Holy Spirit. I can understand, so also can Willie, your perplexities and your difficulties; and for this reason I have felt most intense desire that you should keep an eye single to the glory of God, that not a man’s mind or judgment shall have control over you. The Lord lives and reigns. “I will,” He says “be glorified in them that come near Me.” [Leviticus 10:3.] I have naught but the most tender, pitying sympathy for you, my brother. [I have had] great difficulty in giving to those [I love the message that God has given] me, and yet I dare not withhold it. [I have to make my face as flint] against the faces of those who are so firm and so stubborn in their own way and in their own unrighteous course. I would not do this work so uncongenial to me if I thought God would excuse me. And when I have written, I have thought that is the last, I shall not have to write more, and then again I am in travail of soul, and I cannot sleep, I cannot rest. I am speaking and writing in the night season clear and admonitory letters, and I awaken with so great a burden, I am, as it were, driven again to take up my pen. I have things opened before me in various ways, and then I dare not keep quiet. 10LtMs, Lt 59a, 1895, par. 24

I fear and tremble for the souls of the men who are actors in responsible places in Battle Creek. If their works went no farther than their individual selves, then I could breathe more freely. But when I know that the enemy is using unconsecrated men in positions of trust, and these men do not know what manner of spirit they are of, and those who are in connection with them are also in blindness as to the harm that is being done by precept and example, it seems I cannot hold my peace. I have to write, knowing that a mold is given to the work that will not be in God’s order. Just there is the danger of some connecting with him who will receive the impressions which he makes upon their minds. 10LtMs, Lt 59a, 1895, par. 25

The faculty of speech is precious gift. It is a wonderful means of grace, and if the noblest of the faculties, reason, is set to the task to learn God, the highest practical employment of his speech is to communicate to others that which God has communicated to him. If we do not feel the need of knowledge, we do not obtain it, and we cannot impart that which we do not acquire. Christ came to our world to assume human nature, and to come in connection with man that He could use His faculty of speech in making God known as He is. He says, “It is not my words which I speak, but the words which the Father has to give me.” [See John 14:24.] Jesus was the greatest teacher our world ever knew. He imparted knowledge. How simple, clear, and plain, was His speech. How He longed to communicate many things to His disciples, but He fully understood that they could not comprehend them; and He said, “I have many things to say unto you, but ye cannot bear them now.” [John 16:12.] 10LtMs, Lt 59a, 1895, par. 26

We need to contemplate Jesus and His self denial, His great humiliation; His rejection of men, His suffering in Gethsemane, in the judgment hall, His condemnation, His scourging while pronounced innocent tell us what is the spirit of man and what humanity will do when not under the control of the Spirit of God. When the question was asked, “Whom shall I release unto you?” [there was] the choosing of a base thief and murderer Barrabas, before the innocent, pure, and holy Prince of Heaven. To the question, “What shall we do with Jesus?” was the hoarse cry from men inspired of Satan, “Crucify him, crucify him.” [Matthew 27:17-22; Luke 23:21.] 10LtMs, Lt 59a, 1895, par. 27

Here is the party who is standing under the black banner of the powers of darkness, and [here] is a revelation of what such ones will give themselves to [in the] great crisis before us. Had the disciples had a [view of the details of these] scenes of cruelty, they could not have comprehended them. [Today we] need greater faith in order to stand [the test and trial that is before us. Let] us pray that the Lord will increase [our faith.] 10LtMs, Lt 59a, 1895, par. 28