Letters and Manuscripts — Volume 11 (1896)

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Lt 86, 1896

Olsen, O. A.

“Sunnyside,” Cooranbong, New South Wales, Australia

May 26, 1896

This letter is published in entirety in PH080 1-8. +Note

Elder O. A. Olsen
Review and Herald
Battle Creek, Michigan

My Dear Brother Olsen:

I received the American mail on Monday, the 25th. I had written the letter to you, and today, Tuesday, Sister McEnterfer read me a letter of which I send you a copy. Whether this particular case is correct or incorrect, just such scenes have been presented before me. 11LtMs, Lt 86, 1896, par. 1

I have written to Brother Henry Kellogg, in reference to himself and his responsibilities. He has answered me in a good, humble spirit; and I pray the Lord to strengthen him to resist temptation. 11LtMs, Lt 86, 1896, par. 2

Now, my brother, I want you to make it your first business to investigate, in company with some others of a different spiritual experience than that of A. R. Henry and every one of like influence, every man in that office, and that you will make it your special business to inquire of the youth who are employed there in regard to their work. Open your eyes wide to see what needs adjustment and correction. 11LtMs, Lt 86, 1896, par. 3

Less long, sweeping journeys across the continent, and more close investigation of the true inward working of the heart, is essential. The rooms in the office need inspection, that the things you know not, you may discern and search out. The temple of God must be cleansed, that His name shall not be dishonored by men who are not connected with Him. My heart is pained as, in my dreams I am visited and appealed to by different ones, placing the corruptions in the office of publication before me. I awaken to find it a dream, but know it to be the truth. My dear brother, the spirit of severity, or lording it over the ignorant and helpless, is being opened before me. In the place of the office being an educating school to prepare the youth to give their hearts to the Lord, the teachers and overseers, by their course of action, drive them on to Satan’s battleground. It is not a place where the Lord Jesus is entertained as a Heavenly Guest. Some of the overseers, and the workers under their supervision, give little time to thoughts of a high and holy order; the Lord is not glorified. 11LtMs, Lt 86, 1896, par. 4

I wrote, some time since, in reference to the Oakland office, and then my guide revealed to me that the same spirit, in a more decided manner, leavened the office at Battle Creek; and there were souls lost, eternally lost, through the influence of words of severity and harshness. Things will transpire in our institutions that will need adjustment, and at once; but let the reformation be made with a spirit to restore, not to destroy. We are fearfully behind in the work of Christ for the saving of souls. We have not that sharp conception of duty required by the truth which we profess to live and to honor. We allow a freezing atmosphere to surround our souls; we withhold words that ought to be spoken from the Scriptures. In order to fulfil our duty as God’s faithful watchmen, we should give words of correction in humility of mind, “considering thyself, lest thou also be tempted.” [Galatians 6:1.] 11LtMs, Lt 86, 1896, par. 5

Neglect not to bind up, with your reproof, words of encouragement. Be cheerful, but not light and trifling; be faithful; pray for discernment, for a wholesome, Christlike spirit. Paul, in his letter to the Philippians, said, “And this I pray, that your love may abound yet more and more in knowledge and in all judgment; that you may approve things that are excellent; that ye may be sincere and without offence till the day of Christ; being filled with the fruits of righteousness, which are by Jesus Christ, unto the praise and glory of God.” [Philippians 1:9-11.] 11LtMs, Lt 86, 1896, par. 6

Sincerity means much more than many are inclined to suppose. It means being true to your brother; never allowing yourself to do him wrong, or suffer him to be unfaithful in the discharge of his duty. 11LtMs, Lt 86, 1896, par. 7

Those who are set to keep the rooms in a healthful condition, that the angel of God passing through may approve, must be sincere. There must be no haphazard work; carry the spirit of Christ in all your dealings. I would not, under any consideration, send a child of mine to learn the printer’s trade under the present discipline and management in the several rooms. All are not managed in exactly the same objectionable manner; but all are much in need of the sanctifying grace of Christ Jesus. Are the men set over others wise counsellors of youth? Are they sincere Christians, or make-believes? Is their submission to divine authority as perfect as that they require of the youth who are being educated under them? 11LtMs, Lt 86, 1896, par. 8

Overbearing, harsh words are unprofitable in professors of religion. A harsh, tyrannical spirit has come in, resulting in great and various evils. The temptations to sin come to every youth; and the overseers in every room need to be thoroughly converted men. What are the attributes most prized, and which bring greatest joy to the Saviour who died to save sinners? It is to have men and women co-operating with Him to seek and to save the lost. Every one who is self-denying, self-sacrificing, for the sake of helping poor souls that need help, will have his reward. If we are children of God, we should be, and will be, living channels of light. 11LtMs, Lt 86, 1896, par. 9

Those who have not received Christ as their personal Saviour should never be placed as directors of the youth. If they cannot submit themselves to the control of God, they are not qualified to manage and teach order and law to those brought under them. Those who claim to be Christ’s disciples, if themselves under discipline to God, will make tender, loving, wise guides and instructors of the youth; for Christ says, “I will manifest myself unto them.” [John 14:21.] 11LtMs, Lt 86, 1896, par. 10

If we love one another, God dwelleth in us, and His love is perfected in us; and that love cannot be restrained. God is love, and He that dwelleth in love, dwelleth in God, and God in Him. Only by becoming a partaker of the divine nature can the law of God be fulfilled by man. Only he who loves God with all the heart, soul, mind, and strength, and his neighbor as himself, can give glory to God in the highest, and peace on earth, good will to men. This was the work of Christ; and when His work is appreciated and represented by His followers, the great result will be achieved in the “joy that was set before him,” in the saving of the souls for whom He gave His life. [Hebrews 12:2.] 11LtMs, Lt 86, 1896, par. 11

The Lord has been laboring constantly from age to age to awaken in the souls of men a sense of their divine brotherhood, and thus to establish an order and divine harmony proportionate to the great and eternal deliverance He has wrought out for every one who will receive Him. The Lord calls upon all who profess to believe in Him to be co-workers with Him, to use every God-given ability, opportunity, and privilege to lead perishing souls within the sphere of their influence to Jesus Christ. Here is the only hope for transformation of character; this will give peace and joy in believing, and fit them for the society of the heavenly angels in the kingdom of God. 11LtMs, Lt 86, 1896, par. 12

O how earnest, persevering, and untiring should be the efforts of every sin pardoned soul to seek to bring other souls to Jesus Christ, that their neighbors shall become joint heirs with Jesus. Whoever is your neighbor is to be sought for, labored for. Is he ignorant? Let your communication, your association, make him more intelligent. The outcast, the youth full of defects in character, are the very ones God enjoins upon us to help. “I came not to call the righteous,” said Christ, “but sinners to repentance.” [Mark 2:17.] 11LtMs, Lt 86, 1896, par. 13

See what sinners the colored people were, the downtrodden, the poor. These Christ died to save, and they can, through painstaking and judicious management, become trophies of His grace, heirs of God, and joint heirs with Jesus Christ. Through faith in Jesus Christ they become purified, sanctified, for the religion of Jesus Christ never degrades the receiver, but works with transforming power, refining the taste, sanctifying the judgment, fitting the soul for the entrance of the Word that giveth light, that giveth understanding even to the simple. Those who will be humble enough to learn, the very nobility of the world will consider it an honor to go to heaven in their company, and angels of God will co-operate with such as are workers together with God. We need to hunger and thirst after righteousness, that we may have Christ in us as a well of water, springing up into everlasting life. 11LtMs, Lt 86, 1896, par. 14

Right at the head of the work there must be deeper piety, more faithful taking heed to the Word of God, a watching for souls as they [that] must give an account. Each worker should be moved by a living, abiding, converting principle. It is not large establishments where much money is invested to make them more convenient that will obtain influence and win hearts. The school and the office should be an asylum for the sorely tempted youth. They are God’s property. They have hearts to be won; they have souls to save. Instead of spending money in bicycles, in picture making, in little and great idols to place upon your tables and on your walls, let the means be used to gather in the youth; teach them, and patiently watch over them, in wisdom dealing with their follies. Pray with them alone. Converse with them, with hearts filled with pity and that love which Christ has shown for you. 11LtMs, Lt 86, 1896, par. 15

Angels of God will give every true worker a rich experience in doing this work. We are to labor in earnest to break down every barrier that has been built up to kept Christ from entering the citadel of the heart. There is more joy in heaven over one sinner that repenteth than over ninety and nine persons that (think they) need no repentance. Let instructors do their duty patiently, and although they may be often tried, be assured they will not fail nor be discouraged. Be not weary in well doing; the heavenly intelligences will work with your every effort. A word of love and encouragement will do more to subdue the nasty temper and wilful disposition than all the faultfinding and severe censure that you can heap upon the erring ones. 11LtMs, Lt 86, 1896, par. 16

It is those who are in positions of trust, those who have great light, large opportunities, who are not forming characters and carrying into their life practice principles that will stand the test of trial. These need to be rebuked sharply for their influence over the young. The impetuous temper must be eradicated. When provoked, do not pour out a torrent of words and commit sin; but talk with your Lord about it. Say to your soul, “Be still, and know that I am God.” [Psalm 46:10.] If the God-given responsibilities of saving souls ready to perish were understood, old habits, traditionary sentiments that clog and hinder reformatory action would be cut away from the heart and life, and a transformation would take place in character. 11LtMs, Lt 86, 1896, par. 17

Advice, reproof, and counsel should be given patiently, taking the bitterness of the self-mingling spirit out of it. The language should not be exaggerated, but should be gentle and humble. The stern, harsh spirit that humiliates and crushes the wrongdoer will seldom work a reformation. “Thy gentleness hath made me great.” [Psalm 18:35.] It sets before the wrongdoer his sins, and helps him to recover himself from the snares of Satan. 11LtMs, Lt 86, 1896, par. 18

God has not set any man on the judgment seat. “Judge not” He said, “that ye be not judged.” [Matthew 7:1.] The grace of humility should be cherished in the heart. It will modify and mold the words that fall from our lips into expressions of Christlike tenderness and care. The Master’s work is not to be neglected; but it must be done in love, declaring the Master’s message in the Master’s spirit. 11LtMs, Lt 86, 1896, par. 19

Wrongs are often in need of being met; and though firmness and decision may be required, it should not be done in an arbitrary, overbearing, crushing manner. Not until the heart is cleansed and purified through obedience to the truth can we be laborers together with God, and work with the mind of Christ. 11LtMs, Lt 86, 1896, par. 20