Letters and Manuscripts — Volume 11

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Lt 80, 1896

Olsen, Brother and Sister [O. A.]

Ballarat, Australia

October, 1896

Portions of this letter are published in 9MR 349-351.

Dear Brother and Sister Olsen:

Half past three a.m. Our camp meeting in Adelaide is closed, but the meetings continue still in the same North Side Park, over the third Sabbath and Sunday, then the time has expired for which the grounds were secured. Every effort has been made to drive us from the grounds by a Wesleyan Methodist minister by the name of Green. He has circulated Canright’s books, and advertised in the paper that Mrs. White was a second Ann Lee and a Southcott. He challenged to a discussion in regard to the work of Mrs. E. G. White, but no notice was taken of the matter. He went to the city authorities to give him permission to take a platform carriage and make that his pulpit, come on the grounds, and preach against us. The magistrate told him he would have no such permission from him, for they had hired the grounds and it was their right to have their meetings without disturbance, and he must stand the consequence of any such movement, for he would not be sustained. 11LtMs, Lt 80, 1896, par. 1

Sabbath afternoons and evenings, and through the day Sunday, the tent was full; and Sunday afternoon and evening a large crowd was on the outside of the tent. We have not in any place had a more appreciative audience. Twenty-one were baptized last week, and several more are convinced of the truth, but are not fully decided. 11LtMs, Lt 80, 1896, par. 2

Sister James’ two brothers’ families, living in Adelaide, have been very much opposed, the children, especially. Her sister kept the Sabbath alone in her family [for] twelve months. She was bitterly opposed by her eldest daughter, who took the liberty to cut off all communication to the mother from her friends by burning books and papers sent to her to strengthen her faith. But since the meeting in Adelaide commenced, there has been a change in their feelings. The son and the son’s wife embraced the truth as the result of the Brighton camp meeting. None of the James’ family could go to Adelaide but the daughter-in-law; and the meeting has been a great blessing to her. She has identified herself now decidedly, and received baptism. She has good mental powers, has taken notes of the discourses and used them in the families of sister and brothers of Sister James. She has influenced them to attend the meetings. 11LtMs, Lt 80, 1896, par. 3

The children are now grown up young men and women, and these notes taken have been copied and the Scripture references made a matter of study. The daughters that opposed their mother so bitterly, burning her books and papers, have made a confession to [their] aunt, Sister James, where we now are making our home. Sister James is much rejoiced. We think the sister that was overcome with so great opposition will take the Sabbath again. She is a widow, but in good circumstances in life. The daughter-in-law from Ballarat and the aunt, the sister of Sister James, came to the cars to see us. We were much pleased with her appearance. We expect that the work of conviction may deepen, and precious souls be converted soundly to the truth. I shall send them letters and books, and they may be brought to acknowledge the truth. Certainly the truth has been proclaimed in clear lines during the camp meeting. Last Sabbath morning Elder Hautrings was ordained. Elder Haskell gave a discourse in the early morning meeting, and certainly it was most impressive and instructive. It is the only discourse I have listened to on the ground. The ordination was very impressive. Elder Haskell seems as efficient as he ever has been. Solid, good talk comes from his lips, revealing that he has been a deep student of the Word. The Lord is with him, and he brings forth from the storehouse things new and old. 11LtMs, Lt 80, 1896, par. 4

Melbourne: Elder Haskell, Sarah McEnterfer, and I left Ballarat this morning. We left Brother James’ house [at a] quarter before seven. The atmosphere was quite cold; we thought cold enough to snow if we had been in America. The cars left the station forty minutes after seven. I laid down on the seat and slept soundly for about one hour. I have been wearied after the work was done, but feel better now. I am very thankful for the strength which the Lord has been pleased to give me. 11LtMs, Lt 80, 1896, par. 5

I remember the encouraging words given about eight years ago: “Satan is the destroyer, but I am the Restorer. I will restore you, I will strengthen you. When brought into trying places, remember I am your Restorer.” This is the help which the Lord gives. Brother Salisbury and W. C. White met us at the station with the ponies and carriages. We learned that the attendance was still large at Adelaide. My heart ascends to God in earnest prayer that He shall be the strong Helper of His people in this their time of need; that God will set His seal to the truth by the deep moving of His Holy Spirit. We long for much more of the grace and power of God. 11LtMs, Lt 80, 1896, par. 6

The Lord does not design that His people, who love and obey his commandments, shall be weak and powerless at this time when His law is made void in our world. Satan is stirred with an activity that is making his presence and power felt, in using every means to bar the way that the truth shall not come to the people; but the Lord has disappointed the enemy. The Lord’s power in earthen vessels has honored the truth. “The foolishness of God is wiser than men, and the weakness of God is stronger than men.” [1 Corinthians 1:25.] 11LtMs, Lt 80, 1896, par. 7

Success in presenting the truth, the Word, has honored and exalted the truth, revealing it in sharp contrast with error. The Word, it is written, is the weapon of our warfare. This is the practical argument against every phase of error which is brought forward by all who deny the truth. We preach Christ, and Him crucified. The determination of a very few who were revealing so strong enmity against the law of God, personated the great apostate, determined to eclipse the truth. But we decided that the way to meet the pretensions of the evil doers was, Preach on, but refuse to engage in controversy or debate with the opposing elements. 11LtMs, Lt 80, 1896, par. 8

Paul charged Timothy, “Preach the word; be instant in season, out of season, reprove, rebuke, exhort, with all long-suffering and doctrine; for the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine, but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers having itching ears; and they shall turn away their ears from hearing the truth, and shall be turned unto fables.” [2 Timothy 4:2-4.] We meet this class wherever we go. When such opposers will seek to draw the attention of the people, preach the Word, present Bible arguments. That is advocating truth. Let the light of the Word shine forth in undimmed luster. The truth made plain and clear in contrast with error. Light discovers darkness and exposes human fallacies, plans, and assumptions. 11LtMs, Lt 80, 1896, par. 9

We thank God Adelaide has been especially visited with the light and the truth, and the question of vital importance has been asked by some precious souls, “What must I do to be saved?” [Acts 16:30.] Our work is to make the plan of salvation simple and forcible by pointing souls “to the Lamb of God that taketh away the sin of the world.” [John 1:29.] Lift Him up “who hath loved us and died for us.” [See Revelation 1:5.] Let it be breathed in every prayer and sung in every anthem. 11LtMs, Lt 80, 1896, par. 10

We have but a little time to trace a few lines. We are much interested in your work. We want it to advance, and this can only be done by constant self-denial and wise generalship. I pray the Lord that His Holy Spirit shall sweep away every bit of fuzz that has clouded your discernment. You need now to stand in God. Let nothing, nothing come in to make you weak. Do not embrace too much work. God is the one efficient power. You have need to cultivate a perfect, close connection with God. 11LtMs, Lt 80, 1896, par. 11

When you have a realization of God’s actual presence and agency in all the work given you to do, you will not be misled by the philosophizing, hard theories—only human—that are waiting to bewilder your senses, to make you exacting after human ideas. [Do not be misled] to be very liberal where you should be cautious and watchful and guarded, least you shall rely upon propositions of men who have been for long years discarding from their minds and theories an in-dwelling, co-working Divinity. There must dwell in your heart the full sense of your dependence upon God, and then the aspiration of your soul will be felt by those for whom you labor, that their soul [will] cry out for the living God. 11LtMs, Lt 80, 1896, par. 12

You should never be beclouded in regard to the spiritual atmosphere which surrounds the souls of those whom you associate with. If you cannot lift them up into a pure and holy atmosphere, they will drag you down. Those who do not acknowledge their own helpless human nature without the divine manifestation to stir the soul, and by perusing the Word find light and wisdom to justify its hopes, men who feel satisfied with their human inventions and plans, and can endure the climate where there is not bright beams of the Sun of Righteousness, will create imaginings to great activities in doing some wonderful things to supply the want. 11LtMs, Lt 80, 1896, par. 13

But, my brother, you have a greater responsibility than those men in whom you have trusted. You have had a knowledge in your religious experience that the men who have led you have never had. The ideas which they cherish in the absence of the transforming energies of the Holy Spirit to make men pure and true and holy is Satan’s snare to take the whole man captive. They defy man and reject God. I will say no more now on this point, for my time is short. Let your weary soul and deceived senses cry out for the Comforter. Put not confidence in men, and make not flesh your arm. The very experience you have had in Bible religion has made your course of action more blame-worthy, because it has bewildered other minds. The harm that has been done to these very men, who have led you when you should have rebuked them sharply for their principles which they were weaving into the work of God, cannot be lightly regarded. I have spoken plainly to you, and will speak plainly. 11LtMs, Lt 80, 1896, par. 14

I entreat you to do less actual working. Gather the rays of light from glory, and diffuse light, establishing yourself upon the immovable foundation—that God is your sufficient helper—that spiritually blind men cannot lead you in safe paths. You may consider your efficiency is God, not in your position but in God, then your own duties will be understood more distinctly, and you [will] carry the minds of men along with you in strenuous co-operation with the Lord Jesus, who worketh in His faithful servants to do His pleasure. And [then] there will be no danger that we will ascribe the Creator’s honor to the creature. 11LtMs, Lt 80, 1896, par. 15

We must be in partnership with the Divine resources if we [are to] labor healthfully and after God’s devising. Then there will be a wholesome, correct outlay of mortal energies with the immortal. There will be a careful study not to take in so large amount of activities that the most important, essential things shall have but a partial attention. When you understand these matters, which involve eternal interests, you need not depend upon your puny strength, but lay hold upon a power provided for you; and do not put in the place of God a human power that has no connection with God. “Ye are laborers together with God; ye are God’s husbandry; ye are God’s building.” [1 Corinthians 3:9.] Human minds must not work your mind; human suggestions must not become interwoven with God’s work. But I must say, my dear brother, Draw nigh to God. 11LtMs, Lt 80, 1896, par. 16

I will stop here. God will help you. I must continue this subject further at another time. I am seeking to draw nigh to God. I am dissatisfied with myself. I want more and more of the love of God abounding in my heart. I have dedicated myself to God, soul, body and spirit, to do His service. We are praying for you. May the Lord bless you. 11LtMs, Lt 80, 1896, par. 17

One circumstance I will mention. A Norwegian came to our Adelaide meeting six hundred miles in an open boat with his daughter. He was about three weeks in an open boat. That man, you may be assured, appreciated the meetings. He was happy, so happy, for the privilege of being in such a meeting. 11LtMs, Lt 80, 1896, par. 18

Let not your courage flag. Be true to your trust. Never, as long as God shall give you sacred trusts, suppose you can in any sense take a neutral position and stand on both sides of any question. Never suppose you can, by being divided, help the party that is in error, be either cold or hot, one thing or another. God accepts not divided service. 11LtMs, Lt 80, 1896, par. 19

God will help you if you will stand solidly against every evil work. Your experience needs to change decidedly in your sentiments which you have practiced [since] a few years back. May the Lord bless you and your family is my prayer. 11LtMs, Lt 80, 1896, par. 20

In much love to your family. 11LtMs, Lt 80, 1896, par. 21