General Conference Bulletin, vol. 1

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OPENING ADDRESS

O. A. OLSEN

THE first meeting of the Institute convened Friday, Feb. 1, at 10 A. M. and after singing, and prayer by Elder Loughborough, Elder O. A. Olsen spoke substantially as follows:- GCB February 4, 1895, page 2.1

We are very glad this morning to welcome so many brethren and sisters, and it gives us special pleasure to see those in our midst who have come to us from other countries where they have been laboring. Our meetings in the past have been important seasons, but the present meeting will be even more so, and I am exceedingly anxious that each one of us should from the beginning have a due sense of the solemnity of our time and the greatness of the work in which we are called to bear a part. We need to be much in prayer, in order that God’s Spirit may enlighten our minds, and open to us the divine will. GCB February 4, 1895, page 2.2

This morning I thought we would read together the first chapter of Ephesians, and as we read let us remember that these promises are for us, and it is our privilege to appropriate them right here. [The reading of the chapter followed, accompanied by brief remarks.] GCB February 4, 1895, page 2.3

I will also read some instruction from the Lord’s servant bearing on such gatherings as these. The extracts which I shall give are from recent writings of Sister White. GCB February 4, 1895, page 2.4

The holy convocations of our people are meetings of great importance to all who shall assemble. Our Conference meetings, in which business relating to the cause is transacted, are special seasons when the heavenly counsels are made known to those assembled. Those are no commonplace things that are considered in these meetings. The ministers and officers of the church and their wives who are in attendance at these meetings should be present at these Conference meetings if their health will not suffer thereby. GCB February 4, 1895, page 2.5

That is, those who attend these gatherings should not slight the different meetings, but be present. Often an individual thinks: I have been to so many meetings, I cannot go to all. Brethren, the Lord wants our presence. He wants it in the devotional meetings, and in the business meetings as well. Especially would we urge delegates, and workers who have come to receive spiritual benefit from this meeting, to be faithful and prompt in their attendance. GCB February 4, 1895, page 2.6

At our Conference meetings all should have the same spirit as did Cornelius and his household, who said, “Now are we all here present before God, to hear all things that are commanded thee of God.” Those not of our faith will mark the indifference as well as the whole-souled interest that is manifested in our Conference meetings. GCB February 4, 1895, page 2.7

I have always been thankful to witness the spirit of order and unity and the brotherly feeling that has characterized our deliberations. We read of the perplexities encountered by the moderators of other religious assemblies, but I am thankful to God that we have never had such an experience, and, brethren, it should never be so, and never can be while we conduct ourselves as in the presence of God, realizing that we have come together to know his will and do it. GCB February 4, 1895, page 2.8

Those who love God will not, even in their appearance, exert an influence upon others to lessen their appreciation of the sacred character of these meetings. While words are being spoken which shall affect the interest of the cause of God, the minds of all should be uplifted to God in earnest prayer for spiritual eyesight to discern the great things of God, that Satan shall not steal away the very things they should bear in mind. All should pray that the Lord will give light and knowledge in these meetings, that they may know how to engage in the great work intelligently. GCB February 4, 1895, page 2.9

Those who are associated with the work need to learn much more in regard to the different lines of the work. The earnest words spoken, the encouraging features presented, as well as the failures which cause unavailing regrets, all are lessons teaching the worker to shun certain methods, to reform in the practical working. He will see the changes that are necessary in order to avoid failures, and the high and holy purposes that will be crowned with success. Ministers all need to understand more than they now do, of the practical working of the cause in its various branches. In these matters where eternal interests are involved, ignorance is sin. GCB February 4, 1895, page 2.10

These are important statements. The fact is that no one holding any position in the cause can do full justice to his calling without understanding our work as a whole. The president of a local conference cannot say: I have no interest in other States or countries. He has. The work is one the whole world over; and let us thank God for it. Every individual connected with the work in any way is connected with every part of it, and should realize that he has an interest in every country and nation in the world. GCB February 4, 1895, page 2.11

True, there is no other such work on the earth as the Third Angel’s Message. The oneness of mind and purpose and harmony of action that characterize it are nowhere else to be found, yet these have always been possessed by the true people of God. GCB February 4, 1895, page 2.12

One of the main reasons for convening now, two weeks before the opening of the Conference proper, is that we may have opportunity to confer with one another, studying together the interest of the cause and seeking to know the mind of God, that when we come to act, we may do so in harmony therewith. GCB February 4, 1895, page 2.13

This instruction is not confined to men. I read further:- GCB February 4, 1895, page 2.14

Women who are connected with the work in a greater or less degree, need a much more intelligent knowledge of the workings of the cause than they now have. It is essential for them to understand the practical working of the machinery and the spirit and grace required to keep all parts working harmoniously. Each should realize that a divine hand is moving to bring order out of confusion, that every line of the work may bear the divine impress. When women who are in any way connected with this work treat it as a common matter which does not particularly concern them, their influence tends to cheapen the work in the estimation of believers and unbelievers. They belittle that which heaven recognizes as of great importance. They treat lightly subjects that are taken up in the councils of heaven. GCB February 4, 1895, page 2.15

And of business meetings it is further said:- GCB February 4, 1895, page 3.1

Heavenly intelligences preside in every business meeting. Members from the royal assemblies of the heavenly courts are present to listen to every plan under consideration, and to imbue the minds of those who see the necessities for the time, and lay out the lines of work to be done. Holy angels impart wisdom, they inspire minds, and aid in working up plans, that the message of warning may go to the regions beyond. They bring before the workers the evangelical and eternal principles that must characterize the work, - principles that will impart greater moral power, and give the work greater importance and efficiency, that in all its features it may bear the divine similitude. GCB February 4, 1895, page 3.2

It seems to me that business meetings are here shown to be much more important than they usually appear to us. What care we ought to exercise not to move hastily and inconsiderately! GCB February 4, 1895, page 3.3

The direction of Christ to Moses was, “Make all things according to the pattern shown to thee in the mount.” Did you ever think of it in this connection? Well, God has a pattern for his work, and it is for you and me to follow that pattern. Only when we do this, will our work be acceptable to God. GCB February 4, 1895, page 3.4

The truth in its sanctifying power is to go the world; prophecy must be fulfilled. all the aspirations, all the motives and power of influence, every jot and tittle, is to make a place for itself, and find its proper, dignified position. Never in any sense is it to be brought down to a low level, becoming mingled with common things. There are some who, through the impression of the Holy Spirit of God, have had glimpses of the holy character of the work and the necessity of its standing in its sacred dignity before the world. These laborers are struggling with all their power to arouse the human instruments to look heavenward, to catch the divine inspiration, to realize that they may represent the purity, the virtue and holiness of a work that is under the supervision of God himself. all who do appreciate these things will make every effort in their line of work, that they may have the co-operation of God and of angels to carry the work forward and upward, every year reaching greater and more perfect success according to the counsels of heaven. GCB February 4, 1895, page 3.5

I have thought that this instruction would be helpful at the beginning of our Council, and I trust that you will often review it, and study these principles, for they should be in our hearts continually. GCB February 4, 1895, page 3.6

We have reached a most interesting time in the history of our work. God is holding out to us most precious promises, and has faithfully instructed us how we ought to relate ourselves to the work he has given us to do. Let us then be encouraged, and press forward in his service with renewed zeal and energy. GCB February 4, 1895, page 3.7