Lt 57, 1894

Lt 57, 1894

Olsen, O. A.

Williams St., Granville, New South Wales, Australia

June 10, 1894

This letter is published in entirety in 1888 1256-1267. +Note

Dear Brother Olsen:

I am much worried over Willie’s case. He has altogether too much to do. He has to prepare communications to go to America and to the various fields here in this country; he must give counsel in regard to the foreign work; he must give counsel in regard to important movements here, sitting in committee meetings late at night; he is forced to neglect his writing, and then must sit up till midnight to run the typewriter, the work constantly urging and pressing him. Now if you have a desire that he shall be preserved to the cause of God, I request you to furnish him a man to help him. If the cause cannot afford to do this, I shall, as his mother, demand of him to change his course of work decidedly. He needs far less to do, but he has no thought for himself. 9LtMs, Lt 57, 1894, par. 1

He is now in a condition which causes me decided alarm. He has congestion of the brain. I think if you had been more free to express some appreciation of his work, which I know he deserves, it would not have exalted him nor done the least harm. He does not let one word of complaint of any one or any thing fall from his lips. His whole soul is in the work, but I know that he cannot continue to do as he has done. I am greatly distressed over this state of things. He will put himself into the most disagreeable position in order to help some one who he thinks needs help. 9LtMs, Lt 57, 1894, par. 2

When I see you link up with men that are full of selfishness, unconsecrated, their course under the censure of God continually, I feel that you are in danger of being yourself affected, and [of] making decisions that God would not have you make. 9LtMs, Lt 57, 1894, par. 3

I dare not utter a word to Willie of what I have written to you. Brother Starr and his wife have gone to Queensland to open that field. Brother Starr expects to accompany us to Africa; but I do not propose to leave this field until I see my way more clearly. Willie has had little time to help me on my book. For some days he took one hour <a day> to hear chapters read on the life of Christ, but as I have not yet been able to write anything new, there is no more to be done in that line. The churches call for help; there is much visiting to be done, and much personal testimony to be written. I feel afraid to neglect this work, and suffer men and women to be under a deception, thinking themselves right when I know they are wrong. If accidents should come to them, and they be taken away in their sins, I should feel that the blood of their souls was upon my garments. 9LtMs, Lt 57, 1894, par. 4

June 15

I see by the letters and accounts received in the last mail that Willie is cut down in his wages; were he in America with his family, this would not be inconsistent; but your visit to Australia and New Zealand should certainly give you an understanding of the situation—that limited means brings embarrassment upon the leading, care-taking workers, which is very much above anything that is possible to exist in America. There are constant demands for means to sustain the work in its various branches, and it is necessary for us to lead out in donating to the enterprises that call for money. <Upon whom can we rely to supply the very article we need—money?> 9LtMs, Lt 57, 1894, par. 5

Those who remain with their own families and have a position in our institutions could get along far better with much less wages than are needed by those who are called to the work in such fields as we are now laboring in. Those who labor in these new and destitute fields must have means in order to lead out or they must see the work blocked, and themselves helpless to relieve the situation. I know whereof I speak, for in much of our work we have been pioneers for many years. 9LtMs, Lt 57, 1894, par. 6

There is not a soul to whom, in time of pressure, any one of us can <now> look for one pound to relieve the situation. Both at Melbourne and at Sydney the treasury has been empty. We have had [a] two-months’ account unsettled at the grocer’s, and ever since we have been in this place we have been studying the financial problem. Can you not see how Willie is situated? After supporting a family in Battle Creek, and paying his room rent and board, and meeting other expenses here, he is left without a margin of means to use, as it is essential he should <have,> in the various enterprises of the work. He cannot but be kept in perpetual embarrassment. While in America he had to hire money in order to purchase his home, and he still has a mortgage on it, on which he pays interest. The leading position he occupies makes it necessary that he shall set an example in aiding the various enterprises. The many demands for money led him to ask me the loan of $1,200, which I have granted. 9LtMs, Lt 57, 1894, par. 7

Apart from this, the sum of $1,200 has been loaned me <from America,> which I have given my pledged word that I will repay whenever it is called for. I have used every dollar of this money in the work, so you see this takes more than my year’s wages. You are unaware that the entire amount of my last year’s wages was donated to purchase land upon which to erect the school building. 9LtMs, Lt 57, 1894, par. 8

I have not a word to say in reference to the cutting off of two dollars per week from my wages; it will only cut off some opportunities where I should invest in the cause as I should discern its needs, thus limiting me on this end of the line. But I wish that you would carefully consider the cases of the workers, and see who are the men that are constantly obliged to use means in the interest of the work, and in starting the work in new fields, and who will not hold back for any selfish considerations. It is an encouragement that such men will not become selfish. W. C. White will not, whatever the circumstances. But I know how it mortifies and galls him when his hands are bound so that he does not feel at liberty to give <where he knows it will greatly advance the work.> 9LtMs, Lt 57, 1894, par. 9

When I first came to Granville, I had to borrow $50 of Sister Hughes, and now she wants the money, but I cannot furnish it for her until I can get possession of some money myself. It costs a large sum for us to move here from Melbourne with all our belongings. But Willie will make donations, and run behind, and I shall have to use my means to help support his family, for it is not possible for him to do it while having so many other expenses to meet. In America we could live on less wages than we need here. It is right you should know just how the matter stands. I write you this that you may enlighten your board as to the real situation, <which they seem unable to comprehend,> as, in your position, it is your privilege and duty to do. 9LtMs, Lt 57, 1894, par. 10

As soon as I can get the money, and it should be in a few days, I shall invest fifty dollars in the little church which must be built at Seven Hills. Twenty are now keeping the Sabbath, parents and children together number about forty. When the tent is taken down, there is no place where they can meet for worship. They are excellent people, but too poor to do much; they will do their utmost, and we must help them. 9LtMs, Lt 57, 1894, par. 11

I can now see the force of the cautions given me of the Lord, that we should not by large gifts place out of our hands the means that God desired us to handle, for he would make my husband and myself agents through whom the standard of truth should be raised in many places. Willie takes the place of his father <in some respects.> I have seen that our work was of such a character that we were not to feel dependent upon any institution or on the decisions of any man or class of men, for unless they were sanctified, they would counterwork the work of God. 9LtMs, Lt 57, 1894, par. 12

I saw that the Lord had a special work for us to do. Men untaught of God, men who were not under the influence of His Spirit would, through lack of discernment, be placed in positions of trust, where their influence would have a controlling power, and many decisions would be made that would sway things in a wrong channel. Not only would the cause be imperilled by men who would refuse to accept and obey the commandments of God, but some who were right among us, who acted a part both in planning and executing the work, were not in close connection with God. Yet the judgment of these men would be regarded as reliable. If they were able to distinguish sacred things from the common, they would consecrate their talents of ability to God, and their endowments as business men would be employed as a sacred trust. But they have never been converted, and they do not make God their fear and their trust. Yet their decisions bind or loose in the work of God, as if they were under the sanctification of His Holy Spirit. 9LtMs, Lt 57, 1894, par. 13

Since my husband’s death, I have repeatedly received such warnings as these: “Beware of men in high places. Do not place yourself in the power or under the control of men, for there will be those who do not understand the way of God’s working. You must not be bound. Do not tie your hands by any decisions you may be urged to make. Too often selfishness will control the mind and judgment of men. I have plain testimonies for you to bear, but the men who know not God and the sanctification of His Spirit will mislead. They will not receive <your> testimonies of <reproof;> they will not be corrected. They will cherish jealousy. 9LtMs, Lt 57, 1894, par. 14

“Through envy, through resistance of the Spirit of God, they will give heed to the suggestions of Satan, and will make it very hard for you to do the work I have given you to do. I have placed you so that you shall have influence and means in trust to establish my work, to advance the interest of my kingdom, and not be hindered by the judgment and decisions of men who do not make it their study to know the mind and will of God.” 9LtMs, Lt 57, 1894, par. 15

I have been shown that you, my dear brother, have sometimes allowed the judgment of men who are not controlled by the Spirit of God to lead you to give your influence to plans and propositions that have displeased God. In regard to some of your councils the word of the Lord has come to me again and again, presenting evils that need correcting; but if you have seen the evils, you have not dared to stand firmly and boldly in defense of the right. There is danger that your judgment will be perverted. A knowledge of this fact has brought the burden heavier upon me. God is not pleased with these things. 9LtMs, Lt 57, 1894, par. 16

In regard to Captain Eldridge I have had to write words of reproof again and again. You saw the evil that was at work, and yet you did not move as one in your position ought to have done. In regard to men whom I have had to reprove, the word of the Lord did not have the effect it would have had if you had discerned the evil more clearly and had acted decidedly. These words were spoken to me when the state of things in your councils was so objectionable to the Lord: “Judgment is turned away backward, and justice standeth afar off; the truth is fallen in the street, and equity cannot enter. Yea, truth faileth, and he that departeth from evil maketh himself a prey. And the Lord saw it, and it displeased him that there was no judgment.” [Isaiah 59:14, 15.] 9LtMs, Lt 57, 1894, par. 17

For a long time the evils existed in the office at Battle Creek. The messages that God had given did not have sufficient weight with those who filled prominent positions to change the current of things. I was shown that Satan was jubilant when the selfishness of men was robbing the treasury of God; <for he well knew that if they did not place themselves where God could help and defend them, he himself would weaken them, and thus prepare them to be overcome by his deceptions in the future.> There are some who have not had kindly feelings toward me because they were deprived of these large wages. Such feelings were indulged by Captain Eldridge, Bro. Henry, Frank Belden and others. Never will any one of these men be clear before God until he makes restitution to the Lord’s cause for that of which the selfish, avaricious spirit has robbed the work. I was shown that the result of paying such exorbitant wages would be that workers who were really conscientious would be oppressed; the ones who grasped every dollar they could put to their own use would manage matters to please themselves if they had a chance to do so. 9LtMs, Lt 57, 1894, par. 18

I have been pained at my heart as I have seen the great demand you have for Bro. Henry. I can see no light in it. God wants unselfish, just men <connected with His work, men> whose judgment is not swayed by feeling, men who will not make decisions under a perverse spirit. “Them that honour me, I will honour,” saith the Lord. [1 Samuel 2:30.] 9LtMs, Lt 57, 1894, par. 19

Now in regard to myself, I care not for wages; but I do care for strict principle and equity. I do care for sound judgment. When men who had entered into a confederacy have taken from God’s treasury large wages that they no more earned or deserved than did others in the office or engaged in building up other branches of the cause who received small wages, but who were doing their work conscientiously, in integrity and whole-heartedness and purity, a deep wrong was done that God does not wink at. When these men are converted, every dollar they have received above what they should have had will be returned to the treasury. We are dealing with Christ in the person of His saints. To allow one to be exalted, and another, more faithful and true, to be placed in a hard, <trying> position, is not just and equal. God will surely repay these things. 9LtMs, Lt 57, 1894, par. 20

I am more and more impressed that my work is in this country. We dare not leave the work in Australia and New Zealand at its present stage. You can see the way W. C. White is situated, and I cannot consent for him to continue to do as he has done. If no one else sees the necessity of relieving the situation, I shall certainly bring decided influence to bear in reference to my son. 9LtMs, Lt 57, 1894, par. 21

I wish I could see so decided a reformation in Bro. Henry that I could regard with satisfaction the confidence you seem to repose in him. I know the spirit that has controlled the man in a large degree, and I am much depressed at the thought of your linking up with him as your companion to visit Europe. How many seeds of unbelief will be sown in regard to the messages God gives? How many twistings and turnings will his voice and influence give to the work counter to the mind and will of God? I am not a little surprised, and not a little afraid for yourself. 9LtMs, Lt 57, 1894, par. 22

I do not feel that assurance in your case I would be glad to feel. I do not want you to err in judgment. I do not want you to displease God. I would not say one word to discourage you, but I must warn you, <lest you walk blindly.> 9LtMs, Lt 57, 1894, par. 23

Elder Olsen, I wish to say to you, You must not make any calculation for me to go to Africa. I see no light and consistency in such a move. It is time for me to find some retired place and have quietude and rest of spirit. I have been in the turmoil of battle for fifty years, and I do not wish to hold on to the active service until I do not know when it is time to let go. I think that period has come when I must lay off cares and perplexities that meet me in new fields. I have some little strength <and mental vigor> yet left <to write, and this work is more important for me than to visit Africa.> 9LtMs, Lt 57, 1894, par. 24

There is no need that any one should tell me of Africa. I know just as well what I would meet there as what my brethren do. For me it would be the hardest field I have ever attempted to work in. The mixture of elements I am acquainted with, for the Lord has opened the situation to me. I am more disinclined to visit Africa since the Brethren Wessells have come into possession of the property they have received. I know that this would make it very much harder for me. If the Lord should send them a testimony through me, I fear they would not receive it. I know their peril is greatly increased since they received this property, and if they reject the warnings from God, they will lose their souls. I know that the enemy stands ready to misinterpret all that I may say or write to them; I have been decidedly told by Bro. Phillip Wessells that he wants no more letters from me. 9LtMs, Lt 57, 1894, par. 25

I have not the slightest inclination to go to Europe or to visit Africa, and I have not one ray of light that I should go. I am willing to go wherever the Lord indicates my duty, but I am not willing to go at the voice of the conference unless I see my own way clear to do so. I know they would not wish me to do this. I do not yet feel inclined to go to America, for there would be so much work to do there that it would not be wisdom for me to go. I will remain here for further orders from the Lord to bid me how to move. I thought I ought to tell you, so that you would not be thinking I would go, when I do not feel that it is my duty. Let younger persons engage in the conflict. 9LtMs, Lt 57, 1894, par. 26

For some weeks I have been passing through such agony of mind that I have scarcely known whether I should live or die. Bro. and Sr. Starr have gone to Queensland, and may the Lord go with them is my prayer. I do not think that Sr. Starr will be any relief to me as matron in my house. She lacks the very qualities essential for such a position. After the stern conflict that I had to pass through in Melbourne in reference to reproving wrongs, conflicts which cut the very life and courage out of me, I was unable to sleep or to find quietude of mind. 9LtMs, Lt 57, 1894, par. 27

I came to Granville thoroughly exhausted. We were destitute of means. I had a good room, Bro. and Sr. Starr had a good room, Willie a little box of a place, damp and unhealthful. Then Bro. and Sr. Lawrence and Mattie came, expecting to remain only a few days; and they were here six weeks before the question in reference to land for the school was settled. Our house was a hotel for all the comers and goers, and the problem how to take care of them was difficult to solve. Our family numbered fourteen. 9LtMs, Lt 57, 1894, par. 28

How to manage the financial part of the business has been a puzzle, but we did our best to curtail the expenses. I consulted the family, and with their consent banished butter from the table. We have wholly discarded meat. Not a particle has been brought into the house since we came to Granville. Everything we have purchased for furnishing the house has been bought at auction sales; we have watched our chances to get cheap articles. 9LtMs, Lt 57, 1894, par. 29

When it was thought necessary for Bro. Daniells and Bro. Smith of the Echo office to come over from Melbourne, we had a tent pitched to enlarge our borders. We made it comfortable with a stove, our brethren lodged in the tent, and it was their only place for council meetings. We knew there was not a place where these men could be comfortably entertained. Bro. Reekie and others were often here in consultation in reference to the work. The prosecution of the Firth brothers created such a controversy and called out so many articles in the secular papers, pro and con, that it made very lively work to attend to all these matters. 9LtMs, Lt 57, 1894, par. 30

Well, many things of a very disagreeable character troubled me. I was depending on the means which Elder Haskell wrote was coming from America. Just when we could not draw from the treasury here, he wrote that the money would come by the next mail. But instead of the money, we received the news that Bro. Haskell took the first payment of the $10,000 to the Pacific Press to send here, and Bro. Jones <and McClure> said they needed the money at the press, and then it would go into the general fund, I was not only grieved but indignant. Only a few nights before this letter reached us, I dreamed all about the matter. We seemed to be on an island, and could see a long distance off that a boat was coming to us, and one man on board was holding out his hand with a pocket book in it. Before the boat had started, we knew that help was coming; but a man came up, and took the pocket book, and put it in his breast pocket, and the hand was held out to us empty. 9LtMs, Lt 57, 1894, par. 31

I had some other distressing experiences about that time, and altogether I was pressed as a cart beneath sheaves. I had pain in my heart and in my head, followed with numbness. I never understood before the words concerning Christ, “Being in an agony he prayed.” [Luke 22:44.] I was of necessity obliged to fill my place in talking to our people, but O, my heart was so painful. I dared not sleep, and would walk the room in distress and agony. I knew that no living soul could help me. 9LtMs, Lt 57, 1894, par. 32

One morning I was writing in my diary at one o’clock; I had been in prayer some time before leaving my bed, when instantly all the burden left me, and peace like a river came to my soul. I then went with Brother Daniells and some others to see the school land. The next morning while we were all bowed in prayer, the Lord rolled upon me the burden of prayer for Bro. McCullagh, that he should be blessed, strengthened, and healed. It was a most blessed season, and Bro. McCullagh says the difficulty has been removed from his throat, and he has been gaining ever since. 9LtMs, Lt 57, 1894, par. 33

Our coming to this place as we did made it necessary for us to bear heavy burdens. We knew that it would be costly business for the committee who were to examine the land to board at hotels, and money was not to be had, so, by my direction May cooked provision here to send to Dora Creek to supply the necessities of the brethren. We were two month’s in debt at the grocer’s, and I had borrowed a little money for my own use, and a few pounds to relieve a brother who was in trouble. 9LtMs, Lt 57, 1894, par. 34

But when the Review containing the two articles from Elder Littlejohn came, my spirit was again in an agony. It seemed to me that I should die. I could not write. For days I could not do anything. A horror of great darkness came upon me. I was bowed to the very earth at the thought that men in responsible places in the office are not to be trusted, that they have so little discernment as to allow such an article to be printed and immortalized, giving us as people a way into the enemy’s hands. My case was made a subject of prayer, and in the night seasons Jesus seemed close by my side. He said, “Let me take your burden; you cannot bear it.” I thought that the arm of Jesus encircled me and He bade me read (Isaiah 54), and repeated from the fourth to the eighth verse, <inclusive.> Then He said, “Satan is seeking to destroy you; I am your Restorer. Lay your burden upon Me. I will give you rest.” I was entirely relieved, but restoration comes slowly. My head and heart are still afflicted. 9LtMs, Lt 57, 1894, par. 35

Now the reason why I write all these particulars is that I wish you to know why I dare not go to Africa. I am in much perplexity to know where to find rest and opportunity to write. I have entertained the idea that the rest was to sleep in the grave, and yet some things have made this questionable. I am last inclined to the opinion that I should go to some place where I can make my home and no longer receive means from the General Conference, but feel entirely free from all responsibility, and move independently of every man and power. This is all the light I can see at present. I feel compelled to place myself where I shall not have these disappointments and terrible shocks to my heart. I see no other way than to feel that at my age God will give me rest. 9LtMs, Lt 57, 1894, par. 36

But those articles in the Review to be given to the world seem to me a most terrible betrayal of our cause and work into the hands of our enemies. Some of our people are moving under the control of another spirit than that of God. The only safe course to pursue is to put in their place those that can give the trumpet a certain sound, and not have false alarms sounded that weaken, perplex, and confuse the people of God in these last days. At this time they need every particle of energy and clear foresight to discern the wiles of Satan, to meet him firmly, decidedly, and to fight manfully the battles of the Lord. If men in the Review and Herald office will permit such matter as that <article> of Elder Littlejohn’s to go abroad, let them be discharged, whoever they may be. My heart is sick and sore and faint, <but I dare not withhold my testimony from you. I pray the Lord, that He will enlighten your understanding.> 9LtMs, Lt 57, 1894, par. 37