Letters and Manuscripts — Volume 8 (1893)


Lt 42, 1893

Olsen, O. A.

Bank’s Terrace, Wellington, New Zealand

July 13, 1893

Portions of this letter are published in 1MR 265-266; FLB 84; PM 132-133.

Elder O. A. Olsen
Battle Creek, Michigan

Dear Brother,

I could not sleep after two o’clock last night. In the last American mail I received a letter from Frank Belden. He gave me some points of the difficulties through which he was passing in reference to his recently published book. He feels that he has been unnecessarily thrown into perplexities, and that he was not treated fairly. If his statements are correct, he is not far out of the way in his conclusions. 8LtMs, Lt 42, 1893, par. 1

If it cannot be made to appear that he has neglected his work in the office, if he has worked his full hours, what right has any one to say how he shall employ the hours which are his own? I have not referred to this matter at all in writing to him, but I feel it my duty to mention it to you. My letter to him you will receive. It speaks for itself. When Captain Eldridge was receiving large wages in the office ($30.00 per week), he was paid as high as from four to six dollars per week to have some care of the work and books relating to my business. Edson says he neglected the work for which he was paid, and he was much hurt over the matter. 8LtMs, Lt 42, 1893, par. 2

I cannot see how it is just and right to say what shall and shall not be done by those employed in the office with their time after they have given full hours of work. This matter Bro. Henry urged before me by letter when I was in Europe in regard to Prof. Bell and Elder Smith, maintaining that they should have no royalty, because they were receiving wages for their work. 8LtMs, Lt 42, 1893, par. 3

Will you ask Bro. Henry to let you see the letters I wrote from Europe in reference to the royalty on books? It will never save a soul from the error of his ways to watch till he gets into a tight place, and then push him to the wall. I have been shown much in reference to that matter. All this manner of dealing is an offense to God. It is always best—in connection with the work of God—to be fair, to be above all bigotry. 8LtMs, Lt 42, 1893, par. 4

All narrowness and selfish oppression is after Satan’s order, not after God’s order. Here is where our brethren have often made mistakes. Brother _____ takes wrong views of certain things, and when circumstances occur which lead him to make this mistake, he holds his ideas as rigidly as steel. Is it because he is so conscientious in the matter? No. No, it is because he is not kind and generous in his feelings. He expresses himself as he happens to feel at the time. No matter what reasons may be brought forth for a change of his views he will stand by his own opinion. Many wrong things have been done in the office against persons in times past, because Brethren _____, _____, and _____ have taken narrow views and held to them decidedly. Captain Eldridge has also been very firm in decisions in regard to men and things which have not been after God’s order. He has taken too strong and ungenerous a position. He hurt when he might have done good. Angels of God have veiled their faces in sadness because of the injustice that has been done in the office. 8LtMs, Lt 42, 1893, par. 5

After Bro. Henry has had a trying interview with his sons, and had lost control of his own spirit, he has come into the committee meeting with the impression upon him of the unhappy interview, [and] he has met nearly every proposition with a negative reply. O, what a pity that he had not been in a different state of mind! It is to be lamented that a different atmosphere did not surround his soul. If he had been in prayer before God, if he had been breathing in the atmosphere of heaven, he would have regarded propositions brought before him in a different light, and important decisions would have been made differently. Now, the saddest part of this matter is that those who knew these things, and are connected with him in these council meetings, are more or less leavened by his spirit, for when such an atmosphere prevails the love and mercy of God is not manifested in the meetings. 8LtMs, Lt 42, 1893, par. 6

Bro. Henry, because of his own previous condition of mind, because of his strong spirit, treated every proposition according to his state of mind, and the committee meetings, their propositions and decisions, were not sanctified by, or ratified in, the councils of heaven. Wrong principles have gone into circulation because of the decisions which were made as the result of a man’s iron traits of character, who would not concede anything else than to make it hard for others. The Lord is present in all these councils, and every resolution passed is written in the books, and the motives noted which prompted the resolution. These motives, if pure and holy, emanating from God, or selfish and narrow, will all stand registered in the books just as they really are. Heaven’s law is always merciful, kind, tender, helpful, uplifting to others. Pure motives are more valuable than gold tried in the fire. 8LtMs, Lt 42, 1893, par. 7

I write these things to you, because you (as well as others) have accepted propositions when your judgment told you that they were not right. Many have been swayed by this spirit, and decisions have been recorded which have not been according to the will of God. Circumstances have occurred which have aroused feelings so that a certain complexion has been given to matters under consideration, and led to propositions that have been entirely contrary to the spirit of the righteousness, mercy, and love of God. I am so sorry that this has been repeated so many times. Must the same spirit still have a controlling power? 8LtMs, Lt 42, 1893, par. 8

Bro. Henry has many valuable traits of character, but he has lessons to learn more perfectly in the school of Christ. When he has learned them, he will reveal in committee meetings a steadfast purpose, and yet manifest the meekness and love of Christ. When all have learned the meekness of Christ, that spirit of iron that comes into the mind and heart of those presiding will be expelled from the soul, and the precious, pitying love of Christ will have a molding, softening influence upon heart and character. The words of Christ to Peter are applicable to very many. “When thou art converted, strengthen thy brethren” [Luke 22:32], not force them into hard places, not drive them on to Satan’s ground. 8LtMs, Lt 42, 1893, par. 9

Those who hold so firmly to their own opinions, and would treat others ungenerously, would not wish to be treated in the same manner themselves. They must have a different kind of education, and no longer fail to manifest the mercy and the love of God, for then they might do much good. Had they a character after Christ’s likeness of character, their influence would be far-reaching, and they would do great good. How long shall defects of character triumph against truth, righteousness, and the love of God? How long shall the spirit of Satan hold sway? Listen to the voice of the True Witness, “Nevertheless I have somewhat against thee, because thou hast left thy first love.” [Revelation 2:4.] The love of Christ, shed abroad in the heart, always leads to the expression of love, tenderness, and compassion toward others. All hardness of heart is gone from a soul where the love of Jesus is cherished. Shall the human agent forget how much he has received of the compassionate Redeemer? Notwithstanding the many errors and mistakes he has made, God has not left him. He has had tender pity over him in his waywardness, and, O, what forbearance and long-suffering has been exercised toward him! How much generous sympathy has been shown him notwithstanding his perversity! If it had not been for the loving kindness of God, he would never have been chosen as a son of God. “Remember therefore from whence thou art fallen, and repent.” [Verse 5.] 8LtMs, Lt 42, 1893, par. 10

He who has lost his first love, reveals the loss in the manner in which he deals with humanity. The loss of the first love is represented as a fall, calling for repentance, and for the doing of the first works. If the erring one does not repent, the True Witness says, “I will come unto thee quickly and remove thy candlestick out of its place, except thou repent.” [Verse 5.] I tell you in the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, this hard, sunless, loveless religion, so largely cherished by some of our brethren, never draws souls to Christ; but drives them away from Christ and the truth, into the net Satan has prepared to entangle the feet of the straying. 8LtMs, Lt 42, 1893, par. 11

I raise my voice against this cast-in-iron, hard, loveless religion. If Captain Eldridge and Frank Belden had cherished far less of self, and far more of Jesus Christ, they would have been continually learning, continually growing into Christ’s spirit and Christ’s mind, reflecting His character in unselfishness and love while connected with the publishing office: and today they would have been connected with the publishing house and would have been on vantage ground. But, O, what a lack has there been of the genuine, holy love of God in the Review and Herald office. Had the first love been burning on the altar of their hearts, it would have been exhibited in tenderness, in compassion, in unselfish acts, and God’s blessing would have been upon them; but when self is continually cherished, God has no use for such workers. 8LtMs, Lt 42, 1893, par. 12

Bro. Henry needs to be transformed in character before he is in condition to be at all times a safe counsellor. When the love of Jesus pervades his soul, he will diffuse it. When he has learned meekness and lowliness in the school of Christ, he will reveal a Christlike patience, an invincible charity, and an omnipotent faith in the grand work of saving souls for whom Christ has died. Every soul must come to the trial of all the Christian graces. The heart must be warmed with the glowing fire of God’s goodness. When the Lord moves upon the heart by His Holy Spirit, there will be a submitting to the discipline and influence of the Holy Spirit. Painstaking effort, which is requisite to the attainment of true virtue and wisdom, and is indispensable to him who will be chosen to become a coworker with Jesus Christ, will be manifested. 8LtMs, Lt 42, 1893, par. 13

There are many among us who have a tolerable degree of satisfaction in regard to their own spiritual condition, and feel content in regard to past and present work. Since the spark of grace is not entirely extinct, they pass on in contentment although they neither burn nor shine. Souls are perishing, sheep are straying from the fold and falling under the power of the great adversary, and who of those who profess that they love God, make it manifest that they care? Who puts forth any special effort to save a soul from death, and to hide a multitude of sins? They leave the straying ones to perish. Perhaps their own course of action, so void of human sympathy, so destitute of Christlike love, has been the means of driving more than one poor soul into the wilderness. And it would be well to speak often from Matthew 18:10-14. 8LtMs, Lt 42, 1893, par. 14

There has been a marked neglect in seeking to save the lost sheep, and God holds all who neglect this work responsible for these souls. Persevering in this unsympathizing course lays stumbling blocks continually before the feet of the wandering, and discourages his return to the fold. This is the real fact as it exists, and the Lord God of Israel will not be a party to any such transaction. His wrath is kindled against all who do these things. The charge comes home to every soul: “Be watchful, (not heedless, nor indifferent,) and strengthen the things that remain, that are ready to die; for I have not found thy works perfect before God. Remember therefore how thou hast received, and heard, and hold fast and repent. If therefore thou shalt not watch, I will come on thee as a thief, and thou shalt not know what hour I will come upon thee.” [Revelation 3:2, 3.] 8LtMs, Lt 42, 1893, par. 15

What does this satanic hard-heartedness of men toward their fellow men mean? The very time to show Christlike, pitying tenderness is when men commit errors. “Ye that are spiritual restore such an one in the spirit of meekness, considering thyself, lest thou also be tempted.” [Galatians 6:1.] Whatever may be your work, however pressing the calls, the Chief Shepherd has presented the matter in its true importance. 8LtMs, Lt 42, 1893, par. 16

The Chief Shepherd leaves the ninety and nine in the fold, and will not rest until no means are untried, in order to recover and bring back the lost sheep. He does not whip them back, as Bro. Henry and many others of his stamp of character would do, scolding and lashing them at every step; but he takes the wandering sheep in His arms, or on His shoulder, and brings him back, rejoicing at every step. 8LtMs, Lt 42, 1893, par. 17

“But all through the mountains, thunder-riven,
And up from the rocky steep,
There rose a cry to the gate of heaven,
‘Rejoice, I have found my sheep!’
And the angels echoed around the throne,
‘Rejoice, for the Lord brings back his own!’”
8LtMs, Lt 42, 1893, par. 18

I ask in the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, Who have acted the part described in the parable of the lost sheep? Who have actually represented in spirit and character the True Shepherd? Who will work henceforth in the light flashing forth from this parable? 8LtMs, Lt 42, 1893, par. 19

Where, I ask, are the shepherds doing their God appointed work? I have earnestly entreated that personal labor should be bestowed upon Edson White. Has he received it? Have the brethren made a practical application of the parable to him and to themselves? Have they felt a burden for his soul, and have they given him personal labor? I have felt that his soul was worth enough to engage individual, personal labor in his behalf. I have yet to learn that earnest, positive effort has been put forth, that is represented in the parable as the Shepherd seeking in the wilderness for the lost sheep. 8LtMs, Lt 42, 1893, par. 20

I can scarcely contain myself when I know what might have been done, and has not been done. There is no manner of excuse left in the parable for such neglect. Why, I ask, should not this work have been done? The Shepherd is represented as leaving the ninety and nine, and going out in the wilderness to seek the lost, straying sheep. Some may ask, Will it pay? Jesus Christ and heaven thought it would pay, and the voice from heaven speaks in no undecided language. There is more rejoicing in the presence of the angels in the saving and bringing back the one lost sheep, than over the whole ninety and nine that went not astray. 8LtMs, Lt 42, 1893, par. 21

I want to know why, as a people, so little is done in this line. Why are not the lost and straying sought for, and brought back to the fold? Who from henceforth will work in the light of this parable? Who will obey the will of God that has been made so perfectly clear? I am distressed beyond measure. A sheep strayed from the fold never finds its way back, unless special, personal effort is made in its behalf, just as Christ has represented it in the parable of the lost sheep. If men will not do their work, angels will surround these souls and impress the mind and bring all who will cherish the light back to God. 8LtMs, Lt 42, 1893, par. 22

Satan’s triumph is very great when he can gather under his banner one who has been under the influence of great light. The Captain of our salvation demands of all His true followers that they shall fight valiantly for the rescue of His purchased inheritance, the souls that have once rejoiced in the light. Consider, I pray you, and teach others to consider, how much capital Satan can make, and how much he inspires his own evil workers to make, of the fact that a son of Bro. and Sr. White should turn from God, turn from His service, and take his position with sinners and unbelievers and do after their works. Why, I ask, has this case been neglected? It is not the coldhearted, unloving ones who can do such a soul any good. 8LtMs, Lt 42, 1893, par. 23

“Ye that are spiritual restore such an one in the spirit of meekness.” [Verse 1.] God has put this work on some one, why does he not do it? Christ has paid the price of his own blood to bring all into equal relation to Himself. The salvation of one soul is of as much importance as the salvation of another. The outcast, the prodigal son, the most hopeless, the most sinful, are the very ones who awaken in the True Shepherd His special sympathy and love. The True Shepherd is represented as leaving the flock, going into the wilderness in search of the lost sheep. It is for the prodigal who is feeding on husks that he feels the tenderest emotion. If one is strong and another is weak, let the strong bear the burden of the weak. Said my guide, “There is earnest, solemn work devolving upon the church, which has been neglected, and souls have been left under Satan’s power, who with proper labor would be under the bloodstained banner of Jesus Christ.” 8LtMs, Lt 42, 1893, par. 24