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    Chapter 179—To O. A. Olsen


    May 22, 1896

    Elder O. A. Olsen,
    Battle Creek,

    Dear Bro.:—

    We feel deeply in regard to your case. We know that you have been placed in a very trying position; but we know also that you have signally failed in some things. You have, my brother, said much about the importance of prayer, and have felt desirous that our people should observe the customary week of prayer; this is well, we should have seasons of earnest, persevering prayer; for God is the strength of his people, their front guard and their rearward. But it is possible to make these seasons of prayer a substitute for the decided action that is necessary to set things in order. There is a class of work which it is the duty of the human agent to do in the name of the Lord God of Israel.1888 1520.1

    After the defeat of the Israelites at Ai, Joshua was lying upon his face before the ark, praying, when the Lord said unto him, “Get thee up; wherefore liest thou thus upon thy face? Israel hath sinned, and they have also transgressed my covenant which I commanded them; for they have even taken of the accursed thing, and have stolen, and dissembled, and they have put it even among their own stuff.... neither will I be with you any more, except ye destroy the accursed from among you. Up, sanctify the people, and say, Sanctify yourselves against tomorrow; for thus saith the Lord God of Israel, There is an accursed thing in the midst of thee, O Israel; thou canst not stand before thy enemies, until ye take away the accursed thing from among you.”1888 1520.2

    Even prayer is not to be placed where duty should be. God will not be dishonored among the people and keep silence. His watchmen are to be wide awake.1888 1521.1

    The very first neglect on your part to stand for right principles when matters were considered in council and committee meetings, brought a mist before your eyes. Your discernment was impaired by your failure to walk in the light. And surely your eyes must have been blinded, else you could not possibly have done as you have done. Your words and actions have encouraged men of a strong, determined purpose to carry things; you let them plan, and carried out their devisings, as did Aaron with the leaders of Israel. You have tried to make yourself believe that this was the only thing you could do. But you have not in all places taken up your God-given work, to be firm and decided for the right. Aaron, yielding to the guidance of the people, whom he knew to be in error, greatly dishonored God. He should have stood firm as a rock, with unwavering integrity, before the great men of that vast, undisciplined host of Israel. You should have known what the wisdom of God required of his people; but you were lead to view things as men viewed them who had resisted the Holy Spirit, and who were not led and taught of God. The souls of these men are marred with wrong-doing. They have blinded their eyes, so that they cannot distinguish righteousness from unrighteousness. They call evil good, and good evil. Yet these are the men you have chosen to accompany you from place to place. This is the atmosphere with which you have surrounded your soul.1888 1521.2

    These men, whom you have made your companions in your visits to different points, have taken occasion to instill their own sentiments into the minds of the people. Being in connection with the Lord's work, and in high positions of trust, of course they have been believed, and thus have been able to exert a strong influence. Having dropped a suggestion, and seen it take root in the mind, they have adroitly drawn it from the individual as the expression of his own thought. The next time they make a tour over the ground, they carry the work a little farther; and thus in secret the seeds of unbelief have been sown, that in some cases have taken years of labor to uproot; in other cases they have flourished and brought forth their evil fruit. Those who have done this mischief—men who have had no connection with God—are supposed by our people to be your right-hand men, your staff. Could you not discern their character and the work they were doing?1888 1522.1

    Your journeys in company with these men, whom the angels of God did not attend, could not be a strength to a work that is under the supervision of the Holy Spirit. It would have been better, far better, if many of these long journeys had never been taken, better that the workers at different points should have been deprived of your personal presence rather than to have these men accompany you, and diffuse their malarious influence far and wide.1888 1522.2

    The Lord has presented to me that there has been a manifest distrusting of God. Has the Lord no mental or moral power in the men who abide where large interests have been established? Shall God's money be used in transporting from place to place those who show that they have no connection with him? The Lord says, “Them that honor me I will honor.” But in pleasing and glorifying the men whom God does not honor, you have dishonored God. Far better go single-handed, and trust in the arm of Jehovah, in the ministering angels whom he sends forth, than have those with you who have closed their hearts against the admonitions and warnings of the spirit of God, and thus against the Spirit itself. In every place where important interests have been established, there are men who love God, and have a measure of ability. These men need to be instructed <how to use their talents.> Let them carry the responsibilities that they can bear. Teach them to put their trust in God, and <not in finite men,> to become workers who can be depended upon. Do not lead them to think that they must in every emergency depend on men at a great distance. Let them seek the Lord for themselves.1888 1523.1

    There is great need for men of wisdom in every place; but it is an error to depend upon those who do not love the Lord, and seek unto him for wisdom, sanctification, and righteousness. God has not given his work to be moulded by those upon whom his mould has not been placed because they did not want the divine credentials. Through your connection with them, your own ideas have become perverted, and they need purifying. You view things very much as these men view them. You see little <the extent and the> necessity for the change which the Lord calls for. You have strengthened these men in their belief that they are right, and have deepened their deception. These things the Lord will not long tolerate; for you have had light; you have not been left in ignorance and darkness.1888 1523.2

    The Holy Spirit of God manifested among his people has by some been treated as an intruder. You, yourself have not made the Holy Spirit your dependence as in your earlier experience. Had you been following the Spirit's guidance, you would have known that you could not unite with these men, listen to their suggestions, and give them influence. This was not the work which God had given you to do. He has promised you efficiency through the power of the Holy Spirit, which will be with you in every act, if you will hold fast the beginning of your confidence firm unto the end. If you had depended less on the men who, as you had every reason to know, had not a vital connection with God, and had depended more on the presence and aid of the Holy Spirit in answer to prayer, the cause would today be in a far more healthful condition.1888 1524.1

    It has not been wise to take so many responsibilities in regard to the work at a distance, when there were such important interests demanding attention at Battle Creek. Very much needed to be done that the heart of the work might be kept pure. Much care was necessary to keep the machinery oiled, <by the grace of God,> so as to run without friction. God is grieved with some of your movements in matters involving principles which he himself established in our publishing work.1888 1524.2

    Much that has been revealed to me crowds upon my mind, which I hardly know how to express. Yet I cannot hold my peace. The Lord is indignant at men who set themselves up to rule their fellow-men, and to carry out plans which the Holy Spirit has condemned. I am more surprised than I can express at your failure to discern that God has not set up these men. The new order of things ought to alarm you, for it had not the sanction of heaven.1888 1525.1

    The natural heart is not to bring its own tainted, corrupting principles into the work of God. There must be no concealing of the principles of our faith. The third angel's message is to be sounded by God's people. It is to swell to the loud cry. The Lord has a time appointed when he will bind off the work; but when is that time? When the truth to be proclaimed for these last days shall go forth as a witness to all nations, then shall the end come. If the power of Satan can come into the very temple of God, and manipulate things as he pleases, the time of preparation will be prolonged.1888 1525.2

    Here is the secret of the movements made to oppose the men whom God sent with a message of blessing for his people. These men <you have made your staff have> hated <the men, and God's> message was despised, as verily as Christ Himself was <hated and> despised at his first advent. Men in responsible positions have manifested the very attributes that Satan has revealed. They have sought to rule minds, to bring their reason and their talents under human jurisdiction. There has been an effort to bring God's servants under the control of men who have not the knowledge and wisdom of God, or an experience under the Holy Spirit's guidance. Principles have been born that should never have seen the light of day. The illegitimate child should have been stifled as soon as it breathed the first breath of life. Finite men have been warring against God and the truth and the Lord's chosen messengers, counterworking them by every means they dared to use. Please consider what virtue there came in the wisdom and plans of those who have slighted God's messages, and, like the scribes and Pharisees, have despised the very men whom God has used to present light and truth which his people needed.1888 1525.3

    It is an offense to God that his work should be restricted by human beings. The word of the living God, appealing to sanctified reason, will never give to the work such an impress as is now revealed. There has been deceit, falsehood, artifice, selfishness. Schemes have been set on foot to rob God and to rob man, in order to make up to the work for what selfish devices have <abstracted.> The very position you have taken with these men in concocting plans to relieve the financial embarrassment, has made you in some respects a weak man. It has warped your judgment. You have been led to subvert justice, to depart from honesty in business dealing with your brethren. A wrong against the weakest or most erring of his flock is even more offensive to God than if it were against the strongest one among you. Souls are the Lords purchased possession, and every injustice done “unto the least of these my brethren” said Jesus, is done “unto me.” The Lord will not suffer injustice or oppression to go unreproved.1888 1526.1

    Every system controlled by the principles of the gospel of Christ is pure, open, clear as the day, and is sound and healthful in all its operations. Everything entered into for the sake of ministering to pride or unsanctified ambition is to be cleared away, before the Lord's institutions shall stand securely upon the eternal rock. We need no crafty inventions to sustain the cause of God. We need no unjust dealing. Let the Lord breathe upon his work the spirit of heavenly principles, and it will live. Nothing that man can manufacture can take the place of God's Holy Spirit! Nothing that man's wisdom can invent will justify the violation of truth, or a disregard of the rights of humanity. Truth is too pure to set her delicate feet off from the elevated-platform of love to God and love to our fellow-man.1888 1527.1

    If it were possible, the enemy would clog the wheels of progress, and prevent the truths of the gospel from being circulated everywhere. With this object he leads men to feel that it is their privilege to control the consciences of their fellow-men according to their own perverted ideas. They dismiss the Holy Spirit from their counsels, and then, under the power and name of the General Conference, they invent regulations through which they compel men to be ruled by their own ideas and not by the Holy Spirit.1888 1527.2

    The plans to obtain control of human minds and ability are as strange fire, which is an offense to God. And who are those who dare engage in this work? Men who have revealed that they do not have self-control, that they are not divested of selfishness. Unless these men shall themselves turn unto the Lord, they will die in their sins. There is scarcely a vestige of genuine truth remaining in them. The effort to manage others, which is made by those who cannot manage themselves, is one of the greatest fallacies that could exist. Let those who love to rule, begin the work where it should have begun years ago; let them rule themselves, and show that they are in subordination to God's rule, that they have been converted at heart. Then they will at least not make their fellow-men groan under the galling yoke of their restrictive policy. Then there will be fewer prayers sent up to heaven in anguish of heart because of their selfish oppression.1888 1528.1

    There is need of an education in regard to the rights and duties of men in authority who have lorded it over God's heritage. When a man is placed in a position of trust, who knows not what kind of spirit he should exercise in dealing with human minds, he needs to learn the very first principles as to his authority over his fellow-men. Right principles must be brought into the heart, and wrought into the warp and woof of character.1888 1528.2

    Men are wanted who feel their need of wisdom from above, men who are converted at heart, who understand that they are but sinful mortals, and must learn their lessons in the school of Christ before they are prepared to mould other minds. When men have learned to depend on God, when they have faith that works by love, and purifies their own souls, then they will not lay on other men's shoulders burdens that are grievous to be borne. The Lord has been greatly dishonored by those who have exalted themselves and have favored men who were not worthy, not being careful to treat all justly, without partiality and without hypocrisy.1888 1528.3

    Until the day of trial comes, how little men know of their own weakness. They think themselves wise, and make themselves fools. There is nothing that men may pride themselves in. Even those in most responsible positions do fall into sin, while apparently surrounded by the best religious privileges. Gehazi's case is one that we may consider with profit. This man dwelt in the household of the holy prophet Elisha, saw his godly life, heard his fervent prayers, and his inculcation of correct principles. Yet he was not made better. He deceived Naaman in order to receive a reward. His punishment came from the Lord. The leprosy of Naaman clave unto him.1888 1529.1

    Judas was numbered among the twelve apostles. He heard the precious lessons that fall from the lips of Christ. He had a perfect example ever before him, and yet his heart was not right. He was ruined by the sin of covetousness. “They that will be rich fall into temptation, and a snare, and into many foolish and hurtful lusts, which drown men in destruction and perdition.”1888 1529.2

    Elisha was true to principle, true to his God. His work bore the divine credentials. And in difficulty and trial God revealed himself to him as an ever-present helper. When the sons of the prophet were enlarging their abode, a miracle was wrought to save one of them from distress. When the king of Syria was preparing an ambush against Israel, his design was revealed by the prophet. The king, learning that it was Elisha that had defeated his armies, sent an armed host to apprehend him, but God delivered his servant. All these lessons are for our admonition, upon whom the ends of the world are come.1888 1530.1

    Bro. Olsen, I have the tenderest feelings toward you; but I must lay before you plainly the danger of losing your spiritual eyesight. I speak decidedly because I must tell you the truth. I dare not forbear, for there is no longer safety in delay. I have not confidence in your book committee. I have written to you before in regard to their manner of dealing with the authors of books. They should treat them impartially, candidly, as a brother would treat a brother; but they have not done this. The principles and motives of the business dealing in this department are not such as God can sanction. They are not in accordance with strict integrity. Your example has influenced Bro. C. H. Jones in his dealing with authors. In both houses a course has been pursued that is not fair and noble. Such work should be corrected as soon as possible, if you and he desire the Lord to write in regard to your transactions, “Well done, good and faithful servant.” You will be ashamed to meet your present record in the books that shall be opened when the judgment shall sit, and every man shall be judged according to his works, whether they be good or whether they be evil. Better, far better that the work be done with love and justice blended.1888 1530.2

    God reads the motives that underlies the work of which I have spoken. These motives have been revealed to me, and I feel a depth of sorrow that is beyond expansion. I cannot vindicate motives or methods, because they are an offense to God. I must take my stand fully. But what need for me to say more? I have written over and over again, but what has been the effort of the testimonies? What reformations have they wrought? What restitutions have been made? Men who have not the love of God in their hearts will prove to be only fallible erring mortals. “Without me,” says Christ, “ye can do nothing.” Every soul connected with the work needs to be daily converted.1888 1531.1

    You, my brother, are to put on the whole armor of God. The Lord Jesus, just before his crucifixion, prayed to his Father, “Keep through thine own name those whom thou hast given me, that they may be one as we are.” Christ offered this prayer in behalf of his disciples, but when he asks that we may be kept, he does not mean that we are not to co-operate with God in keeping ourselves from evil practices. We must every one of us heed the words of Christ, “Watch unto prayer;” “Watch and pray, that ye enter not into temptation.”1888 1531.2

    Enter not, take not the first step in a wrong course. Let the Lord be our strength and helper. What is there in the world that can change the heart in which Christ abides? The earth may shake, the pillars of the world may tremble under us; but if we put our trust in God, we shall not be afraid. What could change the faith of Daniel and his fellow-captives in Babylon? Who could corrupt their principles? or separate their affections from God? Ask yourselves the question, Have we an intelligent faith?1888 1531.3

    “Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword? ...I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.”1888 1532.1

    Plans are constantly made to gather more and more responsibilities into Battle Creek. I ask you seriously to consider the situation there. Is there a school of the prophets in Battle Creek? Are there men through whom the Lord can work and has worked to carry the weighty responsibilities that are to be borne? Are there regenerated men, whose whole hearts are given to God, men whom the mighty cleaver of truth has separated from the corruptions of the world, and whose faith and devotion reveal that the Holy Spirit is fashioning their experience after the divine similitude? The Bible, and the Bible alone, is the rule of faith and practice. Justification by faith in Christ will be made manifest in transformation of character. This is the sign to the world of the truth of the doctrines we profess. The daily evidence that we are a living church is seen in the fact that we are practicing the word. A living testimony goes forth to the world in consistent Christian action.1888 1532.2

    It declares to a world apostatized that there is a people who believe that our safety is in clinging to the Bible. This testimony is in unmistakable distinction from that of the great apostate church, which adopts human wisdom and authority in place of the wisdom and authority of God.1888 1533.1

    The Lord commands us, “Feed the flock of God which is among you, taking the oversight thereof, not by constraint, but willingly; not for filthy lucre, but of a ready mind; neither as being lords over God's heritage, but being ensamples to the flock. And when the Chief Shepherd shall appear, we shall receive a crown of glory which fadeth not away.” “Likewise, ye younger, submit yourselves unto the elder; yes all of you be subject one to another, and be clothed with humility: for God resisteth the proud, and giveth grace to the humble. Humble yourselves therefore, under the mighty hand of God, that he may exalt you in due time: casting all your care upon him; for he careth for you. Be sober, be vigilant,; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour.”1888 1533.2

    There is perfect harmony between the instruction of the Old Testament and that of the New. The Lord Jesus himself gave to Moses the principles that were to be given to Israel. Lessons of mercy, goodness, generosity, and strict honesty, were given by Christ in the Old Testament, and were repeated by him when he came in human flesh to our world. Shall we not earnestly and prayerfully study these lessons and practice the principles which our Lord has given. Shall we not deal with our fellow-men as becomes those who have been instructed by the Holy Spirit, taught by the wisdom of God, moved by the same influence that inspired the Scriptures?1888 1533.3

    When our brethren do this, their councils will be honored by the presence of Christ. Their missionary spirit will not be confined to a few places, but will reach out to diffuse the light everywhere. There is a world to be warned. Our great defence against the principles and practices of paganism or the papacy is to be living epistles of Bible religion. Shall we not represent Christ in all things?1888 1534.1

    My brother Olsen, can you still be so blinded as to unite in the least degree with those who undertake to rule other minds as has been done in Battle Creek? Will you consent to have as your co-laborers those who know not the voice of God in the messages he has sent to his people, men who would manage the work so as either to gain full control of it or to crush it? This has been done in a most decided manner. Should the plans originated by such minds be carried into effect, evangelical religion, the Christianity of the Bible, would, so far as their influence goes, become extinct.1888 1534.2

    The Lord Jesus is needed to cleanse the institution at Battle Creek as verily as he was needed to cleanse the temple when he was on earth. Oh that our institutions might be purified from the buyers and the sellers, and the merchandise, and the principles brought in to turn men from their rights.1888 1534.3

    Men have come to Battle Creek who have been accompanied by the Holy Spirit; but unless they fought every inch of ground over and over again, in seeking to maintain correct methods, they were at last over borne. Right at the point where our work centres, they have seen corruption, and some have gone away with less confidence in their brethren and in their Protestant principles, and with the divine light in their souls well nigh extinguished. God would have his temple no longer a den of thieves and moneychangers. He desires his servants to be men of piety and holy endeavour.1888 1535.1

    In our Publishing Institutions Christianity is sick, and needs a physician. Who shall heal her? There must be a reformation. Sentiments and practice that have been gaining a hold and strengthening must be put away forever. Righteous principles must be revived. Again and again the Holy Spirit has wrought among you, but by many it was dismissed as an unwelcome guest. Christ's work of purification is to begin at the heart, for the improvement of the whole character of the human agent. Amid the moral darkness, there must be a regenerative, reformative influence at work, in order that sacred things may be kept sacred. The Lord will not be trifled with. He will test and try his people; he will thoroughly purge his floor, and will gather his wheat into his garner.1888 1535.2

    Ellen G. White.

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