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    Chapter 184—To O. A. Olsen


    “Sunnyside,” Cooranbong, July 6, ’96.

    Eld. O. A. Olsen,
    Battle Creek, Michigan, U.S.A.,

    My dear brother:—

    It has been revealed to me that the Lord proves and tries all who have named the name of Christ, but especially those who are stewards on any department of his cause. A connection with the special work of God for this time brings with it much responsibility, and the higher the position of trust, the greater the responsibility attached to it. How humble and sincere the one needs to be who is filling such a position! How fearful and mistrustful of himself! How careful to give all the praise and thanksgiving to God!1888 1594.1

    There is a Watcher standing by the side of all those who are filling positions of trust, ready to reprove and convict of wrong doing, or to answer the prayers for help. He watches to see if the men privileged to bear responsibilities will look to God for wisdom, and avail themselves of every opportunity to perfect a character after the divine similitude. If they deviate from straightforward rectitude, God turns from them, if they do not earnestly strive to understand the will of God concerning them, he cannot bless or prosper or sustain them.1888 1594.2

    Those whom God has placed in positions of responsibility should never seek to exalt themselves, or to turn the attention of men to their work. They must give all the glory to God. They must not seek for power that they may lord it over God's heritage; for only those who are under the rule of Satan will do this.1888 1595.1

    But the rule of ruin system is too often seen in our Institutions. This spirit is cherished and revealed by some in responsible positions, and because of this God cannot do the work he desires to do through them. By their course of action, those who reveal this spirit make manifest what they would be if in heaven if entrusted with responsibility.1888 1595.2

    Those who will look at human souls in the light of the cross of Calvary, need not err regarding the estimate which should be placed upon them. The reason why God has permitted some of the human family to be so rich and some so poor will remain a mystery to men till eternity unless they enter into right relations with God, and carry out his plans instead of acting on their own selfish idea that because he is rich, a man is to be more highly respected than his poor neighbor. God makes his sun to shine on the just and on the unjust, and this sun represents Christ the Sun of Righteousness, who shines as the light of the world, giving his blessings and mercies, seen and unseen, to rich and poor alike. This principle is to guide our conduct toward our fellow-men. The Lord is the teacher of the highest moral sentiments, the loftiest principles, and no man can deviate from these, and be guiltless. It is the highest insult to God's goodness to doubt whether he would be willing for us to impart to others the blessings, spiritual and temporal, which he has freely given us.1888 1595.3

    A pure religion, an upright holy life, constitutes a man a Christian. But ever since his defection in heaven, Satan's course has been one of perpetual deception, and harshness; and there are professed Christians who are learning his methods and practices. While they claim to be serving the cause of God, they turn their fellow-men from their rights in order to serve themselves.1888 1596.1

    Every human being has been bought with a price, and as God's heritage, they have certain rights of which no one should deprive him. The Lord will not accept service from those who practice double dealing The least advantage gained in this will dishonor God and the truth. Those who possess Bible religion will do justice, love mercy, and walk humbly with their God. These are the lines drawn by the God of justice on this matter.1888 1596.2

    Again I would urge that living faith in God be cultivated. There are those, who, though thought to be serving God, are fast becoming girded about with infidelity. To them crooked paths seem straight; they are living in continual violation of God's truth; corrupt principles are interwoven into their life practice, and wherever they go they sow seeds of evil. In the place of leading others to Christ, their influence caused them to question and doubt. They unsettle minds in the truth by entering upon speculative theories, which draw them away from the truth. They help to forge the fetters of doubt and unbelief, fault-finding, and accusing; and souls stumble over them to perdition. The blood of souls will be upon those who, while they profess to be in the service of God, are doing the work of his enemy.1888 1596.3

    Knowing this, what manner of persons ought we to be? Shall we exalt human wisdom, and point to finite, changeable, erring men as a dependence in time of trouble; or shall we exemplify our faith by our trust in God's power, revealing the net of false theories, religions, and philosophies which Satan has spread to catch unwary souls. By thus doing the word of God, we shall be lights in the world; for if the word of God is practiced, we show to all those who come within the sphere of our influence that we reverence and respect God, and that we are working under his administration. By a humble circumspect walk, by love, forbearance, long-suffering, and gentleness, God expects his servants to manifest him to the world.1888 1597.1

    God requires those to whom he has given sacred trusts to rise to the full height of their responsibilities. Man is placed here on test and trial, and those who are given positions of trust must decide whether they will exalt self, or their Maker; whether they will use their power to oppress their fellow-men, or to exalt and glorify God.1888 1597.2

    Increased responsibilities bring increased accountability. He who would be a faithful servant must give entire and willing service to the greatest teacher the world ever knew. His ideas and principles must be kept pure by the power of God. Every day he must learn to become worthy of the trust placed upon him. His mind must be quickened by the divine power. His character must be uncontaminated by the influence of his relatives, his friends or his neighbors. At times he must turn aside from active life to commune with God, and to hear his voice saying to him, “Be still, and know that I am God.1888 1597.3

    As the rich clusters of grapes grow on the living vine, so the fruits of the Spirit will be borne by the man who loves God, and keeps the way of the Lord. Christ is his stronghold. Christ lived the law of God in humanity, and so may he do if he will by faith take hold on the strong for strength. If he realizes that he cannot do anything without Christ by this side, God will give him wisdom. But he must cherish the love of Christ in his heart, and practice his lessons, for is he not to love Christ as Christ loved God? Is he not to demonstrate to all with whom he associates that he has the abiding presence of Jesus Christ more than he has ever had it before. Because of his increased responsibilities, he must have an increased knowledge of God, and must reveal that living faith that works by love, and purifies the soul.1888 1598.1

    But frequently, when placed in high positions of trust, men fail to take time to pray; they think they have no time to train their every faculty to respond to the convictions of the Holy Spirit. But if these men would sit at the feet of the meek and lowly Jesus, they would carry out sacred responsibilities confident, not in themselves, but in their God. They would render to God the sacrifice of a noble, self-denying, cross-bearing life. Jesus would be enthroned in their hearts, giving them physical, mental, and moral power to make him known.1888 1598.2

    God longs to work through those to whom he has given capabilities for great things. He longs to see those who occupy responsible places, representing him to the world. He desires that Christ be acknowledged as the greatest Teacher the world has ever known, and that he shall shine through their minds as the light of the world. “To as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believed on his name.” But in order that this may be, God demands that every intellectual and physical capability be offered as a consecrated oblation to him.1888 1599.1

    But some men, as soon as they are placed in sacred positions of trust, regard themselves as great men, and this thought, if entertained, ends the desire for divine enlightenment, which is the only possible thing that can make men great. Those who take this view, extinguish all chance of true greatness in them, because they will not become illuminated by the Sun of Righteousness.1888 1599.2

    But men cannot extinguish the light of life, even though they close their eyes tightly in order that they may not see it. The Sun of Righteousness shines none the less because the poor, foolish human agent surrounds himself with self-created darkness.1888 1599.3

    The men who close their eyes to the divine light are ignorant, deplorably ignorant, both of the Scripture and of the power of God. The Holy Spirits working is not agreeable to them, and they attribute its manifestations to fanaticism. They rebel against the light, and do all they can to shut it out, calling darkness light, and light darkness. They complain that the teachings of Christ cause undue excitement and fanaticism, which spoils those who receive them for the proper duties of life.1888 1599.4

    Those who entertain this belief, do not know who they are about. They are cherishing a love for darkness, and just as long as these Christless souls are retained in positions of responsibility, the cause of God is imperilled. They are in danger of fastening themselves so firmly with the dark leader of all rebellion, that they will never see light; and the longer they are retained, the more hopeless is their chance of receiving Christ, or of having a knowledge of the true God. How uncertain they make everything that is spiritual and progressive in the truth. Under the influence of their leader, they become more and more determined to work against Christ. But through good and bad report, through darkness, through all the antagonism of the agencies of Satan, the Sun of Righteousness calmly shines on, searching out evil, repressing sin, and reviving the Spirit of the humble and contrite ones. “Lord, to whom shall we go:, thou hast the words of eternal life.”1888 1599.5

    The evidence of true value and worth in men who are in responsible positions, is the fact that they have a daily Christian experience in the things of God. They find music in the words spoken by Christ, “But when the Comforter is come, whom I will send unto you from the Father, even the Spirit of truth, which proceedeth from the Father, he shall testify of me; and ye also shall bear witness, because ye have been with me from the beginning. If men will receive the ministration of His Holy Spirit,—the richest gift God can bestow, they will impart blessings to all who are connected with them.1888 1600.1

    But God cannot reveal himself through some who are entrusted with responsibilities. He cannot make them channels through which his grace and compassion and love can flow; for they insult his goodness by exhibiting a masterful spirit toward those whom they regard as being in error and needing reproof, eclipsing Christ's love and mercy by their own unsanctified passions. The enemy of all good is allowed to rule in their hearts, and their lives will reveal his attributes. They claim that the word of God directs them, but by their actions they say, “We want not thy way, but our way.”1888 1600.2

    By their words, their works, and their spirit, those who pursue such a course are making a record in the books of heaven which they will not care to meet; for God does not value them as they value themselves. They are abusing their probationary opportunities, and are grievously neglecting the high privileges conferred upon them. Though finding nothing in the word of God to vindicate their actions, or countenance their opinions, yet they persist in their own way. In that day, when judgment is passed upon all, the sentence will be pronounced against them, “Thou art weighed in the balances of the heavenly sanctuary, and found wanting.”1888 1600.3

    God may entrust men with money and possessions, but because of this, they are not to lift themselves up. All they have, they hold in trust; it is lent them by God that they may develop a character like his. They are on trial. God waits to see whether they will prove themselves worthy of the eternal riches. If they use their Lord's goods to set themselves above their fellow-men, they prove unworthy of a place in the kingdom of God. In the great reckoning day, they will hear the words, “If therefore ye have not been faithful in the unrighteous mammon, who will commit to your trust the true riches? And if ye have not been faithful in that which is another man's, who shall give you that which is your own?”1888 1600.4

    But if those whom the Lord has made stewards, regard their treasures as his gifts, and seek to manifest compassion, sympathy, and love for their fellow-men, they are in harmony with the character of God who gave his only begotten Son to die for their salvation. If they value the souls of the human race according to the price paid for their redemption, they will not work out their natural impulses, but will manifest the attributes of the mind and will of God, and will be channels through which God's generous, loving sentiments may flow to humanity.1888 1600.5

    The Lord permits misfortunes to come to men, poverty to press upon them, adversity to try them, that he may thus test those whom he has placed in more favored circumstances; and if those to whom he has entrusted his goods are faithful, he declares them to be worthy to walk with him in white, to become kings and priests unto God. “He that is faithful in that which is least, is faithful also in much, and he that is unjust in the least, is unjust also in much.”1888 1601.1

    “Wherefore laying aside all malice, and all guile, and hypocrisies, and envies, and all evil speakings, as new born babes, desire the sincere milk of the word, that ye may grow thereby. If so be that ye have tasted that the Lord is gracious. Unto whom coming, as unto a living stone, disallowed indeed of men, but chosen of God, and precious, ye also as lively stones, are built up a spiritual house, an holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices, acceptable unto God by Jesus Christ. Therefore also it is contained in the Scripture, Behold, I lay in Sion a chief corner stone, elect, precious; and ye that believeth in him shall not be confounded. Unto you therefore which believe he is precious, but unto them which be disobedient, the stone which the builders disallowed, the same is made the head of the corner, and a stone of stumbling, and a rock of offence, even to them which stumble at the word, being disobedient; whereunto also they were appointed. But ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people; that ye should show forth the praises of him who hath called you out of darkness into his marvelous light.”1888 1601.2

    Are acceptable spiritual sacrifices made to God when men who are placed in positions of great responsibility magnify themselves, and dishonor God? This has been done, and God looks upon their course with displeasure. Instead of growing up into Christ, their living head, in all things manifesting his divine attributes to the world, they have grown earthward. Self has been regarded as of great importance, and selfishness has attached itself to their work. Devotion to God has not been seen; spiritual life in Jesus Christ has not been developed.1888 1601.3

    God cannot give his wisdom to men who look upon their position as sufficient excuse for turning from Bible principles to their own finite judgment, as if a position in the work of the Lord gave them liberty of speech and power to pass resolutions, and devise plans and methods that are not in accordance with God's will. Such need to learn that elevated position has no power to sanctify the heart. God permits them to hold these positions that he may prove whether they will reveal the character of God or the character of weak, finite humanity, which has never been fully under God's discipline. Positions have no power to develop a man's character. It rests wholly with the man himself to prove whether he will work himself, which means that Satan will work him, or whether he will be worked by the Holy Spirit.1888 1601.4

    “Unto you therefore which believe, he is precious; but unto them which be disobedient, the stone which the builders disallowed, the same is made the head of the corner.” Have we all made Christ our righteousness? Has he been placed as the honored memorial stone of the corner? Have his lessons of humility been cherished, and have they been acted upon? Have his lessons of mercy, justice, and the love of God been exemplified in our lives?1888 1602.1

    O what weakness men manifest when they separate from the source of wisdom and power! Have not men been magnified? Have not human sentiments and imperfect traits of character been held up as if of great value, while Christ and his righteousness have been excluded? Have not men woven selfishness into everything they have touched, revealing it persistently and determinedly in their work? Have they not treated the message of God with disdain? Have they not handled means which was not theirs as though they had a right to do with it as they pleased; and when this means was used to open new fields, have they not acted as though it came from their own individual capital, which they deserved great credit for thus appropriating? Has not the money offered as an oblation to God been used to pile up large buildings in Battle Creek, to give character to the work, it is said, but really to give opportunity for men to show their genius and tact they manifest in managing these large business houses?1888 1602.2

    “But ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people; that ye should show forth the praises of him who hath called you out of darkness into his marvelous light. Which in time past were not a people, but are now the people of God; which had not obtained mercy, but now have obtained mercy. Dearly beloved, I beseech you as stranger and pilgrims, abstain from fleshly lusts, which war against the soul; having your conversation honest among the Gentiles, that whereas they speak against you as evil doers, they may, by your good works, which they shall behold, glorify God in the day of salvation.”1888 1602.3

    How do men regard the work of the Lord when they feel themselves at liberty to be disobedient, unthankful, unholy, condemnatory, and harsh, loving to serve themselves rather than the Lord. Those who hold sacred trusts are forming their own destiny by the spirit and character they reveal, and do they ever stop to think how their works will appear in the judgment? If the important truth for this time was an abiding principle in the souls of those who minister in the work of the Lord, how earnestly they would strive to obtain perfection of character, that they might surround the souls of those with whom they came in contact with a life giving holy atmosphere, that would revive the hearts of the humble and contrite.1888 1602.4

    It is a law of God that whoever believes the truth as it is Jesus will make it known. The ideas and convictions of the individual mind will seek for expression. Whoever cherishes unbelief and criticism, whoever feels capable of judging the work of the Holy Spirit, will diffuse the Spirit by which they are animated. It is the nature of unbelief and resistance of the grace of God and infidelity to make itself felt and heard. The mind actuated by these principles is always striving to make a place for itself and obtain adherents. All who walk beside the great apostate will be imbued by his Spirit and will ask to share with others their thoughts and the result of their own inquiries, and the feelings which prompted their action; for it is not an easy matter to repress the principles upon which we act.1888 1602.5

    Some who are supposed to be heart and soul devoted to God, are acting to him, and to his work disloyal. Others have placed confidence in them, but deception covers them as with a garment. Their minds are controlled by a restless, irrepressible energy and eagerness to disclose their sentiments where they dare venture. Thus seeds are sown everywhere. By a partially expressed sentiment they first cast doubt and unbelief of the truth. There are those who are not in harmony with the Testimonies because men in positions of trust are not in harmony with them; for the testimonies do not coincide with their opinions, but rebuke every vestige of selfishness and reprove wrong.1888 1603.1

    Everything that has been planned in regard to consolidation shows that men are seeking to grasp the sceptre of power, and hold control over human minds. But God does not work with them in their devising, and the voice they now have in the cause of God is not the voice of God. They have proved themselves utterly unworthy of a place as wise managers; for their strength is used to turn men away from their rights to benefit themselves. There have been acts of apparent liberality, but God knows the motive which governed them, and he will not accept their offerings until they repent and become conscientious doers of his word.1888 1603.2

    There is great necessity for unity in the work and cause of God, but for a long time influences have been at work seeking to create disaffection, and the men who feel that they have the power in their hands care little. They say, within themselves, “When this consolidation is perfected, we will show them who is master. We will then bring things into line! But they will never have that work to do.1888 1603.3

    As individuals and as members of the church of God, we need to realize the special work which has been committed to us. Paul writes to Timothy. “Take heed unto thyself, and to the doctrine. Continue in them for in doing this, thou shalt both save thyself, and them that hear thee.” We have a very important work before us. “Unto me, who am less than the least of all saints,” writes Paul, “is this grace given, that I should preach among the Gentiles the unsearchable riches of Christ, and to make all men see what is the fellowship of the mystery, which from the beginning of the world hath been hid in God, who created all things by Jesus Christ. To the intent that now unto the principalities and powers in heavenly places, might be known to the church the manifold wisdom of God, according to the eternal purpose, which he purposed in Christ Jesus our Lord.”1888 1603.4

    “So thou, O son of man, I have set thee a watchman unto the house of Israel; therefore thou shall hear the word of my mouth, and warn them from me. When I say unto the wicked, O wicked men, thou shalt surely die; if thou dost not speak to warn the wicked from his way, that wicked man will die in his iniquity, but his blood will I require at thine hand. Nevertheless, if thou warn the wicked of his way, to turn from it, if he do not turn from his way, he shall die in his iniquity, but thou hast delivered thy soul.” “When I shall say to the righteous that he shall surely live; if he trust to his own righteousness, and commit iniquity, all his righteousness shall not be remembered; but for his iniquity that he hath committed, he shall die for it.” “Again, when I say unto the wicked, thou shalt surely die, if he turn from his sin, and do that which is lawful and right, if the wicked restore the pledge, give again that he had robbed, walk in the statutes of life, without committing iniquity; he shall surely live, he shall not die. None of his sins that he hath committed shall be mentioned unto him, he hath done that which is lawful and right; he shall surely live. Yet the children of thy people say, The way of the Lord is not equal; but as for them, their way is not equal. When the righteous turneth from his righteousness and committeth iniquity, he shall even die thereby, but if the wicked turn from his wickedness, and do that which is lawful and right, he shall live thereby. Yet ye say, the way of the Lord is not equal. O ye house of Israel. I will judge you every one after his ways.”1888 1604.1

    The saving of human souls is an interest infinitely above any other line of work in our world. Whoever is brought under the influence of the truth, and through faith is made a partaker of Christ's love is by that very fact appointed of God to save others. He has a mission in the world. He is to be a co-laborer with Christ, making known the truth as it is in Jesus, and when men, in any line of God's work, seek to bring the minds and talent of the Lord's human agents under his control, he has assumed a jurisdiction over their fellow-men that they cannot maintain without injustice and iniquity. The Lord has placed no man as judge either of the pen or the voice of God's workmen.1888 1604.2

    There are men whose character and life testify to the fact that they are false prophets and deceivers. These we are not to hear or tolerate. But those whom God is using are under his control, and he has not appointed men with human, shortsighted judgment to criticize and condemn, to pass judgment and reject their work, because every idea does not coincide with that which they suppose to be truth.1888 1604.3

    Men can become just as were the Pharisees,—wide awake to condemn the greatest teacher that the world ever knew. Christ gave unmistakable evidence that he was sent of God, yet the Jewish rulers took upon themselves the work the enemy prompted them to do, and charged him who made the Sabbath, who was Lord of the Sabbath, with being a Sabbath breaker. O the foolishness of men! the weakness of men!1888 1604.4

    There are those who are today doing the very same thing. In their counsels they venture to pronounce judgment upon the work of God; for they have become trained in doing that which the Lord has never required them to do. They might better humble their own hearts before God, and keep their hands off the ark of God, lest the wrath of God shall break forth upon them; for if God has ever spoken by me, I testify that they have undertaken a work in criticizing and pronouncing unsound judgment, which I know is not right. They are but finite men, and being befogged themselves, suppose that other men are in error.1888 1604.5

    But these man who presume to judge others should take a broader view, and say, suppose the statements of others do not agree with our ideas; because of this shall we announce them heresy? Shall we, who are but uninspired men, take the responsibility of placing our stakes, and saying, This shall not appear and be accepted?1888 1605.1

    If they still persist in clinging to their own opinions, they will find that God will not sustain their action. Do they take the position that all that they advance is infallible, that there is not a shadow of an error or mistake in their productions? Cannot other men who give just as much evidence that they are led and taught of God catch at an expression in their work which they do not entertain as their views in every particular, and command them to cut it out?1888 1605.2

    Has not our past experience in these things been sufficient? Will we ever learn the lessons which God designs we shall learn? Will we ever realize that the consciences of men are not given into our command. If you have appointed committees to do the work which has been going on for years in Battle Creek, dismiss them; and remember that God, the infinite God, has not placed men in any such position as they occupied in Minneapolis, and since then.1888 1605.3

    I feel deeply over this matter of men being conscience for the fellow-men. Stand out of the way, and let God work his own instrumentalities. Some have done work for which God will call them to account. He will inquire of them, Who hath required this at your hands.1888 1605.4

    I have not liberty to place my writing in the hands of men who feel that their work is to act the part of detectives over their brethren. My brethren in positions of trust, will you not discern your own deficiencies, and put on the whole armor of righteousness. Till you not be just as watchful and critical over your own spirits and temperaments and words as you are over those of others, lest God should be dishonored, and his truth misrepresented. Your discernment would be greatly improved if you would do this. The truth, the living word, would be as a fire shut up in your bones, which would shine forth in clear, unmistakable distinctness, representing Christ to the world. “Let your light so shine before men that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven.1888 1605.5

    Could none of those who have made themselves detectives see the tendency of the position they have taken in endeavoring to become a controlling power? Where was their clear spiritual eyesight? They could discern a moat in the eye of a brother, while they failed to see that a beam was in their own eye. O, if ever a temple upon earth needed purifying, the institutions in Battle Creek need it now. Will you not seek God most humbly, that you may give the Laodicean message, with clear distinct utterance in Battle Creek? Where are God's watchman who will see the peril and give the warning? Be assured that there are messages to come from human lips under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit. “Cry aloud, spare not; show my people their transgressions, and the house of Jacob their sins. Yet they seek me daily, as a people that did righteousness, and forsook not the ordinance of their God.”1888 1605.6

    We are the soldiers of Christ. He is the captain of our salvation, and we are under his orders and rules. We are to wear his armor; we are to be marshalled only under his banner. We are to subdue, not our brother soldiers, but our enemies, that we may build up Christ's kingdom. We are laborers together with God. We are to keep on the whole armor of God, and work as in view of the universe of heaven. Let every man do his duty, as given him by God!1888 1606.1

    (July 9, ’96.)

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