Letters and Manuscripts — Volume 4 (1883 - 1886)


Lt 39, 1886

Henry, A. R.

Basel, Switzerland

March 28, 1886

Portions of this letter are published in 5MR 441-442; PH102 17-18.

Dear Brother Henry:

I have heard Willie read your letter written to him, and I thought I would write you a few lines. 4LtMs, Lt 39, 1886, par. 1

My much respected brother, I wish to say that I have no selfish motives in claiming the royalty on my books, but I consider that there is a principle involved which affects not only my own rights, but the individual rights of others which the Lord would have me guard. I have duties to do in this matter which the want of far-seeing judgment of my brethren does not comprehend or take in. 4LtMs, Lt 39, 1886, par. 2

All that I receive of royalty on foreign books is dedicated to the foreign missions, and when I see how difficult it is for my good brethren to outgrow narrow plans and narrow ideas in some things, connected with our work, I feel that I can understand, through the light God has given me, where means is really needed, and I do not mean to shirk my stewardship on to my brethren, even if it is their judgment that I should do this; I dare not leave it for their judgment to apply this means. I do not mean that the means that should come to me justly shall be under control of any board of directors. I might see necessities, and often do, that some minds composing your board would not see; for one would lead out, taking a position, and others would follow and, having great confidence in their own opinions, would not be easily entreated, but would be very unyielding and make me much unnecessary labor to explain, and urge, and press matters, and perhaps fail after all my labor. I know perfectly well what I am about, and I know that I should control the means God has made me steward of. All is the Lord’s. 4LtMs, Lt 39, 1886, par. 3

The small amount of means that I shall receive for my books I shall claim the right to appropriate. I do not charge you with selfish interest, I do not charge any one with personal, selfish interest, but I know that not only your ideas, but Brn. Amadon’s, Hart’s, and Sisley’s need a molding over, and greatly to be enlarged. God’s cause in the publishing house can afford to be fair. 4LtMs, Lt 39, 1886, par. 4

While I respect all these brethren as having good qualifications and appreciate them, especially your capabilities as a businessman, which lead me to urge your coming to the great heart of the work in Battle Creek, I still shall urge that you may in some respects greatly improve. I know that this coming was not your choice, yet notwithstanding God had lessons for you to learn that were essential. You need a different mold of character. There is need of your bringing into your character more of Christ. Bro. Sisley especially needs to put considerable more of the softening, subduing influence of the Spirit of God into his character. He is not compassionate and far-seeing. His own peculiar temperament has a controlling power in your councils. God is not pleased with this element; it tastes too strongly of self. It bears not the fragrance of the spirit of Jesus. Bro. Sisley has too much of the cast iron to be a man after God’s own heart, and, my brother, you have the same trait of character. You need the love of Christ, the winning charms of Jesus. Compassion, tenderness, and love need to be cultivated. This will not make you a less successful businessman, but will give you greater success. You have valuable traits of character, but without this love, this compassion, you will only be a one-sided, imperfect man. 4LtMs, Lt 39, 1886, par. 5

If all your entrusted capabilities are submerged in Christ, and you take on the mold of Christ’s character, you will grow up into the full stature of a perfect man in Christ Jesus. You need this love in your family. You need it woven into all your plans, and into all your words and actions. You need to be often tender and express sympathy, but there is none allowed to come into your life. Bind your family to your heart in love. Make no rules, lay no demands on your wife, but treat her with tender compassion. She has trials and heart sorrows as well as you. Be pleasant to her at all times. Carry sunshine into your home, restrain threatenings, put away your criticism, and do not rule too much. Let mercy and love bear sway. Do not cover these up. 4LtMs, Lt 39, 1886, par. 6

Oh, my brother, you want more of Jesus in dealing with the minds of your children. You are so stern, so severe; the law of love is so little regarded that in dealing with your wife and children you raise their combativeness and place them beyond your reach. There should be altogether a different atmosphere in your home. They do not respect you or your words or government. Bitter words are passed from one to another. This has a depressing influence upon you. Let all the sunlight into your family you can, in pleasant words, in commendation, but don’t criticize and censure and threaten; all this will be reflected back upon you. 4LtMs, Lt 39, 1886, par. 7

The Lord loves your wife. Jesus died for her, and you should use your influence to win her, not to force her, but to win her. The Lord loves you, but He wants you to love Him, to meditate upon Him. Reflect upon the purity, the loveliness of His character, and be like Him. He wants you to be a kind, loving, affectionate husband, and father, and brother, and friend. 4LtMs, Lt 39, 1886, par. 8

I might write much more on this subject, but I forbear at present. May the Lord enlighten your eyes and give you an understanding mind, that you may be firm as a rock to principle, while you will be humble and meek and lowly as was Christ, kind, tender, forbearing, easy to be entreated, ready to yield your ideas and personal feelings. This is the work that must be done for you, but it will not be done unless you shall learn lessons daily in the school of Christ. 4LtMs, Lt 39, 1886, par. 9

You often feel that you would gladly get away from the position you now fill, which involves great responsibilities. But, my dear brother, the voice of duty is the voice of God; and should you tear yourself away from the work, it would not bring to you the relief you imagine. What you want is an element woven into your character which will make you more tender, more forbearing, more patient; you need to be transformed, expressing your love, expressing your affection, showing a zeal, an interest in the happiness of your wife. This lesson you must learn before you can have peace. Dictate to your wife in nothing, cease to be overbearing to your children. This will be a strong battle for you to fight, but it is home that tests the religious character. If you save your own soul and win your household, you must be more tender, pitiful, and merciful. May the Lord help you, my brother. 4LtMs, Lt 39, 1886, par. 10