Letters and Manuscripts — Volume 4 (1883 - 1886)

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Lt 34a, 1886

Butler, G. I.

Basel, Switzerland

March 1, 1886

Variant of Lt 34, 1886. Portions of this letter are published in PC 364-379. +Note

Dear Brother:

Your letters have been received. Your last in reference to the college came this morning. I was not aware that our college was in debt twenty thousand dollars. This must make it a necessity to call for donations. 4LtMs, Lt 34a, 1886, par. 1

The evils of centering so many responsibilities in Battle Creek have not been small. The dangers are great. There are unconsecrated elements that only wait for circumstances to put all their influences on the side of wrong. I can never feel exactly safe in regard to Battle Creek or Battle Creek College. I cannot at this time state all my reasons. That which led me to write as I did was the great need of business managers—godly, devoted men to take hold of the work and push it in a God-fearing manner. 4LtMs, Lt 34a, 1886, par. 2

Whatever may have been the object in placing the tuition of students at so low figures, the fact that the college has been running behind so heavily is sufficient reason for changing the price, that this shall not be the showing in the future. The low price is not in its favor, even if the college is not so largely patronized. Those who really want the advantages to be obtained at Battle Creek will make extra exertions to receive these advantages, and a large class who would be induced to come because of the low tuition would be of no benefit to other students or to the church. The larger the number, the more tact, skill, and vigilance required to keep them in order and from becoming demoralized. 4LtMs, Lt 34a, 1886, par. 3

Some provision should be raised to have a fund raised to loan the worthy poor students who desire to give themselves to the missionary work; and in some cases they should even receive donations. Then these youth should have it plainly set before them that they must work their way as far as possible and partly defray their expenses. 4LtMs, Lt 34a, 1886, par. 4

The churches in different localities should feel that a solemn responsibility rests upon them to train youth and educate talent to engage in missionary efforts. When they see any in the church who give promise of making useful workers, but who are not able to educate themselves, they should lift that responsibility and send them to the college to be instructed and developed with the object in view of becoming workers in the cause of God. There is material that needs to be worked up that would be of good service in the Lord’s vineyard; but they are too poor to obtain the advantages of the college. The churches should feel it a privilege to take the responsibility of defraying their expenses. 4LtMs, Lt 34a, 1886, par. 5

The tuition should be placed higher; and if there are some who need help, let them be helped as above stated. When the college was first started, there was a fund placed in the Review and Herald office for the benefit of those who wished to obtain an education, but had not the means. This was used by several students until they could get a good start and earn enough to replace what they had drawn so that others could be benefited by it. That which costs little will be appreciated little, but that which costs something near its real value will be estimated accordingly. 4LtMs, Lt 34a, 1886, par. 6

If there were fewer students, and they were of a hopeful character, it would be a blessing to Battle Creek. If there are men as teachers in the college, and associated with it who are well balanced, and have a strong moral influence, who know how to deal with minds, and possess the true missionary spirit; then if the college were crowded so as to necessitate the building of another equally as large, that would be the best missionary field in the world. It is this ability that is greatly needed in the college. 4LtMs, Lt 34a, 1886, par. 7

If these superior qualities were found in the men connected with the office at Battle Creek, the outlook would be more encouraging. Great and important interests are in danger of being misshaped and of coming forth defective from their hands. If some felt their ignorance more and would depend less on self, be less self-sufficient, they might learn of the great Teacher meekness and lowliness of heart. 4LtMs, Lt 34a, 1886, par. 8

In regard to the college, I would say, Increase the cost of tuition, and you will have a better class of students. But provision should be made to do the very best for those who come; to secure for them every healthful, intellectual, and moral advantage. I see the need of still another boarding house, and there may be need of another building for the students. I cannot see how you can do better than you have in calling for means while this debt is against the college. It ought not to be there; and if there had been the right kind of planning, it would not exist: that is, if those especially employed in the college were all enterprising men of broader ideas. They would constantly be exercising ingenuity and tact and devising means whereby the college should not become burdened with debt. 4LtMs, Lt 34a, 1886, par. 9

If we only had devoted, spiritually minded workers connected with our important institutions, who relied upon God more than upon themselves, we might certainly look for far greater prosperity than we have had hitherto. But where there is a decided want of humble trust, and of an entire dependence upon God, we are sure of nothing. Our great need today is men who are baptized with the Holy Spirit of God; men who walk with God as did Enoch; men who are not so narrow in their outlook that they will bind about the work in place of enlarging it; men who will not say “business is business, religion is religion.” We need men who can take in the situation; men who are far-seeing; men who can reason from cause to effect. 4LtMs, Lt 34a, 1886, par. 10

I will here give some extracts from a letter written Nov. 8, 1880: 4LtMs, Lt 34a, 1886, par. 11

“The interest of every part of the cause is as dear to me as my life. Every branch of the work is important. I was shown that there is great danger now of making the Tract and Missionary work so absorbing that it will become intricate through a multiplicity of plans; that it will become perplexing and absorb every other interest. It was also brought before me that there was too much machinery in the Tract and Missionary and in the Sabbath school work. There was form and arrangement, but little of Christlike simplicity felt or practiced by the workers. We want less machinery and mechanical arrangement and more heart work; more real piety and true holiness, especially in the missionary work everywhere. There needs to be piety, purity, and wise generalship, and then far greater and much better work would be done with less expenditure of means.” 4LtMs, Lt 34a, 1886, par. 12

There is a broad field to be covered, and a getting above the simplicity of the work. Now is the time to work, and to work in the wise counsel of God. If you connect unconsecrated persons with the mission fields and with the Sabbath schools, our work will take on a formal mold and be without Christ. The workers must study carefully, prayerfully in every part of the field how to work with the simplicity of Christ, and in an economical manner, to plan and devise the most successful manner of reaching hearts. 4LtMs, Lt 34a, 1886, par. 13

We are in danger of spreading over more territory and starting more enterprises than we can possibly attend to properly, <and they will become a wearing burden in absorbing means.> There is danger <to be guarded against> of overdoing some branches of the work and leaving some important parts of <the Lord’s vineyard> to be neglected. To undertake <and plan> a large amount of work and do nothing perfectly would be a bad plan. We are to move forward, but <only in the counsel of God.> [We] must not get so far above the simplicity of the work <we loose our spiritual perception> and it will be impossible to look after the <many accumulated lines of work and> enterprises entered into without sacrificing our best helpers to keep things in order. Life and health must be regarded. 4LtMs, Lt 34a, 1886, par. 14

While we should ever be ready to follow the opening providence of God, we should lay no larger plans <in places where our work is represented,> nor occupy more ground than there is help and means to bind off the work well. <Surface plowing means a limited, scattered harvest.> Keep up and increase the interest already started, <until the cloud moves, then follow it.>. While there are broader plans and fields constantly opening for the laborers, our ideas and views must broaden in regard to the workers who are to labor <in new fields in the Lord's vineyard> to bring souls into the truth. Our young ministers must be encouraged to take hold of the work with energy and labor in educating. Encouragement must be given to these men. They must be trained and disciplined to carry forward the work in simplicity. I am astonished to see how little some of our young ministers are appreciated and how little encouragement they receive. Yet some of them cling to the work and do anything and everything with unselfish interest, but some will yet be lost to the cause because they are not receiving proper encouragement. 4LtMs, Lt 34a, 1886, par. 15

Narrowness or dishonest dealing must not come into the settlement with the workers, high or low. The course pursued toward Eld. Lane while he was laboring in the East was after the eastern fashion, but not after God’s plan. The support, sympathy, and union of the brethren were withheld from him. He felt this keenly, and it nearly ruined him, never fully recovering from the wound. The course pursued toward Elders Lane and Corliss in the South was not after God’s order. 4LtMs, Lt 34a, 1886, par. 16

There must be more of Christ’s ways and less of self. Sharp criticisms should be repressed. Sympathy, compassion, and love should be cultivated in every worker. Unless Jesus comes in and takes possession of the heart; unless self is subdued and Jesus exalted, we shall not prosper as a people. I testify that which I have seen. I beseech of you, brethren, to labor wholly in God. Do not have too many plans, but strive to have the work carried on healthfully, circumspectly, and with such thoroughness that it will not ravel out. 4LtMs, Lt 34a, 1886, par. 17

There is another subject which I wish to mention to you. It is the matter of royalties on books. W. C. White has received letters since he returned from America from A. R. Henry of a very decided character on this point. W. C. W. has stated the positions taken by your board in Battle Creek. I am sorry that they are not far-seeing in judgment. They evidence that they are narrow in their views and comprehension. They will arouse much unpleasantness of feeling in the bookmakers and will not accomplish that which they have undertaken. This movement will create a want of harmony. God will not sanction any such means as they have in view, because they are not just. Here is the danger in depending on unsanctified men to make decisions. 4LtMs, Lt 34a, 1886, par. 18

Selfish policy is not heaven-born, but earthly. The leading maxim is, “the end justifies the means.” And in pursuing the course entered upon it stops at nothing, but seeks its own success. This may be traced in every department of business; it is the prevailing element in every class of society, in the grand councils of nations, and in every meeting where the spirit of Christ is not the ruling principle. Prudence and caution, tact and skill, need to be cultivated by every one who is connected with our institutions. But the laws of justice and righteousness must not be left to one side, nor the all-prevailing principle be to make their own branch of the work a success regardless of other branches. The interests of others should be investigated to see that no one’s right is invaded. 4LtMs, Lt 34a, 1886, par. 19

The policy plan is a snare. While the council may pride themselves in the thought that they are doing a very nice thing, they show a short-sighted wisdom which will cripple their own efforts for success. The structure must be built upon a right foundation in order to stand. When the board of the Publishing Association takes it upon themselves to urge that all the profits from books shall go to the Publishing Association, they are seeking to control matters which do not come under their jurisdiction. They are taking upon themselves a work which they cannot carry out. 4LtMs, Lt 34a, 1886, par. 20

These brainworkers have as much interest in the cause of God as those who compose the board, which is willing to be conscience for them. Some of these have had a connection with the work almost from its infancy. God has not placed upon this board the work of being conscience for others. They should not seek so persistently to force men to their terms. The policy plan is not to be classed with discretion; although it is too often mistaken for this. It is a species of selfishness in whatever cause it is exercised and stops at nothing which promises success; but discretion uses judgment and is never narrow in its workings, has broad ideas, and the eye of the mind is capable of taking in more than one object and views questions from all sides. While policy has a short range of vision, seeing every object near at hand, but failing to discover those at a distance, it is ever watching to obtain advantages which do not belong to it and would build itself up by pulling out the foundation from another’s building. 4LtMs, Lt 34a, 1886, par. 21

Let it not be necessary for God to send a rebuke to men in responsible positions, who should be guardians of the people, especially of the interests of those who have long served in the cause of God; whose pen and voice have been active in bringing up the work to its present proportions. I wish I could lay these matters before these men in their true light. Ever since the Publishing Association was formed, light has been given in cases of perplexity. The Lord has often spoken, laying down principles and rules which must be carried out by all the workers. The grave responsibilities resting upon those in positions of trust have been continually kept before us, and we have sought the Lord from three to five times a day to give us heavenly wisdom, that we might sacredly guard the interests of the cause and of His chosen people. I have been repeatedly shown that we must do this. It was shown me that those who preside over these institutions should ever bear in mind that there is a Chief Director, even the God of heaven. There should be strict honesty in the business transactions in every department of the work. While there should be firmness in preserving order, there should also be compassion, mercy, and forbearance incorporated into the character. Justice has a twin sister—love, and they should stand side by side. 4LtMs, Lt 34a, 1886, par. 22

It has been repeatedly presented before me that God is observing every transaction in that office. “Thou God seest me” [Genesis 16:13], should be ever in mind; courtesy and Christian politeness should be exercised by every one who bears responsibilities in the office. They should have a sense of the everabiding presence of Christ. This would prevent the encroachment upon others’ rights which is so common in the world’s practice, but which is an offense to God. The Board of Directors should ever act as under the divine eye, with a continual sense that they are finite men and are liable to make mistakes in judgment, decisions, and plans, unless they are closely connected with God and seeking to have every deficiency removed from their characters. As they are only weak and erring men themselves, they should feel kindness and pity for others who may err. The divine standard must be met. You should take the Lord with you into every one of your councils. 4LtMs, Lt 34a, 1886, par. 23

If you sense that God is in your assemblies, every transaction will be conscientiously, carefully, and prayerfully considered. Every unprincipled act will be repressed, and uprightness will characterize the dealings in small as well as in large matters. There should be cultivation of universal kindness with the workers. First seek counsel of God, for this is necessary for you to properly counsel together. 4LtMs, Lt 34a, 1886, par. 24

There should be a watchcare, lest the busy activities of life, the accumulating business should so engross the workers that it would lead them to neglect prayer when the strength it would give them is most needed. Here come in all the evils, because they deprive their souls of the strength and wisdom of heaven which are waiting their demand upon them. We need that illumination which God alone can give, and we are unfitted to transact business unless we have this wisdom. There are a few words of prayer uttered at the commencement of the meetings, but the heart is not brought into sympathy and harmony with God by earnest, importunate prayer, offered by broken hearts and contrite spirits, in living faith. If they divorce themselves from the God of wisdom and power, they cannot preserve that high-souled integrity in dealing with their fellow men which God requires. Without divine wisdom, the objectionable traits of their characters will be woven into the decisions they make. And if these men are not in communication with God, Satan will just as surely be one in their councils and take advantage of their unconsecrated state in their decisions. There will be acts of injustice because God is not presiding in their councils. The Spirit of Christ must be an abiding, controlling power over the heart and mind. In the world the god of traffic is the god of fraud. It must not be thus with those who are dealing with God’s cause. The worldly principle and standard is not to be the standard of those who are connected with sacred things. 4LtMs, Lt 34a, 1886, par. 25

Some years ago the matter of publication of books came up, and plans were laid which I cannot now fully call to mind. A decision was made something like this, that no one individual was to be benefited by the publication of his own books. A proposition was then made to us which my husband, without ability to fully consider, assented to, that the Publishing Association should have the benefit of his books. I was considering the matter and thought like this: I wish the testimonies to go to as many as possible; they are a message from God to this people, and I wish no personal benefit from this work. Thus we stated the matter. But shortly after, I was shown that this was not wisdom, to relinquish our right to control our own writings; for we would know better how to [use] the profits of these books, than would those who had far less experience. Publications were to be multiplied, and the profits we would receive would enable us to lead out in the advancing work, to build up the interests of the cause, and to carry others with us in the work. There was a principle to be maintained to guard the interests of the true workers. We were not the only ones who would be affected by this decision. Justice must be maintained; the cause of God would be continually widening—it would embrace the whole world as its field; the wants of the cause would not be determined by one man’s mind and one man’s obscure vision; there would be important work done in God’s moral vineyard, and no man should feel that part of the work over which he presides is to swallow up all other interests. 4LtMs, Lt 34a, 1886, par. 26

I have been shown that brainworkers have a God-given capital. The improvement of their brain belongs to God and not man. If the worker gives the time to his employer for which he receives his pay, the employer has no further claim upon him. But if by diligent and close economy of moments he prepares matter for publication, it is his to do with as he, in the fear of God, thinks he can serve the cause of God the best. If he gives up all except a small royalty, he should not be urged to do more; he has already done a good work for those who handle the books; but if the publishers want it all, and cannot see that they are exceeding their rights in the demand, it would be the worst thing that could be done for the author to accede to their grasping, avaricious spirit, even though the plea be that it is for God’s cause. The authors are responsible for the manner in which they use means received. There will be many calls for them. It was shown me that there would be many interests to build up and that my husband and myself would be called upon to invest in meeting houses that would have to be erected which would never be built, unless some one should feel and know the needs of the cause and lead out in investments themselves. 4LtMs, Lt 34a, 1886, par. 27

I was also shown that there would be mission fields to be entered and this would require means. Those to whom God has entrusted talents are to trade upon these talents according to their ability; for they are to act their part in carrying forward these interests. We would not be working for the best and most successful interests of the cause of God to have our income barely enough to sustain life, as our experience would enable us to see many ways and opportunities of helping the cause which others would not discern. God in His wise providence [has] given the ability to write, and He designs that means should come into our hands to be used wisely, as His stewards, unrestricted by compromise. 4LtMs, Lt 34a, 1886, par. 28

It is not our duty to shift our stewardship upon any man or set of men, but to invest our means in His cause when and where the Spirit of God shall indicate. God Himself has given us the ability to write and calls upon us to use this entrusted talent for the advancement of His cause. 4LtMs, Lt 34a, 1886, par. 29

It was presented to me that there were poor men whose only means of obtaining a livelihood was their brainwork. There are men who have not grown up with our institutions and been benefited by the instruction that God has given from time to time, businessmen who will not incorporate in their business management the religion and spirit of Christ. They would separate religion in a large degree from their business; therefore even the Publishing Association should not be an all-controlling power. Individual talent and individual right must be respected. Should rules be established and arrangements entered into to invest the benefits of personal talent in the Publishing Association, other important interests would be crippled. Men would at times have a controlling power in connection with the Publishing Association who would not have compassion and guard the interests of those in poverty and distress. There would be one iron rule, after the policy of the world rather than after the spirit of Christ, to bear upon all. The principles established would mean more to others than to us; therefore we must be guarded in every decision. 4LtMs, Lt 34a, 1886, par. 30

It was shown me that my husband and myself should not be dependent upon others, because there would be men connected with our institutions who have been educated and trained as businessmen of the world, and they would make us feel our dependence if they had the chance; for all men are not in character as God would have them—tender, compassionate, and Christlike. He would have us guard the means entrusted to us and use it in different branches of His work, at the opportune time stimulating others, by our example, to invest in the different enterprises. We should not invest largely in any one institution, for our message is a world-wide one, and there are necessities continually arising that demand means. To every man He has given his work and talents of means and influence, and those who have the cause of God at heart will understand the voice of God telling them what to do. They will have a burden to push the work where it needs pushing, but others will only see the needs of their own respective branches, and other branches will be left to suffer for want of far-seeing judgment. 4LtMs, Lt 34a, 1886, par. 31

It has several times been pointed out to me that there has been a close, ungenerous spirit exercised toward Bro. Bell from the very first of his labors in Battle Creek. It makes me sad to state that the reason is that he came to them in poverty, and a stranger. Because of this poverty he has been placed in unpleasant positions and made to feel his poverty. Because men connected with our institutions have thought they could bring him to their terms, he has had a very unpleasant time. There are unpleasant chapters in his experience which would not have been recorded if his brethren had been kind and dealt with him after the manner of Christ. The record in heaven is of such a character as some will not be proud to meet in the day of final settlement of all accounts. The Lord’s cause should always be free from the slightest act of littleness, injustice, or oppression. 4LtMs, Lt 34a, 1886, par. 32

There were some men and women who invested in the Publishing Association as a donation. Afterwards through misfortune they were brought to actual distress and want. When my husband was stricken down by disease, they came to the one who occupied his place and begged that some of the means which they have invested in good faith should be returned to them. The matter was treated on the policy plan that business is business and religion is religion. The managers reasoned this way that nothing donated to the cause should be returned under any circumstances, and they took no measure to relieve the situation of those in distress. When my husband returned to his position in the office, these persons laid the matter before him. In the case of means donated by widows, my husband had objected when it was freely offered and had entered upon the books that the money should be returned when the donors needed it. Notwithstanding this, their cases were treated with indifference. Such management may be dictated by worldly policy, but it is not in accordance with the character of Christ. We can best serve the cause of God by ever considering in tenderness the wants of a suffering humanity. 4LtMs, Lt 34a, 1886, par. 33

In the cause of God, Christ’s spirit and manner of working are to be carried out in every particular. Mercy and justice will be the ruling principles where Christ abides. In order to be qualified for their positions of trust, men who are connected with the work of God must be Christlike in all their dealings with each other. These principles we have labored to have maintained from the very first in our Publishing Association. We have had to fight the battle over and over with men connected with the Publishing Association. This is God’s institution, and we prize it too highly to allow one blot or stain to rest upon this instrumentality if we can do or say anything to prevent it. 4LtMs, Lt 34a, 1886, par. 34

The policy which worldly business men adopt is not to be chosen or carried out by men connected with our institutions. I think it was in 1881 that the precious light was given me upon the scenes of the judgment. The books registering the deeds of men revealed the dealings of those professing godliness in our institutions, showing that it was after the world’s standard and not in strict accordance with God’s great standard of righteousness. That which bears a close relation to the question of dealing with others, especially those connected with the work of God, was opened to me quite fully. The Spirit of Christ did not enter into and control the brethren’s business arrangements. Their dealings were too much after the sharp policy plan, and not according to God’s rule of right and justice. Some were suspicious and jealous, imagining that others were trying to gain advantages at their expense. Their attitude toward each other was not such as should exist between Christians. 4LtMs, Lt 34a, 1886, par. 35

I saw that there should be no close, sharp dealing between these brethren who were representatives of two important though different characters of institutions, for they are branches of the same work. They should ever maintain a noble, generous, Christ-like spirit; the spirit of grasping avarice should have no place in their dealings with one another. God’s cause cannot be advanced by any acts which are contrary to the spirit and character of Christ. Men should show an unselfish interest, seeking to advance one another’s interests; for the cause of God can afford to be fair. Even a single instance of sharp dealing is an offense to God; and that which is sown will be reaped again. A selfish manner of dealing will provoke the same spirit in others. Likewise the manifestation of a Christian gentleman’s spirit in word and deed—by liberality, courtesy—will provoke the same spirit in others. 4LtMs, Lt 34a, 1886, par. 36

There is a spirit of worldly policy coming into the council and board meetings, a critical spirit in which personal feelings mold in a greater or less degree decisions that are being made. A hard, unsympathetic spirit is ruling out the spirit of kindness, compassion, and love. Those who compose our councils need to daily sit at the feet of Christ, learning in His school to be meek and lowly of heart. They are not prepared to deal justly, to love mercy, and to exhibit that true courtesy which characterized the life of Christ, unless they see the necessity of yoking up with Christ and bearing the burdens of His cause. The love of Christ must be incorporated into the work of the several departments in the office, not only to do justice to the work, but to the workers also. 4LtMs, Lt 34a, 1886, par. 37

Your council and board meetings in 1886 need this instruction just as much and even more than in 1881. Let men receive a mold of character in the school of Christ, learning meekness and lowliness of heart from Jesus, and they will be less self-sufficient, less self-confident, and will not have such a high opinion of their own ability, but will be regarded by those in the office as Christian brethren, walking humbly with God, trying to serve in whatever capacity they can do the most good without trying to exalt themselves. This lesson has not been learned by some. Therefore they have a new character to form, a new experience to gain, which shall fit them to come close to the hearts of their brethren and to deal with those who have a part to act in the work. They will have to guard themselves closely, or they will be dictatorial and officious, ready to give orders, to speak of and to take the oversight of things of which they are ignorant, and will thus disgust the workers in the office. If they take hold in an humble way, trying to learn as much as they can, maintaining the position of learner rather than of a director, they will make themselves friends in the office. 4LtMs, Lt 34a, 1886, par. 38

Every one that serves in the board meetings needs to seek most earnestly the wisdom from above. The influence of the Spirit of Christ upon their hearts will then place a right mold upon the work. The transforming grace of Christ should be manifest in every board meeting, quelling tumultuous actions and charming away the unhallowed effects of business, and checking the sharp, critical, worldly policy which makes men overbearing and ready to accuse. There will have to be most earnest reformation in the characters of those who are now connected with our important institutions. Some of these men possess valuable talents, but they must fashion their lives after the divine character of Christ. Every one must remember that he has not yet “attained”—the work of character building is not yet finished. [Philippians 3:12.] If they will improve every ray of light God has given, and walk in this light, they will learn lessons from Christ. By comparing their lives with Christ’s character, they will be able to discern where they have failed to meet the requirements of God’s holy law and will seek to make themselves perfect in their sphere, even as God is perfect in His sphere. If men of today realized the importance of their positions, they would have been far in advance, far more qualified to fill positions of trust than they are. 4LtMs, Lt 34a, 1886, par. 39

In these hours of probation we are to seek for perfection of character. We must learn daily of Christ. We are connected with the cause of Christ, not because we are perfect and unerring, but notwithstanding these defects; and God expects those connected with His work to be constantly studying how to copy the Pattern. 4LtMs, Lt 34a, 1886, par. 40

Jesus connected John, Peter, and Judas with Him in His work, making them co-laborers with Him, and at the same time they were to be constantly learning lessons of Christ, gathering from the divine Teacher instructions that would correct their wrong ideas and incorrect views of what constituted a Christian character. John and Peter were not perfect, but they improved every opportunity to learn. Peter did not learn to be jealous and distrustful of himself until he was overcome by the devil and denied his Lord. Judas had the same opportunities to learn as did the other disciples, but he was a hearer only, and not a doer. The result was manifested in the betrayal of his Lord. God has connected men with His instrumentalities, and He wants them to be learners; they must not feel self-sufficient, or self-important, but must ever realize that they are treading on holy ground. Angels of God are ready to minister unto them, and they must receive light and heavenly influences daily, or they are no more fit for the work than are unbelievers. A transformation will be wrought in those who will repress unfavorable traits of character and develop Christ-like dispositions; this alone will bring them up to the highest standard of Christian character. Judas failed to be benefited because he did not see the importance of having his character molded after the example of Christ. 4LtMs, Lt 34a, 1886, par. 41

The Lord guards every man’s interests. He was always the poor man’s friend and would have his interests sacredly guarded. There is a most wonderful dearth of the love of Christ in the hearts of nearly all of those who are handling sacred things. I would echo from one part of the earth to the other that the love of Christ should be cultivated; it should well up in the soul of the Christian like streams in the desert, refreshing the heart, bringing gladness, peace, and joy into their own as well as into other lives. No one liveth unto himself. If there is the least oppression practiced toward the poor, or unjust dealing with them, either in large or small things, God will <make> the actor accountable. The very first work, my brethren, is to secure the blessing of God in your own hearts. This is where the work begins. Then take the blessing into your homes; let the atmosphere of cheerfulness and kindness prevail; put away your criticisms, overcome your exacting spirit. The atmosphere that surrounds you in your homes will also envelop you in the office. Wherever the love of Jesus reigns, there is pity, tenderness, and thoughtful care for others. The most precious work that my brethren can engage in is that of forming a Christlike character, that they may enter into the mansions which Christ has gone to prepare for them. I cannot be a party to any unjust dealing with any of God’s children. 4LtMs, Lt 34a, 1886, par. 42

Do not seek to make terms with Elder Smith, Prof. Bell, or any other brainworker that is not perfectly just and fair. Do not urge or compel them to accept terms dictated by those who do not <know what> it <means> to make books. They have a conscience and are accountable to God for the use and improvement of their entrusted talents; and they want the privilege of investing the means which they acquire by hard labor, when and where the Spirit of God shall indicate. My brethren must remember that the cause of God includes more than the publishing house and other institutions established at Battle Creek. No one understands better than Brother Smith the difficulties through which the Publishing Association was brought into existence, for he has been connected with it from its earliest years when it was oppressed by poverty, and self-denial had to be carried into our practical life. The table was hardly supplied with sufficient food to sustain our lives; there was economy in dressing and in wages paid. This was positively necessary in order that the paper might live. Those who passed through these experiences would be ready, under similar circumstances, to undergo the same privations again. It does not show very good grace for those who have had no part in <bringing> the work up to its present prosperous condition, to press and urge, and even try to force the early workers to submit to terms which they can see no justice in. Brother Smith loves the cause of God. He loves the truth and will invest his means to advance it wherever he sees that it is necessary. But leave this burden upon those with whom God has entrusted talents and means; they are responsible to Him, and the Publishing Association or its chief workers are not to assume their stewardship. 4LtMs, Lt 34a, 1886, par. 43

If the board should succeed in bringing the workers to their terms, would the writers feel that they had been dealt with justly, would it not rather open a door of temptation to them and break up sympathy and harmonious action between the brethren? If they should carry out this plan to grasp all the profits for the Publishing Association, it would be worse than they can imagine. A train of evils would grow out of such an arrangement that would be disastrous to the association. And it would encourage a spirit of intolerance, a narrow, conceited spirit, which God cannot approve, but which Satan enjoys and longs to have take possession of those who are connected with God’s sacred work. 4LtMs, Lt 34a, 1886, par. 44

The Bible precepts must be carried out in every-day life. They will be a lamp to your feet and a light unto your path. The greatest of all deceptions is for a man to think that he can find a better guide through difficulties than is found in the Word of God. It is the worst kind of folly to leave the Lord out of your councils and put your confidence in the wisdom of men. In your positions of trust, you are, in a special sense, to be the light of the world; and in order that you may be clean channels of light, you should feel an intense desire to place yourselves in connection with the God of light, of wisdom, and knowledge. Important interests that relate to the prosperity and advancement of present truth are to be considered; and how can you be competent to arrive at right decisions, to give wise counsels, and to make proper plans, unless you are connected with the Source of all wisdom and righteousness. 4LtMs, Lt 34a, 1886, par. 45

Your councils have been regarded in altogether too cheap a light, and common talk and comments upon others’ doings have found a place in these important meetings. You should bear in mind that the all-seeing eye of Jehovah is a witness in all your councils; He measures every one of your decisions and compares them with His holy law, the great moral standard of righteousness. Those holding the positions of counselors should be unselfish men, men of faith, men of prayer, men that will not dare to rely upon their own human wisdom, but will seek earnestly for light and intelligence as to what is the best manner of conducting their business. Joshua, the commander of Israel, searched the books diligently in which Moses had faithfully chronicled the directions given by God, His requirements, reproofs, and restrictions, lest he should move inadvisedly. Joshua was afraid to trust his own impulses or his own wisdom. He regarded everything that came from Christ, who was enshrouded by the pillar of cloud by day and the pillar of fire by night, as of sufficient importance to be sacredly cherished. He meditated day and night upon the words which had been spoken to Moses, the servant of God. Joshua desired to know and to do God’s will, and he was commanded by God to study and meditate upon all the directions which had been given: “For then, shalt thou make thy way prosperous, and thou shalt have success.” [Joshua 1:8.] The secret of Joshua’s victories was that, even amid his accumulated cares and responsibilities, he dared not trust to his own finite wisdom, but made God his counselor and guide. 4LtMs, Lt 34a, 1886, par. 46

The Pharisees, scribes, and elders in Christ’s day manifested an avaricious spirit which brought them under the control of Satan and was the main cause of their hatred toward Christ; for His teaching and example rebuked everything of this character. If such a spirit should be cherished in our institutions under any pretense, God cannot abide there. There should not be a grasping spirit manifested toward brethren, for it is not born of heaven, but from beneath. Any injustice done to God’s children is registered in the books of heaven as done unto Christ. That success which is attained through taking advantage of another by sharp dealing will prove to be loss in the end, but that which appears to be loss through the practice of principles that represent the life of Christ is divine success. 4LtMs, Lt 34a, 1886, par. 47

Those connected with the work of God have not yet the crown of immortal glory upon their brows, but are still engaged in earthly battles. They are still on probation, being tried and tested by God’s great standard of righteousness; and it is their business to prove themselves true men, lovers of righteousness and haters of every evil practice which makes our world today like the world before the flood. They must be men willing to venture something in order to carry out the precious principles laid down in the Word of God. They should make determined efforts to be representative men after God’s pattern, rejoicing in success only when it arises from obedience to duty and truth. They need to strive to show their wisdom by the confession of weakness and inefficiency; for this throws them upon the strength and all-sufficiency of Christ. They that be whole need not a physician, but they that are sick. The most deplorable lack any can suffer is that of an earnest determination to do right at whatever cost to self. The lack of humility, the loss of faith and sterling integrity should cause intense sorrow. 4LtMs, Lt 34a, 1886, par. 48

If the soul is filled with earthly things; if the heart has not maintained close communion with God, there is no room for heavenly intelligences to work; and there is an earthliness in every project that is devised. The communication with heaven must be kept open, clear the channel in some way. He that is to plan and devise in the interests of God’s cause must see that his connection with heaven is not cut off before he should dare come into the room for counsel, otherwise Satan will accompany him and manipulate his thoughts and plans to suit his satanic majesty. The atmosphere of heaven must surround you if you would have your plans and works in harmony with heaven. O how important it is that the representative men keep themselves in the love of God, so that they may be quick to discern and respond to the signals from heaven. 4LtMs, Lt 34a, 1886, par. 49

March 2nd. My head became so weary I could not complete this in time to mail it last night. I wish to say to my brethren that Michigan has been shown to me as being bound about with too extreme caution, a determination to save means for the Conference; but while economy and caution are essential in our work, unless the mind is broad enough to take in its real needs, these elements will be a block before the wheel of its progress. 4LtMs, Lt 34a, 1886, par. 50

There is talent in Michigan, but it needs to be educated and disciplined. There are some who have experience who should put forth every effort in the dying churches as well as in new places to select suitable young men and men of mature age to assist in the work. Thus they will obtain useful knowledge by interesting themselves in personal efforts, and scores of helpers may be fitted up for usefulness as Bible workers, canvassers, and family visitors. But this kind of work is being neglected because there is such great fear of using the Conference money. 4LtMs, Lt 34a, 1886, par. 51

Our brethren should always go out two and two, taking as many other as they can rally to engage in personal visiting, seeking to interest families. But those who would work in these lines are not encouraged; but when mistakes are made, they are not corrected in tender compassion, but are disheartened. Michigan is one of the best mission fields in the world, but it needs men of far-seeing judgment to push the work. 4LtMs, Lt 34a, 1886, par. 52

God would have those in responsible positions show tact, skill, and wise generalship in detecting, seizing upon, and putting talent to use. He will not work miracles to advance the truth. He has material in men and women, and He wants the generals in His army to have intelligence to bring it out and put it to use, not be constantly studying how to bind about the work so that it shall not branch out and create a demand for more means. Set men to work under those who have some knowledge of the work and who can educate them. Thrust the workers out into the harvest field. All they want is encouragement. 4LtMs, Lt 34a, 1886, par. 53

Elder _____’s mind must grow with the work, or he must be replaced by some one who will take a more extensive view of what needs to be done to warn the world. Do something, do it now. Let the pull-back principle go and the go-forward principle come in. The angel with the third message flies swiftly. 4LtMs, Lt 34a, 1886, par. 54

P.S. I have spoken to you the truth because I dare not withhold it. My words are not designed to discourage, but to open before you the fact that although you may have good business qualities, and tact, yet something higher than this is necessary in the work in which you are engaged. You may become men as valuable as gold, and this is why I have written as I have. Your character must reflect the character of Christ. 4LtMs, Lt 34a, 1886, par. 55

[Recopied November 27, 1894.] 4LtMs, Lt 34a, 1886, par. 56