Letters and Manuscripts — Volume 7 (1891-1892)


Ms 13, 1891

Concerning the Publishing Work in Australia

North Fitzroy, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia

December 29, 1891

See variant Ms 13a, 1891. Portions of this manuscript are published in AH 180, 279-280; 4Bio 26-27. +Note

In connection with our publishing work in Australia there has been a combination of circumstances that have not resulted favorably to the interests of the work. Those who first came to labor in connection with the office were not fitted by proper training for the work. Brother Henry Scott was not the man for the place, and the mold which he gave to the work had a deleterious influence upon it. Brother Byron Belden, when he came to the office, was not fully prepared to carry forward his line of work. He needed a thorough education in order to stand in his position of trust. It was a very trying position for him, and he often became discouraged. Elder Tenney was not familiar with the different branches of the work, and he too has labored under a disadvantage. 7LtMs, Ms 13, 1891, par. 1

If there had been in the office one qualified to educate the workers, the work would today have had an altogether different mold. But all through the office there has been a lack of men of experience, men who were masters of the situation. When difficulties arose and the work became entangled, there was no one of sufficient experience to straighten out the perplexities. Experiments have been made that have resulted in loss to the institution. 7LtMs, Ms 13, 1891, par. 2

The general inefficiency among the workers has led to a most unfortunate result. The workers have been unwilling to take counsel of one another, feeling that this would lower their dignity. Pride has led them to depend upon their own imperfect knowledge, and the result has been a loss of time and material. The work has not come forth from their hands in an acceptable condition. Thought and experience in the work are essential; but if there had been a brotherly, Christian harmony, many things might have been improved, and the workmen need not have labored at so great disadvantage. Those who possess the spirit of Christ will make every effort to aid their associates in becoming efficient, thorough workmen. But through selfish pride, the work of God in the Echo Office has labored under great embarrassment. 7LtMs, Ms 13, 1891, par. 3

There has been much impulsive effort in attempting to set things in order. Rules and regulations have been made hastily and enforced with vigor for a while, then they were left to die a natural death. At times most stringent rules were made, that were really arbitrary exactions; their influence was not merciful or just, and after a time there would come a change, and they would fall into disuse. Such movements exert an influence unfavorable to all order and regulation. 7LtMs, Ms 13, 1891, par. 4

The impulsive, spasmodic efforts to maintain discipline have excited a spirit of insubordination in the workers. Every one was ready to accuse others and question their work. Jealousy, suspicion, and accusing of others have pervaded the office. The Spirit of God has been grieved. Rules are not to be made hastily. All regulations should be carefully considered before being adopted. With the present condition of things in the Echo Office, there is no one connected with the institution, who, if appointed superintendent, would receive the respect essential for the performance of the duties of his position. 7LtMs, Ms 13, 1891, par. 5

Brother Tenney does not possess the qualifications essential for a manager, and the present condition of things in the office is largely due to this fact. His management at home has not been wise. He has moved from impulse. Often his children would be unnoticed in doing things for which they needed to be wisely and kindly corrected; but when the father’s mood changed, all unexpectedly to the children, they were treated with a severity that was not called for. Just so it has been in the management of the workers in the office. His course was fitful, according to his state of mind at the time. When consulted by those who were under him, he would, if he felt like it, answer abruptly, if he answered at all; and very unpleasant feelings have arisen that proper forethought and self-control might have wholly prevented. 7LtMs, Ms 13, 1891, par. 6

When things have moved hard, the friction might have been lessened by applying the oil of patience and grace. But the superintendent did not adapt himself to the situation and deal with mistakes in a manner calculated to inspire confidence. In presenting before all the workers the failures of individuals, he did not mend matters. When he knew where the wrong existed, he did not go frankly to the very one at fault and as a father talk kindly with him, with the purpose of helping him. Sometimes he has tried to help the workers, but not being familiar with the details of the work, he could not speak understandingly, and this too has made matters worse. An office involving so great responsibility requires a man who has a well-balanced organization, else his defects will be reproduced in those who are connected with him, and everything in the office will be demoralized. 7LtMs, Ms 13, 1891, par. 7

Brother Tenney is not a financier. Here again is a great lack. His sympathies are easily aroused, and, in dealing with men, they lead him to decisions that will not bear investigation. He is naturally kind-hearted and moved by impulse; he acts unadvisedly. He forms plans hastily, and carries them out without bringing them before others for counsel. Brother Byron Belden has seen that Brother Tenney has failed as a manager. When Brother Tenney first came to the office, Byron tried to carry out the plans devised, but he saw that these plans were not always wise, and as he lost confidence in Brother Tenney’s ability in this direction, he showed this in a way that injured the work instead of helping it. 7LtMs, Ms 13, 1891, par. 8

Byron, my soul is pained on your account. You are easily provoked. When things go wrong and you are hurt, you show no respect for those who are in positions of trust. Even if, in your judgment, the course they have chosen is not the best, you should not make matters worse by arousing a spirit of insubordination. Keep your tongue under control; let it not utter the first word of discontent or fault-finding, for when the first word is uttered, a host will follow that are hot with passion. Do you make anything better by this? Do you exert a Christlike influence upon the minds of others so that your words have weight with them? No, no. These things have made you a weak man and have greatly injured your influence. Things have been left at loose ends that ought to have been set in order, because your brethren did not want to stir up the explosive element in you. There must be a transformation of character in you. You must enter upon the work of overcoming, both at home and abroad. 7LtMs, Ms 13, 1891, par. 9

Byron, my heart is drawn out to you and—in love and tenderness. You have permitted yourselves to speak to each other as you should not, for your happiness in the home life is at stake. You love each other, and should either be removed by death, the other would feel the loss greatly. You need to be converted. Let kind, tender words come from your lips; do not accuse or censure or manifest a lack of respect and tenderness for each other; for these things, if indulged, will become habit. 7LtMs, Ms 13, 1891, par. 10

Christ has been misrepresented by the laborers in the office. When something arises that crosses the track of any of them, if words are spoken in an unchristian spirit, there has been prompt retaliation. Self-control is lost, and passion is indulged by those who should know better what belongs to a disciple of Christ. Bear in mind that if this is the work of God that you are handling, God and angels have supervision of it. O, did the workers realize that they were in the presence of Jesus, those burning words of passion, those threatening words, would not have been spoken. God heard them. Jesus your Redeemer heard them. All the angelic host heard them. You grieved the heart of Christ. You put Him to an open shame and brought yourself into condemnation, wounded your own soul, and cast a stumbling block in the way of others. 7LtMs, Ms 13, 1891, par. 11

Remembering what is due to our Saviour as Christian professors, beware lest you lay a stone of stumbling in the way of any soul. While you may frown upon all that is unfair and unjust, remember that in the sight of God your own faults and errors may be far greater than the faults of the one whom you condemn. Do not cherish self-deception in this matter. Let those who claim to believe in Christ, who make the Word of God their study, fail not to apply its regulations to their own life and character. Do not once venture in the slightest degree to overstep the restraints of that Word. Remember that by your words you are to be justified or condemned. God’s Holy Word cannot be set aside, even in the least transaction, with any safety to the soul. 7LtMs, Ms 13, 1891, par. 12

I must speak plainly. These words spoken in anger by the workers must cease. No one laboring in our institutions should be allowed to speak one disrespectful word to either high or low. If any continue the use of harsh, impatient language, they should be removed, whatever their position of trust; for all in the office are educators. 7LtMs, Ms 13, 1891, par. 13

God has been dishonored in many ways. There cannot be a firm, steady, forward and upward movement, until all, individually, from the highest to the lowest, shall humble themselves and confess their sins. They need the Holy Spirit to touch their hearts, that they may see their defects of character. 7LtMs, Ms 13, 1891, par. 14

I have been shown that there will need to be a thorough reorganization in the Echo Office; and amid the cares and perplexities that result from the errors of the past, the essential changes cannot be made without the special guidance of God. I know, for the matter has been presented to me in clear lines, that unless the converting power of God shall work upon their hearts, many will feel bruised and wounded. But when they humble themselves as little children, then they will see the necessity of unity, all standing shoulder to shoulder. 7LtMs, Ms 13, 1891, par. 15

If we would but learn the wonderful lessons which Jesus sought to teach His disciples from a little child, how many things that now seem insurmountable difficulties would wholly disappear. When the disciples came to Jesus, saying, “Who is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven?” “Jesus called a little child unto Him, and set him in the midst of them, and said, Verily I say unto you, Except ye be converted, and become as little children, ye shall not enter into the kingdom of heaven. Whosoever therefore shall humble himself as a little child, the same is greatest in the kingdom of heaven.” [Matthew 18:1-4.] 7LtMs, Ms 13, 1891, par. 16

Those who would see a better state of things in the office must not now keep the errors and mistakes of the past before them, for the past, with its burden of record, has rolled into eternity. Begin now to act upon right principles. As Christian gentlemen, treat one another with respect and kindness. 7LtMs, Ms 13, 1891, par. 17

Every worker should realize his personal responsibility. Say: “I am a Christian; I must obey the holy precepts of the law of God. I am a Christian; I cannot but do the works of Christ. I am not authorized to let one word of guile escape my lips. Never did Christ speak harsh, unbecoming words. Whatever men in positions of trust may do that seems altogether unjust and unreasonable, it is no excuse for me to retaliate and add a greater sin to the one already committed. That righteous One who measures character, weighing it in the golden scales of the sanctuary, will judge me by the fruit I bear.” 7LtMs, Ms 13, 1891, par. 18

The Lord has said, “This is thankworthy, if a man for conscience toward God endure grief, suffering wrongfully. For what glory is it, if, when ye be buffeted for your faults, ye shall take it patiently? but if, when ye do well, and suffer for it, ye take it patiently, this is acceptable with God. For even hereunto were ye called: because Christ also suffered for us, leaving us an example, that ye should follow his steps: Who did no sin, neither was guile found in his mouth: Who, when he was reviled, reviled not again; when he suffered, he threatened not; but committed himself to him that judgeth righteously.” [1 Peter 2:19-23.] 7LtMs, Ms 13, 1891, par. 19

Say to yourself, “I must watch, I must pray, not merely for my own soul’s interest; there are souls connected with me whose welfare should constrain me to strict guardianship of myself. If I am careless of my words, if I show disrespect for those in authority, the leaven will spread. In order that the moral tone of the office may be raised, my influence, however small, is required. And I must grow in grace at home and wherever I may be, in order to give moral power to all my actions. 7LtMs, Ms 13, 1891, par. 20

“At home I must guard my spirit, my actions, my words. I must give time to personal culture, to training and educating myself in right principles. I must be an example to others. I must meditate upon the Word of God night and day and bring it into my practical life. The sword of the Spirit, which is the Word of God, is the only sword which I can safely use. I must honor all my brother workers, uttering only kind, peaceful words.” 7LtMs, Ms 13, 1891, par. 21

In your associations at home, in your family, never forget what is due to one another as Christians. Let the husband respect the wife, and the wife honor the husband. Never forget what is due to your holy profession. 7LtMs, Ms 13, 1891, par. 22

Brethren and sisters connected with the work in the Echo Office, these words were spoken to you by my Guide: “Enthrone Christ in the heart, and keep Him enthroned there, and you have strength to be more than conquerors through Him that loved you, and gave Himself for you. If all were conscious of the divine presence, if Jesus were the central object of their contemplation, their spirit would be softened and subdued, and they would represent Christ in spirit and action. These words are full of marrow and fatness: ‘Let us draw near with a true heart, in full assurance of faith.’ [Hebrews 10:22.] The love of Christ’s heart is to be poured into your heart by His blessed Spirit, and thus your daily life will reveal that you have been with Jesus and learned of Him.” 7LtMs, Ms 13, 1891, par. 23