Letters and Manuscripts — Volume 7 (1891-1892)


Ms 14, 1891

Instruction to Workers in the Oakland Office

Melbourne, Australia

December 23, 1891

This manuscript is published in entirety in PH152 17-26. +Note

I have been instructed by the Lord in regard to some things connected with the office of publication in Oakland, California. I saw that financial embarrassment was causing distress of mind and having a tendency to weaken the courage of those who bear heavy responsibilities. Many prayers are offered that God will work in giving prosperity to the office. I saw that God will work when the workers will co-operate with Him. When the souls of the workers are knit close with Christ, the power of God will be manifest among them. There has been a decided lack of faith. 7LtMs, Ms 14, 1891, par. 1

The large number of hands in the office make it necessary to take in a large amount of work in order to keep them employed. Thus, in printing for other parties an objectionable class of publications is introduced into the office. My guide inquired of one who was occupying a responsible position, “How much do you receive in payment for this work?” The figures were placed before him. He said, “This is too small a sum. If you do business in this way, you meet with loss. But even should you receive a much larger sum, this class of literature would be published at great loss to the office, for the influence upon the workers is demoralizing. All the messages that God shall send them presenting the sacredness of the work are neutralized by your action in consenting to print such a class of matter.” 7LtMs, Ms 14, 1891, par. 2

The world is deluged with books that might better be consumed rather than circulated. Books upon Indian warfare and similar topics, published and circulated as a money-making scheme, might better never be read by the youth. There is a Satanic fascination in such books. The heart-sickening relation of crimes and atrocities has had a bewitching power upon many youth, exciting them to see what they can do to bring themselves into notice, even by the wickedest deeds. Even the enormities, the cruelties, the licentious practices portrayed more strictly in historical writings, have acted as leaven in many minds, leading to the commission of similar acts. Books that delineate the Satanic practices of human beings are giving publicity to evil works. Those wicked, horrible particulars need not be lived over, and none who believe the truth for this time should act a part in perpetuating the memory of them. We have no permission from the Lord to engage either in the printing or the sale of such publications, for they are the means of destroying many souls. I know of what I am writing, for this matter has been opened before me. Let not those who believe the truth engage in this kind of work, thinking to make money. The Lord will put a blight upon the means thus obtained; He will scatter more than is accumulated. 7LtMs, Ms 14, 1891, par. 3

There is another class of books, love stories and frivolous and exciting tales, that are a curse to everyone that reads them. And although the author may attach a good moral, and religious sentiments be woven all through these books, yet in most cases Satan is but clothed in angel robes to deceive and allure the unsuspicious. The mind is affected in a great degree [by] what it feeds upon. The readers of frivolous, exciting tales become unfitted for the duties lying before them. They live an unreal life and have no desire to search the Scriptures, to feed upon the heavenly manna. The mind that needs strengthening is enfeebled and loses its power to contemplate the great problems which relate to the mission and work of Christ and the plan of salvation. These subjects will fortify the mind, awaken the imagination, and kindle the strongest desire to overcome as Christ overcame. 7LtMs, Ms 14, 1891, par. 4

The youth must take heed what they read, as well as what they hear. I have been shown that they are exposed to the greatest peril of being corrupted by improper reading. Could a large share of the books published be consumed, a plague would be stayed that is doing a fearful work upon human minds and corrupting human hearts. Satan is constantly seeking to lead both the youth and those of mature age to be charmed with feeble stories. None are so confirmed in right principles, so secure from temptation, that they can feel safe and think no one need feel anxious about them. Resolutely discard all this trashy reading, which will not increase your spirituality, but will introduce into your minds sentiments that captivate the imagination so that you think less of Jesus and dwell less upon His precious lessons. If you are a learner in His school, you will become like Him and will overcome the manifold temptations as He overcame them. What a joy has Jesus in placing the crown upon the heads of those whom His lips can pronounce “good and faithful servants.” [Matthew 25:23.] They have resisted the blandishments of vice. They are victors. 7LtMs, Ms 14, 1891, par. 5

I charge you who are responsible men in the publishing office: work diligently to bring in a different order of things. Cease to publish literature which is a temptation to the workers, many of whom are weak and easily led into forbidden paths. The office should be regarded as a school for the education of the workers. There is need of personal effort for their uplifting in all that constitutes a noble character. The minds of many of the youth are already sown with the seeds of evil that are ready to spring into life and produce an abundant harvest. Strive to implant pure principles in the soul. Encourage the youth to store the mind with valuable knowledge. Let that which is good occupy the soul and control its powers, leaving no place for low, debasing indulgences. Let the standard of piety and devotion be elevated. 7LtMs, Ms 14, 1891, par. 6

The superintendent of the publishing house is a watchman, to guard its interests. In order that he may do this, he must not have various other responsibilities placed upon him. Brethren, you should lighten the burdens that Bro. Jones is carrying outside of the office. He is only a mortal man, and if he does his duty fully in the office, he has all that one man can possibly attend to. Without faithful supervision from him, some things will not receive the attention that they should have and will go sadly wrong. Be careful how you place work upon him relative to the burdens of the church. He should have one to stand by his side who is reliable, devoted, and God-fearing, that nothing connected with the office may be neglected. But men have been placed in charge of the work at the office who act more as overseers than as interested, unselfish workers. If there were fewer overseers and more faithful doers of the work, there would be a marked improvement in the managing force in the office. If Bro. Jones has for his co-workers more overseers, who shun work, choosing to tell others what to do, he might better stand alone. 7LtMs, Ms 14, 1891, par. 7

By a godly example, those who occupy responsible positions can maintain the elevated character of the office. Not to do this is to incur guilt, to be unfaithful stewards, blameworthy before the heavenly intelligences who are waiting to co-operate with the human agencies in order to save souls. Christians are to shine as lights amid the moral darkness of the world. They are to be representatives of Christ, patterns for all who come within the sphere of their influence. They are exhorted to fidelity, and to the highest attainments of piety. The Word of God is plain upon this point. “Do all things without murmurings and disputings, that ye may be blameless and harmless, the sons of God, without rebuke, in the midst of a crooked and perverse nation, among whom ye shine as lights in the world; holding forth the word of life.” [Philippians 2:14-16.] In our own lives we should present to the world an illustration of the holy character of the truth which we profess to believe. This has not been done by many who are connected with the office. An indolent man occupying a position of trust in our institutions will make upon many minds an impression unfavorable to the truth; “by their fruits ye shall know them.” [Matthew 7:20.] The lights of the world are so to shine that men, by seeing their good works, may be led to glorify our Father who is in heaven. How terrible it is for any who hear His name to give to the world, through a defective character, a distorted image of Christ. They are constantly stumbling blocks. 7LtMs, Ms 14, 1891, par. 8

The way of every one is dark or light, and it is easy to settle the question who are letting their light shine by good works. Our profession of faith proclaims the theory of the truth, but it is our practical piety that holds forth the Word of Life. The Word of God presents a system of practical truths that are to have a decided bearing upon life and character. If men are not transformed, ennobled, sanctified, if they do not make it manifest that they love purity and holiness, they are not representing Christ. 7LtMs, Ms 14, 1891, par. 9

There are those engaged in the work in the office who have no living connection with Christ. Arguments, exhortations, reproofs, correction in righteousness, every consideration urging them to reach a higher standard, is treated with cool indifference or with silent contempt and persistent resistance. They know nothing of heart consecration. They are satisfied. Their minds have become so debased by their own course that they have no disposition to change. They have no love for any one but themselves. Shall this state of things continue? 7LtMs, Ms 14, 1891, par. 10

In order to relieve the office from financial embarrassment, there must be in some respects a different course pursued. In the effort to secure outside patronage, prices have been set so low that the work brings no profit to the office. Those who flatter themselves that there is a gain have failed to keep a strict account of every out go. This has been the way things have been going for too many years. If work is brought in, let it be understood that there is to be no cutting down prices for the sake of securing the job. Maintain the dignity of the office. Take only such work as will give a margin of profit. 7LtMs, Ms 14, 1891, par. 11

It would have been far better if the enlargement of the publishing house had been delayed and the work had been conducted on a more limited scale until the providence of God, which discerns the work in all its bearings, should open the way to make these improvements without contracting heavy debts and paying interest. These things must be considered. The warning that the Lord sends must be heeded. 7LtMs, Ms 14, 1891, par. 12

It is true that the publishing house has furnished means to support branches of the work in different fields and has aided in carrying other enterprises. This is well. None too much has to be done. The Lord sees all. But [according to] the light He has given me, every effort should be made to stand free from debt. This heavy indebtedness is eating into the vitals of the publishing house. 7LtMs, Ms 14, 1891, par. 13

Now, if all will go to work unselfishly, with an eye single to the glory of God, humbling their hearts and repenting of their sins, God will work in their behalf. Souls will be converted, and the piety and devotion of the workers will be felt by unbelievers. The only security against failure is to be found in entire surrender to God, daily seeking His counsel, in all things keeping the light burning, and daily reflecting its bright rays to others. Let a work of reformation, deep and thorough, take place in the office. Let there be seen a work of self-sacrifice. Expend your means carefully. Cultivate economy. Do not act toward Christ as though you believed the wicked accusations of the unfaithful servant, “I know thee, that thou art an austere man, reaping where thou hast not sown, and gathering where thou has not strewed.” [Matthew 25:24.] As you look to the cross of Calvary, inquire, “How can I work for the Master?” Do not calculate how little you can do to reach the very lowest standard, but arouse to grasp the fullness that there is in Christ, that you may do much for Him. 7LtMs, Ms 14, 1891, par. 14

Workers who are not diligent and faithful do incalculable harm. They are setting an example for others. There are those in the office who are rendering whole-hearted, cheerful service; but will the leaven not affect them? Shall the office be left without some sincere examples of Christian fidelity? When men claiming to be representatives of Christ reveal that they are unconverted, their characters degraded, gross, selfish, impure, they should be separated from the office, for their moral powers are so perverted and weakened that they cannot be trusted. I know not what I can say to arouse them. Will these sentinels that are sleeping at their post arouse from their deathlike slumber and come under the vitalizing influence of the Spirit of God? Will they continue to betray sacred trusts, or will they become missionaries for the Master? 7LtMs, Ms 14, 1891, par. 15

There are those connected with the office whose hearts are bound up with the work. They see many things that are not as they should be, but know not what course to pursue to correct the evil. They are pained to see many who profess the truth go astray. To all these the Lord sends reproofs and warnings. The straight and narrow way that leads to life and the glorious reward is pointed out; and the perfect standard of Christian character is held up before them. Although some are so estranged from God that they do not recognize His voice, though a strange infatuation leads them in their perversity of heart to strive against the manifestations of the Spirit of God, let not those who are striving earnestly to do the work and will of God become discouraged. Let each work earnestly, prayerfully, holding his torch in his hand, shedding light upon willing and unwilling eyes. Having their orders from heaven, they are to be true and faithful, in all things representing the compassion of Christ. 7LtMs, Ms 14, 1891, par. 16

The consistent religious life, the holy conversation, the unswerving integrity in all business deals, the active benevolent spirit, the godly example, are the mediums through which light is conveyed to the world, and conviction takes hold upon the hearts and consciences of unbelievers. The Lord will work through His human agents if they will co-operate with Him. I must close this matter here if it goes on the next steamer. May the Lord bless you all with wisdom and grace and His peace. 7LtMs, Ms 14, 1891, par. 17