Letters and Manuscripts — Volume 8 (1893)


Ms 35, 1893

The Publishing Work

George’s Terrace, St. Kilda Road, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia

January 8, 1893

Portions of this manuscript are published in UL 22.

Few of those who have labored in the Echo publishing house have had any just sense of the sacredness of the work in which they were engaged. Our brethren in this country who had to do with the establishment of the office, and those who have connected themselves with it as workers, have considered the matter from a business standpoint. They have felt that the institution should be established and conducted upon the same principles that govern houses engaged in secular business. It has not been thought essential that the religion of Christ should control every branch of the work. 8LtMs, Ms 35, 1893, par. 1

The feeling has prevailed that business is business, and religion is religion, and that it is bad management to connect the two. If our brethren are right in this view, then a great mistake was made in the erection of the publishing house. It would have been better to have our printing done by outside parties. This would have saved the perplexity and expense involved in the establishing of the publishing house, and would have left free a large amount of means to be used for the advancement of the truth in this new field. 8LtMs, Ms 35, 1893, par. 2

But if the object in building the Echo office was to secure the advantages to be obtained in having our work established upon the foundation of which Jesus Christ is the chief Cornerstone, then let all our workers bear this continually in mind, and in attitude, in spirit, in influence, make the office what it should be—in every respect a place that shall recommend our religion to others as the workers represent Christ. 8LtMs, Ms 35, 1893, par. 3

If the publishing work is to live, to serve the cause of God, it must be regarded in an altogether different light than what it has been in the past. The office must be regarded as a place dedicated to God, in which to perform His sacred work, and every worker must be educated to look on it in this light. 8LtMs, Ms 35, 1893, par. 4

As the office has been presented to me, I was shown that the way in which it has been managed, and the spirit that has prevailed, have been an offence to God. They were calculated to encourage disorder, to exert a demoralizing influence. Disorder, discord, and irreligious practices have separated the workers from God. The Lord’s special blessing cannot rest upon managers or workers while they retain this spirit. Shall there not be a change in this state of things? 8LtMs, Ms 35, 1893, par. 5

Instead of the Echo office being burdened with religion, there has been in every room need of pure and undefiled religion, elevating and ennobling the receiver. Christ says, “Without Me, ye can do nothing” in wisdom and righteousness. [John 15:5.] It is the grace of Christ alone that can make the living machinery move without friction. In the Office every room where the work is carried forward for the purpose of advancing the cause of God is sacred. The workers must give themselves to God. Heart, soul, sinew, and muscle must be consecrated to the work. Through the grace of Christ each worker may be strong in the Lord and in the power of His might. 8LtMs, Ms 35, 1893, par. 6

There are few in the office who act from Christian principle, but this should be the case with all connected with the work. Right principles should be carefully set before all the workers, both by precept and example; and then if it is manifest that they still regard the work as on a level with common worldly business, they should be separated from the office. 8LtMs, Ms 35, 1893, par. 7

There has been a lack of wisdom in investing means in facilities which it would require well-trained, experienced workmen to manage, when there were only untrained, inexperienced men to undertake the work. This is like trusting large ships on the ocean to the management of inexperienced children. Confusion and loss of means have been the sure result. It is painful to see things in such a condition. Far better have expended your money in qualifying men to work in advancing the truth in this city. Better have erected a suitable house of worship, where the people might be invited to listen to the Word of God. 8LtMs, Ms 35, 1893, par. 8

The Saviour’s heart of love is moved with compassion for Melbourne and its suburbs. All heaven has long been waiting to co-operate with human agents in bringing the knowledge of the truth before the thousands who have not as yet heard the sound of the last message of mercy. Angels of God who excel in strength would extend the work and bring many souls to a knowledge of the truth. But the Echo office has absorbed time and strength and money, and scarcely anything has been done to bring souls in this great city to the truth. As far as the Echo Office is concerned, it is supposed to have done its work in sending forth its semi-monthly journals, but if all the labor and thought and money that has been given to this office had been devoted to direct, personal labor in bringing souls to a knowledge of the truth, one hundredfold more would have been accomplished. The Lord Jesus still waits for those who believe the truth to let their light shine forth to the world in clear, steady, bright rays. 8LtMs, Ms 35, 1893, par. 9

You have here in Melbourne an opportunity to manifest your love and loyalty to Christ. Who will now consecrate themselves to God, to co-operate with the heavenly angels in working for the salvation of souls? Who will bring many to a knowledge of the truth, to swell the tide of His joy, and the acclaim of His triumph? All who truly love the Lord Jesus Christ will eagerly embrace every opportunity to lift Him up before the people, to magnify His name upon the earth. 8LtMs, Ms 35, 1893, par. 10

The Echo office needs consecrated talent—large-hearted disciples who have learned of Jesus, who comprehend His great designs in the establishment of the office, and who will be co-laborers with Him. He does not want men in the office, however well educated, who will employ their ability in sharp-dealing, according to the practice of other business houses. No man can receive greater honor of God or please Him more than by being a Christian, governed wholly by Christian principles. 8LtMs, Ms 35, 1893, par. 11

The Lord calls for workers whose interest is wholly for Him—cheerful, God-loving, God-fearing workers, with whom the divine intelligences can co-operate in sending forth light to the world. He wants men who can discern the breadth of the work, and the signs of the times—men who will not be controlled by prejudice, who will clear themselves from the sin of selfishness and covetousness, and will lay hold of the work all the more readily and earnestly because they recognize that it is a work of faith, of which God has the oversight. There has been a scanty supply of such workers. Now let all who would connect with the office consider the matter, count the cost, and see whether they can offer themselves freely to the Lord’s service. Those who really feel that the work is sacred, and who can engage in it as the Lord’s work, let them sanctify themselves, that others also may be sanctified. 8LtMs, Ms 35, 1893, par. 12

Let the Echo office be regarded as a place where business must be conducted according to God’s order, free from all practices that savor in the least of dishonesty. Let it be regarded as a training school, where all, in every branch of business, are to maintain Christlike meekness, kindness, and love, living out the principles of truth and righteousness. Let them stand manfully in their positions of trust, and by being themselves partakers of the divine nature help on the cause of God. Then let them labor to diffuse by precept and example the principles that have made them what they are. Let them repeat to every ear the precious, holy truths that have found access to their hearts. 8LtMs, Ms 35, 1893, par. 13

Jesus bids us, “Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature.” [Mark 16:15.] There is more than one way of preaching the gospel. In your daily life follow the example of Christ, and you will be a spectacle unto the world, to angels and to men. It will be evident that love to God and love to our fellow men whom Jesus died to redeem is the motive power of your life. 8LtMs, Ms 35, 1893, par. 14

In the office of publication there has been but little sense of the presiding presence of Christ. In your council meetings, have you considered that there was a witness present whose ear caught every word spoken, who marked the spirit manifested, whether good or evil, and who made a record of it all? Do your words and actions reveal that you are called to consider questions which have come before the council of heaven, that you are called to plan for a work requiring incessant and strenuous activity, and wherein all the shame and ruin of failure will dishonor your Redeemer? Do you realize that the weapons of your warfare are spiritual, that success can come only through the favor of God, and that no glory is to be given to man? 8LtMs, Ms 35, 1893, par. 15

Councils should be held, and they should be meetings for instruction. But there have been meetings that, through the influence and attitude of individuals present, have not in any way correctly represented the exalted character of the truth. Many words have been spoken when silence would have been true eloquence. There has been manifest a spirit of criticism not inspired of God. Another voice than that of the Spirit has been heard. I need not say that God has been dishonored. The burden bearers, who long for counsel from their brethren, have too often been forced to listen to an outburst of passion, a storm of words, which made that meeting of none effect. God cannot use a capricious person. He cannot co-operate with men who have no just appreciation of their need of divine guidance. Without the divine co-operation the most strenuous efforts will fail. But sincere efforts, planned and executed in the fear and love of God, in reliance upon Him, are never in vain. 8LtMs, Ms 35, 1893, par. 16

Wonderful opportunities are opened before the human agent to understand the unsearchable riches of the wisdom of God. In this work, which nothing less than divine power can accomplish, nothing can be perfected without the co-operation of the human agent. Then the divine and the human are blended, as in the life of the Son of God. If all who have a part to act in the work of God, in any of its various branches, would consider the matter from a Bible standpoint, the words of Christ would make a deep impression on their hearts, “Without Me ye can do nothing” in the work of saving souls. [John 15:5.] No encouragement is offered to the insubordinate or the presumptuous. Vainglorious boasting is an offence to God. Self-confidence He will not sanction or commend, but humble faith and obedience, the fruit of a contrite heart, will be blessed of God. 8LtMs, Ms 35, 1893, par. 17

You, my brethren, who compose the board of directors, must have the living connection with God, else you will surely be a hindrance rather than a help. If you cannot put your shoulder under the load and help lift it, do not, as some of you have done, crush the one already bearing burdens by casting an additional weight upon him. In pouring forth a multitude of words, bitter, over-bearing, abusive, you are revealing traits of character that are deciding your destiny for the future life. 8LtMs, Ms 35, 1893, par. 18

Angels of God are now testing and proving character. Angels are weighing moral worth. Know ye not that the saints, in unison with Christ, are to judge the world? But judgment will never be committed to those whose character is revealed in a tirade against their brethren. These men simply do not know themselves. They are bringing from the treasure of the heart evil things, and unless they are thoroughly converted, so that they possess the meekness of a little child, will never enter the kingdom of heaven. They may possess some good qualifications as business men, but when some things do not meet their ideas, they manifest the same accusing spirit that Judas displayed in his complaint against the woman who poured the ointment on the head and feet of Christ. By every expression of this kind the character is more and more conformed to that of Satan, the great accuser. All the lessons of Jesus failed to convert Judas, because he was not willing to humble his heart and see that he must have the meekness of a little child. 8LtMs, Ms 35, 1893, par. 19

In the office there is need of calm, considerate men who weigh their words before giving them utterance. Nothing can excuse or justify a man who shall in council forget the respect and courtesy due to his brethren. This habit of rash and unrestrained speech is sufficient reason why the Lord could not let His Holy Spirit rest upon the office in all its departments. Unless there is a decided effort on the part of the workers to keep the way of the Lord rather than their own way, the Spirit of the Lord cannot pervade the office. 8LtMs, Ms 35, 1893, par. 20

These words have a lesson for the workers at this time: “Who is among you that feareth the Lord, that obeyeth the voice of his servant, that walketh in darkness, and hath no light? let him trust in the name of the Lord, and stay upon his God. Behold, all ye that kindle a fire, that compass yourselves about with sparks: walk in the light of your fire, and in the sparks which ye have kindled. This shall ye have of mine hand: ye shall lie down in sorrow.” [Isaiah 50:10, 11.] 8LtMs, Ms 35, 1893, par. 21

The sincere Christian, in his [acceptance] of grace, feels that his success is wholly dependent upon Christ—here is the source of divine energy. He urges no claim founded on his own merit; he has no faithfulness to present to heaven. He feels his own weakness and inefficiency, and is convinced that he must be transformed in character. Self-abasement, and self-renunciation reveal that the soul has beheld Jesus. The heart made penitent by the Spirit of Christ will act from principle. He is a partaker of the divine nature, and the pervading influence of the Holy Spirit will be manifest in all his connections, in the office and out of the office; in his daily walk and conversation he represents the character of Christ. 8LtMs, Ms 35, 1893, par. 22

The worldly spirit and worldly practices of some connected with the office have made of no effect their profession of faith and godliness. Hours and days spent in folly and careless indifference to God cannot be closed in profitable meditation and heartfelt prayer. Love for the Bible and for prayer dies out of the heart, and communion with God and the reading of His Word are neglected. These souls have erected a barrier between themselves and God, and they feel that they have no access to Him. The gospel has made no provision by which we may pass from worldly associations that contaminate the soul, into communion with the Holy Spirit. This needs to be understood. None but those who wear the yoke of Christ and bear His burdens will find rest and peace. The watchful, the pure, the painstaking are those who devote much time to prayer. 8LtMs, Ms 35, 1893, par. 23

Will all who are connected with the Echo office consider that their life is about to pass in review before God for the solemn decision of the judgment. We have no time to lose in trifling with the gracious invitations of God’s mercy, no time to squander in dallying with sin. The propensities of an unsubdued nature must be steadily and perseveringly overcome. The workers in the office should have God and His fear before them, and offer to the Lord an offering in righteousness. 8LtMs, Ms 35, 1893, par. 24

Your council meetings are too solemn to be treated in the spirit of lightness or with carping criticism. What will it profit to cherish pride of spirit, and pray for humility? What will it profit to seek eagerly the friendship and applause of the world, and pray for heavenly affections? What will it profit to indulge in passionate temper and un-Christlike words, and then ask for the meekness of Christ? This is not watching unto prayer. In the lack of that faith which works by love and purifies the soul lies the secret of unanswered prayer. “Wherefore have we fasted, say they, and thou seest not? wherefore have we afflicted our soul, and thou takest no knowledge? Behold, in the day of your fast ye find pleasure, and exact all your labors. Behold, ye fast for strife and debate, and to smite with the fist of wickedness.” [Isaiah 58:3, 4.] How many do this! Their cruel words wound and bruise the souls of the righteous. 8LtMs, Ms 35, 1893, par. 25

O, my heart is intensely in earnest that if the Echo office is to be the place from which the truth shall go forth, it may be altogether transformed by the thorough conversion of the workers. The very unsatisfactory position in which we now find ourselves should not discourage anyone. We must have a more thorough education, especially in personal piety; there must be more zeal, more faith, more prayer, then there will be more means to carry forward the work. 8LtMs, Ms 35, 1893, par. 26

The ministers must take a higher stand, and give more personal labor, and less sermonizing, to the churches. The lesson of Christ should be presented in simplicity to the people. Our present want of funds is due largely to the fact that ministers have neglected to present before the people their duty in regard to tithes and offerings. In order to supply our present deficiency, the laborers must, by plain, pointed testimonies arouse our people to immediate action. Plainly show the character of covetousness, that it is declared by the Spirit of God to be idolatry. 8LtMs, Ms 35, 1893, par. 27

The Gospel is plain and practical. The ax must be laid at the root of the tree. The feeble and partial development of the missionary spirit is due largely to the fact that ministers have dwelt so much upon subjects that give no spiritual strength to the church, leaving untouched the lessons of Christ for the practical education of the church. This practical education through the Saviour’s teaching is our work, brethren, and we are pronounced in heaven unfaithful servants if we do not perform it earnestly and perseveringly. If this work is left undone, there will be more marked deficiency in the treasury, rendering futile all our plans for advancement. 8LtMs, Ms 35, 1893, par. 28

Home missionary work is needed. Do not depend upon America to do this work, but arouse your own powers, and see what you can do. Much money is expended in needless things by the lukewarm, the covetous, who give no help to missionary enterprises. Will not these go to work? Brethren and sisters, save the shillings spent in gratification of self, in attending concerts and places of amusement, shillings spent in car fare for pleasure trips. 8LtMs, Ms 35, 1893, par. 29

God expects His ministers to bind up their work by educating the people on all these points. It is more pleasant to preach, but it will not be pleasant to find that there is nothing in the treasury to draw from. Earnest labor in this line will do the churches more good than the most elaborate, pleasing discourses, for if there are in the churches those who are robbing God, the curse pronounced in Malachi rests upon them. [Malachi 3:9.] How can sermons benefit a church while they are guilty of robbery toward God? 8LtMs, Ms 35, 1893, par. 30

In the year 1893 let it be demonstrated that the churches in Australia and New Zealand will do far more than in any previous year to supply the Lord’s house with means. A great revolution must take place in this country before the work will progress to any great extent. 8LtMs, Ms 35, 1893, par. 31

The Lord is disappointed in those who profess to believe the truth. Through His providential working He desired to accomplish greater things than our eyes have yet witnessed. Shall the multitude of souls even in the city of Melbourne live and die unwarned, unconverted? The heavenly agencies are at work to warn and enlighten all, but where are the human agencies to cooperate with them? We cannot doubt God’s power, His promises are full and free; with thorough, vigorous, persevering effort, with plans devised in the wisdom that cometh from above, large numbers might be saved. Is Satan always to have things his own way? Shall we not look to heaven, by faith put on the whole armor of God, and go forth to our work as never before? They that be for us are more than all they that be against us. 8LtMs, Ms 35, 1893, par. 32

I tell you in the name of the Lord, if the church will arise in the strength of God to meet her responsibilities, consecrating to God every power, the Spirit of the Lord will be poured out in rich abundance. This work will be the result of the earnest cooperation of human agencies with the divine. The Lord has need of men who shall become intelligent workers, but He has made conditions for the bestowal of His blessings. 8LtMs, Ms 35, 1893, par. 33

Some who profess to be Christians need a genuine conversion. They desire to be accepted of God. They pray in a casual way that they may be accepted, and yet through their desire for gain, their worldliness and selfishness, their robbery of God, they shut themselves away from Him; His curse is hanging over them for their selfishness and worldly lusts. Their prayers will be wholly in vain unless they comply with the condition specified in the Word of God: “Bring ye all the tithes into the storehouse, that there may be meat in mine house, and prove me now herewith, saith the Lord of hosts, if I will not open you the windows of heaven, and pour you out a blessing that there shall not be room enough to receive it.” [Verse 10.] 8LtMs, Ms 35, 1893, par. 34

Prayer and practice must be united. In the minds of many, salvation through faith in Christ has for years been so beclouded by the fogs of unbelief and self-righteousness, and so mystified by ingenious speculations, as to mean simply nothing. The uncertain experience of many professed Christians, sinning and repenting and continuing in the same dwarfed spiritual condition, is the result of worldliness and unholiness of life. The saving grace of Christ is designed for everyday life. Christ came not to save man in his sins, but from his sins. The principles of truth, abiding in the heart, will sanctify the life. 8LtMs, Ms 35, 1893, par. 35