Letters and Manuscripts — Volume 9 (1894)


Ms 24a, 1894

Testimony to Canvassers

[Per Ardua, Williams St., Granville, New South Wales, Australia]

April 23, 1894

Variant of Ms 24, 1894. Portions of this manuscript are published in CM 95-97. +Note

Last night I was exercised in mind. I seemed to be in an assembly where were gathered ministers and leading men connected with the various branches of the work. There was a dearth of money in the treasury, and these men were discussing as to the best plans and methods for doing a large work with the smallest possible expenditure of means. 9LtMs, Ms 24a, 1894, par. 1

Statements were made that some of the canvassers have conducted their business in such a slack, loose way as to be constantly sapping the funds needed for carrying on the work. They have sold books and given the impression that they were working for the cause, but instead of bringing in the means so much needed to advance the work, they have taken many dollars from the treasury. The means which came into their hands, which was not their own, they appropriated to defray their own expenses, the expenses of their families, or to favor their own family connections. Both in _____ and _____ the slack, loose methods followed by the canvassers have been a great hindrance to the progress of the work. 9LtMs, Ms 24a, 1894, par. 2

By appropriating to their own use that which belongs to the cause of God, canvassers involve themselves in difficulties, separate their souls from God, and create a feeling of uncertainty, a want of confidence, in those who are laboring with them in the field. At the same time they do injustice to their fellow-laborers. Men who do their very best are liable to be regarded with suspicion, and thus are made to suffer because of the corse of untrustworthy persons. 9LtMs, Ms 24a, 1894, par. 3

Those who deal in this manner are making themselves channels of darkness instead of channels of light. Satan, instead of the Holy Spirit, is working with human agencies. The result is that the cause of God is involved in perplexity and brought into embarrassment, and a heavy burden is cast upon those who were appointed to bear weighty responsibilities. If this loose way of doing business is permitted to continue, it will not only drain the treasury of means, but will cut off the supplies that flow from the people. It will destroy their confidence in those <at the head of the work> who have the management of funds, and will lead many to discontinue their gifts and offerings. 9LtMs, Ms 24a, 1894, par. 4

The course of these careless workmen has brought upon men in leading positions a burden that grieves them to the heart. They are perplexed to know how they can guard the cause of God from every species of robbery, and yet save the souls of those who have such perverted ideas as to what is true honesty. When men accept the truth, will it not work by love and purify the soul? Will not those who are converted manifest a decided change in spirit and character? Will men continue to move on recklessly after they claim to have become the children of God? Will they so deal with their Lord’s goods that their characters and principles shall be against the truth? 9LtMs, Ms 24a, 1894, par. 5

Can it be possible that men are converted who embezzle the Lord’s goods, and take from His treasury the very means by which His cause lives and moves forward successfully? Shall men be entrusted with the Lord’s goods while they cherish vanity, and indulge their selfish propensities, yielding to temptation which leads them into a course of action condemned by God? 9LtMs, Ms 24a, 1894, par. 6

The practice of borrowing money to relieve some pressing necessity, and making no calculation for cancelling the indebtedness, however common, is demoralizing. The Lord would have all who believe the truth converted from all these self-deceiving practices. They should choose rather to suffer want than to commit a dishonest act. No soul can resort to prevarication or dishonesty in handling the Lord’s goods, and stand guiltless before God. All who do this deny Christ in action, while they profess to keep and teach the commandments of God. They do not maintain the principles of God’s law. If those who see the truth do not change in character corresponding to the sanctifying influence of the truth, they will be a savor of death unto death. They will misrepresent the truth, bring a reproach upon it, and dishonor Christ, who is truth. 9LtMs, Ms 24a, 1894, par. 7

The Lord’s goods should be handled with faithfulness. God has given men life, health and reasoning powers. He has given physical and mental strength to be exercised; and shall not the time and talents which are His gifts be faithfully and diligently employed to His name’s glory? Have our brethren considered the fact that they must give an account for all the talents placed in their possession? Have they traded wisely with their Lord’s goods, or have they spent His substance recklessly so that they are written in heaven as unfaithful servants? A record has been kept in heaven of all that has been done. 9LtMs, Ms 24a, 1894, par. 8

In the assembly at which I seemed to be present, the question was asked by what means the work can be carried forward, and canvassers be prevented from embarrassing the cause and casting a burden upon the publishing houses by a careless, selfish way of doing business. This question is of consequence. How can order be brought out of confusion, and how can the work be carried on according to principles which God can approve? What will be the wisest way to remedy the existing evil? Already it has taken from the treasury a large amount of means, and brought a heavy weight upon the poverty-stricken cause. It has laid a heavy burden of debt upon the instrumentalities ordained for the advancement of the work and cause of God. 9LtMs, Ms 24a, 1894, par. 9

The present manner of working must be changed. Some way must be devised by which the robbery of the cause of God will be discerned and checked before it is too late to prevent great loss. The men who are not exact and trustworthy must either be converted or they must be discharged and seek some other employment. We must have workmen who will not imperil the cause of God by robbing His treasury. 9LtMs, Ms 24a, 1894, par. 10

Our brethren who hold responsible positions of trust must be faithful sentinels. They have to deal with those who have proved to be unfaithful men, who have revealed the fact that they cannot be relied upon in doing the business connected with the cause of God. Unless these men are converted and are transformed in character, unless they will maintain their integrity at any cost to themselves, they must be separated from the work; for the heavenly intelligences will not cooperate with them. “Without me,” says Christ, “ye can do nothing.” John 15:5. These men have lost discrimination of correct principles. God’s work must have men connected with it who have solid principles, men who in all lines of the work will do right because it is right. They must be led by the Lord in all their methods. Then they will take the right path, because they are doers of the words of Christ. 9LtMs, Ms 24a, 1894, par. 11

The great problem to solve is, how to prevent the loss of the souls of those who have been guilty of unfaithfulness. Brethren, work with the Spirit of Christ, with the mind of Christ, to correct existing evils. The wrongdoer will have the sympathy of wrongdoers, but faithful shepherds of the flock must maintain an elevated standard, and yet teach that the Star of hope is still shining. Work on patiently, but rebuke sin firmly, giving it no sanction. The world is soon to be left by the angel of mercy, and the seven last plagues are to be poured out. Sin, shame, sorrow, and darkness are on every side. God still holds out to men the precious privilege of exchanging darkness for light, error for truth, sin for righteousness, but His patience and mercy will not always wait. The storm is gathering; the bolts of God’s wrath are soon to fall; and when He shall begin to punish the transgressors there will be no period of respite until the end. He shall come forth “to punish the inhabitants of the earth for their iniquity; the earth also shall disclose her blood, and shall no more cover her slain.” Isaiah 26:21. Only those will stand who are sanctified through the truth in the love of God. They will be hid with Christ in God until the desolation shall be overpast. 9LtMs, Ms 24a, 1894, par. 12

Let no one think that he can escape God’s wrath by hiding behind a lie; for God will strip from the soul the refuge of lies. That refuge for the covering up of sin must now be torn away, in order that poor deluded souls may not sleep on, to their everlasting ruin. Let this work be done with faithfulness and in love. 9LtMs, Ms 24a, 1894, par. 13