Letters and Manuscripts — Volume 10 (1895)


Ms 11, 1895

The Publishing Houses

Norfolk Villa, Prospect St., Granville, N. S. W., Australia

April 10, 1895

Portions of this manuscript are published in 4MR 441; 5MR 454-455; 11MR 77. +Note

God is a God of justice, and yet will men who profess to love God, and to be filled with an all-absorbing zeal for His cause, turn away their brethren from their rights in their business dealing? <Some> seem to forget that <their brethren> are purchased by the blood of the Son of God; and by their unrighteous actions, they withhold from them that which is justly their due. They take the liberty of doing this because they are in positions of responsibility, and <suppose they> have power to say what others shall do. Their characters are becoming manifest, and they reveal the fact that they are moved by the same spirit which prompted the first great deceiver, and yet so blinded are they to their unjust actions, that they regard themselves as doing God’s service in carrying on this kind of business. They have cultivated their business abilities to the disadvantage of their spiritual life; <therefore they are not well-balanced,> and <they> have allowed their sharp dealings to crowd out of their souls the <blended> principles of <righteousness and> justice. They have been burying the eternal interests of their souls. 10LtMs, Ms 11, 1895, par. 1

Some who profess to serve God keep their business apart from their service to God. They say, “Business is business, and religion is religion. We are bound to make that which we handle a success, and therefore we will take advantage of everything possible to promote <this line of work.”> In the publishing house this manner of dealing has been carried out. They use the productions of other men’s brains as if they were the rightful owners of their thoughts <and God-intrusted talents.> They so arrange the publication of books that the authors of them <shall be> very meagerly benefitted by the results of the talents which God has given them. This is the very class of work that has been done by men in the Review and Herald Office, <and there has not been a voice of sufficient influence to prevail against this devising.> I must continue to present the painful facts to you, whether you will hear, or whether you will forbear. The masterly, selfish way in which you have managed is an abhorrence to God. 10LtMs, Ms 11, 1895, par. 2

<Some> have interwoven selfishness with <their> work for years, and because of this, have misrepresented the character of our Redeemer and have walked contrary to His holy standard of righteousness. The counsels of selfish men have been permitted to prevail, and you have dealt unjustly with your brethren in business matters; but every unjust transaction is written in the books of heaven. We may well ask, How may I so keep on the alert as to avoid being deceived? <How shall I> conduct myself that sharpers may not take advantage of me? It becomes a serious question as to how we shall maintain Christianity in the marketplace and in business transactions when we have to deal with men who are so little influenced by principles of truth. Truly the time has come when, “justice is fallen in the streets, and equity cannot enter, and he that departeth from evil maketh himself a prey.” [Isaiah 59:14, 15.] 10LtMs, Ms 11, 1895, par. 3

Are the unjust methods that have been followed in harmony with the will of God? No; they are due to the perversity of men that work contrary to the lessons that Jesus Christ has given in plain, and positive language. The fact is that worldly-spirited men are handling the work of God. They are selfish in spirit, and it has been their practice to grasp and to amass all the means possible for the interest in which they were absorbed. In their devotion to business interests they forget their accountability to God, who is their owner both by creation and by redemption. 10LtMs, Ms 11, 1895, par. 4

They close the lids of the Bible after reading the instruction contained therein, and go about their work as though the Lord had not said, “Thou shalt,” and “Thou shalt not.” They are represented as hearers of the Word, but not doers of it. They are not Christlike, for the Christlike worker is not a one-sided, but is a whole-sided and symmetrically developed <man.> 10LtMs, Ms 11, 1895, par. 5

The Lord has written that which will make businessmen Christlike workers if they will but put it into practice. He says, “Be ye kindly affectioned one to another, with brotherly love; in honor preferring one another; not slothful in business; fervent in spirit; serving the Lord.” [Romans 12:10, 11.] 10LtMs, Ms 11, 1895, par. 6

The businessman is not to serve his own faulty disposition, and act according to his own unsanctified, ungoverned impulses. He is to let the religion of the Bible pervade his business, and transact all his affairs after God’s methods. He is to represent to the world the manner in which the Lord would conduct business enterprises, and manage everything in such a way as to make manifest that God is his teacher. This will bring true success. Count it not success, count it not a blessing, if through unjust business management thousands upon thousands of dollars are added to your capital. If one dollar is gained by turning aside a stranger from his right, it is not a successful business venture. Increase of property is a curse to any kind of business if not obtained by justice and equity and in keeping the way of the Lord. <God will curse the increase obtained unjustly.> 10LtMs, Ms 11, 1895, par. 7

Of His people the Lord said, “Ye are the salt of the earth.” That is, you are the element that will preserve the earth from utter corruption of principle. The Saviour continued, “But if the salt have lost its savor wherewith shall it be salted? It is thenceforth good for nothing but to be cast out, and to be trodden under foot of men.” [Matthew 5:13.] In the illustration of the savorless salt, Christ gives a picture of those who profess to know the truth, yet in their words deny the truth. While they have a form of godliness, they know not its <saving> power. Salt that has not the elements by which to preserve from corruption, retains its form, and has the appearance of salt; but it is valueless. So it is with those who preserve the form of godliness, but do not manifest the living principles of truth in their life practices. 10LtMs, Ms 11, 1895, par. 8

Our words, our course of action, our precept and example testify before angels and men whether or not the saving quality and value of truth is in us. The Saviour said, “By their fruits ye shall know them.” [Matthew 7:20.] Christ says, “Ye are the light of the world.” [Matthew 5:14.] Christians are not to merge their ways into the ways of the world <so that the line between righteousness and wrong-doing is not discernible.> They are to sow the seed of heavenly principles in their spirit and practices. They are to stand as distinct from the world as Christ has said they should be. He has represented them thus: “A city that is set on an hill cannot be hid. Neither do men light a candle, and put it under a bushel, but on a candlestick that it giveth light to all that are in the house. Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven.” [Verses 14-16.] 10LtMs, Ms 11, 1895, par. 9

If simple truth is practiced by those who profess to be followers of Christ, they will shine as lights of heaven amid the moral darkness of the world. They will reveal the difference that there is between the principles of heaven and the principles of the world. They will show that the principles of heaven are full of justice and equity, of mercy and love. <They must practice the principles of heaven here on earth if they would become members of the royal family in heaven. Christ’s life in our world was to furnish a representation in His own character of the supreme excellence of God’s character. His words were to give life, [that] by His words and deeds that they might have a true conception of His character.> Christians are never for one moment to forget that they are to be followers of Christ <in all things.> 10LtMs, Ms 11, 1895, par. 10

There are many who regard the wisdom of the world as of great value, but God does not so regard it. He says, “I will destroy the wisdom of the wise, and bring to nothing the understanding of the prudent ... Because the foolishness of God is wiser than men; and the weakness of God is stronger than men. For ye see your calling, brethren, how that not many wise men after the flesh, not many mighty, not many noble, are called: but God hath chosen the foolish things of the world to confound the wise; and God hath chosen the weak things of the world to confound the things which are mighty; and base things of the world, and things which are despised, hath God chosen, yea, and things which are not, to bring to naught things that are: that no flesh should glory in His presence. But of him are ye in Christ Jesus, who of God is made unto us wisdom, and righteousness, and sanctification, and redemption: that, according as it is written, he that glorieth, let him glory in the Lord.” [1 Corinthians 1:19, 25-31.] 10LtMs, Ms 11, 1895, par. 11

The God of justice witnesses every unjust proceeding. He works counter to the plans of men who would oppress others, in order to save His heritage from suffering. He looks upon the purchase of the blood of Christ with tender solicitude, and will not sanction any course of injustice toward them. Men who profess to be Christians, and who <treat a child of God or> the work of God <in any department> in an unrighteous manner are bearing false witness against the character of a holy, wise and merciful God. They make God to serve with their sins. The intellect, the ability, that has been <given> of God is for the purpose of working righteousness, yet men pervert the gifts of God, and make them instruments by which they deal out injustice to their fellow men. Any one who shall be a party in the councils where men make unjust plans, and who gives consent to their plans by silence is a partaker of the guilt that such plans bring upon their transactors. 10LtMs, Ms 11, 1895, par. 12

Either men serve the Lord by co-operating with Him, by wearing the yoke of Christ, by dealing faithfully [with] their fellow men, or they sin against Him by dishonoring Him and misrepresenting His character. Eli sinned by permitting his own sons to work wickedness. He was a judge in Israel, and holding this position, he had authority to correct them, and to abolish their injustice and iniquity. He did not actually commit the sins that his sons were guilty of; <he reproved them; but he made himself a partner in their guilt; <for by allowing them to go on in sin, he> swerved from loyalty to the principles of truth and equity. Those who become partakers of sin by giving consent to evil doers share the guilt of the transactors of wrong. Whether a course of injustice is practiced in the world, in mere worldly business or in connection with the cause of God, it brings dishonor upon God, bears false witness concerning His character; and God will judge for these things. 10LtMs, Ms 11, 1895, par. 13

He who is a party in consenting to the least injustice degrades his own moral nature. However high may be his position, however exalted may be his profession, he by consenting to injustice, he degrades his character, and develops the attributes of Satan. Men take what they <may> call petty advantages of others, <and pride themselves on their sharpness;> they utilize their brain power or physical energies to their own advantage <in the line of work where they serve,> and though this passes in the world almost without a rebuke, it is an offense to the Holy One. The only way in which we shall be safe is in keeping the commandments of God, with all the heart, mind, might, and soul, and strength. The only way that we shall be enabled to take the right course is by taking God’s way, by conforming to God’s standard, in place of conforming to the practices, maxims, and policies of the world. 10LtMs, Ms 11, 1895, par. 14

Contemplation of God’s holiness, justice, and truth should enable us to repress that which is unprincipled, and to encourage that which is pure and noble in our dealings one with another. When men serve God with all their power, they will be enabled to deal justly with their fellow men. They will follow the instruction of the apostle, “Whatsoever ye do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus.” [Colossians 3:17.] Such will take the Word of God for their standard. They will have reverence toward God; they will walk in meekness and lowliness and true holiness, manifesting in their practices the principles of the true standard of righteousness—God’s holy law. 10LtMs, Ms 11, 1895, par. 15

Every soul must serve God individually. No one is to sink his identity in some other man’s individuality. Each one is to preserve his own individuality, serving not man, but recognizing the fact that Christ is his Master, and that he is responsible to Him in every relation of life. The talents that God has given to His human agents are to be used for His glory, <to be returned to God with increase,> and no man or set of men is to absorb and control every element that God would have brought into His work, <for they have not the wisdom of God.> Each individual is to be an instrument of God, to act a part in the great work of God in the earth. Each one is to understand for himself the will of God, and to settle what is the best use that he can make of the ability God has given him. 10LtMs, Ms 11, 1895, par. 16

None of our institutions are endowed with power to control the ability of human agents, neither are they to appropriate the income that should justly come to these agents as they trade upon the talents entrusted to their use. <They are responsible to God for this.> Because they work in connection with the cause <of God> is no reason why they should be dealt with in an unfair manner. It would be just as fair for the conference or publishing institutions to take the income of a man who possesses houses and lands, as for them to take the avails that come from the working of <another man’s> brain. There is no justice in appropriating a large share of the income that is brought into the office through the work an author, on the plea that this person receives wages for his daily work; and therefore they reason that his thoughts, his powers of soul, body and spirit, belong to the institution that pays him for his work. 10LtMs, Ms 11, 1895, par. 17

The publishing institution and conference are working upon wrong lines. You are determined to control the productions of God’s agents to whom He has given talents to trade upon. Unless they accede to your propositions, you make it as hard as possible for them. You show them no mercy; but rather oppress them. This is simply what you are doing. I must speak and bring out these things before the conference. 10LtMs, Ms 11, 1895, par. 18

You have exalted some of your brethren to high positions of trust and formed a confederacy among yourselves; but God has declared He will break it up and bring it to naught. When those who form this confederacy have occasion to change their ideas and plans, then some who have united with them in the confederacy, who do not harmonize with their ideas and their changed course of action, lose their friendship for them. Untruthful representations are made of their course, and the true spirit that actuates both parties is developed by circumstances that occur. At last it is revealed how much dependence we can place in some men who are holding responsible positions, when in any way we are out of harmony with their ideas. When out of harmony with them, they bend their energies to seek out <in us> every spot and stain, to point out every inconsistency, and to make small things appear as great things. <They falsify.> 10LtMs, Ms 11, 1895, par. 19

They speak words, they do deeds, that if they were related in a simple, clear manner to a little child, the child would unquestionably say, “They have spoken falsely, they have done evil.” But instead of calling their sins by the right name, <men> speak of them in very gentle and moderate phrases. They gloss over their unjust actions in business lines. <God keeps a record of every> inconsistency, <every> fraudulent practice, <which is> robbery and over-reaching. Yet if permitted, if justified in such a course by their brethren, they would <cultivate the spirit that would> sell their Lord as did Judas. Is this contagious influence of sin to increase and spread like the leprosy? Shall men mislead and exert an influence that will taint and corrupt <presidents of conferences by sharp, double dealing,> and go on in an evil course, as did Judas, scarcely realizing what the end will be? The leprosy of sin will taint and corrupt the whole <institution.> 10LtMs, Ms 11, 1895, par. 20

Unless religion is brought into the heart-temple, we shall not be placed in the position to guard against all conniving and deceptive practices. Unless Christlike principles are enthroned within, they are of no value to those who profess to have a knowledge of them. Let every soul say, “I must set an example in righteousness.” Instead of grinding down those whom I fancy to be in my power on account of my position, I must encourage principles of integrity and mercy. <If I err, it would be better to err on the side of mercy.> I must deal with my brethren as Christ would deal with them. I must not make them dependent upon my will; <my voice must not control;> but <I must> urge them to place dependence upon God. I am simply His steward to work for their present and eternal interest, and to seek to promote them in every work that will make them useful in the cause of God. 10LtMs, Ms 11, 1895, par. 21

“Instead of gathering means into the treasury, by the sacrifice of my conscience and by the injury of souls, I must honor all men as my brethren. I must honor them as God’s property.” This is the principle that should be followed, and it will not weaken the cause, but will strengthen, build up, elevate <and ennoble> all those who would be workers together with God. <They can say with Christ, “I have manifested thy name. I have glorified thee on the earth.”> [John 17:6, 4.] It will aid them to consecrate their ability, and <to> labor unselfishly in the cause of God. 10LtMs, Ms 11, 1895, par. 22

There are lessons to be learned by men who are connected with the work of God. They should learn these lessons and be less self-sufficient. They should fear and tremble. They should put from them the iron determination which they have cultivated in dealing with others. I would say to all, whether in high or lowly positions, Do not fear <or envy> these men who manifest this selfish, masterly spirit. By the mandate of heaven they <may> be placed in similar circumstances to those of Nebuchadnezzar, and in a moment of time be deprived of their <health or> reason. God is a living God, and will tolerate no confederacy in connection with His cause. He will break up these unholy unions which breed only distemper. 10LtMs, Ms 11, 1895, par. 23

<Every man> is under the control of the great “I am.” [Exodus 3:14.] His laws must be respected, and men who follow Christ will remember that Jesus has said, “All ye are brethren.” [Matthew 23:8.] He who sees the end from the beginning will bring order out of confusion. He will do justice and judgment. The prophet says, “I have seen the wicked in great power, and spreading himself like a green bay tree. Yet he passed away, and, lo, he was not: yea, I sought him, but he could not be found. Mark the perfect man, and behold the upright; for the end of that man is peace. But the transgressors shall be destroyed together; the end of the wicked shall be cut off.” [Psalm 37:35-38.] 10LtMs, Ms 11, 1895, par. 24

Brethren, what was it that led some of our number to question the benefit of organization? The matter has been opened before me, and the reason was that they feared to see so much power vested in unsanctified hands. It was a foreboding that just such a condition as has come about would exist. <We may well fear a disastrous reaction.> There must be a decided change. Men must be converted or as long as they hold power they will use it to oppress their brethren. If not converted, they must be removed. Few can read the evil that grows out of this perplexity. We shall have to call upon all our brethren to take this matter into consideration unless some change is made. 10LtMs, Ms 11, 1895, par. 25

Increased knowledge of truth has not worked to sanctify many who have professed to receive it; but as it has been presented, they have resisted the message and refused the messengers whom God has chosen. Evidence was heaped upon evidence to show that God had sent light to His people, and yet it took years for some to discern the fact. They tried oppressive plans, and sought to bind about religious liberty, and to trammel the work according to their own varied human ideas. 10LtMs, Ms 11, 1895, par. 26

We thank the Lord that a large number of those who thought that they had the great wisdom of God when they sought to put a bit and bridle upon His servants have been convinced of their error. But it was this spirit that made <some> afraid of organization. Others have not clearly and fully seen the sin of resisting the work of God, and have not confessed their mistakes, and the evil seed that they have sown still lives. Those who have not acknowledged their course of long resistance to the clear light of heaven, are still unchanged in heart. Through these brethren the enemy finds an open door to hearts prepared for his temptations. They have not seen the wrong of resisting light; they entertain temptations and enter into dangerous plans and methods, supposing, <in their spiritual blindness,> that they are working for the advantage of the cause. <They present, as did Nadab and Abihu, strange fire in the place of the sacred fier of God’s own kindling.> 10LtMs, Ms 11, 1895, par. 27

It is essential that correct principles in business lines should be laid before the whole body of Seventh-day Adventists. I am instructed that this should have been done years ago. Our brethren and sisters are not to be led on blindfolded, not knowing what movements will next take place. If we are not in earnest in remedying this evil at the heart of the work, we shall give occasion to those who have been agitating the danger of organization to justify themselves in their positions. The present attitude of our institutions is not of God’s ordering. It would be dangerous to consolidate all our institutions under one head at Battle Creek and let one institution control all the others. This would prove a curse. The Lord has not designed that Battle Creek should control all these instrumentalities. 10LtMs, Ms 11, 1895, par. 28

Elder Olsen has had a hard time, and he is <in danger of falling> under the burden, unless our brethren wake up, and unless we have reliable men connected with him who know what it is to be daily converted, and who will be <contrite of heart, that God can communicate to them> [that they may be] channels of light, standing as faithful sentinels to preserve integrity at the heart of the work. 10LtMs, Ms 11, 1895, par. 29

Hearts are controlled by anti-Christian principles that strive for the mastery; but God will have a people that will not follow their own unsanctified imaginings, but will follow the Lamb whithersoever He goeth. God has permitted things to develop in order that principles of truth and righteousness might be presented in a more decided manner, that some might obtain a valuable experience which will benefit them in all future time. Some have obtained this experience, but others have not cleared their souls from the deceptive, defiling working of the enemy. When temptations come upon them, the fibers of the roots of bitterness spring again into life, and thereby many are defiled. 10LtMs, Ms 11, 1895, par. 30

Those who have not received the great light that God has given during the last few years, who have not freed their souls from unbelief, jealousy, and evil surmising, need not look for additional evidence. They will have difficult work to divest themselves of the attributes of the destroyer. Some of these, if they do not turn square about, will be channels through which Satan will communicate his deceptive, misleading principles. 10LtMs, Ms 11, 1895, par. 31

The Spirit of the Lord still strives with all His people, and even these men have impulses for good. Let them cherish these good impulses, and take heed lest they forever grieve away the Spirit of God. Let those who have for years been handling matters connected with the work of God review their transactions, and diligently search, as with a lighted candle, the motives and principles that have actuated them, lest the irrevocable sentence be pronounced to them as to the Jewish nation, “O that thou hadst known, even thou in this thy day, the things that belong unto thy peace! but now they are hid from thine eyes.” [Luke 19:42.] 10LtMs, Ms 11, 1895, par. 32