Letters and Manuscripts — Volume 10 (1895)
Lt 75, 1895
Tait, A. O.
Granville, N. S. W., Australia
June 10, 1895
Elder A. O. Tait
Review and Herald
Battle Creek, Michigan, U. S. A.
I have received your letter in regard to royalty on books. You seem to be perplexed over this question. Will you counsel with Elder Olsen? I have written to him fully, I think, in regard to the matter. And in Testimony No. 33 [Testimonies, Vol. 5] you will find the subject plainly presented. What more can you have? The great burden with some of our brethren here in regard to the matter of royalty is not inspired of God. The Holy Spirit does not move upon men in this way. If those who are so zealous in regard to the royalties on books had been as deeply anxious and troubled in regard to their selfish acceptance of means which they no more earned than did many others, who were receiving limited wages, had they, in all its bearings, heeded the light which the Lord has given in regard to the practice of self-denial and the maintaining of the principles that characterized the work and the workmen in the establishment of the Review Office, their attitude would appear more consistent. 10LtMs, Lt 75, 1895, par. 1
The policy that dictated the payment of large wages is not inspired of God and has not His sanction or favor. It was born in selfishness, and lives in selfishness. The great burden over royalties proceeds largely from the selfishness of the human heart, from the spirit of avarice which should have no place in your business transactions. The representations made in regard to the matter of royalty may confuse minds. This has been done already, but the Lord who deals justly, who loves mercy, whose ways are equal, will not sanction the devising of men whose discernment is not clear, whose ways are not equal, who would selfishly grasp for themselves all that it is possible in the line of wages, while they would oppress others. These things will one day be seen in their true bearing. 10LtMs, Lt 75, 1895, par. 2
Many movements are being made that spring from the finite wisdom of men, but not from the wisdom of Him who is unerring. The Lord is our Judge, the Lord is our Lawgiver, the Lord is our King, and men in every position of trust are to be ruled by Him. While they should guard every soul as God’s purchased possession, and prevent oppression on the one hand, they should also manifest unselfishness in all their dealings, and practice self-denial, ever giving heed to the words of the Lord, “All ye are brethren.” [Matthew 23:8.] The Lord God is our Ruler, His laws are to be brought into our practical life, and especially are they to rule our institutions. 10LtMs, Lt 75, 1895, par. 3
The day is near when every hidden thing will be revealed. “Let us hear the conclusion of the whole matter: Fear God, and keep his commandments; for this is the whole duty of man. For God shall bring every work into judgment, with every secret thing, whether it be good or whether it be evil.” [Ecclesiastes 12:13, 14.] “Judgment will I also lay to the line, and righteousness to the plummet; and the hail shall sweep away the refuge of lies, and the waters shall overflow the hiding place.” [Isaiah 28:17.] 10LtMs, Lt 75, 1895, par. 4
The laws which we should obey are enacted by our Father in heaven; they are wise and just and good; for they come from Him whose heart is love. His blessing will always attend those who have a vital connection with Him who administers and with those who obey them. The combined power of authority and love will have an influence like a heavenly current in all our institutions when they are managed by men who not only administer the holy principles of God’s law, but obey them with a perfect heart. In the ten commandments the Holy One who inhabiteth eternity has given to all men the principles of His character. These are the rules for the guidance of all—men, women, and children—in all their transactions. Those holy rules are to be taught to the children, and to form the standard of all dealing with one another. From this standard there can be no sinless swerving. 10LtMs, Lt 75, 1895, par. 5
The first principle of holiness is to learn the will of God, and to do it with all the heart. Let men in responsible positions consider to a purpose that there is not one rule of action for the men in authority and another for the class who are expected to submit to their decisions; not one rule for the director, and another for the supposed inferiors. I say supposed, for many who are treated as inferiors are men whose principles and course of action are such as heaven approves. They may be regarded as inferior in this world of iniquity, of semblance and sham; but in the sight of God they are counted more precious than gold, though it be tried with fire; they shall be found unto praise, and honor, and glory at the appearing of Jesus Christ. The true learners of Christ, combining faith and truth and righteousness in their life practice, will keep the way of the Lord; there will be no conniving in selfish practices. Every path that God has not marked out for men to pursue is that of the destroyer. 10LtMs, Lt 75, 1895, par. 6
I have risen a long while before day to write these words, for I see a great deal that needs to be done in heart and practice for men in authority who are very officious to make laws and restrictions for others, while they themselves do not obey the law of God. They will learn sometime that there is prosperity and happiness in no other path than the way of the Lord. Man’s reason may be obscured, the conscience seared by long practice in their own way, but it is not a way of peace or security. Wherever the peace of God reigns in the heart, there is the tenderness and love of Christ. 10LtMs, Lt 75, 1895, par. 7
I think I need not again present the subject of royalty before your councils. I shall ever stand where I now stand, because it is in the counsel of God. Men may haggle over this business, and bring it to the front, but their man-made laws will be of little use. They may oppress; those who have authority may continue the work of seeking to bring men to their terms or cut off every resource; by their representations and the power of their will they may make it hard and hopeless for others to stand in their God-given sense of right; but bear in mind that God will judge for these things, and that day is not far distant. The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom. I shall bear my testimony as long as God shall spare my life, and should I fall by death, I shall leave my testimony clear and decided against every approach to oppression. Battle Creek cannot manage the world. 10LtMs, Lt 75, 1895, par. 8