Letters and Manuscripts — Volume 11 (1896)

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Manuscripts

Ms 1, 1896

Concerning the Auditing Committee

Avondale, Cooranbong, New South Wales, Australia

January 12, 1896

Previously unpublished.

“Take heed, brethren, lest there be in any of you an evil heart of unbelief in departing from the living God. But exhort one another daily, while it is called today; lest any of you be hardened through the deceitfulness of sin. For we are made partakers of Christ, if we hold the beginning of our confidence steadfast unto the end; while it is said, Today if ye will hear his voice, harden not your hearts, as in the provocation. For some, when they had heard, did provoke: howbeit not all that came out of Egypt by Moses. But with whom was he grieved forty years? Was it not with them that had sinned, whose carcasses fell in the wilderness? And to whom sware he that they should not enter into his rest, but to them that believe not? So we see that they could not enter in because of unbelief.” [Hebrews 3:12-19.] 11LtMs, Ms 1, 1896, par. 1

Many of the Auditing Committee have not been men wise concerning the things which they were handling. Wrong decisions have been made. Those who were counted worthy to hold forth the Word of life and minister to souls ready to perish, deserve different treatment to that which they have received. The Auditing Committee has not always tried, with most humble prayer for guidance, to act in every case toward the servants of Jesus Christ as they would to the person of Christ, or as they themselves would wish to be treated. But said Christ, “inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me.” [Matthew 25:40.] 11LtMs, Ms 1, 1896, par. 2

It is a very serious matter that men, by the word of their own mouth, and some in a hardened, sangfroid manner, have decided what means shall go to the workers in the field. If a worker has been unfortunate enough to make a mistake or to incur the displeasure of the men sitting in judgment upon these matters, words are spoken in disparagement that do not give the one accused a fair chance to explain himself. Hasty decisions are made, and the discouragement brought to the mind by these things, is not small. 11LtMs, Ms 1, 1896, par. 3

But as the workers are scattered, and no one goes to their homes to inquire in regard to these matters, the brethren are entirely ignorant as to the result of their decisions. Some few, who have had the courage to protest, have been treated in a discourteous and an arbitrary, overbearing manner. It cannot be said of the men who have acted thus, as the unholy scribe said of Jesus, “Master, we know that thou art true, and carest for no man: for thou regardest not the person of men, but teachest the way of God in truth.” [Mark 12:14.] 11LtMs, Ms 1, 1896, par. 4

I will give you a chapter in my experience. We have found it necessary to build a home, and have hired carpenters, painters, and others to do the several portions of the work. The master workman [receives] two dollars per day, working eight hours only. As soon as the eight hours are over, the tools are laid aside, and work ceases. These men do not receive according to the amount of work done, but according to the hours worked. If a man is not an apt, quick workman, but loiters over his work, that is the loss of the one who pays him. Another may be a much quicker workman, showing that he has intellect and can use it; his aptitude and correct judgment may be a treasure to him and a satisfaction to his employer, but he may receive only the same wage. After the week’s work is done, and payment made, the amount of work done has nothing to do with the sum received. A slow, unprofitable man never thinks it his duty to make up for his want of sharp thought, but receives his pay as his right. 11LtMs, Ms 1, 1896, par. 5

These men have not the burden of dealing with human minds. Senseless timber and building materials are all they are dealing with. They can hammer just as hard and loud and energetically as they please, and it hurts not the soulless material. But God’s shepherds, who are to watch as well as labor for souls, as they that must give account, cannot work in this way. The chosen missionary must go forth under all circumstances, moving his family from place to place, from country to country. This moving is expensive; for this one move has cost us above $125. In order to exert a good influence, this wife of a missionary must set a proper example in neat and tidy dress. Her children must be educated and trained with much painstaking effort; for everything must be made to tell in missionary lines. The laborer who represents Christ must dress plainly and yet properly, as becoming a minister of Christ. 11LtMs, Ms 1, 1896, par. 6

The ministers of our conferences cannot say that they have a home, for they are sometimes in this country, and sometimes in that. The people for whom they labor are poor; but Christ came to preach the gospel to the poor, for He says, “The Spirit of the Lord God is upon me; because the Lord hath anointed me to preach good tidings unto the meek; he hath sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prison to them that are bound; to proclaim the acceptable year of the Lord, and the day of vengeance of our God; to comfort them that mourn; to appoint unto them that mourn in Zion, to give unto them beauty for ashes, the oil of joy for mourning, the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness; that they might be called trees of righteousness, the planting of the Lord that he might be glorified.” [Isaiah 61:1-3.] This is the work the Lord’s shepherds are required to do. Money is consumed in travelling from place to place, in settling and unsettling every few months, in buying household goods and selling them or venturing transportation. The entire family have no release from their efforts, for they must always appear cheerful and fresh, that they may bring sunshine into the minds of those who need help. 11LtMs, Ms 1, 1896, par. 7

The question has been asked me, “Are you employed by the Conference?” I am. “How many hours do you give?” Hours? God’s servants keep no records of hours. We think not of counting our labor by hours. We must be ready in season and out of season to speak to this young man and that young woman, to write letters to those in peril, and to hold interviews requiring the most earnest, anxious labor, praying for and with the erring and the tempted. 11LtMs, Ms 1, 1896, par. 8

My practice is to rise at three o’clock a.m. and write twelve or fifteen pages for the papers before my breakfast. Those who write, as well as talk the truth, have double labor. The eight hour system finds no place in the program of the minister of God. He must watch his chance to minister; he must be ready to entertain visitors <and feed them.> He must keep up life and energy of character; for he cannot exert a pleasing, saving influence if he is languid. If he occupies responsible positions, he must be prepared to attend board and council meetings, spending hours of wearisome brain and nerve taxing labor, while others are asleep, in devising and planning with his co-laborers. Who among God’s workers counts his hours of labor as do mechanics. Yet, this kind of labor taxes the mind and draws upon every fibre of the being in such a way as the common laborer cannot appreciate. “When do you find opportunity to throw off care and responsibility?” I am asked, and I answer, “At no period of time can I lay down the burden.” 11LtMs, Ms 1, 1896, par. 9

I wish my brethren to take this as a representation of the truth, and no fiction. Those who have a due appreciation of service are God’s minutemen, and must say with Isaiah, “Also I heard the voice of the Lord, saying, Whom shall I send, and who will go for us? Then said I, Here am I; send me.” [Isaiah 6:8.] Those who are laborers together with God must ever consider the duties devolving upon a gospel minister. 11LtMs, Ms 1, 1896, par. 10

He cannot say, I am my own; I will do what I please with my time. No one who has given His life to God to work as His minister, lives unto himself. His work is to follow Christ, to yoke up with Christ, and to be a willing agent and co-worker with the Master, receiving His Spirit day by day, and working as Christ worked, neither failing nor being discouraged. He is chosen of God as a faithful instrument to promote missionary work in all lands, and must ponder well the path he travels. 11LtMs, Ms 1, 1896, par. 11

Will my brethren consider these things which the Lord has brought before my mind in a most impressive manner? Will those who have never carried the burden of such work, and who suppose that the chosen and faithful ministers of God have an easy time, bear in mind that the sentinels of God are on duty constantly? Their labor is not measured by hours. When their accounts are audited, if selfish men shall, with voice or stroke of pen, limit the worker in his wages, <which they have no right to do in justice,> they discourage and depress him. 11LtMs, Ms 1, 1896, par. 12

Every minister must have a margin to work upon, that he may have something with which to lead out in good enterprises, building churches and advancing the cause of God in every line, pushing the work with zeal, and laying up in store for themselves a good foundation against the time to come, that they may lay hold on eternal life. “For I the Lord love judgment, I hate robbery for burnt offerings.” [Isaiah 61:8.] And He tells us, “Thou shalt not muzzle the ox that treadeth out the corn.” [1 Timothy 5:18.] This is a figure of those who work under the eye of God to advance His cause in lifting the minds of men from the contemplation of earthly things to heaven. These God loves, and He would have men respect their rights. 11LtMs, Ms 1, 1896, par. 13

Organization is a good thing, but I have the word of the Lord plain and decisive that all who see the necessity of organization must themselves become an example by being organized, and carrying out to the letter the principles of organization in their life practice. It means a great deal to be missionaries in heart and voice and action. Organization, carried out in the life as God means it shall be, brings to every soul who is engaged in the work of God a submission to the divine will of God. It leads them to give themselves to God, to be worked by His Holy Spirit. Any who suppose that it does not mean this are no longer to stand in responsible positions, having voice to control in the great closing work for these last days. 11LtMs, Ms 1, 1896, par. 14

A zeal, not at all after the likeness of Christ, not at all after His Word, has been manifested by men who are not in subjection to God, to bring their fellow men into subjection to their plans and ideas. But the meek and lowly Jesus is our Pattern. He had all self-denial, all subjection to God, and yet all the ambition of a conqueror. He longs to extend His sway over every human mind; but O, how unlike the meekness of His Spirit is the spirit of men placed in positions of power by their fellow men. Christ longs to manifest His grace and stamp His character and image, upon the whole world. He was offered the kingdoms of this world, by the one who revolted in heaven, to buy His homage to the principles of evil, but He would not be bought. Satan knew that if he could not overthrow Christ with his masterly temptations, he would lose all he had tried to gain in heaven—to be first and have absolute authority. 11LtMs, Ms 1, 1896, par. 15

The world’s Redeemer hungered and thirsted for sympathy and co-operation, that His kingdom might extend and embrace the whole world. He bought the whole earthly territory; it is His purchased inheritance, and He would have men free and pure and holy as the character of God. For the joy that was set before Him He endured the cross and despised the shame. His earthly pilgrimage of toil and self-sacrifice was cheered by the prospect that He would not have all this travail for nought, but would win back the world to its loyalty to God by giving His life for the life of the world. And there are triumphs yet to be accomplished through the blood shed for the world that will bring everlasting glory to God and to the Lamb. The heathen will be given Him for His inheritance, and the uttermost parts of the earth for His possession. Christ will not be satisfied till His victory is complete. He will see the travail of His soul and be satisfied. 11LtMs, Ms 1, 1896, par. 16

But those who care for the glory of Jesus Christ will not swell themselves into large proportions, as some have done in connection with the cause and work of God. Their course has been one which hurts and wounds the forces. They work after the line in which the great deceiver has worked since he fell. They would not submit to be ruled and controlled by the Holy Spirit, but have had the spirit of forcing everything to their own ideas, when their brethren in the faith were conscientiously seeking to share the sympathy of Christ and rejoicing in the success of Christ’s work. These men must be converted or their hands will slip off the work, and they, who so eagerly and selfishly sought to work others, will be last. 11LtMs, Ms 1, 1896, par. 17