Letters and Manuscripts — Volume 11 (1896)


Lt 49a, 1896

Workers in the Echo Office


September 1896

Portions of this letter are published in SD 15, 33, 34; 13MR 362-363.

To the Workers in the Echo Office:

There has been in the publishing house at North Fitzroy a condition of things difficult to describe so that all connected with the institution may understand. The Lord has declared that He will overturn and overturn, until the hearts of those connected with the office are purified, or the workers separated from the office. Some of the workers have had no real sense that this institution is one of the Lord’s instrumentalities for the advancement of His work. They have not realized that the Lord has established consecrated centers through which He manifests light to the world. 11LtMs, Lt 49a, 1896, par. 1

A Lesson from Israel

I will call your minds to the account of the wonderful deliverance of the children of Israel, by the passage made for them through the Red Sea and the drowning of Pharaoh and his host of warriors. “The Lord saved Israel that day out of the hand of the Egyptians; and Israel saw the Egyptians dead upon the sea shore. And Israel saw that great work which the Lord did upon the Egyptians: and the people feared the Lord, and believed the Lord, and his servant Moses.” [Exodus 14:30, 31.] Then the beautiful song recorded in the fifteenth chapter of Exodus was chanted. The voices of the people rang out over the waters of the Red Sea in glorious triumph. 11LtMs, Lt 49a, 1896, par. 2

But soon their faith was tested. The Lord would know how much He could depend on His people to be true and loyal to Him. They went three days journey into the wilderness, and found no water. “And when they came to Marah, they could not drink of the waters of Marah: for they were bitter.” Did the people then show their faith in God, because of the evidence they had received that Christ, wrapped in the fold of the cloud, that His glory might not destroy them, was leading them in person? “The people murmured against Moses, saying, What shall we drink?” [Verses 23, 24.] Instead of trusting and fearing the Lord, believing in Him under apparently discouraging circumstances, they cast reflections upon their leader. So people act in this generation. Satan’s plan of temptation is always the same. While everything moves prosperously, men think that they have faith. But when suffering, disaster, or disappointment comes, they lose heart. A faith that is dependent on circumstances and surroundings, that lives only when everything goes smoothly, is not a genuine faith. 11LtMs, Lt 49a, 1896, par. 3

In his trouble, Moses cried to the Lord. This is what the children of Israel, so recently delivered, ought to have done. The Lord heard the cry of His servant, against whom the people had said so many bitter things. He showed Moses a tree, “which when he had cast into the waters, the waters were made sweet.” It was not the virtue of the tree that turned the bitter water to sweet; it was the power of Him who was enshrouded in the pillar of cloud, the One who can do all things. “There he made for them a statute and an ordinance, and there he proved them, and said, If thou wilt diligently hearken to the voice of the Lord thy God, and wilt do that which is right in his sight, and wilt give ear to his commandments and keep all his statutes, I will put none of these diseases upon thee, which I have brought upon the Egyptians; for I am the Lord that healeth thee.” [Verses 25, 26.] 11LtMs, Lt 49a, 1896, par. 4

“And they came to Elim, where were twelve wells of water, and three score and ten palm trees. And they encamped there by the waters.” [Verse 27.] Did the people then appreciate and acknowledge God’s blessings? Were their hearts filled with gratitude and thanksgiving to Him? Did they have a praise service, as when they stood on the banks of the Red Sea? We have no evidence that their faith was strengthened by God’s mercy and grace and love toward them. 11LtMs, Lt 49a, 1896, par. 5

So it is with the people of God today. We do not acknowledge God’s mercy, love, and care; we do not appreciate His great goodness toward us. Our hearts are full of complaint. We do not think of his painstaking efforts in our behalf. Our eyes are not open to see His great love. 11LtMs, Lt 49a, 1896, par. 6

When trial comes to prove us, when we cannot see an increase of prosperity and comfort before us, but a probable lessening of these things, when there is a pressure necessitation sacrifice on the part of all, how shall we receive Satan’s insinuations that we are going to have a hard time, that everything is going to pieces, that there is sore trouble ahead of us? If we listen to these suggestions, unbelief in God will spring up. We ought to believe that God has always had a care for His people and His institutions. We ought to look at the work He has done, the reforms He has wrought. We ought to gather up the fragments of heaven’s blessings, and tokens for good, saying, “Lord, I believe in Thee, in Thy servants, and in Thy work. I will trust in Thee. Thou hast made this institution a center. It is Thine own instrumentality, and we will not fail nor be discouraged. Thou hast honored me by connecting me with Thine own work. I will keep the way of the Lord to do justice and judgment. I will act well my part by being true to the work of God.” 11LtMs, Lt 49a, 1896, par. 7

The Publishing House a Center of Influence. 11LtMs, Lt 49a, 1896, par. 8

The Echo Office is an institution of the Lord’s appointing. When the workers combine faith and works, there will be no betrayal of sacred responsibilities and holy trusts. There will be no conniving at transgression. There will be no rivalry. It will be revealed to discerning minds that God has His hand upon every branch of the work. 11LtMs, Lt 49a, 1896, par. 9

God is Commander in our offices of publication, and as the workers pass over the threshold to enter their work rooms, they should feel a sacred awe. Angels are in these rooms. Those who have any connection with the service of God should bear themselves with a Christlike dignity, manifesting a Christlike spirit toward superiors, inferiors, and equals. If they are learners in the school of Christ, they will have Christlike manners. There should be no partiality or hypocrisy. The fear of God, the sense of His goodness and holiness, should circulate through the entire institution. “They shall keep the way of the Lord, to do justice and judgment.” [Genesis 18:19.] This should be the standard at all times for the managers and workers in the appointed centers which God has created to vindicate His truth. 11LtMs, Lt 49a, 1896, par. 10

The workers should not strive to follow their own way, for man’s way often leads to disaster and defeat. If the attributes of the great destroyer are cherished, the leaven of disunion, unholy ambition, and ruin will be introduced. Each one is to look to God and believe in God for himself. Work in the Spirit of Christ, in complete unity. Do not ask, What will men think of me? What will the world say? What will best serve my own temporal interests? but, What would the Lord have me to do? What can I do to honor God? How can I use my talents to best glorify His holy name? 11LtMs, Lt 49a, 1896, par. 11

Self is not to be consulted. No rest or happiness is found by wandering from God into paths of our own choosing. The highest standard must be uplifted in every institution that God has established as a center for the diffusion of light. No one should be retained in any one of these institutions who, in a crisis, fails to realize that God’s instrumentalities are sacred. 11LtMs, Lt 49a, 1896, par. 12

A Reform Needed

In our institutions a course of action is being followed that will bring results we little expect. When we crave things that are not for our best good, when we are determined to have our own way, the Lord takes us over paths that are very painful to travel. Let us study the principles set forth in the sixth chapter of John. The Lord Jesus unfolded truths that the priests and rulers, and even many of the disciples did not understand. The Great Teacher knew that these words must be spoken, in order to lead the people to decide for or against Him. It were better that those not of the faith should manifest themselves in a decided manner before His crucifixion, else they would tempt the disciples in their great trial to dishonor their Master. Christ knew that all who were not wholly with Him then would at His trial take a position against Him. Therefore He presented the truths found in this chapter, leading His hearers to reveal the real sentiments of their hearts. 11LtMs, Lt 49a, 1896, par. 13

I speak to those in responsible positions in our publishing houses. You must be led by the Spirit of Christ, else Satan will intrude himself and counterwork the work of God. All do not see that if they are connected with Christ, they will be closely bound together in unity and confidence. Through Christ’s grace those connected with our offices of publication are to show that they are true disciples. “As many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God.” [John 1:12.] It is your privilege to have a power that you do not now possess. All who through grace come to Christ will share His trials, and be partakers of His suffering and rejection. But they will also be partakers of His glory. 11LtMs, Lt 49a, 1896, par. 14

A different sentiment needs to be cherished in our publishing houses. The workers need to realize that the Lord has honored them by giving them exalted duties to perform, and that impulsive motions and fitful actions must be put aside. Those who cannot distinguish between the sacred and the common cannot be trusted as stewards of great responsibilities, for when tempted, they will betray their trust into the hands of the enemy. Those who do not cherish an appreciation of a connection with the work which is under God’s special supervision will never know how to stand when the enemy presents his specious temptations and flattering attractions. They are easily misled by false statements and ambitious projects. If, after the light has been presented to them, they still fail to distinguish right from wrong, the sooner they are disconnected from the office, the purer and more elevated will be the character of the work. 11LtMs, Lt 49a, 1896, par. 15

God has sent trials to His institutions to prove who will stand faithful under the temptation of the enemy. The Lord calls upon all who are connected with His work to draw nigh to Him. Those who have shown themselves ready to listen to the voice of a stranger rather than the voice of God have lost much. They have allowed their hearts to become perverted. But this does not annul one iota of their obligation to God. The burden rests upon them none the less because they have not from the true source gathered strength to bear it. They have loosened their hold on Christ, and have chosen a broken reed on which to lean. They have fallen into Satan’s snare. 11LtMs, Lt 49a, 1896, par. 16

For them there is only one way of escape, and that is to be afraid of themselves, to reject false principles and wrong theories, accepting the invitation, “Come unto me, all ye that labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart, and ye shall find rest unto your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.” [Matthew 11:28-30.] Those who have been leavened by disaffection, have injured their own souls. We hope that they will quickly return to the Lord. Be sure that you have a clear conviction of sin, and then, through earnest prayer and soul-surrender, learn that in Christ alone are found holy aspirations. 11LtMs, Lt 49a, 1896, par. 17

Just before Christ left His disciples, He gave them important lessons. These lessons they did not comprehend, because they were not in accordance with their own ideas and plans. He told them what He must pass through, and how He must suffer many things, and then be crucified. But Peter rebuked Him, saying, “Be it far from thee, Lord: this shall not be unto thee.” Peter had yet to learn that Christ, the Son of God, was the rejected stone, disallowed indeed of men, though chosen of God and precious. Christ exclaimed, “Get thee behind me, Satan; for thou savorest not the things which be of God, but the things which be of men.” [Matthew 16:22, 23.] These words were a rebuke to the tempter. “Get thee behind me, Satan,” Christ said. “Let Me come close to Peter. He must hear My voice.” 11LtMs, Lt 49a, 1896, par. 18

Christ then proceeded to teach His disciples that all who would follow Him, instead of listening to the suggestions of the enemy and the temptation of the natural heart to spare self, and place self first, must educate themselves to practice self-denial and self-renunciation, to lift the cross and follow where Jesus has led the way. One step out of that way, even if it be to gain the world, is no gain. For what is a man profited if he gain the whole world, and lose his own soul? The world sinks into insignificance when compared to a human soul. 11LtMs, Lt 49a, 1896, par. 19

We must unite our interests with Christ, even though it be at a sacrifice. He sacrificed all for us. He gave His riches, His glory, His life, that we might gain immortality. Those who enter upon the work of reform need the help of the Holy Spirit to be self-denying, partaking of Christ’s sufferings that His important mission may be advanced. The age in which we live calls for all the ability, all the talents, that Christ’s followers possess. These abilities and talents come from God, and those to whom they have been given are under obligation to build up God’s centers in this world. 11LtMs, Lt 49a, 1896, par. 20

From these centers the light of truth is to go forth in various ways to those nigh and afar off. If human agents will walk humbly with God, pressing onward and upward, the Lord will use them as channels through which He can communicate light. If they are purged from all selfishness, if they have a continual desire to work for the glory of God, they will receive increased light from the Source of all light. But God cannot connect with those who give evidence that they live to please themselves, to make themselves first. He declares that those who do this will in the end be last of all. 11LtMs, Lt 49a, 1896, par. 21

Those who are faithful in that which is least will be faithful also in much. God will use those who show that they are self-sacrificing. He has not only entrusted much to man in order to test his loyalty, but He has taken him into co-partnership with Himself. By taking human nature, by making it possible for man to partake of the divine nature, and to overcome the world, the flesh, and the devil, through the power God has provided for him, Christ showed the heavenly universe and the unfallen worlds the estimate He places upon the human race. If man does not co-operate with Christ in the work of his own restoration, if he does not employ every faculty of mind, soul, and body in God’s service, that he may be a living channel of light, and reveal the restored image of God, he fails to fulfil God’s purpose. But if he does this, he demonstrates to a fallen world what the grace of God can do through Christ. 11LtMs, Lt 49a, 1896, par. 22

Man is honored by being made a co-partner in God’s firm, by being accepted as a worker in the great centers He has established. Those who are thus privileged to be laborers together with God are not to be self-servers. By appointment, the Lord our Redeemer is heir of God, and those who are co-laborers with Him in the work of saving souls are joint heirs with Him. He is the Substitute and Surety for the human race. He has been anointed as head of the human family. He is our Leader, and all who receive Him by faith are co-laborers with Him in the reformatory work that is to be carried forward and upward to glorious victory. His appointment to human leadership was marked by a life of humiliation, self-denial, and self-sacrifice; and to such a life all His followers are appointed. Those who share in His life of self-denial and suffering will reign with Him in glory. To be an overcomer is to be placed in the ranks of those who have the far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory. 11LtMs, Lt 49a, 1896, par. 23

Only the Holy Spirit of God can quicken the perceptive faculties to discern these exalted mysteries. How man can be a counter part of Jesus Christ is beyond human comprehension. But the Holy Spirit can strengthen our spiritual eyesight, enabling us to see what our natural eyes cannot see, or our ears hear, or our minds comprehend. By the Spirit which searches all things, even the deep things of God, have been revealed precious truths which cannot be described by pen or voice. 11LtMs, Lt 49a, 1896, par. 24

If I have failed to present something of the importance with which God regards His institutions, as the centers through which He works in a special manner, may the Lord by His Spirit portray these things to your minds, that you may understand the difference between common and sacred service. By the appointment of centers, God designs to bring human beings into partnership with Himself, that humanity may touch humanity, and that man, controlled by the Holy Spirit may increase in knowledge, strengthening every principle of character according to the divine similitude. But the workers in our institutions have failed to fully understand their privileges and responsibilities. In consequence, self has been woven into the work, and has taken the place due to God. 11LtMs, Lt 49a, 1896, par. 25

Let all beware how they weave self-serving and self-pleasing into the work. If they do this, they dishonor God, and He cannot use them to His name’s glory. In His dealing with Nadab and Abihu, God has shown how He regards this. “Nadab and Abihu, the sons of Aaron, took either of them his censer, and put fire therein.” They performed the outward ceremony, but there was no virtue in their action. They had on the priestly attire, they had the censer, and they put fire and incense thereon; but it was not the sacred fire of God’s kindling, the representation of God’s connection with humanity. They took strange fire, which He had commanded them not to use. “And there went out fire from the Lord, and devoured them, and they died before the Lord. Then Moses said unto Aaron, This is it that the Lord spake, saying, I will be sanctified in them that come nigh me, and before all the people I will be glorified.” [Leviticus 10:1-3.] 11LtMs, Lt 49a, 1896, par. 26

If the Lord should visit transgression now as He did then, there would be a very different state of things in His institutions. The managers of our institutions have not taught the workers by precept and example that the excellence of God is in all things to be made prominent; and church officers have failed to teach this in the churches. God’s standard must be uplifted. All must be made to see that our publishing institutions are of God’s appointment. Those who depreciate any one of them, representing it to the people as an inferior place, in order to serve their own interests, must render an account to God. The Lord designs that everything connected with His work shall be treated as sacred. I would impress on all that common fire is not to be used in place of the sacred, that common things must not be mingled with God’s appointed agencies. 11LtMs, Lt 49a, 1896, par. 27