Letters and Manuscripts — Volume 12 (1897)


Lt 80, 1897

Jones, A. T.

“Sunnyside,” Cooranbong, New South Wales, Australia

December 9, 1897

Portions of this letter are published in PH146 8-15.

Dear Brother:

I received your letter, giving an account of your efforts to set things right in the office. This is the thing that was needing to be done; but there are things which I have had presented to me in regard to the responsible men in the General Conference and the Review and Herald office of a very aggravating character. God will not sanction their scheming to make money in ways that He calls unjust. The measures which they have taken to turn those who have prepared books from their rights, the Lord calls dishonest. The Lord has presented before me the work that has been done in this line, and I have written in regard to it again and again. It is defrauding. The Lord has declared that He will blow upon the gain they receive from every such work. Unjust dealing stands charged against them. 12LtMs, Lt 80, 1897, par. 1

A close investigation should be made of the principles which have led to this unjust dealing, this sin of covetousness. Special methods have been devised to bring profits into the office, which will result in tenfold greater subtraction in other lines than that which they thought they had gained. These principles have produced corruption in business transactions. If the testimonies sent to Elder Olsen are in your hands, you have the light which has been given. This crooked dealing began with Aldrich and Walker. The Lord opened up these things. There are sums of money unaccounted for. 12LtMs, Lt 80, 1897, par. 2

Those who claim to be Christians, who deal in real estate, soon become contaminated. Those who claim to be Seventh-day Adventists are warned of the Lord to close up that line of business and seek a business that is not so fraught with temptations. It is for their present good and eternal interest to do this. Those who believe the truth in the heart will not enter the broker business. The business of the real estate agent, the broker, and all such businesses are a snare to the soul. The real estate agent soon comes to the place where pure, straightforward honest dealing is separated from his course of action. Robbery and deceit and untruthfulness are practiced, and these things are corrupting in their influence. 12LtMs, Lt 80, 1897, par. 3

Were the Lord Jesus upon the earth today, He would reprove the same practices that He reproved in the courts of the temple. To the church members He would say, “Take these things hence. It is written, My house shall be called a house of prayer; but ye have made it a den of thieves.” [John 2:16; Matthew 21:13.] These denunciations He has uttered for years against the managers in the office of publication. The opinion of those handling sacred things has been that God did not expect them to be too liberal in business deal. The income must be brought into the work and cause of God; therefore, scheming and artful presentations and false representations have been made. And if it is never revealed in this time of probation, the future will show accounts standing in the books of heaven that reveal dishonesty, sharpness in business deal. These can never be washed away by the blood of the Lamb until full repentance and restitution show the conversion of the soul from sinful practices to righteousness. 12LtMs, Lt 80, 1897, par. 4

All these sharp practices in deal have dishonored God. They misrepresent His character and work through the very instrumentality that should be kept free from every taint of defilement and corrupting principle. Will they read and be instructed by the case of Achan? 12LtMs, Lt 80, 1897, par. 5

My brother, you have taken hold of the lesser evils; will the investigation now go to the higher responsibilities? Will every principle be considered? Were the minds of the men who have united in sustaining this sharp practice so darkened that they could not see that the tendency of these methods of deal was to destroy purity and justice and holiness in so sacred a work? 12LtMs, Lt 80, 1897, par. 6

The practices carried on for years have been reproved. They have been an offense to God. Have those men who have stood in high places supposed that they could depart from righteousness in their dealing, and God look on indifferently? Have those men dismissed the Word of God from their counsels? Have they consented to blind their eyes and reason to a straightforward manner of deal in handling the work of God? Shall men who stand in high places and lay their souls a manacled victim on the altar of lust be sustained? 12LtMs, Lt 80, 1897, par. 7

“Seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness,” said Christ. [Matthew 6:33.] This is the positive requirement of God. But this, the simplest, plainest injunction contained in the Word of Him who is judge of every man’s actions, has been deliberately set aside. Men connected with the Review and Herald office have departed from Christian principles to carry out a system of sharp practice. They have flattered themselves that it was the cause of God to be advantaged at the loss of others, therefore they would gather from every source possible to bring money into the treasury. But God declares, I hate robbery for burnt-offerings. [Isaiah 61:8.] 12LtMs, Lt 80, 1897, par. 8

Systems and rules have been made that bear not the signature of God, for they militate against the principles of the law of God. Men have managed things in a selfish, egotistical manner. After making laws, they have treated them as did the Jews, as of more consequence than the laws of God, the principles of which they were breaking every day. They laid burdens upon men’s shoulders grievous to be borne, and then carried out to the letter their presumptuous rules and regulations which dishonored their Creator. 12LtMs, Lt 80, 1897, par. 9

Every moment of the life of a Christian should be one of high-souled integrity. The speculations that have been entered into are a shame to the cause and work of God. We have a most solemn message to give to the world. The Lord is coming. The end of all things is at hand. Everything connected with the Review and Herald office should be clean and pure, holy and undefiled. In every action we perform we are to keep the eye single to the glory of God. All dishonest intriguing, all secret plans to obtain the advantage, wraps up a curse in the heart of the one who entertains such suggestions; and the larger the advantage gained, the more decided will be the disapproval of God. 12LtMs, Lt 80, 1897, par. 10

The men handling sacred responsibilities have been faithfully warned off the ground they were travelling upon. Had they heeded the warnings and counsel to let God be recognized as a party in all their business transactions with their brethren and fellow men, they would have kept ever before them as their maxim, “Thou God seest me,” as sacredly as when bowed before God in prayer. [Genesis 16:13.] In keeping the Lord ever before us, we shall be warned and fortified. He who forgets the just and holy principles of truth in the days of busy activity is like the man who feels that he needs no pilot, and casts himself overboard in the most dangerous seas. 12LtMs, Lt 80, 1897, par. 11

God calls upon all who claim the name of Christians to keep their eyes fixed upon the Author and Finisher of their faith. They are to act under the divine eye, to adopt the divine standard, to make God their counsellor in all their proceedings. Selfish cheap ideas, little mean advantages, should not be allowed to steal in and mar the nobility of the principles that should control all the proceedings in temporal matters. And how much more particular should we be in our deal with those of like faith in any line. In this capacity men are to act as God’s entrusted stewards. Whether God appointed them to stand in positions of trust, or whether they set themselves there, the holiness and justice and truth of God should shine forth in every action. 12LtMs, Lt 80, 1897, par. 12

It is of the highest importance that every worker should be connected with God in order to be enabled to repress the first leaning to an evil action. When sinners in Zion entice them, they must not consent. Every true child of God will have courage to repress the unprincipled, to rebuke sin and encourage that which is pure. Then the fear of the Lord would be evidenced as the beginning of wisdom. 12LtMs, Lt 80, 1897, par. 13

The man whose heart is imbued with the Holy Spirit will not do an unrighteous act toward his fellow man. He will consider that that man, poor though he may be, is the purchase of the blood of the Son of God. The Lord has put the price of that man’s soul before the universe of heaven and before the world—the price of His own life. The cross of Christ testifies to the value that the Lord places upon every human being. Then let man be careful how he treats his fellow man for he is bought with a price. 12LtMs, Lt 80, 1897, par. 14

A grave mistake has been made in allowing engrossing business matters to burden the ministers who are handling sacred things, so that their sense of the sacred becomes dim and mingled with the common, crushing out godliness from the soul. Inspired by Satan, men have framed scheme after scheme. Not content with the prosperity of the cause of God by dealing righteously and with justice and mercy, those in positions of trust have sought to obtain control of everything that they could, to manage them in their way, to the disadvantage of others. Their plans always seemed to them too limited; they thought they must branch out and grasp more and still more power and control. 12LtMs, Lt 80, 1897, par. 15

They wrapped themselves up in scheme after scheme, and entanglement after entanglement until there seemed to be no bounds to their ambitious desires, when they were not fitted to carry much smaller responsibilities properly and honestly and in the fear of God. They gathered into their embrace many responsibilities so engrossing as to distract their attention from the high concerns of eternity, the soul’s highest interests. Thus the clear discernment of those who should have understood spiritual things departed. The cause of God was made a matter of merchandise. They laded themselves down with many things from which they should have kept entirely clear, until their spiritual eyes were blinded. They kept up an unsanctified activity. 12LtMs, Lt 80, 1897, par. 16

I might go to much larger lengths in these matters, but what will it amount to? Those who have entered into the scheming principles, those who have co-operated in this work of injustice, have so confused their senses that righteous principles are not discerned. Would it not be wise to clear the King’s highway, that the Lord may remove His displeasure for the moral degeneracy of His work? Holy things are brought down to a common level. The cause of truth has been dishonored. Men greedy of gain have brought their evil propensities into the work of God. They have resorted to any means that they might obtain what they wanted. “Who is wise? and he shall understand these things; prudent? and he shall know them; for the ways of the Lord are right, and the just shall walk in them; but the transgressors shall fall.” [Hosea 14:9.] 12LtMs, Lt 80, 1897, par. 17