Letters and Manuscripts — Volume 13 (1898)


Ms 47, 1898

The Echo Office and Commercial Work


March 31, 1898

Portions of this manuscript are published in CC 200; OHC 254; Ev 491-492; 3BC 1158; CTr 352; 4MR 123-124; 6MR 266-270; 7MR 74.

After speaking to the church at North Fitzroy, a great burden came upon me. Again, on Monday night, the agony of my soul seem to be more than I could bear. I seemed to be in an assembly in which the men in positions of responsibility connected with the various lines of our work were gathered together, and the Spirit of the Lord came upon me. The question in regard to commercial work was being agitated. What should be its character and position in the Echo office? Should it be allowed to crowd out our own legitimate work, for which the office was established? I was moved upon by the Spirit of the Lord to say that the work which represented the truth should come first, and the commercial work second. 13LtMs, Ms 47, 1898, par. 1

The question was asked, What do you include in commercial work? What is the character of the work of those employed in the Echo office? Some years ago a message was given me for the Oakland church, in regard to the mingling of the profane and the sacred. Novels and a most objectionable class of literature were being brought into the Pacific Press, and these were sowing tares in the minds of the workers. Some of them eagerly read this poisonous matter, and were obtaining an education in accordance with the food they were giving their minds. Truth was being eclipsed by error. The objectionable matter was demoralizing those who handled it. This matter is degrading, and should be discarded. Only the matter that will leave no evil influence behind it, that will elevate and ennoble, should be handled by the workers in our publishing houses. 13LtMs, Ms 47, 1898, par. 2

The same difficulty that existed in the office in Oakland exists in the Echo office. A class of matter that is not elevated is taken in. In the calendar line, many things [that] are exaggerated and made falsehoods are printed. Those who work on this class of matter might much better use their talent and influence upon our own work. 13LtMs, Ms 47, 1898, par. 3

Words were spoken to Brother Michaels. The Lord inquires of him as he inquired of Elijah, What doest thou here? Who gave you this class of work to do? Your moral taste is being clouded. You are deteriorating in talent from a high standpoint to a low level. This will not increase holiness, purity of principle, or sanctification. The Lord calls upon Brother Michaels to cease at once the work of sowing tares, and take held of the books that contain the truth. The Lord would have him work with this kind of literature, that he may explain the truth to those for whom he works. He should be sowing seed that will produce a harvest of good. 13LtMs, Ms 47, 1898, par. 4

All the energy and power put into a class of work that the Lord does not approve will not gain for any one an experience in spirituality. It degenerates the powers. By giving the mind to this class of work, the disposition and tendencies are corrupted. If Christ were upon the earth, He would say, Take these things hence. Degrade not the place which should be kept holy unto the Lord. 13LtMs, Ms 47, 1898, par. 5

This work helps men to testify to a lie in order to accumulate money. It does not deserve a place in the office. Those who do this work bring to the foundation wood, hay, stubble. Thus God’s people are squandering their lives, giving their time and energy to a class of work that will not ennoble or elevate. Will those in the office, or those connected with the work of God in any lines, thus degrade their powers and dwarf their intellect and capabilities? No; let everything of this character be decided against. There is a higher, nobler work for every one to do. Let all remember that there is a higher calling for those connected with the office. 13LtMs, Ms 47, 1898, par. 6

Work from outside will come into the office, but it is questionable whether men should make it their business to gather up this work. God would have His people use all their powers in His service, and if the world chooses to give their work to the office, let it come; for this is one means of keeping in touch with the world. 13LtMs, Ms 47, 1898, par. 7

When businessmen seek the office with work to be done, tell them that you will do it for them if it can be done without neglecting the work of giving the truth to the world by publishing tracts and pamphlets and small and large books. But nothing should be introduced into the office that will lower its dignity and place the work done on a level with cheap, fictitious literature. The Lord would have every one connected with the office an earnest, eager candidate for the treasures that are enduring. The energy now concentrated on cheap, perishable goods should be enlisted in the work that is to enlighten the world. Let every energy God has given be used in the work which bears with it the blessed satisfaction that it is for time and for eternity. 13LtMs, Ms 47, 1898, par. 8

I must now present before our people the facts as they have been given me. The Lord is our instructor. Should the Echo office divorce the commercial business from its work, and give itself wholly to the publication of our own literature, the atmosphere pervading the office would not be any more spiritual than it is now. Continuing or discontinuing the publication of proper business matters will not make any difference religiously. 13LtMs, Ms 47, 1898, par. 9

Daniel was a statesman in Babylon. He was engaged in a work that kept idolatrous literature and practices constantly before the people. Yet he did not lose his knowledge of God and his interest in the religion of the Bible. By his faithful service he taught those in Babylon that his God was a living God, not an image such as they worshipped. 13LtMs, Ms 47, 1898, par. 10

It was God’s design to show the Babylonians that there was a King above the king of Babylon—the God whom the Hebrew youth worshipped. These youth exalted God. They knew that they were to carry out the principles of truth, and therefore they refused the meat from the royal table and the wine from the royal cellar. Their abstinence from the prescribed bill of fare made a distinction in every way between their appearance and the appearance of those youth who indulged their appetite. 13LtMs, Ms 47, 1898, par. 11

There were plenty to make remarks, but these youth were faithful even in little things. And in physical appearance they were far ahead of the youth who sat at the king’s table. Their simple diet kept their minds clear. They were better prepared for their studies, for they never knew the oppression caused by eating luxurious food. They were better prepared physically for taxing labor, for they were never sick. With clear minds, they could think and work vigorously. By obeying God they were doing the very things that will give strength of thought and memory. 13LtMs, Ms 47, 1898, par. 12

God ordained Daniel and his fellows to be connected with the great men of Babylon, that these men might become acquainted with the religion of the Hebrews, and know that God reigns over all kingdoms. God co-operated with these youth. He gave them knowledge and skill in all learning and wisdom, and Daniel had understanding in all visions and dreams. 13LtMs, Ms 47, 1898, par. 13

In like manner the Lord means that Seventh-day Adventists shall witness for Him. They are not to be hidden away from the world. They are to be in the world, but not of the world. They are to stand distinct from the world in their manner of dealing. They are to show that they have purity of character, that the world may see that the truth, which they conscientiously believe, makes them honest in their dealings; that those with whom they are connected may see that believers of truth are sanctified through the truth, and that the truth received and obeyed makes the receivers as sons and daughters of God, children of the heavenly King, members of the royal family, faithful, true, honest, and upright, in the small as well as the great acts of life. 13LtMs, Ms 47, 1898, par. 14

It was Daniel’s faithfulness in doing the little things with which he was entrusted that gave complexion to his whole life. Whatever is worth doing, is worth doing well. Let us be faithful in the smallest duties, as well as in the work requiring the largest sacrifice. To all who follow Daniel’s example, not only professing the truth, but living the truth, acting in accordance with the principles of temperance, the Lord will give encouragement similar to the encouragement He gave Daniel. 13LtMs, Ms 47, 1898, par. 15

The Lord, our Creator, expends as much care, wisdom, and time upon the tiny flower as upon the great thing He creates. In the tiniest flowers re seen a beauty and perfection that no human art can copy. The delicate tracery of the tinted rose, as well as the stars in the heavens, shows the pencilling of the great Master Artist. The Lord would have us cultivate a love for the beautiful in nature. He who created everything that is lovely in our world, would have us appreciate His work. 13LtMs, Ms 47, 1898, par. 16

Matters have been opened before me that have greatly burdened my soul. A great pressure is being brought into the office. The Lord is not pleased with any such pressure. Have you thought whether your solicitations for work in worldly or religious lines are of a character to do service for God? You gain nothing by receiving a class of literature that will unsettle the faith of the workers in the principles of Christianity. My brethren, will you not reason from cause to effect? The time taken to publish matters that do an evil work is worse then wasted. Thus Satan is introduced into the office. His sophistry is surely being aided by those who help in the promulgation of this literature. If the work solicited is of a character to give a wrong tendency to the minds of the youth, it were better not to accept this work, for it is work that God condemns. 13LtMs, Ms 47, 1898, par. 17

After considering this matter carefully, I see reason for great concern. The very same difficulty prevails in our office that has prevailed in our schools. There, books containing the seeds of infidelity were placed in the hands of the youth. What better is it to receive into the office work that will cause doubt and unbelief to spring up? 13LtMs, Ms 47, 1898, par. 18

One night I was so greatly burdened that I was in an agony of soul. I could not sleep. The next day and for several days after, I was sick. What was the matter? It was because I knew that the managers of the Echo office have lost their spiritual eyesight. They are astonished that there is so little piety among the youth in the office. What kind of food are they placing before these youth? What kind of an education are the youth receiving? Let this matter be taken into consideration, and may the Lord help you to think to some purpose. 13LtMs, Ms 47, 1898, par. 19

The Lord means that His people shall perfect a Christian character. If they have any connection with the world, it is that they may leaven the world by correct principles, not be leavened by the evil in the world. God does not requires us as a people to seclude ourselves from the world. We are to introduce the sanctifying leaven of truth into the world, showing that we are under God’s discipline. As a people who obey God and keep His commandments, we are to bear a constant testimony to the world that we have a righteous character. If those in the world give their work to Seventh-day Adventists, it is a testimony in favor of truth and righteousness. But ever be sure that the unrighteous doctrines called higher education are not issued from the office. 13LtMs, Ms 47, 1898, par. 20

Those who serve God earnestly, unselfishly as did Daniel, will find their faculties enlarging and expanding, because they make God’s service first and last. Those who seek to know Him whom to know aright is life eternal, who give themselves wholly to God, will adorn the truth that they profess. Thus those connected with the work of God may be ornaments to their religion, adorning the doctrines of Christ our Saviour, as heirs of the kingdom of heaven. 13LtMs, Ms 47, 1898, par. 21

The youth and those in responsible positions in our institutions are channels for communicating light. The Lord would not have this light hidden from the world. In all business transactions, we are to let the light shine decidedly. There is to be no sharp practice. Everything is to be done with the strictest integrity. Better consent to lose something than to gain a few shillings by sharp practice. We shall lose nothing, in the end, by fair dealing. We are to live the law of God in our world, and perfect a character after the divine similitude. All business, with those in the faith and those not in the faith, is to be transacted on square, righteous principles. Everything is to be seen in the light of God’s law, everything done without fraud, without duplicity, without one tinge of guile. 13LtMs, Ms 47, 1898, par. 22

A great work is to be done in our world, and every talent is to be used in accordance with righteous principles. If a woman is appointed by the Lord to do a certain work, her work is to be estimated according to its value. Every laborer is to receive his or her just due. It may be thought to be a good plan to allow persons to give talent and earnest labor to the work of God, while they draw nothing from the treasury. But this is making a difference, and selfishly withholding from such workers their due. God will not put His sanction on any such plan. Those who invented this method may have thought that they were doing God service by not drawing from the treasury to pay these God-fearing, soul-loving laborers. But there will be an account to settle bye and bye, and then those who now think this exaction, this partiality in dealing, a wise scheme, will be ashamed of their selfishness. God sees these things in a light altogether different from the light in which finite men view them. 13LtMs, Ms 47, 1898, par. 23

Those who work earnestly and unselfishly, be they men or women, bring sheaves to the Master; and the souls converted by their labor will bring their tithes to the treasury. When self-denial is required because of a dearth of means, do not let a few hard-working women do all the sacrificing. Let all share in making the sacrifice. God declares, I hate robbery for burnt offering. 13LtMs, Ms 47, 1898, par. 24

The Lord would have the Echo office stand as a living witness for the truth. This is why the commercial work should not be entirely cut away. But it must be cleansed from its offensive character. It would be a mistake for the office to build up a barrier to exclude all work from the outside; for this would close the door against the rays of light and knowledge that should be given to the world. 13LtMs, Ms 47, 1898, par. 25

The Echo office is also to be more of a school for the youth than it has been. Patient labor is to be given to the youth. Every good attribute is to be cultivated with kindness, love, compassion, and tenderness. There is to be no scolding, no fretting, but much praying with the learners. All who thus work in love are fitting up a class for the family of heaven. Do not worry. You show a sickly, enfeebled faith by looking at appearances, and complaining when difficulty and pressure come. Show your faith by your works. The Lord is rich in resources. He owns the world. We all need to look heavenward in faith. Look to God, who is never bound about, who has light, and power, and efficiency. God will open heaven, and let you see that He is light, and in Him is no darkness at all. He will bless every one who is in a position to communicate light and love to others. 13LtMs, Ms 47, 1898, par. 26

Out of the heart are the issues of life. God’s message to us is, Let him take hold of My strength, and make peace with Me; and he shall make peace with Me. He says to each of us. My son, My daughter, give Me thine heart. [Proverbs 23:26.] Just as soon as we consecrate ourselves to God, light and love flows into the heart, and it becomes a treasure-house of knowledge. 13LtMs, Ms 47, 1898, par. 27

It is not in God’s order that the literature published in the Echo office shall dishonor the Redeemer. By accepting and publishing this class of matter, you will send forth to the world any army of educated infidels, and then Satan’s object is accomplished. If Christ were upon the earth today, He would cleanse the office of all the things that defile it, as He cleansed the temple courts at Jerusalem. He would say, as He said then, 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.] 13LtMs, Ms 47, 1898, par. 28

Is not this the case? When you reproduce and send forth with the endorsement of the office, the argument that Christ was only a man, it is a disgrace, a dishonor, to the office. Brethren, work on different lines. Better never solicit any matter to publish, if this wretched, religious tare-sowing must be mingled with the wheat coming from the same press. 13LtMs, Ms 47, 1898, par. 29

The special testimonies given to our office in Oakland are in every way appropriate to the Echo office. Where is the spiritual eyesight, the spiritual discernment of the men at the head of the work? Nothing should be handled by the youth in the office that will sow one seed of questioning or doubt in regard to the authority and purity of the Old Testament Scriptures. It may be thought that the truth which we advocate is an antidote that will counteract all the infidel sentiments placed before the youth, whose minds so eagerly grasp anything new. But how can God prosper the office unless those at the head of the work shall discern good from evil and righteousness from sin? 13LtMs, Ms 47, 1898, par. 30

In the days of King Josiah, a strange appearance could be seen opposite the temple of God. Crowning the eminence of the Mount of Olives, peering above the groves of myrtle and olive trees, were unseemly, gigantic idols. Josiah gave commandment that these idols should be destroyed. This was done, and the broken fragments rolled down the channel of the Kedron. The shrines were left a mass of ruins. 13LtMs, Ms 47, 1898, par. 31

But the question was asked by many a devout worshiper, How can that architecture on the opposite side of the Jehoshaphat ravine, thus impiously confronting the temple of God? The truthful answer must be made: The builder was Solomon, the greatest king that ever wielded a scepter. These idols bore testimony that he who had been honored and applauded as the wisest among kings, became a humiliating wreck. He was thrice called the beloved of God. Pure and elevated in character, his piety and wisdom were unexampled. 13LtMs, Ms 47, 1898, par. 32

But Solomon did not go on from strength to strength in the pure and true life. His ambition was to exceed other nations in grandeur. To do this, he allied himself by marriage with heathen nations, and in the place of keeping loyal to the true and living God, he allowed his wives to draw him away from God. To please them, he built altars, where they might worship their idols. Thus the leaven of idolatry became mingled with Solomon’s religious principles. Tares were sown among the wheat. 13LtMs, Ms 47, 1898, par. 33

Solomon knew that God had chosen Israel, and made them the depository of the true and sacred faith. God had erected a wise barrier between them and the rest of the world, and only by jealously guarding the ancient landmarks could they preserve their high and distinct character. Why then did Solomon become such a moral wreck? He did not act on correct principles. He cultivated alliances with pagan kingdoms. He procured the gold of Ophir and the silver of Tarshish, but at what a cost! 13LtMs, Ms 47, 1898, par. 34

Solomon mingled error with truth, and betrayed sacred trusts. The insidious evils of paganism corrupted his religion. One wrong step taken, led to step after step of political alliance. The polygamy so common in that time was directly opposed to the law of Jehovah. But this evil was introduced into Palestine, and the Israel of God mingled in marriage with Phoenicia, Egypt, Edom, Moab, and Ammon, nations which bowed at idolatrous shrines, practicing licentious and cruel rites, greatly dishonoring to God. 13LtMs, Ms 47, 1898, par. 35

These Solomon countenanced and sustained. His once noble character, bold and true for God and righteousness, became deteriorated. His profligate expenditure for selfish indulgence made him the instrument of Satan’s devices. His conscience became hardened. His conduct as a judge changed from equity and righteousness to tyranny and oppression. He who had offered the dedicatory prayer when the temple was consecrated to God, who prayed for the people, that their hearts might be undividedly given to the Lord, was now following a train of circumstances entirely contrary to right. The life, which was once wholly dedicated to God, had been given to the enemy. 13LtMs, Ms 47, 1898, par. 36

Solomon tried to incorporate light with darkness, Christ with Belial, purity with impurity. But in the place of converting the heathen to the truth, pagan sentiments incorporated themselves with his religion. He became an apostate. God was no longer to him the only true and living God, a ruling Providence. He was a religious wreck. 13LtMs, Ms 47, 1898, par. 37

In the days of Christ the ruins of the groves erected by Solomon for his wives might still be seen. This place was named the Mount of Offense by all the true-hearted in Israel. Solomon little thought that those idol shrines would outlive his reign, even till Shiloh came, and looked upon the melancholy sight. 13LtMs, Ms 47, 1898, par. 38

This case is left on record for all the religious world. Let those who know the Word of the living God beware of cherishing the errors of the world. These Satan presents in an attractive style; for he would deceive us, and destroy the simplicity of our faith. If these errors are introduced, they will mar the precious landmarks of truth. 13LtMs, Ms 47, 1898, par. 39

God has given men and women talents. None of these gifts are to be perverted to Satan’s service. We need to guard jealously the simplicity of our faith. Let none who know the truth employ their mental faculties in a cheap line of business. Thus they prostitute their powers, which are gifts from the heavenly Father, and bring on spiritual weakness and inefficiency. We cannot with safety tamper with the leaven of false, dishonoring doctrines. Let not a page containing such matter be introduced into the office. Think of Solomon’s history, and do not tamper with truth. Do not introduce the leaven of error as legitimate work. 13LtMs, Ms 47, 1898, par. 40

The safeguards of our peace are to be preserved by watchfulness and much prayer. Great care is to be shown in the choice of associates, lest instead of leading them, we are led into evil, and our souls imperilled. We must do nothing to lower the standard of our religious principles. 13LtMs, Ms 47, 1898, par. 41

These things have been urged upon my mind, and I cannot refrain from saying, Let there be a decided reformation in the Echo office. Venture not to introduce so much into the office that the work that should be done at once will be neglected and left till the last. God’s work is calling for workers. Let nothing be done to hurt the faith or mar the souls of the workers. Let our reward be the clean hands, the pure heart, the noble purpose. Guard jealously the souls under your charge. Watch for them as they that must give an account. 13LtMs, Ms 47, 1898, par. 42