Letters and Manuscripts — Volume 14 (1899)


Lt 142, 1899

Sisley, W. C.

“Sunnyside,” Cooranbong, New South Wales, Australia

August 14, 1899

Previously unpublished. +Note

Dear Brother Sisley:

I wish to answer some questions which have come to me by letter. In one it was said, “Some of our brethren are under the impression that when you wrote regarding the royalties on books, and stated that it was the will of the Lord to pass the sponge over these past transactions, you made an exception of the case of the Gospel Primer. Will you please give me a plain statement of the matter?” I write to you now to say that the Gospel Primer was an exception. There has been unfair dealing in regard to this work. When the little book was selling readily, there were several who had the power in their hands to deal with the ones who compiled the work. The poisonous plant of selfishness had sprung up into a large tree, and had struck its roots deep. And when this book was issued which presented an opportunity of bringing in money, the tree bore fruit in an evil work. 14LtMs, Lt 142, 1899, par. 1

I heard a voice saying, “That book is bringing in more money than the ones who brought it out should have.” Others were of the same mind as this speaker. Some spoke against the propositions made, because the proceeds of the book were to go for the benefit of the Southern Field. They talked the matter over at different times, and proposed different methods, that the publishing house might have the profits from the book. I heard the statements made, and saw the different persons engaged in this work. The transactions caused me intense anguish of spirit. I saw that if they could not obtain the profits they would kill the sale of the book. The poverty of the workers in the Southern Field did not call out their sympathy and their co-operation. Instead, they worked in a shrewd, scheming, underhand manner, taking advantage of every means to oppress, and thus bring the matter where they wanted it. 14LtMs, Lt 142, 1899, par. 2

I have written in regard to this matter again and again, but no one has heeded the admonition of the Lord. I have also presented before these men that there was a work which they must do in dealing justly and with equity. I showed them that the Lord had written all their transactions in a book, and that if those who had acted a part with pen or voice in bringing about such unjust dealing, and wanted that record sponged from the books, they must repent, and confess, and make restitution, else they would meet their work in the judgment with all its results of evil—the consequences of thus turning away from the Southern Field the means which the Lord designed should start the work and help to sustain it. All the good that money might have accomplished, if the men who planned in regard to the Gospel Primer had not intercepted it by their covetous spirit, they will have to account for. 14LtMs, Lt 142, 1899, par. 3

Those at the heart of the work should have acted a noble part, saying, We will bring that book from the press free, as our donation to the Southern Field. We will co-operate with the workers in the hardest field. If they will break the ground, we will pay them as much as we pay our missionaries in any foreign country. 14LtMs, Lt 142, 1899, par. 4

This the Lord has given to me to present to you in the office at Battle Creek. This matter must be righted. You need not consult Edson White in regard to it. By your own devising, you drove him to confusion and perplexity and distress. This testimony is before you, and you need not ask him what will make the matter right with him. He has long carried a sense of this injustice. Those who have diverted the means that should have come to the Southern Field will not be clear until they make full restitution. Make thorough work in this matter, for you have an account to settle with God. 14LtMs, Lt 142, 1899, par. 5

It is such transactions as these that have brought the displeasure of God upon the men at the center of the work. It is such fraudulent transactions as these that have removed the wisdom and the blessing that would have rested upon the conference and the publishing house. The Lord moved me by His Spirit and instructed me to make an appeal for the Southern Field. I learn that eleven thousand dollars were raised for this object, but not one dollar of it has come to that portion of the field for which the appeal was made. I ask in the name of the Lord that this money be accounted for. Between the Pacific Press and the General Conference Association it has been diverted into other channels. 14LtMs, Lt 142, 1899, par. 6

I have been instructed to bear the message from the Lord to these institutions that the Lord holds them accountable for it. The Lord would have those who handle His work use no common fire in their censers, but the sacred fire of the Lord’s own kindling, which demonstrates that the divine and human agencies are co-operating. To those who have taken unfair advantages, thinking they were excusable because it was for the cause of God, the Lord says, “I hate robbery for burnt offering.” [Isaiah 61:8.] 14LtMs, Lt 142, 1899, par. 7

Zechariah writes, “Then I turned, and lifted up mine eyes, and looked, and behold, a flying roll. And he said to me, What seest thou? And I answered, I see a flying roll; the length thereof is twenty cubits, and the breadth thereof ten cubits. Then said he unto me, This is the curse that goeth forth over the face of the whole earth; for every one that stealeth shall be cut off as on this side according to it; and every one that sweareth shall be cut off as on that side according to it. I will bring it forth, saith the Lord, and it shall enter into the house of the thief, and into the house of him that sweareth falsely by my name: and it shall remain in the midst of his house, and shall consume it with the timber thereof and the stones thereof.” [Zechariah 5:1-4.] 14LtMs, Lt 142, 1899, par. 8

This great roll, twenty cubits in length and ten cubits in breadth was the measurement of the porch of Solomon’s temple. In this roll is written the name of the wrongdoer unless he repents of his wrong. The Lord’s eye is upon every transaction, and His judgment will come upon those who do wrong. The ninth chapter of Ezekiel should be studied in connection with (Ezekiel 2:1-10) and the fifth chapter of Revelation. 14LtMs, Lt 142, 1899, par. 9

Let us make thorough work for eternity. Those occupying responsible positions in our institutions, who have a high estimate of their own labors while they depreciate the work of those who carry the burden in poverty-stricken districts, are not clean in the sight of the Lord. They have not hearts of tender compassion. They do not co-operate with the workers in the barren fields. If a favor is asked of them, they refuse to grant it. They do not have it in them to take in the situation of their fellow workers who struggle on under discouraging circumstances and with small wages. The Lord will bring every soul of them into trying circumstances. He cannot prosper the selfish, uncourteous, ungenerous spirit. The Lord estimates the labor done, and He values just as highly the one who labors in hard fields without facilities as those who allow him to ask in vain. 14LtMs, Lt 142, 1899, par. 10

I am instructed to say that those workers whose needs are disregarded are to receive the sympathy of the people, and in their work to advance the cause of God, they are to feel at liberty to place the situation directly before the people, and receive help to work the destitute fields, to build humble churches and school houses, where the sheep and lambs of the Lord’s pasture may be cared for. The money to carry forward the work is to come directly to those fields, lest it find lodgment in some place where responsible men in their human wisdom shall feel justified in diverting it for their own purposes. 14LtMs, Lt 142, 1899, par. 11

The Lord is not partial in His plan of working. He does not design that just a few shall break into new fields, while the rest hold themselves aloof, manifesting little interest to hold up the hands, to encourage and grant favors to those who are working in hard fields. The Lord is not pleased with the spirit that prevails among the managers of the Review and Herald office. It is approaching to the same hard, lording spirit that Christ had to meet among the Pharisees. Fall on the Rock, fall on the Rock, my brethren. You need to be imbued with the Spirit of Christ. 14LtMs, Lt 142, 1899, par. 12