Letters and Manuscripts — Volume 15 (1900)

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Lt 37a, 1900

Board of Managers of the Review and Herald Office

“Sunnyside,” Cooranbong, New South Wales, Australia

February 26, 1900

Portions of this letter are published in 4MR 17; 6MR 173-175. +Note

To the Board of Managers of the Review and Herald Office

Dear Brethren:

In a recent mail a question was sent me in regard to publishing for the Southern field. The writer says: “In several communications you have stated that the publishing houses in America should give the profits on the books published for the Southern field. There are two views taken as to the meaning of this statement. The first is: That the publishing houses should ask a reasonable price for the publishing of these books written to support the Southern work, and then add a reasonable price for the cost of handling them, and that all profits should go with the royalties to carry the work in that field. The second position taken is that your statement refers only to the books actually sold in that field by those connected with the issuing of the books.” 15LtMs, Lt 37a, 1900, par. 1

Just what I have asked from our publishing houses in behalf of our schools in regard to printing Christ’s Object Lessons without profit, and encouraging a wide sale of the book, that large sums may go to our schools to lighten their burdens, ought to have been done by our publishing houses in behalf of the work among the colored people of the Southern States. 15LtMs, Lt 37a, 1900, par. 2

Why should not our publishing houses do this work for the people of the South? Were they not established in the providence of God, by the liberalities of His people, to be missionary agencies? Have they not given freely in past years to needy fields and enterprises, and have they not been blessed in so doing? 15LtMs, Lt 37a, 1900, par. 3

The importance of the work and the great need of missionary effort in the Southern field were plainly pointed out. It was a field near at hand, whose needy condition they had every opportunity to know. Why did they not realize their responsibilities? 15LtMs, Lt 37a, 1900, par. 4

The Lord is grieved at the indifference manifested by His professed followers toward the ignorant and oppressed colored people. If our people had taken up this work at the close of the civil war, their faithful labor would have done much to prevent the present condition of suffering and sin. 15LtMs, Lt 37a, 1900, par. 5

When the attention of our people was called to their great neglect of duty, and to the importance of earnest effort now, the managers of the publishing houses should have been among the first to offer assistance. 15LtMs, Lt 37a, 1900, par. 6

If the managers of the Review & Herald Office had been walking in the fear of the Lord, they would have esteemed it a privilege to make personal sacrifices, and would have seen ways to use the facilities of the great publishing house under their control for the advancement of the Southern work. If they had felt the responsibilities of faithful stewards, they would have seen the needs of the colored people, and would have given sympathy to those working for them. Instead of laboring to take all they could get from the workers to add to the profits of the publishing house, they would have freely given the profits of the publishing house to help the poverty-stricken mission. Instead of planning other books to crowd the Gospel Primer out of the field, they should have encouraged and helped the laborers to bring out other works to be a help to their missionary labors. 15LtMs, Lt 37a, 1900, par. 7

If the managers of the publishing house had gone farther than to donate the publishers’ profits, and had made liberal donations of books to be used in the Southern States, or of the labor on some editions when the mission was in special need, the publishing house and its managers would have been abundantly blessed in so doing. Not only would such a course have met the approval of God, but it would have been a commendable example of cooperation that would have had influence with all our people. 15LtMs, Lt 37a, 1900, par. 8

God requires of all who are in places of responsibility that they set examples of unselfishness in every line of missionary work. I cannot express to you the loss that has been sustained by the Review & Herald as an institution, by doing as it has in working counter to truth and righteousness. An evil spirit has been at work in the hearts of men in the publishing house, causing them to be selfish, covetous, and unjust. Their scheming was continued until confusion, want of courage and of steadfast purpose, made things very hard for those who were working for the interests of the Southern field. The course of action pursued was unworthy of Christians. Angels of God veiled their faces because of these unjust transactions. 15LtMs, Lt 37a, 1900, par. 9

It may appear to some that the transaction in regard to the Gospel Primer was a little matter. The plucking and eating of the forbidden fruit was a little matter. But the act of disobedience by our first parents was sin, and drew after it tremendous results. Every unjust transaction is a transcript of the character of the doer. Those who can engage in such acts as this in reference to the Southern field reveal the true state of the heart. Unless cleansed and sanctified, elevated and spiritually ennobled, they will never eat of the tree of life nor drink of the water of salvation. 15LtMs, Lt 37a, 1900, par. 10

In the Primer transaction, the Southern field was robbed of its due. The work that should have been done in the South has not been done. Time has been lost that can never be recovered. The workers in that portion of the Lord’s vineyard had a hard time because of the perversity of the human heart, and they will be brought through similar trying experiences by appointment of God. For every penny of supposed gain in these transactions there has been much greater loss. 15LtMs, Lt 37a, 1900, par. 11

The worst feature of the matter is that those who acted a part in these transactions have not recovered their spiritual eyesight. They do not see these things as they are. When I read of the restitution of one thousand dollars I felt sick at heart, it falls so far short of correcting the wrong. I could scarcely keep from crying out, “O my brethren, what you need is to fall on the Rock and be broken.” 15LtMs, Lt 37a, 1900, par. 12

There is another transaction that needs to be corrected. In the author’s strait for want of means, the plates for Coming King were sold to the publishing house. Just as soon as he was able to redeem the plates, he should have been allowed to do so, and a kindness of heart and gladness expressed that he could do this. 15LtMs, Lt 37a, 1900, par. 13

These transactions with brethren struggling to help the Southern field, God has investigated. Not a sparrow falls to the ground without the notice of our Heavenly Father. Every act of close, selfish dealing is written in the books of heaven. Every one of these things must be corrected and stand corrected in the books of heaven. My brethren, is it not time that the Lord should be honored through your representation of His character? Are you willing to transfer the settlement of these matters to the judgment? 15LtMs, Lt 37a, 1900, par. 14

If the Southern field were not needy, if there were not a pressing necessity for work to be done there in many different lines, why should the Lord keep the question constantly agitated as He has done for so long? We must redeem the time. This long-neglected field must be worked. Without delay workers must be prepared for this field. Our people should now be raising a fund for the education of men and women in the Southern States, without regard to color, who, being accustomed to the climate, can work there without endangering the life. 15LtMs, Lt 37a, 1900, par. 15

Promising young men and young women should be educated to become teachers. They should have the very best advantages. Schoolhouses and meetinghouses should be built and teachers employed. Large numbers should not be gathered for instruction in any one place, for it would attract attention, and work evil to teachers and to school. Far more will be accomplished by collecting small numbers in different places. There is the greatest need for all kinds of missionary work. 15LtMs, Lt 37a, 1900, par. 16

It is to sustain such a work as I have described that your liberalities are asked for in the publication of books like Gospel Primer, Christ Our Saviour, and Coming King. When some such work is done willingly, heartily, as a privilege, be assured that it will bring a blessing to the doers. The grace of Christ which bringeth salvation will water the souls that have been dried up by their acts of selfishness. 15LtMs, Lt 37a, 1900, par. 17

God calls for spiritual life in individualism. We are to be united as branches in the true vine, as workers together with God. I hope and pray that the power of the Holy Spirit may be imparted to every one in the service of God. Let every heart break before God; then the softening, subduing influence of the Lord Jesus will be as natural as the breath. Then there will be no such seed-sowing as has been revealed in the transactions that have taken place, transactions of which the actors should be everlastingly ashamed. 15LtMs, Lt 37a, 1900, par. 18

There is missionary work to be done in the publishing house. A responsibility rests upon you for the youth under your care. Brethren, take hold together, first to reform yourselves; then, working under the one head, Christ Jesus, you will show perfect love and compassion while you try to reform the youth. You know not the science of being molded and fashioned after the divine similitude. When Christ is formed within, the hope of glory, you will hear with sanctified ears, and see with sanctified eyes, and speak with sanctified tongues. Then you will act as brethren, branches in the same vine. 15LtMs, Lt 37a, 1900, par. 19

I long, I pray, I thirst, to see the work of God manifest itself in deeds of compassion, tenderness, and love. Then all who are in places of responsibility in the publishing work in any line will feel a deep interest in the youth. They will feel the need of most earnest prayer with all the apprentices together. Then in the educating and training of the youth all will bear in mind that these youth are the property of Jesus Christ. Read the eighteenth chapter of Matthew. If ever words should be put in daily practice it is the words spoken by Christ to His disciples. Many are the educating lessons, lessons of high and holy principles, that need to be brought into the daily, practical life. 15LtMs, Lt 37a, 1900, par. 20

The Lord will impart His love to all who will seek Him with the whole heart and soul and spirit. But there is too much hurry and bustle and drive in our institutions, and men forget God and His commandments. Many seem to think the time lost that is devoted to earnestly seeking the Lord. But when the Lord comes in to co-operate with human effort, and men and women will co-operate with God, a marked change will be seen in the work and in the results. Every heart that has been visited by the bright beams of the Sun of Righteousness will reveal the working of the Spirit of God upon his heart, mind, voice, and character. The machinery will move as if oiled and guided by a masterly hand. There will be less friction when the spirit of the worker is oiled by the golden oil which is emptied out of the two olive branches to be received by every soul prepared for its reception. The holy influence will be imparted to others in words of kindness, tenderness, encouragement, and love. 15LtMs, Lt 37a, 1900, par. 21

All should consider that they are responsible for their influence in spirit, in word, and in action. Day by day angels of God are passing through every room in the publishing house. Let every action show that God’s love abides in the heart of the worker. Oh that the work might be done which the Lord Jesus is hungering to see! 15LtMs, Lt 37a, 1900, par. 22

A harsh manner, loud tones of voice, will never convert a soul. You have the great privilege of being under the direction of Jesus Christ, of speaking His words, revealing His spirit, copying His actions. Will you not open the windows of the soul heavenward, and close them earthward? If the earthward windows are open, they will let in malaria which will surely poison the soul. It will affect the breath, the voice, the spirit. God help you, my brethren, to help the most helpless and the most needy. 15LtMs, Lt 37a, 1900, par. 23