Letters and Manuscripts — Volume 23 (1908)


Lt 106, 1908

Haskell, Brother and Sister

St. Helena, California

April 2, 1908

Portions of this letter are published in PM 208, 234-235; 3SM 204; 1MR 172-174.

Elder and Mrs. S. N. Haskell

Dear Brother and Sister Haskell:

I have for the last week been driven early and late, with the necessity of writing on many different subjects to many people. I have therefore been unable to write you as fully as I have desired to do. 23LtMs, Lt 106, 1908, par. 1

On making inquiries regarding the publication of Early Writings, I learn that our offices at Mountain View and at Washington have just brought out, and have in stock, a large edition of this book, and that they are selling a paper-covered edition for thirty-five cents. Under such circumstances therefore, it would seem unjust to them were we to endeavor to place on the market a smaller-sized book to be sold at a low price. 23LtMs, Lt 106, 1908, par. 2

Notwithstanding a lifetime of hard labor, I find that I am embarrassed with a heavy indebtedness. I do not at present receive from the sale of my books as much money as I need to carry on my work and to meet the many calls for help that come to me. Frequently some one from whom I have borrowed calls for his money, and in order to secure the necessary means, I am obliged to borrow money at the bank, for which I must pay eight per cent interest. 23LtMs, Lt 106, 1908, par. 3

The other day I received a loan of fifty dollars at four and a half per cent interest. Then I received word that Sister Starr was in need of money to pay for the board of her children while she had been engaged in doing medical missionary work. So, although I had previously paid two hundred dollars to help this family, I sent this extra fifty dollars to them as soon as I had received it. 23LtMs, Lt 106, 1908, par. 4

Thus there seems to be a constant drawing upon me for money, while but very little comes in. Yet notwithstanding my great necessities, I would be unwilling to make any move that might appear to be unfair to our publishing houses. 23LtMs, Lt 106, 1908, par. 5

I have, as you well know, invested means largely in the building of meetinghouses and in starting various enterprises in Australia. I have also given thousands of dollars of my royalty on books to help the work in Europe, and have then, at times, borrowed money with which to pay my own helpers. 23LtMs, Lt 106, 1908, par. 6

At one time I received word that it was difficult to get means for the translation of some of my books in the European languages. I said, “I will give my royalties on these foreign books for this purpose.” At another time a brother in Europe wrote to me, “I have a thousand dollars that is due you on the sale of your books. Could not you let us have a portion of this to help in the education of young men, and fitting them to engage in missionary work?” In reply I wrote, “Keep it all, if you can only train young men to go out and labor as missionaries. I will continue to pay interest on money, in order that I may give this to you as a donation.” This is how Sister White is becoming rich. I have been laying up my treasure in heaven; and in this crisis, I will not draw back. 23LtMs, Lt 106, 1908, par. 7

Now, Elder Haskell, I want you to understand that I appreciate your interest in the scattering of the truth through a wide sale of Early Writings. I thank the Lord that I know you will not misunderstand me. I thank you for your kindly interest in my behalf. But I will closely watch and pray earnestly that the Lord will remove from me this pressure of debt without my taking a course that might seem unfair to the publishing houses. I know that your offer comes from the sincerity of your soul, and may the Lord bless you for your desire to help me. But I dare not venture to risk the consequences of the step you propose. 23LtMs, Lt 106, 1908, par. 8

It would not be best for you and me to unite our interests in a manner that might be misunderstood by some who knew that [I] advised that you be chosen as president of the California Conference. The Lord knows all about my situation, and He can bring relief in some other way. But let us preserve our influence as workers who are united with our brethren who are engaged in the Lord’s work. I know that the office at Mountain View has had a hard time, and is in debt, and I should be very sorry to take a step that would tend to discourage our brethren there. 23LtMs, Lt 106, 1908, par. 9

Representations that have been given me lead me to fear the plan of selling our books at too low a price. Many who would take advantage of these low prices might just as easily pay the full price. And some who buy the books for little would sell them to others who would have to pay the regular prices. Such a plan is bringing in an order of things that will not bring the best results. If you find worthy people who are not able to pay for a book, it is your privilege to present it to them. But you should hold your books at a price that will insure against a loss to the publishers. While it is right for you to appoint agents to canvass for your books, there should be a readjustment of the prices you ask for them. 23LtMs, Lt 106, 1908, par. 10

On the same principle, because of the large expense in building and in maintaining sanitariums, we could not sanction the charging of such low rates that a loss would come to the institutions, even though some might urge this because a greater number of patients might thus be benefited. Such a method would bring in confusion. 23LtMs, Lt 106, 1908, par. 11

The enemy is ever seeking to scatter briers and thorns among the precious wheat. Earnest labor is required to make a success of our efforts. While certain plans may seem to be wise, and while men may have the best of motives in following them, yet if these plans result in friction, it will be found that the good results that were sought will not appear. 23LtMs, Lt 106, 1908, par. 12

I dare not under present conditions do otherwise than as I have stated. While for a time there might be an enthusiasm in presenting books at a great reduction, yet there are only a few who could do this kind of work. And I cannot consent for you to do this in my behalf. We are both becoming old, and every move must bear the impress of the character of Christ. Not for a day must we venture to move unadvisedly. Looking unto Jesus constitutes real excellence of character. If we copy the pattern, we shall always be safe; for Christ will be revealed in personal ministry. Let us make no mistakes, for we are sowing for eternity. 23LtMs, Lt 106, 1908, par. 13

We should blend with our publishing institutions in laying and carrying out plans that will be productive of healthful unity. All should seek to be baptized with the Holy Spirit, and all speak the same things. Let each serve with an eye single to the glory of God. 23LtMs, Lt 106, 1908, par. 14

Every soul that is sanctified daily through the practice of the gospel principles will obtain the victory over sin. If, as disciples of Christ, we reflect His image, we shall receive what we ask for. We shall be fruitful. Peace like a river will flow to our souls, and from us to other souls. We are to labor that we may represent Christ in our words and disposition. 23LtMs, Lt 106, 1908, par. 15

Let us practice the meekness and lowliness of Christ’s life, and the seed we sow will grow. Sanctification of character is the work of a lifetime. Our opportunities will multiply as our experience enlarges; our knowledge will increase, and through Christ we shall become strong in bearing responsibilities. O precious privilege to co-operate with the heavenly and divine agencies! 23LtMs, Lt 106, 1908, par. 16

Brother and Sister Haskell, if we keep our minds stayed upon Christ, He will come unto us as the rain, as the former and latter rain upon the earth. As the Sun of righteousness, He will arise with healing in His wings. We may grow as the lily, revive as the corn, and grow as the vine. By constantly looking to and patterning after Christ as our personal Saviour, we shall grow up into Him in all things. Our faith will grow, our conscience will be sanctified. We will more and more become like Christ in all our works and words. Thank God, we shall believe His Word. “The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, temperance: against such there is no law.” [Galatians 5:22, 23.] 23LtMs, Lt 106, 1908, par. 17