Special Instruction Relating to The Review and Herald Office, and The Work in Battle Creek


A Common Source of Error

Men fall into error by starting with false premises, and then bringing everything to bear to make the error true. In some cases the first principles have a measure of truth interwoven with the errors, but it does not lead to any just action; and this is why men are misled. In order to reign and become a power, they employ Satan's methods to justify their own principles. They exalt themselves as men of superior judgment, and profess to stand as representatives of God. These are false gods. PH080 35.1

Sinful men can find hope and righteousness only in God; and no human being is righteous any longer than he has faith in God, and maintains a vital connection with him. A flower of the field must have its root in the soil; it must have air, dew, showers, and sunshine. It will flourish only as it receives these advantages, and all are from God. So with men. We receive from God that which ministers to the life of the soul. We are warned not to trust in man, nor to make flesh our arm. A curse is pronounced upon all that do this. PH080 36.1

“Thus saith the Lord; Cursed be the man that trusteth in man, and maketh flesh his arm, and whose heart departeth from the Lord. For he shall be like the heath in the desert, and shall not see when good cometh; but shall inhabit the parched places in the wilderness, in a salt land and not inhabited. Blessed is the man that trusteth in the Lord, and whose hope the Lord is. For he shall be as a tree planted by the waters, and that spreadeth out her roots by the river, and shall not see when heat cometh, but her leaf shall be green; and shall not be careful in the year of drought, neither shall cease from yielding fruit. The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it? I the Lord search the heart, I try the reins, even to give every man according to his ways, and according to the fruit of his doings.... O Lord, the hope of Israel, all that forsake thee shall be ashamed, and they that depart from me shall be written in the earth, because they have forsaken the Lord, the fountain of living water.” PH080 36.2

Let no plans or methods be brought into any of our institutions that will place mind or talent under the control of human judgment; for this is not in God's order. God has given to man, talents of influence which belong to him alone, and no greater dishonor can be done to God than for one finite agent to purchase from men their God-given talent, or the product of such talent, to be absolutely under his control, even though the benefits of the same be used to the advantage of the cause. In such arrangements, one man's mind is ruled by another man's mind, and the human agent is separated from God, and exposed to temptations. Satan's methods tend to one end,—to make men the slaves of men. And when this is done, confusion and distrust, jealousies and evil surmisings, are the result. Such a course destroys man's faith in God, and in the principles which are to control his work, to purge from guilt and from every species of selfishness and hypocrisy. PH080 36.3

The Lord of heaven, who made our world, and who created man, guards the interests of every soul. To every man he has given this work. We are laborers together with God. There are diversities of gifts, and every man should appreciate the moral and spiritual capital which God has entrusted to him. No one should treat these entrusted talents with indifference. No one is accountable for the talents he has never had; none should complain of the smallness of their gifts. Every one is to trade on that which God has entrusted to him, working where he can, doing the best possible service for the Master. Our talent, well used, will gain other talents, and these still others. The man with a few pence can serve God faithfully with his pence. If he does this, he is judged as faithful in the sight of God as the one who has improved pounds. PH080 37.1

All are to realize their individual responsibility to employ their talents to the glory of God according to their ability. Let no man or council of men assume the responsibility of making as little as possible of these talents, according to their human estimate of God's entrusted qualifications. No man is to weigh in the balances of human judgment the talents God has given to other men. Let every man appreciate God's gifts to him, and faithfully trade upon them. No man is to merge his individuality into that of any other man. No man should be urged to make another man his steward. There are diversities of gifts, and a large work to be done in our world in the use of God's entrusted goods. Let us never forget that we are here to be fashioned by the hand of God, fitted to do the work he has given us to do. That work is our own, the accountability is our own; it cannot be transferred to another. Let not human agents interpose to take another's work out of the hands of God into their own finite hands. PH080 38.1

Principles Underlying Our Stewardship. I have borne abundant testimony, setting forth the fact that the ability to write a book, is, like every other talent, a gift from God, for which the possessor is accountable to him. This talent no man can buy or sell without incurring great and dangerous responsibility. Those who labor to bring about changes in the publication of books, to place the books wholly under the control of the publishing houses or the Conference, know not what they are talking about. Their eyes are blinded, and they work from a wrong standpoint. Selfishness is a root of bitterness whereby many are defiled. PH080 38.2

The efforts that have been made to turn all the profits derived from the talents of writers, into the hands of the Conference or the publishing house, will not prove a success; for the plan is not just and equal. From the light given me by God, the efforts made in this direction by those at the heart of the work, are not heaven-inspired. It is a very narrow, conceited arrangement, devised by human minds, and it does not bear the marks of God. Every man's special work is appointed him of God, and he is individually responsible to God. When men connected with the publishing business make decisions and transact business as they have done and propose to do at Battle Creek, they give evidence that changes should be made as soon as possible; for God is not in any such plan. PH080 39.1

Those who write books are not to be left under the control of men who have no experimental knowledge of authorship. These men have a high appreciation of their own ability, but they have shown how little they appreciate the human agent, to whom God has given a certain work to do. They belittle men to whom God has given talents to use to his glory. He never designed that any man should sell his stewardship, as if he were not capable of managing the talents given him. The ideas which prevail, that, in order to give to the cause of God, a writer must place all the profits of his work, beyond a mere pittance, where other men shall control it for him, or invest as shall suit their ideas, are an error. PH080 39.2

Long ago, when such ideas were first advanced, they should have been treated as they deserved. Men took into their own hands responsibilities which they were not capable of treating justly or managing successfully. They have given evidence of this in the past in the fact that they would resort to unfair means, in order to wring from men God's entrusted talents for their own appropriation. But the very persons whom God has entrusted with his goods, are held responsible to trade upon them, and thus develop talent. PH080 40.1

Every soul who has become the servant of God through the grace of Jesus Christ, has his own peculiar sphere of labor. He is not to be bought or sold, but he is to understand that “ye were not redeemed with corruptible things, as silver and gold, from your vain conversation received by tradition from your fathers; but with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot: who verily was foreordained before the foundation of the world, but was manifest in these last times for you, who by him do believe in God, that raised him from the dead, and gave him glory; that your faith and hope might be in God. Seeing ye have purified your souls in obeying the truth through the Spirit unto unfeigned love of the brethren, see that ye love one another with a pure heart fervently.” Who have greater need to be doers of this inspired injunction than have those who are living at the very close of this earth's history? PH080 40.2

It is not our property that is entrusted to us for investment. If it had been, we might claim discretionary power; we might shift the responsibility upon others, and leave our stewardship with others. But this cannot be, because the Lord is testing us individually. If we act wisely in trading upon our Lord's goods and multiplying the talents given us, we shall invest this gain for the Master, praying for wisdom that we may be divested of all selfishness, and laboring most earnestly to advance the precious truth in our world. PH080 40.3