Manuscript Releases, vol. 19 [Nos. 1360-1419]


MR No. 1393—A. T. Jones Urged To Be Unselfish and Gentle

(Written from “Sunnyside,” Cooranbong, New South Wales, May 1, 1899, to Elder A. T. Jones.)

As I have read the little pamphlet in regard to the investigation of the Review and Herald publishing work, I have determined not to demand or to receive any compensation for losses sustained through a wrong course of action in regard to royalties. I wish to bear a living testimony that I forgive everything. I may have to refer to the past in order to present things shown me to be correct principles, but I would not bring self into this work of restitution. If there is restitution to be made, let it be devoted wholly to God in building up that which Satan has thought to tear down. 19MR 195.1

My brother, I beg you not to let A. T. Jones manifest himself in coming forward to receive that which you suppose to be your right and your due. Nothing has been revealed to me showing that you have in any way suffered wrong in regard to the royalty on books. I have seen that some others have not been dealt with justly, but I have no recollection of seeing your case in this connection. There is need of constant watchfulness on your part, my brother. Be careful lest in dealing with the mistakes of others that have been reproved, you make a mistake yourself in being sharp and hard, critical and exacting. 19MR 195.2

Letters have come to me making inquiry in reference to the change of the Sentinel from New York to Chicago. I have had no special light on this subject. Whoever edits the Sentinel needs to have his pen dipped in holy oil, that the words traced shall not reveal a sharp, thrusting, warfaring spirit. The Lord would have you, my brother, mellow up and not be harsh and overbearing. You hurt yourself when you are rash and impetuous. Reproof has been given to those who have been managers in the Review and Herald office. All through the institution, in every room, the workers have been in need of thorough sanctification of soul, body, and spirit. But be careful, my brother, that you judge not. Do not press your brethren into hard places. Everything is gained and nothing lost by courtesy. Be kind. Speak patiently and gracefully. Represent Christ. 19MR 195.3

Last night, after I retired to rest, I could not sleep. I was in trouble of mind. There was presented before me a number of writers who were zealous to press this matter of royalty. I saw confusion; claims were urged by those who had not been in the least wrong, but had received just payment according to the value of their writings. And books have been boomed in the papers when they did not possess the excellence attributed to them. 19MR 196.1

One book was published when another, just preceding it on the same subject, had not had sufficient time to be brought before the people. The second book was drawing the attention from the sale of the first. The rules of right and righteousness are disregarded for selfish, ambitious purposes. The rights of brethren are to be respected; there should not be a multiplication of books, when it must be well understood that one will interfere with the sale of the one just preceding it. This was the way with The Great Controversy. This book was not even left to have a fair chance in being handled with Bible Readings. The Bible Readings was brought in before the books of great importance—Great Controversy and Daniel and Revelation—which relate to the vital interests before us. Through the special instruction to the canvassing agents, The Great Controversy had little opportunity to be circulated, and the very light which the people needed for that time was nearly eclipsed. 19MR 196.2

There is danger that the same course will again be followed. Therefore, it may be necessary for me to refer to the light given on this subject. It was presented to me that one book was crossing the track of another. This is not righteous judgment. I have now to say, Let selfishness be uprooted. Let the precious plants of God's own garden of the heart live and flourish. 19MR 197.1

Brother Jones, if it had not been checked, this matter of pressing claims for book royalties would have led to a most disastrous state of things. I saw hands reached out to make claims when they had no claim but that which is born of selfishness. I have seen the root of selfishness springing up and flourishing, and I was so grieved in spirit that Elder Corliss and yourself should have any part in this work. I beg of you both to consider carefully the effect of your demands. 19MR 197.2

Let not self wax to great proportions, lest the whole man be defiled. One leak will sink a ship, and one flaw break a chain; so there may be some hereditary or cultivated trait of character that will work in the heart and develop into words that will make an impression for evil which will never be effaced. We are all building for eternity. Let the character have the impress of the divine in pure, noble utterances, in upright deeds. Then the whole universe of heaven will behold and say, Well done, good and faithful servant. 19MR 197.3

Let selfishness with its poisonous roots strike into the heart, and what a change is made. The building grows, but it is not symmetrical. The great, grand structure may be going up for time and for eternity. That building must stand the final inspection. Is the foundation sure? Is it built upon the doing of the Word of God? The Word of God warns everyone, Take heed how ye build. Make sure that the foundation is laid on the solid rock. 19MR 197.4

The mental powers need cultivation. Our minds are either the workshop of God or of Satan. We are making history, and we want in every respect to practice that which we teach others to do. We need to cultivate every God-given faculty, that the character may grow into a beautiful building for the Lord. The mind God gives; the character man forms after the similitude of God or of Satan. 19MR 198.1

We whom the Lord has blessed with great light and great truth need to be circumspect in all things. We are doing a work that day by day is inscribed on the record books of heaven. Therefore let us who are of the day be sober, and watch unto prayer. 19MR 198.2

We must have order, harmony, and consistency, that we may reveal a working power for time and for eternity. If we are not constantly climbing upward, heavenward, we are descending the rounds of the ladder earthward. 19MR 198.3

My Brother Jones, you need the subduing influence of the Spirit of God. You have hereditary traits of character that are constantly striving for the supremacy. Character is power. It is an influence which makes friends. Worked by the Holy Spirit's power, self will die; but all the preaching a man may do will not make character. It is essential that the foundation cornerstone be laid aright. All your phases of character are to be guarded. 19MR 198.4

Brother Jones, be careful in your words. You know the truth, and I urge you for Christ's sake to practice the truth. You need the converting power of God every day. May the Lord help you, my brother, for He has greatly blessed you. You need the spirit of meekness and gentleness, of patience and forbearance, and of love for your brethren. Take heed how you build, for the structure will be tested. 19MR 198.5

The influence of your teaching would be tenfold greater if you were careful of your words. The precious talent of speech must never be misused. It is a savor of life unto life or of death unto death. Life and character stand upon great, solid, permanent principles. Do not, when referring to the Testimonies, feel it your duty to drive them home. In reading the Testimonies, be sure not to mix in your filling of words, for it is impossible for the hearers to tell what is the word of the Lord to them and what are your words. Be careful that you do not make the words of the Lord offensive. There are methods that are always right when worked by the Holy Spirit. There are wrong methods; quick, severe speech, words not the best adapted to win and to heal the wounded soul, are of self. 19MR 199.1

The natural habits need to be cleansed away; the precious must be separated from the vile. As Christians we must speak as Christ would have us speak. We may long to see reforms, but because we do not see that which we desire, an evil spirit casts drops of gall into our cup, and then others are poisoned. By our ill-advised words, their spirit is chafed, they are stirred up to rebellion. Eternal principles of truth, when advocated by pen or voice, need the holy oil emptied from the two olive branches into our hearts. This will flow forth in words that will reform but not exasperate. God will work with your spirit if you will cooperate with Him. It should be the purpose of our lives to render unto God the highest service. 19MR 199.2

Every article you write may be all truth, but one drop of gall in it will be poison to the reader. One reader will discard all your good and acceptable words because of that drop of poison. Another will feed on the poison, for he loves such harsh words; he follows your example and talked just as A. T. Jones talks. Thus the evil is multiplied. Make it your aim to speak the truth in love. Then the Lord Jesus by His Spirit will supply the force and the power. That is the Lord's work. Beware lest with the sacred you mingle the common fire—A. T. Jones—in your service. Your common utterances are as common fire in the service of God. We must not mingle self with anything we do for God.—Letter 91, 1899. 19MR 199.3

Ellen G. White Estate

Washington, D. C.,

May 12, 1988.

Entire Letter.

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