Selections from the Testimonies Setting forth Important Principles Relating to Our Work in General, the Publishing Work in Particular, and the Relatio

To the Men in Responsible Positions in Battle Creek

Granville, N. S. W.,

September, 1895.

Dear Brethren,...

Consolidation means that all institutions are to be merged into the Battle Creek institutions. For years something of this kind has been proposed by one and another. But according to the light I have had, the plan is wrong, decidedly wrong. Let every institution stand in its own individuality, doing its respective work in its own locality. There are not in Battle Creek men of sufficient clearness of discernment, sanctified by the grace of Christ, to carry the responsibilities which they now assume. If there is any action taken to merge everything into one institution under the dictation of those now presiding, it will be one of the worst pieces of business that ever was transacted in Battle Creek in connection with the cause of God. PH150 11.2

The Pacific Press should stand in its own moral independence, carrying on its work beyond the Rocky Mountains, in a little world of its own. Its managers are responsible to God to do their work as in full view of the universe of heaven. PH150 12.1

Men are coming to trust in men, and to make flesh their arm; and when that arm is not linked in the arm of Christ, they will find that they are leaning upon a broken reed. PH150 12.2

The publishing houses were established in America in the counsel of God, under his direction and supervision, and they should stand in their own individuality, as sister institutions. Never should they be so related to each other that one shall have power to control the running of the other. If one institution shall adopt a policy which the other does not sanction, the other institution is not to be corrupted, but is to stand in its God-given responsibility, true to the principles that were expressed in its establishment, and carrying forward the work in harmony with those principles. PH150 12.3

Our people do not know what they are about. In some of their movements they act like blind men. The managers at Battle Creek are taking altogether too much on their hands; but they do not understand the result of this confederacy. Every institution should work in harmony with the other institutions, but farther than this they should not go toward confederacy or merging into one. Already there are men who, supposing themselves wise, are trying to shape matters according to their ideas. Things may for a time appear to prosper in their hands, but the result will be that which they do not now anticipate. PH150 13.1

For years a spirit of oppression has been coming into Battle Creek. The human agents are lifting up themselves unto selfishness and domination. Not a work can be published but they try to gain control of it, and if authors do not concede to their propositions, those who publish the work will exert an influence with canvassers and other agents that will hinder its sale, and this wholly irrespective of the value of the book. And when every institution is merged into the one that is greatest,—that is, measured by her power of control,—that one will indeed be a ruling power, and if the principles of action in the most powerful institution are corrupted, as is now the case, and as has been in the history of the past, every other institution must follow the same path, else a determined influence will be brought to bear against it. The difficulty is not in the institution, but in the members. PH150 13.2

This disposition to press men into hard places if you can not bring them to your ideas, is not according to God's order. Those who do this when it suits them, are bringing souls into unbelief and temptation, and driving them on Satan's battle-field. They forget that God will deal with them as they deal with their fellow-men. God's cause is not to be molded by one man, or half a dozen men. All his responsible stewards are to bear a share in the devising, as well as in the execution, of the plans. Men must not forget that the God of heaven is a God of justice; with Him is no partiality, no hypocrisy. He will not serve with men's selfishness, nor sanction their plans to rob one soul of his right because they can press him inconsiderately, and make statements and plans that compel surrender, or leave him helpless. PH150 14.1

Shall everything pass under the control of men who we know have not a living connection with God? He who says, “I know thy works,” hears all their suggestions, listens to all their plans. The institutions of God's own creating, which he established upon principles of justice and equity, they are seeking to make a means of oppression, forcing the Lord's workers to accept terms which they themselves, were the situation reversed, would not accept. PH150 14.2

God's instrumentalities are not chosen of men, or under their jurisdiction. They are to prepare a people to stand in the day of the Lord. God is a party to every transaction, and He is sinned against and misrepresented. The Lord's powerful instrumentalities are made as a cutting sword to weaken and destroy, because those who are managing these instrumentalities possess attributes that lead them to do this. When men swerve from truth and righteousness, violate justice in deal, making contracts that bind others according to their will, and violate contracts, let them remember that for all this God will bring them into judgment. By no sharp dealing or underhand advantage is the Lord to be glorified or His truth served. Money acquired in this way to supply the treasury will benefit no one; for God will not serve with the sins of oppression and selfishness. PH150 14.3

It should be written on the conscience as with a pen of iron upon a rock, that no man can achieve true success while violating the eternal principles of right. There must be a cleansing of the institutions similar to Christ's cleansing of the temple of old. “It is written,” saith the Lord. “My house shall be called a house of prayer, but ye have made it a den of thieves.” There are in our institutions today, transactions similar to those that took place in the temple court in Christ's time; and all heaven is looking on.... PH150 15.1

The publishing houses were brought into existence in a spirit of sacrifice, and no persons should have been permitted to hold a responsible position in the work, who desired to work according to the world's policy. The consecration and purity of the worker will be evidenced by the principles manifested in his attitude toward every child of God. The publishing house was established for the purpose of doing business upon the principles of justice and equity, judging every case without partiality and without hypocrisy. In our institutions the Spirit of Christ was to be a witness to the world of the character of God, a living epistle, known and read of all men. These institutions were to reveal nothing like oppression; the managers were to be those who showed decidedly that they were under the control of God. Selfishness and the love of money were not to set aside those principles of sacrifice which characterized the establishment of these instrumentalities. PH150 15.2

No one should be allowed to engage in the sacred work who could be bought or sold for money. No one is to take advantage of any man's ignorance or necessity, in order to charge exorbitant prices for work done or for goods sold. The managers are not obeying the commandments of God when, by any selfish devising, they secure the benefits of the time or talents of the workmen. Such a course is robbery of your neighbor. God has given every one of his workers certain qualifications, for which he is responsible, not to any man or set of men, but to God. He is so to use them that they will be a blessing to himself, by having it in his power to be a blessing to others. The practises that have prevailed in the Review and Herald office, and which are now leavening the managers of the conferences, are not correct. I can not specify all the departures from righteousness; they are too many to be enumerated, and I am not told to do this. PH150 16.1

Some will urge that in dealing with sharpers, those who have no conscience, one must conform in a large degree to the customs that prevail; that should he adopt a course of strict integrity, he will be compelled to give up his business, or fail to secure a livelihood. Where is your faith in God? He owns you as His sons and daughters on condition that you come out from the world, and be separate, and touch not the unclean thing. There will be violent temptations to diverge from the straight path; there will be innumerable arguments in favor of conforming to custom, and adopting practices that are really dishonest. PH150 17.1

When one worker enters into a confederacy with another—as has been done—seeking to supply that other's lack of aptitude or knowledge, he is doing that one an injury, and assisting in a deception. That worker receives pay for qualifications which he has not, and his failures in duties which he is supposed to perform are many. Yet the largest wages are received, and the treasury is robbed. God has been greatly displeased by these things. PH150 17.2

These may be regarded by men as little things, but was it a little thing for Adam and Eve to eat of the fruit which God had forbidden them to eat? The smallness of the act did not avert the consequences. It was disobedience to God's commandments, and the flood-gates of woe were opened upon our world. We can not be Christians and connive at any dishonest practise or breach of trust. The Christian will not be found spending extravagantly means that he has not earned. God requires every man to be punctual, just, and without guile in his lips or in his heart. Be righteous in all dealings with your fellowmen if you would have not only the name but the character of a Christian. Those who depart from Bible principles, and vindicate their defects as righteous, have never received the true knowledge of Christ or the experience of being in truth doers of the Word. There is nothing in the Word of God that glosses over or excuses one phase of selfishness, one approach to overreaching or dishonesty.... PH150 17.3

(Signed) Ellen G. White