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

To the General Conference Committee and the Publishing Boards of the Review and Herald and Pacific Press

William St., Granville,

April 8, 1894.

Dear Brethren,

I would address to you words of counsel. I have received a letter from Brother C. H. Jones in reference to changes which it is proposed to make in the publication of our periodicals. Questions are asked in reference to these matters. One is, “Shall our periodicals be combined in one paper or magazine?” Brother Jones further says: “Some suggest that the Review, Home Missionary, and Sabbath School Worker, be combined in one paper, to be used as our regular church paper; have the Review enlarged to 32 pages and divide it up into different departments, covering the different lines of work. All three of the papers are designed especially for our own people, and I am not sure but that this combination could be effected. Some have thought that the Instructor and Little Friend could also be combined in our church paper. Another suggestion is that the Signs of the Times and the American Sentinel be combined in one pioneer missionary paper.” PH150 18.1

I can not see wisdom in the policy of having all our periodicals combined in one paper or magazine. Each of our periodicals has its own place, and is to do a specific work. Let our brethren inquire, Has the necessity of this work, and its object, changed? If you think so, then wherein? ... PH150 19.1

The present is a time of special peril. In 1890 and 1891 there was presented to me a view of dangers that would threaten the work because of a confederacy in the office of publication in Battle Creek. Propositions which to their authors appeared very wise would be introduced, looking to the formation of a confederacy that would make Battle Creek, like Rome, the great head of the work, and enable the office of publication there to swallow up everything in the publishing line among us. This is not God's wisdom, but human wisdom. Those matters have been coming up again and again in different aspects, but this policy of consolidation would, if adopted, result in marring the work. God would have his work move firmly and solidly, but no one branch is to interfere with or absorb other branches of the same great work. From time to time for years, in the past, God has been pleased to give me special light on these points. I was shown that the small periodicals, as well as the larger ones, are to come forth from the publishing houses and be scattered like the leaves of autumn to answer the wants of the cause in its growth and extension. PH150 19.2

The printing office in Battle Creek will bear the divine credentials if the workers connected with it walk in accordance with the light that God has given them. If any of them in their devising and planning, weave selfishness into the work, the approval of God will be withdrawn. All who act any part in the work of the cause of God are to consider their own spiritual condition in the light of the Word of God. Have they considered this matter prayerfully, that not one vein of selfishness should be fed by a course of action that God has reproved? Have they learned to lean upon Him who is a sufficiency? PH150 20.1

I have much to say, but have little time in which to write and prepare matter for this month's mail. I wish it to be distinctly understood, however, that I have no faith in consolidating the work of publication, blending in one that which should remain separate. The blending of the Signs and the Sentinel will not be in the order of God. Each has its distinctive work to do. The Signs is a pioneer paper to do a special work. PH150 20.2

The work of publication was represented to me by the figure which Christ used, the vine. In the different branches of this great work, as in the branches of the vine, there is to be unity in diversity. This is God's plan, the principle that runs through the entire universe. In God's wise arrangement there is diversity, and yet He has so related each part to others that all work in harmony to carry out His great plan in extending the knowledge of God and of Jesus Christ whom He hath sent. However there may appear to be dissimilarity, the work is one great whole, and bears the stamp of infinite wisdom. God and Christ are one, Christ and His disciples are one, we in Christ, and Christ in God. The Lord designs that His work shall move forward in perfect harmony without friction. Jesus said: “I am the vine, ye are the branches.” The branches are many and diverse, yet all are united in the parent stalk, and every branch, although separate, draws its sustenance from the vine stalk. “I am the vine, ye are the branches.” Jesus Christ is in God, the great Masterpiece of infinite wisdom, and power, and sufficiency, from whom all the diversity springs. Each branch bears its burden of fruit, and all together make a harmonious whole, a complete, beautiful unity. This is harmony according to the Lord's order. PH150 20.3

Warnings have been given me that the publishing house upon the Pacific coast should not, in thought, word, or deed, depreciate the office at Battle Creek, neither should the publishing house at Battle Creek look with envy and jealousy upon the instrumentalities the Lord has established upon the Pacific Coast. Plans should be carefully considered in Battle Creek, that they may in no case militate against the work in Oakland. But the image of jealousy was long ago set up, and has provoked to jealousy, which has grieved the Spirit of God. PH150 21.1

I understand something about these two institutions, for my husband and I had to lead out in establishing them and carrying them forward. The Lord gave special directions as to how they should be conducted. These principles I have not withheld from those who were numbered as believers in the truth. PH150 22.1

The work has been presented to me as, at its beginning, a small, very small rivulet. The representation was given to the prophet Ezekiel of waters issuing “from under the threshold of the house eastward ... at the south side of the altar.” Please read Ezekiel 47. Mark verse 8: “Then said he unto me, These waters issue out toward the east country, and go down into the desert, and go into the sea; which being brought forth into the sea, the waters shall be healed.” This work was represented to me as extending to the east and to the north, to the islands of the sea, and to all parts of the world. As the work increases, there will be a great and living interest to be managed by human instrumentalities. The work is not to be centered in any one place, not even in Battle Creek. Human wisdom argues that it is more convenient to build up the interest where it has already obtained character and influence; mistakes have been made in this line. Individuality and personal responsibility are thus repressed and weakened. The work is the Lord's, and the strength and efficiency are not all to be concentrated in any one place. PH150 22.2

(Signed) Ellen G. White