Lt 148, 1899

1899

Lt 148, 1899

Managers and Foremen of Publishing Houses

“Sunnyside,” Cooranbong, New South Wales, Australia

September 24, 1899

Portions of this letter are published in MM 199. +Note

To the managers and foremen of the:

Review and Herald Publishing House
Battle Creek, Michigan, U. S. A

Pacific Press
Oakland, California, U. S. A.

London Publishing House
451 Holloway Road
London N.

Echo Publishing Co.
North Fitzroy, Melbourne, Victoria

Christiania Publishing House
Christiania, Norway

Hamburg Publishing House
Hamburg, Germany

Dear Brethren:

I am alarmed by the spirit of rivalry which is coming into our publishing houses. It is most manifest in our oldest printing offices, but the same spirit is working elsewhere. This spirit, wherever manifested, is displeasing to God. If it is allowed to exist, it will grow and strengthen, and as it grows and strengthens it will crush out the missionary spirit. It will grieve the Spirit of God, and lead to such a course of action as will drive away from the institution and its workers the ministering angels sent to be co-workers with those who cherish the grace of God. Lt148-1899.1

Any efforts which are made by the managers of our institutions to get the advantage over another, whether they be openly made, or secretly and in an underhand manner, are grievous in the sight of God. It is not the Spirit of God which prompts these efforts. It is the spirit of Satan. This spirit is working like leaven. Some plans and enterprises have been entered into that are displeasing to God. All strife for the supremacy shows that the spirit of selfishness is not purged from the hearts of the men who manifest it, and those men at the head of our institutions should remember that God will not serve with their sins. Lt148-1899.2

The Lord forbid that the leaders in our institutions should study how to gain the advantage over one another. Let them ask, How much, not how little, can I do to expel the spirit of selfishness which has existed for so long, and is still cherished? Nothing is more evident than that there are those who have a dyspeptic religion. Their religious experience is sour. Those who in the past have reached only the lowest standard they thought they could reach and yet be personally safe, who have not thought it wrong to selfishly gain money or supremacy, need entire conversion. They need to be baptized with the Holy Spirit, that they may be cleansed from all defilement. Let the heart be emptied of its selfishness. Lt148-1899.3

Some take sides against reformatory methods and practical godliness. Earnest soul-humiliation does not come naturally, and to many heart-consecration is seemingly unknown. O, when will those who keep the standard at its lowest point, fear and tremble for the safety of their own souls? The result of this low-gaged piety is that those possessing it do not value aright the souls of those engaged with them in service. Lt148-1899.4

I wish that for one week managers and employers could change places. Perhaps managers would then come to their senses, and act more like Christian gentlemen. Those in positions of trust cannot place on anyone else the work which God has given them to do for the souls of the men and women connected with them, and especially for the youth, whom they are to mold and fashion aright as far as lies in their power. This they are to do by being themselves sanctified to God soul, body, and spirit. Lt148-1899.5

In our institutions I have heard surly, repulsive answers to questions asked. I have heard him put into the voice to give sharpness to the unsanctified, unholy spirit working within. Some who are connected with sacred lines of work speak hasty, ungentlemanly words when crossed in any way. Even thou those who crossed them may have made a mistake in ignorance, with no intention of doing harm, they are humbled by the most severe denunciations, notwithstanding the fact that they are linked with Christ as His purchased inheritance. Lt148-1899.6

Those who talk thus need to have their lips touched with a live coal from God’s altar. They need to hear the words, “Lo, this hath touched thy lips; and thine iniquity is taken away, and thy sin purged.” [Isaiah 6:7.] Unless the hearts of those in positions of trust are cleansed from defilement, the lips will utter perverse things, and those under them will receive harm, when they should be treated as students in a school, and patiently taught, line upon line, precept upon precept, here a little, and there a little. Lt148-1899.7

All arguments, all prayers, whatever may be their fervor, are as sounding brass when not accompanied by the Spirit of Christ. Those who cherish selfishness cannot by arguments, by exhortation, by warnings or reproof, lead those connected with them to higher attainments, to better actions, to greater faithfulness, because they have not themselves the warmth of Christ’s love in the soul. If those who know the truth, who teach the truth, are not transformed, if the truth does not make them spiritually upright, their work is of no value in saving souls from sin. The gospel is a system of practical truths, designed for the uplifting of men in a fallen world, in a degenerate age. If practiced, these truths will work great changes in the character. Lt148-1899.8

The apostle Paul declares, “Ye are our epistle, known and read of all men.” [2 Corinthians 3:2.] Christ is our efficiency. The lives of His followers are to be an exposition of the sacred truths of His Word. This is an illustration which is much more effective than any illustration which an artist can conceive. As we hold forth the Word of life, we have the strongest motives to be spotless, holy, self-denying Christians. The piety of those who believe in Christ is the world’s measurement of the power of the gospel. God calls upon us to show before heaven and earth that we shine as lights amid the moral darkness of this earth. He says, “Ye are the light of the world.” [Matthew 5:14.] The solemn responsibility is laid upon us of doing all we can to save the souls of those with whom we are brought in connection. Lt148-1899.9

Let every one who has named the name of the Christ, in faith in Him as a personal Saviour, depart from all iniquity. It is the truth lived that is a powerful, attracting illustration of the character of Christ. The gospel lived in every department of our work is an influence that will save souls from perdition. This is the fruit Christ requires from His husbandmen. This will do more to make the truth effective than all the sermons and illustrations that can be given to the people. Lt148-1899.10

Let us make large calls for the bread of heaven, for our heavenly Father loves to impart with generous liberality. If we ask Him, He will certainly give us His grace abundantly. When in every branch of the work there is seen an unfaltering determination to develop the self-denying principles of a spotless life, when the straight and narrow path is followed with firm steps, the eye constantly fixed on the Sun of Righteousness, God’s people will bear the marks of Christ’s character. By their patience and tender sympathy for the youth and for those who have been deprived of the advantages they have enjoyed, they will represent Christ. Lt148-1899.11

As upon the Jewish nation, light has been shining upon us from the Word of God. You who have had great light and many opportunities have no excuse for not letting your light shine forth to others in good works. Never should those who know the truth, who understand God’s claims, set their standard at the lowest point. The standard should be elevated, so that the light of a Christlike example will draw perishing souls across the gulf to lay their burden of sin at the cross of Calvary. Lt148-1899.12

There is no excuse for any soul to walk with tottering steps, swaying to the right and to the left, too feeble in moral principle to make straight paths for his feet, lest the lame be turned out of the way. Those who walk thus misrepresent the sacred character of the truth, which is heaven-born, and therefore perfect. The Lord calls upon those who come near Him in service in any of our institutions to put off the old man—their imperfect traits of character—and put on the new man—Jesus Christ, who gave His life to make it possible for us to be complete in Him. Lt148-1899.13

To those who are handling sacred things I would say, A Watcher is constantly with you, noting whether you handle with pure, clean hands the things which relate to your high calling in Christ Jesus. O, take heed without delay. Take not one step in business deal that you would not take if you were dealing with Christ in person. I have the word of God that there are those among us who are more guilty of negligence and double-dealing and petty tricks in trade than many upon whose pathway the light of present truth has never shone, but who are a conscience unto themselves. Some who do not claim to be Christians would not do a mean, selfish, unfair action. Professed disciples of Christ, who have a name to live and yet are dead as far as vital godliness is concerned, are a stumbling block to sinners. Their rasping, harsh, uncourteous spirit is working against the truth. Lt148-1899.14

You who are occupying responsible positions have often been in as great danger and as guilty of as great trespasses and as great a departure from true principles as the ignorant and undisciplined youth whom you treat so harshly. You have greater light, greater knowledge, better advantages, than the ones whom you would unsparingly correct. In their new position, the youth in your care are as children, and they need educating. This work should not be done in an impatient, fretful, murmuring spirit, but in the Spirit of Him who pities their ignorance. Remember that the way in which you, with your advantages and privileges, deal with those who have not been thus favored, and who have everything to learn, Christ will deal with you. It is high time that we awoke out of sleep, and began to emit light as those who claim to be connected with the One who is the source of all truth, justice, and righteousness. Lt148-1899.15

Everyone who is subordinate to the law of God is under Christ as a learner. From the Word of God those at the head of our institutions are to learn day by day how to speak as Christ would speak, and how to educate aright those who are in their employ as learners. The apprentices are to be affectionately treated, encouraged, and advanced. They are God’s property. Let those who are over the young workers put themselves in their place and consider what kind of treatment they would think right and just were they apprentices, in order to keep their courage good, their temper sweet, their self-respect increasing. As God’s appointed agents, watch for souls as they that must give an account. Let the law of kindness be on your lips. Lt148-1899.16

Paul writes, “Do all things without murmurings and disputings that ye may be blameless and harmless, the sons of God, without rebuke in the midst of a crooked and perverse generation, among whom ye shine as lights in the world; holding forth the word of life, that I may rejoice in the day of Christ that I have not run in vain neither labored in vain.” [Philippians 2:14-16.] Lt148-1899.17

Reformation is called for by the Watcher. When the work is accomplished that should be accomplished in the minds and hearts of those brought together in our institutions as Christian workers; when every phase of the work is done with an eye single to the glory of God; when murmuring and strife are put far away; when the upward lines of advance that Christ and conscience point out are not disputed, then the Holy Spirit will have a chance to work on the hearts that need converting. As matters now stand, those who should be educators are sometimes fickle and impatient, given to murmuring and faultfinding. Day by day they deal out these objectionable attributes to those connected with them. They are far from being harmless, blameless, and without rebuke. Lt148-1899.18

How much do men who are not themselves under God’s control, although professing to be Christians, really contribute to the efficiency of the gospel in their business relations with those who are not converted? There are many against whose names on the record books of heaven will be found written, Not producers, but consumers. They do not bear fruit to the glory of God. The Lord cannot co-operate with them. They are stones which take up room in the building, but emit no light. They cannot shine as living stones, because they do not receive light from the chief Cornerstone. Can they afford to trust their souls any longer to such uncertainty? Christians are either under Christ’s rule, heeding His instruction by doing the work they are supposed as God’s followers to be doing, or they are under the control of the enemy. They are either doing positive good or incalculable harm. Their influence is either a savor of life unto life or of death unto death. Lt148-1899.19

Christians are to be lightbearers, saying to all with whom they are brought into contact, Follow me as I follow Christ. They are to be examples of piety, representing Christ in word, in spirit, in action, in all business dealing with their brethren and with strangers. They are to show that their actions are a copy of the actions of their great Pattern. All this Christ enjoins upon His followers. They are to show the superiority of heaven’s principles over the principles of the world. Lt148-1899.20

“Let your light so shine before men that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven.” [Matthew 5:16.] True Christians will always shine as lights in the world. They are lightbearers, working upon a higher plane of action than those who are not Christians. Their purity and uprightness in every action is a source of illumination. They impart what they receive, making known the duties and privileges of a Christian. The refining, ennobling principles of the gospel are brought into every phase of life. Lt148-1899.21