Letters and Manuscripts — Volume 9 (1894)


Ms 24, 1894

Testimony to Canvassers

Per Ardua, Williams St., Granville, New South Wales, Australia

April 23, 1894

See variant Ms 24a, 1894. Portions of this manuscript are published in CG 124. +Note

Last night I was exercised in mind. I seemed to be in an assembly where were gathered ministers and leading men who have a connection with the various branches of the work. They were discussing as to what would be the best plan to be devised, and the best method to be used, to do a large work with the smallest possible expenditure of means. There was a real dearth of money in the treasury. 9LtMs, Ms 24, 1894, par. 1

Statements were made that some of the men who had been canvassing had lax, loose ways of doing business, and instead of bringing the money, so much needed for the advancement of the work, into the treasury, had appropriated means which was not theirs, and had given it to their family connections. They were selling books and giving the impression that they were working for the cause, when in fact they were taking many pounds from the treasury, and were sapping the funds that were needed to carry on the work. The slack, loose method of planning and working by the canvassers in the field in this country is a great hindrance to the progress of the work. Those who are handling the books, who are acting in this manner, are making themselves channels of darkness instead of channels of light. 9LtMs, Ms 24, 1894, par. 2

The question was asked as to what means could be used by which the work could be carried forward, and yet those who are in the canvassing work be prevented from embarrassing the cause, and from casting a burden upon the office that hindered its prosperity, because of their lax, careless, selfish way of doing business. 9LtMs, Ms 24, 1894, par. 3

Canvassers involve themselves in difficulties, separate their souls from God, [and] create a feeling of uncertainty and want of confidence in those who are laboring with them in the canvassing field, when they appropriate to their own use that which belongs to the cause of God. At the same time they do an injustice to their fellow laborers, because on account of their action, men who do their very best are liable to be regarded with suspicion, and [are] thus obliged to suffer because of the wrong course of action of unfaithful, untrustworthy men who take means that are not their own, and use it to defray the expenses of themselves and their families. 9LtMs, Ms 24, 1894, par. 4

If this loose way of doing business is permitted to continue, the time will come when limited funds will be brought into the treasury. The men who are not exact and trustworthy must either be converted or discharged, and seek some other employment. Carelessness on the part of canvassers has been a great hindrance to the work in Australia and New Zealand. Satan works and manages the human agencies, in place of the Holy Spirit. The result is that the cause of God is involved in perplexity and brought into embarrassment, and a heavy burden is cast upon those who are appointed to bear weighty responsibilities. 9LtMs, Ms 24, 1894, par. 5

The question is of consequence as to how order can be brought out of confusion, and how the work can be carried on according to principles which God can approve. What will be the wisest course to remedy the evil, which has already taken from the treasury a large amount of means, and brought a heavy weight upon an already poverty-stricken cause, because it has laid a heavy burden of debt upon the instrumentalities ordained for the advancement of the work and cause of God? This manner of doing this work must be changed; we must have good workmen, who will not imperil the cause of God by robbing His treasury. Some way must be devised by which the robbery of the cause of God will be discerned and be checked, before it is too late to prevent large loss. But a greater problem to be solved is how to prevent the loss of the soul of the worker who was guilty of unfaithfulness. He loses a discrimination of correct principles. 9LtMs, Ms 24, 1894, par. 6

Our brethren who hold responsible positions of trust must be faithful sentinels. They have to deal with those who have proved to be unfaithful men, who have revealed the fact that their traits of character are of an order that cannot be relied upon in doing business connected with the cause of God. Unless these men are converted and are transformed in character, and will maintain their integrity at any cost to themselves while handling another’s goods, they must be separated from the work, for the heavenly intelligences will not co-operate with them. Without me, says Christ, ye can do nothing. [John 15:5.] God’s work must have workmen connected with it who have solid principles who will in all their lines of work do right because it is right. They must be led by the Lord in all their methods. They will then take the right path because they are doers of the words of Christ. 9LtMs, Ms 24, 1894, par. 7

The course of these careless workmen has brought a burden upon men in leading positions that grieves them to the heart. They are perplexed to know what course they are to pursue to faithfully guard the cause of God from every species of robbery, and yet save the souls of the men who have such perverted ideas as to what is true honesty. When men accept the truth, will it not work by love and purify the soul? Will not those who are converted manifest a decided change in spirit and character if they are imbued by the Spirit of Christ? Will men continue to move on recklessly after they claim to be the children of God, and so handle the Lord’s goods that their characters and their principles will be against the truth? 9LtMs, Ms 24, 1894, par. 8

Can it be possible that men are converted who embezzle their Lord’s goods, and take from the treasury of God the very means by which His cause lives and moves forward successfully? Will not life and character be sanctified through a belief in the truth? Shall men be entrusted with the Lord’s goods who cherish vanity, and indulge their selfish propensities, and become sinners through yielding to temptation, which has led them into a course of action condemned of God? A record has been kept of all the sinful things which they have done. 9LtMs, Ms 24, 1894, par. 9

There are men of good reasoning powers, but whose minds have not been sanctified, who have attached themselves to the truth; but they have not brought the principles of truth into their daily practice. There are men handling sacred responsibilities in the cause here who, had they worked industriously, and taken no stock in the many holidays that curse these Colonies, might have laid by something upon which to draw in case of necessity. They might have been elevated and ennobled in character, and by the fruit of their labors been independent of want. 9LtMs, Ms 24, 1894, par. 10

But the demoralizing practice of borrowing money to relieve some pressing necessity, and asking no calculation as to how they may cancel the indebtedness, has been the custom among the people, and has not worked for their elevation of character. The Lord would have all who believe the truth converted from all these self-deceiving, self-deluding practices, and decide that they would rather suffer want than do a dishonest action. If those who receive the truth do not change in character, corresponding to the sanctifying influence of the truth, they will be a savor of death unto death and misrepresent the truth, putting reproach upon it, and dishonoring Jesus Christ who is truth. 9LtMs, Ms 24, 1894, par. 11

To every man God has given his work. Laziness and indolence are not the fruit borne upon the Christian tree. No soul can practice prevarication or dishonesty in handling the Lord’s goods, and stand guiltless before God. All who do this deny Christ in action. While professing to keep the commandments of God, and claiming to teach them; they do not maintain the principles of God’s law. The Lord’s goods should be handled with faithfulness. 9LtMs, Ms 24, 1894, par. 12

The Lord has given us life and health and reasoning powers; He has given physical and mental strength to be exercised; and shall not the time and talents entrusted of God be faithfully and diligently employed to His name’s glory? Have our brethren considered the fact that they must give an account for all the talents placed in their possession? Have they used them, and traded wisely with their Lord’s goods, or have they spent the substance of the Lord’s recklessly and are they written in heaven as unfaithful servants? 9LtMs, Ms 24, 1894, par. 13

Many are spending their Lord’s money in riotous enjoyment (so called), and are not gaining an experience in self-denial, but spending money on vanities, and are failing to bear the cross after Jesus. Oh, how many have wasted their lives, who were privileged with precious God-given opportunities, who are now found in suffering and want. The light of truth was seen, and they felt it in their hearts, but they did not live it out in their characters. They did not manifest to the world that they were children of light, for though professing to be children of light, they did deeds of darkness, and followed the enemy of righteousness. 9LtMs, Ms 24, 1894, par. 14

God calls for decided improvement to be made in the various branches of the work. The business done in connection with the cause of God must be marked with greater precision and exactitude. There has not been close, decided, firm effort put forth to bring about essential reform. Some connected with the cause are drawing near to the close of their lives, and yet they have not so learned the lessons of the Bible as to feel the necessity of bringing them into their practical life. They have wasted opportunities, and gracious blessings have been unappreciated because they did not wish to make a change. My guide said, “Elevate the standard in all school education. You must set up no lower standard. Discipline must be maintained. Teach the youth by precept and example.” There has not been too much strictness, but too much laxness of action tolerated. But the workers must not despair. 9LtMs, Ms 24, 1894, par. 15

Work with the spirit of Christ, with the mind of Christ, to correct existing evils. Expect that the wrongdoer will have the sympathy of wrongdoers. Faithful shepherds of the flock have lessons to learn in order to keep an elevated standard, and yet teach that the star of hope is shining still. Work on patiently; but rebuke sin firmly, and give it no sanction. The refuge of lies for the covering up of sin must be torn away, in order that poor, deluded souls may not sleep on, to their everlasting ruin. The world is soon to be left by the angel of mercy, and the seven last plagues are to be poured out. Sin, shame, sorrow, and darkness are on every side; but God still holds out to the souls of men the precious privilege of exchanging darkness for light, error for truth, sin for righteousness. But God’s patience and mercy will not always wait. 9LtMs, Ms 24, 1894, par. 16

Let not one soul think that he can hide from God’s wrath behind a lie, for God will strip from the soul the refuge of lies. Hide behind Jesus, who is the Way, the Truth and the Life. The bolts of God’s wrath are soon to fall, and when He shall begin to punish the transgressors, there will be no period of respite until the end. The storm of God’s wrath is gathering, and those only will stand who are sanctified through the truth in the love of God. They will be hid with Christ in God till the desolation shall be overpast. He shall come forth to punish the inhabitants of the world for their iniquity, and the earth shall disclose her blood, and shall no more cover her slain. Let the language of the soul be: 9LtMs, Ms 24, 1894, par. 17

“Other refuge have I none,
Hangs my helpless soul on thee;
Leave, O leave me not alone!
Still support and comfort me.
“Hide me, O my Saviour hide!
Till the storm of life is past;
Safe into the haven guide,
O receive my soul at last.”
9LtMs, Ms 24, 1894, par. 18