Letters and Manuscripts — Volume 14 (1899)


Lt 168, 1899

Mountain, A.

“Sunnyside,” Cooranbong, New South Wales, Australia

October 25, 1899

Portions of this letter are published in Ev 660-661; 6MR 47; 7MR 391. +Note

Dear Brother Mountain:

I have read your letter written to Brother Hickox. I know you to be a very kind man, tender-hearted, pitiful, and courteous; but as I read your letter, I saw that you need light on some points. When to your certain knowledge a brother has made a mistake, and has suffered in consequence, and lies under the burden of financial difficulty, then is the time when you should make every effort to help him out of the ditch into which he has fallen through his own lack of wisdom. It is not best to give him the impression that all eyes are watching him to find something to criticize. 14LtMs, Lt 168, 1899, par. 1

I read that it was thought that Brother Hickox’s board for the time he was in Wellington should not be charged to the conference, and this amount was deducted from his salary. Why was Brother Hickox in Wellington? On his own business, or for the advancement of the cause of truth? I understand that Brother Farnsworth stopped Brother Hickox’s work, and requested him to make tents for the conference. Brother Hickox writes to me: “We did as we were directed, both of us working day and night. We were put to extra expense to do this work; for we were compelled to stay at an hotel for one week, and I thought it only reasonable that the conference should pay this expense. I did not do this work expecting extra pay, nor do I now wish it; but I thought it only just that we should be saved this extra item of expense. The conference has cut down our, or rather, my, wages, for they never gave my wife anything for her labors. We have never asked anything, and if the money is not to be had, we do not complain at the reduction.” 14LtMs, Lt 168, 1899, par. 2

Brother Hickox says that he has paid his own travelling expenses, and that this is the reason he has not paid his tithe. I wish now to speak to Brother Farnsworth. Before I sent for Brother Hickox to come to Australia, I was shown his case, and I saw that the management of it was not such as to give him courage and confidence. A narrow course of action was pursued, which showed lack of appreciation and real, sanctified wisdom. Such closeness in calculation, such injudicious movements could just as verily be placed to your own account as to his. I saw that when the spirit of criticism and suspicion came in, a course of action would be pursued toward the one supposed to be erring that would give him no chance for his life, and that if Brother Hickox was to be preserved to the cause of God, he must be placed for a time in connection with us, that we might know how to treat his case. 14LtMs, Lt 168, 1899, par. 3

I was shown that we must act discreetly, tenderly, wisely with this brother, and the Lord would give him courage; and that in time he would prove an acceptable laborer in the cause of God. His past errors were not unpardonable, but we must immediately change his associations, else his courage would be sapped, and he would have no strength to resist the temptations which would arise. The Lord laid upon me the burden of sending for Brother Hickox. This conference will pay his expenses from New Zealand. 14LtMs, Lt 168, 1899, par. 4

Rather than be idle, Brother Hickox labored with his hands to settle a rent bill. His painting the house or fence for Sister Teasdale was a matter to be commended, not condemned. For his work Sister Teasdale allowed him a certain sum on the rent of the house. What offense was there in this? I answer, None. And if any of the brethren are tempted over the matter, tell them that God says, “I will have mercy and not sacrifice.” [Matthew 9:13.] 14LtMs, Lt 168, 1899, par. 5

If a minister, during his leisure time, engages in labor in his orchard or garden, shall he deduct that time from his salary? Certainly not, any more than he should put in his time when he is called to work over hours in ministerial labor. Some ministers spend many hours in apparent ease, and it is right that they should rest when they can, for the system could not endure the heavy strain, were there no time for letting up. There are hours in the day that call for severe taxation, for which the minister receives no extra salary, and if he chooses to chop wood several hours a day, or work in his garden, it is as much his privilege to do this as to preach. A minister cannot always be preaching and visiting, for this is exhaustive work. 14LtMs, Lt 168, 1899, par. 6

The light given me is that if our ministers would do more physical labor, they would reap blessings healthwise. After his day’s work of preaching and visiting and study, the minister should have time in which to attend to his own necessities. If he has only a limited salary, he may contrive to add to his little fund. The narrow-minded may see in this something to criticize, but the Lord commends such a course. 14LtMs, Lt 168, 1899, par. 7

I have been shown that at times those in the ministry are compelled to labor day and night and live on very meager fare. When a crisis comes, every nerve and sinew is taxed by the heavy strain. If these men could go aside and rest awhile, engaging in physical labor, it would be a great relief. Thus men might have been saved who have gone down to the grave. It is a positive necessity to physical health and mental clearness to do some manual work during the day. Thus the blood is called from the brain to other portions of the body. 14LtMs, Lt 168, 1899, par. 8

Did any one feel a burden for Brother Hickox when he was tent-making in Wellington, any distress that he should thus work day and night, and receive little or nothing for his labors? Will you consider this thing, my brethren? I greatly feared that the enemy would work the ruin of Brother Hickox, and for this reason we sent for him. We can now help him where he needs help. If our ministers are to receive the treatment that Brother Hickox has received, I must make an open protest. I would not, could not, sustain it. When a minister has performed his ministerial duties, he must have time for his family responsibilities. He is not to be watched, and criticized if every moment of his time is not employed in the special work of preaching and visiting. 14LtMs, Lt 168, 1899, par. 9

I have also been shown that the women who labor with their husbands should be paid for their time. God says, I hate robbery for burnt offerings. We are to have bowels of compassion one for another. When a man has been humiliated by his mistakes, and is in need, his brethren, with the love of Christ in their hearts, are to come forward and help where they can. 14LtMs, Lt 168, 1899, par. 10