God would have all who are connected with His institutions show aptness, discrimination, and forethought. He would have them become men and women of cultivated intellect, coming behind in no qualification; and as they shall individually feel the necessity of this and shall work to the point, Jesus will aid them in their endeavors. As they work upon the plan of addition in securing the graces of the Spirit, God will work in their behalf upon the plan of multiplication. Connection with God will give the soul expansion, will exalt it, transform it, and make it sensible of its own powers, and will give a clearer sense of the responsibility resting upon each individual to make a wise use of the faculties which God has bestowed.
Everyone should study strict economy in the outlay of means; and he should exercise even greater faithfulness in handling that which belongs to another than in managing his own affairs. But this is seldom done. No individual is personally benefited with the profits of our offices or made to suffer by the losses incurred; but the property belongs to the Lord, and His cause is materially affected by the manner in which the labor is performed. If the cause of God is limited in its resources, important work which might and should be done is neglected.
While economy should always be practiced, it should never degenerate into meanness. All who work in our offices should feel that they are handling God's property, that they are responsible for the increase of the capital invested, and that they will be accountable in the day of God if through lack of diligence and careful thought it decreases in their hands. All are called upon to avoid waste of time and means. The faithfulness or unfaithfulness of the workers to their present trust will determine their fitness to be entrusted with eternal riches. Everyone is required of God to execute the work assigned him with thoroughness and dispatch. The example of each should serve to excite diligence and thoughtfulness on the part of others. By earnest, conscientious faithfulness in everything, earth may be brought nearer heaven, and precious fruit may be borne for both worlds.
The hands employed in the various departments of our offices of publication do not accomplish the amount of work which they would be required to perform in any other office of the kind. Much time is wasted in unnecessary conversation, in visiting away the precious hours, while the work is suffered to lag. In several of the departments, loss is occasioned to the office because of persons engaging in the work who have not exercised care and economy. Were these persons engaged in doing work for themselves, some would accomplish a third more work in a day than they now do. Others would do no more than they now perform.
Business hours should be faithfully employed. To be wasteful of time or material is dishonesty before God. A few moments are squandered here, and a few moments there, which amount in the course of a week to nearly or quite a day, sometimes even exceeding this. "Time is money," and a waste of time is a waste of money to the cause of God. When those who profess the faith are dilatory and reckless of time, showing that they have not a heart interest in the prosperity of the work, unbelievers who are employed will follow their example. If all would use their time to the best account, very much means would be saved to the cause of truth. When the heart is in the work, it will be done with earnestness, energy, and dispatch. All should be awake to see what needs to be done, and apt and quick to execute, working as though under the direct supervision of the great Master, Jesus Christ.
Again, losses occur from lack of thoughtful care in the use of material and machinery. There is a failure to look after all the larger and smaller matters, that nothing be wasted or damaged through neglect. A little squandered here and there amounts to a large sum in the course of a year. Some have never learned to exercise their faculties to save the remnants, notwithstanding the injunction of Christ: "Gather up the fragments that remain, that nothing be lost." Material should not be slashed into to obtain a small piece. A little thoughtful care would lead to the gathering up and using of the little pieces that are now thrown aside and wasted. Attention should be given to saving even so trifling a matter as wastepaper, for it can be turned into money.
By a lack of personal interest many things go to waste which a few moments' thoughtful attention at the right time would save. "I forgot" causes much loss to our offices. And some feel no interest in any work or in anything which does not come under their special branch of the work. This is all wrong. Selfishness would suggest the thought, "It does not belong to me to care for that;" but faithfulness and duty would prompt everyone to care for all that comes under his observation.
The example of the head workers in the bindery is followed by the hands employed; all become careless and reckless; and an amount is wasted equal to their wages. A caretaking person at the head of the work would save hundreds of dollars yearly to the office in that one department.
A principle should exist all through the office to economize. In order to save the dollars, dimes and pennies must be carefully treasured. Men who have been successful in business have always been economical, persevering, and energetic. Let all connected with the work of God begin now to educate themselves thoroughly as care-takers. Even though their work may not be appreciated on earth, they should never degrade themselves in their own eyes by unfaithfulness in anything they undertake. It takes time for a person to become so accustomed to a given course of life as to be happy in pursuing it. We shall be individually, for time and eternity, what our habits make us. The lives of those who form right habits, and are faithful in the performance of every duty, will be as shining lights, shedding bright beams upon the pathway of others; but if habits of unfaithfulness are indulged, if lax, indolent, neglectful habits are allowed to strengthen, a cloud darker than midnight will settle on the prospects in this life and forever debar the individual from the future life.
One selfish thought indulged, one duty neglected, prepares the way for another. What we venture to do once, we are more apt to do again. Habits of sobriety, of self-control, of economy, of close application, of sound, sensible conversation, of patience and true courtesy, are not gained without diligent, close watching over self. It is much easier to become demoralized and depraved than to conquer defects, keeping self in control and cherishing true virtues. Persevering efforts will be required if the Christian graces are ever perfected in our lives.
Important changes should take place in our offices. To defer work which needs immediate attention until a more convenient time is a mistake and results in loss. The work
of repairing sometimes amounts to double what it would had it received attention in season. Many fearful losses and fatal accidents have occurred by putting off matters which should have received immediate attention. The season for action is spent in hesitancy, thinking that tomorrow will do; but tomorrow is frequently found to be too late. Our offices suffer financially every day on account of indecision, dallying, recklessness, indolence, and, on the part of some, downright dishonesty. There are some employed in these offices who pass along as indifferently as though God had given them no mental powers to be exercised in care-taking. Such are unfitted for any post of duty; they can never be depended upon. Men and women who shun duties in which difficulties are involved will remain weak and inefficient.
Those who educate themselves to do their work with dispatch, as well as with economy, will drive their business instead of allowing their business to drive them. They will not be constantly hurried and perplexed because their work is in confusion. Diligence and earnest fidelity are indispensable to success. Every hour's work passes in review before God and is registered for faithfulness or unfaithfulness. The record of wasted moments and unimproved opportunities must be met when the judgment shall sit and the books shall be opened and everyone shall be judged according to the things written in the books. Selfishness, envy, pride, jealousy, idleness, or any other sin which is cherished in the heart, will exclude one from the blessedness of heaven. "To whom ye yield yourselves servants to obey, his servants ye are."
Our offices are suffering for the want of men of stability and firmness. As I was shown from room to room I saw that the work was conducted with indifference. Losses are sustained at every position of trust. The lack of thoroughness is apparent. While some have borne the burdens of care and responsibility, others, instead of sharing these burdens, have pursued a course to increase anxiety and care. Those who
have not learned the lesson of economy, and acquired the habit of making the most of their time in childhood and youth will not be prudent and economical in any business in which they engage. It is a sin to neglect to so improve our faculties that they may be used to the glory of God. All have responsibilities to bear; not one can be excused.
There is a variety of minds, and all need more or less cultivation and training. Every movement in connection with the cause of God should be characterized by caution and decision. Without decision, an individual is fickle and unstable as water, and can never be truly successful. All who profess Christ should be workers. There are no drones in the household of faith. Every member of the family has some task assigned him, some portion of the vineyard of the Lord in which to work. The only way to meet the demand of God is to be constantly persevering in our endeavors for higher usefulness. It is but little we can accomplish at best, but every day's effort will increase our ability to labor effectually and to bear fruit to the glory of God.
Some do not exercise control over their appetites, but indulge taste at the expense of health. As the result the brain is clouded, their thoughts are sluggish, and they fail to accomplish what they might if they were self-denying and abstemious. These rob God of the physical and mental strength which might be devoted to His service if temperance were observed in all things. Paul was a health reformer. Said he: "I keep under my body, and bring it into subjection: lest that by any means, when I have preached to others, I myself should be a castaway." He felt that a responsibility rested upon him to preserve all his powers in their strength, that he might use them to the glory of God. If Paul was in danger from intemperance, we are in greater danger, because we do not feel and realize as he did the necessity of glorifying God in our bodies and spirits, which are His. Overeating is the sin of this age.
The word of God places the sin of gluttony in the same catalogue with drunkenness. So offensive was this sin in the sight of God that He gave directions to Moses that a child
who would not be restrained on the point of appetite, but would gorge himself with anything his taste might crave, should be brought by his parents before the rulers in Israel and should be stoned to death. The condition of the glutton was considered hopeless. He would be of no use to others and was a curse to himself. No dependence could be placed upon him in anything. His influence would be ever contaminating others, and the world would be better without such a character; for his terrible defects would be perpetuated. None who have a sense of their accountability to God will allow the animal propensities to control reason. Those who do this are not Christians, whoever they may be and however exalted their profession. The injunction of Christ is: "Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect." He here shows us that we may be as perfect in our sphere as God is in His sphere.
Those who are employed in our publishing houses are not improving as God would have them. There is a want of earnest, unselfish interest in the work in which they are engaged. God requires these laborers in His cause to advance in knowledge daily. They should make a wise improvement of the faculties which God has given them, that they may become efficient, thorough workmen and perform their labor without loss to the office.
The wisest of men may learn useful lessons from the ways and habits of the little creatures of the earth. The industrious bee gives to men of intelligence an example that they would do well to imitate. These insects observe perfect order, and no idler is allowed in the hive. They execute their appointed work with an intelligence and activity that are beyond our comprehension. The ants, which we consider as only pests to be crushed under our feet, are in many respects superior to man; for he does not as wisely improve the gifts of God. The wise man calls our attention to the small things of the earth: "Go to the ant, thou sluggard; consider her ways, and be wise: which having no guide, overseer, or ruler, provideth her meat in the summer, and gathereth her food in the
harvest." "The ants are a people not strong, yet they prepare their meat in the summer." We may learn from these little teachers a lesson of faithfulness. Should we improve with the same diligence the faculties which an all-wise Creator has bestowed upon us, how greatly would our capacities for usefulness be increased. God's eye is upon the smallest of His creatures; does He not, then, regard man formed in His image and require of him corresponding returns for all the advantages He has given him?
The offices of publication should be set in order. Those who labor in these institutions should have high aims and a deep and rich experience in the knowledge of God's will. They should ever stand on the side of right and exert a saving influence. Every soul who names the name of Christ should make the most of the privileges enjoyed and faithfully perform the duties assigned him, without murmuring or complaining. The conversation of each should be of an elevated character, calculated to lead other minds in the right channel. The little mention that is made of divine goodness and the love of God shows marked ingratitude and that Christ is not enshrined in the heart.
The offices will never prosper unless there are more disinterested, unselfish workers, who are truly God-fearing men and women, self-denying and conscientiously independent for God and the right. The local editor of the Review and Herald will have occasion to speak with earnestness and firmness. He should stand in defense of the right, exerting all the influence his position grants him. Elder Waggoner has been placed in an unenviable position, but he has not been left alone. God has helped him, and under the circumstances he has done nobly. The Lord has not released him from his position; he must still labor in Oakland and San Francisco.
From those to whom God has entrusted much, He requires much, while those who have but little are required to give accordingly; but all may give themselves and in their actions show their fidelity to the precious cause of Christ. Many can
retrench their expenditures and thus increase their liberality for Christ. Self-denial for Christ's sake is the battle before us.
"The love of Christ," said Paul, "constraineth us." It was the actuating principle of his conduct; it was his motive power. If ever his ardor in the path of duty for a moment flagged, one glance at the cross and the amazing love of Christ revealed in His unparalleled sacrifice was enough to cause him to gird up anew the loins of his mind and press forward in the path of self-denial. In his labors for his brethren he relied much upon the exhibition of infinite love in the wonderful condescension of Christ, with all its subduing, constraining power.
How earnest, how touching his appeal: "Ye know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that, though He was rich, yet for your sakes He became poor, that ye through His poverty might be rich." You know the height from which He stooped; you are acquainted with the depth of humiliation to which He descended. His feet entered upon the path of self-denial and self-sacrifice, and turned not aside until He had given His life. There was no rest for Him between the throne in heaven and the cross. His love for man led Him to welcome every indignity and suffer every abuse. "For their sakes I sanctify Myself." I appropriate all My glory, all I am, to the work of man's redemption. How very little are men moved now to sanctify themselves to the work of God that souls may be saved through them.
Paul admonishes us to "look not every man on his own things, but every man also on the things of others." He bids us imitate the life of the great Exemplar, and exhorts us to possess the mind "which was also in Christ Jesus: who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God: but made Himself of no reputation, and took upon Him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men: and being found in fashion as a man, he humbled Himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross." The apostle lingers over point after point, that our minds may grasp and fully comprehend the wonderful condescension of
the Saviour in behalf of sinners. He presents Christ before us as He was when equal with God and receiving the adoration of angels, and then traces His descent until He reaches the lowest depths of humiliation, that with His human arm He may reach fallen man and lift him from his degradation to hope, joy, and heaven.
Paul was deeply anxious that the humiliation of Christ should be seen and realized. He was convinced that if the minds of men could be brought to comprehend the amazing sacrifice made by the Majesty of heaven, all selfishness would be banished from their hearts. He directs the mind first to the position which Christ occupied in heaven, in the bosom of His Father; he reveals Him afterward as laying off His glory, voluntarily subjecting Himself to all the humbling conditions of man's nature, assuming the responsibilities of a servant, and becoming obedient unto death, and that death the most ignominious and revolting, the most shameful, the most agonizing--the death of the cross. Can Christians contemplate this wonderful exhibition of the love of God to man without emotions of love and a realizing sense of the fact that we are not our own? Such a Master should not be served from grudging, covetous, selfish motives.
"Ye know," says Peter, "that ye were not redeemed with corruptible things, as silver and gold." Oh, had these been sufficient to purchase the salvation of man, how easily it might have been accomplished by Him who says: "The silver is Mine, and the gold is Mine." But the transgressor of God's holy law could be redeemed only by the precious blood of the Son of God. Those who, failing to appreciate the wonderful sacrifice made for them, withhold their means and their physical, mental, and moral powers from the service of Christ, will perish in their selfishness.
"Whosoever hath not [put to the best use his ability and means], from him shall be taken away even that he hath." Those who are too indolent to realize their responsibilities and exercise their faculties will fail of receiving the blessing of
God, and the ability which they had will be taken away and given to the active, zealous workers who increase their talents by constant use. "Seest thou a man diligent in his business? he shall stand before kings; he shall not stand before mean men." A person who diligently labors under the direction of the Spirit of God will possess power and influence, for all may see in him a spirit of untiring devotion to the cause of God in any department where duty calls him.
All the hands in our offices should place themselves in the most favorable condition for the formation of good and correct habits. Several times each day precious, golden moments should be consecrated to prayer and the study of the Scriptures, if it is only to commit a text to memory, that spiritual life may exist in the soul. The varied interests of the cause furnish us with food for reflection and inspiration for our prayers. Communion with God is highly essential for spiritual health, and here only may be obtained that wisdom and correct judgment so necessary in the performance of every duty.
The strength acquired in prayer to God, united with individual effort in training the mind to thoughtfulness and care-taking, prepares the person for daily duties and keeps the spirit in peace under all circumstances, however trying. The temptations to which we are daily exposed make prayer a necessity. In order that we may be kept by the power of God through faith, the desires of the mind should be continually ascending in silent prayer for help, for light, for strength, for knowledge. But thought and prayer cannot take the place of earnest, faithful improvement of the time. Work and prayer are both required in perfecting Christian character.
We must live a twofold life -- a life of thought and action, of silent prayer and earnest work. All who have received the light of truth should feel it their duty to shed rays of light upon the pathway of the impenitent. They should be witnesses for Christ in our offices as verily as in the church. God requires us to be living epistles, known and read of all men. The soul that turns to God for its strength, its support, its
power, by daily, earnest prayer, will have noble aspirations, clear perceptions of truth and duty, lofty purposes of action, and a continual hungering and thirsting after righteousness. By maintaining a connection with God we shall be enabled to diffuse to others, through our association with them, the light, the peace, the serenity, that rules in our hearts, and set before them an example of unwavering fidelity to the interests of the work in which we are engaged.
With many who are laboring in our offices there is an almost entire absence of the love and fear of God. Self rules, self controls, and God and heaven scarcely enter into the mind. If these persons could see that they are upon the very borders of the eternal world and that their future interests will be determined by their present action, there would be a marked change in every hand employed in these offices.
But many who are engaged in the sacred work of God are paralyzed by Satan's deceptions. They are asleep on the enchanted ground. Days and months are passing, while they remain careless and unconcerned, as though there were no God, no future, no heaven, no punishment for neglect of duty or for shunning responsibilities. But the day is fast approaching when the case of every one will be decided according to his works. Many have a fearfully spotted record in the Ledger of Heaven.
When these workers shall arouse to their own accountability, when they shall lay their polluted souls before God just as they are, and their earnest cry shall take hold on His strength, they will then know for themselves that God does hear and answer prayer. And when they do awake, they will see what they have lost by their indifference and unfaithfulness. They will then find that they have reached only a low standard, when, had the mind and capabilities been cultivated and improved for God, they might have had a rich experience and might have been instrumental in saving their fellow men. And even should they be saved at last, they will realize through all eternity the loss of opportunities wasted in probationary time.
Religious privileges have been too much neglected by those employed in the offices. None should engage in the work of God who treat these privileges with indifference; for all such connect with evil angels and are a cloud of darkness, a hindrance to others. In order to make the work a success, every department in the offices must have the presence of heavenly angels. When the Spirit of God shall work upon the heart, cleansing the soul-temple of its defilement of worldliness and pleasure-loving, all will be seen in the prayer meeting, faithful to do their duty and earnest and anxious to reap all the benefit they can gain. The faithful worker for the Master will improve every opportunity to place himself directly under the rays of light from the throne of God, and this light will be reflected upon others.
And not only should the prayer meeting be faithfully attended, but as often as once each week a praise meeting should be held. Here the goodness and manifold mercies of God should be dwelt upon. Were we as free to give expression to our thankfulness for mercies received as we are to speak of grievances, doubts, and unbelief, we might bring joy to the hearts of others, instead of casting discouragement and gloom upon them. The complainers and murmurers, who are ever seeing the discouragements in the way, and talking of trials and hardships, should contemplate the infinite sacrifice which Christ has made in their behalf. Then can they estimate all their blessings in the light of the cross. While looking upon Jesus, the Author and Finisher of our faith, whom our sins have pierced and our sorrows have burdened, we shall see cause for gratitude and praise, and our thoughts and desires will be brought into submission to the will of Christ.
In the gracious blessings which our heavenly Father has bestowed upon us we may discern innumerable evidences of a love that is infinite, and a tender pity surpassing a mother's yearning sympathy for her wayward child. When we study the divine character in the light of the cross we see mercy, tenderness, and forgiveness blended with equity and justice. In the language of John we exclaim: "Behold, what manner
of love the Father hath bestowed upon us, that we should be called the sons of God." We see in the midst of the throne One bearing in hands and feet and side the marks of the suffering endured to reconcile man to God and God to man. Matchless mercy reveals to us a Father, infinite, dwelling in light unapproachable, yet receiving us to Himself through the merits of His Son. The cloud of vengeance which threatened only misery and despair, in the reflected light from the cross reveals the writing of God: Live, sinner, live! ye penitent and believing souls, live! I have paid a ransom.
We must gather about the cross. Christ and Him crucified must be the theme of contemplation, of conversation, and of our most joyful emotion. We should have these special appointments for the purpose of keeping fresh in our thoughts everything which we receive from God, and of expressing our gratitude for His great love, and our willingness to trust everything to the hand that was nailed to the cross for us. We should learn here to talk the language of Canaan, to sing the songs of Zion. By the mystery and glory of the cross we can estimate the value of man, and then we shall see and feel the importance of working for our fellow men, that they may be exalted to the throne of God.