There are and ever will be many perplexities connected with the publishing office at Battle Creek. The institutions established there are God's instrumentalities for accomplishing His work in the earth. For this reason Satan is on the ground, exercising his ingenuity to embarrass and hinder. He comes with his temptations to men and women connected with these institutions, whether in responsible positions or doing the humblest work, and if possible he so ensnares them with his devices that they lose their connection with God, become confused in judgment, and are unable to discern between right and wrong. He knows that the time will surely come when the spirit that has controlled the life will be made manifest, and he is glad to have the lives of these persons testify against them that they are not co-workers with Christ.
Many who have grown to the years and stature of manhood are deficient in the elements that constitute a noble, manly character. God does not regard them as men. They are not reliable. Some of these are connected with our institutions. They have influence; but it is of a pernicious character, for it is seldom on the side of right. While they profess godliness, their example constantly tends to encourage unrighteousness. Skepticism is interwoven with their thoughts and expressed in their words, and their powers are used for the perversion of righteousness, truth, and justice. Their minds are controlled by Satan, and he works through them to demoralize and bring in confusion. The more pleasing and attractive their manners, the more richly they are endowed with brilliant talents, the more effectual agents are they in the hands of the enemy of all righteousness to demoralize all who come under their influence. It will be found a hard and thankless task to keep these from becoming a ruling power and carrying out their own purposes in encouraging disorder and loose, lax principles.
The youth exposed to their influence are never safe unless those under whose care they are placed exercise the greatest vigilance and they themselves have right principles firmly established. But it is a sad fact that in this age many of the young yield readily to the influence of Satan, but resist the Spirit of God; and in many cases wrong habits have become so firmly fixed that the greatest effort on the part of the managers would not result in molding their characters in the right direction.
Those who stand in positions of trust in the publishing house have weighty responsibilities to bear, and they are not fitted for these places unless they are day by day gaining a deeper and more reliable Christian experience. Eternal interests should be made the first consideration, and every influence which would help in the divine life should be welcomed. Men to whom the Lord has given the charge of business matters connected with His cause should be spiritually minded. They should not neglect to attend religious meetings nor consider it a task to speak often one to another of their religious life and experience. God will listen to their testimonies; they will be recorded in His book of remembrance; and He will favor His faithful ones and "will spare them, as a man spareth his own son that serveth him."
Those standing at the head of the publishing work should remember that they are an example to many; and they should be faithful in the public worship of God, just as they would have every workman in every department of the office faithful. If they are seen in the house of worship only occasionally, others will excuse themselves on account of their neglect. These businessmen can at any time talk fluently and intelligently on business matters, showing that they have not exercised their powers in this direction in vain. They have put tact and skill and knowledge into their work, but how important it is that their hearts, their minds, and all their powers be also trained for faithful service in the cause and worship of God; that they be able to point out the way of salvation through Christ in language eloquent in its simplicity. They should be men of earnest prayer and firm reliance upon God; men who, like Abraham, will order their households after them and will manifest a special interest in the spiritual welfare of all connected with the office.
Those who make Christ first in everything can be trusted. They will not be self-confident, nor will they sink their religious interest in their business. Has God entrusted men with sacred responsibilities? then He would have them feel their own weakness and their dependence upon Him. It is unsafe for men to lean to their own understanding; therefore they should daily seek strength and wisdom from above. God should be in all their thoughts; then all the wiles and subtleties of the old serpent cannot betray them into sinful neglect of duty. They will meet the adversary with the simple weapon that Christ used, "It is written," or will repulse him with, "Get thee behind Me, Satan."
In the warning to "watch and pray," Jesus has indicated the only safe course. There is need of watchfulness. Our own hearts are deceitful; we are compassed with the weaknesses and frailties of humanity, and Satan is intent to destroy. We may be off our guard, but our adversary is never idle. Knowing his tireless vigilance, let us not sleep, as do others, but "watch and be sober." The spirit and influence of the world must be met, but they must not be allowed to take possession of the mind and heart.
The active man of business, as he is brought in contact with the world, will have trials, perplexity, and anxious care. He will find that there is a tendency to let worldly thoughts and plans take the lead, and that it will require effort, and discipline of mind and soul, to maintain a devotional spirit. But divine grace waits his demand, and his great need is the mighty argument that will prevail with God. For these men Jesus has made special provision. He invites them: "Come unto Me, all ye that labor and are heavy-laden, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you, and learn of Me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls. For My yoke is easy, and My burden is light." Those who have fellowship with Christ have constant rest and peace. Then why do we walk alone, disdaining His companionship? Why do we not take Him into all our counsels? Why do we not come to Him in all our perplexities and prove the strength of His promises?
The Holy Spirit illumines our darkness, informs our ignorance, and understands and helps us in our manifold necessities. But the mind must be constantly going out after God. If coldness and worldliness are allowed to come in, we shall have no heart to pray, no courage to look up to Him who is the source of strength and wisdom. Then pray always, dear brethren and sisters, "lifting up holy hands, without wrath and doubting." Urge your requests to the throne of grace, and rely upon God hour by hour and moment by moment. The service of Christ will regulate all your relations with your fellow men and make your life fruitful in good works.
Let none imagine that selfishness, self-esteem, and self-indulgence are compatible with the Spirit of Christ. Upon every truly converted man or woman there rests a responsibility that we cannot rightly estimate. The maxims and ways of the world are not to be adopted by the sons and daughters of the heavenly King. "Beloved, now are we the sons of God, and it doth not yet appear what we shall be: but we know that, when He shall appear, we shall be like Him; for we shall see Him as He is. And every man that hath this hope in Him purifieth himself, even as He is pure." But the world know us not, because they knew not Christ, our Master.
Business managers are needed in the Review office who will correctly represent Jesus and the plan of salvation. God is displeased when they use all their powers in worldly enterprises, or even in business relating to the publishing work, and do nothing for the strengthening of His church, the upbuilding of His kingdom. To labor for God and for the salvation of souls is the highest and noblest calling that men ever had or ever can have. The losses and gains in this business are of great importance; for the results do not end with this life, but reach over into eternity.
Brethren, whatever business you engage in, whatever department of the work is allotted to you, carry your religion with you. God and heaven should not be left out of the experience and the lifework. The workers in this cause should guard against becoming one-sided men and letting only the worldly element in their characters appear. In the past there have been decided failures on the part of men connected with the office. They have not been spiritually minded; and their influence has not tended to lead toward the heavenly Canaan, but backward toward Egypt.
Brother P has been blessed with abilities which, if consecrated to God, would enable him to do great good. He has a quick mind. He understands the theory of the truth and the claims of God's law; but he has not learned in the school of Christ the meekness and lowliness that would make him a safe man to stand in a position of trust. He has been weighed in the balances of the sanctuary and found wanting. He has had great light in warnings and reproofs; but he has not given heed to them; he has not even seen the necessity of changing his course of action. His example before those laboring in the office has not been consistent with his profession. He has not manifested a steadfast purpose; he has been a boyish man, and his influence has had a tendency to lead away from Christ toward conformity to the world.
The cross of Christ has been presented to Brother P; but he has turned away from it, for it involves shame and reproach rather than the honor and praise of the world. Again and again Jesus has called: Take up the cross and follow Me, so shall ye be My disciple. But other voices have been calling in the direction of worldly pride and ambition; and he has listened to these voices because their spirit is more pleasing to the natural heart. He has turned from Jesus, divorced himself from God, and embraced the world. He was called to represent Christ, and to be a bright light in the world; but he has betrayed his sacred trust. The world interposes between his soul and Jesus, and he has had a worldly experience when he should have been gaining one of an entirely opposite character. He has been decidedly worldly in his tastes and opinions, and consequently has been unable to comprehend spiritual things.
Brother P's success in the ministry, and also in his position of trust in the office, depended upon the character he should maintain. Painstaking, persevering effort was needed that in going out and coming in before his fellow laborers no wrong example should be set. The plan he should have adopted, the course of action he should have pursued, is plainly marked out in the word of God. Had he taken heed to that word, it would have been a light to his path, guiding his inexperienced feet into a safe way. Testimonies of the Spirit of God have been sent to him again and again, showing him where he was diverging from the highway cast up for the ransomed of the Lord to walk in and warning and entreating him to change his course of action. But his own ways have seemed right in his eyes; and he has followed inclination, not heeding the light given him. He was not a safe counselor. He was not a safe man in the office; neither was he a safe shepherd, for he would lead the sheep astray. He has preached excellent discourses; but out of the desk he has not carried out the principles he has preached. This kind of work is an offense to God.
Brother P's union with the world has proved a snare to him self and to others. Oh, how many stumble over such lives as his. They get the impression that when they take the first steps in conversion,--repentance, faith, and baptism,--this is all that is required of them. But this is a fatal error. The arduous struggle for conquest over self, for holiness and heaven, is a lifelong struggle. There is no release in this war; the effort must be continuous and persevering. Christian integrity must be sought with resistless energy and maintained with a resolute fixedness of purpose.
A genuine religious experience unfolds and intensifies. Continual advancement, increasing knowledge and power in the word of God, is the natural result of a vital connection with God. The light of holy love will grow brighter and brighter unto the perfect day. It was Brother P's privilege to have such an experience as this; but he has not had the oil of grace in his vessel with his lamp, and his light has been growing dim. If he does not make a decided change soon, he will be where no warnings or entreaties will ever reach him. His light will go out in darkness, and he will be left in despair.
Importance of Economy
Brother R has good business ability for some branches of the work, which would enable him to serve the office acceptably; but he has not educated and disciplined himself to be a thorough, efficient manager. Under his charge there have been grave neglects; a disorderly, disorganized state of things has existed, which should be promptly corrected. There are many little matters connected with his work that have not received attention, and as a consequence there are leaks. Losses and wastes are allowed that might be avoided.
I have passed through the office and have been shown how the angels of God look upon the work done in the various rooms. In some the condition of things is better than in others; but in all there are wrongs that might be remedied. Loss, loss, is seen in many departments. The reckless way that many work results in loss to the office and is an offense to God. It is sad that it should be thus. Jesus has given us lessons in economy. "Gather up the fragments," He says, "that nothing be lost." It would have been better not to undertake so many large enterprises if by this means so many small matters must be left without attention, for the little things are like small screws that keep the machinery from falling to pieces. The word of God explains duty; it gives the rule of faithful service: "He that is faithful in that which is least is faithful also in much: and he that is unjust in the least is unjust also in much."
I have been shown that, in addition to the help now in the office, competent men should be employed to assist in the management of the different departments of the work. Men should be employed who have experience in business and who are wise managers. It would have been better years ago to have employed men who were thorough managers,--men who would have taught thoroughness, promptness, and economy,--even if double the wages that has been paid to foremen had been necessary. Brother R is deficient here; he has not a happy way of correcting evils. He undertakes to do this, but very many things are entirely neglected that ought to be reformed at once. The office has lacked a care-taking economist, a thorough businessman. There is three times as much lost as would be required to pay for the very best talent and experience in this work.
Very much is lost for want of a competent person, one who is efficient, apt, and practical, to oversee the different departments of the work. One is needed who is a practical printer and is acquainted with every part of the work. There are some who understand printing, but utterly fail in generalship. Others do the best they can, but they are yet inexperienced and do not understand the publishing work. Their ideas are often narrow. They do not know how to meet the demands of the cause; and, as a consequence, they are unable to estimate the advantages and disadvantages of enlarging their work. They are also liable to misjudge, to make wrong calculations, and to estimate incorrectly. There have been losses in consequence of a failure to make proper estimates and to improve opportunities of pushing the publishing work. In such an institution as this, thousands of dollars may be lost through the calculations of incompetent persons. Brother P had ability in some respects to understand and properly estimate the interests of the publishing work, but his influence was an injury to the office.
There should be someone to see that the youth, as they enter the office to learn trades, have prompt and proper attention. A man should be employed for this work who is apt to teach, patient, kind, and discerning. If one man is not sufficient for this work, let others be employed. If it is done faithfully it will save to the office the wages of three men. These youth are forming habits that will affect their entire experience. They are, as it were, in a school; and if they are left to pick up their knowledge as best they can, marked defects will be seen all through their future work. The basis of thoroughness, honesty, and integrity must be laid in youth. The formation of correct habits in youth is of the utmost importance. If instead of being trained to obedience to rules and regulations, and to habits of punctuality, thoroughness, neatness, order, and economy, they are allowed to form loose, lax habits, they will be liable to retain these bad habits all though life. They may have talent to make a success in their business, and they should be taught the importance of making a right use of their powers. They should also be taught to be economical, to gather up the fragments that nothing be lost.
Men in responsible positions should undertake no more than they can do thoroughly, promptly, and well; for if they would have those under their care form right habits they must set a right example. A great responsibility rests upon these leading men as to the mold of character that by their principles and their manner of working they are giving to the youth. They should consider that, by the instruction they are giving, both in regard to their work and in the way of religious education, they are helping these youth to form character. Progress is the watchword. The youth should be taught to aim at perfection in whatever branch of labor they undertake. If there are persons at the head of any of the rooms who are not thorough, who are not economists, who are not diligent in the use of their time and careful of their influence, they mold others in the same way. If these do not change after being admonished, they should be removed and more competent persons secured, even if it is necessary to try again and again. The workers ought to be far more efficient and faithful than they are at the present time.
The first impressions, the first discipline, of these youthful workers should be of the very highest order, for their characters are being molded for time and for eternity. Let those who have charge of them remember that they have a great and solemn responsibility. Let them mold the plastic clay before it becomes hardened and insensible to impressions; let them train the sapling ere it becomes a gnarled and tangled oak; let them direct the course of the rivulet ere it becomes a swollen river. If they are left to choose their own boardinghouse and their own companions, some will choose those that are good, and others will choose improper associations. If the religious element is not mingled with their education, they will become easy subjects of temptation, and their characters will be liable to become warped and one-sided. The youth who show respect for sacred and holy things learn these lessons under the home roof, before the world has placed upon the soul its mark,--the image of sin, deceit, and dishonesty. Love to God is learned at the family altar, of the father and mother in very babyhood.
The want of a religious influence is sadly felt in the office; there should be greater devotion, more spirituality, more practical religion. Missionary work done here by God-fearing men and women would be attended with the very best results. Brother R's course is not well-pleasing to God. A man in his position should be a man of devotion; he should be among the first in religious matters. His only safety is in maintaining a living connection with God and feeling his dependence upon Him. Without this, he will not do justice to his position, neither will be exert a right influence in the office and over those with whom his business brings him in contact.
I have also seen that there should be a close investigation of the manner of dealing in the office, both with brethren and with unbelievers. Benevolence, purity, truth, and peace are the fruits that should be seen there. Motives and actions should be closely examined and compared with the law of God; for this law is the only infallible rule by which to regulate the conduct, the only reliable code of honor between man and man.
Unity of the Work
The Lord would have union among those who manage His work in different parts of the field. Those who manage His work on the Pacific Coast, and those who are engaged in His work on the east side of the Rocky Mountains, should be of the same mind and judgment,--one in heart, in plans, and in action. He would not have those at either office think it a virtue to differ with their brethren at the other publishing house. There should be a comparing of notes, an interchange of plans and ideas; and if any improvements are suggested in either office, let the managers consider the proposition, and adopt improved plans and methods. In both publishing houses there are very great improvements to be made, and the managers have much to learn. And the lesson which will bear its mark most decidedly and happily in the advancement of the work is to lean less to their own understanding, and to learn more of the meekness and lowliness of Christ. Let not those at either office be so egotistical, so unlike Christ, as to maintain their own plans for the gratification of having their own way, irrespective of consequences.
Those connected with our office of publication at Battle Creek are not what they should be nor what they might be. They think their tastes, habits, and opinions are correct. They are in constant danger of becoming narrow in their ideas and jealous of the Pacific Press, and of standing in an attitude to criticize and have feelings of superiority. This feeling is suffered to grow and to mar and hinder their own interests and also the interests of the work on the Pacific Coast, all because selfish feelings control and prevent clear discernment as to what is for their own good and for the advancement and upbuilding of the cause of God. This sectional feeling is contrary to the spirit of Christ. God is displeased with it; He would have every particle of it overcome. The cause is one; the vineyard is one great field, with God's servants employed in various parts of the work. There should be no aim but to work disinterestedly to warn the careless and to save the lost.
The men connected with the work of God in the office, the sanitarium, and the college can be accounted safe men only so far as they assimilate to the character of Christ. But many have inherited traits of character that in no way represent the divine Model. There are many who have some defect of character received as a birthright, which they have not overcome, but have cherished as though it were fine gold, and brought with them into their religious experience. In many cases these traits are retained through the entire life. For a time no particular harm may be seen to result from them; but the leaven is at work, and when a favorable opportunity arrives, the evil manifests itself.
Some of these men who have marked deformities of character have strong, decided opinions and are unyielding when it would be Christlike to yield to others whose love for the cause of truth is just as deep as their own. Such persons need to cultivate opposite traits of character and to learn to esteem others better than themselves. When they become connected with an important enterprise, where great designs are to be worked out, they should be careful lest their own peculiar ideas and special traits of character have an unfavorable influence on its development. The Lord saw the danger that would result from one man's mind and judgment controlling decisions and working out plans, and in His Inspired Word we are commanded to be subject one to another and to esteem others better than ourselves. When plans are to be laid that will affect the cause of God, they should be brought before a council composed of chosen men of experience; for harmony of effort is essential in all these enterprises.
Men of various temperaments and defective characters can see the faults of others, but do not seem to have a knowledge of their own errors; and if left to carry outtheir own plans without consultation with others, they would make sad mistakes. Their ideas must become broader. With ordinary humanity there is a selfishness, an ambition, that mars the work of God. Self-interest must be lost sight of. There should be no aiming to be first, no standing aloof from God's workmen, speaking and writing in a bigoted manner of things that have not been critically and prayerfully investigated and humbly brought before the council.
The future world is close at hand, with its unalterable and solemn issues--so near, so very near, and such a great work to be done, so many important decisions to be made; yet in your councils the preconceived opinions, the selfish ideas and plans, the wrong traits of character received by birth, are lugged in and allowed to have an influence. You should ever feel that it is a sin to move from impulse. You should not abuse your power, using it to carry out your own ends regardless of the consequences to others, because you are in a position that makes this possible; but you should use the power that is given you as a sacred, solemn trust, remembering that you are servants of the most high God and must meet in the judgment every decision that you make. If your acts are unselfish and for the glory of God, they will bear the trying test. Ambition is death to spiritual advancement, genius is erring, slothful indolence is criminal; but a life where every just principle is respected must be a successful one.
Many of your councils do not bear the stamp of heaven. You do not come to them as men who have been communing with God and who have His mind and His merciful compassion, but as men having a firm purpose to carry out your own plans and to settle questions according to your own minds, In every department of the work it is essential to have the mind and spirit of Christ. You are God's workmen; and you must possess courtesy and grace, else you cannot represent Jesus.
All who are employed in our institutions should realize that they will be a blessing or a curse. If they would be a blessing they must renew their spiritual strength daily; they must be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust.
Amid the cares of active life it is sometimes difficult to discern our own motives, but progress is made daily either for good or evil. Likes or dislikes, an uprising of personal feelings, will come in to control our actions; the things of sense will blind our vision. I have been shown that Jesus loves us; but He is grieved to see such a want of wise discrimination, of adaptability to the work, and of wisdom to reach human hearts and enter into the feelings of others. While we are to guard against the constant danger of forming an alliance with the enemies of Christ and being corrupted by them, we must guard against holding ourselves aloof from those whom our Lord claims as His. "Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these My brethren," He says, "ye have done it unto Me." If with an earnest, loving purpose we improve every opportunity to help to their feet those who have stumbled and fallen, we shall not have lived in vain. Our manners will not be harsh, overbearing, and dictatorial, but our lives will be fragrant with the hidden grace of Christ.
Our heavenly Father requires of His servants according to that which He has entrusted to them, and His requirements are reasonable and just. He will not accept less of us than He claims; all His righteous demands must be fully met, or they will testify against us that we are weighed in the balances and found wanting. But Jesus watches our efforts with the deepest interest. He knows that men with all the infirmities of humanity are doing His work, and He notes their failures and discouragements with the tenderest pity. But the failures and defects might be far less than they are. If we will move in harmony with heaven, ministering angels will work with us and crown our efforts with success.
This is the great day of preparation, and the solemn work going on in the sanctuary above should be kept constantly before the minds of those employed in our various institutions. Business cares should not be allowed to absorb the mind to such a degree that the work in heaven, which concerns every individual, will be lightly regarded. The solemn scenes of the judgment, the great day of atonement, should be kept before the people, and urged upon their consciences with earnestness and power. The subject of the sanctuary will give us correct views of the importance of the work for this time. A proper appreciation of it will lead the workers in the publishing houses to manifest greater energy and zeal to make the work asuccess. None should become careless, blinded to the wants of the cause and the perils that attend every soul; but each should seek to be a channel of light.
In all our institutions there is too much of self, and too little of Christ. All eyes should turn to our Redeemer, all characters should become like His. He is the model to copy, if we would have well-balanced minds and symmetrical characters. His life was as the garden of the Lord, in which grew every tree that is pleasant to the sight and good for food. While embracing in His soul every lovely trait of character, His sensibility, courtesy, and love brought Him into close sympathy with humanity. He was the creator of all things, sustaining worlds by His infinite power. Angels were ready to do Him homage and to obey His will. Yet He could listen to the prattle of the infant and accept its lisping praise. He took little children in His arms and pressed them to His great heart of love. They felt perfectly at home in His presence and reluctant to leave His arms. He did not look upon the disappointments and woes of the race as a mere trifle, but His heart was ever touched by the sufferings of those He came to save.
The world had lost the original pattern of goodness and had sunk into universal apostasy and moral corruption; and the life of Jesus was one of laborious, self-denying effort to bring man back to his first estate by imbuing him with the spirit of divine benevolence and unselfish love. While in the world, He was not of the world. It was a continual pain to Him to be brought in contact with the enmity, depravity, and impurity which Satan had brought in; but He had a work to do to bring man into harmony with the divine plan, and earth in connection with heaven, and He counted no sacrifice too great for the accomplishment of the object. He "was in all points tempted like as we are." Satan stood ready to assail Him at every step, hurling at Him his fiercest temptations; yet He "did no sin, neither was guile found in His mouth." He . . . suffered being tempted," suffered in proportion to the perfection of His holiness. But the prince of darkness found nothing in Him; not a single thought or feeling responded to temptation.
His doctrine dropped as the rain; His speech distilled as the dew. In the character of Christ was blended such majesty as God had never before displayed to fallen man and such meekness as man had never developed. Never before had there walked among men one so noble, so pure, so benevolent, so conscious of His godlike nature; yet so simple, so full of plans and purposes to do good to humanity. While abhorring sin, He wept with compassion over the sinner. He pleased not Himself. The Majesty of heaven clothed Himself with the humility of a child. This is the character of Christ. Are we walking in His footsteps? O my Saviour, how poorly art Thou represented by Thy professed followers!