[The following appeal, written November 20, 1900, relates to the financial embarrassment of our publishing work in Christiania, Norway. In 1899 word was received by the Foreign Mission Board that the publishing house at Christiania had become involved in debt and was unable to meet its obligations, and that the institution was in danger of falling into the hands of its creditors. To relieve this embarrassment, financial assistance would be required to the amount of $50,000. This the board could not furnish, and though our brethren in Norway continued to hold possession of the publishing house for more than a year after this, little was done for their relief. It seemed that the building must finally be given over to the creditors or be sold to raise funds for meeting the debt. Thus the institution built up by years of labor and sacrifice would be lost to the Lord's work. To prevent this great calamity the Lord has spoken through His servant in the following earnest words of appeal, instruction, and encouragement.]
Our publishing house in Norway is in peril, and in the name of the Lord I appeal to our people in its behalf. All to whose hearts the cause of present truth is dear are called upon to help at this crisis.
Those who love and serve God should feel the deepest interest in all that concerns the glory of His name. Who could see an institution where the truth has been magnified, where the Lord has so often revealed His presence, where instruction has been given by the messengers of God, where the truth has been sent forth in publications that have accomplished great good--who could bear to see such an institution pass into the hands of worldlings, to be used for common, worldly purposes? God would certainly be dishonored if His institution were allowed to fall into decay for want of the money which He has entrusted to His stewards. Should this take place, men would say that it was because the Lord was not able to prevent it.
These things mean much to our brethren and sisters in Scandinavia. They will be sorely tried if their facilities are cut off. Let us make an effort to prevent them from falling into depression and discouragement. Let there be a consecrated, united effort to lift the publishing house out of the difficulty into which it has fallen.
There are those who have little faith, who may try to discourage others and thus prevent them from taking part in this good work. It needs only a discouraging word to rouse and strengthen selfishness in the soul. Do not listen to those who would tempt you. Waive the questions that will arise as to how the difficulty has come about. It may have been largely the result of mistakes that have been made; but let us not now devote time to criticism and complaint. Criticisms, complaints, and censure will not bring relief to our brethren in their perplexity and distress.
God has called human agencies to be laborers together with Him in the work of salvation. He uses men encompassed with infirmities and liable to err. Then let us not censure those who have been so unfortunate as to make mistakes. Let us rather seek to be so transformed by the grace of God as to become compassionate, touched with human woe. This will cause joy in heaven; for in loving our fallen brother as God and Christ love us, we give evidence that we are partakers of Christ's attributes.
This is no time to criticize. That which is needed now is genuine sympathy and decided help. We should individually consider the necessities of our brethren. Let every breath devoted to this matter be used in speaking words that shall encourage. Let every power be employed in actions that shall lift.
One part of the ministry of heavenly angels is to visit our world and oversee the work of the Lord in the hands of His stewards. In every time of necessity they minister to those who as co-workers with God are striving to carry forward His work in the earth. These heavenly intelligences are represented as desiring to look into the plan of redemption, and they rejoice whenever any part of God's work prospers.
Angels are interested in the spiritual welfare of all who are seeking to restore God's moral image in man; and the earthly family are to connect with the heavenly family in binding up the wounds and bruises that sin has made. Angelic agencies, though invisible, are co-operating with visible human agencies, forming a relief association with men. The very angels who, when Satan was seeking the supremacy, fought the battle in the heavenly courts and triumphed on the side of God, the very angels who shouted for joy over the creation of our world and its sin less inhabitants, the angels who witnessed the fall of man and his expulsion from his Eden home-- these very heavenly messengers are most intensely interested to work in union with the fallen, redeemed race for the salvation of human beings perishing in their sins.
Human agencies are the hands of heavenly instrumentalities, for heavenly angels employ human hands in practical ministry. Human agencies as hand helpers are to work out the knowledge and use the facilities of heavenly beings. By uniting with these powers that are omnipotent, we are benefited by their higher education and experience. Thus as we become partakers of the divine nature, and separate selfishness from our lives, special talents for helping one another are granted us. This is heaven's way of administering saving power.
Is there not something stimulating and inspiring in this thought, that the human agent stands as the visible instrument to confer the blessings of angelic agencies? As we are thus laborers together with God, the work bears the inscription of the divine. The knowledge and activity of the heavenly workers, united with the knowledge and power that are imparted to human agencies, bring relief to the oppressed and distressed. Our acts of unselfish ministry make us partakers in the success that results from the relief offered.
With what joy heaven looks upon these blended influences! All heaven is watching those agencies that are as the hand to work out the purpose of God in the earth, thus doing the will of God in heaven. Such co-operation accomplishes a work that brings honor and glory and majesty to God. Oh, if all would love as Christ has loved, that perishing men might be saved from ruin, what a change would come to our world!
"I will also leave in the midst of thee an afflicted and poor people, and they shall trust in the name of the Lord. . . . They shall feed and lie down, and none shall make them afraid. Sing, O daughter of Zion; shout, O Israel; be glad and rejoice with all the heart, O daughter of Jerusalem. The Lord hath taken away thy judgments, He hath cast out thine enemy: the King of Israel, even the Lord, is in the midst of thee: thou shalt not see evil any more. In that day it shall be said to Jerusalem, Fear thou not: and to Zion, Let not thine hands be slack. The Lord thy God in the midst of thee is mighty; He will save, He will rejoice over thee with joy; He will rest in His love. He will joy over thee with singing." Zephaniah 3:12-17. What a representation is this! Can we grasp its meaning?
"I will gather them that are sorrowful for the solemn assembly, who are of thee, to whom the reproach of it was a burden. Behold, at that time I will undo all that afflict thee: and I will save her that halteth, and gather her that was driven out; and I will get them praise and fame in every land where they have been put to shame. At that time will I bring you again, even in the time that I gather you: for I will make you a name and a praise among all people of the earth, when I turn back your captivity before your eyes, saith the Lord" Verses 18-20. Read also the first chapter of Haggai.
When human agencies, as stewards of God, will unitedly take of the Lord's own substance and use it to lift the burdens resting on His institutions, the Lord will co-operate with them.
And the angel that talked with me came again, and waked me, as a man that is wakened out of his sleep, and said unto me, What seest thou? And I said, I have looked, and behold a candlestick all of gold, with a bowl upon the top of it, and his seven lamps thereon, and seven pipes to the seven lamps, which are upon the top thereof: and two olive trees by it, one upon the right side of the bowl, and the other upon the left side thereof. So I answered and spake to the angel that talked with me, saying, What are these, my lord? Then the angel that talked with me answered and said unto me, Knowest thou not what these be? And I said, No, my lord. Then he answered and spake unto me, saying, This is the word of the Lord unto Zerubbabel, saying, Not by might, nor by power, but by My Spirit, saith the Lord of hosts. Who art thou, O great mountain? before Zerubbabel thou shalt become a plain: and he shall bring forth the headstone thereof with shoutings, crying, Grace, grace unto it. Moreover the word of the Lord came unto me, saying, The hands of Zerubbabel have laid the foundation of this house; his hands shall also finish it; and thou shalt know that the Lord of hosts hath sent me unto you. For who hath despised the day of small things? for they shall rejoice, and shall see the plummet in the hand of Zerubbabel with those seven; they are the eyes of the Lord, which run to and fro through the whole earth. Then answered I, and said unto him, What are these two olive trees upon the right side of the candlestick and upon the left side thereof? And I answered again, and said unto him, What be these two olive branches which through the two golden pipes empty the golden oil out of themselves? And he answered me and said, Knowest thou not what these be? And I said, No, my lord. Then said he, These are the two anointed ones, that stand by the Lord of the whole earth." Zechariah 4:1-14.
All heaven takes an interest, not only in the lands that are nigh and that need our help, but in the lands that are afar off. The heavenly beings are watching and waiting for human agencies to be deeply moved by the needs of their fellow workmen who are in perplexity and trial, in sorrow and distress.
When one of the Lord's institutions falls into decay, the more prosperous institutions should work to the utmost of their ability in assisting the crippled institution, that the name of God be not dishonored. Whenever the managers of God's institutions close their hearts to the necessities of sister institutions, and neglect to make every effort possible for their relief, selfishly saying, "Let them suffer," God marks their cruelty, and the time will come when they will have to pass through a similar experience of humiliation. But, my brethren, you do not mean to do this. I know that you do not.
Every facility we have in Europe for the advancement of the work is needed; every institution should stand in a healthy, flourishing condition before an ungodly world.
Let not the angels of God who are ministering to those that bear the responsibilities see God's workers disheartened. Already the difficulties have increased by our delay, so that the work of restoration will now require greater labor and expense. In the name of the Lord we ask His people who have means to prove themselves faithful stewards. Repair the machinery so essential to carry forward the work of God, that His people shall not become discouraged and His work be left to languish.
"And the word of the Lord came unto Zechariah, saying, Thus speaketh the Lord of hosts, saying, Execute true judgment, and show mercy and compassions every man to his brother: and oppress not the widow, nor the fatherless, the stranger, nor the poor; and let none of you imagine evil against his brother in your heart." Zechariah 7:8-10. This is the word of the Lord to us also.
I cannot think that the closing part of this chapter will be your experience: "But they refused to hearken, and pulled away the shoulder, and stopped their ears, that they should not hear. Yea, they made their hearts as an adamant stone, lest they should hear the law, and the words which the Lord of hosts hath sent in His Spirit by the former prophets: therefore came a great wrath from the Lord of hosts. Therefore it is come to pass, that as he cried, and they would not hear; so they cried, and I would not hear, saith the Lord of hosts: but I scattered them with a whirlwind among all the nations whom they knew not. Thus the land was desolate after them that no man passed through nor returned: for they laid the pleasant land desolate." Verses 11-14.
Brethren, in your dealings with the Lord's household, "follow after the things which make for peace, and things wherewith one may edify |build up| another." Romans 14:19. Speak no words of censure. Lay no blame on this one or that one. There is need now of the help that all can bring. Seek to heal the breach that has been made. Do it cheerfully. Do it nobly. Come up to the help of the Lord, to the help of the Lord against the mighty. Redeem at once the institution that is in so great peril.
Let all who realize the nearness of the Lord's coming act their faith. When we see one of God's instrumentalities languishing, let those who have heart and soul in the work manifest their interest.
Let those in responsible positions set a right example. Every noble Christian instinct should lead them to plan and work with far greater earnestness for the relief of the Lord's institution than they would for the saving of their own property. Let all try to do something. Look over your affairs, and see what you can do to co-operate with God in this work.
Since there is decided sympathy between heaven and earth, and since God commissions angels to minister unto all who are in need of help, we know that if we do our part, these heavenly representatives of omnipotent power will give help in this time of need. If we will become one in mind and heart with the heavenly intelligences, we can be worked by them. Men to whom God has entrusted capabilities and talents of means will be impressed by Him to take on the burden of responsibility, and help our Scandinavian brethren.
The cause of God in Europe is not to become a stone of stumbling or a rock of offense to unbelievers. The institutions there are not to be closed or given into the hands of worldlings. Let the Lord's servants in Europe make every effort in their power to recover what has been lost, and the Lord will work with them. And I call upon our people in America to co-operate with their brethren in Europe. If all will act their part in His great plan, God's purpose will be accomplished. The difficulty will soon be in the past, no more to harass the cause of God.
Let no hand become slack or palsied. You have the assurance that angels whose home is in the pavilion of the Eternal, and who see the glory of God, are your helpers. Will you co-operate with them in building up every institution that is doing God's service under the supervision of the angelic ministration?
Who can understand the value of the souls for whose salvation their Prince, their King, the Son of the infinite God, gave His spotless life to a shameful death? If all understood this as they should, what a work would be accomplished! Through the Holy Spirit's working they would by their influence, by their words and their talent of means, lead many souls to escape the chain of darkness and the hellish plottings of Satan, and be washed from their sins in the blood of the Lamb. Oh, let the work go deeper and still deeper! Angels of heaven rejoice to see sinners repent and turn to the living God.
If we will restrain the expression of unbelief, and by hopeful words and prompt movements strengthen our own faith and the faith of others, our vision will grow clearer. The pure atmosphere of heaven will surround our souls.
Be strong, and talk hope. Press your way through obstacles. You are in spiritual wedlock with Jesus Christ. The word is your assurance. Approach your Saviour with the full confidence of living faith, joining your hands with His. Go where He leads the way. Whatsoever He says to you, do. He will teach you just as willingly as He will teach someone else.