Brainworkers have a God-given capital. The result of their study belongs to God, not to man. If the worker faithfully gives to his employer the time for which he receives his pay, then his employer has no further claim upon him. And if by diligent and close economy of moments he prepare other matter valuable for publication, it is his to use as he thinks will best serve the cause of God. If he gives up all but a small royalty he has done a good work for those who handle the book, and he should not be asked to do more. God has not placed upon the publishing board the responsibility of being conscience for others. They should not persistently seek to force men to their terms.
The authors are responsible to God for the use which they make of their means. There will be many calls for money. Mission fields will have to be entered, and this requires much outlay. Those to whom God has entrusted talents are to trade upon these talents according to their ability, for they are to act their part in carrying forward these interests. When the
members of the board take it upon themselves to urge that all the profits from our denominational books shall go to the Publishing Association and the agents, and that the authors, after being paid for the time and expense of writing a book, should relinquish their claim to a share in the profits, they are undertaking a work which they cannot carry out. These book writers have as much interest in the cause of God as do those who compose the board of trustees. Some of them have had a connection with the work almost from its infancy.
It was presented before me that there were poor men whose only means of obtaining a livelihood was their brain work; also that there are businessmen connected with our institutions who have not grown up with them and have not had the benefit of all the instruction that God has given from time to time relative to their management. They have not incorporated true religion, the spirit of Christ, into their business. The Publishing Association should not, therefore, be made an all-controlling power. Individual talent and individual rights must be respected. Should arrangements be made to invest all the results of personal talent in the Publishing Association, other important interests would be crippled.
To every man God has given his work. To some He has given talents of means and influence; and those who have the interests of God's cause at heart will understand His voice telling them what to do. They will have a burden to push the work where it needs pushing.
Several times it has been pointed out to me that there has been a close, ungenerous spirit exercised toward Brother H from the very first of his labours in Battle Creek. It makes me sad to state the reason. It was because he went there a stranger and in poverty. Because he was a poor man he has been placed in unpleasant positions and made to feel his poverty. Men connected with our institutions have thought that they could bring him to their terms, and he has had a very unpleasant time. There are sad chapters in his experience, which
would not have passed into history if his brethren had been kind and had dealt with him in a Christlike manner. The Lord's cause should always be free from the slightest injustice, and no act connected with it should savour in the smallest degree of penuriousness or oppression.
The Lord guards every man's interest. He was always the poor man's friend. There is a most wonderful dearth of Christlike love in the hearts of nearly all who are handling sacred things. I would say to my brethren everywhere: Cultivate the love of Christ! It should well up from the soul of the Christian like streams in the desert, refreshing and beautifying, bringing gladness, peace, and joy into his own life and into the lives of others. "None of us liveth to himself." If there is shown the least oppression of the poor, or unjust dealing with them in either small or great things, God will hold the oppressor accountable.
Do not seek to make terms which are not just and fair with either Elder J or Professor H, or with any other brainworker. Do not urge or force them to accept the terms of those who do not know what it is to make books. These men have a conscience and are accountable to God for their entrusted capital and the use they make of it; you are not to be conscience for them. They want the privilege of investing the means which they may acquire by hard labour, when and where the Spirit of God shall indicate.
My brethren must remember that the cause of God covers more than the publishing house at Battle Creek and the other institutions there established. No one knows better than Brother J how that office came into existence. He has been connected with the publishing work from its very commencement --when it was oppressed by poverty; when the food upon our tables was hardly sufficient to meet the wants of nature, because self-denial had to be practised in eating and in dressing and in our wages, in order that the paper might live. This was positively necessary then, and those who passed through
that experience would be ready, under similar circumstances, to do the same again.
It is not becoming for those who have had no experience in these trials, but have become connected with the work in its present prosperity, to urge the early workers to submit to terms in which they can see no justice. Brother J loves the cause of God and will invest his means to advance it wherever he sees it is necessary. Then leave this burden of receiving and dispensing this means where it belongs--on the men to whom God has entrusted talents of influence and of ability. They are responsible to God for these. Neither the Publishing Association nor its chief workers should assume that stewardship of these authors.
If the board should be able to bring Brethren H and J to their terms, would not these writers feel that they had been dealt with unjustly? Would not a door of temptation be opened before them, which would interfere with sympathy and harmony of action? Should the managers grasp all the profits, it would not be well for the cause, but would produce a train of evils, disastrous to the Publishing Association. It would encourage the spirit of intolerance which is already manifest to some degree in their councils. Satan longs to have a narrow, conceited spirit, which God cannot approve, take possession of the men who are connected with the sacred message of truth.
The same principles which apply to the work in our institutions at Battle Creek apply as well to that in the field at large. The following extracts are from a letter written to Brother K, November 8, 1880:
"There is a broad field for the labourers, but many are getting above the simplicity of the work. Now is the time to labour and to do it in the wise counsel of God. If you connect unconsecrated persons with the missions and Sabbath schools, the work will become a mere form. The workers in every part of the field must study how to work economically and in the
simplicity of Christ and how to plan most successfully to reach hearts."
"We are in danger of spreading over more territory and starting more enterprises than we can attend to properly. There is danger of neglecting some important parts of the work through overattention to others. To undertake so large an amount of work that nothing can be done perfectly is a bad plan. We are to move forward, but not to get so far above the simplicity of the work that it will be impossible to look after all the enterprises without sacrificing our best helpers to keep things in running order. Life and health must be regarded.
"While we should be ever ready to follow the opening providence of God, we should lay no larger plans than we have the help and means to carry out successfully. We must keep up and increase the interest in the enterprises already started."
"While larger plans and broader fields are constantly opening, there must be broader views in regard to the selection and training of workers who are to labour to bring souls into the truth. Our young ministers must be encouraged to take hold of the work with energy and be educated to carry it forward with simplicity and thoroughness. I am astonished to see how little some of our young ministers are appreciated and how little encouragement they receive. Yet some of them cling to the work and do anything and everything with unselfish interest."
"Narrowness and dishonest dealing must not come into the settlement with the workers, high or low. . . . There must be more of Christ's way, and less of self. Sharp criticisms should be repressed. Sympathy, compassion, and love should be cultivated by every worker. Unless Jesus comes in and takes possession of the heart, unless self is subdued and Christ is exalted, we shall not prosper as a people. I beseech of you, my brother, to labour wholly in God, not laying too many plans, but striving to have the work carried on circumspectly, and with such thoroughness that it will endure."