Our publishing work was established by the direction of God and under His special supervision. It was designed to accomplish a specific purpose. Seventh-day Adventists have been chosen by God as a peculiar people, separate from the world. By the great cleaver of truth He has cut them out from the quarry of the world and brought them into connection with Himself. He has made them His representatives and has called them to be ambassadors for Him in the last work of salvation. The greatest wealth of truth ever entrusted to mortals, the most solemn and fearful warnings ever sent by God to man, have been committed to them to be given to the world; and in the accomplishment of this work our publishing houses are among the most effective agencies.
These institutions are to stand as witnesses for God, teachers of righteousness to the people. From them truth is to go forth as a lamp that burneth. Like a great light in a lighthouse on a dangerous coast, they are constantly to send forth beams of light into the darkness of the
world, to warn men of the dangers that threaten them with destruction.
The publications sent forth from our printing houses are to prepare a people to meet God. Throughout the world they are to do the same work that was done by John the Baptist for the Jewish nation. By startling messages of warning, God's prophet awakened men from worldly dreaming. Through him God called backsliding Israel to repentance. By his presentation of truth he exposed popular delusions. In contrast with the false theories of his time, truth in his teaching stood forth as an eternal certainty. "Repent ye: for the kingdom of heaven is at hand," was John's message. Matthew 3:2. This same message, through the publications from our printing houses, is to be given to the world today.
The prophecy that John's mission fulfilled outlines our work: "Prepare ye the way of the Lord, make His paths straight." Verse 3. As John prepared the way for the first, so we are to prepare the way for the second, advent of the Saviour. Our publishing institutions are to exalt the claims of God's downtrodden law. Standing before the world as reformers, they are to show that the law of God is the foundation of all enduring reform. In clear, distinct lines they are to present the necessity of obedience to all His commandments. Constrained by the love of Christ, they are to cooperate with Him in building up the old waste places, raising up the foundations of many generations. They are to stand as repairers of the breach, restorers of paths to dwell in. Through their testimony the Sabbath of the fourth commandment is to stand as a witness, a constant reminder of God, to attract notice and arouse investigation that shall direct the minds of men to their Creator.
Let it never be forgotten that these institutions are to cooperate with the ministry of the delegates of heaven.
They are among the agencies represented by the angel flying "in the midst of heaven, having the everlasting gospel to preach unto them that dwell on the earth, and to every nation, and kindred, and tongue, and people, saying with a loud voice, Fear God, and give glory to Him; for the hour of His judgement is come." Revelation 14:6, 7.
From them is to go forth the terrible denunciation: "Babylon is fallen, is fallen, that great city, because she made all nations drink of the wine of the wrath of her fornication." Verse 8.
They are represented by the third angel that followed, "saying with a loud voice, If any man worship the beast and his image, and receive his mark in his forehead, or in his hand, the same shall drink of the wine of the wrath of God." Verses 9, 10.
And in a large degree through our publishing houses is to be accomplished the work of that other angel who comes down from heaven with great power and who lightens the earth with his glory.
Solemn is the responsibility that rests upon our houses of publication. Those who conduct these institutions, those who edit the periodicals and prepare the books, standing as they do in the light of God's purpose, and called to give warning to the world, are held by God accountable for the souls of their fellow men. To them, as well as to the ministers of the word, applies the message given by God to His prophet of old: "Son of man, I have set thee a watchman unto the house of Israel; therefore thou shalt hear the word at My mouth, and warn them from Me. When I say unto the wicked, O wicked man, thou shalt surely die; if thou dost not speak to warn the wicked from his way, that wicked man shall die in his iniquity; but his blood will I require at thine hand." Ezekiel 33:7, 8.
Never did this message apply with greater force than it applies today. More and more the world is setting at nought the claims of God. Men have become bold in transgression. The wickedness of the inhabitants of the world has almost filled up the measure of their iniquity. This earth has almost reached the place where God will permit the destroyer to work his will upon it. The substitution of the laws of men for the law of God, the exaltation, by merely human authority, of Sunday in place of the Bible Sabbath, is the last act in the drama. When this substitution becomes universal, God will reveal Himself. He will arise in His majesty to shake terribly the earth. He will come out of His place to punish the inhabitants of the world for their iniquity, and the earth shall disclose her blood and shall no more cover her slain.
The great conflict that Satan created in the heavenly courts is soon, very soon, to be forever decided. Soon all the inhabitants of the earth will have taken sides, either for or against the government of heaven. Now, as never before, Satan is exercising his deceiving power to mislead and to destroy every unguarded soul. We are called upon to arouse the people to prepare for the great issues before them. We must give warning to those who are standing on the very brink of ruin. God's people are to put forth every power in combating Satan's falsehoods and pulling down his strongholds. To every human being in the wide world who will give heed, we are to make plain the principles at stake in the great controversy--principles upon which hangs the eternal destiny of the soul. To the people far and near we are to bring home the question: "Are you following the great apostate in disobedience to God's law, or are you following the Son of God, who declared, 'I have kept My Father's commandments'?"
This is the work before us; for this our publishing institutions were established; it is this work that God expects at their hands.
We are not only to publish the theory of the truth, but to present a practical illustration of it in character and life. Our publishing institutions are to stand before the world as an embodiment of Christian principles. In these institutions, if God's purpose for them is fulfilled, Christ Himself stands at the head of the working forces. Holy angels supervise the work in every department. And all that is done in every line is to bear the impress of heaven, to show forth the excellence of the character of God.
God has ordained that His work shall be presented to the world in distinct, holy lines. He desires His people to show by their lives the advantage of Christianity over worldliness. By His grace every provision has been made for us in all our transaction of business to demonstrate the superiority of heaven's principles over the principles of the world. We are to show that we are working upon a higher plane than that of worldlings. In all things we are to manifest purity of character, to show that the truth received and obeyed makes the receivers sons and daughters of God, children of the heavenly King, and that as such they are honest in their dealings, faithful, true, and upright in the small as well as the great things of life.
In all our work, even in mechanical lines, God desires that the perfection of His character shall appear. The exactness, skill, tact, wisdom, and perfection which He required in the building of the earthly tabernacle, He desires to have brought into everything that shall be done in His service. Every transaction entered into by His
servants is to be as pure and as precious in His sight as were the gold and frankincense and myrrh which in sincere, uncorrupted faith the Wise Men from the East brought to the infant Saviour.
Thus in their business life Christ's followers are to be light bearers to the world. God does not ask them to make an effort to shine. He approves of no self-satisfied attempt to display superior goodness. He desires that their souls shall be imbued with the principles of heaven, and then, as they come in contact with the world, they will reveal the light that is in them. Their honesty, uprightness, and steadfast fidelity in every act of life will be a means of illumination.
The kingdom of God comes not with outward show. It comes through the gentleness of the inspiration of His word, through the inward working of His Spirit, the fellowship of the soul with Him who is its life. The greatest manifestation of its power is seen in human nature brought to the perfection of the character of Christ.
An appearance of wealth or position, expensive architecture or furnishings, are not essential to the advancement of the work of God; neither are achievements that win applause from men and administer to vanity. Worldly display, however imposing, is of no value with God.
While it is our duty to seek for perfection in outward things, it should ever be kept in mind that this aim is not to be made supreme. It must be held subordinate to higher interests. Above the seen and transitory, God values the unseen and eternal. The former is of worth only as it expresses the latter. The choicest productions of art possess no beauty that can compare with the beauty of character which is the fruit of the Holy Spirit's working in the soul.
When God gave His Son to the world, He endowed
human beings with imperishable riches, riches compared with which the treasured wealth of men since the world began is nothingness. Christ came to the earth and stood before the children of men with the hoarded love of eternity, and this is the treasure that, through our connection with Him, we are to receive, to reveal, and to impart.
Our institutions will give character to the work of God just according to the consecrated devotion of the workers--by revealing the power of the grace of Christ to transform the life. We are to be distinguished from the world because God has placed His seal upon us, because He manifests in us His own character of love. Our Redeemer covers us with His righteousness.
In choosing men and women for His service, God does not ask whether they possess learning or eloquence or worldly wealth. He asks: "Do they walk in such humility that I can teach them My way? Can I put My words into their lips? Will they represent Me?"
God can use every person just in proportion as He can put His Spirit into the soul-temple. The work that He will accept is the work that reflects His image. His followers are to bear, as their credentials to the world, the ineffaceable characteristics of His immortal principles.