While the church has a responsibility to the publishing house, so also has the publishing house to the church. Each is to uphold the other.
Those in positions of responsibility in the publishing houses should not allow themselves to be so pressed with work that they have no time for maintaining the spiritual interest. When this interest is kept alive in the publishing house, it will exert a powerful influence in the church; and when it is kept alive in the church, it will exert a powerful influence in the publishing house. God's blessing will rest on the work when it is so conducted that souls are won to Christ.
All the workers in the publishing house who profess the name of Christ should be workers in the church. It is essential to their own spiritual life that they improve every means of grace. They will obtain strength, not by standing as spectators, but by becoming workers.
Everyone should be enlisted in some line of regular, systematic labour in connection with the church. All should realise that as Christians this is their duty. By their baptismal vow they stand pledged to do all in their power to build up the church of Christ. Show them that love and loyalty to their Redeemer, loyalty to the standard of true manhood and womanhood, loyalty to the institution with which they are connected, demands this. They cannot be faithful servants of Christ, they cannot be men and women of real integrity, they cannot be acceptable workers in God's institution, while neglecting these duties.
The managers of the institution in its various departments should have a special care that the youth form right habits in these lines. When the meetings of the church are neglected or duties connected with its work are left undone, let the cause be ascertained. By kind, tactful effort endeavour to arouse the careless and to revive a waning interest.
None should allow their own work to excuse neglect of the Lord's sacred service. Much better might they lay aside the work which concerns themselves than neglect their duty to God.
Publishing Houses --
I urge upon you the importance of attending our annual meetings, not merely the business meetings, but the meetings that will be for your spiritual enlightenment. You do not realise the necessity of having a close connection with heaven. Without this connection not one of you is safe; not one is qualified to do God's work acceptably.
In this work more than in any secular business, success
is proportioned to the spirit of consecration and self-sacrifice with which the work is done. Those who bear responsibility as mangers in the work need to place themselves where they can be deeply impressed by the Spirit of God. You should have as much greater anxiety than do others to receive the baptism of the Holy Spirit and a knowledge of God and Christ, as your position of trust is more responsible than that of the common worker.
Natural and acquired endowments are all gifts of God and need to be constantly held under the control of His Spirit, of His divine, sanctifying power. You need to feel most deeply your lack of experience in this work and put forth earnest endeavour to acquire needed knowledge and wisdom, that you may use every faculty of body and mind in such a way as to glorify God.
"A new heart also will I give you." Christ must dwell in your hearts, as the blood is in the body, and circulate there as a vitalising power. On this subject we cannot be too urgent. While truth must be our panoply, our convictions need to be strengthened by the living sympathies that characterised the life of Christ. If the truth, living truth, is not exemplified in the character, no man can stand. There is only one power that can either make us steadfast or keep us so--the grace of God, in truth. He who confides in aught else is already tottering, ready to fall.
The Lord desires you to rely on Him. Make the most of every opportunity to come to the light. If you remain apart from the holy influences that come from God, how can you discern spiritual things?
God calls upon us to make use of every opportunity for securing a preparation for His work. He expects you to put all your energies into its performance and to keep your hearts alive to its sacredness and its fearful
responsibilities. God's eye is upon you. It is not safe for any one of you to bring into His presence a marred sacrifice, a sacrifice that costs neither study nor prayer. Such an offering He cannot accept.
I entreat you to awake and to seek God for yourselves. While Jesus of Nazareth is passing by, cry most earnestly unto Him, "Have mercy on me, O Lord, Thou Son of David," and you will receive sight. Through the grace of God you will receive that which will be more valuable to you than gold or silver or precious stones.
If there is ever one time above another when men need to preserve their connection with God, it is when they are called to bear special responsibility. It is not safe for us, when going into battle, to cast away our weapons. It is then that we need to be equipped with the whole armour of God. Every piece is essential.
Never entertain the thought that you can be Christians and yet withdraw within yourselves. Each one is a part of the great web of humanity, and the nature and quality of your experience will be largely determined by the experiences of those with whom you associate. Jesus says: "Where two or three are gathered together in My name, there am I in the midst." Matthew 18:20. Then let us not forsake the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some is; but exhort one another; and so much the more, as we see the day approaching.
Make the social meetings of the church as interesting as possible. Let everyone present feel that he has a duty to perform in the meeting. Cooperate with the heavenly angels, who are trying to make a right impression on every worker.
There are many who recognize no distinction between a common business enterprise, as a workshop, factory, or cornfield, and an institution established especially to advance the interests of the cause of God. But the same distinction exists that in ancient times God placed between the sacred and the common, the holy and the profane. This distinction He desires every worker in our institutions to discern and appreciate. Those who occupy a position in our publishing houses are highly honoured. A sacred charge is upon them. They are called to be workers together with God. They should appreciate the opportunity of so close connection with the heavenly instrumentalities and should feel that they are highly privileged in being permitted to give to the Lord's institution their ability, their service, and their unwearying vigilance. They should have a vigorous purpose, a lofty aspiration, a zeal to make the publishing house just what God desires it to be--a light in the world, a faithful witness for Him, a memorial of the Sabbath of the fourth commandment.
"He hath made my mouth like a sharp sword; in the shadow of His hand hath He hid me, and made me a polished shaft; in His quiver hath He hid me; and said unto me, Thou art My servant, O Israel, in whom I will be glorified. . . . It is a light thing that thou shouldest be My servant to raise up the tribes of Jacob, and to restore the preserved of Israel: I will also give thee for a light to the Gentiles, that thou mayest be My salvation unto the end of the earth."
Isaiah 49:2-6. This is the word of the Lord to all who are in any way connected with His appointed institutions. They are favoured of God, for they are brought into channels where the light shines. They are in His special service, and they should not esteem this a light thing. Proportionate to their position of sacred trust should be their sense of responsibility and devotion. Cheap, common talk and trifling behaviour should not be tolerated. A sense of the sacredness of the place should be encouraged and cultivated.
Over this, His appointed instrumentality, the Lord has a constant, watchful care. The machinery may be run by men who are skillful in its management; but how easy it would be to leave one little screw, one little part of the machinery, out of order, and how disastrous might be the result! Who has prevented casualties? The angels of God have supervision of the work. If the eyes of those who run the machinery could be opened, they would discern the heavenly guardianship. In every room in the publishing house where work is done, there is a witness taking note of the spirit in which it is performed, and marking the fidelity and unselfishness revealed.
If I have failed of presenting the light in which God regards His institutions,--as the centres through which He works in a special manner,--may He portray these things to your minds by His Holy Spirit, that you may understand the difference between common and sacred service.
Both the members of the church and the employees in the publishing house should feel that as workers
together with God they have a part to act in guarding His institution. They should be faithful guardians of its interests in every line, seeking to shield it, not only from loss and disaster, but from all that could profane or contaminate. Never through act of theirs should its fair fame be tarnished, even by the breath of careless criticism or censure. God's institutions should be regarded by them as a holy trust, to be guarded as jealously as the ark was guarded by ancient Israel.
When the workers in the publishing house are educated to think of this great centre as related to God and under His supervision; when they realise that it is a channel through which light from heaven is to be communicated to the world, they will regard it with great respect and reverence. They will cherish the best thoughts and the noblest feelings, that in their work they may have the cooperation of the heavenly intelligences. As the workers realise that they are in the presence of angels, whose eyes are too pure to behold iniquity, a strong restraint will be placed on thoughts, words, and actions. They will be given moral strength; for the Lord says: "Them that honour Me I will honour." 1 Samuel 2:30. Every worker will have a precious experience and will possess faith and power that will rise superior to circumstances. All will be able to say: "The Lord is in this place."