Chapter 13—Ministry of the Printed Page
Work of First Importance
If there is one work more important than another, it is that of getting our publications before the public, thus leading them to search the Scriptures. Missionary work—introducing our publications into families, conversing, and praying with and for them—is a good work.—The Colporteur Evangelist, 80.Let every Seventh-day Adventist ask himself, “What can I do to proclaim the third angel's message?” Christ came to this world to give this message to His servant to give to the churches. It is to be proclaimed to every nation, kindred, tongue, and people. How are we to give it? The distribution of our literature is one means by which the message is to be proclaimed. Let every believer scatter broadcast tracts and leaflets and books containing the message for this time. Colporteurs are needed who will go forth to circulate our publications everywhere.—The Southern Watchman, January 5, 1904.Papers and books are the Lord's means of keeping the message for this time continually before the people. In enlightening and confirming souls in the truth, the publications will do a far greater work than can be accomplished by the ministry of the word alone. The silent messengers that are placed in the homes of the people through the work of the canvasser, will strengthen the gospel ministry in every way; for the Holy Spirit will impress minds as they read the books, just as He impresses the minds of those who listen to the preaching of the word. The same ministry of angels attends the books that contain the truth as attends the work of the minister.—Testimonies for the Church 6:315, 316.Let not the canvassing work be left to languish. Let the books containing the light on present truth be placed before as many as possible. The presidents of our conferences and others in responsible positions have a duty to do in this matter.—The Southern Watchman, April 25, 1905 (Testimonies for the Church 6:329).The world is to receive the light of truth through an evangelizing ministry of the word in our books and periodicals. Our publications are to show that the end of all things is at hand.—The Colporteur Evangelist, 100.God calls upon His people to act like living men, and not be indolent, sluggish, and indifferent. We must carry the publications to the people and urge them to accept.—The Southern Watchman, April 25, 1905 (Testimonies for the Church 4:392).Our publications are now sowing the gospel seed, and are instrumental in bringing as many souls to Christ as the preached word. Whole churches have been raised up as the result of their circulation. In this work every disciple of Christ can act a part.—The Review and Herald, June 10, 1880.A messenger from heaven stood in our midst, and he spoke words of warning and instruction. He made us clearly understand that the gospel of the kingdom is the message for which the world is perishing, and that this message, as contained in our publications already in print, and those yet to be issued, should be circulated among the people who are nigh and afar off.—Testimonies for the Church 9:67.The book work should be the means of quickly giving the sacred light of present truth to the world.—Testimonies for the Church 9:69.Satan is busy in this department of his work, scattering literature which is debasing the morals and poisoning the minds of the young. Infidel publications are scattered broadcast throughout the land. Why should not every member of the church be as deeply interested in sending forth publications that will elevate the minds of the people, and bring the truth directly before them? These papers and tracts are for the light of the world, and have often been instrumental in converting souls.—The Review and Herald, June 10, 1880.We have been asleep, as it were, regarding the work that may be accomplished by the circulation of well-prepared literature. Let us now, by the wise use of periodicals and books, preach the word with determined energy, that the world may understand the message that Christ gave to John on the isle of Patmos.—The Colporteur Evangelist, 101.Church members, awake to the importance of the circulation of our literature, and devote more time to this work. Place in the homes of the people papers, tracts, and books that will preach the gospel in its several lines. There is no time to be lost. Let many give themselves willingly and unselfishly to the canvassing work, and thus help to sound a warning that is greatly needed. When the church takes up her appointed work, she will go forth “fair as the moon, clear as the sun, and terrible as an army with banners.”—The Southern Watchman, November 20, 1902 (Pacific Union Recorder, November 20, 1902).The light of truth is shedding its bright beams upon the world through missionary effort. The press is an instrumentality by which many are reached whom it would be impossible to reach by ministerial effort.—Testimonies for the Church 5:388.The night of trial is nearly spent. Satan is bringing in his masterly power because he knoweth that his time is short. The chastisement of God is upon the world, to call all who know the truth to hide in the cleft of the Rock, and view the glory of God. The truth must not be muffled now. Plain statements must be made. Unvarnished truth must be spoken, in leaflets and pamphlets, and these must be scattered like the leaves of autumn.—Testimonies for the Church 9:231.Canvassers are needed to take up the work of carrying these silent messengers of truth to the people,—canvassers who feel a burden for souls, and who can speak words in season to those who are seeking for light. Some may say, “I am not a minister; I cannot preach to the people,” You may not be able to preach, but you can be an evangelist, ministering to the needs of those with whom you come in contact; you can be God's helping hand, working as the disciples worked; you can ask those you meet if they love the Lord Jesus.—The Southern Watchman, November 20, 1902 (Pacific Union Recorder, November 20, 1902).
Publishing Houses Effective Agencies
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 intrusted 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.—Testimonies for the Church 7:138.Our publishing work was established by the direction of God and under His special supervision.—Testimonies for the Church 7:138.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.—Testimonies for the Church 7:140.I am bidden to say to our publishing houses: “Lift up the standard; lift it up higher. Proclaim the third angel's message, that it may be heard by all the world. Let it be seen that ‘here are they that keep the commandments of God, and the faith of Jesus.’ Revelation 14:12. Let our literature give the message as a witness to all the world.”—Testimonies for the Church 9:61.
You who believe the truth for this time, wake up. It is your duty now to bring in all the means possible to help those who understand the truth to proclaim it. Part of the money that comes in from the sale of our publications should be used to increase our facilities for the production of more literature that will open blind eyes and break up the fallow ground of the heart.—Testimonies for the Church 9:62.Years ago the Lord gave me special directions that buildings should be erected in various places in America, Europe, and other lands, for the publication of literature containing the light of present truth. He gave instruction that every effort should be made to send forth to the world from the press the messages of invitation and warning. Some will be reached by our literature who would not be reached in any other way. From our books and papers bright beams of light are to shine forth to enlighten the world in regard to present truth.—Testimonies for the Church 8:87.I have been shown that our publications should be printed in different languages and sent to every civilized country, at any cost. What is the value of money at this time, in comparison with the value of souls? Every dollar of our means should be considered as the Lord's, not ours; and as a precious trust from God to us; not to be wasted for needless indulgences, but carefully used in the cause of God, in the work of saving men and women from ruin.—Life Sketches, 214.The printed word of truth is to be translated into different languages, and carried to the ends of the earth.—Testimonies for the Church 9:26.These publications are to be translated into every language; for to all the world the gospel is to be preached. To every worker Christ promises the divine efficiency that will make his labors a success.—Testimonies for the Church 9:34.Our publications should go everywhere. Let them be issued in many languages. The third angel's message is to be given through this medium and through the living teacher. You who believe the truth for this time, wake up.—The Colporteur Evangelist, 101.Many of God's people are to go forth with our publications into places where the third angel's message has never been proclaimed. Our books are to be published in many different languages. With these books, humble, faithful men are to go out as colporteur-evangelists, bearing the truth to those who would otherwise never be enlightened.—Testimonies for the Church 9:33, 34.From city to city, from country to country, they are to carry the publications containing the promises of the Saviour's soon coming.—Testimonies for the Church 9:34.I have been shown that the publications already have been doing a work upon some minds in other countries in breaking down the walls of prejudice and superstition. I was shown men and women studying with intense interest papers and few pages of tracts upon present truth. They would read the evidences so wonderful and new to them, and would open their Bibles with a deep and new interest, as subjects of truth that had been dark to them were made plain, especially the light in regard to the Sabbath of the fourth commandment. As they searched the Scriptures to see if these things were so, a new light shone upon their understanding, for angels were hovering over them, and impressing their minds with the truths contained in the publications they had been reading.I saw them holding papers and tracts in one hand, and the Bible in the other, while their cheeks were wet with tears; and bowing before God in earnest, humble prayer, to be guided into all truth,—the very thing He was doing for them before they called upon Him. And when the truth was received in their hearts, and they saw the harmonious chain of truth, the Bible was to them a new book; they hugged it to their hearts with grateful joy, while their countenances were all aglow with happiness and holy joy.These were not satisfied with merely enjoying the light themselves, and they began to work for others. Some made great sacrifices for the truth's sake and to help those of the brethren who were in darkness. The way is thus preparing to do a great work in the distribution of tracts and papers in other languages.—Life Sketches, 214, 215.
Opportunities for Free Distribution
Let literature be distributed judiciously on the trains, in the street, on the great ships that ply the sea, and through the mails.—Gospel Workers, 353.In these days of travel, the opportunities for coming in contact with men and women of all classes, and of many nationalities, are much greater than in the days of Israel. The thoroughfares of travel have multiplied a thousandfold. God has wonderfully prepared the way. The agency of the printing press, with its manifold facilities, is at our command. Bibles, and publications in many languages, setting forth the truth for this time, are at our hand, and can be swiftly carried to every part of the world.—Gospel Workers, 352.Let the leaflets and tracts, the papers and books, go in every direction. Carry with you, wherever you go, a package of select tracts, which you can hand out as you have opportunity. Sell what you can, and lend or give them away as the case may seem to require. Important results will follow.—The Review and Herald, June 10, 1880.I have been shown that we were not doing our duty in the gratuitous circulation of small publications. There are many honest souls who might be brought to embrace the truth by this means alone.... These small tracts of four, eight, or sixteen pages, can be furnished for a trifle, from a fund raised by the donations of those who have the cause at heart. When you write to a friend, you can inclose one or more without increasing postage. When you meet persons in the cars, on the boat, or in the stage, who seem to have an ear to hear, you can hand them a tract.—Testimonies for the Church 1:551, 552.
The sisters can work efficiently in obtaining subscribers for our periodicals, in this way bringing the light before many minds.—The Review and Herald, June 10, 1880.We now have great facilities for spreading the truth; but our people are not coming up to the privileges given them. They do not in every church see and feel the necessity of using their abilities in saving souls. They do not realize their duty to obtain subscribers for our periodicals, including our health journal, and to introduce our books and pamphlets.—Testimonies for the Church 4:391.
Many are sad and discouraged, weak in faith and trust. Let them do something to help some one more needy than themselves, and they will grow strong in God's strength. Let them engage in the good work of selling our books. Thus they will help others, and the experience gained will give them the assurance that they are God's helping hand. As they plead with the Lord to help them, He will guide them to those who are seeking for the light. Christ will be close beside them, teaching them what to say and do. By comforting others, they themselves will be comforted.—The Colporteur Evangelist, 40.
Work in Cities
We are living in a time when a great work is to be done. There is a famine in the land for the pure gospel, and the bread of life is to be given to hungry souls. There is no better opportunity to do this work than that offered to the consecrated canvasser. Thousands of books containing the precious light of present truth should be placed in the homes of the people in our large cities.—The Southern Watchman, November 20, 1902 (Pacific Union Recorder, November 20, 1902).Blessed, soul-saving Bible truths are published in our papers. There are many who can help in the work of selling our periodicals. The Lord calls upon all of us to seek to save perishing souls. Satan is at work to deceive the very elect, and now is our time to work with vigilance. Our books and papers are to be brought before the notice of the people; the gospel of present truth is to be given to our cities without delay. Shall we not arouse to our duties?—Testimonies for the Church 9:63.
Canvassers should call the attention of those they visit to our health publications, telling them of the valuable instruction these periodicals contain regarding the care of the sick and treatment of diseases. Tell them this instruction, studied and practiced, will bring health to the family. Explain how important it is for every family to understand the science of life. Direct their minds to Him who formed and who keeps in motion the wonderful machinery of the body. Tell them that it is our part to co-operate with God, caring wisely for all our faculties and organs.The proper care of the body is a great responsibility, and requires an intelligent knowledge of its parts. Tell them that God is dishonored when, for the gratification of appetite and passion, man misuses the machinery of the body, so that it does its work feebly and with difficulty. Tell them that the books you have for sale give much valuable instruction regarding health, and that by practicing this instruction, much suffering and also much of the money spent in paying doctors’ bills, will be saved. Tell them that in these books there is advice which they cannot possibly obtain from their physician during the short visits he makes.—The Southern Watchman, November 20, 1902 (Pacific Union Recorder, November 20, 1902).When young men take up the canvassing work filled with an intense longing to save their fellow men, they will see souls converted. From their work a harvest for the Lord will be reaped. Then let them go forth as missionaries to circulate present truth, praying constantly for increased light and knowledge, that they may know how to speak words in season to those that are weary. They should improve every opportunity for doing a deed of kindness, remembering that thus they are doing errands for the Lord.... In their work they should always take some health books with them; for health reform is the right hand of the message.—The Southern Watchman, January 15, 1903.
Circulate Without Discrimination
There are many places in which the voice of the minister cannot be heard, places which can be reached only by publications,—the books, papers, and tracts that are filled with the Bible truth that the people need. Our literature is to be distributed everywhere. The truth is to be sown beside all waters; for we know not which shall prosper, this or that. In our erring judgment we may think it unwise to give literature to the very ones who would accept the truth most readily. We know not what may be the good results of giving away a leaflet containing present truth.—The Southern Watchman, January 5, 1904.
Treasure Every Fragment
In the miracle of feeding the multitude with a few loaves and fishes, the food was increased as it passed from Christ to those who received it. Thus it will be in the distribution of our literature. God's truth, as it is passed out, will multiply greatly. And as the disciples, by Christ's direction, gathered up the fragments, that nothing might be lost, so we should treasure every fragment of literature containing the truth for this time. None can estimate the influence that even a torn page containing the truths of the third angel's message may have upon the heart of some seeker after truth.—The Southern Watchman, January 5, 1904.
In every important place there should be a depository for publications. And some one who really appreciates the truth should manifest an interest to get these books into the hands of all who will read.—Testimonies for the Church 1:473.
Angels Prepare the Way
I saw that the work of present truth should engage the interest of all. The publication of truth is God's ordained plan, as a means of warning, comforting, reproving, exhorting, or convicting all to whose notice the silent, voiceless messengers may be brought. Angels of God have a part to act in preparing hearts to be sanctified by the truths published, that they may be prepared for the solemn scenes before them.—Testimonies for the Church 1:590.