Dignity of the Book Work
The work of bookmaking is a grand and good work; but it has not always stood in the high and holy position that God designed it should occupy, because self has been interwoven with the work of some who have engaged in it. The book work should be the means of quickly giving the sacred light of present truth to the world. The publications that come forth from our presses today are to be of such a character as to strengthen every pin and pillar of the faith that was established by the word of God and by the revelations of His Spirit.
The truth that God has given for His people in these last days should keep them firm when there come into the church those who present false theories. The truth that has stood firm against the attacks of the enemy for more than half a century must still be the confidence and comfort of God’s people.
Our evidence to nonprofessors that we have the truth of the word of God will be given in a life of strict self-denial. We must not make a mockery of our faith, but ever keep before us the example of Him who, though He was the Prince of heaven, stooped to a life of self-denial and sacrifice to vindicate the righteousness of His Father’s word. Let us each resolve to do our best, that the light of our good works may shine forth to the world.
Unity in Progress
Perfect agreement should exist in the plans laid for the publication of our books and periodicals, that the light which they contain may be quickly carried everywhere to the nominal churches and to the world. Much more should have been accomplished in the sale of our books than we see accomplished today.
Our ministers should call upon the church members to let the truth triumph. “Arise, shine; for thy light is come, and the glory of the Lord is risen upon thee. For, behold, the darkness shall cover the earth, and gross darkness the people: but the Lord shall arise upon thee, and His glory shall be seen upon thee. And the Gentiles shall come to thy light, and kings to the brightness of thy rising.” Isaiah 60:1-3. Unity and love will accomplish wonderful things for the believers. Will not our churches arouse and give the last warning message to the world?
Our Relief Books
Christ’s Object Lessons is a book that speaks for itself, and it has accomplished a good work. As it has been sold, and the object of its sale related, money has been received that has relieved the indebtedness of our schools. But more than this, many by reading the book have been blessed by its lessons of truth, and many others will be blessed by reading it.
The book Ministry of Healing may do the same work for our sanitariums and health institutions that Christ’s Object Lessons has done for our schools. This book contains the wisdom of the Great Physician. To me it has been a precious privilege to donate my work on these books to the cause of God. In the future there should be well-planned and persevering efforts made to increase their sale.
Lift the Debts
God designs that we shall learn lessons from the failures of the past. It is not pleasing to Him to have debts rest upon His institutions. We have reached the time when we must give character to the work by refusing to erect large and costly buildings. We are not to copy the mistakes of the past and become more and more involved in debt. We are rather to endeavor to clear off the indebtedness that still remains on our institutions. Our churches can help in this matter if they will. Those members to whom the Lord has given means can invest their money in the cause without interest or at a low rate of interest, and by their freewill offerings they can help to support the work. The Lord asks you to return cheerfully to Him a portion of the goods He has lent you, and thus become His almoners.
Another View of the Book Work
Afterward we were in camp meetings and in large meetings in our churches, where the ministers presented clearly the perils of the times in which we live and the great importance of making haste in the circulation of our literature. In response to these appeals the brethren and sisters came forward and purchased many books. Some took a few, and some purchased large quantities. Most of the purchasers paid for the books they took. A few arranged to pay afterward.
Because books were being sold at low prices, some being especially reduced for the occasion, many were purchased, and some by persons not of our faith. They said: “It must be that these books contain a message for us. These people are willing to make sacrifices in order that we may have them, and we will secure them for ourselves and our friends.”
But dissatisfaction was expressed by some of our own people. One said: “A stop must be put to this work, or our business will be spoiled.” As one brother was carrying away an armful of books, a canvasser laid his hand upon his arm and said: “My brother, what are you doing with so many books?” Then I heard the voice of our Counselor saying: “Forbid them not. This is a work that should be done. The end is near. Already much time has been lost, when these books should have been in circulation. Sell them far and near. Scatter them like the leaves of autumn. This work is to continue without the forbiddings of anyone. Souls are perishing out of Christ. Let them be warned of His soon appearing in the clouds of heaven.”
Some of the workers continued to appear much cast down. One was weeping and said: “These are doing the publishing work an injustice by purchasing these books at so low a price; besides, this work is depriving us of some of the revenue by which our work is sustained.” The Voice replied: “You are meeting with no loss. These workers who take the books at reduced prices could not obtain so ready sale for them except it be at this so-called sacrifice. Many are now purchasing for their friends and for themselves who otherwise would not think of buying.”
Then instruction was given to Elder Haskell that in his anxiety to supply the people with the precious truth contained in his books, in his desire that all should feel that the books are worth more than they cost, and that all should be encouraged to give them a wide circulation, he was selling his books too cheap, and thus making his own burden too heavy.
Our Counselor said: “The books should be sold in such a way that the author will not be left barehanded and that the publishing house shall have a proper margin so that it will have means to carry on its work.”
A Parable for Our Study
“The kingdom of heaven is like unto a man that is an householder,” Christ declared, “which went out early in the morning to hire laborers into his vineyard. And when he had agreed with the laborers for a penny a day, he sent them into his vineyard. And he went out about the third hour, and saw others standing idle in the market place, and said unto them; Go ye also into the vineyard, and whatsoever is right I will give you. And they went their way.
“Again he went out about the sixth and ninth hour, and did likewise. And about the eleventh hour he went out, and found others standing idle, and saith unto them, Why stand ye here all the day idle? They say unto him, Because no man hath hired us. He saith unto them, Go ye also into the vineyard; and whatsoever is right, that shall ye receive. So when even was come, the Lord of the vineyard saith unto his steward, Call the laborers, and give them their hire, beginning from the last unto the first. And when they came that were hired about the eleventh hour, they received every man a penny.
“But when the first came, they supposed that they should have received more; and they likewise received every man a penny. And when they had received it, they murmured against the goodman of the house, saying, These last have wrought but one hour, and thou hast made them equal unto us, which have borne the burden and heat of the day. But he answered one of them, and said, Friend, I do thee no wrong: didst not thou agree with me for a penny? Take that thine is, and go thy way: I will give unto this last, even as unto thee. Is it not lawful for me to do what I will with mine own? Is thine eye evil, because I am good? So the last shall be first, and the first last: for many be called, but few chosen.” Matthew 20:1-16.
Blessed will be the recompense of grace to those who have wrought for God in the simplicity of faith and love. The value of service to God is measured by the spirit in which it is rendered, rather than by the length of time spent in labor.
Light for All
I am very desirous that the light contained in my books shall come to every soul possible, for God has sent the message for all. These books contain precious lessons in Christian experience. I would not dare forbid that these books be sold on special occasions at a low price, lest I should hinder the reading of the books, and thus withhold the light from some soul who might be converted to the truth. I have no forbiddings to place on the work of circulating our books. Let the light be placed on the candlestick, that it may give light to all that are in the house.
A Lesson in Commercialism
“And Jesus went into the temple of God, and cast out all them that sold and bought in the temple, and overthrew the tables of the money-changers, and the seats of them that sold doves, and said unto them, It is written, My house shall be called the house of prayer; but ye have made it a den of thieves.
“And the blind and the lame came to Him in the temple; and He healed them. And when the chief priests and scribes saw the wonderful things that He did, and the children crying in the temple, and saying, Hosanna to the Son of David; they were sore displeased, and said unto Him, Hearest thou what these say? And Jesus saith unto them, Yea; have ye never read, Out of the mouth of babes and sucklings Thou hast perfected praise?” Matthew 21:12-16.
May 4, 1908
One point that should never be forgotten by our workers is that the Lord Jesus Christ is our chief director. He has outlined a plan by which the schools may be relieved of their indebtedness, and He will not vindicate the course of those who lay this plan aside for lack of confidence in its success. When His people will come up unitedly to the help of His cause in the earth, no good thing that God has promised will be withheld from them.
Chapter 8—A Broader View
In carrying forward the Lord’s work at home and abroad, those in positions of responsibility must plan wisely, so as to make the best possible use of men and of means. The burden of sustaining the work in many of the foreign fields must be largely borne by our conferences in the homeland. These conferences should have means with which to assist in opening new fields, where the testing truths of the third angel’s message have never yet penetrated. Within the past few years, doors have been thrown open as if by magic; and men and women are needed to enter these doors and begin earnest work for the salvation of souls.
Our educational institutions can do much toward meeting the demand for trained workers for these mission fields. Wise plans should be laid to strengthen the work done in our training centers. Study should be given to the best methods for fitting consecrated young men and young women to bear responsibility and to win souls for Christ. They should be taught how to meet the people and how to present the third angel’s message in an attractive manner. And in the management of financial matters they should be taught lessons that will help them when they are sent to isolated fields where they must suffer many privations and practice the strictest economy.
The Lord has instituted a plan whereby many of the students in our schools can learn practical lessons needful to success in afterlife. He has given them the privilege of handling precious books that have been dedicated for the advancement of our educational and sanitarium work. In the very handling of these books, the youth will meet with many experiences that will teach them how to cope with problems that await them in the regions beyond. During their school life, as they canvass for these books, many may learn how to approach people courteously and how to exercise tact in conversing with them on different points of present truth. And as they meet with a degree of success financially, some will learn lessons of thrift and economy, which will be of great advantage to them when they are sent out as missionaries.
The students who take up the work of selling Christ’s Object Lessons and Ministry of Healing will need to study the book they expect to sell. As they familiarize their minds with the subject matter of the book in hand and endeavor to practice its teachings they will develop in knowledge and spiritual power. The messages in these books contain the light that God has revealed to me to give to the world. The teachers in our schools should encourage the students to make a careful study of every chapter. They should teach these truths to their students and seek to inspire the youth with a love for the precious thoughts the Lord has entrusted to us to communicate to the world.
Thus the preparation for handling these books, and the daily experiences gained while bringing them to the attention of the people, will prove an invaluable schooling to those who take part in this line of effort. Under the blessing of God the youth will obtain a fitting up for service in the Lord’s vineyard.
There is a special work to be done for our young people by those bearing responsibility in local churches throughout the conferences. When the church officers see promising youth who are desirous of fitting themselves for usefulness in the Lord’s service, but whose parents are unable to send them to school, they have a duty to perform in studying how to give help and encouragement. They should take counsel with parents and youth, and unite in planning wisely. Some youth may be best fitted to engage in home missionary work. There is a wide field of usefulness in the distribution of our literature and in bringing the third angel’s message to the attention of friends and neighbors. Other youth should be encouraged to enter the canvassing work to sell our larger books. Some may have qualifications that would make them valuable helpers in our institutions. And in many instances, if promising youth were wisely encouraged and properly directed, they could be led to earn their own schooling by taking up the sale of Christ’s Object Lessons or Ministry of Healing.
In selling these books the youth would be acting as missionaries, for they would be bringing precious light to the notice of the people of the world. At the same time they would be earning money to enable them to attend school, where they could continue their preparation for wider usefulness in the Lord’s cause. In the school they would receive encouragement and inspiration from teachers and students to continue their work of selling books; and when the time came for them to leave school, they would have received a practical training fitting them for the hard, earnest, self-sacrificing labor that has to be done in many foreign fields, where the third angel’s message must be carried under difficult and trying circumstances.
How much better is this plan than for students to go through school without obtaining a practical education in field work, and, at the end of their course, leave under a burden of debt, with but little realization of the difficulties they will have to meet in new and untried fields! How hard it will be for them to meet the financial problems that are connected with pioneer work in foreign lands! And what a burden someone will have to carry until the debts incurred by the student have been paid!
Testimonies for the Church, Vol. 9 pp. 69-78