Ellen G. White Writings

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Manuscript Releases, vol. 15 [Nos. 1136-1185], Page 105

MR No. 1155—The Danger of Extravagance in Illustrating Our Books

[Note: Adventist ministers’ salaries in 1898 averaged about $12.00 a week, and a one-year subscription to the Review cost $1.50. In that year, 67 illustrations were published in the Review and Herald's total of 840 pages. By way of contrast, the following advertisement for The Desire of Ages, published in the December 27, 1898 issue of the Review, reveals that about
400 illustrations appeared in The Desire of Ages and the
best edition cost $7.00.

During the Next Year and a Half

Your Sabbath-school lessons will be on the life of Christ and His apostles. As a help to the study of these lessons, what better book can you purchase than the “Desire of Ages,” the latest and largest book from the pen of Mrs. E. G. White? This is an intensely interesting and beautifully illustrated volume on the life of Christ and His apostles, and is of a nature to interest all classes. Its key-note is the great truth that in Christ the love of the Father is revealed.—That “God was in Christ, reconciling the world unto Himself.”

The illustrations for this grand work have been prepared by eminent New York artists, and are first-class in every particular. They consist of 38 full-page engravings, 87 illuminated chapter-headings, and nearly 300 small illustrations, and were all made especially for this book.

The work is divided into nine sections. Eighty-seven chapters form a volume of nearly 900 large octavo pages. It is printed on enamel-finished, supercalendered book-paper, and is bound as follows;-
Cloth, marbled edges, $3 50
Cloth, gilt edges, 4 25
Library, marbled edges, 5 00
Full morocco, gilt edges, 7 00
Address all orders to your state tract society, or to the Review and Herald Pub. Co., Battle Creek,
Mich.: Chicago, Ill; Atlanta, GA.; Toronto, Ont. (Written September 12, 1899.)

In order to reach unbelievers, a manifestation of outward display is seen among our people; but this display will not accomplish the good that is represented. Our books are being filled with expensive pictures, and this makes them too costly to give away, and too costly for those persons to buy who need them most. The matter of illustrating is being carried to extremes. The extra money put into the cover of a book, or into pictures, will not convert the soul to the truths that are contained in the book. That so much space should be occupied with pictures is not in the order of God. There have been long delays in the publication of our works, waiting for illustrations—delays that could be ill-afforded, and which have kept from the people the truths which they should have had.

The canvassers are not obtaining that healthful experience in their work which they should have. In their handling of the books they are being educated to present before the public the beautiful cover and many illustrations rather than the points of truth contained in the books. In doing this they are patterning after the world, and they fail to make God their dependence and trust. “What is the chaff to the wheat?” God asks [Jeremiah 23:28].

The artist may do his best to represent the things his eyes have never seen, but his representations are so far beneath the reality that I am

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