Ellen G. White Writings

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The Review and Herald

November 5, 1914

Distributing the Printed Page

Mrs. E. G. White

In the past, a large work has been accomplished in the distribution of the printed page. This is a line of service in which every church member can have some part. All cannot go out as canvassers for our larger books; but there is a field of usefulness open before many of our brethren and sisters in the placing of truth-filled publications in the homes of their neighbors and friends.

Years ago our brethren in responsibility gave much study to ways and means for the carrying forward of this line of work with increasing efficiency. As the result of carefully laid plans, patient instruction, and helpful supervision, the circulation of the printed page has come to be a mighty factor in the dissemination of the truths of the third angel's message.

When we view the rise and progress of the publishing work from the beginning to the present time, we thank God and take courage. Yet our responsibility toward the unwarned multitudes urges us on to still greater and more systematic efforts to set in operation many agencies for the circulation of our papers, tracts, and books. Those who are acquainted with the possibilities of this branch of missionary work, and who are wise to teach, have much to do in the training of home workers.

Our numbers are constantly increasing, and the inexperienced must be patiently taught to share the burdens resting upon the entire body of believers. Many, too, of our brethren and sisters older in the faith, who have been active in the distribution of literature in the past, are still in need of systematic instruction in methods of labor. Those in responsibility should be quick to discern talent that can be used in the tract and missionary work; and they should do all in their power to develop this talent.

In earlier years, when many efforts were being put forth to induce our brethren and sisters to circulate the printed page, I bore testimony to the fact that but few among us have broad and extensive views of what can be done in reaching the people by personal, interested efforts. Many who cannot be induced to listen to the truth presented by the living preacher, will take up a tract or a paper and peruse it; many things they read meet their ideas exactly, and they become interested to learn all it contains. Impressions are thus made upon their minds which they cannot readily forget. The seed of truth has in some cases been buried for years beneath the rubbish of the world and the pleasing fables that deceived ones have enjoyed. After a time some experience—it may be some earthly sorrow or affliction—softens their hearts, and the seed that has lain dormant springs up and bears fruit to the glory of God.

Again, many who read these papers and tracts lay aside the silent messengers because of the plain truths set forth. But ideas all new to them have, although unwelcome, made their impression, and again the hand takes up the neglected paper or tract, and the eye is tracing the truthful lines. Thus point after point of truth is established, and antagonism ceases. As the convicting power of the Spirit of God works upon the heart, step by step reformations in the life are wrought, until self is merged into the will of Christ. Henceforth the despised paper or tract is honored as the means of converting the stubborn heart and subduing the perverse will, bringing it in subjection to Christ. Had the living preacher spoken as pointedly, these persons might have turned from him, refusing to entertain the new and strange ideas he advocated.

I have been instructed that but few have any correct idea of what the distribution of papers and tracts is doing. By this means doors are opening everywhere, and minds are being prepared to receive the truth from the living preacher. The success attending the efforts of ministers in the field is due in a great degree to the influence of the reading matter which has enlightened the minds of the people and removed prejudice.

The true Christian is bent on doing good to all who come within the sphere of his influence. Many ways of usefulness will open before the willing, aspiring, devoted soul, who wants to labor for the salvation of others. The more such persons do, the more they will see to do, and the more earnest will they be to have a part in every good work for the upbuilding of the kingdom of Christ.

Let this question come home to every heart: “How much owest thou unto my Lord?” Our Master became poor that we might have eternal riches; he died that we might have life. Should we not be willing to follow his example, in order to bring to others a knowledge of saving truth? In so doing, our own characters will develop, our faith will grow strong, our zeal will become more steady and earnest, our love for God and for his truth and for the souls perishing all about us will become intensified, and many will be saved as the result of our labors.

Happy are they who from the beginning of their religious life have been true to their first love, growing in grace and in the knowledge of their Lord. The sure result of such intercourse and fellowship with Christ will be an increase of piety, of purity, of holy zeal. They are receiving a divine education, and this is made manifest in a life of fervor and untiring diligence. They have a faith that works by love and purifies the soul. Theirs is a childlike devotion, and their love for their Redeemer finds expression in deeds of kindness and loving service for their fellow men.

The Lord is calling upon his people to continue with courage and faith their work of circulating the printed page. Every church should seek for a revival of the missionary spirit. My brethren and sisters, in these times of doubt and unbelief sinners will be converted only as the result of unusual efforts to give them a knowledge of Bible truth. You will seek in vain to convince others of the preciousness of Christ, so long as you fail to make a wise and diligent use of the agencies placed within your reach for the winning of souls.

We should treat as a sacred treasure every line of printed matter that comes from our publishing houses. Even the fragments of a pamphlet or of a periodical should be regarded as of value. Who can estimate the influence that a torn page containing the truths of the third angel's message, may have upon the heart of some seeker after truth?

In the miracle of the feeding of the multitude, the food was increased as it passed from Christ to the people. Thus it will be in the distribution of our publications. God's truth, as it is passed out, will multiply greatly. And as Christ was careful that of the fragments that remained nothing should be lost, so we should carefully treasure every fragment of literature containing the truth for this time. Every page that comes from the press is a ray of light from heaven, to shine into the byways and the hedges, shedding light upon the pathway of truth. Let us remember that somebody would be glad to receive every page that we can spare.

When the churches become living, working agencies for the salvation of the perishing, the Holy Spirit will be given in answer to their sincere request. The truths of God's Word will be regarded with new interest, and will be searched after as if they were fresh revelations from heaven. Envy, jealousy, evil surmising, will cease. The study of the Word will absorb the mind, and its truths will feast the soul. The promises of God that all too often in the past have been repeated as if the soul had never tasted of his love, will glow upon the altar of the heart, and fall in burning words from the lips of the messenger of truth. The members of our churches will be pleading for souls with an earnestness that cannot be repulsed. The windows of heaven will be open for the outpouring of the latter rain.

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