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    Chapter 22—Maintaining a Proper Balance

    Health and Religious Books—Perfect unity should exist among the workers who handle the books that are to flood the world with light. Wherever the canvassing work is presented among our people, let both the health books and the religious books be presented together as parts of a united work. The relation of the religious and the health books is presented to me as illustrated by the union of the warp and the woof to form a beautiful pattern and a perfect piece of work.CM 135.1

    Equally Important—In the past the health books have not been handled with the interest which their importance demands. Though by a large class they have been highly appreciated, yet many have not thought it essential that they should go to the world. But what can be a better preparation for the coming of the Lord and for the reception of other truths essential to prepare a people for His coming than to arouse the people to see the evils of this age and to stir them to reformation from self-indulgent and unhealthful habits? Is not the world in need of being aroused on the subject of health reform? Are not the people in need of the truths presented in the health books? A different sentiment from that which has heretofore prevailed regarding the health works should be entertained by many of our canvassers in the field.CM 135.2

    Divisions and distinct parties should not be seen among our canvassers and general agents [publishing department secretaries]. All should be interested in the sale of the books treating upon the health question as well as in the sale of the distinctively religious works. The line is not to be drawn that certain books only are to occupy the attention of the canvassers. There must be perfect unity, a well-balanced, symmetrical development of the work in all its parts.CM 136.1

    Not to Be Separated—The indifference with which the health books have been treated by many is an offense to God. To separate the health work from the great body of the work is not in His order. Present truth lies in the work of health reform as verily as in other features of gospel work. No one branch when separated from others can be a perfect whole.—Testimonies for the Church 6:326, 327 (1900).CM 136.2

    No One Branch a Specialty—In all our work, caution should be used that no one branch be made a specialty, while other interests are left to suffer. There has not been that interest taken in the circulation of our health journals that there should be. The circulation of these journals must not be neglected, or the people will suffer a great loss.—The Review and Herald, November 12, 1901.CM 136.3

    Each Has Its Proper Place—But while the health work has its place in the promulgation of the third angel's message, its advocates must not in any way strive to make it take the place of the message. The health books should occupy their proper position, but the circulation of these books is only one of many lines in the great work to be done. The glowing impressions sometimes given to the canvasser in regard to the health books must not result in excluding from the field other important books that should come before the people. Those who have charge of the canvassing work should be men who can discern the relation of each part of the work to the great whole. Let them give due attention to the circulation of the health books, but not make this line so prominent as to draw men away from other lines of vital interest, thus excluding the books that bear the special message of truth to the world.CM 136.4

    Just as much education is necessary for the handling of the religious books as for the handling of those treating upon the question of health and temperance. Just as much should be said in regard to the work of canvassing for books containing spiritual food, just as much effort should be made to encourage and educate workers to circulate the books containing the third angel's message, as is said and done to develop workers for the health books.CM 137.1

    Each Complements the Other—The one class of books will always make a place for the other. Both are essential, and both should occupy the field at the same time. Each is the complement of the other and can in no wise take its place. Both treat on subjects of highest value, and both must act their part in the preparation of the people of God for these last days. Both should stand as present truth to enlighten, to arouse, to convince. Both should blend in the work of sanctifying and purifying the churches that are looking and waiting for the coming of the Son of God in power and great glory.CM 137.2

    Let each publisher and general agent [publishing department secretary] work enthusiastically to encourage the agents [colporteurs] now in the field and to hunt up and train new workers. Let each strengthen and build up the work as much as possible without weakening the work of others. Let all be done in brotherly love and without selfishness.—Testimonies for the Church 6:327, 328 (1900).CM 137.3

    Work to Develop Symmetrically—The health reform is as closely related to the third angel's message as the arm to the body; but the arm cannot take the place of the body. The proclamation of the third angel's message, the commandments of God and the testimony of Jesus, is the burden of our work. The message is to be proclaimed with a loud cry, and is to go to the whole world. The presentation of health principles must be united with this message, but must not in any case be independent of it, or in any way take the place of it.... There must be a well-balanced, symmetrical development of the work in all its parts.... I would have the health books occupy their proper place; but they are only one of many lines in the great work to be done. The Lord has sent His message to the world in books that contain the truth for the last days.CM 138.1

    Canvassers should not be taught that one book or one class of books is to occupy the field, to the neglect of all others. Among the workers are always some who can be swayed in almost any direction. Those who have charge of the canvassing work should be men of well-balanced minds, who can discern the relation of each part of the work to the great whole. Let them give due attention to the circulation of health books, but not make this line so prominent as to draw men away from other lines of vital interest.—Letter 57, 1896.CM 138.2

    The sale of health journals and books in no way hinders the sale of the publications dealing with other phases of the third angel's message. All are to prepare the way for the Lord Jesus to come in the clouds of heaven with power and great glory.—Manuscript 113, 1901.CM 139.1

    Not All to Work for One Book—It has been urged as the best policy that only one book at a time should have a place in the canvassing field,—that all the canvassers should work for the same book. Could this be done, it would not be wise nor expedient. No one book should be carried exclusively and kept before the public as if it could supply every demand for this time. If the Lord has light for His people, brought out in different ways in various books, who shall venture to put up barriers so that the light shall not be diffused throughout the world? The Lord desires our brethren to devise plans so that the light He has given shall not be hid in our publishing houses, but shall shine forth to enlighten all who will receive it.—Manual for Canvassers, 47 (1902).CM 139.2

    Literature for All Classes—No canvasser should exalt the book for which he is working above others that set forth the truth for this time. Should our canvassers drop all but one book, and concentrate their energies on that, the work would not be carried on according to God's plan. Minds are not constituted alike, and what might be food for one might fail to attract another; therefore, books should be in the field treating in a variety of ways the special subjects for this time. It will be necessary for the canvasser to make a wise selection. Let no one who is doing the work of God become narrow and shortsighted. The Lord has many instrumentalities through which He designs to work. When one book is exalted above another, there is danger that the very work best adapted to give light to the people will be crowded out. There is no need of contrasting different books, and judging as to which will do the most good. God has a place for all the voices and all the pens that he has inspired to utterance for Him. It will be difficult for some minds to fathom our most difficult works, and a simpler way of putting the truth will reach them more readily. Let the leading workers encourage the weaker ones, and show an equal interest in every one of the instrumentalities set in motion to prepare a people for the day of the Lord. Some would receive more benefit from papers and tracts than from books. Papers, tracts, and pamphlets that dwell upon Bible lessons, all need attention in the canvassing work, for they are as little wedges that open the way for larger works.—Manual for Canvassers, 48, 49 (1902).CM 139.3

    Tracts and Pamphlets—The canvasser should carry with him tracts, pamphlets, and small books to give to those who cannot buy. In this way the truth can be introduced into many homes.—Testimonies for the Church 6:338 (1900).CM 140.1

    More Decided Efforts for Religious Books—Canvassing for our publications is an important and most profitable evangelistic work.... While we have said much in regard to canvassing for the health books,—and we still feel that we should circulate these books,—yet more decided efforts should be made to carry our important religious books to the people. Our publications can go to places where meetings cannot now be held. In such places the faithful evangelistic canvasser takes the place of the living preacher.—Letter 14, 1902.CM 140.2

    At this period of our work we must guard every step we take in reference to the publication of our books. I have been plainly shown that we must secure as canvassers men and women of ability. Much of the effort that has been devoted to the sale of medical books should now be given to the handling of books that contain the present truth for this time, that the evidences of our faith and the issues that are before us may be known by the people....CM 141.1

    We are to bring into the work every living agency who feels that he is chosen of God to do, not a common, commercial work, but a work that will give light and truth, Bible truth, to the world.—Letter 72, 1907.CM 141.2

    Small Books vs. Large Books—I do not believe it is right to devote so much attention to the sale of the smaller books, to the neglect of the larger ones. It is wrong to leave lying on the shelves the large works that the Lord has revealed should be put into the hands of the people, and to push so vigorously, in the place of these, the sale of small books.—Manuscript 123, 1902.CM 141.3

    No Time for the Commonplace—We are now altogether too near the close of this earth's history to keep before the attention of the people a class of books which do not contain the message which our people need. Draw their attention to books treating on practical faith and godliness. Cleanse and sanctify the camp. There is an abundance of books which will give light to the world.CM 141.4

    I cannot understand why our papers should contain so many notices of books unessential for this time. Plenty of such books can be obtained in all bookstores. Why not draw the minds of the people to subjects relating to the words of eternal life? Why not make an effort to obtain communications simple, real, and true, from our workers in all parts of the world? God calls for this class of reading. We have no time to devote to commonplace things, no time to waste on books which only amuse.—Counsels to Writers and Editors, 147, 148 (1899).CM 142.1

    I have been instructed that the common stories put into book form are not essential to our well-being. The world is flooded with this class of literature, and the fact that such books find a ready sale is by no means evidence that they are the books which should be circulated. The passion of stories is bringing into existence many thousands of worthless books, which are as hay, wood, and stubble. These books are written by those whose minds have been educated to run in a channel of romance. Everything that the imaginative mind can think of is woven into the book, and presented to the world as mental food. But very often it has no food value. “What is the chaff to the wheat?” We do not need novels; for we are dealing with the stern realities of life.—Counsels to Writers and Editors, 147 (1899).CM 142.2

    Avoid Frivolous and Exciting Literature—The world is deluged with books that might better be consumed rather than circulated. Books upon Indian warfare and similar topics, published and circulated as a money-making scheme, might better never be read. There is a satanic fascination in these books. The heart-sickening relation of crimes and atrocities has a bewitching power upon many youth, exciting in them the desire to bring themselves into notice, even by the most wicked deeds. There are many works more strictly historical whose influence is little better. The enormities, the cruelties, the licentious practices, portrayed in these writings, have acted as leaven in many minds, leading to the commission of similar acts. Books that delineate the satanic deeds of human beings are giving publicity to evil works. The horrible details of crime and misery need not be lived over, and none who believe the truth for this time should act a part in perpetuating their memory.CM 142.3

    Love stories and frivolous and exciting tales constitute another class of books that is a curse to every reader. The author may attach a good moral, and all through his work may weave religious sentiments; yet in most cases Satan is but clothed in angel robes, the more effectually to deceive and allure. The mind is affected in a great degree by that upon which it feeds. The readers of frivolous, exciting tales become unfitted for the duties lying before them. They lead an unreal life, and have no desire for useful employment, and no desire to search the Scriptures, to feed upon the heavenly manna. The mind is enfeebled, and loses its power to contemplate the great problems of duty and destiny.CM 143.1

    I have been instructed that the youth are exposed to the greatest peril from improper reading. Satan is constantly leading both the youth and those of mature age to be charmed with worthless stories. Could a large share of the books published be consumed, a plague would be stayed that is doing a fearful work in weakening the mind and corrupting the heart. None are so confirmed in right principles as to be secure from temptation. All this trashy reading should be resolutely discarded.CM 143.2

    We have no permission from the Lord to engage in either the printing or the sale of such literature, for it is the means of destroying many souls. I know of what I am writing; for this matter has been opened before me. Let not those who believe the truth engage in this work, thinking to make money. The Lord will put a blight upon the means thus obtained; He will scatter more than is gathered.—Manual for Canvassers, 51-53 (1902).CM 144.1

    Canvass to Diffuse Light—In this age the trivial is praised and magnified. There is a call for anything that will create a sensation and make sales. The country is flooded with utterly worthless publications, which were written for the sake of making money, while really valuable books are unsold and unread. Those who handle this sensational literature because by so doing they can make higher wages are missing a precious opportunity to do good. There are battles to be fought to arrest the attention of men and women, and interest them in really valuable books that have the Bible for their foundation; and it will be a still greater task to find conscientious, God-fearing workers who will enter the field to canvass for these books for the purpose of diffusing light.—Testimonies for the Church 5:401, 402 (1885).CM 144.2

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