Letters and Manuscripts — Volume 15 (1900)


Ms 36, 1900

Diary, The Canvassing Work


July 5, 1900 [typed]

This manuscript is published in entirety in 19MR 152-156. +Note

I am awakened to the necessities of the canvassing work. This work is not a work which every man can do successfully. In the canvassing work there is need of strong, well-educated, experienced men. The Lord desires this work to be done by men who are capable of educating others, who can awaken in promising young men and young women an interest in canvassing, leading them to take up the book work and handle it as it should be handled. 15LtMs, Ms 36, 1900, par. 1

Brother Palmer has the talent, education, and ability, which would enable him to carry forward the work of educating the youth for the canvassing work in such a way that much more would be accomplished than is now being done. 15LtMs, Ms 36, 1900, par. 2

The gospel ministry is one of the Lord’s appointed means for reaching the people. But there is a line of work, of house-to-house labor, which canvassers can do more successfully than any others. 15LtMs, Ms 36, 1900, par. 3

The lost sheep of God’s fold are scattered in every place, and the work that should be done to save them is not being done. In the fourteenth chapter of John a true test is presented to every man. Here we are told of our obligation to obey the commandments of God. Christ says, “If ye love me, keep my commandments. And I will pray the Father, and he shall give you another Comforter, that he may abide with you forever: even the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it seeth him not, neither knoweth him, but ye see him: for he dwelleth with you, and shall be in you.” [Verses 15-17.] 15LtMs, Ms 36, 1900, par. 4

“He that hath my commandments, and keepeth them, he it is that loveth me, and he that loveth me shall be loved of my Father, and I will love him, and will manifest myself to him, ... If a man love me, he will keep my words: and my Father will love him, and we will come unto him, and make our abode with him.” [Verses 21, 23.] These words are not to be trifled with: for they bear witness to our obligation to obey all the commandments. This is where the churches are lacking. They do not keep the commandments of God, but are transgressors of the law. Those who have a genuine love for Christ will reveal this love by their obedience. 15LtMs, Ms 36, 1900, par. 5

January 10

My mind is still weighed down. The importance of the canvassing work is kept before me. Those who have gained an experience in this work have a special duty to perform in teaching others. Canvassers and ministers have their appointed work to do. Paul wrote to Timothy: “I charge thee therefore before God, and the Lord Jesus Christ, who shall judge the quick and the dead at his appearing and his kingdom; Preach the word; be instant in season, out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort with all long-suffering and doctrine. For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers having itching ears; and they shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables. But watch thou in all things ... do the work of an evangelist, make full proof of thy ministry.” [2 Timothy 4:1-5.] 15LtMs, Ms 36, 1900, par. 6

The importance of the work of the ministry, in word and doctrine, is to be understood and appreciated. The preaching of the Word is the means by which the Lord has ordained His warning message to be given to the world. In the Scriptures the faithful teacher is represented as a shepherd of the flock of God. He is to be respected and his work appreciated. 15LtMs, Ms 36, 1900, par. 7

Genuine medical missionary work is bound up with the ministry. These two branches of the cause are never to be severed. We might as well cut off the hand from the body as to separate medical missionary work from the ministry, for it is to the ministry as the hand is to the body. And the canvassing work is to be a part of medical missionary work and of the ministry. 15LtMs, Ms 36, 1900, par. 8

The truth of God must be presented from His Word. It is a work of sacred importance to impress upon parents the need of teaching their children to obey the commandments of God, as directed by Christ before He assumed the garb of humanity. Read the Old Testament Scriptures, especially Deuteronomy, on this subject. God told Moses to say to the children of Israel. 15LtMs, Ms 36, 1900, par. 9

“Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy might. And these words, which I command thee this day, shall be in thine heart: and thou shalt teach them diligently unto thy children, and shalt talk of them when thou sittest in thine house, and when thou walkest by the way, and when thou liest down, and when thou risest up. And thou shalt bind them for a sign upon thine hands, and they shall be as frontlets between thine eyes. And thou shalt write them upon the posts of thy house, and on thy gates.” [Deuteronomy 6:5-9.] 15LtMs, Ms 36, 1900, par. 10

July 5

This morning I shall continue the subject begun some months ago in my diary. Properly conducted, the canvassing work is missionary work of the highest order. We cannot too highly estimate the work of bringing before the people the books which are necessary for their spiritual education and enlightenment. There are many who though hungry for the bread of life have not the privilege of hearing the truth from the lips of God’s delegated ministers. The canvasser may find these souls, and minister to them according to his God-given ability. 15LtMs, Ms 36, 1900, par. 11

The Ten Commandments are the expression of God’s will. With the finger of God they were written upon tables of stone. Not one was ever to be changed or erased. In all ages and in all countries the commandments are binding upon men. Only as we obey God can we be in harmony with Him. In accordance with His promise, the Lord will work for the highest good of those whom He sees can be trusted, in filial obedience, to carry out His plans before the world. He builds, as it were, a wall of defense around them. He prohibits those sins which curse the world and encourages that which is for the good of His people. Obedience to God’s commandments is to be taught by ministers in the pulpit and by parents in the home. Upon obedience depends the life and happiness, health and joy, of men, women, and children. Obedience is for their well-being in this life and in the life to come. 15LtMs, Ms 36, 1900, par. 12

“The Lord commanded us to do all these statutes, to fear the Lord our God for our good always, that he might preserve us alive, as it is at this day. And it shall be our righteousness, if we observe to do all these commandments before the Lord our God, as he hath commanded us.” [Verses 24, 25.] Is not this the best receipt to bear to families? Is it not the highest kind of medical missionary work to show men and women the great blessing, physical and spiritual, which comes by obeying the law of God? If this law, given to establish righteousness, were taught in the home, if obedience were enjoined upon children from their earliest years, how different the world would be today. If God’s commandments were obeyed with a willing mind, temperance, industry, and economy would be seen. Evil would be avoided; virtue would be preserved. 15LtMs, Ms 36, 1900, par. 13

All the world is under the most solemn responsibility to obey God’s law. Parents should educate their children line upon line, precept upon precept, <here a little and there a little,> not allowing any disregard of God’s holy law. They should rely upon divine power, making the Lord to help them to keep their children true to Him who gave His only begotten Son to bring the disloyal and disobedient back to their allegiance. God longs to pour upon men and women the rich current of His love. He longs to see them delighting to do His will, using every jot of their entrusted powers in His service, teaching all who come within the sphere of their influence that the way to be treated as righteous for Christ’s sake is to obey the law. Only those who walk in the light of God’s Word have the evidence that they are accepted by Him. 15LtMs, Ms 36, 1900, par. 14

The importance of the work of the ministry is unmistakable. This is one of God’s means for enlightening the world. But He has other means also. He uses the power of the press in printing papers and books containing the messages of truth. These are essential in the work of carrying forward the gospel. They are the Lord’s means of keeping the truth before the minds of the people. Thus He enlightens and confirms men and women, strengthening the gospel ministry in every way. 15LtMs, Ms 36, 1900, par. 15

The work of the canvasser is a very important work. Thus the silent messengers of truth are placed in the house of the people. As God blesses the minister and the evangelist in their earnest efforts to place the truth before the people, so He will bless the faithful canvasser. 15LtMs, Ms 36, 1900, par. 16