Letters and Manuscripts — Volume 15 (1900)

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Ms 38, 1900

Diary, The Canvassing Work

NP

July 8, 1900 [typed]

Previously unpublished. +Note

Canvassers should not be called from their evangelistic work for the people in townships and cities to engage in other work. In this work they can gain access to many homes. 15LtMs, Ms 38, 1900, par. 1

To those who are engaged in this work I would say, As you visit the people, tell them that you are a gospel evangelist, that you love the Lord, and that if they will permit you, you will read the Bible to them and pray with them. And as you pray, speak to Christ as you would to a trusted, much-loved friend. Maintain a sweet, free, pleasant dignity, as a child of God. This will be recognized. As you learn the meekness and lowliness of Christ, you will know what you should say to the people. The Holy Spirit will tell you what words you ought to speak. Let your conversation be pure, elevating, ennobling. Show that you are thinking of heavenly things. 15LtMs, Ms 38, 1900, par. 2

Do not seek a home in a hotel. Stay at a private house, and become acquainted with the family. There may be in it those who are sick or discouraged. Tell the discouraged ones that you have a prescription which will heal them. Point them to the fifty-eighth chapter of Isaiah. Take the sick to the Lord in prayer. 15LtMs, Ms 38, 1900, par. 3

Canvassers should be able to give those with whom they stay instruction in regard to the way in which to treat suffering. They should be educated to the simple methods of hygienic treatment. Thus they may work as medical missionaries, God’s doctors, ministering to the souls and bodies of the suffering. Now, just now, this work should be going forward in all parts of the country, that many might be blessed by the prayers and instruction of God’s servants. 15LtMs, Ms 38, 1900, par. 4

Canvassers should never be prohibited from speaking of the love of Christ, from telling their experience in their first service for the Master. The simple story of Christ’s love for man will open doors for them, even to the homes of unbelievers. Souls will be reached in this way that would not be reached by the preaching of the gospel from the pulpit. This work is to be done in accordance with the directions given by Christ to His disciples as He sent them out on their first missionary journey. 15LtMs, Ms 38, 1900, par. 5

Instead of locating where there are the greatest number of believers, families should see some place where they can do missionary work. For this reason our schools should be located where there will be opportunity to educate the youth in the same lines, as far as we know, as the youth were educated in the days of Samuel, Elijah, and David. The studies in the schools of the prophets were of a nature to give the youth a thorough knowledge of the Scriptures. Unless ministers and church members are diligent Bible students, learning daily of the great Teacher, they cannot enter into the spirituality of the divine thought. 15LtMs, Ms 38, 1900, par. 6

After Christ ascended to heaven, He poured forth the Holy Spirit upon the disciples, “and they went everywhere preaching the Word.” [Acts 8:4.] Thousands were converted in a day. Those who at this time will go forth without the camp, bearing reproach for Christ’s sake, opening the Scriptures to men and women, and calling them to repentance, will receive rich blessing from on high. The disciples did not stay in Jerusalem or the cities near by, but went beyond, into the great thoroughfares of travel, seeking for lost sheep, that they might bring them to the fold. 15LtMs, Ms 38, 1900, par. 7

We need to realize the importance of the canvassing work as one great means of finding out those who are in peril, and bringing them back to Christ. Canvassers are to hold Bible readings with those who are interested. Thus they will discover who are searching for the truth. These Bible readings are just what the people need. God will use in His service those who show a deep interest in perishing souls. Through them He will impart light to those who are ready to receive instruction. 15LtMs, Ms 38, 1900, par. 8

Let new and inexperienced workers be connected with experienced workers, that they may learn how to carry on the work. Let them seek God most earnestly. Canvassers should do the work of evangelists, educating the people line upon line, precept upon precept. Thus young men may be better prepared for ministerial work than by spending many years in school. Let those who have been to school go out into the field and put the knowledge they have gained to a practical use. Their talents will increase by exercise. The education obtained in this practical work may properly be termed higher education. 15LtMs, Ms 38, 1900, par. 9

The camp meetings held in different places will reach some of those who have been labored for by the canvasser. Angels of God will work with those who are willing to be guided by the Holy Spirit. If we would only do in Christ’s way that which we can do, divine instructors would be with us. Let us work as if we could see the heavenly universe watching us. 15LtMs, Ms 38, 1900, par. 10

Never will the true gospel worker more deeply feel his own weakness than when he is seeking to draw souls to Christ. His quiver must be full of the sharp arrows of the Mighty. Before those in transgression he must present the perils of disobedience and the joys of obedience. 15LtMs, Ms 38, 1900, par. 11

If we only knew what is before us, we would not be so dilatory in doing the work of the Lord. God desires us to be faithful in educating those who accept the truth, that they may believe to a purpose. We are to help them to work intelligently and in the Lord’s way. 15LtMs, Ms 38, 1900, par. 12

Christ made sacrifices at every step, sacrifices that none of His followers can ever make because they have never occupied the position Christ occupied. He was the most exalted being in the heavenly courts. But He laid aside all His glory, and came to this earth to suffer for sinners. If we meet with hardships in our work, let us look to Him who is the Author and Finisher of our faith. Then we shall not fail nor be discouraged. We shall endure hardness as good soldiers of Jesus Christ. Remember what He says of all true believers, “We are laborers together with God; ye are God’s husbandry; ye are God’s building.” [1 Corinthians 3:9.] 15LtMs, Ms 38, 1900, par. 13

There is a world to be warned. The work has been entrusted to us. We are to be channels of light in the world, reflecting to others light from the great Light-giver. We must not confine our labors to one locality. We must not discourage our brethren, weakening their hands so that the work that God desires to accomplish through them is not done. I see no better way for the work to go forward than for young and old to consecrate themselves to God, doing their work in all humility of mind, under the control of the Holy Spirit. 15LtMs, Ms 38, 1900, par. 14

I have a word to say. Do not call canvassing evangelists away from their work, to set them at work as business agents. Let them go forth with the Word of the Lord. Those who obey the commandments and teach others to obey them will receive God’s special blessing. They will be rewarded by seeing souls converted. One soul truly converted will in turn bring others to Christ. Thus the work will advance into new territory. 15LtMs, Ms 38, 1900, par. 15

God calls upon us to lift up the standard. God’s standard bearers are not to make an exhibition of what they can do. They are ever to show their colors. They are to reveal in their lives that they are keeping the commandments. Christ says, “If ye love me, keep my commandments, observing my ordinances and walking in my ways.” 15LtMs, Ms 38, 1900, par. 16

The words and works of all men will be tried. Have we not the Word of God to show that the end is near? Let us not be backward now. That which is to be done to warn the world must be done without delay. Let the books containing the light on present truth be placed before as many as possible. Canvassers have a great and important work to do. But the enemy will do his utmost to lead them to take up some line of work that is new to them. 15LtMs, Ms 38, 1900, par. 17

God calls the canvassers back to their work. There is no higher missionary work than evangelists canvassing. We must change the order of things. The Lord will not excuse those who know the truth if they do not in word and truth obey His commands. Those who belong to the Lord’s kingdom must work earnestly for the saving of souls. They must bind up the law and seal it among the disciples. There is to be no exalting of self. What have any of us that we have not received from Christ? We must love as brethren. We must be pitiful and courteous. This is the Word of the Lord to all. In the accomplishment of God’s work we must press together. There is to be no drawing apart. The Lord will work with His people if they will labor unitedly, drawing in even cords, revealing their love and unity by helping one another. 15LtMs, Ms 38, 1900, par. 18

I know that the Lord desires the light He has given on the Scriptures to shine forth in clear, bright rays. If those who know the truth would practice the truth, methods would be devised for meeting the people where they are. It was the providence of God which in the beginning of the Christian church scattered the saints abroad, sending them out of Jerusalem to many parts of the world. Today the Lord desires to see His workers in many places. Too much time has been occupied in fitting men up to do missionary work. Had they gone into the work with the ability God gave them, seeking counsel of Him, and uniting the work of the canvasser with that of the missionary evangelist, they would have learned more practical lessons than they could possible learn in school. 15LtMs, Ms 38, 1900, par. 19

The reason many have failed in the canvassing field is because they were not Christians. They had a theory as to how the work should be done, but they did not feel their dependence upon God. When men realize the time in which we are living, they will work as in the sight of heaven. 15LtMs, Ms 38, 1900, par. 20

Let those who are attending school, in order that they may learn how to do the will of God more perfectly, remember that it is only by a daily consecration to God that they can become soul-winners. There are those who were unable to go to school because they were too poor to pay their way. But when they became sons and daughters of God, they took hold of the work where they were, laboring for those around them. And as they consecrated themselves to God, as did the disciples when they were called from their nets to follow Christ, they learned lessons from the Saviour. 15LtMs, Ms 38, 1900, par. 21

They linked themselves up with the great Teacher, and the knowledge they gained from the Scriptures qualified them to speak to others of Christ. Destitute of the knowledge obtained in school, they had not a lot to unlearn before the Saviour could educate them in straight lines. The renewing power of the Holy Spirit gave them practical, saving energy. God could work through them. They became wise counsellors because they were not too wise in their own estimation to need instruction. 15LtMs, Ms 38, 1900, par. 22

The knowledge of the most learned man, if he has not learned in Christ’s school, is foolish as far as leading poor, bewildered souls to Christ is concerned. God can only work with those who will accept the invitation, “Come unto me, all ye that labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart, and ye shall find rest unto your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.” [Matthew 11:28-30.] 15LtMs, Ms 38, 1900, par. 23