Letters and Manuscripts — Volume 17 (1902)


Ms 157, 1902

The Canvassing Work


December 3, 1902 [typed]

Previously unpublished.

The New Year is about to open, and plans should be laid for earnest, persevering effort in the Master’s service. There is much to be done to advance the work of God. I have been instructed that the canvassing work is to be revived, and that it is to be carried forward with increasing success. 17LtMs, Ms 157, 1902, par. 1

I feel very thankful to our heavenly Father for the interest that my brethren and sisters have taken in the sale of Christ’s Object Lessons. By the sale of this book great good has been accomplished, and the work should be continued. But the efforts of our people should not be confined to this one book. Our larger books, Daniel and the Revelation, Patriarchs and Prophets, Great Controversy, and Desire of Ages should be sold everywhere. 17LtMs, Ms 157, 1902, par. 2

The work of the Lord includes more than one line of service. The doing of it calls for many minds and for much wisdom, in order that each part may be carried forward successfully. While Christ’s Object Lessons is to live and do its appointed work, not all the thought and effort of God’s people is to be given to this line of work. The larger books should be sold, and can be sold. These books contain present truth for this time—truth that is to be proclaimed in all parts of the world. Nothing is to be allowed to hinder the sale of these books. 17LtMs, Ms 157, 1902, par. 3

The effort to circulate Christ’s Object Lessons has demonstrated what can be done in the canvassing field. This effort is a never-to-be-forgotten lesson of how to canvass in the prayerful, trustful way that brings success. Many of our larger books could be sold if our canvassers should take up this work earnestly and energetically, filled with the realization that these books contain instruction that God desires to go to the world. 17LtMs, Ms 157, 1902, par. 4

My brethren and sisters, work earnestly to circulate these books. You will thus be brought in touch with the people, and in working for others, you will receive grace for grace. Under divine guidance, go forward in the work, and as you go, trust in the Lord for aid. Remember that when with thankful hearts you do the best you can, you are closely allied to the angels of God. They go before you. There is union and sympathy between human and divine instrumentalities. 17LtMs, Ms 157, 1902, par. 5

Let no one think that he is at liberty to fold his hands and do nothing. That any one can be saved in indolence and inactivity is an utter impossibility. There is a constant conflict before those who win eternal life. Faith and works go hand in hand. 17LtMs, Ms 157, 1902, par. 6

Many are so sad and discouraged, so weak in faith and trust, that they cannot appropriate to themselves the rich promises of God. Let them, then, do something to help some one more needy than themselves, and they will grow strong in God’s strength. Let them engage in the good work of selling our books. Thus they will help others, and they will gain an experience that will give them the assurance that they are God’s helping hand. As they plead with the Lord to help them, He will guide them to those who are seeking for the light. Let the discouraged and desponding seek out those who most need help, and speak to them words of comfort and encouragement. Let them repeat to them helpful passages from the books they are selling. Christ will be close beside them, teaching them what to say and do. By comforting others, they themselves will be comforted. As they try to do their best, the Holy Spirit will suggest to them plans and methods by which they can help and bless those whom they meet. 17LtMs, Ms 157, 1902, par. 7

When our people begin to do something for the Master, complaints will no longer be heard. They will be roused from the despondency that is ruining many, body and soul. As they work for others, they will have much that is helpful to speak of when they assemble to worship God. The testimonies they bear will not be dark and gloomy, but full of joy and courage. Instead of thinking and talking about the faults of their brethren and sisters, and about their own trials, they will think and talk of the love of Christ and will strive earnestly to become more efficient workers for Him. 17LtMs, Ms 157, 1902, par. 8

When Christ was upon this earth, He went about doing good. It was His mission to help those in need of help, to seek the lost, to rescue the perishing, to lift up the bowed down, to heal the sick, to speak words of sympathy and consolation to the sorrowing and the distressed. The more fully we are imbued with the Spirit of Christ, the more earnestly we shall work for those around us; and the more we do for others, the greater will be our love for the work, and the greater our delight in following the footsteps of the Master. Our hearts will be filled with the love of God; and with earnestness and convincing power we shall speak of the crucified Saviour. As He is uplifted before the people, as they behold His self-sacrifice, His goodness, His tender compassion, His humiliation, His suffering, their hearts will be melted and subdued. 17LtMs, Ms 157, 1902, par. 9

My brethren and sisters, do all that you can to circulate the books containing the light that God has given for this time. In the past these books have been the means in God’s hands of convicting and converting many souls. Through them many have been led to see the efficacy of Christ’s atonement and to trust in its power. In the future, these books will make the gospel plain to many others, revealing to them the way of salvation. 17LtMs, Ms 157, 1902, par. 10

These books ought to be in the homes of all. All may not be willing to purchase them, but do your best to place them in the homes of as many as possible. In these books there is light and truth to meet the needs of those seeking for help. Be not backward to present the businessmen the books containing the light that God has given. Sow the gospel seed, and it will spring up to bear fruit. 17LtMs, Ms 157, 1902, par. 11

As you canvass, be sure to give those whom you meet a true idea of the excellence of the book you ask them to buy. Let your consistent, humble course show that you are a sincere follower of Christ. Walk in the light, work in the light. In words and deportment say to those whom you meet, “Come with us, and we will do thee good.” [Numbers 10:29.] Follow in the footsteps of Jesus, and your path will be as the path of the just, shining more and more unto the perfect day. 17LtMs, Ms 157, 1902, par. 12

By self-denial and sacrifice strive to advance the Lord’s work. He has given you ample opportunity to show what can be done. Let many give themselves willingly and unselfishly to the canvassing work, and thus help to sound a warning that is greatly needed. When the church takes up her appointed work, she will go forth “fair as the moon, clear as the sun, and terrible as an army with banners.” [Song of Solomon 6:10.] 17LtMs, Ms 157, 1902, par. 13