An Appeal to the Working Men and Women in the Ranks of Seventh-day Adventists



THE present is an interesting and highly important era in the history of Seventh-day Adventists. Our field of labor is indeed extensive, while our number of preachers is comparatively small. It is therefore evident that our publications must do a large share of the work. AWMW 9.1

Again, the nature of our message is such that the preaching of the word without our publications could accomplish but little. The living preacher can create an interest, and cause conviction; but the clear and connected theory of the present truth must be read, studied, and clearly seen, from our publications. AWMW 9.2

And there are hundreds of precious souls, scattered all over the wide harvest field, who received the message for this time simply by reading our publications. And there are thousands more who would rejoice with us in the clear light of eternal truth, and prepare for the coming of the Son of Man, could it be placed before them in the form of silent messengers from our Office of Publication. AWMW 9.3

Much good has already been accomplished by the circulation of our publications. But it has been seen, more recently, as this missionary work has greatly increased, that system in its prosecution is indispensably necessary. During the last three years we have given for the Book Fund not less than $6,000 worth of publications, at the lowest wholesale prices. AWMW 9.4

A portion of these has been given to comparative strangers, who appeared zealous in the cause, some of whom proved a disgrace to the cause of Christ, even while handing out our publications. We have learned that it is not always the most zealous ones who can engage in tract circulation in a judicious manner. AWMW 10.1

There are those who would circulate tracts, that cost them nothing, in a careless manner. They would throw them out indiscriminately, much as they would feed chickens. They would be very liberal with that which cost them nothing, and, of course, accomplish little or nothing. At present, broad-cast circulation of tracts is questionable, except at our large gatherings when the crowd is impressed with an important subject. Then a tract upon that subject may be circulated in the congregation to profit. Or, if those who have money to pay for publications wish to scatter them broad-cast, let them do it at their own expense. But we have felt, for more than one year past, that we were done dealing out publications free of charge to strangers to dispose of to others as they pleased. AWMW 10.2

In order to secure a judicious and wide circulation of our publications, we have been calling, during the past two years, for the organization of tract and missionary societies, that the work might be done in a manner to accomplish the most good. Several churches in different States have organized tract and missionary societies, and have done a good work. But in none of our conferences have they formed a general Tract and Missionary Society, excepting the New England Conference, where, under the leadership of Eld. S. N. Haskell, the President of that Conference, the matter has been perfected and carried forward with great success. AWMW 10.3

It has taken time, and persevering effort, to bring up the New England Conference to its present systematic and efficient action on the tract and missionary work. And one interesting feature of this work in that Conference is, that at no time in the brief history of their Society has it been as prosperous, and its members of as good courage, as at the present time. As an illustration of the efficiency of organized action, we give the following facts in the working of the New England Tract and Missionary Society: AWMW 11.1

During the first year of this Society, the annual report shows that nearly four thousand individuals have been induced to read on present truth since the formation of this Society. Some have embraced the Sabbath, many sick have been visited and prayed with, prejudice has been removed, and God has blessed the enterprise. AWMW 11.2

Amount received on donations and memberships, $566.88 AWMW 11.3

Number of members, 104 AWMW 11.4

Value of publications distributed to churches and individuals at reduced prices, $577.22 AWMW 11.5

It should be borne in mind that the entire membership of the New England Conference is only 300 souls, and that the number of members of their Tract and Missionary Society at the present time is only 138. AWMW 11.6

From the quarterly report of the New England Tract and Missionary Society during the time from Oct. 29, 1871, to Feb. 4, 1872, we gather the following interesting facts: AWMW 11.7

“Number of reports received, 56, which showed that about 21,300 pages of reading matter have been distributed, besides 105 bound books, of which 53 have been presented to libraries. Number of new subscribers obtained, and copies furnished: Review, 33; Instructor, 22; Reformer, 85. Number of sick visited, 46; families, 120.” AWMW 12.1

This Society has settled up arrearages on our periodicals, and, of course, has discontinued a considerable number; yet they have obtained new subscribers to that extent as to increase the circulation of our periodicals in that Conference. The following is from the report of their Society, taken from the Review, Vol. 39, No. 10: AWMW 12.2

“A list of the present subscribers for our periodicals was compared with that of Jan., 1871, which showed that there had been an increase of 72 for the Review, and 232 for the Reformer. The Instructor has not received the attention during the year past that it will in time to come. One brother remarked that we might put him down for thirty new subscribers for the next quarter. This brother knew what he was talking about, as he had obtained thirty-two subscribers for the Reformer during the past quarter.” AWMW 12.3

During the year 1871, the New England Tract and Missionary Society raised by donations to pay for delinquent subscribers, and to furnish our periodicals to the worthy poor, $250. And besides this, by the energetic action of agents, several hundred dollars were collected on our periodicals, which otherwise, probably, would have been lost to the S. D. A. Publishing Association. AWMW 12.4

During the same year, this small Society has raised $850 to purchase books and tracts for distribution. It designs to furnish, by May, 1872, 200 libraries within the limits of the Conference, with Bible Sabbath, Life Incidents, and the Life of Eld. Joseph Bates. AWMW 12.5

During the same year, the amount of Systematic Benevolence advance was $500. The present amount of Systematic Benevolence paid by the 300 members of this Conference is $3,000, which is $10 to each member. This, compared with the Michigan Conference, which has not had the benefit of such a society, shows the strength of systematic action. AWMW 13.1

Michigan has a membership of about 1800, and pays Systematic Benevolence about $6,000, which is only $3 to each member; while the New England Conference, which has less property to each member than Michigan, pays $10 to each member. Michigan will pay, when all are brought up to the professedly adopted figures, the handsome sum of not less than $18,000. AWMW 13.2

The New England Conference raised, during 1871, for the Publishing Association, the sum of $1,432; for the Health Institute, $1,321. There are unpaid pledges, every dollar of which is good, to the amount of $330, making in all the sum of $3,083. In the same proportion, Michigan should have raised for these institutions, during the year 1871, the sum of $18,000, when it has not raised $3,000. And what is true of the Michigan Conference, is also true of all our Conferences. The same contrast between them and the New England Conference exists. That which is needed to bring up all our Conferences to united, energetic, liberal, and successful action, is to adopt a similar system to that which has proved a success in the New England Conference. AWMW 13.3

In accordance with the recommendation in the report of the Committee appointed by the General Conference to present a plan of organization of Tract and Missionary Societies, which plan was given in the Review for January 16, 1872, a delegation from the churches of the Michigan Conference was called at Battle Creek, February 24, 1872, when the following Constitution was adopted: AWMW 14.1