Counsels to Writers and Editors


Chapter 1—The Object of Our Publications

A Decisive Message—The power and efficiency of our work depend largely on the character of the literature that comes from our presses. Therefore great care should be exercised in the choice and preparation of the matter that is to go to the world. The greatest caution and discrimination are needed. Our energies should be devoted to the publication of literature of the purest quality and the most elevating character. Our periodicals must go forth laden with truth that has a vital, spiritual interest for the people. CW 11.1

God has placed in our hands a banner upon which is inscribed, “Here is the patience of the saints: here are they that keep the commandments of God, and the faith of Jesus.” Revelation 14:12. This is a distinct, separating message,—a message that is to give no uncertain sound. It is to lead the people away from the broken cisterns that contain no water, to the unfailing Fountain of the water of life. CW 11.2

Our publications have a most sacred work to do in making clear, simple, and plain the spiritual basis of our faith. Everywhere the people are taking sides; all are ranging themselves either under the banner of truth and righteousness or under the banner of the apostate powers that are contending for the supremacy. At this time God's message to the world is to be given with such prominence and power that the people will be brought face to face, mind to mind, heart to heart, with truth. They must be brought to see its superiority over the multitudinous errors that are pushing their way into notice, to supplant, if possible, the word of God for this solemn time. CW 11.3

The great object of our publications is to exalt God, to call men's attention to the living truths of His word. God calls upon us to lift up, not our own standard, not the standard of this world, but His standard of truth. CW 12.1

It is only as we do this that His prospering hand can be with us. Consider God's dealings with His people in the past. Notice how, while they carried His banner, He exalted them before their enemies. But when in self-exaltation they departed from their allegiance, when they exalted a power and a principle that were opposed to Him, they were left to bring upon themselves disaster and defeat.... CW 12.2

The editors of our periodicals, the teachers in our schools, the presidents of our conferences, all need to drink of the pure streams of the river of the water of life. All need to understand more fully the words spoken by our Lord to the Samaritan woman: “If thou knewest the gift of God, and who it is that saith to thee, Give Me to drink; thou wouldst have asked of Him, and He would have given thee living water.... Whosoever drinketh of the water that I shall give him shall never thirst; but the water that I shall give him shall be in him a well of water springing up into everlasting life.” John 4:10-14.... CW 12.3

Character of Matter for Publication—Let our periodicals be devoted to the publication of living, earnest matter. Let every article be full of practical, elevating, ennobling thoughts, thoughts that will give to the reader help and light and strength. Family religion, family holiness, is now to be honored as never before. If ever a people needed to walk before God as did Enoch, Seventh-day Adventists need to do so now, showing their sincerity by pure words, clean words, words full of sympathy, tenderness, and love. CW 13.1

There are times when words of reproof and rebuke are called for. Those who are out of the right way must be aroused to see their peril. A message must be given that shall startle them from the lethargy which enchains their senses. Moral renovation must take place, else souls will perish in their sins. Let the message of truth, like a sharp, two-edged sword, cut its way to the heart. Make appeals that will arouse the careless, and bring foolish, wandering minds back to God. CW 13.2

The attention of the people must be arrested. Our message is a savor of life unto life or of death unto death. The destinies of souls are balancing. Multitudes are in the valley of decision. A voice should be heard crying, “If the Lord be God, follow Him; but if Baal, then follow him.” 1 Kings 18:21.... CW 13.3

Present the Message for This Time—Let all have more to teach, to write, and to publish in regard to those things that are now to be fulfilled, and that concern the eternal welfare of souls. Give meat in due season to the old and the young, to saints and to sinners. Let everything that can be said to awaken the church from its slumbers be brought forward without delay. Let no time be lost in dwelling on those things that are not essential, and that have no bearing upon the present necessities of the people.... CW 13.4

Let more time be given to the publication and circulation of books containing present truth. Call attention to books dwelling on practical faith and godliness and to those that treat on the prophetic word. The people are to be educated to read the sure word of prophecy in the light of the living oracles. They need to know that the signs of the times are fulfilling. It is God alone who can give success either in preparing or in circulating our publications.—Testimonies for the Church 7:150-158 (1902). CW 14.1

A Definite, Far-reaching Work—The warning message for this time is not being given earnestly in the great business world. Day after day the centers of commerce and trade are thronged with men and women who need the truth for this time, but who gain no saving knowledge of its precious principles, because earnest, persevering efforts are not put forth to reach this class of people where they are. CW 14.2

The publications and periodicals that come from our presses have a definite and far-reaching work to do. These papers are not to repeat and discuss the errors that are all the time coming in to divert the mind from what is truth. Let the articles deal with the truths of the word of God, giving clear instruction regarding the saving truths for this time, and warning of the near approach of the judgments of God and the end of all things. CW 14.3

As the work advances, our publications in all languages should increase in circulation. Our presses are now at work in many lands, sending forth the truth in French, Danish, German, and many foreign languages. Let a spirit of harmony and unity prevail as the work is carried forward; we have no time for contention and strife. In every clime the truth is to go forth as a lamp that burneth. Let every reasoning mind have the privilege of hearing the truth for this time.—Manuscript 61, 1909. CW 15.1

Early Encouragement and Instruction—July, 1853, I saw that it was not as it should be, that the paper, owned and approved by God, should come out so seldom. [The Review and Herald previous to this time had been published quite irregularly, and was now issued semimonthly.] The cause, in the time in which we are living, demands the paper weekly, and the publication of many more tracts to expose the increasing errors of this time; but the work is hindered for want of means. I saw that the truth must go, and that we must not be too fearful; that tracts and papers might better go to three where they were not needed than to have one deprived of them who prizes them, and can be benefited by them. I saw that the last-day signs should be brought out clearly, for the manifestations of Satan are on the increase. The publications of Satan and his agents are increasing, their power is growing; and what we do to get the truth before others, must be done quickly. CW 15.2

I was shown that the truth once published now, will stand, for it is the truth for the last days; it will live, and less need be said upon it in future. Numberless words need not be put upon paper to justify what speaks for itself and shines in its clearness. Truth is straight, plain, clear, and stands out boldly in its own defense; but it is not so with error. It is so winding and twisting that it needs a multitude of words to explain it in its crooked form. I saw that all the light they had received in some places had come from the paper; that souls had received the truth in this way, and then talked it to others; and that now in places where there are several, they had been raised up by this silent messenger. It was their only preacher. The cause of truth should not be hindered in its onward progress for want of means.—Early Writings, 96 (1853). CW 15.3