Counsels to Writers and Editors


Chapter 14—The Missionary Periodicals

Value of a Missionary Paper—The Signs of the Times is our missionary paper; it is doing its work everywhere, and is opening the way for the truth to be more fully presented. This paper has been made a blessing to very many souls. All should feel the deepest interest to have it a spiritual messenger, full of life and plain, practical truth. In the Christian world there are many starving for the bread of life. The Signs of the Times, laden with rich food, is a feast to many of these who are not of our faith. CW 110.1

This paper should not contain many long articles, but the truth should be prepared with great care and made as attractive as possible. Articles which make sharp thrusts upon other churches are out of place in this paper, for they create prejudice. The truth should be presented in its simplicity, in the meekness of wisdom, having an influence to persuade. The matter should be the very choicest; the language should be chaste, elevating, every word breathing the spirit of Christ. The argumentative and practical combined will make a paper beaming with light, to go forth as a lamp that burneth, as a messenger indeed from heaven. CW 110.2

To Be Intensely Interesting—Our brethren do not all see and realize the importance of this paper; if they did they would feel greater personal interest to make it intensely interesting, and then to circulate it everywhere. All who have a part to act in the preparation of matter for this pioneer sheet are engaged in a sacred work, and they should be connected with God; they should be pure in heart and life. God can work with them and give them wisdom that they may become intelligent in the knowledge of the truth. God sees the motive of each worker, and will impart His grace in rich measure in accordance with the spirit in which the labor is done. The silent preacher, enriched with precious matter, should go forth on the wings of prayer, mingled with faith, that it may do its appointed work in shedding the light of truth upon those who are in the darkness of error. CW 110.3

Calls are coming in from all directions, not only from persons of our faith, but from those who have become interested by reading our publications; they say, Send us a minister to preach to us the truth. But there is a great want of laborers. We have to answer, There is no man to send among you. Many are obliged to be content with the silent preacher until God shall send them the living messenger. Let all our brethren take this to heart, and by personal effort in faith and hope contribute to the Signs of the Times; for in sending matter that is alive, in speaking by the pen words bearing the holy unction, they are preaching to thousands. Long, dry articles are not wanted for this paper. The great lack of men to go from place to place and preach the word may be in a great degree supplied by tracts and papers, and by intelligent correspondence. CW 111.1

The many scattered all over the land who can seldom have the living preacher, may make their meetings very interesting and profitable by selecting a good reader to read appropriate discourses published in our papers and books. You have a large variety to choose from, both doctrinal and practical. You can form a Bible class and search the Scriptures for yourselves, with the aid of our publications, and in this way learn much of present truth. You may present the reasons of our faith to those who shall inquire for them. All should be making the most of the opportunities granted them to become intelligent in the Scriptures.—The Signs of the Times, January 2, 1879. CW 112.1

Meat in Due Season—Permit me to express my mind, and yet not my mind, but the word of the Lord. I am troubled in regard to the Signs of the Times. There are plenty of newspapers and magazines that publish many of the things which are put into the Signs. The name of this paper was selected because it expressed the character of the matter to be presented in its pages. You should not have so much matter in long articles that have no reference to the signs of the near coming of the Son of man in the clouds of heaven with power and great glory. I think if the editor of this paper could discern the necessity of being a faithful householder, he would give meat in due season to the flock of God. There is too much common matter and not enough of the sacred; there is too much dependence upon pictures and other things that do not relate to the vital issues for this time. There is danger of following in the track of Nadab and Abihu, using common in the place of sacred fire. Concerning many of the matters that are so fluently presented, many other papers can give all the information essential for any of us. But the name Signs of the Times means that in this paper a class of literature will be found that will give the trumpet a certain sound. Let there be fewer pictures, and more real, solid, spiritual food.... CW 112.2

Guard the Paper.—Present truth. Guard the paper, lest there shall be introduced into it articles that are not suitable for this time. God help you, my dear fellow laborers, to work as if you were in full view of the whole universe of heaven. Important issues must soon be met, and we wish to be hid in the cleft of the rock, that we may see Jesus, and be quickened by His Holy Spirit. We have no time to lose, not a moment. CW 113.1

“Hear, ye that are far off, what I have done; and, ye that are near, acknowledge My might. The sinners in Zion are afraid; fearfulness hath surprised the hypocrites. Who among us shall dwell with the devouring fire? who among us shall dwell with everlasting burnings? He that walketh righteously, and speaketh uprightly; he that despiseth the gain of oppressions, that shaketh his hands from holding of bribes, that stoppeth his ears from hearing of blood, and shutteth his eyes from seeing evil; he shall dwell on high: his place of defense shall be the munitions of rocks: bread shall be given him; his waters shall be sure. Thine eyes shall see the King in His beauty: they shall behold the land that is very far off.” CW 113.2

In constantly dealing with matter for the papers, many seem to lose their discrimination. May the Lord not only anoint your eyes that they may see, but pour into your heart the holy oil that from the two olive trees flows through the two golden pipes into the golden bowl which feeds the lamp for the sanctuary. “And he answered me and said, Knowest thou not what these be? And I said, No, my lord. Then said he, These are the two anointed ones, that stand by the Lord of the whole earth.” Unless we are wide awake, we are not able to discern spiritual things. We lose the sense of the power of the truth, and handle sacred things as we handle the common things. The result is weakness and uncertainty, and we are not safe counselors or guides. Wake up, brethren; for Christ's sake, wake up.—Letter 89, 1899. CW 113.3

The WatchmanThe Southern Watchman is an excellent paper, and one way in which you can help is by getting subscriptions for it. I urge our church members to take this paper, and to ask others to take it. It contains reading matter that is just what is needed by those not of our faith. Show this paper to your friends and neighbors. Many will subscribe for it if it is brought to their notice. It will be to them as a messenger of the gospel. Are there not children who will try to get subscribers for the Watchman?—Manuscript 138, 1903. CW 114.1

Short Articles—Let those who contribute to the Watchman do their best. And let the editors of the Review, the Signs, and the Watchman remember that long articles hurt their papers. Let the articles be short, and let them be full of moisture and nourishment. Bright accounts of the blessing found in missionary effort will be a great help.—Letter 351, 1904. CW 114.2