Counsels to Writers and Editors


Chapter 19—Kind of Books Needed

To Strengthen the Pillars of the Faith—The work of bookmaking is a grand and good work; but it has not always stood in the high and holy position that God designed it should occupy, because self has been interwoven with the work of some who have engaged in it. The book work should be the means of quickly giving the sacred light of present truth to the world. The publications that come forth from our presses today are to be of such a character as to strengthen every pin and pillar of the faith that was established by the word of God and by the revelations of His Spirit. CW 142.1

The truth that God has given for His people in these last days, should keep them firm when there come into the church those who present false theories. The truth that has stood firm against the attacks of the enemy for more than half a century must still be the confidence and comfort of God's people. CW 142.2

Our evidence to nonprofessors that we have the truth of the word of God will be given in a life of strict self-denial. We must not make a mockery of our faith, but ever keep before us the example of Him, who, though He was the Prince of heaven, stooped to a life of self-denial and sacrifice to vindicate the righteousness of His Father's word. Let us each resolve to do our best, that the light of our good works may shine forth to the world. CW 142.3

Unity and Progress—Perfect agreement should exist in the plans laid for the publication of our books and periodicals, that the light which they contain may be quickly carried everywhere, to the nominal churches and to the world. Much more should have been accomplished in the sale of our books than we see accomplished today. CW 143.1

Our ministers should call upon the church members to let the truth triumph. “Arise, shine; for thy light is come, and the glory of the Lord is risen upon thee. For, behold, the darkness shall cover the earth, and gross darkness the people: but the Lord shall arise upon thee, and His glory shall be seen upon thee. And the Gentiles shall come to thy light, and kings to the brightness of thy rising.” Isaiah 60:1-3. Unity and love will accomplish wonderful things for the believers. Will not our churches arouse, and give the last warning message to the world?—Testimonies for the Church 9:69-70 (1909). CW 143.2

With a Timely Message—After a while I fell asleep again. This time I seemed to be in a council meeting where our book work was being discussed. There were a number of our brethren present, leaders in our work, and Elder Haskell and his wife were there consulting together and with the brethren about the circulation of our books, tracts, and periodicals. CW 143.3

Elder Haskell was presenting strong reasons why the books which contain the knowledge that has been communicated to Sister White,—the books containing the special message to come to the world at this present time,—should be more freely circulated. “Why,” he inquired, “do not our people appreciate and circulate more widely the books bearing the divine credentials? Why is not a specialty made of the books containing the warnings regarding Satan's work? Why do we not give greater effort to circulating the books that point out Satan's plans to counterwork the work of God, that uncover his plans and point out his deceptions? The moral evils of his deceptions are to be removed by opening the eyes of the people so that they shall discern the situation and the dangers of our times; so that they shall make diligent effort to lay hold by faith upon Christ and His righteousness.” CW 143.4

A messenger from heaven stood in our midst, and he spoke words of warning and instruction. He made us clearly understand that the gospel of the kingdom is the message for which the world is perishing, and that this message, as contained in our publications already in print, and those yet to be issued, should be circulated among the people who are nigh and afar off.—Testimonies for the Church 9:66-67 (1909). CW 144.1

That Prepare the People to Stand—The larger books ... contain present truth for this time,—truth that is to be proclaimed in all parts of the world. Our canvassers are to circulate the books that give definite instruction regarding the testing messages that are to prepare a people to stand on the platform of eternal truth, holding aloft the banner on which is inscribed, “The commandments of God and the faith of Jesus.”—Manuscript 136, 1903. CW 144.2

Rehearse God's Leadings—I feel deeply over our present situation. We must now do a work that should have been done long ago. We must do as the Lord directed Moses to do, when the children of Israel, having crossed the desert, were encamped on the borders of Jordan. Moses was bidden to rehearse to them all the dealings of the Lord to them during their journeyings through the wilderness. The record of this rehearsal is found in the book of Deuteronomy. CW 145.1

The record of the experience through which the people of God passed in the early history of our work must be republished. Many of those who have since come into the truth are ignorant of the way in which the Lord wrought. The experience of William Miller and his associates, of Captain Joseph Bates, and of other pioneers in the advent message, should be kept before our people. Elder Loughborough's book should receive attention. Our leading men should see what can be done for the circulation of this book. CW 145.2

We must study to find out the best way in which to take up the review of our experiences from the beginning of our work, when we separated from the churches, and went forward step by step in the light that God gave us. We then took the position that the Bible, and the Bible only, was to be our guide; and we are never to depart from this position. We were given wonderful manifestations of the power of God. Miracles were wrought. Again and again, when we were brought into strait places, the power of God was displayed in our behalf.—Letter 105, 1903. CW 145.3

Compilations of E. G. White Articles—The matter that has been brought before the people must be brought before them over and over again. The articles that are printed in our papers are soon forgotten by the readers. They must be brought together, reprinted in book form, and placed before believers and unbelievers.—Letter 71, 1903. CW 145.4

Literature for the Southern Field—Special literature should be prepared expressly for the Southern field. Publishing is to be done in the South, to prepare the style of books essential for this field.—Manuscript 5, 1903. CW 146.1

Meet the Needs of the Colored People—I understand that you intend that the colored work in the South will be your first interest. Well, work away. But you must get out a class of books with many object lessons, for the colored people must see a thing before they understand it. Small books must be distributed freely.... CW 146.2

The publishing at Nashville will have to be done in a way to meet the needs of the very ones for whom you are laboring. Everything must be plain, simple, and illustrated. Inexpensive illustrations are as good for this field as the more expensive work. Cheap, simple books must be issued.... CW 146.3

The South is a world of its own, and publishing should be done in the field. Without proper books to put into the hands of the people, talking and preaching will lose the hold on the mind. But if proper reading matter can be placed in their hands, so that they can read the truth and see the pictures accompanying the reading matter, it will stay in the mind and have convincing power. Then other and larger books should be issued to meet the needs of the better educated classes.—Manuscript 28, 1903. CW 146.4

Books Essential for This Time—Letters have come to me with inquiries regarding the publication of books, asking whether there was not danger of placing before the people many things which do not relate to the truths so important to us as a people. I have been instructed that the common stories put into book form are not essential to our well-being. The world is flooded with this class of literature, and the fact that such books find a ready sale is by no means evidence that they are the books which should be circulated. The passion of stories is bringing into existence many thousands of worthless books, which are as hay, wood, and stubble. These books are written by those whose minds have been educated to run in a channel of romance. Everything that the imaginative mind can think of is woven into the book, and presented to the world as mental food. But very often it has no food value. “What is the chaff to the wheat?” We do not need novels; for we are dealing with the stern realities of life. CW 147.1

Cheap, worthless romances are not to be advertised or sold by our publishing houses. Many of the books now offered for sale are not after God's order. There might have been a time when the sale of these books would have been more seemly, but we are now altogether too near the close of this earth's history to keep before the attention of the people a class of books which do not contain the message which our people need. Draw their attention to books treating on practical faith and godliness. Cleanse and sanctify the camp. There is an abundance of books which will give light to the world. CW 147.2

I cannot understand why our papers should contain so many notices of books unessential for this time. Plenty of such books can be obtained in all bookstores. Why not draw the minds of the people to subjects relating to the words of eternal life. Why not make an effort to obtain communications simple, real, and true, from our workers in all parts of the world. God calls for this class of reading. We have no time to devote to commonplace things, no time to waste on books which only amuse.—Manuscript 80, 1899. CW 148.1

Danger of Inferior Books—Unless care is taken, the market will be flooded with books of a cheap order, and the people will be deprived of the light and truth which it is essential they should have to prepare the way of the Lord. This has been done and will be done again unless right principles control in the publishing work.—Letter 43, 1899. CW 148.2