The Publishing Ministry


Chapter 2—Established in Sacrifice

Unreserved Consecration of Early Workers—Some of the men of experience and piety, who led out in this work, who denied self and did not hesitate to sacrifice for its success, are now sleeping in the grave. They were God's appointed channels, His representative men, through whom the principles of spiritual life were communicated to the church. They had an experience of the highest value. They could not be bought or sold. Their purity and devotion and self-sacrifice, their living connection with God, were blessed to the upbuilding of the work. Our institutions were characterized by the spirit of self-sacrifice. PM 26.1

In the days when we were struggling with poverty, those who saw how wondrously God wrought for the cause felt that no greater honor could be bestowed upon them than to be bound up with the interests of the work by sacred links which connected them with God. Would they lay down the burden and make terms with the Lord from a money point of view? No, no. Should every timeserver forsake his post, they would never desert the work. PM 26.2

The believers who in the early history of the cause sacrificed for the upbuilding of the work were imbued with the same spirit. They felt that God demanded of all connected with His cause an unreserved consecration of body, soul, and spirit, of all their energies and capabilities, to make the work a success.—Testimonies for the Church 7:216, 217. PM 26.3

Publishing Pioneers Practiced Self-denial—The work of God is to be carried on by us as a people. We know how it started. My husband said, “Wife, let us take only sixteen shillings a week. We shall live very plainly and dress very plainly, and take the means that otherwise would come to us, and invest it in the publishing work.” The publishing house then was a plain, square building, 24 by 36 [first publishing house in Battle Creek, established in 1855]. Some narrow-minded men who wanted the money for themselves said, “This is altogether too large a building.” They brought such heavy pressure to bear regarding this question that a meeting was called. PM 27.1

I was asked to go and explain why, if the Lord was coming so soon, the publishing work should need such a large building. I said, “You that have ears, I want you to hear. It is because the Lord is coming that we want a building as big as this is, and more than that, it will grow larger as the work progresses. The Lord has a work to do in the world. The message must go to all parts of the earth. It is because we believe this that we have started this work. We are going to deny ourselves.” PM 27.2

My husband and I decided to take lower wages. Others pledged themselves to do this also, and the money thus saved was used in starting the work. Some of our brethren donated quite liberally, because they believed what we said. In after years, when prosperity attended the work and these brethren had grown old and become poor, we took their cases into account and helped them all we could. My husband was a man full of sympathy for the needy and the suffering. “Brother B put his means into the work when it was in need of help, and now we must help him,” he would say.—Manuscript 100, 1899. PM 27.3

“We Started in Great Poverty”—The publishing work has been founded in sacrifice; it has been maintained by the special providence of God. We started it in great poverty. We had scarcely enough to eat and wear. When potatoes were scarce, and we had to pay a high price for them, we supplied their place with turnips. Six dollars per week was all we received for the first years of our labor. We had a large family, but we brought out expenses within our means. We could not purchase all that we desired; we had to bind about our wants. But we were determined that the world should have the light of present truth; and spirit, soul, and body were interwoven with the work. We worked early and late, without rest, without the stimulus of wages.... And God was with us. As prosperity attended the publishing work, the wages were increased, as they should be.—Selected Messages 2:191. PM 27.4

Could he [a church leader] not see that the same process [of sacrifice] must be gone through again [in Australia] as when my husband and I started the work in Battle Creek, when we decided to take from the office only four dollars a week for our labor, and afterwards only six, until the cause of God could be established in Battle Creek, and the printing office built, and the hand press and other crude material placed in it for the work? Did we not know what it meant to work hard and press all our necessities into as small a compass as possible, while we advanced step by step on a sure basis, dreading debt as we dreaded some terrible, contagious disease? We went over the same ground in California, selling all our goods to start a printing press on the Pacific Coast. We knew that every foot of ground over which we traveled to establish the work would be at great sacrifice to our own financial interests.—Letter 63, 1899. PM 28.1

“His Work Dearer Than My Life”—I do not claim as my own one bit of the property that I own. I owe twenty thousand dollars, which I have borrowed to invest in the Lord's work. Of late years, comparatively few of my books have been sold in the United States. I must have money for running expenses, and I must pay my workers. The money that otherwise I should have to pay for rent, I now pay as interest on the money which I borrowed to secure this home. I am ready to let my place go as soon as the Lord signifies that this is His will, and that my work here is done. PM 28.2

The lack of means does not worry me; for the Lord is my witness that His work has ever been dearer to me than my life.—Letter 43, 1903. PM 28.3

The Example and Leadership of James White—I was shown that God had qualified my husband for a specific work, and in His providence had united us to carry forward this work.... PM 29.1

God should have the glory for the unbending integrity and noble courage to vindicate the right and condemn the wrong which my husband has had. Just such firmness and decision were necessary at the commencement of the work, and they have been needed all along, as it progressed step by step. He has stood in defense of the truth without yielding a single principle to please the best friend....Self has at times been mingled with the work; but when the Holy Spirit has controlled his mind, he has been a most successful instrument in the hands of God for the upbuilding of His cause. He has had elevated views of the Lord's claims upon all who profess His name—of their duty to stand in defense of the widow and the fatherless, to be kind to the poor, to help the needy. He would jealously guard the interests of his brethren, that no unjust advantage should be taken of them. PM 29.2

The earnest efforts of my husband to build up the institutions in our midst I also saw registered in the Ledger of Heaven. The truth sent out from the press was like rays of light emanating from the sun in all directions. This work was commenced and carried forward at a great sacrifice of strength and means.—Life Sketches of Ellen G. White, 242-244. PM 29.3

Unselfish Labors of Uriah Smith—We can easily count the first burden bearers now alive [1902]. Elder [Uriah] Smith was connected with us at the beginning of the publishing work. He labored in connection with my husband. We hope always to see his name in the Review and Herald at the head of the list of editors; for thus it should be. Those who began the work, who fought bravely when the battle went so hard, must not lose their hold now. They are to be honored by those who entered the work after the hardest privation had been borne. PM 29.4

I feel very tender toward Elder Smith. My life interest in the publishing work is bound up with his. He came to us as a young man, possessing talents that qualified him to stand in his lot and place as an editor. How I rejoice as I read his articles in the Review—so excellent, so full of spiritual truth. I thank God for them. I feel a strong sympathy for Elder Smith, and I believe that his name should always appear in the Review as the name of the leading editor. Thus God would have it. When, some years ago, his name was placed second, I felt hurt. When it was again placed first, I wept and said, “Thank God.” May it always be there, as God designs it shall be, while Elder Smith's right hand can hold a pen. And when the power of his hand fails, let his sons write at his dictation.—Selected Messages 2:225. PM 29.5

Pioneer History to Be Kept Before the People—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. [Reference is here made to The Rise and Progress of Seventh-day Adventists, published in 1892 by J.N. Loughborough (revised in 1905 as The Great Second Advent Movement).] PM 30.1

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. PM 30.2

Miracles were wrought. Again and again, when we were brought into strait places, the power of God was displayed in our behalf. At such times, souls were convicted, and amidst the scorn and derision of the opposing churches, they bore testimony in favor of the truth.—Letter 105, 1903. PM 30.3

Republishing Experiences of Early Leaders [In 1915, seven years after Manuscript 13 (1908) was written, Life Sketches of Ellen G. White appeared in print. In its pages Ellen White “pictures the trials, the struggles, and the successes that attended the labors of a few earnest souls from whose endeavors sprang the churches that afterward united to form the Seventh-day Adventist denomination (Preface, p. 5).” From chapter 42, on page 255, her own life story and that of her husband is continued by C. C. Crisler, W. C. White, and Dores Robinson. Thus the stories of pioneer fortitude and sacrifices have been recorded in print for all to profit by. Biographies of pioneers such as James White and John Loughborough, are available at Adventist Book Centers.]—I have been instructed to publish the early experiences of the cause of present truth, showing why we stand, as we do, a people separate and distinct from the world.... While Satan is stirring up many to depart from the faith, I am bidden to republish the experiences of the past and give the message of warning God sends, showing the dangers of the present time, and what will be in the future.—Manuscript 13, 1908. PM 31.1

Pioneers to Continue to Speak—I have been instructed that we should make prominent the testimony of some of the old workers who are now dead. Let them continue to speak through their articles as found in the early numbers of our papers. These articles should now be reprinted, that there may be a living voice from the Lord's witnesses. The history of the early experiences in the message will be a power to withstand the masterly ingenuity of Satan's deceptions. This instruction has been repeated recently. I must present before the people the testimonies of Bible truth, and repeat the decided messages given years ago. I desire that my sermons given at camp meetings and in churches may live and do their appointed work.—Letter 99, 1905. PM 31.2

Sacrifice Essential for Work to Continue—In order that the gospel may go to all nations, kindreds, tongues, and peoples, self-sacrifice must be maintained. Those in positions of trust are in all things to act as faithful stewards, conscientiously guarding the funds that have been created by the people. There must be care to prevent all needless outlay. In erecting buildings and providing facilities for the work, we should be careful not to make our preparation so elaborate as to consume money unnecessarily; for this means in every case inability to provide for the extension of the work in other fields, especially in foreign lands. Means are not to be drawn from the treasury to establish institutions in the home field, at a risk of crippling the advancement of truth in regions beyond. PM 31.3

God's money is to be used not only in your immediate vicinity, but in distant countries, in the islands of the sea. If His people do not engage in this work, God will surely remove the power that is not rightly appropriated. PM 32.1

Many among believers have scarcely food enough to eat, yet in their deep poverty they bring their tithes and offerings to the Lord's treasury. Many who know what it is to sustain the cause of God in hard and trying circumstances have invested means in the publishing houses. They have willingly endured hardship and privation, and have watched and prayed for the success of the work. Their gifts and sacrifices express the fervent gratitude of their hearts to Him who has called them out of darkness into His marvelous light. Their prayers and their alms come up as a memorial before God. No incense more fragrant can ascend to heaven. PM 32.2

But the work of God in its wide extent is one, and the same principles should control in all its branches. It must bear the stamp of missionary work. Every department of the cause is related to all parts of the gospel field, and the spirit that controls one department will be felt throughout the entire field. If a portion of the workers receive large wages, there are others, in different branches of the work, who also will call for high wages, and the spirit of self-sacrifice will become feeble. Other institutions will catch the same spirit, and the Lord's favor will be removed from them; for He can never sanction selfishness. Thus our aggressive work would come to an end. It is impossible to carry it forward except by constant sacrifice.—Testimonies for the Church 7:215, 216. PM 32.3