Life Sketches of Ellen G. White


The Sale of Literature

The Swiss Conference was held September 10-14, 1885. There were about two hundred in attendance. This meeting was immediately followed by the European Missionary Council, which continued for two weeks. At these meetings very interesting reports were received from Scandinavia, Great Britain, Germany, France, Italy, and Switzerland, where the cause of present truth was beginning to gain a foothold. The reports elicited some animated discussions of such subjects as these: The most effective plans for the circulation of our literature; the illustrating of our periodicals and books; the use of tents; and the bearing of arms. LS 283.4

The Scandinavian brethren reported that the sales of literature in their conferences during the preceding fiscal year had amounted to $1,033. The delegates from Great Britain reported sales amounting to $550. The Basel office had received on its German and French periodicals $1,010. LS 284.1

Much time was occupied by the colporteurs who had been laboring in Catholic Europe, in relating their experiences and in telling the Council why our literature could not be sold in Europe on the plans that were very successfully followed in America; and it was urged by them that the colporteur must be given a salary, as was done by the leading evangelical societies that were operating in Catholic countries. LS 284.2

During the nineteen days covered by the Conference and the Council, Mrs. White was an attentive listener to the reports, which were given mostly in English. She spoke words of encouragement and cheer in the business meetings, and in the early morning meetings gave a series of instructive addresses, dealing with such subjects as love and forbearance among brethren; manner of presenting the truth; unity among laborers; courage and perseverance in the ministry; how to work in new fields. Addressing the missionary workers, she said: LS 284.3

“Remember, brethren, in every perplexity, that God has angels still. You may meet opposition; yea, even persecution. But if steadfast to principle, you will find, as did Daniel, a present helper and deliverer in the God whom you serve. Now is the time to cultivate integrity of character. The Bible is full of rich gems of promise to those who love and fear God. LS 285.1

“To all who are engaged in the missionary work I would say, Hide in Jesus. Let not self but Christ appear in all your labors. When the work goes hard, and you become discouraged and are tempted to abandon it, take your Bible, bow upon your knees before God, and say, ‘Here, Lord, Thy word is pledged.’ Throw your weight upon His promises, and every one of them will be fulfilled.” Historical Sketches of the Foreign Missions of the Seventh-day Adventists, 153. LS 285.2

When the discouraging reports of the colporteurs had reached a climax, she would urge that notwithstanding all these difficulties, the workers must have faith that success would attend their labors. Repeatedly she assured that disheartened colporteurs that it had been shown her that books could be sold in Europe in such a way as to give support to the workers, and bring to the publishing house sufficient returns to enable it to produce more books. LS 285.3