Life Sketches of Ellen G. White

Dispelling the Darkness

During the early days of the Council, one of the speakers, after referring to some of the barriers to the progress of the message, appealed to Mrs. White to state her views as to what more could be done, and if there might be expected changes in the conditions under which the laborers were struggling. LS 294.2

In answer to this question, Mrs. White said that there would come changes that would open doors that were closed and barred, changes in many things that would alter conditions and arouse the minds of the people to understand and appreciate present truth. Political upheavals would come, and changes in the industrial world, and great religious awakenings, that would prepare minds to listen to the third angel's message. “Yes, there will be changes,” she assured them, “but nothing for you to wait for. Your work is to go forward, presenting the truth in its simplicity, holding up the light of truth before the people.” LS 294.3

Then she told them how the matter had been presented to her in vision. Sometimes the multitudes in our world, to whom is sent the warning message from the word of God that Christ is soon coming, were presented to her as enveloped in mists and clouds and dense darkness, even as described by Isaiah, who wrote, “Behold, the darkness shall cover the earth, and gross darkness the people.” Isaiah 60:2. LS 294.4

As in the vision she looked upon this scene with intense sorrow, her accompanying angel said, “Look ye,” and as she looked again, there were to be seen little jets of light, like stars shining dimly through the darkness. As she watched them, their light grew brighter, and the number of lights increased, because each light kindled other lights. These lights would sometimes come together as if for the encouragement of one another; and again they would scatter out, each time going farther and lighting more lights. Thus the work went on until the whole world was illuminated with their brightness. LS 295.1

In conclusion, she said: “This is a picture of the work you are to do. ‘Ye are the light of the world.’ Matthew 5:14. Your work is to hold up the light to those around you. Hold it firmly. Hold it a little higher. Light other lights. Do not be discouraged if yours is not a great light. If it is only a penny taper, hold it up. Let it shine. Do your very best, and God will bless your efforts.” LS 295.2

[Note—In the official reports of the progress of the third angel's message in Great Britain, frequent acknowledgment has been made from time to time of the influence that the sale of penny periodicals has had on the development of a strong constituency in that field of labor. “Publications have been sent to all parts of the kingdom,” the workers reported in 1888, “and faithful souls are being aroused to embrace the truth, and scores are candidly investigating it.” (The Seventh-day Adventist Yearbook 1888, 130.) at the 1895 General Conference, it was stated that “the average weekly sales of Present Truth [the missionary journal published by Seventh-Day Adventists in Great Britain since 1884] have run from nine thousand to ten thousand.” “Nothing that has been done in Great Britain has had such marked effect on the people as the circulation of this paper.” (BULLETIN, 1895, PAGES 314, 315.) and in 1897 the brethren from Europe were rejoicing in a still larger circulation of their missionary journal. “The present truth has an average circulation of thirteen thousand copies weekly,” they declared, “and many are coming to a knowledge of the truth in reading this medium.”

During the 1909 General Conference, Brother W. C. Sisley, in charge of the British publishing house, reviewed the results of the past four years thus:

“We have sold, during the last four years, exclusive of our considerable foreign trade, 168,947 books, 6,871,649 periodicals, 23,382 pamphlets, and 964,163 tracts, at a total retail value of $310,221.57; or a yearly average of 42,237 books, 1,717,912 periodicals, 5,840 pamphlets, 241,041 tracts, at an average annual retail value of $77,555.

“We have 207 regular book and periodical canvassers, an average of one out of every eight of our members....

“The net profits of our publishing work during the past four years have been $19,878. The tract society has donated that sum, and $12,832 more of its former profits, or a total of $32,710, to the British Union property fund.” (The General Conference Bulletin 1909, 96.)]