Manual for Canvassers


The Canvasser and Bible Work

Letters have been received by me making inquiries in regard to the duties of the canvasser. Some have said that in visiting the people they have found favorable opportunities for presenting the truth for this time, and have almost been forced into giving Bible-readings. These opportunities they could not conscientiously neglect. On the other hand, letters come saying that our canvassers are neglecting their work in order to give Bible-readings upon doctrinal subjects, and that the prejudice aroused by these readings has made it difficult for the canvasser to deliver his books; and some are asking counsel in regard to these matters. MC 35.1

We think that there is truth in both the statements,—that canvassers find favorable opportunities for leading the people to a better understanding of the Bible, and that, because of the way in which they meet these opportunities, prejudice is aroused, and the work hindered. When the canvasser enters upon his work, he should not allow himself to be diverted, but should intelligently keep to the point with all diligence. And yet while he is faithful in his canvassing, he should not neglect opportunities to help those who are seeking for light and who need the consolation of the Scriptures. If the canvasser walks with God, if he prays for heavenly wisdom that he may do good and only good in his labor, he will be quick to discern the needs of those with whom he comes in contact. He will make the most of his opportunities to draw souls to Christ, not dwelling upon doctrinal subjects, but upon the love of God, upon His mercy and goodness in the plan of salvation. In the spirit of Christ he will be ready to speak a word in season to him that is weary. MC 35.2

The great need of the soul is to know God and Jesus Christ, whom He has sent. The Bible abounds in practical lessons, which the canvasser may safely present. If he can by this means impart a knowledge of practical religion, he will be feeding the people, who need just such precious food. MC 36.1

The claims of God are to be ever before us. We should never forget that we are to give an account for the deeds done in the body. Weighted with this thought, canvassers will watch for souls, and their prayer will go forth from unfeigned lips for wisdom to speak a word in season to those in need of help. Such workers will continually be elevating and purifying the soul through obedience to the truth. They will have a true sense of the value of the soul, and will make the most of every opportunity to make known the riches of the grace of Christ. Let the canvasser go forth with the prayer upon his lips, “Lord, what wilt Thou have me to do?” Let him labor as in the sight of God, and in the presence of heavenly angels; let him desire in all things to be approved by God; and his work will not be fruitless. MC 36.2

We need far less controversy, and far more presentation of Christ. Our Redeemer is the center of all our faith and hope. Those who can present His matchless love, and inspire hearts to give Him their best and holiest affections, are doing work that is great and holy. By diligence in canvassing, by faithfully presenting to the people the cross of Calvary, the canvasser doubles his usefulness. MC 37.1

But while we present these methods of work, we can not lay out an undeviating line for every one to follow. Circumstances alter cases. God will impress those who are longing for guidance. He will say to His human agent, “Speak to this one or that one of the love of Jesus.” No sooner is the name of Jesus mentioned in love and tenderness than angels of God draw near, to soften and subdue the heart. MC 37.2

Often doctrinal subjects are presented with no special effect; for men expect others to press upon them their doctrines; but when the matchless love of Christ is dwelt upon, His grace impresses the heart. There are many who are sincerely seeking for light, who know not what they must do to be saved. O, tell them of the love of God, of the sacrifice made on Calvary's cross to save the perishing! Tell them to place their will on the side of God's will; and “if any man will do His will, he shall know of the doctrine, whether it be of God.” John 7:17. MC 37.3

No one can be a successful soul-winner till he himself has settled the question of surrender to God. We are individually to put on the Lord Jesus Christ. To each one of us He must become wisdom, righteousness, sanctification, and redemption. When our faith lays hold upon Christ as our personal Saviour, we shall place Him before others in a new light. And when the people behold Christ as He is, they will not wrangle over doctrines; they will flee to Him for pardon, purity, and eternal life. MC 38.1

The difficulty most to be dreaded is that the canvasser who meets these inquiring souls has not himself been converted; that he does not himself know by experience the love of Christ which passes knowledge. If he himself has not this knowledge, how can he tell others the precious old, old story? The people need to be taught the very essence of true faith, the way to accept Christ and to confide in Him as their personal Saviour. They need to know how they may follow His steps whithersoever He goes. Let the feet of the worker follow step by step the footprints of Jesus, and mark out no other way in which to proceed heavenward. MC 38.2

When the soul has been brought to Christ through this personal labor, leave the surrendered, humbled heart for God to work with; let God urge upon him just such service as He sees fit. God has promised that His grace shall be sufficient for every one who will come unto Him. Those who surrender to Jesus, who open the door of the heart and invite Him in, will be in safe keeping. He says, “I am the Way, the Truth, and the Life.” John 14:6. Possessing Jesus, they will possess truth. They will be complete in Him. MC 38.3

Many professed Christians have broken away from Christ, the great center, and they make themselves a center; but if they would be successful in attracting others to the Saviour, they must themselves flee back to Him, and realize their utter dependence upon His grace. Satan has tried to the uttermost to sever the chain that unites men to God; he desires to bind their souls to his own car, and make them slaves in his service; but we are to work against him, and draw men to the Redeemer. MC 39.1

Let canvassers be faithful students, learning how to be most successful. And while they are thus employed, let them keep their eyes and ears and understanding open to receive the wisdom from God, that they may know how to help those who are perishing for lack of a knowledge of Christ. Let every worker concentrate his energies and use his powers for the highest of all service,—to recover men from the snare of Satan and bind them to God, making the chain of dependence through Jesus Christ fast to the throne encircled with the rainbow of promise. MC 39.2


Men and women are wandering in the mist and fog of error. They want to know what is truth. Tell them, not in high-flown language, but with the simplicity of the children of God. MC 39.3


Satan is on your track. He is an artful opponent, and the malignant spirit which you meet in your work is inspired by him. Those whom he controls echo his words. If the veil could be rent away from their eyes, those thus worked would see Satan plying all his arts to win them from the truth. In rescuing souls from his devices, far more will be accomplished by Christlike, humble prayer than by many words without prayer. MC 40.1


The workers should keep the soul constantly uplifted to God in prayer. They are never alone. If they have faith in God, if they realize that to them is committed the work of giving to the people light on Bible subjects, they constantly enjoy the companionship of Christ. MC 40.2

The Lord Jesus standing by the side of the canvassers, walking with them, is the chief worker. If we recognize Christ as the One who is with us to prepare the way, the Holy Spirit by our side will make impressions in just the lines needed. MC 40.3