Manual for Canvassers


Energy and Courage

Among the people who profess present truth there is not a missionary spirit corresponding to our faith. The ring of the true gold in character is wanting. Christian life is more than many take it to be. It does not consist in mere gentleness, patience, meekness, and kindliness. These graces are essential; but there is need of courage, decision, energy, and perseverance also. Many who engage in the work of canvassing are weak, nerveless, spiritless, easily discouraged. They lack push. They have not those positive traits of character that give men power to do something,—the spirit and energy that kindle enthusiasm. The canvasser is engaged in an honorable business, and he should not act as if he were ashamed of it. If he desires that success shall attend his efforts, he must be courageous and hopeful. MC 19.5

He who is called of God to so sacred a work should feel that its accomplishment demands all his energies. He should cultivate not only the passive but the active virtues. While he should give the soft answer that turns away wrath, the Christian must possess the courage of a hero to resist evil. With the charity that endures all things, he must have the force of character which will make his influence a positive power for good. Into his character must be wrought faith and dependence upon God. His principles must be firm. He must be noble-spirited, above all suspicion of meanness. MC 20.1

The canvasser must not be self-inflated. In his association with others he must not make himself conspicuous, or talk in a boastful way; for this would disgust intelligent, sensible people. He must not be selfish, overbearing, or domineering. Very many have settled it in their minds that they can not read one in a thousand of the books that are published; and when the canvasser makes known his business, the door of the heart often closes firmly against him. Hence the great need of doing his work with tact, and in a humble, prayerful spirit. He should be familiar with the word of God, and have words at his command to unfold the precious truth, and to show the great value of the pure reading matter he carries. MC 20.2

Well may every one feel a responsibility in this work. Well may he consider how best to arrest the attention; for his manner of presenting the truth may decide the destiny of a soul. If he makes a favorable impression, his influence may be to that soul a savor of life unto life; and that one person, enlightened in regard to the truth, may enlighten many others. Therefore it is dangerous to do careless work in dealing with minds. MC 21.1

The canvassing work is God's means of reaching many who would not otherwise be impressed with the truth. The work is a good one, the object noble and elevating; and there should be a corresponding dignity of deportment. The canvasser will meet men of varied minds. He will meet those who are ignorant and debased, and who can appreciate nothing that does not bring them money. These will often be abusive; but his good nature should never fail. He should take a cheerful, hopeful view of every perplexity. He will meet those who are bereaved, disheartened, and sore and wounded in spirit. To these he will have many opportunities of speaking kind words, words of courage, hope, and faith. He may, if he will, be a well-spring to refresh others; but in order to do this, he must himself draw from the Fountain of living truth. MC 21.2


Christ calls for young men who will volunteer to carry the truth to the world. Men of spiritual stamina are wanted, men who are able to find work close at hand, because they are looking for it. The church needs new men to give energy to the ranks, men for the times, able to cope with its errors, men who will inspire with fresh zeal the flagging efforts of the few laborers, men whose hearts are warm with Christian love, and whose hands are eager to go about their Master's work. MC 22.1


Men and women are wanted now who are as true to duty as the needle to the pole,—men and women who will work without having their way smoothed and every obstacle removed. MC 22.2


When there is a continual reliance upon God, a continual practise of self-denial, the workers will not sink into discouragement. They will not worry. They will remember that in every place there are souls of whom the Lord has need, and whom the devil is seeking, that he may bind them fast in the slavery of sin of disregard for the law of God. MC 22.3

Those who put their trust in God will go forward in faith, nothing doubting. They will work diligently while the day lasts; for “the night cometh, when no man can work.” They will advance in humble dependence upon God, believing His word, and committing themselves without reserve to His guidance. MC 22.4