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Manuscript Releases Volume Two : Page 310

46. Proposals For Privately-Published, Inexpensive Editions of Education and

[The letter addressed to P. T. Magan was called forth by his proposal that in the interest of efficiency and wide distribution of Education , it be published at the College Press in Berrien Springs and distributed in a special manner.--A. L. White.]

Proposals for Privately-Published, Inexpensive

Editions of Education and Early Writings

I have read your letter in regard to the publication of my book on education. I respect all you say about this matter, and I was quite desirous of complying with your request, if on consideration it should be thought best. But light has come to me that it would not be wisdom to do this. Confusion would be brought in. Some things have been presented to me that I will try to present to you.

There was in my mind a desire to present to the cause a couple of other books to be used for its advancement, as Object Lessons has been used. In the night season I was instructed that the giving of the manuscript of Object Lessons was of the Lord, but that if other books were given to be handled in the same way, the arrangements made for their sale would bring in a train of influences that would hinder the work of handling the larger books. These books contain present truth for this time--truth that is to be proclaimed in all parts of the world. Our canvassers are to circulate the books that give definite instruction regarding the testing messages that are to prepare a people to stand on the platform of eternal truth, holding aloft the banner on which is inscribed, "The commandments of God and the faith of Jesus."

If one book should be continually kept before the minds of our people and canvassers, all their zeal and earnestness would be spent on the circulation of that one book. The Lord would have the canvassers who sell Object Lessons


take with them also other of our books. Nothing is to hinder the circulation of the larger books, for they contain the light given by God for the world.

Sometimes we get in a hurry, and by our plans bring confusion into the Lord's work. How many there are who work in their own strength, following their own lines, in order to accomplish that which they think should be accomplished. May the Lord take pity on our ignorance. May He help us to do nothing to hinder the work that He desires to have accomplished.

The work of the Lord includes more than one line of service. The doing of it calls for many minds and for much wisdom, in order that each part may be carried forward successfully. While Object Lessons is to live to do its appointed work, not all the thought the effort of God's people is to be given to this one line of work. There are many things to be done to advance the work of God. I have been instructed that the canvassing work is to be revived. Our smaller books, with our pamphlets and journals, can and should be used in connection with our larger books.

Should I give the publication of the book on education into other hands than those who acted so liberally in publishing Object Lessons , I should not be dealing fairly. I wish to express my sincere gratitude to those who took part in the publication of this book, cooperating with me in carrying out the God-given plan for freeing our schools from debt. Let the good work continue. But other books also must be sold. The canvassing work is to be carried forward with increasing interest. I have been instructed to say to my brethren and sisters that the way in which this book has been handled is an object lesson, showing what can be done to circulate the books containing present truth. The work that has been done with Object Lessons is a never-to-be-forgotten lesson on how to canvass in the prayerful, trustful way that brings success. There is a


decided work to be accomplished, and our other publications are to be handled in the same trustful way that Object Lessons has been handled.

We need to remember that the church militant is not the church triumphant. The difference between the kingdom of Christ and the kingdom of the world is to be carefully considered, else we shall draw threads of selfishness into the web that we are weaving. We need to remember that beside every soul there is an unseen, heavenly Watcher.--Letter 137, 1902, pp. 1-4. (To P. T. Magan, Aug. 29, 1902.)

Special Edition of Early Writings

[In 1908 Elder S. N. Haskell, President of the California Conference, observing what seemed to him to be a minimum of interest of the publishers in endeavoring to supply Early Writings at a low, popular price, proposed that a privately-printed, pocket-size edition could be printed for 20. This could be sold widely and given a good distribution, and at the same time bring Ellen G. White some financial relief. Her first reaction was favorable, but changed after receiving instruction in vision. We quote from two letters written to Elder Haskell.]

I have received your letter, in which you speak of a plan for you to print and sell a large number of my book, Early Writings , brought out in a new style of binding.

In the past I have given my consent to your suggestions regarding this matter, but recently I have received such positive instruction regarding the necessity of unity that I dare not give my consent to your proposition.

The Lord would have every movement made by you or by me such that it will inspire confidence in us as being led by the Lord. I should be sorry to see you do anything that would tend to lessen your influence as a wise counselor. As missionary workers, we need the guidance of the Holy Spirit. We must seek to follow the example set by our Saviour in His ministry of love. We must manifest


the wisdom of the serpent and the harmlessness of the dove. May God help us that we may be a blessing to His people.

I would not wish to handle my books, nor to see you handle your books, in a manner that would seem to throw discredit upon the publishing houses. We must manifest wisdom in this matter. To carry out the plans you suggest would, to many, seem that we were taking advantage of circumstances to benefit ourselves.

In your office as president of this conference, the Lord would have you do everything possible to bring about a spirit of unity. Let the idea of unity be the keynote of all your actions. This instruction has been given me for you, that not one move must be made that will create feelings of discord. . . .

Let your whole influence be cast to create a spirit of unity with the men who are carrying responsibilities in the publishing work. Then your words will have more influence.

You and I are being watched very critically. If we were to carry out plans that would create dissension, this might result in the loss of souls. . . .

The Lord would be pleased for you to modify your plans regarding the selling of books at low prices, lest you lead some to feel that our publishing houses were charging exorbitantly for their labor.

In your position of trust as president of the California Conference, you should take especial heed lest you give occasion for your self-sacrificing efforts to be regarded as a reflection upon the men connected with our offices of publication. You are to come as close as possible to our leading brethren. It would be a great mistake to follow methods in the publication and sale of your books that would injure your influence. Therefore, I say that it would not be wise, my brother, to carry out plans that seem to some to be contrary to fair dealing in the sale of our books.


Therefore, I cannot give my consent to have any of my books handled at the present time in the way you suggest. It would make upon the minds of some of our brethren an impression that would not be desirable. Even though the whole $30,000 of my indebtedness might be settled in the manner you propose, yet I could not give my consent.--Letter 94, 1908, pp. 1-3. (To S. N. Haskell, March 29, 1908.)

On making inquiries regarding the publication of Early Writings , I learn that our offices at Mountain View and at Washington have just brought out, and have in stock, a large edition of this book, and that they are selling a paper covered edition for thirty-five cents. Under such circumstances, therefore, it would seem unjust to them were we to endeavor to place on the market a smaller-sized book, to be sold at a low price.

Notwithstanding a lifetime of hard labor, I find that I am embarrassed with a heavy indebtedness. I do not at present receive from the sale of my books as much money as I need to carry on my work, and to meet the many calls for help that come to me. . . .

Notwithstanding my great necessities, I would be unwilling to make any move that might appear to be unfair to our publishing houses.

I have, as you well know, invested means largely in the building of meeting-houses, and in starting various enterprises in Australia. I have also given thousands of dollars of my royalty on books to help the work in Europe, and have then, at times, borrowed money with which to pay my own helpers. . . .

Now, Elder Haskell, I want you to understand that I appreciate your interest in the scattering of the truth through a wide sale of Early Writings . I thank the Lord that I know you will not misunderstand me. I thank you for your kindly interest in my behalf. But I will closely watch and pray earnestly that the


Lord will remove from me this pressure of debt, without my taking a course that might seem unfair to the publishing houses. I know that your offer comes from the sincerity of your soul, and may the Lord bless you for your desire to help me, but I dare not venture to risk the consequences of the step you propose. . . .

Representations that have been given me lead me to fear the plan of selling our books at too low a price. Many who would take advantage of these low prices, might just as easily pay the full price. And some who buy the books for little, would sell them to others who would have to pay the regular prices. Such a plan is bringing in an order of things that will not bring the best results. If you find worthy people who are not able to pay for a book, it is your privilege to present it to them. But you should hold your books at a price that will insure against a loss to the publishers. . . .

The enemy is ever seeking to scatter briers and thorns among the precious wheat. Earnest labor is required to make a success of our efforts. While certain plans may seem to be wise, and while men may have the best of motives in following them, yet if these plans result in friction, it will be found that the good results that were sought will not appear.

I dare not, under present conditions, do otherwise than as I have stated. While for a time there might be an enthusiasm in presenting books at a great reduction, yet there are only a few who could do this kind of work. And I cannot consent for you to do this in my behalf. We are both becoming old, and every move must bear the impress of the character of Christ. Not for a day must we venture to move unadvisedly. Looking unto Jesus constitutes real excellence of character. If we copy the pattern we shall always be safe, for Christ will


be revealed in personal ministry. Let us make no mistakes, for we are sowing for eternity.

We should blend with our publishing institutions in laying and carrying out plans that will be productive of healthful unity. All should seek to be baptized with the Holy Spirit, and all speak the same things. Let each serve with an eye single to the glory of God.--Letter 106, 1908, pp. 1-4. (To Elder and Mrs. S. N. Haskell, April 2, 1908.)

Meeting the Suggestion of Direct Distribution

Yesterday I had presented to me the advisability of supplying my books direct to agents in fields where few are sold. Thus I would receive a larger income. . . .

During the night I had instruction as to the best course to follow at this crisis. Our work now is large; many new books must be brought out, and we must handle all parts of the work wisely. We must do our best to encourage our publishing houses in America and in foreign countries. Should I as author take up the work of handling my books myself, discouragement would be brought on our offices of publication. We have urged our publishing houses to give up commercial work, and they have done this. Should we bring confusion into the subscription book work, it would give them occasion to return to commercial work, and this would bring in delays and hindrances to the work of filling the world with our literature.

At this period of our work we must guard every step we take in reference to the publication of our books. . . .


I was instructed by One of authority that our work is to be carried on conscientiously by our own believing people. We are to unite our forces solidly, and work for the glory of God, multiplying the evidences of truth in every possible way. The Lord God is our Counselor. Christ is our Mediator and Saviour. We are to bring into the work every living agency who feels that he is chosen of God to do, not a common, commercial work, but a work that will give light and truth, Bible truth, to the world.--Letter 72, 1907, pp. 1-3. (To E. R. Palmer, Feb. 25, 1907.) Released November 12, 1963.