Public Effort and Personal Work. --Of equal importance with public effort is house-to-house work in the homes of the people. As the result of the presentation of truth in large congregations, a spirit of inquiry is awakened, and it is especially important that this interest be followed by personal labour. Those who desire to investigate the truth need to be taught to study diligently the Word of God. Someone must help them to build on a sure foundation. At this critical time in their religious experience, how important it is that wisely directed Bible workers come to their help, and open to their understanding the treasure house of God's Word!-- Gospel Workers, p. 364. (1915)
Cultivate the Soil. --When a discourse is given, precious seed is sown. But if personal effort is not made to cultivate the soil, the seed does not take root. Unless the heart is softened and subdued by the Spirit of God, much of the discourse is lost. Observe those in the congregation who seem to be interested, and speak to them after the service. A few words spoken in private will often do more good than the whole discourse has done. Inquire how the subjects presented appear to the hearers, whether the matter is clear to their minds. By kindness and courtesy show that you
have a real interest in them and a care for their souls. -- Testimonies, vol. 6, p. 68. (1900)
Come Close to Individuals. --In Christlike sympathy the minister should come close to men individually, and seek to awaken their interest in the great things of eternal life. Their hearts may be as hard as the beaten highway, and apparently it may be a useless effort to present the Saviour to them; but while logic may fail to move, and argument be powerless to convince, the love of Christ, revealed in personal ministry, may soften the stony heart, so that the seed of truth can take root.-- Gospel Workers, p. 185. (1915)
Places to Be Worked, Not Just Preached To. --The cities are to be worked, not merely preached to; there must be house-to-house labour. After the warning has been given, after the truth has been presented from the Scriptures, many souls will be convicted.-- Review and Herald, Oct. 14, 1902.
Less Sermonizing, More Personal Work. --If one half of the sermonizing were done, and double the amount of personal labour given to souls in their homes and in the congregations, a result would be seen that would be surprising.-- Manuscript 139, 1897.
Opportunities Lost. --When personal work is neglected, many precious opportunities are lost, which, were they improved, would advance the work decidedly. -- Gospel Workers, p. 364. (1915)
Souls Perishing for Lack of Personal Work. --We may speak words of encouragement to those whom we meet. "A word spoken in season, how good is it!" Souls are perishing for the lack of personal labour.-- Letter 151, 1903.
Instant in and out of Season. --The minister must
be instant in season and out of season, ready to seize and improve every opportunity to further the work of God. To be "instant in season" is to be alert to the privileges of the house and hour of worship, and to the times when men are conversing on topics of religion. And to be instant "out of season" is to be ready, when at the fireside, in the field, by the wayside, in the market, to turn the minds of men, in a suitable manner, to the great themes of the Bible, with tender, fervent spirit urging upon them the claims of God. Many, many such opportunities are allowed to slip by unimproved, because men are persuaded that it is out of season. But who knows what might be the effect of a wise appeal to the conscience?-- Gospel Workers, pp. 186-187. (1915)
Love Souls as Christ Loved. --We are called upon to love souls as Christ loved them, to feel a travail of soul that sinners shall be converted. Present the matchless love of Christ. Hide self out of sight.-- Manuscript 42, 1898.
House-to-House Work. --Not only is the truth to be presented in public assemblies; house-to-house work is to be done. Let this work go forward in the name of the Lord.-- Review and Herald, Aug. 11, 1903. This house-to-house labour, searching for souls, hunting for the lost sheep, is the most essential work that can be done.-- Letter 137, 1898.
The Objective of House-to-House Labour. --Our people make a great mistake when, after holding a camp meeting and gathering a few souls, they take down the tents and feel that their duty is done. Their work had only just begun. They have preached
doctrines that are new and strange to the people who heard them, and then left the seed sown to be picked up by the birds, or else to wither away for want of moisture. . . .
After the truth has been presented to souls, there are those, ministers, friends, and acquaintances, who will pick up the seed sown if possible. These human birds make the truth appear as error, and do not give the one convicted any rest until they have devoured the seed by false assertions.
What should be done? After the camp meeting is over, establish a mission. Let the very best workers that can be found be organized into a company to sell our literature and also give away papers to some that cannot buy. Preparatory work is not of one half the value that the afterwork is.
After the people have heard the reasons of our faith, let the house-to-house work begin. Become acquainted with the people and read to them the precious words of Christ. Lift up Jesus crucified among them, and soon those who have listened to the messages of warning from the ministers of God in the tent, and have been convicted, will be drawn out to inquire in regard to what they have heard. This is the time to present the reasons of our faith, with meekness and fear, not a slavish fear, but a cautious fear lest you should speak unadvisedly. Present the truth as it is in Jesus, with all meekness and lowliness, which means with simplicity and in sincerity, giving meat in due season, and to every man his portion of meat.-- Letter 18, 1898.
Preaching Made Effectual by House-to-House Labour. -- From the experience of the workers in _____, we see that the efforts made after a camp meeting has closed are of far more consequence than the work
done before. For years I have been shown that house-to-house labour is the work that will make the preaching of the Word a success. If those interested are not visited by our workers, other ministers get upon their tracks and confuse them by misquoting and wresting the Scriptures. These people are not familiar with the Word; they think that their ministers must be true and unprejudiced men, and they give up their convictions. But if our workers can visit those interested, to explain the word of truth to them more fully, revealing the truth in contrast to error, they will become established.
Had this work been done earnestly and vigilantly, had the workers perseveringly watched for souls as they that must give an account, many more sheaves would have been the fruit of the seed sown at our camp meetings.
This work has also been carried on in _____. There are now no less than fifty new Sabbathkeepers as the result of this personal labour, this hunting for souls. Unless the workers appointed by God do the most interested hunting for lost sheep, Satan will succeed in his work of destroying, and souls will be lost that might have been found and restored.-- Letter 18, 1898.
Some Not Reached by the Public Effort. --In large cities there are certain classes that cannot be reached by public meetings. These must be searched out as the shepherd searches for his lost sheep. Diligent, personal effort must be put forth in their behalf.-- Gospel Workers, p. 364. (1915)
To Those Who Will Not Come to the Feast. --If they will not come to the gospel feast to which the call of Christ invites them, then God's messengers must accommodate themselves to the circumstances and
bear the message to them in house-to-house labour, thus extending their ministry to the highways and byways, giving the last message to the world.-- Letter 164, 1899.
Even to the Disinterested. --Go to the homes of those even who manifest no interest. While mercy's sweet voice invites the sinner, work with every energy of heart and brain, as did Paul, "who ceased not to warn everyone night and day with tears." In the day of God, how many will confront us, and say, "I am lost! I am lost! And you never warned me; you never entreated me to come to Jesus. Had I believed as you did, I would have followed every Judgement-bound soul within my reach with prayers and tears and warnings."-- Review and Herald, June 24, 1884.
Carry God's Word to Every Man's Door. --The press is an instrumentality by which many are reached whom it would be impossible to reach by ministerial effort. A great work can be done by presenting to the people the Bible just as it reads. Carry the Word of God to every man's door, urge its plain statements upon every man's conscience, repeat to all the Saviour's command, "Search the Scriptures." Admonish them to take the Bible as it is, to implore the divine enlightenment, and then, when the light shines, to gladly accept each precious ray, and fearlessly abide the consequences.-- Review and Herald, July 10, 1883.
God Will Guide to Homes. --Light, light from the Word of God,--this is what the people need. If the teachers of the Word are willing, the Lord will lead them into close relation with the people. He will guide them to the homes of those who need and desire the truth; and as the servants of God engage in the work of seeking for the lost sheep, their spiritual faculties are awakened and energized. Knowing that
they are in harmony with God, they feel joyous and happy. Under the guidance of the Holy Spirit, they obtain an experience that is invaluable to them. Their intellectual and moral powers attain their highest development; for grace is given in answer to the demand.-- Review and Herald, Dec. 29, 1904.
To Pray and Study With Families. --While the minds of many are stirred and convicted of the truth, the interest should be followed up by wise, earnest, and persevering labour. . . . The call is for men who will go forth imbued with the Spirit of Christ, and work for souls. The minister should not confine his labours to the desk, nor should he settle down in some pleasant home among the brethren. He must watch for souls. He must visit the people at their homes, and by personal efforts seek to impress the truth upon hearts and consciences. He must pray with families and hold Bible readings with them. While with tact and wisdom he urges home upon his fellow men their duty to obey the Word of God, his daily intercourse with them should reveal whatever in his character is good and pure, excellent and lovely, kind and courteous.
In the messages of the first and second angels, the work was done in this manner. Men and women were moved to search the Scriptures, and they called the attention of others to the truths revealed. It was personal labour for individuals and families that gave these messages their wonderful success.-- Review and Herald, Jan. 27, 1885.
Some Families Reached Only Within Homes. -- There are families who will never be reached by the
truth of God's Word unless His servants enter their homes, and by earnest ministry, sanctified by the indorsement of the Holy Spirit, break down the barriers. As the people see that these workers are messengers of mercy, the ministers of grace, they are ready to listen to the words spoken by them. . . .
When such a worker offers prayer to God in the family where he is visiting, the hearts of the members are touched as they would not be by prayer offered in a public assembly. Angels of God enter the family circle with him; and the minds of the hearers are prepared to receive the Word of God: for if the messenger is humble and contrite, if he has a living connection with God, the Holy Spirit takes the Word, and shows it to those for whom he is labouring. . . .
The Lord desires that the truth shall come close to the people, and this can be accomplished only by personal labour. Much is comprehended in the command, "Go out into the highways and hedges, and compel them to come in, that My house may be filled." There is a work to be done in this line that has not yet been done. Let God's workers teach the truth in families, drawing close to those for whom they labour. If they thus co-operate with God, He will clothe them with spiritual power. Christ will guide them in their work, entering the houses of the people with them, and giving them words to speak that will sink deep into the hearts of the listeners. The Holy Spirit will open hearts and minds to receive the rays coming from the source of all light.-- Review and Herald, Dec. 29, 1904.
Find the Way to the Heart. --To all who are working with Christ I would say, Wherever you can gain access to the people by the fireside, improve your opportunity. Take your Bible, and open before them
its great truths. Your success will not depend so much upon your knowledge and accomplishments, as upon your ability to find your way to the heart. By being social and coming close to the people, you may turn the current of their thoughts more readily than by the most able discourse. The presentation of Christ in the family, by the fireside, and in small gatherings in private houses, is often more successful in winning souls to Jesus than are sermons delivered in the open air, to the moving throng, or even in halls or churches.
All who engage in this personal labour should be just as careful not to become mechanical in their manner of working as should the minister who preaches the Word. They should be constantly learning. They should have a conscientious zeal to obtain the highest qualifications, to become men able in the Scriptures. -- Gospel Workers, p. 193. (1915)
Two and Two in Personal Work. --There should always be two and two of our brethren to go out together, and then as many more as they can rally to engage in the work of visiting and seeking to interest families, making personal efforts.-- Letter 34, 1886.
Minister and Wife. --Keep on the track of souls. Show tact and skill when visiting families. Pray with them and for them. Bear the truth to them in great tenderness and love, and returns will surely come. If the minister and his wife can jointly engage in this work, they should do so.-- Letter 18, 1898.
Following Up the Interest. --A minister may enjoy sermonizing; for it is the pleasant part of the work, and is comparatively easy; but no minister should
be measured by his ability as a speaker. The harder part comes after he leaves the desk, in watering the seed sown. The interest awakened should be followed up by personal labour,--visiting, holding Bible readings, teaching how to search the Scriptures, praying with families and interested ones, seeking to deepen the impression made upon hearts and consciences.-- Testimonies, vol.5, p. 255. (1885)
The Answering of Questions. --No minister is sufficiently equipped for his work who does not know how to meet the people at their homes, and come into close relation to their needs. The people should be allowed to ask questions concerning subjects presented that seem to be obscure to them. The light of God is to be brought before their vision. How often when this has been done, and the minister has been able to answer their inquiries, has a flood of light broken into some darkened mind, and hearts have been comforted together in the faith of the gospel. This is the way we are to work in order to flash the light into the minds of those who are seeking a knowledge of the way of salvation.-- Review and Herald, April 19, 1892.
Training Follow-up Workers. --Some should now be in training, connected with you, so that if you should be called away to some other place, they might continue to exercise a gathering influence. Let us pray in regard to this matter. We must pray and work and believe. The Lord is our efficiency.- Letter 376, 1906.
Effective Method for Men of Ordinary Talent. -- Men of ordinary talents can accomplish more by personal labour from house to house than by placing themselves in popular places at great expense, or by entering halls and trying to call out the crowd. Personal influence is a power. The more direct our labour for
our fellow men, the greater good will be accomplished. . . . You must come close to those for whom you labour, that they may not only hear your voice, but shake your hand, learn your principles, and realise your sympathy.-- Review and Herald, Dec. 8, 1885.
Teaching Healthful Living by Personal Work. -- No teacher of truth should feel that his education is completed till he has studied the laws of health and knows the bearing of right practices on the spiritual life. He should be qualified to speak to the people intelligently in regard to these things, and to set them an example that will give force to his words. The teaching of correct habits is a part of the work of the gospel minister, and the minister will find many opportunities of instructing those with whom he comes in contact.
As he visits from house to house he should seek to understand the needs of the people, presenting right principles and giving instruction as to what is for their best good. To those who have a meagre diet he should suggest additions, and to those who live extravagantly, who load their tables with unnecessary and hurtful dishes, rich cakes, pastry, and condiments, he should present the diet that is essential for health and conducive to spirituality.-- Letter 19, 1892.
Ministers Giving Bible Readings
Short Talks-More Bible Readings. --Avoid lengthy sermons. The people cannot retain one half of the discourses which they hear. Give short talks and more Bible readings. This is the time to make every point as plain as mileposts.-- Letter 102a, 1897.
Not to Be Shifted to Helpers. --We must embrace every opportunity to put forth personal labour. The
personal labour must be done, even if there has to be less preaching done . . . .
This part of the pastoral work is not to be neglected or shifted upon your wives or some other person. You must educate and train yourselves to visit every family that you can possibly get access to. The results of this work will testify that it is the most profitable work a gospel minister can do.
If he neglects this work, the visiting of the people in their homes, he is an unfaithful shepherd, and the rebuke of God is upon him. His work is not half done. If he had given personal labour, there would have been a large work done and many souls gathered. No excuse will God accept for thus neglecting the most essential part of the ministry, which is the proper binding off of the work, and binding the messenger bearing the truth up with the flock, the sheep, and the lambs of the Lord's pasture. The Lord Himself makes the human instrument a channel of light to the people, through his personal efforts, in identifying himself with the people for whom he is labouring.
The weak of the flock need strengthening at the right time--words spoken that will comfort, strengthen, and establish them that they will become rooted, grounded, and established in the faith. This is the way and the means God has ordained to meet the people where they are. I recognise in the places where I have thus far laboured, the very places which have been lost to the cause of God because the messengers who have brought to them the truth have not ministered because it was not pleasant business to engage in this work.- Letter 18, 1893.
Work Cannot Be Done by Proxy. --By personal labour reach the people where they are. Become acquainted with them. This work cannot be done by
proxy. Money loaned or given cannot accomplish it. Sermons from the pulpit cannot do it. Teaching the Scriptures in families,--this is the work of an evangelist, and this work is to be united with preaching. If it is omitted, the preaching will be, to a great extent, a failure.
Those who are seeking for truth need to have words spoken to them in season; for Satan is speaking to them by his temptations. If you meet with repulse when trying to help souls, heed it not. If there seems to be little good resulting from your work, do not become discouraged. Keep working; be discreet; know when to speak, and when to keep silent; watch for souls as they that must give an account; and watch for the devices of Satan, lest you be led aside from duty. Do not allow difficulties to dishearten or intimidate you. With strong faith, with intrepid purpose, meet and overcome these difficulties. Sow the seed in faith, and with an unsparing hand.-- Gospel Workers, pp. 188, 189. (1915)
Teach-Hold Bible Readings. --You love to preach, and should have a chance to preach wherever you go. You can do a good work in this line, but this is not all the work essential to be done--the people need to be taught, to be educated. Many of the sermons given would, if cut short one half, be far more beneficial to the hearers.
Take time to teach, to hold Bible readings. Get the points and texts fastened in the minds of the hearers. Let them ask questions, and answer them in the plainest, simplest manner possible, so that the mind can grasp the truths presented . . . .
Teach as Christ taught, study His example, His methods of teaching. He preached few sermons, but wherever He went, crowds gathered to listen to His
instruction. The ministers must be educated to work more according to the divine pattern. You have not yet taken up the work of educating. The people will listen to sermon after sermon, and they can retain but a very few points in the discourse, and these lose their force upon the mind; other things come in to choke the seed of truth. Now the Lord's way is the best way, to impress upon minds, point by point, the truths that are for their eternal interest to know. Let the soil of the heart be prepared and the seed so planted that it will spring up and bear fruit.- Letter 29, 1890.
Learning the Art of Personal Work
All Who Can to Do Bible Work. --All who can, should do personal labour. As they go from house to house, explaining the Scriptures to the people in a clear, simple manner, God makes the truth powerful to save. The Saviour blesses those who do this work. - Letter 108, 1901.
Teaching Doctrine Not Initial Object of Personal Work. --There are many souls yearning unutterably for light, for assurance and strength beyond what they have been able to grasp. They need to be sought out and laboured for patiently, perseveringly. Beseech the Lord in fervent prayer for help. Present Jesus because you know Him as your personal Saviour. Let His melting love, His rich grace, flow forth from human lips. You need not present doctrinal points unless questioned. But take the Word, and with tender, yearning love for souls, show them the precious righteousness of Christ, to whom you and they must come to be saved.-- Manuscript 27, 1895.
Learning to Gather the Crop. --There is need of education--the training of everyone who shall enter
the gospel field, not only to use the scythe and mow the crop, but to rake it, to gather it, to care for it properly. This mowing has been done everywhere, and amounted to very little because there has been so little earnest work done by personal effort to gather the wheat from the chaff and bind it in bundles for the garner.- Letter 16e, 1892.
Learn the Art of Handling the Gospel Net. --The mind must be active to invent the best ways and means of reaching the people next us. We should not be far-reaching, incurring great expense. There are individuals and families near us for whom we should make personal efforts. We often let opportunities within our reach slip away, in order to do a work at a distance from us which is less hopeful, and thus our time and means may be lost in both places. The study of the workers now should be to learn the trade of gathering souls into the gospel net.-- Review and Herald, Dec. 8, 1885.
Natural Simplicity in Soul Winning. --The work of Christ was largely composed of personal interviews. He had a faithful regard for the one-soul audience; and that one soul has carried to thousands the intelligence received.
Educate the youth to help the youth; and in seeking to do this work each will gain experience that will qualify him to become a consecrated worker in a larger sphere. Thousands of hearts can be reached in the most simple way. The most intellectual, those who are looked upon and praised as the world's great and gifted men and women, are often refreshed by the most humble, simple words spoken by one who loves God, who can speak of that love as naturally as worldlings can speak of those things which their minds contemplate and feed upon. Words, even if well
prepared and studied, have little influence; but the true, honest work of a son or a daughter of God in words, or in a service of little things, done in natural simplicity, will unbolt the door, which has long been locked, to many souls.-- Review and Herald, May 9, 1899.
The Approach--Persuasive, Kindly. --Approach the people in a persuasive, kindly manner, full of cheerfulness and love for Christ . . . . No human tongue can express the preciousness of the ministration of the Word and the Holy Spirit. No human expression can portray to the finite mind the value of understanding and by living faith receiving the blessing that is given as Jesus of Nazareth passes by.-- Letter 60, 1903.
Importance of Handshake. --Much depends upon the manner in which you meet those whom you visit. You can take hold of a person's hand in greeting in such a way as to gain his confidence at once, or in so cold a manner that he will think you have no interest in him.-- Gospel Workers, p. 189. (1915)
Young Men for City Bible Work. --Young men should be instructed that they may labour in these cities. They may never be able to present the truth from the desk, but they could go from house to house, and point the people to the Lamb of God that taketh away the sin of the world. The dust and rubbish of error have buried the precious jewels of truth; but the Lord's workers can uncover these treasures, so that many will look upon them with delight and awe. There is a great variety of work, adapted to different minds and varied capabilities.-- Historical Sketches, p. 182. (1886)
Prejudice Broken Down
Bible Readings and Visitation Prepare for the Effort. --The work is to commence quietly without noise or trumpeting. It is to commence by giving Bible readings and thus educating the people. This plan will be far more efficient than starting in with sermons. -- Letter 89a, 1895.
Opposition Avoided by Personal Work. --In God's service obstacles must be met and difficulties encountered. Events belong to God; and His servants must meet with difficulties and opposition; for they are His chosen methods of discipline and His appointed conditions of sure progress, advancement, and success. But I entreat the servants of the Lord Jesus to remember that there is a work which may be done quietly, without arousing that strong opposition which closes hearts to the truth.-- Letter 95, 1896.
Visitation Determines Wisdom of Public Effort. -- I tell you in the name of the Lord that with your present force of workers, you are not prepared to engage in work in a hard place where the prejudice is strong. If half of the time usually spent in making public effort were devoted to house-to-house teaching, till the people had become acquainted with the religious sincerity of the workers and with the reasons of their faith, it would be much better. After this work has been done, it could be decided whether a more expensive effort would be advisable.
Public efforts have been made which have accomplished good. Some have responded and received the truth, but, oh, how few these have been. The Lord desires that the truth shall come close to the people, and this work can only be accomplished by personal labour.-- Letter 95, 1896.
Tact Required to Break Down Prejudice. --Nathanael was praying to know whether this was indeed the Christ of whom Moses and the prophets had spoken. While he continued to pray, one of those who had been brought to Christ, Philip by name, called to him and said, "We have found Him of whom Moses in the law, and the prophets, did write, Jesus of Nazareth, the son of Joseph." Notice how quickly prejudice arises. Nathanael says, "Can there any good thing come out of Nazareth?" Philip knew the strong prejudice that existed in the minds of many against Nazareth, and he did not try to argue with him, for fear of raising his combativeness, but simply said, "Come and see."
Here is a lesson for all our ministers, colporteurs, and missionary workers. When you meet those, who, like Nathanael, are prejudiced against the truth, do not urge your peculiar views too strongly. Talk with them at first of subjects upon which you can agree. Bow with them in prayer, and in humble faith present your petitions at the throne of grace. Both you and they will be brought into a closer connection with heaven, prejudice will be weakened, and it will be easier to reach the heart.-- Historical Sketches, p. 149. (1886)
Working for the Aged
Waiting for the Truth. --It is wonderful how many aged people the workers find who need but little labour to lead them to receive the truth, Sabbath and all. Why, they say, this is what we have been praying for. We knew that the Scriptures had much to say upon subjects that the clergymen did not and could not explain to us. These do little else but rejoice
in the light and in the truth. Their joy seems to be full.-- Letter 18, 1898.
Life Begins at Conversion. --I have just read the following incident:
"An old man, about seventy or eighty years of age, was once brought to me, as a monument of God's mercy. I asked him how old he was. He looked at me for a little while, and then said in faltering tones, while the tears ran down his cheeks, 'I am two years old.' I expressed my surprise, and then he said, 'Ah, until two years ago I lived the life of a dead man. I never knew what it was to live until I met with the life that is hid with Christ in God.'"-- Letter 160, 1903.
Ellen G. White's Experience and Methods as a Personal Worker
An Early Experience. --The reality of true conversion seemed so plain to me that I felt like helping my young friends into the light, and at every opportunity exerted my influence toward this end.
I arranged meetings with my young friends, some of whom were considerably older than myself, and a few were married persons. A number of them were vain and thoughtless; my experience sounded to them like an idle tale, and they did not heed my entreaties. But I determined that my efforts should never cease till these dear souls, for whom I had so great an interest, yielded to God. Several entire nights were spent by me in earnest prayer for those whom I had sought out and brought together for the purpose of labouring and praying with them.
Some of these had met with us from curiosity to hear what I had to say; others thought me beside
myself to be so persistent in my efforts, especially when they manifested no concern on their own part. But at every one of our little meetings I continued to exhort and pray for each one separately, until every one had yielded to Jesus, acknowledging the merits of His pardoning love. Every one was converted to God.
Night after night in my dreams I seemed to be labouring for the salvation of souls. At such times special cases were presented to my mind; these I afterward sought out and prayed with. In every instance but one these persons yielded themselves to the Lord. -- Life Sketches, pp. 41, 42. (1915)
Twenty-two Years After the Seed Sowing. --After the meeting closed [a service at the Michigan camp meeting], a sister took me heartily by the hand, expressing great joy at meeting Sister White again. She inquired if I remembered calling at a log house in the woods twenty-two years before. She gave us refreshments and I left with them a little book, Experience and Views.
She stated that she had lent that little book to her neighbours, as new families had settled around her, until there was very little left of it; and she expressed a great desire to obtain another copy of the work. Her neighbours were deeply interested in it, and were desirous of seeing the writer. She said that when I called upon her I talked to her of Jesus and the beauties of heaven, and that the words were spoken with such fervour that she was charmed, and had never forgotten them. Since that time the Lord had sent ministers to preach the truth to them, and now there was quite a company observing the Sabbath. The influence of that little book, now worn out with perusing, had extended from one another, performing its silent work, until the soil was ready for the seeds of truth.
I well remember the long journey we took twenty-two years ago, in Michigan. We were on our way to hold a meeting in Vergennes. We were fifteen miles from our destination. Our driver had passed over the road repeatedly and was well acquainted with it, but was compelled to acknowledge that he had lost the way. We travelled forty miles that day, through the woods, over logs and fallen trees, where there was scarcely a trace of road. . . .
We could not understand why we should be left to this singular wandering in the wilderness. We were never more pleased than when we came in sight of a little clearing on which was a log cabin, where we found the sister I have mentioned. She kindly welcomed us to her home, and provided us with refreshments, which were gratefully received. As we rested, I talked with the family and left them the little book. She gladly accepted it, and has preserved it until the present time.
For twenty-two years our wanderings on this journey have seemed indeed mysterious to us, but here we met quite a company who are now believers in the truth, and who date their first experience from the influence of that little book. The sister who so kindly administered to our wants is now, with many of her neighbours, rejoicing in the light of present truth.-- Signs of the Times, Oct. 19, 1876.
An Experience in Nimes, France. --When labouring in Nimes, France, we made it our work to save souls. There was a young man who had become discouraged through the temptations of Satan and through some mistakes of our brethren who did not understand how to deal with the minds of the youth. He gave up the Sabbath and engaged to work in a manufacturing establishment to perfect his trade in watchmaking. He
is a very promising young man. My watch needed repairing, which brought us together.
I was introduced to him, and as soon as I looked upon his countenance I knew that he was the one whom the Lord had presented before me in vision. The whole circumstance came distinctly before me. . . .
He attended the meeting when he thought I would speak, and would sit with his eyes rivetted on me through the entire discourse, which was translated into French by Brother Bourdeau. I felt a duty to labour for this young man. I talked two hours with him and urged upon him the peril of his situation. I told him because his brethren had made a mistake that was no reason that he should grieve the heart of Christ, who had loved him so much that He had died to redeem him. . . .
I told him I knew the history of his life and his errors (which were the simple errors of youthful indiscretion), which were not of a character that should have been treated with so great severity. I then entreated him with tears to turn square about, to leave the service of Satan and of sin, for he had become a thorough backslider, and return like the prodigal to his Father's house, his Father's service. He was in good business learning his trade. If he kept the Sabbath he would lose his position. . . . A few months more would finish his apprenticeship, and then he would have a good trade. But I urged an immediate decision.
We prayed with him most earnestly, and I told him that I dared not have him cross the threshold of the door until he would before God and angels and those present say, "I will from this day be a Christian." How my heart rejoiced when he said this. He slept none that night. He said as soon as he made the
promise he seemed to be in a new channel. His thoughts seemed purified, his purposes changed, and the responsibility that he had taken seemed so solemn that he could not sleep. The next day he notified his employer that he could work for him no longer. He slept but little for three nights. He was happy, so thankful that the Lord had evidenced to him His pardon and His love.-- Letter 59, 1886.
An Effective Use of Literature. --There was one man whom, with his whole family, we highly prized. He is a reading man, and has a large farm, on which grow the choicest of oranges and lemons, with other fruit. But he did not in the beginning fully take his position for the truth, and went back. They told me about this. In the night season the angel of the Lord seemed to stand by me, saying, "Go to Brother _____, place your books before him, and this will save his soul." I visited with him, taking with me a few of my large books. I talked with him just as though he were with us. I talked of his responsibilities. I said, "You have great responsibilities, my brother. Here are your neighbours all around you. You are accountable for every one of them. You have a knowledge of the truth, and if you love the truth, and stand in your integrity, you will win souls for Christ."
He looked at me in a queer way, as much as to say, "I do not think you know that I have given up the truth, that I have allowed my girls to go to dances, and to the Sunday school, that we do not keep the Sabbath." But I did know it. However, I talked to him just as though he were with us. "Now,"I said, "we are going to help you to begin to work for your neighbours. I want to make you a present of some books." He said, "We have a library, from which we
draw books." I said, "I do not see any books here. Perhaps you feel delicate about drawing from the library. I have come to give you these books, so that your children can read them, and this will be a strength to you." I knelt down and prayed with him, and when we rose, the tears were rolling down his face, as he said, "I am glad that you came to see me. I thank you for the books."
The next time I visited him, he told me that he had read part of Patriarchs and Prophets. He said, "There is not one syllable I could change. Every paragraph speaks right to the soul."
I asked Brother _____ which of my large books he considered the most important. He said, "I lend them all to my neighbours, and the hotelkeeper thinks that Great Controversy is the best. But," he said, while his lips quivered, "I think that Patriarchs and Prophets is the best. It is that which pulled me out of the mire."
But suffice it to say, he took his position firmly for the truth. His whole family united with him, and they have been the means of saving other families.-- General Conference Bulletin, April 5, 1901.
Chatting With a New Believer About the Work. -- A woman about forty years of age was introduced to me, who has just decided to obey the truth, in Canterbury. Her husband is in full sympathy with his wife and does everything he can to get her to the meetings. They have a nice little cottage, which they own and which is paid for. She came out to the carriage and talked with us. She said the people in Canterbury are not a churchgoing people, but the tent at _____ has been an advertisement, and they are curious to know what it all means. In this way they are brought out to attend the meetings, and many are interested.
You cannot get them into a church or a hall, but the tent they will patronize. . . .
The sister mentioned, who talked with me at the carriage, said, "These precious things of the Bible are wonderful to me. Strange we could not see them before. The Bible is full of riches, and I want to have all the opportunity to hear and improve, so that I can help others. People here in Canterbury are in need of this kind of labour. If you will pitch the tent, they will come."-- Letter 89a, 1895.
Leaves From the Diary of 1892. -- Oct. 26 . We had promised to visit Brother and Sister H, and after dinner today Elder Daniells, May Walling, and I went to fill the appointment. Through the temptations of the enemy, Sister H has given up the truth. . . . After a short conversation we all bowed in prayer, and the Lord breathed upon us His Holy Spirit. We felt the presence of God, and we greatly hope that this effort shall not be in vain.
Nov. 5 . It has been a pleasant day, but I have been almost strengthless. We attended meeting, and invited our next-door neighbour to go with us. She readily consented to go and seemed much affected. She talked freely as we drove to the meeting place, but on our return she looked very solemn and said nothing. I spoke on the parable of the man without a wedding garment, and we had a solemn meeting. The lady afterward told my niece, May Walling, that she was sorry that she had not attended all the meetings that have been held since we came. She declared that she would not miss one while we remained.
Nov.6 . We had planned to drive into the mountains, . . . but I had a burden of soul for Brother and Sister H, and felt that I could not go into the mountains and delay the Lord's business. With very
imperfect directions May Walling and I started out to find Brother H's place. . . . At last we were successful. I told Brother and Sister H that I had come to talk with them. We began talking at half past two, and continued until five. . . . I tried to do all in my power to help Sister H. She wept nearly all the time that we were talking. I think the Spirit of the Lord touched her heart. I prayed with them and then left them in the hands of God.
Nov. 7 . I rested well through the night. At half past four I arose and began writing. At ten o'clock, May Walling and I rode out to visit Sister E. Nov. 8 . I slept well through the night. During the day I drove to the house where Sister F is boarding with her children. We took her out to ride with us, and had a long talk with her. She is a woman who has seen great trouble.
Nov. 9 . In response to an earnest invitation, we drove out to a pleasant grove, where the parents and children of the Sabbath school were having a picnic. . . . I spoke for about half an hour. A number of unbelievers were present.
Nov. 10 . I wrote till noon, and after dinner we drove to Bourdon, to fill an appointment to meet with some sisters there. We had a very precious season of prayer, believing Christ's promise that where two or three meet together in His name, He meets with them to bless them. I read some important matter to those present, and talked with them. I laboured harder than when I speak on the Sabbath; for I was with them for nearly two hours. It was almost dark when we reached home; but I was blessed of the Lord, and we were happy in His love.
Nov. 11 . I fear that I have been doing too much. Since Sabbath I have written eighty-six pages, letter
paper, besides making several visits to people in their homes. This afternoon I called at Brother and Sister H's and left some books.
Nov. 21 . At two o'clock today I visited Brother and Sister H and read some things that I had been writing to meet the difficulties existing in Sister H's mind.
Nov. 27 . Today I visited Sister K and her daughter. The daughter recently met with an accident. . . . We talked and prayed with her, and the Lord drew very near as we entreated Him to bless both mother and daughter.
We next visited Sister G, who is a widow. . . . We had a season of prayer with this sister, and the tender Spirit of the Lord rested upon us. We talked with Sister G's daughter, a girl of about sixteen, telling her of the love of Jesus and entreating her to give her heart to the Saviour. I told her that if she would accept Christ as her Saviour, He would be her support in every trial and would give her peace and rest in His love. She seemed to be influenced by our words. We then went to see Brother and Sister H.-- Manuscript 21, 1892.
Fields Endeared to the Worker. --Dora Creek and Martinsville and the other settlements in the woods in which we laboured are dear to me. I hope that the most tender solicitude will be shown for the souls in these places and that earnest efforts will be made to draw them to Christ. Much has been done in these places, and much more will need to be done.-- Letter 113, 1902.