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Manuscript Releases, vol. 21 [Nos. 1501-1598]

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    MR No. 1594—Importance of Financial Considerations When Revising E.G. White Books

    (Written September 27, 1903, from St. Helena, California, to Edson and W. C. White.)

    In the night season matters have been presented to me regarding the books, Patriarchs and Prophets and The Great Controversy. It has been my prayer that we might receive light and counsel from the Lord and be led and guided by Him as to how far we should go in making changes for a new and improved edition of these books.21MR 439.1

    We seemed to be in a council meeting, where the matter of resetting these two books was being considered. The question arose as to how this would be regarded by those who have purchased the book in its present form, and by the publishing houses that have many books on hand. After considering the question, prayer was offered.21MR 439.2

    Our Counselor was with us, and spoke in reference to the right way of conducting our book work. He said that at this stage of the work great care must be taken to avoid friction. A new edition produced by resetting the whole book and bringing it out in a more attractive style, would mean loss to Review and Herald and Pacific Press, because when the new edition is introduced, the books that are already prepared will be difficult of disposal. We must be careful not to place a stumbling block before those who have a stock of these books on hand.21MR 439.3

    Our institutions must be carefully guarded against unnecessary losses, and also against temptation and trial coming to the workers connected with them. Each worker is to help his brethren; each institution to help the other institutions.21MR 439.4

    The Word of God can always be relied upon. “My covenant will I not break,” He says, “nor alter the thing that is gone out of My lips.” “A soft answer turneth away wrath.”21MR 439.5

    When several parties have on hand a large stock of certain books, nothing should be done in bringing out new editions by one office without consulting with those who already have quantities of the old edition on hand. In every action care must be exercised not to take a course that will bring loss upon our institutions. We must deal in all things with equity and with sanctified judgment.21MR 439.6

    Another reason why I cannot enter into a plan that means large expense to me is that I am short of means. I have to borrow money to invest in necessary new books. Therefore, while the old plates are able to be used with a few changes which can be made at little cost, and which would improve the book somewhat, I am convinced that we should not go farther than this. Some time in the future the way may be opened for other changes that have been suggested. But now I am distressed for means with which to live and to pay my workers. I am seeking to follow the light given me not to become deeper involved in debt, but to do all I can to free myself from debt. While we have not the capital to invest, I do not see how we can reset these books. It must not be done.21MR 439.7

    Even though these books do not sell as readily as they would if thoroughly revised, yet the resetting of them will place upon me a heavier burden than I am able to bear. I do not want another experience such as I had with Desire of Ages. I might have consented to a considerable outlay of means had not the Lord instructed me that there would be dissatisfaction created because a new edition would render the old editions unsaleable. I want my every movement to be true to God, and to maintain the principles of His law. I must love Him supremely, and my neighbor as myself.21MR 440.1

    Let there be an interest awakened in the sale of these books. Their sale is essential, for they contain timely instruction from the Lord. They should be appreciated as books that bring to the people light that is especially needed just now. Therefore these books should be widely distributed. Those who make a careful study of the instruction contained in them, and will receive it as from the Lord, will be kept from receiving many of the errors that are being introduced. Those who accept the truths contained in these books will not be led into false paths.21MR 440.2

    Many will depart from the faith and give heed to seducing spirits. Patriarchs and Prophets and The Great Controversy are books that are especially adapted to those who have newly come to the faith, that they may be established in the truth. The dangers are pointed out that should be avoided by the churches. Those who become thoroughly acquainted with the lessons in these books will see the dangers before them and will be able to discern the plain, straight path marked out for them. They will be kept from strange paths. They will make straight paths for their feet, lest the lame be turned out of the way.21MR 440.3

    In Desire of Ages, Patriarchs and Prophets, The Great Controversy, and in Daniel and the Revelation, there is precious instruction. These books must be regarded as of special importance, and every effort should be made to get them before the people.21MR 440.4

    We are warned to avoid the mistakes that the Israelites made in obstinately refusing to receive the warnings that came to them from God. So persistently did they pursue a course of backsliding that all but two of the adults who left Egypt died in the wilderness. Their children who entered the land of Canaan were warned to refrain from following the course that their fathers had taken. They were told that it was because of the obstinacy of their fathers, their unbelief and their idolatry, that the wrath of God had been poured out for their destruction.21MR 440.5

    [Hebrews 3:7-12, quoted.]21MR 441.1

    The children of Israel might have known the ways of God, for the truth had been kept before them. Again and again it had been repeated, but they did not follow its teachings. They divorced themselves from God, and followed after the wisdom of men who were not under the direction of God.21MR 441.2

    [Hebrews 3:11-19, quoted.]21MR 441.3

    These words are plain and simple. The fourth chapter of Hebrews also sets forth our danger of failing, as did the Israelites, of entering into our rest, because of unbelief.21MR 441.4

    Before the Review and Herald building was destroyed I thought of taking these books in my hands and of having them reset. But conditions have changed. The Review and Herald has moved to Washington. I want to see things so adjusted that the book work will be taken hold of intelligently, conducted with fairness and equity to all concerned. “Equity” means a great deal. I want to see the Review and Herald standing on the true foundation, where all who have an interest in it are doing all in their power to establish unity with other branches of the work. If they do not care to have the plates, then we will have it printed elsewhere, but we must have no issues in any matter if we can avoid it.21MR 441.5

    Time is nearing its close. I want every transaction to show the marks of unselfishness.—Letter 229, 1903.21MR 441.6

    Ellen G. White Estate

    Silver Spring, Maryland,

    June 13, 1991.

    Entire Letter.

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