Our cause has been markedly blessed and enriched, periodically, by the assemblage of all key Spirit of prophecy counsels on certain great themes not previously gathered together in systematic form. These are drawn chiefly from the thousands of periodical message-articles to this people, appearing in the old volumes of the Review and Herald, Signs, Watchman, Youth's Instructor, union conference papers, Bible Echo, et cetera, but which are not commonly available to the average worker. To these are added certain pertinent manuscript-testimonies, duly released by the Board of Trustees of the E. G. White Publications, in accordance with Mrs. White's authorizing instructions and provisions. These, together with certain classic statements from her standard books, bring together systematically arranged vital counsels on the particular theme.
Strangely enough, criticism is sometimes leveled against such assemblages, because Mrs. White herself did not personally assemble them and authorize each one in this particular form. But closer scrutiny reveals that such criticism is neither reasonable nor valid. The pattern was clearly set under Mrs. White's personal direction, during the last few years of her, life, when she directed the assemblage of Counsels to Parents and Teachers and Gospel Workers. The plan was therefore initiated and approved by Mrs. White herself.
These Spirit of prophecy compilations bring together statements, access to much of which could never otherwise be had by the individual worker-—unless he were to make a special trip to the General Conference headquarters, where all denominational periodicals containing Mrs. White's articles not only are assembled but also indexed and cross-referenced. Such investigation would take months or possibly years of time for one individual, as well as thousands of dollars in expense—not to mention the toil and training necessary for a workmanlike job.
The original manuscript writings of Mrs. White are housed in protective vaults in the General Conference building, under the custody of a Board of Trustees set up by Mrs. White herself shortly before her death. Naturally, these manuscript files of letter-testimonies cannot be open to general investigation, as many of them contain personal matters of a confidential nature. But in these treasured manuscripts are found many priceless gems that are of general interest and great importance to all of us.
Much of this material was used by Mrs. White in the preparation of articles and books. And in her will she provided for the use of such unpublished writings when needed. While rarely, if ever, have any new or startling truths been discovered since her death that had not already appeared in articles and books, there have been found, as she anticipated, testimonies suitable for meeting new issues that arise. And frequently statements are found that emphasize and clarify truths already published.
It is the combining of all these counsels .that makes these compilations invaluable. This was the procedure followed in the compilations on Christian education, medical ministry, the home, stewardship, Sabbath school work, counsels to writers and editors, evangelism, and now, most recently, on temperance. Like the others, this latest compilation is likewise a priceless assemblage, worthy of a large place in every worker's life and library—and best of all, it can be had in quite inexpensive form.
Investigation and assemblage has in each instance been made from the periodical files by individuals especially trained in each specific field under study. At the same time, diligent search has been made under direction of the trustees to find the very best material on the subject of the compilation. The result is a handy compilation, fully verified and documented, and entirely reliable as to balance and adequacy of treatment, with a convenient index. Naturally, in making such a compilation there may be some repetition of thought or even phrases, but all material chosen is most helpful for a well-rounded study.
Obviously these compilations become price less tools for the Advent worker. In each instance such a compilation has been undertaken only under wide counsel, checked for balance and utility fay at least a score of our most experienced workers, approved by the officers of the General Conference, and formally authorized by the Board of E. G. White Publications Trustees. Such are the safeguards followed. The treasured results speak for themselves.
The occasion for this review of the plan and purpose of such compilations is the newest compilation Temperance one of Mrs. White's favorite interests, on which she wrote much and spoke often. But for several decades, since Mrs. White's death, this subject has faded somewhat into the background of our thinking- and emphasis. The present is surely a propitious hour, along with the reorganization of the American and International Temperance Associations, for this compilation to come before all our workers with all its inherent forms and pertinency.
Here again we see the broad and deep treatment always accorded a vital issue, or principle, by Spirit of prophecy discussion. It always produces a sense of initial surprise and pleasure, then of sobering gratitude. Great underlying principles are brought out that would often otherwise be missed. Thus the Spirit of prophecy serves as a giant magnifying glass, bringing sharply and impressively into view much that the human eye, unaided, would probably fail to see.
And when one realizes that the same amazing fullness and balance of treatment is afforded on a score of vital subjects that are each a life time study for the great professions—engaging the thought of physicians, educators, scientists, theologians, and the like—one is led to ex claim: "Truly, this amazing array and completeness of counsel did not spring from the unaided human mind. God has vouchsafed special guidance, and has provided light for the remnant church, which He has called into being, and is now instructing through His chosen instrumentality. It cannot be otherwise explained."
So we thank God for this provision. We are blessed above all others in having these safe guarding, dependable, and illuminating counsels available in our midst. We are happy for these compilations which bring together the key instructions of Mrs. White's full complement of writings on these given themes. These compilations, therefore, are primarily hand books. They are, as it were, amplified indexes, produced for our convenience and service, but giving as well the actual statements themselves in verified and documented form. The value and comprehensiveness of such a compilation is exemplified in the recent volume Evangelism— the standard handbook of every minister on public evangelism. That is endorsement enough.
We here welcome this newest worker aid— Temperance Its production is in full harmony with the intent and desire of Mrs. White for the collected use of her writings. In these days more is expected of us than has been expected in any previous period of the church's history. We are to prepare a people for the final crisis. We are to make them ready to meet the Lord, and to complete the arrested Reformation. And now, when every wind of strange doctrine is blowing, and every type of false philosophy is befuddling the minds of men, we need these sure, guiding principles to give certainty and unity to our message, and to forestall the con fusion and conflict of opinion that has proved the undoing of the divided Protestant churches of Christendom. Again we say, thank God for the gift of the Spirit of prophecy. Let us cherish it as our most precious aid — next to the Bible, to which it ever points.