The Book, the Author and the Colporteur

God used the author of this book as a channel through which to communicate light to direct minds to the truth. {1MR 63.1}

Why was the book ‘Thoughts on Daniel and the Revelation’, along with Sr White’s books, to be widely circulated?  Because the truths that they emphases would open many blind eyes.

What should colporteurs be doing with these books?  Making every effort to get them before the people.

“Instruction has been given me that the important books containing the light that God has given regarding Satan’s apostasy in heaven should be given a wide circulation just now; for through them the truth will reach many minds. ‘Patriarchs and Prophets,’ ‘Daniel and the Revelation,’ and ‘Great Controversy’ are needed now as never before. They should be widely circulated because the truths they emphasize will open many blind eyes.  {RH, February 16, 1905 par. 10}

Many of our people have been blind to the importance of the very books that were most needed. Had tact and skill then been shown in the sale of these books, the Sunday-law movement would not be where it is today.—Review and Herald, February 16, 1905. {CEv 21.2}

The light given was that Thoughts on Daniel and the Revelation, The Great Controversy, and Patriarchs and Prophets, would make their way. They contain the very message the people must have, the special light God had given His people. The angels of God would prepare the way for these books in the hearts of the people. {CEv 21.1}

What should canvassers be doing with ‘Daniel and the Revelation’?  Urging it up on the attention of all.

Those who have not had an experience with the message need to do what?  Study the instruction given in ‘Daniel and the Revelation’ and become familiar with the truth it presents.

Let our canvassers urge this book upon the attention of all. The Lord has shown me that this book will do a good work in enlightening those who become interested in the truth for this time. Those who embrace the truth now, who have not shared in the experiences of those who entered the work in the early history of the message, should study the instruction given in Daniel and the Revelation, becoming familiar with the truth it presents.  {1MR 61.1}

How did God use Uriah Smith (the author of the book ‘Daniel and the Revelation’)? God used him as a channel through which to communicate light and direct minds to the truth. How long will interest in this book continue?  As long as probationary time should last.

The truth for this time has been brought out in many books. Let those who have been dealing in cheap sentiments and foolish tests, cease this work and study Daniel and the Revelation. They will then have something to talk about that will help the mind. As they receive the knowledge contained in this book, they will have in the treasure house of the mind a store from which they can continually draw as they communicate to others the great, essential truths of God’s Word.  {1MR 62.4}

The interest in Daniel and the Revelation is to continue as long as probationary time shall last. God used the author of this book as a channel through which to communicate light to direct minds to the truth. Shall we not appreciate this light, which points us to the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, our King?  {1MR 63.1}

Are ministry students to understand ‘Daniel and the Revelation”?  Yes, they need to understand this book. Is there a solid foundation for everyone?  Yes, Everyone needs the light and information that it contains.

Those who are preparing to enter the ministry, who desire to become successful students of the prophecies, will find Daniel and the Revelation an invaluable help. They need to understand this book. It speaks of past, present, and future, laying out the path so plainly that none need err therein. Those who will diligently study this book will have no relish for the cheap sentiments presented by those who have a burning desire to get out something new and strange to present to the flock of God. The rebuke of God is upon all such teachers. They need that one teach them what is meant by godliness and truth. The great, essential questions which God would have presented to the people are found in Daniel and the Revelation. There is found solid, eternal truth for this time. Everyone needs the light and information it contains.  {1MR 61.2}

Should students in our schools study the book ‘Daniel and the Revelation’?  Yes, they should carefully study the book. What will this book achieve?  It will educate those who need to understand the truth of the Word.

Now is come the time of the revelation of the grace of God. Now is the gospel of Jesus Christ to be proclaimed. Satan will seek to divert the minds of those who should be established, strengthened, and settled in the truths of the first, second, and third angels’ messages. The students in our schools should carefully study Daniel and the Revelation, so that they shall not be left in darkness, and the day of Christ overtake them as a thief in the night. I speak of this book because it is a means of educating those who need to understand the truth of the Word. This book should be highly appreciated. It covers much of the ground we have been over in our experience. If the youth will study this book and learn for themselves what is truth, they will be saved from many perils.  {1MR 63.4}

Question: Shall we cast away a book that the word of inspiration says contains eternal truth: a book that contains truth that will reach to the very end of probationary time: a book that the word of inspiration says all need to thoroughly understand?

The Author Uriah Smith

How did Sr White regard Uriah Smith?  Very highly.

What was Uriah Smith’s position?  Leading editor of the Review and Herald.

We can easily count the first burden bearers now alive [1902]. Elder [Uriah] Smith was connected with us at the beginning of the publishing work. He labored in connection with my husband. We hope always to see his name in the Review and Herald at the head of the list of editors; for thus it should be. Those who began the work, who fought bravely when the battle went so hard, must not lose their hold now. They are to be honored by those who entered the work after the hardest privation had been borne.  {2SM 225.2}

I feel very tender toward Elder Smith. My life interest in the publishing work is bound up with his. He came to us as a young man, possessing talents that qualified him to stand in his lot and place as an editor. How I rejoice as I read his articles in the Review–so excellent, so full of spiritual truth. I thank God for them. I feel a strong sympathy for Elder Smith, and I believe that his name should always appear in the Review as the name of the leading editor. Thus God would have it. When, some years ago, his name was placed second, I felt hurt. When it was again placed first, I wept, and said, “Thank God.” May it always be there, as God designs it shall be, while Elder Smith’s right hand can hold a pen. And when the power of his hand fails, let his sons write at his dictation.  {2SM 225.3}

How long did Uriah Smith labour in the office of the Review and Herald?  Fifty years.

In 1853 Elder Uriah Smith began his labors in the office of the Review and Herald, where he held a responsible position for half a century. {1905 JNL, GSAM 286.2}

When did Uriah Smith die?  1903.

How long did he have editorial connection with the Review and Herald?  From 1853 to 1903.

From 1853 to 1903, half a century, Elder Smith had an almost constant editorial connection with the Advent Review and Sabbath Herald; and for a greater part of that time he had the entire editorial management of the paper. Even on the day of his death, when smitten down by a paralytic stroke, he was on his way to the office with matter which he had prepared for print. He also contributed several important volumes to the literature of the denomination. Among these works are Thoughts on Daniel and the Revelation, Nature and Destiny of Man, an enlarged volume on the Sanctuary and Twenty-three Hundred Days, The Marvel of Nations, Modern Spiritualism. The first of these volumes was mostly written between the hours of nine o’clock P.M. and midnight, after the day’s editorial and office work was completed. {1905 JNL, GSAM 321.1}

Where do we find safety?  We find safety in the truths of the last fifty years (truths establish prior to 1905).

In the future, deception of every kind is to arise, and we want solid ground for our feet. We want solid pillars for the building. Not one pin is to be removed from that which the Lord has established. The enemy will bring in false theories, such as the doctrine that there is no sanctuary. This is one of the points on which there will be a departing from the faith. Where shall we find safety unless it be in the truths that the Lord has been giving for the last fifty years?  {RH, May 25, 1905 par. 28}

Shall we give heed to applications that contradict the pillars of faith set down by the pioneers in the first fifty years?  We are not to receive the words of contradictory applications.

Though now passed away, does Uriah Smith still have a testimony to bear?  Yes, through the reprinting of his writings his voice is to be heard.

Let Pioneers Identify Truth.–When the power of God testifies as to what is truth, that truth is to stand forever as the truth. No aftersuppositions, contrary to the light God has given are to be entertained. Men will arise with interpretations of Scripture which are to them truth, but which are not truth. The truth for this time, God has given us as a foundation for our faith. He Himself has taught us what is truth. One will arise, and still another, with new light which contradicts the light that God has given under the demonstration of His Holy Spirit.  {CW 31.2}

A few are still alive who passed through the experience gained in the establishment of this truth. God has graciously spared their lives to repeat and repeat till the close of their lives, the experience through which they passed even as did John the apostle till the very close of his life. And the standard-bearers who have fallen in death, are to speak through the reprinting of their writings. I am instructed that thus their voices are to be heard. They are to bear their testimony as to what constitutes the truth for this time.  {CW 32.1}

We are not to receive the words of those who come with a message that contradicts the special points of our faith. They gather together a mass of Scripture, and pile it as proof around their asserted theories. This has been done over and over again during the past fifty years. And while the Scriptures are God’s word, and are to be respected, the application of them, if such application moves one pillar from the foundation that God has sustained these fifty years, is a great mistake. He who makes such an application knows not the wonderful demonstration of the Holy Spirit that gave power and force to the past messages that have come to the people of God.– Preach the Word, p. 5. (1905.)  {CW 32.2}

What has gone wrong?  Why have people thrown out the book ‘Thoughts on Daniel and the Revelation’ and no longer regard it as containing the truth?  This has happened because the fundamental principles of the last fifty years have indeed been written and a system of intellectual philosophy introduced.

The enemy of souls has sought to bring in the supposition that a great reformation was to take place among Seventh-day Adventists, and that this reformation would consist in giving up the doctrines which stand as the pillars of our faith, and engaging in a process of reorganization. Were this reformation to take place, what would result? The principles of truth that God in His wisdom has given to the remnant church, would be discarded. Our religion would be changed. The fundamental principles that have sustained the work for the last fifty years would be accounted as error. A new organization would be established. Books of a new order would be written. A system of intellectual philosophy would be introduced. The founders of this system would go into the cities, and do a wonderful work. The Sabbath of course, would be lightly regarded, as also the God who created it. Nothing would be allowed to stand in the way of the new movement. The leaders would teach that virtue is better than vice, but God being removed, they would place their dependence on human power, which, without God, is worthless. Their foundation would be built on the sand, and storm and tempest would sweep away the structure.  {1SM 204.2}

Why was James White reproved for countering Smith’s interpretations on the ‘King of the North’ and thus failing to present a united front to the people?

One of the testimonies to individuals, delivered most likely only in oral form, was addressed to James White–a reproof for his course of action just before the combined camp meeting and General Conference session. He and Uriah Smith held conflicting views on the prophecy of the “king of the North” pictured in Daniel 11, and the power presented in verse 45 that would come to his end with none to help him. White, in his Sabbath morning address September 28 in the newly pitched camp-meeting tent, countered Smith’s interpretations. He felt that Smith’s approach, indicating that the world was on the verge of Armageddon, would threaten the strong financial support needed for the rapidly expanding work of the church. {3BIO 96.4}

Ellen White’s message to her husband was a reproof for taking a course that would lead the people to observe differences of opinion among leaders and to lower their confidence in them. For the church leaders to stand in a divided position before the people was hazardous. James White accepted the reproof, but it was one of the most difficult experiences he was called to cope with, for he felt he was doing the right thing. At no time did Ellen White reveal which man was right in the position he held. That was not the issue. The crux of the matter was the importance of leaders presenting a united front before the people.  {3BIO 97.1}

Life Sketch – Uriah Smith

Few Seventh-day Adventists have known their Bibles better than Uriah Smith. He was a quiet, reserved man who impressed people by his learning and appearance. A man of noble countenance, he commanded respect. {ND EGWE, APBP 20.2}

In December, 1852, he accepted the light of the message taught by the Sabbath-keeping Adventists. The following year he associated with the publishing interests of the “little flock” of believers in Rochester. For about a half century he was the editor or on the editorial staff of the church paper, the Review and Herald. Uriah Smith was the first Secretary of the General Conference, accepting this post at the organization of the General Conference in the spring of the year 1863.   {ND EGWE, APBP 20.3}

He is best known for his book, The Prophecies of Daniel and the Revelation, which has circulated by the thousands of copies. He was the first Bible teacher at Battle Creek College.   {ND EGWE, APBP 20.4}

Uriah Smith was born in a fine-looking house in the little town of West Wilton, New Hampshire. He was as solid in his character as any New Englander, true “grit of the granite state.” The birthplace of Uriah Smith and his sister Annie still stands in this tiny New England town. It is now called the Eagle House and may be visited by interested tourists. {ND EGWE, APBP 20.5}

A short time before his death, the main building of the Review and Herald burned down. This was a grave tragedy. The heart and soul of Uriah Smith was bound up with this institution. His whole life had been dedicated to its development. {ND EGWE, APBP 20.6}

Elder Smith was often seen walking down the streets of Battle Creek with his cane, limping along on his artificial limb, for he had suffered an amputation as a teen-age boy. His inventive genius led him to create an artificial limb which he used during much of his lifetime. He was versatile and intelligent, as were most of the pioneers. The early workers were people of stature-high caliber. God chose the best that He could find to do the most important work given to men and women in these last days. {ND EGWE, APBP 20.7}

See: Footprints of the Pioneers, pp.123-129; Pioneer Stories Retold, pp.178-181.   {ND EGWE, APBP 20.8}

A Story about Uriah Smith

When Uriah was just twelve years old a local infection brought on by an illness required the amputation of his left leg above the knee. His courageous struggle with pain and shock built into his frame of clay those steel girders that made him the solid man he was. {ND EGWE, APBP 20.9}

Think what it meant to lose a leg in those days. There were no white-robed surgeons and nurses to minister to the patient, no merciful anaesthetic, and no competent hospital care. A noted surgeon of nearby Keene, Dr. Amos Twitchell, cut off the leg and bound it in twenty minutes. Uriah’s mother held his hands. Then she and his loving sister took care of him. {ND EGWE, APBP 20.10}

This injury of his early years brought confinement to Elder Smith in later life. He was not able to get out and move around like the other ministers. He just couldn’t. So what did he do? Settle down to discouragement? No. His injury was a blessing to him for it brought out his inventive genius. For a while he used the clumsy artificial limb that they provided for him, with a solid foot, but he didn’t like it, so he set to work and invented a pliable foot, got a patent for it, and with the money he received from its sale, he bought his first house in Battle Creek. {ND EGWE, APBP 20.11}

W. A. Spicer gives us his impression of Uriah Smith: {ND EGWE, APBP 21.1}

“As a boy I always passed Elder Smith’s editorial room in the old Battle Creek Review and Herald office with somewhat of awe: for there was a notice on the door in dark purple-colored ink and in large letters:

“Editor’s Room.

Busy? Yes, always.

If you have any business,

Attend to your business,

And let us attend to our business.'”

-Pioneer Days of the Advent Movement, pages 245,246.

Yes, Smith was a man who was on the march. He was busy with the Lord’s business and he wanted others to be about theirs, but he was a graceful and a tender-hearted man. If you don’t think so, read the last chapter of his book, The Prophecies of Daniel and the Revelation. It will thrill you. It is so full of heart longings for the new earth, our eternal home. {ND EGWE, APBP 21.9}

The Colporteur – George King

Which book did the colporteur work begin with?  ‘Thoughts on Daniel and the Revelation’.

Several capable and godly men felt called to pioneer the colporteur road. Of these the best known now is George King. Uriah Smith’s two books, Thoughts on Daniel and Thoughts on the Revelation, had first been bound separately and sold as trade books. Brother King urged that these be bound in one volume, well illustrated, and sold by agents from house to house. He alone guaranteed to sell five thousand copies if the publishing house would take hold of the enterprise. {1947 LHC, FSG 354.4}

In the library of the Review and Herald Publishing Association at Washington, D.C., there is the first bound copy of Thoughts on Daniel and the Revelation. On the inside cover of this leather-bound volume we find the following note by D. W. Reavis: {1947 LHC, FSG 355.1}

“To my personal knowledge this is the first copy of the first large subscription books bound for the denomination by the Review and Herald Publishing Association. A small edition of the combined single copies on ‘Thoughts on Daniel,’ and ‘Thoughts on the Revelation,’ was bound, upon the earnest solicitation of Brother George A. King for his personal use. {1947 LHC, FSG 355.2}

“While waiting for the books to be bound, Brother King worked by my side sorting broom corn in the Lewis Broom Factory, of Battle Creek, Michigan. He counted the days as they passed, talking continuously about the possibilities of subscription books in teaching the world the ‘third angel’s message.’ {1947 LHC, FSG 355.3}

“On the day, and at the very hour, he was promised the first finished copy (at 9 o’clock AM, April 3, 1882), Brother King left the factory and went to the Review and Herald office and secured this, the first completed copy. With great pride and enthusiasm he brought it back to the factory to show to his fellow workmen. After the exhibit was made Brother King insisted I should buy this first copy for ‘good luck’ to the subscription book work of the denomination.

At first I ridiculed the idea, but finally yielded to the persuasiveness of Brother King and paid him $2.50 and took the book. Its value now cannot be estimated in money. It exists as a visible evidence of God’s leadings in men’s and institutional affairs for the development and the completion of His final message to the world.”-D. W. Reavis, May 14, 1920. {1947 LHC, FSG 355.4}

At the General Conference of 1880, in Battle Creek, George King appeared with Uriah Smith’s Thoughts under his arm, buttonholing every man he could make to stand for a minute; and presenting these two books, 5 by 8 inches, firmly pressed together in one hand, he talked eagerly and convincingly of what the Lord would do through a colporteur if these books were brought out as one, enlarged, illustrated, and attractively bound in cloth or leather.  George would not be hushed, shushed, or inveigled into other lines.  No one was going to make him into a preacher, or a doctor, or a printer, or anything but a colporteur.  If only he had a book!  A book he could sell!  A book that he could be righteously proud to take to the public!  “Make me a book!”

In the end he prevailed.  The spirit of adventure was aroused in George Butler and the men of the Review and Herald.  They put the two books together; they enlarged the page; they employed the artistry of the time to make the pictures of great Babylon, and hard-riding Saracens and Turks, and the horrific beasts of the prophets’ visions; and they bound them in blue and green and fine twined linen, and sheepskin, and morocco, with marbled and gilt edges. Oh, it was a revolution in the art and press and bindery departments of the publishing house.  And then they said to George King.  “Here you are!  Now go out and make good your promise to sell these books.”

George King took the first copy that came from the press, and without ever leaving the building he cornered a young man named Webb Reavis, “gave him a canvass” and sold the book.  That by way of demonstration.  Then he went out to the public, and the first edition speedily disappeared.

This, in the year 1881, was the beginning of the subscription book business.

George King, once having demonstrated the feasibility of selling our books by subscription, called for other colporteurs, and he trained those who responded, and sent them into the field.  The subscription-book business increased by leaps and bounds.  Some great missionary salesmen were developed besides King, who remained at his chosen work until death, twenty years later.  – Origin and History of Seventh-Day Adventists, vol 2, pages 83-87, Arthur W Spalding.

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