"FERVENT IN SPIRIT, SERVING THE LORD."
Many who cannot go out into the Colporteur work, but who burn with a desire to tell the good tidings and show forth the praises of him who hath called us out of darkness into his marvelous light, inquire--What can we do? Can you not help us to use our limited talents and opportunities?
We can only suggest methods of labor;-- your talents (opportunities, etc.) and your zeal must decide to what extent you can or will use these or better methods, if you know of better.
(1) One good plan is by a systematic distribution of Old Theology Tracts. This may be done at any time, but especially on Sundays. Have slips like No. 14 for the masses and larger tracts for the thoughtful and earnest looking,--at the hotels, in the parks, etc. And a good plan is for several to serve those who go toward or return from church service. But do not stand near the church building-- go at least half a block away so as not to appear to specially seek their conversion: they will take it as an insult and resent it--for "surely it is in vain that a net is spread in the sight of any bird."
(2) Another good method is to visit your friends and tell them what great things God has done for your soul. Speak chiefly of the fruits and graces of the spirit and afterward about the truths which enlightened and refreshed your hearts and brought forth those fruits. When you come to speak of the latter --the doctrines of God's Word--be very cautious, and feed them with "milk" rather than "strong meat." Remember the Lord's words, to some under similar circumstances, "I have many things to tell you, but ye cannot bear them now." Remember to ignore yourself in telling the blessed tidings. Don't try to shine; don't try to impress your hearer with your wisdom, your knowledge of Scripture, etc. Forget self entirely, and let your whole aim be to glorify God and bless your hearer.
(3) Unless you are very well versed in the truth and apt at teaching it, your success will lie chiefly in awakening a curiosity and interest and then selling or loaning the M. DAWN or a specially selected Old Theology Tract. The gospel in print is doing many times more good than the gospel by voice in the present harvest; but the latter introduces and supplements well the former and the two together are preferable to either alone,--if the spoken gospel be spoken with wisdom and to the ignoring of the speaker.
How can you get an opportunity to speak a word in season, and to loan the book or tract? [R1650 : page 141] We reply that there are several good ways,--
(a) Select your most consecrated Christian friends to begin with, and next any of your acquaintances that are inclined to be skeptical.
(b) When you have done what you can for your friends and acquaintances, and when you find opportunity to enlarge your sphere of labor, attend Methodist Class-meetings, and Christian Endeavor meetings, and prayer-meetings common to all denominations. Take part in these according to the liberty accorded, confining yourself within the recognized liberties of said meetings in speaking and praying. Seek to give no offense; manifest the spirit which is from above, which is first pure; then "Let your moderation be known unto all men." Avoid wrangling; "for the servant of God should not strive," but should "speak the truth in love."
Let your light shine before them, the light of the spirit of the truth,--the light of a justified life, and more, of a sanctified life. Do not intrude doctrines, or anything else at their meetings, that a large majority present would disapprove. Speak on lines of Christian experience, etc., in harmony with their rules and habits. Leave your doctrinal explanations, etc., for private conversation or for an occasion specially arranged at which they would be agreeable. At these meetings get well acquainted with the whole hearted and pure hearted--the consecrated or those "feeling after God," and let them get acquainted with your heart. If they come to take knowledge of you that you have been with Jesus and learned of him, and that you are truly his "brethren," you will then be able to introduce to them the precious present truths which you can see to be so needful for their ripening.
(c) While always careful not to belie the truth, careful not to be mistaken for a member in any of the nominal churches, this need not hinder any from sometimes attending divine worship in any of them, if thus we may do more good than in any other way known to us. By mingling with them occasionally you may have opportunities for speaking a word in season and handing a tract or book, that you would not otherwise have.
(d) Study very thoroughly the Chart which you find in M. DAWN VOL. I., until you understand its every feature and can explain it clearly. (See explanation, Chapter xii.) Then you might procure one of our new five feet charts (See notice page 2), invite in your neighbors and friends and explain it to them; and when you have callers it may sometimes prove, not only of interest and profit to them, but a blessing to yourself; for every time we explain God's great plan to others we get a fresh blessing therefrom upon our own hearts.