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Life in the Seed

Do we realize the extraordinary dynamic of the printed page? Dr. Goodell, of the American board of missions, passed through Nicodemia, Turkey, in 1832. Having no time to stop or preach, he left a gospel paper with a stranger along the street. Seventeen years later he visited the area again, and found a Christian community of more than 200 members.

Dr. Griffith John tells of eight churches in China reared by tracts alone. Dr. Bartle Frere, traveling in India, was amazed to find a small town in which the idol shrines and temples were empty because the people professed the Christian faith. He was told that some years earlier one of them had been given an old piece of clothing which contained a Gospel portion and eight or nine tracts.

The life is not in the sower, but in the seed. Divine literature is somewhat like thistledown, precious seed which is blown by the winds of the Spirit, and floats over the world. When this precious seed finds good ground, it produces fruit.

The printed page is deathless: you can destroy one copy, but the press will produce millions more. Its very mutilation can be its sowing. Discarded tracts have been used to save many lost souls. Even torn and shredded tracts—fragments containing only two words—have been used by the Lord.

The printed page never flinches, never shows cowardice. It is never tempted to compromise. It never tires and never grows disheartened. It travels cheaply, requires no stage, and works while we sleep. It never loses its temper and it works long after we have passed on. The printed page is a visitor which gets inside the home and stays there. It always catches a person in the right mood, for it speaks only when it is being read. It always sticks to what it has said, and never answers back.

Regarding our tract distribution:

  • We should as much as possible ask God's blessing.
  • We should confidently expect God's blessing upon it.
  • We should labor on in this service—prayerfully and believingly labor on—even though for a long time we should see little or no fruit.

We should continue on as if everything depended on our labors, while, in reality, we ought not to put the least confidence in our exertions, but alone in God's ability and willingness to bless, by His Holy Spirit, our efforts for the sake of the Lord Jesus.