Words of Precaution Regarding Sunday Labour
THE COLOURED PEOPLE, AND THE WAY TO OPPOSE ERROR. (REPORT OF THE INTERVIEW)
ON THE MORNING OF NOVEMBER 20, 1895, A COUNCIL MEETING WAS CALLED AT THE LARGE TENT ON THE ARMADALE CAMPGROUND TO CONSIDER SOME QUESTIONS ARISING FROM THE DISCUSSIONS OF OUR BRETHREN REGARDING THE RELIGIOUS LIBERTY WORK. THE POSITIONS RECENTLY TAKEN BY SOME OF OUR BRETHREN INDICATED THAT THERE WAS NECESSITY FOR A MORE THOROUGH UNDERSTANDING OF THE PRINCIPLES WHICH MUST GOVERN OUR WORK. THERE WERE PRESENT BRETHREN W. W. PRESCOTT, A. G. DANIELLS, W. C. WHITE, M. C. ISRAEL, L. J. ROUSSEAU, W. A. COLCORD, M. G. KELLOGG, W. D. SALISBURY, JAMES SMITH, AND SISTERS E. G. WHITE AND E. J. BURNHAM. SEVERAL LETTERS WERE READ WITH REFERENCE TO THE QUESTIONS AT ISSUE, THEN SISTER WHITE READ A LETTER WHICH SHE HAD WRITTEN TO ELDER A. T. JONES, IN MAY, 1894, WHICH HAD BEEN UNAVOIDABLY WITHHELD UNTIL VERY RECENTLY.
IN THIS LETTER REFERENCE WAS MADE TO THE NECESSITY OF OUR SPEAKERS
PRESENTING THE TRUTH IN SUCH A SIMPLE MANNER THAT EVEN THE SMALL CHILDREN COULD COMPREHEND THE LESSONS WHICH IT WAS DESIGNED TO TEACH. REMARKING ON THIS, SISTER WHITE SAID: "According to the light which has been given to me, when the heavenly intelligences see that men will no longer present the truth in simplicity as did Jesus, the very children will be moved upon by the Spirit of God, and will go forth proclaiming the truth for this time."
THE BRETHREN WERE INVITED TO DISCUSS THE POINTS TREATED IN THE LETTERS, BUT ALL WERE DESIROUS OF HEARING FURTHER FROM SISTER WHITE, AND SHE MADE THE FOLLOWING REMARKS:
"There is a terrible crisis just before us, through which all must pass, and especially will it come and be felt in Battle Creek. My mind has been much troubled over the positions which some of our brethren are liable to take in regard to the work to be done among the coloured people in the Southern States. There is one point that I wish to lay before those who work in the Southern field. Among the coloured people they will have to labour in different lines from those followed in the North. They cannot go to the South and present the real facts in reference to Sundaykeeping being the mark of the beast, and encourage the coloured people to work on Sunday; for the same spirit that held the coloured people in slavery is not dead, but alive today, and ready to spring into activity. The same spirit of oppression is still cherished in the minds of many of the white people of the South, and will reveal itself in cruel deeds, which are the manifestation of their religious zeal. Some will oppose in every possible way any action which has a tendency to uplift the coloured race and teach them to be self-supporting.
"When the whites show an inclination to help the coloured people by educating them to help themselves, a certain class of the white people are terribly annoyed. They do not want the coloured people to earn an independent living. They want them to work their plantations.
"When the white people try to educate the coloured people in the truth, jealousy is aroused, and ministers, both coloured and white, will bitterly oppose the truth. The coloured ministers think that they know how to preach to their own race better than the white ministers can, and they feel that the whites are taking the work out of their hands. By falsehood they will create the most decided opposition, and those among the white people who are opposed to the truth will help them, and will make it exceedingly hard for the work of the message to advance.
"When the truth is proclaimed in the South, a marked difference will be shown by those who oppose the truth in their greater regard for Sunday, and great care must be exercised not to do anything to arouse their prejudice. Otherwise, we may just as well leave the field entirely, for the workers will have all the white people against them. Those who oppose the truth will not work openly, but through secret organisations, and they will seek to hinder the work in every possible way. Our labourers must move in a quiet way, striving to do everything possible to present the truth to the people, remembering that the love of Christ will melt down the opposition.
"From the light that I have received, I see that if we would get the truth before the Southern people, we must not encourage the coloured people to work on Sunday. There must be a clear understanding regarding this, but it need not be published in our papers. You must teach these people as you would teach children. Not a word should be spoken to create prejudice, for if by any careless or impulsive speech to the coloured people in regard to the whites any prejudice is created in their minds against the whites, or in the minds of the whites against them, the spirit of the enemy will work in the children of disobedience. Thus an opposition will be aroused which will hinder the work of the message, and will endanger the lives of the workers and of the believers.
"We are not to make efforts to teach the Southern people to work on Sunday. That which some of our brethren have written upon this point is not based upon right principles. When the practices of the people do not come in conflict with the law of God, you may conform to them. If the workers fail to do this, they will not only hinder their own work, but they will place stumbling blocks in the way of those for whom they labour, and hinder them from accepting the truth. On Sunday there is the very best opportunity for those who are missionaries to hold Sunday schools, and come to the people in the simplest manner possible, telling them of the love of Jesus for sinners and educating them in the Scriptures. There are many ways of reaching all classes, both white and black. We are to interest them in the life of Christ from His childhood up to manhood, and through His life of ministry to the cross. We cannot work in all localities in the same way. We must let the Holy Spirit guide, for men and women cannot convince others of the wrong traits of character. While labouring to introduce the truth, we must accommodate ourselves as much as possible to the field and the circumstances of those for whom we labour."
Question: Should not those in the Southern field work on Sunday?
"If they do this, there is danger that as soon as the opposing element can get the slightest opportunity, they will stir up one another to persecute those who do this and to pick off those whom they hate. At present Sundaykeeping is not the test. The time will come when men will not only forbid Sunday work, but they will try to force men to labour on the Sabbath. And men will be asked to renounce the Sabbath and to subscribe to Sunday observance or forfeit their freedom and their lives. But the time for this has not yet come, for the truth must be presented more fully before the people as a witness. What I have said about this should not be understood as referring to the action of old Sabbathkeepers who understand the truth. They must move as the Lord shall direct them, but let them consider that they can do the best missionary work on Sunday. . . .
"It will not do for those who labour among the coloured people to preach the truth as boldly and openly as they would be free to do in other places. Even Christ clothed His lessons in figures and parables to avoid the opposition of the Pharisees. When the coloured people feel that they have the Word of God in regard to the Sabbath question, and the sanction of those who brought them the truth, some who are impulsive will take the opportunity to defy the Sunday laws, and by a presumptuous defiance of their oppressors they will bring to themselves much sorrow. Very faithfully the coloured people must be instructed to be like Christ, to patiently suffer wrongs, that they may help their fellow men to see the light of truth.
"A terrible condition of things is certainly opening before us. According to the light which is given me in regard to the Southern field, the work there must be done as wisely and carefully as possible, and it must be done in the manner in which Christ would work. The people will soon find out what you believe about Sunday and the Sabbath, for they will ask questions. Then you can tell them, but not in such a manner as to attract attention to your work. You need not cut short your work by yourself labouring on Sunday. It would be better to take that day to instruct others in regard to the love of Jesus and true conversion."
Question: Should the same principles govern our work and our attitude toward the Sunday question in foreign fields where the prejudices of the people are so strong?
"Yes; just the same. The light that I have is that God's servants should go quietly to work, preaching the grand, precious truths of
the Bible--Christ and Him crucified, His love and infinite sacrifice --showing that the reason why Christ died is because the law of God is immutable, unchangeable, eternal. The Spirit of the Lord will awaken the conscience and the understanding of those with whom you work, bringing the commandments of God to their remembrance. I can hardly describe to you the way in which this has been presented to me. The Lord says in Revelation 22:16: 'I Jesus have sent mine angel to testify unto you these things in the churches.' Have any of you seen this angel? The messengers from heaven are close beside those who stand before the people, holding forth the word of life. In preaching the truth, it is not always best to present those strong points of truth that will arouse prejudice, especially where such strong feelings exist as is felt in the Southern States. The Sabbath must be taught in a decided manner, but be cautious how you deal with the idol, Sunday. A word to the wise is sufficient.
"I have given you the light which has been presented to me. If followed, it will change the course of many, and will make them wise, cautious teachers. Refraining from work on Sunday is not receiving the mark of the beast; and where this will advance the interests of the work, it should be done. We should not go out of our way to work on Sunday.
"After the Sabbath has been sacredly observed, in places where the opposition is so strong as to arouse persecution if work is done on Sunday, let our brethren make that day an occasion to do genuine missionary work. Let them visit the sick and the poor, ministering to their wants, and they will find favourable opportunities to open the Scriptures to individuals and to families. Thus most profitable work can be done for the Master. When those who hear and see the light on the Sabbath take their stand upon the truth to keep God's holy day, difficulties will arise, for efforts will be brought to bear against them to compel men and women to transgress the law of God. Here they must stand firm, that they will not violate the law of God, and if the opposition and persecution are determinedly kept up, let them heed the words of Christ, 'When they persecute you in this city, flee ye into another: for verily I say unto you, Ye shall not have gone over the cities of Israel, till the Son of man be come.'
"The time has not yet come for us to work as though there were no prejudice. Christ said, 'Be ye therefore wise as serpents, and harmless as doves.' If you see that by doing certain things which you have
a perfect right to do, you hinder the work of the truth, refrain from doing these things. Do nothing that will close the minds of others against the truth. There is a world to save, and we gain nothing by cutting loose from those we are trying to help. All things may be lawful, but all things are not expedient.
"We have no right to do anything that will obstruct the light which is shining from heaven; yet by a wrong course of action we may imperil the work, and close the door which God has opened for the entrance of the truth. The final issue on the Sabbath question has not yet come, and by imprudent actions we may bring on a crisis before the time. You may have all the truth, but you need not let it all flash at once upon minds, lest it become darkness to them. Even Christ said to His disciples, 'I have many things to say unto you, but ye can not bear them now.' We must not go into a place, open our satchels, show all we have, and tell everything that we know at once. We must work cautiously, presenting the truth by degrees, as the hearers can bear it, but keep close to the Word."-- Ellen G. White manuscript 22a, 1895. Published in The Southern Work, pp. 128-136.
Proper Methods of Work in the Southern Field
[* NOTE: ELLEN G. WHITE LETTER ADDRESSED TO ELDER A. O. TAIT OF BATTLE CREEK, MICHIGAN, RECORDING SECRETARY OF THE INTERNATIONAL RELIGIOUS LIBERTY ASSOCIATION. THE ENTIRE LETTER, EXCEPT THE SENTENCE IN PARENTHESES JUST BEFORE THE SIGNATURE, WAS PUBLISHED BY ELDER O. A. OLSEN, PRESIDENT OF THE GENERAL CONFERENCE, ON NOVEMBER 22, 1896, AS ONE OF SEVERAL ITEMS IN "SPECIAL TESTIMONIES FOR MINISTERS AND WORKERS," NO. 6 (PAGES 47-56). IT WAS SUBSEQUENTLY REPRINTED BY JAMES EDSON WHITE IN THE SOUTHERN WORK, PAGES 97-108.--WHITE TRUSTEES.]
Armadale, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia, November 20, 1895.
Dear Brother -----:
This morning I attended a meeting where a select few were called together to consider some questions that were presented to them by a letter soliciting consideration and advice on these subjects. Of some of these subjects I could speak, because at sundry times and in divers places many things have been presented to me in reference to some matters of labour that required great caution in speech as well as in the expression of thoughts with the pen. The advice given to our brethren in the Southern field has been diverse; it would bring in confusion.
As my brethren read the selections from letters, I knew what to say to them; for this matter has been presented to me again and again in regard to the Southern field. I have not felt at liberty to write out the matter until now. I will endeavour to make some brief statements at this time, hoping soon to have an opportunity to speak more clearly and at length.
The light that the Lord has given me at different times has been that the Southern field, where the greatest share of the population of the coloured race is, cannot be worked after the same methods as other fields. They are excitable, and outward actions in bodily exercise more than inward piety, compose their religion. Should the coloured people in the Southern States be educated, as they receive the truth, that they should work on Sunday, there would be excited a most unreasonable and unjust prejudice. Judges and
jurors, lawyers and citizens, would, if they had a chance, bring decisions which would bind them rites which would cause much suffering, not only to the ones whom they term guilty of breaking the laws of their State, but all the coloured people everywhere would be placed in a position of surveillance, and under cruel treatment by the white people, that would be no less than slavery. They have been treated as chattels, regarded as not much above the dumb animals, to do just as their masters told them to do. This has degraded all their powers, and a different method of labour altogether must be pursued toward them than where the coloured people have had greater advantages of schooling and have learned to read.
As the coloured people have not been educated to read and have not been uplifted, their religion is more of bodily exercise than inward piety. There cannot by anything like the kind of labour pursued toward them that is bestowed upon the people whose religion is not outward workings. The Lord will look upon this poor, neglected, downtrodden race with great compassion. Everything of a character to set them in a position of opposition to authorities, as working on Sunday, would cause the coloured people great suffering and cut off the possibility of the white labourers' going among them; for the workers who intended to do them good would be charged with raising insurrections.
I do not want anything of this character to appear, for I know the result. Tell them they need not provoke their neighbours by doing work on Sunday; that this will not prevent them from observing the Sabbath. The Sabbath should not be introduced until they know the first principles of the religion of Jesus Christ. The truth as it is in Jesus is to be made known little by little, line upon line, and precept upon precept.
Punishment for any offence would be visited unsparingly and unmercifully upon the coloured people. Here is a neglected field, rank with corruption, needing to be taught everything; here is a field where medical missionary work can be one of the greatest blessings. In this line the truth may be introduced, but the very first principles of Christianity are to be taught in the A B C. Schools are to be established, having not only children, but fathers and mothers, learning to read.
Teaching the truth is involving great liabilities. It is essential, then, that families should settle in the South, and as missionary workers they can by precept and example be a living power. There cannot be much preaching. The least notice possible should be
given to the point of what is doing and what is to be done; for it will create suspicion and jealousy in the minds of men, who, with their fathers and grandfathers, have been slaveholders. There has been so little done for the coloured people that they are in moral degradation, and are looked upon as slaves to the white population still, although they have been emancipated at terrible cost.
We are to study the situation with great care, for the Lord is our enlightener. The Lord has given men capabilities to exercise, but there is too little deep thinking and too little earnest praying that the Lord would give wisdom at all times how to work difficult fields. We are under obligation to God, and if we love God, we are in duty bound not only on the general ground of obligation and obedience to obey the orders of our 'spiritual Leader, but to save as many souls as we can, to present them as sheaves to Jesus Christ, who gave Himself a living sacrifice to ransom them and make them free servants of Jesus Christ. There is not to be one word uttered which would stir up the slumbering enmity and hatred of the slaves against discipline and order, or to present before them the injustice that has been done them.
Nothing can be done at first in making the Sabbath question prominent, and if the coloured people are in any way educated to work on Sunday, there will be unsparing, merciless oppression brought upon them. Already there has been too much printed in regard to the persecution of the Sabbathkeepers in the Southern States, and those who are bitter against the law of God, trampling it under their feet, are all the more in earnest to make human laws a power. Their religious prejudice and bigotry would lead them to do any act of violence, verily thinking they were God's service, for they are in great error. A blind zeal under false religious theories is the most violent and merciless. There are many who are stirred up by the representations in our papers to do just as their neighbouring States are doing. All these things give them the appearance of defying the law. In Christ's day, when persecuted in one city, they fled to another. It may be the duty of those persecuted to locate themselves in another city or another country. "And ye shall be hated of all men for my name's sake: but he that endureth to the end shall be saved. But when they persecute you in this city, flee ye into another: for verily I say unto you, Ye shall not have gone over the cities of Israel, till the Son of man be come. The disciple is not above his master, nor the servant above his lord" (Matt.10: 22-24).
At present, persecution is not general, but let the Southern element have words come to them of a nature to arouse their excitable disposition, and the whole cause of truth would suffer and the great missionary field be closed. Let all be warned. Let the instruction be given to this much-oppressed people that the keeping of the Sabbath does not necessitate their working on Sunday; for if they should do this, they would have instigated against them all the powers of the white population who are transgressors of the law of God. Church members and priests and rulers will combine to organise secret societies to work in their land to whip, imprison, and destroy the lives of the coloured race. History will be repeated. Let efforts be made in as silent a manner as possible, but this people need not be told that the observance of Sunday is the mark of the beast until this time shall come. If the Southern people get some of the ideas in their minds of the mark of the beast, they would misconstrue and give, honestly, the most false impression on these subjects and do strange things.
As many of the people cannot read for themselves, there are plenty of professed leaders who will read the Bible falsely, and make it testify to a lie. Many are working in this line now among those who are poor scholars, and have not a knowledge of the Scriptures. Our publications also will be misread. Things will be read out of the books that were never there, advocating the most objectionable things. An excitement could be easily worked up against Seventh-day Adventists. The most successful methods are to encourage families who have a missionary spirit to settle in the Southern States and work with the people without making any noise.
In such places as the Southern field there should be established sanitariums. There should be those who believe the truth--coloured servants of God--under training to do work as medical missionaries under the supervision of white managers; for this combination will be much more successful. The medical missionary workers, co-operating with families who shall make their home in the South, need not think that God will condemn them if they do not work on Sunday; for the Lord understands that every effort must be made not to create prejudice, if the truth finds standing place in the South. The words of truth cannot go forth with great publicity, but schools should be started by families coming into the South and working in schools, not with a large number congregated in one school, but as far as possible in connection with those who have been working in the South. Dwell particularly upon the love of God, the righteousness
of Christ, and the open treasure house of God, presenting the truth in clear lines upon personal piety. There will be the bad influence of the white people upon the blacks as there has been in the past. Evil angels will work with their own spirit upon evil men. Those co-operating with those who work in any place to uplift Jesus and to exalt the law of God, will find to all intents and purposes that they wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, and against spiritual wickedness in high places.
"Wherefore take unto you the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand. Stand therefore, having your loins girt about with truth, and having on the breastplate of righteousness; and your feet shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace; above all, taking the shield of faith, wherewith ye shall be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked. And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God."
Here is our sufficiency. Our defence is in the preparation of the gospel. The Lord will give wisdom to all who ask Him, but let those who are to work difficult and peculiar fields study Christ's methods. Let not their own peculiar traits of character be brought into the work; for Satan knows upon just what traits of character to work, that objectionable features may be revealed. These traits of character, received by inheritance or cultivated, are to be cut away from the soul, and the Spirit of Christ is to take possession of the organs of speech, of the mental power, of the physical and moral powers, else when in the midst of important interests Satan shall work with his masterly power to create a condition of things that will call into active exercise these special traits of character, and will bring defeat just when there should be a victory, and so the cause of God will sustain a loss.
"And unto the Jews I became as a Jew, that I might gain the Jews; to them that are under the law, as under the law, that I might gain them that are under the law; to them that are without law, as without law, (being not without law to God, but under the law to Christ,) that I might gain them that are without law. To the weak became I as weak, that I might gain the weak: I am made all things to all men, that I might by all means save some. And this I do for the gospel's sake, that I might be partaker thereof with you." We know that the apostle did not sacrifice one jot of principle. He did not allow himself to be led away by the sophistry and maxims of men.
He was not to coincide with the suppositions and assurances of men who were teaching for doctrine the commandments of men;
because iniquity and transgression were in the ascendancy and advancing, he did not allow his love to wax cold. All zeal and earnestness are to be retained; but at the same time some features of our faith, if expressed, would, by the elements with which you have to deal, arouse prejudice at once.
Paul could be as zealous as any of the most zealous in his allegiance to the law of God, and show that he was perfectly familiar with the Old Testament Scriptures. He could dwell upon the types and shadows that typified Christ; he could exalt Christ, and tell all about Christ, and His special work in behalf of humanity, and what a field he had to explore. He could advance most precious light upon the prophecies, that they had not seen; and yet he would not offend them. Thus the foundation was laid nicely, that when the time came that their spirits softened, he could say in the language of John, Behold in Jesus Christ, who was made flesh, and dwelt among us, the Lamb of God, who taketh away the sins of the world.
To the Gentiles, he preached Christ as their only hope of salvation but did not at first have anything definite to say upon the law. But after their hearts were warmed with the presentation of Christ as the gift of God to our world, and what was comprehended in the work of the Redeemer in the costly sacrifice to manifest the love of God to man, in the most eloquent simplicity he showed that love for all mankind--Jew and Gentile--that they might be saved by surrendering their hearts to Him. Thus when, melted and subdued, they gave themselves to the Lord, he presented the law of God as the test of their obedience. This was the manner of working-- adapting his methods to win souls. Had he been abrupt and unskilful in handling the Word, he would not have reached either Jew or Gentile.
He led the Gentiles along to view the stupendous truths of the love of God, who spared not His own Son, but delivered Him up for us; and how shall He not, with Him also freely give us all things? The question was asked why such an immense sacrifice was required, and then he went back to the types, and down through the Old Testament Scripture, revealing Christ in the law, and they were converted to Christ and to the law.
"But the wisdom that is from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, and easy to be intreated, full of mercy and good fruits, without partiality, and without hypocrisy. And the fruit of righteousness
is sown in peace of them that make peace." All this may be, and yet not one principle of truth be sacrificed.
(I would not advise that this be published in our papers, but let the workers have it in leaflets, and let them keep their own counsels.)--Ellen G. White letter 73, 1895.
The Southern Field
"Sunnyside," Cooranbong, N.S.W., March 2, 1897. The Southern field is a hard field, a very unsightly field, because it has been so long uncultivated. All who take hold of the work in the cause of God and suffering humanity will have to be one in their designs and plans. They will have plenty of trials and discouragements to meet, but they must not allow these to hinder or dishearten or handicap them in their work. In love for Christ, who died to save this poor, downtrodden people, in love for the souls of the perishing thousands, they are to labour for this worse than heathen country.
Brethren, you have a work to do which you have left undone. A long-neglected field stands out in plain view before God to shame the people who have light and advanced truth but who have done so little to remove the stones and the rubbish that have been accumulating for so long a time. Those who have enjoyed every privilege and blessing have passed by on the other side. As a Christian people, God has called you to prepare the way of the Lord in this unpromising field.
God sent a message to Nineveh by his servant Jonah, saying, "Arise, go to Nineveh, that great city, and cry against it; for their wickedness is come up before me." "And the word of the Lord came unto Jonah the second time, saying, Arise, go unto Nineveh, that great city, and preach unto it the preaching I bid thee. So Jonah arose, and went unto Nineveh, according to the word of the Lord. Now Nineveh was an exceeding great city of three days' journey. And Jonah began to enter into the city a day's journey, and he cried, and said, Yet forty days, and Nineveh shall be overthrown."
When the people of Nineveh humbled themselves before God and cried to Him for mercy, He heard their cry. "God saw their works, that they turned from their evil way; and God repented of the evil, that he said he would do unto them; and he did it not." But Jonah revealed that he did not value the souls in that wretched city. He valued his reputation, lest they should say that he was a
false prophet. He said, "O Lord, was not this my saying, when I was yet in my country? Therefore I fled before unto Tarshish: for I knew that thou art a gracious God, and merciful, slow to anger, and of great kindness, and repentest thee of the evil." Now when he sees the Lord exercise His compassionate attributes, and spare the city that had corrupted its ways before Him, Jonah does not co-operage with God in His merciful design. He has not the people's interests in view. It does not grieve him that so large a number must perish, who have not been educated to do right. Listen to his complaint:
"Therefore, now, O Lord, take, I beseech thee, my life from me; for it is better for me to die than to live. Then said the Lord, Doest thou well to be angry? So Jonah went out of the city, and sat on the east side of the city, and there made him a booth, and sat under it in the shadow, till he might see what would become of the city. And the Lord prepared a gourd, and make it come up over Jonah, that it might be a shadow over his head, to deliver him from his grief. So Jonah was exceeding glad of the gourd."
Then the Lord gave Jonah an object lesson. He prepared a worm when the morning sun rose next day, and it smote the gourd that it withered. "And it came to pass, when the sun did rise, that God prepared a vehement east wind; and the sun beat upon the head of Jonah, that he fainted, and wished in himself to die, and said, It is better for me to die than to live. And God said to Jonah, Doest thou well to be angry for the gourd? And he said, I do well to be angry, even unto death. Then said the Lord, Thou hast had pity on the gourd, for the which thou hast not laboured, neither madest it grow; which came up in a night, and perished in a night; and should I not spare Nineveh, that great city, wherein are more than sixscore thousand persons that cannot discern between their right hand and their left hand; and also much cattle?"
In the history of Nineveh there is a lesson which you should study carefully. This lesson is to be learned for yourselves, and in regard to your relation to the Southern States. You must know your duty to your fellow beings who are ignorant and defiled and who need your help.
The Southern field is a hard field, but is this any excuse for your doing scarcely anything for it? Read the eighth and ninth chapters of Second Corinthians. Study and heed these lessons, for you need such examples kept ever before you. The Lord is not pleased with your treatment of the Southern field. . . .
What deep humiliation should be felt by those whom God has
so greatly favoured with His blessing of light, whom He has made the repositories of truth, the most sacred truth ever given to our world, but who have neglected their God-given work. What far-seeing judgement they would now have if at the heart of the work men had been careful to seek their counsel from God as to who should connect with His great work to prepare a people to stand in these last days against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places. . . .
The deepest humility should be felt by those who have the privileges of enlightenment and education in missionary lines. The Lord God of heaven, by whom all actions are weighed in the golden balances of the sanctuary, looks upon the thousands of coloured people, our neighbours, who in their destitution are spreading their cases before the Giver of all mercies and blessings. These people are perishing in their sins. As a people they are ignorant, many knowing nothing of purity and godliness and elevation. But among them are men and women of quick perceptions, excellent talents, and these will be revealed when once the Spirit of God shall turn their attention to the Word. But they need ministry not in the Word alone. Those who would do God service in this field must go among the people.
There are those who, while they profess godliness, are not pure. They have corrupted their ways before God. And when these people meet those who have no disguise for their corruption, they have so little sense of what constitutes a high and holy character that they are in danger of revealing that they are of a class as degraded as their fellow beings of the Southern States. The people of the South do not need those to go among them who have not the love of the truth in their hearts, and who will easily yield to temptation, who, with all the light they have, will descend to the low level of the moral corruption of those they are professedly trying to save. This will be the danger of those whose minds are not pure, therefore be sure that men of steadfast principle be sent to work for God in this field.
In His providence God is saying as He has been saying for years past: Here is a field for you to work. Those who are wise in agricultural lines, in tilling the soil, those who can construct simple, plain buildings, may help. They can do good work and at the same time show in their characters the high morality which it is the privilege of this people to attain to. Teach them the truth in simple object lessons.
Make everything upon which they lay their hands a lesson in character building.
The South is calling to God for temporal and spiritual food, but it has been so long neglected that hearts have become hard as stone. God's people need now to arouse and redeem their sinful neglect and indifference of the past. These obligations now rest heavily upon the churches, and God will graciously pour out His Spirit upon those who will take up their God-given work.--Ellen G. White manuscript 164, 1897.