The Southern Work


Volunteers Wanted for the Southern Field

Instruction is to be given to our colored neighbors concerning the physical, mental, and moral nature. We must give them line upon line, precept upon precept, here a little, and there a little. The youth will catch the lessons that are given, and retain them much more readily than those who are aged. How important it is that this large class of human beings, who are now in ignorance, should be taught to read for themselves, that they may know what saith the Lord unto them! How anxious every Christian family should be to have a part in helping on the education of the colored race! Many of them are poor, neglected, homeless creatures. We should teach them how to build cheap houses, how to erect school buildings in cities and villages, and how to carry on their education. SWk 63.1

God holds us accountable for our long neglect of doing our duty to our neighbors. He sees precious jewels that will shine out from among the colored race. Let the work be taken up determinedly, and let both the young and those of mature age be educated in essential branches. Take hold of this nation that has been in bondage, as the Lord Jesus Christ took hold of the Hebrew nation after they came forth from Egypt. God will put His Holy Spirit upon those who put heart and soul into the work, realizing the truth of the words of inspiration: “We are labourers together with God: ye are God's husbandry, ye are God's building.” The Lord has long been waiting for human instrumentalities through whom He could work. How much longer shall heavenly agencies be obliged to wait for human agents who will respond to the words of Christ, “Go work to day in my vineyard”? When the hearts of God's professed people are animated by the principle of the living faith that works by love and purifies the soul, there will be a response to these appeals. Christ linked Himself in brotherhood to all nationalities. He made no distinction between the white race and the black race in His plan of salvation. He bought the meanest of humanity with an infinite price, and He notes when we leave the naked unclad, the poor unfed, the destitute unrelieved, the despised forsaken. SWk 63.2

Those who labor in the Southern field will have many prejudices to overcome, many difficulties to encounter. At the present time there is great want among many of the colored people. Self-denial must be practiced by us. We must strip ourselves of all extravagance; we must deny ourselves luxuries and the undue gratification of appetite. Let those who have not laid aside unnecessary articles of diet, do so. Let them refrain from adornment and costly furnishings. Let us set ourselves to do a work for the Southern people. Let us not be content with simply looking on, with simply making resolutions that are never acted upon; but let us do something heartily unto the Lord, to alleviate the distress of our colored brethren. The burden of poverty is sufficiently weighty to arouse our heartfelt sympathy. We are not simply to say, “Be ye warmed and filled,” But we are actually to relieve the needs of the poor. Filthiness is prevalent among the colored people, and it is a breeder of disease. Discouragement is deep and widespread, and shall we refuse to stretch forth our hands to help in this time of peril? SWk 64.1

But it is of no use to send missionaries to work in the Southern field unless they are furnished with means from your abundance to help the distressed and those who are in poverty that cannot be described. We may do the work that Christ would do if He were upon earth. We may relieve those whose lives have been one long scene of sorrow. Who will go on in indifference and pay no attention to the woes of those who are in hunger, in nakedness, in ignorance and degradation? Who will rouse up and go without the camp and bear reproach for Christ's sake? Who will put on Christ and seek to rescue their colored brethren from ignominy, crime, and degradation? Who will seek to restore them to the ranks of common humanity? We must not consider them irreclaimable and utterly degenerate. With the spirit of Christ, who did not fail or become discouraged, we may do a work that will cause the heavenly hosts to fill the courts of God with songs of rejoicing. There are many who are looked upon as stoical; who are thought to be unfit to be taught the gospel of Jesus Christ; and yet through the ministration of the Holy Spirit they may be changed by the miracle of divine grace. The stupidity that makes their cases look so hopeless will pass away, for it is the result of great ignorance. The influence of grace will prevail on the human subject, and the dull and clouded mind will awake and break its fetters. Through divine power the slave to sin may be set free. The sunshine of Christ's righteousness may beam into the chambers of mind and heart. Spiritual life will be seen, and the brutishness will disappear. Inclination to vice will disappear, and ignorance will be overcome. The heart will be purified by the faith that works by love. SWk 64.2

There are thousands who are capable of instruction, cultivation, and elevation. With proper, persevering labor, many who have been considered hopeless cases will become educators of their race. The colored people deserve much more from the hands of the white people than they have received. The colored people may be compared to a mine that is to be worked, in which is valuable ore of most precious material. Christ has given these people souls capable of winning and enjoying immortal life in the kingdom of God. One tenth of the advantages that their more favored brethren have received and failed to improve, would cause them to become mediums of light through which the brightness of the righteousness of Christ might shine forth. Who will enlist in this work, and willingly teach the ignorant what saith the Word of God? Who will engage in the work of quickening the mental faculties into sensibility, of uplifting those who are downtrodden? Can we not show that we are willing to try to repair as far as possible the injury that has been done to them in the past? Shall not missionaries be multiplied? Shall we hear of volunteers, who are willing to go into the field to bring souls out of darkness and ignorance into the marvelous light in which we rejoiced, that they also may see the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ? “And this is life eternal, that they might know thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom thou hast sent.”—The Review and Herald, February 4, 1896. SWk 65.1