The Southern Work


A Neglected Work

April 27, 1899.

I cannot sleep past eleven o'clock. Several times I have had a pointed testimony in regard to the Southern field. After speaking on the subject of royalties in connection with book publication, she continues. SWk 94.1

I awoke, but my soul was burdened. I felt that peculiar trials were to come upon the people of God. Then was presented before me the situation of the Southern field. The work which should have been done in that field has not been done. The means sent in by the people to the General Conference for the advancement of the work there was devoted to other purposes. This is where the work of restitution must be done. The Lord is displeased with the men in responsible positions who have not discerned the great need of this field. The work there needs means. God has given warnings, but they have not been heeded. Church members in America who have pleasant homes and surroundings should remember the Southern field. It is in need of special attention and support. I addressed the president of the General Conference, Why do you neglect this work? God has made it your duty to deal with this poor, oppressed race as their circumstances demand. Let the work go forward. Encourage the people who are favorably situated to help in this field. The Lord does not call families to work in the South who have young children who would thus be exposed to evil associations, but He calls those who can work to advantage in the different localities. SWk 94.2

There are men who will tell you that the work in the South has been misrepresented, that it is not so arduous as it is made to appear. Let no one suppose that the Southern field is an easy place to work; for it is the most difficult portion of the Lord's vineyard, and soon it will be even more difficult. The greatest wisdom must be exercised. All connected with the work, and especially those who have to do with the publications sent to this field, must be as wise as serpents and as harmless as doves. Be careful what your pens shall trace for publication. There are many things which it will do only harm to make public. SWk 94.3

If the greatest caution is not exercised, bitterness and hatred will be aroused in the white people in the South who are yearning for power to oppress the colored race as they have in the past. Those who are in the habit of speaking without consideration might far better remain in their homes than attempt work in this field. Those who think that the precautions given are unnecessary should heed the warnings the Lord has sent. If you would have a part in the work in the South, my brethren, you must hide self in Christ, walking humbly and circumspectly before God. SWk 95.1

Common association with the blacks is not a wise course to pursue. To lodge with them in their homes may stir up feelings in the minds of the whites which will imperil the lives of the workers. Goods have been sent to this field which have helped to relieve the necessities of suffering humanity. But this work does not please the white people. In some localities they do not want help to be given to this downtrodden race. They desire that they shall ever feel their dependence. SWk 95.2

I tell you of a truth that this field with its neglect will come up in judgment to condemn those who have been admonished, but who have refused to lend the aid. The Lord demands restitution from the churches in America. You are to relieve the necessities of this field. In the day of final accounts men will not be pleased to meet the record of their deeds with reference to the books that have been prepared to help in carrying on the work in the South, by which means was diverted from the most needy portion of the Lord's vineyard. This matter has been before you a long time, and what have you done to relieve the situation? Why have you kept so quiet? O that you would do this work of restoration speedily. The Lord calls upon you to restore to his people the advantages of which they have so long been deprived. The evil work done will one day be seen, not in the light in which responsible men now see it, who like the priest and Levite have passed by on the other side, but as God views it. SWk 95.3

God's people have no excuse to offer as to why the years which have passed into eternity do not show better results. The way in which some of the teachers have managed the work in the South has not been right, and yet many have looked with great enthusiasm on the work of those who through incorrect methods have given a wrong mold to the work. Should these methods be encouraged? No; for the material worked upon is not being in the least qualified to help the Southern people. SWk 95.4

The breaking down of distinctions between the white and the colored races unfits the blacks to work for their own class, and exerts a wrong influence upon the whites. SWk 96.1

Again I place this matter before you. Will you act upon the light given?—Manuscript 90, 1899. SWk 96.2

Ellen G. White