Letters and Manuscripts — Volume 16 (1901)


Ms 173, 1901

Shall the Work at Nashville Go Forward?


July 19, 1901

Previously unpublished.

There are few now living who know what hard, uphill work it was to establish the publishing work in Battle Creek and in Oakland. My husband and I understood by experience the difficulty of this undertaking. And now, after thirty years of advancement, I find that it is just as difficult to make a beginning in Nashville, just as hard to accomplish that which the Lord has declared should be done in establishing a publishing house in the Southern field. 16LtMs, Ms 173, 1901, par. 1

The feebleness of our efforts in behalf of the Southern field is a reproach to a people claiming to be missionaries. The work in this field is just as important as the work in any other locality, but it has been hindered by the unsanctified judgment and influence of some claiming to be laborers in the Lord’s vineyard. 16LtMs, Ms 173, 1901, par. 2

Nashville is to be a center for the Southern work, and from this center the light of truth is to shine forth to the regions round about. There is much to be done to properly establish the work in this place. The cause of truth must be represented by institutions established as memorials for God. There must be in Nashville a well-equipped publishing house, from which the literature specially prepared for the Southern field can be issued as cheaply as possible. Every effort must be put forth to make this work a success. This is God’s work, and He desires those who believe His truth to take an interested part in it. In the Southern field the truth is to go forth as a lamp that burneth. 16LtMs, Ms 173, 1901, par. 3

There must also be established in Nashville a school for the colored people and a school for the whites, and a sanitarium for the care of the sick. In these institutions laborers are to be trained for work in other parts of the South. 16LtMs, Ms 173, 1901, par. 4

And when the work in Nashville is established, efforts are to be made in other cities. The message of warning is to be proclaimed in all the cities of the South. 16LtMs, Ms 173, 1901, par. 5

The work on the publishing house in Nashville has been well begun. But, seeing the embarrassment that comes through the burden of debt, the managers of the work in Nashville agreed that they would proceed no faster in the work of building than the means in hand would warrant. They determined not to go in debt in the erection of the printing office, but to follow the instruction, work by faith and plan by faith, but do not run in debt. As soon as they had money enough they bought stone to lay the foundation. Next they hired men to dig the trench and lay the wall; then they bought lumber enough to put up the framework of the first story; then they bought siding for this story; then they went on with the second and third story. Their great desire was to get the office roofed and enclosed, so that they could put in their machinery. 16LtMs, Ms 173, 1901, par. 6

But the last news we had from them was, “We have come to a standstill. We can go no further till we get means.” When I heard this I was greatly distressed. I hired $400 at five per cent interest, and sent it to Nashville to be used till other means could be sent. To prevent loss of time, I shall hire more money, if I can, for this purpose, until my brethren and sisters throughout the field awaken to their duty, and act their part in raising the means necessary for the advancement of this work. 16LtMs, Ms 173, 1901, par. 7

At a time like this shall the work in Nashville be allowed to come to a standstill? I call upon our people everywhere to do something to advance this enterprise. This work is not in a far country; it is at your own door, and in it God desires His people to help earnestly and generously. God abhors the indifference with which this home missionary field has been treated. The selfishness which for years has hindered the work must be repented of. Let us do something to help, and do it now. 16LtMs, Ms 173, 1901, par. 8

I have been shown that those in the Review and Herald and those in the Pacific Press will be inclined to invest means unnecessarily to make the work in these institutions convenient. The Lord has instructed me to say to them, Bind about your supposed wants until you have done your duty toward the Southern field. Do not add to your already abundant facilities until you have done what God has signified should be done for this field. Take up the work interestedly, nobly, and faithfully. Act the part God expects you to act in the establishment of the work in the South. 16LtMs, Ms 173, 1901, par. 9

The necessities of the field call for immediate action. I call upon all who can to help in the establishment of the work in Nashville. Be God’s helping hand. Help where help is needed. Take hold with us in assisting the workers in the South. 16LtMs, Ms 173, 1901, par. 10

We acknowledge with gratitude the donations so willingly made to the work in Nashville by our friends in College View, Denver, Boulder, Waitsburg, Portland, and Oakland. We thank you for your help. It has greatly aided the work. And we now extend the appeal for help to all our people in America. Remember that Christ does not promise the reward of the overcomer to those who are not willing to be faithful soldiers in the conflict between good and evil. Christ says, “To him that overcometh will I grant to sit with me in my throne, even as I also overcame, and am set down with my Father in his throne.” [Revelation 3:21.] Each believer in Christ has a personal responsibility to fulfil. No one is excused from doing his duty. God lays upon those in His service the responsibility of co-operating with Him in advancing His work. In the place of seeking to bar the way against entering new fields, every soul should try to answer the calls for help which come from unworked fields. 16LtMs, Ms 173, 1901, par. 11

It is not for one class alone that we are to labor, but for all. Those for whom Christ gave His precious blood are to be instructed and enlightened. The people to whom the light of truth has come are to practice self-denial and self-sacrifice, rejoicing in the privilege of denying self for Christ’s sake. 16LtMs, Ms 173, 1901, par. 12

O, when will Seventh-day Adventists arise and build up the work in the Southern field? How long and how hard shall we have to labor that our people may see what needs to be done and do it? Let no obstruction be placed in the way of those who are willing to work. Let no one refuse to make straight in the desert—the dark places of the earth—a highway for our God. Plough the field. Remove the stones. 16LtMs, Ms 173, 1901, par. 13

God is looking upon the men in responsible positions, to see if they will unselfishly do the work entrusted to them. If they refuse to do this work, He will say, “let it be given to those who will honor the trust reposed in them.” “Consider,” the Lord says, “whether you are faithful to your trust.” Are you returning fruit in due season to the Owner of the vineyard? Are you cultivating the barren wastes and sowing the seeds of truth? Let our institutions co-operate intelligently with God, lest they be left barren of resources. If they do not strive earnestly to plant the standard of truth in the cities and countries which have never heard the message of warning, God will find another way of accomplishing His purpose. 16LtMs, Ms 173, 1901, par. 14

I am instructed to say, Let all who claim to be in God’s service remember that He has declared that His vineyard shall be worked. He is continually opening the way, for the parts of His vineyard hitherto neglected, to be cultivated. He has entrusted means to His stewards to use in advancing the work which He has commissioned His servants to do. He sends forth His messengers, telling them to receive from His stewards means for the carrying forward of His work. If His stewards fail to respond, He will pass on to other agencies, and will remove His gifts from His unfaithful stewards, who by their selfishness close the doors He has opened for the flowing forth of His blessings. 16LtMs, Ms 173, 1901, par. 15

God says, “My son, give me thy heart, thy time, thy talents.” [See Proverbs 23:26.] He wants no unbelief, no stinginess. He wants you to give Him the firstfruits of the life—love, faith, strength. Reveal that faith which works by love and purifies the soul. Cease to live for self. Live wholly for God. Give Him the best hours of the day and the best energies of the being. If, laying down every selfish aim and interest, God’s people would give Him the best of all they have, if they would seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, they would rise higher and higher in Christian nobility and liberality. 16LtMs, Ms 173, 1901, par. 16