Letters and Manuscripts — Volume 17 (1902)

399/469

Ms 150, 1902

Diary/Our Attitude Toward the Work and Workers in the Southern Field

NP

November 17, 1902 [typed]

This manuscript is published in entirety in SpM 274-278. +Note

While attending the camp-meeting at Fresno, California, held October 1-10, in the visions of the night I was in a certain meeting. I was desirous of learning the object of this meeting, but was in darkness. I sat in a place that seemed to be separated from the room where the people had assembled. Somewhere I have written in regard to this meeting, and I think the manuscript has been copied. 17LtMs, Ms 150, 1902, par. 1

The brethren in this meeting were counseling in regard to the work at Nashville. Matters were presented in a strong light. Some of the brethren present had gathered up the testimonies of those who were unfavorably inclined toward the Nashville publishing house. If actions had been taken based upon these misrepresentations, great injustice would have been done to the Southern work. Decisions would have been made that would have had a most discouraging effect and that would have seemingly upheld as right all that the Lord has condemned in regard to the Southern field. 17LtMs, Ms 150, 1902, par. 2

The course that Brethren E. R. Palmer and A. G. Daniells have desired to outline would work an injustice and would result in an incorrect showing. Acting upon false impressions, the brethren would bring about something that the Lord could not in any way endorse. These brethren must remember that money has not been given very freely to establish the work in Nashville. Had they been connected with this work, had they carried the anxieties and the burdens that others have carried, had they made the decisions and done the many, many deeds that called for self-sacrifice, would they have succeeded any better <under these difficulties> than have the men who have been connected with this work from the beginning? I have felt distressed beyond measure over these matters. 17LtMs, Ms 150, 1902, par. 3

*****

November 5, 1902

I have been carrying upon my soul a most grievous burden. I ought never to have thought that it was my duty to keep my lips closed, withdraw my influence, and allow the brethren who have been taking burdens upon themselves <to> carry out their preconceived ideas in regard to the supposed necessity of showing James Edson White his proper place and of reorganizing the whole work in the Southern field. 17LtMs, Ms 150, 1902, par. 4

When the brethren came to me for counsel, I told them that I would not stand in the way of their carrying out the plan of reorganization that they had regarded as essential. But afterward, in the night season, I was in a meeting where this was being done; and the manner in which the work was carried on was so objectionable that I could not keep silent. Then I was moved by the Spirit of God to say that three times had the Messenger of the Lord given me instruction that this pressure against Edson White is unreasonable, and that he is given an inferior place. The heavenly Messenger put his arm around Edson, and led him forward, to stand not at the foot, but in the very midst. 17LtMs, Ms 150, 1902, par. 5

*****

November 7, 1902

Again matters at Nashville have been opened before me, and I am encouraged. 17LtMs, Ms 150, 1902, par. 6

The Lord has given me cautions to give both to Elder Daniells and to Brother E. R. Palmer. God has not inspired their decision that a wonderful overturning will have to take place in the South. By no means has the Lord left Nashville. Many things there will in time work out and adjust themselves. 17LtMs, Ms 150, 1902, par. 7

When first the Lord presented before me a certain meeting, where the Southern work was being considered, I could not discern the speakers. Later the Lord removed the heavy, heavy burden from my mind by instructing me that in every place where a center is to be made, there will be encountered difficulties that require more than mortal wisdom to overcome. The dependence of the workers must be in God. In every movement they are to be actuated by pure, clean, high principles. But let not the men who have not been in the press of the battle act as if they had all knowledge in regard to the aftersight when they have had nothing to do with the foresight. 17LtMs, Ms 150, 1902, par. 8

It would be most strange if no mistakes have been made. There are things in the history of the work the meaning of which it is impossible for human minds to fathom. Let not men, when dealing with those who have made mistakes, work on the supposition that under similar circumstances they would have done much better. Let them not have too much self-esteem, <for everyone will be tested and tried. Let them not do as many are doing—magnifying errors and carrying reports that have no foundation in truth.> If they think that they would have avoided the perplexity and the burdens that always come to those engaged in aggressive warfare, let them try to do the same kind of work, <opening new fields in the South,> before condemning others. Let them go into cities and establish the advantages that have to be built up from the foundation in every place selected as a working center. It is wrong for those who have had no part in bearing the inconveniences, the burdens, and the many embarrassments connected with establishing new enterprises to criticize those who are struggling under these <multiplied> difficulties. 17LtMs, Ms 150, 1902, par. 9

Over and over again the Lord has presented before me the pioneer work that must be done in new fields. In past years I have shared with others the burden of establishing His work in important centers. For years we have suffered <from false reports and> the pressure of opposition and have struggled to overcome the obstacles placed before us by our brethren. We have always gone forward, ploughing our way through prejudice. From the first, every effort has been made to find and to make public the mistakes of God’s servants placed in trying positions—mistakes <greatly magnified> that many have taken up and used to discourage the workers and to retard the progress of the cause, <when they should have interestedly put their shoulder to the wheel to help lift the load>. 17LtMs, Ms 150, 1902, par. 10

Should our dear brethren Palmer and Daniells follow their own judgment and carry out the ideas they now hold in regard to the cause in the Southern field, they would do a work that bears not the approbation of God. Seeming success would be short lived. Brethren, the Lord does not bid you to encourage your brethren to cultivate a spirit of accusation and condemnation by listening to their distorted reports. Listen not to those who are annoyed because they cannot manage everything in accordance with their own will and way. 17LtMs, Ms 150, 1902, par. 11

My brethren, you are not to thrust blindly in the dark; for you know not which shall prosper, this or that. Restrain the tendency to judge motives. You do not know or understand in regard to the presentation that has been given me. I cannot help being intensely interested in every movement made in the Southern field. I know much about that work; for I have kept pace with it and with the planning and devising of the workers. I have known of the struggles and makeshifts, the self-denial and self-sacrifice, that have been bravely borne. I have helped the workers as much as I could, sharing their work and encouraging them by sending gifts of money and of books. And I know something in regard to what these books have already done and will continue to do. 17LtMs, Ms 150, 1902, par. 12

While in Australia, I kept track of the work done in the South and of the little encouragement given the workers among the colored people by their ministering brethren. Encouragement was withheld by the brethren in the North because they knew that encouragement would sooner or later mean the raising of means to support the workers in this new field. I called for means for the Southern work before there was much of a showing in this field. I knew that unless means were sent, new territory could not be added. 17LtMs, Ms 150, 1902, par. 13

The work that has begun in Nashville is established in the right place. Because some men complain and criticize, shall the workers there become discouraged? I answer, No, no! We had no ordinary experience in Australia. It was no easy matter to obtain means to work this new field. The soil had to be broken up, the ground prepared, and the seeds of truth sown. Ours was an aggressive work, carried forward, too, while grumblers were constantly trying to discourage us. But notwithstanding the voices of opposition, the message I received from the Lord was, “Add new territory; use the <breaking-up> plow in new soil.” And this is the message that I sent across the waters to my son Edson White, who was working among the colored people in the South. “God says to you,” I wrote to him, “Do not fail nor be discouraged.” [See Isaiah 42:4.] 17LtMs, Ms 150, 1902, par. 14

My son wrote to me, saying, “What shall I do? Colored men are accepting the truth, but they have no decent clothing to wear when attending meetings.” I myself was living in a missionary field, where poverty abounded, and I needed every penny to help the destitute there and to advance various lines of work in that field; but I requested the office of publication to send to my son some money that was coming to me and to charge the same to my account, which money was to be used to supply destitute colored people with clothing, in order that they might be presentable in appearance when gathered together to worship God. <Whose work was it to relieve the situation?> 17LtMs, Ms 150, 1902, par. 15

Had our brethren and sisters in America been awakened by the appeals that long ago were made to them to do something for the colored people in the Southern States, years would not have passed into eternity with so little done. What do we see now? Among other things, we see a work begun in Nashville. But in the visions of the night the Southern field has passed in review before me, and it is still destitute. Our brethren in positions of trust are not to neglect this field and send to foreign fields nearly all the monies raised for advance work. The Southern field requires constant labor. 17LtMs, Ms 150, 1902, par. 16

Although some mistake have been made, the light given me is that instead of criticizing and condemning, all should learn how to avoid such mistakes in the future. Who makes as his own the burden of giving to the great population in the South the warning message of truth for this time? The Prince of Life offered Himself, a willing sacrifice, to save sinners living in the Southern States, as well as to save sinners living in remote parts of the earth. Workers must be called to this field as well as to distant lands. And the very least that these new laborers can say of the mistakes made, the better it will be for their own souls and for the future prosperity of the work. God views matters correctly. The Infinite One alone is wise enough to pronounce correct judgment upon the work done. The Lord Jesus calls for workers, and He is the only Agency who can work through human minds and hands for the full development of the interests of His cause in this field. 17LtMs, Ms 150, 1902, par. 17

How little do we enter into sympathy with God on the point that should be the strongest bond of union between us and Him—compassion for depraved, guilty, suffering souls, dead in trespasses and sins! If men shared the sympathies of Christ, they would have constant sorrow of heart over the condition of the Southern field so destitute of workers. The needs of this field call for hundreds of medical missionaries. 17LtMs, Ms 150, 1902, par. 18

Jesus wept over Jerusalem because of the guilt and obstinacy of His chosen people. He weeps also over the hard-heartedness of those who, professing to be co-workers with Him, are content to do nothing. Are those who appreciate the value of souls carrying, with Christ, a burden of heaviness and constant sorrow mingled with tears for the wicked cities of the earth? The destruction of these cities, almost wholly given up to idolatry, is impending. We ask if those who professedly know the truth for this time are content to do nothing in the cities of the South? In the great day of final reckoning what answer can be given for neglecting to enter these cities now? 17LtMs, Ms 150, 1902, par. 19

*****

The entering of Nashville by our workers was providential. When I visited this place, I was instructed that it was to become a center for the Southern work. Graysville and Huntsville are so near by that the institutions there can be helping hands to sustain the institutions in Nashville. Some of our brethren desired to begin the publishing work elsewhere, within their own borders; but this was not God’s plan. There are to be memorials for God erected in cities. His work is not to be done in a corner, or simply at one or two points, like Graysville and Huntsville, but in many places and in a variety of ways. 17LtMs, Ms 150, 1902, par. 20

Our brethren in the South now have opportunity to reveal the strength of their faith—whether or not they have faith sufficient to begin to make centers of influence in various places. If they continue to cherish a spirit of disunion, envy, and accusation <against everyone who will do advanced work>, they will fail of meeting the test. 17LtMs, Ms 150, 1902, par. 21

I had hoped that our brethren in the South would recognize the Lord’s hand in leading our brethren to begin work in Nashville, making this a center. In this city buildings offered at a low price were purchased and fitted up for use. Advantage was taken of circumstances favorable for a beginning. An excellent company of workers was brought together to labor in the publishing house. The Lord God looked upon them lovingly and approvingly. Had the brethren in the South appreciated the situation and been converted by the Holy Spirit of God, their influence would have been a savor of life unto life. If they had done more praying, and less talking with one another—each deferring, this company of workers in the office of publication would have had peace and contentment and rest of soul. But the clashing of words has wrought evil. This is one of the reasons that so little has been done in the South. The Lord calls upon His people to be converted, <and instead of hindering the work, to help it, so that it shall advance.> 17LtMs, Ms 150, 1902, par. 22