Letters and Manuscripts — Volume 22 (1907)


Lt 289, 1907

Butler, G. I. and co-laborers in the Master’s vineyard

St. Helena, California

September 10, 1907

Portions of this letter are published in 2MR 73-75.

To Elder Butler and his co-laborers in the Master’s vineyard

Dear Brethren:

I have been writing for our papers on the needs of the southern field. This a living subject with me. I hope that our people will not stop to question about everything that does not exactly meet their ideas before giving to the work that needs their help so much. I have tried to bring before our people the needs of the training school at Huntsville. This school should have special advantages; and our people should understand that liberal gifts made to this enterprise will be money well invested. 22LtMs, Lt 289, 1907, par. 1

At the Huntsville school a thorough work is to be done in training men to cultivate the soil and to grow fruits and vegetables. Let no one despise this work. Agriculture is the ABC of industrial education. Let the erection of the buildings for the school and the sanitarium be an education to the students. Help the teachers to understand that their perceptions must be clear, their actions in harmony with the truth; for it is only when they stand in right relation to God that they will be able to work out His plan for themselves and for the souls with whom, as instructors, they are brought in contact. 22LtMs, Lt 289, 1907, par. 2

Let us encourage all Seventh-day Adventists to have a deep interest in the work that is being done at Huntsville for the education of men and women to be laborers among the colored people. The preparations for a sanitarium for these people should go forward at Huntsville without delay. If we will move forward with faith in God, He will fulfil His word to us. We have no time to lose; for wickedness in the cities is reaching a terrible pass. The night is coming in which no man can work. Let us not grudge to the colored people a well-equipped sanitarium in connection with the Huntsville school. The building should not be restricted. It should be made roomy enough to accommodate with comfort those who shall come to it. 22LtMs, Lt 289, 1907, par. 3

“Ye are laborers together with God,” the apostle Paul declares. [1 Corinthians 3:9.] We are a part of God’s great plan, bound up with Christ in God. The greatness of our work is to be measured by the power of the grace of Christ to enable us to perform it. We are to be the means of concentrating the light of heaven upon souls; we should therefore pray earnestly that the bright beams of the Sun of righteousness may shine forth. By faith we are to present Christ as a personal Saviour; then Christ will prepare the mind and heart to receive the truth as it is in Jesus. 22LtMs, Lt 289, 1907, par. 4

The first and great commandment is, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy strength, and with all thy mind. And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself. 22LtMs, Lt 289, 1907, par. 5

The gospel of Christ embraces the world. Christ purchased the human race at a price that was infinite. The ransom embraced every nationality, every color. We should think of this when we consider the colored people in our own land who are so greatly in need of our help. These men and women should not receive the impression that because of the color of their skin they are excluded from the blessings of the gospel. The white people are under obligation to God, by the innumerable favors they have received, to take an interest in those who have not been so highly favored. 22LtMs, Lt 289, 1907, par. 6

Let those who have known of the faithfulness of the laborers, and of the progress of the work in the southern states, testify to all our people of what they have seen and heard. I am satisfied that those who are carrying the burden of the work at Huntsville are doing their best to carry on the work of education for the colored people there acceptably, and to provide increased facilities. The white teachers who are acting a part in the school should be encouraged. The colored youth are there to be educated to labor for their own people as teachers, and nurses, and Bible workers. 22LtMs, Lt 289, 1907, par. 7

Our people everywhere have given freely of their means to establish in Nashville a sanitarium for the white people; let them now be generous in their offerings that a sanitarium may be established at Huntsville for the colored people. If our charities to the colored race were as large and as numerous as they have been to the white people, we would call forth their gratitude and love. 22LtMs, Lt 289, 1907, par. 8

My brethren, I entreat you not to let the work for the colored people be longer neglected. Meetinghouses, simple, but convenient, should be built for them, where they can come together to study the Word of God. God gave to you the greatest gift that Heaven could bestow, “Freely ye have received, freely give.” [Matthew 10:8.] 22LtMs, Lt 289, 1907, par. 9

Let our ministers say to the people, Our time in which to work is short. You who have land that you can dispose of, use it to advance the cause of truth. Make it possible to secure places from which the work for the colored people can be carried on. As the Lord’s stewards, we are responsible for the welfare of the needy. 22LtMs, Lt 289, 1907, par. 10

Present to our brethren for their study the record of the liberality of certain churches in Macedonia. Let the Word of God speak to them in this record, teaching them the spirit of benevolence that should mark their offerings and the blessings that will redound to those who manifest a spirit of liberality. 22LtMs, Lt 289, 1907, par. 11

The apostle says, “Moreover, brethren, we do you to wit of the grace of God bestowed on the churches of Macedonia; how that in a great trial of affliction the abundance of their joy and their deep poverty abounded unto the riches of their liberality. For to their power, I bear record, yea, and beyond their power they were willing of themselves; praying us with much entreaty that we would receive the gift, and take upon us the fellowship of the ministering to the saints. And this they did not as we hoped, but first gave their own selves to the Lord, and unto us by the will of God. Insomuch that we desired Titus, that as he had begun, so also he would finish in you the same grace also. Therefore as ye abound in everything, in faith, and utterance, and knowledge, and in all diligence, and in your love to us, see that ye abound in this grace also. 22LtMs, Lt 289, 1907, par. 12

“I speak not by commandment, but by occasion of the forwardness of others, and to prove the sincerity of your love. For ye know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that, though He was rich, yet for your sakes He became poor, that ye through His poverty might be rich. And herein I give my advice: for this is expedient for you, who having begun before, not only to do, but also to be forward a year ago. Now therefore perform the doing of it; that as there was a readiness to will, so there may be a performance also and of that which ye have. If there be first a willing mind, it is accepted according to that a man hath, and not according to that he hath not. For I mean not that other men be eased, and ye burdened: but by an equality, that now at this time your abundance may be a supply for their want, that their abundance also may be a supply for your want: that there may be equality: as it is written, He that had gathered much had nothing over; and he that had gathered little had no lack. But thanks be to God, which put the same earnest care into the heart of Titus for you. For indeed he accepted the exhortation; but being more forward, of his own accord he went unto you. And we have sent with him the brother, whose praise is in the gospel throughout all the churches. ... And we have sent with them our brother whom we have oftentimes proved diligent in many things, upon the great confidence I have in you. ... Wherefore show ye to them, and before the churches, the proof of your love, and of our boastings on your behalf.” [2 Corinthians 8:1-18, 22, 24.] 22LtMs, Lt 289, 1907, par. 13

The church is still the bearer of light to the world. I cannot say, as did the apostle Paul, “I speak not by commandment.” [Verse 8.] I do speak by express command. We are expected to call into working exercise the talents entrusted to us for the advancement of the knowledge of truth. The needs of the work, and the motives that should prompt our gifts, should be presented to believers and urgent calls made upon our churches. God has a systematic plan for our benevolences, and those who have a true missionary spirit will respond willingly to His calls. 22LtMs, Lt 289, 1907, par. 14

There are some who do not comprehend the needs of the cause because their senses are dulled by selfish practices. These should be labored for, that the Holy Spirit may touch their hearts and break the spell of selfishness and covetousness that is upon them. Church members would do well to come together to consider the needless ways in which they expend their means in the light of the missionary calls that are coming to us from all parts of the world. Viewing their indulgence from the standpoint of the world’s great need, they will learn to deny self, that God’s kingdom may be advanced. 22LtMs, Lt 289, 1907, par. 15

The southern field is in need of humble, God-fearing workers. It is in need of means. Who will rally our people at this time, encouraging them to give all they possibly can for this work. God will be pleased to have not only our own people, but whosoever will make liberal offerings. Who will teach our brethren to measure their gifts by the spirit of benevolence that led the Father to give His only begotten Son to make us the recipients of eternal blessings? When we allow the spirit of Christ to guide us in giving, God’s blessing will go with our gifts; and wisdom will be given to those who have the responsibility of the disbursement of means, that the best appropriation of the funds may be made. 22LtMs, Lt 289, 1907, par. 16

The people of the South must be helped not only in a few places, but in many places where help is needed. Brethren, let us be true missionaries. Let us open our hearts to the needs of the colored people, realizing the responsibility that rests upon us to impart of the blessings God has given us. In the day of final reckoning, He who has entrusted us with His goods will demand His own with usury. 22LtMs, Lt 289, 1907, par. 17

The Lord calls us His almoners. Let us pray earnestly that God will give us His grace and His Spirit to enable us to deny ourselves of the many worthless things—the story magazines and the holiday pleasure and the many other things for which we now spend our means. The Son of God gave His precious life that He might make us partakers of the divine nature. Shall we not try to give up something for His dear sake? When we will do this from the heart, we will understand the meaning of the words of Christ, “My yoke is easy, and My burden is light.” [Matthew 11:30.] 22LtMs, Lt 289, 1907, par. 18