Letters and Manuscripts — Volume 23 (1908)


Ms 107, 1908

The Color Line


October 21, 1908 [typed]

Portions of this manuscript are published in 9T 213-222; OHC 287; 4MR 33. +Note

I have some things to say in regard to the colored people of the southern states of America, and the relation that we should sustain to them. So long were they under the curse of slavery, that it is a difficult problem to know how they should now be treated. 23LtMs, Ms 107, 1908, par. 1

When God’s workers allow His Spirit to work upon their minds, much will be accomplished in the work of soul-saving. The Lord is our Helper. He will guide us in all matters, if we will trust in Him. One thing is certain: We must have faith in God—faith that He will arrange matters in a way that will enable us to work successfully. No one ever trusted God in vain. He will never disappoint those who put their trust in Him. 23LtMs, Ms 107, 1908, par. 2

We have no time to get into contention over the problem of the color line. If this question is much agitated, difficulties will arise that will consume much precious time to adjust. We cannot lay down a definite line to be followed in dealing with this subject. In different places and under different circumstances, the subject will need to be handled differently. In the South, where the race prejudice is so strong, we could do nothing in presenting the truth were we to deal with the color-line question as we can deal with it in the North. The white workers in the South will have to move in a way that will enable them to gain access to the white people. 23LtMs, Ms 107, 1908, par. 3

The cities of the South are to be worked, and for this work the best talent is to be secured, and that without delay. Let white workers labor for the white people, proclaiming the message of present truth in its simplicity. They will find openings through which they may reach the higher class. Every opportunity for reaching this class is to be improved. 23LtMs, Ms 107, 1908, par. 4

Let our colored workers do what they can to keep abreast, working earnestly for their own people. 23LtMs, Ms 107, 1908, par. 5

I know that if we attempt to meet the ideas and preferences of the colored people, we shall find our way blocked completely. The work of proclaiming the truth for this time is not to be hindered by an effort to adjust the position of the Negro race. Should we attempt to do this, we should find that barriers like mountains would be raised to hinder the work that God desires to have done. If we move quietly and judiciously, laboring in the way that God has marked out, both white and colored people will be benefited by our labors, unless the colored people place themselves where the Lord cannot work with them. 23LtMs, Ms 107, 1908, par. 6

It is Satan’s plan to call minds to the study of the color line. If his suggestions are heeded, there will be diversity of opinion and great confusion. No one is capable of clearly defining the proper position of the colored people. Men may advance theories, but I assure you that it will not do for us to follow human theories. So far as possible, the color line question should be allowed to rest. 23LtMs, Ms 107, 1908, par. 7

The colored people should not urge that they be placed on an equality with white people. The relation of the two races has been a matter hard to deal with, and I fear that it will ever remain a most perplexing problem. So far as possible, everything that will stir up the race prejudice of the white people should be avoided. There is danger of closing the door so that our white laborers will not be able to work in some places in the South. 23LtMs, Ms 107, 1908, par. 8

The time has not come for us to work as if there were no prejudice. Christ said, “Be ye wise as serpents, and harmless as doves.” [Matthew 10:16.] If you see that by doing certain things which you have a perfect right to do, you hinder the work of the truth, refrain from doing these things. Do nothing that will close the minds of others against the truth. There is a world to save, and we gain nothing by cutting loose from those who are trying to help. All things are lawful, but all things are not expedient. 23LtMs, Ms 107, 1908, par. 9

The wise course is the best. As laborers together with God, we are to work in the way that will enable us to accomplish the most for Him. Let none go to extremes. We need wisdom from above; for we have a difficult problem to solve. Let no extremes be encouraged. If rash moves are made now, great mischief will be done. 23LtMs, Ms 107, 1908, par. 10

The matter is to be presented in such a way that the truly converted colored people will cling to the truth for Christ’s sake, refusing to renounce one principle because they think that the very best course is not being pursued toward the colored race. 23LtMs, Ms 107, 1908, par. 11

We must sit as learners at the feet of Christ, that He may teach us the will of God, and that we may know how to work for the white people and the colored people in the southern field. As far as possible, we should leave the color line alone, and use every energy to present the closing gospel message to all classes in the South. As we are led and controlled by the Spirit of God, we shall find that this question will adjust itself in the minds of our people. We are to do as the Spirit of God shall indicate, and agitate this subject as little as possible. 23LtMs, Ms 107, 1908, par. 12

What is needed is an individual seeking of the Lord. Let those whose religious experience in the past has been only a surface work draw near to God. Repent, repent, and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out. Those white people who appreciate the ministry of Christ in their behalf cannot cherish prejudice against their colored brethren. 23LtMs, Ms 107, 1908, par. 13

I thank God that among the colored believers there are men of talent who can work efficiently for their own people, presenting the truth in clear lines. There are many colored people of precious talent who will be converted to the truth, if our colored ministers are wise in devising ways of training teachers for the schools and other laborers in the field. 23LtMs, Ms 107, 1908, par. 14

What we need is to be prepared to take hold of the work in earnest; then we shall be better able to deal with the questions involved in this work. But let no one enter into controversy. Let every believer do his best to prepare the way for the gospel missionary work that is to be done. We have no time now to give place to the spirit of the enemy and to cherish prejudices that confuse the judgment and lead us away from Christ. 23LtMs, Ms 107, 1908, par. 15

It will take money, and earnest, persevering effort, to do what needs to be done among the colored people. Every man needs now to stand in his lot and place, confessing and forsaking his sins, and working in harmony with his brethren. God’s workers are to be of one mind and one heart, praying for the impartation of the Spirit, and believing that God will fulfil His Word. 23LtMs, Ms 107, 1908, par. 16

We are living in the great antitypical day of atonement. We must individually seek God. This is a personal work. Let us draw near to God, allowing nothing to come into our efforts that would misrepresent the truth for this time. Let every one confess, not his brother’s sin, but his own sin. Let him humble his heart before God and become so filled with the Holy Spirit, that his life will show that he has been born again. We read, “As many as received Him, to them gave He power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on His name.” [John 1:12.] 23LtMs, Ms 107, 1908, par. 17

The gospel of Christ is to be lived, practiced in the daily life. The servants of God are to be cleansed from all coldness, all selfishness. 23LtMs, Ms 107, 1908, par. 18

Simplicity, meekness, lowliness are of great value in the work of God. Try to unite the workers in confidence and love. If you cannot do this, be right yourselves, and leave the rest with God. Labor in faith and prayer. Select Christian youth, and train them to be, not workers with hearts like iron, but workers who are willing to harmonize. 23LtMs, Ms 107, 1908, par. 19

I pray that the Lord will change the hearts of those who, unless they receive more grace, will enter into temptation. I pray that He will soften and subdue every heart. We need to live in close fellowship with God, that we may love one another as Christ has loved us. Thus the world is to know that we are His disciples. Let there be no self exaltation. Let every one humble his heart before God. Then the blessing will come. The workers will all the time be receiving fresh, new ideas, and there will be a wonderful revival of gospel medical missionary work. 23LtMs, Ms 107, 1908, par. 20

The great work before us all, as Christians, is to extend Christ’s kingdom as rapidly as possible, in accordance with the divine commission. The gospel is to advance from conquest to conquest, from victory to victory. The greatness of the kingdom under the whole heaven shall be given to the people of the saints of the Most High, and they shall take the kingdom and possess the kingdom forever and ever. 23LtMs, Ms 107, 1908, par. 21

It is Satan’s object to keep Christians occupied in controversies among themselves. Satan knows that if they do not watch, the day of the Lord will come on them as a thief in the night. 23LtMs, Ms 107, 1908, par. 22

On one occasion, while Christ was in the midst of His work of teaching and healing, one of the company assembled about Him said, “Master, speak to my brother, that he divide the inheritance with me.” [Luke 12:13.] This man had witnessed Christ’s wonderful works. He had been astonished at the clearness of His comprehension, His superior judgment, and the fairness with which He viewed the cases brought to Him. 23LtMs, Ms 107, 1908, par. 23

He had heard Christ’s stirring appeals, and His solemn denunciations of the scribes and Pharisees. If words of such command could be spoken to this brother, he would not dare to refuse the aggrieved man of his portion. He solicited Christ’s influence on his side. “Speak to my brother,” he said, “that he divide the inheritance with me.” [Verse 13.] 23LtMs, Ms 107, 1908, par. 24

The Holy Spirit was pleading with this man to become an heir of the inheritance that is incorruptible and undefiled, and that fadeth not away. He had seen evidence of the power of Christ. Now the opportunity was his to speak to the great Teacher, to express the desire uppermost in his heart. But like the man with the muck rake in Bunyan’s allegory, his eyes were fixed on the earth. He saw not the crown above his head. Like Simon Magus, he valued the gift of God as a means of worldly gain. 23LtMs, Ms 107, 1908, par. 25

The Saviour’s mission on earth was fast drawing to a close. Only a few months remained for Him to complete what He came to do in establishing the kingdom of His grace. Yet human greed would have turned Him from His work to take up the dispute over a piece of land. But Jesus was not to be diverted from His mission. His answer was, “Man, who made Me a judge or a divider over you?” [Verse 14.] 23LtMs, Ms 107, 1908, par. 26

He gave the man plainly to understand that that was not His work. He was striving to save souls. He was not to be turned aside from this to take up the duties of a civil magistrate. 23LtMs, Ms 107, 1908, par. 27

How often today labor is forced upon the church that should never be allowed to enter the work of the gospel ministry! 23LtMs, Ms 107, 1908, par. 28

Again and again Christ had been asked to decide legal and political questions. But He refused to interfere in temporal matters. He knew that in the political world there were iniquitous proceedings and great tyranny. But His own exposure of these was the proclamation of Bible truth. To the great multitudes that thronged His steps, He presented the pure, holy principles of the law of God and spoke of the blessing found in obeying these principles. With authority from on high, He enforced the importance of justice and mercy. But He refused to become entangled in personal disputes about property. 23LtMs, Ms 107, 1908, par. 29

Christ stood in our world as the Head of the great spiritual kingdom that He came to our world to establish—the kingdom of righteousness. His teaching made plain the ennobling, sanctifying principles that govern this kingdom. He showed that justice and mercy and love are the controlling powers in Jehovah’s kingdom. 23LtMs, Ms 107, 1908, par. 30

Christ set an example that is to be followed by those who are today striving to extend the kingdom of righteousness. He laid down the principle that those who rule over men should be men under the control of the divine Ruler. They must to men who have learned how to control themselves, men who live quiet, peaceable lives in obedience to the commandments. Christ did not enter into the minutiae of the work of those who are given charge of His church; but if they are under the supervision of God, they will know what their work is and what course to pursue. 23LtMs, Ms 107, 1908, par. 31

We shall be brought into close places in religious matters. Discord among church members is one of the most difficult things to deal with. Pride of opinion, selfishness, ambition enfeeble spirituality. There are those who seek for as much power as possible. The difference between true and false conversion is continually being shown right in our institutions. Day by day character is being tested, and cases are being decided for eternity. The Lord Jesus is weighing moral worth. 23LtMs, Ms 107, 1908, par. 32

Our Lord struck at the root of the affair that troubled this questioner, and of all similar disputes, saying, “Take heed, and beware of covetousness; for a man’s life consisteth not in the abundance of the things which he possesseth.” [Verse 15.] 23LtMs, Ms 107, 1908, par. 33

“And He spake a parable unto them, saying, The ground of a certain rich man brought forth plentifully: and he thought within himself, saying, What shall I do, because I have no room where to bestow my fruits? And he said, This will I do: I will pull down my barns, and build greater; and there will I bestow all my fruits and goods. And I will say to my soul, Soul, thou hast much goods laid up for many years; take thine ease, eat, drink, and be merry. But God said unto him, Thou fool, this night thy soul shall be required of thee: then whose shall those things be, which thou hast provided? So is he that layeth up treasure for himself, and is not rich toward God.” [Verses 16-21.] 23LtMs, Ms 107, 1908, par. 34

To live for self is to perish. Covetousness, the desire of benefit for self’s sake, cuts the soul off from life. It is the spirit of Satan to get, to draw to self. It is the spirit of Christ to give, to sacrifice self for the good of others. “And this is the record, that God hath given to us eternal life, and this life is in His Son. He that hath the Son hath life, and he that hath not the Son hath not life.” [1 John 5:11, 12.] 23LtMs, Ms 107, 1908, par. 35

Wherefore He says, “Take heed and beware of covetousness; for a man’s life consisteth not in the abundance of the things which he possesseth.” [Luke 12:15.] 23LtMs, Ms 107, 1908, par. 36

The Warfare Before Us

God’s servants are to put on every piece of the Christian armor. We are not wrestling simply with human foes. God calls upon every Christian to enter the warfare, and fight under His leadership, depending for success on grace and help from heaven. In God’s strength we are to go forward. Never are we to yield to Satan’s attacks. Why should we not, as Christian warriors, stand against principalities and powers, and against the rulers of the darkness of this world? God calls upon us to press forward, using the gifts entrusted to us. Satan will place temptation before us. He will try by stratagem to overcome us. But in the strength of God we are to stand firm as a rock to principle. 23LtMs, Ms 107, 1908, par. 37

In this warfare there is no release. Satan’s agents never pause in their work of destruction. Those who are in Christ’s service must watch every outpost. To save perishing souls from ruin is our object. This is a work of infinite greatness, and man cannot hope to obtain success in it, unless he unites with the divine Worker. 23LtMs, Ms 107, 1908, par. 38

From eternity Christ has been man’s Redeemer. Ever since the fall, there has come to those uniting with Him in His great work the word, “Be not weary in well doing.” “Be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord.” [2 Thessalonians 3:13; 1 Corinthians 15:58.] 23LtMs, Ms 107, 1908, par. 39

The Christian is encouraged to show patient perseverance in carrying forward the work of the gospel ministry in connection with the medical missionary work. As he gains an experience in genuine religion, he obtains a spiritual knowledge that makes character. 23LtMs, Ms 107, 1908, par. 40

The life of a true Christian is one continuous round of service. “Ye are laborers together with God.” [1 Corinthians 3:9.] Every day brings to the one in God’s service duties proportionate to his powers. His usefulness increases as, under the guidance of a supreme power, he performs these duties. The fulfilment of one duty makes us better prepared to take up another. Those who have a true sense of what is to be done will place themselves in the direct light of the Word of God, in union with His other working forces. Every day, clothed with the whole armor, he will go forth into the battle. With prayer and watchfulness and perseverance, he will labor, determined that the close of his lifework shall not find him unprepared, not having done all that he could for the salvation of perishing souls. 23LtMs, Ms 107, 1908, par. 41

If Christians were to act in concert, moving forward as one, under the direction of one Power, for the accomplishment of one purpose, they would move the world. 23LtMs, Ms 107, 1908, par. 42