Letters and Manuscripts — Volume 23 (1908)

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Ms 105, 1908

Words of Counsel to Our Colored People

NP

October 19, 1908 [typed]

This manuscript is published in entirety in PCO 128-130.

I am instructed to say to our colored laborers: Be kind in your families. Do not bring into the home circle any of the spirit or the customs of slavery. Let no harsh words be heard in your homes. Overcome disorderly habits. Never indulge a harsh, authoritative manner. Never treat your wife as your slave. Remember that you are members of the Lord’s family, and that in this world you are to give an example of what the Lord expects the members of His family to be. Your lips are to be sanctified to the Lord’s service. You are to be Christlike in word and act. You may have witnessed much tyranny on the part of those who looked upon the Negro as their property, to be treated as they pleased; but because of this you are not yourself in your home to be a tyrant. God is the owner of all human beings. 23LtMs, Ms 105, 1908, par. 1

Those who feel at liberty to torture those over whom they have authority will be dealt with by the Creator as they have dealt with those under them. 23LtMs, Ms 105, 1908, par. 2

Counsel to Parents

The fathers and mothers who have accepted the truth are to strive to train their children in the way of the Lord. No harshness, no arbitrary methods are to appear in the management of their children. They are to be guided and controlled by the law of kindness. Their homes are to be filled with the tenderness and love of Christ. Their children are to see plainly that the converting power of God is working on their hearts. When colored men and women reveal the spirit of the slave master in their treatment of their children, they make excuse for the white men who reveal this spirit toward them. 23LtMs, Ms 105, 1908, par. 3

“Wives, submit yourselves unto your own husbands, as is fit in the Lord. Husbands, love your wives, and be not bitter against them.” [Colossians 3:18, 19.] This is the rule that is to be followed by all husbands and wives, be they white or black. When this rule is followed, the result will appear in Christlike lives; and the converting power of God will be manifest. 23LtMs, Ms 105, 1908, par. 4

Make Home Pleasant

Fathers and mothers, let neatness and order prevail in the home. Make home a pleasant place for your children. Remember that each day you are to gain a more complete preparation for the home that Christ has gone to prepare for those who love Him. Sow the seeds of truth in the hearts of your children. Give evidence that even though your skin is dark, your heart is white—that it has been washed and made white in the blood of the Lamb. 23LtMs, Ms 105, 1908, par. 5

Remember that it is not profession that God values. He asks you to reveal the meekness of Christ. He asks you to bear good fruit. Your words will testify to the spirit that controls your life. They are an expression of the thoughts that fill your mind. Christ has declared, “By thy words thou shalt be justified, and by thy words thou shalt be condemned.” [Matthew 12:37.] 23LtMs, Ms 105, 1908, par. 6

Your skin may be black; this you cannot help. You are not accountable for the color of your skin. And it does not in any way affect the question of your salvation. Your words are of far more consequence with God. It is your words and manner of works that tell whether you have passed from death unto life. Give yourselves to the hearing of the Word of God, and let each one make as much as possible of the opportunities that God has given him. You are not man’s property. You belong to Christ; for He has bought you. You have been redeemed by the blood of the Lamb. Will you not be witnesses for Christ? Will you not show by a well-ordered life and godly conversation that the seed of truth sown in your heart has sprung up to bear good fruit? 23LtMs, Ms 105, 1908, par. 7

We should be deeply impressed with the humility of Christ as His experience, in coming to this world, is brought before our minds. To save men and women, He descended to the lowest depths of humiliation; but in this He was untainted with sin. He came to our world to uplift fallen human beings, and He allowed no reproach, no hardship to turn Him from His work. His true missionaries are willing to work in the hardest places if thereby they can reach souls. 23LtMs, Ms 105, 1908, par. 8

Carry the Message

Years ago the truth should have been proclaimed from city to city in those fields where there are many colored people. In these cities, sanitariums and schools are to be established in suitable locations; and these institutions are not to be left barren of much-needed facilities, as the Huntsville School was left for many years. Those who knew of the condition of things in this school, both white and black, should have helped to raise means for the placing of the school where it could do a more successful work. Industries should be started in connection with this school that will help it to be self-supporting. 23LtMs, Ms 105, 1908, par. 9

The hearts of the colored people are not to be left without hope or courage. They are to be filled with hope by those who have learned to believe that the colored people appreciate the efforts put forth in their behalf and are ready to be co-workers with Christ the Masterworker. 23LtMs, Ms 105, 1908, par. 10

To carry this work forward, helping the people, here a little and there a little, teaching them to live, not as if there were no hope of a change for the better in their condition, but as if there were something better for them, requires patient, earnest, judicious, persevering effort. But such effort is richly rewarded. 23LtMs, Ms 105, 1908, par. 11

For this work many men and women of the colored race are to be educated to work as missionaries for their own people. These workers are not to feel that their sphere of labor is to be among the white people. They are to be educated and trained to be missionaries within their own borders. 23LtMs, Ms 105, 1908, par. 12

Perseverance

To many of the colored people, the difficulties against which they have to contend seem insurmountable. But there are those who will not give up. All who are conscientiously and in the fear of God trying to acquire an education are to be encouraged. There is talent among the colored race, and this talent will be developed, sometimes where least expected. Every advantage possible is to be given to the colored youth who are capable of becoming useful workers in the Lord’s vineyard. 23LtMs, Ms 105, 1908, par. 13

There are those who with proper training can be prepared to conduct sanitariums for colored people. In all cases they will need the assistance of white workers, but their talents will tell greatly for the success of the work. 23LtMs, Ms 105, 1908, par. 14

Schools for colored children and youth are to be established in many places. The teachers are to bring a softening, subduing influence into the school. In their habits and their dress, they are always to be neat and tidy. They will find that the students need this example. And they will find also that they are very quick to imitate. When old or young show refinement of manner and taste in dress, this is never to be discouraged. 23LtMs, Ms 105, 1908, par. 15

Be Vigilant

There is room for all in the work of God; for a world demands our labors. We must not put off the doing of our work until labor comes to be regarded as genteel. The life of Christ is a constant rebuke to the one who is willing to sit by with folded hands. Let us now set to work in earnest to do something for Christ. The Saviour wept over the guilt and obduracy of Jerusalem. Who is ready to weep over his neglect and indolence in the past, and take up the work that has been neglected? We must no longer be self-indulgent. 23LtMs, Ms 105, 1908, par. 16

The measure of our future success will be the measure of our dependence upon God and our humility of heart. We need the presence of the Holy Spirit in the heart to keep us from self-exaltation and self-praise. The law of the divine economy is, “He that humbleth himself shall be exalted; and he that exalteth himself shall be abased.” [See Luke 14:11.] 23LtMs, Ms 105, 1908, par. 17