The Review and Herald

767/1902

April 2, 1895

Work Among the Colored People

EGW

I have a most earnest interest in the work to be done among the colored people. This is a branch of work that has been strangely neglected. The reason that this large class of human beings who have souls to save or to lose, have been so long neglected, is the prejudice that the white people have felt and manifested against mingling with them in religious worship. They have been despised, shunned, and treated with abhorrence, as though crime were upon them, when they were helpless and in need, when men should have labored most earnestly for their salvation. They have been treated without pity. The priests and the Levites have looked upon their wretchedness, and have passed by on the other side. RH April 2, 1895, par. 1

What should be done for the colored race has long been a vexed question, because professed Christians have not had the Spirit of Christ. They have been called by his name, but they have not imitated his example. Men have thought it necessary to plan in such a way as to meet the prejudice of the white people; and a wall of separation in religious worship has been built up between the colored people and the white people. The white people have declared themselves willing that the colored people should be converted. They have no objection to this. They were willing that they should be grafted into the same parent stock, Christ, and become branches with themselves of the living Vine; yet they were not willing to sit by the side of their colored brethren, and sing and pray and bear witness to the truth which they had in common. Not for a moment could they tolerate the idea that they should together bear the fruit that should be found on the Christian tree. The image of Christ might be stamped upon the soul; but it still would be necessary to have a separate church and a separate service. But the question is, Is this in harmony with the moving of the Spirit of God? Is it not after the manner in which the Jewish people acted in the days of Christ? Is not this prejudice against the colored people on the part of the white people similar to that which was cherished by the Jews against the Gentiles? They cultivated the idea until it became deep-rooted that the Gentile should not share the privileges of light and truth that were given to the Jews. They believed that the Jews alone should be recipients of heavenly grace and favor. Christ worked throughout his life to break down this prejudice. No human power alone could overcome it. This prejudice was created not by mere flesh and blood, but by principalities and powers; and in wrestling against it he was wrestling against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places. RH April 2, 1895, par. 2

Again and again men have devised plans whereby to keep up the line of separation, and still bring the colored race within the influence of the gospel; but the Lord has blown upon the effort, and made it of none effect. The inquiry among us may be, “What shall we do?” “Wherefore take unto you the whole armor of God, that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand. Stand therefore, having your loins girt about with truth, and having on the breastplate of righteousness; and your feet shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace; above all, taking the shield of faith, wherewith ye shall be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked. And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.” RH April 2, 1895, par. 3

We should take into consideration the fact that efforts are being made at great expense to send the gospel to the darkened regions of the world, to enlighten the savage inhabitants of the islands of the sea, to bring instruction to the ignorant and idolatrous; yet here in the very midst of us are millions of people who are practically heathen, who have souls to save or to lose, and yet they are set aside and passed by as was the wounded man by the priest and the Levite. Professedly Christian people are leaving them to perish in their sins. RH April 2, 1895, par. 4

There are two classes in our world. The Lord has sent out the message to those who are represented by the first class, who have had great privileges and opportunities, who have had great light and innumerable blessings. They have been intrusted by the Lord with the living oracles. They are represented by the class to whom the king sent an invitation to the marriage feast. Jesus said, “The kingdom of heaven is like unto a certain king, which made a marriage for his son, and sent forth his servants to call them that are bidden to the wedding; and they would not come. Again, he sent forth other servants, saying, Tell them which are bidden, Behold, I have prepared my dinner; my oxen and my fatlings are killed, and all things are ready; come unto the marriage. But they made light of it, and went their ways, one to his farm, another to his merchandise; and the remnant took his servants, and entreated them spitefully, and slew them. But when the king heard thereof, he was wroth; and he sent forth his armies, and destroyed those murderers, and burned up their city. Then saith he to his servants, The wedding is ready, but they which were bidden were not worthy. Go ye therefore into the highways, and as many as ye shall find, bid to the marriage. So those servants went out into the highways, and gathered together all as many as they found, both bad and good; and the wedding was furnished with guests.” RH April 2, 1895, par. 5

How few respond to the gracious invitation of Heaven. Christ is insulted when his messages are despised, and his gracious, winning, liberal invitation is rejected. Those that were bidden to the marriage feast at first, began to make excuses. They allowed minor things to occupy their attention, and lost their eternal interests out of their reckoning. While some made temporal interests their excuse, and were totally indifferent toward the messages and messengers, others manifested a spirit of determined hatred, and took the Lord's servants and entreated them spitefully, and slew them. A power from beneath moved upon human agencies who were not under the direct influence of the Holy Spirit. There are two distinct classes,—those who are saved through faith in Christ and through obedience to his law, and those who refuse the truth as it is in Jesus. It will be impossible for those who refuse Christ through the period of probation to become justified after the record of their lives has passed into eternity. Now is the time to work for the salvation of men; for probation still continues. Let national and denominational distinctions be laid aside. Caste and rank are not recognized by God and should not be by his workers. Those who esteem themselves superior to their fellow-men, on account of position or property, are exalting themselves above their fellow-men, but they are esteemed by the universe of heaven as the lowest of all. Let us take a lesson from the words of inspiration that reprove us for this spirit, and also give us great encouragement: “Thus saith the Lord, Let not the wise man glory in his wisdom, neither let the mighty man glory in his might, let not the rich man glory in his riches; but let him that glorieth glory in this, that he understandeth and knoweth me, that I am the Lord which exercise loving-kindness, judgment, and righteousness, in the earth; for in these things I delight, saith the Lord.” RH April 2, 1895, par. 6

No human mind should seek to draw the line between the colored and the white people. Let circumstances indicate what shall be done; for the Lord has his hand on the lever of circumstances. As the truth is brought to bear upon the minds of both colored and white people, as souls are thoroughly converted, they will become new men and women in Christ Jesus. Christ says, “A new heart also will I give you,” and that new heart bears the divine image. Those who are converted among the white people will experience a change in their sentiments. The prejudice which they have inherited and cultivated toward the colored race will die away. They will realize that there is no respect of persons with God. Those who are converted among the colored race will be cleansed from sin, will wear the white robe of Christ's righteousness, which has been woven in the loom of heaven. Both white and colored people must enter into the path of obedience through the same way. RH April 2, 1895, par. 7

The test will come not as regards the outward complexion, but as regards the condition of the heart. Both the white and the colored people have the same Redeemer, who has paid the ransom money with his own life for every member of the human family. If those to whom Christ first sends his invitation to the marriage supper, refuse to receive the message, he will send his messengers into the highways and hedges to compel the people to come in, by means of a message so full of the light of Heaven that they will not dare to refuse. The gospel was first to be brought to those to whom God had intrusted precious truths that he desired they should make known to others. He intrusted to them the responsibility of imparting the knowledge of God and of Jesus Christ whom he had sent. The Lord wrought wondrously for the children of Israel. He finally sent to them his own Son, the Prince of Life, the Messiah to whom all their sacrifices and offerings pointed; but they would not receive him. They rejected the message he bore. They refused the Messiah in whom their hope centered; but when they refused to hear the messages, rejecting the invitation that he gave, the Lord turned to the Gentile world. Those who ought to have known God and Jesus Christ whom he had sent, who ought to have united with the Sent of God in giving the message to the heathen world, would not themselves receive the invitation, and could not therefore say to others, Come, for all things are now ready. The disciples of Christ were commissioned to proclaim the message of mercy to those in the highways and the byways of the Lord's great moral vineyard. “And the Spirit and the bride say, Come. And let him that heareth [believeth] say, Come. And let him that is athirst come. And whosoever will, let him take the water of life freely.” RH April 2, 1895, par. 8

The Lord has a work that must be done, not only for those who are in the highways and the byways, but for those in high positions of trust. Divine power is promised not to those who are strongest, but to those who are weakest. Those who are accounted the strongest and the most enlightened should go to the aid of those who are in most need of help and enlightenment. Every one can become a laborer together with God, working with him for the salvation of the souls of the colored race. RH April 2, 1895, par. 9

It was when Moses stood before God, conscious of his inefficiency, that he was in the very condition in which the Lord could best reveal to him his saving grace. When he had become weak, Christ could reveal to him his power and majesty. The Lord could do little through him when he was the general of armies. He knew that he was the chosen of God, and that he would do a great and special work in delivering the Hebrew nation from bondage; but he sought to do his work in his own way, trusting in his zeal and violence. The Lord did not propose to do the work in this way. For forty years Moses was placed in the wilderness, to learn in the school of poverty, to learn in the walks of humble life, that he was weak, inefficient, helpless. He left the court of Egypt with a full knowledge of its fascinations, and had to come down to the simplicity of pastoral life. As a shepherd, it was necessary for him to look after the flock, to leave the ninety and nine in the valley, and to go in search of the wandering sheep. He had to climb the mountain steep, to search through the tangled brushwood, to look over the precipices, that he might find the lost. One day he saw a bush ablaze on the mountain, and stood wondering because the bush was not consumed. As he was gazing in astonishment, he heard a voice that seemed to come from the very center of the flame, saying, “Moses, Moses. And he said, Here am I. And he said, Draw not nigh hither; put off thy shoes from off thy feet; for the place whereon thou standest is holy ground. Moreover he said, I am the God of thy father, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob. And Moses hid his face; for he was afraid to look upon God.” Then the Lord gave Moses his commission, sending him to deliver Israel, the lost sheep of Israel in Egypt. Moses pleaded that he was inefficient, that Pharaoh would not believe his message nor hearken to his voice. He pleaded that the Hebrews themselves would not hearken to him, and would question the fact that the Lord had appeared to him. But the Lord said, “Certainly I will be with thee.... And the Lord said unto him, What is that in thine hand? And he said, A rod. And he said, Cast it on the ground. And he cast it on the ground, and it became a serpent, and Moses fled from before it. And the Lord said unto Moses, Put forth thine hand and take it by the tail. And he put forth his hand and caught it, and it became a rod in his hand.” The Lord revealed to him the fact that he could manifest such signs and miracles as would convince his people of the divine authority of the message and of the messenger that he sent. The Lord can do wonders, even with the simplest instrumentalities. RH April 2, 1895, par. 10

Every one whom the Lord calls should be distrustful of self, and have full trust in God. Moses went forth in the name of “I AM THAT I AM,” without outward display or grandeur; yet the rod in his hand was a symbol of the divine power of Jehovah, and Moses was the instrumentality through whom God would deliver Israel from the bondage of tyranny. There is a work that must be done now by the children of God. For long years the colored race has been neglected, has been left in the slavery of sin, and they are as sheep that have no shepherd. Long ago much might have been done that has not been done. As a people we should do more for the colored race in America than we have yet done. In the work we shall need to move with carefulness, being endowed with wisdom from above. RH April 2, 1895, par. 11