The Review and Herald


January 21, 1896

“Am I My Brother's Keeper?”


The law of God contained in the ten commandments reveals to man his duty to love God supremely and his neighbor as himself. The American nation owes a debt of love to the colored race, and God has ordained that they should make restitution for the wrong they have done them in the past. Those who have taken no active part in enforcing slavery upon the colored people are not relieved from the responsibility of making special efforts to remove, as far as possible, the sure result of their enslavement. RH January 21, 1896, par. 1

When the duty of bringing the gospel to the colored race is presented, many make the plea that association with the colored people will contaminate society. But this very plea is evidence that means should be instituted to remove from this race the degradation that has been brought upon them. As a people, we should no longer say by our attitude, “Am I my brother's keeper?” We should arouse ourselves to do justly, to love mercy. We should make manifest by our actions that we have the faith for which the saints are to contend. We should go forth to seek the oppressed, to lift up the fallen, and to bring help to those who need our assistance. We should remember that many among the colored people who have been entrusted with God-given ability, who had intellectual capabilities far superior to those of the masters who claimed them as their property, were forced to endure every indignity, and their souls groaned under the most cruel and unjust oppression. They were ambitious to obtain their freedom, and sought in every possible way to obtain it. At times their deferred hope caused them to flash out with indignation, and they were forced to suffer such fearful punishments that their courage was broken, and to all outward appearances their spirits were subdued. But others planned for years, and finally were successful in gaining their freedom. Many of these have filled positions of trust, and have demonstrated the fact that the colored race is capable of cultivation and improvement. As a people claiming to be proclaiming the last message of mercy to the world, we cannot consistently neglect the Southern field; for it is a portion of God's moral vineyard. It is not our place to study consequences; but we are to go to the field and labor for the colored people as earnestly as for the white people, and leave results with God. It is our part to work with all our God-given capabilities to redeem the time that we have wasted in planning how to avoid unhappy results in working the Southern fields. RH January 21, 1896, par. 2

We are God's messengers, and he has sent us forth to work for both the white and the black race without partiality and without hypocrisy. We are to set forth the truth in warnings and entreaties. We are to point out the path of light in plain and simple language, easy to be understood by both white and black. We have no time to build up walls of distinction between the white and the black race. The white people who embrace the truth in the Southern field, if converted to God, will discern the fact that the plan of redemption embraces every soul that God has created. The walls of sectarianism and caste and race will fall down when the true missionary spirit enters the hearts of men. Prejudice is melted away by the love of God. All will realize that they are to become laborers together with God. Both the Ethiopian and the white race are God's purchased possession, and our work is to improve every talent that has been lent to us of God, to save the souls of both white and black. If men and women of either race refuse the truth of God, they must answer to God for their rejection of Jesus Christ, who died for their salvation. With all our might we must do our work now. RH January 21, 1896, par. 3

God's object in bringing us to himself is to conform us to the image of Christ Jesus. All who believe in Christ will understand the personal relation that exists between them and their brethren. They are to be as branches grafted into the same parent stock, to draw sustenance from the root. Believers, whether white or black, are branches of the True Vine. There is to be no special heaven for the white man, and another heaven for the black man. We are all to be saved through the same grace, all to enter the same heaven at last. Then why not act like rational beings, and overcome our unlikeness to Christ? The same God that blesses us as his sons and daughters, blesses the colored race. Those who have the faith that works by love and purifies the soul, will look with compassion and love upon the colored people. Many of those who have had every advantage, who have regarded themselves as superior to the colored people because their skin was white, will find that many of the colored race will go into heaven before them. RH January 21, 1896, par. 4

Let every one who values the precious sacrifice made by Jesus Christ, lift up his voice in prayer to God, and exclaim: “Behold, O Lord, this poor, oppressed people that have been despised and maltreated by the white nation. Breathe into their souls the breath of spiritual life. If no effort is made on their behalf, they will perish in their sins, and their blood will be found upon our garments. Father of mercies, pity thine offspring. Breathe upon these beaten, bruised, ignorant souls, that they may live. Give thy Holy Spirit to those who shall go forth as messengers to this people. Take not thy Holy Spirit from us in our councils, and enable us to make plans and devise means for the spread of the truth among them.” RH January 21, 1896, par. 5

We need to awaken, and to understand the truth as it is in Jesus. We need to consult the word of God, in order that we shall not seek to evade disagreeable work. When we realize that we are workers together with God, the promises will not be spoken with half indifference, but will burn in our hearts, and kindle on our lips. We shall present them to the throne of God with earnestness, and the Lord will pour out his Spirit upon the devoted, consecrated worker. Those who plead with God, as did Moses, will receive the same assurances that Moses received. When Moses pleaded: “I pray thee, if I have found grace in thy sight, show me now thy way, that I may know thee, that I may find grace in thy sight; and consider that this nation is thy people. And he said, My presence shall go with thee, and I will give thee rest.” Again the Lord said to Moses, “Certainly I will be with thee.” The same assurances given to Moses will be given to those who go forth to be co-laborers with Jesus Christ in the Southern field. We are not to wait for great men to undertake the work. We are to encourage those who have a burden to go to this field, who are willing to undertake the work. Let those in responsible positions give their sympathy to such workers, and furnish them with facilities whereby they may do the work required. Let not men in our institutions feel that it is their prerogative to tie the hands of workers at every step. Let those who have a mind to work do with their might whatsoever their hands find to do. Let those who take no part in the trying experience of teaching the colored people, unite their petitions with those of the workers, and plead that the Holy Spirit may move upon the hearts of the workers, and aid them in doing successful work for the Master. The Lord God of Sabaoth will hear earnest prayer. He will lead those who feel their dependence upon him, and will so guide the workers that many souls shall come to a knowledge of the truth. RH January 21, 1896, par. 6

Truth as it is in Jesus exercises a transforming influence upon the minds of its receivers. Let no one forget that God is always a majority, and that with him success is bound to crown all missionary effort. Those who have a living connection with God know that divinity works through humanity. Every soul that cooperates with God will do justly, love mercy, and walk humbly with God. The Lord is a God of mercy, and cares even for the dumb beasts he has created. When he healed on the Sabbath day, and was accused of breaking the law of God, he said to his accusers: “Doth not each one of you on the Sabbath loose his ox or his ass from the stall, and lead him away to watering? And ought not this woman, being a daughter of Abraham, whom Satan hath bound, lo, these eighteen years, be loosed from this bond on the Sabbath day? And when he had said these things, all his adversaries were ashamed; and all the people rejoiced for all the glorious things that were done by him.” The Lord looks upon the creatures he has made with compassion, no matter to what race they may belong. God “hath made of one blood all nations of men for to dwell on all the face of the earth, and hath determined the times before appointed, and the bounds of their habitation; that they should seek the Lord, if haply they might feel after him, and find him, though he be not far from every one of us; for in him we live, and move, and have our being; as certain also of your own poets have said, For we are also his offspring.” Speaking to his disciples the Saviour said, “All ye are brethren.” God is our common Father, and each one of us is our brother's keeper. RH January 21, 1896, par. 7