The Review and Herald


October 27, 1904

An Appeal for the Colored Race

[Reprinted from “Testimonies for the Church,” Vol. VII]


The proclamation that freed the slaves in the Southern States opened doors through which Christian workers should have entered to tell the story of the love of God. In this field there were precious jewels that the Lord's workers should have searched for as for hidden treasure. But though the colored people have been freed from political slavery, many of them are still in the slavery of ignorance and sin. Many of them are terribly degraded. Is no message of warning to reach them? Had those to whom God has given great light and many opportunities done the work that he desires them to do, there would today be memorials all through the Southern field,—churches, sanitariums, and schools. Men and women of all classes would have been called to the gospel feast. RH October 27, 1904, par. 1

The present condition of the Southern field is dishonoring to the Redeemer. But shall it lead us to believe that the commission which Christ gave to his disciples when he told them to preach the gospel to all nations, can not be fulfilled?—No, no! Christ has power for the fulfilment of his commission. He is fully able to do the work laid upon him. In the wilderness, armed with the weapon, “It is written,” he met and overcame the strongest temptations that the enemy could bring against him. He proved the power of the Word. It is God's people who have failed. That his Word has not the power on hearts that it ought to have is shown by the present condition of the world. But it is because men have chosen to disobey, not because the Word has less power. RH October 27, 1904, par. 2

Some time ago I seemed to be, during the night season, in a meeting in which the work in the Southern field was being discussed. The questions were asked by a company of intelligent colored people: “Has God no message for the colored people of the South? Have they no souls to save? Does not the new covenant include them? If the Lord is soon to come, is it not time that something was done for the Southern field?” RH October 27, 1904, par. 3

“We do not,” it was said, “question the need of missions in foreign lands. But we do question the right of those who claim to have present truth to pass by millions of human beings in their own country, many of whom are as ignorant as the heathen. Why is it that so little is done for the colored people of the South, many of whom are ignorant and destitute, and need to be taught that Christ is their Creator and Redeemer? How can they believe in him of whom they have not heard? How can they hear without a preacher? And how can one preach except he be sent? RH October 27, 1904, par. 4

“We lay this matter before those who profess to believe the truth for this time. What are you doing for the unenlightened colored race? Why have you not a deeper sense of the necessities of the Southern field? Does there not rest upon ministers of the gospel the responsibility of setting in operation plans whereby this people can be educated? Does not the commission of the Saviour teach this? Is it right for professed Christians to hold themselves aloof from this work, allowing a few to carry the burden? In all your plans for medical missionary work and foreign missionary work, has God given you no message for us?” RH October 27, 1904, par. 5

Then He who has authority arose, and called upon all to give heed to the instruction that the Lord has given in regard to the work in the South. He said: “Much more evangelistic work should be done in the South. There should be a hundred workers where now there is but one. RH October 27, 1904, par. 6

“Let the people of God awake. Think you that the Lord will bless those who have felt no burden for this work, and who permit the way of its advancement to be hedged up?” RH October 27, 1904, par. 7

As these words were spoken, deep feeling was manifested. Some offered themselves as missionaries, while others sat in silence, apparently taking no interest in the subject. RH October 27, 1904, par. 8

Then the words were spoken: “The South is a most unpromising field; but how changed would it be from what it is now, if, after the colored people had been released from slavery, men and women had worked for them as Christians ought to work, teaching them how to care for themselves!” RH October 27, 1904, par. 9

The condition of the colored people in the South is no more disheartening than was the condition of the world when Christ left heaven to come to its aid. He saw humanity sunken in wretchedness and sinfulness. He knew that men and women were depraved and degraded, and that they cherished the most loathsome vices. Angels marveled that Christ should undertake what seemed to them a hopeless task. They marveled that God could tolerate a race so sinful. They could see no room for love. But “God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” John 3:16. RH October 27, 1904, par. 10

Christ came to this earth with a message of mercy and forgiveness. He laid the foundation for a religion by which Jew and Gentile, black and white, free and bond, are linked together in one common brotherhood, recognized as equal in the sight of God. The Saviour has a boundless love for every human being. In each one he sees capacity for improvement. With divine energy and hope he greets those for whom he has given his life. In his strength they can live a life rich in good works, filled with the power of the Spirit. RH October 27, 1904, par. 11