Letters and Manuscripts — Volume 24 (1909)


Ms 15, 1909

Talk/Words of Encouragement to Self-Supporting Workers

Madison, Tennessee

April 25, 1909

Portions of this manuscript are published in WM 72-73, 77-78; Ev 45; 4MR 34-35. +Note

(Report of a talk by Mrs. E. G. White to the teachers and students at Madison, Tennessee Institute, Sunday afternoon, April 25, 1909.) 24LtMs, Ms 15, 1909, par. 1

I am very glad to have the opportunity of speaking to as many as I see before me at this time, in a field where a large work is yet to be done. In all these unworked fields, special efforts are to be made. In laboring for the unwarned, we are to seek to “compel them to come in.” [Luke 14:23.] Why?—Because souls are at stake. There is a message to be given to these souls, and those in the highways and in the hedges must hear the Word of life. 24LtMs, Ms 15, 1909, par. 2

Several years ago, during a former visit to the South, while out on long drives, I sometimes asked who occupied the homes we passed; and I learned that in many of the larger Southern houses were men who bear important responsibilities in the care of great estates. Upon further inquiry, I learned that no one had sought to bring before these men the Word of life. None had gone to them, with Bible in hand, and said, “We have something precious for you, and we want that you should hear it.” Now it has been presented before me repeatedly that this is a line of work that must be done. We are to go out into the highways and into the hedges, and carry to the people the message of truth that Christ has given us. We are to compel many to come in. 24LtMs, Ms 15, 1909, par. 3

When visiting Lake County, California, not long ago, I saw houses here and there along the way, as we kept climbing, climbing, climbing the narrow mountain road. I asked who was working in that section. The response was that no one especially was working there. 24LtMs, Ms 15, 1909, par. 4

Christ meant much when He said, Go out into the highways and the hedges. You must not neglect the highways. You must bring the truth before those in the highways. Neither are you to neglect those that are in the hedges. In addition to the work that must be done in the great cities, there is a work to be performed for those that are scattered all through the regions round about. And how can we reach them?—One important means of accomplishing this work is found in the establishment of small schools in needy communities. Even if there are but a few persons in a place, some means of reaching them should be devised. Once let the missionary spirit take hold of men and women, young and old, and we shall see many going into the highways and the hedges and compelling the honest in heart to come in. 24LtMs, Ms 15, 1909, par. 5

Some one may inquire, “How will you compel them?”—Let the truth of God, in its purity and power, be brought to bear upon the conscience of living agents, and let them be taught the preciousness of this truth. Let them realize that the Word of life, even Christ Himself, came to our world because of God’s desire to save fallen humanity; for “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.] 24LtMs, Ms 15, 1909, par. 6

Nearly five years ago, when we were searching for a site on which to locate a training school near Nashville, we visited this plantation that was afterward secured; and I remember that when we first saw the place, we planned to go over it in carriages, some in one direction and some in another; and we looked to God to impress our minds as to whether this were the place He wished us to choose for a training center. For a time, the prospect looked forbidding; nevertheless, the plantation was secured and the work was begun. The Lord would have the influence of this school widely extended by means of the establishment of small mission schools in needy settlements in the hills, where consecrated teachers may open the Scriptures to hungry souls, and let the light of life shine forth to those that are in darkness. 24LtMs, Ms 15, 1909, par. 7

This is the very work that Christ did. He traveled from place to place and labored for souls. And who was He?—The One equal with the Father. The Lord Jesus has set us an example. As you engage in school work in these needy communities, do not let any man come in to discourage you by saying, “Why do you spend your time in this way? Why not do a larger and more important work in a broader field?” Some, it is true, must plan to look forward to the time when they will do a large work in response to general calls; but who will attend to the highways? Who will go into the hedges? There are those that Christ will move upon, and they will see the necessity of entering neglected portions of the vineyard. They will delight to open the Scriptures to those that are in darkness and do not understand the truth. This is the very work that is to be done. Let every one of us stand in our lot and in our place. And if there are those whom the Lord moves upon to give themselves to the neglected portions of the vineyard, let no man seek to turn them away from their appointed work. If those who know the truth conceal from others the great light that has shined unto their own hearts, they are held accountable for neglecting their duty. 24LtMs, Ms 15, 1909, par. 8

We feel an earnest interest in these schools. There is a wide field before us in the establishment of family mission schools. Let those who feel the burden of souls resting upon them go out and do house-to-house work and teach the people precept upon precept, here a little, and there a little, gradually leading them into the full light of Bible truth. This is what we had to do in the early days of the message. As earnest efforts are put forth, the Lord will let His blessing rest upon the workers, and rest upon those who are seeking for an understanding of the truth as it is in the Word of God. 24LtMs, Ms 15, 1909, par. 9

There are precious truths, glorious truths, in God’s Word, and it is our privilege to bring these truths before the people. In those parts of the field where many cannot attend meetings far away from their homes, we can bring the truth to them personally and can work with them in simplicity. 24LtMs, Ms 15, 1909, par. 10

What light there is in the Word! In Isaiah we read, “Cry aloud, spare not, lift up thy voice like a trumpet, and show My people their transgressions.” [Isaiah 58:1.] This is the work we are to do. Note the expression, “My people.” Why should the prophet say, “My people”? They were not walking in accordance with the light of truth, but God desired to save them from their sins. The truth was to be brought to them anew in its simplicity. 24LtMs, Ms 15, 1909, par. 11

The message of the third angel must go to all peoples; and Christ has declared that it is to be proclaimed in the highways and in the byways. “Cry aloud; spare not,” He commands. [Verse 1.] This means that wherever they shall present the truth, whether before a public congregation or from house to house, they are to present it as it is revealed in God’s Word. In the days of Christ’s earthly ministry, He wept over the city of Jerusalem. Why?—His chosen people had had great privileges, and yet they had not responded to the light that had shined on their pathway as Jesus went about all Judea, presenting before the people the Word of God. 24LtMs, Ms 15, 1909, par. 12

In preparation for the coming of our Lord, we are to do a large work in the great cities. We have a solemn testimony to bear in these great centers. But in our planning for the extension of the work, far more than the cities alone must be comprehended. In out-of-the-way places are many, many families that need to be looked after in order to learn whether they understand the work that Jesus is doing for His people. Those in the highways are not to be neglected, neither are those in the hedges; and as we journey about from place to place, and pass by house after house, we should often inquire, “Have the people who are living in these places heard the message? Has the truth of God’s Word been brought to their ears? Do they understand that the end of all things is at hand, and that the judgments of God are impending? Do they realize that every soul has been bought with an infinite price?” As I meditate upon these things, my heart goes out in deep longing to see the truth carried in its simplicity to the homes of these people along the highways and places far removed from the crowded centers of population. We are not to wait for workers of the very highest talent to prepare the way and to show us how to labor; but, whether old or young, we have the privilege of understanding the truth as it is in Jesus; and as we see persons who are not in possession of the comfort of God’s grace, it is our privilege to visit them and acquaint them with God’s love for them and with His wonderful provision for the salvation of their souls. 24LtMs, Ms 15, 1909, par. 13

In this work in the highways and the hedges, there are serious difficulties to be met and overcome. The worker, as he searches for souls, is not to fear nor be discouraged, for God is his helper and will continue to be his helper; and He will open up ways before His servants. 24LtMs, Ms 15, 1909, par. 14

We are glad, very glad, for the evidences of prosperity attending the work here at Madison. To every one assembled at this institute, I would say: Search the Scriptures. If you do not fully realize the times in which you live, and the nearness of the end, seek to gain a fuller realization of these things by searching the Scriptures. 24LtMs, Ms 15, 1909, par. 15

“Lift up thy voice like a trumpet, and shew My people their transgression, and the house of Jacob their sins. Yet they seek Me daily, and delight to know My ways, as a nation that did righteousness, and forsook not the ordinance of their God: they ask of Me the ordinances of justice; they take delight in approaching to God. Wherefore have we fasted, say they, and Thou seest not? wherefore have we afflicted our soul, and Thou takest no knowledge? Behold, in the day of your fast ye find pleasure, and exact all your labours. Behold, ye fast for strife and debate, and to smite with the fist of wickedness: ye shall not fast as ye do this day, to make your voice to be heard on high. Is it such a fast that I have chosen? a day for a man to afflict his soul? is it to bow down his head as a bulrush, and to spread sackcloth and ashes under him? wilt thou call this a fast, and an acceptable day to the Lord? Is not this the fast that I have chosen? to loose the bands of wickedness, to undo the heavy burdens, and to let the oppressed go free, and that ye break every yoke? Is it not to deal thy bread to the hungry, and that thou bring the poor that are cast out to thy house? when thou seest the naked, that thou cover him; and that thou hide not thyself from thine own flesh?” [Verses 1-7.] 24LtMs, Ms 15, 1909, par. 16

There is a work to be done in every place. We must seek to catch the very spirit of the message. 24LtMs, Ms 15, 1909, par. 17

There are colored people to be saved. Yesterday it was my privilege to speak to the colored people assembled in their neat little church in Nashville. A goodly company of colored people listened with marked attention to the words presented. 24LtMs, Ms 15, 1909, par. 18

These people did not have to do with their color. They are not accountable for the fact that they are not white; and how foolish it is for human beings that are dependent for every breath they draw to feel that we should have nothing to do with the colored people. We have a duty to perform toward them, and in the fear of God we are endeavoring to discharge this duty by providing in every possible way for them to hear the third angel’s message and to fit themselves for proclaiming the truth to their own race. 24LtMs, Ms 15, 1909, par. 19

The Lord is working with us as we plan for the advancement of this portion of the Lord’s vineyard. 24LtMs, Ms 15, 1909, par. 20

Do you know of a soul to be saved?—Christ died to save that soul, and your work is to learn how to reach the heart of that one and point him to the Saviour. 24LtMs, Ms 15, 1909, par. 21

As I stood before this congregation and saw the gladness of heart they manifested, I felt the power of the Spirit of God resting upon me. There were no unbecoming shouts or noisy demonstrations, but many eyes were filled with tears, and countenances were lighted up with gladness because of the blessing of God resting upon the congregation. The house in which they had met was small and humble, but angels were there. 24LtMs, Ms 15, 1909, par. 22

While speaking to these people, I thought of the directions that were given to Philip. 24LtMs, Ms 15, 1909, par. 23

In Acts we read the story of Philip and the nobleman—how, as an Ethiopian was journeying homeward from Jerusalem, and studying the Scriptures, Philip appeared before him, and inquired, “Understandest thou what thou readest?” The record informs us that he did not; and so Philip ascended into the chariot, and sat down by the side of the eunuch, and opened the Scriptures to his understanding, and delighted him with the truth. With enlightened heart and mind, the Ethiopian believed the message that he heard. As they journeyed on, they came to a stream of water, whereupon the eunuch said, “See, here is water; what doth hinder me to be baptized?” Philip replied, “If thou believest with all thine heart, thou mayest.” The nobleman answered, “I believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God.” Upon hearing this declaration, Philip immediately went down with the eunuch into the water and there baptized him. Philip immediately afterward departed, as he had received a message to go to another place. The nobleman “went on his way rejoicing,” a believer in the truths of God’s Word. [Acts 8:30-39.] 24LtMs, Ms 15, 1909, par. 24

When human hearts are susceptible to the influences of the Holy Spirit of God, the Lord can do a mighty work through His servants. He can bring them into association with men and women who need help and encouragement. Everywhere we can find souls longing for the help that we might give them; and in arranging our work so as to meet this need, we must not lose sight of the neglected parts of the vineyard. Men may say that it is a waste of valuable time and money for strong young men and young women to go out into these hills and out-of-the-way places to labor. Some may contend that we cannot afford to allow young persons of talent to engage in this line of work. 24LtMs, Ms 15, 1909, par. 25

“Cannot afford it!” If there is but one soul to be saved, that soul is more precious than all the combined wealth of this world. 24LtMs, Ms 15, 1909, par. 26

When I first visited Madison, about five years ago, and looked over this school property, I told those who were with me that in appearance it was similar to one of the places that had been presented before me in vision during the night season—a place where our people would have opportunity of presenting the light of truth to those who had never heard the last gospel message. 24LtMs, Ms 15, 1909, par. 27

Bible truth is precious; and we should strive to know that we are living in obedience to the will of God. We should daily know whether or not we are doing our duty; and as men and women come to us, seeking a preparation for service in the byways and in the hedges, and ask us whether we are willing to give them a place, and help them to get started in this work, we should give them our hearty encouragement and support. We should not hesitate to let them go to needy fields where there are only a few; for it may be that God has a special work for them to do for these few, as Philip of old, when sent to enlighten the understanding of the Ethiopian. 24LtMs, Ms 15, 1909, par. 28

Those whom we seek to help and to save may not be wealthy; they may not have much influence; but every soul has a certain amount of influence, and every soul has been bought with a price—and what a price!—even the blood of the Son of the living God. “For God for 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.] What does acceptance of this Gift mean?—It means a full and complete surrender; a Spirit-filled life; a heart rejoicing in the light of truth; obedience to divine requirements; service in behalf of those who have not accepted this wondrous gift. 24LtMs, Ms 15, 1909, par. 29

“Let your light so shine before men,” said Christ, “that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven.” [Matthew 5:16.] We should seek to co-operate with God. We should desire to have the truth as it is in Jesus, and to present it in its simplicity. 24LtMs, Ms 15, 1909, par. 30

I am glad that our people are established here at Madison. I am glad to meet these workers here, who are offering themselves to go to different places. God’s work is to advance steadily; His truth is to triumph. To every believer we would say: Let no one stand in the way. Say not, “We cannot afford to work in a sparsely settled field, and largely in a self-supporting way, when out in the world are great fields where we might reach multitudes.” And let none say, “We cannot afford to sustain you in an effort to work in those out-of-the-way places.” What! Cannot afford it! You cannot afford not to work in these isolated places; and if you neglect such fields, the time will come when you will wish that you had afforded it. There is a world to be saved. Let some of our consecrated teachers go out into the highways and the hedges, and compel the honest of heart to come in—not by physical force; oh, no! but with the weight of evidence as presented in God’s Word. 24LtMs, Ms 15, 1909, par. 31

Let no living soul—man, woman, or child—selfishly rest satisfied with a knowledge of the truth. There are honest-hearted men and women out in the hills that must be given the message of warning. There are those who cannot have the privilege of listening to the truth as it is often presented in large assemblies; these must be reached by personal effort. 24LtMs, Ms 15, 1909, par. 32

There are those among us who have been in the truth for years, who have never seen nor sensed the need there is for working the highways and the hedges. All such should seek for reconversion of heart, for divine enlightenment, that they may discern the needs of a dying world. Christ came to seek and to save that which was lost. He went about on foot. He did not ride in easy conveyances. There were no railways or other modern means of travel in His day. It is known that He walked, and that multitudes joined Him as He walked. Along the wayside, as He journeyed, He opened the Scriptures to the understanding of His followers. Constantly He was repeating to them the words of life. The multitudes that thronged His footsteps were charmed with the principles brought out in His discourses. 24LtMs, Ms 15, 1909, par. 33

As you go out into the highways and the hedges, let no minister of the gospel say to you, “Why do ye so?” We have for our Example the ministry of Christ on this earth. We are to remove our lights from under the coverings that hide them from others, and let them shine forth amid the moral darkness. 24LtMs, Ms 15, 1909, par. 34

“Ye are laborers together with God.” [1 Corinthians 3:9.] Those who expect to wear at last a crown of life must in this life be light-bearers. 24LtMs, Ms 15, 1909, par. 35

In past years the colored people have been terribly neglected. The time is coming when we cannot easily give them the message. Restrictions will be placed about them to such an extent that it will be next to impossible to reach them; but at the present time this is not the case, and we can go to many places where there are colored people, and can open the Scriptures to their understanding, and lead them to accept the truths of God’s Word. Christ will make the impression upon their hearts. 24LtMs, Ms 15, 1909, par. 36

We each have a work to do for God, whatever may be our occupation. Those who are on their farms are not to think that it would be a waste of time for them to plan to go out and visit their neighbors, and hold up before them the light of the truth for this time; for even if it does seem difficult to leave the farm work, yet we shall not lose financially because of spending time in helping others. There is a God in heaven that will bless our labors. To every man—and to every woman—He has given his work. We may co-operate with Christ, by showing to others what it means to seek for eternal life as for hidden treasure. God has called upon us to do this kind of work—to look after the poor, the needy, the suffering; to be awake to the necessities of those in need of spiritual refreshment; to be ever ready to open the Scriptures to hungering souls. 24LtMs, Ms 15, 1909, par. 37

“And if thou draw out thy soul to the hungry, and satisfy the afflicted soul; then shall thy light rise in obscurity, and thy darkness be as the noon day: and the Lord shall guide thee continually, and satisfy thy soul in drought, and make fat thy bones: and thou shalt be like a watered garden, and like a spring of water, whose waters fail not.” [Isaiah 58:10, 11.] 24LtMs, Ms 15, 1909, par. 38

Some may say, “If I were to engage in this sort of work, some connected with the church would discountenance me.” What if they should? Christ has said, “Thy righteousness shall go before thee; the glory of the Lord shall be thy rearward.” [Verse 8.] We need no greater encouragement than this; we are to seek to save those who are willing to be saved. We are to bring the truth before those who will hear it. Our own souls must be filled with a love for the truth. And as we do our part faithfully, Christ will acknowledge our efforts and add His signal blessing. And oh, what a reward awaits the winner of souls! When the gates of that beautiful city on high are swung back on their glittering hinges, and the nations that have kept the truth shall enter in, crowns of glory will be placed on their heads, and they will ascribe honor and glory and majesty to God. And at that time some will come to you, and will say, If it had not been for the words you spoke to me in kindness, if it had not been for your tears and supplications and earnest efforts, I should never have seen the King in His beauty. What a reward is this! How insignificant is the praise of human beings, in this earthly, transient life, in comparison with the infinite rewards that await the faithful in the future, immortal life! 24LtMs, Ms 15, 1909, par. 39

Brother Magan, do you not see that the glory of the Lord is at work here at Madison? You are not to fail, nor be discouraged. Bring to your house the poor that are cast out; speak to them words of comfort. I know that you are trying to do this work, and I believe that God will continue to bless you, and that He will bless this school farm. 24LtMs, Ms 15, 1909, par. 40

Let us thank God for the privilege of being His light-bearers. This beautiful farm at Madison is a means of support; and it is not to hinder us from doing the very work that God has appointed us to do. And as you try to extend the influence of this school into the needy places beyond, you are doing the very work that God wants you to do. His blessing will be with every one who seeks to magnify the truth. Let not any living hand, of minister or layman, be laid upon you with the statement, “You cannot go here, you must not go there; we shall not support you if you do not go at our bidding; or if you do not give yourself to the work of bringing souls into the truth in some certain place designated by us.” God will bless you as you continue to search for lost souls in out-of-the-way places. Let us thank God that the colored people have a school farm near Nashville. Day before yesterday I had the privilege of visiting the Hill Crest School, and of seeing the little houses that they have been putting up for the accommodation of a few students. A sister has recently sent them money sufficient to build a modest little cottage. In this gift the managers of the school see an evidence of God’s favoring hand. The Lord is indeed moving upon the hearts of His people, and leading them to aid in the establishment of training centers for the education of colored youth to labor among their own race. Hill Crest is a beautiful property and gives opportunity to provide for many to receive a training for service. Let us thank God for this and take courage. 24LtMs, Ms 15, 1909, par. 41

To those who are connected with our various school enterprises in the South, I would say: Let not a single hand be laid upon you to say, “You cannot do this work; you must not spend your time in this way.” Time! It is God’s time, and we have a right to work for the needy and the distressed, and especially for the colored people. If we continue to labor in faith and humility, God will reveal that His righteousness goes before us, and the glory of the Lord will be our rearward. As we try to follow on to know the Lord, we shall learn that His going forth is prepared as the morning. You have been gaining an understanding of this, have you not, Brother Sutherland, since you have been here? 24LtMs, Ms 15, 1909, par. 42

E. A. Sutherland: Yes; we understand some of it. 24LtMs, Ms 15, 1909, par. 43

E. G. White: In the beginning, you did not have the bright of day appear in all the encouraging lines; but God is working, and He will continue to work. Persevere in the humble course that you have been taking, to prepare the way for the Lord to work. 24LtMs, Ms 15, 1909, par. 44

God desires that every man shall stand in his lot and in his place and not feel as if the work was too hard. Why, He is ready to give you strength. He has granted me strength all along the way as we have journeyed eastward. He gave me strength to speak to the people as we visited place after place. At College View, Nebraska, I spoke on the Sabbath to two thousand people. The glory of the Lord rested upon us. 24LtMs, Ms 15, 1909, par. 45

Now, my dear friends, who will be laborers together with God? Who will take up the burden of service? Who will see those that are afar off, having a hard time, and knowing nothing of the truth? Who will bring them in? Who will use their efforts to make them sons and daughters of God? When you enter within the gates into the city, and the crown of life is placed upon your brow, and on the brows of the very ones you have worked to save, they will cast themselves upon your neck, and say, “It was you that saved my soul; I should have perished if you had not saved me from myself. You had to take a good while; but you were patient with me and won me to a knowledge of the truth.” 24LtMs, Ms 15, 1909, par. 46

And then, as they lay their crowns at the feet of Jesus, and touch the golden harps that have been placed in their hands, and unite in praising and glorifying their Redeemer; and they realize that theirs is the great blessing of life, everlasting life, there will be rejoicing indeed. And oh, the thought that we may be instrumental, under God, in helping to show men and women the way of salvation, while living on this earth! 24LtMs, Ms 15, 1909, par. 47

There will be colored people there. Do you think that Christ has a separate apartment for them? Not at all. Heaven is broad, and they come right in. They have labored to overcome their difficulties, they have proved faithful to the end. We must labor diligently to bring them to the position where they will recognize and accept the truth for this time; and then we must labor and plan to fit them up to work for others of their own race. 24LtMs, Ms 15, 1909, par. 48

In conclusion, I would say to every one: If you give your heart to God, if in humility you take up your appointed work, and remain faithful, at last you will hear the words, “Come, ye blessed of My Father, enter ye into the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world.” [See Matthew 25:34.] Is not this sufficient reward? In that happy world there will be no more temptation, no more sorrows. In your earthly life you have labored together with God; you have so lived that your righteousness has gone before you, and the glory of the Lord has been your rearward. 24LtMs, Ms 15, 1909, par. 49

Oh, let us work today, while we still have opportunity! Let us strive to bring souls into the light of truth, by opening to them the Scriptures, and by praying with them, and urging them to accept Jesus as their Saviour. And as you engage in this work, Jesus is your Helper, even the same Jesus that has passed over the road before us and has given His life in our behalf. If we make sacrifices on the right hand and on the left; if we seek to be laborers together with God—without whom we can do nothing aright—we shall at last have the life that measures with the everlasting life of God—no prospect of falling, no Satan to tempt and lead astray, no death. I long to see families engaged in soul-winning—seeking to let their light shine amid the moral darkness of the world. 24LtMs, Ms 15, 1909, par. 50

By and by it is going to be much harder than it is today to reach the colored people. Now is our opportunity to labor among them. By and by there will be combinations of circumstances that will make it impossible for us to labor as we can now; and so we should try to improve every moment of our time in seeking to bring to a knowledge of the truth souls that are ready to perish, that they may at last have the crown of life with us. 24LtMs, Ms 15, 1909, par. 51

May God help us, is my prayer. 24LtMs, Ms 15, 1909, par. 52