Letters and Manuscripts — Volume 10 (1895)


Ms 21a, 1895

An Appeal for the Southern Field



This manuscript is published in entirety in SWk 25-30.

Dear Brethren and Sisters in America:

I would appeal to you in behalf of the Southern field. If we consulted our own ease and pleasure, we would not desire to enter this field; but we are not to consult our own ease. “Even Christ pleased not himself” [Romans 15:3]; but we are to consider the fact that the field is no more discouraging to those who would be laborers together with God than was the field of the world as it presented itself before the only begotten Son of God. When He came to earth to seek and to save that which was lost, He did not consult His own ease or pleasure. He left His high command, He laid aside His heavenly honor and glory, He laid off His glorious diadem and royal robe, and left the royal courts in order that He might come to earth to save fallen man. Though He possessed eternal riches, yet for our sakes He became poor, that He might enrich the human race. 10LtMs, Ms 21a, 1895, par. 1

By accepting the Son of God as their Redeemer, by exercising faith in Him, the sons and daughters of Adam might become heirs of God and joint heirs with Jesus Christ. The apostle says, “Ye know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, how that though he was rich, yet for our sakes he became poor, that we through is poverty might be made rich.” [2 Corinthians 8:9.] Christ was willing to come to a world that was seared and marred with the curse—the result of Adam’s transgression of the law of God. He was willing to undertake the case of fallen beings who had lost their original holiness, and who were in ignorance of the perfection of God’s character. He was willing to come to bring back to loyalty those who were not subject to God’s moral government. In the grand counsels of heaven it was found that it was positively necessary that there should be a revelation of God to man in the person of His only begotten Son. He came to earth to be the true light which lighteth every man which cometh into the world. 10LtMs, Ms 21a, 1895, par. 2

The Southern field is beset with difficulties, and should I present the field to you as it has been presented to me, many of you would draw back and say, “No, I cannot enter such a field.” But the condition of the colored race is no more disheartening than was the condition of the world when Christ left heaven to work for fallen man. He clothed His divinity with humanity, and came into the world, in order that His humanity might touch humanity and His divinity lay hold upon the throne of God in man’s behalf. He came to seek the one lost sheep, to bring back the wandering one from the wilderness of sin to the heavenly fold. He was treated with every indignity by those whom He came to save from eternal ruin, and the missionary to the Southern field will need to arm himself with the mind that was in Christ Jesus. The record says, “He came unto his own, and his own received him not. But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name.” [John 1:11, 12.] 10LtMs, Ms 21a, 1895, par. 3

The Southern race has been neglected. Men have passed by on the other side, as the priest and the Levite passed by the wounded one robbed, bruised, and beaten. But a certain Samaritan, as he journeyed that way, not only saw him, but he had compassion on him, and bound up his wounds, set him on his own beast, brought him to an inn, and took care of him. How many have left the colored race to perish by the wayside. Since the slaves gained their freedom at terrible lose of life both to the North and the South, they have been greatly neglected by those who professed to know God, and as a result thousands of them have failed to gain spiritual freedom. But shall this indifference continue? Shall not decided efforts be made to save them? Sin had degraded and corrupted the human family, but Christ did not leave men to perish in their degradation. He who was One with the Father came to our world to bridge the gulf that sin had made, which separated man from God because of transgression. 10LtMs, Ms 21a, 1895, par. 4

Christ, the brightness of His Father’s glory, beheld humanity in its wretchedness and sinfulness, beheld souls tainted with corruption, depraved and deformed. He knew that the fallen race tended more to evil than to good, and practiced the most hateful vices. The heavenly hosts looked upon the world as undeserving of the sympathy and love of God. Angels marveled that Christ should undertake to save man in his lost, and as it seemed to them, hopeless condition. They marveled that God would tolerate a race so foul with sin as to be a blot upon His creation. They could see no room for love, but Christ saw that souls must perish unless an arm strong to deliver was reached forth to save. 10LtMs, Ms 21a, 1895, par. 5

Satan is the destroyer, but Christ [is] the restorer. From the first it was Satan’s purpose to cause men to transgress the law of God. He misrepresented the character of the Father, trampled upon His law, and cast contempt upon His precepts. He inspired men with his own spirit, and made them partakers of his own attributes, and caused them to transgress the law of God. When he had accomplished his work of ruin, he pointed to the degraded, sin-polluted souls whom he had made subject to a thousand vices, and declared that they were too degraded, too wretched, to be redeemed by heaven. He sought to present mankind in the most discouraging aspect, so that reformation might seem hopeless. Though he could not prevail with his temptations in assailing Christ, or cause that he should fail or be discouraged, yet he often succeeds too well with those who should be laborers together with God. But his plans to cause the work to cease are not wholly successful. Through the grace of God those whom the enemy has oppressed for generations, rise up to the dignity of God-given manhood and womanhood, and present themselves as sons and daughters of the Most High. This result is generally brought about through well directed, persevering missionary labor. 10LtMs, Ms 21a, 1895, par. 6

Why should not Seventh-day Adventists become true laborers together with God in seeking to save the souls of the colored race? Why should not many, instead of a few, go forth to labor in this long neglected field? Where are the families who will become missionaries, and who will engage in labor in this field? Where are the men who have means and experience so that they can go forth to these people and work for them just where they are? 10LtMs, Ms 21a, 1895, par. 7

There are men who can educate them in agricultural lines, who can teach the colored people to sow seed and plant orchards. There are others who can teach them to read, and can give them an object lesson from their own life and example. Show them what you yourself can do to gain a livelihood, and it will be an education to them. Are we not called upon to do this very work? Are there not many who need to love God supremely and their fellow men as themselves? In the Southern field there are thousands of people who have souls to save or to lose. Are there not many among those who claim to believe the truth who will go forth into this field to do the work for which Christ gave up His ease, His riches, and His life? 10LtMs, Ms 21a, 1895, par. 8

Christ gave up all in order that He might bring salvation to every people, nation, and tongue. He bridged the gulf that sin had made, in order that through His merits man might be reconciled to God. Why is there not an army of workers enlisted under the bloodstained banner of Prince Emmanuel, ready to go forth to enlighten those who are ignorant and depraved? Why do we not go forth to bring souls out of darkness into light? Why do we not teach the perishing to believe in Christ as their personal Saviour, and aid them to see Christ by faith, and wash in the fountain that has been opened to cleanse away the sins of the world? 10LtMs, Ms 21a, 1895, par. 9

We should teach those who are filthy how to cast away their old sin-stained garments of character, and how to put on Christ’s righteousness. We should plant in their darkened minds the elevating, ennobling thoughts of heavenly things. By faith, by Christlike sympathy and example, we should lead the polluted into pure and holy life. We should live such a life before them that they will discern the difference between error and vice, and purity, righteousness, and holiness. We should make straight paths for our feet, lest the lame be turned out of the way. 10LtMs, Ms 21a, 1895, par. 10

Many who claim to be Christians have accomplished little in the world because they have not kept their eyes upon Jesus, and have permitted iniquity to overcome them. Many who have gone forth as missionaries have fallen into sin, and Satan has exulted, because men who claimed to be workers together with God were not daily converted and were not by looking unto Jesus transformed in character. They did not make God their strength, and so made crooked paths for their feet. They could not bring the poor, ignorant souls who were debased by sin into a new life, even into the life of God, because their own life was not hid with Christ in God. As workers together with God, we must yoke up with Jesus Christ, and put on Christ. When we are planted in Christ, we shall grow in likeness to Christ’s character. 10LtMs, Ms 21a, 1895, par. 11

We are to be living epistles, and men are to read in our lives what it means to be a Christian. We are to represent Christ in character, and self is to be hid with Christ in God. When this is our experience, we shall find that the angels of God will co-operate with us. Feeling our dependence upon God, we shall realize the force of Christ’s words when He said, “Without me ye can do nothing.” [John 15:5.] We shall then know how to have sympathy for the neglected, the oppressed, the despised, and yet at the same time have no sympathy with degradation, but in the midst of sin press closer and closer to the side of Jesus. We shall be grieved and shocked at the sins which are committed while we wear the yoke with Christ and are preparing to be a temple for the indwelling of the Holy Ghost. 10LtMs, Ms 21a, 1895, par. 12

Men who have faith and hope and love are partakers of the divine nature and have overcome the corruption that is in the world through lust. Such men are successful workers, for they build upon the sure foundation, gold, silver, and precious stones. They build with goodly material which is most valuable. They do not build with that which is perishable, with that which is compared to wood, hay, and stubble, which will be burned up in the fires of the last days. Their work results in redeeming souls who shall stand before the throne of God. 10LtMs, Ms 21a, 1895, par. 13

Christ said to His disciples, “They that are whole need not a physician, but they that are sick. ... I came not to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance.” [Luke 5:31, 32.] Those who realize their guilt feel their need of the Saviour. Why, O why has not more been done to diffuse light into the darkened minds of the colored race? Christ died for the colored people as verily as he died for the while people. Through faith in Christ the colored people may attain unto eternal life as verily as may the white people. 10LtMs, Ms 21a, 1895, par. 14

Those whom the Lord sees neglected by us have been entrusted with reasoning powers, and yet they have been treated as though they had no souls. They have been wounded by a so-called Christian nation. They have been left by the wayside, and decided efforts have to be made to counteract the wrong that has been done them. But though they have been despised and neglected of men, God has given special help and enlightenment to many who were in slavery. He has illuminated their darkness when they were in the most unfavorable circumstances, and they have revealed to the world the element of the greatness in Christian character. 10LtMs, Ms 21a, 1895, par. 15

Many of the black race have been rich in faith and trust in God. They have manifested divine compassion for those whom they could help. They have known what it was to hunger for sympathy and help, for they were neglected by those who saw their wretchedness and could have helped them, but who passed by on the other side as the priest and Levite passed by the bruised and wounded one. There are souls among the colored race who can be reached, and the very kind of labor which their circumstances require should be put forth that they may be saved. When these souls are converted to the truth, they will become partakers of the divine nature, and will go forth to rescue their fellow men, to lead those who are in darkness into light. They can be helped in their low estate, and in their turn can contribute to the good of others. 10LtMs, Ms 21a, 1895, par. 16

But there are many among the colored people whose intellect has been too long darkened to be speedily fitted for fruitfulness in good works. Many are held in bondage to depraved appetite. Many are slaves to debasing passions, and their character is of such an order as will not enable them to be a blessing. Sin and depravity has locked up their senses. They need help as much as the veriest heathen, and unless they have the right kind of help they will be lost. But they may be taught to know God and Jesus Christ whom He has sent. The bright beams of the Son of Righteousness may shine into the darkened chambers of their mind. They need to catch a glimpse of God. 10LtMs, Ms 21a, 1895, par. 17

It is their privilege to have eternal life, to be in union with God, and it is the privilege of those who know the truth to repeat the story again and again of God’s wonderful love to man as manifested on Calvary’s cross. The chain that is let down from the throne of God is long enough to reach into the lowest depths of sin. Hold up a sin-pardoning Saviour before the Lost and lowly, for Jesus has made a divine inter-position in their behalf. He is able to reach to the lowest depths, and lift them up from the pit of sin, that they may be acknowledged as children of God, heirs with Christ to an immortal inheritance. They may have the life that measures with the life of God. 10LtMs, Ms 21a, 1895, par. 18