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Southern Work


Colonisation Not Advisable

"Sunnyside," Cooranbong, June 5, 1899.

Dear Brother__________:

I remember you distinctly, and I have rejoiced to see you growing in grace and working in the Lord's vineyard. I would say, my brother, you would best stand at your post of duty, labouring in the ministry of the Word.

As you say, there is no more fruitful field than the South. It is the prejudice of the white against the black race that makes this field hard, very hard. The whites who have oppressed the coloured people still have the same spirit. They did not lose it, although they were conquered in war. They are determined to make it appear that the blacks were better off in slavery than since they were set free. Any provocation from the blacks is met with the greatest cruelty. The field is one that needs to be worked with the greatest discretion. Any mingling of the white people with the coloured people, as sleeping in their houses, or showing them friendship as


would be shown by the whites to those of their own colour, is exasperating to the white people of the South. Yet these same persons employ coloured women to nurse their children and further, not a few white men have had children by coloured women. Thus the coloured people have received an education from the whites in immorality, and many of them stand ready to treat the whites as the whites have treated them. The relation of the two races has been a matter hard to deal with, and I fear that it will ever remain a most perplexing problem.

You speak of a way of helping the coloured race in a way which does not excite the prejudice of the white Southern-born citizens; that is, the industrial school. As you have presented, the greatest caution needs to be exercised in regard to politics. Some persons are of such a temperament that they would make trouble by want of proper consideration. Words dropped unadvisedly would be like a spark, kindling a flame of intense jealousy and dangerous opposition. Whoever works in the South needs to be sanctified in body, soul, and spirit. Then there will be wise words, not words spoken at random or without duly weighing every expression.

It is from the whites that the greatest opposition may be expected. This is the quarter that we shall need to watch. The white people are prejudiced against the doctrines taught by the Seventh-day Adventists, and a religious opposition is the greatest difficulty. The white people will stir up the blacks by telling them all kinds of stories; and the blacks, who can lie even when it is for their interest to speak the truth, will stir up the whites with falsehoods, and the whites who want an occasion will seize upon any pretext for taking revenge, even upon those of their own colour who are presenting the truth. This is the danger. As far as possible, everything that will stir up the race prejudice of the white people should be avoided. There is danger of closing the door so that our white labourers will not be able to work in some places in the South.

All that you have written in regard to the great necessity of the coloured people is correct. I have seen that those who know the truth for this time have a special work to take up for this people. Christ came to our world, clothing His divinity with humanity, that He might work with humanity, fallen, degraded, corrupted. He came of poor parentage, and lived the life of a poor man. He was accustomed to privation. As a member of the family He acted His part in labouring with His hands for the support of His mother and His brothers and sisters. Thus He, the Majesty of heaven, was


not to appear as honouring the greatest men because of their wealth. He has forever removed from poverty the disgrace which is attached to it because it is destitute of worldly advantages. He says, "The foxes have holes, and the birds of the air have nests; but the Son of man hath not where to lay his head."

Four thousand years before a voice of strange and mysterious import was heard in heaven from the throne of God: "Sacrifice and offering thou didst not desire; mine ears hast thou opened: burnt offering and sin offering hast thou not required. Then said I, Lo, I come: in the volume of the book it is written of me, I delight to do thy will, O my God: yea, thy law is within my heart." Christ in counsel with His Father laid out the plan for His life on earth. It was not a chance, but a design that the world's Redeemer should lay off His crown, lay aside His kingly robe, and come to our world as a man. He clothed His divinity with the garb of humanity, that He might stand at the head of the human family, His humanity mingled with the humanity of the race fallen because of Adam's disobedience. The poverty and humiliation of the Son of the infinite God teach lessons that few care to learn. There is a link that connects Christ with the poor in a special sense. He, the life, the light of the world, makes poverty His own teacher, in order that He may be educated by the same stern, practical teacher {as are the poor}. Since the Lord Jesus accepted a life of poverty, no one can justly look with contempt upon the poor. The Saviour of the world was the King of glory, and He stripped Himself of His glorious outward adorning, accepting poverty, that He might understand how the poor are treated in this world. He was afflicted in all the afflictions of the human family, and He pronounces His blessing, not upon the rich, but upon the poor of this world.

You speak of the Oakwood Industrial School for coloured students as not having sufficient buildings to accommodate the students, twelve in number occupying one room. My brother, is it not the duty of someone labouring in this line to labour for the creation of a fund to supply this need? Let appeals be made to our people. Let each give a little, even among the poor. Without delay, encourage the brethren to erect a humble building large enough to accommodate the students. Ask the people to heed the words of Christ, "Whosoever will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me." The example of Christ is for our imitation.

Those who undertake work in the South must not enter into


any plan for colonising, for this will place them in perilous circumstances. Some families should be found who for Christ's sake will volunteer to enter the Southern field. At Huntsville there is a building, and something has been done there. Let the proper ones try to make that place different by bringing into it new, live elements. This plant must not become useless. Elements must be brought in which will make the institution self-sustaining. Then if it is necessary, cheap additions can be made.

I would not encourage your plan. It means much, very much more than you think, to obtain and improve hundreds of acres of land. Your aftersight in this matter would be very different from your foresight. This work for the Southern people will require the tact of the most ingenious Christian. In the past you have seen families settled in localities where they could work successfully for the spread of the truth, and you have thought that this same plan could be adopted for the work in the South. But your expectation will not be realised.

The expenses of such company in food and clothing must be considered. The results would not be such as you suppose. This plan will bring disappointment. Let each family who shall commit itself to the work, go as the Lord's missionaries, to work their own way. Workers are not to pledge themselves to five years' labour, for many will not bear the test. Some would find fault and complain, and thus sow the seed of evil surmising. These persons might work interestedly for a time, and then become dissatisfied and want a change. The Lord looks upon every heart. There are some souls you cannot trust. They are unreliable. In the company you would form you would find tares among the wheat. It would be better to begin work in Huntsville and make the work there a success.

I would say to you, my brother, that in the future nothing can be relied on in the Southern States. You cannot make settlements with the purpose of carrying on a large business, cultivating lands, and teaching the coloured people how to work. At the least provocation the poison of prejudice is ready to show its true character, and provocations will be found. It is very hard to make the work run smoothly. Outbreaks will come at any moment, and all unexpectedly, and there will be destruction of property and even of life itself. Hot-headed people, professing the faith, but without judgement, will think they can do as they please, but they will find themselves in a tight place. I speak that which I know. Everyone


takes his life in his hands by following such a course. There are some localities less perilous than others, but never can there be large settlements built up in the South. Every act is to be oiled with the grace of God, every word spoken, carefully studied. Parties are already formed, and they are waiting, burning with a desire to serve their master, the devil, and do abominable work. Professed Christians are more determined in these things than out-and-out sinners.--Ellen G. White letter 90, 1899.


The Field Becoming Difficult

(A second letter)

"Sunnyside," Cooranbong, July 2, 1899.

Dear Brother__________:

In the south there are some places where work can be done. But the neglect of our people to respond to the light of God has given has closed some openings which it will now be very difficult for them to enter, I inquire, What do our people mean by this neglect to work the Southern field? True, it is not a desirable field; and unless the Lord shall inspire with His love the hearts of His people, they will not succeed. They are not to begin by publishing the great and wonderful things they are going to do. Cannot they see that if they do this, the gate will be closed against them? That which might have been done years ago in the South cannot now be done.

When the children of Israel were encamped on the other side of the Jordan, "the Lord spake unto Moses, saying, Send thou men, that they may search the land of Canaan, which I give unto the children of Israel." Read this history, contained in the thirteenth and fourteenth chapters of Numbers. When the evil report brought back by the spies was received, God was displeased, and declared His determination concerning the people. For forty years they were to wander in the wilderness. After He had said this, the people decided to go up. But the favourable time had passed. The news of their coming had been circulated, and their enemies were prepared to resist them. And Moses said, "Go not up, for the Lord is not among you; that ye be not smitten before your enemies." But they presumptuously went to the hilltop to be defeated by their enemies.

Thus it is now with some places in the South. The doors are closed. Yet there are other places where prejudice has not been excited, and where work may be done. I write this to our people that they may see that it is not knowledge that they need, but new hearts, cleansed from all selfishness and covetousness. Those who have had every facility and convenience have shown their neglect for fields which have had so little. In some parts of the Lord's vineyard


nothing has been done. Money has been raised and appropriated, although not for personal advantage, yet in distinct disobedience to the Lord's requirements. Those parts of His great vineyard where the least has been done were to be worked; but methods were used to divert the means for this purpose into other channels. Through misrepresentation and misinterpretation the Southern field has been robbed. That field has not received from the Lord's treasury its meat in due season.

The men whose influence cut off every advantage in the publication of books the profits of which were to be used in the Southern field, might better examine themselves and see what they have done in working out false theories and principles, which have brought upon the workers in our institutions the frown of God. O I beg of every soul who has connived in these matters, to repent and confess and be converted, sending their sins beforehand to judgement.

My brother, I will send you that which I have in regard to the Southern field. The plans and efforts that could have been made years ago will not now succeed in some places. It is best to move when the Lord sends word to move, and not study human minds, human methods, human plans, human convenience. The Lord is wearied with the unbelief, selfishness, and covetousness of His people. This has stood in the way of the advancement of His work.

Eighty thousand dollars, I understand, were invested in the sanitarium in Boulder, pressing upon the heart of the work a heavier load of debt than was already there. Did the Lord devise that work? No; that amount of money was needed in India, in Australia, in the Southern field, in foreign fields, that the Lord's ministers might carry the message of truth to places nigh which have never been worked, and to places afar off.

The Lord is displeased with His people, because they have worked at cross-purposes with Him. Money has been invested in various conveniences and facilities which the Lord never directed. There is earnest work to be done, but the money is consumed, so that the will of God is not done. My heart is sick and sore and distressed beyond measure. May the Lord awaken His people, who are not yet half awake.

I have thought of Paul, the great minister who was sent to preach Christ and Him crucified to the Gentiles. On one occasion he was in a strait betwixt two. He was so weighed down with responsibilities that he knew not whether he would rather die or live, whether he would choose for the good of others to abide in the flesh


or give up the conflict. "Brethren," he writes, "I count not myself to have apprehended: but this one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before, I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus."

My brother, walk humbly with God. I wish that the work could have been done in the Southern field which God designed should be done; but men have proved untrustworthy stewards. May the Lord give His people hearts of flesh, and not hearts of steel, is my prayer.--Ellen G. White letter 100, 1899.


Further Counsel Regarding a Colony in the South

The following is taken from a private letter to Mr. and Mrs. J. E. White, written June 21, 1899.

Brother-----has sent me a letter in regard to his plans for the South, but I cannot encourage such plans. He will calculate to have all things move smoothly. A community to settle in the South in accordance with the plans he has thought would prove a success, would prove a failure. What is the prospect for feeding and clothing this community? Where is the money to be pledged for building homes for families? The outlay would be greater than the income. There would be a gathering of good and bad, there would be the need of men of clear conception, baptised with the Holy Spirit of God, to run such an enterprise. I might present many things that make it objectionable. There cannot be any colonising without Satan stirring up the Southern element to look with suspicion on the Northern people, and the least provocation would awaken the Southern whites to produce a state of things they do not now imagine.

There must be labourers in the South who possess caution. They must be wise as serpents and harmless as doves. All who engage in this work should be men who have their pens and tongues dipped in the holy oil of Zechariah 4:11-14. An unadvised word will stir the most violent passions of the human heart and set in operation a state of things that will close the way for the truth to find access to the fields now in such great need of workers.

It is not ministers who can preach that are needed so much as men and women who understand how to teach the truth to poor, ignorant, needy, and oppressed people. And as to making it appear that there is not need of caution, it is because those who say such things do not know what they are talking about. It needs men and women who will not be sent to the Southern field by our people, but who will feel the burden to go into this neglected portion of the vineyard of the Lord. Men, while their hearts burn


with indignation as they see the attitude of the white people toward the black, will learn of the Master, Jesus Christ, that silence in expression regarding these things is eloquence. They all need the intelligence that will lead them to learn of Jesus Christ and the simplicity of how to work.

The cultivation of the soil is an excellent arrangement, but it is not by Northern people grouping together in a community that will accomplish the work they imagine will be a success. Hot-tempered men better remain in the North. Men and women who possess the true Christlike spirit of ministry may do excellent work among the Southern coloured people. Make no masterly efforts to break down the prejudices of the Southern people, but just live and talk the love of Jesus Christ. There cannot be any greater harm done to the Southern coloured people than to dilate on the harm and wrong done them by the white Southerners.

There is need of level-headed men and women who love the Lord Jesus, and who will love the coloured people for Christ's sake, who have the deepest pity for them. But the methods of--are not the methods that will be wise to practice. They cannot be petted and treated just as if they were on a level with the whites without ruining them for all missionary work in the Southern field. There is a difference among the blacks as there is among the whites. Some possess keen and superior talents, that if the possessor is not made too much of, and is treated from a Bible standpoint, as humble men to do a Christlike missionary work, not exalting them, but teaching them religious love, and Christlike love for the souls of their own coloured race, and keep before them that they are not called into the field to labour for the whites, but to learn to labour in the love of God to restore the moral image of God in those of their own race, then a good work can be done.

There is a work to be done in opening schools to teach the coloured people alone, unmixed with whites, and there will be a successful work done in this way. The Lord will work through the whites to reach the black race--many of them through white teachers, but it needs the man and his wife to stand together in the work. More than one family of white teachers should locate in a place. Two or three families should locate near each other, not huddle together, but at a little distance apart, where they can consult together and unite in worship of God together, and work to strengthen each other's hands to raise up coloured labourers to work in the South.


There is a mistake often made by those who labour in the Southern fields expecting that their brethren in the Northern fields of labour can advise them what to do. Those who have had no experience in the Southern field are not prepared to give reliable advice. Those who are engaged in this work must understand that when emergencies arise they must not depend upon men who have had no experience to advise them. They will often obtain advice that if followed would be ruinous to the work. Therefore it is not good policy for one family alone to settle in a locality. Men and women who have not children are best qualified for the Southern field, and if the Southern field is too taxing or debilitating, one family from the two or three who have settled in a locality can be spared. But let none feel that it is their bounden duty to remain in the Southern field after their health has testified that they cannot do this safely. Some persons can endure the climate and do well. But let our brethren in the more favourable climate consider all these things and provide every facility possible to make the conditions of workers in these unfavourable locations as pleasant as possible.

In places where money has been expended on buildings, and a start has been made, it is the duty of men in responsible positions to give attention to that locality, so that the workers shall be sustained in accomplishing the work designed when the plant was made. There is to be a work done in the South, and it needs men and women who will not need to be preachers so much as teachers-- humble men who are not afraid to work as farmers to educate the Southerners how to till the soil, for whites and blacks need to be educated in this line. But when perplexities arise in the South, spread out your wants to the Master of the vineyard. And those who know nothing of the Southern field, let them be sparing and cautious what advice they give. But sympathy, kind words, and encouragement are always in place.--Ellen G. White letter 102a, 1899.


A Neglected Work

April 27, 1899. I cannot sleep past eleven o'clock. Several times I have had a pointed testimony in regard to the Southern field. {After speaking on the subject of royalties in connection with book publication, she continues.}

I awoke, but my soul was burdened. I felt that peculiar trials were to come upon the people of God. Then was presented before me the situation of the Southern field. The work which should have been done in that field has not been done. The means sent in by the people to the General Conference for the advancement of the work there was devoted to other purposes. This is where the work of restitution must be done. The Lord is displeased with the men in responsible positions who have not discerned the great need of this field. The work there needs means. God has given warnings, but they have not been heeded. Church members in America who have pleasant homes and surroundings should remember the Southern field. It is in need of special attention and support. I addressed the president of the General Conference, Why do you neglect this work? God has made it your duty to deal with this poor, oppressed race as their circumstances demand. Let the work go forward. Encourage the people who are favourably situated to help in this field. The Lord does not call families to work in the South who have young children who would thus be exposed to evil associations, but He calls those who can work to advantage in the different localities.

There are men who will tell you that the work in the South has been misrepresented, that it is not so arduous as it is made to appear. Let no one suppose that the Southern field is an easy place to work; for it is the most difficult portion of the Lord's vineyard, and soon it will be even more difficult. The greatest wisdom must be exercised. All connected with the work, and especially those who have to do with the publications sent to this field, must be as wise as serpents and as harmless as doves. Be careful what your pens shall trace for publication. There are many things which it will do only harm to make public.


If the greatest caution is not exercised, bitterness and hatred will be aroused in the white people in the South who are yearning for power to oppress the coloured race as they have in the past. Those who are in the habit of speaking without consideration might far better remain in their homes than attempt work in this field. Those who think that the precautions given are unnecessary should heed the warnings the Lord has sent. If you would have a part in the work in the South, my brethren, you must hide self in Christ, walking humbly and circumspectly before God.

Common association with the blacks is not a wise course to pursue. To lodge with them in their homes may stir up feelings in the minds of the whites which will imperil the lives of the workers. Goods have been sent to this field which have helped to relieve the necessities of suffering humanity. But this work does not please the white people. In some localities they do not want help to be given to this downtrodden race. They desire that they shall ever feel their dependence.

I tell you of a truth that this field with its neglect will come up in judgement to condemn those who have been admonished, but who have refused to lend the aid. The Lord demands restitution from the churches in America. You are to relieve the necessities of this field. In the day of final accounts men will not be pleased to meet the record of their deeds with reference to the books that have been prepared to help in carrying on the work in the South, by which means was diverted from the most needy portion of the Lord's vineyard. This matter has been before you a long time, and what have you done to relieve the situation? Why have you kept so quiet? O that you would do this work of restoration speedily. The Lord calls upon you to restore to his people the advantages of which they have so long been deprived. The evil work done will one day be seen, not in the light in which responsible men now see it, who like the priest and Levite have passed by on the other side, but as God views it.

God's people have no excuse to offer as to why the years which have passed into eternity do not show better results. The way in which some of the teachers have managed the work in the South has not been right, and yet many have looked with great enthusiasm on the work of those who through incorrect methods have given a wrong mould to the work. Should these methods be encouraged? No; for the material worked upon is not being in the least qualified to help the Southern people.


The breaking down of distinctions between the white and the coloured races unfits the blacks to work for their own class, and exerts a wrong influence upon the whites.

Again I place this matter before you. Will you act upon the light given?--Ellen G. White manuscript 90, 1899.

Principles Regarding Restitution

(From a letter to Elder J. N. Loughborough, dated February 19, 1899.)

As regards the principle that should guide our people in such matters, I have been instructed that wherever by self-sacrifice and urgent labour the work necessary for the establishment and advancement of the cause has been done and facilities provided, and the Lord has prospered, those in that place should give of their means to help God's servants who have been sent to new fields to go over the same experience, beginning at the A B C of the work. Those living where the work has been established on a good foundation should feel themselves bound to help those in need, by transferring even a great self-sacrifice and self-denial a portion or all of the means which in former years was invested by those living at a distance in behalf of the work in their locality. Thus the Lord designs that the work shall increase. The talents given to his servants are to be doubled by being put out to use in gifts and offerings and the bestowal of influence.

This is the law of restitution on right lines. One portion of the Lord's vineyard is worked and brings in fruit. Then another portion is taken up, and it is the Lord's plan that the new, unworked part shall receive help from the part that has been worked. Thus the work in every part becomes a success. The help thus rendered should be given with cheerfulness. When the principles of the law of God are thus practised, the work moves forward with solidity and double strength. Then the messengers are enabled with great power to proclaim the third angel's message and the soon appearing with power and great glory of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ.--Ellen G. White letter 35, 1899.


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