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Letters and Manuscripts — Volume 16 (1901) - Contents
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    Ms 37, 1901

    Talk/Regarding the Southern Work

    Battle Creek, Michigan

    April, 1901

    This manuscript is published in entirety in 2SAT 156-162.

    Regarding the Southern Work. Talk by Mrs. E. G. White in the Review Chapel.16LtMs, Ms 37, 1901, par. 1

    We stand in a very responsible position before God. We claim to have advanced light. We claim to be giving the most solemn message ever borne to the world. For some years, as the field has been opened before me, I have felt a great sadness. God designs that there shall be means in His treasury to sustain the work in all its branches. It is represented to me that the barren places in the Lord’s vineyard are as a reflection cast upon Him. The contrast between what should be done and what is not done is plain, and upon God is thrown the blame of the neglect. The wickedness of the places in which no standard is raised for God cries out against those who have neglected to advance the work, who have hovered over the churches when the members should be educated to rely upon God and have root in themselves.16LtMs, Ms 37, 1901, par. 2

    This is why I said that Elder Jones’ place is not in the editorial chair. He has a message to bear and power with which to bear this message, and he should enter the fields where the need is greatest and open the truths of the Word of God to the people.16LtMs, Ms 37, 1901, par. 3

    Field after field has been opened before me. The English-speaking field in Europe is a very important field. In it people will be raised up who will carry the truth to others.16LtMs, Ms 37, 1901, par. 4

    These things have been opened before us. Over and over again has been given the message, Enter new territory. Plant the standard in new places. Do not leave any portion of the Lord’s vineyard unworked. It casts reflection upon God to leave His children without light. In the day of judgment, this reflection will be cast back upon those who have neglected their God-given work. The responsibility of those handling sacred truth has always been presented to me in such a solemn light that I have felt like bearing the message again and again; and this I have done.16LtMs, Ms 37, 1901, par. 5

    The idea that our ministers must hover over the churches might just as well be given up now as later. The members of the churches must be taught to keep themselves at work, showing the intelligence and spirituality God requires in those who claim to be members of His church.16LtMs, Ms 37, 1901, par. 6

    What is going to give life to the churches? Nothing can do this like seeing the work advancing in the harvest field. And in this work the members of the churches can all take part. They may not preach, but they can help in many other ways. Many can work as Brother Shireman has worked. God has given us Brother Shireman’s work as an object lesson. God has encouraged Brother Shireman in his work. The Spirit of the Lord has guided and blessed him. There are others who can and should work as he has worked.16LtMs, Ms 37, 1901, par. 7

    For some time the Southern field has been represented to me as a sick child. I have been shown that our people have turned away from this sick child, who needed help and attention, to those who were not sick. If there are any people in the world who cannot help themselves, it is the people of the South—a portion of the whites as well as the colored race. The necessity for work among the poor whites is just as great as the necessity for work among the colored people.16LtMs, Ms 37, 1901, par. 8

    The colored people need someone to devise and plan for them. We cannot say, Do this, or, Do that, to those who do not yet know their A B C’s. A casual work will not help these people. A worker goes there, looks at the field, sees the objectionable features, and leaves. This has been done over and over again. How much does it help? Thus one thing after another has hindered the work.16LtMs, Ms 37, 1901, par. 9

    Recently some work has been done in the Southern field. Some schools have been established. But I am talking about the field when nothing was done, when my son and Brother Palmer began to work. From the commencement of their work, their efforts should have been encouraged by the prayer and counsel of their brethren. But was this done?16LtMs, Ms 37, 1901, par. 10

    It was understood that the Gospel Primer was to be published to help the work in the Southern field. The way in which this book was handled has brought the reproach of God upon those who took part in this matter. In the place of taking hold to do what they might have done to help the Southern field, men allowed the selfishness, which God abhors, to enter, because they saw that there was money to be made through the sale of the Primer. Every scheme that could be laid was laid to divert the proceeds of this book from the Southern field. I have not said this before, even to Edson, but I felt that it ought to be presented this morning. An underhand work was done. God desires every one to realize that He hates and despises underhand work. He will never give prosperity to those who engage in it. But work of this kind has been done. Things were brought to bear upon Edson and Brother Palmer in such a way that it was too much for them. If I had been on the ground, I could have told them what to do. I could have stood with them. And I would have stood with them to the last had I been here. But I was not here, and no one dared to say to the men at the heart of the work, Why do ye thus?16LtMs, Ms 37, 1901, par. 11

    The matter of the Gospel Primer is not healed. This matter is presented to me again and again. A patchwork effort has been made to set things right, but this effort the Lord does not accept. Unless the men who took part in this work learn the meaning of true principle, unless they have eyes to see and ears to hear and hearts to understand, unless they realize that God’s work is sacred in His sight, they might better sever their connection with the work. The reproach of God rests upon the effort made to keep back funds from the Southern field.16LtMs, Ms 37, 1901, par. 12

    The Southern field must be worked intelligently. Some have thought that because the people in the South are so ignorant, it did not matter what kind of workers were sent there. But the fact that the people are so ignorant makes it necessary to send the most capable workers, workers who know how to deal with human minds. Those who work successfully for people who have sunk as low as the colored people in the South must be men and women who will not labor foolishly, who will not work a little while and then get tired and go home. This field needs workers who will say, I will not fail or be discouraged.16LtMs, Ms 37, 1901, par. 13

    When I was living in Cooranbong, the need of the Southern field was opened before me. In the night season I was standing before a large congregation, making an appeal to them. That night I arose at eleven o’clock and began to write out this appeal. The money raised in response to this appeal was not to be sent to places which had received help. It was to be sent to the field where a beginning must be made, where everything was wrong, where help must be given in order for anything to be done. About eleven thousand dollars was raised in response to this appeal, and I waited and waited to see what was done with this money. Edson kept writing to me, saying that he wanted to do this and that to start the work, but could not for want of means. In this work he found people who needed clothing, and he longed to be able to relieve their necessities; but his wages were small, and he had very little money to do anything with. I tried to help him, giving him an order on the Review and Herald for $400, which money he was to use in clothing the naked and feeding the hungry.16LtMs, Ms 37, 1901, par. 14

    Where did the money go that was raised for the Southern field? How long has it been since that money was raised? It was raised five years ago; but I do not know where it went, and if there is anyone here who has knowledge on this point, I wish he would tell me. Those who kept back the money that was raised for the Southern field in response to my appeal are accountable to God, for He led me to make this appeal.16LtMs, Ms 37, 1901, par. 15

    Brother Palmer was taken from the field. He was needed to stand by Edson. They had little enough help in the field. But he was taken away to engage in other work. This move was not successful, and I knew that it would not be. It was not favorable to Brother Palmer’s spirituality. My great fear has been that under the pressure that was put upon him, he would backslide altogether. I was afraid that he would leave the truth. But the Lord gave me light that He would keep Brother Palmer and establish him in the place from which he was taken. But I did not design to say anything of this to Brother Palmer until he himself made the proposition to return to the work in the South. Things are coming about in accordance with God’s design. He desires Edson and Brother Palmer to stand together. He designed them to stand together years ago.16LtMs, Ms 37, 1901, par. 16

    The night before last I only slept for one hour. I was revolving over and over in my mind the matters of which I have spoken this morning. I asked myself, Will I be free when I go from this place if I say nothing about them? Will I stand free before God? I did not mean to say a word. I thought that when the Spirit of God came into our meetings, there would be those who would understand that they had something to say in order to remove the reproach of heaven, which for years has rested upon the work here. Many of those who acted a prominent part in the wrongs done are not here, but there are those here who have been following the same principles of wrong. To forsake right principles is like taking away the foundation of a house. If men who have grown to manhood cannot understand what pure principles mean, they might better go apart and meditate and pray until they understand this. From the light which I have had, I know that principles which do not meet the approval of heaven have been followed.16LtMs, Ms 37, 1901, par. 17

    It is working upon wrong principles that has brought the cause of God into its present embarrassment. The people have lost confidence in those who have the management of the work. Yet we hear that the voice of the Conference is the voice of God. Every time I have heard this, I have thought that it was almost blasphemy. The voice of the Conference ought to be the voice of God, but it is not, because some in connection with it are not men of faith and prayer, they are not men of elevated principle. There is not a seeking of God with the whole heart; there is not a realization of the terrible responsibility that rests upon those in this institution to mold and fashion minds after the divine similitude.16LtMs, Ms 37, 1901, par. 18

    These things have kept my soul in great distress. At times I rise above it a little, and yet I know that the wound is not cured; because if it were, the matter would not be continually presented to me. A thing that is healed, is healed. I was referred to the case of Achan. The entire congregation of Israel was affected by Achan’s sin. Because of it God could not help them, and when they went out to battle they were beaten by their enemies. Joshua prostrated himself before the Lord, and asked, What does it mean that the children of Israel flee before their enemies? God told him that there was an accursed thing in the camp, that spoil had been taken from the enemies of Israel. He told him that there was robbery and dissembling in the camp, and that His blessing could not rest on the people till these things were cleansed from them.16LtMs, Ms 37, 1901, par. 19

    These sins have been practiced in the work that has been done here. That God could bear with those who acted a part in this work as long as He has done, is a marvel to me.16LtMs, Ms 37, 1901, par. 20

    Before I came here God told me what course I was to pursue. I was to bear a straight testimony. I was to bear it without making any excuse as to why it was given. Then my work would be done. The responsibility would rest upon those to whom the testimony had been given. If they did not act upon it, the guilt would be theirs. Guilt would not rest upon me if I did my duty.16LtMs, Ms 37, 1901, par. 21

    There have been those who have tried to undermine the influence of Edson White. They forgot while they were doing this that much more might have been done to undermine their influence. They have spoken of Edson with a sneer, with expressed contempt. My son did not know that I was going to speak of this. But I feel that it [is] my duty to speak these words this morning. It is a sin against God for men to treat a fellow worker as some have treated Edson. God has said of him, My angel shall go before him, and lead him if he will walk humbly before Me.16LtMs, Ms 37, 1901, par. 22

    I told my son to be very careful what course he took, because if he made mistakes there would be those who would say, It is of no use to place confidence in Edson White. They would be watching for a chance to criticize him. The angel put his hand on his shoulder and told him to work and walk very discreetly, because there were those who stood ready to hinder his work in the South if they could possibly do this.16LtMs, Ms 37, 1901, par. 23

    God is not with those who criticize and find fault, and I wish all to know it. If those who had criticized had gone to the Southern field, and had talked with Edson as brother should with brother, counselling and praying with him, how much better it would have been. But instead of doing this, they stood off and fired shots at his work, making things out to be as bad as possible. Why did they not go over the field for themselves, so that they could make a true report? They had opportunity to do this, but instead, they took the reports which had been brought by some one else. We read in the Psalms that the one who will stand in the courts of the Lord is the man who takes not up a reproach against his neighbor.16LtMs, Ms 37, 1901, par. 24

    I do not know but that I have said enough for you to work upon. But I wish to say again that there is a work to be done in the Southern field. Very little can be done in the cities of the South until sanitariums are established there. Let this work be commenced at once. A beginning has been made at Nashville. A sanitarium must be established there. A school must be started, not in the city, but at a distance from it. Schools must be established in different places in the South. And colored teachers must work for the colored people under the supervision of well-qualified men who have the spirit of mercy and love.16LtMs, Ms 37, 1901, par. 25

    I wish to say also that the Southern field is a world of its own. The work there will have to be carried forward independently, to a large degree, of the Conference here. The workers in the field will have to exercise judgment as to the best way of advancing. And those who begin this work in any part of the Lord’s vineyard are not to feel that they cannot make advance moves without consulting those in Battle Creek. Those at the heart of the work, if they hear that a worker is not doing as he should, are not to remove him without learning the real facts in the case. God wants His people to act sensibly. If you hear that a worker is not doing as he ought, find out wherein he is lacking. Talk with him in regard to his course, and plead with him to improve. Show him the best way in which to work.16LtMs, Ms 37, 1901, par. 26

    We have reached the time when the work cannot advance while wrong principles are cherished. Two or three voices are not to control everything in the whole field. No, indeed. In every field God has men of capability. He does not mean that these men, when they wish to take advance steps, shall send to Battle Creek in order to find out the best way in which to move. The Lord says, I will break up this plan of working. I will sever these connections. Every field shall bear its own responsibility.16LtMs, Ms 37, 1901, par. 27

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