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Letters and Manuscripts — Volume 17 (1902) - Contents
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    Ms 70, 1902

    Instruction Regarding the Southern Work

    “Elmshaven,” St. Helena, California

    May 28, 1902

    Portions of this manuscript are published in SpM 219-223. +NoteOne or more typed copies of this document contain additional Ellen White handwritten interlineations which may be viewed at the main office of the Ellen G. White Estate.

    During the night season I have received instruction regarding the work in the South. Some days ago things were presented to me that I could scarcely understand, and that I could not explain by pen or voice. Again, on another day, the same things were presented to me. I had been feeling deeply distressed. My mind had been much troubled in regard to the light that had been given me concerning the work of my son J. E. White in the Southern field.17LtMs, Ms 70, 1902, par. 1

    Last night it seemed that important matters were being discussed in a company of picked men gathered together for counsel. The business part of the work in the Southern field had been brought up for consideration. Changes were being made in the committees having charge of various parts of the work. The perplexities connected with the financial side of the work were presented. The brethren were trying to adjust matters of a most perplexing nature. Some changes had been made in the business arrangements.17LtMs, Ms 70, 1902, par. 2

    One of the company arose, and going to the last seat in the room, placed his arms round J. E. White and led him to the front. He then rehearsed the facts concerning his labor in the South. He spoke of the efforts that he had made when he and Brother Palmer first went there. He went into the history, from point to point, of the publication of the little book Gospel Primer. This book—the only hope that seemed to present itself for the relief of the Southern field—was coveted by men who had no burden for that field. The author, driven to extremities, felt that he was forced to sell the plates and copyright of his book.17LtMs, Ms 70, 1902, par. 3

    The speaker referred to the continual efforts made by Edson White, and to the counter efforts made to frustrate the work—among these the calling of Brother Palmer from the work, the real purpose of which was to discourage Edson White, and to weaken his hands, so that he would be compelled to leave the field.17LtMs, Ms 70, 1902, par. 4

    It was the steadfast purpose of Edson White to do a work for the Lord in the Southern field. And from time to time the Lord gave him words of encouragement and put into his mind plans and ways of managing so that he and his fellow workers would not, for lack of means, be forced to leave this the hardest of fields.17LtMs, Ms 70, 1902, par. 5

    The Lord has looked with sadness upon that most pitiable of sights—the colored race in slavery. In our work for them, He desires us to remember their providential deliverance from slavery, their common relationship to us by creation and by redemption, and their right to the privileges of freedom.17LtMs, Ms 70, 1902, par. 6

    The Lord has accepted all who have put forth unselfish effort for the uplifting of these, the most needy of His creatures. God desires men and women to labor for the colored people, keeping in view their essential good. He does not favor the most favored, to the neglect of the colored and white people who are of a lower grade. He does not leave those in need of assistance without help or notice.17LtMs, Ms 70, 1902, par. 7

    The cross of Calvary should make the distinctions of society fade away and become contemptible. If the Lord is so gracious as to accept sinners from the white race, and to forgive their sins, holding out to them the assurance of the higher life, the hope of a place in the redeemed family when He comes in the clouds of heaven, and the righteous dead rise from their graves, to meet Him, will He not accept sinners from the black race, and will He not forgive their sins? Does He not hold out to them the same hope that He holds out to the white race? Will He not, if they believe on Him, receive them as His sons and daughters? Will He not raise them from ignorance and degradation by the working out of His plan? Does He not, through the instrumentality of the more favored white race, who claim to be children of the same Father, wish to uplift and ennoble them?17LtMs, Ms 70, 1902, par. 8

    All people, of whatever nationality, are amenable to the same law. All will be judged according to their deeds. All, both white and black, have the same offer of salvation. God has given to all the promise of the same heaven on the same terms. What right have we, then, to pass the colored people by without doing our best to save them?17LtMs, Ms 70, 1902, par. 9

    And when God inspires in men and women the desire to help these poor, neglected, ignorant ones, to educate them, to establish schools, to teach them to be self-supporting, should we not encourage these workers? Should we not do all in our power to help those who work for the people of the South, both white and black, striving to instruct them, to lead them to have faith in Jesus?17LtMs, Ms 70, 1902, par. 10

    Seventh-day Adventist have done something in this field. The work has been carried forward in hardship and difficulty, against the stress of poverty.17LtMs, Ms 70, 1902, par. 11

    I cannot now write all that was said. The Speaker put His arm round Edson White, and said, “The Lord laid upon this man the burden to work for the people in the Southern States of America; and he accepted the charge. For years he struggled against innumerable difficulties and discouragements in trying to do this work. He carried on the work by means of a small steamer, on which meetings were held. Thus many heard the truth in its simplicity. He met the people where they were, and the Lord was with him. He was the Lord’s mission worker, and some of those who worked with him in managing the boat were converted, and in their turn became missionaries, uniting with him in holding meetings. If one soul is worth more than the whole world, what then must these souls be worth?17LtMs, Ms 70, 1902, par. 12

    “Edson White was taken by the Lord Jesus Christ and bidden to go forward in this work. His sins were pardoned, and then his work began. It began in deep poverty. Several had begun the work among the colored people in the Southern field and, becoming discouraged, had left the field for a more promising one.17LtMs, Ms 70, 1902, par. 13

    “From time to time the Lord sent Edson White the word, ‘You are not to fail or become discouraged. You are preparing the way of the Lord. You are learning how to meet difficulties and how to carry the work forward.’17LtMs, Ms 70, 1902, par. 14

    “The work was not always pleasant, or the way smooth. The efforts put forth have been made under the most discouraging circumstances, because many who ought to have assisted stood back and did next to nothing. The struggle was hard and trying as the workers went from place to place, endeavoring to arouse an interest in the truth. But God was guiding and directing, and much good has been accomplished, though the work has been carried forward amidst great discouragement.17LtMs, Ms 70, 1902, par. 15

    “And now the work has begun in Nashville. This is in the order of the Lord. Nashville is the place for a beginning to be made in the publishing work. In this place there were buildings that could be secured at much less than the original cost. A building suitable for the work was purchased at a very low rate, and the work of publishing was commenced. The Lord provided excellent helpers. Some of these came of their own accord and gave themselves to the work. Who moved them to do this? The Lord Jesus Christ. He inspired them with a desire to engage in the work and prepared them for it.17LtMs, Ms 70, 1902, par. 16

    “The workers have labored with unflagging determination for the advancement of the work, and the results achieved have been wonderful. The growth of the work has been rapid. The labors of J. E. White and his associates have been unremitting. They have planned and devised and wrestled. The result is seen in the work accomplished. God has blessed the almost superhuman efforts made to advance the work.17LtMs, Ms 70, 1902, par. 17

    “But through unforeseen circumstances, trials have come that have brought about a condition of things not easily described. The present showing of the publishing work in Nashville is not as favorable as it should have been and might have been. It was taken up with worthy aspirations and noble ambitions. The laborers have put the whole energies of body, mind, and soul into its upbuilding. But a murmuring, questioning, selfish spirit has been manifested by some in other places. This has made the work very hard, and because of it, less progress has been made than otherwise would have been made.”17LtMs, Ms 70, 1902, par. 18

    “And he showed me Joshua the high priest standing before the angel of the Lord, and Satan standing at his right hand to resist him.” [Zechariah 3:1.] Satan is an accuser of the brethren. Day and night he accuses them. He pointed to the failures and sins into which, by his deceptive power, he had led the people represented by Joshua. He declared that those who professed to be God’s servants were defiled by sin. He claimed them as his prey and demanded that they be given into his hands to be destroyed.17LtMs, Ms 70, 1902, par. 19

    Then the Angel, who is Christ Himself, the Saviour of sinners, put to silence the accuser of His people, declaring, “The Lord rebuke thee, O Satan; even the Lord that hath chosen Jerusalem, rebuke thee; is not this a brand plucked out of the fire?” [Verse 2.]17LtMs, Ms 70, 1902, par. 20

    Christ knew the truth in regard to Joshua, and He said to those that stood before Him, “Take away the filthy garments from him;” and to Joshua He said, “Behold, I have caused thine iniquity”—the sins thou hast committed—“to pass from thee, and I will clothe thee with a change of raiment.” “So they set a fair miter on his head, and clothed him with a change of raiment.” [Verses 4, 5.] “So they set a fair miter on his head, and clothed him with garments.” His own sins and the sins of his people were pardoned. Israel was clothed with “change of raiment”—the righteousness of Christ imputed to them. The miter placed on Joshua’s head was such as was used by the priests and bore the inscription, “Holiness to the Lord,” signifying that notwithstanding his former transgressions, he was now qualified to minister before God in His sanctuary. [Exodus 28:36.]17LtMs, Ms 70, 1902, par. 21

    After thus solemnly investing him with the dignity of the priesthood, the Angel declared, “Thus saith the Lord of hosts, If thou wilt walk in My ways, and if thou wilt keep My charge, then thou shalt also judge My house, and shalt also keep My courts, and I will give thee places to walk among these that stand by.” [Zechariah 3:7.]17LtMs, Ms 70, 1902, par. 22

    The Lord may seem to have forgotten the perils of His people and the injury done to them by those who follow principles that He cannot endorse. But God has not forgotten. Nothing in this world is so dear to the heart of God as His church. Nothing so offends Him as injury done to those whom He died to save. His heart of love is grieved when the lame are turned out of the way by the crooked paths made by others.17LtMs, Ms 70, 1902, par. 23

    As the people of God afflict their souls before Him, pleading for purity of heart, the command is given, “Take away the filthy garment from them;” and the encouraging words are spoken, “Behold, I have caused thine iniquity to pass from thee, and I will clothe thee with change of raiment.” [Verse 4.]17LtMs, Ms 70, 1902, par. 24

    Satan is determined to destroy the servants of God, but the Lord is engaged in making His grace effectual in their behalf. He rebukes Satan with the words, “The Lord rebuke thee, O Satan.” [Verse 2.] On one occasion, when Peter disputed His word, Christ said, “Get thee behind me, Satan. Let me come close to my zealous, tempted disciple.” [See Matthew 16:23.]17LtMs, Ms 70, 1902, par. 25

    Joshua was accused as a criminal, but he was justified by Christ. Those upon whom God places responsibilities, who by His appointment minister before Him, may expect to meet with all the temptations that Satan’s subtilty can invent. The Lord rebukes the enemy in their behalf. He makes a defense for those who are striving to the utmost of their ability to accomplish the work He gives them. In their zeal, they may make mistakes, they may err in judgment; but because of this, God does not cast them off. They have an Advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the Righteous. He met and resisted all the temptations that Satan could bring against Him, and in His strength His servants may be more than conquerors.17LtMs, Ms 70, 1902, par. 26

    The words were spoken: “God knows the objectionable features in the character of every one here assembled; and the Lord Jesus covers His servants with a mantle of His righteousness. God judges righteously the motives of the workers He chooses. Man cannot read the heart of man; therefore many are misjudged. But in the end, men will be valued as they stand in the eyes of God, not as they appear to their fellow men.17LtMs, Ms 70, 1902, par. 27

    “This man has labored most earnestly to advance the work among the colored people. In this work he has pushed the triumphs of the cross more decidedly that any other of the laborers in this field. He is not a fraud. He has not selfishly, knowingly, wilfully done wrong. The Lord is very jealous for those who have united with this His servant, and when occasion requires, He will work mightily for them. Mistakes have been made; but the Lord, the Creator, has in charge those who are striving valiantly to do the work that needed to be done. They are not shielded for their wrongs, but in His pity and kindness and love, the Lord has mercy on them. He knows all about every one of them. They have had to pass through the fire of affliction. They have exhausted their life energy in doing the breaking-up, pioneer work that others would not do. They are as gold tried in the fire. God will be glorified in those who have been laborers together with Him in breaking up the ground in fields that have never before been worked.17LtMs, Ms 70, 1902, par. 28

    “The Lord throws His royal banner of love about this His servant. He has not divorced him from His work. Even when he let go the only hand that could sustain him, God would not allow him to pass into the hands of Satan. He would not allow the enemy to triumph. He snatched the brand from the fire; for He would use it as a light to shine amid the moral darkness. This man is a brand years ago plucked from the fire by a miracle of grace.”17LtMs, Ms 70, 1902, par. 29

    Turning to Edson White, the Speaker said: “Stand among your brethren as one who can give counsel and receive counsel. Unite with them in the bonds of Christian fellowship, and by hard labor bind up the work.” “Thus saith the Lord of hosts, If thou wilt walk in My ways, and if thou wilt keep My charge, then thou shalt also judge My house, and shalt also keep My courts, and I will give thee places to walk among these that stand by.” [Zechariah 3:7.]17LtMs, Ms 70, 1902, par. 30

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