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Christ at the Meeting of Blacks



During the night season I have been in a meeting in which the work in the Southern field was being discussed.  The question was asked by a company of intelligent colored people, "Is the Lord soon to come, and are the people of the South to be passed by?  Have the white people and the black people in the Southern States no souls to save?  Does not the new covenant include us?  If it is true that the Lord is soon to come, is it not time that something was done for the Southern field?

"We do not question the need of missions in foreign lands.  But we do question the right of those who claim to have present truth to pass by millions of their fellow beings in their own country, many of whom are as ignorant as heathen.  Why is it that so little is done for the colored people of the South, a people ignorant and destitute, who need to be taught that Christ is their Creator and Redeemer?  How can they believe in Him of whom they have never heard?  And how can they hear without a preacher?  And how can one preach except he be sent?

"We lay this matter before you.  What are you doing for the unenlightened white and colored people of the South?  O, how thankful we shall be if this meeting is the means of bringing the needs of this people to your notice.

"The colored people have been freed from the bondage of political slavery.  But they are still in the bondage of ignorance.  Why have you not a deeper sense of the necessities of the Southern field?  Does there not rest upon ministers of the gospel the responsibility of setting in operation plans whereby this people can be instructed?  Does not the commission of the Saviour teach this?  Is it right for professing Christians to hold themselves aloof from this work, allowing a few to carry the burden?  In all your plans for medical missionary work and foreign missionary work, has God given you no message for us?"

Then He who has authority arose and called upon all to give heed to the instruction the Lord has given in regard to the Southern work.  He said:  "Much more evangelistic work should be done in the South.  Scarcely anything has been done for this field.  There should be a thousand workers there where there is now but one.

"The Southern field is represented by the man who, robbed and beaten, was left by the roadside to die.  A priest came that way, gave a sigh of pity, and passing by, wished he had not seen the wounded man.  Then came a Levite, who also passed by on the other side.  'But a certain Samaritan, as he journeyed, came where he was; and when he saw him, he had compassion on him, and went to him, and bound up his wounds, pouring in oil and wine, and set him on his own beast, and brought him to an inn, and took care of him.  And on the morrow when he departed, he took out two pence, and gave them to the host, and said unto him, Take care of him, and whatsoever thou spendest more, when I come again, I will repay thee.'

"After relating this incident, Christ asked in a clear, solemn voice, 'Which now of these three, thinkest thou, was neighbor to him that fell among thieves?'  From many voices came the answer, 'He that showed mercy on him.'  Then said Jesus, 'Go, and do thou likewise.'

"The wrong use of means has hindered the work which should have been done in the Southern field.  Those who know their duty and do it not are accountable to God.  To Him they must answer for their neglect.

"Let the people of God awaken.  Think you that the Lord will bless those who have felt no burden but to hedge up the work in the Southern field?"

As these words were spoken, deep feeling was manifested by some.  Some offered themselves as missionaries, while others sat in silence, apparently taking no interest in the subject. 

Again the words were spoken, "The South is a most unpromising field.  But what a change would have been seen in it if, after the colored people had been released from slavery, Christians had worked for the colored people as Christians ought to work, teaching them how to take care of themselves.  This is what should have been done.  Not a sparrow falls to the ground without the notice of the heavenly Father. 

"Will not God pronounce as unfaithful stewards those who have left the colored race uncared for and uneducated?  Some have worked nobly, and God will bless them.  Others have made a few feeble efforts, and have then allowed their means to be diverted into wrong channels.  God will hold them responsible for leaving the Southern field so largely unworked.  God has an account to settle with those who have selfishly hoarded their means, lent them by Him to be used in helping and blessing humanity.  They have the Word of God, which plainly points out their duty, but they refuse to obey.  Unless they repent, they must answer at the bar of God for their neglect.”

-Ellen White, August 8, 1901