“I will say to the South. Keep not back: bring my sons from afar, and my daughters from the ends of the earth . . . whom I have created for my glory.” —(Isa. xliii. 6, 7)
IT is difficult to believe that the souls around us here “sitting in darkness” could have been created for God’s glory! Yet Gen. 1: 27 is true of them as of us, “In the image of God created.” What havoc has not the Devil and sin wrought! As we see the manifest effects of his hateful power in these poor souls, we begin to realize as never before that we have a foe to face whose position is impregnable apart from the Holy Ghost; and we long that our beloved “Sub Secs,," and “Local” and “Home Helpers” should realize this also. How we wish you could even have one month’s insight into things as they really are out here! Words are all too poor to paint the needs of South Africa. The very appearance of the natives gives one some little idea of what their hearts must be. There is a sort of demon-possessed look in most of their faces that is not seen on the face of even a bad white man —an indescribable “God-less” expression that must be seen to be understood, and we simply recognize that we are in the enemy’s kingdom here. The very gestures, laughter, habits (little as we have yet seen) all indicate a fearful lack of something that we never could see at home. When once the real heathen have been met with, we shall never again talk of the home heathen!
Home sinners if we will, but they are not “heathen." Christianity has exercised its influence for generations at home, and its effects are felt in some degree through every grade and class of the people; but here the influence of the Devil has been eating like a canker deeper and deeper into souls, age after age, and the effect as seen to-day is appalling. We pray that God may unveil to you each individually more and more “the depths of' Satan,” so that you may the better understand the condition of these “ther sheep” for whom Christ died.
He wants you to understand what the will of the Lord is concerning them and us who “live among the heathen.” Have you, dear friends, ever set yourselves definitely to wait on God, not only to find out what He would have you do, but that He might take you into the “secret of His presence” and there reveal to you something of the purposes of His great heart for the world? Ask Him to show you what “the heart of mercy of our God” is. (Luke i:78, R.V.) See how “the dayspring from on high hath visited us, to shine on them that sit in darkness.” Let the divine love that “remembered us in our low estate” so meet you that you may be gladly willing to go on with God, so that He may equip you for the campaign—either for a life of intercession such as you have not yet known, at home, or for “active service” in the enemy’s country. Friends, be real with God over these things. If one thing has been burnt in on one more than another in these weeks in Africa, it is the need of Reality. Shams won't do here; though people put up with a good many at home! Let us seek God’s face in sincerity, with a holy determination to know His will and do it, at any cost to ourselves. Let there be reality in our waiting on God; in our intentions; in our intercession; in our giving—in our whole lives. “Let God be God ” in a deeper-degree than we have ever known yet. Some of us are only beginning to find out how infinitely great our God is, how limitless His resources, how vast His power and wisdom, how fathomless His love! Surely He is a God worth telling the world of! But we know that only in the proportion to what He is to ourselves shall we desire to tell of Him. If He is not much to us, we shall not have much wish to speak of Him, but if He be in our own lives “El-Shaddai”—“ the God that is enough ”—the God who can save, and keep saved, we shall not be able to keep the glad tidings to ourselves, but shall love to “tell out among the heathen that the Lord is King.” We ask you to seek God’s face continually on behalf of the heathen, and on behalf of the Europeans (whose lives are a terrible reproach to the name of Christ), and on behalf of all those connected with the S.A.G.M. whom God has sent out here as His witnesses, and, as you pray for us, and the advancement of Christ's Kingdom in Africa, so we remember you and “make known our requests for you with thanksgiving.” Dear friends, you have as much to do, in God’s purpose, with the hastening of His coming, as we have. Let Him teach you how to pray—what to do—and how to do it. Be real “helpers-together” with us, and above all co-operators with God in His mighty work of preparation for that day when “the kingdoms of the world shall become the kingdoms of Our Lord and of His Christ.”
B. Porter, South African Pioneer, March 1898.