Letters and Manuscripts — Volume 2 (1869 - 1875)

Lt 15, 1869

Fargo, Brother and Sister [?]



Portions of this letter are published in 2T 327-334.

Dear Brother and Sister [Jerome Fargo?]:

Your late visit and conversation with us has suggested many thoughts of which I cannot forbear placing a few upon paper. I was very sorry that ____ has not carried himself correctly at all times; yet, when we consider, you cannot expect perfection in youth at his age. Children have faults and need a great deal of patient instruction. 2LtMs, Lt 15, 1869, par. 1

That he should have feelings not always correct is no more than can be expected of a boy of his age. You must remember he has no father, no mother, no one to whom he can confide his feelings, his sorrows, his temptations. Every person feels that he must have some sympathizer. ____ has been tossed about here and there, from pillar to post, and he may have many errors, careless ways, and a lack of reverence, with considerable independence. He is quite enterprising, and with right instruction, if treated with tenderness, I have the fullest confidence would not disappoint our hopes or cause us to decide the labor bestowed in vain, but would fully repay all the labor expended on him. I think ____ is a very good boy, considering the disadvantages he has had. 2LtMs, Lt 15, 1869, par. 2

When we entreated you to take him, we did it because we fully believed that it was your duty and that in doing this you would be helped. We did not expect that you would do this merely to be benefited by the help you would receive from the boy, but to benefit him, to do a duty to the orphan and fatherless—a duty which belongs to every true Christian to be seeking and watching and anxious to perform; a duty, a sacrificing duty, which we believed it would do you good to engage in, if you did it cheerfully, with the view to be the instrument in saving a soul from the snares of Satan, of saving a son whose father devoted his precious life to pointing souls to the Lamb of God who taketh away the sin of the world. 2LtMs, Lt 15, 1869, par. 3

From what was shown me, Sabbathkeeping Adventists have but a feeble sense of how large a place the world and selfishness hold in their hearts. If you have a true desire to do good and glorify God, there are many ways in which you can do it. But you have not felt that this was the result of true religion. This is the fruit which every good tree will produce. To be interested in another, to make their cases your own, to manifest an unselfish interest for the very ones who stand most in need of help, you have not felt was required of you. You have not reached out to help the most needy, the most helpless. Had you children of your own to call into exercise care, affection, and love you would not be so much shut up to yourselves and to your own interest. If those who have no children would expand their hearts to care for children who need love, care, and affection, and assistance with this world’s goods which God has made them stewards of, they would be far happier than they are today. As long as there are youth exposed to the corrupting influences of these last days, who have no father’s pitying care, nor a mother’s tender love, it is somebody’s duty to supply the place of father and mother to some of these. Learn to give them love, affection, and sympathy. All who profess to have a Father in heaven, whom they hope will care for them and finally take them to the home He has prepared for them, will have to feel a solemn obligation resting upon them to be friends to the friendless, fathers to the orphans, and aid the widows, and be of some practical use in this world to benefit humanity. Many have not viewed things in a right light. If they live merely for themselves, they will have no greater strength than this calls for. 2LtMs, Lt 15, 1869, par. 4

The youth who are growing up among us are not cared for as they should be. Somebody has duties which they are not willing and ready to see and perform. The fear of inconvenience or a little trouble is sufficient for many to excuse themselves. The day of God will reveal unfulfilled duties—souls lost because the selfish would not take pains to interest themselves in their behalf. 2LtMs, Lt 15, 1869, par. 5

I was shown that should professed Christians cultivate more affections and kindly regard in caring for others they would be repaid fourfold. God marks, God knows, for what object we live and whether our living is put to the very best account for poor, fallen humanity, or whether our eyes are eclipsed to everything but our own interest and everyone but our own poor selves. I entreat you, in behalf of Christ and in behalf of your own souls and in behalf of the youth, not to think so lightly of this matter as many do. It is a grave and serious thing, and affects your interest in the kingdom of Christ, inasmuch as the salvation of precious souls is involved. Why is it not your duty, which God enjoins on you who are able, to expend something for the benefit of the homeless, ignorant even though they may be, and undisciplined? Shall you study to labor only in the direction where you will receive the most selfish pleasure and profit? It is not meet for you to neglect the divine favor Heaven offers you, to care for those who need your care, and thus let God knock in vain at your door. He stands at your door in the person of the poor, the homeless orphans, and the afflicted widows who need love, sympathy, affection, and encouragement. If you do it not unto one of these, you would not do it to Christ where He upon the earth. 2LtMs, Lt 15, 1869, par. 6

Call to mind your former wretchedness, your spiritual blindness and the darkness which enshrouded you before Christ, a tender, loving Saviour, came to your aid and reached you where you were. If you let these seasons pass without giving tangible proofs of your gratitude for this wonderful and amazing love which a compassionate Saviour exercised toward you, who was an alien from the commonwealth of Israel, there is reason to fear that still greater darkness and misery will come upon you. Now is your sowing time. You will reap that which you sow. Avail yourself of every privilege of doing good while you may. These privileges improved are as a passing shower, which will water and revive you. Lay hold of every opportunity within your reach of doing good. Idle hands will reap a small harvest. Why else do older persons live but to care for the young, to help the helpless? God has committed them to us who are older and have experience, and He will call us to account if our duties in this direction are neglected. What though our labor may not be appreciated and proves a failure many times and a success once? This once will outweigh all the discouragements previously borne. 2LtMs, Lt 15, 1869, par. 7

But few have a true sense of what is comprised in the word Christian. It is to be Christlike; to do others good; to be divested of all selfishness and have our life marked with acts of disinterested benevolence. Our Redeemer throws souls into the arms of the church for them to unselfishly care for the train for heaven and thus be co-workers with Him. But the church too often thrusts them away upon the devil's battlefield, saying, “It is not my duty,” and brings up some trifling excuse. “Well,” says another, “neither is it my duty;” and finally it is nobody's duty, and the soul is left uncared for, to perish. It is the duty of every Christian to engage in this self-denying, self-sacrificing enterprise. Cannot God return into their granaries and increase their flocks so there shall be no loss, but increase? “There is that scattereth yet increaseth, and he that withholdeth more than is meet tendeth to poverty.” [Proverbs 11:24.] God requireth duties of us which we leave unperformed. 2LtMs, Lt 15, 1869, par. 8

But every man’s work is to be tested, brought into judgment, and he be rewarded as his works have been. “Honor the Lord with thy substance and with the first fruits of all thine increase; so shall thy barns be filled with plenty.” [Proverbs 3:9.] “Is not this the fast that I have chosen? to loose the bands of wickedness, to undo the heavy burdens, and to let the oppressed go free, and that ye break every yoke? Is it not to deal thy bread to the hungry, and that thou bring the poor that are cast out to thy house? when thou seest the naked that thou cover him; and that thou hide not thyself from thine own flesh?” Read on, the rich reward promised to those who do this: “Then shall thy light break forth as the morning, and thine health shall spring forth speedily.” [Isaiah 58:6-8.] Here is an abundantly precious promise for those who will interest themselves in the cases of those who need help. How can God come in and bless and prosper those who have no special care for any one only themselves, and who do not use that which He has entrusted to them to glorify His name on the earth? 2LtMs, Lt 15, 1869, par. 9

Sister Hannah More is dead, and died a martyr to the close selfishness of God’s people who profess to be seeking for glory, honor, immortality, eternal life. [She was] exiled this past cold winter from believers because no hearts were bountiful enough to receive this self-sacrificing missionary. I blame no one. I am not judge. But when the Judge of all the earth shall make investigation, somebody will be found to blame. We are all narrowed up and consumed in our own selfishness. May God tear away this cursed covering and give us bowels of mercy, hearts of flesh, tenderness, and compassion, is my prayer, offered from an oppressed, anguished, burdened soul. I am sure that a work must be done for us or we shall be found wanting in the day of God. 2LtMs, Lt 15, 1869, par. 10

In regard to ____, don’t, I entreat of you, forget that he is a child with only a child’s experience. Don’t measure him, a poor, weak, feeble boy, with yourselves and expect of him accordingly. I fully believe it is in your power to do the right thing by this orphan. You can present inducements to him that will not make him feel that his task is cheerless, unrelieved by a ray of encouragement. You, Brother and Sister ____, can enjoy yourselves in each other’s confidence; you can sympathize with each other, interest and amuse each other; tell your trials and burdens to each other. You have something to cheer you, while he is alone. He is a thinking boy, but has no one to confide in or to give him an encouraging word amid his discouragements and severe trials, which I know he has, as well as others of older years. 2LtMs, Lt 15, 1869, par. 11

If you shut your love up to each other, it is selfish love, unattended with Heaven’s blessing. I have strong hope that you will love the orphan for Christ’s sake. That you will feel that your possessions are but worthless unless employed to do good. Do good; be rich in good works, willing to distribute, ready to communicate, laying up in store for yourselves a good foundation against the time to come, that you may lay hold on eternal life. None will reap the reward of everlasting life but the self-sacrificing. 2LtMs, Lt 15, 1869, par. 12

If you cannot get along with ____ and love him and do abundantly well for him, and consider it a privilege to do this, a blessing Heaven has sent you, we will take the boy and do the best we can for him, treat him as our own son, till some place is provided for him. We have done this to many. Although we now have a little girl, which I took from a widowed mother who could not do for her all she needed to have done, although we are at home but a part of the time, the salvation of the soul is precious and I am willing to be put to inconvenience and care to do some good. A dying father and mother left their jewels to the care of the church, to be instructed in the things of God and fitted for heaven. When they shall look about for these jewels and one is found missing through neglect, what shall the church answer? They are responsible in a great degree for the salvation of these orphan children. 2LtMs, Lt 15, 1869, par. 13

In all probability you have failed in not gaining the boy’s confidence and affection by giving him more tangible proofs of your love, by holding out some inducements. If you could not expend money, you could at least encourage in some way by letting him know you were not indifferent to his case. But after eight months’ trial, if nothing has been said and the boy knows not what to expect, whether he is to consider himself at home and to receive something for what he does, or whether he is to go elsewhere in a short time, is enough to perplex and try him as it would you in like circumstances. That he is uneasy and restless—the only wonder to me is that he has not been more so. He knew he was at your house on trial. He loves his home; never was at a place he enjoyed himself so well as where he now lives. But his interest and love and affection cannot live without something to keep it alive. That the love and affection is to be all on one side is a mistake. How much have you really loved? How much affection have you educated yourself to manifest? You are too much shut up to yourselves and do not feel the necessity of surrounding yourselves with an atmosphere of tenderness and gentleness which comes from true nobility of soul. Brother and Sister ____ left their children to the care of the church. There were plenty of relatives who were wealthy, who wished for these children, but they were unbelievers, and if allowed to have the care or become the guardians of the children would lead their hearts away from the truth into error and endanger their salvation. This make their relatives dissatisfied and they have done nothing for the children. The confidence of the parents in the church should be considered and not be forgotten because of selfishness. 2LtMs, Lt 15, 1869, par. 14

We have the deepest interest for these children. One has already developed a beautiful Christian character, is married to Elder ____, and now, in return for the care and burdens borne for her, is a true burden-bearer in the church. She is sought unto for advice and counsel by the less experienced, and they seek not in vain. She possesses a true Christian humility, with becoming dignity which can but inspire respect and confidence in all who know her. These children are as near to me as my own. I shall not lose sight of them, nor cease my care for them. I love them sincerely, tenderly, affectionately. 2LtMs, Lt 15, 1869, par. 15