Letters and Manuscripts — Volume 7 (1891-1892)


Ms 26, 1891

The Orphans’ Home



Formerly Undated Ms 80. Contains formerly Undated Ms 7a. This manuscript is published in entirety in MMis 06/1891, 07/1891.

We have long felt that there was among us great need of an orphans’ home. We have seen the widowed mother with her fatherless children working far beyond her strength, in order to keep her little ones with her and prevent them from suffering for food and clothing. Many a mother has died from overexertion. And how little has been done by us as a people for this class! Have we not come far short of our duty? We are not doing as much as is done by other denominations, when in view of our faith, it is right that more should be expected of us than of others. 7LtMs, Ms 26, 1891, par. 1

Those who have the good things of this life, were they unselfish, were they Christlike, would feel it a solemn duty to help these struggling ones in their time of perplexity, want and bereavement. The Lord has placed in the hands of His agents here upon earth sufficient [means] to help the needy, so that if each of His agents should work unselfishly, as Christ worked, none need suffer for the necessities of life, nor would any be left to hunger for words of tender sympathy. But selfishness and pride say, “Pass them by; if you attempt to help all who need help, you will have your hands full and your hearts full.” Hearts full of what? Of the pitying love and tender human kindness and sympathy of Christ. Is not this fullness far more desirable than to have the heart full of self-love, self-caring, self-exaltation? Let the mind of Christ become your mind, and the works of Christ become your works, and then you will keep the fast that Isaiah describes: 7LtMs, Ms 26, 1891, par. 2

“Is not this the fast that I have chosen? to loose the bands of wickedness, to undo the heavy burdens?” [Isaiah 58:6.] Find out what the poor and suffering are in need of, and then, in love and tenderness, help them to courage and hope and confidence by sharing with them the good things that God has given you. Thus you will be doing the very work the Lord means for you to do. “Let the oppressed go free.” Do not rest till you break every yoke. It is not possible for you to neglect this, and yet obey God. 7LtMs, Ms 26, 1891, par. 3

“Is it not to deal thy bread to the hungry, and that thou bring the poor that are cast out to thine house? when thou seest the naked that thou cover him; and that thou hide not thyself from thine own flesh?” [Verse 7.] How much of this hiding has been done! How many have closed the eyes and locked the door of the heart, lest a softening influence should prompt them to works of kindness and charity! The work of Christ never ceases. His tender love and goodness are inexhaustible; His mercy is over all the children of men. 7LtMs, Ms 26, 1891, par. 4

The Lord Jesus means that you shall be blessed in imparting to His needy, suffering ones. He has made men His co-partners. “We are laborers together with God.” [1 Corinthians 3:9.] Has not Christ, by both precept and example, plainly taught us what we should do? We are to work, imbued with His Spirit as we look to the cross, ready if He bids us, to leave all for His sake. He who lives to please himself is not a Christian. He has not been created anew in Christ Jesus. 7LtMs, Ms 26, 1891, par. 5

Every hour, every moment is precious, charged with eternal responsibilities. The Christian no longer lives for selfish gratification, for vain display to create envy in others who are not as well situated as himself. He is God’s agent to do God’s work. No other being in the universe has the claim to him that Jesus has. He is a purchased possession. All his future existence is the Lord’s; he has been bought by the costly price of the blood of the Lamb. He is to devote himself unreservedly to Christ; his thoughts, his words, and all his works are to be subject to the will of Christ. 7LtMs, Ms 26, 1891, par. 6

The world’s Redeemer, the Householder, entrusts His goods to His own servants, but not for them to invest and use extravagantly for themselves. Money, possessions, intellect, are but lent us to be held as a precious trust for the service of Christ. Reason, ability, knowledge, affection, property have been received from Jesus, <and are> to be used with wisdom to bring honor and glory to His name. In life and character the Christian is bound up with Christ in the plans of mercy for the great work of blessing humanity. His character is to be a reproduction of the character of Christ. The unselfish, self-sacrificing life of Jesus is to be copied by every soul who loves the Redeemer. 7LtMs, Ms 26, 1891, par. 7

As union is strength, the Source of all power, of all goodness, mercy, and love, takes finite human beings into co-partnership with Himself for the purpose of combining His divine power with human agencies, to diffuse His influence and extend it far and near. And every believer in Christ is to stand as His worker, to do His bidding. Under the transforming influence of His grace, there will be a constant exercise of sympathy and forbearance; there will be a holy emulation to support the weak, to aid the suffering members of Christ’s body. 7LtMs, Ms 26, 1891, par. 8

When one is allied to Christ, a partaker of the divine nature, his interest is identified with that of all suffering humanity, and he is working in the same line with heavenly intelligences. There is no exalting of self and certain favored ones, and saying to others, “Sit here at my footstool.” [James 2:3.] We must stand as God’s <servants,> independent of the world, yet constantly shining as lights in the world, ever presenting, both in profession of faith and in the practice of good works, a representation of Christ. 7LtMs, Ms 26, 1891, par. 9

The Christian’s life will testify that he is governed by other laws than those which the world obeys—laws of a higher order than those which control the lovers of the world. Oneness with Christ enables men to wield an influence far above that of the renowned of this world. While copying the example of Christ, they have, through His grace, power to benefit the church and the community. Their influence is felt just in proportion to the distinctness of the line of demarcation which separates them in spirit and principle from the world. 7LtMs, Ms 26, 1891, par. 10

As Christ’s workers we have done much in a heartless, compulsory way. We want now to hide in Jesus and separate all selfishness and vanity from our work. We should do nothing by halves. Entire consecration is required. Keep to the self-denying, self-sacrificing side of the line. Step not into the path of self-aggrandizement. Do not live a life of selfish indulgence. Let the line of demarcation between the church and the world be plain and distinct, so that it can be discerned by both men and angels. 7LtMs, Ms 26, 1891, par. 11

The will of God our Creator is to be made manifest in us as Christians, not only in the name we bear, but in our life of self-denial. The world, who refuse to accept this Man Christ Jesus to reign over them, are enslaved by a tyrant, even Satan; but let Christians show that they are sons and daughters of the heavenly King. They are to give evidence that they [are] influenced and controlled by unselfish principles. All their purposes and pursuits should stand in distinct contrast to the <pride and> selfishness of the world. 7LtMs, Ms 26, 1891, par. 12

The heart is ever inclined to the concerns and objects of the world; but we must hear and obey the voice of God. “Come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean; and I will receive you, and will be a Father unto you, and ye shall be my sons and daughters, saith the Lord Almighty.” [2 Corinthians 6:17, 18.] “Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him.” [1 John 2:15.] “If ye then be risen with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ sitteth on the right hand of God. ... For ye are dead, and your life is hid with Christ in God.” [Colossians 3:1-3.] 7LtMs, Ms 26, 1891, par. 13

The cross of Calvary is placed between heaven and earth as a perpetual memorial, calling your attention to a holier world than this. It is the medium of a constant communication with the world of light; constantly the mind is drawn away from the earthly to the heavenly, surveying the attractions [of] Him who ever liveth to make intercession for us; and those who thus keep the heavenly world in view will be uplifted above this world in their affections and their pursuits. They will be in the world, but not of the world, moving among men as pilgrims and strangers, seeking a better country, even a heavenly. And by their influence they will take others with them. 7LtMs, Ms 26, 1891, par. 14

I call your attention to the sure results of heeding the Lord’s admonition to care for the afflicted: “Then shall thy light break forth as the morning, and thine health shall spring forth speedily.” Is not this what we all crave? Oh, there is health and peace in doing the will of our heavenly Father. “Thy righteousness shall go before thee; the glory of the Lord shall be thy rereward. Then shalt thou call, and the Lord shall answer; thou shalt cry, and he shall say, Here I am. If thou take away from the midst of thee the yoke, the putting forth of the finger, and speaking vanity; and if thou draw out thy soul to the hungry, and satisfy the afflicted soul; then shall thy light rise in obscurity, and thy darkness be as the noonday; and the Lord shall guide thee continually, and satisfy thy soul in drought, and make fat thy bones: and thou shalt be like a watered garden, and like a spring of water, whose waters fail not.” [Isaiah 58:8-11.] 7LtMs, Ms 26, 1891, par. 15

Let Christians now repent before God of their half-hearted work. Let <them regard> themselves as only threads in the great web of humanity and without delay redeem the time and represent to the world a pure, unselfish benevolence. Representing in character the attributes of Christ, they may carry forward to a glorious completion the work which He left them, of reconciling the world unto Himself. 7LtMs, Ms 26, 1891, par. 16

Brethren and sisters, I ask you carefully to consider the matter which is now presented before you, in the proposal to erect an orphans’ home. Think of the wants of the fatherless and motherless. We have long desired to see an enterprise set on foot for the care of these helpless ones. Dr. Kellogg has felt his heart stirred as he has witnessed the suffering of the orphans, and he has felt that something must be done, and done now. So far as it was in his power, he has made a home for the homeless. He and his good wife have at the present time a large family of children of different ages for whom they are caring. 7LtMs, Ms 26, 1891, par. 17

A good move was made at the last General Conference in the presentation of the subject to our brethren assembled and in the decision that an orphans’ home should be established. Now that an impetus has been given to the work by those who realized the great need, let every one stand ready to act a part in helping it forward. 7LtMs, Ms 26, 1891, par. 18

The Lord said to Peter, “Feed my lambs.” [John 21:15.] This command is to us, and the orphans’ home is to aid in its fulfillment. It is not designed in this enterprise merely to provide food and clothing for the homeless ones, but to place them under the care of teachers who love and fear God, and who will educate them in the knowledge of God and His Son. 7LtMs, Ms 26, 1891, par. 19

Workers are needed here. The Lord Jesus Christ calls for men and women who are large-hearted, and inspired with enthusiasm at the cross of Calvary. The cause of humanity calls for those who are cultivated and self-sacrificing who will work as Christ worked. There is plenty of material in our ranks, persons who only wait to be called into active labor. 7LtMs, Ms 26, 1891, par. 20

And there are many orphans who need our help. Take these children and present them to God as a fragrant offering. Ask His blessing upon them, and then mold and fashion them according to Christ’s order. Will our people accept this holy trust? Because of <our> shallow piety and worldly ambition, <shall> those for whom Christ died <be left> to suffer, to go in wrong paths? Let there be serious thought on this matter. 7LtMs, Ms 26, 1891, par. 21

Who are qualified and will offer themselves for a service that is commended of God? We want not novices, but workers who have the Word of God abiding in them, whose principles are drawn from the Bible, the expression of the divine wisdom. We want those who will teach as Jesus taught, in simplicity, for this will give solidity to the character of children and youth. We want teachers who will bring them up in the fear and admonition of the Lord, educating with kindness and love, leading on in the wisdom of God from strength to strength. 7LtMs, Ms 26, 1891, par. 22

Teachers are needed who will not lead the children and youth into fashionable, artificial life, which with its false ideas of happiness and character, would press with cruel force the very life out of children. The eye is to be fixed, not on the world’s maxims, but upon Jesus. Those who learn of Jesus can teach the way of the Lord. God’s Word is the rule of action, and the Lord will come very near to those who undertake this most important <solemn> work. 7LtMs, Ms 26, 1891, par. 23

As the homeless and helpless ones are placed where they can obtain knowledge and happiness and virtue, and become sons and daughters of the heavenly King, they will be prepared to act a Christlike part in society. This is the vocation for which they are to be educated—in their turn to help the needy, to work for the orphans. Thus the good work will be perpetuated and extended. Is not all this missionary work in the highest sense? While the gospel is to be carried to those afar off, those also that are nigh should receive attention. 7LtMs, Ms 26, 1891, par. 24

Another object to be had in view is to provide a place of rest for our ministers who through age or illness are unable to labor. This matter has been neglected. Our people have not felt, as they should, the necessity of making arrangements to care for the ministers who through labor in the cause of God become feeble and cannot longer bear the burden and heat of the day. 7LtMs, Ms 26, 1891, par. 25

As we travel, we see generous provision made for the veterans who fought in the war for our country. These men bear the scars and life-long infirmities that tell of their perilous conflicts, their forced marches, their exposure to storms, their suffering in prison. And all these give them a just claim upon the nation they helped to save—a claim that is recognized and honored. But what provision have Seventh-day Adventists made for the soldiers of Christ? While we plead for a home for the orphans, we urge also that a ministers’ home be provided. This matter has been referred to again and again, but no decided action has been taken in reference to it. As a people we should feel that we have a duty to do in this matter. Every church member should feel an interest in all that concerns our human brotherhood and our brotherhood in Christ. We are members one of another; if one member suffers, all the members suffer with him. 7LtMs, Ms 26, 1891, par. 26

Our ministers who labor earnestly, forgetful of self, to win souls to Christ, and who sink down in the battle, wearied and ill, must not be left to struggle through life in poverty or to feel that they are paupers. Often ministers are appointed to a field of labor <which they know is> detrimental to health; but they venture, hoping to be a help and blessing to the people, and not willing to shun trying places. After a time, they find their health failing, and they must have a change of climate, and even a change of work. Often this is tried without bringing relief; and now what are they to do? 7LtMs, Ms 26, 1891, par. 27

With what pleasure and restful peace would the worn and weary laborer look to a quiet home where his just claim to its hospitality would be recognized! 7LtMs, Ms 26, 1891, par. 28

“If there be among you a poor man of any of thy brethren within any of thy gates in thy land which the Lord thy God giveth thee, thou shalt not harden thine heart, nor shut thy hand from thy poor brother: but thou shalt open thy hand wide unto him, and shalt surely lend him sufficient for his need in that which he wanteth. ... Thou shalt surely give him, and thy heart shall not be grieved when thou givest unto him: because that for this thing the Lord thy God shall bless thee in all thy works and in all thou puttest thine hand unto.” [Deuteronomy 15:7-10.] 7LtMs, Ms 26, 1891, par. 29

“If thy brother be waxen poor, and fallen in decay with thee; then thou shalt relieve him: yea, though he be a stranger, or a sojourner; that he may live with thee. Take no usury of him, or increase: but fear thy God; that thy brother may live with thee.” [Leviticus 25:35, 36.] 7LtMs, Ms 26, 1891, par. 30

The faithful laborers for God have for Christ’s sake given up worldly prospects, choosing poverty rather than pleasure or riches; and when they are no longer able to labor, and have not means for their own support, it is but just that their wants and the needs of those dependent on them should be provided for. When sickness or infirmity comes upon them, let not our ministers be burdened with the thought, “What will become of my wife and little ones, now that I can no longer supply their necessities?” 7LtMs, Ms 26, 1891, par. 31

A fund should be raised especially for ministers who are unable to labor. We cannot be clear before God unless we make every reasonable effort in this matter without delay. 7LtMs, Ms 26, 1891, par. 32

There are among us some who will not see the necessity of this move, but their opposition should have no influence with us. We must not regard their complainings. Let those who purpose in their hearts to be right and do right, move steadily forward for the accomplishment of a <good> work, <one> which God requires to be done. 7LtMs, Ms 26, 1891, par. 33

This is a work that calls for the co-operation of all. Money is needed for these enterprises. There are many who are at their ease, who have postponed the work of doing good with their substance, but shall it be so any longer? Shall we love money so well that we will bury it in the world? Already the orphans’ home has been started. The ground has been purchased; and now the enterprise must not be left to languish. 7LtMs, Ms 26, 1891, par. 34

The help of everyone is needed. The mites from every source are to be carefully treasured. The humble gift of the widow, the limited sum from the poorer class, is not, in the sight of God, inferior to the larger offerings. The Lord will add His blessing to the gift, making its errand of mercy fruitful in accordance with the wholehearted cheerfulness with which it was bestowed. 7LtMs, Ms 26, 1891, par. 35

If the affluent give grudgingly, longing to have every dollar to invest in speculation or other worldly enterprises, they will receive no reward. We urge that the money usually invested for picture-taking shall now be put to a higher, holier use. Seek to reach all souls within the sphere of your influence. The ardor of youth is needed. The young should put away vanity, <and> restrict their wants. In your expenditure consider that it is God’s money that you are handling and that you must render an account for its use. 7LtMs, Ms 26, 1891, par. 36

The aged are losing their hold of this life. I appeal to them to make a right disposition of their Lord’s goods. Give back to the Lord His own while you live. Remember that you are God’s stewards, and be faithful to bring into His treasury the means entrusted to you. Do not fail to attend to this while you have your reason. As age comes upon us, it is our duty to make a disposition of our means to the instrumentalities that God has established to make His truth and name a praise in the earth. This work has been greatly neglected, but it must now receive more attention. 7LtMs, Ms 26, 1891, par. 37

Satan is using every device to divert the means so much needed away from the Lord who gave His own life for perishing souls. <There are many binding up the talent of means in worldly enterprises, in buildings, and the cause of God needs every dollar of this means to advance His truth and glorify His name.> I ask, Shall not these earthly treasures be sent beforehand to heaven, that we may lay up our treasure in bags that wax not old? I would <especially> urge the aged, who are soon to make a disposal of their means, to remember the wants of those who have ministered faithfully in word and doctrine. 7LtMs, Ms 26, 1891, par. 38

Will my brethren arouse to a sense of their God-given responsibilities? Should health and life fail, place your means where it can be invested in the cause of God, and thus be put out to the exchangers and be constantly accumulating. As the light of truth is brought before others who receive it, and in their turn use their talents in God’s cause, the work progresses, the talents increase. I call upon the church as a whole, and upon its individual members, to render to God His own entrusted capital <as faithful stewards> with interest. Thus you shall have treasure in heaven. 7LtMs, Ms 26, 1891, par. 39

Let your hearts be true to Jesus. Although you may feel that you are the least of all saints, you are members of Christ’s body, and through Him you are identified with all His human agencies and with the excellence and power of the heavenly intelligences. “None of us liveth to himself.” [Romans 14:7.] To each is assigned a post of duty, not for his own narrow, selfish interests; the influence of each is to be a strength to all. 7LtMs, Ms 26, 1891, par. 40

If we really believed that we were individually a spectacle to the world, to angels, and to men, we would as a church manifest a very different spirit from what we now do; we would be a living, working church. There are to be no silent partners; every member is to be a living stone in the building, catching the divine rays of light from the Sun of Righteousness and shining to the world. Each forms a vital link in the chain which binds us to our fellow men. As we look aright to the cross of Calvary, every nerve of heart and brain will thrill in sympathy for the human misery in all parts of our world. 7LtMs, Ms 26, 1891, par. 41

The worldly possessions which God has entrusted to His human agents are a source of great temptation. Many are overcome through the love of money, which is indeed the root of all evil. Money is worthless if hid in the earth, but put in active use it is the means of great good, and we thank God for it. But through Satan’s temptations it is diverted into wrong channels, passing by the Lord’s treasury, to minister to sin, to give power to evil, to strengthen selfishness and barricade the soul against all good. Should it have the power of speech, and tell its own story, we would have before us [a] history of intense interest, but burdened with a weight of woe that would cause us sorrow of soul. 7LtMs, Ms 26, 1891, par. 42

What enterprises have been set on foot, what plans laid with Satan as counselor, in order to secure money! Covetousness has worshiped it. Life has been counted of but little value in comparison with it. Speculators have practiced every kind of deceit in order to obtain it. For its sake gambling halls have flourished, and the loss of ill-gotten gain has stirred men’s passions and driven them to commit murder. Through the money devoted to the indulgence of sin, intemperance and vice have become widespread. 7LtMs, Ms 26, 1891, par. 43

Many who claim to be Christians serve mammon faithfully. For the sake of gain the rich oppress the poor and thus give evidence of what they would do with that heavenly possession which Jesus died to make their own. Unfaithful in the use of this world’s goods, they would make no better use of the eternal riches. There is a curse on all who close their eyes to the wants of the needy, who refuse to hear the cry of the hungry and shut the door of their selfish hearts to the needs of the cause of God. They sullenly, selfishly find a way to appropriate everything of their Lord’s entrusted goods to their own use. The great opportunities for doing good they do not see, and do not want to be told of; but they will devote means to any purpose which will be an oblation to their own glory. 7LtMs, Ms 26, 1891, par. 44

The true Christian appreciates money as entrusted to him to prove whether or not he shall be worthy to be an heir to eternal riches. He may not possess millions, but only a few thousands or even hundreds; nevertheless he is a steward for God. Before angels and men he is to prove that he realizes his responsibility. He will not waste his Lord’s goods in speculation or in self-indulgence; but just as fast as the Lord shall indicate or open the way, he will lay up treasure in heaven. Economy, self-denial furnishes many in moderate circumstances with means for benevolence. It is the duty of the extravagant to learn of Christ, to walk humbly the self-denying path <which> the Majesty of heaven trod. 7LtMs, Ms 26, 1891, par. 45

The Christian life is a <life> of self-denial; and when calls for help are made, it is the self-denying ones that respond. The Lord loveth a cheerful giver. The self-denial required to obtain means to invest in that which he values the most highly will be constantly developing in him habits and character which will make [him] safe in counsel, and will give him an influence for good over others. 7LtMs, Ms 26, 1891, par. 46

The whole church is charged with a solemn responsibility in every branch of its operations. If its members follow Christ, they will deny the inclination for display, the love of dress, the love of elegant houses and furniture, that they may extend the cause of God far and near. They realize the wretchedness of sin, and the divine compassion of Christ in His infinite sacrifice for fallen man. Communion with Christ imparts to them tenderness of heart; there will be sympathy in their looks, in the tones of their voice, and earnestness of solicitude, love, and energy in their efforts, which will make them powerful through God to win souls to Christ. 7LtMs, Ms 26, 1891, par. 47

The small streams of beneficence must be ever kept flowing into the treasury. God’s providence is far ahead, moving onward much faster than our liberalities. The way for the advancement and upbuilding of the cause of God is blocked by selfishness, pride, covetousness, extravagance, and love of display. The Lord calls upon you who know the truth to make room, clear a space, where He can work. “Say not ye, There are yet four months, and then cometh harvest? Behold, I say unto you, Lift up your eyes, and look on the fields; for they are white already to harvest.” [John 4:35.] 7LtMs, Ms 26, 1891, par. 48

There must be far greater humility, a much greater distinction from the world, else God will not accept you as Christians, whatever your position or the character of the work you are engaged in. Our work is not to acquire treasures and lay them up in the earth. The aim of every Christian instrumentality is to save the world, perishing in their sins. Every moment in the life of Christ, the great Exemplar, was devoted to this end. As long as there is a call for laborers in any part of the wide harvest field, as long as Satan works with untiring energy to destroy souls, the Christian has no time to be idle. The close of one work is only to make way for another of life character. We are to be constantly watching, praying, waiting for our Lord, and working with all diligence. 7LtMs, Ms 26, 1891, par. 49

Every day is charged with momentous responsibilities, and we must work in God. “Without me,” says Christ, “ye can do nothing.” [John 15:5.] 7LtMs, Ms 26, 1891, par. 50

Brethren and sisters, as this appeal in behalf of the needy comes to you I hope that you will respond. Let every member take a lively interest in this good work. Do not let Jesus be disappointed in you. The Word of God abounds with instruction as to how we should treat the widow and fatherless, and the needy, suffering poor. If all would do the work of the Master, the widow’s heart would sing for joy, and hungry little children would be fed, the destitute would be clothed, and those ready to perish would be revived. 7LtMs, Ms 26, 1891, par. 51

And what a blessing would come to the workers. To many who are now indolent, selfish, and self-centered, it would be as life from the dead. There would be among us a revival of heavenly charity and wisdom and zeal. 7LtMs, Ms 26, 1891, par. 52

The work before us may seem great, but, brethren, the heavenly intelligences are looking on, and when, imbued with zeal for Christ’s honor, we place ourselves in the channel of <God’s> providence, these heavenly messengers will impart to us a new spiritual power, so that we shall be able to combat difficulties and triumph over obstacles. Let 1891 be signalized as a year in which was planned and begun a Godlike enterprise for <the relief of> suffering humanity. 7LtMs, Ms 26, 1891, par. 53