Letters and Manuscripts — Volume 15 (1900)


Lt 147, 1900

Rice, Anna C.


November 11, 1900 [typed]

Previously unpublished.

My Dear Sister:

I received your letter this morning, as I was about to leave Oakland for my home in the Pratt Valley, just below the hill on which the Retreat is situated. I read your letter in the cars, and will answer it at once. My sister, I am more sorry than I can express that ministers should fail to understand the duty of children to their parents. If your mother, being an unbeliever, turned you out of home, and now requests you to come home again to help her with her flock of fatherless children, this is all the evidence you need to convince you of your duty. I will write more upon this subject at another time. 15LtMs, Lt 147, 1900, par. 1

What saith the Scriptures? “Pure religion and undefiled before God and the Father is this, To visit the fatherless and widows in their affliction, and to keep himself unspotted from the world.” [James 1:27.] When your mother desired your presence, the very best missionary work you could have done would have been to answer her call and go to her aid. Living the truth day by day in her presence, you might have been the means of her conversion. Her being an unbeliever does not change the command of God to love your mother and listen to her pleadings. 15LtMs, Lt 147, 1900, par. 2

I fear you have committed another error. Your mother desires you to come to her and her fatherless children. Do not inquire your duty of any human being. Circumstanced as you are, a missionary in the service of God, how can you serve His cause better than by seeking to save the souls of your brothers and sisters? Said Christ, “I came not to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance.” [Mark 2:17.] If you are working to save perishing souls who are not your relatives, why do you not labor most earnestly to save your relatives? Are not their souls as valuable as the souls of those who are no kith or kin to you? May the Lord help you to see your duty. He can clear away all mist and fog, and give you clear insight. 15LtMs, Lt 147, 1900, par. 3

Your identity must not be submerged in any other human being. Carry the sweetness of Christ with you, and although things may not always move smoothly, yet the very trials which come, patiently endured, may work for the purification of your soul. The grace of Christ revealed in you, in patience, kindness, forbearance, and love will be a great blessing to the dear ones for whom you labor, as well as to yourself. 15LtMs, Lt 147, 1900, par. 4

Religion is to be revealed in the home life. Love for truth and righteousness is to be manifested to the world and is first to be unfolded and developed by kindness and love in the family. If the parents do not love Jesus, and there is one member of the family who does, let that one, in words and action, show the Spirit of the Master. Let the younger children see that she has learned of Jesus, that she reveals His kindness, His love, His long-forbearance. 15LtMs, Lt 147, 1900, par. 5

The history of your family connections is a lesson for you and for others. Fathers and mothers, brothers and sisters, die, and homes are broken up. And when a daughter who has been cast out of her home because of her faith is given opportunity by invitations and appeals to return, it is her first duty to comply, without making any minister conscience for her. Right is right. There is no Bible reason why we should not labor as earnestly for mother, father, brothers and sisters, as for those who have no claim of relationship. The family ties are not to be disregarded. God makes no distinction in the class for whom we shall labor. But His Word places first those who are connected with us by family ties. Those who know the truth are to put forth every effort to save their own people. 15LtMs, Lt 147, 1900, par. 6

We talk of holiness and the inner life, which is the sanctification of the Spirit through the truth. Let us remember that a sacred responsibility rests upon us to show love for those who are bound up with us by the cords of relationship. Our love is not to be turned aside and expended on strangers. 15LtMs, Lt 147, 1900, par. 7

Ministry is broad, though sometimes narrowed down to a small circle. When the ministry of Christ is fully comprehended, we shall have a clearer spiritual eyesight. We shall see that the very best education for the members of families to obtain is to see the necessities of mother and father, brothers and sisters. Many young people have not engaged in the work of being educated as nurses, but to my certain knowledge there are those who could not bind themselves for a stated period of time without neglecting home duties. Often the father and mother need the ministry of the child who is longing to obtain an education in the care of the sick. In no case should daughters leave a home where their ministry is needed to bind themselves for a certain number of years to secure the education supposed to be essential. 15LtMs, Lt 147, 1900, par. 8