cast out to thy house." Isaiah 58:7. Christianity must supply fathers and mothers and homes for these destitute ones. Compassion for the widow and orphan, manifested in prayers and corresponding deeds, will come up in remembrance before God, to be rewarded by and by.
There is a wide field of usefulness before all who will work for the Master in caring for these children and youth who have been deprived of the watchful guidance of parents and the subduing influence of a Christian home. Many of them have inherited evil traits of character; and if left to grow up in ignorance, they will drift into associations that lead to vice and crime. These unpromising children need to be placed in a position favorable for the formation of a right character, that they may become children of God.
Are you who profess to be children of God acting your part in teaching these, who so much need to be patiently taught how to come to the Saviour? Are you acting your part as faithful servants of Christ? Are these unformed, perhaps ill-balanced, minds cared for with that love which Christ has manifested for us? The souls of children and youth are in deadly peril if left to themselves. They need patient instruction, love, and tender Christian care.
Were there no revelation to point out our duty, the very sight of our eyes, and what we know of the inevitable working of cause and effect, should arouse us to rescue these unfortunate ones. If the members of the church would bring into this work the same energy and tact and skill that they employ in the common business relations of life, if they would seek wisdom from God and earnestly study how to mold these undisciplined minds, many souls that are ready to perish might be rescued.
If parents would feel the solicitude for the salvation of their own children that they should feel, if they would bear them in their prayers to the throne of grace and live out their prayers, knowing that God would co-operate with them, they might become successful workers for children outside of their own family, and especially for those who do not have parental counsel and guidance. The Lord calls upon every member of the church to do his duty to these orphans.
A Christlike Work
In caring for the children we should not work from the standpoint of duty merely, but from love, because Christ died for their salvation. Christ has purchased these souls who need our care, and He expects us to love them as He has loved us in our sins and waywardness. Love is the agency through which God works to draw the heart to Him, for "God is love." In every enterprise of mercy this principle alone can give efficiency; the finite must unite with the Infinite.
This work for others will require effort, self-denial, and self-sacrifice. But what is the little sacrifice that we can make in comparison with the sacrifice which God has made for us in the gift of His only-begotten Son?
God imparts His blessing to us that we may impart to others. When we ask Him for our daily bread, He looks into our hearts to see if we will share the same with those more needy than ourselves. When we pray, "God be merciful to me a sinner," He watches to see if we will manifest compassion toward those with whom we associate. This is the evidence of our connection with God, that we are merciful even as our Father in heaven is merciful.
God is always giving; and upon whom are His gifts bestowed? Upon those who are faultless in character? "He maketh His sun to rise on the evil and on the good, and sendeth rain on the just and on the unjust." Matthew 5:45. Notwithstanding the sinfulness of humanity, notwithstanding that we so often grieve the heart of Christ and prove ourselves most undeserving, yet when we ask His forgiveness, He does not turn us away. His love is freely extended to us, and He bids us: Love one another as I have loved you. John 13:34.
Brethren and sisters, I ask you to consider this matter carefully. Think of the wants of the fatherless and motherless. Are not your hearts stirred as you witness their sufferings? See if something cannot be done for the care of these helpless ones. As far as lies in your power, make a home for the homeless. Let everyone stand ready to act a part in helping forward this work. The Lord said to Peter: "Feed My lambs." This command is to us, and by opening our homes for the orphans we aid in its fulfillment. Let not Jesus be disappointed in you.
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 has died be left to suffer, to go in wrong paths?
The word of God abounds with instruction as to how we should treat the widow, the fatherless, and the needy, suffering poor. If all would obey this instruction, the widow's heart would sing for joy; hungry little children would be fed; the destitute would be clothed; and those ready to perish would be revived. 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.
And what a blessing would reward 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.
The question has been asked whether a minister's wife should adopt infant children. I answer: if she has no inclination or fitness to engage in missionary work outside her home, and feels it her duty to take orphan children and care for them, she may do a good work. But let the choice of children be first made from among those who have been left orphans by Sabbathkeeping parents. God will bless men and women as they with willing hearts share their homes with these homeless ones. But if the minister's wife can herself act a part in the work of educating others, she should consecrate her powers to God as a Christian worker. She should be a true helper to her husband, assisting him in his work, improving her intellect, and helping to give the message. The way is open for humble, consecrated women, dignified by the grace of Christ, to visit those in need of help, and shed light into discouraged souls. They can lift up the bowed down by praying with them and pointing them to Christ. Such should not devote their time and strength to one helpless little mortal that requires constant care and attention. They should not thus voluntarily tie their hands.
When all is done that can be done in providing for orphans in our own homes, there will still be many needy ones in the world who should be cared for. They may be ragged, uncouth, and seemingly in every way unattractive, but they are bought with a price, and are just as precious in the sight of God as are our own little ones. They are God's property, for whom Christians are responsible. Their souls, God says, "will I require at thine hand."
To care for these needy ones is a good work; yet in this age of the world the Lord does not give us as a people directions to establish large and expensive institutions for this purpose. If, however, there are among us individuals who feel called of God to establish institutions for the care of orphan children, let them follow out their convictions of duty. But in caring for the world's poor they should appeal to the world for support. They are not to draw upon the people to whom the Lord has given the most important work ever given to men, the work of bringing the last message of mercy before all nations, kindreds, tongues, and people. The Lord's treasury must have a surplus to sustain the work of the gospel in "regions beyond."
Let those who feel the burden of establishing these institutions have wise solicitors to present their necessities and raise funds. Let the people of the world be aroused, let the denominational churches be canvassed by men who feel the necessity that something be done in behalf of the poor and orphans. In every church there are those who fear God. Let these be appealed to, for to them God has given this work.
The institutions that have been established by our people to care for orphans and the infirm and aged among us, should be sustained. Let not these be left to languish and bring a reproach upon the cause of God. To aid in the support of these institutions should be looked upon not merely as a duty, but as a precious privilege. Instead of making needless gifts to one another, let us bestow our gifts upon the poor and helpless. When the Lord sees that we are doing our best for the relief of these needy ones, He will move upon others to aid in this good work.
The design of an orphans' home should be not merely to provide the children with food and clothing, but to place them under the care of Christian teachers who will educate them in the knowledge of God and His Son. Those who work in this line should be men and women who are largehearted and inspired with enthusiasm at the cross of Calvary. They should be men and women who are cultured and self-sacrificing, who will work as Christ worked, for the cause of God and the cause of humanity.
As these homeless 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. They are to be so educated that they in their turn will help others. Thus the good work will be extended and perpetuated.
What mother ever loved her child as Jesus loves His children? He looks upon the marred character with grief deeper, keener than any mother's. He sees the future retribution of an evil course of action. Then let everything be done that can be done for the neglected soul.