so doing. Christ said: "I came not to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance." The Lord would have us help those who most need help. While you have seen the errors and wrongs in others, you have shut yourselves too much to yourselves, and have been too selfish in your enjoyment of the truth. God does not approve this being satisfied with the truth and making no sacrifice to aid and strengthen those who need strength. We are not all organised alike, and many have not been educated aright. Their education has been deficient. Some have had a quick temper transmitted to them, and their education in childhood has not taught them self-control. With this fiery temper, envy and jealousy are frequently united. Others are faulty in other respects. Some are dishonest in deal, overreaching in trade. Others are arbitrary in their families, loving to rule. Their lives are far from being correct. Their education was all wrong. They were not told the sin of yielding to the control of these evil traits; therefore sin does not appear to them so exceedingly sinful. Others, whose education has not been so faulty, who have had better training, have developed a much less objectionable character. The Christian life of all is very much affected for good or for evil by their previous education.
Jesus, our Advocate, is acquainted with all the circumstances with which we are surrounded and deals with us according to the light we have had and the circumstances in which we are placed. Some have a much better organisation than others. While some are continually harassed, afflicted, and in trouble because of their unhappy traits of character, having to war with internal foes and the corruption of their nature, others have not half so much to battle against. They pass along almost free from the difficulties which their brethren and sisters who are not so favourably organised are labouring under. In very many cases they do not labour half so hard to
overcome and live the life of a Christian as do some of those unfortunate ones I have mentioned. The latter appear to disadvantage almost every time, while the former appear much better because it is natural for them so to do. They may not labour half as hard to watch and keep the body under, yet at the same time they compare their lives with the lives of others who are unfortunately organised and badly educated, and flatter themselves with the contrast. They talk of the failings, errors, and wrongs of the unfortunate, but do not feel that they have any burden in the matter, farther than to dwell upon those wrongs and shun those who are guilty of them.
The prominent position which you as a family occupy in the church makes it highly necessary for you to be burden bearers. Not that you are to take burdens for those who are able to bear their own and also to aid others; but you should help those who stand most in need of help, those who are less favourably situated, who are erring and faulty, and who may have injured you and tried your patience to the utmost. It is just such ones that Jesus pities, because Satan has more power over them and is constantly taking advantage of their weak points and driving his arrows to wound them where they are least protected. Jesus exercises His power and mercy for just such pitiable cases. When He asked who loved most, Simon answered: "He to whom he forgave most." Thus it will be. Jesus did not shun the weak, unfortunate, and helpless, but He helped such as needed help. He did not confine His visits and labours to a class more intelligent and less faulty, to the neglect of the unfortunate. He did not inquire whether it was agreeable for Him to be a companion of the poorest, the most needy. These are the ones whose company He sought, the lost sheep of the house of Israel.
This is the work you have neglected. You have shunned disagreeable responsibilities and have not gone to the erring
and visited them, and manifested an interest and love for them, and made yourselves familiar with them. You have not had a spirit of Christlike forgiveness. You have marked out just such a course that all must come up to before you could throw over them your mantle of charity. You are not required to cloak sin, but to exercise that pitying love for the erring which Christ has exercised toward you.
You are placed under the most favourable circumstances for the development of good Christian characters. You are not where you feel pinching want, or where your souls are galled and distressed with the conduct of disobedient, rebellious children. In your family there is no dissenting voice. You have all that heart can wish. Yet, notwithstanding your favourable surroundings, you have faults and errors, and much to overcome in order to be free from spiritual pride, selfishness, a hasty spirit, jealousy, and evil surmisings.
Brother K has not the sin of evilspeaking to repent of, as very many have, but he lacks a willingness to help those who most need help. He is selfish. He loves his home, loves quiet, rest, freedom from care, perplexities, and trials; therefore he pleases himself too much. He does not bear the burdens which Heaven has assigned him. He shuns disagreeable responsibilities, and shuts himself up too much to his love of quietness. He has been quite liberal with means, but when it is necessary to deny self to do some needed good, when real sacrifice on his part is called for, he has but little experience, and must gain it.
He fears that he will be blamed if he ventures to help the erring. "We then that are strong ought to bear the infirmities of the weak, and not to please ourselves. Let every one of us please his neighbour for his good to edification. For even Christ pleased not Himself; but, as it is written, The reproaches of them that reproached Thee fell on Me." All who are
partakers of this great salvation have something to do to help those who are hanging on the skirts of Zion. They should not cut off their hold and thrust them away without making an effort to help them to overcome and prepare for the judgement. No, indeed! While these are bleating around the fold, they should be encouraged and strengthened by all the aid which it is in our power to bestow. You as a family have too rigid rules and set ideas which cannot be made to fit every case. You lack love, gentleness, tenderness, and pity for those who do not move as fast as they should. This spirit has prevailed to such an extent that you are withering spiritually instead of flourishing in the Lord. Your interest, and efforts, and anxieties are for your family and your relatives. But you have not entertained the idea of reaching out for others around you, overcoming your reluctance to exert an influence outside of a special circle. You idolise yours, and shut yourselves within yourselves. That the Lord may save me and mine is the great burden. This spirit will have to die before you can flourish in the Lord and make spiritual advancement, before the church can grow and souls be added unto them of such as shall be saved.
You are all narrowed up as to labour for others, and must change your base of operations. Your relatives are no dearer in the sight of God than any other poor souls who need salvation. We must put self and selfishness under our feet, and exemplify in our lives the spirit of self-sacrifice and disinterested benevolence manifested by Jesus when He was upon earth. All should have an interest for their relatives, but should not allow themselves to be shut up to them as though they were the only ones whom Jesus came to save.