The Apostle James says, "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." This definition of religion is interesting, and includes far more than would at first appear, for while none can deny that these words may be interpreted literally, there is also an inner meaning that might elude a cursory observation.

Who, we may ask, are the "fatherless"? Since there is but one Father, even God, must it not follow that the fatherless are those who are unconscious of their divine sonship and need to be aroused to the fact? Now, to "visit" a person, is to go to him and stay with him for some time. A call is brief, often formal; but a visit presupposes a degree of fellowship which brings the visitor into close touch with the visited, and thus, for better or worse, exerts some definite influence upon his life. To "visit the fatherless," then, is deliberately to seek our brother who is still under bondage to material beliefs and fears, acquaint him with his divine heritage, and lend him our tender companionship until he is eased of the "affliction" of believing himself without a Father. "A father of the fatherless, and a judge of the widows, is God in his holy habitation." Of course we should observe the etiquette of spiritual ministry as rigidly as that which pertains to the material, and never be intrusive or presumptuous.

April 8, 1905

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