• TABLE OF CONTENTS
HIDE
 Frontispiece
 Title Page
 Table of Contents
 My father's God
 Alienation from my father's...
 The forbearance and mercy...
 Hardened rebellion against God
 Increased indifference to God
 Determined rejection of God
 My father's trials of faith, and...
 Conditions contrasted
 Appeal






Group Title: My father's God : a testimony for religion
Title: My father's God
CITATION THUMBNAILS PAGE TURNER PAGE IMAGE ZOOMABLE
Full Citation
STANDARD VIEW MARC VIEW
Permanent Link: http://ufdc.ufl.edu/UF00003592/00001
 Material Information
Title: My father's God a testimony for religion
Physical Description: 140 p. : ill. ; 15 cm.
Language: English
Creator: Kidder, Daniel P ( Daniel Parish ), 1815-1891
Longking, Joseph ( Printer )
Lane & Scott ( Publisher )
Methodist Episcopal Church -- Sunday School Union ( Publisher )
Publisher: Lane & Scott, for the Sunday-School Union of the Methodist Episcopal Church
Place of Publication: New York
Manufacturer: Joseph Longking
Publication Date: 1851
 Subjects
Subject: Sunday school literature   ( lcsh )
Christian life -- Juvenile literature   ( lcsh )
Family -- Juvenile literature   ( lcsh )
Bldn -- 1851
Genre: non-fiction   ( marcgt )
Spatial Coverage: United States -- New York -- New York
 Notes
Statement of Responsibility: revised by D.P. Kidder.
General Note: "Addressed especially to the children of pious parents."
Funding: Brittle Books Program
 Record Information
Bibliographic ID: UF00003592
Volume ID: VID00001
Source Institution: University of Florida
Rights Management: All rights reserved by the source institution and holding location.
Resource Identifier: aleph - 002234742
oclc - 45585802
notis - ALH5178
 Related Items
Other version: Alternate version (PALMM)
PALMM Version

Table of Contents
    Frontispiece
        Page 2
    Title Page
        Page 3
        Page 4
    Table of Contents
        Page 5
        Page 6
    My father's God
        Page 7
        Page 8
        Page 9
        Page 10
        Page 11
        Page 12
        Page 13
        Page 14
        Page 15
        Page 16
        Page 17
        Page 18
        Page 19
    Alienation from my father's God
        Page 20
        Page 21
        Page 22
        Page 23
        Page 24
        Page 25
        Page 26
        Page 27
        Page 28
        Page 29
        Page 30
        Page 31
        Page 32
    The forbearance and mercy of God
        Page 33
        Page 34
        Page 35
        Page 36
        Page 37
        Page 38
        Page 39
        Page 40
        Page 41
        Page 42
        Page 43
        Page 44
        Page 45
        Page 46
    Hardened rebellion against God
        Page 47
        Page 48
        Page 49
        Page 50
        Page 51
        Page 52
        Page 53
        Page 54
        Page 55
        Page 56
        Page 57
        Page 58
        Page 59
        Page 60
        Page 61
    Increased indifference to God
        Page 62
        Page 63
        Page 64
        Page 65
        Page 66
        Page 67
        Page 68
        Page 69
        Page 70
        Page 71
        Page 72
    Determined rejection of God
        Page 73
        Page 74
        Page 75
        Page 76
        Page 77
        Page 78
        Page 79
        Page 80
        Page 81
        Page 82
    My father's trials of faith, and triumph in his God
        Page 83
        Page 84
        Page 85
        Page 86
        Page 87
        Page 88
        Page 89
        Page 90
        Page 91
        Page 92
        Page 93
        Page 94
        Page 95
        Page 96
        Page 97
        Page 98
        Page 99
        Page 100
        Page 101
        Page 102
        Page 103
        Page 104
        Page 105
        Page 106
        Page 107
        Page 108
        Page 109
    Conditions contrasted
        Page 110
        Page 111
        Page 112
        Page 113
        Page 114
        Page 115
        Page 116
        Page 117
        Page 118
        Page 119
        Page 120
        Page 121
        Page 122
        Page 123
    Appeal
        Page 124
        Page 125
        Page 126
        Page 127
        Page 128
        Page 129
        Page 130
        Page 131
        Page 132
        Page 133
        Page 134
        Page 135
        Page 136
        Page 137
        Page 138
        Page 139
        Page 140
        Page 141
Full Text



h,


THE MOTHER'S DEATII.-SEE PAGE 74.


I -.j J/










MY FATHER'S GOD:


A


TESTIMONY FOR RELIGION,



ADDRESSED ESPECIALLY TO THE CHILDREN OF PIOUS
PARENTS.



The Lord is my strength and song, and he is become my
salvation: he is my God, and I will prepare him an habitation;
my father's God, and I will exalt him.-ExoDus xv, 2.



REVISED BY D. P. KIDDER.




Ntem-o ork:
PUBLISHED BY LANE & SCOTT,
FOR THE BUNDAY-SCHOOL UNION OF THE METHODIST EPISCOPAL
CHURCH, 200 XUIBERRY-STREZT.
JOSEPH LONGING, PRINTED.
185L













CONTENTS.




Section Page
L.-MY FATHER GOD................................. 7
II.-ALENATION FROM MY FATHER'S GOD......... 20
III.-THE FORBEARANCE AND MERCY OF GOD...... 33
IV.-HARDENED REBELLION AGAINST GOD......... 47
V.-INCREASED INDIFFERENCE TO GOD............. 62
VI.-DERMINED REJECTION OF GOD............... 73
VII.-MY FATHER'S TRIALS OF FAITH, AND TRI-
uxMPH IN ms GOD............ ................ 83
VIII.-CoNDMTONS CONTRASTED....................... 110
IX.- APPEAL... ................................ ........... .... 124










MY FATHER'S GOD.


SECTION I.
MY FATHER'S GOD.
"My father's God, and I will exalt him."-Exod. xv, 2.
MY father was a ChrlsftTn my
mother also was ( Chrfstian' and, r
having God for their father, they
had a good hope, a blessed hope.
With me the case was widely differ-
ent. Through many of the first and
best years of my life, I lived without
Christ, without hope, without God in
the world. The condition in which
I then was, the reproaches of con-
science I then stifled, the gradual
insensibility which then grew upon.






MY FATHER'S GOD.


me, the course I then pursued, are
types of the character and conduct
of many who forsake the God of
their fathers, and turn to the unsatis-
fying pleasures of the world. To
such persons these pages are affec-
tionately addressed. In attempting
a few slight and imperfect sketches
of a Christian father, and an exalta-
tion of a Christian father's God; in
Comparing the godly parent with the
ungodly child, in point of character,
present position, and future prospect,
the writer earnestly desires to strike
a chord that shall vibrate in the heart
and conscience of the reader, so as
to induce him to stand in the ways,
and see, and ask for the old paths,
where is the good way, and walk
therein," and find rest for his soul.
Jer. vi, 16.





MY FATHER'S GOD.


The retrospect to which the writer
turns is painful, inasmuch as it brings
to remembrance many scenes of pa-
rental sorrow, arising from the
practical infidelity, the too evident
estrangement of heart from God, of
a son, the subject of many prayers.
It is, nevertheless, if not joyful, yet
attended with solid pleasure and de-
vout gratitude, from the conviction
that, to those parents, the days of
mourning are ended; that sorrow
and sighing have fled away; that
their Saviour has wiped away their
tears; that they are forever with
their God: while the once uncon-
verted and unconcerned child, the.
"alien from the commonwealth of
Isriel," and the "stranger from the
covenant of promise," can now say,
"ThqLord is my strength and my


9






MY FATHER'S GOD.


song, and he is become my salva-
tion: he is my God, and I will pre-
pare him a habitation; my father's
God, and I will exalt him."
My "childhood and youth" were
"vanity;" chequered, however, with
strong impressions of the value of
religion, and the duty of youthful
consecration of heart to God; with
solemn thoughts about death and
judgment, heaven and hell; and
with half-formed resolutions that my
father's God should be mine also.
The first rudiments of Christianity
were learned on my mother's knee,
or by her side. As far back as my
memory can reach, the mission of
Christ, his life, death, and resurrec-
tion, his Divinity and his humanity,
his glorious design, his unexampled
love, were stored up in my mind.





MY FATHER' GOD.


I knew that God was a holy, and
yet a kind Being,--" a just God, and
a Saviour." I knew that the destiny
of every human being would be ir-
revocably fixed at death; that hea-
ven and hell were the two eternal
states, to one or other of which every
immortal soul was hastening. I
knew that the only way to escape
the doom, and secure the blessing,
was to love and serve the Lord Jesus
Christ, believing and trusting in him
for the pardon of my sins by God,
for the sake of what his beloved Son
had done and suffered. I knew
that God was everywhere, and was
always looking upon me to mark
my doings, and that all my actions
were written in his book.
These were some of the main
articles in the creed of my child-


11






MY FATHER'S GOD.


hood. They were mingled with
much that was childish, and ob-
scured by much that was mysteri-
ous; but they were held in full con-
fidence of their truth, and they pro-
duced some effect upon the thoughts
of my mind and the actions of my
life. J could not do wrong without
feeling keenly sensible of sin. I en-
deavored, at times, to think of God
as my friend, and to please him by
doing what I had been told was ac-
ceptable in his sight.
When I had learned to read, the
Bible was put into my hands; and
before childhood had passed into
youth, much of its contents was
familiar to my mind.
As I grew in knowledge, many of
Aiy previous misconceptions vanish-
ed, the great truths of the gospel





MY FATHER'S GOD.


were more clearly understood, the
need and the way of salvation more
clearly discerned. My father's God
was recognized by me as the God
of Abraham, Jsaac, and Jacob; the
God of all the families of the earth;
but more especially the God and
friend of every true believer in
Christ.
Other books besides the Bible
were given me to read; and I read
them with interest. They were
not exclusively religious books; but
some of them were. These were
often wet with the tears of child-
hood. I read in them of children
who had lived holily and died hap-
pily in the faith of the Bible; and
many searching of heart did I ex-
perience, as to the dissimilarity of
my character to theirs. I found


13






MY FATHER'S GOD.


myself wanting. My conscience,
then tender and active, told me that
I had no special interest in my pa-
rent's God; that I did not love him,
nor desire his presence; that, if early
death were to be my portion, I should
have no well-founded hope of hea-
ven, and should leave behind me
no record of early piety. I was
troubled. I tried to pray to God.
At other times, when I had sin-
ned, an intolerable burden pressed
upon my mind. Amusements could
not shake it off. More than once
my sadness was so apparent as to
be noticed by my parents, and to
excite their inquiries. But the pride
of my young heart repulsed their
solicitude. I would not reveal the
cause of my disquiet. Who can
tell, had that pride been subdued,





MY FATHER'S GOD.


that that period might not have been
the turning point of life ?-that the
Holy Spirit of God might not then
have. been given, in answer to the
prayers of a tender mother and an
anxious father; that their instruc-
tions would not then have been
blessed to my soul's salvation, and
taught me more fully the truth-that
"the blood of Jesus Christ, God's
dear Son, cleanseth from all sin?"
But the golden opportunities were
lost through my own willfulness;
and with growing years the checks
of conscience became less severe,
and when felt, their outward effects
were more carefully concealed.
Nevertheless, I was not happy.
My father's God was' in my way. I
had no love for Him. I wished
there was no God. I was angry


(


15






MY FATHER'S GOD.


that He was always watching me.
The feeling of my young heart was,
"Depart from me; for I desire not
the knowledge of thy ways." Job
xxi, 14.
Other and more healthful thoughts,
however, now and then presented
themselves; and, though not cher-
ished, were tolerated for the time.
My mother's active piety, manifested
in cheerfulness and kindness of heart
to all around her, and in ardent love
to God; my father's equally active
piety, shown in thorough upright-
ness of conduct in the world, so far
as I had the means of judging, and
ability to judge, (and children have
quick perceptions in these matters,)
shown, too, inr his devotedness of
heart, and what I even then saw to
be sacrifices of worldly advantage





MY FATHER'S GOD.


and ease for the sake of his Saviour;
these commended themselves to my
better feelings. They were happy
in their God: I knew it. Iwas not
happy without God: I knew this
too. I believed that I should be
happier if their God were mine, as
he was theirs: but then I must not
sin any more; and, young as I was,
sin was a sweet morsel. I will be
godly some day," I in effect con-
cluded; "but just now I must walk
in the ways of my heart, and in
the sight of mine eyes."
Amidst all these struggles, one-
predominant source of congratula-
tion never forsook my mind. It
was this; my parents had a God: a
God whom they loved and served.
Averse as I was from the personal
practice of holiness, and from a life
2


17






18 MY FATHER'S GOD.
of faith in the Son of God, I was
sensible of its happy effects. I
looked around, and saw multitudes
living without God. I knew many
families in which God was never
acknowledged. .I observed many
children who were free from the
restraints of religious parents. But,
in drawing a comparison, I never
had any difficulty in deciding in
favor of those who acknowledged
God in all their ways. I could see
that they were happier in this world;
and I knew that their advantages
for the next world were infinitely
great. However, therefore, I might
shrink from an immediate consecra-
tion of life to my father's God, my
mind never wavered from this set-
tled point:-" My parents have
chosen the better part, which will






MY FATHER'S GOD. 19
not be taken from them. The Lord
is their portion. When they die,
heaven will be their home. 'Let
me die the death of the righteous,
and let my last end be like his."'
Numbers xxiii, 10.






MY FATHER'S GOD.


SECTION II.
ALIENATION FROM MY FATHER'S GOD.
I have been an alien in a strange land."
THE reader, whose privilege it has
been to receive religious training in
the home of pious parents, will readi-
ly understand that, in the preceding
sketch of childhood, the writer has
referred more to the sins of his heart,
the predominating feelings of dis-
obedience to God, than to much
outward and manifestly vicious con-
duct. From such conduct he was,
in a great measure, preserved by the
restraints of education, by a mother's
gentle vigilance, by a father's uni-
form, but kind authority, and by his
own strong natural affection for both
parents. While, therefore, hypocrisy


20






MY FATHER'S GOD.


really formed no part of his character,
it is not improbable that better things
were hoped of the child than were
warranted by the state of his heart,
could that have been made manifest
in all its increasing criminality. It
was not long, however, before these
hopes faded away, and left a gloom
behind which saddened many a year
of after-life, and, at times, I am pern
suaded, deepened, in the parents'
minds, into a horror of great dark-
ness."
The gradual steps by which I be-
came estranged from God are not
now easy to be traced by memory.
While immediately under the ob-
servation of pious parents, a child
may remain for years apparently
untainted by the prevailing vices
of an ungodly world, although his


21





MY FATHER'S GOD.


heart is more and more "going after
vanity." "The innocence of those
who are shielded by private and
parental vigilance, is sometimes,
alas! only apparent, and sometimes
it springs so much more from the
absence of temptation than the love
of virtue, that they fall in their first
onset with life." This was precisely
the case with me. It was when
removed from this vigilance, and
placed, for education, in a public
school, that I began to shake off the
restraints of a home where God was
acknowledged in the daily concerns
of life. But I cannot, in the retro-
spect of this portion of the past, at-
tach the slightest degree of blame to
parents who, above all things, sought
the eternal welfare of a beloved son.
They knew that wickednew mny be






MY FATHER'S GOD.


learnt anywhere; that "preparation
for the world, the real, rough, level-
ing world," was indispensably neces-
sary to one who had to provide the
means of existence by a close con-
tact with the world. They knew
that there was danger, great danger,
where they were sending me; but
they knew, also, that great strength
was promised to all who would seek
it. Against that danger they affec-
tionately and forcibly warned me;
the source of this strength they
earnestly and tearfully pointed out.
They knew that many had been
overcome by temptation, and had
thus fearfully disappointed bright
and glowing hopes, in those "evil
communications" which "corrupt
good manners;" but they also knew
that the principles of others had beoz


23






MY FATHER'S GOD.


confirmed, their characters establish-
ed, their youthful piety strengthened,
by the conflict, so to speak, into
which I was to be put forward.
They hoped, they prayed, that it
might be so with the son of whom,
to use the language of the apostle
Paul, they travailed in birth again,
until Christ should be formed in
him. (Gal. iv, 19.) Their parting
admonition was, in effect, this:
"And thou, my son, know thou the
God of thy father, and serve him
with a perfect heart and with a will-
ing mind: for the Lord searcheth all
hearts, and understandeth all the
imaginations of the thoughts: if
thou seek him, he will be found
of thee; but if thou forsake him, he
will cast thee off forever." 1 Chron.
xxviii, 9. And the predominating


24






MY FATHER'S GOD.


feeling in my mind, at that moment,
was, I will serve my father's God.
"But this resolution was "as a
morning cloud, and as the early
dew," which vanish away; and I
had been but a short time at school,
when I perceived that the habits of
religious observance to which I had
been accustomed at home subjected
me to the appearance of singularity,
and to the scorn of those whose
companionship and friendship, above
that of all others, I aspired to gain.
The struggle was neither long nor
arduous. Habits are not principles;
and mine were not founded on prin-
ciples. Long ere this I had said in
my childish heart to God, "Depart
from me, for I desire not the know-
ledge of thy ways." I now added to
this rebellious feeling one that verged


25






MY FATHER'S GOD.


at least on infidelity: What is the
Almighty, that we should serve him?
and what profit shall we have' if
we pray unto him ?" So I gave up
the form of prayer. Alas! the spirit
of prayer had never been mine; and
to detach myself from the form and
ceremony of a daily reverential ap-
proach, or supposed approach, to the
footstool of God, was a relief, in the
realization of which scarcely a throb
of remorse was mingled. At times,
however, my conscience was trou-
bled. Even now, the figure of an
.aged friend of my father presents
itself to my recollection; and the
tones of his voice seem now to re-
sound in my ears-those tones in
which he put the pointed question,
" --, do you ever pray?" What
could I say? I durst not lie; but I


26





MY FATHER'S GOD.


blushed to acknowledge the truth.
By a mean equivocation, the ex-
posure of my alienation was avoided;
and I was even praised for ingenu-
ousness. "Not so often as I ought,"
I replied. I did feel remorse when,
in taking leave of me, that friend
commended me to God, and to the
word of his grace; and entreated
me, as I set a value upon eternal
life, not to forsake Him who was
my father's God, and who had pro-
mised that those who "seek him
early shall find him." I almost de-
termined to resume the abandoned
practice: but I did not resume it.
A Bible, in which were written,
by my father's hand, my name, and
a prayer that God would open the
eyes of his beloved son, to behold
wondrous things out of His law;


27






MY FATHER'S GOD.


the "Records of Youthful Piety,"
bearing the written attestation, by
my mother's pen, that she had found
the ways of religion to be ways of
pleasantness, and all her paths to
be peace, and her earnest recom-
mendation to the son of her hopes
to seek those ways for himself, and
to walk in those paths:-that Bible
and that book were thrust out of
sight, lest it should be discovered
that my parents were among the
" righteous overmuch;" and all read-
ing was abandoned which treated
with seriousness the claims of God.
The Sabbath, which had hitherto
been outwardly honored by a cessa-
tion from boyish avocations, and a
constant attendance at "the house
of prayer," began now to be treated
with neglect. As often as I could,


28





MY FATHER'S GOD.


I obtained leave to visit a family in
which the day of rest was too gene-
rally passed in laborious trifling.
But it was not alone, nor princi-
pally, in outward actions that my
alienation from God consisted. The
root of the evil was in the heart, un-
seen by all, unknown to all, perhaps
unsuspected by all, save Him who
searcheth the hearts of the children
of men. Impure thoughts and feel-
ings were admitted and nurtured
there; and (the first few blushes
of boyish ignorance fading away)
received daily accessions of power,
and increased gratification, by the
communications of more precocious
sinners. And yet, with all this, I
believe my conduct was considered
more than reputable. So true is it
that the heart and the outward ap-


29






MY FATHER'S GOD.


pearance are too often at variance;
and while man applauds, God
frowns. (1 Sam. xvi, 7.) My early
religious training had so far benefit-
ed me, that I could not yet aban-
don the appearance of virtue. Lying,
indolence, niggardliness, strife;-all
these I considered as degrading, and
every way unworthy of a human
being. This feeling saved me from
many transgressions and much dis-
grace; but it told nothing of my
position towards the God of my
life.
Did I never think of my father's
God at this time? Yes; there
were seasons when the unwelcome
thought intruded, "I am acting,
speaking, thinking, in opposition to
his laws. I am not following the
steps, nor regarding the admonitions


30





MY FATHER'S GOD.


of my parents. What would my
father say, were he to hear me?
How would my mother feel, were
she to see me?" At such times, I
could not avoid drawing a compari-
son between their condition, their
enjoyments, their prospects, and my
own. But the thoughts were un-
welcome. I knew my own charac-
ter. I was an alien. Enough!
There was time to return, and re-
turn I some day would, to my
father's God; but not then.
I was without excuse. The com-
panions who led me on in sin were
of my own choosing. There were
some among us, and I knew it,
whom no solicitations had power
to turn aside from the right way;
whom no evil example had con-
taminated. Thly were "strong in
e


31






32 MY FATHER'S GOD.
the Lord, and in the power of his
might." They had counted the cost;
and resolutely refused to walk in
" the counsel of the ungodly."
Honored few! their path has been
as "the shining light, that shineth
more and more unto the perfect
day;" while mine has been en-
veloped in gloom,-clouded with
dissatisfaction and shame.






MY FATHER'S GOD.


SECTION III.
THE FORBEARANCE AND MERCY OF GOD.
"Many times didst thou deliver them, according to
thy mercies; and testifiedst against them, that
thou mightest bring them again unto thy law."-
Neh. ix, 28, 29.
A TIME of sickness, if unattended by
severe pain, mental weakness, or
great anxiety about worldly things,
is so far favorable to conviction, that
it gives opportunity for reflection,
and detaches the sufferer from the
immediate and active pursuit of the
pleasures of sin, while it manifests
their insufficiency to support and
comfort in "the day of adversity."
Such a season of retirement and
leisure was allotted to me before the
full term of my education was com-
pleted. For a short space of time I


33






MY FATHER'S GOD.


was, as I was afterwards told, so ill
that life was despaired of; but the
dangerous crisis over, I suffered
comparatively little. Weeks, how-
ever, elapsed ere I quitted my room;
and during those weeks I did reflect
upon my course of life, and thought
of my father's God. Those thoughts
were serious, but not altogether dis-
tressing. I had a strong belief that,
debilitated as I was, I should re-
cover. At the same time I felt that
there had been danger, and that I
had been delivered. I knew who
had preserved me, body and soul,
from destruction; and, to a certain
extent, I felt grateful for the interpo-
sition of that Almighty Power, and
inclined to devote my future life to
His praise. I reflected how foolish
and unsatisfactory my conduct had


34





MY FATHER'S GOD.


been, in childhood and youth; how
fruitless of happiness, how fertile in
the seeds of future misery! I re-
joiced that I was yet young; that
my most valuable days had not yet
passed away. "Henceforward," I
resolved, "they shall be redeemed
from the service of Satan,-I will
live to God." The gospel messages
of mercy sounded pleasantly in my
ears, as read to me, while I lay in
helpless weakness, by the same
voice that had lulled me to rest in
infancy; and the prayers that were
offered by my bed from my father's
heart, I pleased myself with thinking
would be soon answered in the con-
version of his son to God.
Not that I concluded myself to be
already converted. I knew better
than this. I was aware of having a


35






MY FATHER'S GOD.


worldly mind; but I fancied that my
tendencies to evil were weakening,
and might soon be subdued by
watchfulness and prayer. The Fa-
ther of mercies, and God and Father
of the Lord Jesus Christ, was ready,
I knew, to receive me as a returning
prodigal, through the atonement of
his dear Son. The Spirit of Divine
grace was waiting, I believed, to ap-
ply the blood of Christ to my con-
science. Christ, I knew, was exalt-
ed as a Prince and a Saviour, to give
repentance and remission of sins.
What more, then, was needed but a
willingness to be saved and sancti-
fied? I exulted for a moment in
the thought:-and there the mo-
mentous affair ended.
Instead of going to Christ for re-
pentance and pardon, as Imeant to


36





MY FATHER'S GOD.


do on the more full recovery from
disease, I felt every day greater re-
pugnance to put his mercy and his
power to the test. I could not for-
sake all, and follow Christ.
Besides, I had something else to
do. Day by day, as my strength re-
turned, my companions, who were
permitted to visit me, enlivened and
excited me with congratulations on
my recovery, with recitals of events
that had taken place during my
illness, and anticipations of future
proceedings. Gradually my impres-
sions and resolutions faded away;
and I was left, as I had been found,
an alien from my father's God.
Years later, and I was again. laid
on a bed of sickness. But now the
circumstances of the case, and the
reflections to which they gave rise,


87





MY FATHER'S GOD.


were of another character. Excru-
ciating pain of body, in the first
stage of disease, made me indifferent
to life, in fact, almost desirous of
death; while it entirely prevented
the exercise of continuous thought
on any subject. To have compelled
my attention at that time to the con-
cerns of salvation would have been
physically impossible. I felt this, in
all its force, as I struggled and moan-
ed with the agony that gave me no
rest, day nor night. Delirium occa-
sionally intervened; but generally
my mind was unclouded, though
broken down. Through the whole
of this time of anguish, one strong
conviction kept hold upon my mind:
" This is no time to think about re-
ligion." I remembered, too, an
affecting incident which had occur-


38





MY FATHER'S GOD.


red in the family history. I had
seen my father agonized with pain,
as I now was, and in a state of ap-
parent danger. It was at a time
when many cares were pressing
heavily on his spirits. In the hour
of trial, however, he marvelously
rallied, and, despite of pain, his
countenance and his tones gave
token of great peace of mind. I
stood then by his bed, and listened
to what I considered might be his
dying words. They were to this
effect:-
"R--, I have been thinking
what a great mercy it is that I have
not put off going to Christ until
now; for now.I could not do it,
though everything should depend
upon it. But I can say with Paul,
'I know in whom I have believed,


39





MY FATHEIt'S GOD.


and am persuaded that he is able to
keep that which I have committed
unto him against that day.'"
I now found by experience how
difficult it was to turn the thoughts
to religion in the midst of bodily
anguish. Had I been sure of death
on the morrow, I could not, unless
extraordinary powers of endurance
and concentration of thought had
been given,-powers, be it said, no-
where promised to the transgressor,
still clinging to his own -ways;-I
could not then have returned to God.
After a time the intensity of pain
passed away, in the paroxysms, of
which the complaints of the Psalmist
had been echoed in my groans,
"THOU hast laid affliction on my
loins. Day and night thy hand is
heavy upon ine. My moisture is


40






MY FATHER'S GOD.


turned into the drought of summer."
Pain passed away, to give place to
the greater torments of a wounded
conscience. "I remembered God,
and was troubled." No gleam of
mercy cheered the gloom that then
environed my soul. He had called,
and I had refused; he had stretched
out his hand, and I had not regarded;
and now it seemed that the time
was come in which he was saying,
"I will laugh at your calamity; I
will mock when your fear cometh;
when your fear cometh as desola-
tion, and your destruction cometh
as a whirlwind; when distress and
anguish cometh upon you." I re-
membered that I had been deliver-
ed, in times past, according to his
mercies; and been testified against,
that I might be brought again unto


41






MY FATHER'S GOD.


his law: but I had dealt proudly,
and not hearkened unto his com-
mandments, but sinned against his
judgments, (which, if a man do, he
shall live in them;) and withdrawn
the shoulder, and hardened the
neck, and would not hear. (Neh. ix,
28, 29.)
I remembered my sins: they were
set in array against me: my sins
against light and knowledge, when
I knew the right way, and de-
liberately chose the wrong. I re-
membered the uselessness of my
past life. What had I done worthy
of an immortal being? What had
I sought, worthy of the pursuit? I
had lived without God in the world;
and now I had no hope.
Again, as years before, the voice
of maternal love and paternal anxiety


42





MY FATHER'S GOD.


whispered in my ears the offers of
sovereign mercy. But the sound
was lost amidst the louder alarms
of the judgment to come.
In the midst of all this distress of
mind, I was unhumbled. I tried to
charge God with the blame of my
wandering course. "Why hast thou
made me thus? Why was I brought
into the world at all? or, being
brought into it, why were not my
parents' prayers answered in my
conversion when a child? Why
was I suffered to harden myself in
sin? Why had not Divine grace
turned my feet, ere this, into paths
of righteousness?" As health gradu-
ally returned, these feelings strength-
ened within me. I began to look
upon God as acting in an arbitrary
manner. I tried to make my heart


43





44 MY FATHER'S GOD.
stout against the day of evil; and to
consider the invitations and promises
of free and full salvation as mockery
on the part of One who had pre-
determined the doom of every intel-
ligent creature he had formed. Thus
I did my utmost to wrest the Scrip-
tures to my own destruction; and,
unmindful of" the mercy that had
again and again rescued me from
death, returned to the avocations of
the world only embittered against
Him who had showed that mercy.
Again and again He rescued me
from death:---for, in other instances
than those just recorded, I had been
preserved from destruction. Once,
in the days of my boyhood, I was
saved from being drawn within the
whirl of a coach-wheel, between the
spokes of which, while turning at





MY FATHER'S GOD.


full speed, my foot became, for a
moment, all but entangled. Once,
I narrowly escaped drowning in
passing over, in the dark and in
ignorance, a decayed bridge, a false
step from which would have thrown.
me into a deep and dangerous
stream. More than once I was in
great peril by the accidental dis-
charge of fire-arms. These, and
other instances of providential pre-
servation, produced but little feeling
at the time, save a momentary thrill
of horror at the remembrance of past
danger, unaccompanied by a single
emotion of real gratitude to Him
who had watched over my path, and
held me up in my goings. Nor did
the consciousness that, while I was
thus preserved in mercy, many of
the companions of my youth had


45






MY FATHER'S GOD.


been cut off, some by slow disease,
others by violent death, produce in
me one salutary emotion.
But a new song has since been
put into my mouth,-even praise to
my father's God, and mine:-" I will
praise thee, O Lord my God, with
all my heart; and I will glorify thy
name for evermore. For great is
thy mercy toward me: and thou
hast delivered my soul from the
lowest hell. Thou, O Lord, art a
God full of compassion, and gracious;
long-suffering, and plenteous in mer-
cy and truth." Psa. lxxxvi, 12, 13, 15.


46





MY FATHER'S GOD.


SECTION IV.
HARDENED REBELLION AGAINST GOD.
"He addeth rebellion unto his sin."-Job xxxiv, 37.
THE latter illness of which I have
spoken, was, in some measure, pro-
ductive of a change in conduct and
sentiment: but, as now viewed, it
was a change for the worse. True,
my thoughts were exercised, more
than they had been before that ill-
ness, on the subject of religion: but
my corrupt nature still maintained
its ascendancy over thought and
action; and pride of heart was en-
couraged, and grew luxuriantly.
Far, very far, from humbly and peni-
tently seeking God, and imploring
his aid in the contest with "-the
world, the flesh, and the devil,"


47






MY FATHER'S GOD.


which I intended to commence; far,
very far, from throwing myself on
the righteousness of Christ, his sacri-
fice, his. love, and his promises, for
a present salvation from all my guilt
and pollution; it was my mad object
to turn against the blessed and gra-
cious Jehovah, as though he were
the cause of my guilt and degrada-
tion. Instead of embracing the truth,
in the love of it,-that most glorious
truth, that "God was in Christ, re-
conciling the world to himself, not
imputing their trespasses unto them,"
but "justifying freely, by his grace,
through the redemption that is -in
Christ Jesus," all who "believe in
Jesus,"-I sought to take refuge
behind certain erroneous doctrinal
views, which I knew many honest
people to entertain: I sought to


48





MY FATHER'S GOD.


justify myself by pleading the deter-
minate counsel of God, his hidden
decrees, his sovereign power over
all hearts, and his electing love.
"He has chosen," was my language,
"to elect some, to reprobate others;
he will have mercy on whom he
will have mercy; and whom he
will, he hardetieth. To what pur-
pose, then, should I seek his salva-
tion, when, perhaps, he has deter-
mined not to save me? Or, why seek
that salvation, seeing that it must be
bestowed if my name is written in
his book of life?" Thus, pleased
with the idea that I had, according
to an established theory, satisfac-
torily accounted for my past indif-
ference to the claims of God, and
thrown back upon him the weight
of my past transgressions, since he
4


49






MY FATHER'S GOD.


might have stayed me in my career
of ungodliness if he would, I eventu-
ally hardened myself, more and
more, against him, charged him
with partiality and injustice, and
treated the gospel of his grace with
scorn. Why tell me of the mercy
of Christ, of his all-sufficient merits,
of his atoning sacrifice, of his media-
torial character, of his ability and
willingness to save all that come to
God by him, since all this mercy
and merit, sacrifice and mediation,
ability and willingness, are available
to none but those who, in his own
time and manner, are to be called
from darkness to light?"
I willingly forbear to recount,
were it possible to remember, all
the hard thoughts of God that, at
this period, were nourished in


50





MY FATHER'S GOD.


my soul. But let me glance at the
result.
Sin began to appear a small mat-
ter. I could indulge in it with less
restraint now that I considered it a
decree of God. If ever conscience
remonstrated, the reply was ready,
"I am but fulfilling my destiny." If
fears were excited, I blunted the
fine edge of apprehension by a re-
ference to the Divine purposes.
"After all, I may be among the
number of the elect, and if so, I
shall, one day, be called and saved."
To the preaching of the gospel I at-
tended with increased unconcern:
if I listened to the preacher, it was
to sneer at his statements, and bring
to the bar of my own judgment the
doctrines he proclaimed. If I read
the Bible, it was to strengthen my


51






MY FATHER'S GOD.


system of false theology; not to hear
what God, the Lord, would speak.
The secret thought of my heart was
akin to this: "'The Lord is my
father's God;' but I will not 'exalt
him.' "
There is great reason to fear that
feelings and conduct like those just
described are, more or less, indulged
in by many whose fathers have ac-
knowledged the Lord Jehovah as
their God, their strength, their song,
and their salvation. Let the truth,
then, be told; and let the reader
who has taken refuge in such senti-
ments from the terror of the Lord,"
judge whether it be the truth which
furnishes such a convenient cover
for sin. I loved sin,-it was my
idol, and after it I would go. The
checks interposed, by the mercy of


52





MY FATHER'S GOD.


God in the course of his providence,
alarmed me, and led me to look
about for some excuse for my guilty
indifference to the God of my father,
and my manifold transgressions. I
laid hold of the doctrine of sovereign
grace, and endeavored,-vain at-
tempt!-to prove the Almighty to
be altogether such a one as myself.
If God could be proved unjust, I
should be justified, and my sins
might be retained. In all this, there
was a most desperate defiance of the
Most High, an utter rejection of his
way of salvation, determined ma-
lice against his government, most
haughty pride of intellect, and most
willful perversion of Divine truth.
I knew that I was wrong, even
while entangling myself in sophistry
of my own weaving, and boasting


53"






MY FATHER'S GOD.


of my pretended success in my un-
hallowed controversy with God. I
knew that my position was really
untenable, that my refuge was a re-
fuge of lies, which, when God should
lay judgment to the line, and righte-
ousness to the plummet, would be
swept away. But this might be a
remote contingency; and, mean-
while, the false principles I adopted
answered their miserable purpose,
reconciling me to my sins, and
hardening me against God. The
barrier that prevented my return to
him was one of my own rearing, not
of his; and-let the fact be repeated,
and find an echo in the soul of every
rebellious one who reads-I knew
it. This barrier was the love and
practice of sin.
Fond of my wretched sophistry,


54





MY FATHER'S GOD.


however, I would not, at that time,
quit my hold; but, by it, endeavored
to entangle others. Among the
friends of my youth was one with
whom I had for some years kept up
an occasional correspondence. His
earlier letters, like my own, had,
while full of the hilarity of youth,
and glowing anticipations of plea-
sures yet in store, contained nothing
to the profit or credit either of writer
or reader. But, later, a striking
change had shown itself in the tone
of my friend's epistles. He had
thought of his God,-his father's
God, too,-and had returned, with
weeping and supplication, to seek
for pardon, holiness, and eternal life,
at the overflowing fountain of a Sa-
viour's love. Having found what
he sought, he was anxious that I,


55





56 ~MY F'ATHEkR'S3 GOD.


too, should obtain the same mercy.
To his kind expostulations I opposed
the crude opinions which I had de-
termined to make my own.
"I am delighted to find," thus he
wrote in reply, "that your regard for
me is not at all abated; but allow
me to say that there is another
Friend who seeks your affections.
Is your love given to him? Do you
feel a desire to please him? Have
you sought, with humble prayer at
the throne of grace, to be more and
more interested in his friendship?
My heart's desire and prayer to God
for you is, that you may be more
intimately acquainted with him. But
recollect, dear R-- that religion
is a personal thing. You must pray
yourself; you yourself must seek, or
you will never obtain, that peace


56





MY FATHER'S UOD.


which passes understanding. Do
not cavil at the Scriptures, my dear
friend, but read them with a humble,
teachable mind, first asking the direc-
tion and assistance of the Holy Spirit
of God, and then, I am persuaded,
your doubts and difficulties will dis-
appear.
"Perhaps you will be surprised
when I tell you that I have expe-
rienced such a state of mind as that
which appears to harass you; but,
through the blessing of God, I am
rescued from it. I did, at one time,
as you know too well, take a delight
in speaking against the Bible, and
all those who loved it. But God,
who is rich in mercy, convinced me
of my sin in a gracious and impres-
sive manner. I sat down, one
evening, with the express intention


57





MY FATHER'S GOD.


of writing against the Bible. I
opened it at hazard; and this sen-
tence met my eyes: 'Nay but, O
man, who art thou that repliest
against God?' The words struck
as a dagger to my soul, and I saw
how, by speaking against God, I
was fearfully increasing my guilt.
By his grace I sought his pardon,
who is ready to forgive, and plente-
ous in mercy, and I trust I can
say, with Paul, that 'I obtained
mercy.'
"I think it would be better, before
you quote passages of Scripture to
prove that you are, or may be, ex-
cluded from salvation, to consider
how you lessen the character of the
Deity. Is he not almighty to save?
Are not his invitations full enough,
and free enough to meet your case?


58





MY FATHER'S GOD.


Is he mocking you, do you think,
when he tells you that 'whosoever
will' may come, and take the water
of life freely;' and that he has no
pleasure in the death of the wicked ?
Beware, my friend, how you charge
God with wrong-doing! He can
vindicate his own character; he will
do so: but let it not be in your just
condemnation. Try him. See
whether he be not faithful to his
promises."
Allow me," he wrote, on another
occasion, "again to draw your atten-
tion to a subject of most urgent im-
portance. Let me ask you, How
does your immortal soul stand with
respect to an eternal world? Have
you surmounted those doubts con-
cerning the doctrines of the gospel?
Nay! rather let me ask you, Have


59





MY FATHER'S GOD.


you sought for mercy at the throne
of grace? Do you desire to be
interested in the promises of the
gospel? If you do, why perplex
yourself about whether or not you
are elected to everlasting life ? Re-
member that both the promises and
the threatening of the gospel are
addressed to characters, not to indi-
viduals. Flee, then, my friend, flee
at once, for refuge to the only hope
set before you in the gospel."
"You seem to me," he wrote
again, "to be greatly perplexed
about the doctrine of election. If
you are stumbling there, let me tell-
you, you are beginning at the wrong
place. It is nowhere said, 'Come
unto me all ye who are elected;'
but, 'Come unto me all ye who
labor and are heavy laden.' Now, do


60






MY FATHER'S GOD.


you feel weary of sin, and know
that it is a burden to you ?"
Alas! this was the question which,
of all others, I had no inclination to
answer; for sin was not a burden
to me; I was not weary of it. It
was easy to rail at the doctrines of
the gospel, to distort them, to profess
to stumble at them. But to forsake
my sins, and make trial of the mercy
of Christ, was entirely another thing.
I grew weary of a correspondence
which drew upon me such faithful
appeals to conscience; and the fu-
ture letters of my friend remained
unanswered.


61






MY FATHER'S GOD.


SECTION V.
INCREASED INDIFFERENCE TO GOD.
"Ye said also, Behold, what a weariness is it !"-
Mal. i, 13.
MANHOOD succeeded to youth; and,
emancipated from a home in which
God was acknowledged, and where
a decent regard, at least, to the ex-
ternal observances of religion was
required, I advanced onward in my
course.. I became more than ever
indifferent to God. It was bad
when my thoughts of him were re-
bellious; when I called in question'
the righteousness of his moral
government, and caviled at his
word. But I think it was worse
when I encouraged a deadly leth-
argy, which was stealing over my





MY FATHER'S GOD.


soul, banished all reflection, and
plunged me with avidity into those
pleasures of sin, of which heretofore
I had scarcely made trial. But so
it was. For a space, long, if the
amount of new guilt contracted be
taken into account, but mercifully
short, compared with other stages of
my career, God was not in all my
thoughts.
The business of the world had
my first attention, and indeed re-
quired much of it. I had to jostle
in the crowd, and to take my stand-
ing with others on the stage of in-
dustry. I believe I was neither
unable nor unwilling to exert my-
self in the matter. My secular
education had prepared me' for it;
and, in addition to this, the effects
of moral training had not been alto-


63






MY FATHER'S GOD.


gether lost upon me. In this respect
I had an advantage over many
others. The precepts of the gospel,
I have reason to believe, often exert
an unsuspected but strong influence
over persons who profess no obe-
dience to their authority. It certainly
was so with me. I despised the
crooked ways of many with whom
I came into contact; their disin-
genuousness and professional hypo-
crisy; their unrighteousness towards
men; and their absorption of every
noble and generous sentiment in the
two great objects of the world-
riches and renown. By such ex-
amples as these I determined not to
be guided. "Uprightness and in-
tegrity shall preserve me," was my
fixed resolution. Alas! I stopped
there. I would not turn that proud


64





MY FATHER'S GOD.


aspiration into humble prayer, and,
after the example of David, add,
" for I wait on THEE," Psa. xxv, 21;
or say, "The Lord is my father's
God, and I will egalt him."
How many are there, who, proud-
ly averse from the religion of the
Bible, are yet in some measure in-
sensibly guided by it in their out-
ward transactions, as between man
and man! Let them treat with
scorn as they may the assertion,
it is an assertion founded on un-
doubted fact, that to the gospel
which they despise, they owe their
superiority in character over the
ignorant and sensual worldly-minded
man.
Young man! you have rejected
the gospel; you pour contempt upon,
or treat with indifference, your father's
5


65






MY FATHER'S GOD.


piety, your father's God; you "turn
away from Him that speaketh from
heaven:" but, in how many in-
stances have you been kept from
disgrace and the contempt of the
world, from collision with human
laws, from self-degradation, by the
unseen but powerful operation of a
pious youthful training? Do you
acknowledge this? Do you say
that "the prejudices of education''
are strong, and not easily overcome ?
Happy prejudices these, that do so
much for you against your will!
But if the merely incidental ad-
vantages of Christianity be so great,
what glorious privileges must be an-
nexed to its real possession! What
may not be expected from its positive
and legitimate influence! "0 taste
and see that the Lord is good:


66






MY FATHER'S GOD.


blessed is the man that trusteth in
him." Psa. xxxiv, 8.
But if business had my chief at-
tention, pleasure followed closely
behind, and kept back my thoughts
from God.* I sought companions;
but I carefully avoided such as were
tainted with Christian principles,
and rushed into the company of
those who regarded not God. I
walked in the counsel of the un-
godly, and stood in the way of sii-
ners. I sought amusement. My
never-ceasing inquiry was, "Who
will show me any good ?-any new
way in which to excite a moment-
ary gratification ?" The result was
dissatisfaction. Discontent soured
my temper, and care clouded my
brow, while I experimentally proved
that "all is vanity and vexation of'






MY FATHER'S GOD.


spirit." But I was not weaned from
the world. Though the past had
been unsatisfactory, the future was
promising. Like the desert traveler,
panting with heat, and distressed by
thirst, who fancies that.he sees in
the distant prospect, and glistening
in the sunbeams, a broad sheet of
cool and transparent water; so did
I see, in future scenes which ima-
gination presented to my mind, that
full happiness for which I longed.
In breathless haste I pressed on-
ward to embrace the phantom; but
it eluded the grasp. Like the same
traveler in reaching the borders of
his imaginary river, I found that
dryness and barrenness marked the
spot. Apart from God, the giver of
every good and perfect gift, there is,
there can be, no happiness.


68





MY FATHER'S GOD.


And to God-his character, his
government, and his love-I had
become altogether indifferent. The
former speculative opinions I had
held, or professed to hold, had wear-
ied me to no purpose. Repose was
necessary; and, unhappily, I chose
the repose of soul-slumber, in pre-
ference to that of humble and entire
dependence upon Christ. Con-
science slept. I could disobey the
commands of God without a single
check: I could withhold the homage
he claimed, as God over all, without
remorse. Even among the com-
panions I had chosen were some
who were startled at the impetuosity
with which I rushed into the dissipa-
tions to which they had first intro-
duced me. Men of worldly pra.
dence looked gravely upon the


69






MY FATHER'S GOD.


course I pursued. They had learned
to veil their indifference to God un-
der a decent regard to appearances.
They looked upon me with sus-
picion; but it mattered not. If I
could not be happy, at least I would
be merry. I called, and mirth came
at my command.
My way of life at this time was
an enigma to all who knew me. In
business-persevering, plodding, and
honorable. In dissipation-wild and
insatiable. By day-the associate
of the wise in this world: by night
-the companion of fools. On the
one hand, I was warned that a day.
of reckoning would arrive. On the
other, I was congratulated on my
success, and invited to cast in my
lot, for once and all, with the utterly
debased of the world. But the warn-
Ce


70





MY FATHER'S GOD.


ings and invitations were alike un-
heeded. I chose a middle course.
I would be, at the same time, in-
dustrious and dissolute; vicious and
honorable. How long it would
have been practicable to maintain
this equivocal conduct, I cannot tell.
The seeds of ruin sowed by dissipa-
tion are slower or quicker in their
development, as the soil on which
they are cast and the atmosphere
which surrounds them are more or
less favorable to their growth. But
they never, eventually, perish.
Health was giving way; morbid
feelings had begun to take the
place of unbridled hilarity; and
careless indifference to the opinions
of the world was being added to
my indifference to God, and render-
ing me negligent in the affairs of


71






72 MY FATHER'S GOD.
life, when an unexpected stroke of
Providence hurried me to my fa-
ther's house, to witness the power
of religion under circumstances of
the deepest gloom.






MY FATHER 8 GOD.


SECTION VI.
DETERMINED REJECTION OF GOD.
"Ye have rejected your God, who saved you."-
1 Sam. x, 19.
A FEW weeks passed away, weeks
of bitter sorrow, at the close of which
I returned to my former occupations.
A change had been effected in my
mind, certainly: but not the great
change, the passing from darkness
to light. My thoughts were again,
in a great measure, concentrated on
God, but not in penitence and faith.
A change had taken place in my
circumstances, a change so great,
that, at first, the very severity of the
blow had deadened my -perception
of its force. I had seen my very
dearest friend, my gentle and pious


78






MY FATHER'S GOD.


mother, suffering the prolonged ago-
nies of a most painful and hopeless
disease. I had heard her half-sup-
pressed groans when nature might
have demanded the shrill shriek of
bodily anguish. I had seen her
pallid compressed lips quivering
with the agony which she would
not express. I had held her trem-
bling hand till the tears had burst
from my eyes. I had witnessed this
patient and holy sufferer gradually
sinking into the calm repose of
death: I had been present at the
awful moment of separation of body
and spirit: I had followed her to the
grave. This was one ingredient in
my cup of misery: there were
others.
While distressed and paralyzed in
spirit by the weight of his domestic


74





MY FATHER'S GOD.


affliction, a crisis arrived in my fa-
ther's affairs, which suddenly plunged
him from comparative affluence into
deep poverty. He suffered the loss
of all things; of all things but his
God, and a good conscience. There
were circumstances connected with
this reverse which, to him, rendered
it the more exquisitely painful. It
was the result of unbounded confi-
dence in one who like himself was
a professor of religion. In addition
to this, my father had to bear the re-
proaches, not only of the ungodly,
who exulted in the suspicions which
were lavishly cast upon his charac-
ter, but of the followers of Christ.
Those who had eaten of his bread,
whom he had trusted, with whom
he had taken counsel in the ways
of religion, and walked to the house


75






MY FATHER'S GOD.


of God in company, distrusted and
forsook him.
All this I had witnessed; and I
was filled with indignation against
the perpetrator of this ruin, and the
cankered or mistaken calumniators
of a good man's reputation. I felt
more than this; and I harbored and
nurtured the feeling till it rose al-
most to frenzy: I wickedly accused
God, as the author of all this confu-
sion and evil. In this mood-after
a sorrowful farewell taken of my
mother's grave, and some hasty ar-
rangements made for my father's
future subsistence-I returned to
the business of life.
Thenceforward my rebellion
against God was turned into an-
other channel. I had no longer the
heart to return to scenes of frivolity






MY FATHER'S GOD.


and dissipation. I had tried worldly
pleasures, and had found them una.
ble to give happiness in times of
comparative prosperity; and I judged
them unworthy of being tested in
their power to give ease and peace
of mind under adversity. More-
over, it was necessary to choose be-
tween the expensive pleasures of
sin, and the future comfort of a be-
reaved parent. I decided for the
latter. I determined to live frugally,
and to labor industriously, seeing
thht, more than ever, my own well-
being in the world depended on the
course I should pursue.
Had the love of sin, then, depart-
ed? Was my heart changed? No.
There was the same evil heart of
unbelief; the same hatred to holi-
ness; the same tendency to evil,


77






MY FATHER'S GOD.


only that it was to be exhibited un-
der a new form,-a new and a more
virulent one.
My evenings and Sabbaths were
now-for a time, at least-spent in
solitude. Former haunts were aban-
doned, and former companions dis-
countenanced till they forbore to
press upon my retirement. I felt a
stern, morose pleasure in this aban-
donment. "The unprincipled sel-
fish crew!" I exclaimed; "they
sought not me, but mine. Let them
go. I know them; and I have done
with them."
I had no want of occupation. I
preferred solitude. I planned a
course of study; and I pursued it
with avidity and strange unnatural
glee. Thoughts of God were no
longer banished from my mind. I






MY FATHER'S GOD.


was determined to arraign Him at
the bar--my bar; to test his word
by the rules of, what I called, com-
mon sense.
I began. My first thoughts were,
naturally enough, directed to the
mournful scenes which I had re-
cently witnessed; and the temporal
reverses that, indirectly, at least, had
cast a gloom over my own prospects.
I entered into the consideration with
a proud, untamed heart; and it can
be no matter of surprise that my in-
quiries conducted me to a determi-
nate rejection of God.
I did not carry on the controversy
unaided. I surrounded myself with
books. Infidel writings were sought
with something approaching to anxi-
ous solicitude. I longed to be con-
vinced that "there is no God;" or


79






MY FATHER'S GOD.


that, if there be, it is one who does
not busy himself about human af-
fairs and human guilt. I burned in
my mind to be dispossessed of the
remaining scruples, weak and inop-
erative as they had become, of a re-
ligious education. I earnestly de-
sired to prove the Scriptures to be
cunningly devised fables.
But, though willing to be instruct-
ed in the mysteries of Deism, the
success of its advocates was, after
all, but small. I saw ample reason
to question their, so called, facts, and
to condemn their deductions. I fan-
cied to myself how easily a Chris-
tian might meet this statement, over-
turn that argument, and demolish
the whole fabric of disbelief. "No,"
I said; "if I reject the gospel, it
shall be on more substantial grounds


80






MY FATHER'S G(OD. 81
than these. I will not be led blind-
fold by any apostle of infidelity. I
must be convinced before I am con-
verted."
After a time I mingled more in
society. Skepticism was the prevail-
ing feature of our intercourse. I.
sat in the seat of the scornful," and
listened with avidity to the doctrines
of those who had drunk deep into
the spirit of infidel writers: and I
succeeded-alas! too certainly-in
drawing others into the meshes of
incredulity, even when, in my heart,
I.had a persuasion that Christianity,
after all, was founded on the solid
basis of eternal truth. It was not
always, however, that this persua-
sion was present with me. In truth,
I was "like a wave of the sea, driven
of the wind and tossed." At times,
6






82 MY FATHER'S GOD.
I would gladly, I thought, have
found a firm resting-place for my
belief and hopes, even though that
resting-place were the gospel. But,
in general, enmity against religion
was the element in which I lived;
and, at all hazards, I determined to
reject alike the laws and the grace
of my father's God.







MY FATHER'S GOD.


SECTION VII.
MY FATHER'S TRIALS OF FAITH, AND TRIUMPH
IN HIS GOD.
"( Where is thy God?"--Psa. xlii, 3.
"Although the fig-tree shall not b ssom, neither
shall fruit be in the vines; the laboN of the olive
shall fail, and the fields shall yield no meat; the
flock shall be cut off from the fold, and there shall
be no herd in the stalls: yet I will rejoice in the
Lord, I will joy in the God of my salvation."-Ha-
bak. iii, 17, 18.

IN the preceding pages I have iCi-
dentally glanced at the general in-
fluence of religion upon the life and
conduct of two sincere and humble
followers of Christ. But, to bring
out more vividly the contrast which
existed between a godly parent and
an unconverted child, it is needful to
state more particularly.ieasant places;
sults of heart-sanctify heritage," they


88






MY FATHER'S GOD.


this, I must return, for a brief space,
to the days of childhood and youth.
If prosperity is a trial to a Christ
tian's faith-and what Christian will
deny this?-my parents were tried
Christians at a very early period in
their domestic history, for they pros-
pered in the world. Easy compe-
tence, at least, was their portion.
And they enjoyed this portion; but
not after the manner of the world.
Their God, who gave them "richly
all things to enjoy," was also the
Lord and Master who had appointed
them his stewards to improve the
talents committed to their charge.
They recognized his authority; and
they strove to discharge their trust.
'I dread the thought of dying rich,"
-".r, on one occasion;
ion was not a hasty


84






MY FATHER'S GOD.


ebullition of momentary feeling: it
was the effect of an operative prin-
ciple. While, therefore, contentment
and cheerfulness were those remark-
able characteristics of the home of
my boyhood, which had led me to
exult in the fact that my parents
had God for their father, they were
not the only features of Christian
prosperity. There was gratitude.
" What shall I render unto the Lord
for all his benefits towards me?"
was an inquiry which, I firmly be-
lieve, was seldom absent from their
thoughts. And in close connection
with grateful feelings, was apprehen-
sion, not of future reverses, but, of
forgetfulness of their God. While,
therefore, they could say, "The lines
are fallen unto me in pleasant places;
yea, I have a goodly heritage," they


85






MY FATHER'S GOD.


felt how needful was the prayer,
"Preserve me, 0 God; for in thee
do I put my trust;" and how desira-
ble the self-communing, "O my
soul, thou hast said unto the Lord;
My goodness extendeth not to thee;
but to the saints that are in the
earth, and to the excellent, in whom
is all my delight." On this princi-
ple they habitually acted; and act-
ing upon it, the streams of pros-
perity were turned into many a
beneficial channel. They were eyes
to the blind, and feet to the lame.
The blessing of them that were
ready to perish came upon them;
and they caused the widow's heart
to sing for joy.
Thus far, then, the trial of my
parents' faith in their God redound-
ed to his glory, and to the triumph


86






MY FATHER'S GOD.


of that faith. Being full, they did
not deny him, and say, Who is the
Lord? Their trust was not in un-
certain riches; but in the living
God. They did good, were rich in
good works, were ready to distribute,
willing to communicate; laying up
in store for themselves a good foun-
dation against the time to come, that
they might lay hold on eternal life.
Prov. xxx, 9; 1 Tim. vi, 17-19.
Nevertheless, I dare not say that the
contaminating influence of worldly
prosperity was not insensibly experi-
enced where least suspected. Where
there is no self-indulgent abuse of
the bounties of Providence, there
may be too much anxious careful-
ness. Where influence and respon-
sibility are felt, there is danger of
exercising undue authority. An un-


87






MY FATHER'S GOD.


interrupted course of prosperity leads
too often to an uncharitable judg-
ment concerning, those whom God
visits with adversity. And there is
great danger of being too well satis-
fied with earth and earthly things,
and too little solicitous about the
heavenly home, when the sun of
temporal good shines brightly and
warmly on the Christian's path.
With these persuasions, while look-
ing back through the past, and view-
ing God's dealings in the light of his
word, I rejoice, rather than sorrow,
that painful tribulations of body and
in circumstances were ordained to
break the monotony of the departed
Christians' lives. Behold, we count
them happy who endure." "Whom
the Lord loveth he chasteneth, and
scourgeth every son whom he re-


88






MY FATHER'S GOD.


ceiveth." "As an eagle stirreth up
her nest, fluttereth over her young,
spreadeth abroad her wings, taketh
them, beareth them on her wings;
so the Lord did lead" them: and lest
they "should be exalted above mea-
sure, there was given a thorn in the
flesh, a messenger of Satan, to buf-
fet" them. James v, 11; Heb. xii, 6;
Dent. xxxii, 11; 2 Cor. xii, 7.
Rivers of waters run down mine
eyes, because they keep not thy
law," was the exclamation of the
Psalmist; and, in some measure, at
least, every benevolent and pious
mind experiences the feeling which
gave rise to it. Among the trials of
their faith, I doubt whether any
were more continually felt by my
parents than the insensibility of men
in general to the claims and com-


89






MY FATHER'S GOD.


mands of their God. The worldly
affairs of my father, especially,
placed him in daily contact with
the ungodly, and demanded his co-
operation with them in the business
of life. That he faithfully reproved
their vices, firmly refused to counte-
nance their guilt, and affectionately
warned them to flee from the wrath
to come, many have testified who
refused to hearken to his words;
and some also, to whom those words
came with power, and in whom they
produced the most happy results.
But it was in the privacy of home
that his sorrow of heart was more
especially poured out in earnest and
fervent prayers for the transgressors
whom he had beheld; and for the
glory of God, whose counsels they
set at naught, and whose love they






MY FATHER'S GOD.


despised. But if the despondency
of his soul found occasional utter-
ance in language such as this: It
is time for thee, Lord, to work; for
they have made void thy law;" the
prospect on which he delighted to
look and to expatiate with the happy
glow of triumphant faith, was that
of the final and complete victory of
his God and Saviour, when He
should subdue all things unto him-
self-see of the travail of his soul,
and be satisfied.
But it was in the bosom of their
own family that my parents' faith
was to undergo the severest trial
that a Christian can know, in the
gradual but decided estrangement
of their child from God. Was it to
teach them their own insufficiency,
to impress upon them more forcibly


91






MY FATHER'S GOD.


the solemn truth of man's utter de-
generacy, that that child was per-
mitted to despise his father's com-
mandment, and to forsake the law
of his mother ? 0, how often did
that gentle mother, in tones of anxi-
ous solicitude ahd enduring affec-
tion, set before me the evil and the
bitterness of sin, and urge me to
give my young heart to Him who
sought it! How often did that godly
father, in broken accents, plead for
me at the mercy seat of his God:
"0 that Ishmael might live before
Thee!" How did they watch for
some faint indications of early piety,
and rejoice in the hope that their
labor was not in vain in the Lord!
How, again, did their hearts sink
within them to witness the bud-
dings of unhallowed passions which






MIY FATHER'S GOD.


a parent's eye was quick to detect
in the youthful mind! How did
those fears grow stronger until their
minds sank into settled gloom when
their thoughts rested upon the willful
son, who they had hoped would, like
Timothy, continue in the things he
had learned in childhood! and, like
Obadiah, fear the Lord from his
youth! How did they set a double
watch upon the actions of their
lives, lest a stumbling-block should
be cast in the way of my return to
God! and how earnestly and im-
portunately did they pray for.wisdom
to direct them to the right under-
standing, and the conscientious dis-
charge, of parental duties; and for
Divine grace to crown their labors
with success! And, when all these
labors and prayers, hopes and fears,


93






94 MY FATHER'S GOD.
appeared to have been thrown away,
how did they return again to the one
great and engrossing desire of their
hearts; "hope against hope;" pour
out their souls afresh in parental
agony at the mercy seat of their
God, wrestling, like Jacob with the
angel of the covenant, and exclaim-
ing, We will not let Thee go except
thou bless us!
And still that son went on in sin:
took one step after another in the
road to hell; made light of every
warning; put off every remon-
strance; stifled every conviction;
and, at length, determinately reject-
ed God! And yet there were times,
in the early stages especially, of this
mad course, in which the remem-
brance of pious parental solicitude
embittered even the momentary en-







MY FATHER'S GOD.


joyment of worldly pleasure. I
could not sin as others appeared to
do, without restraint.* I had to
wrestle with' conscience, and to ex-

0 "Where parental influence does not convert, it
hampers, it hangs -on the wheels of evil. I had a
pious mother, who dropped things in my way; I could
never rid myself of them. I was a professed infidel:
but then I liked to be an infidel in company rather
than when alone. I was wretched when by myself.
These principles and maxims spoiled my pleasure.
With my companions I would sometimes stifle them;
like embers, we kept one another warm. Besides, I
was a sort of hero; I had beguiled several of my as-
sociates into my own opinions, and I had to maintain
a character before them: but I could not divest my-
self of my better principles. I went with one of my
companions to see a play, called 'the Minor;' he
could laugh heartily, but I could not: the ridicule on
regeneration was high sport to him; to me it was
none: it could not move my features. He knew no
difference between regeneration and transubstantia-
tion; I did. I knew there was such a thing. I was
afraid and ashamed to laugh at it. Parental influ-
ence thus cleaves to a man; it harasses him; it
throws itself constantly in his way."-REV. RICHARD
CECIL.


95






MY FATHER'S GOD.


perience the truth of the Divine de-
claration :-" There is no peace-to
the wicked." Thus far, at least,
early instruction brought forth its
fruit; and a faint foretaste of that
"savor of death unto death," which
the gospel will be to all who willfully
reject it, was mingled with my cup
of worldly pleasure.
But to return to my parent's trial,
-who can sound its depths, or cal-
culate its poignancy? Who but a
Christian parent can intermeddle
with this knowledge, or can appre-
ciate the feelings which dictated
such expressions as these? "Your
old acquaintance is dead. He
was taken away suddenly, and left
behind him no consoling testimony
of an interest in Christ. O, my
dear son, what agony must there be






MY FATHER'S GOD.


in such a reflection to the heart of a
parent! For myself, I look forward
with dismay to the future. I think
of the judgment day. I picture to
myself you-you, over whom I
have yearned and prayed from the
day of your birth until now; whom
I love with an intensity of affection
which cannot be described; I think
of you as standing on the left hand
of my blessed Saviour, and myself
compelled to witness against you,
and to acquiesce in the awful sen-
tence to be pronounced; 'Depart,
ye cursed, into everlasting fire, pre-
pared for the devil and his angels.'
My heart bleeds when I think of it.
I seem to lose the consolation of a
well-grounded hope of immortality
and eternal life for myself I think
-I wonder how I shall be able to
7


97







MY FATHER'S GOD.


enter heaven, and mingle with the
redeemed before the eternal throne,
and you shut out! I could almost
wish myself accursed from Christ
for you."t ; "My loss

"f Lest it should be said that this statement is too
strong to have been uttered by a Christian parent, I
here add an anecdote I have lately met with:-' Some
years since, a minister was preaching on the joys of
that heavenly inheritance which is the portion of all
the saints of God. Among his hearers sat a venera-
ble pair of aged pilgrims, just about to set their feet
on the threshold of their celestial home; and their
son, a thoughtless, dissipated youth, the grief of their
aged hearts, on whom all their pious efforts seemed
to have been thrown away. As the preacher expa-
tiated on the glories and felicities of the heavenly
world--" Ah," thought the youth, "this will just suit
my parents." He looked to them, expecting to see
on their countenances the expressions of.rapture and
delight, but, to his great astonishment, they were
both bathed in tears. At the close of the service,
when they returned home, a remarkable expression
of pensiveness and dejection sat on the countenance
of each parent, which the youth knew not how to ac-
count for. At length, addressing his mother, he said,


98







MY FATHER'S GOD.


in that affair" (some business en-
gagement) "is greater than I could
wish, and will cramp me for a time;
but it is all right. All right! Ah,
but is it all right with you? Losses!
why, if everything I possess were
gone, I should still have Christ; and
thus, having nothing, I should still
possess all things. But you have
not Christ! O, if by giving up every
worldly possession, every present

"How is it, mother, that you appear so gloomy?
You always told me that religion made people happy.
Now, though you have been hearing so much about
the joys in heaven, both you and my father appear
quite miserable and melancholy." "True, my dear
child," replied the mother, the hope of heaven is in-
deed enough to make us happy; but-the thought of
missing you there-it is this which makes us melan-
choly."
"'The youth,' continues the narrative,' retired to
weep-to pray; and, soon after, he could say, The
Lord is my strength and song; and he is become my
salvation.' "


99






1MY FATHER'S GOD.


comfort of this life, I could but se-
cure your interest in the Redeemer,
how joyfully would I part with all,
and how much happier would be
my future days than have been my
past. But-" * "I was
from home last Sabbath. On my
return, I was told that Mr. G.
preached from that text; 'And the
king was much moved, and went
up to the chamber over the gate,
and wept: and as he went, thus he
said, O my son Absalom! my son,
my son Absalom! would God I had
died for thee, 0 Absalom, my son,
my son!' 2 Sam. xviii, 33. I am
almost glad I was not present. I
think I could not have bore it.
My heart would have been over-
charged with sympathy for the once
mourning, but now gl6rified parent.


100






MY FATHER'S GOD.


My thoughts would have been fixed
on you. O my son, when will you
gladden your parents' hearts, and
comfort them for their sorrow, by
giving your heart to God? Never?
Then will they never cease to mourn
for you, to plead for you, nor even
to hope for you, till their days of
mourning are ended."
Thus, whether present or absent
from the object of their solicitude,
did this one trial perpetually and
heavily bear upon my pious parents.
It was the worm at the root of their
gourd of human felicity. And yet,
there were times when hope gained
the ascendancy. They had strong
confidence, in their God. They
knew that he was able to save to
the uttermost; and they would not
despair. Nor could the unbelief of


101




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