• TABLE OF CONTENTS
HIDE
 Front Cover
 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
 Back Cover






Group Title: My father's God : a testimony for religion, addressed especially to the children of pious parents.
Title: My father's God
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Permanent Link: http://ufdc.ufl.edu/UF00020323/00001
 Material Information
Title: My father's God a testimony for religion, addressed especially to the children of pious parents
Physical Description: 108 p. : ill. ; 15 cm.
Language: English
Creator: Massachusetts Sabbath School Society ( Publisher )
Publisher: Massachusetts Sabbath School Society
Place of Publication: Boston
Publication Date: 1852
Edition: 1st American ed.
 Subjects
Subject: Christian life -- Juvenile literature   ( lcsh )
Salvation -- Juvenile literature   ( lcsh )
Bldn -- 1852
Genre: non-fiction   ( marcgt )
Spatial Coverage: United States -- Massachusetts -- Boston
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Funding: Brittle Books Program
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Bibliographic ID: UF00020323
Volume ID: VID00001
Source Institution: University of Florida
Rights Management: All rights reserved by the source institution and holding location.
Resource Identifier: aleph - 002234744
oclc - 14709157
notis - ALH5180

Table of Contents
    Front Cover
        Page 1
    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
    Alienation from my father's God
        Page 17
        Page 18
        Page 19
        Page 20
        Page 21
        Page 22
        Page 23
        Page 24
        Page 25
        Page 26
    The forbearance and mercy of God
        Page 27
        Page 28
        Page 29
        Page 30
        Page 31
        Page 32
        Page 33
        Page 34
        Page 35
        Page 36
        Page 37
    Hardened rebellion against God
        Page 38
        Page 39
        Page 40
        Page 41
        Page 42
        Page 43
        Page 44
        Page 45
        Page 46
        Page 47
        Page 48
    Increased indifference to God
        Page 49
        Page 50
        Page 51
        Page 52
        Page 53
        Page 54
        Page 55
        Page 56
    Determined rejection of God
        Page 57
        Page 58
        Page 59
        Page 60
        Page 61
        Page 62
        Page 63
        Page 64
    My father's trials of faith, and triumph in his God
        Page 65
        Page 66
        Page 67
        Page 68
        Page 69
        Page 70
        Page 71
        Page 72
        Page 73
        Page 74
        Page 75
        Page 76
        Page 77
        Page 78
        Page 79
        Page 80
        Page 81
        Page 82
        Page 83
        Page 84
    Conditions contrasted
        Page 85
        Page 86
        Page 87
        Page 88
        Page 89
        Page 90
        Page 91
        Page 92
        Page 93
        Page 94
        Page 95
    Appeal
        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
    Back Cover
        Page 109
Full Text

























































1BRONTISPIECE.


y ---~


~ Y







MY FATHER'S GOD:


A


TESTIMONY FOR


RELIGION,


ADDRESSED ESPECIALLY TO THE CHILDREN
OF PIOUS PARENTS.



'"Th Lord b my immogth and mg, and hle bocle my lvdt b kMr,
and I wil pepe him an habiio; My fil Ar's God, ed I wEl ;;.i-
Exodus 5: .


First American from the London Edition.
the Committee of Publicatio.


41j-rIll


BOSTON:
MASSACHUSETTS SABBATH SCHOOL SOCIETY,
Depository, No. 13 Cornhill.
1852.












CONTENTS.




SECTION I.
PAIE
My father's God .

SECTION II.
Alienation from my father's God .. 17

SECTION III.
The forbearance and mercy of God 7

SECTION IV.
Hardened rebellion against God . 8a

SECTION V.
Increased indifference to God ... 49

SECTION VI.
Determined rejection of God . 56

SECTION VII.
My father's trials of faith, and triumph in his God 65

SECTION VIII.
Conditions contrasted. 85

SECTION IX.
Appeal 96
1*












MY FATHER'S GOD.




SECTION I.



MY FATHER'S GOD.

"My fathas God, and I will exalt him." EXOD. 15 : 2.

MY father was a Christian; my mother
was also' a Christian; and having God for
their father, they had a good hope, a
blessed hope. With me the case was
widely different. Through many of the
first and best years of my life, I lived with-
out Christ, without hope, without God
in the world. The condition in which I







8 MY FATHER'S GOD.

then was, the reproaches of conscience I
then stifled, the gradual insensibility which
then grew upon me, the course I then pur-
sued, are types of the character and con-
duct of many who forsake the God of their
fathers, and turn to the unsatisfying pleas-
ures of the world. To such persons these
pages are affectionately addressed. In
attempting a few slight and imperfect
sketches of a Christian father, and an ex-
altation of the Christian father's God; in
comparing the godly parent with the un-
godly child, in point of character, present
position and future prospect, the writer
earnestly desires to strike a chord hat 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. 6 : 16.
The retrospect to which the writer turns
is painful, inasmuch as it brings to remem-
brance many scenes of parental sorrow,
arising from the practical infidelity, the too






MY FATHER'S (GOD.


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 devout gratitude,
from the conviction that, to those parents,
the days of mourning are ended; that sor-
row and sighing have fled away; that their
Saviour has wiped away their tears; that
they are for ever with their God : while the
'once unconverted and unconcerned child,
the "alien from the commonwealth of Isra-
el," and the stranger from the covenant
of promise," can now say, The Lord is
my strength and my 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."
My "childhood and youth" were "van-
ity;" chequered, however, with strong im-
pressions 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






10 MY FATHER'S GOD.

God should also be mine. The first rudi-
ments 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 resurrection, his
Divinity and his humanity, his glorious
design, his unexampled love, were stored
up in my mind. 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 irrevoca-
bly fixed at death; that heaven and hell
were 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 be-
loved 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.





MY FATHER'B. GOD. 11

These were some of the main articles in
the creed of my childhood. They were
mingled with much that was childish, and
obscured by much that was mysterious;
but they were held in full confidence of
their truth, and they produced some effect
upon the thoughts of my mind and the ac-
tions of my life. I could not do wrong
without feeling keenly sensible of sin. I
endeavored, at times, to think of God as
my friend, and to please him by doing what
I had been told was acceptable in his sight.
When I had learned to read, the Bible
was put into my hands; and before child-
hood had passed into youth, much of its
contents was familiar to my mind. As I
grew in knowledge, many of my previous
misconceptions vanished, the great truths
of the gospel 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 Abrdham,
Isaac, and Jacob; the God of all the fami-
lies of the earth; but more especially the







12 MY FATHER'S GOD.

God and friend of every true believer in
Christ.
Other books, besides the Bible, were
given me to read; and I read them with in-
terest. They were not exclusively religious
books; but some of them were. These
were often wet with the tears of childhood.
I read in them of children who had lived
holily and died happily in the faith of the
Bible; and many searching of heart did I
experience, as to the dissimilarity of my
character to theirs. I found myself want-
ing. My conscience, then tender and active,
told me that I had no special interest in
my parent'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 heaven, 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 sinned, an
intolerable burden pressed upon my mind.
Amusements could not shake it off. More
than once my sadness was so apparent as to






MY FATHER'S oGD. 18

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, if
that period might not have been with me 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 be-
came less severe, and when felt, their out-
ward 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 that He was always
watching me. The feeling of my young






14 MY FATHER'S GOD.

heart was, "Depart from me; for I desire
not the knowledge of thy ways Job 21: 14.
Other, and more healthful, thoughts
however, now and then presented them-
selves; and, though not cherished, were
tolerated for the time. My mother's ac-
tive 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 uprightness
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, in his devoted-
ness of heart, and what I even then saw to
be sacrifices of worldly advantage and
ease for the sake of his Saviour: these com-
mended themselves to my better feelings.
They were happy in their God: I knew it.
.I was 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






MY FATHER GOD. 15

be godly some day," I in effect concluded;
but just now I must walk in the ways of
mine heart and in the sight of mine eyes."
Amidst all these struggles, one predomi-
nant source of congratulation 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 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 consecration of life to my fath-
er's God, my mind never wavered from this






It MY FATHER'S GOD.

settled point;-My parents have chosen the
better part which will 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." Numb. 23: 10.






MY FATHER'S GOD. 17





SECTION 1I.



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 readily understand that,
in the preceding sketch of childhood, the
writer has referred more to the sins of his
heart, the predominating feelings of disobe-
dience to God, than to much outward and
manifestly vicious conduct. From such
conduct he was in a great measure pre-
served 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 really formed






18 MY FATHER'S GOD.

no part of his character, it is not improba-
ble that better things were hoped of the
child than were warranted by the state of
his heart, could that have been made man-
ifest 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 persuaded, deepened, in my
parents' minds, into a horror of great
darkness."
The gradual steps by which I became
estranged from God are not now easy to be
traced by memory. .While immediately
under the observation of pious parents, a
child may remain for years apparently un-
tainted by the prevailing vices of an ungod-
ly world, although his heart is more and
more going after vanity." "The inno-
cence 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."






MY FATHER'S UOD. 19

This was precisely the case with me. It
was when removed from this vigilance, and
placed, for education, in a public school,
that 1 began to shake off the restraints of a
home where God was acknowledged in the
daily concerns of life. But I cannot, in the
retrospect of this portion of the past, attach
the slightest degree of blame to parents who,
above all things, sought the eternal welfare
of a beloved son. They knew that wick-
edness may be learnt any where; that
" preparation for the world, the real, rough,
leveling world," was indispensably necessa-
ry to one who had to provide the means of
existence by a close contact 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 affectionately 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 dis-
appointed bright and glowing hopes, in






20 MY FATHER'B GOD.

those evil communications" which "cor-
rupt good manners:" but they also knew
that the principles of others had been con-
firmed, their characters established, 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. 4: 19. Their part-
ing 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 willing 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 for
ever." 1 Chron. 28: 9. And the predomi-
nating 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






MY FATHER'S GOD. 21

school, when I perceived that the habits of
religious observance to which I had been
accustomed at home subjected me to the ap-
pearance 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 principles. Long ere this I
had said in my childish heart to God, De-
part from me, for I desire not the knowl-
edge of thy ways." I now added to this
rebellious feeling, one that verged at least
on infidelity; What is the Almighty, that
we should serve him? and what profit
should 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 approach,
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 con-
science was troubled. Even now, the fig-






22 MY FATHER'S GOD.

ure of an aged friend of my father presents
itself to my recollection: and the tones of
his voice seem now to resound in my ears:
those tones in which he put the pointed
question, R- do you ever pray?
What could I say ? I dared not lie; but I
blushed to acknowledge the truth. By a
mean equivocation, the exposure of my
alienation was avoided; and I was even
praised for ingenuousness. 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
promised that those who seek him early
shall find him." I almost determined 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 be-
loved son, to behold wondrous things out
of His law; the 'Records of Youthful





MY FATHER'S GOD. 23

Piety,' bearing the written attestation, by
my mother's pen, that she had found the
ways of religion to be ways of pleasnnt-
ness, and all her paths to be peace; and
her earnest recommendation 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 reading was abandoned which
treated with seriousness the claims of God.
The Sabbath, which had hitherto been
outwardly honored by a cessation from
boyish avocations, and a constant attend-
ance at the house of prayer," began now
to be treated with neglect. As often as I
could, I obtained leave to visit a family in
which the day of rest was too generally
passed in laborious trifling.
But it was not alone, nor principally,
in outward actions that my alienation from
God consisted. The root of the evil was
in the heart, unseen by all, unknown to all,






24 MY FATHER'S GOD.

perhaps unsuspected by all, save Him who
searcheth the hearts of the children of men.
Impure thoughts and feelings were admitted
and nurtured there; and (the first few
blushes of boyish ignorance fading away)
received daily accessions of power, and in-
creased gratification, by the communica-
tions 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 appearance
are too often at variance; and while man
applauds, God frowns. 1 Sam. 16: 7. My
early religious training had so far benefited
me, that I could not yet abandon the ap-
pearence of virtue. Lying, indolence, nig-
gardliness, strife: all these I considered as
degrading, and every way unworthy of a
human being. This feeling saved me from
many transgressions and much disgrace;
but it told nothing of my position towards
the God of my lile.
Did I never think of my father's God at
this time? Yes, there were seasons when






MY FATHER'S GOD. 25

the unwelcome thought intruded, "I am
acting, speaking, thinking, in opposition to
his laws. I am not following the steps, nor
regarding the admonitions 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 comparison be-
tween their condition, their enjoyments,
their prospects, and my own. But the
thoughts were unwelcome. I knew my
own character. I was an alien. Enough!
there was time to return, and return I some
day would, to my father's God; but not
then.
I was without excuse. The companions
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 contaminated.
They were strong in the Lord, and in the
power of his might." They had counted
the cost; and resolutely refused to walk in
3






26 MY FATHER'S GOD.

"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 envel-
oped in gloom, clouded with dissatisfaction
and shame.






MY FATHER'S GOD. 27


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 under thy law."--eh. 9: 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, as it gives opportunity for re-
flection, and detaches the sufferer from the
immediate and active pursuit of the pleas-
ures of sin, while it manifests their insuf-
ficiency 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
completed. For a short space of time I
was, as I was afterwards told, so ill that






MY FATHER'S GOD.


life was despaired of; but the dangerous
crisis over, I suffered comparatively little.
Weeks, however, 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 distressing. I had a
strong belief that debilitated as I was, I
should recover. At the same time I felt
that there had been danger, and that I had
been. delivered. I knew who had pre-
served me, body and soul, from destruction;
and, to a certain extent, I felt grateful for
the interposition of that Almighty Power,
and inclined to devote my future life to His
praise. I reflected how foolish and unsatis-
factory my conduct had been, in childhood
and youth; how fruitless of happiness, how
fertile in the seeds of future misery! I
rejoiced 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






MY FATHER'S GOD. 29

messages of mercy sounded pleasantly in
my ears, as read to me, while I lay in help-
less 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 conversion 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 yet unsanctified
soul; but I fancied that my tendencies to
evil were weakening, and might soon be
subdued by watchfulness and prayer. The
Father 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 apply the blood of Christ to my
conscience. Christ, I knew, was exalte'l
as a Prince and a Saviour, to give repent-
ance and remission of sin'. What more,
then, was needed but a willingness to be






30 MY FATHER'S GOD.

saved and sanctified? I exulted for a
moment in the thought:-and there the
momentous affair ended.
Instead of going to Christ for repentance
and pardon, as I meant to have done on the
more full recovery from disease, I felt,
every day, greater repugnance to put his
mercy and his power to the test. I could
not forsake all and follow Christ.
Besides, I had something else to do.
Day by day, as my strength returned, my
companions who were permitted to visit me,
enlivened and excited me with congratula-
tions on my recovery, with recitals of events
that had taken place during my illness, and
anticipations of future proceedings. Grad-
ually my impressions 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 circumstan-
ces of the case, and the reflections to which
they gave rise, were of another character.
Excruciating pain of body in the first stage






MY FATHER'S GOD. 31

of disease made me indifferent to life, in
fact, almost desirous of death; while it en-
tirely prevented the exercise of continuous
thought on any subject. To have compelled
my attention at that time to the concerns of
salvation would have been physically im-
possible. I felt this, in all its force, as I
struggled and moaned with the agony that
gave me no rest, day nor night. Delirium
occasionally 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 occurred in the family
history. I had seen my father agonized
with pain, as I now was; and in a state of
apparent 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






82 MY FATHER'S GOD.

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 every thing should
depend upon it. But I can say with Paul,
'I know whom I have believed, 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, nowhere prom-
ised 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 com-
plaints of the Psalmist had been echoed in






MY FATHER'S GOD. 33

my groans, THOU hast laid affliction on
my loins. Day and night thy hand is
heavy upon me. My moisture is 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 envi-
roned 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 remembered that I
had been delivered, in times past, accord-
ing to his mercies; and been testified against,
that I might be brought again unto his law:
but I had dealt proudly, and not heark-
ened unto his commandments, but sinned
against his judgments (which, if a man do,






34 MY FATHER'S GOD.

he shall live in them); and withdrew the
shoulder, and hardened the neck, and would
not hear. Neh. 9: 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 deliberately chose the wrong. I
remembered 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 ma-
ternal love and paternal anxiety 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, be-
ing brought into it, why were not my
parents' prayers answered in my conversion






MY FATHER'S GOD. 35

when a child? Why was I suffered to
harden myself in sin? Why had not Di-
vine grace turned my feet, ere this, into
paths of righteousnessT' As health grad-
ally returned, these feelings strengthened
within me. I began to look upon God as
acting in an arbitrary manner. I tried to
make my heart stout against the day of
evil; and to consider the invitations and
promises of full and free salvation as mock-
ery on the part of One who had pre-deter-
mined the doom of every intelligent creature
he had formed. Thus I did my utmost to
wrest the Scriptures 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 boy-
hood, I was saved from being drawn with-






30 MY FATHER'S GOD.

in the whirl of a coach-wheel, between the
spokes of which, while turning at 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
discharge of fire-arms. These, and other
instances of providential preservation, pro-
duced but little feeling at the time, save a
momentary thrill of horror at the remem-
brance 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 con-
sciousness that, while I was thus preserved
in mercy, many of the companions of my
youth had been cut off, some by slow dis-
ease, 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






MY FATHER'S GOD. 87

God, and mine:-" I will praise thee, O
Lord my God, with all my heart: and I
will glorify thy name fr 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 com-
passion, and gracious, long-suffering, and
plenteous in mercy and truth." Psa. 86:
12, 13, 15.






38 MY FATHERS GOD.




SECTION IV.




HARDENED REBELLION AGAINST GOD.

He addeth rebellion unto his sin." Job 34: 37.

THE later illness of which I have spoken,
was, in some measure, productive 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 illness, on
the subject of religion. But my corrupt
nature still maintained its ascendency over
thought and action; and pride of heart was
encouraged, and grew luxuriantly. Far,
very far, from humbly and penitently seek-
ing God, and imploring his aid in the con-
test with the world, the flesh, and the
devil," which 1 intended to commence far,






MY FATHER'S JUD. 39

very far, from throwing myself on the
righteousness of Christ, his sacrifice, his
love, and his promises, for salvation from
guilt, past, present, and to come; it was my
mad object to turn against the blessed and
gracious Jehovah, as though He were the
cause of my guilt and degradation. In-
stead of embracing the truth, in the love of
it; that most glorious truth, that God was
in Christ, reconciling 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 jus-
tify myself by pleading the determinate
counsel of God, his hidden decrees, his
sovereign power over all hearts, and his
electing love. He has chosen," was my
proud reflection, "to elect some, to repro-
bate others; he will have mercy on whom
he will have mercy; and whom he will, he
hardeneth; to what purpose, then, should I
seek his salvation, when, perhaps, he has
determined not to save me; or why seek
that salvation, seeing that it must be






40 MY FATHER'S GOD.

bestowed if my name is written in his
book of life?" Thus, pleased with the
idea that I had satisfactorily accounted
for my past indifference to the claims
of God, and thrown back upon him the
weight of my past transgressions, since
he might have stayed me in my career of
ungodliness if he would, I eventually hard-
ened 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 mediatorial charac-
ter, 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, is 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 my soul. But let me glance at the
result.






MY FATHER'S GOD. 41

Sin began to appear a small matter. 1
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 reference 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 attended 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 1 read the
Bible, it was to strengthen my own 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 acknowledged the Lord Jeho-
41*






42 MY FATHER'S GOD.

vah 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 sentiments from the terror of the
Lord," judge whether it be the truth as con-
cerning himself. I loved sin; it was my
idol, and after it I would go. The checks
interposed, by the mercy of 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 attempt!-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, de-
termined malice 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






MY FATHER'S GOD. 43

weaving, and boasting of my pretended
success in my unhallowed controversy with
God. I knew that my position was really
untenable, that my refuge was a refuge of
lies, which, when God should lay judgment
to the line, and righteousness to the plum-
met, would be swept away. But this might
be a remote contingency; and, meanwhile,
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 rebellious soul of every one
who reads-I knew it. This barrier was
the love and practice of sin.
Fond of my wretched sophistry, how-
ever, 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 an-






44 MY FATIIER'S GOD.

ticipations of pleasures yet in store, con-
tained 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 re-
turned, with weeping and supplication, to
seek for pardon, holiness, and eternal life,
at the overflowing fountain of a Saviour's
love. Having found what lie sought,
he was anxious that I, too, should ob-
tain the same mercy. To his kind ex-
postulations I opposed the crude opinions
which I had determined 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 friend-
ship? My heart's desire and prayer to God
for you is, that you may be more intimately
acquainted with Him; but recollect, dear






MY FATHER'S GOD. 45

R- that religion is a personal thing.
You must pray yourself; you yourself must
seek, or you will never obtain, that peace
which passes understanding. Do not cavil
at the Scriptures, my dear friend, but read
them with a humble, teachable mind, first
asking the direction and assistance of the
Holy Spirit of God, and then, I am per-
suaded, your doubts and difficulties will
disappear. ** *
Perhaps you will be surprised when
I tell you that I have experienced such a
state of mind as that which appears to ha-
rass 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 gra-
cious and impressive manner. I sat down,
one evening, with the express intention of
writing against the Bible. I opened it at
hazard; and this sentence met my eyes-
'Nay but, O man, who art thou that repli-
est against God ?' The words struck as a






46 MY FATHER'S GOD.

dagger to my soul, and I saw how, by
speaking against God, I was fearfully in-
creasing my guilt. By his grace I sought his
pardon, who is ready to forgive, and plen-
teous 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, excluded from salva-
tion, to consider how you lessen the char-
acter of the Deity. Is he not almighty to
save? Are not his invitations full enough,
and free enough to meet your case ? 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," lie wrote, on another occa-
sion, "again to draw your attention to a





MY FATHER'S GOD. 47

subject of most urgent importance. 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 you sought
for mercy at the throne of grace ? Do you
desire to be interested in the promises of the
gospel 1 If you do, why perplex yourself
about whether or not you are elected to
everlasting life? Flee, 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 are weary and heavy laden.'
Now, do 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





48 MY FATHER'S GOD.

weary of it. It was easy to rail at the doc-
trines of the gospel, to distort them, to pro-
fess 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 con-
science; and the future letters of my friend
remained unanswered.






MY FATHER'S GOD. 49


SECTION V.



INCREASED INDIFFERENCE TO GOD.

"Ye said also, Behold, what a weariness is it." Mal. 1: 18.

MANHOOD succeeded to youth; and emanci-
pated from a home in which God was
acknowledged, and where a decent regard,
at least, to the external observances of re-
ligion was required, I advanced onward in
my course. I became more than ever in-
different to God. It was bad when my
thoughts of him were rebellious; 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 lethargy, which was stealing over
my soul, banished all reflection, and plunged
me with avidity into those pleasures of sin





50 MY FATHER'S GOD.

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 required much of it.
I had to jostle in the crowd, and to take my
standing with others on the stage of indus-
try. I believe I was neither unable nor
unwilling to exert myself in the matter.
My secular education had prepared me for
it; and, in addition to this, the effects of
moral training had not been altogether lost
upon me. In this respect I had an advan-
tage 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 obedience to
their authority. It certainly was so with
me. I despised the crooked ways of many
with whom I came into contact; their dis-
ingenuousness and professional hypocrisy;
their unrighteousness towards men; and





MY FATHER'S GOD. 51

their absorption of every noble and gene-
rous sentiment in the two great objects of
the world-riches and renown. By such
examples as these I determined not to be
guided. Uprightness and integrity shall
preserve me," was my fixed resolution.
Alas! I stopped there. I would not turn
that proud aspiration into humble prayer,
and, after the example of David, add,
"for I wait on THEE," Psa. 25: 21; or
say, "The Lord is my father's God, and I
will exalt him."
How many are there, who, proudly
averse from the religion of the Bible, are
yet in some measure insensibly guided by
it in their outward transactions as between
man and man! Let them treat with scorn
as they may the assertion, it is an asser-
tion founded on undoubted fact, that to the
gospel which they despise, they owe their
superiority in character over the ignorant
and sensual worldly-minded.
Young man! you have rejected the gos-
pel; you pour contempt upon, or treat with
indifference, your father's piety, your fa-





52 MY FATHER'S GOD.

their's God; you turn away from Him
that speaketh from heaven:" but, in how
many instances 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 preju-
dices these, that do so much for you against
your will! But if the merely incidental
advantages of Christianity be so great,
what glorious privileges must be annexed
to its real possession What may not be
expected from its positive and legitimate
influence! 0 taste and see that the Lord
is good: blessed is the man that trusteth in
him." Psa. 34: 8.
But if business had my chief attention,
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






MY FATHER'S GOD. 53

regarded not God. I walked in the counsel
of the ungodly, and stood in the way of
sinners. I sought amusement. My never-
ceasing inquiry was, Who will show me
any good any new way in which to excite
a momentary 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 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 sun-
beams, a broad sheet of cool and transpa-
rent water; so did I see, in future scenes
which imagination presented to my mind,
that full happiness for which I longed.
In breathless haste I pressed onward to em-
brace the phantom; but it eluded my grasp.
Like the same traveler in reaching the
borders of his imaginary river, I found that
dryness and barrenness marked the spot.






MY FATHER'S GOD.


Apart from God, the giver of every good
and perfect gift, there is, there can be, no
happiness.
And to God-his character, his govern-
ment, and his love-I had become altogether
indifferent. The former speculative opin-
ions I had held, or professed to hold, had
wearied me to no purpose. Repose was
necessary; and unhappily I chose the re-
pose of soul-slumber, in preference to that
of humble and entire dependence upon
Christ. Conscience 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 companions 1 had chosen,
were some who were startled at the impet-
uosity with which I rushed into the dissi-
pations to which they had first introduced
me. Men of worldly prudence looked
gravely upon the course I pursued. They
had learned to vail their indifference to God
under a decent regard to appearances.
They looked upon me with suspicion; but
it mattered not. If I could not be happy,





MY FATHER'S GOD. 55

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-persever-
ing, plodding, and honorable. In dissipation
-wild and insatiable. By day-the associ-
ate 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 de-
based of the world. But the warnings and
invitations were alike unheeded. I chose
a middle course. I would be, at the same
time, industrious 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 dissipation 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 eventu-
ally perish. Health was giving way; mor-






56 MY FATHER'S GOD.

bid feelings had begun to take the place of
unbridled hilarity; and careless indifference
to the opinions of the world began to be
added to my indifference to God, and ren-
dering me negligent in the affairs of life,
when an unexpected stroke of providence
hurried me to my father's house, to witness
the power of religion under circumstances
of the deepest gloom.






MY FATHER'S GOD. 57


SECTION VI.



DETERMINED REJECTION OF GOD.
"Ye have rejected your God, who saved you." 1 Sam. 10: 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. ]ly 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 mother, suffering the
prolonged agonies of a most painful and






58 MY FATHER'S GOD.

hopeless disease. I heard her half-suppressed
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 ex-
press. I had held her trembling 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 affliction, a
crisis arrived in my father'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 ex-
quisitely painful. It was the result of





MY FATHER'S GOD. 59

unbounded confidence in one who like him-
self was a professor of religion. In addition
to this, my father had to bear the reproaches,
not only of the ungodly, who exulted in the
suspicions which were lavishly cast upon
his character, 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 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 almost to
frenzy: I wickedly accused God, as the
author of all this confusion and evil. In
this mood-after a sorrowful farewell taken
of my mother's grave, and some hasty
arrangements made for my father's future
subsistence-I returned to the business of
life.






60 MY FATHER'S GOD.

Thenceforward my rebellion against God
was turned into another channel. I had no
longer the heart to return to scenes of
frivolity and dissipation. I Lad tried
worldly pleasures, and had found them
unable to give happiness in times of com-
parative prosperity; and I judged them
unworthy of being tested in their power to
give ease and peace of mind under ad-
versity. Moreover, it was necessary to
choose between the expensive pleasures of
sin, and the future comfort of a bereaved
parent. I decided for the latter. I deter-
mined to live frugally, and to labor indus-
triously, seeing that, more than ever, my
own well-being in the world depended on
the course I should pursue.
Had the love of sin, then, departed ? Was
my heart changed? No. There was the
same evil heart of unbelief; the same
hatred to holiness; the same tendency to
evil, only that it was to be exhibited under
a new form,-a new and more virulent
one.





MY FATHER'S GOD. 61

My evenings and Sabbaths were now-
for a time, at least-spent in solitude.
Former haunts were abandoned, and former
companions discountenanced till they for-
bore to press upon my retirement. I felt a
stern, morose pleasure in this abandonment.
"The unprincipled selfish crew," I ex-
claimed; "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 had 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 was
determined to arraign Him at the bar-my
bar; to test his word by the rules of, what
I called, common sense.
I began. My first thoughts were, natur-
ally enough, directed to the mournful
scenes which I had recently witnessed; and
the temporal reverses that, indirectly, at
least, had cast a gloom over my own pros-
pects. I entered into the consideration with
6





62 MY FATHER'S GOD.

a proud, untamed heart; and it can be no
matter of surprise that my inquiries con-
ducted me to a determinate rejection of
God.
I did not carry on the controversy un-
aided. I surrounded myself with books.
Infidel writings were sought with some-
thing approaching to anxious solicitude. I
longed to be convinced that there is no
God;" or that, if there be, it is one who
does not busy himself about human affairs
and human guilt. I burned in my mind to
be dispossessed of the remaining scruples,
weak and inoperative as they had become,
of a religious education. I earnestly desired
to prove the Scriptures to be cunningly
devised fables.
But, though willing to be instructed 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
fancied to myself how easily a Christian
might meet this statement, overturn that





MY FATHER'S GOD. 63

argument, and demolish the whole fabric of
disbelief. "No," I said; "if I reject the
gospel, it shall be on more substantial
grounds than these. I will not be led
blindfold by any apostle of infidelity. I must
be convinced before I am converted."
After a time I mingled more in society.
Scepticism was the prevailing 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 Voltaire and Paine: 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 persuasion was
present with me. In truth, I was like a
wave of the sea, driven of the wind and
tossed." At times, 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





64 MY FATHER'S GOD.

general, enmity against religion was the
element in which I lived; and, at all haz-
'rJs, I determined to reject alike the laws
and the grace of my father's God.






MY FATHER'S UOD. (O





SECTION VII.




MY FATHER'S TRIALS OF FAITH,
AND TRIUMPH IN HIS GOD.

Where is thy God ? "-Psa. 42: 3.
"Although the fig tree shall not blossom, neither shall
fruit be in the vines; the labor 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."
-Habak. 3: 17, 18.

IN the preceding pages I have incidentally
glanced at the general influence 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
miconverted child, it is needflul to state
more particularly the visible results of
heart-sanctification. To do this, I must






66 MY FATHER'S GOD.

return, for a brief space, to the days of
childhood and youth.
If prosperity is a trial to a Christian's
faith-and what Christian will deny this?
-my parents were tried Christians at a
very early period in their domestic history,
for they prospered in the world. Easy com-
petence, 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," said my father,
on one occasion; and this expression was
not a hasty ebullition of momentary feeling:
it was the effect of an operative principle.
While, therefore, contentment and cheerful-
ness were those remarkable 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






MY FATEER'S GOD. 67

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 believe,
was seldom absent from their thoughts.
And in close connection with grateful feel-
ings, was apprehension, not of future re-
verses, 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 felt
how needful was the prayer, "Preserve
me, 0 God; for in thee do I put my trust;"
and how desirable the self-communing, "0
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 ex-
cellent, in whom is all my delight." On
this principle they habitually acted; and
acting upon it, the streams of prosperity
were turned into many a beneficial chan-
nel. They were eyes to the blind, and feet
to the lame. The blessing of them that
were ready to perish came upon them.) and






68 MY FATHER'S GOD.

they caused the widow's heart to sing for
joy.
Thus far, then, the trial of my parents'
faith in their God redounded to his glory,
and to the triumph 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 communi-
cate; laying up in store for themselves a
good foundation against the time to come,
that they might lay hold on eternal life,
Prov. 30: 9; 1 Tim. 6: 17-19. Never-
theless, I dare not say that the contaminat-
ing influence of worldly prosperity was not
insensibly experienced where leastsuspected.
Where there is no sclf-indulgent abuse of
the bounties of Providence, there may be
too much anxious carefulness. Where in-
fluence and responsibility are felt, there is
danger of exercising undue authority. An
uninterrupted course of prosperity leads
too often to an uncharitable judgment con-
cerning those whom God visits with ad-





MY FATHER'S GOD. 69

versity. And there is great danger of
being too well satisfied 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 per-
suasions, while looking back through the
past, and viewing 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 Christ-
ians' lives. Behold, we count them
happy who endure." "Whom the Lord
oveth, he chasteneth, and scourgeth every
son whom he receiveth." "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 measure, there was given
a thorn in the flesh, a messenger of Satan,
to buffet them. James 5: 11; Heb. 12: 6;
Deut. 32: 11; 2 Cor. 12: 7.
Rivers of waters run down mine eyes,





70 MY FATHER'S GOD.

because they keep not thy law," was the
exclamation of the Psalmist; anid, in some
measure, at least, every benevolent and
pious mind experiences thle ftecling which
gave rise to it. Among the trials of their
faith, I doubt whether any were more con-
tinually felt by my parents than the in-
sensibility of men in general to the claims
and commands of their God. The worldly
affairs of my father, especially, placed him
in daily contact with the ungodly, and
demanded his cooperation with them in
the business of life. That he faithfully
reproved their vices, firmly refused to
countenance their guilt, and affectionately
warned them to flee from the wrath to
come, may 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 lie had beheld;
and for the glory of God, whose counsels






MY FATHER'S GOD. 71

they set at nought, and whose love they
despised. But if the despondency of his
soul found occasional utterance 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
himself, 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 un-
dergo the severest trial that a Christian can
know, in the gradual but decided estrange-
ment of their child from God. Was it to
teach them their own insufficiency, to im-
press upon them more forcibly the solemn
truth of man's utter degeneracy, that that
child was permitted to despise his father's
commandment, and to forsake the law of
his mother ? Oh, how often did that gentle
mother, in tones of anxious solicitude and
enduring affliction, set before me the evil





72 MY FATHER'S GOD.

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 buddings
of unhallowed passions which 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 importunately did
they pray for wisdom to direct them to






MY FATHER'S GOD. 73

the right understanding, and the conscien-
tious discharge, of parental duties; and for
Divine grace to crown their labors with
success! And, when all these labors and
prayers, hopes and fears, appeared to have
been thrown away, how did they return
again to the one great and engrossing de-
sire 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 exclaiming, 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
remonstrance; stifled every conviction;
and, at length, determinately rejected God!
And yet there were times, in the early
stages especially, of this mad course, in
which the remembrance of pious parental
solicitude embittered even the momentary
enjoyment of worldly pleasure. I could
not sin as others appeared to do, without






74 MY FATHER'S GOD.

restraint.* I had to wrestle with con-
science, and to experience the truth of the
Divine declaration:-" 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.

"Where parental influence does not convert, it ham-
pers, it hangs on the wheels of evil. I had a pious mother,
who dropped things in my way; I qould 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 some-
times stifle them; like embers, we kept one another warm.
Besides, I was a sort of hero; I had beguiled several of my
associates into my own opinions, and I had to maintain a
character before them: but I could not divest myself 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 transub-
stantiation I did. I knew there was such a thing. I was
afraid and ashamed to laugh at it. Parental influence thus
cleaves to a man; it harasses him; it throws itself con-
stantly in his way."-REV. RICHARD CECIL.






MY FATHER'S GOD. 75

But to return to my parent's trial,-who
can sound its depths, or calculate its poig-
nancy'? Who but a Christian parent can
intermeddle with this knowledge, or can
appreciate the feelings which dictated
such expressions as these?~ "Your old ac-
quaintance -- is dead. He was taken
away suddenly, and left behind him no
consoling testimony of an interest in Christ.
O, my dear on, what agony must there be
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 de-
scribed; 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 sentence to be pro-
nounced; Depart, ye cursed, into ever-
lasting fire, prepared for the devil and his
angels.'-My heart bleeds when I think of
it. I seem to lose the consolation of a






76 MY FATHER'S GOD.

well-grounded hope of immortality and
eternal life for myself. I think-I wonder
hovl I shall be able to 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."* "My loss in

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 in-
heritance which is the portion of all the saints of God.
Among his hearers sat a venerable 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
expatiated 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 gre:t 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 countenai.ce of each parent, which the youth knew not
how to account for. At length, addressing his mother, he
said, 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






MY FATHER'S GOD. 77

that affair" (some business engagement)
"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 1
Losses! why, if every thing I possess
were gone, I should still have Christ; and
thus, having nothing, I should still possess
all things. But you have not Christ! Oh,
if by giving up every worldly possession,
every present comfort of this life, I could
but secure 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-" *
V "I was from home last Sab-
bath. 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, aad wept: and as

melancholy.' 'True, my dear child,' replied the mother,
' the hope of heaven is indeed enough to make us happy;
but-the thought of 'missing you there-it is this which
makes us melancholy.'"
The youth, continues the narrative, retired to weep-to
pray; and, from that evening, he could say, The Lord is
my strength and song; and he is become my salvation."
7*






78 MY FATHER'S GOD.

he went, thus he said, 0, my son Absalom,
my son, my son Absalom! would God I
had died for thee, O Absalom, my son, my
son!' 2 Sam. 18: 33. I am almost glad
I was not present. I think 1 could not
have borne it. My heart would have been
overcharged wilh sympathy for the once
mourning, but now glorified parent. 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
ascendency. They had strong confidence
in their God. They knew that he was
able to save to the uttermost; and they






MY FATHER'S GOD. 79

would not despair. Nor could the unbe-
lief of the son at all times cast an entire
gloom over the prospects of the parent.
Amidst many sharp conflicts and strong
temptations, they were enabled to address
their God in the language of a tried and
tempted parent of former days; "The Lord
liveth; and blessed be my rock; and ex-
alted be the God of the rock of my salva-
tion. Although my house be not so with
God; yet he hath made with me an ever-
lasting covenant, ordered in all things and
sure: for this is all my salvation, and all
my desire, although he make it not to
grow."
Let me linger for a moment over the
remembrance of a mother's dying bed.
One scene shall suffice. It was evening,
a summer's evening, and the gleams of a
setting sun lighted up the chamber with
unwonted brilliancy; for the curtains were
drawn back, and the windows thrown open
to cool the chamber, and revive the almost
fainting sufferer. It had been a day of
great agony; but the pain, for a short time.





80 MY FATHER'S GOD.

was lessened; though the countenance of
the afflicted Christian yet indicated that the
ease for which she expressed such fervent
gratitude was but comparative and transi-
tory.
This has been a very happy day to
me," said the godly mother, in a tremulous
whisper.
Happy! dear mother, with all your
pain and weakness ? "
Yes, happy. I have been thinking of
those words of the apostle-in the 12th of
Hebrews. Will you read part of that chap-
ter to me ?"
At such a time and in such a place I
felt how incongruous it was for my tongue
to repeat the words of Divine inspiration.
Unwillingly, therefore, I opened the Bible
which lay on the dressing-table, and read.
Stop there," she said, as I concluded
the tenth verse; that is it:-' that we
might be partakers of his holiness.' Par-
takers of his holiness," she repeated; what
an extraordinary declaration that is, R.
But it is true; I know it. I feel it. All
this pain is for my profit. Ohl, what a kind





MY FATHER'S GOD. 81

and gracious God! and 'this God is my God
forever and ever; and he will be my guide
even unto death.':"
"You do not, then, fear to die?"
"No, no; I do not. 'Though I walk
through the valley of the shadow of death,
I will fear no evil;' for HE will be with me.
No, R.; I do not fear to die: but, to be
made a partaker of his holiness; that is
what I want; and that is why I suffer now.
Oh, I would not escape one of my pains if I
might. Father, not my will, but thine be
done! only make me a partaker of thy
holiness!"
Look at that sunbeam," she whispered;
"how bright! but how it 'reveals the hid-
den things of darkness!' now it shows out
the earthly particles that float in the air.
My affliction has- been like that sunbeam,
R. It has shown me what I should not
else have believed; it has shown me how
full of the world my heart is.
'But though the poison lurks within,
Hope bids me still with patience wait,
Till death shall set me free from sin-
Free from the only thing I hate.'





82 MY FATHER'S GOD.

And what a mercy to have been shown
this poison, this dust-and to have been
led again to the fountain open for sin and
uncleanness! Oh, how good, how kind of
my God to lay his hand upon me thus! "
Slumber closed the eyes of the exhausted
invalid, and the hand which had clasped
mine in maternal love sank powerless upon
the bed; but, as I softly closed the win-
dow and shaded the lights from that bed, I
could hear the soft voice still gently mur-
muring, "for our profit-partakers of his
holiness."
Enough. It was the trial and the tri-
umph of faith. But, at that time, I would
not believe. My foolish heart was dark-
ened.
"In the world ye shall have tribulation."
"As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten."
"Whom the Lord loveth he chasteneth."
For a moment the bereaved husband sank
beneath the blow which deprived him of
his dearest and best earthly friend, coun-
selor, and comforter; and at a time when,
of all others, he needed the support of






MY FATHER'S GOD. 83

friendship, counsel, and consolation. But
if, for "a small moment," he appeared to
be forsaken, it was not long before he could
say, "The Lord hath taken away, and
blessed be the name of the Lord!"
But the trial of his faith had yet to be
perfected in the discovery of his worldly
ruin; and it was here that the triumph
of faith was completed. While the ene-
mies were exulting in the infidel cry,
"Where is your God now'?" the purified
Christian was rejoicing in the Lord, the
God of his salvation.
"I have a treasure that cannot be
touched," he said; "a better and an en-
during substance, which cannot be assigned
away. My God will never leave me, nor
forsake me. He hath done all things well."
These were not expressions of momen-
tary feeling; neither were they indications
of insensibility to the temporal blessings
that had passed away: nor did they ema-
nate from a mind determined to brave un-
flinchingly and stoically the adversities of
life. Higher and nobler principles are re-





84 MY FATHER'S GOD.

quired to sustain, year after year, the spirit
of man under the accumulated burden of
poverty, bereavement, reproach, and deser-
tion, as the spirit of that father was sus-
tained; so that not merely resignation, but
happy contentment, became the peculiarly
marked feature of his future life. He was
a wonder to many: but-God was his
strong refuge.






MY FATHER'S GOD. 85




SECTION VIII.



CONDITIONS CONTRASTED.

"For their rock is not as our Rock, even our enemies
themselves being judges."-Deut. 82: 31.

WHICH of the two conditions was the hap-
pier? That of the godly parent, or the
unbelieving son ?
I have not been careful to conceal from
the reader that the former had many anxi-
eties which an unbelieving parent would
have escaped; and. that the latter took his
fill of many pleasures from which godliness
would have held him back. So far from
concealing these facts, it has been my in-
tention to exhibit them in their full light.
It will not, and it need not, be denied that
the Christian life is one of "manifold temp-
tations" and trials; nor that the unbeliever





86 MY FATHER'S GOD.

has some temporary enjoyments in his
wandering course.
But he would be most foolish and short-
sighted, or unreasonable, who, being ad-
mitted to the confidence of two commercial
men, should decide that he was the richer
who showed the smallest amount of pe-
cuniary responsibilities which must neces-
sarily be met in a given time to avert dis-
grace and ruin. Would not common sense
reprove this ignorant or prejudiced umpire,
and direct him to look further, and see
what funds were at the command of each,
to fulfill his engagements as they should fall
due? and, pointing to the balance sheet of
each, might it not possibly be said, "See,
the man whom you affect to pity, as over-
whelmed with debt, and on the verge of
commercial destruction, is immensely rich,
and looks upon those responsibilities which
have filled you with dismay, as the neces-
sary accompaniments of his extensive trans-
actions in trade: they give him not a mo-
ment's uneasiness, for he is confident in his
ability to discharge them in due time!






MY FATHER'S GOD. 87

While the man whom you congratulate on
the comparatively small amount of his ob-
ligations is, in very truth, a bankrupt: he
has no resources: he cannot meet the first
petty demand!"
Let us, then, be fair in our present cal-
culations. Let us draw out a balance sheet
ere we decide which was the happier.
1 have already indicated some sources of
outward discomfort and inward sorrow, to
which the godly parents were exposed, by
which they were assailed. Some of these
were suffered as the common lot of man;
some, as the peculiar lot of Christians.
Doubtless, in this latter class might be
placed many others. The heart knoweth
its own bitterness." I cannot but remem-
ber, on one occasion, in the days of child-
hood, entering my mother's dressing-room,
and finding her in tears. She told me she
was mourning for her sins, and lamenting
after God. And she uttered with a trem-
bling voice, and with deep pathos, one verse
of a hymn which from that time to the
present I have never forgotten:-






88 MY FATHER'S GOD.

Lord, let me weep for nought but sin
And after none but Thee!
And then I would-Oh, that I might,
A constant weeper be !"

There were hours, and days, I cannot
doubt, of deep dejection and heartfelt grief,
in which the burden of sin was felt very
painfully; and the suspected absence of
God's favor and the joys of his salvation,
was, in secret, deplored with many tears,
sighs, and groans.
But, were there any sources of happiness
to which the godly parents had access, and
to which the unbelieving son was a stran-
ger? There were. And did these re-
sources turn the balance of happiness in
their favor? They did. In the times of
greatest mental dejection, their song still
could be,-

Boast not, ye sons of earth,
Nor look with scornful eyes;
Above your highest mirth,
Our saddest hours we prize:
For though our cup seems filled with gall,
There's something secret sweetens all."






MY FATHER'S GOD. 89

1 have said that those parents were
believers. And in that one word, FAITH,
was comprised a mighty, an inexhaustible,
fund of happiness.
While the believer holds fast to his faith,
thinks of the gospel-plan of mercy as di-
vinely revealed and indisputably genuine,
and, at the same time, recognizes his own
interest in that mercy, with all its collateral
benefits, just in proportion as his faith is
firm and unwavering, he is, he must be,
happier than the unbeliever, who has noth-
ing to substitute in the place of this rejected
creed which bears the slightest resemblance
to it in the extent or character of its sup-
posed benefits.
Thus, while the suffering invalid thought
of "the hope of glory," she could say, and
feel, Our light affliction, which is but for
a moment, worketh for us a far more ex-
ceeding and eternal weight of glory."
While *her bereaved partner mourned her
loss, he sorrowedd not, even as others,
which have no hope;" but looked forward
to the resurrection from the dead, in full





90 MY FATHER'S (OD.

conviction that the "dead in Christ" would
rise to a joyful immortality. While op-
pressed by evil tongues and unworthy sus-
picions, he could say, HE knoweth the
way that I take; when he hath tried me, I
shall come forth as gold:" and when
plunged into poverty in the decline of life,
lie had this firm conviction ever present
with him, All things work together for
good to them that love God;" and he could
" reckon, that the snflFrings of the present
time are not worthy to be compared with
the glory" he expected to be revealed in
him.
But the unbelieving son was destitute of
any hope derived from the promises and
revelations of the Bible; and in the degree
that he knew he had no concern whatever
in them, in that proportion was his condi-
tion in point of present happiness inferior to
that of his believing parents. While, there-
fore, he was equally exposed with his pa-
rents to the common troubles of life, he was
destitute of that great antidote to them-





MY FATHER'S GOD. 91

true faith. So far, then, they were the
happier.
In truth, while I was running a round of
worldly and sinful pleasures, and giving
myself up to the lusts of the flesh, I was
not happy. Whether this arose from the
unsatisfying nature of the enjoyment in
which I indulged, or from the remon-
strances of conscience, the result was the
same: "There is no peace-to the wicked."
They "are like the troubled sea when it
cannot rest, whose waters cast up mire and
dirt." Isa. 57: 20, 21. The declaration of
Col. Gardiner, that, in the midst of his
jollity, he envied a dog that lay under the
table, has met with a response and confirm-
ation in the experience of multitudes who,
like him, have endeavored to banish care
by outrageous mirth.
There is peace and true happiness in the
daily exercise of those qualities which raise
man above the level of the beasts that per-
ish. To enjoy life without depending on it
for happiness; to use the world as not
abusing it; to live in time as a denizen of





92 MY FATHER'S GOD.

eternity: these are secrets of bliss which
have been discovered by those only who
have peace with God through our Lord
Jesus Christ." In this respect, therefore,
the godly parent was happier, far happier,
than the ungodly son.
How far inferior too, was my condition
to that of my believing parents in their
prospects after death. Allowing the truth
of the statements of the Bible in respect to
an eternal world, what would those gloomy
and resentful thoughts, in which I once in-
dulged, avail me? Was I stronger than
God ? Could I stand at his judgment-seat,
and arraign there, as I had arraigned here,
his principles of justice, and defy him to
prove his righteousness in condemning me
to everlasting misery? No: I knew that
there every mouth would be stopped, and
every unhappy culprit be proved a self-de-
stroyer. Or, flattering myself that the
Scriptures were fiction, and death an eter-
nal sleep, what happiness could arise from
such a prospect? Or, taking a middle
course, and resting on the uncertain ex-






MY FATHER'S GOD. 93

pectation that at some future period in my
life I should turn to God, and receive the
gospel, with all its consolations and hopes,
what could this doubtful supposition do for
me but soothe my apprehensions for a mo-
ment, and fill my soul with a deadly leth-
argy, void of happiness, as a mortified limb
is of life 1 Either way, my prospects were
dreary and hopeless. Not so my parents.
Their prospects were full of immortality.
They had respect to the recompense of
the reward." They knew whom they be-
lieved, and were persuaded of his ability to
keep for them what they had committed to
him. If, sometimes, they were cast down
by the trials of the Christian life, they had
but to fall back upon that faith which
taught them and helped them to endure, as
seeing Him who is invisible, and which
pointed to that bright and better world from
which sighing and sorrow shall flee away,
where their Saviour and their God shall
" wipe away all tears," and bless their ran-
somed spirits with : fullness of joy."
Thus, also, may every believer rejoice in





94 MY FATHER'S GOD.

his superior title to happiness, and adopt
this language as his own: "Their rock is
not as our Rock, even our enemies them-
selves being judges."



By the grace of God I am what I am."
How convinced of my folly, and rescued,
by Divine mercy, from the imminent peril
and wretchedness of enmity to my father's
God; how deep and long continued my dis-
tress of soul, when roused to a sense of
guilt in having continued so long, in spite
of early religious instructions, parental ex-
ample and prayers, and many providential
warnings and deliverances, and much
stifled conviction of the truth of the gospel,
a flagrant rebel against his authority, it is
not needful here to record. That I was led
at all to my father's God, and snatched as
a brand out of the fire of eternal misery, is
a proof that He is a God plenteous in
mercy," and a cause for never ending grat-
itude. But that I so long willfully resisted






MY FATHER'S GOD. 95

the invitations of the gospel, and treated
with scorn the grace of the Lord Jesus
Christ, should humble me while life lasts;
and cause me to deplore, with feelings of
deep and abiding grief-" I have known
Thee too late; too late have I loved Thee."





96 MY FATHER'S GOD.




SECTION IX.




APPEAL.

"If the Lord be God, follow him."-- Kings 18: 21.

UNCONVERTED children of godly parents,
suffer a concluding appeal. Your parents
have a God. Are you right, are you wise,
are you safe, in living without God ? To
some extent, the foregoing pages contain
the transcript of your own experience. You
have seen more or less of the influence of
religion in the home of your childhood.
You have witnessed its power to control
human passions and to soothe mortal sor-
rows. You were instructed in the truths of
Christianity. Prayers have been offered
and tears shed for you, it may be, beyond
computation. You have resisted parental





MY FATHER'S GOD. 97

exhortations; and hardened yourselves
against parental reproofs. You have gone
on from bad to worse. If the restraints of
education have kept you back from gross
.niquity, they have not preserved you from
increasing indifference to your father's God,
heart rebellion against him, or unholy con-
troversy with him. In one or other of these
conditions you are now. You have walked
in the counsel of the ungodly, stood in the
way of sinners, and, it may be, are sitting
in the seat of the scornful. There is no
middle position. You are not for your
father's God: therefore, you are against
him. You have not obeyed the command
of Christ, closed with his offers of mercy,
fled for refuge to lay hold on the hope set
before you in the gospel. You are not
reconciled to God, by his great atonement.
To whatever stages of life's journey you
may have advanced, this one thing is your
great characteristic:-You are not on the
road to that glory, of which, in the happier
days of childhood, you heard and sang per-
haps until tears glistened in your eyes, and





98 MY FATHER'S GOD.

sobs, it may be, stifled your utterance.
Bright and glowing visions then entranced
your imagination; and bright and glowing
were the hopes to which they gave rise.
But heaven and hell, sin and repentance,
redemption and ruin, became household
words with you. You learned to think of
them, to talk about them, as matters of
course. You are now sunk in profound
lethargy: what can be done to rouse you?
Or, you are entangled in infidelity: what
can be said to convince you ? Or, you are
hardened in rebellion: what can be done to
win you to your father's God?
Shall we urge upon you the peculiar
guilt of your present condition? Oh, how
aggravated is that guilt! The great Au-
thor of your life placed you in circum-
stances the most favorable for learning his
will; you have been, from infancy, ac-
quainted with his character and his claims.
You know that his character is most
beneficent, his claims most reasonable and
just, his will most honorable; and yet you
deliberately commit treason against him by





MY FATHER'S GOD. 99

withholding obedience and honor. You
know what he has done for your redemp-
tion. The theory of the gospel plan of sal-
vation is as familiar to you as the sound of
your own name. And yet you refuse to be
saved! Your guilt is that of the self-willed
and desperate suicide; and your blood must
be required at your own hands.
By your disregard of your father's God,
you swell the ranks of his inveterate enemy.
You are not neutral. You know that you
cannot be; and, with the full knowledge of
this fact, you have not hesitated to accept
the alternative. And there you stand now,
Satan's coadjutor in his hopeless conflict:
and destined, for aught that appears, to
share his final fall, and dismal, fearful, final
doom. Against you, on God's side, are
arrayed kindred and friends, the mother
that nourished your infancy, the father
who taught you to handle the weapons of
spiritual warfare; those weapons which
you have perverted from their legitimate
service, and perhaps turned against him
who furnished them. You know this.






100 MY FATHER'S GOD.

Some of your fellow-soldiers in this Satanic
army are ignorant of the nature of their
service; they scarcely know or understand
that they are fighting at all. They are un-
acquainted with the fearful penalty in-
curred, or the certainty of their ultimate
defeat in the vile cause in which they are
implicated. This ignorance you dare not
plead. You have embraced the cause of
hellish treason with your eyes open; and,
continuing as you are to the end, will be
left emphatically and pre-eminently with-
out excuse at the great day of final account.
You are guilty of encouraging others in
rebellion against God, or causing them to
rest satisfied in their sins. You are sup-
posed to be wiser in the ways of God, and
the methods of his mercy, than others
whose fathers were ignorant and enslaved
by sin. By your disregard of God, you
have done all in your power to efface the
impressions of God's providence, and to
quench the flickering light which may have
beamed upon many who were ignorant and
out of the way. The conduct of ungodly




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