What's Mine's Mind - vol.1

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"GOD KNOWS," said Ian at length, and again the broken silence closed around them.

It was between God and his mother now! Unwise counsellors will persuade the half crazy doubter in his own faith, to believe that he does believe!--how much better to convince him that his faith is a poor thing, that he must rise and go and do the thing that Jesus tells him, and so believe indeed! When will men understand that it is neither thought nor talk, neither sorrow for sin nor love of holiness that is required of them, but obedience! To BE and to OBEY are one.

A cold hand grasping her heart, the mother rose, and went from the room. The gulf seemed now at last utterly, hopelessly impassable! She had only feared it before; she knew it now! She did not see that, while she believed evil things of God, and none the less that she called them good, oneness was impossible between her and any being in God's creation.

The poor mother thought herself broken-hearted, and lay down too sick to know that she was trembling from head to foot. Such was the hold, such the authority of traditional human dogma on her soul--a soul that scorned the notion of priestly interposition between God and his creature--that, instead of glorifying God that she had given birth to such a man, she wept bitterly because he was on the broad road to eternal condemnation.

But as she lay, now weeping, now still and cold with despair, she found that for some time she had not been thinking. But she had not been asleep! Whence then was this quiet that was upon her? Something had happened, though she knew of nothing! There was in her as it were a moonlight of peace!

"Can it be God?" she said to herself.

No more than Ian could she tell whether it was God or not; but from that night she had an idea in her soul by which to reach after "the peace of God." She lifted up her heart in such prayer as she had never prayed before; and slowly, imperceptibly awoke in her the feeling that, if she was not believing aright, God would not therefore cast her off, but would help her to believe as she ought to believe: was she not willing? Therewith she began to feel as if the gulf betwixt her and Ian were not so wide as she had supposed; and that if it were, she would yet hope in the Son of Man. Doubtless he was in rebellion against God, seeing he would question his ways, and refuse to believe the word he had spoken, but surely something might be done for him! The possibility had not yet dawned upon her that there could be anything in the New Testament but those doctrines against which the best in him revolted. She little suspected the glory of sky and earth and sea eternal that would one day burst upon her! that she would one day see God not only good but infinitely good--infinitely better than she had dared to think him, fearing to image him better than he was! Mortal, she dreaded being more just than God, more pure than her maker!

"I will go away to-morrow!" said Ian to himself. "I am only a pain to her. She will come to see things better without me! I cannot live in her sight any longer now! I will go, and come again."

His heart broke forth in prayer.

"O God, let my mother see that thou art indeed true-hearted; that thou dost not give us life by parings and subterfuges, but abundantly; that thou dost not make men in order to assert thy dominion over them, but that they may partake of thy life. O God, have pity when I cannot understand, and teach me as thou wouldst the little one whom, if thou wert an earthly father amongst us as thy son was an earthly son, thou wouldst carry about in thy arms. When pride rises in me, and I feel as if I ought to be free and walk without thy hand; when it looks as if a man should be great in himself, nor need help from God; then think thou of me, and I shall know that I cannot live or think without the self-willing life; that thou art because thou art, I am because thou art; that I am deeper in thee than my life, thou more to my being than that being to itself. Was not that Satan's temptation, Father? Did he not take self for the root of self in him, when God only is the root of all self? And he has not repented yet! Is it his thought coming up in me, flung from the hollow darkness of his soul into mine? Thou knowest, when it comes I am wretched. I love it not. I would have thee lord and love over all. But I cannot understand: how comes it to look sometimes as if indeinpendence must be the greater? A lie cannot be greater than the truth! I do not understand, but thou dost. I cannot see my foundations; I cannot dig up the roots of my being: that would be to understand creation! Will the Adversary ever come to see that thou only art grand and beautiful? How came he to think to be greater by setting up for himself? How was it that it looked so to him? How is it that, not being true, it should ever look so? There must be an independence that thou lovest, of which this temptation is the shadow! That must be how 'Satan fell!--for the sake of not being a slave!--that he might be a free being! Ah, Lord, I see how it all comes! It is because we are not near enough to thee to partake of thy liberty that we want a liberty of our own different from thine! We do not see that we are one with thee, that thy glory is our glory, that we can have none but in thee! that we are of thy family, thy home, thy heart, and what is great for thee is great for us! that man's meanness is to want to be great out of his Father! Without thy eternity in us we are so small that we think ourselves great, and are thus miserably abject and contemptible. Thou only art true! thou only art noble! thou wantest no glory for selfishness! thou doest, thou art, what thou requirest of thy children! I know it, for I see it in Jesus, who casts the contempt of obedience upon the baseness of pride, who cares only for thee and for us, never thinking of himself save as a gift to give us! O lovely, perfect Christ! with my very life I worship thee! Oh, pray, Christ! make me and my brother strong to be the very thing thou wouldst have us, as thy brothers, the children of thy Father. Thou art our perfect brother--perfect in love, in courage, in tenderness! Amen, Lord! Good-night! I am thine."

He was silent for a few moments, then resumed:

"Lord, thou knowest whither my thoughts turn the moment I cease praying to thee. I dared not think of her, but that I know thee. But for thee, my heart would be as water within me! Oh, take care of her, come near to her! Thou didst send her where she could not learn fast--but she did learn. And now, God, I do not know where she is! Thou only of all in this world knowest, for to thee she lives though gone from my sight and knowledge--in the dark to me. Pray, Father, let her know that thou art near her, and that I love her. Thou hast made me love her by taking her from me: thou wilt give her to me again! In this hope I will live all my days, until thou takest me also; for to hope mightily is to believe well in thee. I will hope in thee infinitely. Amen, Father!"

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