What's Mine's Mind - vol.1

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When Ian ceased, a silence deep as the darkness around, fell upon them. To Ian, the silence seemed the very voice of God, clear in the darkness; to the mother it was a darkness interpenetrating the darkness; it was a great gulf between her and her boy. She must cry to him aloud, but what should she cry? If she did not, an opportunity, perhaps the last, on which hung eternal issues, would be gone for ever! Each moment's delay was a disobedience to her conscience, a yielding to love's sinful reluctance! With "sick assay" she heaved at the weight on her heart, but not a word would come. If Ian would but speak again, and break the spell of the terrible stillness! She must die in eternal wrong if she did not speak! But no word would come. Something in her would not move. It was not in her brain or her lips or her tongue, for she knew all the time she could speak if she would. The caitiff will was not all on the side of duty! She was not FOR the truth!--could she then be OF the truth? She did not suspect a divine reluctance to urge that which was not good.

Not always when the will works may we lay hold of it in the act: somehow, she knew not how, she heard herself speaking.

"Are you sure it was God, Ian?" she said.

The voice she heard was weak and broken, reedy and strained, like the voice of one all but dead.

"No, mother," answered Ian, "but I hope it was."

"Hopes, my dear hoy, are not to be trusted."

"That is true, mother; and yet we are saved by hope."

"We are saved by faith."

"I do not doubt it."

"You rejoice my heart. But faith in what?"

"Faith in God, mother."

"That will not save you."

"No, but God will."

"The devils believe in God, and tremble."

"I believe in the father of Jesus Christ, and do not tremble."

"You ought to tremble before an unreconciled God."

"Like the devils, mother?"

"Like a sinful child of Adam. Whatever your fancies, Ian, God will not hear you, except you pray to him in the name of his Son."

"Mother, would you take my God from me? Would you blot him out of the deeps of the universe?"

"Ian! are you mad? What frightful things you would lay to my charge!"

"Mother, I would gladly--oh how gladly! perish for ever, to save God from being the kind of God you would have me believe him. I love God, and will not think him other than good. Rather than believe he does not hear every creature that cries to him, whether he knows Jesus Christ or not, I would believe there was no God, and go mourning to my grave."

"That is not the doctrine of the gospel."

"It is, mother: Jesus himself says, 'Every one that hath heard and learned of the Father, cometh unto me.'"

"Why then do you not come to him, Ian?"

"I do come to him; I come to him every day. I believe in nobody but him. He only makes the universe worth being, or any life worth living!"

"Ian, I can NOT understand you! If you believe like that about him,--"

"I don't believe ABOUT him, mother! I believe in him. He is my life."

"We will not dispute about words! The question is, do you place your faith for salvation in the sufferings of Christ for you?"

"I do not, mother. My faith is in Jesus himself, not in his sufferings."

"Then the anger of God is not turned away from you."

"Mother, I say again--I love God, and will not believe such things of him as you say. I love him so that I would rather lose him than believe so of him."

"Then you do not accept the Bible as your guide?"

"I do, mother, for it tells me of Jesus Christ. There is no such teaching as you say in the Bible."

"How little you know your New Testament!"

"I don't know my New Testament! It is the only book I do know! I read it constantly! It is the only thing I could not live without!--No, I do not mean that! I COULD do without my Testament! Christ would BE all the same!"

"Oh, Ian! Ian! and yet you will not give Christ the glory of satisfying divine justice by his suffering for your sins!"

"Mother, to say that the justice of God is satisfied with suffering, is a piece of the darkness of hell. God is willing to suffer, and ready to inflict suffering to save from sin, but no suffering is satisfaction to him or his justice."

"What do you mean by his justice then?"

"That he gives you and me and everybody fair play."

The homeliness of the phrase offended the moral ear of the mother.

"How dare you speak lightly of HIM in my hearing!" she cried.

"Because I will speak for God even to the face of my mother!" answered Ian. "He is more to me than you, mother--ten times more."

"You speak against God, Ian," she rejoined, calmed by the feeling she had roused.

"No, mother. He speaks against God who says he does things that are not good. It does not make a thing good to call it good. I speak FOR him when I say lie cannot but give fair play. He knows he put rue where I was sure to sin; he will not condemn me because I have sinned; he leaves me to do that myself. He will condemn me only if I do not turn away from sin, for he has made me able to turn from it, and I do."

"He will forgive sin only for Christ's sake."

"He forgives it for his own name's sake, his own love's sake. There is no such word as FOR CHRIST'S SAKE in the New Testament--except where Paul prays us for Christ's sake to be reconciled to God. It is in the English New Testament, but not in the Greek."

"Then you do not believe that the justice of God demands the satisfaction of the sinner's endless punishment?"

"I do not. Nothing can satisfy the justice of God but justice in his creature. The justice of God is the love of what is right, and the doing of what is right. Eternal misery in the name of justice could satisfy none but a demon whose bad laws had been broken."

"I grant you that no amount of suffering on the part of the wicked could SATISFY justice; but it is the Holy One who suffers for our sins!"

"Oh, mother! JUSTICE do wrong for its own satisfaction! Did Jesus DESERVE punishment? If not, then to punish him was to wrong him!"

"But he was willing; he consented;"

"He yielded to injustice--but the injustice was man's, not God's. If Justice, insisted on punishent, it would at least insist on the guilty, not the innocent, being punished! it would revolt from the idea of the innocent being punished for the guilty! Mind, I say

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