We have talked of your body and your mind, but as yet not of yourself. You are not body; you are not mind; but you possess both. You are spirit, created by God, who is spirit; therefore you are His child. You may not have thought much of this fact, but that has not changed the fact. No failure to recognize God as your father changes His relationship to you. No conduct of yours can make you any less His child.

“Well,” you may say, “if that is so, what does it matter, then, what I do? If disobedience or sin cannot make me less God’s child, why should I be good and obedient?” Because, dear heart, your conduct changes your attitude towards Him. You might not know that I am your mother; you might know it and choose to disobey my wishes; yet in both cases I should still be your mother, and no more or less in one case than in the other. But you will have no difficulty in understanding that in one case you would be a loving, helpful, obedient daughter, a comfort and delight to me; in the other, a disobedient, willful, unloving daughter, a care and trouble.

[100]We are God’s children, each of us, dependent on His love and bounty for protection, food, friends, intellect, even life. Is it dignified and noble in us to ignore and disobey Him? Indeed the most worthy and dignified thing we can do is to recognize ourselves as God’s children and be obedient. It is a wonderful glory to be a child of God. It means that we have Godlike powers. The children of human parents are like them in their capacities. Children of God must have capacities that are Godlike.

This is true even of the most ignorant or degraded. They have in themselves divine possibilities.

If you can get this thought fully engrafted into your consciousness, it seems to me you can never willfully do wrong, can never condescend to a mean or ignoble deed, because you recognize your divine inheritance, and feel compelled by it to live truly, nobly.

Being children of God puts on us certain obligations towards Him, but it also puts on God certain obligations towards us. “What!” you say; “God the Infinite under obligations to man, the finite? The Creator under obligations to the created?” Oh, yes.

We recognize the fact that human parents are under obligations to care for their children, to protect them, to educate them, to give them opportunities. Even such are the obligations [101]of God towards His human children, and He fulfills them. All our earthly blessings are from His hand. Home, friends, shelter, food, are gifts of His love. He takes such minute care of us that if for one second of time He would forget us, we should be annihilated. He educates us. He does not send us away to a boarding-school where we hear from Him but seldom, but He has a home-school where He is both Father and Teacher, and His methods of instruction are divinely wise.

The injudicious love of earthly parents often induces them to do for their children things it would be far better to let the children do for themselves. I once knew a boy of seven years, as intelligent as the ordinary child, who had never been allowed to go down stairs alone in his life for fear he would fall. This unwise care of the parents had resulted in the child’s being timid, fearful, and unable to care for himself. He would cry if he fell, and would lie still sobbing until some one came to pick him up and quiet him with caresses. At the same time I saw a boy of four who could run up and down stairs, go to the store alone to make purchases, and who, if he fell, would jump up quickly, saying, “O, that didn’t hurt.” Which child had been better protected—the one who had been cared for by an overindulgent parent, or the one who, by judicious stimulation to self-help, had learned to care for himself?

[102]God teaches us how to help ourselves, and circumstances of life which we so often think hard and cruel are only the means by which we are being trained to be strong. The things we call failure, worriment, and hardship, are only the little tumbles by which we are learning to walk.

The heathen philosopher, Seneca, says: “God gives His best scholars the hardest lessons.” We know how proud we would feel if our school-teacher would say, “This is a hard problem, but I believe you can solve it.” We would be stimulated to work night and day to justify his confidence in our ability. But when a little trial comes in life we are quite apt to say, “God is so hard in His dealings with me. Why should He be so unkind?” instead of saying: “These hard things of life are a test of my scholarship, and are an evidence of my Teacher’s confidence in my ability.”

I would like you to get this thought fixed in your mind so firmly that you will feel sure that all circumstances of life are but lessons in God’s great school, and, rightly used, will be the means of promoting you to higher grades.

No scholar wants to stay always in the primary department because it is easy there. He welcomes each promotion, although he knows it means harder lessons and new difficulties. He looks forward to college or university with [103]pride, even though lessons grow harder and harder.

God’s school of earthly life has in it all grades of advancement. Will you be a studious, courageous scholar and try to learn life’s lessons well? It is such a wonderful thing to be a child of God, for that means to be an heir of God, an heir of His wisdom, His strength, His glory, His powers. “All things are yours,” says Paul; “life, death, things present and things to come, all are yours, and ye are Christ’s, and Christ is God’s.”


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