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By: Goland Sor

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"All your lifelong," said I, taking no heed of the excuse, "you have been receiving the goodness of God, and you never have had the courtesy to say so much as 'thank you.' All your lifelong you have been trespassing against Him, and never have begged his pardon, never asked his forgiveness. Is it so?"
There was a moment's pause. Then he turned on me almost fiercely.
"How can I thank him Mr. Laicus," said he "when you say that I do not love him, and cannot love him."
"Did I ever say that you do not love God?" said I gently.
"Well then," said Mr. Gear, "I say it. There is no use in beating about the bush. I say it. I honor him, and revere him, and try to obey him, but I do not particularly love him. I do not know much about him. I do not feel toward him as I want my children to feel toward me. What would you have me do Mr. Laicus? Would you have me play the hypocrite? God has got flatterers enough. I do not care to swell their number."
"I would have you honest with him as you are with me," I replied. "I would have you kneel down, and tell him what you have told me; tell him that you do not know him, and ask him that you may; tell him that you do not love him and ask him that you may."
"You orthodox people," said he, "say that no man can come to God with an unregenerate heart; and mine is an unregenerate heart. At least I suppose so. I have been told so often enough. You tell us that no man can come that has not been convicted and converted. I have never suffered conviction or experienced conversion. I cannot cry out to God, "God be merciful to me a sinner." For I don't believe I am a sinner. I don't pretend to be perfect. I get out of temper now and then. I am hard on my children sometimes, was on Willie to-night, poorly fellow. I even rip out an oath occasionally. I am sorry for that habit and mean to get the better of it yet. But I can't make new york asian escort a great pretence of sorrow that I do new york escort not experience."
"You have lived," said I, "for over thirty years the constant recipient of God's mercies and loving kindnesses, and never paid him the poor courtesy of a thank you. You have trespassed on his patience and his love in ways innumerable through all these thirty years, and never said so much as I beg pardon. And now you can look back upon it all and feel no sorrow. I am sorry if it is so, Mr. Gear. But if it is, it need not keep you from your God. You can be at least as frank with him as you have been with me. You can tell him of your indifference if you can not tell him of your penitence or your love."
There was a pause.
"You believe in prayer," I continued. "You are indignant that I suspected you of disbelief; and yet you never pray. Are you not living without God; is it not true of you that 'God is not in all your thoughts?'"
He was silent.
"Will you turn over a new leaf in your lifebook?" said I. "Will you commence this night a life of prayer?"
He shook his head very slightly, almost imperceptibly. "I will make no promises," said he. But still he spoke more to himself than to me.
"Mr. Gear," said I, "is it not evident that it is no use for you and me to discuss theology? It is not a difference of doctrine that separates us. Here is a fundamental duty; you acknowledge it, you assert its importance, but you have never performed it; and now that your attention is called to it you will not even promise to fulfil it in the future."
"Mr. Laicus," said he, "I will think of it. Perhaps you are right. I have always meant to do my duty, if my duty was made clear. Perhaps I have failed, failed possibly in a point of prime importance. I do not know. I am in a maze. I believe there is a knowledge of God that I do not possess, a love of God that I do not experience. I believe in it because I believe in you M. Laicus, and yet more because I believe in my wife. But may be it will come in time. Time works wonders."
My very words to Jennie. And Jennie's answer was mine to him.
"Time never works Mr. Gear. It eats, and undermines, and rots, and rusts, and destroys. But it never works. It only gives us an opportunity to work."
And so I came away.


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