California Sketches, Second Series
O. P. Fitzgerald
Part 4 out of 4
speaking to his soul, and all its depths were stirred. The patient,
praying wife had a wishful look in her eyes as I came out of his room,
and I knew her thought. God was leading him, and he was receptive of the
truth that saves. He had one difficulty.
"I hate meanness, or any thing that looks like it. It does look mean for
me to turn to religion now that I am sick, after being so neglectful and
wicked when I was well."
"That thought is natural to a manly soul, but there is a snare in it.
You are thinking what others may say, and your pride is touched. You are
dealing with God only. Ask only what will please him. The time for a man
to do his duty is when he sees it and feels the obligation. Let the past
go--you cannot undo it, but it may be forgiven. The present and an
eternal future are yours, my friend.
"Do what will please God, and all will be right."
The still waters were reached, and his soul lay at rest in the arms of
God. O sweet, sweet rest! infinitely sweet to the spirit long tossed
upon the stormy sea of sin and remorse. O peace of God, the inflow into
a human heart of the very life of the Lord! It is the hidden mystery of
love divine whispered to the listening ear of faith. It had come to him
by its own law when he was ready to receive it. The great change had
come to him--it looked out from his eyes and beamed from his face.
He was baptized at night. The family had gathered in the room. In the
solemn hush of the occasion the whispers of the night-breeze could be
heard among the vines and flowers outside, and the rippling of the
sparkling waters of Santa Rosa Creek was audible. The sick man's face
was luminous with the light that was from within. The solemn rite was
finished, a tender and holy awe filled the room; it was the house of God
and the gate of heaven. The wife, who was sitting near a window, rose,
and noiselessly stepped to the bed, and without a word printed a kiss on
her husband's forehead, while the joy that flushed her features told
that the prayer of thirty years had been answered, We sung a hymn and
parted with tears of silent joy. In a little while he crossed the river
where we may mingle our voices again by and by. There is not money
enough in the California hills to buy the memory of that visit to Santa
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