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A New Atmosphere by Gail Hamilton

A father may neglect his children


sight of the Lord. It is the

sins of the fathers, not of the mothers, that are visited upon the children. It was the fathers, not the mothers, who were to make known to the children the truth of Jehovah. It was the instruction of his father that Solomon commanded his son to hear, and the law of his mother which he commanded him not to forsake,--an arrangement which modern opinions seem inclined to reverse. It is the fathers who are pronounced to be the glory of children, not the mothers; and glory implies action. A father may die, and his dying prayer and his conscientious life, both commending his family to God, may descend upon them in ever-renewing blessing. Such is the promise of the Lord. A father may neglect his children, and the mother's care and love be so blessed of Heaven that they shall be burning and shining lights in the temple of the Most High. But this is God's uncovenanted mercy, and the father has no right to expect it. Yet one not seldom hears or sees anecdotes which imply that such neglect of children is not a crime,--a crime against children, against mothers, against society, against God. In times of financial disaster I have more than once heard of men's consoling themselves for the ruin of their business by playfully declaring that they should now go home and get acquainted with their children. But the non-acquaintance with children, of which many fathers are guilty, is not a theme to be lightly spoken of. Is it a small thing to give life to a soul that can never die; that, through unending
ages, in happiness or in misery, clothed with glory or with shame, beautiful, strong, upright, or disfigured and deformed, must live on and on and on, forever and forever? Is it a small thing to give life to a sentient being, that must know even the experience of this world? That may be bowed down with guilt, remorse, wretchedness, bringing other souls with it to the dust, or may be upborne through a pure, happy, and beneficent career, bearing other souls with it to the skies? How dare a man look upon these helpless, hapless souls, and know that to him they owe their being, with all its dread possibilities; that upon him may fall the curse of their ruined lives, and--neglect them? How dare he leave them to another? To no other do they belong. His duty he cannot delegate. After country, which includes all things, his first duty is to his family. He is a father, and at no price can he sell his fatherhood.

I see notices of Female Prayer-Meetings. The mothers of a regiment assemble to pray for their sons who have gone to the war. There are Mothers' Guides and Mothers' Assistants and Mothers' Hymn-Books. But where are the Fathers' Hymn-Books? Where are the Paternal Prayer-Meetings? When do the Fathers of Regiments assemble to pray for their soldier-sons? If boys need their mothers' prayers, they need also their fathers' prayers. Does the fervent, effectual prayer of righteous women avail so much that righteous men can feel they have nothing to do but give themselves up to their farms and their merchandise, to buy and to sell and to get gain? Can men wait upon the Lord by proxy? Shall we bring political economy into religion, and arrange a wise division of labor by which the wife shall serve God, and the husband shall serve Mammon,--the wife do the praying and the husband see to the marketing,--he make sure of this world and she look out for the next? It is a nice little arrangement, but--He that sitteth in the heavens shall laugh; the Lord shall have it in derision.

But fathers must attend to their business. They must earn money to support the family. They must provide wherewith to keep the pot boiling. Certainly they


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