NED says it seems like some folks think God's gone to seed an' 'll have to be planted over, 'cause Dr. Good and a lot of 'em say these are the last days and you have to be awful careful, for things are just a-goin' their own way, and God's lettin' 'em to see how far they'll go; and when the "very Elick (I forgot to ask Aunt Joy who he is) is deceived," why then, God's coming back to make a big bonfire out of the world, and after that it's only folks who believe like Dr. Good says that's goin' to have a chance. He told us all about it Sunday.
He's been over to "labor" with Aunt Joy 'bout it. He told her she must give up this s-e-d-u-c-t-i-v-e d-o-c-t-r-i-n-e a-n-d p-r-e-p-a-r-e t-o m-e-e-t h-e-r G-o-d, if she wanted to be saved. Aunt Joy told him she 'predated his kind motives, but 'cordin' to her understanding of omnipresence we were compelled to meet God all the time, whether we chose to or not, and it seemed to her the only true and safe way was to accept the situation just as Jesus had — by realizing ourselves at-one with him. She said that since she had chosen this way, she'd found how like a loving, ever-ready-to-do Father was God, when before
he'd seemed like some hard, over-ruling, mysterious power. She said this knowledge of God satisfied her, and if it were seductive, it was what Jesus Christ taught her.
Then Dr. Good quoted a lot of Bible to show her she'd "get left" (that's what Ned called it) when the "Son of Man" came in the clouds blowin' his horn; but Aunt Joy told him the Son of God said: "Lo, I am with you always."
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What do you think! Dr. Good's gone and called papa before the session 'cause he let's Aunt Joy talk so before us children. Aunt Joy said she's glad of it, 'cause it'll show where papa stands; but papa said she'd gotten him into a pretty mess with her new-fangled 'ligion. Mamma cried.
Ned and Grace and I talked it all over and we're goin' to ask God to just help papa tell 'em the straight truth about it.
Dr. May says it's just the thing to bring papa out of his old shell, 'cause if papa begins to think about it for himself, he's bound to see that a live God can't be wrapped up and laid away like a mummy in the good he has done, and held in trust for the good he's 'spected to do. A live God's time is always now.
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It's been a long time since Ned told Dr. May 'bout Tom Sams. Dr. May said he had a warm spot in his heart for "bad boys," 'cause they had "stuff" in 'em.
I remember Grace told him there wasn't any bad boys,
and he said, "There must be a lot of very bad story-tellers, then."
Grace looked so 'proachfully at him, he said, that he took her up and tried to tease her, and asked how she was going to manage to make her philosophy of "All-Good" cover such cases as this. " 'Cause," he said, "if you insist that there are no bad boys, don't you see, you are insisting that there are bad story-tellers. The bad's bound to be owned up to, somewhere."
Grace looked like she didn't see just how to answer, and so Ned winked at her and said, "Remember how it was with Tom Sams, Grace?"
Then Grace clapped her hands and cried out, 'At's it, Dr. May! 'At's it, and 'are isn't any bads to own up to." Then Dr. May said he'd like to know what the "it" stood for that let out the "bads," and Grace was ready with her answer.
"You see, 'are aren't any bads, 'cause 'are aren't any. The folkses what call Tom and 'em kind bad, is only like us 'fore we found out 'bout em bein' good inside all 'e time. 'At's it; boys is good and folkses is good, and 'stories' is only what they finked when they didn't know sure."
Then Dr. May quit his teasing and his eyes looked like some tears didn't quite come, and he kissed Grace and said: "That's the true gospel, 'Wee Wisdom.' Ignorance is the father of condemnation; ignorance is a lie from the beginning and the father of it. Go on, little preacher, preaching the gospel of love and good, and may all, from
the least to the greatest, learn that Good is the only reality."
After that Dr. May wanted to know where Tom could be found, and Ned told him. Aunt Joy said after he was gone, that it was because church people misunderstood Dr. May that they didn't see what a Christ-hearted man he was.
Well, he hunted up Tom Sams that very day and hired him to take care of Beauty Bell (that's his carriage horse), and he was so good and Beauty Bell liked him so, that it wasn't long before the doctor declared "that anybody Beauty Bell loved and trusted like she did Tom was good enough to sit at his table and become one of his family, 'cause he had such perfect confidence in Beauty Bell's good horse sense."
I heard papa tell Ned the other day that he never saw a boy come to the front like Tom Sams. Why! papa couldn't praise him enough, and said, "That boy's bound to make his mark in the world." And to think what papa said once about him! But Aunt Joy says you mustn't remember such things, 'cause we're not to look back. She says the warning, "Remember Lot's wife," means you're liable to get "salted down" if you keep looking back. Remembering things keeps you holding onto 'em, and if you don't want to have what you had, quit looking back at it.
Maybe that's what's the matter with Dr. Good; but I don't believe he'll keep papa holding on to old things, 'cause I'm sure papa is too glad to have it different. He doesn't want sickness and things like that any more, I
know, for I notice he likes to ask questions, and he doesn't say to us any more, "Children can't understand."
I heard Aunt Joy talking to mamma. She said papa had been a live thinker in every direction but religion, and that if he'd carried his arm 'round in a sling as long as he'd let his church do his 'ligious thinking for him, he wouldn't be expected to have much use of it. She said that's why people didn't "do the works," 'cause they used the church like a sling, to carry their faith 'round in. She said, "Faith without works is dead," for a living God's bound to work, and calls for living workers; and that faith carried round like a broken arm is not the kind God can make use of. She said you're bound to use every bit of yourself — your whole mind, might and strength — when you work for God. She said she could see papa was beginning to understand this and trying to swing his faith free, and that he would soon develop wonderful faith-muscle by practicing living Good.