Sunday, January 02, 2011

24Apr1876, Thoughts of Papa

HAGLEY, April 24th-30th, 1876.
F. and I stayed on at Hagley. Sybella most touching in the absolute unselfishness and patience with which she bears her great grief: she has constant tears to relieve her, and clings to his children, and turns to the religious thoughts and words which were the "strength of his life," to comfort her in his death. She told me that though she could never get him to teach her by precept, yet by degrees, as she learnt more and more of his character and its motive power, she grew into sympathy with his religion; and that learning to feel with him "doubled and trebled" her love for him. Many beautiful lessons has his life taught us all—such as courage, trust, generosity, truth, wide sympathies, and kind judgments coupled with hatred of evil and the highest standard of right ; but the chief lesson of all is, how to blend the Love of God and the golden thread of religion with common daily life in the world—with all duty, with dry detail, with pleasures and enjoyments and mirth; with sorrow, trial, and disappointment; and so to do this as to produce, not scrupulosity or gloom, but the joyful spirit of a loving son, the glad service of willing obedience. Nobody showed more by every day of his active life that God's service is perfect freedom, and His ways the way of pleasantness and peace. All our lives through, accordingly, his beautiful example has taught us that the Church's life of religion is the happy and complete life, and that seeking first the Kingdom of God all other things are added to us. Nevy once said to me, "The governor always showed us that duty must come first of all." Letters pour in upon us, and are very helpful and soothing in showing how deeply and widely all that was best in him was known and loved. Hardly one but calls it a "noble life"; and in the light of it the awful darkness at the end seems to shrink to a point.

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