“She kneeled beside him,
“Mary,” he said again, taking her little hand in his two long, bony ones, “I love you, my child, to that degree I can not say; and I want you, I do want you, to be a Christian.”
“So do I, father dear,” answered Mary simply, the tears rushing into her eyes at the thought that perhaps she was not one; “I want me to be a Christian.”
“Yes, my love,” he went on; “but it is not that I do not think you a Christian; it is that I want you to be a downright real Christian, not one that is but trying to feel as a Christian ought to feel. I have lost so much precious time in that way!”
“Tell me—tell me,” cried Mary, clasping her other hand over his. “What would you have me do?”
“I will tell you. I am just trying how,” he responded.
“A Christian is just one that does what the Lord Jesus tells him. Neither more nor less than that makes a Christian.”
“It is not even understanding the Lord Jesus that makes one a Christian. That makes one dear to the Father; but it is being a Christian, that is, doing what he tells us, that makes us understand him. Peter says the Holy Spirit is given to them that obey him: what else is that but just actually, really, doing what he says—just as if I was to tell you to go and fetch me my Bible, and you would get up and go? Did you ever do anything, my child, just because Jesus told you to do it?”
“…It is a miserable thing to hear those who desire to believe themselves Christians, talking and talking about this question and that, the discussion of which is all for strife and nowise for unity—not a thought among them of the one command of Christ, to love one another. I fear some are hardly content with not hating those who differ from them.”
“I am sure, father, I try—and I think I do love everybody that loves him,” said Mary.
“Well, that is much—not enough though, my child. We must be like Jesus, and you know that it was while we were yet sinners that Christ died for us; therefore we must love all men, whether they are Christians or not.”
“Tell me, then, what you want me to do, father dear. I will do whatever you tell me.”
“I want you to be just like that to the Lord Christ, Mary. I want you to look out for his will, and find it, and do it. I want you not only to do it, though that is the main thing, when you think of it, but to look for it, that you may do it.
“I need not say to you that this is not a thing to be talked about much, for you don’t do that. You may think me very silent, my love; but I do not talk always when I am inclined, for the fear I might let my feeling out that way, instead of doing something he wants of me with it. And how repulsive and full of offense those generally are who talk most! Our strength ought to go into conduct, not into talk—least of all, into talk about what they call the doctrines of the gospel. The man who does what God tells him, sits at his Father’s feet, and looks up in his Father’s face; and men had better leave him alone, for he can not greatly mistake his Father, and certainly will not displease him.
Look for the lovely will, my child, that you may be its servant, its priest, its sister, its queen, its slave—as Paul calls himself.
How that man did glory in his Master!”