Saturday, November 29, 2008

Things are looking up!

This famous story from the boyhood of William Ellery Channing taken from William Henry Channing's Memoir:

"The most significant anecdote to illustrate the religious impressions made upon his mind in childhood is one thus related by himself. His father, with the view of giving him a ride, took William in his chaise one day, as he was going to hear a famous preacher in the neighbourhood. Impressed with the notion that he might learn great tidings from the unseen world, he listened attentively to the sermon. With very glowing rhetoric, the lost state of man was described, his abandonment to evil, helplessness, dependence upon sovereign grace, and the need of earnest prayer as the condition of receiving this divine aid. In the view of the speaker, a curse seemed to rest upon the earth, and darkness and horror to veil the face of nature. William, for his part, supposed that henceforth those who believed would abandon all other things to seek this salvation, and that amusement and earthly business would no longer occupy a moment. The service over, they went out of the church, and his father, in answer to the remark of some person, said, with a decisive tone, — " Sound doctrine, Sir." " It is all true," then, was his inward reflection. A heavy weight fell on his heart. He wanted to speak to his father ; he expected his father would speak to him in relation to this tremendous crisis of things. They got into the chaise and rode along, but, absorbed in awful thoughts, he could not raise his voice. Presently his father began to whistle ! At length they reached home ; but instead of calling the family together, and telling them of the appalling intelligence which the preacher had given, his father took off his boots, put his feet toward the fireplace, and quietly read a newspaper. All things went on as usual. At first, he was surprised ; but not being given to talking, he asked no explanations. Soon, however, the question rose, — "Could what he had heard be true ? No ! his father did not believe it ; people did not believe it ! It was not true ! "

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