Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Under God All Depends on the Mother

A selection from a letter by Rev. Benjamin Morgan Palmer to his daughter Anna, who recently had given birth to a son. He wrote to comfort her for she has lost her first child, a daughter, at birth. He also wrote to challenge her to be a dedicated mother. The letter was written January 4, 1869.

This time it is a son! What a solemn responsibilities cluster around that word! This boy-babe is after a while to be a man. Can you tell what a vast intellect may be slumbering within that little head? Who knows but that the fate of an empire may be wrapped in the folds of his career? Those little hands may wield the destiny of this great Republic—and that tiny voice may sway the councils of a nation; who knows! That little heart, it may be a volcano of passions, to be belched forth in smoke and fire upon a devastated earth—or it may be the well-spring of a mighty stream of beneficence to refresh and fertilize the world. Which shall it be? Do not stagger, nor be affrighted, when I answer that under God all depends upon the mother.

A fearful trust is reposed in you, my daughter, in this boy’s birth; for of a truth, in time and in the great hereafter, he will be just what you shall make him. It is too late to shrink back in terror. He is yours; and the great God, who gave him to you, says, ‘Take this child and nurse it for me, and I will give thee thy wages’ [Exodus 2:9]. Mark the terms of the contract, for therein lies the trust, and the comfort too. ‘Nurse it for me’—that is the trust; ‘and I will give thee thy wages’—this is the assurance. Both are bound together. If you nurse it for God, you shave have ample recompense…

The Life and Letters of Benjamin Morgan Palmer, by Thomas Cary Johnson, Banner of Truth, p. 383.

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