For the Good of Mothers

by Frank Jones

"I can recall an elderly woman who had found peace with God through my youthful ministry, and especially do I recollect her wail of woe as she told of the days of her ignorance, and the consequent godless bringing up of her children. Her words were somewhat as follows, and I write them down for the good of mothers who labour hard out of love to their dear ones, and provide them with all necessaries for this life, but never think of the life to come:—

“Oh, sir!” said she, “I should be quite happy now, only I have one sore trouble which keeps me very low. I am so sad about my dear children. I was left with eight of them, and I worked hard at the wash-tub, and in other ways, morning, noon, and night, to find bread for them. I did feed and clothe them all, but I am sure I don’t know how I did it. I had often to deny myself, both in food and clothing; and times were very hard with me. Nobody could have slaved worse than I did, to mend, and clean, and keep a roof over our heads. I cannot blame myself for any neglect about their bodies; but as to their souls, I never cared about my own, and of course I never thought of theirs. Two of them died. I dare not think about them. God has forgiven me, but I can’t forget my sin against my poor children; I never taught them a word which could be of any use to them. The others are all alive, but there is not one of them in the least religious. How could they be when they saw how their mother lived? It troubles me more a good deal than all the working for them ever did; for I’m afraid they are going down to destruction, and all through their cruel mother.”

Here she burst into tears, and I pitied her so much that I said I hardly thought she was cruel, for she was in ignorance, and would never intentionally have neglected anything that was for her children’s good. “Don’t excuse me,” said she, “for if I had used my common sense, I might have known that my children were not like the sheep and the horses which die, and there’s an end of them. I never thought about it at all, or I might have known better; and I feel that I was a cruel mother never to have considered their souls at all. They are all worldly, and none of them go to a place of worship, year in and year out. I never took them there, and how can I blame them? As soon as I was converted, I went down to my eldest son, who has a large family, and I told him what the Lord had done for me, and entreated him to come here with me to the services; but he said he wondered what next, and he had no time. When I pleaded hard with him, he said he was sure I meant well, but ‘it was no go,’—he liked his Sunday at home too well to go to hear parsons. You know, sir, you can’t bend a tree; I ought to have bent the twig when I could have done it. Oh, if I had but led him to the house of God when he was little! He would have gone then, for he loved his mother, and so he does now, but not enough to go where I want him. So, you see, I can do nothing with my son now. I was a cruel mother, and let the boy go into the fields, or the streets, when he should have been in the Sunday-school. Oh, that I could have my time back again, and have all my children around me as little ones, that I might teach them about my blessed Saviour! They are all beyond me now. What can I do?”

She sat down and wept bitterly, and I heartily wish all unconverted mothers could have seen her, and heard her lamentations. It was very pleasant to know that she was herself saved, and to see in her very sorrow the evidence of her genuine repentance; but, still, the evil which she lamented was a very terrible one, and might well demand a lifetime of mourning. Young mother, do not, as you love your babe, suffer it to grow up without Divine instruction. But you cannot teach your child if you do not know the Lord Jesus yourself. May the good Lord lead you to give your heart to Christ at once, and then help you to train your dear little ones for Heaven!" (C. H. Spurgeon. Autobiography, Vol. 1., 198-199)