March 07, 2004

Little heathen? By the son of J Philpot

There was nothing my father mistrusted more than 'childhood piety.' He insisted that children should never be taught or allowed to use the language of 'personal possession' in reference to God. To sing, for instance, "Rock of Ages, cleft for ME" or, "MY Jesus".

Herein he was most logical. For by early influence and example you can train up a child to be . . .
a little patriot,
a little Catholic,
a little Calvinist, or
a little Bolshevist.

But no power on earth can make him a child of God. He took great care that we, his children, attended the means of grace, and never missed chapel or family prayers. But he never expected us to be anything but little heathen. We had, it is true, to be well behaved little heathen. If not, we got "the stick", or its equivalent.

"Who were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God." John 1:13