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The Pamphlet Collection of Sir Robert Stout: Volume 48

A Question for Parents

A Question for Parents.

What would we think of a father, who should give page 7 a farm to his children, and before giving them possession should plant upon it thousands of deadly shrubs and vines; should stock it with ferocious beasts and poisonous reptiles; should take pains to put a few swamps in the neighbourhood to breed malaria; should so arrange matters, that the ground would occasionally open and swallow a few of his darlings, and besides all this, should establish a few volcanoes in the immediate vicinity, that might at any moment overwhelm his children with rivers of fire? Suppose that this father neglected to tell his children which of the plants were deadly; that the reptiles were poisonous; failed to say anything about the earthquakes, and kept the volcano business a profound secret: would we pronounce him angel or fiend?

And yet this is exactly what the orthodox God has done.

A very pious friend of mine, having heard that I had said the world was full of imperfections, asked me if the report was true. Upon being informed that it was, he expressed great surprise that any one could be guilty of such presumption. He said that, in his judgment, it was impossible to point out an imperfection. "Be kind enough," said he, "to name even one improvement that you could make, if you had the power." "Well," said I, "I would make good health catching instead of disease." The truth is, it is impossible to harmonize all the ills, and pains and agonies of this world with the idea that we were created by, and are watched over and protected by an infinitely wise, powerful, and beneficent God, who is superior to and independent of nature.

I hold that the man who roots up the thorns and tares from out the path of life confers some benefit, even if he never sows a seed of good.