Secrets of Happy Home
by J. R. Miller, 1894
One summer afternoon during our Civil War, some Southern generals were
sitting under a tree, when suddenly a shell from a Northern battery crashed
over their heads. The officers hastened to seek a safer place. But one of
the party lingered; and the others, glancing round, saw him stooping to the
ground as if he had found something of great value. The crashing of the
shell through the branches had torn a bird’s nest from its place, and hurled
it to the ground. And the general of armies was gathering up this nest, with
its sacred burden of young bird-life, to replace it among the branches.
This little book may come into the hands of some whose
home happiness has been shattered — its torn fragments lying now on the
ground. It would be a comfort to the author if these simple words should put
fresh hope into a discouraged heart, and thus be the hand to help restore
the home to its true place, amid the branches of the tree of love.
Home is among the holiest of words. A true home is
one of the most sacred of places. It is a sanctuary into which men flee from
the world's perils and alarms. It is a resting-place to which at close of
day the weary retire to gather new strength for the battle and toils of
tomorrow. It is the place where love learns its lessons, where life is
schooled into discipline and strength, where character is molded. Out of the
homes of a community comes the life of the community, as a river from the
thousand springs that gush out on the hillsides.
We are all concerned in the making of some one home—our
own home. One instrument out of tune in an orchestra mars the music which
breaks upon the ears of the listeners. One discordant life in a household
mars the perfectness of the music of love in the family. We should make sure
that our life is not the one that is out of tune. We do not need to worry
about the other lives; if each looks to his own, that will do.
When our Lord sent His disciples out to preach, one of
His instructions was—"Into whatever house you enter, first say, Peace be to
this house." Peace is a good word. It is more than a salutation;
falling from the Master's lips, it is a divine benediction as well. Peace,
too, is a fruit of grace, which includes all that is sweetest and most
divine in Christian culture. It is especially suggestive of the harmony
of love, which is the perfection of beautiful living. Christ's peace is
a blessing, which comes out of struggle and discipline. Well, therefore,
does the salutation "Peace!" befit a Christian home, which ought to be the
abode of peace.
What are some of the secrets of happy home life? The
answer might be given in one word—Christ.
Christ at the marriage-altar; Christ on the bridal journey; Christ when the
new home is set up; Christ when the baby is born; Christ when a child dies;
Christ in the pinching times; Christ in the days of plenty; Christ in the
nursery, in the kitchen, in the parlor; Christ in the toil and in the rest;
Christ along all the years; Christ when the wedded pair walk toward the
sunset gates; Christ in the sad hour when farewells are spoken, and one goes
on before and the other stays, bearing the unshared grief.
Christ is the secret of happy home life.
But the lesson may be broken up. The making of a home
begins before there is a home—it begins in the days when the life-choices
are made. There are many unhappy marriages. There are families sheltered in
houses, which are not homes. A happy home does not come as a
matter of course because there has been a marriage ceremony, with pledged
vows and a ring, and the minister's "Whom God has joined together, let no
man put asunder," and a benediction. Happiness does not come through any
mere forms or ceremonies; it has to be planned for, lived for, sacrificed
for, prayed for, and ofttimes suffered for.
There must be a wise choosing before marriage, or
it may be impossible to make a happy home. At few points in life is divine
guidance more severely needed than when the question of marriage is decided.
A mistake then will cast its shadows down all the years to the close of
life. Many a career is blighted by a foolish marriage. Wedded happiness
depends greatly on reverent, prayerful, deliberate, wise choosing before
But now the choices have been made—carefully made—we will
say. The happy day has come. The plighted lovers stand at the
marriage-altar. Taking the woman's hand, the man says to her—"I take you to
be my wedded wife, to have and to hold, from this day forward, for better
for worse, for richer for poorer, in sickness and in health, to love and to
cherish, until death us do part, according to God's holy ordinance; and
thereto I pledge you my fidelity." Taking the hand of the man, the woman
says to him, with slight verbal variations, the same words. The two are
pronounced husband and wife, and go forth to begin their wedded life
together, no more twain, but now one.
The happy pair are in their own home. It may be a fine,
great house, with rich furniture, costly pictures, and all the elegance of
wealth; or it may be a little house, with four rooms, cheap furniture,
homemade carpets, and empty of adornment. It makes very little difference
what the size of the house, or what its furniture may be. The happiness
of the home does not depend on the house or on what it contains; the people
who live in the house MAKE the happiness,—or MAR it.
The HUSBAND has his part. He must be a good man.
Not every man who marries thinks of the responsibility he assumes when he
takes a young girl away from the shelter of father-love and mother-love—the
softest, warmest nest in the world, and leads her into a new home, where
henceforth his love is to be her only shelter. Well may the woman say as she
goes to the marriage altar–
"Before I trust my fate to you,
Or place my hand in thine;
Before I let your future give
Color and form to mine;
Before I peril all to thee,
Question your soul tonight for me.
Does there within your dimmest dreams
A possible future shine
Wherein your life could henceforth breathe
Untouched, unshared by mine?
If so, at any pain or cost,
Oh, tell me before all is lost."
No man is fit to be a husband who is not a good man. He
need not be great, nor rich, nor brilliant, nor clever, but he must be good,
or he is not worthy to take a gentle, trusting woman's tender life into his
keeping. Of course he must love his wife; without love there is no
real marriage, and ceremony and ring and vows and prayer are only empty
formalities. He must love his wife and be always her lover. The world has
read and heard quite enough moralizing about a wife's duty to be always
winning and attractive, retaining the charm of girlhood amid all cares,
toils, and sorrows. Of course; but is a husband under less obligation to
love his wife and always to be lover-like? This is a good rule, which should
work both ways.
But affectionateness, however desirable, is not all that
is needed in a husband who would do his full share in happy home making.
Life is not all sentiment. We cannot live on ambrosia. Happiness must have a
very practical basis. A good husband must be a man. He must be a good
man-manly, true, worthy, brave, generous, a man whom a noble woman can
respect and honor all the days of her life. He must be a sober man; no man
who comes home under the influence of intoxicating drink, even occasionally
only, is going to do quite his share in making happiness for the woman who
has trusted her all to him. He must be a man of pure, unblemished life,
whose character is above suspicion, whose name will always be an honor and a
pride in his own home. The husband has a great deal to do with the question
of home happiness.
The WIFE, too, has a responsibility. The prosaic
arts of housekeeping are far more important factors of home happiness than
many people without experience imagine. John Ruskin talks to young women of
the etymology of the name 'wife'—"What do you think the beautiful word
'wife' comes from?" he asks. "It means 'weaver.' You must either be
house-wives or house-moths; remember that. In the deep sense, you must weave
men's fortunes, and embroider them, or feed upon them, and bring them to
decay. Wherever a true wife comes, home is always around her. The stars may
be the canopy over her head, the glow-worm in the night's cold grass be the
fire at her feet, but home is where she is; and for a noble woman it
stretches far around her,—better than houses with ceilings of cedar, or with
paintings of the masters, shedding its quiet light for those who else were
Home is the true wife's kingdom. There, first of all
places, she must be strong and beautiful. She may touch life outside in many
ways, if she can do it without slighting the duties that are hers within her
own doors. But if any calls for her service must be declined, they should
not be the duties of her home. These are hers, and no other one's. Very
largely does the wife hold in her hands, as a sacred trust, the happiness
and the highest good of the hearts that nestle there. The best husband—the
truest, the noblest, the gentlest, the richest-hearted—cannot make his home
happy if his wife be not, in every reasonable sense, a helpmate to him.
In the last analysis, home happiness depends on the wife.
Her spirit gives the home its atmosphere. Her hands fashion its beauty. Her
heart makes its love. And the end is so worthy, so noble, so divine, that no
woman who has been called to be a wife, and has listened to the call, should
consider any price too great to pay, to be the light, the joy, the blessing,
the inspiration of a home.
Men with fine gifts think it worth while to live to paint
a few great pictures which shall be looked at and admired for generations;
or to write a few songs which shall sing themselves into the ears and hearts
of men. But the woman who makes a sweet, beautiful home, filling it with
love and prayer and purity, is doing something better than anything else her
hands could find to do beneath the skies.
Some marriages are unhappy. How can husband and wife live
happily in their wedded life? Wedded happiness is a lesson that must be
learned. No two lives brought into this close relation can blend into one
without self-discipline. "Marriage is the beautiful unfolding of many
Ofttimes it takes a long while for a wedded pair to learn
the lesson of living happily together. They are discouraged because such
love as theirs does not yield perfect happiness from the very first day. It
always costs to learn the lesson. The block of marble must wane, as the
statue is sculptured and grows. There must be the cutting away of much in
both lives; there must be restraint, self-denial, self-effacement, while
they are being trained to live one life rather than two. Love is always
Paul lays down the basis for happy wedded life in the
words—"Wives, be in subjection to your husbands, as is fitting in the Lord.
Husbands, love your wives, and be not bitter against them" (Colossians
3:18-19). Perhaps these instructions are not always well understood.
Sometimes one of the counsels, and sometimes the other, is unduly
emphasized. Some men insist upon the first—"Wives, be in subjection to your
husbands." They interpret the words somewhat harshly, as if a wife were to
be only as a child to her husband, or even as a servant, whose duty is to
minister to his desires, to please him, to run at his every call and
command. This is in accordance with heathen notions of the marriage
relation, but it is not after Christian teaching.
It is to be particularly noted that Paul nowhere
says—"Wives, obey your husbands." In our Common Version the word "obedient"
occurs in one place; but in the Revised Version the counsel is that wives
should be "in subjection to" their husbands. Indeed, however, the spirit of
love is always that of subjection, of yielding, or serving, in all life's
In another place, where Paul gives like instruction, his
words are—"Wives be in subjection unto your own husbands, as unto the
Lord. For the husband is the head of the wife, as Christ also is head of
the Church" (Ephesians 5:22-23). No doubt the husband is the head of the
household; but what a responsibility this teaching puts upon him! His wife
is to be in subjection to him, "as unto the Lord." He is to be to her
what Christ is to the Church.
If a man will insist on his wife fulfilling her part, he
must also insist on honestly fulfilling his own part,—all the sacred duties
which are his as a HUSBAND. What, then, is the husband's share in
this happy home making? "Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also
loved the Church, and gave Himself up for it" (Eph. 5:25). A husband is to
love his wife. Is love despotic? Does love put its object in a servant's
place? No; love serves. It seeks not its own. It desires "not to be served,
but to serve." It does not demand attention, deference, service, subjection.
It seeks rather to serve, to give, to honor.
The measure of the love required by the husband is
to be well noted—"Even as Christ also loved the Church." This is a lofty
standard. How did Christ show His love for His Church? Think of His
gentleness to His friends, His patience with them in all their faultiness,
His thoughtfulness, His unwearying kindness. Never did a harsh word fall
from His lips upon their ears. Never did He do anything to give them pain.
It was not easy for Him at all times to maintain such constancy and such
composure and quietness of love toward them; for they were very faulty, and
tried Him in a thousand ways. But His affection never wearied nor failed for
an instant. Husbands are to love their wives even as Christ also loved the
Church, and gave Himself up for it. He loved even to the cost of utmost
There are men, however, who would do this, whose love
would sacrifice even life itself for a wife, but who fail in daily and
hourly tenderness, when there is no demand for great self-denial. Hence
the other counsel must be remembered—"Love your wives, and be not bitter
against them." More wives might complain of the lack of love in the little
tendernesses than in great acts and manifestations.
A true woman's heart craves gentleness. It is hurt by
bitter words, by coldness, by impatience, by harsh criticisms, by neglect,
by the withholding of the expressions of affection. Love craves its daily
bread of tenderness. No husband should deny his wife the little things of
affection, the amenities of love, along the busy, trying days, and then
think to make amends by putting a flower in her cold hand when she lies in
the coffin. Will not conscience then whisper love's reproach?
"You placed this flower in her hand, you say,
This pure, pale rose in her hand of clay?
Methinks, could she lift her sealed eyes,
They would meet your own with a grieved surprise.
When did you give her a flower before?
Ah, well, what matter, when all is o'er?
But I pray you think
That love will starve, if it is not fed
That true hearts pray for their daily bread."
No true wife will ever quarrel with the divine law that
makes the husband the head of the household, if she has a husband who loves
her up to the measure of the divine requirements for husbands—"Even as
Christ also loved the Church." Such love never demands obedience, never
demands anything; it seeks not to be served, but to serve.
On the other hand, true love in a wife also lives to
serve. Love always serves, or it is not love at all. The greatest in
Christ's kingdom are those who serve the most unselfishly. Husband and wife
vie with each other in loving and serving. They mutually bear each other's
burdens. The husband is the head, but he never says so; never reminds his
wife of it; never claims authority; and defers to her in everything.
The wife recognizes her husband as head, honors him,
looks up to him with esteem and confidence—all the more because he never
demands subjection. Thus true love in husband and wife never has any trouble
about rights or place. Side by side they stand, these two wedded lovers,
each a part of the other, each incomplete, a mere fragment without the
other, but strong in their happy union in love.
But there are other elements in the composition of the
home. Among the blessings which make happiness are the CHILDREN, who
come with their sweet life and their holy gladness. Children bring cares and
troubles, and demand toil and sacrifice, ofttimes cost pain and grief; yet
the blessing they bring to a true home a thousand times repays the care and
the cost. It is a sacred hour in a home when a baby is born and laid in the
arms of a young father and mother. It is the final seal upon their wedded
love. It is the closing benediction of the marriage ceremony. It draws
fragments of heaven trailing after it to the home on earth. Few deeper,
purer joys are ever experienced in this world than the joy of true parents
on the birth of their first child. Much of home's happiness along the years
is made by the children. They are also great blessings to their parents.
Ofttimes they teach more lessons than they are taught. We say we train our
children; but they train us, also, if we think of them as we should,—as
immortal beings come from God to be prepared by us for their mission. A
reverent mother sings softly over her child's cradle–
"My child, I fear you; you are a spirit, soul!
How shall I walk before you?
and keep my garments whole?
O Lord, give strength,
give wisdom for the task.
To train this child for You."
Jesus said of little children, that those who receive
them in His name receive Him. May we not, then, surely say that children
bring great possibility of blessing and happiness to a home? If we receive
them as Christ's messengers, as sent to us in His name, and entertain them
as we would entertain Him if He had come in place of them, we shall get from
them deep and rich good and joy.
A true mother is one of the holiest secrets of home
happiness. God sends many beautiful things to this world, many noble gifts;
but no blessing is richer than that which He bestows in a mother who has
learned love's lessons well, and has realized something of the meaning of
her sacred calling.
A FATHER also should be a blessing to a home. The modern
tendency to put upon the wife and mother all the responsibility for the
making of the home and its happiness is not sanctioned by Christian
teachings. The divine commands for the building of the home and the training
of the children are given primarily to the man, although meant for both
husband and wife. He cannot evade the responsibility; his position as the
head of the family puts upon him the obligation. Besides, it is not manly
that a man should want to put the whole burden on her whom he calls "the
weaker vessel." If his wife is weak and he is so strong, let him remember
that it is the privilege and the duty of strength to bear the heavy part of
There are parts of the home duty which a woman can do
infinitely better than a man. Men's hands are clumsy, and often hurt gentle
hearts, when it was meant that they should give healing and help. The man
has the heavy care of providing for the household. There are tasks, too, for
which woman's gentler hands are better fitted. But let no husband nurse the
notion that he has no responsibility for the happiness of his home beyond
providing food and clothing and other comforts. His strong life should be
the secure shelter beneath which his wife and children may safely abide.
His character should be a continual revealing of the love and truth and
holiness of God. He should live so that, seeing him day after day, his
family shall learn to know the beauty of Christ. He is the priest of his
house, and as such should both speak to God for his family and speak to them
for God. Through him blessings should come to his home every day.
BROTHERS and SISTERS have their part in making the home
happiness. Yet not always do they live together so as to make the music of
the home one glad, sweet song. Sometimes there is a lack of congeniality in
their dispositions. Then ofttimes there seems to be the feeling that home
affections do not need the culture that other friendships require. We
cannot be brusque, curt, or crude with other people, and expect them to bear
patiently with us in spite of our unmannerly behavior. But we are sure
of our 'home friends',—so we let ourselves feel,—and do not need to be
gentle and thoughtful towards them. So it is that in too many homes brothers
and sisters live together year after year under the same roof, mingling in
the household communion, yet never forming close friendships, soul never
knitting to soul, strangers to each other's inner life. Thus many rich
possibilities of close and holiest friendships are missed.
Another thing that too often mars the home life of
brothers and sisters is a spirit of 'commanding' and criticism. Faults are
seen, and openly, and not in a gentle way, pointed out and reproved. What
one does the others are apt to do; and thus the habit grows, until little
but 'sharp speech' and 'inappropriate wrangling' is heard in the home where
the conversation might have so much in it of sweetness and profit.
These are suggestions of ways in which, in too many
homes, one of the secrets of happiness is lost. It is possible for brothers
and sisters to live together in a home so as to add greatly to the happiness
and the richness of the household life, and to be comforts and helps to each
other. It is said that the poet sisters, Alice and Phoebe Cary, had a secret
of happy living together which it were well if all brothers and sisters
could learn. "Whatever one felt or endured, because of it she would not
inflict any suffering upon her sister! no, not even if that sister had
inadvertently been the cause of it. If one sister was out of sorts, she went
into her own room, shut her door, and had it out by herself."
These are good rules to be adopted in other homes. If we
are feeling uncomfortable from any cause, we have no right, according to the
law of love, to diffuse our irritations through the household. If we are in
any unhappy mood, in which we cannot suppress the ill-humor, we have no
right to vent it in the circle of our loved ones, and would far better go to
our own room, or out into the fresh air, alone, somewhere, and stay until we
have gotten back our sweet spirit again, so that we can scatter roses, not
thorns, among our loved ones.
The possibilities of happiness and blessing among
brothers and sisters can be realized only by cultivating the love that seeks
not its own, that is not provoked, that bears all things, endures all
things, and never fails (1 Corinthians 13:4-8). Love's first lesson
is that of giving up one's own way, denying one's self, suffering in
silence. Where this lesson has been learned, or is being learned, in a
household of young people, each thinks of giving to the others, not of
taking from them. Each cultivates gentleness and kindness. The speech of the
home grows quiet and tender, is never loud nor angry. The Golden Rule is
the law of each life. There is love, and love that reveals itself in a
thousand little ways of courtesy and thoughtfulness—nameless things, but
things that make up a home happiness on which heaven's angels look down with
Not very long can any family life go on unbroken. Death
will visit every home. While we may, we should live together sweetly,
patiently, loving and serving each other in all beautiful and Christly ways.
The daily home-life of the household carries in it many
possibilities of happiness which are not always realized in families. Some
SUGGESTIONS may be made.
1. One is that love must prevail
in all the family life. Let parents keep the confidence and
affection of their children as long as they live. One of the ways to make
sure of this is never to tire of the little marks and tokens of love which
children naturally give. The time never comes when it is unmanly for a man
to kiss his mother. In the ideal home every child has a good-night kiss for
the parents before parting for bed. Let the children do their part, too, in
showing affection. There are homes, chill and cold, which could be warmed
into love's richest glow in a little time, if all the household hearts were
to grow affectionate to each other.
2. Another suggestion is, that
all family strife and contention should cease. Why should parents
discourage their children by continually nagging and finding fault with
them? Why should children dishonor their parents by disobedience, by crude
and unfilial treatment, by lack of respect, by refusing to yield to the
order of the home? Why should brothers fail in the duties of civility and
courtesy to their sisters? Why should sisters show no loving interest in
their brothers, and fail to overshadow them as with angel-wings? Why should
brothers wrangle and quarrel, separate their interests, and not stand
together? Why should sisters have their miserable little disputes, their
envies, jealousies and resentments? Let there be peace in all the home-life.
3. Another suggestion is, that
we should not grow discouraged, even if our homes are not yet
what we crave. There are some who feel that the battle is hopeless; that
they can never grow into beautiful life and character in their present
circumstances. That is a mistake. It is possible to grow into all the beauty
of peace wherever we may be placed. A lily finds its home in a black
bog, but blooms into perfect loveliness.
Suppose that your home-life is discouraging, even to the
last degree; yet you may live sweetly in the midst of it, through the
grace and help of God. And who knows but that your sweet life may become
the power of God to change the home-life into heavenliness? Perhaps God has
put you as leaven there, to leaven the whole lump.
I have known a girl go out of a godless, worldly home to
college, to find Christ and return home a beautiful earnest Christian. Then
I have seen that home transformed in a few years, by that daughter's quiet
influence, into an ideal Christian home.
At least, though our home be not what we would like it to
be, though it lack warmth and tenderness and congeniality, still, while it
is our home, it is our duty to stay in it contentedly, and grow in it into
beauty. We know that Jesus lived until thirty years of age in a humble
peasant home, with but little culture and education, amid the privations of
poverty and hard toil. Yet He was not discontented there. He did not
complain of the narrowness and the littleness. He did not chafe under the
limitations and the burdens. There His life grew into that marvelous
sweetness, that wondrous beauty, that richness and greatness, which we see
in Him, when, at thirty years of age, He went out to begin His ministry.
Wherever we are planted, we, too, can grow into strength, nobleness and
4. Patience is
another lesson in learning to live happily together at home. The children of
a family have not all the same tastes. It is very easy to fall into the
habit of criticizing each other. We know how nearly Martha spoiled her home
happiness, and her sister's also, by criticism. Criticism never fosters
affection; you never loved any one better for criticizing you. Usually
the best service we can do to a brother or sister is to live a sweet,
patient, beautiful, Christly life ourselves, leaving to God the
fashioning of their lives. If they are true Christians, He is teaching them
and putting His own image on their souls. We might mar this divine work by
Suppose you went into an artist's studio and saw a
picture at which he had been working for months, yet unfinished; would you,
not being an artist, take up his brush and begin to put touches here and
there on the canvas? Each life of husband or wife, child, brother or sister,
in your home is a picture which God is painting, and which is yet
unfinished. Beware that you mar not His work! So let us be patient with one
another at home. We all have our faults, we all make mistakes—but we can
help each other more by loving patience, than by scathing criticism.
5. True Religion is
the great master-secret of all happy home life! The spirit of Christ alone
will enable us to live together in perfect peace and love. The presence of
Christ in the home is a perpetual blessing. We cannot be selfish, we cannot
wrangle and strive, we cannot be bitter and unkind, we cannot be irritable
and unreasonable, when conscious of the presence of Christ. If only we can
make Christ an abiding guest in our home, and if we can keep ourselves aware
of His being with us, our household life cannot help but grow wondrously
Into every home, at some time, SORROW comes. Then it is
that the blessing of religion is specially revealed. We do not see the stars
until the sun goes down. The comforts of Christian faith do not reveal
themselves to us in their richest light and peace until the darkness of
sorrow rests upon our home. But there is light in the darkness when
Christ is the guest. Indeed, it is true that when Christ is in a home,
even sorrow itself becomes one of the secrets of happiness. Our Lord's
beatitude says—"Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted"
Homes that have never known grief may be very happy in
love, and very bright with sweet gladness; but after sorrow has been a guest
within their doors, and has left its messages and blessings, there is a
depth of quiet joy never experienced before. The family fellowship is
sweeter after there has been a break in the circle. The love is tenderer
when tears have come into its gladness. A vacant chair is a new and sacred
bond in the household life.
But it is only when Christ is in the home that sorrow
sweetens the life. There can be no rainbow without cloud and rain;
but neither can there be a rainbow, even with cloud and rain, unless the sun
is shining through the falling drops. The rarest splendors of happiness can
be known only when sorrow's clouds have overshadowed the home and the rain
of tears is falling; but unless the light of divine love is pouring through
the tears there can be no splendor of peace and comfort; nothing but
darkness and cloud.
Few things we can do in this world are so well worth
doing as the making of a beautiful and happy home. He who does this builds a
sanctuary for God and opens a fountain of blessing for men. Far more than we
know, do the strength and beauty of our lives depend upon the home in which
we dwell. He who goes forth in the morning from a happy, loving, prayerful
home, into the world's strife, temptation, struggle, and duty, is
strong—inspired for noble and victorious living. The children who are
brought up in a true home go out trained and equipped for life's battles and
tasks, carrying in their hearts a secret of strength which will make them
brave and loyal to God, and will keep them pure in the world's severest
We may all do loving service, therefore, by helping to
make one of the world's homes,—the one in which we dwell—brighter and
happier. No matter how plain it may be, or how old-fashioned, if love is in
it, if prayer connects it with heaven, if Christ's blessing is upon it, it
will be a transfigured spot! Poverty is no severe trial if the home is full
of bright cheer. The hardest toil is light if love sings its songs amid the
"Dear Moss," said the thatched roof on an old ruin, "I am
so worn, so patched, so ragged, really I am quite unsightly. I wish you
would come and cheer me up a little. You will hide all my infirmities and
defects; and, through your loving sympathy, no finger of contempt or dislike
will be pointed at me."
"I come," said the moss; and it crept up and around, and
in and out, until every flaw was hidden, and all was smooth and fair.
Presently the sun shone out, and the old thatched roof looked bright and
fair, a picture of rare beauty, in the golden rays.
"How beautiful the roof looks!" cried one who saw it.
"How beautiful the thatched roof looks!" said another. "Ah," said the old
thatched roof, "rather let them say, 'How beautiful is the loving moss!' For
it spends itself in covering up all my faults, keeping the knowledge of them
all to herself, and by her own grace, making my age and poverty wear the
garb of youth and luxuriance."
So it is that love covers the plainness and the
coarseness of the lowliest home. It hides its dreariness and its faults. It
softens its roughness. It changes its pain into profit, and its loss into
Let us live more for our homes. Let us love one another
more. Let us cease to complain, criticize and contradict each other. Let us
be more patient with each other's faults. Let us not keep back the warm
loving words that lie in our hearts until it is too late for them to give
comfort. Soon separations will come. One of every wedded pair will stand
by the other's coffin and grave. Then every bitter word spoken, and every
neglect of love's duty, will be as a thorn in the heart.
Thomas Carlyle, that gifted author, when he passed the
spot where he had last seen his wife alive, would bare his old head in wind
or rain, his features wrung with bitter, unavailing sorrow. "Oh", he would
say, "if I could see her but for five minutes, to assure her that I really
cared for her throughout all that time! But she never knew it—she never knew
We must give account for our idle silences as well
as for our idle words.
"Happy the home when God is there,
And love fills every breast;
When one their wish, and one their prayer,
And one their heavenly rest.
Happy the home where Jesus' Name
Is sweet to every ear;
Where children early lisp His fame,
And parents hold Him dear.
Happy the home where prayer is heard,
And praise is used to rise;
Where parents love the sacred Word
That makes us truly wise.
Lord, let us in our homes agree,
This blessed peace to gain;
Until our hearts in love to Thee,
And love to all will reign."