Abba, Father !

—the spirit of adoption, whereby we cry, Abba, Father.

— Romans 8:15

May 28:The hardest, gladdest thing in the world is to cry Father! from a full heart. I would help whom I may to call thus upon the Father, for there are things in all forms of the systematic teaching of Christianity to check this outgoing of the heart—with some to render it simply impossible. Such a cold wind blowing at the very gate of heaven—thank God, outside the gate!—is the so-called doctrine of Adoption. When a heart hears that it is not the child of God by origin, from the first of its being, but may possibly be adopted into his family, its love sinks at once in a cold faint: where is its own father, and who is this that would adopt it? Whatever any company of good men thinks or believes, is to be approached with respect; but nothing must come between the soul and spirit of the father, who is himself the teacher of his children.  

As no scripture is of private interpretation, so is there no feeling in human heart which exists in that heart alone, which is not, in some form or degree, in every heart; and thence I conclude that many must have groaned like myself under the supposed authority of this doctrine. The refusal to look up to God as our Father is the one central wrong in the whole human affair; the inability, the one central misery: whatever serves to clear any difficulty from the way of the recognition of the Father, will therefore more or less undermine every difficulty in life.

May 29: Is God not my very own Father? Is he my Father only in a sort or fashion—by a legal contrivance? The adoption of God would indeed be a blessed thing if another than he had given me being! But if he gave me being, then it means no reception, but repudiation. “O Father, am I not your child?”

It avails nothing to answer that we lost our birthright by the fall, that I have been cast out: can any repudiation, even that of God, undo the facts of my origin? Nor is it merely that he made me: by whose power do I go on living? When he cast me out, did I then begin to draw my being from myself—or from the devil? It cannot be that I am not the creature of God. Creation in the image of God is fatherhood. To be fit to receive his word implies being of his kind. No matter how his image may have been defaced in me: the thing defaced is his image, remains his defaced image. What makes me evil and miserable is, that the things spoiled in me is the image of the Perfect. In whatever manner I may have become an unworthy child, I cannot thereby have ceased to be a child of God. Is it not proof, this complaint of my heart at the word Adoption? Is it not the spirit of the child, crying out, Abba, Father? However bad I may be, I am the child of God, and therein lies my blame. Ah, I would not lose my blame, for in my blame lies my hope. It is the pledge of what I am, and what I am not; the pledge of what I am meant to be, what I shall one day be, the child of God in spirit and in truth.