A mother wrote a story about her daughter in which she represented her as making some unkind and rude remarks to her sister. Julia was a reader of the newspapers, and it did not escape her notice. The incident was a true one, but it was one she did not care to remember, much less did she like to see it in print.
“Oh! Mother, Mother,” she exclaimed, “I do not think you are kind to write such stories about me. I do not like to have you publish it when I say anything wrong.”
“How do you know it is you? It is not your name.” Julia then read the story aloud.
“It is I. I know it is I, Mother. I shall be afraid of you if you write such stories about me, I shall not dare to speak before you.”
“Remember, my child, that God requireth the past, and nothing which you say, or do, or think, is lost to Him.”
Poor Julia was quite grieved that her mother should record the unpleasant and unsisterly words which fell from her lips. She did not like to have any memorial of her ill-nature preserved. Perhaps she would never have thought of those words again in this life; but had she never read this passage of fearful import, the language of Jesus Christ: “But I say unto you that for every idle word that men shall speak, they shall give account thereof in the day of judgment” (Matthew 12:36)? Julia thought that the careless words which had passed her lips would be forgotten, but she should have known that every word and act of our lives is to be recorded and brought to our remembrance.
I have known children to be very much interested, and to be influenced to make a great effort to do right, by an account-book which was kept by their mothers. When such a book is kept at school, and every act is recorded, the pupils are much more likely to make an effort to perform the duties required of them. So it is in Sabbath-schools. I recently heard a Sabbath-school superintendent remark that the school could not be well sustained unless accounts were kept of the attendance, etc., of the pupils.
Many years ago a man, brought before a tribunal, was told to relate his story freely without fear, as it should not be used against him. He commenced to do so, but had not proceeded far before he heard the scratching of a pen behind a curtain. In an instant he was on his guard, for by that sound he knew that, notwithstanding their promise, a record was being taken of what he said.
Silently and unseen by us the angel secretaries are taking a faithful record of our words and actions, and even of our thoughts. Do we realize this? And a more solemn question is, What is the record they are making?
Not long ago I read of a strange list. It was an exact catalogue of the crimes committed by a man who was at last executed in Norfolk Island, with the various punishments he had received for his different offenses. It was written out in small hand by the chaplain, and was nearly three yards long.
What a sickening catalogue to be crowded into one brief life. Yet this man was once an innocent child. A mother no doubt bent lovingly over him, a father perhaps looked upon him in pride and joy, and imagination saw him rise to manhood honored and trusted by his fellow-man. But the boy chose the path of evil and wrong-doing regardless of the record he was making, and finally committed an act, the penalty for which was death, and he perished miserably upon the scaffold.
Dear readers, most of you are young, and your record is but just commenced. Oh, be warned in time and seek to have a list of which you will not be ashamed when scanned by Jehovah, angels, and men. Speak none but kind, loving words, have your thoughts and aspirations pure and noble, crowd into your life all the good deeds you can, and thus crowd out evil ones.
We should not forget that an account-book is kept by God, in which all the events of our lives are recorded, and that even every thought will be brought before us at the day of judgment. In that day God will judge the secrets of men: He will bring to light the hidden things of darkness, and will make manifest the counsels of the heart.
There is another book spoken of in the Bible—the book of life, and it is said that no one can enter heaven whose name is not written in the Lamb’s book of life.
Angels are now weighing moral worth. The record will soon close, either by death or the decree, “He that is unjust, let him be unjust still, and he which is filthy, let him be filthy still; and he that is righteous, let him be righteous still; and he that is holy let him be holy still” (Revelation 22:11). We have but one short, preparing hour in which to redeem the past and get ready for the future. Our life record will soon be examined. What shall it be! [Emphasis author’s.]
Sabbath Readings for the Home Circle, pages 25–28. Published by M.A. Vroman, 1905.