Grandfather Jager

In 1901 Grandfather Jager died in his eighty sixth year. He was a truly happy old man, always rejoicing in all our joys and comforting us in our sorrows with his supreme confidence in the Mercy and Goodness of God. He had lived a wonderful life, having gone through so much poverty and hardship in his youth. After his father's death his family had been left practically destitute. He has written his life. It was his favourite Sunday occupation to write it; and when he had come to an end, he wrote it all over again. His manuscript is somewhat difficult to read; but Hilda Burn has a typewritten copy taken from her Mother's editing. From St Andrews we went to the funeral in Warriston, Edinburgh, where the old Scotch ceremonies were observed. They are most particular that each member of the family should occupy his proper place around the grave, and hold in his or her hand the cord or strap passed under the coffin to lower it down. Actually, it is only a symbolical cord that is held.

Few grandsons have had such a grandfather as I had. He took me with him on many of his travels and sea trips: and his house in Edinburgh was my second home. I spent many, many, delightful holidays there. What a privilege it was to live in company with that bright cheerful uncomplaining spirit, whose very presence made sunshine in the home. Every night before he retired he would read from the Bible, and pray with the household around him. I heard that prayer so often that I think I remember nearly every word of it. At the time, possibly, it did not convey deeper meaning to my senses, beyond those of reverence and aspiration for good; but, as the years go by, I find in his words a wonderful comprehensive declaration of faith, and a wide humanity with devotion and humility. Here is what I remember of it:-

We come unto Thee in His Name, and pray that we may obtain mercy and find trace to help in time of need.

Look, in mercy on our children (on us all). Oh that they may be led into the way of Truth and come unto the knowledge of Thee the only True God, and Jesus Christ whom Thou hast sent; Whom to know is life everlasting; whom to have is to have all things ...

(Cleanse us) from our sins through the sprinkling of the Blood of Jesus, Who, with His own Body on the Tree bore our sins and carried our sorrows, Who died the death of the Just for the unjust to bring us into life, Who went about doing good.

(Deliver us) from Satan who goeth about like a roaring lion, seeking who he may devour ....

We thank Thee for bringing us to see the light of another day in health and peace and safety - Thou givest seed-time and harvest (Thou makest the sun to shine) The earth is full of thy goodness - How great is Thy goodness! How wonderful are Thy works toward us the sinful children of men.

Bless our Queen and her ministers, our judges and rulers and all that have authority in the land. Give them the spirit of their Office, that they may do what is just and right and equal, and fear Thy great and Holy Name. Deliver us from infidelity and atheism, from indolence and presumption, from carnality and hypocrisy and from false pride. Heal our souls and give us peace.

Bless us in our going out and in our coming in. Let Thy mercy continually preserve us, that whether we live, we may live unto Thee; and whether we die, we may die in Jesus.

And unto Thy Gteat Name, Thou Eternal Jehovah, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit be everlasting praises. Amen.

It is almost significant that he did not pray to be delivered from selfishness for, to such a pure selfless soul, I feel sure the need for such a prayer would never have occurred.

It is but human in our frail nature to seek for assurance of the existence of God the Almighty. Many good people need no such assurance. Their faith is strong and unassailable because, doubtless, the Truth has been revealed to them. It may therefore be useful to point to a marvellous lay testimony as to the certainty of an all-seeing, all-powerful Being from Eternity to Eternity. This evidence lies in the design and structures of our Earth, in the action of the sun on our winds and oceans and rivers. How pure water is evaporated from the ocean, how it is carried by the winds to the land where it condenses into snow and rain, filling the rivers, making life possible, and replenishing the sea with salt, so that the process may be repeated. Were there no salt in the sea, we should soon languish and die, for it is on that fact, the presence of salt, and the regular and continual variation in the density or specific gravity of the oceans, that movement and currents in the oceans depend, and the very existence of the moisture-laden, life-giving winds. The explanation of what I have with great difficulty attempted to convey in this very imperfect statement is set out with fascinating detail and clarity in "The physical Geography of the Sea", by Matthew Fontaine Maury, Lieutenant, United States Navy. His treatise is now a hundred years old; but its truth is undimmed and his attribution of the marvellous design - which he likens to the works of a watch - to Him whom he calls 'The Great Architect of the Universe' must carry conviction to any honest reader. The first chapter of Bishop Butler's 'Analogy' is a most useful corrector of doubt. There I leave matters which are too high for me....

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