Into the inner chamber of privilege and training with the child from babyhood on, we would, if we could, woo many a man, who has a child but is not a father, and many a woman whose child has yet to know a real mother, for their own sakes, as well as for the babe's. The admission fee at the door is very high. Mere money never gets admission; only life tinged with its own spilling. The doorkeeper is very insistent on being paid. There is, daily toll to be paid, too,—red toll, given, like the Spirit, without measure, and poured out without stint.
But there are precious secrets of heart and brain and life in that inner room never gotten elsewhere. Here is the keenest stimulant for the brain; for love is the best brain tonic, and a mother's best of all. And with the stimulant goes rare opportunity for the culture of the mental powers. There is that rarest of all social polishing,—gentle consideration, fine self-control, and kindly regard for others, which underlies all true courtliness.
Here, too, is opportunity for a divinity course really divine, the nearest to first hand it is possible to get down here, such as the seminary never offered nor can, with such freshness and warmth of treatment as to attract all hearts.
But the doorway in is very narrow. And of the multitudes of those who have borne children it must be said, with gentle softness, but faithful plainness, few there be that go in thereat. Yet the number increases daily. Though the fees are high, and the requirements exacting, the enriched life, and trained thought, and sweetened spirit, and strengthened will, and broadened outlook, and mellowed sympathy with all men, make all payments seem small afterwards, and the requirements easy.
And the two teachers, the babe and the unseen Head-master, bring such sweets of friendship as had not been dreamed possible. Yet one needs to keep very, very close to the Head-master, and to practice great patience, for only so do these finest results come.