( Originally Published Early 1900's )
CERES, weary and disappointed at her vain search for her daughter Proserpine, renounced the society of the gods and came to earth to live. Coming to the city of Eleusis, she was forthwith employed as a nurse for the child Demophoon. The nurse gave the babe no food, and yet it grew miraculously. The secret was, she breathed in the face of the child the breath of a god as it lay in her arms. She anointed it with ambrosia and held it under the fire at night. The mother watched the nurse one night and screamed aloud at the treatment of the child. Ceres, in anger, threw the babe to the ground, stating that she had intended to make the child immortal, but the imprudence of the mother had prevented it. She said, however, that he should attain to earthly greatness.
God has made mothers nurses, Ceres-like ; and there is a divinity about their task. They are to breathe into the face of their children as they rest in their arms the breath of a holy inspiration. They must not think of leaving the work undone by throwing them to the ground, or be satisfied with giving them over to earthly greatness, but by grace divine they should breathe steadily upon them the sweet spirit of their life, till they become immortal.
I witnessed the death of one of the most brilliant young men, intellectually, I ever met. He called his father to him and said beautiful words of gratitude and affection. He gave his last words to his brothers, which were pathetic in the extreme. He then spoke sweetly to his sisters as he bade them farewell. He was brave while addressing the rest of the family, but when he turned to his mother his lips quivered and the tears came. He said, " Mother, come nearer," and she fell upon his face. He continued, " Mother, your influence has saved me. Your prayers and instruction and example have led me to Christ, and I shall be happy forever because you have done your duty by me. Kiss me once more before I die. Heaven will be sweet, but it will be sweeter because you are to be there." The room seemed to me then to be full of heavenly glory and of angels, as one of them unclasped the arms of the boy from the neck of his mother and took him away.
A Christian mother's tender arms are the shelter that angels' wings would furnish, and her spirit sinks into her child's heart with the omnipotence of love. Her tears of affection soften his spirit, and with the hand of faith she draws the arm of the Everlasting about her and him.