Henry Grady and His Mother.


Child at Prayer by Eastman Johnson, circa 1873
Henry Grady and his Mother.

That nobly gifted editor of Atlanta, Georgia, Henry Grady, a great publicist, a thrilling orator, a humanity-serving citizen, one of the South's most honored sons, got far away, right in the zenith of his
power and popularity, from Christ. Like many others similarly situated, he neglected the things of Christ and drifted with the tide. Far back yonder when he was a boy, he made a profession of religion, and for a while observed the religious habits, but when his remarkable fame and career came on, he neglected the Christian life, and went drifting with the tide. They told me, when I was speaking in Atlanta some years ago, this beautiful chapter out of his great life. When he had made one of his loftiest speeches, on one occasion, and plaudits from North, South, East, and West were coming to him on every wire, he slipped out of the office of the Constitution, his daily paper in Atlanta, saying to his associates as he left: "You need not know where I am, but I am going to find mother to-night in the little home. I have something to say to her. I will be back in the morning. You need not know where I am." And he took an out-of-the-way road to his mother's cottage, and when he reached it, he said to his mother: "Mother, all these plaudits, all this fame, all this notoriety, all this popularity, all this applause—these do not satisfy my heart. Mother, I once thought that I was a Christian, but if I was I have got far away from God, and I have come back, mother, to ask you if I may not kneel down at your knee, and be a little boy again, like I was when I was at home with you, and say my simple prayer, like I used to say it every day when the day was done. And then, when I have said my prayer like that, I wonder if you won't take me to my bed, and tuck the cover around me, just like you used to do when I was a little boy, and then, when you have tucked the cover around me, if you won't bend down over me and pray for your little boy, for God to teach him and guide him and help him, just like you used to pray for me when I was a little boy." And that is exactly what happened in that little home that night. Great Henry Grady knelt at his mother's knee like he used to do as a little boy, and said his simple, boyish prayer, like he used to say it long years before, and then his dear old mother escorted him to his room and bed, and she tucked the cover about him, and bent over him, with tears and prayers, commending her boy to the great Saviour. And then she kissed him, like she used to do, and left him alone. And in the gray of the early morning Henry Grady came from his room, and found his mother, and there was a light on his face fair like the morning light, and he said: "Mother, I was a little child last night, and felt out after Jesus, and He met me and has spoken peace to my poor, wandering heart."— George W. Truett, D.D.