CHANGE IN HIS LIFE PURPOSE
Hitherto, his life was what may be termed undefined. His purpose was to make a living, improve his mind, and support his mother; but there comes a period in every man’s history which affects the course and color of its life-stream. The current rushes on headlong until some obstruction, some opening, some opposition meets it. It dashes over the rocks or flows around them and becomes a brilliant cascade or quiet rivulet, perchance a stagnant pool; or with gathered accession and impetus, a widely sweeping current. It is an epoch – a crisis – in the individual’s It may be ambition or love or business or bereavement or temptation, or the voiceless breath of God’s Spirit upon the inmost soul. Thought is awakened, the mind is directed in upon itself, and life in all its stern realities is disclosed as never before. Life is before him, a lone sea to be navigated for himself, a long voyage, and he must choose his course.
Carlyle has with facile pen described this soul crisis in his “Sartor Resartus,” but in this book is no voiceful expression from the living Word; no inspiring breath from the Holy Spirit; no smile of love from the Lord Jesus; no cloudless dawn upon the soul, wrapping the whole being in light and clothing every natural gift and power with a beauty and a radiance not of earth. God’s call to the ministry of his own blessed Word and Spirit is, indeed, a crisis whose record will endure when sun and stars have gone out. Blessed is he who has received and heard and obeyed and fulfilled that call, who has met God alone, and goes forth with a message given him.
Young Graves had met God and joyfully surrendered to him, and God gave him his life message to his own generation.
He resigned his school and returned to his mother’s home in Ohio. He gave his time to thought, to study and to prayer. For some months which he said were the happiest of his life and the most important, he studied for the ministry, “making the Bible the man of his counsel and Paul his instructor in theology and logic.”