But to them the happiest days of all were not those high days and holidays. Through the mists of childhood the brightest associations lingered about one dear figure in the repose that always seemed to accompany a white crêpe shawl and satin gown. Sunday was the day on which mother gave herself to them as she could not through the week, and if there was one thing she cared about, it was that that day should be to every member of the household the happiest and most helpful of the seven. In the morning the children went with her regularly to the House of God, and there was more leisure to enjoy companionship at home on Sunday. But in addition, Mother had ways and means for making that day different from all others and much to be desired. The nicest toys and picture-books belonged to Sunday, as well as the prettiest frocks and a cosy fire in the drawing-room because the piano was there. Mother’s sweet voice made hymn-singing a delight. No talks were like her talks over the Bible, not to speak of Pilgrim’s Progress and other books that only appeared that day. Then she always had a basket of fruit for her little people in the afternoon. And just to see her looking so sweet and restful as she shared their enjoyments was not the least part of the happiness of the day.
Yes, home was home indeed and the nearest place to heaven, because it held that mother in whose heart was shed abroad the very love of God.
—Hudson Taylor in Early Years: The Growth of a Soul, 57
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