Words of Advice to Children and Grandchildren

I was born in Dahlshult Ocotober 22, 1821. My father was Peter Anderson and my mother was Christina Andersdotter. I was given early to my savior by being baptized and was named Lars Peter. I learned to read at an early age and received instruction in the Christian religion, particularly from my older half brothers and sisters (who had been pupils of Reverend Hof). Nevertheless, the sinful roots in my heart developed often into disobedience and selfishness and my parent’s warnings were received with ill will, although I early and often was aware of the reproaches of my conscience. I learned writing and arithmetic and received a thorough instruction in the Christian religion.

When I, at an age of 15 years, was confirmed, the Reverend C. F. Nilson stated that I had a good knowledge of the Christian religion. This flattered me, although I knew that the condition of my conscience was not as it ought to have been at that time, although from the thorough teaching and urging I received during the preparation of my confirmation, I had often emotional feelings and made some weak resolution to improve, but because of the less suitable companionship I was seeking and found outside my home, I became a lighthearted, and for religion, a thoughtless young man.

I lost my father in the year 1843 and the following year I married Miss Lovisa Nilson from Brannesbacka, daughter of a sea captain, N. Nilson. These years of my life were of special importance. My father was ill for a long time and during that time had visits of an earnest and zealous clergyman from a nearby parish. My future wife took sick the same year form typhoid fever and was visited by the same honest teacher and became thereby taken by the spirit of God, so that she on her side also took a solemn step to renounce sin and worldliness. This, together with the sorrow over my beloved father’s death, was for me also a strong “Father drawing towards Son” that I did also seriously make up my mind to improve.

After my parents-in-law had celebrated our wedding and my wife had moved to our home, we together often visited and listened to the divine services by the previous mentioned clergyman at the nearby parish (he also visited us) and he urged and encouraged us to seek in all seriousness God and His righteousness. The years pass. Our marriage was blessed with 8 children, 5 boys and 3 girls. One girl, the seventh child, after living only three weeks, moved into her heavenly Father’s home. God blessed also our worldly goods so that I feared that I would get my “share” in this life only.

For many years we were both in good health. I received many municipal appointments and responsibilities and because of that I allowed my thoughts and mind to be divided into worldly matters. My decision to improve I renewed daily but I noticed that sin followed me and realizing my sinfulness, my weakness, my great plight, I still did not have the courage to freely throw myself on His mercy or console me of my sins forgiveness, because (as I thought) I would immediately fall again and “without sanction nobody can see God”. I did not consider that Christ is given to us by God for wisdom, for justice, for confirm and delivery. Oh! If I had come to him who said: “If you believe you shall see God’s glory.” Now instead I have been torn between fear and hope, between love for the world and abhorrence for its folly. I fought against sin but without success, and I often called out “I poor layman, who shall free me from this wasted, sinful body.”

But God through his wealth of goodness, wants to tempt us to salvation and he sent me a cross to carry. Through a body affliction, my health became so weakened that I was unable to perform any hard work, and I realize now that this was to draw me to the Lord. Oh! That now I had let me to be drawn, I can still feel my unworthiness, my weakness. Oh! I am the most miserable, but whom shall go to but to Jesus, my sin’s redeemer, and who has said “Whom so ever comes to me, he shall not be thrown out.”

And now I am standing at the side of my grave with this prayer: “Lord, think not of the sins of my youth, my manhood errors and my transgressions, but think of me for thine mercies and thine goodness sake.” God have mercy over me, the sinner. And now my beloved wife: “Thank you for your true love, you have been God’s messenger and instrument to drag me away from the vanity of the world, a reason an encouragement for a more serious intent of seeking the salvation of my soul. I hope now that the suffering from your separation shall be softened because “soon we shall meet again in the swelling of peace.”

And now my beloved children: I will die and may God bless you. Believe in him and his teachings. I must confess that I may have neglected much in your bringing up; but if you have opportunity to absorb knowledge and reason to practice true Christianity, do not forget the teachings and examples you received in your home. Your childhood and youth may have already passed, so you need seriously to pray: “Think not of the sins and transgressions of my youth, but think of me for thine mercy and thine goodness sake, O Lord.”

And so one word to you my beloved grandchildren. Think of your creator in your youth before evil days arrive and the coming years of which it might be said they are not to my liking. Realize that to believe in God is useful in all situations and promises a happy life in this world as well as in the world beyond. Do not love the world or worldly things such as sensuousness, greed and self-esteem, because this world’s beings perish. Do not let yourself be misled; wicked talk destroys good habits; avoid drinking; gambling and dancing; do not take part in evil jests as true Christians do not practice those things because God shall bring to light all doings before the great judge, even those things that are secret.

--Lars Peter Peterson Dahlshult

(translation from the Swedish)

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