Foote, Julia A.J.
|Varied Experiences--First and Last Dancing.|
I HAD grown to be quite a large girl by this time, so that my mother arranged for me to stay at home, do the work, and attend the younger children while she went out to days' work. My older sister went to service, and the entire care of four youngsters devolved upon me--a thing which I did not at all relish.
About this time my parents moved to Albany, where there was an African Methodist Church. My father and mother both joined the church, and went regularly to all the services, taking all the children with them. This was the first time in my life that I was able to understand, with any degree of intelligence,
The pomps and vanities of this world began to engross my attention as they never had before. I was at just the right age to be led away by improper acquaintances. I would gain my mother's consent to visit some of the girls, and then would go off to a party, and once went to the theater, the only time I ever went in my life. My mother found this out, and punished me so severely that I never had any desire to go again. Thus I bartered the things of the kingdom for the fooleries of the world.
All this time conviction followed me, and there were times when I felt a faint desire to serve the Lord; but I had a taste of the world, and thought I could not part with its idle pleasures. The Holy Spirit seemed not to strive with me; I was apparently left to take my fill of the world and its pleasures. Yet I did not entirely forget God. I went to church, and said my prayers, though not so
My parents had at this time a great deal of trouble with my eldest sister, who would run away from home and go to dances--a place forbidden to us all. Tho first time I ever attempted to dance was at a quilting, where the boys came in the evening, and brought with them an old man to fiddle. I refused several invitations, fearing my mother might come or send for me; but, as she did not, I yielded to the persuasions of the old fiddler, and went on to the floor with him, to dance.
The last time I made a public effort at dancing I seemed to feel a heavy hand upon my arm pulling me from the floor. I was so frightened that I fell; the people all crowded around me, asking what was the matter, thinking I was ill. I told them I was not sick, but that it was wrong for me to dance. Such loud, mocking laughter as greeted my answer, methinks is not often heard this side the gates of torment, and only then when they are opened to admit a false-hearted professor of
Had I persisted in dancing, I believe God would have smitten me dead on the spot. Dear reader, do you engage in this ensnaring folly of dancing? Reflect a moment; ask yourself, What good is all this dissipation of body and mind? You are ruining your health, squandering your money, and losing all relish for spiritual things. What good does it do you? Does dancing help to make you a better Christian? Does it brighten your hopes of happiness beyond the grave? The Holy Spirit whispers to your inmost soul, to come out from among the wicked and be separate.
I am often told that the Bible does not condemn dancing--that David danced. Yes, David did dance, but he danced to express his
After the dance to which I have alluded, I spent several days and nights in an agony of prayer, asking God to have mercy on me; but the veil was still upon my heart. Soon after this, there was a large party given, to which our whole family were invited. I did not care to go, but my mother insisted that I should, saying that it would do me good, for I had been moping for several days. So I went to the party. There I laughed and sang, and engaged in all the sports of the evening, and soon my conviction for sin wore away, and foolish amusements took its place.
Mothers, you know not what you do when you urge your daughter to go to parties to make her more cheerful. You may even be causing the eternal destruction of that daughter. God help you, mothers, to do right."