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May 22 1933

[Second Confessional Essay]1

(May 22, 1933 to July 26 1933)

On Monday May 22nd 1933 began a gradual but sure quickening and renewal of my spiritual life. All winter I had been living, or rather dragging out a dreary existence, on a lower spiritual moral and mental level than at anytime since my rebirth in 1896.2 I had given up keeping the morning watch before breakfast. My mind, particularly in bed at night and morning, was flooded with unclean sexual desires and thoughts. And I seeming utterly unable to control my thoughts. Indeed I was so low-spirited that I did not even try most of the time. Nor did I make any great effort to refrain from self-abuse in which I indulged two or three times a week, tho' not, I think, enough to affect seriously my physical health. I could not make myself study or do any honest work, but wasted my time reading an endless number of detective stories as a narcotic to help me forget my self-loathing. I wished I was dead most of the time, felt I would rather become extinct than go on as I was. I preached old sermons and I felt I had nothing to give my people at the San but was just going through the motions. Largely because of this, I sometimes went to a movie or Talkie Theatre instead of to the San to visit. Indeed I had been doing this for years. But it startled me when on one of these afternoons my Mother asked me how I had come down from the San, and I actually lied to her and said "By Bus." This helped me to realize my degradation. In the spring I commenced attending Tom Martin's Oxford Group at St. Giles. This and reading A.J. Russel's "For Sinners Only" helped me to attempt a new start. I straightened out my tithing account. And because I was uneasy in mind about it, (although my conscience was not deeply troubled), I decided that in order to be "absolutely honest," I must pay the Customs duties which I did not pay on returning from Britain in Aug. 1931.

On April 4, I paid to the Customs at T. H. and B. Station who had passed my trunks on the strength of my word, $125.42. I am not sure how much this had to do with what followed. I cannot even say that I was deliberately dishonest in not paying the duty in the first place as I had worn the clothes I bought abroad, some of them as much as a month, they were not dutiable. But I wished to take no chance of erring on the wrong side on this question of honesty. And when I asked the Customs officer, he declared that everything bought abroad was dutiable, whether worn or not.

Whether this helped to bring relief as an act of restitution or merely as an indication of my desire to do right at all costs, I do not know.

But, as stated above, I began to be conscious of a gradual quickening and renewal on Monday May 22nd.

On Tuesday I wrote two long overdue letters, something that for years I had had great difficulty in making myself do.

I began again to keep my Morning Watch before breakfast. The weather being so hot and dry that constant watering of the flowers and grass was necessary, I made this the cover for being down and out at six o'clock in the morning, and, after sitting-up exercises in my room or on the verandah, taking a run round the back garden path, which, on measuring, I found to be rather more than 1/24 of a mile. After beginning with two quarter mile heats (walking a round or two between them), I gradually increased the distance until by mid-July I was doing two half-mile heats.

On Wednesday May 24, I was enabled to make honest preparation for my Radio Hour next morning, which was Ascension Day and that the topic. Friday and Saturday forenoons I was helped prepare my Sacrament sermon on II Cor. 12:9 (My Grace is Sufficient) But in delivering it to men of East and West Pavilions (few present) felt no response in them nor power in myself.

On May 9th, Hamilton Presbytery meeting in Dundas, decided to postpone till Sept. 9 decision on recommendation of Finance Committee that grants to Chaplains, including $400 to San, be discontinued.

On Wednesday May 31st Conference open in Zion Church, Hamilton, and on Saturday passed resolution of Com. (Hughson Convenor) refusing aid to San. Most of the days Conference sat, I spent lobbying members of Hamilton Presbytery, in preparation for Sept. vote on grant to San--distasteful work. For two weeks I had suffered from almost constant toothache, the worst I had ever had.

On Saturday June 3rd went to Guelph with Hilda and Nellie James, and found Edna in worst mental condition I had seen in years. Yet the Peace of God possessed my heart, and I was happier than I had been in years, and more hopeful of permanent indwelling of the Holy Spirit than I can remember since conversion.

On Sunday March 19, I had preached Communion Sermon on Alabaster Box in Southern Pavilion, where girls are very dear to me and very responsive, and felt a great uplift of spirit. But it did not last.

On June 4 in the middle of Conference, I preached Communion Sermons on Pentecost to girls in Orchard Shacks, and was greatly blessed. The girls were attentive, but on enquiring afterward could discover no direct immediate results.

In June and July gave series of Bible Studies on Pentecost at Thursday morning Radio Hour, and on Tuesday evening to combined Oxford Groups of City, at National Children's Home on lawn. Response in both places most cordial and encouraging.

It is now Saturday July 22

Two months after the commencement of this wonderful renewal, which has been physical and mental as well as spiritual. I feel convinced that I have received a new lease of life all round. I am sure the Spirit is filling me and guiding me and controlling me as never before, except when I have been unnaturally excited. Am sleeping well, and enjoying all kinds of work, in garden, study and among my beloved people at the San, to a degree unknown in years, and happily without disturbing excitement.

On Wednesday next, July 26, [1933] I go to Staney Brae, Muskoka for a month.

[This entry, July 26, 1933, terminates the Confessional Essay portion of the diary].

1 For Calvin's first confessional essay, see Box 14-001. Excerpts from Calvin's daily entries at Box Box 14-002, Box 14-014, Box 14-018, Box 14-040.

2 In 1896, Calvin joined Rev. John Alexander Dowie's "Zion" Divine Healing Mission in Chicago in 1896. See W-MCP1-3b.016.

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The development of this website was directed by Mary Anderson, Ph.D. and Janelle Baldwin, M.A.
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