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fear that the tender-hearted boy (who could not hear of a Saviour and his love without a tear), would ever become a prodigal. Parental confidence was strong that early instruction would exert its appropriate and restraining power. Christian confidence in God, assured those ansious parents that their child would be saved from destruction, though he was going into danger. He went abroad. New scenes opened upon him. He was young and ardent, and the gay companions that surrounded him welcomed him to their circle, as they spread before him the allurements of pleasure and of sin. Be struggled for a while against the tempter. But one barrier of virtue yielded to the assault, and another, till he fell. The conquest was not easy, but it was at last achieved; and he plunged headlong into the vortex that has swallowed thousands, and from which few have ever been drawn.
There were those who saw his danger, and who desired to deliver him as a bird out of the hand of the fowler. They called him to their company. They set before him the joys of religion, but it had no attractions for his corrupted heart. They spoke of heaven, but his heaven had been already gained. They spoke of hell, but he feared it not; of Jesus and his dying love, but his eye was tearless and his heart unmoved. Argument, motives, entreaties were equally vain. The tender-hearted boy was hardened in sin. A coat of mail was on his soul.
POWER OF PARENTAL LOVE.
“ How would your parents feel, should they hear that you had become a Christian ?” said a pious friend to him, one day, as they were for a moment together. It was an arrow that found its way through the joints of the harness, and reached his heart. The rock was smitten, and the waters gushed. The fountains of the great deep were broken up. He fell on his knees, and besought his friend to pray. He thought of home ; of a parent's prayers and tears; and, as early recollections thronged on his mind, he resolved to return. He did turn to God. He renounced the ways of sin, and consecrated himself to the Saviour; and often have those parents' hearts been filled with joy, as they have heard the gospel preached by him whom they had in infancy dedicated to the ministry. Every tie but their love was sundered, and that tie drew him back. Parental faithfulness saved him in the hour of his danger.
This is not language too strong. God employs means to accomplish his purposes. In this case, he caused the early instructions of those pious parents to spring up like long-buried seed in the heart of that wayward youth. And such impressions are the most powerful that human instrumentality can make on the soul. The ties that entwine around the heart, and bind it to the scenes of early life, are the strongest that man can throw around his fellow-man. And when the sinner leaves the path of virtue, and wanders
into the ways of the transgressor, those impres. sions grow fainter and fainter, those ties weaker and weaker; but as long as they are not wholly obliterated or broken there is hope.
Oh yes ! there is hope for the vilest prodigal who has not yet forgotten his father's counsels and his mother's prayers. If the memory of a deserted mother, who prayed for him in infancy, calls a tear unbidden to his eye "unused to weep" there is hope even for him. He is not altogether lost. That thought may be a beacon light in the darkness of his black heart. He may be a wanderer on the broad ocean, tossed by the tem. pests of heaven, and driven by fiercer tempests in his own soul; but that thought of a mother's prayer and a mother's love,—THAT THOUGHT, that last expiring ray of hope, may be the polar star that shall lead him back to virtue, home, and God.
The return would be more natural than the departure. He would follow the guidance of an impression, which, it may be, the Holy Spirit made on his heart when he sat on his father's knee, or bowed by his mother's side to repeat his evening prayer.
Parents ! your power is next to omnipotent over the children that God has given you. The cords you fasten on their hearts are the strongest that human power can furnish to hold them back from ruin. Follow them with the ceaseless in fluence of parental love, from infancy onward to
OUR LIFE LIKE A FLOWER.
the grave. Make home sweet to the child. Throw around his heart a thousand tender associations, that will bind him, as with links of iron, to the home of his childhood, -to the parents that nurtured and sheltered him, and wept and prayed for him long ere he knew the meaning of prayers or tears. Impress on his heart your tenderness, your deep anxieties for his everlasting weal; and when he breaks away from your arms, and rushes on in the ways of sin and death, it may be, that he who would trample on a Saviour's blood, and despise the grace of God, and break his laws, and reject his proffered love, may pause before he tramples beneath his feet his mother's broken heart.
OUR LIFE LIKE A FLOWER. “For all flesh is as grass, and all the glory of mau as the flower of grass. The grass withereth, and the flower thereof talleth away: but the word of the Lord endureth for ever. And this is the word which by the gospel is preached unto you."-1 Peter i. 24. 25.
There's not a little flower that blows,
But doth a sermon preach.
And may some lesson teach.
See, in the evening of the day,
Lie wither'd on the ground.
And youth and children too.
Not half eo old as I!
Where we so soon must dwell ?
To heaven or to hell.
Salvation yet obtain ?
Shall ever seek in vain.
THE “GOOD SHEPHERD.”
Keep me ever near thy side.