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There are many lovely sights, but there are few so lovely as a little child reading the Bible. It is beautiful to see a bee sucking the honey out of a fragrant flower, but it is far more beautiful to see a little child reading the Bible. It is beautiful to see a little bird sitting upon a lonely tree, and to hear it singing a sweet song, but it is far more beautiful to see and hear a little child reading the Bible.
It is beautiful to gaze on the innocent lamb as he frolics with his fleecy companions, up and down the hilly field in the sunshine; but a far more beautiful spectacle than that of the busy bee, the singing bird, or the sporting lamb, is the sight of a little child reading the Bible.
A CALL ON ONE AGED EIGHTY-TWO. Visitor. With your permission I will leave a tract with you, and as you are in years, perhaps “ OLD GABRIEL” may prove a word in season.
Old Man. Thank you, I will read it gladly; and if it be written in agreement with God's holy word, I shall prize it accordingly.
Visitor. You speak like one who is no stranger to Divine things; and you are, I hope, living a life of faith and obedience, renouncing yourself as nothing, and acknowledging God to be all in all.
· Old Man. I am eighty-two years of age come next March, and God has graciously given me, among many mercies, the mercy of being made sensible of his goodness; but I am not unmindful of my infirmities. I remember once, sir, hearing an aged minister declare from the pulpit, that when he was forty years old he considered himself so good, that he believed the temptations of Satan had no power over him; but when he had arrived at threescore and ten, he was constrained to acknowledge that “Satan had a bait for old birds still.” Now, sir, what the minister found at threescore and ten, I find at eighty-two-that I am a poor, weak, worthless creature, totally dependent on God's goodness and grace, feeling every day of my life, that « Satan has a bait for old birds still.”
Visitor. Come, I have got something by calling upon you, well worth remembering. If I leave with you a word in season, I shall take one away with me also; may they both be blessed to the good of our souls.
. . A CALL ON A PENITENT SON.
Francis, I call upon you, on account of the letter that you have written to your father. Your conduct had well nigh broken his heart, but your contrition and hearty desire for for
giveness have been a cordial to his fainting spirit, and I am come, not to upbraid, but to encourage you.
Happy indeed is that pilgrim, if such an one is to be found, who, amid the thorns and briers that obstruct his pathway to a better world, can discover none of his own planting. You have sinned, and you have sorrowed, for no one can sin without sorrowing; but you have done what it would be well if every sinner under heaven would do, you have repented in bitterness and tears, and if, as you say in your letter, you are not only desirous to obtain pardon of your father on earth, but of your heavenly Father also, be assured that your prayer will be heard. “ To the Lord our God belong mercies and forgivenesses, though we have rebelled against him," Dan. ix. 9.
It may be that your past error may teach you your own weakness, and dispose you to seek strength from above. You will, I trust, be more humble, more watchful over yourself, and more frequently kneel at the throne of grace to seek Divine support in the name of a merciful Redeemer. If a hardened transgressor has everything to fear, a repentant prodigal has everything to hope. “Let the wicked forsake his way, and the unrighteous man his thoughts : and let him return unto the Lord, and he will
have mercy upon him; and to our God, for he will abundantly pardon," Isa. lv. 7.
There is no one in the wide world who is such a friend to you as your father, for no one loves you as he does, and no one will delight so much in your welfare. You must go to him, and you will find that his arms and his heart are ready to receive you. Nay, do not give way now, Francis, but rejoice; not that you have gone astray, but that you are returned into the ways of righteousness and peace. No words are sharp enough for one persevering in sin, no language is too kind for the afflicted penitent. Away with the shadows that surrounded you, and welcome the brighter hope that shines on your future path. As the load is taken from your heart, let your heart rejoice; for not only is there gladness on earth, but joy in the presence of the angels of God over one sinner that repenteth.
· A CALL ON A HARSH PARENT.
Mr. Stanley, you must not take it amiss that I call upon you respecting your son. I know that he has sorely displeased you, that he has sadly committed himself, and that he is not so sensible of his error as he ought to be; but having known him so long, I am much interested in his welfare.
It is a blessed thing to show mercy to those who have gone astray, and to manifest long-suffering and forbearance towards them; for kindness has melted many a heart that severity, would never have broken.
As a parent, you feel the unworthy conduct of your son, but I sadly fear that you take the wrong method to lead him to a proper sense of his misconduct, and to bring him back to the path of duty.
Unreasonable severity often makes an offender try to justify himself, and disposes him to think that he is the injured, instead of the offending, party. I know that he deserves your heaviest displeasure ; but, alas ! Mr. Stanley, if a tenth part of human offences committed against God were to be punished as they deserve, the population of the world would be thin indeed.
Our heavenly Father “ hath not dealt with us according to our sins; nor rewarded us according to our iniquities,” Psa. ciii. 10; otherwise we had been utterly consumed.
Offended man indignant stands
To smite his fellow man, nor spares;
Looks down on sinners, and forbears.
Let me beseech you, for your son's sake, nay,