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you are to be engaged. Whose heart rebels against this command ? Who, in the secret of his mind is saying, with disobedient self-will, “I will not ?" You may think the inquiry too close ; but knowing the sinfulness of the heart, I know it is not without its application, and notwithstanding the strong and undeniable evidence of the duty, from the command of God, you may be setting your hearts against it, and saying, "I will not.” Remember, this is a very sinful state. It is rebellion against God, and an obstinate choice of remaining without the evidence of being his faithful and dutiful children. It appears that the nature of the sin was felt by the son, and that upon reflection and conviction he saw and acknowledged his sin ; for it is said, “afterwards he repented and went.” His determination of mind was now not one of self-will, or of a mere act of reasoning that it would be better to obey upon selfish grounds,- but arose from a grace o repentance. Sorrow for his offence against his father produced the full evidence of his gracious change, by his act of obedience : he “repented and went." Let this example sink into your hearts, as an instruction to overcome the self-will and disobedience natural to sinful creature, and to seek that grace and strength from the Lord, who commands, to make you willing to obey; then there will not be that strife of resistance, but a humble, dutiful dependence on the Lord, and towards those whom He has in mercy invested with authority over you, and with a right to be
honored, loved, and succored by you, their own children. in the Lord.
Look next to the other son, who with ready tongue, said " I go, Sir," but with reluctant heart failed to fulfil his duty, and “ went not." He despised the command in his heart, and broke the engagement of his tongue. If, among you, my dear children, there are those who rise in instant stubborn rebellion, there are also, perhaps, those who, with deceived heart and flattering profession, say they will obey, and yet, when obedience is to be given, will not render it. Examine your own hearts and see where the fault lies,-in a wicked and sinful nature, desiring to make a “ fair show," but without any intention or determination to give the true evidence. Perhaps at this moment you are making comparisons amongst yourselves, and, in self-estimation, saying, I am not as this my companion, who says, “ I will not ;” never considering that you have still to give the proof of your sincerity, by your actions; and that after all, however sinful the first act of rebellion may be, they may at last evince their obedience better than you : " Whether of them twain,” saith the Lord, “ did the will of his father ?" The answer is, “The first." Now give me a text, Louisa, to strengthen this lesson.
Matt. vii. 21. “ Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven."
How shall we receive strength and grace to do it ?
By looking unto the the Lord, who worketh in us both to will and to do of His good pleasure.” Phil. ii. 13.
And, dear children, when you are overcome of sin, remember to seek the grace of repentance, that not only your minds may be convinced, but your hearts sorrowful with a godly sorrow. Re. member the Prodigal Son, in Lukexv. Jl, whose mind was convinced of his sin and folly by the things which he suffered, being so reduced as to feed on the husks which the swine did eat. He felt keenly, with all the natural feeling of distress; he reflected, too, on what he had lost : his thoughts reverted, with bitter comparisons of that with his present state ;-"In my father's house there is bread enough and to spare !" But what would all this distress, and misery, and reflection, and comparison have done, if it had ended there ? and he had even died, saying, “In my father's house there is bread enough and to spare!" The proof of grace was seen in his determination, to arise, and go" unto his father, to confess unto him his sin, and to desire to be received, even as a hired servant. and went." And his father saw him; and, when he was yet a great way off, ran to meet him, and fell on his neck, and kissed him, and took him home, and rejoiced over him! From this history, learn how to act towards your earthly father. Be always confident in the unchangeable love of
“ He arose
a father, and seek it in repentance and submis sion, as the way in which you may find
your restoration to the bosom of a father : and as respects God, remember what is written in 1 John ii. 1,2,-“ If any man sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous : and he is the propitiation for our sins.”
Beware, dear children, of a spirit of hypocrisy; be open, be honest, be ingenuous in your behaviour to your parents, that they may know what you really are, and be able to apply their instruction suitably to your several states and dispositions. When you are sensible of sin, confess your sin, and seek the aid of your dearest friends to direct you aright ; and when they see it necessary to correct you, do not rebel. « He that hardeneth his neck shall suddenly be destroyed, and that without remedy.” Prov. xxix. 1.
You have read the awful end of the two sons of Eli, Hophni and Phineas, how the judgments of God were upon them, and how their being cut off in their sins affected their aged father, and occasioned his death : and the Lord charged Eli himself with guilt, because, when he knew their sins, he restrained them not. You see, therefore, that your parents' exercise of restraining authority, however your mind may dislike to yield to it, is absolutely necessary to remove the guilt of your blood from their heads, and to save you, if possible, from the wrath and judgments of God. When they thus show their solicitude for the welfare of your souls, you ought to be grateful with the fullest feeling of love. Did you ever remark in the gospel, the eager
desires of parents for their children?
Yes, often, for all diseases of the body, uncle ; but how few seemed to think of their souls !
Tell me, Louisa, how you discriminate.
She answered, I think it is evident by their bringing them to be cured of fevers, of lunacy, of devils, of sicknesses,— but they never said, Lord, heal their souls ! Lord, forgive their sins !
You said, few seemed to think of their souls ; Who are the few ?
Louisa colored a little, and said, Perhaps, dear uncle, I am mistaken, but I always liked to think thus of those who brought young children to Jesus, that he might touch them : they seemed only to want His blessing, it was for no bodily disease. And then how graciously he took them, as if he were pleased with the act;
“ He took them up in his arms and put his hands on them, and blessed them.” Mark x. 16. Oh! uncle, I often think my own dear father and mother did that for us, when we were young children, and that the Lord did do as they desired ; He bles
What makes you think He did bless you, Louisa ?
Because He has given us so many spiritual blessings, as the apostle says, in heavenly places. " He has cast our lot in a pleasant place;" where, though it be still in the wilderness, there is the