Billeder på siden

Begin now, by a visit of no ordinary kind to the blood of sprinkling," the fountain opened for sin and uncleanness. Here alone, by an humble confession of sin, and a fresh surrender of your soul, body, and spirit to the will of the Redeemer, will you get, through the Holy Spirit, new grace, life, vigour. Thus shall you be blessed, and be made a blessing to others. -You will then press on to heaven, like a vessel with all her sails set in a favourable gale; and soon, soon there shall be administered unto you, through grace, an abundant entrance into the everlasting kingdom of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ.

But one affectionate word to the unpardoned reader, ere we part. How dreadful is your state! Why have you never been awakened from sleep to see yourself a lost sinner, on the brink of eternal woe,-never found, like Dr. Ablood of the cross, and rest in the everlasting love of God? Why have you never enlisted as a true soldier under the banner of Jesus ? What is the opiate by which you quiet your conscience ? Is it procrastination ? Is it the purpose of future amendment? Oh, delusion! Beware, lest another messenger, the MESSENGER OF DEATH, quickly arraign you before the bar of God, to hear these words, louder than thunder, to your terrified soul-"I HAVE CALLED, AND YE REFUSED. YE HAVE SET AT NOUGHT ALL MY COUNSEL, AND WOULD NONE OF MY REPROOF: I ALSO WILL LAUGH AT YOUR CALAMITY; WHEN DISTRESS AND ANGUISH COMETH UPON YOU,” Prov. i. 24–27. Oh, listen to the Redeemer, beseeching you to come now to Him as you are ;-assured of His infinite readiness to receive, and freely pardon you ;-to give you the Holy Spirit, and thus prepare you progressively for an eternity of joy, a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory,

peace in the

E. C.



London: J. & W. RIDER, Printers, 14, Bartholomew Close.


George and HENRY ARCHER were the only children of a respectable tradesman. Though in a humble station, their parents were possessed of means sufficient to procure every comfort, and even some of the luxuries of life. Their father was engaged in the staple trade of that part of England, and, by care and industry, had risen from the rank of a workman to that of a small manufacturer. He bore a high character amongst his fellow townsmen for integrity and uprightness of principle, and deservedly so. He was also very regular in his attendance at church with his family, once and frequently twice on the sabbath. Had his whole life been regulated by the sacred precepts he there heard, few families could have been happier than his. But though scrupulous in his dealings with his fellow men, Robert Archer was negligent in the discharge of those duties wherein his influence as a parent was involved, and his wife was far from endeavouring to supply this deficiency by her own exertions to rule her household and train her children in the fear of the Lord. Both parents, in fact, yielded to the dictates of misguided feelings towards their children, and instead of paying heed to the admonition of the wise man, “ Chasten thy son while there is hope," they treated them with blind indulgence during their infancy; and as the boys advanced through childhood and youth, they permitted a decided preference in favour of Henry over his elder brother to take possession of their hearts, unchecked and unconcealed.

Can parents commit a greater error ? Can they estimate the amount of mischief such a preference will lead to ? Yet this is no uncommon case; and how frequently does the preference fall (as in this instance) on that child whose personal appearance calls forth the greater admiration of friends and acquaintance, so gratifying to a parent's heart-regardless, perhaps, meanwhile of that gentler spirit and more sensitive nature, which, while it shrinks from observation and courts not praise, would more permanently fix both if once attracted. Thus was it with these two brothers. Henry (of whom, though the younger, I will first speak) was a handsome boy, whose brave open countenance and dark flashing eye called forth at once attention and regard. His manners were courteous and pleasing, and so popular was he in the circle of his acquaintance,


that no party of pleasure was complete where he was absent. Yet a close observer would soon perceive that his disposition, though evincing many noble traits, was fast becoming overbearing. His will was law, wherever he might be; for to oppose it, were to lose his interest in the pursuit, and no game could be carried on with spirit if Henry Archer did not join in it. Such was the child upon whom the preference of his parents fell, to the neglect of the less conspicuous but more amiable qualities of George, whose delicately formed features and pallid countenance, though eclipsed by the superior beauty and freshness of his younger brother, yet indicated much sweetness and sensibility of disposition, combined even with firmness and energy.

Hitherto, all had gone on smoothly, as to external circumstances, with Robert Archer's family. He had prospered in business, and might be considered, for his station, a wealthy

But trouble was at hand. A severe illness of only three days deprived him of his wife, whom he most truly loved, just at the time that George and Henry were leaving school and about to enter on their father's business. Strange as it may appear,


poor mistaken mother was more lamented by the child she had neglected than by the one on whom her whole heart had been set. Selfishness was so engendered in the heart of Henry, that he seldom permitted anything to interfere with his present enjoyments, and, therefore, sought diversion from a subject which long caused the really loving heart of George deep regret; and while his elder brother would strive by dutiful attention to his father to assuage his grief, Henry might be seen in the midst of his companions, drowning his own recollections in some animating sport.

Thus was there no communion of thought between the brothers; on the contrary, each day seemed, if possible, to increase the estrangement between them, and though Henry lost nothing in the estimation of their acquaintance and friends, but fully retained the popularity his agreeable manners and good spirits had gained, yet was he increasingly overbearing and unamiable at home, exercising most undue influence over his father, whose infatuated preference for him remained unabated. Disorder and discontent reigned therefore in the family, whereas, had the fear and love of God been the ruling principle, both with parent and children, all would have been peace and harmony. Disagreements between the brothers became now of almost daily occurrence, and as their father always took the part of Henry, without inquiring on whose side right was, George's position became more and more unpleasant, and having never been taught to trace his trials to a higher source than his brother's overbearing spirit, or his father's partiality, so neither did he know where to seek support under them ; and though he appeared quiet and downcast, it was merely to conceal the workings of deeper and more violent feelings. He was meditating an escape, and no sooner had he formed, than he executed his scheme. He deserted his home, leaving no clue to his plans or object, and for nearly two years no information could be gained respecting him, when tidings of his premature death were received from India. He had enlisted as a private in a regiment about to sail, and fell a victim to a prevailing fever immediately on arriving at Bombay. The intelligence was conveyed in a letter from one of his comrades, who wrote at the dying request of the poor youth.

When the letter arrived in England, Robert Archer had been married some months to a person in every way calculated to have made him and bis family happy. Greatly his superior, both in natural talent and education, she also combined a spirit of christian gentleness, with the firmness so necessary in the conduct of a family, and soon acquired an ascendancy over her husband which she would have exercised to the advantage of himself and son. But Henry, never accustomed to restraint from his own parents, scorned to feel its mildest influence from his step-mother; and so indignant was he with his father for forming a second marriage, that all appearance of respect in his manner towards his parent ceased. It was no longer an occasional, or even frequent, outbreak of temper and disobedience which might be noticed, but habitual, studied disrespect that marked his conduct. Mrs. Archer's attempts to conciliate his better feelings were totally unavailing, and his father, having never hitherto controlled him, now found it impossible to check the course which the gratification of his selfish passions led him to follow.

Let us pause for a moment and reflect on the solemn responsibilities of parents and children who thus lose sight of their relative duties. With what confusion will each be covered, when called to their account before the awful bar of God. Ignorance of his holy will and law will form no plea in extenuation of their guilt, when the Bible and other means of instruction have been within their reach, though, alas ! neglected.

Henry Archer had proceeded so far in his downward course of folly and sin, without restraint or interference, that he was now hurried on to the contemplation and fulfilment of deeds at which he would formerly have shuddered, so rapid is the progress of evil-so surely does Satan lead captive at his will those who seek not His aid who is “stronger than the strong man armed." He wanted money to enable him to carry out his designs, which he thought would at once render him independent of his father ; but on applying to his indulgent parent for a sum which, even in his increasingly prosperous circumstances, would have been inconvenient to him to advance, he met with the first refusal of any demand he had ever made on his liberality. Infuriated by passion, he rushed from the house, vowing vengeance on his father for thus thwarting his schemes, and Satan, ever ready with an evil suggestion to suit the temper and circumstances of his victims, quickly suggested an expedient, which he, alas ! as readily adopted. He went to the bank, whither his father constantly sent him, both to deposit and draw money, and though asking a larger sum than usual, he instantly obtained it, no suspicions arising in the minds of those with whom Robert Archer's credit was so good. He then immediately took his departure, and as of late he frequently absented himself from home, when anything displeased him, for two or three days together, no alarm was felt by his father at the recurrence of this undutiful conduct; thus affording the fugitive time, as was afterwards supposed, to sail for America, ere inquiries were set on foot respecting him.

Great was the consternation felt by all who knew the family, when it began to be whispered that Henry had absconded, and many were the expressions of regret ; for Robert Archer was much respected, and his excessive love for his son well known. Some, indeed, pronounced the desertion of his children the just punishment of his mismanagement and partiality, and this reaching the ears of the unhappy father, corroborating, do it did, the suggestions of his own conscience, only added to the bitterness of his grief. All inquiry as to the course Henry had taken proving useless, it was supposed he had left England under a feigned name. His father long entertained a hope that his undutiful son would write to him and make him acquainted with his present pursuits; but as time passed on, and no such communication arrived, he concluded that, like his brother Henry, he had found an early grave. Three years elapsed, during which time the birth of another little son again caused gladness in the dwelling. By all save his father Henry's name seemed forgotten ; but in his parent's heart his memory was still cherished. Prosperity, as has been said, attended Robert Archer in his business, and he now lived in the full enjoyment of really ample means, when one morning it was discovered, as soon as the family began to bestir themselves, that the house had been entered during the night, and


« ForrigeFortsæt »