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try us, I think William and I could get on as well as at school.
Mrs. Seymour. We will not discuss that now, dear; but just see what I mean by these questions. See how dear your home is, because you love us all so much : remember how eagerly you read the letters from home; and then think if all, or any of these indications of love, are shown in reference to your heavenly Father. Is the knowledge of his presence welcome to your mind? Are the messages he sends you by his Word valued as the letters from home are? I fancy if they were, there would not have been such a listless manner at the house of God this morning. Was there
Was there any affection exhibited in that?
Robert. No, mother; I certainly do not love God as I do
father. Mrs. Seymour. And yet he has claims on your love far stronger than we have. For every moment of happiness you are indebted to him; every good gift you enjoy has come from that Father of light and love. But you are shrinking from this kind Father with fear and hatred, as if he were a cruel and tyrannical master. His commands are not grievous to those who love him; but you feel them burdensome, for this reason, as well as others, that they are the commands of one whom you do not love.
you and my
Robert. O mother, I see—I fear it is so; but what shall I do?
Mrs. Seymour. I read lately of a kind and loving father, who had a son who very illy requited his love. The youth altogether disliked his home, and felt his father's presence a tiresome restraint, instead of a delight. At last he collected the property which his father had given him, and went and settled in a foreign country far
away. There he sought out some very bad companions, and spent all his time and money very wastefully and wickedly with them, in foolish and boisterous merriment. His amusements were all provided for by the money which his father had given him, but he tried not to think of him at all.
He had gone away so far, on purpose that he might not have to meet his father's reproving eye, and he wished that he could altogether forget him. Every day's disobedience made the estrangement more complete. What hope, think you, was there of the alienation of heart being removed ? None at all, while this continued; but he found himself at last extremely poor and miserable. He turned toward home, resolved to ask his father's forgiveness; and as he journeyed, every step that brought him nearer that affectionate home, made him realize more distinctly its privileges and advantages; and when at last he was welcomed as a forgiven child by his tender parent, his heart overflowed with love and gratitude. Fond and indulgent as his father had always been, he had never been so much beloved as now, when he freely forgave the wanderings of his son.
Robert. O, mother, I have often read that parable.
How beautifully it does show God's love to us!
Mrs. Seymour. Yes, dear; and now will you not, ungrateful and unloving child as you have been, come back in penitence to him ? Come with a full persuasion of his love, and you cannot fail to love him in return. None can love so earnestly and devotedly as a forgiven child. Do you remember little Gerald, in his passion last Thursday, how he even seemed to hate us during the paroxysm of temper, and melted in gentle love when restored to favour?
Robert. Yes, he seemed as if he could not forgive himself for having grieved
you so much.
Mrs. Seymour. If you were thus reconciled to your heavenly Father, and forgiven by his love, you would fear to displease him again. But remember that you are meanwhile in a dangerous position. The alienation of heart is fast increasing; and when you reach the age you have marked out as the time to begin serving God, you will find it even more difficult than it is now. You may continue to harrow up your feelings with the fears suggested by the knowledge of the power God has over you, but you will not learn to love him except as you