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parent may indeed hope to be heard; "For the effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much."
3. To Christians who do not sustain the office of parents.
You have large duties to perform towards children-you are bound to do them all the good you can. There are but few more numerous, more difficult, or more necessary duties, than those which Christians, in general, owe to children. They are ignorant; as you have opportunity, you are bound to provide means for their instruction. They need line upon line, and precept upon precept, that they may learn to fear the Lord, and you must not neglect to bear a burden of teaching them. duty to pray for children, that God would be pleased to convert them, while they are young. You owe also an approving look, and a word of encouragement to those families, who make endeavours to bring up their children in the fear of the
part of the
It is your
Lord. See that you make much of them that fear the Lord; and let your prayers be united with ours, "that our sons may be as plants grown up in their youth, and that our daughters may be as cornerstones, polished after the similitude of a palace."
"And the Son said unto him, Father, I have sinned against heaven, and in thy sight, and am no more worthy to be called thy son."
THE parable, of which the text forms a part, is full of instruction, especially to youth. In it we discover, that "the pleasures of sin are but for a season ; the early shame and degradation which follow youthful transgressions,-the dreadful state to which they often reduce themselves, before they come to any wise reflection, the reckless measures they
adopt in order to secure present gratifications, their total forgetfulness, that
"short hours of joy, and years of pain," attend every deviation from a virtuous life. We see, in the Prodigal Son, the danger youth are in from a proud heart, and from habits of dissipation and excess. We see the folly of refusing to return into the ways of virtue and religion, on the first rebukes of God in his providential dealings toward them-the sin of hating to be reproved and of refusing to bear chastisement from the good and virtuous part of mankind. We further see, in the case of the Prodigal Son, that the chief difficulty which youthful offenders have in returning to the paths of religion and virtue, is in themselves. Sin and guilt fill them with distrust towards the authors of their being so strangely do they miscalculate a parent's heart. The point is important to be noted both by parents and children: "And he
arose and came to his father. But when he was yet a great way off, his father saw him, and had compassion,
and ran, and fell on his neck, and kissed him."
These particulars in the parable are highly valuable, and very important to be understood by all. To-day, however, we have chiefly to do with youth. We come to call youth to repentance. The Lord Jesus spake this parable, that it might remain as a memorial of his sentiments respecting what the world call the gaieties of youth; but which are in reality vices, which call for immediate correction. These, alas! are frequently viewed with indulgence; they grow withthe growth of the body, and strengthen with the strength of the various faculties of the soul; so that man, through the influence of his sinful habits, becomes "like the deaf adder, which will not hearken to the voice of the charmer, charm he never so wisely."
The season of youth follows that of childhood and terminates with mauhood. It is that period in human life, when the body thrives more rapidly, and strengthens