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need of a reconciliation." It was evidently a source of great satisfaction to the distinguished Roman.
THE JUDGMENTS OF GOD GENERALLY OVERTAKE UNFAITHFUL, DISOBEDINT CHILREN. Rev. Philip Henry, once speaking to his children of the wicked son of a neighbor, who treated his parents with disrespect, charged them to mark the dealings of God with him. Perhaps," said he, "I may not live to see it, but do you take notice, whether God do not come upon him with some remarkable judgment in this life, according to the threatening implied in the reason annexed to the Fifth Commandment." But he lived to see the prophecy fulfilled by a very striking Providence. The Rev. Herbert Palmer, B. D., Master of Queen's College, Cambridge, said, "that he had noticed the effects of disobedience to parents, so that he scarcely ever knew undutiful children escape some visible judgment of God in the present life." A careful observation will satisfy the most incredulous of the truth of these remarks. Within the circle of every reader's acquaintance are undutiful sons upon whom is now resting the undoubted curse of God. The evidence is well nigh as striking and unmistakable as the mark that God imprinted upon the forehead of Cain. And it is a matter of surprise that the disobedient themselves do not recognize the pursuing vengeance of Jehovah, and flee to find a refuge in repentance from His consuming wrath.
Behold Absalom, violating every impulse of natural affection, and pursuing his father with a deadly hate, as if he were his mortal enemy! Follow his secret plottings to usurp the throne at the expense of his father's life! Trace his diabolical schemes as they become developed in the rapid evolutions of time-the foul machinations not only of a rebellious son, but of a parricide and murderer! And then behold him hanging upon the bough of an oak by the hair of his head, with the three swift javelins of the mighty Joab sticking in his heart a wretched victim to his own
base ambition and cruelty
and say, if here is not a Divine judgment upon a disobedient and unnatural son!
Could my voice reach a disobedient son, I would address him thus; 66 How dare you trifle with the commandments of God? How dare you resist the pleadings of such love as lives only in a parent's heart? Has nature denied you the common share of tenderness and sensibility: Has contact with a wicked world stifled the loveliest emotions and changed your heart to stone? Care you not for the deep wounds which you inflict upon the heart of the mother who bore you? Do you glory in running counter to the wishes of the father who would lay down his life to save you from the prison or the gallows? Tremble, then, for the deep depravity which lurks in your soul. Prepare to meet in your excuseless shame the scathing, withering maledictions of an incensed world. Expect, for the doom will surely come, to be banished from the hearts and circles of the wise and virtuous. Make ready for the fearful judgments that will descend upon your future days. Dread to behold and experience, in the course of Providence, your probable destiny of ill. Imagine yourself beside the coffined remains of those whom you now refuse to obey. Live for a moment in the melancholy hour that will leave you parentless, with no opportunity to whisper in the ear, forgive! Conceive of the regrets that will harrow your soul when you behold their eyes close in sorrow upon your disobedience, and the grave receive them to its cold and cheerless bed! Fear to meet the picrcing eye of your Judge, and the retributions of the future world; for the penalty annexed to the Fifth Commandment bides your death!
Christ enforced by his pure example the duties of the filial relation. He was himself a perfect pattern of obedience to parents. No blemish marred the beauty of his filial character. No scenes in his chequered, suffering life caused him to neglect his duties in this relation. On till he was
thirty years of age he was subject to his parents a dutiful son of the family, never weary of toiling for their bliss, never reluctant to obey their counsels. He cherished the grateful feeling of a son when in the judgment-hall of Pilate, remembered and provided for his mother amid the agonies of the cross.
THE FRATERNAL RELATION.*
"A union in partition;·
Two seeming bodies, but one heart."
MIDSUMMER NIGHT'S DREAM
"They were together night and day
Had the same fancies, feelings, thoughts,
A fellowship of tears."
THE Scriptures are comparatively silent concerning this relation in the family, as if a recognition of its important duties were taken for granted. The ties of nature are rea-son enough for an indissoluble bond of union between brothers and sisters. Humanity revolts at a disregard of the bond which God has instituted between these kindred hearts. Indeed, the feeling of abhorrence is awakened towards those families among the lower order of animals which live and die in quarrels. It is so unnatural and heartless, that every reflecting mind expresses profound astonishment at the sight. The fact that two individuals are children. of the same parents, having kindred blood coursing through their veins, and common interests at stake, is sufficient basis upon which to rest all the fraternal obligations of which we may speak.
There is no sadder sight on earth, than that of brothers and sisters, dwelling together under the same roof, co-heirs. by Divine appointment in the joys and sorrows of life, alienated from each other by reason of domestic feuds. There
*Strictly, the Fraternal Relation has reference to brothers only; in this chapter we give it a wider latitude and apply it to sisters also.
is no scene more lovely than that of brothers and sisters devoted each to the others' happiness, and vieing with each other in the works of mutual attachment. "Behold how good and how pleasant it is for brethren to dwell together in unity! It is like the precious ointment upon the head, that ran down upon his beard, even Aaron's beard; that went down to the skirts of his garment; As the dew of Hermon, and as the dew that descended upon the mountains of Zion; for there the Lord commanded the blessing; even life forever more.' Yet, the brotherhood and sisterhood of families present often a singular exhibition of estranged hearts. These, in common with all the relations of life, share in the sad results of the fall. Every neighborhood can furnish one or more illustrations of the envy, jealousy, malice, strife, one or all, which have made the fraternal relation the occasion of much domestic sorrow.
I have seen brothers and sisters dwelling together in the same town, yet living apart from the ordinary intercourse of relatives, and even so alienated from each other, as to forego entirely the interchange of friendly visits. Nay, more; I have seen them arrayed against each other with a hostility that precluded even a friendly recognition, and allowed no word of salutation on meeting in the street. I have seen the wealthy brother, retired from the cares of a prosperous business, without a family of his own for which to provide, yielding himself up to the servile control of a penurious habit, and leaving an invalid sister to suffer in want, or find relief in the charity of others. I have seen another, a man in the state of "single blessedness," summing in his possessions some twenty thousand dollars, yet bequeathing all his property, at his death, to his native town, with the exception of a pittance to a suffering sister, for whom a sum ten times as large would have been a scanty provision. I have seen yet another, a brother to whom the Lord had given a competency of this world's goods, endeav