« EelmineJätka »
your mother's natal day, and have you wished her many happy returns of the same; recollect that on you depends in a great measure whether it shall be so or no. If her sons are stubborn and rebellious, or her daughters are proud and dissipated; or if any are ill-tempered and quarrelsome, how can the mother be happy? En. deavour all of you to make home peaceful, full of good humour and kindness; and you will most likely have a happy mother. Or is it your father's birthday that you have been celebrating. Think, how can a praying father be happy, unless his children pray also ? Prayerless, wicked children have often broken a mother's heart, and brought a father's grey hairs with sorrow to the grave. Respect your father's counsels, and shew that you prize his prayers, by seeking yourselves the blessings which he implores for you.
Perhaps a parent's eye may read this appeal, who is a stranger to communion with God. Alas! many parents labour from birthday to birthday for their children's temporal good, who never ask God for his blessing; who do not seek to train up their children in the right way. Yet, prayerless parent, (how awful is the association of these two words) yet you are spared another year. Let the goodness of God lead you to repentance, and when you have humbled yourself before God and embraced his great salvation, then will you say, As for me and my house we will serve the Lord.”
THE ELDEST CHILD'S BIRTHDAY.
IF I knew, dear young friend, your exact age and circumstances, your station in life, how many brothers and sisters you have who are younger than yourself, and whether you loved the Saviour or no, I might be able to address you more pointedly than I can now do. My remarks must, of necessity, be somewhat general; but you should seek to make them more personal, by prayer and meditation.
You are the eldest child in the family. This is often reckoned a post of respectability, and is always one of responsibility. Would that the last was more considered than the first, but alas we have all naturally much pride, and little prudence; and young people, especially, are in danger of grasping at shadows and neglecting substance; of craving the homage of fellowcreatures, and neglecting to seek the approbation of God.
You are the first-born. Over you fond parents have lingered with delight, exulting in their new relationship, and invoking blessings upon your infant head. Your life has been spared a considerable number of years, while many younger than yourself have passed away into eternity. Consider on this your birthday, the great outlay of care and kindness, both divine and human, of which you have been the subject, and ask whether you have sought to render to the Lord according to his benefits toward you. Do you remember your Creator in the days of your youth? Have the Saviour's gracious words, “I love them that love me, and they that seek me early shall find me,” taken any effect upon you ? or are you yet thoughtless and prayerless, without God, without hope, and under condemnation ? Your first, your grand concern should be, to be reconciled to God, and then you shall be adopted into God's family, and this will well prepare you to act your part in the family of which you are a member.
Your parents look for much from you. They have many cares and trials. You have helped to add to them; now help to bear them. Are you the eldest daughter ?—be the companion and comforter of your mother, expect more pleasure in her society than in the society of any other. Shew those little attentions to your father which a tender female heart suggests, and which are so soothing to a toil-worn mind. Are you the eldest son ?-let no companion usurp a mother's claims, and whatever connections are formed, be sure a good place is reserved in your heart for her. Respect your father's authority, and ever make him your confidant and friend.
Remember that you must assist to form the character, and mould the habits of your younger brothers and
sisters. Cherish affection towards them, and manifest it in every possible way. Do not stand aloof from their little pleasures, but try and give their minds a right direction. You will surely increase your own happiness, while you endeavour to make others happy, and if you are loving, you will surely be beloved.
Let your birthday be a time of serious inquiry into your conduct in this respect, and a time of earnest prayer to God, that he would guide you in the way everlasting
THE BIRTHDAY OF THE ONLY CHILD.
This is very frequently a grand day; especially if the parents of the loved one move in a respectable sphere of life. Friends are invited to commemorate the day, and considerable pains are taken to give effect to the celebration. In this there is frequently more folly than wisdom displayed, and more worldliness than religion, even among professedly religious people. Some persons who are niggardly in their charities, are sumptuous in their entertainments. If the money misspent upon only children even on their birthdays, leaving out all other days in the year, had been spent upon poor orphans, many a heart would have sung for joy. But the world will take its own course, and, alas!
many professors of religion will imitate it. Turn away, O Lord,
our eyes from beholding vanity, and quicken us in thy way.
How mysterious are the arrangements of Divine providence, and how sovereign its dispensations, as regards the gift of children. Some persons who are poor and afflicted have large and trying families; and others, who have abundance of property are without any children, or have an only one. God cannot do wrong.
Let not the burdened ones murmur or repine at poverty and trials, but seek grace to train up their children for God. The riches of eternity are not withheld from them, and great will be the joy of those poor Christian parents who shall welcome their children among the living in Jerusalem. Let not those who are solitary be discontented, or if, like Hannah, they are of a sorrowful spirit, like her let them pour out their souls before God, and then, whether they receive a Samuel or not, they “shall go their way, and be no more sad."
But how intense sometimes is the love that twines around the one child. It may be, that it is the last survivor of several, and but a tender plant; or, perhaps, the sole remaining pledge of a dear union now broken. The stem whence the lovely bud sprung, has been transplanted to another world, and the fond heart clings around the image of the departed one. Parents, if the former supposition be true; or parent, if the latter, beware. Beware of an idol. Be very anxious