There was an Englishman who had an only son; and only sons are often petted, and humored, and ruined. This boy became very headstrong, and very often he and his father had trouble. One day they had a quarrel and the father was very angry, and so was the son; and the father said he wished the boy would leave home and never come back.
The boy said he would go, and would not come into his father’s house again till he sent for him. The father said he would never send for him. Well, away went the boy. But when a father gives up a boy, a mother does not. You mothers will understand that, but the fathers may not. You know there is no love on earth so strong as a mother’s love. A great many things may separate a man and his wife; a great many things may separate a father from his son; but there is nothing in the wide world that can ever separate a true mother from her child. To be sure, there are some mothers that have drank so much liquor that they have drunk up all their affection. But I am talking about a true mother; and she would never cast off her boy.
Well, the mother began to write and plead with the boy to write to his father first, and he would forgive him; but the boy said, “I will never go home till father asks me.” Then she pled with the father, but the father said, “No, I will never ask him.” At last the mother came down to her sick-bed, broken-hearted, and when she was given up by the physicians to die, the husband, anxious to gratify her last wish, wanted to know if there was nothing he could do for her before she died. The mother gave him a look; he well knew what it meant. Then she said, “Yes, there is one thing you can do. You can send for my boy. That is the only wish on earth you can gratify. If you do not pity him and love him when I am dead and gone, who will?” “Well,” said the father, “I will send word to him that you want to see him.” “No,” she says, “you know he will not come for me. If ever I see him you must send for him.”
At last the father went to his office and wrote a dispatch in his own name, asking the boy to come home. As soon as he got the invitation from his father he started off to see his dying mother. When he opened the door to go in he found his mother dying, and his father by the bedside. The father heard the door open, and saw the boy, but instead of going to meet him, he went to another part of the room, and refused to speak to him.
His mother seized his hand–how she had longed to press it! She kissed him, and then said, “Now, my son, just speak to your father. You speak first, and it will all be over.” But the boy said, “No, mother, I will not speak to him until he speaks to me.” She took her husband’s hand in one hand and the boy’s in the other, and spent her dying moments in trying to bring about a reconciliation. Then just as she was expiring–she could not speak–so she put the hand of the wayward boy into the hand of the father, and passed away! The boy looked at the mother, and the father at the wife, and at last the father’s heart broke, and he opened his arms, and took that boy to his bosom, and by that body they were reconciled. Sinner, that is only a faint type, a poor illustration, because God is not angry with you.
I bring you to-night to the dead body of Christ. I ask you to look at the wounds in his hands and feet, and the wound in his side. And I ask you, “Will you not be reconciled?”