Whenever I think about this subject, two fathers come before me. One lived on the Mississippi river. He was a man of great wealth. Yet he would have freely given it all could he have brought back his eldest boy from his early grave. One day that boy had been borne home unconscious.
They did everything that man could do to restore him, but in vain. “He must die,” said the doctor. “But, doctor,” said the agonized father, “can you do nothing to bring him to consciousness, even for a moment?” “That may be,” said the doctor; “‘but he can never live.” Time passed, and after a terrible suspense, the fathers wish was gratified. “My son,” he whispered, “the doctor tells me you are dying.” “Well,” said the boy, “you never prayed for me, father; won’t you pray for my lost soul now?” The father wept. It was true he had never prayed.
He was a stranger to God. And in a little while that soul, unprayed for, passed into its dark eternity. Oh, father! if your boy was dying, and he called on you to pray, could you lift your burdened heart to heaven? Have you learned this sweetest lesson of heaven on earth, to know and hold communion with your God? And before this evil world has marked your dearest treasures for its prey, have you learned to lead your little ones to a children’s Christ?
What a contrast is the other father? He, too, had a lovely boy, and one day he came home to find him at the gates of death. “A great change has come over our boy,” said the weeping mother; “he has only been a little ill before, but it seems now as if he were dying fast.” The father went into the room, and placed his hand on the forehead of the little boy.
He could see the boy was dying. He could feel the cold damp of death. “My son, do you know you are dying?” “No, am I?” “Yes; you are dying.” “And shall I die to-day?” “Yes, my boy, you cannot live till night.” “Well, then, I shall be with Jesus to-night, won’t I, father?” “Yes, my son, you will spend to-night with the Saviour.” Mothers and fathers, the little ones may begin early; be in earnest with them now. You know not how soon you may be taken from them, or they may be taken from you. Therefore let this impression be made upon their minds–that you care for their souls–a million times more than for their worldly prospects.