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Why, friends, he simply couldn't, for his loving father kissed that away from him.

And before the son had taken his breath and was ready to start again, the father slipped in ahead of him with an order to the serVants :

“Bring forth quickly the best robe, and put it on him; and put a ring on his hand and shoes on his feet:

“And bring hither the fatted calf, and kill it, and let us eat and be merry.”

Bring forth quickly—a robe—a second hand one at tirst, and a better one after a while if he proves himself worthy 2 No, no, No! Bring forth the best robe The best robe P Yes, the BEST ROBE, and bring it quickly, too. So that he may put it on ? No, you put it on him; and put a ring on his hand and shoes on his feet; and be quick about it, too. A ring on his hand! Yes, the emblem and seal of the New Covenant, the Covenant Ring. And shoes on his feet! Yes, “that his feet may be shod with the preparation of the Gospel of Peace.” Eph. 6:15.

The Merry-Making.

Now to the feast. The guest of honor having arrived and his toilet having been attended to, and the fatted calf prepared, the next thing in order was the feast, assembling at the table where the beloved son now occupied the seat of honor. He would not have chosen this place of his own accord ; for in his own estimation the simplest place, just inside the door, would be too good for him. But he couldn’t help himself; for everything was done for him and about him. Unreserved Surrender. All that he could do, and that he was expected to do, was to surrender himself unreservedly to be treated and handled by the father and his servants, for his own welfare, and all went well. So he didn’t go, but he was placed in the seat of honor, and no one had a right to kick either. Father willed it SO. Let us eat and make merry! Let us—who 2 The father and those he spoke to—the servants. The household, the servants included. All good masters are interested in the welfare and enjoyment of their servants, and all good servants are interested in the welfare and progress and enjoyments of their master. What a Feast! What Merry-Making! Every eye attracted to the guest of honor, every smile was caused by his appearance and the twinkle of his eyes, and his appreciation and gratitude expressed by nodding and gentle clauses and sentences spoken, though somewhat suppressed by emotion and tears, actually brought the guests into rapturous rejoicing, each one vying with the others in congratulations and felicitation, intending cheerfulness and happiness to the beloved one. And in all this, there was one who excelled, one who felt happier and appeared more interested than anyone else.

Who could that be? Who would you, dear reader, suppose it to be 2 The Guest of Honor would be to some a brother, to some a comrade, to others a master, perhaps, but to only one, in this narrative, he is a son. The father, the lovely and loving father could not be outdone—he excelled.

Heaven and Earth Interested.

Dearest friend! Heaven and earth are interested in you, solicitous about your welfare, your salvation. Why tarry, why delay, when such a reception is awaiting you?

And of more than ordinary importance is this for our beloved soldier boys. If it should happen that anyone of you should step 1nto the other world from France or from England, or from Germany, we wish to meet you in heaven. You will find your mother there, your father there, your brothers and sisters there, and multitudes of acquaintances there. O, meet them there.

We are all so intensely interested in you. You have listened to the call from your beloved country. You go to vindicate its honor and to establish world democracy at the risk of your lives. We appreciate your patriotism and we applaud your heroism. We at home will give you the best we have, and remember you in our prayers every day, that you may feel that you have a solid, reliable backing.

Christian Soldiers.

But we wish our brave and self-sacrificing soldier boys to be Christian soldiers as well, and to go against the enemy in the spirit of David. If you do, there will be no question as to the speedy victory, and the small sacrifice of life.

Remember, that the battle is the Lord's, but then we must dedicate our lives to Him, worship Him, trust Him, and follow His directions. A Penitent's Prayer.

Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, save my soul!

Open my eyes that I may see and discern my sinfulness.

I now desire to surrender myself entirely, unreservedly to Thee, hereafter to be wholly Thine.

Thou, O my Savior, hast purchased me with a price, equal to Thine own life, therefore I am legitimately Thine, though having spent my useless life in the world, and in the service of satan, thine enemy and the defiler of my soul.

I want to thank you, blessed Lord Jesus, for having spared my useless, miserable life from destruction, notwithstanding my shameful wickedness until this hour.

Thou mightest have hurled me to hell instead of bestowing days of grace, which I regretably have misused to offend Thee, to trespass against Thee, to oppose Thy Spirit, and to desecrate Thy Holy Name.

I now see the error of my way, and the folly of my life, and it grieves me as I look back and consider the evil I have done and the opportunities for good and useful service that I have lost.

O, that I had an opportunity to live my life over again, I would worship Thee and direct my life according to Thy commandments.

O, Lord my God, forgive the sins of my youth, and save me as J. am. I throw myself unconditionally on Thy mercy. It is all I can do, cleanse me of my sins.

Grant that my whole being hereafter may be pleasing in thy sight, and my life an honor to Thy Holy Name.

This I humbly and penitently ask by virtue of the Redeeming Blood of Jesus Christ, and in the name of Jesus, My Redeemer. Amen.

CHAPTER XXXVI.
God's Assiduity, Dexterity—Man's Accountability, Liability.

(Under this heading will be considered God's dealings with men and His requirements in punctual and literal obedience to His statutes and ordinances, and results—rewards or punishments meted out commensurate with promptness of execution or the refusal or the negligence evinced.)

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“God spared not angels when they sinned, but cast them down to hell, and committed them to chains of darkness, to be reserved unto judgment; “And spared not the ancient world, but preserved Noah with seven others, a preacher of righteousness, when he brought a flood upon the world of the ungodly; “And turned the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah into ashes, condemned them with an overflow, making them an example unto them that should live ungodly; “And delivered righteous Lot, sore distressed by the lascivious life of the wicked.” 2 Pet: 2:4-7. e Notice the depravity of the human race at the time of Noah, God gave them one hundred twenty years, during which time Noah preached the words of God, that on a certain date, the whole period of grace being 120 years, from the date of announcement, the world should perish by flood. And proving that he believed what he preached, he builded an ark for safety. But he failed to get a single convert during that whole time. The scientists and wise men of that time ridiculed old Noah. Why, it is physically impossible from any source to cover the whole earth with water so as to cover the tops of mountains, they would say. And the people believed them, for their deductions were more reasonable and more to the liking of the populace than the crazy prophecies and arguments of Noah. So they continued marrying, planting, building, trespassing, pleasure-seeking, sinning, up to the day that Noah entered his ark, and God Himself shut the door. Not even the mysterious coming into the ark of the various kinds of animals could change their attitude. Alas, it is possible for individuals and for peoples, so to harden their hearts, so to sin against the Holy Spirit, that it becomes impossible to retract, to repent, to change the downward course to destruction. How different with Noah and his family. This is said of Noah : “AND NOAH DID ACCORDING UNTO ALL THAT THE I.ORD COMMANDED HIM.” O, I could wish for no better title than that. O, my God, grant that I may fully comprehend Thy will, and led by Thy Spirit, delight in doing it!

Notice that the same element which carried Noah and his family to safety killed everybody else; but the means of their salvation was the ark. In other words: in all respects the DOING of God’s command, as revealed to him in the words God spoke to him.

With Noah God started a new race along the lineage of Seth. The Cainites were totally annihilated, swept off from the earth, motwithstanding they were giants and renowned by their contemporaries. II.

Abraham, the Friend of God.

“And he believed in the Lord ; and he counted it to him for righteousness.” Abraham, the friend of God and the father of the faithful, is an interesting, lovely character for our study, and a model, an example for us to imitate, to follow. God ordered Abraham to leave his father's house, his relatives, friends and country and to start on the way to a land that the Lord would show him. Abraham asked no questions but went. Abraham did not get a foot of land as a personal inheritance in that country, but when his beloved wife, Sarah, died, he had to buy a burying place for four hundred shekels or two hundred and sixty dollars, saying to the natives, “I am a stranger and a sojourner with you; give me a possession of a burying place with you, that I may bury the dead out of my sight.” Yet Abraham continued in unshaken faith and humble obedience to his God. Abraham was assured that he was to be the father of many people, even as numerous as the starry skies, yet he was childless, and he remained childless until his wife had passed the childbearing age. Yet Abraham failed not; but when the time was set: “I shall return at this time next year, and lo, thy wife Sarah shall have a son”—Sarah, standing in the door of the tent, heard this, and laughed—but Abraham embraced the promise with childish devotion. He failed not. Trouble arose between the herders of Abraham and his nephew, Lot. There wasn’t room and pasture enough for the herds of both. It would have been very natural for Abraham, the elder and the one who had the divine promise of the land, to have said: “See here, Lot, this won’t do. You are crowding and encroaching upon me, causing quarrels and trouble. You must find other pasture, and depart.” But, no; he leaves the choice to Lot. “Let us separate,” he says, “for we are brothers, and there should not be any bad feelings between us, our families or our servants. If you choose to go west, I will go east, and if you choose to go east, I will go west. Lot chose, giving greater attention to the abundant pasture and carnal wealth than the environment and the spiritual welfare for himself and family; and by his selfishness and greed, he lost everything, and his wife and his home besides. But Abraham failed not.

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