The Prodigal's Return

    I can see him now. He has resolved. His old associates laugh at him, but what does he care for public opinion? "I have made up my mind," he says, He don't stay to get a new suit of clothes, as some men do in coming to Christ. They want to do some good deeds before they come. He just started as he was. I see him walking on through dusty roads and over hills, and fording brooks and rivers. It didn't take him long to go home when he made up his mind. Then the prodigal is nearing the homestead; see him. I remember going home after being away for a few months. How I longed to catch a glimpse of that old place! As I neared it I remembered the sweet hours I had spent with my brother, and the pleasant days of childhood. Here is the prodigal as he comes near his old home; all his days of happy childhood come before him. He wonders if the old man is still alive, and as he comes near the home he says, "It may be that the old man is dead." Ah, what a sad thing it would have been if on returning he had found that his father had gone down to his grave mourning for him. Is there any one here who has a father and mother, whose love you are scorning, and to whom you have not written for years? I said to a prodigal the other night, "How long is it since you have written to your mother?" "Four years and a half." "Don't you believe you mother loves you?" "Yes," he replied, "it is because she does love me that I don't write to her. If I was telling her the life I've been leading, it would break her heart." "If you love her," I said, "go and write her to-night and tell her all." I got his promise, and I am happy. I can't tell how glad I feel when I get those young prodigals to turn to their fathers and mothers, because I know what joy will be in the hearts of those parents when they hear from their prodigal son. As he nears his father's home, he wonders again if his heart has turned against him, or if he will receive a welcome. Ah, he don't know his father's heart. I can see the old man up there on that flat roof, in the cool of the day, waiting for his boy. Every day he had been there, every day straining his eyes over the country to catch the first glimpse of his son should he return. This evening he is there, still hoping to see the wanderer come back. By-and-by he sees a form in the distance coming toward the house. As he comes nearer and nearer he can tell it is the form of a young man. He cannot tell who it is by his dress. His robe is gone, his ring is gone, his shoes are gone, but the old man catches sight of the face. I see him as he comes running down, as if the spirit of youth has come upon him, his long white hair floating through the air. He rushes past his servants, out the door, and up to his son, whom he takes to his bosom. He rejoices over him. The young man tries to make a speech; tries to ask him to be one of his servants, but the father won't listen to it. When he gets him to the house he cries to one servant, "Go, get the best robe for him"; to another, "You go and get a ring and put on his finger"; "Get shoes for him," he cries to another, "for my son has returned." Ah, there was joy there. "My boy who was dead is alive again." There was joy in that house.