Suppose your child was dying
(James Smith, "Our Father and Comforter")
Surely, if parents realized the value of their children's souls; if they had a vivid sight of the danger to which they are exposed; if they felt that they must be saved by the Lord Jesus — or perish for ever — then they would act very differently toward them!
Could a parent, if he believed the Scriptural representation of hell, as a place of torment; and saw that his child hung over that ever-burning lake as by a thread — and might, at any moment, by some accident, be plunged into the bottomless abyss; I say, if he saw and believed this — could he let his child go on, day after day, and month after month, without the tender expostulation, the affectionate appeal, and the heart-felt prayer with him? I think not!
Alas! alas! We do not half believe . . .
in the horrors of hell,
in the danger of our children, and
in the absolute necessity of faith in Christ, in order to for them to be saved — or we could never live as we do!
What anxiety is manifested about their health and their education; and what indifference about their never-dying souls! One feels at times ready to conclude that many professing Christian parents must be half infidels, or wholly insane — to act as they do!
Reader, suppose your child was dying. His pulses are faint and few. He breathes short and hard. You approach his bedside. You take his hand in yours. He asks, "Father, did you believe I was a sinner? Did you know that it was possible I might die young? Were you aware that, without faith in Christ — I must perish forever? Did you, father?"
"I did, my child."
"Then how could you be so cruel, so hard-hearted, as to treat me in the way you have? You never took me aside to talk to me seriously. You never endeavored to impress upon my mind the importance of spiritual things. You never earnestly warned me to flee from the wrath to come. You never lovingly invited me to the Lord Jesus Christ. You never prayed with me as if you believed I was in danger of going to hell, and could only be saved by the grace of God. You were very earnest about temporal things — but indifferent about spiritual realities. You knew that I was going to hell — and you did not try to prevent it. Now I am lost! Lost for ever — and you are the cause of it! Or, at least, you are accessory to my everlasting damnation!"
Or, suppose you were before the Great White Throne, and the Judge seated thereon, and you meet your children there. One of them points to you, and says, "There is my mother! She showed great concern about my body — but she never showed anxiety about my soul. She never knelt by my side in prayer. I never heard her plead with God for my soul, nor did she ever, in downright earnest, plead with me. I charge her, before the Judge of all — with cruelty to my soul; and throughout eternity I shall curse the day that ever I had such a parent! No name will excite my enmity, or draw forth my bitter reproaches, like the name of my mother! I am lost, lost forever — and my mother never heartily tried to prevent it!"
Parents, how could you bear this? Parents, parents! By all the tender ties that unite you to your children, I beseech you to seek, first, principally, and most earnestly — the conversion of your children!