The Father's Joy
"My son, if your heart is wise — then my heart will be glad!" Proverbs 23:15
A godly parent cannot but feel the deepest interest in the present and everlasting welfare of his child; his solicitude is often painful, and his fears distressing. Nothing pains such a one, like seeing his beloved child indifferent to spiritual things; and choosing the vanities of time, in preference to the Lord Jesus and His salvation. No one but a parent can at all enter into a parent's feelings on this point; and only those parents who live up to their profession, and constantly realize the importance of truth, and the solemnities of eternity — know the deep concern that is felt by such. The desire of such a parent are here beautifully and touchingly set forth.
"My son, if your heart is wise." It is not the wisdom of this world which is intended — but that wisdom which comes down from above, and which, "is pure, peaceable, gentle, easy to be entreated, full of mercy and good fruits, without partiality and without hypocrisy." This wisdom is discovered by its possessor:
1. in avoiding . . .
and sinful pleasures;
2. by choosing the company of the wise, the holy, and the humble;
3. by pursuing those things which God requires, the Scripture commands, and the saints of God approve;
4. by imbibing principles which are pure and scriptural, true and peaceable, and free from all extravagance;
5. by seeking and enjoying those pleasures which come from God and lead to God.
If the heart is really wise — then it is wise unto salvation; and this wisdom gives a dignity and a savor to the conversation and life.
If the heart is wise — then the life will be holy, and the end safe and honorable.
Well may the parent say, "My son, if your heart is wise — then my heart will be glad!" Oh, with what joy does the parent witness the indications of concern for the salvation of the soul. With what pleasure does he see his beloved child retire for private prayer, and observe him reading the Word of God with attention and concern! What pleasure does it impart to see the tear of penitence sparkle in the eye, more lovely than the dew-drops of the morning; or, to hear the inquiry, "What must I do to be saved?" Nothing can impart such pure and solid satisfaction as this!
My young friends, your parents, if godly, are full of solicitude for your spiritual welfare; for you they agonize in prayer, and travail in birth again — until Christ is formed in you. Consider, I beseech you, your solemn responsibility!
Do not grieve your parents, by turning to folly!
Do not insult God, by rejecting His council!
Do not disappoint your minister, by despising your own soul!
Do not ruin your eternal soul, by persevering in sin!
But gladden your beloved parents, honor your Creator and your God, rejoice the heart of your minister, and secure your own happiness and honor — by seeking the Lord while He may be found, and obtaining the salvation which is in Christ Jesus, with eternal glory.
Youth is the seed-time of life; what is sown now — will spring up and ripen, and by-and-by will come the harvest. If you sow to the flesh by gratifying its lusts and passions — then you will reap sorrow, misery, and woe! But if you sow to the Spirit, by seeking the present and everlasting salvation of your soul — then you will reap everlasting life. God bids you remember Him, seek Him, and love Him; and promises to be found by you, bless you, and manifest Himself unto you.
God speaks to you as a Father: He says, "My son, if your heart is wise — then my heart will be glad!" There is joy in Heaven over a repenting sinner:
The Father rejoices, in an object of His love;
the Son rejoices, in the result of His agonies and death;
the Holy Spirit rejoices, in the soul He has renewed;
the spirits of the just rejoice, in the addition of another to their number;
the holy angels rejoice, in the triumphs of their God and Lord.
There is joy on earth also:
parents rejoice, with joy which none but parents know;
ministers rejoice, and are encouraged in their work;
saints rejoice, and see an answer to their prayers;
and the penitent rejoices with unspeakable joy!