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that one of them had departed so greatly from the way in which all children ought to go. They could not, at first, decide what to do. They therefore told Robert to go into his own room for the present, and to try to confess his sin before God, as he had confessed it to them, while they consulted together about how they ought to act.
The first thing they did was to pray, as they had prayed the night before, that God would forgive their guilty son; and help them to do what was right. There is no reason to doubt that their prayer was answered; for God says to all his people, “ Call upon me in the day of trouble; I will deliver thee, and thou shalt glorify me," Psa. I. 15. And was not this a day of trouble to Robert's parents ? Indeed it was. Oh, it is the greatest trouble that can befall a Chris
tian father and mother, when their children become wicked. I once heard a good man say to his wicked boy, “ I lost nearly a thousand pounds, last year, in my business: but that gives me no concern, compared with your bad conduct. I would willingly lose all I have, if God would but be pleased to change your heart.” Dear young reader, may you never, never thus grieve the heart of a good father and mother.
On the afternoon of that sad day, Robert's father, and Robert himself, took a walk to the next village, where James and his parents lived. It may easily be supposed that Robert was not in very high spirits ; but yet, I think, he was happier than he had been through the whole of the holidays. He had confessed his fault; and he was now going to make amends
for it, as far as he could ; and these are the first steps to true peace of mind. The Bible says, “He that covereth his sins shall not prosper; but whoso confesseth and forsaketh them, shall have mercy," Prov. xxviii. 13. Robert had found the first part of this saying to be true, and he began to prove the second part of it to be true also. He had confessed his sin to his parents, and they had been kind towards him. They did not upbraid him, or use violent language ; nor had they punished him at all,—that is, in the way that some boys would have understood the word punishment. He had not been flogged, nor made to go without his food, nor locked up in a dark room by himself. I do not think that these methods of punishment would have done Robert any good, considering the state of mind he was in. But his parents talked seriously
to him of the guilt and danger of sin against God, and of the injury he had done to his friend and school-fellow; and they knelt down with him, and prayed again to their merciful Father, who is in heaven, to forgive their son, for the sake of the Lord Jesus Christ, who died on the cross for sinners.
Robert had also confessed his sin to God in secret, and asked for pardon; and this made him feel composed in his mind.
But his father had said to him, “ You have not done all that you should do. You have confessed your sin to your parents, and to your heavenly Father ; but you must also confess it to your friend whom you have injured, and to your master and schoolfellows whom you have deceived; and you must also try to make amends, in some way, for what you have done.” It was on this errand that Robert and his father were bound when they went to see James.
And when the whole story was told to James by Robert's father; and when Robert held out his hand to James, and asked his forgiveness for the injury he had done, did the little boy turn away in anger, and refuse to be reconciled to his friend? Oh no, he took Robert's hand, and shook it heartily, and said, " Never mind, Robert, never mind. Do not say another word about it. I do not think you could mean in your heart to injure me. I was glad that you got the prize, and I should like that you should keep it. I dare say I shall get the next; and if I do not, I shall not mind.”.
“ And you will forgive me, then ?". Robert said, in a low voice.
“ To be sure I will!”. James answered ;