And he said, A certain man had two sons:…
It was about midnight in one of the suburbs of Edinburgh, and everything around seemed peaceful and quiet, when a young man, whose age could not be more than nineteen, cautiously advanced towards one of the few shops that were to be found in that neighbourhood. He seemed anxious to escape observation; for, although it was so late, there were still many persons passing to and from the city. He very soon effected an entrance into the shop in some way known to himself, and after he gained admittance, groped his way into a part of the shop with which he seemed well acquainted, and where he found some matches and a candle, which he soon lighted. Then, looking carefully around him, his eye lighted on a desk which stood at the further end of the counter. After trying it, he found that it was locked; but not to be defeated in his purpose, he got hold of some blunt instrument and forced the lock. In doing so he made a considerable noise, and before he could proceed further in his operations he heard a voice saying, "Who is there?" He began to tremble and show signs of fear, and before he had time to escape a door leading towards the back part of the premises was opened. A middle-aged woman with a light in her hand then appeared. The first object that attracted her attention was the young man, who stood as if he was riveted to the floor. She looked at him for a short time, and then said, "Oh, Willie, Willie, my poor boy, have you become so wicked as to rob your widowed mother? Willie, my boy, this will break my heart." "I cannot help it, mother," he replied, in a husky voice. "I must have money; and you can see by my clothes that I have deserted from my regiment." "I will tell you what to do," his mother said. "Go back to your regiment." "What! go back and be punished as a deserter!" he said, sullenly. "No, I will not. I will have this money that is in the desk; then I can get away to another country." As he spoke he lifted the lid of the desk and seized the bag which contained the money. While thus engaged his mother stepped towards him, and grasped him by the arm, as she said, pleadingly, "Willie, don't do this wicked thing; the money is of no value to me — it is your soul that I value. Come, say that you will not take it, and leave your mother." "Come, mother," he said, doggedly, "let go my arm"; but she still clung to him. Then with some violence he pushed her back into a chair, and the poor woman covered her face with her hands and wept bitterly. "Oh, Lord," she said, "save my poor boy." As he pushed his mother from him he made for the door with the money in his possession, but when he reached the door he looked back, and saw his mother sobbing as her whole frame shook with emotion. He stood for a moment undecided what to do; then, throwing back the money on the counter, he put his arms round his mother's neck. "Mother," he said, "I will not leave you; I will go back to my regiment to-morrow." The following morning Willie gave himself up to the military authorities as a deserter, was tried by court-martial, and punished. Shortly afterwards he became seriously ill, and was sent to the Military Hospital at Edinburgh, where I first met him. The Lord blessed the Word to his soul, so that when he was discharged a short time afterwards he returned to his mother's house a believer in the Lord Jesus and a new man. A short time after his discharge he got married to a Christian young woman, and in a few weeks afterwards both of them sailed for Australia, where his voice has often been heard preaching Christ to perishing sinners, both in the public parks and in the streets of the city of Melbourne. Before he left, he said to me, "I am sorry to leave you, J — , but take this Bible and keep it for my sake; it is the Bible my dear father gave me, and I value it above almost anything I possess. Keep it for my sake, and visit my mother, for she loves you as myself; and if we never meet on earth again, let us both so live here that we may meet 'where the wicked cease from troubling, and the weary are at rest.'"
(Notes from a Soldier's Diary.)
Parallel VersesKJV: And he said, A certain man had two sons: