Page:Australia an appeal.djvu/31

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improvement which the gospel effects in the character of man, wherever it is proclaimed, received, and cherished. He may be despised alike by the ignorant and the learned; he may be shut out of the pale of Christian charity by its lying professors; and he may be neglected as a worthless outcast by those who ought long since to have interested themselves in his character and history: but there is ONE who has bowels of compassion for him. The touching tenderness manifested by Jesus towards this his younger brother, according to the flesh, in the parable of the prodigal son, which, to the Australian, has a peculiar and striking application, proves, that though he has long wandered from the way of life, he has not been forgotten by Him who bled for the sins of the world. I never look on this houseless, homeless child of want and woe—I never contemplate his sad condition, whether despondingly wandering he knows not whither beneath a burning sun, or standing still and shivering in the pitiless storm, or uttering the famishing cry, "Bread—bread—give me bread—me very hungry" without being convinced that the Saviour specially alluded to him when he uttered that affecting parable. He is actually the "younger son," the junior brother to that very branch of the family of Shem, to whom our Lord, in the parable, addressed himself. And how literally, how strikingly, are his state and character therein delineated. He obtained "the portion of goods that fell to him, and took his journey into a far country"—a country so far removed from the arena of human affairs Judea, Greece, and Rome—that when, after thousands of years, it was discovered, it received the appellation of Terra incognita, a land unknown. Here, "having spent all his living," he has nothing either to cover his nakedness or to satisfy the cravings of hunger, unless he chance to kill a wild animal in the forest where he wanders. To him the joys of spring time and harvest are utterly unknown. He is now actually hiring himself to "the citizens of this far country,"—the invasion of which, filling to the brim the bitter cup put into his hand by misfortune, has completed his calamities—to hew wood, to draw water, or "to feed swine, and would fain fill his belly with the husks which the swine eat." The allusion to the necessity of "food and clothing" for him on his conversion, or "return to his father," filling up the parallel, completes the evidence, and enables us to identify the character spoken of in the parable, in the person of the Australian.

How has Christendom—how have the British conducted themselves towards this unhappy wanderer, whose misery is so touchingly portrayed by the Redeemer of men? The game of the forest, from which he derived a precarious subsistence,