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´╗┐Title: The Broken Bough, No. 435
Author: Anonymous
Language: English
As this book started as an ASCII text book there are no pictures available.
Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

*** Start of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "The Broken Bough, No. 435" ***

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Collections, University Libraries, Ball State University

[Illustration: Book Cover]

  No. 435     IV. SERIES.

  THE BROKEN BOUGH.

  Revised by the Committee of Publication of the American
  Sunday-school Union.

  AMERICAN SUNDAY-SCHOOL UNION.
  PHILADELPHIA:
  146 Chestnut Street.



  THE
  BROKEN BOUGH.

  Revised by the Committee of Publication, of the American Sunday
  school Union.

  _PHILADELPHIA_:
  AMERICAN SUNDAY-SCHOOL UNION,
  No. 146 Chestnut Street.



THE BROKEN BOUGH.

[Illustration]


"What a beautiful afternoon it is!" said little Charles to his brother
on a fine Sunday in the month of May, as they both rose from their
seat in the class to return home. "It is, indeed," replied John, as he
peeped through the old casement window of the school, and saw the
pretty lambs feeding in the broad green meadow in the distance; "it
is, indeed, and a fine walk we shall have in the orchard, too."

Now, little Charles loved his school and his teacher also; but the
thought of going home had its own peculiar charms, for he loved his
dear father and mother, and his little sister Jane: and now he
thought, "I shall soon be home, and tell them all that my teacher has
told me." Indeed, the children in the class had spent a very happy
day; for Mr. Fulton, their teacher, was so kind, and took such pains
to make the lessons plain, that all his scholars loved his company;
some of them even said that they had never seen the beauties that were
in the Bible until he taught them.

They had been repeating that afternoon those verses in the 15th
chapter of John's gospel, in which the Saviour compares himself to a
vine, and his disciples to the branches. As the orchards were all in
full blossom, Mr. Fulton reminded his scholars of the beautiful change
which had taken place in the appearance of the trees within the last
few weeks. He said, that though their growth and beauty arose partly
from the vegetable life which God had given them, and partly from the
sun's warm rays, and gentle dews and showers, yet that both their life
and growth must be attributed to God.

When they had done reading Mr. Fulton said, "You see, my dear
children, that the vine is intended to represent the Redeemer, the
Lord Jesus Christ; through whom spiritual life is conveyed to his
people, who are as the branches in the vine. Let me impress this truth
upon your minds, that they who are made partakers of this life, are as
much dependent on Christ to maintain its existence, as the branch is
dependent on the vine for continued nourishment and support."

It is delightful to a teacher to find that his scholars are attentive;
and Mr. Fulton was much pleased by a remark from John, who said, "I
think, sir, the trees seem to explain the observation which you made
this afternoon, that all the followers of Christ love to follow his
example, and may be known by their fruit or conduct; for, sir, I see
that all the branches of a tree bear the same kind of blossoms, and
those of each sort of tree differ from all others." "That is quite
true," said Mr. Fulton: "I am glad you notice these things; for they
are both pleasing and instructive. But there is another lesson which
may be gathered from the trees, and it is this, that although the
branches differ much in size and strength, and therefore very much in
the number of the blossoms seen upon them, yet the smallest will go on
increasing until it may, in time, become very large. Thus you, though
now so young, and like the tender twigs upon the trees, with here and
there a blossom, will, I trust, as years roll on, grow up both strong
and fruitful in the ways of God."

Their teacher was about to say something more on the same subject, but
the school-bell rang to prepare for an address: the children then put
by their Bibles, and stood up to sing that pretty hymn:

    "How sweet the precious Saviour's words.
    What solid joy this truth affords
      To those who early pray;
    They shall the heavenly boon obtain,
    And Jesus and his favour gain,
      Who walk in wisdom's way."

After the address, they sang another hymn, and then the school was
closed with prayer.

It was at this time that little Charles and John began the
conversation I have mentioned, about their walk in the orchard on
their way home; and as Mr. Fulton overheard them, and had been
interrupted in his remarks by the ringing of the school-bell, he thus
addressed them: "My dear boys, as I am going up the green lane towards
your father's house, we will all walk through the orchard together;
and perhaps I may there find something to supply a better explanation
of this day's lesson, than I have yet given you."

The little boys were both much pleased with Mr. Fulton's offer, and
wishing their school-fellows good-by, set off with him towards their
home.

As they walked through the meadows, and saw the young lambs feeding
with their flocks, and noticed their shepherd who watched them, Mr.
Fulton called their attention to the language of King David in Ps.
xxiii., where he speaks with such confidence in the Divine protection
and care, and says, "The Lord is my Shepherd; I shall not want." Now,
as both John and Charles seemed to be much pleased when their teacher
referred them to this very beautiful psalm, he proceeded to say, "You
see, my dear boys, that every one of the sheep in the flock is equally
the object of the shepherd's care; and there is not a lamb, however
young or weakly, but he is anxious for its safety. Just so, the Lord
is the Shepherd and Keeper of his people; for it is said of him, 'He
shall feed his flock like a shepherd: he shall gather the lambs with
his arm, and carry them in his bosom,' (Isa. xl. 11;) and if you are
his disciples, he will protect you as the lambs of his flock."

Here Charles, who had seen some of the lambs pass through an opening
in the hedge, and wander from the fold unseen by the shepherd, said to
his teacher, "But the lambs of Christ's flock must be more secure than
these, sir; for this shepherd cannot see all his flock at once,
although he may wish to do so: but you told us, last Sunday, that
those who love the Saviour, however young or poor, are each as much
the object of his care, as if there were no others in the world." "I
am very glad to find you remember that remark," said his teacher;
"for, as you grow up in life, you may find it a comfort to think, with
Jacob,'He knoweth the way that I take;' and to adopt the language of
David as your own,'I have gone astray like a lost sheep; seek thy
servant: for I do not forget thy commandments.'" Ps. cxix. 176.

By this time they had again entered the green lane, from which they
had departed to pursue the path across the meadow; and having gone
over the stile by the village church, they entered the orchard through
which Charles and John had expected such a pleasant walk.

I do not wonder at their wishing to go home that way, for the trees were
all so full of beautiful pink and white blossoms, and the birds sang so
sweetly as they hopped from twig to twig, or fluttered on the branches,
that you could not have been there without rejoicing with them.

It was not long before Mr. Fulton invited the attention of his
scholars to a little apple tree, on every twig of which were buds and
blossoms. The two little boys, on seeing it, cried out together, "O,
what a beautiful tree!" to which their teacher replied by saying, "And
I hope you will be like it." This remark surprised them both,
especially little Charles, who looked at his teacher as if he would
inquire, "How can I be like this tree?" He was not kept long waiting,
however, for Mr. Fulton, observing his astonishment, explained himself
by saying, "I wish that, as this little tree has so early put forth
blossoms, so you both, my dear boys, may begin, while young, to show
that you are His, who said, 'I love them that love me, and those who
seek me early shall find me.'" Prov. viii. 17.

As they walked onward, the grass beneath the trees was strewed in some
places with blossoms, which the recent thunder-storm had broken off;
and whilst the little boys stooped to pick up some of them,
exclaiming, "What a pity! what a pity!" their teacher availed himself
of that opportunity, also, to teach them a lesson. "It is a pity,"
said he; "for each of them might have become a fine rosy apple; but
they will not have fallen off in vain, if we learn this truth from the
circumstance, that death sometimes calls away those who have scarcely
yet begun to live to God. But it is cheering to see a young tree
promising to be fruitful; and it is much more pleasing to see young
persons likely to bear the fruits of wisdom and goodness."

"I remember, sir," said John, "that last year our pear tree was full
of blossoms; but father said the blight had killed them." "Yes, my
dear boy," said Mr. Fulton, "storms, and tempests, and blights also
frequently disappoint our fondest expectations: so also there are
moral blights, as I have sometimes told you in the class at school.
You both remember poor George King, the orphan boy; how well he said
his lessons, and how serious and attentive he was; but when his pious
mother died, he fell into bad company, and is now a sad evidence that
those who associate with the wicked have turned their backs upon the
ways of God. O, then, flee from bad people, bad books, and bad scenes,
as from that which will blight the best interests of your souls."

Their teacher had never had such a happy opportunity of conversing
with them until now, and as they both seemed to look upon the trees
around them as so many objects from which instruction might be
gathered, he proceeded to point out a circumstance which had before
escaped their notice; it was this, that where the branches had been
sheltered from the passing tempest, there all the blossoms were
unhurt. "Now," said Mr. Fulton to his young companions, "while
thinking of our Saviour's language in this day's lesson, 'I am the
Vine, ye are the branches,' we may learn not only that the life of our
souls must be drawn from him, but that if we bring any fruit to
perfection, it is the result of his most gracious and protecting care."

[Illustration]

At this moment, Mr. Fulton's attention was drawn to one of the largest
trees in the orchard, which seemed to surpass all the others in the
beauty and abundance of its blossoms; but the boisterous winds had
broken off a fine bough, one end of which lay spread upon the grass,
whilst the other continued hanging by a long strip of bark which it
had torn away in falling. It must have been some time in this
situation; for the tree was not only full of blossoms, but was putting
forth its green leaves in every direction, whilst, on this poor
branch, there was not a trace of either bud or blossom; but it hung
upon the ground both dry and dead.

This was too striking an object to be passed by without an
observation; therefore their teacher immediately availed himself of
it, to explain that part of the chapter which his scholars had been
learning, in which the Saviour says "If a man abide not in me, he is
cast forth as a branch, and is withered."

He felt very anxious also to impress upon their minds that true
religion does not consist in being called a Christian, or in any
outward distinction; but that it is a living principle in the heart.

    "Without the fruit the Lord expects,
      Knowledge will make our state the worse;
    The barren trees he still rejects,
      And soon will blast them with his curse."

"Now," said Mr. Fulton, "you see, my dear boys, that the broken bough
has no life, because it is severed from the tree, and therefore gets
no sap or moisture from the root. And as our Lord remarks, 'The branch
cannot bear fruit of itself, except it abide in the vine;' so the
broken bough has not a bud or blossom, whilst the tree is full of
both. You see then that there must be life and union, or there can be
no fruitfulness; and as the root supplies the living sap to all the
branches, so Jesus is the source of life to all his people. It is your
blessing, my dear boys, to have godly parents; but do not think that
this will prove a substitute for true religion in your own souls. See
how the bough hangs to its parent tree by the strip of bark; it is
true, they are not altogether parted; but, whilst the tree is living,
the broken bough is dead. Learn, then, that without an interest in
Christ and union to him, you must perish. No Christian relatives can
save you; their life is drawn from him, but they cannot give that life
to you. It is possible you may have thought yourselves almost
disciples, because you have kept company with those who are such; but
this fellowship, so long as you keep your hearts from Christ, is only
like the strip of bark which holds the broken bough; no life flows
from it. Let us then, on parting, each go home, and pray to Him who
'quickeneth whom he will,' (John v. 21,) to make us indeed living
branches of the true vine."

[Illustration]



A HYMN.


    Another fleeting year
      Has fled and passed away,
    Since we were taught to worship here,
      On this most holy day.

    Years hurry quickly by,
      And we are fading too;
    And soon the year when we shall die,
      Will come upon our view.

    If we are ready then,
      For us it will be well;
    Removed from this low earth of pain,
      With God in heaven to dwell.



Transcriber's Note


  * Obvious punctuation errors repaired.





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