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The Yellow Jackets
B. Carradine
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TOPIC and SUBTOPIC: Straying From The Path Of Duty, Its Tragic Consequences.

TITLE: The Yellow Jackets

As we have observed, talked and prayed with broken-hearted men and women at the altar in our meetings all over the country, we have been reminded again and again of a circumstance happening in our early ministry.

A gentleman mindful of the suffering of a poor family in the town where he resided, filled up a basket with substantials as well as comforts, and prevented by engagements from going himself, sent the relief by the hand of his nine-year-old son.

The home of want was not over four or five blocks distant, but the lad, according to human nature, and true to the proclivities of a boy, took a road which was three times as long, and that in its windings led by a yellow-jackets nest in a clump of trees back of a large public building.

He had been absent two hours longer than was necessary, when just as the father and mother were becoming exceedingly anxious, he put in a woe begone and almost unrecognizable appearance at the back door. He had met the enemy and he was theirs. He had been stung all over the face, his eyes were mere slits, while his countenance red and swollen from the poisonous stings and from weeping, presented such a spectacle that at first the parents scarcely knew their own child.

His explanation to their wondering, sympathetic and shocked questions was, that he had heard of the yellow jackets, and thought he would go the long way around in order that he might see them.

He saw them!

They also saw him!

From all indications the visited got more out of the visit than the visitor. The yellow jackets went on with their business as though they had never been disturbed, but the little boy was put out of both business and pleasure for days, his duty remained undischarged, his playmates laughed at him unmercifully, and he was mortified and heartbroken beyond words to describe.

This occurrence is but a figure or parable of the life of a sinner. God has a straight way for us to go in the discharge of the duties of life. If we would only follow the course he has marked out, his angels would be charged to keep us in our earthly march and journey, and what a happy, useful, blessed existence would be for us all.

But there is the strangest disposition in the human heart to take the long, crooked road, hunt up the yellow jackets of sin, establish an acquaintance, and get a profound, bitter personal knowledge of the poisoning, maddening, defacing and destroying power of iniquity.

It does not take the devil and sin long to use up a man. And the history of the case of the transgressor, is but a repetition of what took place with the boy, only on a larger, sadder and more ruinous scale. The duty of life of course is not discharged. The basket is not delivered. Hearts and lives have not been cheered, relieved, benefited and blessed. While the wanderer himself, stung, poisoned, swollen, blinded, agonized, weeping presents himself to the eye of God and man at the back door of life, ruined and undone.

Some of these character wrecks are beheld in charity hospitals, some at the jail and penitentiary, some loll on street corners, and sprawl around in livery stables and saloons, and many we find kneeling at the altar, and clinging to it as though washed up from the ocean of life and flung on a shore of hope and salvation. How changed they are since the hour they started out in the morning of their days! How they weep! How sorry they are that they did not go the straight road, and do what their Heavenly Father told them. How full of self-reproach that they have not delivered the basket, and have helped nobody. How full of shame and sorrow that they have been stung and poisoned out of all moral shape and human semblance by the yellow jackets of hell.

There is a story told of two pictures that were painted by a famous artist, one representing Innocence in the person of a joyous-faced, smilinglipped, open-eyed child, and the other symbolizing Guilt or Vice as seen in the dark-furrowed countenance and bestialized features of a hardened criminal. There were forty years between the painting of the pictures.

And it is said that to the amazement of the artist, it was discovered that the same subject sat for both paintings! The two portraits proved to be taken of the same person!

The yellow jackets of sin had gotten hold of the boy!

Living Illustrations By B. Carradine.

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