Tuesday, June 09, 2009

"A painter once wanted a picture of innocence, and drew from life the likeness of a child at prayer. The little suppliant was kneeling by his mother. The palms of his hands were reverently pressed together, and his mild blue eyes were upturned with the expression of devotion and peace. The portrait was much prized by the painter, who hung it up on his wall, and called it "Innocence."
Years passed away, and the artist became an old man. Still the picture hung there. He had often thought of painting a counterpart, - the picture of guilt, - but had not found the opportunity. At last he effected his purpose by paying a visit to a neighboring jail. On the damp floor of his cell lay a wretched culprit heavily ironed. Wasted was his body, and hollow his eyes; vice was visible in his face. The painter succeeded admirably; and the portraits were hung side by side for "Innocence" and "Guilt."
The two originals of the pictures were discovered to be one and the same person, - first, in the innocence of childhood! second, in the degradation of guilt and sin and evil habits."


This little story from "Pushing to the Front" by Orison Swett Marden comes from his chapter on "Habit". It's a strong reminder for us to build good habits in our children, because, after all, we are creatures of habit.

Picture by Jacqueling Roberts

5 comments:

Trudy said...

Interesting. I actually find that picture quite creepy. As I was reading your post I couldn't decide if I was looking at the 'innocence' picture...it didn't look that innocent. Now I realize it was the 'guilty' picture. It does a good job of portraying that!

I like the post!

Mel said...

This is a perfect post to share with kids, Fred! I'm always looking for stories to share that illustrate the long-term effects of sin. Sin is deceitful and passes itself off as quick and easy, but we all need to think about what the long term ramifications of our choices will be. And I think stories like this are a powerful and effective tool for getting that point across to our young ones.

I agree with Trudy--the picture is creepy. But it supports the post very well. Excellently done, as always! :)

Many blessings to you and yours!

Mel

HAINAngel2000 said...

Sorry Fred the picture creeps me out.
The post is a good one, once I get past the picture lol
Sin can def wear on us mentally and physically. It can take over. Sin hurts so many people, though we all are sinners. Don't you love God's sufficient grace or we would all be in terrible trouble. Your post is true

Joseph Pulikotil said...

Hi Fred:)

Very interesting story. It is amazing to note that the child and the prisoner were one and the same person.

The very same mild blue eyes can be innocent and at the same time be dangerous.

If the child was seen with the mother suppliant, kneeling, hands reverently pressed together, with an expression of devotion and peace, my personal opinion is that the parents have done their jobs well. It is quite likely that the parents died when the child was young and he fell into bad company and acquired dreadful habits which landed him into prison. This is my interpretation of this story.

However, I fully agree with you that the parents have a very big responsibility to bring up the children to be good citizens in the fear of God.

The photo is fantastic.

Have a nice day Fred:)
Joseph

FCB said...

Phooey! I just finished my response to every one and then my computer froze. Lost them all, so I will rewrite, in a condensed form, again.
Hi Trudy, Mel, Mary and Joseph,
Yes, this picture is creeeeeeeepy, and I had a difficult time finding a picture to go with this quote.
When I ran across this one it struck me because there is beauty of youth still in her face but also the errosion of it. Somewhat captures the point of the story.
Like Mel said, I think this is a good story for children, I have noticed many times that children will sit on the edge of their seat listening to a story, but try and give them a moral lecture and their eyes immediately glaze over :)
And like Mary said, I too am so glad for God's grace or there too would be me.
I love how Joseph comes to the defense of the child by imagining circumstances that show mercy on the child. Every one who goes astray has a story, even children who are raised with all the advantages can have circumstance that lead them astay.
Thanks eveyone for your thoughtful comments.
Fred