Howie Malcolm was a little boy about six years old. He lived in the country. Once, in the middle of winter, he went to spend the day with his cousin Robby Darwin. Toward the close of the afternoon Howie’s father came to take him home. The ground was covered with snow, and as they were about starting Howie said, “The snow is so deep, and it’s a long walk; won’t you please to carry me, papa?”
“No, my dear,” said his father; “I have a particular reason for wishing you to walk. But I will go before you, and then, if you will follow in my footsteps, the snow will not seem so deep. But dou’t turn aside to the right hand or to the left. And don’t try to make a path for yourself over the hill, for that which I am showing you is the only one to lead you home.”
Then his father went before him, taking short steps, so that the little fellow could easily follow him. And while he kept treading in his father’s steps he got on very nicely. But by-and-by he saw a holly-bush a little distance from the road. He thought he would just like to pluck oft* a branch to take home with him. Then he started for the bush; but pretty soon he was sticking fast in the deep snow, and was obliged to call his father to come and take him out. He did so. He set him in the right path again, and told him not to turn aside, but to keep treading in his footsteps, and then he would be safe. So they went on for a while longer. Then he thought he could get home by a shorter path than his father was taking. So he started to make a short cut across the fields. But pretty soon he was fast in the snow again, and his father had to come once more and take him out. After that he followed the guidance of his father till they reached home.
And when they were sitting by the fire in the evening his father told him that the reason why he did not carry him home was that he wanted to show him how it was that Jesus guides his people to heaven. “When I walked before you, Howie,” said Mr. Malcolm, “you could see my steps in the snow, and, by following them, you found that you were brought safely home. And just in the same way Jesus came into the world to be our guide. He walked before us to show us the way to heaven. As the Bible says, “He left us an example that we should follow his steps.” Our work here is to be following the footsteps of Jesus. And when we are trying to be like Jesus, to think, and feel, and speak, and act as he would do, then we are “treading in the blessed steps of his most holy life;” and if we follow on in those steps we shall be guided safely through this world to heaven.