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Vol. IV.-NEW SERIES.]
[NOVEMBER 1, 1861.
“Built upon the foundation of the Apostles and Prophets, Jesus Christ himself being the
A SERMON FOR A HOUSE WITH LITTLE CHILDREN IN IT.
Matt. xix. 13–15; Mark v. 13–16; Luke xviii. 15, 16.
BY THE REV. JAMES CULROSS, A.M.
ttle children to come unto me, and forbid them not; for of such is the king-
ched their eyes, and their eyes were opened. A poor man, all white with
brought them; telling them, I suppose, that they might have chosen a er time, and not have disturbed the Master when he was instructing the
people. Jesus saw the whole thing at a glance; and observe what he did. First of all, he reproved the disciples for hindering the children from coming. Mark says he was much displeased with them : he let them know that he was angry. He is displeased with all who would throw hindrances in the way of the little ones. And then he looked upon the children, and bade them welcome, saying, “ Suffer them to come to me:” let them be brought; I desire it; it gives me pleasure. And they came with their little, glad, quick feet; for the lambs were not afraid of the Good Shepherd; and he took them up in his arms, and blessel them; with a blessing that maketh rich and addeth no sorrow. That is the picture : and it suggests three remarks.
First: Jesus takes a special interest in little children. He cares about you. He does not think you beneath his notice. He was once a little child himself; an! he remembers all about it: and even in his glorious heaven, with his angels and his saints round about him, his heart is interested in earth's little children. 1 dare say you remember how some one came in one day to your father's house, and sat down, and talked a long while with your father and mother ; but he scarcely seemed to see the children; scarcely spoke a word to them; and when he went away, you were very glad he was gone. Now Jesus is not like that. When he lived in this world, he cared for children. He had a quick eye to see them, and kind words to say to them, and his heart yearned toward them. And he is the same still. His glory has not altered him. If you could look into heaven, and behold him in his Father's house, and see into his wonderful hes -his holy, compassionate, gracious heart, you would know that he has none of the interest he felt in children when he lived among us : and you wow say with deep, quiet, joy, I am poor and needy, yet the Lord thinketh upon the
The second remark I make is this : that Jesus gives a special invitation the little children to come to him. He does so here. You are never to fet if you were intruding upon him. Sometimes, when you have wanted t something to your father, or to hear something from him, you have found too busy to attend to you; and he has said, My child, come back another." for I am busy at present : and you have gone away, and waited. But the bu Jesus is never too busy to listen to you. You may go to him at any ty and he will hear you. He gives you his special invitation to come. He so here. I think I can see him turning his kind look upon the children, making a place for them in his arms, near his heart, and saying to the onlooke Suffer them to come, and forbid them not.
And he is inviting you still. He is inviting you to-day. O my chil does not look coldly upon you. He does not frown you away. He opens, for you. He bids you come. He has a special welcome for you. Perhaps in say, I do not know how to come : I do not know what coming is : how can when he is not here? Listen, and I will try to make it plain. There 18 a blind boy, who never saw anything. He never saw the beautiful morni this beautiful world, or the starry night, or his mother's face. He walk: evermore in darkness : all his life is night. Yet, though he never see mother, he knows she is near, and that she hears him when he speaks, ever watching over him. Now though you do not see Jesus, he is as ne as this blind boy's mother. He is so near you that he hears all you and knows all that is in your mind, even before you tell him. And he i near you. The blind boy's mother may sometimes be at a distance, ' of hearing. But you are never far from Jesus. Now, if you are sur if you are sure that he is so near, and always near, you will have no about coming to him. If you are sure that he is in your little closer you kneel to pray, just go in and speak to him as you would speak. mother in the dark. Suppose that Jesus were to appear to your boou suppose he were to stand before you just now,-suppose he wer
never sees his he speaks, and is
ars all your words
a distance, and out
are sure of this
I have no difficulty
ittle closet, when would speak to you
your bodily eyes. • be were to stretch
out his hand to you, and name your name, and say, Come,—what would you - do? Would you not run to him in a moment? Well, but he is as near as
though you saw him. Yea, do you not see him—with the eye within your breast ? Do you not see him,-80 glorious, so majestic, with many crowns on his head, -and yet so gracious and kind, beckoning you with his outstretched arms, those arms that clasped and embraced the little children long ago,—those arms that were stretched in cruel agony on the Cross? Do you not hear him—with the ear within you breast,-naming your very name, and bidding you come ? Run to him with the feet of your heart. Say to him, I come, blessed Jesus, because thou hast bidden me : take me, and make me thine own.
I wish to say to you, father and mother, there are many things you may do for bringing your little ones early to Jesus. Surround them with the gentle influences of a holy, loving, cheerful Christianity. Teach them, as soon as they can lisp, to repeat or sing Christian psalms and hymns. Very wonderful is it how the heart of childhood goes out with sacred songs; and how the trust of the child-heart is often given to Jesus in the very singing of them. Teach them to speak to Jesus. Try and get them to understand that he is really present, and hears them, and takes an interest in them; and teach them to speak to him. Read or tell them narratives which embody the Gospel; above all, tell them the story of the Cross itself. There is nothing more fitted to win their young hearts. I once read a story illustrative of this, which I shall try to repeat from memory. One evening a Christian gentleman, in walking home through the streets, found himself among a group of ragged boys—beggars, and thieves, and pickpocketslaughing, and talking, and swearing. His heart suddenly yearned over them ; 80 he stopped abruptly, and put his back to a wall, and said, “ Listen to me; I have something to tell you.” They were silent at once; and he told them, as simply as he could, the story of the birth, and life, and death of Jesus. There was not a word of interruption. As he came near the end, he beard an occasional shuffle of feet, as one and then another pushed nearer. They listened with countenances of awe-dirty enough, but very solemn---to hear of the agony in the garden ; and when they heard how he died in love on the Cross, sobs burst out without control. Dirty hands wiped dirty faces, as he told them that now, while he spoke, He who had died was standing among them, as full of mercy as ever. When he had finished, no one moved. Suddenly he said, “ If Jesus loved sinners so much, should not we love him ? Any one that wishes to love him, let him hold up his hand : I do ;” and he held up his own. The boys looked at one another. By-and-by one of them, a little mass of rags, with only one shoe, his face almost hidden with hair that hung over it in shocks, held up a little dirty hand ; and another and another followed, till all were held up. The stranger then said, “ You all wish to love Jesus ; hear what he says, “If ye love me, keep my commandments;' ” and he told them what that meant for them ; and, after giving them all something, he went away. Some weeks after, passing through an archway, he came upon a little shoe-black, who, after the customary offer to black his boots, made a dive forward, and stood before him with a face beaming with delight. The gentleman had not the least idea who he was, and said with surprise, “ My boy, you seem to know me; who are you?” “ Please sir, Jack.” ** Jack who?" “ Please sir, only Jack.” All at once it flashed into the gentleman's mind who he was, and he said, “I remember you now; have you tried to keep the promise you made some time ago ?” “Yes,” he answered earnestly, “indeed I have.” The gentleman stopped and talked with him, and let him clean his boots. “Can you read P” “Not overly well; but I can manage to spell out a bit.” “Would you like a Testament, where you could read the story I told you the other night?” No answer; only a choking sound, expressive of his delight. “I see you would like one; well, come to my house to-morrow, at half-past four, and you shall have one. Here is my address.” To-morrow, punctual to the time, there came a modest tap to the gentleman's door, and in walked the poor boy at his summons. He had washed his face at a neighbouring pump, to make himself respectable. The gentleman shook hands with him, and made him sit down, and talked with him. By-and-by he said, “ Why do you want a Testament?" "To read about Hin you told us of.” “Why do you want to read about him? Is it because you love him?" The boy nodded his head decisively; there was no hesitation : doubt about the matter. “Why do you love him?” The poor boy was silent. His little features worked, his little breast heaved, his little lipsa quivered, and all at once he dropped his head on the table, and sobbed out i 'Cause they killed him.” There is the secret of how hearts are won, throng the grace of the blessed Spirit: it is by the simple story of the Saviour's dying love.
The third remark I make is this : that Jesus bas a special blessing for the little children. He will not take away your joy. O my child, if you come to him. He will not draw a cloud over your sky. He will not make you less a child. He will give you more than you can think of. He wi give you his forgiving love, and a place among God's children, and a net heart-a holy, gentle, and loving heart. He will keep you through life, in sorrow and in joy. And if early death should come, it will be Jesus takin! you home,-carrying you out of this cold, sinful world, up into the Father's house. And they who love you best will not grieve over you with a bitter grief; but will rather hear the voice of the all-loving Jesus saying, Suffer the little child to come unto me.
Be sure, my beloved child, that Jesus will make you welcome to him. Do not put off coming till next year, or next week, or next day ; but listen to him now. “I love them that love me, and they that seek me early shali find me."
BY THE REY. J. H. COOKE. " MOSES was admonished of God when is surrounded by brazen columns, orze. he was about to make the tabernacle : | mented with silver fittings, on which ar "See,' saith he, that thou make all things | hung curtains of a kind of open network, according to the pattern showed to thee in through which the vast encaipment on the mount.'” By the teaching of the | every side can be seen. The tabernacie Holy Spirit in the New Testament we are itself is in the centre at the western end; instructed that it was a shadow of good and ere we approach it two objects attract things to come, but the substance was eur attention—the large altar for burni. Christ. Let us visit this ancient structure, offering, on which is burning a part of the and see how the shape of our Saviour and sacrificial lamb, and a large laver filled wit. his work is set forth there, though some water, at which some priests are washing what indistinctly and darkly, as a shadow ere they enter the holy chamber of the must necessarily be.
tabernacle itself. From these this impor: True, none but priests are admitted, but, | tant lesson is impressed on our minds being of the royal priesthood, we boldly that in approaching our God there must be enter. Raising a beautiful curtain of rare sacrifice and purification too. This is the needlework, wrought on fine linen with first great lesson ; this is the instructions threads of blue, purple, and scarlet, we find the outer court of divine truth. ourselves in an enclosed place of about 180 Man, in his state by nature, is at enmi.! feet in length, by 90 feet in breadth. This with God, and a twofold difficulty has
be removed to produce reconciliation. The | ings satisfied, and even at times enjoys “ a justice, the truth, the holiness of Jehovah | feast of fat things." So that, as he mediis in the way. On his side, the iniquity and tates upon the disappointing nature of all impurity of the sinful heart prevents man worldly things, and finds that nothing from drawing nigh to God. By sacrifice here below can meet his eager desires, he God approaches man; by the washing of rejoices to be enabled to singregeneration man approaches God. And both these are fully accomplished
“Thou, O Christ, art all I want,
All in all in thee I find.” by the Redeemer. It was at Calvary, when the Lamb of God was slain, that satisfaction In the Lord Jesus there is fragrance. was given to the demands of holiness, Maimonides, the ancient Jewish writer, justice, and truth, and the glorious work tells us that “to destroy the smell achieved by which God continues just and which would otherwise have been occasionyet the justifier of him that believes on ed by the sacrifices, God ordained that Jesus. It is when the Holy Spirit, taking incense should be burned, and thereby renof the things of Christ, enlightens the sin dered the odour of the sanctuary, and of per as to his condition, and brings him to the vestments of those that ministered, repentance, faith, and holiness, that he is exceedingly grateful.” How imperfect are led to accept salvation and be reconciled all our endeavours to worship God, and full to God.
of ill odours! Our prayers are cold, and Passing these objects, we now enter the distracted by wandering thoughts,-our most holy place. Listing up another cur songs of praise unreal and half-hearted. tain of fine linen, we find ourselves in a Can we imagine that service such as ours room about thirty-six feet long, eighteen can be accepted by Him, in whose sight the feet high, and eighteen feet broad. Its heavens are not clean, and who charges
sides are formed of boards, covered with even the angels with folly? The all-hõly : thin plates of gold ; tapestry curtains form and all-wise Jehovah cannot accept our
the roof. Three objects of beautiful work attempts on their own merits. It is through :: manship meet our notice :-a golden can the merits of Christ alone they can be re
delabra, with seven branches, a golden ceived. This is the incense that neutralizes table, on which are placed twelve loaves of their ill odour, and makes them fragrant bread, and a small golden altar, on which | in heaven. All our petitions we prefer for fragrant incense is burning, filling the place Jesus' sake, for “his name is as ointment with exquisite perfume. As we consider poured forth,” whose excellence perfumes these, we remember our need of illumina the whole. This is the truth taught in tion, of nourishment, and of fragrance; and the Apocalypse: “And another angel came we rejoice in the knowledge that these are and stood at the altar, having a golden provided for us by Jesus Christ.
censer; and there was given unto him In Him we have illumination. Gold tells much incense, that he should offer it of purity; the seven branches of perfection. with the prayers of all saints upon the "I am," says Jesus, “the light of the golden altar which was before the throne. world.” He gives a pure and perfect light. And the smoke of the incense, which came The wisest of heathen philosophers, the with the prayers of the saints, ascended up greatest of unconverted men, walks in dark before God out of the angel's hand.” How ness, as compared with the condition of the precious is this revelation! It gives us humblest belierer who is illuminated by confidence, even a holy boldness of apthe Holy Spirit teaching him his condition, proach to God, when we feel the shortthe way he shall walk, and even casting a comings of our services are supplied, and, light across the river of death, and revealing though meritless even at the best, are somewhat of the glorious land beyond that made meritorious through the work of our dark stream.
Redeemer. In Christ Jesus we have nourishment. At the western end hangs a veil of very "I am the bread of life," said he. The rich needlework, suspended by golden living soul feels a spiritual longing, a hooks on four golden columns. This concraving, a panting after something nobler ceals the holy of holies, where the ark is than this world can give, a desire which is placed, the lid of which is the seal of the well illustrated by bunger; nothing earthly Divine and glorious Being to whom all can satisfy this, but Christ can and does. true worship is rendered. Into this place In himn the new-born soul finds all its long. none dare enter, save the high priest, and