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Thirdly, there is in the temper and disposition of children something peculiarly acceptable to God our Saviour. "They brought young children to Christ, "that he should touch them. His disciples rebuked "those that brought them. But when Jesus saw it, "he was much displeased, and said unto them, "Suffer little children to come unto me, and forbid "them not, for of such is the kingdom of heaven. "Verily I say unto you, if any man shall not receive "the kingdom of God as a little child, he shall not "enter therein. And he took them up in his arms,

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put his hands upon them, and blessed them." Children, then, are capable of benefit by Christ; they are capable of his blessing on earth, and his presence in heaven; subjects of his kingdom under grace, and heirs of his kingdom in glory. The best office, therefore, we can perform for them, is to be the means of bringing them to the knowledge of him, that they may be partakers of these benefits, and so glorify their Father which is in heaven. He is pleased when we are thus employed. Nay, he sets these children before us, as little patterns and models of what, in heart and mind, we ourselves ought to be. Men, if they think of entering into his kingdom, must be converted, and become as little children, without pride, without wrath, without lust, without avarice, without ambition, without prejudice, without guile, open and teachable, all innocence, simplicity, sincerity. These tempers of little children constitute the ornaments of religion; and charming it is to behold them displayed in the life of a child of God! "The "wisdom that is from above," says St. James, as if

this very subject had been in his eye, "is first pure, "then peaceable, gentle, and easy to be entreated, "full of mercy and good fruits, without partiality, " and without hypocrisy." View the furious Saul, breathing out threatenings and slaughters, exceedingly mad against the disciples of Jesus, and persecuting them even to strange cities; till suddenly humbled to the dust by a light and a voice from heaven, you hear him, with all the meekness of an infant, exclaiming, "Lord what wouldest thou have me to do?" Many are the changes of this kind that have been wrought, and many in every age will be wrought, through the power of the Gospel. By it, in various ways, men are conformed to its temper and spirit ; for a due and proper notion of that temper and spirit, Christ refers us to the state of childhood; a state through which, to sanctify it for all, himself did not disdain to pass; and in that, as in every other state, glorified the Father who sent him. Why, therefore, should it be thought a thing incredible, that "out of "the mouth of babes and sucklings God should or"dain strength, and perfect praise?"

Lastly, God is honoured, wherever children are taught to confess and to praise his holy name, because it appears that his religion is there known and propagated. The circumstance is a proof that the country where it has taken place is a Christian country, and a pledge that it will continue to be such.

Under all the divine dispensations from the begin. ning, no duty is set higher, or more insisted on, than that of instructing children in the knowledge of religion. "Abraham shall surely become a great and

"mighty nation, and all the nations of the earth shall "be blessed in him." What more, or greater, can be said of any mere man? Attend to the reason, which immediately follows: "For I know him, that

he will command his children after him, and they "shall keep the way of the Lord, to do justice "and judgement; that the Lord may bring upon "Abraham that which he hath spoken of him."

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Thus, again, under the law: "These words, which "I command thee this day, shall be in thine heart." For what purpose, or for whose sake? Of themselves alone? By no means :-" And thou shalt teach "them diligently to thy children, and shalt talk of "them when thou sittest in thine house, and when "thou walkest by the way, and when thou liest down, and when thou risest up." Children, on their part, are supposed to be often asking questions upon these subjects, and so to put their parents, teachers, or friends, upon conversation of this kind. "And it shall come to pass, when your children "shall say unto you, What mean you by this ser"vice? that you shall say, It is the sacrifice of the "Lord's passover, who passed over the houses of "the children of Israel in Egypt, when he smote the "Egyptians, and delivered our houses."

Respecting Christian parents, they are most expressly enjoined to "bring their children up in the "nurture and admonition of the Lord;" and to the praise of young Timothy, as well as of those relations who had been his instructors, it is said, "that

a Gen. xviii. 18. b Deut. vi. 6.

Exod. xii. 26.

"from a child he had known the holy Scriptures, "able to make him wise unto salvation, through "faith, which is in Christ Jesus."

Considering these precepts and examples, who could believe he was travelling through a Christian country, when he found the children in it speaking and acting like Heathens; or, perhaps, in a manner that would disgrace Heathens?

But suppose no such precepts or examples had been recorded. Religion is not only truth; it is truth the most interesting, the most dear and valuable. It is that on which a man depends for his comfort and joy; for his safe conduct through this life, and his eternal happiness in the next. Would he deprive his children of this comfort, this joy, this safe conduct, this eternal happiness? Would he suffer them to live and die in error and vice, if it were in his power to prevent it? Can he bear the thought of seeing them at the last great day, standing, with the reprobates of all ages, at the left hand, and departing into never-ending misery? The wretched, ignorant idolater, who, in old time, made his children pass through the fire to Moloch, is less to be blamed than such a parent as this.

Should there, however, be a Christian country found in which the children are as above described, of one thing we may be abundantly certain, that such a country can not long continue Christian. They who are now children will, in a few years, become men and women; they will soon compose the great body of the public. Of what kind will that public be? and how much more depraved still will be the

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descendants of that public! In such a nation, matters must go on from bad to worse, till the wrath of God break forth, and there be no remedy. The inhabitants will either fall by the sword of the enemy, or be led away into captivity, or consumed by civil For dissensions, biting and devouring one another. wise and most important reasons therefore it was, that when "God established a testimony in Jacob, "and appointed a law in Israel, he commanded the "fathers that they should make them known to "their children; that the generation to come should "know them, even the children which should be "born; who should arise and declare them to their "children; that they might set their hope in God, "and not forget the works of God, but keep his com"mandmentsd."

Had this divine injunction been obeyed, religious knowledge would have been regularly transmitted by parents to their children, from generation to generation. But that knowledge once lost (as from various causes it has been lost) by parents, ignorance must thenceforward be transmitted in the place of it. In the present state of things among us, many are the parents who can neither teach their children, nor afford to pay for their being taught. How melancholy, and in the end how fatal, to society must be the consequences, unless the cause be taken up by the charitable and well-disposed!-Blessed be God, it has been taken up by Britons, in a manner unknown to any other age or nation. At the yearly

Psal. Ixxviii. 5.

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