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be quite sure it would do everybody good to come to get His blessing. And so they brought their “young children,” their “ infants,” to Jesus.
4. Well, but more particularly ; tell me, after looking at the thirteenth verse, in what peculiar manner did these parents wish that Jesus should mark the giving of His blessing to their children? They wished " that He should TOUCH them.” Could He have blessed them without touching them ? Yes. Truly, without any touch, without even a word, Jesus might simply have wished it, and these infants would have been blessed. But their parents wanted something to be a sign to them that Jesus really wished to bless their children. What do you mean by A SIGN? Is it not something that we can see and feel, intended to make us sure of something else which we cannot know by any of our senses ? For example, tell me, could these parents see the good wishes to bless their children which were passing through the mind of Jesus ? No! of course they could not. And so very tenderly did Jesus consider this, that, to fully satisfy these parents of His gracious purpose to do their children good, He not only gave them His blessing in a good wish for them, or in a good word spoken over them, but even gave them also a sign that He blessed them.
He did not drive these parents away from Him, as if it were a merely superstitious fancy, and a wrong thing in them, to ask Him to “TOUCH"their infants when He blessed them. Nay, rather, you remember when His disciples rebuked those that brought the little children, “Jesus saw it, and was much displeased, and said unto them, Suffer the little children to come unto me, and forbid them not.” And then notice what He did. After that frown of His much displeasure at the disciples had passed away from His brow, Jesus did before the eyes of these parents even more than they asked, and, while giving their infants His blessing, He not merely touched them, but “took them up in His arms, and put His hands upon them.” Thus it was, that, by His“ putting His hands upon them,” Jesus did, in the most solemn way, both signify and seal that it was really His desire to bless these little children.
5. Now will any girl tell me by what it is that Jesus signifies and seals to us His desire to bless us ? Can no girl tell me? Yes; you are right. Did you hear it, boys? This girl says it is BY THE SACRAMENTS. And some of these boys will tell me now, in which of the Sacraments it is that Jesus puts His hands, as it were, upon “infants” and “young children" to give the sign and seal
of His gracious desire to bless even children so young as to be taken up in the arms of those who love them ? In the Sacrament of BAPTISM. Yes, my boy, it is. What, then, is your baptism a sign and seal of to you? children,- when the minister of Christ baptized you and, calling you by name, said, “ John,” or “Mary”—“Robert, or “Janet, I baptize thee in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost-one God," and, as he said these words, sprinkling clean water on you—tell me—what was all that a sign of to you? Think you it means that you are saved by your being outwardly baptized, as if water touching the body could save the soul : No. No, indeed, my boy. Tell me, how, alone, is it that you can be saved ? By coming to Christ. And was it not just that very thing that Jesus meant to signify and seal when He said, “Suffer the little children to come UNTO ME, and took them up in His arms, put His hands upon them, and blessed them ?” Now, all the children in this school were baptized when they were “infants;" and, in your baptism, even as it were by putting His hands upon you in the sprinkling on you of clean water, Jesus did give His own solemn sign, that His promise is TO YOU to save and bless you, if you will “come to Him” to ask His blessing.
You feel, do you not, how fully satisfied of His desire to bless their children these parents must have been, when they saw Jesus take them up in His arms and put His hands on them as the sign of His blessing. You can easily fancy, as these infants grew up to be boys and girls like you, how anxious their parents would be to tell them of that very loving and tender action, in which Jesus had so sweetly sealed to them His affectionate wish to do them good. And are you not ready to judge that they were very hard-hearted and ungrateful children if, when told what Christ had done with them to signify His desire to bless them, they did not care so much as to ask His blessing for themselves. Yes! And yet, what but that very same judgment must you pass upon yourselves who have had Christ's hands, as it were, put upon you in baptism when you were "little,” if you, dear children, have never yet come to Christ to ask the good things He so solemnly signified and sealed to you His desire to bless you with ?
With His own hand upon you in your baptism, Christ has signed a promise to you to give you all the blessings of His great salvation if you will only come to Him to get them. But, never can you be the better even for such a promise if you do not come to Christ to receive
its precious blessings. You are just like a person with a pound note. Perhaps you may never have noticed what is written on such a note. But, next time you see one, you will look at it, and you will find that it is a promise by the banker to pay the bearer of the note the twenty silver shillings which make a pound. And the promise on the note is signed by the banker, so that, when you see his signature, you are quite sure that whenever you take that pound note, and show the banker his signed promise to pay twenty shillings to the bearer of it, you will get the money. Suppose you let the promise on the note alone, and never ask for its fulfilment, you never can be the richer or the better for having the note in your possession. No; to get the twenty silver shillings, (which may be yours if you will but ask them,) you must go to the banker, and there, at the bank, you will find of how much worth it is to have the banker's own promise to show,-ay, and the signature under his own hand which has sealed his promise as true to you. Now," by the good hand of” our Lord Jesus upon each one of you in baptism, you have had it signed and sealed to you, that it is His desire to bless you
you will but come unto Him as your Saviour. And for the use you make of that precious “pound,” (Luke xix. 13,) the Lord, your heavenly Master, will hold you answerable at the great day of judgment ! See well to it then, I beseech you, that you give instant earnest heed to improve all those precious advantages to which, under Jesus' own hand, you were, in your very infancy, admitted ! Awoke now, even as by the TOUCH OF Jesus in your baptism, oh! let it be yours to arise and go unto Him, that aĪl the unsearchable riches of His boundless blessing may be yours in time and in eternity!
We left the school immediately after this exposition was finished. It was a lovely winter day. The sun was setting in the most gorgeous splendour. All nature seemed gladdened with the gleam, and offered a glorious witness to the great liberality of its divine Creator. We thought-what a HAND that is which was so lovingly laid on little children! How large its bounty! How almighty its power! How free the outgoings of its unmerited mercies! And as we gazed on the lovely landscape, and thought of the hand that made it all, and made it all so beautiful, we prayed, that that hand might in tenderness be laid on every Sabbath scholar,—that every one of them might feel the touch of the divine grace, and be drawn by it to come to Christ to receive His blessing !
A MISSIONARY NOBLEMAN
IN TAE ALAND ISLES.
as it appeared before its destructive bombard-
ber of its capture on the 16th of August 1854. We learn that a door was thus opened for the free preaching of the Gospel. “ The instrument employed by the Lord was a young sailor of noble birth, who, several times a-day, for the space of two months and a half, spoke to the people on the importance of salvation, but who, to escape the lion's mouth,' when the last English ship left Aland, was obliged to hasten back to Sweden, where he is for the present engaged on a missionary journey to the North.”
“We beg," says the author of this account, “ to present our cordial salutations and thanks to the pious Captain Caffin, the Commander of Her Britannic Majesty's Steam Frigate Penelope. He was sent by the Lord in time of need; for Mallersward, our young missionary to Aland, was about to be arrested and tried for his preaching of Jesus ; but through this captain's powerful representations
VOL. V. No. II.
to the authorities at Degerby custom-house, he was able three weeks longer to preach freely the Word of God to the hungry souls in Aland.”
May this be the first-fruits of a wider door for the entrance of the Word into the dark places of the earth-a door that shall be opened never again to be closed.
MISSIONARY WORK IN SWEDEN. For some time past, Sweden has been the scene of deeply interesting missionary labours. The Lord has been saying “to the North, Give up,
bring my sons from far, and my daughters from the ends of the earth.” Many in Sweden have been led to “go and seek the Lord their God and to ask the way to Zion with their faces thitherward.” We could tell of the Swedish Christian lady, and the devoted nobleman, and the pious artizan, who, as well as the more regular missionary of the Gospel, have, in various ways, devoted themselves to the sowing of the precious seed. Already has there been an abundant return of harvest fruits. Insomuch that, in a letter from Sweden, written in August last, the writer says: “This is a time which has no parallel in the bygone religious history of Sweden, and, there is perhaps at present no country in Europe which seems to be, in so remarkable a way, under the awakening influence of the Spirit of God.” But we grieve to say that the enemy is lively and strong. The fiery trial of persecution for the truth's sake is no strange thing in Sweden. The old obj on to the preaching of the Gospel has been revived. (Acts xvi. 20.) The humble and pious Bible spreader has been charged with “creating much disorder, and causing other sorrowful events.” And so fines and imprisonment have been the consequence. These charges were inquired into; and the result of the inquiry shewed that “the use of God's Word leads not to disorder but to order.” The following instances are given :
“ In the parish of Grangärde, the wretched people, by long-continued drinking habits, have fallen into a lamentable condition. Contentions and fightings, even with knives, have, besides card-playing and drinking, consti