« ПредыдущаяПродолжить »
but He, in a far higher and more important sense, died for them. Yes, Christ died for infants, and therefore they are baptized unto his death; made partakers of the benefits purchased for them there; washed with water outwardly, to show that their souls must and may be washed in his most precious blood, without which, indeed, they would be in a hopeless state. Accordingly, we believe, that baptized infants are entitled, through the merits of Christ, to all the blessings of the Gospel, as soon as they become capable of receiving them; provided they do not forfeit their great privileges by growing up in impenitence and unbelief. Above all they are entitled, through Christ, to the renewing grace of His holy Spirit, to prepare their hearts to receive and obey the truth. For when children grow up to understand these things, it is clear that they must themselves repent truly of all their sins, and believe in Christ their Saviour; loving Him sincerely, and humbly endeavouring to keep His commandments. They must make good with their own hearts, and lips, and lives, the promises that were made for them in their baptism, and be careful never to take themselves out of the arms of their Saviour's mercy, and thus forfeit the blessings of eternal life.
A happy thing it is, my child, to think that you, and your dear brother and sisters, have, in your infancy, been placed in those arms, when you were baptized in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost. Oh, remember this! remember that, "born in sin, and the children of wrath, you were brought to the waters of baptism, with earnest prayer, that you might undergo that great change, without which Christ
has Himself said, you can never enter the kingdom of God. Remember, that not only your own dear parents, but the Church herself then thanked God that you had undergone this change; that you had been born again of water; and of the Holy Ghost; that you had been adopted as a child of God, and admitted into the family of Christ's redeemed people." Keep then in mind these invaluable privileges, and do nothing unworthy of that gracious and holy relation; but study and pray that you may indeed be a child of God in love and obedience; and lead the rest of your life according to that beginning.
Remember too that the christian child should daily increase in God's Holy Spirit more and more, until he comes at length to God's everlasting kingdom in heaven; whilst even to the last, he must in some respects continue to be a little child;-as teachable, as lowly, as confiding, as free from wilful sin, as indifferent to the pomps and vanities, and sinful pleasures of this evil world. In this sense all of us must be as children. For our Lord has solemnly said, "Whosoever shall not receive the kingdom of God as a little child, shall in no wise enter therein."
See St. Luke xvii. 11-19; xviii. 9—17.
FORTY-THIRD SUNDAY EVENING.
CHRIST'S LAST JOURNEY CONTINUED.
M. Well, Edward, are you inclined to go on tracing with me our Lord's last journey to Jerusalem?
E. Yes, Mamma, indeed I am; wherever He goes there is something interesting to hear which He did or said.
M. You are right; in this journey, as in all His others, His path was strewed with mercies; and paved, if we may so speak, with heavenly instruction. You will find it so to the end. Yet Jesus knew full well the sufferings and indignities, which awaited Him at Jerusalem: His mind was full of the awful subject; and there was something mysterious in His very manner, which filled His apostles with amazement, so that, as they followed, they felt afraid. Then He took the twelve, and told them plainly how He should be betrayed, condemned to death, and delivered to the gentiles, who should mock, scourge, insult, and at last crucify Him. So clearly was our Lord aware of every particular of His approaching sufferings; so steadily did He behold them. But what is to us perhaps most surprising is, that amidst this very people, by whom He was to be thus treated, and led as a lamb to the slaughter, He persevered to the last in instructing them, and showering upon them acts of mercy. No suffering of His own could check His goodness; no harsh treatment could chill His compassion. Great as were the afflictions with which He was overwhelmed, they were exceeded by the mercies which He continued to bestow; and though the evil which awaited Him was unexampled, He overcame it to the last with good. What an impressive view does this give us of the goodness and merey of our Saviour; of that stream of kindness which no opposition could obstruct; of that flame of love which
no malice could extinguish! Though Jerusalem was to witness His death, the people of Jericho, as He passed through it on His way, were still to behold His miracles. In the neighbourhood of that city He gave sight to several blind persons, who, hearing that He was passing by, began to cry, "Jesus, thou Son of David, have mercy on us!" And though the multitude rebuked them, and desired them to hold their peace, they were not silenced, but only cried the more, saying, "Have mercy on us, O Lord, thou Son of David!"
E. I am sure our Lord would not blame them for being so troublesome.
M. So far from it, that He was pleased with their earnest and repeated prayers as a proof of their faith; and He stood still and called them, and said, “What will ye that I shall do unto you? They say unto him, Lord, that our eyes may be opened. So Jesus had compassion on them, and touched their eyes, and immediately their eyes received sight, and they followed him."
And now we come to a little incident which I am sure will interest you much. As our Lord went on His way from Jericho to Jerusalem, a person of the name of Zaccheus, who lived on the road, "sought to see Jesus, who, or what kind of person He was." But the crowd was so great, that Zaccheus, who was little of stature, tried in vain to obtain this blessed sight, and at last he was obliged to run on before them all, and to climb up into a sycamore tree, which grew by the way-side, in order to gratify his wish of beholding Jesus.
E. Into a sycamore tree? that must be a most beautiful tree, Mamma, if it is like the picture I have seen
of it, in that very nice book from which you have so often given me an account of the productions of the Holy Land.
M. You mean "the Natural History of the Bible." It is a valuable little work, and often helps me to tell you at once what you want to know. You may look there for a long and interesting account of the sycamore-tree; I will only tell you now, that it is very common in Eastern countries, and grows to a great height; that its wood is very valuable for building, and its fruit, in some places, quite a common article of food. Its wide spreading branches afford also a delicious shade; amid them Zaccheus might have remained quite hidden from notice, whilst he himself obtained the sight he so greatly desired; so we see the reason of his climbing up into a sycamore tree.
E. I like him so much for doing that he must have thought a great deal of Jesus, or he would not have taken all that trouble.
M. What his motive was, we are not exactly told; but from what followed, it seems to have been better than mere curiosity. It was his happiness to see Jesus; but he was happier still in that Jesus saw him, and discovered the very inmost feelings of his heart. For when Jesus came to the place, He looked up and saw him, and said to him, "Zaccheus, make haste and come down; for to-day I must abide at thy house."
E. How very kindly He spoke to him, Mamma, as if He had known him for many years.
M. Thus kind He is to all who seek for Him; fulfilling continually the promise of His own word: "Those that seek me shall be found of me." It is not enough that we should contemplate our Lord Jesus Christ at