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of man after the family of Noah came forth from the ark. "I will not again curse the ground any more for man's sake; for the imagination of man's heart is evil from his youth." (Gen. viii. 21.) The original Hebrew is still more strongly expressed: "The imagination of man's heart is evil from his earliest infancy."
Children are by nature disposed to evil; they are inclined to break God's commandments, they go astray as soon as they be born;" hence Solomon says, "The rod and reproof give wisdom."
After Abraham became the father of the faithful, he had a son born to him called Isaac, and the Lord commanded him to circumcise him when he was only eight days old. If there had been no sin in infants, the Lord would not have appointed them to receive so painful a rite as that of circumcision. By this we learn that children must be early cut off from sin, and separated to the service of God. As children among the Jews received the
rite of circumcision, so you were baptised while you were very young, to show that you must be washed from original sin.
2. We shall see the necessity of repentance in children, as we view some early examples of wickedness in them, and the judgments which the Almighty sent upon them, in consequence of their offences.
When God drowned the world for the wickedness of mankind, the children perished, not one was saved alive in the ark. Also when God overthrew the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah by fire from heaven, the children perished as well as the parents. In the history of the prophet Elisha we have a remarkable instance of God's severity to children for their sins; as you read in 2 Kings ii. 23, 24, "And Elisha went up from thence to Bethel; and as he was going up by the way, there came forth little children out of the city, and mocked him, and said to him, Go up, thou bald-head; go up, thou bald-head. And he turned back and looked upon
them, and cursed them in the name of the Lord. And there came forth two she bears out of the wood, and tare forty and two children of them." You see that children may be punished with death by a just and holy God. Fear before him, and repent before him, for all your wickedness. From the above examples of God's just judgment upon wicked children see your own need of repentance. Do not say in your heart, I am not old enough to be punished for my sins. You may be great sinners, though you be ouly children. You may be young children of falsehood, young children of anger and passion, and revenge-young children of covetous practices-young children of rebellion, obstinacy, and disobedience. You may show many sinful tempers to your fathers and mothers, to your teachers, and to your spiritual pastors and masters. For these, and for that evil heart from which they spring, you must repent and turn to God, and do works meet for repentance.
II. Seeing then that all children are by nature evil, and yet we read in the Bible of some good children, we direct you to consider the benefits which children obtain by repenting of their sins before God, and believing in his Son Jesus Christ.
Too many, alas! seem to think that children have nothing to do with repentance for sin, or with faith in Jesus, and love to him. They think it enough if children say their prayers, and learn the Creed, and the Ten Commandments. But children must be taught to love the doctrines and commandments of God, as well as to learn them. How many of mankind die when they are children! almost half of those who are born. Surely these "need to be born again." They must be born of water and of the Spirit; for our Saviour says, “ Verily I Verily I say unto you, except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God." You must become sorry for your sins you must believe in
Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of themyou must love the Saviour who died to redeem you, and all mankind. You must love the Redeemer, and pray to him who rose again from the dead on the third day, and who is now sitting at the right hand of God, to pray for you; from whence he will come at the last day to judge both the quick and the dead. In this way you may by the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the fellowship of the Holy Ghost, become good and godly children. There have been good children, as young as you, who compose the Sunday-school. There have been children as young as many of you are, who have wept for their sins with the tears of true repentance. Let me direct you to a few.
1. Samuel.-In him we have an example of one who became pious at an early age: he served before the Lord and waited upon Eli the priest, when he was but a child. In 1 Sam. iii. 4-8, we are told,