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up in his arms put his hands on them and blessed them.” Can you realize this wonderful scene ? Christ is surrounded by a multitude, many of whom He had healed of their diseases. He had just delivered some thoughts of profound wisdom on the subject of marriage, in reply to questions which the captious Pharisees had put to Him, for the purpose of entrapping Him in some theological inconsistency. All around Him is excitement, and the terrible events of His last days are gathering thick about Him. His attention is at once arrested by mothers, and perhaps fathers, with the children in their arms, pressing their way through the crowd to Him for His blessing. The disciples, not supposing, perhaps, for a moment, that He will attend to them in such circumstances, rebuke them. But what does He do? He addresses those who obstruct ;—“Suffer them to come to me and forbid them not.” Anger and love both seem to ring in these words; anger towards the men, who, instead of encouraging, hinder them, and love towards the little children. Suffer them ; stand back, clear the way,
offer no obstruction, my heart yearns towards them. “Forbid them not;" they have as much claim to my affections as you have; I am as accessible to them as to any :-forbid them not. “It is not the will of my Father that one of these little ones should perish.” After He had thus addressed the obstructors, Luke tells us that “ He called them unto Him." We are not told what He said either to the parents or the little ones. I should like to have had those sweet words recorded. With arms extended, and eyes beaming with more than earthly love, did He
say, “Come hither parents with your dear little ones; heed not the rudeness of the crowd ; be not disheartened by the cold repulse of my disciples who ought to know better; press on ; I will take them in my arms and bless them?” No these words are not tender enough. Who can form a sentence to express His heart? Then He takes them in His arms, looks at them with tenderest compassion, and blesses them ; commends them to the loving guardianship of the great God.
There is a sublime humanity in all this. Men of great natures have always shown an interest in children. Aye, there is more than humanity in it; there is a Godhood herein. What other teacher ever paid such an attention to children? The great teachers of past ages directed their attention more to the wealthy than the poor, more to adults than to children, and more to those distinguished by splendid talents than to those of ordinary powers. Christ preaches to the poor, and takes helpless infants in His arms.
IV. THE PICTURE OF A BEAUTIFUL HEAVEN.
" For of such "-of children—" is the kingdom of heaven.” A picture is here suggested; it is the home of the child, and the childlike.
First : It is the home of the child in age. Christ does not mean to convey the idea that heaven is only for children; no, but that heaven is certain for children. Adults by millions are excluded, but never an innocent child ; and inasmuch as a great proportion of the race die in infancy, a larger portion of that age may be there than others. Not, of course, as infants; for maturity of faculty and character marks every tenant of that blessed above. “Of such is the kingdom of heaven." Blessed statement! This tends in some measure to solve the mystery of infantile suffering and death.' Why do such millions of the human race just appear on earth, breathe a few hours, suffer, and then die ? If the answer is, To people heaven, I am satisfied. Let them die. “The Lord gave and the Lord bath taken away.” This too is a consolation for parents bereaved of their children. Do not mourn their loss. Rather rejoice that they are taken away from the evil that is to come, and that they have been so speedily translated to the better and brighter world.
Secondly : It is the home of the child in character. Whatever may be the earthly age of those who are taken to heaven, they have all the childlike spirit ;—the spirit of docility, humility, and confidence. There are no proud haughty spirits in heaven. “Unless you repent,” said Christ, “and become as this little child, ye shall in no case enter into the kingdom of heaven."
Germs of Thought.
“His heart was lifted up in the ways of the Lord.”—2 Chro. xvii. 6.
Inalysis of Homily the Four Hundred and Sebentieth. It was of Jehoshaphat, the king of Judah, that this was spoken ; and, considering the circumstances of the case, it is a very high commendation. Jehoshaphat was a prince distinguished for his piety and the excellence of his life. His reign which lasted for five-and-twenty years, was powerful and prosperous. He destroyed the altars and high places of idolatry; he caused a knowledge of the law to be diffused throughout the kingdom ; and he filled the offices of judicial and ecclesiastical authority with the wisest and best men of the land. “And the Lord was with him.” “All Judah brought to Jehoshaphat presents; and he had riches and honor in abundance. And his heart was lifted up in the ways of the Lord.”
I. SOME MEN, WHEN LIKE JEHOSHAPHAT THEY HAVE RICHES AND HONOR IN ABUNDANCE, HAVE THEIR HEARTS. LIFTED UP, BUT NOT IN THE WAYS OF THE LORD. The natural tendency of such circumstances is to create and foster a spirit of pride, of self-sufficiency, and of independence. How many there are who, in the striking language of scripture, “sacrifice unto their net and burn incense unto their drag; because by them their portion is fat and their meat plenteous.” How many there are who need to be warned as were the Jews of old ! “ Beware that thou forget not the Lord thy God, in not keeping his commandments, and his judgments, and his statutes. Lest when thou hast eaten and art full, and hast built goodly houses, and dwelt therein ; and when thy herds and thy flocks multiply, and thy silver and thy gold is mul
tiplied, and all that thou hast is multiplied; then thine heart be lifted up and thou forget the Lord thy God. And thou say in thine heart, my power and the might of mine hand have gotten me this wealth. But thou shalt remember the Lord thy God for it is he that giveth thee power to get wealth.” The possession of abundance has a tendency to close the eye against the hand which, ever open, supplies that abundance ; the possession of health leads us to forget that it is the gift of God; the possession of worldly riches, or honor, or fame, or power, we are too prone to attribute to ourselves, and in our enjoyment of it to forget God. We have a striking exemplification of human nature, in this aspect of it, presented to us in Nebuchadnezzar, the monarch of Babylon. Ascending his lofty palace, and looking around him from its summit, he said, in the pride of his heart, “ Is not this great Babylon that I have built?” It has been suggested, that if he had been engaged with his enemy, he would have called upon his false gods; or, finding their insufficiency, he might have been led to acknowledge the God of heaven, as the monarch of Babylon not unfrequently did; but now, when surrounded by peace and prosperity, by all the splendor of the city which he had raised and ornamented, he saw not God from whom all his power and prosperity came, and upon whose bounty and care he was as much a pensioner as the meanest of his subjects; but he saw himself as the origin and director of all, and he said, “ Is not this great Babylon that I have built for the house of the kingdom by the might of my power, and for the honor of my majesty?" His heart was lifted up, not like Jehoshaphat's in the ways of the Lord, but in the ways of pride, of selfsufficiency, and independence of God. And, that he might learn the lesson of humility and dependence, Nebuchadnezzar was driven among the beasts of the field. So if we look at human nature, not in its highest but in its lowest grades ; if we trace it down from the monarch of Babylon to the lowliest who are engaged in the every-day occupations of life e; we find that where employment is abundant, and where remuneration is good, there is a tendency to forget God and to attribute all to self. Their heart is lifted up, but not in the ways of the Lord. Theirs is not a holy exultation, not a sanctified joy. No grateful oblation of a grateful heart do they bring to God. “But Jeshurun waxed fat and kicked ; thou art waxen fat, thou art grown thick, thou art covered with fatness ; then he forsook God who made him, and lightly esteemed the rock of his salvation.” In seasons of adversity and national calamity, the people of Israel cried unto God, and sought from Him deliverance; but when the darkness was passed and the sun of prosperity again shone upon them, they forgot God. According to their pasture so were they filled; they were filled, and their heart was eralted,"—that is, lifted up,—“therefore have they forgotten me.”
“Great God, how oft did Israel prove,
II. SOME MEN WHOSE HEARTS ARE NOT LIFTED UP ARE IN THE WAYS OF THE LORD. They are real Christians, but doubting, desponding Christians. The causes that contribute to their depression may be either physical or spiritual. The influence of body and mind is reciprocal. No doubt the mind has power over the body. So teaches Solomon. “A merry heart doeth good like a medicine ; but a broken spirit drieth the bones.” But it is equally true that the body has power over the spirit. We are to a great extent the creatures of the seasons and the sky. A clear day or a cloudy one will often make all the difference between happiness and unhappiness, comfort and misery. There are those who give every evidence of conversion, who yet gloomily conclude that they have no part nor lot in the matter, and that their heart is not right in the sight of God. And wherefore? There is no reason why they should, but the reason why they do is to be found in something beyond the