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which is to be given to children, to carry on what is good in their hearts. It is not food for the body, like that food which the earthly shepherd provides for his flock, in green pastures and by still waters; but it is food for the soul. And what is this? It is, in the first place, the Bible. Children must read God's word, and in that book there is a great deal of food for the lambs. There the child learns how God made the heavens and the earth: how Satan tempted Eve to eat the forbidden fruit, by which Adam and Eve fell from God and lost his holy image, and how God turned them out of the delightful garden of Eden, where he had put them to live; and then what a wicked son Adam and Eve had, named Cain, who killed his brother Abel. Now this is food for the lambs. This is what they can understand, and what will do them good.
It is true there is much in the Bible which they cannot understand (for there are many things which grown up persons cannot understand); but there is also much that a very little child may understand. He can understand about Noah, about the world being so wicked that God drowned every person in it, except Noah and his family, whom he saved in the ark; he can understand about Abraham being commanded by God to offer up his only son Isaac as a sacrifice to God; he can understand about
Joseph being hated and sold by his brethren; he can understand about Moses being put into a cradle of bulrushes and exposed on the waters, and being found by the daughter of Pharaoh, the king of Egypt, and taken care of and brought up by her and then when Moses is grown to be a man, he refuses to be called the son of Pharaoh's daughter, because he esteemed the reproach of Christ greater riches than the treasures of Egypt. O! will the child say, that I might be like Moses, and leave the world and try to love Jesus Christ better than any thing that the world can offer me. And then the child goes on to read about Job, who was the most patient man, and how he lay upon a dunghill; and about David being taken from the care of a flock of sheep and made a great king, and about Solomon and Isaiah and Jeremiah, and all the prophets. And then the little boy or girl reads of Jesus Christ being born of a virgin, and how the babe was laid in a manger, and how wicked Herod wanted to kill him, and murdered all the children of two years old in hopes to kill Christ; and then, at last, the child comes to hear what the Saviour suffered, and that he was nailed to a cross, and died to save his sheep and lambs. I have seen a child of not more than four years old, sitting upon its parent's knee and listening to the stories out of
the Bible, till its eyes streamed with tears; so affecting and wonderful is the word of God.
But, secondly, there is other food for the lambs, besides this which is the principal food. There is the instruction of your parents and schoolmasters and mistresses, and of the ladies and gentlemen who teach in different schools. Now, what is all this, but Christ feeding his lambs? These teachers take the word of God and break it into small portions, that the child may understand it and remember it, just as the shepherd leads the lambs to the best places of the pastures, because they are tender and heedless, and cannot find food for themselves.
Then, thirdly, there is the public prayers and preaching of God's word on a Sunday. Every day the lambs are to be fed, but Sunday is more particularly the day for feeding them. On Sunday the good child will look out the lessons before he comes to church, and will try to follow the minister as he reads them, and will try to understand the prayers of the church. And when the sermon is preached, he will try to remember the text and some particulars of the sermon.
And, last of all, when these lambs are grown up, they are brought to the table of the Lord: at this sacrament there is the body and blood of Christ prepared for Christ's flock to feed them and nourish them to everlasting life.
Thus I have shown you three things. First, who is the Shepherd of the flock; Secondly, who are the lambs of the flock; and, Thirdly, what food is prepared for them.
Now, I think, there are three sorts of children in this church to-day; and I would say a word to each of them, in applying what I have already been talking about.
First, I would speak to those who are already Christ's lambs; and to them I would say, obey and love your shepherd Jesus Christ, pray to him to give you more and more of his grace in your hearts, that you may daily know him more and serve him better. Avoid the company of wicked children. If there is a boy or girl in the school who is wicked, who tells lies, who is quarrelsome, and uses bad words, avoid him, pass not by him, avoid him, and turn away. All who would be lambs of Christ's flock, must keep away from children who neglect Christ and their souls. You must expect too, if you are a lamb of Christ's flock, that naughty children will sometimes laugh at you; if there is a very good boy in a school he will be sure almost to be laughed at and called by some names of reproach; this may seem strange, but I speak from my own knowledge and information that this is often the case. Now though the laughter and jeer of a child would be nothing to a man, it is very hard for a child to bear;
and therefore I would tell good children to be prepared for this, that they may fly, like lambs, to the shepherd to protect them and to teach them to bear it, that they may not be ashamed of Christ, and be led away from him.
But, secondly, there may be some here, who, though they have not hitherto been the lambs of Christ's flock, yet are desiring to become so. To these I would speak a word. Is there any little child before me who has this thought in his heart?-O! that I was one of the lambs of Christ's flock; I should like to be good and belong to Jesus Christ; I know I must die, and unless I am a lamb of Christ before I die, I must go to hell-but I have tried to be good, and I find I cannot be so-I find such a dislike in my heart to being so good. Now, my dear child, this is just what I told you before, that you have by nature a hard, wicked, naughty heart, which must be softened and changed by the Spirit of God; but but every child who desires to be a lamb of Christ's flock, and prays to Christ, to every such child Christ will give a new heart. Therefore, if any little child desires to be a true follower of Christ, let him go home from church to-day and fall on his knees and pray that Jesus Christ will give him another heart, and will teach him how to be good, and will make him a real Christian, and teach him how to do his duty; and then let