« AnteriorContinuar »
the ground is softened by the gentle showers of rain in spring; so the heart of a little child is made soft by the grace of God. And Jesus Christ has promised his Holy Spirit to them that ask him. And when a child prays to Jesus Christ to give him his Holy Spirit, such a child will soon begin to feel his sins, and understand the way to heaven, and love what is good. God will open the child's eyes and teach him, and give him to see his sinfulness, and to turn from the wicked world, and to become holy and pious. And this is a great encouragement to you, my dear children, to seek after God. His grace will help you and hold you up, just as a nurse holds up a little infant when it first begins to go alone. And if you say you do not know how to pray for this blessing, use such words as these,
O Lord Jesus, be pleased to give me thy grace, take away my naughty heart, make me a good child, put into my heart good desires-make my heart quite new, that I may love thee, and serve thee for ever!'
6. Once more, hearken unto Jesus Christ, O ye children, when he tells you what are the duties you are to do.
A good child will be known by his good behaviour. Now there are three things which I wish every child to remember. The first is, to obey his parents; the second is, to keep holy the Sabbath day; the third is, always to speak
the truth. The ruin of young people very often begins by breaking these three commands of God. On the other hand, I never knew any instance of a child turning out bad, who kept them. For he who honours his father and mother; and who makes a conscience of keeping holy the Lord's day; and who always tells the truth, is almost sure to be a good child in other respects. These are the signs and marks of God's grace. Whereas, when a boy grows up to despise his parents and to disobey their commands, he is just like the Prodigal Son in the parable. He goes on from one bad thing to another. He first throws off his father's authority; then he uses God's holy day for the very worst purposes, that is, for serving the devil; and thirdly, he tells lies to cloke his shame. Thus he becomes idle, false, and wicked; he next gets into bad company; and at last comes to ruin. Now, then, hearken unto wisdom, O ye children, and follow not the paths of the wicked. The good child tries to obey his parents and teachers, and to love them too; for love makes it an easy thing to obey. The good child is glad when Sunday comes, and he attends to the prayers at Church, and reads the lessons after the Minister, and listens all he can to the sermon. And he never plays or loiters about on a Sunday; but he is serious and in earnest. And when he is at home, he prays to
Jesus Christ to bless what he has learned at Church. The good child, also, never tells an ́untruth; if he has done wrong, he does not deny it or make excuses for it, but speaks the truth out, and tries to amend it. An open honest temper is a great thing. A sly boy generally turns out a wicked boy. I often remember two lines of an old poet :
Dare to be true; nothing can need a lie;
The fault that needs it most grows Two thereby."
7. But lastly, hearken, O my children, to Jesus Christ when he tells you, to keep and hold fust all these things which I have been speaking about.
He says in the text, Blessed are they that keep my ways. You must continue in these things. You must go on. It is one thing to set out in the way to heaven, and another to hold out. Therefore take fast hold of Instruction; let her not go, keep her, for she is thy life. For children are light and foolish and apt to change; and so are men and womenbut children are most of all so. Therefore you must pray to God to have these things fixed in your hearts: so that whenever you may be in danger of doing wrong, you may keep God's ways. Boys at school are in great temptation very often. Perhaps there are one or two bad boys in the school. These bad boys hate every
thing religious, and laugh at those who are conscientious and good; and though they are artful enough to behave well when under the eye of their master, yet amongst their schoolfellows they use bad words and encourage every thing that is wicked, and do all they can to make the rest as naughty as themselves. Now, my dear children, I beg of you to avoid the company of such boys. Never mind their laughing at you. God's favour and your parents' favour far outweigh any thing a wicked boy may say. And there are two things which will help all little boys and girls at school to do what is right. The one is, always say your prayers night and morning in a serious and devout mauner. And not only say the forms of prayer you have been taught, but also add to them short prayers of your own, confessing any particular sins you may have done, and begging God to pardon you, and help you for the time to come. other thing is, to read some portion of the Bible every day—if it is only a few verses, a parable, or a psalm. The custom of doing this will be a blessing to you all through life.
Thus, my dear children, I have gone through the first head of my discourse, and have shown you what it is that Jesus Christ says to chil
I come now to talk to you,
F: H. Of the blessedness or happiness of those children who HEARKEN to what Jesus
Jesus Christ declares in my text, Blessed are they that keep my ways. This means that such children shall be happy both in this world and in the next. Now I will show how this is.
First, A good child will be happy in himself.
No children are really comfortable but those who are good. A wicked boy may seem to be happy for a time in having his own way and doing as he likes; but he soon makes himself wretched. For wicked passions are their own punishment. Pride, envy, self-will, discontent, anger, malice, are sure to cause unhappinessthey are like wells of muddy water, and all the streams that run from them are muddy too. A child may as well talk of being easy when he is bound in iron chains, as of being happy, when he is tied and bound with the chain of his sins. Wicked children are never quiet or satisfied. First they want one thing, and then another. They are like the waves of the sea tossed about by the wind.
Secondly, Good children are happy, because
they make their parents and friends happy.
Nothing rejoices a parent's heart like the good conduct of a child. The kind mother