« AnteriorContinuar »
harm to the cause of God; we least of all may content ourselves with formal profes sions, without true and lively godliness, or think that the time for bold and zealous witnessing to the truth is now gone by. The enemies of truth are at work among us, and we may be called upon, before we expect or look for such a summons, to stand forth in the defence of that "faith which was once delivered unto the saints."
How, then, shall we prepare ourselves? Will you be ready, think you, if you attend eagerly to your worldly matters, and leave religion to the clergy only? Whether ye be rich or poor, young or old, who judge thus, assuredly ye are mistaken. As there are "many members in the body, and all members have not the same office, so we, being many, are one body in Christ, and every one members in particular." "Set your hearts," then, "to the things which are commanded you this day; for it is not a vain thing for you, because it is your life." Let us at-.
tend to the language of the Church, and pray "that like as we do believe his only begotten Son, our Lord Jesus Christ, to have ascended into heaven; so we may in heart and mind thither ascend, and with Him continually dwell, who liveth and reigneth with the Father and the Holy Ghost, one God, world without endAmen!"
1 PETER V. 5.*
"Likewise, ye younger, submit yourselves unto the elder: yea, all of you be subject one to another, and be clothed with humility: for God resisteth the proud, and giveth grace to the humble."
DEAR children, I have chosen this text particularly for you, because it teaches a lesson which we cannot begin to learn too early, and which we must go on learning to the end of our lives. It is a lesson which we are very slow in learning, and which we are very apt to forget: you may remember your reading and writing, and all the other things you
* Addressed to the children of the Sundayschools at Haslemere, on the day of the Queen's coronation.
learn at school more easily than you will remember the lesson of my text, and yet it is a very short one, and not difficult to understand. It is the duty of submitting ourselves to our elders. The apostle St. Peter addresses it particularly to the children of those disciples to whom he was writing-" Ye younger, submit yourselves unto the elder." Now, I will try to show that these few words teach you you a very important and useful lesson as to your proper behaviour; 1, Towards your parents; 2, towards your teachers; 3, towards your elders by age, whoever and wherever they may be; and 4, your superiors in rank, and station, and authority. I will show you, too, that all this obedience to your elders is a duty to God, and that if you do not thus submit yourselves to their authority, you rebel not only against them, but against God Himself, who placed them in that station, and made them your superiors.
First, then, you are taught by these words, "Ye younger, submit yourselves to the elder,"
to obey your parents, or those who are the same to you as your parents, if it has pleased Almighty God to take your parents from you. "Children," says St. Paul, "obey your parents in the Lord; for this is right. Honour thy father and mother, which is the first commandment with promise; that it may be well with thee, and that thou mayest live long upon the earth."* Here the apostle St. Paul reminds you, that it is one of the commandments of God's law to honour your parents; and he says it is "the first commandment with promise," i. e. it is the first to which a particular reward is promised for obedience, viz. a long and prosperous life. By the law of Moses the Jews were very strictly ordered to obey this commandment, and if any one presumed to disobey it, and to mock, or abuse, or despise his parents, he was punished with death. For you will find it written in Deut. xxi. 18, 66 If a man have a stubborn and rebellious
* Ephes. vi. 1-3.