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particular person : his companion in labour and their messenger' just specified, When, after the analysis of holiness into its several elements as the fruit of the Spirit, he declares, “ Against such there is no law,' his statement is designed to include not such like virtues only, but those enumerated in the preceding passage. And when our Lord says, “Suffer the little children to come unto Me and forbid them not; for of such is the kingdom of God,' He means not men of childlike temper, but the very children themselves.” Dr. Wardlaw observes: “What Christ says is evidently this, My kingdom shall consist of these-of infants—as well as of infant-like character.'” This exposition of the term “such " is confirmed by a correct interpretation of words in Mark's account of this beautiful incident. · Verily, I say unto you, Whosoever shall not receive the kingdom of God as a little child, he shall in no wise enter therein.” That is, as a little child receives it. Here Christ teaches us that a little child's reception of the kingdom of God must be the type of all true reception of it on the part of men and women.
And what is true of the childreu of this story, is true of all the children of our Sunday-schools. The children Christ looked on are representative of all others, of like condition and age. “He took them in His arms ;” this act is representative. “He blessed them, laying His hands upon them : ” this beautiful act is representative. If little ones cannot of themselves come to Christ, He can come to them, take them to Himself, and bless them. This sweet and suggestive story anticipates and answers for all time. As Dean Alford says, “Whether, when Jesus was no longer on earth, little children might be brought to Him, dedicated to His service, and made partakers of His blessing." Maybe brought to Him ! They should be. Christ's indignant voice rings out to-day in remonstrance and rebuke against all who stand between children and Him. Christ's voice, sounding like the angry blast of a trumpet, streams down the centuries, and reaches our ears; and its indignant cry to many is, “Forbid them not." “ Suffer them to come to Me." To priest, Romanist, and Ritualist; to depreciators of child-conversion and piety; to those that exclude all children from Church-membership and privileges and advantages; to all that by the influence of their example do not impel children Christward; to all of erroneous views and practices in respect to the relation of children to Christ and to their citizenship in the kingdom of heaven ; and to all that in any way stand between children and Christ, Christ's cry, charged with most holy indignation, is, "Forbid them not; " " Suffer them to come to Me, BECAUSE of such is the ki ngdom of heaven." Daniel Webster, in a great speech, with noble eloquence, said: “This injunction is of perpetual obligation. It addresses itself to-day with the same earnestness and the same authority which attended its first utterance to the Christian world. It is of force everywhere, and at all times. It extends to the ends of the earth ; it will reach to the end of time, always and everywhere sounding in the ears of men with an emphasis which no repetition can weaken, and with an authority which nothing can supersede, • Suffer little children to come unto Me." It is clear then that all children of the Christian dispensation belong to the kingdom of heaven ; and, therefore, the children of our schools are its subjects. They are its subjects not because they have been born of Christian parents, nor because they have been baptized, but because they are of this dispensation.
And what is the effect of baptism on children in relation to Christ and His Church ? I believe in baptism as a sign or symbol of great evangelistic truths. I believe in it as an act full of solemnity and grandeur on the part of parents. Their child is baptized into the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost. Baptism, therefore, is the declaration of a great faith. It involves a solemn avowal of their belief that the Godhead is tripersonal. It includes a consecration of their child to Christ, and they covenant to nurse and nurture it in and for Him. They say, in effect, as Hannah said of Samuel, “I will bring Him that He may appear before the Lord, and there abide for ever.” But this is not all Baptism has an important effect upon children both in their relation to Christ and His Church. Baptism does something with the children. It has been said that infant baptism is cause that, in this world, produces no effect; a means connected with no end; a cloud that affords no rain ; a tree that yields no fruit.” This is not according to the truth. In my thought and feeling it is as unlike the truth as darkness is unlike light; as death is unlike life. Infant baptism has an effect, and an end in respect to the baptized child. First, it initiates into discipleship with Christ ; second, it incorporates the little one with the visible Church.
(To be continued.)
What one Prous, SELF-DENYING WOMAN MAY DO.-The famous work of Miss Whately, daughter of Archbishop Whately, who for years carried on her work in Cairo, at her own charges, is a very interesting branch of Egyptian missions. The Khedive presented Miss Whately with land for her buildings, and her Cairo schools number 300 boys and 200 girls, more than two-thirds of the girls and half of the boys being Moslems. She has a branch school of ninety pupils at Damietta.
THE STORM LOWERS AROUND JESUS .
It was a quiet retreat on the Mount of Olives—that little house at Bethany; and so convenient, too, for the visits of Jesus to the City and Temple. A small, but very exemplary family lived there—Martha, said to have been a widow, Mary her sister, a single woman, and Lazarus, a brother and a Rabbi, of high character. It was the Judean home of Jesus, and. there, after His two months' leisurely journey from the Lake district to the Feast of Dedication, He rested. This feast, which commemorated the cleansing of the Temple after its profanation by Antiochus Epiphanes (170 B.c.), "was" held, John says, “in winter" (x. 22), and fell this year on the 20th of December, ending as usual on the eighth day, with a general illumination. The close, by such a traveller, of a long journey at a house in a mountain hamlet like this, was sure to create some bustle and excitement. Martha, however, kept busy at her house-work-no mean occupation, by the bye--and Mary set herself listening and learning from Jesus. Tidyness, cleanliness, hospitality, were Martha's chief concern ; anxious curiosity, spiritual instruction, soul-knowledge, were Mary's. Martha was intent on a comfortable home for the welcome Visitor; and Mary was bent on treasuring up every precious “word" which fell from His lips. Both these women reverenced their Lord, but one showed it by throwing an air of happiness round the hearth, and by the preparation of a good meal; the other, by sitting docilely at the feet of her Guest, and receiving Divine light from His lucid lessons. But, in an emergency like this, when Jesus had suddenly arrived, a single pair of hands must have been full and “encumbered.” It was characteristic rather to want “help" when so pressed, and so characteristic, that one might have told beforehand that Martha would get impatient and talk of it. Listen to her appeal:—“Lord, dost Thou not care that my sister hath left me to serve alone?” Then she asked for His interference—“Bid her therefore that she help me!” A little temper might be in this, for she talks at Mary, through Jesus (so like what everybody has seen). In her anxious hurry, thrifty, generous-hearted Martha forgot that it was only respectful and courteous to attend thus even to an ordinary tired and beloved friend. Nevertheless, none of us like all the work, while others sit with folded arms. Jesus knew Martha's position and did not rebuke her; but He exonerated Mary; yea, commended her, by the exclamatory observation—“Martha! Martha! thou art careful and troubled about many things ;” most of which are really not essential; “but one thing is needful”-can't be dispensed with, though others might—"and Mary hath chosen that one thing,' that) good part, which shall not be taken away from her” (Luke x. 38—42). Martha was fussy, perhaps fidgety about the house-duties; about “much serving.” She might be preparing too many dishes, for a single dish was the common meal, and Jesus employing a metaphor, taken from the circumstances, skilfully gave the question a spiritual turn, and commended Mary's wisdom in choosing the one essential "thing,” even to the exclusion of all others. No censure,
however, is here of Martha's industry and hospitality, but a warning against overanxiousness, and that worry which shuts out from families the reign of peace and quietude.
Dear friends of Jesus were these at this Bethany ; but He could not prolong His stay, as He had come “ about His Father's business," and only three months more of life remained to Him. Soon, perhaps after a single night's repose, He had left the little cottage, passed under the shady olive trees, reached the City, and begun preaching among tho triple row of columns in Solomon's Porch. Here, from the Temple, His eyes would sweep over the valley of Kedron, and He might see the whitewashed sepulchres of the many slain prophets, whose fate He Himself was calmly awaiting. The Pharisaic spirit, always rampant at this feast, quickly found Him. 0! those Pharisees lurking everywhere, fasting with a kind of mathematical mortification, punctually“ paying” the “ tithes," making long prayers at street-corners, and with whom pious phrases had grown into a ceremony, how they thirsted for the blood of Jesus! True, their power was slipping from them, their authority dying, and they were ready for anything which would avert this-slander, flattery, treachery, violence, or even compromise. If Jesus would have gone in for a temporal kingdom, even now they would have joined Him en masse. As a last resort, they tried this popular notion of a political sovereignty. Affecting an air of impatience at His delay in declaring His purposes and aims, they charged Him with keeping them unreasonably in suspense. His want of public spirit they pretended was unbearable, for if He was really“ mightier than (king) Solomon” why did He not boldly and openly say so, in that “ Porch of Solomon ?” This appeal was impassioned, impetuous, and had He declared Himself the Messiah in their sense, the whole country would soon have been in the throes of revolution. Suddenly, it appears, they gathered “round about Him,” and demanded—“How long dost Thou make us to doubt ? if Thou be the Christ, tell us plainly.” A word now would have set Palestine aflame. But Jesus, who always abhorred civil strife, would have no compromises, could not treat with traitors, and repelled the proposal with disdain. He told them again, His was not a temporal, but a spiritual Messiahship, referred to His previous declarations, and reminded them of His Works accompanying His teaching. They were seeking earthly power, and were not sheep of His flock, or they would have “ known" Him by His “Voice," and long ago have been in His “ fold.” He would have given them, not indeed official, court life, but " life eternal,” and they would then have been in " hands," " out of” which no one could have "plucked" them—" in His Father's hand ;” i.e. virtually, in the hands of the true Messiah, for He at once added, with an unmistakable emphasis, “I and my Father are One”—one in purpose, act, authority, essence, power. This avowal, they declared, was enough. He was no political Saviour, but actually claimed to be “ God.” On the face of it, it was not a mere association, with the Divine Being He spoke of, but a substantial Oneness, an essential equality. In this they could not mistake His words, because they were too obvious, unequivocal. Those who deny the real Godhead of Jesus, from Dr. Channing down to Theodore Parker
, need a vast amount of ingenuity to cover up the truths contained in this single incident. Their utmost efforts leave the impression on
most thinking minds, that Unitarianism can hardly be better than mere quackery, and stands related to the Christian system, much as “ Morrison's pills ” stand related to the world of medicine.
These plain disappointing declarations of Jesus, awaked the fanaticism and excited the rage of the Temple men more than ever. Their words were meant to be advances towards an understanding, an alliance, in fact; but He had treated them with contempt. His words in reply were called “ Blasphemy" (they were, if not true), and the penalty was death by stoning. Again, loose stones about the Temple floor were picked up to destroy him on the spot. But again, some mysterious power always present, paralysed the arms of the murderers, and He appealed to their reason—"For which of my good works that I did of my Father, do ye stone me?” The reply was, “ Not for good works, but for blasphemy." Thou art merely “a man ” but “makest thyself God !” (John x. 32-33). Jesus did not deny this last accusation, because it was true ; but He responded—“If I do not the works of my Father, believe me not"; that is, believe not that I am God; “ but if I do” those works, even if ye won't believe My word, like honest men “believe the works "—for those put the question beyond dispute—“that ye may know and believe that the Father is in Me, and I in Him.” No reasoning could be more obvious, nor conclusion fairer, but He was amongst furious foes, who “ sought again to take him," and put His life in peril. Yet in this rage of excitement no one effected a seizure, and “He escaped” unhurt. Quietly He left them, and went His way with the conviction strengthened that their hearts were
gross.” The unrelenting temper of His enemies, however, and His knowledge of their fixed resolution to murder Him, caused Him at once to leave the City and the Feast, and to find a retreat " beyond Jordan,” in Peræa, near the spot where the Baptist opened his Mission. Here He soon appeared; people flocked to His teaching, “and many believed”; but how long He stayed we know not-only John says, “ there He abode,"out of the way of Jerusalem certainly, but not of the Pharisees, for beyond Jordan these heresy-hunters turned up fresh and fierce as ever. (John x. 22—42.)
In the territory of Antipas, Jesus had some protection from open violence; but, He was not out of the way of the quibbling questions and foul insinuations of the Judean bigots. The scandalous marriage relations of the tetrarch, probably suggested questions connected with the law of divorce. The Baptist's head fell, through his teaching on this subject, and probably another head was aimed at by the same methods. The divorce law was & popular theme of discussion, and some Rabbis having taught, that husbands might divorce their wives at pleasure, public opinion ran in that direction. Neither public opinion, however, nor the practice at the adulterous palace at Tiberias, had any weight with Jesus. When asked here, “Is it lawful for a man to put away his wife for every cause ?” He replied first with another question—"Have ye not read that He who made them, at the beginning made them male and female,” and then by the declaration, “For this cause shall a man leave father and mother and cleave to his wife, and they twain shall be one flesh." What, therefore, God hath joined