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first view, we plainly perceive to be kind Serm. and gracious.

VII. The disciples rebuked those who brought them. They turned them away, as impertinent and troublesome. They refused them admission to the presence of their master, and reproved their design in coming to him. But when Jesus perceived what had been done, he was much displeased, and said unto them : Suffer the little children to come unto me, and forbid them not ; nor their friends, who would bring them to me. And those in

particular, who were now brought to him he received. Some of them he took up into his arms, and affectionatly embraced them on all he layed his hands, and blessed them.

How he blessed them, or prayed for them, the Evangelists have not said particularly. But we may reasonably conclude, that he offered


to the Father some prayers for them, suited to the doctrine taught by him.

Poflibly he presented some requests, agree. ing with the prayer, he had given to his disciples.

Or, he prayed for them," that they might « know God, and him whom he had sent, " so as to obtain everlasting life.”




Or, “ I

Or, “ Father, fanctify these little chil“ dren through thy truth : thy word is 56 *truth.”

pray not, that thou shouldst now « take them to thy-self out of this world,

though it be a world of snares and sorrows: « but I pray, that thou wilt keep them from " the evil of the world. Father, keep through

thy own name these little ones, which have “ been now brought unto me."

In some such way as this, we may suppose, he blessed these little children, or prayed for them, and recommended them to God : that is, in a manner becoming his affectionate concern for their real welfare, and everlasting happinesse, and his near relation, and intimate union with the Father.

IV. The fourth and last thing to be ob

served by us is Christ's declaration concerning these little children : Of such is

the kingdom of heaven. So here in St. Matthew. But in the two other Evangelists the expression is : Of such is the kingdom of God. Which two expressions are equivalent, denoting one and the fame thing; the gospel dispensation, the state of


things under the Messiah, or the church and Serm.

VII. kingdom of God on earth, in which men are prepared for the heavenly state, the church and kingdom of God above. Therefore John the Baptist said: Repent ye, for the kingdom Matt. ii. of heaven is at hand. And so Jesus preached 17. likewise.

Of such is the kingdom of heaven : that is, of such consists the kingdom of heaven. Or, to such belongs the kingdom of heaven, with it's privileges : such as these are the members and subjects of God's church and kingdom on earth, and heirs of his kingdom in heaven, with all it's riches and glorie.

The chief difficulty is to determine the meaning of the word such : there being, as it is thought, an ambiguity in that expreffion. And it may be questioned, whether we are hereby to understand: of such as resemble these little children is the kingdom of heaven : or, of such little children as these. I shall therefore observe to you, how these words are paraphrased by some pious and learned expofitors of Scripture.

Upon these words an * ancient writer obferves : “ Christ does not say, of thefe, but

" “ of Theophyl. in Evang. p. 112.


« like.

of such, is the kingdom of heaven: that is, of persons of fimplicity, who are in

nocent, and free from vice and wicked“ nesse.”. A modern writer * explains the words in this manner : “. Of these, and such

Christ does not exclude children, " when he includes the-adult, who are like “ them.” Another learned interpreter of of our time thus paraphraseth the words of the text.. " Do not hinder little children from “ coming to me. For it is there, and men

qualified like these, with innocence, hu

mility, and a teachable disposition, free « from all prejudices, and customs of fining, “ that are the only fit persons to be made “ members of my church on earth, and in“ heritors of the kingdom of God in hea« ven.”

And we are farther assured, that our Lord intended to say : " Of such as are like these. “ little children is the kingdom of heaven ; because he does expressly recommend resemblance in what follows in St. Mark, and St. Luke. Verily, I say unto you : Whosoever Shall not receive the kingdom of heaven, as a little child, wall not enter therein. And, I

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think, the other sense, though not so cer- SERM. tain, ought not to be quite set aside : that VII. is, to these, and such little children,' (as « well as those who are like them :) belongs " the kingdom of heaven.”

However, it is fit, we should consider, what Christ recommends in these words, and wherein they who are adult, and grown up to years of understanding, ought to resemble little children. Let me mention three or four things: freedom from prejudice, or opennesse to conviction : freedom from pride, or humility : freedom from worldly affections, or indifference to earthly things: and finally, freedom from custom of sining, or inno


1. One thing observable in little children is freedom from prejudices, or opennesse to conviction : which is one great part of a teachable difpofition. Indeed, they do not know the truth. But then, neither are they prejudiced against it. And by that means they are ready to receive it, when proposed to them

This is a property, which all ought to aim at, and to preserve, so long as they are imperfect in knowledge. The want



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