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might put his hands on them and pray, and his disciples rebuked them.

*But when Jesus saw it, he was much displeased, and said unto them, Suffer little children to come unto me, and forbid them not : for of such is the kingdom of God. -

Verily I say unto you, Whosoever shall not receive the kingdom of God as a little child, he shall not enter therein.

And he took them in his arms, put his hands upon them, and blessed them.


We may regard the account here given of our SAviour's compassionate and tender behaviour to young children, as a completion of that part of Isaiah's prophecy, which describes the good Shepherd of Israel gathering the lambs in his arms, and carrying them in his bosom *. It was a custom among the Jews, to present their children to illustrious persons remarkable for their piety, that they might hay their hands upon them, and recommend them to God's favour by their prayers +. The parents of those who were brought to Christ certainly entertained such an opinion of him, and regarded him as the Messi AH. . The disciples probably had several reasons for rebuking those who brought their infants. It seems that they were at that particular time conversing with their LoRD upon an important subject, and full of attention to his doctrine; and they might be offended at the importunity of those persons who interrupted the discourse.

* See Sect. lxxxvii. + see Dr. Jortin's Sermons.

They They might also think such actions as laying his hands on young children beneath the dignity of their Master, as he came into the world to instruct men, and perform many wonderful works; and perhaps they imagined that those persons would be unwelcome to him, as he was so much taken up with higher employments. Whatever was their motive for driving them away, our Lord was much displeased that his late instructions * were so soon forgotten: he therefore reproved them with holy anger; and again repeated, that “whosoever would enter the kingdom of heaven must humble himself, and become like little children;” taking this occasion to acquaint those who were present with some of the qualifications necessary for those who should join themselves to him. r * Encouraged by his gracious permission to approach him, each mother (as we may suppose) pressed forward to offer her child to his hands. The babe, unable to distinguish the embraces of its Saviour from those of the parent, lifted up a cry of supplication for its usual food; or, delighted with the amiable benignity of our LoRD's countenance, courted his tenderness by engaging smiles. With affection, exceeding that of the fond. est mother, he folded these tender lambs to his bosom, promising to feed them with the milk of the Gospel, to protect them in their infant years with the arms of his mercy, and to reward them with eternal life, if they continued to live as the children of God; then delivering them to their happy mothers, he probably turned his eyes on other children, who being old enough to repeat what their parents taught them, were kneeling at his feet imploring his benediction. Though they could scarcely articulate, and knew not the full import of their - . . . . . . . . . ; * See Sect. lxv, J S 5 OW so own petitions, their lisping accents found a ready acceptance, and he blessed them also : for innocence, seconded by their parents’ prayers, prevailed in their behalf. If there were, as is most likely, among this little flock, any who had attained to years of reason, and were capable of forming wishes and petitions for themselves, they without doubt shared our Lord's kindness, and, in consequence of their prayers and earnest desire of instruction, were encouraged to expect the aid of Divine grace, to enable them both to know and practise their duty, and preserve them from the dangers of the world. How properly did the parents of these children act, in thus seeking to promote the eternal welfare of their beloved offspring from their very birth ! How lovely did the children them elves appear, who willingly yielded to the commands of their parents, and sought their Saviour's blessing, before the world with its vain delusions had taken possession of their hearts! Surely every parent who reads the history of this me. porable transaction must wish for the same advantage; and every child must desire to be thus received by its Saviour. How thankful, therefore, ought all to be, that they are furnished with the means of obtaining his gracious benediction! Though our Lord's personal presence is withdrawn, he continues to behold with kindness all who seek his favour. Let parents, there. fore, with holy confidence present their children to him, and make it the first object of paternal care to secure for them, by inculcating the principles of religion, an rtermal inheritance which fadeth not away. And let those who are incapable of hstructing their offspring themselves, accept with thankfulness the opportunity which these times afford, of having them taught by means of . the excellent institution of Sunday and other charity 6 ** * Schools"

Schools. The general solicitude which is shewn by many persons in the higher classes of society, for cultivating the khowledge of christianity among the lower orders of people, must kindle in the mind of every sincere Christian the most delightful hopes,

section xCII.

A Rich You NG MAN comes to christ for 15STRUCTION.—ov R LORD’s Discov Rise conce RNING RICHES,

From Mark, Chap. x.—Matt. xix.

AND when Jesus was gone forth in the way, there came a certain ruler and kneeled to him, and asked, Good Master, what good thing shall I do that I may inherit eternal life ~ * And Jesus said unto him, Why callest thou me good fo there is none good but one, that is God ; but if thou wilt enter into life, keep the commandments. He saith unto him, Which Jesus said, Thou shalt do no murder, Thou shalt not commit adultery, Thou shalt not steal, Thou shalt not bear false witness; Honour thy father and thy mother; and, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. The young man saith unto him, All these, things have I kept from my youth up; what lack I yet Then Jesus beholding him, loved him, and said unto him, One thing thou lackest: go thy way, sell whatsoever thou hast, and give to the poor; and thou shalt have treasure in heaven; and come take up the cross, and follow me. . . . - And he was sad at that saying, and went away grieved : for he had great possessions. - And Jesus looked round about, and faith unto his

* * * S 6 disciples,


disciples, How hardly shall they that have riches enter into the kingdom of GoD ! And the disciples were astonished at his words. But Jesus answered again, and saith unto them, Children, how hard is it for them that trust in riches, to enter into the kingdom of God! It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle, than for a rich man to enter into the kingdom of God! And they were astonished out of measure, saying among themselves, Who then can be saved And Jesus looking upon them, saith, With men it is impossible, but not with God : for with Goo all things are possible. Then answered Peter, and said unto him, Behold, we have forsaken all, and followed thee: what shall we have therefore ? And Jesus saith unto them, Verily I say unto you, that ye which have followed me in the regeneration, when the Son of man shall sit in the throne of his glory, ye also shall sit upon twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel. And every one that hath forsaken houses, or brethren, or sisters, or father, or mother, or wife, or children, or lands, for my name's sake, shall receive an. hundred-fold, and shall inherit everlasting life.


The young ruler who came to Christ seems to have been very solicitous about his future state, and came to our Lord as a prophet, to enquire the way to heaven. Jesus, knowing that he only considered him as an inspired teacher, asked him why be called him good? As a mere master or instructor, no one could be absolutely - - good;

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