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still I hope you know that you labor under no disadvantage whatever. Is Jesus indeed the same to-day? How then have you been acting towards Him, with regard to your Children ? Have
you, I do not say, ever, but have you often taken them up in your arms, and carried them to His ? Even though some ill-informed disciples should forbid, or frown upon you, has your imploring eye looked still at Him? Then be not dismayed. You are aware, I trust, that the arms to which he looks are the arms of faith ? and that the language to which he has never been known to shut his ear, is the prayer of faith? Then be assured-rely upon it-you have only to remember also, that it is good-assuredly good, both for yourself and your offspring, thus to pray habitually—to pray without impatience-without undue anxiety-without wrath or doubting; and again I say, rely upon it, your breath will not be spent in vain.
But have you never thought of so doing ? Have you done so under some vague or lingering impression, that He cannot now lay his hands upon them ?-that He cannot now bless them ?-that He will not now pray for them, if you only ask in faith ? How, then, can it be said that you have fulfilled a Parent's part ? Nay, how can you be said to believe that Jesus is the same to-day? Ah! and since his smile and frown, his complacency and displeasure, are governed by the same unchanging principles, what is to become of you, if you so proceed? Did he frown? Was he much displeased with his disciples for forbidding these people, and will he smile upon you ? Smile upon you as a Parent, though you seldom or ever tread in the footsteps of those unknown Jews, who were received with a benignity and condescension which will be for ever admired? Certainly not—it cannot be. Go then and approach him, without one faltering step. His wards are as true, and they beam with as much beriơnitv
and encouragement, at this moment, as they did on the day in which they were uttered. « Suffer the little children to come unto me, and forbid them not, for of such is the kingdom of God.”
Far be it, then, from Christian Parents, who read these words, to lay them up in a treacherous memory. Assured that “except the Lord build the house, they labor in vain that build it,” what though he should come and take away one—and another—and even another, at the season, too, when they are most engaging !-Still such Parents will continue to regard their Domestic Constitution, but as one unpretending scaffold to an eternal building! And though a scaffold which is to be laid aside when that building is finished, their object now is, that their family entire may form a part of it. In such a Family, therefore, it is not the statutes of the Lord only, properly so called, which are converted into “thanksgiving and the voice of melody”—the voices of such Parents are not unfrequently heard in union, actually responding to these affecting expressions of their unchangeable Redeemer:
“We bring them, Lord, by fervent prayer,
And yield them up to Thee;
Thine let our offspring be.
Thy guardian care we trust;
If weeping o'er their dust !” So far, then, from forbidden ground, it is ground to which they have been invited, on which these songs are sung; where, fixing their eye on the Saviour himself, encouragements of the highest order are scattered all around him. For his sake alone, their Creator has become their reconciled Father, who will, with Him, most freely give them all things. Thus have they actually become heirs
to all the promises ;* so that, in virtue of their interest in them, and in virtue of that singular Constitution, at the head of which such Parents stand, they enjoy the high and signal felicity of becoming blessings to their offspring. The “ Fathers to the Children make known his truth.” If they are blessed, with believing Abraham, they will act, as Jehovah knew he would; and so, proportionally, they shall be a blessing. Yes, they shall, inasmuch as God hath not only given them an especial interest in the matter of the blessing, but by his own divinely-ordered Domestic Constitution, hath given them, as guardian instruments, peculiar facilities for the communication of it. Yes, feeling an especial interest in the favor of God themselves, they not only may, but they do present, in supplication before God, the promises which he has given : in their musings and their supplications afterwards, they dwell upon the terms in which these promises are expressed, and
the absolute character of these terms these, at one season, they plead in the hearing of their Children-and at another, explain, with all the exuberant tenderness of parental affection. On these gratuitous expressions of divine love and mercy, it thus appears evident to such Children, that the hopes of their parents alone do rest; while to them, it is equally apparent, both from the style of their petitions, and their occasional conversation, that the meritorious ground, on which these promises themselves depend, or the meritorious security for their accomplishment, is, in their Parents' apprehension, the dignity and the death of our divine Redeemer—the only
For all the promises of God, in Him, are yea, and in Him, Amen, unto the glory of God by us. Now, he which establisheth us, with you, in Christ, and hath anointed us, is God; who hath also sealed us, and given the earnest of the Spirit in our hearts." “He that spared not his own Son, but delivered Him up for us all, how shall he not with him also freely give us all things ?"-2 Com, i. 21. Rom. viii. 32. See Ephes. i. 3.
and all-sufficient surety of that covenant, which is ordered well in all things, and sure.
In these few last words, however, I have touched a point on which the hearts of these Parents cannot remain silent.
“ Can we ever forget,” say they," some of the terms of condescending invitation by which we came here ? « Incline your ear and come unto me: hear, and your souls shall live; and I will make an everlasting covenant with you, even the sure mercies of David! Do we still but imperfectly know the advantages of that peculiar and ancient ground on which we stand? What though Gentiles once were aliens from the commonwealth of Israel, nay, strangers from the covenants of promise? Surely now, even we may
"Doubtless thou art our Father, though Abraham be ignorant of us, and Israel acknowledge us not: thou, O Lord, art our Father-our Redeemer ; thy name is from everlasting. Yes, it was by an old path' indeed, and not untrodden, that we arrived here: the ground on which we stand, was marked out and occupied, even long before it was confirmed' to the Father of the faithful. Great, too, confessedly, as was the blessing conferred on him, never can we forget the Saviour's having redeemed us from the curse of the law, being made a curse for us ; that the blessing of Abraham might come on the Gentiles through Jesus Christ, that we might receive the promise of the Spirit through faith.'
But in being thus strangely permitted to call our Creator and Governor Our Father who art in heaven,' surely we forget not, for one moment, the glorious peculiarity of his unalienable character--that he is the ather who judgeth according to every man's work of what sort it is.' In this we see the brightness of his glory, and forget not that our Saviour is the Judge both of quick and dead. As our Maker, He is our Governor; and the Fountain of all
being, we regard as the Fountain of all rights. From the first moment of our existence, our all was his—absolutely and unalienably his. It was in Him, therefore, no defect of title which induced his condescension. Publishing his very constitution, in the form of such a covenant, how can we but be filled with profound veneration and delight, ordaining it, as he has done, in the hands of such a Mediator! Ordered well in all things,’ indeed it must be, since He is the surety-and sure, with a witness, as ratified by his blood. Thus it was, that, inviting our poor consent, he hath, blessed be his name ! only more deeply obliged us to our duty.”
Let your eye, then, my reader, be fixed on this blessing of the Almighty; for this it is, in all cases, which alone commands success ; nor need you hesitate to implore it, if your undivided hope rests on Emmanuel. For“ thus saith the Lord, the Holy One of Israel, and his Maker, Ask me of things to come, concerning my sons, and concerning the work of my hands, command ye me." The arrow of such a supplicant comes, it is evident, from a bow fully bent; but still, if you only pray in that disposition of mind which simply corresponds to the many affirmations and condescending promises of your heavenly Father, all will be well with you and yours. What though all flesh is grass, and the glory of man but as the flower of the field ?
The mercy of the Lord is from everlasting to everlasting upon them that fear him, and his righteousness unto Children's Children—to such as keep his Covenant-to those who remember his commandments to do them.”
TO THE MINISTERS OF CHRIST.
In closing this volume with a more immediate reference to you, I have done so under an impression, that, if there are