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learnt the sorrow which comes of sin; they have not acquired the art of deceiving and betraying; their thoughts and wishes are as pure as the odour of the rose, and their sorrows as transient as an April shower. Alas! that the world should ever sully this innocence and destroy this sweetness-that it should break down this light-heartedness with sordid cares; or, conveying away these elements of happiness, deposit in their place the deadly ingredients of crime and withering remorse! And is there no remedy? Must the innocent mind be for ever tutored to evil, and the buddings of youthful virtue be scorched and withered by the fires of sin? No-no! There is a remedy. Whilst children are innocent and happy as we have described them, bring them to the Saviour. Wait not till they seek him of their own accord, lest you wait till the pleasures of sin have captivated them, and unholy thoughts and unseemly companions have led them in a direction fatal to their welfare; but guide them to him whilst their hearts are untainted, and their souls begin to expand to the perception of good and sacred things. This is the time to secure them from evil, and to obtain for them his blessing. But how bring them to the Saviour ? He does not now walk the earth in the sight of men, rousing them to just and good thoughts, and as the sower scatters his seed, spreading the blessings of heaven and happiness on every side. The parent cannot now hang with delight on the prayer audibly pronounced by Jesus over his child, nor the infant eye gaze on his sacred person. True, infants cannot be guided to his presence nor received in his arms ;
but they may be taught to know him and to love him. In a figurative sense they may be led to him; for their enquiring and eager minds will soon learn to think of him in his sacred character, to understand the interest which he feels for them, and to be grateful for the kindness with which others like themselves were once honored by him. Let them be told of the engaging manner in which he received the
young of ancient days. Let them hear the kind things he said of them, the admiration he expressed of their simple innocence; not to excite feelings of vanity in their young minds, but to prepare them for hearing more of him, and learning to preserve that sweetness of disposition and guileless simplicity, which their Saviour loved and commended. His own condescension prepares the way for this. Children naturally love those of maturer age who are kind to them and condescending, who manifest an interest in them and endeavour to call forth their young affections; and would they not begin to love, as a kind and gentle friend, the Saviour of the world, if they were made acquainted with his kind feelings towards them—his kind expressions respecting them and the willingness and tenderness with which he received the youngest of them to his arms? Their affections once engaged for him, they would listen with increasing interest to plain and simple statements of the objects for which be appeared upon earth. Moved by that ever active curiosity which belongs so peculiarly to their age, they would anticipate the endeavours of their parents and instructors; and hasten, by their ingenious questions, those explanations which we advise to
be made to them ati a very early period. And the curiosity which points in this direction, at the same time that it is gratified, may have its issue in consequences the most desirable and happy, inasmuch as the gratification of it may be accompanied with that moral and religious training whose advantages no mind can fully estimate, unless the final glory and felicity of Christ's disciples be justly understood and felt.
We say again, therefore, with anxious solicitude for so interesting a part of the Christian church, let little children be brought to Christ. Teach them to love him, and they will be prepared to reverence what he says to them. And when they are told that God sent him forth to teach men to be good and happy, and how he labored to carry forward this great and good work; when they can understand that he gave up life to accomplish it, and for his obedience unto death was made the Prince of Life ; when their opening minds can perceive the connexion between the religious goodness of men upon earth and the happi.. ness of the land in which Jesus prepares places for his faithful disciples ; we may hope and expect that they will be prepared for more important communications, and for loving that goodness, and endeavouring to show it forth, which Jesus loved in others like themselves. Their love for Jesus exerted and strengthened by their parents, will give interest and importance to all that are taught of his instructions to the Jews, and the manner in which he lived
Happily for them, it can scarcely be neces
sary to call their attention to a single trait of goodness, in which the example of Jusus may not be described as a sanction of the lesson. Tell them that vanity and pride are offensive and wrong, and let them see the humility of Jesus, as like a dutiful servant, and in the observance of his own precept, whosoever will be chief among you let him be your servant, he washes his disciples' feet. Tell them that the poor, the sick and the wretched, are objects of kindness and benevolence, and that it is a duty and a pleasure to assist them, and let them see Jesus in his benevolent walks through Judea and Galilee, not only providing for the souls' welfare, but with wonderful kindness and compassion healing the sick, comforting the mourner, and relieving the destitute. Tell them how sad and wicked it is to depart from the truth, and let them know of one on whose lips guile was never found. Tell them that they should be dutiful to their parents, love them, and endeavour to make them happy; and let them see Jesus obeying his parents in his youth, and in the last moments of his life, and in the midst of his grevious sufferings, caring for his mother, and providing for her an affectionate friend and a peaceful home. Tell them that God, their Father in heaven, is entitled to their highest affection and most dutiful service; and let them follow their Great Master into the more private scenes of his life, when no eye is upon him but God's, and see how dutiful to God he then was, how resigned to his will, how strong his affection for him, and how anxious he was to please him in all things, although the path of obedience might lead him, as indeed, it did lead him, to a dreadful death. Brought up in this way at the feet of the Saviour, taught in the most winning manner what are goodness, and virtue, and piety, and religion, made to feel the force of beautiful example as well as to comprehend the meaning of wise precepts and discourses, the young are prepared in the best manner, not only for more extensive knowledge and more spiritual communications, but for bearing the trials of temper and character to which they are soon to be exposed, and for enduring the temptations that await them, unhappily, on every side. They learn to think and act as becomes the disciples of Christ at an early period, and having once imbibed a reverence and love of him, and become impressed with the value of religious goodness, they will have recourse to him whenever they are in difficulty-seek his guidance and counsel—and feel anxious to acquire and maintain that sanctity of character, and that fidelity to God and religion, which he constantly recommends and honors in his instructions and his life.
We think parents delay too long the duty of guiding their children to the presence of Jesus. They leave them too much to the operation of association and habit, and allowing them to advance many years in life before they seriously apply themselves to the pleasing task of instructing them in the principles of religion, and causing them to feel and to enter into the motives which regulate the affections and the conduct of the disciples of Christ. How long are they habituated to an attendance upon public worship before the reasons for such attendance are submitted to their minds! How long are they made to bend the knee in pri