involves was once glad tidings to a world. TheHebrew prophets in rare passages had spoken of the God of Israel as "their Father." The oldestpoets of Greece, among whom the instinct of patriarchal life still survived, had sung of " theFather of gods and men " ; but it was with a newpower and a new meaning that the Lord revealedto us Our Father which is in heaven HisFather and our Father, and taught us the sublimetruth with which we preface our earliest prayer.But I do not wish now to dwell specially onthis idea of the Fatherhood of God, fertile as it iswith great thoughts and noble lessons, but ratheron the converse idea which it includes. The titlereveals to us not only the relation of God to theworld and to us, but also our relation to God. Weall learned or simple, rich or poor, old or youngare as children in His household, heirs indeed of aglorious inheritance, but yet children, and thennearest Him when we realise most fully our childlyduties at His feet. You will all remember thegracious words with which this relation is enforcedand blessed in the Services of our Church at themost solemn seasons. Suffer the little children tocome unto me, and forbid them not ; for of such isthe kingdom of God. Come, ye blessed children of my Father, receive the kingdom prepared for youfrom the beginning of the world. These are theearliest words of Christ with which we are welcomedto the font ; these are the latest words of Christwhich will be spoken over our closing graves ; andxii VILLAGE SERMOS 103blessed indeed shall we be, thrice blessed, if thetruth which they express follows us through life toguide, to chasten, to console.