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Matthew 18 Verse 6

Matthew 18 Verse 6

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Published by glennpease
BY THOMAS ARNOLD, D.D.


Whoso shall of end one oj these little ones tvhicli believe in
me, it were better for him that a millstone tvere hanged
about his neck, and that he were drowned in the depth of
the sea.
BY THOMAS ARNOLD, D.D.


Whoso shall of end one oj these little ones tvhicli believe in
me, it were better for him that a millstone tvere hanged
about his neck, and that he were drowned in the depth of
the sea.

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Published by: glennpease on Sep 19, 2013
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MATTHEW 18 VERSE 6BY THOMAS AROLD, D.D.Whoso shall of end one oj these little ones tvhicli believe inme, it were better for him that a millstone tvere hangedabout his neck, and that he were drowned in the depth of the sea.You see by the strong language wliicli our Lordhere uses, that the sin which he is threatening inthese words is a very great one ; and he goes onto repeat the threat in the verse following : — " Woe unto the world because of offences ; forit must needs be that offences come ; but woeto that man by whom the offence cometh." Someof you, I trust, will know already what thewords mean, and will see directly what I amgoing to turn them to ; — for it is a passagewhich I have often dwelt upon, as it is onewhich, while it is generally useful to all persons,strikes especially at one of the greatest sins of schools. But there are many, I dare say, whodo not know what it means ; and who havenever thought, when they heard this solemnSERMO VIII. 65threat read in the Church, that they were them-selves some of the very persons concerned in it, — that they were daily "' offending," in the Scripturemeaning of the word, some of Christ's little ones.I could not indeed have chosen a text which camehome more directly to your daily practice, thanthe one which I have just read : I could not havenoticed any sin with which your consciences willtell you, the moment that our Lord's words are
 
explained to you, that you are more familiar. Iproceed, therefore, to explain them : and will thenapply them, in one or two common instances, toyour life and daily habits. When our Lord speaksof offending one of these little ones who believe inhim, I should first say that the word " offend," incommon speech, has a very different meaning fromthat in which the translators of the Bible have hereused it. You know that our translation was mademore than two hundred years ago ; so that it isnot wonderful that some words in the course of that time have changed their meanings. " Offend,"in the text, and in many other places in the ewTestament, means " to tempt or lead another intosins ; " so that by " offending one of these littleones," our Lord does not mean " vexing them ; "" making them angry," or " ill-using them ; " but" tempting or leading them into evil," or " throw-ing any hindrances in the way of their doing whatthey ought to do." It is this that he calls soVOL. II. F66 SERMO VIII.wicked, that it were better for us to die thismoment than be guilty of it. But now, by " littleones," whom are we to understand ? Jesus had just before taken a little child, and sat him in themidst, and told his disciples, that unless they wereconverted and became as little children, they couldnot enter into the kingdom of heaven. And thenhe says, that " they must not mislead or temptto evil one of these little ones who believe inhim." ow, a very little child cannot believe inChrist, because he cannot understand much abouthim. And we know also, that it must be a sinto tempt any one to evil, whether they be really
 
little children in age or no. But the more likechildren they are, — that is, the more ignorantand simple-minded, and ready to believe and todo what others tell them, — so much the morewicked it is to tell them wrong, or to hinderthem from going right. It applies then to anyone who is young in character, even though heshould happen to be old in years ; but it appliesparticularly to those who are at once young inyears and young in character. It applies there-fore particularly to those boys who are desirousof doing their duty, who have no great confidencein themselves, but are ready to be guided byothers ; who are shy and timid, and unable tostand against laughter or ill-usage. There aresuch in every school ; and it is the worst reproachSERMO VIII. 67of schools, and the most awful responsibility forall who are connected with them, to think, thatso many of them are utterly lost in consequenceof the temptations which they here meet with :they are " offended " in the Scripture sense of the word, that is, they are laughed or frightenedout of their Sa^dour's service, and taught veryoften, ere long, not only to deny their Lordthemselves, but to join in "offending" others,who are now as innocent as they once were, andto draw them over to the worship and serviceof Satan, to which theii* own souls are alreadyabandoned.ow, then, you see what the text means, andyou feel how it applies to you. You know thatthere are amongst you many boys who rememberand wish to keep the lessons that they havereceived at home ; and you know also, how much

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