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Little Children.

Little Children.

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Published by GLENN DALE PEASE
BY REV. W. H. BROOK FIELD

CHAPLAIN IN ORDINARY TO THE QUEEN



Jesus called a little child unto Him, and set him in the midst of
them, and said, Verily I say unto you, Except ye be converted,
and become as little children, ye shall not enter into the Kingdom
of Heaven- — Matthew xviii. 2-3.
BY REV. W. H. BROOK FIELD

CHAPLAIN IN ORDINARY TO THE QUEEN



Jesus called a little child unto Him, and set him in the midst of
them, and said, Verily I say unto you, Except ye be converted,
and become as little children, ye shall not enter into the Kingdom
of Heaven- — Matthew xviii. 2-3.

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Published by: GLENN DALE PEASE on Oct 08, 2013
Copyright:Attribution Non-commercial

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12/07/2014

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LITTLE CHILDRE.BY REV. W. H. BROOK FIELDCHAPLAI I ORDIARY TO THE QUEEJesus called a little child unto Him, and set him in the midst of them, and said, Verily I say unto you, Except ye be converted,and become as little children, ye shall not enter into the Kingdomof Heaven- — Matthew xviii. 2-3.The belief among the Jews that the long-expectedMessiah was immediately about to manifest Himself inthe person of some valiant captain, some sagaciousleader, or some triumphant prince of their own nationwas at that time almost universal. As to the nature of these expectations, the disciples differed from the restof their countrymen only in thinking that Jesus wasthe man. It is evident that up to the Crucifixion, andthe more spiritual views which followed it, they wereexpecting that their Master would establish, not a moraland spiritual kingdom, but a temporal and earthly andmaterial dominion, in which their own nation would beexalted above all other nations, and in which, as in otherearthly kingdoms, there would be earthly emoluments,and dignities, and authorities, and distinctions to dis*pense amongst its partisans. It appears that on someoccasion they fell into an unseemly and even angrydiscussion as to which of themselves should take pre-cedence — which should have the best places in this48 LITTLE CHILDRE.kingdom when it should be constituted. This un-becoming contention our Saviour rebukes in a mannerhighly characteristic of the time and of the tempers with
 
which He had to deal. With those impressionable andimaginative natures no lesson could be so impressive asone which expressed itself in visible action — what wcmight call an acted lecture, an exhortation in action.Instead therefore, of pronouncing a formal discourseagainst this selfish and indecent emulation amongst Hisfollowers. He beckons a little child into the midst of them (selecting, no doubt, one whose amiable demeanourand simplicity of character marked it as peculiarlysuited to His purpose), and He says, * You dispute aboutrank and priority in the Kingdom of Heaven. I tell youthat unless you mortify this contentious spirit, unlessyou amend of this jealous rivalry, unless, as respects thisparticular kind of infirmity, you be converted andbecome meek, gentle, simple, like this little child, youshall not even enter, nor have any part in the Kingdomof Heaven — that spiritual kingdom of which you haveformed such low, such carnal, such material, suchderogatory conceptions ; that kingdom with which asordid and self-seeking spirit can have no affinity ; thatkingdom in whose rare and exalted atmosphere strife,envy, pride, uncharitableness, could no more breathe thansome slimy creature of the deep could breathe, if suddenlypermitted or condemned to soar with an eagle to thegate of Paradise.Such seems to be the meaning of the text and themanner of its introduction.It is often convenient as a g^ide and tracing line forreflection, to take up a familiar similitude and to pursueUTTLE CHILDRE. 49a little in detail the points of resemblance between theemblem and the thing signified. There are manypoints that might be mentioned, in which we mightadvantageously strive after the spirit and simplicity of 
 
little children ; as well as some, it must be admitted, inwhich such imitation might degenerate into a veryunedifying affectation. But let us at present trace one ortwo features, taken almost at hazard, of coincidencebetween a practical disciple of Jesus Christ, and sucha child as we may suppose that He referred to.And first there is docility, or teachableness. Inspeaking, however, of docility in religious things, it is notintended, under cover of so plausible a word as docility,to insinuate an indiscriminating acquiescence in every-thing that may be imposed upon us, with the sometimesrather intrepid assumption of spiritual authority. Thiswould be to profess ourselves the slaves at once of many and not always of unanimous masters. There is «twide interval between a childlike docility and a puerilecredulity. Docility, or an aptitude to learn what is true,does not imply that a man should blindfold himself whenever he approaches a religious question ; that heshould prostrate his reason and stifle every inwardwhisper of intelligent enquiry, as if it were audaciousand profane. But meekness and docility will do thisfor him ; they will incline him to approach all suchquestions with equal candour and reverence for truthas truth. They will purge him of the worst elementsof controversy and the worst adversaries of all truth,namely, the flippancy, the self-complacency, the arro-gance, the unfairness, the vituperation, the craving for£so UTTLE CHILDRE.victory at any price, which too often characterise thediscussion of topics called 'questions of the day* and whichobstruct the real truth quite as effectually as the darkestsuperstition ever did. Unbelief has its bigotry and cant, just as much as Creeds have theirs. But the same regard

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