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OCE TS' DAY.
BY G. F. DE TEISSIER, B.D.
Psalm viii. j, 2. Lord our Lord, how excellent is Thy name in all the earth ! who hast set Thy glory above the heavens. Out of the mouth oj babes and sucklings hast Thou ordained strength because oj Thine enemies, that Thou mightest still the enemy and the avenger, OuE blessed Lord made use of this Scripture to still His adversaries and those that were thirsting for His blood. On the occasion of His last solemn entry into Jerusalem He disdained not to have the voice of children to declare His praise. And when the chief priests and Scribes saw the wonderful things that He did, and the children crying in the temple, and saying, Hosanna to the Son of David, they were displeased, and said unto Him, Hearest Thou what these say ? And Jesus saith unto them. Yea; have ye never read. Out of the mouth of hales and sucklings thou hast perfected praise /* The Lord Jesus was willing to receive the praise of little children. He accepted their unwitting testimony to His glory as the Christ of God. He ordained * St. Matt. xxi. 15, 16.
22 SERMO IV. out of their mouth strength against His enemicBthe wise, and learned, and high-minded would not o
Him for tkeir King, children should ; the little ^ of the earth should make His praise to be knowuThere is another great occasion when Groa Christ was glorified through babes and suckling^ the unconscious martyrs in their Saviour's caU^^ When the cruel Herod sent forth his orders to put death all the children from two years old and und^^'* in the town of Bethlehem and the coasts thereo^-^ then was strength ordained against the enemy aD^ the avenger. Those innocents died, but their Lord/ for whose sake they died, lived on to complete theii" salvation. Herod's murderous purpose failed of it^ end. One little Child escaped him, though the blood of many weighed down his soul to the nethermost hell. He did but work out the deeper meaning of that old prophecy. In RamaA was there a voice heard, lamentation and bitter weeping. Bah el weeping for her children refused to be comforted for her childreny because they were not. Thus saith the Lord, Refrain thy voice from weeping y and thine eyes from tears ; for thy work shall be rewarded, and they shall come again* How little did that tyrant Herod think, when he ordered those little ones to be put to death, that his own name would be blasted with a perpetual curse, and that their memory would be honoured in the * Jer. xxxi. 15-17.
SERMO IV. 23 history of Christ the Lord. Thus has God chosen the weak things of the earth to confound the strong!
Those Kttle children who died that early death in the blood of their innocence, could know nothing of Christ, and nothing of the cause for which they died. They were the unconscious victims of a wicked jealousy . either did their parents find comfort in their wholesale murder, nor think of the glory which their sufferings brought them. It was all sorrow to them, gloom and mourning. They could not see the fiwts as we see them; they could not weigh the honour against the loss, as we can. So there was wailing and weeping in Bethlehem, and perhaps many a sad mother lived on to bury her sorrow only in the grave. And yet of all children that have died in early life these children had the most honour — they received the crown of martyrdom for their Lord, whom in this world they knew not. True, they were His by a special right, for they were Jewish children, bom onto the covenant made by God with Abraham, and received within it. Thus from their very babehood they were holy unto the Lord; but they were taken out of the number of other children, bom like them within the covenant, and through blood and slaughter sent to heaven; and Christ the Babe, the Infant Lord, was as much glorified by the death of babes and sucklings, as Christ the grown Man and perfected
24 SERMO IV. Saviour was honoured through the death of HiB Apostles and Saints. Out 0^ the mouth of very babes and stLcklmga iasf Thou ordained strength, God will make His praise to be sounded forth even by little children ; Christ will raise Him honour out of the very weakest of human flesh. I desire very heartily to commend ih%i thought to you. There is an evil spirit abroad in the
worlds which would persuade Christian parents that their children are nothing unto God, and that the Lord Jesus has no claim upon them. How different the Apostle^s word to the Corinthians : The unbelieving husband is sanctified by the wifey and the unbelieving wife is sanctified by the husband: else were your children unclean; but now are they holy.* The children of Christian parents are God's portion ; therefore should they be brought early to be admitted into His covenant of love by Baptism. The children of Christian parents are Christ's inheritance ; therefore they should be made over at once to Christ. Out of their mouths the Lord is ready to receive praise, and to gain Him honour in His Church; therefore should fhey be taught to seek Him from early days, and to lisp His ame in their first words. It was a heathen who wrote, '* The utmost respect is due to a child,'* (^^ Maxima debetur puero reverentia.") It is the Christian parent who so often lets his children sec his own vicious * I Cor. vii. 14.
SERMO IV. 25 practices^ and sets before his son or his daughter an example which may blast their characters through time and eternity. And yet our blessed Lord has said concerning them^ JFAoso shall offend one of these little ones that believe in Me, it were better for him that a millstone were hanged about his neck, and he were drowned in the depth of the sea. Take heed that ye despise not one of these little ones.* Take heed that ye bring them early imto Christ, their Lord and yours. Take heed that if Christ leave them imto you for this world^s life. He may find His honour in them, as His faithful soldiers and servants until the end of life. Out of the mouth of very bahes and sucklings hast Thou ordained strength — -perfected praise. one so young
but Christ claims him, none so little but Christ may fetch Him honour from that little one. Your children, my Christian brethren, were not bom for the devil, they were born for Christ. God gave them you that they might be a holy seedy 2i peculiar people unto Himself. He seems to say to you as Jacob said to Joseph concerning Ephraim and Manasseh, They are Mine. Whether they live in this world or whether they die in their young innocence, let them be God^s. Give them up to Christ. Despise them not ; offend them not. Their angels behold the face of God in heaven. The Holy Ghost has sealed them for Christ when you brought them to the font of Baptism. * St. Matt, xviii. 6, 10.
26 SERMO IV. Out of the mautk of very babes and sucklings Thau hast perfected praise. Was not God honoured in the child Samuel, that ministered before Him, rather than in the aged high-priest Eli ? Was not God honoured in the childhood of Jeremiah, when He put the word of prophecy into his mouth ? Was not God honoured in the babehood of John the Baptist, when^he grew and waxed strong in spirit ? In babes and sucklings Good's strength is ordained. Yes, in the babehood of His own beloved Son, in that wondrous Child nestling in His mother's bosom, in that little One who was laid in a manger for very poverty alid scantiness of room. Oh, what great strength did God ordain through Him ! How did the mighty fall before Him — how were the high thoughts of men brought low — how were the meek of the earth exalted, and the poor and the hungry fed with the riches of God's grace ! And Oh, what praise did God perfect from those lips; those lips that prattled truth and innocence, and love and joy; those lips that dropped a wisdom among
children, and holy utterances in the cottage home! If thou thinkest small things of thy child, O Christian parent, because he is but young and little, remember that thy Lord was once a child. If thou darest to sin in his presence, remember that he is one of Chrisfs little ones. Out of the mouth of babes and sucklings hast Thou ordained strength. Many a little child has brought
SERMO IV. 27 another to Christ ; many a hard^ cold, worldly parent has been led by the beauty of early piety to own the power of the Gospel. Has not the little hand laid hold of the labour-worn fingers of some father and gently led him to the house of God? Has not some short hymn lisped in a mother's ear fallen like rain upon the heart and softened it to better influences ? It may be that such children are taken from you — ^gone before ! But refrain thy voice from weepin^y and thine eyes from tears. They shall come again — come in that better land of promise — come where their Lord is with them. Out of the mouth of babes and siicklings hast Thou ordained strength. There is a word for us all. If God ordaineth strength in the least of human beings, if He perfects His own praise in the youngest that breathes, will you, O young men and women, be among those to do your Lord dishonour ? Will you, middle-aged and such as are weighed down with years of care and sorrow, be the last to glorify your Saviour ? Let not one of us think, I am too little, or too mean, or too poor, or too foolish. Out of thee, whosoever thou art, God in His own way can ordain strength ; through thee, in His own way, Christ can perfect His praise. O the depth of the riches of
Christ's grace ! Lift up your heads, O ye least ones on this earth, for Christ is able to make you great unto His own glory in heaven.
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