« FöregåendeFortsätt »
BELIEVERS AS CHILDREN IN THE FAMILY
Papa. Now, my children, you are all here, Bibles in hand, I see: was it not a pleasant subject to look out texts upon ?
Arthur. Oh. yes, Papa, our own happy home seemed to tell us what to look for, and the Bible made all home speak of God and heaven. It is, I think, the nicest figure we have had yet,--and so we all think.
Mamma. It is, my children, a blessed subject for those who are really members of this family of God. But, Lily, are we any of us so by nature ?
Lily. Dear Mamma, will you tell me what you mean, when you say by nature ? Papa asked me whether we were sheep of Jesus by nature, I knew something what it meant, but not clearly.
Mamma. I am so glad you asked, Lily.
Always ask when you do not know, and ask again if I do not make it clear, or if you forget. Our state by nature means that state in which we were born, the heart and mind we had when first as little babies we saw the light. Was this a good heart, Mary?
Mary. Oh, no, Mamma, even David, the man after God's own heart, says, “Behold, I was shapen in iniquity.” (Ps. li. 5.)
Mamma. Yes, little babies are born with bad hearts, and unless these are taken away and new hearts given to them, they will grow up and live and die with bad hearts. When you asked Papa and me, Lily, for a little garden, and we marked you out a piece by the side of the copse, what was its state ?
Lily. It was covered with weeds and briars, Mamma; but now it has been dug and weeded and planted, and there are snow-drops and crocuses peeping out. Weeds come up, too, but I pluck them out.
Mamma. Its state when we first gave it you, Lily, was its state by nature. And so is it with our hearts. Adam and Eve, when first made, had clean hearts, but soon they ate the fruit, and their hearts at once grew dark with sin-and all their children, Abel, and Cain, and Seth, and their grandchildren, and their great grandchildren, down to ourselves, are born with the same dark hearts.
Papa. You remember, Lily, standing with me in the park where that great bed of thistles grew ?
Lily. Oh, yes, Papa, and the wind blew over them and scattered those winged seeds, as you called them, on every side, almost like flakes of snow.
Papa. And when those winged wanderers had come to the end of their flight, and found a settled resting place, what would grow from them ? barley or wheat ?
Lily. Oh, no, Papa, nothing but thistles.
Papa. Because they were thistles by nature, and thistles they will remain ; and their seeds would be thistle seeds, and so would it ever be year by year. But we shall be able to explain more about this in our subject for next week, “Believers as plants, and Christ the husbandman." Lily can now answer Mamma's question, whether we are children of God by nature?
Lily. No, no, Papa. We all found out that verse, “We were by nature the children of wrath, even as others.” (Eph. ii. 3.)
Papa. And who does the Lord Jesus say is the father of that vast mournful family of wrath ?
Arthur. He said to the Jews, “Ye are of your father the devil, and the lusts of your father ye will do.” (John viii. 41.)
Mary. And in explaining the parable of the tares and the wheat, he said, “the tares are the children of the wicked one."
Mamma. And if all men when first born are “by nature born in sin and children of wrath," as your Catechism says, how are they made the children of grace ?
Arthur. You mean, they must be born again, Mamma. As the Lord Jesus said to Nicodemus, “ Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.” John iii. 3.
Papa. And again, at the fifth verse, He says, “ Except a man be born of water and of the Holy Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God.” Water is the frequent type or sign in Scripture of the Holy Spirit-and here probably refers to the outward seal of the Gospel covenant in baptism, as you saw those little infants in Church this afternoon were sprinkled with water. But oh, my children, this new birth of the soul must be God's own work, the work of His Holy Spirit on the heart of those "which are born not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God.” (John i. 13.) You know that God is doing a great work in Ireland now; men and women, and children, in hundreds, have come to the Lord Jesus and found pcace in him : now there is one prayer which they all are taught, even if they should only come
God by faith... and to give you What is faith of
once to their Bible schools—and it is this, “ Lord, 'give me thy Holy Spirit for Jesus Christ's sake," and they have prayed, and God has heard and answered them. Oh, my children, pray, pray, pray, for the Holy SpiritHe only creates a new-born soul. And now can you tell me what will be the first sign of life?
Mary. Do you mean faith, Papa ? For I found that text “ Ye are all the children of God by faith in Christ Jesus.” (Gal. iii. 26.) · Papa. Yes; and to give you an Irish child for an example, she was asked, What is faith ? Her beautiful answer was, “ The Holy Ghost moving the soul to lean upon Jesus Christ.”
Mamma. So, my children, as soon as the child of grace is born, and opens its eyes, it looks on Jesus crucified, and the pulse of the soul begins to beat with love to Him. But we must go on with its history. Lily, what else was done to the little children at their baptism to-day ?
Lily. They each had a Christian name given them, Mamma.
Mamma. And do we read anywhere of the children of God having a new name given to them?
Arthur. Yes, Mamma; we each found one in Revelation. Mine was Rey. ii. 17, “ To him that overcometh will I.... give a white