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God removes any from life, even a child, we may be sure that the trial is over; the trial of life over for ever, when (it may be) but a few short years have passed. Therefore, to as many as are parents I say, (as in God's sight,) look not to the future, build not upon the future, for your child, any more than for yourself; you know that it is sin and madness in your own case to put off repentance, faith, obedience, to a future day, which may never come; surely it is not less sin and madness to do so in the case of your child; to risk his soul is not less sin and madness than to risk your own. Why should a Christian child (with God's Holy Spirit within him, brought up under Christian parents, and in a Christian family, and within the secure fold of the Christian Church) ever so fail of God's grace as to fall into grievous sins, such as mar baptismal purity, and darken and embitter after years? Why should not the course of Christian children be such as that, by God's help, they "shall go from strength to strength, until before the God of Gods appeareth every one of them in Zion ?" The fault is with us. We are content with a low standard of holiness and obedience. We do not propose to ourselves, and so we dare not propose to our children, such patterns of holiness and obedi

ence from childhood upwards as holy Scripture furnishes. We do not call them to be such as was Samuel, such as was Timothy. We think it a great thing if, after careless and worldly lives, (not to say sinful lives,) men turn to God and repent; but we know so little of this other and better state (of childhood and youth dedicated to God's service and spent in God's fear), that we fail to propose it as a pattern to our children, because we have not proved it ourselves. And yet, (not to speak here of how few persons turn to God in earnest, and repent effectually, in manhood and old age,) how do we know that our children will ever attain unto either manhood or old age? God may take them from us at any time, (the very young die hardly less frequently than men of mature years ;) and if they shall at the hour of death be found unprepared, after their measure, for the change, shall we be altogether free from sin? will not God require at our hands their blood? at our hands, to whose charge, as parents and teachers, He has entrusted these, the lambs of His flock.

Surely ours is a very solemn and awful, as well as a precious and holy charge; so far as we may, to keep the young from pollution and defilement of sin: to reverence in them, and to


teach them to reverence, the seal of Christ, the power and presence of His Holy Spirit to suf fer no stain of evil to mar the whiteness of their baptism-robe of righteousness: but to guard them jealously and tenderly from all that may lead them astray from the ways of holiness and of God: this is our charge: and blessed are we, and blessed are our children also, if, with God's help, we perform it for early piety, early purity, early religion, has a freshness and grace, such as usually no change of after life can attain unto: has promises of peace and quietness such as may well lead us to labour all we can to secure them to our children: we may indeed be thankful when any turn to God and repent after careless or sinful lives, whether in manhood or old age: still such change and repentance is not such as the purity and holiness of Christian childhood, trained in God's ways from the first, and loving and fearing God from early years; offering unto God the spring-tide of life, its strength, its freshness, its manifold gifts, and like our blessed Lord Himself, each year increasing in wisdom and stature, and in favour with God and man.


Sermons for the Christian Seasons.



ST. LUKE ii. 21. And when eight days were accomplished for the circumcising of the Child, His name was called JESUS.

THE year of the world begins to-day; meanwhile the holy Church has so far advanced in her year, that having spent a month in preparing for Christ's birth, and a week in celebrating it, we now begin fairly to enter upon His life, and to consider the first event in it, His circumcision. The gospel for the day contains the history of this event in the verse I have chosen for the text: and there are two great doctrines which it joins together and brings before us; viz. that Christ was to learn obedience by suffering, and that by this His obedience He was to be our Saviour. The first of these is shewn by His submitting to be circumcised; the second by His receiving, when so circumcised, the name of JESUS, the Saviour. Let us shortly consider these two points.

1. The text tells us, "Eight days were accom

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plished for the circumcising of the Child;" this was in strict accordance with the order of God to Abraham. "Thou shalt keep My covenant,' said the Almighty; "thou and thy seed after thee in their generations. This is My covenant, which ye shall keep between Me and you, and thy seed after thee; every man child among you shall be circumcised. . . . he that is eight days old shall be circumcised among you. Circumcision, then, or the cutting off of part of the flesh of the foreskin, was the painful way in which it was appointed for every male infant amongst the Jews to be brought into covenant with God. It was not like baptism, a sacrament having both an outward sign and an inward grace. It had the outward sign of wounding the body, as it is the instrument of lust; and it no doubt signified that the spirit within must be chastised and cleansed; that all that can lead to impurity and sin must be cut off from the soul: as St. Paul says, "He is not a Jew, which is one outwardly; neither is that (truly) circumcision, which is outward in the flesh: but he is a Jew, which is one inwardly; and circumcision is that of the heart, in the spirit, and not in the letter." the outward rite only signified this inward holiness, it did not produce it. Holy baptism, how


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