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premely happy in the immediate presence of God the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost, shall unite with rapture in the
new song, saying with a loud voice, Worthy is the Lamb that was slain, to receive power, and riches, and wisdom, and strength, and honour, and glory, and blessing." Yea! even so be it, Lord, from this time forth for evermore. Amen.
1 Rev. v. 12.
INTEREST IN LITTLE CHILDREN TURNED TO
Matt. xviii. 2, 3.
And 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.
We may assume, perhaps, without much hesitation, that there is no individual (whose heart and affections are not utterly depraved) who does not take some interest in children. This I believe to be a feeling which is not bounded by the narrow limits of connection or relationship, but is extended, though of course in different degrees of intensity, to childhood gene
INTEREST IN LITTLE CHILDREN &c. 63
rally. Undoubtedly it is by no means uncommon to meet with persons who express a dislike to children, and testify impatience at their presence. But we always understand this displeasure to be directed against certain interruptions which the young occasion, or some petty inconveniences which they bring. For if obliged to interpret it literally, as implying a feeling of aversion to childhood itself at all times, and under all circumstances, we are accustomed to look upon it as an evidence of an austere and unamiable disposition. Such at least, seems to be the general opinion of mankind.
Widely extended then as this affection appears to be, have we ever attempted to analyze it? Have we ever asked our own hearts, what, and whence it is? The interest taken in children can scarcely be identical with, or derived from that universal philanthropy which man as a social being should feel for all his fellows; nor from that higher and purer Christian principle which teaches all men to “ love as brethren 1.”
because it exists in many a bosom, where neither of those sentiments is recognised. Neither again, (to come much lower,) shall we be able to account for it, by considering the agreeable amusement which children afford; amusement, however, to which the greatest and the wisest have been known to turn, as a relaxation from the severe task of thought.
Whence then is it derived ?—Why not, my brethren, from some remains of that image of God, in which we were created ? Why not from some innate love of artlessness and innocence, which sin has not yet been able to eradicate or destroy ? It is not, I firmly believe, an unscriptural,and sure I am, that it is not an unreasonable view of human nature, to suppose that there aie many such remains of better things still inherent in us. Shall I be told, that to advance this is to plead the cause of those who proclaim the native dignity and self-sufficiency of man ?-or that it tends, at all events, to encourage a perilous sense of worthiness in the heart of a being already too prone to entertain such notions !-How so, my
brethren ? What ground for boasting is there in the belief, that in spite of all the efforts of sin to deface and spoil it, that building which was intended to be the temple of the Holy Ghost, still shows in some particulars the hand of the divine architect? that even in its ruins, there are traces of beauty sufficient to point out the grandeur of the original design? In thus affirming that man's nature, though very
far gone from original righteousness, is not utterly depraved—in contending that there are yet some relics discoverable of the graces with which he was at first adorned, do we bid him glory, as if these graces were his own work, as if he had not received them ? Nay—we tell him expressly that in all that is beautiful, he must acknowledge the hand of his Creator-and turn, if he would see his own doings, to whatever is corrupt and deformed. In this there is no food for pride. There is nothing which can encourage one single sentiment of self-complacence, or self-sufficiency—though there is much that ought to generate the warmest gratitude. While