« הקודםהמשך »
A FATHER TO HIS CHILDREN.
“ Forsake me not, O God, in mine old age, when I am greyheaded, until I have showed thy strength unto this generation."
Ps. lxxi. 16.
MY DEAR CHILDREN, You are now fast approaching the age, when you will be called upon personally to confirm the vows which your sureties made in your name at your baptism: and may God in his infinite
you, and give you grace so to understand and to do his will, that the merits of his blessed Son our Saviour, who died for our sins, may not plead in vain in your behalf, when you appear before your Creator in the world to
But forasmuch as in your infant state, when your godfathers and godmothers made those vows in your name, you were not able to comprehend the meaning of them, it is necessary that they should be made more plain to you, before you are admitted to partake of the comforts of the sacrament of the body and blood of Jesus Christ.
The holy Scriptures are so constantly read and explained to you in our daily family devotions, you have been made to learn the church catechism, and your attendance upon divine service in church is so regular, that I hope and trust you have a very just, though general knowledge of the subject which we now propose to bring under our more minute attention. But before we advance even a step in an inquiry so interesting to us all, let us stop short, and implore of our Maker to give us that spirit of humility, without which it is impossible to profit by his word, for our Saviour has declared, (Mark x. 15; Luke xviii. 17, “That whosoever shall not receive the kingdom of God, (that is, the revealed word of God,) as a little child, he shall not enter therein;" the meaning of which is, that as it has pleased God to limit
our understandings, so that many of his mysteries are more sublime than we can comprehend, we are required to bring with us in contemplating them, the purity and simplicity of children ; and further, to put the same faith in his divine word, that a child puts in the commands of its parents, though it may not comprehend their object. Such was the faith of Abraham, who did not hesitate for a moment to obey the command which God gave him, to sacrifice his son Isaac. And such ought, in fact, to be the faith of every child of God, else how can we show our perfect obedience and submission to his will ?
You will further comprehend why, in order to obtain the faith required of us, we should seek for it, in a spirit of humility, when you consider that it was the want of that spirit in our first parents which introduced sin into the world; and that the same pride and rebellious spirit still shut the hearts of many against the divine word. Such persons will 4. say, that because they do not understand some of the mysteries of our religion they cannot believe in them. But do such persons (finite beings as we all are) understand how
their bodies are formed? can they comprehend the most simple phenomena that are continually passing before their eyes? and yet to say, that such phenomena, or wonders, (Job xxxvii. and xxxviii.) or mysteries, do not exist merely because they cannot explain how, would be nothing less than insanity. As well might we deny the existence of God himself. Can we explain his spiritual essence, his eternity, his omniscience, his ubiquity, in short, any of the divine attributes? These observations show that we must make a distinction between things which are contrary to reason, and those which exceed it, or are above its powers
of comprehension. “ Thy judgments are far above out of our sight, O Lord !” (Ps. x. 5.)
As the want of faith, therefore, in our first parents, begat disobedience, so obedience is the natural consequence of true faith. Again : happiness is the thing sought after most eagerly by mankind. That is not true happiness which consists in following after worldly objects, because we all know them to be deceitful, inasmuch as they pass away, But that, which has its foundation laid in