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pented and believed on Him. Therefore, He says:
“ Suffer them," these infant immortals, soul and body, (not with their bodies only,) these that, like yourselves, are lost sheep, and therefore equally need the help of Him who came to seek and to save that which was lost,”-suffer them to come to me, the Redeemer of their souls ; I am willing to receive them. They are every way as really qualified to be subjects of my renewing and saving grace, as any of you. Their inability to know my doctrine, is no bar to my mercy. Their inability now to confess me with their lips, need not defer their salvation. Their inability to lay hold of me with their personal love and faith, need be no hindrance to the power of my grace. By my providence, they have, through their Latural birth, become the involuntary and unconscious subjects of the law of sin and death. By my grace, they are made the involuntary participants of the blessings of redemption, which I came to accomplish. Where sin abounded, grace shall much more abound. I have power to save them. They need my salvation. I do save them. Soffer them to come to Me, forbid them not. I lay my hands upon them. Their sin is pardoned. Their nature is renewed in mine image. My blood blots out their guilt. Let them receive my Spirit and depart in peace.
Such, though but feebly and coldly set forth, I take to be something like the import of this part of the incident now under consideration. Does any one ask, whether I suppose that some special efficacy was connected with the imposition of the Redeemer's hands upon those infants ? I answer unhesitatingly, that I do. And the eficacy connected therewith, I believe, was not merely of a moral or prospective sort. That is, the imposition of Jesus' hands upon their heads, benefited them, not only by the influence which the act might have upon their parents, not only by the subsequent moral effect it would have on these children themselves, when they should be old enough to be told, and appreciate the mark of distinction bestowed upon them. Before, and above all this, the case requires us to believe that grace, confirming, sealing, sanctifying grace, streamed from the divine hands of Jesus into the souls of these little children, as really as the life of the vine transfuses itself through the smallest and tenderest shoots, or as the light of the sun illumines the eye of the youngest infant; or as the quickening breath of God pervades and animates every frail limb and delicate nerve of that infant's physical frame.
What our Saviour did, in this case, was no vain or empty ceremony. We cannot suppose that He would encourage, on such an occasion, what must have been a pernicious error, or foster a stupid and hurtfal superstition on the part of the multitude, had the laying on of His hands been a mere matter of inefficacious formality. The parents brought the children to Christ that he might touch them. They believed that there was some supernatural virtue in that touch. Had they not seen dreadful bodily and mental diseases cured by it? Why then should not that root of all maladies, inherited sin, be thus removed ? Now, either this thought of their's was based in truth, or it was a sheer superstition. Its truth is corroborated by the Lord's compliance with their request. He is willing to confirm their belief in the efficacy of the laying on of His hands. They are not rebuked for cherishing a superstition, but commended, rather, for their tender parental anxiety, to secure for their
little ones every attainable blessing. The conclusion, therefore is unavoidable, that some real grace was imparted to these children by the Saviour's act. But what else should be the nature and operation of this grace, than that above suggested ? By the imposition of hands, therefore, the Redeemer solemnly sealed and confirmed to those children, the blessings of salvation, which He had mercifully provided for them. It made their salvation a part of their life. It completed their living union as branches, with Him as the living vine. And spiritual energies, corresponding with this sense of the transaction, passed over from Him as their Redeemer, to them as His redeemed ones.
That is a natural and altogether sufferable curiosity, which has sometimes sought to trace out the probable future history of such of these children, whom Jesus blessed, as may have attained to maturity. Did they grow up to be worthy of the grace bestowed upon them? Did their future piety and zeal adorn the Church of the Redeemer whose hands of mercy were thus laid on their heads ? The inquiry was started and circulated already in the earliest ages of the Church. It would of course not be easy, even then, to ascertain facts in the case. For us the difficulty must be immeasurably greater. And yet a tradition, entitled to some confidence, does report that the celebrated Ignatius, Bishop of Antioch, who sealed his profession of faith in Christ, with his triumphant martyrdom at Rome, was one of these infants. And why should we not hope to see them all in heaven, if by divine grace impartted to us from the atoning hands of this same Redeemer, we reach that blissful abode ourselves ? Why not expect to hear from their own lips their testimony to the efficacy of the act of saving love, by which the atoning Lamb of these perishing lambs, sealed their title to the inheritance above? They received such an ordination to life, as even the Apostles did not receive to their sacred office. For we do not read that when the Lord called them to the Apostleship, He laid His hands apon them, as He did upon his heads of these favored infants.
READING A LOUD. THERE is no treat so great as to hear good reading of any kind. Not one gentleman or lady in a hundred can read so as to please the ear, and send the words with gentle force to the heart and understanding. An indistinct utterance, whines, nasal twangs, gutteral notes, hesitations, and other vices of elocation, are almost universal. Why it is, no one can say, unless it be that either the pulpit, or the nursery, or the Sunday-school, gives the style in these days. Many a lady can sing Italian songs, with considerable execution, but cannot read English passably. Yet reading is by far the most valuable accomplishment of the two. In most drawing-rooms, if anything is to be read it is discovered that nobody can read; one has weak lungs, another gets hoarse, another chokes, another has an abominable sing-song, evidently a tradition of the way he said Watts' hymns when he was too young to understand them; another rumbles like a broad-wheel wagon; another has a. way of reading, which seems to proclaim that what is read is of no sort of consequence, and had better not be listented to.
A BEAUTIFUL LETTER. THE Principal of Mt. Washington Female College is in the habit of addressing a letter to his Pupils whilst they are at home during vacation. An excellent idea. The last one of these letters has come into our hands, and as its contents are so well adapted to the circumstances of our young readers, we cannot refrain from publishing it. We have several times favorably noticed this Female College in connection with its catalogue; the reading of this letter has convinced us still more firmly that parents may with great comfort place their daughters in an institution where they are watched over with such truly christian solicitude.
Ed. GUARDIAN. MY DEAR PUPILS: Somehow or other, since your departure from these quiet shades, my thoughts have been, all the while, running back to my own early life, and suggesting many lessons of practical wisdom, which, I trust, will prove useful to you, as I am sure they would have proved to me, had some kind instructor pressed them earnestly upon my atten. tion. Although I am myself yet comparatively young, I have lived long enough to learn the utter vanity of much that absorbs the interest and engages the energies of the great mass of mankind; and have witnessed eventful scenes enough in the great drama of life, to be thoroughly convinced, that there is neither substantial prosperity nor safety, in the maxims of that wisdom which rules the world. If human life be any thing more than the “empty fabric of a vision," then it must vindicate for itself the solemnity of an experiment whose issues are to reach into that eternal future which lies before us; and in this view, it is evident at first glance, that no thought, or feeling, or word, or deed, as these, each and every one, enter into, and give hue and color to the texture of our existence, can be without value and importance.
There are comparatively few young persons, who, during the period of school life, seem to have any proper apprehension of the relation which this sustains to their subsequent history. For the most part, those who permit themselves to think of it at all, are self-deluded with the idea, that somewhere or somehow, in the future, there will be a sudden, abrupt passage from girlhood to mature womanly character, of such a nature, as to involve a new beginning in the history of their earthly career. In these beautiful visions which dance so bewitchingly before their eyes, they recognize no trace of their early history—no stains or deficiencies, as the results of misspent time and abused opportunities. In short, their future is not the natural and necessary product of what has gone before -something coming logically from their doings or misdoings, but rather & pure ideal creation, which is destined to find no realization in their actual life. And, as a consequence of this wrong thinking, or, as in many cases, of not thinking at all, they evade the responsibilities of the present, and care but little how far they fall short in the doing of their duty. The "sowing of wild oats,” as the common phrase runs, has thus come to be regarded as a very pardonable thing, and not likely to be followed by any very serious consequences hereafter. The mistake, against which I desire to place you on your guard, is a very sad oneoften a fatal one--and you will do well and wisely to ponder, frequently, upon the lesson I have endeavored so earnestly to impress upon your minds, that our life is a continuous process, in which the future is constantly evolving itself from the past—that "the child is father to the man”—so that in any case, even the most favorable, of after amendment and reformation—the effects of early neglect and of youthful sins and follies will be visible in the character, and reveal themselves painfully in the consciousness and experience of maturer life. Let the solemnity of this organic, vital process, in which you are involved, inspire you with a sense of your tremendous responsibility, and develop in you the disposition to discharge your duties cheerfully, patiently and earnestly, that you may escape the perils to which you are exposed, and reap the rewards of a "patient continuance in well-doing. "
It happens, not unfrequently, that those who are in full possession of all the opportunities, yet grow impatient, of the processes of education, and cast from them, in the spirit of the merest caprice, as worthless things, the advantages, which affectionate parents and friends are so willing and anxious to afford. Influenced by the ruling spirit of the times, to regard education, in the common utilitarian view, they ask impatiently, of what use it will be to them to spend loug years in completing a prescribed course of studies; and unable to comprehend the only true answer to their question, they abandon their opportunities and bring their term of school life to an abrupt termination. Could such persons only be made to comprehend this law of continuity, and understand that education is something intrinsically valuable, as involving the development and perfection of our life, according to its true idea, they surely could not be induced to cast away so recklessly, the means by which it is to be obtained. If education be, what the etymology of the word would indicate—the drawing out of the capabilities and powers of human nature—then wherever the advantages for this end are at band, and the means of their enjoyment afforded, the failure to use and improve them must involve no small degree of guilt, as a virtual and wilful defeating of the Divine purpose in our creation. And this, not simply in view of the influence we are capable of exerting upon those around us, for the character of which we are responsible, or the amount of positive good we are bound to do to others, and which it is impossible for us to do without a full development of our powers, but also, in view of what it is possible for us to make of ourselves, in the complete unfolding and perfecting of our life. The true Ideal may be said to lie embedded in the Real, and it is our duty, not less than our privilege, to use faithfully the means, which God in his Providence, has ordained for its realization, in the onward progress of our earthly career.
It should be your fixed porpose then, to pursue quietly and faithfully the prescribed routine of Academic study, which older and wiser persons have deemed necessary, without perplexing your minds with questions, or sitting in judgment npon things, wbich, if you were competent to answer, or decide upon, would indicate your place as more properly that of teachers than of pupils.
But there is still a higher consideration attaching to this general subect
. I refer to the cultivation of the Christian life, as something of the ery highest importance, to be prosecuted now, so that like a golden
cord it may run through the whole history of life, intertwined, as it were, with the thread of its continuity, and be made to pervade and sanctify all your future actions and relations. While an education prosecuted and obtained under the favoring auspices of outward Christian influences, exhibits the highest form of perfection to wbich mere nature may aspire, it yet falls far short of what is involved in an honest, earnest endeavor to realize the Christian life for one's self. In the former case, the power of the supernatural may be regarded as reaching and stimulating our nature in an external way; while in the latter, we are translated from the sphere of the Natural, into that of the Supernatural and Divine, and made thus to experience the pulsations of a higher and better life. When we are baptised into Christ, we are through Him brought to sustain our original and truly natural relations to God and tbe universe, so that the development of the powers and resources of our life, ever after, goes forward in accordance with its proper law; and the very highest conception we can form of education, is that of unfolding, day by day, the energies and wealth of a regenerate human nature, in the use of such agencies as are furnished by Nature and Grace, until we shall come in the unity of the Spirit and the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man--to the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ.
If, my dear pupils, you would be entirely successful in this great experiment of human life, begin now, in this period of your rudimentary training, to follow Christ. If you would avoid the perils to which you are exposed, and surmount the manifold and seductive temptations, which will beset your pathway, enter the Fold of the Great Shepherd, who has all power in Heaven and earth, and you will find full protection and safety there. If you would be the means of blessing and benediction to others, cultivate the Spirit and walk in the footsteps of Him who went about doing good to the bodies and souls of men.
If you would fulfil and satisfy the deepest longings of your souls, "for glory, and honor, and immortality," " let this same mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus. who made himself of no reputation--who for the glory that was set before Him, endured. the cross, despising the shame, and is now set down at the right hand of the Father. For we know, that when He shall appear, we shall be like Him, for we shall see Him as He is.”
Most of you, my dear pupils, are members of the Body Mystical of our Lord ; and the rest, as I trust, now not far from the kingdom of God, will soon be fellow-citizens with us, and of the household of Him, of whom the whole family in heaven and earth is named. Let the petition, that all who are members of our College family, may become living members of the blessed communion of saints, constantly mingle with those which go up at our appointed hours of prayer.
But I can write no more this letter has already grown too long, and must now come rather abruptly to an end. What I have still to say, in connection with the things of which I have written, I must reserve for some other opportunity.
With my sincerest wishes for your health, happiness, and future wel. fare, I remain your true friend,
GEO. LEWIS STALEY.