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O ALMIGHTY God, who out of the mouths of babes and sucklings hast ordained strength, and madest infants
madest infants to glorify thee by their deaths: mortify and kill all vices in us, and so strengthen us by thy grace, that by the innocency of our lives, and constancy of our faith even unto death, we may glorify thy holy name, through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
THE EARLY CALLED.
DISREGARD OF THE CLAIMS OF CHILDREN.
“And they brought young children to him, that he should touch them; and his disciples rebuked those that brought them.”-St. Mark, 10: 13.
The gospel of Christ stoops to humanity in its lowest forms, to elevate and ennoble them. The little infant in the midst of a vast multitude, and in comparison with the mighty, may seem but as a speck upon the ocean, scarcely worthy of arresting the eye for a moment; but, when viewed through the medium of Christianity, that speck becomes an object of infinite worth and interest. The little one, as well as the greatest, is an heir of immortality; upon its soul the blood of sprinkling as freely falls; around it angels minister; and, for its released spirit, heaven opens as willingly as for the martyr or apostle. Where, then, the mighty difference between the nursling and the man? In many of the gifts of God, the infant of days is upon an equality with the man of years. And, especially, if to the common gifts of creation, redemption, and immortality, God add the renewing of the Spirit, and upon the soul of a child enstamp the image of Christ Jesus, there is still less difference. The infant, in that case, dying in infancy, “dies an hundred years old,” as fully and as happily securing the end of existence as he who measures out a century.
For its equalizing tendency the gospel is worthy of our love. Sin has raised a thousand distinctions, not, like the pleasing change of valley and hill, to give variety, but, like the walls of cities, to separate man from man, and to cherish pride and selfishness; but Christianity seeks to do them all away. It enters the abode of poverty, and elevates its inmates by the assurance that Jesus, with the world at his disposal, chose a condition so lowly that he had not a place where to lay his head. It strips wealth of its fancied superiority, by showing that a beggar at the gate may be exalted above us in all that constitutes true wealth. It gives to the afflicted a compensative boon, which causes them “ to rejoice in tribulation.” It suffers not the look of contempt towards the slave, the idolater, or the most degraded specimen of humanity. It enters the family circle, and assures us, that around that cradle where no human sympathies but those of parents and kindred cluster, are the ministering spirits of heaven, and upon it the blessing of the Redeemer. It stands by the infant's grave :