Charles Edward Jefferson.

My Father's business; a series of sermons to children online

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3 3433 06827746



^j^ Sermons for Children





\ •/



The Character of Jesus

Doctrine and Deed

The Minister as Prophet

The New Crusade

Quiet Hints to Growing Preachers

Quiet Talks with Earnest People

Things Fundamental

My Father's Business

Christmas Builders

Faith and Life

The Old Year and the New

The World's Christmas Tree


New York

7 .. !.,.;/ -'^LK










BY ^


Pastor of Broadway Tabernacle^ New York

• •• >■>•




^ 1919 L



Published, Septembery igog


Christ and the Children .... Frontispiece
From the drawing by Plockhorst


Christ as a Child 24

From the drawing by Jef Leempoels

Christ and the Doctors 48

From the drawing by H. Hofmann

" And He was Subject unto Them "... 74

From the drawing by H. Hofmann

Tlie Boy Samuel 100

From the drawing by Sir Joshua Reynolds

The Good Shepherd 120

From the drawing by F. J. Shields
Christ the Carpenter . . . ... . . 148

From the drawing by Holman Hunt
Christ Preaching to the People . . . . 178

From the drawing by H. Hofm^ann

Christ Washing Peter's Feet 212

From the drawing by Ford Madox Brown

The Ascension 240

From the drawing by E. von Liphart



I. Line upon Line • i

IL How TO Grow 23

in. The Duty of Asking Questions . 47

IV. The Beauty of Obedience ... 73

V. My Father's Business .... 99

VI. The Silent Years . . . :. , 119

VII. V/oRK . 147

VIII. The Will . 177

IX. Honesty . ., . . :, . :.: :,; 211

X. Being a Christian ..... 239


" For it is precept upon precept, pre-
cept upon precept; line upon line,
line upon line; here a little, and there
a little." Isaiah 28: 10.

Preached Sunday Morning
May I3j 1900


THE Old Testament was written, as
you know, in Hebrew, and in order
that you may know what the lan-
guage of the Old Testament is like I want
to give you a quotation from the Hebrew:
^^ Tsav la tsav, tsav la tsav; qav la qav, qav
la qav; z'eir sham, z^eir shamf^ As some
of you may not be able to remember these
unusual words, allow me to give it to you
now in English: *^ Precept upon precept,
precept upon precept; line upon line, line
upon line; here a little, and there a little."
You will find the words recorded in the
loth verse of the 28th chapter of Isaiah.
Most of you, I suppose, have never read


this chapter in Isaiah, and if any of you
have read it, I suspect you have not made
much out of it. And that is not at all sur-
prising, for often big folks v^hen they read
this chapter do not have an altogether easy
time. I w^ant, therefore, to pinch a piece of
it off and shoot light through it, that you
may see w^hat an interesting chapter it
really is.

In order to understand Isaiah you must
use your imagination. The imagination is
the power of the mind which sees things in
pictures. Boys and girls are rich in imagi-
nation. In that respect they are like the
prophets. No one can understand a
prophet unless he has an imagination and
uses it.

The first thing you must see is the City of

Samaria. There it is on the summit of a

hill. The hill is the shape of an egg. The

slopes of the hill are covered with vine-



yards. All around the hill there are lovely
valleys, and the sides of these valleys are
clothed v^ith olive trees. Do you see the
city with its towers green with ivy, with its
gardens of bloom, and with its hillsides
beautiful with vines and olive trees? If
you see that, you see what Isaiah saw.

Samaria is a wicked city. Many of its
men and women are bad. They live in
laziness and sin. They spend much of their
time in eating big dinners. And at these
dinners they drink wine, many of them
drinking until they are drunk. Leading
men of Samaria have a fashion of putting
an enemy into their mouth which steals
away their brains. There they are, lying
half drunk on their cushions while their na-
tion is rushing on to ruin. If you see that
you see what Isaiah saw.

We are now ready for the first verse in
the chapter. ^' Woe unto you, drunkards!

Your beauty is a fading flower. God's
storm is coming from the north, and you
will be overwhelmed." In order to startle
these men and make them realize what a
dreadful fate is hanging over them, the
prophet paints four striking pictures. He
says, " Woe unto you drunkards, the enemy
from the north will beat you down like a
hail storm. You will be swept away as with
a flood. You will be trampled into the dust
under victorious feet. You will be like a
fig ripe in the month of June, fully two
months before the time for figs, and just
as a man when he finds a June fig is so de-
lighted with a delicacy so rare, that no
sooner does he get it into his hand than he
puts it into his mouth; so the moment the
enemy from the north gets you into his
clutches he will swallow you!" All this
fills up the first seven verses of this wonder-
ful chapter.



Then the prophet turns to Jerusalem.
He looks at the politicians and leaders and
merchants and even the preachers, and sees
that they, like the lords and ladies in
Samaria, are lazy and selfish and drunken.
With sadness he says, "These my country-
men reel and stagger. They cannot see
straight or think straight. Their eyes totter,
their mind wabbles."

While Isaiah pours forth his warnings,
his countrymen say to one another with
mocking sarcasm: "Whom is this man
talking to? Does he take us for babies?
Does he suppose that we have just been
weaned? Why does he feed us on such
nursery stuff? " Then they begin to mimic
him. They think he is monotonous, and
that his language is babyish, and so they
ape his tones and language after this fash-
ion : " Tsav la tsav, tsav la tsav ; qav la qav,
qav la qav." Can't you imagine you hear

them? — that little toper with the high shrill
voice saying: " Tsav la tsav, tsav la tsav"?
— that bloated sot saying, with drunken ac-
cent: " Qav la qav, qav la qav"? — that old
wine bibber, with his deep bass voice, say-
ing in taunting tones: "Z'eir sham, z'eir

The prophet listens to their mimicry, and
is not silenced by it. Turning on them he
says : " God will speak to you monoto-
nously in another way by and by. This
enemy from the north will say to you:
" Tsav la tsav, tsav la tsav; qav la qav, qav la
qav; z'eir sham, z'eir sham." And he will
say it in a way from which there shall be
no escape. When the time comes for God
to speak to you, you will find a monotony in
woe, and because of your sins you will be
captured and broken and ruined. That is
the meaning of the chapter down through
verse 13.


I have taken my text from this chapter
this morning, because boys and girls some-
times talk and act very much like the drunk-
ards in Jerusalem. Strange to say, boys and
girls sometimes get tipsy. I do not mean
that they drink wine or gin or whiskey, but
there are other things besides spirituous
liquors that cause intoxication. Any poison
which upsets the mind makes one drunk.
The soul is a palace. At the center of the
palace there is a throne. On the throne
there is a king. And the name of that king
is reason. If any poison breaks into the
palace and topples reason from its throne,
the soul immediately reels and staggers like
a drunken man. For instance, it is possible
to be drunk with anger. A person may be
so angry that he cannot see straight or think
straight or talk straight. In a fit of anger
one does not always know just what he is
doing. In a spasm of anger-drunkenness a


boy or girl or man or woman may do those
things for which afterward he is heartily

Hate is another poison which makes the
soul drunk. When we hate a person we be-
come as blear-eyed as a toper. We cannot
see clearly, and make all sorts of false and
foolish statements. A person may get
drunk on pride. He may become puffed
up, and go swaggering through the town
with all the silly bluster of a drunkard.
Self-conceit also has made many a person
drunk. A self-conceited man may hold his
head so high as to cause his brain to grow
dizzy, so that he cannot recognize old ac-
quaintances when he meets them on the

In all these various ways it is possible for
even boys and girls to lose their heads. But
one of the worst poisons which you can ever
take into your heart and mind is the poison



of disobedience. Sometimes when parents
speak to their children about things which
they ought to do, or ought not to do, the
children get off by themselves and say, " Do
they take us for babies, do they think we
don't know anything?" Whenever a boy
or girl says that, he is acting precisely as the
topers of Jerusalem did. Sometimes boys
rebel against their mother, and scold be-
cause they are spoken to so many times.
They say, " Why, mother, you have told me
that twenty times. Do not tell it to me
any more. You are always harping on the
same old string. Why don't you tell me
something new?" And occasionally if a
boy is very drunk he will even go so far as
to mimic his parents. He will say behind
their backs : " Tsav la tsav, tsav la tsav ; qav
la qav, qav la qav; z'eir sham, z'eir sham."
Of course he does not speak in Hebrew.
He speaks in English. The words of the

Hebrew drunkards when translated into
New York English mean simply this:
" Bah, bah, bah, bah, go away! "

Why is it that your parents tell you the
same thing so many times? It is because
they are ordained servants of the Lord.
Your father is a prophet, and your mother
is a prophetess, and their chief business in
the world is to teach to you the law of God.
In the Book of Deuteronomy we are told
that God instructed Moses to tell all the
fathers and mothers among the Hebrews to
teach his laws diligently unto their chil-
dren, and to talk of them when they sat
down in the house, and when they walked
by the way, and when they lay down, and
when they got up. Fathers and mothers
were commanded to bind God's laws upon
their hands, and to stamp them across their
foreheads, and to write them upon the posts
of their houses and upon their gates.



Parents were thus commanded to keep
God's law before the eyes of their children
all the time. If fathers and mothers do not
do this, they are committing the greatest sin
which it is possible for parents to be guilty
of. They tell you the same things over and
over again because God has commanded
them to do it.

Moreover, it is necessary for them to say
the same things many times in order to get
these things into your mind and heart. It
takes a deal of repetition to get a big idea
into a small boy's soul. Did you ever see a
pile driver driving piles? The pile driver
shoots up into the air a great mass of iron,
and without a moment's warning lets it
drop upon the head of the pile. The pile
does not mind the first blow very much, and
stands almost as proud and tall as ever.
But the pile driver keeps right on at its
work. It lifts the iron into the air and

lets it drop five times, ten times, fifty times,
perhaps a hundred times, and by and by
the pile is driven down deep into the river
bed, and is so firm and safe that men are
not afraid to make it part of the foundation
of a house. Fathers and mothers must drive
principles into their children's hearts be-
cause these principles are the piles upon
w^hich the house of character must be
erected. If the piles are not deep and solid
the house in later years will come tumbling
down. It is for your eternal good that pre-
cept is placed upon precept, and line is
placed upon line.

A man who cuts a sentence upon a block
of marble spends many hours in doing it.
He taps his chisel with his mallet time after
time, holding the chisel point, so it seems,
in almost precisely the same place, and for
good reason. No one can chisel words
beautifully with a single blow. The more


beautifully the work is done the larger must
be the number of strokes, and the longer
must be the time expended. Not only does
the marble cutter want to make the words
beautiful, but he wants to cut them so that
the storms of winter will not rub them out.
He must cut these words so deep that they
will last long after the marble cutter is in
his grave. Fathers and mothers must cut
upon their children's hearts the words of
God's eternal law. It is the most beautiful
work which anyone can do, and it cannot
be accomplished without much patience and
long continued labor. The heart is harder
than any marble, and in order that words
may last after the human body has been
worn out and cast away, it is necessary for
fathers and mothers in the training of their
children to hit the heart repeatedly day
after day, week after week, month after
month, through many a year. In this way


they are able to do work which will outlast
the stars.

When a stone mason wants to break a
large stone in two, he lifts up his sledge
hammer and strikes the stone. The stone
in many instances pays no attention to the
blow, but lies sullen and stubborn, looking
at the mason in a way which says, "You
can't break me!" The mason strikes the
stone again, and still the stone remains un-
broken. He strikes it three times, four
times, but not until the hammer descends
for the ninth time does the stone submit and
break in two. Which of the nine blows
broke the stone? Certainly not the first or
the second or the third, nor was it the sev-
enth or the eighth or the ninth. It was all
the nine blows combined which accom-
plished the work.

Bad habits like stones are broken by re-
peated blows. Every one of you has a bad

habit. If you do not know what your bad
habit is, ask your mother and she will tell
you. These bad habits must be broken.
The only way to break them is to strike
them again and again and again. You must
strike them and you must strike them hard,
and in this work your parents must assist
you. The only reason that they keep strik-
ing your bad habits is because they wish to
set you free.

Your father and mother do not tell you
many different things because there are not
many different things to tell. There are
only a few letters in the alphabet. And
after you have learned them all there are no
more letters to be learned. When once you
have mastered the twenty-six letters, you can
read the largest English book ever pub-
lished. Even in the Bible there are only
twenty-six letters. There are only a few
kinds of figures, — just as many as you have


fingers on both your hands. After you have
learned these ten there are no more to learn.
You cannot find in any arithmetic a figure
different from those ten which you learned
when you first went to school. There are
only a few tones in music. Even the finest
voice cannot produce many tones. After
one has mastered these few tones he can sing
any song that was ever written. There are
only a few laws of life, but these few laws
are all important. If you learn these laws
and learn them thoroughly, your life will be
blessed all your days. Your parents harp
on a few strings because out of these few
strings all the music of your life is going
to come.

It was not pleasant for Isaiah to warn the
drunkards in Jerusalem when he knew that
the drunkards did not care to listen to what
he said. But Isaiah knew that it was his
duty to warn these men because he saw


things which were hidden from their eyes.
To see anyone in danger and not give that
person a word of warning is a fearful sin.
Boys and girls are in great danger, and that
is why fathers and mothers must speak so
many times. Young people cannot see very
far. A boy at five cannot see five years
ahead of him. A boy at fifteen cannot see
his twentieth birthday. No one of us can
see one step beyond the point in life up to
which we have lived, unless we use the
knowledge which has been gained by those
who have lived beyond us. No one knows
the enemies that lurk in ambush by the way
except those who have traveled along that
road. Fathers and mothers have traveled
long distances through life, and they know
a thousand things which their children can-
not know. It is because they see the pitfalls
and the temptations and the awful dangers,
that they keep saying to you : " Do this,


and don't do that." They do not want you
to be captured and broken and ruined.

The teaching of your parents may seem
to be monotonous, but it is not so monoto-
nous as the teaching which you will receive
by and by if you do not heed your parents'
words. If you do not like the monotony of
advice you will like still less the monotony
of punishment. In youth you are offered
the " Tsav la tsav, tsav la tsav ; qav la qav,
qav la qav;" from the best friends which
you will ever have, your father and mother.
But if you do not receive what they try to
give you, then, later on, your enemy will
speak to you a " Tsav la tsav, tsav la tsav; "
which will make you wince and groan. For
if you do not obey God's laws, if you are
not good children of your Heavenly Father,
your accusing conscience will some day cry
out in a terrible monotone: "Tsav la tsav,
tsav la tsav." You will have pain upon



pain, loss upon loss, woe upon woe, and will
fall at last into the very ruin from which
your parents tried to save you. Listen, then,
to the exhortation of St. Paul : " Children,
obey your parents in the Lord, for this is
right." " Honor your father and mother,
that it may be well with you, and that you
may live long on the earth."




"And the child grew." Luke 2:40.

Preached Sunday Morning

May 12, 1901





THE I^EV/ Y01-'!<


|. ^:


\ T10N<


THAT is the first thing which the
New Testament says Jesus ever did.
It is the only thing which the New
Testament says Jesus did in the first twelve
years of his life. Across the pages of twelve
great years St. Luke writes that simple sen-
tence, " And the child grew." At the age
of twelve Jesus comes before us and speaks.
He speaks but once and then like a meteor
disappears. We do not see or hear Him
for eighteen long years. Across these years
of silence St. Luke writes the words, '' He
increased in wisdom and in stature," that
is, " He kept right on growing." The
chief fact, then, in the life of Jesus up to
his thirtieth birthday is the fact that He
grew. Since the New Testament has writ-



ten that fact so large and has made It stand
out all alone so that we should be sure to
see it, we ought to ask what it means and
find out what it teaches.

For what Jesus did we must do. To be
a Christian is to be a follower of Him.
He is the ideal man, and what He did all
men must do. He is the ideal child and
what He did all children ought to do. If
we are to follow Him, we ought to begin in
childhood, and the starting point of all dis-
cipleship is stated in these four short words:
" And the child grew."

That was the chief thing which the boy
Jesus did. If He had not grown He could
not have done later on His mighty deeds,
nor spoken His wonderful words. He
grew so fast that when He went to Jeru-
salem, at the age of twelve, the big learned
city doctors wondered at Him, and by the
time He was thirty He had grown so far


beyond all the other boys of His town that
men and women looked at Him in amaze-
ment, not knowing what to think or say.
In those thirty years He had grown to be so
strong and brave and wise and good that He
still overtops all the men who have ever
lived, and when anybody says, " Behold the
man ! " we look up and see no man, but Jesus
only. We should have no New Testament,
no Christian hymns, no Christian church, if
Jesus had not grown.

The chief thing for every boy and girl to
do is to grow. The world does not want
boys and girls to work. Grown folks can do
the work. Houses must be built, and fur-
niture manufactured, and streets paved, and
cars run, and business carried on, but we do
not want boys to do these things. Boys have
nothing to do but grow. Dresses must be
made, and dinners cooked, and scrubbing
done, but we do not want girls to do it.


Girls have nothing to do but grow. The
world is very particular on this point. It
says : " Now do not disturb those children.
They are busy with their growing. Do not
ask them to do any work, for they must
have a chance to grow!" And so the men
and women do all the work. They work
to get money to buy bread and meat, and
hats and clothes and boots, and books and
toys. They keep the boys and girls supplied
with everything they need, and they do all
this that every boy and girl may grow.

Now, children must grow all over. Every
human being is made up of two pieces.
One piece you can see, that is the body ; the
other piece you cannot see, that is the mind.
You can see a boy's eyes, but not his mem-
ory. You can see his ears, but not his
imagination. You can see his nose, but not
his will. Eyes and ears are organs of the
body, memory and will are organs of the


mind, and all alike must grow. A child
must grow both in body and in mind to
make a complete man.

That is the way Jesus grew. St. Luke
says : " He increased in wisdom and in
stature." Stature means standing, or height.
Jesus' body grew taller and taller. Once,
when they measured Him, He was only two
feet tall, but He soon added another inch
and then another, and another, and another.
The women in Nazareth used to say to
Mary, '' How that boy of yours is grow-
ing!" And I know that Mary felt very
proud, for mothers are always glad to have
their children grow.

But the inward growth of Jesus was more
wonderful than that of His body. His
mind grew wider and deeper and higher.
His disposition became sweeter and richer
and gentler. His spirit waxed loftier and
nobler and mightier, until He at last be-


came great enough to say, " Come unto Me
all ye that labor and are heavy laden, and I
will give you rest." He took this world in
His arms. I have often wondered how
Mary felt when she saw her boy growing.
How pleased and delighted she must have
been to see His mind unfold, to watch His
affections expand, to note new graces burst-
ing into blossom. I think she must have
been the happiest woman in all Galilee, for
nothing makes a mother's heart so happy as
to see her children grow; not simply in
body, but in goodness and in all beautiful
dispositions Jesus grew to be so true and
wise and noble that Mary almost wor-
shiped him. Before the world knew any-
thing about Him she knew how wonderful
He was. You can see what confidence she
had in Him from what she said to some
men at the marriage feast in Cana: " What-
soever He saith unto you, do it." She never


would have said that had he not been a
good boy.

Now, a child may grow in one part of
his nature and not grow in the other. Some-
times children are born with a disease that
will not let them grow. Their body reaches
a certain point and then stops. The parents
coax it with all kinds of food, and the doc-
tors coddle it with all kinds of remedies,
but not all the king's horses, nor all the
king's men can tempt the little body to grow
any more. It is a terrible disappointment
for parents to have a child whose body will
not grow. It makes them sad. When a
mother says, " The baby is not growing. He
has not grown a bit for a long time," she
says it with great sorrow in her voice, for
she knows that in all probability the baby
is going to die. Children are made to grow,
and if they do not grow they cannot live.
Or if they do live they are not like other


people. They are known as dwarfs or
pygmies. Poor little things, they are some-

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Online LibraryCharles Edward JeffersonMy Father's business; a series of sermons to children → online text (page 1 of 9)