John Todd.

Lectures to children : familiarly illustrating important truth online

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up these types, nor the man who pressed the paper
on the types so exactly, nor the man who bound
it all up in this bright, red leather. And yet you
know that such men were alive a short time since ;
for the book was printed this year. You never
^vill see these men, and yet you know they are
j^ive somewhere.

j^^ Just so you know that God lives. For he made
pl^ cotton, which is here altered into paper ; he
a jjde the oil and the wood, which are burned to
that^^ this ink ; he made the skin of sheep, which is
Ijy c^ed, and colored, and is here in the shape of
here morocco binding,
soul li^^ knew you would love to see the light, and



Lect. 1.] THERE IS A GOD. 27

The rainbow, flowers and fruit made by God.

SO he made the sun and the moon. He knew you
would love to see beautiful thmgs, and so he
pamted the rainbow in the dark clouds, and
spread the green grass over the ground, and pen-
cilled the flowers, and planted the trees, and hung
apples on one tree, and plums on another, and
grapes on the vine. He knew you would love to
hear sweet sounds, and so he gave your parents a
pleasant voice, and filled the air with little birds,
whose great business is to sing. He knew you
would want houses and fires, and so he made the
wood and the clay for the brick. He knew you
would have reason, and yet not enough to lead you
to heaven, and so he made the Bible. He knew
you would have wicked hearts, and so he has
given you the Sabbath, and the Saviour, and the
Holy Spirit, to help you to be good. He knew
you would want to live forever, and so he has
made heaven, where you may live forever, and
never die, if you are good and holy.



28 THERE IS A GOD. [Lect. 1.

God seen plainly. Poetry describes God.

Who does not see that the world is full of the
things that God has done ? I am sure I can no
more doubt it than I can doubt that little boy to
have eyes, when I see them both open and look-
ing at me. I am sure I have no doubt that these
children have souls, though I never saw their
souls ; for I can see their eyes, and hands and
limbs moved by their souls.

And now, dear children, you see it all proved
out to you that there is a great and glorious Being
around you, always doing you good, whose name
is God. Yes,

" There is an unseen Power around,
Existing in the silent air :
Where treadeth man, where space is found,
Unheard, unknown, that Power is there.

When sinks the pious Christian's soul,
And scenes of horror daunt his eye,

He hears it whispered through the air,
A Power of mercy still is nigh.



Lect. 1.] THERE IS A GOD. 29

When ought children to think of God ?

The Power that watches, guides, defends,

Till man becomes a lifeless sod,
Till earth is nought, — nought earthly friends, —

That omnipresent Power — is God."

Ought not these children to think of God?
To think of him when you go to bed at night, for
he it is who has kept you safe and done you good
all the day long, and then thank him for his good-
ness ? Think of him in the morning, for it is he
who has kept you, given you sleep and awaked
you, and lifted up the great sun to shine upon you.
Oh, pray that he will keep you from sinning all the
day. You ought to thuik of him when you hear
the pleasant and kind voice of your parents, for it
is God who gave you these parents ; think of him
when you are happy, for it is he who makes you
happy. Think of him when you have sinned, or
are about to sin, for he sees you. Think of
him when you are sick, for he only can make you
well, and keep you from being sick. Think of



30 THERE IS A GOD. [Lect. 1.

The sincere wish.

him on the Sabbath, for he gave it to you to fit
you for heaven. Yes, he gave you every good
thing you ever had, or ever can have, and even
gave his dear Son to die for us.

And now let me stop, after looking at each
child before me, and repeating to each one this
sincere wish of my heart —

" Oh, be thy wealth an upright heart ;

Thy strength, the sufferer's stay ;
Thy earthly choice, the better part.

Which cannot fade away :
Thy zeal for Christ, a quenchless fire ;

Thy friends, the men of peace ;
Thy heritage, an angel's lyre,

When earthly changes cease." Amen.



31



LEG TURE II.

REPENTANCE FOR SIN.

They tvent out and preached that men should repent. — ^Mark 6. 12.

Contents. — A hard word used. The hard word explained. Nothing g-ood
without pay. Who need repentance. Christ's testimony. Great question.
Two kinds of money. Two trees. Story. The sick father. Little
boy's falsehood. The tender look. The dying father. Death arrived. The
burial. Repentance at the grave. A few plain remarks. God not loved.
The discontented boy — the storm — the Bible — his repentance. Who have
sinned? Stopping in sin. The Indian and his rum. Hands full. Conclusion,

Children, I am going to use a hard word, and
I must tell you what it means. The word is con-
ditions, I would not use it if I did not think 1
could make it easy. Suppose a little child goes
to school, and wants a new book. Her mother
says, " Well, Mary, if you will be perfect :fi your
lessons and behavior for two whole weeks, I will
buy the book for you." This is a condition, A
little boy asks his father to let him ride. He tells
him he may ride with him to-morrow, on the con-



32 REPENTANCE. [Lect. 2.

The hard word explained.

dition, that he governs his temper and is a good
boy all day to-day.

So every good thing in this world has some
such condition, and for every thing we have some-
thing to do. I will only name four things which
have such conditions.

1. God has so ordered things, that any child
shall grow up greatly beloved and respected, on
condition that he is kind and obedient to his par-
ents and teachers, and kind and affectionate to
every body.

2. God has so ordered things, that a man may
be learned, on condition that he studies and reads,
and wastes no time.

3. God has so ordered things, that medicine
will frequently cure the sick man. But the con-
dition is, that it must be carefully taken.

4. God has so ordered things, that any body
may know all about God, and heaven, on condi-
tion, that he faithfully reads the Bible, and prays



Lect. 2.] REPENT 4NCE. 33

Nothing- g-ood without pay. Who need repentance.

to God for the Holy Spirit, and obeys God in
every thing.

It is just so with every thing. Who would not
laugh at the farmer who expected to raise corn,
except on the condition that he plant, and hoe, and
plant the right seed, and at the right time ? That
little boy cannot see his top spin round, except on
a condition — that he do something to make it go.
That little girl, just beginning to talk, cannot learn
a single letter, or take a single stitch with her
needle, except on condition that she try to learn.
No. You cannot rear a single beautiful flower so
as to get one single blossom, without a condition.

Now, the greatest good that God ever gave to
us, is that eternal life which Christ bought for us
by his own blood. No man ever became holy
without a condition for him to fulfil. No man
ever went to heaven without repentance. Job
could not. David could not. Peter, and Paul, and
John, could not. Not one of that great multitude
3



34 REPENTANCE. [Lect. 2

Christ's testimony. Two kinds of money.

who are now in heaven, went there without re-
pentance. Christ preached this condition, and so
did the apostles ; so has every true preacher since.
Not one sinner in this house, not one in this place,
not one in this world, will ever go to heaven with-
out repentance. If we knew just how many, and
who would repent of sin, we should know just
how many, and who would go to heaven. All
must repent. Christ says, '''Except ye repent, ye
shall all likewise perish,'^'' So Paul says, " God
now commandeth all men every where to repent,^^
You cannot doubt who must repent — all must,
every human being that has ever sinned.

A very great question rises up here ; and that
is, WJiat is it to repent ?

You all know there are two kinds of money —
the good, and the counterfeit. And a man might
have a house full of the counterfeit, and yet he
could not be said to have any money. It would
do him no good. So there are two kinds of



L^CT. 2] REPENTANCE. 35

Trees. Story to explain.

repentance. One is good, and the other good for
nothing. They may not seem very different, just
as two pieces of money may look alike, while one
is good, and will buy things, and the other is good
for nothing ; just as tw^o trees may stand together,
and look alike, while one produces good fruit, and
the other nothing but leaves. But you want
to know what it is to repent. Let me try to
tell you.

A man, who is now a minister of the gospel,
gave me the following account. I tell it to you
in order to show you what repentance is. "I had
one of the kindest and best of fathers ; and when
I was a little white-headed boy, about six years
old, he used to carry me to school before him on
his horse, to help me in my little plans, and always
seemed trying to make me happy ; and he never
seemed so happy himself as when making me
happy. When I was six years old, he came home,
one day, very sick. My mother, too, was sick ;



36 REPENTANCE. [Lect. 2

Tlie sick father. Little boy's falsehood.

and thus nobody but my two sisters could take
care of my father. In a few days he was worse,
very sick, and all the physicians in the region
were called in to see him. The next Sabbath
morning, early, he was evidently nauch worse. As
I went into the room, he stretched out his hand to
me and said, * My little boy, I am very sick. I
wish you to take that paper on the stand, and run
down to Mr. C.'s, and get me the medicine writ-
ten on that paper.' I took the paper, and went
to the apothecary's shop, as I had often done be-
fore. It was about half a mile off; but when I
got there, I found it shut ; and as Mr. C. lived a
quarter of a mile farther off, I concluded not to go
to find him. I then set out for home. On my way
back, I contrived what to say. I knew how wick-
ed it was to tell a lie, but one sin always leads to
another. On going in to my father, I saw that he
was in great pain ; and though pale and weak, I
could see great drops of sweat standing on his



Lect. 2.] REPENTANCE. 37

The tender look.

forehead, forced out by the pain. Oh, then I was
sorry I had not gone and found the apothecary.
At length he said to me, * My son has got the
medicine, I hope, for I am in great pain.' I hung
my head, and muttered, for my conscience smote
me. ' No, sir, Mr. Carter says he has got none ! '
*Has got none ! Is this possible ? ' He then cast
a keen eye upon me, and seeing my head hang, and
probably suspecting my falsehood, said, in the mild-
est, kindest tone, ' My little boy ivill see his father
suffer great pain for the want of that medicine ! ' I
went out of the room, and alone, and cried. I was
soon called back. My brothers had come, and
were standing, — all the children were standing,
round his bed, and he was committing my poor
mother to their care, and giving them his last ad-
vice. 1 was the youngest; and when he laid his
hand on my head, and told me 'that in a few hours
I should have no father ; that he would in a day
or two be buried up; that 1 must now make



38 REPENTANCE. [Lect. 2

The dying father.

God my father, love him, obey him, and always
do right, and speak the truth, because the eye of
God is always upon me ' — it seemed as if I
should sink : and w hen he laid his hand on my head
again, and prayed for the blessing of God the
Redeemer to rest upon me, ' soon to be a father-
less orphan,' I dared not look at him, I felt so
guilty. Sobbing, I rushed from his bed-side, and
thought I wished I could die. They soon told
me he could not speak. Oh, how much would I
have given to go in and tell him that I had told a
lie, and ask him once more to lay his liand on my
head and forgive me ! I crept in once more,
and heard the minister pray for ' the dying
man.' Oh, how my heart ached ! I snatched
my hat, and ran to the apothecary's house, and
got the medicine. I ran home with all my might,
and ran in, and ran up to my father's bed-side to
confess my sin, crying out, ' O here, father ' — but
1 was hushed; and I then saw that he was pale,



Lect. 2.3 REPENTANCE. 39

Death arrived. The burial.

and that all in the room were weeping. My dear
father was dead ! And the last thmg I ever spoke
to him was to tell him a lie ! I sobbed as if my
heart would break ; for his kindnesses, his tender
looks, and my own sin, all rushed upon my mind.
And as I gazed upon his cold, pale face, and saw
his eyes shut, and his lips closed, could I help
thinking of his last words, * My little boy will see
his father suffer great pain for the want of that
medicine ' ? I could not know but he died for
the want of it.

"In a day or two, he was put into the ground
and buried up. There were several ministers at
the funeral, and each spoke kindly to me, but
could not comfort me. Alas ! they knew not
what a load of sorrow lay on my heart. They
could not comfort me. My father was buried,
and the children all scattered abroad; for my
mother was too feeble to take care of them.

" It was twelve years after this, while in college,



40 REPENTANCE. [Lect. 2.

Repentance at the grave. A few plain remarks.

that I went alone to the grave of my father. It
took me a good while to find it; but there it was,
with its humble tomb-stone ; and as I stood over
it, I seemed to be back at his bed-side, to see his
pale face, and hear his voice. Oh ! the thought
of that sin and wickedness cut me to the heart.
It seemed as worlds would not be too much to
give, could I then only have called loud enough to
have him hear me ask his forgiveness. But it
was too late. He had been in the ^rave twelve
years ; and 1 must live and die, weeping over
that ungrateful falsehood. May God forgive
me."

Now, I wish to say two or three things about
this little boy's repentance.

1 . You see that a child may be wicked. He
can sin against a father and against God at the
same time. God commands us to obey our
parents and to speak the truth. This child did
neither.



Lect. 2] REPENTANCE. 41

God not loved.

2. You see that a child is not too young to
repent of a sin against his father. Some have an
idea that a child is too young to repent; but this
is a great mistake. If this boy could repent of
this one sin, he could of more ; and if he could
repent of a sm against an earthly father, could
he not of those against his heavenly Father ?

3. You see what true repentance towards God
is. It is to feel sorry and grieved that you have
sinned against God, just as this child did, because
he had sinned against his dying father. He did
not grieve so because he was afraid of being
punished, but because his father was so good to
him, and he was so wicked against his father.
Now, had he felt as sorry for each and all of his
sins against God, as he did for this one sin against
a man, it would have been true repentance.

4. You see that if we loved God as much as
we ^o an earthly parent, we should repent deeply
because he has done us ten thousand kinj^^j.^^^



42 REPENTANCE. [Lect. 2.

The discontented boy. The storm.

and is doing them every day, and because we
have committed ten thousand sins against him
more shameful than this shameful sin of the
little boy.

There was a wicked boy once, who would
leave his father's home and go to sea. His kind
father tried to persuade liim not to go ; but he
was not to be kept away from the sea. The
reason was, he thought that he might be wicked
when he got away from his father, and tliere
would be nobody to reprove him. His weeping
father gave him a Bible as he went away, and
begged him to read it. The boy went away, and
became very wicked, and very profane. But
God saw him. There was a great storm upon

* the ocean. The ship could not stand against it.
She struck upon the rocks in the dark night. It
was a time of great distress ; — and for a few

^"^^ oments, there was the noise of the captain gij^ing
^^^' rs, the howling of the storm, the cries of



Lect. 2.] REPENTANCE. 43

The Bible.

the poor sailors and passengers, who expected
every moment to be drowned. Then this wicked
boy wished himself at home. But he had but a
few moments ; for a great wave came and lifted
the ship up high, and then came down upon
another rock, and she was shivered in a thousand
pieces. Every soul on board was drowned, except
this same wicked boy. By the mercy of God, he
was washed and carried by the waves upon a
great rock, so that he could creep up, much bruised
^nd almost dead. In the morning, he was seen
sitting on the rock with a book in his hand. It
was his Bible, — the only thing, except his own
life, which had been saved from the wreck. He
opened it, and there, on the first leaf, was the
hand-writing of his father! He thought of the
goodness of that father, and of his own ingratitude,
and he wept. Again he opened the book, and on
every page was the hand-writing of his heavenly
Father ; and again he wept at the remembrance



44 REPENTANCE. [Lect. 1

His repentance. Who have sinned ?

of his sins against God. His heart was broken.
He was truly penitent ; and from that hour to this
he has lived as a Christian. He is now the com-
mander of a large ship, and seems to make it his
great business to honor Jesus Christ. This was
true repentance.

But I must tell you, in a few words, why it is
necessary for every one to repent of sin.

1. Because all have sinned. I need not try to
tell how many times. I might as well try to
count the hairs on that little boy's head, who
stands at that pew door and gives me all his looks
while I am speaking. We all have sinned against
our parents, by not obeying them and being kind
to them ; we have sinned against the Sabbath, by
not remembering to keep it holy; against the
Bible, by not loving it and not keeping its sayings ;
against conscience, which stands close to our heart,
and, like a sentinel keeping watch, cries out when
we sin ; against the Holy Spirit, by not doing a^'



Lect. 2.] REPENTANCE. 45

Stopping in sin,

he says, when he makes us feel solemn and sinful ;
and against God himself, whose commandments
we break. Oh ! our sins are like a great cloud.
Did you ever see a cloud of dust or sand in a
windy day ? And could you count the little par-
ticles of dust in it — all of them ? No, no. But
our sins are quite as many.

2. None will forsake sin till they have repent-
ed. You might stop a man from stealing by killing
him or shutting him up in prison. But this would
not stop his wishing to steal ; and that wishing, in
the sight of God, is sin. One of these children
might have his tongue cut out, so that he could
not talk, and so that he could never again tell a
lie ; but if he thought a lie in his heart, this would
be sin ; and cutting out his tongue would not stop
his sinning. The Indians, some years ago, tried
to stop their people from sinning ; and so they gave
them strong emetics, in order to have them throw
up their sins ; but they did no good. The sin



46 REPENTANCE. [Lect. 2.



The Indian and his rum.



was in the heart, and not in the stomach. One
of these Indians, who had thus taken emetics,
went to Pittsburgh, and bought a barrel of rum to
sell to the other Indians. On his way back, he
called and heard the Moravian missionaries preach
the gospel. ''He was so convinced of his sinful-
ness and misery, that he resolved to alter his
manner of life. He accordingly returned the
barrel of rum to the trader at Pittsburgh, declaring
that he would neither drink nor sell any more
spirituous liquors, for it was against his conscience.
He, therefore, begged him to take it back, adding,
that, if he refused, he would pour it into the Ohio.
The trader, as well as the white people who were
present, was amazed, and assured him, that this
was the first barrel of rum he had ever seen
returned by an Indian : but he, at the same time,
took it back, without further objection."

Nothing but repentance would ever have led
this Indian to do this. And this, and nothing but
this, will make any one leave off sin.



Lect. 2.] REPENTANCE. 47

Hands full. Conclusion.

3. None will serve God unless they have first
repented of sm. Christ says that no man can
serve tv\^o masters. Suppose a child has a large
apple in each hand, and, wdthout laying down
either, she goes and tries to take up two large
oranges. Could she do it ? No. Because her
hands are already full. Just so, when the heart
is full of sin, you cannot have the love of God in
it. If you would stop sinning, my dear children,
you must repent of sin. If you would serve
God, have him for your Father and Friend, you
must repent. You all can do it. You all have
been sorry when you have grieved your parents,
and you can be sorry when you have offended
and grieved your blessed Redeemer. Oh ! if you
will not, you will grow up sinners, live sinners,
die sinners, and be sinners, accursed by God for
ever and ever. Amen.



48



LECTURE III.

ANGELS' JOY WHEN SINNERS REPENT.

There is joy in the presence of the angels of God over one
sinner that repenteth. — Luke 15. 10.

Contents. — Who ever saw an angel ? What angels do. Many angels.
How do they feel ? Why they rejoice. First reason. Home. Whom
have they seen ? The poor boy. What is an eye worth ? What is the sonl
worth ? The second reason. The sick child. The little boy drowning.
The boy recovered. The brazen serpent. Three remarks. What people
talk about. Piece of gold. What men love. Sleeping out of doors. Bit
ter medicine. The broken arm. The last remark.

Did any of these children ever see an angel ?
No. Did I ever see one ? No. Did any body
ever see an angel ? Yes. A great many have.
Abraham did. Lot did. David did. Christ did.
Peter and John did. And in the Bible you read
of many who have seen angels.

But though you never saw an angel, yet you
all know what an angel is. Angels are good spir-
its, who love God more than they love one anoth-



Lect. 3.] ANGELS' JOY. 49

What angels do. Many aii; - s.

er, and more than thej love any thing the.
They live in heaven. And what do you uiink
they are doing there ? Idle, do you think ? No.
They are never idle a moment. Sometimes God
sends them away on errands, just as your p-rients
send you. Sometimes they come down to this
world to do good to good people here. Wi en a
good man dies, they stand by his bed, and arry
his soul up to heaven, just as you are led f; the
hand when you do not know the way.

And though we cannot see them, yet I sup-
pose some are here in this meeting-house now,
seeing you and me, and looking to see if this
sermon will do any good. What else do they
do r Why, if God has no errands on which to
send them, then they sing his praises, and make
music a thousand times sweeter than any which
we ever heard.

^There are a great many of these angels in
heaven; — more than this house would hold, —
4



50 ANGELS' JOY. [Lect. 3.

How do angels feel ? Why they rejoice.

more than a thousand or a million of such meet-
ing-houses would hold, if they were all to be seat-
ed just as you are. And, they are all happy.
Because not one of them ever did wrong ; not
one ever spake a cross or a wicked word ; not
one of them ever told a lie ; not one of them
ever sinned, or ever felt any kind of pain. And,
what is very wonderful, they love us. They
come down here, and when any body repents of
sin, they tell of it in heaven, and they all rejoice
and are glad. Now, just read this beautiful text
again. " I say unto you, There is joy in the pres-
ence of the angels of God over one sinner that
repenteth." Now, if I had told you this without
first finding it in God's Book, you could not have
believed me. But now we know it must be so,
because Christ hath told us so ; and he says,
" Heaven and earth shall pass away, but my words
shall not pass away."

I wish, now, my dear children, to tell you two



Lect. 3.] ANGELS' JOY. 51

First reason.. Home.

plain reasons why the angels rejoice over every
sinner w^ho repents. 1 could give you many more
reasons, but am afraid you cannot remember more.

1. First, then, they rejoice when any one re-
pents, because they know what heaven and hell
are.

Now, suppose I had never seen any one of you
before ; and I should ask one of these little boys
or girls about their home. You could tell me
about it — where you eat, where you sleep, where
you play, how you are kept warm in the cold
weather, — how your parents take good care of


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Online LibraryJohn ToddLectures to children : familiarly illustrating important truth → online text (page 2 of 9)