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Lectures to children : familiarly illustrating important truth online

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you, — where you go to school,- — how many ways
your parents take to make you happy. You could
tell me all about your home, and your garden, and
all your pleasant things there, because you have
always lived there.

Just so of the angels. They have always liv-
ed in heaven, and know how pleasant a place it
is. And when any one repents, they know he



52 ANGELS' JOY. [Lect. 3.

Whom they have seen. The poor bo}'.

will go to heaven, and be happy as they are.
They have talked with good old Noah about the
wicked world that was drowned in the flood,
when he,

" humble, happy saint,
Surrounded with the chosen few,
Sat in the ark, secure from fear.
And sang the grace that steered him through ! "

They have talked with Abraham, and Joseph, and
David, and Paul, and all the happy men in heav-
en ; and they know that they are all happy, and
so they rejoice when any one repents and sets
out to go to heaven.

Suppose you were to see a poor ragged boy,
almost frozen with the cold, and who has no
home, and no fire to warm him by, and no food
to eat, and no bed to sleep on, and no friends to
take care of him ; now, would you not be glad to
have some kind man take that poor child in, and
give him a good home like yours ? Yes. I know



Lect. 3.] ANGELS' JOY. 53

What is an eye worth 1

you would — I know you would, because you
know what it is to have a pleasant houie. Well,
just so the blessed angels feel when any one re-
pents, for they know God will take him to heaven.
Children, what would you let any one take
some heavy tool and crush your finger for ? For
a dollar ? No. For ten ? No. But what would
you have your arm cut off for ? For a hundred
dollars? No. For all the playthings in the
whole world ? No. For how much would you
lose your reason, and be crazy ? For any thing
in this world ? No. I know you would not.
For how much would you have your eyes put
out, so that you could never again see your friends,
nor the beautiful light of the glorious sun ? Not
for all the world. But, my dear children, the
man who goes to hell because he will not repent
of sin, is worse off than if he were to lose an
arm, or his eyes ; yes, worse off than if he were
to lose his reason,' or be put into the fire, an^i



54 ANGELS' JOY. [Lect. 3.

What is the soul worth 1 The second reason. The sick child.

kept burning all claj, and all night, and a year,
and ten thousand years. For he loses his soul,
and has not a friend in heaven, nor any where
else ; and, what is more, he never will have a
friend. He is " covered with shame and ever-
lasting contempt." The holy angels know all
this, and rejoice when any sinner repents, and
thus escapes the punishment of hell.

This is the first reason. Can you remember
it?

2. The second reason why angels rejoice over
a sinner who repents, is, that till he does repent,
it is very uncertain whether he everivill.

If one of you were sick, and laid on the bed,
and were so sick that it was very uncertain
whether you would live or die, your parents and
friends would feel very anxious about you. They
would come to your bed-side, and raise up your
feeble head, and inquire about your pain, and
send off for the physician, and would sit up with



Lect. 3.] ANGELS' JOY. 55

The little boy drowning-.

you all night. Yes, and they would think more
about their sick child, and feel more anxious about
you, than about all the rest of the family, so long
as it was uncertain whether or not you got well.
And just so the angels feel, so long as it is un-
certain whether or not a sinner repents.

Turn now to the 12th chapter of 2 Samuel,
and see if David did not feel just so. As long
as it was uncertain whether his child should live
or die, he lay on the ground, and fasted and pray-
ed. This uncertainty made him feel very anxious.

Suppose one of your little brothers should fall
into the river, and there sink down under the
deep waters, and before he could be got out, he
should grow cold, and pale, and seem to be dead.
Your father takes the little boy in his arms, and
carries him home, and then they wrap him up in
warm flannels, and lay him on the bed. The
doctor comes, and goes into the room with your
father and mother, to see if it is possible to save



56 ANGELS* JOY. [Lect 3.

The boy recovered.

the little boy's life. The doctor says that nobody
may ^o into the room but the parents. They go
in, and shut the door, and in a few minutes the
question is to be decided, whether or not the
child can live. Oh, then, how would you go
to the door, and walk around Avith a step soft as
velvet, and hearken to know whether the dear boy
lives ! And after you had listened for some time^
treading softly, and speaking in whispers, and
breathing short, the door opens, and your mother
comes out, and there are tears in her eyes ! Is
he dead ? — says one, in a faint, sinking whisper
— is he dead ? Oh, no^ — no — your little brother
lives, and will be well again ! Oh, what a thrill
of joy do you all feel ! What leaping up in glad-
ness ! Now, there is such a joy in heaven over
one sinner that repenteth. The sinner has been
sick, but the gospel has been taken as the remedyy
and he is to live forever. Do you wonder that
the angels rejoice at it ?



Lect. 3.] ANGELS' JOY. 57

Tlie brazen serpent. Three remarks.

Just turn to the 21st chapter of Numbers, and
read the account of the healing of those who had
been bitten by the fiery serpents. Had you been
there, you might have seen parents carrying their
little children who had been bitten, and who were
just ready to die. The poison of the serpents is
circulating through them, and they are almost
gone. The mother brings up her child to the
brazen serpent. Oh, how anxious is she, lest it
has not got strength sufficient to look up ! How
tenderly does she gaze upon its face, as she holds
it up to the brazen serpent, waiting for it to open
its eyes ! and what joy when it does look up and
live ! So there is joy in the presence of the
angels of God over one sinner that repenteth.

I have now told you the two reasons why the
holy angels rejoice when a sinner repents. I next
wish you to hear three remarks. Will you remem-
ber them — all three ?

1. Most men are not like the holy angels.



58 ANGELS' JOY. [Lect. 3.

What people talk about. Piece of gold.

By being like the angels, I do not mean, that
most men do not look like them ; for nobody looks
like them. But I mean that they do not feel like
them. You hear men talk every day. What do
they talk about ? Why, about the weather, their
health, their cattle, their crops, their farms, and
their neighbors ; but very few say any thing about
the repentance of sinners.

Suppose one of you should repent to-day. I
should be glad, and so would some others ; but
the greater part of the people in this town would
know nothing about it ; or, if they did, tliey would
care nothing about it. Not so with the an-
gels. They would all rejoice over it — would all
know it.

Suppose one of you should find a piece of gold,
as you go home, as big as your fist. W'hat a
wonder! All the town would know of it, and
talk about it, and call you a lucky child ; but the
angels would care nothing about it — no, not if



Lect. 3.] ANGELS' JOY. 59

What men love. Sleeping out of doors.

you should find gold enough to fill this house.
You see why. Because they feel for your soul;
while most men think only of this world. And
the reason is, men are sinners, and most of them
love any thing better than repentance. If any
one of you should repent to-day, I suppose many
would laugh and sneer at it. But not an angel in
heaven would laugh or sneer. You see, then,
how it is, that the first remark is true, that most
men are not like the holy angels.

2. My second remark is, that we cannot go to
heaven without repenting of sin.

If a man could go to heaven without repenting
of sin, then nobody would need to repent; and if
any one did repent, he would be doing what was
not needful. And if so, then the angels would
rejoice to see men do what they need not do !

Suppose I should say to you to-day, that, in
order to meet God on the Sabbath, and receive
God's blessing, you must sleep out on the ground



60 ANGELS' JOY. [Lect. 3.

IJiUer medicine. Tiie broken arm.

all Saturday night, wet or cold, sick or well.
Suppose you do it, and I rejoice to see you do it.
Now, if this be not necessary in order to receive
God's blessing, then it would be cruel in me to
wish to see you doing it.

You know, when you are sick, your parents
rejoice to see you swallow, cheerfully, the bitter
medicine, because you cannot get well without
taking it; but if you could get well just as well
without, your parents would never rejoice to see
you take it. Now, repentance is disliked as much
as medicine is ; and if we could go to heaven
without it, the holy angels would not rejoice to
see us repenting.

Suppose, in going home to-day, one of you
should break his arm so dreadfully that it must be
cut off, or else you die ; and I should call and see
you to-morrow, and should find the doctor there,
with his sharp tools all out, ready to cut the arm
off, I should rejoice to have it cut off! And why ?



Lect. 3.] ANGELS' JOY. 61

The last remark.

Not, my dear children, because I should love to
see jou suffer, or lose your arm ; but because your
life could not be saved without. And thus you
see why the angels rejoice so much over one who
repents. It is because none can go to heaven
without repentance.

3. My third and last remark is, that you
will all he very wicked if you do not repent im-
mediately.

And why ? Because you are all sinners ; and
because I have read to you Christ's w^ords, how
that the angels would rejoice at it, and have told
you ivhy they would rejoice. No one is too young
to sin, and so it is plain that no one is too young
to repent. Because, too, that if you do not repent,
you cannot go to heaven. You can play, you may
grow up, you may learn your books, you may
become rich, if God spares your lives ; and may
do all this without repentance. But you cannot



62 ANGELS' JOY. [Lect. 3.

The last remark.

go to heaven without. You cannot begin to go,
till you have a new heart.

And now, when you are riding or walking
home, not knowing that you will live to see
another Sabbath ; when you see the sun go down
to-day, not knowing as you will live to see him
rise ; as you lie down to sleep to-night, not
knowing that you will ever open your eyes again
in this world, — will you not remember what I have
now told you, and go before God and repent ! Oh,
if you will, there will be joy in heaven over you.
Amen.



63



LECTURE IV.

WHAT FAITH IS, AND WHAT ITS USE IS.

JVitJiout faith it is impossible to please Mm. — Heb. 11. 6.

Contents. — Lecture to be made plain. Different kinds of faith. The little
girl who was generous. Faith rewarded, and made plain. The glass
beads. Faith in a father. The storm at sea. Faith in God. Casting
bread on the waters. Sowing rice. The old man and his son. The
house of the slave. The mother's faith. Faith in Christ. Falling into the
river. Faith leads to obey God — to do good. The dying mother. Faith
comforts us. The dead boy's lantern.

I AM going to make this Lecture verj plain,
and, I hope, very interesting to these children.
You may, at first, suppose it will be about what
you cannot understand, and that it cannot be in-
teresting to you. But let us see. I do not be-
lieve there will be five of these children who
will not hear it all, and remember most of what
I shall now say.

There are many kinds of faith or belief among
men. But only one kind is the true faith, with-
out which it is impossible to please God, because



64 FAITH AND ITS USES. [Lect. 4.

The little g^irl wlio was generous.

only one kind of faith makes us obey God. I
will explain it to you.

A little girl was once walking with her fa-
ther, and they were talking together. They were
talking about being generous. The father told
the little girl that it meant " to give to others
what would do them good, even if we h:id to go
without ourselves." He also told her, tliai gen-
erous people were happy ; because nobody could
deny himself any thing, in order to give it to an-
other, without feeling happy ; — so that no one
ever lost any thing by being generous, because
God would make him happy for doing so. He
then asked her if she believed this. She said,
" Yes, father." In the course of their walk, they
went into a bookstore. The little girl said,
" Father, I want one of these new books very
much." "So do I," said the father; "but 1
cannot afford to buy each of us one. But here
is some money ; and you may do just as you
please ; you may buy a book, and give to your



Lect. 4.] FAITH AND ITS USES. 65

Faith rewarded and made plain.

father, and go without yourself, or you may buy
one for yourself, and I will go without. Do just
as you please." The little girl hung her head,
and looked at the new books ; but then she
thought of what her father had said about being
generous, and she had faith in his words. She
quickly said, " I will go without, and father shall
have the book." The book was therefore bought.
And the child felt happy, because she had believ-
ed her father, and because she had been gener-
ous. The bookseller, however, overheard the
conversation, and was so much pleased at seeing
the faith di\iA the generosity of the little girl, that
he gave her a very beautiful book.

This was having faith in a father. But this
is not the kind spoken of in the Bible. For a
child might believe a father, and have a strong
faith in him, and yet be, towards God, a very
wicked child.

Mr. Cecil gives us a beautiful account of the
6



66 FAITH AND ITS USES. [Lect. 4.

The glass beads.

manner in which he taught his little daughter
what is meant by faith. " She was playing one
day with a few beads, which seemed to delight

her wonderfully. Her whole soul was absorbed

%/

in her beads. I said,

" ' My dear, you have some pretty beads there.'

" ' Yes, papa.'

" ' And you seem to be vastly pleased with
them.'

" ' Yes, papa.'

" ' Well, now, throw them behind the fire.'

" The tears started into her eyes. She look-
ed earnestly at me, as though she ought to have
a reason for such a cruel sacrifice.

" ' Well, my dear, do as you please ; but you
know I never told you to do any thing which I
did not think would be good for you.'

" She looked at me a few moments longer, and
then — summoning up all her fortitude — her breast
heaving with the effort — she dashed them into
the fire.



Lect. 4.] FAITH AND ITS USES. 67

Faith in a father.

" ' Well,' said I ; * there let them lie ; you
shall hear more about them another time ; but
say no more about them now.'

" Some days after, 1 bought her a box full of
larger beads, and toys of the same kind. When
I returned home, I opened the treasure, and set
it before her ; she burst into tears of ecstasy.
^ Those, my child,' said I, 'are yours; because
you believed me, when I told you it would be better
for you to throw those two or three paltry beads
behind the fire. Now, that has brought you this
treasure. But now, my dear, remember, as long
as you live, what faith is. You threw your
beads away when I bid you, because you had
faith in me, that I never advised you but for
your good. Put the same confidence in God.
Believe every thing he says in his Word. Wheth^
er you understand it or not, have faith in him
that he means your good.' "

This, too, was faith in a father ; but the little
girl might have bad it, even if she had been a



68 FAITH AND ITS USES. [Lkct. 4-

The storm at sea.

heathen child. It was not the faith required in
the Bible, because it was not faith in God
himself.

I will now tell you what is faith in the care
of God. A lady and her husband were standing
on the deck of a ship during an awful storm.
The winds howled, and the ship was tossed like
a feather over the great waves. The lady had
to hold on with both hands to keep from falling.
She was very much frightened, and asked her
husband if he was not afraid. He said nothing,
but, in a moment after, he held a naked rsword
with its point close to her breast, and asked her,

" Are you not afraid ?"

"No."

" Why not ? Do you see this sword within
an inch of your heart ? "

" Yes, but I am not afraid, for it is my hus-
band who holds it ! "

"Yes," said he, "and it is my heavenly Fa-
ther who holds this storm in his hand, the winds



Lect. 4.] FAITH AND ITS USES. 69

Faith in God. Casting' bread on the waters.

and the waves ; and why should I be afraid ? No,
I am not afraid ! "

This was faith in the care of God. God
was pleased with it. Now see. Was not the
gentleman pleased to see that his wife had so
much faith in his love as not to be afraid, though
he held a drawn sword to her heart ? Yes, he
must have been pleased. And so was God
pleased to see him put so much faith in his care,
when the storm was raging, and the ship seemed
like being destroyed.

The Bible tells us to *'cast our bread upon
the waters, and we shall find it after many days."
Let us see what this text means. Rice is the
food most used in the Eastern countries, espe-
cially in Egypt, even to this day. Every year,
when the snows all melt off the mountains, the
river Nile rises up high, and overflows its banks,
and covers all the country round it with waters.
The people set down stakes, every man in his
own land, before the waters come. And when



70 FAITH AND ITS USES. [Lect. 4.

Sowing rice.

the Nile has risen, and all the ground is covered
with waters, they go out in their little boats, and
sow, or cast their rice upon the waters. The
rice sinks down, and sticks in the mud beneath ;
and when the waters are gone, they find it has
taken root and sprouted, and it grows up, and
gives them a harvest. This is casting their
bread upon the waters, and finding it after many
days.

Here is one kind of faith. The man who
sows the rice, believes that it will sink, that the
waters will go off in due time, and that he shall
come out and find his rice growing. This is a
kind of faith in the Providence of God. Buty
you know, this is not the faith required in the
Bible, because a very wicked man has faith to
plant and sow, expecting to get a harvest, though
he forgets that God must make every blade to
grow, if it does grow. Thousands have had
this kind of faith, but it did not make them good
and holy.



Lect. 4.] FAITH AND ITS USES. 71

The old man and his son.

Now, let me show you what faith in God is, —
such a faith as will please God.

There was once a man to whom God spake,
and told him to leave his home, his town, and his
country, and go off into a strange land, and live
under a tent, and never again have a home. The
man asked no reasons, but obeyed. After this,
he had a son, his only son. God told him that
this son should live and grow up, and should be
the forefather of great nations, millions of peo-
ple. But after this, God told this man to go and
take this boy of his, and take his life, and burn
up his body with fire. God gave him no reasons
for this direction. The good man prepared to
obey. He got the wood ready to burn the body
of his dear child ; he bound his hands and feet,
and put out his hand, and took the knife with
which to take his life. God then told him not
to do it, but to take a ram which he would find
close by, and kill him. This was faith in God ;
for Abraham (for that was his name, and you



72 FAITH AND ITS USES. [Lect. 4.

The house of the slave.

will find the whole account in the 22d chapter of
Genesis) obeyed God, because he believed God
was wise, and holy, and good, though he could
not understand why he told him to do this.

Suppose you had lived while the children of
Israel lived in Egypt. And suppose you had walk-
ed out some pleasant day, just at night, down to-
wards the river. Look, now, and see what is be-
fore you. Yonder is a cluster of tall trees, and
just under them is a little cottage or hovel. They
are poor folks who live there. See, the house is
small, and has no paint on it, no windows, nothing
about it that looks comfortable. This hovel is the
home of slaves. The man and the woman are
poor slaves. But just look in. What is that wo-
man doing ? See her weaving a little basket with
rushes, which she has gathered from the banks of
the river. See ! she weeps as she twists every
flag ; and, by the moving of her lips, you see that
she is praying. She has finished it. Now, watch
her. Do you see her go to the corner of the



Lect. 4.] FAITH AND ITS USES. 73

The mother's faith. Faith in Jesus Christ.

room, and there kneel down, and weep, and pray
over a beautiful little boy ? See her embrace and
kiss him. Now she lays him in the little basket ;
now she calls her little daughter, and tells her to
take her little brother, and carry him, and lay him
down by the cold river's side ! There ! now she
takes the last look of her sweet babe ; now she
goes back weeping into the house, and lifting her
heart to God in prayer, while her daughter goes,
and carries her dear boy, and leaves him on the
bank of the river. What will become of him?
Will the crocodiles eat him up? or will the
waters carry him off and drown him ? No, no.
That poor mother has faith in God ; and God
will take care of her son. The king's daughter
will find him, and save him ; and that little in-
fant is to be Moses, the leader of Israel, the
prophet of God, and the writer of much of the
Bible ! This was true faith in God. . .

Faith in Jesus Christ is a strong belief iaailor
such a belief as will lead us to obey his cons hard



74 Faith and its uses. [Lect. 4.

Falling into the river.

We believe there was such a being on earth once
as Christ ; that he did the miracles told of in the
Testament ; that he was holy ; that he spake the
words and the sermons told of in the Testament,
as coming from him ; that he died for sinners, and
rose from the dead, and is gone to heaven, and now
lives there, and is doing good to his people. We
believe all that is told us about him in the Bible*
And if this belief or faith is good for any thing,
it will cause us to love to read the Bible, to obey
Christ, to love him and to serve him, because he
will reward his people forever beyond the grave,
and punish those who do not obey him.

Suppose, as a good old writer says, you should
fall into a river, which was deep, and where the
water ran swiftly, and you were almost drowned ;
and a man should run to the bank of the river, and
call to you, and throw you a rope. This would
he just like our Saviour. We are all perishing in
she is deep waters" of sin; and Christ throws us
her. L and calls to us to take hold of it. But



Lect. 4 J FAITH, AND ITS USES. 75

Faith leads to obey God.

it will all do no good unless we take hold of it.
Now, this taking hold of the rope is faith. Faith
makes us take hold of Christ, just as you would
take hold of the rope, when drowning. He draws
us from the deep waters ; and when he has done
it, we love him, we thank him, and we obey him.

But I wish to tell you, in a few words, what
good iaith does us.

1. It makes us obey and serve God.

No one will serve God by leaving off sin and
doing his will, unless he has faith to believe that
he will reward all who are good, and punish all
who remain wicked. Who would get any good
from the Bible, if they have not faith in it ? Who
would try to govern the temper, the tongue, the
words, and the thoughts, if they did not believe
that God will bring every secret thing unto judg-
ment.^ No one. But if we believe what God
has told us in his Word, we shall be very careful
to do what God commands us to do. The sailor
goes away on the great waters, and works hard



76 FAITH AND ITS USES. [Lect. 4.

Faith leads us to do good.

and faithfully, because he has faith to believe the
captain will pay him. So we must have faith in
the promises of God, if we would serve him and
please him.

2. Faith makes us do good.

The apostles went every where preaching the
gospel, though they were hated, and stoned, and
put in prison, and put to death, because they be-
lieved God, and had faith in his Word, that who-
ever will repent, and love Christ, shall be saved ;
and whoever will not, shall be lost forever. It is
the faith which led them to endure such sufferings,
that leads good men now to go to the heathen,
and preach to them, and die among them. It is
faith in God that leads good men to preach, to


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