Coleridge was once talking with a man who told him that he did not believe in giving little children any religious instruction whatsoever. His theory was that the child's mind should not be prejudiced in any direction, but when he came to years of discretion he should be permitted to choose his religious opinions for himself. Coleridge said nothing; but after a while he asked his visitor if he would like to see his garden. The man said he would, and Coleridge took him out into the garden, where only weeds were growing. The man looked at Coleridge in surprise, and said, "Why this is not a garden! There is nothing but weeds here!"
"Well, you see," answered Coleridge, "I did not wish to infringe upon the liberty of the garden in any way. I was just giving the garden a chance to express itself and to choose its own production." A very timely parable! We go astray from the womb; if we are not trained to go in the right way, we go naturally in the wrong way.
Rose Mary was an attendant at one of the schools conducted by the Canadian Sunday School Mission. Only six years of age, it might be questioned if she was not too young to profit— so thought the teacher. On the final day opportunity was given for any who wished to accept Christ to come to the front. Rose Mary left her seat, but the teacher said, "Perhaps you don't fully understand, Rose Mary; you are so young; you better go back to your seat." And Rose Mary went back, her heart full of anguish that overflowed in tears. Questioned by the teacher as to the cause, the child who was "too little to understand" sobbed, "My parents don't want me to be a Christian, and now teacher doesn't want me to be one either." Rose Mary and "teacher" knelt together in the schoolroom, and a little child entered into life. "Simply to Thy cross I cling." One need not to be very old or very wise to do that.—Sunday School Times.
"Suppose that Paul had been converted at seventy instead of twenty-five. There would have been no Paul in history. There was a Matthew Henry because he was converted at eleven and not at seventy; a Dr. Watts because he was converted at nine and not at sixty; a Jonathan Edwards because he was converted at eight and not at eighty; a Richard Baxter because he was converted at six and not at sixty. How much more a soul is worth that has a lifetime... before it than the soul which has nothing! Lambs are of more worth than sheep in the realm of souls as well as in the market place." —The Presbyterian.
An old sexton in a cemetery took special pains with the little graves. When asked why, he said, "Sir, about those larger graves I don't know who are the Lord's saints, and who are not; but you know, sir, it's different with the bairns." — Rev. C. M. Keach in tract, "Childhood."
A little girl nine years old greatly desired to unite with the church but was told, much to her distress, that she was too young. Soon afterward she was taken seriously ill and seemed to realize that she probably would not get well. Her pastor came to see her, and she, looking up with tear-filled eyes, said to him, "Jesus will understand, won't he?" "What do you mean, dear?" he asked. "Why, he'll know that I wanted to join the church and you wouldn't let me, won't he?" The pastor, overcome by the child's words, hurriedly called his elders together in united prayer that the little girl's life might be spared. Their prayer was granted, and as soon as she was able she was taken into the church and proved her sincerity by her faithful Christian life.—Sunday School Times.
Asked to receive an alms (Acts 3:3).
The minister was being entertained at the home of one of the elders. While they were at dinner the little daughter of the house said to the minister, "I, heard you preach today." "You did?" said he. "Can you tell me, then, what I preached about?" "Yes," answered the little girl. "You preached about a man who asked for arms, and got legs."—Selected.
A morning in September comes
When mothers stand to see
Mere babies faring forth to meet
A world's complexity;
They loose small hands — they bid them go —
They watch them yearningly.
So brief — so swift — the years have been
So dear — the constant care,
And now bereft — at open doors —
Stand mothers — everywhere —
Within their eyes a wistful light,
Upon their lips — a prayer.
Dear God — compassionate to all —
I pray Thee keep apart
A space of warmth and tenderness
Within Thy sheltering heart,
For women watching through their tears
An eager child depart.
A mother's need is great this hour —
Oh, come to her today
And reassure her, God, and take
The anxious care away,
Then go with every child who goes,
And stay with them, I pray.
"Their Size is Their Ticket," the Chicago Daily News captions a picture of small children entering a "tiny-tot play lot" through a low gateway shaped like a keyhole. Admittance to the lot, given to the youngsters of Oak and Sedgwick Streets by Mr. and Mrs. Charles S. Dewey, depends on the ability of the child to walk upright through the low gate. Size too, determines whether or not a person enters Heaven. When His disciples asked the Lord Jesus who was the greatest in the Kingdom of Heaven, he "called a little child unto Him, and set him in the midst of them, and said, Verily I say unto you, Except ye be converted, and become as little children, ye shall not enter into the kingdom of heaven" (Matt. 18:1-3). —Selected.
An old man going a lone highway,
Came at the evening cold and gray
To a chasm vast and deep and wide.
The old man crossed in the twilight dim,
The sullen stream had no fear for him.
But he paused when safe on the other side
And built a bridge to stem the tide.
"Old man," said a fellow pilgrim near,
"You are wasting your strength by building here,
Your journey will end with the closing day,
You never again will pass this way.
You've crossed the chasm deep and wide,
Why build you this bridge at ev'ntide?"
The builder lifted his old gray head,
"Good friend, in the path I've come," he said,
"There followeth after me today
A youth whose feet must pass this way.
This chasm that's been as naught to me
To that fair-haired youth may a pitfall be;
He, too, must cross in the twilight dim.
Good friend, I'm building this bridge for him." —Selected.
A farmer was walking over his farm with a friend, exhibiting his crops, herds of cattle, and flocks of sheep. His friend was greatly impressed and highly pleased, especially with the splendid sheep. He had seen the same breed frequently before, but never had seen such fine specimens. With great earnestness he asked how he had succeeded in rearing such flocks. His simple answer was "I take care of my lambs."—Scottish Magazine.
When little boys kneel by their beds
And fold their hands and bow their heads
And shut their eyes and start to pray
I don't think God is far away.
I think He listens with intent
To any message that is sent
By little boys who kneel at night;
I think God tries with all His might
To answer prayers that small boys make
In His Son's name, for His Son's sake. —Gates Hebbard.