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FOR THE LITTLE ONES.
MY CHRISTIAN NAME
IF you little ones are too small to be able to write your name prettily, ask some one to write it down for you on this line ; or if you are old enough, write it yourself:—
There is my name written down. The Surname comes at the end — that is the name of all our family: but the rest of the name only
belongs to me. I cannot give away that Christian name, nor lend it to any one, nor lose it. It belongs to me. It will be mine till I die.
Had I that name always? No: once on a time there was a little baby lying in soft flannel and fair white cambric, and it was looking up out of its bright little eyes at the shining candle, and the mirror, and the red and yellow flowers, and at mother's face,— and I was that little child.
I had no Christian name when I was born. But after a little time those who loved me most carried me to God's House, the church, and gave me into the arms of the clergyman, who came down to the font, near the door. The font was filled with pure water. He asked God's blessing, and then he took me in his arms, and poured water on me, and said " . .. . I baptize thee, in the Name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost."
The dear Lord Jesus was there, though no one could see Him. It was He who sent the clergyman to baptize the little children. And He took me then into His care, and He made me a dear child of God his Father.
And now whenever I read my Christian name, I will remember that I am God's child, and that I belong to Jesus Christ His Son. I am very glad and thankful to God for taking me into His family. When I could not walk a step, or say a prayer, or think about it at all, my Godfathers and Godmothers wished very much to give me to my Saviour, and that is why they prayed for me, and brought me to the clergyman to be baptized. And I will never forget that God gave me His Holy Spirit then, to help me to be good and loving and true. I thank thee. my Saviour, that I can lie down tonight as a child of God, safe in my Saviour's arms.
WHAT JESUS CHRIST DID FOR ME
WHAT a beautiful name JESUS is! There, is a sound of kindness and gentleness in it. And the name of CHRIST sounds strong and true. I am sure that any child who has Jesus Christ for a friend is well off.
And I have Jesus Christ for a friend. I know I have, for it was really He who took me up in His arms that day so long ago when I was baptized, and He carried me to his Father like a new-born lamb, whom the shepherd brings to the owner of the flock.
The Lord Jesus has done a great deal for me. I wonder why He loved me and all the other little children so well. Long before I was born, He came into the world Himself as a little babe. When He was a man He loved children very dearly, and He taught them how to please God; and he died on the Cross for them.
But when I was a babe Jesus Christ made me one of His own dear ones. I belong to God. I am in his family, for Jesus Christ has joined me to Himself. I am like a little brother or sister, and He is an elder brother. And God the Father looks at me with a kind and tender look. He knows my Christian name. And I think I can hear Him say,
"Once you were not in My house, but I took you in. And I will teach you many things which it is good for you to know, and things which every one of My children must do ; and other things which you must not do; and when I see you trying to please Me, I shall come and give you ever so much help. I will not leave you all alone to do right by yourself, for I know you could not do it."
And the kind Father says still more. He says,
"I am going to give you a place some day in a very happy home when you die. It is a sunny land called Heaven: and it is there My faithful servants, the Angels, live, who sing around My throne, and go with glad faces and quick wings to do messages for Me. Some day when I have taught you, and helped you, and put out the bad things that are in your heart, I will bring you to that bright home. And there will be no tears there. No one will ever frighten you. You will never be hurt. You will never be punished, for you will never be naughty. You have a happy home now; but Heaven is much happier."
My Heavenly Father, I thank Thee for these kind words, and now as I lay my head upon my pillow, I will think of the glad place where angels sing, and where I and all Thy dear children hope to come, when our Saviour sends for us at last.
A BABE'S PROMISE
HOW can a baby, before it is able to speak, make a promise? I will tell you.
You had kind friends from the day you were born ; and they knew well that your Heavenly Father wished you to be not only His child, but His good child. They knew that God says He will bless and forgive every one who comes to be baptized, if they promise to put away everything that is wrong, and to trust in Him, and to try to do what is right.
And so these kind friends — your Godfathers and Godmothers — took it upon them to speak for you when you could not do it for yourself. And they were sure you would thank them for doing it when you grew older.
So they promised to God — it was a very solemn thing to do — that you would try by His help to give up everything that He did not like you to do. They said you would try not to listen to the wicked voice of Satan. That wicked spirit tries to put bad thoughts into the minds of little children. They said they would teach you all about Jesus Christ your Saviour, who died for you, and about the Day of Judgment, and the Church, and the Forgiveness of Sins. They thought you would be sure to like to know about all these things, which are written in God's book.
Well, when the clergyman asked them another question, "Will you promise for this little child that he will try to do what God tells us in His Commandments?" your friends who made those other promises, gladly said "Yes." And that is how a babe made promises.
All the promises were promises to do what would make you happy, and light-hearted and good. And when they made these promises, God promised to give you a place in His happy kingdom, and Eternal Life.
And so now you know what a little child like you has promised.
There was once a prince, and he was only a child. He had a guardian, a good man who took care of him, and managed the money and the land that would belong to him when he came to be twenty-one years old. His guardian was wise and good, and he often made promises for the young prince, that he would do such and things things when he was a man: and when the prince grew up he felt bound to do those things, just as if he had made the promises himself.
Now let me think of all this to-night. My Godfathers and Godmothers promised nothing
for me but what I know I ought to do. And O, my Heavenly Father, I do try, and I will try to please Thee. It is sometimes hard, for I have a sinful heart; but I want to do right, and I want to learn all that is told me in the Bible, and by my teachers.
O God, help me every day, for Christ's sake!
HELP FOR A CHILD.
WHEN Mary Bond was only ten years old, she saw a poor, hungry, shivering child in the street. Her mother said, " You ought to make a frock for that poor little girl."
"I will, mamma," said Mary, running off for her work-box.
When she came back, and had got some stuff to make the dress, she sat down very eagerly, her little heart beating fast with pleasure. But after a bit she came over to her mother with a sad face, and said, " I have been trying, mamma, and I cannot do it."
" Why did you not ask me to help you ?" said her mother.
"Oh, would you help me ? I thought I was to do it all by myself: but I was determined to make the frock."
"I will help you, and I will do the hard parts for you," said her mother.
"Oh, how nice!" cried Mary; "if you help me, mamma, I am sure it will soon be done, for I am determined" (that was a favourite word withlittle Mary) "to work hard and do my very best."
If this little girl had not had her mother to help her, she could never have made the frock. But if her mother had offered to help her, that would have been of no use unless Mary put her mind and heart to it, and said "I will do it." So you see that two things were wanting — Mary must try and mother must help.
Yesterday I was reading in my Evening Chimes, about the promises I made to God when I was a babe. I promised to fight against that wicked enemy, the devil, who sometimes puts angry or naughty thoughts into my heart. But how can a little one like me fight against that dreadful being? I could not do it unless the Blessed Lord helped me. But He says He will, and when I pray to Him, I feel that He does help me.
And so now I am determined, like little Mary Bond, to do my best to conquer my laziness, and learn my lessons well, and dress quickly and tidily: and I will not think about how I look in my best dress, and I will every day speak the truth, and be kind to my brothers and sisters.
I am afraid I shall sometimes forget what I have promised: but God can help me to remember.
When I am vexed, or when I am. lazy, I will stop a minute and say, "Lord Jesus, help me."
And Jesus will always come and help His little child, who wants so much to do right.
HAPPY AND GOOD.
THE little girl for whom Mary Bond had made the frock, was very much pleased to get it. When Mrs. Bond called her into the dining-room out of the street to give her the dress, she talked to her a good deal, and she found that little Jane was an orphan, and had no father or mother, but lived with bad people in a back lane. They taught her not only to sell matches, but to use bad words, and to steal. The poor child sometimes used very wicked words, and once she put her band in a gentleman's pocket and took out a handkerchief. She would have been put in prison, only that the gentleman begged she might be let off.
Mrs. Bond was so grieved to hear all this, that she got some kind friends to take Jane into a home for outcast children, where she got such good food, and nice clothes, that she became very healthy and happy.
But more than this, Jane began to learn what a little Christian ought to know, and what she ought to do ; and by degrees she grew to be a loving Christian girl, and never told a falsehood, or used a bad word.
One day she said to Mrs. Bond, "If you had not brought me out of the cruel streets into this dear home, I never should have even tried to be good. I am so happy here, and I feel so safe, that it makes me try to do what pleases God. f am so grateful to you, ma'am, for bringing me here. I hope I shall never do anything to make you sorry for doing so much for me."
When Mary, who was now twelve years old, was driving home with her mother that afternoon, her mother said, "Did you hear what Jane was saying to me? It reminded me of some words in the Catechism."
" I know what they are," said Mary, who was very quick, "I heartily thank our Heavenly Father, that He hath called me to this state of salvation, through Jesus Christ our Saviour."
"If Jane had stayed out in the streets with bad companions, she never could have learned to be a sweet, loving, pure girl. But she was brought into a safe place — into a state of salvation — and in it she is happy and it helps her to do right."
"What a dreadful thing it would be," said Mary, with a little shudder, "if Jane was ever to run away, or if she grew tired of being so regular in her ways. I hope she will always stay in the home."
"My own dear Mary will pray, I think, more than ever for Jane. And I hope she will pray for herself too, that God will give her His grace that she may continue in the family of Christ, unto her life's end."
"Mother dear," said Mary, throwing her arms around her mother's neck, " I never felt it so much before as now. Jesus Christ has done for me, like what you did for Jane Newton. And as long as I live I hope He will never let me wander from His side."
THE LITTLE PICTURE.
Did you ever see a man taking a photograph of some church or view in the country? He put his curious be--,,
standing up in front of the scene, and
he opened a little window, and in a
few moments he shut it again; and next day he had a beautiful little picture of the church, or mountain, lake, or tree.
The view was very large, but the picture was not bigger perhaps than a page of this little book. In the little picture you could see the same things (only smaller) which you would see if you went to the window of your room and looked out.
One was large, the other was small, but in both the same things appeared.
I often think the "Belief" or "Creed," which we say in Church, is like that little picture, while the Bible is like the wide view. We have in the Creed all the great things — the most important things — which we have in the Bible.
Once on a time, before men learned to print books, Bibles were very scarce and very dear,
and most people could never have one at all. And even now when you have your Bible, you know it takes a long time for a child to read it all through; but you can say your Belief, in the words of the Creed, in two or three minutes.
It is very nice to be able to say over about the Father who made us and all the world, all the bright seas and fields below, all the blue skies above, and the sun and stars over all.
It is pleasant to be able to repeat those words about Jesus Christ, God's Son, who came down to be the Saviour of all mankind ; who was a babe once, and then a man; who died to save us, and rose again the third day, and went to heaven to pray to His Father for us.
These things we read about in the Bible, as well as about the Holy Ghost, the forgiveness of sins, the Resurrection of the Body, and the life longeverlasting- but it would take a long time to teach them all to a poor, ignorant child, or a heathen, unless one could say the Creed, and learn and teach about them in a few words.
The Creed was made by holy men who lived about the time when the Apostles, St. Peter, St. Paul, and St. John were teaching.
I am glad I have that little picture of God's great Book, and I will whisper "I believe" as I lie down upon my pillow, and I will thank God that I know about my Father, and His Son, and the Holy Ghost. There are millions of poor heathens who have not heard these things, but I have been taught them.. and "I believe.' How glad I am that I have been taught the Creed.
HERE was a large, and beautiful pleture hanging on the wall of a gallery. A crowd of people stood round it, and
everybody was saying how clever it
A little boy was standing just
- outside the crowd, and some one said
to him, " Have you seen that splendid
painting? Come and have a look."
"I was listening to hear what the people said," replied the boy, with flushing cheeks, "My father painted it."
Did you ever, when you looked at the sky on a starry night, think that those bright stars are all worlds bigger than our own, which are hundreds of millions of miles away? They seem to stand still, but they move very fast. Some of them are blazing suns, some worlds like ours. They are always moving along a hundred times faster than any railway train ; but they never strike against each other. Some one keeps them moving, and some one keeps them safe. Who is He? It is Our Father. "I believe
in God the Father, Almighty, Maker of Heaven and Earth."
If you took a pinch of soft sand or mud from the bottom of a pond, and looked at it through a very strong magnifying glass, you would see a hundred lovely shells, of all shapes, and bright colours like a rainbow. Who made them ? Our Father. He made the tiniest flower and dear little shell, which a breath would blow away. He made the stars also — He made me!
It was the same Father who took me to be His child at my baptism. He made all things. He keeps them all safe. He loves us all.
I know that He is strong and able to keep me safe too. Sometimes I am afraid. I don't like to go upstairs alone in the dark. I am afraid of something, I don't know what. But I need not fear, He has given His angels charge over me. I must trust Him.
Once a child was in a boat with some sailors, and a storm rose, and the waves beat into the boat. The sailors began to be afraid. Then they looked at the child, who was sitting quite quiet, and one of them said, "Are you not afraid, my boy?"
Why should I be afraid?" said he, cheerfully. "My father's at the helm."
Oh, it is joyful to know my Father both wishes to see me safe and happy. and is able to keep me. I will always trust Him, and never forget Him. He will not forget me; even in the dark might He will guard me.
THE BABE WHO WAS THE SON OF GOD.
LITTLE children who are born into the world all have sinful hearts. They must be brought to the Lord Jesus to have their sins washed away. But one little Babe — only one — was born long ago without sin. His tender heart was as pure as the lily, and He never thought anything that was not good. He never said a word that was cross, or untrue, or unkind.
He never disobeyed His mother, or was wilful or idle.
How was this? Because that Babe was the Son of GOD, Jesus Christ, who came to save sinners. He had lived for ever and ever before that with His Father in Heaven; but He wished to live among people in this world. He wanted to feel what they felt, and to suffer the pains they suffered. And so He came into the world, as a pure Virgin's Son. And there was something so wonderful in His birth, that the angels came down to the place where He was born, and began to sing hymns of praise, as they floated above the quiet fields, where shepherds kept their flocks by night.
And wise rich men came from a far land, guided by a star, to worship Him and give Him rich gifts. The Babe at Bethlehem was the SON OF GOD.
Dear child, though you cannot know how it is, you must think about your Saviour as different from any one else in the world. He is Man like other men, but He is God as well. Jesus Christ told His disciples that He and His Father are One. He told them He would give them Eternal Life, and no one could do this but God. A holy man fell down once before Him saying, My Lord and my God," and Jesus said He was right to say this.
If the Apostles St. Peter and St. Paul had only known that Jesus was a very kind man, a Friend who loved them, and who wished to teach them how to do right, they must have loved Him very dearly. He had so sweet a look, and He spoke with such a tender voice.
But they knew that He was more, than a man, that He was God as well, and their hearts were full of thankfulness that they had a Friend who could not only love them, but could save them.
Why should the Great God of Heaven come into the world as a man? Why should He be an infant, a boy, a grown-up man? He wanted to feel everything you and I feel, and. to know what it is to be tempted like us. He came also to show us how God's children ought to live.
He set me an example. Do I copy it? O Lord, help me to love Christ, and to be like Christ.
THE HOLY CHILD.
ONCE long ago the red sun was setting,
over a sandy desert. A grey-haired man, and a young woman with a Little Child were travelling over the desert. The woman was sitting on an ass, which the old man was leading. They were coming home from a far country, whither they had fled because they feared that the Little Child would be killed by a bad king. God's angel afterwards told them they inight, come home. The king was dead. The Child was safe.
And so they rode across the sands, and passed some rivers and rocky mountains, and at last came down upon a green, grassy plain, with a few hills here and there, and on one hill was a little town, with a big flat-roofed house, called by the Jews a Synagogue, which means a place where people come together to pray.
Here the Child, whose, Name you know, spent many happy years. He had a great deal to do and to sutler before he went back to His Father in Heaven; but He was not in any haste to grow up and to begin His work. He waited till His Father should tell Him what He wished Him to do. He waited nearly thirty years. Was not that a long time ? Did Jesus lose that time? No. He was serving and pleasing God as much when He was learning to read at His mother's knee, as when He was preaching on the hill, or at the shore, or healing the sick, or hanging on the cross.
How pleased boys should be to think that Jesus was once a happy boy! and enjoyed His play, without being selfish or quarrelling. There are some stories told about Jesus when He was a boy. They are not in the Bible, so we do not know that they are true. But there is one pretty story y told about Him at twelve years old. You can read it in the end of the second chapter of St. Luke. And see how at the end of it St. Luke says, "Jesus went down to Nazareth, and was subject " to Joseph and Mary — that is, He obeyed them reverently, though He was so great and holy. And again we read "Jesus grew in wisdom and in stature (or height), and in favour with God and men." Every one who saw Him loved this happy boy, who loved every one.
If you love others, you are sure to be loved too. If you pray to God to make you useful, He will answer you by first making you good. That takes a long time ; but if you are patient God will give you something to do for him when He sees you fit.
THE MAN OF SORROWS.
WERE you ever in the Dore Gallery in London? There is a very large picture there called "Christ leaving the. Praetorium," or the Court of the Roman ruler, Pilate. There is a
long flight of steps, and at the top
you see some fine houses, towers, pillars, and arches, shining in yellow light. At each side of the steps you can see a crowd of people. There are some great strong Roman soldiers, with javelins or swords in their hands, and helmets on their heads. There are some of the Jewish scribes and priests, with bright red, white or purple dresses, and some of them are howling and groaning. There are some poor women there ; one is fainting with grief, and others are wringing their hands.
All these men and women, friends and enemies, are looking at one man, who is slowly coming down the steps. His hair, hanging in long locks. is clotted with blood. His face is very grave and sorrowful. There is a thorny crown on His brow. He is not saying anything, but He looks as if something terribly sad had just happened. He has been listening, to some cruel words : He has been bearing some cruel blows.
Before Him a dark slave is dragging a great wooden cross clown the steps, which falls with a loud stroke on one step after another.
The Man with the grave sad face is The Man of Sorrows." They are just leading Him forth to be crucified. Soon He will have to lift up that great cross on His own back, which has been torn with whips. The loving face was only half-an-hour ago spitted upon by rough soldiers. Some of them had hit Min on the cheek with their hands.
Ina short time He will be at Calvary, and there the dreadful cross will be laid on the ground, and Jesus Christ will be placed lying down on it, His arms stretched out, and a soldier will take a hammer and a great nail and strike it through each tender hand.
Ah! you do not like to think of it. It is so dreadful; for He was the sweetest, kindest Friend that poor sinners ever had. Why do they treat Him thus? And listen, He is saying, "Father, forgive them!"
It is dreadful to think that sinful men should so hate the Holy Son of God and crucify Him. But we must thank Him that He gave Himself into the bands of sinners to die. Forthe Bible tells us He died for us. If Jesus had not come to live and die for us, we could not have been brought back to our Father. We could not enter Heaven. When you think how pure and good He was, and bow dreadfully sinful men treated Him, I am sure you will say, "O Lord, help me to hate my sins, and forgive me all I have done wrong, and oh, let me never, never displease or hurt the Blessed Jesus, who bore so much to save us from our sins."
THE FIRST SUNDAY MORNING.
By do we keep the first day of the week holy to the Lord? Because on the first day of the week, long long ago, a most wonderful thing happened. The Man of Sorrows, about
whom you read last night, had been laid down in a tomb cut out of a rock. He had been bound round with linen clothes filled with sweet spices, and a great stone had been rolled to shut up the mouth of the tomb. Four Roman soldiers were sent to guard the place, and to take care that no one touched the body.
But what do you think? Some of His friends came very early on Easter Sunday morning through the dark streets of the city, before any one was stirring, and they walked out into the garden, and crept up to the tomb, hoping someone would help them to roll the stone away, that they might lay sweet balm and flowers on His poor dead body.
But what is this? The stone is gone.The soldiers are lying on the ground like dead men. Two angels are sitting, one at the head and one at the feet, where Jesus had lain. But where is Jesus? Gone! Gone! And the women began to say, "Some one has come before us, and rolled away the stone, and carried off the dead body."
"But no," the angels said, "He is not here, because He is risen from the dead! Come, see the place where He lay, and go and tell His disciples that He is risen!"
Risen from the grave ! Alive again! How can they believe it ? Those holy women had seen Him die on the cross, on Friday. And now how is it possible that He is alive on Sunday? But it is true. For see! He comes to them. Ile is there, living and strong, with a glorious light on His face.
It is indeed a great wonder. But soon the news spread far that Jesus is alive again.
That was a joyful Easter! And so, dear child, your Saviour is not dead, but is living now. This very moment He looks at you. He sees your body ; He sees your soul. When you lay your head on your pillow, He will be there. When you are fast asleep, He will be keeping you. When you awake, He will be there listening for your first words to Him in the morning.
Sometimes little children get sick and die. Their mothers can see them no more, but Jesus is with them in Paradise, and He guards them there till the Resurrection.
When He comes back to the world, He will call their dead bodies from the grave; and the soul and body will be joined again; and they shall stand before God.
In that day, oh how glad you will be if you tried with all your heart to please your Blessed Saviour; then, though the judgment day will be a terrible day to many, you will not be afraid. For your Judge will be your Saviour.
HE SHALL COME AGAIN.
THERE was a father once who wished to find a happy home for his children. He lived in England, where it was sometimes hard for him to give them all he wished, and sometimes they were sick. So their father said he would make for them a better home in
a far country beyond the sea.
When he was going to leave them they cried a good deal, and said they would be very lonely, but he said, " Cheer up! I am not going to stay away always. I am going to get ready a place for you, where you will never want, nor be sick. It is a happy place. I will send you a letter when I get there; and when everything is ready I shall come again for you, and carry you over the sea, and bring you to be always with me."
And so he went away. They saw the white sail shining on the sea, till it faded away out of sight, and at first they were very unhappy. But after a few weeks they got most comforting news from him. He said he was always thinking of them, always working for them.
He often sent them help, and he told them he would come back soon. And they believed him; and so they waited patiently, for they knew their father would do what he said.
Do you not see that this is like what the Blessed Jesus did, and what He said? In one place in the Holy Gospel we read that He said, "Let not your heart be troubled. . . . In my Father's house are many mansions (or dwelling places); I go to prepare a place for you, and I will come again and receive you to Myself, that where I am, there ye may be also."
It was on Ascension Day that Christ went up to that heavenly place.
Little one, though the world we live in is great and fair, there are many troubles in it, and much sickness, and a great deal of wickedness, and after all we must die and leave those we love; but
" In heaven we part no more."
Jesus Christ wants to see us all round Him happy, holy, at His side. He would like to wipe away all tears from our eyes; and so He is getting ready the very place which He will suit us, and please us, for He knows our feelings well.
But He also wants you to be getting ready for the place. He is doing a little every day to make the home fit for His child. Is the child doing something every day to get more fit for the home?
Kindness and love, truth and obedience. Follow these, and Jesus will smile on you ; and some day He will come and give you a share in His most glorious home, which for hundreds of years He has been making beautiful for you.