Sermon 1545. God Glorified By Children's Mouths
DELIVERED ON LORD'S-DAY MORNING, JUNE 27, 1880,
BY C. H. SPURGEON,
AT THE METROPOLITAN TABERNACLE, NEWINGTON.
"Out of the mouth of babes and sucklings ha ve You ordained strength because of Your enemies, that You might still the enemyand the Avenger." Psalm 8.2.
IN CONNECTION WITH THE CENTENARY OF SUNDAY SCHOOLS
THIS Psalm sings of the grandeur of God as seen in creation. Who has not been impressed with the sight of the starry sky andthe moon walking in her brightness? Truly, God is great! Who can stand at night and gaze upward to yonder distant worlds withoutsaying, "O Lord, our Lord, how excellent is Your name in all the earth! You have set Your Glory above the heavens." The Psalmwith equal vigor treats of the condescension of God which is all the better seen when we have a view of His greatness andGlory. It is not for us to stoop-we are so low already. We sometimes use the word, condescension, in reference to man, butworms were never raised so high above their meaner fellow worms as to be capable of real condescension-that belongs to Godalone. "When I consider Your heavens, the work of Your fingers, the moon and the stars, which You have ordained, what is man,that You are mindful of him? And the son of man, that You
Because of this Divine condescension great honor is put upon man by God and the Psalm sings of it, telling of the exaltationof man who, in his original, was made a little lower than the angels, but by God's gentleness has been made great and crownedwith glory and honor. Hence the inspired poet sings of the Glory of God in man, for he never thinks of extolling man. He onlymeans to say that God is glorious on account of the great things which He has done in and for such a poor creature as manis. So when he has said that man is made to be the viceroy of God over this earth and is set over the works of God's hands,he concludes, not by praising man, but by reverently singing, "O Lord our Lord, how excellent is Your name in all the earth!"
Mark right well the greatness of God, stooping to the littleness of man and glorifying itself thereby-the stupendous grandeurof the Highest bowing down to the lowest and uplifting it into a place hard by itself and so getting to itself abundant renown.This morning our subject is the power of God displayed in human weakness-strength out of babes' mouths-the way He glorifiesHimself by using the very least and causing them to show forth His praise to the confusion of His adversaries. There is aGlory of God to be seen in creation, but in redemption there are peculiarly bright manifestations.
In creation there was no opposition. When God framed this world there was no opposing force to fight against Him-"He spokeand it was done." Absolute nothingness was no hindrance to the creation. "In the beginning" neither chaos or darkness wereresisting forces in the framing of the world. "Let there be light," said God, and there was light. He speaks life and thingslive! No trace of rebellion is seen. It is in the sphere of moral and spiritual things that "the enemy" is met with and hereis a labor worthy of God-to overthrow this enemy and still the evil voice which curses the sons of men. It is in conqueringthe opposition of the powers of evil that God gets to Himself a Glory more remarkable than that which He obtains by the greatestfeats of creative power.
So our first thought is that THERE IS A CONFLICT. Our text speaks of "enemies" and of "the enemy and the Avenger." We knowwho the enemies are. Are they not the seed of the serpent? Are they not the men of this world, the children of darkness? Theenemies of God are all men who have not been renewed in the spirit of their minds-all who have not been turned "from darknessto light and from the power of Satan unto God." God has-alas that we should have to say it!-many enemies and, above all, thereis the enemy, that leading spirit, the "prince of the power of the air,"
who has dominion over the children of disobedience and over those apostate angels whom he seduced into mutiny so that theyrevolted, with him, from beneath the standard of God.
Satan is the enemy who contends against the cause of the Truth of God and love, which is the cause of God. He is spoken ofas "the Avenger" because he seeks to revenge himself on God. Through his own sin and folly he was expelled from Heaven. The"Son of the Morning" became the Prince of Darkness by his own willful deed and he wanders up and down the universe of Godseeking to take revenge upon the just and holy Judge for the sentence which He has passed upon him. There always rages a tremendousbattle between good and evil, between God and this avenger and the evil powers associated with him. This battle rages fromday to day and will never cease till the Lord has put all enemies under the feet of His glorious Son who is manifested todestroy the works of the devil.
Victory shall crown the strife between good and evil and the cry shall be heard, "Hallelujah, for the Lord God Omnipotentreigns!" This strife began-I hesitate to conclude the sentence for the origin of evil is not revealed, but the first historiccircumstance we know of was the revolt of the angels who kept not their first estate. How they fell we think we know, butto a large extent our notions are, as a rule, drawn rather from poetical imagination than from positive history. But we doknow that the devil was a murderer from the beginning and abode not in the truth (1 John 8:44) and that, "God spared not the angels that sinned, but cast them down to Hell" (2 Peter 2:4). Satan carried the warfare into this world at the Fall. Finding a happy pair in Eden, he assumed a serpent's form and seducedthem with a lie, leading them to partake of the fruit of which their God had said, "In the day that you taste thereof youshall surely die."
From that moment the conflict has never ceased throughout the whole human family and you find everywhere the seed of the serpentin conflict with the "Seed of the woman." God leads the armies of the right and the true against the spiritual wickednesswhich maintains the throne of wrong and falsehood. The serpent's seed has continued to fight against the Lord Jesus and againstHis chosen ones, using all sorts of weapons against them-by lying and slandering, by false doctrine, by soft temptations,by cruel persecutions, by death, itself, the enemies have sought to destroy the children of the living God! It is a battleroyal here below, even as it was above, for we read, "There was war in Heaven: Michael and his angels fought against the dragon;and the dragon fought and his angels and he prevailed not; neither was their place found any more in Heaven."
The day shall come when there shall be no place found for evil upon earth. But until then the god of this world seeks to destroythe Lord Jesus Christ and all that are in Him and we must wrestle with him until we prevail. On God's part, this conflictis mainly carried on by moral and spiritual means. He does use other means at times and He will, in the end, use all the resourcesof Nature for the overthrow of His adversaries. Remember the song of the Red Sea where God used the great deep to destroyHis foes? Even now I hear the jubilant voices of the maidens as they answer one another saying, "Sing unto the Lord, for Hehas triumphed gloriously; the horse and his rider has He thrown into the sea." For the most part, however, this battle isnot with weapons of Nature, but with weapons of Grace.
And as far as we have to do with it, it is never with the confused noise of warriors and garments rolled in blood, for "theweapons of our warfare are not carnal," though they are "mighty through God to the pulling down of strongholds." The warfareof which we speak is the battle of good against evil, of right against wrong, of holiness against sin- in a word, of loveagainst hate. And God uses the weapons of His Truth, of His Gospel, of the love of man and especially of the sweet life andDivine power of the Holy Spirit to bring men to the feet of Jesus Christ, "whom He has appointed heir of all things," thatHe might reign over them and "reconcile them unto God, even the Father."
This strife goes on every day around us and within us and you and I are taking one side or the other in it. We are eitherenemies of God by nature, or we are "reconciled to God by the death of His Son." We are under the banner of "the Avenger,"or else we follow the standard of the Redeemer-one of these two. I invite you, at the outset of our discourse, to earnestlyask yourselves on whose side you are. "Are you for us, or for our adversaries?" Are you for God and for His Christ, or areyou still at enmity with your Maker, alienated from God by wicked works? With this fact we have opened our discourse-thereis a conflict.
II. Secondly, in this conflict THE WEAPONS ARE VERY SINGULAR. What are those weapons? The text replies, "Out of the mouthof babes and sucklings have You ordained strength." Bring here yon sweet babe and let us look into its lovely face! See thatlittle mouth-it challenges a kiss! And note with joy that God may use that little mouth as His conquering weapon against thedevil! By men's mouths God's warfare is carried on and all mouths that have ever spoken
for Him were once the mouths of "babes and sucklings." I have seen many ancient cannons upon which were molded in bronze thewords-"The last argument of kings." Yes, but the gracious arguments of the King of kings are sent home by a human mouth-thesemouths are fashioned and framed on purpose to hurl against the enemy the hot shot of the Gospel!
Of our Lord Jesus, Himself, we read, "He went forth conquering and to conquer," and it is written concerning Him, "Out ofHis mouth goes a sharp sword, that with it He should smite the nations." O mouth of a little child, it seems strange thatout of you should come the great strength of God which shall silence His enemies and yet so it shall be! "The Lord gave theWord: great was the company of those that published it. Kings of armies did flee and she that tarried at home divided thespoil." It was the publication of the God-given Word by human tongues which won the victory! The tongue is the glory of man'sframe and by it the Glory of God is exceedingly manifested and His foes are baffled.
It must greatly anger Satan to think that his craft is not met by craft, nor his clever devices by the wisdom of the world,but that God uses the foolishness of preaching to overthrow him! When our Lord sent out His Apostles, He did not commissionthem to assemble squadrons of soldiers, but He bade a tongue of fire sit on each one of them! He did not charge them to establishHis religion by the authority of earthly princes and seek the endowments of the State for it, but He gave them the endowmentof the Holy Spirit and the power to speak His Gospel! In them was fulfilled the promise made to Ezekiel, "I will give youthe opening of the mouth in the midst of them and they shall know that I am the
"What gifts, what miracles He gave!
And power to kill and power to save!
Furnished their tongues with wondrous words,
Instead of shields and spears and swords.
Thus armed, He sent the champions forth,
From east to west, from south to north-
'Go and assert your Sa vior's cause;
Go, spread the mystery of His Cross."' Already the testimony of feeble men has been used as the great power of God to subduethe nations to Himself. Satan's kingdom has been shaken and the empire of Jesus extended by the gracious words which haveproceeded out of human mouths-mouths which once were those of sucklings. See there, fiend of Hell, the armory of God? Do yousee, in yonder infant class, the weapons which the Lord is preparing against you? The child that sucks at its mother's breastis born to smite you with the Word of God and, before long, when the Spirit of God shall rest upon him, he shall batter downyour high places with his proclamation of the Gospel! O smiter of the human race, the youngest, weakest, feeblest of the sonsof Adam shall yet tread you under foot! God shall make use of children's mouths to vanquish and silence the enemy and theAvenger.
How are these amazing weapons used? These strangely soft, yet sharp, feeble, yet mighty weapons-how are they used? They smitethe enemy by prayer. Children pray while they are children and, blessed be God, their little pleas are heard in Heaven. Ilike to remember the words of Luther when things were going very badly. He went into a room and found a number of childrenin prayer and he exclaimed, "It is well, for the children are praying for us: God will be sure to hear them." And so He will,Brothers and Sisters. He will not let the cries of Samuels and Timothies remain unheard. Thus, from the heavenward side, theprayers uttered by children's mouths will bring prosperity to the great cause.
As these children grow older it is by their mouths that they shall bombard and batter the power of the enemy from the rampartsof prayer and so shall bring an overthrow upon evil and error and God's Word shall be triumphant. O blessed power of prayer,nothing can stand against you! The man, the child, the babe who knows but how to pray shall certainly prevail with God and"still the enemy and the Avenger."-
"Prayer is the simplest form of speech That infant lips can try,"
and yet it is one of the most effectual forms of assault against the powers of darkness. These little mouths, too, shall beused for praise and that is another powerful blow against the Avenger. For whenever we praise God we cast down the pride ofthe great enemy. Praise glorifies God and that is what Satan cannot bear. In proportion as God is glorified, he feels himselfdegraded and, therefore, it is a blessed thing to magnify the Lord. Little children, when they are rightly
taught, praise the Messiah early and, as they grow up with deeper voices and fuller volume of sound, but perhaps not, eventhen, with truer hearts, they praise and bless the God of their fathers. The mouths of babes and sucklings are used by Godto lower the pride of His adversaries, while they cry, "Hosanna!" and sing the praise of Jesus' name.
Nor is this all, for out of man's mouth God sends forth testimony by His Holy Spirit and this is the sharpest blow of all.The enemy dreads nothing so much as witness-bearing to the Gospel, for he knows that it pleases God, "by the foolishness ofpreaching to save them that believe." Under the head of testimony I would include all sorts of speech concerning our LordJesus and the Gospel of our salvation, whether it proceeds from the mouths of men, women, or children. The testimony of Jesusis strength, however feeble may be the voice which utters it. Whoever publishes the salvation of Jesus Christ is, with hismouth, smiting the enemy! When they that fear the Lord speak often, one to another, about the Glory of God-when they tellagain and again, "the old, old story, of Jesus and His love"-then is God, out of human mouths, stilling the enemy and theAvenger!
How sweet to think, dear Brothers and Sisters, that we never know what one child's mouth can do! One would like to have seenlittle George Whitefield when first he began to prattle. Who would have thought that the mouth of such a youngster would ultimatelyset two nations on fire by its zealous declaration of the Truth of God? I should like to have seen John Wesley, when he wasa little child, on the knee of that remarkable woman, "the mother of the Wesleys!" Who would have thought that he would awakenthe masses as he did? Out of the mouths of little George Whitefield and little John Wesley-out of those two babes' mouths-howgrandly did the Lord smite the adversary!
Aha! Aha! O Satan! To be overcome by behemoth or leviathan might make you angry! But to be smitten out of infants' mouthscauses you to bite the dust in utter dishonor! You are sorely broken, now that, "out of the mouth of babes and sucklings"you are put to shame! Mouths that pray and praise and publish salvation are the Lord's pieces of ordnance with which He defeatsHis adversaries in the great battle of salvation. His Son is the Word, but these mouths supply the voices by which the Wordis sounded forth in the ears of men! Jesus is not made known except through His people-they are His heralds, who cry, "Beholdthe Lamb." This agency is "mighty through God" and so it was ordained to be, for it is according to the Divine ordinance thatout of the mouth of babes and sucklings strength should come.
The Word of God, though it is spoken by the feeblest mouth, is essential strength, a thing of majesty and might. The Hebrewhas it, "Have You found strength," as if the very foundation of the strength of the Church lay, under God, in the mouths thatGod moves to speak. The preaching of the Gospel is at the bottom of the battle axe and weapons of everything-holy teachingsare war of the Gospel campaign. The Septuagint, as quoted by our Lord, translates it-"Out of the mouths of babes and sucklingshave You perfected praise." From children's mouths there will come the highest form of adoration. Praise perfected, whichgoes up before the Lord, does not come from cherubim and seraphim, but from human lips which once were those of infancy! Lipsthat press the mother's breast are the instruments of music which yet shall be attuned to the sweetest of Heaven's own songs!Glory be to His name for this! Let us bless Him that He graciously chooses such poor creatures to be the noblest of His choristersabove.
III. Having dwelt long enough upon this point, let us notice, in the third place, that THE WARRIORS IN THIS WARFARE ARE VERYSPECIAL. The weapons are amazing and the warriors, themselves, are remarkable, for the text says that God perfects His praiseout of the mouths of babes and sucklings. We may read this spiritually with the guarantee of Scripture for, first, such asare like babes in spirit are God's chosen. Their character cannot be better described than by calling them, "newborn babeswho desire the unadulterated milk of the Word of God." Hear, dear Brothers and Sisters, your Master's own words as He speaksin the 11th chapter of the Gospel according to Matthew-"At that time Jesus answered and said, I thank You, O Father, Lordof Heaven and earth, because you have hid these things from the wise and prudent and have revealed them unto babes."
Childlike men and women, simple-hearted, honest, trustful, loving spirits are the chosen of God. Those who are so very wiseand know such a great deal that they feel bound to quibble, pick holes and raise idle questions-these are not God's elect.He does not choose the wise, but the foolish things-those who do not know, nor pretend to know, but take their instructionfrom the Divine Teacher. As to mere knowledge which puffs up so many, there are some things which Believers do not wish toknow. There are some difficulties which they do not desire removed-they are glad to have ample room and space enough for faith-andthough this causes wise people to despise them, they care little for that, since their names are written in Heaven-and itis out of their mouths, weaklings as they are, that God has ordained strength!
No, more than this, not only are such the Lord's chosen, but such are His witnesses. I want to call attention to that, becausein that 25th verse of the 11th chapter of Matthew our Lord was speaking to His Apostles. He had been sending them out to preachand the Evangelist records, "All that time Jesus answered and said." That is to say, at the very time when He sent out thesespecial servants of His who were, in the judgment of scribes and Pharisees, nothing better than poor babes, He thanked Godbecause they were of a kind which He delights to use! He thanked God that He had not committed the Gospel Revelation to thewise and to the noble, but unto these child-like ones who had guileless minds and capacity for believing and nothing more.
These poor men could do little else but speak when they were spoken to and say what they were told-and that is the best qualificationfor a minister that I know of-for him to speak only when God speaks to him and then utter what God has said to him and nothingmore. The Father chooses just such. See how Paul states this fact in the opening chapter of his first Epistle to the Corinthians-"Foryou see your calling, brethren, how that not many wise men after the flesh, not many mighty, not many noble, are called: butGod has chosen the foolish things of the world to put to shame the wise; and God has chosen the weak things of the world toput to shame the things which are mighty; and base things of the world and things which are despised, has God chosen, yesand things which are not, to bring to nothing things that are: that no flesh should glory in His Presence." See what strangechampions God has ordained for His battle-the very weakest among men, babes and sucklings in their own esteem. These who areweakness, itself, are to go forth and contend
for the Truth of God!
Such, my Brothers and Sisters, are those who proclaim the triumphs of Christ in the world. Our Lord would get little honorfrom our race if all children's voices were hushed and all child-like spirits with them. Scribes and Pharisees never cry,"Hosanna!" they are so busy binding on their phylacteries, washing their hands and devouring widows' houses. The first tocry, "Hosanna!" are the children and the next are those who are like they. Some say, "To shout and sing is children's work."So it is and it is ours because we are children, too! May God make us to grow in Grace till we are as little children andare, therefore, ready and eager to praise our great Father!
Those who are reputed to be wise men do not praise too much-they go upon the noncommittal principle and prefer criticism togratitude. They are always criticizing the weather-if it is good for the turnips it is bad for the wheat-and if dry for hay-making,it is too dry for something else. The worldly-wise man never says, "Blessed be God for this delightful season; nothing canbe better; we are highly favored." No, he thinks he shows his wisdom by finding fault! God Himself cannot escape from hissage remarks. But if a man is not wise enough to be forever grumbling and is so foolish as to be happy, so foolish as to believethe Truth of God, so foolish as to trust in the most trustworthy of all beings, namely, his God-he is also the sort of manthat praises God and from such hearts God gets His chief praises.
Our Lord Jesus Christ is coming again, not to ride upon an ass, or upon a colt, the foal of an ass, but to reign in Glory!And when He comes, the first to meet Him and salute Him will be those poor, babe-like ones who did not boast of culture, butbelieved in God; who knew little, but yet knew their Lord and longed for His appearing, sighing often, "Oh that He would comeand end the strife! Even so, come, Lord Jesus!" These are they who find Him first, as the shepherds found Him at Bethlehemwhen the wise men rambled round by Jerusalem. And these are they who joy and rejoice over Him while scribes and Phariseesquarrel about Him. The poor have the Gospel preached to them and the babes in spirit hear that Gospel and live!
Thus have I spoken to you concerning the warriors God has chosen. They are simple people, trustful people, unaffected people-madeso by Divine Grace-converted into little children. They are ready to believe their God. They are not wise, or noble, or anythinggreat in their own esteem and yet out of their mouths God has ordained strength and by their witness He silences the disputersof this world and all the wisdom of men.
IV. Now let us note, in the fourth place, that THE QUALIFICATION OF THESE WARRIORS LIES IN THEIR WEAK SIDE. If it lay on thestrong side, the text would have been written in another manner and we should have read, "Out of the mouth of men of middleage, in the prime of life-out of the mouth of wise old men who have gray hairs upon their head, indicative of their long experience-outof their mouths God has ordained strength." But He takes men at their weakest and speaks of "babes," or children who are quiteyoung. The word must not be confined to infants, for it includes young children who are able to run about the streets.
The sucklings, also, are older children than they would represent with us, for eastern mothers often nurse their childrentill they are three years of age, so that some sucklings speak distinctly. The idea is that if you take man at his least,out of his mouth God ordains strength. He regards not man as grown up and strong, but man in his greatest weakness and outof the mouth of weak man God ordains strength. What does this teach? I take it that whatever is weakest about man is thatin which the Grace of God glorifies itself most. Man is not only a soul and spirit, but he is, in part, material and, therefore,a poor creature composed in part of the lower elements. He is not a pure spirit, like an angel, but linked on to mother earthby a cumbrous and hampering body of clay.
He is a worm and yet an angel-half-way between dust and Deity-brother to the worm and to corruption and yet immortal! Satanis, no doubt, filled with scorn of man when he looks at him and measures him with himself. "Is this the creature that is tobe set over all the works of God's hands-made of earth and water, phosphates and metals? I am far nobler than he! Can I notflash like lightning, while he must creep about the world to find himself a grave?" Yes, but herein is the Glory of God'sconflict and victory. The Lord intends to overcome the Prince of Evil by a poor creature like man, who is but of yesterdayand is crushed before the moth! It is glorious, to my mind, that the Lord should deign to embody His power in weak creaturesas we are and in that way make Satan see that the right and the true in the feeblest being is unconquerable and that in thisform God carries the war into his own territory and defeats him.
Thus the Lord puts the adversary to a perpetual reproach. He pits a child against His giant foe and overcomes him. He hurlsdefiance to Satan out of a babe's mouth! Go your way, O enemy! You are dishonored by the victory which feebleness gains overyou. God is glorified in man's grievous infirmity. Man is, at his best, of all creatures one of the feeblest and there isnot so very much difference between full-grown men and babes. A few years ago we could not help ourselves at all, for we wereabjectly weak in our infancy. But are we much better now? How did you feel yesterday afternoon in the storm, when the thunderrolled overhead and the lightning flashed and flamed across the sky? Did you not feel that you were helpless as a babe?
Put out to sea in a storm and you will soon learn your babyhood, I guarantee you, and feel that when "rocked in the cradleof the deep" you are as powerless as a child in its mother's arms! We need not be ashamed of this, but glory in it becausethe power of God rests upon us! The great God seems to say to Satan, "It is by these poor feeble things that I will angeryou, O haughty prince of the air! By such beings as these I will overthrow your usurped dominion! Though they suffer, thoughthey are tempted, yet by My Grace they shall triumph over you." We have the power to suffer and herein lies a great part ofour qualification to do the Lord's service before His enemies. It is our Redeemer's qualification. He could not save us untilHe suffered! He could not redeem us until He died! Not His strength, but His weakness saved us, for He was crucified in weaknessand by that Crucifixion He redeemed our souls!
Think of the men and women who have glorified God on beds of sickness, bearing their pains with patience and blessing Godall the while. Think of the many on the rack and at the stake who have there extolled the Lord their God! Of all the musicGod ever heard, there is none that can equal in intense sweetness the cries of His dear, suffering, martyred people when everylimb has been tormented by the persecutor and yet every particle of their body and every power of their soul had willinglyyielded up itself to maintain His cause and glorify His name! True music lies not in the sound, but in the spirit of the songand, therefore, I say none can match, much less excel, the songs of the host of martyrs! Blessed be God that we can suffer!We should be denied a privilege if we had not been able to endure the will of God as well as to do it. Surely of all diadems,that crown which is set with rubies, the crown which adorns the martyr's brow, is the most resplendent!
Yes, it is man's weak side, his suffering and his dying side, by which God has shown the enemy that men can love their Godeven unto death, that virtue can triumph over all selfishness, that true hearts can make sacrifices, that mortal man can defytemptation and can, through God's Grace, follow after that which is good to the uttermost of loss and pain. Now, dear Brothersand Sisters, dwell on this thought and meditate on the fact that our power to serve God lies on our weak side. He uses notour greatness, but our littleness. You know what the learned men say is the weak part of some of us-they put it somethinglike this-"We regret the preacher's total inability to keep abreast of the times. He has no capacity for modern thought andhis lack of affection for the higher culture which is so much the characteristic of this marvelously enlightened century."That is our weakness! Yes, and our strength and, therefore, we glory in it!
"I determined not to know anything among you, save Jesus Christ and Him crucified." If all God's servants will come to this,they will secure far more success than by the pretentious style of so-called "culture," which is nothing but the science ofgrowing more weeds than usual. That which is new in theology is not true! The Gospel was of full stature at its very birth!No man can add to it or take from it. It cannot be improved and it only needs to be told out in the power of the Holy Spiritand it will perform wonders even as of old. Our infirmity we will glory in, for we have this treasure in earthen vessels andif the vessel had not been of earth, we might never have received the treasure. "But," cries one, "surely we need wisdom toguide us!" I answer, "Jesus Christ is made unto us Wisdom," and we have but to learn of Him.
We hear much, nowadays, of "great thinkers," but we prefer to be great believers! Deep thinking is a very shallow affair,after all, when the thoughts are our own. We only get into real depths when we receive the thoughts of God. So far as I cansee, these "thinkers" generally empty their places of worship when they preach and the poor souls that most need comfort getnone whatever. Rather than copy their example, we may well prefer to sing with Paul, "When I am weak then am I strong." Wewill believe what God says and take it as a matter of fact, just as a child does. And oh, what a sweet thing a child's faithis! Many a time when a dear little girl has come to join the Church and looked at me with her expressive, believing eyes whichseemed to see Jesus, I have admired and envied her pure, unquestioning confidence.
Knowing nothing about those horrible doubts which are now sown like thistles everywhere, such as these have the rest of faithwithout its struggles! I have desired to be a little child again and wished that I had never heard of the existence of a quibbler.Those fine books of the broad school which came from Germany years ago, but which we now produce at home-it is a pity to haveseen the binding of them. Even doctors of divinity favor us with denials of plenary inspiration and aid in that form of underminingwork-they may have all their books so long as we can keep our Bibles and God gives us firm faith in Himself.
Let us but know Jesus and lean our heads on His bosom and the learned men may speculate as they please. Oh, when the Churchgets back to her simple faith in Jesus she shall be qualified for victory! She shall vanquish the world when she has thrownaway her wooden sword of carnal reason and has taken up the true Jerusalem blade of faith in God! Then out of the mouths ofbabes and sucklings God will do what He never will do out of the mouths of Scribes and Pharisees and wise men. Out of themouths of weak people, who believe what God tells them-the mouths of weak people who have no capacity except the capacityof faith-out of these will God perfect praise and glorify Himself!
V. That leads me, in finishing, to plead for a loving reverence for childhood. If the Lord uses the weak side of man and ifHe is engaged to win His ultimate victory over the devil by feeble man at his feeblest, then God bless the children! It seemsto me that in the Lord's battle there is always a babe in the fore-front. The armies of olden times placed a huge championin their van, like Goliath of Gath. But it is not so in God's army-there a babe leads the way! Pharaoh oppresses Israel andcrushes the people down till their cry goes up because of their sore bondage. God is going to deliver them. How does the workbegin? Here is the opening of the campaign-"And the daughter of Pharaoh went down to the river to wash herself."
And there she spied a little ark made of bulrushes which she sent her maid to fetch and there was a Hebrew child within it."And behold! The babe wept." Thus was the champion of Israel introduced upon the scene! The goodly child whom his parents,in faith, had hidden was he by whom God would break Rahab in pieces! The still loftier story of the battle of the Lamb opensin like manner-"Unto us a Child is born, unto us a Son is given." "She brought forth her first-born son and wrapped Him inswaddling cloths and laid Him in a manger." That was the signal for the heat of the conflict-that Babe led the way! The HolyChild Jesus is at the head of all our marches! One may well honor infancy and childhood since this is the case!
Let our subject prevent our entertaining doubts about the possibility of children's conversions-that would be insanity andalmost blasphemy! Do you not know that unless you are converted and become as little children you shall not enter the kingdomof Heaven? Jesus said, "Suffer the little children to come unto Me and forbid them not, for of such is the kingdom of Heaven."The childlike spirit is no disqualification-in some respects it is a vantage ground. Christianity is the religion of children!Other religions, as a rule, aim at older folk and pretend to mystery. Other religions are not worth understanding, but yetthey affect depth and secrecy-you must be initiated and pass through years of study before you can hope to derive any advantagefrom them. But the religion of Jesus Christ was meant for the poor and for the
lowly. All that which is necessary for the saving of the soul can be speedily learned and understood, the Holy Spirit beingthe teacher.
As far as the practical, saving part of Christianity is concerned, it is the religion of children. If a preacher can interesta child, he can interest anybody. Is it not all a mistake when we say, "Oh, he is only fit to talk to children"? If he isfit to do this, he is fit to talk to Apostles! Let us heartily believe, also, in children's praises. I am sure you must doso if you are like your Lord, for He delighted in them. He would not stop the boys when they shouted, "Hosanna!" The scribessneer-ingly asked, "Do You hear what these say?" Yes, He did hear it, and He said, "Out of their mouths God has perfectedpraise." Let the children sing and do not despise their hymns because they are more fit for children than for you. Let thechildren sing and thank God they sing. Never despise them. Do not say, "Oh, they are only a parcel of boys and girls." Whatif they are? May they not be a better parcel than some of you? If we were half as free from guile and unbelief as boys andgirls, it would be better for us! If we could get the simple trustfulness of childhood back, again, it would be a great gainto character. Let us not undervalue their praises or their service.
My text supports me in the strongest appeal which I can make. Hear it yet again-"Out of the mouth of babes and sucklings haveYou ordained strength." Let the children serve God and let us put forms of service in their way. That is a sweet verse-"AndSamuel ministered before the Lord, being a child, girded with a linen ephod." The child Samuel and the Lord Jehovah! Whatan amazing combination! God who fills all things and Hannah's little boy! God give us to see our boys and girls ministeringbefore the Lord while they are yet in their frocks and pinafores! The linen ephod is as suitable for a child as for an ancientpriest. No robe is more glorious than the garment of service and whether it is worn by old or young, it is a right royal dress.
Last of all, let us expect victory to come to the Church through little children. It may happen that God will bring the worldto Christ's feet by the children. It is written, "A little child shall lead them." Who knows how many are led to Jesus bychildren? This city of ours is better evangelized by our Sunday schools than by all the rest of us put together! I don't meanto flatter Sunday school teachers, but I must speak well of the children. When they go home they find that father is hardlydressed. He has not been to a place of worship, but he has been reading the Sunday paper. He does not need any of your singingand preaching. Little Mary and Tommy come back and they don't ask him anything about it, but they begin to sing. And whenthey have their dinner they talk about what teacher said and, perhaps, they say something about the sermon and so Father getsmore singing and preaching than he bargained for.
When they go to bed they clasp their little hands and pray for their father and he is obliged to hear them. Thus he gets prayingas well as singing. The children are missionaries and they enter where others cannot. The city missionary may be shut out,but Father cannot shut out Tommy or Mary and they must be allowed to sing or they will cry and that is worse-so that theirwitness cannot be silenced! What little children are doing for London and for our great cities is impossible for us to calculate!The darlings die and in this they often do more than by their lives. How many hard hearts have been broken and stubborn willssubdued by the deathbeds of infants? How many a mother has had her first desires for Heaven kindled by the flight of her littlecherub up to the bosom of Christ?
They do God's work here below in a wonderful manner. It is true and will be truer every day, that out of the mouth of babesand sucklings the Lord has ordained strength, because of His enemies, that He might still the enemy and the Avenger. God'sblessing be with all of you who work among the children. Amen.