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that they have all the while been heirs of Christ in minority, awaiting the time when they are to take that inheritance under voluntary control, and appropriate it to themselves; and it is no wonder that when they get to that point, without the right discipline, many of them simply squander their heavenly estate. It ought to be said of every one of our children, as Paul declared of Timothy, that from childhood they have known the Scriptures; not known merely by rote: but through all the stages of their development they have been made to understand what the contents of the Holy Scriptures mean for them; then their evolution into full, voluntary discipleship of Christ would be as natural and effectual as that of Timothy.
This presses home to us a solemn and weighty obligation as members of the Reformed Church. If we are willing to listen to her voice, she assures us that if we bring our children to Christ He will take them into His loving arms and bless them; but at the same time she teaches us that He hands them back to us, to train and nurture in His grace until they are able to take voluntary charge of their spiritual heritage; and we must be very dull of hearing if we do not catch from Him the warning in this connection, that if we neglect the duty in any degree, our own children's blood, woful thought! may some day be upon our heads. Would that we were all suitably impressed with this grave obligation, so that we might comply in some sufficient measure with the injunction of the Saviour; “Suffer the little children to come unto me, and forbid them not, for of such is the Kingdom of heaven.” We cannot be excused for slighting that injunction upon the ground, that He has not specified exactly the way in which, or the means by which, the children are to be brought to Him. There are many other things which we do in carrying out His purpose concerning us without any specific instructions from Him as to the how and why. He never gave a syllable of direction that we should observe the first day of the week as a day of rest, instead of the seventh; and yet, the whole Christian world, with but one exception so small that it is hardly worth mentioning, has assented to the change, guided by a sanctifieủ judgment of what the will of the Lord is in this respect.
Correspondingly, Jesus having indicated the fundamental fact, that the little children are to be presented to Him for his blessing, it follows, of necessity, that there must be some definite way in which this is to be done; and a sanctified reason ought to be able to determine appropriately from the spirit and genius of His teaching what that way is. But we must never suppose, that the presentation of our children to Christ for His blessing is our full and finished part, after which the blessing will work out its own end. Our obligation holds until our offspring have been brought thoroughly to understand and appropriate that blessing to the salvation of their souls. Having been consecrated to the Lord in their infancy, they should be made to feel at the earliest dawning of their consciousness that Ilis claims are upon them; that every participation of theirs in sin is, in a peculiar way, different from that of the children of infidels, a dishonoring of His name; and every virtue that adorns their character is, in the same peculiar way, a contribution to His glory. If we would only do this with fidelity, one of the reproaches which are now laid upon Infant Baptism would be forever reduced to a bare mininum, and our children, with but rare exceptions, would have no hesitancy about assuming at the proper time all moral obligation to their Lord.
SIMON BAR-JONA: THE STONE AND THE ROCK.
BY MRS. T. C. PORTER.
A PRECIOUS STONE · Blessed art thou Simon Bar-Jona; for flesh and blood hath not revealed it unto
thee, but my Father which is in heaven."-St. Matt, xvi, 17.
The Call of Peter.
IF Andrew and Simon questioned the design of their Messiah in giving the latter a new name, they were not long left in doubt, for soon after this, as Jesus was walking on the shore of Galilee, and saw the brothers casting a net into the sea, He called them to follow Him and He would make them“ fishers of men.” “Fishers of men !” Yes, for the new natural creation, like the old, was to come by the quiet brooding of “the Spirit” on “the water.” “And they straightway left their nets and followed Him;" the one, it may be imagined, soberly and thoughtfully, but the other, according to the disposition for which the Master chose him, eagerly and joyfully, for the voice as well as the look of Jesus had always an irresistible attraction for him.
He was not yet a conscious Christian, much less controlled by the spiritual life, but in virtue of what he should and would become, the Messiah had re-named him. By pronouncing him “Cephas,” He intimated that he was a Christian in embryo, destined to come to perfection; and in saying that he should be " called " such, further showed the desire that every time he was addressed, or spoken of, it should be done (whether men knew it or not) with honor: so signal was the distinction He conferred on the son who was first born, and the disciple who should first confess Him! And hence though Jesus almost always calls him “Simon," by others he is more frequently called “ Cephas,” or “ Peter," or "Simon Peter.”
As with the natural man, so is it with “the new man in Christ Jesus.” First is the grain, then the blade, the stalk, the ear, the full corn in the ear, and, last of all, the corn fully ripe. “The wind bloweth where it listeth, and thou hearest the sound thereof, but canst not tell whence it cometh, and whither it goeth : so is every one that is born of the Spirit.” Each is discovered only by his growth, and known by his fruits. Not till long after this, could Simon Peter write to Christians, "ye are born," or begotten, “ again, not of corruptible seed” (the old Adam), “but of incorruptible" (the new Adam), and are "partakers of the Divine nature.” However, for the purpose of bringing Cephas now so far under the influence of Christ's life as to confess its origin and nature, the re-creating power of the Spirit was to bear directly on him, for “no man can say that Jesus is the Lord but by the Holy Ghost.”* No one then was so fit to be his teacher indirectly as the Messiah, who had Himself been “conceived by the Holy Ghost," and to whom the Spirit had been given without measure. For the wonderful purpose of calling, under the shadow of the old dispensation, the Messiah “the Son of the 'living" or eternal God, Simon had been chosen, and therefore the eternal nature of Christ's life was to work on his consciousness to this end, though only through His created nature, as alone it could. Having been appointed to make a perfect confession of the Messiah's personality, it would not suffice for Peter to say merely, “Thou art the Son of the liv
“ The word kúplos, LORD, is that by which the word Jehovah is commonly rendered in the Greek version of the Old Testament." Hodge. Com. on I. Cor.
ing God.” Calling Jesus “ Lord,” or God eternal, is not sufficient. His created and true humanity is also an integral part of His being, and was likewise to be acknowledged, for on this His eternal humanity is as dependent for revelation as the soul of man is dependent on his body. And since Christ's humanity can so abundantly reveal His divinity, and His divinity glorify His humanity, what does it teach but that God and man are in the quality and form of their essence precisely alike? Man was created in the image of God, in order to receive of His life.
Of course, the Spirit of God coming through the Messiah as His life was, thus far, characterized barely by its past acts, Peter's confession would be accordingly. That is, he would be able to acknowledge only the one life and personality, “ Thou," and the two natures (created and uncreated) of his Master, including His offices of Prophet, Priest and King. There would be no recognition of His work as a Saviour and Mediator. The Messiah had not yet died and risen, and these acts being only prospective, could not affect His life like those of the past--His conception and incarnation, birth, baptism and temptation—which (notably the last two) had testified and confirmed to Him chiefly His Sonship time-created and eternally begotten.
To John the Baptist, an Israelite restricted to the old economy, the revelation of the Messiah's sinless person and vicarious work was made from the outside, by visible signs and audible words. But to Simon Peter the first representative of the new dispensation, the perfect personality of the Christ was not to be made known by outward word or sign. This knowledge was to come to him incidentally from Jesus' teachings and miracles, but above all with the growth of the life of the Messiah, or, which is the same thing, the re-creating work of the Spirit in him. Then, the revelation thus made by the will of the Father, was to be declared by Simon as a matter of conviction, and not like the Baptist's) of information. The result would be that in confessing Christ, Peter would reveal