Reproved by a Child
James Smith, 1860
A short time ago, as I was sitting in a friend's house conversing with him, suddenly the door opened, and my friend's little boy came in from school with his mind evidently full of something; without staying to see if anyone was present, he went up directly to his father, and taking him by the hand, said, "Father, you said, etc.," pleading a promise which the father had made, which promise was immediately honored, with only a slight reproof for not noticing that someone was in the room. Well, thought I, I have often been instructed and reproved by children before, and here I am reproved again. Let me look at the reproof, learn the lesson, and seek grace to benefit by it.
This child . . .
believed his father's word,
remembered his fathers promise, and
expected to receive what he asked for.
Do I treat my Heavenly Father so? How often I doubt his promise. How often I forget his promise. How often when I plead his promise, I do not confidently expect that God will make it good. But I ought. If this child had any reason to believe his father — then how much more have I? If this child had ground to believe that his father would do as he had said — then how much more have I? The children of this world, are wiser than the children of light.
The child's mind was full of the subject, so that everything else was lost sight of, when he came to plead his father's promise. Is this my case? Almost every trifle attracts my mind, and distracts my attention when I come to a throne of grace.
The child clearly anticipated before he asked, and while he was asking; and if there had been any hesitation in giving, was no doubt prepared to argue the point. Do I do so? Do I come expecting God to give, and do I ask believing that I shall receive? This is just what the Savior requires, and to this the assurance is given, "You shall receive." Do I come prepared to plead with God, to argue the point if necessary, and to take no denial? So did Moses, and many of God's ancient worthies, and so have I at times — but do I generally do so? Alas, no!
The child was full of confidence, and his confidence seemed to extend to his father's love, and word, and truthfulness. This gave him courage, and made him bold. There were no indications of doubt, or fear, or misgiving — he believed, he expected, he was confident.
O what a reproof to me! Where is my confidence in God often, when I am upon my knees before him? If I steadily believed the love he has to me — if I felt confident that he was truthful and must fulfill his word — what courage, what boldness, I would have. The child was intent on his business, and his application was at once crowned with success. He obtained an answer, his wish was gratified. So would mine be much oftener, if not always, if I was only more intent on my business, and prayed and pleaded with God, as if I must have, or be miserable.
My soul, I charge you, stand reproved. Realize your sin. Mark the dishonor alone to your God, and seek grace, that in future God may be glorified by your hearty faith, fervent prayers, and devout expectations. God should be believed. He has done and said, everything he well could, to command our faith, encourage our confidence, and raise our expectations. His promises are plain, they are confirmed by the death of his Son, and he can summon thousands of witnesses to attest their truth. He will never deceive us. He cannot deny himself, or break his word. He has no disposition to do so, he can have no temptation to it. O to come to God for all I want or wish, promise in hand, and confidently appeal to him as the child to its parent, with, "Father, you said, that . . .
you would give me grace,
help me in trouble,
guide me with your eye,
supply all my wants, and
make me victorious over all my foes,
now do as you have said!"
Reader, how do you treat the Lord? He has sent you invitations, he has made you promises, he desires your friendship. Have you accepted his invitations, and come to him? Do you believe his promises, remind him of them, and expect him to make them good? Are you a friend of God — being reconciled to him, and walking in love with him? Does not the conduct of my friend's child reprove you? He came direct to his father, he appealed at once to his father, he evidently expected from his father, and he was rewarded by his father. If you have not, go at once and do likewise, like the prodigal, arise and go to your father, and tell him, that as he invited you — you have come; as he promised to pardon — you come to ask him to forgive you; as he has plenty and you are in poverty — you come to beseech him to bless you with a portion. Come, O come, he will give grace and glory, and no good thing will he withhold from you, if you walk uprightly.
When a sense of sin and thrall
Forced me to the sinner's Friend,
He engaged to manage all,
By the way, and to the end.
"Cast," he said, "on me your care,
'Tis enough that I am nigh,
I will all your burdens bear,
I will all your wants supply."
Lord, I would, I do submit,
Gladly yield my all to you,
What your wisdom sees most fit,
Must be, surely, best for me!