Blessing Children. Concerning Childlikeness.
(in Peræa.)

^A Matt. XIX.13-15; ^B Mark X.13-16; ^C Luke XVIII.15-17.

^a 13 Then were there brought ^b 13 And they were bringing ^a unto him little children, { ^c also their babes,} that he should touch them: ^a that he should lay his hands on them, and pray [According to Buxtorf, children were often brought to the presidents of the synagogue in order that they might pray over them. The prayers of a good man in our behalf have always been regarded as a blessing; no wonder, then, that the mothers of these children desired the prayers of Jesus in behalf of their little ones. It was customary to put the hand upon the person prayed for, probably following the patriarchal precedent (Gen. xlviii.14, 15). Compare Acts vi.6]: ^c but { ^a and} ^c when the disciples saw it, they rebuked them. ^b 14 But when Jesus saw it, he was moved with indignation, and ^c called them unto him, saying, { ^b said} unto them, ^c Suffer the little children to come unto me; forbid them not: ^a for to such belongeth the kingdom of heaven. { ^b of God.} [The disciples wished to protect Jesus from what appeared to them to be an unseemly intrusion and annoyance, and possibly, as the context suggests, they thought it was beneath the dignity of the Messiah to turn aside from the affairs of the kingdom of heaven (Matt. xix.12) to pay attention to children. But Jesus was indignant at their officious interference, and directed that the children be brought to him, declaring at the same time that the kingdom of heaven be composed, not of little children, but of such as are childlike in their nature.] ^c 17 Verily I say unto you, Whosoever shall not receive the kingdom of God as a little child, he shall in no wise enter therein. [See p.431.] ^b 16 And he took them up in his arms, ^a 15 And he laid { ^b laying} ^a his hands on { ^b upon} ^a them, ^b and blessed them, ^a and departed thence. [They were brought that he might lay his hands on them and bless them, and that is what he did for them. The command therefore that they be suffered to come to him should not be perverted into a precept directing that they be brought for other purposes. Those who have construed this as commanding or even permitting either infant baptism or an infant church membership, have abused the text. They are indebted for these ideas, not to the Bible, but to their creeds. The incident told in this section is a fitting sequel to the discourse on divorce. The little children, the offspring of happy wedlock, and a source of constant joy and pleasure to faithful husbands and wives, serve by their presence to correct false impressions as to supposed inconvenience of an indissoluble marriage bond. The sight of them in the arms of Jesus could not fail to leave a good impression with reference to the married life.]

xcviii journey to jerusalem concerning
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