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righteousness, the planting of the Lord.” They are His children more than ours. He does more for them than we do, He loves them better than we can. Yet in the world they are exposed to many dangers. The cold biting winds of neglect will often pierce through their very hearts, the storms and tempests of adversity and temptation will often threaten their destruction, it behoves us then to shield and tend them to the best of our power, by drawing around and upon them the protective influences of the religion of Jesus Christ in its phases of devotion and obedience, for “it is not the will of our Father which is in heaven that one of these little ones should perish.”
It is the perishing of the spiritual nature of the little ones that is contrary to our Father's will, for the death of the body is a part of the original design of creation. But the death of children seems very strange and incongruous.
We have seen Why children Live, let us now examine the question Why do they Die ?
Undoubtedly, in the original order of the Providence of God all the inhabitants of earth lived to a good old age. They served their period of probation here before they were called to the rest beyond. But now we know to our sorrow, that though we love them ever so dearly, and watch over them ever so closely, and care for them ever so tenderly, they are often called away from us almost before their life is well begun. Little graves are opened oftener than big ones ; parents have frequently to witness the departure of their children, instead of the children always closing the eyes of their parents. This is a manifest inversion of the laws of order, and the thought comes to us at once that there is something decidedly wrong in such a state of things. Science can account for a great deal of the causes of the high rate of infant mortality, but the first cause of it is spiritual. We may take it for granted that before sin was in the world no infants or children would be taken away from earth, and, like every other abnormal state, the infant's liability to death is the result of the sinful departure from the law of God. Sometimes adults pass peacefully away without disease, from the mere decay of their organism, but infant death is always the result of disease. Disease is a consequence of the infraction of some law of health, and this infraction is in its turn the result of moral delinquency. The physical constitution of the people of our time is debilitated by the habits of profligacy and pride indulged in by the generations before us, and we are doing our best to leave quite as large a legacy of this kind to our successors—hence thousands of our infants die from constitutional causes. Many diseases are produced and fostered by inadequate or uncared-for sanitary arrangementshence the fatal nature of epidemics. Other diseases are occasioned by inattention to matters of clothing, and diet, and exercise—hence in a great measure arise rheumatic affections and many chest diseases. Natural death is the divinely appointed means of entering upon the life of immortality, but infant death is unnatural and is brought about by sin, ignorance, and carelessness. The liability to premature death is one of the results of the fall.
It may be said, it seems hard that children should be made subject to death, and thus to pay the penalty of the sin of their ancestors and guardians. This exclamation involves a common error about death. We suffer and grieve at the departure of our children, but they do not. Death is no hardship to children, on the contrary, it is a gain that the Providence of God has gathered for their benefit from the fall of man. It would certainly be better for us, and no worse for our children, if none died young, for the revival of long life to all would imply the keeping of God's spiritual and natural laws. But now that the law is not kept inviolate; now that sin exercises such a powerful sway in our midst; now that so many fall victims to the allurements of evil; now that so many grow to maturity to become a curse to themselves, a burden to society, and a sorrow to their parents, can we look upon the death of children as an unmitigated evil? Let us ask ourselves but one question :-Is the death of a child more likely to conduce to its happiness, than the prolongation of its life here ? Alas for the world! alas for ourselves ! we are compelled to answer that death is the surest safeguard, and that the death of the body is preferable to the death of the soul. Abstractedly, infant death is an evil, but in the present state of the world, it serves a most beneficent and holy purpose.
Let me repeat it. Death is no injury to a child. By leaving this world, it avoids all danger of corruption, and all doubts and misgivings as to its eternal destiny are set at rest. “It is not the will of our Father who is in heaven that one of these little ones should perish," and to avert such a catastrophe he sends his holy angels to bear them to his home.
Death is really a great gain to a child, for by death its sphere of existence is transferred from a world of sin and sorrow to a home of purity and joy. The love of a mother for her child is the strongest, holiest love of earth. What will she not dare and suffer for its sake, and though the pain of parting is acute, can she not even bear to be
separated from it by the intervention of death, when she can fairly realize that the change is for her darling's good ?
Listen to the words of our text. Ponder over the declarations, "Of such is the kingdom of heaven,” “In heaven their angels do always behold the face of our Father who is in heaven.” These sayings direct us to the source of comfort in the presence of infant death. The divine will is that all should be happy and blest. Often in our adult life, we set up our own wills in opposition to the Lord's, and thus enter upon the path of ruin and destruction; but in the years of infancy and childhood, the will of the individual has not been freely and deliberately formed, and hence when the summons of removal comes, the quality of the future is determined solely by the will of our Saviour. “It is not the will of our Father who is in heaven that one of these little ones should perish.” Oh, no! “Of such is the kingdom of heaven.”
In perfect harmony with these testimonies of the Word are the teachings of the New Church concerning the future state of children in heaven.
Infants enter the spiritual world as infants. In that world they are instructed concerning the Lord and His kingdom, until having by the expansion of their minds arrived at maturity, they become members of superior angelic societies. They successively pass through the states of infancy, of childhood and of youth, and in each state they experience the delights most congenial thereto. Theirs is a life of constant variety, a perpetual succession of pleasing employments and enjoyments. A paragraph has recently gone the round of the papers stating that at a recent children's tea-party, the presiding minister told the little ones that they must not laugh nor applaud, as there would be nothing like that in heaven. We, as members of the New Church, scout such a gloomy view of the world of eternal joy, in which “there are pleasures for evermore.” We believe in a heaven for human beings, in which the joyousness of childhood will have full scope. In heaven they play, and laugh, and sing; they romp in the green fields and deck themselves with flowers; they behold scenes of indescribable loveliness, and receive instruction in holy things through representatives and heavenly pictures; they find their delight in making others happy, and hence no angry contentions disturb their intercourse with their companions; no pain detracts from their pleasures, and no deformity disfigures their faces; no sorrows lessen their joys, and no tears alternate with their smiles; they are carefully watched
over by the most loving and motherly of angels; they can know no want that has not been anticipated and provided for. Oh surely, though the pain of parting wrings our hearts and threatens to leave us in bitter woe, though at first our hearts and lips alike refuse to utter the sentence that contains the thanksgiving, surely we can spare our children for such a happiness as this, and learn in time to thank God that He has taken them to His own keeping, and made them His for ever. “The Lord gave, and the Lord hath taken away, blessed be the name of the Lord.”
Latterly the hand of death has been very busy in our midst. Within the past three months three adults and five children connected with our congregation have been called to their final abodeall we trust to find a happy home in the Father's house of many mansions. The consideration of this fact should make us exceedingly thoughtful. It need not make us sad, if we so train our children and guard ourselves, that whether our life here be short or long, we may be prepared that “the Lord at His coming may find us watching." It is not necessary, or indeed advisable, that we should concentrate our attention upon the subject of death. Holy living ensures holy dying. He who lives well is sure to die well, for death has no influence in altering our internal character either for better or worse. Living or dying, we are under the providential care of Jesus Christ our Saviour, and to him who endeavours humbly to listen to and follow out the teachings that He has given, “ to live is Christ, and to die is gain." The only real danger that a man has is a wicked heart that leads him into sin; but if we live the life taught and exemplified by our Lord, we need not fear the death of the body nor the death of the soul. Against the death of the body we have the antidote of immortality, against the death of the soul we may have the protection of that Lord of whom it is written, “He shall give His angels charge over thee to keep thee in all thy ways."
Children are born into this world to be prepared for heaven. Dying they all go there. There, their existence is ever a source of joy to themselves and others. They may not return to us, but we may go to them.
Let us so live, that when we are called, we may be found fitted to rejoin them in the land where partings are unknown. Let us learn also rightly to instruct the children that remain, and not to sorrow as those without hope for the little ones that are gone on before : for “it is not the will of our Father which is in heaven that one of these little ones should perish."
MAN AND THE ANIMAL KINGDOM.
II. The previous paper concluded with an attempt to show that the acceptance of Mr. Darwin's hypothesis necessitates the denial of the immortality of man, and, in consequence, the denial of the existence of heaven, hades, and hell. It is further evident that the denial of these things involves, of logical necessity, the rejection of the Word of God, which teaches these ideas : and, together with the Scriptures, those other great doctrines which are learned from the Scriptures alone. The Biblical doctrines concerning the Divine Providence, Redemption, and Salvation are swept away, if immortality be denied to man, and if the only source whence those doctrines are derived is rejected as being destitute of authority on the convictions of mankind. The Scriptural theory concerning man is, that he is a spiritual being, for a time clothed with material substances so as to live in a natural world; but destined to a never-ending existence in the spiritual world. On this theory rests all the other Scriptural teachings as to redemption and salvation,,man's declension from a previous higher state of moral life; his inheriting evil propensities lodged in the forms of his natural mind; his being influenced from the spiritual world for both good and evil; the gradual predominance of evil influences thence derived; the removal of the causes of these, effected by redemption ; the establishment of new means of influencing mankind for good; the promise to him of future and eternal glory, and the pledge of continual Divine help in every one of his efforts to attain thereunto. The development theory traverses every one of these propositions :man is not a spiritual being in any other sense than are the animals; he may differ from them in the degree of his intellectual powers, and have thence developed in himself a moral nature, but not only is he similar in kind to all animals, he also sprang from them by hereditary descent. The jellyfish was a potential man : the man is a developed jelly-fish. Accordingly, man's present state is not that of declension from a higher moral condition: the ages of gold and silver are only fables and fiction. There never was any need of a Saviour, and no room for redemption : such notions are only mythological figments. There is no spiritual world, because there is no immortality: both notions were the inventions of enthusiastic dreamers, or of imposture-loving priests. The change of spiritual state characterised as regeneration is no other than an illusion, and piety is, as to its real foundation, only an over-sensi