"SUFFER LITTLE CHILDREN TO COME"
PARENTS HAVE INQUIRED on several occasions respecting their children and how they should in some manner indicate that they had dedicated them to the Lord. We, of course, declined to baptize the infants, because such a course would have been contrary to the Word of God--because baptism is therein stated to be for believers-- an outward expression or symbolization of their consecration to the service of the Lord, even unto death, and of their faith that, so doing, they would be sharers with the Lord in the likeness of his resurrection.
However, we remembered how Samuel in childhood had been presented to the Lord in consecration, and of how our own parents had told us that they had devoted us to the Lord and his service in infancy, and of how all Jewish boys were, in a sense, set apart to holiness, in harmony with the Lord's will. We remembered also how children were brought to Jesus by their parents, that he should bless them or pray a blessing upon them. We remember that the disciples thought this too insignificant a work for the Master and were sending them away, when Jesus called to them, saying, "Suffer (permit) the little children to come unto me, and forbid them not; for of such is the Kingdom of God." (Mark 10:14.) We gave notice that hereafter we will have a Child-Blessing Service in the evening of each Sunday we are in Brooklyn. And we see no reason why we may not extend this opportunity to any who desire it on the occasion of our visit to any of the classes--in conjunction with the less public meeting.
It is our opinion that the influence of this service upon the parents and upon the children will be favorable, impressing upon the former their responsibilities. The fact that the children have been formally devoted to God in public may assist the parents in fulfilling their obligations and later assist the children as they shall come to a knowledge of the fact that they were thus committed to Divine care by their parents.
Nothing in this, however, should be understood as signifying a law, or even an obligation or custom. It is arranged merely for the convenience of those who desire it. Nor need such a service be performed merely by one person. Anyone serving as a minister of the Truth would, at the request of the parents of an infant, be fully justified in thus publicly stating the matter and asking the Divine blessing.
THUS MAY HE BLESS AND KEEP THEE
The Lord bless thee!
How shall he bless thee?
With the gladness that knoweth no decay;
With the riches that cannot pass away;
With the sunshine that makes an endless day--
Thus may he bless thee!
And keep thee!
How shall he keep thee?
With the all-covering shadow of his wings;
With the strong love that guards from evil things;
With the sure power that safe to glory brings--
Thus may he keep thee!