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A Sermon to Children

By Andrew Bonar


      'There were also with Him other little ships' Mark 4: 36

      Some of the little things we do in our meetings with you are imitations of Christ's ways.

      When you are going away from a meeting we sometimes give you a tract ; so Jesus in sending the people away gave each of them a blessing. It was evening, and He was kept late as He thus spoke a parting word into each ear. His disciples were a little impatient perhaps, for they saw a storm gathering, and they wanted to be over to the other side. At last He came, tired and wearied, and they took Him 'as He was' in the ship. He went to the end of the ship where there was a leathern pillow or seat not quite so hard as Jacob's pillow at Bethel, but still only a bench covered with leather, and fell asleep--so soundly asleep that not even the storm awoke Him, nor the waves, nor the alarm and cries of His disciples. At last they went up to Him, as the mariners did to Jonah, and by their cries, and perhaps by their touch, awoke Him. Instantly He rose, looked around, calmly spoke, 'Peace, be still!' and spread His own calm over the sea. What wonder appeared on every face! 'What manner of man is this?' He said, 'You should not have wondered with One so great beside you. O ye of little faith!' And thus they glided into the harbour.

      Now I have reserved a portion for you. It is this. 'And there were also with Him other little ships.' These 'little ships' remind us of you. They set sail with Jesus, and crossed the sea with Him to the Gadarene country. Notice some things about the people in these'little ships,' for I am going to compare you to them.

      I. They needed Christ's care.
      II. They liked Christ's company.
      III. They got a share of the calm.

      I. They needed Christ's care.

      They had a voyage to take, it was late, and darkness was coming on. A storm was threatening,-- probably there were mutterings of thunder far off,-- the wind was rising, and the water was ruffled. They felt it would be good to have others near, and specially to have Him near who could do mighty things for them. Perhaps they heard Him say to His own crew, 'Let us go over to the other side,' and thought, 'Then we also can go, and be as safe as He.'

      Young people, like these 'little ships,' you have a voyage to take to the other side. You may have many storms, but one thing I know, you need Christ. There is not a sin in you but will raise a storm soon. Every pang of conscience, every fear, every foreboding, is the mutter of the thunder. What will you do? Young people's sins are very terrible. One wave of that storm will sink your vessel to the bottom.'The soul that sinneth it shall die.' Then this is a time of storms in the world. The last days are to have peculiar tempests, --'the sea and the waves roaring.' Only those will get safe to shore who have Jesus with them, and it is awfully perilous to be without Him. O the storms of the last days!

      'When first the Saviour wakened me
      And showed me why He died,
      He pointed o'er life's narrow sea
      And said, " To yonder side."

      I am the Ark where Noah dwelt,
      And heard the deluge roar--
      No soul can perish that has felt
      My rest--To yonder shore.'

      II. They liked Christ's company.

      These people in the 'little ships' had been that day among His hearers. His words had been felt by them. They had heard the parable of the Sower, of the Mustard-seed, of the Hid Treasure (Matt. 13.), and they had heard Him say, 'He that hath ears to hear let him hear'--proclaiming to all sinners their welcome. 'It is finished' is alike for you and for the older people, for the 'little ships' as well as for the greater. It is the same Jesus who saved Peter and John and Paul, who can save you. The same obedience to the Law, the same blood shed, form the righteousness of a young sinner and of an older sinner. Do you not like His company? Be like the little ships. Come and see. Who can bless you but Christ? Is there any so loving, so gracious, so kind? Was there ever company like His? Surely you like Him who said, 'Suffer the little children to come unto Me.' Surely you like His company. Would you not like to hear Him say to you, 'With Me in Paradise ?'

      III. They got a share of the calm.

      After the danger and fear and alarm,--tossed on the waters,--the waves beating on the ship so that 'it was full' (verse 37), Christ says, 'Peace, be still,' and there is a great calm. Now the 'little ships' share also in the wonder, 'What manner of man is this!'
      Dear children, come with Him, and you will share in the calm. It may be you have been troubled, alarmed, ay, and thought, 'Surely He does not care whether or not we perish.' But only try,--only be where He is saying 'Peace, be still' to others. Be at the Cross when He says to the dying thief, 'To-day thou shalt be with Me in Paradise.' Be at His tomb, and hear the angel's words, 'Fear not, for I know that ye seek Jesus which was crucified.' Be with Him when He says, 'Peace be unto you,' and shows His hands and His side. You, too, shall share in it all, and you, too, shall wonderingly say, 'What manner of man is this!'
      And those of you who already know Him, when other storms come you will be able to sing Ps. 46. 'God is our refuge and our strength.'
      And if your corruptions and passions raise a storm remember these others verses of Mr. M'Cheyne's: -

      'Peaceful and calm the tide of life
      When first I sailed with Thee,
      My sins forgiven, no inward strife,
      My breast a glassy sea.

      But soon the storm of passion raves,
      My soul is tempest-toss'd;
      Corruptions rise like angry waves--
      "Help, Master, I am lost !"

      "Peace, peace, be still, thou raging breast,
      My fulness is for thee,"
      The Saviour speaks and all is rest,
      Like the waves of Galilee.

      The more you know Christ, the more you will say, 'What manner of man is this! What manner of Saviour!'

      O little ships, come and sail with Jesus! Get His care, His company, and His calm!

      Transcribed from Reminiscences of Andrew A.Bonar D.D.

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