This week I stumbled across an old, unattractively-bound book (online here) that I acquired in college while writing a research paper on corporal punishment in evangelicalism. At the time I didn’t know Charles Spurgeon from Charles Sheldon, and thus was not inspired to read the book except looking for quotes to use in my paper. But when I found it on the shelf this week, I dove into it much more eagerly, and am glad I did. Some quotes from the first parts of the book:
Christian children mainly need to be taught the doctrine, precept, and life of the gospel: they require to have Divine truth put before them clearly and forcibly. Why should the higher doctrines, the doctrines of grace, be kept back from them? They are not as some say, bones; or if they are bones, they are full of marrow, and covered with fatness. If there be any doctrine too difficult for a child, it is rather the fault of the teacher’s conception of it than of the child’s power to receive it, provided the child be really converted to God. It is ours to make doctrine simple, this is to be a main part of our work. Teach the little ones the whole truth and nothing but the truth; for instruction is the great want of the child’s nature.
““”‘Feed My Lambs’–How to Do It”
The theory is that if we can impress youthful minds with principles which may, in later years, prove useful to them, we have done a great deal; but to convert children as children and to regard them as being as much believers as their seniors, is regarded as absurd. To this supposed absurdity I cling with all my heart. I believe that of children is the kingdom of God, both on earth and in heaven.
–“Do Not Hinder the Children”
There is not a word in the New Testament to show that the benefits of divine grace are in any degree transmitted by natural descent: they come “to as many as the Lord our God shall call,” whether their parents are saints or sinners. How can people have the impudence to tear off half a text to make it teach what is not true? You must sorrowfully look upon your children as born in sin, and shapen in iniquity, “heirs of wrath, even as others”; and though you may yourself belong to a line of saints, and trace your pedigree from minister to minister, all eminent in the church of God, yet your children occupy precisely the same position by their birth as other people’s children do; so that they must be redeemed from under the curse of the law by the precious blood of Jesus, and they must receive a new nature by the work of the Holy Ghost. They are favored by being placed under godly training, and under the hearing of the gospel; but their need and their sinfulness are the same as in the rest of the race.
–“The Disciples and the Mothers”