And that their children, which have not known any thing, may hear, and learn to fear the LORD your God…
I. GODLINESS IN CHILDREN IS ACCOUNTED BY CHRISTIANS GENERALLY TO BE EXTRAORDINARY, OR AT LEAST UNCOMMON; AND PERHAPS THERE ARE BUT FEW GODLY CHILDREN. Compared with the number of children who are blessed with godly parentage, and taught in Christian schools, who are present when the public ordinances of Christ's Church are administered, the children who manifest true piety are certainly not many. If our observation be accurate, Christian parents and teachers and pastors do not, with sufficient confidence, look for, or expect to find, godliness in children. If we employ those means which are divinely ordained for the conversion of human beings in our efforts On behalf of children, why should we not expect immediate and early results?
II. IT IS TRUE THAT THE SIGHS OF A CHILD ARE NOT HEAVY; THEY ARE NOT, AS IN THE SOUL OF MANHOOD AND WOMANHOOD, OCEAN WAVES, BUT THEY ARE RATHER LIKE THE RIPPLE UPON THE WATERS OF SOME SHELTERED LAKE. It is true that the emotions of a child are not the hardy blossoms of a sturdy fruit tree, but the tender and delicate bloom of a tree that has as yet yielded little more than promise of fruit. Nevertheless, that blossom, which winds will tear and shake, is the outflowing of life; that ripple on the lake shows susceptibility in the water towards its sister element, air; and those dewdrop tears show that earth and heaven, man and God, are working upon the child's nature. If the understanding of a child be less enlightened, the soul is more sensitive; if the judgment be less formed, the conscience is more tender; if there be but little strength of purpose, the heart is less hardened by the deceitfulness of sin.
III. If decided piety be within reach of a child, HOW IS IT THAT THE ABSENCE OF GODLINESS FROM CHILDREN DOES NOT MORE DISTRESS US, AND THAT PIETY IN CHILDREN IS NOT MORE OUR AIM AND HOPE, AND THAT IT IS NOT MORE FREQUENTLY THE BURDEN OF OUR PRAYER? Why, as some, always suspect a child who professes to be godly? Godly children are God's workmanship, created by Jesus Christ, and if we would be the means of leading children into true godliness, we must bid them look to our Saviour Jesus. I say to Him, not at Him. There is a vast difference between these things. The child looks at the King when he goes to see him proceed in state to open the Parliament; but he looks to his mother when he relies on her for the supply of his daily wants.
(S. Martin, D. D.)
Parallel VersesKJV: And that their children, which have not known any thing, may hear, and learn to fear the LORD your God, as long as ye live in the land whither ye go over Jordan to possess it.