The wicked are estranged from the womb: they go astray as soon as they be born, speaking lies.
~ Psalm 58:3
Foolishness is bound in the heart of a child; but the rod of correction shall drive it far from him.
~ Proverbs 22:15
But Jesus called them unto him, and said, Suffer little children to come unto me, and forbid them not: for of such is the kingdom of God. Verily I say unto you, Whosoever shall not receive the kingdom of God as a little child shall in no wise enter therein.
~ Luke 18:16-17
Gather the people together, men, and women, and children, and thy stranger that is within thy gates, that they may hear, and that they may learn, and fear the LORD your God, and observe to do all the words of this law:
~ Deuteronomy 31:12
For the unbelieving husband is sanctified by the wife, and the unbelieving wife is sanctified by the husband: else were your children unclean; but now are they holy.
~ 1 Corinthians 7:14
Out of the mouth of babes and sucklings hast thou ordained strength because of thine enemies, that thou mightest still the enemy and the avenger.
~ Psalm 8:2
For ye see your calling, brethren, how that not many wise men after the flesh, not many mighty, not many noble, are called: But God hath chosen the foolish things of the world to confound the wise; and God hath chosen the weak things of the world to confound the things which are mighty; And base things of the world, and things which are despised, hath God chosen, yea, and things which are not, to bring to nought things that are:
~ 1 Corinthians 1:26-28
In that hour Jesus rejoiced in spirit, and said, I thank thee, O Father, Lord of heaven and earth, that thou hast hid these things from the wise and prudent, and hast revealed them unto babes: even so, Father; for so it seemed good in thy sight.
~ Luke 10:21
And whoso shall receive one such little child in my name receiveth me. But whoso shall offend one of these little ones which believe in me, it were better for him that a millstone were hanged about his neck, and that he were drowned in the depth of the sea.
~ Matthew 18:5-6
Showing, in many Instances, Where in the Subjects, or Zealous Promoters of Revival, Have Been Injuriously Blamed, by Jonathan Edwards. The following contains excerpts from his work, “Some Thoughts Concerning the present Revival of Religion in New England, And the Way in Which it Ought to be Acknowledged and Promoted, Humbly Offered to the Publick, in a Treatise on that Subject, in Five Parts.
Isai. 40. 3.
Prepare ye the Way of the Lord, make strait in the Desart a high-Way for our God.
Isai, 58. 1. Cry aloud, spare not, lift up thy Voice like a Trumpet, and shew my People their Transgression, and the House of Jacob their Sins.
Ezek. 6. 11. Thus faith the Lord God, smite with thine Hand, and stamp with thy Foot, and say, alass, for all the evil Abomination of the House of Israel!
Shewing, in many Instances, where in the Subjects, or zealous Promoters of this Work, have been injuriously blamed.
What has more especially given Offence to many, and raised a loud Cry against some Preachers, as tho’ their Conduct were intolerable, is their frighting poor innocent Children, with talk of Hell-Fire, and eternal Damnation. But if those that complain so loudly of this, really believe, what is the general Profession of the Country, viz. That all are by Nature the Children of Wrath, and Heirs of Hell; and that every one that has not been born again, whether he be young or old, is exposed, every Moment, to eternal Destruction, under the Wrath of Almighty God; I say, if they really believe this, then such a Complaint and Cry as this, bewrays a great deal of Weakness and Inconsideration.
As innocent as Children seem to be to us, yet, if they are out of Christ, they are not so in God’s Sight, but are young Vipers, and are infinitely more hateful than Vipers, and are in a most miserable Condition, as well as grown Persons; and they are naturally very senseless and stupid, being born as the wild Asses Colt, and need much to awaken them. Why should we conceal the Truth from them? Will those Children that have been dealt tenderly with, in this Respect, and lived and died insensible of their Misery, ’till they come to feel it in Hell, ever thank Parents, and others, for their Tenderness, in not letting them know what they were in Danger of. If Parents Love towards their Children was not blind, it would affect ’em much more to see their Children, every Day, exposed to eternal Burnings, and yet senseless, than to see ’em suffer the Distress of that Awakening, that is necessary in Order to their Escape from them, & that tends to their being eternally happy, as the Children of God. A Child that has a dangerous Wound, may need the painful Lance, as well as grown Persons; and that would be a foolish Pity, in such a Case, that should hold back the Lance, and throw away the Life.—I have seen the happy Effects of dealing plainly, and thoroughly with Children, in the Concerns of their Souls, without sparing them at all, in many Instances; and never knew any ill Consequence of it, in any one Instance…
…Another Thing that many have disliked, is the religious Meetings of Children, to read and pray together, and perform religious Exercises by themselves. What is objected is Children’s want of that Knowledge and Discretion, that is requisite, in order to a decent and profitable Management of religious Exercises. But it appears to me the Objection is not sufficient: Children, as they have the Nature of Men, are inclined to Society; and those of them that are capable of Society one with another, are capable of the Influences of the Spirit of God, in its active Fruits; and if they are inclined by a religious Disposition, that they have from the Spirit of God, to improve their Society one with another, in a religious Manner, and to religious Purposes, who should forbid them? If they han’t Discretion to observe Method in their religious Performances, or to speak Sense in all that they say in Prayer, they may notwithstanding have a good Meaning, and God understands them, and it don’t spoil or interrupt their Devotion one for another. We that are grown Persons, have Defects in our Prayers, that are a thousand Times worse in the Sight of God, and are a greater Confusion, and more absurd Nonsense in his Eyes, than their childish Indiscretions. There is not so much Difference before God, between Children & grown Persons, as we are ready to imagine; we are all poor, ignorant, foolish Babes, in his Sight…
… These are grown Men, and an hundred Years old, in Comparison with them…
God in this Work has shewn a remarkable Regard to little Children; never was there such a glorious Work amongst Persons in their Childhood, as has been of late, in New England: He has been pleased in a wonderful Manner to perfect Praise out of the Mouths of Babes and Sucklings; and many of them have more of that Knowledge and Wisdom, that pleases him, and renders their religious Worship acceptable, than many of the great and learned Men of the World: ‘Tis they, in the Sight of God, are the ignorant and foolish Children: These are grown Men, and an hundred Years old, in Comparison with them; and ’tis to be hoped that the Days are coming, prophesyed of Isai. 65. 20. when the Child shall die an hundred Years old.
I have seen many happy Effects of Children’s religious Meetings; and God has seem’d often remarkably to own them in their Meetings, and really descended from Heaven to be amongst them: I have known several probable Instances of Children being converted at such Meetings. I should therefore think, that if Children appear to be really moved to it, by a religious Disposition, and not meerly from a childish Affectation of imitating grown Persons, they ought by no Means to be discouraged or discountenanced: but yet ’tis fit that Care should be taken of them, by their Parents, and Pastors, to instruct and direct them, and to correct imprudent Conduct and Irregularities, if they are perceived; or any Thing by which the Devil may pervert and destroy the Design of their Meetings. All should take Heed that they don’t find Fault with, and despise the Religion of Children, from an evil Principle, left they should be like the chief Priests and Scribes, who were fore displeased at the religious Worship and Praises of little Children, and the Honour they gave Christ in the Temple. We have an Account of it, and of what Christ said upon it, in Mat. 21. 15, 16. And when the chief Priests & Scribes saw the wonderful Things that he did, and the Children crying in the Temple, and saying, Hosanna to the Son of David, they were fore displeased, and said unto him, Hearest thou what these say? And Jesus faith unto them, yea; have ye never read, Out of the Mouths of Babes and Sucklings, thou hast perfected Praise?