Offences of pride

Offences of pride

Of little Children. Our duties towards them.

(The Gospel History, Section 75)

And John answered and said, Master, we saw one casting out devils in thy name, and we forbade him, because he followeth not with us.

But whosoever shall cause one of these little ones which believe on me to stumble, it were better for him if a great millstone were hanged about his neck, and he were sunk in the depth of the sea.

Offences of pride

(The Saviour of the World, Vol IV Book IV Poem LXV)

The Twelve fixed eyes upon the child in their midst,

And pondered the Master’s words: “Here’s a new thing,”
Said each in his heart, “This teaching, who can hear?”
And each intolerant thought, impatient word,
All hot resentment and all hasty scorn
Stood manifest in light: the little child
Sits not in the seat of the scorner, is not wroth;
And, who were they that they should set them up
As more than other men, with the right to judge?
The child’s humility as leaven spread,
And humble for the instant stood they there
Before the Lord who is lowly.

Then spake John

(Knowing he answered straight the word of Christ),
“Master, we saw one casting devils out
And using Thy name to bid them; we forbade;
He is not of our company,—by what right
Used he Thy name of power?”—thus questioned John;
Arraigned for arrogance, he sought excuse:
But Jesus said unto him,—“Forbid him not;
Who made thee that man’s judge, or how shalt plumb
The depths of faith hidden in any heart?
‘He followeth not with us,’ say ye in your pride;
Think ye God hath none other way for men
To tread but that ye follow? Humble you;—
So shall ye see God deals in many ways
With the hearts of men; and he that’s least of you,
Nay, he that is outside, may do great works;
Sure, such an one will no light evil word
Speak of Me, in whose Name he acts. Say ye,
‘He hath no knowledge, Lord, of all those words
Thou taught’st us from the beginning!’—what know ye?
God is not shut in by any bounds men draw,
And say, This way or that the Spirit goeth:
Let this rule guide your thoughts:—that man’s for us
Who sets not his face against us: all the good
That any man may do, he doth for God,
Tho’ strangely he misname the Lord he serves.
But should one know My Name and for My Sake
Do any deed of service for My friends—
Cup of cold water given to one of you
Because ye are Christ’s—I say to you, in truth,
That man shall have reward at the hand of God,
And shall in no wise lose it.

But, if reward

Wait him who serves, though small his service be,
Likewise believe ye that no slight offence
Escapes its condemnation. See this child—
These little ones believe as a man draws breath;
E’en as the unreasoning babe its mother trusts,
Unknowing of trust or love but in the act,
So do these little ones believe in Me
Though My Name to say they know not. See to it
That ye cause them not to stumble: each offence
Of arrogance or violence done to these,
All careless living they’re to follow fain,
All light regard of God they learn of a man,
These things shall as a millstone hang on his life:
Nay, well for that man were a millstone hung
About his neck and he were sunk in the sea!

St. Matthew xviii, 6.
St. Mark ix, 38–42.
St. Luke ix, 49.