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Encouraging Words from a Grandfather

Wednesday, April 2, 2008

encouraging words from Charles Spurgeon on Psalm 144:12

12May our sons in their youth
be like plants full grown,
our daughters like corner pillars
cut for the structure of a palace;

“That our sons may be as plants grown up in their youth. Our sons are of first importance to the state, since men take a leading part in its affairs; and that the young men are the older men will be. He desires that they may be like strong, well rooted, young trees, which promise great things. If they do not grow in their youth, when will they grow? If in their opening manhood they are dwarfed, they will never get over it. O the joys which we may have through our sons! And, on the other hand, what misery they may cause us! Plants may grow crooked, or in some other way disappoint the planter, and so may our sons. But when we see them developed in holiness, what joy we have of them!” CHS

Verse 12. That our sons may be as plants, etc. They who have ever been employed in the cultivation of plants of any kind, are continually tempted to wish that the human objects of their care and culture would grow up as rapidly, as straight, as flourishing, would as uniformly fulfil their specific idea and purpose, as abundantly reward the labour bestowed on them…If our sons are indeed to grow up as young plants, like our English oaks, which according to the analogies of Nature, furnish no inappropriate type of our national character, they must not be stunted or dwarfed or pollarded, for the sake of being kept under the shade of a stranger. They should grow up straight toward heaven, as God had ordained them to grow…There is something so palpable and striking in this type, that twenty-five years ago, in speaking of the gentlemanly character, I was led to say, “If a gentleman is to grow up he must grow like a tree: there must be nothing between him and heaven.”—Julius Charles Hare, in a Sermon entitled “Education the Necessity of Mankind,” 1851.

Verse 12. That our sons may be as plants grown up in their youth, etc. Thus David prays for the rising generation. Metaphors seem generally unsuitable to prayer, but they do not wear this aspect in the prayers recorded in the Scriptures. The language of the text is tropical, but the metaphors are suitable and seasonable. Roots of vegetables are necessarily invisible. Tender plants are insignificant. A plant grown up, having height in its stem, width in its branches, abundance in its foliage, and fulness in its bloom, is conspicuous. David prays that the sons of that generation might be in their youth “as plants grown up”, that is, that their piety might not only live, but that their godliness might be fully expressed. The stones of a foundation are concealed. The stones in the mid wall of a building are also necessarily hid. The stones on the surface of a wall are visible, but they are not distinguished. The cornerstone of buildings in that day was prominent and eminent. Placed at the angle of the structure, where two walls met, on the top of the walls, and being richly ornamented and polished, it attracted attention. David prays that the daughters of that day might make an open and lovely profession of religion—that both sons and daughters might not only have piety but show it.—Samuel Martin, in “Cares of Youth.”

How sweet to be able to pray of our sons, you of yours and I of you that there be nothing between them [and you] and heaven!
May I suggest that the work,though it seem arduous and slow is important every day. I know that the temptation is great to slack off, or to take a day off (or even an hour off) from proper fathering–but the importance of the task begs us to keep on. Believe me, as one who did not learn well the lessons in my youth, the lessons need to be taught well.

I know you know this, but I want to always remind parents that we need to be properly and fully concerned about and keep a prayerful eye to the spiritual and heart development of our children as well as to their deportment and obedience and civility. It is possible, and what a sad and grievous possibility, that we raise civil and well-behaved young gentlemen who are devils in their hearts. As you and I pray to be fully repentant in our daily lives, so too pray for our youth that they might come early to know the grace of repentance in their lives.

I pray for you and your sons.

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