One day, when the mothers of Perea brought their little ones to Jesus, the disciples found fault with them for coming, and tried to keep them away. But when Jesus saw what the disciples were doing He was much displeased, and said to them --
'SUFFER LITTLE CHILDREN, AND FORBID THEM NOT, TO COME UNTO ME: FOR OF SUCH IS THE KINGDOM OF HEAVEN.'
And He took them up in His arms, put His hands upon them, and blessed them.
Jesus used to tell some very beautiful stories as He went slowly through the Holy Land. We have not room for all, but I must tell you two or three, and I will tell you them exactly as Jesus first told them.
'A certain man had two sons: and the younger of them said to his father, Father, give me the portion of goods that falleth to me. And he divided unto them his living.
'And not many days after the younger son gathered all together, and took his journey into a far country, and there wasted his substance with riotous living.
'And when he had spent all, there arose a mighty famine in that land; and he began to be in want. And he went and joined himself to a citizen of that country; and he sent him into his fields to feed swine. And he would fain have filled his belly with the husks that the swine did eat: and no man gave unto him. And when he came to himself, he said, How many hired servants of my father's have bread enough and to spare, and I perish with hunger! I will arise and go to my father, and will say unto him, Father, I have sinned against heaven and before thee, and am no more worthy to be called thy son: make me as one of thy hired servants.
'And he arose and came to his father. But when he was yet a great way off, his father saw him, and had compassion, and ran and fell on his neck, and kissed him.
'And the son said unto him, Father, I have sinned against heaven, and in thy sight, and am no more worthy to be called thy son.
'But the father said to his servants, Bring forth the best robe, and put it on him, and put a ring on his hand, and shoes on his feet: and bring hither the fatted calf, and kill it; and let us eat, and be merry: for this my son was dead, and is alive again; he was lost, and is found.'
THE STORY OF THE UNMERCIFUL SERVANT.
At another time Jesus said --
'Therefore is the kingdom of heaven likened unto a certain king, which would take account of his servants. And when he had begun to reckon, one was brought unto him, which owed him ten thousand talents. But forasmuch as he had not to pay, his lord commanded him to be sold, and his wife, and children, and all that he had, and payment to be made.
'The servant therefore fell down, and worshipped him, saying, Lord, have patience with me, and I will pay thee all.
'Then the lord of that servant was moved with compassion, and loosed him, and forgave him the debt.
'But the same servant went out, and found one of his fellowservants, which owed him an hundred pence: and he laid hands on him, and took him by the throat, saying, Pay me that thou owest.
'And his fellowservant fell down at his feet, and besought him, saying, Have patience with me, and I will pay thee all.
'And he would not: but went and cast him into prison, till he should pay the debt.
[Illustration: The Jordan near Bethabara.]
'So when his fellowservants saw what was done, they were very sorry, and came and told unto their lord all that was done. Then his lord, after that he had called him, said unto him, O thou wicked servant, I forgave thee all that debt, because thou desiredst me: shouldest not thou also have had compassion on thy fellowservant, even as I had pity on thee? And his lord was wroth, and delivered him to the tormentors, till he should pay all that was due unto him.
'So likewise shall my Heavenly Father do also unto you, if ye from your hearts forgive not every one his brother.'
Jesus often told beautiful parables: here are two --
THE STORY OF THE TARES.
'The kingdom of Heaven is likened unto a man which sowed good seed in his field: but while men slept, his enemy came and sowed tares among the wheat, and went his way.
'But when the blade was sprung up, and brought forth fruit, then appeared the tares also.
'So the servants of the householder came and said unto him, Sir, didst not thou sow good seed in thy field? from whence then hath it tares?
'He said unto them, An enemy hath done this.
'The servants said unto him, Wilt thou then that we go and gather them up?'
'But he said, Nay; lest while ye gather up the tares, ye root up also the wheat with them. Let both grow together until the harvest: and in the time of harvest I will say to the reapers, Gather ye together first the tares, and bind them in bundles to burn them: but gather the wheat into my barn.'
THE STORY OF THE TEN VIRGINS.
'Then shall the kingdom of heaven be likened unto ten virgins, which took their lamps, and went forth to meet the bride-groom.
'And five of them were wise, and five were foolish. They that were foolish took their lamps, and took no oil with them: but the wise took oil in their vessels with their lamps.
'While the bridegroom tarried, they all slumbered and slept.
'And at midnight there was a cry made, Behold, the bridegroom cometh; go ye out to meet him.
'Then all those virgins arose, and trimmed their lamps. And the foolish said unto the wise, Give us of your oil; for our lamps are gone out.
'But the wise answered, saying, Not so; lest there be not enough for us and you: but go ye rather to them that sell, and buy for yourselves.
'And while they went to buy, the bride-groom came; and they that were ready went in with him to the marriage: and the door was shut.
'Afterwards came also the other virgins, saying, Lord, Lord, open to us.
'But he answered and said, Verily I say unto you, I know you not. Watch therefore, for ye know neither the day nor the hour wherein the Son of Man cometh.'