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Remarks.—In this parable our Lord would teach the Jews, that all that Moses and the prophets had taught was true, and safe for them to obey and follow. But that sincerity is demanded on the part of those who would serve God. A mere external observance would not save them. No matter how rich they might be in privileges and advantages, unless they properly employed their spiritual riches, they would find themselves poor in the world to come. To enforce this truth, He related this parable.
Vekse 19. A certain rich man represent the Jewish uatioD. No people were po-sessed of a larger store of spiritual treasures. As kings were clothed in purple garments, and priests in fine linen dresses, this nation is called a "royal priesthood," or a chosen people, wanting in nothing. They fared sumptuously every day, on the rich spiritual table which Jehovah had decked for them. Compared with any ether people, what a feast of fat things they enjoyed!
Verse 20. Lazarus represents Christ Himself. In His humiliation, He was I a beggar, not having where to lay His bead—asking for a drink from the Samaritan woman—and dependent on the charity of His friend?. The name Lazarus means forsaken of God, even as He confessed in His cry on the cross. To learn what the phrase, was laid at his gate, means, we have only to remember, that the Jewish people never suffered Christ to come closer to its heart than under the doorway. He stood and knocked long and loud; but they never opened their portals far and wide to Him. They slew Him finally outside their city. For the meaning of full of sores, read what Isaiah says of Him in his 53d chapter.
Verse 21. Christ was rejoiced to enjoy the smallest blessings which recited from the table of the Jewish nation— the crumbs of faiih and love which were gathered in His behalf. The dogs, who were type3 of the unclean Gentiles, in the eyes of the Jews, often licked his sores, or soothed His heart burdened and broken by trials and cruelties. Men and women of heathen districts often rejoiced His heart by the exhibition of j their faith and obedience. I
Verse 22. The beggar died. Christ was subjected to death. But angels carried Him to Abraham's bosom, or God's paradise. The riclt, man also died The Jewish nation died out about 40 years after Christ's death. Never was a people more completely buried.
Verse 23. In hell, or in the dismal region of the unhappy dead, the once rich and haughty children of Abraham find themselves in torment, or punishment, on account of their unbelief towards Lazarus. Besides, in some way, unknown to us, they see into God's paradise, and lo! Lazarus in closest union with God. They know Him to be Christ now.
Verse 24 At once they are represented as praying to God for mercy and deliverance. And, strange to say, they asked it through Lazarus, that He may bring them but the smallest help—a drop of water, let it be, rolling from the tip of His prayer. Surely they now see in Lazarus the Great Mediator between God and man. Gal. 3: 20.
Verse 25. God reminds them, that their day of good things, or time of salvation, had been when Lazarus (Christ) experienced His day of evil things, or period of humiliation. And that, now, since the period of exaltation had come, and He is comforted, they must bear the penalty, be tormented, since they refused to see in the time of light.
Verse 26. And a great gulf, or difference of character is said to exist, between the faithful and the unbelieving, in the other world, as there is in this world. The friends and enemies of God cannot associate together. Each class has its state and place assigned, accordingly as their character is.
Verse 27. From p:ayer for themselves they are now said to iutercede for their brethren, nr those who yet remained on earth. They still think of their spiritual home in time, of Jerusalem and the temple, perhaps the house their Father built for them.
Verse 28. The five brethren may typify the surviving Jews on earth—the portion of the race left in time. They are concerned lest the latter should make the same mistake which they had committed, in rejecting the claims of Lazarus, and share the same sad fate.
Verse 28. Jehovah is made to reply, that Moses and the prophets, the law and the Gospel, are still left for them to walk by, if they desire light and salvation.
Verse 30. Nay! They dream as men on earth sometimes do, that Ihe means of salvation which God has furnished are not effectual enough, and that better instrumentalities ought to be provided.
Verse 31. Heaven still inn'sts, that unless these moral means effect the change of heart in men, nothing will—■ not even a story told of the other world by one who had been there. How true it is, too! For our Lord did come back from the dead; yet who that does not believe Moses and the prophets, is moved even by His resurrection? This parable had its first application in the relation of Christ to the Jewish nation. But it has a similar application in the relation of Christ to the world. And it has a home-application in the relation of Christ to the human soul.
It is a grand lesson for rich men too. See verse 9. But we greatly miss the aim of Christ, if we confine its application to such characters.
Newspapers and Bull-Fights.
In noticing the demoralizing effect of some newspapers in corrupting the public taste and morals. Rev. Henry Ward Beecher recently said:
It is the habit of papers giving the news of the world to set afloat material from the highest to the lowest. In society, people are required to wear clothes, but in newspapers they go without. The newspapers are made channels for bearing intelligence, invaluable aids to education, but there is a common sewer at the bottom, full of mephitic gases, repugnant to honor and decency. When told of this, the men who control them say that they publish the news that is marketable; their papers are not for preaching, but to give the news which people demand. If they do not publish it their rivals will; they wish public sentiment would prevent this demand. This throws the responsibility upon you who read. I know there are some, men who won't have anything to do with it, but the great mass of the people have this morbid curiosity to
know who has been shot, what seduction has taken place, what murder has occurred, who is hanging from the gallows to-day. It is worse cannibalism than that of the South Sea Islands. The effect cannot but be bad. Rome had her gladiators; Spain her bull-fights; England her bear-baiting, and America her newspapers.
N. P. Willis, in one of his letters from Bermuda, said: "Here every female is trained from childhood to carry burdens upon the head. From a tea-cup to a water-pail, everything is placed on a small cushion at the top of the skull. The absolute erectness of figure necessary to keep the weight where it can be best supported by the spine, the nice balance of gait to poise it without being steadied by the hands, the throwing forward of the cihest with the posture and effort that are demanded, and measured action of the hips, and the deliberateness with which all turning round or looking aside must be done, combine to form an habitual demeanor and gait of peculiar loftiness and stateliness. A prouder-looking procession than the market-women, as they go with their baskets on their heads across the square below our veranda, could not be found in the world. They look incapable of being surprised into a quick movement, and are, without exception, queenly of mien, though it come, strangely enough, from carrying the burdens of the slave."
Causes of Separation.
The Advance notice3 some mighty causes of schism and separation in the Greek Church, as follows:
During the ecclesiastical autocracy of the Russian Patriarch Nikon, in the seventeenth century, nearly half of the orthodox Church separated from the State Church, for the reason that the name of Jesus was spelled differently, "Hallelujah" was sung three times instead of twice; the sign of the cross was made with three fingers instead of with two, etc. Wonder, if any fragments of such fetichism survive among us?
MAY 22. IiKHSOX XXI. 1881.
Fifth Sunday after Easter. Luke xviii. 1-14.
ASCENSION KEY-NOTE.—" I CAMS Forth From The Father, And Am Come Into Tub World : Again, I Leave The World, And oo To The .father."—John xvi. 28.
1. And he spake a parable unto them to this end, that men ought always to pray, and not to faint:
2. Saying, There was in a city a judge, which feared not God, neither regarded man:
3. And there was a widow in that city: and she came unto him, saying, Avenge me of mine adversary.
4. And he would not for a while: but afterward he said within himself, Though I fear not God, nor regard man;
5. Yet because this widow troubleth me, I will avenge her, lest by her continual coming she weary me.
6. And the Lord said, Hear what the unjust judge saith.
7. And Bhall not God avenge his own elect, which cry day and night unto him, though he bear long with them?
8. I tell you that he will avenge them speed • ily. Nevertheless, when the Son of man cometh, shall he find faith on the earth?
9- And he spake this parable unto certain which trusted in themselves that they were righteous, and despised others:
10. Two men went up into the temple to pray; the one a Pharisee, and the other a pub
11. The Pharisee stood and prayed thus with I himself; God, I thank thee, that I am not as
other men are, extortioners, unjust, adulterers, or even as this publican.
12. I fast twice in the week, I give tithes of all that I possess.
13. And the publican, standing afar off, would not lift up so much as his eyes unto heaven, bnt smote upon his breast, saying, God be merciful to me a sinner.
14. I tell you, this man went down to his house justified rather than the other: for every one that exalteth himself shall be abased; anl he that humbleth himself sh^ll be exalted.
What is this Lord's Day called? What does Eo-ga-le mean? Matt. vii. 7.
Through whom must your prayers be offered to God? 1 Tim. iii. 5. To what may Jesus be compared? Gen. xxviii. 11-12; John i. 51.
Verse 1. Why did Jesus utter the Parable of the unjust judge? What is it to pray always f Why sho Id we do so?
2. What is a judge? What character is given him by our Lord f
3. Who came to him? Why? What is it to avenge t What Is an adversary? Who is our great enemy? 1 Pet. v. 8.
Verses 4-5. Was he willing to grant her wish? What does mid within himself mean? What did he think? What was his motive for granting her wish? Was it a good motive?
Verse 6. What does Jesus call this judge?
7. What contrast does our Lord now draw between this man and God? Between the widow and His chosen ones? Between her coming often, and their cry in??
8. What does our Lord now declare concerning the prayers of God's people? Does He think we will heartily believe His declaration?
10 What is this Parable called? What two men are before us? What can you tell of the Pharisees? Of the Publicans? What were both engaged in? Where?
11. Is the first part of the Pharisee's prayer all thanks-giving? Should not also confession of tin, and supplication be joined with praise? For what does he thank God? Was this not right, then? Wherein was he wrong, then? What character in the Old Testament showed this same spirit? Gen. iv. 1-7.
12. What does he now tell? Was it wrong to fast? Was tithing wrong? Was he proiid of his works? What do you think he believed himself to be? verse 9.
13. What spirit did the Publican show aside of this man? From whom did he stand off? Why? What more did he do? What was his prayer? Of what did he show himself conscious? What does he desire? Oj what account?
In what did Abel show a faith already, when he brought a bloody sacrifice? Had the Jews been taught that forgiveness of sin could ! ouly come through the shedding of blood? Had i the Publican probably this faith, too?
14. What does Christ sav of th* answer He obtained? What is justified t What general truth does He teach? What is it to exalt oneself? To humble one-self?
When ought we to pray? From what spirit? To whom? Through whom?
Jesus, o'er the grave victorious,
Reign, Thou in Toy might all glorious;
2. Saints in Thee approach the Father
Remarks:—The Lord's day immediately before Ascension day, is called Ro-garte, a name which signifies asking, supplicating, praying.
Now, since our Lord is exalted at the right hand of God, all our worship can only be offered acceptably to God through Him. So, too, all blessings can only reach us through Him. He is the true Jacob's ladder. Compare Gen. xxviii. 11, 12, with John i. 51. See also 1 Timothy iii. 5.
Notes. Verse 1. Men ought always to pray, or cultivate a devotional and supplicating frame of mind. We are always in need of God's aid, and unless we seek it, we will soon faint under the trials and temptations of life.
Verse 2. A judge is the same as a governor or ruler. He is known as the '• unjust judge in Gospel history—our Lord giving Him that title (ver. 6). Two features of his character are given us:—1. He feared not God; 2. He regarded not man. Any one standing in such wrong relation to his God and his fellow-men, is wrong all through.
Verse 3. A widow in the East was regarded as very helpless and dependent. Avenge me, means, do me justice. Adversary is an opponent or enemy. Satan is our great adversary (1 Pet. v. 8).
Verse 4. He would not for a while, because he cared nothing about justice and right, and, therefore, felt no interest or compassion for the wrongs his subjects suffered. But afterward, when she had come often and begged hard, he saidwithin himself,or thought: "Though I care nothing about right or wrong."
Verse 5. Because this woman troubleth me, and by her constant coming and persistent asking, wearies me, or interferes with my ease and comfort, I will do her this favor.
Verses 6, 7. Now follows our Lord's application: He drew a sharp contrast (1) Between God, who is Love itself, and this unjust judge; (2) Between the pour woniau, who was a stranger to the judge, and God's elect, or chosen ones; (3) Between her frequeDt coming, and God's children crying day and night unto Him. Though He hear long with them, can be read, b cause He is compassionate toward them.
Verse 8. / tell you He will avenge them speedily, or in the right time and
way. Notwithstanding the sure promise of God, our Lord asks, whether such faith, or trust, may be expected in men's hearts, even after He had ascended and came unto them by His Spirit?'
The whole parable teaches this lesson :—If men obtain their requests, even from the worst of their fellow-beings, by urging their suits long and earnestly, why should not the God of all righteousness give heed to the prayers of His saints?
But having told His disciples of praying without ceasing (1 Thes. v. 17), He reminds them, that it must be done in the proper spirit of humility and faith. This truth He illustrates in the Parable of the Pharisee and the Publican. Men may trust more in their prayers, than in God. Such may be said to trust in themselves, indeed. This feeling is the essence of self-righteousness, which exalts the prayer maker, and causes him to look down upon others, as sinners beyond himself. The whole class of Pharisees is aimed at in the first part; whilst an encouragement is offered to the publicans and sinners.
Verse 10. Two men, or two classes of men visited the temple in those days — and do to this day. To pray is to worship, or to perform devotional acts. Let it be remembered, however, that a third clas3 entered the temple, and still enter it, which is not spoken of here—the moral and pious Jew, once, and the moral and pious Christian now. It is not necessary to be a Phaiisee, nor a publican; it is better to be neither the one, nor the other. Our Lord speaks only of the two orders before Him. The Pharisee represented the strict observer of forms, according t > the letter. The Publican was a type of the godlejs crowd, who neglected all religious duties, as a rule, and transgressed the commandments openly and constantly. But even such souls have penitent momenta, lucid intervals.
Verse 11. The first part of the Pharisee's prayer consists of thanksgiving to God, and is good and right, as far as it goes. We ought to praise, laud, and magnify God's grace, by which we are preserved from becoming moral wrecks —extortioners, or cru lly dishonest men; unjust, so as to take advantage of others wrongfully, without feeling the wrong; adulterers, or unclean in speech and act; or of the unfortunate class of which this publican was a specimen. But you listen, in vain, for any confession of sin to fall from his lips, and, consequently, for any supplication, either. Our prayer is not to be all thanksgiving. Such waa Cain's service, with which God was not pleased (Gen. iv. 1-7).
Verse 12. In the second part, we have a self-laudation. He tells God what He did, after relating what he had not done or been. Fasting twice a week was habitual with strict Jews—on Monday and Thursday. Giving tithes, or the tenth of all one's proceeds, was equally general. All this was right and proper, too. But he was proud of it, and therefore rendered even his virtues sinful.
This man secretly held himself to be a saint. He trusted,in himself that he was righteous before God. Hence no need of confession, or supplication, for him. That was only for publican souls, whom he despised (ver. 9).
Verse 13. The publican's conduct was the picture of humility. He stood afar off from the other worshipers, and this Pharisee, especially. With bent head, he cried in penitence:—God be merciful to me a sinner! He felt his sinfulness. He confessed it. He begs for pardon. He asks it of sheer mercy. Good and learned men say that this person's prayer reads thus: God! forgive me- through au atoning sacrifice." As a Jew, he knew of the promised shedding of blood, without which no forgiveness of sin could come. He believed in its fulfillment in God's time. Even as Abel believed, and followed God by such a faith, so did the publican.
Verse 14. I tell you, this man, who cried for mercy through the sacrifice of atonement which God had promised, went down from the temple, justified, or forgiven, rather than the Pharisee, who gloried in himself, and felt no need of any sacrifice. Every one that exalteth himself to God and heaven over the ladder of his own goodness, shall be abased, or cast fearfully down; and he that humbleth himself, or renounces all hope in himself, shall be exalted through Jesus Christ, his Saviour.
Let us see to it, that our prayers ascend continually to God. Let them issue from an humble spirit. Let them ascend to God through Jesus Christ, who is our Advocate in the heavenly world.
Husbands and Wives.
A good husband makes a good wife. Some men can neither do without wives nor with them. They are wretched alone in what is called single-blessedness, and they make their homes miserable when they get married. They are like Tompkins' dog, which could not bear to be loose, and howled when he was tied up. Happy bachelors are likely to be happy husbands, and a happy husband is the happiest of men. A well-matched couple carry a joyful life between them, as the two spie3 carry the cluster of Eschol. They are a brace of birds of paradise. They multiply their joys by sharing them, and lessen their troubles by dividing them. This is fine arithmetic. The wagon of care rolls lightly along as they pull together; and when it drags a little heavily, or there's a hitch anywhere, they love each other all the more, aud so lighten the labor.—John Ploughman.
The Pronunciation of " U."
Ninety-nine out of every hundrtd northerners will say " institoot" instead of institute—" dooty " for duty, a perfect rythm for the word beauty. Not a dictionary in the English language authorizes this. In student and stupid the " u" has the same sound as in cupid, and should not be pronounced stoodent or stoopid, as so many of our teachers are in the habit of calling them. If it is a vulgarism to call a door, a doah,—as we all admit,—is it not as much of a vulgarism to call a newspaper a noospaper? When the London Punch wishes to burlesque the pronunciation of servants, it makes them call the duke, the dook, the tutor, a tooter, and a tube a toob. Our best speakers never fall into the error. As many of our teachers have never had their attention called to this, I hope they will excuse this notice.—Selected.