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Sunday after Ascension. Luke xix. 11-27. The Subject.—THE PARABLE OF THE POUNDS.
THE KEY-NOTE —" But When The ComForter IS COME, WHOM I WILL SEND UNTO
You From The Father, Even The Spirit Of Truth, Which Proceedetn From The Father, He Shall Testify Of Me."
John It. 26.
11. And as they heard these things, he added and spake a parable, because he was nigh to Jerusalem, and because they thought that the kingdom of God should immediately appear.
12. He said therefore, A certain nobleman went into a far country to receive for himself a kingdom, and to return.
13. And he called his ten servants, and delivered them ten pounds, and said unto them, Occupy till I come.
14 But his citizens hated him, and sent a message after him, saying. We will not haVe this man to reign over us.
15. And it came to pass, that when he was returned, having received the kingdom, then he comtuanded these servants to be called unto him, to whom he bad given the money, that he might know how much every man had gained by trading.
16. Toen came the first, saying, Lord, thy pound hath gained ten pounds.
17. And be said unto him, Well, thou good servant: because thou hast been faithful in a very little, have thou authority over ten cities.
18. And the second came, saying, Lord, thy pound hath gained five pound-.
19. And he said likewise to him, Be thou also over five cities.
20. And another came saying, Lord, Behold, here is thy pound, which I have kept laid up in a napkin:
21. For I feared thee, because thou art an austere man: thou takest up that thou layedst not down, and reapest that thou didst not sow.
22. And he faith unto him, Out of thine own mouth will I judge thee, thou wicked servant. Thou knewest that I was an austere man, taking up that I laid not down, and reaping that I did not sow:
23. Wherefore then gavest not thou my money into the bank, that at my coming I might have required mine own with usury?
24. And he said unto them that stood by, Take from him the pound, and give it to him that hath ten pounds.
25. (And they said unto him, Lord, he hath ten pounds.)
26. For I say unto you, That unto every one which hath shall be given; and from him that hath not, even that he hath shall be taken away from him.
27. But those mine enemies, which wonld not that I should reign over them, bring hither, and slay them before me.
What Lord's Day is this? What promise did our Lord leave His discip'es?
Vf.rsk 11. What thought had Christ's disciples concerning His kingdom?
12. Why did Christ utter the Parable of the Pounds? What other parable is like it? Matt. I xxv. 14-30. What is the main difference? Who is this nobleman in the spiritual sense? When did Christ go into afar countryT Why? j
13. Who arethe ten servants! What is each t t's Pound t
11. Who are His fellow citizens? How were they affected towards Him? Did the Jewi ever uttr such a message?
15. Did Christ receive His kingdom, notwith-! standing their opposition? When was Christ's return to the Jews? When are His servants judged?
10. What had one servant made of his pound? Who may he represent among Christ's :oll iwers? Matt. v. 48; xix. 21.
17. What reward had he? How are we to understand this? Matt. xix. 28-29.
Verses 18-19. Whom does the second servant typify among Christ's followers? Dj you notice a proportion between the pound and its increase? Also, between their rewards f What mav we learn from this fact?
Verse 20. Had the third servant gained
anything? How did he present his pound? What is a napkin [sweat-cloth) generally used for? Gen. iii. 19. Had he, then, been a tolling servant?
21. How does he speak of his Lord? Is Christ a righteous judge? Do some of His servants count Him a hard master T How do His good servants regard Him?
Verses 22-23. Did his lord excuse him? Will Christ? What does the nobleman call him? Wherein lay his wickedness? What ought he to have done with his pound, if he knew not how to invest it safely himself? To whom should weak and timid souls ally themselves in Christ's kingdom, in order to increase their gifts of grace?
Verse 24. What was done with this pound? To whom was it given?
25. What did some say? Were these, likely some of the other seven servants? If so, of what were they probably afraid?
26. Does the lord heed their interruption? What rule does He now lay down? May We infer from this, that the most faithful will be most abundantly blessed? How will every servant of Christ be rewarded?
What general admonition do we learn from this Parable? Matt. vii. 14; xvi. 24; Phil. ii. 12; Bom. viii. 15; Heb. xii 18, 22, 24.
Remarks : — The parable of the Pound and the parable of the Talents (Matt. xxv. 14-30) are very much alike. The main difference lies in the fact, that the Talents vary in number— Unto one he gave five talents, to another two, and to another one; to every man according to his several ability. The Pound, however, was the same for all. This is at once plain, when we remember, that the former parable was intended for the apostles, who were severally endowed with gifts in various measures; whilst the latter is designed for the Christian, for whom the Lord allots His Pound—alike to all.
Notes. Verse 11. As they heard these things, which He had just declared in the house of Zsccheus, the publican, concerning His mission into the world, on His way to Jerusalem (vs. 1-10). His disciples imagined He would take advantage of the festival, when vast crowds of Jews were assembled in the capital, to proclaim Himself the Messiah, and then the kingdom of God should immediately appear.
Verbe 12. He saia, therefore, that is, to disabuse their minds from such a spell. Here we have the cause or reason for this narrative given. A nobleman is one born of high ancestry, and well circumstanced. Such were very wealthy in the East. Our Lord, is meant under this character. He went abroad, in order to establish himself as king over a certain district within his territory, and return again. The ascension of Christ is here indicated, who enthroned Himself in Heaven, and will come again, to judge mankind.
Verse 13. He called his ten servants. The number ten is symbolical of fulness and completion. We can never count beyond it, without employing the same digits again. Thus we take the number fjr all Christ's servants—Christians, one and all. These are represented as stewards or householders over the Lord's goods, gifts and graces during His absence. It was a rule in the East, in ease such servants proved faithful and diligent, to entrust them with more, by and by. Ten pounds were distributed among ten servants—a pound to each. This coin was the Mina, and valued at £4. Is. 3d., according to some. With it they were to trade until his return.
The Gospel is portrayed here, which our Lord's followers are to enjoy and use, until He appears in death, or the last judgment.
Verse 14. But his citizens hated him. As this nobleman was unpopular among his countrymen, so was Christ with the Jews, His own people. They sent a message, or declared their intention, not to have him to reign over themselves. This is the very thought which the Jews uttered.
Verse 15. But having received the kingdom, notwithstanding the opposition, he ordered His servants to report on His return. In part, this account was made for the Jewish nation, when God destroyed them. Again it repeats itself in the hour of death, in a measure. The final judgment completes it.
Verse 16. The first servant called had a good account to render, as he had increased his pound to ten pounds. This typifies the saints, who develop towards a perfect Christian character. Matt. 5: 48; 19: 21.
Verse 17. Ten cities. Although this was literally done to servants, good and wise, it is an image of the great reward awaiting such holy men of God, in the heavenly world. See Matt. 19: 28, 29.
Verses 18, 19. The second servant had multiplied his treasure fivefold. This may well be considered as the type of the average Christian. Our Lord means evidently to impress this important truth; that a9 Christians differ in fidelity, in zeal, in labor, so will they differ in the amount of their spiritual gains. Remember, the aim of Christ is not now, to teach that according as we have received will it be expected from us. That truth He brings out into a blazing light, when He speaks of the talents. Here, we cannot too often repeat, it is a pound for each. Sarely, then, He would tell us, that he who increases the common capital most largely has the largest reward.
Verse 20. And another came. He had not lost his pound; but neither had he increased it. Not having worked, toiled, or sweated, he did not need his napkin (pocket-handkerchief), for its proper use, and therefore wrapped his money in it. It well describes the idle man in the Lord's vineyard (Gen. 3: 19.) '^
Verse 21. I feared Thee. So says the soul that serves God coldly and heartlessly, merely to e3cape damnation, as it were, A hard Master does he consider the Lord, who complain? of the burden and the yoke every day. He knows not what it is to serve the Lord with gladness. Our Lird is not addressing tho3a who waste His goods like the prodigal; nor those who run into His debt ten thousand talents, like the unmerciful servant; but to those who hive, bury, or let their Gospel grace lie dead! Because the law of God is strict, they fear to undertake its observance, or make the attempt, le3t they vow and pay not, and thus render their lot still more sad. There is a show of humility in their excuse, which God, however, will not tolerate.
Verses 22, 23. Thou wicked servant, said his lord; and so says our Lord. It is always wicked to excuse ourselves by accusing others—especially to cast the blame on God. Out of thine own mouth will I judge thee. Let it be granted that I am a strict Master, requiring a lifd that issues from a pure heart, after my perfect law, and for mine own glory, still then, for that very reason, oughtest thou to have been concerned for my rights and interests. And if thou didst not trust thyself in investing the pound, there was a way even for thee. Wherefore then gavest not thou my money into the bank, (or money-changer) t Christians of weak and tim'd nature are here taught to ally and subject themselves to the strong and active, in whose wake and light they may increase their faith and grace. Then the gift dies not out, but grows a usury, or increases by being put to using.
Verse 24. Take from him the pound. Because he had shown himself unwilling to employ it to his and his lord's interest. So the gift of Grace will be withdrawn from the unworthy. Give it to him who hath ten pounds. The angels are meant here by them that stood by.
Verse 25 Low, he hath ten pounds already, said certain ones. Perhapj these were of the other seven, who now felt the jeopardy of their own state, and desired to redeem themselves—as though the lord would transfer his treasures without regard to fitness.
Verse 26. But the Lord, without
minding the interruption, said what the law of his realm is—Unto every one which hath (gained) shall be given (entrusted more); and from him thai hath not (gained), even that (original grace, which) he hath shall be taken away from him! A warning for all followers of Christ.
Verse 27. His enemies, the Jews, perished. So will it be with all, at the end of the world.
See Matt. 7: 14; 16: 24; Phil. 11: 12; Rom. 8: 15; Heb. 12: 18, 22,24.
"The Little White-Haired Mother."
Immediately after taking the oath of office at his inauguration President Garfield turned to his old white-headed mother at his side and kissed her. This little incident touched the heart of the whole nation. When her son James was a child she was left a poor widow, and toiled as few mothers toil to raise and elucate him. And now he gives her a coxy home in the White House, and continues to love her with all the warmth of his childhood. This forms the subject of the following poem:—
With sudden praise a mighty voice
Sweeps all the Continent;
The statesmen's wills have bent;
The day has come: the hour draws near;
Looks on the listening land;
Who stays him, hand in hand?
The glittering embassies of kings
Are standing in their state;
They and their kingdoms wait,
Ah, States may grow, and men may gain,
The brunt of every country's strain,
Comes through its husbands, daughters, brothers,
At last on patient white-haired mothers."
S. H. in New York Tribune.
The article in the April number of the Guardian, entitled "A Slight Difficulty," was taken from " The Christian Intelligencer." We endeavor to give due credit for selections made from other publications, and regret that it was in this case inadvertently omitted. The Guardian has repeatedly fared similarly at the hands of our exchanges. We sometimes find a ceitain article of ours floating through a succession of other papers uncredited. The one that first omits the credit is to blame for all the succeeding omissions. And with him, as in our own case, the offence may have been unintentional. In this connection it affords us pleasure to express our high appreciation of'' The Christian Intelligencer." As a Christian journal, in sentiment, style, and general tbne, we question whether it has a superior in this country.
We once had the pleasure of being present at a so-called "first Class Concert." The large hall was crowded, and the skillful singers were cheered with repeated rounos of applause. Their selections were mostly classical, such as few among the large audience could fully appreciate. Of course all were in duty bound to be highly pleased, and to let on, at least, that they thoroughly appreciated that kind of music. Now it happened that these same singers had, in the same place, on a former occasion, sung among otter pieces, "Swanee River," which of course every body enjoyed very much. Sitting near an intelligent elderly friend at the latter concert, we were greatly amused at his persistent vigorous calls for "Swanee River." Above the roaring applause of the audience could be heard his
emphatic untiring demand of Swanee River: "Give us Swanee River," "O pshaw, give us 'Swanee River.'" Certain we are, that not only we, but at least four-fifths, prohably nine tenths of that audience agreed with his taste, and heartily wished if only the singers would give us the well known plantation song.
Some may have thought that our friend showed a great want of good taste, if not of good breeding. Whereas he represented the average musical culture of that crowd, and was honest and humble enough in that public way, to own that a simple negro song was to him more pleasing than the so-called master pieces of the great composers.
Theodore Thomas, in an excellentlywritten paper in the March Scribncr, after discussing some of the bad methods of musical culture in this country, says: "I was onfco asked by a gentleman what he ought to do to make his children musical. He perhaps expected me to advise him to send the girls to Italy to study vocalization, and to set the boys to practicing the violin so many hours a day, and studying harmony. I told him to form for them a singing-class under the care of a good teacher, that they might learn to use their vocal organs, to form a good tone, and to read music; after they became old enough to let them join a choral society, where, for two hours once a week, they could assist in singing good music; and, above all, to afford them every opportunity of hearing good music of every kind. This gentleman knew nothing of music, but thought the advice 'sounded like common sense.'"
The late Dr. Thomas Guthrie of Scotland was noted as the founder and friend of ragged Schools, in which poor neglected children were rescued from a life of sin. He says that Bis interest in this cause was first awakened by a picture which he one day happened to tee in the little town of Anstruther. "It represented a cobbler's room; he was there himself, spectacles on nose, an old shoe between his knees; that massive forehead and firm mouth indicating great determination of character, and from beneath his bushy eyebrows benevolence gleamed out on a group of poor children, some sitting, some standing, but all busy at their lessons around him." The inscription below the picture stated how this cobbler, "John Pounds, in Portsmouth, had taken pity on the ragged children, whom ministers and magistrates, ladies and gentlemen, were leaving to run wild and go to ruin on their streets ; how like a good shepherd he had gone forth to gather in these outcasts, how he had trained them up in vinue and knowledge, and how, looking for no fame, no recompense from man, he, singlehanded, while earning his daily bread by the sweat of his face, had, ere he died, rescued from ruin and saved to society no fewer than five hundred children."
"I confess that I felt humbled. I felt ashamed of myself. I well remember saying to my companion, in the enthusiasm of the moment, and in my calmer and cooler hours, I have seen no reason for unsaying it, 'That man is an honor to humanity.' 'He has deserved the tallest monument ever raised on British shores!' Nor was John Pounds only a benevolent man. He was a genius in his way; at any rate, he was ingenious; and, if he could not catch a poor boy in any other way, like Paul, he would win him by guile. He was sometimes seen hunting down a tagged urchin on the quays of Portsmouth, and compelling him to come to school, not by the power of a policeman, but a potato! He knew the love of an Irishman for a potato, and might be seen running alongside an unwilling boy with one held under his nose, with a temper as hot and a coat as ragged as his own.''
This picture with its story stirred Thomas Guthrie's mind and heart. He wandered through the Cowgate, Grassmarket, and other streets of Edinburgh teeming with poverty and crime. One night,in company with one of his elders
he visited the police office of the city. He says: "After visi ing a number of cells, I remember looking down from a gallery upon an open space, where five or six human beings were stretched on the stone pavement buried in slumber, and right before the stove, its ruddy light shining full on his face, lay a poor child, who attracted my especial attention. He was miserably clad; he seemed about eight years old ; he had the sweetest face I ever paw; his bed was the pavement, his pillow a brick, and as he lay calm in sleep, forgetful of all his sorrow, he might have served for a picture of injured innocence. His story was sad, not singular. He knew neither father nor mother, brothers nor friends, in the wide world; his only fi iends were the police, his only home their office. How he lived they did not know; but there he was at night; the stone by the stove was a better bed than the steps of a cold stair. I could not get that boy out of my head or heart for days and nights together. I have often regretted that some effort was not made to save him. Before now, launched on the sea of human passions, and exposed to a thousand temptations, he has, too probably, become a melancholy wreck; left by a society, more criminal than he, to became a criminal, and then punished for his fate, not his fault."
Streets are designed for traveling, not for people to live or loaf in. Young people should not be seen on the street too much. Young men should avoid corner loafing. The curbstone regiment belongs to an ignoble army. How coarse and rude it looks fur young men in such ranks to stare at people as they pass. Good people will soon lose all respect for such persons. A certain prisoner awaiting his trial said to a gentleman visiting him: "Sir, I had a good home education. My street education ruined me. I used to step out of the house, and go off with the boys in the street. In the street I learned to lounge; in the street I learned to swear; in the street I learned to smoke; in the street I learned to gamble; in the street I learned to pilfer and to do all evil. 0, sir, it is in the street that the devil lurks to ruin the young."