« AnteriorContinuar »
were those who did military duties. They were to abstain from all unnecessary violence, from unjust accusation, and from discontent with their pay. Many took more than the law allowed, in order to increase their wages.
How largely had John imbibed the spirit of the Gospel! All these precepts apply to the various classes of modern society.
Verse 15. As the people were in expectation, or waiting for the Messiah to come, about that time, men mused, or spoke to one another their inward mind, whether John were not the Christ. They felt that the Messiah Himself would hardly preach a more elevated Gospel.
Verse 16. John now contrasted himself and his baptism with Christ and Christian baptism. He places himself far away from Jesus, in worth and dignity. John i. 19-27. To unloose the latchet of slwes was the work of the lowest slaves in the house, whose part it was to remove the sandals of guests. His was an external water baptism, indicative of the inner cleansing, which was alone possible by the operation of the Holy Ghost, under the Gospel, the effect of which was like the work of fire, pervading deep within.
Verse 17. Here the Jewish nation is compared to a threshing floor, on which are found wheat and chaff. God's judgments are likened to a fan or windmill, which is to separate the worthless from the pure.
Verse 18. And many other things John proclaimed during his ministry to his nation. Ha did his work well. "Among them that are born of women," Jesus said, " there has not risen a greater than John the Baptist." How long he continued to labor is not known; but he still preached and baptized after Jesus began His ministry at Cana in Galilee. He was finally imprisoned, under Herod Antipas, because of his faithfulness against sin. He was beheaded in consequence of the whim of a bad mother and dancing daughter. He had been faithful in all things, even unto death. He stands among the glorified in heaven, a martyr to the truth.
A Pplication.—The Gospel, preached in its purity, everl yet uncovers the true nature of men. 0 generation of
vipers. Repentance is always proclaimed as the only way out of and away from judgment and death. The proof of a true repentance will manifest itself in that new principle of life, Charity. This new life can only be obtained from Jesus Christ, to whom the Gospel ever directs us. John conducts us to JesusJohn i. 15-16.
"Howrvkr impetuous Americans may be, they have one great grace of patience; they listen like gentlemen. An American audience anywhere gathered together, make the must courteous listeners in the world."
Thus speaks a distinguished English tourist. It is pleasing to hear a foreigner, especially an educated Englishman, extol American courtesy and politeness, virtues which many Europeans say we lack. Of course it requires much patience to listen long where little is said. But many an otherwise able public speaker catches the spirit of dullness from dull hearers. Btupid, listless hearers would clip the wings of a Demosthenes. An exchange says: "We ministers hear much about 1 good preaching' from certain hearers who assume to be judges of the article. Did it ever occur to these critical gentlemet that hearers are not always good hearers; not qualified to judge of preaching whether good or bad?" Some people show by their conduct as soon as they are seated in their pew, that they expect to be bored, no matter who preaches. They seat themselves in a corner of the pew, with the face turned away from the pulpit towards the sidewall, looking at the window or ceiling, the head propped on the hand and elbow, the posture and whole demeanor being that of an ill-humored man, who endures the sermon simply as an infliction of duty, but cares not a straw about it. He is an eyesore to the preacher, the sight of whom dampens his feelings and impedes his utterance. Hearers who come to church from their closets and their Bibles give inspiration to the pulpit. If the pastor is dull or uninteresting, they pray for him. Thesight of their eager, attentive faces helps to give him clear conceptions of truth, and a free, impressive utterance.
Sexagesima Sunday. Luke iv. 14-21. The Subject.—THE PREACHING OF JESUS.
KEY-NOTE.—" Hb That Hath Ears To
HRAB, LET HIM HEAR."—Lute viii. 8.
14.1 And Jesus returned in the power of the Spirit into Galilee: and there went out a fame of him through all the region round about.
15. And he taught in their synagogues, being glorified of all.
16. U And he came to Nazareth, where he had been brought up: and, as his custom was, he went into the synagogue on the sabbath-day, and stood up for to read.
17. And there was delivered unto him the book of the prophet Esaias. And when he had
opened the book, he found the place where it was written,
18. The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he hath anointed me to preach the gospel to the poor; he hath sent me to heal the brokenhearted, to preach deliverance to the captives, and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty them that are bruised.
19. To preach the acceptable year of the Lord.
20. And he closed the book, and he gave it again to the minister, and sat down. And the eyes of all them that were in the synagogue were fastened on him.
21. And he began to say unto them, This day is this scripture fulfilled in your ears.
How old was Jesus when we last read of Him? Chap. U. 42. For bow many years do we hear no more of Him? Chap. iii. 23. But what, nevertheless, transpired in Him, daring this interval? Chap. ii. 52.
When do we meet Jesus, for the first time, publicly? Matt, iii. 3; 13-17. What did he endure immediately after His baptism? Matt, iv. 1-11. Also, verses 1-13.
Vkrse 14. Into what Province did Jetus return, some time later? In whose power? Did His name begin to be known abroad now?
15. What did He do? Where? What is meant by being glorified of all f
16. Into what town did He .come? What visit did He make on the Sabbath? What privilege was given to any devoted attendant? Did Jesus embrace this liberty?
17. What book was handed Him? Had this Prophet's sayings, likely, been considered on that day?
Verses 18-19. In what part of Esaias do
you find these words? Chap. lxi. 1-2. Can yon repeat them from memory f Who are meant by the poor f What has rendered our spiritual humanity poor — broken-hearted — blind, and captive t What remedy is provided lor the consequences of sin? What era it the acceptable year of the Lord t
Verse 20. Did the audience listen to Him? With what effect?
21. How did He apply this portion of Esaias? What did He mean by this declaration?
22. What did they wonder at? What did thev ask? Why did they say so?
Verses 23-30. What was the sequel of the visit of Jesus to Nazareth?
Is the Gospel still brought to us? Do many still reject it? But is it not also accepted by others t What do we learn from the Gospel for this Sunday (Chap. viii. 5-8), in reference to the effect of the Gospel in various hearts? Do you have any reason to believe that your heart is good ground f
1. Father of mercies, let our songs
With Thee acceptance find;
2. Thanks for creation are Thy due,
For life preserved by Thee;
3. Tbanks for redemption, above all,
To us in Jesus given;
4. Oh, let a sense of this Thy grace
Our best affections move;
1. Behold the sure foundation stone
Which God in Zion lays,
2. Chosen of God, to sinners dear,
How glorious is Thy name 1
3. The foolish builders, scribe and priest,'
Reject it with disdain;
4. What though the gates of hell withstood,
Yet must this building rise;
Remarks.—Eighteen more years had now passed for Jesus in the seclusion of Nazareth—thirty in all. He had learned Joseph!s trade, and worked with his foster-father in the humble calling of a carpenter. Joseph is said to have died when Jesus was but eighteen years old, from which period Mary was supported by her son, in common with other friends.
Jesus grew in spirit, by communion with His own heart and His Father's; by gathering in the lessons of daily life and nature; by studying the hearts and actions of men in society about Himself; by silently mastering the religious parties and questions of His day; by reading the Holy Scriptures; by obeying all the Law; and by inward illumination.
He was, no doubt, a mystery to others, and it may be to Himself. Meanwhile, the time of manifestation to Israel, as the Messiah, drew near, with the addition of years, and the ripening of His glorious faculties. John the Baptist was breaking the way already for His public mission. Jesus bad been waiting the fit moment for leaving Nazareth, and presenting Himself before His forerunner. At last He stands before John, soliciting baptism at His cousin's hands. Matt. 3: 13-17; Luke 3:21-23. This was His induction, initiation, or inauguration. Then followed His temptation. Matt. 4: 1-11; Luke 4: 1-13. Immediately after His return from the wilderness, He opened His public ministry.
Notes.—Verse 14. Jesus returned. He had left Nazareth in Galilee, to visit John, to be baptized, and tried of Satan. He came back consecrated in the power of the Spirit, the Messiah. He preached the Kingdom of God is at hand, gathered followers around Himself, and wrought miracles. Consequently a fame or report of His remarkable doings spread abroad.
Verse 15. In their Synagogues, or Jewish houses of worship He taught, as any one had the privilege of doing, who felt himself prompted thereto. That He was glorified of all, means that the force and divinity of His teachings were acknowledged and proved.
Verse 16. Soon He came to Nazareth, the place where he had been brought up to His 30th year, when He dwelt in
Capernaum, probably Peter's house. His heart yearned to proclaim the New Kingdom to His old friends and neighbors. But it was a grave matter to appear in so entirely a new character before them. He went into the Synagogue on the Sabbath day, as He had been accustomed from childhood. It was morning service. After the regular duties were ended, He stood up for to read a portion of the Old Testament.
Verse 17. The prophet Esaim, in a roll, was handed Him, which was being read and commented on, during that hour. He selected the portion that lay nearest to His spirit.
Verses 18-19. This was the lesson for the day. and is found in the lxi. chapter, verses 1-2. He could not have selected a more appropriate portion, since the prophet here speaks plainly nf the coming of the Messiah, and His blessed mission. Let us commit to memory this choice Scripture selection. The words of the prophet are filled with life and spirit—more so than our comments can possibly convey.
Verses 20-22. He closed the book, gave it to the servant, and sat do>rn. But now, as usual, He explained and applied the text to Himself in such a way as to astonish all His hearers. But their honest and sincere wonder and delight at His words soon gave way to jealousy and envy, especially on the part of the more learned, we may suppose. Is not this Joseph's son t He had gone to no school-house, nor studied to be a IUbbi —had no authority from the Doctors— was a carpenter and a carpenter's son. Could their former companion indeed be a prophet?
Verses 23-30. These words do not really belong to the lesson, but we add them, as they give the sequel to His first visit to His old home. He left Nazareth never to return. Like the old prophet, He spent His grace among communities which were less familiar, but more favorable to Him.
This Gospel of the New Kingdom He continued to preach to the end of His blessed life. His disciples and apostles aided Him in His communion, and after His Ascension to His Father, they were to be endowed with the Holy Ghost, who was to remain in His Church on earth, to the end of time. Even yet is the acceptable year of the Lord—the Christian dispensation proclaimed. The Gospel of Christ is for the poor—the poor in spirit. It works illumination, for the spiritually blind; health to the broken-hearted and bruised; and deliverance to the captives. Let us remember —" This day is this Scripture fulfilled
The Rev. Dr. Arnot, of Edinburgh, Scotland, in a speech at the late anniversary of the American Sunday-school Union, addressing himself to teachers, used the following earnest and impressive words:
I have seen an experiment in a chemist's laboratory, when they set a person on a chair with glass feet, in order to isolate him from the earth, and then ihey poured in an unceasing stream of elictricity until his frame was full; and I have seen when, if any one came and touched his finger, the sparks would fly out and kindle what they touched. But if he touched the earth anywhere, there would have been no stream from him and no kindling; it would all have been drunk into the ground. Now, dear friends, take such a life as William Burns. I knew him from our youth up. I know tbat no man, if he had a tender conscience to speak of the Christian system, could approach that missionary without feeling some fire coming from him and kindling his own heart; but the secret lay in this, that he was isolated—his soul cleaved not to the ground. He was isolated from it, and whenever sny one came near him he was kindled by the sparks of the earnest spiritual life and soul in habitual communion with Christ, getting life, and not cleaving to the dust to let ooze away all he had gained. Sabbath-school teachers, as an ordinary rule, will be successful in winning the little ones in proportion as they retire and keep close to Christ himself. O, what a world we are in! Wbat a mighty stream this tidaltime in the nineteenth century! And where is it more rapid and deep, and ready to carry down souls upon it like leaves upon the stream, than in this great and growing America! Sabbath-school
teachers, you need to retire much and be with Christ, and get isolated and drink in His spirit, and then come to the children, and let them see you have been with Jesus. Unless we do this, we will not have success in this difficult field.
"Remind Me of The King."
La Fontaine, chaplain of the Prussian army, once preached a very earnest and eloquent sermon on the sin and folly of yielding to a hasty temper. The next day he was accosted by a major of the regiment with the words:
"Well, sir! I think you made use of the prerogatives of your office, to give me some very sharp hits, yesterday."
"I certainly thought of you while I was preparing the sermon," was the answer, "but I had no intention of being either personal or sharp."
"Well, it is of no use," said the major, " I have a hasty temper, and I cannot help it, and I cannot control it. It is impossible."
And still adhering to this opinion, after some farther conversation he went his way.
The next Sabbath La Fontaine preached upon self-deception, and the vain excuses which men are wont to make.
"Why," said he, " a man will declare that it is impossible for him to control his temper, when he very well knows that were the same provocation to happen in the presence of his sovereign, he not only could but would control himself entirely. And yet he dares to say that the continual presence of the King of kings and Lord of lords, imposes upon him neither restraint nor fear!"
The next day his friend, the Major, again accosted him.
"You were right yesterday, chaplain," he said humbly. "Hereaf ter, whenever yon see me in danger of failing, remind me of the King!"—SundaySchool Times.
Whethek God choose you to labor or suffer, you have no reason to complain; especially if He is leading you to glory.
FEB. 27. LESSON IX. 1881.
Quinquagesima Sunday. Luke v. 12-26.
KEY-NOTE.—" Jestjs, Son Of David, Have Mercy On Me."—Luke xviii. 38.
12. * And it came to pass, when he was in a certain city, behold, a man fnll of leprosy, who seeing Jesns, fell on his face, and besought him, saying, Lord, if thou wilt, thou canst make me clean.
13. And he put forth his hand and touched him, saying, I will: Be thon clean. And immediately the leprosy departed from him.
14. And he charged him to tell no man: but go, and shew thyself to the priest, and offer for thy cleansing, according as Moses commanded, for a testimony unto them.
15. But so much the more went there a fame abroad of him: and great multitudes came together to hear and to be healed by him of their infirmities.
16. ^ And he withdrew himself into the wilderness, and prayed.
17. And it came to pass on a certain day, as he was teaching, that there were Pharisees and doctors of the law sitting by, which were come out of every town of Galilee, and Judea, and Jerusalem: and the power of the Lord was present to heal them. ,
18.1 And behold, men brought in a bed a man which was taken with a palsy: and they
sought means to bring him in, and to lay him before him.
19. And when they could not find by what way they might bring him in, because of the multitude, they went upon the house top, and let him down through the tiling with his coucb, into the midst before Jesus.
20. And when he saw their faith, he said unto him, Man, thy sins are forgiven thee.
21. And the scribes and the Pharisees began to reason, saying. Who is this which speaketh blasphemies? Who can forgive sins but God alone?
22. But when Jesus perceived their thoughts, he answering, said unto them, What reason ye in your heart*?
23. Whether is easier, to say, Thy sins be forgiven thee; or to say, Rise up and walk?
24. But that ye may know that the Son of man hath power upon earth to forgive sins, (he said unto the sick of the palsy), I say unto thee. Arise, and take up thy couch, and go unto thy house.
25. And immediately he rose up before them, and took up that whereon he lay, and departed to bis own house, glorifying Goa.
26. And they were all amazed, and they glorified God, and were filled with fear, saying, We have Been strange things to-day.
What was our theme on last Lord's Day? What is it to-day? What are evils which afflict mankind the results of? What is the Gospel to effect eventually?
Of what two diseases does this lesson treat? verses 12-14; 18-26.
Verse 12. In what city was Jesus now? Chorazin, likely. Who met him? What do you know of leprosy? What was it regarded as an emblem of? How did he approach Jesns? Matt, viii.; Mark i. What did he say? What did this prayer teach?
13. What did Jesus do? Was it proper for any one to touch a leper? Why did He touch him? What did He say? What followed?
14. What did Jesus charge on the man? Why? What did He command him to do? What did the Law of Moses require of such a restored one? Lev., Chap«. 13 and 14.
15. What effect had Christ's miracles on the people? What did they now?
16. Whither did Jesus sometimes withdraw? What did He do there? Why did .Iff pray?
17. Into what city did He now come? Mark ii. 1. Who all were about Him now? What power attended His teaching and working?
18. Who was brought near? What is Palsy t How many men carried him?
19. Why oould they not get near to Jesus at once? What did they then do? Were Eastern houses like ours?
20. What did Jesus admire in these hearts? What did He at once say? Why did He say so t
21. Who were affronted at this speech? Why? What is Blasphemy? What did they say? Were they not right?
Verses 22-23. Between what two questions does Jesus now ask them to choo*e? Was it harder to say the one than the ot er? Which was the harder to do f
Verse 24. Did He then do the latter? Was this a proof that He, likely, possessed the other prerogative, too?
25. What was the direct effect on the sick man?
26. What effect had this miracle on the people?
Of which kind of sin is Leprosy sometimes made the Type—of Original or Actual Sin t
Of which kind is Palsy sometimes taken as a symbol?
Are we then typified by these two characters? In what should we follow him, then?
1. I lay my sins on Jesul,
The spotless Lamb of God; He bears them all, and frees us From the accursed load.
2. I bring my guilt to Jesns,