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Notes.—The practical theme of the Gospel for this day (the history of the ten lepers) is thankfulness, illustrated positively in the one who returned to give glory to God for his great deliverance, and negatively in the nine who failed to return. This theme is expressed in our key-note (Rom. xii. 1). Not only our souls, but our very bodies also, belong to God as living sacrifices of thanksgiving, for our great deliverance from the leprosy of sin. The Epistle (Gal. v. 16-24) teaches us more articularly how these sacrifices are to e made, namely, by walking in the Spirit (yielding the fruits of the Spirit), and not fulfilling the lusts of the flesh.
Since the Third Sunday after Trinity our lessons have been in the Book of Exodus, and have treated mainly of the deliverance of the children of Israel from their Egyptian bondage. The present Sunday is, iu the International Series, devoted to a review of these lessons. But we have thought that we could best subserve the end in view by studying the lesson in 1 Cor. x. 1-11, in which St. Paul, writing to the Christian Church at Corinth, uses various occurrences in the history of Israel, some of which we have already studied, as warning examples to Christian people, from which they are to learn the necessity of watchful care and constant fidelity, in order that their present state of grace may issue at last in a state of perfect salvation.
Verses 1-2.—I. St. Paul, the author of this Epistle. Ye. The members of the Cburch at Corinth; then, generally, the members of the Church Universal —all Christians. Our fathers. The people of Israel in the time of Moses, who were the fathers of the later Jews in a natural sense, and the fathers of Christians in a spiritual sense. In a spiritual or religious sense we Christians, no matter what our natural derivation may have been, are children of Israel too; and, therefore, the history of Israel was a vast type or prefiguration of our religious history. Were under the cloud . .. passed through the sea. Reference to the miraculous passage of Israel through the Red Sea (Exod. xiv. 19-27). The cloud was the mysterious pillar of cloud and fire so often mentioned in the Book of Exodus. At the Red Sea it
came between the camp of the Egyptians and the camp of the Israelites, as it were, overshadowing and protecting the latter against the former, until the sea had sufficiently retreated to afford them a safe passage across. And were all baptized, etc. Practical explanation or application of that deliverance of Israel at the Red Sea. There Israel was fully and finally delivered from the power of Pharaoh, or from their Egyptian bondage. So the Christian has been fully and finally delivered from the power of the devil, or from the power of darknest, in his baptism. Hence the passage of Israel through the Red Sea, and the destruction of Pharaoh and his host, like the flood in the time of Noah, form a type of Christian baptism. But the baptized Christian must not grow careless and sink into a state of carnal security, lest he perish; for the fathers were* baptized too (in the sense j use explained), and yet they were destroyed in the wilderness. Such is St. Paul's reasoning here.
Verses 3-4.—Spiritual meat. The manna, described in Exod. xvi. 13 sq. This is called spiritual meat, not because it really was the true spiritual bread, or bread of life (compare John vi- 32 33), but because of its supernatural or miraculous origin on the one hand, and because of its typical relation to the true bread of life on the other. The same spiritual drink. Water produced in a miraculous way, and therefore called spiritual, as the manna is called spiritual meat. They drank of that spiritual rock. The miracle of drawing water from a rock occurred at least twice (see Exod. xvi. 6, and Num. xx. 11), and probably oftener. The power producing the water was not in the elements of the rock; it was a spiritual or divine power. Hence the rock in which it manifested itself might be called a spiritual rock. That followed them. We are not to think of a material rock rolling along with them, or carried along, as they journeyed to and in the wilderness. The spiritual power by which the water was produced followed them; and in the peninsula of Sinai rocks were not wanting any where, in which, when there was need, that spiritual power might embody and manifest itself. In this sense only the rock could have followed them. That Rock was Christ. Not a type of Christ, but Christ Himself. That spiritual power or agency of which we have just spoken, was the Angel of Jehovah, in whom Jehovah manifested Himself in the Old Testament, or the Word of God, which has become incarnate in Christ. As the crossing of the Red Sea is a figure of baptism, so the miraculous manna and the miraculous water from the rock may be supposed to constitute a type or figure of the sacrament of the Lord's Supper.
Verse 5.— With many of them God was not well pleased. "With many," literally, "with most of them," the Apostle says. In point of fact the many included the whole number of the men that had come out of Egypt with only two exceptions, namely, Joshua • and Caleb. Only these two, along with those who had been less than twenty years of age at the time of the exodus, were permitted finally to enter into the land of promise. See Num. xiv. 26-28, and Num. xxvi. 63-65. The reason of the divine displeasure with this generation is stated in Num. xiv. 22. They were overthrown in the wilderness. During the forty years in which the children of Israel were doomed to wander in the wilderness, all the people who were twenty years old, and upward, at the time of their deliverance from Egypt, perished, many no doubt dying a natural death, but most of them falling victims to special divine judgments brought upon them on account of their sins. Their having been under the cloud, and having passed through the sea, and having eaten manna, or " angels' food" as it is called elsewhere (Ps. lxxviii. 2425), and having drunk the miraculous water from the rock, all that could not save them afterwards, when they sinned and rebelled against the Lord their God.
Verse 6.—Now these things. The events in the history of Israel just mentioned—Israel's miraculous deliverance from Egypt, and subsequent destruction in the wilderness. Were our examples, i. e., examples for us. They are typical events, in which we may behold the manner of God's dealing with His people at all times. To the intent that we should not lust, i. e. The aim of
these examples is to warn us that we should not lust. From the fate of Israel we may see that, although we have been in holy baptism delivered from the power of the devil, and received the remission of our sins, and although we have in the Holy Supper ea'en the bread of life, yet unle38 we are faithful unto the end, we may still perish. As they lusted. For an instance of this lusting see Num. xi. 4-6. The Christian lusts whenever he prefers the pleasures of the world to the blessedness of the kingdom of God, which can only be attained through trials, and through renunciation of self and the world.
Verse 7.—Neither be ye idolaters. The occasion here referred to is that of the golden calf. It will be remembered that on that occasion the people of Israel did not mean to commit idolatry. They only meant to combine the form of Egyptian idolatry with the worship of Jehovah. But that was idolatry. So the Corinthian Christians might be guilty of idolatry by participating in some of the many idolatrous rites and ceremonies of their neighbors. Compare 1 Cor. x. 20-21.
Verse 8.—Fornication. Sexual excitement and excesses, such as are commonly found associated with idolatry (e. g. in the temples of Astarte in Syria, and in those of Aphrodite or Venus throughout Greece and Italy), and sometimes even show themselves in connection with certain forma of Christian worship (revivals, camp-meetings, etc.) As some of them committed. The event here referred to is recorded in Num. xxvi. 1-9. That seduction of the Israelites by the Moabitish women was instigated by Balaam. The intercourse of the Israelites with these Moabites at once exerted a prejudicial influence on the religion of the former. This event teaches us the necessity of carefully guarding our relations to the world. Many a marriage solemnized by clergymen, if regarded from a religious standpoint, is no better than those alliances between the Israelites and Moabites.
Verse 9—Neither let us tempt Christ. To tempt God is to dare Him, to try His patience by boldness and rebellion, or His power by presuming to prescribe the conditions of its exercise. Thus at Meribah the Israelites tempted the Lord by challenging Him to manifest His presence among them by giving them water. See Exod. xvi. 2, 7. On their journey around Edom they tempted Him by excessive complaining about their hardships, and by rebellious thoughts against Him, for which they were punished by a plague of fiery ser
?ents. See Num. xxi. 4-9. Of the sraelites it is said that they tempted Jehovah. Eor Jehovah St. Paul here puts Christ: a proof that Jehovah and Christ is one and the same person.
Verse 10.—Neither murmur ye. To murmur is to find fault with, to complain, to grumble against one. Of this sin the Israelites were often guilty. Whenever they got into a strait they murmured against Moses and against Jehovah. See Exod. xiv. 10-12; xvi. 2 ; Num. xiv. 2 ; xvi. 41. The destroyer. See Exod. xii. 23. But the murmurings of the Israelites were so frequent, and the modes of punishment therefore so manifold, that perhaps this is the reason that no particular form of destruction is mentioned here. From all this the Christian should learn the necessity of patient submission to the ways of God's grace and providence.
Verse 11.—These things happened unto them for ensamples, i. e., examples, types, or figures. Not that God caused the Israelites to sin, and then punished them for their si us, in order to afford us examples. But in the punishment of Israel we may see the type of God's dealing with us in case we sin in the same way. Written for our admonition. This expresses a positive purpose. God caused these things to be written as warning examples to us, that should admonish us to avoid the sins which brought so much evil upon Israel. The ends of the world. The Christian age, which is the last age of the world.—The Scriptures teach us that there is saving efficacy in the sacraments of the Church. But they also teach us that not all church-members will finally be saved; for many receive the grace of God in' vain. How this is possible is illustrated in this lesson. This lesson then should teach us confidence in God's ordinances, as means of actual deliverance from the power of evil, but the necessity also of
working out our salvation with fear and trembling on our partTrue Faith.
Not very long since a government official at St. Petersburg died in utter want, leaving two small children withe out friends or relatives.
One of them was a boy about seven years old. Alone, without food or money, with his little sister crying for bread, he wrote on a piece of paper the following petition, "Please, God, send me thre3 copecks to buy my little sister a roll."
This he carried to the nearest church to drop it into an alms-box and start it on its way to heaven.
A good man passing at the moment, seeing him trying to put the paper in the box, took it and read it, whereupon he carried the children to his house, fed them, and clothed them.
Through his kind help a fund was raided for them amounting in value to over two hundred pounds.—Sunday.
A Cheerful Giver.
"I was once attending a missionary meeting in Scotland," said a minister in making an address. "There it is the custom to take up the collection at the door as the people go out. A poor woman, in going out, dropped a sovereign into the basket. The deacon who held the basket said:
"' I'm sure you cannot afford to give so much as that?'
"' O yes, I can,' she said.
"' Do take it back,' said the deacon.
"' I must, give it. I love to give for Jesus' sake.'
"Then the deacon said:
"' Take it home to-night, and if, after thinking it over, you still wish to give it, you can send it in the morning.'
"In the morning I was sitting at breakfast with the deacon, when a little note came from this woman; but the note contained two sovereigns.
"' You won't take them?" I said to the deacon.
"« Of course Ishall,' said he;'I know that good woman well. If I send them back, she will send four next time.'
"This was indeed 'loving to give.'" — Well-Spring.
SEPTEMBER 25. // A 1881.
Fifteenth Sunday after Trinity. Sri & L> 0 * A <
The Race and the Prize; or, Temperance in all Things.—1 Cor. ix. 22-27.
22. To the weak became I as weak, that I might gain the weak: I am made all things to all men, that I might by all means save some.
23. And this I do for the Gospel's sake, that I might be partaker thereof with you.
24. Know ye not that they which run in a race run all, but one receiveth the prize? So run that ye may obtain.
25. And every one that striveth for the
mastery is temperate in all things. Now they do it to obtain a corruptible crown; but we an incorruptible.
26. I therefore so run, not as uncertainly; so fight I, not as one that beateth the air:
27. But I keep under my body, and bring it into subjection: lest that by any means, when I have preached to others, I myself should be a cast-away.
What is our key-note? Whence is it taken? For what things are we not to be anxiously thoughtful? What should be the first object of our thought and desire? What promise have we then in regard to things necessary for the body? What will be the consequence of minding only earthly things and neglecting heavenly things? How is this expressed in tie Epistle for to-day?
What is the subject of our lesson to-day? What is meant by race t Is the Christian life ever in Scripture compared to a race? What is necessary in order to a successful Christian life? What is temperance t Is temperance necessary only in regard to the use of intoxicating drinks?
In the part of this chapter preceding our lesson, what sacrifices does St. Paul say he made for the sake of the Gospel? Was it his duty to make these sacrifices? But had those to whom he ministered a right to claim them of him? Have ministers of the Gospel a right to their temporal support? Ver. 14. What is to be thought of those who refuse this?
Verse 22. What does the Apostle state in this verse? What does he mean by the weak f What by saying that he became as wcakf How did he become all things to all men? In regard to what things did he thus accommodate himself to all men? Dfd he do it when vital moral and religious principles were concerned? What was his motive for his self-denying accommodation to the weaknesses of others? Was that a noble aim? Will God have all men to be saved? 1 Tim. ii. 4. How is the salvation of mm accomplished?
Verse 23. To what does St. Paul here refer by the word thitt On what account does he do these things? For what purpose? Must a Christian earnestly desire and labor for the salvation of others? Is that a condition of his
own salvation? In order to the salvation of others, may it become our duty to practice selfdenial from consideration of their weaknesses? Rom. xv. 1. Can you give an illustration of this principle? Rom. xiv. 21. But have the weak a right to demand this of us? Would the attempt to do this prove them to be vain instead of weak t
Verse 24. To what institution does the Apostle here call the attention of his readers-? When and where were these games celebrated? How were they celebrated? What was the prize of the victors? Did those engaged in the contest strive earnestly for the victory? Is there a comparison between these contests and the Christian life?
Verse 2o. What does the Apostle mention here as a condition of success in the race? What does that mean? What was the crown of victory in the race? What is the Christian's crown? Must one be temperate in all things in order to win this crown? What is the most dangerous kind of intemperance t What is said of drunkards in Scripture? 1 Cor. vi. 10. Can you be temperate while any body else is intemperate? Wbat sort of temperance is that which is dependent only on external pressure?
Verses 26-27. Does St. Paul here express confidence in his success as a Christian wrestler? What is meant by running uncertainly T What by beating tlie air f What relation is there between temperance and the subjection of the body f Whence are the appetites leading to intemperance?- Whence then come our greatest dangers? How only can these be overcome? Gal. v. 16. Butdoes the Spirit govern us without regard to our own will'! Is iu temperance a disease f What is the difference between disease and vice t
1. Father, 'tis Thine each day to yield
2. Thy love in all Thy works we see; Thy promise. Lord, we plead; And humbly oast our care on Thee, Who knowest all our need.
Notes. The Gospel for to-day teaches us the necessity of freeing ourselves from all anxious thought for the things of this world, and of setting our minds wholly and firmly on heavenly things, in order to gain the kingdom of God. This is expressed in the key-note. The consequence of minding earthly or carnal things is destruction, while that of minding heavenly or spiritual things is life and peace (Phil. iii. 19; Rom. viii. 56.) This truth is expressed in the Epistle by the statement that every one must reap as he sows: "he that Boweth to his flesh, shall of the flesh reap corruption; but he that soweth to the Spirit, shall of the Spirit reap life everlasting."
In our lesson to-day the Christian life is compared to a race, or contest in running for a prize, which was one of the exercises of the Grecian games. The same comparison is involved in Heb. xii. 1, and 2. Tim. iv. 7. Now one of the first conditions of a successful Christian life is temperance in all things, or the exercise of self-control over all the tendencies and appetites of our lower nature, so as to keep them all within their proper bounds. That tem
fierance which has any true moral vaue, does not simply consist in moderation in the use of intoxicating drinks, nor even in total abstinence from such drinks, but in moderation in all things, in eating as well as in drinking, in working, in playing, in sleeping, in studying, in talking, in dressing—in one word, moderation in the indulgence of all our appetites, whether physical or intellectual.
In the first part of the chapter from which our lesson is taken, St. Paul speaks of the self-denial which he has practised, and of the sacrifices which he has made, for the sake of the Gospel. He has received no material support from those for whom he has labored in the Gospel, but has meanwhile earned his support by working with his own hands. Moreover, among the Jews he has conformed to Jewish customs and accommodated himself to Jewish prejudices; while among the Gentil s he has lived in conformity with their way of life, as far as he could do so without BinBut while he considered it his duty to do these things in order that he might
gain the confidence of all, and thus open the way for the success of the Gospel, he did not by any means concede that those for whom be labored had a right to claim these things of him; and least of all did he mean to imply that people have a right to exact these sacrifices from ministers of the Gospel at all times. If he in his peculiar circumstances was willing to forego the right of support in temporal things, while he was ministering to others in spiritual things, he did not intend to abrogate the rule (ver. 14,) "that they which preach the Gospel should live of the Gospel." The same remark applies also to his accommodation to different classes of people.
Verse 22. To the weak. Superstitious believers as well as unbelieving Jews and Gentiles. Became i as weak. I accommodated myself to their scruples and prejudices. With the Jews I lived as a Jew according to the law, with the Gentiles as a Gentile, omitting the observance of the law. The Apostle did not rudely shoek either class by disregarding that which they held as sacred, or by observing that which they held to be an unreasonable absurdity. I am made all things to all men. Sacrificing my own rights as a Christian man, I accommodated myself to the weakness, scruples, prejudices of all. This, however, does not mean that St. Paul actually adopted every body's principles, or that he conformed in all respects with the habits and modes of life of those with whom he came in contact. It was only in regard to things which are in themselves morally indifferent, that he could do this. For instance, with the Jew he might abstain from the flesh of certain animals, while with the Gentile he might eat of these; but he could not with the Jew curse Christ, or with the Gentile worship idols. When vital moral or religious principles were concerned he never yielded anything. As a concession to the Jews, at the time involving no great principle, he circumcised Timothy (Acts xvi. 3); but when the circumcision of Titus was demanded on the supposition of the absolute necessity of the rite, by which Christian liberty would have been sacrificed to Jewish legalism, he refused compliance (Gal. ii. 3-5). That is the rule which