CHILDRE 'S SERMO S I ACTS TO REVELATIO EDITED BY SIR W. ROBERTSO ICOLL, M.A., LL. D.

THE ACTS OF THE APOSTLES

THE FORTY DAYS THAT OUR LORD LIVED UPO THIS EARTH AFTER HE ROSE FROM THE GRAVE. Acts i. 3. We are going to think about 'The Forty Days'. They are such important days that they are generally called ' The Forty Days '. Perhaps they are the most important ' forty days ' that ever were spent. ' Forty days ' — between the time when Jesus Christ rose from the grave and the day when Jesus Christ went up into heaven. For when Jesus Christ began, He began with ' forty days ' in the wilderness ; and when He ended, He ended with ' forty days ' with His Church, before He went up to heaven. But how do we know there were ' forty days ? ' Can you tell me ? Look at the third verse of the first chapter of the Acts of the Apostles : will you read it ? ' He showed Himself alive after His passion by many infallible proofs, being seen of them forty days, and speaking of the things pertaining to the kingdom of God.' 'Forty days.' ow look. From the feast of the Passover to the feast of the Pentecost was — how many days ? ' Fifty.' The word ' Pentecost ' means ' fifty '. And it was called ' Pentecost,' because it was fifty days after the Passover. ow next Thursday is Holy

Thui-sday ; the day that Jesus Christ went up into heaven ; and Sunday week will be Pentecost, Wliit Sunday, when the Holy Ghost came. ow, how many days is it from Thursday to Sunday week ? ' Ten.' Take away ten from fifty, and how m:my remain ? ' P'orty. ' Then there are ' forty days ' that Jesus Christ was upon the earth after He rose from the grave, before He went up to heaven, which was next Thursday. ow we are going to talk about these ' forty days '. ' Forty da3's ' between what ? Between the time that Jesus Christ rose from the grave and the time that Jesus Christ went up to heaven. I wonder why. Why did not Jesus go up straight from the gi-ave to heaven ? He had said upon the cross, ' It is all done ; it is finished ! ' \ \\y did He come back to this poor world ? Can you think ? May we a.sk why ? May we ask why God does anything ? Yes, we may ; but we must remember that we cannot tell half the reasons, when we ask why God does anything ? We may find out one or two reasons, but there are a great many reasons that we do not know ; and very likely the reasons we do not know are very much better than the reasons we do know. ow will you try to think with me ? I am going to think of six reasons why Jesus Christ came back

to this world again before He went up to heaven. You must think too. I. The first reason I think of is, to show that He loved us ; to show that He loved this bad world still, and that He was not in such a hurry to leave it. He loved us, and so He came back to us. That is the first reason.

n. The next reason I think of is because He wanted to prove, and show for certain that He had risen from the grave ; for supposing Jesus Christ did not rise from the grave, then what Jesus Christ said did not come true, because He said He would rise ; and if Jesus Christ did not rise from the grave, then we shall not rise from the grave ; but when we are put into the grave, there we shall sta}' for ever. That would be a sad thing ! Therefore, it was very important that Jesus Christ should prove that He rose from the grave. So He came back to this world to prove that He rose from the grave. He did not show Himself to everybody. He showed Himself to witnesses appointed for that purpose, that they might witness who had seen Him ; that they might be able to go and tell everybody they had seen Him, and that He was risen. That is my second reason. ni. The third reason is because He wished to show not only that He was risen, but that He was the very same Jesus that was on the cross, and put into the grave. He showed that He had got a body. How did He show that He had got a body ? Twice He ate, just as we do, because we have bodies. If we had not bodies, we should not eat and drink. Do you remember when ? Once in the room when the ten disciples were together. He took some broiled fish and a honeycomb, and He ate with the ten in the room. And once by the side of the lake. He showed He had got a body. It was not quite the same body that He had before. I mean it was a spu'itual body. I cannot explain that. It is too deep. It was a spiritual body. We shall see a little more about that presently. ot only did He show them that He had got a body, but that it was the same body, because when He chose He could make people see that it was the same body. They saw it was Jesus ; they knew Him.

Besides that He showed the wounds. How many wounds had He ? ' Five.' Two in His feet ; two in His hands ; one in His side. He showed His wounds to Thomas. So that it was certainly the same body. And was it the same heart ? Did He love them just as much? Did He do just the same sort of things ? Did He come and talk to the unhappy, and comfort them ? Did He teach them, and say

646

Yer. 3.

ACTS I

Ver. 3.

He was still their Brother ? Yes ; He had the same body and the same heart. That is the third reason. IV. ow we will look at the fourth reason. Because He wanted to talk to them about the things that concern the kingdom of God. What does that mean? Do you know what the ' kingdom of God ' means in the Bible ? Sometimes it means heaven ; sometimes it does not mean heaven. Sometimes it means your heart. If Jesus is the King of your heart, if His throne is your heart, then your heart is ' the

kingdom of God '. And sometimes ' the kingdom of God ' means the Church, all about the Church, the Church on earth, that is ' the kingdom of God '. It is one province of the great ' kingdom of God '. ow He wanted to talk to them about that, about the Church. He told them about people being baptised, and about the minister's preaching ; and that they were to go into all the world, and tell people to become Christians, how they were to keep the commandments, about the Holy Ghost, and about the Bible. That was the fourth reason. He came to tell them about the things that concern ' the kingdom of God,' i.e. the Church. V. ow what was the fifth reason ? To show us how He would be with us always. Is Jesus with us always ? ' Yes.' Do we always know He is with us ? ' o.' In some places He is with us, and we do not know it. So it was when Jesus appeared on those ' forty days '. Sometimes He was with people, and they did not know it was Jesus. So He is sometimes close to you, and you do not know it, till your heart tells you, till the Holy Spirit tells you, till Jesus tells you. It was so then ; it is so now. Jesus is always with you, though you do not know it. Therefore it was to show, I think, how He will be with us always in the same way. VI. And one more reason — this is very difficult. I am not sure about it myself. When yon and I rise out of the grave, do you think we shall go straight up into heaven ? I do not. I think that when Jesus comes again, then we shall rise out of our graves ; and then we shall be, I think, a little while with Jesus upon this earth ; and then we sliall go to heaven, just as Jesus did. He rose from the grave, and stayed upon the earth awhile. Then He went up to heaven. I think it is to tell us we are to do the same, if we are God's children. When Jesus comes we shall rise out of our graves ; we shall

be with Jesus on this earth some time — I do not know how long — perhaps a thousand years, and then go to heaven. Those are my six reasons. Can you remember them ? Let us see. Try to think of them. Because He loved us, to prove that He was risen, to show that He was the same Jesus still, to talk about the things of the kingdom of God, to show us the way in which He is always with us, and to lead us to think that we shall, like Him, walk this earth when we rise from the grave. ow we shall think about Jesus showing Himself in ' the forty days '. Does everybody know it ? Can

you go on with me about Jesus showing Himself when He rose from the grave ? I shall name the occasions at fii'st very quickly, and then come back to them. The first time Jesus appeared was to Mary Magdalene. The next I am not quite sure about — what do you say ? To ' some women ' ; ' three women,' I think, but that I am not sure of; it is not quite certain. The next to Peter, I think, but I am not quite sure. In the twenty-foui'th of Luke it is said, ' The Lord is risen indeed, and hath appeared to Simon,' therefore I think so. It is simply said He showed Himself to Peter. Then He showed Himself to two men — where were they going ? ' To Emmaus.' Then He showed Himself to the ten disciples in the room. These were the appearances the first Sunday, Easter Sunday. Do you know why it is called Easter Sunday ? ' Eostre,' a heathen goddess, had her festival at this season. And some think ' Easter '

was on that account so named. When Jesus rose. He appeared first to Mary Magdalene ; then to three women, then to Peter (I think), then to the two going to Emmaus, then to the ten disciples — without Thomas — in the room. All that was in Jerusalem. Did He appear again all that next week ? ot till the next Sunday. Then, to how many ? 'Eleven.' Who was, then, there with them? ' Thomas.' Then, back from Jerusalem, where did He go ? ' To Galilee ' — as He told them. And where did He appear again ? ' On the mountain ' that He appointed them. I am not quite sure, but I think that then He showed Himself to ' the five hundred ' all at once. And then He went to the lake, and there you will remember He wrought a miracle. He made Peter catch a wonderful draught of fishes, as He had done once before. Then they came to the shore, and He appeared to the disciples, and took a meal with them ; and talked with Peter ; and talked about John. That was in Galilee. Then He came back to Jerusa'em, and He saw them, I think, at Jerusalem, and tdked with them some of those beautiful words that we have ; and then He took them out to — where? 'Bethany' — to the Mount of Olives ; and there, after talking with them a little, and blessing them, He was taken up to heaven. Those are the appearances of Jesus in ' the forty days '. Can you remember them ? Shall we go through them again ? I will speak only of those we are certain of. Mary Magdalene, the two going to Emmaus, the ten in the room without Thomas, then the next Sunday the eleven with Thomas, then in Galilee on the lake, at the miracle of the fishes, to Peter and the others, on the bank, and the conversation ; and then at Bethany, when He went up to

heaven. We are certain also, but we do not know when, He showed Himself to ' five hundred brethren,' to Peter, to James, but we are not quite sure where. Jesus said to Simon Peter, ' Simon, son of Jonas,

647

Ver. 3.

ACTS I

Ver. 3.

lovest thou Me ? ' Peter said, ' Yea, Lord ; I am Thy friend.' ' I am Thy fr-iend,' he said. Then Jesus said again, ' Simon, son of Jonas, lovest thou Me?' Peter said, ' I am Thy friend'. Then Jesus said again, not ' Lovest thou Me ? ' but He said, ' Are you My friend ? ' And Peter said, ' Thou knowest all things, Thou knowest I am Thy fr-iend '. Jesus said, ' Do you love Me ? ' Peter said, ' I am Thy friend '. He said it three times. When Jesus comes again that will be the question. Will Jesus come again ? He certainly will come again. Did the two angels say so ? Two angels, looking like men, were there on the Mount, when the disciples were looking up. They said, ' Don't waste your time gazing up into heaven, in vision, or

in idle thoughts about it, He will come again.' But how ? ' The same way you have seen Him go.' In His body? 'Yes.' Blessing? 'Yes.' The last thing and the first thing to bless? 'Yes.' What will He say : ' Come, ye blessed of My Father'. The last word on His lips blessing ; the first word on His lips when He comes again blessing. Such a dear, loving Jesus is He ! ' Come, ye blessed of My Father ! ' And who will walk with Him then ? Shall I tell you ? Those who have ' kept their garments white '. Have we, anv of us, kept our garments white ? Have you ? o. But it means those who, having soiled their garments, have had them washed. If your garment is soiled, it can be washed. Washed ? In what ? In the blood of Jesus Christ. Those who ' keep their garments white ' ; those who have their soiled garments washed in the fountain of the blood of Jesus Christ ; they shall ' follow the Lamb withersoever He goeth '. — James Vaughan. CHRIST I THE SPIRIT-WORLD (For Passiontide) Acts i. 3. Can you tell me why we call this ' Passion Week ' ? Can you tell me the meaning of the word ' passion ' ? ' Sufferings.' Can you tell me where Christ's ' sufferings ' are called ' passion ' ? In the fii-st chapter of the Acts, and the third verse : ' He showed Himself alive after His passion,' i.e. ' sufferings'. When a person is very angry we sav ' he is in a passion ' ; or we speak of persons having ' naughty passions'. How is that? Is it 'suffering' ? When a pei-son is angry, is he ' suffering ' ? When a little boy is very angry, do we say, ' Poor little boy ! he is in a suffering'? That is quite true: we won't say ' he is in a passion,' but ' he is suffering .

A great many words have changed their meaning. This has done so. Can you think of any other word that has changed its meaning ? We have prayed j ust now in the Litany, ' O Lord, deal not with us after our sins ? ' Do we mean that God would have nothing to do with us when we have sinned ? ' o.' What does ' after our sins ' mean ? ' According to our sins.' What does it mean in the colle.-t when we say, 'Prevent us, O Lord, in all our doings'. Is God to

' hinder ' us ? What does ' prevent ' mean ? ' Go before.' The word has changed its meaning. So the word ' passion ' has changed its meaning. ' Passion ' means ' suffering '. We begin to-day the ' Passion Week '. We begin it with joy, because it is Palm Sunday. This is the day when Jesus went into Jerusalem, and all the children cried, ' Hosanna ! ' It is a happy Sunday. And next Sunday will be also a very happy Sunday, because that will be Easter Sunday, the day when Jesus rose fr'ora the grave. So ' Passion Week ' begins with joy and ends with joy. You will always find your sorrows inside your joys, you see if you do not. ' I'aim Sunday'; ' Easter Sunday'. ' Passion Week ' comes between : the sorrows inside the joys ! ow we are going this afternoon to talk about next Fiiday. You have already considered about Jesus being crucified, and about Jesus suffering, dying ; and now we are going to consider this afternoon what happened after three o'clock next Friday ? Why do I say ' after three o'clock ' ? Because Christ died at three o'clock.

And what is dying ? What happened ? Shall I tell you? His body was separated from His soul. Do you understand ? That was dying. His body was se^iarated from His soul. Death means separating. You have got a body, and you have got a soul ; and now they are joined together, wonderfully joined together ! I cannot explain how. But some day your body and soul will separate. That will be dying. Will you separate from God when you die ? o ; not if you are a good child. You won't separate from God. Will you separate from those you love on earth — from your father and mother, your brothers and sisters — when you die ? I do not know. I am not at all sure that you would. Perhaps you would. They would separate from you ; but I am not at all sure that you would separate from them. But you would separate your body from your soul, though you won't separate from God ; and I am not sure that you will be separated from anybody. To die, then, is to separate body and soul. That happened to Jesus at three o'clock, as on next Friday. And I want to think about it. I am going now to speak — after Jesus died — of what became of His body, and what became of His soul. What became of His body ? It was ' buried '. What became of His soul ? It says in the Creed, ' He descended into hell '. And that is what I am going to talk about, that His body was ' buried,' and His soul descended into hell '. His body was ' buried '. Do you know what we have just been calling Christ's burying in the Litany? ' Thy precious death and burial.' Quite right. That

is just what I want you to sav. 'Precious ! ' We call it ' precious '. 'His precious death and burial.' Let us think about the ' precious burial '. There was a man of the name of Joseph. Whei-e

648

Ver. Ij.

ACTS I

Ver. 3.

did he live? ' In Arimathea.' Can you tell me who was bom in Arimathea, besides Joseph ? It was the same person that God called when a little bov, who said, 'Speak, Lord, tor Thy servant heareth'. ' Samuel.' It is called, ' Ramathaim-zoj^him '. This man, Joseph, was of Arimathea. Was he a good man ? ' Yes.' Was he a little bit of a coward ? Yes, he was ; for, though he was a follower of Christ, he did it ' secretly, for fear of the Jews'. And Joseph was not the only man interested. Who was the other man ? Evei-ybody think. Who was Ihere besides Joseph? ' icodemus.' Did icodemus go to Pilate? ' o.' icodemus came

to Calvary : we do not read that He came to Pilate. What sort of man was icodemus ? Had he, too, been a little bit of a coward ? ' Yes.' Where do we read of icodemus ? In which of the Gospels ? In St. Matthew, St. Mark, St. Luke, or St. John ? ' St. John.' In how many places in St. John do we read of icodemus ? Three. In the third chapter, the seventh, and the nineteenth. The first time he was a bit of a coward, though a good man. The second time he got bolder, because he said, ' Doth our law judge any man, befote it hear him, and know what he doeth?' The third time he became very bold. What makes people bold ? What gives people a good boldness ? If you vvei'e to go and take the eggs away from a little bird in its nest, what would make that little bird fight you ? Love. Love makes people bold. If you are cowards in your religion, if you are ashamed of your religion, it is because you have not love ! icodemus did not mind what the Jews would say. So Joseph went to Pilate, and icodemus to Calvary, and together ' they took the body of .Jesus '. Where did they take it to ? Far — a long way ? o, quite close. Which side of Jerusalem was Calvary ? That side, the West. And there was the hill Golgotha on the top of it. Quite clo.se to it was a garden, and the garden belonged, perhaps, to Joseph, certainly the tomb in it belonged to Joseph. There thev took Him. It was the funeral. Well, they put Him in the tomb sideways. It was the first time anybody had been put into that tomb. It was ' a new tomb '. Why are we told so particularly that it was a new tomb ? Why was it so important ? Was it an honour to the owner ? That was one reason, but not the chief reason. Can you think of any other ? Did you ever read of anybody

being buried, being put into a grave, and he touched some bones, and when he touched the bones he came to life again ? Look at 2 Kings xiii. 21 : ' And it came to pass, as they were burying a man, that, behold, they spied a band of men ; and they cast the man into the sepulchre of Elisha : and when the man was let down, and touched the bones of Elisha, he revived, and stood up on his feet'. Whose grave was it? 'Elisha's.' When the man's body touched Elisha's bones, what happened ? ' He came to life.' Supposing anybody had been buried in Joseph's

tomb before, then thev would have ?Aid, 'Jesus Christ came to life — _iust as the man did who was put into Elisha's tomb. Touching the bones made Him come to life.' Then they would have got rid of the miracle of the resurrection of Christ. Or perha])s they would have said, ' It was not Christ who came out of the tomb. It was somebody else.' But as it was ' a new tomb,' as nobody had been buried there before, of course there were no bones there ; therefore Christ could not have been raised by touching the bones. In Persia, I don't know whether it is so now, but it used to be the custom for people to put on black when anybody was born, and white when anybody died. They thought it was sad for anybody to be born, to come into this world of trouble ; but when they died they put on white, for they thought 'how joyful it was for them to be buried ! ' Is a funeral an unhappy thing? Do you really think it is? I have heard of a little child snying, ' Oh ! I don't mind dying ; but I don't like to be put down in the pit hole'. Do you think that?

I will tell you how it is. Did you ever sow a seed ? Does the seed mind being sown ? Will the seed come up again ? Yes. Which will be the prettier, the seed, or what comes up from the grave ? The latter, won't it ? The seed is not very pretty, is it ? but the thing which comes up from the seed is a beautiful thing ! Perhaps you are not very pretty now. You aie not quite pretty. The prettiest person in this church is not quite pretty, because you have sinned. You are all seeds, all going to be put into the ground, and all, if God's children, will come up beautiful, beautiful I People used always in baptism to be put into the water, put in and come up again. We do not do it so now in this country, because it is not necessary to do that ; and besides it might hurt people's health. Therefore we don't immerse them, but we sprinkle them. But it conies to the same thing. We should think of the immersion. I have no doubt, if this were not a cold country, immersion is the right thing. Because if I put a little baby into the water, it is ' buried ' : if I lift it up again, there is the resurrection. To be 'baptised,' is to bury the old nature, and come up with the new nature ; leaving the fii-st Adam, the wicked part, buried, and coming up a good child of God. So if you are all God's dear children and living as such, you have been ' buried in baptism '. ow I shall not say anything more about the baptism, but about 'the descent into hell,' which is very difficult. Christ ' went down into hell,' which ? His body or His spirit, i.e. His soul ? You have just said His body was put into the grave ; you have seen what sort of a grave it was. ow did His spirit 'go down to heir?

I must just explain this. Let us see if it did 'go down to iiell '. Turn to the sixteenth Psalm, the second of Acts, and the fourth of Ephesia:is. In Psalm XVI. 10, it .says, 'Thou wilt not leave my soul

649

Ver. 8.

ACTS I., II

in hell ; neither wilt Thou suffer Thine Holy One to see corruption '. The same thing is said in Acts ii. 27, repeated by St. Peter. ow look at Ephesians iv. 9. It is not quite the same thing, but it means the same : ' ow that He ascended, what is it but that He also descended first into the lower parts of the earth ? ' ow what does it mean when it says, in the Bible and in the Creed, that ' Christ descended into hell ' ? Do you think it means this : that when Christ was upon the cross. He suffered such terrible pains that it was like going down to hell ; so that we say that ' He went down to hell '. Do you think it means that ? o ; it does not mean that, because it is something after that. Does it mean, do you think, that His body was buried in the grave ? does it mean only that ? o, it does not mean that, because it is spoken of as some-

thing separate from that. Does it mean that Christ ' went into hell,' and suffered the torments of hell ? ' o.' How do you know that it does not mean that ? Because it was only His spirit. His sufferings were done. It does not mean what He suffered on the cross ; it does not mean He was put into the grave ; it does not mean that as the wicked. He went and suffered the torments of hell. It means ' He went into the place of departed spirits '. What is the right word ? Do you all know ? Let me tell you. ' Hell ' is another of the woi-ds which has changed its meaning. We saw that the word ' passion ' had changed its meaning ; and we saw also that the word ' after ' and the word ' prevent,' had both changed their meanings. And one word that has changed its meaning a great deal is ' hell '. Let me tell you a little about it. Will you listen ? The old word is ' Hades '. Do you know how it is spelt ? ' H— A— D— E— S.' ow what is ' Hades ? ' Is it for the happy or unhappy ? For the good or the bad ? For both. ' Hades ' is made up of two places. There are two parts. One is happy ; the other, unhappy. What is the happy part called ? ' Paradise.' Do you know what the word ' paradise ' means ? It means 'a park,' or 'pleasure grounds,' 'beautiful grounds,' a little different from ' a garden '. ' Paradise ' is the Greek word for ' park '. Therefore wc call the garden of Eden ' paradise,' a beautiful park ! What is the unhappy part called ? It is called by different names. I will tell you one — ' Tartarus '. That is one name for the unhappy part.

Then ' Paradise ' and ' Tartarus,' the happy place and the unhappy place put together, make ' Hades '. Jesus went to ' Hades,' a place made up of the happy place and the unhappy place. Did Christ go to paradise ? Did He ever say He was going to paradise ? Yes. Didn't He say to the thief on the cross : ' This day shalt thou be with me in paradise ? Therefore we are quite sure Jesus went to paradise. I think that during those three days Christ did go and ' preach to the spirits in prison '. And the reason

why He preached particularly to those who lived at the time of the flood might have been this : they had no Bible ; they did not know what we know, therefore their spiritual ignorance. We do not know what the result was. That we must leave. Then may we think, ' If I am lost, and go and become one of " the spirits in prison," perhaps Christ will come and save me out of that prison ? ' o. Because we are totally differently situated. That was just the time of Jesus dying and rising : great things happened then that never happened before, and will never happen again. Besides, we are not in the same place, or in the same state, as those at the time of the flood. Therefore there is not the least reason for thinking that would happen again, or happen to us. Certainly not. ow that is what I think it means when it says, ' He descended into hell '. ' He went to Hades, i.e. ' hell ' — made up of two parts — Paradise and Tartarus. He certainly went to Paradise ; perhaps He went to Tartarus. But whether he went to Tartarus or not. He

went to ' hell '. If He went to the happy place. He went to hell, because Paradise was a part of Hades, which is 'hell '. You will find our old English poets — especially Spenser — use the word ' hell ' in that meaning. You see what will become of you. I do not know how soon that body of yours will separate from your soul. But that separation we call ' death '. And then your body will be laid — like a little seed — in the ground. It will be something like going to sleep in the ground, for your body won't know anything that happens : it will be conscious neither of pain nor pleasure. And you will ' sleep ' till Jesus comes again. And when He comes again, you know wherever Jesus is there is no death. Everything is life. Everything will start into life when Jesus comes again. When He was upon earth, dead bodies started into life when Jesus came near them. And then all in the sea and in the earth will come up to life ! Where will your spirit go? To paradise, if you are God's child, to that beautiful, happy place ! There your spirit will be with God, quite happy. You will have no body — but you will be all spirit — till Christ comes. But when He comes the body out of the grave will meet the spirit in paradise, and then you will be complete. Your body will be complete, and your spirit will be complete, perfectly holy, perfectly happy. "The body will be without weakness, sickness, soitow, or sin. The body will be as wings to the spirit, not to drag it down as it does now. And j oined together that beautiful body and that beautiful spirit will go into heaven, the place where we are to be happy for ever and ever 1 — James Vaughan.

THE WHITE SU DAY Acts ii. Have you ever heard why this Sunday is called ' Whit-Sunday ' ? There arc a great many reasons

650

ACTS II

given. I will tell you two ; you shall tell me which you like best. Two reasons for the name of ' WhitSunday '. One is this : On Whit-Sunday people used to come very much to be baptised, the grown-up people and the little babies — a great many people ; and they all came dressed in white. Why were they dressed in white ? Why do people dress in white ? Why do people when they are mamed dress in white ? Why do people when they come to be baptised dress in white ? Is it because they want to fee! that they are going to be made clean and pure ? And because so many came all in white, did it therefore come to be called ' White-Sunday,' or, shortened, 'Whit-Sunday '. That is one reason. I will tell you of another. If you count Easter Sunday one, and then count on to this Sunday, you will find that this is the eighth. ow the F'rench word for ' eight ' is ' huit '. You know a great many French words came into English. When William the Conqueror came to England, and when pei-sons who were pei-secuted at the time of the Edict

of antes came over here, a great many French words were brought in. People did not know how to spell some of them, so they spelt this word ' huit ' as if it were 'white'. Which do you like best? The ' White-Sunday,' or the French ' eight ' or ' huit ' 1 What happened on Whit-Sunday ? The Holy Ghost came down. When the disciples were all assembled, ' There appeared unto them cloven tongues like as of fire, and it sat upon each of them'. Of coui-se it would only be fitting this afternoon that we should speak about the Holy Ghost. And one of His names is — can you tell me ? Tell me one of His names. Think 1 His sweetest name ! Supposing you were to be greatly troubled, who is the person to whom you would go, above all others in the world, to comfort you ? I think I know. Youi- mother ! Would you not go to your mother to comfort you ? God says that the Holv Spirit will comfort you just like a mother. You will find it in the sixty-sixth chapter of Isaiah : ' As one whom his mother comforteth, so will I comfort you '. The Holy Ghost comforts us like a mother. There could not be anything sweeter. What does 'Holy Ghost' mean? Holy Spirit. Sometimes, when we cannot look at the sun, we look at a sunbeam ; or we look at the reflection of the sun in a looking-glass. We cannot see the sun in his full lustre. I. ow I want to speak about the Holy Ghost by an emblem. What does an emblem mean? Who can tell me ? ' Emblem ' means ' a likeness,' something like the thing we are thinking of. We will think of the Holy Ghost by some things that the Holy Ghost is hke. What is God the Holy Ghost like ? He is like — what ? What is that you can feel, but you cannot see. Tell me something you can feel and not see. You felt it to-day, but you did not see it.

What is it ? You felt it very strong to-day ; as you came to church you felt it. The wind. You feel it, but you cannot see it. You can feel the Holy Ghost,

but you cannot see Him. Therefore we will speak about that. Do you remember any verse in the Bible where it speaks about ' the wind ? ' Do you remember Christ speaking to icodemus ? What did He say to him we must all be ? ' We must all be born again.' ' The wind bloweth where it listeth, and thou hearest the sound thereof, but canst not tell whence it cometh and whither it goeth ; so is every one that is born of the Spirit.' "The Holy Spirit is like the wind. Let us think about that. Do you know, have you thought about it, nobody can go to heaven unless they are ' bom again '. ow that is a very solemn thing. obody can go to heaven unless they are born again ! A man was once asked, ' Where were you born ? He said, ' I was born in London, and I was born in Salisbury '. ' What ! bom in two places ? ' he was asked. ' Yes ; I was bom in London,' he replied, 'and I was bora in Salisbury.' 'What do you mean ? ' He answered, ' My body was born in London, and my soul was bom in Salisbury '. ' We must be born again.' I have read about a great palm-tree in the hot countries, which is called the Palm Azaleum, and when the palm-blossom comes out of the shield, the flower breaks the shield and makes such a noise, it is as loud as a cannon being fired off" ! Everybody can know when that flower comes out.

I have never seen any conversions anything like that ; all I have ever seen have been so very quiet. And I think it is so with almost everybody. It is as quiet as when the little grain comes out of the glass, or when the flower comes out in the bud ; you can hardly tell when it happens. Some few can tell when they are ' born again,' but most cannot. I do not know whether you are — I cannot tell whether 3fou are ' bom again '. But ha*; a change taken place in you? Can you say, ' I now like things I did not like ; and other things I used to like, I do not now like — I like the things of God, I like to say my prayers, I like to think of Jesus coming again ' ? If you have any feelings like that you are ' born again ' ; if you have not, you are not. We ' must be born again,' before we can go to heaven. The Holy Ghost does as He pleases, when He pleases. One day there was a carter driving his cart along a road ; he was a very wicked man, and when he was driving there was a very high wind, and suddenly the high wind blew a tract to his feet. Where that tract came from he never knew till he died ; but the high wind blew it to his very feet. He took up the tract and read it, and a word there changed the man, made him a good man, a Christian. The Holy Ghost, like the wind, turned his heart; by the Holy Ghost he became a good man. So ' the wind,' the Holy Ghost, works. You cannot see when the wind comes, but so it is. II. ow let us think of another thing the Holy Ghost is like. When He came down upon the Lord Jesus Christ, when He was baptised, how did He

651

ACTS II

appear? As a dove. And people generally consider a dove to be very gentle. A dove is not always gentle ; but a dove is considered an emblem or likeness of something very gentle. When the Holy Ghost comes, He comes very gently, and He makes us gentle. I knew two little girls who were going out of a church, and one little girl pushed by the other little girl, and she made way for her to pass, and as she passed, she said, ' Blessed are the peacemakers '. That was gentle, like a dove. There was a boy throwing stones at some poor little birds. It is very cruel to throw stones at birds. As he was going to throw a stone at a sweet little bird, the little bird sang so sweetly that the boy held his hand up but could not throw at the bird. Another boy passing, said, ' Why don't you throw ? You will hit it.' 'I cannot,' he said; 'the little bird is singing so sweetly, I cannot hit it.' If you know anybody who is unkind to you, you sing like the little bird, and then see if anybody will hurt you. III. The Holy Spirit is like dew. It says so twice in the prophec-y of Hosea. ' Dew ' is to be seen in the morning and evening. It is very pretty and makes everything so fresh where it comes. ow I have got a piece of advice to give you. If you wish to be good and please God, take care that every morning and every evening you get a little of ' the dew,' the dew of the Holy Spirit upon you. Pray for ' the dew ' ; it will make everything fresh and nice. If things are bad, pray for the Holy Spirit to come down as dew in the morning. You are now in the morning

of life. ow is the time to have dew. May ' the dew of thy birth be of the womb of the moming ! ' Get the Holy Spirit to come and make you soft, and holy, and happy, and loving. Then I hope the dew (the Holy Spirit) will always abide in and upon you, not like the natural dew, that soon passes awav. IV. There are two more things I should like to think of The Holy Spirit is likcj/ire. Let us see that. Supposing I were to give you a piece of iron, and say to you, ' I want you to make a pretty thing, an image out of that iron, what would you do with it ? If you got a hannner and chisel and worked ever so hard at it, it would not make it into an image. What, then, would you do ? Put it into the fire, then it would get soft; thru you could make it into almost any shape you like. So it is with your hearts; thoy are like iron. You have tried to make them good ; beat them into a pretty shape ; but you cannot do so ; but ])ut them into ' the fire,' the Holy Spirit will make them soit. He will make them into right shapes. So St. Paul says in the twelfth of Romans, ' If thine enemy hunger, feed him ; if he thirst, give him drink : for in so doing thou shalt heap coals of fire on his head '. Fire softens. So you have got thoughts, and wisdom, and knowledge. But what good will they all do, if a little bit of fire does not come? There must be a spaik of fire, the Holy Spirit.

One more thing I would say the Holy Ghost is like. He is like a seal. Do you remember anyone to whom it was said in the Bible ? It was said to a young man Timothy. Speaking to him of those who had the seal, St. Paul said, ' The foundation of God

standeth sure, having this seal. The Lord knoweth them that are His. And, Let every one that nameth the name of Christ depart from iniquity.' V. The Holy Spirit is a seal. ow look here : supposing a person had got some very precious jewels, and suppose he was going abroad, and he was not going to take his jewels with him, and he wanted to be quite sure that his jewels would be .safe when he came back again — what would he do? He would lock them up, and to make" them quite safe he would put a seal upon the lock that nobody might be able to break the lock. So long as the seal was not unbroken the jewels would be quite safe, and he would find them right when he came back. You are Christ's jewels. He has bought you at a great price — His own blood. He is your Proprietor, and He has gone abroad. He has gone away. He has gone into 'a far country '. By and by He will come back again. But while He is in that ' fai- country,' what does He do with you ? He has ' sealed ' you with the Holy Spirit. If you take care not to break that ' seal,' then you are quite safe ; but if you trifle with that soal, that is to say, if you grieve the Holy Spirit, if vou do what you know to be wi-ong, the ' seal ' will be broken ; then what will become of the jewels ? You will be robbed of them ; they will be taken away by the enemy. But keep the Holy Spirit in your heart, then you will be sale when Chiist comes back. In the time of the Emperor Tiberius, there was a law in Rome that anybody who carried a particular ring on his finger must never go into any dirty or wrong place. This was in the time of Tiberius, who reigned after Augustus. A great many people got rings with the image of Augustus upon them, and any one wearing one of those rings was never to go into any wrong place. If that was the law of Rome about the image of

Augustus, what must be the law about those who have the image of Christ, the seal upon them, the seal of the Holy Spirit. You were ' sealed ' thus at your baptism ; you caiTy the seals. You must never go into wrong places, never do wrong things, because you have got the seal of the King of kings upon you. There is not the youngest child in this church who has not the seal of God upon him. What must you do? You have got the seal ; keep it holy ! People do not think enough about the Holy Ghost. I advise you to pray about the Holy Ghost. Think of Him as being like the wind, the water, the dove, the dew, the fire, the seal. Think more about Him at home. Try to get more of Him. That, when ' the wind ' cometh as it listeth, you may be ' born again ' by that Spirit, to go as He pleases : that your heart may be clean and white liy that ' water' ; that you may be gentle, like ' the dove ' ; that you may have ' the dew ' upon

652

Vv. 1-4.

ACTS II., Ill

Ver. 15.

your soul ; that you may be soft and tender ; that you

may have that ' fire ' in you that can mould you intc the right shupe ; that you may have that ' seal ' upon your htart which shall never break, but seal you safe for ever and ever ! — James Vaughan. TO GUES OF FIRE ' And when the day of Pentecost was fully come, they were all with one accord in one place. And suddenly there came a sound from heaven as of a rushing mighty wind, and it filled all the house where they were sitting. And there appeared unto them cloven tongues like as of fire, and it sat upon each of them. And tSey were all filled with the Holy Ghost.' — Acts ii. 1-4. On this great festival the Apostles and Disciples were assembled together in an upper room in Jerusalem. They were praying. They were waiting for the promise of the Spirit. Suddenly the whole room was shaken as with a tempest, and bright flames, like tongues of fire, flickered for a moment over every head. These were, indeed, wonderful outward signs ; but we must not think of this rush of tempest and this shower of flaming tongues, as the most wonderful thing that happened. They were but the outward signs of something more wondeiful still. The Holy Ghost filled the hearts of all that were present — not only the Apostles, but the men and women who were with them (Acts 11. 17, 18), and they burst out into loud shouts of praise and thanksgiving to God. I do not mean now to attempt to explain to you what the gift of tongues was. It is a difficult question, and you would scarcely be able to understand it at present ; but 1 wish to show you what this wind and this fire signified. The wind and fire are visible things — that is, things which can be seen with our eyes or felt with our hands. The Holy Spirit is invisible — that is, we cannot see the Blessed Spirit of God ; we cannot feel it, as we can feel a body of any sort. God then gives us the things which we can see to explain something

to us of the things which we cannot see. The wind and the fire thus explain something to us of the nature and work of that Holy Spirit, of whose descent they were the outward signs. I. Wind. — What a gentle thing wind is. What a powerful thing wind is. Even so is the Spirit of God : speaking so tenderly to the heart of some little child ; filling your young souls with every true, and beautiful, and loving thought that you have, and moving the strongest men to penitence and faith. The Spirit of God is gentle as the breeze, strong as the storm. II. Fire. — There are two things which always belong to fire — heat and light. So the Spirit of God comes to us as light and as warmth. To enlighten us — that is, to teach us — to show us the meaning of God's Blessed Word, to explain to us what God is, and what our Blessed Saviour's life and death meant for us ; and so to teach us many things which we cannot know without Him. So we say in our Collect to-day that God did teach the hearts of His faithful people, by the sending to them the Light of His Holy Spirit. And so we call the day Whitsun Day,

because God gave ' wit,' or, as the word ' wit ' used to mean, ' wisdom,' to His disciples. But fire gives heat as well as light. The Holy Spirit not only teaches us about God and about Christ, but makes our hearts flame up in love to Him. The Holy Spu'it came to abide with us for ever. The smallest boy or girl here is a ' Temple of the Holy Ghost'. The Holy ."Spirit dwells in you. How

very sacred a thing, then, you ought to be to yourself. Deiile not the 'Temple of the Holy Spirit of God. Defile it not with any hasty or impui-e language, with any resentful or hateful thoughts, with any false or unkind deeds. The Temple of God is holy. Ask God to give you grace to keep it holy. Keep this day as indeed a feast of first-fruits — ofi'er to God the first-fruits of your life. There is one little prayer you can never pray too often. It is easily remembered. Resolve to-day that you will say it. Pray it every morning and every evening : ' O Lord, take not Thy Holy Spirit from me.' — T. Teignmouth Shore, Saint George for England, p. 177. THEY KILLED THE PRI CE OF LIFE Acts hi. 15. Before some of the young people here were born there was a great war, called the Crimean War, on the continent of Europe. ow in a great war like that it is sometimes the case that if there should be a citj' or a fort near where the fighting is, the gates of it are shut and the walls made strong, and those who are inside fight to keep their enemies out, and those who are outside fight to get in. In the Crimean War there was a city called Sebastopol, and one day the fightere inside of the city fired a great cannon-ball against the fighters outside. But this shot struck on the side of a hill and buried itself deep in the earth, and it so happened that at that very spot there was a spring of water, which had never been able to get out. But the opening caused by this caimon-ball made a way for it, and the spring gushed out, and the water was a great blessing to the poor soldiers who were stationed on that hill-side. So out of this evil thing came this that was good.

ow this is the very thing which the present passage shows. The enemies of Chi"ist put Him to death. They really meant to do this and this only, to put Him to death. And they did put Him to death. ' By wicked hands they killed the Prince of Life.' But out of this evil deed God caused to flow forth the greatest blessing which ever came into the world. From Jesus on the cross comes first our knowledge of God, comes next our knowledge of Himself, then comes the pardon of our sins. I saw in a village I went to visit some time back an ancient stone cross, and at the foot of the cross there gushed out three springs of the purest, coolest water, which never dried up in summer and never froze up in winter.

653

Ver. 13.

ACTS IV., VIII

Ver. 30.

That is just like the Cross of Christ. He was put

to death ; that was man's evil deed. But ever since then there have been flowing out into the world three spi'ings of life, viz. faith, hope, and charity. — Alexander Macleod, The Child Jesus, p. 80. ACT LIKE CHRISTIA S Acts iv. 13. The grace of God is something that can be seen, felt, cnjoj-ed, and passed on to othere, in its influence and blessing. The Apostles were filled with the Holy Ghost and became earnest witnesses for Jesus, therefore they were marked men, and all Christians, whether young or old, should be reflectors of Jesus, echoes of Jesus, and brave soldiers for Jesus, so that the world will take knowledge of them that they have been with Jesus. Faith makes a Christian, Love proves a Christian, Trial tests a Christian, Life shows a Christian, and Death crowns a Christian. To act like a Christian is to be like the Apostles. I. Benevolent and Kind. — Helpers of the helpless (ver. 9). II. Bold and Earnest. — Preaching Jesus (ver. 12). III. Brave and Fearless. — Dared to speak for Jesus (ver. 20). IV. Bright and Happy — Reflecting Jesus (ver. 1 3). The Roman Censors took such an utter dislike to the wicked son of Africanus that they refused to let him wear a ring on which his father's likeness was engraved, alleging, ' that he who was so unlike the father's person was unworthy to wear the father's picture'. So the Lord will never grant any to enjoy the love of Christ in heaven who are destitute of His likeness on earth. To act like a Christian is to act

like Christ in obedience, self-sacrifice, and service. — • C. Edwards, Tin Tacks for Tiny Folks, p. 9. A BLACK MA RIDI Q I A CHARIOT. ' Understandest thou what thou readest ? ' — Acts viii. 30. A LO G time ago — about eighteen hundred and fortyfive years ago — there was a black man riding in a carriage. He was driving through a country where there were but very few houses, and scarcely any people. But there was a man standing there. That man was a minister. And when the black man riding in the can'iage came near to this man, something said to him, ' Go to that cai-riage I ' ' He ran.' Whether it was because the carriage was going so quickly, or whether it was because he had such a loving heart, I do not know, but he ' ran ' towards the carriage. And the minister saw that the black man was reading a book, and he said to him, ' Do you understand it ? ' ' Understandest thou what thou readest ? ' And the black man said, 'How can I, except someone should help me ? ' So he said to the minister, ' Get up into the carriage ; sit with me ; explain the book to me ; help me'. So he got up into the carriage and sat with him ; and they drove along. The black man was reading the fifty-third chapter of Isaiah, and the minister explained it to him. That is the way it all began. ' Do you understand

what you are reading ? ' That is the way I want to begin now. I say to you, 'You read, but do you understand what you read ? ' Oh ! what a wonderful thing it is to read. I suppose almost everybody in this church can read. Can you read ? Perhaps you can only read the little words. But I think everybody can read a little bit.

It is a wonderful thing to be able to read. I hope you will all be able to read very nicely. Did you ever think what it is you are doing when you read a book ? Somebody wi'ote that book. In that book are that man's thoughts. That book is the thoughts of some man who probably lived before you were born ; perhaps a very good man ; a very wise man ; a very great man. And those are his thoughts. And you are reading that man's thoughts. It is a wonderful thing to be able to do so — that you can now be reading the thoughts of some great, good man, who lived perhaps a hundred or a thousand years ago. ow he is telling you his thoughts. Is not it so? ow think. When you are reading, the man who wrote that book is telling you his thoughts, the thoughts he had when he wrote that book. But when you read the Bible, what is it? That is a very wonderful book. God is telling you His thoughts ! When you read the Bible, the great God from heaven is telling you His thoughts. His mind. He is telling you His mind. What an honour to be allowed to hear, to know, the thoughts of the mind of the great God ! That is the Bible. So God talks with us. When you open your Bible, read your Bible, God is talking with you. Then, when you close the Bible, to kneel down and say your prayers, then you are talking to God. So that you are having ' conversation ' with God. God speaks to you ; then you speak back to God ; and then again God will speak back to you ; and you are really having conversation. God talking to you, and you talking to God. You are having conversation with the great God of heaven and earth. Oh ! it is a grand thing to be able to read the Bible. ow I want to say to you, Do you ' understand ' it? Do you think you do? Do you understand your Bible?

I can fancy some of you saying to me, ' I am afraid I do not. I must say I feel very ignorant.' Do you feel that ? Are you very ignorant ? I am so very glad about that. Some one has said, 'To feel ignorant is the doorstep to the temple of truth '. I will say that again, because I think it is a very beautiful thing to say, ' To feel ignorant is the doorstep to the temple of truth '. So if you feel ignorant, you have got to the doorstep. Iliat is something. ow I hope you will soon go into the temple of truth. You are on the doorstep. If you feel, on the other hand, that you know a great deal, you are not on the doorstep. If you feel, ' I am a very clever boy or girl, I don't want you to teach me,' then you are not ' on the doorstep '. But if you feel you are very ignorant, you are ' on the doorstep of the temple of truth '.

654

\ er. 30.

ACTS VIII

Ver. 30.

There are very difficult things in the Bible. Somebody has said of the Bible, and I think it is very true, ' It is Hke water ; and the water is so shallow

that a little child can walk in it ; until it is so deep that an elephant can swim in it '. That is the Bible. There are very difficult things in the Bible ; deep mysteries. There are some things in the Bible which, when you cannot understand, I advise you to leave alone for a little while. If you go down to the sea to bathe, and find the water very, very deep, if you cannot swim you do not go in very far, but just stand on the shore. But while there are some very deep things in the Bible, there is a great deal that we may know, and we shall be happy if we do know. I want to think about that. How are we to begin ? What is the way to ' understand ' the Bible ? i. What should you put first ? Begin with a little prayer. David did. He loved his Bible so much and understood it so much, though he had not the same Bible as we have ; he had only five or six books. He said he loved it so, when reading it sometimes, that he would ' open his mouth, and draw in his breath ' ! It was so beautiful. And he began with prayer ' Make me to understand it,' he said. That is a nice little prayer. ' Make me,' I cannot make myself, ' make me to understand.' Another time he said, ' Open mine eyes that I may see wondrous things '. That is the way to begin. Begin with a little prayer. 'Make me to understand.' ' Open mine eves. ' ow having said your prayer we go to the Bible. The Bible is not like other books. You are not to learn it like other books. When you go up to your arithmetic, when you are doing a sum, it is not necessary to love the book ; nor is it necessary to love the person who wrote the book. When you read Colenso's Arithmetic it is not necessary to love Colenso. You need not hate the man, but you need not love him. But you, must love your Bible, for it is not with the head, but with the heart you are to know it.

It is hard work. It is always spoken of in the Bible as" hard work. Solomon asked not for an understandiuLj head, but an ' understanding heart '. It shows that ' understanding ' has more to do with the heart than the head. And I am sure that those boys and girls who put their hearts into it, are those who will ' understand ' it best. It is hard work. And we must love it. I have read of a man who loved his Bible. I will tell you about him. He was a prisoner. He had not been in prison very long before they put him into a daik place, wheie there was no light. But three times a day he had his meals brought in : his breakfast, dinner, and supper ; and while he ate those meals he was allowed to have a light, in order to see how to take them. But this good man who loved his Bible dearly thought to himself, ' Well, I can take my meals without a light ; I can manage to eat without a light ; but I cannot read my Bible without a light, so I would ratherread my Bible when I get the light ; then I can eat my meals in the dark.' So he did.

Every time when his light was brought in, say for an hour or so it was allowed him, he did not eat his breakfast, dinner, and supper, but he read his Bible. Then he took his meals afterwards in the dark. ow I am sure that man had a right heart, and he had a true understanding. And God will take care to give ' the understanding heart ' to us, if we love our Bible. Well now we have settled that — love your Bible fii'st, begin with that. ' Here is my Bible. God is S])eaking to me. I will love it.'

II. But you must study it. David said, ' All the day long have I studied it '. You cannot do that. Y^ou cannot study it ' all day long '. Y''ou must, however, be always thinking about it. There is nobody in the church now who could not study his or her Bible. If you have ever been in the fields in summer, say a clover field, you have seen a little winged thingflying in and out of all the flowers, darting about, just alighting here and there, and then darting off again, never staying. Beautiful animal ! beautifully coloured ! But it is always on the surface of everything; it never goes deep. And you may see another little creature, not half so pretty ; it is a little brown animal. But it always stays some time with the flower. It goes down deep, and it gets something at the bottom of the flower. It takes something away with it that will, perhaps, be useful to it in the winter. Do you know what those two little animals are ? Don't you be a butterfly ; be a bee. Go as the bee does. ot a touch and a go ; but dig deep. Y''ou must study. Y'^ou will not learn your Bible without hard study. I have read of a little girl ; her governess said to her, ' My dear, don't you understand your le.ssons ? ' The little girl said, ' Governess, you give me so many things to learn, / have no time to learn " understanding " '. I think that is the case with you. In many schools they learn so many things that they have no time to learn understanding ; they only learn the surface of things. I would advise every master and mistress to remember that ! They must give their boys and girls time to ' learn understanding '. Supposing I gave you a letter, and it was written in the Russian language, what would you do ? You

could not ' understand ' a letter written in Russe, in the Russian langujige. But su])posingyou could find a man who knew Russian, then he could read the letter to you, and you would ' understand ' it ; or, supposing you had a letter but could not read it, and your correspondent came to your side, and read it to you, then you would ' understand ' your letter, though you could not read it. That is exactly what we want in this study. We want to have an interpreter, one who knows the language, to explain it to us ; and the person who %vi-ote it to come and explain it. That is what we have got. We have the Holy Ghost to come ; and God, who wrote it, and Jesus, the Great Teacher.

655

Ver. 30.

ACTS VIII., IX

Ver. 15.

III. The next thing I advise you is to ask help. ow, if I am speaking to bo3'S and girls who leally wish to ' understand ' their Bibles, why do not they sometimes come to me as their minister ? Why don't you ? I should be so glad to see you. Come to me and say, ' I am puzzled about this point, I cannot think how it can be '. Do you know it is my duty.

I am a clergyman. I cannot do it as well as I ought. But I think I can help you a little. You come into my study, and say, ' I want this explained to me '. I shall be so glad for anybody in this church to come to me as your minister and say, ' I want to understand this chapter '. We will study it together. We will ask God's blessing upon it I think I can help you. Will you do that ? I cannot tell you how welcome you would be. You need not be afraid. Walk straight into my study. Open the front door, take the second door on the right, and walk straight in. There I shall be. I will help you to ' understand ' the Bible. Perhaps you have somebody at home who can help you ; if not, come to me ; come to your clergyman. IV. One more thing. If ever you read in the Bible something you ought to do, go and do it. Act it out. You remember this vei-se, ' If any man will do His will, he shall know of the doctrine '. But he must ' do ' it. You must be a good boy, a good girl, trying to lead a good Ufe and please God, then you will get on fast ; God will be your teacher. If you are not good, you won't get on. Supjjosing you were reading something in a room, and I came in and closed the shutters — could you read it then? Supposing you were going to light a candle, and there was an extinguisher put upon it, could you light it then ? If you are doing anything naughty, it is putting up the shutters, it is putting the extinguisher upon the candle. If the extinguisher is on the candle, you cannot light it ; if the shutters are put up, you cannot see. Don't put up the shutters ; don't put on the extinguisher. If you are doing anything to displease God, if you are unkind to anybody, if you are living in any sin, the shutter is up, the extinguisher is put on, you won't ' understand ' perhaps a single word.

At Stirling, some time ago, thei e was a beggar ; those who visited Scotland saw him always there, on the hill. He knew his Bible from Genesis to Revelation. He could repeat it straight through, chapter and verse, so long as he had a particular key, which he fumbled about in his hand. If anybody took away his key, his memory failed. If they gave him another key, it would not do. But he could repeat correctly so long as he had one particular key. He was a gin drinker, a drunkard ; a very bad man. He knew Tiis Bible, hut he did not ' undnrstand ' it. He had plenty of knowledge, but he was a poor drunkard ! ow will you remember my advice to you. When you are reading your Bible, it is God talking to you ; come to it with a feeling that you are very ignorant, that there are very deep mysteiies in it; love the book, and love the Writer ; study it carefully, and

ask for help ; act out whatever you find. Then I am sure you will be a good scholar. / I will just tell you one story. Did you tver hear V of St. Augustine. He was a wonderful man, perhaps many would say (I do not know if I should say so) that he was the greatest Christian that ever lived. His books are most valuable. He lived in the fourth centui-y. Up to the age of thirty-one he was a wild fellow, wicked, very wicked. One day when he was about thirty-one years old, Augustine, afterwards called St. Augustine, was lying under a fig-tree in a garden, close to a college in Italy. I often say to you what a blessed thing it is to have a good mother. He had an excellent mother. Oh, how he grieved her ! There never was a man who had a better mother. But he grieved her deeply. He thought, ' What a wicked fellow I have been ! How I have grieved my mother — and how I have grieved God ! '

As he was lying under the fig-tree he heard a voice, — where it came from he did not know, perhaps from the house near him, and he heai-d this voice say, in Latin, ' Get up and read ! ' He went to a friend of his and said, ' Have you got a Bible ? ' He took the Bible given him into his hand, and opened it on the thirteenth of Romans, and I will read you the two verses he read, they are the last two in the chapter. The words are these : ' Let us walk honestly, as in the day ; not in rioting and drunkenness, not in chambering and wantoniicss, not in strife and envying. But put ye on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make not provision for the flesh, to fulfil the lusts thereof.' He read them, and was a changed man from that time. He became a very holy man, a very useful man. ever has there been a nobler Christian than he ; or one moi e useful, in all ages. And that is the way it all began. Reading the Bible, and foi-saking his sins. ' Get up and read ! ' — James Vaughan. CHOSE VESSELS ' He is a chosen vessel unto Me, to bear My name before the Gentiles. ' — Acts ix. 15. With these words the Lord calmed the fears of Ananias when he was told to visit Saul of Tarsus in the street called Straight in Damascus. The risen Saviour, still using images, had likened Saul to the struixgling ox ; and He now likens him to a rare vessel filled with sweet-smelling perfume. Very likely these never-to-be-forgotten words of Christ were still echoing in Paul's soul when, many years afterwards, he said, ' We have this treasure in earthen vessels' (2 Cor. IV. 7). The vessel here meant is a household cup or bowl, and the treasure in it is the name or Gospel of Jesus Christ. I. Its Material. — All the vessels in your house — the strong bowls in the kitchen, the fine vases in the

drawing-room and tlie china tea-cups — are made of clay and stone. The raw material of every one of them was found in the soil of the earth. The materials for earthenware are everywhere mixed up with the surface of the earth, though some soils suit the ])otter better than others. And so the whole world

656

Ver. 15.

ACTS IX

Ver. 15.

is the Great Potter's field, and Christ's ' chosen vessels ' were all common clay at fii-st. When He took them up their natures were as coarse, unshaped masses ; of the earth, earthy. Could the finest china vessel speak, it might truly say, ' I was once but a piece of common clay, trodden under foot ; but the skilful potter lifted me up, and by the miracles of his art fashioned me into what I now am. I am a piice of base clay ennobled by his art. I cannot boast, for I have nothiui:; which I have not received. 'Tis he who has made me to differ.' The Apostle never tires telling us that he was the chief of sinnere, and that he owes all to the grace of God. What hope for us ! What hope for all here ! Splendid vessels are now made from mere rubbish, broken glass, and old bones.

And the outcasts of earth have been shaped into vessels of honour by Him who lifts the beggar from the dung-hill and sets him among His princes. It used to be thought that the materials for porcelain or ' china ' could be found only in China ; but we now know that Cornwall contains miles and mountains of these materials ; and a blacksmith was the firet in Europe to discover them even in the mud of the highway. And the people in China, Japan, and Africa, as well as those in Christian lands, have in them ' the making ' of Christ's chosen vessels. The potter's art can triumph over the rudeness of the most unpromising materials. A lady, who had won many to Christ, was one evening thanking them for a testimonial they had given her, consisting of silver and ' china ' articles. I will give you some of her words as recorded in her biography : ' When I gaze upon your gifts, I seem to read a sermon in each one, and cannot forbear once again jjroclaiming the old, old story. The silver reminds me that it was not always thus beautiful : it had first to be dug out of the earth, then placed in the crucible that the dross might be consumed, then moulded, and lastly, the mark of its genuineness had to be impressed thereupon. And thus it is with the Christian. Again, when I see the exquisite teaservice, I cannot but be reminded that there was a time when to all appearance it was but useless clay, which the passer by would have left unheeded ; but the potter has power over the clay, and the mean substance in his hand was prepared and n)oulded into these vessels to the praise of the maker's name. It is even thus that God deals with the sinner.' II. Its Maker is God. — That beautiful cup is not a self-made thing. The potter took the clay, tempered, moulded, baked, painted, and fired it, and then put his mark upon it. And the Christian is made, not by self or man, but by God. ' For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus.' I have known a boy, in a day of grace, saying to his minister,

' Please will you convert me too,' forgetting that conversion is the work of God. ' I am one of your converts,' a man smelling of whisky once said to Kowlaud Hill. ' I can believe it,' replied Mr. Hill, ' you look very like my bungling work. Had you been one of God's converts, you would not have come to me half-drunk.'

III. The Vessel's Use. — Christ's vessels are all for use, none for ornament only ; they are ' vessels unto honour, sanctified, meet for the Master's use '. A great house has some chosen or choice vessels, preferred for their size, strength, or beauty. Such a vessel was the Apostle, great in mind and heart, most serviceable and beautiful from his glad devotion to Christ. ' He is a chosen vessel unto Me ' — My creation and property — ' to bear (or carry) My name before the Gentiles, and kings, and chikiren of Israel' Christ's name was the water of life for the perishing, the healing balsam for men's deadly wounds ; and the Apostle was the vessel in which that heavenly treasure was carried round and offered to all. o other vessel in Christ's house has been more used and honoured. Yet the humblest vessel has its use. A poor broken cup may hold the water that saves the life of a dying man, and the humblest Christian may carry Christ's name to a perishing sinner. IV. The Vessel's Beauty. — Our makers of vessels strive to unite the useful and the beautiful ; 1 heir aim is to cast a thing of use in beauty's mould. Vessel is a name usually given to the finest ware, and a ' chosen vessel ' suggests rare beauty. Our text may mean that Christ's name was to be carried on as well as in the vessel : ' to bear My name before (not merely to) the Gentiles and kings ' ; just as the costly vases in palaces bear the name and fame of the maker before kings.

Bernard Palissy, the French potter — a noble Chiistian and Protestant martyr — once saw a white enamelled or glazed cup, and resolved to discover the secret of so beautifying vessels. He spent all his money and sixteen years of his life in making the discovery. He was often at death's door, had burnt all his furniture for fuel, and his body was lean and dried up from hard work. At last he made some of the chosen vessels, and these have borne his name among nations and kings even to this day. Thus Paul bore his Creator's name far and wide, and multitudes ' glorified God in Him '. A life so ennobled by grace moved men to honour the grace that ennobled it. ' For this cause,' he says, ' I obtained mercy, that in me first (or to begin with) God might show forth all long-suffering for a pattern.' He was a specimen or sample of what God's grace could do with the most unlikely materials. The Maker's name was both on and in that chosen vessel. If potters have done so much to clothe clay with beauty, shall they not condemn us if we do not earnestly seek to have the beauty of the Lord our God upon us ? If a heathen philosopher reproached a rich man with having silver plate and earthenware principles, should we not reproach ourselves that we are so eager to possess every sort of beauty, except the beauty of the soul ? When shall the ' beauty of holiness ' find as passionate admirers as the beauty of art has in all our cities ? Thousands almost worship what they fondly call ' the fine arts '. If those arts are by way of distinction ' the fine arts,' this I am discoursing on is surely the finest art under heaven.

657

Vv. 18, 16.

ACTS XII., XIII

Ver. 36.

Many there be who say, ' A thing of beauty is a joy for ever,' and ' the whole world without art would be a great wilderness '. Yes, a thing of beauty, like this chosen vessel, is a joy for ever to its possessor and to all beholders who know its worth. And without the art of creating Christ's chosen vessels this world were a wilderness, full of sin and misery, and overrun with the rank gi-owths of hell. — James Wells, Bible Images, p. 227. RHODA Acts xii. 13, i6. Rhoda and Miriam are the only two girls of the Bible whose names we know. Rhoda was evidently an earnest Christian, and occupies an important place in the records of the early Church. The mention of her name, the memorial of her life, and the fragrance of her service, are abiding marks of her precious testimony for Jesus. Rhoda means a rose, the emblem of beauty, sweetness, and fragrance, and these certainly were some of the features of Rhoda's character. On a girl's tombstone in France there is a rose nicely carved upon it, with these words underneath: ' She was just like that '. And this is the picture the

Holy Spirit has drawn of Rhoda in the ew Testament. A bright, beautiful blessing, ' She being dead yet speaketh '. I. Rhoda was a True Christian. — But you ask. How do you know ? She was in fellowship with the Church. The Lord only added living souls (Acts 11. 47). She was intei'ested in the prayer-meeting — prayer, the evidence of life (Acts ix. 11). She was glad when Peter was released ; Christian love a family mark ; grace, life, and fellow.ship, all true marks of a real Chiistian. II. Rhoda was a Careful Christian. — She was placed on guard. o doubt she was set to watch and listen by the Church whilst they prayed. There were many enemies about (Acts xil 1). She used her ears well. She hearkened carefully (Mark xin. 33). She used her tongue wisely. She asked who was there (margin). She was very quick. She recognised Peter's voice. Grace makes us wise. Danger makes us careful, and love makes us quick. III. Rhoda was a Warm -Hearted Christian. — ' She opened not the gate for gladness.' Rhoda got a little excited, still there was real joy. Her whole soul responded to the fact that prayer was answered, and Peter was released. There were three good reasons for Rhoda's gladness. Rewarded faith, answered prayer, and relieved anxiety. These blessings are always means of gi'eat joy and happiness (Acts V. 41). IV. Rhoda was an Active Christian. — ' She ran and told how Peter stood before the gate.' She had a quick ear, warm heart, nimble feet, and a ready tongue, all alive for Jesus. The outward evidences of a soul full of the love and joy of Jesus. Just the grace the two disciples had in Luke xxiv. 27, 41. If we are not like this, let us breathe that oft-repeated

prayer in Psalm cxix. 25, ' Quicken thou me according to Thy word '. V. Rhoda was a Useful Christian. — ^She was most useful to the Church then, and has been ever since. It was only very humble service, but it h;.s been recognised and recorded by the Holy Spirit. It is a guide and pattern for every follower of Jesus. It was wise, hearty, helpful, happy service for the Lord. So every Chi-istian, young or old, with head clear, heart warm, soul glad, faith strong, feet shod, and the tongue touched by the Holy Ghost, can do wonders for the Church and the world too. The Lord give us the Divine touch. — C. Edwards, Tin Tacks for Tiny Folk, p. 81. A SU SET O THE HILLS OF CA AA ' David, after he had served his own generation by the will of God, fell on sleep, and was laid unto his fathers.' — Acts XIII. 36. The verse from which I am now to speak to you tells us, among other things — I. The Way to Die Happy. — Death has been spoken of, to those who are unprepared, as ' the King of terroi-s '. But of this King of Israel it is here said, ' He fell asleep '. How was death to him thus so peaceful as to be compared to a little child closing its eyes and sinking into slumber on its mother's knees ? I think it was — I am sure it was — because he was enabled, in early years, when amid the flocks and

sheep-folds of Bethlehem, to give his young heai't to God. As I looked down when in Palestine on the valley of that name, I could not help recalling the youthful warbler who once was there with his simple pastoral reed-pipe, before he could procure the golden harp of after years. I thought of him by day amid the bleatings of his flock singing songs to Israel's God. And then, when the evening shadows fell, and the beautiful stars came out ; when the sheep and lambs were all folded ; when the birds had gone to their leafy cradles, and the great Temple of nature was silent ; how that boy-minstrel loved to break the stillness with these loveliest night- Psalms ever penned ; ' The heavens declare the glory of God, and the firmament showeth forth His handiwork '. ' When I consider Thy heavens the work of Thy fingers, the moon and the stars which Thou hast ordained ! ' If he had not then leamt to love and praise and serve the great Creator, who had made him and redeemed him, he would not — he could not — have left the world so happy. It was because, when he was yet the age of many I now address, he had learnt to sing, ' The Lord is my Shepherd,' that he could plead when he was old and grey-headed, ' O God, forsake me not ' (Ps. Lxxi. 17), and that when he came to lie on a deathiDed in his royal palace, he could take down the harp of Zion, and warble so sweet a farewell as we are told he did. Do you remember the words of that death-song ? You will find it in 2 Samuel xxm. 5 : ' He hath made with me an everlasting covenant, ordered in all

658

Ver. 36.

ACTS XIII., XVI

Ver. 25.

things and sure ; for this is all my salvation, and all my desire '. Or listen yet again to what the dying King, at the same solemn moment, says about men who ' rule in the fear of God ' (2 Sam. xxiri. 4) : ' He shall be as the light of the morning when the sun riseth, even a morning without clouds ! ' Seek in the morning of existence to love and sei-ve God, if you wish, when you die, to ' fall asleep ' in the ' everlasting arms ' (Deut. xxxiii. 27). David, when he came, as he diil, bitterly to mourn his great sins, would, I doubt not, have given his crown and sceptre and riches, and all that he had, to get back the bliss of a pure heart and a life unstained with crimson and scarlet guilt. Keep far out of the way of temptation. Try to do nothing that would cloud the beauty of your after years. Live holy if you would die happy. II. The test tells, that All of you Have an Influence either for Good or for Evil. — David, though as I have just said at one time he fell unhappily into sad sin, yet mainly his life was an influence for good. He ' served his own generation ' by ' doing the will of God '. As a Sun, he gladdened many with his beams. Many rejoiced in his light.

III. I shall add a third thought, though it is not told us in the text. It is this : That You all Have an Influence in the World after you Die. David, we are here specially told, influenced the generation among which he lived. But did he do no more ? His influence remained after his death too. This is surely a solemn reflection — that after death, when earth is left for ever, and when people gather round the grave of this one and that one and say of them ' They are gone' it is not so. In a true sense of the word they still live. Seek to live, that while you live, by loving ways and loving acts, the world may be the better for you ; and that when you die, a good example — good thoughts and words and deeds— shall be left behind you ; and thus, if I may repeat the illustration I have used before, like Mary's broken box of spikenard, the whole little home and circle of your influence may be tilled with the odour of the ointment. ' The child Samuel,' we read (to return once more to David's old and kind friend), 'grew, and not a word fell to the ground.' That saying has a solemn meaning regarding us all — (1) ot a word oi good falls to the ground. (2) ot a word of evil falls to the ground. Our characters, good or bad, survive, and live on for ever ! IV. There is one other thing of which the text reminds us. All Must Die. — David ' fell on sleep '. Great man as he was — king though he was : though he sung many sweet Psalms, though beloved by God and honoured by men — yet the sunmions came at last, Tut up thy harp, and be gathered to thy fathers' ; and ' Ha died '. David had stormed and taken many strongholds, but he could not storm or take the stronghold of Death ! He was proud of the ' House of his armour ' in the royal palace — the shields and spears,

the bucklers and helmets of his mighty men, that hung in his cedar gallery, but they were all unavailing to resist or vanquish ' the Last Enemy '. The harp that charmed away the evil spirit from Saul was powerless at that solemn closing scene ! Live to God as long as you live ; and then it matters not whether your years be few or many. Even a very brief existence, if it has been loving and gentle, and unselfish and good, will not have been in vain. Cut short in this world, it will be continued in that world to come where death cannot enter. I like to think of that verse in Psalm xci. The words may apply to a young, just as much as to an aged Christian, ' He asked life of Thee, and Thou gavest him a long life ; even length of days for ever and ever ! ' — J. R. Macduff, Hosannas of the Children, p. 64 SI GI G I A STRA GE PLACE ' And the prisoners heard them.' — Acts xvi. 25. Some of the best men the world has ever seen have spent their time in prison. There was that friend of all children, the author of the Pilgrim's Progress, who lived for twelve years in a prison. Jo.seph, you remember, spent long and dreary years in the prison of Egypt. Jeremiah the prophet was not only put in prison, but let down into a miry pit in the centre of it, and nearly killed there. Daniel and the three Hebrew children were put in prison. Peter the Apostle was shut up in prison, till the angel came and opened the prison gates and let him out. But none of the great heroes of the Bible was more familiar with the inside of prisons than the Apostle Paul ; and to-day we have to consider one of the

strangest scenes of his prison life. I. The Singers. — Here, then, the two servants of God were immured. The heavy doors were shut upon them ; the darkness surrounded them ; the fetid odours of the dungeon rose and caught their breath ; their backs leaned against the damp wall ; their feet could not be moved ; their wounds, in which the clotted blood was hardening, rent them with pain ; and in their hearts there was the bitter sense of wrong, for they knew that they had been imprisoned for no crime, but for a deed of kindness. And outside their cell door, in the large outer room, the blackguards and vagabonds of Philippi, who had been imprisoned for all sorts of crimes, kept up a din, with oaths and coaree laughter and ribald songs. But the hours wore by, and the night fell over the city and over the prison. The darkness in the cell of Paul and Silas could not be deepened ; but in the room outside the red glow faded from the window, and the noise of the prisoners sank to silence, as they flung themselves on their pallets to sleep. The gaoler and his family were asleep ; the prisoners in the large room were all asleep ; midnight and silence and sleep enveloped the prison building. But what sound is this which steals out in the silent midnight? It fills the large room where the prisoners are sleeping. One after another awakes ;

659

Ver. 25.

ACTS XVI., XVII

Ver. 25.

he never heard such music before ; he sits up on his couch and listens. Is it angels pouring their songs on the midnight, like those who sang on the plains of Bethleliem ? Where can it be coming from ? Is it possible that it is coming out of the inner prison ? Are these two broken, bleeding men, whom they had seen thrust in there, singing ? Yes ; it was even so ! Paul and Silas could not sleep. Their smarting wounds would not allow them. But how did they spend the long and heavy hours ? In complaining to each other of their misery? In cui-sing the injustice of those who had imprisoned them ? In weeping and gi'oaning over their pains ? o, no ; they talked to each other cheerfully and pleasantly, until they forgot their misery and their wounds ; they prayed together, until they felt as if they were in heaven rather than in a dungeon ; and at last their hearts grew so full and so happy that they could no longer restrain themselves, but broke out together into the song which awakened their fellow-prisoners. But what was it which made them able to be joyful and to sing for joy in such circumstances ? It was not that they were brave men, though the}' were very brave. It was not that theu- friendship for each ( ther was so strong that they were able to drive care away from each other's minds, though they were the best of friends. These things would not have

been sufficient to make them triumph over pain and gloom and wrong as they did. AVhat was it, then ? I think I know. There was a third person in the cell. If the gaoler had opened the door and looked in, he would not have seen Him. But Paul and Silas saw Him. It was Jesus. He was with them ; and His presence and His love made the midnight bright, and changed the clasp of the stocks into perfect freedom, and made them forget their pains and their wrongs, and changed the dungeon into a temple, and the groans of pain into psalms of praise. It was for His sake they had been beaten and imprisoned, and that was enough. He was with them, and all was well. II. The Listeners. — Our text says, ' The prisoners heard them,' but it ought to say, 'The prisoners listened to them '. They sat up on their pallets, and tried to catch the strange sounds. They rose and crept to the door of the dungeon, and bent their heads towards it, eager to catch every word. There they stood, an awe-stricken group, listening breathlessly in the darkness. TTie silence and the midnight hour heightened the effect. Have you ever heard a nightingale sing ? If you have not, you cannot conceive what a flood of song it is, twittering and shaking, and piping and soaring, running over all tlie notes of the scale from the lowest to the highest. But much of the extraordinary effect of this bird's music is due to the circumstance I have just alluded to, that it sings at night, when all the other songsters of the g:ove are hushed, when the world is wiapped in silence, and the mind, undistracted by the sights and sounds of

the daytime, can listen with all its faculties. So the Psalms of the Apostles gained much of their effect

from the silence and the midnight hour. What chiefly riveted the prison audience was wonder at the joy and cheerfulness of Paul and Silas. This was the miracle. How, after the treatment they had received, and in the circumstances in which they were, could sounds so calm, so cheerful, so joyful come from them ? What was the secret these two men possessed ? The prisoners knew they had nothing which could make them glad in such circumstances. They had sought happiness in revelry and abandonment, but they had discovered none like this. Ah, this is what always rivets the attention of sinners, when they see that Christians have a joy that is far better than any other happiness in the world. I wish Christians would let the bird which sings in their breast be heard by others as well as themselves. There is an exquisite sketch written by the hand which penned the immoital story of Rab and his Friends, and now, alas ! lies still for ever in the grave, of a quaint old character of other days, well known to Dr. Brown, because he was his father's beadle. The sketch is written with the love and humour of which the author's heart was full ; and among other traits of his humble friend he gives this touching one. He had been manied in his youth, but after a year his wife and their one child died together ; but always afterwartls he kept up the practice of family worship, though quite alone, giving out the Psalm and the chapter, as if his dear wife had been there. He lived in a high story in the Canongate, and his voice, in the notes of Martyrdom or Coleshill, sounded morning and evening through the thickly tenanted land ; and many a careless foot was arrested and many a heart touched by that strange sound. I hope there are doors in our large blocks of houses where the passers-by are impressed by the same gi'ave sweet melody.

I wi.sh you to sing. Ah, but I wish most of all that you should have the joy which gives birth to song. It is the heart, and not the throat, in which song has its true habitation. It is in this cage the bird of song resides. When you sing of free grace and dying love, do you feel what you are singing? Do you feel these things so much that you cannot help singing ? This is the right kind of song. If you can sing thus, then you will sow the seeds of joy wherever you go, and you will see them springing up in the new and happy lives of those who listen to you. — James Stalker, The ew Song; p. 168. GOD, THE MODEL GIVER ' He giveth to all life, and breath, and all things.' — Acts xvii. 25. I. God is a Cheerful giver. — Jesus said to His disciples ; ' Freely ye have received — freely give '. But when He said they ' received freely,' He meant to show the way in which God gives. All that we receive we receive Irom Him. ' He giveth to all life, and breath, and all things.' And all that He give^, He gives freely. He gives us life. But when

dC^O

Ver. 25.

ACTS XVII

Ver. 25.

the baby first begins to live, what does it have to pay for its life ? othing. He gives us breath ; and as we open our mouths to draw it in — what do we have to pay for it ? othing. He gives us sunshine ; and what do we have to pay for it ? othing. He gives us pure, sparkling water from hund reds of springs and fountains, bubbling from the earth ; and what do we have to pay for them ? othing. He sent His blessed Son to die for us, and to ' open the kingdom of heaven to all believers ' ; and what do we have to pay for Christ's entrance into our world, to save it? othing at all. What God gives to us, He gives freely. And this is the reason why God expects us to give as St. Paul says : ' ot grudgingly, or of necessity ; for God loveth a cheerful giver'. He loves to have us give cheerfully, because this is the way in which He gives to us. God gives freely, or cheerfully, because He loves to give. And this is the only reason you can name why God gives at all. He is not obliged to give. If He should stop giving, no one could help it ; and no one would have right to com|)lain. But He gives because He loves to give. And when we do anything from love, we always do it freely, or cheerfully. God is the model Giver, because He gives cheerfully. And we fin 1 beautiful examples of those who are trying to imitate the model of giving, which He sets before us, by giving cheerfully. The baptised pocket-hooks. — Some time ago a rich merchant, who was going to join a Baptist Church, was about to be baptised, as they are accustomed to do it, by immersion, or plunging the whole body under water. One of his friends, who saw his pocketbook in his pocket, suggested that he had better take it out before going down into the water. But he shook his head and said, ' o, no ; I want my

pocket-book to be baptised too ! ' He meant by this, to say, that he wished it to be understood that all his money, and everything he had, belonged to God. There are too many people who get baptised themselves, but their pocket-books are not baptised. They do not feel as if all that they have belongs to God. When people do feel in this way, and really have their pocket-books baptised, they will be cheerful givers. II. God is a 'Valuable' Qiver. — And on this account, too, we may well speak of Him as the model Giver. ' He giveth to all life, and breath, and all things.' What a valuable gift the gift of life is ! This is so valuable that no one in all the universe has the power to bestow it in any case, but God Himself. Wherever life is found existing, from the mightiest archangel to the tiniest insect, it is there as the gift of God. All the wisest, and best, and greatest men that ever lived could not bestow the gift of life on any creature. All the angels of heaven could not give life to the smallest worm or insect. The life of an angel — the life of a human being — -or of any meaner creature — is what none but God can give. ' But He giveth to all — life.'

Let us look at some examples of this sort of giving. The first illustration I have under this head is a very nice one. It may be called — The consecrated diamonds. — This story is told of the Princess Eugenia of Sweden. She is an earnest Christian lady, and has for years been trying to do good among her people. She spends her summers at a beautiful home on the island of Gothland. When

there, she is accustomed to spend a good deal of her time in visiting among the poor. While doing this, she became very much interested in behalf of a number of poor women who were suffering from complaints which could not be cured. And she felt the more for these poor sisters in then- sorrow, because she herself was suffering in the same way. After thinking over it a good while, the idea came into her mind, how nice it would be to have a hospital home for those poor women. Yes, indeed ! but where was the money to come from ! She was a princess, it is true, but she was already engaged in so many works, that all the money she could spai-e from her income was spent, and it would take a good deal to build this hospital. Still she kept on thinking about it, and wishing that it could be done. And you know the old proverb says, ' Where there's a will, there's a way '. And so it proved here. One day while thinking about it, the question came into her mind, ' Why can't I sell my set of diamonds for this purpose ? ' She asked God to guide her. Then she consulted her brother — the King of Sweden • — about it. He gave his consent. The diamonds were sent to London, for the Swedish Ambassador to sell them. They were sold for many thousands of dollars. The money was sent back to the princess. The hospital home was built, and filled with poor sick women. Several years passed away. The summer was drawing to a close. The time had come for the princess to leave her stjmmer retreat, for her winter home in the city. She was going thi-ough the hospital to say ' Good-bye ' to the patients. As she entered one of the rooms the matron pointed to a particular bed, saying, 'The old woman who occupies that bed used to be the hardest of all our patients to manage. Please speak a few kind words to her. You will

find her wonderfully changed now.' The princess went to this bed and spoke to the sufferer, who was now very near her end. These were the poor woman's words to her : ' I thank God that the blood of Jesus Christ, His Son, cleanseth from aU sin — and that He has cleansed raine ' . As she said this the teai-s were running fast down her cheeks. They were the tears of gladness, which told of the gratitude she felt to Jesus for His love. The light of heaven was glistening in them. In speaking of them afterwards the princess said, ' In those tears I saw my diamonds again'. That is true. Yes I and when Jesus shall give her the crown of glory, which she will wear for ever in heaven, she will see those diamonds, in that crown, sparkling more beautifully than any ever seen in an earthly crown. It was

661

Ver. 5.

ACTS XXI

Ver. 5.

a valuable gift which the Princess Eugeni i gave, when she sold her diamonds in order to build that hospital The hag of farthings. — They were taking up their

anniversary collection one day at a Sunday school in England, when a little boy, about seven years old, put a bag on the plate that felt quite heavy. The collector opened it, and found that it contained two hundred and eighty-five farthings ! And where do you think the little fellow got all those farthings ! He hadn't found them ; he hadn't begged them. o ; but he had earned them. And how ! Why, his mother was a poor widow, and kept a little store. He used to run eirands lor his mother, and she let him keep all the farthings he received in change at the different stores to which he went. Instead of spending those farthings in buying candy, or fruit, or playthings, he kept them till their anniversary day came, and then he put them in the collection, which they always had on those occasions, for the missionary cause. That bag of farthings made up about six shillings of English money. They would make about a dollar and a half in our money. It was a valuable gift which that little boy offered in his bag of farthings. III. God gives ' Self -denying ' Gifts. — God is so great, and so rich ; He has such an abundance of everything, that we do not think of what He gives as involving any self-denial on His part. And it is true that when He gives life, and breath, and such like things, they do not cost Him self-denial. But when He gives the blessings of His grace, and His salvation, then, He is giving us that which cost Him more than we can ever tell. Before the least of these blessings could be bestowed on us it was necessai-y for God to give up His only begotten Son to death ; even the death of the cross. This is what the Apostle Paul teaches us when he says : ' He that spared not His own Son, but delivered Him up for us all, how shall He not with Him also freely give us all things ? ' When God gave His Son for our redemption He gave Him to be out of heaven, and away from His own bosom, for more than thu-ty years. He gave Him to

pass through untold sufferings, and to die a dreadful death of shame and agony. And this was a gift that involved such self-denial as we can never know. And we may well speak of Him as ' the Model Giver,' because when He bestows upon us the blessings of His grace and Gospel, He is giving us that which cost Him wonderful self-denial. God, the model Giver, denied Himself by giving His Son to die for us ; and we should strive to imitate the model He sets for us by giving in the same way. — RicHAED ewton, Bible Models, p. 256. THE CHURCH A D THE CHILDRE ' And they all brought us on our way, with wives and children, till we were out of the city: and we kneeled down on the shore and prayed.' — Acts xxi. 5. When we closely study Luke's words we find in them many warm touches of life. The scene had been photographed upon his gratified heart, and he writes

as if his eye were resting on all its little details. His words, literally translated are, ' And we going out through the gate . . . kneeled down on the pebbly or sandy shore '. As he writes he sees the city gate through which they passed, and the peculiarities of the shore on which they knelt. I found there, outside the city — ' out of the city ' — a long range of sandy shore, with many sandy hillocks, amid which you could find many a quiet sanctuary for a little prayer-meeting, shut out from the world, and open only heavenwards. Luke mentions the children, and this is the first notice of children in the Acts of the Apostles. That little company on their knees were as one man, with one heart's desire and pi-ayer. We may be sure that their prayers were not read out of

a book, but that they were the outpourings of their own hearts, shaped by their own needs. ' And when we had taken leave one of anothei-, we took ship ; and they returned home again.' Luke remembers well that leave-taking, and how on the deck he W'atched the retreating, lessening forms of his home-going friends. Perhaps they climbed the highest tower in Tyi'e and watched the flying ship. It soon became a speck, and then melted out of sight, and these friends never met again on earth. o doubt they felt the pathos of such a paiting. I wish to study with vou — I. Paul with the children. II. The children with Paul. 1. Paul with the Children. — 1. He respected them. atural enough as this scene appears to us, it would seem veiy strange and ridiculous in heathen Tyre. The idea of two teachers having women and childien among their disciples, would give the sages of Tyre much and genuine laughter. Think of Plato, or Socrates, or Cicero in such fine company ! This scene was thoroughly original, and no scene like it could be found to-day in heathen or Mohammedan lands. In Cairo neither females nor children are allowed to pray in a mosque, or even to be present at a time of prayer. In orth Africa lately a missionary told the chief that he wished to teach the women to read. The chief laughed loudly and said, ' My horse is more intelligent than any woman in my tribe ; you had better teach my horse to I'ead '. The Bible everywhere shows a warm side to the children. It surrounds every young life with a sacred interest and dignity. It teaches us that every child is a young immortal, made in God's image, and of greater worth than all the material glories of earth and sky. It reverences the young, not only for what

they are, but also for what they may yet become and do. It everywhere breathes a passion to win them early for Christ. In this spirit the great Apostle had the children at his farewell prayer-meeting on the Tynan shore. 2. Paul sympathised with the children. I am sure that they were very poor children ; probably their fathers were sailoi-s, or dock labourers, or slaves ; but I am also sure that their poverty would not impoverish |the Apostle's sympathy with them. He

662

Ver. 5.

ACTS XXI

Ver.

sympathised with them intellectually. Profound theologian though he was, he had words and prayere for the young. He walked with them out of Tyre step lor step, and probably hand in hand, and he knelt with them in prayer. All that is a parable. His mind as well as his body kept step with them. In both these respects he would consider the pace of the children as Jacob did when he said to Esau, ' I will lead on softly according as the cattle that goeth before me and the children be able to endiue ' (Gen.

xxxiii. 13, 14). Paul would not overdrive the tender mind or body. Though he spoke many things hard to be understood, he also .spoke many things that children could understand ; and he would speak them with a beautiful simplicity. The great truths of the Bible come to us as simple facts belonging to the life of Jesus Christ. Paul knew well the priceless value of the religion of Christ i'or these boys and girls kneeling by his side. The early Church had the same spirit, for she had the dolphin among her symbols. The reason was that the dolphin was fabled to have a special tenderness for her young. 3. And no doubt Paul was hopefnl about them, for his mind was filled with the Old Testament. He thought of God as the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob ; as the family God and covenant God of His people, all whose promises were for the children as well as the parents. The fact that God's covenant of mcrcv had taken such remarkable notice of the children, and breathed such a spirit of generous hope regarding them, would work in him a kindred frame of mind. And then he had drunk in the spirit of Christ. He had also great faith in the upbringing and prayei-s of godly parents, and he would naturally expect the children of such parents as were kneeling with him to be Christians. Thus, I doubt not, the sight of these children made him thank God and take courage. They showed him that the cause of Christ had a great future, and he might delight in the idea of race handing on the name of Christ to race, and the rising generation carrying forward the work of their fathers. Such hopes as these were the very food of his soul, and would inspire the prayers he offered up amid the sand-dunes of Tyre. II. The Children vvith Paul.— These children of Tyre m.ade the same confession as Paul. Probably some of them were bigger boys and girls at the age when ridicule and laughter have the greatest power

over us. As they walked through the city with Luke and Paul, I think it is very likely that their mischievous playfellows would point at them the finger of scorn, and fling at them many a stinging poisoned

taunt ; but they kept in the sacred company, and joined in the prayer-meeting. It is possible that the children prayed too. Perhaps the prayer went round, as is done on Sabbath evenings in some Christian families, where every voice, frt)m the youngest to the oldest, rises into the ear of their Father in heaven. It is good for children to leam to pray aloud when they are young. Because they have not learnt this lesson in youth, many grown-up people are terribly afraid of their own voices in prayer. Thousands between the ages of twelve and twenty are laughed and jested out of their best convictions and desires. Some naughty, godless companion has more power over them than all the teachings and prayers of a Christian mother or father. Oh, how sad ! Pray God to make you loyal and true and strong, so that you shall never hide your colours. Modestly but firmly keep your ground. Be ashamed of shame, and feel that the highest honour in the world is to be on the side of Paul and of Paul's Master. Let your lives show that you are true worshippers, as were these little worshippers on the Tyrian shore. Once more, these children were interested in the work of the Apostle. Their sympathies moved along with his, as their feet had done through the gate of Tyre and along the pebbly beach. Religion was not to them a dull soulless thing that somehow — they did not know how- — had come down to them from far-back ages. It was a grand thing that had kindled their enthusiasm. Paul and Luke might seem to them far grander men than the Roman generals, than Cajsar himself The parents, I dare say, wished their

children to have the image of Paul enshrined in their hearts ; but be sure that Paul would not allow them to hero-worship him. He would point them past himself to his Master. These children would so far at least understand the errand of these two men, for whom so many touching prayers were that day offered up. The children would know that these Apostles were fighting against all that was bad and for all that was good ; that they meant to overthrow cruelty and darkness, and bring light and joy to all men by teaching them how to live a blessed life on earth, and how to reach heaven at last. You feel, I hope, that it is a grand thing to be a Christian, and to belong to such a society as Christ's Church. Like these children of Tyre, be you linked in heart and soul, even in boyhood and girlhood, with Paul and Luke and the blessed company of the faithful. — James Wklls, Bible Object Lessons, p. 231.

663

ROMA S

OT ASHAMED OF THE GOSPEL ' I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ.' — Romans i. i6. It Ls our gi-eat privilege to follow Christ. Let us not be ashamed of Him. There are two things which strike us in regard to a soldier's uniform : (a) the soldier knows he is wearing it ; (b) it is seen. First, the soldier knows he is wearing it. In the same way

we must know that we are wearing our Christian uniform, even Christ. It is surely one of the great facts of our faith that we have put on Christ ; that, as St. Paul says in writing to the Corinthians, ' Ye are Christ's ' ; and again in writing to Timothy, ' I know Him whom I have believed '. It is a great reality to us to-day. It is a fact — we have put on Christ if we are true Christians. And now to the second thought. I. It is Seen. — Just as the soldier's uniform is seen, and just as the wearing of it stamps him as a soldier ; just as his red coat proclaims to the world at large that he is no longer a civilian, but that he has taken the Queen's shilling and been drafted into the Queen's service ; so surely does our uniform have a like effect on those around us. lliey know Whose we are, and Whom we serve. They know that we are no longer ordinary people, but that we are set apart by the great Captain of salvation for His service. Will my hearers then realise these two things— will you apply them at this time to your lives ? will you make them your own ? And now we come to a further working out of our soldier life. The soldier who puts on for the first time his uniform has no idea of the life before him. He knows very little about his future. He simply finds it out by degrees. His uniform means to him ban-ack life and routine ; it means drills, parades, reviews ; it means perchance the being shipped off in a troopship for active service, and yet he doesu't realise all these things at once. They come by a gradual experience ; so, when we put on our Christian uniform, we have little idea, if any, what it means to us ; it is only by degrer-s that we understand what our Christianity signifies. But to go back to our illustration. Because the soldier doesn't know all that is before him, does he therefore sink into carelessness, self-induhence and disobedience ? By no means. He rather, by a faithful attention to duty, by a perfect obedience to the word

of command, by a constant and unswerving attention to rules and regulations, strives to prepare himself for all the unknown future before him. Thus, then, the mere thought that we in putting on the Lord Jesus Christ know little of what is bafore us, should .stimulate us to emulate the soldier's example, and do

our best by the most perfect obedience we can render to fit ourselves for the duties, the trials, the dangers that lie before us, ever striving to know more and more of our Captain as the great motive power of our lives. ' I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ.' What, then, is this gospel of which we are not to be ashamed ? It is Christ, and it is further explained to us in 1 Corinthians i. 24, ' Christ the power of God '. Let us realise this : that we have the power of God to rely upon, to trust in. II. Any ]50wer to be of any use at all must be an Active Power. We see this exemplified in the natural world, when we look at some mighty tree sending forth its green shoots at the call of spring, through the power which is within that giant trunk ; we see it in the spiritual, when we see some great man following the paths of purity and holiness, impelled along by a power not his own, but God's. ' It is God that worketh in us to will and to do of His good pleasure.' Yes, the power must be an active power, but even an active power may be of no effect. Take as an illustration some great factory. There is the powerful engine at one end of the long room, there are all the looms waiting to be worked ; the engine is at work, but the looms are still. Why is it ? It is because there is no connection between the engine and the looms ; there is active power in that great engine, but it is useless so far as the looms are concerned. So surely there may be ' Chiist, the power of God,' but unless each of us take this power

as our own, unle.ss there is the connection between our lives and Christ, the active power which is in Him is of no use to us. And so we liave in our text a condition attached to the attainment of this power — ' to every one that believeth '. We must believe in order to apprehend. But surely this ought not to be difficult. Do we believe, then, Christ to be the power? If we believe our Bibles to be true, we must acknowledge this to be a fact, for as we have seen, Christ is called ' the power of God '. So the power is a fact, Christ is a fact. Besides the simple statement in God's Word, we have many practical demonstrations to illustrate how easy such belief is. Look at that express train whirling along the metals — What a tremendou'^ power there is behind it ! Yet you can't see the power, but you believe in it because you see the effect of it. So, as we turn and gaze for a moment at the lives of men like Livingstone, Havelock or Gordon, we are conscious of the effect of the power of God upon their lives, and so we believe in the power. There is still anothti- side to this power of God : it is not only active, but it is continuing.

664

Ver. 8.

ROMA S v., VII

Ver. 19.

It is ' unto salvation '. We look back on the past. Surelv there is no power that can avail to cleanse our past from sin ? Yes, ' Christ, the power of God '. 'The blood of Jesus Christ His Son cleanseth from all sin.' We turn once more to the present and the future. Difficulties, temptations, doubts, dangers, seem to surround us. And yet Christ, the power of God, is with us to direct, control, guide, and strengthen us, and we realise that this power of God is with us all our life through. — okman BE>f ET, Be True : And Other Sermons for Boys, p. 75. A STIRRI G STORY ' Christ died for us.' — Romans v. 8. There is a tine tale told of the old days before there was gunpowder, and when war was a sim|iler thing than it is now. The enemy came swooping down m the darkness and suiTOunded a lonely garrison, and hoped to shoot thtm down, or starve them into surrendering. Yet the soidiers in the garrison hatl friends, strong friends and many of them ; only they couldn't tell them the danger they were in, or call for their help, without lighting the cresset fire which hung by its chain high up, where the enemy could see the man who tried to kindle it, and would shoot him down at the first spark he made. But if ever they were to be delivered that signal must be made ; the cresset fii'e must be kindled. One man at length stepped forth, and said he would tire the beacon. He knew what it meant ; ah, yes ! he knew ; but he was ready, quite ready. He kneeled and prayed, then sprang to his feet, grasped the torch, leapt on the ramparts, and climbed to the beacon, while a shower of aiTows came whizzing upon him. But the beacon was fired ; its flame shot up

like a cry for help, and their friends undei-stood it and marched to the rescue, and drove back the enemy, and delivered the garrison. But the poor fellow who had kindled the beacon, where was he ? Lying asleep in a soldier's grave. He had died to save his comrades. Was there a soldier of them all who was saved that night who did not love and honour the man who had saved them ? o, not one. And ' Christ died for us ' — died for you, died for me, died for everybody. Shouldn't we love Him ? shoukin't we praise Him? shouldn't we live for Him ? Ah, yes, we should ! If they could have brought the dead soldier to life again, wouldn't they have gladly made him their captain ? They would, and so we should make Jesus the captain of our salvation, for He was brought to life again, and lives to bless us. Be brave, be true, be soldier-like, and stand up foi- the Lord, who 'died for us'. — J. Reid llowATT,The Children 8 Preacher, p. 14. GOOD A D EVIL {Preached on Passion Sunday) ' For the good that I would I do not ; but the evil which I would not, that I do.'— Romans vii. ig. I. These words were uttered by one of the most noble Christians the world has ever seen, by one who was

ready for the sake of Christ to go through weariness, painfulness, hunger, thirst, cold and nakedness, fire and sword. There was nothing that St. Paul was not ready to undergo in running the race that was set before him, and yet with all his zeal, his tremendous

powers of mind, his absolute steadfastness of purpose which never wavered, he seems to enter to the full into the same difficulties, trials, and temptations that we have to face. His flesh, like ours, was very weak and sinful, and he h.as continually to remind himself of the power of the Spirit to overcome that weakness. ' O wretched man that I am, who shall deliver me from this body of death ? I thank God through Jesus Christ our Lord.' St. Paul's te-timony is very real and true. He hides nothing ; he places himself before us in all his natural weakness hi't only that he may the more abundantly brii^g out the wondrous saving and keeping power of Christ St Paul's aim was always to help those who, like himself, were striving aftei- whatsoever things were true. If by any m ans he could show his sympathy with suffering,sinful humanity, it was his one desire to do so. And so as we hear those words fall from his lips, ' The good that I would I do not ; the evil that I would not, that I do,' we are conscious at once of a ; esponsive echo in our hearts. Just as when some trumpet is blown among the mountain-tops the sound is heard passing from peak to peak until it is lost in the distance, so do the clarion notes of the great Apostle of the Gentiles find an answer in each of our hearts this day. We are conscious of sin, of weakness, of failure ; we try often to realise more what it means to be a Christian, but often and often does such striving end in disappointment, in failure. Some sin has taiven hold of us in the past, it has bound us round with its chains ; we feel helpless, we feel hopeless, and we know not what to do. Is it not so with every one of us at different times in our lives ? Yes ; over and over again we have to face the words of St. Paul, and find out the truth of them : ' The good that I would I do not ; the evil that I would not, that I do '. I wonder as I look round on your faces this morning what this Lent will then mean to you. Shall I try and put before you what it may mean if you will only use it aright ? It may mean a great deal to you. The

first lesson that it must teach us, then, is that we are sinful. U. Sinfulness, Proneness to Sin. — This is one of the greatest lessons that we have to learn ; to some people it means nothing. They seem to think that anything is good enough for God, and that sinfulness has no place in their experience. What, then, is sin ? We have it defined very clearly for us over and over again. But one reference will suffice, in St. James IV. 17, 'To him that knoweth to do good and doeth it not, to him it is sin'. Here we have the foundation of sinfulness, the knowledge of good and the defiant choice of evil. When our conscience, then, tells us that a certain thing is right, and we omit to do it or do the exact opposite, we oppose the will of God, we commit sin — we choose evil rather than good.

665

Ver. 3.

ROMA S XII

Yer. 3.

And then, again, seme seem to think that it is the amount of sin that lirings a man under the condemnation of God ; and yet it is not so, for if we turn to the tenth verse of the second chapter of St. James,

we read : ' Whosoever shall keep the whole law and yet oft'end in one point, he is guilty of all. The man who breaks the law must take the consequences of his own act ; so those who break the laws of God whether in much or in little are likewise convicted of sin. Therelore, sinfulness is upon each one of us this morning ; thoughts, words and deeds have during the past been filled with evil. We have a record of not one, but many sins, and unless Cluist is able to save us, we have no hope. So, like St. Paul, let us turn to Him and say, ' I thank God through Jesus Christ my Lord '. The past may have been clouded with many sins, but ' if we confess our sins He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness'. And then, again, we are confronted not only with our sinfulness, but with our weakness — 'the evil that I would not, that I do'. HI. How, then, will this time of Lent help us? Surely in this way : to look up to Him who is all strength, and ask Him to perfect His strength in our weakness. Just as Christ is willing to be our Saviour, so is He willing to be our strength. ' I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me'- — such was St. Paul's testimony, such also should be ours. The mere fiict that we are unable to cope with sin ourselves should make us throw our whole trust and confidence upon Him. If we look to ourselves we fall, we are defeated ; but if we look away from ourselves to Christ, then we are ' more than conquerors through Him that loved us '. We see Christ Hini'-elf as at this time led up into the j Iount of Quarantine, on the confines of the valley of the Jordan, to be tempted of the devil ; we see Him resisting the specious temptations of Satan, and we see Satan baffled and conquered, and we realise, ' In that He suffered being tempted, He is able also to succour them that are tempted '. We are confronted with a power in Christ which is able to meet our every need. o temptation is too great. Everything which we feel

Christ feels, and so in Him we have an all-sufficient Saviour ; He makes perfect His strength in our weakness. There ought surely to be no such word as weakness in the true Christian's vocabulary, for ' when I am weak, then am I strong '. We realise that word of the Apostle Paul, ' evertheless I live, yet not I, but Christ liveth in me '. Where, then, is the room for weakness? Was Christ weak? Certainly not; for we read of Him, ' All power is given unto Me '. — orman Bennet, Be True : And Other Sermons for Boys, p. 94. OF THI KI G TOO HIGHLY OF OURSELVES Romans xii. 3. ' Foe I say unto you, through the grace given unto me, to every man that is among you : ot to think of himself more highly than he ought to think.' It was the Apostle Paul who said this. He says it in

his letter to the Roman Church. You cannot help feeling, in reading it, that he is very earnest in saying it. He had seen, as he went up and down among the Churches, that it was a thing which much needed to be said. Those were the first Churches, and the people who belonged to them had not been Christians long. There were many things they could not yet understand. And perhaps they did not yet understand that it could be a fault to do what all their lives before they had been doing, to think more highly of themselves than they ought. But, as I have said, Paul is very earnest in telling them that this thing ought not to be. And in another of his letters — his letter to the Philippian Church, he says what may be called the other half of what he said to those in Rome : ' Let each esteem other better than himself. Paul saw that homes would be happier, and churches holier, and the ^vhole world better, if

only those two things could be done. ow, as often as I read those words together, three thoughts come into my heart. First, I cannot help thinking how wonderful it is that things so simple as not thinking too highly of ourselves, and thinking more highly of others than of ourselves, should have such power as they have. ext, I think that they are things which everybody who is willing to try is able, by God's help, to do. And then I am filled with the thought of the exceeding goodness of God in putting such simple, such easy means of doing good into everybody's power. I really believe, therefore, if the holy Paul were living now and had to speak to children, it would be such words as these he would speak : ' You need, just like the first Christians, to learn how simple and easy the rules of Christian life are ; and how close to you, young though you be, lie powers of God by which you can be working for God and making those about you happy every day you live '. Therefore I take those words of Paul for my sermon for you to-day. I say unto you, through the grace given unto me, to every one who is among you, not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think. And I entreat you, with my whole heart, this very day to begin and let each esteem other better than him.self. It is misery to do anything else. The life that acts otherwise is the evil life of pride. It is pride that leads children to think no other children are as good as they. It is pride that makes' it difficult to see the good that is in those around us. More than anything else in an evil heart is this evil of pride a sorrow to God. It blinds our eyes to the good that is in God Himself It makes us haughty, and envious, and scornful. It leads to heartbreaks in families, and to quarrels in schools, and to hatred and wars with nations. It is such an evil that it can turn religion

itself into a thing abominable to both God and man. It was pride that made the Pharisee who was praying beside the Publican in the Temple to say, ' God, I thank thee that I am not as other men, or even as this Publican '. It was my good fortune not long ago to hear told

666

Ver. y.

ROMA S XII

Ver. 3.

by a friend some wonderful German stories.^ And one of these brings out, so much better than I could do, the misery to which pride of this kind leads, that I shall try to re-tell it instead of preaching a sermon to you to-day. In a certain German city, many, many years ago, lived a young man who was an organ-builder. obody could build such organs as his. And every new one he built was better than the one before. He was called the master-builder. At last he built one that was better than all the rest. He culled it the Wonderful Organ. It was

so made that on certain occasions it could play of itself. The occasions when it could play of itself were when good, right-hearted, well-behaved young people came into the church to be married. As soon as two such young pei-sons crossed the threshold of the church the organ began to play of its own accord. But if either the one or the other was bad, or had an evil pride in the heart, it did not play. When the young master-builder finished this organ, and got it built into its place in the church, he said to himself, ' My fortune is made now, and I shall have a home of my own and a wife. And I will take my bride to the church in which my wonderful organ is. And as soon as we cross the threshold it will burst out into happy music, and all the people will say, " That is the wonderful organ, and this is the master who built it, and she who is beside him is his bride ".' So he went one day to seek a bride. He went to the fairest, kindest, most modest girl in all the city, and he said to her that he loved her and wished her to become his bride. And she gave him her love, and the day for the wedding was fixed. It was a beautiful day, and the wedding guests were happy. But the bridegroom kept filling his heart with the thought, that so soon as he took his beautiful bride into the church his organ would begin to play, and all the people would say, ' Listen to the wonderful organ, and see ! the builder of it is there '. His heart was filled with pride in his organ and himself, so that there was not room in it for any thought or feeling besides. So the wedding company came to the church door, and the bridegroom and the bride passed in. But the organ did not play, and its silence went to the bridegroom's heart like a knife, i ' Have I made a mistake in my choice ? ' he said to himself. ' Is this fair-

looking maiden not fair, not good ? Alas, for me this day ! ' He did not once think that the evil which made his organ silent might be the evil of pride in himself. The smiles went out of his face ; the joy went out of his heart; his warm hands got cold and clammy. He went through the wedding ceremony like a dead man. He did not touch the wedding breakfast ; he did not say one kind word that whole day to his bride ; he only kept brooding over the evil thought, that the fair young creature who had given him her

' By Professor Volkmann, of Halle.

love was not fair, nor good, at heart. .\nd with this evil thought in his soul he stole out so soon as the guests were gone and it was dark enough, and left his beautiful bride alone. He went from street to street till he got outside of the walls. Then he took the road to a foreign country and walked all that night, and the night following, sleeping where he could by day. At last he came to a city in which he was not known, and there he took up his abode. And in that strange city he lived for many years ; he lived till grey hairs were beginning to show themselves on his head. And still he thought that he was in sorrow and in hiding because there had been evil in his bride. One day, however, when all those years had passed, there came into his heart a great longing to see his native city, and if it might be his bride also once more. He tried to put away the longing ; but it would not l)e put away. So at length he said to

himself, ' I will go back once more and los k upon the organ and upon her '. And with that he rose and left the place in which he had been living so many years. And he turnetl his steps to the city in which he had left his wonderful organ and his bride. At last he saw the spires of his native city in the distance, and by and by he was at its gates. So eager to enter it was he now that he had begun to run. And the people he passed turned round and looked at the stranger who was running as if for his life. As he ran he met a funeral procession. The people walking in it were weeping, and the street along which it was passing was filled with people also weeping. ' Whose funeral is this ? ' he asked. ' It is the funeral of a saint, of one who has been as an angel in the city, so kind was she to the sick and the poor.' Then the people named her. It was his own bride. And, oh ! then, in the poor man's soul, fell down the cruel wall which his pride had built, and which, for so many yeai-s, had kept him from seeing the spotless purity, the holy charity of his bride. Then when too late to ask her pardon, he beheld the worth he had wronged. And in that same moment he learned that it was the pride of his own heart which had stilled the organ on the wedding-day. He trembled from head to foot. A horror of shame and humiliation fell upon his soul, tears streamed from his eyes, and sobs burst from his breast. But he went forth among the pall-bearers and begged to be allowed to help. l"he people thought he was some poor workman whom their dead angel had helped. But now a wonderful thing took place. As the pall-bearers with the body crossetl the thi'eshold and passed forward into the church, the great organ, of its own accord, burst forth into an anthem of praise. It was too much for the poor organ-builder. Sick at heart because of his sin, and faint with his long journey, he sank exhausted at the base of a pillar. He had spoiled his life and the life

of the dead one of whom he had not been worthy. ever now could he tell his sorrow. ever now could he give or receive her love. There was just one comfoi-t He knew that God had forgiveness for sinnera

667

Ver. 9.

ROMA S XII

Ver. 19.

as bad as he. And he seemed to hear in the tones of the organ the very tones of the forgiving God. As the people were about to lower his briiie's coffin into the grave, he was seen to grow white and to fall forward on the floor. Some who hurried to his help found that he was already dead. And by some token about his dress or person they discovered that this was the husband of the saint they had come to lay in the gi-ave. And the teaching of God fell upon their hearts. They kept back the body of the bride. They prepared the dead husband for burial. And they laid them together in the same grave. And as the two bodies were being lowered into the grave, the orpan of its own accord began to play. It played such an anthem as had never before been heard, of the most heavenly music. But after that it was never

known to play of its own accord. — Alexander Macleod, Tlie Children's Portion, p. 55. A CAREFUL START ' Principiis obsta.' • Abhor that which is evil.' — Romans xn. g. Some of you may rememb r the story that Virgil tells us about the priest of Troy and his two sons. You may even have seen the great group of statuary that represents the incident. The story goes that while they were standing by the seashore two great serpents came gliding over the surface of the deep, and laid hold, first, of one of the lads. The father went to his rescue, and it seemed an easy task to untwist the snake ; but presently it wound itself more firmly about their limbs, and before long the three became knotted in a hopeless entanglement of the serpents' coils, and after a ten-ible struggle were slain together by their cruel toi-mentors. I. That old-world story is just a picture of what may happen to every one of us if we allow sin to lay hold of our life. Tennyson has called us ' the fools of habit,' and, indeed, it is often suiprising how foolish peojile can be about admitting bad habits into their life : ; they see the evil effects that these things have wrought on the lives of other people, but they never seem to imagine that the same sad consequences will take place in themselves. We cannot be too careful about the kind of guest we admit into the inner chambei-s of our heart. It would be easy enough were all these things ugly and hateful at first sight ; but often the most dangerous are the most attractive. Perhaps you have seen inthe hedgerows in summer a pretty wild plant with lovely clusters of berries, red like coral ; it is called the Barberry, and at the back of its leaves you may sometimes find a number of pretty little round yellow cups. In these cups there is a kind of powder which the wind scattei's over the fields, and should it come in contact with

the growing wheat it will chanue the beautiful ears of grain into black, ugly, useless, hurtful oties. There are many subtle and in themselves seemingly beauti1'ul dangers that surround the harvest-fields of our life. The wind of temptation and the soft blowing breezes of the world carry the poison with them.

and if we are not very careful the evil may be wrought in oui- own lives before we are conscious of it. II. On the other hand, things often look much more teirible before we tackle them than they are when we boldly face them. Oftentimes there is nothing so dangerous as to dally with an evil, and approach it in a half-shrinking manner. The old adage applies in many circumstances : — If you g-eutly touch a nettle It will sting you for your pains. Grasp it like a man of mettle, And it soft as silk remains. u Tennyson tells a story in his tales of Arthur's court of how four brothers held a certain castle. Three of them stationed themselves in the passes that led to it, and challenged all comers. At last one of the knights overcame the three and reached the castle walls, where he had to face his last encounter. When his echoing challenge, thrice repeated, sank into silence there issued from a black j)avilion, m' lunted on a night-black steed, a huge and gruesome figure of Death, who advanced in grim silence, not uttering a sound. Terror struck into every heart, and even the bravest felt an icy chill of strange dread. But in the onslaught Death was ' cast to ground,' and

when the conqueror clove his helmet there ' issued the bright face of a blooming bov '. He had been compelled to play the strange role by his brethren, who were confident his life would never be risked, and that the supernatural hon'or would protect him. Many evils are like that grim figure. They seem veiy dreadful at first, but when one deals with them bravely and faces the foe with prompt courage, the reality is found to be much less awful than our imagination had pictured. III. We must be careful also about the beginnings we make. Everything depends on them. ' A task well begun is half done,' the proverb says, and the reason is that a good method of starting secures our carrying on the work more easily. To learn the art of music under a good teacher fri)m the commencement will save much trouble and loss of time. Bad methods would make it necessary to unlearn much, as well as compel us to begin afresh and cover much old ground again. The formation of all habits is of the same nature. Let us start with good ones, and we are halfway to the building up of fine characters. Let us grow a crop of bad ones, and the garden of our soul must first be weeded before we can hope for a show of fair flowers. — G. Currie Martin, Great Mottoes with Great Lessons, p. 26. DEARLY BELOVED, AVE QE OT YOURSELVES Romans xii. ig. I HA\'E not required to search for a lesson to you this morning. One has come to me and to all in our neighbourhood from the playground. Two boys playing at marbles. A misunderstanding aro.se ; then a quarrel, a blow ; and then in answer to the blow a stone ; then death.

668

Ver. iy.

ROMA S XII., XV

Ver. 1.

The one struck by the stone was killed. I am sorry for the boy who was killed, but I am very much more sorry for the bov who threw the stone. I am sure he did not mean to kill his companion. That never entered into his thoughts. Only he was angry at being struck ; he was mad angry, and lifted the stone and threw it, and death stepped on to the playground. It is all so pitiful. Boys at play ; angry words ; blows ; stones ; then death ; then the awtul, awful thought of the survivor, ' I have killed my playmate ' ; then the inquest, then the police-court, and, above all, the agony in two homes. ow wiiat is the lesson ? It is the one I have read to you : — ' Do not avenge yourselves.'

It is terribly hard to keep down the hand when you have been struck ; when you are smarting from some hard blow, and put to shame, and some companions near are laughing, it is one of the hardest things you can do to keep from hitting back. There are some people who will say : ' If you don't hit back, you are a coward, you are afraid '. And I have seen many a blow given because that was said. ow I say : ' Don't hit back. Don't avenge yourself.' Through and through it is the best way. An old elder, a dear friend of mine, was wont to say : ' Better be sinned against than be the sinner. Better endure evil done to you than do evil yourself.' Our Lord said : ' Ye have heard that it hath been said. An eye for an eye, and a tooth for a tooth : but I say unto you, that ye resist not evil, but whosoever shall smite thee on thy right cheek, turn to him the other also '. I know there are some questions put, such as, ' If robbers should come ? ' But we are not talking of robbers in this lesson. Or if the striker .should be striking some child, some girl, or some weak old person ? We are not considering that either. " There are different cases. You may strike down robbers when you can, and you sometimes might have to strike brutal people when they are striking others. Even then, it is often best to get the magistrate to strike. Better if Moses had not killed the Egyptian.

But when you are struck yourself, don't hit back. ever mind what people standing by say about cowardice. It is not cowardice to refuse to do evil or folly. If this boy had not struck back, how much happier he would have been to-day I How much braver it would have been to bear ! It is nobler to yield, even when you are in the right. We all know a good deal about Mr. Wesley, but we do not all know that the virtue of patience was one of his greatest excellences. It is well known that Joseph Bradford was for some years the travelling companion of Mr. Wesley,

for whom he would have sacrificed health, and even life, but to whom his will would never bend except in meekness. 'Joseph,' said Mr. Wesley one day, ' take these letteis to the post.' ' I will take them after preaching, sir,' said Joseph. ' Take them now, Joseph.' ' I wish to hear you preach, sir ; and there will be sufficient time for the post after service.' Mr. Wesley said : ' I insist upon your going now, Joseph '. Joseph : ' I will not go at present, sir '. ' You won't?' ' o, sir.' ' Then you and I must part.' ' Very good, sir.' The good men slejit over it Both were early risers. At four o'clock the next morning the refractory helper was accosted with : ' Joseph, have you considered what I said, that we must part ? ' ' Yes, sir.' ' And we must part ? ' ' Please \ourself, sir.' ' Will you ask my pardon, Joseph ? ' ' o, sir.' ' You won't ? ' ' o, .'¦ir.' ' Then I will ask yours, Joseph.' Poor Joseph was instantly melted ; smitten as by the rod of Moses ; and forth gushed the tears, like the water from the rock. — Alexander Maclkod, The Child Jesus, p. 70. THE WAR I G AGAI ST SELFISH ESS

' We . . . oug^ht . . . not to please ourselves.' — Romans xv. i. If we ask ourselves the question what sort of a thing selfishness is ? we shall find that there are three things about it, each of which furnishes a good reason why we should mind the Bible warning against it. 1. In the First Place, Selfishness is an Ugly Thing.- — -And this is a good reason why we should mind the warning against it. One thing that helps to make our bodies look pleasing, or beautiful, is when the different parts, like the head, or the hands, or the feet, are all of a proper size, or shape. But suppose we should see a boy, or a girl, ten or twelve years old, with a head as big as a bushel measure ; with feet as large as an elephant's ; or with hands ten times as large as they ought to be ; should we say that their bodies were beautiful ? o, every one who saw them would say how ugly they were ! A body of which the head, or the hands, or the feet are allowed to grow out of their proper size must always be ugly. And it is just the same with our souls when we give way to wrong feelings. This makes one part of the soul become larger than it ought to be. Then its proper shape or proportion is lost, and this must make the soul ugly, just as it does the body. If we give way to pride, it will have this effect ; and so will anger, and so will selfishness. There is nothing perhaps that makes a person look so ugly and disagreeable as giving way to selfishness. ' The unselfish school boy.'— His name w.is Arthur Campbell. He was about nine years old. One Saturday afternoon his mother said to him : ' Arthur, my dear boy, do you think you can practise a lesson in self-denial this afternoon, for the good of another person ? '

' I don't know, mother, but at any rate I can try. What is it you mean ? ' ' Why, you know, little Susan Gray wants to go

669

Ver. 1.

ROMA S XV

Ver. 1.

to Sunday-school to-morrow. But she can't go in her old ragged clothes ; so I am making her a frock, a cape, and a bonnet in order that she may go. I shall have to work till late this evening to get them done. This is what I expected to do. But your father heis just sent in a long account to be added up before tea-time. If I attend to this account I can't finish the clothes. ow the question is, shall poor Susan go without her clothes for another week, or will my dear boy give up his play this afternoon and cast up these accounts for me ? ' Arthur hesitated a moment. Then he ran upstairs to his own little room. He shut the door, and then burst into tears. ' What shall I do ? ' he said to himself ' I only come home from school on Satur-

days, and go back on Mondays. If I give up flying my kite this afternoon, I shall have to wait a whole week before I can get another chance to fly it. And then it's my new kite, and a real beauty ; and this is such a royal breezy day for it ; and so many of the fellows will be out with their kites this afternoon ; and I do so want to show them mine. And yet I know poor little Susan has looked forward to going to Sunday-school to-morrow, and she will be dreadfully disappointed not to go. What shall I do ? ' Then he knelt down, and asked God to guide him in this matter, and help him to do what was right. When he rose from his knees these words of our Saviour came into his mind : ' As ye would that men should do to you, even so do to them '. This settled the question. Dashing away the tears from his eyes, he put his new kite safely away in the closet for another week, and going downstairs to his mother, he said : ' Rather than little Susan shall be disappointed, I will give up my kite-flying, mother dear, and will stay home and settle those accounts '. His mother stooped down to kiss him. As she did so he felt the warm tear-drops from her eyes fall upon his cheek. They were tears of gladness, to see her dear boy minding the Bible warning against selfishness. And Arthur was much happier that afternoon than if he had been flying his kite in the fields. But the next day, when he saw little Susan Gray in church, with her new clothes on, and looking as pleased and happy as possible, Arthur felt more real pleasure than all the kites in the country could have given him. ow Arthur's noble conduct, resulting from his unselfishness, made him appear really beautiful. But if, instead of this, he had disobeyed his mother, and had spent that afternoon in flying his kite, how ugly his selfishness would have made him appear ! And so the first reason why we ought to mind this

Bible warning against selfishness is because selfishness is an ughj thing. II. The Second Reason why we ought to Mind it is because Selfishness is a ' Disagreeable Thing '. — When the things about us mind the laws which God has made to govern them, then they are all agreeable. The light of the sun is pleasant to see ; the gentle sighing of the wind is pleasant to hear; and the

fragrance of the rose, and other flowers, is pleasant for us to smell, just because the sun shines, and the wind blows, and the flowers give out their fragrance according to the laws which God has made for them. Doing this makes them all agreeable. But if the sun should blaze forth with light ten times stronger than God has arranged for it to give, this would make our days very disagreeable. And so it would be with the wind, and the flowers, and the other things about us ; they would all become disagreeable to us, because they were not minding the laws which God made to govern them. And it is just so with ourselves. God's law for us to mind, is that we are not to seek our own things, but the things of others. In the words of our present text it is that ' we ought not to please ourselves '. If we mind this law it will make us unselfish, and then we shall always be agreeable to those about us. But if we do not mind this law, then we shall become selfish, and this will make us disagreeable to all who are about us. We shall find out how true it is that selfishness is a disagreeable thing. Let us look at some illustrations of this part of our subject. Our first story may be called, ' The effect of a little girl's selfishness '.

A Christian lady, who taught in Sunday school, was talking to her class on the evils of selfishness, when she illustrated it by this story from her own experience. ' I remember,' she said, ' when I was a little girl, I had not learned the Bible warning against selfishness. My Grandma, whom I loved very much, was dangerously ill, and near the end of her life. One day when I was playing with my doll in the corner of the room, she asked me to bring her a glass of water. I did not mind her at first, but went on playing with my doll. Then she called me again. After this second call, I went and got the water, and carried it to her. But I did it in a very unkind and disagreeable way. When she had drunk the water, she said, 'Thank you, my dear child, for bringing me the water ; but it would have given me so much more pleasure if you had only brought it willingly '. ow it was nothing but my selfishness which led me to act in that way. My dear Grandma died soon after that. She never asked me to do anything for her again. I have never forgotten how disagreeable my selfishness made me appear to my dear dying Grandma. It is forty years ago to-day since this took place, and yet there is a sore spot in my heart which it left there, and which I must can-y with me as long as I live.' Our next story may be called, ' A great man's unselfishness '. One of the greatest landscape painters that England ever had was the late Joseph W. Turner. The incident now to be told of him shows that he was not only great, but good. He was a member of the committee whose business it was to arrange about hanging up the pictures that were sent in for exhibition to the Royal Academy of London. On one occasion, when the committee were just finishing their work,

670

Ver. 1.

ROMA S XV

Ver. 8.

and the walls of the Academy were already crowded, Mr. Turner's attention was called to a picture which had been painted by an unknown artist, from some distant part of the country, and who had no friend in the Academy to watch over his interest. ' That is an excellent picture,' said Mr. Turner, as soon as his eye rested on it. ' It must be hung up somewhere for exhibition.' ' That is impossible,' said the other members of the committee, with one voice. ' There is no room left. The arrangement already made cannot be disturbed. o space can be found for another picture.' 'That picture must have a place somewhere,' said the generous artist. Then he deliberately took down one of his own pictures and put the painting of this unknown artist in its place. How noble that was ! Turner had learned thoroughly the warning against selfishness. And in what an interesting and pleasing light his perfect

unselfishness presents him to our view ! III. And the Third Reason why we ought to Mind this Warning is because Selfishness is a 'Sinful Thing'. — When we commit sin in most other ways we only break one of God's commandments at a time. For example, when we disobey our parents, what commandment do we break ? The fifth commandment. If we commit murder, which commandment do we break ? The sixth. If we steal, what commandment do we break ? The eighth. If we bear false witness against our neighbour, what commandment do we break ? The ninth. In committing these sins, we only break one commandment at a time. But when we give way to selfishness, we break six of God's commandments all at once. A good many years ago there lived in Egypt an old man named Amin. A time of great famine came upon the land, just as it once did in the days of Joseph. Amin had a great store of wheat in his granaries. When bread began to get scarce his neighbours came to him to buy grain. But he refused to sell it to them. He said he was going to keep his stock till all the rest of the grain in the land was gone, because then he would be able to get a higher price for it. Food became very scarce. People were suffering on every hand. Many died of starvation, and yet this selfish man still kept his stores locked up. At last the hungry people were willing to give him any price he might choose to ask for his grain. Then he smiled a cruel, selfish smile, when he thought how rich his locked up stores of wheat would make him. He took the iron key of his great granary. He opened the door and went in. But in a moment all his hopes of great gain faded away like a dream. Worms had entered the heaps of his once beautiful

grain and destroyed it all. Hungry as the ])eople were they yet raised a great shout of gladness for what happened to that wretched man. They saw that it was God's judgment which had come down upon the miserable man for his selfishness, and that it served him riy-ht. But such was the effect of his

disappointment upon the old man himself, that he fell down dead at the door of the granary. His selfishness killed him. It destroyed his body in this world, and his soul in the world to come. — Richard ewton, Bible Warnings : Addresses to Children, p. 356. THE SAVIOUR'S SELF-DE IAL ' Even Christ pleased not Himself.' — Romans xv. 3. St. Paul does not mean to be understood by what he tells us in the text, that our adorable Saviour, the Lord Jesus Chi-ist, came into this world reluctantly, and because He was obliged to do it. It was of His own free will that He laboured for us, and suffered, and died. He left His radiant throne on high, Left the bright realms of bliss, And came to earth to bleed and die ! Was ever love like this ? The Apostle merely wishes to make it plain to us, that while the Lord Jesus lived in this world His great desire and purpose was to accomplish His Heavenly Father's will. In order to do this. He was contented to undergo every trial and persecution, and suffering, and even the ci-uel and degrading death of the cross. He sought neither wealth nor honour, nor the favour of the great nor His own convenience and

comfort. 'Even Christ jileased not Himself He became poor, miserably poor, that His people might be rich. He was willing to be cast down and despised, that they might be exalted. He became wietched, that they might be happy. When the people were actually carried away by their kinder feelings, and wished to take Him by force and make a king of Him whether He was willing or not. He withdrew Himself into retirement that He might escape their troublesome importunities. He was much better pleased to have gentle Mary sit quietly and patiently listening to His teachings than when bustling, generous-hearted Martha took uncommon pains with her household cares, that the Master might be well served. He paid the tax towards the support of the Temple worship, although, as the Son of the King of kings, He need not have done it And so, in all things, in His life and death, He taught us the great lesson of self-denial. He did this to set us an example ; and, as far as we are able, it is our duty to try and imitate Him. Even children are expected to do this. Hence, you observe in the Epistle for Ash Wednesday, that they are expressly mentioned : ' Sanctify a Fast, call a solemn assembly ; gather the people, sanctify the congregation, assemble the elders, gather the children '. Several men and boys were one day working in a coal-pit in England, when the iron handle of the cart in which they were, suddenly broke, and a man and a boy who were hanging on the rope above, sprang up by a great effort and seized hold of a chain which always hangs at the side of the shaft as a guide.

671

Ver. 3.

ROMA S XV

Ver. 3.

It was soon known by those at the mouth of the pit that an accident had happened below, and a miner was sent down with a rope to render what help he could. He came first in his descent to a boy named Daniel Harding (it is worlh while to remember the names of such noble fellows), and when the man prepared to rescue him from his dangerous plight, the generous and unselfish lad exclaimed, ' Don't mind me ! I can hold on a little longer. Farther down you will find Joseph Bawn, and he is nearly ready to faint. Make haste to him ! ' How glad you will be to know that both Joseph and Daniel were saved. You need not, and you ought not to wait for great occasions when you may practise self-denial. We can manifest the spirit of unselfishness just as well in small mattere as in great ones. Give the best apple or peach to youi- little fiiend ; and the warmest place by the fire ; and always offer

the most comfortable seat to the sick or to persons older than yourself ; and so will you be learning the great lesson of self-denial. The Germans have a pretty story about a little girl named Jeannette, who once went out to see a grand review of troops. She found an excellent place from which she could enjoy the fine spectacle, when she observed an old woman behind her, trying very hard to get where she could see the soldiers. Jeannette pitied her, and said to herself : ' I should like to see the troops march, but it is not kind in me to stay in this nice seat and let the old woman stand there wiiere she can't see anything. I ought to honour' old age, and I will.' So Jeannette called the old woman, and placing her in her own comfortable seat, quietly retired among the crowd. Th^re she had to stand on tiptoe, and peep, and dodge about, to catch even a glimpse of the splendid scene which she might have seen so easily if she had kept her place. Some of the people laughed at her and called her a silly girl. It was hard to bear this, but still Jeannette was not sorry that she had done her duty. A few minutes later a man in gay uniform elbowed his way through the crowd and said to her, ' Little girl, will you come to her ladyship ? ' Jeannette could not imagine who her ladyship was or what she could possibly want with her, but she followed the man to a sort of balcony not far off! A lady with a pleasant smile said to her : ' My dear child, I saw you give up youi- seat to the old woman. You acted nobly. ow, sit down by me. Y^ou can see everything here.' And thus for a second time was Jeannette rewarded for honouring old age by practising self-denial herself.

We ought not to expect to be paid for doing our duty, but it will often happen that we shall be. Even when no rich person sees and rewards us hei'e, there is One whose approval we shall be sme to win — the approval of the Saviom* who ' pleased not Himself. There was once a most devoted clergyman in Eng-

land, named Fletcher, who, for a long while had attracted the attention of good people by his faithful discharge of his duties. At length a friend went to him and said : ' I can get the parish of Durham in Cheshire for you, if you will take it. The work is light and the income good '. It was two thousand dollars a year. Mr. Fletcher mused a little while, and meekly answered : ' I thank you very heartily for your kind intentions for me ; but really that parish will not suit me. There is too much money and too little work.' ' A very singular objection ! ' said the other, ' and one which few men would make. It is a great pity to decline such an excellent parish. But how would you like Madeley ? ' Mr. Fletcher's face brightened : ' That would be the very place for me '. And he took it with only half the salary offered him at the other parish ; and there, in the practice of the self-denial which he had learned from his Heavenly Master, he passed his useful life. — John . orton, Milk and Honey, p. 61. PLEASI G OTHERS I ' Christ pleased not Himself.'— Romans xv. 3. Shall we all say it ? Do you know it ? Does every

one know it ? Say it with me, please. ' Christ pleased not Himself.' I want to talk now about being selfish or unselfish. Which are you ? Are you a selfish girl ? Ai-e you a selfish boy ? I want to try and help you to be unselfish. Oh ! there are a great many who are selfish. With some people it is ' I, I, I, I ; me, me, me, me '. Shall I tell you that that is very unlike Jesus. Don't be very fond of saying ' I, I, I, I,' and ' me, me, me, me '. I am sure Jesus is not. Think what it was for Jesus to be so unselfish, to leave that beautiful home, and the holy angels, and to come down to this poor earth. Was that selfish ? Was it selfish to come and be laid in a manger, where the oxen were feeding ? in a poor shed by the side of the house. They would not let Him come inside the house, because ' there was no room for Him '. Was it selfish to be brought up as a boy in a carpenter's shop, perhaps to work at the carpentering ; to go of His own accord, without being told to go, and learn of the doctors in the Temple, rather than go home with His mother. Was that selfish ? And when He grew up to be a man, and was thirty years old, He went about working. I do not know of anybody in the world working so hard ; getting up so early in the moi'ning; going about so late; going home so late; sometimes stopping up all night. He did not have time to get His dinner ; He did not have time to get His meals. And what was so beautiful, He did not take the praise to Himself. He said, ' My Father doeth all things '. He gave all the honour to His Father. That was not selfish. He did the beautiful work, and then gave all the honour to His Father. And He was so poor ! Do you know how poor He was ? How much money do you think He had ? ever a bit. ever a bit. He

672

Ver. 3.

ROMA S XV

Ver. 3.

had no money. He had no bed to lie upon. 'The foxes have holes, and the birds of the air have nests,' but He had not abed to lay His head upon. I suppose His clothes were given Him by the friends who made those clothes for Him. Oh ! He was so poor ! I do not wonder at a little boy who was reading about all this saying, ' Oh ! mother, oh ! mother, if I had been alive when Jesus was here, wouldn't I have taken Him my pillow '. Would you have taken Jesus your pillow ? He had no bed to lie upon. And look how He lived. He walked through the streets with those fishermen. How people laughed at Him walking with those fishermen ! He did not mind being laughed at. They called Him all sorts of names. And then, you know, they spat upon Him, and did everything to try and irritate Him, and make Him angry, but He never was angry. Then they scourged Him. He could in a moment have called I the angels from heaven and killed them all, but He did not. He was not selfish. He bore it all. And when He was before Pilate, Peter said, ' I do not know Him ! ' and was ashamed of Him. And John ran away, even John who lay on His bosom. John ran away from Him. They all ran away from

Him. And Judas went and betrayed Him, who was so good and so kind a Friend. And then those cruel nails went through Him. And it became all dark. And then He says, ' My God, My God, why hast Thou forsaken Me ? ' Oh ! I am sui-e that could not have been to 'please Himself. It could not have been to ' please himself. And why ? He had no self in Him, no selfishness in Him. He lived for us ; He died for us ; He raised Himself to heaven for us. There is no self in Christ. You will see one great thing in Christ — He is unselfish in everything. I want now to try to help you to copy Christ. What is the way ? What is the first way ? Copy Christ ! Do you know how you can copy Him ? Do you ? Some boys and girls look on the line j ust above the one they are writing, and do not look at the top line. That is a very bad way to copy a copy. Take care when you ai'e copying Christ that you do not copy the copy. Do not copy that boy or girl, and say, ' They ai'e so good I will copy them '. That is the copy of the copy. What is the top luie ? 'Jesus.' Copy Jesus, and then you will be right. I know you cannot really be like Him, but you can try. You can try. I remember two brothers made an agreement, and the agreement they made was this — that when they wrote about what Jesus said they would always put a large ' I,' and when they wrote what they said or thought, they would put a little ' i '. The little ' i ' was for themselves, and the great ' I ' for Jesus. Let us all remember that we will all put a Uttle ' i ' for ourselves, and a great ' I ' for Jesus. ow, mind that you follow me. What shall we do to be unselfish ? I will ask again, Do you think you are unselfish ? Let us look at it. When you are called in the morning, and it is time to get up, do you get up in a moment, or do you ' please yourself,'

and say, ' The bed is so comfortable, 1 will stop a little longer' ? You know it is your duty to get up now the time is come. Begin the day with a good start. The first thing is to conquer yourself, and then, when you have got a victory over self, you have not |)leased yourself In the time of Charles the Firet there was a gi-eat general officer. He was a man of great power, and the king asked him to come and help him, and fight for him. The general said, 'I should like very much to come and help, but there is one thing stands in the way — I cannot get up early in the morning'. There was this general officer kept from his duties because he was so fond of his bed. He was a poor soldier. A soldier must ' endure hardship '. And if you are soldiers of Chi'ist, you must endure hardship. Don't please yourself in regard to your bed. ow you are going to dress. How shall you be like Chiist? How shall you not please yourself in your dressing ? How ? Are you to please anybody ? Yes. Ai-e you to please yourself? Well, not quite. Well, who are you to please ? Somebody, somebody. Please your father, please your mother, please your brother, please your sister. If you are a wife, please your husband ; if you ai'e a husband, please your wife. Please somebody, but don't please yourself. I think a great many girls, and some boys, only just think of pleasing themselves. That is just the opposite of Christ. You should be pleasing in your dress in order to please somebody. You must please God. And now you are coming down. o, you are not coming down yet. You have not said your prayers. ow don't say your prayers to please self. If your prayers are all ' I, I, I, I,' that is about self. Did

Christ teach us to say, 'My Father which art in heaven ? ' o ! What did He tell us to say ? ' Our Father, our Father,' not ' my Father '. He is the Father of everybody else. Jesus went and prayed for other people, and not for Himself. Do not be selfish, then, but in yom- prayers think of other people. And when you pray, be careful ; do it nicely, don't do it anyhow. Do it nicely, reverently, and religiously. Do it in the way to please God, and then it will be pleasing to God. But now you are coming down. Don't push down before the rest. If each has to get down to breakfast, let the other's go first. I knew a dear little girl who let her sister go forward on the staii-s, anc' as she went by she said, ' Blessed are the peacemakers '. Remember that, and always let the others go first. But now you have come down. Is it right to be shy ? Supposing there is some company, some people in the room, is it right to be shy ? o- \Vhat makes people shy ? Thinking too much about themselves. ' But what will that lady think of me ? ' Don't think about that, do what is right. You are thinking about yourself too much. Shyness has a great deal to do with pride. If you were humble you would not have so much to do with pride. Don't be shy ; be humble and modest. ow you are sitting yourself to your meals. Don't

673

Ver. 3.

ROMA S XV

Ver. 3.

be selfish. If there is a dish, and not very much in that dish, don't you say, ' I will have one of those nice bits ' . o, let other people have them. And if there is one big piece and another little piece, don't you go and take the big piece. That is selfish eating and drinking. You know what I mean, don't you? Well then, all day, try to make every one in the house happy. If you begin life by trying to make yourself happy, you won't make yourself happy ; but if you begin life by making everybody else happy, you will live a very happy life. I heard of a beautiful epitaph that was placed on the tombstone over the grave of a young woman. It was this, ' She always made home happy ! ' ow that was very beautiful. I wonder if that will be said of you when you die. ' She always made home happy.' I don't know anything that could be said more to the praise of any woman, or any man. ' They made home happy.' Do you ? Do you make your home happy ? ever cross, never letting people think, ' Oh ! I wish she was gone '. Do you always make home happy ? Is the school any happier because you are there ? And home happier because you are there ? And then always, every day, have something to do that will show you are not selfish ; something to do for somebody. Supposing you say, ' There shan't be

a day I do not do something to make somebody happier '. Supposing you have lived ten years, and have made a person happy every day, why you will have made 3650 pei-sons happy ! A big town, a county almost. If you had made a person happy every day for ten years, you would have made happy 3650 persons. That is something to live for, isn't it ? And when you are ten years older, you may say, ' I have made 36'o0 people happy '. I hope you will be able to say that ! I read in a book — I don't know whether it is true, I rather doubt it — I read of a little boy. One day he was seen in the garden doing something to the ground, and who should come by but the Duke of Wellington. As he passed by he saw this little boy busy about something, and he said, ' Why, boy, what are you doing ? ' ' Oh ! ' said the boy, ' here is a sick toad. I am trying to make this toad well and happy.' And the Duke of Welhngton said, ' But ought not you to beat school?' 'Yes,' said the boy, 'but I am trying to make the toad well.' 'You go to school,' said the Duke, 'I will take care of the toad.' And the little boy went to school, and the Duke of Wellington attended to the poor toad, and in the coui-se of the day the boy received a letter, in the Duke of Wellington's own handwriting, to say the toad was well. I do not know whether the story was true, but it teaches us a lesson. It was very good of the boy, and very grand of the Duke. He was not selfish ; he was trying to make others happy. Well, I will say a little more about how "we are to

be unselfish. The first thing is to put self low, and Christ high. Frank and Ada were brother and sister, and one day

their papa came home and brouL;ht thtm each a buok, very beautifully bound. They were both the same size, but one of the books had a great many pictures in it, and the other book hai.1 no pictures. Of course each would like the book with the pictures. Frank said, ' Give it to Ada, because she is a girl ' ; but Ada said, ' Give it to Frank, because he is the eldest '. Each wished the other to have it. What should they do ? Who was the father to give the book to ? He gave it to Frank, because Frank was the eldest. I can tell you of another little girl, her name was Ellen. One night — she was a little girl — she sat on her mamma's lap, and she said, ' Oh ! minima, I feel very different to what I generally do to-night '. And her mamma said, ' Why do yon feel different ? ' ' Oh ! ' said the little girl, ' you send me to do things for grandmamma, and I did not like doing things for her. I knew it was wrong. I have done them in a sulky way, but to-day I knew how wicked it was, and before I rang gi-andmamma's bell, I went round under the lilac tree, and I prayed to God to make me a better girl, and to do all that grandmamma wanted. I saw at once grandmamma wanted something, and I ran and fetched it, and I feel so beautiful now. I am so happy to-night, mamma.' She did not please herself, so she felt so beautiful ; and she was beautiful in God's eyes. She made her grandmanuna happy, and then she went home happy. I want each of you to feel like a little gentle stream. Have you in the country ever looked at a little stream ? It seems to make everything happy about it. The flowers spring up, and the grass is so green just round this little stream. And why shouldn't you be a little stream, making the flowers come everywhere ? Try to be like the little gentle stream. Everybody is made up of four parts. This I read in a book. Rather funny to have toui- parts ! Shall

I tell you what they are ? A warehouse, a workshop, a clock-tower, and a counting-house. Do you understand me ? That is what you have got — a warehouse, a workshop, a clock-tower, and a counting-house. What is your warehouse ? Your memory. You lay up all sorts of knowledge in your memory. That is your warehouse. What is your workshop ? Your hands. What is the clock-tower ? Your face. The tongue is the bell, and that has to go very sweetly, and very beautifully, like the new bells at Hove. You are to make everybody happy. What is the counting-house where the accounts are settled ? Conscience is the counting-house, and there all the accounts are settled. And you should use them all for other people. Remember them all — the warehouse, the workshop, the clock-tower, and the counting-house. Do all this and you will not be selfish. — Jajies Vaughan.

674

THE FIRST EPISTLE TO THE CORI THIA S

THE HIGHEST SUMMIT ' For I determined not to know anything among you, save Jesus Christ and Him crucified.' — i Corinthians ii. 2.

I. The highest point of a chain of mountains is generally visible from every quarter of the horizon ; so it is with the cross of Jesus Christ, which is mentioned in almost every page in the Bible, from the Garden of Eden, when it was almost lost in the distant future. When God spoke unto the serpent, and said that the child of the woman would crush its head, and that he, the serpent, would bruise his heel. He meant that the day would come when the power of evil would cause the death of Jesus Christ, Who would, nevertheless, crush and destroy it. Do you not already discern the tragedy of Golgotha through this first prophecy ? And several centuries later, we again perceive the cross, but more distinctly this time, when in the wilderness of Arabia, which the Jews crossed befoie reaching the Land of Canaan, Moses caused a brazen serpent to be fastened on the top of a pole, enjoining the people to turn their eyes to it with faith, that they might be cured of the bite of the fiery serpents who had caused the death of thousands. Was not that brazen serpent an allegory of our Lord Jesus Christ nailed upon the cross, and to Whom we must turn for the remission of our sins ? Later still, we find the same allegory in the sacrifices offered by the Jews, and specially in the paschal lamb, that spotless lamb of which not a bone was broken, and which was slain on the fourteenth of the month of isan. Has not the Lamb of God given His life on the day of the Ptissover, on that same fourteenth of the month of isan, and had not the Scripture said that not a bone of Him should be broken ? The centuries glide on, and still the cross appears on the horizon. II. From that culminating point which commands the whole Scriptm-e, from the Book of Genesis to the Book of Revelation, from an earthly paradise to the celestial one, we discover two seas, two immensities, the one of evil, the other overflowing with Divine

mercies. You have often seen that small instrament called a thermometer which indicates the degree of cold or heat of the atmosphere. It consists of a narrow glass tube filled with a liquid either red or silvery, fastened to a small board, upon which are written the different degrees. When the weather is hot, the liquid rises, but with the slightest accession of cold it sinks again. I shall tell you of another sort of thermometer, which has nothing to do with the weather, but which marks

the warmth of hearts : by warmth of hearts I mean kindness and lovingness. If I wish to know whether a little boy really loves his father, do not suppose I shall ask him to read the letters which he writes to him, if he happens to be away from home. Words or letters were never a true thermometer of hearts ; and however fervent they may be, still the heart that wrote or spoke them may have been cold. o, indeed ! I shall rather wait and see whether the boy really does what he can to please his father, either by his application to his studies, or by endeavouring to cm-e himself of some bad habit or of some fault ; and if I find him ready to give up to his father even the thing he cares the most for, I shall say, ' Here is a child who really loves his parent '. ^Vhat I say about the feelings of a child towards his father, I might say about every other sort of love, let it be fraternal, friendly, patriotic, or divine. I might say it also about God's love towards us. The greater the sacrifice, the deeper the love ; and He has so loved the world that He gave His only Son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish but have everlasting life. It is only when you have felt the love of parents for their children that you will fully understand the greatness of this sacrifice,

That love of God is all the more admirable that we are so unworthy of it, and that He often meets with nothing but ungraciousness in return. The lesson of what I have said might be easily learned by all, still three short stories will make it clearer. 1. ' One day,' writes a missionary, ' I had been reading to a Gi-eenland chief called Kajarnak the account of the sufferings and of the death of Jesus Christ. ' " What had He done ? " inquired Kajarnak. " Had He murdered any one ? " ¦" o!" ' " Had He then stolen anything,? " ' " o ; He had done no harm, and the governor of the country had declared Him innocent." ' " But why was He put to death ? " ' " Why ? Listen and you will hear. o, Jesus had done no harm. He had neither killed nor stolen ; but Kajarnak was a great sinner, he had murdered his own child and his brother, so Jesus came upon earth, and suffered and died upon the cross, so that Kajarnak might be forgiven, and in spite of all his crimes obtain access to heaven." ' " How so ? " exclaimed the chief. " Missionary, repeat that over again." And the account was read a second time, fresh ex-

67;

Ver. 9.

1 CORI THIA S II

Ver. 9.

planations given, and the Greenland chief, till then hardened and bloodthirsty, became the humble and faithful disciple of the Lord Jesus. 2. ow for my second story. In the beginning of the last century there lived a man of great piety, whose whole life and fortune were devoted to the service of God. His name was Count Zinzendorf. When he was about nineteen years of age he was in Dresden with some friends, visiting the famous gallery, which was at the time one of the great attractions of the town. Of all these celel rated paintings one only attracted the notice of the young man. It was, as he himself relates, a Christ upon the cross, whose face wore a Divine expression, and under which were written the words, ' Hoc feci pro te, quid fecisti pro me ? ' (See what I have done for thee, what hast thou done for Me ?) ' o answer came to my lips,' writes Count Zinzendorf, ' and I could only entreat my Saviour to compel me to suffer with Him, if I was not ready to do so of my own free will.' If the Saviour were to ask that same question of you, what would be your answer ; have you really done anything to prove your love and your gratitude ?

Perhaps you would answer that you have nothing to give. There you would be wrong, as you will see when you have heard my last story. 3. In a forest of West America, a man having heard a most impressive sermon upon the death of Christ, approached the preacher and asked : — ' Did Jesus die also for me, a poor Indian ? ' ' Yes, Jesus died for you.' ' Well, then, here are my gun and my blanket. I have nothing else, but I give them to Him.' ' But Jesus has no need of such things,' replied the missionary, ' it is your heart which He asks of you.' The poor ignorant creature turned away sadly, but he returned the next day and said to the missionary : — ' Here is the poor Indian ! Will Jesus have him ? ' Do as the poor Indian did. Give your hearts and your love to Jesus, and when you have got to love Him, you will understand what you can do for Him. Remember that He who wins the heart, wins the key which opens every treasure. — A. Decoppet, Sermons for Children, p. G-t. THI GS WHICH QOD HATH PREPARED I Corinthians ii. g. One day a mother and her son were travelling in an Eastern land. It is different there from wh:\t it is in England. In this country we have dew and rain and wells and rivers, and our rivers never run dry. But in the East the sun is sometimes so hot that it dries up the dew and the rain and wells and rivers.

And the grass is burned up, and the leaves fall from the trees, and there is no water to drink, and people die of thirst. It was Hagar and Ishmael her son, who were travelling in that hot land. They had been sent away from Abraham's tent. The water they brought with them in their skin bottle was all spent. The

hot sun beat upon their heads. And poor Ishmael grew sick for want of water, and was near to die. It was a wilderness into which they had come. There were neither roads, nor houses, nor inns in it. And they could find no wells with water in them, no cool rushing streams, no green pastures, no shady trees. There was only the hot earth, with the blistering rocks and the burned up grass beneath their feet, and above their heads the blazmg sun. When people are very sad they are often not sure about their way ; tears blind the eyes. Hagar was very sad. She loved Abraham. He was the father of her boy. His tent had been her home for many years. It was the only home the boy ever knew. And now she was homeless. And her boy had no father to care for him. And he was about to die in the wilderness. What was she to do ? She could not carry him, he was a big grown-up lad. And she could not bear to be beside him when she was not able to give him help. Poor Hagar ! She did the best she could. There was a little clump of bixishwood near, and she laid him down there in the shadow. She herself drew back a little, and burst into tears ; she could not bear to lose her boy, or to see him die. But just then, when things were at the worst, she heard a voice. It was the voice of an angel. ' What

aileth thee, Hagar ? ' the voice said ; ' God hath heard the cry of thy child.' And suddenly, it was as if scales fell from the poor mother's eyes, and she saw there, in that very place, the thing she most wished to see, a well with water in it. In a moment her heart was filled with gladness. Her tears dried up. And she made haste and brought of the water to her bov, and he drank and did not die. ow God did not make that well that day ; the well was there, although Hagar did not see it at first. The well had been there perhaps from the beginning of the world. It was prepared by God, and prepared for Hagar and her boy. Just there, where it was wanted by these two, God had )irepared it, preserved it from being filled up, kept water in it, all ready, for years and yeai's, till the day when Ishmael should need to drink of it and live. Two young students were sitting one winter evening beside a fire. They had had a long talk together, and mostly about God. One of the two had lost sight of God and could not find Him again. He had been telling his friend this very fact, and saying that he could find no sign of Him in the world, or in his own heart. It was no joy to this young soul that he had lost sight of God. He was not one of the evil class who sit in the chair of the scorner. He was filled with the same kind of sorrow that one has who has lost a friend. He had willingly listened to all that his companion had to say to him. And then the talk between the two ceased, and they were sitting silent, looking into the fire. ' Oh, my friend,' said the one who had lost sight of God, ' sitting as we ai-e doing now, I sometimes see

676

Ver. 9.

1 CORI THIA S II

Ver. 9.

faces of people I liave known, in the fire. From my heart I wish I could see the face of God there.' The friend said : ' And does not something like (jod's face really shine out from this fire ? Would there have been any fire for us two this night if some loving One had not been thinking of us before we were born ? Who made the coals which ai-e burning there ? Who stored them up in the earth for the children of men ? Who gave the eyes to find it, and the hands to dig it out ? ' His companion did not answer, and he went on. ' I do not wonder that people used to believe that fire was stolen fi-om heaven. It is just like a thing that came from heaven. It turns winter into summer and night into day ; it cheers us, warms us, brightens our home for us. It renders us a thousand services which it must have been intended to render, and which seem to compel one to think that it was prepared by God for our use.' I cannot tell what effect these words had on the young man who had lost sight of God. But the

well which Hagar found prepared for her, and what this young student said to his sorrowful friend, have set me a-thinking of the things which God has prepared. We are living in a world which is full of things prepared. A fire fax bigger than the one those young men sat beside has been prepared and kept bm'ning by God for a longer time than you or I could tell. The sun is a fire ai'ound which all living things ai'e gathered. It is life, and heat, and health, and light, and joy, and movement to man and beast, to birds and trees. It sends its heat and power into all things, and makes all things fruitful, and active, and glad. And not the sun only, but moon, and stars, and hills, and streams, and fruitful fields. An old English poet has said this in words which every child should have by heart : — For us the winds do blow ; The earth doth rest, heaven move, and foimtains flow. othing we see but means our good, As our delight, or as our treasure. The whole is, either our cupboard of food Or cabinet of pleasure. The stars have us to bed ; ight draws the curtain, which the sun withdraws ; Music and light attend our head. All things unto our flesh are kind. And all things have been prepared for us by God. He has brought us into a heritage that is veiy fair, and He has filled it with things good for our use.

When the children of Israel came up out of the vrilderness into the Land of Promise they found houses, and gardens, and walled cities, and vineyards, and olive yards, and ploughed fields, and rich pasture lands all prepared for them. It is God's way in dealing with His children. He prepares good things for them first, and then brings them in to love Him and serve Him in the enjoyment of these. ' See,' He said to the children of Israel afterwards, speaking by the

mouth of Joshua : ' I have given you a land for which ye did not labour, and cities which ye built not, and ye dwell in them ; of the vineyards and olive yards which ye planted not do ye eat. ow, therefore, fear the Lord and serve Him in sincerity and trutk' And it is just this way God has dealt with you to whom I am this day speaking. You came from God as babies into this Christian land. When you opened your eyes and began to look about you you found yourselves in homes prepared for you, with loving mothers and fathers waiting to take care of you. You found yourselves in a land of churches, and days of worship, and Bibles, and schools, and teachers. Around the fire on winter evenings you have listened to stories of patriots who fought and of martyrs who died, for their country and for truth ; these very stories are part of what God has prepared for you in this happy land. Beside you, perhaps in the same street or village in which you live, are men and women who have given themselves to God, and who every day of their lives, quietly and unseen, are going about doing good ; these also, to be a help and example to you, have been prepared for you by God. But more wonderful and better than all, in this very land you can find God Himself. There is no spot in it from which the cry of a chUd's heart will not reach Him. And here, as in Judaea long ago. His Son is

taking up children in His ai'ms to bless them, and is healing the sick and opening the eyes of the blind, and saying to the poor and the heavy laden : ' Come unto Me and I will give you rest '. And all this is part of the things which God has prepai'ed for those who love Him. There is a hymn we sometimes sing, which begins with the words, ' I'm but a stranger here '. In that hymn it is said, ' Earth is a desert drear '. But the meaning is not that the beautiful earth itself which God has prepared for our dwelling-place is a desert. The meaning is that it looks like a desert to eyes that have lost sight of God. It is like a desert also to people like Hagar, who are in sorrow, whose eyes are blind with tears because those they love have died or are about to die. But for people in these circumstances, and for all to whom for any cause the beautiful earth looks like a desert, God has prepared a well more wonderful than that which Hagar saw. Jesus was speaking of this well when He said to the woman of Samaria, ' whosoever drinketh of the water that I shall give shall never thirst '. Jesus Himself — as the Word of God — is this well. He is the well in whirh the water of life springs up, the well which the saints in heaven drink of, of which God Himself drinks. And it has been prepared for us by God, prepared in Jesus, into whom for us the living water has been poured. And Jesus, thinking of Himself as this well of heaven, calls upon all to come unto Him and drink. I read once of a young German student who found out this well. He was like one in a wilderness where he could not find God. Like Ishmael, he was dying for thirst, but it was the sight of God for which he

677

Ver. 9.

1 CORI THIA S II., Ill

Ver. 9.

was thirsting. Day and night his cry was, ' Oh that I knew where I might find Him ! ' He saw himself to be a poor sin-laden creature, who was shut out by his sins trom the presence of God. Day and night he sought after God. He sought in the church and could not find Him there. He shut himself up in his room, and cried out in the dari:ness, and could not find Him there. He saw the faces of saints and holy prophets in the fire, but never the face of God. His soul was faint within him for want of God. But one day he went into the library of the college where he was studying, and there, on the shelves, all covered with dust, he found the very well for whose water his soul was thirsting ; he found the Bible. There it was, all ready for him, waiting for him, prepared by God hundreds of years before, put there, in that very spot, for him by God. And the young man opened it and read and found the story of Christ in it, and the way by which a soul must go to find God, and how in Jesus a well has been opened for all sin, and that whosoever drank of that well should be cleansed of sin, made holy and live for ever. It was Martin Luther who found the Bible in this wonderful way, and also found, as we also shall do if we try, that it

is a well in the desert, a well into which God has poured water of ti'uth and life for the soul to drink of and to live. One of the wonderful things which Luther read in the Bible was the story of an old prisoner in Rome. The old man was chained to a soldier, and thinking sad thoughts. It was the great Paul. For telling men that Jesus was a well of salvation he had been sent by wicked men to prison. And now his trial was coming on, and his judge was a very evil man, and Paul was thinking in his own heart that the judgment might go against him. It was something like this which was passing through his mind : ' jVIy enemies are cruel, my judge is bad, and I may be condemned to die '. Then he thought of the work which remained to be done. Then he wondered who should do his work if he were put to death. Then he looked into the lonesome grave and across into the world beyond, and there he saw, all prepared for him, the very sight his sad soul wi.shed to see ; he saw Jesus on the throne of God. It was like seeing a well in a desert ; it was like drinking of living water when the soul is faint with thirst. 'Jesus reigns,' he said to himself. ' The work will go on, though I should die ; and if I die, I shall go to Him.' When you and I come to the end of our lives may we see the vision which Paul saw, and be able to say with him, ' To live is Christ, to die is gain '. Anil may we know that we are going home to our Father's house, and to places there prepared for us by Christ. We shall never know the beauty of these places till then. ' Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love Him.' — AiifcXA DKR Macleod, The Gentle Heart, p. 153.

THE GARDE OF GOD 'Ye are God's husbandry.' — i Corinthians hi. 9. I. Preparing the Soil. — obody needs to be much of a gardener in order to know that it is useless to cast seed upon the soil unless the soil be first prepared for it. If you cast seed on the hard surface of a footpath leading through your garden, you need not expect it to grow. The soil of the garden must be turned up with the spade ; the plough must be made to go through the field. The earth must be made loose and soft, and the stones taken out of it ; and if there be any roots or weeds in it, they must be torn up and thi'own away. Besides, the right time must be selected for doing this. If you had begun to dig your plot two or thi-ee months ago, when the atmosphere was bitterly cold, and the frost had gone deep into the ground, you might have succeeded by main force in breaking up the earth and making it loose and soft ; but, though you had sowed the best seeds in it, I do not think many of them would have grown. But at this time of the year a kind of ibrce begins to move in the soil which was dormant during the winter ; and the favourable moment must be taken advantage of to cast the seed in. II. The Sowing of the Seed. — -What is the seed which is sown in the soul ? It is the Word of God. The texts of the Scriptures are like the little seedlets you have wondered at as you were going to bm'y them in the earth. There does not seem to be the least resemblance between a test of the Bible and the beauty of a man's soul. Yet the one may grow into the other. The words of the Bible are the thoughts of God ; and all

thoughts are like .seeds ; they may grow into forms as different from themselves as the flower is different from the seed. Look at this church rising above us. It is something beautiful and substantial, is it not ? But it is not long since it was only a thought in a man's mind. The architect saw it in his mind before there was one stone dug from the quarry to build it. But his thought was sown and took root, and this is the flower it has grown to. It is very wonderful what a thought or a word may grow to. All the grand and beautiful works of man are the flowers which have grov n from his thoughts ; for they existed as thoughts in his mind before they grew to be realities which all the world can see. ow, if man's thoughts are seeds which can grow to such wonderful shapes, it is not surprising that God's thoughts should be the seeds of very beautiful flowers. III. The Growth of the Seed. — When the seed is put into its place in the earth it is covered over, and it seems as if it were dead and buried. But a mysterious process is going on. The little seedlet opens its mouth, and draws in the sap and the substance of the soil round about it ; and the richer the soil is in which it is planted, the more food does it get, and the faster does it grow. It begins to expand and make room for itself. Then it sends a tiny shoot

678

Ver. 9.

1 CORI THIA S III., VI

Vv. 19, 20.

upwards, which struggles through the earth in which it is buried. But it pauses ; it is waiting for something. By and by a little raindrop iinds its way down through the earth to it, and is followed by another and another. It drinks them eagerly in, and begins to push upwards again, like a vigorous worker who has been refreshed by a deep draught of water. But soon it pauses again ; it is waiting for something else. By and by a sunbeam cleaves its way down to it, and is followed by another and another. This was what it was waiting for, and it thrills with joy us it feels the heat going through and thi-ough it. Upwards still it pushes its way, till at last — look ! — it comes forth into the open air and the full sunshine ; the rain washes it clean, the breeze kisses it, and the dew moistens its lips every night. And so it lises slowly from stage to stage, till it is a perfect flower. ow, the seed in the soul grows in the same way. It may long remain unseen, and yet it may be alive and slowly coming to the surface. It grows little by little and stage by stage. God does not expect you to be in your characters exactly like men and women. He does not wish you to be as wise or as bold or as active as you may be expected to be some years hence. There are graces of childhood, and graces of youth, and graces of manhood and womanhood, and graces of old age ; and God likes best to see each time of life yielding its own fruit.

But at all stages the growth of the seed depends on getting the sunshine and the rain and the sap of the soil. What are these ? Well, I should say the sap which enriches the soil of the soul is Christ. Just as the flower would starve and die if it were not being filled with the substance of the earth, so all the lovely flowers of the soul will die unless the soul be filled with Christ. Will you seek, therefore, that Christ may be in you, that He may come and fill your soul ? You never can be truly good or beautiful within unless you be united to Him. IV. The Flowers of Qod. — Some of you, I dare say, have very many different kinds of flowers in your garden in the comse of the year. You have crocuses and pansies, and miiinonctte and roses, and I do not know what all. It would be a strange garden in which there were only flowers of one kind. And what a treat it is to get into a great and fine garden, and see flowers of a hundred kinds and a hundred colours bl;izing on every side ! We like variety in a garden, and God likes it too. Have you ever thought that God loves beauty and that He loves variety of beauty ? Why else has He created all the diflerent kinds of flowers, with th^'ir endless variety of colour? He might have made the earth all of one colour. He might have made the grass colourless instead of a bright green, and the sky black instead of blue, and the stars white instead of sparkling gold. The prairies and the mountain solitudes are God's gardens, where He walks alone in the midst of beauty. But there are gardens He loves still better. They

are the souls of children and of men and women in which the flowers of His grace are growing. What

are these flowers ? Here is one list of them : ' The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuff'ering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, temperance '. And here is another : ' Add to your faith virtue ; and to virtue knowledge ; and to knowledge temperance ; and to temperance patience ; and to patience godliness ; and to godliness brotherly kindness ; and to biotherly kindness charity'. These are lovely flowers. What an exquisite flower is virtue, or Christian manliness, with the crimson flush of the rose on it ! And how beautiful a flower is humility, drooping its head like a lily ; and brotherly kindness, with the homely grace of the daisy ; and love, with the clinging clusters and the fragrance of the honeysuckle ! Would you not like your soul to be a garden with these lovely flowers growing in it — a garden of God, in which He would delight ? Yes ; He comes down and walks in His garden, and inspects every plant in it. V. God's Other Garden. — The flowers in your gardens are either plucked or they very soon die. When winter comes round and the keen frost holds the earth in its iron grasp, not one of them is visible. But God's flowers do not thus decay. What becomes of them ? You have sometimes, I dare say, transplanted a flower from one part of your garden to another, because you thought it would grow better in the new spot. And you know that, as winter approaches, the gardener sometimes lifts plants out of the ground, and transfers them to the hothouse, where they will be shielded from the withering winds and saved from the biting frost. That is something like what God does with His flowers. When the right time comes He transplants them from this world to the better land. There the soil is far richer, and the dews ai'e far more refreshing,

and the sunshine is bright and constant. Tliere God's flowers will grow to a size and shine with a beauty they have never had in this poor cold world. God walks about among them and rejoices in them all ; and the light of His countenance as He passes by makes them flourish with a more immortal bloom. Oh, may you and I be so filled with the beauty of God here below, that if death come and take us away, our loved ones whom we leave behind may be able to say, ' We will not weep. It is another flower transplanted to God's other garden.' — James Stalker, The ew Song, p. 38. SLAVES ' Ye are not your own, for ye are bought with a price.' — I Corinthians vi. ig, 20. I HAVE lived long enough to see some very grand sights. I have seen our armies come home victorious from battle ; I have seen our Queen sail down between the lines of her fleet, when the air was dense with the smoke of the cannon that thundered their salute, and even above that rose the hearty cheers

679

Vv. 19, 20.

1 cori:nthians vi

Ver. 20.

of her sailors as they ' manned the yards ' ; but I never felt so proud of England as one dav when I saw a man, once a negro slave — who had been once given in exchange for a horse, and another time sold for some tobacco — walk up the theatre at Oxford, no longer a slave and heathen, but a clergyman of the English Church, and receive the highest honour the greatest university in the woi'ld could confer upon him. Bishop Crowther, as a Doctor of Divinity, took his seat among the most learned and the greatest in the land. I often hear boys and girls saying they want something to read. I think a part of our children's time for reading might well be given to reading such stories as these ; learning how, in days of old, good men and true, good women and true, have had to fight hard and to sacrifice much for these glorious blessings which we ourselves, and millions of our fellow-subjects in every clime, this day enjoy. The memory of their lives and of their struggles is like a fresh mountain breeze coming down to purify the close, selfish atmosphere in which so many of us live. I. What was it that made slavery so terrible a state of life ? The slave was completely in the power of his owner — entiiely at the dispos.al of his master. either his body nor his soul was his ; his children were not under his control, the master might sell them any day to some other master. In other words, a slave was not his own ; he was ' bought with a price '. ow, curiously enough, that is just what St. Paul tells us we Christians are. When you think of what ' a slave ' meant, is it not surprising tliat there was no title of which St. Paul seems to have been so proud as the title of ' slave ' ? Whenever the word ' servant ' is used in our translation in the Epistles,

the word is really ' slave,' or bond-servant ; and the great Apostle boasts again and again that he is a ' bond-servant of Jesus Christ '. He often commences his letters thus. He wrote to the Philippians, ' Paul and Timothy, the bond-servants of Jesus Christ '. He opens his great E|)istle to the Romans, ' Paul, a bond-servant of Jesus Christ '. St. Paul tells all Christians that they have the same gi'eat privilege for which he was so thankful and of which he was so proud — they are bond-servants, or slaves, of Jesus Christ. Why did St. Paul so rejoice in being a slave of his Master? Because, strange though it may seem, this slavery is the only real liberty on earth. There are some wonderful words in a prayer in omMorning Service which explain this. We say, ' O God, who art the author of peace and lover of concord . . . whose sei-vice is perfect freedom '. In the old Latin prayer from which these words come the last sentence is more striking, and might be translated, ' to be whose slaves is to be kings '. n. You were all the slaves of sin, just as the poor negroes were the slaves of their masters. England paid twenty millions of pounds to deliver these slaves. That was an immense sum with which to buy the poor negroes out of bondage. It wasn't a drop in the Atlantic or the millionth part of a drop in the

ocean, if you can imagine that, compared to the jjrice with which we have been bought by Jesus Christ. The price He paid for us was Himself. Does not that thought of the greatness of His love to you stir up some love in your hearts for Him ? Whenever you feel inclined to obey sin, to yield to that bad temper, to speak that angry word, to indulge in that forbidden ease, to utter that lie, to disobey yom- father or mother, to listen to that to which you feel you ought not to listen, or any of the

hundred other things that are sinful, just think one moment Whose you are — what a price He paid ; and let every feeling of gratitude and of love rise up in your hearts, and say to that sin, ' I am the slave of Jesus Christ — body and soul His ; and, with His blessing, I will obey Him and not you '. — T. TeignMOUTH Shore, Saint George for England, p. 71. BOUGHT WITH A PRICE 'Ye are bought with a price, therefore glorify God in your bodies and your spirit, which are God's.' — i Corinthians VI, 20. Life is a very strange thing, and to a great many people simply means ' selfishness ' in one form or another. But I want to put before you this evening some facts out of God's own Word which tell us what life really is, why we are here, and while we are here what the religion of Jesus Christ means to each one of us. I. First of all, then, what is life ? Our few days on earth (and how few they are !) which we call our life are but the preparation for the great eternal life which is before us. If we stand on the sea-shore and take in the palm of our hand one little grain of sand and then compare that one grain with all the sand of shores and deserts of the world, we get but little idea of time as compared with eternity. If we take a drop of water from the sea and then think of the vast oceans that beat upon the countless shores of the world, we fail to grasp the shortness of our life as in comparison with the great future beyond the grave — or as I heard it put by my old rector in St. Margaret's Church, Westminster : ' If you could imagine the greatest sand mountain in the world and then imagine

a robin coming once every thousand years and removing a grain of .sand in its beak, until the great sand hill was moved to another place ' — even then it is impossible to gauge eternity. These simple illustrations will give us some idea of our life here in comparison with that which is to come. Our life, then, is a preparation, and God places us here for a purpose, and so we come to our second question. Why are we here ? II. For the answer to this question we turn to 1 Corinthians vi. 20 : ' Ye are bought with a price, therefore glorify God in your body and in your spirit, which are God's '. Here is the purpose of our life — to ' glorify the God who has made us, the God who has redeemed us '. Our thoughts go to the great price paid for our redemption. We seem to see Jesus

680

Ver 20.

1 CORI THIA S VI., VII

Vtr. 32.

walking along that Via Dolorosa weighed down by the woiglit of the cross. We see Hi in insulted by the crowds which surge around, mocked, spat on,

beaten, despised, rejected. We sec Him as He draws near the hill Calvary, treading the path of suffering, of degradation, and of agony in all its moj>'i teriible meaning ; and as we gaze upon His loving face we seem to hear Him say, ' Ye are bought with a price. Ye are not your own.' But the sacrifice is yet incomplete, and there rings out above the babel of the crowd the dull thud of the hammer as the nails are driven home through His hands and His feet, and the great cross, with that sufferingbody upon it, is raised in its place. Ah ! how we seem to realise as we gaze, the truth — the eternal truth — of these words, ' Ye are not your own, ye are bought with a price '. HI. ' Ye are bought with a price, therefore glorify God in your body and in your spirit, which are God's.' Here is the purpose. How far have you and I fulfilled it ? Are we living for Him, or are we simply miserable victims and slaves of a life of selfishness ? If we are living for self we can't be living for God in the wav in which He has called us to live for Him. There was once a young clergyman working in a mining village. The mineis paid little attention to his message, but he laboured on, and week by week tried his best to win these rough miners for Christ. He used to have a short service every Wednesday evening in the church, and to this he generally got a few of the miners' wives and their children. Few of the miners ever came neai' the service, and as weeks and months passed awa\ he began to despair of ever reaching them. One evening he had begun the service as usual and was just giving out his text: ' Greater love hath no man than this ' so fai' he had read when a dull roar of voices was heard outside ; nearer came the unwonted sounds and the

church door was burst open, while an excited crowd of men and women rushed up to the preacher with the terrible message, ' The pit's on fire ! Come ! ' Hastily unrobing, the young clergyman made his way to the pit's mouth. The cage was just going down with an exploring party and he tried to jump in ; but a burly miner stopped him, saying, ' Maister, it bean't for you — it bean't for you '. But, unheeding, the preacher forced his wav into the cage, and soon was with the others near the scene of the disaster ; man after man was recovered from the debris, and soon the cage was almost full. There is only room for one ; the young clergvman half-dragged, halfcarried a poor miner whom he had just recovered from the workings and placed him on the cage. There is no room for the rescuer ; he must wait, he says, until the cage comes down again. Up the cage goes with its living burden, when suddenly there is heard the dull roar of falling earth and rocks, and the people realise with a sickening sense of hon'or that the pit has fallen in — it was too true. The young clergyman had died in trying to save his

people. Very tenderly did they place his body by the pit's mouth, and as it lay there it preached a more real sermon than he could ever have pi'eached in life. The old miner whose life he had saved came, and with a voice husky with emotion, said : ' He gave his life for me '. The text which had been begun in the pulpit a few hour's before was finished now. ' Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends.' IV. So we see what our life is — a preparation for the future life. Why we are here — to glorify God in our bodies and our spirits, which are His. And now we come to our last thought. What does the Lord Jesus Christ do for each one of us who are His ?

In 1 Peter in. 18 we read, 'Christ also hath once suffered for sins, the Just for the unjust, that He might bring us to God,' and so we are able, through the Lord Jesus, to enter into God's presence. We are able to pray to Him as our Father ; we are able to look up to Him as the one who holds our right hand and says to us, amid many difficulties, trials, and temptations : ' Fear not, I will help thee '. — ^ oRMA Bennet, Be True : And Other Sermonsfor Boys, p. 48. HEAVE LY CURES FOR YOUTHFUL CARES ' I would have you without carefulness.'— i Corinthians VII. 32. The old folk think that we young folk have no cares. It is a great mistake. Can we not weep as bitterly as they ? Do we not play as passionately as our fathei-s and mothers ever loved or laboured ? Are not our plans as terribly real to us as theh-s to them ? And do not other wills cross ours as gallingly as theire were ever crossed ? Yet because we are children these are trifles. And because they are grown folks, those are cares. They laugh at us because we won-y. Over their own woiries they break their hearts. I fancy that in heaven the laugh, if laugh there be, is on the children's side. Around God's throne, ' above the smoke and stir of this dim spot,' as Milton has it in a poem you must all get by heart some day, the great things and the small things here are not so different as the grown folk think them. I am sure that many a game at marbles is far more real in God's sight than half the tricky business in the offices. To cherubim and seraphim there cannot be much difference 'twixt worrying about a doll and won-ying about a thousand sovereigns. When the old folk reach heaven, perhaps they will find they have been the children. Then at long last

they will have a fellow-feeling with us. And they will see the pride of it all, in having smiled at the young folk's cares, and all the time grown lean over theii- own. What are the heavenly cui-es for youthful cares ? I. The first is Consider. 'Consider the lilies of the fields,' says Jesus, ' they toil not, neither do they spin. And yet I say unto you that even Solomon in aJl his glory was not arrayed like one of these.' ow you have botanised perhaps ; or you have plucked

681

Ver. 32.

1 CORI THIA S VII., XIII

Ver. 12.

the lilies and adorned your tables with them. But did you ever consider ? That is the question. It wants but little time, few talents, and no money, yet we all cry and carp and quarrel, but consider — never ! When did you ever steal away from the crowti and cl.imour of the school, and sit alone, and listen to the hum of myriad wings of indistinguishable creatures, and watch the floAvers, and think how all the time that you were fretting, God's children of the

fields were growing silently upwards into beauty, till even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these ? When did you ever rise ten minutes earlier to hear the Psalms and hymns and spiritual songs of the congregation in the tree-tops ? Lift up your eyes on high, and behold who hath created these things that bringeth out their host by number. For that He is strong in power, not one faileth. II. The second cure is Cast. — Cast thy burden on the Lord, and He will sustain thee. Cast all your care upon Him, for He careth for you. Consider took you out into the fields. Cast takes you right to God. And so consider is a good word, but cast is a better. Sometimes when the storm is driving through the Pentland, the stoutest ships are glad to run into the lee of Holborn Head and to cast anchor there. The pilot has considered everything, but considering alone will never save the ship. Considering must end in casting, or there will be wreckage after all. ow an anchor is not a pleasant thing to look at. It does not rise with grace like the mast, nor stream out pi-oudly like the pennon. But there are times when mast and pennon would be but sorry furniture, but for the ugly anchor. And at these times men do not keep the anchor on board. They cast it out on to the anchorage, and so anchored, the ship rides in safety. I sometimes think God meant our cares, no less than our hopes, to be our anchors. Cares are not gladsome things like joys. They are far liker lead than gossamer. But there come seasons of peril and unsettlement and storm when the casting of that anchor on to the anchorage of God will hold and steady us as nothing else can do. Come, seacaptains (for every lad at heart is that), out with your anchors ! God's ways are in the sea. Cast all on God, and He will carry you through.

III. These then are two of the Gospel cures. But there is still another — Come. ' Come unto Me, all ye that labour and are heavy-laden, and I will give you rest.' Considering and casting, these are good. But coming is the best of all. It takes the others in its ai-ms. All other Bible means and methods for the quieting of hearts and ordering of lives are enfolded here. What is it to come ? It is to trust in Jesus. It is to look to Jesus. It is to kiss His feet, and hold His garment's hem, and cling to Him. It is to lie before the cross and hate ourselves, and tell the Lord that we deserve death and hell, and know it, but that we trust Him. It is all this done daily, truly, yet, alas ! how ignorantly, till we die. It is to lean on

Jesus, and to lean the hardest in the hardest hours. It is to venture wholly on Him. That is coming. And it is all so strange, so mystical, so desperate, so contrary to every passion and pleasure of the heart I never wondered that the Lord said, ' o man can come to Me, except the Father draw him'. The marvel would be the other way. Come ! for yoii can come. That faintest stirring Christwards in your heart is the first binding of the drawing and everlasting cord. God never drags. God always waits and longs and loves to diaw. Trust God. Yield yourselves up to God. ' All that the Father giveth Me shall come to Me, and him that cometh to Me, I will in no wise cast out.' — G. H. Morrison, The Oldest Trade in the World, p. 25. THE I CREASI G VISIO ' For now we see through a glass, darkly ; but then face to face : now I know in part ; but then shall I know even as also I am known.' — i Corinthians xiii. 12.

The Bible is of no use to those who have no vision to begin with, any more than a telescope is of any use to a blind man. It must be used, also, by those who have some appreciation of its value as a book of guidance and wisdom. The first telescope was, undoubtedly, produced in Holland, and, though there is much dispute about it, the credit for its invention is given to Galileo. His first telescope was much like a pair of opera glasses, and could magnify to about thirty times. With such a primitive glass, he succeeded in discovering the satellites of Jupiter, the mountains of the moon and other celestial objects. Kepler improved the telescope by the addition of the second, convex lens. The great telescopes with which we are familiar are the product of very recent times, until now the manufacture of the largest and finest telescopic lenses has become one of the highest arts, with Alvan Clark of Cambridge, Mass., the most successful maker. In the use of the Bible as a spiritual telescope, we are enabled to bring the tar-distant facts of our eternal destiny very near. Yet the truths of the world-to-come are not all e([ually made clear to us. Some things regarding that future life are made veiy plain, while others are in the shadow of their own remoteness. However, what we know is exact knowledge, and may be fully relied upon. Let us trust the Word and it will support us in every time of uncertainty and danger. One time there was a man compelled to cross a river. It was in the winter season, and he found the river frozen over. People who lived near the river told him that it would be perfectly safe to cross upon the ice, but he was so doubtful of what they said that he crawled over upon his hands and knees. When near the middle, he was greatly startled by a sound

in the distance, anil he waited to see its cause. Presently around a bend of the river, came a negro driving a team of mules drawing a load of pig-iron ! What a foolish man he was to be so afraid. It is not necessary to state that after he saw that load of

682

Ver. 12.

1 CORI THIA S XIII

Ver. 13.

pig-iron he at once arose and walked with perfect confidence. Life has its perils, but the Divine Word gives us the needed assurances, and we should trust our experiences as coming by the direction of an Allwise Providence. The world of spirits is unseen, but present, now and here. It is the hidden kingdom of God which, in due season, will be revealed. ow in this springtime, the world of nature shows its hidden powers in the outburst of the life which God hides in it. So in the coming of that eternal spring, for which Christians are waiting. Blessed are they who shall behold what mortal eye hath not seen, when they find themselves gifted with fresh powers, vigorous with the life that is in them.

So then continue to gaze through your telescope of the Word of your God. Look for the new heavens and the new earth. You will see ever new beauties from day to day. ^George V. Reichel, Bible Truth through Eye and Ear, p. 355. THE MAOIC CRYSTAL ' ow we see through a glass, darkly ; but then face to face.' — I Corinthians xiii. 12. What a lot of things we want to know ! We begin by wanting to know ' how the wheels go round,' and then, as we get older, we want to know how the world goes round, why it does it, and what it is all for. We want to know all about this world, and we also want to know all about the next. How are we to learn about these things ? That is just what the Apostle is trying to show us. He says we can see something about them all now, but it is darkly, as if we were looking in a kind of mirror. You children understand wliat he means. You read fairy tales, and poetry, and other things that are good, so you know all about Merlin and other great and wise magicians. Do you remember how they came to see things that were far away, and tell what was going to happen, and what things had been done ? It was by theii' wonderful crystal globe. There was the round glass ball as clear as a fountain, without a speck or a flaw, but as the magician gazed upon it, it grew dim, as if the mists were going up within it ; and then, as he gazed and gazed, the mists would clear away, and there, on the crystal mirror, he would see all that he wanted to know, whether it was about things far off or near, things

past or things to come. 'Twas very wonderfuk That crystal globe must have been long since bioken or lost, for nobody has it now. It has vanished like the magicians themselves. But we have a mirror that is like it, though something different. It is the Bible. As we look into it reverently, lovingly, prayerfully, we see more and more, better and clearer, all we want to know about God and ourselves; about the world, and what it is for ; about life and death, and everything we need to learn Make much of your Bible. It is the grandest possession you ever can have. Oh, the happy, happy

times I have had with it in some quiet corner ! What beautiful visions I have seen in it ! What great things I have learnt from it ! The real magician — the one who is really wise — is the boy or girl, the man or woman, who loves to look much and often into this mirror, for these come to leain there what never can be seen or learnt anywhere else — the love and the wisdom of God working through everything. But there is another meaning this text may have. When it says we see 'darkly' or dimly in this mirror, it means that it all looks like ' a riddle '. That is the word you find in the margin — ' a riddle '. And things do look like that very often. So many sti'ange things happen we can't account for, such wonderful thingsiare done which we can't explain, that when we look up to the stars, and then think of wheie we were born, and wonder where we shall die ; when we see how much sorrow there is in the world, yet how much beauty and goodness too, and how things often go wrong when you meant them to go right, and how they sometimes turn out good though you never intended it, then it all looks like a riddle ! Will you give it up ? Some do. They grow weary, poor things,

of trying to puzzle it all out. But they grow weary because they don't take the right way ; that's all. How simple the most difficult riddle becomes when you have found it out ! Would you like to find out this riddle ? — the riddle about everything ? I can tell you how. It is by loving and trusting Jesus Christ, and trying to live like Him. For it is said, and the word is true, ' The scci'et of the Lord is with them that fear Him '. They have the key to the riddle : everything is made simple to the one who lives loving and trusting Jesus. Would you wish to be wise ? ' The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom.' Give Jesus your heart: learn from Him; trust Him, and He will teach you (he secret of life — open up to you the good meaning of God in every dark riddle or difficulty you shall ever have to meet. So, whenever there is anything too hard for you to understand, go to Jesus, and tell Him all about it in prayer, and then, when prayer has cleansed your eyes and prepared your heart, turn to the crystal miiTor of His Word : there you will get the light, the vision, the guidance you need, and .so be made wise, and wiser still for His full salvation in the end, when you shall see Him, as He sees you now — ' face to face '. — J. Reid Howatt, The Children's Preacher, p. 80. THE ALCHEMIST'S SECRET ' The greatest of these is charity.' — i Corinthians xiii. 13. Three hundred years ago might have seen some venerable-looking old man — people called him an alchemist — followed him home, would have found room full of bottles and glass vessels, with furnaces and other strange things. What could he use them for? Trying to find something which would turn other things to gold. If he had found it ? Very rich — but what use ? Very old and must soon die. So used to try and find something else as well which would

683

Ver. 13.

1 CORI THIA S XIII

Ver. 13.

make him live when he got rich. He was seeking for something which would give him riches and life. Would you like to discover this great secret ? You may — it will give you better riches and a better life than any he aimed at. ' Treasure in heaven,' and ' eternal life ' to enjoy the treasure. What is the sea-et ? Love. I. Love Turns Everything: Into Treasure. — What is treasure ? ot merely riches, but riches which we can keep. [King's treasure, not the money he spends, but the jewels and valuables which he does not spend.] 1. Things we like. Suppose you have money — don't mean to keep it — spend it — what you buy only lasts for a little — wears out — goes somehow, more or less quickly.

Suppose instead, see some poor pei-son — very hungry — ' I am a little Christian — Jesus would have helped — wants me to help. There, take this.' ' Gone ?' o. Gone up. Treasure in heaven. Only remember may give from wrong motives — to get praise, or because giving is pleasant, in such case you have bought praise or pleasure with youi- money. Only love can turn it into treasure : ' I do want to love Jesus, and He wants me to do this '. One of these days find the treasure waiting for you. [Picture out — Jesus come again — we all before Him. Matt. xxv. 40.] 2. Things we don't like. Troubles. — Our Lord turned His troubles into treasure (Isa. liii. 10, ii ; Heb. xii. 2). So did St. Paul (2 Cor. xii. 8-10, cf. Rom. v. 3-5.)

Enemies. — Love turns them into friends. [Alexander the Great was asked, how so young he could do so much. ' I use my enemies so well that I compel them to be friends, and I treat my friends so well that I never lose their friendship.'] DifficuUiea. — Boy at school — can't learn lessons Younger brother comes — elder brother helps him — obliged to learn himself — finds his own work easier. Love has made it grow easy. One of these days when we get to heaven and come to look over our treasury — what a heap of strange things ! All treasures then — but love has made them treasures. II. Love Gives Life (i John iil 13, 14). — Death can't get in where there is love.

[Fire on prairies — all grass burnt up — one green spot left. Why ? Little spring there ; fire could not destroy because spring never failed. So i Corinthians XIII. 8. Charity, i.e. love never faileth.] III. How may We get Love ? — Some say, ' I can't love. Some things I never shall like. So selfish ; never can be like Jesus Christ ; always going about doing good — always thinking how I can help others.' Yes, you can. 1. Do little kind acts, then love will grow. 2. Ask God. He will give you this gy^t (Jas. i. 17). The ' most excellent gift '. ' The love of God ' — the love like God's love — 'is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost which is given unto us ' (Rom. V. 5). — C. A. GooDHART, Hints and Outlines for Children's Services, p. 45.

684

THE SECO D EPISTLE TO THE CORI THIA S

CHRIST'S LETTERS 'Ye are. . . the Epistle of Christ.'— 2 Corinthians in. 3. I. Is there anything in the world more wonderful than a letter ? When the English missionai-ies first went to Africa, nothing surprised the black people more than the lettere they wrote. ' Does the person you write to hear you speak ? ' said a chief to one of

the missionaries. ' o.' ' Does he see your lips move ? ' ' o.' Then he ranged a long line of his people in a field, asked the missionary to stand at one end, and stood with a second at the other end. ' ow wi-ite what I bid you.' The missionary beside him put down the chiefs words, and the bit of paper was passed on by a messenger to the other end. At that end the missionary standing there read the words to the messenger. The messenger repeated them to the chief, and the chief cried out, ' It is just magic ! ' And a letter is really a kind of magic. It is oidy a sheet of paper with some signs on it. But it tells what is going on ten, twenty, a hundred or a thousand miles away. Thi-ough these signs, we, sitting at our breakfast tables, can see homes over wide seas, and the people living in them, and baptisms, and marriages, and sick-beds and funerals. By these signs commands come from far countries, and merchants in this land rise and go to the market, or the exchange, or the bookstore, or the house of a neighbour, and do the biddings of those who wi'ote them down. And by these signs the secrets of one heart are carried into another ; and two hearts know the secrets instead of one. II. The Lord has always been a letter writer. He has written His letters on the blue sky and on the green earth. Summer and winter, springtime and harvest are sentences from one of His lettere. He wrote ten words once, thousands of years ago, on sheets of stone at Mount Sinai, and those words are read still in every part of the earth. He has written two long letters to men in the Bible : the one is called the Old Testament, the other the ew Testament, and those letters have been copied thousands of times, and are being sent to and fro among all the nations of mankind.

But from the beginning He said : ' It is not enough for Me that I write on the sky and the field, or on leaves of stone or paper. I want something better still to write my letters on. I will only be satisfied when men allow Me to wi-ite My letters on their heai-ts ; and when I can lay My heart with all its

secrets on the hearts of men and women and boys and girls, and leave the imprint of these secrets there.' It was this His prophets said so often in the old times. They said that a day would come, a happy day, when God would write His laws no more on tables of stone, as the Ten Commandments were, but on the heart. That day came when Jesus came. He made His words go into the hearts of those who listened to Him. It was all the same as if He had written on then- hearts, and these hearts had become letters from Christ. So Paul gives that name to the boys and girls and the men and women who have let Christ write the secrets of His heart on theirs. He calls them epistles of Christ — lettei-s written on the fleshly leaves of the heart. And there is nothing better in the world for a boy or girl than to be a letter of this kind for Christ. III. Some years ago the people living in Paris were suiTounded by the German army, and could neither get out themselves, nor have anybody coming in. They were besieged by that army, and all the while the siege lasted neither bread, nor milk, nor coals, nor wood, nor horse, nor cow could get in. It was a hard time, and the people sufl'ered for want of food. But there was another thing they gr^i.tly suffered for want of — and that was news of dear ones

in other parts of the world. At last those dear ones wrote letters on the first page of the Times newspaper in London. Then a photographer made a copy of that first page so small that it was only the size of a penny stamp. Then those tiny pages were tied under the wings of doves and canied by them over the heads of the German army into Paris. There the photographers made the tiny papers large again. And in this way the people in Paris got letters from the dear ones far away. The Lord Jesus does something like this in writing His letters on young hearts. He has a great deal to say : but the hearts of children are too small to receive all His words. So the Lord makes His letter small, so small that it can all be printed on a child's heart. And then as years go on and the body grows tall, the heart grows larger and larger, and the letters grow with the growth of the heart, and when boys and girls come to be young men and women they find that the loving Jesus has written nearly all the Bible on their hearts. IV. But sometimes it is only a single sentence He writes. During a very cold winter, between twenty

685

Yer. 3.

2 CORI THIA S III

Ver. 3.

and thirty years ago, there were two stories in the newspapers which went to every heart. A poor actor left Inverness for the town of Cromarty, where he was engaged to play. He had his little girl with him, a child of seven or eight. Snow had already begun to fall when he set out. But by and by a storm arose, and the snow fell so thickly that all the sky became dark with it, and the poor travellers lost theii" way. In a day or two, half-way to Cromarty, at a lonely turn of the road, where there was some shelter, the two were found buried in the snow, and dead. But it was noticed that the child was wrapped roiuid with the father's overcoat, which he had taken from himself to keep her warm. The cold was so great that year that many poor people died of it in their very houses, where they had neither fire nor food. Among those who died was a lonely mother in one of our cities. She was found cold dead on the floor of her home, and nearly naked, but beside her was her living child, living and warm, well wrapped up in the clothes which the mother had taken from her own body. What were those two : the poor actor who stripped himself of his coat to keep warm his child : the poor mother who went nearly naked to keep her baby alive ? They were letters written by Chiist and sent out to be read of all, letters written with one of the deepest secrets of His heart. What He wrote on those two hearts was sacrifice, pity, love, like God's. Just as those two acted, Christ would have acted if He had been in their places. It was even so He did act, when on the cross He died for man. He took His own life and wrapped us round with it, that we might not die but live. And he would have every one of

us to act to others as He acted towards us. And on our hearts, as on the hearts of those two of whom I have told. He desires to write pity and self-sacrifice, and kindness and love. V. I shall never forget the winter in which those two died. I had gone to reside in a little comitry town among the hills, and a great snowstorm came on the very first week I was there. Day and night the snow continued to fall. The roads were blocked up, the stage coaches could not leave. At last the little town was cut off from the rest of the world. It so happened that I had promised to be at a meeting in a neighbouring town about eight miles ofF. And I wanted to fulfil my promise. So I got a friend to help me to find the way, and with a second fi'iend who was staying with me we set forth. The whole country, far as the eye could see, was one unbroken sheet of snow. The roads were buried. The very hedgerows were not to be seen. ot a foot mark nor track of a wheel was to be seen. We were the first since the snow began to attempt the journey. When we had worked our way about three miles, we saw one other traveller coming towards us. It was the letter-carrier with the mail-bag for the town •we had left. We could not help thinking him a wonderful sight. There was no other being on that ¦white waste of snow. But what he represented was

more wonderful than himself. He represented the government of the country. Humble though he was, he was a public servant. Thousands of other servants, on other hills, on other roads, would be doing the same service which he was trying to do. Then we thought of the letters in his bag. Then of the lettere in other bags. Then of all those letters as filled with things interesting one way or other to those who

should receive them. And we thought of the government as the power which was sending them all on to the pei-sons to whom they were addi'essed. And then this thought came into our minds : There is a greater government than ours — the government of God — and that too is sending forth over all the land — throughout all the world — lettei-s written not on paper with ink, but on the hearts of men and women, and boys and girls, and written by Christ Himself. Then we remembered the words in second Corinthians : ' The epistle of Christ, ministered by us, written not with ink, but with the Spmt of the living God '. VI. It was Paul who wrote those words. It is very helpful always when Paul says a word like this to know why he says it. He was sending a letter to Christian people in Corinth to whom he had often preached. But he knew that there were some among them who did not care for his preaching, and also had spoken evil about himself. He did not like to have evil spoken about hiui : no good man does. But Paul did not like it because evil words spoken about him were all the same as if they were spoken against the Gospel he preached. And as he is writing this comes into his mind, and he stops for a moment and asks himself: Shall I reply to the evil words ? But he does not reply to them. He only began his writing again, and says : ' Do I really need to defend myself before you ? Do you knoAv me so little that I should have to bring a letter of commendation to you ? Must I get other people to tell you that I am not a bad man ? Surely that cannot be needful when I am writing to my Corinthian friends. You are written on my heart ; I am written on yours. You are my best letter of commendation. If anybody speaks ill of me I appeal to you and to your Christian life. It was through me Christ made you Christian. He wrote the secrets of His heart on your lives ; and I, unworthy although some think me, was His penman

when He did so. You ai'e epistles of Christ, living epistles, and it was my preaching which Christ used to make you that.' o evil speaker could answer back to that. A Christian life is like a letter filled with the words of Christ. If the people to whom Paul had preached were now like Christ, it was a proof that Christ Himself had written that likeness on their hearts. VII. A dear fi-iend of mine when she was a little girl went to live at Cape Breton. At that time letters aiTived but once a month from this country. There was no post office to leave the bags at ; there was only a gi'eat open road through the forest, and little foot-roads from the village leading up to it. The letter-carrier as he passed each of these foot-roads got

686

Ver. 8.

2 CORI THIA S V

Ver. 8.

out the letters from his bag which were to go that way, and dropped them into a box that was fixed on a tree. Then somebody came up from the village with a key and opened the box and took the letters

away. It was my friend who had this duty to do. She had a long walk of many miles before she came to the end of the narrow foot-road, then she opened the box, and often, she used to tell, the tears would come into her eyes when there were no letters, or letters with black borders ; and when she got letters and took them back, and sometimes found that one now and again was unpleasant or silly, everybody was vexed. I sometimes think that a school is like that letterbox in the forest. There are children at school who are like silly letters, or empty letters, and sometimes like bad letters. And I think it is so sad — it is just like my friend at Cape Breton coming miles through the lonely forest for lettei-s and finding none, or finding only letters that were bad— when a young boy or girl is sent to a school, and finds no one there on whose heart Jesus has written His tenderness or truth or love. But it is a blessing which words cannot tell, when coming to a school, the young comer finds hearts and lives on which Christ has written His love. You remember the story in Tom Brown's School Days about the gentle boy who knelt down the first night he came to say his prayers, and the rude fellows who made a mock of him ? But he found one there on whose heart Christ had written, who stood up for him. And a great blessing came into the school through this one gentle boy, and that other brave lad who defended him, being epistles written by Christ. What was written on their hearts came to be written by and by on the hearts of those who had mocked. I will give you therefore a prayer to offer up at school. Sav to God : ' O my Father, blot out folly if Thou seest it written on my heai't ; blot out everything there that is a grief to Thee, and write Thy name and law instead ; and make me a clear, well-

filled epistle, to tell of the goodness I have found in Thee'. — Alexander Macleod, The Gentle Heart, p. 73. ALL FOR JESUS 2 Corinthians v. 8. In the fifth verse of the eighth chapter of second Corinthians these words occur : — They ' gave their own selves to the Lord '. From this text I wish to speak a little about selfconseci'ation. It is the privilege and duty of all of us to consecrate ourselves to God. We may all be priests to God in Christ. And giving ourselves to serve God we must keep nothing back. We must be all for Jesus. This is the truth I wish to enforce. I ask then : — I. Your Eye for Jesus. — What a beautiful and what a curiously-formed organ the eye is ! One

could write a long lecture or a volume in description of it. You will find in books such descriptions of its form, and seat, and different parts, and varied defences, as would delight and surprise you. But what I wish you to think of here is the wonderful use it serves. It enables us to see. To see ! Oh, what a world of marvel and beauty is covered by that little word I Have you ever thought what a strange thing sight is ? Some one calls it a diffused and subtle touch. So it is. I close my eyes, and can only touch what my hand reaches. I open them, and, looking out at the window where I am writing, I touch trees, fields,

distant houses, more distant hills, still more distant skies. I have a kind of hand to reach the very stars. Wonderful, beautiful vision I But there is something in the mind like to this, more subtle, and swift, and wondrous still. It is thought — the vision of the soul. Try how swift it is. I name five or six jjlaces, and as fast as you read them your thoughts are in the places named — London, Calcutta, the moon, the sun, the stars, the throne of God in heaven. In a few seconds you have travelled miles not to be measured. You have seen all these far distant objects with the eye of the soul. ow I want this eye, this thinking power, for Jesus. You are always busy thinking. But how much is the Saviour in your thoughts ? I ask — H. Your Ear for Jesus. — The ear, too, is a most curious organ. Outside, as you see it, how interesting to notice the winding passages and tunnelled porch way leading in to the chamber of audience I Is it not very wonderful to think how, when a minister or other public speaker addresses a multitude, he should be able, by the moving of his lips, to send his words on invisible wings in through the gate of the ear to the minds and souls of hundreds ? ow Jesus made this wonderful ear, with all its fittings, to receive sound. If, then, He speaks Himself, should we not hear Him ? But, you say, Christ does not speak to our ears. He did once speak on earth, to the very ears of men. He might still do so. He once spoke to Paul out of heaven, after He had gone up. And still, through the Bible and through providence, in the church, in the school, in the sick-room. He speaks to us in effect. It is all the same as if we heard Him. And so Paul says about Him, ' See that ye refuse not Him that speaketh from heaven '. And when I ask ' ear for Jesus,' I ask attention to what He says, and obedience to what He commands. See what I wish, in the posture of good and happy Mary, when 'she

sat at Jesus' feet, hearing His word '. Humbly hearken to Jesus ; take pleasure in reading and hearing about Him ; do His will, as if you heard Him call you from the skies. One day your ear, cold in the grave, will open to His voice ; and after you have risen. He will speak words to you. He will say Come, or Depai t. Which would you wish it to be ? Oh, hearken to Him now, when He says, Come ! and He will not change the word at the last day. But, again, I would have — III. Your Hand for Jesus.— Were you ever present

68-

Ver. 8.

2 CORI THIA S V., VI

Ver. 10.

at a man'iage in Scotland, and did you notice how, at the minister's request, the bridegroom and bride joined hands, while they promised to be faithful to each other ? I have always thought that simple ceremony of joining hands a touching one. It is a pledge on the part of the married — a seal to their promises to be true and kind to one another all their lives through. Or did you ever see men strike a bargain ? Then, perhaps, you heard one of them say,

to conclude it, ' Here's my hand on it,' and so they shook hands together. I wish your hand for Jesus in a sense which these customs suggest. I want to have you pledged to be Christ's — 'joined to the Lord in a perpetual covenant, never to be forgotten '. You write with your hand, you subscribe your name with it. There is a prophecy in Isaiah that I would like to see fulfilled in you. Here it is : ' One shall say, I am the Lord's ; and another shall call himself by the name of Jacob ; and another shall subscribe with his hand to the Lord, and surname himself by the name of Israel '. If a letter were written to Jesus, promising to follow and obey Him, do you think you could put your name to it ? IV. The Foot for Jesus. — The foot walks, or runs ; and in the Bible the walk or way of any person is his whole course of conduct — his manner of life, in short. There are evil ways and good ways. Hear what Solomon says about the first: 'Enter not into the path of the wicked, and go not in the way of evil men. Avoid it, pass not by it, turn from it, and pass away.' Solomon's father sings much about the good way, as in the first Psalm. God marked out the good way ; good men have trodden it from the beginning ; Jesus Himself walked in it; follow you Him. Do not let your feet cairy you on any sinful errand — to steal, to deceive, to break the Sabbath, to disobey parents, to go with evil companions, to enjoy sinful pleasures. Keep away from places where Jesus would be vexed and displeased to see you. But be ready, on the other hand, to run Christ's eri-ands, to do some kind office, to prevent some evil, to perform some good, to learn some holy lesson, or practise it. Did you ever see the hill-tops at sunrise getting bright with the golden beams fast falling on them, as if some angel were walking there to tell the world below the day was coming back. Perhaps the Bible points to this when it says, How beautiful upon the mountains are the feet of him that publisheth good tidings. Oh, what

a happy child around whose steps sunshine falls whereever he goes, because he is ' running the way of God's commandments ' ! The heathens spoke of one of their deities at whose tread flowers sprung up from the sod, and good children's paths are like that fabled walk, full of blossoms of hope, and joy, and love. Will you not walk there? I said — V. Give your Lip for Jesus. — There is a text in Hosea which speaks about rendering to God ' the calves of our lips '. Paul tells us what is meant by changing the phrase into ' the fruit of our lips,' and explaining that to mean the sacrifices of praise, thanksgiving to God's name. When your lip is

asked for Jesus, your speech and your voice in song are asked for Him. If you give Him your lips, you will shun all bad words, lying, profane, foul, bitter words. You will try to speak good words, true, kind, holy. VI. Your Heart for Jesus. — Yon cannot really give hand or eye to Him without this. As all the fingers grow out of the palm, and are but the hand divided, so all the five foregoing particulars depend on this. You give Christ nothing if you keep back the heart — you give Him all when your heart is His. He asks this, ' My son give Me thine heart '. ' Is not that a poor return,' I heard it once asked of a boy, ' to give Christ our weak hearts for all His love ? ' ' Yes,' was the answer, ' but it is all He asks from us.' Then yield your heart, that is your love, to Christ. You cannot love Him too soon ; you cannot love Him too long ; you cannot love Him too much. All 3our heart is not more than He deserves ; and when He gets it all you are happiest. Heart, then, for Jesus, that eye, ear, hand, foot, lip, may all be His also. — J. Edmond, The Children's Church at Home, p. 52.

POOR, VET MAKI G MA Y RICH 2 Corinthians vi. io. Among the wonderful things mentioned in the ew Testament none is more wonderful than this, that it was by poor people the good news concerning Christ was first made known. ever were poorer people than these. Poor fishermen, poor tentmakei-s, poor labouring men and women, poor slaves — such were the people by whom the good news was carried throughout the world. They had neither money nor fine clothing, nor lands nor fine houses. They had nothing but what they earned by the labour of their hands. They came from fishing villages, from despised little homes among the hills, from back streets in great cities. obody knew them. obody ever heard of them before. They were mocked. They were beaten with rods. They were cast into prison. Yet they were helped by God to go from place to place telling their wonderful story. And poor and despised and ill-treated though they were, they made the world rich by the story they told. ' Poor, yet making many rich ' : that was how Paul described them. They arrived in the great cities, Ephesus, Corinth, Rome, or Philippi, and began in the first company they entered to tell their news. They had seen the Son of God on the earth. They had seen Him opening the eyes of the blind, healing the sick, raising the dead. More wonderful still, they had seen wicked men •putting Him to death, and they had seen Him alive again, risen from among the dead. They were like people who had been in heaven. In a sense they had really been in heaven. They had been with the King of heaven. They had heard Him speak. They had received His blessing. They had His life in their hearts. I fancy myself sometimes back in those meetings, where these poor people were telling their story. I see their eyes streaming with tears as they tell of the cruel sufferings the dear

Vv. 1-12.

2 CORI THIA S VIII

Vv. 1-12.

Saviour had to endure. And I see the tears dried up and a glow over all their faces as they tell of His resurrection and His going up to heaven. At those meetings pL'ople who had never heard of the kindness of God learned from the lips of these messengers that He so loved the world as to send His only Son to die for it. People who did not know the mighty power of God learned that it was so great as to break the door of the grave and bring the dead Saviour back to life. After hearing news so gladsome many burst out into joyful cries. ' The great God loves us,' they said ; ' and He will not leave our souls to )ierish, nor our bodies to lie m the dust for ever ! ' Great new thoughts came into their hearts, such as never had been there before. Strange new desires sthred within them and made them eager to be near to (lod that they might love Him and serve Him better than they had ever done. It seemed to themselves as if they had been cariied up to the very door of heaven and had seen its happy life, and the Saviour who had died for them sitting on its throne, and a light of love on His face as He turned His look to where the}' stood.

In this way, in the days when Paul lived, the poor made many rich. But it is not hack in those days only that this wonder has been seen. There never has been a time in which God did not give grace to poor people to do this very thing. It is a wonder that never ceases. We have only to open our eyes, and we shall see it in the days in which we ourselves are living. obody is too poor to be used in the service of the loving God. The greatest Servant He ever had upon the earth was so poor that He had not where to lay His head. Sometimes when I stand up to speak to you, and see your faces glowing with health, and thiiik of the bright homes in which you live, where everything comes to you like magic, whore want is unknown, and remember homes of a different kind, where food is scant, where faces are pale, the thought comes into my mind that although in some things you are well off, in othei-s, by your very well-ofFness, you suffer loss. You do not know the gladness over little mercies which those who dwell in such homes know. You do not know the tenderness which God shows to the people who live in these homes, nor the help which He brings into their humble lives, nor the great uses to which, through their very poverty, they are sometimps put. — Alexandke Macleod, The Children's Portion, p. 19. O QIVI Q 2 Corinthians viii. i-ia. I. There are some words which to children are a liitle hard to be understood in these verses. But what they say is well worth tiying to understand.

They say, first, that God gave them a great blessing — a grace. The/ say, next, that this blessing was the giving

of money to help Christ's Churches which weie poorer thai) their own Church. They say, third, that before they gave their money to Christ for His poor Churches they had given themselves. And, lastly, they say that in so acting they were just following Christ's own way of doing; for He gave Himself to us, that He might save us, and being rich in heaven. He came down to earth and became poor for our sakes. ow it is this I want you to think of. It is the grace of giving one's self to Jesus as Jesus gave Himself for us. Children as young as you have no money, or not much money, of their own to give to Christ for His poor people or for His work. But they can give what is better than money : they can give a part of themselves. What is it in a child that is richer and better than money ? It is love. The smallest child who understands can give that. God says : ' Give Me thy heart '. The heart is just love. Children are not too young to give their hearts to

Jesus — to love Jesus. Jesus likes to have the love of children coming to Him. That is the gold and silver of heaven. And because children cannot see the Lord Jesus Himself, He will have this love given to brothers, to sisters, to father, and mother, and schoolfellows, to fi'iends and neighbours. He says; 'Inasmuch as it is given to them, it is given to Christ'. ow say : ' I will give more of myself to my mother, to my sister, my brother, than ever. ' I will not be greedy in expecting things to myself. ' I will be a giver, and what I give will be a bit of myself — my love.' The blessing will be, that giving to those in the house with you will be accounted giving to Chi'ist. In the northern city where I once spent my holidays, there were many things to see and to hear about There were fine old churches, the old castle, old monuments on graves, and old traditions. Then there were the golf links, the beautiful sea-shore and the sea. But one of the things which I best like to call back and think about is the story of an old woman who lived there long ago, but who is still remembered for her kindness to the poor. I am soiTy I cannot tell you her name, nor the year she was born, nor when she died, but only this : the story of her good deeds. When she was living, she looked round about in thi? ancient town of St.

Andrews, and saw that winter was a very hard time for poor old women. She saw that many of them were widows, whose husbands had been drowned at sea, and when they got to be old, and weary, and poor, they were no longer able to work as they used to do, and they 'felt the winter to be a sadly trying time.

689

44

Vv. 1-12.

2 CORI THIA S VIII

Vv. 1-12.

So this excellent woman — she was not what people call a lady ; I mean she did not belong to grand people — did not live in a fine house, did not have servants; she was just a homely, ordinary woman, belonging to the common people. Well, this good soul, seeing the old women in her neighbourhood cold and ill-clad in winter, and without much fire, said to herself : ' I will save up whatever I can save, I will spend nothing on myself that I can do without,' and in this way she gathered together, by saving and

sacrifice, what people about her might call a good bit of money ; not thousands, oh no, nor hundreds even ; perhaps as much as a hundred and fifty pounds. And she put this money aside, and she gave it first to God, and then in trust to certain magistrates and others in St. Andrews, to be invested as she desired, and the yearly proceeds to be paid out in coal to poor old women in that town ; and winter by winter, as the winter comes round, there is the sum of five pounds, the savings of this old lady (you now see she was a very real lady), spent in buying coal — ten carts of coal. That means ten poor old women who will be warm instead of cold, because this old lady had pity for all such in her heart, and denied herself many luxuries, and even comforts, in order to lay up this money for the poor women. ow think, as long as Scotland lasts there will be these ten carts of coal for so many poor old women in St. Andrews. There are names in the almanac of saintly ladies who lived long ago. This lady's name is not in any almanac, but I am sure when the poor widow who gave the two mites is spoken of in the Great Day this old St. Andrews' saint will be counted worthy to stand beside her. It is said : ' He that giveth to the poor lendeth to the Lord '. See how great a lending this is to the Lord ; it goes on year by year, even after the giver is dead. II. (Heb. xin. 16). — This is the counsel to-day — ' To do good and to communicate '. I will tell you a little story and then give my lesson. A good many years ago I heard of a young lady

who was blind. Her parents were wealthy, and had their blind daughter taught to do everything that was possible for blind people to do. She was trained to be a good musician, and she had a good voice. It did people good to hear her singing a hymn and accompanying it on the piano ; and although hers was a lonely life, yet she resolved to be active and useful. So she searched out all the blind children and blind people in her neighbourhood, and in one way and another tried to do them good. ow among the blind people in the town where she lived there was a very rough-speaking man, a pauper, who had a fine family of children, all except one little girl, and she was blind like himself. ow, it is strange to say, the blind man could not endure his own blind child, and often beat her cruelly if she stumbled, or was the occasion of an accident.

My blind young lidy heard of this poor lonely illtreatetl child, and she set out one day, crossed the town, went up the narrow street in which the child's family lived, and found the father standing at the door. ' Well,' he said, ' who are you ? ' ' I am blind Miss Hill.' ' And what do ye want ? ' ' I want to see your blind daughter.* ' And what do ye want with her ? ' ' I would like to teach her to read and sew.'

' What will ye gie me if I let you teach my lassie ? ' ' Well,' she said, ' I do not think I should give you anything. ' ' Then ye'U no get her, and ye'll no see her.' The young lady, however, did not mean to be put off in that way. So she came day by day, and got the same reception, until one day she found the father absent, and went in. The mother received her gladly. The little child knew nothing about learning, but she thought the lady could protect her, and whispered, ' Will ye keep my faither from beating me ? ' But the father heara of the visit, and stood out, and said unless he was paid for it he would not allow the child to be taught. At last Miss Hill agreed to give him sixpence a. week, and she has been giving the churlish boor that for more than a year. It is a sight to see the poor blind child setting out from the poor home, hurrying, groping her way, right shoulder forward, every day, to be in time at the home of her lady teacher, learning to read, to sew, to knit, and resolving, like her teacher, to do good. III. Contentment (1 Tim. vi. 6, Heb. xiii. 5). — Thinking over the lesson I gave you in the last chapter, that God has other ways of making people rich than by giving them money, I find that He bestows graces on His people, old and young, which shine forth, and make glad the circle in which they are seen. Of these graces one kept coming back to my mind as very good, and as one of the most enriching gifts which a boy or girl could receive.

This good thing is contentment. If boy or girl, man or woman, had all the gold and silver in the world and yet had not contentment, they would not be happy. But if one who had neither gold nor silver had contentment, he would be happy. ' Godliness with contentment is great gain.' ' Be content with such things as ye have,' and this story will show you what contentment means. In a German village one day the village school was coming out. The children rushed out ; they began to jump and run. Many made off to the fields ; others went into the playground and began to play at ball and other games. At the end of all and last came a little lad who, through an accident when he was very young, was lame, and had to walk with cratches. He saw his school-fellows leaping and running, and he seemed to be as happy, looking at

690

Ver. 15.

2 CORI THIA S IX

Ver. 12.

their happiness, as if he were leaping and running himself. There happened to be passing that day a stranger from a distant town, a writer of books. His heart was touched by the sight of the poor boy, looking on but unable to join in the play of his schoolmates ; and he went near to him. ' Are you son-y that you caimot play like the others ? ' said the stranger. ' o, sir ; I am quite happy too. I have a starling at home that can speak, and I have a linnet that sings. Mother is very kind to me ; and I have books.' ' But when }ou are grown up and a man, what will you do to earn your bread ? ' ' Well, I shall be a cobbler. I shall be able to sit and work. I shall have a room to work in, and I shall keep birds in the room to sing to me and keep me company. And with the money I get for the shoes I make I shall buy food for my mother and myself.' The stranger walked with the lad down the road. At a cottage door he saw the boy's mother looking out for him, with a face filled with love. The linnet and, the starling saw the boy coming, and began to speak and sing to him. And the boy's face glowed with joy. ' Ah ! ' said the stranger to himself, ' that boy is happier than I am.' It was contentment that enabled the boy to be so

happy. He took his lameness as God s gift : his mother, his stai'ling, his linnet, his own happy heart, were God's gifts too. He was content with such things as he had. His 'contentment was great gain'. — Alexander MacLeod, The Child Jesus, p. 106. HOW TO THA K QOD FOR JESUS ' Thanks be unto God for His unspeakable gift '—2 Corinthians IX. 15. I AM going to take that one word Gift, and break it up letter by letter, and make each letter stand for an initial. And we will pray !hat God will teach us so, how better to give thanks for Jesus. I. G then will stand for Grow like Him. When we begin to grow like Jesus, then we thank God for Him. Have you been planted ? That is the question. For if we have been planted together in the likeness of His death, we shall be also in the likeness of His resurrection. There is the first secret of all growth. o prayers, no tears, no toil will ever make us Christlike without that. First, we must lie in Jesus' bosom, as earthly things lie in the bosom of the earth, and then the constraining love of Christ will work such wonders with us, that old things pass away, and all thi:'gs become new. Have you been planted ? Or put it in another way. One of the great treats in store for you when you grow older, will be to read the writings of a scholarly and saintly doctor, Sir Thomas Browne. And there is one piece of his I

want you all to read. It is his Letter to a Fiiend. In that Letter he tells the story of a young man's deathbed, and there was one strange thing Sir Ihomas noticed in that dying man. As death drew near his features changed. He lost his own look, and through his featui-es there seemed to shine the features of a lelative. Death cancelled self for him, and made him grow in strange likeness to another whose blood ran in his veins. Living, these lineaments were concealed. Dying, they stood out evidently. 'He looked like his uncle, the lines of whose face lay deep and invisible in his healthful visage before.' That was what Sir Thomas Browne saw in his dying friend. I sometimes wonder if it did not seem to him a shadowing of deeper things. For there is a higher life than the life of the body. There is another death than the ceasing of the heart to beat. It is the death to sin and self It is the crucifixion with Christ Jesus. And of this be sure. This you and I must learn. Only as we ajaproach that death, and daily draw nearer to that death in fuller surrender and heartier consecration, will the lineaments of Jesus, sealed on us by the Holy Spirit in the hour of conversion, begin to show through ours. Until at last, when we are truly dead, and our life is hid with Christ in God, then shall we truly live, and yet not we, for Christ shall live in us. If any man would grow like Me, says Jesus, first, he must be born again. And then, if any man would grow like Me, let him deny himself, take up his cross, and follow Me. Though born again, and hungering and thirsting daily, for all that, growth into His likeness must be slow. I believe it is now accepted by all learned men that this great world has been built up out of atoms. All that we see has been made out of these

particles so small that the most powerful glass is powerless to see them. The stars that shine by night, the mountains that lift their heads up to the clouds, the noble forest trees, the various beauties of ten thousand herbs, all these, under the fingers of a creating and a devising God, have been fashioned from molecules infinitely small. ot from original masses was creation formed. But all its grandeur, majesty, and beauty have been slowly wrought from particles invisibly minute. So with the massive forms of life : the majesties of character : the Christlike heart. They too under the Spirit's hand are slowly fashioned from the tiniest births. II. The second letter I will stand for Imitate Him. Would you thank God for Jesus? Then begin now to imitate the Master. There is a proverb which says, Imitation is the sincerest flattery. God wants no flattery, but He does want thanksgiving, and imitation of the right kind is one of thanksgiving's choicest forms. III. And now we come to F, and F shall stand for Follow Him. I wonder if you ever tried to count how often the Bible uses that word folloiu. I could tell that the AVord of God meant you and me to be followers, not leaders. The one word is so much

691

Ver. 15.

2 CORI THIA S IX

Ver. 15.

more frequent than the other. Jesus said, Follow Me ! Lo ! we have left all and followed Thee, said Peter. I follow after, said Paul. We think of Peter and James and Paul as leaders. They never thought of themselves as leaders — always as followers. This was their joy and crown and glory, that they followed Jesus. Christ calls for volunteers to-day. Who will take Him for Captain, and donning shield and breastplate, make life a battle for the right ? That will give stir and movement to the dreariest day. That will bring back to you the spirit of the knights who jousted in the tourney. o life is commonplace if Christ be in it. Who enlists now ?

Jesus, still lead on Till our rest be won ! IV. Lastly comes T, and that must stand for Trust Hivi. But I have spoken too long to you, and must close. I want you all to trust Him. I wish you all to follow Him. I would fain see every one of you imitating Jesus, and growing more like Him everyday. What joy there would be in heaven over that ! God waits to accept it as the richest sacrifice of thanksgiving for His unspeakable gift. — G. H. Morrison, The Oldest Trade in the World, p. 66.

692

THE EPISTLE TO THE GALATIA S

OLD SELF A D EW SELF ' I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live ; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave Himself for me.' — Galatians ii. 20. I DARE say you have often been disposed to think that these chapters of the Galatians ai-e very hard to be vuiderstood ; and perhaps they may seem to you rather uninteresting, and a repetition of the same thing over and over again. Well, they are not easy in themselves ; but we make them much harder, because we read them in such short chapters. If I were telling a stoiy, however interesting it might be in itself, if you came in when I had been going on for half an hour, stayed five minutes, and then went out again, you would be likely, to use the common expression, to make neither head nor tail of what I was saying, and to think it very dull. ow St. Paul's Epistle to the Galatians is one continued argument ; and if we take a little bit out of the middle, and read that by itself, though we may pick up three or four verses here and there, we shall hardly be likely to understand the whole drift of what the Apostle is saying ; nay, perhaps, we may understand the very opposite of what he meant us to understand. And this difficulty is as old as the time of St. Peter, who says that in St. Paul's Epistles ' are some things hard to be understood ; which thev that are unlearned and unstable, wrest, as they do also the other Scriptures, to their own destruction '.

ow I am not going to enter into this Epistle, so as to explain to you St. Paul's reason for writing it, or to show you what his ai-gument is ; I will only tell you that, in i-eading it, and the former part of the Epistle to the Romans, you must always remember two things. The one, that wherever the Apostle speaks of the Law, he does not mean the Law of God — that Law, according to which we have to walk here, that Law, according to which we have to be judged hereafter; no, he always means the Jewish Law. And the other, that when he speaks of faith, he does not mean that which we generally now call faith, the believing in God's Word liecause it is His Word. o; he means only the Christian Law — or if you like it better, the Gospel. Almost always when he uses the word faith, you would understand more clearly what he means if it were now translated the Gospel. So in the beginning of the fifth chapter of the Epistle to the Romans, which many people have written so much that is untrue about, it only means : ' Therefore, being justified,' that is, made righteous by the Gospel, that is, by the way the Gospel points out, namely, our dear Lord's passion, ' we have peace with

God, thi'ough our Lord Jesus Christ*. And so in a great many other places. L ow let us see the meaning of the text I read you just now. It begins: 'I am cmcified with Christ'. How is that ? Why, you must remember how fond St. Paul is of telling us what we all know so sadly in ourselves, that we have, so to speak, two selves, two I's- the old bad self which we get from Adam, and which he calls the old man ; the new better self which is given us at baptism, which he calls the new man : the old bad I, which says, when we are offended, ' I will be angry, I will revenge myself; I think it is a

glorious thing to have my own way ; I will hate such an one, because he or she has spited me ' ; and the better self which says, ' I will forgive, because Chiist forgave ; I will not revenge myself because He, when He was reviled, reviled not again ; when He suffered. He threatened not '. There is the old bad self, which says, ' I will not learn this lesson ; I will not do this task, because it is so much trouble ; I will take my ease and enjoy myself instead ' : and there is the better I, the I in which the Holy Ghost speaks, which says, ' But I will take pains about it, because my dear Lord labom-ed when He was on earth ; because this is what He meant by taking up the cross and following Him ; because He has promised that, if I suffer here, I shall reign hereafter '. Have you not sometimes felt those two selves sometimes as plainly striving within you, as if they were two different peisons? I know you have ; I have often ; no one who is now in the kingdom of heaven but has often ; aye, and those unhappy ones who departed out of this world out of the grace of God, they know what the struggle was, but sadly, sadly they fought in it, and allowed the worst self to be conqueror over the better. That is the gi'eat happiness of those that die in the Lord : that henceforth there is no more this constant 'struggle between the two selves. II. There is a story which I should like you to read, which represents three children setting out on a pilgrimage to the Heavenly City. But with them, wherever they go, goes a troublesome, wicked, mischievous companion, called Inbred Sin — ' the old man ' of St. Paul : and yet sometimes he is so pleasant and so droll, that though they know he is tiding to do all he can to hinder their ever getting to the Heavenly City, they cannot help liking him. Many a trick he plays them ; many and many a time he leads them out of the way. But at last, when they come to the Black River that has no bridge, and that flows between them and the Heavenly Land, then how Inbred Sin shrinks

back from it ! how he skrieks and groans, and cries out ! — and behold, when they have got through, and

693

Ver. 20.

GALATIA S IL, V

Ver. 22.

come forth on the other side, he has been drowned in the river, and they have done with him for ever. Well ; and that is what St. Paul means here : I am crucified with Christ. As our Lord was nailed to the cross, which is a very slow, lingering, painful death, but a very certain death, so our old nature, our troublesome self, our Inbred Sin, was nailed to the cross at our baptism ; and all we have to do is to keep him there. That is when he received his death wound ; and because he is a part of oui-selves, we feel all the pain, the lingering pain of his destruction : but destroyed he will be, at the very moment when we give up our last breath. In the meantime he sometimes struggles very hard, often contrives to do some mischief; but only by our own faults can he really hurt us. I have seen a picture ot the Crucifixion, in which the wicked thief, struggling and wi-estling to get free, has torn one of his hands from the cross ;

and something like this our evil nature will sometimes do. Well : but this is what St. Paul means when he says, I, that is the worse I, the sinful I, am crucified with Christ. III. And he immediately goes on : ' nevertheless I live'. Do you know how young cuckoos are born ? The cuckoo never builds a nest of her own : she drops her egg into some other bird's nest, generally a sparrow's; and when it is hatched, the young cuckoo, being so much larger and stronger, contrives to get to itself the worms that the mother-bird brings, and so stai-ves her 3'oung ones. Sometimes, too, he turns the trae young ones, one after another, out of the nest, and so gets all the food to himself. But sometimes these young ones, seeing that if the}' do not get rid of the cuckoo he will get rid of them, make a great effort, and heave him over the nest — and then he falls down, and dies on the ground beneath the tree. This is j ust like our two natures — one must kill the other. Well, then, I — that is the woree, the sinful I — am crucified with Christ : nevertheless I — that is the better I, the I that came of baptism — live. Well, just as we think we undei-stand this very plainly, we hear something to make it more difficult nevertheless : ' I live, jet not I, but Christ liveth in me'. Ah ! and how is that ? why, take the same example again; and we may take it 'lie more boldly, because you know our dear Lord Himself says, 'How olten would I have gathered thy children together, even as a hen gathereth her chickens under her wings, and ye would not ! ' When those young sparrows have pushed the cuckoo out of their nest, they live ; yet they do not live of themselves ; they could not live unless the mother-bird brought them worms or crumbs, or what else she can find for them, every quarter of an hour. So unless our Lord helped our better selves to keep alive, to do His will, to do what of our old nature we hate, to leave undone what of our old natui'e

we love, we never could get on for a moment. God says to you, what Jehu said to the people in the palace of Jezreel, Who is on my side, who ? — I hope you will all try to give the same answer. Try to make this, then, the chief end and aim of you all.

that you may each and all serve God ten times better than ever before ! — J. M. eale, Sermons for Children, p. 174. GE TLE ESS A FRUIT OF GOD'S HOLY SPIRIT (Wfiitsunday) 'The fruit of the Spirit is gentleness.' — Galatians v. 22. The greatest results are accomplished by gentle, quiet influences. I have chosen this subject now, because this is Whitsunday, the day on which this Blessed Spirit came down from heaven, and rested upon the Apostles, at Jerusalem, more than eighteen hundred yeai*s ago. Before He left the world our Saviour promised that He would send the Holy Ghost, the Comforter, to be with His people always ; and on this day, ages ago, this pledge was kept. What greater gift, what greater love, Could i3od on man bestow ? Anajels for this rejoice above, Let man rejoice below. The word gentleness (which is one of the virtues which the Holy Spirit helps us to cultivate) means, in the text, goodness and kindness. It is the opposite of a harsh, crooked, and crabbed temper. It

is a disposition easy to be pleased, and in our idea of this Christian gentleness we must include mildness and politeness. Religion sweetens the temper, teaching us to be kind and patient and thoughtful of the feelings and the comfort of others. St. Paul, who wrote the text, was a polished gentleman in its highest and truest sense. It is a pity that the word gentleman is so often improperly used. What is a gentleman ? Is it always one who is rich ? Is it the man dressed in the most fashionable clothes, and who takes off his hat with a graceful flourish when he salutes his friends? o ; the veriest blackguard might have plenty of money ; and wear a coat in the height of the fashion ; and move about with the air of a dancing-master. A gentleman is one wJio does gentle things, and who has kind and unselfish feelings. And it is worth remembering that the Holy Spirit of God is ready to teach us to be gentle. ' The fruit of the Spirit is gentleness.' The power of gentleness is really iiTesistible. The blustering wind could not make the traveller take off his cloak — but the only effect was that he wrapped himself up the more tightly in it. When, however, the gentle sunbeams shined softly and steadily on him, he was glad to remove it. Gentleness must not be confounded with cowardice and with a mean truckling spirit. o one would doubt General Washington's courage ; and yet he could practise gentleness. After the Revolution was well over, and the country had become settled and quiet, he was making a long journey in his carriage, attended by several gentle-

694

Ver. 22.

GAL AT I A S V., VI

Ver. 7.

men who travelled in a conveyance of theii- own. One afternoon, as night was fast approaching, and they were all anxious to reach tlic neighbouring town before dark, they found the road almost blocked up by a large wagon drawn by four horses, proceeding at a snail's pace. Wishing to go faster than this wagon, a gentleman in the foremost carriage called out to the teamster with a lordly air, to turn out and let them pass. As might be supposed, the man merely looked angry and refused to budge. Seeing how matters were. General Washington spoke politely to the driver, and explaining why they wished to hasten forward, asked him to allow the carriages to go by. The [jower of gentleness prevailed in a moment ; and the weary travellers were soon enjoying a good supper at the village inn. A Quaker physician in Philadelphia, who was very kind to the poor, was hastening in his old gig to visit a patient, when he found his way stopped by a

cai't in a narrow street already half blocked up with piles of brick and lumber. Having waited patiently for several minutes, the doctor requested the drayman to let him pass. The man had heard of the kind physician, but not having seen him before, he did not suspect this plaintalking Quaker to be the person, and began to swear at old ' straight coat,' flatly refusing to open the way. ' Well, friend,' said the doctor, 'all I have to observe is- this ; if thee should get sick, or if thy family should ever be in distress, send for Dr. P , and he will do thee all the good he can.' The heart of the drayman was softened at once ; and stammering out the best apology he could, he made haste to clear the path for the physician. If he had returned harsh words for the driver's curses, he might have sat in his gig until midnight. In the case of quan'els among schoolboys, the gentle one is always sure to come off victorious in the end. The fact is, a kind word hurts much more than a blow. Two little boys were once rolling a hoop over the frozen ground, and in running carelessly after it Gerald, the younger being behind, came in contact with his brother Thomas, and both fell down with violence, the younger on top of the elder. Thomas was severely bruised and rose up in a terrible passion. He scolded Gerald in the most offensive words he could think of, and then began to beat him. Instead of crying out or striking back, the little fellow put his hand into his pocket hurriedly, fumbled about among his treasures, and drawing out a stick of candy

thrust it into Thomas's mouth, even while he was scolding and beating him. Thomas instantly stopped, and looked confused and ashamed. And thus his wrath was turned aside by the spirit of gentleness which his younger brother manifested. I ought to say for your comfort and encouragement that such a spirit is not natural to us, nor easy to acquire ; and yet the Holy Spirit will help us to gain it whenever we show a real desire to do so. The

Holy Spirit, gentle and loving Himself, is the best teacher we can have. The dove, as you know, is often taken as the emblem of gentleness, and so in the pretty hymn — Come, Holy Spirit, Heavenly Dove, With all Thy quickeiun;^ powers ; Come, shed abroad a .Saviour's love, And that shall kindle ours. Let us all try to be gentle, and pray to God's Holy Spirit to help us to become so. If ministers of the Gospel could always be gentle, if parents and teachers could be so, and if boys and girls would put themselves under the guidance and instruction of the Blessed Spirit, then, indeed, would heaven be begun, even upon this earth. — John . orton, Milk and Honey, p. 98. SOWI G A D REAPI G ' Whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap.' —

Galatians VI. J. A MA who lived a long time ago wi-ote this, ' If you take away little children out of the city, it is like taking the springtime out of the year'. A pretty thought ! Then this is your springtime ; and if it is your springtime, it is your ' sowing ' time, because we always ' sow ' in spring. And you are all ' sowing,' you cannot help it. You are all ' sowing seeds '. Everybody every moment, at this moment, is ' sowing seeds '. I. Some people ' sow the wind '. Will you look at Hosea vm. 7 — ' They have sown the wind, and they shall reap the whirlwind '. ow I think there are some people who, though they do not ' sow wickedness,' sow folly — ' the wind '. I know what I should call it, if boys and girls were very idle when they ought to be doing their duty and learning their lessons ; or playing away their time, when they ought to be getting wisdom, they are ' sowing the wind '. Or suppose a pei-son is very fond of reading silly novels and love stories, I say, ' It will come to nothing. You ai'e sowing the wind.' Supposing a boy to be very ambitious ; thinking about nothing but what a wonderful boy he wants to be ; you are 'sowing the wind'. Supposing a girl in the school thinks only about popularity ; you are ' sowing the wind '. Or a little girl thinks about dress — looks much at herself in the glass ; you are ' sowing the wind '. And what will you ' reap ' ? Remember what God says, ' the whirlwind '. I will tell you about a young man. When he was a boy he had a great many good feelings ; and often said he was very religious. When he went to college, he became what is called a very ambitious young man. He did not care very much about the Bible, but wanted

to be great in this world, and particularly wanted to be great in politics. His father and mother wished him to be a clergyman ; he said, ' o ; I will be a lawyer '. He thought that would be the best way of getting into Parliament, and then he might become one of the queen's ministers. His God was power, and his heaven was fame. He

695

Ver. 7.

GALATIA S VI

Ver. 7.

thought about little else. I have known many such. So he went on. God strove with him at one time particularly ; but he put it away — he resisted it, and thought only about politics. When he left college he manied a wife, and had a little child ; and he went into a government house where he thought he could rise. Thus he went on ' sowing,' and ' sowing the whid '. By and by he applied for a very high situation — one of the highest he could get. His application went to the Prime Minister ; and he thought he was

going to ' reap ' the highest honours. Just after he had done this, his wife and little child died of the typhus fever, and he took it, and was laid upon his bed — poor, sick young man ! without any comfort. o Jesus Chi-ist to look to ; no peace in his conscience. He became very sick, and very miserable. One day while he was lying on his sick-bed there came from the Prime Minister the long-expected paper, appointing him to the office he had been seeking. His parents thounht it might do him good if it were shown to him. When he saw the paper he rose up in his bed, his consciousness seemed to return to him — he took it in his hands ; but he shuddered all over. Within three or four hours afterwai-ds he died 1 He ' sowed the wind, and he reaped the whirlwind '. H. Some 'sow mixed seed'. In Leviticus and Deuteronomy it is said the Jews were never to ' sow mixed seed '. Perhaps it might mean that they must not be as some people are, half Jews and half for the world — trying to get the best of this world, and the best of the next also. I am afraid a great many persons are ' sowing mixed seeds '. God will not have it. I will tell you who ' sowed ' it. Lot did. He was a righteous man ; but he went to wicked Sodom because it was a fertile country ; and look at the trouble he came into. Reuben also ' sowed mixed seed ' ; and he never ' excelled '. Do not ' sow mixed seed '. I shall mention three good ' seeds '. Will you look at Hosea x. 12. Let us all read it together. ' Sow to yom-selves in righteousness, reap in mercj'.' What does it mean ? I wonder whether a very little girl could tell me what it means. I do not tliink she could. Some could tell me the true meaning of

this verse. Jesus Christ is our ' righteousness ' — for we are all bad before God ! nobody is ' righteous ' before God. If we are so, it must be because we love Jesus Christ. Then God will see us in Him. So that He is our ' righteousness,' we cannot be ' righteous ' in any other way. o one, let him try ever as hard, or live ever as long, can be ' righteous,' except as clothed in the ' righteousness ' of Jesus Christ. ow you must ' sow in Christ '. And what will you ' I'eap ' ? ' Mercy ! ' Though you are a poor sinner, yet if you ' sow faith ' in Jesus, you will reap mercy'; and then, when you have 'sown in Jesus,' and attained ' mercy,' and your sins are forgiven, then you ' sow righteousness ' ; that is, speak the truth, and do everything that is honest. You will ' sow ' prayei-s.

and prayers will come up again; you will 'sow' the reading of God's Word, and that will come up again. But you must ' sow in Christ '. I should like to tell you something about that great man, John Wesley — he was a very great man — some of you have heard of him. When he was eighty-six years old (such an old man as that !) he was as handsome almost as ever he was, and he was very strong. He wrote in his jomiial, on his eighty-sixth birthday, something like this — ' I am eighty-six to-day. I can write, I believe, as well as ever I could ; and preach as well as ever I could. Thank God for this mercy ! I feel a little pain in my eyes sometimes, but not much. I can do almost anything that ever I could. . . . How is it that I have such peace in my mind ? ' Then he wrote down the reasons. ' One is, because for sixty yeai's I rose at four o'clock ; and, in most of those years, preached at live.' Wesley used to preach every day to the colliers in Gloucestershire. ' Another

reason is, because I have been so much in the open air, and taken so much horse exercise ; perhaps this has had something to do with it. Another thing is, I am so quiet in my mind. I have had the peace of God in my heart nearl}- the whole of my lifetime, and have always endeavoured to forgive everybody. And this has helped me to be such a happy old man. ' But then,' says he, ' one thing more ; so many of God's children have prayed for me. But the greatest of all is, because God is so kind to me ; and because He loved me when I was a boy ; and, as He loved me when I was a boy. He does not now forsake me because I am an old man.' Wesley lived till 1791, and died at the age of eighty-nine. When dying, he said to his people around him, ' The best of all is, God is with us for ever and ever '. After he had said that, he began a hymn he was very fond of, I'll praise my Maker, while I've breath. He said, 'I will praise, praise, prai' — he could not say more than that. He had ' sowed righteousness ' when a boy, and he ' reaped in mercy '. I will tell you a very simple story about this, which is very suitable for little children. Little Susan was one day sent by her mamma with a message. Outside the door of the house where she lived was a pile of wood ; she managed to get over it, and trotted to the place and back. On arriving at home again, the woodcutter kindly lifted her over, and put her into her mother's house. Little Susan was very grateful, and said to her mamma, ' The woodcutter has been so kind to me. What can I give him?' Her mamma said, ' Well, really, I cannot tell you '. She said, ' I should like to give him my red apple'. So she did. The woodcutter said, ' May I do what I like with it ? '

She said, 'Oh, yes'. 'Then,' said he, 'I will take it to little Johnny — he is my little boy ; he once sat on a stool, and fell oflF into the tire and burned himself, and he will like to have this nice apple.' The little girl went back to her mamma, and said, ' Oh, mamma, may I not also give him my little horse

696

Ver. 7.

GALATIA S VI

Ver. 7.

with tlie soldier upon it ? ' Her mamma gave consent ; so she gave that to the woodcutter also. He went oft' with them ; and when he reached home, his little Johnny was very much pleased. He kissed the apple, and the soldier, and the little horse. After a little while, he said, ' Father, may I do what I like with the red apple ? ' ' Oh, yes,' said he. 'May I give it to Jim ? ' ' What ! ' said his father, ' to that naughty boy that puts his thumb out and makes faces at you ? Do you love him ? ' Little Johnny said, ' ot so much as I could wish, father ; but I should like to give him this apple'. So when Jim went by Johnny called him, and said, ' Here is a fine

apple for you '. Jim said, ' I am sure you do not mean it for me. I cannot take it,' and he turned away very much ashamed. But Johnny would not let him go away, and Jim was obliged to take the red ap))le. And what do you think he did. He went home to give it away to his brothers and sisters. They were astonished at him — it was a thing he had never done before ; and from that time Jim became a kind boy. He went to work and earned twopence, and when he did so, he bought some plums and apples and gave them to Johnny ; and he began to be kind to everybody. How many kind things were done through the woodcutter's kindness — by the little girl ; by him ; by Johnny ; by Jimmy ; and by him to everybody. ' Cast thy bread upon the waters, and it shall be found after many days.' — James Vaughan. WHAT YOU SOW YOU REAP 'Whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap.' — GaLATIA S VI. 7. These words are true regarding three worlds. I shall say a few words about each of them. The world of matter, the world of mind, and the world of spint. I. The text is true regarding the world of Matter — the outer creation. If you plant flowers in your garden, flowers will grow. If you plant weeds, and nettles, and thorns, these will grow. If the farmer puts wheat-seed into his field, wheat will grow — or barley, barley will grow — or tares, tares will gi-ow. I am told that many years since, when people first began to go from this country to Australia to till the land there, a Scotchman missed two things that were very familiar in his own glens and valleys at home. The one was the bee, and the other was the Scotch thistle. He managed to get both sent out to him.

In a very short time he had swarms of busy bees murmuring around him, and honey on his table. This was all well ; but I believe he came to regi-et having ever brought the other, the thistle, from its distant home ; for the thistle-down — the seed of the plant — was soon wafted all around, and sprang up in large quantities. His wheat crop was none the better for this ; neither were his neighbours' fields. That down;' stranger, he had in an evil hour invited, preached to him and to many far and wide a silent sermon on my text — ' Whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap '.

II. The text is true regarding the world of Mind. If you are diligent at school, and learn your lessons well, you will be sure to get on. Sowing well, you will reap in due time golden sheaves in life's after harvest. If you are idle and inattentive, and fonder of play than of your books, then you will grow up ignorant, and not be able to act your part in the world. The unsown field will produce nothing. When your neiglibour's parks are green and beautiful, yours will be brown and bare. Who, I ask, are those who have been successful in life — who have climbed up to the top of the ladder, and who by their knowledge and discoveries have made the world wiser, and their fellows better and happier? They are not the lazy, and slothful, and indolent, but rather those who resolved to do their best. They shut themselves up among their books. They continued, it may be, late at night conning their task. They held sacred the precious hours of youth ; and difficult though it was to ascend that ladder of which I have just spoken, yet up they climbed, higher and higher, until they gained the highest step. Others who started at the same time

as they did, have been left far behind — with their talents wasted and their chances gone. They were sleeping and idling when the others were working. They sowed to idleness, they reaped ignorance — it may be even poverty and want. III. The text is true regarding the world of Spirit It is true of the world of Matter and the world of Mind, but it has a far more solemn truth regarding the Soul and Eternity. The present is the sowing-time for Immoi-tality. The soul is the field. Whatsoever we sow in this world we shall reap in the next. Those who serve God and love Jesus, who try to be good and amiable and gentle, who are kind to their brothers and sisters and to all around them, will reap a harvest of bliss. Those, on the other hand, who have no love for God or for His Word ; who are naughty and selfish, who tell lies and say bad words, and disobey their parents, and are passionate to their brothers and sisters, are preparing for themselves a harvest of sorrow. The same thing which must make them unhappy in this world, will render them unhappy in the world to come. Take that beautiful Bible verse for your encouragement — ' Be not weary in well-doing ; for in due season ye shall reap if ye faint not ' (Gal. vi. 9). The Day of Judgment is the world's great Harvest-home. Jesus will then be heard saying, ' Thrust in the sickle for the harvest is ripe'. The reapers, we read, are to be the angels. May you all be gathered as golden sheaves into the Heavenly Garner by these angelreapers : ' found unto praise, and honour, and glory, at the appearing of Jesus Christ '. May it be said of you now, may it be said of you then, may it be

said of you through all eternity — ' They joy before Thee, according to the joy in harvest ' (Isa. ix. 3). — J. R. Macddff, Hosannas of the Children, p. 301.

697

Ver. 9.

GAL AT I A S VI

Ver. 9.

A GREE ROSE ' Let us not be weary in well-doing.'— Galatians vi. g. In our gardens it is not uncommon to find a rosebush, which, instead of being covered with beautiful crimson roses, is covered over with httle tufts of green leaves at the end of the sprigs. These green roses, as they are called, have no fragrance, no grace of shape or beauty of colour ; and they produce no seed, no germ of hope for the future. There is an end of them then and there. The little leaves of which they are made up are inferior to the ordinary leaves in every respect. It is a case of floral backsliding, where the rose, instead of going forward to produce its crimson blossom, according to its natural law, goes back, owing to some defect in its nature, or to excess of nourishment, into a mere tuft of green leaves,

which has not the beauty or use of the blo.ssom, nor the beauty or use of the foliage. In the carnation there is also a very curious variety like that of the green rose, produced by the same cause. It is called the ' wheat-ear carnation ' because the blossom changes into a long green spike destitute of the usual pink colour and delicate fragrance, and looking like an unripe ear of beardless wheat. It was first found in Holland, where the carnation was at one time extensively cultivated as a favourite flower ; and it is still occasionally seen as a curious monstrosity in our own gardens. It was of a similar case of going back in the spiritual world that the Apostle Paul was thinking, when he said to the Galatian converts, ' Let us not be weary in .well-doing'. It is difficult to explain in English the exquisite balancing of the words in the original Greek. The Greek word for ' weary ' is a compound of kakon, which means badness ; while the Greek word for ' well-doing ' is a compound of kalon, which means beauty or goodness. And the meaning of the advice of the Apostle, therefore, is — Let not your goodness become badness — your beauty, deformity. This was a tendency to which the Galatian converts were peculiarly prone. Their weariness came from a capricious, unstable nature. They began things with great enthusiasm, and soon got tired of them. They had the Celtic temperament, with all its faults and excellences. They lacked endurance. They had no power of perseverance. They liked to race along the straight white road before them, I'ather than to pace it slowly, step by step. They resembled the seed in

the parable, growing up rapidly in the stonj' ground,

and producing a luxuriant braird, long before the rest of the field had sent up a single blade, but speedily withering away for lack of root. I. In nature there are things that begin in beauty and end in corruption. The day that opens with bright sunshine often ends in gloomy clouds. The plant that sends forth a fair shoot, and gives promise of a lovely flower and abundant fiuit, becomes blighted, and withers untimely. And, alas ! how many experiences of the same kind are there in human life ! Bright careers ending in woeful failure, glowing hopes quenched in despair. But the saddest of all such experiences is declension in religion ; for the corruption of the best is the worst. The purest lily smells rankest in decay ; and gold sinks deeper in the mire than rotten wood. II. We have charactei-s in the Bible that represent the temperament of the Galatian converts. Balaam was a man of noble gifts and grand promise. He saw the vision of God's dealings with Israel, and sympathised with it. But he descended from this lofty Pisgah of the soul to the vanities of the world, and sank to the level of his baser self, and so made shipwreck of his life. We have examples of similar declension in the case of the Church of Ephesus, which left its first love ; and in the case of the Church of Pergamos, which held at last the doctrine of Balaam, and went after his covetous ways, and sank down sadly from the grand days when Antipas, Christ's faithful martyi', belonged to it. And among ourselves are there not too many examples of the Galatian temperament ; young people whose spiritual life, instead of producing crimson blossoms, produces green roses that are but mere leaves of profession, and yield no fruit of righteousness, who, instead of growing better by their religion, are growing worse ? III. The danger of spiritual declension is very

great. There is the same tendency in spiritual things, to lose the fresh interest and enthusiasm which gave them such a charm at the beginning, that there is in all human things. Your Christian life, left to itself, without any of its usual elements of growth, may for a time seem to put forth beautiful blossoms under the impetus it has received ; but in oider to grow vigorously and bring forth the peaceable fruits of righteousness, it must be planted anew in the soil of faith and love in Chri.st Jesus from which it sprang. — Hugh Macmillan, The Spring of the Day, p. 289.

698

THE EPISTLE TO THE EPHESIA S

STEALI G ' Let him that stole, steal no more.' — Ephesians iv. 28. Probably the most singular funeral sermon ever heard, was that which the eccentric Rowland Hill once delivered in London over the remains of his favourite servant, Roger. ' Many persons present,' remarked the preacher, looking around on the anxious faces turned towards him, as he stood perched up in his high pulpit, ' were acquainted with the deceased, and have had it in their power to observe his character and conduct. They can bear witness that for a considerable number of yeais he proved himself a perfectly honest, sober, industrious and religious man, faitlifully performing, so far as lay in his power, the duties of his station in

life, and serving God with constancy and zeal. Yet this very man was once a robber on the highway.' You may readily imagine what astonishment these words produced, and amidst what profound silence the preacher thus went on : ' More than thirty years ago he stopped me on the public road, and demanded my money. ot at all intimidated, I argued with him ; I asked him what could induce him to pursue so iniquitous and dangerous a course of life. ' His answer was, " I have been a coachman ; I am out of place, and I cannot get a character ; I am unable to find anj' employment, and am therefore obliged to do this or to starve ". ' I told him where I lived, and asked him to call and see me. He promised he would, and he kept his word, I talked further with him, and offered to take him into my own service. He consented, and ever since that period he has served me faithfully, and not me only, but he has faithfully served his God. Instead of finishing his life in a public and ignominious manner, with a depraved and haiclened heart, as he probably would have done, he died in peace, and, we trust, prepared for the society of just men made perfect. Till this day the extraordinary circumstance I have now related has been confined to his heart and mine. I have never mentioned it to my dearest friend.' The practice of stealing prevails in all pagan communities. You will find many curious instances of dexterity in theft in such books as Cook's Voyage, and others of more recent date. Ephesus was a great city, and its inhabitants were intelligent ; and yet even to the Christians there St. Paul thought it necessary to put into his letter, which was to be read aloud in church, ' Let him that stole steal no more'. We could not afford to blot out this verse from our

Bibles ; the world needs it now as much as it ever did. Almost every newspaper contains an account of house-breaking, or a bank robbery, theft in a post office, or some new and cunning device for cheating the Government. And why this prevalence of theft ? Because so many never have been taught the eighth commandment, and the duty of keeping their hands from picking and stealing,' according to the wholesome instructions of the Catechism. Whatever is got by unfair and dishonest ways is stealing. Mean and contemptible as theft is, it is by no means confined to the poor and the degi'aded. The Empress Josephine once had a beautiful red shawl sent to her from Egypt, and this made all the fashionable people in high life anxious to have red shawls also. One night at a party a countess took off" hers for a few minutes, when it was stolen by a young girl in ' good society,' who was figuring among the gay butterflies at the same assembly. She denied the theft, but when the enraged countess dragged it from her shoulders, and pointed out her own initials embroidered in one corner and concealed by the fringe, the discomfiture of the guilty party was complete. A cashier in a large city bank once told a friend that his experience there for many years had almost destroyed his confidence in human nature, declaring that hardly a day passed that somebody did not bring in a counterfeit note and try to pass it. When about to make a mark on all such bills on their own bank, as it was his duty to do, many would loudly and positively object to it. In embarrassment he would ask, ' Why, you would not pass this worthless

money on anyone else ? ' and they would answer, without hesitation, ' Oh, I came by it honestly, and the loss ought not to fall upon me '. The rash and reckless way in which so many engage in wild speculations, has led thousands to be dishonest who might otherwise have passed through life free from reproach. A very common mode of ' making money ' is for a man to declare that he has failed in business, and to agree to pay a small sum on the dollar, on condition that those to whom he is largely in debt will let him off! The arrangement is made, because the creditors despair of getting more out of the ' bankrupt,' and yet, in the course of a year or two the man will be better oft' than ever, although it seldom occurs to him that he ought to show his honesty by paying his old debt. We ought to learn to call things by their right names. If a poor, half-starved fellow in his shirtsleeves, shivering on a cold day, slyly takes a fustian

699

Ver. 28.

EPHESIA S IV

Ver. 30.

coat worth five dollars, which is hanging out in front of a clothing store, it is spoken of by every one as stealing, and the culprit enjoys a few years of retirement in prison to remind him of his dreadful breach of the law. On the other hand, let a so-called gentleman in broadcloth run away with fifty thousand dollars from some institution in which he had an office, and how does the world regard him ? As a thief? By no means. He is only a defaulter! And yet can you see any difference between the two cases, except it be this, that the thief in broadcloth is the worst ? Samuel Kilpin, who for a long while preached in the city of Exeter, England, related this touching story of himself : — ' When seven years old, I was left one day in charge of my father's shop. Prett}' soon a man passed along the street with a board on his head loaded with toys, and crying aloud, "Little lambs, all white and clean, at one penny each ! " ' In my eagerness to get one, I lost all self-command, and taking a penny from the drawer I soon made the purchase. My keen-eyed mother asked how I came by the money, and I evaded the question with something like a lie. ' The little white lamb was placed on the mantelpiece and was admired by all who saw it. To me, howevei", it was a source of inexpressible anguish ; for day and night I heard sounding in my ears the terrible words, " Thou shalt not steal ! Thou shalt not lie ! " ' Overwhelmed with a sense of guilt, I went to a hay-loft where I could be alone, and prayed to God, even with tears, to pardon me for Jesus' sake. I left the hay-loft with a load lifted from my heart,

and going directly to my mother, told her the whole truth. I actually burned up the lamb in the kitchen fire, while my dear mother wept tears of joy over the penitence of her son.' If any now listening to me are treasuring up the secret of dishonest deeds in their own bosom, let them learn from this beautiful story the duty and the happiness of a full and frank confession. Many acts of theft are committed out of pure thoughtlessness. What do you say of the common practice of borrowing books, and umbrellas, and overcoats, and money, and never remembering to return these things to the owner ? Is not this stealing ? ' Horrible ! honible ! ' you say ; ' but people do not mean to be dishonest.' That may be so ; but do they have such poor memories when the thing to be thought of is the hour for dinner, or for some pleasant entertainment ? Are they apt to be equally^ forgetful when other people boiTow of them ? I cannot think of a better way of applying this important subject, than to relate a little circumstance which once happened in the Sandwich Islands. A good missionary had preached a sermon on the sin of dishonesty, hoping it might not be lost upon

his hearers. The very next morning, on opening the door of his bamboo hut, he was surprised to see a great many of the islanders seated on the ground, waiting for him. The missionary kindly asked why they had called upon him so early, when one of them

replied : — ' We have not been able to sleep all night, after hearing what you said yesterday. When we were pagans, we thought it right to steal if we could do it without being found out. Ye.sterday you told us that God commanded people not to steal, and as we wish to mind Him we have now brought back all the things we ever took.' One man then lifted up an axe, a hatchet, or chisel, and exclaimed, ' I stole this from the carpenter of such a ship,' naming the vessel ; others handed back a saw or knife, and a great variety of other things, making the same candid confession. They then insisted that the missionary should take these stolen goods, and keep them until he might have an opportunity of returning them to the owner. May all of us try to be as honest as these poor islanders, and when the eighth commandment is read in church, let us pray most earnestly, ' Lord, have mercy upon us, and incline our hearts to keep this law'.-— John . orton, Milk and Honey, p. 133. THE WAR I G AGAI ST GRIEVI G THE SPIRIT ' Grieve not the Holy Spirit of God.' — Ephesians iv. 30. The Spirit of God is given to us to be our teacher and helper in trying to love and serve God. We please this blessed Spirit when we listen to His gentle whispers, and try to caiTy them out. We grieve this Holy Spirit when we do not mind His teachings, and try to do the things which He wants us to do.

1. We ought to mind this Warning, Because Grieving the Spirit will ' Injure our Knowledge '. — Of ourselves, we have no knowledge of the way to heaven, and never could tell how to get there. It is the Holy Spirit alone who can give us this knowledge. But if we grieve the Spirit, we shall never get this knowledge. Suppose that you and I were travelling through a strange country like Switzerland. We should have no knowledge of the right way to travel in, so as to get safely through the country. And this would make it necessary for us to have a guide to show us the way. I remember when the Rev. Dr. Cooper and myself were travelling through Switzerland, some years ago, an incident occurred which may come in as a good illustration of this part of our subject. We were stopping at an inn in the beautiful ' vallev of Interlacken, and had made arrangements, one evening, to go on foot the next day over a high mountain called 'the Wengern Alp,' to the valley of Lauterbrunnen on the other side. We had engaged a guide to show us the way, and were

700

Ver. 30.

EPHESIAXS IV

Ver. 30.

to make an early start the next morning. There was an English traveller staying at the same inn with us. He was travelling alone, and wanted to make the same journey. He spoke to one of the guides about going with him. But he thought the man asked too much money. They could not agree about the price ; so he refused to take the guide, and said he was sure he could find the way himself. He started all by himself the next morning, a good while before us. When we had got nearly half-way over the mountain our guide sto[)ped. He pointed to a dark-looking little object, far off from the path in which we were walking, and said : — ' There's the gentleman who would not have a guide. He has lost his way. He never can get out of the mountains in that direction. If he doesn't come back he'll lose his life.' Then the guide climbed up on a high piece of ground, and putting his hands to his mouth, he called out as loudlv as he could, ' Come back ! come back ! ' We could not tell whether the lost man heard him or not, or what became of him. But in refusing to take a guide to show him the way that man was injm-ing his knowledge, just as we do when we gi-ieve the Holy Spirit. II. The Second Reason why we ought to mind this Warning, is Because Grieving the Spirit will 'Injure our Happiness'. — When David was speaking of the happy effect which follows from our acquaintance with the truth of God, he said — 'Blessed are the people which know the joyful sound '. This blessedness refers to the happiness which God's people find from knowing Him. And here we see how the knowledge of God, and the happiness which springs from it, both go together. This knowledge is like a fountain ; and this happiness is like the stream which flows from the fountain.

But we cannot have the stream unless we have the fountain too. And so we see that if grieving the Spirit interferes with our knowledge of God, it must, in just the same way, interfere with the happiness which springs from that knowledge. This story is told by an English clergyman, who lived in St. Petersburg a number of yeai-s, having the charge of an English chapel there. ' We had several Russian servants,' he says, ' among whom was a bright, intelligent young woman, whose name was Erena. She came to us in the fall of the year, and everything went on well till the beginning of Lent in the spring of the following year. Erena was a member of the Greek Church. The pei-sons belonging to this Church are very particular in keeping the fast of Lent, and attend the services of this season as diligently as though their salvation depended on it. Erena told her mistress that she wished to attend Church twice every day all through Lent. Her mistress told her that she ought not to think of going so often. ' " Do you wish me to lose my soul, ma'am ? " asked the girl. " o," was the answer, " far fi-om it ; I wish your soul to be saved. But fasting, and saying prayere, and going to church will not save youi- soul.

There must be something more than all this. The Lord Jesus Christ is the only Saviour of sinners, and it is by faith in Him alone that any can be sa ved." ' " Ah," .said Erena, " that is your religion ; but I have been taught differently, and I must follow my own religion." ' Erena's mistress had taught her to read, and had

given her a Russian Testament. ' One Sunday, when we were going to chapel,' says this good minister, ' my wife left Erena in charge of the children. Before leaving, she asked Erena to please read the tenth chapter of the Acts of the Apostles while we were away. This excited her curiosity. She wondered what there could be in that chapter which made her mistress so anxious for her to read it. She began to read it at once, and got very much interested in the account given there of Cornelius the centurion. When she read about his fasting, and praying, and giving alms, she was very much interested, and said : " All ! this is delightful ! This man was of my religion. He believed in fasting, praying, and giving alms." But when she found that an angel was sent to him, to show him how he could get to "hear words whereby he might be saved," she could not understand what this meant. As soon as we leturned from church, she came to my wife with great earnestness, and said, " Please, ma'ani, will you explain this to me ? I can't understand it. Here is a good man, who kept the fast, and prayed to God, and gave alms ; but that was not enough. ow, why was it not enough ? I never was taught to do anything more." ' " Well, Erena," said her mistress, "just read the chapter cai'efully through, and you will find out why the angel was sent to Cornelius." ' Then she went to her room, and read carefully on till she came to that beautiful verse, where Peter says of Christ, " To Him give all the prophets witness, that through His name, tvhosoever believeth in Him shall receive remission of sins ". This was enough. For the first time in her life, she clearly saw how we are to be saved through Jesus. She had found out the way to heaven. Running to her mistress, she clasped her hands, and exclaimed : —

' " Oh, ma'am ! I see it now — I see it now — I see it now ! It was not by fasting that Cornelius the centurion was to be saved ; it was not by saying prayers — it was not by giving alms — but it was by believing on Jesus the Son of God. I never saw it before, but I see it now." ' That Russian servant had found out the way to heaven. She began to walk in it at once, and it made her happy. But if she had refused to read the Testament that her mistress gave her, she would have been grieving the Spirit. That would have injured both her knowledge and her happiness. III. The Third Reason why we should mind this Warning, is Because Grieving the Spirit will 'Injure our Usefulness '.—If you ai-e an errand boy in a store, and your duty is to carry parcels or messages wherever you are sent, then if anything should make

701

Ver. 30.

EPHESIA S IV

Ver. 30.

you lame, so that you could not walk, this would in-

terfere with your usefulness. Suppose you have a position on one of the stations of the Pennsylvania Railway. Your duty there is to watch the signals which tell when a train is coming ; and then to give notice of it by ringing a bell. And suppose that something should happen to your eyes, so that you could not see; this would at once injure your usefulness, and unfit you for the duties of your position. Or suppose that your mother is a very skilful seamstress, and is supporting her family by the diligent use of her needle. She has an attack of rheumatism which settles on her right hand, making her fingers so stiff that she cannot use her needle. That would injure her usefulness. If we listen to the voice of the Spirit when He speaks to us, and mind what He says, then He will show us what our duty is, and help us to do it. And that will make us useful. But if we grieve the Spirit by not listening to His voice, then we shall never know what our duty is, and we should have no power to do it, even if we did know. IV. The Fourth Reason why we should mind this Warning, is Because Grieving the Spirit will ' Cause the Loss of our Souls '. — Just see what it says in the other part of the verse in which our test is found. ' Grieve not the holy Spirit of God — whereby ye are scaled, unto the day of redemption.' To seal the soul unto the day of redemption is to make its salvation sure. This is what the Spirit will do for those who listen to His voice. But if we gi-ieve the Spirit, by refusing to listen to His voice. He will stop speaking to us and leave us to ourselves, and then our souls will certainly be lost. See, there is oah's ark just finished. God told oah and all his family to come into the ark. They listened to His voice. They all went into the ark ;

and when the flood came, they were saved. But suppose now they had not minded what God said to them and had refused to go into the ark, that would have been like grieving the Spirit ; and the result would have been that when the flood came, they would all have been destroyed. And so if we go on grieving the Spirit, it must certainly result in the loss of our souls. This story is told by a faithful minister of the Gospel, as connected with his own experience while in college, ' We had,' said he, ' a remarkable revival of religion, one winter, during my college course. A lai-ge number of the students in my class became Christians and joined the church while that revival was going on. There was one young man in our class, who was an unusually bright student. His manners were very pleasing, and he was a great favourite with all the students. He attended the revival meetings for several weeks, and was under great exercise of mind. I was very anxious for his conversion, as I felt sure that he would make an uncommonly useful Christian. I prayed for him continually, and had many earnest conversations with him on the subject. But there

seemed to be some difficulty in his way, and I felt very anxious about him. One evening he came to my room, and in the course of our conversation he said to me — " I am very much obliged to you, my friend, for the warm interest you have taken in m}' case during this revival. I have come to tell you that the question is settled at last, but in a different way from what you have expected. I have made up my mind not to become a Christian now. You see I have always intended, when I get thi'ough college, to enter into political life. But I feel sure that I

never should succeed as a politician if I were an earnest Chi'istian. So I have concluded to make politics my choice, and let religion go." ' I was greatly distressed,' said the good minister, ' when I heard this. With the teai-s streaming down my face, I pleaded most earnestly with him not to take this course. But all that I could say had no effect on him. He had made his choice, and was resolved to stand by it. ' When his college course was finished, he entered into political life. He was successful in his efforts. He won great honour as a politician. But what was the end of it ? He finally became intemperate and went down at last to a drunkard's grave. And we know that God has said, " Drunkards shall not inherit the kingdom of God ".' ow that young man was grieving the Holy Spirit of God, when he made up his mind not to be a Christian, at the time of that revival in his college life. He did not mind the warning of our text, and the end of it was — the loss of his soul. — Richard ewton, Bible Warnings ; Addresses to Children, p. 186. QRIEVI Q THE HOLY SPIRIT 1 ' Grieve not the Holy Spirit of God, whereby ye are sealed unto the day of redemption.' — Ephesians iv. 30. I WA T my hearer to think with me upon a very important subject, about The Holy Spirit! And I want you to do so, because I do not think most persons think much about the Holy Spirit. We think more about God the Father, and Jesus Christ, than we think about the Holy Ghost — don't we ? That ought not to be. We ought to think about the Holy Ghost as much as we think about God the

Father, or about Jesus Christ. But I do not think we do. I will tell you why we ought to do so. Do you know who the Holy Ghost is ? He is God. ow I will tell you a wonderful thing — He is God in you. The Bible says so. He is God in you, ' unless you are reprobate '. And I think, and I feel pretty sure, that the Holy Ghost is now in all of us. When you have a nice religious thought, He is in you. He gave you that nice thought. AVhen j'ou do something wrong, and are sorry for it, it is the Holy Ghost who gives you that feeling. And when you feel very happy, and believe that God loves you, and you think you are going to heaven, it is the Holy Ghost who gives you that thought. When you have been in sorrow, and aie comforted, it is the Holy Ghost who

702

Ver. 30.

EPHESIA S IV

Ver. 30.

comforts you. Everything that is really good in us is because the Holy Ghost is in us. I. That is a very wonderful thought— that the Holy Spirit is God, and is in us. And therefore I have

thought that we ought to think a great deal about it. You won't understand my sermon without the Holy Ghost ; but if you have the Holy Ghost you will. You won't know the real meaning of the Bible without the Holy Ghost ; but if you pray to the Holy Ghost, and read the Bible, you will then see some wonderful things in it ; things you have not seen before, the Holy Ghost will show you. Therefore let us speak about the Holy Ghost. Do you know that I find in the verse that I have read to you a proof that the Holy Ghost loves you ? Do you see that ? Look at the verse. What is there, in the words, to prove that the Holy Ghost loves you ? It says, ' Grieve not the Holy Spirit '. ow if He is gi-ieved about anything in us, it is because He loves us. I should not be ' grieved ' about any of you that did wrong unless I loved you. It is a proof that the Holy Ghost loves you because He can be ' grieved ' when you do ^wong. A father or mother is ' grieved ' when a child does anything wrong; but a stranger is not 'grieved'. He is shocked ; he is angry ; but he is not ' grieved '. But the Holy Ghost can be grieved. That shows to us how He loves us. ow do not grieve One who loves you so much ! Somebody has said this : 'Christ is the head of the Church, but the Holy Ghost is the heart of the Church,' because he is so full of love. He is like the heart. ' Christ is the head, the Holy Ghost is the heart of the Church.' ow I will tell vou what sort of things are those that 'grieve ' Him. II The Holy Ghost is in you. The Holy Ghost is in your conscience. Your conscience ; that little voice inside which tells you when you do wrong, and when you do right. That is conscience, and the Holy Ghost speaks to us by the conscience. Whenever, therefore, you do anything that is against your con-

science, you ' gi-ieve ' the Holy Ghost, this kind, good God that is in you. If you say anything that is not quite true — and you know that it is not quite true — you ' grieve ' the Holy Ghost, God the Holy Ghost ! If you are unkind to anybody, if you are unkind to any animal, if you are unkind to anything, you 'grieve ' the Holy Ghost ! If you are disobedient, you ' grieve ' the Holy Ghost ! If you are idle, you ' grieve ' the Holy Ghost ! If you do not say your prayers — if you say 3'our prayers without thinking what you are doing — you ' grieve ' the Holy Ghost ! If you do anything that is wrong, you ' grieve ' the Holy Ghost ! If you do behind anybody's back what you would not do before their face, you ' grieve ' the Holy Ghost 1 If you neglect your duty, you ' grieve ' the Holy Ghost. That k ' grievinrj the Holy Ghost'. Perhaps we do not think enough when we do anything wrong how that affects God. Do you know that when you do a wrong thing, when you do a sin, that sin is the nail

that fastened Jesus Christ to His cross ! A lie — a dishonest action — anything wicked — pride, is a nail that fastened Jesus Christ on His cross. That is a fearful thing to think about. Do you think you, have nailed Jesus Christ to the cross ? Yes, yes, you have 1 When you do anything that you know is wrong, or leave undone anything you ought to have done, you are grieving God ; you are trampling upon God. Theie was a great Roman general. He commanded the Roman army when his countr3- was invaded. The Roman army was conquered, and the Roman soldiers were flying away. As they did so they had to pass through a narrow passage, where only one man could go tlu'ough at a time. What do you think the general officer did ? He laid himself down in that

naiTow passage, so that as each man came flying back he would have to trample on his general ! They could not fly from the enemy without trampling on their officer. So when they wanted to fly away, and came to the naiTow passage, they could not bear to trample on theu' general ; therefore they turned back again to fight with the enemy. That was the waj' the general prevented the soldiers from flying away. When you do what is wrong you trample upon your conscience, upon your Saviour, upon the Holy Ghost, upon God ! That is very awful, but it is true. You trample upon God ! Let me tell you of one or two persons, to show you about ' grieving the Holy Spirit '. In the fourth century there was a very good and great man, who was called 'St. John Chrysostom '. Chrysostom was not his real name. It is a Greek word which means, ' The golden-mouthed '. He was called ' Chrysostom ' because he used to speak nice, beautiful words. He was a very holy man ; but the emperor was very much offended with him because of something he had said. He had spoken the truth. The emperor was very much offended, and he considered what he should do to punish him. So he consulted his counsellors. And he said to some of his great men, near his throne, ' What shall we do to punish Chrysostom ? ' And one man said, ' Banish him out of the kingdom. Send him to the other eivd of the earth.' Another man said, ' Take away all his money. Everything he has got.' Another man said, ' Put him in prison. Chain him up.' Another man said, ' Kill him outright. You are the emperor, and can do what you like.' Then another man spoke, he was a heathen man, and he said, ' All those men have given wrong advice. If you banish Chryso.stom to any part of the world, it won''t make any difference to him. He will jireach about God anywhere. He

won't bind himself not to do so. If you take away his money, you are only robbing the poor, for all his money goes to the poor. Therefore you are not robbing him. And if you chain him up in prison, he will kiss the chains, he will love the chains. And if you kill him, why, you will just open his door to heaven, be just doing what he would wish, opening the door for him to go straight into heaven. I will tell you what to do, there is only this one thing you can do

703

Ver. 30.

EPHESIA S IV

Ver. 30.

— Tnake him sin, that will distress him. He will be miserable if you can make him do some sin.' Oh, what a noble man Chrysostom must have been, that the only thing that could trouble him was sin, and the only way to punish him was to make him sin ! They could only punish him by trying to make him sin. That is about a great man ; now I will tell you about a little boy. His father was a clergyman. This little boy had done something wrong ; he had

grieved his father ; I could not tell you what it was, but his father was very much displeased with him. And the little boy went to his room to learn his lessons, to do his Latin and Greek. Just before the time came to takeiup his lessons to his father (he was being educated by him), the little boy came up to his father's room, and said, ' Papa, I cannot learn my lessons to-day, because I feel you are displeased with me ; I can do nothing ; I have been trying all this morning, and I cannot learn anything, because I know you are displeased with me '. His father said, ' Well, my boy, all I want you to do is to confess you have done wrong, and feel it. ow that you have confessed, and feel it, I am no longer displeased.' The boy said, ' Will you give me a token that you will forgive me ? will you kiss me ? ' ' Yes,' said his father ; and he kissed him. The little boy kissed his father, and all was made up. Then he said, ' ow I can read Latin and Greek with anybody, I am so happy '. As he was leaving the room, his father said, ' Stop, my boy. Is not there somebody else you have grieved ? Ought not j'ou to have asked God to forgive you ? ' The little boy said, ' Papa, I did that first, before I came into the room to you. I knew I had gi'ieved God, and before I asked you to forgive me I had asked God to forgive me ; and I feel sure that He has, and now I am quite happy.' And the father writes (in the book in which he describes this circumstance), ' I don't think I ever had cause to reprove that boy again '. I wish you could all act as did this little boy. in. But do not think it enough not to grieve Him, try to do something to please Him ; to please this God in you, this Holy Ghost in you. How can you please Him ? If you try, I am sure God will show you. Conquer some bad habit ; be kind to somebody who has been unkind to you ; do some duty to please Him.; and what will be the consequence? There will be a little bird that will sing very sweetly in youi-

bosom ! You see if there is not. A sweet little bird in your bosom ; and he will sing sweetly ; you will heai- such sweet notes ! The Holy Ghost will always show when He is pleased. You will have happy thoughts ; you will be able to pray in a different way ; when you open your Bible, you will read it quite like adiflPerent book, you will feel it so much. You will feel so happy. You will get the 'seal' in everything. You will be so much happier. Everything will be beautiful — because the Holy Ghost is pleased. You will get over your lessons ; you will have nice friends ; you will be useful ; because the

Holy Ghost is pleased. Try to do something for His sake, and see if the Holy Ghost does not show you that He is pleased. IV. And one thing more I will tell you, if you please the Holy Ghost, the ' seals ' will not be broken. ' Grieve not the Holy Spirit of God, whereby ye are sealed unto the day of redemption.' Let me try to explain that, being ' sealed ' by the Holy Ghost. I am going to suppose something. I will suppose you have got a great many very valuable jewels ; you have got diamonds, and rubies, and pearls, and all kinds of beautiful jewels; and you are goin^; abroad. You are going to leave England, and going into a foreign country. You do not like to take your jewels with yoLi. What can you do to keep them quite safe ? You had better lock ihem up. But that won't make them quite safe ; you had better put a ' seal ' upon the lock ; then you can go abroad and leave your jewels safely 'sealed'. When you come back, if you find that the ' seal ' has been broken, you will be pretty sure that the jewels are gone ; but if the ' seal ' is all right, the jewels are safe.

ow you are Christ's jewels. He bought you at an immense price. You are Christ's jewels ; and He has gone abroad, gone to another country for a while ; but He will come back again. He has gone many miles away. But that you may be quite safe in His absence. He has put you under a ' seal ' ; that ' seal ' is the Holy Ghost. You wei'e ' sealed ' by the Holy Ghost at your baptism ; you were ' sealed ' to keep you safe. And if you do not break that 'seal,' you will be quite safe. You break it when you commit a sin ; when you grieve the Holy Ghost. Christ has put you under the Holy Ghost to ' seal ' you. And if you honour the Holy Ghost, obey Him, please Him, then that ' seal ' is not broken. Then, when the Proprietor returns, the Saviour Jesus Christ, as He will. He will find His jewels safe, because the ' seal ' is not bi'oken. If the ' seal ' is broken, you will be lost ! So take care ! Remember you are Christ's jewels, which He loves, which He bought with His blood. Then, having the ' seal ' put upon you, at your baptism, if you do not break that ' seal,' if you see that no man robs you of that ' seal,' you will be safe. Keep the seal ! Then when Christ comes, shall I tell you what He will give you ? ' The white stone with the new name written thereon.' And those who have ' the white stone with the new name written thereon,' ai'e they who have kept the ' seal ' — who are ' sealed ' ; and that ' white stone with the new name ' is the ticket to heaven. This ticket everybody will have to present at the gate of heaven as they go in. The ' white stone ' is pardon. It is taken from an old Greek custom, where the ' white stone ' was the token of pardon. ' The white stone ' means that you ven ; and the ' new name ' means the Lord

Jesus Christ. And if you can show at the last that you have been pardoned, and that you are belonging to the Lord Jesus Christ — that you have got ' the

white stone,' pardon, and ' the new name,' Jesus, put upon your heart, you are safe for heaven. It is

704

Ver. 16.

EPHESIA S V

Ver. 16.

a ticket for heaven. The angels will admit you ; and you will go straight to heaven. The angels will admit you ; for the seal is the white stone of pardon — eternal life ! Take care, do not grieve the Holy Ghost. Think how much depends upon it. He loves you ! Do not 'grieve' Him ! do not ' grieve ' Him ! — James Vaughan. OUR TRUEST RICHES ' Use Time Wisely ' ' Redeeming the time.' — Ephesians v. i6. The words of this motto stand high up in a tower above one of the busiest streets of a great northern city. Underneath them is the dial of an uncommon clock. There are two circles alongside one another. In the first of these, in clear figures, is displayed the hour. In the other are the figures that denote each

minute. And as one watches it, the one, two, three, four, etc., succeed each other in regular succession. The fu-st time I saw it, the thought occun-ed to my mind very forcibly how long a minute is. I was surprised to find how far I could walk along the street between the appearance of one of these figures and the next. It was a very noteworthy manner of impressing on one's mind how frequentl3'we waste our time. Perhaps you have all been impressed with it on certain occasions. You may have stood with a watch in your hand trjing to time a race, or to see how long elapsed between a flash of lightning and the subsequent peal of thunder. It may have seemed to you then as if even seconds were long, and when we read in certain sciences about seconds being divided up into millionth parts, our brain becomes dizzy at the thought of the enormous length of time. But the more common idea is of time's shortness. I suppose this becomes more and more noticeable the older we get. When we are quite little the hours seem long, and a summer day is like a week. But even children, when they are happy, think that time flies too quickly. There is one phrase people use sometimes which always appears to me one of the worst, and, if they really meant it, most sinful phrases one could use. They speak about ' killing time ' as if time were some

enemy, some evil beast that had to be slain, and these are generally the people who have least to do, and who make the worst possible use of the time at their disposal. As a matter of fact, time is one of God's most precious gifts, and like His other gifts of highest value it is common to every one. Time is the same everywhere, and we have all the same length of day, horn', and minute ; wherever there may be inequality, there is perfect fairness and adequate opportunity here, and it altogether depends upon the way in which we use our time as to how we are going to manage

our life. Time is far too sacred a gift to abuse it I know one great castle in the south of England, and on its entrance tower there are two sundials. The one that faces the approach has upon it the one Latin word, ' Praetereunt,' meaning, ' They have passed by,' and refers to the hours that the dial has measured. Then, as one comes up to the flight of stairs that lead to the hall, the other dial upon the right hand bears the word ' Imputantur,' ' They are reckoned up,' thus reminding every one who enters that the hours one has lived have their chronicle with God. It is a solemn lesson to be taught so forcibly, and impresses at any rate the casual visitor. One wonders whether it becomes so f;imiliar to those who live within the roof of the castle that they do not even notice the words as they go out and in at the door. It is possible to become so familiar with danger that men forget it altogether, and we may become so familiar with truths like this that they do not impress us. I dare say we have all done our best to save our money, in order to get something we desired very much How many times we have counted it, how often we tried to discover by the very process of counting that we had a shilling more than the sum we knew very well was the coiTect one. Yet time is of infinitely more value than all the money we can ever get. Some men are so rich that we read about their being worth so many pounds a minute ; but in reality every one's minutes are worth far more than can be reckoned in the terms of earthly currency. In reality our time is not ours at all, but God's. He gives it to us, and it is a trust we hold for Him. — G. Cuiirie Mastin, Great Mottoes with Great Lessons, p. 49.

705

45

THE EPISTLE TO THE PHILIPPIA S

THE APOSTLE PAUL, THE MODEL OF EAR EST ESS ' I press toward the mark.' — Philippians m. 14. Paul, the Apostle, spoke the above words. He was a very remarkable man. Of all the persons spoken of in the Bible, next to our blessed Lord Himself, there is not one who has done so much good in the world as St. Paul. And I suppose that the chief thing that helped to make him so useful was the earnestness which marked his character. And, in putting him among our Bible Models, we cannot do better than to consider him as the model of earnestness. This feature of character belonged to him by nature. Before he became a Christian, he was earnest in getting an education. He left his home at Tarsus, in Asia Minor, for this purpose, and was brought up at the feet of Gamaliel, the greatest teacher of that age. one but an earnest young man would have done this. And then we see how earnest he was in persecuting the followers of Jesus, when he thought that was the right thing for him to do. He got letters from the chief priests, and then travelled all the way from Jerusalem to Damascus — a very long journey in those days — that he might make prisoners of the Clu'istians there, and bring them bound to Jerusalem. But it

is chiefly in St. Paul's character, after he became a Christian, that we find his earnestness exhibited. And there are three things about the Christian life of St. Paul, in which his earnestness appears. These are — the beginning; the continuance; and the results of that life. I. St. Paul showed his Earnestness in the way in which he ' Began ' his Christian Life. — We see what that beginning was in the prayer which he offered, when Jesus appeared to him on his way to Damascus. He found that he was utterly wrong in the course of life he was pursuing. He saw that it would be necessary for him to make an entire change. He knew not what to do. So he offered the prayer : ' Lord, what wilt Thou have me to do ? ' This showed that he was ready to begin his Christian life by doing whatever God wanted him to do. II. But SecondSy, we see what a Model of Earnestness St. Paul was in the Way in which he ' Continued ' his Christian Life after it was begun. — We see this illustrated in the words of our text, in which he says : ' I press toward the mark '. In the use of this language, St. Paul has reference to the public games which were practised in his days. One of these was the game of racing. A long race-

course was prepared in one of the public squares of the great cities. At the end of this racecourse, the laurel crown to be given to the victor was hung on the top of a high pole, so that all the racers could keep it in sight. The men who were going to join in the race would put off^ their unnecessary clothing, and with their loins girded would stand all ready to start as soon as the signal was given. The moment they heard the signal — they would be off'. Each one

would keep that crown in view, while, Ibrgetting everything else, he would strain every nerve as he ' pressed toward the mark,' in the earnest endeavour to win the jjrize. And when St. Paul said, ' I press toward the mark,' he meant to say that he compared his Christian life to a race. The mark, or prize, at the end of this race, which he kept in view and towards which he was pressing all the time, was the crown of life and glory which Jesus has promised to give to all His faithful followei-s. This was what he meant when he said — ' I press toward the mark '. And in doing this he showed the earnestness with which he was continuing the Christian life which he had begun. We see the earnestness of St. Paul in the way in which he preached ; and in the way in which he worked. In a little town in Germany lived a poor widow. Her husband had died leaving her nothing but the care of her three young sons. She found it very hard to support herself and them, yet she managed to do so sparingly, but honestly. The two elder sons at last were old enough to leave home, and do something for their support ; but the youngest remained with his mother still, and went daily to school. Then the war broke out, and there was a time of great trouble and distress. Collections were made all over the country for thousands of the poor wounded soldiers, and the cry for help reached even to the little town where this poor widow lived. The list of contributors to this work of mercy was carried from house to house. One day the collectors called at this poor widow's house. She had given her little mite to them, and they were going away, when her little boy took up a pen and quietly wrote down his name

on the list for three dollars ; and then counted out the money into the hand of the astonished collector. This was more than many of the people in the town who were quite well off had contributed. And where did this money come from ? For several years this little fellow had been longing to own a watch ; and every time that his mother or one of his elder brothers would give him a small piece of money, he would put

706

Ver. 14.

PHILIPPIA S III

Ver. 14.

it carefully away. When he got enough pennies he ¦would change them into a silver piece, and great was his joy when his money had increased so much that he had his first whole dollar. But now at last, it had increased to three dollars ; and very soon he was expecting to have the great pleasure to which he had been looking forward so long — the pleasure of feeling that he had hia own watch in his pocket. But he gave up this long-expected pleasure and readily parted with all his money, in the earnestness of his desire to help the poor wounded soldiers. This was real noble in that boy. It showed that

he had just the same spirit which St. Paul had, when he was such an example of earnestness in his Christian life. It was this earnestness of spirit which led the great Apostle of the Gentiles to continue his Christian life, in the same way in which he had begun it. III. But in the Third Place, we see what a Model of Earnestness St. Paul was, when we Look at the Results which ' Followed ' from his Christian Life. — We see one of the results of St. Paul's earnest life, in his labours for the cause of Christ. His missionary journeys took him to the utmost ends of the world, as it was then known — east, and west, and north, and south. Probably no man ever preached the Gospel to such multitudes of people as St. Paul did. If we only knew how many thousands and hundreds of thousands of persons there were, who had heard the Gospel from him, how surprising it would be ! And if we could have an account of the multitudes of people who were converted by his preaching ; and then of the multitudes who were converted by them, and so on, all the way down, from that day to this, we should no doubt find numbers of Christians labouring in the Church to-day, as the direct result of his labours, before he went to heaven eighteen hundred years ago. While he was still alive St. Paul said that the Gospel 'had been preached to every creature under heaven,' and this was mainly the result of his labours. And when we think of all this, we may well say that he was indeed a model of earnestness, in view of the results which followed from his labours. But we see the result of St. Paul's earnestness in his writings, as well as in his labours. There are twenty-one Epistles in the ew Testament. Of these St. Paul v/rote fourteen, or two-thirds of the whole. These Epistles are filled with the precious truths of the Gospel. Ever since St. Paul wrote them

ministers of the Gospel have been taking texts from these Epistles, and preaching sermons from them. And thi-ough these sermons multitudes of souls have been converted ; those in ignorance have been instructed ; those in trouble have been comforted ; those who were doubting have been encouraged, and an amount of good has been done which will never be known till that great day of judgment shall come, when all that is now secret shall be made known. And so, when we think of the results of St. Paul's Christian life, both in his labours and in his writings, we may well speak of him as a model of earnestness.

A missionary's earnestness and what it led to. — One hot day in July, 1839, Dr. Hamlin of the American Mission at Constantinople, and so long at the head of Robert's College in that city, while passing by the Custom House, saw a crowd of peo})le gathered there. Forcing his way through it, he found a poor sailor lying by the sitle of the wall apparently dying of cholera. ' Do you speak English ? ' asked Dr. Hamlin. ' Yes,' said the man, following the word with an oath. ' Are you an Englishman, or an American ? ' ' American,' he replied with another oath. Still more teirible curses showed that profanity had become his mother-tongue. Dr. Hamlin secured assistance, and had him removed to the home of one of the missionaries. For several weeks he was kindly nursed, and taken

care of by the missionaries. Then he recovered. One morning he called on Dr. Hamlin to say good-bye, as he was about to sail for Boston. Lingering for a moment at the door, he said, with great feeling : — ' I never shall foi'get your kindness to me. Dr. Hamlin. I have been a very wicked man, and have done all the evil in the world I could. But now, by the help of God, I am going to turn round and try to do all the good I can. God bless you ! Goodbye.' Three years afterwards Dr. Hamlin received a letter from him, which read thus : — ' Deae Dr. Hamlin, — Thank God I still live. I am here workin', and blowin' the Gospel-trumpet on the Eri Kanal.' When the Rev. Dr. Goodell, the missionary, saw this letter, he asked that he might begin the answer to it, and taking a sheet of paper, he wrote as follows : — ' Dear Mr. Brown, — Blow away, brother ! blow ! Yours in blowing the same Gospel-trumpet — William Goodell.' Twenty-five years after this Dr. Hamlin was dining one day at a hotel in the city of Paris, when an American gentleman came up to him, and said, ' Sir, I am just from Honolulu, in the Sandwich Islands. I knew a man there by the name of Brown, who is acting as missionary or Bible reader, and who has done a wonderful amount of good among the sailors. He can go anywhere, and everywhere, among them. He told me that he was once a wretched blaspheming sinner, dying in the streets of Constantinople, when you kindly took him to your home, and was the means of saving both his body and his soul. This seemed

to me too strange to be true. Was it so ? ' asked the gentleman, ' or is it only a sailor's yam ? ' 'It is a sailor's yam, indeed,' said Dr. Hamlin, 'but it is a good yarn, and every word of it is true. And I am glad to know that in showing kindness to that poor blaspheming sinner, I was enlisting a trumpeter who not only sounded the Gospel-trumj)et on what he called the " Eri Kanal," but is now doing the same from the Atlantic coast to the Golden Gate of California, and among the islands of the Pacific'

707

Ver.

PHILIPPIA S IV

Ver. 8.

This faithful missionary was imitating Paul's model of earnestness ; and we see what great good resulted from his labours. — Rich.\rd ewton, Bible Models, p. 288. OUR TREASURY The peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through [rather ' in '] Christ Jesus.'

PHILIPPIA S IV. 7. Defoe has a story, ' Captain Jack '. Little boy, beggar, gets hold of lot of money. Quite happy before, then wi-etched, not know where to put it. Can't sleep because of it. At last finds hole in hollow tree — surely safe there ; puts it in, and it drops down inside ! Had a treasure, and wanted safe place for it. So now people with money put in bank. But even banks not always safe ; sometimes man in charge not trustworthy. Steals money, or lets it get stolen. So besides safe place want also sure keeper. Text tells of a treasure we have, and a safe place to put it in, and a sure keeper to look after it. Think — I. Our Treasure. — Hearts and minds- — that which loves, and that which thinks. Very valuable (Prov. IV. 23, etc). How often love wrong things and think about wrong things. [Balaam, Demas (2 Tim. rv. 10), and for ' the mind ' (Ezek. xxxviii. TO, 11).] When we do, then put our treasure in bad places (cf. Matt. VI. 21). II. The Treasury. — Safe place where we put treasure — text says ' in Christ Jesus '. How put hearts there ? Get them to love Him, then can't love bad things. [Illustrate from Luke vii. 36-50. Poor woman had been putting treasure of her heart in bad places. Finds Jesus, puts it there. Does what she can to show her love for Him. See what He said (ver. 47).] So too wth minds ; think of Him, and can't well be thinking of bad things at same time (cf. Col. m. 2 ; Phil. iv. 8). But must put them there, just as put money in bank. [ o use keeping money yourself and saying, ' What a safe place the bank is '.] How put them ? [How put money in bank ? Take it there and ask managers to take care of it.] So take hearts and minds to Jesus ; ask Him to keep them. He never

refuses to accept deposits, as banks sometimes do (John VI. 37). III. The Treasurer. — Sure keeper wanted as well as safe place. So here, ' The peace of God '. [Great deal of treasure in Bank of England. Every evening soldiers come tramping up Cheapside to look after it-] The ti'easurer here not a band of soldiers, but Peace. [Cf. John XIV. 26, 27. Christ's legacy to His disciples ' Peace,' His ' Peace ' ; but this was one with the coming of 'The Comforter'. When Peace is said to ' keep the heart,' it is because the Holy Spirit is the Guardian.] For us the treasury the most important matter. We have ' hearts and minds,' our treasure. Where are we putting them ? They can't have a safe keeper unless put in right place. Pray, ' O Lord

Jesus, see to the keeping of my heart and mind'. — C. A. GooDHAKT, Hints and Outlines for Children's Services, p. 161. A BRACELET A D RI QS OF GOLD PHILIPPIA S IV. 8. If you turn to the fourth chapter of St. Paul's Epistle to the Philippians, eighth verse, you will find six clauses, all beginning with whatsoever, and then a short clause at the very end of the verse, which is connected in sense with all the six. Any one of these would make a good text ; but I think if theie bo any one of them sweeter than the rest, it is the fifth. I select it, therefore, as the text at present.

It reads thus, with the words which complete the sense appended : ' Whatsoever things are lovely, think of these things '. You know the meaning of lovely well, when the word is applied to things that are seen. If, for example, you were conducted into a garden, and some one were to cull you a pretty flower, and show you its neatly-shaped leaves, and its beautiful colours, and say, Is not that a lovely flower ? you would quite understand the question. You feel as if you could love the sweet little flower. Or if you saw a little child in its mother's arms, healthv and happy, with a bright eye and a gay smile playing on its face as you spoke to it and fondled it, you would very naturally say. What a lovely babe ! Your heart would be warming towards it. In reading the text, however, you see at once that it is another sort of loveliness than that which is seen with the eye, that is intended here. The lovely things to be minded, according to this exliortation, are things in the soul, things seen only in the actions they lead to — qualities of that invisible part of your nature which thinks and feels, is pleased or angry, happy or unhappy. There are lovely things in the mind. If I were to describe a boy who obeyed his parents, always spoke truth, never got into a passion, was obliging, polite, and kind to all, you would think him a lovely boy, whether I told you anything about his looks or not. Read the description given of the youthful Jesus, in Luke II. 51, 52, and say if the picture presented is not lovely — worthy of your copying into your own lives, fitted to draw forth your love. Let me now tell you of some lovely things in the mind and soul which you ought to seek after. I will give you five, and for memory's sake you may call them rings of gold, one for each fin>;er of your hand. I shall then add a sixth, more valuable than all the rest, and to express its greater worth, you

may call it a bracelet of jewels. I. The first gold ring I would have you wear is Sweet Temper. — Swords have tempers according to which they are harder or softer, better or worse. And it is curious that the better the temper is, the sharper and more during the weapon is. But good tempers in souls are not sharp to cut. They are the very opposite. Every child knows what is meant by being cross, or short. If you cut a piece of wood

708

Ver. 8,

PHILIPPIA S IV

Ver. 8.

across the direction in which its fibres grow, and make a bit of plank, you would soon find how easily it would break. ow some tempers are Hke such a board — the least pressure makes them snap. There are some children with such tempers — they are so cross-grained, you can hardly please them ; the least thing puts them out of humour, and they pout and get angry, and put on looks of gloom. Or perhaps they fret, and storm, and speak hot words of folly. You speak to them, and they answer as if you had struck them ; and possibly, if engaged on some piece

of work, they spoil it through spite. I have seen children in bad temper do very foolish things. I have seen them quarrel with their very food. How very unlovely these things are ! But if you knew a child gentle and meek, not easily made angry, always read}' to be pleased, and anxious to please, speaking kindly to every one, and wearing a sweet smile for all, you would acknowledge the loveliness of such a disposition. And I am sure that it is a happier disposition, as well as a lovelier. II. The second gold ring I wish you to put on is marked Biddableness. — You will easily understand the word, though I believe you will not find it in the dictionary. I wished a term stronger than obedience, meaning readiness to obey, and ventured to make this one. Have you ever seen children who would not do what their father and mother bade them ? I have. I have seen children that needed to be told a great manj' times to do a thing, when once should have been enough. I have seen them, even after that, go away very slowly, and do what was ordered in such a way as plainly said they ilid not like doing it. Others mav be found that require to be reasoned with, or coaxed, or bril-ed by some promise, to obey a parent's command. ow there is something to be said to fathers and mothers about allowing this ; but at present I am speaking to children, and I would say to them that such conduct is very unlovely indeed. How lovely, on the other hard, is the sight of an obedient child. He not only does what father or mother bids, but he does it at once, and with a smile. He does it so as to show that the work is a pleasure to him. As he goes his merry step beats time to a music that is in his heart. With what delight the parents'

look follows the willing little messenger ! My heart warms to such a child when I see him. Put the gold ring on his finger. God Himself loves such a child, and approves hiis conduct. For this is His own ' commandment with promise,' ' Honour thy father and mother, that it may be well with thee, and thou mavest live long on the earth'. Again He says, ' Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right '. Yet, of course, if parents should bid what God forbids, we owe it to our Heavenly Father rather to obey Him. And the child that can please his parents in all lawful things, but refuses, even to please them, to do what is wrong in God's sight, has already the spirit of a martyr.

III. But now I produce a third gold ring, worthy to adorn the middle finger of the hand. Engraved on it is Unselfishness. — There are children in whose eye the word Me is always prominent, and from whose lips it is always sounding. They wish and strive to get the best of everything to themselves, the best seat, the nicest portion of what is given to eat, the first opportunity to choose, the rarest toy, the prettiest gift. They are always looking after their own gratification. ow this is very unlovely, and manifests a disposition which, if left unchecked, will gi'ow up to something veiy ugly indeed. Put in contrast with such conduct the behaviour of an unselfish child. He has his happiness in seeing others happy. When there are gifts presented to be distributed among brothers and sisters, or playmates, he would have othei-s choose first. He likes to see his companions get what pleases them. He would rather go without a thing himself than see others want. He yields a good place to another, happy to oblige. He looks to the comfort of others more than his own. In this spirit a little girl once, with

a nice piece of cake just given from her mother's hand, seeing a poor child crawl to the door, ran w'ith her dainty to cheer the little mendicant. How likely are such children to grow up useful and beloved ! I once read a story that touched me. Two boys, brothers, had gone to school on a winter's day. When the hour of dismission came, snow had begun to fall. Amid the drifting storm the little fellows lost their way, and, instead of reaching home, had to seek shelter at last in a sort of cave or hollow, where they were protected from the blast. The elder was a brave, unselfish boy, and did his best to keep his younger brother cheerful. How he succeeded by and by a]3]5eared. For when his little companion complained of cold, he put off his own coat and wrapped him round with it. Friends were not long in making search for the waiiderers ; and when they found them the younger was fast asleep, and his brother was sitting watching him, cold without, but with a heart warm with love within ; and the thanks of happy parents for his care of his little brother, was only less sweet than his own unselfish joy to have made his brother comfortable. IV. A fourth ring of gold is marked Tenderheartedness. — You know wb;it it is to be cruel. You recollect the fable of the frogs in the pool that were pelted with stones by mischievous boys. Those boys were doing a cruel thing in sport. Once as I came home along the streets at night, I found some boys torturing a rat, and when the jjoor creature seemed dead, one called out, ' Let it alone, let it come to itself a little, that we may get more fun '. I cannot bear to see unnecessary pain inflicted, even on a reptile. What are we that we should needlessly, or in sport, add one pang to the misery that is in the world ? To take pleasure in witnessing battles between any of the lower animals is very hateful. Keep away from all sights of the kind. But men are

very cruel often to one another. Joseph's brethren

709

Ver. 8.

PHILIPPIA S IV

Ver. 8.

showed themselves hard-hearted when, spite of his cries and teai's, they sold him away to strangers and a foreign land. Slavery is a very cruel thing. The habitations of the heathen are full of cruelty. They have been doing awfully cruel things in Sicily of late yeai-s, which it was maddening to see the proofs of. Cruelty makes people very like devils, and the worst displays of it grew out of small beginnings. A bloody, brutal Roman emjieror is said, when a boy, to have amused himself with tormenting flies. Children, cultivate a tender heart. Feel for the pains of othei's. ever inflict pain without reason. All that is called tender-heartedness is not good. A surgeon would not have a tender, but a weak heai't, that would shrink from cutting off" a limb to save life. A parent is cruel, not tender-hearted, that will rather indulge a child than deny it what is wrong, or refuse to chasten it, at the expense of leaving faults unmended. But it is beautiful to see in chil-

dren a feeling, kindly heart, sj-mpathising with sufferers, and never giving pain that can be helped. Their disposition is very lovely. The gold of their ring is very bright. V. I shall just name one other. It is Industry. — The opposite of this is idleness, a very unlovely and a very unhappy thing. It is so even in children. I don't object to play. Active, healthful play is not idleness. And in its own place, and within due bounds, it is a right thing for children. Young children should have a great deal of play. God means them to have it, as He means that lambs should frisk, and run, and gambol. I like to see children playing, kindly, justly, lovingly. It is a lovely sight. Only, it must not be all play with them. And always more and more as they grow older, they should wish and strive to be of some use. They should be industrious at their lessons ; they should be happy to run messages ; they should accept happily duties at home to help their parents. Even where children must go to work sooner than is desirable, because their parents are poor, I would like them to think it is not all hardship. It is miserable to see little children put to tasks beyond their strength — the thing is cruel and wicked ; but the mere necessity to work has some elements of comfort. It is safer to toil than beg. It is a very useful part of education. Work is always better than sloth. What I wish, however, to show by putting the ring, industry, on the finger, is the beauty of being useful, of doing something, of helping on the tasks of the world. The man that does not work in some way is a nuisance on the earth ; and a child should learn when young to hate being a mere idler. VI. But now I have in resei-ve a jewelled bracelet, worth all the rings many times over, and when worn along with them making them all look brighter. Bind it round your arm. Its name is Grace. — Grace

is what God gives to make the heait good, or the effects of that gift. Here I use the word as meaning the effects on the character. These are very lovely, like sparkling diamonds.

A child that has grace fears God, loves Jesas, is afraid to sin, tries to do all things so as to please his Heavenly Father. There may be those other things I have mentioned as lovely without this ; but this makes them all still lovelier. For then they all shine in a light from above. They are practised from regard to God's will. See that kind, sweet-tempered, generous boy, always obliging, always active, polite, obedient, amiable ; what does he lack ? Ah ! he does not care for God, he does not think of God, he does not love the Saviour who loves him. How lovely he will become when the good Spirit touches his heart. He will be kinder, franker, truer, braver than ever for the sake of Jesus. He will have new motives then. He will study a new pattern. He will be like the Son of Mary, ' that lowly, lovelychild '. — J. Edmond, The Children's Church at Home, p. 38. BE TRUE! ' Whatsoever things are true.' — Philippians iv. 8. Be true ! be true ! As I look back on the past, I heai' these words ringing in my ears. Often and often through the yeai-s since I left Uppingham have they pulled me up when I was entering upon some line of action that was not strictly true. Often and often have these words saved me from some sin against God. Often have they enabled me to withstand some great temptation. ' Be true,' then, is to be my text for to-day. I go back to the circumstances under which the words were uttered. I see myself at the end of my last term, just about to leave the old school ;

I see myself looking back as I did at that time on misspent hours, on opportunities missed, on evil temptations unconquered, unresisted. Yes ; I remembered all this as I went on my way to that last intei-view with my old headmaster, Edward Thring. And I must confess, too, to a feeling of awe and fear as I came to the schoolhouse at the appointed time. There was the old schoolhouse with its ivied walls, its grey-stoned windows, its well-known quad. There was the entrance where the fags used to ring the school bell for prayers. There was the housemaster's entrance, and thi-ough that door I nmst go ere many minutes should pass. And so as I rang at the bell, and heard its clang echoing thi'ough the house, I felt somewhat like one whose doom was sealed. The door opens and I am ushered into the presence of the headmaster. ' Sit down.' And then began a short talk on life, ending up with those never-to-be-forgotten words, ' Be true ! ' ever shall I forget those words. When afterwards in my office at home, as a law student, they would often bring before me my duty in respect of the books which I was studying. When I was perhaps discouraged by many difficulties in my lawlife, they would come to me as a message from God. They carried me through my examinations. They spurred me to further effort. They made me look to the highest standard as the one by which my life must be formed. And so I put these words belbre my hearers to-day ; I put them before you in all

no

Ver. 8.

PHILIPPIA S IV

Ver. 8.

their simplicity of meaning, in all their depth of meaning. And I pray God to bless them to your souls this day as they have been blessed to mine. ' Whatsoever things are true.^ How, then, are we to realise the text, ' Whatsoever things are true ' i I. Firet, then, it centralises our attention on truth : whatsoever is true in oui- endeavours to do rifi;ht, in our struggles against temptation, in our anxiety to make good resolutions and keep them. We otten in the first instance look to ourselves and strive in our own strength to battle against sin in its various forms. This is the experience of many, and it is an experience which leads to failure. It is centred on self, and is therefore no help to us, and so at the very outset we want to realise that if we are to attain to ' whatsoever things are true,' it can only be by the entire subjection of self, and the placing on the throne of our lives one guiding principle, Truth. How, then, shall we appropriate this truth ? What is truth, the possession of which is of such vital importance to us ? Let me refer you to St. John xiv. 6 : ' Jesus saith, lam the Truth ' ; and here let us notice Jesus does not say, ' I am a part of the Truth,' but, ' I am the Truth,' the whole Truth ; and so we begin to realise that if we wish to follow ' whatsoever things are true,' it can only be by having in our hearts the Truth, even Jesus Christ, who by His Spirit shall lead us into all truth. n. While we think of ' whatsoever things are true,' and wish to follow them, there may arise instinctively in the minds of some of my hearei-s the

thought of past sin. The past is a nightmare to some fellows. It is something to be avoided. It may even be that this past has, as it were, joined hands with the present, and that as you sit here listening to me you are conscious that you are not living truly and faithfully in God's sight. Are there any, I wonder, in this position here now ? I feel there must be. What, then, has Christ, who is the Truth, to say to you ?

The man who follows ' whatsoever things are true ' is like the runner in a race. He doesn't want to be handicapped by the weight of former sins. He wants to be fi'ee. How is this to be attained ? He sees the past with sins of thought, of word and deed. He realises that the fetters of sinful habits are still binding him, and he caimot run the race as he wishes. With what joy does he hail the message, ' If we confess our sins He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness '. There is no one here who cannot enter into the reality of this message. ' God willeth not the death of a sinner, but rather that he turn from his wickedness and live.' God willeth not that fellows at school should sin in thought, word, and deed against Him. o, rather does He proclaim forgiveness for the past, and strength for the future. We see, then, that the mere fact of former sin must not discourage us, but rather should it encourage us to cast our whole life upon God's greatness and love and mercy, and realise in doing so that we are forgiven, and that we are able in the truest sense to be His faithful followers. But there are still some more thoughts for us in regard to the text, ' Whatsoever things are true '. What has it meant to those of us who make an outward profession of Christianity, who call ourselves Christians ? How far have we followed the Truth in our daily experience ? Christianity is not meant for the Sunday alone, and yet

there seem to be many who think so. You see men going to church on the Sunday, and then on the Monday giving way to all sorts of'sinful habits. This is not Christianity ; Christianity is nothing if it does not enter into every detail of our lives. Christianity is nothing if it does not leaven oui- whole life by its presence. — oemak Bennet, Be True : And Other Sermons for Boys, p. 1.

711

THE EPISTLE TO THE GOLOSSIA S

KEEPI G THI GS I ORDER ' Joying and beholding your order.' — Colossians n. 5, The chui-ch at Colossas kept things in order, and Paul, seeing it, was glad, just as I am glad when you keep things in order in your homes, in school, in church, and at your work. But how did Paul find out that the church to which he wrote these words, in the year of our Lord 62, kept things in order ? for he was in prison at Rome for Christ's sake at the time. He heard of it through one of the membere of that church who came to Rome to see him, named Epaphras, and who told him of their order and love. Hence Paul could write : ' For though I am absent in the flesh, yet am I with you in the spuit, joying and beholding your order, and the steadfastness of your faith in Chn'st '. So I am with you in the spirit, joying and beholding your order. Let me say a few things about keeping things in

order. L You like to scatter things about. When you play with your blocks or toys, or cut out paper dolls and dresses, you cover the floor or table with them. You take great delight in them. But after awhile you become tired of them, and leave them scattered about, and such a looking table or floor! Dolls, dresses, bits of paper, blocks, everything you were playing with scattered all about ! You had a good time at your play, putting things out of order, and now comes a sore trial to most of you ; for — II. It is hard keeping things in order. You do not like to pick up your play-things, putting each in its place, as your mother wants you. How many of you keep things in order ? How many of you leave it to your mothei-s to pick up after you ? If I were to ask your mothers, what do you think they would say ? There is no play in keeping things in order, you say ; well, there is something better than play. So I am going to tell you how to do it. III. Always have a place for everything. Have a place for your play-things, for your hat or cap, your coat or shawl, your books, your clothes, which you call your own. And put your clothes in order at night when you go to bed, your shoes side by side. That is the way the cadets or scholars at the militai-y school at West Point have to do. That is the way you ought to do. You ought to have a place for everything, not a half dozen places for each. If you have not such a place, ask your mother to give you one : one for your play-things, one for your books, one for your clothes, one for your hats and caps. Then — IV. Always put a thing in its place. When you 71

are done playing put everything away in its place, and pick up every bit of paper or litter and put it where it belongs. When you come in, hang your cap or hat in its place every time. Do not throw it down anywhere, but put it in its place ; for that is the way to keep things in order. If you use any tool, as a hammer or hoe, do not leave it where you used it, but put it in its proper place. And so of everything you have or use. Do you ask me : ' Why take such pains to keep everything in its place ? ' I will tell you. V. Because then you will know where to find it. If you leave things where you played with or used them, you will be all the time losing them. You will be ever asking, ' Mother, where is my hat ? ' ' Mother, where is my knife ?' and so of everything. You forget where you left it, and you ask mother. But if you hang your hat where you should, and put everything in its place, you know where to find them. This is one reason why you should have a place for everything, and keep everything in its place. Another reason is that if you do so, you, like the church in our text, will have such order that all will rejoice in it. If I were to look into your homes, after vou have had a good play there, do you think I should rejoice in .seeing your good order ? Should I find that you had put everything away ? Or should I find the floor all covered over with litter, waiting for your mother to clean up after you ? Which should I find ? The keeping of things in order is another reason why you should have a place foi everything and should keep ever^'thing in its place. But there is another reason that I will mention. As you do in childhood, so you will do when you be-

come men and women. If you keep things in order as children, you will always keep things in order ; but if you let everything lie scattered about where you happen to use them, you will never keep things in order all your days. You will have trouble all your life because you did not learn to be orderly in childhood. Hence your plays are of use in teaching order. — A. Hastings Ross, Sermons for Children, p. 73. AIMI G AT HIGH THI GS ' Set your mind on the things that are above, not on the things that are upon the earth.' — Colqssians hi. 2. If you should shoot an arrow at the ground, you would hit the ground, but no one would praise you for it. If, however, you should aim at a very small mark and should hit it, all would praise you for your skill. To shoot downwards and hit the gi'eat earth, anybody can do that ; but to shoot upwards and hit

Ver. 2.

COLOSSIA S III

Ver. 2.

a small mark, very few can do it, for it takes a long time to learn to do it, and few have patience enousch to get the skill to do it It is said that Indians put their boys' dinners on limbs of trees, and the b»}s

must shoot them down before they can have them. Thus they learn to shoot straight. Paul told the church at Colossae — and the children that were in it — to set their mind on the things that are above, where Christ is, and not on the things which are upon the earth, which is under our feet. He tells us to do the same. But to do it, we must aim at the high things, not at the low ; we must set our mind on the best things, not on the mean ; we must shoot at the stars, and not at the ground. Our text tells you, boys and girls, to aim at high things, and to keep aiming at them until you hit them. You are to set your mind on them, to study how you may make the high things your own. Let us see how you may do this. 1. In the home there ai'e high and low things, and you should set your mind on the best things there and strive for them until you win them. You should aim to be the very best boy or girl in the home, in good manners, in kind treatment of one another, in ready obedience to your parents, in tender love, in everything. If you fail now and then, try again, and still again until you succeed. Hit this high mark in the home : for if you are a good child at home, you will be a good man or woman, husband or wife. 2. There are high and low things in play, and you should mind the high and shun the low. You should be fair in play and never unfair, truthful and never untruthful, kind and never unkind, ready and never dull, skilful and never unskilful. Set your mind on being ready, skilful, kind, truthful, and honest in play, for these are the high things you should aim at. 3. There are high and L)w things in school. You can play in school, have poor lessons, and be a bad scholar ; or you can study, get good lessons, be a good

scholar, and behave as you ought. ow on which will you set your mind ? Let me tell you. Get

every lesson perfect!}-. Make no failures. Behave the best you can. Make your conduct and scholai'ship perfect. Aim at the high things. 4. There are high and low things in learning a trade. Aim at the high. Do not slight any part of the trade. You may think it to be a trifle. Perfection comes from minding trifles. You want the highest skill in your trade, to be in it a skilled workman. Then put your mind into it Sliuht nothing. Do everything in the quickest and best way. Aim at the highest. 5. There are high and low things in the store, in the office, on the farm, in every kind of honourable work. Do you think the work hard ? ever mind that; but mind to do your best in it. Keep vour mind on the work in hand. Master every little and every great thing in it. You cannot do anything well without care and attention. 6. Aim high in everything. Always try to do the best you can, in whatever circumstances God places you. The high and the low are in every calling, in everything we do. Set your mind on the best, and weary not until you win it. 7. But Paul looked above the things of earth, and said : ' Seek the things that are above, where Christ is, seated on the right hand of God. Set vour mind on the things that are above, not on the things that are upon the earth.' God is in heaven. Christ is in heaven. We want to go to heaven when we die. Let us, therefore, mind the things of God, of Christ, of heaven. To do this we must study God's Word,

the Bible; we must attend church; we must love, serve, and obey God ; we must love one another ; we must alwaj's do what is right and sljun what is wrong ; we must keep His commandments. You are not too young to do this. The youngest can love and obey Christ. God is love, and gave His only-begotten Son Jesus Christ to die on the cross for your sins. He sends His Holy Spirit to lead you to Christ, that you may tell Him your sins and ask Him to forgive you. — A. Hastings Boss, Sermons for Children, p. 21.

718

THE FIRST EPISTLE TO THE THESSALO IA S

K OCK AT MERCY'S DOOR I THESSALO IA S V. I7. ' Peat without ceasing ' is a Divine precept, and constant need requires constant help. Asking, Seeking, and Knocking are three special features of real prayer. Asking is the simplicity of prayer, seeking is the earnestness of prayer, and knocking is the importunity of prayer. Prayer should be the key of the day, and the lock of the night. ' Knock and it shall be opened unto you,' is the promise of the Lord Jesus Himself. There are three Knocks all our tiny folks should avoid : — The timid knock. Want of faith (James i. 6). The runaway knock. Want of patience (Ps. xl. 1).

The late knock. Want of time (Luke xiii. 25). There are five proper ways of knocking : — I. Knock Early. — Whilst you are young (Ps. v. 3). II. Knock Earnestly. — With all your heait (James V. 17, 18). III. Knock Distinctly. — With simple words (Matt. VII. 7). IV. Knock Repeatedly. — With importunity (1 Thess. V. 17). V. Knock Expectantly. — With patient waiting (Ps. XXVII. 14). A little girl about four yeai-s of age being asked, ' Why do you pray to God ? ' replied, ' Because I know He heai-s me, and I love to pray to Him *. ' But how do you know He heai-s you ? ' was the further inquiry. Putting her little hand to her heart, she said, ' I know He does, because there is something here that tells me so '. — Charles Edwaeds, Tin Tacks for Tiny Folks, p. 57. U CEASI G PRAYER ' Pray without ceasing.' — i Thessalonians v. 17. What ! always praying ? How can I ? Dressing, eating, walking, etc., all this besides prayer? Yes ; but they can all help us to pray. Littlegul once found this out — dressing, she prayed for a better dress (Rev. VII. 9) ; eating, reminded her of other food (John VI. 32-34.) [cf. the grace, ' We thank Thee, Lord, for this our food,' etc. ] ; walking, spoke of another walk (Ps. cxix. 1). So, then, one way of doing what St. Paul tells us is —

I. Let Everything we do Remind us of Something' to be Prayed about — But other ways of praying besides words. [Man in a good service — wants his son to be taken on — knows that his master knows his wish — thinks, ' If I work well he will grant it ' ; so takes pains always to look neat— so please master

(praying with his dress). Works very hard and carefully (praying with his work), etc.] So with us — all our prayei-s may be put into one prayer, ' Thy will be done '. If really want that, can always be praying it: In dress, neat, careful, clean, because God's will (1 Cor. x. 31, 32). In eating and drinking, not greedy, but grateful. In lessons, doing best to learn. At play, ' rejoice evermore,' etc. ; what St. Paul says to slaves (Col. in. 23), true for us — may do everything ' heartily,' with our heai't as well as hands, as to the Lord, because God wills. So another way of obeying the text is — II. Let Everything we do Say, 'Thy Will be Done '. — One other thing. Come and look at a little prayer-meeting — up in a mountain (picture out from Ex. xvii. 8-16); prayer ceasing, success ceases — then others lift up his hands — so prays without ceasing. So sometimes boy or girl wants something (help to conquer bad temper, or do some work) ; prays — no better (temper breaks out again, etc.). ' Oh, no use praying, just as bad as ever I ' Ah ! you must pray without ceasing — keep on — keep on. [Elijah (1 Kings xviii. 42-46) wanted rain — prays — boy goes to look — ' nothing ! ' Again, and again, and again, and again — seven times — then at la.st (ver. 44). He prayed without ceasing. May cf also Luke xvin. 6, 7.] How many prayers like runaway ring or knock I So then —

III. Persevere — Keep on. Qo on Praying till the Prayer is Answered. — Three ways of obeying command in text. (Recapitulate 1, 2, 8.) Make it our text this week, and try to see whether we can't do what it tells us. ot so hard as it seems at first, and if we ask God, He will give His Holy Spirit to show us how to do it. — C. A. Goodhart, Hints and Outlines for Children's Services, p. 121. ABOVE SUSPICIO ' Abstain from all appearance of evil.' — i Thessalonians v. 22. Probably you have read these words many times ; possibly you have filled the whole page of a copybook, line after line, for twenty lines or more, with this same sentence. Yet we will not discard it. To start with — anything that speaks of ' appearance ' is at least speaking about something that is weU understood to-day. There never was a time when appearance was so considered — not only in people, but in things. The very furniture in our houses — the mahogany furniture and the oak furniture — are only mahogany or oak in appearance. They are covered with a thin shaving of mahogany or oak, as the case

714

Ver. 22.

1 THESSALO IA S V

Ver. 22.

may be, and underneath there is a commoner wood ; so they ai'e not what they ajjpear to be. It is so with many people, unfortunately : they appear to be gentlemen, or learned, or good, or Christlike, but it is all an outward covering. There is no depth of chai'acter or learning or goodness in them. They only study appearances. We have to learn from our text that just as there may be goodness in appearance, so there may be evil in appearance. Sometimes people are deceived by' the appearance of goodness in a man, and for a time take him to be a good man ; they make him their friend, and they trust him, perhaps to their sorrow. On the other hand, we have to notice this important fact, that there may be the appearance of evil in a man, and others may take that man to be an evil man ; which is a very serious thing for him, and for the family to which he belongs, and for Jesus Christ if he professes to be a Christian. He is not actually evil,

but something he did, because he was not careful or thoughtful, had the appearance of evil, and sometimes the mere appearance of evil will work out the same unfortunate results as the evil itself. We have to remember that it is not enough to have a conscience free from the sense of evil in God's sight, but we must also have a life free from the appearance of evil in man's sight. The Chinese have a curious proverb ; it is, ' Don't tie up your shoe in a cucumber field '. It is another way of saying, ' Abstain from all appearance

of evil '. If you were passing through a cucumber field, of couree all the cucumber vines would be running along the ground, and on the vines there would be the cucumbers, and though you stooped down only to tie up yom- shoe, others might think that you had stooped down to steal. — John Eames, Sermons to Boys and Girls, p. 118.

715

THE FIRST EPISTLE TO TIMOTHY

THE VOICE WITHI 'A good conscience.' — i Timothy i. 19 (with Heb. x, 22). In an evil world like this we need all the help we can get to enable us first to find out the right way and then to walk in it. Some of us have had wise and loving fathers and mothers and other friends, who have done much for us in pointing out the way, guiding and encouraging us to walk in it, protecting us from dangers and keeping us from mistakes into which, but for them, we should certainly have fallen. And if we had them always at our side, we think we might manage in some way to get along. But we cannot have them always with us, and even if we had, there are things which they cannot see and in which they could not help us. We must judge for ourselves and act for ourselves. We soon enough get to he the men and women which so many young people wish and weary to be, and we must then do the best we can for ourselves. We have, indeed, the Word of God, the blessed Bible, to shed light upon

our path. We can carry our difficulties to it, and put questions to it, such as no other can answer. And yet we cannot have the Bible always in our hands, and even though we h;id it all committed to memory, it would not altogether serve the purpose. We want something nearer to us than any book, or any friend — which we can carry about with us wherever we go — which there is no danger of our forgetting or leaving behind us. We want a light within. And we have such a light Each of us has it. It is alwa3s there, whether we attend to it or not ; and if we deal with it as we ought, it will generally guide us aright. You will find mention made of what I refer to in 1 Timothy i. 19, ' A good conscience'. You may also look at Hebrews x. 22, ' An evil conscience '. I wish to say a few words to 5'ou now about Conscience. Some of you may not underetand very well about the word , but you all know the thing. There are two great words with which we have to do every hour of our lives, and with which all our happiness and welfare are wrapped up — Right and Wrong. Conscience has to do with these, telling us about them, t!nd telling us about ourselves in connection with them. There are three remarks under which I may arrange what I have to say about Conscience : Whdt it is — what it may be — what it leads to. What it is. — There are three characters in which we shall look at it. 1. Conscience as a guide — a guide as to what is nght and what is wrong. When you are going to do a thing, it is as if a voice within said to you,

' That is right,' or ' That is wrong ' ; in the one case, adding, ' You may do it,' or ' You should do it,' and

in the other, ' You must not do it '. It is just something like what you find in connection with certain things of a different kind. If you were going to step into deep water, if you were going to walk out at an open window, two or three stories from the ground — if you were going to put your hand into the fire or into a pail of boiling water — if you were going to drink a mixture from a phial that had ' poison ' marked on it, it would be as if something within you said ' Don't ! ' — as if something laid hold of you to keep you back. If anyone were to ask you, ' How did 30U not do it ? ' you would very likely say, ' Well, I can hardly tell you. It was just a kind of instinct. I felt I should not do it.' ow, in a somewhat similar way, we have got that within us which tells us we should not do certain things, not merely because they would hurt us, but because, however pleasant they might be at the moment, or however they might be thought to benefit us in some ways — they are wrong. You are tempted to do some forbidden thing, and though there is no human eye to see you and nobody may ever know of it, the voice within says, ' Don't ; it is wrong ! ' You are tempted to take something which does not belong to you, but which you have very much desired to have — money, a pencil, or knife, or something of that kind, and the voice says, ' Don't ; it is wrong ! ' You are tempted to say what is not true, in order to escape punishment for a fault, or to get some reward to which you have no right — to copy at school, to take advantage of a class-fellow, to do what is unfair at your play, to speak some word which you would be ashamed that your mother, or any friend whom you respect, should hear — to do some underhand or dishonourable thing which you have promised not to do, such as writing letters of an improper kind or reading books of a doubtful character; and the voice says, ' Don't ; it is wrong ! ' You all know about this. It has happened to you a hundred times. ow, what is it that thus speaks? It is Con-

science. It is a kind of instinct or sense which God has implanted in your nature for your guidance, telling what would hurt your soul, just as the other things I spoke of would hurt your body. It has sometimes been spoken of as ' the voice of God in the soul '. That is only true so far. It is not always right in what it says. There is such a thing as an ignorant conscience — an unenlightened conscience. Thus Paul's conscience led him to persecute the followers of Jesus — to hale them to prison and put them to death. He says, 'I verily thought

716

Ver. 19.

1 TIMOTHY 1

Ver. 19.

within myself that I ought to do many thin<;s contrary to the name of Jesus of azareth '. And other people have often done very wrong things, at the bidding of their conscience. And so cons[;ience needs to be instracted, taught, enlightened. And if you ask nie who is to teach conscience, I answei- — God. The great instructor of conscience is the Word of God. It is with conscience as with a ship's compasses, by which the helmsman steers the vessel's course. In a general way these may be depended

on ; the needle points to the north with more or less of steadiness. But now and then there are slight deviations, and whenever the ship comes into port, her compasses have to be adjusted. So with conscience. We need to be constantly bringing it to the Word, to have it put right and kept right. Whenever it differs from the Word, conscience is wrong. Hence the need of making the \\''ord our constant study, and seeking the teaching of the Holy Spirit that we may understand it and appi v it aright. The more this is done the more trustworthy will our conscience he. The more we have to do with God, and the more we study the character and life of Jesus, and keep up fellowship with Him, and have a desire to be like Him, the more likely will our conscience be to be a right and safe guide. It will then tell us truly about sin and duty, and be, as one has described it, a reflection of God's will. ow, supposing you were in an unknown and dangerous region, where you were sure to miss your road, unless you had good guidance, where there were snares and pitfalls into which you might fall, where there were those who wished to lead you astray, and if possible to destroy you, how would you do with your guide ? Would you not be asking him at every tmn, ' AVhich is the right way ? Where should I go ? Will it be safe to take this road ? Where does it lead to?' Would you not get him to go before you, and follow as close to him as possible, at very dangerous places, planting your feet in the very marks which he pointed out to you ? Would you not say, ' I have the guide for the very purpose : otherwise, I might as well not have had him ' ? Would you ever think of trying to put out his eyes, or to blindfold him, to drug him, and get him to fall asleep, so as to unfit him for his work, or compel him to be silent? Would you be angry with him because he told you which was the right road, and showed you the danger of taking any other ? Would you

treat him with neglect and pay no attention to what he said, whenever his way differed from the way you wished to take ? If you wished to get some beautiful flowers, or to catch a bright-coloured butterfly, or to rob a bird's nest on some dangerous cliff, would you disregard him, and evil entreat him, if he tried to save you from what might be death to you ? And yet is not that just what some of you do to your consciences ? You pay no attention to them. They speak to you in vain. You will not follow their leading. You seek to silence them, to drown their voice, so that you might as well have no conscience

at all. one ever needed a guide more than you ; none ever needed to listen more carefully to the guide's voice. And yet you put your flngei-s in your ears and will not hear. A friend told me of a young man who had been well brought up, but who became a Sab'nath-breaker, and regardless of all that was good. He used to set out ou the Sabbath mornings to walk in the fields and to bathe in a neighbourinoriver. Sometimes when he was at the river side, the church bell, which used to call him to the house of God, began to ring. He could not bear to hear it, and used to undress as fast as he could, plunge into the river, and keep his head under water as long as he was able to bear it, that he might not hear the sound that told him of his duty and of his sin. It was conscience that was speaking to him, but, foolish lad that he was, he would not hear. He would not follow the leading of his guide. I have heard of a boy who was sent to a shop to buy a parcel of sugar. As he was on his way home, he was seen to come to a stand in the village street, look at the parcel that was under his arm, put his finger into his mouth and wet it, as if he were going

to rub a little hole in the paper and just taste what was inside. And then, all of a sudden, as if some one had spoken to him, he withdrew his finger, put the parcel firmly undei- his arm, took to his heels, and never drew breath till he was home and had given the parcel into his mother's hands. What had happened ? \Vho had spoken to him ? It was conscience, acting as his guide, telling him he was about to do what was wrong. And he followed his guide and escaped the danger. And so your safety lies in listening to conscience, whether it whisper gently or thunder terribly. Whatever it may cost you, let your resolution be, 'I must hear what my guide says. I must follow my guide.' othing could be more foolish or dangerous than to disregard it. It is as foolish and dangerous as for the engine-driver on an express train to disregard the danger-signals which tell that the road is impassable, or for the helmsman on board ship to pay no attention to the man on the look-out, when he tells that another ship lies across the vessel's course, or that the vessel is close upon the rocks. 2. Conscience as a judge. — It is more than a guide, however important that may be. It not only tells what is right and what is wrong, but it acts the part of a judge, and the instant a thing is done, it tries the doer of it, and approves or condemns him. There are some trials, in courts of justice, which are very long and tedious, and in which it is very difficult to get at the truth. The evidence is often contradictory. One witness says one thing, and another says another, so that the judge does not know what to do. Sometimes he acquits the guilty. Sometimes, when there is a want of proof, the verdict is ' not proven,' and the criminal escapes. Does it ever occur to you that a process of this kind is going on every day, in the case of each of you ? Each of you may be said to carry about a court of j ustice in his own breast.

'17

Ver. 19,

1 TIMOTHY I

Ver. 19.

There is no need of witnesses. There is no need of a jury to sift the evidence. All that is wanted is a judge, to pronounce at once on each action, as soon as it is done, giving it its character, as good or bad, and passing sentence on him who did it. How do you generally feel when you have done anything which you know to be wrong ? Why do you look so sad ? Why are you so unhappy ? Why do you seem so absent, in some company in which you should have been full of spirit and glee? Why is there such a burden on your heart ? Some one asks if you are ill ; another asks if anyone has been annoying you. What is the matter? Conscience has been judging you — condemning you. obody saw the evil deed done. obody knew of it. o one accused you. o one said you had done wrong. You stood as a criminal at the bar of your own conscience — there was no denying the wrong done, and the judge condemned you. And how long did it take ? It was all the work of a moment. And you left the bar

condemned — self-condemned. That is what is the matter with you. And where you have done right, conscience approves — it says, ' Well done ! ' and, next to God's approval, nothing in all the world is so much worth having as this — the approval of your own conscience. Others may condemn you and think or speak ill of you, but that matters little if your own conscience approves. But when it cries ' Shame ! ' it matters not though all the world should approve. o one can pass such a sentence upon you as that which you pass upon yourselves. It is not difficult to account for the unhappiness of some people — their uneasiness, their unsettledness, the shifts to which they have recourse to drown thought. It is conscience acting as judge. God has appointed conscience in each of us for this very purpose — to do this very work — to act as His representative. We speak about ' the j udgment ' &s future — as all to come. The truth is, the judgment is going on now — every day, all day long. We are judging ourselves. And when the great judgmentday shall come, the result will only need to be declared. Oh, take care how you treat this judge 1 how you deal with his sentences, how you behave after he has condemned you. I shall speak, by and by, of the way in which pardon and peace, in such a case, are to be found. 3. Conscience as a recorder and remembrancer. — In courts of law, when sentences are passed, they are recorded, and stand against the guilty person. It is the work of the clerk of court to see to this. ow, conscience does this also. It remembers — it records — it brings to mind, the evil we have done. It does not need to be written down on paper with pen and ink. It is written down the moment it is done, on the tablets of the heart, and laid past to be ready for after

use. "Who shall tell what a memory conscience has, how long and accurately and minutely it remembers, and how faithfully and fully it will bring all up again, perhaps thirty or forty or fifty years after, as if the

thing had happened yesterday? The fact that you have forgotten it meanwhile, does not matter in the least. It is all written down, leady to be recalled, whenever occasion arises. It is like documents written with a certain kind of ink. As soon as the ink is dry, the writing becomes invisible. When you look at it, you see nothing but a sheet of clean paper. But hold it before the fii-e, and in a moment it starts out, as if by magic, every letter of it distinct. You recollect how it was with King Herod. He had beheaded John the Baptist, because he reproved him for his sin. And when Jesus appeared, a mighty prophet and worker of miracles, and everyone wondered who this remarkable man could be, and some said one thing and some another, Herod, when he heard of Him, said, 'It is John the Baptist, whom I beheaded'. In a moment the picture of the murdered man started up before him. ' But how can it be he ? Is he not dead and buried ? ' ' He is risen from the dead ! said the king. Others might have forgotten all about the evil deed, but Herod's conscience had kept the record. You remember the story of the boy and the grapes — how he selfishly and greedily stole the grapes brought by a friend to a little invalid sister, as they lay on the table at her bedside. And there the matter seemed to begin and end. If there had been no conscience, it might have been so. But conscience had recorded it too faithfully to admit of that. The boy became a man. He was crossing the ocean, his vessel was wrecked, and he went down into the trough of the sea and gave himself up for lost. Wonderfully he

came to the sui-face again and was saved. And what were his thoughts when he was so near the eternal world ? The past all seemed to come anew before him, and that mean action of his boyhood — conscience held it up before him, and the voice within asked, ' Who stole sister's grapes ? ' He needed no remembrancer, no accuser but himself. We are told of a jeweller travelling with his servant, carrying a large amount of property, in jewels and money, with him. At a lonely part of the road the servant drew a pistol from his master's saddle and shot him dead, threw his bod}', with a heavy stone fastened to it, into a neighbouring canal, and made off with his booty to a distant part of the country. There he began business in a small way, doing everything in such a manner as to furnish no trace of the terrible deed. He grew in wealth and in public esteem, entering into family life, and at length becoming chief magistrate of the place. o one knew of his guilt. Dead men tell no tales, and it seemed as if he should carry the secret to his grave. But a case comes up in which a servant is accused of having murdered his master. Witnesses are brought forward, the crime is proved, and it only remains that sentence of death should be pronounced. The man of whom I am speaking is president of the court. It falls to him to pass sentence upon the murderer, when to the amazement of the onlookers, he rises from his chair, comes down from the bench, takes his place beside the criminal at the bar, tells out the story of his own

718

Ver. 19.

1 TIMOTHY I

Ver. 19.

(rime, and demands that justice shall take its course. It just needed such an event to bring all to mind, to loosen the tongue of conscience, and leave the man no choice but to publish the secret to the world. i Sometimes you hear of conscience-money. The country is defrauded by some one who has not paid I's f<jir share of the taxes levied bv the Government. He has made a false return of his income, or he has smuggled some forbidden goods, or he has not paid th tax for his dog, or otherwise he has withheld what ;:j knew to be due. Perhaps he thinks he has done a clever thini;-. But again and again it comes up. He thinks of it when he is alone. He dreams about it when he is asleep. It is an unjust and dishonourable thing, and it so haunts him that he can find no relief till he returns the ill-saved money. When you see acknowledgments of ' conscience- money ' in the newspapers, that is what is meant. ot long ago you might have seen, what I suppose is to be seen to-day, an unused postage-stamp in the crown of a gentleman's hat. A friend of mine who noticed it day after day, in a house in which he was staying, had his curiosity aroused, and at length asked what was the meaning of it, and was told that many years ago — twenty-five or thirty, I think he said — when the gentleman was in business, he gave one of his customers, who was paying an account, five shillings too much in the way of change. All these yeare

passed away, and not long ago he received a letter mentioning the fact, and telling that on the occasion of Mr. Moody's visit to the city where he lived, the dishonest customer had been awakened and brought to Christ, conscience had brought up the remembrance of the wrong, and demanded of the new convert that restitution should be made. The sum due was enclosed in postage-stamps. All the stamps but one were used in the ordinary way, and that one was stuck in the crown of the hat, as a reminder of the power of conscience in a day of awakening. I might tell you of many such things within my own knowledge, where conscience has brought back the recollection of things long forgotten. It may be easy enough just now to make light of the faults and sins of youth, turning them into an occasion of amusement, perhaps boasting of them, and then dismissing them from the mind, and feeling no further concern. And yet the record of each of them remains to come up some other day, with no possibility of denying them, and with nothing to say in excuse ; the only choice in such a case being to take the accusing conscience to Jesus that, by the sprinkling of His blood, He may satisfy and silence it, or to bear the penalty throughout a lost eternity. Sometimes, I dare say, you wonder what hell is. The word spoken to one who was there has come to us : ' Son, remember ' (Luke xvi. 25). The workings of a guilty conscience, an unsprinkled conscience, its remembrance of past sins and its terrible ujibraidings, even as felt now and here, give us some idea of the

^Dialogues on Education.

state of those who have refused the only Saviour and trampled on His cleansing blood, and are now among the lost. I do not know anything, except the love of Christ, that is more fitted to keep us from thinking lightly of sin and indulging in it, than the thought of the record that is kept of it by our own consciences, and the certainty that it will all be brought up another day, unless washed away in the atoning blood of Jesus. Beware of running in the face of conscience, of tampering with conscience. There is nothing you have such cause to fear. There is no sacrifice, no selfdenial, no reproach, no loss or .suffering, which you had not better meet, than do anything which conscience tells 30U is wrong. What is any present pleasure, or gratification, or gain, in view of what must inevitably follow ? An eminent lawyer,' who afterwards became Lord Chancellor of England, made a statement on this subject, which has often been quoted, and which I especially commend to the notice of older boys : ' It was the first command and counsel of my youth always to do what my conscience told me to be m,y duty, and leave the consequences to God. I have hitherto followed it, and have no reason to complain that my obedience to it has been even a temporal sacrifice. I have found it, on the contrary, the road to prosperity and wealth, and I shall point it out as such to my children.' — J. H. Wilson, The King's Message, p. 9'6. PILOT WA TED! ' Made shipwreck.' — i Timothy i. ig. 5,,^ .i > ? o There's nothing sadder ! To see the gallant ship clear out of the harbour with all sail set and pennons flying — like a bright, strong youth going out to face

the world— -and then to .•see the same ship, when the storm is past and the sun has come forth again, lying broken among the rocks, a poor, crushed, bruised, battered thing — this is as sad a sight as we can ever see. I have seen it, seen it many times ; seen it with ships and seen it with men and women, and it always makes the heart ache. Let me tell you about a couple of shipwrecks that have something to teach us. There was the epaul, one of the finest vessels we had in our merchant fleet. A few years ago she set out from China, homeward bound, and passed in safety through all the dangers of the great broad seas she had to cover, till she had almost reached Devonport, her destination. But there was a thick fog hanging over the waters, and the captain's signals for a pilot could not be seen. He should have anchored then and waited. Ah I it's a great thing to leai-n, when you have done all that you can do, to stand, simply stand, and wait for God to work. But the captain would not wait; he thought he knew the coast well enough to pilot his vessel himself into Devonport, and so he went on and on making for the harbour, till suddenly there was

' Lord Erskine.

719

V'er. 19.

1 TIMOTHY 1

Ver. 19.

a crash and a lurch, and the beautiful ship was a total wreck — a wreck almost within reach of the haven ! What was the captain's fault? Presumption. He would not wait for a pilot ; he thought he knew as much of the coast as the men did who spent their lives in learning. And presumption is our great sin when we think we can get to heaven without the great Pilot, Jesus Christ. We can't do it ; we may get very near ; God may be very good and very patient with us, and protect us in many dangers, but no one can enter the Good Haven unless the flag of the cross shows that Jesus has the command. Run up the flag now, let Jesus have the command of your life. When the pilot comes on board the captain steps down ; he becomes then but the chief officer, who takes his instructions from the pilot. That's how it must be with us, if we would enter the Harbour at last, with full sail and happiness, to receive an ' abundant ' entrance. Don't trust to your own knowledge or your own cleverness ; tnast Jesus, ' Jesus only,' if you would avoid the shipwreck of your life. Do it at once ; you can't tell the rocks you may have to steer through to-morrow. The other wreck was just as sad. The steamship Central America, on a voyage from ew York to San Francisco, sprang a leak in mid-ocean. A vessel, noticing her signal of distress, bore down toward her. Seeing the danger to be very great, the captain of the rescue-ship spoke to

the Central America : ' What is amiss ? ' ' We are in bad repair, and going down ; lie by till morning,' was the answer. ' Let me take your passengers on board now. ' But it was night, and the commander of the Central America did not like to send his passengei-s, for that would cost the price of their passage, and thinking the ship could be kept afloat a while longer, replied, ' Lie by till morning '. Once more the captain of the rescue-ship cried, 'You had better let me take them now'. ' Lie by till morning,' was sounded back through the trumpet. About an horn* and a half afterwards her lights were missed, and though no sound had been heard, the Central America had gone down, and all on board perished, just because it had been thought they could be saved better at another time. That is how most people are wrecked. It is by delay — by putting off" and putting off' to a more convenient season. We have never any right to study our own convenience only : we need to study the convenience of others as well, or we shall soon be all wrong, and put others wrong too. ow whatever time we may think convenient for us, there is only one time that is convenient for God. That time is ow ! ' ow is the accepted time : oiv is the day of salvation.' 'Put off", put off"!' — that is what Satan whispers. ' ow, now, ow ! ' that is what God is calling. Which voice will you obey? — J. Reid How ATT, The Children's Preacher, p. 158.

THE VOICE WITHI 'A good conscience.' — i Timothy i. ig (with Heb. x. 22). In a former address I tried to show you what conscience is — how much we stand in need of it, and what a help to us it is fitted and intended to be. The two texts to which I called attention were 1 Timothy r. 19, ' A good conscience,' and Hebrews x. 22, ' An evil conscience '. Under the first head, What conscience is, I said there are three characters in which we should look at it — as a Guide, as a Judge, and as a Recorder and Remembrancer. We go on now to consider — What it may be. — The Bible often speaks about conscience, and describes it in various ways. It speaks of a ' conscience void of offence, ' a good conscience,' ' a pure conscience,' ' a seared conscience,' ' a defiled conscience,' ' an evU conscience,' ' a purged conscience '. ow all these may be summed up under the two words — a good conscience, and an evil conscience. And when I speak of what conscience may be, I mean that it may be a good or an evil conscience. 1. A good conscience. — This expression may be used in more ways than one. It may be said of a clean or pure conscience, of a cleansed and pacified conscience, and of a tender conscience. (1) A clean or pure conscience is a 'good conscience '. In this sense the word is used in our text. When you are tempted to do something wrong, and you resist the temptation and refuse to do the wrong thing, you may be said to have kept a good conscience — to have a clean or pure conscience.

About the time of the summer holidays, some of you may be tempted to cross the wall into a neighbouring garden, where the fruit is getting ripe — strawberries, or gooseberries, or a little farther on, apples or pears or plums. The sight of them ' makes your mouth water,' you say, they look so tempting. Other boys are about to become young thieves, and are planning to steal the fruit as quietly as possible. They urge you to be one of them. For a little while there is.a struggle, partly because you would like the fruit, and partly because you feel it difficult to act differently from the other boys, and to bear their upbraiding. But conscience warns you that it would be wrong, and you do what it bids you. If you had done the wrong thing, it would have defiled your conscience ; you would have had ' au evil conscience '. Whereas you have kept your conscience pure. You have come away from the scene of temptation with ' a good conscience '. Or you are tempted to say what is not true. It seems as if it would benefit you to tell the lie. It might save you from punishment or disgrace. It might gain you a place in your class, or success in your game, or the approval of others. But because God and conscience forbid it, you say to yourself, ' o ! othing shall induce me. I should scorn to be a liar.' And though you lose the place or the game or the advantage otherwise, you keep your ¦ good conscience '.

720

Ver. 19.

1 TIMOTHY I

Ver. 19.

You are tempted to be disobedient, to be indolent, to neglect your work, to do some forbidden thing. It falls in with your wishes. You would like to do it, but you know it to be wrong. Conscience says — o. Keep your conscience pure. Do not sully it. Every wrong thing you say or do leaves a stain on your conscience — just like a black mark on a white piece of cloth or a sheet of paper, and your great concern should be not to have your conscience thus made black and foul. This applies alike to those who are Christians and to those who are not. The best conscience has stains enough, and, as we shall see, needs to be cleansed. But in so far as your decision as to any action or course of conduct is concerned, it is of the last importance to keep your conscience clean. I need not say that this is not easy. It requires a constant effort — aye, a constant fight. Paul knew what this was. Good man as he was, he requu-ed to be ever on the watch to keep his conscience pure. He says, ' Herein do I exercise myself ' — I am at pains — I take trouble — it is an object of constant thought and effort to me — •' to have a conscience void of offence both toward God and toward man '. And it is well worth all the trouble you can take to have it so. Do not, for the world, defile or outrage conscience by doing what it forbids. Whether other people see it or know it, or what they may think of it, is of little consequence. The keeping of ' a good conscience ' is important above all else. Peter urged it on those to whom he wrote : 'Having a good conscience'. And again — 'The

answer of a good conscience toward God '. And Paul says : ' For this is our rejoicing — the testimony of our conscience '¦ — ' For we trust we have a good conscience '. (2) A cleansed and pacified conscience is a ' good conscieTice '. Perhaps some of you say, ' Alas, what you have said about the pure conscience, is of little concern to me. At least, it can only be a thing of the futuj'C to me. What about the ^jas< .^ My conscience troubles me. It is defiled. It is burdened and guilty. I have done over and over many things which it told me not to do. And it accuses me ; it condemns me. Sometimes I do not know what to do. How can / have a good conscience ? Is it possible for me ? Must I not carry my bad conscience with me to the end of my days, and even to the judgment-seat? I know well what conscience is as a judge — a condemning judge; can thei'e be hope for me ?' ow it is here that the Gospel comes in with the good news of cleansing for the conscience. It not only tells of provision of grace and streni!,th in the Lord Jesus, to enable us to keep the conscience clean and do what it bids. It does more. It tells of pardon for sin, through the Blood of Christ, who, by taking the guilt of sin upon Himself, and dying in the sinner's stead, removes the guilt, washes out the stains, and so brings back peace to the conscience. There is no consiience that does not need this cleansing — that does not need it again and again, whether

the conscience is troubled about the sin or not. There is great danger of thinking that our conscience is so pure that it does not need cleansing. And there is great danger, when conscience is burdened and troubled because of sin, of seeking to get quit of

its burden and to find peace in a wroi:g way. There is but one right and safe and effectual wav ot cleansing and pacifying the conscience. There is but ore remedy for an evil conscience, and that is — the Blood of Christ. There are two passages in the Epistle to the Hebrews which refer to this, ' How much more shall the Blood of Christ purge (or cleanse) your conscience' (ix. 14) — and 'Having our hearts sprinkled (i.e. with the Blood of Christ) from an evil conscience ' (x. 22). Thank God, the worst conscience that ever was has thus got cleansing and peace. Some of the greatest sinners that ever lived — thieves, drunkards, murderers, whose consciences were all defiled, whose sins cried to heaven for vengeance, who could get no rest daj or night, and almost felt as if hell had begun on earth — have come to Jesus, have taken Him as their Saviour, and got cleansing and peace through His Blood, so that even they had a ' good conscience '. There is no one who may not get this cleansed and pacified conscience — no sinner who may not get it for the first time, no believer who may not get it again. There is one remark, however, which I think it important to make here. Even where the conscience is sprinkled with the cleansing and peace-speaking blood, there must also be the putting away of the evil thing — the restoration of what has been taken from another — confession made to the injured peison of wrong done, and restitution made as far as that is possible. For example, you may have taken something belonging to another — money, or some article, such as a knife or book or the like, and your conscience is troubled about it. You know you have done wi'ong. You feel unhappy about it. You ask what you shall do. It is not enough to confess the sin to God, and seek forgiveness and cleansing through the Blood of Christ. The thing taken must he restored.

That is essential. ot a moment should be lost in giving back the stolen article. You have no more right to keep it than you had before. If you have falsely accused some one, have laid the blame on him of what you knew he was innocent of, so that he has suffered through your false accusation, then the truth must be told, and he must be thoroughly cleared. Justice and fair play demand that. This was just what Zaccheus did, when he received Christ as his Saviour. He was a rich publican or gatherer of the public taxes, and we may believe him to have done what so many other publicans did — to have oppressed and defi auded the poor, who had no power to resist. As soon as he came to Christ for the cleansing, he set about putting right what had been wi'ong, and the first thing he said was : ' Lord, the half of my goods I give to the poor, and if I have

721

46

Ver. 19.

1 TIMOTHY I

Ver. 19.

taken aD3-thing from any man by false accusation, / restore him fourfold '. That was his way of getting conscience put right. I can fancy some boy having a favourite knife, which he took or got wrongly fi'om another boy. He would not like to part with it. It has almost become a part of himself. He would not think of taking a country stroll, or going to fish, or even going to school without it. Could he not get conscience cleansed, and yet keep the knife? I say emphatically, o. It must go back at once to its rightful owner, or there cannot be 'a good conscience '. I have heard of an Indian having a dollar which did not belong to him. Pointing to his breast, he said, ' I got a good man and a bad man here, and the good man say, the dollar is not mine : I must return it to the owner ' ; and so he did. He could not have got the ' good conscience ' otherwise. You remember the story of the postage-stamp in the crown of the hat, of which I told you. The five shillings had to be returned, after twenty-five years, or there could have been no ' good conscience '. (3) A tender conscience is a 'good conscience'. This comes pretty near my first remark. Still I am anxious to call special attention to it, and I have put it third instead of second, because it seems to come in most suitably after speaking of the cleansed and pacified conscience. If I can get peace for my conscience by going to the blood of Christ, does it matter very much my sinning again ? Ah, yes. I once fell and got my right arm broken. But the doctor set it, and to-day it is as well and strong as

ever. Do you think I should wish to have it broken again, because I could get it put right a second time, and have it strong and well once more ? Would I not rather be more careful than befoi-e, and avoid the place where I met with my accident ? I heard the other day of a man having a ' strong conscience '. That is to say, he could go a great length and do very questionable things, without his conscience being troubled. Perhaps in order to create a laugh, or to be thought clever and make himself ' good company,' as it is called, he might exaggerate or go beyond the exact and literal truth, without it disturbing his conscience much. ow that is not a tender conscience. ' Old Humphrey,' speaking of such a one, says that he ' puts too much red in the bi'ush ! ' All such things should be avoided. It is very important to cultivate tenderness of conscience. Even if a thing is not altogether wrong or bad — if it has a doubtful look about it, it should not be done. There are some pieces of machinery which the smallest pin would damage or stop. Take a watch and let a grain of sand get into it, and all would go wrong. Let a gi'ain of sand get into your eye, and you know what comes of it. ow your conscience should, in this respect, just be like the watch — should just be like your eye — the least thing of wrong should he feared, a,nd felt, and avoided — and if it does get in, there should be no rest till it is out !

2. An evil conscience. — I might have spoken here of a conscience that is satisfied with itself when God is not satisfied with it — a conscience that thinks itself clean or pure, when it is far otherwise — a conscience that clings to its own ' dead works,' and that needs to be ' purged ' or cleansed, in order that there may be a right serving of the living God. I wish,

however, to confine myself to two remarks. (1) A burdened or guilty conscience mav be said to be an ' evil conscience '. It is, indeed, a good and not an evil thing when conscience is awakened out of its sleep, and begins to do its proper work of telling the sinner of his sin, and alarming him about it. That is better than to have a sleeping conscience — a dumb conscience — a dead conscience. We have cause to be thankful when conscience is fairly aroused and speaks out for God — all the more where it gives one no rest, until he has gone to the Lord Jesus to get pardon and peace from Him. In that case it is no more evil than it is evil when a man who has been sleeping or unconcerned amid the flames is awakened to a sense of his true condition, and has become alarmed about it, and earnestly seeks to escape. It does not make his case worse than before. It only makes him more alive to the real state of things. But what I have more especially in view in this remark is the opposite of the clean conscience — is the defiled conscience — the conscience that has guilt lying on it when wrong is done. When temptation comes and you yield to it, knowing that it is wrong, conscience, as guide and judge, protests against it, and pronounces sentence on you as guilty ; and from that moment you have a guilty or evil conscience. Which of us does not know what that is ? — a conscience that has been disregarded, and that is aggrieved, at not ha\-ing been listened to, amid all its warnings and protestings ? The conscience of which I am now speaking is unlike either the pure conscience or the cleansed conscience. It is no longer pure, and it is not yet cleansed. The sinner is like the criminal whom the policeman has seized in the very act of committing the crime, and whom he still holds by the throat,

without his being able to get away, there being no one as yet to pav the fine or other penalty, and to set him free. I have no doubt I am speaking to some now, who have this ' eV\\ conscience'. You cannot go back on your past life — you cannot go back on the past week, without things being called up that fill you with shame and discomfort and sorrow. What would you not now give that these things had never been done ? They lie like lead on your heart. They burn like fire. Some of you may have read of one who had been thinking of death and eternity, and whose conscience had been touched, as he heaid the ticking of the old clock that stood in the corner of the room where he was working. It called up the sins of his past life, especially that of forgetting and rejecting God, and with audible voice it seemed to say, ' For

722

Ver. 19.

1 TIMOTHY 1

Ver. 19.

ever — where ? For ever — where ? For ever — v,HERE ? ' After a while he could bear it no longer. He rose, put his finger on the pendulum, and stopped

the clock, as if that could silence the voice within. But it could not. And it was not until he had cast himself as a helpless sinner into the arms of.Iesus that he found rest. To anyone similarly troubled with an evil cjnscience, from whatever cause, I would say, ' Go thou and do likewise '} (2) A seared conscience is an evil conscience. This is where there is no feeling — whei'e one is past feeling — where conscience has been so often disregarded and outraged that it ceases to warn any longer, and one can sin without compunction — without fear — without shame. This does not come about all at once. It is the result of repeating sin egain and again and again, till what was difficult at first becomes easy — till what made one miserable and cost many an anxious and bitter thought, and needed much resolution to do it, is scarcely thought of The Scripture expression is, ' having their conscience seared with a hot iron '. Take a hot iron and touch your hanti or any part of your body with it — how it burns — how it blisters — how it smarts all day long — how you look at it a hundred times ! But repeat it again and again, and each time you feci it less, till at length you do not feel it at all. The tender skin has become hai'd and thick and unfeeling — almost like a piece of wood or leather. So it is with conscience. At first it is tender, the slightest thing disturbs it. Like a sentinel at his post it warns of danger. It says, ' o passage this way. This cannot be allowed.' But by and by it is like the sentinel who has become sleepy or drunk or dead ; anyone might come, anything might be done, and there would be no protest or hindrance. And this is what persistence in any sin — in any evil way, is ever bringing nearer. There are boys who blushed at their first oath, their first lie, their first little act of dishonesty, who are now utterly shameless, and could lie or swear or steal without misgiving.

This may be easier and pleasanter than to have a troubled conscience, but it is not safer. Here is a young man who had been suffering terribly from disease in his limb — so much so that he could scarcely bear it. One morning, when the doctor came in, he said, ' Doctor, the pain is gone '. ' Surely,' you say, ' that is a good sign.' Alas ! no. The doctor shook his htad, and as he went out, said, 'the worse for him ! ' Mortification had set in. Death had begun. An awakened conscience may be terrible enough, but a seared conscience is worst and most hopeless of all. Many people drown conscience by plunging deeper into sin. Many seek relief by rushing into drink. And yet what is this like ? It is like the ostrich when pursued, thrusting its head into the sand, and because it no longer sees its pursuers, fancying that all is safe. It is like sailors in a storm, fljing to the spirit casks and drugging themselves with drink, so ' Daniel Quorm, first series, by Mai'k Guy Pearse.

as not to see their danger — so as to drown their fears, thus taking away all hope of escape. When one's conscience is seared, and he can do wrong without a pang, we might shake our head like the doctor, and say, ' the worse for him ! ' What it Leads to. — What is the e^eci of having a good or evi I conscience ? I. A good conscience leads to happiness and peace — an evil conscience to misery a;id despair. Have you not found it so ? When you have done what IS right, when you have resisted temptation, when you have refused to do the wrong — however difficult and even painful it might be at the time — have you not felt a glow of joy and happiness after-

wards that was a full recompense ? And so, when you have got the guilty conscience cleansed — when you have taken your sin to Jesus and laid it upon Him, and looked in faith to His precious blood — what relief and rest and blessing there has been ! And, on the other hand, what misery comes of the ' evil conscience ' ! There is not one of all whom I aildiess who does not know it. However pleasant the thing may be, in prospect or at the moment, it is no sooner done than it brings its punishment with it, in the shape of unhappiness, depression, discomfort. Oh ! who shall describe the wretchedness, the sinking of heart, the despair of an evil conscience ? Thei'e is no illness, no bodilv suffering ever to be compared to it. John Bunyan gives us a picture of it in the Pilgrim's Progress, in ' the man in the iron cage ' — imprisoned, without hope, and feeling that he has brought it all upon himself A ' good conscience ' is a better blessing than any the world can give. An ' evil conscience ' is the most terrible of all cuises. 2. A good conscience inspires with courage, independence and fearlessness — an evil conscience fills with cowardice and shame. ' The wicked flee when no man pureueth : but the righteous are bold as a lion.' You all know this. When you have done wrong, how ashamed you feel — how you start — how you fear being discovered — how you blush — how your heart beats ! When any reference seems made to the matter — how you fancy everybody knows it — how you cringe to those who are in the secret and so have you in their power- — -how you lose your independence, and are alraid to do anything that would displease them — how you do not care to be left in the dark, or to be alone ! It is an evil conscience that makes people cowards. Adam ' hid himself from the Lord God among the trees of the garden '. Wh>- ? He had an evil conscience. Felix, the Roman governor, ' trembled ' before Paul his prisoner. Why ? He had an evil conscience. Herod was in terror when

he heard of Jesus, and could not be persuaded that He was not John the Baptist, whom he had beheaded. Why ? He had an evil conscience. On the other hand, when a man has the testimonj of a good conscience nothing can daunt him. He needs to fear nobody. He is not afraid of anything being found out. He is independent. Like the ' Village Blacksmith ' —

723

Ver. 16.

1 TIMOTHY IV., VI

Ver. 6.

He looks the whole world in the face. For he owes not any man. Any boy who wishes to be brave and fearless— let him study to have a ' good conscience '. I give that as the best of all prescriptions for a brave spirit. Though the whole world were ajjainst you, it does not matter. You may be unjustly blamed — you may suffer wrongly, but the ' good conscience ' will besr you up, or rather God will, and sooner or later all will come right.

I think it is Mrs. Gatty who, in one of her interesting and instructive volumes, tells of a young servant who was charged with stealing a valuable jet necklace. It had been left in the room where she was. obody had been there but herself and it had disappeared. She could only deny the theft. She could give no explanation. She was dismissed from her situation in disgrace, and her father, who was gaidener in the place, also got his leave. But she canned with her a good conscience. And in course of time, when the roof of the house was being repaired and the plumbers came to clean the gutter, there was the missing necklace, where no hand could have put it. It was found that a tame jackdaw hnd carried it out at the open window, and so the young servant was cleared. I have heard of a young grocer's boy, Frank , being asked by a fellow-apprentice to accompany him on his Sabbath excursions, and when he refused, being persecuted in every possible way. One thing after another disappeared from the shop, and when at last a sovereign went amissing, a policeman was brought in, Frank was searched, the gold piece was found sewed into the lining of his jacket, and he was taken off to prison. And what supported the poor lad ? His ' good conscience '. In two days the truth came out, the real culprit was discovered, and Frank returned home in triumph. A conscientious person has always the best of it. He is trusted and respected. It is a!ioi:t the best thing that can be said of anyone, that he is ' thoroughly conscientious '. I can hardly wish you an^-thing letter than that you should be conscientious Christians. In closing this address, I would earnestly express the hope that all my youthful readers may bear this honourable character. It is better than to be rich, or clever, or learned. It is worthy of your highest ambition and unceasing effort. And

let me add that, as you should be jealous of tampering with your own consciences, so you should beware of tampering with the consciences of others. Let the rule for youi-selves, and for others as far as you can influence them, be — Keep conscience as the noontide clear. — J. H. Wilson, The King's Message, p. 111. THE 'LIO SERMO ' I Timothy iv. i6 ; i Peter v. 5-11. Quite lately there was a curious service held in an old church in London. It was on the Kith of October theie was preached

in the church of St. Katheiine Cree, Leadenhall Street, what was called the ' Lion Sermon '. It is preached every year on 16th October. It has been preached every year in that same church for the last two hundred and fifty years. If you wanted to be present and would go a little earlier than the hour, you would hear the most lovely chime of bells — a chime beginning in the ordinary w'ay, only more softly pealing, and then breaking into h\inn tunes — ¦' Siui of my soul,' 'Abide with me,' ' The happy land,' and the like. Then there is the service, made very short ; then the event of the evening — the sermon, the ' Lion sermon '. And this is what the people present that Tuesday evening heard. Theie was once in the city a veiy pious man, called Sir John Gayer (or Gair). At one time he was Lord

Mayor of London. Sir John happened to be in Asia at one period of his life. And when he, with his caravan, was travelling through a desert place, he found himself face t:> face and alone with a lion. Everybody of his comj^any who could have helped him had gone forward. Sir John knew that only God could deliver him. He thought of Daniel in the den of lions. He perhaps thought of Paul, who at one time was expecting to meet un emperor who was as cruel as a lion. And he fell on his knees there before the beast and shut his eyes and cried to God to shut the mouth of the lion. And when he had finished his prayer and opened his eyes, the lion was nowhere to be seen. So w'hen he came back to London he set aside a sum of money to be given away in gifts to poor people every 16th of October, and to secure that a sermon should be preached to tell the generations to come how God heard his prayer and delivered him from the mouth of the lion. Lions ? This was an actual lion. Lions ? There are stone monuments of them ! In abbeys and cathedrals 30U may see knights with their feet resting on the lion. The lion the knights sought to trample was the evil spirit which goeth about like a roaring lion. Perhaps you may never have to face an actual lion. But this other lion you will have to face. Who is to help you to subdue tli;<,t ? Only God. There is the lion of sloth. There is the lion of passionate anger. There is the lion of untruthfulness. There is the lion that rends the soul (Ps. vii.).

There is the lion that waits secretly for his prey. ¦ — Ai-iiXA DEE Macij:od, The Child Jesus, p, 103. GREAT GAI {A ew Year's Sermon) « Godliness with contentment is great gain.'— i Timothy vi. 6. A Happy ew Year to you, the best and brightest that vou have ever had ! ' What is the good of wish'n<2' us that?' says surly Bill. ' It does not bring us anything. I've wished for things hundreds of times, and nothing ever came."

724

Ver. G.

I TIMOTHY VI

Ver. 6.

Well, it is a very pleasant thing to feel that people love us enough to wish us any good ; and it means that they would give us what they wish for if they could. So I will wish j'ou a Happy ew Year; ;ind as I can't give it to you I will do what is perhaps better — I will try and show you how to get it tor yourselves. ow there is one thing I wish for you

all. I wonder if you could guess what it is. Sometimes I go into the gruat city of London, and see all the people hurrying along — crowds of men and woman, and even boys and girls : they are all hurrying after what I wish for you. And away in the country the ploughman ploughs for it, and the miller grinds for it, and the woodman fells for it, and the miner goes down the deep dark pit for it, and the fisherman puts out to sea to look lor it. All the busy world is eager to get it. It is gain — great gain. And that is what I wish for you — great gain. Once there was a king who had immense wealth. He had a throne of ivory overlaid with gold, and six ivory steps, with carved lions on each step, leading up to it, and a foot-stool of gold. Almost all the things in his house were of gold. As to horses and chariots, he had so many that there were four thousand stalls to keep them in. And ever}' three years his ships came in, bringing gold and silver, and ivory, and apes, and peacocks. If ever a man knew what gold could do, this great king did. He was as wise as he was rich, and he said that there was a gain which was more than pure gold. Years afterwards there lived a man who gave up all he had and went about preaching. He was very poor. Often he was in want. He went through all kinds of dangers, now in wrecks, and now amongst robbers, and now amongst cruel men. And he who was .so poor says just the same thing as the king who was so rich. He sajs, ' Godliness with contentment is great gain'. And this is what I wish you all — ^this godliness with contentment that is great gain. Godline.ss is a long word that you may not understand. But we can make it into two short words that you can easily see the meaning of It is God-likeness, to be like God ; that is, to be true, and good, and loving. And that is more than all the wealth and splendour of

the king. This is great gain, because it is something in us — in our hearts. The great gain is a good heart. God-likeness is great gain. But Grod-likeness is not all. Godliness with contentment is great gain. It is a dreadful thing for anybody to be discontented, but it is very much worse for a religious man, because it ought not to he so. It is wrong, and he could set it right it he would. If men have good and true and loving hearts, they ought to have contentment. It reminds me of a rich man who had nothing to do, and he got a fancy into his head that he was very ill. He lay in bed all day long, and took all kinds of medicines, and sighed and groaned about his .symptoms, and really thought that he had enough to feel very ill about, and that he was

going to die. One day a clever doctor that I knew came to see him, and found that he was quite well ; but how could he make the man know it ? At last he said, ' I think. Sir, you should go to the .south ot rrancc . ' Oh, I could never get there ! ' groaned the poor man. ' Well, I will go with you and take you.' The rich man was glad enough to pay the doctor for going, and the doctor wanted a hulidaj- — so they started. But as soon as they got to France the doctor made him get up at six o'clock in the morning, bustled about with him in cabs and trains, and made him walk two or three miles at a stretch. And he had to do it, or the doctor would have left him behind in strange, out-of-the-way places. So gradually the

rich man began to find that he could do it all — could get up and walk about, and eat and work like other people. And so these good people ought to be contented ; and they could be if they set themselves to be so. They ought to have godliness with contentment. This is what I wish for you all — Godliness, with contentment, which is great gain. ow, you can think of one or two ways in which it is greater gain than gold. We can always have this gain with us. You remember the story of the king who went to fight in the East, and, as he came home, he was taken prisoner, and shut up until somebody should send money for a ransom. There, a poor lonely prisoner, how he would think about his kingdom and his throne, about his crown and jewels and all his gold — how he wished that he had them with him. But they were a long way off", and could not help him now. All that gain of his was of no use to the poor prisoner. But when we have this gain of godliness with contentment we carry it with us wherever we go. St. Paul, who said this, took it with him into prison, and he sang there, quite happy, and in all kinds of strange places he was always rejoicing. Long ago, people usetl to talk about a philosopher's stone which turned whatever it touched to gold. This ' great gain ' is the true philosopher's stone. Contentment in the heart makes everything golden. And then, again, it is great gain because we can take it with us when we must leave all other gain behind. Have you ever read about William the Conqueror, the great king who had such wealth, and lived in such splendour ? When he was dying in France, all his friends left him to secure their own property, and as soon as he was dead even the servants took what they could anil hurried away. The dead body of the great conqueror was left almost naked on the floor. He who had his thousands of followers

could hardly find a kiniily friend to bury him. He who had so great a realm could hardly find a grave. He was dead, and he left all his great gain behind. But when St. Paul was an old man he had this godliness with contentment in his heart, and he felt that he could take his great gain with him. He said, 'To die is gain '. And this was the g lin : ' Henceforth

72.5

Vv. 6-9.

1 TIMOTHY VI

Vv. 6-9.

there is laid up for me a crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, shall give me at that day '. — Mark Guy Pearse, Sermons for Children, p. 110. THE LITTLE THOR TREE' I Timothy vi. 6-9. Co TEKTME T is great gain. Be pleased to be what you are, and be pleased with the things yon have. Some children, when they grow a little and begin

to look about them, and see there are houses grander than their own home, and people richer than their parents, begin to be discontented. Then they begin to put discontent into words and say : — The old house, it is too old. The clothes, they are not fine enough. The holidays, they are too short. The people we know, they are not grand enough. If we could only be richer, grander, finer-looking, and more surrounded by great friends ! othing they have pleases them ; only something they have not would please them. The German people are the great story-telling people of Europe. A famous stoiy of theu-s is about a tree. It is this : — In a deep forest in the German land lived a little tree which had this kind of discontent. It was a thorn tree and might have lived a happy life, for it was strong, and nobody troubled it. But it was not satisfied. ' Why do I have hard, bare, prickly thorns ? ' it said. ' Other trees have leaves : I only ugly thorns. If I had my wish, I should have leaves of gold.' And although it is a strange thing to tell, the little ' From a German ballad by Friedrich Riickert.

thorn tree had its wish. When the next day dawned, it saw that it had leaves of gold. And the light of the sun shone on the golden leaves, and the tree made

a splendid show. The little tree laughed for joy. But in the midst of its joy a robber came. ' Gold ! ' he cried, ' leaves of gold ! That is splendid for me.' So he plucked off every leaf, put them in his pockets, and went on. At night the poor tree was quite bare. It was very much cast down. But once more it was allowed to wish. And this time it wished leaves of glass. So leaves of glass grew on the branches. And the morning sun came out and shone on the leaves, and it was a great sight. The little tree clapped its hands for joy. I3ut when night came, there arose a storm. It came crashing through the wood, breaking the branches, overturning the trees : at last it came to the little glass-leaved tree. And with one mighty blast it shattered the leaves into fragments. And the little tree had sorrow once more. But once again it was allowed to wish. This time it wished for green soft leaves like other trees. These came, and then, when it was glad for their beauty, the little goats came and began to lift up their mouths and bite and nibble, until before night every leaf was eaten, and the tree was bare. Then the discontented tree saw its folly. ' I was not pleased with my thorns,' it said. ' But thorns are best foi' me.' So it wished back the thorns, and the thoms came back. Robbers did not touch them ; storms did not break them ; goats did not eat them. At last with the things given by its Maker it was contented. — Alexander Macleod, The Child Jesus, p. 120.

726

THE SECO D EPISTLE TO TIMOTHY

A GOOD SOLDIER • A good soldier of Jesus Christ.' — 2 Timothy ii. 3. All Christians may be regarded as soldiers. I. The Enlistment. — Voluntary self-surrender. II. The Drill. — ' Exercise thyself unto godliness.' III. The Warfare. — ' Put on the whole armour,' etc. In conclusion. If we are not on the side of Christ we are on the side of the enemv. ' He that is not with Me is against Me.' — Seeds and Saplings, p. 62. THE GE TLE HEART ' Be gentle unto all men.' — 2 Timothy ii. 24, The other day a friend brought me a song which was sung in Italy six hundred years ago. He called it ' The Song of the Gentle Heart '. It is a song in praise of gentleness in the life, and of gentle deeds and words and thoughts. And what the song says is that all gentleness has its home in the heart ; and that unless there be gentleness in the heart there can be none in the life. At the time this song was sung, there were many who thought that gentleness could only be found in palaces and castles, and among the people who

dress in splendid clothes. But the song says that it may also be found in the most humble cottages, and among people whose hands are rough with daily toil. It is the gentle heart which makes people gentle. Whether a home be rich or poor, if those who live in it have gentle hearts, that home is the dwelling-place of gentlefolks. After hearing this song I could think of nothing else. The words of the old singer kept sounding like music in my soul. And I also, as if I had got back his eyes, began to see his visions. And all the bypast week these visions have been coming to me. When I went out into the country, they met me in lonely roads. When I went into the town, I saw them in the crowded streets. ight and day, and every day, they came. And every day they seemed brighter than the day before. At last I said, I will bring them into my words to the children, and they shall be visions for them as well as for me. I will call them Visions of the Gentle Heart I. One of the first visions of the Gentle Heart I saw came to me hid under the rough form of an old Roman soldier. If I had seen him only when he was dressed for battle, I should not have thought of him as gentle. I should have seen him carrying a sword to kill men with, and a shield to defend himself from being killed by others. And as he had

other soldiers under him, I might have heard him speaking to them in a loud, commanding way, and telling them to do hard and cruel things. But when I saw him his swoid and shield were hanging on the wall, and he was sitting beside a

little bed in his room in the soldiers' barrac-ks. After one of his dreadful battles he had got for his share of the spoil a little boy who had been taken captive — a poor little boy, torn away from father and mother, and forced to be a slave. He was the slave of this soldier ; he cooked his food, he tidied his room, he polished his armour, he went his errands. Just a little slave — nothing higher. This roughlooking soldier might have beaten him every day if he liked ; nobody would have found fault. He was his own property — ;)ust as his horse was — just as his dog was — and he might have sold him like any other property. But under the outside roughness of this soldier was a gentle heart. He did not beat his slave ; he loved him ; he looked upon him as his own son ; he let the little man have a home in his heart. It was a joy to him to see the child happy ; it was a grief to him to see him sad. And it was a great grief to him when one day the little slave fell sick. Then the rough soldier was as tender as a mother could be. He sat by his bed ; he watched over him day and night. Many a time, I am sure, as the thought came into his heart, ' My little boy will die,' the hot tears came rolling down his cheeks. And he thought the boy was really about to die ; the little fellow's breathing became more feeble, his face gi'ew very pale, his eyes were closed. One day as the big soldier was sitting by the little bed somebody came in and said, ' A great prophet has come to the town. Jesus of azareth has come.' ' Jesus of azareth ? ' the soldier said ; ' the healer of sickness ? Oh, that He would heal my boy ! ' But then this thought came into his mind, ' I am a soldier of the nation that is ill-treating the Jews.

I am not worthy that a Jew so good as He should do anything for me.' Then other thoughts came, and in his great love for the boy, and knowing that Jesus could heal him, he at last ventured to send this humble message : ' O my Lord, my servant is near to die, and Thou art able to save from dying. I am not worth}' that Thou shouldst visit my house. But only speak the word, and he shall live. Thou art Lord of health and sickness, as I am a lord of soldiei-s. Say to this sickness, " Depart," and it will depart. Say to health, " Go to this soldier's servant," and health will come to him, and he shall live.'

727

Ver. 24.

2 TIMOTHY II

Ver. 24.

ow when Jesus received that message, a great joy came into His heart ; and He said to health, ' Go to that soldier's little servant, and make him well, for I have not found a heart so gentle as his master's — no, not in all Israel '. A nd He had no sooner spoken out on the street than the thing He commanded was done. Health came back to the sick boy in the soldier's house. The eye

in which there had been no light opened ; a little smile passed over the worn face as he saw his dear master still nursing him. And the gentle heart of the master swelled up in thankful joy, as he stooped down and ki.ssed the child whom Jesus had made well again. II. My next vision also took me back to old times, but not so far back as my first. It was to times that were very evil I was taken. There was a wide open place in an ancient city, and a great crowd of people standing far off in a ring. Inside the ring were priests and soldiers in black cloaks and red. In the centre was a stake of wood, with faggots of wood piled round about it. And there, chanied to the stake in the midst of the faggots, was an holy man of God, whom evil priests were about to burn, not because he was bad, but because he had preached the Gospel of Christ to men. Then I saw the evil men putting a light to the faggots ; and I s,iw that the faggots were wet, and slow to catch fire, and the slow burning of the fire was a great agony to the m;in at the stake. And then came to me tills strange but real gleam of the Gentle Heart. Out fi'om the crowd stepped an old woman with a bundle of dried faggots and some straw. She set them on the pile on the side the wind was, and they blazed up at once. And I saw a look of thankfulness come over the face of the poor sufferer as he said, half speaking to God, and half to her, ' Oh, holy simplicity ! ' It was the holy simplicity of the Gentle Heart. She could not bear to see his slow jiain. Since he was to die for Christ, for Christ's sake she shortened his suffering. III. That vision faded, and instead of the evil fire I saw a beautiful garden in Geneva. I saw a young

couple with happy faces come out of the house, come down the garden walk, and seat them.selves beside a beehive. It is Huber the student and Aimee, his beautiful wife. What we read now in books about the queen bee and the other bees, and the honey and the wax, was found out for the most part by this man. He spent his life in the study of bees. But look ! he is blind. He has been blind for years. He will live till he is an old man, and be blind to the end. And yet to the end he will watch the ways and find out the secrets of the bees. And he will be able to do this because the gentle Aimee is by his side. Her friends said to her, ' Do not marry Francis Hiiber, he has become blind '. But she said, ' He therefore needs me more than ever now '. And she married him, and ¦was his happy wife and fellow-student forty years. She was eyes to the blind. She looked into the hive.s.

and he wrote down what she saw. And she never tired of this work, and she did it with her whole s id. And the story of the bees, as it was seen and written in that garden bj* these two, will be read in schools and colleges when Hiiber and his beautiful Aimee are themselves forgotten. It is a hundred years ago since they began to study the bees together, and they are both long since dead. But still shines out for me in the long, helpful, patient and loving service of Aimee, the Gentle Heart. And it was of that very heart, I am certain, her husband was thinking in his old age, when he .said, ' Aimee will never be old to me. To me she is still the fair young girl I saw when I had eyes to see, and who afterwards, in her gentleness, gave the blind student her life and her love.' IV. After that I saw an island on the coast of Africa. And in the island I saw a house for lepers, with a great

high wall round about it. And I beheld, when a leper or anyone else entered that house, that the gates of the great walls were shut upon them, and they never more were allowed to come out. The house was filled with lepers — lepers living, lepei's dying — and no one to care for their sufferings or speak to them of God. Then I beheld two Moravian missionaries bidding farewell to their friends on the shore, crossing over to the island, coming up to the gates, and passing in amongst the sick and the dying, to nurse them, to preach to them, to live with them, and never more go out from among them, till they should be carried out dead. V. Among my Christmas cards this year was one from a dear old friend in the north. And among mv visions of the Gentle Heart was one in which he was the centre. It is a long while now since he retired from business and turned for work to his garden and his flowers. But it is nearly as long since, as he went along the crowded streets of the town in which he lives, and saw homeless boys and girls on the pavement, the thought came into his heart to gather the orphans among them into a home. So he gave only a part of his time to his garden ami his flowers, and the rest to provide this home. And the home was built, and the homele.ss ones gathered into it — a large family now. And in that home, and for that home, my friend spends many a happy hour. He is justly looked upon as the father of the home. Yet he is so modest that his name never appears in the reports of the home, except among the names of the directors, and those %vho give money for its support. Once, indeed, he was taken by surprise : the other directors asked as a gi'eat favour to have his portrait for the home. And if you were going there, and asking the children whose portrait it was, they would answer, ' It is the portrait of our papa '. One year some failure in bank or railway made

him much poorer, and he could not give the twenty pounds ^vhich he had given to the home each year. He might have said quite honestly, ' I am sorry, but I can't aflPord to give my twenty pounds this year '. But the gentle heart had somethinu; more in it than

728

Ver. 24.

2 TIMOTHY II

Ver. 24.

honesty. That very year a now flower had been brought to London from Japan, and each plant of it cost a pound. The oiphans' papa sent to London for a plant, took it into his greenhouse, cut it into twenty bits, and struck a new plant out of each. Then he sold his twenty plants at on;^ pound each. And so that year too there was joy in this Gentle Heart that he was still able to pav his twenty pounds to help to l)less little orphan cliildren. VL Then I saw a vision of a rich man's son. In the city of' Glasgow omc lived a worthy merchant, whose children 1 knew. As God had blessed him in his buying and selling, he became a rich mail. And having a great love for country life, he took his riches and bought some fields on which he had played and

gathered Howers when a child, and also the mansion in which the old laird of the place was wont to live. There was just one thing he forgot to do; he forgot to make his will, and say to whom the mansion and fields should go when he died. So by and by, when he died, no will could be found. ow he left behind him his wife, four daughters, and an only son. But as no will had been made, the mansion, and the fields, and a great part of all his riches, came to this only son. He was in London when the news came that his father had died, and that he was now a rich man. Just at that moment money would have been very useful to him, for he was a young merchant beginning life, and no one would have blamed him if he had said, ' The money is welcome, and with it I shall push my new business on '. But God had given him a Gentle Heart. He left London as soon after he got the news as he could get a train. And although it was late in the day when he arrived at his native city, the first thing he did was to go to the house of a friend who wi-itesont wills. And that friend, at his request, wrote out a will by which the mansion and the fields were made over to his mother all her days — and all the rest, both land and money, which his father had left, was divided, share-and-share alike, between her, his sisters, and himself. And when that was all fixed, he went to his home and buried his father. Somebody said to him afterwards, ' But why did you go that veiy night and have the will made out ? ' He said, ' I that . ight saw that it was my duty to do it. If I had left it till next day, my duly might not have seemed so clear.' That is the way of the Gentle Heart. VII. One vision of a Gentle Heart came to me out of the years when I was at school. Among my classfellows was a Jewish boy. His real name was John, but some of the bigger boys had given him the name of Isaac, and by that name he was known. He was

ashy, timid-looking boy, tall and slender, with a little stoop. He was very clever at making musical toys. He used to bring pan-pipes and singing reeds and wood whistles to the school. Sometimes he brought a little flute, and in play-hours, when the bigger scholars were at their games, he would stand leaning against the wall, with a crowd of little fellows around him, whom he taught to play on his simple reeds

and whistles, or to whom he played on his little flute. I sat beside him at school, and got to know him well ; and I never knew him to tell a lie, or do a base, or mean, or cruel thing. And I do not think as much could be said of any other boy amongst us all at that school during the years when he was there. He helped the backward boys with their lessons. I have seen him oftcner than once sharing his lunch with a schoolfellow that had none ; and although he had no quarrels of his own, he took up the quarrels of the little boys when the bullies were ill-treating them. One day he saw a big lad of fifteen beating a little fellow of eleven. ' ow, Tom,' he called out, ' let that little fellow alone.' ' You mind your Jews' harps and whistles,' said the bully. Isaac made no reply, but went right up to the hulking fellow, seized the wrist of the hand which had hold of the little boy, gave it a sudden twist and pinch, which loosened the hand-grip in a moment, and let the little boy free. It was done so quickly and neatly that all the boys standing around burst into laughter at the bully. From that time the bully was Isaac's enemy, and eveiy evil trick that could be done against the Jew lad he did, and evei-y spiteful word that could be spoken he spoke. But it happened one afternoon, when school was

over, that Isaac was standing at his father's door, and he saw a great crowd turning into the street. Boys and men were storming up, and there, in front of them, running as if for life, and white with terror and fatigue, was the bully. He had been in some boy's prank or other, and was being chased by those who wished to punish him. Isaac saw at a glance how matters stood, and, standing back within the door and holding it open, he said, ' Come in here, Tom ; I'll let you out another way '. And he let him out into another street. Isaac saved his bitterest enemy, and Tom escaped. It was Tom who told us all this. Isaac never referred to it. But we all noticed that Tom said as much good of the Jew boy afterwards as he had said evil before. VIII. But while I was thinking of these visions, as they came one by one, I found that they began to come two and three together, and at last in a crowd. And it is only little bits of what I saw after that I can now tell. I saw a brave man plunging into a river one dark night and saving a woman who had stumbled in ; and when the friends sought him in the crowd to thank him, he was not to be found. The brave man wanted no thanks. His reward was that he had saved a human life. I saw a gracious man going into a bank one day, and entering a large sum of money to the ci'edit of a widow, who had lost husband and means the day before. I saw a wounded soldier on the field of battle refusing the water he was thirsting for, that it might be given to one beside him who was worse wounded and needed it more.

729

Ver. 24.

2 TIMOTHY II., Ill

Ver. 15.

I saw a tender lady passing from bed to bed in a hospital, and speaking cheering words to the sick people, as she did some gentle service to each. And I saw the thankful smile that came up over their wan faces as she jjassed. I saw daughtei's refusing homes of their own that they might wait beside their sick mothers. I saw them lovingly tending the dear sufferers as if they were queens, and counting it joy to be able in this way to show their love. I saw a man stand up before an angiy mob, and say to them, ' It is falsehood you are speaking against my friend '. And when they cried against him in their anger, he defended his friend the more. I saw a brave captain on the great sea, bringing his ship close to a bm-ning vessel crowded with human beings, and waiting beside it — risking his own ship in the flames — till the day closed, and far on through the night, till at length every soul was saved.

And in each of these visions, and in many more that I cannot tell, what I saw was a gleam of the Gentle Heai-t. At last, however, all these visions melted away, but I saw that it was into the light of a far greater vision. I thought it was night, and I was with a crowd of people upon a great mountain. There were mountains all round, mountains below, mountains above, a great stretch of mountains, and the tops, reaching far up into the sky, were covered with snow. We turned our faces to the mountain-tops, and we saw coming out on the peaks of the highest just the faintest little flush of light. Then it grew stronger, then red, then one by one the great snow-peaks kindled up, away up into the sky, as if some fire were shining on the snow ; and indeed a fire was shining on the snow. For as we turned our faces the other way to come down the hill, we beheld the morning sun rising into the sky. It was the flame of the rising sun which we had seen shining on the lighted peaks. ow that is just what my visions of the Gentle Heart have been — fires kindled by a greater fire ; faroflT gleams of the Gentle Heai-t of Jesus. The gentleness I have been telling you about is j ust light fi'om Him. He is the sun. They were the hill-tops, great and small, aflame with love like His love. And it was into the light of that largest lo\c my visions faded. Yes, His is the heart from which all hearts take their gentleness. It is fiom His heai't all the gentleness of mothei-s and sistei-s, all the gentleness you have ever known in father, or brother, or companion,

or nurse has come. His is the gentlest heart the world has ever known, or ever can know. It is this heart which in the Bible the loving God offers to each of us. This is that new heart which will newmake you, and bless you, and bring you at last to glory. Just the heart of Jesus, the gentle, loving, merciful heart of Him who once died for us, and who

still lives to help and bless us all. — A. Macleod, The Gentle Heart, p. 3. THE BIBLE 2 Timothy hi. 15. When I was in London lately, I spent one evening with a very learned friend, a Jewish doctor. He showed me a splendid new Hebrew Bible with a new translation and hundreds of Dore's illustrations, which he had just purchased. This led us to talk about the Bible and its influence, and in the cour.se of our talk my friend recalled to memory a toast that was drunk to in Scotland when he was a lad at college. The toast was this : ' A clean sword and a dirty Bible '. ow a toast is a sort of prayer. It is the expression of a wish, and in that sense we may understand it to-day. ' A clean sword ' : that is the wish that wars are to end, and peace prevail all over the world. That is a right wish to have, that there should be no more bloodshed, no more fighting between nations. I fear we are still far away from such a state. But yet it is our duty to wish and pray for that good time. ow, although it was an old-fashioned way of speaking to say ' a dirty Bible,' yet you must not suppose it was the least disrespectful. ot at all ;

it simply meant a well-thumbed Bible, a Bible often handled, often read, frequently referred to, the commonly used book of a B;ble-loving people. It is a fine thing to see a handsome new Bible, with pictures, and gilt edges, and clasped boards, but it is better to have a Bible constantly used, often opened and read, even though the edges are frayed and the pages dimmed. Some time ago we had an Indian oflficer addressing a religious meeting in our hall. He told us he had been careless and foolish in his youth, and when he was leaving home to join his regiment his father gave him a Bible, but he never read it ; he forgot that he had it for years, till he was wounded and sick and set aside. Then in his loneliness he began to read his Bible, and a new light dawned upon him, and he was converted to God. He said : ' Before I was afflicted I went astray, but now I keep Thy Word '. Suffering may fall on any one of you ; you may be laid on a sick-bed. You may even be called, young though you are, to die. What would help you to suffer nobly ? Only this, to have begun early to walk humbly with God. At a meeting of the Bible Society, which I attended some years back, the following incident was mentioned : — The body of a youth, seventeen yeai-s of age, was washed ashore. He had gone out on the rocks to read, in preparation for Oxford, and, immei'sed in study, must have been unconscious of the rising of the tide till it was too late to escape. On the flyleaf of his pocket Bible, found upon him, he had written, in a bold firm hand, the following words : ' In danger, I now declare that I do trust in Jesus as

730

Ver. 2.

2 TIMOTHY IV

Ver. 2.

my own Saviour, and I have trusted Him for about five years. I know tliat my sins of heart and of action ai'e many and grievous, but I do pray to God to forgive me for the salie of the perfect rigliteousness of Christ and to receive me in safety and holiness with Himself. I pray God that He will bless my father and mother, and give them His Holy Spirit, and keep my brother and sisters in His faith and fear.' How forcibly this touching incident proves the fidelity of God to His Word. 'Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on Thee, because he trusteth in Thee.' — Alexander Macleod, The Child Jesus, p. 9. PU CTUALITY ' Be instant in season.' — 2 Timothy iv. 2. Paul had been a ver^- active man, always on hand when there was anything to be done. But when he wrote our text he was an old man, and was in prison for preaching Jesus Christ. He was soon to be be-

headed as a martyr, dying for Christ's sake. A little while before he was put to death he wi-ote a letter to a minister of the Gospel named Timothy, a young man. Paul told Timothy to ' be instant in season, out of season,' in his preaching. But as he who is not prompt about other things is not likely to be in preaching, we may apply the text to all things that we do. To be instant in season is to be attentive, ready. It is a prompt attention that may at any moment pass into action. It is much more than to be punctual, and yet it includes punctuality, and we will apply it to being punctual. To be punctual is to be on hand at the fixed or set time, not tardy or behindhand ; to be prompt. Let me illustrate it : Church worship begins at a fixed time ; and to be punctual at the church is to be there and in your seats before the services commence. If you come late, you are not punctual. So the school begins at a fixed time ; and to be punctual at school is to be there and in your seats before the school begins. If you agree to meet one at a certain hour of the day, to be punctual is to be on hand at that hour and minute. If you come after the time, you are not instant in season, but 30U are tardy. You ought to try to be punctual at all times and places, and these are the reasons why : — 1. You will do more if you are punctual. The punctual boy or girl, man or woman, keeps ahead of his work or study, and does not lag behind it. Take your lessons. If you are instant in season you will get them before the time comes to recite them. You will keep up and ahead of your recitations. But if you are not punctual, then you will lag behind. The time will come to recite and you are not ready. A part of the lesson will not be well learned. So if

you make an agreement to meet one, to be on hand and

have it done with saves time for other things. So if you have work or chores to do, do them punctually at the proper time, and you will do them best and quickest. If you are prompt, punctual, instant in season, you will save time and do more work and study. 2. You will have more time for I'lay if you are punctual. If you have a task to do of any sort, and you are promptly at it in time, it is soonest done, and being done you can then play with a free heart. I am glad that our common schools teach punctuality so thoroughly that the children hurry in when the last bell begins to ring. Do your tasks promptly and you will get more time for rest or play or reading good books and papers. 3. It is your duty to be punctual. If you have ever seen soldiers march, you know what it is to be in line. If one is fast and another slow, if one is prompt to obey and another tardy, the line is all out of joint. It is crooked and no one can admire it. Hence soldiers are trained to keep step, to move together, to march in line. It is the duty of every soldi< r to be instant in season, that he may not put others out of order. So if you have heard a band of music play, you noticed what perfect time was kept. One did not begin and then another, and then the third, each as he pleased ; for they are all trained to begin together, to keep together, and to close together. The tardy ones put the others out and have to leave the band if they cannot learn to be on time. They have to be instant in season. ow it is your duty while young to form habits of pi'omptness, readiness. You need to learn to be

punctual, on hand in time, instant in season. You see how quick they are who play ball. They are all alert to catch the ball, but to catch it they must be where it is, and so they are intent, they watch for it, they are instant in season. You want to learn to do the same in all the affairs of play, study, work, and life. You want to be punctual, prompt, so as to make no failure in life. It is even said of God that He is not slack concerning His promises. He is not slow in fulfilling them. He is always on time. So we should always be on time. And when He says : ' Remember now thy Creator in the days of thy youth ' ; ' Those that seek Me early shall find Me,' we should obey promptly. Like a good soldier we should obey orders. We should be prompt to hear and act. We ought not to wait for a better time. Act promptly, be instant in season, in obeying your parents, your teachers, your Saviour. When Christ said to Matthew : ' Follow Me,' Matthew obeyed instantly and followed Him. God commands you to do the same. ever be behindhand in any duty. Then God, even our God, shall bless you. — A. Hastings Ross, Sermons to Children, p. 267.

731

THE EPISTLE TO TITUS

IMPOSSIBLE FOR GOD ' In hope of eternal life, which God, that cannot lie, promised before the world began.' — Titus i. 2.

God cannot die. He cannot lie. Lie ! no, let us say it with reverence and with gladness, His oath says that He may as soon die. But now I go on to sav that we have two grand lessons to learn from this impossibility for God. Here is — I. An argument for trust, and II. An argument for truth. I. For Trust. — We often ask of a fellow-creature, 'Can he be trusted?' The question has in it such thoughts as these. Is he heedful enough ? Is he wise enough ? Is he kind enough ? Is he true enough, not to deceive or disappoint us, if we rely on him ? ow God in all views of His character may be safely trusted — for He is wise, mishtv, good, and faithful — He cannot lie. Every word of His is purest gold. There is no drawback about it. Do you remember how gladly Joshua and Israel acknowledged that ? ' Ye know,' said that great leader to the assembled people, ' in all your hearts, and in all your souls, that not one thing hath failed of all the good things which the Lord your God spake concerning you ; all are come to pass unto you, and not one thing hath failed thereof.' WiU you think reverently of this, that God can have no motive for Iving. Even had false men, generally speaking, do not lie without some purpose to be sei-ved, as they thin a, by the falsehood. When Joseph's brethi-en brought to Jacob their father his torn and bloody coat, and said they had found it, they wanted to conceal their cniel conduct in selling their brother into Egypt, and to jirevent his being sought after and brought back, ^^^len Ananias lied, he wanted to get credit for being as liljeral as other Christians who had sold their estates and given the

money to the Church, and yet have some of the price he got for his land for his own use. ay, even Satan, when he told the fii-st gi-and lie to Eve, had a purpose he was trying to accomplish by it It was a very wicked end he thought of ; to spite God ; to ruin man ; but yet this prompted his false words, ' Ye shall not surely die '. But God, supreme in power, and in bliss, can have nothing to gain by falsehood. All things He wishes He can easily reach and have. But besides, falsehood is all against His nature. Falsehood is a dark thing. It conceals. It has folds. It would not be seen througk ' Goi is light, and in Him there is no darkness at all.' ot to trust God when He speaks is, as John says,

to call him a liar. ow that is a fearful word. I remember when at school boys would sometimes very recklessly call each other by that odious name. Grown people, alas ! sometimes do the like. But, bad as men are, they feel that liar is a word of terrible and unbearable reproach. Will you fling it, then, at God ? Ah ! take care ; for none of us can escape being a proof that God never lies. He will show that He keeps His word with them that will not trust Him, as well as with them that do. He threatens, and He fulfils. Oh, it must be a fearful thing to meet God making good that word — ' The soul that sinneth shall die '. Why should any of us so meet Him? He does not wish us to die. He wants us to live. He likes to be trusted to give us life. one perish that Him trust. A Highland drover once hea'd a minister, eminent in his day for holy worth, read from the Scottish vei-sion of the thirty-fourth Psalm the concluding verses ending with that line. It touched his heart.

After service he waited on the minister, and said, ' Oh, sir, can that be true ? ' And the man of God, beginning from that Scripture, preached unto him Jesus. It pleased God to bless the word to him, and he became a happy believer in the only Saviour. Frequently, in the prosecution of his calling, he had occasion to pass through the town where God first awoke him, and brought him to himself. It was his custom, in so doing, always to call for the minister by whom the word of God was spoken to him, and ever as the two met, the first word uttered on either side was this — one perish that Him trust. But, II. Here is an Argument for Truth. — If God cannot lie, because His nature is all against lying, then He must very much dislike lying in others. So the Bible says He does, ' Lj-ing lips,' it tells us, ' are an abomination to the Lord '. ' He destroys all them that speak leasing.' ' All liars shall have their portion in the lake thaL bumeth with fire and brimstone.' Is not that fearful to think of? Then, if it be a blessed and glorious thing in God to be incapable of lying, surely to be like Him in this must be noble and good. Happily there are men and children too, of whom it may be said in a lower, but still in a grand sense, they cannot lie. They have been trained to such habits of truth, and they have such holy fear of God, that nothing will induce them to speak what is false. In the town of Devizes you may see, in the marketplace, the following inscription, ' The mavor and corporation of Devizes avail themselves of the stability

732

V^er. 2.

TITUS I

Ver. 2.

of this building to transmit to future times the record of an awful event which occurred in this market-place in the year 1753; hoping that such a record may serve as a salutary warning against the danger of impiously invoking the Divine vengeance, or of calling on the holy name of God to conceal the devices of falsehood and fi-aud. On Thui-sday the 25th of January, 1753, Ruth Pierce, of Pottera, in this county, agreed with three other women to buy a sack of wheat in the market, each paying her due proportion towards the same. One of these women, in collecting the several quotas of money, discovered a deficiency,

and demanded of Ruth Pierce the sum which was wanting to make good the amount. Ruth Pierce protested that she had paid her share, and said she wished she might drop down dead if she had not. She rashly repeated this awful wish, when, to the consternation of the surrounding multitude, she instantly fell down and expired, having the money concealed in her hand.' The lessons from the text may thus be shortly taught. God cannot lie. Believe Hira, therefore ; and

be like Him.— J. Edmond, The Children's Church at Home, p. 734!.

7S«

THE EPISTLE TO PHILEMO

THE STORY OF A RU AWAY SLAVE ' ot now as a ssrvant, but above a servant, a brother beloved, specially to me, but how much more unto thee, both in the flesh and in the Lord ? ' — Philemon i6. This letter which tells us the story of the runaway slave was written by St. Paul in quite a private way and for a private purpose, just as you in these days might write such a letter to a gentleman in whom you were interested. All the other Epistles written by St. Paul, such a.s the Romans, or the Corinthians, or the Ephesians, are about great and important Christian truths or doctrines, and we have to follow him very attentively to be able to understand all his reasoning about these important spiritual matters. Butwhenwe turn to this Epistle or Letter to Philemon, it is about nothing more than a runaway slave ; and because it does not contain anything about those great spiritual principles of which all the other Epistles are full, the people who lived some three or four hundred years after St. Paul said that it could not possibly have been written bv the Great Apostle himself, because, said they, St. Paul was much too great a man to concern himself about so trivial a matter as a runaway slave. It seems that we might just as well say that the incident of Jesus taking the children in His arms

cannot be true, because Jesus was far too great to concern Himself about the children. We, in these days, however, see the greatness of the character of Jesus in the fact that He did concern Himself about the children, and so in St. Paul's letter about this runaway slave we see proofs of the Apostle's greatness, and of the fact that he had caught much of the spirit of Jesus. I. Let me tell vou now something about the slaves in those days. The conditions under which we live are so different that we can hardly form anv idea of the state in which those slaves existed. So many slaves were there, that in one province, it is said, there were three slaves to one fi'ee man. Some masters owned ten or even twenty thousand slaves ; and there is in existence now the will of one of the masters of those times in which between four and five thousand slaves are willed awav. These slaves had no rights ; they were simply, as it was termed in those times, live implements, if a slave stole from his master, or ran away, he could be scourged or crucified as the master pleased. About the time when St. Paul was writing of this runaway slave, a Roman senator had been slain by one of his slaves in a fit of anger, and the law demanded that all the slaves under the same roof at the time should be put to death, the innocent with the guilty. There were as many as four hundred. You say, surely these were not all put to death for

the offence of one man ? They were, and when some of the more humane people rose against such cmelty, the Roman Senate sent an army of soldiers to put them down, because, as one of the senators said, ' The slaves must be held down by fear ' ; and another said, ' As though heaven cared for slaves '. II. Philemon had a slave whose name was Onesi-

mus. ow this Onesimus, who was Philemon's slave, one day stole something from his master and ran away. That he was very determined about what he did we can tell by the great distance he travelled. He resolved not to stay in hiding in that neighbourhood, but to make his way to the world's great centre, the wonderful city of Rome, which was the London of tho.se ancient times. There he could mix with the crowds of men and not be known ; there he could gain a living for himself, and be free from the fear of discovery. ow comes a very remarkable thing. Paul the Apostle is in Rome, preaching the Gospel. Onesimus hears that the Apostle is here, or, it may be, comes across him with a crowd about him, even though at that time the Apostle was a prisoner, for he was still permitted to reside in his own hired house. Perhaps, if St. Paul did visit Colossae when he was at Ephesus, Onesimus saw and heard him, and it mav be with a desire to get a glimpse of him again, and to hear once more something of the new strange Gospel he was preaching, he stands and listens in the crowd. But whatever it was that brought him under the influence of the Apostle, the fact remains that just as the truth of the Gospel made its way to the heart of his master Philemon, so that truth makes its way to the heart of the slave Onesimus ; it may be that he was pricked in conscience at the remembrance of his theft, or, perhaps, he had had so hard a time in getting to Home that he was worn out with his journey, and, wretched in heart and mind, longed after the peace, the joy, and the salvation through Jesus Christ. How tenderly St. Paul received him, and how interestedly he entered into his life, this beautiful letter to Philemon tells us. Bearing this letter, Onesimus makes his way back over those hundreds of miles from Rome to Colossas.

How his heart would beat the nearer he got to the city ! how he would wonder whether the letter would have the desired effect upon his master ! And then as he came through streets well known to him, and saw again faces so familiar, the news would hasten on before him, the slave Onesimus has returned ! and all would wonder what this quiet but strange return of his own will could mean. At last, like the Prodigal, with broken words upon his lips, he would

734

Ver. 16.

PHILEMO

Ver. 16.

give the letter of Paul the aged to his master. And the wonder of it all, almost beyond belief, and the joy of it all, to so good a Christian as we can believe Philemon was, would prompt a welcome so ready and forgiving, that, had the Apostle himself been present, he would have been more than satisfied. The runaway slave returned a brother in the Lord. — John Eames, Sermons to Boys and Girls, p. 9. O STEALI G Philemon i6.

Rowland Hill preached a funeral sermon upon his own coachman. He said in his sermon what a good man the coachman had been to him for thirty years. He had been an honest, upright man, a good, religious man, and an excellent servant to him. But he was once a highway robber ! I will tell you how

Rowland Hill became acquainted with him. He attacked him when he was going along the road. ' I was not frightened,' said Rowland Hill, 'I talked kindly to him. I said, " Why are you a robber ? Why do you follow this dishonourable pursuit?" " Well, sir," said he, " I am out of place. I am miserable. I have no money. I am driven to despair."' Rowland Hill said, ' Call upon me to-morrow morning '. He did. And there and then Rowland Hill took him as his coachman. For thirty years this man served him faithfully as coachman, though he once attacked him as a highway robber. So you see, though we may have stolen, we may again become useful members of society — only we must do right things. — James Vaughan.

735

THE EPISTLE TO THE HEBREWS

WHAT WILL MY CAPTAI SAY? 'The Captain of their salvation.' — Hebrews ii. io. Four years ago last April (1908) an American liner, the St. Paul, had left the docks at Southampton and

was making her way in a blizzard down the Solent. She was on her outward voyage to ew York. Coming up the Solent at the same time was a cruiser belonging to the British avy named the Gladiator. She had left Portland that morning with two hundred and fifty men on board, who were all happy in the anticipation of their return to Portsmouth. Both vessels were enveloped in a blinding snowstorm. It is said that the eyes of the men on the look-out could barely distinguish objects a yard or two ahead, and though both vessels were blowing their svrens their sound was lost in the howling and shi-ieking of the wind. either vessel knew of the other's approach. Suddenly the grey hull of the wai-ship loomed up, broadside on, just in front of the bows of the liner. The engines were immediately stopped, but it was too late, and the St. Paul drove straight on to the doomed cruiser and buried her stem deep in the armoured vessel. The ci-ash was terriiic. For a few moments the two ships remained locked together and the liner seemed to be carrying the warship forward impaled on her bows. The [)assengers on the decks of the St. Paul, which were higher than those of the Gladiator, could see the white set faces of the bluejackets on the doomed vessel. Yet in these thrilling and critical moments the coolness, the courage, and the heioism of British seamen were magnificently displayed. But no courage or heroism could prevent the awful results which followed dii'ectly the vessels parted. The watei-s poured through the huge hole torn in the side of the warship and in a few moments she sank in the stormy waters. Happily many got to the land which was not far distant, but some thirty found a watery grave thei'e that day. In connection with this sad disaster there is recorded an incident of great interest. As the bow of the St. Paul was momentarily locked in the wreckage of the cruiser's hull, some of the bluejackets climbed up over on to the deck of the liner.

One of them, as soon as he had planted his feet on the bow of the St. Paul, saluted the captain of that vessel, and for a moment seemed dazed by the experience. Rapidly recovering himself, he saluted again. Then looking round he seemed to realise his position and what he had done and gasped out, ' Oh, my God, what have I done ? What will my captain say? ' Then he leaped over the side of the vessel again, down on to the decks of the sinking cruiser, and was seen no more.

Often I have wondered whether he was one of those who were saved, or whether he went down with the vessel. It is an incident one can never forget. Again and again those words ring in my ears and come to my lips : ' Oh, my God, what have I done ? What will my captain say ? ' You see, the sailor suddenly realised that he had deserted the post of duty. He saw in a moment that he had been selfish in thinking of his own .safety alone. He had not troubled to see if he could help to save the ship or assist in saving others. In this moment of great need he had done nothing but save himself, and he was ashamed. For the moment he had forgotten his training, his duty, his fellow-seamen and his captain. He had not upheld the honour of the British seamen, and as it all suddenly came to mind he was ashamed of himself and felt that his captain would be ashamed of him too. Who cannot imagine the feeling with which he uttered those words, ' What have I done ? What will my captain say ? ' ' The Captain of our Salvation,' says the writer of the Epistle to the Hebrews in speaking of our Lord Jesus Christ. Yes, He is our great Captain, and we stand much in the same relationship to Him as that

in which the sailor on the Gladiator stood to the captain of his vessel. There are many other ways in which to think of our Lord, but it is of that way I wish to think now. He is our Captain ; we are His Christian soldiers. It is for Him to command ; it is for us to obey. There can be no piopcr relationship between us and our Lord except there is the true spirit of loyalty and obedience in us. There is no gi'eater crime or disgrace in the British Army and avy than to refuse to obey the command of an officer. All have to be obedient from the lowest to the highest or the army and navy might as well be disbanded at once. Without this same spirit of obedience in Christ's soldiers His warfare against evil cannot be successfully carried on in the woi-ld. You are a soldier of the Great Captain Jesus Christ. Try everytliing which relates to your life by this same question, 'What will my Captain say?' When you forget your duty in thought only for yourself ask, ' What will my Captain say ? ' When you have played the coward's part and were not brave for Christ's sake — ^whcn you have been ashamed of your Christian principles and were silent when 30U ought to have spoken — when you have been wilful and unkind — when, like the disciples, you have deserted your Lord and Master and left Him alone, then ask yourself, ' What will my Captain say ? ' And perhaps the thought of His disappointment and

736

Ver. 1.

HEBREWS XI

Ver. 1.

son'ow will help you to retrieve your character and face your dut}' even as a similar thought did the sailor upon the ship. — John Eames, The Shattered Temple, p. I(i2. WHAT FAITH SEES ' ow faith is the evidence of things not seen.' — Hebrews xi. i. I. Faith Sees through her Glass an Unseen God. — o man hath seen God at any time. Other kings have been seen, but not ' the King immortal, eternal, invisible '. Him ' no eye hath seen or can see '. Yet faith has no doubt that God is. You will not find that anywhere God proves by an argument that He exists. His way of proving His being is by showing Himself, though not to the eye. He does so in various ways, and where there is capacity to perceive His presence, there is faith of it. A father, to his children that can look at him, does not need to prove by an argument that he is their father, if then- eye is sound. But I well remember a little child, whose brain in disease was touched and reeling, that did not know her own father — thought him a stranger, and shrank from him when he stood near. either would his voice assure her ; he said, I am papa, but she would not believe him, and was afraid of one to whose bosom she was accustomed to cling as her refuge and joy. He reasoned with her in his distress not to be known bv his child, but it was useless ai'guing. The disease had to be cured first, and

when it fled no argument was needed. The father's face was enough. I knew a little boy that on the day he died, restored for a short hour fi-om dark stupor, was fondly asked. Who is this? and who is this ? The soft answer, in failing breath, that came with a sweet smile, ' Papa, mamma, ' can never be forgotten. To see was to know. And I have thought when that boy's soul went to heaven, as I believe it did, supposing his angel-guide to ask him of the Saviour, Who is He ? he would know Him at once — to see with the eye of a pure spuit would be enough — and the answer would come in the radiant joy of immoiiality — ' It is Jesus, my Lord and my God ! ' II. Faith Sees with her Glass an Unseen Saviour. — Christ Jesus has not always been unseen. He was once on eai-th, and people saw His face, and heard His voice, as we hear each other. He was once a Httle child, like yourselves. He gi-ew up, as you grow. He went to church. He walked, He sailed, He rode. He .sat at table. He ate, He slept. He took children in His arms. He healed sicknesses with a word and a touch. He was crowned with thorns. He was nailed to a tree. He was buried. He rose, and was seen again. He went up to glory, and His disciples saw Him as He went up thiough the air. But since that, with two or three exceptions, nobody on earth has seen Him. But hundreds .\i\d thousands believe as firmly as if they had been with Him in the days of His flesh that He was once here. Do you so believe .'' Christ Jesus is still seen in heaven. After His ascension, you recollect that Stephen said he saw Him

through the open skies. You remember also that He met Saul of Tarsus on the road to Damascus, and looked on him, and spoke to him, and changed his

heart. You have read the description John gives of Him when he saw Him in vision in the Isle of Patmos. At these times Jesus came out thi'ough the blue veil behind which He passed away. But in the world beyond the veil they always see Him. The angels do. Departed saints do. Your pious friends that have gone to heaven do. I do not know how this is. I cannot tell how spuits see. But there is some way in which souls in heaven are in Christ's presence, difl^erent from the way they enjoyed it on earth. For Paul, as you know, says of himself, that he was in a strait betwixt two ; not knowing whether to prefer living or dying ; he knew that his living was needful for the Church, but had ' a desire to depart and to be with Christ, which is far better '. III. Faith Sees through its Glass an Unseen Judgment. — This is unseen, because future. It will be seen. And such a sight it will be as was never seen before. Let me just try and tell you what will be seen on that great day, when Chiist comes ' the second time ' to visit our world. I shall say nothing but what the Bible tells us. Jesus will ' come in the clouds of heaven, with power and great glory '. At his face the heavens and the earth will flee away. The sun and moon will grow dark, as if turned into sackcloth and blood. Then a tiiimpet, exceeding loud, like a thousand thunders, shall be blown, and the sound will go down into the deeps of graves, and the depths of sea. And the dead shall rise from every place where the dust of men is sleeping ; some from lonely tombs in moors, and deserts, and mountain-sides, and some from crowded churchyards, and some from the bottom of the ocean. And all the living on earth will be changed, as quickly as your eyelids twinkle. Then angels will be seen flying to and fro in every direction, gathering Chi'ist's people together, and separating them from the wicked. Two companies will be made,

one very happy and shining ; one very miserable and dark. They will be brought before a great white throne, high up in the sky. On the throne the Saviour will be seated, angels round about Him, and all His person burning with indescribable glory. Then the air will take fire, and the eai'th, and the sea, and will all bum togsther, crackling and crashing in one tremendous flame. And when the Judge has spoken to the righteous, and to the wicked, an awful tempest of wrath will drive away the enemies of Christ into the punishment they desei-ve, and Jesus will go up with His saints into the presence of His Father, to dwell with them there for ever and ever. IV. Faith Sees with its Glass an Unseen Hell. — I wish I did not need to put this head into my sermon. I wish faith's glass could find nothing in the direction of the outer darkness. But hell is revealed in the Bible as surely as heaven is. iind very awful words are spoken about it It is said to be a lake that bm-neth with fire and brimstone. What a dread-

737

47

Ver. 1.

HEBREWS XI

Ver. 5.

f ul representation ! If you had stood where Abraham stood on the morning after Sodom and Gomorrah were desti'oyed with fiery storms, it would have been teirible to see the whole plain smouldering and smoking like a furnace. Outside the city of Jerusalem there was a valle}' which, after the days of Isaiah, became a place for collecting all kinds or refuse and offscourings, and consuming them with fire. Consequently the whole place was filthy and disgusting, with fires always bui-ning in different spots, sending up smoke by day, and flaiing in the gloom of night. It was called Tophet and Grehenna ; and this last is the ew Testament name for hell. ow, do not mistake me. I do not say that hell is such a place. But these things are what the Bible uses to be a figure of the teiTors of hell. For it is fli-e that 'is not quenched '. And it is a ' worm that never dies '. It is ' everlasting destruction from the presence of the Lord and the glory of His power '. It is said to be in ' the outer darkness ' — darkness outside the line which the rays of the most distant sun reach — Beyond the bounds of light, and life, and love. There are in it ' weeping, and wailing, and gnashing of teeth '. Oh, children ! flee, flee from the wi-ath to come ! Blessed be God, there is another world which faith looks to as her own. So I remark : — V. Faith Sees with Its QIass an Unseen Heaven. — There ai-e seen heavens — the aiiy, cloudy firmament, the starry skies. But beyond them is another — the heaven of heavens, the home of God.

I will tell you some things about that heaven taught us in the Bible. It is a beautiful place. Sometimes it is called paradise, a pleasure-ground around the King's palace ; and you may be sure that it is richer and more beautiful than the garden of Eden itself. Sometimes it is called a city ; and then it has jewelled foundations, and golden sti'eets, and jasper walls, and a light that leaves no need of sun, or moon, or lamp to shine in it Sometimes it is called a house ; and then it is God's house, with a multitude of mansions furnished and prepared for his sons to dwell in. It is a holy place. There are no bad men in it, and no b-id thoughts and feelings in anyone's heart Holy angels stay there. The holy Jesus is there. It is full of God. It is also a happy place. You might search as long as you pleased, you would not find a tear in it, for God ' shall wipe away tears from all faces '. You would never hear a sigh of sorrow there, for ' sorrow and sighing shall flee away '. You would never meet a sick pei-son, for ' the inhabitant of the land shall no more say, I am sick : for the people that dwell therein are forgiven their iniquities '. You could never find a grave in it, for there ' shall be no more death '. Heaven is a large place, moreover. There are many mansions in Christ's Father's house, and many sons of glory already there, and many more on the way. There is room in it for you. Heaven is a busy place, 'lliere is none idle in it They serve God day and night in His Temple — thinking of Him, praising Him,

doing His work. And it is a sure place. That heaven shall never pass away. The throne of God is in it, and it em lures for ever. The new Jerusalem is an abiding city. All the cities of earth decay. ineveh, Babylon, Tyre have all perished ; and Rome, Paris, London must, at least, be destroyed with the earth ; even God's own city of old, his beloved Salem, cannot remain ; but the heavenly city of peace is

founded for immortality. — J. Edmond, The Children's Church at Home, p. 199. O QIVI Q PLEASURE TO GOD ' He pleased God.' — Hebrews xi. 5. At the beginning of a new year it is good to ask, whether there is any thought we can receive into our hearts which will help us to lead better lives than we lived before. There is one thought which very few have opened their hearts to, which yet is one of the best thoughts we can think. It is the thought that we have been made, and are kept in life, that we should give pleasure to God. It will make a great difference in our lives when, instead of doing things to please ourselves, or our companions, we do everything to please God. I once read a poem, by Mary Howitt, in which this good thought is put into the lips of a very little child. He was called Willie. One day Willie's mamma saw him sitting very silent in the sunlight, with all the men and women and the beasts and birds of his oah's ark set out in a row. ' What are you thinking about, Willie?' said his mamma. Willie answering, said : — You know that God loves little children, And likes them to love Him the same ; So I've set out my oah's Ark creatures. The great savage beasts and the tame, — I've set them all out in the sunshine. Where I think they are plainest to see, Because I would give Him some pleasure

WTio gives so much pleasure to me. It is tnie that it is only a very little child who would think of giving God pleasure in that way. But although the way of doing the good thing is a little child's way, the thing itself is good to do. It is good for everybody to try to give God pleasure. There was a great prophet in the world once, in the days before the ark, who tried to do this, and who did it all the days of his life. It was the prophet Enoch. At the end of his life, the stoiy of his life told by God Himself was this : ' He pleased God ', ot himself, not his friends, but God. I have tried to see what it was in his life that gave pleasure to QroA, and I find it was this, that ' He walked with God '. ow you know why it is you walk with some young people and not with others. It is because you know them and love them, and know that they love you. Enoch knew all that about God. He knew that God loved him and he loved to be in God's company, and to have God near to him in eveiything he-

Ver. 5.

HEBREWS XI

Ver. 27.

did. ' He walked with God ' : in the very way God walked — the way of truth and right. 'He walked with God ' ; he had God for his friend, and told him by prayer all that was in his heart. 'He walked with God ' : he went about with God doing good, helping the helpless and trying to bring peo)>le to God. Every day he would say to himself, ' How can I please God to-day?' And day by day he kept doing the will of God, and walking out and in with God for his friend. But there was a greater than Enoch who pleased God. You remember this is the very thing which the voice from heaven said of Jesus : ' This is My beloved Son in Whom I am well pleased '. And God was well pleased with Jesus. He began to be pleased with Him even when He was a child. It is said that Jesus, when He was a little boy at azareth, ' grew in favour both with God and man '. Could anything better ever be said of a child's life ? To be in favour with God ! To have God well pleased with you ! That is to be like Jesus Himself. And you may really be like Jesus in this very thing if you do as He did. He set Himself so to give pleasure to God that it became His meat and His drink to do God's will. A little girl came one day to the late Charles Kingsley, and said : ' Dear Mr. Kingsley, give me a song '. And Mr. Kingsley, who had a great love for children, wrote this song for her : — Be ^ood, sweet maid, and let who will be clevei- ; Do noble things, not dream them, all day long ; And so make life, death, and that vast forevei-, One grand, sweet song. It is a great pleasure to God when His children do noble things. But I wonder if the little girl for whom this Siirg «as written knew — I wonder if you know

— what the noblest thing ever done on this earth was ! It was dying on a cross. It was Jesus lajing down His life to save the world. othing else gave such pleasure to God as this. Jesus died to let God's love be known. He died that this love might shine in upon sad hearts and sorrow-filled homes ; and that the poor, and the heavy laden, and those who are out of the right way, like the prodigal in the parable, might be drawn by it to God. To help children to be like Jesus in this, some things are mentioned in the Bible which give pleasure to God. It is a great pleasure to Him to see His children sharing the good things He has given them — food, or clothes, or knowledge, or happiness — with those who have none. That was the kind of sacrifice which Jesus made. He gave up the life which His Father had given Him that all the world might share it. With such sacrifices God is well pleased. It is a great pleasure to God, also, when children honour and obey their parents. Jesus did that. One of His last thoughts on the cross was to make provision for the honour and welfare of His mother Mary when He was gone. But the greatest thing of all in giving pleasure to God is love. It is impossible to please Him unless there be some knowledge of His love in our hearts, and some love to Him in return.

The heart of Jesus was filled with both that knowledge and this love. And all who wish to please God as Jesus did, and know these ways of doing it, will earnestly try to follow them. But this leads me to tell you what is the first way of coming into this life of giving pleasure to God. It is a way so simple that a very little child can understand it. It is just letting God please you. Yes, that was the secret of the life which the Lord

Jesus lived. He began by letting His Father in heaven please Him. The desire of God is to give pleasure to His children. There is a Psalm which speaks of God's ways with His children, where it is said : ' Thou shalt make them drink out of the river of Thy pleasures '. And God sets Himself to give us this very pleasure. He gives us the very things to be pleased with which please Himself — the river of His own pleasures. This is the river of which it is said in another Psalm ' it maketh glad the city of God '. And this river which maketh glad the city of God, and is the river of God's own pleasures, is nothing other than the love which is in Jesus Christ, which brought him to die for us, and with which God is ever well pleased. This is the way in which God works when He is working in us to bring us to will and to do his good pleasure. He begins by getting us to be pleased with the Son in whom He Himself is pleased. It is the same as if He said, ' See, this is He on whom My love is ever resting, in whom I have endless joy. Take pleasure in Him.' And whoever is brought by God's great kindness to be pleased with Jesus and with the things in Him with which God is pleased — and these things are love and mercy and truth — begins in that very pleasure to give pleasure to God. To be pleased with Jesus is a child's first step in the life of giving pleasure to. God. ow I give you this good thought. I ask you to admit it into jour hearts. I advise you to take it for the rule of your lives. Say in your own heart to God, ' O my Father I from this time forth I will try to give pleasure to Thee '. In the fairy stories the young prince or princess who is setting out in the world always meets a kind fairy who gives a cap, or a ring, or a flower, or a ball, which must never be let go or lost, and it will be help

by the way. But this which I am offering you is a better gift than any fairy could give. This will be better than wishing-cap or ring, better than gold or silver. The child who shall say, ' I will from this day live to please God,' will live a happy, good life. And at the end God will tell the same thing about the life of that child as He told about Enoch's and Christ's. He will say, ' I have been well pleased with this child '. — Alexander Maci.eod, The Gentle Heart, p. 103. ICOLAS HERMA ' He endured, as seeing Him Who is invisible.' — Hebrews xi. 27. I. About two hundred years ago there was living in the city of Paris an old man who was so holy, and in his

739

Ver, 27.

HEBREWS XI

Ver. 27.

holiness so happy, that people came to him from far and near to leain the secret of his life.

He lived in a gi-eat house with a company of religious men. Among those men his place was a very lowly one. He was their cook, and it was down in the kitchen of their gi-eat house that he had to spend his days. For more than forty years this man lived in that house doing this lowly service. And through all those years, the one desire and joy of his heart was to be always with God, and to do nothing, say nothing, and think nothing which might be displeasing to Him. His name in his youth was icolas Herman, but in his old age, Brother LawTence. He was born in Lonaine near the beginning of the seventeenth century. His parents were too poor to give him much schooling, and although, in some way or other, he learned to read, and in his old age could write a sensible letter, he remained through life without the learning which you to whom I am speaking receive at school. As a boy he was very uncouth and very stupid. He was always doing awkward things. obody who saw him then could have foretold that he would one day cease to be awkward and become careful and wise and helpful. It is only God who can tell from the outside of a boy what sort of man he will become. But although icolas was poor and unlearned, and in all his movements ungainly and awkward, he had, even as a boy, a gentle heart. And one day this gentleness showed itself in a very wonderful way. It was a day in winter. Everything was cold and bleak and bare. On this particular day icolas, walking about, happened to come upon a tree that was leafless. Something drew him to look at the tree, and as he stood before it, looking, the thought came into his mind that that very tree, bare and dead though

it seemed at the time, would soon be all covered with leaves, with bloom, and by and by with fruit. And there came to him, in the very heart of this thought, the thought of God. He seemed to see at a glance that before all these changes could take plate, God must be present to work them. Only God, working on the very spot, could bring back life to the dead tree. His soul at that moment caught sight of the great truth that God is everywhere present. He said to himself, ' He is here, on this very spot '. He learned that day that God was not a God far off, but near. He was so near that He would be present to cover that tree once more with leaves. Standing before that tree, he saw that he was standing in the very presence of God. This nearness and presence of God became one of the thoughts of his soul. In a dim way at first, no doubt, but more and more clearly as years went on, he saw God everywhere. From that day onward he lived as one who had been admitted, lor one happj' moment at least, into the presence of God. And I like to think that as he turned his steps homeward that day, the poor, untaught, and awkward boy, whom everybody was

already trying to scold into less stupid ways, may have canied this new thought like a new joy in his heart, and said to himself, ' Poor and stupid though I be, God is near me ; and lowly though my father's cot is, God is there '. This was the beginning of religion in his life, but not yet of happiness. icolas had a long way to go and many things to learn and suffer before the happy years of his life began. A blessed thought had been dropped by the Holy Spirit into his .soul. But it was as yet like a tiny seed which has neither root nor stem. The happiness which is in a holy life does

not spring up in a day. Sometimes it takes years to grow, and often it has to be watered by our tears. At any rate that was the case with icolas Herman. He was like the man spoken of in one of the Psalms, who went forth weeping bearing pj-ecious seed. But it was to be a long time before he came back rejoicing with the fruit. He was only eighteen years of age when he saw the vision of God's presence in the tree. After that he had to become a soldier ; and when he was set free from being a soldier, he became a footman in a private family. He was still unhandy in his ways. His master said of him that he was a great clumsy fellow, who broke everything he was set to carry. II. But this was only the outside of his life. All this awkwardness and stupidity, this want of handiness in doing things, was a sincere grief to icolas. He did earnestly wish to have his faults corrected. He was willing to submit to any suffering by which his awkwaidness should be put away. Aiid now, being a man, and being very earnest about leading a right life, he began to look about for the best means of having his faults corrected, and he resolved at last that he should apply for admission to the house of the Barefooted Carmelites. There, he thought, I shall be taken to task, and if I fail to do well I shall be punished. And I am content to be punished until my faults are removed. The brethren consented to i-eceive him into their kitchen and give him work as cook. ow it was a custom with those brethren, before receiving any new member into their company, to put him upon trial for a time ; and during that time the person wishing to become a brother was put under instruction for his soul. This was a very precious time for icolas. He got time to think. But this at first brought him into new trouble. When he

came to think about himself he found that much more needed to be put right in him besides his awkward ways. The thought that he was in God's presence led him to ask himself what sort of object he must appear in the eyes of the holy God. And then his heart sank within him. He saw that he was a poor sin-laden man, not worthy of a single glance jfrom God. He recalled evil words he had spoken and evil deeds he had done, and thought that God, as the just Judge, could have no choice but to banish him for ever from His presence. III. But by and by — his history does not tell either

740

Ver. 27.

HEBREWS XI

Ver. 27.

in what manner or at what precise time — the Spirit of God directed him to looic to the Cross and the blood of Jesus. He then saw tluit the holy God is a Saviour as much as a Judge, and that He is full of love ; that He gave His son to die for sinners, and that there is cleansing for all sin in the blood which Je-ius shed. icolas was slow to believe that there could be cleansing for him. For four long yeai-s he

feared that he should be shut out from God's presence at last. And for six years longer doubts of his salvation came back upon him from time to time. But all the while there was this fine resolution in his heart : whether he was to be saved, or shut out from salvation, he resolved to do the thing that was right. ' Whatever becomes of me,' he said, ' whether I be lost or saved, I will continue to act purely for the love of God. I shall have this good at least, that till death I shall have done all that is in me to love Him.' But God did not leave him in this uncertainty. He came to his help, as He always does to those who are in earnest about their salvation. He brought him out of all his fears and into perfect happiness and peace, and He worked so great a change upon him also that all his awkwardness came to an end. Although icolas never ceased to think meanly of himself, or to look upon himself otherwise than as a sinner, his whole view of God was changed. Instead of seeing Him as a judge about to punish a criminal at His feet, he saw Him as a gracious King who had come down from His throne to serve him. ' This King,' he said, ' full of mercy and goodness, very far from chastising me, embraces me with love, makes me eat at His table, serves me with His own hands, and gives me the key of His treasures.' IV. After that the principal thing in Herman which helped him to live a happ^' life was the lesson he learned in his boyhood, when he stood before the leafless tree. A thought entered his soul that day which never left him. It was the thought that God is everywhere present. It was, as I said before, a very tiny thought tor him at the first, a mere little seed of thought. But when the Holy Spirit took him in after years and set him before the tree on which the Lord Jesus died, the thought grew and spread and filled his whole soul. He saw then that

if God must be present to cover a dead tree with leaves and fruit. He must much more be present when a dead soul, like his own, was to be changed into a living one. A strong feeling took possession of him that he was always in the presence of God, and a feeling not less strong that it was his duty continually to remember that fact. And to this duty he set himself Day by day, and every hour of the day, he said to his soul : ' Soul, thou art in the presence of God thy King'. At the beginning of his religious life, he spent the houi-s appoint'i'd for private prayer in forming the habit of remembering this presence. He strengthened the habit by thinking often of God's goodness and mercy and nearness. If business took his soul away from the thought for a little, he sought a fresh remembrance of it from

God. At length it came to be natural to him to feel that he was every moment in the Divine presence. He was ..io much under thi> feeling that his prayers were like conversations with one who was in the same room with him ; and sometimes like a joyful sense of that presence, as if his soul were telling its wants by simply looking into the face of God. At such times he was insensible to everything but the love of God. His highest joy was to feel himself in the presence of that love. It was a joy so sweet that he likened it to the joy of an infant at its mother's breast. Indeed, he seemed to himself sometimes to be just an infant drinking happiness out of the bosom of God, so inexpressible was the sweetness he tasted in the presence of his Lord. V. Another thing in icolas which made his life a happy one was his putting God's will always before his own. He had set his heart on being like the Friend in

whose presence he so much loved to be. And he had leai-ned that the nearest and best way to this likeness was to let this Divine Friend rule him in ever^lhing. So he placed himself altogether under the will of God. He gave up everything to God that God might be eveiything in his life. He gave himself He gave body and soul. He gave will and wish. He kept nothing back. It was not easy to do this at first. But he prayed for help. And all difficulty came to an end. And it became both easy and pleasant, until at last, next to the joy of being in the presence of his Divine Friend, was the joy of giving up everything for that Friend's sake. His life, after that, was a life of obedience to God. At every step in life, and in all things — in things small as well as great — in things painful as well as pleasant, he said to God, ' Thy will, and not mine, be done '. He liked to remember how much God had given up for him. He liked to fill his soul with the thought that Jesus gave His life to redeem him. And he looked upon himself, in consequence, as one that belonged to God. ' I am not my own, but God's,' he said ; ' and I will think no thought, I will speak no word, I will do no act except as God allows me. And this was his life. His soul's ear was bent to listen for the commands of God. His gi'eatest joy was in fulfilling these commands. He would do no action and suffer no thought which he knew to be contrary to them. His whole endeavour was to let God work His will in him. He felt himself so entirely in the hands of God, to do, or to suffer, as it might please Him, that he sometimes likened himself to a block of stone which a sculptor was carving into a statue. God who loved him was this sculptor. And icolas would present himself as such a stone before God, and say, ' O my best Friend, my Maker,

my Lord, shape me into Thine own image : make me entirely like Thyself. VI. A great secret in the happiness of icolas was the close connection he kept up between his religion and his daily tasks.

741

Ver. 27.

HEBREWS XL, XIII

Ver. 5.

He took his religion with him into the iiitchen. He could not bear the error of some that religion was only for the chm-ch, and for religious meetings. Religion and business with icolas were not two things, but one. He did all the work of a cook as the servant of God and out of love to God. And in the very humblest part of his duties he tried to give pleasure to God. Like the Apostle who said, ' Whether ye eat or drink, or whatsoever ye do, do all to the glory of God,' icolas felt that whether he was cooking in the kitchen, or worshipping in a church, he had all the same to glorify God. To this old man the kitchen was as holy a place as a church. He was with God there ! Daily he had

sweet talk with Him as he went about his humble duties. And the fireside, with its pots and pans, and with its heats and smells, became like a gate of heaven unto his soul. And this was the more beautiful in him because naturally he did not like the work of the kitchen. But he put his dislike of the work aside and did it joyfully out of love to God. He began every part of his duties with silent prayer. As the work went forward he would lilt up his heart ngain in prayer. And when it was finished he would give thanks to God for helping him. Or, if he had failed, he would ask God to pardon him. In this way his distasteful work became a joy to him, and easy. And it was so mixed up with prayer that his soul was more united to God amid the tasks of the kitchen than when he was in his private room. icolas believed that a holy life did not depend upon finding some high and heavenly kind of work to do ; but in doing common work, the work of every da}', for the love of God. It is a holy life, he held, to do for God's sake the things we commonly do for our own. He put great stress on the doing of little things to God. He used often to say that Christians ought never to weary in doing little services for His sake. ' It is not the greatness of the work which God regards,' he would say, ' it is the love with which it is performed.' A friend who saw him at his work in the kitchen has borne witness how truly it was work for God. ' His very countenance was edifying. There was such a sweet and calm devotion appearing in it as could not fail to affect the beholders. In the greatest huny he still preserved his heavenly-mindedness. He was never hastj' nor loitering, but did each thing in its season, with an even uninteiTupted composure and tranquillity of spirit.'

icolas himself said, ' The time of business does not with me differ from the time of prayer ; and in the noise and clatter of my kitchen, while several persons are at the same time calling for different things, I possess God in as great tranquillity as if I were upon my knees at the blessed sacrament '. VII. There were many other things in this life which helped to make it a happy one, which I should be glad to tell about, but I must content myself with one more.

icolas had such perfect faith in God that when he brought any difficulty before Him in prayer, when he came with some burden, or sorrow, or care, he really left it with God. After laying it on God, he did not suffer it to trouble him more. And it was the same with his sins. When he had once asked God to forgive him for some pai'ticukir sin, he left the sin with God, and believed that he was forgiven, and went on to do the next duty on his path. In this way he had an almost unbroken peace and joy of mind. To people who came to ask him about the way of happiness, he was accustomed to say : ' Keep the thought of the Presence of God ever in your hearts ; and give 3ourselves entirely to the study of His love, and you will come to perfect happiness. The more you know of His love, the more you will wish to know ; and the greater your knowledge is, so much deeper will be your love, and so much greater your desu'e to be continually in His company. Cast everything out of your hearts that God may have the whole room to Himself. And when God has taken up His abode there, trust Him in everything to the end of your lives.'

Writing some advices of this sort when he was about eighty years of age, he added, ' I hope from God's mercy the fevour to pee Him in a few days '. And within a few days he went home to be with God for ever. — Alexander Macleod. WAR I G AGAI ST DISCO TE T ' Be content with such things as ye have.' — Hebrews xiii. 5. The subject we have now to consider is — the Bible warning against discontent. And I wish to speak of three good reasons why we should learn to mind this warning, I. We ougfht to Mind it, in the First Place, ' for our own Comfort*. — ow suppose that you have a long walk to take every day, but you have a thorn run into your foot, or a sharp stone in your shoe — could you have any comfort in taking that daily walk? Certainly not. If you wished to walk with any comfort, the first thing for you to do would be to take off your shoe, and throw away the sharp stone that was in it ; and then to have that thorn taken out of your foot. You never could have the least comfort in walking till this was done. But a feeling of discontent in our minds is just like that thorn in the foot, or that stone in the shoe. It will take away from us all the comfort we might have, as we go on in the walk of our daily duties. And if we wish to have any comfort ourselves, in what we have to do, we must get rid of this feeling of discontent from our own minds. A discontented person can have no comfort in anything. Our first illusrration may be called, ' The fable of the discontented bittern '. The bittern is a large bird with a long neck and

long legs that lives in swamps. The fable says that a bittern was discontented with his condition. He had got tired of living in swamps, and eating frogs

742

Ver. 5.

HEBREWS XIII

Ver.

and worms and all sorts of reptiles. He wanted to live in the orchard like a robin, and be a favourite with everybody. ' I guess bitterns can sing as well as robins,' he said to himself one day, ' and I have no notion of being confined to a marsh, and catching fever and ague all my da}s.' So he started for the orchard, partly flying and running as fast as he could go. When he got there he began at once to build him a nest, like the robin, on the branch of an apple tree. The next day, as he was busy with this work, a farmer from a cottage neai- by saw him. He got his gun and shot him. The shot did not kill him, but it broke his wing. Then he was glad to hobble back to his old home in the swamp, and to eating frogs and worms again. His discontent had taken away all his comfort. But the lesson he learned that day took away his discontent, and made him satisfied that the position which God had chosen fur him

was better than any that he could choose for himself. Here is a short story about a good bishop who had learned to mind this warning about discontent, and the comfort which it gave him. This good man had passed through many great trials ; but he was never heard to complain in passing through them. He was always contented and cheerful. An intimate friend of his, who had often admired his calm, happy temper, and who felt as if he would like very much to imitate his example, asked him one day if he would tell him the secret of the quiet, contented spirit which he always had. 'Yes,' said the bishop, ' I will gladly tell you my secret. It consists in nothing more than making a right use of my eyes.' 'Please tell me what you mean by this.' 'Certainly,' said the bishop, 'I mean just this. When I meet with any trial I first of all look up to heaven, and remember that my chief business in life is to get there. Then I look down upon the earth, and think how small a space I shall need in it when I die and come to be buried ; and then I look round in the world, and think how many people there are who have more cause to be unhappy than I have. And in this way I learn the Bible lesson — " Be content with .such things as ye have ".' II. The Second Reason why we Ought to Mind this is 'for the Comfort of Others '. — The Apostle Paul teaches us that our duty as Christians is — ' not to please ourselves, but to please our neighbours, for then- good to edification ' (Rom. xv. 1, 2). This means that we are to try and please those about us, not by doing anything that is wrong, but by setting them a good example, and helping them on in the way to heaven.

But there is no better way in which we can do this than by first learning the lesson of contentment oui-selves, and then by our example helping others to leam it too. Suppose that you sit down some afternoon to study your school lesson for the next morning. Outside of the house, under the window of the room in which you are studying, a cross, ill-natured dog is sitting. He is yelling and howling and barking all the time.

Would that be any help, or comfort, to you in studying your lesson ? ot at all. On the contrary it would be such a trouble and discomfort to you that you would be ready to shut up your book and say, 'Well, I must drive away that noisy dog, or I never can learn my lesson '. And then suppose that there w.-is a tree near the window of the room in which you were studying, and suppose that a little bird should perch himself on one of the branches of the tree, and should warble forth his sweet songs ; what a comfort that would be to you ! You would feel that the little fellow was a real help to you in learning your lessons. ow, if we give way to an ugly discontented spirit, then, like the barking dog under the window, we shall only be a plague and a trial to those about us. But if we learn the lesson of contentment, and have a quiet, gentle spirit, then liWe the singing bird we shall be real comforts to our friends, and they will be always glad to have us near them. John Wesley, the founder of the Methodist Church, used to say, ' I daie no more fret, than curse or swear '. A friend of his, who was intimately connected with him for a large portion of his life, in speaking of him after his death, said, ' I never saw him fretful

or discontented under any of his trials. And to be in the company of persons of this spirit always occasioned him great discomfort and trouble. He said one day, ' To have persons around me, murmuring and fretting at everything that happens, is like tearing the flesh from my bones. I know that God sits upon His throne ruling all things. With this thought in my mind, and the grace of God in my heart, I may well learn " To be content with such things as I have".' Good Mr. Wesley was minding the Bible warning against discontent when he used these words, and was setting a good example for us all to follow. What a blessed thing it would be if all Christians would try to follow his example. MI. The Third Reason why we Should Mind this Warning is 'to Please God'.- — o trials can ever come upon us in this world without God's knowledge and consent. He is so wise that He never makes a mistake about our trials, and He is so good that He never lets any trouble come upon us, but what He knows will be for the best. And when we try to be patient and contented under our trials, because we know that God ordei"s or permits them, this will be pleasing to Him. We will close our sermon with one other illustration outside of the Bible. We may call it, ' satisfied with the best '. ' I was going down town in a Fourth Avenue car one day,' says a ew York merchant, ' when I heard somebody cry out, " Holloa, Mr. Conductor, please stop your car a moment ; I can't run very fast ". The cai- stopped, and presently there hobbled into it a little lame boy, about ten or twelve years old. I saw from the nice clothes he wore that he was the son of wealthy parents ; but oh ! his face told such a tale of siient suffering ! and yet he was bright and

743

Ver. 5.

HEBREWS XIII

Ver. 5.

cheerful. He put his little crutch behind him, and placing his poor withered limb in a more easy position, he began to look round at his fellow passengers. A happy smile played over his pale face, and he seemed to take notice of everything. Presently I got a seat next to him, and as he looked around him I heard him humming in a low tone the words of the hymn — " Hark, I hear an angel sing ". ' Then I had a little talk with him, and found that he knew and loved the Saviour, and it was this which made him so contented and cheerful. He told me he was born with this withered limb, and that the doctor said it never would be any better. ' " Well, my dear boy," I said, " under these circumstances, how can you be so happy and cheerful ? " His reply was, "Jesus, my Saviour, has sent this trial

for me to bear. Father tells me He would not have sent it, unless He knew it would be best for me. And don't you think, sir, that I ought to be satisfied with the best ? " This touched my heart, and brought tears to my eyes. I was just going to get out of the car then. So I shook hands with the little fellow, and thanked him for the lesson he had taught me, which I told him I should never forget as long as I lived.' ow this little boy had learned and was practising the Bible warning against discontent. And we see how well his example illustrates each of the three reasons for minding this warning of which we have been speaking. It brought comfort to himself — it gave comfort to others — and was pleasing to God. — Richard ewton, Bible Warnings : Addresses to Children, p. 285.

744

THE EPISTLE OF JAMES

A MISSIO ARY ADDRESS ' Be ye doers of the word.'— James i. 22. Introduction. — Suppose a knife could see and think — one day its master sends it to the grindstone. What for ? Perhaps it would think, ' to be brushed by machinery and see lovely fireworks ! ' But, really, to be simrpened up. Why do we come to a missionary meeting or service ? To hear stories ? sing hymns ? have a little excitement ? Yes, perhaps, but .something more — to be sharpened up and made better workers ! Think —

I. What the Work is. 1. Very great. — Three-quarters of the world, say 750 millions of people, to be made Christians. Take 12 days and 11 nights to count 1 million at one a second, and no time for eating, drinking, or sleeping ! Take 25 years, day and night, to count 750 millions, and all of these need to be spoken to and taught. ' Can't do it,' but our Captain has told us to (Mark xvi. 15). [Illtis. : Duke of Wellington to officer who said something could not be done. ' Can't be done, sir ! It's in the order book, so it can be done, and it shall be.'] 2. Terrible need. — What are all these doing without Christ ? [Illustrate CTuelty and degradation of the heathen by anecdotes.] II. How can we Help. Missionai'ies are sent out — perhaps we may not be able to go ourselves — at any rate not yet. Still — 1. We can pray for Tnissionaries. See how St. Paul — the great missionary — was helped by prayers. [Picture out from 2 Cor. i. 8-11.] So with others — one missionary saved from a bear, and found, when he got home, that a little boy had been praying for him. ' O God, save Mr. from the bears.' 2. We can work for missionaries. May be small, but the smallest can do something. Missionary boxes. The pleasure of giving. A great deal of money spent on sweets and nice things to eat, why not give a farthing out of every penny

to missions ? God gives us money to use for the best — not all for self Would not like to be cannibals, but if we eat the money which should feed missionaries, it is very much like eating missionaries. 3. We can be missionaries. Always take more interest in work of which we know something — -a tailor, e.g. takes more interest in tailorin;;- than in shoemaking. If not full missionaries we can be missionary apprentices. [Illus. : Some child near, never comes to church or Sundayschool — or perhaps some grown pei-son. Cannot you

ask them to come, and help to bring them ? Perhaps some blind person, or old person who cannot read ; cannot you find half an hour to read a chapter or some hymns to them ?] Plenty of missionary work for all if only we are willing to undertake it, and nothing like being missionaries for giving us an interest in missions. — C. A. Goodhart, Hints and Outlines for Children's Services, p. 94. SOME GE TLE DEEDS ' Gentle — easy to be entreated '. — James hi. 17. It is said of the things done by Jesus that if thev should be written every one, the world itself could not contain the books they should fill. It is the same with deeds done by those who are like Jesus. They can never all be told. They are being done every day, every hour of the day, and in every country. Only one here, another there, is ever heard of. I am going to tell of two or three which I have read about or known myself. I. It was a gentle deed which Rahab did hundreds

of years ago in Jericho. She saved the lives of two servants of God. Rahab was a poor heathen woman. She had neither Bible nor church to tell her what to do. o prophet had ever told her of God. She only knew ot Him by the talk of travellers, and by the rumours of the mighty works He had done for the children of Israel. What she knew of God, therefore, was a mere tiny spark of light, which any puff of wind might blow out. But she loved this light. She took it for her guide. And in the way it pointed out she walked. One day God sent the two servants I have spoken of unto her house for shelter. They had come to see the land ; and the king of Jericho was angry, and wanted to kill them. And he sent to Rahab, and said, ' Give the.se men up to me that I may kill them, for they are come to spy out our land '. But Rahab knew, by the light which God had kindled in her soul, that they were sent by God. And she said to herself, ' I will obey God rather than the king of Jericho '. So she hid the men in the roof of her house among stalks of flax which were heaped up there. Then, when night fell, she let them down by a cord from a window that looked over the wall of the city. ' Flee for your lives,' she said, ' flee to the mountains, and remain there three days, and you shall be safe.' So the men fled, as she told them, up to the mountains, and, hiding there three days, they escaped. It was God who gave her this chance of serving Him by doing this good deed. And He also gave her the wisdom and the heart to do it well. That which she could do, she did. That is her praise to this day.

745

Ver. 17.

JAMES III

Ver. 17.

II. There is still living, in an English village, a venerable man who had spent his days in preaching the Gospel and doing other Christian works. When he came first to this village he found every summer, about the same time, that many of the people sickened, and some died. Of those who died, the greatest number were children. It went to his heart to see the grief which these deaths caused — mothers crying for the children, and children for the mothers who had died. At last God put the thought into his mind that there was some one evil thing which brought the sickness and the deaths. And looking into all things to find this out, he saw that in the hot months of summer the people had no water to drink except what lay foul and bad in the ditches by the roadside. He said to himself, ' The people are dying for want of pure water'. ow over against that village there is a mountain, and in the sides of this mountain, far up, are springs and streams of the purest water. The minister got workmen and went up to these streams. And across the bed of the largest stream he caused a strong wall to be built, and in this way made a deep lake behind. Then from this lake he caused pipes to be laid all the way to the sti'eets of the village. And the villagers had wholesome water to drink. And they ceased to sicken and die as they had done.

That was a gentle and Christian deed. He brought health to his people, and a happier life[into their homes. III. One of the best and kindest servants of God I have ever known was my beloved friend Margaret. Her life has been one long outflow of gentle deeds. And she has done deeds which were brave as well as good, which needed courage and strength as well as kindness to do. It is one of these — one out of many — I am about to tell. In the city where her home was is a district which is called 'the woods'. And in the heart of that district was an evil house, dark and dismal to look at, in which thieves and drunkards and other evil people lived, and which the neighbours in the district had named ' the den '. One winter's day a simple country girl, not yet eighteen, in search of work, knocked at the door of this house. Her mother and she had seen in the newspaper that work was to be had in this house. And at the door, when it was opened, she asked for work. ' Yes ! ' said the master of the house ; ' if you will stay here you shall have work.' But it was a very wicked man who said this, and it was very wicked work he intended her to do. He was like the wolf who met little Red Riding Hood ; and this was a girl like Red Riding Hood herself ow on that same day it came to the cars of my friend Margaret that this guileless country girl had been entrapped into the den. She knew the wickedness of the evil man who was its master, and of the thieves and vile people who lived with him in his house. She knew also that this poor girl would never more get back to her home unless she could be got out of the den at once.

It was winter weather, as I have said. The air was thick with log, the streets deep in slush. But Margaret, having first put herseif in God's hand by prayer, set out and knocked at the door of the den. ' Could she see the girl who had come up from the country ? ' ' There was no such person there,' she was told. ' Could she see the master ? ' ' He had gone from home.' But these were lies which she had been told. She went to the police office, to magistrates, to ministers, to kind-hearted citizens. o one seemed able to help her. Two days in the bitter winter weather she toiled, going from street to street, from door to door, before she found the helper who cared to help. But this helper at last she found. And before the third day closed she had rescued the innocent country ghl from the den of evil ; had got work for her which she could do at her mother's side ; and was with her in the late train on I he way back to the village home, which, but for Margai-et, she never would have seen again. IV. The other day a poor man was brought — crushed by machinery — into a Manchester hospital. To save his life his leg had to be taken off". But when this was done, the blood rushed out so quickly that there was almost no life left in him. And the doctors said he had not strength to get better. There was but one chance for him. If new blood could be poured into his body he might still live. One of the students there said, ' Let blood be taken from me '. And blood was taken from him and made to pass into the body of the dying man. And the man recovered his strength and he lived. It was a great gift which this student made to the poor stranger. It was a gift of life. He had nobleness and strength to do this very thing. It was, in the best sense, a gentle deed. That is his praise for evermore for this deed, whatever else his life may bring foilh.

V. A young mason, many years ago, had his hand crushed b_> a stone, and went to the Glasgow Infirmary to have it dressed. A student, unlike the one I told you of — an ungentle student — tore off the bandages hastily. That is a great cruelty when the hand is sore with open wounds. The pain was worse than having the hand crushed at first. And though the young lad kept down his crying when he was with the doctor, he no sooner got out than he turned into a court and sat on some steps inside where he could be out of sight, and burst into sobs. But on that stair dwelt a very gentle lady. She heard the sobbing and came down to see the sufferer. Then she brought him into her house, spoke kindly to him — like a mother — made some tea for him, and told him to come to her every day befoie he went to have his hand dressed. And day by day this motherhearted lady soaked the bandages in warm water and made them easy to come off". And this she did to this perfect stranger till the hand was well. Perhaps it does not seem a very great thing to do, but it was a very kind thing. And it was all she was able to do. She did what she could. And the young mason never forgot her kindness. He became a life-long

746

Ver. 17.

JAMES V

Ver. 16.

friend to her. And when she was old and lonely he often visited her and his visits cheered her till she died. VI. I knew another doer of gentle deeds, the landlady of a country inn. She was very simple. Although she was the mother of grown-up sons and daughters, it was like listening to a baby to hear her speak. Almost the only words which passed her lips weie, ' Aye, aye,' and ' o, no '. But she had a kind and motherly heart. Out of that came all the gentle deeds she did. One of these I will tell. On the other side of the street from her inn lived a poor girl, a weaver, who had neither father nor mother, nor friend nor relative in the wide world. This girl was laid down by fever, and had a long and weary illness after. At firet the neighbours were very kind. They lit her fire, tidied up her room, prepared her food, and made her bed. But weeks and months passed, and Ann was no better. And by and by the neighbours got weary of this welldoing. First one, then another, at last all except one forgot to visit poor Ann, or even to ask how she was getting on. This unforgetting one was the kind mistress of the little inn. Every day, as the clock struck foui', this simple Christian woman might be seen coming out of her door with a small covered tray. Wet or dry, snow or sunshine, it was all the same. At the exact hour the lonesome Ann heard the welcome footstep on the stair, saw the latch lifted, and the gentle neighbour coming in with a pleasant smile on her face, and a large cup of hot tea and a buttered roll in her hand. She would have died but for this that her neighbour did. Many a day her only food was the tea and roll. And it was not always easy for this kind heart to do what she did. It

was not easy to leave her house, which was often crowded with country people. But always she fulfilled her task of mercy. She did it cheerfully. She did it till Ann was able to come and thank her. That was her praise in God's sight. VII. Yet one other gentle deed conies into my memory out of a story of school life. It was a school of black children in Jamaica. A friend of my own was master. He had made a law that every lie told in the school should be punished by seven strokes on the palm with a strap. One da}' Lottie Paul told a lie, and was called up to receive the seven strokes. Lottie was a poor little thing, and pain was terrible to her. But the master must enforce his law. Untruth is a very evil thing in a school, or in a child's life. So liOttie had to hold out her hand and receive the seven strokes. But her cry of pain when she had received the first went to the master's heart. He could not <;o on with her punishment. He could not pass by her sin. And this is what he did. He looked to the forms on which the boys were seated, and asked, 'Is there any boy will bear the rest of Lottie's punishment ? ' And as soon as the words were out of his lips, up started a bright little fellow called Jim, and said, ' Please, sir, I will ! ' And he stepped from his seat, stepped up to the desk and received, without a cry, the six remaining strokes.

What moved this brave boy to bear Lottie's punishment ? It was the gentle heart. And it was the vision of a her^rt gentler still, but gentle with the same kind of gentleness which filled the master's eyes with tears that day, and made him close his books, and bring his scholars round about his desk, and tell them of the Gentle One, who long ago bore the punishment of us all.

It is pleasant to tell of gentle deeds. It is far more pleasant to be able to do them. But it is delightful to know that Christ the Lord is helping people every day to do them. And every day He is sending chances of doing them to our very doors. And the gentle deeds He gives us the chance of doing are not high and difficult things, which only great people and strong people can do, but humble, homely, little things which boys and girls, and even little children can do. — Alexander Macleod, The Gentle Heart, p. 23. LET US PRAY ' Pray one for another.' — James v. i6. We do pray for one another when we kneel at our bedsides at night ; but perhaps we do not pray for one another as much as we might, or as well as we might ; and we want to help one another to ' pray one for another '. But what does it mean ? I. It means, I think, that we should Pray for one Another by ame. If we say ' God bless everybody,' it means very little : if we pray for each other by name, it means much more. Aaron was the High Priest of Israel, and it was his business to pray for the people, and so he wore a breast-plate on his heart, and the breast-plate had the names of the children of Israel upon it, and he prayed for the people by name. A minister I knew had a list of all his people, and he prayed for them by name. The list was a very long one, and it became k)nger and longer, but he used to pray for some on Monday, and others on Tuesday, and others on the other days of the week, and so he got through his list. That was his breast-plate.

Phyllis was a little friend of ours, about three years old. We made friends one day when she sat upon my shoulder, and watched the pigeons flying in and out of the church steeple, where they had their home. She wanted to hear them, but they were too far off. Suddenly she heard some pigeons quite near where she sat saying, ' T-r-r-r '. And looking down she moved away the moustache to see where the pigeons were. The pigeons inside a man were more interesting than the pigeons on the steeple. After that Phyllis one day said to her auntie, ' Auntie, may I pray for Mr. Wobinson ? ' ' Certainly, dear,' said her aunt. And from that time every night she prayed, ' God bless Mr. Wobinson '. It is more than a year since I saw our little Phyllis, but her aunt wrote the other day to say that she still prays every night, ' God bless Mr. Wobinson '. That is the way to pray one for another.

747

Ver. 16.

JAMES V

Ver. 16.

II. It means too, I think, that we should Pray for Some Special Thing. If anyone is ill, we should

pray that he may get well, or that his pain may be eased, or that he may bear it bravely, or that it may do him good. And if any are on the sea, we should pray that God will watch over them, and bring them safe home. III. ow why should we pray for one another ? Because It makes us have a Right Feeling towards Others. If anyone has been unkind to us, said unkind things, or done unkind acts, we do not feel very pleased with them. We would like to hit them, or say something bitter. But that would not be right. What are we to do ? Let us pray for them. Jesus said, ' Pray for them who despitefully use you and persecute you '. That means we should pray for those who treat us badly. Then all the hot feeling passes away, and we think of them as brothers and sisteK. Then too we can feel right towards God. Leonardo da Vinci was a gi'eat painter. One of his paintings is of ' The Last Supper'. Jesus is seated

at a table, and the disciples are seated on either side of Him. Da Vinci had quarrelled with a fi'iend, and he determined to put his friend into the picture. So he made the face of his friend do duty for the face of Judas, the man who betrayed Jesus with a kiss, and he made the face of Judas as ugly and as evil as he could. Then Da Vinci had to paint the face of Jesus. He tried again and again, but he found he could not put all the purity and sweetne.ss into that face that it should have. Soon afterwards he made it up with his friend, and then he painted out the face of Judas, and put another

face in. And then he had a sweet vision of Jesus, and painted His face beautifully. IV. Then, Praying for Each Other is the Easiest Way of Doing Good. We cannot always give money to people ; we cannot nui-se them when they are sick ; we cannot help them when they are in trouble ; but we can always pray one for another ; and God will hear our prayers, and bless those for whom we pray. — W. Venis Robikson, Sunbeams for Sundays, p. 154.

748

THE FIRST EPISTLE OF PETER

LIVI G STO ES I Peter ii. 4, 5. Beneath one of the hills on which Jerusalem stands, is a vast cavern hewn in the rock. This cavern was the quarry from which were cut out the huge foundation-stones for the Temple. In it are found great blocks partly cut out, with the marks of the mason's chisel as fresh on them as if King Solomon's or King Herod's stonemasons had been at work on them only yesterday. What does this mean ? It means that those stones were intended to be used in building God's Temple ; but it was found they were not wanted : there were enough without them. There was no room for them ; and so there they lie in the dark cave to this day.

ow, only fancy that one of those stones had been alive, and could have thought, and spoken, and chosen for itself whether it would be built into God's Temple or not. Suppose that stone had said to the masons, ' It is of no use to go on cutting and chipping ; I don't wish to be in the Temple. Here I am, and here you may, leave me. I shall be wanted some day for a palace, or a castle, or a bridge, and then they will come and take me out into the sunshine. I am in no hun-y.' Would you not have said, ' O foolish, 'Ungrateful wicked stone ! You are rightly punished by being left there in the dark for ever ? ' Well, but take care you are not like those stones. The Apostle Peter speaks about ' living stones '. He says :— ' To whom coming (that is, to the Lord Jesus) as unto a living stone . . . chosen of God and precious, ye also, as lively stones, are built up a spiritual temple.' — 1 Peter 11. 4, 5. In this text, ' a spiritual house ' means a temple for God ; not a church or chapel built of stone and wood, but a church made up of people — true Christians — in whose hearts God has promised to dwell. And by ' lively ' is meant, not cheerful and frolicsome, but living. (And so in the revised version we read ' living '.) The Lord Jesus Christ is compared to 'a living stone' — the chief foundation-stone (vv. 6, 7) ; and all true Christiixns are compared to living stones built on Him, to make part of God's living Temple. If you wish to know more about this living Temple read Isaiah lxvi. 1,2; John xiv. 23 ; 1 Corinthians in. 16, 17 ; Kphesians ir. 19-22. You remember that our Saviour gave to Simon his name ' Peter,' or ' Cephas,' which means ' a stone,' and said to him, ' On this rock will I build My church '. o doubt Peter thought a great deal about

his name, and the meaning of it, and about rocks and

stones. And so it is no wonder that he compared the Lord Jesus to a ' living stone,' and Christians to ' living stones ' built on Him to make part of God's Temple. ow, in what way are you to be one of these ' living stones ' ? St. Peter says, ' unto whom coming '. That is it. All depends on coming to the Lord Jesus ; asking Him to be your Saviour, and yielding and trusting yourself to Him. The stones in the quarry, when the masons had finished hewing and shaping them, had to be hauled with ropes and moved on rollers, and hoisted with pulleys, and so laid in their appointed place in the Temple, because they were not 'living stones'. But the ' hving stones ' must coine. , You cannot be dragged to Christ, or carried to Him, whether you will or no. You must come. Teachers, and parents, and ministers, are like God's masons, seeking to prepare you for a place in God's Temple. Every lesson taught you, every hymn and text you learn, every service in which you join, leaves its chisel-mark — a mark on your heart. 'There they are, those marks ; some so deep that you can hardly forget them ; some so tiny that only God's eye can see them. But all will be vain and thrown away unless you come. You nmst come of your own free will ; and yet it must be by God's ivrace, and help, and teaching. How can this be ? Because when God gives us His Holy Spirit, He works in us ' both to will and to do '. This is what we pray for in one of our hymns — Make us willing to be Thine. — E. R. Co DEE, Drops and Rocks, p. 170.

IMITATE THE LORD JESUS I Peter ii. 21. The Lord Jesus is a Saviour to trust, a Pattern to follow, a Friend to love, and a Master to serve. These are three steep steps for Tiny Folks. Do well, suffer for it, and be patient. Only Jesus can help us do this. This verse shows us Jesus as our Pattern. Example is better than precept. The Lord Jesus is our I. Example of Love and Sympathy. Perfect Saviour. II. Example of Loyalty and Obedience. Perfect Man. III. Example of Life and Service. Perfect Servant. One writer reminds us that in order to follow Jesus fully we must tread in His steps, and for this we need His nature, His spirit, and His power, but this threefold grace is given to all who will sincerely follow Him.

749

Yer. 4.

1 PETER III

Ver. 8.

Two persons were walking together one very dark night, when one said to the other who knew the road well, ' I shall follow you so as to be right '. He soon fell into a ditch, and accused the other with his fall. The other replied, ' Then you did not follow me exactly ; for I have kept free '. A side step had caused the fall. There is like danger in following Christ. Let us follow Him fully. — Charles Edwards, Tin Tacks for Tiny Folks, p. 55. A JEWEL OF PRICE I Peter hi. 4. A CERTAI thing is declared in Scripture to be ' in the sight of God of great price '. Everything, you know, is in God's sight ; that is, God sees and knows all things. ot the tiniest atom in the very heart of the earth, not the faintest twinkle of the farthest star, not a passing smile or frown on your face, or a secret thought in your mind, can be hidden from God. He sees everything, knows everything, foresees everything, forgets nothing. But more than this is meant when a thing is said to be precious in God's sight. It means that He takes notice of it, is pleased with it, and wishes us to admire and count it precious. Things often look very different to us from what they really are. Coloured glass may look like precious stones. Gilded paper or wood may look like gold. Artificial flowers may be so like real ones that at a little distance no one can tell which is which. But God sees things as they really are. When Jesse's sons passed before Samuel, and Eliab was so handsome and tall and strong that Samuel thought surely it must be he whom God had chosen to be king of Israel, the Lord said to Samuel, ' Look not on his

countenance, or on the height of his stature, because I have refused him : for the Lord seeth not as man seeth ; for man looketh on the outward appearance, but the Lord looketh on the heart ' (1 Sam. xvi, 7). Even outward beauty is God's work, and He means it to be adnmed : but it is not this which He reckons ' of great price ' ; and for this reason, among others, that it so quickly perishes. The loveliest flowers soon wither, and all their beauty is gone. The fairest face may in a moment be made unsightly by a blow, or disfigured by disease. The most beautiful landscape may in a few minutes be darkened with tempest or blotted out with fog. The most precious kind of beauty must be inward, not only on the outside ; durable, not withering ; something which will gi-ow more and more beautiful the older it grows. Well, what is this precious thing — precious even in God's sight ? Silver or gold, pearls or diamonds, rare and curious and costly works of art, such as princes treasure in their palaces ? o ; none of these things. othing of the sort. Something which the ))oorest peasant or the youngest child may have. And, strange to say, something which no one who really has it can be proud of. It is ' the ornament of a meek and quiet spirit, which is in the sight of God of great price ' (1 Pet. iii. 4). Tliis, you .see, is beauty of mind, or, as we sometimes say, beauty of

character. St. Peter calls it ' the hidden man of the heart, in that which is not corruptible '. And yet he calls it an ' adorning,' an 'ornament,' which means something beautiful to look at, because, you know, people cannot help showing what .?oii of temper and spirit they have — haughty or lowly, sour or sweet, cross or gentle, hasty or patient, selfish and spiteful, or generous and forgiving — by their words, and tones,

and looks, as well as actions. A certain statesman had once been a poor lad, but had raised hiinself by his talents and industry. A rich but vulgar-spirited man, who wished to mortify him, said to him very rudely, 'I remember when you blacked my father's boots ! ' Instead of losing his temper and answering this insult angrily, he simply said, ' And did I not black them well? ' That was beautiful, was it not ? That was the ' ornament of a meek and quiet spirit '. And why is such a spuit ' of great price ' in God's account? Because it is like the Lord Jesus, of whom the voice from heaven said, ' This is My beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased '. ' Who when He was reviled, reviled not again ; when He suffered. He thi'eatened not.' When the people in a Samaritan village refused to give Him a supper or a night's lodging. His Apostles James and John were so angry that they wished to call down fire from heaven to burn up those rude villagers with theii' houses. But Jesus ' rebuked them and said. Ye know not what manner of spirit ye are of. For the Son of Man is not come to destroy men's lives, but to save them.' — E. R. Co DEE, Drops and Rocks, p. 219. COURTESY ' Be courteous.' — i Peter hi. 8. Be courteous. What does that mean ? Perhaps you will understand it better if I tell you it means, be polite. What is politeness ? Can you tell me ? Or what is being polite ? Let me try to explain. We often see a road being made, or mended, with flints ; these fill up the holes, and the cart wheels don't sink into the ruts or mud. You say it's a good road now, only a little rough. But supposing jou go over it with

a steam roller and press the flints down, there is a great difference — it's the same road, only you've taken off the roughness. So the polite man is the one who's had the roughness taken off his manners. Or again, you take off your boots at night and have them cleaned. They are just the same boots, but how different they look in the morning I How much nicer ! You've had the polish put on. . ow being polite means simply having a little polish on our manners. To be polite is just the opposite of being rude. The rude person is the one who never says, ' Please,' when he wants a thing, or ' Thank you,' when he has got it. If you are in a little difficulty he won't trouble to help you out of it. If he is going through a gate with a lady he lets her open it, and doesn't even say ' Thank you,' when he passes through

750

Ver. 8.

1 PETER III

Ver. 8.

first. If he doesn't like the way you sing, or read, or preach, or if you spell badly, or make a mistake in

pronunciation, the rude man will be almost sure to tell you of it ; he calls that honesty, or sincerity, or plain speaking. We call it rudeness. But we want to be just the opposite of this — to be polite. And we must remember to be polite to a man himself, not to his pocket, or to his clothes, or to his name. I'll tell you what I meaa We all travel in a train sometimes, and have our tickets examined before setting off. ow let us suppose we are in a first-class carriage. Here's the collector coming ; he opens the door, and says in a very nice way, ' Will you kindly show your ticket, ladies,' or ' gentlemen ? ' as the case may be. We do so ; he says, ' Thank you,' and closes the door gently. Let us suppose we are now in a second-class compartment. The man opens the door and calls out, 'Tickets, please'. He doesn't say, ' Thank you,' nor close the door quite so gently this time. Once more we are in a third-cl.iss carriage. He opens the door, calls out, 'Tickets,' looks at them, bangs the door, and goes away. ow if a man behaved like that we should say he was only polite to people's pockets, not to the people themselves. We should be just as polite to thirdclass people as first-class. Of course we all know what a half-timer is, one who works half the day only. Don't let us be half-timers in politeness — half our time rude, half our time polite — polite to strangers or people outside oui' own homes ; but impolite, rude, rough at home. Some young men are polite to evei-ybody's sisters but their own, but that is a very poor, mean sort of politeness. Sometimes we meet people in the street, or shops, or in other people's houses, and we think, ' Oh I what nice polite people 1

What good mannei-s ! ' Ah 1 but wait until they get home. In Eastern countries it is considered

proj)er, if you mean to be polite, to leave your shoes or slippei-s outside when you go inside a man's door ; some people in England think it is proper to leave their manners outside their own dooi-s. They are rude and careless, disobliging to their mothers and sisters ; any mannei-s seem good enough for them. If we, any of us, act like that, let us make a change. They say charity should begin at home, so should politeness, only we must not let it end there. Our mothers and sisters might be rathei- astonished at first if we suddenly began to be a little polite — to say, ' If you please,' or ' Thank you,' and try to help them a little. But I think they would soon get used to it, and I am sure they would like it. But people may say, what is the good of being polite? It isn't useful, like being honest, or industrious and punctual. Well it isn't necessary to have sugar in our tea, but I think most of us like it ; it seems to make the tea taste nicer — so politeness sweetens our lives. See, you go home and your mother is mangling. What a noise the wheels make ! how they creak and rattle ! and it seems hard work, too. You get a little oil and put it to them. It isn't necessary, but it makes them run smoothly and easily. So politeness makes the wheels of life run smoothly and easily. We are told by Christ to love one another ; politeness is love showing itself in trifles. We are told in the Bible, you know, that Christ

went down to azareth, and was obedient to Joseph and Mary, and grew in favour with man as well as God — that is to say, they liked Him more the older He grew. Why ? One reason, I am sure, is this ; He was gentle and obliging to every one around Him. And so He has taught us all to be polite, or in other words, to be courteous. — R. G. Scans, Sermons for the Young, p. 1.

751

THE SECO D EPISTLE OF PETER

THE WORLD TO BE BUR ED UP ' The earth, and the works that are therein, shall be burned up.'- — 2 Peter hi. io. Fire is a good friend, but a ten-ible enemy. The cry of Fire ! ' is always alarming. Even when mischievoas boys imitate the fearful .sound, shouting aloud, ' Where ! where ! ' the nerves of the timid are disturbed. The poet Gray, who wrote the beautiful Elegy in a Country Churchyard, had a dread of fire which amounted almost to a mania. When he became a student of St. Peter's College, Cambridge, his bedroom was on the second story, and he took it into his head that in case of a conflagration, his escape by the stairway would be cut off', and that he would certainly be burned to death. He therefore had an iron bar fixed

by strong arms projecting from the outside of his window, to which a rope could be tied in any emergency, and he could thus descend safely to the ground. This excessive caution led his class-mates to play a practical joke upon him, by thundering at his door, one night, with loud cries of ' Fire ! fire ! ' The excited poet started from his bed, rushed to the window, and slid down the rope, when he was greeted with such shouts of derision that he abandoned St. Peter's College, and made his way to another. The window with the iron arms is still shown to. visitors at Cambridge. A most touching incident in the life of John Wesley is the destruction of his father's house by fire. The venerable clergyman was roused from sleep by the alarm of fire on the street, and not supposing that the danger was in his own dwelling, he opened the bedroom door, and found the hall full of smoke, and the roof ready to fall in. Directing his wife and two daughters to rise and flee for their lives, he burst open the nureery door, where the maid-servant was sleeping with five children. She snatched up the youngest, and calling to the othere to follow, she rushed forth into the yard. The three eldest did as they were told, but John, who was only six yeai's old, was not disturbed in his slumbere, and in the universal panic was forgotten. The rest of the family escaped, some through the windows, others by the garden door, and when all were congratulating themselves that, at least, their lives had been spared, they heard the piercing shrieks of a child, and on looking up, to their horror they saw poor John, who had mounted on a box by the upstairs window, gesticulating with his little arms, and trying to attract their notice. The distracted father ran to the staircase, but it was so nearly consumed that it was impossible to

ascend. Falling on his knees in utter despair, he commended the soul of his dear child to God. There was no time to look for a ladder, but one man mounted on the shoulder of another, and just as the boy was safely handed down, the burning roof fell in. ' Come, neighboure ! ' exclaimed the good clergyman, in transports of joy, ' let us kneel down and thank God ! He has given me all my eight children. Let the house go ; I am rich enough.' John Wesley gratefully remembered this escape through life, and years afterwards, when his portrait was painted in gown and bands, he had an emblem of a house in flames put under it, with the well-chosen motto, ' Is not this a brand plucked out of the fire ? ' The burning of a single house is a terrible circumstance, as this interesting incident shows you ; but how much more fearful when a whole town is laid in ashes. On the evening of the 2nd of September, 1666, a fire bi'oke out in London, which at first occasioned little alarm ; but it spread from roof to roof, and from street to street until two-thirds of the great metropolis had been reduced to ashes, and two hundred thousand people were left without a shelter to cover them. There was the burning of the grand city of Moscow in 1812, which was destroyed by the Russians to prevent the French from making it their winterquarters, as they had hoped to do, that they might be ready to conquer the empire of the Czar on the

return of summer. The burning of hundreds and thousands of houses in a single town is an awful occurrence indeed, but there is something yet to happen, and we shall every one of us behold it, which will be infinitely more terrible. St. Peter mentions in the text : ' The earth, and the works that are therein, shall he burned up'. Only think of it ! The whole world will be destroyed by fire ! As such things have happened in other worlds, it is neither improbable nor absurd to say that it may be the fate of this earth which we inhabit. Scoffers and sceptics need not argue that this great rockribbed ball, covered with earth and water, could not be destroyed. God who made it can do with it what He pleases. There is no need of forming conjectures as to what its fate will be. The Bible has settled the question. The world will assuredly be burned up. To guard against dangei's from fire, people have sometimes erected what are called ' fire-proof build-

752

Ver. 10.

2 PETER HI

Ver. 10.

ings. The merchant has a ' safe ' to keep his accountbooks in ; and there are fire companies, with engines, and hook and laddei's, which often render very essential service The old Greeks and Romans had a sort of insurance, especially on ships ; and this system has been brought to much perfection in our time. When, however, the terrible day mentioned in the text shall come, all the fire companies in the world will be of no use, and every insurance agency will be bankrupt. The good Lord has graciously made arrangements for His people, by which they may make their escape. In general terms it might even be correct to say that in the due reception of the ordinances of the Gospel, He bestows on them something which corresponds to an insurance policy. I say that this, in general terms, would not be an improper view of the case. It should always be remembered, when such illustrations are used, that the mere fact of our having received Baptism and Confirmation and the Lord's Supper, will not of itself secure our salvation. Even if we allow that the Almighty does thus be-

stow His favour on us, and does grant to us, if you please, a policy, this will be utterly worthless unless it be taken care of. Denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, it must be our daily effort to live soberly and righteously in this evil world. In case that one is enveloped in flames, instead of rushing forth into the open aii-, where the chances

of being burned to death will be greatly increased, the safest couree is to wrap up in a flannel garment, or a thick bit of carpet, which will soon stifle the fire. Is there any covering which will secure us from harm when the world is burned up ? Thanks to God's mercy, there is. We may wi-ap ourselves in the robe of the Redeemer's righteousness, and be safe. We may do it ; but the question is. Shall we ? Is the Lord Jesus Christ anything to us ? Have we cast ourselves on His mercy ? and are we striving to sei-ve and please Him in newness of life ? If we can say yea, then we need not be afraid, even though we know of a surety that this world will very soon be bui-ned up. — John . orton, Milk and Hone p. 19.

75»

48

THE FIRST EPISTLE OF JOH

LOVI G O E A OTHER ' My little children, let us not love in word, neither in tongue, but in deed and in truth.' — i John hi. i8. ow I want vou to think of two thinj^s about love. It must be wide, and it must be unselfish. I. It must be wide. I don't call that true Chris-

tian love which dotes on some one beloved friend, and does not care at all for anybody' else. That is not the least bit like the love of Jesus. A loving child will be lovint; to all, as He was. I don't mean that you can help liking one better than another, of course. But there will be no making others feel that you don't care for them. You must love some best, but you will have gentleness, kindness, friendliness to spare for all. You will like to make all others happy, if you can, and you will hate everything which annoys and teases another. In short, you will treat othere just as you would like to be treated yourself. ow, suppose some day a number of you are going home from school together along the [Here name a road] road, and amongst you is a little timid boy or girl, and the big ones try to frighten him, and run after him, and pretend to be going to hurt him, or tease him, and make fun of him, because he is little and timid, is that like what is meant by love ? Is that doing to others as vou would be done bv ? But I will go further, and sav that true love will not only be kind and thoughtful towards other people, or other children, but it will he kind and thoughtful even to dumb creatures. A loving heai"t cannot bear to see anything suffer, and cruelty towards animals, or carelessness as to their suffering, is a sure sign that there is little real love in the heart. True love, you see, is very wide. II. It is also very unselfish. It will give up something, sacrifice self, for others. Think once more about going home from school. If you found some little child was very tired or ill, and wanted help, while you were very eager to get home, looking forward to some amusement perhaps, and if vou were to give up your wish to get home quickly, and were to stay and help the poor child, taking it quietly home before thinking of your own pleasure, I should call that unselfish love. I have heard of children who, when asked to go on an errand, or to fetch

some water for some poor sick neighbour, always expected to be paid for it. I don't call that unselfish love. ow I will tell you two stories of love, showing how unselfish a thing tiiie love is. Two little boys at Bristol a short time ago, one of them six years old and the other three, i-ambled more than three miles from the city one cold wet evening.

and night coming on, they lost their way, and being very tired went into a potato-field and lay down to sleep in one of the furrows. But it was so cold that the elder one took off" all his clothes except his shirt and socks to make a bed for his little friend, and so saved his life, himself dying of the cold soon after they were found in the morning. We know of One, children, who made Himself poor that we, through His poverty, might be rich. I think that little boy did something of the sort too, though I don't suppose he thought of it, and perhaps he mav one day hear with great suiprise his Saviour say, ' I was naked, and ye clothed Me'. For you know He says, 'Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these My brethren, ye have done it unto Me '. My second story is this. There were seven boys in a boat at Forres in Scotland, and it was upset some way from shore. One only, a boy of thirteen, could swim, so while the others clung to the bottom of the boat he swam backwards and forwards from the boat to the shore, taking one with him each time, till he had saved five in this way. He was then dreadfully tired, but there was one still left holding on to the boat, so he plunged in again to try to save him. But alas ! he was too much exhausted, and sank before he could get to him. The sixth one was saved by

some men who happened to come by, so the little hero was the only one drowned. Was not his love unselfish ? We know of One who gave His life for us. I think that brave boy did something like this in his own boyish way. ow, when you want to feel and know what love is, the best way is to think of the love of Jesus. Oh ! how wide and how unselfish His love is ! Say to yourself often, ' Jesus loved me, and gave Himself for Me,' and then pray God that your love may be a little like His. — Bishop Walsham How, Plain Words to Children, p. 120. LOVE ' Beloved, let us love one another : for love is of God ; and every one that loveth is born of God, and knoweth God.' — I John iv. 7. John. — ' The disciple whom Jesus loved.' His old age — used to be carried into church — no sermon — only one message, ' Little children, love one another.' I. What it Means to Love one Another. Cf. III. 18. Contrast with false love ' in word and tongue '. True love is in deed, and in truth. Cf Judas who kissed, and John who loved. May illustrate by story of King Lear. II. Why we Ought to Love one Another.

754.

Ver. 7.

1 JOH IV

Ver. 7.

1 . Should copy our Father, and ' God is Ix)ve '. Can you remember where to find that text ? Very easy. Comes twice in John's first Epistle, both times in fourth chapter, once in eighth, and once in sixteenth verse. Can't forget it if you know your two tables. Tvrice one is tvfo, Twice two is four. Twice four is eifjlit. Twice eight is sixteen. 2. We are brothers. 3. God so lovi'd us. Enlarge and illustrate. III. How we may Learn to Love one Another. — So hard to love some people I Can't pump up love all at once. How make dry pump draw ? Pour water down it. So begin by doing little loving actions — then love begins to come — or — creeping plant may cover house, but begins on a stick.

Try to think loving thoughts — that will lead to kind acts, and so on more and more. Ask God to help. IV. Results. 1. Heaven on earth. Cf. text, ' Knoweth God,' and God is in heaven — so know heaven, and have the joy of heaven. 2. 'Those who love are loved. 3. Make us alive — really alive. — 1 John iii. 14.. [Frozen traveller — finds another more frozen — pities him — tries to warm him — so saves his own life too.] [Story of Abou Ben Adhem in Leigh Hunt's Poems.] Let us try this week — children fond of new games. See how many kind things you can do each day — add them up — see which can do most. So may help one another, and learn how to be more like God. — C. A. GooDHART, Hints and Outlines for Children's Services, p. 43.

755

THE EPISTLE OF JUDE

THE COMMO SALVATIO JUDE 3.

There was a boy in Cromarty once called Hugh Miller. He was an apprentice mason, and was taken by his master to work in a quarry. One day he happened to see a little round rough stone on the ground, and he took his hammer and split it into two. To his surprise and joy he beheld inside a picture of the bones of" a tiny fish, and a shadow of the very fish itself. It had once been a real fish, and this stone was its tomb. Once it lived and swam like other fish in some stream. And then, on an evil day, it was wrapped round by dust of lime, and shut in until the moment, hundreds, perhaps thousands of years after, when the Cromarty boy brought it out again into the light, its flesh all wasted away, its bones turned into stone, and only a shadow of its form remaining. The boy felt as if he had suddenly passed into fairy land. He could not have been more astonished if he had found a king's palace. Here was a roughlooking pebble at his feet, and yet inside of it was this picture of the fish, silently telling the story of its life and death. ow it is to a little heap of pebbles like that I should liken this Epistle of Jude, which we have read for our lesson to-day. It is a rough, hard to read, hard to understand part of the ew Testament. It is not easy reading for grown-up people. It is far from easy reading to you ; but it has many beautiful sayings in it. It has single verses which have been a comfort to the people of God ever since they were written. And it has one saying which even children should be able to understand. It is a saying in the verse in which Jude declares that he had given all diligence to write unto them of the Common Salvation. ' The Common Salvation ' — that is the saying which a child may understand, and in which I wish

to help you to be glad. It lies in the heart of this third verse as beautiful, as great a miracle, as the picture which Hugh Miller found in the heart of his pebble. And it has a far finer story to tell. It tells the story of the good thing which Jesus brought down from heaven. And what it tells concerning that good thing is that it is ' common ' — ' the common salvation '. Will you try to understand what is meant when a good thing like salvation is described as common ? Sometimes on the summer evenings I am so fortunate as to meet you walking like myself on the moor. Did you ever think of asking why the moor is called ' the common ' ? It is

because it is common property. It is ground that belongs to everybody. All the people of the town have the use of it, to walk on, as if it were their own ; and the poor cottagers living around the edge of it may bring their cows and donkeys, their sheep and geese, to feed on it. It is common to us all. In the same way is this good thing which has come down h-om heaven common to us all. It is the common salvation ; it is common to rich and poor, to black people and white. It is the one same salvation by which everybody who will may be saved. The saved who are now in heaven were saved by it. The saved who are still on the earth have been saved by it. It is salvation for the whole world — for whosoever will have it. And that is the same thing with saying that Christ is a Saviour for everybody — for every soul who is willing to have Him. He is the common Saviour, the Saviour free to all the world, whom all the world may have. A Saviour not of good people only, nor of bad people only ; but of good people and bad people in

common : the Saviour in whom bad people will find salvation from their badness, in whom good people will find salvation goodness better than the goodness they have. The common Saviour. The Saviour whom everybody may have and be brought to heaven by. That is what is nie.int when it is said that the good thing brought down from heaven by Jesus is the common salvation. It is the same thing as is meant in that verse where it is said : ' Let him that is athirst come : and whosoever will, let him take the water of life freely '. ow to help you to undei-stand how good for us it is that there is a common salvation, I will tell you one of the wonderful stories in the Acts of the Apostles. At the time when the things took place which are told in the Acts, a man was in Ethiopia who was very anxious to be saved. The wish to be saved was in him like a gre.st thirst in his heart. But there were two things that stood like a wall in his way. He thought that it was only in Jerusalem salvation was to be found, and that it was only Jews who could find it. ow he was not a Jew, but a faroff" Ethiopian. He had money ; he had horses and chariots ; he had friends ; the Queen of Ethiopia was his friend ; but he was without salvation. A great sorrow lay upon his soul. At last he resolved to go to Jerusalem and see whether it could not be got. He thought, ' If only I go near the Temple of the Jews I may be admitted among the saved '. But it was not so. He came to Jerusalem. He saw the Temple. He got a Bible. But he was not admitted amons the saved. The wall was in Jerusalem too.

756

Ver. 3.

JUDE

Ver. 28.

Salvation was only for the Jews, he thought ; only for white people, and he was a Gentile and black. So with a heavy heart he turned his face to Ethiopia again ; and he left Jerusalem, and was on the very road that led to his home. But God was watching over this earnest seeking soul ; He sent Philip the Evangelist to him. And Philip told him all the new glad tidings about Christ. He told him that the wall which had divided Jews and Gentiles was broken down ; that Clirist had died for Ethiopian^ as well as for Jews, that He had brought down fi-om heaven a salvation that was common, and that if he wished he might have the Saviour and salvation there and then. And there and then this Ethiopian accepted both, and in a river near by he was baptised. And then, with all his sadness gone, and with a heart filled with joy, he continued his journey home. I want next to make plain to you that it is a very happy thing for yourselves that there is a common salvation. Sunday, I know, is sometimes a hard day for you, especially the part of it you spend in the church. Service and sermon seem long to you, and when you return to your homes you say, ' We did not understand what was said '. That will sometimes happen. What is plain and easy for the grown-up people will often be hard and dark for you.

But do not, for all that, allow yourselves to think that the Saviour is only for those who understand the sermon. He is the Saviour of children all the same as of grown-up people. He is the common Saviour — a Saviour for fathers and mothers, a Saviour for children as well. I read not long since of a little girl of nine years old into whose heart came this very thought. She said to her mother one Sunday, ' Is Jesus a Saviour for children of nhie years old ? ' ' But why do you ask such a question as that ? ' the mother said. ' Because our minister was offering salvation to the big people this morning ; but he did not offer it to me.' Christ is a Saviour for nine years old as much as for nineteen or ninety. He was nine years old Himself once. He is the common Saviour. He is the Saviour for people who have grey hairs, and for you who have still the flowing locks of youth. He has salvation for boys and girls of all ages. He has salvation for the baby in its mother's arms. And it is this very thing He meant when He said, ' Suffer the little children to come unto me, and forbid them not'. But you will not always be children. Sooner than you can imagine you will be old and grey-haired. And it may come to be, as you rise in years, that you shall be in the good providence of God set over homes where you will have servants under you, or over work-places where you will have work-people to rule. If such a lot should ever fall to you, I hope that God may give you grace to remember what has been said to you to-tla>-. Do not fall into the evil way of thinking that there is a wall dividing you from the humble people who serve you. Christ has thi-own down all such walls for ever. He is the Saviour for

servants as well as for those who employ them. And the salvation He died to bring near is common to them and you, and as free to them as to you. Try even now to think of the servants that do you so many services in jour father's house as people for whom Jesus died. For in Christ's kingdom there is no respect of pei-sons, and what He offers to rich and poor alike is a common salvation. — A. Macleod, The Children's Portion, p. 125. THE SPOTTED GARME T ' Hating- even the garment spotted by the flesh.'— Jude 23. I. Our Garment. — In studying the images of the Bible you must remember that in each you have two things : the image and the truth pictured by it. Begin by finding out what exactly the image is apart from the ti-uth it represents. Then let the image be spread out and fixed before your mind's eye. Your eye is pained when you try to find out the exact shape of a shivering leaf, or the picture on a far-off quivering flag ; and so your mind is distressed until the whole image grows quite plain to you. When the naked image stands out clearly before your mind, then ask. What is the truth this image brings to me ? Moulders take great care lest the mould and the metal in it should run together ; and you should be as careful that the image and the truth imaged are not confused in your mind, for that would pain you and spoil the lesson. The moulder wishes his metal to be shaped by the mould, but does not wish the mould to run into his casting ; and so we must discover where the image ends and the lesson begins, and thus take the truth — quite clean and complete — out of the mould in which it lies. This is Christ's plan in the pai-ables : He gives the parable by itself, and then its spiritual meaning. Our subject, therefore, raises two questions : What is a spotted gar-

ment ? and what does it teach ? M3' heart has a covering of bones, a covering of flesh, and a covering of skin. All these are God-given coverings, but my heart has also another, an outer covering of my own adding, which I can change at will. That is my garment. The Christian life may be said to have a heart, a body, and a garment. Your garment is that by which you touch the world and men ; it is your way of acting, not in }'our closet, or in your hidden life before God, but in your open life among men : it signifies not your heart but your habits. ote that word habit. It means a lady's riding garment, and also a way of acting. It stands for both our image and the truth imaged. 'The apparel,' the poet says, 'oft proclaims the man.' A man's dress should be in keeping with the man's self. A prince in rags or a bankrupt in rich clothing offends us. And a Christian's garment or outer life should be of a piece with his inner life : the one part should not reproach the other. He was once a ragged prodigal among the swine. The hand of love took off his rags and washed him, and dressed him in beauty not his own. His life is now a Sabbath, a festival, and he has put on holiday ap-

757

Ver. 23.

JUDE

Ver. 23.

parel. Or as a priest he is clothed in robes of snowy white ; but the earth he ti-eads holds many vile things that may easily touch and stain his fair clothing. But as he has a cleansed heart, so he should have clean hands, and be clean every whit down to the very skii-ts of his garments. As a child of God he must be dressed in the fashion of the family, which is spotless white. The young communicants in the early Church were called candidates, that is, ones clothed in white. They were sometimes literally clothed in white, so that their garment might be a sermon to them. This practice perhaps explains the words, 'Thou hast a few names even in Sardis which have not defiled their garn ents, and they shall walk with me in white, for they are worthy. He that overcometh, the same shall be clothed in white raiment ' (Rev. ui. 4). All God's children on earth and in heaven wear the same colour. Thus 'a little pilgrim must keep his garments clean '. II. The Spots on the Garment. — What are they ? They are made by the flesh, that is, fallen, sinful natm-e. This garment is only spotted. It has not been dragged in the mu-e, or steeped in and dyed with the flesh. Such a garment would be a fit image of the life of a reprobate. But Jude speaks to real Christians whose lives are pure in the main, but who, if they do not take care, may easily catch a taint from the wicked world. It would break his heart to find even small scattered spots on their garments. But how do these dreaded spots come upon the soul's garment? They come from our carelessly touching defiling things. You may touch the wicked world by the eye, the ear, or the lips. Bad books,

for instance, have an awful power to defile the soul. Books may leave a foul stain which memory will renew again and again as long as you live. One look ruined the world, and one book may pollute your heait. Do not think that you should ' see life,' and know what is going on in the world. You should know evil as little as possible, for by such knowledge you lose your paradise. Greatly blessed are the children who read none but pui'e and healthy books, and who shun all unholy sights. The garment of the soul may also be foully stained through the eyes or the lips. You must close your ears against all words that should not be spoken. You must refuse to listen to oaths and lies, for the spreading spots that come from them may by and by make the soul's garment as foul as the rags beggai-s leave on the highway. III. Our Hatred of the Fleshly Spots. — It is easy to smile or laugh at these spots, for they often have an amusing side. You may excuse them, or be silent about them. They often appear in people who have some fine qualities, and it is not easy to find the line where liking for fine qualities should yield to hatred of defiling sins. But you are to hate the smallest traces and outskirts of fleshly pollution, and your hatred is to go so far that you will hate

even the whole garment for the sake of the ugly spots that spoil its beauty. Jude does not hate by halves. What vials of wrath he pours upon these sins! His verses fall upon us like thunderbolts. The exceeding hatefulness of sin as a base blot is set forth some eight or nine times in this short letter. These filthy dreamers defile the flesh (ver. 8) : they corrupt themselves, that is, are covered with loathsomeness like lepers (ver. 10) : they are spots in the

feasts of charity, trees whose fruit withereth — rotten, blasted trunks, emblems of God's judgments (ver. 12) : raging waves of the sea, casting up a decaying wreck that taints the air (ver, 13). Jude hates sin because he knows it well. Its inmost essence lies bare to his eye in heaven's light. It is the worst foe of God and man ; it cheats us out of happiness ; its pleasures are short-lived, its torments enduring ; it is a folly, an injury, and a crime ; it has lighted the flames of hell ; and how can he help hating it ? Even its faintest spots defile the white garments of his best beloved, and he must hate it. These strange spots are not like leopard-spots ; they are not even skin-deep ; they are only on the clothes, and by God's grace you may have them all washed out, if you really hate them. The garment is the outermost part of your outer life, and this holy hatred is the strongest avei-sion to the least defilement of the outermost pai-t of your outer man. And you are so to hate the spots that you will hate the whole garment which they defile. If a book contains some vile things, you are to fling the whole book away ; if a clever companion uses nasty words, you are to quit his company if he won't give them up. Take an ancient and a modern instance. Apuleius was an early Christian, whose garment was deeply dyed with the flesh before his conversion. ' Apuleius,' the historian writes, ' not only shunned the heathen banquets he had formerly shared, but even at a distance he dreaded and shuddered at the mere sight of the house in which the banquets were held.' The spirit of this text entei-ed into a country gentleman, who, upon beginning the Christian life, discovered that his garment was spotted by bad novels and too much wine. He carried out his bad books in ai-mfuls, and made a bonfire of them in his gai'den. God has given us an instinctive loathing of impurity. With shuddering we turn away from longworn rags and fi'om the sow wallowing in the mire.

And we have pleasure in cleanliness, and set a high value upon it, believing that — E'en from the body's purity the mind Receives a secret, sympathetic aid. ow we should carry all these feelings into the region of the soul. Our image suggests many strong reasons for doing so. The fabled Hercules put on by mistake a poisoned garment. As soon as it grew warm the poison entered his body and caused him fearful pain. He tried to tear off" the garment, but lo ! it had giown into his body. Maddened by the pain he wrenched off" his flesh, and so died miserably. But

758

Ver. 23.

JUDE

Ver. 23.

we need not go to fables for illustrations. Fever entered a house, and the baby died. All its clothes were carefully gathered together and burned. But the doll, laid aside in the drawer, was foigotten. Two years afterwards it was brought out, and again fever seized the child, and it also grew sick and died. That mother had cause to hate the garment spotted

by the flesh. Probably Jude has his eye on the plague-stricken garments of the leper, which awakened the utmost horror ; and he wishes them to cherish equal horror at the hell-stains upon the garment of the soul. George Vicars, a tailor in the village of Eyam, in Derbyshire, got a box of clothes from London in 1665, the year of the great plague. Viewless plague-spots were upon the clothes, and of the 350 villager, about 250 died. Vicars removed to another parish, but for years nobody would touch him from fear of infection — they hated even his garment. You may say that it is very hard to keep your soul's garment unspotted. Yes, but you keep your dress clean. A spot upon it is a distress to you. What a shame to care for the soul as if it were only the body, while you care for the body as if it were the soul. ' The Dairyman's Daughter ' went to church one day because she had got a new gown. The text was, ' Be clothed with humility '. The preacher showed the difference between the clothing

of the body and the clothing of the soul. She felt ashamed of her vanity, cast off the filthy rags of her own righteousness, |)ut on the Loid Jesus, and prayerfully did her best to keep her garment unspotted by the flesh. Her bright example has done good to thousands, and her grave has become a place of pilgrimage. A writer tells that he once saw a widow sittitig on that gravestone and reading to her girl. The book in her hand was The Dairyman' 8 Daughter, and her girl became Queen \'ictoria. This is the sum of the whole matter : make sure that you have the true life in your soul, for God never clothes or adorns a spiritual corpse or mummy. He first makes it alive. Receive also the beautiful garment He gives. Be a lover of the beautiful, and

believe that nothing is so beautiful as holiness. Hate every spot as men hate the plague, and feel every stain as you feel a wound. Pray that you may be like the daughter of the king, all glorious within, in raiment of needlework, with clothing of wrought gold. And be not discouraged. Jude is not discouraged about the Christians, though they have to keep their garments clean in a world filled with the vilest sins. He knows what the grace of God can do, and so he beautifully closes his letter in holy triumph. Wells, Bible Images, p. 33.

759

THE BOOK OF REVELATIO

THE LORD JESUS CHRIST IS GOD * I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the ending, saith the Lord, which is, and which was, and which is to come, the Almighty.' — Revelation i. 8. This being Trinity Sunday it is proper for us to dwell upon the nature and attributes of that Almighty One whom it is to be the business of our lives to worship and glorify. At the close of the Psalms and hymns in the Prayer Book, are what we call Doxologies, to be sung after them as a fitting tribute to the Eternal God. Here is one of them : — To God the Father, Son, And Spirit, ever blessed,

Eternal Three in one. All worship be addressed. As heretofore It was, is now. And shall be so For evermore. This verse expresses exactly the truth as taught in Holy Scripture. There is only one God, and yet there are three Pereons in the Godhead, Father, Son, and Holy Ghost — each of these Persons being equal in power and glory and in eternal existence. Our minds are so weak and imperfect that we cannot explain this, neither is there any necessity for our doing so. All that is required of us is to believe in God, as He has revealed Himself to us. Hence in the Catechism, when the question is put to the child who has just recited the Apostles' Creed, ' What dost thou chiefly leam in these articles of thy belief?' the answer is given plainly and distinctly, because there is no doubt on the subject, ' Fii-st, I learn to believe in God the Father, who hath made me, and all the world. Secondly, in God the Son, who hath redeemed me, and all mankind. Thii-dly, in God the Holy Ghost, who sanctifieth me, and all the people of God.' A foolish, self-conceited man was once making mock at the doctrine of the Trinity, and declared it to be so supremely absurd that nothing could be found to illustrate it. At this moment a lighted candle was brought into the room where the company were seated, when a Christian, who had been shocked at his flippant irreverence, quietly remarked, ' Sir, there is a trinity — tallow, wick, and fire, three in one — in that candle. Suppose, now, that the tallow represents one Person of the adorable Trinity, the wick another, and the fire a third. If you will explain the philosophy of how these three unite to produce light I will undertake to explain the doctrine which you pro-

nounce to be so absurd.' The scoffer had nothing more to say, A still more striking reply was made to a similar

objection by St. Patrick, the patron Saint of Ireland, who plucked a three-leaved clover growing on a single stalk, and held it up before the astonished eyes of one who denied the possibility of there being three Persons in the Godhead. In discoursing fm-ther on the subject I shall confine myself to the single point brought before us in the text — that our Lord Jesus Christ is God. It seems impossible that anyone could venture to deny this after listening to His own words : ' I am Alpha and Omega, the begiiming and the ending, saith the Lord, which is, and which was, and which is to come, the Almighty '. Alpha and Omega are the first and last letters of the Greek alphabet, and denote the first and the last. It was the custom of the Jewish Rabbins to use the first and last letters of the Hebrew alphabet to represent the whole of anything, from beginning to end. This is precisely what our adorable Saviour says af Himself in he text. Can He, then, be less than God ? Can He who is ' the same yesterday, to-day, and forever,' and whose existence reaches from everlasting to everlasting, be only a man ? We know that our Lord Jesus Christ is God, because He has done and is now doing what far transcends the power of mortals. I. Our blessed Lord must be God, Because He

Made the World. — Hear what St. John says, in the opening words of his Gospel, when he is speaking of the Lord Jesus : ' All things were made by Him ; and without Him was not anything made that was made '. The whole universe — earth, and sea, and sky, and stars, and animals, and plants — everjrthing was made by the Son of God. Some of you have been present at the beautiful ceremony of laying the corner-stone of a church, when the Bishop, or some clergyman appointed to do it, strikes the great stone with a hammer, after it has been lowered to its place, saying, ' In the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost, I lay the corner-stone of this church '. And so the Lord Jesus Christ, as the mighty Ai'chitect of all things, is described in the sublime language of the Bible : 'Thou, Lord, in the beginning hast laid the foundation of the earth ; and the heavens are the works of Thy hands. They shall perish, but Thou remainest : and they all shall wax old as doth a garment ; and as a vesture shalt Thou fold them up, and they shall be changed : but Thou art the same, and Thy years shall not fail.' II. The Lord Jesus Christ is God, Because He Preserves all Things.- — How very soon a fine house, or a beautiful garden, will get out of order, without

760

Ver. 8.

REVELATIO I., II

Ver. 17.

constant and careful attention ! And, so perfect as are the works of creation, they need a Preserver, who shall look after theni da}- and night, and keep things in order and harmony. Hence it is said of our blessed Lord, ' He is before all things, and hy Him all things consist '. ' He upholdeth all things by the word of His power.' The myriads of creatures on earth, and in the waters, all tuni to Him as the Preserver and Benefactor without whose gracious and tender care they must perish. Empires rise and fall as He pleases ; yea, it is He who declares, in the text, ' I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the ending, saith the Lord, which is, and which was, and which is to come, the Almighty '. in. The Lord Jesus Christ is proved to be God not only because He made all things in the beginning, and because He keeps the machinery of the universe in operation, but because when He pleases. He can turn Aside the Ordinary Course of ature, and Work Miracles. It is a gixat comfort to remember that what the Saviour has done in past ages. He can do now. He is the Almighty One, ' the beginning and the ending ; which is, and which was, and which is to come '. We are all helpless sinnere, and none but a Saviour who is God can be of any service to us. Trinity Sunday will have taught us a lesson worth remembering, if it has helped us to sing with the undeistanding and the heart : —

Eternal praise be given, And songs of highest worth. By all the hosts of heaven, And all the saints on earth, To God, supreme confessed. To Christ, His only Son, And to the Spirit blessed. Eternal Three in One. — John . orton, Milk and Honey, p. 161. ALPHA A D OMEGA Revelation i. 8. What is God like ? Who would have thought if it had not been told us that He was like the letters in the alphabet ? — I am A and Z. There is a little Chinese toy, which consists of five pieces of wood, shaped so as to fit each other in a variety of ways. And out of those five little bits of wood you can form two or three thousand different shapes ; an-ange the pieces differently, and you have a different shape. But although that is a very wonderful toy, it is not to be compared to the alphabet. You can an-ange the few letters of the alphabet in thousands upon thousands of different words. And no new word could arise for which, if we use the whole alphabet, we could not find a shape or word to express it.

Ail that we speak, then, all that we write, all that ever has been written, all that ever will be written.

you will find enclosed in the twenty-six letters of the alphabet. ow that is why this is the name of God. God says, ' I am like the alphabet ; I am its first letter, I am its last letter, and I am all the letters between '. As all language in all the world in the A, B, C, so all life, all power, and all goodness are to be found in God. But here we have only this first and last letter. He is the beginning and end of your life. He is the Maker of it. It is made for His glory. He is the beginning and end of all religion in the life. He is the Author and Finislier. Two thoughts come to us here : Where did my religion come from? It came from God. What did I receive my religion for ? To serve God. ow, another way to understand is this : Wh.'.t should be your first thought in the morning ? It should be God ! What your last thought at night ? God! What should be your fii^st concern in life ? To plea.se God. What your last? Have I pleased God ? The happy life is the life that, looking back, sees God in childhood. And the lite that is closing, resting in God, goes

home to God. — Alexander Macleod, The Child Jesus, p. 88. THE WHITE STO E A D THE EW AME ' And will give him a white stone, and in the stone a new name v^ritten. which no man knoweth saving (i.e. but) he that receiveth it.' — Revelation ii. 17. I MUST first tell you something for your comfort before I explain the text. Who is it that is to have the ' white stone ' ? Who is it ? If you look at the line just before my text in the same verse, you will see who it is that is to have the ' white stone '. ' To him that overcometh.' AVhat does that mean ? Perhaps somebody says, 'Then I'm sure I shall not have it ; I have not overcome ; I have not conquered my temper ; I have not conquered my evil habits yet, therefore I'm sure I shall not have it'. ow it does not mean that. Look at it. It does not say, ' To him who has overcome ' ; but to him who ' overcometh '. There is a great difference. one of us have yet ' overcome ' — not one of us — young or old — ^we have not conquered anything yet ; but if we are God's children, we are conquering, though we have not yet conquered. Then God says He will give us a ' white .stone '. Do you think you are conquering a little bit every day, getting the mastery over youi-selves ? I heard lately of a master of a school who, once a month, caLed up every boy to him, and he gave each boy a little bit of paper, and no one saw what was mitten on the paper but the master and the boy. On that piece of paper was written the fault that the boy was to conquer in the next month. Don't you think that he was a good man ? If you had any kind

person who would write upon a piece of pajjer the fault

761

Ver. 17.

REVELATIO II

Ver. 17.

you were to conquer the next month — do you think a month would be long enough to conquer it in ? Try —try ! Then, if you would conquer jour fault, whatever it is, you are the person to whom God will give ' the white stone '. You have not ' overcome ' — but you ai'e ' overcoming '. Those who are acquainted with their grammar will understand what I mean when I say it is in the present tense — those who are 'overcoming' shall have the ' white stone '. That is for your comfort. ow we go on to speak about the text. What is it ? What is a ' white stone ' ? I will tell you some persons' different opinions respecting it. Some people think it means the ' white stone ' which the ancient Greeks used to give to the people

who conquered in the games played at Olympia — the gladiatorii ludi, as they were called. The people used to meet at certain periods to witness racing, boxing, jumping, and a great many other things, and the person who gained the victory had a ' white stone 'given him, as a sign that he had done so. Therefore they think it means the prize. I do not think so, for then it would be to him who has ' overcome,' whereas it is for him who is ' overcoming '. Again, other people think it means a sort of ticket that will admit you in at the door by showing it, and that with it you can go in to the banquet — the feast ; that therefoi-e it is the ticket of admission to heaven. I don't think that it means that. I do not remember reading anywhere that people have ' white stones' for tickets to go in at feasts. I will tell you another thing. Amongst the Greeks, when a man was tried for any offence he had committed, if he was found guilty and condemned, they gave to him a black stone , but if he was acquitted — found innocent — then he had a ' white stone' So that the 'white stone' would signify that he was pardoned. I think it means that. That is the best thing. God says that He will give us a ' white stone ' to show that we are forgiven. Let us think on this. We have all the black stone : that is very bad. There is no black-andwhite stone — half white and half black. I think some people imagine we may be half forgiven : they say, ' Well, I hope God will forgive me for that fault above all the rest '. Let me tell you that if God forgives us a little, He forgives us quite. It is all ' white,' if it is ' white ' at all, never white-and-black ; it is all ' white, ' no spot left.

Christ is that ' stone ' ; therefore the ' white stone ' means Jesus ! and the pai-don which He gives us when we love Jesus makes our souls ' whiter than the snow,' or the sun. ow I want you to think how we can get that 'stone'. God gives it. To whom does He give it? There was once a king of France travelling about the southern part of that country, where was a castle in which were a gi-eat many prisoners — persons who had been condemned for their crimes to be sent

thither and work hard, while bound in irons. This king visited the castle. When the news of his intended visit reached the prisoners, they began to think, ' Perhaps the king will pardon me, and let me loose '. At length the king an-ived, and walked amongst them ; they all came round him and begged that he would forgive and let them loose. One of the men said, ' Oh, please, your majesty, I never did anything wrong ; it was very unj ust to put me here ; I assure your majesty it is so, do let me go, it's quite a mistake'. Another said, ' Please, your majesty, I know I did wrong ; but it was not so bad as people make out ; I only did a little wrong. Do let me go.' Another came and said, ' Please, }our majesty, I know I did very wrong ; but I am not worse than the rest of your majesty's subjects. Do let me go.' Another said, ' Please, your majesty, I know I did very wi-ong, but then I did so many good things besides. I am sure that I did greater things to serve your majesty than I did offensive things ; please let me go.' Another said, ' Please, your majesty, I know I deserve this punishment, and more ; but I throw myself upon your majesty's mercy. I am a poor miserable wi-etch.'

Then the king said, ' This is the one I pardon '. He gave him the ' white stone'. If you want the 'white stone,' i.e. if you want God to foigive you all your sins, and for your soul to be ' white ' and beautiful, you must humble yourself. You are a poor miserable sinner, and require the ' white stone '. I have read of an Arab who was travelling the desert of Arabia, when, after travelling a long time — very hungry and thirsty, with nothing to eat or drink — he came to one of those little wells or cisterns in the desert for camels to drink (jut of, and he found some watei" ; and by the side of the water there was a little blue bag, and he looked at the bag and said, ' ow I have what I want. Surely in this bag there are some dates, some fruit, something for a traveller to eat.' He eagerly grasped the bag, opened it, and exclaimed, ' Oh, it is only pearls I ' Ah ! ' pearls ' were of no use to him then. And so will it be with us. It is not the ' pearls ' that we shall one day think of — but it will be of the 'white stone'. Then there will be no 'pearls' worth having. And now I am going to say a little about ' the new name' written in the ' white stone '. Think of this ' new name '. What is this ' new name ? ' Do you remember that it says in the Bible when God loves people very much He changes their name? Can you think of anybody whose name he changed ? He changed Abram's name into Abraham, and he changed Sarai's name ; He also changed Solomon's name, and do you not remember Daniel's name was changed ? and a great many names in the ew Testament God changed. Saul's name was changed ; and many others. It shows God loves them. It is like ' a new name '

being given when we are adopted into a family. You know when we are taken into a new family, we have

762

Ver. 4.

REVELATIO 111

Ver. 4.

' a new name '. When you are adopted into the family of God, you have ' a new name ' given unto you. You have a Christian name : I don't know all your names ; but there are all kinds of them in " this church : and whatever your Christian name is — whether John, Henry, Thomas, William, Peter, or whatever it is — you should think it is your 'new name," and that it is to make you think of becoming a ' new creature' — a child of God — because you have this ' new name '. Will you think of that ? Every thing has something to mark it. There is the cockchafer, which has round wings ; the butterfly, which has spotted wings ; the hawk, which has a crooked beak. ow what is to mark you ? Your ' new name ' is to mark you. You have the ' new name '.

It says also of this happy thing — this ' new name ' — that 'no one knows it, but he that receiveth it'. If you have not this ' new name,' you will not understand about it. There are some people in this church who do not understand anything at all about what I am saying : they don't love ' the name of Jesus '. Those who do love Jesus will understand it. — James Va0GHA . WALKI G I WHITE 'And they shall walk with me in white : for they are worthy.' — Revelation hi. 4. I WO DER if you can think what is the whitest thing in all the world. Shall we think of some ' white ' things ? The manna was ' white ' which came down from heaven : it was angels' food. But there is a very beautiful ' white ' thing spoken of in the 68th Psalm — let us look at the 14th verse, 'When the Almighty scattered kings in it, it was white as snow in Salmon ' — that is, Jerusalem. All the houses therein were very ' white,' there being so much white marble there. David loved it very much ; and he loved to praise it ; and he said, ' It is as white as snow in Salmon '. If you look at Matthew xxviii. 3, you will read of another ' white ' thing. It is a description of an angel, and it says, ' His countenance was like lightning, and his raiment white as snow '. And if you look at Acts I. 10, you will see other angels described as 'white,' 'And while they looked stedfastly toward heaven, as He went up, behold, two men (i.e. angels) stood by them in white apparel '. But there is something ' whiter ' still. Look at

Mark is. 3 ; when Jesus was transfigured on the top of the mount, it says, 'And his raiment became shining, exceeding white as snow ; so as no fuller on earth can white them '. So that we find the manna was ' white ' ; angels' robes wei-e ' white ' ; and Jesus' robe was ' white ' ; and seven times in the Revelation it says the same thing as my text, that the dress of the saints in heaven is ' white ' — that they ' walk with God in white'. These are some of the ' white ' things. It seems as if everything that had to do with heaven is

' white '. But which is the whitest ? The whitest is God— the whitest is Christ. But what u the whitest with us ? What do you think is the whitest thing —next to God, next to Christ? Shall I tell you ? The thing that was the blackest. And what is that ? The heart. It was the dirtiest, blackest thing in the world ; but God makes it the whitest. I want you to think, then, that every one who is to ' walk in white ' with Chi-ist in heaven, must begin now. I want you to think that we are to 'walk in white' now. What is like 'walking in white ' for we must begin now, if we are to ' walk in white ' when we die. What does it make you think of when it says, ' walk in white' ? I am going to mention four things which I think it means. I. First, those who ' walk in white ' are so very ' clean '. ' \Vhite ' is so ' clean '. Perhaps you wonder that I should talk about you being ' clean,' but in the Revelation God twice notices that the saints are 'clean': He says they are 'clean and white'. He puts the two together. It is not too little for God

to notice that we are ' clean '. The first thing that must be ' clean ' is our heart. othing will do but that. I have tried to explain what this is. Every day your heart must be made ' clean ' in the blood of Christ, for you daily defile it. But not only your heart, everything mu.st be clean, you must have clean face, clean hands, clean person, clean clothes, clean room, clean drawers, clean everything. A Chi-istian will wish everything to be ' clean '. Why ? Because it looks nice ? That is one reason. Because your father, and mother, and fi-iends wish it ? That is a good reason. But there is a higher reason by far, because you hope to ' walk in white ' in heaven ; and therefore you are determined to ' walk in white ' now. To be ' clean ' is a preparation for heaven. Oh, how ' clean ' are thev in heaven ! Let this be your reason for trying always to be very nicely ' clean,' that you hope to go to heaven, and heaven is so beautifully ' clean '. You know little things become great if there is a great reason ; and common things become heavenly if done to please God. To be ' clean,' is to please God, becau.se He wishes you to ' walk in white ' with Him in heaven. That is one thing. II. Another thing which to ' walk in white ' means, is to be very clear, so that you can reflect everything. I must explain to you what I mean by that. AVhen you look at your face in a looking-glass, what you see is called a reflection. The glass reflects you. God wishes, whenever he looks at you, to see a reflection of Himself in you. I have given you, as your subject, that you are to think how you can be like Christ. If you are like Christ you reflect Christ. ow ' white ' reflects most. I am going to tell you

something that you do not all know. I will tell you how we see anything. A rav of light comes upon the thing we look at, and then a ray of light comes off the thing to our eye, and makes a picture of it to us. The way you see me, is, the light of the sun falls on

763

Ver. 4.

REVELATIO III

Ver. 20

me, that ray falls on your eye, and makes a picture of me to you. A ray is made up of various coloui-s — violet, blue, indigo, orange, red, yellow, and so on. If a thing reflects all the rays it is' white '. My surplice is ' white '. Therefore ' white ' reflects most. We are to be ' white,' because we are to reflect all Chi-ist. ot to be like Christ in one ray, or another ray, but to be all Christ — to be ' white '. III. ow I am going to mention a third thing, ' white ' is very pretty, most beautiful — and why ? Because it is so simple. I dare say, when you were a little baby, and were baptised, you had a white frock on. Whit-Sunday was called 'White-Sunday, because all people who came to be baptised on that Sunday came in white. You are to ' walk in white,' and so

you are dressed in it, because it is so beautiful, so simple. I once knew a little girl who had a great many fine clothes ; and, talking to me of one of the joys of heaven, she said, ' In heaven they would not be worried about fine clothes'. How simple ! I hope you will always like to be very simple in your dress. If you are asked, ' Why do you like the simplest dress ' ? say, ' Because it is like heaven '. They do not wear fine things in heaven — they are not wanted there. There is no lieauty like simplicity. Anything that is not natural is never really beautiful. True simplicity is always beautiful. Therefore, in heaven they ' walk in white '. Try to be simple in everj-thing, because you hope to ' walk in white ' for ever. IV. One more thing. ' White ' is a very happy colour. People generally put on ' white ' when they are ver}- happy. In ancient times the great officers and magistrates used to wear ' white,' and the high priests always wore ' white '. One reason was because it was holy, and another because it was happy. People put on ' white ' during holidays because it is a happy colour. The ancient Persians always used to put on ' white ' when anybody died, because they thought it a happy thing ; but black when any were born, because they thought they were born into a world of trouble. I do not know that they were not the wisest, because to die is a very happy thing. In Ecclesiastes ix. 7, 8, happiness is represented by ' white ' apparel — it reads, ' Go thy way, eat th}' bread with joy, and drink thy wine with a merry heart ; For God now accepteth thy works. Let thy garments be always white.' Therefore, if we are to be prepared for heaven, we must be happy

there. ' Walk in white.' Will you think of the fourthings we must be to be ' worthy ' — to be prepared and fit to go to heaven? We must have a clean heart, and clean everj-thing : We must be clear — be like Christ and reflect Him — be very true : we must be simple, very simple in everj-thing — simple in our tastes, because true simplicity is true beauty ; and we must be happy, very happy in the thought that God loves us, and we are going to heaven. This is ' walking in white '. — James Vaughan.

THE DOOR OF THE HEART Revelation hi. 20. One morning, many yeai-s ago, I had to leave home early. It was still dark. East and west, north and south, it was dark. Above me rose the night sky covered with clouds, like some great cathedral roof, all dark — almost black with darkness — except one little chink of deep blue in the east. On the lower edge of that chink of blue stood the morning star. I remember thinking it was a great sight that solitary star, flaming there within that chink of blue. It looked to me like an angel, standing behind the darkness, knocking at the dark clouds, and saying, ' Break up, ye dark clouds, and let me through, that I may shed my light upon the earth '. While I was still admiring the great sight the words flashed into my mind : ' Behold, I stand at the door and knock '. And instantly I seemed to be walking under a still more solemn sky, and looking at a far gi'eater sight. In the words which came into my mind I saw One greater than an angel, ' the Bright and Morn-

ing Star ' of God, standing at a door and knocking. In the morning stillness I seemed to hear a voice inviting me to look at this greater sight. 'Behold,' the voice said, ' I stand at the door and knock.' I remembered that these were Christ's own words. And I found myself thinking of Christ, the King of Glory, and thinking of Him in the form of One Who is standing knocking at a door. And it is this touching figure of our Lord I wish to set before you to-day. I want you to look with me for a little at this great sight of Christ at the door. I ask myself, I hear you asking : At what door we are to look for the Blessed Jesus standing and knocking ? The answer is : At all doors. At all kinds of doors. At house dooi-s, and shop doors, and school doors, and church doors. At every door which has not opened to let Him in. At every door which shuts in a bad man or naughty child. At the doors of houses where there is no love between father and mother, between brother and sister, between parent and child. At the doors of schools where the scholars are idle, or wicked, or thoughtless. At the doors of work-places, where workers are unfaithful and masters unkind. At the doors of churches where God is not truly worshipped. At the doors of courts of justice where men are unjustly judged. And at the doors of kings' houses where nations are unjustly ruled. At all such doors the Lord Jesus stands and knocks. And besides these, at another door, a very little door, but a very, very precious door, the door that opens into the house within the heart. When God made the world He built in it many houses. ' In my Father's house are many mansions.' ' The stars are mansions built by God.' The deep

sea, and the lofty mountains, and the leafy woods are all mansions built by God. He made houses for beasts, and houses for birds, and houses for fishes He

764

Ver. 20.

REV^ELATIO III

Ver. 20.

made a house for the sea, and a house for the clouds, and for man he made the earth. But among all these houses there is one more precious than the rest, one little,rich, unseen mansion, which He built for Himself, for Himself alone, and in which He desires to dwell. This unseen mansion, this rich, royal house of God, is the heart. It is your heart, my heart, every heart. It is at the door of this house that the Lord Jesus stands and knocks. Think of it. It is worth thinking about. A house for the Great Creator in the heart of a little child ! How fearfully and wonderfully we are made ! When you look at the body of another child you might think there is nothing more. The body is the house. Yet the body is only the outer wall, the mere outside of the house. Within this fair outside, in you, in every one, stands the real house.

' Eye hath not seen it' It lies far in, deep down, where love lies, where dreams live. Your heart is this house. It is at the door of your heart that Jesus knocks. Behold, O child, the gentle Jesus ! He stands at the door of your heart, and knocks. I have said that He made this house for himself But I have also to say that although He made it for Himself, and desires to dwell in it, He does not always dwell in it. He is often kept standing without. 'Behold,' He says, 'I stand at the door and knock.' At the door ! Outside of the door ! He has not yet got in through the door ! It is Jesus at the outside of the heart-door we have to look at. Jesus kept standing and knocking there to get in ! Oh, amazing sight ! The gi'eat Saviour whose hands were pierced for us, who came with blessings in those very hands to bless us, whose own house the heart is, kept standing without ! Shut out, and left to knock there, at the door of His house ! How is it with the children I am addressing today ? Have yoiL heard Christ knocking ? And if you have, have you opened and let Him in ? Children who have let Christ into their hearts are like the beautiful temple King Solomon built, which had its innermost best room set apart for God. Children who leave Him outside are like the inn at Bethlehem, which had no room for the infant Jesus. But that is an unblessed state to have no room for Jesus. To leave Him — the best fi'iend we have — • the loving Saviour, outside, knocking at the door, that would be such a sad thing for any child of man to do, and I desire so earnestly that you should not do it that I will take up the rest of the time, which remains to-day, in stating some reasons why you should open your hearts and let Him in.

One reason is, because He will bring heaven with Him into your heart. Young people like you, and some old people as well, find a great difficulty in beginning to be good. They resolve to be good. Tliey try to be good ; but always their badness gets the better of them, and they are sad. If they would only admit Jesus into their hearts this difficulty would disappear. He brings goodness with Him into the heart. He biings a new heart, new love, new truth,

new holiness ; best of all He brings Himself. Oh, that is goodness and heaven itself to have Jesus in the heart ! A second reason why you should let Jesus into the heart is that He will cast out the bad things which are in the heart. And there are many bad things which need to be cast out — bad thoughts, bad wishes, bad feelings, lies, anger, malice, hatred, envy, selfishness, pride — these should all be cast out. We are told in the history of Jesus that he cast out evil spirits from some Jewish children. There are evil spirits to be cast out from the children of this country too. The Bible tells us about ' plagues of the heart '. The heart of a Christless child is full of plagues ; plagues that will be plagues tlu-ough all eternity if they are not cast out. Jesus is waiting at the door to come in and cast every one of them out. Lift up the door of your heart and let Him in that He may cast out every plague and evil thing in your life. A third reason why you should let Him in is, that it is easier to let Him in when you are young than after. The door at which He stands knocking gi'ows thicker and harder to open the longer he is kept outside. The knocking comes more faintly every day. Jesus is still there ; but the spirit that should hear is growing deaf as it grows old. At last it does not

hear at all. I saw a sad story in the newspapere not long ago. A poor woman lived all alone in a dark cellar. She was very, very poor. But one day the neighbours missed her. They went to the door and listened, and there was no sound. They knocked and got no answer. They knocked again, and still there was no reply. Then they forced the door and went in. She was dead. She was seated on the floor, her body leaning against the wall. There was neither fire, nor furniture, nor bedclothes, nor food in the house. In a great rich city she had died of waiit. Ah, sad though that was, the way many souls die is sadder still ! They shut out Jesus in the days of > outh. They keep Him out when they grow old, and then when he comes knocking at the door of the heart with bread of truth, they cannot hear. Their bodies are living ; their souls are dead. If you could break open the door of that inner house where the soul is, and see what God sees there, you would find a heart without truth, or love, or faith, or prayer ; and in it a soul that has died of want. Another reason why you should open to Jesus is that He will not always knock. He will not knock after you die. If you die before He is let in. He will remain outside for ever. Eternity will flow on, and over you, for ever : but no hour can come when He will enter. There is no Saviour knocking at the door of any heart in hell. He may go away from the door before you die. Ephraim had idols and kept Jesus out, and Jesus said, ' Ephraim is joined to his idols, let him alone '. An awful word ! An awful thing to have Jesus say to food and Bil)les, and friends, and Providence : ' Let him alone ; knock no more '.

765

Ver. 20.

REVELATIO III

V^er. 20.

I was coming home late one night. The long street was silent. Just as I reached my own door I heard a loud knocking at the far end of the street. I heard it an hour after when I was in bed. Then it stopped. Then I heard quick footsteps tramping along the street. Then all was silent. Just so it is with the knocking of Jesus at the doors of men's hearts. But no ear can hear the departing footsteps of Christ. Some people are able to tell you when they first heard the knocks of Jesus. These are first knocks. But Mr. M'Chejne once said to a little girl in Kelso : ' Remember also there are last knocks '. When the heart becomes hard and careless, then be afraid. Be afraid lest Christ should knock for the last time. Oh you, at whose hearts He is still knocking ; you, whose hearts are still fresh and young ; oh, children, in the days of youth, open the doors of your hearts and let the King of Glory in. — Alexander Macleod, Talking to the Children, p. 131. THE VOICE OF QOD

Revelation hi. 20. I. One of the most wonderful things in our life is that God speaks to us. Although we cannot see Him we can hear His voice. Adam and Eve heard it in the garden, Moses heard it at the burning bush, the children of Israel heard it in the wilderness. In an old Jewish book there is a story which helps us to see how great a wonder the voice was to the children of Israel. They were at the foot of Mount Sinai when they heard it. The mountain was covered with smoke. Lightning flashed out of the darkness ; great peals of thunder shook the air ; the ground trembled ; the priests blew ten-ible blasts through their trumpets ; the people were crying out in fear. In the midst of their terror there rose quietly above the roaring of the storm a still, clear sound. It was the voice of God. Everybody heard it. It seemed to come from everywhere. ' It is coming from the south,' cried some ; ' It is coming from the north,' cried others. When they turned to the .south, they heard it sounding in the north ; when they turned to the north, they heard it coming from the south. ' It is in the east ! ' ' It is in the west ! ' cried others When the people turned to the east, they heard it sounding in the west ; when they bent their ears to the west, they heard it in the east. As they were turning to every side to hear it, some cried out, ' It is coming down from the sky '. Then they looked upward and as they looked they heard it rising out of the ground. It was everywhere — east and west, above and beneath, behind, before. It is everywhere still. Shepherds hear it in the lone fields when they are watching their flocks by night ; sailors hear it when they are keeping their outlook far out at sea ; it talks to soldiers on the evening before a battle; it talks next day to those who are lying wounded on the battle-field. I know mothers who hear it as they are rocking their baby's cradle ; I have known students who hear it as they read their books. It is

to be heard in the songs of birds and the murmur of

bees, and there are friends of mine who tell me they hear it amid the crowds of great cities, in the unending tramp of the weary and the heavy-laden, and in the cries of the little arabs on the street. And always when it is heard it is a wonder. It is like some one speaking to us out of another world. One good thing in that voice is that it always speaks to us in speech we know ; not in speech of foreign lands, or of nations long since dead, or of angels in the sky. It speaks to us in our mother tongue, in the speech of human beings, and for the most part in the speech of the human beings who have loved us and cared for us long. As often as otherwise it speaks to us in words which a mother has used. That is how it spoke to a young man in San Francisco, of whom I read the other day. It was forty yeai-s ago, when San Francisco was a wilder place than it is now. He was then hardly twenty years of age, and he was newly out from Scotland. His mother and he had been great friends ; in some things she was more like a sister to him than a mother. Often in the evenings she would sing to him the simple songs she loved, and the songs sank into his heart and became a treasure to him there. He could not go where his mother's songs did not go with him. They were music to him all the way on the long voyage to San Francisco, and they did not forsake him there. A kind young fellow, who had come out two years before, took him in hand to show him the sights of the city. One evening he took him to the door of a gambling saloon ; it was a horrible place to look into. Ill-faced men sat at long tables in little groups, drinking, smoking, and playing cards.

obody seemed to be speaking, yet there was a low murmur of sound floating over the room. ' Come in,' said the guide, ' let us for once try our luck at the cards.' He was about to enter, when there came up into his memory the lines of one of his mother's songs : — Ye banks and braes o' bonnie Doon, How can ye bloom sae fresh and fair ? It was as if his mother spoke to him. It was the voice of God in the memory of his mother's song. He thought of the grief to her if she knew of his being present in such a place, or in such company. He took his friend's arm in his own and said, ' Let us leave this place '. A place of that kind was a temptation to him never more. 1 do not know anything better worth learning about this voice than the times when it speaks to us. It speaks before and after our deeds. But it is its beforehand speaking we should set ourselves to regard. In the land of Greece long ago thei-e lived a wise and good man named Socrates. He was one of the first of the wise men who took an interest in young peonle. In the city of Athens, in which he lived, he went up nnd down the streets offering his wisdom to all who would hear. The young men loved him, and

766

Ver. 20.

REVELATIO III

Ver. 20.

liked to be in his company, and often spoke to him of the wonder his wisdom Wivs. Hut Socrates never thought himself wise. He told them that what he -said was only what his good angel, the voice of God in his heart, told him to say. It was always speaking to him. Especially it spoke to him when he was tempted to do evil things, or speak evil words, or neglect duties. It was a voice of warning. And he lived a noble life because he listened to this voice and obeyed it. When it told him not to do a thing he never did it. But it happened to Socrates as to One who was greater than Socrates. There were evil men in the city who could not bear that he should speak with the voice of God. And they brought him before the judges, and said, ' Either he must give up speaking at the bidding of that voice or die '. But he said, ' To escape death, ye judges and men of Athens, can never be the great object of human beings. The great object is to flee from ba eness and wickedness. I can die. I cannot cease to speak as my good angel bids nie.' So he chose to die. And the judges sent him to prison and to death. It was noble to die in that way. But there are many who never listen to the voice when it is a voice of warning and speaks beforehand. They are tempted to do some evil thing, or, like Socrates, to leave off some good thing The voice cries from within, ' Do not leave off the good thing ; do not do this evil thing '. They shut their ears. They will not hear.

Or there are other voices and other sounds in their hearts which keep them from hearing, and they give way to the evil. And, oh I there comes back to them once more the voice thev refused to hear ; but it comes back all changed, and not now a voice of warning, but of blaming and remorse. There is a picture in our Gallery of Art which shows the awful difference of listening to the voice after instead of before. It is the picture of a wild heath. A lonesome place it is — no house, no road, no bridge to be .seen in it all. There is only the dark, waving grass, the low brushwood in the forest, and behind, the far-stretching heath, black with the shadows of heavy clouds. To the left of the picture a man is ruiuiing, as if for his life. He is turning half round to see that nobody is pursuing him. A look of horror is in his face, and there, straight before you in the picture, is the cause of his terror. There, under the dark sky, half hidden in the brushwood, is the dead body of a man. The man who is running away is his murderer. He is hearing the voice of God, but it is after instead of before his evil deed. The voice of warning has become a voice of accusing. It is crving to him out of the depth of his soul, ' Where is the living man who came with thee into the heath ? ' It will go on calling for that man as long as he lives. It will follow him like an avenging angel. In the dark and in the sunlight it will speak to him. He will have rest from that awful voice never and never more. II. Listen to some further words concerning God's voice.

One of the best things connected with the voice is that when it speaks it is always near at hand. It is not a voice away up in heaven, .so that we have to

say, Who shall go up and bring it down to us ? It is not far awa}- over the sea, so that we have to say, ^Vho shall go over the sea and bring it home to us ? It is near to us. It is in our very hearts. You have been born in a country in which the voice is sounding on every side, in which it speaks in almost everybody you know. It speaks to you in your mother's and your father's words. It speaks to you in the lessons of your school-books, and in the words of your teachere. And what you hear when you enter a church is just the wisdom and music of this voice. And because you have been listening to it since yoiu- birth, it is near to you and in )our very hearts. ow, this voice which is sounding everywhere round about you, which seems somehow as if it came down to us from heaven, and yet is all the while in our own heaits, which speaks to you often in the words and tones of your mother, and all the while and in every form is the voice of God — this voice utters its best and sweetest call to us when it comes to us from the lips of the dear Lord who died for us. And this is what I want to speak to you about now. The voice of God is Christ's voice. What we call the Gospel is just this voice telling us of the Father's love. The Bible is the book of the words which this voice has uttered. The Gospels tell us how children liked to hear His Son. You remember the words and where it is said by the Saviour : ' Behold, I stand at the door and knock ; if any man hear My voice and o])en the door, I will come in '. It is at the door of your hearts He is knocking. He is knocking to see if you will open your hearts, and let Him in to be a voice of God, a good angel to you there. To every one who admits that voice it will be like a pleasant song in the heart,

like an angel of (iod always singing within you of righteou.sness and of God. It will be always with you : when you lie down at night, when you awake in the morning, when you are happy, when you are sad. Where you go it will go ; where you dwell it will dwell. Like the good angel of Socrates it will warn you when an evil way is near. And if at any time you should come to a difficult place in your life, and do not know which way to tum, it will speak to you and say, ' This is the way, walk you in it '. In the village of Lilliesden, a few years since, a brother and sister had to bid each other farewell in the afternoon of the day on which their father was buried. He had been a very saintly man, but his saintliness did not pass on to his children. They loved him, but could never feel just as he felt when the things of the soul were spoken about. But now to those two, brother and sister, on this afternoon of the day of their father's burial, when their hearts were tender with sorrow, and they thought back over all they had seen in their father, it seemed as if they

767

Ver. 20.

REVELATIO III

Ver. 20.

had somehow missed their Hfe, since they had missed feehng as their father did. And they agreed together to ask the Lord to enable them to feel as he did, and to walk in his ways. And they agreed fmiher that whoever first felt the change should come right ofF and tell the other. More than four years passed before the change they longed for came. And it was to the brother it first came. It was a Sunday evening j ust like this, near the close of the year. He was listening, as he had listened many a time before, to the minister preaching. And as he listened, without warning of any kind, a new life seemed to rise up in his soul. He felt as if Christ had entered into his life, and was speaking to him from within and comforting him, and stirring him up to come nearer to God. Suddenly he was in a new world. Everything spoke to him of God and of heaven. The change long prayed for had come. The Saviour had come into his heart, and was speaking glad words to him there. He saddled his horse next morning, and rode the thirty miles between his sister's home and his own and told her the joyful news. She saw bv his manner that he had found the secret of their father's hfe. She saw the father's saintliness in everything he did. He was as a voice of God to her. It entered into her heart and became a good angel, singing of God all the day. It made her whole life a sermon for God. And he till he died and she till the last time I heard of her were voices for God, callini; on all around them by the simple calling of their daily lives. And that is the wish my heart is wishing for you this evening. From my heart I wish that not only might the voice of Jesus in the Gospel enter into you, but that you yourselves might become, in a way, by your daily lives, voices of God. John the Baptist

was a voice speaking in the wilderness in an evil time. There is not one of you, however young, but may be a voice speaking for God in the time on which your young lives have fallen. That is the work missionaries abroad and preachers at home are doing. They are calling on the dead to rise from the dead. And those who hear the call become themselves voices joining in the call, and by their lives, their deeds, their words, they take part in this greatest work of God, and are helpere in this first resurrection of the dead. And my best wish for each of you is that you may have a part in that voice which is going through ail tlie world, and calling on dead souls and saying to them, ' Arise from the dead, and Christ will give you light '. III. I should be so glad now if I could tell you something of the joy that springs up in the heart when God's voice is listened to, and the light He has kindled is followed. It is a joy like that of the angels. This autumn, you will remember, we had some heavy storms at sea. And one of these storms came, unlooked-for, after a beautiful day. It was a

Wednesday, in August. Hundreds of northern fishing-boats went out to sea, and many of them were far at sea when the storm burst forth. It was a fearful night ; the rain came down in torrents, the wind blew a hurricane. At sea the fishermen were driven helpless before the wind ; on shore the fisher-folk went up and down, wondering what was

going on with those dear to them at sea. On the morning that followed — the storm still raging — a telegram came from Burghead to the crew of the lifeboat at airn to say that a vessel had been wrecked on an old sand-bar about seven miles away. The men of the lifeboat wei'e themselves at sea battling for their own lives. But as many brave fellows as were needed offered to man the boat and go to the wreck. Everything seemed to be against them. The tide was out. It was a long and heavy pull over the sands before the boat could be launched. It was a task heavier still to row the seven miles to where the vessel was wrecked. But the heaviest toil of all awaited them when they came where the wreck was caught. The waves rose high as hills, and dashed upon the wreck, and then, sucking backwards for many yards, came on again with fiercer blows. The crew in the lifeboat had to catch their chance in the brief moments when the waves were rushing towards the vessel. In those brief moments, bringing their boat near, they saved nine men. A moment only was possible each time. In that moment the lifeboat drew near, a man jumped on board, and, one by one, all who were on the wrecked ves.sel were saved. Only brave men could have done the work ; only men with skilful hands and loyal hearts. But now they turned their prow back towards airn with their precious load. What a pull that was back over the seven miles — the wind beating fiercely, the waves terrible for size ! The brave men never lost heart- On they came, nearer to safety by every stroke of their oare — nearer and nearer still. At last they turned the corner at Culbin Sands, and the harbour was in view. There, on the pier and along the shore, gi-eat crowds were watching. Although they could not share the brave labour of the lifeboat, they shared the sympathy of its heroic men. And when the lifeboat was sighted coming round the coast, a great shout of joy burst from the entire crowd. Louder and louder it rose, as, peering into

the distance, the people discovered that there were saved people on board. But when the boat swept into the harbour, and it became known that every man of the wrecked crew had been saved, and when the very men, one by one, rescued from death, stepped ashore, shouting could no longer express the joy that was felt. Many burst into tears, othei-s seized the strangers and embraced them as if they had been sons and brothel's. It was the joy of angels, the joy that is in the presence of God over the saving of the lost. And a beautiful thing in this joy is, that the greater the deliverance has been, the higher and gladsomer is the joy. It is very high when sailoi-s are saved fi'om a

768

Ver. 20.

REVELATIO III

Ver. 20

wreckeil ship ; but it is as high as heaven when the salvation is from a wrecked Ht'e. IV. I have told you of the joy which ri.ses in the hearts of the angels when the lost are saved. But fully to know the greatness of this joy I must now

tell you how it works, and how high it rises, when people are saved who did not know they were lost. There are whole tribes of lost people who do not know they are lost, and who do not want to be saved, just because they do not know they are lost. They are worse, far worse than sailoi-s on wrecked ships, only they do not feel their lostness. Far away from this, near the southernmost point of South America, is a land called Tierra del Fuego, and the people who lived in that land fifty years ago were in this very case. They were lost and did not know they were lost. About that time they were visited by a young man called Charles Darwin, who had seen many lands and many tribes, and he said they were the poorest, the most miserable, the least like human beings of any he had seen. ' Poor wretches ! ' he called them. They had neither houses to live in nor clothes to wear ; their speech was more like the cries of birds and beasts than the speech of human beings. They seemed to him to be without thought of almost any kind. ever, sm'ely, was a peojile more lost than these. They had lost the likeness of God, in which God had made man ; they had lost knowledge of God ; ehurch and sciiool and home were lost. Instead of clothes they daubed themselves over with white paint. They were more like beasts of the field than men and women. But now to this race which had lost the very memory of better or other times, and was itself lost in ignorance and beast-like ways, a way of salvation was opened up through the mercy of God. And here is the story of their salvation, as it was told by Dr. Parker at a great church meeting in Hanley. There was found in the city of Bristol, between two bridges, a poor infant, thrown out there to perish. He was found on St. Thomas's Day. Because he was found between the bridges he was called Bridges for surname, and because he was found on St. Thomas's Day he was called Thomas for Christian name. And by and by

this deserted child became the Rev. Thomas Bridges, and set his heart on going out into the heathen world to save souls. And to this very land of Tierra del Fuego, of which I have been speaking, he was sent. He listened to the strange speech of the wretched people ; he caught the tones ; he compared one with another ; he made an alphabet of them. Then he made the letters into words ; he wrote them down ; he came to understand their speech, came to be able to speak to them. He told them the story of the love of God, told them all about Jesus. He translated the Gospels into their language, and taught them to read them for themselves. Through his ministry they were lifted up out of then- poor, wretched, lost condition. A new life entered into them ; they became human beings again ; they became Christian worshippers; they built houses and

769

dwelt in them ; they were clothed and in their right mind. And it could be truly said of them, as of the prodigal in the parable, they were dead and came to life a^aiii ; they were lost, and were found. When Charles Darwin heard of the change, something of the joy which angels feel entered into his heart, and he sent a gift of money to the society which had -sent Mr. Bridges out. Every lover of mankind must have felt in the same way. Over that work the angels in the presence of God, let us be sure, had a great joy. ow I will tell you why I have spoken to you about the joy of the angels. It is because this is a joy ivhich God wishes you to share. It is really the

jo^- of God ; it is joy in the presence of the angels ; God's joy first, then the joy of the angels. And it is this joy which God is offering to His children when He invites them to take an interest and a part in the work of missions to the heathen, in the helping of the poor, and in the saving of the souls of the lost. V. Very fair to see are your shapely bodies, your faces glowing with health, your eyes gleaming with life; and very wonderful to think of is that something within you which no eye can see, which listens to the words I am speaking, and understands the thoughts that are passing from my mind to yours. But more wonderful still and more feir is that other something which listens to God and understands His thoughts ; which catches the light that comes from His face and makes it a light in your lives. This other something is what the Bible calls ' the candle of the Lord '. It is given to every one. It is shining in your hearts now, in some brightly, in some less brightly. I have seen its light many a time in the happy gleam of a child's eye. If I knew you, as you are known in your homes, I might see it in your words and deeds. It is the lamp or torch of God within your hearts ; it is one of God's greatest gifts ; it is a light to give light to you on the way to heaven ; it is a light God expects you to bring stOl burning when at last you come into His presence. In that city of Athens where Paul saw the altar to the unknown God, it was once, in the old days, the custom to have games in honour of their gods and heroes. Among the games that were held was the race of the torch-bearers. Each runner received a lighted torch at the beginning of the race, and the runner who came first to the goal with his torch burning received the prize.

This race was held in honour of Prometheus, a hero of whom Athens and other cities in the old time were justly proud. He was the likest to Chi-ist of any of their heroes, and he did a service to man that was only second to Christ's. It was he who first brought fii'e to men. The people then living believed that in his love and pity he went up to heaven and carried away the fire and brought it down to them. It was one of the greatest kindnesses any hero could do. Winter was made less wintry. Darkness was shut out of the home. Hearthstones were laid. Log-

Ver. 20.

REVELATIO III

Ver. 20.

fires were kindled. The labourers coming in from the fields cold and hungry had a warm place to come to, and food well cooked. And in the long winter evenings the family gathered about the fireside, and mothers spun, and daughtei-s knitted, and little boys watched the shadows flickering on the wall, or listened to the stories that were told till it was time to go to bed. o wonder people held torch races in honour of the hero who gave them blessings like these ! The race itself was a splendid sight. The winning-post was in the city ; the starting-place a mile and a half distant,

among the groves of olive and cypress, where the great Plato kept his school. It was night when the runners started. How their torches must have flai-ed in the night air as they came rushing up the hill ! How sad for the runners whose torches flickered out ! How joyous for the swift, strong youth who came fii-st to the goal with his torch still burning ! The days when this race was run are long since past. The nations who kept it up are dead and gone. But to something like that race, only grander, we are still called by God. We are called to run with patience the race that is set before us. Our very life is a kind of race, and every one born has to be a runner in it. I have seen this grander race, I have seen the runners, but in other cities than Athens and with other torches than those the Athenian runners bore. I know men and women m this very land who are running it, and striving to keep theu- torches burning as they run. I know boys and girls who have begun to run it. I am sure there ai-e some of you now reading these words. It is to encourage you in this race, and to help you to keep your torches burning to the end, that I am speaking to you now. I sometimes look back upon the years of my childhood. As often as I do, I see again the bright young faces which were around me then, bright faces, blight lives, eager young spirits preparing, although they knew it not, to run this very race. I can say truly of many of those companions that the candle of the Lord, the torch for God's runner, had begun to shine in their hearts. They were believers in God, in heaven, in the resurrection of the dead. They knew the story of Jesus, they believed in His love. Happy hearts ! Happy children ! I can say of them as I recall their forms, ' The angels of God visited them in their dreams '. Those young hearts were touched with the feeling of the nearness

and goodness of God. I have heard them sing the twenty-third Psalm with voices filled with joy. And I have seen the tears running down their cheeks when the story of the Cross was told in their hearing. Many of those young runners have long since finifhcd their race. I have watched the careers of some thi'ough all the years of their lite. I have seen the light burning in their words, in their deeds, in their very eyes. I have watched them at their tasks, when they looked to me like the servants of the Lord mentioned in the Gospel, whose loins were gu-ded, and whose lights were burning. I have seen among them

saintly runners who came to the goal of their life their outward strength all spent, but their inner light fieshly burnini^-. Ah ! and I have also seen some of them coming to the end of their day whose lights had ceased to burn for years, and who had to lie down in the darkness they brought on themsslves. I recall one who finished his race before he was twenty, and another who went on till forty, and both came to the end in darkness. ot one ray of the early faith or joy in God burning ! All the light of the soul gone clean out through evil thoughts and ways ! You are just setting out in this race, your torches are fresh and bright and brightly burning. God has kindled the light of the knowledge of His love in your hearts. That is His torch. Do you think it can be anything but a sorrow to Him, if any of you, if even a single one of you, should come into His presence at the end with this light of love gone out ? He is very earnest in wishing that you try all you can by His help to keep the light burning. — Alexander Macleod, The Child Jesus, p. 147.

JESUS K OCKI G AT THE DOOR ' Behold, I stand at the door, and knock.' — Revelation hi. 20 There is one door before which, I think, Jesus lovea above all others to stand — it is the door of your young hearts. Yes ! I think I am right in saying so that this gracious Saviour, though He pleads with all hearts, delights specially to plead with those which, like yours, are yet tender. Let us inquu-e into one or two reasons for this. I. Jesus loves specially to knock at the door of young hearts, because He knows He will more readily get admission there. Other and older doors have often a number of bolts and locks put upon them to keep Him out. They are often covered with rust and weatherbeaten. They either refuse to move on their hinges, or else, as in that beautiful picture you may have seen, called ' The Light of the World,' nettles and thistles, the nettles and thistles of bad habits and confirmed sins, so cover them and bar the way, that it seems wellnigh impossible for Him to approach. But it is different, in most cases, with you. The footroad to your souls is open. The rust of those vicious habits has not yet tarnished the fi-esh locks and hinges. Conscience, God's servant within, is not, as often is the case with pthers, asleep or drowsy, but vigilant and wakeful. While many an old heart, like the deaf adder, refuses to hear Jesus knocking, but knocking in vain, He loves the ring of your young voices, saying, ' Come in. Thou blessed of the Lord, wherefore standest Thou without ? ' Old Eli heard no voice. But the child's ear heard it, saying, ' Samuel, Samuel,' and he said, ' Speak, Lord, for Thy servant heareth '. Tliey are young ears which most readily listen, and young hearts which are most readily opened !

II. A second reason why Jesus loves specially to knock at the door of young hearts is, that He can

770

Ver. 20.

REVELATIO III., VII

Vv 13-17.

knock there gently. Your hymn calls Him ' Gentle Jesus, meek and mild '. When an old Prophet describes the future Saviour's chiiacter, he savs of Ilini, in contrast with the eartiily warrior who comes ' with confused noise, and garments rolled in blood ' — ' He shall not cry, nor lift up, nor cause His voice to be heard in the streets. A bruised rctd shall He not break, and the smoking flax shall He not quench ' (Isa. xLii. 3). That is to say, He loves to speak gently and to act gently. His royal name is. Prince of Peace. The illustrious apoleon said, ' Caesar and Alexander fought and conquered by arms, Jesus Christ fights and conquers by love '. Oh ! how many on their thrones in glory, won by His kindness and tenderness, can testify in the words of the Psalmist, ' Thy gentleness hath made me great ' (Ps. xvm. 35). HI. Another reason why Jesus loves specially to

knock at the door of young hearts is, Because childhood is the choicest season to welcome Him in. o one likes to stand out in winter, or at midnight, amid cold and frost and snow. Jesus indeed, so loving and compassionate is He, is willing to come even in the winter of old ago, and knock at doors covered with icicles, or whose overgrown pathway is drenched with slush or bristling with thorns. But undoubtedly He loves best the early spring, when the sun is rising, and the birds are singing, and the flowers are budding. He loves best to come in the morning of young life. The opening sermon of this book recalls the day of His triumphal entrance into Jerusalem ; when, in Royal majesty. He knocked at so many heart-doors, and when so many seemed to welcome Him as ' Blessed ' (Mark xi. 9). Yet, as we have there seen, the answer to these pleadings which He appears to have prized most of all was, when ' the Children in the Temple ' were seen opening the Temple-gates of their young affections, and when their youthful voices were heard singing ' Hosaiina to the Son of David I ' Older hearts, at which He knocked on that occasion, might be closed again ; around them, the nettles and thistles might grow again; those crying ' Hosanna ' to-day, might be shouting ' Crucify Him ' to-morrow. But young eyes would not so readily forget the palmcovered way. Young voices would not so readily forget the infant song of welcome. Yes, those children in Jerusalem who thus early opened their souls to Jesus, would in all likelihood turn out His best and most faithful followers and disciples. Perhaps He would say of them and to them, in another sense, what He afterwards said to His Apostles, ' And ye also shall bear witness, because ye have been with Me from the beginning ' (John xv. 27). Listen to this heavenly Visitor. He may be knocking now. He may be saying (He is saying), ' My son. My daughter, give Me thine heart '. Ponder, once more, the beautiful story-picture of the text.

See this Divine Merchantman unpacking His priceless treasures ! He speaks to you, yes, to each of you individually. And how does Headdress you ? ' Here ' (we may imagine Him saying) ' is My gold ! Here is a golden vesture, a clothing of wrought gold : it is the

robe of My righteousness ! Here is a golden ring : it is the jewelled ring of adoption. Here are the two golden bracelets of faith and love. Here is a golden necklace set with diamonds and rubies ; the precious stones of kindness and gentleness, forgiveness and charity. Here is a golden crown : it is " the crown of glory which fadeth not away " ' (i Pet. v. 4). — J. R. Macduff, Hosannas of the Children, p. 92. HEAVE ' And one of the elders ansv^ered, saying unto me. What are these vyhich are arrayed in vrhite robes i and whei ce came they? ' And I said unto hira, Sir, thou knowest. And he said to me. These are they which came out of great tribulation, and have washed their robes, and made them white in the blood of the Lamb. ' Therefore are they before the throne of God, and serve Him day and night in His temple : and He that sitteth on the throne shall dwell among them. ' They shall hung^ir no more, neither thirst any more ; neither shall the sun light on them, nor any heat. ' For the Lamb, which is in the midst of the throne shall feed

them, and shall lead them unto living fountains of waters; and God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes.'Revelation VII. 13-17. I DO not think there is a more lovely picture in all the Bible picture-gallery than this. I do not think there are more beautiful words among all the Bible's beautiful sayings. It is said of a famous poet that he never read them without tears. May you now ponder them ; earnestly desiring that with God's blessing they may be one day a real pictuie and a joyful description of yourselves. They speak of four things : — A bright company. An honoured company. A holy company. A happy company. I. A Bright Company. — St. John was asked the question, ' Who are the.se arrayed in white robes ? ' His reply tells how these robes came to be bright and shining. ' They have washed their robes, and made them white in the blood of the Lamb.' All these robes were once black, and soiled with sin. But the blood of Jesus Christ has washed out every guilty stain, and they are now ' without fault before the throne ' (Rev. xiv.). Oh, how completely and fully does Jesus take away sin ! You remember Isaiah's golden verse: 'Though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow ; though they be red like crimson, they shall be as wool ' (Isa. i. 18). I read the other day of one who dreamt on his death-bed that his sins were like a great mountain, but that a drop of blood fell upon that mountain and dissolved it in a moment. I have heard of a dying boy who was asked, ' What verse of all your hymns do you like best ? ' The instant reply was given :—

Because the Saviour ehed His blood To wash away my sin ; Bathed in that pure and precious Hood, Behold me white and clean ! Have you got this white robe? And will you wear it for ever as one of this bright multitude ? II. The text speaks of An Honoured Company. — If you look at the whole passage you will see that

771

Vv. 13-17.

REVELATIO VII

Ver. 17.

they occupy the place nearest the presence of the gieat King. There are various chcles of adoring worshippers described. ' All the angels' in their gUttering ranks ' stood round about the throne. ' But these angels, aj;ain, are represented as standing ' round about the elders ' (that is, the redeemed from the earth). In other words, the redeemed occupy the innermost circle of all. Wondrous thought I

that even the angel and archangel in heaven seem to give way to the ransomed sinner, wearing the white robe and bearing the ever-green palm ! It is specially noted that their greatest privilege and honour is, not that they have their abode in a very beautiful and glorious place — a city with gates of pearl and streets of gold, but because they are thus near God, and because that Great God is to them their all in all. Are they spoken of as kings ? They are ' before the thi'one of God, and He that sitteth on the throne dwells among them ' . Are they spoken of as priests ? They ' serve Him, day and night in His temple,'. Are they spoken of as sheep reposing on the green meadows and pastures of heaven — an eternal Summer on the hills of glory ? The chief part of their bliss consists in having the presence and love of the great Shepherd. It is the Lamh who 'leads' them there, and 'feeds' them there. Yes, God is their 'chiefest joy'. Other joys of heaven are like the bright stars, but He is the glorious Central Sun : they have no glory by reason of the glory which excel leth. It was a beautiful saying of a poor blind Syrian boy in the schools of Bey rout, ' The first object these eyes of mine will ever see will be Jesus '. III. The text speaks of a Holy Company. — They are described as ' serving God '. And not sei'ving Him only at brief times, or in a half-hearted way, by fits and starts, but they ' serve Him day and night in His temple '. The redeemed in glory will delight to serve their Heavenly Master and Heavenly Parent. Here they cannot obey Him perfectly. God has too often reason to say, ' If I, then, be a Father, where has been mine honour'? and if I be a Master, where has been my fear?' (Mai. i, 6). But in yonder bright world, we read in the last chapter of this Book of Revelation,

' His servants shall serve Him, and His name shall be in their foreheads '. Just as slaves or servants, in ancient times, had the names or initials of their master branded on then- brows to betoken that they were his property, so will Christ's redeemed and ransomed people in glory have His name engraven on their foreheads, and their song through eternity will be, ' O Lord, truly we are Thy servants ' : ' We are not our own, we are bought with a price ! ' IV. The text speaks of a Happy Company. — There is a great deal of happiness in this happy world. God has not hung His creation in curtains of black, or made its sounds to be sounds of mourning. o, He has draped it in garments of beauty. He has ; a nted His heavens, not with the colour of ashes, but with bright blue. The sun rises from a couch of gold, and

pillows his head on a couch of amber. The groves are melodious with sweetest music. The very streams go singing all the way down the mountain-clefts to their ocean home. While this, however, is true, alas ! sin heis done its best to mar and wreck the world's happiness — to spoil its glad music and drown its song. Sin has done its best to tear do^vn these draperies of gladness and joy, and to hang it round and round in weeds and sackcloth. Sin (to use the Apostle's words) has brought the creation under ' the bondage of corruption '. Think of its pains and sorrows, its sick-beds and death-beds, its bereavements and broken hearts, its famines and pestilences, its hunger and thirst and nakedness ; its hatreds and variances ; its strifes and jealousies ; its wars, and slavery, and bloodshed, and cruel wrongs. But whatever be the evils and sufferings of earth, on the gate of the celestial city there shall be written, regarding these, the words — ' o more ! ' Hunger, thirst, sickness, sorrow, pain, death, the grave — the Redeemed shall know of

all these ' o more ! ' They shall then have entered a holy place, and therefore a happy place. The cm'se of sin is stamped on ' this present evil world ' ; but of that blessed ' world to come ' it is specially said, ' And there shall be no m.ore curse ' (Rev. xxii. 3). The white robe will never again be exchanged for mourning ; for ' God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes '. You may have seen bushes, and trees, and flowers so drenched with the night-dew that it hangs like tear-drops upon them ; but the sun rises, his beams shine, these dewy teai-s vanish — thev have what is called ' evaporated ' ; they are dried up by the warming rays. So if believers — plants and ' trees of righteousness ' — are from various causes full of teai-s now, God, the great Sun of heaven, will shine upon them and disperse them for ever ! — J. R. Macduff, Hosannas of the Children, p. 245. HEAVE * The Lamb which is in the midst of the throne shall feed them, and shall lead them unto living fountams of waters ; and God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes.' — Re\'elaTio VII. 17. Leigh Hunt, in his autobiogi'aphy, in speaking of his dear mother's death, tells us, ' Her !.;rcatest pleasure during her decay (she died of a slow consumption) was to lie on a sofa, looking at the setting sun. She used to liken it to the door of heaven, and fancy her lost children there, waiting for her.' A beautiful door, indeed, to a beautiful world ! The remark of the little boy was certainly a very striking one, who, one night, after looking up in wonder at the shining stars, cried out to his father, ' If the outside of heaven be so glorious, how grand the inside must be ! '

Did it ever come into your minds to ask why that better land is called heaven ? The origin of the name is curious. The old English word heave means to throw or to cast up ; and so the sky which seems heaved, or heaven up came to be spoken of as heaven.

772

Ver. 17.

REVELATIO VII

Ver. 17.

That better world, beyond the cold and troubled waters of death, is sometimes called in the Bible, 'life,' and ' eternal life ' ; ' the glory of God ' ; ' peace ' ; an ' eternal weight of glory ' ; ' the heavenly Jerusalem ' ; ' the kingdom of heaven ' ; and an ' eternal inheritance'. Poets have always pictured it as the land of flowers, and perpetual sunshine. There, everlasting spring abides. And never fading flowers ; Death, like a narrow sea, divides This heavenly land from ours.

Bright fields, beyond the swelling flood, Stand dress'd in living green ; So to the Jews fair Canaan stood, \V'hile Jordan rolled between. How it casts a radiance even on the gloomy grave, this remembrance of our heavenly home ! On the bright December da_v when Washington Irving was laid down to his peaceful rest, on the shore of the river which he loved, the beautiful Indian summer sent back one balmy breath to temper the frosty air, and the unclouded sky was soft with serenest sunshine. ' I could not but remember his last words to me,' writes an admiring friend, ' more than a year ago, when his book was finished, and his health was failing : " I am gettin'j; ready to go ; I am shutting up my door and windows ". And I could not but feel that they were all open now, and bright with the light of eternal morning.' The Lamb spoken of in the text, and who is represented as leading forth His people unto 'living fountains of waters,' i.s our Blessed Lord and Saviour. It was as the spotless Lamb, that He was typified in the sacrifices of the Mosaic law. ' Behold the Lamb of God that taketh away the sin of the world ! ' exclaimed St. .John the Baptist, as he directed the attention of his disciples to the gi-eat Prophet who had lately arisen in Galilee. As a gentle and uncomplaining Lamb our Blessed IjOrd was led to the sacrifice on Good Friday ; and, at the last day, w-hen we shall behold Him in His exaltation and glory, we shall still speak of Him with adorin;^- gratitude and love, as the Lamb Who

has redeemed us to God by His blood. As here on the earth the Lord Jesus was the Saviour of His people, so in the better land, He shall be the dispenser of their happiness. The imagery of the text is certainly very striking and beautiful, and Robert Burns, the Scotch poet, says that from his early childhood he was never able to read it with eyes undimmed by tears. The Saviour is always, and everywhere, the Good Shepherd to His redeemed children. ' He shall lead them unto living fountains of waters. ' The hapjjincss of heaven is described as fresh and ever flowing, like streams in the desert. The ' fountains ' are called ' living ' because they will never be dried up nor exhausted. When C^Tieas, the ambassador of Pyirhus, came back from Rome, his master asked him what he

thought of the city. He answered, that it seemed to be a commonwealth of kings. And such is heaven. Every child of God who gains admission there will have his robes of honour, his sceptre of power, and his crown of glory. There is not one person reading this sermon who does not hope to go to heaven when he dies. I say, hopes to do so. He must, however, do something besides hope. Those happy and blessed ones whom the Lamb shall feed, and lead to the living fountains of waters, in the better land, will be the very persons who have allowed the Lamb, even the Lord Jesus Christ, to lead them here. Do you ask, Aotu ? The

answer is easy enough ; those who permit the Saviomto lead them in the way of God's law, and in the works of His commandments. The language of heaven, and a taste for goodness and puiity, must be gained here upon the earth. There ai-e two things essential to one's enjoying a grand musical celebration ; one must have a ticket of admission, and must have a taste for music. One of these would be useless without the other. So those who are admitted to heaven, at the last day, will have two qualifications ; a title to the better inheritance, and a meetness for it Have you and I secured both of these qualifications ? — If not, have we any time to throw away ? — John . orton, Milk and Honey, p. 106. HOW CHRIST DRIES UP OUR TEARS Revelation vii. 17. I USED to wonder why the Bible says so much about tears. At that time I did not understand tears. I could not imagine a life of which the drying up of tears should be a sign ; nor a Saviour to whom it should be a work. I suppose the same wonder is in boys still. Children know laughter better than weeping. They have not learned how full our life is of tears. And consequently they do not yet feel the need of a Saviour who shall be a drier up of tears. That may be the case with some of vou. You may be saying to yourselves at this moment : ' Tears ! What have we to do with tears ? We have no tears to be dried up.' Well, I am going to tell you how Christ dries up our teais, and I will begin by telling a story about tears. Many hundred years ago, in a village a thousand miles and more away fi-om this, there lived a little girl not older than some of you. It is not unlikely

that she said just what you are saying about teais. I can fancy her stopping in the midst of her romping some blight day and saying to her&elf, ' What a happy, joyous time this is ! What a happy world 1 How nice to go whirling and singing and laughinj; under the sunlight as we children do ! ' And even years after, when she was no longer a little girl, I can fancy her still thinking that she lived in a happy world. She saw the streams of people as they went past on the Sabbath day to worship. She saw happy fathers, happy mothers, happy children. And her young heart might sometimes rise on tiptoe, and look for-

773

Ver. 17.

REVELATIO VII

Ver. 17.

ward two, three, four years, and see the sweetest visions of a beautiful home in the future, and dear forms glancing out and in, and herself the queen of it all. Well, this girl grew up to be a woman ; and God gave her a beautiful home, and He made her queen of it all. He gave her a husband and one little son. Her visions of the future had come true. And you

might think she was still happ)', and, like you, had no tears to be dried up. My own opinion is that she ought to have been happy. Thinking of her life in that beautiful home, I can believe that she wa-; very happy. But a day came — a sad day for her — when, if you or I could have looked in through her window, we should have seen her standing by the bed-side wringing her hands, and turning away her face to hide her teai-s. There, upon that bed, lies her sick husband about to die. His face is pale ; his hands are thin and cold. He makes a feeble movement with his lips. She stoops down and kisses him — for the last time. Then his eyelids close, and his breathing ceases, and he is dead. She that was the hapjiy wife — and before that the hajipy, happy little gill — has become a widow. She has teai's now to be dried up. I dare say there are girls who do not kr.ow how sorry and tear-filled the heart of a widow is The day may come when they will know it only too well. On that sorrowful day, if ever it darken on any of vou, I pray God you may remember what I am telling today ; and you will find strength in the thought that Jesus can dry up your teai-s. The poor widow of whom I am speaking could not find that comfort. She had never heard of Jesus. But she turned to her little boy, and said in her heart, ' This boy will dry up my tears '. And it is very sweet for a widow to have a little boy. When her heart is sad and weary she can look to him and say, ' That is his child '. And when the child grows up she is pleased with the thought that he has his father's eyes, and hair, and voice, and walk. And she says, and she is very happy when she says it, ' He is the very image of his father '. This boy grew older and taller, and the widow loved him more and more. God had taken away her husband, but her son was left. Perhaps she said to

herself, ' I shall be happy once again. My boy speaks kindly to me when I am sad ; he helps me when I am wearied ; he will work for me when I am old ; he will sit beside me when I am sick ; and he will bury me when I am dead.' The poor old widow ! I think I see her sitting by her door sotne summer evening, looking at her boy as he comes up the street, lecalling a form that twenty years befoie was just like his, and very glad that a living picture of that form was with her still. I should not be surprised if the pleased mother thought she had no more tears to be dried up. But one day there was a great stir of jjeople about her house. Some, with sad faces, were going in ; others were gathering before the door. Inside, the poor widow was weepi; ;¦ again. Where is that brave

son who was to have cheered her in her sorrow ? Ah ! you may search for him, but you will not find him. He is neither in the fields nor about the village. But if you listen you will hear a shufflii^g of feet within the door. And see ! there is an open coffin coming forth ; and behind it walks the poor widow. Her boy is there — on that coflin — dead. ' He was the only son of his mother, and she was a widow.' In the country where this happened the gr.-\veyards are outside of the town. I think it would be very sad for the mourners to pace along the streets with that coffin ; but sadder still when they had to leave the streets behind and go out into the open country. Something of this sadness you may have felt yourselves. Perhaps you have seen a funeral goiiig from your own house ; and you went to the window and watched it slowly faring down the streets ; and so long as you could still see it you felt that you had not taken the

last farewell. There was one little tie between it and you still. But when it turned into another street, and you could see it no more, then the tie which bound you to the dead was utterly broken. This very sadness, I am sure, the old widow must have felt. When the little procession of mourners ]jassed out from among the houses, and out through the gate, although she was with them, she would feel that the tie which bound her to her beloved boy was fast snapping asunder. She did not speak. It is a heavy grief which cannot speak. But if there had been a window in her breast, you might have seen her soul toiling for utterance, as if she wanted to say, ' Oh, my son, thou hast left the village for ever ! Thou art drawing near to the place of graves. I shall never see thee more. Thou fruit of my early love ! thou image of thy buried father ! thou hope of my old age ! my staff and stay ! my green and flourishing tree ! how art thou cast down and withered ! The grave has opened its mouth for thee. My son, my son ; would to God I had died for thee, oh, my son ! ' That was a touching sorrow. And it seemed as hopeless as it was touching, for there was no one left to lighten her sorrow. Her husband was in the grave ; her son was now to be laid by his side ; and who then would dry up her tears ? There are people who say, ' Time will dr>' up sorrow ' ; and there are people who say, 'Friendship will dry up sorrow'. And time with its changes can do much, and friends with their love can do much ; but neither time nor friendship can dry up such tears as that widow was that day shedding. Death holds what he has gotten with a hand of iron, and who is he who can unloose its grasp ? But I have a wonderful thing to tell you next. This widow's son died v.hen the blessed Saviour was upon the earth; and help was coming near of which she did not even dream. For at that very moment,

when her dead boy was being carried out of the town, Jesus was about to enter! Death going in that direction ! The Lord of life coming in this ! His disciples were with Him, and He was teaching them by the way. They were drawing life from His words.

Ver. 17.

REVELATIO VII., XIV

Ver. 3.

And yet if you had seen Him, you would have seen nothing to tell you that He was the Lord of life. He had neither a crown upon His head, nor a sceptre in His hand. To appearance He was but a poor and toil worn man. ' I3ut when He saw the widow, He had compassion on her, and said unto her, Weep not. And. He came and touched the coffin : and they that bare it stood still. And He said, Young man, I say unto thee, Arise. And he that was dead sat up and began to speak. And he delivered him to his mother. And there came a fear on all : and they glorified God, saying, That a great prophet is risen up among us ; and, That God hath visited His people.' There was a great emperor living at Rome when that took place ; and in this land of ours there was a people who lived in dens and caves instead of houses, and for clothing had skins of beasts. Here, a wild, strange people, with strange, wild looks and

ways ! There, a great emperor, with gold crowns and ])urple robes, and silver couches and marble palaces ! But if you could bring back that old time to the earth, and look at it with your own eyes, I think I know what you would most wish to see at the close of the day which saw that wonder done. ot the wild people of this land in their dismal caves — not the great emperor of Home in his marble palaces — but that widow of aiii at her fireside with her son. You would wish to see how she looked at her risen, living son, and how her son looked at her. And you would wish to hear the Psalm which they sang together to Him who had unloosed the hand of death, ;ind given back to the childless the son she had lost. Christ dried up the tears of the widow by giving back to her the son she had lost He has many ways of drying up tears, but none that He uses oftener than this. He dried up the tears of Martha and Mary the same way : He gave them back their brother. He dried up the tears of Jairus the same way : He gave him back his daughter. He dried up the nobleman's tears the same way : He gave him back his son. What he did to these bereaved ones was a promise to them and us. When you see the buds on the trees in spring, you know that the buds will yet be leaves, and that under the leaves will be clusters of fruit. The raising of Lazarus, of the widow's son, of Jairus' dau<;hter, of the nobleman's son by the Lord, and His kindness in giving back, to those who were weeping, the beloved ones they had lost, were so many buds on the tree of life. They were promises of still better things. These better things began to appear when Jesus Himself rose from the dead. The others were proniLses: that was fulfilment. The others were buds :

that was the fruit. For He rose from the dead that all might rise. And His resuriection morning was the dawn of the resurrection morning of the whole world. The tears of the nobleman, of the widow of ain,

of Jairus, of Martha and Mary would all break out anew. They and their beloved ones would one day be again sundered by death. But on the resurrection morning the dead shall be given back never more to be taken away. There shall be no more death, no more parting of friend.s, no more crying. All who have fallen asleep in Him shall then be given back to their friends. Mothers shall receive their children, and children their parents, and their brothei'S and sisters. It will be a glorious day. The gate of heaven on that day will be crowded with scenes like that which the disciples saw at the gate of ain. Sorrow will give place to joy. Tears will be dried up for ever. And friends who were parted by death will be given to each other again : — Kindred joyous kindred greeting Pain and grief beliind them cast. Even now, Jesus is saying to those who have lost their beloved ones ' Weep not '. If some dear brother or sister, or if your godly father or mother has been taken from you by death, do not sorrow as those who have no hope. You have this hope : Chi-ist will give back to you the dear one you have lost. Wait patiently on Him. The resurrection moniing is sure to come. And then the trumpet shall sound, and the graves shall give up their dead, and the long-parted ones shall rush together, and they shall be for ever with the Lord, and all their tears shall be dried up. — Alexander Macleod, Talking to the Children,

p. 8L THE QREAT RED DRAQO A D THE LAMB O MOU T ZIO ' And there appeared another wonder in heaven ; and behold a great red dragon, having seven heads and ten horns, and seven crowns upon his heads. ' And his tail drew the third part of the stars of heaven, and did cast them to the earth.' — Revelation xii. 3, 4. ' And I looked, and, lo, a Lamb stood on the Mount Sion, and with Him an hundred and forty-four thousand, having His Father's name written in their foreheads. ' And they sung as it were a new song before the throne.' — Revelation xiv, 3. In the verses of our text we have two very different pictures brought before us from this closing book of Holy Scripture. We have a picture of Satan and his gloomy abode, and of Christ and His glorious, happy heaven. I. We have in the first of the two verses just read a picture of Satan. He is likened to ' a Great red Dragon '. I know I need hardly tell you that the dragon is altogether a fabulous creature. It is curious, however, that most pagan nations of old believed in the existence of this huge winged serpent or crocodile. Many of their heroes made it the object of their lives to destroy the supposed monster, and prevent it firom doing mischief. One of the ' labours,' as they were called, in the life of Hercules, the giantgod of the heathen world, was the slaying of the dragon. On many ancient shields and banners of

England may be seen, to this day, St. George on horseback with the dragon under his horse's hoofs : he in the act of piercing it with his spear The

775

Ver. 3.

REVELATIO XIV., XX

Ver. 12.

Christians and martjTS of the early Church and the Middle Ages were also sometimes represented as trampling the dragon beneath their feet. But if the wild beast of the ancients be a fabulous and unreal creation, not so is the evil spirit spoken of in the text, of which the dragon is the symbol. The great red dragon is here pictured lashing his tail backwards and forwards and upwards. It reaches as high as the stars (ver. 4). These stars mean the bright angels. Some of these he caused to fall from their lofty estate. His tail reached their glorious thrones and swept them down to the earth. It is the same monster foe who to this hour tempts mankind — alike old and young — to sin. He tempts some to lie, some to steal, some to be cruel, some to be dishonest, some to be quarrelsome, some to be impure. There is another verse of Scripture which

says, ' The whole world lieth in wickedness ' — or, as that rather means, ' lieth in the Wicked One ' (1 John V. 19). It is a terrible description of the devil's power. It reminds one of a mother with her child on her knee hushing it asleep. ' The whole world ' is as it were in the lap of Satan, and he is singing the lullaby, ' Peace, peace ; when there is no peace ' (Jer. vr. 14). He sings unwary souls into the sleep of death. He sings asleep only to destroy. He is like Jael the Kenite, who with flattering promises decoyed Sisera into her tent. You remember when she had, with false tongue, assured him of safety, giving him ' milk and butter out of a lordly dish,' and covered him over with the tent carpet, and the wearied man sank in slumber ; she took a nail and hammer and drove the iron into his temples. So Satan deceives and hushes many into the sleep of self-security, and then he comes out in his true character as ' Apollyon,' which means ' Destroyer ! ' ' Oh, this dreadful dragon ! ' are you not ready to exclaim ? If he has swept down angel-thrones ; if he has tried to overcome vvith his wicked devices the Lord of Glory Himself ; how can I escape his power ? II. The second picture of the text is one of Je.sus and heaven. On the lofty Mount Zion, Jesus is seen ' standing ' in the form of a Lamb. It is well worth noting, as I did once before regarding another passage of the Gospels, that the word of St. John here translated ' Lamb,' is in the original Greek ' a little Lamb '. What a picture is thus given us of the ' Gentle Jesus, meek and mild ' ! It is His own description — His own picture of Himself. He had perhaps yoxv in His thoughts, when

He thus revealed Himself to His servant, as ' a little Lamb!' As He had just before appeared to the exile in Patmos under the symbol of a Lion, ' the Lion of the tribe of Judah ' (Rev. v. 5), He might say, 'Little children may be afraid when they think of My power, and greatness, and strength as a Lion. I will give them another symbol to attract them to Me and cause them to love Me. I will appear as " a little Lamb ". I will thus show them that, as a Lion,

I can protect the strong ; and as " a little Lamb" I can guard and tend and love the weak and young and helpless. I used the same word in sjieaking to Peter on the shores of the lake, when I said to him, " Feed My little Lambs " : and I have not forgotten you, " Fear not, little flock, it is your Father's good pleasure to give you the kingdom ! " ' This little Lamb on the Heavenly Zion is represented as surrounded with 144,000 saints. These saints sing together ' a new song ' . o wonder they sing, for they are now safe : they are now for ever happy and blessed. Do you ask, how are they thus safe and happy ? I think they would themselves reply in the words of St. Paul, ' We are more than conquerors through Him that loved us '. ' Thanks be to God which giveth us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.' But this Lamb on Mount Zion is not only surrounded by those who have reached their crowns and their thrones ; He is the glorious Head of His Church still on earth — those who are still battling with sin and temptation. While now speaking to you who are young pilgrims, I like to apply to Him the words of Daniel, 'The Great Prince that standeth for the children of Thy people' (Dan. xii. 1). He is standing for you on Mount Zion as a Kingly Inter-

cessor. He is like Moses and Joshua together at Rephidim of old (Exod. xvii. 8). He is Joshua, fighting for you in the plains : He is Moses, pleading for you on the Mount. Only unlike Moses in this that His hands never 'grow weary '. When Satan tempts, keep near to Jesus. When Satan tempts, do as Jesus did. Go to the Word of God for weapons to fight him with. To three different assaults Jesus answered three different times — ' It is written '. You may remember when I preached to you many Sundays ago a sermon on the Bible, I reminded you that when Christian smote Apollyon with the sword (the Sword of God), the Adversaiy spr^ ad forth his dragon wings and sped away ; ' and Christian saw him no more ' ! — -J. R. Macduff, Hosannas of the Children, p. 199. SMALL A D GREAT STA DI G BEFORE GOD ' I saw the dead, small and great, stand before God ; and the books were opened.' — Revelation xx. 12. A Chri.sti.\n King of Hungary, being low-spirited and silent one day, his rattle-brained and giddy brother inquired the cause. ' The truth is,' the good man answered, ' I have been a great sinner against God, and am afraid to die and to appear before Him in the j udgment.' ' onsense I ' exclaimed the younger brother, in a sn,e,ering tone ; ' these are nothing but gloomy thoughts.' Th ' king made no reply, but he quietly resolved to teath the thoughtless voung man a lesson. It was then the custom in Hungary that if the executioner came and blew a loud bla.st of a trumpet before any person's door, it was a signal that he would, in a

short t me, be led Forth to execution. The king ac-

776

Ver. 12.

REVELATIO XX

Ver. 12.

cordinglv commanded the officer of justice to sound the trumpet before his brother's door at midnight. This was done, and the young man rushed forth amazed and terrified, and seeing the messenger of death he expected that his doom was sealed. Hastening to the royal palace, he cried aloud to the king, ' Alas ! brother, what have I done which has so grievously offended you ? ' ' othing,' answered the king. ' You have never off'ended me. Is the sight of my executioner so dreadful to you ? Anil shall not I, who have grievously offended against God, fear to be brought before His judgment-seat ? ' As the trumpet of the executioner startled that foolish young man, so will multitudes be dismayed, at the last, when the trumpet of the archangel shall wake the slumbering dead, and summon us all to the bar of judgment.

This is the subject which is so vividly brought before us in the solemn services of the Advent season. Advent, as you know, means coming. There are two Advents : the fii'st, the coming of our dear Saviour, in great humility, as the gentle Babe of Bethlehem ; the second. His coming with power and glorv, to judge the quick and the dead. The most important event which will ever happen is that refeiTed to in the text : ' I saw the dead, small and great, stand before God : and the books were opened '. We are accustomed to speak of grand occasions, now, such as the inauguration of a president, or the celebration of some popular anniversary, as ' greatdays ! ' Such pageants as these, however, are as nothing compai-ed with what oui- eyes shall behold when the Lord Jesus comes, attended by the angelic hosts, to set up His j udgment-seat. It is so much easier to remember sermons which are aiTanged according to method anil order, that I shall drive down a few stakes, as it were, and fasten the thread of the discourse ai-ound them. There will be three such slakes in this sermon. Who? Why ? When? I. Who?— This is the first stake. Who shall make up the assembly spoken of in the text ? St. John answers the question : ' Small and great '. In other words, he means the whole human family ; all who have ever lived upon the earth. When obscure people mingle in a crowd they generally escape observation. o one seems to notice them, or to care about them. ot so at the day of final account.

' Small and great '. Children will be there, children of the rich and of the poor ; children of the wise and of the ignorant ; children of the good 8"d of the bad. The ' small,' no mattei^ how humble or insignificant — none will be able to hide from God's sight. I once saw a poor, friendless woman carrying the coffin of her own little babe to the potter's field. I knew not who she was, and I doubt whether her child ever had any name at all. ot a person in

town gave a single thought to the circumstance The neglected woman had one person in the procession — for I turned about and went with her, and offered a prayer over the lowly grave. When the trump of the second Advent shall sound, even that poor, unknown child shall stand up before God. The ' great,' also, will be there. Just think, for a moment, of all the wonderful men you ever read or heard of : some of them so grand and powerful that it seems incredible that any Being would be able to control them. Caesar, with his insatiable ambition ; Xerxes, casting fetters into the sea to curb its rage ; Alexander the Great, lamenting that there was only one world for him to conquer ; Bonaparte, with hands folded behind his back, and strutting up and down, impatient at the least opposition or restraint ; Wellington, the mighty hero of his age, who went down to his grave crowned with laurels which will be unfading so long as earthly glories last — great all these, in their way, but there is One far greater and mightier than they ; even the King of kings, before whose j udgment-seat 'small and great' shall all appear.

II. Why ? — St. John tells us in the text. It was a vision which he had of the terrible events of the judgment. ' The books were opened.' Do you ask ' what books ? ' I answer, God's accountbooks. You have often noticed the large books in which merchants write down the amount which people owe them. Ah ! how fast such columns of debts count up ! Just so the Almighty is represented as keeping a record of the deeds which we are doing now. He has what business men call a debtor and a credit account. If you have a doubt of this, listen to what our Blessed Saviour says concerning it : ' When the Son of Man shall come in His glory ; and all the holy angels with Him, then shall He sit upon the throne of His glory ; and before Him shall be gathered all nations ; and He shall separate them one from another, as a shepherd divideth his sheep from the goats '. Turning with a gracious welcome to those on His right hand, He will bid them enter upon the blessedness of His kingdom, assigning as the reason for the favour thus shown them, the faithful records in the book of His remembrance. Every time that His believing people had fed the hungry, clothed the naked, visited the prisoners, or bestowed even a cup of cold water on a suffering disciple, out of love to the Master, they were really rendering service unto Him. I must beg you to read the grand passage for yourselves in the twenty-fifth chapter of St Matthew, from the thirty-first verse to the end. St. Paul tells us, in plain words, that ' Every one of us shall give account of himself to God ' (Rom. xiv. 1 2). The ' great ' must do it, no matter how high they

may have held their haughty heads, and snubbed those below them ; and laughed at goodness ; and made a mock at sin ; and joked about death ; they must all stand up to be judged. And remember, it will be no general outline of

777

Ver. 12.

REVELATIO XX., XXII

Ver. 17.

what they have been about which will satisfy the Judge. I say a general outline, because this would present no correct view of the case. A father, we will suppose, has been absent from home for some time, and when he comes back he calls his little son to him, and asks, ' Have you been a good boy ? and ought I to give you the present which I promised you, in case you obeyed your mother, and behaved properly to your sistei's, and others about you ? ' Vei-y likely the little fellow will answer out boldl}', ' Yes,' and be sincere in the belief that he is telling the truth. We will grant that in the main he has done toler-

ably well ; but, alas ! some things have escaped his memory which ought to be taken into the account. He has quite forgotten the time that he threw stones at the crazy woman ; and the sugar which he stole from the pantry ; and his thoughtless cruelty in fastening a rope across the foot-path, one dark night, to trip up anybody who might be passing along. All these wrong things have been forgotten, and he looks back upon the weeks of his father's absence as having been spent very properly — and the father, in all likelihood, will never be the wiser. ot so when the All-seeing One calls small and great to give in their account. in. When ? — This was the third stake we drove down at the opening of the sermon. When will small and great stand before God, and the books be opened ? Much sooner than we think. Aye, it will be just when our minds are least occupied about it. The day of judgment will be like any common day. The sun will rise as usual. The sky will be as blue and beautiful as ever, and the earth as calm and quiet. Men will be seen going to their labour in the field, or hurrying to their stores, and offices, and shops. Gay and frolicsome children, with satchels of books, and bags of marbles, will be wending their way to school. Stages and railroad cars, and steamboats will all be in motion ; millions of letters and papers on the way to those who will never have time to open them. Lawyers entering the door of the court-house, who will have no more causes to plead ; frivolous and fashionable people will be hurrying their tailoi-s and millinei-s for finery which they will never put on ; sharp speculators will be planning some new insurance company, or some tempting arrangement of city lots in a distant State still covered with its primeval forest, to empty the pockets of the credulous; some jolly, blustering souls, red and swollen with hard drinking,

will be swearing shocking oaths; when suddenly a fearful blast of a trumpet will be heard which will arouse even the dead from their graves, and the business, and folly, and wickedness of living men will stop, and the Lord Jesus Christ will take His place on the throne of judgment, and the books will be opened. — John . okton, Milk and Honev. p. 9.

WI

I G WORDS OF WELCOME

' Take the water of life freely.' — Revelation xxii. 17. The testimony of Mr. Joseph Hart, the hymn writer in the last century, was very striking, and will be helpful to us. ' Joseph Hart was, by the free and sovereign grace and Spirit of God, raised up from the depths of sin and delivered from the bonds of mere profession and self-righteousness, and led to rest entirely for salvation in the finished atonement and perfect obedience of Christ.' O ! bring no price ; God's grace is free To Paul, to Magdalene, to mo. There are seven wonderful W's in this verse, and if we place one word on each day of the week the Little Folks will remember them. We have the — I. Witnesses. — The Spirit and the Bride (Rev. xxn. 17). II. Want.— Thirst (Matt. v. 6). III. Word.— Come (Matt. xi. 28). IV. Whosoever.— All (Acts xni. 39).

V. Willingness. — Take (Ps. cxvi. 13). VI. Water.— Life (John iv. 14). VII. Welcome. — Freely (Is. lv. 1). Mercy is welcome news indeed To those who guilty stand ; Siuuers who feel what help they need Will bless the helping hand. — Chables Edwards, Tin Tacks for Tiny Folks, p. 97. THE LOVI G ' COME I ' ' And the Spirit and the bride say, Come. And let him that heareth say, Come. And let him that is athirst come. And whosoever will, let him take the water of life freely.' — Revelation xxii. 17. God is very fond of the word ' Come ! ' I have been trying to count in the Bible how many times God says ' Come '. 1 have found a great many. I wonder how many you could find. Very many times God says to us ' Come I ' I believe that the very first word — as far as we know — that was ever said in all the world, was ' Come ! ' Can you think of what I am thinking of? It is something in the fortieth Psalm. It is about Jesus Christ, and He is speaking of some time, it may have been millions and millions of years ago, ' Then said I, Lo, I come '. That was before the world was made. ' Then said I, Lo, / come.' I think it is perhaps the oldest word we ever read of, ' Come ! come ! '

When we say ' Come ' our ' Come ' is the echo of God saying ' Come ! ' Do you know what an echo is ? Did you ever hear an echo ? Did you ever stand before a large rock, or a large building, and say something, and then find the sound come back to you ? You might stand before a large rock, and say ' Come ' ! and it repeats ' Come ! come ! ' God says ' Come ! ' then you say ' Come ! ' It is the echo. We are echoing God. All we can do is to echo God,

778

Ver. 17.

REVELATIO XXII

Ver. 17.

There are two beautiful echoes in the Bible. One is in the twenty-seventh Psalm and the eighth verse. ' When Thou saidst, Seek ye My face ; ray heart said unto Thee, Thy face, Lord, will I seek.' ' Seek 1 ' ' seek ! ' Thou saidst, ' Seek My face ! ' I echo, ' Thy face will I seek '. I will tell you of another beautiful echo, it is almost the last verse in the Bible ; it is the last vei-se but one in the last chapter of the Revelation. Jesus saith, 'Surely I come quickly'. Then the echo, 'Amen. Even so, come, Lord Jesus.' ' Come ! ' ' come ! ' We

echo it. God says, ' I come ! ' We say, ' Come, Lord, come ! ' There are three very beautiful ' Comes ' in the Bible. I should like you to look at each. One is to wicked people. It is in Isaiah i. 18. ' Come now, and let us reason together, saith the Lord : though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow ; though they be red like crimson they shall be as wool.' That is a ' Come ' to the wicked. ow there is a ' Come ' to the good, to those who have come to God, and who love Him, and have got their troubles and their sorrows : they feel their sins and they are unhappy. It is what Christ says to them ; it is to those who are weary and heavy laden ! Do you remember the passage ? it is in the eleventh of St. Matthew and the twenty-eighth verse : ' Come unto Me, all ye that labour, and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest'. Then there is a third ' Come ' which He will say at the last day, the day of judgment, to His people, to those on His right hand ; it is in Matthew xxv. 34, ' Come, ye blessed of My Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you fi-om the foundation of the world '. There are three beautiful ' comes '. A ' Come ' to the wicked ; they come ; then when they have come, a ' come ' to them in their trouble ; then when all is over God calls them to heaven. ' Come, and inherit the kingdom.' Whoever you are, you may ' come '. If you are a wicked one, there is a ' Come ' to you ; if you are a Christian in trouble, there is a ' come' to you ; if you are dying there is a ' come ' to you — ' Come to heaven ! ' Three 'comes '. I want to speak a little about the advents : the comings. Do you know how many there are, how

many advents ? I. There is one now. I will tell 3'ou what I mean. You will understand me better if you look at Revelation III. 20. Will you read it with me ? ' Behold, I stand at the door, and knock : if any man hear my voice, and open the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him and he with Me.' Then Jesus stands at the door, and knocks, and speaks ; and if anyone listens, and opens the door, and lets Him in, He will come and sup with that one. He is standing at the door now ; He is speaking now. Let us try if we can hear Him. Can you hear Him ? Listen — -in your heart — can you hear Him. Is there anything in your heart which seems to say, ' Come in to me ! ' I think I hear it. ' He stands at the door, and

knocks.' He speaks ! He wants to come in. Will you let Him come ? Little Caroline's mother was showing little Caroline a picture, and the picture was Jesus with a little baby in His arms ; and there were a great many mothers all around Him, and they were pushing forward their little boys and girls to go to Jesus. That was the picture. Little Carrie said, ' Mother ! I should not want to be pushed. I would go without pushing.' Will you go to Jesus without pushing ? Jesus comes now, and ' knocks at our door,' and says, ' Let Me in ' ! and if we let Him in now. He will make us so happy ; we shall like to have Him in our heart always after that. II. ow I am going to speak of another advent — what is called The Seeond Advent. We generally mean by that when Jesus shall come again in His glory to judge the world. I am not quite sure

whether that is the second advent, but we generally call it so. I think when the Holy Ghost came down, that was Christ's second coming, because He called it so—' I will come to you '. And when He ' comes ' to our hearts that is another ' coming ' ; but we will call it ' the second coming ' when Jesus comes again. We'll think a little about that. Which would you rather — die before He comes, and go to heaven that way ? or would you rather live on till He comes, and be found here living when He comes ? which would you rather ? Which is best ? To put it into the language of the Creed, would you rather be one of ' the quick ' or one of ' the dead ' ? ' The quick ' means those who are alive when He conies ; ' the dead ' those who die before He comes. Which would you rather ? Be alive when He comes ? It is a very very happy thing to die. If we love Jesus it is an exceedingly happy thing to die I I have read of a painter who was painting ' Death,' and the stupid fellow painted Death — as we genei"ally see Death painted — a skeleton and a scythe ! That is a horrid way of painting it ! A skeleton — • to show only our bones will be left, our flesh will go ; and the scythe, to show as we cut down the grass, so we are all cut down. A good man coming by said, ' That is not the way to paint Death : you should paint him a beautiful bright angel with a golden key in his hand to open the door and let us into heaven '. That's death. It is a very happy thing to die. When Bishop Bevoridge was dying thnt good man said, ' If this be dying, I wish I could die for ever'. It is so happy. But I think to be here on earth when Jesus Christ comes will be happier. One reason why I think so, is, because we know that then there will be no parting. When we come to die it will be very happy to

be going to heaven, and to be with Him, and with those we love who have gone before, and all the angels, and so on ; but then there will be some still in the body whom we shall have to leave, so we cannot be perfectly happy at that moment, as we should be leaving some behind us. A lady who was dying a little time ago, said, ' T

779

Ver. 17.

REVELATIO XXII

Ver. 20.

think going to heaven is something like when I left school for good. I was very happy to come home ; but it was rather a trial to leave those I loved, my companions, behind me. That is something like dying. It is very happy, but I have got so many to leave behind me.' But when Jesus Christ comes there will be no partings. We shall all go together then. Whe!i Demosthenes was expelled from Greece, and when Tully was exjielled from Italy many years afterwards, we read they both did the same thing in

their banishment — they were continually going out looking toward their own native country. They could not see it, it lay far across the sea. Tears ran down theii' faces as they thought of their dear native country. Should not we be thinking of the land from which we have been banished ? — -the beautiful world it will be then, the beautiful garden from which Adam and Eve were turned out ! And our own home, our beautiful land, shall not we turn to think about it? A little girl I read of had been talking to her mother, and her mother had been talking to her about heaven, and the little girl looked at the picture of an angel on the wall, and said to her mother, ' Mother ! when shall I get my wings ? ' ' When shall I get my wings ? ' When will you get your wings ? You will have ' wings ' some day, or something like them, and go about flying away from star to star, flying amongst the stars perhaps, I do not know. But when shall I get my wings to soar away ? Think of it. Are you ready ? Are you ready for it ? A nobleman had ' a fool ' in his household, as noblemen used to have in olden times in their service ; these half fools, or those who pretended to be such, oftentimes were very clever men, and said very odd and witty things. This nobleman gave his fool a stick, and said to him, ' Keep this stick till you can find a greater fool than yourself When you have found one, give this stick to him.' A long time passed on, the nobleman became very sick, and he said to his fool, ' Fool, I am going into a far country '. ' Are you, my lord ? ' asked the fool.

' Yes, I am,' replied the nobleman. ' And when shall you come back, my lord ? ' asked the fool again. ' ever ! ' was the reply. ' ever come back ! Then what preparation have you made for yourself in that land, my lord, whither you are going ? ' ' one ! ' was the reply. ' Take the stick, iny lord,' said the fool, ' You are a gi-eater fool than anybody I know. Going into a far country, and made no preparation for the journey you are going to perform.' Who could be a greater fool than that nobleman ? ow be prepared ! Quite seriously I ask you, ' Have you got your ticket ? ' There is a ticket necessary for the journey. Have you got your ticket ? You cannot get into heaven without a ticket. Do you know where it says so ? I will tell you what the ticket is. It is ' the white stone, with the new name

written on it, which no man knows, saving he who receives it ' (Rev. ii. 17). Ask God to show you what it means. I believe it means something like this. Amongst the Greeks when anybody was tried, if acquitted, he had ' the white stone '. Also, ' the white stone ' was used as a ticket to admit to a feast. You must have your ticket. And you must be dressed for the heavenly banquet There is a particular dress required. You nmst liave your dress on. I will tell you what it is. It is a white dress. You must have on a white dress. It says so in the Bible. Do you know what it is? What is the white dress you must have on ? The righteousness of Jesus. You must be in Jesus, Jesus must be all to you ; you must be covered with Jesus ; your sins must be covered. Just as if you were to put a beautiful robe around a person in rags

and tatters, and you do not see their poverty, so if the robe of Christ is on you, God does not see your rags and tatters. Have you got on your dress ? Is your ticket ready ? Then you will be ready to go in at any moment. — James Vaughan. THE FIVE 'COMES' 'Even so, come, Lord Jesus.' — Revelation xxn. 20. You all know that this is Advent Sunday, and I think 3'ou all know what the word 'advent' means, that it means 'coming'. Therefore we might call it ' Come-Sunday '. I am very glad (aren't you ?) that there is no ' Go-away Sunday ! ' What a dreadful thing it would be if, instead of ' Come-Sundaj',' there were ' Go-away Sunday '. We hope some day there will be ! I do not suppose it will be a Sunday, but there may come a day which will be ' Go-away '. ' Goaway ! ' I hope that won't be said to any of us here, ' Go away ! ' ow it is ' Come-Sunday ! ' ' Gofne ! ' ' Come ! ' If you love Jesus, you will love advent ; but if you don't care about Jesus, you won't care about advent. Do you care about Jesus ? About six hundred years ago there lived in Italy a very wise, good man ; his name was Thomas Aquinas. He wrote some very beautiful books, and when some one said to him, ' Where did you get all that eloquence to speak so beautifully, and to write such beautiful books?' what do you think he said? He replied, ' I got it all from the Cross '. ow, I do not think that you will understand that. Why did he say, 'I got it all from the Cross ' ? Think of it, boys and girls at school, where this great man got all his learning. He wrote a beautiful book, called The Sacrament of the Altar, and when he had finished the book he went to a church, and when there, he

heard or thought he heard, Christ say to him, ' You have written very well. I will give 3'ou now anything you ask because you have written so well about Me.' Thomas Aquinas said, 'Lord, give me Thyself, I want nothing else '. If you love Jesus, you will love advent.

780

Ver. 20.

REVELATIO XXII

Ver. 20.

ow I want to tell of Five Beautiful ' Comings,' and then, when I have told you of all the five, I shall ask you whicli vou like best. Will you be ready, pleiise, to tell me which you like best of ' The Five Cominys' that I am going to tell you of? I. I shall call the first the Grand ' Gome!' You will find it^ in the fortieth Psalm, and the seventh vei-se : ' Then said I, io, / Come/' Jesus said it when He was up in heaven. ' Then.' When, I do not know. Thousands and thousands and thousands of years ago. ' Then said I, Lo, I come ! ' Jesus was up in heaven, and He saw that we were

going to be in this world, and He saw that we should be unhappy, because we were lost ; and He saw that there would be a great many sacrifices, but they would not do any good, and the poor people would not be able to save themselves and help themselves ; so He said to God the Father — He said it then, ' Then said I, Lo, I come. I will go and save them. I will go to that world and save them. I will go.' How the angels must have wondered ! I should think there was a perfect silence. I should think all heaven was silent when the Son of God said, ' I will go to that world '. ' Lo, I come ! ' I am so glad He came. He might have had us all up in heavvn without coming here first. Then we should not have had Him as a little baby in a cradle. Then we should not have had Jesus as the boy of twelve years old, or the young man as the pattern for us. It was so kind that He said, ' Lo, I come ! ' — better than if He did it all up in heaven. n. ow, the next ' Come ' I will call the Gracious ' Come ! ' It is in the first chapter of Isaiah, and the eighteenth verse : ' Come now, and let us reason together, saith the Lord : though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow ; though they be red like crimson, they shall be as wool.' ow, stop ! Perhaps there is a boy or girl in this church who has been naught)' — who knows that he or she has done something very wrong. I don't know what it is. You know. God knows. ow, God sends me to you, my dear child, this day, and the message God gives to you is this : ' Come now, and let us talk about it. Come now, and let us reason about it. You have been very naughty, and you cannot be happy. Come to Me ! ' God says, ' Listen to Me. I am willing to forgive you. And though your sins be as red as scarlet, though they make you blush, though you know all the waters in the world cannot wash them out, I will do it. Come to Me — really come to

Me. Let us reason together about it. I will pardon all. I will forgive all, and you shall have peace I ' That is God's message to the lost child. Do not think that when you come, God will not receive you. Do you only 'come'. III. ow I must give you a third,' Come,' and that is a Tender ' Gome '. It is in ^latthew xi. 28 : ' Come unto Me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest '. ow, I may be speaking to some boy who is very tired, tired in a great many ivays. I do not suppose he is yet very tired of this

life, though life is very hard work, and some little boys even have said, ' I am tired of my life '. It is not so with you, perhaps. But possibly you are tired with your work or your lessons ; perhaps somebody is teasing you very much ; perhaps you have some burden on your mind, something you ai-e always thinking of, so you are always ' weary and heavy laden '. ow Jesus says to you, by me, ' Come to Me, with that poor, tired, burdened feeling — come to Me, and I will give you rest '. It is so tender. Have you had a tender mother ? He is more tender. ' A mother may forget.' He will never forget ! ow, when you are in trouble, say, ' Jesus ! ' You need say no more ; if you do not say any more, it will do. Don't say it as that poor woman fii st did, 'Jesus ! ' but with all your heart and soul, with loving tears, if you can, say, ' Jesus ! ' You try, and you will find that that will do it all. Say, ' Jesus ! ' lovingly. IV. ow I come to my fourth ' Come,' and I will call it the Echoing ' Come ! ' You will find it at the end of the twenty-second chapter of the Revelation, the chapter we read, ' Even so come. Lord

Jesus '. That is the echoing ' come ! ' because it is man saying it back to God. God said, ' Come now ! ' and man says back to God, ' Come, Lord Jesus ! ' There was a little boy who had a little room — a little bedroom to himself. It looked toward the east, where the sun rises, and this little boy, almost immediately he got out of his bed in the morning, before he took off his nightshu-t, used to run to the window and open it, and look out of the window. And why do you think he did this ? To see whether Jesus was coming ! He had heard that Jesus was coming from the east — and I think He will. And this little boy loved Jesus, and longed for Him to come, so he was always looking for His advent. V. ow I come to my fifth and last ' Come,' that I shall call the Crowning ' Come ! ' You will find it in the twenty-fifth chapter of St. Matthew : ' Come, ye blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world ! ' Oh, what a glorious ' come ' that will be ! Do you ever think of Jesus coming ? Do you think He will be alone ? o. Do you know anybody who has gone to heaven — any dear* friends, relations, or anybody else? I will tell you what it will be when Jesus comes. They will come with Him ; you will .see them. It says so in the fourth chapter of the first Epistle to the Thessalonians : ' Them also which sleep in Jesus' — the good ones who are gone to Jesus — God will take, and ' bring with Him '. Whenever you read that verse always pay great attention to the last words, ' with Him ' — Him, not God, but Jesus. God will 'bring with Jenus!' ' With Him ! ' That is, when Jesus comes, God will take care those dear ones gone to heaven will come ' with Him '. If you are there, you will see them. Shall we say there are three great comings of Christ to us, and three comings of us to Christ ? I

think we may. What are they? When He was

781

Ver. 20.

REVELATIO XXII

Ver. 20.

born at Bethlehem. That was a great coming ! Then, He is coming now; He is coming at this moment. It is not I who say it, but God s;iys it, to you, thi'ough me. He is always coming to the heart, coming now. And then He will come by and by in His glorious advent. That is the last. And I think we may have three comings. We come now. Will you come now ? Jesus is knocking at the door, won't you let Him in ? Only try. He is coming to

your hearts. Love Him ; and let Him in. Well, then, presently, you will die ; that will be coming to Jesus. I hope you will go to ' sleep in Jesus '. Then, at the last day, when He comes in His glory, you will rise from your grave, and will go to Him ; then you will be caught up to meet that beautiful assembly, that grand procession, all with their palms, their music, their beauty, and their glory. You will be caught

up to go in with them to heaven. — James Vaughan.

1. 68 FREE BOOKS http://www.scribd.com/doc/21800308/Free-Christian-Books

2. ALL WRITI GS http://www.scribd.com/glennpease/documents?page=1000

Sign up to vote on this title
UsefulNot useful