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Golden Text_“Who will render to every man according to his deeds."Romans ii. 6.
Notes.—The great principle that deeds not words are the test of character, is taught here. Not every one who says, but whosoever does, shall enter the kingdom, (Matt. vii. 21.) By their fruits ye shall know them. Even a child is known by bis doings. Give examples of this-obedience-speaking truth-companionship. Tell me who a man's companions are, and I'll tell you his character. Now, the reward is according to the same standard. God will render to every one according to his deeds. Deeds are, consequently, of great importance. Take heed what ye do.
Lesson 68.—April 20.
THE PHARISEE AND THE PENITENT WOMAN. The Scene of the Incident, (ver. 36.)—It was in a Pharisee's house, somewhere in Galilee, likely in Capernaum. The occasion, a dinner. The Pharisee had asked Jesus to dine, and He went. He seized every opportunity of doing good. Note here that the Pharisee had neglected the common rites of hospitality customary in the East, (ver. 44-46,) and shew in this connection what these rites were—water for the feet, explain why necessary—the kiss of welcome -and oil for anointing the face, to keep the skin from being broken in that hot climate. The Pharisee thought it honour enough for Jesus to be asked into his house. Note next the anointing, (ver. 37, 38.) The doer, a woman of the city, who was a sinner-not a sinner in the sense that all are sinners, but a wellknown bad character; a waif, whom every one would shrink from. The act itself. Explain the Eastern mode of reclining at meals, with the feet bare and thrown backwards; and the children will at once see how the woman could have easily done what she did. Explain further, that the houses were square shaped, with a large area, open to the sky in the centre, into which any one could have access, and it will be seen how such a character could have got into the house.
The Objection, (ver. 39.)-It comes to this-no respectable person, knowing the character of this woman, would allow her to come near him. Jesus evidently does not know her character, and so cannot be a prophet. It is somewhat of the same nature as the objection, “ This man receiveth sidners, and eateth with them." They thought this, which was the highest glory of Jesus, a disgrace. They could not touch pitch without being defiled, and they judged Him as they did themselves. They forgot that He was holy and separate from sinners; and further, that He came to seek and save not the righteous, but sinners.
Christ's Answer, (ver. 40-50.)-First a parable. Go over it. It requires no explanation. Then note the question of Jesus to Simon, and the correct answer which Simon gives, as our Lord at once acknowledges. Then the application personal to Simon, in which Jesus contrasts his conduct to himself with that of the woman, shewing that in every point her conduct was superior to Simon's. She, the despised outcast, had shewn more real respect to Jesus than the proud self-righteous Pharisee. Having thus reproved the Pharisee for his neglect, and having placed the woman on a higher level than he, Jesus goes on to shew, and this is the main point, the root from which the woman's conduct sprung, and the reward it brought. The root was love, (ver. 49)- great love; love to Him for His divine compassion, that would not spurn even her away; love for His boundless mercy, which could reach even her. It was this which prompted the action. And this deep love secures her pardon, (ver. 47.) Her sins, which Jesus does not extenuate, were forgiven her; and then He adds that a sinner's feeling of love will be in proportion to his deep sense of pardoned sing. He who
feels that he has been forgiven much, will love much; and he who has no deep sense of forgiveness, will have a correspondingly shallow sense of love. These two always go together.
Jesus then addresses the woman directly, in verse 48, and assures her that her sins are forgiven. Those who sat at the table began to object in their own minds to the statement of Jesus to the woman. To forgive sin was a divine act, and who was this who assumed this power? It appeared to them blasphemy. Jesus takes no notice of their thoughts, but turning calmly to the woman He bids her depart in peace, for her faith had saved her.
Memory Exercise--Shorter Catechism 69.—John vi. 37.
Subject to be proved—Jesus Welcomes the Chief of Sinuers. Golden Text—"All that the Father giveth me shall come to me: and him that cometh to me I will in no wise cast out."-John vi. 37.
Notes.-Jesus refuses none-this is the burden of this text. All are welcome to Him. The only condition is—come. If we come He will not cast us out. Give examples from His life-this woman who was a sinner-Zaccheus the publican-the dying thief-all welcome, when they came. Note particularly, cometh to me-not to Church, not to Sabbath school, not to the Lord's Supper, but to me-to Jesus himself. That is the important thing. To whom are you coming ?
Lesson 69.-- April 27.
REVIEW.—THE GREAT PHYSICIAN. Select the central thought of each of the foregoing eight lessons, and make it the subject of Review..
I. The Leper cleansed. Christ's willingness to Heal and Help.-“ Lord, if Thou wilt.” Jesus says, “I will”-i. e., “I am willing.” That is the great lesson of this miracle-Christ's willingness. He is able, He is willing.
II. Those who desire to come to this physician will find means of so doingno obstacles will be allowed to stand in their way. Shew the various steps taken to bring this poor paralytic to Jesus,-how every difficulty was overcome, and then the reward of their faith-“Man, thy sins be forgiven thee.”
III. “I count all things but loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus,” (Philip. iii. 8.)_See an example of this in Matthew's case. He left all and followed Christ. This is Christ's demand still. Are you willing to obey ?
IV. Only one could be healed at a time in Bethesda, and there was no fixed time for the troubling of the waters. But“ Jesus is able to save to the uttermost all that come unto God by Him, seeing He ever liveth to make intercession for them,” (Hebrews vii. 25.) Thé fountain He has opened is ever open, and is open for all who come to it.
*V. “Pray with and for others.” The Centurion prayed for his servant and was heard.
VI. Jesus is a sympathizing Physician: He knows the human heart. “The only son of his mother, and she was a widow"-a whole world of sadness in these words. Jesus gives him back to his mother.
VII. “By their fruits ye shall know them."
Memory Exercise-Shorter Catechism 70, 71.-Psalm ciii. 2, 3. Golden Text-"Bless the Lord, O my soul, and forget not all His benefits : who forgiveth all thine iniquities; who healeth all thy diseases.”—Psalm ciii. 2, 3.
Notes.-Two things in this text-an ascription of praise to God, and the reason thereof. This was the song of one who had been forgiven, who had been healed. He felt his plague cured, and he gives the glory to the Physician. This will be the song of the redeemed in heaven, (Rev. v. 9, 10.) Have you been healed? If so, your life will be a song of praise. Jesus expects this—“ Were there not ten healed, but where are the nine ?" He was disappointed at their ingratitude. Fulfil His joy by giving Him the glory.
Lesson 70.—May 4. JOSEPH ENTERTAINING HIS BROTHERS.—Genesis xliii. 15-34. The Banquet, (ver. 15-34.)-On arriving in Egypt the sons of Jacob were eager to explain about the money which had been found in their sacks' mouth. They apply to the steward, tell him how they had found the money, and how they have brought double money on this occasion. So far so good. They are at least honest men; and the steward calms their fears by telling them that they were not to blame, for he had done it. Learn that honesty is always its own reward. They might have said, “This money is ours;” but they would not do so. They bring it down again to Egypt. So should we act on all occasions. Notice, further, how Joseph's influence is being felt in Egypt. The steward (ver. 23) knows something of their God, and of their father's God. Joseph, though now in high station, has not forgotten his father's God; and, through him, those who are about him are brought to know God. He was a true missionary. But, in this sense, every one can be a missionary. Every Sabbath school scholar can speak a word for God. The steward further re-assures them by releasing Simeon. They had brought down Benjamin, and Simeon may now be set free. They are now brought into Joseph's house, and all due hospitality is shewn them. How different is Joseph's treatment of them from that of theirs to him! He receives them into his house, he causes water for their feet to be given them, and does not even forget their asses. Here was heaping coals of fire upon their heads. When they come to know who it is that is doing all this, surely they will loathe themselves for their cruelty to him, and love him for his generosity to them. But Joseph's love was nothing to Christ's for us. He gave himself for us when we were enemies; and with himself He freely gives us all things. How can we refuse to love Him ? Notice how wonderfully Joseph's .dreams are fulfilled. They bow down their heads and make obeisance to him. Again, mark the strength of Joseph's love for Benjamin. He cannot say much when he sees him, for his heart is too full for words. He prays that God may be gracious to him, and hurriedly leaves the room, and weeps. How true a man is Joseph! Prosperity did not turn his head. He is not ashamed of his brother. He loves him as tenderly as when they both played round his father's tent in the grove of Mamre. Now, this was the mark of a true man; and Joseph weeping at the sight of Benjamin is greater and nobler than Joseph in the second chariot, and with the chain of gold about his neck. Another surprise awaits them. They are placed at table in the order of their ages; and Benjamin is specially honoured. *The men marvelled. They looked at one another in amazement, and could not account for it. Soon all was made clear. Joseph was leading them by a way they did not understand; but he knew the end. So now. God often leads His people in what appear strange ways; but in the end they can say, “He hath done all things well.”
Memory Exercise—Shorter Catechism 72.-Proverbs xxv. 21, 22.
Subject to be proved—We should return Good for Evil. Golden Text—"If thine enemy be hungry, give him bread to eat: and if he be thirsty, give him water to drink: for thou shalt heap coals of fire upon his head, and the Lord shall reward thee."-Proverbs xxv. 21, 22.
NOTES.—The great lesson of these verses is, that kindness and love will conquer much more than force. Take as an illustration the story recorded in 2 Kings vi. 8-23; note particularly the last clause of verse 23. The figure is borrowed from the melting of metals. Fire may be under, but the metal will not melt; but cover the crucible with fire-fire below, on the sides, and aboveand then the hard metal will melt. So with an enemy, give a kiss for a blow, turn the other cheek to him who smites thee on the one, and you will conquer. The meek shall inherit the earth. Our Saviour's meekness was His strength; He could have got legions of angels to fight for Him, but He knew that meekness was more powerful than the sword. His gentleness will yet win the world to His side. He who is most gentle is always the strongest.
The Teacher's Quiber;
OR, ILLUSTRATIONS OF THE LESSONS.
LESSON 67.—THE BAPTIST'S MESSAGE-CHRIST'S TESTIMONY.-Luke vii. 18-35.
125. Christians should be Prepared to stand up for Jesus, (verse 23.)- As Luther drew near the door which was about to admit him into the presence of his judges (the Diet of Worms), he met the celebrated General George of Freundsberg, who had been victorious in many battles. The old general, seeing Luther pass, tapped him on the shoulder, and shaking his hand, said kindly, “ Poor monk, poor monk! Thou art now going to make a nobler stand than I or any other captains have ever made in the bloodiest of our battles. But if thy cause is just, and thou art sure of it, go forward in God's name, and fear nothing. God will not forsake thee." Luther did make a noble stand, and found the blessedness of so doing.
126. We should shew Sympathy with Others, (verses 31-35.)- A devoted elder one morning called upon an unbelieving blacksmith, for whom he had been wrestling in prayer. With deep feeling, he said, “Mr. R., I am greatly concerned for your salvation-greatly concerned for your salvation !” and burst into tears. He could say no more, and returned home. “Greatly concerned for my salvation!” It rang through the blacksmith's ears like a thunder-clap in a Clear sky. “Greatly concerned I ought to be for my own salvation. What shall I do?" It was a new and unanswerable argument for religion. He went to his Christian wife, and asked her what to do. She advised him to follow the elder home. He did so; and, greeting him, said, “I am come to tell you that I am greatly concerned for my own salvation.” They prayed together; and the man, whom no reasoning could reach, was converted,-a striking testimony to the power of sympathy.
LESSON 68.—THE PAARISEE AND THE PENITENT WOMAN.—Luke vii. 36-50.
127. A Sense of Forgiveness Begets Love to Jesus, (verses 37, 38, 44-50.)— A missionary in South Africa came upon a little native girl, about eight years of age, with a book in her hand, very accurately instructing another girl about fourteen. When he asked her if she loved the Lord Jesus, she answered, “Yes, I do; and I wish to love Him more.” He asked her why she loved Him, since she had never seen Him. She answered, “He loved me first, and died for me on the cross, that I might live.” The missionary often observed this little child under deep emotion at their meetings. She is descended from a wild Bushman, and was stolen from her country, to which, however, she has now no desire to return,
128. Jesus Receives the Outcast, (verses 37-50.)-The famous Persian poet, Saadi, relates a story that seems an echo of this narrative. Jesus, while on earth, he says, was once entertained in the cell of a monk of great reputation for his piety. In the same city dwelt a youth, sunk in every sin, “whose heart was so black that Satan himself shrunk back from him in horror.” This youth appeared before the cell of the monk, and, as if smitten by the very presence of the Divine Prophet, began to lament deeply the sin and misery of his past life, and shedding abundant tears, to implore pardon and grace. The monk indignantly interrupted him, demanding how he dared to appear in his presence, and in that of God's Holy Prophet; assured him that for him it was in vain to seek forgiveness; and exclaimed, “My God, grant me but one thing: that I may stand far from this man on the judgment-day.” On this Jesus spoke, “It shall be even so; the prayer of both is granted. This sinner has sought pardon and grace; his sins are forgiven; his place shall be in paradise at the last day. But this monk has prayed that he may never stand near this sinner; his prayer, too, is granted; hell shall be his place--for there this sinner shall never come."
LESSON 69.-REVIEW.—THE GREAT PHYSICIAN.
ILLUSTS. Jesus can Save to the Uttermost, Luke v. 20, 24-26; 31, 32, - | 116, 118.
John v. 3, 5-9; Luke vii. 37-50,? 120, 128. We should Help Others, ... Luke v. 18-20; John v. 6-8;S|
122, 123, Luke vii. 7-10; 13-15; 31-35,
LESSON 70.-JOSEPH ENTERTAINING HIS BROTHERS.-Genesis xliii. 15-34.
129. “Be sure your Sin will find you out,” (verses 18-22.)-One night a person in Edinburgh awoke to find his house had been plundered. The alarm was raised; nor was it long ere the officers of justice found a clue. The thief, wounding his hand as he escaped by a window, had left a red witness behind him. The watchman flashed his lantern on the spot. Drop by drop, the blood stained the pavement. They tracked it on and on till their silent guide conducted them along an open passage and up a flight of steps, stopping at the door of the house. They broke in, and there they found the bleeding hand, the booty, and the pale, ghastly criminal. A shower of rain would have washed away the stain ; a fall of snow would have concealed it; the foot of some mid. night reveller might have effaced it; but no, the crime was one of peculiar atrocity, and there God kept the condemning spot. And so it is with all sin. Sooner or later it will be brought home to the sinner. And, until it is brought home, he will be troubled with the fears of a guilty conscience, as Joseph's brothers so frequently were.
130. We should return Good for Evil, (verses 27-34.)-Southey relates the following story:—“When I was a little boy, there was a black boy in the neighbourhood by the name of Jim Dick. I and a number of my playfellows were one evening collected together at our sports, and we began tormenting the poor black by calling him blackamoor, negro, and other degrading epithets. The poor fellow appeared excessively hurt at our conduct, but said nothing, and soon left us. “We soon afterwards made an appointment to go a-skating in the neighbourhood, and on the day of the appointment I had the misfortune to break my skates, and I could not go unless I borrowed Jim's skates. I went to him and asked him for them. Oh! yes, Robert, you may have them, and welcome,' was his answer. When I went to return them I found him sitting by the fire in the kitchen, reading the Bible. I told him I had returned his skates; and, with tears in his eyes, he said to me, 'Robert, don't never call me blacka. moor again,' and immediately left the room. The words pierced my heart, and I burst into tears; and from that time I resolved never again to abuse the poor black."