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March, 1884. Some of the questions and answers given in Branches B and C will appear in our March number.
We solicit attention to the advertisement on the cover, giving particulars respecting the classes again to be formed for the study of the subjects prescribed in Branches B and C for next Examination. We are glad to think that the classes are to be in such capable hands; and we would hope that the attendance at both will be such as to shew that the directors were justified in determining on their re-organization. Branch A.-SCRIPTURE HISTORY AND DOCTRINE. Subject—The Bible
Lessons in the Scheme of Glasgow Sabbath School Union, from May to December, 1883. Examiner-Rev. J. MARSHALL LANG, D.D. Give instances which exemplify the greatness of the faith of Abraham,
and note any other occasion on which his faith failed. As described in the Epistle to the Hebrews, the four instances of great faith on the part of Abraham are as follows:
I. Leaving his native land, Ur of the Chaldeees, and going forth, “not knowing whither he went,” at the command of God. The implicit trust in God which this act shewed is seen in a better light when we think of the prompt and unquestioning manner in which it was done.
II. “Sojourning in a strange land," believing the promise of God to give it to him, and his seed after him. The Apostle tells us that Abraham was upheld by hope ; and much was it needed, for nothing seemed more unlikely than the fulfilment of that promise. The first step in the realization of it was very dispiriting. Think of it—his first possession was bought, and it was a grave!
III. Waiting for the promised seed for the long period of 25 years; trusting in God's word even when, to all human appearances, the fulfilment was impossible.
IV. Offering up his son in obedience to divine intimation. This was the crowning trial, but Abraham fell not. The greatness of the temptation is best seen when we look at (1) the person he was asked to offerhis son-his only son, (i. e., son of promise),—whom he loved ; (2) the manner in which the offering was made-a burnt sacrifice.
Abraham's faith failed twice, and on both occasions in the same way. (1) In Egypt he pretended that Sarah was his sister, led thereto by “the fear of man, which bringeth a snare," instead of trusting to God's almighty arm for protection. (2) He did the same at the court of Abimelech in Philistia. It is noteworthy that the great men of Scripture failed in their strongest characteristics—Abraham in faith, Moses in meekness, Peter and Elijah in boldness, &c. A warning note against self-confidence is hereby sounded.
What does the word Isaac mean? Briefly narrate Isaac's history. “Laughter,” akin to the “joy” of a mother, as was Mary's.
Heir of the promises, he marries Rebecca at 40; has two sons, Jacob and Esau. He was a man of a quiet, meditative turn of mind. There is
not the same vigour in his life as in that of Abraham, whose life seems to be quietly continued in that of his son. Rebecca loves Jacob,—Isaac loves Esau, (for he gets of his venison.) He is a man of faith; although in Egypt he has the same plan as his father of saving his life, and which was not creditable.
Contrast the characters of Jacob and Esau. Jacob was a plain man, dwelling in tents; while Esau was a cunning hunter, delighting in the sports of the field. Jacob was mean and cunning; Esau generous and open, impetuous and warm-hearted. Jacob was cringing and obsequious; Esau manly and straightforward. On almost every hand Esau gains by the contrast. He was not perfect, however, any more than any other sinful man; and Jacob changed most materially in his after life. Most persons date his conversion from the time of his wrestling with the Angel at Peniel.
Jacob twice supplanted his brother-in the matter of the birthrightin the matter of the patriarchal blessing. On the first occasion the wrong is quietly borne ; on the second Esau's impetuosity bursts forth in a threat to kill his supplanter, His generous nature, however, forgives the offender on his return from his, to a certain extent, self-inflicted “penal servitude” of 20 years. Their physical contour was the outcome of their respective habits-Jacob being smooth, from dwelling indoors; Esau rough and hairy, from perpetual outdoor exercise. Give brief notes on the following places, telling, where you can, the
meaning of the name:-Haran, Mamre, Zoar, Moriah, Jehovah
jireh, Bethel, Mahanaim, Peniel, Succoth, El-elohe-Israel. Haran, (or Charran,) the place in which Abraham, with his father and other members of their family, abode for some time after leaving Ur of the Chaldees, and before the departure for Canaan. It was here that Terah died.
Mamre, (at Hebron,) the place to which Abraham removed after his separation from Lot, and where he entertained the messengers of God at the time of the destruction of Sodom.
Zoar, (a little city,) the place to which Lot was at first allowed to retire after his flight from Sodom.
Moriah, the mount on which Abraham was told to sacrifice his son Isaac.
Jehovah-jireh, (the Lord will provide,) the spot on Mount Moriah where Isaac was bound for sacrifice, but released by the command of God.
Bethel, (the house of God,) formerly called Luz, the place at which Jacob saw the wonderful vision of the ladder raised from earth to heaven at the time of his flight to Padan-aram.
Mahanaim, (two hosts or camps,) the place at which Jacob was met by the company of angels on his return to his own land.
Peniel, (the face of God,) the place at which Jacob wrestled with the Angel, and had his name changed to Israel.
Succoth, the place where Jacob first pitched his tent after his return from Padan-aram.
El-elohe-Israel, (God, the God of Israel,) the place at which Jacob built an altar to God, in commemoration of the kindnesses of God, and for His worship.
“ Hereafter ye shall see heaven open, and the angels of God ascending
and descending upon the Son of Man.” In what circumstances were these words spoken? Connect them with an incident in the
life of Jacob, and shew their doctrinal significance. “Hereafter ye shall see heaven open, and the angels of God ascending and descending upon the Son of Man." These words were spoken by our Lord to Nathanael when he expressed his belief that Jesus was the Son of God, the King of Israel, from the fact that Jesus knew he was under the fig-tree before Philip called him.
These words may be connected with Jacob's dream at Bethel, where he saw a ladder reaching from heaven to earth, with the angels of God ascending and descending upon it.
It teaches the doctrine of (1) the ministry of angels, and (2) the mediatorship of Christ, He being the “way” by which we can approach the Father.
Briefly narrate the first Miracle of Jesus. What is its significance as
one of His mighty works ? Jesus and His disciples were called to a marriage feast in Cana of Galilee; and the mother of Jesus was there during the feast. Mary found that the wine was done, and as any scarcity is looked upon as inhospitality in the East, she appealed to Jesus in her distress, knowing His power, though she had not yet seen Him work a miracle. Jesus does not answer her request immediately, but says, “ Woman, what have I to do with thee? mine hour is not yet come.” His mother, in full assurance that His hour would come, asks the servants to be ready to do “Whatsoever He saith unto thee." There were six water-pots at hand, common in all houses in the East, for washing the hands before sitting down to peat. Jesus ordered the servants to fill them to the brim with water, and then draw out, and, lo! it was turned into wine of such excellent quality that the governor of the feast wondered that it was kept till the end. This, the first miracle, shewed Jesus's willingness to please the company wio met for pleasure; and also His sympathy with His host, who would feel deeply any reflection on his hospitality. It was, also, a favourable opportunity of shewing His divinity to so large and mixed an assembly; for it was predicted that their Messiah was to be a worker of miracles.
I Successful Review System.
By the Rev. RUSSEL B. POPE, Ann Arbor, Michigan. SOME years ago we introduced into our Sabbath school, in this city, a new system of reviewing the lessons, which bas prcved so valuable that I desire to lay it before the readers of The Sundry School Times. It may be of especial value to those who are making their plans for the coming year. We had serious objections to the blackboard, although we have not entirely discarded it. It is dirty to use. The more the care taken in the preparation of the lessons, the greater the regret at having them rubbed out, after being but once used. Then there is an advantage in being able to present the review line, &c., only as fast as it is applied. In this way the curiosity of the scholars is excited, and their attention is held.
In place of the blackboard our lessons are put upon muslin, with the colours that are prepared for use as stencil paints. These colours will not run. They dry immediately, and are very bright and attractive. The cloth is put upon such a frame as some schools, in the past, have used for a “song roll.” The frame consists essentially of two rollers,one to hold the muslin, and the other to receive it when unwound,—with a “loose" roller or pulley at the top of the frame to display the lesson. In practice we get enough muslin to last for an entire quarter. The date and title of the lesson are always printed with stencil letters, as well as the golden text. Then the outline is usually given in large letters, and with it such pictorial illustration, symbol, emblem, or other illustrative matter as may be desired. We invariably begin the review with the first lesson of the quarter. The scholars are expected to give the titles and texts, just before they come into view, as “the review roll” is unwound. So at the close of the quarter, the school can give every title and text without hesitation. During the present quarter we have had, amongst other illustrations of the lessons, large pictures of our own church and of the temple.
At the close of the year we take the review rolls of the four quarters, and hang them around our Sabbath school room. Last year they formed a bright tapestry hanging nearly all the way around a room that, when filled, will hold five hundred persons. At the end of a quarter à chart is printed with stencils, giving the initial letters of the titles of the lessons, and the first words of the golden texts. Many of our scholars can recall striking illustrations of lessons and texts, going back five years. The quarterly and annual review Sabbaths, instead of being dreaded, as in many schools, are the brightest Sabbaths of the year.
After using stencil letters and colours for printing lessons, outlines, hymns, &c., I do not see how any one who wants to do the best possible Sabbath school work can get along without them.
We use our church hymnal as the manual of song in our Sabbath school. We intend to learn from it a “memory hymn" as often as once in two weeks. Our children are learning these hymns, and singing them in our prayer-meetings and public services. We rarely have less than forty members of our Sabbath school at the weekly prayer meeting. In our young people's prayer-meeting, on Sabbath evening before service, we have present an average of at least a hundred and twenty of our Sabbath school scholars, besides the many others not belonging to the school.
I shall be glad to answer any questions that may come from those interested in such work, and feel that I cannot render any greater assistance than to lay before my fellow Sabbath school workers the results of our experience.- American S. S. Times.
To Live is Christ.
Which else were hid in mystery deep and dark; 'Tis this that scatters shades around us, screening
The path of life and life's bright distant mark.
This gives to all the lowly round of earth!
That in the heart of Christ first takes its birth.
'Tis in the cleft of highest Alpine mountain
The rivers spring that wander far and wide;
From which our life flows on in ampler tide.
He only is our comfort and our stay;
And gilds the gloom of every passing day.
But idle fantasies that mock and tire ?
What can these do to quench our deep desire ?
To have His peace abiding in our heart;
As earthly circles break, and friends depart.
As artist gazes on some lovely face,
May catch some radiance of His matchless grace.
This the one aim we constantly pursue ;
His name to honour, and His will to do.
And link its days in one bright golden chain;
W. H. BIRKENHEAD, 26th Oct., 1884.