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the church to a large audience. The of the evening Mr. P. B. Bryce, one subject was “Samuel," which is di. of the superintendents, stated that vided into three parts,—the first. he was commissioned by the class to relating to the happy and blessed ask, in their name, Miss Grierson's childhood of Samuel, the second to acceptance of a very beautifully bound the incidents in the history of the Oxford Bible, suitably inscribed, as Ark at that period, and the third to also a massive silver pencil, as a the foundation of the kingdom of small token of their appreciation of Israel. The musical pieces are of a her earnest efforts so long and successsprightly nature, and admirably fully sustained in their interest. suited for the service. Under the Miss Grierson, in a few well chosen able leadership of Mr. James Wright sentences, expressed her acknowthe class sang the pieces in a manner ledgments for their unexpected but which was highly creditable. The highly appreciated kindness, which, views illustrative of the subject were she assured them, would stimulate exhibited by Mr. John Currie, by future endeavours, under Divine means of a fine magic lantern, which guidance, for the strengthening of is the property of the school. The their faith and the quickening of service altogether was most instruc- their spiritual life. A very enjoyable tive.
programme was subsequently disCALTON U. P. CHURCH SABBATH posed of; and after the usual votes of SchooL SOCIETY.-An interesting thanks the chairman closed the social meeting of the members and meeting with the benediction. A a few friends of Miss Grierson's Young few Sabbaths ago, at the close of the Women's Bible Class, in connection evening's exercises, another Young with this Society, was held in one Women's Class in this Society, conof the halls of the Church, on the ducted by Miss Deas, presented their evening of 16th December. Rev. teacher with a handsomely bound Mr. Campbell occupied the chair, Bible, suitably inscribed, in acknowand was supported by the secretary ledgment of their sense of her of the Society and a few of the valuable services to them for many elders of the Church. In the course years.
Motes on the Union's Lesson Scheme for 1885.
[These Notes are intended to aid Teachers in their studies at home, and
not to be used in the school while teaching.)
Lesson 110.-February 8. ISRAEL WORSHIPPING THE GOLDEN CALF.—Exodus xxxii. 1-35. I. The Image made, (ver. 1.6.)-The occasion-Moses had been nearly six weeks in the mount. The people were impatient of his absence. They imagine that he has gone away altogether. Where there is a will there is a way. The occasion was a poor wretched one. But the people were bent on idolatry, and any excuse would serve. So is it still. Sinners make small excuses go a long way, and bear the weight of many sins. Then note in these verses how willingly they give up their jewels. They would not have given them so willingly to God's service. Superstition is always lavish. We may learn this lesson, that if they gave up their jewels to make an idol, we might give up many things
for God. He gave His Son for us. What do we give in return? Note why Aaron selected the form of a calf. The ox was worshipped in Egypt, the Israelites were, accordingly, accustomed to this form. Then mark the kind of worship-it was very sensuous-they had a feast and dancing. Only forty days had elapsed since God's voice had been heard thundering the ten commandments from the top of Sinai, and the people had promised entire obedience, (xxiv. 3;) but how soon do men forget their vows! God's grace alone can keep us from falling.
II. Punishment threatened, (ver. 7-29.)—God informs Moses of what has taken place. He disowns the people-thy people, He says to Moses, not mine any longer. They are joined to their idols, and have forsaken me, and so He will have none of them. God will cast off those who forsake Him. It is a terrible thing to depart from the living God, and to set our hearts on any idol. God must have the heart. He accordingly threatens their destruction, and offers to make of Moses a great people. Contrast the doings of the people with what was going on on the hill-top. They were feasting and dancing, all unconscious of danger, although the cloud was gathering thick over their head. How often is it so still! The world rejoices and makes merry, heedless of God's judgments. Observe how they were spared. There was a mediator with God. Moses interceded for them. See his arguments. God had called them thy people-Moses calls them God's, (ver. 11.) They have sinned, but still they are thine. Wilt thou cast off thine own people? Then think of thy glory, (ver. 12.) What would the Egyptians say? We may use the same argument in prayer-do it, O Lord, for thine own name's sake. And, then, remember thy promise, (ver. 13.) God is a faithful God. That Moses knew right well; and so he appeals to God's faithfulness, and his prayer of faith prevails, (James v. 16.) We have here a graphic type of our intercessor within the vail. See how He teaches the nature of His own intercession, (Luke xiii. 6.9.) Let us seek to have an interest in this intercession of Jesus. Notice, now, the conduct of Moses. He is angry-holy anger-anger against sin. He who never felt this anger has much to learn. He breaks the Tables, indicating that the Covenant was broken-that God had rejected them. He then grinds the idol, strews it on the water, and makes them drink it, thus teaching them that the idol was nothing. He then sends the Levites throughout the camp, who inflict punishment upon the more prominent idolaters. How short-lived is the pleasure of sin-how hard is the way of transgressors!
III. God refuses to go with the people, (ver. 30-35.)-Moses had so far prevailed with God that He promised to spare the people; but he had not yet obtained a promise of forgiveness. He then returns to God (ver. 31) and makes full confession, and craves pardon. This he obta
I craves pardon. This he obtains, but still God must mark His displeasure at what the people had done. He accordingly refuses to go with them, and simply promises His angel. He also plagued the people, because of their sin. How fearful is sin! Though forgiven, its consequences may cling to a man or a people for many years. Let us put far from us the evil thing.
Subject to be proved–The Lord is a Jealous God.
Memory Exercise-Shorter Catechism 6.-Psalm xix. 9, 10. Golden Text—"I am the Lord; that is my name: and my glory will I not give to another, neither my praise to graven images.”—Isaiah xlii. 8.
Notes.-Explain what an image is, and what a graven image. Heathen nations worship these images as if they were God-they fall down before them and pray to them. Israel should have known better; but they often fell to idolatry, as in the lesson. God was angry with them for this, and says in this verse that He will not give His glory to graven images. Now we don't worship images in this way; but we may be guilty of idolatry for all that. If we set our hearts upon anything more than upon God, that is our graven image, and we worship it, just as the Israelites did the golden calf. Coveteousness is idolatry, and so with many other things.
Lesson 111.–February 15. ISRAEL RESTORED ON MOSES' INTERCESSION.—Exodus xxxiii. 1-23. Ver. 1.6.—The Lord graciously condescended to listen to the intercession of Moses on behalf of the Israelites, (see previous chapter, ver. 30-32,) when they had “sinned a great sin" by rebelling against God and worshipping the golden calf; but, as a token of His deep displeasure with their ungrateful and unfaithful conduct, He intimated that His presence would not be m in the way it had been hitherto“I will not go up in the midst of thee," "I will send an angel before thee,"—ver. 34 of previous chapter, “mine angel," -a special messenger, but not the Angel of the Covenant, who had hitherto been their guide. The Israelites might well regard this intimation as “evil tidings." What could they do in the wilderness, what would Canaan itself be, without the gracious presence of God? They stripped themselves of their ornaments in testimony of their mourning for their sin, and for the threatened loss of God's favour and presence.
Ver. 7-11. -The removal of the tabernacle, which appears to have been set up for the more solemn acts of God's worship, and over which the cloudy pillar rested, was another token of the Divine displeasure with the people. Those who were truly penitent, and returned to their allegiance to the Lord, followed the tabernacle without the camp; thus openly separating themselves from the unfaithful and unrepentant. When Moses entered the tabernacle their attitude and looks indicated confidence in, and reverence for, him as their intercessor; in which relation we see him as a type of Christ interceding for sinners in all times. “Face to face,” (ver. 11,) not literally, for no man can see God and live, (ver. 20,) but in a free and friendly manner. The return of Moses to the camp was no doubt to reassure the people, and allay their fears of being left, in the highest sense, fatherless in the wilderness.
Ver. 12-23.-Moses had prayed on behalf of the people for forgiveness; he now earnestly asks for the return of God's undeserved grace to them, imploring that it may be manifested toward them by His conscious presence amongst them as before. Moses pleads the past promises of God to His chosen people—“Consider that this nation is thy people.” The Lord vouchsafes His mercy and grace by revoking the sentence of exclusion from His presence. “My presence shall go with thee, and I will give thee rest;' not His presence and protection only, but all blessings, temporal and spiritual, embodied in the promise of “rest.” The same promise, in all its fulness of New Testament blessings, is given by the Redeemer in His invitation to the sin-burdened soul: “Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest." Acknowledging with filial love and confidence the goodness of our Heavenly Father, and praying for His guidance in all our undertakings and engagements, let us appropriate the words of Moses on this occasion-“If thy presence go not with me, carry us not up hence;"—if this end which I am pursuing, if this object on which I have set my heart, be not in accordance with Thy will, and be not conducive to my spiritual welfare, be pleased, O Father, in thine own time and way, to interpose a barrier to my farther progress; and Thy will be done.
These verses shew that Moses lived near to God, and was permitted the exercise of peculiar freedom in his approaches to the Divine presence, while singular manifestations of the greatness and goodness of Jehovah were vonch. safed to him. (ver. 18 to the end. The nature of this awful and mvatorions revelation of the “glory" of Jehovah to His servant is not indicated, and lies beyond the range of our inquiry. The “cleft of the rock" in which Moses was sheltered while the overwhelming “glory" of God passed by, may be accepted as a symbol of Christ, the Rock of Ages—“cleft for me.'
We see the glory of God manifested in the work of redemption and in the works of creation. When we beseech the Lord so to open our eyes as that the sight of the former may stir up our devout gratitude, and of the latter our
his awful and myou lias
loving admiration, may the Hearer of Prayer answer our petition, as He did that of Moses, with the promise which embraces all blessings and benefits for time and eternity _“I will make ALL MI GOODNESS pass before thee.”
Subject to be proved-God Hears our Prayers for Others.
Memory Exercise—Shorter Catechism 7.-Psalm xix. 11, 12. Golden Text—"Confess your faults one to another, and pray one for another, that ye may be healed. The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much."-James v. 16.
NOTES.-The duty o confession, and of intercessory prayer. The two are closely connected. We cannot pray intelligently one for another unless we know each other's condition. Hence the first command-confess, &c. This being done, we can then pray one for another. We know what to ask, we know what is needed. The value of such prayer-it obtains healing, the forgiveness of sin. For he adds, the effectual fervent prayer, &c. Note the two qualities effectual-like Jacob's at Peniel- like the Syrophenician woman's-it will take no denial; fervent-boiling, as it were-warm from the heart. Then the result, it availeth much. Give examples-that of Elias, as mentioned in next verseAbraham's for Sodom-our Lord's, (John xvii.)
Lesson 112.-February 22.
REVIEW THE TRIALS AND TRIUMPHS OF FAITH. I. TRIAL.-Israel in a trap. Red Sea in front, Egyptians behind, mountains on the flank, no loophole of escape. Man's extremity.
TRIUMPH.-Speak unto the children of Israel that they go forward-and forward they go.
Contrast-Chapter xiv. 10-12—Trial.
, Chapter xv. 1-18—Triumph, II. TRIAL.- Water, but bitter; unfit for use. TRIUMPH.–Marab sweetened, and Elim reached.
III. TRIAL.-No bread-hunger hard to bear. Starvation staring them in the face-very hard to bear.
TRIUMPH.-Bread sent from heaven-bread for all.
V. (a.) Prepare to meet thy God. A meeting between God and Israel. A solemn meeting. Read Exodus xix. 16-18, and Hebrews xii. 18-21, and the solemnity will appear. And so the people must prepare. State, in a word, the preparation required—a fence round Mount Sinai-no immediate approach to God. Contrast, with the New Testament access, (Romans v. 1, 2.)
(6.) God speaks. The commandments are His words. They can be no light words which God himself spoke from Sinai. Hear ye Him.
VI. A Fall.–At the moment the mountain is all ablaze before them, and the echo of God's voice has scarcely died away, the people fall. The heart is desperately wicked.
VII.-Restoration.—“The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man avail. eth much.” Moses know this, and he prevails. The people are spared.
Subject to be proved-The Trials and Triumphs of Faith.
Hemory Exercise-Shorter Catechism 8.-Psalm xix. 13, 14. Golden Text_"Who is he that overcometh the world, but he that believeth that Jesus is the Son of God?"-1 John v.ö.
Notes.- What is it to overcome ? Make this clear-To get the better of the mastery over-to subdue. What is the world ?--All that is earthly, sinful, temporal. The verse tells us how we are to overcome the world. It is by faith. Shew how. Esau thought more of a morsel of bread than of his birthright. He looked at things temporal, not at things unseen. He had not faith. Give other illustrations, --Abraham, Moses, Daniel.
Lesson 113.—March 1.
PURITY AN INWARD QUALITY.—Matthew xv. 1-20.
I. The Question, (ver. 1, 2.)-Certain Scribes and Pharisees of Jerusalem are here represented as having found fault with Jesus and His disciples for not washing their hands before meat. Now this washing is quite à right and proper thing in itself, and Jesus would certainly not have blamed any one for doing it. But because certain learned inen, called “the elders,” had recomended it or enjoined people to “wash their hands when they eat bread,” it had come, at the time of our Lord's ministry, to be looked upon as a positive religious duty, the omission of which was a sin. There is no authority for this in the Bible, and consequently it could not be binding on the conscience; people might wash their hands before eating or not, as they felt inclined.
II. The Rebuke, (ver. 3-9.)—The severity of our Lord's reply shews that He who knows the hearts of all men knew that these Scribes and Pharisees had put their question with a bad motive, to annoy and perplex Jesus. If we wish to be instructed, we must come, not as critics or fault-finders, but as learners. Sincere inquirers are invited to come to Christ, and are always treated kindly, (ch. xi. 28; Isa. lv. l; John i. 47.) Our Lord here teaches, (1,) ver. 3-6, that these traditions of the elders cannot be of divine authority, because in some cases they are at variance with God's commandments-e. g., the fifth commandment is broken by a “tradition” which virtually allows a son to give up helping his father or his mother if only he devote to a sacred purpose what should have gone to them. There must be something far wrong, therefore, with traditions 80 manifestly opposed to God's revealed will. And (2,) ver. 7-9, that the first principle of all acceptable worship of God is obedience to what He himself has commanded ; and where that is wanting, or is systematically neglected, all else is mere sham and hypocrisy, (1 Sam. xv. 22.) There is no sin more severely condemned by our Lord than hypocrisy-i. e., pretending to be what we are not. We may deceive our fellow-men with mere outward religion, but the Almighty cannot be deceived: it is awfully sinful and foolish to attempt it.
III. The Pharisees Offended, (ver. 12-14.)-Instead of profiting to the salvation of their souls by what Jesus had said, the Pharisees took offence at it, and their hearts became hardened. How sad it is to see men who should know better get accustomed to what is wrong and sinful, and even stand up in defence of it! We should keep our consciences tender and sensitive to the least deviation from what we know to be the will of God: beware of little sins of the beginnings of evil. In the 13th verse Jesus predicts that such conduct will be their own loss, and that whatever does not receive God's approval must come to nothing. The instruction to “let them alone" (ver. 14) is still applicable to all propagators of error-they should (1,) be avoided, we should keep away from them; and (2,) no attempt should be made to put them down, they will of themselves " fall into the ditch”—an instruction which, if properly understood, should have prevented all the religious persecutions which have disgraced the Christian Church.
IV. Christ's Explanation, (ver. 10, 11, 15-20.)—Jesus turns to the multitude -the Gospel is addressed to all-and proceeds to improve the foregoing incident by means of a saying or parable, “Not that which goeth into the mouth,” &c. And at Peter's request (ver. 15) He further explains that what