Part 1 out of 4
Produced by Juliet Sutherland, Tonya Allen, Charles Aldarondo and the
THE LIFE OF JESUS CHRIST FOR THE YOUNG
THE REV. RICHARD NEWTON, D.D.
_ROYAL SCOTTISH ACADEMY_
THE GALLERY OF THE LIFE OF JESUS CHRIST
I THE APOSTLES CHOSEN
II THE GREAT TEACHER
III CHRIST TEACHING BY PARABLES
IV CHRIST TEACHING BY MIRACLES
V CHRIST TEACHING LIBERALITY
VI CHRIST TEACHING HUMILITY
VII CHRIST AND THE LITTLE CHILDREN
VIII THE TRANSFIGURATION
IX THE LESSONS FROM OLIVET
X THE LORD'S SUPPER
MAP OF PALESTINE, IN COLORS
41. THE WOMAN OF CANAAN
42. SIMON PETER'S FAITH IN CHRIST
43. THE TRANSFIGURATION OF CHRIST
44. JESUS HEALETH A LUNATIC
45. LET HE WHO IS WITHOUT SIN AMONG YOU
46. ONE OF TEN LEPERS CURED IS GRATEFUL
47. JESUS, MARTHA, MARY, AND LAZARUS
48. JESUS BLESSETH LITTLE CHILDREN
49. THE RESURRECTION OF LAZARUS, FOUR DAYS DEAD
50. CONVERSION OF ZACCHAEUS, A PUBLICAN
51. JESUS RESTORETH SIGHT TO BARTIMAEUS
52. CHRIST'S TRIUMPHAL ENTRY INTO JERUSALEM
53. CHRIST AVOUCHETH HIS AUTHORITY
54. AT NIGHT, JESUS ABODE ON THE MOUNT OF OLIVES
55. JESUS WASHETH HIS DISCIPLES' FEET
56. THE BETRAYAL FORETOLD AT THE SUPPER
57. IN THE GARDEN OF GETHSEMANE
58. THE ARREST OF JESUS
59. JESUS EXAMINED BY CAIAPHAS
60. JESUS IS THRICE DENIED BY PETER
THE APOSTLES CHOSEN
As soon as he returned victorious from the temptation in the
wilderness, Jesus entered on the work of his public ministry. We find
him, at once, preaching to the people, healing the sick, and doing
many wonderful works. The commencement of his ministry is thus
described by St. Matt. iv: 23-25. "And Jesus went about all Galilee,
teaching in their synagogues, and preaching the gospel of the
kingdom, and healing all manner of sickness, and all manner of
disease among the people. And his fame went throughout all Syria; and
they brought unto him all sick people that were taken with divers
diseases and torments, and those which were possessed with devils,
and those which were lunatic, and those that had the palsy; and he
healed them. And there followed him great multitudes of people from
Galilee, and from Decapolis, and from Jerusalem, and from Judea, and
from beyond Jordan." What a blessed beginning of the most blessed of
all ministries this was! He came to bless our world. He did bless it,
as no one else could have done. And here, we see, how he entered on
And one of the first things he did, after thus beginning his
ministry, was to gather his disciples round him. The first two that
we find named among his disciples are John and Andrew. They had been
disciples of John the Baptist. Their master pointed them to Jesus,
and said--"Behold the Lamb of God." When they heard this they
followed Jesus, and became his disciples. When Andrew met with his
brother Simon Peter, he said to him "we have found the Messias--the
Christ. And he brought him to Jesus." After this we are told that
"Jesus findeth Philip, and saith unto him, Follow me." He was an
acquaintance of Andrew and Peter, and lived in the same town with
them. He obeyed the call at once and became one of the disciples of
Philip had a friend named Nathanael. The next time he met him, he
said, "we have found him of whom Moses in the law, and the prophets
did write, Jesus of Nazareth, the son of Joseph." But Nazareth was a
despised place, and had a bad reputation. Nathanael had a very poor
opinion of the place, and he asked--"Can there any good thing come
out of Nazareth?" Philip saith unto him--"Come and see."
And this is what we should say to persons when we wish them to become
Christians. There is so much that is lovely and excellent in Jesus
that if people will only "come and see," if they will only prove for
themselves what a glorious Saviour he is, they will find it
impossible to help loving and serving him. Nathanael came to Jesus.
And when he heard the wonderful words that Jesus spoke to him he was
converted at once, and expressed his wonder by saying--"Rabbi, thou
art the Son of God; thou art the King of Israel." We can read all
about this in John i: 43-51. Nathanael became a disciple of Jesus,
and one of the twelve apostles, and is supposed to be the same one
who bears the name of Bartholomew in the different lists of the
After this we read of Jesus calling Matthew the publican, who was a
tax-gatherer. This is what is meant by his "sitting at the receipt of
custom." "Follow me," were the words spoken to him. He obeyed at
once; left all and followed Jesus. St. Luke and St. Mark mention this
same call, but they give the name of Levi to the person thus called.
This is not strange, for it was common among the Jews for persons to
have two names. Sometimes they were called by one of these names and
sometimes by the other.
Here we have the account of six persons, who became disciples of
Jesus; and of the different ways in which they were led to follow
him. No doubt many others were led to become his disciples from
simply hearing him preach; and from listening to the gracious words
that he spoke.
And very soon after he had gathered together a large company of
disciples, he made choice of twelve, out of this number, who were to
be his apostles. He wished these men to be with him all the time.
They were to hear his teaching, and see his miracles, and so be
prepared to take his place, and carry on his work when he should
return to heaven.
It was necessary for these men to be chosen. When Washington was
appointed to conduct our armies during the Revolution, he chose a
number of generals to help him. And it is natural for us to think of
Washington and his generals. But just as natural it is to think
of--Jesus and his apostles.
And this is the subject we have now to consider--_The Apostles
And in considering this subject there are four things of which to
_The first, is the condition and character of the men whom Jesus
chose as his apostles.
The second, is the work these men were called to do.
The third, is the help that was given them in doing this work; and
The fourth, is the lesson taught us by this subject._ Or, to make the
points of the subject as short as possible, we may state them thus:
_The men. The work. The help. The lesson.
We begin then with speaking of_--THE MEN--_or the condition and
character of those whom Jesus chose to be his apostles or helpers_.
Now we might have thought that Jesus would have chosen his apostles,
or helpers, from among the angels of heaven. They are so wise, and
good, and strong, that we wonder why he did not choose them. But he
did not. He chose _men_ to be his apostles. And what kind of men did
he choose? If we had been asked this question beforehand, we should
have supposed that he would certainly have chosen the wisest and the
most learned men, the richest and greatest men that could be found in
the world. But it was not so. Instead of this he chose poor men,
unlearned men, men that were not famous at all; and who had not been
heard of before. Fishermen, and tax-gatherers, and men occupying very
humble positions in life, were those whom Jesus chose to be his
And one reason, no doubt, why Jesus made choice of men of this
character to be his apostles was that when their work was done, no
one should be able to say that it was the learning, or wisdom, or
riches, or power of men by whom that work was accomplished. The
apostle Paul teaches us that this is the way in which God generally
acts; and that he does it for the very reason just spoken of. He
says, "God hath chosen the foolish things of the world to confound
the wise; and God hath chosen the weak things of the world to
confound the mighty; and base things of the world, and things which
are despised hath God chosen, yea, and things which are not, to bring
to nought the things that are; that no flesh should glory in his
presence." I. Cor. i: 27-29. The meaning of this passage is that God
loves to work by little things. This was the reason why Jesus chose
poor, unlearned fishermen to be his apostles. And we see God working
in the same way continually.
Look at yonder sun. God made it, and hung it up there in the sky that
it might give light to our world. But the light which this sun gives
comes to us in tiny little bits, smaller than the point of the finest
needle that ever was made. They are so small that hundreds of them
can rush right into our eyes, as they are doing all the time, and not
hurt them the least. Here we see how God makes use of little things,
and does a great work with them.
And then look at yonder ocean. The waves of that ocean are so
powerful that they can break in pieces the strongest ships that men
have ever built. And yet, when God wishes to keep that mighty ocean
in its place, he makes use of little grains of sand for this purpose.
Here again we see how God employs little things, and does a great
work with them. And we find God working in this way continually. Let
us look at one or two illustrations.
"What a Plant Did." A little plant was given to a sick girl. In
trying to take care of it, the family made changes in their way of
living, which added greatly to their comfort and happiness. First,
they cleaned the window, that more light might come in to the leaves
of the plant. Then, when not too cold, they opened the window, that
fresh air might help the plant to grow; and this did the family good,
as well as the plant. Next the clean window made the rest of the room
look so untidy that they washed the floor, and cleaned the walls, and
arranged the furniture more neatly. This led the father of the family
to mend a broken chair or two, which kept him at home several
evenings. After this, he took to staying at home with his family in
the evenings, instead of spending his time at the tavern; and the
money thus saved went to buy comforts for them all. And then, as
their home grew more pleasant, the whole family loved it better than
ever before, and they grew healthier and happier with their flowers.
What a little thing that plant was, and yet it was God's apostle to
that family! It did a great work for them in blessing them and making
them happy. And _that_ was work that an angel would have been glad to
"Brought In by a Smile." A London minister said to a friend one day;
"Seven persons were received into my church last Sunday, and they
were all brought in by a smile."
"Brought in by a smile! Pray what do you mean?"
"Let me explain. Several months ago, as I passed a certain house on
my way to church, I saw, held in the arms of its nurse, a beautiful
infant; and as it fixed its bright black eyes on me, I smiled, and
the dear child returned the smile. The next Sabbath the babe was
again before the window. Again I smiled, and the smile was returned,
as before. The third Sabbath, as I passed by the window, I threw the
little one a kiss. Instantly its hand was extended and a kiss thrown
back to me. And so it came to pass that I learned to watch for the
baby on my way to church; and as the weeks went by, I noticed that
the nurse and the baby were not alone. Other members of the family
pressed to the window to see the gentleman who always had a smile for
the dear baby--the household pet.
"One Sunday morning, as I passed, two children, a boy and a girl,
stood at the window beside the baby. That morning the father and
mother had said to those children: 'Get ready for church, for we
think that the gentleman who always smiles to the baby is a minister.
When he passes you may follow him, and see where he preaches.'
"The children were quite willing to follow the suggestion of their
parents, and after I had passed, the door opened, and the children
stepped upon the pavement, and kept near me, till I entered my
church, when they followed me, and seats were given them.
"When they returned home, they sought their parents and eagerly
exclaimed: 'He is a minister, and we have found his church, and he
preached a beautiful sermon this morning. You must go and hear him
"It was not difficult to persuade the parents to go, and guided by
their children they found their way to the church. They, too, were
pleased, and other members of the family were induced to come to the
house of God. God blessed what they heard to the good of their souls,
and seven members of this family have been led to become Christians,
and join the church, and, I repeat what I said before: 'they were all
brought in by a smile.'"
What a little thing a smile is! And yet, here we see how God made use
of so small a thing as this, to make seven persons Christians, and to
save their souls forever! Of the God who can work in this way, it
may well be said that he loves to work by little things. It is the
way in which he is working continually.
How eagerly, then, we may try to learn and to practise what has been
very sweetly expressed in
THE MITE SONG.
"Only a drop in the bucket,
But every drop will tell,
The bucket would soon be empty,
Without the drops in the well.
"Only a poor little penny,
It was all I had to give;
But as pennies make the dollars,
It may help some cause to live.
"A few little bits of ribbon,
And some toys--they were not new,
But they made the sick child happy,
And that made me happy, too.
"Only some out-grown garments;
They were all I had to spare;
But they'll help to clothe the needy,
And the poor are everywhere.
"A word now and then of comfort,
That cost me nothing to say;
But the poor old man died happy,
And it helped him on the way.
"God loveth the cheerful giver,
Though the gifts be poor and small;
But what must he think of his children
Who never give at all?"
God loves to work by little means. We see this when we think of the
men whom Jesus chose to be his apostles. The first thing about this
subject is--_the men_.
_The second thing to speak of, in connection with this subject,
is_--THE WORK--_they had to do_.
What this work was we find fully stated in the fourteenth chapter of
St. Matthew. In this chapter Jesus told the apostles all about the
work they were to do for him, and how they were to do it. In the
seventh and eighth verses of this chapter we have distinctly stated
just what they were to do. "As ye go, preach, saying, The kingdom of
heaven is at hand; Heal the sick, cleanse the lepers, raise the dead,
cast out devils."
On this occasion Jesus sent his apostles to do the work committed to
them, not among the Gentiles, but only among the Jews; or as he calls
them--"the lost sheep of the house of Israel," v. 5,6. But, after his
resurrection, and just before he went up to heaven, he enlarged their
commission. His parting command to them then was--"_Go ye into all
the world, and preach the gospel to every creature_." St. Mark xvi:
When Jesus, their Master, went to heaven they were to take up and
carry on the great work that he had begun. Those twelve men were to
begin the work of changing the religion of the world. They were to
overturn the idols that had been worshiped for ages. They were to
shut up the temples in which those idols had been worshiped. They
were to "turn men from darkness to light, and from the power of Satan
unto God." Acts xxvi: 18. They were to go up and down the world,
everywhere, telling the wondrous story of Jesus and his love. And in
doing this work they were to be the means of saving the souls of all
who believed their message, and in the end of winning the world back
to Jesus, till, according to God's promise, he has "the heathen for
his inheritance, and the utmost parts of the earth for his
possession." Ps. ii: 8.
This was the grandest and most important work that men were ever
called upon to do. The apostles spent their lives in doing this work;
and then they left it for others to carry on. The work is not
finished yet. And, if we learn to love and serve Jesus, we may help
to carry it on. We may be apostles, too, though in a lower sense than
that in which the first twelve were apostles. An apostle means--one
_sent_. But Jesus _sends_ into the vineyard to work for him all who
become his loving children. And, in this sense it is true that all
who love and serve Jesus are his apostles. He says to each of
us--"Go, work to-day, in my vineyard." St. Matt, xxi: 28. And in
another place he says--"Let him that heareth, say, Come." Rev. xxii:
And when we are trying to tell people of Jesus and his love, and to
bring them to him, then we are helping to carry on the same great
work that Jesus gave his apostles to do. Let us look at some examples
of persons who have been apostles for God and helped to do the work
"Aunt Lucy." I heard the other day of a good old woman in the State
of Michigan, known as Aunt Lucy. She is eighty-four years old, and
lives all alone, supporting herself principally by carpet-weaving.
All that she can save from her earnings, after paying for her
necessary expenses, she spends in buying Bibles, which she
distributes among the children and the poor of the neighborhood.
Thirteen large family Bibles, and fifty small ones, have thus been
given away--good, well-bound Bibles.
A neighbor, who has watched this good work very closely, says that
two-thirds of the persons to whom Aunt Lucy has given Bibles have
afterwards become Christians. In doing this work Aunt Lucy was an
"The Charcoal Carrier." One Sunday afternoon, in summer, a little
girl named Mary, going home from a Sunday-school in the country, sat
down to rest under the shade of a tree by the roadside. While sitting
there she opened her Bible to read. As she sat reading, a man, well
known in that neighborhood as Jacob, the charcoal carrier, came by
with his donkey. Jacob used to work in the woods, making charcoal,
which he carried away in sacks on his donkey's back, and sold. He was
not a Christian man, and was accustomed to work with his donkey as
hard on Sunday as on week-days.
When he came by where Mary was sitting, he stopped a moment, and
said, in a good-natured way:
"What book is that you are reading, my little maid?"
"It is God's book--the Bible," said Mary.
"Let me hear you read a little in it, if you please," said he,
stopping his donkey.
Mary began at the place where the book was open, and read:--"Remember
the Sabbath day, to keep it holy. Six days shalt thou labor, and do
all thy work."
"There, that's enough," said Jacob, "and now tell me what it means."
"It means," said Mary, "that you mustn't carry charcoal, on Sunday,
nor let your donkey carry it."
"Does it?" said Jacob, musing a little. "I tell you what then, I must
think over what you have said."
And he _did_ think over it. And the result of his thinking was, that
instead of going with his donkey to the woods on the next Sunday, he
went with his two little girls to the Sunday-school. And the end of
it all was that Jacob, the charcoal carrier, became a Christian, and
God's blessing rested on him and his family.
Little Mary was doing an apostle's work when she read and explained
the Bible to Jacob and was the means of bringing him to Jesus.
"The Use of Fragments." In the Cathedral at Lincoln, England, there
is a window of stained glass which was made by an apprentice out of
little pieces of glass that had been thrown aside by his master as
useless. It is said to be the most beautiful window in the Cathedral.
And if, like this apprentice, we carefully gather up, and improve the
little bits of time, of knowledge, and of opportunities that we have,
we may do work for God more beautiful than that Cathedral window. We
may do work like that which the apostles were sent to do. Here are
some sweet lines, written by I know not whom, about that beautiful
window, made out of the little pieces of glass:
"Great things are made of fragments small,
Small things are germs of great;
And, of earth's stately temples, all
To fragments owe their weight.
"This window, peer of all the rest,
Of fragments small is wrought;
Of fragments that the artist deemed
Unworthy of his thought.
"And thus may we, of little things,
Kind words and gentle deeds,
Add wealth or beauty to our lives,
Which greater acts exceeds.
"Each victory o'er a sinful thought,
Each action, true and pure,
Is, 'mid our life's engraving, wrought
In tints that shall endure."
The second thing about the apostles is, _the work_--they did.
_The third thing, for us to notice about the apostles, is_--THE
In one place, we are told that Jesus "gave them power against unclean
spirits, to cast them out, and to heal all manner of sickness, and
all manner of disease." St. Matt. x: 1. In another place we are told,
that for their comfort and encouragement in the great work they had
to do, Jesus said to them, "Lo, I am with you always, even unto the
end of the world." St. Matt. xxviii: 20. And if they only had Jesus
with them, no matter what the work was they had to do, they would be
sure of having all the help they might need. The apostle Paul
understood this very well, for he said, "I can do all things through
Christ, which strengtheneth me." Phil. iv: 13.
And then, as if his own presence with them were not enough, Jesus
promised that his apostles should have the help of the Holy Spirit in
carrying on their work. Just before leaving them to go to heaven, he
said to the disciples--"Ye shall receive power, after that the Holy
Ghost is come upon you." Acts i: 8. And what this power was we see in
the case of the apostle Peter; for the first sermon he preached
after the Holy Ghost came upon him, on the day of Pentecost, was the
means of converting three thousand souls. Acts ii: 41.
And the same God who gave the apostles all the help they needed, has
promised to do the same for you, and me, and for all who try to work
for him. There are many promises of this kind in the Bible to which I
might refer. But I will only mention one. This is so sweet and
precious that it deserves to be written in letters of gold. There is
no passage in the Bible that has given me so much comfort and
encouragement in trying to work for God as this I refer here to Is.
xli: 10. "Fear thou not; for I am with thee; be not dismayed; for I
am thy God; I will strengthen thee; yea--I WILL HELP THEE." This
promise was not given for prophets and apostles only, but for all
God's people to the end of time. You and I, if we are trying to serve
God, may take it as ours. God meant it for us. And when we get this
promised help from God, we can do any work he has for us to do, and
be happy in doing it.
"For Thine is the Power." "I can't do it--it's quite impossible. I've
tried five times, and can't get it right"--and Ben Hartley pushed his
book and slate away in despair. Ben was a good scholar. He was at
the head of his class, and was very anxious to stay there. But the
sums he had now to do were very hard. He could not do them, and was
afraid of losing his place in the class. Most of the boys had some
one at home to help them; but Ben had no one. His father was dead,
and his mother, though a good Christian woman, had not been to school
much when a girl, and she could not help Ben.
Mrs. Hartley felt sorry for her son's perplexity, and quietly said,
"Then, Ben, you don't believe in the Lord's prayer?"
"The Lord's prayer, mother! Why, there's nothing there to help a
fellow do his sums."
"O, yes; there is. There is help for every trouble in life in the
Lord's prayer, if we only know how to use it. I was trying a long
time before I found out what the last part of this prayer really
means. I'm no minister, or scholar, Ben, but I'll try and show you.
You know that in this prayer we ask God for our daily bread; we ask
him to keep us from evil; and to forgive us our sins; and then we
say: 'for _thine_ is the _kingdom_, and _the power_, and the glory.'
It's God's power that we rely on--not our own; and it often helps
me, Ben, when I have something hard to do. I say, 'For _thine_ is the
power--this is my duty, heavenly Father; but I can't do it myself;
give me thy power to help me,' and he does it, Ben, he does it."
Ben sat silent. It seemed almost too familiar a prayer. And yet he
remembered when he had to stay home from school because he had no
clothes fit to go in, how he prayed to God about it, and the
minister's wife brought him a suit the very next day. "But a boy's
sums, mother! it seems like such a little thing to ask God about."
"Those sums are not a little thing to you, Ben. Your success at
school depends on your knowing how to do them. _That_, is as much to
you, as many a greater thing to some one else. Now I care a great
deal about that, because I love you. And I know your Father in heaven
loves you more than I do. I would gladly help you, if I could; but he
_can_ help you. His 'is the power;' ask him to help you."
After doing an errand for his mother, Ben picked up his book and
slate and went up to his little room. Kneeling down by the bed he
repeated the Lord's prayer. When he came to--"thine is the kingdom,"
he stopped a moment, and then said, with all his heart--"'And thine
is the power,' heavenly Father. I want power to know how to do these
sums. There's no one else to help me. Lord, please give me power, for
Jesus' sake, Amen."
Ben waited a moment, and then, still on his knees, he took his slate
and tried again. Do you ask me if he succeeded? Remember what Saint
James says, "If any man lack wisdom let him ask of God, who giveth to
all men liberally, and upbraideth not: _and it shall be given him_."
Jas. i: 5. That is God's promise, and heaven and earth must pass away
before one of his promises shall fail. Ben had prayed to God to help
him, and God answered his prayer. He tried once more to work out
those sums. After thinking over them a little while, he saw the
mistake he had made in neglecting one of the rules for working the
sums. He corrected this mistake, and then he found they all worked
out beautifully. The next day he was head of the class; for he was
the only boy who could say that he had done the sum himself, without
getting any one at home to help him.
"And yet I was helped, mother," said Ben, "for I am sure my Father in
heaven helped me." But that was not what the teacher meant. After
this, Ben never forgot the last part of the Lord's prayer. When he
needed help he knew where the power was that could help him.
Here was where the apostles got the help they needed in doing the
hard work they had to do. And how much help we might get in doing our
work if we only make a right use of this "power which belongeth unto
God;" and which he is always ready to use in helping us.
The help they received, is the third thing to remember when we think
about the apostles and their work.
_The last thing to bear in mind when we think of Jesus choosing his
twelve apostles, is_--THE LESSON--_it teaches us_.
There are many lessons we might learn from this subject; but there is
one so much more important than all the rest that we may very well
let them go, and think only of this one. When St. Luke tells us about
Jesus choosing the twelve apostles, he mentions one very important
thing, of which St. Matthew, in his account of it says nothing at
all. And it is this thing from which we draw our lesson. In the
twelfth verse of the sixth chapter of his gospel, St. Luke
says--"And it came to pass in those days, that he (Jesus) went out
into a mountain to pray, and _continued all night in prayer to God_."
And after this, the first thing he did, in the morning, was to call
his disciples to him, and out of them to choose the twelve, who were
to be his apostles. And the lesson we learn from this part of the
"The Lesson of Prayer." Jesus spent the whole night in prayer to God,
before he chose his apostles. How strange this seems to us! And yet
it is easy enough to see at least two reasons why he did this. One
was because _he loved to pray_. We know how pleasant it is for us to
meet, and talk with a person whom we love very much. But prayer
is--talking with God--telling him what we want, and asking his help.
But Jesus loved his Father in heaven, with a love deeper and stronger
than we can understand. This must have made it the most delightful of
all things for him to be engaged in prayer, or in talking with his
Father in heaven. And, if we really love Jesus, prayer will not be a
hard duty to us, but a sweet privilege. We shall love to pray,
because, in prayer we are talking to that blessed Saviour, "whom,
not having seen, we love." And this was one reason why Jesus spent
the whole night in prayer, before choosing his twelve apostles.
But there was another reason why Jesus spent so much time in prayer
before performing this important work, and that was to _set us an
example_. It was to teach us the very lesson of which we are now
speaking--the lesson of prayer. Remember how much power and wisdom
Jesus had in himself; and what mighty things he was able to do. And
yet, if _He_ felt that it was right to pray before engaging in any
important work, how much more necessary it is for us to do so!
Let us learn this lesson well. Let it be the rule and habit of our
lives to connect prayer with everything we do. This will make us
happy in our own souls, and useful to those about us.
How full the Bible is of the wonders that have been wrought by
prayer! Just think for a moment of some of them.
Abraham prays, and Lot is delivered from the fiery flood that
overwhelmed Sodom and Gomorrah. Gen. xix: 29. Jacob prays, and he
wrestles with the angel, and obtains the blessing; his brother
Esau's mind is wonderfully turned away from the wrath he had
cherished for twenty years. Moses prays and Amalek is discomfited.
Joshua prays and Achan is discovered. Hannah prays and Samuel is
born. David prays and Ahithophel hangs himself. Elijah prays and a
famine of three years comes upon Israel. He prays again, and the rain
descends, and the famine ends. Elisha prays, and Jordan is divided.
He prays again, and the dead child's soul is brought back from the
invisible world. Isaiah and Hezekiah pray, and a hundred and
eighty-five thousand Assyrian soldiers are slain in one night by the
unseen sword of the angel. These are Bible illustrations of the help
God gives to his people in answer to prayer. And the Bible rule for
prayer, as given by our Saviour, is, "that men ought _always_ to
pray," Luke xviii: 1. St. Paul's way of stating it is--"Praying
always, with all prayer," Ephes. vi: 18. In another place he
says--"Pray without ceasing," I. Thess. v: 17. And even the heathen
teach the same rule about prayer. Among the rules of Nineveh, an
inscription on a tablet has been found, which, on being translated,
proved to contain directions about prayer. It may be entitled:
"An Assyrian Call to Prayer." These are the words of the call:
"Pray thou! pray thou!
Before the couch, pray!
Before the throne, pray!
Before the canopy, pray!
Before the building of the lofty head, pray!
Before the rising of the dawn, pray!
Before the fire, pray!
By the tablets and papyri, pray!
By the side of the river, pray!
By the side of a ship, or riding in a ship, or leaving the ship, pray!
At the rising of the sun, or the setting of the sun, pray!
On coming out of the city, on entering the city, pray!
On coming out of the great gate, on entering the great gate, pray!
On coming out of the house, pray! on entering the house, pray!
In the place of judgment, pray!
In the temple, pray!"
This is like the Bible rule of--"praying always."
"Praying for a Dinner." "Grandma, aren't we going to church this
morning?" asked a little girl.
"My child, we have had no breakfast, and have no dinner to eat when
we come back," said her grandma.
"But the Lord Jesus can give it to us if we ask him," said the little
girl. "Let's ask him." So they kneeled down, and asked that God, "who
feedeth the young ravens when they cry," to remember them, and help
Then they went to church. They found it very much crowded. An old
gentleman took the little girl upon his knee. He was pleased with her
quiet behaviour. On parting with her at the close of the service, he
slipped a half crown into her hand. "See, Grandma," she said, as soon
as they were out of church, "Jesus has sent us our dinner."
But when we ask God to help us, we must always try to help ourselves.
"Working as well as Praying." Two little girls went to the same
school; one of them, named Mary, always said her lessons well, the
other, named Jane, always failed. One day Jane said, "Mary, how does
it happen that you always say your lessons so well?" Mary said she
prayed over her lessons, and _that_ was the secret of her success.
Jane concluded to try praying. But the next day she failed worse than
ever. In tears, she reproached Mary for deceiving her. "But, did you
study hard, as well as pray over your lesson?" asked Mary.
"No; I thought if I only prayed, that was all I had to do," replied
Jane. "Not at all. God only helps those who try to help themselves.
You must study hard as well as pray, if you wish to get your lessons
well," was Mary's wise answer. The next day Jane studied, as well as
prayed, and she had her lesson perfectly.
The greatest work we can ever do, is to bring a soul to Jesus, or to
convert a sinner from the error of his way. Here is an illustration
of the way in which this may be done by prayer and effort combined:
"The Coachman and His Prayer." "I was riding once, on the top of a
stage-coach," said a Christian gentleman, "when the driver by my side
began to swear in a dreadful manner. I lifted up my heart for God's
blessing on what I said; and presently, in a quiet way, I asked him
this question: 'Driver, do you ever pray?' He seemed displeased at
first; but after awhile he replied, 'I sometimes go to church on
Sunday; and then I suppose I pray, don't I?' 'I am afraid you never
pray at all; for no man can swear as you do, and yet be in the habit
of praying to God.'
"As we rode along he seemed thoughtful. 'Coachman, I wish you would
pray now,' I said. '"Why, what a time to pray, Sir, when a man is
driving a coach!"' 'Yet, my friend, God will hear you,' '"What shall
I pray?"' he asked, in a low voice. 'Pray these words: '"O Lord,
grant me thy Holy Spirit, for Christ's sake. Amen."' He hesitated,
but in a moment he repeated them; and then, at my request, he said
them over a second, and a third time. The end of the journey was
reached, and I left him.
"Some months passed away, and we met once more. 'Ah, Sir,' said he,
with a smile, 'the prayer you taught me on that coach-box was
answered. I saw myself a lost, and ruined sinner; but now, I humbly
hope, that through the blood which cleanseth from all sin, and by the
power of the Holy Spirit, I am a converted man.'"
And so, when we think of the twelve apostles, appointed by Jesus to
preach his gospel, these are the four things for us to remember in
connection with them, viz.:--_the men_ whom he chose; _the work_ they
had to do; _the help_ given them in doing that work; and _the lesson_
we are taught by this subject--the lesson of prayer.
Whatever we have to do, let us do it with all our hearts, and do it
as for God, and then we shall be his apostles--his sent ones. Let me
put the application of this subject in the form of some earnest,
practical lines that I lately met with. The lines only speak of
boys, but they apply just as well to girls. They are headed:
DRIVE THE NAIL.
"Drive the nail aright, boys,
Hit it on the head,
Strike with all your might, boys,
While the iron's red.
"Lessons you've to learn, boys,
Study with a will;
They who reach the top, boys,
First must climb the hill.
"Standing at the foot, boys,
Gazing at the sky,
How can you get up, boys,
If you never try?
"Though you stumble oft, boys,
Never be downcast;
Try and try again, boys,
You'll succeed at last.
"Ever persevere, boys,
Tho' your task be hard;
Toil and happy cheer, boys,
Bring their own reward.
"Never give it up, boys,
Always say you'll try;
Joy will fill your cup, boys,
Flowing by and by."
THE GREAT TEACHER
Teaching was the great business of the life of Christ during the days
of his public ministry. He was _sent_ to teach and to preach. The
speaker in the book of Job was thinking of this Great Teacher when he
asked--"_Who teacheth like him_?" Job xxxvi: 22. And it was he who
was in the Psalmist's mind when he spoke of the "good, and upright
Lord" who would teach sinners, if they were meek, how to walk in his
ways. Ps. xxv: 8-9. And he is the Redeemer, of whom the prophet
Isaiah was telling when he said--He would "_teach us to profit_, and
_would lead us by the way that we should go_." And thus we know how
true was what Nicodemus said of him, that "he was a _teacher sent
from God_." John iii: 2. Thus what was said of Jesus, before he came
into our world, would naturally lead us to expect to find him
occupied in teaching. And so he _was_ occupied, all through the days
of his public ministry. St. Matthew tells us that--"Jesus went about
all Galilee, _teaching_ in their synagogues." Ch. iv: 23. Further on
in his gospel he tells us again that "Jesus went about all the
cities, and villages, teaching in their synagogues." Ch. ix: 35. When
on his trial before Pilate, his enemies brought it as a charge
against him that he had been--"_teaching_ throughout all Jewry." Luke
xxiii: 5. We read in one place that--"the elders of the people came
unto him _as he was teaching_." Matt. xxi: 23. Jesus himself gave
this account of his life work to his enemies--"I sat _daily_ with you
_teaching_ in the temple." Matt. xxvi: 55. And so we come now to look
at the life of Christ from this point of view--as a Teacher. There
never was such a Teacher. We do not wonder at the effect of his
teaching of which we read in St. John vii: 46, when the chief priests
sent some of their officers to take him prisoner, and bring him unto
them; the officers went, and joined the crowd that was listening to
his preaching. His words had such a strange effect on them that they
could not think of touching him. So they went back to their masters
without doing what they had been sent to do. "And when the chief
priests and Pharisees said unto them--Why have ye not brought him?
The officers answered, _Never man spake like this man_." Jesus was
indeed--_The Great Teacher_. In this light we are now to look at him.
And as we do this we shall find that there were _five_ great things
about his teaching which made him different from any other teacher
the world has ever known.
_In the first place Jesus may well be called the Great Teacher,
because of the_--GREAT BLESSINGS--_of which he came to tell_.
We find some of these spoken of at the opening of his first great
sermon to his disciples, called "The Sermon on the Mount." This is
the most wonderful sermon that ever was preached. Jesus began it by
telling about some of the great blessings he had brought down from
heaven for poor sinful creatures such as we are. The sermon begins in
the fifth chapter of St. Matthew, and the first twelve verses of the
chapter are occupied in speaking of these blessings. As soon as he
opened his mouth and began to speak a stream of blessings flowed out.
It was a beautiful thought, on this subject, which a boy in
Sunday-school once had. The teacher had been talking to his class
about the beginning of this sermon on the mount. He had spoken of the
sweetness of the words of Jesus, when "He opened his mouth and
taught" his disciples. "How pleasant it must have been, my dear
boys," said he, "to have seen the blessed Saviour, and to have heard
A serious-minded little fellow in the class said, "Teacher, don't you
think that when Jesus opened his mouth, and began to speak to his
disciples, it must have been like taking the stopper out of a scent
bottle?" I cannot tell whether this boy had ever read the words of
Solomon or not; but he had just the same idea that was in his mind
when he said of this "Great Teacher," "thy name is _as ointment
poured forth_." Cant, i: 3. We perceive the fragrance of this
ointment as soon as Jesus opens his mouth and begins to speak. If we
had been listening to Jesus when he began this sermon, saying:--"
Blessed are the poor in spirit; blessed are the meek; blessed are the
pure in heart; blessed are the peace-makers"--and so on till he had
spoken of _nine_ different kinds of blessing, we might have thought
that he had nothing but blessings of which to tell. It would have
seemed as if his mind, and heart, and lips, and hands were all so
filled with blessings that he could do nothing else till he had told
about these. And the blessings spoken of here are not all the
blessings that Jesus brought. They are only specimens of them. The
blessings he has obtained for us are innumerable. David says of them,
"If I would declare and speak of them they are more than can be
numbered." Ps. xl: 5. And these blessings are not only very numerous,
but very _great_. Look at one or two of these blessings that Jesus,
the Great Teacher, brings to us. He says, "Blessed are they that
mourn, for they shall be comforted." Jesus came to bring comfort to
the mourners. Hundreds of years before Christ came the prophet Isaiah
had said of him that he would come to "_comfort all that mourn_." Is.
lxi: 2. And to show how complete this blessing would be which he was
to bring, Jesus said himself--"_As one whom his mother comforteth_
--_so will I comfort you_." Is. lxvi: 13. A young girl was dying.
A friend who came in to see her said:
"I trust you have a good hope."
"No," she answered, distinctly; "I am not hoping--I am certain. My
salvation was finished on the cross. My soul is saved. Heaven is
mine. I am going to Jesus."
What a great blessing it is to have comfort like that!
When Jesus was speaking to the woman of Samaria, as he sat by Jacob's
well, he compared the blessing of his grace to the water of that
well. Pointing to the well at his side, he said: "Whosoever drinketh
of this water will thirst again. But whosoever drinketh of the water
that I shall give him, shall never thirst; but the water that I shall
give him, shall be _in him, a well of water, springing up unto
everlasting life_." John iv: 13, 14. This is one of the most
beautiful illustrations of the blessing Jesus gives that ever was
used. It is a great blessing to have a well of clear, cold water in
our garden, or near our door. But, only think of having a well of
water _in our hearts_. Then, wherever we go, we carry that well with
us. We never have to go away from it. No one can separate between us
and the water of this well. Other wells dry up and fail. But this is
a well that never dries up, and never fails. This well is deep, and
its water is all the time "springing up unto everlasting life." How
happy they are in whose breasts Jesus opens this well of water!
Coleridge, the English poet, in writing to a young friend, just
before his death, said:
"Health is a great blessing; wealth, gained by honest industry, is a
great blessing; it is a great blessing to have kind, faithful, loving
friends and relatives, _but, the greatest, and best of all blessings
is to be a Christian_."
One of the most able and learned lawyers that England ever had was
John Selden. He was so famous for his learning and knowledge that he
is always spoken of as "the learned Selden." On his deathbed he
said--"I have taken much pains to know everything that was worth
knowing among men; but with all my reading and all my knowledge,
nothing now remains with me to comfort me at the close of life but
these precious words of St. Paul: 'This a faithful saying, and worthy
of all acceptation, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save
sinners;' to this I cling. In this I rest. This gives me peace, and
comfort, and enables me to die happy."
William Wilberforce was another of the great and good men who have
been a blessing and an honor to England. When he was on his deathbed,
he said to a dear friend:
"Come, let us talk of heaven. Do not weep for me. I am very happy.
But I never knew what happiness was till I found Christ as my
Saviour. Read the Bible. Let no other book take its place. Through
all my trials and perplexities, it has been my comfort. And now it
comforts me, and makes me happy."
Here we see "this well of water springing up unto everlasting life."
And Jesus, who came to tell us of this water, and to open up this
well in our breasts, may well be called, "the Great Teacher," because
of the great blessings--of which he tells.
_In the second place Jesus may be called "the Great Teacher" because
of the_--GREAT SIMPLICITY--_of his teachings_.
I do not mean to say that we can understand every thing that Jesus
taught. This is not so. He had some things to speak about that are
not simple. He said to his disciples, "_I have yet many things to say
unto you, but ye cannot bear them now_." John xvi: 12. This means
that there are some things about God, and heaven, of which he wished
to tell them, but they were too hard for them to understand, although
they were full-grown men. And so he did not tell them of these
things. But even among the things that Jesus did tell about, there
are some which the wisest and most learned men in the world have
never been able to understand or explain. Some one has compared the
Bible to a river, in which there are some places deep enough for an
elephant or a giant to swim in; and other places where the water is
shallow enough for a child to wade in. And it is just so with the
teachings of Jesus. Some of the most important lessons he taught are
so plain and simple that very young people can understand them.
We have a good illustration of this in that sweet invitation which
Jesus gave when he said,--"_Come unto me, all ye that labor and are
heavy laden, and I will give you rest._" Matt. xi: 28. Very young
people know what it is to feel tired and weary from walking, or
working too much, or from carrying a heavy burden. And, when they are
too tired to do anything else, they know what it is to go to their
dear mother and throw themselves into her arms, and find rest there.
And, in just the same way, Jesus invites us to come to him when we
are tired, or troubled, that our souls may find rest in him. We come
to Jesus, when we pray to him; when we tell him all about our
troubles; when we ask him to help us; and when we trust in his
"Was there ever gentlest shepherd
Half so gentle, half so sweet,
As the Saviour, who would have us
Come and gather round his feet?
"There's a wideness in God's mercy,
Like the wideness of the sea;
There's a kindness in his justice
Which is more than liberty.
"There is no place where earth's sorrows
Are more felt than up in heaven;
There is no place where earth's failings
Have such kindly judgments given.
"There is plentiful redemption
In the blood that has been shed;
There is joy for all the members
In the sorrows of the head.
"If our love were but more simple,
We should take him at his word;
And our lives would all be sunshine,
In the sweetness of our Lord."
The prophet Isaiah foretold that when Jesus came, he would teach his
doctrines to children just weaned. Chap. xxviii: 9. This shows us
that his teaching was to be marked by great plainness and simplicity.
And this was just the way in which he did teach when he uttered those
loving words:--"_Suffer the little children to come unto me, and
forbid them not; for of such is the kingdom of God._" Mark x: 14.
None of the other famous teachers known to the world ever took such
interest in children as Jesus did. And none of them ever taught with
such great simplicity. What multitudes of young people have been led
to love and serve Jesus by thinking of the sweet words he spoke about
"The Child's Gospel." A little girl sat still in church listening to
the minister. She could not understand what he was saying till he
quoted these words of Jesus about the children. But she understood
them. She felt that they were words spoken for her. They made her
feel very happy. And when she went home she threw her arms around her
mother's neck, who had been kept at home by sickness, and said, "O,
mother, I have heard the _child's gospel_ to-day."
"It's For Me." Little Carrie was a heathen child, about ten years
old. After she had been going to the Mission School for some time,
her teacher noticed, one day, that she looked sad.
"Carrie, my dear," she said, "why do you look so sad to-day?"
"Because I am thinking."
"And what are you thinking about?"
"O, teacher, I don't know whether Jesus loves me, or not."
"Carrie, what did Jesus say about little children coming to him when
he was on earth?"
In a moment the sweet words she had learned in the school were on her
lips--"Suffer the little children to come unto me, &c."
"Well, Carrie, for whom did Jesus speak these words?" At once she
clapped her hands and exclaimed: "It's not for you, teacher, is it?
for you are not a child. No: it's for me! it's for me!"
And so this dear child was drawn to Jesus by the power of his love.
And thus, through all the hundreds of years that have passed away
since "Jesus was here among men," these same simple words have been
drawing the little ones to him.
And so, because of the great simplicity which marked his teaching,
Jesus must truly be called--the Great Teacher.
_But in the third place there was_--GREAT TENDERNESS--_in Jesus, and
this was another thing that helped to make him the Great Teacher_.
It was this great tenderness that led him, when he came to be our
Teacher and Saviour to take our nature upon him and so become like
us. He might have come into our world in the form of a mighty angel,
with his face shining like the sun, as he appeared when the disciples
saw him on the Mount of Transfiguration. But then we should have been
afraid of him. He would not have known how we feel, and could not
have felt for us. But instead of this, his tenderness led him to take
our nature upon him, that he might be able to put himself in our
place, and so to understand just how we feel, and what we need to
help and comfort us. This is what the apostle means in Heb. ii: 14,
when he says--"Forasmuch as the children were partakers of flesh and
blood, he also himself likewise took part of the same." He did this
on purpose that he might know, by his own experience, how we are
tried and tempted; and so be able to sympathize with us and help us
in all our trials.
Here is a little story, very simple, and homely; but yet, one that
illustrates very well the point of which we are speaking. It is a
"A Lost Horse Found." A valuable horse was lost, belonging to a
farmer in New England. A number of his neighbors turned out to try
and find the horse. They searched all through the woods and fields
of the surrounding country, but in vain. None of them could find the
horse. At last a poor, weak-minded fellow, who was known in that
neighborhood as "simple Sam," started to hunt the horse. After awhile
he came back, bringing the stray horse with him. The owner of the
horse was delighted to see him. He stroked and patted him, and then,
turning to the simple-minded man who had found him, he said:
"Well, Sam, how came you to find the horse, when no one else could do
"Wal, you see," said Sam, "I just 'quired whar the horse was seen
last; and then I went thar, and sat on a rock; and just axed mysel',
if I was a horse, whar would I go, and what would I do? And then I
went, and found him." Now, when Sam, in the simplicity of his feeble
mind, tried to put himself, as far as he could, in the horse's place,
this helped him to find the lost horse, and bring him back to his
owner again. And so, to pass from a very little thing to a very great
one, when Jesus came down from heaven to seek and to save sinners
that were lost, this is just the way in which he acted. He put
himself in our place as sinners. As the apostle Paul says: "he who
knew no sin, was made sin for us," that he might save us from the
dreadful consequences of our sins.
And we see the tenderness of Jesus, not only in taking our nature
upon him and becoming man, but in what he did when he lived in this
world as a man. "_He went about doing good_." It was his great
tenderness that led him to do this. Suppose that you and I could have
walked about with Jesus when he was on earth as the apostles did.
Just think for a moment what we should have seen. We should have seen
him meeting with blind men and opening their eyes that they might
see. We should have seen him meeting with deaf men, and unstopping
their ears that they might hear. We should have seen him meeting sick
people who were taken with divers diseases and torments and healing
them. We should have seen him raising the dead; and casting out
devils; and speaking words of comfort and encouragement to those who
were sad and sorrowful. If we could have looked into his blessed
face, we should have seen tenderness there, beaming from his eyes and
speaking from every line of his countenance. If we could have
listened to his teaching we should have found tenderness running
through all that he said. Just take one of his many parables as a
sample of his way of teaching--the parable of the lost sheep--and see
how full of tenderness it is. The sweet lines of the hymn, about the
shepherd seeking his lost sheep, that most of us love to sing, bring
out the tenderness of Jesus here very touchingly.
"There were ninety and nine that safely lay
In the shelter of the fold,
But one was out on the hills away,
Far off from the gates of gold--
Away on the mountains, wild and bare,
Away from the tender shepherd's care.
"'Lord, Thou hast here Thy ninety and nine;
Are they not enough for Thee?'
But the Shepherd made answer: 'One of mine
Has wandered away from me;
And, although the road be rough and steep,
I go to the desert to find my sheep.'
"But none of the ransomed ever knew
How deep were the waters crossed;
Nor how dark was the night that the Lord passed through,
Ere he found his sheep that was lost.
Out in the desert he heard its cry--
Sick and helpless, and ready to die.
"'Lord, whence are those blood-drops all the way
That mark out the mountain's track?'
They were shed for one who had gone astray,
Ere the shepherd could bring him back.
'Lord, why are Thy hands so rent and torn?'
They are pierced, to-night, by many a thorn.
"But all through the mountains, thunder-riven,
And up from the rocky steep,
There rose a cry to the gates of heaven,
'Rejoice! I have found my sheep!'
And the angels echoed around the throne,
'Rejoice, for the Lord brings back his own.'"
And all that we know of Jesus as "the good Shepherd," demonstrates
his great tenderness for his sheep.
But perhaps there was no act in all the life of our blessed Redeemer
that showed his tenderness more than taking the little children in
his arms, and putting his hands upon them, and blessing them.
To think of the Son of God, who made this world, and all worlds, and
whom all the angels of heaven worship, showing so much interest in
the little ones; this proves how full of tenderness his heart was.
"I Like Your Jesus." An English lady who had spent six months in
Syria, writes: "Going through the places where the Mohammedans live,
you continually hear the girls singing our beautiful hymns in Arabic.
The attractive power of Christ's love is felt even by the little
ones, as we learned from a dear Moslem child, who, when she repeated
the text, 'Suffer the little children,' said, 'I like your Jesus,
because he loved little children. Our Mohammed did not love little
And if we all try to imitate the tenderness of Jesus, then, though we
may have no money to give, and no great thing to do, yet by being
tender, and gentle, and loving, as Jesus was, we shall be able to do
good wherever we are.
"Doing Good by Sympathy." A Christian mother used to ask her children
every night if they had done any good during the day. One night in
answer to this question, her little daughter said: "At school this
morning I found little Annie G----, who had been absent for some
time, crying very hard. I asked her what was the matter? Then she
cried more, so that I could not help putting my head on her neck, and
crying with her. Her sobs grew less, and presently she told of her
little baby brother, whom she loved so much; how sick he had been;
and how much pain he had suffered, till he died and was buried. Then
she hid her face in her book, and cried, as if her heart would break.
I could not help putting my face on the other page of the book, and
crying, too, as hard as she did. After awhile she kissed me, and told
me I had done her good. But, mother, I don't know how I did her good;
_for I only cried with her!_"
Now this little girl was showing the tenderness of Jesus, the Great
Teacher. Nothing in the world could have done that poor sorrowing
child so much good as to have some one cry with her. Sometimes tears
of tenderness are worth more than diamonds. And this is why the Bible
tells us to "weep with them that weep." Rom. xii: 15. Jesus did this
in the tenderness of his loving heart. And this was one of the things
that made him the Great Teacher.
_But then there was_--GREAT KNOWLEDGE--_in Jesus; and this was
another thing that made him great as a teacher_.
If we wish to be good teachers, we must study, and try to understand
the things we expect to teach. If a young man wishes to be a
minister, he must go through college; and then spend three years in
the Divinity School, so that he may understand the great truths of
the Bible, which he is to teach the people who hear him. But Jesus
never went to college, or to a divinity school. And yet he had
greater knowledge about all the things of which he spoke than any
other teacher ever had. We are told in the book of Job that "He is
_perfect_ in knowledge." Job xxxvi: 5. And the apostle Paul tells us
that "in him are hid _all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge_."
Col. ii: 3. This is more than can be said of any man, or any angel.
If we could take all the knowledge of all the best teachers who ever
lived, and give it to one person, it would be as nothing compared to
the knowledge which Jesus, "the Great Teacher" had. He knew all about
heaven; for that had always been his home before he came into our
world. He knew all about God; for, he was "in the bosom of the
Father," John i: 18; and, as he tells us himself, had shared his
glory with him, "before the world was." John xvii: 5. He knew all
about the world we live in, for he made it. John i: 10. He knew all
about all other worlds, for he made them, too. John i: 3; Heb. i: 2.
He knew all about his disciples and every body else in the world, for
he made them all. He saw all they did; he heard all they said; he
knew all they thought, or felt. Wise and learned men have been
studying, and finding out things for hundreds of years, about
geography and natural history--and astronomy;--about light, and heat,
and electricity--and steam--and the telegraph, and many other things.
Jesus knew all about these things when he was on earth. He could have
told about them, if he had seen fit to do so. But he only told us
what it is best for us to know, in order that we might be saved; and
kept back all the rest. The things that Jesus did teach us when he
was here on earth were wonderful; but it is hardly less wonderful to
think of the things that he might have taught us, and yet did not.
When we think of the great knowledge of Jesus, as a Teacher, we are
not surprised that some of those who heard him "wondered at the
gracious words" he spake; or that others asked the question: "Whence
hath this man this knowledge, having never learned?"
Some one has written these sweet lines about Christ as--_The Great
"From everything our Saviour saw,
Lessons of wisdom he could draw;
The clouds, the colors in the sky;
The gentle breeze that whispers by;
The fields all white with waving corn;
The lilies that the vale adorn;
The reed that trembles in the wind;
The tree, where none its fruit could find;
The sliding sand, the flinty rock,
That bears unmoved the tempest's shock;
The thorns that on the earth abound;
The tender grass that clothes the ground;
The little birds that fly in air;
The sheep that need the shepherd's care;
The pearls that deep in ocean lie;
The gold that charms the miser's eye;
The fruitful and the thorny ground;
The piece of silver lost and found;
The reaper, with his sheaves returning;
The gathered tares prepared for burning;
The wandering sheep brought back with joy;
The father's welcome for his boy;
The wedding-feast, prepared in state;
The foolish virgins' cry, 'too late!'--
All from his lips some truth proclaim,
Or learn to tell their Maker's name."
But the difference between Jesus, the Great Teacher, and all other
teachers is seen, not only in the greater knowledge he has of the
things that he teaches, but in this also, that he knows how to make
us understand the lessons he teaches. Here is an incident that
illustrates how well Jesus can do this. We may call it:
"The Well Instructed Boy." A minister of the gospel was travelling
through the wildest part of Ireland. There he met a shepherd's boy,
not more than ten or twelve years old. He was poorly clad, with no
covering on his head, and no shoes or stockings on his feet; but he
looked bright and happy. He had a New Testament in his hand. "Can you
read, my boy?" asked the minister.
"To be sure I can."
"And do you understand what you read?"
"Please turn to the third chapter of St. John, and read us a little,"
said the minister. The boy found the place directly, and in a clear
distinct voice, began:
"There was a man of the Pharisees named Nicodemus, a ruler of the
Jews; the same came to Jesus by night, and said unto him, Rabbi."
"What does Rabbi mean?"
"It means a master."
"Right; go on."
"We know thou art a teacher come from God; for no man can do these
miracles that thou doest, except God be with him."
"What is a _miracle_?"
"It is a _great wonder_. 'Jesus answered and said unto him, verily,
verily, I say unto thee.'"
"What does _verily_ mean?"
"It means 'indeed.' 'Except a man be born again.'"
"What does that mean?"
"It means a great change, a change of heart."
"Except a man be born again he cannot see the kingdom of God."
"And what is that kingdom?"
He paused a moment, and with a very serious, thoughtful look, placing
his hand on his bosom, he said, "It is _something here_;" and then,
raising his eyes to heaven, added, "_and something up yonder_." This
poor boy had been taking lessons from "the Great Teacher," and he had
taught him some of the most important things that we can ever learn.
Jesus may well be called "the Great Teacher," because of his great
_But there is one other thing that Jesus has, which helps to make him
"the Great Teacher," and that is_--GREAT POWER.
Other teachers can tell us what we ought to learn, and to do, yet
they have no power to help us learn, or do what they teach. But Jesus
_has_ this power. Let us take a single illustration from many of the
same kind that occurred while he was on earth. One day he was going
about teaching in the streets of Jerusalem. As he went on, he passed
by the office of a man who was gathering taxes for the Roman
government. The persons who did this were called _publicans_. This
man, sitting in his office, was named Matthew. He was busily engaged
in receiving the taxes of the people. It was a very profitable
business. The men engaged in it generally made a great deal of money.
Jesus stopped before the window or door of this office. He beckoned
to Matthew, and simply spoke these two words:--"_Follow me_."
Now, if any other teacher had spoken these words to Matthew, and had
tried to make him quit his business and engage in something else, he
would have said: "No; I can't leave my office. This is all the means
I have of getting a living. The business pays well, and I am not
willing to give it up." But when Jesus spoke to him, he did, at once,
what he was told to do. We read that "He left all, rose up, and
followed him." Matt. ix: 9; Luke v: 28. He became one of the twelve
apostles and wrote the gospel which bears his name. But it was the
great power which Jesus has over the hearts of men that made Matthew
willing to do, at once, what he was told to do.
And the power which Jesus exercised over Matthew, in this case, he
still has, and still uses. And when he is pleased to use this power
the very worst people feel it, and are made good by it. And Jesus,
"the Great Teacher," uses this power sometimes in connection with
very simple things. Here is an illustration. We may call it:
"Saved by a Rose." Some time ago, a Christian gentleman was in the
habit of visiting one of our prisons. It occurred to him, one day,
that it would be a good thing to have a flowering plant in the little
yard connected with each cell. He got permission from the officers of
the prison to do so. He had a bracket fastened to the wall, in each
yard, and a flower pot, with a plant in it, placed on each bracket.
One of these prisoners was worse than all the rest. He was the most
hardened man that had ever been in that prison. His temper was so
violent and obstinate that no one could manage him. The keeper of the
prison was afraid of him, and never liked to go near him. He was such
a disagreeable-looking man that the name given to him in the prison
was "Ugly Greg." A little rose bush was put on the bracket in Ugly
Greg's yard, and the effect produced by it is told in these simple
lines, which some one has written about it:
"Ugly Greg was the prisoner's name,
Ugly in face, and in nature the same;
Stubborn, sullen, and beetle-browed,
The hardest case in a hardened crowd.
The sin-set lines in his face were bent
Neither by kindness nor punishment;
He hadn't a friend in the prison there,
And he grew more ugly and didn't care.
"But some one--blessings on his name!
Had caused to be placed in that house of shame,
To relieve the blank of the white-washed wall,
Flower-pot brackets, with plants on them all.
Though it seemed but a useless thing to do,
Ugly Greg's cell had a flower-pot, too,
And as he came back at the work-day's close,
He paused, astonished, before a rose.
"'He will smash it in pieces,' the keeper said,
But the lines on his face grew soft instead.
Next morning he watered his plant with care,
And went to his work with a cheerful air;
And, day by day, as the rose-bush grew,
Ugly Greg began changing, too.
"The soft, green leaves unfolded their tips,
And the foul word died on the prisoner's lips;
He talked to the plant, when all alone,
As he would to a friend, in a gentle tone;
And, day by day, and week by week,
As the rose grew taller, so Greg grew meek.
"But, at last they took him away to lie
On a hospital bed, for they knew he must die,
They placed the rose in the sunny light,
Where Greg might watch it, from morn till night,
And the green buds grew, from day to day,
As the sick man faded fast away.
"The lines which sin and pain had traced,
Seemed by the shadowing plant effaced,
Till, came at last, the joyful hour,
When they knew that the bud must burst its flower.
Greg slept, but still one hand caressed
The plant; the other his pale cheek pressed.
The perfumed crimson shed a glow
On the old man's hair, as white as snow;
The nurse came softly--'Look, Greg!' she said,
Ay, the rose had bloomed, but the man was dead."
And the meaning of all this is, not that the rose itself saved this
hardened sinner. No; but it led him to think of the lessons of his
childhood, when he had been taught about Jesus, "the Rose of
Sharon". It led him to think about his sins. It led him to repent of
them; to pray to Jesus; to exercise faith in him; and in _this way_
he became a changed man, and was saved. And so, though we speak of
him as--"a man saved by a rose;" yet it was the power of Jesus, "the
Great Teacher," exercised through that rose, which led to this
blessed change and saved Greg's soul from death.
And thus we have spoken of five things which help to make up the
greatness of Jesus as a Teacher. These are--The Great Blessings--The
Great Simplicity--The Great Tenderness--The Great Knowledge--and the
Great Power connected with his teachings. Let us seek the grace that
will enable us to learn of him, and then we shall find rest for our
CHRIST TEACHING BY PARABLES
We have spoken of our Saviour as "The Great Teacher," and tried to
point out some of the things in his teaching which helped to make him
great. And now, it may be well to speak a little of the illustrations
which he made use of as a Teacher. These are called--_parables_. Our
Saviour's parables were illustrations. This is what is meant by the
Greek word from which we get the word parable. It means something
_set down by the side of another_. When we teach a lesson we are
setting something before the minds of our scholars. But suppose it is
a hard lesson and they do not understand it. Then we use an
illustration. This is something set down beside the lesson to make it
plain. Then this, whatever it be, is a parable.
At the beginning of his ministry, our Saviour did not make much use
of parables. But, after he had been preaching for some time, he made
a change in his way of teaching, in this respect. He began to use
parables very freely. His disciples were surprised at this. On one
occasion, after he had used the parable of the Sower, they came to
their Master and asked him why he always spake to the people now in
parables? We have our Saviour's answer to this question in St. Matt,
xiii: 11-18. And it is a remarkable answer. The meaning of it is that
he used parables for two reasons: one was to help those who really
wished to learn from him to understand what he was teaching. The
other was that those who were not willing to be taught might listen
to him without understanding what he was saying. These people had
heard him when he was teaching without parables. But, instead of
thanking him for coming to teach them, and of being willing to do
what he wanted them to do, they found fault with his teaching, and
would not mind what he said.
Now, there is a great difference between the way in which we are to
learn what the Bible teaches us about God and heaven; and the way in
which we learn other things. If we want to learn what the Bible
teaches us we must be careful that we are having right feelings in
our hearts; but if we want to learn other things it does not matter
so much what our feelings are. For instance, suppose you have a
lesson to learn in geography; no matter how you are feeling, whether
you are proud, or humble; whether you are cross, or gentle; yet if
you only study hard enough, and long enough, you can learn that
lesson. But, if you want to learn one of the lessons that Jesus
teaches, no matter how hard, or how long you study it, yet while you
are giving way to proud, or angry feelings in your heart, you can
never learn that lesson. And the reason is that we cannot learn these
lessons unless we have the special help of Jesus, by the Holy Spirit.
But this help can never be had while we give way to wrong feelings in
our hearts. In learning geography, and other such lessons, we do not
need the _special_ help of God. We can learn them ourselves, if we
only try. But we cannot learn the lessons that Jesus teaches in this
way. This is what the Psalmist means when he says:--"The _meek_ will
he teach his way." Ps. xxv: 9. And this was what our Saviour meant
when he said: "If any man will do his will, _he shall know_." St.
John vii: 17. We must be willing to be taught;--and willing to obey;
if we wish to understand what Jesus, "The Great Teacher," has to tell
Some one has well said that truth, taught by a parable, is like the
kernel hid away in a nut. The parable, like the shell of the nut,
covers up the kernel. Those who really want the kernel will crack the
shell, and get it: but those who are not willing to crack the shell
will never get the kernel. The shell of the nut keeps the kernel safe
_for_ one of these persons, and safe _from_ the others.
But, after the time of which we have spoken, Jesus used parables
freely. We are told that--"without a parable spake he not unto the
people." St. Mark xiii: 34. He used parables among his disciples for
two reasons: these were to help them to _understand_, and to remember
what he taught them.
We have a great many of the parables of Jesus in the gospels. A full
list of them will contain not less than _fifty_. It would be easy
enough to make a sermon on each of these parables. But that would
make a larger work than this whole LIFE OF CHRIST, on which we are
now engaged. It is impossible therefore to speak of all the parables.
We can only make selections, or take some specimens of them. We may
speak of five different lessons as illustrated by some of the
parables of Christ. These are--_The value of religion: Christ's love
of sinners: The duty of forgiveness: The duty of kindness: and the
effect of good example_.
_Well then, we may begin by considering what Jesus taught us of_--THE
VALUE OF RELIGION--_in his parables._
The parable of The Treasure Hid in the Field teaches us this truth.
We find this parable in St. Matt. xiii: 44. Here Jesus says, "The
kingdom of heaven is like unto treasure hid in a field; the which
when a man hath found, he hideth, and for joy thereof goeth and
selleth all that he hath, and buyeth that field." The words "kingdom
of heaven" are used by our Saviour in different senses. Sometimes, as
here, they mean the grace of God, or true religion. And what Jesus
teaches us by this parable is that true religion is more valuable
than anything else in the world.
The next parable, in the forty-fifth and forty-sixth verses of the
same chapter, is about The Pearl of Great Price. This teaches the
same lesson. It reads thus:--"The kingdom of heaven is like unto a
merchantman seeking goodly pearls: who, when he had found one pearl
of great price, went and sold all that he had and bought it." By this
"pearl of great price" Jesus meant true religion, as he did by the
treasure hid in the field in the former parable. And the truth he
teaches in both these parables is that religion is more important to
us than anything else in the world. Let us look at some incidents
that may help to illustrate for us the value of religion.
"Jesus Makes Everything Right." A poor lame boy became a Christian,
and in telling what effect this change had upon him, these are the
words he used to a person who was visiting him: "Once every thing
went wrong at our house; father was wrong, mother was wrong, sister
was wrong, and I was wrong; but now, since I have learned to know and
love Jesus it is all right. I know why everything went wrong
before:--it was because I was wrong myself." And this is true. The
first thing that religion does for us is to make us _be_ right
ourselves, and then to _do_ right to others.
"Be." A young lady had been trying to do something very good, but had
not succeeded. Her mother said, "Marian, my child, God gives us many
things to _do_, but we must not forget that he gives us some things
to _be_; and we must learn to _be_ what God would have us be, before
we can _do_ what God would have us do."
"O dear mother, please tell me about _being_, and then I shall know
better about doing."
"Well, listen my child, while I remind you of some of the Bible be's:
"_Be_--ye kindly affectioned one to another."
"_Be_--ye also patient."
"_Be_--ye children in malice."
"_Be_--ye therefore perfect."
"_Be_--not wise in your own conceits."
"_Be_--not overcome of evil."
"Thank you, dear mother," said Marian. "I hope I shall have a better
day to-morrow; for I see now that _doing_ grows out of _being_."
This is a point worth dwelling on, and so I will introduce to your
A SWARM OF BEES WORTH HIVING.
"Be patient, Be prayerful, Be humble, Be mild,
Be wise as a Solon, Be meek as a child.
"Be studious, Be thoughtful, Be loving, Be kind,
Be sure you make matter subservient to mind.
"Be cautious, Be prudent, Be trustful, Be true,
Be courteous to all men, Be friendly with few.
"Be temperate in argument, pleasure and wine,
Be careful of conduct, of money, of time.
"Be cheerful, Be grateful, Be hopeful, Be firm,
Be peaceful, benevolent, willing to learn;
"Be courageous, Be gentle Be liberal, Be just,
Be aspiring, Be humble, because you are dust.
"Be penitent, circumspect, sound in the faith,
Be active, devoted; Be faithful to death.
"Be honest, Be holy, transparent and pure;
Be dependent, Be Christ-like and you'll be secure."
Here is a swarm of between forty and fifty bees. The religion of
Jesus will help us to make these all our own. How great then must the
value of religion be! Surely it is worth while for each of us to try
and secure it!
I think I never saw a better view of the value of religion than is
seen in the following statement of what it does for us. I know not by
whom it was written, but it is put in the form of that sacred sign to
which we owe all the blessings of salvation--the sign of
"Blest they who seek
While in their youth,
With spirit meek,
The way of truth.
To them the sacred scriptures now display
Christ as the only true and living way;
His precious blood on Calvary was given
To make them heirs of endless bliss in Heaven.
And e'en on earth the child of God can trace
The glorious blessings of the Saviour's grace.
For them He bore
His Father's frown;
For them He wore
The thorny Crown;
Nailed to the Cross,
Endured its pain,
That his life's loss
Might be their gain.
Then haste to choose
That better part,
Nor dare refuse
The Lord thy heart,
Lest he declare,--
'I know you not,'
And deep despair
Should be your lot.
Now look to Jesus, who on Calvary died,
And trust on him who there was crucified."
"Leaving it All with Jesus." Annie W ... was a young Christian. In
her fourteenth year she was taken with a severe illness, from which
the doctor said she could not recover. When she became too weak to
leave the sofa, she would send for one and another of the neighbors
to come in to see her, and then she would speak to them of Jesus and
his great salvation. One day a poor old woman who was not a
Christian, came in to see her.
"You are very ill, my dear," she said to Annie.
"Yes," she replied, "but I shall soon be well."
The poor woman shook her head as she looked at Annie's mother,
saying, "Poor dear creature; she cannot possibly get well. No: she
will never get over it." Then turning to Annie, she said:
"Don't you know, my dear, that you are going to die?"
"I know I am going to live," she said with a sweet smile. "I shall
soon be with Jesus in heaven, and live forever with him."
"Oh, how can you know that, my dear? We must not be _too_ sure you
know," said the poor woman.
"Oh," said Annie, pointing to a card hanging on the wall, near her
bed, on which was printed in large letters the hymn headed--"I leave
it all with Jesus." "That's what I do! That's what I do." These are
the words of the hymn which gave that dear child so much comfort on
her dying bed:
"I leave it all with Jesus,
Then wherefore should I fear?
I leave it all with Jesus,
And he is ever near.
"I leave it all with Jesus,
Trust him for what must be;
I leave it all with Jesus,
Who ever thinks of me.
"I bring it all to Jesus,
In calm, believing prayer;
I bring it all to Jesus,
And I love to LEAVE it there!
"Each tear, each sigh, each trouble,
I love to GIVE to Jesus,
Who loves to TAKE them all."
And here we have a beautiful illustration of one of the things which
Jesus taught us in his parables, namely--_the value of religion_.
_Another thing we are taught in these parables is_--CHRIST'S LOVE FOR
The parable of the lost sheep teaches us this truth: but as we had
occasion to speak of this in our last chapter, when illustrating the
tenderness of Christ, as the Great Teacher, we may let that pass now.
But the parable of the lost piece of money teaches the same lesson.
We have this parable in St. Luke xv: 8th and 9th verses. Here we are
told of a woman who had ten pieces of silver, and lost one of them.
Then she laid the others aside, and searched diligently for the lost
piece till she found it. This woman represents Jesus. The lost piece
of money represents our souls lost by sin. The efforts of the woman
to find the lost piece represent what Jesus did, when he left heaven,
and took our nature upon him, and came as "the Son of man to _seek
and to save that which was lost_." And it was the love of Jesus for
poor sinners which led him to do all this for us. And everything
connected with the history of Jesus when he was on earth shows the
greatness of his love. Think of Bethlehem and its manger; there we
see the love of Jesus. Think of Gethsemane with its bloody sweat;
there we see the love of Jesus. Think of Calvary with its cross of
shame and agony; for _there_ we see the love of Jesus.
And the parable of the prodigal son teaches us the same lesson. We
read of this in the same chapter, St. Luke xv: 11-32. This son had
been disobedient and ungrateful. He had taken the money his father
gave him and had gone away and spent it in living very wickedly. And
when the money was all spent and he was likely to starve, he went
back to his father, hungry and ragged, and asked to be taken in. And
instead of scolding and punishing him as he deserved, as soon as his
father saw him, he ran, and fell on his neck and kissed him; and took
off his rags, and dressed him in good clothes, and made a great feast
for him. How beautifully this parable illustrates the love of Christ
And when we learn to know and feel the love of Christ for us, it does
two blessed things for us.
One is, _it makes us good_. We hear a great deal about _conversion_.
This word conversion simply means--_turning_. When a person has been
living without trying to serve or please God, and is led to see how
wrong it is to live in that way, and then feels an earnest desire to
turn around, and live differently, and really does so:--that is
conversion. The teaching or preaching of the gospel is the chief
means that God employs to convert men. And the thing about the gospel
in which this converting power lies is--_the love of Christ_. Here
is an illustration of what this means.
"He Loved Me." An English minister of the gospel was traveling in
Switzerland one summer. As he passed from place to place, he preached
by means of an interpreter in various churches. One Sunday night he
preached from the words, "_He loved me, and gave himself for me_."
Gal. ii: 20. Then he went on his way without knowing what effect had
followed from his preaching.
One Saturday evening, several weeks after, the minister of this
church was sitting in his study. There came a faint knock at his
door. He opened it, when, to his great surprise he saw there a young
man, who was known as the wickedest young man in that neighborhood,
and the leader of others in all sorts of wickedness. He invited him
in, gave him a seat, and asked him what he wished. Judge of his
surprise when the young man said he wished to inquire if he might
come to the sacrament of the Lord's Supper, which was to be
celebrated in his church the next day!
"But are you not aware, my young friend," said the minister, "that
only those who love Christ, and are trying to serve him, have any
right to come to that holy ordinance?"
"I know it, sir," said the young man, "and I am thankful to feel
that I am among that number."
"But," asked the astonished pastor, "are you not known in this
village as the ringleader in all evil doings?"
"Alas! it is too true that it has been so," he replied, "but thank
God all is changed now."
"I am happy indeed to hear it; but pray tell me what led to this
"I was in your church, sir," said he, "some weeks ago, when that
English minister preached from the words, 'Who loved me and gave
himself for me,' That was the first time I ever understood about the
love of Christ. It led to my repentance and conversion; and now I
wish to show my love to Jesus by trying to serve and please him."
Here we see how the love of Christ makes us good.
But it _makes us happy_, as well as good. Here is a little story that
illustrates this point very well. We may call it:
"Maggie's Secret." "Maggie Blake, how can you study so hard, and be
so provokingly good?" This question was asked by Jennie Lee, who was
one of the largest and wildest girls in the school. Maggie hesitated
a moment, whether to tell her secret or not. But, presently she
lifted up her eyes, looked her companion bravely in the face, and
said--"It's for Jesus' sake, Jennie."
"But do you think he cares?" asked Jennie in a soft, subdued
voice,--"do you think he cares how we act?"
"I _know_ he does," said Maggie. "And it makes it so pleasant you
see, even to study and get hard lessons, when I know he is looking at
me, and is pleased to have me working my best for him. He always
helps me to get my lessons; and then helps me to say them right. You
know I used to be so frightened I could not say them, even when I had
learned them well."
"Yes," said Jennie, remembering very well how Maggie had changed in
"That was before I thought of learning them for Jesus. After that he
helped me all along. It makes me like school; and even disagreeable
things are pleasant when I think of doing them for him."
Jennie had often watched Maggie, and wondered what made her have such
a bright, cheerful, happy look. Now she knew the secret of it. It was
doing everything "for Jesus' sake."
She felt she would gladly give everything she had to be as happy as
Maggie. She asked Maggie to pray for her, and she began to pray for
herself. Then Jesus helped her, and she soon had Maggie's secret for
her own. The girls in school wondered at the change which had come
over Jennie. But when they heard that she had been confirmed, and had
joined the church, they understood it all. They knew she "had been
with Jesus;" and that it was learning to know and feel his wonderful
love which had made Jennie so good, and so happy.
And so, we see that Jesus was doing a blessed thing for us when he
taught the parables which show his love for sinners.
_A third thing taught us by some of the parables of Jesus is_--THE
DUTY OF KINDNESS.
One day, while Jesus was on earth, a young man came to him with the
great question, what he should do to obtain eternal life. Jesus
referred him to the Ten Commandments; and reducing them to two, he
told the young man that these commandments required him to love God
with all his heart, and his neighbor as himself; and then said if he
would do this he would be saved.
This is perfectly true. Any one would be saved who would do this.
But no one ever has done this except our blessed Lord Himself. He
"magnified the law and made it honorable" by keeping it perfectly. I
suppose that Jesus intended to give this young man some lessons about
the commandments of God which would lead him to see that he never
could keep them himself; and that he would need some one to keep them
for him, and that _this_ was the only way in which he, or any one
else could be saved. It may have been that the young man did not want
to hear any thing more on that subject, and so he gave the
conversation a different turn by asking--"who is my neighbor?" when
Jesus said he must love his neighbor as himself. And then, in answer
to this question Jesus told the parable of the "Good Samaritan." We
have this parable in St. Luke x: 30-37.
Here we are told of a certain man who was going down from Jerusalem
to Jericho, and fell among thieves. They robbed him; and wounded him;
and left him half dead. While he was lying there helpless and
suffering, a priest and a Levite came, and looked on him, and passed
by on the other side, without giving him any help. Then we are told
that a certain Samaritan came by, and when he saw the poor wounded
man lying there, although he was a Jew, and the Jews and the
Samaritans hated each other very much, yet he pitied him, and went up
to him, and bound up his wounds, and set him on his own beast, and
carried him to an inn, and told them to take care of him, and said
that he would pay all his expenses. Then Jesus asked the question,
"Which now, of these three thinkest thou was neighbor to him that
fell among thieves? And he said, he that showed mercy on him. Then
said Jesus unto him, Go, and do thou likewise."
Thus Jesus taught the duty of kindness. This kindness we must show,
not to our friends only, but to our enemies. _Kindness to all_ is the
duty that Jesus teaches.
Let us look at one or two illustrations of the way in which we should
"The Honey Shield." It is said that wasps and bees will not sting a
person whose skin is covered with honey. And so those who are exposed
to the sting of these venomous little creatures smear their hands and
faces over with honey, and this, we are told, proves the best shield
they can have to keep them from getting stung. And the honey here
very well represents the kindness which Jesus teaches us to practise.
If kindness, gentleness, and forbearance are found running through
all our words and actions, we shall have the best shield to protect
us from the spiteful stings of wicked people.
"Androcles and the Lion." Most of those who read these pages may have
heard this story, but it illustrates the point before us so well that
I do not hesitate to use it here.
Androcles was a Roman slave. To escape the cruel treatment of his
master he ran away. A lonely cave in the midst of the forest was his
home for a while. Returning to his cave one day he met a lion near
the mouth of the cave. He was bellowing as if in pain; and on getting
nearer to him, he found that he was suffering from a thorn which had
run into one of his paws. It was greatly swollen and inflamed, and
was causing him much pain. Androcles went up to the suffering beast.
He drew out the rankling thorn and thus relieved him of his pain. His
nature, savage as it was, felt the power of the kindness thus shown
to him. He became attached to the lonely slave, and shared his prey
with him while they remained together.
But, after a while the retreat of Androcles was discovered. He was
taken and carried back to his master. The lion also was made a
prisoner soon after. Androcles was kept in prison for some time; and
finally, according to the custom of the Romans, he was condemned to be
devoured by wild beasts. The lion to be let loose on Androcles had
been kept a long time without food and was very hungry. When the door
of his den was opened he rushed out with a tremendous roar. The
Colosseum was crowded with spectators. They expected to see the poor
slave torn to pieces in a moment. But, to the surprise of everyone,
the great monster, hungry as he was, instead of devouring the
condemed man, crouched at his feet, and began to fondle him, as a pet
dog would do. He recognized in the poor prisoner his friend of the
forest and showed that he had not forgotten his kindness. The
kindness of Androcles had been like the honey shield to him. It saved
his life, first from the savage beast in the forest; and then from
the savage men in the city. Let us all put on this shield, and wear
it wherever we go. The lesson of kindness which Jesus teaches in
this parable, has been very well put by some one in these sweet
THE LESSON OF KINDNESS.
"Think kindly of the erring!
Thou knowest not the power
With which the dark temptation came
In some unguarded hour;
Thou knowest not how earnestly
They struggled, or how well,
Until the hour of weakness came,
And sadly then they fell.
"Speak kindly to the erring!
Thou yet may'st lead him back
With holy words, and tones of love,
From misery's thorny track:
Forget not _thou_ hast often sinned
And sinful yet must be:--
Deal kindly with the erring one
As God hath dealt with thee!"
The duty of kindness was the third lesson Jesus taught in the
_A fourth lesson taught us in some of the parables of Jesus is_----
THE DUTY OF FORGIVENESS.