[2]
Editorial: Compromise Always Leads to Betrayal

The announcement carried in the front of this issue speaks for itself.

Dr. Dickinson, well-known evangelical moderator of the Irish Presbyterian Church and leading Orangeman, in dialogue with Dr. Daly, the Roman Catholic Bishop and outspoken apologist for Roman dogma and Irish Nationalism.

The whole operation is to be held in Fitzroy Irish Presbyterian Church on Tuesday 22nd April from 7.30 to 9.30 pm.

Here we have a religious 'teach-in' taking place on the theme: "There is hope in Christ" with a Roman Catholic Bishop giving the direction on "The Path of Hope".

Let us look at the so-called "Path of Hope" offered by the Roman Catholic Faith.

* Salvation not in Christ Alone but in Christ plus the Church.

* Salvation not in Christ Alone but in Christ plus Mary.

* Salvation not in Christ Alone but in Christ plus the Confessional.

* Salvation not in Christ Alone but in Christ plus the Mass.

* Salvation not in Christ Alone but in Christ plus the Sacraments.

* Salvation not in Christ Alone but in Christ plus works

* Salvation not in Christ Alone but in Christ plus the Saints.

* Salvation not in Christ Alone but in Christ plus the Pope.

This is Rome's Path of Hope, a path that can only lead on their own admission to an imaginary Purgatory, a place most useful to the enlargement of Dr. Daly's bank balance. Without that lie of Purgatory Dr. Daly's church would be bankrupt.

No wonder the Reformers called the papist priests "pickpockets". Dr. Daly is the chief of a whole multitude of such priestly pickpockets.

To bring Dr. Daly into a Protestant Church, recognise him as a Christian Leader and Teacher and dialogue with him is:

1. An insult to the Lord Jesus whom he professes to create from a wafer every time he offers Mass.

(Continued on p. 11)

[3]
A TRIBUTE TO THE LATE S. A. SMYTH by Rev. John Long

On the afternoon of Sunday February 2, 1986 a special meeting was convened in Rasharkin Free Presbyterian Church for the ordination of three new elders. The service was addressed by Dr. Paisley who enjoyed much liberty as he delivered an acrostic on the word ELDER. After the prescribed questions were put to the Elders Elect by Rev. L. Curran, all the ordained elders present came forward to lay hands on the brethren. As the right hand of fellowship was being extended, Brother Samuel Smyth shook hands with Dr. Paisley and said, 'Imagine you and I giving each other the right hand of fellowship after so many years!' A few moments later, at the end of the service, he collapsed in the foyer of the church and passed into the immediate presence of the Lord.

Brother Smyth, who was seventy-five, had been in declining health for a number of years. He came to know the Lord early in life and was for many years a member of Finvoy Presbyterian Church. About the time that the Free Presbyterian witness began in Rasharkin, the Finvoy minister one day visited Mr. Smyth. During their conversation the minister denied the need for the experience of the new birth. At the end of the ensuing discussion he said, 'Well Sam, you and I will have to agree to differ!', to which Sam replied, 'You and I will agree to part!' From that time on, he threw in his lot with the newly formed Free Church.

Some years later he became a member of the Church Committee and then about twenty years ago was elected to the office of elder, soon also taking over the work of church treasurer. He served the Lord faithfully in these offices, even calling during the last week of his life to visit some of the aged who could no longer attend the House of God. The respect in which he was held by those who knew him was attested by the large crowd which attended his funeral the following Tuesday. The services in the home and at the graveside were conducted by Dr. Paisley and I, assisted by Revs. J. Beggs, G. Cooke and L. Curran.

Brother Smyth's presence will be missed in our assembly, and we assure his wife, sons and sisters of our continued prayers during their time of sorrow.

[4-11 MEDITATIONS FOR THE MONTH]

[11]
Editorial: Compromise Always Leads to Betrayal
(Continued from p. 2)

2. A deception for Dr. Daly cannot direct anyone along a path of hope but rather along the path to hell.

3. A denial of all that historic Presbyterianism stands for.

The Westminster Confession of Faith which the minister of Fitzroy Presbyterian Church Swore to believe at his ordination as did also Dr. Dickinson states that the Pope who appointed Dr. Daly is Antichrist and that Dr. Daly's Masses are abominably injurious to Christ.

"There is no other head of the church but the Lord Jesus Christ, nor can the Pope of Rome in any sense be head thereof; but is that Antichrist, that man of sin, and son of perdition, that exalteth himself in the church against Christ, and all that is called God."

"In this sacrament Christ is not offered up to his Father, nor any real sacrifice made at all for remission of sins of the quick or dead, but only a commemoration of that one offering up of himself, by himself, upon the cross, once for all, and a spiritual oblation of all possible praise unto God for the same; so that the Popish sacrifice of the Mass, as they call it, is most abominably injurious to Christ's one only sacrifice, the alone propitiation for all the sins of the elect."

The necessity of the fearless witness of the Free Presbyterian Church of Ulster is thus demonstrated more than ever.

This is apostasy. The clear teaching of God's Word is separation from this. Christ insulting thing.


"Be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers: for what fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness? and what communion hath light with darkness?

And what concord hath Christ with Belial? or what part hath he that believeth with an infidel?

And what agreement hath the temple of God with idols? for ye are the temple of the living God: as God hath said, I will dwell in them and walk in them; and I will be their God and they shall be my people.

Wherefore come out from among them and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing and I will receive you."

II Cor. 6: 14 - 17.

[12]
Admonition to England -
John Knox

"The eyes of the Lord are upon every sinful nation, to root it out of the earth." (Amos 9)

For thy unthankfulness, O England, he suffereth false teachers to be a burden unto thee, whom if thou dost receive and allow their doctrine, be thou well assured his great wrath cometh shortly after to thy destruction.

This is the accustomed order of God when He is minded to destroy. First He sendeth lying spirits in the mouths of their priests or prophets, which delighted in lies, then suffereth he them to be deceived by the same to their destruction, as He did with Ahab.

O England! Now is God's wrath kindled against thee, now hath He begun to punish, as he hath threatened a long while, by His true prophets and messengers; He hath taken from thee the crown of thy glory, and hath left thee without honour, as a body without a head; and this appears to be only the beginning of sorrows, which appear to increase; for I perceive, that the heart, the tongue, and hand of one ' Englishman is bent against another, and division to be in the whole realm, which is an assured sign of desolation to come.

O England, England! dost thou not consider, that the Commonwealth is like a ship sailing on the sea; if thy mariners and governors shall consume one another, shalt thou not suffer ship-wreck in a short process of time? O England, England! alas! these plagues are poured upon thee, for that thou wouldst not know the most happy time of thy gentle visitation. But wilt thou yet obey the voice of thy God, and submit thyself to His Holy Words? Truly, if thou wilt, thou shalt find mercy in His sight, and the state of thy Commonwealth shall be preserved.

But, O England, England! if thou obstinately wilt return into Egypt: that is, if thou returnest to thine old abominations, formerly used under the papistry, then assuredly, thou shalt be plagued and brought to desolation. Assuredly as my God liveth, and as those Israelites that obstinately returned into Egypt again were plagued to the death, so shall England taste what the Lord hath threatened by His prophets before.

"He, that being often reproved hardeneth his neck, shall suddenly be destroyed, and that without remedy." "The wicked shall be turned into hell, and all the nations that forget God," (Prov. 29: 1; Psa. 9:17.) [13] 

The Sunday School Teacher's Teacher

Subject: The Life of Our Lord Jesus Christ
 

Lesson LVIII - Some Mistakes Corrected
Lord's Day 6th April 'Who is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven?'

Read - Matt. xviii. 1-14; Mark ix. 30-48; Learn - Isa. lv. 8, 9; Matt. xviii. 1-3.

SKETCH OF LESSON

Who does not like to be 'greatest', first among others, the leader, the chosen one? (Illust. - At the head of class; captain of side in a game, etc.) Often read in history of men fighting and plotting to be greatest. Whom would you expect not to have this feeling? The followers of Christ? Ah! they have it sometimes - see it today.

I. WISHING TO BE GREAT

The disciples are beginning to think the 'kingdom' will soon be set up. Now then, 'Who shall be the greatest?' - this question uppermost in their minds - talk of it as they walk along, Mark ix. 34. Do they discuss it merely out of curiosity? No - 'disputed' each wants to be first - perhaps the nine jealous of the three who had been alone with Jesus on the mount and seen something they could not tell the others (ver. 9) - perhaps James and John jealous of Peter because of what Jesus said to him (Matt. xvi. 18).

But on one thing they are agreed: they, the Twelve, shall have honour and authority above all others - and why should they not use their authority now? So they will; and a chance soon comes. Here is a man actually doing what they 'had failed to do (Mark ix. 18) - casting out devils in their Master's name - 'who is he? - not one of our company - what right has he to do it?' What do they do? ver. 38 - no doubt angrily and proudly.

They reach home - the eye of Jesus on them (like Elisha's on Gehazi, 2 Kings v. 25; comp. Luke xxii. 61) - Hear His searching question, ver. 33 - see them silent and ashamed, ver. 34 (comp. Matt. xxii. 12; Rom. iii. 19), as He tells them what shall come on the ambitious and envious, ver. 35. But now they have recovered themselves the old thoughts come back - 'After all, who is to be greatest?' - would like to know - ask Jesus, Matt. xviii. 1.

Jesus sees all their mistaken ideas - how different their thoughts from God's (1st text for rep.) - will make it clear to them.

II. THE TRUE WAY TO BE GREAT

A little child in the house. Jesus calls it does it obey? He takes it up - is it afraid? Humble, submissive, docile, trustful - a pretty picture - a parable acted instead of spoken. See how Jesus applies it, ver. 3. Great in the 'Kingdom'! - are they sure they are fit to be in it at all? Would their being apostles be enough? - we know one who had no part in it. Before they can enter, must be 'changed' - from what? from ambition, jealousy, pride, unkindness, etc. And what to be? Just what that little child is - thinking little of itself - content to be thought little of - wishing no great honours - quietly doing as bid - trusting in those older and wiser. Peter and James [14] and the rest must be like that, and the lowliest shall be the great ones - not be raised up high as reward for being lowly always to remain lowly - for being lowly is being 'great in the kingdom.' Comp. Ps. cxxxviii. 6; Prov. iii. 34; Isa. lvii. 15. And if lowly, no envy - do not the lowly 'esteem others better than themselves'? Phil. ii. 3; Eph. iv. 2; Rom. xii. 10.

III. HOW TO SHEW WE ARE GREAT

(1) How had the disciples been shewing off their authority (above).

But now John begins to be uneasy, for see what Jesus has just said, Mark ix. 37. Uneasy? - no wonder - if a little insignificant child should be cared for, ought not all weak and inferior disciples to be cared for? and had they treated that man rightly? John asks, ver. 38. How does Jesus reply? ver. 39-41 (comp. Numb. xi. 29; Phil. i. 18). Why should the man be treated as a brother? Because 'on our side'. How know that? - (a) he was trying to do good; (b) he was doing it believing in Jesus. Even much smaller good deeds than his, if done for Christ, should be rewarded, ver. 41. True, he held back from joining the disciples; but why? they knew not, and were not to assume that his reason was a bad one; suppose he were a 'little one', weak in faith - then he the very person to be received'.

(2) But this not all. They had 'left undone what they ought to have done' (i.e., treating the man as a brother) - had they not also 'done what they ought not to have done'? - had they not actually injured him? How? (Illust. - Little child learning to walk; you don't help it - that's bad; but what is worse? Putting a great stone in way, for it to fall over.) Had they not put something in his way? - their pride and churlishness might it not make him say, 'Are these the disciples of the new prophet? then I will have nothing to do with them or Him'? See how Jesus rebukes them, Mark ix. 42 offend', i.e., put a stumbling-block in the way - what is better than doing that? - better to have millstone round own neck in the see than to put stumbling-stone in another's path - better be drowned than cause another to sin. Remember Jeroboam, 1 Kings xiv. 16.

(3) But is it easy thus to treat others rightly - to 'receive' them as brethren not to 'offend' them? No, the easy thing is to be envious, proud, unkind - to fall into sin and make others to sin. What then? Be watchful and resolute - fight against sin in our hearts, on our tongues, etc. - not struggle a little and then give way, but struggle till we conquer. Is this hard and painful? well, Jesus knows it - what does He call it? Mark ix. 43, 45, 47. Being 'like the little child' is no child's play - must be manly, 'quit you like men' (1 Cor. xvi. 13). But see the solemn reason why it is 'better' to struggle on, even if it be like cutting off a hand or plucking out an eye, ver. 44, 46, 48 - terrible words! yet it is the loving Saviour who speaks them.

So, three ways of shewing we are great':-

(1) Being kind and gentle to those we think inferior - not lording it over them; Rom. xii. 16.

(2) Taking care not to 'offend' them, not to make them sin, Rom. xiv. 13, 21.

(3) Conquering, not countries and armies (like Alexander 'the Great'), but our own sins, Prov. xvi. 32.

Now what mistakes has Jesus corrected? (a) That to be 'great in the kingdom' is to have a high place, plenty of authority, etc. It is not what we have, but what we are; not where we are, but what we are.

(b) That to be above or before others is worth struggling for. It makes us small, not great.

(c) That we shew how great we are by standing on our rights,' and 'keeping others in their place.'

(d) That we have only ourselves to think of in what we say and do. Our sin may ruin another's soul.

(a) That it is easy to be Christ's disciple.

And one other mistake (next lesson).

But see one thing more today -


A MOTIVE FOR TRYING TO BE GREAT IN CHRIST'S WAY

See Matt. xviii. 10-14. Why think so much of the young, the weak, the 'little ones'? See who does think of them: the angels nearest God are their angels, to watch over them, ver. 10 (comp. Ps. xxxiv. 7, xci. 11; Heb. i. 14); the Son came from heaven on purpose to save them, ver. 11-13; the Father - what is His will concerning them? ver. 14. Ah! and are we not all alike in this? Where should we be but for the Father's I good will', the Son's 'seeking and saving', the angels' care? How can we despise or offend any one, when we think of that? [15]

Lesson LIX - The Rule and Pattern of Forgiveness
Lord's Day 13th April 'Even as God for Christ's sake hath forgiven you.'

Read - Matt. xviii. 15-35; Learn - Eph. iv. 31, 32; Matt. vi. 14, 15

SKETCH OF LESSON

In learning arithmetic, two things given us: rules and examples. Today we have a rule, and an example or pattern - to teach us what? How to forgive.

I. THE RULE OF FORGIVENESS

Jesus has been talking to the Apostles about 'offences' (last Lesson) whose offences? theirs against others what to do with them? try and let there be none at all. Now He talks about others' offences against them - what to do with these.

You have been injured by some one; what do you do? What usually done? Is it not this -\tell everybody how badly you have been treated! Now why is this? is it not to have a kind of revenge, by showing how bad he is? And why this? because angry feeling in heart. Perhaps you say, 'Oh, I forgive him, of course' - but is it forgiving to complain and make mischief?

Now what sort of forgiveness does Jesus speak of? ver. 35 - 'from your heart.' Then are you just to let it alone? No - (read ver. 15-20). Why 'go to him alone'? Because you care for him - don't want him to sin feel that by his wrong-doing he has hurt his own soul more than you - will try and win him back by speaking gently to him. That is 'forgiving from the heart' - that is obeying Christ's command in Matt. v. 44. And if he does repent, how happy for you! see Prov. xi. 30; Dan. xii. 3; Jas. v. 19, 20.

But supposing he 'will not hear thee, what then? tell others? yes but in his presence, ver. 16 - let them hear both sides. And suppose nothing moves him then what? ver. 17 - his sin must not be passed over, but how is he to be treated? with iii-tempered looks, harsh words, unkind acts? see what St. Paul told his converts to do, Gal. vi. 1; 2 Cor. ii. 6, 7. Jesus really says so too, ver. 20 - for how could He be 'in the midst' where hatred and revenge are? And if the offender is prayed for, what hope of winning him? ver. 19. Let us then pray, 'That it may please Thee to bless our enemies" etc., 'and to turn their hearts'.

But suppose the offender repents, and then offends again? Peter thinks of this, ver. 21 - well, he has been taught to forgive three times - but surely Jesus will say more - perhaps seven. So He does (Luke xvii. 4), but see ver. 22 - does He mean 490 times? why, if you have 'forgiven and forgotten", how count up? if you can remember the offences to count them, that shews you have never 'forgiven from the heart' once. Jesus means, no limit at all.


Two rules, then:-(a) From the heart, oneself; (b) From the heart, never tiring of caring more for the offender than for forgiving him.

Do these seem very hard rules to keep? So thought the Apostles, for see what they asked when they heard them, Luke xvii. 5. Let us pray the same prayer.

II. THE PATTERN OF FORGIVENESS

To shew this, Jesus tells a parable. (Read ver. 23-34.) When we are offended, very angry, think 'we can't forgive this - really too bad,' then must remember that we too have a Creditor - One whom we have offended.

What does the parable tell us about Him and our debt to Him?

(a) There is a time of reckoning. The day of judgement? yes, Matt. xxv. 19; Rom. xiv. 12. But it may come before that. Sometimes God comes and tells us of our sins, makes us count them up, and think about them. It was such a time of ng for David, when Nathan went to him (2 Sam. xii.); for the Ninevites, when Jonah preached to them (Jon. iii.). It is the Holy Spirit's work, John xvi. 8, 9. Is it kind of God to do it? If not done, the sinner goes on making his debt heavier, 'treasuring up wrath' (Rom. ii. 5). So, however young we are, the sooner the reckoning comes the better.

(b) Then we shall feel how great our debt [16] is. Do others offend us very much? see how the parable puts others' offences against us alongside ours against God - '300 pence', '10,000 talents' - one 600,000 times as great as the other. It is so, whether we know it or not; but one day we shall know it - how feel then? see Ps. xl. 12. What do? what did the servant do? ver. 26 - 'will pay thee all' - so thinks the sinner, but how hopeless! - if could do 'all that is commanded' henceforth, this only our duty (Luke xvii. 10), and what can we set against the old score? No, we can never pay our debt to God.

(c) But God is willing to forgive freely. What made the king remit that great debt? ver. 27 - 'compassion'. So God, Exod. xxxiv. 6; 2 Chron. xxx. 9; Neh. ix. 17; Ps. lxxxvi. 5, 15. And how did the king forgive? by halves? taking 'ten shillings in the pound', or even 'six pence in the pound'? see ver. 32 - 'all that debt'. So God, Isa. xxxviii. 17, xliv. 22; Mic. vii. 18, 19.

(d) Who they are that will not have God's forgiveness? See that servant - he has heard the king's gracious promise as he lay prostrate - what next? 'went out' - he forgets the mercy shewn him - here is a poor debtor of his, also a servant of the king, but an inferior one - him he seizes see the poor man at his feet - will he not recollect how he fell down and spoke like that just now? - will he not think, 'How little this man owes me to what I owed the  king! - I can't press him after such a release'? What does he do? Now, are not we like this sometimes? - HEAR God's message (in church or school) - are touched - think, 'how good He is!' then I go out' - forget all about it - meet some one who has wronged us - all the angry and revengeful feeling back in a moment. Can God forgive such? If we go before God's judgment seat like that, what must come on us? Pray that He may never address us in the king's words - 'O thou wicked servant'.

Now what is the 'pattern of forgiveness which Jesus gives? See first text for rep. 'Even as God . . . hath forgiven you'.

But there are two things about God which the Parable does not tell us. God has done more than that king, for -

1. He has spared us again and again. Think how often have we deserved His wrath! yet He has 'shewn forth all long-suffering' (1 Tim. i. 16); see Ps. lxxviii. 38, ciii. 8-13; Rom. ii. 4; 2 Pet. iii. 9.

2. He has given His Son to bear our sin. See again first text for rep. - 'even as God for Christ's sake hath', etc. How true are Rom. v. 8; 1 John iv. 10, 11!

How then, can we be hard upon others, when God has done all this for us?

We pray, 'Forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive them', etc. Do we really wish God to treat us as we treat others? if He did, how would it be?

Lesson LX - The Final Departure from Galilee
Lord's Day 20th April 'He steadfastly set His face to go to Jerusalem.'

Read - Luke ix. 51-62; Learn - Heb. xii. 1, 2; Luke ix. 62.

SKETCH OF LESSON

When any one leaves the place he has lived in for years, how does he feel? (illust. Boy leaving village to begin life in London; or, emigrants just starting.) The Lord Jesus was 'in all things like His brethren' (Heb. ii. 17), and we have now come to a time when He must have had those feelings.

Jesus is leaving Galilee - leaving it to die. How long had He been there? Think of the two periods: many years as poor carpenter in quiet village home; then (after some months' absence), nearly two years going about doing good' (see Lesson XXIV). Surely it was sad, with His tender heart, to turn from those long familiar scenes and faces. But, a special cause for sadness - some had believed in Him and loved Him, but what of the people generally? (see a few verses further on, x. 13-15.)

Those who must leave home like to have two things:- (a) Bright prospects before them - then can go hopefully. (b) Brave and loving companions to go with them. [17]

Now see how it was with Jesus.

I. THINK OF JESUS HIMSELF, AND WHERE HE WAS GOING (Ver. 51)

1. What was before Him? 'Jerusalem' and what there? Going from ignorant country folk to learned priests and scribes, would He be more welcomed? What had happened when He went there before (Lessons XVII, XXXIV, LIV, LV.) We know what was coming: did He know? What had He told the Apostles? See ver. 22, 44 (Lesson LI).

2. Knowing this, what did He do? 'Steadfastly set His face.' What is 'setting the face'? (Illust. - Your father says he will do so and so; you know he means it by his determined look. Or, you 'set yourself' to do that hard sum, and your face shows it.) But how hard to 'set the face' to go to pain and suffering! (illust. - Wounded man facing painful amputation.) Now see Jesus, knowing it all beforehand, going forward steadfastly'; as prophesied of Him, Isa. 1. 7 ('set my face like a flint', and see ver. 5, 6). Like St. Paul (Acts xx. 24), 'none of these things move Him.' Could He avoid them? Matt. xxvi. 53; John x. 18. Why will He not? Think -

3. What sustained Him? Three things: -

That it was the Father's will (see Isa. Iiii. 10; Rom. viii. 32). This was enough for Jesus, John iv. 34, xvii. 4. (b) His love for sinners. This brought Him from heaven, 2 Cor. viii. 9; and will it fail now? No - 'loved unto the end,' John xiii. 1. (c) 'The joy set before Him' (1st text for rep.): what does St. Luke say? - 'when the time came' what time? - 'that He should be received up'. He looks beyond the cross and the grave - sees the glory to follow: the glory He had before (John xvii. 5), and the new glory as perfect Man (Phil. ii. 9) - yes, and something else - He will not be alone myriads of saved souls too - this is His joy. (See Isa. liii. 11; John xvii. 24; Heb. ii. 10-13; comp. 1 Thess. ii. 19).

Who can see Him 'steadfastly setting His face to go to Jerusalem' without loving Him? Who can turn away from such a Saviour?

II. SEE WHO WERE CALLED TO GO WITH HIM, AND HOW THEY ACTED

1. The Apostles. These of course. But see what they were looking forward to - what they though and felt, ver. 52-56.

Here is a Samaritan village, just on the border of Galilee. Two Jews coming in hear their proclamation - 'The King, Messiah, coming: prepare to receive Him!' Will the Samaritans be like those of Sychar (John iv. 40), so glad to have Jesus with them? Why not? ver. 53 - 'Messiah! this is no true Messiah, going to Jerusalem to be King instead of to Mount Gerizim; we'll have nothing to do with Him.'

What do the Apostles say to this? They are thinking of their Master, not as the suffering Friend of sinners, but as the great King of the Jews, going to reign at last, and they to share His triumph (see Lesson LVIII); - shall they submit to such insults? Certainly the 'sons of thunder' (Mark iii. 17') will not; whom do they remember and wish to imitate? ver. 54 (see 2 Kings i. 10-14). Just like what John was before, ver. 49 (Lesson LVIII) - how was he rebuked then? - so again now, ver. 55, 56. If they are like that, proud, fierce, pitiless, how can they be followers of the patient, humble Master? Are they so very resolute, I setting their faces to punish their foes? - well, He is resolute too - much more so - but to do what? ver. 56 - 'to save men', and that by suffering Himself. See how He showed His forgiving love soon afterwards, chap. xvii. 16 - healed a Samaritan leper. And see what John gave the Samaritans when he knew better, Acts viii. 14-17.

2. Other disciples. Here are three men - they believe in Jesus as Messiah - would like to go with Him. Are they more like Him than James and John?

(a) The thoughtless disciple, ver. 57. Oh, yes, he will go - 'whithersoever' - ready for anything (like Peter, Luke xxii. 33). For anything? What does Jesus remind him of? ver. 58 - not riches and honour, but poverty and suffering, to be had by following Jesus. Had He not just been refused a lodging? (above). Ah, what a difference that makes! (illust. - Drop of acid detecting sham gold; water quenching fire.)

(b) The sad and feeble disciple, ver. 59. How can he go, with all these sorrows upon him, all this mourning to go through? See how differently Jesus treats him, ver. 60. (illust. - Two horses: bridle for one, spur for the other.) Before, Jesus used the bridle; now the spur - 'Go thou and preach.'

(c) The half-hearted disciple, ver. 61. What does he want to do? Merely to say farewell at home like Elisha (1 Kings xix. 20)? Ah, no, Jesus Knows better - sees the heart wavering - home loved more than God - how then 'fit'? Where must the ploughman's eye be, if he is to plough straight? Besides, he that 'looks back' may [18] 'draw back'. See Gen. x ix. 26; Ps. xlv. 10; Luke xiv. 26, xvii. 31, 32; Phil. iii. 13; Heb. x. 38, 39.

How different all these from Jesus! Not one 'steadfastly setting his face' to follow in His steps. Did Jesus, then, in leaving His old home, etc., have like-minded companions? Here was another kind of suffering: He was alone.

See then -

EXAMPLES FOR US TO AVOID

We are called to be Christ's followers have been baptised promising to be 'His faithful soldiers and servants.'

Are we frightened because all may not be pleasant? or too much wrapped up in troubles to attend to such things? or looking back to attend to such things? or looking back to old pleasures? (refer to the three disciples, as above). Are we following - trying to 'be religious' - but in a wrong spirit - not penitent, humble, lowly, but proud because we are 'not as other men are', and so no love for others? (refer to James and John, as above).

AN EXAMPLE FOR US TO FOLLOW

We have seen what was before Jesus; see what is before us, 2 Tim. iii. 12. But what beyond that? Rom. viii. 18; 2 Cor. iv. 18. How can we be like Him? see 1st text for rep. - (a) throw aside whatever hinders us; (b) run with patience; (c) always be 'looking unto Jesus.'

And remember what He did was for our sakes: shall we not show our love by following Him?

Lesson LXI - The Mission of the Seventy
Lord's Day 27th April 'Treasure in earthen vessels.'

Read - Luke x. 1 -24; Learn.- Luke x. 21; 2 Cor. iv. 7.

SKETCH OF LESSON

The 2nd text for rep. speaks 'of 'treasure in earthen vessels'. We put beautiful jewel or ornament in handsome case - what then? two things to look at - jewel and case. But if in common ugly box or in earthen pot, then only the jewel looked at. What does St. Paul mean by 'this treasure'? God's message of salvation - the Gospel - all he had to tell about Christ - the 'unspeakable gift' (2 Cor. ix. 15) - the 'pearl of great price' (Matt. xiii. 46). And he, Paul, an earthen vessel' - one unworthy to bring such a treasure to men - why then chosen? - 'that the excellency,' etc. - (comp. Ps. cxv. 1).

Today see some of these 'earthen vessels', to whom Christ entrusted the great treasure.

I. THE WORK TO BE DONE

Jesus is starting on a journey - where from? where to? (last Lesson). But He is not going straight to Jerusalem - the 'time' (of death, resurrection, ascension, see ix. 51) not yet - about five months off. And meanwhile Jesus will once more proclaim Himself to the people, and invite them to receive Him as their true Messiah.

Why will He do this? (a) See Matt. ix. 36 (Lesson XXXVIII) - 'compassion' for the ,sheep having no shepherd'; Luke xiii. 34 - He longed to gather them to Him as hen gathers under her wings. (b) But if they would reject Him, it must not be because they did not know - His call must be a public one (see Acts xxvi. 26 - 'not done in a corner').

Where will He do this? Not in Galilee there they have known Him well a long while - have already rejected Him (ver. 13- 15). In Samaria? - but He has just tried there - and what came of it? (last-Lesson). In Peraea? - yes, there first (Matt. xix. 1) - then afterwards go on to Judea.

How will He do this? By a great journey from city to city, from place to place (ver. 1). Not only by healing sick and teaching in synagogues, but by sending men 'before His face' to announce His coming, with the solemn message that 'the kingdom is come nigh' (ver. 1, 9).

II. THE MEN TO DO THE WORK

The Twelve? no, they not enough - so many places to be sent to all at once. Jesus must choose out others to help - men who have not been His companions always, quiet people at Capernaum, Cana, etc., who believe in Him and love Him, but have not preached before. But -

What 'earthen vessels' they were to carry such a 'treasure'! how unfit to do such a [19] work, and to have power to work miracles! Think - what little knowledge, many faults, the Twelve had, in spite of being always with Jesus - what must these Seventy have been!

But they had three qualifications. (a) They were true disciples, see ver. 20 - we know not one of their names, but where were their names? (b) God had taught them, see ver. 21 - the truth about Jesus, which priests and scribes knew not, God had revealed even to these 'babes' (comp. Matt. xvi. 17). (c) They were willing to go. Others hesitated, see ix. 57-62 (last Lesson); these were ready.

III. HOW THEY WENT ABOUT THE WORK

In ver. 2-12 are the directions Jesus gave them. Let us imagine we go with two of them, and watch what they do.

They start on their journey. Feeling what? ver. 2 - how great the harvest - how few labourers - glad Jesus sent them - hope and pray for more. But anxious too - Jesus has told of dangers, ver. 3 - wolves (bitter foes) in the way - they only lambs. Yet they can trust in God - He will take care of them - yes, and to Him they look for provision also, for what have they got? ver. 4 - no money, no stores, no spare clothes.

They are on the road, hastening on, stopping for nothing. Here is a man coming the other way - will they go through all the usual long ceremonies - see ver. 4 (comp. 2 Kings iv. 29) - no time to halt - on they go.

They enter a town. Like Jonah, begin to preach - what? ver. 9 - 'kingdom nigh to you, for the King coming after us.' See crowds round, wondering, questioning. Then a great marvel - here are blind and lame - in full faith on their Master's promise (ver. 9) they touch the darkened eyes and crippled limbs - well in a moment! More than this, even the devils' cast out in the name of Jesus, ver. 17. Do the grateful people believe the message, and prepare for the King? Their hearts too hard - care not for a Saviour, or offended because He comes from Galilee - think as we have seen so many others (see John i. 46, vi. 41, 42, 60, 66, vii. 41, 48, viii. 52; Luke iv. 22, 28). Then what do the messengers do? ver. 11 - treat them as Jews treated heathens - leave them with a last warning ('nevertheless', etc.). What does Jesus say shall be the fate of such rejecters of His servants? ver. 12; and why? ver. 17.

They go on to another city - preaching and healing again - here received - people willing to have the King. How do the messengers act? Kindly, ver. 5; patiently, ver. 6; contentedly, ver. 7.

Think of seventy men going about thus - what a stir must have been made! everybody talking of it - all knowing that Jesus of Nazareth claims to be Messiah - all may take His part if they will.

IV. THE RETURN FROM THE WORK

The Seventy have done their work - now they come to their Master. See the rejoicing - theirs - His.

Their joy, ver. 17. At what? at readiness of people to receive Jesus? at sinners repenting (comp. Luke xv. 10)? No, but at their own triumph over the devils. Was this a cause for joy? yes - a sign of Satan's fall from his power, ver. 18. But if they must think of themselves instead of their Master or the people, should rejoice more for something else - what? ver. 20 - why? more blessed to be Christ's people than to have miraculous power (comp. 1 Cor. xiii. 1-3) - some might even cast out devils and yet not be His servants (Matt. vii. 22, 23) - like Judas. So we see how imperfect the Seventy were - then how kind of Jesus to employ them!

His joy, ver. 21 - the only time we read of Jesus rejoicing. At what? at the power of His name (ver. 17) to do marvels? No, but at the Father's goodness in making His salvation known to the poor and ignorant to 'babes'. Think, then - when a Sunday-school child is taught God's word - when it listens, believes, loves - that gives joy to Christ!

Is it strange that Christ entrusted the 'treasure' to such 'earthen vessels', that He employed such weak and ignorant men? Well, but it shows one thing, that - Christ calls on the very weakest of His servants to do something for Him.

Are you too young, too ignorant, too able? But He does not want you poor, too feeble? But he does not want you to do great things - only something. But there must be three qualifications - the very same the Seventy had: -

(a) Must be true disciples, really caring for Christ.

(b) Must be taught of God what to do and how to do it. But is not God willing to teach 'babes'? ver. 21; and see His promise, Jas. i. 5.

(c) Must be willing - then God pleased with the smallest service, 2 Cor. viii. 12.

Remember Naaman's little maid (2 Kings v.); and God's words to Jeremiah (i. 6-9). [20]

"LIVING ROOM": A page for women, presented by Eileen Paisley

Two of the saddest words I know are "No hope". A few years ago those words were spoken to my father, my brothers, my sister and myself by the family doctor as we all stood around my mother's bed. Sadly for us his words were all too true, but in the midst of our sorrow we had the calm assurance of a "Better hope".

Some fifty-two years previously, my mother had put her trust savingly in the Lord Jesus Christ and for her it was soon to be a welcome to that "better country" where she had been laying up her treasures, and in which God had been preparing for her a mansion.

There are several "better things" mentioned in the book of Hebrews. In chapter 7:22 we read that Jesus was made a surety of a "better testament". In the Old Testament we were all under law, but now through the intermediary work of Christ we are under grace. In the Old Testament the priests eventually died, and new priests came along, but Christ "ever, liveth to make intercession for us". In the Old Testament, sacrifices were offered daily for both the priest and the people, but Christ offered one great all-sufficient sacrifice for sins for ever, when He offered up Himself.

We have two better things mentioned in chapter 8, verse 6, namely a "better covenant" and "better promises". Away back in Jeremiah God promised to make a new Covenant with His people, and He said, "I will forgive their iniquity and remember their sin no more". When we come to Christ and receive Him as our Saviour, then we are "heirs of promise". Christ has given us exceeding great and precious promises; by which we are made partakers of the Divine Nature.

Sometimes people make promises they are unable to fulfil, and we are [21] disappointed but God performs and will perform all He has promised. 1 John 2:25 speaks of one of these wonderful promises: "And this is the promise that He hath promised us, even eternal life", and in Hebrews 10:23 we have this assurance: "He is faithful that promised."

Paul also speaks of a "better substance" in Hebrews 10:34. He is speaking to those who have stood by him in his afflictions and as a consequence have suffered the loss and destruction of their property. It is worth noticing that they "took joyfully" their loss. They had learned that the things which are seen are not for ever and their affections were not wrapped up in their possessions. They knew in their hearts that their lasting possessions were in heaven. How richer our lives would be if we would only learn this lesson.

We read of "better sacrifices". Under the old covenant, the blood of animals was used to purge sin, but a better sacrifice must be found to satisfy Divine justice, and the only one worthy was our blessed Saviour.

O Christ what sorrows bowed Thy head!
My sins were laid on Thee.
Thou stoodest in the sinners stead,
Did'st bear all ill for me.
A victim led, Thy blood was shed,
Now there's no load for me.

In the great "faith" chapter of Hebrews, we read of a "better resurrection" obtained by those who had suffered torture for the sake of Christ, and although they were offered deliverance from death, refused that they might obtain a better resurrection. They were wholehearted in their endurance and today they are among those who have won the martyrs' crown.

May we always remember the better things we can know now and anticipate with joy those that will be ours for all eternity. [22]

A Sweet Thought by Augustus Toplady, Author of "Rock of Ages"

How sweet must the following consideration be to a distressed believer. There most certainly exists an almighty, all-wise, and infinitely gracious God. He has given me in time past, and is giving me at present (if I had but eyes to see it) many and signal intimations of His love to me, both in a way of providence and grace. This love of His is immutable: He never repents of it, nor withdraws it. Whatever comes to pass in time, is the result of His will from everlasting - consequently, my afflictions were a part of His original plan, and are all ordered, in number, weight, and measure. The very hairs of my head are every one counted by Him; nor can a single hair fall to the ground but in consequence of His determination. Hence my distresses are not the result of chance, accident, or a fortuitous combination of circumstances: but the providential accomplishment of God's purpose, and designed to answer some wise and gracious ends. Nor shall my affliction continue a moment longer than God sees meet. He who brought me to it has promised to support me under it, and to carry me through it. All shall most assuredly work together for His glory and my good. Therefore, the cup which my heavenly Father hath given me to drink, shall I not drink it? Yes, I will, in the strength He imparts, even rejoice in tribulation; and, using the means of possible redress which He hath, or may hereafter put into my hands, I will commit myself and the event to Him whose purpose cannot be overthrown, whose plan cannot be disconcerted, and who, whether I am resigned or not, will still go on to work all things after the counsel of His own will.


Believers alone understand the Scriptures - To unconverted persons a great part of the Bible resembles a letter written in cipher. The blessed Spirit's office is to act as God's decipherer, by letting his people into the secret of celestial experience, as the key and clue to those sweet mysteries of grace which were before as a garden shut up, or as a fountain sealed, or as a book written in an unknown character.

The Soul's Threefold Estate

O thou precious saint! Thou gracious soul! Three questions call for thy answer; thy answer for thy praise. 1. What wast thou? 2. What art thou? 3. What shalt thou be? 1. What wast thou? A rebel to thy God, a prodigal to thy father, a slave to thy lust, an alien from the commonwealth of Israel. 2. What art thou? The son of God, the spouse of Christ, the temple of the Holy Ghost, begotten of the immortal seed, born of the blood royal of [23] heaven, made free among the denizens of Sion, written among the living of Jerusalem. 3. What shalt thou be? A glorious saint, a companion of cherubims, a triumphant victor, a crowned king, and an attendant on the Lamb wheresoever He goeth; a spectator of those soul-ravishing and ineffable excellencies that are in God, the beholding of the King of Glory face to face, and enjoying immediate communion with Jesus Christ; nay more, made one with Jesus Christ, clothed with His excellencies, enthroned with His glories, crowned with His eternity, filled with His felicity, "The glory which thou hast given me, I have given them." Oh! stand amazed at free grace. And since thy God hath made thy soul a vessel filled with His mercy, make thyself, thy life, a spring flowing with His praise.

The Mystery of Providence and Its Lessons

A sparrow, whose price is but mean, two of them valued at a farthing (which some make to be the tenth-part of a Roman penny, and was certainly one of their least coins) and whose life therefore is but contemptible, and whose flight seems giddy and at random, yet it falls not to the ground, neither lights anywhere, without your Father. His All-wise Providence has before appointed what bough it shall pitch on; what grains it shall pick up; where it shall lodge and where it shall build; on what it shall live, and when it shall die. Our Saviour adds, the very hairs of your head are all numbered. God keeps an account even of that stringy excrescence. Do you see a thousand little motes and atoms wandering up and down in a sunbeam? It is God that so peoples it, and He guides their innumerable and irregular strayings, not a dust flies in a beaten road but God raiseth it, conducts its uncertain motion, and by His particular care conveys it to the certain place He had before appointed for it; nor shall the most fierce and tempestuous wind hurry it any farther. Nothing comes to pass, but God hath His ends in it, and will certainly make his own ends out of it. Though the world seem to run at random, and affairs to be huddled together in blind confusion and rude disorder; yet God sees and knows the concatenation of all causes and effects, and so governs them that He makes a perfect harmony out of all those seeming jarrings and discords. It is most necessary that we should have our hearts well established in the firm and unwavering belief of this truth, that whatsoever comes to pass, be it good or evil, we may look up to the hand and disposal of all, to God. In respect of God, there is nothing casual nor contingent in the world. If a master should send a servant to a certain place and command him to stay there till such a time, and presently after should send another servant to the same place, the meeting of these two is wholly casual in respect of themselves, but ordained and fore-seen [24] by the master who sent them. So it is in all fortuitous events here below.

They fall out unexpectedly, as to us, but not so as to God. He fore-sees and He appoints all the vicissitudes of things.

LEARN

Reader in the above paragraph you have read of Providence in connection with the smallest affairs of daily life, now listen to something comforting in connection with the same Providence as it regards what the world would call "Accidental Death". Is it then a random stroke? Doubtless the blow comes from an aiming though invisible hand. God presideth over the armies of heaven. God ruleth among the inhabitants of the earth, and God conducteth what men call chance, nothing, nothing comes to pass, through a blind and undiscerning fatality. If accidents happen, they happen according to the exact fore-knowledge and conformably to the determinable counsels of eternal wisdom. The Lord, with whom are the issues of death, signs the warrant and gives the high commission. The seemingly fortuitous disaster is only the agent or instrument appointed to execute the supreme decree. When the King of Israel was mortally wounded it seemed to be a casual shot, "A certain man drew a bow at a venture." (1 Kings xxii. 34.) "At a venture" as he thought, but his hand was strengthened by an Omnipotent aid, and the shaft levelled by an unerring eye. So that what we term casualty, is really Providence, accomplishing deliberate designs, but concealing its own interposition. How comforting this reflection! admirably adapted to soothe the throbbing anguish of the mourners and compose their spirits into a quiet submission; Excellently suited to dissipate the fears of godly survivors and create a calm intrepidity even amidst innumerable perils.

FALSE FRIENDS - Are like deep ponds, clear at the top, and all muddy at the bottom, or like crows which flock to a dead carcase, not to defend it, but to devour it; and no sooner have they bared the bones, than they are gone.

GREAT MEN - Are the looking glasses of their country, according to which most men dress themselves.

PROVIDENCE AND PREDESTINATION INSEPARABLE

It is related of King William and Bishop Burnet, that the latter affected to wonder how a person of his Majesty's piety and good sense could so rootedly believe the Doctrine of absolute predestination. The Royal Calvinist replied: "Did I not believe absolute predestination, I could not believe a Providence, For it would be most absurd to suppose that a Being of Infinite Wisdom would act without a plan; for which plan, predestination is only another name. [25]

Faith

The Lord defines faith to be a coming to God in Christ, to be a resting or staying, or rolling of the soul upon Christ; this "gift of God" wrought in the heart by the Holy Spirit engages God in every encounter, and who can stand before a consuming fire? Mary, Queen of Scots, mother to King James, was wont to say that she feared Master Knox's prayers, who was a man of faith, more than an army of ten thousand men. Yet recollect reader that the strongest faith is subject at times to shakings, as the stoutest ships are to tossings, as the wisest men are to doubtings, as the brightest stars are to twinklings. Therefore, Christian, if at certain times thou shouldest not be sensible of the growth of thy faith, yet do not conclude that thou hast no faith. Faith may be in the habit when it is not in the act; there may be life in the root of the tree when there are neither leaves, blossoms, nor fruit upon the tree; but they will show themselves in the spring, and so will the habits of faith break forth into acts, when the Sun of Righteousness shall shine forth and make it a pleasant spring to the soul.

Thoughts on this Assurance of Faith

The deep things which relate to personal experience of the Holy Spirit's dealings with the soul, ought to be matters of prayer, not of disputation.

It has long been a settled point with me that the Scriptures make a wide distinction between faith, the assurance of faith, and the full assurance of faith.

1. Faith is the hand by which we embrace, or touch, or reach toward, the garment of Christ's righteousness for our own justification. Such a soul is undoubtedly safe.

2. Assurance I consider as the ring which God puts upon faith's finger. Such a soul is not only safe, but also comfortable and happy.

Nevertheless, as a finger may exist without wearing the ring, so faith may be real without the superadded gift of assurance. We must either admit this, or set down the late Mr. Hervey, amongst a multitude of others, for an unbeliever. No man, perhaps, ever contended more earnestly for the doctrine of assurance than he, and yet I find him expressly declaring as follows: "What I wrote, concerning a firm faith in God's most precious promises and, an humble trust that we are the objects of His tender love, is what I desire to feel, rather than what I actually experience". The truth is, as another good man expressed it, "A weak hand may tie the marriage knot, and a feeble faith may lay hold on a strong Christ." [26]

Moreover, assurance after it has been vouchsafed to the soul may be lost. Peter, no doubt, lost his assurance, and sinned it away when he denied Christ. He did not however lost the principle of faith, for Christ had beforehand prayed concerning him that his faith itself might not fail, and Christ could not possibly pray in vain. A wife may lose her wedding ring, but that does not dissolve her marriage-relation; she continues a lawful wife still; and yet she is not easy until she finds her ring again.

3. Full assurance, I consider as the brilliant, or cluster of brilliants which adorns the ring, and renders it incomparably more beautiful and valuable. Where the diamond of full assurance is thus set in the gold of faith, it diffuses its ray of love, joy, peace, and holiness, with a lustre which leaves no room for doubt or darkness. While these high and unclouded consolations remain, the believer's felicity is only inferior to that of angels, or saints made perfect above.


The Fulness of Christ's Love by Samuel Rutherford, the famous Covenanter

They are happy for evermore who are over head and ears in love with Christ, and know no sickness but love-sickness for Christ, and feel no pain but the pain of an absent and hidden well-beloved. We run our souls out of breath, and tire them in coursing and galloping after our night dreams; such are the rovings of our miscarrying hearts to get some created good thing in this life, and on this side of death. We would fain stay and spin out a heaven to ourselves on this side of the water; but sorrow, Want, changes, crosses, and sin are both woof and warp in that ill-spun web. I wish our thoughts were more frequently than they are toward that heavenly country! O, but heaven casteth a sweet smell afar off to those who have spiritual smelling! God hath made many fair flowers, but the fairest of them all is heaven, and the flower of all flowers is Christ. Fie, fie upon us who love fair things, as fair gold, fair houses, fair lands, fair pleasures, fair honours, and fair persons, and do not pine and melt away with love to Christ. O would to God I had more love for His sake! O, for as much as would lie betwixt me and heaven! O, for as much as would go round about the earth, and over the heaven, yea, the heaven of heavens, and ten thousand worlds, that I might let it all out upon fair, fair, only fair Christ! But alas! I have nothing for him; yet He hath much for me. 0, if we could but draw the curtains, and look into the inner side of the ark, and behold how the fulness of the God head dwelleth in Him bodily. O, who would not say, "Let me die, let me die ten times to have a sight of Him". Ten thousand deaths were no great price to give for Him. O, how happy then are they who get Christ for nothing! Christ is worthy of all your love, though it should swell upon you from the earth to the uppermost circle of the heaven of heavens. [27]

The Two Covenants by Marshal, the sturdy Puritan

"The two Covenants" - (Galatians iv. 24). None of the Israelites under the Old Testament were ever saved by the old Sinai covenant; neither did any of them ever attain to holiness by the terms of it. Some of them did indeed perform the commandments of it sincerely, though imperfectly: but those were justified first, and made partakers of life and holiness by virtue of that better covenant made with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, which was the same in substance with the new covenant or testament, established by the blood of Christ. Had it not been for that better covenant, the Sinai covenant would have proved to them an occasion of no happiness, but only of sin and despair and destruction. Of itself it was only a killing letter, the ministration of death and condemnation; and therefore it is now abolished (2 Cor. iii. 6-11). We have cause to praise God for delivering His Church by the blood of Christ from this yoke of bondage: and we have cause to abhor the device of those that would lay upon us a more grievous and terrible yoke, by turning our very new covenant, into a covenant of sincere works, and leaving us no such better covenant as the Israelites had under their yoke, to relieve us in our extremity.

Christ Stilling the Tempest: Substance of a sermon preached on the 31st January 1553
by Dr. HUGH LATIMER,
Bishop of Worcester (Martyr)

"And when he had entered into a ship, his disciples followed him. And behold there arose a tempest in the sea, insomuch that the ship was covered with the waves, but he was asleep. And his disciples came to him, and awoke him, saying, Lord save us or we perish. And he saith unto them, Why are ye fearful, O ye of little faith? Then he arose and rebuked the wind and the sea: and there was a great calm." (Matt. viii)

Here, in this gospel, we have a remarkable story, and a wonderful miracle which our Saviour did, being with His disciples upon the sea; which story is written for our doctrine and instruction, that we may comfort ourselves withal, when we are in like trouble in the tempests of this world. For we may learn here many good things, if we consider the story itself, and the circumstances thereof. The evangelist saith that the Saviour, accompanied by His disciples, went into a ship, where He laid Himself upon a pillow and slept; which sleep shows his very manhood, as you shall hear afterward. Now whilst He thus lay asleep, lo there arose suddenly so great a tempest, that they thought they should all have perished; such fearful weather lighted [28] upon them. The disciples, being sore astonished at this horrible weather, wist not what to do. At the last they, remembering themselves, ran to the Saviour who lay there asleep, crying, "Lord, we perish:" or, else as the evangelist Mark saith, "Lord, carest thou not that we perish?" He being awaked, first rebuked them because of their unbelief; after that He rebuked the wind, and commanded the tempest to leave off and cease.

The disciples seeing before the horrible tempest, and now the sudden calmness made through His word, marvelled much; for they never before had seen such things. They had never heard that any man had power to rule the sea and the wind before this time; and therefore they were astonished at it, and said, "O, what manner of man is this, which ruleth with His word the sea and the wind!" This is the sum of this gospel, which contains many good things for our instruction, learning, and comfort.

THE SHIP

First, we may learn here, that the ship signified the congregation of Christ and His Church. The disciples being in the ship are preserved through Christ; so all those who are in the Church of Christ shall be saved and preserved by Him. The others who are without this Church, shall be damned and perish.

Learn here also by the example of the disciples of Christ two things. The first not to presume too much; that is to say, not to stand in your own conceit, thinking yourself to be perfect in faith. Secondly, not to despair because of your imperfections. The disciples thought themselves perfect and strong in faith, before they came into the tempest; but what doth our Saviour? Perceiving their presumption, He sends a tempest to bring them to the knowledge of themselves; and then, they, feeling the weakness of their faith, ran to our Saviour crying for help; whereby every man may learn, not to think too much of himself. And when he feels himself very weak, he may not despair, but run to Christ, as these disciples did; by which, although their heart was weak and feeble, yet were they preserved.

JESUS IS GOD

Moreover, we learn here that our Saviour Christ is both very God and very man. His Godhead appeared in that the wind and waters obeyed Him, and reformed themselves according to His word. For what king or emperor is in the whole world, that can or may command the wind or seas? None at all: yea, if the whole world should be set together with all their power and wits, they would not be able to do any such thing. Therefore learn here to know the majesty of Christ, His power and stay (strength to support) and to believe Him to be very God. Secondly, learn here to know His manhood: for the evangelist saith, "He slept;" which signified His very [29] manhood, and that all things were in him that are in us, except sin; and that he can have compassion with us, for He himself hath been in all miseries and troubles as well as we, as St. Paul testifieth to the Romans. He slept here for weariness, He ate, He drank, He wept, and in Him were all these infirmities, and chiefly for two causes: first, to signify unto us His very manhood: secondly, to comfort us with His example, that when we are in trouble and miseries we might think and know that our Saviour Christ will have compassion upon us; for He himself hath tasted of all trouble, and therefore He will be the more inclined to help and assist us with His Holy Spirit.

DANGER

Also we may not here, that the disciples of our Saviour had passed many a time before upon the water, and yet they were never so troubled, nor in such danger. What means this - that they are in trouble now when the Saviour is with them and never before when they were not with Him? For it was no dangerous water, it was but a little pond*. What meaneth it then that this marvellous tempest so suddenly arose? It signifies that all those who believe in Christ, and take His part, and study to live after His will and commandment, and forsake the world and all wickedness, all such, I say, must have trouble and affliction. For it is the will of God, that those who seek to be saved, shall be proved and tried through the fire of tribulation; as appears here by the disciples, who were never before in such trouble and danger; for they never had what is called "good luck", as the most part of worldlings commonly have (for all things go well with them, and after their mind), but as soon as they receive Christ into their ship, that is as soon as they believe in Him, and receive His word, they shall have trouble and affliction; whereof we have a great number of examples in the Scriptures, which plainly teach us not to seek, by the gospel, good cheer in this world, but rather misery and adversity. But the most part of gospellers are contrary minded; for they seek good cheer and promotion through the gospel, which is a horrible abuse of God's most holy Word.

MOSES

Moses, that excellent prophet of God, as long as he was in Pharaoh's house, he was well: he had all things after his mind: but as soon as God called him to be His minister, and to do His service, all things turned; that is all sweet things were made sour, all the great cheer was gone; so that he was compelled by necessity to keep sheep, whereas before he was a prince, and heir of the crown of Egypt. Here you see how God exercises his who appertain to everlasting life.

* The sea of Galilee is a lake about eighteen miles long and six broad; so that when compared with the sea it was but as a pond. [30]

INSIDE INSIGHT: a page of inspirational poetry presented each month by Rhonda Paisley


PASSING AWAY

Passing away! how sad the thought!
From all of bright and fair below;
From songs of spring, and summer flowers,
And autumn sunsets' radiant glow;
Never to gaze, and muse again,
By the blue ocean's sounding shore,
To wander through the smiling vale,
To climb the mountain heights no more!

Hush that deep sigh, O faithless heart!
All thou hast known of fair or bright,
Has shone with but a borrowed beam
Reflected from celestial light.
If under sin and sorrow's shade,
Such beauty hath adorned thy way,
What must remain to be revealed
In the good land of perfect day?

Passing away! how sad the thought!
From all that makes this heart rejoice;
The fellowship of kindred souls -
The music of affection's voice -
The look, the smile, the words of love -
All the dear ties around me twined -
All the sweet counsel fondly shared, -
All these to lose - to leave behind!

Hush that deep sigh, O faithless heart!
Who thinks or says that love can die?
An exile here, and "stranger guest,"
Her native home is in the sky.
If pilgrims through the stranger land
Can find communion here so sweet,
What shall the joy, the rapture be,
When in their Father's house they meet! [31]

Passing away! untrodden path,
Mysterious journey, dark, unknown!
The mortal shelter cast aside,
The spirit going forth, alone!
From the strange prospect shrinking back,
I look and long for some kind hand,
Some friendly voice, to cheer, to guide
Through the deep water floods to land!

Where is thy faith, O doubting heart?
Hath not thy Saviour one before?
Down the dark valley, through the flood,
The burden of thy guilt he bore.
'Tis He who calls thee, fear not now,
But at his summons onwards move;
Praise him for mercies here below,
Trust him for better things above!

"Watching"

The night is dark - behold, the shade was deeper
In the still garden of Gethsemane,
When the calm voice awoke the weary sleeper,
"Could thou not watch one hour alone with Me?"

O Thou, so weary of thyself -denials,
And so impatient of thy little cross,
Is it so hard to bear thy daily trials -
To count all earthly things a gainful loss?

What if thou always sufferest tribulation?
What if thy Christian warfare never cease?
The gaining of the quiet habitation
Shall gather thee to everlasting peace.

Here are we all to suffer, walking lonely
The path that Jesus once Himself hath gone;
Watch thou this hour in trustful patience only,
This one dark hour before the eternal dawn:

And He will come in His own time from heaven,
To set His earnest-hearted children free;
Watch only through this dark and painful even,
And the bright morning yet will break for thee.

Author Unknown