[2]
Editorial

As we go to print Mrs. Thatcher has declared war upon the Ulster people. She has reaffirmed that come what may she will implement the destruction of the Union through the Anglo/Irish act of treachery. Without consulting a million Protestant people she signed this part of Her Majesty's territory over to a joint Government machinery between London and Dublin. A foreign power; an alien foreign power has now the same rights in regard to administration and in regard to the operation of Government in Northern Ireland as the British Government, for the Anglo/Irish Conference is the womb out of which all administration decisions, all appointments to all Boards in Northern Ireland and all new legislations. What is more, the Police are under orders from this new body, and this new body, in which the Foreign Minister of the Irish Republic has as much authority as the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland, can order the Chief Constable to put in hand a programme of work for his men and for those under his control.

The Loyalists of Ulster have been sold like cattle on the hoof to their enemies. Neither the ballot box, neither the voices raised emphasising that democracy has been destroyed and the democratic principles have been violated will stop this woman on her tracks. With a stubborn arrogancy, with a determination filled with her own egotism and pride she is determined to destroy the Ulster Protestant people. With a rush of blood to her head and madness in her heart she thinks as she conquered the miners, and as she conquered the dictators of Argentina she will conquer the most law-abiding Loyalist section of Her majesty's subjects. She reckons without God Whose Day she has decided, through legislation, to destroy and make it like any other day. But that God is in the heavens, and He that sitteth in the heavens shall laugh, the Lord shall have them in derision.

There is one weapon which Margaret Thatcher knows nothing about, and that is the weapon of believing prayer. In days of stress and strain our fathers called upon their God and God delivered them. He delivered them miraculously. He delivered them when they had no strength. He delivered them when they were a tiny miserable, downtrodden minority, and that God of our fathers still lives and He still answers prayer.

"Hear, O Israel, ye approach this day unto battle against your enemies: lot not your hearts faint, fear not, and do not tremble, neither be ye terrified because of them. For the Lord your God is He that goeth with you, to fight for you against your enemies, to save you" (Deuteronomy 20:3 & 4).

To God be the glory, great things He has done and great things He will do for His believing people!

AMEN AND AMEN!

[3]
Ozzy Osbourne - The Creed of the Devil

A Sermon preached in. The Martyrs Memorial Church on the 9th of February 1986 (p.m.) by Dr. Ian Paisley

The fourth chapter of the Gospel according to John, the Words of the Lord Jesus Christ to the woman at the well, verse 13, 'Whosoever drinketh of this water shall 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 into everlasting life'.

We live in a hazy, crazy Age. We live in an Age when the enemy of man's soul has come in with a floodtide of iniquity. If ever a bid was being made by the powers of darkness to try and destroy the youth of our country it is being made today. The temperance battle needs to be fought all over again. More alcoholic beverages are being consumed by youth today than ever before.

I was amazed as I stood outside Avoniel Leisure Centre and watched all those young people gathering. Eight out of every ten had a bottle or a tin of liquor in their hands. One young Roman Catholic girl that I had a long conversation with, a girl about seventeen years of age, was busy drinking Vodka.

Rock Music - Satanic

Then we have this rock music craze. Rock music is satanic. Let me repeat that, Rock music is satanic, and those who have studied it have proved that conclusively.

I do not intend this evening to deal with that matter, but if you want some further information about it, we have a Tape by the Rev. Frank McClelland, the minister of our Toronto Church, and I would recommend that Tape to you.

We have from time to time strange visitors to this city, and at the moment we have a strange visitor in the person of Ozzy Osbourne. Ozzy Osbourne makes it clear that he was sacked by another satanic Organisation called 'Black Sabbath'. He was sacked from them because his drinking was too excessive even for them. His drug taking was too excessive even for them. He has spent quite a considerable time in the Betty Ford Clinic for his drink and drug problems. He is an alcoholic and he boasts (and I quote what he says), 'I'm an alcoholic and always will be an alcoholic'. [4]

At one of his shows he bit off the head of a living dove that was put into his hand at the show. Then in one of his other shows he bit off the head of a living bat that was thrown onto the stage. One of his most suggestive songs and hits is entitled 'Suitable Suicide' - Suitable Suicide!

The Battle for the Mind

Could I say that it is the intention of the Devil to carry the battle for youthful minds, for youthful hearts and for youthful bodies. The citadel of man is his soul, and the battle is on in this city for the souls of the youth of our city. When young people come through all the madness and emotional frenzy of hard rock concert performances, then their minds are open to the satanic propaganda, inoculations, and suggestions that are put forward. These seeds are carefully sown by Satan in the minds, and they germinate in their hearts and they will bring forth a terrible and awful harvest. The Truth of this Book shall stand, 'Whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap'. If you sow to the flesh, of the flesh ye shall reap corruption. If you sow to the spirit, of the spirit ye shall reap life everlasting.

Two Contrasting Passages of Scripture

Let me refer you to two passages from God's Holy Word. The first you will find in the Gospel according to Mark. In this Gospel at the chapter 7 you will find a description by Christ, of the corrupted heart - a description given by our Lord of man's corrupted heart. Then in the second Scripture which you will find in Philippians chapter 4 and verse 8, the subjects are given which man's mind and, heart should dwell upon. Notice the contrast, Mark chapter 7 and verse 21.

I was delighted to be able to talk to many young people outside the Leisure Centre. Many young Protestants and Loyalists came over to speak with me, and I pointed out to them that the most precious thing that they had from God was their lives. God had given them the precious gift of life, and it was the purpose of the Devil to destroy that life; to soil it; to stain it; to corrupt it; to deprave it; to debauch it. Ozzy Osbourne is one of the agents of Hell in that work of destroying young lives. No wonder those parents in America are suing him for the suicide of their boy, who had attended one of his concerts. The seed of 'Suitable Suicide' was sown in that young man's life and he went out of the concert and took his own life. No wonder, for that is the purpose of the Devil, the Devil is a murderer, he is out to destroy life.

It is the purpose of God, I told them, for them to live real lives. Jesus Christ is not a spoilsport. Christianity does not take away the joy. Christianity gives joy. It imparts real life. You never live until you know Jesus Christ. You merely exist if you do not know Him. [5]

Of course, as I said, Satan wants you to dwell on the evil, on the corrupt, on the immoral, on that which is a veritable sewer, so that the filth of it, the corruption of it, and the vileness of it, will further coarsen your conscience, the fibre of your morality, and your heart. That is Satan's purpose. God's purpose is to redeem the soul, and, thank God, to save it with an everlasting salvation.

The Pit of the Heart

Now let us look at these contrasting Scriptures. Verse 21 of Mark 7, 'For from within out of the heart of men proceed evil thoughts, adulteries, fornications, murders, thefts, covetousness, wickedness, deceit, lasciviousness, an evil eye, blasphemy, pride, foolishness'. Have you counted them? There are thirteen of them named here. These are the things that Ozzy Osbourne and his cohorts dwell on. These are the things that they major on. They major on evil thoughts, adulteries, fornications, murders, thefts, covetousness, wickedness, deceit, lasciviousness, an evil eye, blasphemy, pride, and foolishness. It is interesting that there are thirteen of them.

Thirteen is the number of apostasy in the Bible. Every time you count thirteen in the Word of God you count apostasy. If you turn over to the first mention of thirteen in the Bible you will find it in the Book of Genesis. The Book of Genesis chapter 14 and verse 4. These kings served Chedorlaomer, for twelve years, and in the thirteenth year they rebelled. Why do I bring you to the first mention of thirteen in the Bible? Because the Bible is God's Book, and the first mention of anything in the Bible gives you the key to every other time it is mentioned in the Bible. Man did not write this Book. God gave this Book. There is no other book like it.

And if you read of a tree, or a symbol, or a prophecy, or a name, or a number or a river in the Bible, the first time it is mentioned gives you the key which interprets every other mention of that particular subject.

So the number thirteen is mentioned with rebellion. Thirteen is the number of rebellion. If you look at this you will find there are six things on one side, and six things on the other, and the seventh one sums it all up. What is the seventh one? 'Wickedness'. Right at the heart of man lies wickedness.

Man's soul is the most valuable thing that he has. The Lord Jesus Christ said to those that listened to His preaching. The eighth chapter of Mark, the chapter following this chapter we have read, and at the verse 35, 'Whosoever will save his life shall lose it, but whosoever shall lose his life for my sake and the gospel's, the same shall save it'. Listen! 'For what shall it profit a man if he shall gain the whole world and lose his own soul? Or what shall a man give in exchange for his soul?'

So the battle is on for the souls of men. Christ has shown the value of the soul.

The thing that you really possess, friend, is your own soul. That is yours, [6] and let me say to you tonight, the battle is on for its Possession. Already your soul is corrupted because of sin. It is a lost soul. You don't become a sinner because you sin, you sin because you are a sinner.


Original Sin

Of course in this intellectual age, so-called (you can put quotation marks around it), people do not want to hear about Original Sin. 'Do you really believe that there was a man called Adam?' they say.

I was talking to one of these unbelievers some time ago. He said to me, 'Do you really believe, Mr. Paisley, there was an Adam?' This was a religious man, one of these theologians, so-called, one of the men that Mr. Nicholson used to call 'educated idiots'. I said, 'Of course I do. But let me ask you a question. Do you believe in Jesus Christ?' He said, 'What are you getting at? You know I believe in Jesus Christ'. I said, 'Well, if you believe in Jesus Christ you have got to believe in Adam'. He said, 'Come on now'. When you get out the Bible these fellows really take fright. If you want to put pallor on their face just take out the Bible. I said, 'Let us look at the Gospel of Luke, the genealogy of the Lord Jesus, and it goes right back to Adam'. 'No Adam, no Christ.'

I happen to believe this Book from cover to cover, and I believe in the covers that keep the pages clean. I believe in them as well.

I'm like the little old Quaker woman that was going to Church one Sunday. She met one of these camouflaged infidels, these clergymen that don't believe in the Bible. He laughed at her, and said, 'Ha, you have got the Bible in your hand'. She said, 'I have'. He said, 'Do you believe in it?' She said, 'Of course I believe in it from cover to cover'. He said, 'Do you believe that the fish swallowed Jonah?' She said, 'Of course I do'. He said, 'You are very cock sure'. She said, 'Well I have the proof, the best possible proof that that is right, The Lord Jesus Christ referred to it. You might think you are a great person, but I prefer Jesus Christ to you any day, sir. But when I get to Heaven I will ask Jonah and he will confirm it for me'. The old modernist apostate thought he had her and he smiled and said, 'What if Jonah is not in Heaven?' She said, 'That is simple, you can do the asking for me'. She had a shrewd idea of that clergyman's eternal whereabouts!

Eternally True

Let me tell you something, this Book is true. I unashamedly declare my absolute faith in its integrity and eternal Truth. I do not have any other message to preach. I do not care what people think about me. I am just passing along. I started to breathe almost sixty years ago. I will pass on in a few years and be forgotten. So it does not really matter what I think. Nor does it matter [7] what anybody else thinks. No matter how learned they may profess to be and no matter what anybody else thinks, no matter how learned they may profess to be and no matter what their intellectual attainments may be, they are only pieces of clay.

The skin worms will destroy their bodies, Heaven and Earth will pass away, but this Word shall never pass away. This is the Word of God. This Word declares that Adam fell, and when he fell he took every son and daughter ever born and ever to be born down into the quagmire with him.

When you were born into this world you were born in sin and shapen in iniquity. I know proud man does not like that. He likes to think that God is under some obligation to pay attention to him. God is under no obligation to pay attention to you. You are a sinner, corrupted. Here is a picture of your heart, it is full of uncleanness.

You can try baptismal washings, but they will not wash out these sins. You can try all the ritual and paraphernalia of the Church. You can try all the power of heathen religious systems. They cannot budge one sin from your soul. There is only one power that can deal with sin, and that power is the Blood of the Lamb. That is why we were singing about it tonight. The only power that can take away sin is the power of the Blood of the Lamb.

Your soul is corrupted, it was born in sin and shapen in iniquity. I tell you what is more, the corruption of the human heart is good soil, if I might use the term 'good', productive for the growing of more sins. Your heart will bear sin naturally. Every bit of poison fed into the corrupted souls of men and women will lead on and on to the eternal darkness, destruction and damnation of their souls forever. Satan is on the great crusade for the destruction of human souls. Man's soul is totally and absolutely lost. You possess tonight A LOST SOUL.

If a person is lost he cannot find himself. There is no strength, and there is no light within the human heart, that can help the human heart to find God. The Bible says, 'From the sole of the foot to the crown of the head there is no soundness in us, but wounds and bruises and putrefying sores'.

You can look as respectable as you like, friend, be as well churched as you like, be pumped full of Churchianity and be filled with the disease of Templeitis, as many people are today, and it makes no difference, the soul is lost. You are exchanging your hope of the redemption of your soul for some fool thing which the Devil is offering you tonight, giving it in exchange for your soul.

Conversion - A Miracle

There is only One who can do the miracle. The conversion of the human soul is a supernatural act of God the Holy Ghost. The conversion of the human soul is a miracle. Every time a man or a woman is born again, it is a miracle. No preacher can engineer it. No Church Service can engineer it. It is only the Spirit of God who can do it. Of course there are all sorts of [8] converts today in the religious world. You turn to the first chapter of John's Gospel and you will get them listed for you. There are some of them born of blood, verse 13 of John's Gospel chapter 1, when the preacher tells them that 'because their parents were respectable and Church-going, they will most certainly go to Heaven'.

Let me tell you it is a lie. The most respectable, Church-going person in Jerusalem was a man called Nicodemus. He was the greatest religious man in the whole of Jerusalem. Jesus said to him, 'Except a man be born again he cannot see the kingdom of God'. 'Born of blood'?

'Born of the will of the flesh'?

We live in a day of freewill religion, when man's will is elevated to such lofty heights that you would think that every part of man fell but his will. The will of man is as greatly depraved as any other part of him. The will of man did not escape the curse of the fall or the ruin of his corruption.

We have the will of man converts. There are those who think they can produce saved men by the machinery of Hollywood evangelism, and Ecumenical evangelism by playing the numbers game. I want to say from this pulpit tonight, men are born again only by the agency of the Holy Ghost. Look at the previous verse, 'But as many as received Him, to them gave He power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on His Name, which were born not of blood nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God'. That is what you need tonight, that is what I need tonight, to be born of God. 'Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God' (John 3:3).

Do you see this corrupted heart? Do you see this totally sinful heart? Do you see this heart out of which proceeds all these evil thoughts, adulteries, lusts, evil eye, blasphemies and wickedness. Only the mighty power of God can change that heart" cleanse that heart; redeem that heart, cause it to be born again. Thank God. God can do that. God can do it. That is what we need today, the miracle of old-fashioned, New Testament conversions. That is the only thing which will meet the need of the hour.

Old-Time Religion

I know that this is very unpopular theology in the Twentieth Century. I know that people do not want a preacher who will only discourse about sin and salvation, and talk about Hell and damnation, I know today that the preachers that will be popular will be the chocolate preachers. When the sun comes out they will melt all right. The cream puff pie, soft-peddling preachers. My friend, I have a duty to preach what is in this Book. I do not have any other message, and God has not called any man to change one iota of that Book.

We had a young lady in our congregation last Sunday night, and she did not like my preaching. She is a member of the Roman Catholic Church. She did not like my preaching. So she naturally came in to clean me up after the [9] service. I get regular cleaning up sessions after the service. I come to enjoy them, I miss them when they do not happen. She said to me, 'I do not like what you said', and she went on for some time, I let her talk. Then I lifted my Bible and I opened it. I set it before her and I said, 'Show me anything that I said tonight contrary to that Book, and if you show me one thing contrary to that Book I will publicly apologise. I will go into the pulpit and publicly apologise'. She said, 'You did not say anything contrary to the Book. In fact I do not know the Book too well'. I said, 'I know a little about it, but I did not say anything contrary to the Book'.

I have come tonight to declare this Book, that is all I can declare, I have nothing else to declare. Let me tell you, this corrupt heart can only be changed by the power of God. I have shown you that heart.


The Other Side

Turn to Philippians chapter 4 and verse 8 and see the. difference. 'Finally, my brethren, whatsoever things are true'. What a contrast! 'Whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just; whatsoever things are pure; whatsoever things are lovely; whatsoever things are of good report'. Ozzy Osbourne. He had not one true thing to say. He had not one honest thing to say. He had not one just thing to say. He had not one pure thing to say. He had not one lovely thing to say. He had not one thing of good report to say. 'If there be any virtue, if there be any praise, think on these things'. You see the difference, what a contrast!

You say to me, 'How can that come about? How can people that get their kicks and their thrills, how can that come about with them? One young fellow said to me, 'But, Mr. Paisley, I just want to enjoy myself'. I said, 'How poisoned, how lost must be your soul when your enjoyment can only come through a filthy programme like that'. The ultimate of sin! 'The ultimate sin tour'. Where will that take you? I will tell you what the ultimate sin tour is, 'The wages of sin is death' (Romans 6:23).That is the ultimate sin tour. You get on sin's Express. You go down sin's railroad, You go down sin's pleasure road. It will end in death. Death is not annihilation. How do I know? Because Jesus Christ said, Do not fear him that can kill the body, but fear him who can destroy both soul and body in Hell forever.

Men and women, I am standing on the little isthmus of time, and the waves of two great eternities lap this little isthmus of time. Eternity gone and Eternity to come, and that great Eternity that is to come has only two places. There are not three places. There is no such a thing as purgatory in this Book.

You know what the Bible says of the child of God? It says, 'Absent from the body, present with the Lord'. There is no such thing as purgatory in this Book. No such place as Limbo in this Book. There are only two places which Jesus told us about. He said, 'Wide is the gate, broad is the way that leadeth to destruction, and many there be that go in thereat. Straight is the [10] gate and narrow is the Way that leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it'.

Decision Urgent

You need to make sure today that you find the straight gate, and that you find the narrow way. For every other gate leads to Hell, and every other road leads to the pathway of damnation.

Let me in the closing moments of this meeting take you to that place somewhat ascending. Let us stand under the shadow of the old Cross of Calvary. Let us lift our eyes and see tonight that One Who came from Heaven to earth to be God's Lamb, to take away the sin of the world.

He was made sin for us, that we might be made the righteousness of God in Him. He was wounded for our transgressions, bruised for our iniquities, and the chastisement of our peace was laid on Him, and by His stripes we are healed.

Come to Jesus Christ tonight and be washed from sin in His Precious Blood. May you do so, for Jesus' Sake!

AMEN AND AMEN!

[11-19 MEDITATIONS FOR THE MONTH]

The Sunday School Teacher's Teacher

Subject: The Life of Our Lord Jesus Christ

Lesson LIII - The Demoniac Boy

Lord's Day 2nd March 'Why could not we cast him out?'

Read - Mark ix. 14-29; (comp. Matt. xvii. 14-21; Luke ix. 37-42); Learn - Mark ix. 23, 24; Acts iii. 16.

SKETCH OF LESSON

Have you ever been stopped short in something you wished to do, by some great difficulty you could not get over? (Illust. took up slate - thought 'soon do lesson' but found the sum very hard - got stuck fast.) In Bible, these difficulties called mountains, (Isa. xi. 4; Zech. iv. 7; Mark xi. 23; Luke iii. 5; 1 Cor. xiii. 2). Mountains great obstacles to travellers, armies, etc. hard work getting over them.

Today see how, while Christ and the three Apostles away on the 'high mountain' (last Lesson), a great 'mountain' of difficulty came in the other nine Apostles' way.

I. THE MOUNTAIN OF DIFFICULTY

What had Jesus given the Apostles power to do? Mark vi. 7. Did they succeed in casting out devils? Mark vi. 13. So now a poor father comes to them to cast one out of his son, ver. 18. See what a bad case it is: we have read of other demoniacs, but this seems worst of all. The poor child not able to speak plain ('dumb', ver. 17, yet 'crieth out', Luke ix. 39) - deaf, ver. 25 sometimes terrible fits, ver. 18 - sometimes in peril of life, ver. 22 - like a madman, Matt. xvii. 15. Think of the home - no other children (Luke ix. 38) - how sad for father and mother!

Here is a hard case for the Apostles! a mountain of difficulty.

But something else makes the 'Mountain' worse. When any one came to Jesus for a miracle, what did Jesus say he must have? see Matt. viii. 13; ix. 28, 29; xv. 28; Mark ii. 5, v. 34, 36, x. 52; John xi. 40; comp. Matt. xiii. 58; Acts xiv. 9. But the despairing father has scarcely any faith - comes to the disciples like a drowning man clutching at straw - fears it is hopeless; see ver. 24. So here is another difficulty.

Now see the result: 'they could not.' Think of their dismay, shame, fear Thomas looking at Philip, Matthew at Jude - the scribes scoffing at them and their Master, ver. 14 - the people excited - and in the midst the weeping father with his afflicted child.

What a sight for Jesus and the three as they came down from the Mount after all that glory (last Lesson) - truly it would not have done to have stayed in Peter's tabernacles.

II. WHY THE DISCIPLES COULD NOT REMOVE THE 'MOUNTAIN'

How was it they failed? They could not make it out themselves - so asked Jesus [21] afterwards. See His reply, ver. 28, 29; Matt. xvii. 19-21.

1. Their faith was too weak. Their faith their trust or confidence. What should they have trusted in? Not in any power Jesus gave them, but in Jesus Himself. When saw the child, should have thought like this: 'Our Master came down from heaven to deliver people from the devil - He could do this He would do this - He wants us to do it now - He promised to give us power'; then they would have found they could. Why? because their power not their own, but that of One who could do all things. But just then their feelings different - (a) had been cast down about the 'cross' (Lesson LI) (b) Jesus absent, and they like soldiers without general - (c) their three leaders absent too - (d) and this such a very hard case. So, unbelief; and so, failure.

2. They had not tried to make their faith stronger. How could they? see ver. 29. (a) Prayer. Should have prayed then as they did afterwards (Luke xvii. 5). 'Increase our faith'. (b) Fasting. Had been caring too much for their own pleasure and comfort not 'enduring hardness' (2 Tim. ii. 3) like 'good soldiers' - afraid of the 'cross' how could they then expect to conquer? How did St. Paul overcome his great mountains'? see 1 Cor. ix. 27; comp. Acts xiii. 3, xiv. 23.

III. HOW THE 'MOUNTAIN' WAS REMOVED

In the midst of the confusion - there is Jesus! To Him all run. Who answers His question? Not the scribes - too much annoyed at His coming; not the disciples too much ashamed; not the people - too much startled; who? ver. 17. See His sad exclamation, ver. 19 (comp. Matt.): 'faithless' who were so? (above); 'Perverse' (i.e., wilful, going 'own way', Isa. liii. 6) were not the wavering people and mocking scribes so? 'How long with you?' (comp. John xiv. 9) - ought they not to have known and trusted Him by this time? 'How long suffer you?' - had He not borne with them (Isa. lxiii. 9; Heb. xii. 3) enough? 'Bring him to Me' - the great and only remedy.

Does Jesus cast out the devil instantly? Why not? Does He not pity the poor child writhing there on the ground? Ah, but He pities still more the 'faithless and perverse' hearts - must give them a lesson; thinks too of all who shall read of this in after ages, of us - all need to know how Satan to be conquered. See what He does.

(a) The father must tell all about it, that he may be reminded how sad the case is, that all may see how hard it is. (So with sin - God wants all confessed, not for His information, but that the sinner may feel his sinfulness.)

(b) Then all must know what is the thing really wanted. 'If Thou canst', says the father - he is not sure, like the leper (Mark i. 40). Ah, that won't do - of course Jesus cast out all the devils in the land, yet He does not. See what He says, 'If thou canst' - 'it depends, not on My power, but on thy faith' (see texts above) - 'you come to Me believing that I am God's Messiah from heaven, full of love and power, then I can heal the boy'. See the weeping father's cry - 'I do believe, and yet' - he feels that he only half trusts in Jesus but he prays Jesus to 'help his unbelief' does not that show he really believes?

Do you think Jesus answered that prayer? Then He did two miracles - Satan cast out of father's heart and of child's body. But is all right yet? - see, the child senseless on the ground. Yes, the voice of Jesus has dismissed the spirit, and now His hand lifts up the boy and restores him to his father.

A child possessed of the Devil! Are there such now!

Ah, too many! In Africa and China? Yes, and in England too - ought not to be Satan's, yet are in his power. Who are they? see John viii. 44; Eph. ii. 2; 1 John iii. 8. Any of you, when you sin, are in Satan's power. Sometimes a hard case, a 'mountain' of difficulty. We teachers want to deliver you - but are not some very rebellious? - well, those are the bad cases.

What to be done? Jesus says, 'Bring them to Me.' So we do, when we pray for you. So we do when we tell you of His love, and try and win you to Him. Not one heart can we touch by any power of our own; if we are able to interest you, to be kind and patient, to draw you from sin, to bring you to God, it is all because of two things: - (a) That Christ is willing and able to save you. (b) That we look to Him and trust only in Him.

But one great difference between that poor demoniac boy and you. He could not help it - you are responsible. True, Satan is stronger than you, but then Christ invites you to be free, died that you might be free - now it rests with you - which master will you choose? [22]

Lesson LIV - The Feast of Tabernacles - I
Lord's Day 9th March 'He was in the world, and the world knew Him not.'

Read
- John vii. (parts); Learn - Jer. ii. 13; Rev. xxii. 17

SKETCH OF LESSON

How pleasant a harvest-time is! (Picture; particularly the thanksgiving service in church.) The Jews had something like that: every year, in October, when all the crops, vintage, etc., gathered in. See how God ordained it, Deut. xvi. 13, 15 (comp. Lev. xxiii. 33-43; Numb. xxix. 12-34). Why called the 'Feast of Tabernacles'? Come to Jerusalem, and see.

I. THE FEAST

The city looking quite strange, more like a forest than a town. Everywhere green arbours or booths made of branches of trees (palms, sycamores, olives, pines, willows, etc.) - in streets and squares - on roofs of houses - and outside gates, too, for want of room inside. Nobody living at home everybody in these booths - all the people of the city, and crowds from the country.

What would they be thinking of? of their crops safely got in? yes, but something else - 'Once our nation had no crops to get in, no land to farm; were wanderers in the desert; living in tabernacles, tents and booths like these; but God gave them this goodland, and He gives us fruitful seasons, filling our hearts with food and gladness' (see Acts xiv. 17; Ps. lxv. 9-13). This is why God appointed the feast, and the booths, to make them thankful, Lev. xxiii. 42, 43; Deut. xvi. 15. See how the feast was kept in Nehemiah's days, Neh. viii. 13-17.

The feast now going on (John vii. 2). Much rejoicing, bright faces, happy meetings, talks as they sit under the booths, many sacrifices to God in the Temple.

But it is not all joy - what did we say lately about crowds? (Lesson XLIX) - no doubt in these crowds at the feast many heavy hearts, heavy in sorrow, disappointment, sin. And one great trouble to them all - they are not free - those hated Romans reigning over them - when, oh when, would Messiah, the long-looked-for King, come and deliver them? - ah, that would be joyful indeed, If they had but known that the King was among them!

II. JESUS AT THE FEAST

There is something the matter - men talking in knots - puzzled looks and words. See ver. 11, 12 - who is 'he' of whom they speak? It is a long while since Jesus was at Jerusalem - missed two or three feasts why? ver. 1. Each time more wonder 'why does He not come?' Why so much interest? Some want to see miracles, others to hear His words, rulers to arrest Him; a few hoping He may after all turn out to be Messiah. But (they think) He is not coming - He came not with the caravans from Galilee. Yet He did come - how? ver. 10.

Suddenly, there He is, openly teaching in the Temple, ver. 14. Some hear Him for the first time - what surprised at? ver. 15. Quite true, He had not been educated like Saul of Tarsus (Acts xxii. 3), but where was His wise teaching from? ver. 16 - and this they might have known if they had cared; if their hearts had been set on pleasing God, would have known God's Son when He came, ver. 17 (comp. John i. 47, 49).

The people perplexed still more. Some (of Jerusalem), who know the rulers' designs, amazed at His boldness, ver. 25, and to see His enemies quietly listening to Him, ver. 26 - 'could it be that the scribes had found out that He was Messiah?' Others (perhaps from country parts) not in the secret, can't make out why He charges them with their plots, ver. 20. Ah, but they are going to take Him now, ver. 30 - no - how strange! What was the real reason they did not touch Him? ver. 30.

III. WHAT JESUS OFFERED

Each morning during the seven days, a joyous ceremony. Down in the deep valley below the Temple, the Pool of Siloam. Priests filled golden pitcher with water there - bore it in procession, followed by [23] crowds, up to the altar in the Temple court ' - poured it into silver basin (and wine into another) - basin with holes - pipe carried water down through rock under Temple to brook Kedron flowing in valley. As the water poured out, Levites sang Psalms (cxiii. cxviii.), people shouted and waved palm-branches - great rejoicing. See Isa. xii. 3. What would this remind them of? The booths reminded of Israel in the wilderness - this of the water God gave them there out of the rock.

But on the eighth day 'great day of feast', no pouring of water. Now see what Jesus did that day.

He sees the crowd, and knows each heart (see Lesson XLIX) - has been watching day after day - has seen outward rejoicings yes, and every sad, unsatisfied, sinful heart too. What would the compassionate Saviour feel? They might be happy - happy in spite of earthly troubles - in spite of sin's temptation - in spite of Romans - without such a king as they thought of - if they would come to Him, believe in Him, make Him their friend. See what He says ('crying' out, loudly, earnestly), ver. 37 - as if He said, 'You remember how your fathers thirsted, and God supplied them - ye praise God that ye thirst not so now yet do ye not thirst really? is there not something ye want that ye have not - peace in your hearts? Come to Me - I have water that can quench even that thirst.'

What was the 'water' He offered? ver. 39 (see Lesson XIX). Why is the Holy Spirit like water? - revives and refreshes the soul, as water does the body. And something else too - the man who has this 'living water' can give it to others: it will not only be in him, but flow from him, ver. 38. Yes, and (Jesus tells them) when He is gone from them, they shall see those 'living waters' flowing from His servants. Did they? see Acts ii.

IV. HOW THE OFFER WAS RECEIVED

(a) Some impressed, ver. 40, 41 - 'Yes, this must be He'. And even the officers sent to take Him (ver. 32) - what do they think? ver. 45, 46 - so struck that they dare not touch Him. Yet this seems all - we do not read of men joining Him with all their hearts.

(b) Some sceptical - why? ver. 41, 42. But they might have cleared up the difficulty if they had taken the trouble.

(c) Some contemptuous - ver. 47-52 - 'This Galilean! what does it matter what he says? Let the ignorant crowd go after him - we know better.'

Now, why this result? Because they did not care. Like people with no water, yet scarcely feeling thirst. They did need a Saviour from sin, a Friend in trial, a Guide in perplexity, but thought not of it, Had no wish to do God's will, and so could not understand His message (ver. 17). And so their true King among them unheeded - 'in the world, and the world knew Him not'.

Is that gracious offer for us?

Yes, see 2nd text for rep. - 'whosoever will.'

Which of us is thirsty? Thirsty for pleasure or money, yes; but thirsty for the Holy Spirit? Yet if we have Him not, what then? Rom. viii. 9. But if thirsty, then - see Isa. xliv. 3, Matt. v. 6.

Christ 'stands and cries' (see ver. 37) to us - 'Ho! every one' (Isa. Iv. 1). Let Him not hold out His arms to us in vain!

Lesson LV - The Feast of Tabernacles - II

Lord's Day 16th March 'The Light shineth in darkness, and the darkness comprehended it not.'

Read - John viii. (parts); Learn - John iii. 19; 2 Cor. iv. 3, 4.

SKETCH OF LESSON

Who likes to be in the dark? Light is such a pleasant thing. How eagerly do sailors, travellers, sleepless invalids, long for sunrise! see Eccl. xi. 7; Acts xxvii. 29. Think of three things about light and darkness: -

(a) If go in the dark to town (or street, or room) where not been before, what know about it? So 'to be in the dark' means 'not to know'.

(b) Some people do like darkness - [24] who? Those who want not to be seen thieves etc. - boys in mischief. So 'a dark deed' is a bad deed.

(c) How exhilarating is bright light even gas - sunshine above all! Darkness makes sad. So we say, when misfortune coming, 'all looks dark'.

So 'darkness' stands for these three things - ignorance, see Rom. i. 21; Eph. iv. 18; 1 John ii. 11; sin, see Rom. xiii. 12; Eph. v. 11; misery, see Matt. xxv. 30.

In heathen lands, how much 'darkness'! - ignorance, sin, misery. Before Christ came, all the world dark, except Jews, and their light dim. Then what did God promise? Isa. lx. 1-3; Mal. iv. 2. And when Christ had come - when Gospel preached when ignorant taught, sinners made holy, miserable made happy - see what Paul, Peter and John could say, 2 Cor. iv. 6; 1 Pet. ii. 9; 1 John ii. 8.

But the darkness was not, is not yet, all put away - why not? see John i. 4 - 'the Light shineth in darkness, and the darkness comprehended it not,' i.e., received it not; light no use, just as sunshine no use to blind man, or man in dark cell, or man in fog.

Today see how it was so at Jerusalem.

I. THE LIGHT SHINING IN DARKNESS


Last Sunday we saw how the water of Siloam was poured on the altar with rejoicing, and what Jesus said on the eighth day, when this not done. Another joyous ceremony during the feast: In that part of the Temple where all the people came, two lofty lamp-standards, each with four lamps. Each evening, people assembled with blazing torches, and the eight lamps lighted amid great shootings, illuminating temple and city, and making dark Olivet over there across the valley look darker. In the morning they had thought of the tent-life in the wilderness - now of the pillar of fire shining on the camp and guiding the march. But the feast now over - no more illumination; now see what Jesus says, ver. 12.

'I am the Light of the world'. As if He would say, 'Those lights you lit during the feast could do nothing to make you really happy, to take away sin, to light you on the way to heaven - but there is a Light that can do that - I am that Light - and not like those lamps, shining only a little way but, like the sun, the 'Light of the world'. 'He that followeth Me shall not walk in darkness' - 'shall not walk in ignorance, sin, misery; just as the Israelites, trusting in the pillar of fire and following it, did not lose their way, so if any of you will believe in Me, and come and follow Me, you shall know the right way to be happy and to please God.'

But who is this that says such things? A Galilean peasant standing up in the Temple before priests and Pharisees, and calling himself 'the Light of the world'! But that same day He says other things just as strange. Ver. 23 'Ye are from beneath, I am from above' - what a daring saying! and (unless He was, as we know, the Son of God) how arrogant! Ver. 46 - 'Which of you convinceth Me of sin?' - who could say that but 'the Holy One of God'? see 1 John i. 8. Ver. 29 - 'I do always those things that please Him' - not only no sin, but actually pleasing God at every word and act! Ver. 58 - 'Before Abraham was, I am' - what mean by that? - not that He was born before Abraham, but that before Abraham was born, He was - what? The I Am - the Eternal God who has no past or future, but is always 'I Am see Exod. iii. 14; Ps. xc. 2; Heb. xiii. 8. Now we see why He could utter those wondrous sayings. How thankful we should be that we know why, that we are not in darkness about it!

II. THE DARKNESS COMPREHENDING IT NOT

That is, men not believing that Jesus was the True Light, the Son of God, and so their hearts not enlightened by Him; just as a blind man sees not the sunshine.

Now why was it? why did 'the darkness not comprehend the Light'? why did the Jews not understand or believe in Jesus? In this chapter see two great reasons. -

(1) They 'loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil' (lst text for rep.). If they had felt their sinfulness, and desired to be cleansed and made holy, how they would have welcomes Jesus! see Luke vii. 36-50. But see what sins Jesus charges them with: ver. 55 - lying; ver. 37, 40 murder. Even when some so struck as to be half won to Him - how is it that they draw back, do not 'continue in His word and be His disciples indeed'? see ver. 30-39: He promises them freedom from sin, and they are offended! So they reject Him because they don't want Him to make them free; and what does He say will become of them? ver. 24.

(2) The devil had 'blinded their minds' (2nd text for rep.). They thought themselves children of Abraham naturally, children of God spiritually, ver. 39, 41; what does Jesus tell them? - they were 'not worthy to be called the sons' of Abraham or of God - [25] why? ver. 39, 40, 42. Who was it that put murder and lying into their hearts? who was it whose ways they loved, whom they imitated? - he must be their father - his children they were worthy to be. Who was it? ver. 44. And their rejection of the 'True Light' - that was Satan's work too: he made them blind, and they could not see the sunshine. But was it not then their own fault? Ah, yes, for what might they have done? Jas. iv. 7; 1 Pet. v. 8, 9.

See the end of it, ver. 59. That greatest of His sayings, that He is God, the 'I Am', they cannot stand. See the grave scribes and sacred priests taking up stones to stone Him! But, though they were to murder Him one day, the time not yet come (ver. 20), and He escapes.

On us also the True Light shines.

More brightly than on the Jews - how much more we know of Christ than they could know then! - about His death, resurrection, etc., and what He can do for us.

Are we choosing to remain in the dark? If so, it is Satan and our sins that rule over us. But it is only because we know not how happy the sunshine is. What is this sunshine? It is God 'making His face to shine upon us,' i.e., making us know and feel His love and care. 'Lord! lift Thou up the light of Thy countenance upon us.'

Lesson LVI - The Man Born Blind
Lord's Day 23rd March 'One thing I know, that whereas I was blind, now I see.'

Read - John ix.; Learn - Eph. v. 8; Rom. x. 10.

SKETCH OF LESSON 

Where is Jesus after that threatened stoning (last Lesson)? Watch Him coming out of the Temple gates with the disciples - in hurry and alarm? - no, calmly and quietly - for see! He is stopping to look at a blind beggar (ver. 1), no doubt sitting there for alms (comp. Acts iii. 2). Ah, He has just been rejected by those who should have known better - they preferred 'darkness' to the 'Light of the world' - but here is a poor despised beggar - to him He will give light for both body and soul - he shall see the sun in the heavens and the Sun of righteousness too.

But the disciples are thinking of something else, ver. 2 - 'surely, as suffering comes because of sin, there must have been dreadful sin somewhere to cause this - blindness from birth!' What does Jesus say? ver. 3 - true, if no sin in world, then no suffering, but particular sufferings not always because of particular sins - God in His love may send suffering for men's good (comp. Heb. xii. 5-11) - they will see presently how God uses this man's calamity for his good.

But will it be safe, when in such peril, to stop there and heal the man? What does Jesus say? ver. 4 - He will not 'leave till tomorrow what can be done today.' Now see this blind man -

I. CURED BY CHRIST (Read ver. 5-12).

He has heard what Jesus said - that his blindness to be an opportunity for God's power to be shown - 'and who is this that calls Himself the Light of the world'? His heart is opening while his eyes yet shut. Then what does he feel upon his eyes? what is he told to do? Does he hesitate? or object, like Naaman? Here is faith seen by its works (Jas. ii. 18) - we know he believed in the truth and power of Jesus - how? because we see him obeying. Comp. chap. iv. 50 (see Lesson XXI). See him quickly feeling his way down the steep hill into the valley; see him washing his eyes; and then -! Olivet, the Kedron, the towers, bulwarks, palaces of Zion (see Ps. xlviii. 12, 13), the glittering Temple, the 'mountains round about Jerusalem' - all seen for the first time; trees, animals, the blue sky above, the faces of his fellow-creatures - [26] all new to him! And see the change in himself - the old blank, dull look gone his face bright and joyous now - his friends scarcely know him, ver. 8, 9.


II. CONFESSING CHRIST (Read ver. 13-27)

Such an extraordinary case must be looked into. The man is summoned before one of the courts then sitting. What do the Pharisee rulers notice most in his story? the wondrous power of the Healer? - ah, no - just as it was when the impotent man received strength to walk (chap. v. 12), so now - they hate Jesus, and pick out what they can to attack him about. How would Jesus justify such Sabbath work? Matt. xii. 12. But the judges not all alike, ver. 16 perhaps Nicodemus or Joseph there.

But perhaps, they think, it is all a mistake - 'send for his parents'. Now, should we not expect that the father and mother would be loud in their praises of Him who had given sight to their son? Are they? why not? ver. 20-22.

Now listen to the man himself. Is he afraid of speaking out? Look at what he says about Jesus: ver. 17 - a prophet; ver. 31 - one whom God heareth, therefore He cannot be the sinner they take Him for. He knows little about Jesus - no idea who He really is - but determined to be His disciple, even if no one else will (ver. 27, 28). Just consider: here is an ignorant, despised beggar - there are his parents and the great men of the city - surely they ought to know best - why should he set up his ideas against theirs? Yet he does - why? ver. 25 - 'one thing I know' - no mistake about it - that enough for him.

III. SUFFERING FOR CHRIST (Read ver. 28-34)

Two things he has to bear.

1. Reviling, ver. 28 - the grave priests and judges scoffing and sneering at Him. But what does Jesus say of those who thus suffer? Matt. v. 11.

2. Excommunication, ver. 34. 'Cast out,' i.e., expelled (like incorrigible boy from school) - not allowed to come to worship God in Temple or synagogue; So Jesus said should be done to His disciples, John xvi. 2; but what did He add? xvi. 33; comp. Isa. lxvi. 5.

IV. WORSHIPPING CHRIST (Read ver. 35-38)

Look again at that last text (isa. lxvi. 5) what is the promise to those 'cast out'? - 'He shall appear unto thee'; so Jesus finds out His expelled servant. Does the man know Him! He never saw Him before (from the Pool had gone home - thence to the court) - but that Voice - he knows it well - could he ever forget it? Does he 'believe in the Son of God'? - knows not who that is, but ready to believe whatever his Healer tells him (ver. 36, 'that I might'). 'Thou hast seen Him' - thy restored eyes have looked on the Son of God - how could they? it was the Son of God who restored them. And now he sees the Son of God with the eyes of his soul too - underneath that plain peasant's dress recognises One who may be worshipped - see him prostrate at Jesus' feet.

HERE IS A PICTURE OF THE TRUE CHRISTIAN

1. Christ has opened his eyes - the eyes of his soul. Why necessary? Because he cannot see without. See what? (a) How sinful he is. (b) How the holy God hates sin. (c) How he, a sinner, may yet have God's favour here and hereafter. (d) How happy a thing it is to be God's child; and much more. And, worst of all, he does not know he is blind (Rev. iii. 17)! Which of us like that? But when Christ opens his eyes, what does he see? Job xlii. 5, 6; Ps. cxix. 18; Eph. i. 17-19. He sees it all now - his sin, God's love, etc., and can say, 'One thing I know, that whereas I was blind, now I see!' Which of us can say that?

2. He confesses Christ before men. There is a difference in him - people can see that clearly - they say, 'Can it be the same man? what can have come to him?' - then what is his answer? see ver. 11 refers them to Jesus - all the praise to Him. And he can do what the beggar could not do many about him blind too - he can lead them to Christ. Are any of us like this?

3. He cheerfully suffers for Christ. Hard words, sneering looks, perhaps malicious acts - yes, they are hard to bear. But what does he remember? Matt. x. 24, 25; John xv. 18-20; 1 Pet. iv. 13; Heb. xii. 3.

4. Christ reveals Himself to His adoring eyes - to the eyes of His faith now, John xiv. 21, 23; Acts xviii. 9, 10, xxiii. 11, xxvii. 23; and what hereafter? Isa. xxxiii. 17; John xvii. 24; 1 John iii. 2. Shall we not worship Him then?

'O that, with yonder sacred throng,
We at Hs feet may fall;
Join in the everlasting song,
And crown Him Lord of All!" [27]

Lesson LVII - The Shepherd and the Sheep
Lord's Day 30th March 'I am the Good Shepherd.'

Read
- John x. 1 -21; Learn - Matt. xviii. 11 - 14.


SKETCH OF LESSON

Do you remember, once when Jesus saw a great multitude, what they looked like? Matt. ix. 36 (see Lesson xxxviii). But who ought to have been shepherds to those sheep? Of course the priests and scribes. See how they treated the people, Matt. xxiii. 4, 13, 14. An instance of this in our last Lesson - how did they treat that poor man? And who found him out after his expulsion from the synagogue? - He was more like a shepherd.

So now Jesus will show these Pharisees what they really are.

See how He describes what a true shepherd is, ver. 2-4. How does he get into the fold to fetch the sheep? Then if any one gets over the wall instead, can he be the shepherd! What is he! ver. 1. What does he come for? ver. 10. How do the sheep receive him? ver. 5.

'Yes, I the Pharisees might say, 'all very true; but what has this to do with us?' They can't make it out, ver. 6; 'surely He does not mean to say we are thieves and robbers.' That depends on what He means by the 'door'; so He tells them more plainly, ver. 7-9.

'I am the Door.' How? The Door is the way in and out of the fold - sheep must go through it for safety, come through it for pasture - shepherd gets at them through it, leads them in and out. Now how does a good teacher or minister do good to his people? Only through Christ - getting grace and strength from Him himself - bringing them to Him. Well, the Pharisees - is this what they did? would they ask Jesus how to teach the people? would they bring them to Him? They went another way - so were not shepherds, but robbers.

Then Jesus goes on to show how He is the True Shepherd, the Great Shepherd, the Good Shepherd. See how.

I. HOW CHRIST IS LIKE OTHER GOOD SHEPHERDS

Think a little about an Eastern shepherd.

See him walking along mountain path, all the Sheep following (ver. 4). Some sheep lag behind - shepherd looks back, sees which they are (for he knows all), calls to them - to each by its own name (ver. 3) they hear the call, know the voice, follow on. Come to difficult path, between high rocks, through thorny bushes - shepherd makes a way with his crook for sheep to go through (Ps. xxiii. 4). He finds best place to feed, 'green pastures,' 'still waters' (Gen. xxix. 7; Ps. xxiii. 2; Ezek. xxxiv. 13, 14). By-and-bye he sees one missing - where can it be? - must go and find it - toils over mountain-side, searching everywhere finds poor, starving, frightened sheep carries it back on his shoulder (Ezek. xxxiv. 12; Luke xv. 4, 8). Then at night back to fold - walking gently not to tire weak ones - lambs borne in his arms (isa. xi. 11). Fold has stone walls round - in at gate - then shepherd keeps watch (Luke ii. 8) - wild beast may try and get at them (ver. 12; 1 Sam. xvii. 34; Acts xx. 29) - or robbers (ver. 10) - must be ready to drive them away.

Now how is Christ like such a shepherd?

1. He knows His sheep, and they know Him. He knows them, 2 Tim. ii. 19; calls each by name, Isa. xliii. 1 - the name He has written in His book, Phil. iv. 3; Rev. iii. 5, xxi. 27. Does not this show His love for them? (Illust. - We take an interest in anything we give a name to, e.g. new invention or discovery.) They know Him, 2 Tim. i. 12; listen to His voice, Ps. lxxxv. 8; Hab. ii. 1; obey it, John xiv. 23.

2. He leads His sheep, and they follow Him. Wherever they have to go He has gone first, Heb. xii. 1-3; John xv. 18 They have only to follow in His steps, 1 Pet. ii. 21; 1 John ii. 6.

3. He feeds His sheep: provides all they need (Phil. iv. 19) - for body, Ps. xxxiv. 9, 10; Matt. vi. 32, 33; for soul, John vi. 27, 51; Rom. viii. 32.

4. He protects His sheep. From whom? [28] From Satan, Luke xxii. 31, 32; from all evil, Ps. cxxi. 7, 8; See how safe they are, ver. 28, 29; Rom. viii. 35-39.

5. He seeks the wandering sheep. What did He come down from heaven for, but 'to seek and to save the 1st'? Luke xix. 10; comp. 1 Pet. ii. 25. And when His own servants wander, as they do sometimes, He seeks them and brings them back, Ps. xxiii. 3, cxix. 176.

II. HOW CHRIST IS UNLIKE ALL OTHER SHEPHERDS

See ver. 11, 15. 'Lays down His life for the sheep.' A mere hireling, who cares not for the sheep, would not do that, ver. 12, 13; but have not other good shepherds done it? Yes, have risked their lives, as David did when the lion and bear came (1 Sam. xvii. 34, 35); sometimes have even lost them. But suppose robber or wild beast kills shepherd, will the sheep ever have him again? and what becomes of the sheep? are they not stolen and killed too? But with Christ and His sheep it is different: -

1. He laid down His life of His own accord, ver. 18; comp. Matt. xxvi. 53; John xviii. 11; Luke xxiii. 46. What shepherd would do that?

2. He laid down His life that He might take it again, ver. 17, 18. Jesus was killed by those very 'thieves and robbers' He has been talking to, the priests and rulers and Satan (the 'wolf') at the bottom of it. But was He conquered? Heb. ii. 14, xiii. 20. Was He gone from His sheep for ever?

When did He 'take His life again'? Well, but why then did He lay it down at all?

3. He laid down His life that His sheep might have life, ver. 10, 28. How is that? See Isa. liii. 6 - 'all we gone astray'; 'like sheep', because can't help ourselves - yet not like sheep, for they know no better our wandering guilty and ungrateful. What does our sin deserve? Rom. vi. 23. But Jesus died instead, and when He died, what was done with our sin? Look again at Isa. liii. 6; comp. 1 Pet. ii. 24; Heb. ix. 28. And so (Rom. vi. 23 again) 'the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ.'

Is not the Good Shepherd worthy of our love?

And if we love Him for His love to us, what will it lead us to do? See 2 Cor. v. 14, 15 - what did His love 'constrain' St. Paul to do? To live 'not to himself' - not selfishly, caring only for his own pleasure and profit - 'but unto Him that died' i.e., for Him. How do that? (a) Keep His commandments, John xiv. 15 - 'obey His voice' and 'follow Him', as sheep do shepherd. (b) Think of the 'other sheep' (ver. 16) scattered over the world - help to seek them out and 'fetch them home to His flock' - thus act as shepherds, copying the Good Shepherd.

But are we His sheep at all? All are not there are the 'goats' too, Matt. xxv. 32, 33. But though goats cannot be changed into sheep, we may be changed. Let us pray, 'Make us to be numbered with Thy saints in glory everlasting.' [29]


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

One of the greatest lies of the Devil is that Christians are miserable. He tells young people that they will never enjoy life if they become Christians. How often have we heard men say when confronted with the challenge of Salvation, 'Yes, I'd love to be a Christian, but no-one could be a Christian in my job.' I have met women who have told me, 'I know I need to be saved, but I have an awful husband, a dreadful home. You couldn't live in my house and be a Christian'.

Sometimes things are going well, everyone is in good health, business is prospering, the family is progressing nicely, and people are lulled into believing that nothing can touch them and their well-ordered life ' and if they became Christians they mightn't be happy. What nonsense the Devil talks. The only people who can know true and lasting happiness are those who know Christ as Saviour. No matter what comes to us or goes from us in life we have the peace of God and the God of peace abiding in us. Trusting Christ can only add to your happiness and sweeten any success that comes your way. Trusting Christ will help you to carry the burdens of life which you are finding heavy. Trusting Christ will make your home radiant with the presence of the Saviour. You will be able to say with the Psalmist, 'I will sing unto the Lord as long as I live'.

Christian wife and mother, when your husband and family go off to work and to school each morning, and you are left with all the tidying, cleaning, cooking, washing and ironing to do, where do your thoughts take you? Psalm 104:34 gives us direction: 'My meditation of Him shall be sweet'. If you only meditate on that load of washing, that mountain of ironing, the dusting, that endless list of chores, you won't be in the best of form, but if you can say with David, 'My meditation of Him shall be sweet', then those chores will become a service which you can do joyfully, as unto the Lord.

If we would only take a few minutes at the beginning of the day to meditate, our day would be revolutionised. Meditation is time well spent. It gives rest to the soul, to the mind and to the body, and prepares our whole being for the toils of the day. It pays dividends. But if we push God and the things of God to one side we miss all the joys and blessings we should be enjoying. We need to:

'Take time to be holy,
Speak oft with Thy Lord,
Abide in Him always
And lean on His Word.'

There is no better Person to meditate on than Christ. What better subject could we meditate upon than the unchanging love of an unchanging Saviour, a love which brought Him to earth from Heaven, to die for our sins. [30]

God's Word tells us that He freely gives us all things. What a meditation this is! Think of some of the 'all things' He has given you.

Meditate on how, when you were dead in trespasses and sins, a stranger to grace and to God, He called you by His Blessed Holy Spirit and drew you savingly to Himself. Meditate on how He has led you, guided you, protected you from danger and death, healed you from illness, comforted you when you were distressed and bereaved. Meditate on how He has supplied your needs and answered your prayers.

It is always good to meditate on the past, and the present, but we who know and love the Lord can also meditate on the future, and on His promises. He says, 'I will never leave you nor forsake you', and one day He will take us to be with Himself for all eternity. How much time do we spend meditating on the Second Coming of our Lord?

Let us all determine, with God's help, to fill our minds and hearts with sweet meditation of our blessed Saviour, and the more we meditate on Him the more like Him we will be.

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

"PRAYER"

How prone we are to ask for answers to our prayer,
To take our care, and lay it all at Jesus' feet,
To then expect - complete response,
Without a time of trust,
A time to know the peace, and sweet release,
Of prayer, whose answer may be on the way,
But not as yet in sight;
To know the pure delight,
Of trusting Him from day to day
Through storms and trial along the way;
How prone we are to know despair,
When really God doth know and care,
But wants to see if we can bear the test.
Our Lord knows best! And we must bow - and humbly ask,
With trust, that He shall do the task,
As in a childlike faith we bask,
Untouched with care;
The knowledge deep within, He answers prayer!

Connie Calenberg [31]

"AN HOUR WITH THEE'

Lord what a change within us one short hour
Spent in Thy presence will avail to make!
What heavy burdens from our bosoms take!
What parched grounds refresh as with a shower!
We kneel, and all around us seem to lower;
We rise, and all, the distant and the near,
Stands forth in sunny outline, brave and clear;
We kneel, how weak; we rise, now full of power!
Why, therefore, should we do ourselves this wrong,
Or others - that we are not always strong -
That we are sometimes overborne with care -
That we should ever weak or heartless be,
Anxious or troubled - when with us is prayer,
And joy, and strength and courage are with Thee?


Richard Chenevix Trench

"THE HEART'S HOME"

O Lord, in Whom are all my springs,
Joyful to Thee I come;
My grateful heart exultant sings
To know Thou art its home.

The shelter of Thy glorious arms,
How strong, and safe, and sweet!
From sense and sin, from all alarms,
I fly to this retreat.

Here is my sure and tranquil rest,
In every troubled hour;
Weary, I lean upon Thy breast,
And feel its soothing power.

In that dear place of purest love,
What wings encircle me!
Naught in the world can ever move
My trusting heart from Thee.

My Lord! if now I find in Thee
So blest and sweet a home,
What shall the Heavenly mansion be
When to its door I come!

S. D. Phelps