[2]
Editorial: The Iron Lady Smashed on the Anvil of The Lord's Day

Margaret Thatcher has met her Waterloo on the question of the Lord's Day.

Her arrogance has been rebuked by the House of Commons and she has been rightfully humiliated.

No one really believed it could happen except those who believe in prayer. The believing prayers of God's elect were answered far more abundantly than we could ask or even think.

Thatcher's massive majority in the House was smashed and by a majority of fourteen her Bill was rejected.

The number fourteen is most important in this setting.

Mrs. Thatcher, on the 15th November, signed the Act of Treachery known as the Anglo/Irish Agreement. Its purpose was to sell the Ulster Protestants as cattle on the hoof to their traditional enemy the Republic of Ireland.

Thinking that she had succeeded because of the way she gulled the House of Commons with her tissue of lies she then proceeded to attack our Lord and His Day.

The Province she had betrayed and the people that she so disgracefully sold were, however, in the Providence of Almighty God, to have a real say in her humiliation.

She reckoned without them so proud was she in her heart.

At the end of the day however the fourteen Unionist MPs from Ulster held the decisive weapon. Those fourteen votes were the nails in Mrs. Thatcher's coffin and wrote an eloquent obituary to her Bill against our Lord and His Day.

The Iron Lady, they said, was not for turning. In the House of Commons she was not only turning but squirming.

To God be the Glory. The conspiracy against God's Holy Law was defeated. It is the Lord's doing and it is marvellous in our eyes. Let us all

REMEMBER THE SABBATH DAY TO KEEP IT HOLY. [3]

"Why Bible Believing Protestants Cannot Dialogue with Priests of Rome"

A Sermon preached by Dr. Ian R. K. Paisley on Lord's Day 20th April 1986 in Martyrs Memorial Free Presbyterian Church. Why Free Presbyterians must Protest at the Ecumenical Seminar with Moderator Dr. Dickinson and RC Bishop Cahal Daly.

This is a day of surprises both in the political and in the religious world in which we live. But, of course, if we are well taught in God's Word and have some knowledge of the prophetic Scriptures we will remember the Word of the Lord and its crystal-clear warning, 'In the last days perilous times shall come'.

There was put into my hand the other day a copy of the ticket that has been put out for this Ecumenical Seminar that is to take place on Tuesday night in Fitzroy Irish Presbyterian Church. There is a photograph of Cahal Daly on one side and Robert Dickinson on the other. The heading is 'There is hope in Christ. A Seminar you won't want to miss'. Addressed by the Rt. Rev. Dr. Robert Dickinson, 'Our Source of Hope' will be his subject and the Most Rev., Dr. Cahal Daly. His subject 'Our Path of Hope'. ('Our Source of Hope' is the subject of Dr. Dickinson, and 'Our Path of Hope', the subject of Cahal Daly.) To be held in Fitzroy Presbyterian Church, University Street, Belfast, on Tuesday the 22nd of April (that is next Tuesday) from 7.30 to 9.30, admission by ticket only. Ticket-holders should be in their seats by 7.1 5.

Warning

Well, candidly I was surprised, but yet I should not have been surprised because as I have already said, the Bible tells us, 'in the last days perilous times shall come'. The Lord Jesus Christ also said, that so dark will be the apostasy, so terrible will be the compromise, so tremendous will be the awful satanic influence, that in the last days, if it were possible, 'the very elect of God would be deceived'. We are living in that day.

I made certain strictures from this pulpit last Sunday night. I did not know I had a direct line into Church House, but evidently what I say in this pulpit [4] is widely repeated. This week I received a letter from Dr. Dickinson. In this letter, and I am going to read it in full to you, Dr. Dickinson sets forth the case that this is an evangelistic meeting which he is attending, that he is going to evangelise Cahal Daly and the Roman Catholics who will be attending, and that he is hoping that it is going to be a soul-winning exercise.

I would have you remember the wording of the ticket. I would have you to remember what it says on it. It does not say that Dr. Dickinson will preach upon, "My Source of Hope in Christ". It says he is going to run in tandem with Cahal Daly. It is going to be 'Our Source of Hope', and 'Our Path of Hope'. This exercise is the presentation by the organisers of this Seminar of two eminent Christian ministers, as far as they are concerned, who with authority can run a teach-in upon the subject, 'Christ our Hope' or 'There is Hope in Christ'.

Dr. Dickinson's Letter

Dr. Dickinson wanted me to convey to you how he feels about the matter. And I am most happy to do so, and I will read in full the letter that he sent to me.

Dear Ian,

I trust you are well, and receiving strength to cope with the grave pressures of life in these troubled days. (He is not helping me by what he is doing.) I understand that reference was made in your Church on Sunday last to the Seminar which is to take place, God willing, (I do not think it has anything to do with God's will) in Fitzroy Church on Tuesday evening next. I do not know what was said on that occasion (It is on tape, I will be glad to let him have it) but I am informed that as a result protests are being organised for the meeting in Fitzroy. (Could I just digress and say that the ministers and elders of our Churches will be picketing Fitzroy Church on Tuesday evening. It is not in a good area, therefore we have to limit our protest to the elders and ministers of our Churches. But what I must make clear to you tonight, I was appalled as I listened to Sunday Sequence when Dr. Dickinson condemned any protest of any kind at any religious service. I will come back to that! He also said that he understood and knew that Cahal Daly was a pleasant gentleman, and he was looking forward to a pleasant evening on Tuesday.) Dr. Dickinson goes on, 'What in fact is happening at Fitzroy is that I have been invited to give a reason for the hope that is in me, AND to set forth the source of hope for mankind which I find alone in salvation by grace through faith alone in Christ Jesus. (You will notice that that is not his subject. His subject is not 'My source of hope'. His subject is 'Our source of hope' running in tandem with Dr. Daly.) This I will be doing through the enabling of the Holy Spirit in clear and unmistakable terms, so that all who are present, Protestants, Roman Catholics and others will be presented with the Gospel of which I am unashamed. What the other speaker will be doing I do not know. (The ticket [5] says he is going to speak upon 'Our Path of Hope'. It is advertised what he is going to do! Dr. Dickinson says he does not know. He ought to have read the card at least!) But so far as I am concerned there will be no confusion whatever as to the nature of the hope which is enshrined in the finished work of Christ on Calvary as revealed in the Scriptures of the Old and New Testaments, and embraced in the tenets of the Reformed faith. If therefore what I have heard regarding your Church in this matter is true, I should be most grateful if in the interests of Christian honesty and integrity you would set the facts of the situation before your congregation on Sunday, and use your influence to prevent actions which will do nothing other than bring the Name of Jesus Christ and the Gospel which you proclaim into disrepute before the eyes of unbelievers and of the world. As a brother in Christ one who constantly remembers you at the throne of grace, praying for the wisdom, grace and blessing of God's Spirit on your behalf, I should greatly appreciate your prayers and the prayers of God's people that utterance may be given unto me, that I may speak as I ought to speak, (it is a pity that he left out the other part of the Scripture. Is it not 'That utterance might be given unto me, that I might open my mouth boldly', that is left out!) that souls may be saved and brought into everlasting hope that is in Christ, and that the Lord Jesus might be glorified thereby.

Yours sincerely in Christ, the sole King and Head of the Church,

Bertie

My Letter

Well when I got that letter I was very busy but I took time to answer it, and I answered it forthwith.

Dear Bertie,

Thank you for your letter of the 16th April which I received last night. hasten to reply. I have only one interest in this matter, that is the Crown Rights of the Lord Jesus Christ. Where His honour is impugned I will be immediately on the offensive. First of all, the meeting is not a debate in which you are challenging the unscriptural anti-Christianity of Dr. Daly, but a Seminar in which both of you are presented as qualified to speak on the subject, 'There is hope in Christ'. You have been given your subject, 'Our Source of Hope' He has been given his, 'Our Path of Hope'. The organisers of the Seminar put you both on the plane of Christian ministers who can present authoritatively the Christian message.

Secondly, as a Protestant I cannot accept any priest of Rome, let alone the outspoken Dr. Daly, as a minister of Christ. He cannot present Christ at all, for his Christ is not the true Christ - the Christ revealed in the Holy Scriptures. His Christ is a Christ which he can manufacture at will at the Mass. His Christ is a Christ who requires the assistance of Mary in order [6] to redeem sinners. His Christ is a Christ depended on priestly ceremonies in order to accomplish the salvation of souls. His Christ is a Christ whose representative and Vicar on earth is that Man of Sin and Son of Perdition the Pope of Rome, as your Confession of Faith which you have sworn to uphold teaches, (the Westminster Confession of Faith, Chapter 25, para. 6).

Thirdly, to bring a Roman Catholic Bishop into a Presbyterian Church as a Christian minister and share the discussion of a Gospel subject with him in a teach-in is the giving of recognition to the system he represents and implies that he has some authority to speak in the matter.

Are you prepared to declare publicly before the meeting, whatever the organisers might think or propose, that you will turn the meeting into a dispute and debate? Will you also, before the meeting, state that you repudiate Dr. Daly's claim to be a Christian minister? - that his Mass is most abominably injurious to Christ? (Westminster Confession of Faith, Chapter 29, para. 2): that the Pope who appointed him is the Man of Sin, and that your purpose is to convert the Roman Catholics attending and get them out of the Church of Rome? Except you do that there will be confusion. So open your mouth boldly now and let everybody know where you stand.

I certainly will be declaring myself on the subject. In the interests of Christian honesty and integrity to quote your own words, that is the only course open to you now, that this matter has gone so far as it has. In no way can this meeting be presented as an honest, straightforward way of evangelising Roman Catholics and Protestants, and to present it as such is dishonest.

I pray God will help you not to compromise any further, but rise up and champion the Crown Rights of Jesus Christ.

Yours for the faith of the Gospel,

Ian

Salvation in Christ Alone

Salvation is in Christ alone!

That is a tremendous statement. That statement puts out of court as far as the salvation of the soul is concerned, every system, every Organisation, every ordinance, and every other belief. Salvation is in Christ alone! Any institution and any religious body, and any religious set up that would usurp the place of Jesus Christ in the salvation of the soul has its origin in Hell.


Now let us get it straight. This is not a day for a mealy mouth. This is not a day for a velvet tongue. This is a day for plain, straight declaration of Divine Truth. [7]

The Gospel of the Church of Rome and the Gospel of Cahal Daly

Now let us examine the gospel of the Church of Rome and the gospel of Cahal Daly. He is going to speak on 'Our Path of Hope'. Now the first thing I must say to you tonight is this, that he believes that the way to Heaven is not through Jesus Christ alone. He believes that the way to Heaven is through the Pope of Rome.

Daly's Path of Hope - The Pope

Let me read you what the Popes have to say about themselves, and what their claims are.

Pope Pius the Ninth declaring the official teaching of the Roman Catholic Church in regard to the Vicar of Christ on earth, said this, I alone, despite my unworthiness, am the successor of the apostles; the Vicar of Jesus Christ. I alone have the mission to guide and direct the barque of Peter. I am the Way, the Truth and the Life. They who are with me are with the Church. They who are not with me are out of the Church. They are out of the Way, the Truth and the Life. Cahal Daly's doctrine, 'Our Path of Hope' is the Pope's way.

I want to say to you tonight. Christ is the only Way. Christ is the only Truth. Christ is the only Life. If you have not got Christ you are not in the Way, you are lost. If you have not got Christ you have not got the Truth, you are deceived. If you have not got Christ you are not living, you are dead in trespasses and in sin. Romanism is a lie. Popery is a lie. And on Tuesday night Cahal Daly will be preaching the Devil's lie, as far as the Path of our Hope is concerned. His path is not the path to Heaven, it is the path to Hell. So number one, 'Our Path of Hope' not Christ alone but the Pope, who blasphemously proclaims, 'he is the Way, the Truth and the Life'.

Daly's Path of Hope - Mary

Secondly, he will be presenting as he stands there with all Rome's claims, the false gospel of Rome which is this, that Christ cannot save apart from the help of Mary.

There is a prayer that every devout Roman Catholic says every day, it is called the 'Salve Regina'. Let me read it to you: Hail, Holy Queen, Mother of Mercy, our Life (notice it!) our Sweetness, our Hope (Cahal Daly is going to talk about 'The Path of Hope'. Here is what his devout members say every day. Not 'Christ our Hope', No?) Mary our Hope, Hail 'Holy Queen, [8] Mother of Mercy, Our Life. Our Sweetness, our Hope. To thee do we cry poor exile children of Eve. To thee we send up our sighs, our weeping, and mourning in the vale of tears. Turn then most gracious Advocate thy merciful eyes towards us, and after this long, this our exile shew unto us the blessed fruit of thy womb Jesus. O, Clement, O, Loving, O, Sweet Virgin Mary.

I must say to you tonight that that also is a lie from Hell. Mary is not the Way to God. Mary cannot bring anybody to God. There is no salvation in Mary. She was a sinner like every one else. She said, 'My spirit doth rejoice in God my Saviour', so she needed to be saved herself.

Let me read you what Ligouri in his 'Glories of Mary' (a text book every Roman Catholic priest must study before his ordination), has to say. Quoting Saint Bonaventura, Sinners, let us follow Mary closely and casting ourselves at her feet let us not leave them until she has blessed us, for her blessing will ensure our salvation. If my Redeemer rejects me on account of my sins, and drives me from His sacred feet, I will cast myself at His beloved mother Mary's feet until she has obtained my forgiveness.

What a deception! Let me tell you, there never was a sinner that cast himself at the Saviour's feet that was not pardoned and given life everlasting.

It is an insult to the tender compassion; the infinite grace and the love of the only Redeemer of God's elect the Lord Jesus Christ, to paint Mary as more compassionate, more tender, more forgiving than Christ is an insult to the Son of God.

'Our Path of Hope' through the Pope, through Mary! That's Daly's message.

Daly's Path of Hope - Himself

Cahal Daly goes further. 'Our Path of Hope', as he teaches it, 'his Path of Hope', is what? Salvation yes but he is necessary. He is necessary in order that his people may be saved, because he claims, as a Roman Catholic Bishop and priest, to be the only person that can bring pardon and dispense forgiveness to the people. Without him, without his assistance of God no one can be saved.

I know no system so horrible as the system of Romanism. You think of a religious system that goes to a broken-hearted mother, a broken-hearted father, a broken-hearted wife, a broken-hearted husband, a broken-hearted brother or sister and says to them, 'Your relation, no matter how devout he was, no matter how faithful a Catholic he was, no matter that he died in a state of grace, it does not matter, he is now burning in the torments of purgatory, and except you pay me the money, except you give me the cash to say Masses for the repose of your loved one's soul, your loved one will continue to be tormented in the flames of purgatory.'

I know no system as horrible as that. [9]

Dr. Daly has a large bank balance. You know where he got it? By picking the pockets of the bereaved in his Diocese, because the majority of Masses that are said in the Chapels in his Diocese are said for 'the repose of the souls of the faithful'. What a horrible thing. No wonder the Reformers called them 'Purgatory Pickpockets', for that is what they are.

That is the man who is going to run in tandem with Dr. Dickinson. He is going to be brought into Fitzroy Presbyterian Church by a minister of that Church Mr. Newell, a well known Charismatic and Ecumenist. He is going to take part in the worship that shall go forward at the beginning of that Seminar, and then after Dr. Dickinson brings his message, he is going to ride in tandem and present 'Our Path of Hope'. (At the meeting both men received a standing ovation.)

Let me go farther, Dr. Daly, that morning in his own private Chapel will have officiated at the morning Mass. He will have pretended to create Christ out of the pancake wafer on the Mass altar, and he will have held up that Mass to his priests and assistants and cried out, 'Behold the Lamb of God' and they will have fallen down to worship it.

Dr. Daly goes farther than that. He is the Bishop. He believes that he alone has the power to pass on to others the right and authority to create Christ - the whole Christ, His Deity, His Blood, His nerves, His sinews, His muscles and all His flesh out of the Mass and that he can give the priests of Rome the power so to' do. That is the man that is going to find a welcome at the Seminar in Fitzroy Presbyterian Church.

Prophecy Come True

I said twenty years ago, before this Church was even built, that the day would come when priests would be welcomed in Presbyterian pulpits. I said the day would come when Cardinals would stand in the pulpits of the Ecumenical Churches. I said the day would come when any man dares to say that the Roman Catholic Church is not a Christian Church, that that man will be pilloried and condemned for preaching the truth of God's Holy Word. That day has now come. Two Cardinals in the pulpit of Belfast Cathedral, and now Cahal Daly in Fitzroy Presbyterian Church to be greeted by, shaken hands with by a leading Orangeman, and evangelical Moderator of the Irish Presbyterian Church.

The utter shame of it, and this is the shame of the situation, trying to sell to people that this is a novel way to preach the Gospel and win souls to Christ and honour the Son of God and be faithful to the message of the Gospel.

My friend, this is a deception, and I must say to you tonight sitting in this congregation, if you have not got the Way and that Way is Christ alone, even although you may be a loyalist and a Protestant, even although you may have strong Reformation convictions, even although you may be an adherent or a member of this Church, let me tell you if you have not got [10] Christ in your heart you are lost and there is no hope for you. Protestantism,

Protestant ordinances, Protestant principles and adherence to the historic faith of the Reformers in your head cannot save your soul. You need a living faith in the Living Christ of God, and if you have not got that you have not got the Way, you have not got the Truth and you have not got the Life.

If the Day Should Come . . .

If the day should come when John Wylie, who is with me in this pulpit tonight, and Ian Paisley are no longer on this scene, if the day should come that any preacher should stand in this pulpit to welcome a priest of Rome, I pray to God that God will burn this Church and blast every brick that stands in it and that it will be in ashes rather than that this place erected for the preaching of the Gospel should be desecrated by the foot of an emissary of the Roman Antichrist. God forbid that the walls of this building should resound with the voice of a deceiver, the voice of a man who so insults my Lord that he pretends that he can make Him at his will out of the pancake wafer on the Mass altar.

The time has come for the members of the Irish Presbyterian Church to declare themselves. I want to say to Irish Presbyterians tonight, I have said long ago it has apostatised and I tell you if an evangelical minister is prepared to do what Dr. Dickinson is doing, what would the full blown ecumenists do! What are they doing behind the curtains and behind the scenes? 'If this is done in the green tree,' said the Lord Jesus, 'what shall be done in the dry?'

Final Word

My final word is to men and women in this house tonight that are not saved. I love your soul, friend. It would be far easier for John Wylie and Ian Paisley to hold their peace and say nothing, I am going to get no laurels for anything I have said this night. I am going to make a lot of enemies. I will make them both in the political and the religious world. I want however to tell you tonight, I care far more for my Saviour's honour than any petty honour that I can have of men. My Saviour went to Calvary to save my soul. He hung upon a Cross to die for me. He wore a crown of thorns and bled in shame in cruel suffering. I must rise up. I cannot be silent, men and women. I cannot sit back when this insult is hurled in the face of the Son of God. I will not be silent. I cannot be silent. I must speak with all the fervour of my heart and soul and mind, and my only desire is that men might hear the Gospel.

To the Roman Catholics who are in our service tonight, I have nothing against you whatsoever. It is because I love your soul that I am faithful [11] to your soul tonight. I yearn that you might know my Saviour. I long that you might forsake the confessional and come to the Throne of Grace. Forsake the Mass and come to Calvary. Find the true purging of your soul, not in the imaginary tormenting flames of a purgatory in the after life, but through the Precious Blood of Jesus now which cleanseth from all sin. You, tonight, can be washed. You can be made clean in the Blood of the Lamb.

May God save you! May God bring you to Himself! May you tonight go away with Heaven's peace, Heaven's pardon and Heaven's presence in your soul for Christ's sake!

AMEN AND AMEN!

Free Presbyterians Hijack Ecumenical Service in New University, Coleraine

An ecumenical service was arranged for N.U.U. Coleraine in which R.C. Bishop Cahal Daly would take part along with the Methodist, Anglican and Presbyterian chaplains. About forty to fifty Free Presbyterians held a protest at the main entrance of the University, but as the night was cold and damp and the entrance somewhat remote from the Octagon, where the service was to be held, it was decided to leave the parade at the entrance and march through the campus, placards and all, to the much warmer place of the service. It soon became even warmer - for when the service commenced, some ten minutes late, and John Bach was about to lead the service, Rev. Wesley McDowell of Limavady stepped out of the congregation, went forward to the platform and informed the participants and the congregation that ecumenism was the deception of the Devil. He also stated that it is the vehicle of the Antichrist and repudiated it in the Name of Christ. He then challenged the platform party to an open public debate on the subject of ecumenism. This was the signal for other Free Presbyterians strategically placed, to voice their opposition.

For some twenty minutes to half an hour, the platform party and congregation sat and heard one Free Presbyterian after another voice protest and opposition to the evil of ecumenism. At about 8.35 they attempted to restart their ecumenical service by singing the opening hymn once again, but after they did so, Rev. McDowell again stepped forward, and having stated that their protest was made, he renewed the challenge to openly publicly debate the issue. The Free Presbyterians then left the service and after a Radio interview, and prayer, they dispersed having held a very good and effective protest.

[12]
Dr. Paisley on a recent visit to Oulton Broad

On 13th February 1986, Dr. Paisley and Rev. David McIlveen visited the newly constituted church in Oulton Broad for a special service.

About seventy people attended, and the Lord's presence was felt in a mighty way. Mr. David Park, who was preaching in the church during the month of February, led the meeting; Rev. McIlveen opened in prayer and brought greetings from Ulster, and Dr. Paisley gave the closing address.

He preached with power upon the subject of revival, taking for his text Psalm 85:6 "Wilt thou not revive us again that thy people may rejoice in thee". The congregation thoroughly enjoyed the exposition of God's Word, and the ministry of God's servant. [13]

So-Called Progress in Theology by Rev. C. H. Spurgeon

The idea of progress has been enlisted into the service of the enemy. Ages grow wiser. The wealth of one generation is put out to interest to increase the possessions of the next. Knowledge attained is but the stepping-stone to knowledge desired. In every department the sons of earth are advancing with tremendous strides. "Whereunto shall this grow?" is a question which, with the past before us, it is not easy to answer. Progress is written upon all human things; and he is little short of a fool who shall attempt to reverse this settled order.

Carried Away

Carried away with the great fact which we have just admitted, certain unsobered minds and unexperienced hearts have plotted against the fixedness of Gospel doctrines, and have planned an advance upon the theology of their fathers. Have we not steam instead of horseflesh? Why not then philosophy instead of the old book? Do we not constrain the lightning to convey the thoughts of man? What should hinder us from compelling the words of the seers to bear the burden of our new devices? In all things else we march; why then stay we here? If in other fields the old opinions have been supplanted by fresh discoveries, why should not theology receive the like reservation? "The old picture," say they, "needs thorough cleaning, new tints must be supplied, and a few touches by a younger hand will improve it greatly. The old Puritans were mere children, and we have so outgrown them that we put away their dogmas as childish things."

Siren Song

What a siren song is this for the youth of our churches! Shall we marvel if they be beguiled thereby? Happily the disease has not as yet spread very widely; and we trust that decided testimonies may stay it in its very first appearance. O perplexed one, charmed by the allurement of this harlot, yet willing to remain chaste in thy devotion to the truth, ask thyself this one question, and the spell of the enchantress is broken: When God has finished a work, shall man amend and correct it? Look to creation: in what respect is earth more lovely today than on the first of her sabbaths? Has the sun [14] become more bright, or the moon more lovely? When the snowflakes fell upon the mountains in the days of Enoch, were they less pure than now? Were the winds and rain but mere infants when they battled about the ark of Noah? Are flowers a novelty discovered by philosophy? or were the cedars of Lebanon mere hyssops until learning have developed them? Have mortals quickened the march of the orbs of heaven? or turned to human melodies the roaring waves of the sea? Since the day in which the Lord pronounced all things to be very good, who has re-arranged the universe, and made an advance upon the six day's work of the Creator? How, then, shall we expect to find changes in a revelation which is, by the guardian voice of divine threatening, declared to be complete? Is the Bible a mass of matter, shapeless and void, needing human wit to fashion it? Is it a mere leaping-pole to aid us in the venturous vaultings of speculation? Will coming ages outgrow its swaddling-bands, and either cast the book away despisingly, or preserve it curiously as a relic of darker times? No, in the name of all the faith which dwells in the bosoms of the redeemed, we answer, No. We repudiate and detest the idea of advancement beyond the perfect law of the Lord; and at the hazard of being left behind in the march of intellect, we choose to tarry in the mount of inspiration, trembling to go beyond the word of the Lord, less or more. The simple word of revelation is the ultimatum of the creed of the Church; and beyond the evangelical doctrines of the Bible she will never dare or even desire to trespass.

Restatement

But we are met by a portion of our opponents, who claim the right of restating their theory. "We do not", say they, "go the length of expecting an improvement upon revelation; but we are anxious for fresh light to be shed upon it, that men may understand it better. Here we think it safe to prophesy progress; for we believe that, as education advances, we shall be the better fitted to comprehend the deep things of God." This is a most reasonable opinion, if the surface-idea be all. Deception, however, lurks within the plausible. There is truth here, but it is like a homeopathic globule dissolved in a barrel of water. Who will deny the manifest fact that Christian men grow in knowledge, and in an acquaintance with the hidden meaning of the divine word? but this is not what is meant; this is only the atom of truth: we will soon spill upon the ground the flood in which it is made to lose itself. The meaning of the lovers of a progressive theology is, not that a man is taught more and more to comprehend with all saints what are the heights and depths, and to know the love of Christ which passeth knowledge; but that thinking, intellectual professors in our day are far in advance of praying, deep-taught saints in earlier times; that, in fact, John Calvin, Owen, Bunyan, Goodwin, and the like, must needs go to school to modern divines if they should return to earth again. Persons besotted by this notion do not desire to see old truths more distinctly, but to obtain a sort of light, or rather [15] "darkness visible," which shall throw the ancient theology into obscurity, and dive a fine opportunity to show their magic-lanthorns of novel speculations. Were it their prayer that God would show them his truth more clearly, we would be humble suppliants with them. O that the Lord would enlighten our darkness, and reveal to us personally the fellowship of the mystery. But when the cry is for such intellectual growth as shall remove the old landmarks, and give us a new gospel, we shake our garments from all association with the rebellious clamour.

Deal Gently, or They will Leave the Church

"You must not be too rigid or severe in insisting upon the claims of duty and benevolence, or you will drive some of the members away from the Church." Such is the kind advice which a cautious church member sometimes volunteers to his minister.

In this day, faithfulness is often called severity, and telling the truth plainly, scolding. I hate scolding in the pulpit, both in its terms and in its tones. But I utterly loathe time-serving, or the policy that conceals or palliates truth, from dread of giving offence. I would bear the truth spoken in love. The idea of glossing truth for the sake of keeping in their pews a body of indifferent, worthless members, who feel no interest, and will bear no responsibility in promoting the welfare and usefulness of the Church is abhorrent to good policy, true piety and sincere integrity.

"But you will hurt their feelings," says one.

They ought to be hurt. I would see truth poured scorching hot upon their consciences until it burnt out their indifferentism. They are immeasurably hurting the Church by their worldliness, and why should we scruple in wounding them. Ulcers must be sometimes painfully probed or they will never heal.

But some very good people say, deal gently with such, or they will leave the Church. Well, what good do they do in it? What would the Church lose if they were all gone? Is their association with it so very desirable and beneficial, that we should tenderly implore their stay? What of strength or efficiency would a thousand such add to the Church?

Leave the Church! What right have they in it? If they have no sympathy with it, no interest in it, no affinity with the spirit of Jesus Christ, they are none of His, and what right have they in His Church? If the Church is destined to be a living body, why desire to retain a hanging mass of diseased or dead members? Trim off the dead limbs, and the vine will only [16] be the more flourishing.

Leave the Church! What a blessing that would be. If it is impossible to draw from them any manifestation of spiritual life, any expression of devotion and zeal, if they obstinately repudiate in their lives all that is positive and practical in Christianity, then their leaving will be a speedy relief.

Leave the Church! Let them go to the world to which they belong, or to some worldly church where their consciences may be lulled by the form of godliness without the power. The Bible recognises no such Christianity as theirs. It knows no piety that does not bear good fruits. If they bring forth only thorns and thistles then they are only thorns and thistles.

There ought to be no tenderness wasted upon such professors of religion; none felt, except such as we feel, for all the ungodly in common with them. As unregenerate sinners, should they be exhorted to repent and believe in the Lord Jesus Christ, lest they be found knocking at the closed door of heaven at last, saying, "Lord, Lord, open unto us," and wailing at the fearful answer, "Depart from me, ye workers of iniquity, I never knew you."

Glannis

Mr. Whitefield and the Trumpeter

On one occasion, during Whitefield's residence in America, a black trumpeter, belonging to an English regiment, resolved to interrupt him during a discourse which he was expected to deliver in the open air. At the hour appointed for the sermon he repaired to the field where it was to be preached, carrying his trumpet with him on purpose to blow it with all his might about the middle of the sermon. He took his stand in front of the minister, and at no great distance. The concourse that attended became very great, and those who were towards the extremity of the crowd pressed forward, in order to hear more distinctly, which caused such a pressure at the place where the trumpeter stood, that he found it impossible to raise up the arm which held the trumpet at the time he intended to blow it. He attempted to extricate himself from the crowd, but found this equally impossible, so that he was kept within hearing of the gospel as securely as if he had been chained to the spot. In a short time his attention was arrested, and he became so powerfully affected by what the preacher presented to his mind, that he was seized with an agony of despair, and was carried to a house in the neighbourhood. When the service was over, he was visited by Mr. Whitefield, who tendered some seasonable counsels; and the poor trumpeter from that time became an altered man.

Narrative of Remarkable Conversions

[17-23 MEDITATIONS FOR THE MONTH]

[24]
The Sunday School Teacher's Teacher

Subject: The Life of Our Lord Jesus Christ

Lesson LXII - The Chief Pharisee's Feast
Lord's Day 4th May 'Not as the world giveth, give I unto you.'

Read - Luke xiv. 1 -24; Learn - Isa. lv. 1, 2; Rev. xix. 9

SKETCH OF LESSON

Jesus is now in Peraea, the old country of Gilead. Here Jacob wrestled, Israel conquered Sihon, Jephthah and Joab fought with Ammon, David took refuge from Absalom, Elijah was born, Ahab died. The Seventy have gone before Him (last Lesson) - proclaiming what? Now see the result. As in Galilee in the early days of His ministry, so here: multitudes thronging Him, Matt. xix. 2; Luke xiv. 25 - perhaps xi. 29, xii. 1; publicans eagerly flocking to the 'friend of sinners', xv. 1; Pharisees inviting Him to their houses, xiv. 1.

Today go with Jesus to one of these Pharisee entertainments.

I. JESUS AT THE FEAST

Who gives the feast? ver. 1 - no doubt a great and rich man - fine house (many grand ruins still to be seen at cities in Peraea) - many servants, etc. This a great feast - many guests, rich people, lawyers, Pharisees, etc. (ver. 7, 12) - see them coming in - the host receiving them, etc. (picture - see Lesson XXXVI). What are the guests thinking of? ver. 7 - all trying to get best places - what vanity, envy, discontent, in their hearts!

But there is one guest there who is a stranger, specially invited - who? How do the rest feel towards Him? ver. 1 - He is different from them - He cares not for all their ceremonies (see Mark vii. 2-8) perhaps He will do something they think strange or wrong - so they 'watch Him'. Besides, what day is it? ver. 1 - 'let us see if this fellow will keep the Sabbath'. Were they keeping it? - after all their hard Sabbath rules for the poor people, to give such feasts, causing work and trouble? And their feelings - envy of one another, malice towards Him! How does He show them the true Sabbath-keeping? ver. 2-6. (See Lesson XXXVII.)

But now see - If they watched Him in malice, He 'marked' them (ver. 7) in sorrow and just anger.

II. WHAT JESUS SAID ABOUT MEN'S FEASTS

A word to the guests, ver. 8-1 1. He marked' that seeking after best places how does He show its foolishness? But then, suppose one of them, next time he went to a feast, were to say, 'I'll sit in low place - then I shall get taken up higher', would that be what Jesus wished? Why, that really just as selfish. No - see ver. 7 all this is a 'parable' - something meant by it which you don't see at first. What? ver. 11 - 'he that exalteth himself', in any way, what of him? And who to be exalted? he that 'humbles himself' because he feels unworthy (comp. Ps. li. 17, cxxxviii. 6; Prov. iii. 34; Ise. lvii. 15; Jas. iv. 6; 1 Pet. v. 5). To see the greatest example of this, comp. Isa. xiv. 12-15 with Phil. ii. 5-11. Now, what were all these Pharisees doing? were they [25] not thinking themselves worthy of God's favour, and despising others? Luke xviii. 9-14; was it not this that was making them reject Jesus? So His 'parable' means, 'You who seek the best seats have the same spirit in other and greater things - take care - a like result will follow'.

A word to the host, ver. 12-14. What does He mean? rich people not to invite their own friends at all? No - this an illustration too (something like Matt. v. 39, 40) - Jesus is thinking why these feasts given, in hope of 'a recompense' (ver. 12) from whom? from men - they cared for that more than for God's recompense and this in other things too, see Matt. vi. 1-6, xxiii. 5-7; John v. 44, xii. 43. How get God's recompense? ver. 13, 14. Only in this way? no, for all can't do so; Jesus means everything that is unselfish, kind, thoughtful of others; see Phil. ii. 3, 4.

III. WHAT JESUS SAID ABOUT GOD'S FEAST

He has spoken of a great reward hereafter, ver. 14. A guest (ver. 15) thinks of the great Feast the Jews looked forward to when Messiah should come (comp. Lesson XXVIII) - 'ah! how happy they would all be then!' But, suppose he should not be there - he never thinks of that. So Jesus answers by a parable (read ver. 16-24), telling of the difference between God's Feast and their feasts.

1. Different as regards those invited.

The Pharisees thought themselves sure of good places in God's kingdom. Well, Jesus would say, 'You are invited - you have accepted (profess to be God's messengers (the Baptist, Jesus Himself) now calling you - and you won't come.' How different from their own feasts - every one so pleased to be asked, so ready to go, so eager for good seats! and now, when the Seventy have been proclaiming 'the kingdom nigh' (last Lesson), when the King Himself among them - cold looks, scornful words, 'excuses' 'with one consent'. But what then? ver. 24 - 'that heavenly Feast you think so blessed, not one of you shall taste of it'; and whose fault this? But who should be the 'blessed' ones? the very people they despised. How would that be? Because of another difference between God's Feast and their feasts -

2. Different as regards Him who invites.

When they made a feast, whom did they invite, and why? ver. 12 (above). But God - (a) whom does He invite? see parable 'poor, maimed', etc. - those who can make Him no return - who are they? the publicans and sinners (see Mark ii. 17) yes, and room for more than them - the despised Gentiles too from the 'highways and hedges' (outside the city), see Matt. viii. 11. Do you say these not invited till the intended guests refused? - ah, but all, even those first asked, destitute in God's sight (Rev. iii. 17) - none can make Him any return (1 Chron. xxix. 14; Luke xvii. 10). (b) Why does God ask such? Just from pity He gets nothing by it, but He loves us, Rom. viii. 8; Eph. ii. 4, 5. So it is a free invitation, and to all, Ise. Iv. 1, 2; Rev. xxii. 17.

Here is an invitation for us too - 'Come, for all things are now ready.'

What are we invited to? To be in Christ's company. He will come and 'sup with us' now (Rev. iii. 20) - take us to 'sup with Him' hereafter (2nd text for rep.) - what meant? To be quite happy (Ps. lxxiii. 25), to have all we want (Phil. iv. 19), and to have it for nothing (1st text for rep.). Even on earth, the happiest people are those who have come to Christ - and who but they will be happy afterwards?

Are we making excuses? Some make the very same those men in the parable did. (a) You have not 'bought a piece of ground'; but have you not got something you want to enjoy, and won't leave it to obey Christ's call? (b) You have not to try how your ten new oxen will work, but have you not so much to do, school lessons, shop-work, home duties, that you have no time to think of Christ's invitation? (c) You are not like the newly-married man, but are you saying, 'I like this or that companion so much that I can't give him up for Christ'? Well, what will come of such excuses? We may (like the man in ver. 15) sing, 'Oh, that will be joyful', but 'None of those shall taste of My supper'. When the heavenly feast begins, shut out'.

Think of Christ calling you, with outstretched arms, and say,

'O Lamb of God, I come.'

Lesson LXIII - The Parable of the Prodigal Son [26]

Lord's Day 11th May 'There is joy In heaven over one sinner that repenteth.'

Read
- Luke xv.; Learn - Luke xv. 20, 21; Micah vii. 18, 19.

SKETCH OF LESSON

When Jesus was in Galilee, we saw how He visited Pharisees and publicans, and how former objected because He went to latter; Luke v. 29, 30, vii. 34. (Lessons XXXI, XXXVI:) Now just the same in Peraea: He eats with the Pharisees (last Lesson); and, despite their complaints, with publicans too, ver. 1, 2. Now, these 'publicans and sinners' really bad people: why then came they to Him? why went He to them? (Illust. When bad boy and good boy much together, either bad boy is drawing good boy away, or good boy winning bad boy back.)

See how Jesus replied to the Pharisee objections. (Read ver. 1-10.) Had the publicans gone astray? - so had the missing sheep; yet the shepherd went after it - why? it was his property, so worth recovering. The piece of silver too - should it be given up without 'diligent search'? And should not Messiah, the Shepherd of Israel, to whom all belonged, righteous and wicked, seek His own? And when the sheep or the coin found, what would the news cause? Joy? - so with the sinner - these very publicans and bad people - no joy when they brought back? Yes - but where? While Pharisees murmuring, angels rejoicing!

Is not this enough? Yet Jesus has a greater lesson yet for them - will show them a picture of themselves and of those neglected outcasts which they shall not forget - the Parable of the Prodigal Son. (Read it.)

I. THE ELDER SON - A Picture of the Self-righteous

Evening - coming home from work unusual sounds in the house - rejoicings. Of course he is sure something good has happened - will join with bright, eager face? No - gloomily, 'What is it?' 'His brother! that worthless fellow - joy for his return!' See him turning away in surly hatred. Then the father comes out angrily? - sternly rebuking the murmurer? - ordering him in? No - 'entreated him.' Look at the son's answer:- (a) Boasts of his own goodness. Well, suppose it were so, what merit in that? only did his duty. (b) Complains of not being recompensed. Why, his brother's share disposed of long ago, so all the property his now (ver. 31) - what more can he want? (c) Will not call the wanderer his 'brother' - see ver. 30 ('thy son'). Is this such perfect conduct?

Would the Pharisees see the likeness? (a) Did they not boast of their own goodness? Luke xviii. 1 1. (b) Yet how were they now shewing it? Here is Jesus letting wicked people come to Him, telling them of God's love, encouraging them to come back to God. They object. But who are these people? Their own brethren. Don't they like to call them so? - so much the worse - it shews their selfish pride. If their boastings were true, they would rejoice like the angels, like Jesus Himself (Luke x. 21).

Are you ever like the Pharisees - like Elder Son? Is it a pleasure to you to see God's servants (e.g., your teacher) doing all they can for some bad boy? Do you like to see a bad boy coming home to God? Did you never feel pleased when a good boy fell into sin?

II. THE YOUNGER SON - A Picture of the Wandering and Returning Sinner

1. The Wanderer. Happy home kind father - every comfort why discontented? What made him ask for his 'portion'? Wanted his own way - to do as he liked. How many boys and girls is this like! We must all say, 'We have turned every one to his own way' (Isa. liii. 6); 'have followed too much the devices and desires of our own hearts'. Our own way - the root of all sin and all misery. Nothing so hard as to give up our own will: have you ever given it up cheerfully? If any one might have had 'own will', surely it was Jesus; yet what did He say? Luke xxii. 42. Sometimes we want our own way, but don't take it at once a little ashamed; so this younger son went not away at once. But 'not many days after'; and so with us.

Then where did he go? ver. 13; so the wilful boy gets away as 'far' from God as he can - gives up prayer, Bible, church, school, etc.; see Job xxi. 14. And what then? happy? of course - think of the Prodigal enjoying himself - everything he [27] wanted he could have - perhaps thought, 'Who cares for those dull folks at home and their strict ways?' - perhaps laughed when thought of elder brother going on in old quiet life. Which of us tempted to be like that?

2. The Wanderer's Misery. 'Spent all': sinful pleasure can't last for ever. Then home again? ah, no, see ver. 15 - 'joined himself': all the pleasure of sin gone - then go on sinning because can't break off the habit - a slave to sin (John viii. 34; 2 Pet. ii. 19); so often with wicked (e.g. drunkard). And then? - 'perishing with hunger'. What meant? Have you ever, after doing wrong, felt utterly miserable? If not, a great pity - sin to you must be pleasant. But you will feel it one day much worse torture of conscience: it always comes sooner or later (see Prov. xiv. 13; Eccl. xi. 9Jer. ii. 19). What like? gnawings of hunger - it is really! - longing for something getting nothing. Longing for what? For peace, happiness, satisfaction, comfort. Pleasure like sweets - nice to eat, but can' t live on them - want bread - the 'bread of life' (John vi. 35; Isa. lv. 1, 2).

3. The Wanderer's Return. 'Came to himself' - like sleeper waking. The first step to being happy, to feel how miserable he is - why? because then try and escape misery. If you only felt sin as it really is, would try and escape it. See what some have felt, Ps. xxxviii. 3, 4, xi. 12; Ezra ix. 6; Luke xviii. 13. Then what else does he feel? The cause of his misery - wandering from home - how happy he might have been! and now 'no more worthy to be' a son. Then a good resolution - 'I will arise', etc. - 'and will say unto him', etc. - no concealment, no excuses. And is it only a resolve? - how many good things we intend to do which are never done! No, he rises and goes at once.

Here are the four parts of true repentance:- conviction ('came to himself'); contrition ('no more worthy'); confession ('will say unto him'); conversion ('arose and came').

4. The Wanderer's Restoration. What a reception! undeserved and unexpected. How free is God's love! and how little we know of iti 'A great way off' - as if father watching and longing for him: so God 'more ready to hear than we to pray'; and think how Jesus yearned over Jerusalem, even though they 'would not' come to Him (Luke xiii. 34). See what the Prodigal has come back to: - (a) Forgiveness ('kissed him'); (b) Restored privilege: robe, ring, shoes - were they for the 'hired servant'? - no, he is to be 'child' still; (c) Joy ('fatted calf', 'music', etc.). So the returning sinner: forgiveness, Isa. Iv. 7; Micah vii. 18, 18; Eph. i. 7; 1 John i. 9; - restored privilege, Rom. viii. 15-17; 2 Cor. vi. 18; Gal. iv. 5, 6; 1 John iii. 1, 2; - joy, Rom. v. 1, 2; 1 Pet. i. 8.

Are any of us in the 'far country'?

Perhaps have not gone very far from God; yet not like one of the family - have gone own way'. Think now! - ought not each one to come to God and say, 'Father, I have sinned'? Is there not something to be confessed, repented of, turned from? Well -

The Father is stretching out His arms to us, waiting to forgive, to smile, to bless. Only come, just as you are (did the Prodigal wait till he was better off, better dressed?) - and you will be happy, as he was.

Lesson LXIV - Concerning This World and the Next
Lord's Day 18th May 'Set your affections on things above, not on things on the earth.'

Read
- Luke xvi. (parts); Learn - 1 Tim. vi. 17-19; 1 John ii. 15-17.

SKETCH OF LESSON 

What does a boy go to school for? to learn? what's the good of that? Suppose no schooling - is he ready to go out into life? So school-time is a preparation for what comes afterwards. That's just what all our life on earth is - a preparation for what comes afterwards. And death - we call it the end of life - really it is the beginning, because next life so much higher and greater; just as leaving school is called [28] 'beginning life'. Does not a boy's 'getting on' often depend on how he used school-time? - our next life depends entirely on how we use this (Another illust. - What farmer reaps depends on what he sows; see Gal. vi. 7, 8.)

Today see what Jesus taught about this preparation.

I. A PARABLE SHOWING HOW TO PREPARE FOR THE NEXT WORLD ver. 1 -8

Steward (like Eliezer, Gen. xv. 2, xxiv. 2; or Joseph in Potiphar's house, xxxix. 4) called upon to give in his accounts (illust. boy in office having to account for money entrusted to him) - knows they are all wrong - has been careless and wasteful will surely 'lose his place' - and then! too idle to work - too proud to beg - ruin. Must make friends in time - so make sure of a home. How? Has sold goods for his master - not yet paid for - will get the receipts altered - let the debtors off part of their debts - so they grateful to him, by-and-bye befriend him.

Was this right? No; unfaithful before, still more now - defrauding his master. Yet even when found out, his master cannot help admiring, ver. 8 - why? so clever and prudent.

But what does Jesus mean by it? Ver. 8 - 'children of this world wiser,' etc. how? There are things in which we may imitate them - imitate even this steward what?

1. The steward prepared for the future. He thought of it; which of us really thinks of the life to come? He made sure about it; even if we do think, don't we say, 'Oh, it's all right', and leave it to chance? He lost no time; how many (like Felix, Acts xxiv. 26) keep putting it off? What would the schoolboy (see above) do if he put off learning till the day of his leaving school? Think of what we sing every Sunday, 'Today, if ye will hear His voice.'

2. He did so by using the money entrusted to him so as to make friends. True, he did this by a device that cheated his master; but cannot we do the same thing in another way? Let us see. We, too, are stewards - of what? of all we have. It is not our own, but 'another's' (ver. 12), i.e., God's. Our money, everything we have in this world, entrusted to us by God. On what we do with it all - whether use it rightly or not - depends our happiness in the life to come (as school-boy's books, etc., or farmer's seed: see above).

How use it?

(a) As the steward did - 'making friends' with it, ver. 9 - how? Spend it on others, do good with it (comp. Luke xii. 33). What then? When we stand before Christ's judgment seat, to 'give in our account' (Matt. xxv. 19; Rom. xiv. 12) those very people whom we have helped and been kind to will 'receive us into everlasting habitations', testifying of our love to them as a proof that we are Christ's own servants.

(b) As the steward did not - faithfully. He 'made friends' by cheating his master; but when we use God's property in doing good, it is like restoring it to Him, see Prov. xix. 17; Matt. x. 42, xxv. 40; so such use is faithful. And if faithful in these little everyday things, God will give us much more in the world to come (ver. 10-12); see Matt. xxv. 21; Luke xxi. 42-44.

II. A PARABLE SHOWING WHAT COMES OF NOT SO PREPARING ver. 19-31

1. The rich man in this world. He, too, a steward - much entrusted to him - how did he use it? We do not read that he was wicked - was it wrong to be rich, to 'fare sumptuously', etc.? - in Scripture many good rich men - 'Father Abraham' himself rich. But he 'left undone what he ought to have done' - how?

(a) He never thought of the life to come. Just lived on, enjoying himself, no doubt respectable and respected - heard God's Word in the synagogues (see ver. 20), but never took it to heart. Exactly like many whom we call 'good boys and girls', quiet, regular, etc., but 'forgetting God' - and what comes of that? Ps. ix. 17.

(b) He did not 'make friends' with his money. Did he not? surely he gave grand feasts, etc. Ah, but what had Jesus said about that? xiv. 12-14 (Lesson LXII). Let us see. At his gate lies poor beggar, helpless, diseased, hungry. He knows him well sees him as he goes in and out - knows his name too (ver. 24) - what does he do for him? Anything for the 'sores'? - the dogs left to soften them; anything for the hunger? oh yes, plenty of 'crumbs'. That all? If he had remembered that his property was God's, and that using it for the poor was giving back to God (texts above), what would he have done? Matt. xxv. 35, 36. But he 'wastes his Master's goods' (see ver. 1) on himself (comp. Zech. vii. 6; Phil. iii. 19).

We are not rich; but we have some things God has given us. How are we using them? all for ourselves? or, ever so little (see 2 Cor. [29] viii. 12, ix. 7) in helping others?

2. The rich man in the next world. 'Lifting up his eyes in torments'! And what does he see? - ah, that familiar face, once wan and piteous, now bright with peace and glory he recognises it in an instant.

But how came Lazarus there? because he was Poor? no - cannot a poor man be an impenitent rebel against God? But in his poverty he made God his help (his name means this; therefore, no doubt, Jesus gave it) - was one of the 'poor in spirit', Matt. v. 3, 'rich in faith', Jas. ii. 5.

See the lost one's request, ver. 24 - to be delivered? no - only to have one moment's relief. And why not? see the reply:- (1) Unreasonable - he had had his due - he chose what he would have, self-indulgence - 'his good things' - his reward' (Matt. vi. 2, 5, 16). He sowed what right to complain of the harvest? (2) Impossible - he had time on earth to prepare - now too late, for 'a great gulf fixed'.

Is this very terrible? But Who says it? The tender Saviour who died to save us from it. Is He not kind to warn us?

How escape a like fate? Come to that Saviour - be His altogether - He will 'prepare a place for you' (John xiv. 2) of a very different kind. Then 'your affections set on things above, not on things on the earth' - how keep back anything from His service? -

'Were the whole realm of nature mine,
That were an offering far too small;
Love so amazing, so divine,
Demands my soul, my life, my all!'

Lesson LXV - Two Parables on Prayer
Lord's Day 25th May 'Lord, teach us to pray.'

Read - Luke xviii. 1 - 14; Learn - Ps. xxxiv. 15, 18; Prov. xxviii. 13.

SKETCH OF LESSON

Why do most boys and girls 'say their prayers'? There are three common reasons - and all wrong ones.


(a) Because 'they've got to do it'. A duty. So it is, but this not the true reason for praying. (illust. - Poor man begging for bread - does he ask because it's a duty that's got to be done?)

(b) Because God will be pleased with them, and so they will get to heaven. A merit. Well, God will be pleased - praying children will go to heaven - but not because it is so good of them to pray. So this not the true reason. (Poor man again - does he beg just because it will please kind folk to hear him?)

(c) Because it does them good; they feel happier after it. A privilege. So it is; yet even this not the reason. (Does the poor man beg because he feels the better for begging?)

What, then, is the true reason for praying? (Why does the poor man beg?) There are things which we want, and which God can give us. Praying is asking for these things.

See today two parables by which Christ showed how they who want such things should ask God for them.

I. THE IMPORTUNATE WIDOW

A poor woman, alone in the world, no husband to protect her - oppressed by some 'adversary' - has been wronged (perhaps defrauded of her little property) what shall she do? What would such an one do in England? - go to magistrate or judge, knowing he is sure to be fair - so have all put right. But in the East, judges often unfair - don't care about doing justice sometimes decide for whoever can give them most money. See God's commands about this, Deut. i. 16, 17, xvi. 18, 19. See what Samuel could say, 1 Sam. xii. 3; and what his sons did, 1 Sam. viii. 3, - and others, Eccl. iv. 1, v. 8; Isa. x. 1, 2; Amos v. 12; Mic. ii. 2; Acts xxiv. 26. The judge in the widow's city - what kind of judge? ver. 2, 6 - 'Why should he trouble himself about her?' And perhaps the 'adversary' had bribed him, or might have been his friend.

How did the widow get redress from such a judge? Just by giving him no peace. At last he gave way - why? from kindness? or because she was in the right? no, but lest he [30] should be 'worried to death'.

Have we the same reason for praying that the widow had? We have an 'adversary' (1 Pet. v. 8), always trying to injure us in body and soul; and, like the widow, we are too weak to resist him of ourselves. And we are taught a prayer like hers, 'Deliver us from evil' (or the evil one); comp. Ps. xxxv. 22, 23, lxxiv. 1 0, 11.

Have we the same difficulty in getting what we need that she had? Ah, no. We can go the Judge - but what a Judge! Gen. xviii. 25; Deut. xxxii. 4. 'More ready to hear than we are to pray'; who calls us to come and tell Him all, Ps. 1. 15; Matt. xi. 28; 1 Pet. v. 7. If the unjust judge did justice at last, 'shall not God do justice to His own chosen people?'

Then how confidently we may pray on! Is not this the very reason why Jesus gave the parable? ver. 1 - 'not to faint,' i.e., not to give way, either to the fierce 'adversary', or because weary of praying in vain. 'Always to pray', i.e., to be on till the help comes (Rom. xii. 12; Eph. vi. 18; Col. iv. 2; 1 Thess. v. 17) - like the Phoenician woman (Lesson XLVIII) - like the Jacob wrestling (Gen. xxxii. 26; Hos. xii. 4). But, you ask, Why does God let us go on? why such delay? Now can it be because He cares not? Why then? He loves to send a swift answer (isa. lxv. 24; Dan. ix. 20), but He waits because it is good for us, though we puzzled at father's refusal or delay to do as asked). See cases where blessing not given immediately, Matt. xiv. 25 (fourth watch), xv. 23; John xi. 6.

II. THE PHARISEE AND THE PUBLICAN

Anything alike in these two? Yes - both going 'to pray'. But see the difference.

Look at the two men. One - walking proudly up the Temple steps, taking his stand in a conspicuous place, people making way for him as a holy Rabbi; on forehead and left elbow two little boxes tied, inside them the Phylacteries, strips of parchment with texts on them (see Exod. xiii. 16; Deut. vi. 8; Matt. xxiii. 5); long robe with wide borders (Mark xii. 38; Numb. xv. 38); all these signs of being very strict. The other - one of 'those wicked publicans' (Lesson XXXI) - 'no wonder he keeps afar off, with downcast eyes, and smites his breast' - so the people might think.

But listen to the two men.

The Pharisee: He begins well - 'God, I thank thee'; yet even in his thanksgiving see three great errors:-

(a) He compares himself with other men - 'not as other men', 'or even as this publican'. A dangerous plan (2 Cor. x. 12), saying 'I'm not so bad as so-and-so' - what has that to do with it?

(b) He trusts to what he is not - 'not' an extortioner, etc. Another dangerous plan: the question is, what we are. (illust. - Do you tell the doctor of all the diseases you have not got?)

(c) He boasts of his good deeds; comp. Matt. vi. 2, 5, 16. A dangerous plan again, for what does St. James say? Jas. ii. 10; comp. Luke xvii. 10.

But after all, is it a prayer at all? - what does he ask for?

The Publican: Like the Pharisee in one thing - feels himself 'not as other men are' - 'the sinner', comp. 1 Tim. i. 15. So he was, no doubt; perhaps all that the Pharisee was not ('extortioner', etc.). But this the very reason why he prayed - wanted something - mercy.

Did he get what he wanted? ver. 14. See him 'going down to his house' - not lifted up - still lowly - yet at peace (illust. Bunyan's 'Christian' with his burden off). Why did he get what he wanted? Because he came in the right way, with the broken and contrite heart (1st text for rep; Ps. li. 17; Isa. lxvi. 2). But why was he 'justified' - i.e., not only forgiven but acquitted? Because his sin laid on Christ, so not imputed to him (Ps. xxxii. 2). He did not understand this as we do; but perhaps he looked at the smoke of the sacrificed lamb going up from the altar, and knew that God had promised to accept that when offered for sinners.

Now why was it that the widow and the publican prayed? They wanted something, and they asked for it. And the Pharisee asked nothing - why? - did not he want anything? yes, but he felt not his need. So, to pray is to ask God for what we want.

Then, how to ask?

(a) Like the widow, perseveringly.

(b) Like the publican, humbly.

But one thing wanted first. We must feel our need. Only think: think what God is, what we are; then shall surely feel how much we need forgiveness, like the publican, and succour, like the widow. And first of all, ask for the Holy Spirit, who will show us our need, and teach us what to pray for, Rom. viii. 26.

Even the youngest shall be answered

'God Almighty heareth ever,
When His little children pray:
He is faint and weary never,
And He turneth none away.' [31]

A Freed Presbyterian

Rev. Ivan Foster M.P.A. was arrested on Monday 21st April at his church, Kilskeery Free Presbyterian Church by the R.U.C.

He was lodged in Crumlin Road Prison and released on Friday 25th April. He went to prison in furtherance of the Protest against the Anglo/ Irish Agreement. He was fined for protesting the Agreement at Castlewellan and refused to pay the fine.

Mr. Foster will relate the story of his imprisonment in our next issue.

Well done Mr. Foster, we are proud of you!

Arsonists Attack John Knox Memorial

Early on Lord's Day morning 20th April, John Knox Memorial Free Presbyterian Church was attacked by Republican arsonists. Extensive damage has been caused to the main building and to the organ.

The Minister of the Church, Rev. Alan Smylie, will have a full report in next month's issue of The Revivalist.