« AnteriorContinuar »
his government of Bactria, there to raise the standard of revolt among a people by whom he was greatly beloved. But the king sent after him an armed force, by which he was overtaken and slain with his sons.
LUKE XV. 8.-"Either what woman having ten pieces of silver, if she lose one piece, doth not light a candle, and sweep the house, and seek diligently till she find it ?"
Searching a House with a Candle or Lamp.-"Why should she light a candle? some have asked, since the circumstances of the parable do not require us to suppose the loss took place after dark. To understand this part of the story, we must remember the peculiar construction of Eastern houses, especially those existing in Palestine at that time. Though the public rooms or reception apartments might be of good size and well lighted, the lesser rooms and bedchambers would have small windows, for more reasons than one, and even in the daytime they could scarcely be searched over with care, unless a candle or lamp was employed. Eastern folks do not mind sitting in the house in what we should call very shady light. In Zeph. i. 12 we read that God says, "I will search Jerusalem with candles," the idea being the same, that without artificial light no abode could be thoroughly explored.
MARK iii. 6.-"And the Pharisees went forth, and straightway took counsel with the Herodians against Him, how they might destroy Him."
The Herodians were a sect of the Jews in the time of our Lord, and rather of a political than a religious character. According to Tertullian and others they took their name from believing Herod to be the Messiah, and who was to raise the country to the highest pitch of glory; but there is no foundation for this idea in Scripture. They most probably were a set of men of very profligate habits, and strongly attached to the family and rule of Herod; and by consequence very zealous for the authority of the Romans and the introduction of Roman manners, games, and other heathen usages. This brought them opposed to the Pharisees, who considered it contrary to the law to have a king who was not of their own nation, and therefore held it to be illegal to pay the taxes. Some think the Herodians belonged to the sect of the Sadducees, but this is doubtful. The caution of Christ to His disciples to beware of the leaven of Herod (Mark viii. 15) probably meant to beware of suffering views of interest and worldly policy to interfere or be commingled with true religion.-Pinnock's "Analysis of the New Testament."
GOD'S CARE OF HIS CREATURES. PSALM CXlV. 16.-"Thou openest Thine hand, and satisfiest the desire of every living thing."
The Widow's Need Supplied.-It is recorded of Fresenius, & pious minister at Frankfort-on-the-Maine, that he one day found his mother, who was a widow, concerned about a little money which she much needed at the time, but did not know whence to procure. Not being himself able at that instant to furnish her with it, he said, "I likewise believe you must have the money; I accordingly turn this hour glass, and assure you that if the money is really needed it will positively lie here on the table before the hour glass is run down. If it does not lie here, God will convince us, after this hour, that it was not as indispensable as we imagine." The hour glass was scarcely run out one-half when a messenger arrived, who had traversed an eight hours' walk, bringing a small amount which was owing to Fresenius. This money rejoiced mother and son more than if they had received a large capital, for they considered it a real memorial of divine help received.
RECORD OF FAITH.
MATTHEW XV. 28.-" O woman, great is thy faith."
The Fireman's Daughter.-In a large school the pupils were assembled and busily engaged in their work, when there was an alarm of fire. As usual a terrible panic immediately ensued. In wild confusion, and with shrieks and cries, every one darted to the doors of the schoolroom, forming there a mass so dense as to render escape absolutely impossible to many. In the struggle to get out several of the children were seriously injured, and one young lady, a teacher, rushed to an open window and jumped out of it. Throughout this scene of confusion, one girl-one of the best conducted in the school-maintained her self-composure and remained seated on the bench where she had been when the alarm commenced, without once moving; the colour had indeed forsaken her face, her lips quivered, and some tears rolled slowly down her cheeks, but not one cry, not one word escaped, and there she sat, silent and motionless, as white as a marble statue, till all danger was declared to be over. After order had been restored, and her com
panions had been brought back to their places, except those who were too much hurt or too much frightened to resume their duties for that day, the question was asked her how it happened that she had been so composed as to sit still when every body else was in such a fearful state of fright. Her reply was, My father is a fireman, and he has told me that if ever there was an alarm of fire in the school, I must just sit still. I thought of his words, and did as he desired me, and this was what made me stay quiet."
A SAVIOUR FOR ALL.
JOHN vi. 37.-"Him that cometh to me I will in no wise cast out."
Bishop Butler and his Chaplain.-The great thinker was lying on his deathbed; and so lying, he turned round and said to his chaplain," I know that Jesus Christ is a Saviour, but how am I to know that He is a Saviour to me?" The chaplain answered simply, "My lord, it is written, Him that cometh unto me I will in no wise cast out. The dying bishop paused and mused, and then he said, "I have often read and thought of that Scripture, but never till this moment did I feel its full power, and now I die happy."
THE WAGES OF SIN.
JAMES i. 15.-" Sin, when it is finished, bringeth forth death."
The Old Man's Folly.-A religious writer gives us this parable :-" A hermit was conducted by an angel into a wood, where he saw an old man cutting down boughs to make up a burden. When it was large he tied up and attempted to lift it on his shoulders and carry it away, but finding it very heavy he laid it down again, cut more wood, and heaped it on, and then tried again to carry it off. This he repeated several times, always adding something to the load, after trying in vain to raise is from the ground. In the meantime the hermit, astonished at the old man's folly, desired the angel to explain what this meant. 'You behold,' said he, 'in this foolish old man, an exact representation of those who, being made sensible of the burden of their sin, resolve to repent, but soon grow weary, and instead of lessening their burden, increase it every day. At each trial they find the task heavier than it was before, and so put it off a little longer, in the vain hope that they will by and by be more able to accomplish it. Thus they go on adding to their burden till it grows too heavy to be borne, and then, in despair of God's mercy, and with their sins unrepented of, they lay down and die. Turn again, my son, and behold the end of the old man whom thou sawest heaping up a load of boughs.' The hermit looked,
and saw him in vain attempting to remove the pile, which was now accumulated far beyond his strength to raise. His feeble limbs tottered over their burden; the poor remains of his strength were fast ebbing away; the darkness of death was gathering around him, and, after a convulsive and impotent attempt to lift the pile, he fell down and expired."
EVIL REPENTED OF.
AMOS V. 14.-" Seek good and not evil."
A Noble Act.-The father of the eminent lawyer, Serjeant Glanville, who lived in the days of Charles II., had a good estate, which he intended to settle on his eldest son; but he proving vicious, and affording no hope of reformation, he devolved it upon the serjeant, who was his second son. Upon his father's death, the eldest son, finding that what he had hitherto considered as the mere threat of his father was really true, became greatly dejected, and in a short period his character underwent an entire change. His brother, observing this, invited him, with a party of his friends to a feast, and after several other dishes had been removed, he ordered one covered up to be set before his brother, which on being examined was found to contain the writings of the estate. The serjeant then told him that he had now done what he was sure their father would have done had he lived to witness the happy change they all saw, and that he therefore freely conveyed to him the whole property.
THE MARTYR'S HOPE.
REVELATION ii. 10.-" Fear none of those things which thou shalt suffer." Polycarp and the Proconsul.-When Polycarp, an ancient Bishop of the Church at Smyrna, was brought to the tribunal, the proconsul asked him if he was Polycarp, to which he assented. The proconsul then began to exhort him, saying, “Have pity on thine own great age, swear by the fortune of Cæsar, repent; say, 'Take away the atheists,'" meaning the Christians. Polycarp, casting his eyes solemnly over the multitude, waving his hand to them, and looking up to heaven, said, “Take away these atheists," meaning the idolaters around him. The proconsul still urging him, and saying, "Swear, and I will release thee; reproach Christ," Polycarp said, "Eighty and six years have I served Him, and He hath never wronged me; and how can I blaspheme my King who hath saved me?" "I have wild beasts," said the proconsul, "and will expose you to them unless you repent." "Call them," said the martyr. "I will tame your spirit by fire," said the Roman.
me," said Polycarp, "with the fire which burns only for a moment, but are yourself ignorant of the fire of eternal punishment reserved for the ungodly." Soon after this, being about to be put to death, he exclaimed, “O Father of Thy beloved and blessed Son Jesus Christ! O God of all principalities and of all creation! I bless Thee that Thou hast counted me worthy of this day and this hour, to receive my portion in the number of the martyrs, in the cup of Christ. I praise Thee for all these things. I bless Thee, I glorify Thee by the eternal High Priest, Jesus Christ, Thy well-beloved Son; through whom, and with whom, in the Holy Spirit, be glory to Thee, both now and for ever. Amen."
THE MARTYR'S CONFIDENCE.
JOHN xvii. 3.-"This is life eternal, that they might know Thee, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom Thou hast sent."
At the Scaffold.-Bishop Burnet relates that when Dr. Fisher, Bishop of Rochester, who was cruelly condemned to be beheaded by Henry VIII., came out of the Tower of London and saw the scaffold, he took out of his pocket a Greek Testament, and, looking up to heaven, he exclaimed, "Now, O Lord, direct me to some passage which may support me through this awful scene." He opened the book, and his eye glanced on the text, "This is life eternal, to know Thee, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom Thou hast sent." The bishop instantly closed the book, and said, "Praised be the Lord! this is sufficient both for me and for eternity."
THE ACCUSING CONSCIENCE.
MARK vi. 16.-"It is John whom I beheaded; he is risen from the dead."
The Terrifying Dream.-On one occasion, when at sea, a young gentleman rushed from his bed, while yet asleep, to the middle of the cabin, and, pointing to the floor, exclaimed, "There's the blood! there's the blood! yes, there's the blood!" -on which, he adds, " some of us rose, and, finding that he was asleep, we awoke him and got him back to his bed. In the morning a sprightly young gentleman, who had got intimate with him, was requested to ascertain the cause of the terrifying dream. In the evening he told us that the gentleman was an officer in the army, on his way to join his regiment in Sicily, that some time ago he had shot a brother officer in a duel, and ever since he had been disturbed in his rest, appearing downcast and sad, even when perfectly awake. He said it had been his custom every night to fasten his leg to the bedpost, or to anything to which he could tie it, to prevent his getting out of bed; but I found,' said he, 'nothing of the kind in the ship bed.'"