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of Joseph by a previous marriage; for he was a widower when he took Mary to wife. Others think they were cousins. Both proceed on the assumption that Mary ever remained a Virgin. The former supposition is most generally accepted.
These friends thought He was going too far in His discourses, and wished to check Him. He had always been an obedient and affectionate son, and continued so to the last; on the Cross caring for His beloved mother. But He ever remembered the higher relationship, and that "He must be about His Father's business."
Rabbi Schimon said, "There are three crowns-the crown of the law, the crown of the priesthood, and the crown of the kingdom; but the crown of a good name is better than all."
Rabbi Nehorai said, "Flee to a place where the law is respected, and do not say that it will follow thee; for thy companions will establish it for thee. Do not lean on thine own understanding."
Rabbi Jannai said, "We are not able to explain the prosperity of the ungodly, nor the chastisement of the righteous.' Rabbi Mathja Ben Charash said,
Rabbi Schimon Ben Elazar said, “Do not endeavor to pacify thy neighbor in the time of his anger; do not comfort him when his dead lie before him; do not ask anything in the time of his vowing, nor attempt to see him in the time of his trouble."
Rabbi Jacob said, "This world may be compared to a vestibule as regards the future world; therefore prepare thyself in the vestibule that thou mayest enter the dining-room." He also said, "One hour spent in repentance and religious deeds in this world is more precious than the whole life of the future world; and one hour's refreshment of spirit in the future world is more precious than the whole life of this world."
Schemuel the Younger couched his motto in the words of Scripture, "Rejoice not when thine enemy faileth, and let not thine heart be glad when he stumbleth: lest the Lord see it, and it displease him, and he turn away his wrath from him." (Prov. xxiv. 16, 18.)
Anticipate all men with your greet-be faced by those interested. ing, and be rather as the tail of a lion than the head of a fox."
TALKING IS NOT TEACHING.
A vast deal of what is called "Bibleclass teaching" is talking, but not teaching. It might pass for fourthrate, or third-rate, or second-rate-or, at the very best and rarest-as first-rate preaching or lecturing; but it never ought to be called "teaching." The teacher talks, the scholars listen. The teacher is a gainer in his mind and heart by what he says; but not so his silent scholars. They hear, but do not learn. The "exercise" is an exercise only to the exerciser. The whole thing is a pocket-edition in poor type of a pulpitled service, with many of the disadvantages and few of the benefits of the full-page edition. And not a little of the ordinary class-teaching in the Sunschool is of the same character. The teacher talks, the scholars listen. There is a "teacher," but no teaching. There are "learners," but no learning. It is not a pleasant thing to face such a fact as this; but if it is a fact, it ought to
Telling a thing may be an important part of the process of teaching a thing. The telling may in itself interest or impress even where it fails to instruct. A teacher may teach in other ways than by his telling truths that are worthy of his scholars' hearing and learning. However this may be, it is important that every teacher should understand, at the first and at the last, that telling a thing is not in itself teaching a thing; and that if he is a teacher at all, it will be through some other agency than merely his talking.-S. S. Times.
Parable of the Sower. MARK IV. 1-20.
1. And he began again to teach by the sea-side: and there was gathered unto him a great multitude, so that he entered into a ship, and sat in the sea; and the whole multitude was by the sea on the Jand.
2. And he taught them many things by parables, and said unto them in his doctrine,
3. Hearken; Behold, there went out a sower to sow.
4. And it came to pass, as he sowed, some fell by the way-side, and the fowls of the air came and devoured it up.
5. And some fell on stony ground, where it had not much earth; and immediately it sprang up, because it had no depth of earth:
6. But when the sun was up, it was scorched; and because it had no root, it withered away.
7. And some fell among thorns, and the thorns grew up, and choked it, and it yielded no fruit.
8. And other fell on good ground, and did yield fruit that sprang up and increased, and brought forth, some thirty, and some sixty, and some a hundred.
9. And he said unto them, He that hath ears to hear, let him hear.
10. And when he was alone, they that were about him with the twelve asked of him the parable. 11. And he said unto them, Unto you it is given
"Being born again, not of corruptible seed, but of incorruptible, by the Word of God." 1 Peter 1: 23.
1. TEACHING BY PARABLES. Vs. 2 8.
2. WHY HE USED PARABLES. Vs. 9-13.
3. EXPLANATION OF THE PARABLE. Vs. 14-20.
Ques. 8. Are we then so corrupt that we are wholly incapable of doing any good, and inclined to all wickedness?
to know the mystery of the kingdom of God: but unto them that are without, all these things are done in parables:
12. That seeing they may see, and not perceive; and hearing they may hear, and not understand; lest at any time they should be converted, and their sins should be forgiven them.
13. And he said unto them, Know ye not this parable? and how then will ye know all parables? 14. The sower soweth the word.
Verse 1. On what seaside did Jesus frequently teach? Into what did he enter to teach?
15. And these are they by the way-side, where the word is sown; but when they have heard, Satan cometh immediately, and taketh away the word that was sown in their hearts.
2. In what form of teaching did he instruct the hearers? What is a parable? Ans. A comparison.
3. What is this parable about?
4. What became of the seed on the wayside?
5-6. What of that on stony ground? Why did it wither away?
7. Was this "the survival of the fittest," or only a triumph of the strongest ?
8. How did the "good ground" differ from the hard, the stony and the thorny land? How much did it yield?
9. Does this verse mean the same as the golden text?
16. And these are they likewise which are sown on stony ground; who, when they have heard the word, immediately receive it with gladness;
17. And have no root in themselves, and so endure but for a time, afterward, when affliction or persecution ariseth for the word's sake, and immediately they are offended.
18. And these are they which are sown among thorns such as hear the word,.
19. And the cares of this world, and the deceitfulness of riches, and the lusts of other things entering in, choke the word, and it becometh unfruitful.
20. And these are they which are sown on good ground: such as hear the word, and receive it, and bring forth fruit, some thirty-fold, some sixty, and some a hundred.
Verse 2. A parable-a comparison, or likeness. 3-8. Thus, sowing seed is like preaching. The Jews did not put fences around their fields; roads went through them. Thorns make thick shade. Rocks become warm, and scorch the plants above them. Good ground is free from thorns and rocks. 9-13. Those without-the unprepared field. Do not receive the seeds of truth. 14-20. Place these verses parallel, or side by side with verses 8 to 13, and you will have the parable explained. Our catechism lesson tells us both how the soil is made good, and the seed of the word implanted.
"He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches." ii. 29.
Ans. Indeed we are, unless we are regenerated by the Spirit of God.
10. Did the multitude seek an understanding of the parable? Who did?
11-13. What is it to "know a mystery?" Ans. To have a deep secret revealed to the initiated. Could those that are without understand the parable, without first coming into the inner circle of learners?
14. Who is the Sower of the word?
15. What happens to "wayside," or careless hearers of the gospel?
16-17. What ought first to be taken out of the stony field? If the seed sinks deep, will it have root and moisture enough to endure long?
18-19. What are the two kinds of thorns? Ans. Cares and pleasures.
20. What is meant by good ground? What is good seed? See Central Truth.
LESSON 8. February 19, 1882.
I. TEACHING BY PARABLES. At first our Lord followed the ordinary methods of teaching, like other religious teachers, by announcing truths, stating facts and giving warnings and commands. He now begins a new method of teaching, namely, by parables. He is the only One who may be called a master of this kind of discourse. His parables are pearls of truth, unequalled by any form of eloquence, rhetoric or logic.
(3.) Thorns. The tops of the thorns may have been cut off, but their roots were left in the ground. The more rapid and rank growth of thorns choked the little stalks of grain. Much is said about the modern theory of the survival of the fittest. Some maintain that the fittest live long, triumph over their fellow-men, and gain the prizes of life. They also apply the doctrine to races, systems of thought and to religions. But our parable teaches the opposite-a triumph of the unfittest, but strongest. The truth is, that though Might may gain temporary victories, Right will triumph in the end; and thus there will be a survival of the fittest.
In the parables Jesus takes something of our every day life, and holds it up as a picture which illustrates the spiritual truth. This is the most effectual method (4.) Good ground-well-tilled with of instruction-plain, attractive and plow and harrow, freed from rocks and easily remembered. A parallel between thorns. Thirty fold, etc. One grain nature and grace is drawn, and the produced thirty, etc. likeness remains pictured in the memory. II. REASONS FOR USING PARABLES. II. PARABLE OF THE SOWER. The 9-13. The parables contain a hidden first parable used by Jesus is that of truth, as well as set forth an apparent the sower, in which truth, or the word or open one. They conceal, and they of God, is likened to seed, as it is in the reveal. To him that hath ears to hear, central truth. It is brief, a few touches they unfold spiritual realities; to the completing the whole picture; but there willfully deaf they only hide the truth. it stands as the best description of teach- The hearing ear is needed, as well as ing and preaching ever conceived and the uttered truth. uttered.
Vs. 3-8. Hearken, behold! First the teacher needs the attention of those who are to be taught. Attention is the first step in the process of learning, without which nothing can enter the mind. There went out a sower to sow. In the east, as in some parts of Europe, and of our great west, farmers do really go forth to sow. They do not live on their farms, but in villages. There are four classes of hearers.
(1.) The way-side. Paths and roads went through the fields, not around them; hence some seed would be lost. Fowls of the air, devouring the seed, typify the work of "the prince of the power of the air," who snatches the word of life from way-side or hardened hearers.
(2.) Stony ground-not small stones mingled with the ground, but large rocks, with a very thin covering of ground. There was quick growth, but not sufficient moisture, and no depth. The sun was up. The heat is necessary to growth, and does no injury to deeplyplanted seeds, where is deep root.
Unto you it is given to know-because they were seekers after truth; they wanted to hear, learn and understand. Speaking in parables was a mercy, a kindness, a help to His disciples then, as to all believers since; but it was a judgment against those who did not wish. to understand. They were first unwilling to hear and understand; now they should be left unable to do so.
A parable is like the seed itself. There is a germ of life lying unseen in the seed. Looking on the outside of the grain, you would not suspect that it con ains the power of growth and fruitbearing. Only as it falls into the ground, does it grow, etc. We shall see that the same is true of the Word of God, when we come to
III. THE EXPLANATION OF THE PARABLE. Vs. 14-21.
(1.) The sower soweth the word. The Chief Sower is Jesus Himself, who scattered the seeds of heavenly truth-the words of His own Wisdom.
(2.) Preachers and teachers are also sowers of the word-scattering the seeds which they have first received from
Him, not their own ideas and opinions. The preacher takes his text from the Bible, and the Sunday School teacher takes a portion of the same book, which is a granary full of Divine seeds of life -words of eternal life-incorruptible seed, as our central truth calls them.
The field is the world. Matt. 13: 38. That is, the men, women and children in the world. To all these the gospel is to be preached, even though the word may not be received by all. There are four classes of hearers mentioned. Under one or other of these every individual must find a place:
(1.) Some hearts are like a way-side -hard and impenetrable. No seed can sink into them, unless the hard hearts are broken up by repentance. Besides, Satan and all tempters, like evil birds, seek to steal the truths of God from
(2.) Other hearers are receptive, susceptible to truth; there is a thin surface of soil; but underneath are rocks. The word affects their emotions or feelings, but does not sink into their minds, consciences and wills. Rocks of ignorance and stubborness need to be broken and removed. Light and trifling dispositions are easily impressed, but also easily scorched by sins and temptations.
(3.) Thorns-excessive cares of life, business and ambition; also pleasures and dissipation. No wheat grows for a great while amongst them, but perishes by being overshadowed.
(4.) Good ground-the hearts of believing and prayerful people. Remember, the ground is made good by Him who plants the seed.
MAIDEN SPEECHES are apt to consist of a few public remarks feebly expressed. A history of the first public efforts of great men would be very interesting. Beaconsfield broke down utterly, and Fox was almost as disgusted with himself as everybody else was with him when he rose to his earliest debate. A gentleman from the great West, afterward a somewhat famous speaker, was so confused at finding himself on his feet before a large audience that he caught at the first words which came into his mind, and said in stentorian tones:-"Mr. Speaker, I have observed
FIRST SUNDAY IN LENT.
21. And he said unto them, Is a candle brought to be put under a bushel, or under a bed? and not to be set on a candlestick?
The Growth of the Kingdom. MARK iv. 21-34.
22. For there is nothing hid, which shall not be manifested; neither was anything kept secret, but that it should come abroad.
23. If any man have ears to hear, let him hear. 24. And he said unto them, Take heed what ye hear. With what measure ye mete, it shall be measured to you; and unto you that hear shall more be given.
25. For he that hath, to him shall be given; and he that hath not, from him shall be taken even that which he hath.
26. And he said, So is the kingdom of God, as if a man should cast seed into the ground;
27. And should sleep, and rise night and day, and the seed should spring and grow up, he knoweth not how.
28. For the earth bringeth forth fruit of herself;
"Grow in grace, and in the knowledge of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ."
2 Pet. 3: 18.
February 26, 1882.
first the blade, then the ear, after that the full corn in the ear.
§ 1. THE LIGHT SHINING AND INCREASING. Vs. 21-25.
29. But when the fruit is brought forth, immediately he putteth in the sickle, because the harvest is come.
30. And he said, Whereunto shall we liken the kingdom of God! or with what comparison shall we compare it?
31. It is like a grain of mustard seed, which, when it is sown in the earth, is less than all the seeds that be in the earth: 32. But when it is sown, it groweth up, and becometh greater than all herbs, and shooteth out great branches; so that the fowls of the air may lodge under the shadow of it.
23-25. Are we to measure out our light and truth to others sparingly? If we give freely, how shall it be given to us? What promise is given in v. 25? What threat is made?
33. And with many such parables spake he the word unto them, as they were able to hear it.
34. But without a parable spake he not unto them: and when they were alone, he expounded all things to his disciples.
26-29. What is the kingdom of God like? Who makes the seed to grow? By giving what to the earth? How many stages of
Verses 21-22. A candle, or lamp, is set high enough to make its light shine far around. The light of truth is not to be hidden, but made known to all. 24-25. Truth is to be dealt out freely-the more you spread it, the more you will receive. 26-28. Growth in knowledge
then the ripe fruit of love and piety. In nature and in religion growth is gradual—(1) blade, (2) ear, (3) full corn. 29. Then comes the harvest-ingathering of saints. 30-32. Christian growth is illustrated by the mustard seed, which becomes a large shrub. The Christian is a shelter and a shade to others, like the shadow of the tree. You have noOW learned three truths: 1st, to let your light shine; 2d, to grow in knowledge and goodness; 3d, to bring forth good fruit for the harvest.
"There shall be an handful of corn in the earth upon the top of the mountains; the fruit thereof shall shake like Lebanon." Ps. lxxii. 16.
Ques. 9. Doth not God then do injustice
capable of performing it; but man, by the
to man by requiring from him, in his law, | instigation of the devil, and his own wilful that which he cannot perform?
Ans. Not at all; for God made man
Verses 21-22. Does a candle, when high up, give more light than when low? How would it give light, if put under a bushel? Who are to give light in the world? Are Christians to shut up the gospel in their hearts, or make its truths known abroad?
disobedience, deprived himself and all his posterity of those Divine gifts.
growth are there? V. 28. Does the whole growth take place suddenly? What is done when the grain is ripe?
30-32. With what grain is the kingdom of God here likened? Is it a large seed? Does it bring forth the largest tree, or only the largest herb or shrub? Has Jesus' Kingdom grown greatly on earth? What do the fowls, lodging under its shadow, mean?
Ans. The nations finding shelter in Christ's Kingdom.
33-34. Did Jesus speak many other parables? Did He explain them?