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Easter Sunday. Luke xi. 37-47.
The present Sunday in the Church Year commemorates Christ's Resurrection from the dead.
THE SUBJECT.-THE PHARISEES REPROVED.
KEY-NOTE.-"BUT DO NOT YE AFTER THEIR WORKS; FOR THEY SAY, AND DO NOT."-Matt. xxiii. 3.
37. And as he spake, a certain Pharisee besought him to dine with him: and he went in, and sat down to meat.
38. And when the Pharisee saw it, he marvelled that he had not first washed before dinner.
39. And the Lord said unto him, Now do ye Pharisees make clean the outside of the cup and the platter; but your inward part is full of ravening and wickedness.
40. Ye fools, did not be, that made that which is without, make that which is within also?
41. But rather give alms of such things as ye have; and, behold, all things are clean unto you.
42. But woe unto you, Pharisees! for ye tithe mint and rue and all manner of herbs, and pass
over judgment and the love of God: these ought ye to have done, and not to leave the other undone.
43. Woe unto you, Pharisees! for ye love the uppermost seats in the synagogues, and greetings in the markets.
44. Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye are as graves which appear not, and the men that walk over them are not aware of them.
45. Then answered one of the lawyers, and said unto him, Master, thus saying thou reproachest us also.
46. And he said. Woe unto you also, ye lawyers! for ye lade men with burdens griev-, ous to be borne, and ye yourselves touch not the burdens with one of your fingers.
47. Woe unto you! for ye build the sepulchres of the prophets, and your fathers killed them.
VERSE 37. What event in the history of Christ does the present Sunday in the Church year commemorate? What is the Key-note of the lesson? At what time did the incidents of the lesson occur? What led to them? Who addressed Jesus? How did he address Him? What is meant by besought Him? What did he thus entreat Him to do? How often were the Jews accustomed to dine? At what meal was Jesus present? What is the force of the expression He went in? What did He do when He went in? What do the words sat down, properly mean?
38. Did the Pharisee observe what Jesus did? How was he affected by it? What was the custom of the Jews with regard to washing before meals?
39. What effect had the Pharisee's conduct on Jesus? What did He say to him? What is meant by making clean the outside of the cup and the platter? What, by the words your inward part is full of ravening and wickedness?
40. What did He call them? What does the term fools mean here? What did He ask them? What does this question mean?
41. What did He tell them to do rather? What did the Saviour wish to accomplish by
43. With what does He further charge them? What are the uppermost seats? What the greetings of the markets?
44. What does He call the scribes and Pharisees? What reason does He give for calling them thus? What is meant by the phrase, as graves which appear not?
45. Who is said to have spoken to Jesus? What did he say to Him? What did He mean by this?
46. What did Jesus pronounce upon the lawyers? What reason does He give for doing this? What does this charge against them mean?
47. What reason does Jesus assign for the second woe He pronounces upon the lawyers What is the import of the charge?
1. How happy are they
Who the Saviour obey,
And have laid up their treasure above,
O, what tongue can express The sweet comfort and peace Of a soul in its earliest love!
2. 'Twas a heaven below
My Redemer to know,
And the angels could do nothing more Than to fall at His feet,
And the story repeat,
And the Lover of sinners adore.
VERSE 41. Give alms of such: The
REMARKS.-The incidents of the lesson occured about the middle of Christ's Saviour wished to bring the Pharisees public ministry. Foiled in their efforts to repentance, one of the fruits of which to brand Jesus publicly as in league is alms giving. All things are clean: with the devil, the Pharisees resolved to Give as alms what you have in your try a subtler plan, by pretending friend- cup and platter, with a willing heart, liness, and inviting Him to partake of and this will make your outward ceretheir hospitality, so that they could monial purifications superfluous, and watch Him, and, if possible, catch Him cleanse both the vessels and your in His words. hearts.
VERSE 37. A certain Pharisee: The VERSE 42. Woe unto you, Pharisees: Pharisees were a strict religious sect He pronounces three woes successively among the Jews, insisting rigidly upon upon the Pharisees, and to these adds the observance of forms and ceremonies. the scribes, and calls both Scribes and Besought him: Gave Him an earnest Pharisees hypocrites. He also proinvitation, so as to draw Him into the nounced two woes upon the lawyers. plot they had evidently laid for entrap Ye tithe: That is give the tenth part. ping Him. To dine: The Jews as well The Jews were required by law to give as the Greeks and Romans had but two the tenth of all their property to support meals. The first was a slight repast, the Levites; another tenth for the serand partaken of about ten or eleven vice of the sanctuary; and still a third o'clock of our time, and consisted tenth every third year, for the support chiefly of fruit, milk, cheese, &c. The of the poor. Mint: A fragrant garden second meal was partaken of about herb. Rue: A small garden herb used three o'clock in the afternoon, and was as medicine. All manner of herbs: the principal meal. It was the first to Different varieties were included in the which Jesus was invited. He went in same law. Pass over judgment and the Christ did not hesitate to accept the love of God: Fail to give to all their invitation, as He also had done in the dues; to man as well as to God. These case of publicans and sinners. Sat ye ought to have done and not to leave the down Reclined, rather, as the usual other undone: Jesus insists, with marked custom was. This is the meaning of the impartiality, on all. Neither ought to Greek text. be left undone.
VERSE 38. Marveled that he had not first washed: It was not only customary among the Pharisees to wash before they eat, but it was also insisted on as a ceremonial act.
VERSE 39. The Lord said unto him: The conduct of the Pharisees aroused Him, and He spake to them with much plainness, and some degree of severity. It was called for, however, by the circumstances. Clean the outside of the cup and platter: They were careful to a fault about their externals, laying, as they did, so much stress upon it. Inward part is full of ravening and wickedness: Robbery, plunder, and extortion. A remarkable contrast thus drawn between the external and internal.
VERSE 43. The uppermost seats: The seats of honor. They were in front, and those who sat in them had their faces towards the people. Greetings of the markets: The public places, in which salutations were exchanged.
VERSE 44. As graves which appear not: Men pass over them without knowing it. Ye are like them. Men may be contaminated by coming unknowingly in contact with you, as well as you with them.
VERSE 45. One of the lawyers: See note in previous lesson. Thus saying thou reproachest us also: As we are interpreters and defenders of the law, in what you said you accuse us also.
VERSE 46. Ye lade men with burdens VERSE 40. Ye fools: Literally,.... touch not the burden with one of "Thoughtless ones." Different from your fingers: Pass the most severe laws, the word used in Matt. v. 22. Did not and bring them to bear on others, but he that made that which is without, make do not in the least observe them yourthat which is within also? If the Creator selves. requires a clean body, will He not require a clean soul also? Is not the one duty fully as binding as the other?
VERSE 47. Ye build the sepulchres : You restore the sepulchres of the mur
dered prophets, to win favor with the books. So also many have received' people, but in your hearts are ready to while reading a pernicious book, a repeat to the prophets of to-day, the murderous deeds of your fathers.
wound, which, though it seemed but slight, proved fatal to the soul. Oh ! that the young may listen to advice from those who know the danger, and not rashly try to gather flowers, where such serpents lurk.
PRACTICAL THOUGHTS.-The Pharisaical spirit observes an outward apparent cordiality, while within the heart is a real enmity; is apt to be scrupulous of external forms in proportion to their These remarks apply especially to unimportance; fails to see that purity books of a licentious tendency, and to of heart is far more acceptable to God much of the poetry, which is popular than mere formalities of service; though with great numbers. Mr. Jay says: hidden from men, is seen in its true "What have I seen, in a long ministry, color, and marked at its true estimate of the dire effects of evil associations by Christ; is precise in small matters of duty, but reckless of fundamental principles; seeks rather honor from men, than the favor of God; breeds disease and death by unseen influences; is quick to be offended at any criticism and rebuke; deals far more severely with others, both in its exactions and its estimates, than with itself, and honors the faithful ones of the past, while it persecutes those of the present.
Serpents in Literature.
and licentious publications!" The following remarks of Mr. Todd should be seriously pondered. He writes strongly because he feels deeply, having seen the sad consequences of such publications. "Beware of bad books! The world is flooded with them; they are permitted to be in our pathway as part of our moral discipline. I do entreat my young readers never to look at one never to open one. They will leave a stain upon the soul which can never be removed. If you have an enemy, whose soul you would visit with heavy vengeance, you have only to place one of these destroyers in his hand.".
There are serpents which lurk among the flowers of literature. Many books, With regard to what are considered which contain beautiful flowers of works of a purer class of the novel kind, thought, are very dangerous. Some he says, speaking of Sir Walter Scott: authors, who are very popular on ac- "The very strength of the spell, which count of the vigor of their thoughts, the he exerts, should warn you, that there variety of their information, or the sin- is danger in putting yourself in his gularity of their style, are not safe power." On this subject John Foster guides. There is an absence of Bible says: "I have often maintained that truth, and a latent scepticism in their fiction may be more instructive than works, which make them very unsafe teachers, and their works dangerous companions. Infidelity has struck its poison-fang into many a young heart, while the eye has been resting on writings like these. And though some so poisoned have been afterwards converted, few have got quite rid of the evil lodged in their minds by the bad or doubtful books they read when young. Some were stung fatally, and when they least expected it. A gentleman in India, while searching for a book among several others, felt a slight pain in his finger, like the prick of a pin; he took no notice of it; but soon his finger and arm began to swell, and in a short time he died. A small, but deadly serpent was afterwards discovered among the
history. I think so still, but viewing the vast rout of novels as they are, I think they do incalculable mischief. I wish we could collect them altogether, and make one vast fire of them. I should exult to see the smoke of them ascend like that of Sodom and Gomorrah; the judgment would be as just." What would he have said had he been living now?—Selected.
You will confer the greatest benefit on your city, not by raising its roofs, but by exalting its souls. For it is better that great souls should live in small habitations, than that abject slaves should borrow in great houses.
First Sunday after Easter. Luke xii. 13-21.
KEY-NOTE.-"TAKE HEED AND BEWARE OF COVETOUSNESS."-Luke xiii. 15.
13. And one of the company said unto him, Master, speak to my brother, that he divide the inheritance with me.
14. And he said unto him, Man, who made me a judge or a divider over you?
15. And he said unto them, Take heed, and beware of covetousness: for a man's life consisteth not in the abundance of the things which he possesseth.
16. And he spake a parable unto them, saying, The ground of a certain rich man brought forth plentifully:
17. And he thought within himself, saying, What shall I do, because I have no room where to bestow my fruits?
18. And he said, This will I do; I will pull down my barns, and build greater; and there will I bestow all my fruits and my goods.
19. And I will say to my soul, Soul, thou hast much goods laid up for many years; take thine ease, eat, drink, and be merry.
20. But God said unto him, Thou fool this night thy soul shall be required of thee: then whose shall those things be, which thou hast provided?
21. So is he that layeth up treasure for him. self, and is not rich toward God.
When did the events recorded in the lesson occur? What period was this in Christ's public ministry? What is the Key-note of the lesson?
VERSE 13. Who addressed Jesus? Was he one of His followers? What do the words said unto Him suggest? What did the petitioner wish Jesus to do? What does his request unwittingly betray? For what purpose did he wish Him to speak to his brother? What was the custom or law among the Jews with regard to inheritances?
14. Did Jesus deny his request? What question did Jesus ask? Is there any special force attached to the word man, as here used? What is meant by a judge or divider? Why did Jesus refuse to comply with his request?
15. Though Jesus denied his request, what did He still do? What warning did He address to the multitude? Is there any special force attached to the words He used? What is the meaning of Covetousness? What reason does Jesus assign for His solemn warning? What is meant by the phrase, a man's life? What by the words, consisteth not?
16. In what form did Jesus convey this instruction? What is a parable? With what words does the parable open? Was the source of the rich man's success within himself?
17. What did the rich man do? What is the force of the words: He thought within himself? What question did he ask? Do these words
imply perplexity on his part? What was the ground of his perplexity? What were his fruits of which he speaks?
18. Did he come to a definite conclusion? In what words does he express this fact? What is the definite conclusion at which he had arrived? What is meant here by barns, which he proposes to pull down, and substitute greater ones in their place? What will he do with them? For what purpose will he there bestow his fruits and goods? Is there any special force in his speaking of his posssssions, as my fruits and my goods?
19. What does he say he will address? Had he any proper conception of the nature of his soul? What does he say to his soul? What does the use of the words: Thou hast much goods indicate? What further is indicated by the words: Laid up for many years? What is still further indicated by his saying to his soul: Eat, drink, and be merry?
20. Who here interposed? How did He do it? What did He call him? How is the term fool here used? What did God say to him? What is the import of this declaration? What question does Jesus ask? What do these words imply?
21. What practical application does Jesus make of this parable? Is it wrong in all circumstances to seek after riches? What is meant by being rich towards God?
1. Sovereign Ruler of the skies!
2. Times of sickness, times of health;
3. Times the tempter's pow'r to prove;
4. Plagues and deaths around me fly;
REMARKS:-The events in the present lesson took place immediately after those in the previous lesson, and that at Capernaum in Galilee. It was the popular period of Christ's public ministry, when multitudes thronged to hear Him. VERSE 13. One of the company: The man was evidently not a follower of Jesus, nor seeking to become one. It seems he had some difficulty with his brother about his patrimony, and as he heard Jesus uttering words of wisdom in regard to a superintending Providence, supposed He might be able to help him in his trouble; hence the request he made of Him. Said unto Him: It was customary to refer questions of all kinds to the rabbis for their counsel and decision, and though informal and extra-judicial, their opinions often carried with them great weight. Speak to my brother: The man unwittingly betrayed his inward weakness. Instead of listening to what Jesus had said, so as to profit by it, his mind was taken up with his money troubles, and this fact shapes his words. Divide the inheritance: The petitioner was a younger brother. The oldest brother, according to existing custom and law, was the chief heir, and he generally divided with the rest. In this case, it seems, he had refused to do so, or at least not in a way satisfactory to the younger.
VERSE 14. Man: The use of this term itself conveys a decided reproof. A judge or a divider: It had been customary among the Jews for a long series of years, to appoint judges and also dividers in certain cases, and to this custom, doubtless, the question of Jesus refers. Over you: Jesus refuses to comply with his request, doubtless to rebuke him for introducing worldly matters into an occasion of special religious interest, and because it did not belong to His mission to meddle with secular affairs of this nature.
VERSE 15. He said unto them: Though Jesus denied the request of the man, yet He took occasion from it to address the multitude on a most vital subject. Take heed and beware: These are strong words of warning and caution, indicating the momentous nature of the matter in hand. Covetousness: The word here used in the original is very expressive. It means an inordinate desire to
have more, not because the possessor has not already enough, but because of an insatiable craving after more. The more he has, the more he wants. A man's life: His very being, including every thing necessary to sustain it and make it subserve its ends. Consisteth not: Does not depend on possessions for its continuance and legitimate ends.
VERSE 16. A parable: An allegorical representation of something real in life or nature, from which a moral is drawn for instruction. The ground of a certain rich man brought forth plentifully: The man was rich and his ground brought forth plentifully, not simply as the result of his own well directed efforts, but because of the attendant blessing of God. Had he realized this truth fully, and been led thereby t› make a proper use of his possessions, all would have been well. Here, however, was his defect.
VERSE 17. He thought within himself: He pondered over matters in his own mind, simply from a worldly standpoint. It was natural and proper that he should consider as to what was to be done with his possessions. He, however, left his relations and obligations to God wholly out of the question, which should have been the ruling consideration in the disposition to be made of his possessions. What shall I do: Others are perplexed about getting possessions, but he about disposing of them. My fruits: The results of his industry.
VERSE 18. This will I do: He comes to a definite conclusion. Pull down my barns: Barns were the places provided for storing away for safe keeping and future use, the fruits of industry. Those this man had were not large enough to answer his present purposes. Hence he resolved to pull them down and build larger ones. There will I bestow: Hoard, not use, the first element in a covetous rich man's folly. My fruits and my goods: He speaks of them as my fruits, and my goods, another element in a covetous rich man's folly. He forgets that he is only a steward of God, and as such has great responsibilities resting on him.
VERSE 19. Soul: What proper conception had this man of his soul or life? None at all. Thou hast much goods: This language shows great stupidity, indicating, as it does, the thought that material objects can satisfy the needs of