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The Home Preacher
Or Church in the House - Week 40

By Dr. MacLeod.


ALMIGHTY God, give us grace that we may cast away the works of darkness, and put upon us the armour of light, now in the time of this mortal life, in which Thy Son Jesus Christ came in the form of a servant to die for us; that in the last day, when He shall come again in His glorious majesty to judge both the quick and the dead, we may rise to the life immortal, through Him who liveth and reigneth with Thee and the Holy Ghost, now and ever. Amen.

HYMN, or Psalm ii. 1-8.

COME, Thou long-expected Jesus,
Born to set thy people free:
From our fears and sins release us;
Let us find our rest in Thee.

Israel’s strength and consolation,
Hope of all the earth Thou art;
Blest desire of every nation,
Joy of every longing heart.

Born thy people to deliver;
Born a child, and yet a king;
Born to reign in us for ever;
Now thy gracious kingdom bring.

By thine own Eternal Spirit,
Rule in all our hearts alone:
By thine all-sufficient merit,
Raise us to thy glorious throne.


AND it came to pass, when he had made an end of speaking unto Saul, that the soul of Jonathan was knit with the soul of David, and Jonathan loved him as his own soul. 2. And Saul took him that day, and would let him go no more home to his father’s house. 3. Then Jonathan and David made a covenant, because he loved him as his own soul. 4. And Jonathan stripped himself of the robe that was upon him, and gave it to David, and his garments, even to his sword, and to his bow, and to his girdle.

II. Samuel I. 17, 19-27.

And David lamented with this lamentation over Saul, and over Jonathan his son: 19. The beauty of Israel is slain upon thy high places: how are the mighty fallen! 20. Tell it not in Gath, publish it not in the streets of Askelon; lest the daughters of the Philistines rejoice, lest the daughters of the uncircumcised triumph. 21. Ye mountains of Gilboa, let there be no dew, neither let there be rain upon you, nor fields of offerings; for there the shield of the mighty is vilely cast away, the shield of Saul, as though he had not been anointed with oil. 22. From the blood of the slain, from the fat of the mighty, the bow of Jonathan turned not back, and the sword of Saul returned not empty. 23. Saul and Jonathan were lovely and pleasant in their lives, and in their death they were not divided: they were swifter than eagles, they were stronger than lions. 24. Ye daughters of Israel, weep over Saul, who clothed you in scarlet, with other delights; who put on ornaments of gold upon your apparel. 25. How are the mighty fallen in the midst of the battle! O Jonathan, thou wast slain in thine high places. 26. I am distressed for thee, my brother Jonathan: very pleasant hast thou been unto me: thy love to me was wonderful, passing the love of women. 27 How are the mighty fallen, and the weapons of war perished.

II. Samuel IX. 1-5, 7.

AND David said, Is there yet any that is left of the house of Saul, that I may shew him kindness for Jonathan’s sake? 2. And there was of the house of Saul a servant, whose name was Ziba: and when they had called him unto David, the king said unto him, Art thou Ziba? And he said, Thy servant is he. 3. And the king said, Is there not yet any of the house of Saul, that I may shew the kindness of God unto him? And Ziba said unto the king, Jonathan hath yet a son, which is lame on his feet. 4. And the king said unto him, Where is he? And Ziba, said unto the king, Behold, he is in the house of Machir, the son of Ammiel, in Lo-debar. 5. Then king David sent, and fetched him out of the house of Machir, the son of Ammiel, from Lo-debar. 7. And David said unto him, Fear not: for I will surely shew thee kindness for Jonathan thy father’s sake, and will restore thee all the land of Saul thy father: and thou shalt eat bread at my table continually.



ALMIGHTY, everlasting God! Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! Creator of all things, Judge of all men! We acknowledge and lament in Thy sight that we were conceived and born in sin, and are prone to evil and unfit for any good. We have broken Thy holy law, times and ways without number, by contempt of Thee and Thy word, by distrust of Thy grace, and vain confidence in ourselves and in the world; by thoughts and works grievously offending Thy holy Majesty, and sinning against our neighbour. Thus have we buried ourselves more and more deeply in spiritual death. But we do earnestly repent, and are sorry for these our misdoings. Have mercy upon us, most gracious and merciful Father, for the sake of Thy Son, Jesus Christ our Lord. Forgive us all that is past. Grant us and increase within us Thy Holy Spirit, who shall teach us penitently to acknowledge our sins, and being touched with lively sorrow, by true faith to obtain remission of them in Christ; -- so that daily dying unto sin, in newness of life we may serve and please Thee, to the glory of Thy name and the edification of Thy church, through Jesus Christ our Lord.

Accept, O Lord, through Thy beloved Son, our thanksgiving for Thine unspeakable love and goodness. Thou art the Father of mercies and the God of all consolation, full of compassion, forgiving iniquity, transgression, and sin. For Thy glory Thou didst create us after Thine image; and when we forsook Thee, Thou didst not leave us in the bands of death, but didst so love the world as to give Thy Son to be our Saviour. We thank Thee for His death, that saveth us from death, and for His life, that opened unto us the way to life eternal. We thank Thee for the new and better covenant; for Thy great and precious promises; that Thou hast given us eternal life in Christ; that we have the clear and sure revelation of thy will in the Holy Scriptures; that Thou hast founded Thy church upon apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ himself being the chief cornerstone. We thank Thee that Thou hast communicated to us the word of reconciliation; that Thou hast opened our eyes, and turned us from darkness unto light; that Thou hast adopted us to be Thy sons, and joint-heirs with Christ, and made us His members, and given us His Spirit. All Thy paths, O Lord! are mercy and truth to such as keep Thy covenant. Oh! continue Thy lovingkindness unto us, that we may rejoice and be glad in Thee all our days. Guide us by Thy counsel, and afterward receive us to Thy glory, where, with all the blessed host of heaven, we may behold, admire, and perfectly and joyfully praise Thee, our most glorious Creator, Redeemer, and Sanctifier, for ever and ever. Amen.



THOU God of truth and God of love, who desirest truth in the inward parts, and love in our hearts towards Thee and towards all men, grant that we, being delivered from all deceivableness of unrighteousness, may truly possess religion pure and undefiled, by having such hearts in us as will fear Thee and keep all Thy commandments always, through faith in Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

HYMN, or Psalm cxxi. 1-8.

FATHER, I know that all my life
Is portioned out for me,
The changes that will surely come,
I do not fear to see;
I ask Thee for a present mind
Intent on pleasing Thee.

I ask Thee for a thoughtful love,
Through constant watching wise
To meet the glad with joyful smiles,
And wipe the weeping eyes:
A heart at leisure from itself
To soothe and sympathize.

I would not have the restless wil
That hurries to and fro,
That seeks for some great thing to do
Or secret thing to know;
I would be treated as a child,
And guided where I go.

Wherever in the world I am
In whatsoe’er estate,
I have a fellowship with hearts
To keep and cultivate:
A work of lowly love to do
For Him on whom I wait.

I ask Thee for the daily strength,
To none that ask denied;
A mind to blend with outward life,
While keeping at thy side:
Content to fill a little space,
If thou be glorified.

Briers beset our every path,
Which call for patient care;
There is a cross in every lot,
A constant need for prayer:
But lowly hearts that lean on Thee
Are happy everywhere.

In service which thy love appoints,
There are no bonds for me;
My secret heart is taught the truth
That makes thy children free:
A life of self-renouncing love
Is one of liberty.


THESE words the Lord spake unto all your assembly in the mount, out of the midst of the fire, of the cloud, and of the thick darkness, with a great voice; and he added no more. And he wrote them in two tables of stone, and delivered them unto me. 23. And it came to pass, when ye heard the voice out of the midst of the darkness, (for the mountain did burn with fire,) that ye came near unto me, even all the heads of your tribes, and your elders; 24. And ye said, Behold, the Lord our God hath shewed us his glory, and his greatness, and we have heard his voice out of the midst of the fire: we have seen this day that God doth talk with man, and he liveth. 25. Now therefore why should we die? for this great fire will consume us. If we hear the voice of the Lord our God any more, then we shall die. 26. For who is there of all flesh, that hath heard the voice of the living God speaking out of the midst of the fire, as we have, and lived? 27. Go thou near, and hear all that the Lord our God shall say; and speak thou unto us all that the Lord our God shall speak unto thee, and we will hear it, and do it. 28. And the Lord heard the voice of your words, when ye spake unto me; and the Lord said unto me, I have heard the voice of the words of this people, which they have spoken unto thee: they have well said all that they have spoken. 29. O that there were such an heart in them, that they would fear me, and keep all my commandments always, that it might be well with them, and with their children for ever!


THEREFORE, O thou son of man, speak unto the house of Israel, Thus ye speak, saying, If our transgressions and our sins be upon us, and we pine away in them, how should we then live? 11. Say unto them, As I live, saith the Lord God, I have no pleasure in the death of the wicked; but that the wicked turn from his way and live: turn ye, turn ye from your evil ways; for why will ye die, O house of Israel? 12. Therefore, thou son of man, say unto the children of thy people, The righteousness of the righteous shall not deliver him in the day of his transgression: as for the wickedness of the wicked, he shall not fall thereby in the day that he turneth from his wickedness; neither shall the righteous be able to live for his righteousness in the day that he sinneth. 13. When I shall say to the righteous, that he shall surely live; if he trust to his own righteousness, and commit iniquity, all his righteousness shall not be remembered: but for his iniquity that he hath committed, he shall die for it. 14. Again, when I say unto the wicked, Thou shalt surely die; if he turn from his sin, and do that which is lawful and right; 15 If the wicked restore the pledge, give again that he he had robbed, walk in the statutes of life, without committing iniquity; he shall surely live, he shall not die. 16. None of his sins that he hath committed shall be mentioned unto him: he hath done that which is lawful and right; he shall surely live. 17. Yet the children of thy people say, The way of the Lord is not equal: but, as for them, their way is not equal. 18. When the righteous turneth from his righteousness, and committeth iniquity, he shall even die thereby. 20. Yet ye say, The way of the Lord is not equal. O ye house of Israel, I will judge you every one after his ways.

GALATIANS. V. 18-26.

BUT if ye be led by the Spirit, ye are not under the law. 19. Now the works of the flesh are manifest, which are these; Adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lasciviousness, 20. Idolatry, witchcraft, hatred, variance, emulations, wrath, strife, seditions, heresies, 21. Envyings, murders, drunkenness, revellings, and such like: of the which I tell you before, as I have also told you in time past, that they which do such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God. 22. But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, long-suffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, 23. Meekness, temperance: against such there is no law. 24. And they that are Christ’s have crucified the flesh, with the affections and lusts. 25. If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit. 26. Let us not be desirous of vain-glory, provoking one another, envying one another.



-- Mark xii. 30, 31.

WHAT is piety? What is salvation? What is holiness? What is our enduring good and peace? What does God will us to be and do? In one word, what is true religion in the soul? Let us state, in a few words, what true religion is not, before we try to show what it is.

1. True religion in the soul is not the possession of much knowledge about religion. We cannot be too well-informed, if we make good use of what we know. Facts without faith are useless, and are as light without an eye. Faith without facts is an eye without light. But how different a thing it is knowing about truth, from seeing the truth with our minds and hearts -- knowing what is right and being right! Every village almost has its clever man, who may know his Bible well, and who loves to argue with less clever neighbours upon the most difficult questions in it; yet who gives evidence all the while, by his bad temper, selfishness, evil speaking, and often by lying, dishonesty, and cunning, that he never possessed any religion, though he knew much about it; and so, we dare say, the devil knows more than all who have ever lived on earth as to what God has said to and done for man.

2. Nor does true religion in the soul consist in having great religious privileges; such as being trained up by pious parents, or in our being members of a congregation and hearers of a minister eminent for their godliness. These are, indeed, great blessings; but how often are they enjoyed and boasted of by men who have no true religion! How many heard Christ himself preach who yet were never saved by Him! Judas followed Him for years, and ate and drank with Him, and heard and saw Him in public and in private; yet he is lost for ever. Capernaum, which was exalted to heaven on account of its privileges, is cast down to hell for the abuse of them.

3. The formal use of the means of grace is not true religion. It is quite possible to know the Bible and to remain deeply ignorant of God, who speaks to us in the Bible; and to go to the church without going to God; and to hear the minister without hearing God; and to come before God as his people come, while the heart is far from Him; and to receive the bread and wine into the body at the sacrament, without receiving the love and life of Jesus Christ into the soul. The means of grace are a ladder to help us to the truth. But we may sit down on the steps of the ladder instead of ascending by them. David prayed, “O send out thy light and thy truth; let them lead me, let them bring me unto thy holy hill, and to thy tabernacle; then will I go unto the altar of God.” But would he stop at any of these? No; he would go by these means “unto God, his exceeding joy!” “To know God is better than burnt-offering.” We may make idols of our privileges, and of our means of grace, and thus give them that confidence, and love, and reverence, which are due to God only.

4. Nor does the possession of great gifts, which are used in the service of religion even, necessarily imply the possession of religion itself. Gifts are not character, but powers and talents in the hand of character. When used as instruments of unrighteousness, they become Satanic; for what is Satan but mental power without God? But even when gifts are so used as to advance the cause of religion in the world, yet they may not be guided by, or minister to, religion in ourselves. “Though I have not love, I am become as sounding brass, or a tinkling cymbal. And though I have the gift of prophecy, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge; and though I have all faith, so that I could remove mountains, and have not love, I am nothing!”

5. Making a great religious profession, and being thought very zealous and pious by men, is not, we need hardly remark, any evidence of real piety. We must confess Christ before men, and make an open profession of our faith by words and life, We dare not, if we could, conceal our love to Him and to his people. But there is little danger in our day of falling into this error. Hermits are not to be found. Hypocrites are common. Our trial is not from martyrdom, but from praise. Let us be warned by what we see in the history of the Pharisees against the danger of deceiving ourselves and others by profession without principle. They were famous for their knowledge of the Bible and tradition, and prided themselves upon their orthodoxy. They appeared to have the nicest and most scrupulous conscience in obeying all the precepts of the law which affected the outer man, especially in trifles: they fasted twice a-week; they gave tithes to the church of all they possessed; they went up regularly to the temple, and there, and everywhere else, made long prayers; they were so zealous that they would compass sea and land to make one proselyte; and if they were “not like other men,” they did not profess to take any credit to themselves for this, but “thanked God” for their superiority. The people, too, looked up to them as the holiest, wisest, and most exemplary of men as as their true guides in every religious matter. In comparison with them, they thought very little of Jesus Christ. What was He but a sabbath-breaker, a wine-bibber, and a glutton? But these same Pharisees -- with the few exceptions of the ernest-minded who, in ignorance, yet in sincerity, were seeking a righteousness by the law, --were, in God’s sight, among the worst characters in all Judea, and farther from all good than the most profligate and abandoned; and they hated Jesus, because He found them out, and read to themselves and to the world their vile hearts. They had a great deal of profession, and were “highly esteemed among men;” but they had not a grain of principle, and were loathsome hypocrites in the sight of the holy and truthful God.

6. True religion does not consist in our making great sacrifices for religion. Selfishness is, indeed, inconsistent with religion; for religion is self-sacrifice. If we first give ourselves to the Lord, we will easily part with all other things when it is right to do so. But those other things may be given up, and self retained. How much may we do, and give for “our church” -- “our principles” -- “our party” -- without doing, or giving, anything for our Saviour! God asks the heart first: men generally give it last, if they give it at all. Will-worship of our own invention is common; God’s worship, according to his own desire, is rare. Yet how much nobler is the sacrifice of the heart than that of all things which we call ours! When we give our goods, or “give our body to be burned,” we give what is finite -- the act is done. But when we give our hearts’s love, it is infinite -- it is never done, but is doing for ever!

Lastly, It does not imply the existence of true religion to be strongly excited about religious things. The feelings and affections must ever be deeply moved by true religion; but they may be much moved without it. Sermons may excite the hearer to tears; and so may the voice and manner of the preacher as well as his subject. Sacred music has the same effect. We have often entered Roman Catholic churches; and with deep interest we have watched the poor people kneeling, and weeping bitter tears, before beautiful pictures or crucifixes, which spoke eloquently through the eye to the heart of the sufferings of Jesus; while sublime music rolled in waves of exquisite and overpowering harmony through the venerable cathedral, and gave greater intensity to the feelings. Why did those people weep? From what else than from the sad spectacle of Jesus dying for their sins! The poor worshippers were sincere -- their tears were real. But had these worshippers, when in the cathedral, or out of it, necessarily true religion in the soul? -- were they holy, temperate, loving? So have we often heard in a Protestant church a minister picturing to his people, in words, the same scene of a dying Saviour, which, with more truth and beauty perhaps, we had beheld painted in the cathedral; and the people at home, as abroad, wept at the sad and sore sight which was presented to the eyes of their mind. These tears were also real, and the grief not affected, but sincere. But had they necessarily true religion in the church or chapel any more than in the old cathedral? Were those who thus wept sober, honest, kind, prayerful, God-fearing people? Or was all this strong emotion caused, in both cases by a sight of the bodily sufferings of Christ, painted to the eye or ear, quite consistent with hard and impenitent hearts? Alas! It is so. There was a deep lesson, which both Papist and Protestant had not learnt. They had not learnt to love Jesus, or “to die with Him,” but only to weep for Him. They had not learnt “to glory in the cross, by which we are crucified to the world, and the world to us.” Their hearts felt for Him, but they did not feel with Him. It was the heart of man unrenewed which was stirred, not the heart renewed by the Spirit, and beating in sympathy with Jesus. They knew Christ “after the flesh” only. The sad results of many a hopeful “revival” will also prove the truth of what we say.

But if all this -- and much more might be added -- is not true religion, what, let us inquire, is true religion in the soul? We reply, that it is being in a right state of mind towards God; or, in others words, it is loving God, and therefore man; for this is being in a right state of mind towards Him.

We can give nothing higher or greater to God than our heart’s affections. God demands this: “My son, give me thine heart.” He who loves us, and is himself love, cannot accept of less.

Love is the end both of the law and of the gospel. The great commandment of the law is, “Love the Lord with all thy heart.” The gospel repeats the “same commandment which we have heard from the beginning.” Its law is also love. One great difference between the law and the gospel is, that the latter enables us to be what the former only commands us to be. The law says, Do this and live. The gospel says, Live and do this. Now, every aspect of true religion involves or implies love to God as its very essence. For example: --

1. “We must be born again;” that is, a great change must take place in our spirits, through the agency of the Spirit of God -- a change so great, that it is likened to a birth of the soul. And what is this change? It is the passing out of that state of “enmity to god,” which is the character of “the old man,” “the flesh,” “the carnal heart,” into that state of love to God, which is the character of “the new man,” “the spiritual mind,” “the child of God,” who “cries Abba,” that is, “Father,” -- the very language of love and confidence. “He that loveth, is born of God.”

2. We must “know God,” for “this is eternal life, that they might know Thee, and Jesus Christ whom Thou hast sent;” and irreligion is said to be ignorance of God. Our Lord says to his Father, “O righteous Father, the world hath not known Thee!” and to the Jews, “Ye neither know me or my Father.” The Apostle Paul condemns the heathen, because “they did not like to retain God in their knowledge;” and he says to professing Christians, “Some of you have not the knowledge of God: I speak this to your shame.” All this implies, that to know God, is indeed true religion. But the love of God and the knowledge of God are one. Without love we do not and cannot know Him. “He that loveth, knoweth God; he that loveth not, knoweth not God; for God is love.” Love can alone comprehend love. Without love, we have no eye to “see God,” or to know Him.

3. “We must love Christ.” “If a man love me,” says Christ, “my Father will love him.” The apostle prays for grace to all “who love the Lord Jesus Christ in sincerity.” Unspeakable blessings are “promised to them that love Him.” Now, all this is right and true, because Jesus and his Father are one, equal in power and glory. They are not divided, either in their authority over us, or in their love to us; and we must not be divided in our love and obedience to them. As our knowledge of Jesus is one with our knowledge of God (for to us is “given the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Christ Jesus; and “He who seeth me,” said our Lord, “sees my Father also”), so is our love to Jesus one with our love to God. In loving Jesus, we love “God manifest in the flesh.”

4. “We must love man in general, and Christians in particular.” True. If we love God, we must love all He loves, and hate all He hates. Our hearts will beat in harmony with God. Does God love the wicked world? He does so, while he abhors its wickedness. He causes his sun to shine, and his rain to descend, upon the evil and the good, the just and the unjust. He so loved the world, that He gave his only-begotten Son to die for it. And if we love God, we shall possess this love to all men, and like Him have compassion for, and pity, even the wicked, and seek to do them good, and by love to win them to God, who has had pity upon them and upon our own wicked selves. But God has special love to those who love Him in return. He loves such as his dear children; they must consequently be peculiarly dear to us. Hence it is, that our love to “the brethren” is one of the necessary results and sure evidence of our loving God himself. “If any man say, I love God, and hateth his brother, he is a liar: for he that hateth his brother whom he hath seen, how can he love God whom he hath not seen? And this commandment have we of Him, that he who loves God, loves his brother also.” Love which brings our souls into harmony with God, brings them also into harmony with all in God. Enmity is out of harmony with everything, even with itself. It would sting itself to death if it could. Love to God necessarily includes love to man, and special love to Christians.

5. “We must keep God’s commandments.” Says our Lord, “the first and greatest commandment is, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy souls, and with all thy strength; and the next is like it, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself.” The law of true love includes in it all other laws. “Love is the fulfilling of the law.” “The end of the commandment is love.” All right actions are but acts of the right state of mind -- love. For instance, he who loves God, will delight to hold communion with Him, to worship Him, to serve Him, to listen to his words, to become better acquainted with his will and ways, and to work with Him, and for Him. And he who loves man will do to others as he would be done by, for he loves his neighbour as himself; he will seek his good and his happiness in all things, and will even “lay down his life for the brethren.” We feel always safe as to our goods, our name, our well-being, in the hands of one who loves.

6. “We must be reconciled to God, through faith in Jesus Christ.” But what is being reconciled to God? Is it only to be reconciled to God as pardoning us freely through Jesus? Or is it not this first, certainly, but something more. Is it not our being reconciled to God as He is, to his whole character and will -- our being satisfied with Himself from seeing Him first as revealed through the Spirit, in the whole work of Jesus Christ? And what is this but loving God, whose name is love? What is this but having, through faith in the atonement, that love which casteth out the fear, which hath torment, for his holiness, and righteousness, and power, and presence; and rejoicing in the glory of his Being and whole character? To love God, and to be reconciled to God, are one.

7. Lastly, “We must obtain salvation through Jesus Christ.” But what is salvation? It is deliverance, indeed, from the guilt of sin, through the blood of Jesus, freely bestowed by God’s grace, and received by us through simple faith; but this is not the whole of the salvation obtained for us, and given to us by our Lord. We must never forget, that He pardons in order to sanctify -- that he came to redeem us from all iniquity -- that his grace, which brings salvation, does so by “teaching us to deny ungodliness and worldly lusts, and to live soberly, righteously, and godly, in this present world.” In one word, salvation implies deliverance, through faith in Christ, from that which is our destruction and death -- a heart of enmity to God; and our profession of that which is our safety and life -- a heart of love to God.

One word in conclusion: Let us labour to acquaint ourselves with God. We know about Him: we must know Him. Perhaps, as has been hinted, we go to church, and to the communion, and to the Bible, but we must go to God himself, through Jesus Christ, and earnestly ask Him to make himself known to us by his word and Spirit, to shed abroad his love in our hearts by the Holy Spirit; and rest not, night or day, until in the spirit of adoption we can look up to Him in love, and say in truth, “My Father.” Though we may have, up till this moment, never opened our heart to God, but shut it against Him, and found misery, let not terror for God -- the holy, pure, and just God -- keep us away from Him any longer. What is it which God hates in us? Is it not our enmity to Him? And does not his anger against our enmity measure his desire to possess our love? He loves us, and therefore desires us to love Him in return. It is true that He has pronounced a curse upon our wickedness, which, unless removed, must end in our final ruin. This is righteous. But it is also true that Jesus was made a curse for us -- that He died for our sins; and the language which every one who knows the good will of God towards us as sinners in entitled to address to us, is this -- and with these words we end our appeal -- “God was in Christ, reconciling the world to himself, not imputing their treaspasses unto them; and hath given to us the ministry of reconciliation. Now then we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God did beseech you by us; we pray you in Christ’s stead, be ye reconciled to God. For He hath made Him sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in Him. We then, as workers together with Him, beseech you also that ye receive not the grace of God in vain!” “For this cause I bow my knees unto the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, of whom the whole family in heaven and earth is named, that he would grant you, according to the riches of his glory, to be strengthened with might by his Spirit in the inner man; that Christ may dwell in your hearts by faith; that ye, being rooted and grounded in love, may be able to comprehend with all saints what is the breadth, and length, and depth, and height; and to know the love of Christ, which passeth knowledge, that ye might be filled with all the fulness of God. Now unto him that is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that worketh worketh in us, unto him be glory in the church by Christ Jesus throughout all ages, world without end. Amen.” -- Editor.




THE men that envied and hated Daniel, when he was placed by king Darius at the head of affairs in Babylon, would have been very glad if they had been able to find any fault with the way in which he managed the government. But he was so very faithful and upright and active, and everything went so well, that they saw they could never accuse him of wrongdoing in his office. After keen and constant watch, they could not detect the least error in anything he did. So they said to each other, Unless we can find some way of entangling him in connection with the service of his God, we shall be utterly unable to bring him down in the king’s esteem; let us try to frame some plan for catching him.

Now, they all knew that Daniel was in the habit of praying to the Lord God of Israel. They had watched him too closely not to have become aware of this. They felt sure, also, that it would not be an easy thing to make him give up praying. If they could, therefore, draw the king into making a decree against all praying, except to himself, for a month, they might certainly conclude that Daniel would disobey, and a punishment might be devised that would get them rid of him. Glad to have hit on this plot, these bad men went in haste to the king, and told him that in order to do him honour, all the presidents and princes of the realm had been consulting with each other, and had resolved to ask him to issue a decree, that no person in the kingdom should offer a petition to either god or man, except to the king himself, for the space of thirty days. The king was caught in the net of their flatteries. It sounded well to be named as the only person from whom favours could be asked for a month. What a grand height of honour and glory he would be standing! So without thinking, like one whose head was turned with fair words, he put his seal to a writing which made it law in all the kingdom, that for thirty days no one was to pray to any god or man, except the king; and if any one should dare to disobey the decree, he was to be cast alive into the lions’ den. The bad men left the king’s presence, rejoicing in the success of their scheme, and not doubting at all that Daniel would disregard the proclamation; and then they would charge him with his crime before Darius, and have him thrown to the lions, when there would be an end of him.

They were quite right in thinking that the prophet would not stop praying, for the king’s decree. There was a King, higher than Darius, whom he had served and prayed to all his life, and he will not leave off now. As to the foolish and bad law that had been made, God's highest law was against it, and he must obey God rather than men. If he must die for doing so, he will leave himself with God. So, just as he had been in the habit of doing before, Daniel went home to his house, after he knew that the decree had been signed; and three times a day, with his window open towards Jerusalem, he kneeled and prayed to the living God. His enemies had gathered together to watch him, and were right glad when they saw him on his knees. He has broken the law, they said, and we will now take advantage of that to have him killed. They were not long in going to the king, to tell him what they had seen. They began in this way, not letting their design be known at first. Did not you, O king, they said, make a law that if any person should ask any thing from god or man, except yourself, for thirty days, he should be cast into the den of lions? The king said it was true he had done so; and as the laws of the Medes and Persians never were altered, the decree was a thing which must stand without change. Well, said they, there is a man in your kingdom that pays no attention to it. That captive Jew, Daniel, regards not his king’s word, but, as if in defiance of it, prays to his God three times a day. Let him have his doom.

No sooner had the king heard these words, than the whole plot was plain to him. He saw how he had been caught in a snare. He was very angry with himself for yielding to the flattery of his courtiers, and framing a decree which he now knew to have been aimed at the life of his servant. He was determined to save Daniel if he could. So the whole day he tried to discover some plan by which he might deliver him, or soften his enemies’ rage. But he tried in vain. The men always said, You cannot change the law; the statutes of the Medes are never altered. Daniel must go to the lions.

The poor king saw that there was no help for it. With a sore heart he called for Daniel, and gave orders that he should be thrown into the den. By this time it was evening, and the wild beasts were hungry. The king, however, would not lose hope even yet; he knew that Daniel’s God had done very wonderful things before, and he felt somehow that he would protect his servant. So, as they were casting the prophet into the den, Darius said to him, Your God whom you serve so constantly will help you, and save you. Then he made them bring a large stone, and lay it on the mouth of the den, and he sealed it with his own signet, and the signet of his great lords, that no one should interfere with the sentence that had been executed on Daniel. The enemies of the prophet thought they had gained their end, and went to their houses rejoicing that he was got rid of, and would not stand in their way any more.

It was very different with the king. He returned to his palace with a very heavy heart. He could not sleep; he would not eat; neither would he let them sing or play to him. He kept awake, and fasted, and grieved all the night. As soon as there was the least peep of day, he got up from his couch, and went as fast as he could to the lions’ den. He wanted to know if Daniel was yet alive. He crept close to the den’s mouth, and with a sad voice, called out, O Daniel, servant of the living God, has your God saved you? has he delivered you from the lions? are you still living? He did not need to wait for an answer. At once a cheerful voice spoke up from the den: O king, My God sent down his angel last night to shut the lions’ mouths, and not one of them has hurt me. He knew that I was an innocent man, and that I had done thee, O king, no wrong. It was all as Daniel had said. The lions had lain about him, all the long night through, like as many lambs.

You may be sure the king was wondrously glad to hear Daniel’s voice. He would not let him remain long in the den. He called his attendants, and they rolled away the stone and took the prophet out of the wild beasts’ lair. And when he stood before the king, every one saw that he was quite unhurt. There was not a touch of a lion’s claw on his very dress, not a scratch on all his person. What will his enemies think and say now? Ah! their joy is turned into mourning very suddenly. For now that Daniel is safe, the king resolved that their wicked plot should come on their own heads. He sent for them, and gave orders to cast them and their families into the den from which the prophet had been taken. The hungry beasts sprung at them at once, tearing and mangling and crunching them; breaking all their bones in pieces, before ever they got to the bottom of the den. “They made a pit, and digged it, and are fallen into the ditch which they made.”

After this Daniel continued high in favour with Darius, and lived to see his successor Cyrus on the throne. God gave him also visions of things which were to come, and directed him to write them; and they make part of the holy scriptures. Once an angel came to him, and saluted him from God, with a very blessed title. He said to him, O man greatly beloved! Very pleasant, too, are the words spoken to him and written at the very close of his prophecies. They may well conclude this story. “Go thou thy way till the end be; for thou shalt rest, and stand in thy lot at the end of the days.”



1. Who was it that, being a captive and a slave, rose from faithfulness in a prison to a place of honour and trust next the king on the throne?
2. Who was it that made a resolve to pray to God morning, noon and night? and where is his resolution written?
3. Can you give an example of endeavours made by Christ’s enemies to ensnare him, so as to get matter of accusation against him?
4. What king was awfully rebuked for listening to words of fulsome flattery?
5. Where have we an account of vain prayers offered to an idol-god?
6. Who was it that would not stop preaching at the bidding of men, just as Daniel would not stop praying?
7. In what psalm do we find proof how fondly captives in Babylon thought of Jerusalem?
8. Who was it that tried to deliver an innocent person, by changing the mind of his accusers, but was always met with the same cry for his death?
9. Who was it that hoped to see a dear one alive even after he should be killed?
10. Where do we read of the sealing of a great stone, for fear that the place whose mouth it closed should be entered?
11. Who were those persons that having accomplished their designs, like Daniel’s enemies, were very joyful for a time, while others, like Darius, sorely mourned?
12. Do you remember another instance of a king being unable to sleep? How did he pass the sleepless hours?
13. When was a lion’s mouth shut after it had killed a man?
14. Who was it that, being cast into a deeper place than the lions’ den, found a devouring mouth opened, yet was saved from death?
15. Who in the New Testament is spoken of as specially loved by his Lord?

ANSWERS to the foregoing questions will be found by consulting the following chapters: -- Gen. xxxix. and xli.; Ps. lv.; Matt. xxii; Acs xii.; 1 Kings xviii.; Acts iv. and v.; Ps. cxxxviii; Luke xxiii.; Heb. xi.; Matt. xxvii.; John xvi.; Esther vi.; 1 Kings xiii.; Jonah i. and ii.; John xxi.



O God, by whose grace all the excellent of the earth have been what they have been, help us to do the duties of our place faithfully, whether as children towards our parents, and brothers and sisters at home, or as scholars towards our companions and teachers at school. Make us trustworthy and diligent in humble walks of life, that if we reach higher, we may be upright and true in these also. May we always look to Thee in prayer for the help we need in every duty. If we should ever be tried by temptation to please men rather than Thee, O keep us from yielding. May He who always did the things that pleased Thee, teach us and lead us in His own steps. O God, frustrate the plans of bad men against Thy people; bring their devices to nothing. And save us from that devourer of whom Thy word speaks as going about, like a roaring lion, seeking for prey. May we through Thy abundant grace live and prosper in the everlasting kingdom of our Lord Jesus Christ; to whom be glory for ever. Amen.



ALMIGHTY and everlasting God, who dost govern all things in heaven and earth, mercifully hear the supplication of Thy people, and so rule and guide us that we may do our duties faithfully in our several places and relations; constantly abhorring that which is evil, and cleaving to that which is good; being fervent in spirit, serving the Lord, rejoicing in hope, patient in tribulation, and continuing instant in prayer, so that we may enjoy Thy peace all the days of our life, through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

HYMN, or Psalm xxiv. 7-10.

CHRIST, the Lord, is risen to-day,
Sons of men, and angels, say:
Raise your songs and triumphs high:
Sing, ye heavens, and earth reply.

Love’s redeeming work is done;
Fought the fight, the battle won.
Lo! Our Sun’s eclipse is o’er;
Lo! He sets in blood no more.

Vain the stone, the watch the seal,
Christ hath burst the gates of hell,
Death, in vain, forbids Him rise:
Christ hath opened Paradise.

Lives again our glorious King:
Where O Death, is now thy sting?
Once He died our souls to save:
Where’s thy victory, O Grave:

Soar we now where Christ hath led,
Following our exalted Head;
Made like Him, like Him we rise:
Ours the cross, the grave, the skies.

Hail! The Lord of earth and heaven;
Praise to Thee by both be given.
Thee we greet triumphant now:
Hail! The Resurrection, Thou!

JOHN XI. 1-44.

NOW a certain man was sick, named Lazarus, of Bethany, the town of Mary and her sister Martha. 2. (It was that Mary which anointed the Lord with ointment, and wiped his feet with her hair, whose brother was sick.) 3, Therefore his sisters went unto him, saying, Lord, behold, he whom thou lovest is sick. 4. When Jesus heard that, he said, This sickness is not unto death, but for the glory of God, that the Son of God might be glorified thereby. 5. Now Jesus loved Marth, and her sister, and Lazarus. 6. When he heard therefore that he was sick, he abode two days still in the same place where he was. 7. Then after that saith he to his disciples, Let us go into Judea again. 8. His disciples say unto him, Master, the Jews of late sought to stone thee; and goes thou thither again? 9. Jesus answered, Are there not twelve hours in the day? If any man walk in the day, he stumbleth not, because he seeth the light of this world. 10. But if a man walk in the night, he stumbleth, because there is no light in him. 11. These things said he: and after that he saith unto them, Our friend Lazarus sleepeth: but I go, that I may awake him out of sleep. 12. Then said his disciples, Lord, if he sleep, he shall do well. 13. Howbeit Jesus spake of his death; but they thought that he had spoken of taking a rest in sleep. 14. Then said Jesus unto them plainly, Lazarus is dead. 15. And I am glad for your sakes that I was not there, to the intent that ye may believe; nevertheless, let us go unto him. 16. Then said Thomas, which is called Didymus, unto his fellow-disciples, Let us also go, that we may die with him. 17. Then when Jesus came, he found that he had lain in the grave four days already. 18. Now Bethany was nigh unto Jerusalem, about fifteen furlongs off: 19. And many of the Jews came to Martha and Mary, to comfort them concerning their brother. 20. Then Martha, as soon as she heard that Jesus was coming, went and met him: but Mary sat still in the house. 21. Then said Martha unto Jesus, Lord, if thou hadst been here, my brother had not died. 22. But I know, that even now, whatsoever thou wilt ask of God, God will give it thee. 23. Jesus saith unto her, Thy brother shall rise again. 24. Martha saith unto him, I know that he shall rise again in the resurrection at the last day. 25. Jesus said unto her, I am the resurrection, and the life: he that believeth in me, though he were dead, yet shall he live: 26. And whosoever liveth, and believeth in me, shall never die. Believest thou this? 27. She saith unto him, Yea, Lord: I believe that thou art the Christ, the Son of God, which should come into the world. 28. And when she had so said, she went her way, and called Mary her sister secretly, saying, The Master is come, and calleth for thee. 29. As soon as she heard that she arose quickly, and came unto him. 30. Now Jesus was not yet come into the town, but was in that place where Marth met him. 31. The Jews then which were with her in the house, and comforted her, when they saw Mary, that she rose up hastily and went out, followed her, saying, She goeth unto the grave to weep there. 32. Then when Mary was come where Jesus was, and saw him, she fell down at his feet, saying unto him, Lord, if thou hadst been here, my brother had not died. 33. When Jesus therefore saw her weeping, and the Jews also weeping which came with her, he groaned in the spirit, and was troubled, 34. And said, Where have ye laid him? They said unto him, Lord, come and see. 35. Jesus wept. 36. Then said the Jews, Behold how he loved him! 37. And some of them said, Could not this man, which opened the eyes of the blind, have caused that even this man should not have died? 38. Jesus therefore again, groaning in himself, cometh to the grave. It was a cave, and a stone lay upon it. 39. Jesus said, Take ye away the stone. Martha, the sister of him that was dead, saith unto him, Lord, by this time he stinketh: for he hath been dead four days. 40. Jesus saith unto her, Said I not unto thee, that, if thou wouldest believe, thou shouldest see the glory of God? 41. Then they took away the stone from the place where the dead was laid. And Jesus lifted up his eyes, and said, Father, I thank thee that thou hast heard me. 42. And I knew that thou hearest me always: but because of the people which stand by I said it, that they may believe that thou hast sent me. 43. And when he thus had spoken, he cried with a loud voice, Lazarus, come forth. 44. And he that was dead came forth, bound hand and foot with grave-clothes; and his face was bound about with a napkin. Jesus saith unto them, Loose him, and let him go.

LUKE VII. 11-17.

AND it came to pass the day after, that he went into a city called Nain: and many of his disciples went with him, and much people. 12. Now, when he came nigh to the gate of the city, behold, there was a dead man carried out, the only son of his mother, and she was a widow: and much people of the city was with her. 13. And when the Lord saw her, he had compassion on her, and said unto her, Weep not. 14. And he came and touched the bier: and they that bare him stood still. And he said, Young man I say unto thee Arise. 15. And he that was dead sat up, and began to speak. And he delivered him to his mother. 16. And there came a fear on all, and they glorified God, saying, That a great prophet is risen up among us; and That God hath visited his people. 17. And this rumour of him went forth throughout all Judea, and throughout all the region round about.



O MOST holy, blessed, and glorious Trinity! Father, Son, and Holy Ghost! Three Persons and one God, our Creator, Redeemer, and Sanctifier; our Lord, our Governor, and Father! hear us, and have mercy upon us.

O Lord our Saviour! God and man; who, having assumed our nature, by Thy sufferings, death and burial, wast made a ransom to take away the sins of the world; who, being raised from the dead, ascended and glorified, art made Head over all things to the church: we beseech Thee to hear us, and have mercy upon us. Make sure to us our calling and election, our unfeigned faith and repentance; that being justified and made the sons of God, we may have peace with Him as our reconciled God and Father.

Let Thy Holy Spirit sanctify us, and dwell in our hearts, and cause us to deny ourselves, and to give ourselves entirely to Thee.

As the world was created for Thy glory, let Thy name be glorified throughout the world. Let self-love and pride, and vain-glory be destroyed. Make us to love Thee, fear Thee, and trust in Thee with all our hearts, and live to thee. Let all mankind subject themselves to Thee, their King. Let the kingdoms of the world become the kingdoms of the Lord, and of His Christ. Let atheists, idolaters, Mohammedans, Jews and all ungodly people be converted. Send forth meet labourers into the harvest, preserve and bless them in their work, and let the gospel be preached throughout all the world. Unite all Christians in Jesus Christ, the true and only universal Head, in the true Christian and Catholic faith and love. Cast out heresies and corruptions, heal divisions; let the strong receive the weak, and bear their infirmities.

Have mercy upon our rulers let them fear Thee, and be examples of piety and temperance, haters of injustice, covetousness, and pride, and defenders of the innocent. Let every soul be subject to the higher powers, and not resist; let them obey all in authority, not only for wrath, but for conscience’ sake.

Give all Thy churches able, holy, faithful pastors, that may soundly and diligently preach Thy word, and guide Thy flock in ways of righteousness and peace. Keep us from atheism, idolatry, and rebellion against thee; from infidelity, ungodliness, and sensuality; from security, presumption, and despair. Keep us from murder and violence, and hurtful, passionate words and actions. Keep us from all uncleanness; from injustice, false witness, and deceit; from slander and uncharitable censure. Keep us from coveting anything that is our neighbour’s. Cause us to love Christ in His members with a pure and fervent love; to love our enemies, and to do good to all.

Give us needful sustenance, and contentment therewith. Bless our labours, and the fruits of the earth in their season; and send us such temperate weather as may tend thereunto. Deliver all Thy servants from sickness, want or other distresses, that would hinder them from Thy service. When we sin, restore us by true repentance and faith in Christ. May we loathe ourselves for our transgressions; forgive them all, and accept us in Thy well-beloved Son. Save us from the punishment that our sins deserve. Convert our enemies, persecutors, and slanderers. Cause us to watch against temptation, to resist and overcome the world, the flesh, and the devil. Defend us and all Thy people from the enmity and rage of Satan; and preserve us to Thy heavenly kingdom. For Thou only art the universal King; all power is Thine in heaven and in earth; of Thee, and through Thee, and to Thee are all things; and the glory shall be Thine forever. Amen.





Know ye not that they which run in a race run all, but one receiveth the prize? So run, that ye may obtain.
And every man that striveth for the mastery is temperate in all things. Now they do it to obtain a corruptible crown, but we an incorruptible.
I therefore so run, not as uncertainly; so fight I not as one that beateth the air;
But I keep under my body, and bring it into subjection: lest that by any means, when I have preached to others, I myself should be a castaway.

1 Cor. ix. 24, 25, 26, 27.


I returned, and saw under the sun, that the race is not to the swift, nor the battle to the strong.
O Lord, our Lord, how excellent is thy name in all the earth! Who hast set thy glory above the heavens.
Out of the mouth of babes and sucklings hast thou ordained strength because of thine enemies, that thou mightest still the enemy and the avenger.
And base things of the world, and things which are despised, hath God chosen, yea, and things which are not, to bring to nought things that are:
That no flesh should glory in his presence.

Eccl. ix. 11 Ps. viii. 1, 2 1 Cor. i. 28, 29.



My people would not hearken to my voice; and Israel would none of me.
Oh that my people had hearkened unto me, and Israel had walked in my ways!
I should soon have subdued their enemies, and turned my hand against their adversaries.
The haters of the Lord should have submitted themselves unto him: but their time should have endured for ever.
He should have fed them also with the finest of the wheat: and with honey out of the rock should I have satisfied thee.

Ps. lxxxi. 11, 13, 14, 15, 16.


How oft did they provoke him in the wilderness, and grieve him in the desert!
Yea, they turned back, and tempted God, and limited the Holy One of Israel.
Now these things were our examples, to the intent we should not lust after evil things, as they also lusted.
Then when lust hath conceived, it bringeth forth sin; and sin, when it is finished, bringeth forth death.
Do not err, my beloved brethren.
Wherefore lay apart all filthiness and superfluity of naughtiness, and receive with meekness the ingrafted word, which is able to save your souls.

Ps. lxxviii. 40, 41. 1 Cor. x. 6. James i. 15, 16, 21.



Let the heathen be wakened, and come up to the valley of Jehoshaphat: For there will I sit to judge all the heathen round about.
Put ye in the sickle; for the harvest is ripe: come, get you down; for the press is full, the fats overflow: for their wickedness is great.
Multitudes, multitudes in the valley of decision: for the day of the Lord is near in the valley of decision.
The sun and the moon shall be darkened, and the stars shall withdraw their shining.
The Lord also shall roar out of Zion, and utter his voice from Jerusalem; and the heavens and the earth shall shake.

Joel iii. 12, 13, 14, 15, 16.


And then shall they see the Son of man coming in the clouds, with great power and glory.
And then shall he send his angels, and shall gather together his elect from the four winds, from the uttermost part of the earth to the uttermost part of heaven.
In whom also we have obtained an inheritance, being predestinated according to the purpose of him who worketh all things after the counsel of his own will;
That we should be to the praise of his glory, who first trusted in Christ.
In whom ye also trusted, after that ye heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation: in whom also, after that ye believed, ye were sealed.

Mark xiii. 26, 27. Eph. i. 11, 12, 13.



I am the Lord, and there is none else, there is no God besides me: I girded thee, though thou hast not known me.
That they may know from the rising of the sun, and from the west, that there is none beside me: I am the Lord, and there is none else.
They shall not build, and another inhabit; they shall not plant, and another eat; for as the days of a tree are the days of my people, and mine elect shall long enjoy the work of their hands.
The wolf and the lamb shall feed together, and the lion shall eat straw like the bullock; and dust shall be the serpent’s meat. They shall not hurt nor destroy in all my holy mountain, saith the Lord.

Isa. xiv. 5, 6. Isa. lxv. 22, 25.


Grace be to you, and peace, from God our Father, and from the Lord Jesus Christ.
Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who hath blessed us with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ;
To the praise of the glory of his grace, wherein he hath made us accepted in the Beloved.
Having made known unto us the mystery of his will, according to his good pleasure which he hath purposed in himself.
For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God:
Not of works, lest any man should boast.

Eph. i. 2, 3, 6, 9. Eph. ii. 8, 9.



Hear my prayer, O Lord; give ear to my supplications in thy faithfulness answer me, and in thy righteousness.
And enter not into judgment with thy servant: for in thy sight shall no man living be justified.
For the enemy hath persecuted my soul; he hath smitten my life down to the ground: he hath made me to dwell in darkness, as those that have been long dead.
I stretch forth my hands unto thee: my soul thirsteth after thee, as a thirsty land.

Ps. cxliii. 1, 2, 3, 6.


For by the works of the law shall no flesh be justified.
For therein is the righteousness of God revealed from faith to faith: as it is written, The just shall live by faith.
For whosoever shall keep the whole law, and yet offend in one point, he is guilty of all.
So speak ye, and so do, as they that shall be judged by the law of liberty.
For he shall have judgement without mercy that hath shewed no mercy; and mercy rejoiceth against judgment.

Gal. ii. 16. Rom. i. 17. James ii. 10, 12, 13.



At that time Jesus answered and said, I thank thee, O Father, Lord of heaven and earth, because thou hast hid these things from the wise and prudent, and hast revealed them unto babes.
The entrance of thy words giveth light; it giveth understanding unto the simple.
I opened my mouth, and panted: for I longed for thy commandments.
Look thou upon me, and be merciful unto me, as thou usest to do unto those that love thy name.

Matt. xi. 25. Ps. cxix. 130, 131, 132.


For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty through God to the pulling down of strongholds.
Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ;
And having in a readiness to revenge all disobedience, when your obedience is fulfilled.
Do ye look on things after the outward appearance? If any man trust to himself that he is Christ’s, let him of himself think this again, that, as he is Christ’s even so are we Christ’s.

2 Cor. x. 4, 5, 6, 7.

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