Search just our sites by using our customised search engine

Unique Cottages | Electric Scotland's Classified Directory

Click here to get a Printer Friendly PageSmiley

The Home Preacher
Or Church in the House - Week 45

By Archbishop. of York
See also


O GOD of all grace, who hast called us into Thine eternal glory by Christ Jesus, we beseech Thee mercifully to hear the prayers, which with hearty desires we make unto Thee; and grant that we, being clothed with humility, and casting all our care on Thee, may be sober and vigilant, and continuing steadfast in the faith, may resist all the temptations of the devil, and at length obtain the crown of life, through Jesus Christ our Lord.  Amen.

HYMN, or Psalm cxlix. 1-5.

COME, let us join our cheerful songs
With angels round the throne;
Ten thousand thousand are their tongues,
But all their joys are one.

“Worthy the Lamb that died,” they cry,
To be exalted thus;
Worthy the Lamb, let us reply,
For He was slain for us.

Jesus is worthy to receive
Honour and power divine;
And blessings more than we can give
Be, Lord! for ever thine.

Let all that dwell above the sky,
And air, and earth, and seas,
Conspire to lift thy glories high,
And speak thine endless praise.


AND the Spirit of God came upon Azariah the son of Oded: 2. And he went out to meet Asa, and said unto him, Hear ye me, Asa, and all Judah and Benjamin; The Lord is with you, while ye be with him; and if ye seek him, he will be found of you; but if ye forsake him, he will forsake you. 3. Now for a long season Israel hath been without the true God, and without a teaching priest, and without law. 4. But when they in their trouble did turn unto the Lord God of Israel, and sought him, he was found of them. 5. And in those times there was no peace to him that went out, nor to him that came in, but great vexations were upon all the inhabitants of the countries. 6. And nation was destroyed of nation, and city of city: for God did vex them with all adversity. 7. Be ye strong therefore, and let not your hands be weak; for your work shall be rewarded. 8. And when Asa heard these words, and the prophecy of Oded the prophet, he took courage, and put away the abominable idols out of all the land of Judah and Benjamin, and out of the cities which he had taken from mount Ephraim, and renewed the altar of the Lord that was before the porch of the Lord. 9. And he gathered all Judah and Benjamin, and the strangers with them out of Ephraim and Manasseh, and out of Simeon (for they fell to him out of Israel in abundance, when they saw that the Lord his God was with him): 10. So they gathered themselves together at Jerusalem in the third month, in the fifteenth year of the reign of Asa. 11. And they offered unto the Lord the same time, of the spoil which they had brought, seven hundred oxen and seven thousand sheep. 12. And they entered into a covenant to seek the Lord God of their fathers with all their heart, and with all their soul; 13. That whosoever would not seek the Lord God of Israel should be put to death, whether small or great, whether man or woman. 14. And they sware unto the Lord with a loud voice, and with shouting, and with trumpets, and with cornets. 15. And all Judah rejoiced at the oath: for they had sworn with all their heart, and sought him with their whole desire; and he was found of them: and the Lord gave them rest round about. 16. And also concerning Maachah, the mother of Asa the king, he removed her from being queen, because she had made an idol in a grove: and Asa cut down her idol, and stamped it, and burnt it at the brook Kidron. 17. But the high places were not taken out of Israel: nevertheless the heart of Asa was perfect all his days. 18. And he brought into the house of God the things that his father had dedicated, and that he himself had dedicated, silver, and gold, and vessels. 19. And there was no more war unto the five and thirtieth year of the reign of Asa. 


O LORD our God, early would we seek Thee.  Surely it is good for us to draw near to God: for in Thee alone, and by the renewing agency of Thy Spirit transfusing Thine image into our minds, can we find the happiness and rise to the dignity suited to the spiritual and immortal nature which Thou hast given us. May the blessed assurance and the solemn warning contained in that portion of Thy word which we have now read profit us, being mixed with faith.  Thou hast said that if we seek Thee, Thou wilt be found of us; and that if we forsake thee, Thou wilt forsake us.  In Thy compassion and love give us grace to cleave to Thee, O God; for Thou art our help and our shield.

Enable us this day to lay hold upon the hope set before us in the gospel, that so we may be kept in that perfect peace enjoyed by those whose minds are staid on Thee.  O Lord, open Thou our lips, and our mouths shall show forth Thy praise.  Give us to maintain that spirit of lowliness which a proper sense of our guilt and weakness must ever inspire, and to cherish that godly sorrow for sin which worketh repentance unto salvation. Believing in Him who died for our offences, and was raised again for our justification, let our souls magnify the Lord, and our spirits rejoice in God our Saviour -- flowing out in gratitude, deep and fervent, to Him who loved us, and washed us from our sins in His own blood.  And may the entrance of Thy word give light and understanding to us.

May the Holy Ghost, the Comforter, sustain the souls of all the afflicted and suffering, and inspire with the full assurance of hope the hearts of those who are appointed to death.  Teach transgressors Thy way, O Lord, and let sinners be converted unto Thee; and at the close of this day may many be found gathered into the fold of the Good Shepherd, and unto the company of those who shall eternally walk in the light of Thy countenance.  May the labours of those who have the everlasting gospel to preach to them that dwell upon the earth, be everywhere accompanied by the power of Thy Spirit, and so prove effectual in pouring the light of saving truth into the minds of the ignorant; in awakening from their fatal security and presumption those who are at ease in Sion; in recalling from their wanderings those who are out of the way; and in guiding the steps and quickening the heavenward progress of those whom thou hast already led into the paths of righteousness.  May such of Thy people as walk in darkness and have no light hear the voice of the blessed Saviour saying unto them, Why are ye fearful? be of good cheer; your sins are forgiven you.  Increase the faith and love of Thy true worshippers, that through the influence of these principles their minds may take on with growing vividness the impression of Him who is the image of the invisible God.  These our prayers we beseech Thee, O Lord, to hear, for Christ’s sake: unto whom, with Thee the Father and the Holy Spirit, be glory, and honour, and power, now and for ever.  Amen. 



O LORD, who hast taught us that all our doings, without charity, are nothing worth, send Thy Holy Ghost, and pour into our hearts that most excellent gift of charity.  Possess us with kindness and goodwill for all mankind, that our faith may work by love; and dispose our hearts, according to our ability, to administer towards the wants and necessities of those who are any ways afflicted or distressed in mind, body, or estate, and to do unto all men as we would they should do unto us.  Give us thus to be followers of Him who went about doing good, and who hath left us an example that we should walk in His steps.  May it ever be our earnest desire and endeavour to mould our thoughts, or feelings, and actions into conformity with His law as embodied in His word, and exemplified in His life and death.  Grant this for Jesus sake.  Amen.

HYMN, or Psalm xl. 8-11.

GREAT Mover of all hearts, whose hand
Doth all the secret springs command
Of human thought and will,
Thou, since the world was made, dost bless
Thy saints with fruits of holiness,
Their order to fulfil.

Faith, hope, and love, here weave one chain;
But love alone shall then remain,
When this short day is gone:
O Love, O Truth, O endless Light,
When shall we see Thy Sabbath bright
With all our labours done?

We sow ’mid perils here and tears:
There the glad hand the harvest bears,
Which here in grief hath sown:
Great Three in One, the increase give:
These gifts of grace, by which we live,
With heavenly glory crown.

LUKE X. 25-37.

AND, behold, a certain lawyer stood up, and tempted him, saying, Master, what shall I do to inherit eternal life?  26. He said unto him, What is written in the law? how readest thou?  And he, answering, said, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy mind; and thy neighbour as thyself. 28. And he said unto him, Thou hast answered right: this do, and thou shalt live.  29. But he, willing to justify himself, said unto Jesus, And who is my neighbour? 30. And Jesus, answering, said, A certain man went down from Jerusalem to Jericho, and fell among thieves, which stripped him of his raiment, and wounded him, and departed, leaving him half dead. 31. And by chance there came down a certain priest that way; and when he saw him, he passed by on the other side. 32. And likewise a Levite, when he was at the place, came and looked on him, and passed by on the other side. 33. But a certain Samaritan, as he journeyed, came where he was: and when he saw him, he had compassion on him, 34. And went to him, and bound up his wounds, pouring in oil and wine, and set him on his own beast, and brought him to an inn, and took care of him. 35. And on the morrow, when he departed, he took out two pence, and gave them to the host, and said unto him, Take care of him: and whatsoever thou spendest more, when I come again, I will repay thee. 36. Which now of these three, thinkest thou, was neighbour unto him that fell among the thieves?  37. And he said, He that shewed mercy on him.  Then said Jesus unto him, Go, and do thou likewise.


THOUGH I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, and have not charity, I am become as sounding brass, or a tinkling cymbal. 2. 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 charity, I am nothing. 3. And though I bestow all my goods to feed the poor, and though I give my body to be burned, and have not charity, it profiteth me nothing. 4. Charity suffereth long, and is kind; charity envieth not; charity vaunteth not itself, is not puffed up, 5. Doth not behave itself unseemly, seeketh not her own, is not easily provoked, thinketh no evil; 6. Rejoiceth not in iniquity, but rejoiceth in the truth; 7. Beareth all things, believeth all things, hopeth all things, endureth all things. 8. Charity never faileth: but whether there be prophecies, they shall fail; whether there be tongues, they shall cease; whether there be knowledge, it shall vanish away. 9. For we know in part, and we prophesy in part. 10. But when that which is perfect is come, then that which is in part shall be done away. 11. When I was a child, I spake as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child; but when I became a man, I put away childish things. 12. For now we see through a glass, darkly; but then face to face: now I know in part; but then shall I know even as also I am known. 13. And now abideth faith, hope, charity, these three; but the greatest of these is charity.



AND SO FULFIL THE LAW OF CHRIST.” -- Galatians vi. 2.

COMPASSION is the law of Christ.  The new commandment of Christ was almost the same thing -- “That ye love one another, as I have loved you.”  But compassion is the law of Christ, not because He laid it down in words, but because compassion was His life.  He, who left us an example that we should follow His steps, showed that with Him no condition of life was too low for His esteem, no sin too guilty for His assistance, no enemy too fierce or cruel for His goodwill.  And Christ is the law of His people; not His words alone, but the life He lived on earth, the word He spoke and the person he showed himself to be.  These make up the law by which His people strive to walk. 

Let me, my friends, on this Sunday, when love has been so especially the theme of our services -- when we have been reminded that of faith, and hope, and love, love is the greatest, thou the others are so great, and that loving compassion is not a law, but the law of Christ -- let me speak to you, first, of the nature of that compassion, of which it may be said that it is the law; and next, of its application to the miserable and to the guilty.  May God be with us herein!  and after this act of worship is completed, may every one of us be able to say: “I have felt Christ in my heart to-night.

Now, what is Christian compassion?  It is not that mere instinct or sentiment which moves every one to feel pain for the misery that he happens to see.  Observe how the world treats that instinct.  It is a pain, and one which we must not, without breach of decorum, intrude on others.  Who would think, in any circle where the worlds rules hold good, of attempting to awaken a feeling so painful?  At the table, amid the gleam of lights, and the aroma of a score of choice dishes, and the sparkle of the mantling wine, would it not be most improper to introduce into the general talk, meaningless, sometimes, as the twitter of many birds on a spring morning, some suggestion of the thousands on thousands in this country to whom the very crumbs and refuse of such a feast would be a luxury?  And who would tell that fair girl in the ball-room hard truths about her poor sister, who made the very robe in which she flaunts and rustles through the dance -- about her poverty, about the long hours of labour by which she serves her sisters luxury, about the temptations to the easier life of shame which threaten her every day?  We are forbidden to excite this painful feeling of natural pity.  Misery is thus frequently banished out of sight; and the feeling that is rarely exercised for want of objects grows blunt, and dies at last.  All compassion must needs contain a germ of pain; but this impulsive pity is almost all painful, for it feels powerless to help the suffering which affects it.  It has no resource except escape.  It says: “To-morrow I will try to do something, or it thinks that Parliament should interfere, or that the clergy should mend it.  It escapes, because it has not the mark of true compassion, it has not made the grief its own.  The priest and the Levite, who passed the wounded traveller on the other side, felt the pain of seeing him, and fled from it and forgot it; but the Samaritan that knelt beside him, and staunched his bleeding wounds, and supported him tenderly, walking by his side -- he too felt the pain of his brothers condition, but he felt also the ennobling sensation of help, of having succour to spare, and of sparing it.  His brother was burdened, and he was not.  He would bear the burden with him, and for him.  It was painful, no doubt, it was troublesome; but then it was brave, it was generous, and it was right, and that cannot all be pain which calls out bravery, and generosity, and duty. 

Now the root of these two qualities, so different in their maturity, is the same.  He whose soul is purified and educated by its intercourse with the sorrows of others, and he who classes other peoples sorrows with heaps of refuse, among the nuisances that civilization ought to suppress, both began with the same instinct of pity; but one has learned from Christ that sorrow is no evil, and the other has gone on dreading it.  In nothing else is the power of grace more conspicuous, than in the change from impulsive pity and instinctive good nature to consistent sympathy with sorrow.  To bear the burden of others is to fulfil the law of Christ; and so it does educate us beyond all other habits in the knowledge of Christ; and it does bring us near Him; and so, too, does it give us something of the power of Christ, and enables us to cure like Him, to heal the wounded, to set the prisoner free.  The heart that knows the secret of compassion has the key both of devotion and of labour.  Let us look for one moment at both these points.

Christianity is not a law, or a book.  It is a life; it is a certain change in us, which fashions our life, more or less, like the life of our Master.  Observe the preaching of the apostles and the first teachers of the gospel.  It was not discussions about moral science; it was not refinements about man’s nature and a future state; they spoke of Christ.  They knew Him; they found all in Him.  Some people tell us now that this high worship of Christ as God grew with the ages, and that at first the church knew it but little.   I might, if that were my subject to-night, show how this has been refuted; but instead of following out the evidence, I will only show you the Christian Church at two moments of its existence, and I will leave you to supply the rest  Now, Christ when He left His disciples did a very solemn act, as He bade them farewell: He broke bread with them, when He had blessed it, and He ministered to them the cup of wine, bidding them recall therein His loving sacrifice, wherein He shed His blood for the remission of the sins of many. Almost a century later, an emperor of Rome receives a report from one of his officers on the life and ways of that mysterious and potent people called the Christians, who were now emptying the temples and alarming the world.  The officer found them still breaking bread together as part of their worship, and singing a hymn, he says, to Christ as God.  Why, who is there who cannot fill up the space between, out of these two hints?  There have been bloody persecutions, there have been, in spite of them, much preaching, great success.  Who cannot see what was the principle within them which had saved them from being slain, or frightened from off the earth.  They had been worshiping Christ as God, and as the worker of a marvellous act of compassion for lost men.  The ascended Christ never more to be beheld with eyes until at His coming they should see Him face to face, had yet been near them and among them, not as a lawgiver, strict and exacting, but as the consoler of hopeless poverty and sickness, as the friend of publicans and sinners, as pardoning His enemies and praying for them, as crowning a life of love by a death still more loving, that men might, through His suffering, be reconciled to their offended God.  The Christianity of the first age was no mere formless germ, which after ages were to bring to shape.  With eyes fixed on Christ it tried to live Christ; and to live Christ was to love like Him.  They bore one another’s burdens, and so fulfilled the law of Christ.  Oh! miserable age in which we live, with your faith in Christ, as Son of God, beginning to falter, with whole tracts and regions of the social world sitting dark and frozen in want and utter ignorance, whilst we are quarreling one with another! and what is called the religious world has invented a religious worldliness, with slander and backbiting interwoven grotesquely with the forms and phrases of the religion of love.  If aught can yet restore us, through God’s great goodness, it must be a return to that faith which made the Church of the first age strong as the rock on which it was built; it must be the sense that we are walking very close to One, under the eyes of One, whose life was one long act of sympathy, whose mercy to the poor, whose benignant tolerance for the guilty, whose meekness in the presence of His enemies, drew all men unto Him.  He called down no fire from heaven; He passed no stern legal sentence to close the door of hope upon the wicked -- “Go and sin no more.”  He did not go through the land to sink lower by His severity a race already far too low, scathing, and withering, and hardening as He went, and proclaiming amidst the draught and barrenness that the rain and dews of mercy should drop fatness on earth no more; but He spoke words of compassion which thrilled strangely in the heart, and loosened the fountains of strange tears; and over the sky that had been as molten brass the welcome clouds gathered again, and rain fell down, and dews condensed, and the springs of water began to flow, and the parched corn sprouted, and the wilderness blossomed as the rose, and all the land locked in death woke up and lived, and smiled the smile of hope to meet the Redeemer's pitying smile.  Compassion was the law of Christ to himself.  It was also the power by which He moved a world, that had been impassive to the terrors of the law, and let the prophets denounce it in vain.  They were not perfect, those earliest believers, but that same power was in them as their life; and so far as they did prevail, it was because the Spirit sent of Christ was ever refreshing in them the memory of that marvellous life of love, and arousing them to imitate it.  Sympathy with suffering is the highest piety; it is the means by which we contemplate Christ.

We all, with open face beholding as in a glass the glory of the Lord, are changed into the same image, from glory to glory, even as by the Spirit of the Lord.

And that which was the power of Christ may make us mighty to deal with evil.  There is something marvellous in that spirit of sympathy.  I do not mean that it seems to find a positive pleasure in breathing the atmosphere of distress, from which so many flee with all their might; I do not mean that it seems to find time for every kind of well doing, though this we must all have noticed; I do not mean that the very heart and memory seem enlarged by it, so that a range of interests, ten times wider and more varied than its personal interests, finds room, yet, this, too, is true; but I mean that sympathy, though it is not talent nor energy, stands in the stead of these and does their work.  The social good that is done in the world is not the work of its greatest minds, as men count greatness.  These set themselves one great task, and gather up all their powers for its accomplishment.  They are jealous even of minutes of their time.  They resist all distractions.  The compassionate man gives gives up his time to others, and yet seems to find time for all things.  Like the bread miraculously multiplied, he gives, and yet he gathers up for himself all, nay, as it seems, more than he gave.  Then the power of compassion in finding its way to the miserable heart is great.  Convince the wretched man that you know his misery, that you desire nothing so much as to put your hand to his burden, so that you may ease his shoulder, and you have already by that made it lighter.  The very fact that one thinks it worth his while to stand by his side, and speak about comfort, is a presage of hope.  Show the vicious man that you can see in him something worth caring for, and you take off thereby the despair that is at the bottom of so much vice.  There is hope for him, he thinks, because you can hope.  Let your enemy see that you have not room in your heart for any bitterness against him, and the point he aims at your bosom will drop, and his arm will fall powerless.  He will begin to feel that you and he alike are in the presence of One who will not suffer any language but that of love, because He is love.  "Be ye kind one to another," says the inspired apostle, "tender-hearted, forgiving one another even as God, for Christ's sake, hath forgiven you".

How shall a compassionate spirit be able to deal with the misery in the world?  It is so hopeless, it is so vast, so intertwined with all the arrangements of society.  Is it not better to fly than to wear out one's heart in fruitless pain at the spectacle of a great population fighting, but ineffectually, ay, against starvation? Starvation! that word is too strong.  Men do not drop down in this rich city (London) and die of want.  They do perish even so, but this is not the measure of our want.  Why it has been shown long since that for every thirteen deaths which happened in years when corn is cheap, fourteen deaths occurred in years of higher prices.  Then this fourteenth death -- and you have to multiply it by thousands -- was due to the inability to buy a little food, so that, if that be true, thousands have perished by mere want.  Well, but the causes of it who can control?  We are not masters of the wind and sunshine.  The harvest, at any rate, is the hand of God.  Is that plea always good?  Within an easy walk eastward of this spot where I stand, a whole district has suffered through this winter from distress.  Most of it is connected with what we call a commercial crisis -- that is to say, that two or three years ago all men were straining to get rich by every mode of trading.  They formed companies, and drew into them, by false and impossible promises, the savings of the industrious; and our industrial system is such, that these false promises, the detection of which is a certain thing, are detected, not in detail, but all at once, and amid universal mistrust and panic trade stands still.  The strong man that was climbing so bravely up the hill side to despoil the golden castle at the top has fallen, and lies now bleeding and panting with the crag that he grasped lying on his chest.  And the rich that trusted must reduce their luxuries; and the less rich that trusted must suffer some privation; and the poor that had nothing to entrust, their share is to starve and die.  Tell me, then, have we nothing to do with commercial depression, this forming of foolish hopes of wealth, this coining of wilful falsehoods to get capital?  Was this a matter of wind and sunshine?  Almost every week our law courts are trying the question, whether a given man who trusted his money or name to another was foolish, or was wilfully deceived.  That is man's work.  Men have laid burdens on each other too grievous to be borne.  "He that maketh hate to be rich shall not be innocent."  Many were hasting to be rich, and when the collapse came the punishment fell heaviest on those who had least to do with the general deception.  Go to them, you that have the spirit of Christ.  Speak to them, and tell them that we are not all hardened too thoroughly to feel their pain.  When a country has but a rich class, eating and playing, and a poor class, envying and hungering, history tells us what must happen.  The fire of a great affliction, and nothing less, can purify that corrupted state.  We have not come to that.  Enormous luxury there is, and much laborious devotion to frivolity on the one side, and much bitter want and blind ignorance on the other; but there is a mediating spirit, the very salt of the earth, between the supercilious indifference on the one side and the glance of hate on the other -- a spirit which tells the poor that we too are human, and our hearts bleed when human creatures die of misery.  Be we of that spirit.  Go, if your love is weak, and touch with your finger the misery, as Thomas fortified his faith, when it leaned toward despondency.  Do not be satisfied with talking, no, nor with subscribing.  Go somewhere, where, out of a heart of love, you may speak the wonder-working words of love.  If you know not where to find a client, ask some godly friend, ask some minister of your Lord, to show you the way.  Some have ventured, my friends, to criticise that well-known story of Lazarus, because the rich man was only rich, no worse than rich, not a cheat, as far as we are told, not a murderer not even an oppressor of the poor in legal limits.  How comes it, they say, that riches have become a sin?  Rich and indifferent he was, and nothing worse.  But, oh, in those two he was far off from the law of Christ.  Revolving round himself with his monotonous self-seeking, with his dinner savoury and digestible, his linen and the purple garment unimpeachable for taste and splendor, what worse disease was wanted for his poor soul that it should die?  The palsy kills, though it is not fever nor consumption; and so self-seeking kills, though it is not murder nor uncleanness.  Go and do your little part.  Kneel beside some over-burdened creature, and ease his galled shoulder of its load.  You will come back from that holy act of worship -- for it is nothing less -- you will come back consoled in your own spirit and lifted up nearer to the mind of your Lord; you will come back convinced that compassion is a weapon and a power, that it can still melt the heart that misery has frozen, and dispose it more, far more, than books or sermons to believe in that higher marvel of compassion -- Christ dying that men might live. 

And now, with a very few words on the special application of the text, I will conclude.  The chapter begins you know: “Brethren, if a man be overtaken in a fault, ye which are spiritual restore such an one in the spirit of meekness; considering thyself, lest thou also be tempted.  Bear ye one another's burdens, and so fulfil the law of Christ.

My friends, amidst many tokens of evil, this century can show one step in Christian progress which proves that not all is lost with us.  We have come to believe that not only may the sinful be forgiven, which no man can doubt, but that they may be redeemed from sin and its consequences, and restored to the path of holiness.  The young outcast rescued from his profession of larceny, and made a sober, useful, and industrious man; the woman washed from the stain of shame, and working harmlessly with her sisters who have not erred like her -- these are our miracles, or rather, they are His, and very near akin to that which He wrought, when the evil spirit was cast out, and the sufferer was seen sitting and clothed, and in his right mind.  Here, however, if I mistake not, we all perceive a difficult and a divided duty.  In dealing with sin something of austerity and legal strictness becomes the awful guilt of it: and we are afraid to do aught to obliterate the broad boundary-line that God’s own hand has drawn between sin and holiness.  We know we have not the wisdom of Jesus to temper warning and condemnation with mercy, and so we lean (meaning well by it) to the severer side.  Do you remember a certain story about St. John?  I cannot prove the truth of it; but it exercised a great influence when the Church was troubled with the question, whether those who had fallen from grace should ever be restored and forgiven.  John had taken a great interest in a certain young man, who had been converted and baptized, and was full of promise.  In the apostle's absence the young man fell back to evil ways, was entangled with bad companions, and became at last, after man downfalls, the captain of a band of robbers.  The apostle, returning after a long time, asked the bishop with whom he had left him, about his convert; and he was told the truth, that he was dead to God.  The apostle wept and rent his garment.  He threw himself in the way of the robbers, and was taken before their chief.  The young man recognized the face that carried his memory back in a moment to days of peace; and in utter shame he tried to fly.  "Do not fly", said the apostle. "There is hope still.  I will pray to Christ for thee.  I would suffer death for thee, if it were possible, for Christ suffered for us.  Stay and listen.  Christ sends me to thee."  Overcome by this courageous love, the young man, with much shame and reluctance, was brought back to the flock of Christ; and the apostle left him not until he had prayed with him much and often, and exhorted him, and watched him, and seen him restored.  Some one listens to this beautiful story, and admires it as a story, but thinks it would never do to imitate the apostle's example here in London.  Well, I will not debate it, but ask yourself this: That golden key of pity, have we not let it get too much tarnished by disuse?  The cruel dismissal for a first fault has often been the beginning of ruin.  The temptation was too powerful for the offender, but, oh, you have in your hand, perhaps, a greater power than any other to restore such an one in the spirit of meekness.  That was your power, real because Divine.  Have you tried it?  Have you tried it as much as you might?   You have been wronged; your trust has been betrayed; yourself insulted; justice, or possibly revenge masked like justice, is at hand: open the door and send the offender forth.  In this world you will see him no more; and your dismissal is his mark of Cain so that others will avoid him.  No; the regenerate spirit within you mistrust that tempting decision which cuts off hope.  Do not decide, do not decide, till you have tried to pray for him.  You will then be able to weigh the thing calmly, to speak to him of sin and of God offended.  It will be to him a voice out of another world, a voice which he will never forget to think of gratefully as long as he lives, whatever be the issue of it.  I know not what your decision will have to be, but, perhaps, you will see it right to say: "I do not condemn thee.  Go, and sin no more."
-- W. EBOR: (Archbishop of York).




AFTER the Apostle Paul had preached the gospel in a great many other places, both in Asia and Europe, he came to settle for about three years in Ephesus.  His preaching there was attended with much success.  The whole town was stirred, and a great many persons were brought to believe in the name of the Lord Jesus.  But this very success led to bitter opposition.  There was a wonderfully grand temple to a goddess, called Diana, in the city; and a number of silversmiths drove a thriving trade in making little models of it in precious metal, and selling them to people who wanted to have a memorial at home of the goddess and her shrine.  So when Paul’s preaching made a great many idolaters turn to be Christians, and the sale of the silver shrines was not so brisk as it used to be, the silversmiths were very angry, and got up a terrible uproar in the town, which was like to have ended in taking Paul’s life.  The town-clerk, however, with much skill managed to quiet the tumult, but Paul who had been wishing for some time past to visit Jerusalem, intending afterwards to go to Rome, thought it best to leave the place at present.  So he went away to Macedonia, and saw the churches he had planted there, and preached to them.  Then he came south to Greece, and staid for three months.  After that he went over the sea into Asia again.  He had at first intended to sail straight from some Grecian port; but he learned that the Jews had made a plot to catch him, and perhaps kill him, and so he changed his plan and went north to Philippi.  From that he went to Troas, and there a wonderful thing happened.  Paul was preaching, and made a long sermon.  The church met in the evening, and the preaching went on till midnight.  Now, among the hearers, there was a young man who sat in an open window, and the room was an upper room.  Indeed, the window was in the third story from the ground.  As the sermon was long, the young man became drowsy, and at length fell fast asleep.  While sleeping he lost his balance, and fell from the window to the ground.  The people rushed out, and took him up quite dead.  But Paul went down, and put his arms about him, and prayed to God, and brought his life back.  You may be sure the people were very glad, and would have still greater pleasure than before in hearing Paul talk with them. In the morning he left them, and sailed along the coast.  I will not tell you, however, all that happened on the voyage.  At last he came to Caesarea, and went up from that village to Jerusalem.  Only there was hanging about him all the way an expectation of trouble, and he was warned even by those who could prophesy, not to go on.  He would not hear them, however; he was so determined to see Jerusalem again.  I wonder if he was wrong in being so resolved as he was.  Be that as it may, God brought great things out of his visit. 

He had not been more than a few days in Jerusalem, when some Jews that had known him in other places where he had preached the gospel, began to raise an outcry against him, accusing him of being a foe to the Jewish people, and their law, and their city, and of having brought Greeks into the very temple to pollute it.  They had seen an Ephesian with him in the streets, and they concluded that he had taken him into the temple also.  So the whole city  came to be in a tumult, and a number of men rushed on Paul and dragged him violently out of the temple, and would have certainly killed him, if the captain of the Roman troops had not heard of the uproar, and hastened to the spot with a number of soldiers, and taken him out of their hands.  But thinking that he must be some great criminal to enrage the people so, or some ringleader in mutiny or rebellion, he ordered him to be bound with two chains.  Paul, however, as the soldiers were carrying him away, got a word of the captain, and asked leave to address the people.  The officer, surprised to find that Paul could speak Greek, allowed him, and he stood on the stairs and addressed the crowd in Hebrew.  He spoke very beautifully and clearly, telling them how he had been brought to believe in Jesus by seeing him in the heavens when he was on his way to Damascus.  The people heard him for a time patiently, but when he came to say that Jesus had bidden him go far away to preach the gospel to the Gentiles, they cried out, Away with him, he is not fit to live; and began to throw off their coats, and throw dust into the air, and behave like madmen.  And indeed, rage had made them mad.  So the captain had to order him to be taken into the castle; and still thinking him to be some notorious offender, he told the soldiers to have him examined under the lash, as it was the cruel custom to do in those times.  So they began to bind him, that he might be scourged.  But as they were doing it, Paul, who knew that being a Roman citizen, born free, although his parents were Jews, he could claim all the privileges belonging to his rank, asked the centurion who was near, whether it was lawful to scourge a Roman who had not been tried and convicted of crime?  The centurion, knowing quite well that it was unlawful, hastened to see the captain, and said, We must take care what we do; this man is a Roman citizen.  A soon as the captain heard that, he came at once to where Paul was, and said, Tell me true, are you a Roman?   Paul said, Yes, I am.  The captain wondering, said, I myself had to pay a great sum of money to get the standing of a Roman citizen; how could you manage to buy it?  Paul said, I did not need to pay for it, I got it from my father; I was free born.  After that there was no more talk of scourging him, indeed, the captain was rather uneasy, because he had gone so far as to bind him: so he was simply kept safe in the castle for the night. 

The next day the commander, whose name was Lysias, summoned the chief priests and other members of the high court called the council, to come together, that he might know what they had to say against his prisoner; and freeing Paul from his chains, he brought him down, and placed him before them.  Paul thereupon began very respectfully to address them, but had uttered only one sentence, when the high priest cried out to those that were near him to smite him on the mouth.  That was a very wrong thing for one who was sitting as a judge to say: a wrong thing, indeed, in any case.  Paul answered strongly, and said, God shall smite you, you whited wall!  Do you sit to judge me by the law, and bid them strike me against the law?  His words were severe, but were found afterwards to be a true prophecy; for the poor man who acted so brutishly was killed in the wars that soon followed.  Perhaps, however, Paul spoke with too much heat, as it was not wonderful he should: for when they said to him, Is that a way to speak to the high priest? He said, Brethren, I was not aware of that; I know that the scripture says to us not to speak evil of the rulers of our people.  It would seem that he was sorry he had spoken quite so hastily; yet, as I have said, his words came true.

After that, Paul said something which set the council a quarrelling among themselves, and the dispute got so hot that the Roman captain had again to take Paul away by force, for fear he might be torn in pieces.  That night in the castle he had a pleasant visit.  Christ came to him.  I do not know whether Paul saw him or not, but he heard him say, Paul, do not be afraid; you will yet have to tell the people in Rome about me, just as you have done in Jerusalem.  I doubt not, that after Paul's sleep was sweeter far than was that of some of his persecutors. 

But the Jews that hated him and wished to take his life were determined not to be baffled.  So next day, more than forty of them entered into a plot, and took a great oath, wishing dreadful things to happen to them if they either tasted meat or drink till they had killed him.  Their plan was to get the chief priests to ask the Roman captain to let Paul come to them again, as if they wanted to put some more questions to him in a friendly way, and then to set on him by the way and murder him.  The wicked priests and elders did not object.  But Paul had a nephew in Jerusalem who came to know it, and he went and told his uncle.  Paul hearing what his nephew told him, got an officer to take him to the captain, and to say that he had something important to tell him.  So the young man told the commander of the plot against his unclean life; and seeing there was no time to be lost, Lysias ordered a troop of horsemen to be got ready, and four hundred soldiers beside, and beasts for Paul to ride on -- all to be prepared to set out at nine o'clock at night.  Then he wrote a letter to Felix the governor at Caesarea, telling him that he was sending him a prisoner, who did not appear to have done anything deserving punishment, but was fiercely accused of the Jews in connection with some questions of their law, and was in danger of his life among them.  He said further, in his letter, that he would order his accusers to go to Caesarea, and say what they had against Paul before Felix.  All was then done as the captain ordered.  The soldiers and calvary got ready.  Paul was mounted in their midst, and at the third hour of the night they marched off, and went as far as Antipatris on the road to Caesarea.  There it was felt that Paul was out of danger, and the four hundred foot soldiers turned back, and left the horsemen to take him the rest of the journey.  It was not long before they brought him in safety to Felix. 

That was the way in which Paul left Jerusalem for the last time.  



        1.  Have we in the New Testament any epistle to the Ephesian church, besides the one Paul wrote to them?
        2.  Where was it that Paul was nearly stoned to death?
        3.  What part of Europe did Paul first visit? and where did he found the first Christian church in that continent?
        4.  What other apostle was honoured by God to bring the dead back to life again? and who was the person he raised?
        5.  How many express accounts of Paul's conversion have we in the New Testament?
        6.  Around whom, before Paul's time, was the cry raised, Away with him?
        7.  Where do we read of another of the apostles being bound with two chains?
        8.  Who was it that was blindfolded and smitten on the cheeks, when he was on his trial before the high priest?
        9.  Can you find a prophecy that was fulfilled by the scourging of Jesus?
        10. When was an infant whose life was wickedly sought, carried away by night, riding in his mothers arms, to a place of safety? 

ANSWERS to the foregoing questions will be found in the following chapters -- Rev. ii.; Acts xiv.; Acts xvi.; Acts ix., xxii., and xxvi.; John xix.; Acts xii.; Luke xxii.; Isa. l.; Matt. ii.



O  LORD, our times are wholly in Thy hand.  Thou knowest when and where we have to die.  Thou knowest if we have to go to distant places in the earth, before we are taken from it.  We rejoice there can come no time, and there can be no place, where Thou shalt not be near us.  All through our lifetime, in all dangers and changes, be Thou our helper, and when we come to the dark valley be Thou with us.  Lord, we thank Thee that in our country and in these times there are no cruel persecutions of those who love Jesus.  May they soon be found nowhere at all.  May the Name Paul loved so much, soon be honoured in all the earth.  To that name we now ascribe glory and praise.  Amen.



O GOD, who knowest us to be placed in the midst of so many and great temptations and dangers, that by reason of the frailty of our nature in many things we offend all, grant to us such strength and protection as may support us in all dangers, and carry us through all temptations; that, being faithful unto Thee, rendering unto all their due, and doing that which is good, we may be graciously accepted of Thee, through Jesus Christ our Lord.  Amen.

HYMN, or Psalm xviii. 1-5.

JESUS, thy boundless love to me
No thought can reach, no tongue declare:
O knit my thankful heart to thee,
And reign without a rival there:
Thine wholly, thine alone, I am:
Lord, with thy love my heart inflame.

O grant that nothing in my soul
May dwell, but thy pure love alone:
O may thy love possess me whole,
My joy, my treasure, and my crown:
All coldness from my heart remove,
May every act, word, thought be love.

In suffering, be thy love my peace;
In weakness, be thy love my power;
And when the storms of life shall cease,
Jesus, in that important hour,
In death, in life, be thou my Guide,
And save me, who for me hast died.

LUKE XXII. 54-71.

THEN took they him, and led him, and brought him into the high priest's house.  And Peter followed afar off. 55. And when they had kindled a fire in the midst of the hall, and were set down together,  Peter sat down among them. 56.  But a certain maid beheld him as he sat by the fire, and earnestly looked upon him, and said, This man was also with him. 57. And he denied him, saying, Woman, I know him not. 58. And after a little while another saw him, and said, Thou art also of them.  And Peter said, Man, I am not. 59. And about the space of one hour after, another confidently affirmed, saying, Of a truth this fellow also was with him; for he is a Galilean. 60. And Peter said, Man, I know not what thou sayest.  And immediately, while he yet spake, the cock crew. 61. And the Lord turned, and looked upon Peter: and Peter remembered the word of the Lord, how he had said unto him, Before the cock crew, thou shalt deny me thrice. 62. And Peter went out, and wept bitterly. 63. And the men that held Jesus mocked him, and smote him. 64. And when they had blindfolded him, they struck him on the face, and asked him, saying Prophesy, who is it that smote thee. 65. And many other things blasphemously spake they against him. 66. And as soon as it was day, the elders of the people, and the chief priests, and the scribes, came together, and led him into their council, 67. Saying Art thou the Christ? Tell us.  And he said unto them, If I tell you, ye will not believe: 68. And if I also ask you, ye will not answer me, nor let me go. 69. Hereafter shall the Son of man sit on the right hand of the power of God. 70. Then said they all, Art thou then the Son of God?  And he said unto them, Ye say that I am. 71. And they said, What need we any further witness? For we ourselves have heard of his own mouth.



ALMIGHTY Father, the darkness and the light are both alike to Thee; and now when the shadows of the evening have closed around us, may the Lord himself be a light unto us.  Give us to cherish sustained and abiding confidence in Thy fatherly love; and as we think of the unnumbered blessings pertaining to the life that now is, and to that which is to come, which thine infinite beneficence daily showers down upon us, let us more and more firmly resolve to give ourselves to Thee.  Wherein we have this day sinned and come short of Thy glory by indulging vain imaginations, by hankering after the things that are in the world, by falling down in thought before any of those idols which are ever courting our homage, and by thus giving to Thee a divided affection, and to Thy service divided attention and energies, O most merciful God, forgive us.  Let thy presence abide with us as a family.  May we have love one to another as heirs together of the grace of life, and so strive to conduct ourselves in our several relations, and in all circumstances, that our prayers be not hindered, and that we may be helpers to each other in the work of the Lord.

May that spirit which quickeneth give effect to the preaching of Thy gospel from week to week, in this and in other lands.  May He be poured out from on high upon all Thy servants who proclaim the message of the common salvation by the blood of Christ, and upon all the churches which are called by His name.  In the spirit of brotherly kindness and charity may they strive together, with one heart and with one mind, for the suppression of vice, for the overthrow of error and infidelity, and for cherishing a spirit of humble and warm piety amongst all who come within the range of their influence.  May the people of the nations who, in this advanced age of our world, still ask counsel at their stocks -- who say to the wood, Awake! and to the dumb stone, Arise, it shall teach -- be speedily enlightened by the truth, and the idols be utterly abolished.

Bless our country, and prosper her in all her interests, civil and sacred.  May all classes of her population be distinguished by their steadfast allegiance to Him who is Governor among the nations.  Abundantly bless Thy servant, our sovereign the queen.  Satisfy her with the length of days, and show her Thy salvation.  May she rule in the fear of that Almighty being who liveth for ever and ever, whose dominion is an everlasting dominion, and His kingdom is from generation to generation.  May her counsellors approve themselves men in whom is the spirit of wisdom, guiding them in devising and carrying out such just and enlightened measures as shall, by Thy blessing promote the true interests of the country.  May our subordinate rulers, and those who are set upon the high places of the earth, be ever found acting in accordance with the law and the religion of Christ, that so their example may favourably affect those in inferior station; and by the general prevalence of virtue and godliness throughout the nation, may we be seen to be a people that the Lord hath blessed.  Thou, O God, hast prepared of Thy goodness for the poor.  Sustain them under the hardships and trials of their lot: make them rich in faith and heirs of the kingdom promised to them that love Thee; and may those to whom Thou hast given wealth be incited by love to the common Father to sympathize with and aid the needy in their necessities.  We beseech Thee, O Lord, to hear our prayers, and grant us acceptance through Jesus Christ.  Amen.  





Thou hast forsaken me, saith the Lord, thou art gone backward: therefore will I stretch out my hand against thee, and destroy thee.
        But if the wicked will turn from all his sins that he hath committed, and keep all my statutes, and do that which is lawful and right, he shall surely live, he shall not die.
        Have I any pleasure at all that the wicked should die? saith the Lord God: and not that he should return from his ways, and live?

Jer. xv. 6.       Ezek. xviii. 21, 23.


For the Lord shall judge his people, and repent himself for his servants, when he seeth that their power is gone.
        See now that I, even I, am he, and there is no god with me:  I kill, and I make alive; I wound, and I heal: neither is there any that can deliver out of my hand.
        If I whet my glittering sword, and mine hand take hold on judgment, I will render vengeance to mine enemies, and will reward them that hate me.

Deut. xxxiii. 36, 39, 41.



O give thanks unto the Lord, for he is good; for his mercy endureth for ever.
        Let the redeemed of the Lord say so whom he hath redeemed from the hand of the enemy;
        And gathered them out of the lands, from the east, and from the west, from the north, and from the south.
        He sent redemption unto his people; he hath commanded his covenant for ever: holy and reverend is his name.
        Let Israel hope in the Lord: for with the Lord there is mercy, and with him is plenteous redemption.
        And he shall redeem Israel from all his iniquities.

Ps. cvii. 1, 2, 3.    Ps. cxi. 9.   Ps. cxxx. 7, 8.


Therefore shall ye lay up these my words in your heart, and in your soul, and bind them for a sign upon your hand, that they may be as frontlets between your eyes.
        And ye shall teach them your children, speaking of them when thou sittest in thine house, and when thou walkest by the way, when thou liest down, and when thou risest up.
        Then they that feared the Lord spake often one to another; and the Lord hearkened, and heard it: and a book of remembrance was written before him for them that feared the Lord, and that thought upon his name.

Deut. xi. 18, 19.      Mal. iii. 16.



Wherewith shall I come before the Lord, and bow myself before the high God?  shall I come before him with burnt-offerings, with calves of a year old?
        Will the Lord be pleased with thousands of rams, or with ten thousands of rivers of oil? shall I give my first-born for my transgressions, the fruit of my body for the sin of my soul?
        And Samuel said, Hath the Lord as great delight in burnt-offerings and sacrifices, as in obeying the voice of the Lord?  Behold, to obey is better than sacrifice, and to hearken than the fat of rams.
        For rebellion is as the sin of witchcraft, and stubbornness is as iniquity and idolatry.

Micah vi. 6, 7.    1 Sam. xv. 22, 23.


In that day shall the Lord of hosts be for a crown of glory, and for a diadem of beauty, unto the residue of his people,
        And for a spirit of judgment to him that sitteth in judgment, and for strength to them that turn the battle to the gate.
        Therefore thus saith the Lord God, Behold, I lay in Zion for a foundation a stone, a tried stone, a precious corner-stone, a sure foundation: he that believeth shall not make haste.
        Jesus saith unto them, Did ye never read in the Scriptures, The stone which the builders rejected, the same is become the head of the corner: this is the Lord’s doing, and it is marvellous in our eyes?

Is. xxviii. 5, 6, 16.       Matt. xxi. 42.



I cried by reason of mine affliction unto the Lord, and he heard me: out of the belly of hell cried I, and thou heardest my voice.
        For thou hadst cast me into the deep, in the midst of the seas; and the floods compassed me about: all thy billows and thy waves passed over me.
        Then I said, I am cast out of thy sight; yet I will look again toward thy holy temple.
        But I will sacrifice unto thee with the voice of thanksgiving; I will pay that that I have vowed.  Salvation is of the Lord.

Jonah ii. 2, 3, 4, 9.


Therefore be ye also ready: for in such an hour as ye think not the Son of man cometh.
        Who then is a faithful and wise servant whom his lord hath made ruler over his household, to give them meat in due season?
        Blessed is that servant whom his lord, when he cometh, shall find so doing.
        But and if that evil servant shall say in his heart, My lord delayeth his coming;
        The lord of that servant shall come in a day when he looketh not for him, and an hour that he is not aware of.

Matt. xxiv. 44, 45, 46, 48, 50.



Then cometh Jesus with them unto a place called Gethsemane.
        And he took with him Peter and the two sons of Zebedee, and began to be sorrowful and very heavy.
        Then saith he unto them, My soul is exceeding sorrowful, even unto death: tarry ye here, and watch with me.
        And he went a little farther, and fell on his face, and prayed, saying, O my Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me: nevertheless, not as I will, but as thou wilt.
        Who in the days of his flesh, when he had offered up prayers and supplications, with strong crying and tears, unto him that was able to save him from death, and was heard in that he feared.

Matt. xxvi. 36, 37, 38, 39.     Heb. v. 7.


But one in a certain place testified, saying, What is man, that thou art mindful of him? Or the son of man, that thou visitest him?
        Thou madest him a little lower than the angels: thou crownedst him with glory and honour, and didst set him over the works of thy hands.
        Forasmuch then as the children are partakers of flesh and blood, he also himself likewise took part of the same; that through death he might destroy him that had the power of death, that is, the devil;
        And deliver them who through fear of death were all their lifetime subject to bondage.
        For verily he took not on him the nature of angels; but he took on him the seed of Abraham.

Heb. ii. 6, 7, 14, 15, 16.



For unto you it is given in the behalf of Christ, not only to believe on him, but also to suffer for his sake:
        Having the same conflict which ye saw in me, and now hear to be in me.
        In journeyings often, in perils of waters, in perils of robbers, in perils by mine own countrymen, in perils by the heathen, in perils in the city, in perils in the wilderness, in perils in the sea, in perils among false brethren;
        In weariness and painfulness, in watchings often, in hunger and thirst, in fastings often, in cold and nakedness.
        Besides those things that are without, that which cometh upon me daily, the care of all the churches.

Phil. i. 29, 30.     2 Cor. xi. 26, 27, 28. 


He is a chosen vessel unto me, to bear my name before the Gentiles, and kings, and the children of Israel.
        For I will shew him how great things he must suffer for my name’s sake.
        Thou therefore, my son, be strong in the grace that is in Christ Jesus.
        Remember that Jesus Christ, of the seed of David, was raised from the dead, according to my gospel:
        Wherein I suffer trouble, as an evil-doer, even unto bonds; but the word of God is not bound.
        Therefore I endure all things for the elect’s sakes, that they may also obtain the salvation which is in Christ Jesus with eternal glory.

Acts ix. 15, 16.         2 Tim. ii. 1, 8, 9, 10.

You can download Week 45 in pdf format

Return to Book Index page


This comment system requires you to be logged in through either a Disqus account or an account you already have with Google, Twitter, Facebook or Yahoo. In the event you don't have an account with any of these companies then you can create an account with Disqus. All comments are moderated so they won't display until the moderator has approved your comment.

comments powered by Disqus