Abbildungen der Seite

their affections drawn together by the sweet bond of the Sabbath. On that holy day may their hearts meet together in prayer and praise; may the absent be with us, and we with them. O give some rest from pain upon thy Sabbath-day, that the sick may bless thee, that the mourner may rejoice; or if thy wisdom, which cannot err, sees that this would not be for the sufferer's eternal good, give for thy dear love's sake, on thy Sabbath-day, a double portion of thy Spirit, that thy sorrowing children may be enabled more clearly to see into thy heavenly kingdom, where those who have, like thee, passed through great tribulation, and " have washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the Lamb,” may be enabled to rest in the blessed hope that they too shall soon be with that happy band before the throne, where thou, O Saviour, shalt “ lead them unto living fountains of water : and God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes.” (Rev. vi. 14—17.) Thus, O Holy Jesus, let thy sabbath be to man the precious gift thou wouldest have it. Let it bring to every home an increase of love and peace, let it unite in spirit those who are parted from one another; let it bring comfort and hope to the sorrowful, as well as rest to the weary, and let our hymns of Sabbath praise rise as a cloud of incense from the whole of thy redeemed world, for this thy great gift of the Sabbath-day.





Calmly the Saviour went on his way. His lessons on the right keeping of the Sabbath-day were not ended. The people of God in all ages, were to learn from him how, upon the Sabbath, they were to give themselves up to the service of the Lord of the Sabbath. The Lord Jesus was returning to Galilee. The way was long, but when He came to a town,

LUKE VI. 6, 7. « On another Sabbath He entered into the synagogue and taught ; and there was a man whose right hand was withered. And the Scribes and Pharisees watched him, whether He would heal (the man) on the Sabbath-day, that they might find an accusation against him.

MATTHEW xii. 10. “And they asked him, saying, Is it lawful to heal on the Sabbath-days ? that they might accuse him.

LUKE vi. 8. But He knew their thoughts, and said to the man which had the withered hand, Rise up, and stand forth in the midst. And he arose and stood forth. Then said Jesus unto them, I will ask you one thing ; Is it lawful on the Sabbath-days to do good, or to do evil ? to save life, or to destroy it ?

MATTHEW xii. 11, 12 . “ What man shall there be among you, that shall have one sheep, and if it fall into a pit on the Sabbath-day, will he not lay hold on it, and lift it out ? How much then is a man better than a sheep? Wherefore it is lawful to do well on the Sabbath-days."

MARK iii. 5. “ And when He had looked round about on them with anger, being grieved for the hardness of their hearts, He saith unto the man, Stretch forth thine hand. And he stretched it out : and his hand was restored whole as the other.

LUKE vi. 11. " And they were filled with madness; and communed one with another what they might do to Jesus."

MARK iii. 6. “ And the Pharisees went forth, and straightway took counsel with the Herodians * against him, how they might destroy him."

Who can add a word to this history! How completely does if bring back before our eyes that long-past time! The syna

* The Herodians seem to have been a party who were particularly attached to Herod Antipas, the Tetrarch of Galilee, and therefore jealous of the manner in which the people followed Jesus. See Biblical Cyclopedia.


gogue filled with an anxious expecting crowd of men whose minds were stirred within them to know “if this were indeed the very Christ :” the proud, revengeful Pharisees, with fierce eyes fixed on Jesus, watching every look and word that they might find a cause to take his life; and the man who was there with his right hand withered :-his eyes too, were bent on Jesus ; but his look was a prayer ; he hoped to be healed :and Jesus, in his calm majesty, his Divine power, reading every thought of every heart before him! We almost seem to hear his voice, when He said unto the man with the withered hand, “Stand forth."

This is the third time the Lord Jesus showed the true use and meaning of the Sabbath-day, and each time He gave a different proof that it was lawful and right to perform acts of kindness on the Sabbath-day.

When, at the pool of Bethesda He healed the man who had for forty years been a cripple, He bade the Pharisees remember how God carried on his works of mercy on the Sabbath as on other days. If God, as they knew He did, caused his sun to shine, and his rain to fall on the Sabbath, if He blessed the physician's skill and made the sick man well on the Sabbath as on other days, never stopping in his works of mercy and of power, why should not Jesus, his Son, also in the same manner work on the Sabbath-day ?

And when the disciples rubbed in their hands and ate the ears of corn to satisfy their hunger, as they passed through the fields on the Sabbath-day, the Lord Jesus had bidden the Pharisees remember what David had done when he was an hungred, without blame; and had pointed out to them, that the Priests had much work to do on the Sabbath, in the service of the temple ; therefore, that whatever was done in his service, was well done, and was work fit for the Sabbath, for He was greater than the temple, which was but a type (or picture) of his body, in which God was dwelling among men. Now, He bade the

[merged small][ocr errors]

Pharisees remember, that for their own sakes they would themselves work on the Sabbath-day, and say that it was right, for that it was a work of mercy. They knew there was not one among them who would not lay hold of his sheep and lift it out of a pit, into which it had fallen, on the Sabbath-day. And why would they do this ? was it not because the sheep was their own,—that it was of value, and that to leave it in the pit till the next day, would be cruel, and perhaps would kill it? And was not a man of more value than a sheep ? Did he not belong to God his maker, and did not God watch over him to do him good ? Was it not then right to help the poor man who had the withered hand, on the Sabbath-day ?

Jesus had said, if any of them had one sheep, would they not help it out of a pit on the Sabbath ? for He knew how man values that of which he has but one. How precious, how dear that one becomes. And yet He tells us here, that each one of us is still more dear to God. Thus does He seem to say, that had there been but one soul to save, Christ would have come to save that single soul; and thus his love for each of us is a love for each one, as great, as careful, as if He had but that only one to be his child.

Yes, it is true that the great God, the Creator, and the Lord of worlds

“ Sees all, as if that all were one ;

Loves one, as if that one were all.” * Is it difficult to believe this? Does it seem impossible that each one of the millions that have filled, and do fill the world, can be dear to the heart of God, even as one, only one, would be? Let the father and the mother of a large family reply. Is it not true that each child of the seven, or eight, or ten, or even of a much larger family, becomes dear as if it were an only child, just as it wants help and comfort most ? If grief or sickness falls upon it, it does not find its mother's love and

Rev, J. W. Cunningham,

its father's care the less because it has many brothers and many sisters. And if this is true of us, the powers of whose hearts and minds are so little when compared to the boundless powers of loving and of knowing, of the mighty Father of all; do we not feel that it must be true of him and each child of his large family? And we need to know this—to be assured of it, in that dark hour when we must each venture forth alone from life into a new, an unknown world, where if we have not the sure love of God to look to, we feel that we must be lost.

• Can it be that my Saviour loves ME, ME MYSELF, who am but a little one among so many?' said a dying girl, as she strove to raise her affections from her parents to her God. Her voice, her look, told how much depended on that question, and great was the

peace that filled her soul when she saw from holy Scripture, that she herself was yet dearer to God than the one only lost lamb is dear to the poor man, who cannot rest till he has found and saved it. (Luke xv. 4.)

All the words of the Lord Jesus are full of power, and of deep and holy meaning, and if we take them into our hearts, and keep them there, and ponder on them, we shall find that they have power to charm away every grief and every fear; yes, even in the valley of the shadow of death.*

* “My Beloved is unto me as a cluster of camphire." Solomon's Song, i. 14.

In times of infectious disease it is a safe thing to wear pieces of camphire, fastened in the dress close to the bosom, for there is a virtue in the smell of camphire that keeps off infection, and the words of Christ kept in the bosom, close to our hearts, have a power, that nothing else can have, to keep off the infection of sin.

May not this be Solomon's meaning when he makes the Bride, that is, the Church of Christ, say, that her well-beloved is to her as a bundle of myrrh, (another healthful perfume which has something of the same virtue as camphire) and as a cluster of camphire that she will keep in her bosom all the night? If we keep Christ in our nearest love during the night of sorrow and of sin, nothing shall have power to harm us; and when the glad morning of the Re. surrection shall chase away all darkness from our souls, we shall rise at the sound of His voice, and go forth with Him to dwell with Him for ever.

« ZurückWeiter »