« ПредыдущаяПродолжить »
And not only warning, but promises too; rich promises for all those who should have faith enough to give up what they loved best on earth, rather than run any risk of losing heaven. "There is no man," our Lord declared, "that hath left house, or parents, or brethren, or wife, or children, or lands for my sake, who shall not receive manifold more in this present time, and in the world to come everlasting life."
Our discourse to night, my dear child, has been full of most solemn instruction; pressing upon us from first to last, by several melancholy examples, the immense importance of making preparation for the life to come. The parable of the unjust steward, of the rich man and Lazarus, and the case of the young man who had so great possessions, were all intended to fix this lesson deeply in our minds.
E. And, Mamma, there is the case of the foolish rich man and his barns.
M. Yes; he had riches enough for a world, which he might leave in a night; but none in that world, where he was to be for ever. Such wisdom is indeed
the height of folly.
See Luke xvi. xviii. 18-30.
Matt. xix. 16-30.
Mark x. 17-31.
FORTY-SECOND SUNDAY EVENING.
CHRIST'S LAST JOURNEY TO JERUSALEM.
M. We have noticed before that our blessed Lord was now on his way to Jerusalem, journeying towards it by gentle degrees, steadily determined to return to that deluded city, notwithstanding the enmity of the Pharisees, and their plots to take away His life.
E. May I bring the chart, Mamma, and see which way He was going? I do so love to follow His steps, as well as I can, there.
M. Yes, it adds greatly to the interest of the sacred narrative, and we ought to be very thankful for all the assistance which is thus afforded us in the study of the Scriptures.
E. Here, Mamma, I think I have found our Lord's path in His last journey to Jerusalem. See, it seems to have led Him along the borders of Samaria and Galilee, just between the two countries, and through the country which is to the east of the river Jordan. How interesting these beautiful little pictures' make the map!
M. We can almost fancy by their help that we are ourselves following our Divine Redeemer, and watching with our own eyes His acts of mercy: there we have a picture of the very event I was going to relate to you. I think it may almost take my place, and tell you all that you will wish to hear.
E. Oh! no, dear Mamma; let me have both, if you please the picture, that I may fancy better what you are telling me; and your explanation, that I may understand and enjoy the picture.
M. Well then, let us turn to the Gospel again, where we find it written, that, "As he entered into a certain village, there met him ten men that were lepers, which stood afar off." You know what that means, I think.
E. Oh! yes, poor men! it means that they were not allowed to come near any of their fellow-creatures, because of that dreadful leprosy.
1 See Mimpriss's Chart of the Gospels.
M. Yes, I have told you before, that the leprosy was so very loathsome and infectious a disorder, that, by the law of Moses, any person afflicted by it, was obliged to avoid all communication with those around him. Thus to live by himself, or only with unhappy persons like himself, must have been a dreadful addition to sufferings, which in themselves were great enough.
E. Well, I do not much mind hearing of these lepers, though it generally makes my heart ache to think of them; for I have no fear but that Jesus could heal them. You know we have heard already of one whom he made whole.
you may re-
only that the
M. And many more than one; for member that, in the message sent to tist, Jesus particularly mentioned, not blind received their sight, and that the but that even the lepers were cleansed. Poor creatures! they would hardly have ventured to ask any one else to help them: or if they had, they would only have been driven away: besides which they knew no doubt that their dreadful disorder was incurable. Vain for them was the help of man, but in Jesus they saw one greater than man. Happily for them they had heard of His unbounded compassion, and believed in His miraculous power, and therefore, though still standing afar off, because they were unclean, yet they lifted up their voices aloud for help, and earnestly implored His compassion, crying "Jesus, Master, have mercy upon us." Nor did He turn away from that cry. Loathsome as leprosy is, it is in the sight of Jesus far less loathsome than sin.
E. Yes, Mamma, I am sure it was; and its consequences are much less dreadful.
M. And therefore in reality the diseases of the soul are far more hideous than the worst of all bodily disorders. Yet Christ received sinners, and ate with them; He pitied them, and came to save them from their sins: therefore the poor lepers might be very sure that He had help also for them. And how speedy was that help! "He said unto him, Go, show yourselves to the priests. And it came to pass, that, as they went, they were cleansed." They were sent to the priest, that he might examine them, and judge whether they were really cured, and might safely mix with the congregation again. To send them therefore to the priest, was in reality to promise them a cure; otherwise it would only have been a mockery of their
E. Ten lepers cleansed at once! What a happy story!
M. Yes, and yet your joy will be much moderated, I fear, if I tell you it to the end. What will you say when you hear that, out of all this party, there was only one, who, when he saw that he was healed, turned back and with a loud voice glorified God; only one that fell down at the feet of Jesus giving Him thanks? And that one was a Samaritan, who must have known much less of God than any of the rest.
E. Only one! Where were the other nine?
M. Satisfied with the mercy received, they never once thought of the Saviour who bestowed it! You are disappointed, Edward; and I do not wonder. It is an interesting, but a melancholy narrative; most interesting, for it richly displays the power and compassion of Christ; most melancholy, as it sets before us the great ingratitude of nine of these lepers. How anx
iously did they all cry for relief beforehand; but how little did they think of acknowledging it when it came, and glorifying God for answering their prayer! This was indeed ungrateful; and yet I fear it is but too true a picture of what takes place every day among men, and (shall I say it, Edward?) selves.
even among our
E. Do you really think so, dear Mamma?
M. You must judge for yourself. All our blessings, (and what a multitude they are!) come from God; yet how few comparatively love Him for them, and glorify Him by thankful hearts and obedient lives! Even when His mercy delivers us from some pressing calamity when God is pleased, for instance, to raise us up from some long sickness, to deliver us from some imminent danger, to relieve us from the pressure of poverty, or to bless us with a sweet reunion with those we love after long and grievous separation, these evils, at the time, we feel deeply, and pray earnestly to be delivered from; but scarcely one in ten pauses to bless God for His goodness; and that one will often be the least favoured in regard to religious knowledge. There is nothing which men abhor so much as ingratitude, when shown towards each other. The ungrateful child, or ungrateful friend is justly condemned and despised. But, the ungrateful Christian is little thought of. And yet, who has not been ungrateful here? Who is not still ungrateful as regards his God and Saviour? Does not the Samaritan at the feet of Jesus put every one of us to shame?
E. Really, Mamma, I had no idea how sinful we all are, until I read the Bible attentively with you, and every day now see it more and more.