Page images

few minutes earlier. Remember, little ones, it is the few minutes now, and the few minutes then, which make up a great many minutes and hours and days in the course of a lifetime, and for which we shall have to give a strict account one day to God.

" Little drops of water,

Little grains of sand,
Make the mighty ocean

And the beauteous land ;

morning, before we begin our day's work, if we would have Him go with us all through the day. Make up your mind to deny yourself those few minutes' sleep in the morning, that you may have them to give to Him; and depend upon


you will be much the happier for it, and will find His promise come true that those who seek Him early shall find Him.

Think over what I have been telling you; and whatever your hands find to do, whether it is work for

your parents, or learning your lessons, or seeking God, do it with all your might. Be like the ant, and not like the sluggard.


And the little moments,

Humble though they be, Make the mighty ages Of eternity."


But you waste money as well as time when you are idle and slothful. Your parents pay for you to go to school; and if you do not learn as much as you can, you are wasting their money. Listen to what was done to the slothful servant in the parable who buried his lord's money in the earth instead of using it well and increasing it (Matt. XXV. 30).

You see then that the idle and slothful waste both-? (time and money.) And Solomon says they will come to poverty and beggary and want (Prov. vi. 11 ; xx. 4). But it is not only poverty and ruin of the body that such people bring upon themselves, they ruin their souls too. If we are slothful and lazy concerning the things of this life, we shall be the same concerning the things of the next; and Solomon says, “ An idle soul shall suffer hunger' (Prov. xix. 15), but “the soul of the diligent shall be made fat” (Prov. xiii. 4). It is those who strive that will enter in at the strait gate (Luke xiii. 24); it is those who fight a good fight who will lay hold on eternal life (1 Tim. vi. 12); it is those who watch and pray who will be successful in resisting the devil. We must love the Lord with all our heart and mind and soul and strength if we love Him at all. No half-and-half striving, no half-andhalf loving, no lazy, slothful seeking will do. “ Those that seek Me early shall find Me,”--not only early in life, but also early in each day. We must give a few minutes to God, we must seek His face the first thing in the

[ocr errors]


1 Timothy i. 15. THE text I have chosen to-day, little ones, tells us why it was our loving Saviour, Jesus Christ, came into the world. Let me hear each of you repeat it very carefully; and I hope none of you will ever forget it.

What are the two names given in our verse ? The first of these “ anointed.” In the country where Jesus was born, when the people were about to make a man king over them, or when any one was to be made a priest, he was anointed with oil; some oil was poured on his head, and from that time he was looked upon as separated from the rest. Our Saviour therefore was called “Christ,” or “ anointed," because He was set apart by God to be the Saviour of mankind.

What is the other name? Yes; the meaning of that one is “ Saviour." Before Jesus was born, God sent a bright angel to a woman named Marythe same Mary who was afterwards the mother of our Lord; and this angel told her that God would send her a baby, who should be none other than the Son of God; he also told her she should call His name Jesus; and in another part of the Bible we read that He was to be called Jesus because He should save His people from their sins.

[ocr errors]

peared to them? What did he say? Yes; and the shepherds started off immediately to find the Saviour. Repeat the text once more.

Whom did Jesus die for? Who are sinners ? Then if all of us are sinners we all need to be saved ; and to be saved we must have a Saviour; and God will accept of no Saviour but His only Son. By none but Him can our sins be washed away. Oh let us then go to Him, and ask Him to remove all our badness and sinfulness. Let us go to Him who alone can bring us back to God. We shall have no trouble to find Him, for He is always waiting for us ; and there is one word He is always saying to us which I hope my little ones will ever remember, and that is the word " Come.” “I heard the voice of Jesus say,

• Come unto Me and rest;
Lay down, thou weary one, lay down

Thy head upon My breast :
I came to Jesus as I was,

Weary and worn and sad;
I found in Him a resting-place,
And He has made me glad."


What does the first name in our text mean? Why was our Saviour called " anointed”? What does the second name mean? Who was told to call His name Jesus? Why was He called Saviour ?

Which of you can tell me anything about Jesus' birth? [Various answers.] Yes ; quite right. He was first a weak, tender baby, just as all of you have been. His mother was very poor; and at the time Jesus was born she was a long way from home, upwards of seventy miles, at a town named Bethlehem. She and her husband tried to find room in one of the inns, but could not succeed; so Mary was compelled to stay in the stable, and there it was that Jesus was born.

What did I say the name of the town was? Yes; Bethlehem was a sacred spot. It was here David was born, and spent his youth as a shepherd boy; and in honour of his name it was afterwards called the city of David. What can you tell me about David ? On one side of the city was the cave where he hid from Saul; and in the neighbourhood was the far-famed well of Bethlehem, the water of which David longed to taste when he was hard pressed by the Philistines, and which he was enabled to do through three of his brave followers risking their lives to gratify his wish. At Bethlehem too it was that Rachel, the wife of Jacob, was buried; and in the fields near by did Ruth glean the corn of Boaz. Bethlehem was a lovely place, full of vineyards and orchards of figtrees and olives.

In the stable of an inn in this town, as I have told you, was the lowly Jesus born; and there it was that the shepherds came to worship Him. Do you remember how it happened ? One bright clear night they were out watching their sheep, to protect them from the wild beasts that might be wandering about, when suddenly a great light appeared, and an angel spoke to them, telling them not to be afraid, for he brought them tidings of great joy, that there was born in the city of David a Saviour, Christ the Lord. What men were out watching sheep? Who ap

THE SCAPE-GOAT. Leviticus xvi. 22; Hebrews ix, 28. TO-DAY, little ones, I have something to tell you about a goat. I dare say you have all seen one, and can tell me the difference between it and a sheep. Yes ; that is a very good description.

Now, before we come to talk about the goat, I want to ask you one or two questions. Who in the Bible is compared to a sheep and to a lamb? Yes, Jesus Christ; and why? That is one reason; because He was so gentle and patient and silent when people ill-treated Him. Here are two nice texts for you to learn about Him: John i. 35, 36; Acts viü. 32. Say them over again, until you have them quite perfect. Will you try to be patient and gentle like Jesus? You must pray to Him then to give you—what?—(His Holy Spirit, to help us.)

Does Jesus ever compare His people to sheep ?-(John X. 3, 16.) Yes; and

[ocr errors]

there is a time coming when He will call all those who do not love Him goats. Who can tell me when that will be? It will be when He comes again in His glory, and all the holy angels with Him. Then He says He will have all nations gathered before Him; and all those who have loved Him and His people, and have shown their love by doing all the kind things they could, He will call “ sheep," and will put them on His right hand; whilst all those who have not done kind things to Him and to His people He will call “ goats,” and will put them on His left hand. Then there will be wonderful words spoken: happy words to the sheep, but awful dreadful words to the goats To the sheep-those who have loved and served Him-He will say,

" Come, ye blessed of My Father, come into My kingdom;" but to the bad, the wicked —the goats—He will say, “ Depart, ye cursed, into everlasting fire." Oh, think of those terrible words, and ask Jesus at once to change your naughty hearts, and make you to love Him and . be His little lambs.

You see all those who love, trust, and serve Jesus Christ are called “the sheep”; whilst “the goats" stand for the wicked. Now do you know that Jesus has been compared to a goat ? How can this be? Can you tell me? I think you can, if you will consider a little. Try. When Jesus left heaven and came to live on earth, what did He do ? And then He died a dreadful death. Why? Did He deserve it? Why then?

Yes : for our sins; for mine and yours ; we were the wicked goats, who must have been punished, only Jesus offered Himself to die for us instead. So, good as He was, He was counted as a bad goat, because He had taken our badness upon Him; and for a little while God hid His face from His dear Son and let Him be put to death.

I will tell you how God showed people beforehand that this would be so. In those days there were scarcely any books, because each one had to be written out with a pen; and the number who could read were very few; so God, who is so loving that He wants every

body to know how they can be saved, showed them by signs what was going to be done. This was the way He taught them (Lev. xvi.). Once in every year the high-priest was to take two live goats, and, after he had first offered a sacrifice for himself, to show that he too deserved to die, he was to take one of these goats and kill it for the sins of all the people. This goat did not deserve to die ; but the people did : so this goat therefore was compared to Jesus Christ. It died for the people, as He was to die. It had done no sin, as He had done no sin. It died on account of the people's sin, as He died on account of our sin. But now comes another wonderful part of God's lesson.

How many goats did I tell you the priest was to take ? Yes ; and only one was killed. The other was intended to teach the rest of the lesson. God said, it were, “One goat cannot show you all I wish you to know; we must have two. Here is the second goat, alive and well; this is to teach you that when the Messiah has died for your wickedness He shall rise again and live

So He bid the high-priest take this live goat, and lay his two hands upon its head, and confess the sins of all the people, and lay them as it were upon the goat's head. He was to do it for all the people you know, in their name, whilst they stood looking on, and joining in with their hearts—all saying, “I lay my sins on the goat; it shall carry my sins away to where they shall never be seen any more.” For when the people's sins were thus put on the goat, it was to be sent far away into the wilderness, where no one would ever find it. So this second goat you see is also compared to Jesus ; to Jesus after He had died for our sins, and was risen from the dead and made alive again.

Although the priest put his hands on the goat's head for all the people, his doing so was only of use to those who joined in with their hearts, not for any one who did not do so—mind. If you think of the many thousands there would be standing around, you will understand that all could not get near to put their

for you.”


and cry,

own hands on; but all could say, “ Lord

"O God, let me share in the God, by the hands of the priest I too merits of Jesus' death, spare me belay my sins on the goat.” But if any cause of Him," then you still must said, “Oh, I need not trouble myself perish everlastingly. Dear children, about my sins and my soul, the priest will you always remember this in concan do all that for me, " then that per

nection with the story I have told you son's sins would not be carried away, about the scape-goat? I hope so. For because he had not joined in with his if

f you do you will be sure to love Jesus heart. So with Christ: He has died for and trust in Him. you; but if you won't agree to join in



[ocr errors]


Ephesians vi. 5-8. To whom are these words addressed ? Whom does St. Paul mean by servants ?

-(Those who are subject to any one.) Quite right. As always like to make my lessons both practical and personal, tell me, does the word “servant” apply to you? How so? You are not all servants in the sense in which we generally use the term.—(But we are all under some one whose orders we must obey.) Yes; and he who is placed over you is your master, or employer.

Well, what is the duty St. Paul here enforces ?—(Obedience.) To those persons over you who are kind to you, or to all, both kind and unkind ?—(To all.) Yes; read 1 Pet. ii. 18. What does the word “froward " mean ? Then, since you are to obey all your masters or employers, both bad and good, does it follow that you are to obey everything they tell you ? Yes; you are to obey all their commands, as far as they agree with God's commands, but no farther. Do you recollect the verse in which children are told to obey their parents ?

-(“ Children, obey your parents in the Lord; for this is right.") Well, in like manner you must obey your masters, unless they order you to do what is wrong. For instance, if a master were to tell his servant to lie, or cheat, or steal, or forbid him to read his Bible or pray, would that servant be bound to obey him ? No; because God has commanded just the opposite, and He is to be obeyed before any on earth.

Then how are you told to obey ?(With fear and trembling.) What do you understand by that ?—(That we are to fear displeasing our masters.) Should you not also be afraid because, in disobeying their commands, you are displeasing God? That ought to be your chief fear. The words mean too that you must hold your masters or emplorers in honour and reverence ; for God has placed them over you, therefore you must treat them with that respect which their rank and position demand.

And you are to obey with singleness of heart; what does that mean? It means with a simple, sincere desire to do what is right. As you must hate and fear doing wrong for its own sake, and not merely on account of the consequences that may arise from it; so you must love and try to do right for its own sake, and not on account of the reward Explain to me the meaning of the expression “as unto the Lord.” +(That we should obey those over us as we should obey Christ.) Right.

Read the 6th verse. You are not only to obey those over you when they can see you, but you are to act just the same behind their backs as you would before their faces. And always remember that in serving them you are serving God. The eye of your heavenly Master is ever upon you, though that of your earthly one may not be. God knows whether you are doing your duty with your heart, or if yours is mere lip and eye service when He asks for heart service. Read Col. iii. 23. I think we should all be more careful about our

actions if we kept in mind the verse of
the morning hymn which says, -
" Let all thy converse be sincere,

Thy conscience as the noonday clear ;
For God's all-seeing eye surveys
Thy secret thoughts, thy works, thy waye.

What is the meaning of the 7th verse ? Yes, that you are to obey cheerfully and willingly. You must do your duty in " that station of life unto which it hath pleased God to call you.” For as God loveth a cheerful giver, so He loveth a cheerful server.

Now read the 8th verse. Its meaning? You say if you do your duty God will reward you ; tell me, can you ever do it ?—(Not of ourselves.) What then are you to do? Yes, never forget that you are to pray to God to help you, dear children; you can do nothing of yourselves; your very righteousnesses themselves are but filthy rags, and need to be washed white and clean in the blood of the Lamb. A good man has very truly and beautifully said, “I can do nothing of myself: I cannot pray but I sin ; I cannot give alms but i sin; my prayers need to be prayed over again, and my very tears to be washed in my Redeemer's blood.” But if you throw yourselves at the feet of Jesus, and ask His help, God will put His Holy Spirit into your hearts to “ work in you both to will and to do that which is pleasing in His sight.” And then, at the great day, will it not be joyful to hear Him say, “ Well done, good and faithful servant; because thou hast been faithful in a few things, I will make thee ruler over many things: enter thou into the joy of thy Lord?




little is enough to stamp him as a man of God, faithful in trying times; for we are told that “he followed the Lord fully(Num. xiv. 24).

Had Caleb great things to do, like Joshua ?-(No.) He saw this illustrious leader preferred before him, to conduct Israel in their wanderings; but, instead of feeling jealous, he was content to do his duty in that state of life in which it had pleased God to place him. In the twelfth verse of the chapter before us we find him putting in his claim to the inheritance long since made over to him by the special promise of Jehovah : “Now therefore give me this mountain, whereof the Lord spake in that day.”

This inheritance of Caleb's was not obtained easily. He had to fight bard and drive out the Anakims, a very powerful and warlike race of people. Do you think he was afraid of being defeated? Why not? Yes; he knew he would have help from on high. Of what inheritance does this of Caleb's remind us ?-(The heavenly Canaan.) the Bible says we must through much tribulation enter into the kingdom of God” (Acts xiv. 22).

Suppose we first take Caleb's record. How old was he when Moses sent him as a spy ? Forty years of age, he

How many went with him ? Refer to Num. xiii. 1-16. And out of the twelve how many were faithful in their report ?-(Num. xiv. 16.) only two.

All this had happened forty-five years before; since then Caleb had seen many pass away, and no doubt had suffered trials and temptations; yet his mind reverts to that time of trial when God's grace so mightily prevailed; and he believed that God was a God of truth, and could not lie; therefore he was sure of his inheritance, though his faith was tried by waiting for it all those years.

All of you are young; set Caleb's example then before you, that in your old age you may be enabled to look back, as he did, with pleasure on your endeavours to serve God faithfully, and also to thank Him for His graciousness in keeping your foot from falling.


tells us.

Yes ;


Joshua xiv. 12, 13. THE character of the man Caleb here mentioned is certainly no ordinary one. Can you tell me who he was ?-(One of the spies sent to search the land of Canaan in the second year of the exodus.) Do we hear much of him ?(No, very little.) Quite right; but that

« PreviousContinue »