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MATERIALS FOR A SUNDAY-SCHOOL ADDRESS.
apply such light terms! How glorious a change is conversion, which is spoken of so lightly by even some men who have a respect for religion! Thus Southey expresses the conversion of Charles Wesley: “Charles Wesley takes a religious turn.” It is the turning “from darkness to light, and from the power of Satan unto God.”
Mark the power of Satan over a selfsurrendered imagination,—that part of our nature which renders us affected by music, painting, poetry. Sin is the result of a deluded and heated imagination. The love of money! the cheat of selling heaven for chinking coin! locking up his soul in a cash-box! Pleasure,lawless indulgence of the passion ; “ fierce and foul desire,”—pride and vanity.-Satan, the head of all discontent, the leader of opposition to God in the universe. — The sorcery of sin. “What shall it profit a man? etc.” Sin is a diabolical cheat.
religious opinions, some truths of revelation, is no guarantee against the sin of witchcraft, or any like sin; for the sin of witcheraft implies and proceeds upon a firm belief in the unseen world, in a retributive hereafter, and in the value of the soul. The wizard has, then, certain religious convictions. And what an awful aggravation of the sin, that it co-exists with such convictions ! Such monsters of iniquity know all the time that their “steps take hold on hell.” Theirs is a resolved preference of the way which leads straight to the chambers of death."
And the case is even so with unrepenting and unconverted men. They, “knowing ” the righteous “judgment of God, that they which commit such things are worthy of death, not only do the same, but have pleasure them that do them.” They had rather find death in the error of their ways than life in God's embrace.
Now, the resolvedness of the impenitent to prefer the alliance of Satan to the friendship of God is plainly seen in their unpersuadableness. The softening and the startling dispensations of Providence; the sweet, subduing influences of the Sabbath and the sanctuary; the waruings, the energetic entreaties of the ambassadors of Christ, all fail to overpower that sullen, stubborn, suicidal preference of the service and wages of Satan, to the sonship and free gift of God. All this shows that their choice of death is as inflexible as it is detestable and horrible. This inexorable resistance of the beseeching philanthropy of God proves that the impenitent are what St. Paul terms them, “haters of God.” There must be some strong underswell of diabolical detestation of God, some common bond of secret sympathy between impenitent souls and the great enemy of God, some elective affinity between sinners and the great leader of rebellion in the universe. Satan and the sinner are clearly kindred spirits. There is a strange unity of evil passion. The Saviour used no exaggerated figure when He said to those who rejected Him, “ Ye are of your father the devil.”
How horrible is sin, to which many
MATERIALS FOR A SUNDAY-SCHOOL ADDRESS. Founded upon the Afternoon Lesson for
May 3rd, 1874. THIS afternoon your attention has been drawn to a very interesting and important event, which teaches lessons we particularly desire you to remember. The Christian Church was still young, and was now passing through a season of severe persecution and trial. The entire body of believers had to suffer much, but the greatest suffering had to be endured by their prominent leaders. (Who was the sufferer in this case ? What was the nature of his suffering ?) It seemed likely that Peter would have to die like another leader who had recently been killed by Herod. (What was his name?) But he was rescued in a very remarkable manner. (Who rescued him? How did he accomplish it ? What part did the other members of the Church take in this matter ?) Their prayer was heard by God, Who sent His angel to deliver the Apostle.
From this we learn that when God's people are in great distress, and cannot be delivered by ordinary means, He will employ extraordinary means rather than leave them in their distress. We have many proofs and illustrations of this, apart from that in this afternoon's Lesson. Instance, the deliverance of the Israelites when pursued by the Egyptians, Elijah by the brook Cherith. It is evident that God will help His people in some way when ordinary help seems useless or impossible.
This fact does not encourage idleness. It should not prevent our making all possible effort in using the ordinary
It is only when other help and ordinary means utterly fail, and when the end to be gained is of God's appointment, or in accordance with His will, that such extraordinary help is granted. It is very necessary to remember this, that we may not fall into carelessness and disappointment. But it is most encouraging to know that under such circumstances of helplessness and selfdespair, we are sure of that help which cannot fail to accomplish our speedy and effectual deliverance.
The great lesson we ought to learn is that of trust in God. In the assurance that His help will not fail us, we may ever rely upon Him with perfect confidence. It may be that in the course of your life you will be brought into circumstances such as we have described, when you will have no other Helper to look to. At such seasons, cast yourselves upon God; look up to Him with the utmost confidence, and He will save you.
We learn, also, from this afternoon's Lesson the wonderful efficacy of prayer. It tells us that “prayer was made without ceasing of the Church unto God for him." Then immediately follows the description of his deliverance, intimating that the one was given in answer to the other. There are ungodly people in the world who say that God does not hear and answer prayer. But we know that He does, and this is one case among many which prove that He does. We may remind you of one or two other cases related in the Scriptures. You remember that when the Israelites
grieved God by worshipping the golden calf, He determined, in consequence, to destroy them. Moses prayed for them, interceded with God in their behalf, and prevailed, so that the people were spared. You also remember that Elijah prayed that there might not be any rain, and there was none for a long time; then he prayed that it might rain, and the rain fell abundantly. “ O wondrous power of faithful prayer! What tongue can tell the Almighty
grace? God's hands or bound or open are,
As Moses or Elijah prays.” Many cases have also come under our own observation confirming the testimony of these.
(Here the speaker should relate some illustrative incident.)
God hears and answers the prayers of children when they pray sincerely and believingly, and when they ask for such things as God has promised to bestow, or such as they know to be in accordance with His will. He will hear and answer your prayers, just as much as those of your parents and teachers.
The Lambs of the Flock.
AN ADDRESS TO THE LITTLE ONES.
BY THE REV. JOHN DWYER.
“He shall gather the lambs with His arm, and carry them in His bosom.”-ISAIAH xl. 11.
“Feed My lambs.”—John xxi. 15,
I WISH to say at once and plainly that I write to the “ little ones,” and to the “ little ones” only; and that, for this reason, I shall use very short and simple words,-words that many of the little ones may be able to read without help, and words that those who are not able to read will easily know the meaning of when they are read for them by papa or mamma or some kind friend.
Now, dear "little ones,” you are “the lambs of the flock.” The Bible says you are. Just look at these two precious texts, and think of what they
The first, though written long before Christ came into this world, tells of the love of Jesus, and how He does not regard the little lambs as too weak or small or foolish to take
them under His care. The second was spoken by Jesus Himself to Simon Peter just before He left this world, after having died for it. He was telling Peter what He required him to do in proof of his love, and the command, “Feed My
umbs,” shows that “little ones like you are to be the care of the Onurch of God as well as older persons.
And in other parts of His Word, God declares His love to children, and His desire to save them. You have all heard what Jesus did and said on one occasion. For the most part mothers are very kind and loving, and wish very much to do their children good; and once some of them brought their little boys and girls to Christ,“ that He should put His hands on them, and pray.” This was a very good thing for them to do; but “the disciples rebuked them,” that is, they blamed them, and were about sending them away. Perhaps they did not mean to be unkind, and only wanted to keep their Master from being annoyed. But Jesus was “much displeased." He loved the little children, and He showed His love by taking them up in His arms and blessing them; and He said, “Suffer the little children to come unto Me, and forbid them not: for of such is the kingdom of God.” (Matt. xix. 13–15; Mark x. 13–16; Luke xviii. 15, 16.) I want you to read over these passages carefully, or to get them read for you,
that you may see and feel how very loving Jesus is to the “ little ones." He is not now on earth as He was then; He has gone to plead for us at God's right hand; but He cannot change, and He loves little children just as well as He ever did, and is as willing to bless you as He was to bless the children who were brought to Him by their mothers.
I ask you also to turn with me to the eighteenth chapter of St. Matthew's Gospel, and to read from the first verse to the fourteenth. Here we learn that Christ used "a little child” to rebuke the wrong spirit which His disciples showed, and to teach both them and us humility; and, after telling us how we are to act towards children and towards those who are child-like in their spirit, He added these words: “Even so it is not the will of your Father Which is in heaven, that one of these little ones should perish.” How very kind this is ! God does not wish a single child to be lost. He wants every child to be happy, and to be saved for ever; and Jesus tells us this cheering news. Surely, then, every child should seek to be truly good! God's grace is able to give to every boy and to every girl a new heart, pardoning all their sins for Christ's såke. May His Holy Spirit lead my dear young friends now to seek His love, that they may serve Him all their days !
(To be continued.)
On splendours which from that high
Abaséd, and abash'd.
“Woe, woe is me!” he cried, “for I
And with the unclean I dwell.
When lo! a seraph took a glowing
And touch'd his gasping lips. The seraph, priest-like, hasten'd to the
seer, And touch'd him with the altar's
hallowing flame, Then sounded gracious words that
calm'd his fear,
And spake him freefrom blame. Isaiah heard the God of Israel ask, “ Whom shall I send who will Our
herald be?” Pardon'd, and cleansed, he hail'd the
“ Lord, here am I; send me.”
“ Woe, woe is me!” he cried : he could
BIBLE-LESSONS FOR INFANT-CLASSES. May 3.-The Prisoner Set Free.
had come. Had God forgotten His ACTS xii. 11: “ The Lord hath sent His servant ? Some might have thought angel, and hath delivered me."
so, for that “same night Peter was sleep1. In the prison.--Herod, though a ing between two soldiers, bound with king, was a wicked and cruel man. He two chains : and the keepers before hated what was good, and did much to the door kept the prison.” Where vex and hurt those who loved Jesus. was the Power, greater than Herod's, He even “ killed James the brother of which should break those chains and John with the sword. And because he set Peter free ? “ Behold,” in the saw it pleased the Jews, he proceeded darkness of the night," the angel of further to take Peter also.” Though the Lord came upon him, and a light he had great power, he was not good. shined in the prison: and he smote Peter To get praise from the people, cared on the side, and raised him up, saying, not though what he did was wrong. Arise up quickly. And his chains fell Peter was then the leader of the off from his hands.” The angel then Apostles. All who then formed the bade him dress himself, and follow him. Church of Jesus, looked up to him to Peter seemed to himself as though he guide them. Yet Herod seized him, were in a dream, for though “he went and put him in prison, and gave him out, and followed” the angel, he“wist over to the care of soldiers. How not that it was true...but thought he grieved and frightened his friends all saw a vision.". But the angel led him were! But could they not help him ? safely through the prison, past the Could they not make the king let him sleeping soldiers; the strong iron gate out? No, they feared even for them- opened “ of his own accord,” and so selves, and they trembled when they they went out into the street, and when heard that Herod intended soon to all danger was over, “the angel de“ bring him forth to the people.” Had parted from him.” Peter was still full they none to help? Was there nothing of wonder at this strange thing that they could do? Yes, for“ Peter...was had happened to him, but when he kept in prison: but prayer was made was come to himself, he said, Now without ceasing of the Church unto I know of a surety, that the Lord God for him."
hath sent His angel, and hath delivered 2. The deliverance.—The days passed
And how easy all this was to on, and still Peter was a prisoner, till His great power! at last the time came " when Herod 3. The power of prayer.
- Peter would have brought him forth” to put having thought it all over, went at him to death. The unceasing prayer
“ the house of Mary the went up to God, but as yet no answer mother of” his friend“ John." It was
BIBLE-LESSONS FOR INFANT-CLASSES.
midnight, but “ many were gathered together praying " there for Peter. It was all they could do, and it was all they needed to do. They knew not as yet how much their prayer had done, when “ Peter knocked at the door of the gate.” A damsel went to hearken, and when she heard Peter's voice, she ran in, without opening the door, for very gladness, and told how Peter was at the door. This was so strange and unlooked for, that they did not believe her, but thought she was mistaken. But Peter still kept knocking. Then they let him in, and listened with wonder, and joy, and thankfulness, while Peter told them “how the Lord had brought him out of the prison.” Would they not all believe more fully than ever before in the power of prayer ? and trust in God more firmly for all this?
Revision.-Who put Peter in prison? Why was this done? What did Herod intend to do with Peter? What did Peter's friends do ? How was Peter delivered ?
What had prayer to do with it? What would Peter's friends learn from this deliverance? What should it teach us?
May 10.-The Value of a Good Life.
1 SAMUEL xii. 2:“I have walked before you from
my childhood unto this day.” 1. Looking back on life.—The prophet Samuel was at this time an old man. He had been a prophet and a leader of the people longer than any man in the land of Israel before his time ; for God had chosen him for His servant when he was only a child. Do you remember when this was? The people now had a king. What was his name? Samuel seems to have feared that they might trust too much to what their king could do for them, and so forget God.
So he gathered the people together, and spoke to them first about himself, and what he had done through the years of his long life. This is what many men would fear to ask others to do. Why should this be ? Because their lives have been filled with no good to others. To look back on such a life, can bring no joy to those who look, or to the man himself. But worse still, there are some whose lives have been filled with harm to others. Will these ask that others will look on their lives ? Ah! no; to such men no sight can be more fearful than their own words and deeds which have brought harm and woe to
many in the years that have gone. How sad this is! How sad to live with a thought like this ! But sadder far to die thus! How are you living ? Is your life a comfort to father and mother and all around you ?
2. How Samuel had lived.--Samuel said to the people, “I have walked before you from my childhood unto this day.” It may be that some there were old enough to remember how Samuel was called by God when a child, and all had heard of it. They knew how that he grew before the Lord," and that the Lord “ did let none of his words fall to the ground.” He had been "before" them all his life : they knew all about him, what he said, and how he lived. And now that he was an old man, he asks them all whether they could tell of any wrong he had done them? He is not afraid of their answer. He knew, and he put them in mind too, that he was speaking “ before the Lord,” Who knows all things, every thought in man's heart, every word, and every action. How blessed a thing it is to have a clear conscience ! to feel sure of being right in God's sight. The people all answered and said that Samuel's life had been good, and free from wrong towards them. But how came Samuel to be able thus to live ? Was it because he, himself, was better than other men ? No, he was just as other men are, but he gave himself to the Lord when a child, as his mother so earnestly wished, and had sought and found the help of the Lord in all his ways. And even now he was a faithful servant, for he put the people in mind of their evil ways, and bade them return again and seek His pardon. He told them of what God had done for them, and for their fathers before them, and how they hadagain and again sinned, and brought God's anger and punishment upon themselves. They all knew how true this was, and begged that Samuel would pray for them, and gave their word again that they would repent, and turn to the Lord with all their heart. And so Samuel's good life gave him power for good with the people. Will you seek the same goodness in the same way as he did ? REVISION.
What are the words of our
Who said them? To whom was Samuel speaking? What sort of life had he