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guard of three thousand men (ch. xiii. in any case the responsibility of his 2). Of so little worth are his gratitude death shall not rest upon David. Take and promises to David. The outlaw thou now the spear,-forthe same reasons retreated further into the wilderness; as the piece of the robe had been cut off. Saul pitched his encampment in the Cruse of water. The cruse of water hill of Hachilah. By means of spies, at Saul's head is in exact accordance David informed himself of the King's with the customs of the people at this position and intentions.
day. No one ventures to travel over Saul's SECOND ESCAPE.–V. 5-12. these deserts without his cruse of water, In the night David and his men draw and it is very common to place one at near to Saul's tents. Saul lay in the the bolster, so that the owner can trench,-or rather (Margin).“ in the reach it during the night. The Arabs midst of his carriages,” i.e., the eat their dinner in the evening, and it baggage of the army.; “ carriage” is is generally of such a nature as to used here as at ch. xvii. 22. He would create thirst; and the quantity of sleep in the very midst of his troops ; water which they drink is enormous. the baggage would be piled round his The cruse is, therefore, in perpetual tent for his protection. David deter- demand.”The Land and the Book.mines to penetrate into the camp. He The spear and cruse were taken ; the asks for two volunteers for so dangerous three passed out of the camp, without an enterprise. Two instantly offer waking any one, because a deep sleep themselves, Ahimelech the Hittite, and from the Lord was fallen upon them. Abishai. Of Ahimelech we know nothing more; Abishai became one of
The lessons to be learned from this David's generals. The three steal
story are the same as those we drew quietly among the sleeping people,
from the similar narrative ch. xxiv. most of whom would be lying on the
1–15. The teacher can point out how bare ground in the open air. They
David had received further provocation; reach Saul; he, too, is asleep, his spear,
how providential this second oppor. the emblem of royalty, (ch. xxii. 6,)
tunity of killing Saul appeared; how stuck in the ground at his head. Surely
David might have shielded himself this time David will slay his foe; after
by saying it was not his hand but this proof of his implacability, he will
Abishai's that slew the Lord's anointed; show him no mercy.
and how he resisted the temptation and God hath delivered thine enemy into
saw through the sophistry, Consult thine hand.
Lesson for October 4th. Remembering David's scruples before, he offers to slay Saul himself; he will do it with one blow,
QUESTIONS.—Whither did David go? Had
he ever been there before ? What had without waking the guard. Again happened there? Who were the Ziphites ? David refuses, for the same reasons that
Where were Hachilah ? Jeshimon ? How did
David know of Saul's movements ? What influenced him the first time. What
expedition did he propose? Who volunteered were they? The Lord shall smite him, to accompany him? Describe Saul's encampslay him suddenly. Or his day shall
ment. How did the three find Saul? What
Or come to die,-i.e., a natural death.
did Abishai wish to do! What did David say he shall descend into battle, and perish,
What did they take away? How was it no one awokes
BY THE REV. W. 0. SIMPSON.
OCTOBER 4.--PAUL IS SENT DOWN A PRISONER TO CÆSAREA.
Acts xxiii, 12-35.
For repetition, verses 16, 17.
INTRODUCTION. This Lesson will make a claim upon the teacher's power of drawing pictures, and to assist him in
this, the notes are grouped around three subjects : the Plot, the Escort and the Despatch. The conspirators furnish an
appalling illustration of the power of THE ESCORT.–V. 23, 24, 31-33. sin, whilst the_singular turn in the At nine the same night, a large fortunes of St. Paul affords an equally military escort mustered at the gate striking illustration of the power and of the castle outside the temple walls. wisdom of God.
How many soldiers ? Two hundred The Plot.-V. 13-22. Calmed and and seventy of these were “regulars," cheered by the words of his Master, infantry and cavalry; the remaining Paul, in custody, sleeps. Not so his two hundred, auxiliaries, lightly enemies. Some of the baser sort can- armed. The subordinate officers inspect not bear the disappointment of Paul's weapons; place the troops in position ;rescue on the previous day. “ Like portion of the cavalry in the centre ; seeks like : ' ere morning breaks, a two led horses there; brought near the vile , plot finds a large number of steps of the castle, a prisoner is abettors. What are they determined placed upon one of them; à document to do ? This purpose they are resolved passes from the hand of Lysias to the to accomplish with all speed; they will care of the officer in command ; the not eat or drink till it is done. God is word is given, and the tread of the implored to “curse” the conspirators, infantry and the clatter of iron hoofs body, soul, home, family, if the issue ring through the city streets. * Some fails through negligence of theirs. new movement of troops,” say the What dark hearts the sun shone upon spectators, accustomed now to the that morning! But as for solitary presence of the Roman soldiery. The Paul, the Mosaic blessing was true, city is cleared at last: all that night the Num. vi. 23—26. We now pass from march continues. But why so many : the secret chamber of the conspirators troops to guard a solitary prisoner? to the temple-courts. It is the time Near the city, the danger of a surprise of the morning sacrifice. Members to be guarded against: beyond that, pro- -of the Council drop in; two and two; tection needed against bands of robbers in groups: talk excitedly of the events which in the disturbed state of the of the previous two days. Through country infested the roads. The pace : the hatred of Sadducees and Pharisees, would necessarily be slow, because of he whom both alike hated is beyond the infantry; and the sun would be their grasp, and will probably escape. shining clearly as the wearied troops The sectarian strife of the previous day entered Antipatris, thirty-eight miles is healed, for Paul must somehow or from Jerusalem. Thence the infantry other die. Now some of the con- return to their quarters. After a halt spirators broach their plan, ver. 14, of some hours, the troopers are in the 15. O shame! the assassins and these saddle again, and accomplish the rest “ saints” concoct murder in the house of the journey at a smart, pace. of the Lord.
Evening is approaching when the From the temple now, to those castle wearied escort halt at the residence steps which yesterday were crowded of the Roman Governor with their with an excited mob. A very young prisoner, and await instructions. man (for the word implies that he was The DESPATCH.-V. 25—30; 33–35. little more than a boy) bounds up them; Felix reads the document presented to gets permission to see the prisoner. him, Paul standing near. Let us read Who was he? What news did he bring? also, and make our comments on the The Roman officer takes the youth by letter, “ The most excellent governor the hand; encourages him to speak; Felix," -an official title answering to and with simplicity and feeling the tale His Excellency, the Governor." is told. Perhaps the youth overheard Having understood that he was the conversation of the conspirators Roman,”-the letter conveys the imwith the scribes as he lingered near the pression that knowing him to be a steps of the fortress, hoping to catch Roman, Lysias rescued him; whereas sight of his uncle or get an interview the fact was that Paul's Roman citizenwith him. But however theinformation ship was not known until after the came, the intended “murder is out, rescue. This misrepresentation was and when a deputation from the Council inserted as a shield to Lysias against wait upon Lysias, he knows more than any inquiry about the bonds and he cares to tell them.
torture, ch. xxii. 25. “ Gave command
ment to his accusers.”—Roman letters are always written from the position of the reader, not the writer;" by the time this letter is read the accusers will have received orders to come.” Felix lifts his eye from the paper; glances at the prisoner; asks a question ; (what?) no danger of meddling with the duties of another governor; bound to protect a Roman citizen; all clear for the present; remove the prisoner. So the great Apostle is marched off to the military establishment known as Herod's judgment-hall.
spirators sought secrecy; God saw them, for “the eyes of the Lord are in every place.” Paul was in an unwilling solitude; God saw him, for “the eyes of the Lord are upon the righteous.” Better have those Eyes in love than anger.
4. The hand of the Lord is mighty, Judges iv. 24.- Paul wished to go to Rome; Jesus said he should see Rome, ch. xxiii. 11. Everything against it; but at nine that night, God began to fulfil His promise; the seventy miles' journey to Cæsarea was on the road to Rome.
5. Note and copy the loveable features in the persons of this story;-artlessness and courage in the young man; courtesy in the officer; prudence in St. Paul: he would not leave himself to a anger which might be avoided.
QUESTIONS.—What plot did certain of the Jews form against Paul ? Who was the means of frustrating it? How did the officer treat the young man? Of how many soldiers did the escort consist? How far did the footmen
When was the journey finished ? То whom was Paul presented ? What document gave information about him ? In what respects was it false ? What order did Felix give? How was the Providence of God seen in these events?
REFLECTIONS.-1. Be warned of the deterioration of character by sin.-Consider these conspirators, once boys playing innocent gambols, now planning the murder of an Apostle. Sin is busy with a like bad work still amongst boys and girls.
2. Wickedness is rash. These men put themselves under God's anger wittingly. Unrepentant and ungodly men put themselves in a similar position by their actions.
66 God is angry with the wicked every day.”
3. " Thou God seest me." -The .con
OCTOBER 11.---PAUL ACCUSED BEFORE FELIX.--Acts xxiv. INTRODUCTION.—The greater part of was the money given? Notice his the Lesson is occupied by facts which skill,he selects for commendation the have already passed under our notice.
only things in Felix's conduct which This familiarity makes them peculiarly could be commended. But such words suitable for didactic teaching. The
as greatness, worth, clemency, applied moral of each paragraph is indicated by a text placed at its head, and the events
to Felix, were sheer flattery. Contrast recorded are regarded as a practical
the simplicity and straightforwardness comment on the text. The concluding
of Paul's address, ver. 10. The ad. part of the narrative cannot be realised vocate then proceeds to state three without some knowledge of the character charges,-1st, sedition ; 2nd, heresy; of Felix. This is furnished to the teacher 3rd, sacrilege. Point out phrases in our Illustration, but it can only be which embody these charges. Presently stated in general terms to the class.
he makes a direct mis-statement as to
fact. The murderous attack upon THE ABUSE OF LANGUAGE.-V. 1- Paul (ch. xxi. 30) is represented as a 9; Matt. V. 37. Speech is God's judicial arrest, and the timely internoblest gift to man; beautiful as the ference of Lysias as a violent intrusion expression of sincerity, truth and upon the calm course of justice. Read courtesy. Sad when employed in
over the text.
Be simple and sincere in sincerely,- like the vessels of the all your words. temple used in Belshazzar's feast. In- RIGHT USE OF LANGUAGE.-V. 10 sincerity of language is caused by fear, -21; 1 Peter iii. 13—17. Joy, flattery and interest. Here the last. calmness, reasonableness, gentleness, The scribes had a bad case; the worse courtesy, fidelity to God, are elements must be made to appear the better of Peter's prescription for persecuted reason; money will do it. To whom Christians. All are found in Paul's
conduct on this occasion. Notice dren as well as men must keep “a goods especially his calm reasonableness. conscience.” Little boats as much as The twelve days he refers to are thus large ships have need of rudders. made up: on the first, he arrived at THE WORD OF GOD.--Heb. iv. 2, Jerusalem; on the second, he appeared with ver. 22–25 down to “trembled.' before the Council of the Church; on The Word of God is like a sword the third, fourth, fifth, sixth and sharpened edge and back ; this peneseventh days he is present in the trates to the spine, that to the con. temple as a Nazarite, being apprehended science. So with Felix. The trial on the last day; on the eighth he is over, he commanded Paul to be treated brought before the Sanhedrim; on the courteously, and departed. By and ninth the conspiracy is discovered, and by he returned with that wicked wife Paul is sent off to Cæsarea; on the tenth of his. Paul was sent for into some he reaches that town; on the eleventh private apartment of the palace. Both he is detained in custody till the his hearers were hardened sinners : arrival of his accusers ; on the twelfth power, pride, position, and habit were the trial proceeds. He challenges like armour to protect them against proof as to his being a traitor against reproof. But Paul takes the "sword government, ver. 12, 13; boldly asserts of the Spirit.” What did he preach his Christianity, and as boldly affirms about? What was the result on Felix? that his new creed was no heresy, ver. Have you felt the wounds of the Word ? 14, 15; he repudiates the charge of Sorrow for sin ? Jesus wounds to heal. sacrilege by polluting the temple, ver. DELAY.–V. 25, last part, with 2 Cor. 17, 18; he touches firmly their in- vi. 1, 2. There was hope even for justice in keeping the principal witness Felix and Drusilla. The convenient out of the way, ver. 19. Beware of season never came. Felix, being recalled passion in speaking. If called upon to to Rome, narrowly escaped capital defend yourself for doing or saying the punishment, and sunk into obscurity. right thing, be calm, courteous and Drusilla perished near Naples in an. reasonable.
eruption of Vesuvius. “ A Good CONSCIENCE.”—V. 15, 16; COMPROMISE.— V. 26, 27. Felix 1 Tim. i. 19, with ver. 14–16. A ship knew that the Jews would persecute needs a helm, and a good helmsman. him in his downfall. He sought to If the helm be badly handled, the soften their malignity by at least one course will be mistaken, rocks struck, small favour; he left Paul bound. ship wrecked, cargo and lives lost. A " Thou shalt not follow a multitude to true faith, like a good ship, will carry do evil," Exod. xxiii. 2. the soul safe to heaven; but it has
QUESTIONS.—What were the three charges need of the helm,—the conscience; against Paul ? How are flattery and mismust be wisely handled.
representation exhibited in the speech? What conscience” makes all safe. So Paul;
are the main features in the style of Paul's ·
address ? How did he answer the charges not so the Pharisees : true faith theirs
against him? How did Felix contrive to once; neglected the conscience, now postpone his decision ? Were there any furtheir very faith is shipwrecked and
ther communications between him and Paul ?
What was the effect of Paul's words? How themselves in danger. We must do
was it that Paul was left in prison ? For how: the truth as well as know it. Chile
Illustration.-- FELIX. Tacitus, in his usual expressive language, has summed up the prefecture of Felix in the compendious sentence, "he wielded the sceptre of a monarch with the soul of a slave.” At the beginning of his career he put himself under some restraint, and cven bid for popularity by promoting the public security. Great numbers of predatory bands were captured or slain, and the peaceful inhabitants once more began to feel the protecting arm of the law. Felix had now (A.D. 56) been about six years in office, and the firmer he felt himself in his seat, the more indifferent he became to the character of his administration; his exactions grew daily more exorbitant, and his peculations and sale of justice more flagrant. Drusilla was daughter of Herod Agrippa I. and Cypros, sister of Herod Agrippa II. She was at first betrothed to Antiochus Epiphanes, Prince of Commagene, but, he refusing to become a Jew, she was married to Azizus, King of Emesa, who complied with that condition. Soon after Felix, Procurator of Judæa, brought about her seduction by
means of the Cyprian sorcerer, Simon, and took her as his wife.-Consult “Felis," “Drusilla,” in Smith's Dictionary.
-PAUL BEFORE FESTUS.-Acts xxv. 1-22.
For repetition, verses 7, 8. INTRODUCTION.–Three new characters defence, ver. 8. But Festus.. the Jews appear on the scene in this Lesson:
a pleasure,--the weak point in a strong Festus, Agrippa and Bernice; and much
character; the dead fly in the good information from external sources inust
ointment, (Eccles. X. 1;) the love of be obtained in order to understand their position towards the case of Paul.
popularity. So Felix, ch. xxiv. 27. Several new elements arise in the
From the same motive Pilate delivered progress of the case which need ex.
Jesus to be crucified. I stand at planation, as for instance, the appeal to
Cæsar's judgment-seat,- he demands Cæsar. So that historical treatment is justice. The bar of Festus was in the most appropriate, and this is carried point of authority the tribunal of the into the Reflections, which are grounded
“Cæsar” being the official upon the characters of the persons title of the Roman emperors after the brought before us in the course of the death of Julius Cæsar. Paul was narrative.
unwilling to risk his life again by FESTUS AT JERUSALEM.–V. 1-6. returning into the midst of his enemies. After three days,-Festus arrived in To the Jews have I done no wrong,Cæsarea A.D. 60, and remained at that his consciousness of moral rectitude seat of his government three days to speaks out, and he has inferred from receive the allegiance of subordinate the conduct and countenance of his government officers. He ascended..to judge that he also is conscious of it. Jerusalem,—to see a place so famous; but I refuse not to die-here was the principally to place himself at once in heroism of uprightness; the guilty the centre of the practices and opinions alone fear death ; martyrs have gone of the people whom he would have to singing to the stake. I appeal unto govern. Then the high priest.. informed Cæsar,—words few but mighty. A him,-two years have gone since the Roman citizen had always the right assault and the trial before Felix, yet of appeal from the decision of a their enmity is not allayed. Paul's provincial governor to Cæsar, as the influence and teaching are still before chief magistrate of the state. « No them and around them, changing delay or written form was requisite; the old into the new, Judaism into the only act necessary to arrest the Christianity. Laying wait in the way to judgment being the utterance of the kill him,-so the plot of two years ago one word Appello.” No obstruction was still adopted by the Council, only could be offered ; every assistance the mode of it reversed; then, death must be given to an accused person in on the journey from Jerusalem to carrying his appeal to the very feet of Cæsarea ; now, on that from Cæsarea the Emperor. When he had conferred, to Jerusalem. Paul should be kept,- -the council here spoken of were not Festus refuses assent to the request of the rulers of the Jews, but a body of the rulers; no reason given; perhaps
or jurymen, appointed to a sudden action of the mind, distrusting assist the Procurator. Unto Cesar this over-eagerness of the Jews. Any shalt thou 90,--s0 Paul's design (ch. wickedness,-i.e., any offence against xix. 21) and the Lord's promise (ch. the laws.
xxiii. 11) both alike approached ful. THE APPEAL TO CÆSAR. –V. 6-12. filment. Stood round about,-eagerly pressing AGRIPPA, BERNICE AND FESTUS.–V. near him, half confident that their 13–22. King Agrippa, — properly, long-lost victim was now within their Herod Agrippa, son of that Herod grasp. The charges against Paul are (Agrippa I.) who martyred James, (ch. not stated; they were probably the xii. 1, 2,) and grandson of that Herod same as those advanced before Felix. who commanded the slaughter of the This may be inferred from Paul's innocents (Matt. ii. 16). This King,