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The Home Preacher
Or Church in the House - Week 49

By Dr. Charteris

The life of Archibald Hamilton Charteris D.D., LL.D.
by Gordon, Arthur (1912) (pdf)


HEARER of prayer! we beseech Thee favourably to hear the prayers of Thy people, that we, who by Thy grace are called to the course of a Christian life, may so run the race that is set before us, as to obtain that incorruptible crown which Thou hast promised to them that love Thee. Hold up our goings in Thy paths, that our footsteps slip not. Teach us to wait habitually on Thee, that, our strength being thus renewed, we may run, and not be weary; and may walk, and not faint. As becometh those who strive for the mastery, give us to be temperate in all things. Grant these our prayers through Jesus Christ our Saviour. Amen.

HYMN, or Psalm lxxiv. 20-23.

CHRIST, whose glory fills the skies,
Christ, the true, the only light;
Sun of Righteousness, arise,
Triumph o’er the shades of night;
Dayspring from on high be near;
Daystar, in my heart appear.

Dark and cheerless is the morn
Unaccompanied by thee;
Joyless is the day’s return
Till thy mercy’s beams I see,
Till they inward light impart,
Glad my eyes, and warm my heart.

Visit then this soul of mine;
Pierce the gloom of sin and grief;
Fill me, Radiancy Divine;
Scatter all my unbelief;
More and more thyself display,
Shining to the perfect day.


THE words of Nehemiah the son of Hachaliah. And it came to pass in the month Chisleu, in the twentieth year, as I was in Shushan the palace, 2. That Hanani, one of my brethren, came, he and certain men of Judah; and I asked them concerning the Jews that had escaped, which were left of the captivity, and concerning Jerusalem. 3. And they said unto me, The remnant that are left of the captivity here in the province are in great affliction and reproach: the wall of Jerusalem also is broken down, and the gates thereof are burnt with fire. 4. And it came to pass, when I heard these words, that I sat down and wept, and mourned certain days, and fasted, and prayed before the God of heaven, 5. And said, I beseech thee, O Lord God of heaven, the great and terrible God, that keepeth covenant and mercy for them that love him, and observe his commandments: 6. Let thine ear now be attentive, and thine eyes open, that thou mayest hear the prayer of thy servant, which I pray before thee now, day and night, for the children of Israel, which we have sinned against thee: both I and my father’s house have sinned. 7. We have dealt very corruptly against thee, and have not kept the commandments, nor the statutes, nor the judgments, which thou commandedst thy servant Moses. 8. Remember, I beseech thee, the word that thou commandedst thy servant Moses, saying, If ye transgress, I will scatter you abroad among the nations: 9. But if ye turn unto me, and keep my commandments, and do them, though there were of you cast out unto the uttermost part of the heaven, yet will I gather them from thence, and will bring them unto the place that I have chosen to set my name there. 10. Now these are thy servants, and thy people, whom thou hast redeemed by thy great power, and by thy strong hand. 11. O Lord, I beseech thee, let now thine ear be attentive to the prayer of thy servant, and to the prayer of thy servants, who desire to fear thy name; and prosper, I pray thee, thy servant this day, and grant him mercy in the sight of this man. For I was the king’s cup-bearer.



CAUSE us to hear Thy lovingkindness in the morning, O Lord our God, for in Thee do we trust; cause us to know the way wherein we should walk, for we lift up our souls unto Thee.

We are deeply conscious of having wicked hearts, whose evil desires are strengthened by the temptations of the world. We have no way of resisting the evil and choosing the good, except by our coming unto Thee to hide us, and asking Thee to save us from the snares of sin around us, and from the deceitfulness of our own hearts. Now, therefore, O most merciful God, we call upon Thy name; we stir up ourselves to take hold on Thee.

We thank Thee that Thou hast not dealt with us as we dealt with Thee, nor hast turned away Thy face from us when we turned away with all our might from Thee. When our mountain stood strong we forgot Thee; but yet when we had none to help us, and no hand could save us, we cried unto the Lord, and he heard us, and saved us out of our distresses. Yea, Thou hast followed us with Thy mercy in all the way of our wanderings; when we fell Thou hast lifted us up; and when we sought to return from the service of the stranger, and from the far country, Thou hast been ready to guide us back to the light of Thy countenance and to our own safety.

And now, therefore, led by all Thy goodness to repentance, and overcome by all Thy love, we come unto Thee, and beseech Thee to accept us, to keep us and to make us Thine -- Thine now, and for ever Thine. We seek to enter upon this day believing that all is full of Thee; that whether we go forth or abide in the house, whether we are with others or alone, we are evermore with Thee. As the dew of the morning, let Thy grace be upon us; as the light of the sun, let Thine own truth lead us in the way by which we go. Keep us from all errors of heart and lip and life; from all unkindly suspicions and selfish thoughts; from all double-dealing, scheming, and untruthfulness; from all self-righteousness, pride, and vanity; from all sullenness, fretfulness, and evil anger. Make us humble, and gentle, and pure; watching every word and deed lest we should sin against thee, and should cause that holy name by which we are called to be profaned among those that see our conduct and conversation.

Especially give us grace to seek Thee, and to find Thee, this day in Thy house of prayer. Raise up everywhere able and faithful ministers of Thy word, to tell their brethren, from the fulnes of their own experience, the wonders of thy redeeming love.

Comfort and sustain all those who are in trouble, whether of mind, or body, or outward estate: defend the weak, the fatherless, and the widow; prepare for their departure those who are drawing near to death.

Especially we pray Thee to bless those we love. Perfect Thy good work in them and by them, and make all things to work together for their good. May we and all those who are dear to us be joined together by a bond which time and trouble cannot weaken, and death itself cannot sever, but which will grow closer and closer throughout eternity.

Be pleased to hear us for Thy Son’s sake. Amen.



GRACIOUS Father, deeply sensible of our own weakness we come unto Thee for help and strength. Under all the trials and temptations which now beset our path enable us to endure to the end, and to be steadfast, unmoveable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, that we may obtain the promised salvation through Jesus Christ. Amen.

HYMN, or Psalm xxxii. 5-7.

O WHY art thou cast down, my soul?
Say why distrustful still,
Thy thoughts, with vain impatience roll
O’er scenes of future ill?

Let faith suppress each rising fear,
Each anxious doubt exclude;
Thy Maker’s will hath placed thee here,
Thy Maker, wise and good.

He to thy every trial knows
Its just restraints to give,
Attentive to behold thy woes,
And faithful to relieve.

Though griefs unnumber’d throng thee round;
Still in thy God confide
Whose finger marks the seas their bound,
And curbs the headlong tide.


JAMES, a servant of God and of the Lord Jesus Christ, to the twelve tribes which are scattered abroad, greeting. 2. My brethren, count it all joy when ye fall into divers temptations; 3. Knowing this, that the trying of your faith worketh patience. 4. But let patience have her perfect work, that ye may be perfect and entire, wanting nothing. 5. If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him. 6. But let him ask in faith, nothing wavering: for he that wavereth is like a wave of the sea driven with the wind and tossed. 7. For let not that man think that he shall receive anything of the Lord. 8. A double-minded man is unstable in all his ways. 9. Let the brother of low degree rejoice in that he is exalted; 10. But the rich, in that he is made low, &c.




ONE of the greatest men the world has ever seen attributed all his success to perseverance. It may be true that all the faculty of perseverance is just as much the Creator’s gift as any other endowment possessed by the creature, and that it is therefore unfair to speak of native gifts, and of this application of them, as things essentially different. But leaving all such high ground, it is practically true that success is usually won by the man who keeps the end before him and does not swerve from his own aim. The matter is so far under control, that perseverance is the result of a strong will; and that as in the conception of a purpose so in the working it out, a man’s attainment is very nearly measured by his determination. It is endurance unto the end that makes the result in life’s battle.

It is not mere power, but the purpose which directs it, that fashions the issues of life. Take school companions as they were, with the promise of their boyhood fresh upon them, and take them now with the performance of their manhood, or the fruits of their old age, and say whether either the hopes or the fears which they excited have been realized? Who is the foremost of them now? He to whom tasks were no trouble, and on whose young life all seemed to shine -- he of nature’s gifting -- has been a prodigal of nature’s bounty, wasting time and talents in frivolity, and is now disappointed, soured, subordinate: while another, who was of very ordinary mark, has been silently, constantly, fighting his battle with the world, and a victor in many an encounter, is silently, constantly, fighting it still. We may have seen the owner of talent, the heir of opportunities, dig for himself an early and unhonoured grave, or survive, a mere wreck in mind, body, and outward estate: while another, whom early need forced to work and be careful, is still rising, with the approbation of his kind.

Who is not familiar also with proofs that this law of success to the constant, is not only very strong, but very exacting? Who has not seen some man climb to the very height, and then, as though his elevation made him giddy, lose his footing, totter, and fall into the depths again?

[Contributors note: In the sermon, as with Charles Spurgeons from a couple of weeks prior to this one, I found a typed in what I believe is error in what the author intended or wrote himself. What is typed is on page 10 is: " ...look upon all as lost..." -- but it seems very clear to me he intends "look upon all as loss...." quoting the Apostle Paul. I think there should be a note as this is a very important difference, if indeed what is typed is not what he wrote, but an error in transcription. If nothing else, a note to that effect may provide very good food for thought.]

Broad and strong as is this rule, there are many exceptions; and causes over which a man has no control may baffle the most honest striving. One whom health has failed, or from whom friends have been taken away, may look up amid his disappointment and sadly ask, Where is now the promise of success that was to follow endurance? We cannot point such to a certainty of brighter and better days below; but it may be, that if they look upon all as lost, we can point them to a higher end.

The end is not yet. Their end may have come; but not the rightful, the divinely-appointed end. Their ambition may have been directed to an unworthy object, or so mixed with unworthy motives that, for their well-being’s sake, it was baffled. Their heart may have been increasing in imperfection, and so may have needed the discipline of defeat. Or, God may have set His mark upon them, and be preparing them for something better than they desired; making them perfect through suffering. Life is not money: souls are not honour: our spirits cannot be nursed on fortune or on fame: and it is even well that there are failures in the race of earthly ambition, to awaken thought of what is higher than the earth, and more lasting than time.

For in all these things, earth is but a type; this complicated, struggling scene is but a symbol of the spiritual world in which we fight; the law of success in this world is general, yet broken: that, alike in its struggle and its imperfection, it may suggest the eternal law of Christ, that he who endureth to the end shall be saved. That law was true of the coming doom on Judea -- of the conflict which our Lord predicted as in store for the young church of Christ. It is true of all times of persecution and danger into which believers may be cast. It is true whether they are slain or survive; true of Stephen as of John: they are saved by their endurance; whether life or trial first cease to be -- the end is salvation! If we look to this higher end of our faith, the salvation of our souls, then shall we win the prize of our high calling.

How shall our words have a bearing on every one of us? In considering some aspects of that great spiritual struggle to which we are called, we shall regard our Lord’s words as encouraging us to endure to the end of,

I., Temptation. Temptation has two meanings -- a general and a special: the former being trial or test of any kind; the latter being direct solicitation to sin. The word has both senses in the New Testament, and in either sense it is within the scope of the text. But at present we use the word, as it is most commonly used among us, to denote solicitation to sin. Well may we endure it unto the end. We seek to be on the Lord’s side, and are sworn to resist sin. If we are on the Lord’s side, He will not suffer us to be tempted beyond our endurance. “He will, with every temptation provide a way of escape, that we may be able to bear it.” When we bear the knowledge of this truth with us, we are armed in panopoly of proof against which no weapon of the enemy can prosper: and Satan never tries to pierce it, but, to make us lay it aside. If our faith be strong enough to let us realize that we are in God’s hands, and that from Him will come deliverance, we have a power of endurance which cannot be destroyed.

For there is in the very thought an assurance that the temptation will have an end. We are not suffering under a perpetual trial: but under one that will terminate in God’s good time. There is exceeding strength in the very thought. It wraps itself round our being, that sin with which we fight -- it almost stifles our better nature; but, strong though it be, it must pass away. And therefore, instead of merely looking into our trial, were it not better to look through it to the brighter light beyond? We are weak as Samson shorn, when we forget the faithfulness of Him who promised, and the grandeur of our destiny, and the brief existence of that which allures us: but we are strong in the might of heaven when we remember these things and endure. The battle is not between the powers of sin and us, feeble creatures; but it is between them, strong for a moment, and us, children of eternity: between them, who are baffled if not victorious now, and us, who are triumphant if only we endure. If we persist in saying, Here am I, a child of eternity, cannot be satisfied with this thing of an hour: I, to whom the succours of heaven will come, shall stand out until this evil day be done -- we shall wear the victor’s crown. The sick man is upheld through his weary nights and restless days by the hope of returning health: the captive bears up against the despair of his dungeon, in the hope that he shall yet be free: the shipwrecked sailor on the rock in the sea is sustained by the hope that a sail shall come up on the horizon, bringing deliverance: and shall not the Christian be firm -- I do not say in the hope, but -- in the certainty of salvation!

There is an exceeding comfort, too, in the promise being made to humble endurance. It meets many a poor sinner’s case who dares not speak of victory, but may cherish this humble hope of enduring unto the end. Some saints may go to meet the tempter with proud and consciousness of victory written on their foreheads and gleaming in their eye, and, in the fulness of their union with Him who overcame, may sing by anticipation their proud hymn of praise; but many a sinner who knows his own weakness, may be thankful that the promise comes down to the lower class who can barely endure. There have been noble saints whose courage never seemed to fail, nor their arm to slacken; but there must be many who at the best look back on their bygone conflict with sin, not as a victory of which they can boast, but as mere constancy sustained by grace, for which they are thankful. There is no ground for glorying of that day of trial when we were too willing to embrace our darling sin, and barely restrained our quivering arms; when we were too ready to desert God’s people for the foe, and were only held back by a power that came from outside of our own will: when we were about to sink in the wavs, like Peter, and, like him, just succeeded in grasping the Redeemer’s hand: we endured and we are saved, thank God! thank God! but we cannot glory. Temptation is too solemn a thing to be met with light heart: it is too strong to be warned away like a spectral phantom: it was too near to conquering us to let us glory in a result which, after all, our own right hand did not win. Watch and pray, that ye enter not into it; and when it comes, stand firm in the armour of God. It will often be that we cannot fight, but we can bear: we cannot hurl back the darts, but we can stand firm though they pierce us: we can no more stop the temptation than the raving blast; but, as the camel crouches while the sand storm whirls, we can lie flat on the promises of God till it have hurried over us; and therefore, be faithful to the end -- endure a little longer. Moses endured, as seeing Him who is invisible. The pleasures of sin were for a season, but he bore suffering rather than have them; and still is it true, “Blessed is the man that endureth temptation; for when he is tried, he shall receive a crown of life, which the Lord hath promised to them that love him.”

II. But our Lord’s words are an encouragement to us to endure to the end of trial of any kind. A picture of sorrow and suffering is drawn, and in connection with that the promise is given. To bear suffering is a virtue of the rarest kind, and scripture speaks of it with a frequency that shows its importance. We are exhorted, encouraged, and commanded to endure: precepts and promises are accumulated to brace up believing hearts for the trial; the illustrious of old are represented as witnessing our race, so that we may run with patience; and we are above all pointed to Him who endured the cross, despising the shame, and is now set down on the right hand of God. His glory is represented as springing from His sufferings and proportioned to them. He humbled Himself, wherefore God exalted Him: He suffered, and by His suffering was perfected: He died, and therefore is the Lord of life: He was a sacrifice, and therefore the Lamb is heaven’s crowned King. Consider Him -- Messiah, Lord, and King -- who endured such a contradiction of sinners against Himself, lest ye be wearied and faint in your minds. “My brethren, count it all joy when ye fall into divers temptations, knowing this, that the trying of our faith worketh patience. But let patience have her perfect work, that ye may be perfect and entire, wanting nothing.

It is the same principle as in the endurance of temptation; it is bearing the finite for the infinite; not flinching from the temporal, because of the eternal. It is looking through the trial to its close, through the cloud-rift to the stars, through the breakers to the haven where by the breath of mercy we shall assuredly be brought in peace at last. Thus hope uprears the drooping head; thus for the sake of permanent health, the patient bears for a moment the cruel knife; thus, for the sake of honour, the soldier dares the battle; thus, to win skill, young hearts and hands endure the tedious elements of apprenticeship. Thus, too are Christians called to count all trial but the discipline whereby they are perfected -- the fire whereby their faith is refined; and are taught to regard present sufferings as unworthy to be compared with the glory that shall follow.

Yet let us remember for our instruction, that some anticipate the end in their impatient hope of the victory which it will bring. Such Christians in the time of trial are possessed by an impatience which embitters the suffering while it does not hasten the release. We may have seen a good and pious man suddenly lose all self-command when the stroke of trouble falls upon him, and become fretful, even murmur, because impatient for the end. He makes no use of present grace, in his impatient longing for the grace that shall set him free. He counts them happy which are painless, but the Bible counts them blessed that endure. He does not let patience have her perfect work, and his very assurance of the end makes him incapable of waiting for it.

Others anticipate the end in their despairing helpless idea that it has already come, when they have known only the beginning. They think all is over with them at the first attack. They surrender to one assault. The heart is overwhelmed, and faith becomes imbecile. The spring of their vitality seems to be broken. They bear as a lifeless thing would, but they do not endure as a child of God might. To the disconsolate mourner, to the perplexed disciple, to the weary prostate sufferer, would God these words of Paul were imparted: “We are troubled on every side, yet not distressed; we are perplexed, yet not in despair; persecuted, but not forsaken; cast down, but not destroyed; always bearing about in the body the dying of the Lord Jesus, that the life also of Jesus might be manifested in our body.”

Let us remember this truth also in a time of falling away. Such times have come in the Christian church, and will come again even to the end, for they are always needed. Of such a time our Lord warned his disciples -- a time of unbelief and prevailing iniquity, when the Lord’s arm should seem shortened, that it could not save. The Christian church has always grown wanton or cold, has always ceased to do the Master’s work, when all things were too pleasant and fair. Form has been confounded with faith, and profession with the renewed heart; and so the sifting, the trial, was indispensable to the severance of the false from the true. Even now, prone as men are to overestimate the importance of the times in which they live, we surely do not err in saying that trials are besetting our Redeemer’s church. We need not fear the issue, but the time is momentous. Our religion has stood too long to be overthrown. It has been proved in deathbeds, and martyrdoms, and holy lives, to be a living thing; and it has above all in the life of its Author and Finisher -- so divinely human, so spotless, yet so sympathizing -- an evidence for its truth which cannot be weakened. We cannot tell what the “end will be” -- perhaps a closer union of Christians, a subordination of things subordinate for the sake of the higher verities of faith and life: but let us endure to the end, and we shall be saved, and shall also strengthen many brethren. There are times when one is ready to despair: for are there not hundreds of thousands living and dying among us, as though the gospel had never been preached; and then, is there not closing around us from without, infidelity, heathenism, and all false doctrine. Where, oh where, is the promise of His coming? Where is the church earnest without bigotry, strong without arrogance, sound in faith without being inert in work? As we thus think and question the Lord says to us, Hope on; I am King; endure to the end.”

III. But we must never forget that there are some whose troubles only end with their life, and therefore we are glad to find in these words of our blessed Lord ample encouragement to endure to the end of life. “Be thou faithful unto death, and I will give thee a crown of life.” A few more years and it will all be over, all our present difficulties, fears, and pains: can we not bear up to the end? Were we children, the term of this endurance would not be more than threescore and ten years; to those who have already live a great part of their life it must be much less. We persevere in seeking some temporal gain, and why should we be daunted when we strive for an incorruptible crown? How comes it that we ever look back on broken hopes and violated vows and good intentions foully cast away? How comes it that many a life is blighted almost at the last by an awful and disgraceful sin? How, but because the Chrsian forgot to endure unto the end!
Yet it needs not that we prove all endurance vain which is ended before the end. As the tree falleth, so must it lie. The crash has broken its boughs, and marred its symmetry, and it will never be spread in it beauteous pride again. Will it avail a hoary reprobate in his dying hour, that he had a loving childhood and an honourable youth? Will it avail any hardened sinner that he once had a tender conscience, and offered many a prayer? He may plead that he resisted many a temptation, avoided many a snare, before he was overcome, and sank deeper and deeper into ruin. But, as a tried and conquering saint, he had won fresh strength with every victory, and it was tenfold shame in him to cast away his dented shield, and tread in the dust the glory which it had cost him so much toil to win!

Therefore, let us pass the time of our sojourning here in fear; for to us this injunction comes with an infinite depth of meaning. Like a voice from eternity, it solemnly calls us to be constant and consistent to the end. Many a prayer we may have offered, have fought many a hard fight; and now, by all our struggles, by all our hard-won victories, let us be adjured not to throw away the pains of that earnest past, but be steadfast, unmoveable, always abounding in the work of the Lord. We are often doubtless tempted to abandon the long struggle, to let our hopes of religion go, and to enjoy the pleasures of sin. We are tempted by the thousand powers and passions of our being to indulge them for a little while, and then to retrieve and retrace and come back to God. Youth cries, “I will rejoice in my gladness, but be sure that ere I die I shall reform.” Health cries, “I will enjoy my days while life is strong, but when feebleness comes, I shall amend my ways;” and so they will endure at the end. Ay, at the end, when the power of endurance is gone, when the Spirit has ceased to strive and strengthen, when conscience has been long dead, and faith knows not how to begin; then will they endure? Away, away, with this bootless hoping; let us have our eye forecast to the blessed inheritance; call its glorious grandeur into view, and we shall find how all temptations lose their charm, as the sickly lamp grows dim in the sunlight.

Think of the glorious promises. If we overcome, we shall not be “hurt by the second death;” we shall “eat of the hidden manna;” a perpetual dawn of increasing gladness shall be ours, for we shall “receive the morning star.” Higher still rises the prophetic vision: we shall be “clothed in white raiment,” we shall be “made a pillar in the temple of my God,” we shall sit with Christ upon his throne.” Therefore, when our faith falters and our courage fails, let us look up, look onwards, to those rewards -- to the white robe and the throne of glory. We cannot tell what those wants and weaknesses are which most beset others -- they are between God and their own hearts; but this applies to all, “Wait on the Lord; be of good courage, and he shall strengthen thine heart; wait, I say, on the Lord.”

How needful to have an aim in life, whereof the end in death shall be reward! Some lives death digs across; to some it continues the path through a new portal. It is terrible to think that, in some men’s life, death means horror and woe. There is comfort in my text for the single-minded faithful Christian, of whose enemies death is the last, and for whom beyond death is rest and rich reward: but there is warning for those whose schemes death can only thwart and ruin and destroy. Behold an immortal being striving for riches, heaping them up, enduring labour and care, enduring to the end; but “the end” will strip him of all, and send him naked to the earth. There is another, toiling for influence and power, making himself useful, sparing no pains, enduring to the end; and “the end” will spoil him of his winnings, and summon him to another bar, where the earthly name has no power to charm. There is another indulging self -- happy and careless; and “the end” comes as winter to the chirping grasshopper, as ice on the flowerets bloom -- the end is ruin. Oh! when life, death, and eternity, are but links in one chain, to have such a life that death, the great destroyer, shall complete it, and eternity continue its power! We may well call death the end, because of the final results which it begins; but if we are Christ’s it is at once a continuation and a better beginning of our life and work. Be ours such aims as shall be attained in the brighter world beyond the grave. Be ours such projects that the broken threads shall be taken up, and the baffled string led on to glorious consummation, and the dear desires made radiant with immortality of satisfaction!

“The end!” yes, thank God! there is an end to all this feebleness and error, and sin and shortcoming, and doubt and fear. Thank God we can believe that death is the end of all temptation and fall and remorse; that it is the end of the darkness which cripples even our faith and hope; that it is sight and knowledge ; that we shall “see Him as He is,” and “know as we are known.” Which of us has not times of eager questioning, when we find it harder to know the path of duty than even to follow it when known; or when we look back on some important step in life, and wonder whether it were right, whether present difficulties be not God’s teaching by consequences that we then did wrong; and who does not thank God for the end that shall come, the end of error and discipline, and uncertain seeking for light -- the fulness of rest, and peace, and joy, in the redeeming Lord?

How and when that end will come to us, we do not know. “Of that day and that hour knoweth no man.” yea, we scarcely know from what, to what, we shall go. We shall be “saved,” but we have not been told many things we should have liked to know regarding our future state. We know not much more than this, that we shall be “with Christ.” More He has not told us meanwhile; but He came, the blessed One, among us that we might know Him and trust Him; and we know that our future is the end for which He lived and died, and which He secured. It is to die in ourselves, to live in Him; it is to be with Him where He is; that is almost all we know, but it is enough. As for the early Christians, so for us -- the end is the “coming of the Lord,” and we may be glad.

Shall I accomplish anything before I die? Shall I do any good to others for God’s good cause? If there be in us the living seed it must grow, it will grow, though we should never see it; for no good thought, word, or deed, can be lost -- can drop out from the web of God’s purposes.

To you, O young men, I call the most, just because the end to you seems so far off. It is worth the pains and peril and toil, this glorious end. Come ye over to the Lord’s side. You are the hopes of the future, the “trustees of posterity;” if ye be true to Him who calls you, to your own souls, words cannot tell the glory which is in store for you, for the country, for the church of Christ. We ask you in His great name to make your solemn covenant, to come to Him in His house and among His people, to be His in your daily walk and work, and be assured that in the end ye shall reap if ye faint not. To a life of self-denial and self-conquest -- to willing, strong work in the service of the Lord -- we call you. Consider Him, and be not wearied nor faint in your minds. Consider Him in the mountain, on the roads, in the garden, on the cross. Consider Him on the throne, with the crown and the glory; and be on His side against a world if need be -- “enduring to the end, that ye may be saved.”




WHEN Jesus said at the supper table, Rise, let us go from this place, I think that he left the upper room, along with his disciples, and went outside of the city on his way to the garden of Gethsemane. But if so, he must have spoken a somewhat long discourse to his disciples under the open sky, and also must have prayed the wonderful prayer to his Father which John has written down. Many think, therefore, that Jesus and his disciples did not leave at once when he said, Let us go, but only rose from the table, and began to get ready. It is a thing we cannot be sure about; but I like rather to think of that sweet talk about the vine and it branches, and about the coming of the Comforter, and what He would do, as held in the open air, while the Lord, and his disciples along with him, took road that led down to the brook Cedron, in the bottom of the valley of Jehoshaphat. It seems to me as if the words at the beginning of the seventeenth of John’s Gospel are more natural, if we suppose that the prayer which they introduce was sent up to the Father under no roof but the skies. They read thus, “these words spake Jesus, and lifted up his eyes to heaven, and said, Father;” and I think I see the Blessed One, with his disciples round, looking up through the clear blue of night as if to see his Father’s throne beyond. I think he would not kneel, but stand; just as John saw the Lamb stand in the midst of the throne: for the prayer is like one up in heaven, and quite different from that in the garden which he offered soon after, when he fell upon the earth, and cried, and wept. But some suppose that the beginning of the eighteenth chapter, which says, “When Jesus had spoken these words he went forth with his disciples over the brook Cedron,” must mean that he then left the house; and by themselves the words seem to say so. We must allow the question to be a thing which we cannot certainly settle. But whether it was spoken in the house or on the road, very beautiful was the discourse of Jesus to his followers about the vine, and on the duty of loving one another, and concerning the coming of the Holy Ghost. And there is no such other prayer written anywhere as His intercessory prayer, recorded by John.

Saying, however, no more of this, let us go with Jesus in our thoughts out beyond the walls of Jerusalem, and down into the valley which lies between the city and the mount of Olives. He and his eleven disciples came at length to the brook in the bottom, and passed over it. For lying beyond it, on the skirt of the mount, there was a garden to which Jesus had often gone before, and the place was well known to Judas who was to betray him. When they had come to this spot, and had entered the garden, Jesus said to his disciples, Sit down here, while I go further on to pray. He took three of them, however, with him; the same three -- Peter, James, and John -- that had been with him on the mountain of transfiguration. When they had gone on a little way, he said to them, My soul is very sad; I feel as if ready to die; stay here and watch with me. When he said this there was a dreadful weight of grief and woe on his heart, all on account of our sins. The three disciples, on his bidding them to watch, sat down on the ground, very sorely grieved to see their beloved Master so heavily distressed. Jesus left them, and went forward about as far as a man could throw a stone, and fell on his face on the ground, and “with strong crying and tears” prayed to his Father, saying, O Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me; yet not my will, but thine be done. Then he rose up from the ground, and came back to where the three disciples had been left sitting, and instead of watching he found them asleep. Grief and astonishment had made them drowsy. Jesus woke them up, and said, O could you not watch with me one hour? He spoke particularly to Peter, who had been so bold in saying he would go with Christ even to the death. He said, Simon, sleepest thou? Then he bade them all rise and pray, and watch against entering into temptation. He told them it was a fearful battle that temptation brings; for however willing the spirit might be, the body was weak. At that time he was himself made to know how dreadful temptation is; for Satan was doing all he could to get him to sin, and he had to fight like one in an agony. So he went away again, and prayed yet more earnestly to his Father. He said, Abba, Father, all things are possible to thee; take this cup from me: but if it may not pass from me, except I drink it, thy will be done. When he came back to his disciples, he found them sleeping again, and woke them, and spoke to them, and they did not know what to say for themselves. So, still full of woe, he went a third time to the place where he had prayer, and once more cried unto his Father, using the same words. All this while his anguish was so terrible, that his sweat drops were like great clots of blood falling to the ground. You wonder, perhaps, that God the Father did not take the cup away. Ah! that was because of his love to sinners, and his desire to save them. But though the cup was not to pass, the Father was not shutting his ear against the Sufferer’s prayer. He sent an angel down to relieve and strengthen him. At length the agony was over, and Jesus came back to where he left Peter and James and John, to find them once more asleep. This time, as he woke them, he said he would not need their watch any more. His awful sorrow was lightened, and, so far as that went, they might now sleep on, and take their rest. But he went on to tell them that the traitor was at hand, and asked them to rise and go with him to meet him.

Immediately on Jesus saying this, there appeared a great band of persons led by Judas, and about to enter the garden. They carried lanterns and torches, and were armed with staves and swords. The chief priests had sent them out to take Jesus prisoner. The Lord knew well what they had come for; and going forward to meet them, he said, Whom are you seeking? And when they answered, Jesus of Nazareth, he said, I am he. No sooner had he uttered the words, than they all went backwards and fell to the ground, showing how powerless they were against Christ, and how impossible it would have been for them to take him unless he pleased. When they had recovered themselves, he asked them again whom they were seeking, and said, If you want me, let my disciples go their way. Their own plan for finding out who was Jesus was not now at all needed, seeing he was thus ready to tell them who he was. But they went on with it, and it showed how wicked Judas was; for he had given them a sign, and had said, The person whom I shall kiss is the man you want; take him and hold him fast. So the false and cruel disciple stept up to Jesus, and kissed him as a friend, and said, Hail, master? Jesus said to him, Friend, why are you come? Are you betraying the Son of man with a kiss? On that Peter drew a sword that he had (there were two swords in all the disciple’s hands), and rushed on, and struck a blow at one of the party, who happened to be the high priest’s servant. Perhaps he was the most forward to lay hands on Jesus, and therefore Peter struck at him. The blow was not useless; it cut off the man’s right ear. But Jesus would not let his followers fight for him. He said to Peter, Put your sword into its sheath. Do you think I need it? I have only to ask my Father, and he would send me in a moment legions of angels. But then how would the scriptures be fulfilled, which say that I must suffer? The cup that my Father hath given me, shall I not drink it? Do not interfere. Then he touched the wounded ear of the high priest’s servant, and healed it in a moment. He then allowed the men to take and bind him, saying to them, however, What need was there to come in this way to take me like a thief? I was every day with you teaching in the temple; might you not have taken me there? yet ye did not lay hands on me: but this is your hour, and the power of darkness. One wonders how with all this being done and said, they could go on arresting him; but the heart of man is very blind and hard.

When the disciples saw Jesus yielding himself up to his enemies, and being led away bound to the high priest’s house, they were seized with fear, and all fled as for their lives. The Shepherd was taken, and the sheep were scattered. John and Peter, however, after a time followed him, and John being known to the high priest, was allowed to go into the house, and took in Peter also. There it was that this bold apostle was to deny his Lord.



1. What well-known and long discourse did Jesus speak to a crowd in the open air, and in sight of many things to which he alludes?
2. In what psalm is the church spoken of under the figure of a vine?
3. Where do we read of Jesus praying beside a river, and under the open sky?
4. What is the name of a brook mentioned in the Old Testament, by the bank of which there was a wrestling prayer offered by one who was in distress?
5. What passage in one of the Epistles appears to refer to Christ's agony in the garden?
6. How long was the battle of temptation which Jesus fought with Satan at the beginning of his public life?
7. When was Jesus waked from his sleep by his disciples?
8. What prophet was waked from sleep with words of reproof?
9. What apostle prayed three times to the Lord about an affliction he had?
10. When did an angel wake a sleeping prophet to refresh and strengthen him?
11. When did Christ show his power over his enemies by walking unhurt through the midst of them as they were going to cast him down from a high rock?
12. Can you find a prophecy in the Old Testament about smiting the Shepherd and scattering the sheep?
13. In what psalms have we prophecies about Judas the traitor?

ANSWERS to the questions may be found by turning to the following chapters. -- Matt. v., vi., vii.; Ps. lxxx.; Luke iii.; Gen. xxxii.; Heb. v.; Matt. iv.; Matt. viii.; Jonah i; 2 Cor. xii.; 1 Kings xix.; Luke iv.; Zech. xiii.; Ps. xli.; lv., and cix.



O GOD, give us thy Spirit that we may be led to wonder and praise, when we think of all that Jesus suffered for us poor lost sinners. Help us to learn the lessons which the sorrows and tears of Jesus teach us. Help us to thank Thee for His knowledge of what it is to suffer, and for His sympathy with us in our sufferings. We rejoice that we have a High Priest who is touched with a feeling of our infirmities. May we be inclined to carry all our burdens to Him, to tell Him all our griefs. O help us to watch against temptation. Keep us from being overcome by it. Do not let us be found sleeping when the Lord shall come. Suffer us not to incur the guilt of denying the Lord who bought us. Preserve us from falling away when following after Him. May His Spirit stablish, strengthen, and settle us, that we may be steadfast, unmoveable, always abounding in the work of the Lord. And when our time on earth is done, may we, with those who have waited and wrought for Jesus, receive that crown of glory which fadeth not away. To Thee, Father, be glory for ever, through Jesus Christ our Saviour. Amen.



O LORD, whose eyes are over the righteous, and Thine ears open to their prayers, we most humbly beseech Thee to make us all of one mind, having compassion one of another, loving as brethren, being pitiful and courteous, eschewing all evil in word and deed, doing good, and seeking peace with all men, so that we may attain that peace which passeth all understanding through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

HYMN, or Psalm lxxiii. 23-26.

GREAT God, who, hid from mortal sight,
Dost dwell in unapproached light,
Before whose presence angels bow
With faces veiled, in homage low;

Awhile in darkness we remain,
And round us yet are sin and pain;
But soon the everlasting day
Shall chase our shades of night away.

For thou hast promised, gracious Lord,
A day of gladness and reward;
A day but faintly imaged here
By brightest sun at noontide clear.

Great Trinity, our hearts prepare,
The fulness of thy joy to share;
Life’s transient light may we improve,
And gain eternal light above.

LUKE XXIV. 13-53.

AND, behold, two of them went the same day to a village called Emmaus, which was from Jerusalem about threescore furlongs. 14. And they talked together of all these things which had happened. 15. And it came to pass, that, while they communed together, and reasoned, Jesus himself drew near, and went with them. 16. But their eyes were holden that they should not know him. 17. And he said unto them, What manner of communications are these that ye have one to another, as ye walk, and are sad? 18. And the one of them, whose name was Cleopas, answering, said unto him, Art thou only a stranger in Jerusalem, and hast not known the things which are come to pass there in these days? 19. And he said unto them, What things? And they said unto him, Concerning Jesus of Nazareth, which was a prophet mighty in deed and word before God and all the people; 20. And how the chief priest and our rulers delivered him to be condemned to death, and have crucified him. 21. But we trusted that it had been he which should have redeemed Israel: and besides all this, to-day is the third day since these things were done. 22. Yea, and certain women also of our company made us astonished, which were early at the sepulchre; 23. And when they found not his body, they came, saying, that they had also seen a vision of angels, which said he was alive. 24. And certain of them which were with us went to the sepulchre, and found it even so as the women had said; but him they saw not. 25. Then he said unto them, O fools, and slow of heart to believe all that the prophets have spoken! Ought not Christ to have suffered these things, and to enter into his glory? 27. And beginning at Moses and all the prophets, he expounded unto them in all the scriptures the things concerning himself. 28. And they drew nigh unto the village whither they went: and he made as though he would have gone further. 29. But they constrained him, saying, Abide with us, for it is toward evening, and the day is far spent. And he went in to tarry with them. 30. And it came to pass, as he sat at meat with them, he took bread, and blessed it, and brake, and gave to them. 31. And their eyes were opened, and they knew him; and he vanished out of their sight. 32. And they said one to another, Did not our heart burn within us, while he talked with us by the way, and while he opened to us the scriptures? 33. And they rose up the same hour, and returned to Jerusalem, and found the eleven gathered together, and them that were there with them, 34. Saying, The Lord is risen indeed, and hath appeared to Simon. 35. And they told what things were done in the way, and how he was known of them in breaking of bread, &c.


O LORD of Hosts, God of Israel, Thou art God, even Thou alone; Thou hast made the heavens and earth. Incline Thine ear, O God and hear; open Thine eyes, O God, and see.

We worship and we bow down, we kneel before the Lord our Maker. There is nothing hid from Him with whom we have to do, and we seek to come before Thee as we are. This day have we been privileged to look upon Thy glory in Thy word, and in Thy Son the Word made flesh: and as we think of all Thy majesty of holiness, and remember all the shamefulness of our sin; as we think of the wonders of Thy love, and remember the blackness of our ingratitude -- the cry of our hearts is, Woe unto us for we are undone; God be merciful unto us sinners! We render Thee thanks for all Thy tender mercies to us-ward. For life and health, for food and raiment, for our reason which Thou hast given to guide our bodies, for our conscience which has been appointed to testify of Thee in our souls, for our hope, that riseth above all things seen and temporal , for our friendships and our social intercourse, for our employments and their rewards for the days of work and sabbath days, for the sanctuaries of thy worship and the sacraments of our most holy faith; we render Thee thanks, O Lord most merciful.

We thank Thee especially for the unspeakable gift of Thy Son, our Saviour; in whom we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins. Give us grace to use the means of grace, and to hold the hope of glory as we ought. Lead Thou our captivity captive, and give us of Thy gifts received for men, that we may walk in light as children of light, and bear no longer the bondage of our sins.

May the rest and worship of this day be abundantly blessed unto us, and unto all men. May all penitence that has been awakened, and all vows of amendment that have been made, be strengthened and bear good fruit in the days that are to come. Save thy listening people from the sin of selfish enjoyment of Thy gospel, and from unconcern as to the souls of others. Strengthen our fearful hearts; guide all who are in bewilderment to the cross of Thy Son; and those who are sunk in despair be pleased to lift up to the peace of Thine own love. In the house and in the field, in the church and in their daily life, may Thy professing people show that they have their conversation heaven.

Greatly prosper everywhere the cause which is Thine own: extend the church of Thy Son throughout the whole world: and be pleased to reform more and more the churches of the Reformation. We beseech thee to make our native land a habitation of righteousness and charity and true liberty, and greatly to bless and long to preserve Thy servant our Queen. Let the people praise Thee, O Lord; let all the people praise Thee, O Lord.

These our prayers we offer through Him who has taught us to say, Our Father, &c. Amen.





Let us go forth therefore unto him without the camp, bearing his reproach.
Who gave himself for us, that he might redeem us from all iniquity, and purify unto himself a peculiar people, zealous of good works.
For so an entrance shall be ministered unto you abundantly into the everlasting kingdom of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ.
Wherefore I will not be negligent to put you always in remembrance of these things, though ye know them, and be established in the present truth.

Heb. xiii. 13. Tit. ii. 14. 2 Pet. i. 11, 12.


O earth, earth, earth, hear the word of the Lord.
See that ye refuse not him that speaketh; for if they escaped not who refused him that spake on earth, much more shall not we have escape, if we turn away from him that speaketh from heaven;
Whose voice then shook the earth: but now he hath promised, saying, Yet once more I shake not the earth only, but also heaven.
And this word, Yet once more, signifieth the removing of those things that are shaken, as of things that are made that those things that are shaken, as of things that are made that those things which cannot be shaken may remain.

Jer. xxii. 29. Heb. xii. 25, 26, 27.



Of his own will begat he us with the word of truth, that we should be a kind of first-fruit of his creatures.
The first-born of thy sons shalt thou give unto me.
And ye shall be holy men unto me.
For if the first-fruit be holy, the lump is also holy; and if the root be holy, so are the branches.
And if some of the branches be broken off, and thou, being a wild olive tree, yet grafted in among them, and with them partest of the root and fatness of the olive tree;
Boast not against the branches; but if thou boast, thou bearest not the root, but the root thee.

James i. 18. Exod. xxii. 29, 31. Rom. xi. 16, 17.18.


Return, O Lord, how long? And let it repent thee concerning thy servants.
Rejoice not against me, O mine enemy: when I fall, I shall arise; when I sit in darkness, the Lord shall be a light unto me.
I will bear the indignation of the Lord, because I have sinned against him, until he plead my cause, and execute judgment for me; he will bring me forth to the light, and I shall behold his righteousness.
There be many that say, Who will shew us any good? Lord, lift thou up the light of thy countenance upon us.
I will both lay me down in peace, and sleep: for thou, Lord, makest me to dwell in safety.

Ps. xc. 13. Micah vii. 8, 9. Ps. iv. 6, 8.



The Lord thy God in the midst of thee is mighty; he will save, he will rejoice over thee with joy; he will rest in his love; he will joy over thee with singing.
Behold, at that time I will undo all that afflict thee; and I will save her that halteth, and gather her that was driven out; and I will get them praise and fame in every land where they have been put to shame.
At that time I will bring you again, even in the time that I gather you; for I will make you a name and a praise
among all people of the earth, when I turn back your captivity before your eyes, saith the Lord.

Zeph. iii. 17, 19, 20.


In those days, and in that time, saith the Lord, the children of Israel shall come, they and the children of Judah together, going and weeping: they shall go, and seek the Lord their God.
They shall ask the way to Zion, with their faces thitherward, saying, Come, and let us join ourselves to the Lord in a perpetual covenant that shall not be forgotten.
My people hath been lost sheep; their shepherds have caused them to go astray, they have turned them away on the mountains; they have gone from mountain to hill, they have forgotten their resting-place.
And he led them forth by the right way, that they might go to a city of habitation.

Jer. l. 4, 5, 6. Ps. cvii. 7.



Blessed is the man whom thou chastenest, O Lord, and teachest him out of thy law;
That thou mayest give him rest from the days of adversity, until the pit be digged for the wicked.
For the Lord will not cast off his people, neither will he forsake his inheritance:
But judgment shall return unto righteousness; and all the upright in heart shall follow it.
My son, despise not the chastening of the Lord; neither be weary of his correction:
For whom the Lord loveth he correcteth, even as a father the son in whom he delighteth.

Ps. xciv. 12, 13, 14, 15. Prov. iii. 11, 12.


Give ear, O Shepherd of Israel, thou that leadest Joseph like a flock; thou that dwellest between the cherubims, shine forth.
Before Ephraim, and Benjamin, and Manasseh, stir up thy strength, and come and save us.
Turn us again, O God, and cause thy face to shine; and we shall be saved.
The Lord God of hosts, how long wilt thou be angry against the prayer of thy people?
Thou feedest them with the bread of tears; and givest them tears to drink in great measure.
Turn us again, O God of hosts, and cause thy face to shine; and we shall be saved.

Ps. lxxx. 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 7.



O Lord to us belongeth confusion of face, to our kings, to our princes, and to our fathers, because we have sinned against thee.
To the Lord our God belong mercies and forgivenesses, though we have rebelled against him.
O my God, incline thine ear, and hear; open thine eyes, and behold our desolations, and the city which is called by thy name: for we do not present our supplications before thee for our righteousnesses but for thy great mercies.
O Lord, hear; O Lord, forgive; O Lord, hearken and do; defer not, for thine own sake, O my God: for thy city and thy people are called by thy name.

Dan. ix. 8, 9, 18, 19.


Save me, O God; for the waters are come unto my soul.
I sink in deep mire, where there is no standing; I am come unto deep waters, where the floods overflow me.
I am weary of my crying; my throat is dried; mine eyes fail while I wait for my God.
But as for me, my prayer is unto thee, O Lord, in an acceptable time; O God, in the multitude of thy mercy hear me, in the truth of thy salvation.
Let not the water-flood overflow me, neither let the deep swallow me up, and let not the pit shut her mouth upon me.
Hear me, O Lord; for thy loving-kindness is good: turn unto me according to the multitude of thy tender mercies.

Ps. lxix. 1, 2, 3, 13, 15, 16.



I am afraid of all my sorrows, I know that thou will not hold me innocent.
If I be wicked, why then labour I in vain?
If I wash myself with snow-water, and make my hands never so clean;
Yet shalt thou plunge me in the ditch, and mine own clothes shall abhor me.
Neither is there any day’s-man betwixt us, that might lay his hand upon us both.
I the Lord am thy Saviour and thy Redeemer, the mighty One of Jacob.

Job ix. 28, 29, 30, 31, 33. Isa. xlix. 28.

Wait on the Lord; be of good courage, and he shall strengthen thine heart: wait, I say, on the Lord.

Be strong, and of a good courage, fear not, nor be afraid of them: for the Lord thy God, he it is that doth go with thee; he will not fail thee, nor forsake thee.
But cleave unto the Lord your God, as ye have done unto this day.
One man of you shall chase a thousand: for the Lord your God, he it is that fighteth for you, as he hath promised you.

Ps. xxvii. 14. Deut. xxxi. 6. Josh. xxiii. 8, 10.

You can download Week 49 in pdf format here

Editors Note:

1. Wamphray: Pages from the History and Traditions of a Famous Parish in Upper Annandale (1906): by Paterson, Professor of Law John. Reading the Life of this Minister I found an excellent description of the life of the school he ran and for educators I would suggest you get this book as it is described as being a one room school with over 100 pupils and yet it looks like all pupils went on to become very successful which thus suggests that small school sizes are not necessarily beneficial.
2. Life and Work is the magazine of the Church of Scotland.

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