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The Home Preacher
Or Church in the House - Week 51



By Dr. John Eadie

Life of John Eadie
By James Brown (1878) (pdf)

The English Bible:
An external and critical history of the various English translations of Scripture, with remarks on the need of revising the English New Testament
by John Eadie. Volume 1  |  Volume 2

A commentary on the Greek text of the epistle of Paul to the Colossians
by John Eadie

Life Of John Kitto D.D., F.S.A.
By John Eadie (1858)

Paul the Preacher
Or, A popular and practical exposition of the sources and speeches, as recorded in the Acts of the Apostles by John Eadie (1859)

MORNING WORSHIP

O LORD our God, we approach Thee in humility and faith, and we implore of Thee to bless us. Bring us and keep us under Thine own tender guidance. O send down Thy holy Spirit into our hearts that He may enlighten, sanctify, and seal us. Keep us, we implore Thee, in a devout frame, and bless to us Thy day, Thy word, and all the means of grace with which in Thine infinite mercy Thou hast so fully supplied us. May we find that it is good for us to draw near to God, and that we seek not his face in vain. Hear us for Christ’s sake. Amen.

HYMN, or Psalm xvi. 7-11.

OUR next of kin, our Brother now,
Is he to whom the angels bow;
They join with us to praise his name,
But we the nearest int’rest claim.

But ah! how faint our praises rise!
Sure ’tis the wonder of the skies,
That we, who share his richest love
So cold and unconcern’d should prove.

O! glorious hour, it comes with speed,
When we from sin and error freed,
Shall see his face who died for man,
And praise him more than angels can.

JONAH I. 15-17, II. 1-10.

SO they took up Jonah, and cast him forth into the sea; and the sea ceased from her raging. 16. Then the men feared the Lord exceedingly, and offered a sacrifice unto the Lord, and made vows. 17. Now the Lord had prepared a great fish to swallow up Jonah. And Jonah was in the belly of the fish three days and three nights. 1. Then Jonah prayed unto the Lord his God out of the fish's belly, 2. And said, I cried by reason of mine affliction unto the Lord, and he heard me; out of the belly of hell cried I, and thou heardest my voice. 3. For thou hadst cast me into the deep, in the midst of the seas; and the floods compassed me about: all thy billows and thy waves passed over me. 4. Then I said, I am cast out of thy sight; yet I will look again toward thy holy temple. 5. The waters compassed me about even to the soul: the depth closed me round about, the weeds were wrapped about my head. 6. I went down to the bottoms of the mountains; the earth with her bars was about me for ever: yet hast thou brought up my life from corruption, O Lord my God. 7. When my soul fainted within me I remembered the Lord; and my prayer came in unto thee into thine holy temple. 8. They that observe lying vanities forsake their own mercy. 9. But I will sacrifice unto thee with the voice of thanksgiving; I will pay that I have vowed. Salvation is of the Lord. 10. And the Lord spake unto the fish, and it vomited out Jonah upon the dry land.

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Prayer.

We draw near to Thee, O Lord, and we bow ourselves before Thy throne of grace and majesty. We adore Thee as Creator and Redeemer. Thy power is unbounded, Thy wisdom is infinite, and Thy tender mercies are over all Thy works. We bless Thee for inviting us to come to Thee; for we have often provoked Thee by our disobedience, and we have brought down upon ourselves the awful penalty of death as the wages of sin. We have sinned and done wickedly in Thy sight. Thy pure and holy law condemns us, our own hearts condemn us, and Thou art “greater than our hearts, and knowest all things.” O forgive us: God be merciful to us sinners. Bestow upon us in Thy great compassion a living faith in Christ Thy Son, who came into the world to save us by His obedience unto death, even the death of the cross. O Let Thy good Spirit come into our souls and work in us profound convictions of sin and guilt and helplessness, so that we may flee at once for refuge to lay hold on the hope set before us in the gospel. Keep us, we entreat thee, from indifference and procrastination. May we ever bear in mind that time is rapidly passing away, and may we have grace given us wisely to improve it. May we acquaint ourselves with Thee, and be at peace. Give us, O our Father, a conscious interest in Christ Thy Son. Lord, bring us into a state of pardon and acceptance in Thy sight, and may we not only have the precious peace that passeth all understanding, but may we through thy grace be enabled to preserve it unbroken within us. We confess and lament our numerous imperfections and short-comings, and do Thou of Thy great pity forgive them, and give us grace to obey Thy law more cordially and fully, and to follow more humbly and devotedly the holy and lovely example of Thy Son. May He who took upon Him our nature, and who died for us on Calvary, be more and more our confidence and joy. O that we had more of His Spirit within us, and that more of His character were manifested by us. May we trust in Him as our Saviour, and also obey Him as our Master; relying upon His atoning sufferings, may we be more and more conformed to His life. Let us enjoy fellowship with Him now, in the hope of nearer and deeper communion with Him for ever. We bless Thee, O our Father-God, for all who have been saved by Him, for all the souls now before Thy throne who have been washed in His blood and perfected by His Spirit. Grant, O God, that we, in Thine own time, be added to the number, and that with them we may praise, and serve, and enjoy Thee, for ever and ever. So long as Thou keepest us in the world, do Thou, Lord, keep us, we pray Thee, from the evil that is in it. Thy servants are ever leaving the world around us, friends and kindred are departing from us, and we would not sorrow as those who have no hope. Thou hast taken them to Thine own bosom, and to unending blessedness before Thee. And though the grave closes over their moral bodies, we thank Thee for the sure and certain hope of a blessed resurrection, when thy Son the Lord Jesus comes, according to his promise to raise the dead, and take all His people home with Him to glory. We beseech Thee, Lord, that all of us may be found in that happy company over which the second death has no power. O Lord, revive, Thy church everywhere and convert the world to Christ. Our native land do Thou bless, the Queen and the royal House, all judges and magistrates, with the entire population. O that every soul were in union with Thyself, and were zealous in Thy service, Thou King of kings and Lord of lords. Lord hear us, and accept us, and vouchsafe to us a gracious and speedy answer, for Christ’s sake; and to the Father, to the Son, and to the Holy Ghost be all the glory world without end. Amen.

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THE CHURCH IN THE HOUSE.

O OUR God, who hast given us Thine own word as the revelation of Thy love, and Thine own day as a period of rest and spiritual refreshment, do Thou now bless us and give us of Thy Spirit, that we may be renewed and strengthened in Christ. Amen.

HYMN, or Psalm xcvi. 10-13.

TO him that loved the souls of men,
And wash’d us in his blood,
To royal honours rais’d our head
And made us priests to God --

To him let ev’ry tongue be praise,
And e’ry heart be love!
All grateful honours paid on earth
And nobler songs above!

Behold on flying clouds he comes!
His saints shall bless the day;
While they that pierc’d him sadly mourn
In anguish and dismay.

Thou art the first, and thou the last;
Time centres all in thee,
Th’ Almighty God, who was, and is,
And evermore shall be.

REVELATION I. 1-8.

THE Revelation of Jesus Christ, which God gave unto him, to show unto his servants things which must shortly come to pass; and he sent and signified it by his angel unto his servant John: 2. Who bare record of the word of God, and of the testimony of Jesus Christ, and of all things that he saw. 3. Blessed is he that readeth, and they that hear the words of this prophecy, and keep those things which are written therein: for the time is at hand. 4. John to the seven churches which are in Asia: grace be unto you, and peace, from him which is, and which was, and which is to come; and from the seven Spirits which are before his throne; 5. And from Jesus Christ, who is the faithful Witness, and the first-begotten of the dead, and the Prince of the kings of the earth. Unto him that loved us and washed us from our sins in his own blood. 6. And hath made us kings and priests unto God and his Father; to him be glory and dominion for ever and ever. Amen. 7. Behold, he cometh with clouds; and every eye shall see him, and they also which pierced him: and all kindreds of the earth shall wail because of him. Even so, Amen. 8. I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the ending, saith the Lord, which is, and which was, and which is to come, the Almighty.

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SERMON LI.

“BEHOLD, HE COMETH WITH CLOUDS; AND EVERY EYE SHALL SEE HIM, AND THEY ALSO WHICH PIERCED HIM; AND ALL KINDREDS OF THE EARTH SHALL WAIL BECAUSE OF HIM. EVEN SO, AMEN.” -- Rev. I. 7.

I NEED scarcely say that responsibility to God is the law or condition of our creation: for every creature is bound to answer to its Maker for all the gifts which he has conferred upon it. Nor is this connection hard, strange, or unreasonable, for surely it is based on equity. Whatever we have we are bound to lay out for God its giver; and has not He the right to inquire what use we have made of time, talents, and opportunities? And it would be a total misconception of our relation to God to suspect for a moment that he is an austere master, reaping “where he has not sown, and gathering where he has not strawed.” But if there be no divine endowment, there is no human responsibility. Where there is mental imbecility, or imperfect and undeveloped faculties, where no power has been entrusted in God’s mysterious sovereignty, there is nothing to answer for. The gift, moreover, is the gauge of the responsibility. He will not exact from a man what he would expect from an angel. His omniscience and integrity secure an unchallenged result. No one can find fault. He who made us, and knows us, who sees at once all the intricate machinery of motive and impulse, is our Judge. There are, and must be, therefore, degrees of reward. Some are “scarcely” saved; others have “an entrance ministered unto them abundantly.” They who have done most and suffered most for Christ are likest him, and will be nearest to him. On the other hand, there are, and there must be, degrees of punishment: for although all are alike sinners, all are not sinners alike; some are “beaten with many stripes,” and some with “few.” In a word, the same principle underlies the menace of Jesus -- “But I say unto you, it shall be more tolerable for Tyre and Sidon at the day of judgment than for you.”

These statements have a solemn and unchanging relation to all of us. No one can evade his responsibility. He is ever in God’s hands, enveloped in God’s presence, and cannot escape. Flight is impossible, resistance is insane. An awakened conscience is but the prescience of a near tribunal; and to fling one’s self out of the world is to thrust himself unbidden into the presence of God. This impossibility of escape is put very graphically by an old Hebrew bard; “Though they dig into hell, thence shall mine hand take them; though they climb up to heaven, thence will I bring them down: and though they hide themselves on the top of Carmel, I will search and take them out thence; and though they be hid from sight in the bottom of the sea, thence will I command the serpent, and he shall bite them.”

But while every one who lives must be judged (his term of existence and service on earth being concluded), a public judgment of the whole human race, at one and the same time, is a matter solely of revelation. We could not have anticipated it, and it specially connected with the scheme of redemption. He who loved the world and died for it is to resist it, and the promise of his second personal advent holds a prominent place in the New Testament. As the eleven disciples were gazing up to Him so rapidly disappearing in the clouds, they were thus accosted: “Ye men of Galilee, why stand ye gazing up into heaven? This same Jesus which is taken up from you into heaven, shall so come in like manner as ye have seen him go into heaven.” Addressing the Athenian crowd on Mars’ Hill, the apostle told them in precise and lucid terms, “He hath appointed a day, in the which he will judge the world in righteousness by that man whom he hath ordained; whereof he hath given assurance unto all men, in that he hath raised him from the dead.” Writing to Titus, the same apostle depicts the expectant attitude of the church thus -- “Looking for that blessed hope, and the glorious appearing of the great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ.” And in our text the startling announcement is made, “Behold, he cometh with clouds.”

Now, first it is not one foreign to us, or one who has no near interest in us, who is thus announced, but he “who loved us, and washed us from our sins in his own blood,” and raised us to the high dignity of a royal priesthood; our Redeemer who in infinite affection died to save us, who has gone to heaven to reign over us, plead for us, while He is sympathizing with us, and preparing a place for us; our primest benefactor, still clothed in our nature, and ever blessing us out of his inexhaustible fulness. Has not he a special interest in the world, into which he was born an infant of days, and in which he grew up, speaking so many words of wisdom, beauty, and power, doing so many deeds of divine and mighty beneficence; living a life of purity and fascination; maintaining a continuous conflict with evil, and at length triumphing over it in his cross?

“Behold, he cometh” -- as if there had been bustle in heaven and preparations had been completed -- as if the apostle had seen him already on his march, and nigh the confines of earth.

“Behold, he cometh.” The advent is ever imminent, and the certainty of its relative nearness ought to fill us with vigilance and hope, so that we may ever live as under the inspection of an opened heaven and a descending judge. And did this thought dwell in the heart and govern it, what reverence and circumspection would be the result -- what renewed heroism in the daily struggle -- what wrestling with the Angel of the covenant for revival and growth -- what eagerness to be ever realizing the experience of the apostle, “Wherefore we labour, that, whether present or absent, we may be accepted of him!”

“Behold, he cometh with clouds,” -- in solemn majesty; clouds being often the accompaniment of the divine presence, enshrining and veiling His glory. These clouds may form a magnificent pavilion, or spread themselves in gorgeous array of fire and storm around Him and his throne; for he comes in personal and public glory, arrayed in his royal splendour -- “his own glory and the glory of his Father;” heralded and surrounded by “his mighty angels” -- all in harmony with the work which he comes to perform. For he descends to conclude the annals of a world, to decide the final destiny of all who have lived on it, to show that the purpose of God has underlain all history, and that His great plan has been fully and finally accomplished; to award eternal life “to them who, by patient continuance in well-doing, seek for glory, honour, and immortality: but unto them that are contentious, and do not obey the truth, but obey unrighteousness, indignation and wrath, tribulation and anguish, upon every soul of man that doeth evil, of the Jew first, and also of the Gentile.”

“Every eye shall see him.” The world, with all its myriads of generations, is to be judged. No room for escape, for all must appear; no moment for repentance, for time has come to its last moment; and no economy in contemplation to reverse the doom of eternal death. To be judged is for every one to stand before “the judgment-seat of Christ,” without veil or disguise, and in the nakedness of his soul’s essence; the light of His countenance so shed in upon it, and so filling it, that in an instant it sees itself in reality, gets a perfect glimpse of its past life, and can anticipate its sentence. But to believers there is a closer interest. The judge is not God in awful majesty -- he whom no man can see and live; but he is Christ, in our human nature, the loving brother, our friend of friends, with a human heart still throbbing in his bosom. “The Father hath given him to execute judgment also, because he is the Son of Man.” “He hath appointed a day, in which he will judge the world in righteousness, by that man whom he hath ordained.” “The Lord Jesus shall be revealed from heaven with his mighty angels, in flaming fire, taking vengeance on them that know not God, and that obey not the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ: who shall be punished with everlasting destruction from the presence of the Lord and from the glory of his power.” Thus the uniform teaching of the New Testament is that the Redeemer is to be the judge. He has the qualification to be judge, because he is God; and he has the right to be judge, because he is man and mediator. In the case of all to whom the gospel has been preached, his one inquiry from them is whether they have believed in his love and relied on his atonement? and “he that believeth is saved.” The prospect is a cheering one to all who are Christ’s, for it is his tribunal before which they are to stand. It is the very same throne to which they have often come by invitation as a throne of grace, “to obtain mercy and find grace to help them.” They have obtained that mercy and found that grace; and when that throne has become one of judgment, and they are brought before it by summons, they are not alarmed. He who occupies it has pardoned, purified, and saved them -- given them his own image, and lifted them to fellowship with himself, so that the smile that lights up his face will be only a prelude to the welcome which is bursting from his lips: “Come, ye blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from before the foundation of the world.” Yet as the pillar that guided Israel of old kept its bright face toward them, but turned a side of “cloud and darkness” to the Egyptians; so this aspect of the judgment, while it cheers and comforts the disciples, casts unbelievers into consternation and panic, because Jesus the judge they have not accepted as Saviour. His love and his blood have made no impression on them. They have not been brought into living union with him, nor has his Spirit dwelt within them to regenerate and perfect them They lived for themselves and never enjoyed renewing power; him as master they did not obey; him as example they did not follow; and therefore, destitute of faith in him, they are “condemned already.” Their want of confidence in him unfits them for all service and renders them unsusceptible of all enjoyment, so that they sink inevitably into agony and despair. The Lord, of his infinite mercy grant that all of us “may find mercy of the Lord in that day,” and may it be our privilege so to “abide in him, that when he shall appear we may have confidence, and not be ashamed before him at his coming.”

“Every eye shall see him; they, too, that pierced him.” His very enemies shall hide their heads in confusion and despair before him. The court that conspired to murder him, and cast aside all the forms and fences of law for the purpose; the priests who descrated the office which they filled; the scribes who violated the statutes which they professed to interpret; the rabble who yelled, “Crucify him, crucify him;” all who took part in the terrible tragedy -- shall see him: him whom they branded as a blasphemer, the Son of the Most High; him whom they killed as an imposter, the one Redeemer of men; and him whom they hanged as a felon, the appointed judge of the living and the dead. No wonder that his coming shall produce consternation. Such dismay, however, is not confined to the men of Christ’s own time and country; “all kindreds of the earth shall wail because of him.” There are those still who are guilty of the crime of piercing him, “who crucify the Lord of glory afresh, and put him to an open shame;” and others who, eating and drinking at the sacramental table “unworthily,” are guilty “guilty of the body and blood of the Lord.” For such there is mercy yet, if they will only accept it; there being no sin beyond the reach of his atoning merit, and no sinner beyond his power to save. There is room in that bosom for them that pierced him, and if they take refuge in it they shall be rescued, saved, and blessed for ever with ineffable fellowship: --

Rock of Ages, cleft for me,
Let me hide myself in thee;
Let the water and the blood,
From thy riven side which flowed,
Be of sin the double cure --
Save me from its guilt and power.

According to the teaching of scripture the last coming of Christ shall be sudden, and as it happens so unexpectedly, it shall take the world by surprise. “The day of the Lord cometh as a thief in the night.” As it was in the days of Noah when the flood was poured out, as it was in the days of Lot when fire and brimstone were showered upon Sodom so shall it be at the coming of the Son of Man. The world apparently is to be slumbering in security; it population eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage; men engaging in enterprizes requiring years and years for their completion; the great day never engaging human hearts less than on the eve of its arrival, when, in a moment, a trumpet is heard, and the earth is stirring, and the dead are raised, and the great white throne is set, and each conscience cries to itself, “Prepare to meet thy God.”

Behold, he has come! They who are alive at the second Advent, even those of them who are believers, reap no immediate benefit from their survival. At his descent “with the voice of the archangel and the trump of God,” “the dead in Christ shall rise first” -- first, not before the wicked, but first, or before the living are changed. It is a strange thought that many men shall not die -- shall outlive all history, and witness the throes of expiring nature. But the dead are forestalled in nothing by them. The living are changed, and duly fitted in spiritual and physical constitution for passing into glory. But this refining influence does not seize and mould them till the blessed dead are roused from their graves. If there be a reaction after the so-called Millenium is passed, and if the conspiracy of Gog and Magog symbolize it, then through their last unbelief and hostility “all nations shall wail because of him” who has come to judge them, and against whose righteous sentence there can be no appeal. O the sad results of sin as thus portrayed. Were the revelation made to a sinless world that its Creator and Benefactor was about to pay it a promised visit, would it not prepare itself, and bestir its mightiest energies? would not the “floods clap their hands, and the hills be joyful together, before the Lord; for he cometh to judge the earth?” But Christ’s coming, so fraught with blessing, creates a general consternation, an ominous consciousness of coming doom in all the faithless. They “shall wail because of him” -- the pure, loving, and gentle One -- him in whom all glorified spirits rejoice, and whom they are praising for his incarnation and death. No wailing can be connected with him who gives life and gladness, save from the rejection of him who gives life and gladness, save from the rejection of him by the unbelieving, the indifferent, the impenitent; and when the knowledge of his character comes to them too late to awaken faith, it must fill them with unspeakale anguish.

But why should believers be disturbed and alarmed when they speak or think of the last day? Why should it be a source of trembling and foreboding, and not rather of hopeful and joyous anticipation? Why dwell on what may be called the darker aspect of it -- the dissolution of nature, the wreck of the elements, the passing away of the heavens, the conflagration of the earth, and all the other terrific phenomena? Why not bear in mind that there is a higher and glorious phase in which you are specially interested with “all them also that love his appearing.” Nay, till that period you are not fully redeemed. Only on one portion of your nature has the grace of Christ taken hold; your soul is saved. But you are something more than soul; your soul dwells in a body organized for it. That body shares in the blessing of Christ’s redeeming work, but does not enjoy full participation until he comes again. It goes down to the tomb, and lies there in the hope of a glorious resurrection; but that resurrection does not take place till the second Advent. The soul passes into happiness far from complete, for it is a fragmentary and imperfect thing without its physical frame, and thus, and thus it is “waiting for the adoption, to wit, the redemption of the body.” So that salvation in its fullness is conferred only at the last day. O let it ever impress you, and be a living belief and hope within you, that then, and not till then, you are completely blessed; that then, and not till then, is the crown and totality of divine grace and power conferred upon you; that then, and not till then, you realize the Saviour’s work in its final completeness: for he died not to save souls, but to save men and women in their whole nature -- body, soul, and spirit. The New Testament lays a continuous stress on the resurrection of the body, dwelling oftener upon it than upon the mere salvation of the soul, though indeed the one most certainly implies the other. Salvation in its final entireness is kept in reserve for us till He comes, and should not that event, bringing with it this richest blessing, and taking our whole nature to highest glory, be fondly welcomed by you? “Amen. Even so, come Lord Jesus.”

In a word, looking at the subject in this broader light, there are momentous reasons why we should rejoice in the fulfilment of the promise, “Behold, I come quickly, and my reward is with me.” The church will then be complete in numbers and in happiness. Many generations have passed since Abel warbled his solitary song before the throne, and he has been joined by many in every century; spirits are ever passing away to glory, and the number of the blessed is ever augmenting, till it become “a great multitude which no man can number.” But still the glorified church is not completed, and therefore the prayer is ever rising before the throne, “Father, I will that they also whom thou hast given me be with me where I am, that they may behold my glory;” and in answer to this prayer of the great High Priest, good men die and go to satisfy their Saviour by their nearness to him, and by their possession of His image. But when he comes again the number of the redeemed shall be completed, for humanity as a species shall cease to exist on earth, and the whole church shall be for the first time a band of living contemporaries around him. And then, too, their bodies being raised and spiritualized, and their entire nature fitted to dwell in glory, they enter upon full fruition in the heaven of heavens, where they shall for ever rejoice in perfection, and pour out their hearts surcharged with grateful emotion, in eternal and rapturous halleluiahs.

Such, then, being the indescribable blessings lying over for us, should not we with rapture hail the day of days -- the second coming, ever living for it and looking forward to it? Amidst all trials, struggles, and difficulties, amidst all afflictions, bereavements, and deaths, let us be ever saying -- ‘Our Lord cometh,’ to crown his own, and take them home with himself to unclouded fellowship with him, and to unending blessedness in his gracious presence.

“Ever upward may we soar,
Rising on the wings of love;
Looking when our Lord shall come,
Waiting, longing after home.
There may we with thee remain,
Partners of thine endless reign;
There thy face unclouded see,
Find our heaven of heavens in Thee.”

-- JOHN EADIE, LL. D.

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THE CHILDREN’S SERVICE.

THE CROSS.

THE Roman governor, Pontius Pilate, was convinced that Jesus had done no crime for which he ought to die, and he tried, several times over, to get the Jews to allow him to be set free. He said to them that he had examined him, and had found no fault in him; nor yet had Herod when he sent him to that prince. He asked them, therefore, if he would let him go. There was a custom of releasing a prisoner at the time of the passover, and he said to them, Shall it be the King of the Jews that I shall set free this year? But the Jews would not hear of that. There was a notable prisoner lying in jail at the time -- a robber and a murderer -- and they cried out in answer to Pilate’s proposal to release Jesus, No, no; not this man, but Barabbas. What then, said Pilate, shall I do to him whom ye call the King of the Jews? And they said, crucify him, crucify him. Pilate weakly and wrongly yielded to their clamour, and set the bad Barabbas free, and agreed to yield Jesus up to the will of his enemies, by commanding him to be scourged, as was the custom when a criminal was condemned to the cross. Before he did this, however, he showed that he still believed Jesus to be innocent, and tried to throw all the blame of his death upon the Jews, by having water brought out, and washing his hands in their presence, while he said aloud, See ye to the blood of this just man: I am free from it. But he was not free from it: this washing of his hands condemned himself; for it said that he believed Jesus to be quite innocent, and yet he was going to send him to the death of the cross, just to please and content men that hated him.

After Jesus had been scourged, Pilate, however, tried once more to move the Jews to let him go without further punishment. The soldiers had taken him, all covered with the weals and wounds the rods had made on his sacred flesh, and had clothed him with a scarlet robe, and set a crown of thorns that they platted on his head, and put a reed in his right hand. They did this as if to say, This man is going to be killed for making himself a king. They then mocked him, bowing their knees before him, and saying, Hail, thou King of the Jews! They then went from mockery to cruel insult, spitting in his face and striking him with their hands, and even with the reed, which they took him for the purpose. It was after this had been done that Pilate tried once again to have him set free. He brought him out from the house, with the thorn crown on his head, and wearing the scarlet robe, he said to them, I bring him out to you that you may know that I find no fault in him. Behold the man! And surely they might have looked on that meek and holy sufferer, and changed their minds. But they did not. They said, Away with him to the cross. He deserves to die by our law; for he made himself the Son of God. That word frightened Pilate more and more; and after he had spoken with Jesus in the house, he tried again to persuade the Jews to let him be released. On that they grew bold and desperate, and scared the governor with a threat. They said, If you let this man go, you are not the friend of the emperor. He has made himself a king, and any one that does that must be a rebel against Caesar. So at last Pilate went and sat down in the judgment-seat, and gave formal and final sentence that Jesus should die; and he was led away to be crucified.

When Judas that betrayed him found out that he was really condemned to death, a great horror of soul came upon him. He was filled with remorse and could not bear to look on the money he had got to give Christ up. So he hasted to where the chief priests who had bribed him were standing in the temple, and showed them the thirty pieces of silver, and cried, Take them back: I have sinned; I have betrayed innocent blood. But these proud bad men only said, what is that to us? It is your own affair: see to it. Thereupon Judas flung the silver down in the temple and went and hanged himself. To such a miserable end the traitor came!

When the guard of soldiers took Jesus from the judgment-seat to lead him away to die, they put the wood of his cross upon him that he might carry it to where he was to be nailed to its beams. But after a little he was like to faint under its weight; and laying hold of a man they met coming out of the country into the town they made him bear it on his shoulders, walking behind Jesus. This man’s name was Simon. He belonged to Cyrene in Africa, and was, perhaps a black man. What an honour he would think it, in after days, to have carried the Saviour’s cross. There was a great crowd gathered by this time following the procession. There were many women among them, and they wept for pity, and wailed and lamented about Jesus. But he said to them, Daughters of Jerusalem, do not weep for me; weep for yourselves. Dreadful days for you are at hand. If they do these things in a green tree, what shall be done in the dry? And thus the sad procession went on.

At length, outside the walls of the city, the people that were taking Jesus to death came to a place called Golgotha, or Calvary (which means Place of a skull; as we might say, Skull-place, from its shape or because it was a place of death), and there they laid the cross on the ground and nailed Jesus, stripped of his clothes, to the beams. As they were driving the nails through his feet and hands Jesus said, Father, forgive them; they know not what they do. There were two others (thieves they were) nailed to the cross at the same time; and when the three crosses were set upright in their places, Christ’s was in the middle. The soldiers that had strippped and nailed him began to share his clothes, dividing them into four parts among them. When they came to his upper coat, they found it had no seam, but was close woven in one piece. So they thought it a pity to tear it and cast lots to see who would get it; they were doing what the Scriptures had long before said should be done, without being aware of it. Then they sat down and watched beside the crosses, as they had been bid to do.

When persons were crucified in those times, it was usual to put an inscription over their heads, saying what they were, and why they were put to death. Now Pilate had directed what was to be written on Christ’s cross, and it was to be in three languages -- Hebrew and Greek and Latin. The words were, This is Jesus of Nazareth, the King of the Jews. The chief priests did not like the title in that form, and they asked Pilate to change it, and make it read that he said he was King of the Jews. But the Roman governor was in no mood to mind them, and answered shortly, What I have written I have written.

Crowds of people read this title, as they went by the place. Numbers also mocked and taunted him as they came near, wagging their heads, and saying, Save yourself, you that could build the temple in three days; come down from the cross if you are the Son of God. The chief priests and scribes too, who were looking on, said among themselves, Now is his time; let him come down from the cross, and we will believe him. He said, he trusted in God that he would deliver him; let God save him now, if he cares to have him. The soldiers also joined in the mockery. Even the thieves, right and left, taunted him, and cast in his teeth his helplessness, as they thought it. They said, If you are God’s Son, save yourself and us. After a while, however, one of the thieves changed his mind. He saw how Jesus bore all his sufferings, and heard things he said, and the Spirit of God touching his heart, he reproved his comrade, and began to pray, Lord, when thou comest into thy kingdom, remember me; and Jesus said, You shall be in paradise with me this very day.

Before this Jesus had seen his mother with other women, and John the beloved disciple, standing by his cross. And he looked to them, and said to Mary, See thy son; and to John, See thy mother. And John from that hour took Mary to his own home.

To make all this harder to bear, and to be a token of what Jesus was suffering for us, a great darkness came on about noon, and continued for three hours over the whole land. And there was a deeper darkness in Jesus’ soul. His Father’s face was hidden from him. It was then that he sent up a loud cry, saying, My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me? After that, some of those who were near heard him say, I thirst; and one of them ran, and dipping a sponge in vinegar, put it on a reed, and held it to his lips. When he had tasted it he said, It is finished; and with a loud cry, he said, Father, into thy hands I commend my spirit! Then he bowed his head, and breathed his soul away.

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QUESTIONS FROM THE BIBLE STORY.

1. Where is it said that some persons came to Christ to tell him that Herod wanted to kill him?
2. Do you know of a robe that was torn and made red with blood, to suggest that the person who wore it had been murdered?
3. Can you find a prophecy which in one verse foretells that Jesus would be scourged, mocked, and spit upon?
4. Is there a prophecy that says Jesus would not have a fair and just trial?
5. Where do we find a horrible circumstance about the death of Judas related?
6. What psalm, as quoted by an apostle, refers to the treachery and doom of Judas?
7. Where do we read of a disciple of the name of Simeon, or Simon, whose surname was Black?
8. What green tree was seen to be on fire, without being burned to ashes?
9. In what chapters of the Gospels is the destruction of Jerusalem foretold?
10. Where is the prophecy to be found about the division of Christ’s garments?
11. Can you find a prophecy about people taunting Christ when he hung on the cross?
12. Where do we learn that one of the thieves who at first mocked Christ, afterwards was sorry and prayed?
13. In which of the Gospels do we read of what Jesus, on the cross, said to his mother and to John?
14. How many voices of Jesus were uttered from the cross?

ANSWERS to the previous questions may be found on turning to the following chapters. -- Luke xiii.; Gen. xxxvii.; Isa. l.; Isa. liii, compared with Acts viii.; Acts i.; Ps. cix.; Acts xiii.; Ex. iii.; Matt. xxiv.; Mark xiii., Luke xix. and xxi; Ps. xxii; Luke xxiii.; John xix. For the last, see all the Gospels, and the Story foregoing.

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Prayer.

O LORD God, who didst not spare thine own Son, but give Him up to the death for our sakes, grant that we may ever keep our eye on the cross of Jesus. May we see it to give us peace; to rouse us to right actions in life; to cheer us when we come to die. May we glory in it. May we be thereby crucified to the world. And may we, following Jesus, bear our own crosses, not complaining, but thankful when we remember what He bore for us. Let us not, by our continuing in sin, show that in spirit we consent to the deed of those who crucified him, nor let us in any case make common cause with those who condemn the guiltless. Like the gentle and loving Saviour, enable us to forgive those who do us hurt, and to pray for them, and requite their evil with good. Hear us, O Father, for Jesus Christ’s sake. Amen.

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THE EVENING SERVICE

O LORD, our Father, Thou hast given us Thy holy and blessed word, and we pray Thee to give us the right understanding of it, more earnest faith in it, and a more fervent desire to walk in its light. May we feel more of its saving power on our hearts, so that our lives may be brought into fuller harmony with it. May it be as the hidden manna, nourishing and sustaining our souls unto eternal life. O Lord, hear us; O Lord, forgive and answer, for Christ’s sake. Amen.

HYMN, or Psalm l. 3-6.

THE dead in Christ shall first arise,
At the last trumpet sounding;
Caught up to meet him in the skies,
With joy their Lord surrounding:
No gloomy fears their souls dismay;
His presence sheds eternal day
On those prepared to meet him.

Great God! what do I see and hear?
The end of things created!
Behold the Judge of man appear,
On clouds of glory seated!
Low at his cross, I view the day
When heav’n and earth shall pass away,
And thus prepare to meet him.

ACTS I. 1-12.

The former treatise have I made, O Theophilus, of all that Jesus began both to do and teach, 2. Until the day in which he was taken up, after that he through the Holy Ghost had given commandments unto the apostles whom he had chosen: 3. To whom also he shewed himself alive after his passion by many infallible proofs, being seen of them forty days, and speaking of the things pertaining to the kingdom of God: 4. And, being assembled together with them, commanded them that they should not depart from Jerusalem, but wait for the promise of the Father, which, saith he, ye have heard of me. 5. For John truly baptized with water; but ye shall be baptized with the Holy Ghost not many days hence. 6. When they therefore were come together, they asked of him, saying, Lord, wilt thou at this time restore again the kingdom to Israel? 7. And he said unto them, it is not for you to know the times or the seasons, which the Father hath put in his own power. 8. But ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you: and ye shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth. 9. And when he had spoken these things, while they beheld, he was taken up; and a cloud received him out of their sight. 10. And while they looked steadfastly toward heaven as he went up, behold, two men stood by them in white apparel; 11. Which also said, Ye men of Galilee, why stand ye gazing up into heaven? This same Jesus, which is taken up from you into heaven, shall so come in like manner as ye have seen him go into heaven. 12. Then returned they unto Jerusalem a sabbath-day’s journey.

Acts II. 1-8 and 31-39.

AND when the day of Pentecost was fully come, they were all with one accord in one place. 2. And suddenly there came a sound from heaven, as of a rushing mighty wind, and it filled all the house where they were sitting. 3. And there appeared unto them cloven tongues like as of fire, and it sat upon each of them. 4. And they were all filled with the Holy Ghost, and began to speak with other tongues as the Spirit gave them utterance. 5. And there were dwelling at Jerusalem Jews, devout men, out of every nation under heaven. 6. Now when this was noised abroad, the multitude came together, and were confounded because that every man heard them speak in his own language. 7. And they were all amazed and marvelled, saying one to another, Behold, are not all these which speak Galileans? 8. And how hear we every man in our own tongue, wherein we were born? 31. He, seeing this before, spake of the resurrection of Christ, that his soul was not left in hell, neither his flesh did see corruption. 32. This Jesus hath God raised up, whereof we all our witnesses. 33. Therefore, being by the right hand of God exalted, and having received of the Father the promise of the Holy Ghost, he hath shed forth this, which ye now see and hear. 34. For David is not ascended into the heavens: but he saith himself, The Lord said unto my Lord, sit thou on my right hand, 35. Until I make thy foes thy footstool. 36. Therefore let all the house of Israel know assuredly, that God hath made that same Jesus, whom ye have crucified, both Lord and Christ. 37. Now when they heard this, they were pricked in their heart, and said unto Peter, and to the rest of the apostles, Men and brethren, what shall we do? 38. Then Peter said unto them, Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost. 39. For the promise is unto you, and to your children, and to all that afar off, even as many as the Lord our God shall call.

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Prayer.

O LORD, Thou art the first and the last. Thine are all things, for Thou hast made them, and they are upheld in being by the word of Thy power. All Thy works praise Thee, and Thy saints bless Thee. We humbly and heartily thank Thee for all Thy goodness. We live by Thy bounty. Life and all that makes life enjoyable is Thy sovereign gift. Of Thee, to Thee, and through Thee are all things. We bless Thee especially for Thine unspeakable gift, the Lord Jesus, who came and suffered and died to win us back to Thyself. Lord, we pray Thee to lead us to the cross, that we may find refuge there from guilt, and sorrow, and the fear of death. We would not trust in our own righteousness, but solely in the righteousness of Christ, our blessed Redeemer, and in his merit and mediation. We would count all but loss to be found in Him, our Light and Life. Thou, Lord, who didst send Thy Son, have mercy upon us. Thou, Jesus, who didst come to die, have pity upon us, and give us union with Thyself, and take entire possession of us. And Thou Divine Spirit, descend and dwell within us, and be to our souls the earnest of the future inheritance, and our preparation for it, making our very bodies temples for Thyself. Lord, we have no life but from Thee, and no help but in Thee. Be ever near us, to guide and bless us. O leave us not to ourselves, but be the strength of our hearts and our portion for ever. O that our hearts were pure, and lowly, and upright -- possessing more and more of that spiritual-mindedness which is life and peace. We would feel it to be our safety to be in Christ; may it be our eager desire to be like Him, in the hope of being with Him for ever and ever. Enable us, Lord, to deny ourselves, and to take up our cross and follow Him, who pleased not Himself, who came not to be ministered to, but to minister. May each of us be enabled ever to believe on Him, and loving Him, to do His will, so that on each of us may be pronounced the blessing, Well done, good and faithful servant; enter thou into the joy of thy Lord. Lord save Thy people, and bless Thine inheritance; feed them also and lift them up for ever. O let Thy church soon possess the world; give Thy Son speedily the heathen for His inheritance, and the uttermost parts of the earth for His possession. And all we ask is in Christ’s name, and for His sake. Amen.

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MORNING AND EVENING MEDITATIONS.

MONDAY.

Morning.

In that day shall the branch of the Lord be beautiful and glorious, and the fruit of the earth shall be excellent and comely for them that are escaped of Israel.
And a man shall be as an hiding-place from the wind, and a covert from the tempest; as rivers of water in a dry place; as the shadow of a great rock in a weary land.
And the eyes of them that see shall not be dim: and the ears of them that hear shall hearken.
The heart also of the rash shall understand knowledge, and the tongue of the stammerers shall be ready to speak plainly.

Isa. iv. 2. Isa. xxxii. 2, 3, 4.

Evening.

Peter rose up, and said unto them, Men and brethren, ye know how that a good while ago God made choice among us, that the Gentiles by my mouth should hear the word of the gospel, and believe.
And God, which knoweth the hearts, bare them witness, giving them the Holy Ghost, even as he did unto us.
Now therefore why tempt ye God, to put a yoke upon the neck of the disciples, which neither our fathers nor we were able to bear?
But we believe that, through the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, we shall be saved, even as they.

Acts xv. 7, 8, 10, 11.

TUESDAY.

Morning.

Though the Lord be high, yet hath he respect unto the lowly: but the proud he knoweth afar off.
Though I walk in the midst of trouble thou wilt revive me; thou shalt stretch forth thine hand against the wrath of mine enemies, and thy right hand shall save me.
The Lord will perfect that which concerneth me; thy mercy, O Lord, endureth for ever: forsake not the works of thine own hands.
Light is sown for the righteous and gladness for the upright in heart.

Ps. cxxxviii. 6, 7, 8. Ps. xcvii. 11.

Evening.

O sing unto the Lord a new song; for he hath done marvellous things: his right hand, and his holy arm, hath gotten him the victory.
The Lord hath made known his salvation; his righteousness hath he openly shewed in the sight of the heathen.
He hath remembered his mercy and his truth toward the house of Israel; all the ends of the earth have seen the salvation of our God.
Make a joyful noise unto the Lord, all the earth; make a loud noise, and rejoice, and sing praise.

Ps. xcviii. 1, 2, 3, 4.

WEDNESDAY.

Morning.

And we declare unto you glad tidings, how that the promise which was made unto the fathers,
God hath fulfilled the same unto us their children, in that he hath raised up Jesus again; as it is written in the second psalm, Thou art my Son, this day have I begotten thee.
And as concerning that he raised him up from the dead, now no more to return to corruption, he said on this wise, I will give you the sure mercies of David.
Wherefore he saith also in another psalm, Thou shalt not suffer Thine Holy One to see corruption.

Acts xiii. 32, 33, 34, 35.

Evening.

These six things doth the Lord hate; yea, seven are an abomination unto:
A proud look, a lying tongue, and hands that shed innocent blood,
An heart that deviseth wicked imaginations, feet that be swift in running to mischief,
A false witness that speaketh lies, and he that soweth discord among brethren.
If we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship one with another, and the blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth us from all sin.

Prov. vi. 16, 17, 18, 19. 1 John i. 7.

THURSDAY.

Morning.

This is my commandment, That ye love one another, as I have loved you.
Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends.
Ye are my friends, if ye do whatsoever I command you.
Let that therefore abide in you which ye have heard from the beginning. If that which ye have heard from the beginning shall remain in you, ye also shall continue in the Son and in the Father.
And this is the promise that he hath promised us, even eternal.

John xv. 12 13, 14. 1 John ii. 24, 25.

Evening.

The Lord by wisdom hath founded the earth; by understanding hath he established the heavens.
By his knowledge the depths are broken up, and the clouds drop down the dew.
My son, let not them depart from thine eyes: keep sound wisdom and discretion;
So shall they be life unto thy soul, and grace to thy neck.
Then shalt thou walk in thy way safely, and thy foot shall not stumble.
When thou liest down thou shalt not be afraid; yea, thou shalt lie down, and thy sleep shall be sweet.

Prov. iii. 19, 20, 21, 22, 23, 24.

FRIDAY.

Morning.

Let the heavens be glad, and let the earth rejoice; and let men say among the nations, The Lord reigneth.
And he shall judge among many people, and rebuke strong nations afar off; and they shall beat their swords into ploughshares, and their spears into pruning-hooks; nation shall not lift up a sword against nation, neither shall they learn war any more.
But they shall sit every man under his vine, and under his fig-tree; and none shall make them afraid; for the mouth of the Lord of hosts hath spoken it.
For all people will walk every one in the name of his god, and we will walk in the name of the Lord our God for ever and ever.

1 Chron. xvi. 31. Micah iv. 3, 4, 5.

Evening.

The Lord will bless his people with peace.
The wolf also shall dwell with the lamb, and the leopard shall lie down with the kid; and the calf, and the young lion, and the fatling together; and a little child shall lead them.
And the cow and the ear shall feed; their young ones shall lie down together; and the lion shall eat straw like the ox.
And the sucking child shall play on the hole of the asp, and the weaned child shall put his hand on the cockatrice’ den.
They shall not hurt nor destroy in all my holy mountain: for the earth shall be full of the knowledge of the Lord, as the waters cover the sea.

Ps. xxix. 11. Isa. xi. 6, 7 8, 9.

SATURDAY.

Morning.

Beloved, I wish above all things that thou mayest prosper and be in health, even as thy soul prospereth.
For I rejoiced greatly when the brethren came and testified of the truth that is in thee, even as thou walkest in the truth.
I have no greater joy than to hear that my children walk in truth.
Beloved, thou doest faithfully whatsoever thou doest to the brethren, and to strangers;
Which have borne witness of thy charity before the church: whom if thou bring forward on their journey after a godly sort, thou shalt do well.

3 John 2, 3, 4, 5, 6.

Evening.

But ye, beloved, building up yourselves on your most holy faith, praying in the Holy Ghost,
Keep yourselves in the love of God, looking for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ unto eternal life.
And of some have compassion, making a difference:
And others save with fear, pulling them out of the fire; hating even the garment spotted by the flesh.
Now unto him that is able to keep you from falling, and to present you faultless before the presence of his glory with exceeding joy,
To the only wise God our Saviour, be glory and majesty, dominion and power, both now and ever. Amen.

Jude 20, 21, 22, 23, 24, 25.

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