Page images

Then the Twelve with fear awake;

In their trembling tones they spake To the Lord, as o'er him break

Angry seas:"Master, wake or we shall die

Whilst thy soul in sleep doth lie;
Tempest-tossed, the boat ruos high-

Save us, Lord."
Jesus raised his Godlike band,

As it were a magic wand,
Spake the words-divine command-


Quiet reigned, in might supreme,

Christ indeed a king did seem, From his face shone love's bright beam

On the Twelve.

"Exercise a living faith.

God ye worship, not a wraith." "He will answer,"-yet he saith

"Yield belief.”


Troubled soul, do not repine,

In thy trials, light shall shine; Christ's command is ever thine,

Meant for thee.

When the tempest of thy woes,

And the agonizing throes
Of thy ills around thee close,

Nigh to death, -
Leave all thoughts of earth behind:

Look unto the Lord, so kind,
And his words bear oft in mind:


Think how calm was Christ that night.

How he changed the dark to light; Now as then faith wins the fight:Peace, BE STILL!


Farmington, Utah.



( April 4th).

On this, the third day of Passion Week, Jesus went into Jerusalem as before and visited the temple. The Sanhedrim came to him to call him to account for the clearing of the temple. "By what authority doest thou these things?” The Lord answered their question by another, which when put to them in their capacity of a judge of spiritual things, and of the pretensions of prophets and teachers, was very hard either to answer or to pass in silence—what was their opinion of the baptism of John? If they replied that it was from heaven, their own conduct towards John would accuse them; if of men, then the people would not listen to them even when they denounced Jesus, because none doubted that John was a prophet. They refused to answer, and Jesus refused in like manner to answer them. In the parable of the Two Sons, given by Matthew, the Lord pronounces a strong condemnation on them for saying to God, “I go, sir,” but not going (Matt. XXI: 23-32; Mark XI: 27-33; Luke XX: 1-8). In the parable of the wicked husbandmen the history of the Jews is represented, who had stoned and killed the prophets and were about to crown their wickedness by the death of the Son. In the parable of the wedding garment, the destruction of the Jews, and the invitation of the gentiles to the feast in their stead, are vividly represented (Matt. XXI: 1-2; XXII: 1-14; Mark XII: 1-2; Luke XX: 9-19).

Not content with their plans for his death, the different parties try to entangle him in argument and to bring him into

contempt. First come the Pharisees and Herodians, as if to ask him to settle a dispute between them. “Is it lawful to give tribute to Cæsar or not?" The spirit of the answer of Christ lies here: that, since they had accepted Cæsar's money, they had confessed his rule, and were bound to give to the civil power what they had confessed to be due to it, as they were to render to God and his holy temple the offerings due to it. Next appeared the Sadducees, who denied a future state, and put before him a contradiction which seemed to arise out of that doctrine. Seven brethren in succession married a wife (Deut. XXV: 5); whose wife should she be in a future state? The answer was easy to find, the law in question referred obviously to the present time: and the answer of the Lord was suited to that fact and to the class of men whom he addressed. Jesus now retorts the argument on the Sadducees. Appealing to the Pentateuch, because his hearers did not acknowledge the authority of the latter books of the Bible, he recites the words, “I am the God of Abraham, and the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob," as used by Moses, and draws from them the argument that these men must then have been alive. Although the words would not at first sight suggest this inference, they really contain it; for the form of expression implies that he still exists and they still exist (Matt. XX: 15-33; Mark XII: 13-27; Luke XX: 20-40). Fresh questions awaited him, but his wisdom never failed to give the appropriate answer. And then he uttered to all the people that terrible denunciation of woe to the Pharisees with which we are familiar (Matt. XXIII: 1-39). If we compare it with our Lord's account of his own position in reference to the law, in the Sermon on the Mount, we see that the principles there laid down are every where violated by the Pharisees. Their almsgiving was ostentatious; their distinctions about oaths led to falsehood and profaneness; they were exact about the small observances and neglected the weightier ones of the law; they adorned the tombs of the prophets, saying that if they had lived in the time of their fathers they would not have slain them: and yet they were about to fill up the measure of their fathers' wickedness by slaying the greatest of the prophets, and persecuting and slaying his followers. After an indignant

denunciation of the hypocrites who, with a show of religion, had thus contrived to stifle the true spirit of religion and were in reality its chief persecutors, he apostraphizes Jerusalem in words full of compassion, yet carrying with them a sentence of death:

O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, thou that killest the prophets and stonest them which are sent unto thee, how often would I have gathered thy children together, even as a hen gathereth her chickens under her wings, and ye would not! Behold, your house is left unto you desolate. For I say unto you ye shall not see me henceforth, till ye shall say, "blessed is he that cometh in the name of the Lord” (Matt. XXIII).

Another great discourse belongs to this day, which, more than any other, presents Jesus as the great prophet of his people. On leaving the temple his disciples drew attention to the beauty of its structure, its “goodly stones and gifts," their remarks probably arising from the threats of destruction which had so lately been uttered by Jesus. Their Master answered that not one stone of the noble pile should be left upon another. When they reached the Mount of Olives the disciples, or rather the first four (Mark), speaking for the rest, asked him when this destruction should be accomplished. To understand the answer it must be borne in mind that Jesus warned them that he was not giving them an historical account such as would enable them to anticipate all the events. Of that day and hour knoweth no man, no, not even the angels of heaven, but my Father only.” Exact data of time are to be purposely withheld from them. Accordingly, two events, analogous in character but widely sundered by time, are so treated in the prophecy that it is almost impossible to disentangle them. The destruction of Jerusalem and the day of judgment—the national and the universal days of account -are spoken of together or alternately without hint of the great interval of time that separates them. Thus it may be seen that a most important fact is omitted; but the highest work of prophecy is not to fix times and seasons, but to disclose the divine significance of events. What was most important to them to know was that the destruction of Jerusalem followed upon the probation and rejection of her people, and

that the crucifixion and that destruction were connected as cause and effect (Matt. XXIV; Luke XXI). The conclusion which Jesus drew from his own awful warning was that they were not to attempt to fix the date of his own return; “therefore, be ye also ready, for in such an hour as ye think not the Son of Man cometh." The lesson of the parable of the ten virgins is the same; the Christian man is to be ever in a state of vigilance and preparation (Matt. XXIV: 44; XXV: 13). And the parable of the talents, here repeated in a modified form, teaches how precious to souls are the uses of time (XXV: 12-30). In concluding this momentous discourse, our Lord puts aside the destruction of Jerusalem, and displays to our eyes the picture of the final judgment. There will he himself be present, and will separate all the vast family of mankind into two classes, and shall appraise the works of each class as works done to himself, present in the world though invisible; and men shall see, some with terror and some with joy, that their life here was spent either for him or against him, and that the good which lay before them to do was provided for them by him, and not by chance, and the reward and punishment shall be apportioned to each (Matt. XXV: 31-46).

With these weighty words ends the third day; and whether we consider the importance of his recorded teaching, or the amount of sorrow and opposition and of sorrow presented to his mind, it was one of the greatest days of all his earthly ministrations. The general reflections of John (XII: 37-50), which contain a retrospect of his ministry and of the strange reception of him by his people, may well be read as if they came in here.


(April 5th.)

This day was passed in retirement with the apostles. Satan had put it into the mind of one of them to betray him; and Judas Iscariot made a covenant to betray him to the chief priests for thirty pieces of silver. The character of Judas and the degrees by which he reached the abyss of guilt in which

« PreviousContinue »