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As a Christian teacher, I have always felt that a pastor's whole life should be the continual study of God's truth ; and when this is the case, the delivery of a profitable exposition of particular portions of it will not demand laborious composition.

Every man, however, has his proper gift of God.

With regard to the reporters, I feel it only justice to them to say, that they have performed their task with singular accuracy. Here and there phrases are employed which are not verbally correct, and there are occasional omissions. These, however, bear so small a proportion to the whole, that I can have no objection to these sketches going forth as a sufficiently accurate report of my exact words. I have now only to ask the reader to pray, that a publication by no means contemplated by me may be owned and blessed by the Great Head of the Church, to the edification of souls in the setting forth of divine truth.

JOSEPH BAYLEE.

BIRKENHEAD.

PART I.

ON PARABOLIC TEACHING.

Mat. xii. 34, 35.—“ All these things spake Jesus unto the multitude in parables, and without a parable spake he not unto them, that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the prophet, saying, 'I will open my mouth in parables: I will utter things which have been kept secret from the foundation of the world.''

The Lord seeth not as man seeth: the Lord doeth not as man doeth: the Lord teacheth not as man teacheth. When the blessed Jesus was in this world, how

very different he was from the long expected Messiah for whom the Jews had been looking. They thought that they had gathered out of the Scriptures what Messiah was to be, and when Jesus came he was so different from what they had expected, out of the very

word of God that taught respecting him, that they did not know him, they would not have him. “ He came unto his own, and his own received him not.” When this same blessed Jesus stood amongst men as a teacher, how very different was he as a teacher from what people would have expected him to be—sometimes so very clear and simple, that the common people heard him gladly; at other times, indeed mingled with those very times, so very mysterious and dark, that to this present hour we feel that we are only getting a glimpse of the full meaning of what he spoke. But he did not do this without a purpose : we read here, “He spoke to the multitude in parables.” Instead of appearing to be a loving and kind teacher, there seems often a harshness in our Saviour's teaching : he says in this chapter, in the 13th, 14th, and 15th verses, explaining the reason of his parabolic teaching, “Therefore speak I to them in parables ; because they seeing see not, and hearing they hear not, neither do they understand. And in them is fulfilled the prophecy of Isaias, which saith, “By hearing ye shall hear and shall not understand, and seeing ye shall see and shall not perceive, for this people's heart is waxed gross, and their ears are dúll of hearing, and their eyes they have closed, lest at any time they should see with their eyes and hear with their ears, and should understand with their heart, and should be converted and I should heal them.' We do, indeed, learn from this a deep lesson, that the Lord's teaching is very different from man's method of teaching.

The subject which our text brings before us today is one which very deeply concerns our own eternal interests. It is one that is well suited to make us search into the state of our own hearts, and to make us see whether we are those persons who, if our Lord Jesus Christ were here in person among us this morning, are in that state of mind that we could profit by his teaching, or only in that state of mind that would make us to hear in vain, and to no purpose.

“ All these things spake Jesus unto the multitude in parables, and without a parable spake he not unto them, that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the prophet, saying, "I will open my mouth in parables: I will utter things which have been kept secret from the foundation of the world.'” From these words let us consider:

I. The nature of parabolic teaching ;
II. The need that we have of that teaching;
III. The great blessing of it.

Let us pray that that blessed Spirit of grace, who alone can unfold the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven, will be with all our hearts and all our understandings at this time, making us indeed to receive these mysteries into our hearts to the enlightening of our understanding.

1. Let us consider the nature of parabolic teaching.

It is simply comparison. Where there are two things that have any resemblance one to the other, and where we use one as the resemblance of the other, there we have teaching by parable. It is in the point of resemblance, and only in that one point, that the parable consists. A parable consists either of something giving us wisdom on earth, or giving us wisdom respecting spiritual things. The former sort of parable is not used by our blessed Saviour, or if it be, but very sparingly. It is once or twice used in the Old Testament scriptures; for instance, we have Jotham's parable, or rather fable, of the trees of the forest, which was not intended to teach them wisdom respecting heaven, but rather to instruct them concerning the choice of another king. The heathen fables all partook of this character. The well known fables of Æsop did not instruct them who sought therein for instruction in anything beyond worldly wisdom, and this is properly the distinction between a fable and a parable; in the manner of the instruction they are both the same, being a comparison of one thing with another. The parables of Scripture are intended, from visible or earthly things to teach the nature of spiritual and heavenly things. To interpret them rightly, therefore, we must consider what was the purpose that our Lord

As a Christian teacher, I have always felt that a pastor's whole life should be the continual study of God's truth ; and when this is the case, the delivery of a profitable exposition of particular portions of it will not demand laborious composition.

Every man, however, has his proper gift of God.

With regard to the reporters, I feel it only justice to them to say, that they have performed their task with singular accuracy. Here and there phrases are employed which are not verbally correct, and there are occasional omissions. These, however, bear so small a proportion to the whole, that I can have no objection to these sketches going forth as a sufficiently accurate report of my exact words. I have now only to ask the reader to pray, that a publication by no means contemplated by me may be owned and blessed by the Great Head of the Church, to the edification of souls in the setting forth of divine truth.

JOSEPH BAYLEE.

BIRKENHEAD,

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