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pheme, but they could only do so against their conscience, and against light. This same Holy Spirit was commissioned to lead the disciples into all truth. How awful to be one of that number whom he reproves of sin and judgment! How blessed to be of them whom he leads into all truth!
FIFTH SUNDAY AFTER EASTER.
Genesis xxi. 1—21.-The Birth of Isaac. QUESTIONS.—Verse 1. Did God visit Sarah, as he had said ? When had he said that she should have a son? (See xvii, 21.)-V. 3. What was the name of the child called ? Why was he called Isaac ? (xvii. 19.)-V. 4. What rite did Abraham perform on him the eighth day. Why did he circumcise him ? Does it not shew that we love God, when we do what he bids us?-V. 5. How old was Abraham when Isaac was born? How old was Sarah ? (See xvi. 17.) Had the promise been long delayed ? (Comp. xii. 2, 4.)V. 6. What did Sarah mean by “laughing”? ?— That God had made her rejoice.—V. 7. Did she think it improbable that she should have a son ?-V. 9. Was there any thing now which distinguished the happiness of the family? What was Ishmael doing? Was he older than Isaac ? Was it right that he should mock his younger brother?-V. 10. What did Sarah wish Abraham to do? Who was the “bondwoman"?-V. ll. Was Abraham distressed at this ?V. 12. What does God command him to do? Why was Ishmael to be sent away ?-V. 13. Did God promise any thing to Ishmael ? Why was he to be thus blessed ?-V. 14. Where did Hagar go when she was dismissed ? Where was Beer-sheba ? (See vv. 33, 34. comp. verse 31 with xx. 1.) What did Abraham's providing her with bread and water shew? In what kind of a country was Beersheba ?-V. 15. What happened in the wilderness ? What did she do with the child ?-V. 16. Why did she go away from the child ? About how old was Ishmael at this time? (xvi. 16. and xxi. 5.) V. 17. Did God hear the weeping ? Did he comfort her? Had not Ishmael's own misconduct brought this distress upon him ? Could he and his mother, then, expect that God would thus have pity on them? What does David say about God's compassion ? (Is. ciii. 13.) And is he not kind even to the evil ? (Luke vi. 35.) -V. 18. What promise did God make to Hagar?-V. 19. What did he shew her for her present need ?-V. 20. What did Ishmael become when he grew up ?-V. 21. Where did he live? Where did his wife come from? Why did his mother fetch his wife from Egypt? (xvi. 1.)
GLOSSARY.–V. 9. Mocking. St. Paul (Gal. iv. 29.) says that he persecuted him. Perhaps beat him, jeering and deriding him.-V. 15. The wilderness was a thirsty place, where no water could be obtained. This wilderness was called that of Beer-sheba, from the cause below mentioned. (verse 31.)
GENERAL REMARK.—God's promise gradually ripens to its fulfilment. The promised child is at last born, and an event soon happens which confirms his heirship. Ishmael persecutes his younger brother, and because of that he is justly sent away. And this opens the way to Isaac being made Abraham's sole heir. God makes use at one time of extraordinary, at another of natural means, to accomplish his end. Is it likely that God's spiritual promises should fail, when he thus both can and does make use of every means for their accomplishment, unless we fail ourselves.
John xvi. 23–33.-Christ speaks of his departure. QUESTIONS.-Verse 23. What did Christ mean by " that day"? -The time after his resurrection and ascension, and the coming of the Holy Ghost upon them. What did he mean by “asking" ?Enquiring to have doubts removed. Why would they not ask any thing then ? (xiv. 26.) Would they have then what they prayed the Father for? In whose name were they to pray for ?-V. 24. Why had they not yet prayed in his name?—They did not probably rightly understand his character as Mediator.-V. 25. How had Christ spoken these things to them? What do you mean by “proverbs”? -Dark sayings, which contained many things they could not understand. Was this mode of speaking always to continue? When did Christ instruct them plainly ?-After the Holy Spirit had descended to teach them.-V. 26. Should we not pray to God in Christ's name? Can you tell me why we are to pray in his name? -V. 27. Did the Father love Christ's disciples ? What does Solomon say about God's love? (Prov. vii. 17.)-V. 28. What does Christ say about his departure ?-V. 29. Did his disciples understand him ?-V. 30. Of what did they feel sure? How had this shewn them that he knew all things ?-He knew all that was about to happen to him. What did they particularly believe?-Vv. 31, 32. Would this belief keep them faithful to him? When did this scattering happen ? (Matt. xxvi. 56.) Ought we not to be fearful, rather than confident, of ourselves ?-V. 33. Why had Christ said these things of them? What were they to expect in the world? What was to give them comfort? Should not the same reason make us joyful in believing on Christ :
GLOSSARY.–V. 23. Ask. There is a difference between these two words in the original. And the first seems to mean, Ask nothing; Enquire to have doubts and difficulties removed. The second, pray, or beg for grace and mercy.–V. 25. Proverbs, or parables, margin. For its meaning see verse 29.
GENERAL REMARK.-Christ at one time speaks obscurely, at another plainly, to his disciples. He makes his words plain as they are able to bear them. If we are sincerely serving him, we may be sure that he will teach us as we can bear it. When he speaks obscurely to us in his word, let us wait patiently until we can understand it; when he speaks plainly, let us say, with the disciples,
* Now, we are sure that thou knowest all things; by this we believe that thou camest forth from God."
SUNDAY AFTER ASCENSION DAY. GENESIS xxi. 22—34.—Abraham's sojourn at Beer-sheba. QUESTIONS.—Verse 22. Who was Abimelech ? (See xxvi. 1.) Had Abraham known him before? (xx. 1, 2.) Wbat opinion had he of his country? (xx. 11.) Had he shewn himself, however, to be an upright man ? (xx. 14.) Did Abimelech think that God was with Abraham ?-V. 23. What did he wish him to swear?-V. 24. Did Abraham promise ?–V. 25. What cause of complaint had be against Abimelech ?—V. 26. Did Abimelech know any thing about it? May we not think from his character that he would have set all to rights if he had ?_V. 27. After this was settled, what did they do? Was it right in Abraham to make a covenant with a Philistine ?-Though he was one, he was an upright and honest man, and there was nothing against his forming a covenant with such.-V. 31. What did they call the name of the place? Why so ? -V. 32. Whither did Abimelech return? Where probably did he go? (See xx. 2.) How was Beer-sheba situated with regard to Gerar ?-To the south.-V. 33. What further did Abraham do at Gerar? What was this grove for? Whom did he there pray to ? Does not this shew that God was in his thoughts in what he was doing? Would it not be likely that God would be with him (v. 22) when he thus sought him ?
GLOSSARY.–V. 22. Abimelech seems to have been a common name of these kings, as Pharaoh of the Egyptians.-V. 23. Abimelech had invited Abraham to continue in his land. (xx. 15.)—V. 25. Wells of water were dug in different places for the cattle, because of the drought.-V. 26. Wot. Knew.-V. 31. Beer-sheba. (Margin.) The well of the oath.
GENERAL REMARK.-It was said of Abraham, “God is with VOL, IV.
thee in all that thou doest.” It was seen by others, because God prospered and blessed him. And why was be with him? The answer is in the 33rd verse of this chapter. He made religion the great business of his life. He gave up his heart to serve God, and God blessed his servant. If we would have God with ns, we must serve and fear him. “ Draw nigh to God, and he will draw nigh to you."
John xv. 26, 27. xvi. 1–4.-The Office of the Comforter. QUESTIONS.–Verse 26. Whom does Christ promise to send them from the Father? When was he to come? What does he call him? What was he to do for them? What do you mean by “testify”? How would he testify of Christ ?—By proving the truth of his mission. Why is he called the Spirit of truth? (See xvi. 13. and I John v. 6.) To whom would he testify of Christ? (xvi. 8.) -V. 27. Were the disciples also to bear witness or testify of their Master? Of what were they to testify? Of what in particular? (Acts i. 22.) By whose power were they enabled to do this? (Acts i. 8.)-xvi. l. Wny had he spoken of these things to them? What things were they ? (xv. 20, 21.) What did he mean by offended ?--Discouraged by these difficulties from his service.-V. 2. What particularly would the Jews do to them? Tell me the names of any whom they killed. Did Paul think that he was doing God service when he persecuted the disciples ? (Acts xxvi. 9.) If the Jews had earnestly desired to know what was right, would not God have taught them? Why did they do all these things against Christ's religion ? (xv. 21. and verse 3.)
GLOSSARY.-V. 26. Comforter, or, as we mentioned before, the Pleader or Advocate of Christ's cause against the world.-svi. I. Offended, or scandalized. Find these persecutions to raise stumbling blocks in the way, which had not been foreseen or calculated upon.
GENERAL REMARK.-Christ told his disciples, by word of mouth, that they might expect to meet with difficulties, persecution, aftliction, mockery, and scorn. But being forewarned concerning them, they would be forearmed. Christ tells us, by his written word, that through much tribulation of one kind and another we must enter into the kingdom of heaven. Let us not, then, be dismayed by the prospect; for he says, also, “B good cheer, I have overcome the world."
GENESIS xxii. 1-19.-Abraham goes to offer up Isaac. QUESTIONS.-Verse 1. What is meant by God tempting Abraham? He made trial or proof of his faith.-V. 2. What does he desire him to do? Was not this a hard and strange request ? Was not Isaac the child of promise? Would this, then, if Abraham obeyed, be a full proof of his faith ?-V. 3. Did Abraham immediately obey ? Where was he to go to? Where was Mount Moriah ?-It was a continued chain of mountains, one of which was Mount Sion. V.4. How long were they going? Would Abraham have time, if he pleased to repent of his determination ?-V. 5. Did he go alone with his son to the place?-V. 6. What did Isaac carry? What may we believe this was a type of ? (John xix. 17.)-V. 7. What did Isaac ask his father? Did he then know that he was to be offered up ? V. 8. What reply did his father make ?-V. 9. What preparations did Abraham make for the sacrifice ?-V. 10. Did he intend directly to slay his són? Did not this shew his readiness to obey ? Does St. Paul speak of him as being really offered up? (Heb. xi. 17, 19.) -Vv. 11, 12. What suddenly stayed his hand ? Why was he not to hurt Isaac? What had God seen in him ?-V.13. What did Abraham see near him ? What did he do with it?-V. 14. What did Abraham call the name of the place? Why so ?-V. 15. Did the angel speak to Abraham again ?-Vv. 16, 17. Why was Abraham to be blessed ?-V. 17. Relate the blessing. What is meant by “foreseeing the gate of hisenemies” ? -Conquering and overpowering them.-V. 18. Why were all nations to be blessed in him ? What does David say about the blessing of obedience ? (Ps. xix. 11.) V. 19. Where did Abraham return to ?
GLOSSARY.–V. 2. Moriah. See 2 Chron. iii. 1.-V. 9. Isaac appears, from this, to have given up his life willingly, as Christ did. -V. 14. Jehovah-jireh, (margin). The Lord will see, or provide, that is, for those who obey him.-V. 16. By myself. See Heb. vi. 13.
GENERAL REMARK.-We cannot conceive a greater trial of a man's faith than this. He was to slay his son, a thing which nature shudders at-his only son-beloved, and the child of promise-but, without a murmur, he obeys, rises up early in the morning, and sets out for the place. It could not be the hope of the reward which influenced him; for all would be extinguished if Isaac died. It was simply because he feared and loved God better than every thing that he obeyed. And his blessing was multiplied in consequence. Let us ever remember that the path to blessing is through obedience.