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John xiv. 15—31.-Christ comforts his Disciples in the prospect
of his departure. Questions.-Verse 15. How does Christ tell his disciples to shew their love to him ?-V. 16. What does he promise to pray to his Father for?-V. 17. Who was this Comforter? Why could not the world receive him? Who does he mean by the “world” ?V. 18. How would Christ come to them again ? Does he not promise to be with them to the end of the world ? (Matt. xxviü. 20.) Explain from verse 16 what he meant ?_V. 19. Who would not see him after a little while ? What did he refer to by this little while ? Would his disciples see him? How would they see him?-By faith, and the working of his Holy Spirit on their hearts.—V. 20. After his ascension into heaven, what would they know ?-V. 21. Who does Christ here say loved him? What blessings does he promise to such ?-V. 22. What question did Judas put to him ?-V. 23. How does our Saviour answer him? What then did he mean by manifesting himself to him ?-Shewing him his love, and abiding with him spiritually.—V. 24. Do we love Christ, if we do not keep his saying ? How, then, may we try ourselves whether we love him or no?-V. 26. What would the Comforter do for them when he came?-V. 27. Now Christ was going away, what did he leave with them? What kind of peace does the world give ?-A false, hollow, quickly-passing, unsubstantial peace. What kind of peace would he give?-A true, real-abiding, solid peace.-V. 29. Why had he told them of these things ?-V. 30. Why would he not talk much with them in future? Who was the Prince of this world? When was he coming ?—When the soldiers came to take and crucify him. (See Luke xxii. 53.)
GLOSSARY.–V. 18. Comfortless, (margin,) orphans. The Spirit was therefore a comforter, as well as an advocate and a teacher.V. 22. Judas thought that Christ would manifest himself in glory to the world.–V. 28. My Father, &c. See Athanasian Creed : “ Equal to the Father as touching his godhead, and inferior to the Father as touching his manhood."
GENERAL REMARK.—“He that hath my commandments, and keepeth them, he it is that loveth me.” “He that loveth me not, keepeth not my sayings.” How simple the test; how true the result! Do we seek for a proof that we love him, it is to be found in our obedience. Do we fancy that we love him, and are disobedient, we can remain no longer in doubt when this is applied.
TRINITY SUNDAY. GENESIS xxiii.-Sarah's Death and Burial. QUESTIONS.—Verses 1, 2. How old was Sarah when she died ? Supposing she came into Canaan at 65 years of age, how long had she been there? Where did she die ?-V. 3. When Abraham had mourned for her, whom did he speak to ?-V. 4. What request did he make of them? What does he call himself? Did he then possess the land which God had promised him ?-V. 6. What answer did the Hittites make? Was it not kind in them thus freely to offer a burying-place ?-V. 9. What did Abraham wish instead of this ?-V.8. Whom did he ask it of ?-Vv. 11, 12. When Ephron came, what offer did he make ?-V. 12. What did Abraham's bowing himself down shew ?-His respect for them and humility.-V.13. Does he wish to purchase the land ?-V. 15. What is the price agreed for it? How much was a shekel ? (See Glossary.)- V. 17. What was the land given in exchange for it? Does not this transaction shew Abraham's honourable character ? Should we not, if we are Christians, endeavour to be upright and honest in all our dealings ?-V. 19. Where did Abraham now bury Sarah ? Have we heard of Mamre before, and when ? (xviii. 1.)– V. 20. Did this burying-place become, henceforth, Abraham's own possession?
GLOSSARY.–V. 2. Kirjath-arba. The city of Arba, a great man among the Anakims, (Josh. xiv. 15.) called, perhaps from this time, Hebron.-Vv. 4, 6. How differently Abraham speaks of himself to what the Hittites do !-V. 15. It is not clear, in these early times, what the shekel was worth. It weighed probably about half an ounce, and would be half-a-crown of our money.-V. 16. Money was not stamped according to its value, as now, but taken by weight.
GENERAL REMARK.-If our religion be real, it will be seen as much in the common affairs of life as in our actual worship of God. Abraham's fear of God accompanied him in this dealing with Ephron as much as in his directly religious duties. It led him to be upright, and disinterested, and honest. We must not confine our religion to the closet and the church; but it must live in all that we do and say, and be seen in all our little dealings with our friends and companions, and school-fellows.
AFTERNOON LESSON. John iii. 1—16.-Christ speaks with Nicodemus on the New Birth.
QUESTIONS.--Verse 1. Who was this that came to Christ? Of what sect was he? What station did he hold among the Jews ? V. 2. When did he come? Why did he come by night? What had Christ's miracles made him feel ? But though he felt that Christ was
come from God, had he become his disciple ?-V.3. What does Christ tell him ? What did he mean by this ?—That though Nicodemus professed to believe, he could not enjoy the privileges of his religion here, or the kingdom of God hereafter, unless he were born again. How does he explain being born again? (verse 5.)--V. 4. Did Nicodemus understand him ?-V. 5. Explain Christ's answer, that he could not enter into the kingdom of God, unless he became openly his disciple, by being baptised, "of water," and truly his disciple by the renewing of the Holy Ghost, “and of the Spirit.”-V.6. What did he mean by these words !—That being born naturally, the man would be natural and carnal; but being born of the Spirit, he would be spiritual.-Y. 8. How does Christ illustrate this? How then does the Spirit work? But if all who are outwardly baptized are born of the Spirit, could we not all tell his working ?-V. 9. Did Nicodemus understand these things ?V. 10. Ought he not, being a teacher, to have known them?-V. 12. Could Christ expect, if he did not believe earthly things such as these, that he would believe heavenly? What were these heavenly things ?-Himself coming down from heaven from the Father, and becoming man.-V. 13. Who was this Son of man that came down from heaven ?-V. 14. What was the Son of man to do? What was his lifting up compared to ?-V. 15. Why was the Son of man to be lifted up? Was there anything like that in the brazen serpent being lifted up? (Num. xxi. 8, 9.)—V. 16. How did God prove his love to the world ? For what purpose was the Son of man given ? Must we not really believe in him, if we would have eternal life?
GLOSSARY.–V.5. It is not necessary with children to enter minutely into this. The following paraphrase from a great commentator may be satisfactory to us : “Jesus answers him, except a man be received as a proselyte, and that not of the ordinary sort, as among those Jews, but a Christian proselyte, such as are received by baptism in the Christian Church; so as to undertake the law of Christ, and renounce his former heathen or Jewish course; the first expressed by being washed in water, the ceremony of the Jew's proselytism, now also made use of by Christ; the second, by being born of the Spirit, entering on a new spiritual life, and not only passing under those external washings . . he cannot enter," &c.
GENERAL REMARK.-We may profess our belief in Christ's doctrine, and admire his law, as Nicodemus here did, and not be truly his disciple, or have a good hope of entering into the kingdom of heaven. Unless we are born again, from above, of the Spirit, so as to enter on a new spiritual course of life, taking his yoke upon us, and renouncing sin, we cannot enter into that blessed kingdom, either as real Christians here, or as saints hereafter.
INCREASE OF THE ISRAELITES DURING
THEIR STAY IN EGYPT.
Newport, Isle of Wight, April 8th, 1846. Rev. SIR, --The following calculations were made in reply to the question “Whether the rate of increase in the number of the Israelites during their sojourn in Egypt was greater than that of some European states has lately been?” and thinking they might perhaps interest the readers of your useful publication, I have taken the liberty of forwarding them to you.
C. D. SNOOKE. In Genesis xlvi. is given the number of Jacob's family; which, including Jacob himself
, Joseph and his two sons, amounted to 70 souls. If we reckon the wives of those of Jacob's sons who are mentioned as having children, the total number of those who went into Egypt will be found to be 85.
When numbered in the wilderness, the males upwards of 20 years of age were 603,550, besides the Levites, whose males upwards of one month old amounted to 22,000. (Numbers i. and iii.)
To find the total number from these data, we take the census of England, in 1841, as a guide to the relative 'number of males of different ages, and obtain the following results: Males of 11 Tribes, above 20 years old
603550 under do.
532496 Male Levites, above one month
22000 under do.
And supposing the females to be as many, we have the total number equal 2,316,892.
This number might be increased by reckoning the old: men who were unable to go forth to war; but it is probable that the words of Scripture, “ From 20 years old and upwards all that were able to go forth to war," include every man above 20, as it is said in Psalm cv. “There was not one feeble person among their tribes."
The time from Jacob's going into Egypt till the Exodus is determined by the principal chronologists to be 215 years. (See Usher's Chronology, Clinton's Fasti Hellenici, &c.)
Now by the formula r= where a, the amount,
P =2316392; p, the principal, =70; and t, the time, 215; we obtain r=
=( 33098 )*5=1.0496, or the annual rate of increase was very nearly 5 per cent.
If we take p=85, the rate will be 1.0486.
For periods of 10 years these rates of increase will be respectively 62.26 and 60.81 per cent.; at which rates the people would be doubled in 14.3 years, and 14.6 years.
The following particulars will serve to make a comparison between this increase and that of a few countries at the present day.
The population of England in the four decennial periods, from 1801 to 1841, increased respectively 14, 18, 16, and 14 per cent.
The highest rate of increase of any separate county in those periods was that of Monmouth, 37 per cent.
Prussia has been stated to afford the most extraordinary instance of increasing population in any old settled country; yet here we find it much below that of the Israelites, being but 19 per cent. between 1817 and 1827, or doubling the population every 40 years; and since 1827 the increase has been less.
The population of the United States at the decennial periods from 1790 to 1840 being compared, we find the rate of increase for the five periods to be respectively 35, 36, 33, 35, and 33 per cent., or doubling the population about every 24 years;
which is not much more than half as fast as the Israelites, although the United States are indebted to immigration for the greater portion of their increase, whereas the latter people were subjected for many years to every species of oppression for the purpose of reducing their numbers.
These facts plainly manifest the protecting power of Jehovah over his chosen people, and that he indeed “increased his people greatly, and made them stronger than their enemies.” (Psalm cv.)