from God, for evil cannot dwell with him; and if we regard iniquity in our hearts, the Lord will not hear us. But it is evident that Cain did not listen to God, for we have

III.— The murder and its punishment, (8-15.) -- Anger indulged soon came to worse. Like all bad men, Cain would blame every one but himself. The peace which Abel enjoyed would be a constant reproof to Cain, and would naturally increase his anger. He talked with Abel, probably on the reason why God had not accepted him, and from words he came to blows. Read 1 John iii. 12, and you have the reason why he killed him. Verily sin soon grows. The eating the forbidden fruit might have seemed a slight offence; but every tree is known by its fruit. Judge of Adam's first sin by this first murder, and then we may be able to form some idea of its enormity. Cain is not allowed to escape. God will take vengeance on all murderers. Man was made in God's image, and it is a fearful crime to deface that image. How the question- Where is Abel ?—must have startled Cain! Be sure thy sin will find thee out. See how Cain goes from one sin to another: he insolently tells a lie. And see how utterly selfish he is: Am I my brother's keeper?-what have I to do with him ?-he can take care of himself. But God will not allow him to escape-the very earth cries for vengeance; and a terrible punishment is inflicted. God declares him to be a fugitive and a vagabond-a poor homeless wanderer, whom the very earth would spurn, for it would not yield its strength to him, even when he tilled it. Cain was alarmed at the severity of this sentence, the most dreadful part of it being expulsion from God's presence, (v. 14.) It is almost certain that God appointed, after the fall, some fixed place of worship, probably the neighbourhood of the cherubim and flaming sword; and Cain was driven from this--no longer allowed to worship at the appointed place—banished from God's presence. Learn what a fearful thing sin is, and resist its beginnings. Notice, lastly, the constant state of dread in which Cain lived. Conscience does make cowards of us all. V. 16 shews the upshot of the whole-Cain went out from the presence of the Lord, and became of the earth, earthy.


THE TEMPTATION OF JESUS.—Matt. iv. 1-11. For other accounts of the temptation see Mark ii. and Luke iv. V. 1, 2.—Jesus had just been declared to be the Son of God with power : it was Satan's object to tempt Him to disavow His Sonship. Mark that temptations frequently follow spiritual enjoyments. The fact of His being tempted is a proof of Christ's humanity. Jesus was led by the Spirit; see what said of this leading, (Rom. viii. 14.) Jesus did not seek to be tempted, but was led into the wilderness for the purpose. Why? (See Heb. ii. 17, 18.) The hunger which succeeded His fasting is further proof of our Lord's humanity. Luke states that the temptation lasted all the forty days. Moses and Elijah fasted for a like period, (Exod. xxxiv. 28; 1 Kings xix. 8.)

V.3, 4.-The first assault.The tempter is named in verse 1. The word devil means calumniator, accuser. He is called the accuser of the brethren; and in this work he is unremitting, (Rev. xii. 9, 10.). Mark the similarity of this temptation with that of Eve—“Yea, hath God said ?"_“If thou be.' Satan must needs contradict God. He appeals to Christ's bodily wants, as if to obscure his real object. Jesus was hungry: the exercise of Divine power would at once supply food. Consider how many of Satan's temptations appeal to our bodily wants or carnal desires, and mark how Jesus withstood the tempter. He uses the sword of the Spirit. Notice how appropriate the quotation: (read the passage, Der viii. 2, 3.) God who had provided manna in the desert could easily provide bread in the wilderness. See Christ's advice to His disciples regarding this matter, (chap. vi. 25, 26;) and the prayer He taught them, (v. 11.)

V. 5-7.— The second assault.Foiled in his attempt to get Jesus to distrust God's providence, Satan now tempts Him to presume on it. He took Jesus along with him to Jerusalem; and as they stood together on a pinnacle of the temple, probably on one of the boundary walls whose immense height has been proved by recent excavations, he tempted Christ to cast himself down. The devil quotes Scripture (Ps. xci. 11, 12) as a cloak to his wicked design, thus transforming himself into an angel of light, (2 Cor. xi. 14.) But Jesus knew the prayer of David, (Ps. xix. 13,) and again He betakes himself to the Word of God, quoting from Deut. vi. 16. Note, that while the words are such as we may use in similar circumstances, they contain at once an assertion of His own divinity, and a rebuke to the tempter.

V. 8-11.The third assault.-Satan had tried to gain his object by cunning, but now he plainly demands the Saviour's homage. Jesus was conducted to the top of a high mountain, probably Nebo, or Olivet, or Tabor. This transition from place to place might be with the intention of exhausting the Saviour. It was from Mount Nebo that Moses was permitted to see the promised land, and now Satan might desire to imitate that transaction. “ All the kingdoms of the world” may mean that the view was very extensive, and that besides the devil described other regions far beyond. Were they his to offer? True, he is called the prince, and even the god of this world, (John xii. 31; 2 Cor. iv. 4,) but these are mere titles, descriptive of his influence over the wicked. The devil, in common with all creatures, is under the authority and control of God. He has no dominion of his own, and therefore has none to bestow. On the other hand, Jesus is a King, and has a kingdom, (see John xviii. 37; 1 Tim. vi. 15; Rev. xi. 15;) and not long after this He appointed a kingdom to His own, (Luke xxii. 29 ; see also Rom. viii. 17; Jas. ii. 5.) It is so in all Satan's temptations; he promises what he cannot give. He promises good while he himself is evil, and can only impart evil. The crisis had come. He had done his worst. Jesus could say now as he said afterwards, "The prince of this world cometh and hath nothing in me,” (John xiv. 30.) He repels this last assault with the same weapon-the sword of the Spirit. Learn from this our only source of strength in the hour of temptation, come when and how often it may. Jesus had not hitherto named His

adversary, but now He names him, and commands him hence. His authority over Satan is not less observable in the command, than in the words of Scripture used to enforce it, quoted from Deut. vi. 13, as if he had said, “Instead of being asked to worship thee, I am entitled to be worshipped by thee.” Luke tells us that the devil departed from him for a season. Satan frequently tempted Christ afterwards, and, on one occasion, through means of His own disciple, whom He rebuked in almost the same words as at this time, (chap. xvi. 23.) Learn from this lesson (1) to pray daily that we enter not into temptation; (2) when tempted, to resist the devil, in the strength of Divine grace and with the sword of the Spirit; (3) to remember who alone can deliver us from temptation, (chap. vi. 13; 2 Pet. ii. 9.)


THE BUILDING OF THE ARK.-Genesis vi. 1-22. V. 1, 2, 4, describe the growth of sin along with the increase of the human family. That increase was in accordance with the blessing pronounced on our first parents, (chap. i. 28.) Then, as now, God reckons all mankind as belonging to one or other of two classes—the just and the unjust. He had been dealing specially with the descendants of Seth, among whom He had preserved the knowledge of His will; they are called “the sons of God.” The descendants of Cain would doubtless be like their father, “who was of that wicked one,” (1 John iii. 12.) For a time these two classes dwelt apart; but latterly they had mingled together and intermarried. Verse 4 describes the evils of these unhallowed alliances. The children born of them were great men, heroes, but they were not good men. Mark that the degeneracy of the Sethites is traced to disregard of God's will in forming the marriage relation. The importance of a godly connection is frequently referred to in the Old Testament, (see chap. xxiv. 3, 4; xxvi. 34, 35; xxvii. 46; Mal. ii

. 11, 12.) The New Testament command is plain,-"Be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers,” (2 Cor. vi. 14.)

V. 5.—Men were sinning as if God did not see them. But it is not so: Omniscience is an attribute of God—the darkness and the light are both alike to Him. God saw the wickedness of man, and He has given us this fearful description of it. Dark as is the picture of these antediluvians, it is only the picture of every unregenerate sinner of the present day. We must be born again before we can enter the kingdom of heaven.

V. 6, 7.-God still employs the language of men. God may change His plan; never His purpose, (see Num. xxiii. 19, &c.) {He is about to execute judgment, and He condescends to give us, as it were, a reason for His act. Sin not only offends God-it grieves Him. How unwilling He is to curse man whom He had blessed ; to destroy man whom He had created in His own image, and pronounced “very good!” Truly judgment is God's strange work, (Isa. xxviii. 21.)

V. 3 seems suitably to come into the narrative here. Amid all man's sinning, the Spirit of God had been striving with him. He had not only used common influences to arrest the tide of iniquity, but He had striven with individuals. We wonder at Jacob striving with the Angel. Here the Spirit of God strove with man. But there is a limit to this striving. God says so, and we ought to lay the statement to heart. We are admonished not to grieve the Holy Spirit, (Eph. iv. 30.) A reason is given why the Spirit should not always strive with man: "for that he also is flesh," that is, wholly carnal. Man's entire nature was under the bondage of corruption. The last part of the verse is supposed to indicate the time that was to elapse between the threat and its fulfilment, namely, 120 years. The words refer to man as a race: “Thou carriest them away as with a flood,” (Ps. xc. 3-5.)

V. 8.-In the midst of wrath God remembers mercy. This is the first time the word grace appears in the Bible. How often we find it afterwards! Grace is wholly of the Lord. It is by it we are saved from the wrath to come, as Noah was from the deluge, through faith, (Eph. ii. 8.) Here we have mention of God's grace, afterwards of Noah's faith, (Heb. xi. 7.) Mark that a family was now chosen from among a whole race, as afterwards God chose Abraham out of a family, and his seed from among all nations.

v. 9-13.—The period of man's probation was now nearly expired. God's Spirit had been striving with men ; Noah had been preaching to them, (2 Peter ii. 5 ;) but they resisted the one and despised the other, (see Matt. xxiv. 38.) God is at length about to execute judgment. Before doing so He, as it were, considers the case of

He looked upon the earth, but, alas ! it was corrupt. Wickedness had grown to corruption. When a thing becomes corrupt, it is incurable; it must perish. The corruption was universal. Noah alone was the exception. See what the grace of God can do. Here was one man in a whole world kept by grace. It is promised to us in sufficiency. Noah is called a just man; he had been justified by faith, (Rom. v. 1.) It is also said that he walked with God; this testifies to his reconciliation with God, (see Amos iii. 3.) Mark the privilege of having a pious parent. Noah's family shared in his safety; while the earth and the lower animals shared in the doom of the wicked.

V. 14-22.-Here the means of salvation are made known. Hitherto Noah had believed God's threat without knowing how he was to escape destruction. Now his faith is helped. God instructed him to make an ark. A minute description of the ark is given. Reckoning the cubit at 18 inches, we have the following dimensions : length, 450 feet;, breadth, 75 feet; height, 45 feet. Its burden is calculated to have been as much as that of 16 or 18 of our largest merchantmen. The faith of Noah, while strengthened by the command to build the ark, must have been put to a new trial. Hitherto he had preached righteousness; now he had to work righteousness. He had been despised for his words; now he would be derided for building his great ship. The ark is a type of Christ. It was the means of Noah's deliverance from the flood of waters. Christ is our only Saviour from the wrath to come. It is not enough to know about Christ, unless we betake ourselves to Him by faith. Noah must have had many assistants in building the ark; but none of them entered it at last, except his own sons. Mark the emphasis with which God announces that the judgment was from himself—"I, even I." It was no matter of chance; it was a solemn decree of God. Note that the waters which floated the ark to the saving of Noah, were used for the destruction of the wicked,

man anew.

even as the Gospel of Christ is said to be the savour of life unto life, or of death unto death, (2 Cor. ii. 15. 16.) God testifies to Noah's obedience in doing all that He had commanded him, as if He had said, “Well done, good and faithful servant.” In like manner God is not unmindful of our work and labour of love, (Heb. vi. 10.)

LESSON X.-MARCH 6. JESUS BEGINS HIS PUBLIC MINISTRY. - Matthew iv. 12-25. 1. The Ministry in Galilee, 12-17.—Note the time, it was after John's imprisonment. He had paid a visit to Nazareth, but the people of His native town would not receive Him, (Luke iv. 16-30,) and so He left the town, and never once revisited it. Learn, hence, the danger of rejecting Christ. Leaving Nazareth, He went to Capernaum, which is henceforward called “His own city.' Point out its position on the map. It lay on the sea of Galilee, and near it were the tribes of Zabulon and Nephthalim. Christ was the light of the world, (John viii. 12,) and His coming to this district brought light into it. The two tribes referred to were the descendants of those nations whom the King of Assyria brought in place of the captive tribes, (2 Kings xvii. 24,) and so the district was called “Galilee of the Gentiles.This will explain Isaiah's prophecy, which Matthew quotes, (15, 16.) The people were sitting in darkness, and in the region and shadow of death. What a picture of sin we have in these words ! Darkness, no light; shadow of deathspiritual death brooding over the whole region. This picture is still true of all places where the light of the Gospel has not come. Now see what Christ's coming brought. It brought light-great light. So it is still. All is dark where Christ is not; all is light where He is. What are we doing to spread this light? Now learn what Christ taught them. One word tells us all: repentwhich means, give up your sins, and turn to God. His kingdom was at hand; but without repentance there is no admission. Whenever Christ is preached, His kingdom is near; but unless we repent we cannot enter in, (Luke xiii. 3.) Have you repented ?

2. The call of disciples, 18-22.- Christ had a kingdom to establish, and He needed men to do it. Notice whom He does not select, (1 Cor. i. 26,) then notice whom He does call-simple fishermen. They were engaged in their ordinary occupations; Peter and Andrew were casting a net into the sea ; James and John were mending their nets. It is good to have a lawful honest calling, and to be earnest in it. We are never more likely to receive blessing, than when we are in the way of duty. Never mind how poor the occupation may be. All work is noble when we do it in God's name, as the work He gives us. See what these men were to become-fishers of men—i. e., preachers, who would win souls for Christ. Point out how nobly these men did their work. Read Acts ii. 41, and learn how many were gathered in by Peter by one sermon. Learn, further, the duty of obeying Christ's call. These men left all, and followed Christ. We must be prepared to leave all if Christ should ask us. But He will more than make up for all we forsake. Read Matthew xix. 27-30, and you will see what Christ promised Peter. He will do the same for all. Are you prepared to give up all for Christ?

3. Circuit through Galilee, 23-25.-- Having called these disciples, Jesus went throughout Galilee. Notice in detail what He did-mainly two things—He taught, and He healed-He did good to the soul, and good to the body. He taught in their synagogues, and He preached the Gospel of the kingdom-Gospel, i. e., good news. What were the good news ?-Salvation by faith in himself—this is the Gospel- this is the good news which Christ proclaims. Is it good news to you? Then He healed all manner of sickness, and all manner of disease. Notice the expression, “all manner of.” No sickness and no disease was beyond His control. He cured all with a word. Read the list in verse 24, and learn hence that this man must have been more than man—He must have been the Son of God. He can cure all soul diseases as easily as those of the body. Read Psalm ciii. 3-4, and you will see what He can do. Come to Him with all your troubles—He can cure them; with all your sins-- He can heal them--can wash you, and make you a new creature.



THE REV. WILLIAM C. BURNS, M.A. If the poet was justified in asserting that “the Christian is the highest style of man," it will equally be granted that the missionary who takes his life in his hand and goes forth to the high places of the field, devoted to the cause of the Redeemer, and animated by love for human souls, is the highest style of Christian. Such a man breathes most deeply the spirit of the Master whom he serves,—of Him who came into the world not to be ministered unto, but to minister; and who so loved the world that He died to redeem it from its self-inflicted misery. Religious biography, so fertile in these times in all ranks of society, has rarely presented so striking an example of this self-consecration to the cause of Christ, as is to be found in the "Memoir of William Burns," written with equal tenderness, good taste, and impartiality, by his distinguished brother, Dr. Islay Burns.* A brief notice of the work in these pages will not be unprofitable, should it induce our readers to peruse it for themselves, and get it introduced into Sabbath school and congregational libraries.

William C. Burns was born in 1815. He was the third son of the Rev. Dr. Burns of Kilsyth, whom many remember as an exemplary minister, and a man of genial nature and liberality of sentiment. William received the elements of his education at the parish school of Kilsyth ; thence passed to the grammar school of Aberdeen, when the youth of that institution enjoyed the wholesome discipline and inspiriting classical enthusiasm of Melvin; and thence to Marischal College. He was an apt scholar and student, won dis ction in his classes, and having, as he imagined, completed his education, returned home to the manse in 1931, bethinking himself of the law as the profession of his future life. He made all the requisite preparations for being apprenticed to his uncle,

Memoir of the Rev. William C. Burns, M.A., Missionary to China from the English Presbyterian Church. By the Rev. Islay Burns, D.Ď. London : Nisbet & Co. 1870. NO. III.]



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