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a rest-sweet to think of and to know that it will certainly come—but now is the time for work. The time is short, and every Lord's day may be our last. Let us then stir up ourselves to more earnest devotedness to our Lord and Master during the little while that we wait for Him; and let us never forget that His word shall not return unto Him void, but shall accomplish that for which it is sent. May we be vessels fit for the Master's use, that it may be through us, with others, that He will accomplish His purpose by the word which He sends.
There are two things that put a workman to shame. One is that he works so little. We are all apt to think a great deal of the little we do; to magnify all we do; but our Master may think it very small indeed in comparison with what we could do. Let us not forget the exhortation,
Whatsoever thy hand findeth to do, do it with thy might.” Some are uneven, and work, as it were, by fits and starts: very energetic to-day, but sluggish to-morrow. It is patient continuance in well-doing that should characterise the christian worker.
Another thing that puts the workman to shame is when the work is badly done. It is not to go on in a mere routine, but to stir up the gift that is in us, that that which our hand finds to do
be done in a manner worthy of the cause in which we labour.
May we seek grace from God so to labour during the little while that remains, doing that which our Lord and Master has set us to do, that when we see Him we may prove to have done what we could, and not be workmen that need to be ashamed, and to Him shall be all the praise and
NOTES ON SCRIPTURE.
VERSES 12, 13. Christ drives out those that sold and bought in the temple, and overthrew the tables of the money-changers. This is recorded also by Mark (xi.) and Luke (xix.), but must not be confounded with the cleansing of the temple as given by John (ii.), which was at the beginning of Christ's ministry.
In John, from the beginning, the Jews are looked at as rejected, and the zeal of Christ cleanses His Father's house ; but in our gospel it is a different cleansing and towards the close of Christ's ministry. Here He says "My house." The multitude had hailed Him as the Son of David, the king that cometh in the name of Jehovah : He would act as such, and cleanse the temple of God, saying, “My house shall be called the house of prayer; but ye have made it a den of thieves.”
This is a quotation from Isaiah lvi. 7, which reads, “Mine house shall be called an house of prayer for all people," or 'all peoples ;' and this is quoted in full in Mark xi., where it should read, not called of all nations the house of prayer,' but
called a house of prayer for all nations. The words for all nations' are omitted in Matthew, in character with the Gospel.
The money-changers were those who changed the money of Jews from foreign or distant lands, that the half-shekel of the temple might be presented in Hebrew coin; they doubtless took advantage where they could, and this called forth the severe language of Christ.
Verses 14–16. Christ is still in the temple, and the blind and lame come to Him, and He heals them. He is a king that can give sight to the blind and strength to the lame.
The children also cry in the temple, “Hosanna to the Son of David." When the chief priests and scribes heard this cry, and saw the wonderful things that Christ did, they were sore displeased. They would not receive the Son of David.
They asked our Lord, if He heard what the children were saying. He said He did : had not the scripture said, "Out of the mouths of babes and sucklings thou hast perfected praise ?" Christ must have testimony borne to Him as the Son of David : if the rulers would not render that testimony, the praise should come forth from the babes and sucklings. The testimony of the multitude was on the way: this may have been hushed by the frowns of the rulers when in Jerusalem, but the children opportunely continued it in the temple itself.
Verses 17-22. Christ left them and went out of the city into Bethany, and there passed the night. The words left them are significant, as in other places.
In the morning Christ hungered and came to a fig-tree, but found nothing but leaves. He said unto it, “Let no fruit grow on thee henceforward for ever.”
And immediately the tree withered away. By comparing this with the account in Mark (xi.) it will be seen that the denouncing the fig-tree was before the cleansing of the temple, and that it was not seen to be withered until the next day. In Matthew it is grouped together morally, irrespective of chronological order.
In Mark also it is said that "the time of figs was not yet,” which has created a difficulty, as if our Lord expected figs before the time. But we are told that figs were eaten both ripe and before they were ripe; and our Lord may have gone for the unripe fruit, " for the time of (gathering ripe] figs was not yet."
The fig-tree doubtless pointed to Israel: the Lord came seeking fruit, but found none: nothing but leaves, the mere profession of being God's people. Fruit should not be gathered from it for
There will be fruit from the remnant of Israel by-and-by; but not from the old stock as such.
HINTS ON THE TABERNACLE AND THE
I HAVE been devoting attention lately to the tabernacle in the wilderness, and the sacrifices connected therewith, and I desire, by the help of God, to lay before Sunday-school teachers a few hints that I think may be helpful to them in bringing these subjects before their scholars.
The first thing needed is to get a general idea of what God intended to teach by a tabernacle. It was God's chosen way at that time of dwelling among His people. His words are “ Let them make me a sanctuary, that I may dwell among them.” (Exod. xxv. 8.)
The teacher should shew that this was not to the world at large, but to a chosen people. God, as it were, was taking out a sample, and was dealing with them after a certain manner, and proving what man was when placed under these conditions.
That the tabernacle and Jewish ritual was not
for all mankind is shewn in many ways. The assertion that God had brought them out of the land of Egypt shewed the people to be the children of Israel who also went into Egypt, as God had foretold to Abraham. (Gen. xv. 13, 14.)
There are also certain rules laid down as to how others might be brought in: the Ammonite and Moabite not even till the tenth generation. (Deut. xxiii. 3, &c.)
There is also the express declaration in the New Testament that the Gentiles have not the law. (Rom. ii. 14.)
This is an important point to make clear before the scholars because of so many putting themselves under the law, and asking God to incline their hearts to keep it. It was not given to the Gentiles ; but at the same time if an unconverted man hears or reads any part of scripture, and by this means learns the will and mind of God, of course he is bound to obey it. The Christian is not under the law, but under grace (Rom. vi. 14, 15), yet he is under law to Christ. (1 Cor. ix. 21.)
The next point is that though God dwelt among them, he was hidden from them.
This is proved by the high priest going into the holy of holies but once a year, and the express declaration in the New Testament that the way into the holiest was not then made manifest. (Heb. ix. 8.) The veil hid the holiest from view, even of the priests, except on the occasion named.
Contrast with this, Christ come down from heaven, Immanuel, "God with us;" and at the cross the veil was rent, and the Christian has. access into the holy place, even heaven itself.
Still there was in the tabernacle a meeting-place between God and the sinner. God must be ap