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.lwr, r "STORICS
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UNIFORM WITH THIS BOOK.
HEARTS AND VOICES. Songs of the Better
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HAGAR AND ISIIMAEL.
HIDING OF MOSES.
HANNAH AND- SAMUEL.
THE YOUNG KING JOSIAII.
SHUNAMMITE WOMAN AND SON.
ST. JOHN THE BAPTIST.
THE HOLY CHILD.
THE PRESENTATION IN THE TEMPLE.
THE COLOURED PLATES.
The Virgin and Child.
The Hiding of Moses.
Hannah anld Samuel.
LIST OF ILLUSTRATIONS.
THE VIRGIN AND CHILD. FrontlisZ'ice.
THE HIDING OF MOSES.
HANNAH AND SAMUEL.
THE YOUNG KING JOSIAH.
THE SHUNAMMITE WOMAN.
ST. JOHN THE BAPTIST.
THE PRESENTATION IN THE TEMPLE.
THE COLOURED PLATES.
T I '1'. I
>:kdPr" A -- I"~ \*t i
Ih. -I il ,l iii..
The Presentation in the Temple.
St. John the Baptist.
How tired and lonely this boy looks. No wonder. The dreary wilderness is on
every side of him as far as he can see. The hot sun is beating down upon the
burning sand. There is no shelter to be had, for there are no trees anywhere, only a
few stunted acacia shrubs growing here and there. By his side is a bottle, but it is
empty, and there is no well to be found from which it can be filled again.
BP~"O"RP~~e~B1'~ qm: 4~'~ JPslIt~P
~:~c"~i~i_.- p ,k' 3
Even his mother has gone a long way off. She cannot bear to see his- sufferings,
so she has stretched a shawl over his head to shade him from the scorching rays of
the sun, and has gone away where she cannot hear his moans, as in vain he asks her
to give him something to moisten his dried lips.
Who is this boy ? What has brought him here ?
His name is Ishmael. He is the son of Abraham. All his life he has lived in
his father's tents. He has had everything he could want, for Abraham is a rich
man, having many flocks and herds.
But why is he wandering in the wilderness without shelter or food or drink ?
Ah, it is his own fault. Abraham has another son, much younger than Ishmael.
He was born when his father and Sarah, his mother, were both very old and had
long given up all hope of ever having a child. But God gave one to them; he was
the child of promise, and they were very fond of him, and called him Isaac, which
means laughter, because his birth was such a joy to them in their old age. They
made a great deal of him, and he was to inherit the chief part of his father's
But Ishmael was jealous of him and used to tease and mock and laugh at him.
I dare say he was often told not, but it was no use. Very likely Hagar, too, his
mother, was jealous of this little boy who had come so unexpectedly between her son
and the possessions he would have had. Perhaps she even encouraged Ishmael to
go on mocking Isaac.
Until one day, as a great feast was being held to celebrate the child's
birthday when he was three or four years old, Sarah, his mother, found Ishmael, who
was now a big boy of fourteen years, teasing his little brother. She was very angry,
and went to Abraham and told him she would not bear it any longer : he must send
Hagar and her son away, for she would not live in the same tents with them.
Of course Abraham did not like to do this, for Ishmael was his child, and he
loved him in spite of all his faults. But at last she persuaded him, and he got up
early the next morning and took bread and a bottle of water and gave it to Hagar,
putting it on her shoulder, and sent her away with the child.
How wretched she must have been as she wandered on, further and further from
the home in which she had lived so long, not knowing where to go or what to do.
At last she thought she would make her way across the wilderness to Egypt, her
native land from which Abraham had taken her many years before when she was
young. But she forgot what a long way it was, and how many days it would take.
After a while all the bread was eaten and all the water drunk. What were they
to do? She knew there was no water near, for wherever there are wells in the
wilderness there are always trees growing near and all round them, and for miles, as far
as she can see, there is nothing but the wide flat desert of shadeless sand on every
side of them. At last, in her despair, his mother has left the boy to die, and
has sat herself down a good way off, as it were a bowshot, for she said, "Let
me not see the death of the child." Oh, how unhappy she is, her poor mother's
heart is almost broken by her trouble. She can do nothing except lift up her
voice and weep.
In her grief she has forgotten that they are not alone. How strange she, of
all people, should forget this. Some years back, before Ishmael was born, Sarah had
been so unkind to her that she had fled from her into the wilderness ; but God had
taught her that He was taking care of her, and in her gratitude, as she made her way
back to the tents, she called God by a beautiful name, which meant Thou God
But in spite of her forgetfulness God was watching over her and the child, ready
to help them in their trouble. The boy remembers what she has forgotten. Ile has
been taught about God ; he has learned to pray to God. Why should he not pray
to Him now, and ask Him to care for them ? And as he sits there he lifts up his
voice and calls to God to give them water.
And God heard the voice of the lad, and suddenly Hagar saw a well of water
close by which she had not seen before, full of cool sparkling water. How thankful
she must have been. How eagerly she springs upon her feet. How quickly she
snatches up the bottle from the ground, and filling it with water puts it to the
parched lips of the thirsty boy, and then drinks of it herself.
And the Angel of the Lord tells her wonderful things about Ishmael; how he
will grow up to be a mighty man, and become the father of a great nation. And no
doubt as she listens to him, she remembers that 1. .n years back when she was in the
wilderness by herself, an Angel had told her she would have a baby, who would
be a wild man and live in the wilderness.
All that the Angel told her came true. God was with the lad, and he grew
and dwelt in the wilderness, and became a great archer or hunter, and the Arabs,
that strange, wandering people about whom we hear so much in their desert life,
trace back their descent to Ishmael, and say he was their father.
What a sad thing it is to think that so much sorrow and trouble can come
from jealousy. Yet it very often is so. Envy and unkind f:-.l;in-. bring misery
not only on grown-up people, but on children too. And they are very common
sins, are they not ? How often boys and girls are jealous of one another, and tease
12 HA GA R
those who are richer, or cleverer, or better, or prettier than they are, and so make
themselves and others unhappy. But what a happy thing it is to know that God
is better to us than we deserve, and is more patient with us than we are with
other people. Abraham was impatient with Ishmael, and, because Sarah was
angry and kept on asking him, drove away the mother and child, and did not even
provide them with enough to eat and drink on their journey.
But God did not leave them alone, nor forget them, and when they were in the
greatest need and could do nothing to help themselves, sent His Angel to save them.
t; -, .
So even when we have brought trouble on ourselves by our own fault, God is patient
still, and we can always cry to Him for help. He will hear our voice, no matter where
we are or what we have done. He does not take away all the consequences of our
conduct. We must still bear some of the pain and suffering of what we have
brought on ourselves by our wrong-doing, but He overrules it in His love and wisdom
and brings good out of evil.
We hear about Ishmael twice after this in the Bible. He and Isaac saw one
another once again long years after, when they were both grown-up men. Where
do you think they met? It was at the funeral of Abraham. Together the two
brothers buried their father in the cave of Machpelah, burying all bad unkind feelings
in the grave where they laid his body.
One more thing we are told about Ishmael. We read that he died when he was
137 years old, in the presence of all his brethren, leaving behind him twelve sons, who
were great princes, and had castles and towns belonging to them.
So true was the message which the Angel brought to Hagar in the wilderness
when God heard the voice of the lad.
S-1 ERE is no country in the world of
S.I -1.- past history we know so much
S l.-,pt. The Bible tells us about it as
t '. 1 4,000 years ago. It tells us that
i l.til of its kings were called by the
S'- i.iii- of Pharaoh, that there were large
._ I.m. :, ;ind chariots and horses, that there
I i l ._e temples and palaces, great riches,
A ".-ii *- slaves.
i'.. ,:i we are sure all this is true, for
I.I.l.: and stones have been dug out of
th- I "'l in which they have been hidden for
l II,!,.:il:i of years, covered with pictures of
S.:' t h.-:.; things and writings about them. Among
,..4 0h-1 pt',;: i.tLies there are a great many of slaves
-:,I *!I heavy burdens, and making buildings,
OF tL Id .:1 :..11i gI all sorts of hard work. And the
Si1-: l-lll. tlIs us who these slaves were, and how
t hi" .- e there.
,' all remember the story of Joseph
S, .L b;1i.-:. Ild by his brothers, who were jealous
S,:! I-'ln, nd being carried away by the Ish-
S.,lit.I or Arab merchantmen into Egypt.
iy T! I !. was bought by a great officer of that
I 'I -.. slave. But little by little he rose,
-' il Iii- master, seeing how trustworthy he
S.. i ,- .i itnisted him with the care of everything
I lii- h.I.use. After a while his mistress was
I.._ ith him, and told a lie about him,
and he was cast into prison. But God was
watching over him, and he was taken out of his imprisonment by the king,
and made a mighty governor, and had charge, during a great famine, of the
corn which had been stored up. At last he was allowed to send for his old
father and his brothers, and they were given by Pharaoh a very rich and
fertile part of the land of Egypt called Goshen, where they lived. Everything
went well for about 250 years, and the children of Israel as they were called-
because they were descended from Jacob, to whom God had given the name of
Israel-grew larger and larger, until they became a mighty nation, and were very
rich. But the Pharaoh, who was now King of Egypt, knew nothing about Joseph
and all he had done for the land, or if he had heard he had forgotten all about it, and
he began to be afraid that the Israelites were growing too strong, and perhaps would
take Egypt away from the Egyptians, and govern it themselves. So he tried in
all sorts of ways to crush them down and prevent them increasing. He made them
slaves, obliged them to do very hard work, and ill-treated them. But God was with
them, and still in spite of all they kept on growing more and more.
At last the king made a law commanding every little boy baby that was
born among them to be put to death at once. This went on for some time,
until a woman c.lI.-.l Jochebed had a little baby, and he was so pretty, and she
loved him so much with all her mother's heart, that she could not bear to part
with him. So she said nothing, but hid the tiny child for three months, and no one
but I*,: father and. sister knew anything about him.
At last he. grew so big that she could not hide him any longer, and she was
very unhappy.; What was she to do ? If he was found the cruel officers of
Pharaoh ...-ll 'be sure to kill him. And she thought and thought, day and
ni_!t. u.iifl; -!h.. thought of a plan by which perhaps his life might be saved. It
:icm:.:l I n.i'-I.l very hopeless, but it was the best she could do. She got a
basket made, of:bulrushes which grow on the banks of .the river Nile, and
covered it 'over with a sort of p' t.'!, inside and out so that the water could
not get in. Then 'h w'-ent to the plI -, where her baby was hid, and took him out
and kissed lir, :;- iiln -in:l again .4,and laid him -Ii.! in and kicking in the
basket,.and :.:.:c,-.:i htit, '. er-.so 1:.-.. ii ,l, But what is she going to do with
the ':.i:-l: t L.-.!. :, ~h!.: t.J:.s it up insher arms down to the river and puts
it anm-.n tl ., ru-l-.--. i, t.LI the river may dot carry it away. Oh! how sad she
is as shi r t.,r ,. ,.. What will become" of the child, she thinks. Suppose
'.-a ...it crocodile comes and eats him, or
'. ....-':- t li:.:,-l:. rl. r ,- ow n the
S- : t r-. tl.. .. t .: .i .lashed to
.-':'- I- t : c ihli -Ii .:-rm em bers
.. :..'27 ._.,... .:1... Al._ t._ll: I, .. ., lt: iriam to
'. .I' th. |. :.t i,.. i :i!, l,, see w hat
S. ,,,:., .. ,I tl. h l-,: r n ..! i i the baby
I' ..I then very
'', "'; .:l :!-.I ,..,-.- back to
... 11,.1-1 I-!,,-,- ,:- !,,y in g as
S "I il.:- tti h t she can
2 .- -, th of the
a -- '.
baby in the distance. But it is only fancy, and when she arrives at her home
she sits down and cries so bitterly because she has lost her pretty baby.
Suddenly, as she goes about her work, wondering what will become of the
child, she hears some one calling her, and she looks out. It is Miriam, out of
child, she hears some one calling her, and she !ooks out. It is M/iriam, out of
SMO SE S 15
breath and-excited, running as fast as she can. What a wonderful story she has
to tell. As she stood and watched, the daughter of King Pharaoh came down to
the river to bathe, and walking along the bank saw the basket in the rushes.
She was so curious to know what could be in it that she told one ot the women
who. were waiting on her
to fetch the basket out of
"I 1,: i lu-II. s. W hen it was
S -"'. i : :.i .r -he opened the lid,
*' i I i.- I astonishment saw
S'I i... iul white-skinned
S I:., I ,. asleep. She knew
S1': 1- a Hebrew child,
^ '.;~ I ,. I .. 1 vptians are brown-
*.; '- ,,\I,, .1 I. Lnd this baby is
S. I Indeed, he looks
-o beautiful as he
alkes up and
.I.egins to cry, that
:he cannot bear to
0 v himUi killed,
and she tells those with her that she means to take it back to the palace.
How astonished they are. What will happen to this Israelite child if Pharaoh
sees it ? He will be sure to be very angry and have it put to death.
And while they are standing looking at the baby, Miriam comes to her and
asks her if'she shall get a nurse who will take care of the child for her till he is old
enough to run about. And the princess thinks it a very good plan, and tells her to
go and fetch one. But she little knows that the woman who so soon comes back
with Miriam, hurryin as fast as she can, is the child's own mother. Take this
child and nurse it for me," she says. We can imagine how delighted the mother
must be to have her child in her arms again. She kisses him again and again, and
holds him so tightly to her bosom as if she never could part from him again.
And she called his name Moses, which means taken out of the water."
But there is one thing troubles her : she cannot keep the child for ever. One
day the princess will send for him when he is old enough to come and live with her
in the palace.
And so it came to pass. By and by Moses is taken from his mother and goes to live
with the princess who had adopted him. He has got plentyofmoney,and fine clothes, and
everything he wants. He is taught all sorts of wise things, and becomes very learned.
But he is not happy. He knows he is not an Egyptian by birth, but an
Israelite. He knows too that, while he is so well off, his countrymen are slaves,
ill-treated and beaten. And God puts into his head the wish to deliver them out of
their slavery. He began to think of doing this when he was young, and when he came to
manhood he resolved to set about it. One day he went out for a walk where the
Israelites were working, and he saw an Egyptian striking one of them, and he was
very angry and slew the Egyptian, and buried him in the sand.
But that was not God's way of delivering the Israelites. It was not the right
way. He was breaking one of God's commandments, and we must never do evil in
the hope that good may come. The consequence was that he was obliged to run
away from Pharaoh's house, and get out of the land of Egypt as fast as he could.
How much this mistake cost him For forty years he was obliged to stay in a
strange land, unable to do anything to help his brethren. But God was watching
over him, and while he was taking care of the sheep of Jethro, his father-in-law, he
had plenty of time to think and to pray to God to show him what he ought to do.
At last, when he had learned how to serve God, the call came, and he went
back to Egypt and began his great work of freeing his countrymen out of the hands
of their taskmasters.
How different he is now. Time after time he went to Pharaoh and asked him
to let the people go, and time after time, when the plague came from God, the king
promised, and then, when the plague was taken away, changed his mind and would
not let them go. But Moses bore it p:ail.ntly. He was God's servant, doing God's
work, and content to wait God's time, until, on the t.: rilk- night when in every
house of the Egyptians, from the king's palace tn tli,: L.. war'ss hovel, the eldest child
lay dead, he led the multitude of the Israelites Lout ,:.!' Egypt. Patiently too he bore
with his countrymen all through the forty years" wandering in the wilderness, in
spite of their grumblings, their distrust of God, and their ingratitude for all that had
been done for them.
And when, after all his labours, God told him that he was not to enter the pro-
mised land but only see it from the top of a mountain at a distance, although he was
bitterly disappointed, yet he was so patient that he did not murmur, but bore it
meekly because it was God's Will.
There were two things which made him such a great man-he was.humble, and he
trusted in God. He was humble, for he was very meek above all men who were upon
the face of the earth, never thinking about ] ill, i: ii, never wanting to push himself to
the front or take the first place, giving up all the grandeur and magnificence of the
royal palace, because he "chose rather to suffer affliction with the people of God."
And he trusted God, in the palace, on the mountain slopes, in Pharaoh's court,
in the wilderness, never doubting the wisdom of God, believing the promises of God,
obeying the commands of God, feeling certain that God could not make a mistake.
But he did not wait till he became a man to be humble and trusting. There is a
proverb that says the boy is father of the man. And Moses, the humble and God-
fearing man, must have been a'humble God-fearing boy.
And if we want to be good, brave, patient men, doing what God gives us to do
as well as we can, not thinking of ourselves, but trusting Him, we must begin when
we are boys, trying in our work and play, at school and at home, not to be always
thinking of pleasing ourselves and impatient to get our own way, but humbly and
patiently trying to please our Heavenly Father Who has made us His children by
adoption, and gives us work to do for Him.
ever seen a picture of it or tried to think what it was like ?
.: : ., .. ,.
It was not a building of stone or brick or wood. This would have been no use to
.* ,. _. ,- .' / L
the Israelites on their journey to the Promised Land. But it was a large tent, and as
the people moved from one place to another the Tabernacle was easily taken down, and
pitched again when they encamped. It was their church where they went to worship
Let us look at it as it must have been in the wilderness. The people of Israel
are encamped, and all the tents of the tribes have been pitched in regular order. In the
middle of them there is a very large tent, much larger than all the rest, standing by
itself, with an open space all round it separating it from the rest of the camp. It is
made of three sets of curtains. The inner ones are of fine linen-blue, purple, and
scarlet-embroidered with figures of angels. Above these are spread curtains of goats'
hair, and over those again a covering of rams' skins, dyed red, which protect the richer
inner curtains from the weather. Upright boards of satin wood overlaid with gold,
fixed in sockets of silver, form the framework on which the curtains are hung. Inside
it is divided into two parts-the Holy Place and the Holy of Holies as they were called.
They are separated by a veil or hanging of rich embroidered work. In the Holy Place
there is the Altar of Incense, overlaid with gold, the Table of Shewbread with its twelve
loaves placed on it new every Sabbath Day, and the Seven-branched Candlestick of pure
gold. In the Holy of Holies stands the Ark of the Covenant covered by the Mercy Seat,
over which there are the figures of two Cherubim or Angels, spreading out their wings
over the Ark.
The Tabernacle is surrounded by a large outer court enclosed by brazen pillars, on
SAM U EL
which are hangings of fine linen. In this court stands the great Altar of Burnt Offering
in front of the entrance to the Tabernacle, and near it the Laver of Brass, in which the
priests washed their hands and feet when they offered sacrifices to God. Only the
priests are allowed to go into the Holy Place, and the dress they wear is called an ephod,
made of white linen, something like a surplice. But into the Holy of Holies none but
the High Priest may enter, and he only once a year.
Such was the place consecrated to God where the children of Israel met together to
pray and praise and offer up sacrifices.
And after they crossed over the river Jordan and came into the land of Canaan a
great many years passed before Solomon built the beautiful Temple of stone and cedar
on Mount Moriah at Jerusalem, and for a long time they still used the Tabernacle, which
was not moved about as in the wilderness, but, was pitched in a place called Shiloh.
What a busy place it must have been in the days when Eli was the High Priest. His
sons, the priests, are offering the sacrifices which the people are bringing, while numbers
of Levites are occupied, some putting the things in order, some cleaning the vessels.
All have their work to do.
But look, among all these grown-up men there is a little boy. He is dressed in a
white ephod like the priests. He seems quite accustomed to be there. Sometimes he
gces on messages for Eli; sometimes he trims the wicks of the golden candlestick and
makes it burn more brightly ; sometimes he sits quietly and reads out of the roll of the
Law of God.
Who is this little boy, and what is he doing here ?
If we want to know all about him we must go back some years. It is
the time of the Passover, and a great many people, men and women, have come
to the Tabernacle at Shiloh to offer the lamb as God commanded them year by year,
so that they might never forget the night God brought the Israelites out of the slavery
Eli, the High Priest, is sitting on his throne near the door watching the people
coming and going, and ready to listen to what they may have to say, for he is Judge
as well as High Priest.
As he sits there he sees a woman come in and stand where the people used to
stand and pray. Others come in and say their prayers and go away, but this woman
still stays there. She does not speak out loud but her lips are moving, and Eli wonders
what she can be doing. At last he thinks she must have taken too much wine, so he
calls her and scolds her, asking her how long she means to stand there drunk.
But the woman, instead of being angry, answers him meekly and patiently. No,
my Lord," she says, I have drunk neither wine nor strong drink. I am a woman of
a sorrowful spirit." And then she tells him why she is so sad.
Her name is Hannah, and she has a kind husband and a comfortable home, but she
is unhappy for she has no child, and she is come to ask God to give her a son, and she
has made a vow that if God grants her prayer she will dedicate him to God all the days
of his life. And when Eli heard all she told him he knew he had judged her wrongly,
and he gave her the priest's blessing and said, "Go in peace, and the God of Israel
grant thee thy petition that thou hast asked of Him." So she left the Tabernacle and
returned to her home on Mount Ephraim.
I dare say Eli soon forgot all about her, but God remembered her prayer, and by
and by the child she had asked for was born, and she gave him the beautiful name of
Samuel, which means Heard of God."
In her joy at-having a son at last she did not forget the vow she had made,
and she wanted to fulfil it. But she could not do so for a time ; she would have
liked to have gone to Shilob at once to thank God, but the child was too young to
go with her, and she would not go without him. So Elkanah, her husband, advised her
SAM UE L
to wait till his seventh birthday, and then, when he was old enough to leave her,
she could take him to Shiloh and put him into the care of one of the priests who lived
near the Tabernacle.
At last the seven years were ended, and the parents of Samuel- took him up
to :_.!ii.li and brought him to Eli in the
Tabernacle. He had forgotten all about
Hannah and her prayer, so she told him -
who she was.
She told the High Priest that she was '
the woman who had stood near him praying .
so long and silently that he thought she ".
was drunk. She told him too that God'"'
had heard her prayer and given her a son,
and according to her vow she had brought 1'
him to lend him to the Lord as long as V
he lived. It was not an easy thing for \ .J
her to leave her little boy there all alone" .
among strangers and go home without
him, but she had promised to give him to .
God, and she must keep her promise, no
matter how hard it was.
But though it was hard for her to part.
with him, she knew that it was best for him,
and that he would live a holy and happy .
life. So instead of thinking of herself. i
she sang a beautiful song. It is very like
the hymn we sing in church at Evensong' ''
called the Magnificat, which the Blessed '
Virgin Mary, the mother of Jesus, sang.
In it she praised God for His Holiness, His
power, His wisdom, and then went on to
thank Him because He had been so good
to her in answering her prayer. And then
she returned home with Elkanah, leaving
Samuel at Shiloh with the priests.
But though she had left him so far
away she could still pray for him that, ,,
God would keep him a good, obedient, ._.
holy child. Very often she used to think '
of him dressed in his little ephod busy in
God's work, helping Eli in the services,
filling the lamps with oil, sweeping the
courts and keeping them clean, opening- -. ,
the doors in the morning and closing them
at night. And she looked forward every
year to the time of the Passover, when she
went up to Shiloh, bringing with her a
coat she had made for him to wear-
not a coat of many colours like the one
Jacob gave to Joseph, but a priestly garment which was worn beneath the cphod, like
the cassock which clergy and choirs wear under the surplice.
So the child Samuel grew on, and was in favour both with the Lord and. also with
men. Day by day he knelt in the Tabernacle and prayed, as in the picture som
of you have seen of Samuel kneeling down with his hands clasped saying his prayers, o
w ,.:it .-b,.t d ..in : t t ,H l Il e-t- m. -ni nd...l e! ,ii i i he k *rk, the i -ibern acle
Ic.. A bL, Go:d r,.J i n in
But ii night -h1n ri 1 .elve years old a .i strange thing happened. He
had &'-!- 1i,-, work .n to bued near the room '- Eli, now an old blind man, used
to sleep. And .-I: aI' lay I I':,. very early in the morning before the lamps which were
kept burning j.ill d i1i. 1 ht h-i .,.i,.: out, a ?..i. .-.,-,n ,d to callhim, -in. lie thought
it was Eli. Th i'n!,- *'i ,- l,.r:t '..l it, and thi.>- ti-c- l' went to Eli to. -' what he
wanted. Bur tin- thlild tirn': Eli t._Id him it ut I,,.:- Grd c.illi hiim. .in. I bade him
when he IEal.:idth,= :.all : ini :i -h.it prayer, "Speak; L.:i..:i, '-._' Thy servant
heareth." .\l' S-, e did not Inl-it. t, but did as l.li commanded him, and God heard
his prayer and t,-,.l him h,. v I". '.a: ab:.t to punish Eli': -,.-:, because they were such
wicked- '. ..
Ho fm .icult it irnt11 : 1 i.',-t b-,-..ii fo'r Simuel t.:, .:1 Eli. He lay till morning
thinking I': *... i- to do it ]. .r I, .: hiredd t.-, -i.:h..' I- li t!i ,- vision, until at last it was
daylight, anl : ..t up earl: :r i '.:'1- :.: th .: ,.. :' tli,- tabernacle, still .lhi-,l.i he
w would 'I1v,', t-* t -. till E ll i 1 it c ..l .i -1 ...l:r t hi- 1.
P.ut th..i.:l' it i :, .: filI:ul: I ..i it lh.-, i t i, .] li.:n Eli asked him what God
had :i.:I t L i .l. ,:., li tim -.-i t, ,t .-i cl ,;d i .:- .tl, i ,.! -, him .
i. in .-.ni r tl r S iiT. i.:l L.': up t. -i ,.- .I ian, a wise judge, a great
What a blessing it is to have a mother like Samuel's, who fears God, and brings up
her children to love and serve Him.
How often the words of Solomon are tre of other boys as they were true of
Samuel-" Train up a child in the way in which he should go, and when he is old he
will not depart from it."
UNEASY lies the head that wears a crown." Fierce is the light which beats
upon a throne."
These two proverbs remind us that it is not an easy thing to be a king. The first
tells us that a crown brings many cares and anxieties to the wearer. The second tells
us that everything that a king does is noticed and talked about.
- *.... ..
.- -^ a -
True there are some people who think a king's life must be a happy life, who envy
their greatness and power, and wish they could change places with them. But it is a
It is not an easy thing to be a good king and rule wisely and try and do what is
right in the sight of the great God, Who is King of kings.
And so we are not surprised that in every country there have been bad kings who
have used their power wrongly and who have been unjust, or cruel, or wicked, in their lives.
There had been many such kings of Judah, kings whose names are only remembered
by the evil they did. But there were some good ones too, kings who did what was
good and right in the sight of the Lord.
We are going to talk about one of these good kings.
See, he is a boy king or rather a child king. It is his Coronation Day and the city
of Jerusalem is in a state of excitement. The streets are crowded with people, all
dressed in their best clothes. They are waiting for the new king to go from his palace
to the Temple to be anointed King of Judah. Listen, they are talking to one another.
" What bad kings the last two have been. They have undone all the good work done by
good King Hezekiah and the people are unhappy and miserable. Which will this new
king be like-his good great-grandfather Hezekiah or his bad grandfather Manasseh
and his wicked father Amon ?"
And while they are talking there is the sound of shouting. God save the King "
they cry and the voices come nearer and nearer until at last we can see the King.
What! is this the King ? A little child only eight years old What good can he do to
keep the people in these troublous times ? And so the procession sweeps on up the
steep side of Mount Moriah, through the Beautiful Gate of the Temple, into the Court
where the High Priest is waiting to anoint the young King with holy oil and ask God's
blessing on his reign. I wonder what the little boy is thinking of? Is his head full of
all the grandeur and the shouting and the crowded streets ? I dare say it is, for he is only
a child as yet, and we cannot help being sorry for the little boy King called so early and
in such troublous times to bear the anxieties and difficulties of those who wear a crown
and sit on a throne. What sort of a king will he make ? the people asked one another
on that Coronation Day, and by and by the answer came. Not all at once, because as
long as he was only a child or a lad he had no real power. He was only a King in
name. Others managed and ruled the kingdom for him. He could only wait and
learn from those whose business it was to teach him.
But at last the time came when he was to be King in reality, not merely in name.
He reached his twentieth year and at once began to do what he knew was right in the
-sight of God. He might have only thought of enjoying himself. Plenty of money,
plenty of so-called friends, plenty of people to do whatever he wishes, how easy it
would have been for him to spend his time in amusement and pleasure.
But no, he could not do this. He had thought the matter over for some time.
Four years ago, when he was only sixteen, he had begun to seek after God, and all
through these four years he was getting ready and asking God to prepare him to do a
:great work for God in the land. What was the work he took in hand when he was
nineteen years old ?
He found the people over whom he reigned, and who were called God's people,
worshipping idols on all sides. They had groves and temples and carved and
molten images and they thought far more of these false gods than of the one true
God, and His Temple, for while the temples and gardens of their idols were well-
kept and in beautiful order, the Temple of the Lord, which Solomon had made very
magnificent, and of which they used to be so proud, was falling into ruins.
So the young king called together all the priests and great men of the land and he
told them how he meant to destroy everything which had to do with idols in Judah.
How astonished some of them must have been. Perhaps they tried to persuade him
not to do anything so rash, or to do it little by little and quietly, not all at once. But
he had made up his mind what he meant to do and he ordered men to go forth with
pickaxes and hammers on this work of destruction through the land. More than that, he
went with them himself and superintended the work and saw it done before his
p ji.4 1.I
L.J t. I. .... n .i. I t, '
S." .- ...... ... I .. .. l Th
a ,-. b i n .. .. ..
, i : v ': -" I I n .. l ..-- l ,l .. I i i i. e l .. .I ,
,, _i,-l....,,.t .. I,. .. ,
I t.. : :I I I i I Ii I ~i I L-. -
", -. ',' :.'?"'.', / -I I. ., ,1 i, : ,!1 ,i ... I I i l. L
S _' i -. -I li- :. 1 ,, 1,l: I -,ti, ,
I- i l i i ii *irilli ,ui.. i it l i I I 11 1i i in
\ -. ~ ." ( ,-.1 1. I,, .,, ,. -, .,: -11 1. -
', ii : .I. I .. .1 I I .
,l' j I [.- T h. l i, l i I : "- . 1. -
,, .i i' n,..I ,._ ... L *: .. ..* I *:n : T -t i. .il: .s
f ^ -! ,1 Tl .l, ,: n, ,l. i, 1-, .:.., l.l n.., 1.,1 [ i, in
a, Lat[, %,]
: ', l- s l d. i [ I ,Ila aIt.' \ h it -I- I I i,,Il.. I. 1.. c uld pa ,y f r
all the work of restoring the Temple himself, but it would
be better to make the people take an interest i in the
S- work. So he sent Levites up and down the land to
collect money from the people and the work of restora-
tion went on until the Temple was brought back to
some of its former beauty.
The greatest day in the life of Josiah was the day on which king and people
celebrated the feast of the Passover in the restored Temple. With magnificent
offerings, with beautiful -n. i with heartfelt gladness they held the Feast. For seven
days they kept the Passover. There was no Passover like to that kept in Israel, neither
did all the kings of Israel keep such a Passover as Josiah kept, and the priests and the
Levites, and all Judah and Israel that were present, and the inhabitants of Jerusalem."
There is very little more to be told about King Josiah. As he began to be a king
when he was very young so he died when he was still a young man, died like a brave man,
fighting in battle. He was carried from the battlefield wounded in his chariot and died
before he reached his palace in Jerusalem. He was buried with great funeral honours, as
he deserved, and the people mourned over him with a bitter mourning. And who shall
wonder ? He had come to the throne a child in troublous times, he had when young
given his heart to God, he had bravely done what he knew was right at any cost, he had
thought of God's honour more than man's praise, he had taken away the idols from the
people and taught them to serve the one true God. How could they help weeping for this
king, so young and yet so good and great ? And so his reign ended as his reign began,
with a great procession. Once more the streets of the city are crowded with people who
wait so patiently and watch so anxiously. How sad their faces are to-day. There is no
sound of joy and gladness but only tears and mourning. And the song of lamentation
written by the prophet Jeremiah is heard in the distance as slowly the dead body of the
young king they have learned to love is carried forth through the gate of the city to be
laid in the tombs of the kings. Ah, it is a good thing to make a right choice early in life.
Whether they are born to be kings or subjects none are too young to seek the Lord ;
none are too young to fight against what is untrue to God, to build up what God loves,
to help others to serve and love God. The younger we begin, the easier it becomes.
They that seek Me early shall find Me."
'the Zhunaniinite's 15o"o
LIGHT and shadow make up the lives of people. Sunshine and cloud follow one
another. We very seldom see the sky all blue without a single cloud, do we ? And
in all lives there are dark as well as bright days, in all hearts there are sorrows as
well as joys, on all faces there are tears as well as laughter. And we must not complain
or grumble at this. It is good for us. It helps us to remember the happy land where
the sun of happiness always shines, where there are no shadows to be seen, where God
shall wipe away all tears from off all eyes.
Certainly there was light and shadow, joy and sorrow, laughter and tears mingled
together in the life of the great woman of Shunem, as she is called in the Bible.
When first we read about her she is a rich lady, kind and good, glad to welcome
into her grand house the poor prophet who speaks in the name of God. Indeed, so pleased
is she to see him when he comes that way, as he very often does, that she proposes to her
husband to build a room for him adjoining their house, and he readily agrees, and the
room is made ready. It is called the prophet's chamber, and it is plain and simple,
furnished not grandly, but just suited to Elisha the prophet, who had left his oxen with
which he was ploughing, and giving up everything, home and friends, went after
Elijah when he called him to be a prophet like himself.
One day, when he was very tired with his long journey, going from place to place
telling the people about the great God, he came to his room to rest. And as he lay
there in the heat of the day waiting for it to get cooler, he thought of the kindness of
the Shunammite woman and her husband to him, and wished to show his gratitude to
them. So he sent Gehazi his servant to bring the Shunammite woman to him. And
THE SHUNA MMITE'S SON
when she came in he asked her if there was anything he could do for her. He had no
money, as she knew, but he could have her name mentioned to the king, who would
perhaps -l:-:.-,:.: her husband to a place of honour. But no, she was quite happy where
she was; ,si,. h!- not care to leave their home among all her people, and perhaps have to
live a lon- "y '-iff from everybody she knew. She would rather stay where they were,
and tih:ilikl!- the prophet she went away. But Gehazi came to !`J in-. -i and told
;P _~ ~0~K~1~ ~:1- 7-- 7 -
him there was only one thing she wanted- t make her quite happy. She had no child.
Often she had wished and prayed for one, but God had not answered her prayer. So the
prophet called her back and told her God would hear the prayer she had prayed so often,
and would before long give her.a son. What good news She could hardly believe it
could be true. Did he really mean it ?
But lo! what the prophet said came true. What rejoicing there must.have been in
that house on the day the little baby was born With what gladness on: theeighth day,
when the child was to be circumcised and have his name given to him, all the relations
and friends must have gathered together to see the little baby, and to congratulate the
father and mother Certainly it was a bright sunshiny day in their lives ; all light with-
out a shadow, all joy and no tears, that day on which tle; little c:ldi was given to them
by God. All sorts of good wishes were spoken; every n'I p ,i.-.i.:..l and was happy.
But it cannot always be sunshine. After the light -..r-l thie shadow, after the
brightness the cloud and rain. So it came to pass after a while in that happy home,
though not all at once, not for many years.
How did it happen? It is the harvest time. The golden corn is ripe and
ready to be reaped, and the servants of the rich man are hard at work cutting and
THE SHUNAMMI TE'S SON
gathering in the sheaves. The child is now old enough to go with his father to the corn-
fields. But it is a hot summer day, and the sun beats down so fiercely that he gets a sun-
stroke and is carried home and dies at noon. The father does not seem to have known
how bad he was. I suppose he thought that when the boy called out my head, my
head," he would soon be better under his mother's care ; and she does not like to tell him
the sad news. So she lays the dead body on the prophet's bed, and, telling one of the
servants to saddle an ass for her, she sets out to find Elisha. It is a long way in the hot
sun, fifteen or sixteen miles, at least four hours' ride ; but she does not think of herself;
she forgets the heat and fatigue in her eagerness to tell the prophet what has happened.
She is still a long way off when Elisha, who has climbed Mount Carmel, sees her coming.
He recognizes her at once, and, wondering why she is coming in such a hurry sends his
servant Gehazi to ask her whether her husband and child are well, or whether there is any-
thing the matter with her. Run now, I pray thee, to meet her and say, Is it well with
thee ? Is it well with thy husband ? Is it well with thy child ?" But she answers him
very shortly and hurries on. It is the master she wants to speak to in her trouble and
not the servant. At last, coming to where Elisha is standing, she throws herself down
at his feet. Gehazi tries to thrust her away, but the prophet stops him; "Let her
alone ; for her soul is vexed within her." Then she tells him her sad story, and at once
Elisha gives his servant his own staff, and bids him go as fast as he can and lay it on
the face of the child. We are not told why he sent him,
but I suppose he was the younger man and could go
more quickly. -
T he m other, hoi ',..:L. pi.: .I i ....**:.r' : il' -i l ."
She trusts him m ore llt .i'i i .:1 !'. -.: : ... I.
him A nd as they _--t .:l t. -: Ii.., .: t ,... r
Gehazi coming back I: i -,. Ii. i : '.
what his master tc.l..t !li Ii I ith.: il l
shown no signs of lit.
So the prophet t..il;.: :- I : -t l : /
goes alone into th- i'.. .: tI.: I-..
child is and shuts the ...-.-. I- -
W hat a terrible t: .- it ruILt I ..: l :
to the poor sorrown:- .. .-. i. iI t! "
prophet be able to c.-. ii i, '.. n- 't ,,
give up all hope?
But what is the pro- .
phet doing inside th.:
See, he kneels -Ae.. \ ...
down bythe bed- "- -
side and prays .". I
to God. He can
do nothing by
himself, but he
believes God can do everything, even bring the dead to life. Then he rises from his
knees, and lies on the child, as his old master the prophet Elijah had done long before to
the widow's son, and he put his mouth upon the child's mouth, and his eyes upon the
28 THE SHUNAMMITE'S SON
child's eyes, and his hands upon the child's hands, and as he stretched himself upon the
child, the flesh of the child waxed warm, until at last the child opened his eyes.
Oh, how happy the mother must have been, hardly able to believe her senses, when
she is called into the room and sees her child alive again. In her joy she falls down
in gratitude at the prophet's feet, and, bowing herself to the ground, thanks God for His
mercy to her.
What a beautiful picture a painter could make of the mother holding her child by
the hand as she takes him to his father and tells him all that has happened. I am
sure she never forgets that wonderful day which began so darkly and ended so brightly ;
never forgot to thank God every day she lived for having been so good to her as to
give her child back to her from the grave. I am sure she must often have told her
child the story of his being brought home nearly dead with a sunstroke, and how she
had nursed him till he died. And do you think when he grew up to be a man he
ever forgot what God had done for him ? : Oh no, it must have made him try and
please God as long as he lived.
I wonder if we remember that He has done something for us which is more
wonderful even than the restoring life to the body of the Shunammite's child. In our
Baptism He raised us from a death of sin unto a life of righteousness, and if we remem-
bered more what God did for us then in His love, we would try more to please Him.
Then the words of the Catechism which we have learned would have more meaning to
us: "I heartily thank our Heavenly Father that He hath called me to this state of
salvation through Jesus Christ our Saviour. And I pray unto God to give me His
grace, that I may continue in the same unto my life's end."
,' / !
.,j."~ ';i P ,.... ...
st, 3ohn the J3aptist
"WHAT manner of child shall this be ? It is a very natural question to ask about
any little baby as it lies so feeble and helpless in its mother's arms. Will the
child ever live to be a man ? Will he be clever or stupid, famous or unknown, wise or
ignorant, useful in
-- the world or use-
S.. ...less, good or bad,
fearing and serving
God, or careless and
S living without God
te e in the world ?
SI suppose at
the B3aptism of any
t w little child parents
S and god parents
and friends think
what sort of child it
S will be as it grows
up. No wonder then
S people asked the
S:o question of this little
baby whose story
we are reading. lie
is just eight days
t 'i ,Ii ..- friends of his father
ii have come to his cir-
,l:n,,.,i- ltie time at which the
S, 1-,-!,, .-,. en to a Jewish child as
Sii : i., i -, i Baptism with us.
,..~l! .II,v :;trange things have
Sl-,:, cIt: parents of the child,
1i I..i te old, and had long
--r _I LI, A' hope of ever having
.1 I ut ome time back, when
S, -,, i:, ho was a priest, was
n -:. I. tle temple in his turn
tl-l: I"". :s took it by turns to
do their work), according to custom
he left the Altar of burnt offering where all the people were worshipping at the time of
the evening sacrifice, and went into the Holy Place to offer incense on the Altar of
incense. And as he stood by the Altar and poured the incense on the flame he had
his strange vision. It seemed to him that an Angel, called Gabriel, stood by his side and
told him that his wife Elisabeth would have a son, and his name was to be called John.
He would grow up to be a great prophet, filled with the Holy Ghost, never tasting any
strong drink, preaching.to the people a message from God, preparing them for the
coming of Christ, the long-expected Deliverer.
ST. JOHN TIHE BAPTIST
But Zacharias, when he heard all this, was so astonished that he could hardly
believe it could really be true, and he asked the Angel to give him a sign, something he
could perceive for himself, which would help him to be sure that it would all be as the
Angel said to him. The Angel at once gave him what he asked. In a moment he
became dumb and could not speak a word, and dumb he was to remain until all that
the Angel had foretold came true.
At last, when he came to himself and could think of all that had happened, he
went back to the people who had been waiting outside wondering what the priest was
doing and why he did not return to them. And directly they looked at him they saw
something had happened, for he made signs and beckoned to them that he had lost his
speech and could not pronounce the priest's blessing before they left the temple.
All came true as the Angel had said. Elisabeth had a son, and on the eighth
day the friends -i.1 relations came together to the house of Zacharias for his
circumcising and naming. They all proposed to call him Zacharias after his father,
as was usually done, but his mother objected, and insisted, Not so, but he shall be
But," said the friends, there is none of thy kindred that is called by this name."
At last in their dispute they turned to Zacharias and asked him by signs, for he
was deaf as well as dumb, how he would have him called. And he asked for a tablet
covered with wax, and wrote on it with a sharp-pointed pen, His name is John."
How astonished they all were, for they did not know that John was the name the
Angel who had foretold his birth had said he was to be called. But Zacharias and
Elisabeth remembered it. How could they forget it ?
No sooner had Zacharias written the words than his tongue was loosed and he
spake and praised God, and the first use he made of the speech that was given back
to him was to repeat out loud the beautiful hymn we call the Benedictus, which
is sung after the Second Lesson every rn..!in i., Sunday and weekday-" Blessed be the
Lord God of Israel, for He hath visited and redeemed His people." In it he blesses
God for the salvation He is sending into the world, and foretells that the child so
wonderfully given him shall be called the prophet of the Highest, and will go before
the face of the Lord to prepare His way.
We cannot be surprised that with all these strange things taking place the friends
in their astonishment said one to another, "What manner of child shall this be ? "
And what was the answer ? Let us look and see. We are told very little of him
until he became a man. We only know that the child grew and waxed strong in spirit,.
growing both in body and mind, until he reached the age when he was no longer a child.
What became of him then ? He knew what God intended him to do. His parents no
doubt told him all that happened at his birth and the things the Angel had said, and as he
grew older he was filled with the thought of the work he was to carry out, and, as soon as
he was old enough, he left his home and went to live in the desert near the River Jordan,
where there were very few people, and there living a life of great self-denial he prepared
himself for the exalted office to which he had been called. What a strange life it must
have been, spending the years in prayer and thought until he was thirty years old.
He was so long absent from home and friends that most people had forgotten all
about him, when suddenly there came to Jerusalem a strange report of a very wonderful
man who was preaching in the wilderness of Judaa. His appearance is rough and
wild. His dress is like that of some of the prophets of old. He wears a garment
woven of camel's hair, fastened round him by a leather girdle. His food is locusts
and wild honey, the only things he can get in the desert. His preaching is short
and clear, Repent ye: for the kingdom of heaven is at hand." He speaks very
plainly, and says exactly what he thinks. Thousands of people come crowding after
him out of the cities and towns and villages. He tells every one the truth, the whole
ST. JOHN THE BAPTIST
truth, and nothing but the truth. He does not care what they say or think of him.
Rich and poor, merchants and soldiers, Pharisees and publicans, young and old, come
and ask him what they are to do, and he answers them very distinctly. He tells them
they must give up their bad habits and try and do what they know is right. And then
he bids them go down with him into the River Jordan and be baptized, to show that
they want to be rid of their sin and intend to begin to live a new life. A very
wonderful sight it is to see thousands of men and women of all sorts and ages crowding
down into the river, confessing their sins, and asking God to help them.
Who is this wonderful man ? Why here is the answer to the question asked thirty
years before. This is the babe who was named John on his circumcision day. He has
grown up,'as his father foretold, to be a great prophet, drawing multitudes into the
wilderness after him to hear his preaching. Now he is called John the Baptist.
One day, as he was baptizing, a strange thing happened to him. He saw Jesus
coming to him. He knew Him at once, for Elisabeth his mother and Mary the mother
of Jesus were cousins. And when Jesus stepped down into the river to be baptized he
forbade Him, knowing how great and holy He was. But Jesus insists : Suffer it to be so
now." He tells him it is right that He should be baptized, even though he has no sins
to confess. So John baptized Him, and as Jesus after His baptism stepped out of the
water a voice was heard from heaven saying, This is My beloved Son, in Whom I am
And now his work was nearly finished. He was like the star which shines so
brightly very early in the morning before the sun appears, but fades away before the
ST. JOHN THE BAPTIST
glory of the sun when it rises above the horizon. He had told men Jesus was coming,
and when Jesus came his preaching was ended.
Not long after this, he spoke very plainly to Herod the King of Galilee about his
sin. And the king was so angry that he cast John into prison in a castle on the shore
of the Dead Sea. There he was for a long time, almost forgotten. But there was one
person who would never forget or forgive him. Her name was Herodias. She was a
very bad woman, and hated John because he had spoken so plainly to her. For a long
time she waited, hoping for a chance of taking vengeance upon him, and at last the
chance came. A court festival in honour of Herod's birthday was held in the castle
where John was imprisoned. After supper the daughter of Herodias came in and
danced before Herod, and he was so pleased that he promised to give her anything she
chose to ask. But when, advised by her mother, she asked for the head of John the
Baptist, the king was sorry. He did not wish to kill him, only to keep him out of the
way. What was he to do ? He had promised before all the people. He was too
cowardly to say, I cannot keep my promise, for you are asking me to do a wicked thing
and I refuse." So he called one of his guard to put the prophet to death, and bring his
head for Salome, the daughter of Herodias. And the disciples of John came and took
away his body and buried it, and went and told Jesus.
How well.the collect for for St. John the Baptist Day in our Prayer-book describes him.
" He constantly spoke the truth, boldly rebuked vice, and patiently suffered for the
truth's sake." Yes, he was a brave man. He never was afraid to do what was right or
say what was true. His was a splendid character for any boy or man to copy. It will
be a happy thing for us if people can say of us, He was a brave and truthful boy, and
he grew up to be a brave and truthful man."
Zbe lbol2 Cbilb
WE have been talking about boys in the Bible. They were born in different
times and in different places. They had different bringing up and different characters.
They lived different lives and died different deaths. But now we are going to talk about a
Boy who was different from them all. He is the only Boy who ever lived on this earth
and never did what was wrong, and so He alone is called in the Bible the Holy Child.
We know when he was born, for every year we keep His Birthday, and call it
Christmas Day. He was born nearly nineteen hundred years ago, but long before that
prophets had sung of Him. One prophet, called Isaiah, about 758 years before
the first Christmas Day, spoke of His coming as if it were close at hand: Unto
us a Child is born, unto us a Son is given ;" and foretold how His birth should be as
light in a dark world, bringing joy to all men.
At last the prophecy came true. On a winter night two poor people, a village
carpenter called Joseph, and Mary his wife, came to the village of Bethlehem. The
inn was quite full of people who had come in obedience to the law of the Roman
emperor, the conqueror of the Jews, to have their names enrolled. There was no room
for Mary and Joseph; they were only poor people ; they must go to the part of the
inn where the beasts were which belonged to the travellers, horses and asses and camels,
and must make a bed for themselves in the straw. And there in a stable the Holy
Child Jesus was born. There was no cradle for Him except the manger out cf which
the beasts ate; so in it they laid the new-born babe. No one in the inn cared
THE IHOLY CIIL D
about the child. The innkeeper did not trouble himself about the tired travellers:
he was too busy looking after all the people who were crowding in. And little
did any one in the inn that night know or think that He was born there Who was
Son of God as well as Son of man.
But wonderful things took place at His birth. On the very night He was born
some shepherds who were watching their flocks on the hills near Bethlehem, suddenly
saw the heavens lit up with a bright shining, and heard angel voices singing the first
Christmas Carol of a Saviour born. No wonder they were afraid, and could not stop
where they were, but started off at once to see what it all meant. And when they came
to Bethlehem they found it all just as the Angel had told them. There was the stable,
and in the manger a little baby lying, and, watching over Him, were Mary His mother,
and Joseph His foster father. How strange it all seemed to them. How eagerly they
went on their way to tell the glad news to every one they met, praising God for all
the things they had heard and seen.
But there were other strange things which happened at His birth. Some days
after He was born a company of people came from the East from Persia. They were
evidently great men, very rich and learned. And as they entered the gate of Jerusalem,
they asked everybody they met, Where is He that is born King of the Jews ? And
when people asked why they wanted to know, they told them that one night, as they
were watching and studying the stars, they saw a bright star they had never seen
before move across the heavens. And something seemed to tell them if they followed
the star, they would come to the place where the child was born who was to be a great
king. So they set out with horses and camels and treasures, and a great number of
followers. It was a long, dangerous journey. There were rivers to be crossed, deserts to
be travelled over, mountains to be climbed ; but on they went, looking up at night-time
and seeing that bright star shining in front of them, guiding their steps. But when
they came to Jerusalem, they were sadly disappointed, for no one knew, no one cared
about this new-born child whom they were seeking. But they would not give up ; they
kept on asking. At last Herod the king was told about them, and he began to be
uneasy when he heard they were asking about a child who was King of the Jews. He
was king of the Jews. Who could this child be whom they were seeking ? And he
made up his mind to kill Him and get Him out of the way.
So he called together all the people who were likely to know, and they told him
that in the Scriptures there was a prophecy about a great man who was to be born in
Bethlehem. Immediately, therefore, he sent for the wise men and told them they
would find the child they were seeking in Bethlehem.
How happily they must have set out again. How delighted they must have been
when suddenly they saw. the star again they had seen in the East, in their own country,
shining over the inn. And when they were come into the house they saw the young
Child and Mary His mother, and fell down and worshipped Him. Then they sent their
servants to unload the camels and bring in the treasures, and in their joy these wise
men poured their gifts of precious gold and sweet frankincense and costly myrrh at the
feet of the young Child, and with glad hearts returned home, having found Him Whom
they had sought.
THE HOLY CHILD
But the Child could not stay long in Bethlehem. Herod wanted to kill Him.
He was afraid that when this little Child grew up He would take his crown
from him. So he ordered his soldiers to kill all the little children in Bethlehem who
were not more than two years old. But Jesus was not among them. Joseph had
dreamed a dream in which an angel told him to take the Child and His mother and go
away as fast as he could to Egypt for Herod wanted to kill the babe, and immediately,
that very night, he took the Child and His mother and fled away into Egypt, and stopped
there till he heard Herod was dead. Who is this child ? He is the Son of Mary, the
wife of Joseph the carpenter. But who is His Father ? Ah, the Angel told that when
he foretold His birth-" He shall be called the Son of God."
Yes, God was His
~: .. "-- --t F.L:l .in..i H e never
Th-. When He
'I '. I I..i boy of twelve
r.^ o1 i le was lost by
4 .i-Ii- !1..1h.1r and Joseph
Sr. 1 :r, -I.:in, and they
,i:,u,. 1 I ,ii at last in
S th." rl,,: i ii[.1 Icarningfrom
4A MI LIv|. t....i I, ., there. A nd
SL l, I .I another asked
... He had done
f~ .. "T Ii father and I
: ,I l i : sought Thee
S' Wist ye
1 -,,..t eha I must
S.. .. about My
S. ness?" And
Father," He was speaking of God. So too when He was grown up to be a man, He
loved to talk to His disciples about God His Father. And on the cross when He
was dying the last words He said were, "Father, into Thy hands 1 commend My
But why did the Son of God become the Son of Mary ? His name tells us. The
Angel had said He was to be called Jesus. And Jesus means, "He shall save His
people from their sins."
Yes, the little baby born on Christmas Day came into the world to be the Saviour
THE HOLY CHILD
of men. He lived, and grew, and learned, and worked, and suffered, and died and.
rose again, and ascended into heaven in order to save all men from sin and sorrow,
and suffering, and death-
"Oh dearly, dearly has He loved,
And we must love Him too,
And trust in His redeeming love,
And try His works to do."
Yes, all children must try and be like the Holy Child Jesus. What sort of a child
do you think He was ? He was a real child-having His lessons, His play, His work,
like other children. But He was gentle, obedient, good. He was never cross or rude,
He always did what He was told. He loved God His Father, and tried to please Him.
And so He is the pattern to all children. He is the copy they must try to imitate.
Boys and girls must take Him for their example, do as He did, and speak as He
spake. They must ask God to make them holy by His Spirit, and then they will
grow up to be holy men and women, loving and pleasing God. Then they will become
more and more like Jesus, kind and useful to others.
What a beautiful hymn that is we often sing-
"And He is our childhood's Pattern,
Day by day like us He grew,
He was little, weak, and helpless,
Tears and smiles like us He knew;
And He feeleth for our sadness,
And He shareth in our gladness."
P. A "
,:,_rr ,-... ,,. ..
Tbe presentation in the temple
IN the City of Jerusalem there was one building which stood out conspicuous
above all the rest. From every street within the city it could be seen. From the
Mount of Olives outside the city the eyes of the traveller as he approached the walls
rested upon it. It towered high above all the other buildings, even above the
palace of the king on Mount Zion.
What was this building ? Need we ask ?
It was the Temple, the House of God, consecrated to His honour, where the
Jews used to worship the one true God.
Its gilded roof shone brightly in the sunshine; its white marble walls stood out
against the blue sky; its beautiful porches or gateways sparkled with light; and from
its splendid courts there was ever to be heard the sound of exquisite music and
Many hundreds of years had passed since Solomon had built the first Temple which
took the place of the Tabernacle. He had made it very magnificent with cedar from
Lebanon, marbles from the quarries of the mountains, precious stones brought across
the sea, and with a grand service and many sacrifices he had dedicated it to the
service of God for ever.
But that first Temple had disappeared long ago. The soldiers of Nebuchadnezzar,
King of Babylon, had besieged Jerusalem and taken it. They had broken down its
walls, burned the House of the Lord, and carried away the holy vessels of gold and
silver which they found in the Temple to Babylon where they placed them in the
temples of their gods. For seventy years the Jews were in captivity, without a country,
without a city, without a Temple.
At last God put it into the heart of Cyrus, King of Persia, who had conquered
Babylon, to give the Jews leave to go back to their own land, and just as they were
THE PRESENTATION IN THE TEMPLE
setting out, he restored to them some of the sacred vessels which had belonged to
W hen they car- t,' th.-: in.1d -.I th.-ir !iin ..n.l dif..Llt: i:.urllTe\ a 'c---. ill d-: c t,
which lay between l.'.al.lo,-n :itndi. tl,-ir "" n li and, tl,:, "iiiI..l th!',- :it "' Jcrui,-'lm
in ruins, and worse till t h. T>mi l,. ,..rrip- lt- l I d :lr... I.
In rne,.di.at,:. ..t : -ct t.:. :.:1- t.:. r..:-b L! it It '- \a -! ditll.:t!t un,.lecta!kil
Their enemies tried t.- h I.:r tl L t 1' i ti n l n.:,: tl' ci -t,-pp.'.l. It -:m- .I. a-
if they would never ,m i:! I the L .-.rl:. l-'iut the-. -,.-re. i',d -ind '..'i.iI It n, -.i:V Up until
the Temple was fin-- h::l.
W hat a 1'il, i ".v d ,v it M -.ist ,.ve -,: ,-i tv h- -.:.--.:,- .i 1t,-:l th1i ne- T-mTiripl.: -.it!
songs and hymns .o ii-. i: t .ii. i ti,. hi l ..l:n t i-r b t it v. : -. r i t
T em ple to the one ...,l,-:. n.[ l -i i.i ,!t 1- i.: :nd th:,. -.,. H e -i l N ni.-.- ,
friends and they ha.l rn.- i. .r i i. I- .1 r'ii i: : I .1 .. ,
few. A nd som e old n- :.r. tC-, I- i.- ,. .I t,, T rn |l,: I-. I-! -
its !:.,, i l h thL-1v : h -u -ble tl, _:,,-,r., I .
A nd th n- it ii .l ; tll I: 01:i| .! b... l I :.. i i n
to be : d1 .. *:li pp .intc, b '. I-, t l,,: 1 ,.: [ .i, "-. h, -" t- 'o
God n',-nwi-,d H Ji 'carn ti!-i i: '.' i t I I 1 T': --
AV v_^ L!. : 1 ` J 1 1:l: :d t,-. _k- .
you unhappy becau- t-i; Templ, :-.: i r ii -i i I' ,l ,:li g
is not as .titiul th ,: T I l .:h .i.- "
of old ? -
Si : t i .. l '. i i -
of th I .- I
'The :l,,rv ,, .- '
this latter house- '. "',: ,'-
shall be greater'
than of the for-' "' .
mer,' saith the e
Lord of Hosts."' 0
How they A4
must have won- -"
dered at what
he said. What
could he mean? '-
How could this.
ever be more -A-----:
glorious than the
Temple which once stood on that spot ?
When did the words of the prophet come true ? They must have been fulfilled for
they were the message sent from God. What happened in the second Temple which
gave it a glory the first Temple never had ? Let us see. Hundreds of years passed
THE -PRESENTATION IN THE TEMPLE
away and the Temple at Jerusalem was beautified and restored and almost rebuilt
by Herod the Great, King of the Jews. The work lasted forty-eight years. He spent
large sums of money upon it so that it was far more beautiful than Solomon's
Temple. But God did not care for its beauty. Herod did it all not because he
loved God and cared to honour Him, but because he wanted to please the Jews
and win their favour.
No, this was not what the Prophet meant. There was a glory coming to the
Temple, far greater than the glory of glittering gold and precious stones. What was
this glory and when did it come ? Let us go to the Temple and we shall see.
All day long
there are peo-.- .
coming and .:-
ing. Some brr
offerings to sa,- i
fice before t! hi
Lord. Some .:
there at the hou .3 i ; t
of prayer to w.,-
ship. Some stan A..l d
and pray by the, .
selves to God, ,-, i
Jesus so often lov :. d a
But, look .1-
mong those v h!,. .
pass through tl I. ,
gateway and er.tr rc :.
the courts there .- e t
twopeople, a you i, I :
mother carryingL. .j
baby, a few we I. ..
old, and her hus-
band who seems much older than she is. They are evidently from their dress quite poor
people, and they are carrying with them two young pigeons. What are they doing in
the Temple ? They are obeying one of the laws which God gave the Israelites by Moses.
According to this law, the parents of every little boy baby were commanded to bring
him to the Temple when he was forty days old, and present him to the Lord. They
used to tell God that the little child He had given them really belonged to Him. And
when they did this they always brought an offering with them. If they were rich they
brought a lamb and a turtle-dove or pigeon, if they were poor they might bring two
turtle-doves or two young pigeons, which would cost very little money.
But what has this to do with the glory of the Temple ? It is a very common
sight. Every day parents come there bringing the little children with them and pre-
senting them to God. Many must have seen these two people and taken no notice of
TEE PRESENTATION IN THE TEMPLE
them. And yet there is something out of the common about this little baby. For
while they are waiting for the priests to take their offering an old man, by name Simeon,
who is well known in the Temple comes to them. He has waited there day after day
for a long time, and now he knows his waiting time is over, and as he takes the infant
Jesus in his arms he breaks forth into the hymn the Nunc Dimittis, which we know so
well, and sing in Church at Evensong.
"Lord, now lettest Thou Thy servant depart in peace: according to Thy Word.
For mine eyes have seen : Thy salvation,
Which Thou hast prepared : before the face of all people;
To be a light to lighten the Gentiles : and to be the glory of Thy people Israel."
What does this old man, with silver hair, holding the little baby in his arms, mean
by these words ? Ah he knows Who this child is. He is not only the Son of Mary, but
the Son of God. He is come down from Heaven and has been born into the world to
save men from their sins. His name Jesus tells us so. And this is why Simeon says in
his song as he looks at the infant in his arms, Mine eyes have seen Thy salvation,"
for Jesus was come from God to be the Saviour of the world, to be a light to the
Gentiles, and to be the glory of the Jews. And now the old man is ready to die.
He has seen God's salvation and has held the Saviour in his arms. And the words of
his song tell us that the prophecy of Haggai, spoken hundreds of years ago, has come
true. The second Temple has a glory now which the first Temple never had.
Jesus, Who is greater than Solomon, has come to the Temple and honoured it with
His Holy Presence ; He is the glory of God's people Israel. The words have come
true at last, "The glory of this latter house shall be greater than the glory of the
former, saith the Lord of Hosts."
- ''"- N 1
RICHARD CLAY AND SONS, LIMITED, LONDON AND BUNGAV.