Luke 18
Pulpit Commentary Homiletics
We have first to consider what is -

I. THE ARGUMENT IN THE TEXT. It is one from the less to the greater, or rather from the unworthy to the worthy. If a bad man will, for a poor reason, accede to the request of one for whom he cares nothing, how much more certainly will the Righteous One himself, for a good reason, espouse the cause of those who are so dear to him! The reasons for confidence in God's faithfulness and interposition are therefore threefold.

1. If an unprincipled judge amongst men will finally do justice, assuredly the righteous Judge of all the earth will do so. His character is something which cannot fail; we may build on that as on the most solid rock.

2. If justice is granted by us for so poor a reason as that of fearing vexatious annoyance, surely God will listen and will respond to reverent and believing prayer. He is far more certain to be won by that in us which pleases him than is an unjust judge by that in his appellant which annoys him. And our approach to him in prayer, our reverent attitude, our faith in his goodness, our trust in his Word, - all this is very pleasing unto our Father.

3. If a man will yield a demand made by one to whom he does not feel himself related, and in whom he is absolutely uninterested, how confident we may be that God will interpose on behalf of those who, as his own sons and daughters, are dear to his parental heart, and who, collectively, constitute "his own elect " - those who are most tenderly and intimately related to him in Jesus Christ his Son!

II. THE SERIOUS FACT OF THE DIVINE DELAY. "Though he bear long with them" (ver. 7), or, "and he delays [to interpose] in their cause" (Dr. Bruce). It is certain that, from our point of view, God does delay to vindicate his people; his answer does not come as soon as we expect it; it is held back so long that we are ready "to faint" (Lose heart). Thus was it many times in the history of Israel; thus has it been frequently in the history of the Church of Christ. How many times have suffering bands of noble martyrs looked up piteously and despondently to heaven as they cried, "How long, O Lord, holy and true, dost thou not judge and avenge our blood?" Thus has it been in multitudes of individual instances; men have been oppressed, or they have been embarrassed, or they have been disappointed, or they have been otherwise afflicted; they have appealed to God for his delivering grace; and they have looked long in vain for the Divine response. They say, "O my God, I cry,... but thou hearest not" (Psalm 22:2).

III. THE EXPLANATION THAT WILL BE FOUND. The time will come when we shall understand why God did delay to answer us. But we may be quite sure that when it comes it will be seen:

1. That it was not in him - not in his absence from us, nor his indifference to us, nor his unreadiness to help us.

2. That it, was in us - in our unreadiness to receive his interposition, or in the misuse we should make of it, or in the greater and truer good to be gained by our patience than by our relief; and thus in the ultimate gain to our own well-being by his withholding.

IV. THE BLESSED FACT THAT IT IS ONLY A DELAY. "I tell you that he will avenge them speedily."

1. It is probable that when God does manifest his power he will work speedy and overwhelming destruction to the guilty; he will avenge "speedily," i.e. quickly, instantaneously. "How are they brought into desolation, as in a moment! they are utterly consumed with terrors. As a dream when one awaketh; so, O Lord, when thou awakest, thou shalt despise their image" (Psalm 73:19, 20).

2. It is certain that in his own time and way God will defend his people, that he will relieve his children, that he will redeem and bless his "own elect." His faithfulness to his Word; his love for them that love him; his intimacy of relation to those who are "in Jesus Christ;" - this is a sure and absolute pledge that the appeal to him cannot be and will not be in vain. Men ought continuously, perseveringly, to pray, and never to lose heart. The day of Divine appearing is entered in the books of God. - C.

Our Lord, in the two parables composing the present passage, gives the disciples encouragement to pray. The one brings out the need of perseverance and importunity in prayer; the other brings out the spirit of self-abasement which should be cultivated in prayer. They are thus linked together as twin lessons in the art of prayer.

I. LET US NOTICE THE NEEDFUL IMPORTUNITY OF GOD'S ELECT AS ILLUSTRATED BY THE IMPORTUNATE WIDOW. (Vers. 1-8.) The story is about an earthly judge of unscrupulous character, to whom a widow in her weakness, but with a deep sense of injury, appeals for redress. The weak woman is able by her importunity to extort from the heartless judge the redress which he would give on no other conditions. He even becomes facetious and humorous over it, and declares that he will avenge her, lest "by her continual coming she strike me" Having related this story, our Lord makes certain deductions from it. And:

1. He declares that at his coming there will little faith in his advent. (Ver. 8.) Now, this unbelief about his advent can be accounted for on several grounds.

(1) The procession of nature is so uniform. All things seem to continue as they were from the creation. Nature is on so largo and grand a scale that we do not appreciate the real progress, and imagine that we are in the midst of a standstill. Uniformity, however, is not standstill.

(2) Hope deferred will make many hearts sick. And so what has been so long talked of and yet has never appeared will be thought at last as never to appear. And

(3) stoicism will lead many just to take things as they are, and entertain no concern about any change. It is astonishing how easy-going people tolerate manifest wrongs rather than take the trouble either to pray about them or to work for their removal. But:

2. Our Lord acknowledges the wrong to which his elect ones have been exposed. Their cry is for justice, for redress, like the widow. Now, our Lord admits that his people have not got justice from the world. The world has not been worthy of them. The world has made them time after time martyrs. It is a great assurance that the Lord acknowledges his servants' wrongs.

3. He intimates at the same time that, like the widow, they will need importunity. The one weapon must be wielded and wielded incessantly. He keeps us waiting doubtless for our good. If we got all the moment we asked it, how should we ever learn patience? But:

4. He promises a sudden redress. The idea seems to be not "speedily" but "suddenly" he will avenge them. It will be a sharp and decisive deliverance when it comes. We thus see that all life's discipline is planned to stimulate prayer. And when we have least taste for it, we should, like Luther, pray on. This is the importunity the Lord loves and will answer.

II. LET US NOTICE THE SPIRIT OF SELF-ABASEMENT WHICH SHOULD CHARACTERIZE OUR PRAYER AS ILLUSTRATED IN THE PARABLE OF THE PHARISEE AND THE PUBLICAN. (Vers. 9-14.) And in this second story we have a Pharisee first presented whose prayer is an outburst of self-confidence. He thanks God that he is so much better than his neighbours. For in these he recognizes extortioners, unjust men, and adulterers. A self-righteous spirit is censorious; its prayer is a criticism; even a publican's modesty in standing afar off, and his contrition in smiting on his breast, are set down to his disparagement. Then the Pharisee can congratulate himself on fasting twice a week, and on giving tithes of all he possesses. But he was not a bit the better for all tiffs so-called prayer, this bit of blatant self-praise. On the other hand, the publican, though he remained afar off and hardly ventured to look up, but smote on his breast and cried, "God be merciful to me a sinner!" went down to his house a happier and better man. For the important point is not their consciousness, but God's attitude towards their respective spirits. To the one spirit God responds by justification and a sense of acceptance. The other is sent empty away. Hence the principles Jesus deduces are twofold.

1. Self-exaltation always precedes abasement. The proud will sooner or later get his fall. The Pharisaic spirit is always humiliated in the end. The man who is filled with self-satisfaction is only demonstrating his own self-ignorance and distance from God and his great ideal.

2. Self-abasement always leads to exaltation. It is when we feel "as a beast" before God, like Asaph in the seventy-third psalm, that we are on the way to spiritual rapture. For God has provided for the abased sinner the pardon he needs, and, besides the pardon, sanctification and everlasting progress. Let us, then, pray in the penitential key continually, and let us pray determined not to be deified; and heights of spiritual exaltation and rapture will be seen rising from our very feet, and inviting us to sit down on them with Jesus. - R.M.E.

Nevertheless when the Son of man cometh, shall he find faith on the earth? These words have no special reference, if they have any at all, to the condition of the world at the "second coming" of Christ. In order to understand and appreciate them, we must consider -

I. WHAT IS THE FORCE AND RANGE OF THIS EXPRESSION, "the coming of the Son of man." And it will be found on investigation that it signifies any special manifestation of God's power or any special appearance of Christ either in Person or in providence. This may be:

1. In mercy; including the Incarnation, when the Son of man came "not to destroy but to save" the world; the Resurrection, when he came in power and triumph from the other world; the Day of Pentecost, when he came in marvellous outpouring of Divine influence upon the world.

2. In judgment; including the destruction of Jerusalem; the day of death to each human being; the day of judgment itself, when "before him shall be gathered all nations."

II. WHAT IS THE APPLICATION OF IT IN THE TEXT. A widow appeals for redress against "her adversary" (the defendant) to an unprincipled judge. He puts her off until her importunity makes him listen and respond in order to save himself from annoyance. Arguing a fortiori, our Lord contends that God, the righteous Judge, will most certainly grant to his own people (children) the requests they make of him (see previous homily). But, continues the great Teacher, who had such a perfect insight into our nature, when he does that, and "comes" in judgment to his foes and in mercy to his friends, will he find his friends expecting him? will they be looking for his appearing? will their attitude be one of holy expectation, of instant recognition, and of devout thankfulness? or will they not, after all their asking, be positively surprised and even incredulous at his manifestation? He will come most assuredly, but when he comes, will he find faith on the earth?


1. We have two striking scriptural illustrations.

(1) Christ's own coming, after his resurrection, to his disciples. Instead of looking for him and welcoming him, according to his word (ver. 33), they were astounded and incredulous (Luke 24:11, 22, 23, 37). He did not "find faith" in them.

(2) His coming in providential deliverance to Peter. When the Church had been praying without ceasing for him, they should have been hoping for a Divine visitation in response to their prayer. Nevertheless, when it came, were they not found unbelieving and astonished (Acts 12:5, 15)? Are we much better than they?

2. Christ's coming in judgment. Such narrow and false interpretations as the Jews were apt to put upon sudden and sad calamities (Luke 13:1-4) we must scrupulously avoid. But when we see a man who has defied all laws, human and Divine, brought down into shame and ruin, or when we see a guilty empire which was founded on violence, sustained by force, and nourished in corruption, stricken down by defeat and reduced to dishonour and disaster, shall we be surprised as if a strange thing had happened? or shall we not rather feel that this is precisely what we had every reason to expect from the righteousness of the Divine Ruler?

3. Christ's coming in grace and mercy. When the Christian family, in answer to earnest and continued prayer, is just saved from serious embarrassment and perhaps from disgrace; when the Christian Church, after much pleading for God's Spirit, receives marked and manifest tokens of the presence and power of God in the midst of it; when the Christian teacher or preacher, as the issue of much devout and faithful work, finds many souls to be seeking the life which is of God; - is the attitude of that family, that Church, that teacher, one of calm expectation and devout acquiescence? or is it not rather one of surprise, if not even of incredulity? When we have been imploring the Son of man to come, and he comes at our appeal, does he find us awaiting and expecting him? Surely, with fuller and deeper faith on our part, there would be a more frequent coming on the part of our gracious Lord in life-giving power and blessing. - C.

The scene indicated by our Lord's opening sentences is easily realized. We readily picture to our minds the place and the two persons in whom we are interested - the haughty Pharisee and the humble-minded publican. We readily imagine their demeanor as they enter, their posture as they pray, their reception as they pass through the courts going and returning. But we ask how and why was it that the Pharisee was rejected and the publican accepted. And in reply we say:

1. In some respects the two men stood on the same ground. Both were free from the taint of idolatry and were worshipping God; both appreciated the privilege of prayer; both came to the same building, and, using the same invocation, each uttered the uppermost thought in his mind.

2. In some aspects the Pharisee seemed to have the advantage.

(1) He had the respect of the public, the good and God-fearing public, of the respectable people of his day;

(2) he had lived the worthiest life in all social and political relations;

(3) he was much the more "religious ' of the two, in the sense that his habit of life Was devout and charitable, while that of the publican had been godless and avaricious.

3. The terms of their respective prayers are not decisive of their acceptableness in the sight of God.

(1) A truly humble man might speak to God in the strain, though not in the spirit, of the Pharisee. It is quite right to thank God for being preserved from presumptuous sins and being kept in the path of rectitude and devotion (see Psalm 41:12, 13).

(2) A thoroughly formal worshipper might present the petition of the publican. How often, since then, have these or very similar words been used by "penitents" who have been impenitent, by those who have taken the language of humility on their lip while they "have regarded iniquity in their heart"! A modern writer (T. T. Lynch) represents these two men as going up again to the temple; but this time the Pharisee, adopting the publican's form of words in hope of acceptance, is again rejected; while the publican, giving thanks to God for his reconciliation and renewal, is again accepted -

"For sometimes tears and sometimes thanks,
But only truth can please." How, then, do we explain the fact that "this man went down to his house justified rather than the other"?

I. THE PHARISEE HAD FORMED A RADICALLY FALSE ESTIMATE of his own character, and the publican a true one of his. The Pharisee thought he was everything God wished him to be, and was miserably wrong in his estimate; he was reckoning that God cared chiefly if not exclusively for the outside in religion, that his favour was secured by ceremonies, by proprieties, by punctualities, by utterances of prescribed forms. He failed to understand that this was only the shell and not the kernel, and that the shell of correct behaviour is nothing without the kernel of a reverent and loving spirit. The publican, on the other hand, believed that he was very far from right with God; that he had been living a guilty life, and was condemned of God for so doing; and his thought was true.

II. THE PHARISEE'S FALSE ESTIMATE LED HIM INTO SELF-FLATTERY; the publican's true estimate into frank, penitential acknowledgment. Under the cover of gratitude, the one man paid himself handsome compliments, and held on high his great meritoriousness, thus confirming in his own mind the delusion that he was a favourite of Heaven; the other, moved by a deep sense of personal unworthiness, made honest confession of sin, and sought the mercy he knew he needed.

III. GOD HATES THE PROUD, AND HONOURS THE HUMBLE-HEARTED. Old and New Testaments may be said to be full of this truth. God has said and has repeated, he has most plainly and emphatically declared, that pride is odious and unpardonable in his sight; but that humility shall live before him (ver. 14; see also Psalm 32:5; Psalm 138:6; Proverbs 28:13; Isaiah 57:15; Matthew 5:3; 1 Peter 5:6; 1 John 1:8, 9). Here is:

1. A message of solemn warning. It concerns those who are the spiritual descendants of the Pharisee; who are satisfied with their spiritual condition but have no right to be so; who are building the hope of their hearts on things which are external, but in whom the love of God does not dwell. And here is:

2. A message of gracious encouragement. It concerns those who are burdened with a sense of sin and need not remain so. The way of mercy is open to every penitent soul. Jesus Christ is the "Propitiation for the sins of the whole world," and the grace of God in him far more than suffices for every guilty heart. In him we have forgiveness of sins; in him we have peace and hope and joy, even eternal life. - C.

This familiar and attractive scene is well conceived and described in the lines commencing, "Over the hills of Jordan." It contains valuable lessons for the young.

I. THE KINDLINESS OF JESUS CHRIST. Some kind men are not kindly. They will do a great deal for you, will give much to you, will run serious risks or even make serious sacrifices on your behalf; but they are not gracious, genial, winning. They are not approachable; you are not drawn to them; you are not inclined to address them and make friends with them; they rather repel than invite you. Such was not Jesus Christ. He was not only kind at heart, but kindly in manner and in bearing. The children of his day went freely and gladly to him. That "he was never seen to smile" is a wholly unauthorized and, we may be quite sure, an entirely false statement. Did he not take those infants into his arms with a smile upon his face? Did he not frequently, ay, constantly, smile as he looked upon innocency, upon hopefulness, upon childhood? Think of Jesus Christ as not only the kind but the kindly One, as not only the good but the gracious One, as not only the wise but the winning One. Think of him as that One to whom, if he were with us now as he was with men of old, you would be drawn with an irresistible attraction, and to whom you could, without any effort, unburden your heart. And believe that just what he was on earth he is in heaven.

II. JESUS CHRIST STILL RECEIVES US TO THE SHELTER OF HIS LOVING POWER. He took them up into his arms. The arms of the parent are the place of shelter to the child; to them in all time of danger or of distress he naturally and eagerly resorts. It is the place of strength, of defence, of succour. But youth needs more than human sympathy and help; it needs a refuge in Divine tenderness and power. It does so always; but more particularly when parental care is lost, because the parents themselves have "passed into the skies." Very seriously is this need felt when parental care is left behind, when youth or young manhood goes forth from the shelter of the home. Then how priceless is the shelter of the loving power of the Divine Friend! In that unknown "world" which lies beyond the home-life are perils that cannot be anticipated, and that are all unknown. Take care to secure the invaluable refuge of the Divine arm; for only in the protection of the all-wise Leader and almighty Friend will safety be found.

III. JESUS CHRIST STILL LAYS HIS HAND UPON US. Mark tells us (Mark 10:16) that he "put his hands upon them, and blessed them." You still sing, "I wish that his hands had been laid on my head." It is a right and becoming thought. But the laying of the hand of flesh on those children's heads may not have wrought any great spiritual change in them; they may have grown up to reject him. Of far more consequence is it that Christ should now lay the hand of his Divine power and grace upon your heart; that he should so act upon you by his Divine Spirit that your mind should be illumined, and that you understand what is the good and the wise thing to do; that your heart should be touched so that you will live to love him who is worthiest of all that is best. "His touch has still its ancient power." Yes; and more than the healing touch which gave sight to the blind and wholeness to the poor leper is that benignant power which opens the closed mind and cleanses the unholy heart.

IV. JESUS LOOKS AND WAITS FOR YOUR SUBMISSION, He says that it is you who, of all people, can most readily enter his holy kingdom. He must have your free and full consent. When he made the world, and sent the sun on its course, and gave to the sea its bounds, "he spake, and it was done; he commanded, and it stood fast." He compels all things in nature to do his bidding; but he asks, he invites your trust, your worship, your love. He cannot bless you as he would unless you consent to receive him as your own personal Lord and Saviour and Friend. But he assures you that this is open to you as it is not to others; the young can readily give their attention, their docility, their love, their obedience. Fewer and slighter hindrances are in your way than are in the path of those who have travelled further. Of such as you are now "is the kingdom of God." This is the golden chance of your life. - C.

During the progress of the King towards Jerusalem, his personal influence and benediction were greatly valued. It would seem that mothers brought their children to him to be blessed, and ended by producing the very little ones. The disciples thought the line should be drawn somewhere, and so ventured to forbid the anxious mothers, only, however, to receive the significant rebuke from him, "Suffer little children to come unto me, and forbid them not: for of such is the kingdom of God." We are thus introduced to the important principle that -

I. CHILDLIKENESS IS THE QUALIFICATION FOR GOD'S KINGDOM. (Vers. 15-17.) Now, that is only another way of stating that God's government is paternal, and that his subjects are sons. It is, in fact, "a mighty family" of which he is himself the Head. It is when we recognize in him our Father, and are prepared to accept as little children all he sends, and to do all he commands, that we truly belong to his kingdom. Hence the two characteristics specially brought out are

(1) trust, and

(2) obedience.

It is thus we are to test ourselves. Do we trust God our Father as little children trust their fathers according to the flesh? and do we obey our heavenly Father as little ones obey their earthly parents? Then are we in the kingdom.

II. CHRIST EXPECTS THE RICHEST RULER TO TRUST AND TO OBEY HIM LIKE A LITTLE CHILD. (Vers. 18-27.) We have here an interesting case of anxiety, and how Christ dealt with it. And here we have to notice that:

1. Neither his wealth nor his position satisfied the young ruler. Something more was needed. The heart cannot content itself with either rank or gold. Hence his anxiety to lay hold on eternal life, which he felt was something more than he had yet obtained.

2. He fancied he could entitle himself to it by a stroke of public service. Hence his inquiry, "Good Master, what shall I do to inherit eternal life?" His notion was that he could claim it as a right, if he could only tirol out the additional duty he felt able to discharge.

3. Jesus destroys with a single stroke his overestimate of human nature. The flattery of human nature coincides with self-esteem. The young ruler believed in his own goodness and capabilities, and he complimented Jesus as "good Master," because he believed in the existence of any number of good men - himself, of course, included. Now, Jesus will not accept a false compliment. Human nature is not good; and it is not as a mere man that he is going to receive such flattery. Hence he tells the ruler that there is no mere man good; that God alone is good. There is here no repudiation of goodness as belonging to himself, but simply a repudiation of goodness as an attribute of unaided humanity.

4. Jesus insists on examination of past conduct in the light of the Divine Law. He asks the young ruler if he has kept the second table of the Decalogue, and been dutiful to his fellow-men. Looked at from without, the self-sufficient mind imagines it is a simple thing to keep the Law. But when for "law" we substitute "love," the self-examination does not so assure us. Meanwhile the young ruler is strong in the belief that he has kept the whole Law.

5. Jesus now demands, as a test of his trust in him, the surrender of his riches to the poor, and the subsequent following of him. The demand was for faith. When we consider that Jesus was apparently but a poor artisan, then, unless the young ruler would absolutely and implicitly trust him, he would never think of obeying his demand. The result proved that he was not yet ready to trust Jesus. He trusted his money more! Hence his sorrow as he leaves the Lord. And herein lies the money-danger. It bids for the trust of the soul. Moneyed men find it hard to trust any one more than money. They think it only natural that they should feel independent. But if money leads men away from Jesus, it is a curse, and not a blessing. When tempted to be covetous, let us remember that money has its special dangers, and makes it harder and even impossible for some to enter into God's kingdom.

6. Jesus, while stating the difficulty which rich men find in entering God's kingdom, shows that God manifests his great power in saving some of them. Money is such a barrier that we might well despair of the salvation of any rich men. Poor men have a chance. They have so little that they dare not trust in it, but in God only. But the rich man is tempted to trust in the uncertain riches, and leave God out of the account. But for this very reason God magnifies his grace in saving some rich men - in saving some in spite of all their temptation to trust in their abundance. A rich yet real believer is a splendid illustration of the grace of God. He sees through his riches and forbids them to come between his soul and his Saviour.

III. CHRIST INDICATES THE RECOMPENSE AWAITING ALL THOSE WHO HAVE SACRIFICED. THEIR ALL FOR HIM. (Vers. 28-30.) Peter, as spokesman for the others, asks Christ what they shall have, seeing they have sacrificed their worldly positions to follow him. They thought that they should have some recompense. Nor were they mistaken; for Christ shows that they shall have:

1. A recompense in kind in this world. Often when a home is left for the sake of Jesus, a happier home is found in the midst of the Lord's work. When rich prospects are renounced for the Saviour's sake, unexpected recompense comes round in the shape of riches. When relatives are resigned that Christ's cause may be promoted, new relations spring up around the devoted soul and bring compensation. And the spirit of loving appreciation which appropriates all things makes ample amends for all our self-denial for our Saviour (1 Corinthians 3:21-23).

2. A recompense in the world to come in the shape of eternal life. So that self-denial, self-renunciation, becomes the path to the life eternal. The opportunity of living in God and for God awaits all sincere souls in the other life, and satisfies them. Let us consequently rejoice in hope of the glory, and have grace to fear no evil. - R.M.E.

Jesus Christ not only opened the gate of his kingdom to the little child as he opened his arms to the little children whom the mothers of Judah brought to him; he also took the little child as a type of the true disciple. He taught us that if we wish to enter his kingdom, our spirit must be the child-spirit. Whosoever shall not receive the kingdom of God as," etc. And what is this spirit? It is that of -

I. DOCILITY, or readiness to accept what is told us. The ideal child is teachable; it will learn because it is ready to receive; it has not found out the way of distrust and of rejection; it takes in the light, the truth, which is offered and it grows thereby. Men of mature years and powers, who have had all the advantages of Christian privileges, often stand without the kingdom because they will not receive the truth that is offered them; their mind is preoccupied with theories, systems, imaginations, of their own. They seem to know much; they believe they know much, for they are familiar with some things of which many (perhaps most) are ignorant; they could easily puzzle their neighbours by asking questions which these could not answer; they have a number of facts and laws, and a much larger number of names at their command; they "seem to be wise" (1 Corinthians 3:18). But their knowledge is very small in comparison with all that has to be acquired; it is partly (largely) local, temporary, evanescent (1 Corinthians 13:8); it is nothing to the wisdom of God. It becomes them, as it becomes us all, to feel toward God as our little children feel towards us - to cherish a spirit of docility. How much more he has to tell us than we have to teach them! How much greater is our ignorance in his sight than theirs is in ours! He who will not accept the doctrine of the Divine Fatherhood; he who will not yield himself to a Divine Saviour; he who will not pursue the path of holy service, hoping to find at the end of it a heavenly home, - because this does not square with some favourite theories, or because it transcends the range of some intellectual faculties, cannot enter the kingdom of truth, and therefore shuts himself out of the kingdom of God. We shall fail to stand on the first rung of the ladder that reaches heavenly wisdom unless we realize that we are all of us but very little children in the presence of our Father, and unless with docile spirit we come to his feet and say, "Lord, we are very ignorant; wilt thou teach us?"

"Lead us, O Father, in the path of truth;
Unhelped by thee, in error's maze we grope."

II. SIMPLICITY. The little child (of our thought and our affection) is simple, transparent, sincere; he says just what is in his mind, does not pretend he is naughty when he believes himself to be good - is real. This God demands of us - "truth in the inward parts," sincerity of spirit. It does not further our cause with him to affect a piety that is not genuine; to simulate a penitence of which our heart knows nothing; to use the language of humility while pride is reigning within. He would rather we tell him just what we feel, just what we are, than adopt the most appropriate confessions or petitions. We must be like the children of our home; we must mean what we say when we draw nigh to him.

III. TRUSTFULNESS. Christianity is a religion which centres in a Person, in one Divine Being. "He that believeth in me," "that abideth in me," - that is the prevailing note. Trust in Jesus Christ as the Teacher, Saviour, Sovereign of the human soul, is the way of life. He who has that stands within "the kingdom of God." Where shall we learn to trust? Is it not of the little child? As the child flees for refuge to its parent's arms, confides itself and all it has or hopes for to its parent's wisdom and love, so the human soul is invited to commit itself and all its everlasting interests to the Almighty Saviour, to say with implicit, childlike confidence and self-surrender -

"Jesus. Refuge of my soul,
Let me to thy bosom fly." C.

Many features combine to make this incident one of peculiar interest.

I. THE PRINCIPAL ACTOR IS THE SCENE A YOUNG MAN. Matthew tells us this quite incidentally (Matthew 19:22), but it adds great interest to the occurrence. For our hearts are drawn towards youth. Youth is innocent, ingenuous, frank, trustful, hopeful, loving. There is, moreover, some mystery about it. We know what the old man has been; we know what the man of middle life will be; but of youth we cannot tell; it may accomplish great things; it is covered with the delicate buds, with the beautiful flowers of promise.

II. A YOUNG MAN OF WEALTH AND INFLUENCE. This might not make him more interesting to Christ; but it does to us. The rich young heir may be of no more intrinsic worth than the beggar by the wayside; but because he is the heir of fortune, we care about him, we watch his career; we are specially glad if he takes a wise course, and are specially grieved if he goes astray.


1. We note his reverence. Youth should be reverent. Ignorance and inexperience should pay to knowledge and wisdom the regard which is their due. We like this young man because he saw in that homeless Teacher a wisdom superior to his Own, and came and prostrated himself before him in becoming homage.

2. We note his ardour. He came running (Mark 10:17) to meet and to learn of Christ. Youth should be, as in the person of this inquirer it was - eager, ardent, enthusiastic, sanguine of good things.

3. We note his religiousness. "Heaven lies about us in our infancy," etc. Youth is the time when heavenly visions are most and best seen; when Divine claims, spiritual realities, are strongest and clearest to the soul; then "life eternal" has the deepest meaning. So was it with him. To him life held something larger and better than all his lands and houses; other and higher voices than those of debtors and stewards reached his ear; he had a vision of a holy service in which he might be engaged; of a Divine life he might be living; and running in his eagerness, and kneeling in his reverence, he looked up into the face of Christ and said, "Good Master, what good thing shall I do, that I may have eternal life?"

IV. A YOUNG MAN IN THE PRESENCE OF CHRIST, exciting his special interest. A young man, with his life before him and a soul not yet stained by the evil which is in the world, standing in the very presence of him who knew what human life might include and what the human soul was worth, who could tell him how to enlarge the one and how to ennoble the other, and who (Mark 10:21) took a tender and loving interest in this earnest spirit, - what could we have more profoundly interesting than this?

V. JESUS CHRIST REVEALING TO HIM THE TRUE STATE OF HIS HEART. Our Lord's treatment of inquirers differed much; it was, no doubt, determined by the state of their heart, as he alone knew it. He replied to this young man as he did, because he wished him to know where he actually stood; he wished to show him that, in order to be prepared to lay hold on eternal life, it was not only necessary to have such sincerity as he had, and such earnestness as he had, but such earnestness as would make him ready to yield everything to the Lord of his life; and that this he had not. So, after leading him up to the point, he said, "Sell all that thou hast," etc. And then the inquirer knew that he lacked one thing - one essential thing; he wanted that thoroughness of purpose toward God which made self-surrender possible to him. It was a glorious, golden chance, then used or then lost when this interview was held. It must have been the crisis of his career, on which everything hung for all the future. Similar in its nature, though not alike in its circumstances, is the opportunity offered to each one of us.

1. All the life of Christian privilege is the golden chance of our existence. "Now is the accepted time," the period when everything is open to us, when a noble and immortal future stretches Out before us and is within our power.

2. Youth is the golden chance of life. It is in the days that are now passing, when the heart is warm, and the mind is open, and the conscience tender, and the life unburdened and unembarrassed, that Christ should be approached and his lasting friendship gained.

3. The day of Divine visitation is the golden chance of youth - that day when the truth and the grace of Jesus Christ are most powerfully felt, and a voice from heaven is heard saying of the path of life, "This is the way: walk ye in it." - C.

Wherein lies the difficulty of a rich man entering the kingdom? This young ruler shrank from parting with his property, but Jesus Christ does not ordinarily ask men of wealth to "sell all that they have and give to the poor." His difficulty, therefore, is not the common one.

1. It is not that the rich man is not as welcome to the friendship of Christ as the poor man. He does not make distinctions in his invitation, or in his desire that men should come to him. In him in whom is neither male nor female, bond nor free, there is neither rich nor poor. The poor as much as the rich, and also the rich as much as the poor, are the objects of his love and of his seeking. The Lord of our nature regards us, and concerns himself for us, not on account of our circumstances, but because he knows the value of our souls.

2. Not because the rich man cannot illustrate the distinctive graces of Christianity. The sale and distribution of property in apostolic times was an expedient which was adopted for the occasion; but it was not insisted upon as necessary even then (Acts 5:4), and it was very soon abandoned. Paul, writing to Timothy, wrote on the supposition that the Christian Church included many wealthy men (1 Timothy 6.). Every age and every country has witnessed the lives of wealthy Christian men, who have illustrated every grace that the great Teacher has commended. It is clear that a rich man map be as humble, as generous, as temperate, as pure, as devout, as any poor man can be; and he sometimes is so. The explanation of our Lord's language is found in the fact that riches are apt to put a serious obstacle in the way of entrance into the kingdom. If we would find our way into that holy and blessed kingdom, it is necessary that we should have a sense of our personal emptiness and need. We come to Christ to be filled with his fulness, to be enriched by his grace and love. He is a Physician, and it is they who feel that they are sick that are likely to apply for his healing power. He is the Divine Source of all wealth and enrichment (Revelation 3:18), and they must know themselves to be poor who come to buy of him gold that they may become rich. Hence the difficulty. It is for this reason that -

I. A MAN WHOSE MIND IS FULL OF KNOWLEDGE finds it hard to receive distinctive Christian truth. He is rich, as compared with his fellows, in the acquisition of knowledge. He is proud of this possession of his, and is bent on making the most of it. Jesus Christ comes to him, and says that he must lay aside his own views and notions, and sit at his feet and receive the truth he brings to him from God. Then the "rich" man has to sacrifice his favourite theories, has to make nothing of his learning, that he may admit to his mind the wisdom that is from above; and he finds it very "hard" to do this.

II. A MAN WHO IS CLOTHED WITH HONOUR finds it hard to take a very humble view of himself. For honour is an order of wealth, and one that is highly prized. But the natural and common effect of it is to lead those who are the objects of it to form a flattering view of themselves; it is hard to get them to believe that in God's sight they may be as sinful as those held in very much less regard by their fellow-men. But the ground on which human souls must come to Christ is that of humility. "Blessed are the poor in spirit: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven."

III. A MAN WHOSE CHAMBERS ARE FULL OF TREASURE is tempted to seek his satisfaction in the lower good. We have to make our choice, as Divine truth is presented to us, whether we will live for the service of Christ or for our own personal enjoyment and aggrandizement. To the poor, to the afflicted, to the suffering, to those who know they have not long to live, the temptation to live for this present world is not so strong; on their ear the overtures of the gospel of grace fall as that very thing they need for theft comfort and their peace; they have little to surrender, they have much to gain. But to those to whom every avenue of enjoyment is open; to those who may look hopefully, perhaps confidently, for place, for power, for society, for pleasure, for honour, - the inducement is very strong and urgent to cast in their lot with those "whose portion is in this life." Many voices very close to their ear, very clear and convincing, call for their strength to be given to the material rather than the spiritual, to the temporal rather than the eternal, to the human rather than the Divine; and it is "hard" for them to resist and to overcome.

1. Let poverty find its ample consolation in the accessibility of the riches that always satisfy and never flee.

2. Let those who know neither poverty nor riches thank God for the happy mean in which his providence has placed them - not subjecting them to the temptations of either.

3. Let wealth beware lest it make a sad, a supreme, mistake; lest, in the great spiritual strife, it -

"Clutch the tinsel gilding, and let go the crown of life." C.

It is certain that no literalist could ever understand Jesus Christ. Men of this order of mind utterly failed to understand him in his own time (see particularly John 6:41-46), and they are equally at fault to-day. It is clearly impossible to give a literal interpretation to these words of the Lord; the facts of the case do not permit it. But going to the heart of this Divine utterance, we understand that any one who for Christ's sake suffers the loss of kindred and of worldly goods, shall have that which, in the sight of God and in the light of his truth, is worth a hundred times more than any human or earthly blessings can be. We shall better see the truthfulness of this declaration if we approach the main thought from a little distance, and consider that human life is something the value of which depends not on the quantity but on the kind of it. A small quantity of human life outweighs in value a large amount of animal life. A very small portion of the higher human life transcends in value a large extent of lower human life. "Better fifty years of Europe than a cycle of Cathay." Bailey has well written -

"Life's more than breath and the quick round of blood;
It is a great spirit and a busy heart.
We live in deeds, not years; in thoughts, not breaths;
In feelings, not in figures on a dial.
We should count time by heart-throbs. He most lives
Who thinks most, feels the noblest, acts the best." And there is wisdom as well as strength in the lines -

"One crowded hour of glorious life
Is worth an age without a name." Lifting up this truth to the spiritual level of the teaching of Jesus Christ, we find that in such a life as that which is of him and in him - for the attainment of which we may have to make very great sacrifices -

I. THERE IS AN ELEVATED AND TRANSPORTING JOY experienced in the very endurance of persecution; and this alone goes far towards fulfilling the Saviour's word. This statement is simply historical. The apostles returned from the council, condemned and severely scourged, "rejoicing that they were counted worthy to suffer shame for his Name." Paul and Silas sang the praises of God in the darkness and foulness of a Philippian dungeon. And under every sky since then, men and women, old and young and in the midst of life, have gone to the dungeon and to the stake and to the open grave in which they were to be buried alive, not with tears in their eyes and lamentations on their tongues, but with songs of praise upon their lips, and with keen, exultant triumph in their hearts. To-day there is far more of real and lasting joy to be found under the roof of the missionary compound than in the palatial buildings of European capitals, profounder and more lasting satisfaction in the self-sacrificing labours of the evangelist than in the lounging idleness of the sons and daughters of fashion and of pleasure.

II. IN TRUE DISCIPLESHIP THERE ARE SOURCES OF JOY which altogether outweigh any losses that may be entailed by fidelity. Some people know just enough of "religion to find it a weariness, a burden, an anxiety. This is neither piety nor policy; it does not secure God's favour, and it gives no satisfaction to them. But the true and thorough servant of Jesus Christ, heartily surrendering himself to his Divine Redeemer, and devotedly engaging in his service, has "manifold more" of blessedness than he loses by anything with which he parts. He has

(1) the favour, the forgiving and abiding love of God his Father; his lifelong, his unfailing friendship;

(2) happy, holy fellowship with Jesus Christ, and, through him, with the true and pure and good amongst men;

(3) a share in that holy service, outside of which is no rectitude for man, in which is rightness and wisdom, and therefore peace and joy;

(4) the luxury, the blessedness of usefulness, of doing good and communicating, of being a source of strength and healing to the poor and needy;

(5) "And in the world to come eternal life: not the lingering and lasting shadows into which Greek and, Roman shrank from descending; not the uninviting sheol of the Hebrews; but everlasting day, eternal life - life in its fulness, its freedom, its blessedness, its glory, life never ceasing but enlarging and unfolding evermore. What commanding, convincing, constraining reasons are here for choosing the Master's service! What is it that he asks us to surrender for his sake? Anything in the way of profit, or pleasure, or companionship? Perhaps something in these ways. But what we gain by accepting him as Saviour and Friend is a thousand times more precious than all that we can be called upon to renounce. Even here and now God gives to us far more than he takes from us; and, beside this, in the world to come is eternal life." We may well do as Peter said he and his associates had done - leave all to follow Christ. - C.

The clear prevision which the Lord Jesus Christ had of the future which was before him may suggest to us the thought -

I. GOD'S KINDNESS IS CONCEALMENT. We often try to forecast the future, and sometimes wish that we could do so less imperfectly than we can. But our very inability to do this is to us a valuable shield that saves us from great unhappiness. For who of us would care to proceed at all if he knew all the sorrowful experiences through which his path would lie? We sometimes feel a humane satisfaction that the sheep anti cattle that browse so contentedly to-day in the field have not their short enjoyment marred by any expectation of the slaughter-house they are to enter to-morrow. And we may well be thankful that so thick a veil hangs over our future, that we cannot possibly tell what are the troubles that will befall us, or where our life will be darkened with its deeper shadows. Even when, as with Paul, we know that "bonds and afflictions abide us," still, like hire., we do "not know the things that will befall us" then. And whilst, on the one hand, we very commonly have enough of premonition to make desirable preparation for coming evil, on the other hand our life is so ordered that we go happily and hopefully on our way, untroubled by the evils which are in front of us but which are mercifully hidden from our view.

II. OUR LORD'S LEADERSHIP IN THE EXPERIENCE OF APPREHENSION. Our happy inability to anticipate the future is not the whole of the truth, though it is a large part of it. It remains true that there is a considerable amount of apprehension in the structure of our life. There are times when we clearly foresee some trial ahead of us. We may not know precisely the time of its arrival, nor the elements of which it will be composed. But we can tell that "our hour is coming." Before us, at no great distance, is suffering, is separation, is loss, is loneliness, is heart-ache. The road we are travelling along will soon descend, and we shall go down into the darkly shaded valley. Of that we have no doubt; and our spirit trembles, our heart is full of foreboding and, perchance, misgiving. How shall we pass through that dark valley? How bravely or how weakly, how worthily or how unbecomingly, shall we undergo that experience when it comes? There are many sources of encouragement to which we might resort. But this passage speaks to us of one of the best of them. Christ has gone this way before us - this way of keen and anxious apprehension. He knew that the most trying experiences were only a little way in front of him. He knew that the last extremity of human hatred and of human cruelty would be visited upon him. The Jews would condemn him with all their malignity, and the Gentiles would maltreat him with all their disdainful and powerful heartlessness. The sad and shameful future immediately before him stood clear to his sight, clearer far than any coming sorrow can shape itself to us. Therefore we may feel that:

1. We are treading in the footsteps of our Lord, and it is enough for the disciple to be as his Master.

2. We may be confident of his tenderest and fullest sympathy. He has suffered just what we are suffering now.

3. He will help us in our time of need. As he himself sought of man the succour he did not find, and was glad to receive from heaven the comfort he did not ask (Mark 14:34, 37; and Luke 22:43), we may be well assured that he will not refuse us all the aid we need and ask of him when the trial-hour of our experience shall have come.

III. THE DIFFICULTY OF DISCIPLESHIP - TO LEARN UNWELCOME TRUTH. There was no inherent incomprehensibleness in the words Christ here employed; yet "they understood none of these things" Why did they not comprehend such intelligible language? Because the truth conveyed was so exceedingly unwelcome. It cut across all their cherished hopes respecting the Messiah; it dashed their natural expectations to the ground; and it went sorely against all that their affection prompted them to believe and cherish. "It could not, must not, did not mean that," they said in their hearts. It is not the strangeness nor the profundity of truth which is too much for us; it is its remoteness from that on which we have set our heart. We do not understand that which clashes with our prejudices, or our passions, or our affections. The apostles of Christ would have saved themselves from many hours of awful sorrow and abject hopelessness and painful incredulity, if their feelings had allowed them to understand the truth which their Master put so plainly and so repeatedly before them (Matthew 16:21; Matthew 17:22; Matthew 20:17). Can it be that Jesus Christ is saying something to us which we ought to understand, but do not because it is unwelcome to our hearts, or because it is at variance with all our old and strong habits of thought? Is it possible that he is calling us to repentance, to self surrender, to a full confession of our faith, to a nobler life, to some field of active work, and we do not understand what he is saying to us? Where his own apostles so greatly failed, may not we be found at fault? Shall we leave it to future darkness and a great surprise and a mortifying discovery of error to set us straight? Or shall we not rather recognize in time our liability to mistake; seek to have an open mind to receive all his holy will concerning us; ask God to help us to remove the bandages of prejudice and of earthly attachments from the eyes of our understanding; seek by docility and devoutness of spirit to be such disciples of the Master that, when he speaks even unwelcome truth to us, we shall understand him and obey? - C.

Having spoken to the disciples about recompense, he balances his consolation by giving them fair warning of his own approaching humiliation and death. But they were so infatuated about the honours that they were totally blind to the humiliation. Christ's words were no better than idle tales to them. It suggests -

I. THE ONE-SIDED WAY IN WHICH PEOPLE MAY READ THE BIBLE. (Ver. 31.) What was about to happen to Jesus was prophesied ages before. The Old Testament presented a suffering as well as an exalted Messiah. But the Jews totally overlooked the humiliating aspect. And in the very same way people go still to God's Word, and find there only what they want to find. It needs great trials oftentimes to expound some passages of the Divine Word to us. We are partial students; we do not enter into the wide meaning of the Word as God would have us!

II. GREAT TRIALS ARE NEEDED TO OPEN OUR EYES TO THE OVERLOOKED REALITIES. (Vers. 32-34.) It is plain that they did not take in Christ's meaning until he was actually taken from them and crucified. In the terrible suffering which seemed to extinguish all their fond hopes, the overwhelmed men got the spiritual vision, and were enabled to see a suffering as well as an exalted Messiah revealed in the Divine Word. And do we not often, when crushed and broken by trial, come to appropriate passages of God's Word which formerly were blank to us? We ought to bless God for the opened eye, even though the process of opening it be painful.

III. THE RESURRECTION OF CHRIST MADE AMENDS FOR ALL THE PREVIOUS SUFFERING. (Ver. 33.) For resurrection was exaltation; it was glory which could only be reached through the tomb. No possibility was there of Jesus being raised if he had never died. It is an experience cheaply purchased, perhaps, through death and the grave.

IV. LET US CONTRAST WITH THIS THE CURE OF BLIND BARTIMAEUS. (Vers. 35-43.) From blind disciples - mentally blind - Luke proceeds to speak of the blind beggar and his physical cure. Jesus was proceeding to Jerusalem to enter it as King. It was a royal progress. Here was one of the splendid accompaniments of it.

1. The condition of the poor blind beggar. He was blind, and, as he could not keep himself by work, he had to beg. He was thus perfectly helpless and dependent. And he knew his deficiencies. There was no unconsciousness of them or indifference to them.

2. The knowledge he possessed of Jesus. He had heard of Christ's miracles, how he had cured several blind men previously. He knew he was the Son of David, and regarded him as true Messiah. Hence his knowledge of Christ was sufficient to lead him to throw himself upon his mercy as soon as he had the chance.

3. The visit of Jesus to his neighbourhood. Jesus was passing on, and the crowd surged mightily around him. The noise fell upon the blind man's acute ear, and led him to ask what it all meant. Then, as soon as he learned that Jesus was passing by, he began to cry, "Jesus, thou Son of David, have mercy on me!" Noble example! Should not all who feel their need of mercy cry as Bartimaeus did?

4. Discouragement only intensifies Ms eagerness for blessing. The crowd rebuked him, but Bartimaeus persevered. The more discouragement, the more importunity. So let it be with us in our seasons of discouragement.

5. The call of Jesus. The importunate one is summoned to the Saviour's presence. Those who once discouraged him now urge him forward.

6. The inquiry of Jesus. Bartimaeus is asked what mercy he desires; and his whole soul goes forth in the words, "Lord, that I may receive my sight!" It is surely well when we clearly know our need and desire its supply.

7. The cure conferred and its consequences. Bartimaeus is thrown upon his faith; according to this is his cure. But his faith was strong enough for the occasion, He consequently sees plainly, and his fresh sight is used to guide him after Jesus. So is it with us if we receive from Jesus our spiritual healing. Then we see the Saviour plainly, and we learn and are proud to follow him. The people, too, in seeing us follow Christ, will learn to glorify the God of grace who has enabled us to do so. - R.M.E.

Pathetic stories are told of those who, in circumstances of the greatest danger or distress, have suddenly found themselves almost within reach of blessed deliverance, but who just failed to realize their hope. It is the captive knight past whose dungeon a friendly host is filing, and the sound of the clarion drowns his pleading cries; or it is the shipwrecked sailor on the lonely island whose laboriously constructed signal the ship that is homeward bound does not descry, and who sees his one chance of rescue vanishing away. Those who have never known a supreme misfortune, together with a possibility, which was only a possibility, of deliverance, cannot realize the thrilling and all but intolerable suspense of such moments of present but passing opportunity as Bartimaeus now knew. He was blind, helpless, shut out from all the sights and nearly all the enjoyments of human life; his lot was of the darkest and the saddest; and there was passing by One who could turn darkness into day, dreariness and gloom into blessedness and beauty, if only he could win his ear and make his plea. This glorious Healer was within a few paces of him, would soon be actually in front of him, would all too soon be gone beyond his call. "Jesus of Nazareth was passing by!" We see here -

I. THE SORENESS OF OUR SPIRITUAL NEED. We are blind, helpless, suffering the worst privations, under the dominion of sin. We recognize rot our Father, our brethren, our true selves, our true opportunities, our chief perils, our real interests; and our blindness is not only immeasurably reducing the value of our present life, but is leading us to that which is darker still and sadder far.

II. THE NEAR PRESENCE OF JESUS CHRIST. A Divine Deliverer is at hand. Quite near to us, within reach of our voice, within touch of our hand, is One who can open our eyes and make us see clearly all that we need to know. At our very door is One who is not only ready at our entreaty, but even prepared already and eager to supply all our need. Here is One who offers to:

1. Enlighten our mind.

2. Restore the relationship to God our Father we have lost by our sin.

3. Constitute himself our almighty and unchanging Friend and Guide through all our life.

4. Conduct us and receive us to a heavenly home.

III. THE PASSING OF PRESENT OPPORTUNITY. This priceless chance is ours to-day; but how long will it remain within our reach? Jesus of Nazareth is near, but he is passing.

1. We know nothing of Christian privilege beyond the grave, and our life is hastening on; it may close at any hour, and it is hurrying away on the swift wings of duty and of pleasure.

2. The favoured period of youth is still more transient. Christ is very near us in the golden days of youth, when the spiritual nature is so open and so responsive; but how fast these days are fleeing! how soon will they be gone!

3. The hour of special grace and of rare privilege is but an hour - that time when Heaven puts forth its most constraining influences, and we see and feel that the gates into the kingdom of God are opened wide for our entrance, We cannot afford to delay when Jesus of Nazareth is near us. When eternal life is within our grasp, we must compel every other interest to take the second place; and this, not only because it is of such transcendent value, but because we may never have so golden an opportunity again. There is "a tide" in the history of every man which leads on to something more than "fortune;" it leads unto life - the life that is Divine and everlasting. On no account whatever must that be "omitted." Foolish beyond all reckoning, as well as guilty before God, is the soul that lets Jesus of Nazareth pass by without seeking his feet and finding his favour. - C.

Our hearts are drawn towards blind Bartimaeus; we compassionate him for his long-continued blindness; we enter into his feeling of keen hopefulness when he hears of the passing of Jesus Christ; we like the importunity of the man, his sturdy refusal to be put down by popular clamour; we like also his manly directness in reply to the question asked him, "Lord, that I may receive my sight!" We owe him some gratitude in that it was his necessity which provided our Lord with one more opportunity of illustrating his power and his pity, and of carrying on the great redemptive work he came to accomplish. For these miracles he wrought were a part, and a valuable part, of that work of his. If apprised of less value than they once were, they are very far indeed from being valueless. And amongst other things they illustrate Christ's personal dealing with men. As he did not heal in troops and companies but addressed himself to each individual man or woman that was sick or suffering, blind or lame, so does he now make his appeal to each individual heart, and say to this man and to that man, "What wilt thou that I shall do unto thee?" And what do we want of him, as he thus approaches us?

I. THOSE WHO WANT NOTHING IN PARTICULAR. They meet with their neighbours to worship him and to hear about him, but they have no sense of need in their hearts; their souls are not suffering and smarting under a painful sense of sin; their hearts are not athirst for the living God and Saviour. They wish for "bread enough," but it is not the bread of life for which they hunger; they would like much to be wealthy, but they arc not careful to be "rich toward God."

II. THOSE WHO WANT NOTHING OF CHRIST NOW. The time will come when they will be glad of a Saviour and Friend - some future hour of sorrow, or difficulty, or loneliness, and certainly the hour of death; they would like to keep open the line of communication, but at present they do not feel that they want anything of the great Healer of hearts. But let us look rather at -

III. WHAT WE ALL DO REALLY WANT OF HIM. If our Divine Father is not to be disappointed in us, if our lives on earth are not to be miserable failures, then may we all urge, with this blind man, "Lord, that we may receive our sight!" For it is essential to the life of our life that we should be enlightened upon:

1. The transcendent value of the human spirit, and thus understand of how much more value we ourselves are than any of our earthly surroundings, or than the body which is our temporary residence.

2. The intimate and tender relation in which we stand to God. That God is the one Being with whom we have to do, from whom we cannot withhold our love and service without doing him and ourselves the greatest wrong, who is "earnestly remembering" and patiently seeking us in our distance and estrangement.

3. The supreme and abiding blessedness of the service of Christ; that this is the soul's only true rest and portion, its peace and its inheritance. We want that these great saving truths should stand out before the eyes of our soul as the solid and living facts, in comparison with which all other things are of small account; we want to recognize in them the great verities which alone will satisfy and save us. If we would that Christ should do this for us, we must remember that what he is saying to us is this:

(1) "Learn of me;"

(2) "Believe in me;" "Have faith in me;"

(3) "Abide in me;"

(4) "Follow me." ? C.

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