« הקודםהמשך »
Charity; the Church and the Working THE LESSON IN LITERATURE. Man, etc.
Trumbull's Studies in Oriental Life. PLAN OF THE LESSON. Phillips Brooks, Sermons, vol. The
Beautiful Gate of the Temple.” Dr. A. J. SUBJECT : Peter and John Heal the Gordon's Ministry of Healing. Lame Man.
Wrought into Gold.” 1. PETER AND JOHN ON THEIR WAY Whittier's Poems, “ Our Master.”
TO WORSHIP, v. I.
THE LESSON IN ART.
Peter and John at the Beautiful Gate, IV. PETER's APPLICATION OF THE by Raphael.* MIRACLE, vs. 11-26.
Healing of the Lame Man, by Poussin.* V. HELPING MEN TO HELP THEM- Peter and John Distributing Alms, by SELVES.
1. Now Peter and John went up together into the temple at the hour of prayer, being the ninth hour.
An Ancient Example of the Helping Hand.
The regular afternoon prayer service in the temple was conducted by the priests at three o'clock, the ninth hour of the day. At this time the priest came into the Holy Place to the golden Altar of Incense, on which was placed a compound of sweet gums and spices especially prepared for use in this way, and forbidden for other use (Ex. 30 : 34-38).
Plan of the Temple in the Days of the Apost.es.
F. Courts and Chambers.
G. H. Steps and gate to Court of Priests.
J. Steps up to the Holy Place.
The worshippers in the Court of the Women, separated from the Holy Place by the Court of the Priests, could yet see the altar of sacrifice, the type of consecration and forgiveness, and most of them could see the golden altar of incense within the holy 2. And a certain man lame from his mother's womb was carried, whom they laid daily at the gate of the temple which is called Beautiful, to ask alms of them that entered into the temple ;
sanctuary, and all could witness the ascending smoke of the incense, the symbol and visible expression of prayer. It was an aid to devotion, as all forms of worship are intended to be. The voice, the natural forms, the bowed head, are real helps to the sincere spirit ; and the spirit, as President Mark Hopkins used to say, will die out if all natural forms of expression are neglected.
Peter and John were two of the chiefest of the Apostles, and the most advanced in the knowledge of Jesus. They were perhaps " the oldest and the youngest of the noble twelve.” Widely different in character, they were closest of friends, alike in
principle, devotion, and purpose.
These, leaving their homes or places of abode in the city, walked up the temple hill together. They passed through the outer gate into Solomon's pillared portico and the Court of the Gentiles, which they crossed, and went toward the steps which led up into the Court of the Women, in which men and women worshipped together, and beyond which the women were not allowed to go.
II. THE LAME MAN AT THE GATE, v. 2. This was the gate of the temple which is called Beautiful. There were ten gates belonging to the temple, and it is not certain which one is referred to. But it was probably the magnificent doors of Corinthian brass described by Josephus, leading from the Court of the Gentiles into the Court of the Women, which was reserved for the ordinary religious offices of the Jewish people. These doors were 75 feet high, and adorned with plates of silver and gold.
Compare the magnificent gates
to the cathedrals of Europe, esBronze Gates by Ghiberti in the Baptistry, Florence.
pecially the splendid bronze doors
of the Baptistry at Florence, The ten panels depict scenes from the Old Testament from the Creation to the Days of Solomon. In some of these little
which Michelangelo said were fit sculpture groups there are as many as one hundred figures as to be the gates of Paradise. well as a background, and yet so deft is the arrangement that Our Gates Beautiful. There they do not seem crowded. There are nowhere else in the world gates to rival these.
are many gates in life to higher
and better things. The Gate of Hope, the Gate of Love, the Gate of Character, the Gate of Faithfulness, the Gate of Prayer. Jesus Christ is the Beautiful Gate to Eternal Life.
When Peter and John approached this gate they saw there a lame beggar. All we know of the history of this beggar is, (1) that he was born with the cause of his lameness, making the cure more wonderful ; (2) that it was caused by a weakness of the feet and ankles (v.7); (3) that it was so bad that he could not walk, but had to be carried ; (4) that he was poor ; (5) that he was over forty years old (4 : 22).
“ As this gate was the principal entrance, fortunate was the beggar who could secure a seat there. The same custom continues without the slightest change throughout the East. The lepers, the blind, the cripples, have each their accustomed spot in the thoroughfares, but especially outside the city gates, and outside the doors of the mosques, to which they are led or carried daily by their friends, and
3. Who seeing Peter and John about to go into the temple asked an alms. 4. And Peter, fastening his eyes upon him with John, said, Look on us.
5. And he gave heed unto them, expecting to receive something of them.
6. Then Peter said, Silver and gold have I none; but such as I have give I thee: In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth
up and walk. 7. And he took him by the right hand, and lifted him up: and immediately his feet and ankle bones received strength.
8. And he leaping up stood, and walked, and entered with them into the temple, walking, and leaping, and praising God.
9. And all the people saw him walking and praising God:
where they sit, with their wooden bowls in front of them to receive the alms of the passers-by, uttering their piteous, ceaseless wail.” Tristram.
“At Cairo the blind, or the sick, or the crippled, sat at every street corner, and on every square ; were laid at every mosque door, and were crying out for help or for an alms before every bazaar. Palestine now, as was doubtless the case in the days of our Lord, seems fairly overrun with those afflicted by one form or another of bodily ailment.”
Recently there have been a few missionary hospitals established in the Holy Land, but they are few and far between. Baedeker mentions them in giving details of the localities where they exist. Rev. William A. Knight, who has visited Palestine a number of times, in a recent letter says that he visited some in 1910, but adds, “I saw but slight ways and means for the improvement of general health conditions, none for the most part.” The conditions may have changed somewhat during the
Some of the hospitals will doubtless have been given up, and the most which will now exist will probably be the military hospitals. But with the abolition of Turkish dominion in Palestine, if it becomes an actual fact after the war, we will see a great improvement in this direction as in all others.
It was at the gate of the temple that this beggar had his seat. The kindest and most sympathetic people in the world are praying people. Persons who obey the first table of the law are most likely to obey the second. Nine tenths of all the money raised for benevolent purposes, and for the support of our charitable institutions, comes from the pockets of those who go up to the temple at the hour of prayer.” Giving is an act of worship, one way of expressing love and devotion to God.
III. FAITH AND THE HELPING HAND, vs. 3-10.
Then Peter said, Silver and gold have I none. He was not a rich man, and whatever money he and John might have brought from their home to Jerusalem had probably been given to the Christians who were away from home and in need. But such as I have. And what he had was worth so much more than any money he could have given the beggar !
IN THE NAME OF JESUS CHRIST RISE UP AND WALK. The Lame Man's faith was so great that when Peter took him by the right hand in order to help him up, and to give him confidence, he was immediately cured of his infirmity.
And he, leaping up, stood. His act shows his faith. He obeyed Peter's command at once, encouraged by Peter's hand, and as he obeyed the healing came. He first stood, holding Peter's hand for support, and then walked, an act he had never done before. “ The miracle did more than give strength. For the art of walking must needs be learned.” Even one who has walked for years is obliged to lea again if he is incapacitated for walking for any length of time..
The Lame Man showed his faith in still another way. He gave the credit to God. rather than to the instruments of God's working. And he began his new life by worship. For he entered with them, Peter and John, into the temple, walking, and leaping, to test and enjoy the new use of his limbs, and praising God for His mercy to him.
10. And they knew that it was he which sat for alms at the Beautiful gate of the temple: and they were filled with wonder and amazement at that which had happened unto him.
The Wonderful Cure was plain to those entering into the temple, for all could see him, and his form was so familiar to them that they knew that it was the same man who had sat for alms at the Beautiful gate of the temple : and they were filled with wonder and amazement.
The Restored Man's Faith. We may be sure that this lame beggar was, even before his cure, a man of faith, a believer in God, a good man according to his lights and abilities. The response of his faith was too immediate for us to readily believe that it was a new, unpractised power. He could not have expected to be cured, but he held his faith in God in the midst of his infirmities.
“ There is a marginal reading in the Revised Version which always seems to me to be full of wealthy significance : Faith is the giving substance to things hoped for.' Faith's hopes become substantial homes. Its castles in the air become fortified dwellings. Faith is also the test of things not seen.' By a test faith acquires a proof. By an experiment faith obtains an experience. Faith first of all seeks an experience, and only in the second place an explanation. ' Faith in the last analysis is an act of the will and not of the intellect; it is the surrender of the man at the very center of his personal life to the love and care of God.'
Now, faith cannot work without conceptions, without ideals, without hopes. Hopes are the raw material which faith converts into finished webs and garments. When faith ventures, it ventures on a hope, on some hypothesis, on an assumption, if you will, on a dream! That is to say, faith must first have visions.” From Rev. J. H. Jowett, D.D.
The Cripple “Dear God, since every shining door of life
“And this I pray, that tho' I languished here, Was ever closed 'gainst my infirmity,
Tortured in flesh, and mocked of mine own soul, I know one portal standeth wide for me,
That there, my spirit and my body whole,
"Oh, give me, as Life's recompense, to bring
Its stress and strain, my offering to my King!" -- Margarel Cable Brewster. “ Faith is simply the soul's discovery of God, and we cannot have it unless God gives it. It has nothing in common with credulity; it is an assurance of God's presence and of our communion with him. We ought to pray for it (if we are without it), and when God bestows it seek for more. Faith in this, the true sense, is never found apart from some of the notes of real nobleness. Those whose life belies their professed belief are confounding the spiritual quality called faith with adherence to a number of propositions about God.” Reginald J. Campbell.
Faith to-day brings spiritual healing, whether or not we can trace its effects in cures like that of the lame man in this lesson. And in many cases this cure of the spirit is as great a miracle as any performed upon the physical bodies of men.
Illustration. Two men were once talking together. One said he did not believe in miracles. The other replied, “If a miracle is a change due to supernatural power, I can show you a miracle."
They went to hall, where after a hymn and a prayer a big man with a voice of thunder poured forth for half an hour a perfect torrent of appeal to a roomful of lost men and women. He begged, urged, commanded them to come to God.
When he sat down, a score of men and women went forward, and the big man knelt and prayed for them in a voice so tender that the disbeliever in miracles found his face wet with tears.
“ Well,” said the other, as they went out, “ you have seen your miracle."
“I grant I have seen an interesting sight and heard a good temperance talk, but where is the miracle ?"
“Nine months ago that man you heard was a professional gambler and thief. He has been in state prison six different times. He has spent a fortune in drink and vice. To-day he is engaged in an honest trade. He has abandoned all his old habits, and every hour he can spare he labors to redeem lost men and women. He is a devout, prayerful man. I say he is a modern miracle, as great as any that Jesus Christ
II. And as the lame man which was healed held Peter and John, all the people ran together unto them in the porch that is called Solomon's, greatly wondering.
12. And when Peter saw it, he answered unto the people, Ye men of Israel, why marvel ye at this? or why look ye so earnestly on us, as though by our own power or holiness we had made this man to walk ?
13. The God of Abraham, and of Isaac, and of Jacob, the God of our fathers, hath glorified his Son Jesus; whom ye delivered up, and denied him in the presence of Pilate, when he was determined to let him go.
14. But ye denied the Holy One and the Just, and desired a murderer to be granted unto you;
15. And killed the Prince of life, whom God hath raised from the dead; whereof we are witnesses.
16. And his name through faith in his name hath made this man strong, whom ye see and know: yea, the faith which is by him hath given him this perfect soundness in the presence of you all. ever performed. Could anything except miraculous power make that man what he is to-night?
“ You are right. I shall never disbelieve in miracles again.”. From the Youth's Companion.
IV. PETER'S APPLICATION OF THE MIRACLE, vs. 11-26. As the lame man, holding Peter and John, went with them through the Gate Beautiful, down the steps and across the court into Solomon's Porch, directly opposite, the people ran together unto them there, greatly wondering.
And when Peter saw the crowd of people, and their wonder, he answered their evident questions and perplexities, first, by a direct denial that the healing of the lame man was due to either the power or the holiness of the apostles themselves.
He declared to them that it was the work of the crucified and ascended Messiah, the Son of God, working through the human agency of the Apostles.
But this Son of God, the Holy One and the Just, the people had rejected ; they had chosen Barabbas the robber instead of Jesus the Saviour, even when Pilate wished to set Him free.
Yet what they had done had been through ignorance, and through the will and foreknowledge of God. Therefore there was hope for them still if they would only repent and be converted, that so their sins might be blotted out, wholly forgiven. They were still the children of God's covenant through the keeping of which all the kindreds of the earth should be blessed.
Unto you first, God, having raised up his Son Jesus, sent him to bless you, in turning away every one of you from his iniquities.
There must have been many in that crowd who were filled with hope and faith and longed for the better treasures which Jesus had in store for them. Doubtless many from these were among the thousands who in a few years joined the new Christian Church, becoming openly the followers of the Jesus who had died that they might be saved ; who was raised from the dead that he might be the ever-living Saviour, not only in heaven, but always with his disciples as their constant helper and Saviour.
V. HELPING MEN TO HELP THEMSELVES. Peter and John gave the lame man two things, each of which was worth far more than the silver and gold he had looked for from them. (1) They gave him the power to earn his own living, instead of being dependent upon the charity of others. (2). They bestowed a far greater gift than this they brought him to the Lord Jesus, into the Christian life. Jesus in all his healings gave the higher blessing with the lower. He always did more than heal the body. That was the lesser part of the cure. He asked the suffering one for faith ; and did all he could to kindle faith within him. Thus he cured the soul, inspired it with love, and a desire to follow Jesus, and live the better life.
Peter's Method of Helping this lame man, giving him the power to support himself, is now generally accepted as the best and most effective method of bestowing charity, except in emergencies, before money can be earned. The best gifts to the poor, or to any one, are not the exact things they want, but the power to obtain