תמונות בעמוד
PDF
ePub

7. Howbeit I believed not the words, until I came, and mine eyes had seen it; and, behold, the half was not told me: thy wisdom and prosperity exceedeth the fame which I heard.

8. Happy are thy men, happy are these thy servants, which stand continually before thee, and that hear thy wisdom.

9. Blessed be the LORD thy God, which delighted in thee, to set thee on the throne of Israel: because the Lord loved Israel for ever, therefore made he thee king, to do judgment and justice.

10. And she gave the king an hundred and twenty talents of gold, and of spices very great store, and precious stones: there came no more such abundance of spices as these which the queen of Sheba gave to king Solomon.

II. And the navy also of Hiram, that brought gold from Ophir, brought in from Ophir great plenty of almug trees, and precious stones.

12. And the king made of the almug trees pillars for the house of the LORD, and for the king's house, harps also and psalteries for singers: there came no such almug trees, nor were seen unto this day.

13. And king Solomon gave unto the queen of Sheba all her desire, whatsoever she asked, besides that which Solomon gave her of his royal bounty: so she turned, and went to her own country, she and her servants.

7. The half was not told me. Nor would she have believed it if it had been told, for apparently she had not believed even so much as she had heard. An immigrant to the United States, a short time after his arrival, asked an American to write for him a letter to his relatives at home. In the letter he said, — “ I eat meat three times a week.” The American asked him, “ But don't you eat meat every lay?"

Yes,” answered the immigrant, “ but they wouldn't believe that if I told them ; I doubt if they believe even as much as I have said now. You see they don't get meat even once a week there.'

The Half Has Never Been Told. Every one who enters the kingdom of heaven joins with the queen of Sheba in saying that they did not believe the half that had been told them, but that they now find that all that was told them was not half the truth. Irreligious men do not and cannot conceive the full blessedness of the kingdom of Christ. They do not believe what Christians say of it. It seems to them the exaggerated utterance of excited feeling. And yet Christians cannot express to them one half the true glory and peace and heavenliness of Christ in the soul.

Illustration. A boy who had been blind from his birth was, by an operation, made to see.

When the bandage was removed, and for the first time in all his life he saw the glories of the world, the sunshine, the flowers and the trees, and all the beauties around him, he turned to his mother and said, “ Mother, why did you not tell me that it was so beautiful ? " With tears in her eyes she replied, “ Dear boy, I tried to tell you, but you could not understand the half of it."

9. Blessed be the Lord thy God. The queen recognized the source of Solomon's wisdom. It was the gift of God,“ who giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not."

Royal Gifts. 10. The visit ended in the interchange of royal gifts, according to Oriental custom. To Solomon the queen gave a great amount of gold, and a vast amount of the valuable spices for which her country was so famous, - there came no more such abundance of spices as those which the queen of Sheba gave to king Solomon. 13.

“ Solomon not only returns the queen's gifts with interest, but presents her with whatever strikes her fancy ; and for her to have hesitated to ask would have been, according to Oriental ideas, to admit an inferiority of position.”

As Solomon gave to the queen of Sheba far more than she gave him, so God loads us with benefits, and delights in giving us the most royal gifts, — his Son, eternal life, pardon, peace, joy, in addition to his countless earthly treasures. And as Solomon gave the queen in addition whatever she desired, so God loves

as if

to give us whatever we desire, so far as it is good for us, and so far as we are able to receive.

Jesus' Applications of this Story. Twice Jesus refers during his preaching to Solomon and his glory. Once, Matt. 6 : 28–30, he pleads for faith in the love and care of the heavenly Father, since He has clothed even the perishable flowers scattered all around them in the fields with a glory that Solomon had never been able to approach. Not that we are not to labor for our own support, but that we are not to worry about the necessities of life, for if God so clothe the grass of the field, will he not much more clothe you, his children ?

The second time is in answer to the demand of the Pharisees that he should give them a sign, a special wonder, to prove that he was the one he claimed to be, he had not proved it many a time, if they had but seen his wonders with open eyes ! He says that the queen of the south, of Sheba, “ shall rise up in the judgment with this generation, and shall condemn it : for she came from the uttermost parts of the earth to hear the wisdom of Solomon ; and, behold, a greater than Solomon is here, and you will not even hear him.”

IV. THE TRAGEDY OF SOLOMON. There were some things which the queen of Sheba did not see, – the oppression of the people, the temptation to luxury, the decline of his religious life, · which after his death led to the division of the kingdom. 1 Kings ui tells the story of the remaining years of Solomon's reign. From the glories of life we turn to look upon a tragedy. We see how “ the long summer day of the great king's reign was fated to set with gloomy indications of coming evil.” The Scriptures are too wise to portray the grandeur without also showing its dangers ; and they are too truly philosophical not to show the source of the downfall of the wisest of men.

“ There are many instances in history of lives of genius and enthusiasm, of high promise and partial accomplishment, marred and Aung away, but none which present the great tragedy of wasted gifts and blossoms never fruited in a sharper, more striking form than the life of the wise king of Israel, who, “in his latter days,' was • a fool.' The goodliest vessel may be wrecked in sight of port.”

V. TESTS OF A NATION'S GREATNESS. During these years of the Great World War the nations have been greatly tested; or perhaps we should say, the testing has been more open to the eyes of men, for prosperity and peace test a man and a nation as much as war and adversity. A man of note, when asked what in his last life he would ask to have omitted, if he were allowed to live it over again, said he would not dare to omit any of the hard things, for he felt that without them he would have failed to become the man he was. It is by the struggle to escape from the cocoon that a butterfly obtains the strength, and the beauty, of its wings. But there are spiritual contests which require as much courage as does physical

The war against corruption and graft ; against infidelity and irreligion ; against disease and the weaknesses of the body ; all test a nation's greatness. Such a war as is meant by great armaments on sea and land, wholesale killing, in order to gain a victory over another nation, does not test all sides of a nation. But even in a war of this sort, the purpose of its taking up arms, the care it takes of the sick and wounded of friend and foe alike, and of its prisoners, and its attitude toward the non-combatants of the land, these do test the quality of a nation.

What Makes a Nation Great? Population ? extent of territory ? wealth ? We can find exponents of all these in nations which we do not now feel to have been great. A country, whether governed by a king or a president, depends for its welfare upon virtue, both of its citizens and its rulers. Sin, as Jay insists, violates all the duties of civic life. “It destroys subordination ; it relaxes the ties that bind mankind together, and makes them selfish and mean ; it renders men enemies to each other."

“ You might as well quench the sun, and suppose that the world can get along without light, as to think that men or that nations can do without God.” “Let the English working classes once adopt atheistic principles, and I would not give five years' purchase for England's happiness, or England's fame.”. Farrar. * Looking back to the history of nations, we may date the beginning of their decline from the moment when they ceased to be reverent in heart, and accumulative in hand and brain.” Ruskin.

war.

LESSON XII (25). -- September 19.

THE EVILS OF INTEMPERANCE.

Prov. 23: 19-21, 29–35.

GOLDEN TEXT. 23:21.

The drunkard and the glutton shall come to poverty. — Prov.

Devotional Reading : Psalm 1.
Additional Material for Teachers : Dan. 1.
Primary Topic : KEEPING OUR BODIES STRONG.

Lesson Material : Prov. 23:19–21. Story Material : Dan. I.
Memory Verses : Keep thyself pure. i Tim. 5 : 22.

Be strong.

i Cor. 16 :13. Junior Topic : What Strong DRINK DOES TO THE DRINKER.

Lesson Material : Prov. 23 : 19-21, 29–35.

Memory Verses : Prov. 23 : 20, 21. Intermediate and Senior Topic : DEADLY FOES IN DISGUISE. Topic for Young People and Adults : ALCOHOL FALSE CLAIMS AND TRUE

CHARGES.

THE TEACHER AND HIS CLASS. Alcohol ; How It Affects the Individual,

the Community, and the Race, by Dr. The treatment of this lesson will be Henry Smith Williams. The Liquor similar in all grades, since the foundation Problem, by Norman E. Richardson. of all temperance teaching should be its Intoxicants and Opium in all Lands and evil effects upon our bodies, and upon the Times, by Wilbur F. Crafts. Weapons body politic.

for Temperance Warfare, by Belle M. The Primary children can learn why Brain. Social Welfare and the Liquor we should keep our bodies strong and Problem, by Harry S. Warner. Temwill see in the story of Daniel an illus- perance Progress in the Nineteenth Centration exactly to the point.

tury, by J. G. Wooley and W. E. Johnson. The Juniors can begin to learn some The Physiological Aspects of the Liquor of the actual evil effects of the use of Problem, by J. S. Billings. Wealth and alcohol, and can have them impressed Waste, by A. A. Hopkins. The Working upon them by an object lesson of its Man and Social Problems, by Charles poisonous effects.

Stelzle. Temperance Talks with ChilThe Intermediates and Seniors can dren, published by the National Temlearn some of the disguises under which perance Society. Problems of Boyhood, alcohol is often presented to the unsus- by Principal Johnston of Chicago Unipicious, — patent medicines, liquors in versity. The House We Live In (the candies, and others.

body), by Rev. William E. Griffis, D.D. The Young People and Adults can study the claims of alcohol, the claim that it is a food, that it pays a large revenue to the city, state, and nation, PLAN OF THE LESSON. etc. ; and find specific refutation of these claims.

SUBJECT : Alcohol vs. Humanity.

AGAINST

THE TEACHER'S LIBRARY.

I. ALCOHOL's CLAIMS.

II. HUMANITY'S CHARGES Alcohol and the Human Body, by Sir

ALCOHOL. Victor Horsley and Dr. Mary D. Sturge. III. THE VERDICT.

I. ALCOHOL'S CLAIMS. Alcohol claims to be a blessing to mankind. Why?

1. In some of its forms it is in itself very attractive, with its color and sparkle ; when it is red, when it giveth his color in the cup ; when it moveth itself aright, R. V.“goeth down smoothly,” making the act of drinking in itself a pleasure.

2. It brightens up the wits and makes the dullest sparkle.
3. It makes the sad and weary forget his troubles.
4. It is a food, and a tonic. It helps men work and gives them courage
5. It thrills the nerves with delight, promising joy and freedom.

walk ;

6. Pure alcoholic drinks are more wholesome than the so-called “ soft drinks.”

7. It is connected with social life and friendship, with jolly company, song and dance.

8. To refuse it makes a man look odd and unsocial to his fellows.

9. The poor man needs a pleasant place where he can meet his fellows after a hard day of labor. . The warm and brilliantly lighted saloon maintained by Alcohol is such a place, especially attractive to those whose homes are poor and cold in winter.

10. Licensing a saloon brings in a good revenue to the government which would otherwise have to be raised by direct taxes ; therefore Alcohol saves money to the taxpayers.

11. Men will drink, even if the liquor must be made and bought illegally ; better have it open than sneaking.

All these, and more, does Alcohol put forward as its claims for existence in the civilized community. Its case seems to itself, and to many, very strong ; it must win out. What has humanity to bring forward in opposition to such strong arguments ?

II. HUMANITY'S CHARGES AGAINST ALCOHOL. Humanity comes forward, takes up the gage, and refutes the claims of the enemy.

1. It is an enemy of the human body. It inflames the stomach and impairs digestion ; it reddens the eyes and the nose ; it makes the man reel and stagger in his

“it stimulates and affects unfavorably the action of the heart”; it is not a food, but a poison ; it renders the body more liable to contract disease, and is itself a cause of disease ; it lowers the age-average and raises the death-rate ; it brings physical degeneration to the children of its votaries.

2. It is an enemy of the human mind. Whatever its immediate effects are upon some minds, it does not brighten the wits of all men. " When the drink is in the wit is out," says the proverb. Many a word that seems like wit when spoken in a carouse proves to be the opposite when viewed with a sober mind. A young man accustomed to drink was one evening talking in what seemed to him a most brilliant way. A friend who was sober was a court stenographer, and made a verbatim report of all that the young man said. He showed it to him the next day when he was himself again. “ Did I say all these foolish things ? "

· Then God helping me, I will never drink again.”

A young man had been sent by his firm to secure an important contract. On the evening before he met some old college friends in the hotel. They insisted on his celebrating the meeting by having a high old time. The next day he had a thick head, and lost the tontract.” Record of Christian Work.

“ The strain on the mind caused by the fact that men in the trenches are living in constant danger, the noise of bursting shells, the effect of the poisonous gases, together with the minor discomforts of trench life, test the ability of men to the limit, and many who are able and strong when they enter the trenches come out with shattered minds.". Pilgrim Magazine. And anything that lessens the ability of the men to endure this strain is looked upon as a dangerous thing. For this reason among others alcohol is barred to them.

Doctors and statisticians prove to us that feeble-mindedness and insanity are hereditary effects of alcoholism. A large majority of the inmates of our asylums come there directly or indirectly through strong drink.

3. It is an enemy of property and wealth. It impairs efficiency and lessens production. Ask any employer of labor which man is the best worker, the one who takes home his wages on Saturday night, and spends his Sunday with his family, or the one who spends his wages and his time in drink. Which comes to work on the Monday morning with the clearest head and the most efficient hand ? It is said that when prohibition came into a certain factory town the production of the Monday, instead of being the lowest by far of the week, became the largest. The men were rested, not befogged, by their Sunday rest.

“Some of the troops at the beginning of the war were given strong drink just before they made their raids over the top.' This was done to produce a sort of sham courage:

Those who are in a position to know say that this custom was given up because of the bad effect of alcohol, and the demoralizing reaction that always followed." Pilgrim Magazine. And we are thankful to note that this discovery was made soon enough to prevent any such methods of instilling courage into the army of the United States of America. “ The soldier who drinks knows better than

" Yes.”

19. Hear thou, my son, and be wise, and guide thine heart in the way. 20. Be not among wine-bibbers; among riotous eaters of flesh :

21. For the drunkard and the glutton shall come to poverty; and drowsiness shall clothe a man with rags.

29. Who hath woe? who hath sorrow? who hath contentions? who hath babbling? who hath wounds without cause? who hath redness of eyes?

30. They that tarry long at the wine; they that go to seek mixed wine.

31. Look not thou upon the wine when it is red, when it giveth his colour in the cup, when it moveth itself aright:

32. At the last it biteth like a serpent, and stingeth like an adder.

any one else that a drunken man is a mighty frail reed ; he knows better than any one else that an army to be efficient must be sober.” The Atlanta Constitution.

Its cost to the community and to the nation is far more than the sum received as revenue from taxes and license fees. Some years ago the Methodist S. S. Journal said, “ Take the national liquor bill and divide it by the number of saloons and $5945 become the average cost to the people of each saloon. On the average the saloon pays back for nation, state and city taxes $500. This $500 is eagerly taken by a grateful country in lieu of $5945. We are thankful to know that less liquor is being drunk during these last years, and that its making has been prohibited at least for a time. But the number of saloons have also decreased as the states and cities have become prohibition and no-license; the proportion per saloon is not necessarily altered.

And this is only the direct money cost. Take into consideration the waste in national resources, of the material which could be used for the people's food ; the destruction of man-power because of its effect on efficiency, and on the health of the people ; and the expense incurred by the public in caring for the defectives and delinquents who are such largely or wholly because of drink, and the cost will multiply enormously.

Take also in consideration the relation between strong drink and individual poverty. The man's earning capacity is decreased, either by decrease in his efficiency, or by actual loss of time at his work. It wastes his wages, spending in the saloon money needed to provide food and clothes for himself and his family. Indeed it often is worse than a total loss, since the drunkard will use the hard-earned money of his wife or children, or pawn or sell the clothing they themselves have been able to procure. A drinking man is the first to be discharged if work is slack, and the last to be taken on if work increases. In many places even the moderate drinker is absolutely barred. The drunkard shall come to poverty (v. 21).

One man used good logic : “I will tell you how it was. I put my hand on my head, and there was one big pain. Then I put my hand on my body, and there was another. Then I put my hand in my pocket, and there was nothing. So I joined up with temperance. Now there is no more pain in my head. The pains in my body are all gone away. I put my hand in my pocket and there are twenty dollars. So I shall stay with temperance.

A reformed drunkard met the saloon keeper, who asked why he never came to the saloon any more. “ Because I have a lump on my side,” he answered. Oh, that's no reason,” returned the man, come over and have a drink and the lump will go away the sooner." Yes, I know that, and that's why I stay away,” answered the reformed man. “The lump on my side is the roll of bills I have saved by staying away.”

4. It is an enemy of the human soul. At the last it biteth like a serpent, and stingeth like an adder (v. 32). “No drunkards shall inherit the kingdom of heaven" (1 Cor. 6 : 10). It is here that we see the fallacy of one of Alcohol's claims. Ah," he says, your own Scriptures shall convict you, not only the drunkard but the glutton shall come to poverty (v. 21). More harm is done by over-eating and by 'soft drinks' than by strong drink.” These things have their bad effect upon the body and upon the purse, though no temperance advocate would assent to the claim that their effect is as bad as that of alcohol. But what of their effect on the soul ? Did you ever hear of the man who at dead of night, prowling in the wake of his enemy in order to compass his murder, gave his trembling hand courage and strength to

« הקודםהמשך »