So the man gave them his attention, expecting to receive something from them.
introduction may be obtained. Such introduction should treat of the suffering poor in the East, showing how necessarily dependent they were upon promiscuous charity. With their condition may be contrasted the care for the poor in all Christian lands, and the provision of hospitals and institutions for their relief. Some account may also be given of Herod's temple, and the position of the gate called Beautiful. Josephus says the other gates were overlaid with gold and silver, but this one, which was probably the gate on the east, which led from the court of the women, was "made of Corinthian bronze, and much surpassed in worth those enriched with silver and gold." It may further be shown how this miracle, wrought by the agency of St. Peter, resembles the gracious miracles of healing wrought by our Lord himself. The picture of this poor and hopelessly suffering man suggests the following topics for meditation:-
I. THE DISPENSATIONS OF DIVINE PROVIDENCE BRING BODILY DISABILITIES FOR SOME MEMBERS OF THE HUMAN FAMILY. This, as a fact, may be variously illustrated, and it may be shown, from our Lord's teachings, that neither bodily infirmities and disabilities, nor earthly calamities, are necessarily direct results of personal sin or fault. They are oftentimes hereditary consequences of ancestral sin. They are often products of circumstances and conditions of life, over which the sufferer had no control. They may be regarded as the great sin-burden lying OH the race, and borne more evidently by some members for the sake of all. So long as the race is sinful, it must have the character of its sinfulness marked and impressed by manifest, painful, unsightly, revolting, and apparently hopeless forms of "suffering" all around it. The "suffering" as well as the "poor" we have always with us.
II. SUCH DISABILITIES SET SOME MEMBERS OF THE HUMAN FAMILY UPON THE BROTHERHOOD AND CHARITY OF OTHERS. For, if we look upon them aright, we regard them as bearing the common burden, and so bearing our burden. We might have been among the blind, or dumb, or lame, or idiotic, or paralyzed; and it is never enough that we thank God for our freedom from special disabilities; our thankfulness only finds its natural and proper expression in caring for, helping, and relieving the disabled and distressed. Sufferers, wherever they are found, should touch our hearts with tender emotions. We should have such an open, sensitive heart as can take them all in. It is well if we show special interest in some particular class of sufferers - the orphan, incurable, lame, sick children, deaf and dumb, etc. To take a higher ground, our Lord is the great Sufferer, and so the head of all sufferers. Therefore, for his sake, and as showing our tender sympathy and love for him, we should take his suffering brethren into our love and care. "Doing it to the least of the brethren is doing it to him." "He that loveth God [his Father] should love his brother also."
III. A NATURAL EXPECTATION LEADS MEN TO LOOK FOR SUCH CHARITY TOWARD THE DISABLED FROM THE RELIGIOUS. It is a fact that systematic efforts for the welfare of the naturally disabled are only found in lands where Christian thought and feeling prevail. It may be illustrated and enforced:
1. That this connection between religion and brotherly charity is natural It is the fitting impulse of "human kindness" that leads us to care for others, but it is the special impulse of that new feeling that comes with personal and saving relations with Christ.
2. That this connection is right. Urged as such by Divine command and Divine example, as well as by the example of all noble and holy men.
3. This connection has been, in Christian lands, fairly well met. Show into how varied spheres Christian benevolence and charity may now run. Ask earnestly, and with direct applications - Is it true, individually for us, that our piety has cultured into holy vigor our charity? If not, it is of little worth to us or to others. - R.T.
And Peter, fastening his eyes upon him with John, said, Look on us.
(H. W. Beecher.)
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