Luke 9:1
This was a grand historic occasion indeed. The honoured but ever-comparatively feeble and now dimmed, dying, or dead schools of the prophets are to be succeeded by a scion of Christianity that marks at one and the same time its noblest and most amazing human institution, and Heaven's most condescending gift and human trust. Now begins "the great company of preachers" of the New Testament. They began with twelve;. they very soon grew to seventy; and authorized provision was made by him who first called them, and first "gave them commandment" for their indefinite, "innumerable" increase, by the one method of prayer, their prayer to the Lord of the harvest, that he would send forth labourers into his "great" harvest. With what sublimest of simplicity is it said in the first verse of the following chapter, "When Jesus trod made an end of commanding his twelve disciples"! The commandments were not ten, and, whatever their number, neither were they like those ten master-instructions of the old covenant, and of all time, till time shall end. These commandments breathed the very breath of love, of sympathy, of help. They were charged with trust, and that trust nothing short of Heaven's own-confided trust. The endowments of mighty powers of gift and of grace were enshrined in them. A glorious honour gilded them with deep, rich light. But throughout them, without a break, there ran the "commandment" that meant caution, warning, an ever-present dangerous enemy, thick dangers through which to thread the way. For this necessity, protection and even the very essence of inspiration were the promises vouchsafed. In some analysis of this "commanding of his disciples" we notice -

I. FIRST OF ALL, CHRIST'S PARAMOUNT AUTHORITY IN REGARD OF THE PERSONS WHOM HE COMMISSIONS. Once "he called" them; now "he calls them to him;" he "sends them forth;" and before they go, he "commands them, and he gives them power. Of this authority two things must be said, and unhesitatingly. First, that what it seemed and what it was to these original twelve disciples, such it ever has been since, and still is, toward those who are their true successors, whether they are the successors of such as Peter and John, or of such as Judas Iscariot. Secondly, that the authority in question is one unshared and undivided, except as it is shared and divided, in whatever mysterious way and in whatever unknown proportion, with those very persons themselves, who either first pushed in to volunteer the solemn responsibility, or put themselves in the way to court it and to consent to accept it. The ordination of Judas Iscariot is not less a fact than that of St. Peter; and so has it likewise travelled down the ages of Christendom to this hour. Before this phenomenon we justly quail, and just are we dumb; but we cannot deny it.

II. CHRIST'S PARAMOUNT AUTHORITY IN RESPECT OF THE PRINCIPLES UPON WHICH THOSE HE COMMISSIONS ARE TO FULFIL THEIR ALLOTTED WORK. These are such as follow: Firstly, absolute independence of any supposed dictation on the part of those to whom their mission is. Secondly, absolute undoubting reliance on himself for guidance and protection, and in the last resort for all that is necessary for "life." Thirdly, the exclusive use and encouragement of moral influence over and among those who are to be visited and preached to, and whose spiritual and bodily sicknesses and diseases are to be ministered to. A most interesting and significant exemplification of this same principle is to be observed in the direction given to the disciples to accept hospitality; not only this, but to lay themselves open to the offer of it; nay, to inquire for it, but never to force it. And this exemplification is perhaps yet more powerfully established in the external symbolic, but still moral condemnation, directed to be expressed towards those who refused to "receive them," as also to "hear their words." Fourthly, throughout all that might seem to merely superficial observation special and artificial and supernatural - a religious and grateful obedience to what wise nature and true reason must dictate. They are sent forth "by two and two" (see St. Mark's account; see also of the seventy, Luke 10:1). This is

(1) for the manifest and natural advantages of conversation and mutual support; as also for the yet greater gain of complementary support; that is, that where the characteristics of one lay in one direction, those of the other lying in another direction, would contribute largely to the whole stock. So Bunyan, in his great Master's track, herein sets off his two pilgrims, and they remain together to the end - men of the most diverse character and most diverse Christian adaptabilities. And

(2) for the almost creating, but at any rate the setting high honour on the observing of the relation so novel then - spiritual brotherly affection, Christian brotherly affection. How many causes and motives may unite, have united, men together "by two and two"! How rare this once was! how grand has been its career since! What diverse ages - age itself with youth itself; what diverse characters the gentlest and meekest with the strongest and impetuous - the enumeration were almost endless - has Christian work, the simplest work "for Christ's sake," bound together in alliance as indissoluble as sacred! Fifthly, the practical memory of the fact, that as Christ's supreme, final ministry has for its achievement the redemption of soul and body, so that of his apostles, follow it however humbly, at however great a distance, is for the healing of the sicknesses of the body as well as of the sin of the soul. Perhaps it may be said that in nothing has the career of Christianity more vindicated its worthiness than in this - in that, without a "miracle" worked by human intervention for eighteen centuries, those institutions, and that individual charity, that come of the very breath of Christ's own Spirit, have achieved a stupendous mass of mercy for the body of men down those centuries bereft of literal miracle, that leaves far, far behind all the glories of the miracle age. Sixthly, that there should be an order, however inscrutable for its method, and however inscrutable for its justification (as men would be sure to say or to think), according to which the nations of the world were to be visited with the proclamation of the "kingdom of heaven nigh at hand," and with the priceless blessings of that kingdom. Note how facts have been bearing this out in complete harmony with it all the time, since those words fell on the ears of the disciples, "Go not into the way of the Gentiles, and into any city of the Samaritans enter ye not." The enfranchising word has, it is true, gone forth in one respect to the very opposite effect now. It went forth round the whole world as Jesus ascended. But what a history to muse, to wonder over, "to be still and wait," and to pray over - the sure but unknown growth and devious spread of the kingdom! The "way" of that kingdom as it travelled after the "beginning at Jerusalem," past and present, and perhaps for long yet to come - it must be said even of it, as of him, who only knows and who only governs it, "Thy way is in the sea, thy path in the mighty waters, thy footsteps not known." Our voice, our mission, our commission, is, beyond one inglorious doubt, to all the world; but who is it teaching and constraining and compelling the order of our doings and of our goings in this grand enterprise? Surely an order there is. We do not stumble on in guilty darkness; we do not hurry on by mere "good luck;" neither do we march on as an army in its strength and in our own strength. We are practically as surely bound by the unseen hand that guides and threads our way over the world as were the first disciples by this spoken word. We ought, after praying to know it, to follow the one as implicitly as the disciples did the other. Seventhly, the principle distinctly laid down that spiritual work is worthy of its reward. St. Paul (1 Corinthians 9:11-18) enlarges on this very principle. The ministers of Christ were to hold that it was the duty of the people to support them. What must be the deeper departure from right of those who rob, or would wish to rob, what has been given, and given from age to age, cannot be imagined; this is not even contemplated here. Let it be distinctly asked on what ground, on what authority, the spiritual labourer is "worthy of his meat" at the hands of that world which does not in the ordinary sense ask his labour or for long time value his works, the reply is that it is on the ground of the paramount authority, the authority of Christ. But the dictum of Christ on this thing must especially apply to those who "are worthy," who would wish to rank themselves among "the worthy," and profess to belong to his kingdom. Eighthly, the highest sanction of the principle or' unstinted, ungrudging "freeness of giving," in what they have to give, on the part of the ministers of Christ, who themselves undeniably have received so freely.

III. CHRIST'S FOREKNOWLEDGE OF THE COURSE OF HIS CHURCH AND KINGDOM; AND THE HOSTAGES HE GIVES HEREIN OF HIS OWN ABSOLUTE AND INTRINSIC AUTHORITY, BY THE BOLD AND FULL DESCRIPTION OF THAT COURSE, AS IN THE FULLEST SENSE THAT OF A DEEP REVOLUTION, A REVOLUTION THAT WOULD REND TO THEIR FOUNDATIONS Tile STRONGHOLDS OF HUMAN SOCIETIES, HUMAN RELATIONSHIPS, WITH ALL THEIR LONGEST CUSTOMS AND FIERCEST PREJUDICES.

IV. THE CALM, IMMOVABLE INTREPIDITY OF ATTITUDE AND OF SOUL THAT IS TO MARK THOSE WHO SHALL SEEM THE CHIEF ACTORS IN THIS MORAL REVOLUTION. This is to rest upon: Firstly, the forearmedness of forewarnedness. Knowledge of themselves, of the enemy, and of him who fights by them, in them, for his own grand works; and who will not fail to fight for them, by himself, and all necessary unseen power. Secondly, the confidence that the Spirit of the Father shall be with them, and speak in and for them at each time of need. Thirdly, in memory of that Master, who is "above the servant " - a memory that has often shown itself so omnipotent an impulse and source of strength, Fourthly, with ever-present memory of the infinite disparity between the ultimate sanctions involved, viz. that of those who can kill the body but can no more, and of him who indeed can kill both, but of whom it is in the same breath said - He notices the fall of a sparrow, and counts the hairs of the head of his servant. Fifthly, that noblest incentive of the safest ambition that was vouchsafed in the words of incredible condescension, "He that receiveth you receiveth me, and he that receiveth me receiveth him that sent me." This for some and all. And sixthly, also for some and all the words of tenderest promise, "Whosoever shall give to drink unto one of these little ones a cup of cold water only in the name of a disciple, verily I say unto you, he shall in no wise lose his reward." Thus forewarned, thus forearmed, thus taught, thus given to fear with godly fear, and stimulated thus with promise and present assurance, it might well be that human "weakness" should be, as it was, as it often is, "made perfect in strength." - B.







Then He called His twelve disciples together.
1. Its extent.

2. Its grounds.

3. Its propose.

4. Its limits.

(Van Oosterzee.)

I. TO WHOM THEY WERE TO GO.

1. Not to the heathen. It was more favourable to the progress of Christianity, even among the Gentiles, that the Jews should be first instructed, because, as they already believed in the unity and attributes of God, and possessed the prophecies, they were much better fitted than any other nation, at the commencement of Christianity, to be the instructors of the world.

2. Nor to the Samaritans, although, in travelling from Judaea to Galilee, it was necessary to pass through their country. Our Saviour foresaw that when the Jews should adopt the Christian religion the new benevolent spirit which that religion would diffuse among them would banish all national animosities, and dispose them to contribute with delight to spread the knowledge of Christianity among the Samaritans, and henceforth to acknowledge them as brethren.

II. THE PREPARATION THEY WERE TO MAKE. It is, rather, the preparation they were not to make (ver. 3). What could be the reason of this singular prohibition? We answer, that it was evidently the intention of Jesus, in their first mission, to teach them to rely with confidence on the providence of God, who would show them that they were special objects of His care, would cause all their wants to be supplied, and thus to convince them that they were engaged in the business of heaven.

III. WHAT THEY WERE TO DO.

1. Proclaim

(1)the coming of the kingdom;

(2)the need of reformation.

2. While uttering this proclamation, they proved that they had received Divine authority to make it; for they were empowered, during this journey, to perform miracles by curing all sorts of diseases. At the same time, to distinguish them from those impostors who pretended to cure all distempers, the apostles were prohibited from receiving money in the form of rewards or presents: "Freely ye have received, freely give"; acting in this disinterested manner like servants of the God of benevolence, they were not to be confounded with selfish and designing men.

3. As they had been prohibited from carrying with them the usual accommodations for a journey, they were to depend on the hospitality of those whom they visited.

4. They were enjoined to behave with courtesy to every person they visited. They had come to communicate most important information, and it was necessary to secure the most favourable attention. Besides, civility is an essential part of that benevolence which we owe to our neighbours; and he that is destitute of it neglects to use the means of cultivating the kindly feelings in himself, and in those with whom he associates.

5. When repulsed, they were to shake off the dust from their feet — a significant action which was evidently intended to leave a salutary impression.

(J. Thomson, D. D.)

When we are told that Jesus Christ sent His disciples forth to "preach the kingdom of God," the word Luke uses means to herald. All Christians are heralds when they speak of the coming of their King. And the characteristics of heralds, before any other persons, are just these: they cannot be inconspicuous, and they must not be timid. Hence, ancient sovereigns used to dress their heralds in unusual and showy garments, so as to attract attention wherever they went; and they furnished them with horns and trumpets, so as to enable them to make a noise which should compel people to hear them.

1. The chief reproach levelled at the Church by the wild race of wicked men around us is that we are not sincere in our professions of longing for the coming of Christ's kingdom. They laugh at a host of heralds so tame and bashful. Why do Christian people never speak up honestly, and do their avowed errands like men?

2. Of course, the proper reply to all this violence is not found in any waste of furious declamation or any massing of forcible logic. Our remedy under such hateful attacks is found in undertaking at once the work which is urged. We shall never hear any more about our derelictions in duty if we are patiently doing duty.

3. Now, it ought to be remembered that this plan of promulgation of the gospel was the choice of an infinitely wise God. There can be no doubt that it would have been an easy thing for Him just to convert the world at a stroke by an irresistible impulse of the Holy Spirit's influence; no doubt He could have turned men's hearts into obedient holiness by some suddenness of Divine disclosure ministered possibly through a song of hosts of angels. But He chose to take time for it, and he chose to put the ultimate accomplishing of such a work into the hands of Christian men and women.

4. It might be well to dwell a moment upon the great grace of God towards us in granting such a favour. Next to being rich and imperial ourselves, it certainly would be very fine to be the almoner of an emperor distributing his wealth to the poor. There was wonderful benediction to us in that God fashioned a form of practical evangelization, which would allow play for all kinds of characteristic human endowments. By putting these into rapid and repetitious service, all of those who love Him would share in the grand result.

5. Moreover, the wisdom of such an arrangement can never be questioned. Making men heralds to other men would economize force in exercise, for it would build up intelligence and grace as it exhausted it. Personal activity in doing good promotes growth in all Christian excellence. Love increases by just loving. Hope enlivens itself by just hoping. Zeal gets on fire, and keeps on fire, by just arousing the heat. Knowledge is augmented in all cases more by the effort of teaching others than by simply studying for one's self alone. To the man who rightly uses the five or ten talents extra talents are given from the Lord's money.

6. Right here, therefore, let us find an explanation of that low state of hypochondriac feeling which oppresses some Christians. They need spiritual exercise. Wilberforce was asked, once when he was labouring hardest, if he had in these times no anxiety, as he used to have, concerning his soul's interests; and he replied, "I do not think about my soul; I have no time for solicitude concerning self; I have really forgotten all about my personal salvation, and so I have no distress."

7. It is possible, therefore, that sometimes it may become actually necessary for the Church itself to be taught by alarm. The heralds may have grown listless. A real sense of peril is of value. "Oh, do that on our souls," prayed Richard Baxter once, "which Thou wouldst have us do on the souls of others!" Once when Napoleon was crossing the Alps, his army grew laggard, and held back. He ordered the music to play, as if on parade. This was enough for most veterans in the ranks; but he observed that the trumpeters were tame, and their feeble strains of ordinary encouragement were not sufficiently seductive to draw away the minds of the rank and file from the awful weariness of the ascent of the mountain. One regiment especially just toiled along in a spiritless and forlorn array; these he gathered together, and then he ordered the bands to play the home-songs of the peasant people in order that thoughts of sunny scenes behind them might kindle the men's enthusiasm. Even that failed among some of the sad platoons; and there were some conscripts who only wept beneath an inveterate gloom. Finally, that shrewd commander marshalled the worst of all into one battalion, and put them in the lead. Then suddenly he ordered the trumpets to sound the charge of battle. That was a solitary challenge that no soldier of a French army ever refused. No one could know how they came to be attacked by a foe in the icicles of the high Alps; but is mattered nothing. Wild indeed was the excitement which ran through that hitherto dispirited host, for they supposed the enemy was upon them, and the quick instinct of war instantly flashed along the lines. The very bands played with splendid clangour of brass and shrill screaming of reeds on the frosty air. What that call meant pealing among the ravines was victory! Most men need some sort of inspiration in religious life just to keep them up to duty. Woe to the heralds with trumpets in their hands if they lapse away into a feeble silence!

(C. S. Robinson, D. D.)

We have here the commission of the twelve apostles.

I. THEIR AUTHORITY. This they received from the great Head of the Church.

II. THEIR QUALIFICATIONS.

1. Notice the two words used.

(1)Power; the ability to do a thing.

(2)Authority; the lawful right to do it.

2. Two realms referred to.

(1)The spiritual realm of darkness;

(2)the physical realm of human nature.

III. THEIR GREAT MISSION.

1. To give spiritual light and comfort.

2. To relieve those who were physically disabled and tortured.

(1)Christ is Physician for both soul and body.

(2)All His ministers should do what they can for the bodies as well as for the souls of men.

IV. THEIR MARCHING ORDERS. They were to be encumbered with nothing superfluous.

V. THEIR OBEDIENCE. Instructive to us —

(1)in its promptness;

(2)in its exactness;

(3)in its thoroughness.Lessons:

1. Every disciple should be a witnesser for Christ.

2. Though some of the particular things laid down here are not obligatory on us, the prominent features in their equipment are still needed.

(1)The power and authority;

(2)the willingness to give up everything superfluous;

(3)prompt, exact, and thorough obedience.

3. Every one whom Christ sends forth may confidently expect every needed equipment if he ask.

4. Surely the fields are now ripe for the harvest.

5. Let us not only pray that God will send labourers, but be willing to be labourers ourselves.

(D. C. Hughes, M. A.)

Who would not be a missionary? His noble enterprise is in exact accordance with the spirit of the age, and what is called the spirit of the age is simply the movement of multitudes of minds in the same direction. They move according to the eternal and all-embracing decrees of God. The spirit of the age is one of benevolence, and it manifests itself in numberless ways — ragged-schools, baths and washhouses, sanitary reform, &c. Hence missionaries do not live before their time. Their great idea of converting the world to Christ is no chimera; it is Divine. Christianity will triumph. It is equal to all it has to perform. It is not mere enthusiasm to imagine a handful of missionaries capable of converting the millions of India. How often they are cut off just after they have acquired the language! How often they retire with broken-down constitutions before effecting anything! How often they drop burning tears over their own feebleness amid the defections of those they believed to be converts! Yes! but the small band has the decree of God on its side. Who has not admired the band of Leonidas at the pass of Thermopylae? Three hundred against three million. Japhet, with the decree of God on his side, only three hundred strong, contending with Shem and his three millions. Consider what has been effected during the last fifty years. There is no vaunting of scouts now, no Indian gentlemen making themselves merry about the folly of thinking to convert the natives of India, magnifying the difficulties of caste, and setting our ministers into brown studies and speech-making in defence of missions. No mission has yet been an entire failure. The old world was a failure under Noah's preaching. Elijah thought it was all up with Israel. Isaiah said, "Who hath believed our report, and to whom is the arm of the Lord revealed?" And Jeremiah wished his head were waters, his eyes a fountain of tears, to weep over one of God's plans for diffusing knowledge among the heathen. If we could see a larger arc of the great providential cycle, we might sometimes rejoice when we weep. But God giveth not account of any one of His matters. We must just trust to His wisdom. Let us do our duty. He will work out a glorious consummation. Fifty years ago missions could not lift up their heads. But missions now are admitted by all to be one of the great facts of the age, and the sneers about "Exeter Hall" are seen by every one to embody a risus sardonious. The present posture of affairs is, that benevolence is popular. God is working out in the human heart His great idea, and all nations shall see His glory .... Let us think highly of the weapons we have received for the accomplishment of our work. "The weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but spiritual, and mighty through God to the casting down of strongholds." They are — Faith in our Leader, and in the presence of His Holy Spirit; a full, free, unfettered gospel; the doctrine of the Cross of Christ — an old story, but containing the mightiest truths ever uttered — mighty for pulling down the strongholds of sin, and giving liberty to the captives. This work requires zeal for God and love for souls. It needs prayer from the senders and the sent, and firm reliance on Him who alone is the author of conversion. Souls cannot be converted or manufactured to order. Great deeds are wrought in unconsciousness, from constraining love to Christ; in humbly asking, "Lord, what wilt Thou have me to do?" in the simple feeling we have done that which it was our duty to do. The effect works, the greatness of which it will remain for posterity to discern. The greatest works of God in the kingdom of grace, like His majestic works in nature, are marked by stillness in the doing of them, and reveal themselves by their effects. They come up like the sun, and show themselves by their own light. The kingdom of God cometh not with observation. Luther simply followed the leadings of the Holy Spirit in the struggles of His own soul. He wrought out what the inward impulses of his own breast prompted him to work, and behold, before He was aware, he was in the midst of the Reformation. So, too, it was with the Plymouth pilgrims, with their sermons three times a day on board the Mayflower. Without thinking of founding an empire, they obeyed the sublime teachings of the Spirit, the prompt-ings of duty and the spiritual life. God working mightily in the human heart is the spring of all abiding spiritual power; and it is only as men follow out the sublime promptings of the inward spiritual life that they do great things for God. The movement of not one mind only, but the consentaneous movement of a multitude of minds in the same direction, constitutes what is called the spirit of the age. This spirit is neither the law of progress nor blind development, but God's all-eternal, all-embracing purpose, the doctrine which recognizes the hand of God in all events, yet leaves all human action free. When God has prepared an age for a new thought, the thought is thrust into the age as an instrument into a chemical solution — the crystals cluster around it immediately. If God prepares not, the man has lived before his time. Huss and Wiclif were like voices crying in the wilderness, preparing the way for a brighter future; the time had not yet come. Who would not be a missionary? "They that be wise shall shine as the brightness of the firmament, and they that turn many to righteousness as the stars for ever and ever." Is God not preparing the world for missions which will embrace the whole of Adam's family? The gallant steamships circumnavigate the globe. Emigration is going on at a rate to which the most renowned crusades of antiquity bear no proportion. Many men go to and fro, and knowledge is increased. No great emigration ever took place in the world without accomplishing one of God's great designs. The tide of modern emigration flows towards the West. The wonderful amalgamation of races will result in something grand. We believe this, because the world is becoming better, and because God is working mightily in the human mind. We believe it, because God has been preparing the world for something glorious. And that something will be a fuller development of the missionary idea and work. There will yet be a glorious consummation of Christianity. The last fifty years have accomplished wonders. On the American continent, what a wonderful amalgamation of races we have witnessed, how wonderfully they have been fused into that one American people — type and earnest of s larger fusion which Christianity will yet accomplish, when, by its blessed power, all tribes and tongues and races shall become one holy family. The present popularity of beneficence promises well for the missionary cause in the future. Men's hearts are undergoing a process of enlargement. Their sympathies are taking a wider scope. The world is getting closer, smaller — quite a compact affair. "The world for Christ" will yet be realized.

(David Livingstone, LL. D.)

Sunday School Times.
When a Roman magistrate was appointed to conduct a campaign he could not even assume the command of an army until he had been invested with the special powers comprehended in the imperium or right of military command. And to this day when governments are called upon to undertake extraordinary enterprises they are in the habit of endowing their officers with extraordinary powers. So Jesus, when sending His disciples to combat with the powers of evil, gave them special authority and miraculous power.

(Sunday School Times.)

Sunday School Times.
Not many years ago the Queen of Great Britain was proclaimed Empress of India. That event was announced throughout India with all the pomp of empire. Contrast with this earthly splendour the manner in which the new kingdom of Christ was proclaimed on earth. Twelve poor disciples preached it in an insignificant province of the Roman Empire.

(Sunday School Times.)

Sunday School Times.
In the first verse of this lesson is a strong reminder of the most efficient style of missionaries to-day. Saying nothing about the power and authority over all devils, to cure diseases is no small part of the modern missionary's task. It is plain enough to most Christian people who keep up with the general run of accounts from the mission field, that medical training greatly adds to a missionary's influence. Indeed, it seems almost superfluous to say a word more on the subject. But when one thinks how much physicians are needed among a people where regularly trained physicians do not otherwise exist than through the efforts of the missionaries; how many diseases have been scourges which are quite within the power of medical science; to how many people a physician can gain the access denied to every one else; what opportunities a physician has for making many his grateful friends for life; it will not be wondered that medical training and a physician's work are wonderful aids in advancing the kingdom. It is no wonder either that Luke, the physician, was particular to notice this branch of the apostolic commission; or that it was actually given by our Lord. Even a quack, or a skilful physician who insists on extortionate fees, is a man of power; though such a one may do the missionary work great harm. He would be feared. Unless he both preaches the kingdom of God — preaches in the old sense, not sermonizes by the hour-glass-and heals the sick, he is worse than useless.

(Sunday School Times.)

The. Weekly Pulpit.
I. THE CALL TO CHRISTIAN WORK. These twelve apostles were men specially called by Christ, some from their fishing, one from the receipt of custom. We must not think that they were elected to the exceeding privilege of personal relations with Christ. It would be true to say that, through all the ages, God does not elect to privilege, He selects for duty.

II. THE FORM OF CHRISTIAN WORK.

1. Every one who is "sent" has a message to deliver. It is a message of sovereign grace. It is a message that has to be set in precise adaptation to men's needs. It is a message that makes practical demands on all to whom it is addressed.

2. Every one sent is expected to scatter temporal blessings as he goes about doing his higher spiritual work. "Heal the sick" only represents the work of the unusually endowed.

III. THE SPHERE OF CHRISTIAN WORK. These apostles were bidden go to "the lost sheep of the House of Israel." Lost sheep! They can be found by us all close at hand.

IV. THE SPIRIT OF CHRISTIAN WORK. "Freely ye have received, freely give." True workers for Christ must be heedless of "self"; they must gain full hold and mastery of "self."

(The. Weekly Pulpit.)

The late Rev. Rowland Hill remarks — "Old as I am, I am just returned from a long missionary ramble; but I feel I am getting old. Oh that I may work well to the last!" In all his journeys, even when he had reached a period beyond that usually allotted to man, he was disconcerted if he did not find a pulpit ready for him every evening. In one of his letters, fixing his days for preaching on his road to some place, he says, "Ever since my Master has put me into office I have ever esteemed it my duty to remember His admonition, 'As ye go, preach.'" His general answer to invitations to houses on his route was, "I shall be happy to come to you, if you can find me a place to preach in."

Arthur Helps tells a story of an illiterate soldier at the chapel of Lord Morpeth's castle in Ireland. Whenever Archbishop Whately came to preach it was observed that this rough private was always in his place, mouth open, as if in sympathy with his ears. Some of the gentlemen playfully took him to task for it, supposing it was due to the usual vulgar admiration of a celebrity. But the man had a better reason, and was able to give it. He said, "That isn't it at all. The Archbishop is easy to understand. There are no fine words in him. A fellow like me, now, can follow along and take every bit of it in."

1. It was one which had for its especial object the welfare of men, both as to soul and body.

2. In His instructions to these first ministers of the gospel, the Master seemed especially to warn them against any needless regard to their own appearance, or any undue considerations for their own comfort or ease. Simplicity, frugality, and paramount regard to their work, were the principles which they were to illustrate, and these have always been considered becoming to true ministers of the gospel in the purest days of the Church. These first apostles were to cultivate warm fraternal fellowship with the people among whom they were to labour, mixing with them and their families in the ordinary intercourse of life, and kindly receiving that hospitality which was freely offered, though never demanded.

3. We are not to consider that these directions of our Lord establish any fixed rules in respect to the support or costume or social relations of His ministers. They were rather adapted to a special and peculiar service; they were conformable to the customs and usages of the times and the country.

4. The injunction to shake off the dust from their feet in leaving a place where they were not welcomed and their teaching was not received, does not inculcate anything like a spirit of denunciation and bitterness, but simply a protest against the unbelief which manifested itself in this manner, and was like the custom, well known to the Jews, of shaking their garments when they came from a heathen city into their own country. The scribes taught that the dust of heathenism defiled those on whom it rested.

(E. P. Rogers, D. D.)

1. An apostle is a sent one, but not self-sent.

2. A true shepherd must not mistake the love of the fleece for the love for the flock.

3. The Church is to remember that her "angels" are still in the flesh, and require at least an average provision for the needs of the flesh. It is a poor way to advance the spirituality of a minister, to begrudge him his bread.

4. Spirituality is not a thing belonging necessarily to riches or to poverty. All the worldliness is not with the rich. All the spirituality is not with the poor.

5. All true and faithful ministers may justly claim to be in the best sense in an apostolic succession.

6. Ostentation and luxury are a reproach to the ministers of Christ.

7. The Christian missionary emulates his Master, who came as the "sent One" from heaven, "to seek and to save that which was lost."

8. That is a true and practical Christianity which is not forgetful of the wants of the body while ministering to the necessities of the soul.

9. Every Christian is bound to be a missionary, even though he be not ordained as a preacher. The spirit of missions is the spirit of Christ, and when the whole Church is imbued with that the Lord's prayer will be answered, "Thy kingdom come."

(E. P. Rogers, D. D.)

The whole circle of doctrines taught by Christ revolves about this central point — that He represented to men the kingdom of God. What is this kingdom of God which Jesus preached in His gospel? and how does the knowledge of this kingdom bring us under obligation to repent, and give us encouragement to believe? The answer to these questions must be sought in the meaning of this phrase, as it required to be understood by the Jews of Christ's own time. To the men whom Christ addressed, the kingdom of God was no new idea; or rather it was no new phrase — but it can hardly be said to have represented any definite idea to a generation that had so far lost the meaning of their own law and history. If we study closely the religion of the Old Testament, we shall find that all its doctrines, laws, and institutions grow out of this fundamental thought, that God, who Himself is pure and spiritual, is the true and only Redeemer of all those who desire to be no more estranged from Him. This truth was formally embodied in the doctrine of a kingdom of God in this world, the nucleus of which was His redeemed people of Israel. The political constitution of Israel as a nation was but a frame for this spiritual kingdom. The true conception of the kingdom stands out m the predictions of Jeremiah concerning the days of the Messiah. When this prophet wrote, the political kingdom had run itself down into disgrace and bankruptcy, through the vices of the kings and the general wickedness of the people; but although the monarchy should be overthrown, and king and people be carried away captive, the kingdom of God in the true Israel — as represented by the prophet and by all believing souls — could not be destroyed. This view of the kingdom of God may be interpreted to us by our familiar conceptions of the national and historical spirit in a people, as distinguished from the form of government and the practical administration of affairs. If, for instance, one loses confidence in a ministry, he does not abandon constitutional government as a failure. It was the spiritual conception of a kingdom within Israel itself — that did not embrace all Israel, and yet was greater than Israel, because it did possess, and should hereafter more and more possess, souls outside the pale of the Jewish commonwealth — that Jeremiah seized so vividly at the very moment when the national monarchy was sinking into nothingness. With this spiritual conception of the kingdom — the presence of God as a Saviour realized to the soul — it is easy to understand how Jesus preached the gospel of the kingdom of God. Coming at a time when the Jews were vassals of the Roman power; when deprived of every symbol of their nationality save their temple and its worship, they were yearning for a deliverer; to the nominal people of God thus subjugated by military rule, yet clinging to the ancient promise of a Messiah who should restore the glory of the theocracy, He said, "I bring to you the good news of the kingdom of God; in Me Jehovah once more comes to you as a Deliverer; the time predicted by Daniel is fulfilled; the new covenant promised by Jeremiah is brought to you in My gospel; repent of the sins that have humiliated and well-nigh destroyed you; renounce your vain hopes of deliverance and trust in Me as your Saviour; repent and believe the gospel, for the kingdom of God is at hand."

(J. P. Thomson.)

1. Is within. One becomes a subject of it in his own consciousness.

2. Has laws for the regulation of the life, though purifying and ennobling the heart.

3. Has its privileges. Every subject is treated as a son.

4. Has its rewards, both present and prospective.

(J. P. Thomson.)

It is in obedience to this mandate that our missionaries, before they go abroad, not only spend a number of years at some theological college where they may prepare themselves for the work of proclaiming the gospel, but generally spend a year or so in the hospitals, gaining some knowledge of medicine that they may alleviate the physical woes of the people among whom their lives are to be spent, and so, it may be, reach the soul through the body. At home the two functions are discharged by different persons, and yet it seems to me that minister and doctor should be in completest sympathy, and recognize each other as severally working towards the same end. Some doctors have I known, who while attending to the physical wants of their patients could find time not only to speak the kindly and reassuring words which come so well from the lips of men who belong to the healing profession, but also to say some word which might point the afflicted one to that great Healer and most beneficent Physician, who is the Redeemer of our whole nature. It is a proof of the close alliance which ought to subsist between preaching and healing, that hospitals are a direct fruit of Christianity. "Neither the religion nor the philosophy of Greece and Rome tended to comfort the poor. The divinities were cruel; the Stoic affected to despise the sufferings of the indigent; the Epicurean took no thought of them. Throughout the vast regions of Mogol, India, and China, the use of hospitals is unknown to this day. In no country did Christianity find such institutions existing. The history of their rise and progress can be traced in few words. In the year 380 the first hospital in the West was founded by Fabiola, a devout Roman lady, without the walls of Rome. St. says, expressly, that this was the first of all. And he adds that it was a country-house, destined to receive the sick and infirm, who before used to lie stretched on the public ways. The pilgrim's hospital at Rome, built by , became also celebrated. In , the priest Zotichus, who had followed Constantine to Byzantium, established in that city, under his protection, a hospital for strangers and pilgrims. St. Basil, who founded the first hospitals of Asia, mentions a house for the reception of the sick and of travellers, near the city of Caesarea, which became afterwards the ornament of the country, and like a second city. St. built several hospitals at Constantinople." Coming down to modern days, it is significant that the three oldest London hospitals, St. Thomas's, St. Bartholomew's, and Bethlehem, were founded about the middle of the sixteenth century, immediately after the , and that the reign of George II., in which Wesley and Whitefield preached from end to end of the land, was the period at which "a considerable accession was made to the number of English hospitals, and at which society became alive to the value of such institutions."

(J. R. Bailey.)There is certainly no other feature of the old civilization so repulsive as the indifference to suffering that it displayed. The constant association of human suffering with popular entertainments rendered the popular mind continually more callous. Very different was the aspect presented by the early Church. Charity was one of the earliest, as it was one of the noblest creations of Christianity; and independently of the incalculable mass of suffering it has assuaged, the influence it has exercised in softening and purifying the character, in restraining the passions, and enlarging the sympathies of mankind, has made it one of the most important elements of our civilization.

(W. E. H. Lecky, M. A.)

Although China has reached what some are pleased to call the highest degree of civilization of which a nation is capable without the gospel, it presents, I believe, more physical suffering, for want of medical knowledge, than any other nation on the face of the the earth. The multitudes of sick, and lame, and blind which crowd the streets of this and other cities, are ample evidence of her deplorable condition in this respect. In an institution like this, a good surgeon may almost every day of his life make the blind receive their sight, the lame walk, the deaf hear, and the paralytic whole; besides bringing hundreds together under the most favourable circumstances, to have the gospel preached to them. I might be allowed to give one example of the influence which even one successful case exerts, not only upon an individual or a family, but upon a locality or neighbourhood. Last spring I operated on a man's eyes for artificial pupil. For several years previously he had only just been able to distinguish day from night, light from darkness. Three days after the operation he was able to read the ordinary character, and on the fifth day he left the hospital. He was a boatman, and lives about half-way to Nankin, on the Northern bank of Yang-tsze river. Two months afterwards he arrived again in Shanghai with his boat, and brought six blind people to the hospital, five men and one woman, from his own neighbourhood, and they not only wanted to have their sight restored, but made enquiries about the Christian religion, which they said their friend who brought them had told them about One man," continues the doctor in another report, "a shopkeeper, who had been blind for three years, readily submitted to the operation for cataract. I need not say that he was much delighted when, on the twelfth day after it, he was able to read the New Testament character with facility. This man left the hospital in very high spirits, declaring that he would make known the gospel doctrine to all his friends and neighbours."

(Dr. Henderson.)

What cross do you suppose I take up in preaching? Just the same kind of a cross a mountain rill takes up that gushes forth all summer long. Why does it gush forth? Because it is its duty? No; because it cannot help it. It is its nature; and it goes ringing down the dell to please itself, not to please the heavens, or the clouds, or anything else — though it may please them all. And it is because it is to me pleasanter than anything else that I preach. I might preach if it was not so pleasant; but I am entitled to no thanks because I preach. The whole professional life of a minister who has health, and a healthy theology, ought to be pleasant.

(H. W. Beecher.)

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