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And so he said that, just as no servant could serve two different masters, because, if he obeyed the one he would be often obliged to disobey—the other; so you and I cannot serve God and—mammon, or-riches. Jesus said that if we set our hearts upon getting the good things of this life, and love them better than anything else, we cannot be his disciples. Let me try to show you why it must
Illustration.- A rich young man once came to Jesus, and said, Oh, sir, what am I to do in order to go to heaven?" Jesus answered him, "You must obey all God's commandments.” “Oh!" said the young man, “I have done that ever since I was a boy." He thought that he was quite perfect; but Jesus saw his heart, and, in order to show him where he was wrong, said, “Sell your goods, and give them to the poor; and come and follow me.” The rich young man was astonished, and went away. He loved his riches too well to give them up for Christ. Most likely, if he had been willing to give them up, Jesus would not have let him do so; for he does not often wish people to give away all that they have. The great thing is to be willing to give up anything that he wishes us to give up, because we love him better than all beside. If, like the young man, we love these good things better than Jesus, we are “serving mammon,” and “cannot serve God." I think we shall now understand better what follows.
Ver. 25. There was a great crowd of people standing round Jesus, when he said, “ Ye cannot serve God and mammon;"—you cannot serve God while your hearts are set upon storing up-riches. And I dare say some of them were thinking, as people do now,
“If we don't spend our time in getting as much as we can of the good things of this world, what will become of us? We shall starve ! or if we do not come to that, we shall always be poor; that is quite certain.” And so Jesus said to them, as this verse tells us,
" Take -no thought for your life,” Jc. Yes; that means: Do not distress yourselves about the future-about what food you shall have to eat and drink, or what clothes you shall have to wear. Leave all that to your Father in heaven. And so, in order that they might always remember this, Jesus gave the people, and to-day he gives you and me, first a lesson from the birds, and then a lesson from the flowers. Now let us read the bird lesson.
Ver. 26. [In bringing out the teachings of this verse, the following points may be noticed :~How rare a thing it is to find a dead bird, unless some mischievous boy or man has killed it. This shows that birds do not starve, even in winter, when the trees are leafless and the fields are bare. Think of the number of birds
250 different sorts, living (for at least a part of the year) in our own country. They do not provide for themselves (refer to verse); none of them store up food for the winter. How is it that so many little mouths are fed? What does Jesus say about this? Father” provides for the birds; sends flies, spiders, worms, and grubs. What question does Jesus ask in this verse ? How are we “much better than they?"
Examine on the foregoing, and elicit the lesson,—If God feed the birds, surely He will feed those who are so much better than mere animals.]
Ver. 28-30. Now for the flower lesson. What else beside food do people think very much about—something that they could not do without in cold weather ? What are clothes called in this verse ? Jesus knew that many of those who heard him were taking thought," which I told you meant--worrying themselves ; being very anxious, about clothes; and a great many boys and girls think far too much about dress now. So he told them to—(see verse). What does “consider" mean? Well, let us “consider the lilies of the field, how they grow."
[The “lily” here referred to is doubtless the kind described by Dr. Thomson (see Biblical Treasury for October, 1862, p. 160); a large and splendid flower, the stem tall and rather woody: used by the people of the country to heat their ovens with. Grows wild. No man sows it or tends it; yet no garden flower is stronger or more beautiful. What king-even Solomou--so beautifully arrayed ? And yet they are only flowers, their life soon gone for ever. They cannot live again. Not so with us. We are much better than flowers.
Examine as before, and elicit the lesson, If God clothe the lilies, surely He will clothe those who are so much better than dumb, senseless plants.]
APPLICATION.—Repeat after me- The birds do not sow nor reap, yet God feeds them. We are much better than birds. Therefore God will feed us.
The lilies do not work or spin, yet God gires them beautiful clothes. We are much better than flowers. Therefore God will clothe us.
Yes; but this lesson is only for God's children. If we are not God's children we cannot expect that He will take care of us. Unless we love Jesus, and strive to be like him, we are not the children of God, and cannot expect God to bless us. Have we each prayed, “ O Lord, make me thy child, for Jesus Christ's sake ?" If we do this with all our hearts, God will hear us and take us to be his children. And then the lesson of the birds, and the lesson of the flowers will be for us ; and when we hear the birds singing, or when we see the beautiful flowers, we shall scem to hear the voice of our Father in heaven, saying, "Do not be anxious about tomorrow. Never mind what may happen. I will take care of you. Are you not much better than they ?" So you will be able to sing, as you journey along,-a young traveller through this world,
"What sorrows may my steps attend
I cannot now foretell,
I know that all is well.
“Attend me through my youthful way,
Whatever be my lot;
O Lord, forsake me not.
I will for heaven prepare ;
To dwell for ever there."
TESTIMONY TO THE SCRIPTURES. I have heard of a copy of the Scriptures preserved in one of our old castles, which belonged more than a century since to the noble owner. At the end of many hundred verses through the volume he has carefully signed his name : and at the close of the volume, in a handwriting evidently tremulous from weakness, dated a short time before his death, are these words : “I hereby set my seal to the truth of every promiso contained in this book, having found them all realised throughout a long life, in my own happy experience."--Rev. Charles Bullock.
CHRISTIAN WORKERS. A few years ago, a young minister went to visit a pious, devoted, and revered aged member of the Episcopal church. The conversation ended, and he arose to depart; when with trembling steps the aged one followed him to the door, and there taking his hand, he solemnly said : “My young friend, I have seen you for the first and probably for the last time. I have a legacy to give you before we part, it is this : do all the good you can, in all the ways you can, to all the people you can, and just as long as you can."-Workers and their Work.
WORKMEN WHO RECEIVE NO PRESENT PAY.
Who works for God awaits his hire,
And looks beyond for rest.
He ventures all for God and good ;
A life that never dies.
He often toils in need and pain,
His record is with God.
His treasures now are hoarding fast-
Till all their work be done.
Oh ! who shall tell what glories bright,
Who gave his all to God!
Then who would sigh for present gain,
With bliss like this in view !
EDUCATION IN RUSSIA. The Russian Government has put forth a Project of a Statute for the General Educational Scholastic Establislıments of the Ministry of Public Instruction, accompanied by a Project of a General Statute for the Imperial Russian Universities, and a Project of a General Plan for the Organization of National Schools. Translations have been printed in this country, for circulation among such Englishmen as are likely to give the Imperial Government useful advice on the subject. We have been favoured with copies, accompanied by a letter from Mr. C. Warrand, Councillor of State, in which he is pleased to say, that any remarks or criticisms of ours will be most welcome, and of the greatest utility to the cause of education in Russia. Thus invited, we have felt bound to give the subject our best attention, and propose as briefly as possible to state the results of our consideration.
We observe that the gentleman who is to us the organ of the Imperial Government in this matter, announces the documents submitted as “Projects for Educational Reforms.” The implication is, that the Czar is sincerely anxious to put the school system of his empire upon the best footing. Though it may be well supposed that our sympathies go with principles of government different from those which prevail in St. Petersburg, we shall endeavour to look at the question before us without prejudice on that account. The Emperors of Russia desire to be regarded as the fathers of their people, and we are simply called upon to offer an opinion as to the way in which, with respect to the education of his children, the present Emperor proposes to fulfil his fatherly office.
From the apparent connection between the late agitations and incendiarisms in the capital and elsewhere, and the state of the colleges and schools, it might have been inferred, that these projects are designed to correct evils thus made apparent; and certainly, if the Imperial Government has become persuaded that the true method of reconciling expressions of public opinion with the safety of the State, consists in giving to all the subjects a sound yet liberal education, imbued with moral and religious principles, that Government has itself learned the most important lesson that can be taught to the rulers of nations.
But we are not left to conjecture as to the origin of these projected measures. The middle and lower educational establishments under Governmental jurisdiction were settled by Imperial Statute on the 8th of December, 1828. It was found, however, that they had ceased to satisfy the requirements of the times. In 1856, therefore,