"Why does my lord say these things?" they asked. "Your servants could not possibly do such a thing.
I. GOD BY HIS PROVIDENCE TRIES THE SPIRIT THAT IS IN US. The events of our lives are ordered so as to bring this about (Deuteronomy 8:2). They are to us as Joseph's cup. Daily work, family life, professional duties, the common intercourse of society, raise questions which are answered according as God or self rules the heart and guides the actions. Hence no part of our life is unimportant in a spiritual point of view. Things, in themselves of small account, test the character and motives of the life, as floating straws show the current; and this all the more because their spiritual bearing is not apparent. Kindness, truth, unselfishness, in little matters, reveal the man more truly than on greater and more conspicuous occasions (cf. 1 Corinthians 13:3).
II. TRIALS ARE SENT IN LOVE AS INSTRUMENTS OF BLESSING (James 1:12). Through their operation the Christian life is matured (Romans 5:3-5). Every grace must be exercised in order to grow, and trial is the opportunity of exercise. Without trial there could be no real victory over evil, no real submission of the will to God. We pray to be kept from temptation. To run into it is to court a fall. But where God sends trial grace is provided (1 Corinthians 10:13), answering every need; help for the falling or fallen as well as strength for the steadfast.
III. How TO STAND IN THE DAY OF TRIAL. In each of the messages to the Churches (Revelation 2., 3.) trial is implied now of persecution, now of false doctrine, now of indolent spiritual ease. And the blessing is "to him that overcometh." How? "By the blood of the Lamb" (Revelation 12:11), i.e. by faith in it. Not merely belief in the doctrine, but realizing what the work of Christ has won for us, and the love of the Father from which it proceeds, and the claim which the mercies of God make upon us (Romans 12:1). The first step is receiving with an undoubting spirit the love of God; not letting in unbelief in the garb of humility. The next is keeping that truth present in the mind in the midst of daily work, that the love of Christ may constrain the direction of our life. - M.
His life is bound up in the lad's life.
I. I propose to show SOME OF THE CAUSES OF PARENTAL ANXIETY.
1. I find the first cause of parental anxiety in the inefficiency and imperfection of parents themselves. We have a slight hope, all of us, that our children may escape our faults. We hide our imperfections and think they will steer clear of them. Alas, there is a poor prospect of that. There is more probability that they will choose our vices than choose our virtues.
2. Again, parental anxiety often arises from an early exhibition of sinfulness in the child. It is especially sad if the parent sees his own faults copied by the child. It is very hard work to pull up a nettle that we ourselves planted. We remember that the greatest frauds that ever shook the banking-houses of the country started from a boy's deception a good many years ago; and the gleaming blade of the murderer is only another blade of the knife with which the boy struck at his comrade. The cedar of Lebanon that wrestles with the blast, started from seed lodged in the side of the mountain, and the most tremendous dishonesties of the world once toddled out from a cradle. All these things make parents anxious.
3. Anxiety on the part of parents, also, arises from a consciousness that there are so many temptations thrown all around our young people. It may be almost impossible to take a castle by siege — straightforward siege — but suppose in the night there is a traitor within, and he goes down and draws the bolt, and swings open the great door, and then the castle falls immediately. That is the trouble with the hearts of the young; they have foes without and foes within.
II. I shall devote the rest of my remarks to ALLEVIATION OF PARENTAL ANXIETY. Let me say to you as parents, that a great deal of that anxiety will be lifted if you will begin early with your children. Tom Paine said: "The first five years of my life I became an infidel." A vessel goes out to sea; it has been five days out; a storm comes on it; it springs a leak; the helm will not work; everything is out of order. What is the matter? The ship is not seaworthy, and never was. It is a poor time to find it out now. Under the fury of the storm, the vessel goes down, with two hundred and fifty passengers, to a watery grave. The time to make the ship seaworthy was in the dry-dock, before it started. Alas for us, if we wait until our children get out into the world before we try to bring upon them the influence of Christ's religion. I tell you, the dry-dock of the Christian home is the place where we are to fit them for usefulness and for heaven. In this world, under the storm of vice and temptation, it will be too late. In the domestic circle you decide whether your child shall be truthful or false — whether it shall be generous or penurious. You cannot begin too early. You stand on the bank of a river floating by. You cannot stop that river, but you travel days and days towards the source of it, and you find, after awhile, where it comes down, dropping from the rock, and with your knife you make a course in this or that direction for the dropping to take, and you decide the course of the river. You stand and see your children's character rolling on with great impetuosity and passion, and you cannot affect them. Go up towards the source where the character first starts, and decide that it shall take the right direction, and it will follow the path you give it. But I want you to remember, O father, O mother, that it is what you do that is going to affect your children, and not what you say. You tell your children to become Christians while you are not, and they will not. Above all, pray. I do not mean mere formal prayer, that amounts to nothing. Often go before God and say: "Here are my dear children. Oh save them. Put their feet on the road to heaven. Thou knowest how imperfectly I am training them; make up what I lack. Lord Jesus Christ, better than anything Thou canst give, give them Jesus." God will hear such a prayer. He said He would: "I will be a God to thee and thy seed after thee."
PeopleBenjamin, Joseph, Pharaoh
TopicsAnything, Forbid, Servants, Speak, Speaketh, Wherefore
Outline1. Joseph's policy to stay his brothers.
6. The silver cup is found in Benjamin's sack.
14. They are brought before Joseph.
18. Judah's humble supplication to Joseph.
Dictionary of Bible ThemesGenesis 44:1-12
LibrarySelect Masterpieces of Biblical Literature
The Modern Reader's Bible A Series of Works from the Sacred Scriptures Presented in Modern Literary Form SELECT MASTERPIECES OF BIBLICAL LITERATURE Edited, with an Introduction and Notes by RICHARD G. MOULTON, M.A. (CAMB.), Ph.D. (PENN.) Professor of Literature in English in the University of Chicago New York The MacMillan Company London: MacMillan & Co., Ltd. 1902 Copyright, 1897, By THe MacMillan Company. Set up and electrotyped September, 1897. Reprinted December, 1897; August, 1898; February, …
Various—Select Masterpieces of Biblical Literature
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