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ia. How think ye ? if a man have a hundred sheep, and one of them be gone astray, doth he not leave the ninety and nine, and goeth into the mountains, and seeketh that which is gone astray?
i2. Leave The Ninety And Nine.—"At a great gathering recently in Denver, Mr. Ira W. Sankey, before singing 'The Ninety and Nine,' which perhaps of all his compositions is the one that has brought him the most fame, gave an account of its birth. Leaving Glasgow for Edinburgh with Mr. Moody, he stopped at a news-stand and bought a penny religious paper. Glancing over it as they rode on the cars, his eye fell upon a few little verses in the corner of the page. Turning to Mr. Moody, he said, ' I've found my hymn.' But Mr. Moody was busily engaged and did not hear a word. Mr. Sankey did not find time to make a tune for the verses, so he pasted them in his music scrap-book. One day they had an unusually impressive meeting in Edinburgh, in which Dr. Bonar had spoken with great effect on ' The Good Shepherd.' At the close of the address, Mr. Moody beckoned to his partner to sing something appropriate. At Origin of ^ret ne could think of nothing but the Twenty-third Br. sankey's Psalm, but that he had sung so often; his second Ninety and thought was to sing the verses he had found in the siae. newspaper, but the third thought was, How could it be done when he had no tune for them? Then a fourth thought came, and that was to sing the verses, anyway. He put the verses before him, touched the keys of the organ, opened his mouth and sang, not knowing where he was going to come out. He finished the first verse amid profound silence. He took a long breath and wondered if he could sing the second the same way. He tried it and succeeded. After that it was easy to sing it. When he finished the hymn the meeting was all broken down—the throngs were crying and the ministers were sobbing all around him. Mr. Sankey says it was the most intense moment of his life From that moment it was a popular hymn. Mr. Moody said at the time that he had never heard a song like that. It was sung at every meeting and was soon going over the world. While traveling in the Highlands of Scotland a short time later Mr. Sankey received a letter from a lady at Melrose thanking him for singing the verses written by her sister. That sister was Elizabeth C. Clephane. He wished to call it' The Lost Sheep,' but Mr. Moody insisted upon calling it 'Ninety and Nine' whenever he announced it."—Golden Rule.
'Have ye looked for sheep in the desert,
Marvelous Love Of God.—Some have strongly felt the objection to the gospel, that it is not probable that the Son of the infinite God would leave all the measureless stars without redemption, and come to this little world, which is but a mote in the sunbeam compared with other worlds, and here become man and die for us, the almost invisible atoms in this obscure corner of the universe. But here the enigma is solved. Wherever the lost are, there he must go for them, The hearts of all the family go after the lost one.
"Some years ago," says Dr. Hastings in The Christian, "the late Horace Mann, the eminent educator, delivered an address at the opening of some reformatory institution for boys, during which he remarked that if only one boy was saved from ruin, it would pay for all the cost and care and labor of establishing such an institution as that. After the exercises had closed, in private conversation a gentleman rallied Mr. Mann upon his statement, and said to him,' Did you not color that a little, when you said that all the expense and labor would be repaid if it only saved one boy t' 'Not if it was my boy,' was the solemn and convincing reply."
Garibaldi And The Lost Sheep.—"One evening in 1861, as General Garibaldi was going home, he met a Sardinian shepherd lamenting the loss of a lamb out of his flock. Garibaldi at once turned to his staff, and announced his intention of scouring the mountain in search of the lamb. A grand expedition was organized. Lanterns were brought, and old officers of many a campaign started off full of zeal to hunt the fugitive. But no lamb was found, and the soldiers were ordered to their beds. The next morning Garibaldi's attendant found him in bed fast asleep. The attendant waked him. The general rubbed his eyes, and so did the attendant, when he saw the old warrior take from under the covering the lost lamb, and
13. And if so be that he find it, verily I say unto you, he rejoiceth more of that sheep, than of the ninety and nine which went not astray.
14. Even so it is not the will of your Father which is in heaven, that one of these little ones should perish.
15. If Moreover if thy brother shall trespass against thee, go and tell him his fault between thee and him alone : if he shall hear thee, thou hast gained thy brother.
16. But if be will not hear thee, then take with thee one or two more, that in the mouth of two or three witnesses every word may be established.
17. And if he shall neglect to hear them, tell it unto the church : but if he neglect to hear the church, let him be unto thee as a heathen man and a publican.
18. Verily I say unto you, Whatsoever ye shall bind on earth shall be bound in heaven ; and whatsoever ye shall loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven.
bid him convey it to the shepherd. The general had kept up the search through the night until he had found it. Even so doth the Good Shepherd go in search of his lost sheep until he finds them."
10. Your Father Which Is In Heaven.—" If an angel were to fly swiftly over the earth on a summer morning, and go into every garden,—the king's, the rich man's, the peasant's, the child's,—and were to bring from each one the choicest, loveliest, sweetest flower that blooms in each, and gather them all in one cluster in his radi„ .. .... o ant hands, what a beautiful bouquet it would be! And
Hod the Sum ., * „ .. , , . .
of all LoTe. » an angel were to fly swiftly over the earth into every sweet and holy home, into every spot where one heart yearns over another, and were to take out of every father's heart, and every mother's heart, and out of every heart that loves, its holiest flower of affection, and gather all into one cluster, what a blessed love-garland would his eyes behold I What a holy love would this aggregation of all earth's loves be! Yet infinitely sweeter and holier than this grouping of all earth's holiest affections is the love that fills the heart of our Father in heaven."—J, R. Miller. Reference. Chap. vi. 9, *' Our Father."
15. Between Him And Thee Alone.—Do not publish the wrong, or awaken his pride to stand by his wrong. If you would put out a fire, do not scatter the firebrands everywhere. A little fire that could have been crushed with the foot may burn up a whole city.
15. Thou Hast Gained Thy Brother.—By your kindly act you have made two good men instead of adding another bad to the bad.
19. Again, I say unto you, That if two of you shall agree on earth as touching any thing that they shall ask, it shall be done for them of my Father which is in heaven.
20. For where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them.
2x. H Then came Peter to him, and said, Lord, how oft shall my brother sin against me, and I forgive him ? till seven times?
22. Jesus saith unto him, I say not unto thee, Until seven times: but, Until seventy times seven.
19. If Two Of You Agree On Earth.—The Greek word for agree, av/iQuvlioovoiv, from abv, with, together, and <j*wli, sound, voice sound together in harmony. From this word comes our symphony, a harmony of sounds, and " an elaborate instrumental com- _ „
. . . . . , , . Tne Symphony
position, consisting usually of three or four contrasted, 0f Prayer, yet inwardly, related movements, as the allegro, adagio, the minuet and trio, or scherzo, and the finale in quick time." This is an excellent illustration of the harmony of different souls in varied circumstances, yet seeing one great object in the kingdom of God. Every true prayer-meeting is a symphony.
20. Gathered Embers.—" A minister called upon a member who had been neglecting the week-night service, and went straight up to the fireplace in the sitting-room, and with the tongs removed a live coal from off the fire, and placed it on the hearth, then watched it while it turned from the red glow of heat to a black mass. The member in question carefully observed the proceeding, and then said, 'You need not say a single word, sir; I'll be there on Wednesday night.' "— The Christian.
Reference.—21. "Forgive him." vi. 14. Especially "the prayer of the unforgiving man."
22. Until Seventy Times Seven, that is, always as many times as he sins against us. Our hearts are like reservoirs, and outward occasions draw out whatever is within, and only that. If they are full of love, forgiveness, kindness, the desire to help, then no matter how often, seven times, or seventy times seven, some act of others calls forth the feelings of the heart, it will be met by love, forgiveness, and help. If hate or revenge is there, then hate or revenge will flow forth against the evil doer
23. U Therefore is the kingdom of heaven likened unto a certain king, which would take account of bis servants.
24. And when he had begun to reckon, one was brought unto him, which owed him ten thousand talents.
25. But forasmuch as he had not to pay, his lord commanded him to be sold, and his wife, and children, and all that he had, and payment to be made.
26. The servant therefore fell down, and worshipped him, saying, Lord, have patience with me, and I will pay thee all.
27. Then the lord of that servant was moved with compassion, and loosed him, and forgave him the debt.
Reversing The Text.—" Many men have given a new turn to an old text. In their own private 'R. V.'of the New Testament they read: 'Whosoever speaketh a word or committeth a wrong against God, it shall be forgiven him; but whosoever speaketh a word or committeth a wrong against me, it shall not be forgiven him.'"
—R. W. Dale, LL.D.
Reference.—23-35. See on v. 7.
24. Ten Thousand Talents.—19 or 20 million dollars; or if a Greek talent about half as much.
This represents the greatness of man's sin against God. One sin is high as heaven, for it strikes at the nature and the throne of God; deep as hell, long as eternity, for its consequences have no end. Now multiply this sin by the number of sins you have committed, by the number of hours you have not loved God, and you will form some idea of the greatness of your debt of sin.
25. Commanded Him To Be Sold.—" In Palestine at the present day the laws which control debtors and creditors are arbitrary in the extreme. Creditors show little or no mercy, and debtors are thrust into prison or stripped of all they possess. The creditor, Palestinel by asking the government and paying money, can obtain soldiers to accompany him, so that he can terrorize over his poor debtor, or drag him to prison if he cannot pay. I believe the people of Palestine dread the tax-gatherer and the money-lender more than they do the cholera or the conscription for war. The farmers are nearly all in debt. A large percentage of the inhabitants of the towns are likewise heavily in debt, and there is no prospect and no hope of payment."
—Hon. Selah Merrill, in Sunday-School Times.