The Parents' Review
A Monthly Magazine of Home-Training and Culture
"Education is an atmosphere, a discipline, a life."
Those Holy Fields *
by the Rev. C.H. Chase
Being Sunday Evening Thoughts for Our Children Concerning
"Those holy fields,
* [Having had the great happiness of a ride through the Holy Land, I write these short papers with the hope that they may make some dear children happier on Sunday evenings, and help them to picture more perfectly the scenes of Holy Scripture.]
XXXVI. THE GARDEN
"He went forth with His disciples over the brook Cedron, where was a garden."--St. John xviii. 1.
The garden. No other garden in this whole world can be like it. The King's own garden.
The children of the King must love it, reverence it.
There are the old grey olive trees, which a French botanist says may be 2000 years old.
On Holy Thursday afternoon we go out of St. Stephen's gate, pass the graves of Jews buried close to their city wall, cross the bed of the old brook Cedron and enter the garden. It is now beautifully kept. Sweet flowers grow there--roses, stocks, wall-flowers, heartsease--while the eight olives and twelve cypresses give a welcome shade.
On the east of the garden is a grotto, and within it a most beautiful piece of marble sculpture; it represents the Saviour kneeling, a cup in His hands, and over Him bends an angel.
We sit down in the garden to think of Him on that sad, sad Thursday, so holy, yet so sad.
How He suffered, alone there under the old trees, while friends slept, and enemies plotted for His death!
Have you ever thought what a tremendous hour of temptation that was to the Man Christ Jesus?
"He resisted unto blood." The blood poured from Him on to the ground as He fought the Tempter there in that leafy glade of Gethsemane (the oil press). How did He "resist the devil?" By prayer--the prayer of a child to His Father--with "strong crying and tears." He prayed, and He was heard for His Holy reverence and godly fear.
Are you often tempted?
Do you want your own way, and feel very wilful, and determined to do as you wish, whatever happens? Are you conscious of jealous thoughts about others who succeed where you fail?
Are you constantly putting off doing little things to which duty calls, because they are not pleasant things?
Are you angry when your brother or sister is chosen for some pleasure and you are left at home?
Do you know what it is to have bad thoughts when you are alone?
Have you really tried to fight any one of these, or like temptations? Then you know something, just a very little, of what the Holy Jesus suffered in the garden. You know it is hard, not easy to resist the evil.
Pray, as you have never prayed before, those words of our beautiful Litany: "By Thy agony and bloody sweat . . .good Lord deliver me." Say very earnestly, "Holy Jesus, fight this battle for me."
That prayer will bring to you the help which is all powerful and "at the name of Jesus, Satan's host will flee."
You will not find the temptation leave you altogether; but each time you conquer, the temptation will grow weaker; as a fire which has not fuel added to it gradually goes out, though the embers smoulder for a long time after the flame has died down.
"There's a wicked spirit
But ye must not hear him,
For ye promised truly,
Ye are new-born Christians,
Christ is your own Master,
XXXVII. THE GREEN HILL.
"The place which is called Calvary."--St. Luke xxii. 33.
Opposite the Damascus Gate, which is on the north side of the city, is a rounded hill which some travellers have noticed to be in the shape of a skull. To this spot we walk on Good Friday morning at nine o'clock (the Jews third hour of the day). Many authorities now mark this as the very "Green Hill outside the city wall, where the dear Lord was crucified." How solitary it is this morning! A few sheep are grazing amid some Moslem graves, which cover one part of it.
We try to picture that awful scene now nearly nineteen hundred years ago. The groups of soldiers and of friends: the crowds of sightseers: the crosses with two robbers, and the Cross with its title over it, telling that He who hangs there is a King.
Yes, the children's King.
Did His eye take in just the scene we see? The holy mountain away there to the left, the site of His agony and of His triumphant entry; beyond, those purple hills of Moab, and before Him, the city, His own Jerusalem, full of pilgrims collected for the Feast? Beautiful it was then with its temple and palaces. Did He see the smoke curling upwards from the altar of sacrifice, and Herod's palace on this northern side?
If these rocks could speak, what could not they tell us of that scene, the most wonderful this earth has ever witnessed; so wonderful that Nature veiled herself in darkness for three mid-day hours!
Do you want to measure sin? Go in thought to that place called Calvary. Sin, a child's sin, see how the Father must have hated it to let His dear Son die to pay the price for it.
Never think or speak lightly of sin. Never try to make a lie less black than it is. Never think a few faults more or less will not matter very much at last.
Do you want to measure love? Go in thought to that Green Hill called Calvary, and think of the first Good Friday. Never, never did love show itself so amazing, so all conquering.
Dear child, that love is for you and me. "Jesus loves me, even me:" say it again and again.
Faith is good. Hope is good, but Love! it is God's best gift.
"Love so amazing so divine,
Can we measure the love? No, not really. See the cross, it points upwards, downwards: see the outstretched arms. This all tells us love is everywhere, love is for all.
That Love is vast as the ocean.
That Love is unchangeable as the rocky mountains.
That Love is individual, not one little child is outside the shining of its rays.
Love Him because He first loved you.
Love Him now, begin to-day. Tell Him you do love.
"Lord thou knowest all things,
"O dearly, dearly has He loved,
XXXVIII. A PASSOVER SUPPER.
"Christ our Passover is sacrificed for us."--1 Cor. v. 7.
With a small party of friends we wend our way through the arched streets of Jerusalem on Good Friday night. The white buildings stand out against the clear sky, the moon is at its full. As we enter the Jewish quarter of the city, we hear the hum of voices repeating the old Hebrew Psalms. But for this, all is very still. The streets are deserted, except for the dogs, who prowl about as in every Eastern town at night.
The family we have come to visit are Spanish Jews. Knocking at a door in a high wall, we are admitted to a courtyard, then ascending by an outside stair, we reach an Upper Chamber.
The room is brightly lighted with oil-lamps, and is beautifully clean and orderly; at one end on a raised platform are seated an old man and his wife, in front of them is a table, on it a cup of wine, unleavened bread, bitter herbs, sop; and a bone, covered.
At another long table are the rest of the family, several being children. A boy is reading from a Hebrew Bible, and the old man tries to follow him as he tells once again the story of the plagues in Egypt and the departure of the Israelites.
Every now and then a wine-cup is passed around. Once a loaf wrapped up in a napkin is hung over the shoulder of each one present, to signify "the going out," then all spring up from their seats and shake hands, and say "now we are free." It is a strange scene that Passover Feast.
Here we are in an Upper Chamber, on Good Friday night, not far from Calvary, where Jesus, the true Passover Lamb, was offered, in the very city where He ate the Passover Supper with His apostles. Those Spanish Jews seemed so full of joy as they eat their Passover; shall not we have a far higher, deeper joy, as children of the King?
According to an old Jewish writer, "The Holy Spirit dwells in a man principally through joy."
Dante, the poet, tells us in his Inferno, of some who in their wretchedness cry out:
"Gloomy were we in the sweet air that is gladdened by the sun, carrying sullen lazy smoke within our hearts, now lie we gloomy here." What a contrast between joy and the gloom!
There are two sides to a street, the sunny side and the gloomy side. Bask in the sunshine of God's love.
We do all our work the better for being happy; keep a joyful heart on into the sterner realities of life when they come.
In youth, manhood, age, "Joy in the God of your Salvation."
"Oh, joy, that our youth, devoted sage,
Yes, happy he on whom no early guilt doth rest,
XXXIX. THE GARDEN TOMB.
"In the place where He was crucified there was a garden, and in the garden a new sepulchre."--St. John xix. 41.
Some few years ago a discovery was made close to the green hill outside the Damascus Gate. A rock-hewn sepulchre was found--within are several stone coffins cut in the solid rock, one of these is unfinished. Marble is used in the tomb, showing it to have belonged to a man of some position or wealth. The open unused ground round the tomb may very well at one time have been a garden.
The entrance to the tomb shows where the great stone must have been rolled to the door. The stone itself is gone; but a very perfect specimen of a rolling-stone is to be seen at the so-called Sepulchre of the Kings, not far from this same spot. We cannot say for certain that this garden tomb is the very Holy Sepulchre itself; but there is great probability that it is so. It is a quiet spot away from the noise and bustle of the crowded city. How still it must have been in the garden that early morn when the Holy woman had gone away to prepare the spices! We can picture it all, can we not? The moon shining through the trees forming a lace-work of the boughs upon the stone entrance to the sepulchre. The city so quiet--one twinkling light alone burning in the Temple. A lark sings in the clear air at dawn; and then! oh, wonderful sight, an angel rolls aside the stone, and the Conqueror rises in triumph.
Glorious victory--mighty victory!
"He is risen!"--"He is risen!"
Death--sin--Satan, all have done their worst, but He has overcome them all. That garden-tomb is empty now; it tells us that the grave is only a gate to life: that it is not the end, but a new beginning for the Christian. "The Gospel of the Resurrection" is a glorious fact.
Victory, let this thought inspire you, dear child. Victory over death; yes, and more, over sin and Satan.
We shall be conquerors through Him Who loved us, and gave Himself to us. When you play a game you expect to win, do you not? So in the game of life expect to win; say "I will win," and you shall win at last.
Next time temptation comes, say to yourself, Jesus is the conqueror, I will be a conqueror, too--in Him--through Him.
"Alleluia, Alleluia, Alleluia!
Proofread by LNL, Nov. 2023
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