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22d Week after Trinity. November 3, 1912. personal and self-sacrificing. These things are Thy Neighbor as Thyself

the active, practical side of loving one's neighLuke 10:25:37.

bor as thyself. Topic reviewed by Rev. Paul W. Koller.

2. The Sin of Selfishness. The Scripture lesson, which gives us this

Selfishness is at the bottom of much of the topic, is our Lord's practical illustration of unwillingness to serve for the welfare of what he meant by the command, “to love thy

others. As this wounded and afflicted man neighbor as thyself.” The keeping of this lies by the road his need is very great; he commandment forms a large part of prac

may have needed help at other times in his tical religion. It has been called “The Elev

life, but he never needed it more than he does enth Commandment.” But there is no need to add it as another commandment, for it is sim

Two men who see his condition pass him ply the sum of the second table, which gives

by. The one is a priest and the other a us our duties to our fellow men.

Levite. They are both sworn servants of It is an important command; however, it is God, whose service requires love for humannot all there is to religion as some would

ity. But they have no word of sympathy, have us believe, who make Christianity to be

neither do they help in any way. They look nothing more than social service. It is but

and pass by. one side of religion, a vital side, however,

What is the secret of their conduct? It is for as we are reminded unless we love our not hard to explain; they thought only of brother whom we can see we are not likely

themselves, of their own safety, of their own to love God, whom we cannot see.

They no doubt could have given Let us gather some of the things this par

good excuses for their conduct. But the fact able of the Good Samaritan has to teach about

nevertheless remains that they were supremely loving our neighbor.

selfish. This is the reason to-day why SO 1. Concern for Others a Mark of the True

many, who might be expected to lend a helpChristian.

ing hand, do not; they are too selfish. They According to this parable and many other

can give most excellent excuses, but they do teachings of Christ, service for others marks

not help. This surely is not Christ's teachthose who have truly become followers of

ing or way. He tells us that if we would be Jesus Christ. It may call for little or much,

truly His and work for Him we must love our but the willingness must be there. When this

neighbor as ourself. willingness does not exist true Christian liv

SUGGESTED QUESTIONS. ing is wanting

1. How did the Jews interpret the term The Samaritan of our lesson furnishes us

neighbor ? with some valuable suggestions with regard

2. What meaning did Christ give to "neighto service for our fellow men. Such service

bor"? is greatly needed to-day; men and women are

3. Is it possible to love another as much dying in sin; children are going to ruin; even

as we do ourselves? the church is failing in many places to do its

4. Who is to come first in one's life? work, and all because there is no concern for

5. How can I come to love my neighbor as one's neighbor. Pastors and Christian work

myself? ers are pleading so earnestly for that help which maintains the church, not to hold a job

November 10. Historical. Luther's Birthday. or win honor, but because the church is God's

Tho Timos and the Man agency to help and save men.

Ephesians 2:1-22. Study the parable and gather some of

Reviewed by the R-v. G. Franklin Gehr. the suggestions regarding service. The Sa- This day is memorable to all Protestantism. maritan not afraid of criticism nor It is the birthday of the greatest of all modern bound by the shackels of religious preju- reformers-Martin Luther. dice. He took the initiative and gave help The text is well chosen. It very clearly when it was needed most. His efforts were sets forth the sins of the Ephesians before The Luther League Topics, complete lessons (of which the above are outlines and reviews), in 32-page pam.

phlet, covering three months, can be supplied at rates given on page 43 by LUTHER LEAGUE REVIEW, Box 876, New York, N. Y.

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Christ was received by them. The great De- archbishop's income surpassed that of the liverer came and saved them by grace through king; the bishop was often more wealthy than faith. Salvation was purely a gift of God. the duke; while the popes everywhere reached This was typical of the times preceding the out for temporal power. It was nothing more Reformation, and the doctrine preached by than Satan entering the Church and showing Luther.

all the kingdoms of the world and the glory Luther appeared on earth when there were of them and saying, “All these things will I great changes in the political, educational and give thee, if thou wilt fall down and worecclesiastical world. The revival of learning ship me." was under way. After the fall of Constan- As a result the moral condition of the tinople immigration moved westward, and

Church was

soon lowered. The bishops in humanism (followers of the new learning) many instances lived in open concubinage. spread to Italy, Germany and England. The The lower clergy followed their example, and new learning in the hands of the German were granted toleration by paying a yearly mystics gave a strong weapon for the defense tax to the bishops. There was great corrupof pure theology.

tion in the monastic orders. Immorality and Political history was changing. For ten slothful vice too often found a nursery becenturies the world entertained the idea that hind cloister walls. Monks and nuns of the Roman Empire was of divine right. The neighboring convents lived in open sin with rule of the Cæsars, and their successors, end- one another. The rich cloisters, like their ed in that strangely complicated system which founders, divided the revenues among themis known as feudalism. But with the revival selves. of learning there came discoveries of such To intensify the situation, the Holy Scripunparalleled magnitude that the horizon of tures were withheld from the common peothe European nations was widened, and there ple. True repentance and faith were not pracfollowed a rapid growth of commerce, and a tised, except by a few monastic orders, or a great diffusion of wealth. Feudalism and few mystics who had not bowed their knees mediævalism chivalry collapsed before the in- to Baal. telligent and wealthier citizenship of country, The sale of indulgences by Tetzel was simtowns and cities. Society was undergoing a ply one of the many gross sins of a similar great change.

nature which were practised in those days. But the greatest change of all was seen in Almost any one could purchase forgiveness of the ecclesiastical world. Through the Mid- sins from the Church, if the price was paid. dle Ages there developed the idea of the divine Vice, "that fearful monster," had entered the right of the Pope. The church had become Church, and everywhere there was death and a vast spiritual empire, and the Emperor was decay in the spiritual life. the Bishop of Rome. Little by little the claims At the opening of the sixteenth century of this Emperor had risen. At first he everything seemed to combine in favor of claimed to be authority in matters of doctrine. great reforming endeavors which were held Then he set himself up as “Appellate judge” back during the Middle Ages. There was a of all teaching and practice. He became the keen conception of the corruptions of the head of the Church's law as well as the Church, and a yearning after reform. The Church's justice. Innocent III wrote: “The scientific apparatus necessary for its accomPope stands between God and man: God plishment appeared at hand-a Pope, Leo X, alone above him, all men beneath him.” The careless and indolent; a trafficker in indulidea of the Middle Ages was that the Pope gences, Tetzel, stupid, bold and shameless; was the head of the Church, and has the a noble, pious and able prince, Frederick the power on earth to bind and loose, to save the Wise, as protector of the new creed, and an soul and send it into Paradise, or cast it into emperor, Charles V, powerful and hostile the flames of hell. He was Christ's vice- enough to start the fires of tribulation, but regent on earth.

too much occupied with political affairs to This is the beginning of all trouble. Pride engage in any great struggle. now seized the Church. She became arrogant At this hour a religious genius appears on and thirsted for power. With the spirit of the stage. In Luther we see the rarest compride went avarice and coveteousness. Vast bination of qualities of head, heart, will and wealth flowed into the Church's lap. The character, to engage in that great work for

which Providence had so wonderfully qualified him. He was like a Cromwell or Napo. leon in his masterful will, but like our own Lincoln in his human sympathies, his simplicity of character, and his transparent honesty.

He was born, as so many of the world's greatest men, of peasant stock. His childhood was passed under severe parental control, and amid pinching poverty. During the years of preparation he had a variety of experiences which fitted him for his great life task. At Magdeburg, where he went to school, he joined the order called “The Brothers of the Common Life," a society of pious priests who gave themselves to the devotional study of the Scriptures, and the exercise of a contemplative mysticism, and a practical imitation of the life of Christ. At Eisenach he fell under the life and care of a woman's heart, Frau Cotta. The Cotta family was well to do, and young Luther had his first real experience of culture and refinement. At the age of seventeen he entered the University at Erfurt, the greatest of the German universities of the day, and situated in a rich and populous city. Here Luther, like Saul of Tarsus, came in contact with the world of wealth and education. Here he touched civilization at many points. After graduating, and at the age of twenty-one, he entered the Augustinian monastery at Erfurt, a tery which bore the highest reputation for theological learning and for public service. Like John the Baptist, or Paul the Apostle, Luther was now lead into the desert of life, to be alone with God. Here, with the aid of Doctor Staupitz, the vicar general of the order, he was lead to know sin and grace from the study of the Holy Scriptures. In 1507 he was ordained priest, and the following year was promoted to the position of teacher in the university of Wittenberg. In 1511 he was sent to Rome, on an errand for his order. It was while in Rome that the sin of the Church began to dawn upon his soul, and while engaged in penitential exercises on his journey that the Scriptures sounded in his ears, “The just shall live by faith."

In 1512 he took his degree of Doctor of Divinity and lectured in Wittenberg on the Scriptures, and its fundamental doctrine of justification by faith alone. It can be easily seen from such a training that when the lustful and profligate Pope, Leo X, proclaimed a general indulgence, avowedly for the building

of St. Peter's at Rome, yet really to fill his own empty coffers, that Luther should take issue with such sinful performances. As early as October 16, 1516, Luther preached from his own pulpit in Wittenberg on the subject of indulgences, attacking their abuse in sharp terms. When Tetzel, the monk, came in the neighborhood of his Church, offering his indulgences, Luther, on the afternoon of October 31, 1517, nailed to the door of the Castle Church of Wittenberg ninety-five theses, explaining the meaning of indulgences.

At first Leo X treated the matter of Luther's attack lightly, but finally, in 1520, through the influence of Eck, Luther's avowed enemy, the Papal Bull of excommunication was issued against Luther charging him with fortyone heresies. Luther's works were ordered to be burned, and he and his followers were threatened to be put under the ban unless they retracted within sixty days. Luther would not retract, but adhered, in all his arguments, strictly to the Holy Scriptures.

Finally Luther was summoned to a Diet at Worms, and here, on the 18th of April, 1521, Luther was called to appear. He was asked to give answer in regard to his writings. He answered, “That he could and would retract nothing, unless proven false from the Scriptures, or on other good and clear grounds," and concluded with the words, "Here I stand; I cannot do otherwise, God help me, Amen!"

Luther was the hero of the hour. Entrenched in the Holy Scriptures-like Timothy from his youth up-he was able to stem the tide of sin and vice, and purify the Church from her dross. May each Luther Leaguer in his day prove faithful to the Holy Scriptures in teaching and in living, and thus purify the Church, the blessed Bride of Christ, and present her without spot and wrinkle at His appearing

monas

24th Week after Trinity. November 17, 1912.

The Blessings of Obedionco

Deut. 5:9-10, 32-33; Matt. 7:21-27. Topic reviewed by Rev. Paul W. Koller. As we all know, this lesson is taken from Luiler's "Conclusion to the Ten Commandments." We feel as we study it that Luther felt that these commandments of God were given to be obeyed, and so they were. There is an idea prevalent to-day that the commandments are not for us, that we have something more modern and effective. Let us not be deluded with such a false idea; these words of But thanks be to God, that is not the way by which we come to know. The way to come to a saving knowledge of the truth is to do the will of our Lord and practice His commands. As we obey, the way opens up before us and the light shines clearer.

SUGGESTED QUESTIONS. What are some of the results of disobedience?

What is the true motive for obedience?

What is needed that we may keep the commands of God?

What blessings have you found as the result of obedience?

God are to be obeyed. It is made clear in the Holy Scriptures that unless we try to keep these commandments we have no part in the righteousness of Christ. Next to love Christ urges obedience, and even makes obedience a test of true love. Let us have done with any such teaching that we do not need to keep the commandinents.

1. Obedience the Way to God's Favor.

li is but natural that when we obey, God is pleased with us and shows us His favor. When the people of Israel obeyed, God was pleased and blessed them. Again and again God told these Israelites that if they would be obedient to His commands He would guarantee a prosperous and happy future. God would have obedience rather than sacrifice. All was conditioned on obedience; even Jehovah of Israel could not make a successful and useful natior out of material that refused to do His will and obey His commands. The lesson needs learning by us to-day-the way to please God is to do His will and keep His commandments. You cannot buy God's favor with money; you must obey Him if you would have His favor.

2. Obedience Adds Strength to Character.

Take any young man who is known for his disobedience, and you will find that his character in the community is not considered a worthy one. On the other hand, the Godfearing and obedient are trusted and admired. Some people think that the most successful are those who trample upon the law, whether it be God's or man's. This is not true, as Holy Scripture tells us: "The secret of the Lord is with them that fear Him, and to them will He show His way.” This is not only Scripture's testimony, but also the teaching of experience and history. William McKinley once said: “The truly great in the past are those who feared God." Strength does

to character through disobedience and self-will, but by obeying the laws of man and God.

3. Obedience the Way to Know the Truth.

Our Master in the seventh chapter of the Gospel of John gave this promise: “If any man will do His will, he shall know of the doctrine whether it be of God or whether I speak of myself.” This shows us that obed:ence is the way to knowledge of the truth. This can be counted as one of the blessings of obedience. What a precious thing truth is. If it could only be gained by great intelligence, how few of us would know much of the truth.

25th Week after Trinity. November 24, 1912. Tho Tablo God Sproads for Man

Psalm 23:1-6. Topic reviewed by Rev. Paul W. Koller. This is our Thanksgiving topic; its study should increase our gratitude to God for His goodness and mercy, and develop within us a thankful spirit. It is a good thing to be thankful, as the Psalmist said: “It is a good thing to give thanks unto the Lord and to sing praises unto Thy name, O Most High."

The Psalmist knew what he was talking about, for not only is God pleased with the expiression of our gratitude, but a thankful spirit makes our blessings doubly blessed. The man who receives bounties and blessings without any appreciation, simply takes as a sponge takes in water, and does not get the good out of them that a thankful person does; they do not mean as much to him, they do not do him as much good. When we come to count our blessings we find that among the best is a thankful heart.

1. God's Table.

When David, in the Psalm which forms our Scripture lesson, speaks of God preparing a table before him in the presence of his enemies, he meant that he was the recipient of many blessings and much bounty from God. We therefore understand that the table which God spreads for us means the many blessings which God has given us both as individuals and as a nation.

We have had and are having great blessings, and many evidences of God's love and favor. The harvests, taking the country over, have been very rich and plenteous. Our mills and factories are busy, giving employment to all who care to work. We have been free irom pestilence. The nation is at peace, and the spirit of peace is growing. Our homes

not

come

are prosperous and happy. The Church of Christ has advanced both numerically and spiritually. The men of the Church have awakened in the last few years.

God has indeed spread a rich and bounteous table before us, His children.

2. God Alone Able to Do This.

No one but God could spread such a table. There is a proud and boastful infidelity which denies a personal God. But every annual harvest, every seed of grain, and every blade of grass protests in silent eloquence against such presumption. When these things of Nature are carefully examined there is found the clearest evidence of a personal and infinite intelligence. So in the arrangement and ordering of all our blessings there are many evidences of power, wisdom and love such as only an infinite being like God could exercise. We cannot help but feel that God is the only one who could spread such a table of blessings for humanity. Not only is it true that God alone could do this, but only God would do so for such erring and unworthy children

He rises to the greatness of His being in the largeness of His gifts. He crowns us with His loving goodness, our cup runneth over.

God has been very good to us this last year. We cannot make return to Him in any better way than to come to His table with truly thankful hearts and with songs of thanksgiving on our lips.

SUGGESTED QUESTIONS. 1. What was the table God spread for David?

2. What good is there in thanksgiving ?

3. What harm is there in not being grateful?

4. What table of blessing has God spread for us?

5. Have I helped any one to know God's goodness ?

Hymns, 59, 124.
Scripture, Luke 10:25-37. Read responsively.

Remarks by leader—The Sum of the Second Table-Who is my neighbor, my fellow man; love to ourselves and our neighbors, Matt. 22:39; our relation to our neighbor, Matt. 7:12; I John 3:18; Matt. 5:44-45.

Special music previously arranged.

Remarks by pastor on the value and importance of the second table of the law.

Summarize discussion in Topics.
Summarize discussion in REVIEW.
Hymn 109.
Bible readings:

(1) Must love our neighbor. Lev. 19:18; Mark 12:31 ; Rom. 13:9; Gal. 5:14.

(2) Do no injury to our neighbor. Deut 27:17; Prov. 25:17; Ex. 20:16.

(3) Help our neighbor. Prov. 3:28; Ex. 22:26; Deut. 15:2.

Recitation: "Abou Ben Adhem and the Angel,” by Hunt.

Recitation: "Bear Thy Brother's Burden," Anon. First line is "Is thy cruse of comfort wasting ?”

Hymn 24.
Close as in "Closing Service" in Topics.

as we are.

23d Week after Trinity. November 10, 1912. Tho Times and the Man

(Luther's Birthday.)

Eph. 2:1-22.

HINTS FOR LEADERS The success of these suggestions will depend upon the selection of good readers and their choice in sufficient time in advance. If the articles suggested are not available others can be readily substituted. These are simply hints.

Opening service. Have the pastor conduct the opening service and use “The Evening Suffrages” for the household in your Church Hymnal.

Hymn 61 (Luther League Hymnal).
Psalm 91. (Read responsively.)

Scripture lesson, Eph. 2:1-22, read by the leader.

Hymns 206, 249 (two or three verses of each hymn).

Remarks by leader: (1) The Times-Part Third, “Reformation Dawn," by Painter, in Handbook Series; (2) The Man, Period II, “Luther, the Reformer," by Hay, Handbook Series; (3) Today, the Result.

22d Week after Trinity.

November 3, 1912. Thy Neighbor as Thysolf

Luke 10:25-37.

HINTS FOR LEADERS.
Hymns 53, 156.
Psalm.
Gloria Patri.

Scripture lesson, Zeph. 3:14-20, read by leader.

Prayer.

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