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【從酒徒到使徒】美國有一個年輕律師,辦案精明,業務隆盛。他有一個好友是虔誠的基督徒。某天兩人相聚吃飯時,好友突然問他說:「我很久就想問你一件事,又不好意思開口。」律師答曰:「今天請你直言。」於是這個好友便問道:「為何你還不信耶穌?」律師低頭片刻說:「我讀過一點聖經,也知道醉酒的人不能進天國,我卻是不醉也不歸!」這個基督徒遂打開聖經,念以賽亞五十三章六節給他聽,說:「你和我都像迷羊,偏行己路,但我們的好牧者處處在尋找我們。只要你悔改,他必救你脫離酗酒的鎖鏈。」就在那一天,律師接受耶穌做他救主,且滴酒不再沾,他是誰?就是以後被主重用的司可福牧師(C.I.Scofield,18431921)。他信主後勤讀聖經,先後擔任牧會及神學院教授。最重要的是一九○九年由牛津大學出版的「司可福聖經注釋」,他用了七年時間完成這串珠聖經巨著,成為今日各種串珠聖經版本之先驅。另一貢獻即編印一套聖經函授課程,學生遍佈全球。一九五○年由成寄歸牧師翻譯中文。司可福的故事印證上帝不僅能改變一個人的生命,也能使他成為貴重的器皿。——張欽煌《小嗎哪》

 

【另一個保羅】約翰·紐頓(J.Newton)生在一個英國海員家庭,母親是虔誠基督徒,常教小孩子背經句。才七歲時母親即辭世,父親便把他帶上船航行四海,也因此染上遊蕩生活,吃喝賭騙,無惡不作,且遠至非洲販賣黑奴。有人送他福音單張,他當眾踐踏於地。三十歲時回國當海潮測量員,也在同一年悔改信主。紐頓一生唯讀過兩年書,故利用下班時間勤讀神學、拉丁文、希伯來文及希臘文。四年後在倫敦聖公會牧會。他寫了許多聖詩,最感動人的是「奇異恩典Amazing Grace」(校園一集9),描寫了他浪子回頭的見證。因其悔改經過很像使徒保羅,以後的講道也都強調罪人必須徹底悔改重生,被稱為另一個保羅。他八十二高齡安息前,自寫墓誌曰:我紐頓系一牧師,但前曾放蕩,敵對基督,販賣奴隸,然而卻蒙主憐憫、保守、赦罪,並被派傳揚救恩,這救恩是我從前極力想要消滅的。(提前一:1314)——張欽煌《小嗎哪》

 

【律法和愛心】在我所作的見證中,有一件最使人注意的事,就是在一八八三年到一八八四年,當那可敬可愛神的使者慕迪和孫蓋到倫敦的東部來時。那裡的大會堂是蓋在居民稠密的中心點,就是上千的工人在工廠中作工和住宿的地方。某禮拜一,是他們預定對無神派、懷疑派,及各等自由思想家講道。

那時,卻亦使勃蘭特拉夫,是無神派中的首領而稱雄于當時者,他一知有這樣的聚會,就吩咐凡他所設立的各會所,在那晚上,全行關閉,並叫所有的會友,都到會堂裡去。這樣作,就有五千人從各處來到,占滿了座位。

開會的時刻是比平常早些。唱完第一首詩後,慕迪請他們揀選他們所歡喜唱的詩,這種發問,不過引起好多笑聲,因為無神派的人是詩和歌都沒有的。慕迪是講:『據我們的仇敵自己斷定;他們的磐石不如我們的磐石。』(申二二:33.)他就滔滔不絕的講起來了。從他的經歷中,講到基督人和無神派在他們臨終時,他所受感的事實,也讓這班人自己斷定是誰把他的信心和盼望放在最好的根基上。

厭惡的眼淚,是從許多人的眼中擠出來了。這一大群的人,有頂深刻頂堅決向神的反抗印刻在他們的面容上的,面向著那攻擊他們最弱點——就是他們的心和他們的家——的烈火。但在這篇道理講完後,人必要想這是無濟於事的,因為並未觸動他們的智慧或評議的才能,也沒有使他們有所信服。

盡末了,慕迪說:『我們站起來唱「惟信靠主」,我們唱的時候,請招待員把門都開了,使凡願意離開的人可以出去,此後我們要為了那些要到救主面前去的人,有平常問道的聚會。』照我想來:『一切的人都要狼狽而去,不過是剩下一所空屋而已。』然而正相反的,那五千人起來唱詩後,仍坐下,並無一人離座。

我不能我不要

以後又是怎樣呢?慕迪就說:『我要把四件事——接受、相信、倚靠、得著主——解說給你們聽。』一大陣譏笑是顯露在他們的面上。對於『接受』講了還沒有幾句話,他有一個請求:『誰要接受主呢?只要說「我要」。』從在會堂後面沿邊站著的人群中答應他。有一人咆哮說:『我不能!』慕迪就回答他說:『朋友,你是說實話的;我歡喜說實話。聽著中,在聚會完畢之前,你就要說「我能」了。』

然後他解說第二件事『相信』,就提出他第二個請求:『誰願意說「我要信主?」』從靠邊的人中,就有幾個人回答他,直到一個偉大的人,就是他們會中的領袖人物,喊叫說——『我不!』大量的慕迪,被溫柔和慈悲所勝,含淚帶笑地說出斷續的話來是:『對每個在這裡的人,今晚就是要有「我要」或是「我不要」的決定阿!』

無神派是失敗了

忽然他使眾人注意到他所講浪子的故事,他說:『爭戰所注重的,不過是在乎意志。當那少年人說「我要起來,」就打了勝仗,因為他已經折服他的意志;並且今晚就是憑依在這一個最要點上。各位,你們的英雄,就是說「我不要」的人,是在你們中間。我要凡在此信他——說我不要的人——是應當跟從的,這人,請站起來說「我不要」。』眾人默默不語,屏氣無聲,也無人起立。慕迪大聲說:『感謝神,無人說「我不要」。現在,有誰說「我要」呢!』

立刻聖靈好像把這一大群人從耶穌基督仇敵的捆綁裡釋放了,有五百人跳起來,滿面流淚的喊著說,『我要,我要。』屋中空氣是改變了,仗是打勝了。

刻間聚會告終;就開始作佈道的工夫,從那一晚上到這禮拜的末了,因著折服他們的意志,約有二千人從仇敵的隊伍中出來,進入基督的軍隊中。他們聽見主說:『起來走罷』,就此跟從他。這工作的永久,就是在數年後仍是可證的,從此那些無神派會中不再有他們的腳跡。神因他的憐憫和大能,用福音把他們從其中救出來了。——倪柝聲《造就故事(卷二)》[譯]

 

【與慕勒一點鐘的談話】查理馬遜牧師,曾于慕勒晚年的時候,往見慕勒與他作一點鐘的談話,蒙他的訓益不淺,遂述他們談話經過去(以下是查理牧師自述)。

一年夏天我去見慕勒。遂到畢力士都山上,慕勒所蓋的孤兒院。院的建築,極為宏偉可觀,建築費可達六十余萬元(美金)。孤兒二千余人。院屋共五座。第三座即慕勒的住屋。我遂到他的門前,搖門鈴。不久一孤兒出,問我來意,就領我到談話室裡。那時慕勒已經九十一歲了。我一見慕勒就生起恭敬的心,正如利未記第十九章卅二節所說:『在白髮人面前,你要站起來,也要尊敬老人。』

慕勒看見我,就和我握手,表示歡迎。我們對於神所尊重的僕人,每卻見他的面,但是見他的面,還不如和接觸,一瞻他的丰采,彼此神投意通那樣好。我和慕勒那回的見面談話,真是有這樣的光景。他開誠教訓我、勉勵我,並與我禱告,把他所得的恩典分給我。那樣的談話,真令我不能忘卻。

在那一點鐘中,我就知道慕勒所得屬靈能力的秘訣。他說:『神是何等誠實的,他未嘗忘記了他一切的應許。他沒有一次虧負我。七十年來,關於此處工作的需用,他都完完全全的供給了。收養的孤兒,至今已達九千五百多人。他們未曾餓過一次。並且他們所吃的,都非下等的飯菜。有時我們一文俱無,似乎不能過日,但到我們急需之時,天父的供給就到了。

神加我力量,使我單單的倚靠他。我靠祈禱所得的款,至今共有一千四萬鎊。每年我們費用,至少五萬鎊,均由祈禱而來,未嘗向人提捐。神自己能感動他兒女的心,使他們幫助我們。當我們祈禱的時候,神就作工,神真是可靠的,感謝讚美他。』

我就問說:『慕勒,我曾讀過你的歷史,覺得你之信心,常經許多試煉。現在還是那樣麼?』他說:『是的。而且我的難處。現在比從前還多。除了我們經濟的困難,還有許多的難題,就如聘請合用的工人,幫助我們的工夫,安排合宜的地方,安頓續來的孤兒等等。因孤獨陸續而來,有一次多至數百人。我們的經濟,並非常常充足。我們的難處,當不難見到。

但是我們當困難的時候,總是專心禱告,信靠我們的主。前一禮拜我們的款將竭,我就請我同工的朋友,懇切禱告。過不多時,就有人送一百鎊來,不久又接到二百鎊,後又接到一千五百鎊。我們的主,真是可靠的,因他說:「我總不離開你,也不丟棄你。」(來十三:5.

我們可以大膽仰望他,為我們成就大事。他的能力,是無可限量的。願一切的讚美歸於他榮耀的名。他為我們成就了大事,我們要讚美他。他為我們成就了小事,我們也要讚美他。主給我一萬二千鎊,我讚美他。主給我六個便士,我也讚美他。』

我又問說:『慕勒,你曾儲下款項來麼?』他就答說:『這是太愚拙的法子。若我儲下未項來,當我缺乏的時候,我怎能求告主呢?主將對我說:「慕勒,你把你所儲蓄的拿出來。」我從來沒有作儲蓄的意思。我們的款乃儲蓄在天上。永生的神,是我們的一切。我信他能給我二十個便士,我也信他能給我數千鎊。我們信靠他,總不至於徒然「投靠他的人有福了。」(詩卅四:8.)』

我又問說:『由此看來,慕勒所有的款,都是用在主的工作上,未嘗留下為自己的用處麼?』慕勒一聞此言,就輕輕的把他的外衣解松,方方正正的坐著,面貌上呈出一種安靜默想的樣子。兩個眼睛,直視我的面上。那時他那樣尊重可敬的面貌,和那明亮不昏的眼睛。直感動了我的心。不止讀了一篇美好的講道稿。

不久,他就慢慢的,由他身上取出一個錢包來,交在我的手裡,說:『凡我所有的,都在這裡。就是一文錢,我也不敢留為自己的用處。無論何時,我接來一項的款,我就獻給神。有一次,我接到一千鎊,我也不以為自己的。此款乃屬於我所事奉的神的。我不敢為自己留下什麼,恐怕羞辱了滿有恩慈並為萬有所屬的主。』我就把那錢包還他,他就告訴我,錢包中所存的錢若干。

慕勒雖然年紀高了,仍然熱心為主作工。他說他傳道所經過的地方,有四十國。旅行中一切的需用,都是由主供給。來聽道的男女,多從各國而來,每次千餘。他的題目,多注重簡明福音的要道;並勉勵信徒全心信靠真活的神。傳道之前,他就迫切祈禱,求主賜他信息。有時他到了講臺上,主的信息才到。有時他費了一禮拜的工夫,等候主的面前,要得他的信息。

我又問說:『慕勒,由此看來,你每天跪著禱告的時候多麼?』他答說:『我每天總要用些時候,跪著禱告。但我無時不在禱告的靈裡。或走路、或躺下、或起來,我都是禱告。主常常聽我的祈禱。我的禱告,蒙了允准,不曉得有幾千萬次。每遇一事,既確實知道了主的旨意如何,就懇切祈求,直到這事成就。從沒有祈禱了許久,又停止了的。』他說到這裡,他的聲音甚為雄壯,面上顯出喜樂。

慕勒又說:『多少的靈魂,因我的禱告蒙了拯救。在天上我能遇著千萬。禱告的秘訣,就是不要灰心,總要常常祈求,直到蒙主應許。我曾天天為我朋友的兩個兒子祈禱,至今已五十二年,他們還未得救。但我信他們將來必得救。我靠著神永更改的應許,我的禱告必成就,現時神的兒女,最大的錯處,就是不能忍耐著一直的祈求。

我們的主,真是仁慈滿有恩典的。他雖然住在天上,也肯與我們卑微的人交通。我不過是一個污穢可憐的罪人,不配蒙主的恩典,但他聽我的禱告,不下幾萬次。他賞賜給我的,真是過於我所想所求的。主且用我作他的器皿,引導人走真理的路。我不潔的嘴,也曾傳述主榮耀的福音,使更多人蒙了救恩。』

我又問說:『慕勒初辦孤兒院的時候,曾想到此院有如今日這樣的發達否?』慕勒遂略略為我述孤兒院的緣起。並說:『我只信神是與我同在的,他必引導他的子民,走從來所未走的路程。神的同在,是我的倚靠。我惟專心仰望他。我自己不過一失喪的罪人,我所配有的,就是地獄。惟主恩浩大,拯救了我。我得救以後,雖然我的舊生命還在,但我已脫離了罪的生活。恨惡罪惡,和喜愛聖潔的心,均天天在我裡面增長。』

我又問說:『慕勒事奉多年,曾遇及使疲倦灰心的事否?』他說:『我曾遇及許多這樣的事。但我信靠神我的心安息在他的應許中。他所說:「疲乏的他賜能力,軟弱的他加力量」(賽四十:29.)的話真是可信的。在六十二年前,我在一處講道。自覺講的不好,不能造就人。惟數年後,我聞有十九人因那次所講的蒙了恩典。』

我又說:『慕勒,我也多次灰心,今惟望主施恩,賜我力量。慕勒有何勸勉就望賜教。』慕勒說:『親愛的兄弟,主必用你、祝福你,只要你仍舊向前。第一要專心倚靠他。凡事倚靠他的將你自己和你的工作交托在他的手裡。你若有何新的作為,就要問此事合於主旨否?是否為榮耀主名而作?若不是為主的榮耀,於你就無益處,你就不可作。若你確實知道,是為主的榮耀,你就可以奉主的名進行,求主成就一切,不可中途灰心,總要多多祈禱。你的心不可注重罪孽,主必不聽你。若主的恩典,遲延未到,只要再祈禱。並要托賴主耶穌的功勞。這樣,你的工作,和你的禱告,方能蒙神悅納。』

我聽了所言,默然受感,淚奪眶而出。慕勒遂往別的房中,取了一他自己的見證來,書面寫了我的名字,要以送我。他去的時候,我就有機會細看他房中的陳設。所有物件均平常適用的物,與慕勒的見證相稱。因慕勒常言,凡神的兒女,不可在外觀上過於注意。

我們的主,是溫柔謙卑的。他在世的時候,連靠頭的所在也沒有。我們作他的門徒,那可奢華虛費呢?在他書桌上,放一本的聖經。經中字大無串珠,我想這聖經就是他日夜所默想的。他真是神所興起的人,使世人知道屬靈的事並非遷闊。並使人知道,倚靠神有何等的福氣。

我與慕勒談了共一小時。他經歷世途九十一年,乃屬靈爭戰中得勝的人。在神前有能力的人,如摩西與神說話與朋友說話一樣。所以我在這一點鐘裡,好似升到天堂了。臨別我們跪下祈禱,他的祈禱,十分簡單。他說:『願主更多的祝福在你面前的僕人,也求主引導他,他能將今日所談論的寫出,靠主耶穌的功勞,阿們。』——倪柝聲《造就故事(卷二)》[譯]

 

【抗議派稱謂的由來】羅馬城遭劫之後,教皇被關牢堙C這時德國皇帝當心改教派的勢力天天高漲,非加抑制不可。於是他於一五二八年六月二十九日在巴蘭塞羅拿(Parcelona)和教皇訂一和約,從此不再彼此爭執,箭頭一同指向改教派。嗣後皇帝寫了一封信給選帝候約翰,恐嚇他,不讓他站在路德一邊。教皇也利用他的爪牙,到處設計撲滅改教派。

一次,選帝候約翰和墨蘭頓同赴會議,開會之時,皇帝宣佈取消一五二六年斯帕爾會議通過的議案。這個意味改教派將要受到攻擊逼迫。會畢兩人回去,乃集了幾十位同人,討論怎樣護衛純正福音的傳揚,決定置一切患難於不顧,背著主的十架,奮勇往前,因為知道將來天上的賞賜是大的。

墨蘭頓想出一個方法,就是寫一抗議書給皇帝的兄弟佛爾丁南(Ferdinand),他是開會時,皇帝的代表,屬羅馬教派。他寫這封抗議書乃是為著能叫佛爾丁南對於改教有個相當的瞭解。因著這封抗議書,後來更正教的人就被稱為「抗議派」(protestants)。這封抗議書寫的日期是一五二九年四月十九日,墨蘭頓差派一個人親遞這封信給佛爾丁南。他一看信封,就還給遞信人,說:「我不管。」遞信的人再三請求,他才收下,隨手把信往桌一擺,就打發遞信人回去了。

及至下次再行開會,大家對於抗議書的內容一點也不知道,只是談論一些別的事情。墨蘭頓看出抗議書沒有得到注意,心中充滿了悲感,就說:「現在我們所能作的,只是呼求神的兒子了。」他就是帶著這樣的心情,會畢離開會場回威騰堡去。

抗議書起稿之時,路德因為當時未在斯帕爾,而未參與。事後他讀了,也以為不會有甚麼力量。這封抗議書把基督徒劃分成為「天主教」和「更正教」(希臘教雖未參與改教,也未承認教皇,仍被看為天主教)。路德始終不贊成倚靠勢力來維持真道的彰明。「……萬軍之耶和華說,不是倚靠勢力,不是倚靠才能,乃是倚靠我的靈方能成事」(亞四:6)。「他不爭競,不喧嚷;街上也沒有人聽見他的聲音,……等他施行公理,叫公理得勝;外邦人都要仰望他的名」(太十二:1921)。——林元度《造就故事真理與靈命》

 

【耶穌會】當改教風起雲湧之際,羅馬公教本身也開始警覺,自知如不自我改革,便無法收拾人心。教皇於是召開宗教會議,實行自身改革,除徹底清除各種腐化現象之外,更加強教士的訓練,企圖重振其威望。

在此自身改革期間,西班牙羅耀拉(Ignatius de Loyola)組織耶穌會,參加的人多半是敦品好學之士,後成天主教的中流砥柱。他們除在歐洲與學傳教之外,更遠涉重洋,在歐洲以外獲得許多信徒。因此直到現在天主教的信徒最多,勢力也最大。

耶穌會的設立,一面是為著本身的改革,推廣傳教事業,一面也是為著逼迫,除滅更正教徒。耶穌會主領異教徒裁判所。他們所認為的異端,就是異於教皇所思所言的教義。——林元度《造就故事真理與靈命》

 

【約翰喀爾文(John Calvin 一五○九∼一五六四)】他在改教史上是僅次於路德的傑出人物。他是一個豪富的法國人。自幼聰穎好學,在巴黎接著上了兩家著名大學,學業大告成功。一五三三年,他接受了更正教的教訓,因作改教宣傳,於一五三四年被政府逐出法國。以後二、三年他遊歷各處。在施塔斯堡時,他著作「基督教原理」。該書為改教中的傑作。在一六三○年以前,曾用九國語言,再版七十余次,可知其影響力之大。他以後出版的「日內瓦基督徒要學」,也有同樣的影響力。

一五三六年他去日內瓦,在那裡開辦學院,講解更正教教義,福音真理,吸引各地學者,紛紛地來求教。這些受過他教導的人,也就把福音真理帶到各地去了。喀爾文這一派的工作區除瑞士外,還有荷蘭和蘇格蘭;此外英、法也有不少的人相信。蘇格蘭的長老會,和英國的清教徒,都是屬喀爾文這一派。

喀爾文被稱為「基督教中最大的神學家」。無神派巨頭任南(Renan)稱他為「當時代一個最基督化的人物」。他的神學講論對改教極有助益。

喀爾文除任日內瓦首席牧師外,還兼任市長。他將市府加以改組,由市民選舉代表組織市議會,一切政令均須先經市議會討論同意,後方公佈施行。歐洲工商界人士信仰喀爾文派的人較多,因此很多自由城市都由喀爾文派的商人所統治,仿照喀爾文統治日內瓦的辦法,設立議會,辦理市政。這樣,無形中散播了民主思想的種子。——林元度《造就故事真理與靈命》

 

【約翰諾克斯(John Knox一五一五∼一五七二)】他本是蘇格蘭的一個神甫。約在一五四○年,他就開始以更正教的思想教人。一五四七年被法國軍隊解往法國,在彼充當划船囚奴約十九個月。後藉英國政府援助,重獲自由。一五四九年回到英國繼續講道。一五五三年他去日內瓦,接受喀爾文的教訓。

    一五五九年,蘇格蘭上議院請他回蘇格蘭,帶領改教工作。另一面那時蘇格蘭的政治也需要爭取獨立。蘇格蘭女皇瑪利亞曾與法王佛蘭西斯(Francis)二世聯婚(佛氏乃卡塞林底麥地西——Catherine de Medici—的兒子。卡塞林底麥地西是一熱誠羅馬教徒,也是教皇的一個稱心工具,她曾下令於一五七二年八月二十四日夜,聖巴多羅買夜大屠殺更正教徒——休該諾Hugenots—被屠殺者達七萬之多。她是三位法王的母親,佛氏是其一位,在位一五五九至一五六○;查理九世,在位一五六○至一五七四;亨利三世,在位一五七四至一五八九。)因著聯婚。法王的權勢也就聯到了蘇格蘭。政治受了法王的管轄,更正教就難以在蘇格蘭立足。幸經諾克斯的工作,一五六○年更正教會在蘇格蘭創立了。一五六七年法王勢力也被逐出蘇格蘭。——林元度《造就故事真理與靈命》

 

義人必因信得生(哈24路德馬丁時代,教會因神學觀念上的偏差,造成了許多弊端。路德在少年時代,一聽見耶穌二字,便會全身發抖。這位耶穌不是慈祥的救主,乃是嚴厲的審判官。為這原因,路德天天心中恐慌,不平安,自知是罪人,無法得拯救,但又沒有能力救自己。
  1505年,他聽見一個朋友突然死了,這消息使路德極其悲觀,不禁自問:我若這時死了,將會如何呢?一天他在路上行走,忽然雷電交加,震耳欲聾,路德驚恐地跪在路上大聲哀求:上帝啊!這次我若不死,完全奉獻給你。同年817日,他不顧父親和同學的反對,進入奧克斯丁修道院。
  院中的僧侶以苦工來折磨他,掃地、抹桌、看門、打鐘等都由他作。一有空,拿一隻空袋叫他去討麵包,路德凡事順服,很想望自己能多用一些苦工使罪擔減輕一些,但當他翻開聖經時,看見神的聖潔,便覺得自己罪惡重重,心中越發不平安。他想是否自己苦工還作不夠,於是仿效中古時代的僧侶,用鞭將自己打得皮破血流,幾天禁食,妄圖贖自己的罪愆。但也絲毫無濟於事,他常在作禮拜時大聲喊叫:你們得救了,我沒有份。這樣,日復一日,路德憂愁患病,臥床不起。
  恰在這時,來了一位約翰·施道比次,他明白福音,有重生經驗。他教導路德看基督的傷痕,和偉大的愛,神早已愛我們了,只要信他,罪都得赦免。此時,路德心中出現了一個新世界。
  1511年,路德奉派去羅馬,他對羅馬一直抱著許多幻想,這次他有機會去瞻仰這偉大的城,心中無限快樂。當他看見這座落在七座山頭的羅馬城時,不禁俯伏於地,以口吻土:神聖的羅馬,我問你安!” 可是路德到了這裡,見教會中的人,修道士們,奢侈宴樂,作威作福。路德規勸他們,誰知不但不聽,反而惱羞成怒,將他趕了出去。一天,路德進羅馬城宏大的教堂,其中有一架樓梯,據說是主耶穌被彼拉多審問時走過的梯子,據說誰用膝蓋跪著爬上梯子的都可贖罪,路德也跟著別人跪著向上爬。到了中途,突然一個聲音如雷擊中了路德馬丁:義人必因信得生。路德不禁滿臉羞愧,自從這次以後,他立下了改革教會的決心。對羅馬的腐敗,虛偽有了清楚的認識,對救恩之道更加明白了。 ── 佚名《喻道小品》

 

【聖法蘭西的故事愛是不加害於人的,所以愛就完全了律法(羅1310
  孟特開遂修道院,座落于群山深處,法蘭西斯就是這個修道院的院長。
  一天,他與其他修道士們都出去了,最後只留下一個小孩安該婁。
  安該婁,留下你一個人不害怕遇見強盜嗎?一位修道士問。
  不怕,一點也不怕。安該婁心中雖有幾分膽怯,但仍緊緊褲帶表示勇敢。法蘭西斯也把我當一個大人呢!他覺得法蘭西斯的信任就是他的力量,修道士們唱著詩歌出去了。
  事情來得突然,急促的敲門聲,粗暴的喊叫聲不禁使安該婁嚇了一跳。但法蘭西斯的信任使他大膽地去開門。那三個人不是別人,正是強盜。快給我們吃的和喝的東西!強盜瞪著眼咆哮著,安該婁挺起胸,裝作大人的樣子,努力保持自己的聲音不顫抖:你們這些強盜,這些殘忍的兇手,不去作正經事業,還不覺羞愧,去吧!再不要到這裡來。他順手將門嘭的一聲關上了。
  強盜們咕嚕了幾句,他們本可破門而入,但又何必與這小孩子找麻煩呢?於是順著小路往別處去了。
  幾分鐘後,悠揚的詩歌聲由遠而近傳來了。聽,這是法蘭西斯的聲音。安該婁高興得不得了,趕忙開門迎接這位瘦黑而和善的院長,法蘭西斯放下背袋,裡面裝著牛奶和麵包。安該婁怎麼能忘記今天這麼重大的勝利呢?他迫不及待地將今天一切的經過一五一十地告訴法蘭西斯。講完以後,安該婁等待著對方的稱讚。可是出於意料之外,法蘭西斯的臉變得越來越愁苦,深深地歎了一口氣:唉!我的孩子,你今天作了一件大錯事。
  !錯事!我今天這件事什麼地方錯了呢?
  你想以恨來勝恨,其實只有愛能勝恨。
  那我該怎麼辦呢?安該婁有些慌亂了。
  你還有一個機會,對那些不知道仁慈的人,表示你——基督的仁慈和和善。你今天所給他的是他們已經到處經受的怕和恨。
  那我下次要好好留心。
  不能再等下次,小孩子,要追回機會。法蘭西斯將那個盛牛奶和麵包的袋交給安該婁,追上他們,給他們吃喝,叫他們回到孟特開遂,革面洗心。不再作惡事,作我們的朋友,願神與你同在。
  安該婁順著小路,穿越崎嶇的山徑,好不容易來到一個大石穴中,見那三個強盜正在這裡休息。先生們,我給你們送來吃和喝的。他鼓起勇氣。
  三個滿是鬍鬚的面孔上現出了十分驚奇的神色,三張嘴張得合不攏來。安該婁把麵包和牛奶一一分給他們。我很對不起你們,因我說了那些使你們傷心的話。和善的聖法蘭西斯請你們到孟特開遂的弟兄家中去。那裡可供給你們的吃喝,聖法蘭西斯願與你們作朋友。
  在跟從法蘭西斯的人中,以後再沒有比這三位更忠心,更堅定了。他們永遠不忘記孟特開遂的經歷——以愛勝恨。 ── 佚名《喻道小品》

 

【利文斯敦你們要去,使萬民作我的門徒。(太2819
  大衛·利文斯敦1813319日生於蘇格蘭、布蘭太爾一戶貧苦人家,他有篤信虔誠的父母的教導,從小養成堅強、耐心的品格。他長大後,樹立了為基督獻身的強烈信念。他寫道:基督教激起我滿腔的熱愛,我決心要獻出我的一生,以解救人類的痛苦。”184012月,利文斯敦便搭船前往非洲,把自己的一生貢獻服務於當時最黑暗的大陸。當船到開普敦,他乘獨木舟上岸時,身邊只帶著一個藥箱,土人們一齊來準備殺死他。利文斯敦閉目禱告,準備受戳。誰知那平安的儀態感動了土人,竟從死裡逃生,利文斯敦進入內陸,在馬博察設立了傳教站,將自己的工資節約下來購買昂貴的藥物,為當地土人服務。經過艱辛的努力,許多非洲人相信了真道,賽切勒酋長也進了教,利文斯敦有廣大的愛,他從來沒有對黑人歧視。他說:跟他們相處久了,誰都會忘記他們是黑人,只記得他們是人類的同胞。當利文斯敦一次患病需回國時,五百位黑人身穿白衣流淚為他送行,叮囑他千萬要再回非洲。這些昔日吃人肉的人今日在熱切地為利文斯敦祈禱。
  利文斯敦一邊傳道,一邊為今後的傳道隊伍尋找交通的要道,他進行艱難的探險,許多傳教團因利文斯敦獻身精神的感召陸續來非洲傳道。
  187351日清晨,為他護理的人站在門外,見利文斯敦跪著禱告,他們靜侯很久,但不見他起來。進去一看,見他跪著死了。死的地點在非洲內陸的班韋島盧湖南邊的契坦博村。
  利文斯敦的隨從把他的心臟埋在契坦博村的一棵樹下,表明他的整個心血都獻給非洲,也表明他死後心仍與非洲相連。將他消瘦的身體抹了一層香油,用布包裹起來,紮成一包貨物的樣子,以此來通過敵對部落的地區。他們冒著生命危險,走了1500裡路,花了九個月時間,於18742月送到沿海的巴加莫約。利文斯敦的遺體由英國領事館運送回國。1874418日,在威斯敏特為他舉行葬禮。送葬的人,人山人海,這三位冒險運送遺體的非洲人也參加送葬的行列。

  利文斯敦的死,對於教會的工作又是一種激勵,許許多多的傳教團跟隨著他的腳跡將真理傳進非洲大陸。 ── 佚名《喻道小品》

 

【司布真的蒙恩經歷地極的人,都當仰望我(賽4522
  司布真從小就知道上帝能洞察人的內心,是公義聖潔,恨惡罪惡的神。他儘量使自己裡面、外面都能合主的誡命,整理自己的行為,誰知用律法的鏡子一照,仍然有罪。他雖然受過洗,也作禮拜,會禱告,能讀經,但卻無法使心中的罪擔脫去。16歲那年,他決意走遍各會堂,聽每個牧師講論真理,尋求心中的安息。一次,一個牧師講了一篇上帝隨著自己的意思救人的道。司布真聽了,摸不著上帝如何救我的路。還有一次,一個牧師講到,上帝必定多多賜福給他的百姓。但司布真覺得自己還不是上帝的百姓。這福氣與他無關,心中更加難過。
  有一個禮拜天,司布真準備到一個大會堂去聽道,中途忽然厚雲密佈,大雪紛飛。他只得到附近的一個小會堂去聽道。誰知裡面只有十幾個人,講臺上站著一個小個子,瘦面臉的鄉下人。這人講的道如箭射中了司布真的心。他讀《以賽亞書》4522節說:地極的人,都當仰望我,就必得救。他講解這個字說:這個望字很容易懂,小孩能望,不識字的人能望,沒有錢的人也能望,愚笨的人也能望。望什麼呢?不是望東,不是望西,只是說仰望我。這個我,就是基督,仰望他就必可得救。我替你在客西馬尼流汗如血,你竟不望我麼?我替你掛在十字架上,我為你埋在墳墓中,又復活,又升天,在父右邊,作中保,勞苦的罪人啊!你務必仰望我,就必得救。他說完這段話,便對司布真說:少年人啊!我看你臉上的愁容,你心中必定不安,你若不望耶穌,永遠沒有平安。隨後他舉起雙手,大聲說:仰望,仰望,仰望,只要仰望就能得到救恩和永遠的生命。
  這個字解決了司布真一切疑難和黑暗,那被火蛇所中的毒,頓時消退了,那比金剛石更硬的心頓時軟化了,從這時開始他蒙恩了。
  司布真死後,他的棺材上放著一本展開的聖經,展開的那一章就是《以賽亞書》4522節,以紀念他42年前聽了這節使他蒙恩得救的聖經。── 佚名《喻道小品》


【救助猶太人】在第二次世界大戰期間,信仰天主教的德籍夫婦奧斯卡辛德勒(Oscar Schindler)及其妻艾蜜莉說服並用金錢向德國納粹佔領軍,從波蘭的奧斯威茲(Auschwitz)集中營裡抽調了近千名猶太俘虜到他們在波蘭克拉科經營的工廠中工作,使得這些猶太人逃過死劫。

         1945127日是奧斯威茲集中營獲救的日子,被救的猶太人們收集了所有人身上的金子,打造了一個戒指贈送給贖救他們的辛德勒。但辛德勒卻心地說:他恨不得有再多一點的贖金,那就可以再多救一個人了。那些猶太人們對辛德勒甚為感激,他們在戒指環上刻了一句希伯來經文:「拯救一個人的性命,就是拯救了整個世界。」

         1995127日是這些猶太人獲救五十週年的紀念日,而這段事蹟不久前才剛被猶裔美籍導演史蒂芬史匹柏拍成電影《辛德勒的名單》。在這一個紀念日上,有許多猶太人來到奧斯威茲集中營悼念。據聞辛德勒死後葬在耶路撒冷,希伯來大學之紀念館內放著一本書和一份名單,就是當時辛德勒所贖救的猶太人名單。

ZINZENDORF

In 1722 Count Nicholaus von Zinzendorf of Saxony founded a colony of pietist believers called "hernhut," later known as Moravians. He also traveled to America and set up communities that began to send out missionaries, first to Greenland, then to the West Indies, then beyond. By the time Zinzendorf died in 1760 some 300 missionaries, all laypersons, had gone out from the various colonies. in 1738 when some of the challenges of missionary life had become clear, Zinzendorf wrote his famous instructions, many of which sound strangely modern, despite their 18th century language. It is better to send people into the wide world than to send no one. But you should be warned about the following temptations:

1. To have even the slightest dealings with clergymen.
2. To think about your purpose in the land only when you get there.
3. To test your vocation on the heathen once you are among them.                                                          4. To give up because something doesn't work immediately.
5. To begin to make your home too comfortable, forgetting that you are really a traveler, a pilgrim among the nations.
6. To be prejudiced against the heathen because they are neither efficient nor pious, and to be irritated by how badly they run things.
7. To seek even the slightest advantage at the expense of your brothers.
8. To fill up whole diaries with descriptions of difficulties but write little or nothing about the ways in which our Savior has helped you.
9. To forget that one can do far more with a believing heart than with many words.
10. To judge your colleagues and particularly your superiors according to their personalities and then allow your relationship to be influenced by whether or not you approve of them.
11. To make a general rule of the experience you and two or three others have had.
12. To make so many plans that in the end you can't carry out any of them, but throw up the whole task.
13. Out of boredom to make up new articles of faith.
14. Vindictiveness
15. To lose sight of the Savior.
16. Letting a quarrel last longer than a day.
17. To reflect and think that if you were somewhere else you would not have to die, or that things would be different for you; to think that the present lot which God has given to you can be avoided.
18. For any pretext or whatever reason to give the devil an opportunity to outwit us, to cast us down or to rob us of our peace.
19. It is not always a bad sign to be troubled by something.
20. To embellish the heathen with names of people, not even those of Luther, Herrnhut, or Zinzendorf.

Source Unknown.


The Order of the Mustard Seed founded by Count Zinzendorf had three guiding principles, namely:

1. Be kind to all people.
2. Seek their welfare.
3. Win them to Christ.

Source Unknown.

 

AUGUSTINE

I was weeping in the most bitter contrition of my heart, when I heard the voice of children from a neighboring house chanting, "take up and read; take up and read." I could not remember ever having heard the like, so checking the torrent of my tears, I arose, interpreting it to be no other than a command from God to open the book and read the first chapter I should find. Eagerly then I returned to the place where I had laid the volume of the apostle. I seized, opened, and in silence read that section on which my eyes first fell: "Not in revelry and drunkenness, not in licentiousness and lewdness, not is strife and envy; but put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision for the flesh, to fulfill its lusts." No further would I read, nor did I need to. For instantly at the end of this sentence, it seemed as if a light of serenity infused into my heart and all the darkness of doubt vanished away. 

Augustine.


The following biographical/devotional is taken from Prodigals and Those Who Love Them, Ruth Bell Graham, 1991, Focus on the Family Publishing, Page 3-11:

Few men are so great that the main course of history is different just because they lived, thought and spoke. Saint Augustine is one of those few. He is a great "bridge personality" of history. Christopher Dawson has written of him, in St. Augustine and His Age, "He was to a far greater degree than any emperor or barbarian warlord, a maker of history and a builder of the bridge which was to lead from the old world to the new." In a little room off the King's Library in the British Museum a small exhibit is devoted to Augustine, who lived from A.D. 354 to 430. The exhibit consists chiefly of specimens of his writings, with copies of works that range from the Dark Ages to the first scholarly edition in the seventeenth century. The display gives some indication of his extraordinary popularity throughout the age of faith.

Augustine's works were more widely read than any other author's from the eighth through the twelfth centuries, and even during the late Middle Ages he was constantly being rediscovered by clever men.

He speaks to this present age as mightily and sweetly as he spoke to the age of dying Roman Imperialism because "hearts speak to hearts," and if ever there was a great heart to speak, it was his, and if ever there were small and frightened hearts who need his words, they are ours. But Augustine's early life gave no indication he was to become such a strong voice of faith. He was born in Tagaste, a small town in what is known today as Algeria, but during his teenage years his family moved to Carthage in the part of North Africa that belonged to Rome.

His devout mother, Monica, taught her young son carefully and prayerfully. His brilliance concerned her deeply, especially when, as a young man, he cast off his simple faith in Christ for current heresies and a life given over to immorality.

Later, Augustine wrote:

I could not distinguish between the clear shining of affection and the darkness of lust. . .I could not keep within the kingdom of light, where friendship binds soul to soul .. .And so I polluted the brook of friendship with the sewage of lust. The details of his sin may differ from ours. (He had a mistress for many years and an illegitimate son.) But Augustine's story is still the story of many of us: The loss of faith always occurs when the senses first awaken. At this critical moment, when nature claims us for her service, the consciousness of spiritual things is, in most cases, either eclipsed or totally destroyed. It is not reason which turns the young man from God; it is the flesh. Skepticism but provides him with the excuses for the new life he is leading. This started, Augustine was not able to pull up halfway on the road of pleasure; he never did anything by halves. In the vulgar revels of a wild youth, he wanted again to be best, to be first, just as he was at school. He stirred up his companions and drew them after him. They in their turn drew him. Still his mother prayed, though, as Augustine recalls, it showed no result.

I will now call to mind my past foulness, and the carnal corruptions of my soul; not because I love them, but that I may love You, O my God. For the love of Your love I do it; reviewing my most wicked ways in the very bitterness of my remembrance, that You may grow sweet unto me (Your sweetness never failing, Your blissful and assured sweetness); and gathering me again out of my excess, wherein I was torn piecemeal, while turned from You, the One Good, I lost myself among a multiplicity of things...I was grown deaf by the clanking of the chain of my morality, the punishment of the pride of my soul, and I strayed further from You, and You left me alone, and I was tossed about, and wasted and dissipated, and I boiled over in my fornications, and You held Your peace, O Thou my tardy joy!...I went to Carthage, where shameful loves bubbled around me like a boiling oil.

Carthage made a strong impression on Augustine. For a young man to go from little Tagaste to Carthage was about the same as one of our youths going from the small community of Montreat, North Carolina, to Los Angeles. In fact, Carthage was one of the five great capitals of the Roman Empire. A seaport capital of the whole western Mediterranean, Carthage consisted of large new streets, villa, temples, palaces, docks and a variously dressed cosmopolitan population. It astonished and delighted the schoolboy from Tagaste. Whatever local marks were left about him, or signs of the rube, they were brushed off in Carthage.

Here Augustine remained from his seventeenth to his twenty-eighth year. He absorbed all Carthage had to offer, including the teachings of the Manichaeans (a religious sect from Persia).

Augustine recalled those dark days and his mother's continued intercession on his behalf: Almost nine years passed, in which I wallowed in the mire of that deep pit, and the darkness of falsehood (Manichaeism)...All which time that chaste, godly and sober widow...ceased not at all hours of her devotions to bewail my case unto You. And her prayers entered into Your presence; and yet You suffered (allowed) me to be yet involved and re-involved in that darkness. He also recalled how God comforted his mother during that time, showing her that all things would eventually work together for good. First He gave her a vision: She saw herself standing on a certain wooden rule, and a shining youth coming towards her, cheerful and smiling upon her...He having...enquired of her the causes of her grief and daily tears, and she answering that she was bewailing my perdition, he bade her rest contented, and told her to look and observe, "That where she was, there was I also." And when she looked, she saw me standing by her in the same rule.

Desperate over his Manichaean heresy, Monica begged a bishop, a man deeply read in the Scriptures, to speak with her son and refute his errors. But Augustine's reputation as an orator and dialectician was so great that the holy man dared not try to compete with such a vigorous jouster. He answered the mother wisely that a mind so subtle and acute could not long continue in such adroit but deceptive reasoning. And he offered his own example, for he, too, had been a Manichaean.

But Monica pressed him with entreaties and tears. At last the bishop, annoyed by her persistence and moved by her tears, answered with a roughness mingled with kindness and compassion, "Go, go! Leave me alone. Live on as you are living. It is not possible that the son of such tears should be lost." 

In his twenty-ninth year, Augustine longed to go to Rome, the most magnificent city in the world, the seat of learning and, to many, the center of the universe. Fearing for the spiritual and moral well-being of her son, Monica pled unceasingly with him not to go. But the day came that she watched with apprehension the tall masts of the ship in the harbor, as they swayed gently above the rooftops. She had waited all day with Augustine in the debilitating heat for the right tide and wind for him to sail to Rome. Augustine persuaded his mother to seek a little rest in the coolness of a nearby chapel. Exhausted, she promptly fell asleep. At dawn she awoke and searched the rooftops for the masts of the ship. It was gone.

But Augustine's heart was heavy, heavier than the air weighted by the heat and sea-damp -- heavy from the lie and the cruelty he had just committed. He envisioned his mother awakening and her sorrow. His conscience was troubled, overcome by remorse and forebodings. He later wrote: I lied to my mother, and such a mother, and escaped...That night I privily departed, but she was not behind in weeping and prayer. And what, O Lord, was she with so many tears asking of You, but that You would not permit me to sail? But You, in the depth of Your counsels and hearing the main point of her desire, (regarded) not what she then asked, that You (might) make me what she ever asked.

Augustine was guided to Rome and then farther north where, after listening to Saint Ambrose, bishop of Milan and the most eminent churchman of the day, he left the Manichaeans forever and began again to study the Christian faith. One day, under deep conviction: I cast myself down I know not how, under a certain fig-tree, giving full vent to my tears; and the floods of mine eyes gushed out an "acceptable sacrifice to You." And, not indeed in these words, yet to this purpose, spake I much unto You: "and You, O Lord, how Long? How long, Lord, (will) You be angry, for ever? Remember not our former iniquities," for I felt that I was held by them. I sent up these sorrowful words: How long, how long, "to-morrow, and to-morrow?" Why not now? why not is there this hour and end to my uncleanness? So was I speaking and weeping in the most bitter contrition of my heart, when, lo! I heard from a neighboring house a voice, as of boy or girl, I know not, chanting and oft repeating, "Take up and read; Take up and read." Instantly, my countenance altered, I began to think most intently whether children were wont in any kind of play to sing such words; nor could I remember ever to have heard the like.

So checking the torrent of my tears, I arose; interpreting it to be no other than a command from God to open the book, and read the first chapter I should find... Eagerly then I returned to the place where Alypius (his friend) was sitting; for there had I laid the volume of the Apostle when I arose thence. I seized, opened, and in silence read that section on which my eyes first fell: "Not in rioting and drunkenness, not in chambering and wantonness, not in strife and envying; but put ye on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision for the flesh..." No further would I read; nor needed I for instantly at the end of this sentence, by a light as it were of serenity infused into my heart, all the darkness of doubt vanished away.

Then putting my finger between, or some other mark, I shut the volume, and with a calmed countenance made it known to Alypius. And what was wrought in him, which I knew not, he thus showed me. He asked to see what I had read: I showed him; and he looked even further than I had read, and I knew not what followed. This followed, "Him that is weak in the faith, receive;" which he applied to himself, and disclosed to me. And by this admonition was he strengthened; and by a good resolution and purpose, and most corresponding to his character, wherein he did always very far differ from me, for the better, without any turbulent delay he joined me.

(Then) we go in to my mother, we tell her; she (rejoices): we relate in order how it took place; she leaps for joy, and...blessed You, "Who (are) able to do (more than what) we ask or think"; for she perceived that You (had) given her more for me, than she was wont to beg by her pitiful and most sorrowful groanings.

As we know, Augustine would go on to more than fulfill all his godly mother's hopes and prayers, becoming a bishop and a defender of the truth. Having come home at last, this prodigal would help build a house of faith that stands to this day. In the words of Malcolm Muggeridge: "Thanks largely to Augustine, the light of the new Testament did not go out with Rome's but remained amidst the debris of the fallen empire to light the way to another civilization, Christendom."

As for Monica, her work on earth was done. One day shortly after Augustine's conversion, she announced to him that she had nothing left to live for, now that she had achieved her lifelong quest of seeing him come to faith in Christ. Just nine days later, she died.

In the Bible we read of a prodigal whose father kept a vigil for his return, seeing him when he was "yet a great way off." We who are spiritual beneficiaries of Augustine can be thankful that Monica was an equally loving but not so passive parent.

Whenever Augustine ran, she followed him; whenever he came home, she challenged his rebellious ways. For Augustine, she surely embodied on earth what he and many other prodigals have learned about our heavenly Father -- a truth best stated in this quotation from the Confessions: "The only way a man can lose You is to leave You; and if he leaves You, where does he go? He can run only from Your pleasure to Your wrath."

 

BACH, J. S.

J.S. Bach's first biographer, Forkel, tells that young Johann Sebastian discovered that his brother had in his music cabinet a special book of compositions by some of the more established composers of that day, such as Pachelbel, Froberger, Bohm, and Buxtehude. He wanted to borrow the book, but for some reason his brother refused. Perhaps brother Johann Christoph was reserving those pieces for his own study or performances and didn't want the talented youngster in his home to perfect the works first. Johann Sebastian clearly coveted his brother's book, however, and in the middle of the night, when everyone else in the house was asleep, he crept down to sneak the anthology from the cabinet. He took it to his room and began to copy it by moonlight! It took him six months. Johann Christoph found out about it...and promptly impounded the copied volume. Johann Sebastian did not get the book back until his brother died almost a quarter-century later.