“The soft, green leaves
unfolded their tips,
And the foul word died on the prisoner’s lips;
He talked to the plant, when all alone,
As he would to a friend, in a gentle tone;
And, day by day, and week by week,
As the rose grew taller, so Greg grew meek.
“But, at last they took
him away to lie
On a hospital bed, for they knew he must die,
They placed the rose in the sunny light,
Where Greg might watch it, from morn till night,
And the green buds grew, from day to day,
As the sick man faded fast away.
“The lines which sin
and pain had traced,
Seemed by the shadowing plant effaced,
Till, came at last, the joyful hour,
When they knew that the bud must burst its flower.
Greg slept, but still one hand caressed
The plant; the other his pale cheek pressed.
The perfumed crimson shed a glow
On the old man’s hair, as white as snow;
The nurse came softly—’Look, Greg!’ she said,
Ay, the rose had bloomed, but the man was dead.”
And the meaning of all this is, not that the rose itself saved this hardened sinner. No; but it led him to think of the lessons of his childhood, when he had been taught about Jesus, “the Rose of Sharon”. It led him to think about his sins. It led him to repent of them; to pray to Jesus; to exercise faith in him; and in this way he became a changed man, and was saved. And so, though we speak of him as—“a man saved by a rose;” yet it was the power of Jesus, “the Great Teacher,” exercised through that rose, which led to this blessed change and saved Greg’s soul from death.
And thus we have spoken of five things which help to make up the greatness of Jesus as a Teacher. These are—The Great Blessings—The Great Simplicity—The Great Tenderness—The Great Knowledge—and the Great Power connected with his teachings. Let us seek the grace that will enable us to learn of him, and then we shall find rest for our souls!
We have spoken of our Saviour as “The Great Teacher,” and tried to point out some of the things in his teaching which helped to make him great. And now, it may be well to speak a little of the illustrations which he made use of as a Teacher. These are called—parables. Our Saviour’s parables were illustrations. This is what is meant by the Greek word from which we get the word parable. It means something set down by the side of another. When we teach a lesson we are setting something before the minds of our scholars. But suppose it is a hard lesson and they do not understand it. Then we use an illustration. This is something set down beside the lesson to make it plain. Then this, whatever it be, is a parable.