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Lord. He can as easily convey an evangelical ministry from one country to another, as we can carry a candle from one room into another: “I will remove thy candlestick out of its place, except thou repent.” Or, secondly, by removing Christians from these privileges. Thus business may call them away from a favoured situation ;accidents or sickness may detain them prisoners from the courts of the Lord. And though in these cases he does not leave them comfortless, still they feel their loss,—and say, “ When I remember these things, I pour out my soul in me : for I had gone with the multitude, I went with them to the house of God, with the voice of joy and praise, with the multitude that kept holy-day."
Fourthly. Let us be very thankful that these pleasunt things are within our reach—that we have been so long favoured with them—that we have them in rich abundance—that we have liberty to partake of them, and strength to go forth and enjoy them—surely " the lines are fallen to us in pleasant places, yea we have a goodly heritage. Let us enter his gates with thanksgiving, and his courts with praise.”
And, finally, let us raise our thoughts and desires after the pleasant things of heaven. Philip Henry often said, when he had finished the delightful exercises of the sabbath, “ Well, if this be not the way to heaven, I know not what is.” Yes, these are introductory to the glory that shall be revealed: they are foretastes to endear it, and earnests to ensure it. And when you come to die-if you can say in sincerity, “Lord, I have loved the habitation of thy house, and the place where thine honour dwelleth,”—you may plead with confidence, “ gather not my soul with sinners, nor my life with bloody men.” He will not gather you in eternity with those you never loved in time—being let go, you shall join your own company, and be for ever with the Lord. And if the streams be so sweet, what will the fountain be? " In his presence there is fulness of joy, and at his right hand there are pleasures for evermore." Let us sing,
". These are the joys he lets us know
In fields and villages below;
“In paradise within the gates,
A higher entertainment waits ;
NEARNESS TO THE CROSS.
Now there stood by the cross of Jesus, his mother, and
his mother's sister, Mary the wife of Cleopbas, and Mary Magdalene. When Jesus therefore saw his mother, and the disciple standing by whom he loved, he saith unto his mother, Woman, behold thy son. Then saith he to the disciple, Behold thy mother. And from that hour, that disciple took her unto his own home.John xix. 25—27.
This is one of the most remarkable passages in the history of our Saviour's passion. The lan
guage is peculiarly simple and affecting. The scene is exquisitely tender. The characters are in the highest degree interesting—and the circumstances in which they are placed, altogether new and wonderful. O for a class of feelings becoming the subject !-Let us fix our minds on three things. First. The situation of the mother. Secondly. The address of the Saviour. Thirdly. The obedience of the disciple.
Women are more than once brought forward in the gospel, and the notice taken of them is always to their honour. Thus while others have forsaken him and fled, we here find three females rising above the fears of their sex, braving the horrors of the execution, piercing through the crowd, and approaching the foot of the crossthere to testify their sympathy with their suffering Lord—to show how willing they are to die with him—to admire his patience, and his meekness—and to secure his dying words. “Now there stood by the cross of Jesus, his mother, and his mother's sister, Mary the wife of Cleophas, and Mary Magdalene.” What were the feelings of these three Marys! But
1. The mother of our Lord in this situation demands a larger share of our notice. I admire in her the efficacy of divine grace. She is able to stand near the cross: she does not faint away, and drop down. She keeps her feelings within due bounds-here are no outrageous exclamations, no bitter complaints flung at Heaven for not avenging him of his adversaries, no bitter imprecations on his murderers, no rending of garments, no wringing of hands, no plucking off the hair. She feels as a mother, she endures as a Christian, and submitting to the mysterious de
signs of Providence, suffers with all the dignity of an angel.
The people of God know not what they can bear till they are tried. When the time of need comes, then comes the grace to help, and it is always found to be sufficient for them. I shall never despair of the support of a Christian in any situation, however distressing, after beholding Mary standing near the cross of her dying son.Ye tender mothers, who may be called to part with beloved children ! religion allows you to feel—but forbids you to faint; you are not to be swallowed up of over-much sorrow, but to preserve a calm of mind favourable to the exercises of reason and of grace. You are to endeavour to say, “ It is the Lord, let him do what seemeth him good : The Lord gave, and the Lord hath taken away, and blessed be the name of the Lord.” Think of Mary—and say, “ What can my affliction be compared with hers.”
For who can adequately imagine her anguish ! When old Simeon saw the infant Messiah, he said to his mother, “ Yea, and a sword shall pierce through thy own soul also !” And now the prediction is accomplished.-0! to see her son enduring such a death! Suspended in torture! O! how would she agonize when she saw the nails driven through his hands and feet! And then for such a son to endure all this extreme of anguish !-A child foretold by prophets, announced by angels ! all goodness, excellency, perfection!who had never displeased her, but endeared himself by every word and action !-A child, the glory of her house, the consolation of her agefor to crown all, she was now a widow ! Joseph her husband was dead, but Jesus her son was yet alive, and in his power and kindness she was sure to find a resource. But now her remaining prop is struck away, and her only coal in Israel is quenched! And she is to be thrown out a bereaved, exposed, helpless, pennyless widow, upon a selfish, unfeeling, cruel world!
II. In such a condition, and with such prospects, she attracts the eye of our Lord; and he speaks. He addresses her in a manner suited to her trying circumstances. " When Jesus therefore saw his mother, and the disciple standing by whom he loved, he saith unto his motherWoman, behold thy son! Though I die, there is one who will discharge the filial office; who will guard, and nourish, and provide for theeBehold thy son.” Then saith he to the disciple -“ Behold thy mother. Receive her not as a pauper, or a mere pensioner on thy bounty, but regard her, as you would the tenderest of all connexions—Behold thy mother.”
This is very instructive. It reminds us, first, of the indigence of our Lord and Saviour. Many talk of poverty, but he was poor. In ordinary cases he was sustained by alms ; in extraordinary ones by miracles. When he came to die, he had no personal property, or landed estate to leave. All he had to bequeath was his wearing apparel, and even this never came to his mother : “ They parted his raiment among them, and for his vesture did they cast lots.”
What becomes then of riches ? Are we such fools as to fall down and worship this idol of general adoration? Does money produce—does it imply worth ? - Silver and gold have I none,” says Peter-So then a man may be an apostle, and be moneyless. “Foxes have holes, and