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Mary's Privilege at the Sepulchre.
It is no uncommon thing to see a mourner weeping at a grave. It is there that nature asserts its power over the heart, and there friendship, taking its last farewell, drops the tear that flows from the meltings of love and sorrow. But what an interesting mourner is now presented to your view ! Mary stands at the tomb of Jesus, and weeps, she stoops down to look at the place where her Lord had been laid, and beholds in it two angels in white. This garb was emblematical of their purity; and as this was the colour of garments worn in scenes, and on days of rejoicing, it was an intimation that the Saviour had triumphed, and that what had made angels so happy was no cause of alarm or despair to her.
How instructive was the posture of these angels ! The one was at the head, and the other at the feet, where the body of Jesus had lain. Angels had ministered to our Lord at the commencement of his course in Bethlehem, and at the consummation of all things they shall attend him in their glory. They minister to Christ the head, but they disdain not to befriend the obscurest member of his body. The head is as the most fine gold, and the feet are clay, yet they minister to both.
But, like the cherubim stationed on each end of the mercy-seat, this position of the angels might intimate that through Christ alone we have peace with God,
and access into that grace in which believers stand. After man had fallen he was driven from paradise, and the Lord placed at the east of the garden of Eden cherubim, and a flaming sword, which turned every way to guard the path to the tree of life. But when man was redeemed by the obedience of the second Adam, angels were placed in the tomb with the olive branch in their hands, and the voice of welcome in their mouths, “ Come, see the place where the Lord lay." None of the guards or of the enemies of our Lord durst enter the tomb, but pious affection is ine vited to contemplate the trophies of his victory, and the place of his rest. While thus employed, ye are animated to sing, - The Lord lives, blessed be my rock, and let the God of my salvation be exalted.” Mary was in too dark and perplexed a state to una derstand such intimations, and she refused to be comforted till Jesus at once shed light, peace and joy over her mind by a single word. And to you he saith, « Fear not, I have redeemed thee, I have called thee by my name; thou art mine." Your name he will confess before his Father, and it shall never be blotted from the book of life. Mary, on recognizing his voice, turned herself, and said unto him, “ Rabboni, that is, Master.” The rapture which she felt was mingled with holy awe; and she thought it more becoming to express the homage she owed him than her transport. And are you addressing him in such language as this, “ Thou great Apostle of our profession, I will keep thy sayings in my heart, and take thy statutes as my heritage for ever. I will glory in thy gospel as the perfection of wisdom, and bear my testimony to it as all my salvation. My gracious Lord, I am thy servant ; fill me with holy ardour in thy service, and enable me to glorify thee with my body and spirit, which are
thine." He listens with complacency to such lan. guage, and will speak peace to your hearts in return.
After the Service.
The act with which Mary accompanied this address calls for your imitation. You are allowed not only to touch the Saviour by the hand of faith and love, but to lean on him; and this is permitted not merely for a moment, but during the whole of your pilgrim, age. “Who is this that cometh up from the wilderness leaning upon her beloved ?” How safe and how happy is the soul while it leans on the Saviour !
Be ready to communicate for the benefit of others your delightful views of your ascended Lord. Mary came and told the disciples that she had seen the Lord, and that he had spoken these things to her. Your Christian experience may give a devout tendency to the affections and pursuits of your friends, and may be of great use to those who are walking in darkę
It may revive that hope which seems to be giving up the ghost, and bring back that joy which they imagined would never return; it may encourage the dying to trust in the Saviour's mercy, and make the scoffer know assuredly that God hath made that Jesus whom they oppose Lord of all.
Let your garments be always white, and keep your selves unspotted from the world. Think it not enough to avoid what, in the judgment of the world, would be a blemish to the character, but every thing which the voice of conscience, and the word of God, warn you to shun. Imitate the angels in their ministrations. Give to Jesus, who is the head of the body, the church, the
glory that is due, and on him let the blessings of your hearts come. And condescend to them of low degree. Angels came into the dark abode of death to minister to him; and you must not refuse to go into the mean dwelling of sick poverty, nor count yourselves degrad ed in joining the humble mourners who carry the poor saint to his grave. The meaner the place is where charity ministers, the more lovely does she appear in his
eyes whose spirit she breathes. How animating is this scene in the prospect of death! The presence of the angels in white in the sepulchre attests that its nature is changed. If we view it by the eye of faith, we will perceive kindness in its summons, mercy in its stroke, and a home of peace and rest in its dark abode. When you think of the body in the grave corrupting in its shroud, anticia pate the time when angels shall come, and call it forth to immortality. Think not that you are too mean and obscure to hope for a resurrection, for “ of all that the Father hath given him he shall lose nothing, but shall raise it up at the last day." Then angels shall de scend with the trump of God in their hands, and wherea ever the dead are lying, they shall hear its sound, and shall come forth. And when the dead in Christ arise, “ they shall be caught up to the clouds to meet the Lord in the air, and so shall we be for ever with the Lord.”
1 JOHN III. 1.
“ Behold what manner of love the Father hath bestowed upon us, that we should be called the sons of God."
CHRISTIANS, you are now in your Father's house, and are about to partake of the children's bread, and it becomes you to reflect with devout wonder, and with fervid gratitude, on the kindness of God to you in receiving you into his family. I trust it is your wish to contemplate this marvellous grace in the humble and affectionate spirit of the disciple whom Jesus loved.
How wonderful does this adopting love appear when you consider your state and character by nature ! We had lost the image, and rebelled against the authority of the Being that formed us, connected ourselves with the family of the devil, and were the slaves of cor. ruption, and the children of wrath. That such creatures should be rescued from destruction was great love, but that God should make them his children is grace that passeth knowledge. You see how unwilling men are to take those into their families whom they consider as beneath them in station, or unworthy of them in character ; but behold God raises the outcast from the fearful pit of guilt and wretchedness to a place in his house, and makes the language of enmity, terror, and despair, to be succeeded by the cry, " Ab. ba, Father."
This love will appear wonderful, if we consider the glory of him who adopts. How vast is the distance