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or they would now probably have retired from his society; it was weak, and therefore while they followed him they betrayed the sentiments of fear and trembling. We on imagine Jesus turning towards them his face, and by the expressive features of hiscountenance,and his significant gestures, beckoning tbem onwards with a swifter speed. Sublimer heroism was never displayed on the battle-field than was exhibited by the "Captain of our salvation" on his way to Jerusalem, in the certain prospect of his death. The Jews were proverbial for the strength of their prejudices and the fury of their passions against the Christian religion. Nicodemus sought an interview with Jesus by night from a regard for his own personal safety. Joseph of Arimathea, "a good man and a just," was so impressed with the necessity of precaution as to be "a disciple secretly." Many who heard him as he was teaching in the Temple, and who believed on him, " were afraid openly to confess him." While, therefore, we admire the fortitude of Jesus, let us learn to indulge the feeling of charity towards his disciples. Their situation and views invite us to be gentle in our judgment of their character, and especially as many professing Christians of the present age, were they placed in the circumstances of these disciples, with only the confused knowledge which they possessed of their leader's mission, if they followed Jesus at all under such disadvantages, would follow him with even greater timidity, trembling with apprehension like aspen leaves quivering in the breeze.
ID. We may ponder one or two lessons which the incident of Jesus going before his disciples to Jerusalem suggests for our meditation. This incident may teach us fte resolution of the ^Redeemer to complete *w Idottc without human assistance. His frequent allusions in his discourses to his approaching death, and the prominence which the verses immediately following the one at the head of this paper show it to have occupied in his thoughts at this moment, proved that he viewed the last ■tages of his work as the most critical. If we believe that all the sorrows associated with his death were vicarious in their chapter, we may regard the great work of atonement as now actually commenced. The pangs of death had already seized his •nticipations; and in leaving his disciples whind while he marched forward to meet
it, he in part fulfilled what was spoken by the prophet, "I have trodden the winepress alone; and of the people there was none with me." These observations will apply with equal force to the other critical periods of his passion. When under the shadows of Gethsemane, "being in an agony," and piercing the midnight air with the voice of supplication, he had withdrawn from his disciples and was alone; and in that "hour" which was the most critical since time began its course, which decided his triumph over the "power of darkness," and on whose issues the everlasting destinies of myriads of our race were suspended, he exclaimed, with a loud voice, "My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?" Seeker after salvation! be encouraged by these incidents in the closing scenes of his life to confide in his ability. In consummating the scheme of redemption, which astonishes the angels by its vastness, he would receive no assistance, but "with his own right hand and his holy arm he hath gained for himself the victory." He will receive no assistance now in the work of thy salvation. Bejoice that he allows thee no alternative except to abandon every other refuge, and as one equally helpless and guilty, to surrender thyself wholly to his power, for he has given the assurance to the world, "Him that cometh unto me I will in no wise cast out," and "He is able also to save them to the uttermost that come unto God by him, seeing he ever liveth to make intercession for them."
We may also learn from the incident on which we have been dwelling the spirit with which we are summoned to approach dutyt and encounter suffering in the discharge of it. This incident in the Redeemer's history will thus accomplish the double purpose of instructing us in doctrine, and of animating us to hard service by the force of his example. He knew that this was the only road which would conduct him to those honours which his Father had promised him on condition of his obedience unto death; the path of suffering was the path of glory; and "for the joy that was set before him he endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God." His servants, who tread the same path and know the fellowship of his sufferings, will hereafter be raised to the same throne and know the fellowship of his glory. Peculiar difficulties may attend their course, and
mystery may so enshroud it as to AH them with amazement; their path may be one "which no fowl knoweth, and which the vulture's eye hath not seen j" but Jesus comprehends all its various scenes, and every stage of their journey he himself hath traversed. Worldly interests, friendships, health, and even life itself, may be lost./br Christ, but nothing valuable will eventually be lost hy Christ j for suoh is the community of interest between himself and his servants that his resurrection, ascension into heaven, and his exaltation to the right hand of the throne of God, are the certain pledges of their future recompense and victory. "He that loveth his life shall lose it j and he that hateth his life in this world shall keep it unto life eternal. If Wellington, Shropshire,
any man serve me, let him follow roe; and where I am, there shall also my servant be: if any man servo me, him will my KatheT honour." Servant of Christ! transcribe these words for thy motto, and after imploring his wisdom for thy guidance, follow him not with weak faith and trembling feet, but having him for thy leader, follow him with confidence and fortitude. Thou shalt surely overcome, and "sit with him in his throne, even as he also overcame, and is set down with his Father in his throne;" thou shalt be raised to the dignity of "an heir of God, and a joint-heir with Christ," and having suffered with him on earth, be at last glorified with him in heaven.
THE STONE AT THE SEPULCHKE.
BY THE EEV. J. H. LTTMMI8.
"And they said among themselves, Who shall roll us away the stone from the door of the sepulchre? And when they looked, they saw that the Btone was rolled away : for it was very great."—Mark xvi. 3, 4.
Veey many Christians resemble, in one respect, theae heroic and devoted women—they are apprehensive of obstacles which will entirely obstruct the path of religious duty. Like these women, moreover, their expected difficulties fill them with embarrassment, and they are staggered at the question, ""Sow can they be removed?" just as the Marys and Salome asked among themselves, "Who shall roll us away the stone?"
These women possessed, however, in no ordinary degree, devotion to their Lord and resolute courage in his service. These are always elements of power in the path of duty. They were in this case. Prompted by their undying devotion and holy courage, they pursued the loving duty they had undertaken, in defiance of the obstacles which threatened them.
For observe these two or three things s —
1. Though they apprehended obstacles they were not deterred from their duty.
They had seen the place where Jesus lay, and the stone rolled against the sepulchre by Joseph, and gealed by Pilate. They knew that they could not enter the sepulchre to anoint the body unless the stone should be removed, and when they went forth they did not expect to find it removed. Under these circumstances one would almost say that they were not required to prosecute their mission, and that, inasmuch as their offices of love were non-essential and self-imposed, they might have been omitted blamelessly. However, they did not reason thus. They did not seek, they did not wish, to be released from the offices they had undertaken, sad and repulsive though they were. They were strongly attached even to their melancholy duty, because it related to that Master whom even in death they loved, and therefore, although they expect obstructions in their path, although they are prepared to find the stone barring their entrance to the place where the Lord lay, they sally forth in the dim twilight of early morn, and wend their way to the sepulchre to anoint the body of Jesus.
An important lesson this on faithfulness to religious duty. For this is distinctly to be remembered, that the duties we owe to Christ must not be omitted on account of obstacles. "One is our Master, even Christ," and we we him supreme obedience. No duty that he commands is beyond our power to perform, and no obstacles that we have to contend with are beyond his power to remove. Therefore, whatsoever he commands we should instantly observe ind do. Yet how frequently is it the case that difficulties altogether deter us iom duty, or that we defer the duty until the difficulty shall remove. Only in inch cases there is always one question deserving attention, this—whether the iifficulties we apprehend may not actually be placed in our path to ascertain :he strength of our religious principle, the power of our love to the Lord Jesus Christ? Our obedience may be tried as was Abraham's—tried by a command requiring large self-sacrifice and uncompromising fidelity. Let us see to it that we obey after the pattern of Abraham's obedience, and then to us shall the same blessed testimony be rendered—" Now, now I know that thou fearest God."
We talk about duty. It were, perhaps, better to remember that every duty we render to Christ is in reality a high and distinguished privilege! and did we only consider, as we should do, the infinite obligations under which we are laid to the Redeemer, methinks we should cease to ask, "How much can we with safety withhold from Christ? what duties may we dare to omit? "but should say from our inmost souls—
"Yet, if I might make some reserve,
2. Observe, that although these women apprehended obstacles, they did not exaggerate them.
On the contrary, most persons will think that they underrated them. "We have seen that they made much of their duty; it now appears that they made light of their difficulty. They did not brood over it, until it assumed far larger proportions than their duty. They did not fill their minds with surmises and wonderings as to the probable result of their mission; but without arranging any measures for the removal of the stone, they take the sweet spices they have prepared, and go forth to the sepulchre; and, apparently, it is only at last, when they are upon their way to the sepulchre, that they inquire one of another, what most persons would have determined before ever they had set out, "Who shall roll us away the stone from the door of the sepulchre?"
"Lack of forethought," some will say. Yes, but perhaps such a lack should more be admired than censured. So far as most of us are concerned, at least, it would be well to copy rather than shun their conduct in this particular. Too much forethought as to our religious difficulties is our failing and our snare. We are always fearing what evils might possibly befall us in the event of pursuing the course which duty to Christ dictates. It might be wiser for us to assume that of all paths the path of duty must be the most easy and unencumbered, and that God himBelf will make every path of duty straight and plain; or, at least, let us wait until difficulties come before we grapple with them. An impenetrable veil conceals the future from our gaze. Let us not attempt to lift it, or, if we will attempt, let us rather see the magnitude of our future blessings than discover the number of our future ills. Many streams we shall have to cross, but God can bridge them all, and it savours both of distrust and folly for Ub to throw across the bridge before ever we have beheld the stream.
And remember, too, that those most defiant of difficulties have invariably done most for God. The fame of immortal deeds belongs far more to those who have bestowed little thought upon their difficulties than to those who have been continually estimating their dimensions and their power. How long had the fearful and the timid been staggered at the difficulties of the missionary enterprise, how long had they asked, "Who shall roll us away the stone from the door of the moral sepulchre? " twhen Carey appeared, and by faith rolled the stone away! Many looked at the obstacles, and because they had little faith they seemed insuperable, but when Carey looked, by faith he saw that the stone was rolled away!
3. Observe, that the obstacles these women apprehended were not to be removed by them.
They were already removed. "When they looked, the stone was rolled away." It was rolled away by another power, and for another purpose than that they contemplated. Their intention was to anoint his dead body, God's intention was for them to hail and adore their risen Redeemer.
And we, too, not unfrequently find our true blessedness in our religious duty. Even in the most unwelcome duty we may expect to find our Lord, and in i'ta faithful discharge we shall be prepared for the honour of beholding the Lord in his exalted majesty. What rapture to hear him say, '* Well done, good and faithful servant, enter into my joy '!
"Oh that with yonder sacred throng
LOVE ONE ANOTHER!
A LITTLE girl, with happy look,
Sat slowly reading a ponderous book
All hound with velvet and edged with gold,
And its weight was more than the child could hold:
And dearly she loved to ponder it o'er,
And every day she prized it more;
For, as she looked at her dear little brother,
It said, "Little children must love one another."
She thought it was beautiful in that book,
"I'm sorry he's naughty and will not prav,
But I'll love him still; for I think the way
To make him kind and gentle to me
"Will be better shown if I let him see
I strive to do what I think is right;
And thus, when I kneel to pray to-night,
I will clasp my arms around my brother.
And say, Little children must love one another.'"
The little girl did as the Bible taught,
And pleasant indeed was the change it wrought;
For the boy looked up, in glad surprise,
To meet the light of her loving eyes:
His heart was full; he could not speak;
He pressed a kiss on his sister's cheek;
And God looked down on the happy mother,
Whose little children loved each other,
THE UNSPOKEN WARNING.
I Am no believer in the supernatual. I
never saw any ghosts, never heard any
strange noises—none, at least, that could
not be accounted for on natural principles.
I never saw lights round the bed or heard
knocks on the head-board which proved to
be "forerunners" of sickness or death; I
never had even dreams "come to pass;"
and to spirits, in the common acceptation
of the term, since the days of the Fox girls,
ray very presence has been always a damper.
I am not one of the sort who are always
on the look-out for signs and wonders;
and if want of faith in spiritualism or
supernaturalism is a tin, I ought to have
been the last one to look out for so marked
a—jou may name it what you please, I
call it—Divine interposition as the one I
am about to relate, all the witnesses to
which—and they are not a few—are still
One bitter cold day in winter a merry party of us, nestled down under furry robes, went to meet an appointment with a friend living a few miles distant, with whom we were to spend the afternoon, and in the evening attend a concert to be held near by. The air was keen and inspiriting, the host and hostess genial as the crackling fires in the grates, and the invited guests, of whom there were many besides ourselves, in that peculiar visiting trim which only old-time friends, long parted, can enjoy. Restraint was thrown aside: we cracked jokes, we chattered like magpies; and not a little of the coming concert, which promised a rare treat to our unsophisticated ears. All went merry as a marriage bell, and merrier than some marriage bells, till just before tea, when I was seized with a sudden desire to go home, accompanied by a dread or fear of something, I knew not what, which made the return appear, not a matter of choice, but a thing imperative. I tried to reaBon it away, to revive anticipations of the conwrt; I thought of the disappointment it would be to those who came with me to give it up; and, running over in my mind the condition in which things were left at borne, I could find no ground for alarm.
For many years a part of our house had been rented to a trusty family; our children were often rocked in the same oradle, and half the time ate at the same table; locks
and bolts were things unused; and in deed as in word we were neighbours. In their care had been left a boy of ten years, the only one of the family remaining at home, who knew that when he returned from school he was expected to bring in wood and kindlings for the morning fire, take
supper alone or with little Clara E as
he chose, and otherwise pass the time as he pleased, only that he must not go into the street to play or on the pond to skate. He had been leit many times in this way, and had never given occasion for the slightest uneasiness; Btill, as this nameless fear grew upon me, it took the form of a conviction that danger of some sort threatened this beloved child.
I was rising to go and ask Mr. A to
take me home, when some one said, " You are very pale; are you ill?"
"No," I answered, and dropping back in the chair, told them how strangely I had been exercised for the last few minutes; adding, " I really must go home."
There was a perfect chorus of voices against it, and for a little time I was silenced, though not convinced. Some one
laid the matter before Mr. A , who
replied, " Nonsense; Eddie is a good boy to mind, will do nothing in our absence that be would not do if we were there, and is enjoying himself well at this moment, I'll warrant."
This answer was brought to me in triumph, and I resolved to do as they said, "not think about it." But at tea my trembling hand almost refused to carry food to my lipB, and I found it utterly impossible to swallow a mouthful. A deathlike chill crept over me, and I knew that every eye was on me as I left the room.
Mr. A rose, saying, in a changed voice
and without ceremony, "Make haste; bring the horse round j we must go right away. I never saw her in such a state before; there is something in it." He followed me to the parlour, but before he could speak I was pleading as for dear life that not a moment should be lost in starting for home. "I know," said I," it is not all imagination, and whether it is or not, I shall certainly die if this dreadful incubus is not removed."
All was now confusion; the tea-table deserted, the meal scarcely tasted ; and my