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BUT ME YE HAVE NOT ALWAYS.

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to be obtained, I can give only to those for whom it shall hereafter be found to be prepared in the providence of God.”

How undesignedly is the knowledge which Jesus had of his own death laid bare to us in that beautiful incident which took place at Bethany! Mary, the sister of Lazarus, came, and, standing over him, poured upon his head an alabaster box of very precious ointment, an act according with the customs of the times, that authorized the free use of precious perfumes and ointments upon occasions of hospitality, and whereby Mary gave expression to her deep personal reverence for Jesus. Some present were, or pretended to be, shocked at her extravagance, and exclaimed, Why is this waste? This ointment might have been sold for much and given to the poor.” But Jesus said, “Why trouble ye the woman? She has performed an appropriate office for me.

Ye have the poor always with you, but me ye have not always. In that she hath poured this ointment on my person, she has done it for my

burial—to embalm me. I have no idea that Mary had any thought of his death or burial, or that Jesus meant to imply that she had. But this was simply the way in which he interpreted her act. How delicate and touching his allusion to the approaching termination of his career ! “ But me ye have not always.” How naturally is the state of his mind revealed to us! How clearly do we see that he was fully possessed with a knowledge of his impending fate! When the mind is deeply engrossed with any subject, it readily discovers or creates a connexion between every thing that occurs and the absorbing topic of

THE FOREKNOWLEDGE OF JESUS.

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its thoughts. So was it with Jesus. Impressed with the conviction of his awful fate, so soon to be consummated, he received that expression of Mary's respect, the outpouring of the costly ointment, as a funeral office. To him it had the odour of death and of the tomb. Had he been actually dead, no would have objected to the use made of the ointment which now descended upon his person, for the customs of the day sanctioned a liberal expense of spices and perfumes upon the dead. So near and so certain was his death to Jesus, that he speaks of himself as already dead, and represents this token of Mary's homage as a funeral office. Indeed, so much was his mind impressed with the coincidence between this act of Mary's, and the near approach of his death, that he declared in the full spirit of prophecy, that wherever the history of his life should be told, this incident should be related also. And so in fact it has happened. The prophecy, which he needed no special inspiration to utter, has been fulfilled. “The odour of that ointment, as it has well been said, was not confined to that lowly Jewish dwelling. It has filled the world.”

In a like incidental manner, the fact that Jesus knew he was to die, and that he was also aware of the manner in which he was to suffer, is revealed in the very form of that event upon which the commemorative service of the Lord's Supper is founded. When seated at table with his personal friends, a short time before he was seized by his enemies, he broke bread and distributed it among those present, as a symbol of his body soon to be broken, and poured out wine

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THE LORD'S SUPPER. and gave it to them as a like symbol of his blood. I do not believe, and I deem it of the first importance to a just appreciation of this rite to consider it, I do not believe that Jesus was conscious on this occasion of having formed a deliberate design to establish a particular service or institution. He spoke and acted, I think, from the simple and natural impulse of a touching sensibility. With his mind filled with the images of death and suffering, we have seen how naturally he associated the ointment which Mary poured upon his person with his embalming. So when he was seated for the last time with his disciples, the same state of mind—the same principle of association led him to see in the broken bread, and in the flowing wine, the symbols and mementos of his own body and blood. Thus hallowed by the deep sensibility of Jesus, shall they not be everlasting mementos! Shall not our hearts melt with answering tenderness, and can we disown or cancel the vows of gratitude and remembrance which Nature herself prompts ?*

* When I contemplate Jesus breaking the bread, and pouring out the wine, in commemoration of himself, I cannot conceive of him as deliberately instituting a positive rite. It is his heart that seems to me to be appealing to the universal human heart, and therefore this observance secures my cordial regard. When it is thus considered as originated, not so much by the understanding as the affections of Jesus, a service of commemoration having him for its special object, appears to be among the most significant and affecting of our reli. gious institutions, and to have an imperishable basis in the heart. It is too common to represent the Lord's Supper as a mere means of improvement. It is a means, a great means, but only because it is a great end. He who eats and drinks worthily at the Lord's table, eats and drinks not for his own sake, but for Christ's, and therefore he receives divine nourishment.

HIS WHOLE LIFE, THE LIFE OF A PROPHET.

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We cannot fail to perceive here how incidentally his prophetic knowledge is revealed. It is not explicitly and purposely disclosed. It appears only by implication. And this is the most satisfactory way possible.

But we have not by any means fathomed the depth of the miracle ; we have caught but a glimpse of the real greatness of the prophetical character of Jesus, when we have seen simply that he foreknew his own death. He possessed a far deeper knowledge still. Everywhere throughout the histories of his life, we are given to understand, naturally, undesignedly, that he cherished a calm and perfect confidence in his own ultimate success. He saw and knew that futurity was his. To what is this unparalleled faith attributable but to the profoundest prophetical inspiration ? Here we have the fact of a young man, in a dark and corrupt age, of obscure birth, in the bosom of a bigoted nation, separated from all other nations by a great gulf of political and religious hatred, and on the brink of ruin—a young man without education or wealth, backed by no imperial warrant, not only unassisted by the spirit of the nation, and the age in which he appeared, but directly and vehemently opposed by the prevailing sentiments of the day, and the whole temper of his countrymen-we have, I say, the undisputed fact of an individual thus situated, unknown, friendless, powerless, and without any traces of human philosophy about him, undertaking a work of revolution, the most noble and comprehensive, a work tending to nothing short of the thorough illumination

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HE LIVED FOR FUTURITY.

and improvement of the whole race of man, a purpose of creating the world over again, and converting its savage tribes into beings dignified by knowledge, refined and blessed by affection and kindness. I say nothing of the wonder that such a thought should have been entertained at such a time, and under such circumstances, although the bare conception of the thing, the mere expression of belief in its practicability, might well have been recorded among the inspired sayings of human wisdom, reflecting immortal honour upon any one who should have uttered it. But the circumstance that absorbs our attention is the quiet confidence, all so unobtrusively evinced, with which Jesus Christ lived and spoke and died in accordance with an aim so vast, that we should be almost ready to pronounce it chimerical, had not the lapse of ages begun to furnish some testimony to the possibility of its accomplishment. The great revolutions, commenced by other men, have, in the course of a century or two, exceeded in their actual results all that was contemplated by their original movers, spreading farther and going deeper than their authors dreamed. But not so is it with Christianity. The world has not yet realised the purpose of its founder, although it has so nearly approximated it, that we cannot but feel that he was inspired with a mysterious and farreaching wisdom.

The work which he began and so steadily pursued is no less astonishing for the originality of its methods, than for the comprehensiveness of its objects. Under the greatest disadvantages, disregarding all ordinary means of success, committing nothing to

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