« السابقةمتابعة »
the means of the greatest joy she had ever felt? It was love and mercy that saved her; it was forgiveness that broke her hard heart; it was confidence in God and Christ that made her, a weak and friendless woman, courageous and strong. The Pharisees and scribes might have convinced her of her guilt, but she would never have bought an alabaster box of ointment to anoint their feet. "Behold the Lamb of God, that taketh away the sin of the world;"-it was this direction, imparted by the divine Spirit, that rescued her from despair. In the dark recesses of her guilt, hope and peace were shed abroad by one who had words of comfort for her, and wounded her only that he might bind her up. It could be said of her soul, as it is said of heaven, The Lamb is the light thereof.
Many are the instances in which conversion seems to be the immediate consequence of love and gratitude, and no anguish is felt, at the time, in view of sin. A need of Christ, as a Saviour, of course exists; but the overwhelming emotion is approbation of God's character and dealings, complacency in some particular attribute, gratitude to Christ for what he has done, an assurance of safety in looking at the cross of Christ, a conviction of the infinite. willingness of God to save sinners. There is nothing more absurd than to suppose that there is one process through which every mind must go, in ob
taining peace with God. Some have fallen asleep upon their pillows with strong crying and tears, and have waked from sleep in the morning, feeling that all creation was praising God, and with a heart to praise him too. Submission to God, in Christ, had taken place in that weeping, and, as a consequence, joy came in the morning, with the return of consciousness, after the composure of sleep. We cannot say that this, or that, or another order of thought and feeling is the way to find peace with God.
Are you, then, a sinner? are you discouraged? are you almost, if not quite, inclined to abandon hope, and all effort to save your soul, and to let the consequences of guilt come as fast and as fearful as they may? Does conversion, does religion, seem to you a mighty work, unattainable by you? and do you sink down, dismayed, at what you must do to be a Christian, and in despair at the recollection of past efforts, so fruitless, and, as you think, aggravating your guilt? How was it with this woman in our text? Love and gratitude led her on, and a sense of guilt and ruin made her come to the Saviour. Begin to love Christ, and all the conviction, and repentance, and faith, and hope, that you ever wished for, will flow forth from a regenerated heart; for he that loveth is born of God, and knoweth God.' I would go, then, to my secret place, as this woman went to the Pharisee's house, to find Christ. Press your way to
him, as she did with her box of ointment in her hand, to that chamber where Christ waits for you; there begin to thank and praise him for all that he suffered and has done for you. Think of nothing else; your sins, your ill desert, your past ill success, your future weakness, your fears; let all be forgotten, and begin to love your infinite Redeemer and Friend. What a way to be saved is this: to love the Saviour of the world. Thousands have proved it sure; why may not you?
"Canst thou not love the Friend who died
Thy burden to assume?
Who shrunk not from the crown of thorns,
The scourge, the cross, the tomb ?
"If heavy is thy weight of guilt,
Thy love should greater be;
Then He, whose blood for man was spilt,
Will shed his peace on thee."
MARTHA AND MARY.
LUKE X. 38, 39.
NOW IT CAME TO PASS, AS THEY WENT, THAT HE ENTERED INTO A CERTAIN VILLAGE; AND A CERTAIN WOMAN, NAMED MARTHA, RECEIVED HIM INTO
HER HOUSE. AND SHE HAD A SISTER CALLED MARY, WHICH ALSO SAT AT JESUS' FEET, AND HEARD HIS WORD.
THE characters of these two friends of Christ have always been deeply interesting to the readers of the New Testament. They are mentioned together in three places by the evangelists. The first is in the chapter of which the text is a part.
Martha seems to have been the head of the family, composed of herself, her sister Mary, and her brother Lazarus. That they were in easy, if not affluent, circumstances, appears from several incidents in their history. On the occasion mentioned in the text, it seems that Christ, and probably some, if not all, of his disciples with him, who went with him in his daily walks, were entertained by Martha at her house. The sudden entrance of so many strangers
imposed much care and responsibility upon the head of the household; and hospitality being a great study, and one of the most important of customs in the East, the mistress of the family had many things to think of and to do, especially for such a guest as she esteemed Christ to be. We may infer that Martha was a woman who took great pains with every thing which she did, and made much of every duty, and perhaps of every trouble; being of an anxious disposition, and yet a woman of great energy, of stirring habits, thorough, and ambitious to have every thing done in the best manner. So, as soon as her guests had entered the house, it may be without much previous notice, her whole soul was absorbed with entertaining them. The servants must provide water for the hands and feet of the guests; refreshments must be immediately set before them, and afterward a repast in the form of a regular meal.
But Martha was not content to let things proceed in a simple manner, with a word now and then to direct the course of affairs; but she laid herself out to do more than was necessary, and was 'cumbered about much serving.' In the midst of her anxiety to provide and arrange her entertainment, she missed her sister, and found that she was seated, according to the custom of inquirers in those days, at the feet of Christ, and was listening eagerly to his conversation.