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In progress of time, other guards and warriors have encircled Joseph's tomb. The armies of Europe and Asia have done battle for it; the wars of the crusaders were waged to rescue that same tomb from the infidels. To Joseph and his household, what associations must have been connected with that family tomb; and with what peace must he and they have buried their dead, to sleep in the Saviour's own bed of death. All the church of God thank and love thee, Joseph, for thy love and services to their Lord. They who give burial to a friend of ours that dies on a foreign shore, receive our thanks. He who took our Saviour from his cross, and laid him in his own new tomb, is a benefactor to the church of God. Forever, in the history of redemption, Joseph will be remembered in connection with his Saviour's death. As he bows in heaven at those sacred feet, he remembers that he once composed those bleeding feet, those bleeding hands, that bleeding head, for burial. At the last day, when, Judge of the world, Jesus shall sit with the nations at his bar, Joseph will remember, I laid him once in my own new tomb.
If, then, we wish for enduring honor and happiness, we must connect our names and influence with Christ and his cause. To be the builder and owner of all the pyramids, mausoleums, and obelisks of Egypt, and have your names and deeds emblazoned there, is not to be compared with being Joseph of
Arimathea, and the owner of that tomb. It is as true with regard to the most desirable reputation, as it is with regard to salvation, that other foundation can no man lay than that is laid, which is Jesus Christ. If you have influence to exert, it will, at last, be comparatively or wholly lost, unless it is in some way connected with his cause. If you
have riches, you will perish with them, unless you and they are connected with the Saviour. If you have talents and genius, you will come to nought, unless they are consecrated to Christ and his kingdom. The greatest earthly statesmen, compared with angelic greatness, or with many of the spirits of just men made perfect, would be unnoticed, like lamps, or watch fires, left burning after the sun is high.
Every one of us has his own peculiar opportunity of showing to Christ his attachment to him. Joseph had his; that act of love was his profession of faith and piety. There is something for each of us to do, to test and show our love for Christ. It may not be published; but Christ, who sees in secret, will know it, and that will be sufficient reward. It is, therefore, a great mistake to think of religion only as we think of a shroud - an accompaniment of death. Lost time is most to be deplored for the loss of opportunities to serve and honor Christ.
While you have been considering this narrative, perhaps your love has been awakened toward Joseph for his conduct.
Do you love Joseph for
taking that body from the cross, and laying it in his own tomb? The Redeemer himself gave up that body to the cross for you; he went to the tomb for you; will you love the friend of Christ, and not love your infinite Friend? Your sensibilities can be moved by the tale of generous love and attachment in a fellow-creature; have you no emotion and no tears at the thought of Him who endured such grief, and bore such shame, and drank that bitter cup, and went from the ignominious cross to the sepulchre for you? Joseph begged the body of Jesus of the Roman governor. Jesus, when your soul and body were captives to Satan, encountered Satan, with agony unknown, and rescued you; "and having spoiled principalities and powers, he made a show of them openly, triumphing over them in it."
The door of the tomb will soon open, or a newmade grave wait, for you. But faith in Christ and love toward him will enable you to say, as David in spirit said on behalf of his Lord and Saviour, My flesh also shall rest in hope." Your dust will then be the object of love and care to Christ, far more than his body was to the rich man of Arimathea; and at length you shall follow him from the sleep of the grave into life everlasting. "FOR IF WE HAVE BEEN
PLANTED TOGETHER IN THE LIKENESS OF HIS DEATH, WE SHALL BE ALSO IN THE LIKENESS OF HIS RESURRECTION."
THE WOMEN AT THE SEPULCHRE.
MATT. XXVII. 61.
AND THERE WAS MARY MAGDALENE, AND THE OTHER MARY, SITTING OVER AGAINST THE SEPULCHRE.
JOSEPH and his companions had rolled a great stone to the door of the sepulchre, and had departed. The silence of death and the grave had succeeded to the excitement of the crucifixion; the disciples were 'scattered every one to his own,' and left their Master in the narrow house. Two women, however, could not leave the spot. Enchained there as by a spell or trance, they sat down in the garden, when others had left the place, and gave themselves up to the luxury of grief. "And there was Mary Magdalene, and the other Mary, sitting over against the sepulchre."
"The other Mary," here mentioned, was the mother of James, and Judas, (not Iscariot,) and Joses, and, some say, Simon Zelotes. Two, if not three, of her sons were of the twelve apostles Happy mother!
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By what methods of pious faithfulness and a godly life did so many of thy sons become such men that Jesus honored them with so great a distinction? Thou art called simply "the other Mary." But what a mother she must have been. We should expect that such a mother would love Christ ardently; and here we find her, while a great stone is rolled between her and the burying-place of her Redeemer, sitting over against it, as the dearest spot on earth in her affections.
Her companion is Mary Magdalene, a name to which, in the opinion of many judicious critics, injustice has unintentionally been done, partly through the inadvertence of readers of the Bible. Asylums for once depraved but penitent women are distinguished by her name, as though she were at the head of this class of sinners and penitents. But some insist that there is not a word in the Bible to show that she herself was a depraved woman. She is named in honorable connection with Joanna, the wife of Chuza, Herod's steward, who, it is thought, would not have subjected herself, being the wife of a high officer under government, to an association with such a woman as many suppose Mary Magdalene to have been. That seven devils had had possession of her, it is said, is no sufficient proof of her loose character. We are reminded that children were subject to demoniacal possession, and Mary's good standing