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the King of Glory care for a little ointment ? but it was the loving heart poured out at His feet. No doubt, Mary loved the poor as much as the traitor Judas, who stood behind her with the bag in his miserly grasp, murmuring with the other disciples against her seeming wastefulness. But she loved the honour of her Saviour most of all, and though we may not neglect the poor, we must pour out our best affections upon our Lord and Master. True, we cannot now reach His glorified head with our ointment, nor wipe His feet with the hairs of our heads, but we can give Him the adoration, the love, the praise of loving, grateful souls.
Withdraw, then, brethren, your mind's eye from the other parts of this picture—from Simon the leper, and the indignant disciples, and the village scenery of Bethany, with its palm trees and pomegranates, and look in upon the loving heart of the gentle Mary, and you will have at once the solution of the whole matter. There you will have the proof that “She hath done what she could.” Divine grace
could influence human nature to no greater extent than in the surrender of the whole heart to Christ. Threats or promises may bring to His feet patronage and patrimony, confessors and concordats. The fear of the rack, the inquisitorial cell, or the flames, will raise the cry of the Church where the voice of Christ is not heard. The hopes of gains, or of influence and honour, of seats beside the woolsack, and of thrones beside the altar, will call up signal witnesses for the Cross and the crown of thorns. But apart from the imperative operations of Heaven upon the soul, it is not in man to lay a whole heart at the acceptance and disposal of the Great Mediator. The world can procure professors, and the Church can command her servants, but Christ alone can create His saints. The “whole heart” which the Saviour asks is everything He who has given it has done what he could. He hath given it all, he could do no more. Therefore, they who would give but a part, who would divide their affections between themselves and the Son of God, who would expend their regards and effects, their time and attention, foremost on the creature rather than the Creator, are still of those whose names are yet unhonoured with the unperishable renown of doing what they could.
Religion does not indeed refuse its sanction to the operation of the inherent sympathies of our nature. Humanity may expend its utmost regards where pity or affection invoke their application, and piety need not, in consequence, suffer.
Placed in this world by the Creator, it were strange if, amid its kindred associations and gladdening exterior, there had not been—as truly there are—implanted within our breasts emotions and feelings to bind man to man, and knit soul to soul. But the Creator is 66
over all, God blessed for ever,” and for Him, therefore, must be reserved our chiefest regards. As rightful owner of the heart, He claims it as His own. And be well assured that the loveliest flower which blooms in the bosom of nature is the one most exposed to the dews and the sunshine of heaven. The forthputtings of mere natural principles, in their most gracious disclosures, are as those brilliant phenomena which sometimes glow in the sky, and dazzle the eyes of the beholder by their luminous appearance. But the Divine love of the heart --of the whole heart—is as that gentle star whose benign influence gilds alike the morning and the evening.
Recall, then, to mind the features of the love whose appellation is, “She hath done what she
, “ could." It is UNSELFISH, SELF-SACRIFICING, and CHRIST-HONOURING.
Not for its own sake does the love of the believer grow around the true vine. The ivy plant entwines itself around the dismantled ruin or stalwart tree for its own support; but the love of the " new creature" entwines the Cross for the sake of Him who died upon it, and to adorn the doctrines of God our Saviour, it will cling the closer to His person and cause when these are most exposed to the storms and billows of the world. Also, the love of the converted and consecrated heart will be thankful to God for the opportunity to make sacrifices for Him who gave himself for us. It will count all things but loss that it may win Christ, and be found in Him who so graciously bowed His head under the beneficences of her, of whom He also declared, “ Mary hath chosen that good part which shall not be taken away from her.”
” We need not surmise whether this good being's affection for her Saviour would have deteriorated in His estimation had she made no sacrifice for the "anointing of His body to the burial,” or had she not laid out, most likely, what money she possessed for this sorrowful purpose.
We need not be supposed to tell exactly how far the property test gave worth to the personal service. It is enough for us to perceive in the case how the Saviour approves of the principle which creates sacrifices, whether pecuniary or personal, for His own sake. These are not, indeed, required by His omniscience to know whether the love of God be in us; but