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some who, if possible, would postpone their works of faith and labours of love till even the judgment-day. To such, the “hath done,” as in the case of Mary, does not apply. Not even the Saviour could make manifest their works.
Others would go down the hill of life with the smallest possible amount of practical religion upon their shoulders. They desire just as much Christianity as will smoothe their path amongst the various walks of life. Instead of doing all they can, their aim is to do as little as possible, judging that, when in the cause of Christ they do anything, then they do everything
Another class, existing, we think, for the most part, within the definitions of dogmatic theology, would esteem it a perversion of the doctrines of grace to add any work at all to the graces of the Spirit. This is that Anti
. nomianism which, while it professes to rest its all to the faith of Christ Jesus, forgets the course of action which He pursued while on
earth, and which He demands of all His followers. It preaches, too, repentance toward God, and professes to weep in sorrow over the sinfulness of degraded humanity ; but evinces, by its own fruitless life, that it wants what it inculcates, and contributes to that which it deplores.
Now, standing out in bold and very beautiful relief to this threefold misrepresentation of the religion of the Bible is the Scripture picture of the pious sister of Martha and Lazarus, by the unerring hand of the Great Teacher. There sat at meat the humble Jesus in the hospitable dwelling of Simon of Bethany. The leprous host may be seen bending under his incurable malady. The gentle Mary stood behind her Saviour anointing His head, and the indignant disciples, with sour countenances, paced about restlessly, under a mistaken sense of the character of Mary's work. Deeply significant, as well as interesting, is this picture, drawn, not upon canvas, but by the pen of inspiration in the Word which liveth and abideth for ever.
Humanity, in its various phases, strikes the eye of the beholder. Suffering and sin come out in their darkest colours, whilst the light of a more than human sympathy sheds its enlivening radiance around. The loving saint and the applauding Saviour are objects of chiefest and intensest interest; for blended here were emotions and actions which may well pre-figure the
measure of that Divine and human fellowship of which the Church of the living God should be the pattern in all ages. Very near is the converse to which the Friend of Sinners admits uis, and very great is His sympathy with His every despised and trembling one in the hour of trial; for, though in glory, He still wears His spotless robe of humanity, to enclose within its folds those who dwell on earth. And they whose fellowship is with the Father and His Son Jesus Christ have obtained for themselves a relationship which shall last when the fretful murmurs of a mistaken or misplaced philanthropy will be overpowered by the abundant outpourings of an active Christian benevolence. In another part of her history, Mary is seen in the character of a contemplative believer.
She sat at the feet of Jesus and heard the Word "—the true position of the true Christian in all ages. They are in the right place who hear the Word of God at the feet of Christwho, in deepest humility, reverence, receive, and silently ponder on the message of peace which God has sent down from His upper sanctuary. It is on such occasions, when the soul is as alone with God, with its meditations and aspirations going out uninterrupted after Him, that He is most felt to “dwell in very deed with man on the earth.”
Then is a season of sweet communion maintained, which, begun on earth, is perfected in heaven.
Besides being a contemplative believer, Mary was also an active believer. She did by overt act what she could. No higher testimony could be given of human being, nor could human effort go farther. And yet it does not seem to have been much that Mary did. One would be ready to expect that she had done some great deed—some feat of moral daring, or some unrivalled work of religious achievement-the conversion, say, of whole multitudes to the truth of Christ—the emancipation from “ blood guiltiness” of a noted transgressor, or the planting of the banner of salvation upon some pagan stronghold. No; none of all these things did this regenerated one do. She purchased an alabaster box of ointment, and poured it upon the Saviour's head. This was all. And it was enough to send down her honoured name to remotest posterity. In this one instance she could not do more, and she could not love
She expended, probably, “her little all” in purchasing the spikenard, very precious ; and, in so doing, gave evidence of the selfdenial, the self-sacrificing love, and the principle of honouring Jesus that reigned within, and was ready to rule her outward conduct at all times and under all circumstances. Ah! how Emmanuel looks to, and loves the heart of the believer. It was not the precious spikenard that the Saviour cared for; for what did