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body, the union with Christ can never be dissolved, since that union implies that a man will be nourished up to eternal life.
The commendation of Mary was intended as advice to Martha. Not only was she to cease her anxiety about many things, but she was to seek more fully the one thing needful. And the effect of this advice was not lost upon her. We find in her subsequent bistory, that she was equally disposed to find a place at the Saviour's feet. When that dreadful affliction—the death of Lazarus-had taken place, and it was announced that Jesus was near, she left her company and her work and bastened to meet Him. And in. deed some have supposed that, in this latter instance, ber zeal to be with her Lord even excelled that of Mary. But the fact that Mary was not equally swift to fly to the friend of friends was, as we are told, because she know not that He had come. Her more silent disposition may have led her to that retirement, which rendered her less apt to hear of His approach, while Martha's more active employment required her to be more in the way of getting the blessed information first. Both of them hastened to Jesus upon the first intimation that He had blessed their home with His presence. And then He made the resurrection of their brother attest that all power was given unto Him, and that with that power at work in their behalf, that better part that they had chosen could never be taken away from them.
But has this subject no lesson for us? Surely we are here taught, that we may run into worldliness even when pursuing those lawful avocations that are not sinful but good in themselves.
It is remarkable that she, who seemed upon another occasion to be extravagant in anointing the Saviour's feet with precious ointment, was the same one who sat at His feet and heard His words, while she who was busied with what are regarded as the necessary duties of life had the spirit of a worldling—that she who brought the rich and the beautiful into the service of God was not making great waste, but received the commendation of the Saviour, while she whose heart was engrossed with what the world would call practical things came under the censure of the Holy One. And indeed it is on the plea of necessity and duty, that men are most apt to excuse themselves from God's service, but just here the fault lay in the case before us, and just here it often rests. When men have this subject brought home to them, they say they are not engaged in that which is bad, but good and proper. So far as actions go, they may even appeal to God for an approval. Their business may appear to them to be honorable, and they may seem to prosecute it with a view to good. And it is not taught here or any where else, that these things are opposed to religion. On the contrary, all of our duties here are to be taken up and sanctified by religon, and thus made a part of religion. But it is meant and taught, that we may become so absorbed in our worldly avocations as to make them an end, instead of a means to an end, and thus come under the condemnation here pronounced against Martha.
What was her anxiety? To feed a weary and hungry Saviour,
and yet in her care for this matter she was kept from learning the higher truths He came to teach. And how many Martha's are there now, whose household duties keep them from the sanctuary and their closets, where, as at the feet of Jesus, they might and ought to learn those things necessary to make them wise unto sal. vation? Let such remember that while, they are to discharge every obligation of life, there yet may be enough in the preparation of a single meal to keep them from the Saviour. No matter for whom it is intended. If Christ Himself thought the hope of ministering to His bodily wants insufficient to justify a neglect of higher communion with Him, then the plea of etiquette or hospitality or obligation is not admissible in any case. The servant is not greater than his Lord, and no one has a right to ask, nor have we a right to do, that which conflicts with the great interest the Son of God came to secure. And this is the great test we are to apply. Do the affairs of this life by their outward requirements, or by their inward care and anxiety, interrupt or embarrass our life with God? If they really do not, then more or less latitude may be allowed in the various circumstances of life, but if they do, then every thing must be sacrificed that Christ may be all.
And this remark holds good in regard to any work or business. A man may in his very efforts to obey God, in being "not slothful in business," fall unconsciously as it were into that worldliness of spirit, which will make him neglect the one thing needful. Men often say they are not engrossed in the affairs of the world—that they are not unduly anxious about them. And these things may pot trouble them as long as they can give them their undivided attention, and thus bave a sort of human assurance, that all things are going on well. But let some circumstance, and especially a religious duty call them away from their business, or keep them longer than they had expected, do they not grow impatient under it? Is there not a restless anxiety shown in regard to it? Yea, do they not seem like Martha to complain, that there is no proper appreciation of their circumstances ? If now on the other hand some combination of circumstances, or press of business, conflicts with a known religious duty to which they have been accustomed to attend, are not their hearts and minds easily satisfied ? Does not the plea of necessity come up as a sufficient salvo to conscience? Which then has the highest place in the affections ? Which occupies the most time and attention, and anxious thought? These are tests that are hardly ever applied, and yet they are just such tests as should be applied.
Indeed we do not know ourselves on these points. It is not easy for us always to judge whether God or the world has the highest, uppermost place in our hearts. If when we are commanded to en. tertain strangers, knowing that some have thus entertained angels unawares, we yet find that she who honestly endeavored to entertain the Saviour himself, fell into sin, let us not think ourselves free from a possible condemnation in our best acts. Like Martha we may confidently appeal to Heaven for a justification of
our worldly activities, and yet find that our actions are of the earth rather,—that the anxieties that consume us, are rendering us in. sensible to the one thing needful. That good part that cannot be taken away from us, does not consist in the cumbering cares of this life, but in union and communion with our Lord Jesus Christ. And that union and communion may be attained by any one. "If any man love me," says the Saviour, "he will keep my words, and my father will love him and we will come unto him, and make our abode with him.” “Behold I stand at the door and knock. If any man hear my voice and open the door, I will come in and sup with him and he with me.”
Do these words of our Divine Redeemer mean any thing?
"SUFFER AND BE STRONG.”
Through all the cloud-hung corridors
And heaven-domed halls of Time,
Whose teachings are sublime-
Whose prophet tones have thrilled,
Through ages was fulfilled.
And prouder than the song
Of “guffer and be strong."
In hermit cell and dungeon home
Sang prophet, bard, and sage.
Above their burning page ;
The vale of coming years,
Of human griefs and fears ;
Of calumny, and wrong,
Is “suffer and be strong."
Nor from the misty past alone,
Through visions far and dim,
Come floating down the hymn;
Of human life is stirred,
A victor song is heard.
And sometimes proud and long,
Of “ suffer and be strong."
And white lips over aching hearts
Are sadly pressed to-day,
To hide his woes away;
And shut her sobbings in,
Of suffering to win-
They open to the song
Of “suffer and be strong.”
And youthful feet press bleeding o'er
The thorny path of life;
Have fallen in the strife ;
And strove with bitter tears
Yet through these darken'd years
Its coldness, doubt and wrong ;
Who suffer to be strong.
THE BOY AND HIS PIECE OF MONEY.
FROM THE GERMAN OF HOUWALD BY THE EDITOR,
A poor old blind man sat at the corner of a street, and whenever he heard the sound of passing footsteps he raised his imploring voice. He was dependent on the gifts of charity he thus collected, for his daily bread. Every sympathizing passer-by gave him something, or if he had nothing to give, addressed to him at least the comforting words : "God be with you !"
The good man then always prayed for those who aided him. A boy, who passed him on his way to a neighboring village wbither he was going to visit an aunt, and celebrate a festal holiday, halted before the blind man and contemplated him with much sympathy.
“The poor man,” he thought within himself, "is not able to be. hold the field and meadows, and God's beautiful sun; before him all is dark as it is to me in the darkest night; he cannot labor, and would have to die of hunger if people did not assist him. How unfortunate am I, that I have nothing to give him! When I am grown up, and am rich enough to do it, I will give an alms to every poor man I meet.” Thus thought the boy as he was tender. ly viewing the poor blind man before him.
"God bless you, good man !” he exclaimed at length, as he was about to pass on. The blind man recognized his voice as that of a child, and said: “Thank you heartily, my child ; God bless you also, and let you live to become a good and an honest man!”
This beautiful wish of the unfortunate man affected the boy deep. ly, and a tear stood in his eye. "O how very, very unfortunate I am in having nothing to give him,” said he as he slowly resumed his journey.
Gradually the impression thus made upon him faded from his heart, and he found pleasure in contemplating the beautiful coun. try through which he passed, in hearing the birds sing, plucking flowers, and looking at those whom he passed on the road. Thus diverted in his way, he bad already nearly reached the village whither he was going. He already heard the music and the festal rejoicings of the children, when looking down he discovered a coin, balf covered with dust, lying before him in the road. Quickly he stooped and picked it up. It was a sixer, a small German coin of the value of three farthings. His heart beat with joy over his ex. cellent luck, and his first thoughts were of the poor blind man. "If I should run hastily back, and give him this sixer !” He turned round. If he were to hasten, it would take him only a quarter of an hour. How soon this could be accomplished! And then we must not count time when a good act is to be done.
Then he hesitated a moment, bethought himself that for this coin he could purchase something for himself at the festival, and that it would be unpleasant to pass between two rows of beautiful things spread out on tables for sale, and have no money to buy anything. It is a poor play when one has an empty purse. But for the poor man, who perhaps has nothing to day for dinner, a sixer would be sufficient to buy bread to satisfy all his needs. "And I,” he continued thoughtfully, “will have a good report with my aunt, and get cakes as many as I wish. Back with you then, and give the poor blind man the sixer; especially as I had no reason to expect that it would fall into my bands." "Still!"--again he stood hesita. ting. For a long time he had not been in possession of a sixer,
Whilst he was thus in a strait between showing a favor to the poor man and indulging his own expected pleasure, he saw a multitude of shouting children of his own age coming toward him, who were following a man who was bearing on his shoulder two puppets, Master Kasperle and little Madam Susan. He at once joined bimself to this delighted swarm, and with the rest followed after Master Kasperle and little Madam Susan. The man soon reached his little theatre in the market place of the village ; and in order to draw on the people began to exhibit his wonderful puppets. This was only the beginning of the interesting things which were to be
When a sufficient number had gathered around him, he announced a yet far more beautiful exhibition. For a sixer they could see by means of a magic lantern a multitude of excellent sights, kings and other great personages, all the prineipal cities of the world ; sun, moon, and stars also could be seen as though they were quite near! The most beautiful things could be seen! Crowds gathered around him. The boy stood undecided at the entrance, turning his sixer round and round in his pocket.
Every one obeyed the eall of the man. In order still better to