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supply an argument in favour of stand his doctrine, to treasure it up the Jewish and Christian Revela in her mind, and to derive from it tions which is absolutely unaswera. all the spiritual good which it reble, and which was formerly in a veals, and is intended to convey. great measure overlooked. The sub. So perfectly was she absorbed in ject, however, is not exhausted; this holy exercise, and interested in and I beg to call the attention of the discourse of Christ, as to be your readers to an instance of this apparently unconscious of what was kind, which I do not recollect to going on around her. For this she have seen noticed by any of our was warmly censured by her sister, learned apologists for the Bible. It and commended by her Lord. After relates to the characters of Mary a survey of the whole subject, the and Martha, as developed in the impression left upon the mind is, Gospels of St. Luke and St. John. that the sisters were both women of
The former of these Evangelists sincere piety, believers in Jesus, and states, that in the course of our cordially attached to him, and to Lord's journeyings, “he entered his cause and disciples ; but that into a certain village : and a certain they differed considerably in their woman named Martha received him mental character and constitution. into her house. And she had a Martha was generous, prompt in sister called Mary, which also sat speech and action, attentive to her at Jesus feet, and heard his word. household affairs, and somewhat But Martha was cumbered about irritable in her temper. On the ocmuch serving, and came to him, casion described by St Luke she and said, Lord, dost thou not care lost that command over her own that my sister hath left me to serve spirit which is equally necessary in alone? bid ber therefore that she order to the most efficient discharge help me. And Jesus answered and both of secular and religious duties. said unto her, Martha, Martha, thou Her mind was drawn out various art careful and troubled about many ways at the same time, so that she things : but one thing is needful: was scarcely able to determine which and Mary hath chosen that good object should next engage her attenpart, which shall not be taken away tion; and she resembled a person from her,” (Luke x. 38–42.) in a crowd, who is borne along in
It is not my design at present to various directions by a pressure inquire into the exact import of which he cannot effectually resist. every term used in this passage, On the other hand, Mary was but to direct attention to the view thoughtful, silent, meditative, rewhich it gives of the peculiar cha. tiring in her habits, and susceptiracter of the two excellent sisters who ble of deep feeling. The words of are here mentioned. Martha appears Jesus fell upon her tender spirit to have been the elder ; for she like dew upon the opening flower ; received ” Jesus “into ber house;" and when reproved by her sister, and she manifested a generous hos- she uttered not a word, but left pitality in her anxiety to provide an her case in the hands of the Lord, entertainment worthy of so distin- ready to abide by his decision, let guished a guest, and of his devoted it be what it might. disciples, who generally accompanied The facts described by St. Luke him in his travels, and shared in his are not related by the Evangelist toils and bardsbips. At that time John; but he brings these pious she was so fully occupied with secu- sisters before his readers on two lar cares and duties as to be entirely distinct and separate occasions, and inattentive to the instructions of from his narrative we derive preher Saviour. Mary, on the other cisely the same view of the charachand, placed herself at the feet of ter of each. From him we learn Jesus, in the attitude of a learner, that the “ certain village” where and listened with deep and silent they dwelt was Bethany, about two attention to the gracious words that miles distant from Jerusalem; and fell from his lips; eager to under that they had a brother named Lazarus resident with them, a man of of God, God will give it thee." It a kindred spirit, a “friend” to the would appear from these words, either Lord Jesus and to his disciples. that Martha had not then adequate During the Lord's absence, in a views respecting the Godhead of distant part of the country, Laza. Christ, or that she did not at this morus was sick unto death ; and the ment advert toit. Our Lord, therefore, sisters sent to Jesus, requesting him in effect, instantly asserted his essenimmediately to come and heal their tial oneness with the Father, saying, afflicted brother. After he had re. “I am the resurrection and the ceived the message “he abode two life;" meaning that the life of all days still in the same place where creatures is derived and perpetuated he was," apparently inattentive to from him, and that the dead are the sufferings of the family, but in raised by his almighty power. He reality intending Lazarus to die, added, “He that believeth in me, that he might have an opportunity though he were dead, yet shall he of raising him from the dead, in live : and whosoever liveth and bethe presence of many witnesses, lieveth in me shall never die. Bethus dernonstrating his Messiahship, lievest thou this ? She saith unto and presenting to the spectators, him," perhaps not comprehending the and to mankind at large, an addi. full import of his deep and weighty tional motive to believe in him. words, “Yea, Lord : I believe that Lazarus died; and four days after thou art the Christ, the Son of God, his interment, Jesus arrived at Beth. which should come into the world;" any, “ many of the Jews" having and that, therefore, everything thou come to the house of “Martha and sayest must be true, Mary, to comfort them concerning Mary's introduction to Jesus was their brother.” When the intelli. very different from that of her sister. gence of Jesus's arrival at Bethany Martha, though greatly affected, as was cominunicated to the sorrowing was natural, appears to have stood family, “Martha," with her charac- and conversed with the Lord; but teristic promptitude, of her own “when Mary came where Jesus was, accord, “went and met him ; but and saw him, she fell down at his Mary,” overcome by her feelings, feet, saying unto him, Lord, if thou and almost stupified with grief, “sat hadst been here, my brother had still in the house,” apparently inat- not died.” The strong emotions of tentive to every subject, but the her mind, which she could not reloss which she had sustained ; and press, it seems, rendered her unable she was only roused to leave the to utter another word. “When company, and go forth to meet the Jesus therefore saw her weeping, Lord, when her sister returned with and the Jews also weeping which a special message from him, saying, came with her, he groaned in the “The Master is come, and calleth spirit, and was troubled.” Her sor. for thee." When she had left the rows affected the whole company to house, the company, knowing the tears; and Jesus, who had argued intensity of her sorrow, said, “She with Martha, groaned and wept with goeth unto the grave, to weep Mary. The tender infection of her there;” a remark which they do grief was communicated to all prenot appear to have made in regard sent. to Martha, when she retired from The grave of Lazarus was a cave, the company.
and a stone lay upon its mouth; and When Martha approached the on coming to the place, Jesus di. Saviour, she said, "Lord, if thou rected the stone to be removed. badst been here, my brother had When this command was given, not died;" and then went on to Mary was silent, waiting the result; express her faith in him, and to but Martha, equally ready to speak intimate a hope that he might be and to act, interposed to prevent the speedily raised to life again by the exposure of the sacred, but now dispower of God. “But I know, that honoured, remains of her departed even now, whatsoever thou wilt ask brother. This interference with the authority of the Saviour, so unbe. To describe the ministry and actions coming, extorted from him the gen. of Christ, was the leading object tle reproof, “ Said I pot unto thee, which the writers had in view. In that, if thou wouldest believe, thou the accomplishment of their design shouldest see the glory of God?" they introduce two sisters -with (John xi. 1-40.)
whom the Lord was brought into All the incidents, then, contained intercourse. They do not relate the in this part of St. John's narrative, same incidents; but they ascribe to convey precisely the same view of the same persons, under circumthe character of these excellent wo. stances widely dissimilar, a series of mpep as that of St. Luke. And this actions and speeches, all of which remark will apply to the further agree with each other in the most account which St. John gives of the striking manner, and establish in parties in question.
both cases a coinplete identity of At a subsequent period of our character. When St. John wrote Lord's history he came again to his more copious notices concerning Bethany, where a supper was pro- Martha and Mary, he could not invided for him; not, however, under tend to give an illustration of the the hospitable roof of the pious character of these holy women, as sisters and ibeir brother, but “in it had been concisely depicted by the house of Simon the leper.” St. Luke; the perfect simplicity of (Mark xiv. 3.) These friends of his manner proves this to be imposJesus were present, doubtless by sible ; and the exact coincidence beinvitation ; and the conduct of each tween these two Evangelists could of the sisters was highly character. not be the effect of chance. We are istic. Though a guest, “Martha therefore brought to the conclusion, served;" for she could not bear to that these narratives are pure and be unemployed, and seems to have unmixed truth. The truth which delighted, above all things, to wait they contain is so pure, as not only upon her Lord. While he was re- to have emanated from honest clining at the table, after the man. minds, which were duly informed ner of the Jews, his feet drawn by means of patient research; but up behind him, “then took Mary,” from minds guided and directed by with a feeling too deep for words to the Holy Spirit, the Spirit of truth express, “a pound of ointment of and wisdom; according to the prospikenard, very costly, and anointed mise of our Saviour: “But the the feet of Jesus, and wiped his feet Comforter, which is the Holy Ghost, with her hair: and the house was whom the Father will send in my filled with the odour of the oint. name, he shall teach you all things, ment." This act, which appears to and bring all things to your rememhave been performed in perfect si- brance, whatsoever I have said unto lence, but with a full heart, was you.” (John xiv. 26.) The remarks severely condemned by Judas, the which are here made upon a part of thief,- for bad men are always the the Gospels of St. Luke and St. most censorious; but the Lord, who John, are equally applicable to the knew the grateful love of his hand whole of the sacred books; for “all maiden, justified her before the com. Scripture is given by inspiration of pany; and declared that wherever God.” For a volume of inspired his Gospel should be preached, truth, containing all necessary inthroughout the whole world, “this formation concerning the spiritual also that she had done should and eternal interests of mankind, O he spoken of for a memorial of what returns of gratitude and praise her." (John xii. 1-8; Mark xiy, shall be rendered to the Lord! How 9.)
awful is the responsibility which the Here, then, we have two distinct possession of that holy book inand independent narratives; and volves ! that of St. John, which was last That every person is naturally written, is one of the most simple possessed of a distinct and peculiar and artless compositions ever penned. character, is a fact of great practical importance. Human ingenuity is temperament, will inflict in a tender soon exhausted, and the finest speci. mind a wound productive of exqui. mens of art differ little from each site pain, and which will not be other; but the works of God are speedily healed. In two instances distinguished by an endless variety. Jesus reproved Martha, though with Through the whole range of the ani- great gentleness; but to Mary his mal and vegetable kingdoms we language was ever that of unmixed never meet with two objects that kindness ; for he would not break are precisely alike. The counten. the bruised reed," nor expose the ances of mankind are all various ; shorn lamb to the piercing blast. and the great Creator has iinpressed It is the calling of those who bear an equal variety upon their minds. his name, to be the “ helpers of each Every intelligent teacher of youth is other's joy ;” and in order to this, aware of this; and knows that he can they must “ learn of him who was make little progress in tuition' till he meek and lowly in heart.” A want has learned the temper and capacity of courteousness is the sin of many of each pupil under his care. Peo- professors of religion, who often ple are individually drawn by a pe- grieve such as they ought to soothe culiarity of disposition to some and encourage. particular course of action, and thus It is stated by St. John that the interests of society are secured; “Jesus loved Martha, and her sisliterature, science, art, commerce, ter, and Lazarus ; ” but it is evident manufactures, are all cultivated, to that Mary was his favourite character. the general advantage of the world. Perhaps a delicate state of health Religion sanctifies, restrains, and di. might render her incapable of her rects the peculiar dispositions and sister's activity ; but hers was emi. inclinations of mankind, but does not nently the religion of holy love, which take them away, except those which is indeed the medicine of life, the are directly sinful. Martha's acti. pearl of great price, the one thing vity, after she was brought under needful. It is this that renders us the influence of divine truth and like the God we worship, and fits us grace, was directed to holy purposes; for his kingdom and presence. This and the sensitive and retiring mind is the religion of the angels, and of of Mary, when filled with heavenly the spirits of just men made perfect; love, still felt acutely the pangs of and to excel in this is the great busibereavement, and still affected sin ness of the Christian life. Property, lence and meditation, in preference knowledge, ease, every thing, should to the noise and hurry of public life; be subordinated to this. though she was willing to make any sacrifice in honour of her Saviour. “God only knows the love of God: Christian Pastors, and indeed all
O that it now were shed abroad who are entrusted with the care of
In this poor stony heart ! souls, will do well to study the va
For love I sigh, for love I pine :
This only portion, Lord, be mine, rieties of the human character, that
Be mine this better part! they may meet the case of every one with due sympathy and appropriate “O that I could for ever sit counsel; and Christians, in all their With Mary at the Master's feet! intercourse with each other, should Be this my happy choice : remember tbat every mind is not alike My only care, delight, and bliss, constituted. An austere look, a My joy, my heaven on earth be this, harsh tone of voice, an unkind
To hear the Bridegroom's voice !" word, which would never be regard
DIDYMUS. ed by persons of firm and hardy
RABBINICAL EXEMPLIFICATION OF PATIENCE. Every man should strive to be occurred :--Two men, discoursing come as patient and forbearing as on the variety of human dispositions, Hillel, to whom the following fact and the probable extent of forbear
ance, had a dispute respecting Hillel. and suffering from grains of sand The one maintained that it was im- blown into their eyes if the shape possible to irritate or provoke him were oval, than they are at present sufficiently to make him lose his as the shape is round.” Again temper; the other, on the contrary, the man thanked him, and withasserted, that not only was it possi- drew, and Hillel returned to his ble, but that he himself would un- chamber, to resume the occupation dertake so to work upon Hillel's in which he had been twice interpatience as to force him into ill tem- rupted. Some little time elapsed, per. The result of their dispute and Hillel had just become settled was a wager of four hundred gold in his bath, when once more a knock pieces, which each of them staked; resounded at his gate, and “ Is and the challenger prepared himself Hillel within?” was demanded with to obtain an immediate decision. greater urgency than before. Once It was the eve of the Sabbath ; more Hillel, enveloped in his mantle, Hillel was in the act of performing went forth to meet the clamorous his ablutions, when a man knocked intruder. “What is thy wish, my at his gate, and in breathless haste son ?” he again inquired with inquired, “Is Hillel within ? I friendly voice. “If thou wilt permust see him immediately.” Hillel mit me, I would request thy answer arose, prepared to receive his visiter, to a question," said the stranger. vrapped himself in his mantle, and “ Thou shalt have it, my son," revent forth to meet him. “What is plied Hillel. “Why then, tell me, thy wish, my son?” was his greet- I pray thee, have the Africans broad ing. The other replied, “ I have a feet?” “This is an important question to put to thee.” “Do so, question, my son," said Hillel. “The my son," said Hillel. “Why have answer is, Because they live amongst the Babylonians round heads ?” bogs and quagmires; and the broader said the inquirer. “ Indeed, my their feet are, the less risk they run son," replied Hillel, “ thy question of sinking in those bogs.” “I have is one of great importance. The several other questions to which I reply thereto is, Because their mid- would solicit thy replies,” said the wives are not skilful.” The man man, “but I fear thou wilt be anexpressed thankfulness, and de- gry at my intruding on thy time." parted, and Hillel returned to his « Not in the least,” replied Hillel, former task. But scarcely had he adjusting his mantle, and seating commenced his immersions ere ano. himself: " whatsoever thou hast to ther knock was heard at his gate, fol- ask I will hear and endeavour to anlowed by the exclamation, “Is Hillel swer.” The stranger began : “ Art within? Is Hillel within?” Again Hillel thou Höllel, that is styled the Prince hastened to prepare himself, wrapped of Israel I" "Yes," was the reply. his mantle around him, and came “If thou art he," continued the forth. “What is thy wish, my man, “then I wish the like of son ?" inquired he. “ Í fain would thee may never again be found in ask thee a question,” replied the Israel!” “Why so, my son?" other. “Do so, and I will answer said Hillel, “ Because through thee thee,” said Hillel. “ Then tell me, I lose four hundred gold pieces,” repray, why have the Thermudians plied the man. “ Thou must in future round eyes? ” “ Really, my son,” he more prudent,” answered the sage. replied Hillel, “this question is “ Hillel is well worthy that such a most important. The answer is, Be- sum should be lost on him; but not cause they live among the sands, for twice as much would he lose and would be more exposed to pain his temper."-Hebrew Review.
THE OBSERVANCE OF THE SABBATH,
To the Editor of the Wesleyan-Methodist Magazine. It is some time since the Christian any measure, as intended to be propublic has heard mention made of posed for the adoption of the Legis