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“ Woman, why weepest thou?"
Said Jesus to Mary. They were some of the first words that he spoke after his resurrection; so tenderly was he concerned for the comfort, as well as the safety of his friends and followers, " They have taken away my Lord,” says she, “and I know not where they have laid him.” Had it been as she imagined, there would have been sufficient reason for weeping ; for when Christ is gone, all is departed. But she was deceived: she was all the while talking with Jesus, though her excess of grief prevented her from knowing him. " The Lord is nigh to them who are of a broken heart, and saveth such as are of a contrite spirit.”
Shall I ask you, in the next words of Jesus, in the name of Jesus, and, I trust, in the presence of Jesus too, “Whom seekest thou ?" Your appearance here this day has a meaning; and your countenance seems to say, “Saw you him whom my soul loveth ?” Yes, we have seen him, full of grace and truth. We saw him walk amidst the seven golden candlesticks, and beheld the King in his beauty; and we hesitate not to affirm, that the liveliest and most elevated descriptions fall infinitely short of his excellence and glory. Lift up your heads, O ye gates, and be ye lift up, ye everlasting doors ; and the king of Glory shall come in. Take thy shoes from off thy feet; for the place whereon thou standest is holy ground. Does not your heart burn within you at the thought of be. ing with the Lord ? Be not surprised that you did not presently perceive it. It is not the first time that he Las been mistaken for the gardener. Nor let the splendor of his appearance terrify you; for he is meek and lowly in heart. The regards of a friend, the affections of a brother, the tenderness of a parent, are nothing to the compassions of our blessed Redeemer. He came down from heaven to seek and save you; and your meeting him here this day, is in consequence of his own gracious appointment. If Jesus should now turn back, and smile, and say to you, Why seekest thou me?" I presume something like this would be your language :
“ Blessed Lord, I seek thee, because I am ruined without thee. I owed ten thousand thousand talents to my Lord, and had not a mite to answer the dreadful demand. The law threatened me with vengeance and eternal destruction. Justice insisted upon the immediate execution of the sentence; and I, a poor, helpless, hopeless criminal, expected nothing but indignation and wrath, tribulation and anguish. Then I was told, and my heart leaped at the joyful tidings, that there was no condemnation to them who are in Christ Jesus. For this reason, Lord, I seek thee, that thou mightest deliver me from going down into the pit; for the sake of the ransom which thou hast provided. I am an impure creature, in me dwelleth na
good thing : all my powers and passions are depraved: but I loathe myself for all these evils; and have long endeavoured to purify myself to no purpose. But as I was ready to despair of success; I heard that the blood of Jesus Christ cleanseth from all sin ; and for this reason, Lord, I seek thee, that thou wouldst wash me thoroughly from myiniquity, and cleanse me from my sin. I am a distressed creature. Innumerable evils compass me about. Lord, how are they increased that trouble me! Flesh and blood, principalities and powers, the men of this world, and the prince of darkness, have been combining against me. In utter despair of maintaining my ground, I was ready to say, I shall surely perish by the hand of Saul; when I heard that thou givest power to the faint; and to them that have no might, thou increasest strength. For this reason, Lord, I seek thee, that thou would strengthen me; and that weak and feeble as I am in myself, I may be more than a conqueror through him who has loved me. I am ignorant too ; I know little or nothing of the only true God, or of Jesus Christ whom he has sent. I am shamefully unacquainted with myself; I am ignorant of Satan's devices ; and know too little of my duty or danger. I inquired the way to Zion, and would have set my face thitherward; but I should, notwithstanding, have perished in the wilderness, if thy Spirit, as a voice behind me, had not directed me to thee, and said, “This is the way; walk in it." For this reason, Lord, I seek thee, that thou wouldst open the eyes of my understanding, and lead me in the way everlasting. I am a dejected and comfortless creature; and I seek thee, who art the consolation of Israel, Let me receive out of thy fulness, grace for grace.”-0 woman, great is thy faith ; be it unto thee even as thou wilt.
If some such transaction as this has passed between Christ and
I think that I need ask, Woman, why weepest thou ? for your heart should overflow with joy, and your tongue abound in praises.
As I am persuaded that you have found Christ, I will now suggest some directions, that you may not be deprived of the enjoyment of his company. Avoid sin of every kind and degree, as that abominable thing which he hates. Implore, cherish, improve, and be thankful for the frequent and plentiful communications of his grace; and let it be visible that you have none in heaven but him, and that there is nothing upon earth that you desire besides him. Be contented and cheerful in every condition ; that Christ may see that his favour is your life, and that to you his loving-kindness is better than life. Be active and vigorous, always abounding in the work of the Lord; and thus your labour shall not be vain in the Lord. The Lord is with you while you are with him ; and if you seek him, he will be found of you : but if you forsake him, he will cast you off for
These things seriously considered, will render you an ornament to that society into which you are now admitted ; and a credit to that blessed Saviour whose name you assume; and may you never bring a reproach upon either. The Lord bless you, and keep you : the Lord cause his face to shine upon' you, and give you peace : with long life may he satisfy you, and shew you his salvation.
ON THE ADMISSION OF SEVERAL PERSONS TO THE
MICAH IV. 5.
We will walk in the name of the Lord our God, for
ever and ever.
This is a resolution of the greatest importance: for you
know who has said, “ If any man draw back, my soul shall have no pleasure in him.” Many have thus resolved, and apparently with all possible seriousness; who have, notwithstanding, miserably failed in the performance. Their lives are made up of the strangest inconsistencies. Sometimes they are zealous for religion; and at other times eager for sin and the world. They will make solemn vows on one day, and break them with little remorse on the next. Sometimes nothing will please them but the company of the people of God: and by the bustle they make, you would think they must outstrip the foremost of the followers of the Lamb. Presently after you see them loiter, and lag behind, as if they were ashamed of their company; and dropping off by degrees to the tents of iniquity.' Instances of this kind are lamentably common. I was glad, therefore, to find, that you were willing to come under the strictest bonds of Christianity; and that it is your