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that men have even thought they could trace | And in what manner is she about to lose ber the features of the Virgin, which they pre- beloved Son? He dies a death, he suffers a tend to have seen delineated by St. Luke, in martyrdom of unexampled agony. She sees a picture drawn for an empress who suppos. those hands, which had so often dispensed ed she had found her tomb; they have also blessings, cured diseases, fed the hungry, detailed the slightest circumstances of her clothed the naked, and wrought so many milife and death. To give a shadow of plausibi- racles, pierced with nails. She beheld those lity to these impositions, they have attributed lips, on which dwelt grace and beauty, and them to persons of celebrity, from whose from which had flowed the accents of mercy, names they might derive popularity; of scandalized by the impurities of the furious this nature was a work published in the se. Jews. That royal head, which the crown of cond century, entitled, “ The Life and Death the universe would become, torn and lacera. of the Blessed Virgin,' and placed among the ted with thorns; that arm destined to wield the apocryphal books. And as all these histories had no other foundation than the imagina- sceptre of the world, bearing a reed in mocktions of their authors, we perceive a diversity ery. She saw the temple of her God; that of šopinions, similar to the diversity of the temple which had been distinguished as the persons, from the fertility of whose inventions peculiar abode of the divinity, which had been they sprung. Some maintain that the holy blessed with peculiar manifestations of his Virgin suffered martyrdom ; others that she wisdom, his glory, his justice, and his mercy, followed St. John 1o Ephesus, where she and all those perfections which belong to the died at a very advanced age ; others assert Supreme Being, falling beneath the attacks of that after her death she arose from the grave: the impious multitude. She heard the voice of but others have carried their theories still the children of Edom, crying, ' Down with it, farther, and pretended that she was taken up down with it!' and levelling the dwelling of to heaven in a chariot of fire, as was Elias the Most High with the ground. Then she But we will turn from the consideration of beheld the full accomplishment of that saying, this subject, and employ the rest of our time of which she could not formerly perceive the in considering the two principal branches of meaning: 'A sword shall pierce through thine our subject.

own soul also,' Luke ii. 35. Again, she was 1. The conflict passing in the minds of those denied the sad consolation of approaching this who behold the last moments of those who are her beloved Son, to comfort him, and to redear to them.

ceive his last breath. O ye, his murderers, II. The conflict, or rather the triumph, of allow her at least to embrace him once more ; those who thus expire.

let her shed her tears by his side, and bid him 1. The case of Mary exeinplifies the con- a final farewell ; let her stop the blood which flicting emotions that agitate the souls of those has began to flow in large drops, and consumes who surround the dying pillow of their dear- the remainder of his nearly exhausted strength. est relatives. Nature, reason, and religion, O let her approach this expiring Prince, and all must lend their aid to support their trem pour a healing balm into its wounds. But no : bling courage. And let me inquire, who is she is forced to yield to the violence of those there among you, my brethren, who sufficient- who surround her; the thick darkness obliges ly feels the force of the demonstration of which her to depart, all the care and tenderness that his proposition is susceptible. If any of you she could show to our Lord, all her tears are have concentrated your principal care, your useless. Holy woman, if all generations warmest affections, on one object, on one fa- shall call thee blessed,' Luke i. 48, because vourite child, to whom you have looked for thou wast the mother of thy glorious King consolation in trouble, whom you have regard- and Redeemer, shall not endless ages comed as the honour of your house, to whose filial miserate thy grief, when destined to behold tenderness you have trusted for the support of him suffering so shameful and agonizingad arh. your declining years ; to the feelings of such a But I mentioned also that reason and faith one I appeal, to picture to his mind a scene led the holy Virgin into a conflict of a differwhich baffles all attempts at description, ent nature. How could a human understandLet him put himself in the place of Mary, and ing, even with the aid of reason and religion, view in the death of our Saviour, that of his pierce the thick veil that covered the divinity beloved child : he will still form but an imper- of our Saviour, at the time of his crucifixion. fect idea of the mental agonies which Mary If the mystery of the cross surpasses and was suffering. She beheld ber Son, whose startles our finite imaginations now, when it birth was miraculously announced to her by is announced to us by a preacher, who gives an angel; that Son, on whose appearance the us the infallible word of God as security armies of heaven sung with triumphant joy; been its effect on the minds of those who be

whereon to rest our belief, what must have that Son, whose abode on earth was a distin- held Christ suffering by the hand of murderguished course of mercy, charity, and comPassion ; she saw him, whose abode on earth ers, chosen of God for this purpose Every crowned it with blessings, ready to quit it for exactly foretold by the prophets of old ; and

circumstance of his passion, had indeed been ever. She anticipated the frightful and drea- the close accordance, the great barmons; ry solitude in which she was so soon to be that was visible between the prophecies, and plunged; she viewed herself forsaken and dc- their accomplishment, ought to have carried serted by all, deprived of the de rest object conviction to the minds of all who attentiveni her affection; the rest of the world appear- ly considered the subject. The presumption ed to her a blank, as if she remained alone, certainly was strong, that he who so well fui403ng only inhabitant of the spacious filled the humiliatorv and painful part of the prophecies concerning him, would likewise cept I shall see in his hands the print of the verify those parts that referred to his exalta- nails, and put my finger into the print of the tion and glorious triumph. But the specta- nails, and ihrust my hand into his side, I will tors of the death of Jesus, saw only his de- not believe,' John xx. 25. Thus, although gradation; his glory was yet to come ; death we are disposed to think very highly of the had now seized his victim, and his resurrec- virtue and constancy of these holy witnesses tion was to them uncertain ; the predictions of the crucifixion of our Lord, we dare not of his humiliation were fulfilled, but they propose them as models for your imitation; had not seen the accomplishment of those although we have a strong conviction, that concerning his exaltation. This Jesus whom they did not fall under the attacks of the enewe now behold ready to expire, the thread of mies of salvation, yet we dare not affirm, that whose life is almost spun out, and who will they entirely triumphed over them; and in only come down from the cross to be laid in discoursing upon their conflicts, we dare not the tomb, and to go into the lower regions enter fully on the subject of their victory; of the earth, can this, I ask, be the promised But not so, when we look to our blessed and Messiah, who will 'ascend on high, and lead adorable Redeemer; if we place Christ before captivity captive, and receive gifts for men?' your eyes, we give you a perfect model : you Ps. Ixviii

. 18. Can this same Jesus, that we shall see him struggling, and you shall also see wearing a crown of thorns upon his head, see him more than conqueror; we shall speak with a reed in his hand, addressed by the in less of his struggle, than of his conquest : sulting titles, Jesus of Nazareth, king of And Jesus seeing his mother, and the discithe Jews,' John xix. 19, be the Messiah, of ple standing by whom he loved, he saith unto whom God says, I have set my King upon his mother, Woman, behold thy son. Then my holy hill of Zion. Ask of me, and I will saith he to the disciple, Behold thy mother ; give thee the heathen for thy inheritance, and from that hour that disciple took her to and the uttermost parts of the earth for thy his own home.' possession ? Ps. ii. 6. 8. Is he whom I see We are to remark in this place, First, the insulted, despised, and lightly esteemed, is presence of mind, that showed itself through he the Messiah, called by the prophets, Won: all the sufferings of Christ; no man was ever derful, Counsellor, Prince of peace, the ever- placed in circumstances so likely to destroy lasting Father! Isa.ix 6. This Jesus, who this feeling, as was our blessed Lord at this now is nailed to an ignominious cross, is he time. My brethren, when we have lived as the Messiah, the Lord to whom God said, men generally do, without thought or reflec“Sit thou at my right hand, until I make thy tion, except of the things and affairs of this enemies thy footstool. The Lord shall send transitory world; and paid no attention to the rod of thy strength out of Zion; rule thou that future day of judgment, which is so fast in the midst of thy enemics. Thy people approaching, and when our eternal destiny shall be willing in the day of thy power, in will be determined; when we behold the comthe beauties of holiness; froin the womb "ing of death, and have made no preparation of the morning thou hast the dew of thy for it, never fixed our thoughts on religious youth? Ps. cii. 1-3.

subjects, nor acted agreeably to the dictates I know not, my brethren, what were the of conscience; have not restored our ill-gotfeelings of these holy women, and this ten wealth ; if we have slandered our neighbeloved disciple, at this trying period; what bour; have made no reparation ; have never rays of comfort were afforded to them, learned what is the end of our existenee, nor to lighten their mental darkness; nor what what is death ; can we view the approach of assistance was granted them in this con. the king of terrors, under these circumstanflict. But I know, that the cross of Christ ces, without emotion ? will not our minds be is a stumbling block to the Jew, and to filled with confused ideas, and overpowered the Greek, foolishness. I know that the with the multiplicity of concerns; and having Jewish nation liad, in all ages, fixed their at. so many objects pressing on them, be pretention on the glory of the Messiah, and for vented from attonding to any. got his previous humiliation; and I know But if we have, on the contrary, been, duthat even the disciples of Christ, trembled at ring the whole course of our life, considering the name of the cross. St. Peter hearing his our latter end, and following the example of divine Master speak of his approaching death, our blessed Saviour; have always been dilisaid. Be it far from thee, Lord, this shall not gent to do the work of the Lord, and have be unto thee,' Matt. xvi. 22; and when Christ never lost sight of that awful period, to which spoke to them of a future resurrection, they we approach rapidly but insensibly; if such questioned one with another, what the rising has been our conduct through life, we may from the dead should mean, Mark ix. 10. meet death with calmness. When the ChrisChrist rebuked them, saying, 'O fools, and tian on his death-bed, beholds around him a slow of heart to believe all that the prophets weeping family, near relations and intimate have spoken,' Luke xxiv. 25. The women friends full of grief, he still is calm, he recame to the disciples to tell them, that they tains his self-possession through a scene so had been eye-witnesses of his resurrection; affecting. Death to him is not a strange obbut their information seemed more like the ject, he views it without alarm, and employs day-dreams of a confused imagination, than the moments that yet remain, in administerthe result of cool deliberation, or unprejudi ing consolation to his friends, instructing or ced judgment. Thomas, especially, notwith comforting bis family, or in the exercise of standing the testimony of these same women, religion. And this tranquillity of soul is perand that of the rest of the apostles, replied to haps one of the best characteristics of a hapthrose who said they had seen the Lord, 'Ex- 'py deatlı, and yields greater satisfaction than more triumphant expressions, for which there his adorable master; and that poverty and is less solid foundation. I have seen men in misfortune, so fatal to conmon friendships, whose minds the approach of death excites only served to animate his. But what assis. emotions that partake more of the turbulence tance or protection could she hope for from an of frenzy, than of zeal; they heap Scripture apostle dovoted to his ministry, and treading upon Scripture, and prayer upon prayer, and in the footsteps of his crucified master. It was, from not having thoughi soon enough of their my brethren, but a poor hope, a feeble corso. last moments, they can now think only of them, lation, for his mother to cling to; but here and can neither see, nor hear, nor think, of any thing else. How different were the last again we see the triumph of Christ, which he moments of Christ; in the midst of all his gained over those fears, which so often disturb agony, be still distinguished from the crowd the bed of death. We see in the last moments of spectators his mother; he saw her, and of our Lord none of those suspicions, none di pitied her, and recommended her to the care those bitter cares, that so often empoison the of his beloved disciple. Woman, behold thy peace of the dying; that criminal distrust of Son, Son, behold thy mother.

God, which offends him at a time, when by We see secondly, the tenderness and com- prayer and praise we ought to conciliate his passion of our Lord. There is a certain dis- favour. Christ displayed on this, as on other position in some, that partakes more of fero- points, a perfect confidence in the great Discity, than piety; that possesses none of the poser of all events. But Christ triumphed amiable properties of true religion. On pre- again in another way, in which we should entence of being Christians, they cease to be deavour to imitate him. Do you say what men: as they must one day quit the world, will become of my children, or my family? they will form no connexions in it. Being Do you think that you were the only person occupied with the concerns of the soul, they to whose care Gou could confide them, or that forget the care of this life, and the concerns if he calls you away, he will have no resource of it.

left for their subsistence? Do you think that The piety of Christ was not incompatible the manifold wisdom of God, can raise them with the innocent cares and concerns of life, up no other protector? Do you think that if he contributed largely to the pleasure of the paternal character excites in you such tenthose with whom he associated, he behaved der emotions, that he who is the Father of all, towards them with kindness, mildness, and does not feel them also ? Do you imagine that condescension. He changed water into wine, he who pardons all your sins, cleanses you at the marriage in Cana; he multiplied the from your guilt, snatches you from destrucloaves and fishics in the desert, to afford sub- tion, invites you to glory, will disdain to supsistence to those who followed him; he par; ply food and clothing, to those who survive took of the feasts to which he was invited and you? No, he will not: had they for their sole sanctified them with his heavenly conversa. tion.

resource, a man in such a sphere of life as This compassionate kindness shone most

was St. John, they would never be reduced to conspicuous in the period referred to hy the want. When my father and my mother forevangelist in the words of our text, the sake me,' said the psalmist, “the Lord taketh weighty cares of his soul, which lie was on

me up,' Ps. xxxii. 10. Let us also say, if I the point of yielding into the arms of his leave my father and mother in their old age, or Father, did not make him neglect his tempo. my children in their infancy, the Lord will ra! concerns, he thought of his mother's protect them. They will find a sbelter under grief, he procured her a comforter of her po- the wings of the Lord, and he will be their verty, and gave her a maintenance.

defence. But, my brethren, the example of Christ

Again, let us admire the firmness and selfis worthy not only of praise, but of initi- possession of our Lord: while beholding those tion. The same religion, which directs our objects that were most likely to sbake it, thoughts to a future state, and to the hour Christ was possessed of a tender heart. We of death, teaches us riglıtly to perform our have already noticed this, and will now consi. duties in the present life. A Christian be- der the principal circumstances in his life, that fore he dies, will regulate his affairs, make will justify this assertion. To this end, view his will, exhort his family, direct the educa. him going from town !o town, from province tion of his children, 'recommend to them pro- to province, doing good; see him discoursin; per tutors and guardians, and declare what familiarly with his disciples when he showed are his dying requests. But unhappy are them a heart full of loving-kindness. Behold they, who on their death-bed are wholly ta- him shedding tears over Jerusalem, and proken up with such cares; religion, while she nouncing these affecting words, an everlasting directs us to give them a portion of our atten. memorial of his compassion, 'If thou hadst tion, forbids their having it all. Look to the known, at least in this thy day, the things example of Christ, who seeing his mother which belong to thy peace, but now they are and the disciple whom he loved, said to his hid from thine eyes, Luke xix. 42. Behold mother, Behold thy Son, and to the disciple, him again, a short time before his death, occuBehold thy mother.

But how was Mary provided for, now she pied with care for his beloved disciples, who was under the protection of St. John; what his Heavenly Father that affecting prayer for

were to remain on the earth,

and addressing to was the prospect that she had before her: he them recorded in John xvii, with the feelings was poor: it is true, that he was disposed of a soul full of the tenderest emotions. Jesus faithfully to fulfil the trust reposed in him by ! was exemplary in the sereral relations of a

friend, of a master, and of a son. While he, this intrepid firmness of soul to those who combeheld around his cross only those whose ma- pose this congregation; O that we may every lice delighted to witness his agony and aggra- one on the bed of death feel some of its influvate his sufferings, he turned his thoughts, ence, and be enabled to exclaim, Come ye from earth, to that eternal world into which spectators of my agonies, draw near ye to he was about to enter. But what was the ef- whom nature has bound me by the closest ties, fect produced on his mind, by the sight of Ma- by the cords of love and friendship. Approach ry, of whom it is expressly said in Scripture, my friends, my children, that I may bid you a that he loved her. What did he feel when he final farewell: come receive the last pledges of beheld the disciple whom he had distinguished my affection, let me, for the last time, fold you by his peculiar friendship, and that other Va- in my paternal embrace, and cover you with ry in whose favour he had wrought such great my tears of affection ; but do not suppose, that miracles, “Ah, remove these beloved objects I would now draw tighter the cords which are far from me, take away every tic that binds so soon to be broken; think not that I would my departing soul to earth, your presence in- unite myself to you still closer at the time flicts a sharper pain than the nails which when God warns me that I must leave you pierce my hands; the sight of you is more in- for ever. I know you no longer; I know not supportable than that of my murderers.' Is father, mother, or children, but those who exthis the language of our Lord? No: far other- ist in the realms of glory, with whom I am wise; Christ remains firm, his courage is una- about to form cternal relationship, which will bated. He was armed with almighty power, absorb all my temporal connexions. and he entered this dreadful conflict with the Thus the opposite extremities of virtue full assurance of victory, and final triumph. seemed to meet in the death of our Saviour as After the first emotions of nature have subsi- in a common centre, the perfections of the ded, when he had glanced at the objects Godhead, holiness, compassion, constancy, around him, he rose superior to the things of pierced through the thick veil which shroudthis world, he knew that death puts a period ed his grandeur, his glory, his power, and his to all sublunary connexions; that the titles of majesty. O, ye witnesses of his death, if his parent, friend, and son, are only vain names, humiliation caused you to doubt his Godhead, when we come to the last hour. He no long his greatness of soul must have fully proved it. er recognised his relations according to the Behold the tombs open, the dead arise, all naflesh, he was going to form a new relationship ture convulsed, bears witness to the dying Sain heaven, to merge all earthly ties in the viour; the graces that shone forth in his death countless families of glorified saints, of whom are proofs of his noble origin, and his divine he is the head. He appeared to know no long. nature; such was the death of Jesus Christ; er that Mary who had borne him, giving her may such be our end. “Let me die the death no more the title of mother, but said, Woman, of the righteous, and let my last end be like behold thy son.

his.' Amen. Numb. xxiii. 10. O, why cannot I communicate a portion of

END OP VOLUME II.

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