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that the Son of God came down among men, and that the great work of our salvation could not be accomplished without much labour and suffering. But these things were not then so clearly understood even by His own relations. Perhaps they thought that He was only risking a life, which to them was very precious, to no real purpose; and throwing away His kindness upon an evil generation to whom it would be of no use. Little did they think that Christ was then laying the foundation of all human happiness; and that there was no peace, no heaven even for His own mother and brethren, but what He was now providing for them. They were ed, no doubt, by kind though mistaken feelings. We might indeed have thought that the blessed Virgin would have already learnt not to interfere with Christ in His great designs, but to leave Him to His own unerring wisdom in all His works and words.
M. Yes, Mamma, for you know, when He was a child, He had told her very clearly that He must be about His heavenly Father's business.
M. And again, you remember, at the marriage feast our Lord had taught His mother, that in His gracious ministry no human wisdom, not even that of a parent, could direct Him. Yet notwithstanding all this we are not perhaps to wonder, that the blessed Virgin, with a mother's anxiety for the safety of One so holy, so glorious, so beloved, so revered, should forget occasionally what she ought to feel towards Him as Her Lord from Heaven, and think of Him only as her son. Nor would it do merely to try her feelings by those of other mothers, for who but she was ever blessed with such a son! If other mothers love their
children with a love, which none can know but those who have felt it, what must have been the love of her who was chosen the mother of the "Eternal Child ?"
Oh! who can wonder if the Blessed Virgin, sometimes in her fears forgot her faith, and, even at the risk of displeasing our Lord, would interfere to save Him from evil?
E. And what did our Lord say, Mamma? Was He angry with His Mother and His other friends for interrupting Him thus ?
M. He expressed no anger, my dear child; but only took this opportunity of teaching both them and all His hearers a most gracious and condescending lesson. For when one of the multitude came and said to Him, "Behold thy mother and thy brethren stand without, desiring to speak with thee, he answered and said, Who is my mother, and who are my brethren? And he stretched forth his hand towards his disciples and said, Behold my mother and my brethren! For whosoever shall do the will of my Father which is in Heaven, the same is my brother, and sister, and mother." As if He had said: "This interruption may proceed from kindness; it is, no doubt, great affection for me that leads my mother and my brethren to seek me thus; but there is a better love than this; a love more precious to me, a
love of my Father, which is in Heaven, which will lead them to do His will, however painful, or strange, or dangerous it may be; a love which will show them to be of His family, and so nearer, and dearer to me, than any earthly relations."
E. Mamma, I have sometimes thought what a happy thing it must have been to have belonged to our Lord's family on earth; I little supposed that we could be His relations in a sense so much higher and better. I should never have expected that He would have called us by such kind names.
M. His love to man is indeed inconceivably great; it is beyond all that we can imagine. What must His disciples have felt when He turned to them and said, "Behold my mother and my brethren?" What infinite condescension!
No doubt it filled them with
amazement as well as feelings may be ours. to each one of His followers, to each one of us, if we really love Him, and show our love by striving to do His heavenly Father's will. Of such, He himself has said, "The same is my brother and my sister and my mother!" It is not enough to say that each humble and devoted follower shall be considered as one of His people. There are far better, and happier things in store for them than this. Each one shall be united to Him so closely that the union can only be compared to some of the sweetest and most sacred of all earthly ties. Each one shall be as dear to Him as a brother, a sister, or even more, as a mother. Here is a subject for our thoughts, Edward: here is an object for our ambition! Let nothing satisfy us but a place in the Redeemer's family. What is earthly rank, what is human honour
with gratitude. And their What He said to them, He says
compared with this? Let our places in this world be such as God shall see fit for us to fill. We will not seek great things for ourselves in this way; but we will desire, above all things, to be numbered amongst the friends and relations of Christ. If He stooped so low to call us brethren, to adopt us into the family of God, we will never be content, until we feel that such a name, and such a place, do truly belong to us.
E. Mamma, I wish I could love our Lord Jesus Christ as much as I ought to love Him. But I am afraid I never shall.
M. It is indeed sad and painful to think, how cold our hearts are towards Him; that by nature we do not love Him at all; and that those who love Him best, and serve Him most sincerely, fall far, very far short of what they could desire to feel towards One who has done so much for them. These are thoughts that may well give us pain; that may well make us humble and of a contrite heart; but they must not drive us away from Jesus; they must rather lead us again to Him, and cause us to pray more earnestly to God, to pour into our hearts such love towards Him, that we, loving Him above all things, may obtain His precious promises, which exceed all that we can desire. Such a promise, Edward, as we have had to night; "Whosoever will do the will of my Father which is in Heaven, the same is my brother, and my sister, and my mother."
See Luke viii. 1-3. Mark iii. 19-35.
Matt. xii. 22-50.
TWENTY-EIGHTH SUNDAY EVENING.
CHRIST SPEAKING IN PARABLES.
E. I suppose, Mamma, our Lord did not return home with His mother and His brethren.
M. No; He did not allow the mistaken care and kindness of His relatives, any more than the malice of His enemies, to interrupt Him in His great and good work. He continued to teach the people, and the people also continued to throng about Him in great multitudes, following Him even down to the sea-side. There they crowded about Him to such a degree, that He entered into a ship lying close to the shore, and sat down there to teach them, so as to be able to speak to them more freely, and to be heard more easily by them.
E. What sea was that, Mamma? Was it the Mediterranean, for that is the only sea I can recollect near Palestine ?
M. The Mediterranean was called by the Jews the Great Sea. But you may remember that they were also accustomed to give the name of seas to their lakes; and that the lake of Gennesareth was likewise called the sea of Galilee. Capernaum, you know, where our Lord had just been teaching, was on the borders of this lake; and it was the same day, on which our Lord had been teaching there, that He went down to the sea-side.
E. Then, Mamma, it could not have been into a great merchant-vessel, or ship of war, that our Lord went, such as we have often seen, and travelled in?