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lingly pass without some one thing at least being performed upon this blessed principle. Remember, “ that we are not our own, that we are bought with a price,'' that we should “glorify God in our bodies, and our spirits, which are his.”
ST. JOHN xi. 5, 6. “ Now Jesus loved Martha, and her sister, and La
zarus. When he had heard, therefore, that he was sick, he abode two days still in the same place where he was.”
ECCLESIASTICAL history records, that when St. John was so advanced in years as to be unable to fulfil his apostolic office, he was carried into the assembly of the faithful, and then delivered this emphatic sentence, as his last words, “ Little children, love one anothor.” This last expression is in entire accordance with his Epistles, and with the closing parts of his Gospel. They both in a peculiar manner breathe the spirit of love. In my
Lecture on the verses which precede
my text, we are told that the sisters of Lazarus sent this message to our blessed Saviour: “Lord, he whom thou lovest is
sick :" to which He returned this consolatory reply: “This sickness is not unto death, but for the glory of God, that the Son of God might be glorified thereby.” As this glory was to be manifested in a manner which was to try the faith and patience of these affectionate sisters—that the love of our blessed Saviour to them might not for a moment be doubted —the beloved disciple prefaces the particulars of our Lord's conduct, by this pleasing declaration: “ Now Jesus loved Martha, and her sister, and Lazarus." Having thus provided against any misconception, St. John makes known the dealings of our Lord : “ When he had heard, therefore, that he was sick, he abode two days still in the same place where he was.'
These words contain some particularly instructive and encouraging lessons, which I shall now proceed to unfold. May the Holy Spirit, the guide into all truth, grant us bis Divine assistance, for our Lord Jesus Christ's sake.
It will be recollected, that in the message sent to our Lord by these sorrowful sisters,
no mention was made of themselves. Fully occupied with the sickness of their beloved brother, they spake of him only, “ Lord, behold he whom thou lovest is sick.” But, my beloved friends, although their humility kept them from referring to themselves, the Holy Spirit, when inspiring St. John to record this narrative, directs him to make known, that not their sick brother only, but they themselves also, were partakers of the love of Jesus. “ Now Jesus loved Martha, and her sister, and Lazarus.” Love
be defined as goodness in action; or that pleasing affection, which, originating in a benign spirit, manifests itself towards some other object. Of this affection there are two kinds. One is a love of benevolence ; or that amiable grace which delights in seeing others happy. This is the love which our blessed Saviour bears to his people, when yet “ dead in trespasses and sins.” This is manifested by those gracious words spoken
by him in the tenth chapter of this Gospel : “ Other sheep I have, which are not of this fold: them also I must bring, and they shall hear my
voice; and there shall be one fold, and one Shepherd.” His piercing eye, looking through the Gentile world, or those parts of the earth which were then “full of the habitations of cruelty;" and seeing among them that great multitude that no man can number, of all nations, and tongues, and people who were given to Him by his Father, as his charge and his reward ; although his holy Soul could not but be painfully offended by their gross idolatry and abominable sins; still He loved them with a benevolent love. He longed therefore to bring them into his fold : “ Other sheep I have, which are not of this fold, them also I MUST BRING." No sooner, therefore, was he risen from the dead, than he commanded his disciples “to go
into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature.”
This benevolent love should never be forgotten. For as it is exercised without any other quality to attract regard than that of having an immortal soul,—a soul, therefore, capable of everlasting happiness, or misery,– it may be shewn to those who are yet farthest.