But Mary kept all these things, and pondered them in her heart.
— No one can absolve himself from the duty of spiritual thought. The words which I have chosen for a text presents the duty to us with almost startling force. The mother of the Lord had received that direct, personal, living revelation of the purpose and the working of God which none other could have; she had acknowledged in the familiar strain of the Magnificat the salvation which He had prepared through her for His people; she might well seem to have been lifted above the necessity of any later teaching; but when the simple shepherds told their story, a faint echo as we might think of what she knew, she "kept all these things, &c.," if haply they might show a little more of the great mystery of which she was the minister: she kept them waiting and learning during that long thirty years of silence, waiting and learning during that brief time of open labour, from the first words at the marriage feast to the last words from the cross. And shall we, with our restless, distracted lives, with our feeble and imperfect grasp on Truth, be contented to repeat with indolent assent a traditional confession? Can we suppose that the highest -knowledge and the highest know. ledge alone is to be gained without effort, without preparation, without discipline, and by a simple act of memory? Is it credible that the law of our nature, which adds capacity to experience and joy to quest, is suddenly suspended when we reach the loftiest field of man's activity?
1. The SPIRIT of our study of the Incarnation must be love illuminated by faith, attested by the heart.
2. It follows that the AIM of our study will be vital and not merely intellectual.
3. If we have felt one touch of the spirit which should animate our contemplation of Christ Born, Crucified, Ascended, for us: if we have realized one fragment of the end to which our work is directed, we shall know what the BLESSING IS. know what it is to see with faint and trembling eyes depth below depth opening in the poor and dull surface of the earth; to see flashes of great hope shoot across the weary trivialities of business and pleasure; to see active about us, in the face of every scheme of selfish ambition, powers of the age to come; to see over all the inequalities of the world, its terrible contrasts, its desolating crimes, its pride, its lust, its cruelty, one over-arching sign of God's purpose of redemption, broad as the sky and bright as the sunshine; to see in the gospel a revelation of love powerful enough to give a foretaste of the unity of creation, powerful hereafter to realize it. To us also the Christ has been given. To us also the message of the angels has been made known. To us also the sign of the Saviour has been fulfilled. Happy are we — then only happy — if we keep all these things and ponder them in our hearts.
Parallel VersesKJV: But Mary kept all these things, and pondered them in her heart.