John 20:15

I. THE CAUSE OF MARY'S WEEPING. Try for a moment to think of the body of Jesus as being only that of a common mortal. Let the instance be that of one dear to yourself. The body has been safely laid away, and the earth heaped over it. Suppose, then, that in a morning or two you find the grave broken open and the body removed. Your feelings upon such an outrage would enable you to understand the feelings of Mary here. No feeling is more proper than that which regards the body of a dead friend as something sacred. Consider, too, what an extraordinary Benefactor to Mary Jesus had been. Out of her he had cast seven demons.

II. THE QUESTION COMES FROM THOSE WHO HAVE A RIGHT TO ASK IT. It is the question of angels, and it is also the question of Jesus. It is the question of those who know the real state of things, to one who in anguish is following a falsehood - one of the likeliest of falsehoods, indeed, but a falsehood after all. As to Jesus, he would ask the question with a sort of secret joy, well knowing how quickly those tears would be dried up, and how soon Mary would stand awed and gladdened before this stupendous revelation of immortality. The question was neither intrusive nor superfluous. How many are the tears and lamentations of ignorance! It seemed as if, in this matter of the Resurrection, the possible must become the actual, before even the possible could be credited. Jesus would not be astonished at this weeping of Mary; what he wanted was to deal with it promptly. He did not seek to weep with weeping Mary, but rather to have Mary rejoice with rejoicing angels, and with the rejoicing Jesus himself; and for once in the history of human sorrow this was possible. Mary would have been satisfied if she had found the corpse of Jesus: what shall she say when even more than the former Jesus appears? From the sense of absolute loss she passes to the sense of full possession. And yet, great as the joy was, it was not the greatest of joys, seeing it was only a revelation to the senses. This would not be Mary's last experience of weeping. Though risen from the dead, Jesus was about to vanish, so that the life in him might be manifested in another way. Mary had yet to win her way to the sober, steady gladness of the Christian's hope.

III. THE QUESTION IS ONE TO ALL WEEPERS. Many besides Mary have groaned over troubles of their own imagining. Many besides Mary have groaned over one thing, when they should have been groaning over something quite different. The feeling will not bear to be analyzed to its depths, and traced out to all its causes. Jesus can do little for weepers till they weep for the right things and in the right way. Oftentimes the right question would be, "Why are you not weeping?" We are glad when we ought to be sorry, and satisfied when we ought to be anxious. We may have had a very great deal of trouble, and yet all the time our cares have never gone deeper than our outward circumstances. It is hard to satisfy us in some ways, but very, very easy in others. Jesus will never complain that we are troubled about common losses and disappointments. Not to be troubled about these would only argue inhuman want of sensibility. But we should also be troubled because of our weakness towards everything that would make us Christ-like and well-pleasing to God. We need not bemoan the loss of an outward Jesus, a visible Jesus, a Jesus after the flesh; such a Jesus could do us little good. We want a Jesus within, blending with the life and making himself felt everywhere. - Y.







Jesus saith unto her, Woman, why weepest thou?
: —

I. HOW JESUS WAS HIDDEN FROM MARY. There are times when friends are unrecognized because of mental absorption or because of our belief that they are elsewhere, or because of a supposed moral impossibility that they should be there.

1. Mary was under the influence of unfavourable associations.(1) She had passed the interval doubtless with the disciples occupied with preparations for the completion of the embalmment. Her thoughts, therefore, were about the tomb in which the joy of her life seemed buried, and her companions would not exert any counteracting influence. The best answer to the calumny that they invented or dreamed the Resurrection is that they were all so unprepared for it. While the Lord was with them, disease and death fleeing at His presence, they could not believe that He would die. Now that He had died they forgot all His assurances that He would live again. It is not surprising, then, if Mary, drawn into the current of their unbelief and despair, should have her vision now dimmed.(2) In our own daily life, are we not continually drawn away into modes of thinking and feeling which operate to hide Christ from us? Modern teaching and example tend to weaken the realizing power of faith. Numbers tell us that our own wisdom and strength are sufficient to find the blessed life; that sin needs no cleansing in Christ's blood, and the heart no quickening by His love. Then there is the spirit of unconfessed doubt, more deadly than antagonism to trust in Christ, and indifference, which is more deadly still. All this helps to blind the spiritual vision.

2. Closely connected was Mary's false notion of Jesus. He was, despite His own promise, a dead Jesus to her. And so false thoughts of Him are largely the cause of unbelief and hatred on the one hand, and of doubt and hesitation on the other. Men are thinking of another Christ than He who came that we might have life — of the Christ as churches have often made Him — the Christ of creeds and systems, of the dead letter rather than of the living Spirit, of sect or school. And men's minds are so full of these representations that they do not know Him who is love.

3. Tears blinded Mary's eyes. So may sorrow, joy, excitement, dim ours. Our mistake may differ from hers. We may mistake the gardener for Christ. All do so who put priest, church, system, &c., in the place of Christ.

II. JESUS CONVINCED AND SUBDUED MARY. He had but to turn His eye upon her, and address His gracious words to her; and then when her eyes were opened and her ears caught the sound of His voice there was no doubt or hesitation longer.

1. Here we see the marvellous personal attraction of Jesus. Again and again do we find friends and foes impressed by His aspect. In the synagogue at Nazareth; in the Temple before the accusers of the woman taken in adultery; in the garden when the soldiers fell to the ground. Is the power of His personal influence lost because He is no longer here as man with men? No; His dealings with Mary are a type of His dealings with us.

2. He manifests Himself everywhere to seeking souls. Why was Mary honoured to be the first! We might have thought His mother would have been selected, or John, or Peter. Christ blesses men not because of birth, or talent, or office, but according to the humility and earnestness with which they seek Him.

3. He revealed Himself in a personal call, and only as Mary heard and answered that call was her joy complete. And there are innumerable voices that come from Him to-day — voices of mercy or affliction; voices that waken to gratitude or melt to penitence; voices that startle in the ease of carnal security or that comfort in the hour of trouble; voices to break the stubborn heart or to revive the heart of the contrite one — and not one of them is without signification.

(J. Guinness Rogers, B. A.)

I. SOME OF THOSE TO WHOM THIS QUESTION MAY BE STILL ADDRESSED.

1. Those who have not yet found rest for their souls in God. If God be in the heart there are many ways m which men may enjoy Him; and, if God be absent, there are as many by which they may seek to fill up the vacant place — power, fame, pleasure, knowledge, and affection. For a while they are deceived by the ardour of pursuit, or the first glow of possession. But there comes the death of their hope, their grief before its grave. And so, if their nature be of the common superficial kind, they begin the chase after new shadows. Or, if the nature be deeper, they turn in upon them. selves to lament the vanity of human endeavour. And yet the Christ is near the place where they are groping among the ashes of buried hopes, which come to them to make them feel after and find Him.

2. Those who have had a deep sense of the soul's value, and of Christ as a Friend who could meet its need. But they seem to have lost Him. It may come in different ways; through a shaking of our faith in the Divine and eternal as real, or through a loss of our own personal hold of them, or, as often happens, through an intermingling of both. But, however it comes, those who feel it are of all men most miserable. The cause of the gospel was never so despaired of as in the hour of its birth, and this question is for the encouragement of those who are seeking Him whom they seem to have lost.

3. Some of those who know that they have not only a dead but a risen Lord. A little view of His greatness made one of His disciples say, "Depart from me; for I am a sinful man," and the sight of it, with the spiritual eye, filled the apostle with an eager longing — "If by any means I might attain unto the resurrection of the dead."

II. THE ANSWER, WHICH IS CONTAINED IN THE FORM OF THE QUESTION. It is composed of two parts; the first directs us inward to our own heart, with its want and sorrow, the other, outward to what is to meet and relieve it. Let us look at them,

1. It may be that speculative unbelief is troubling your soul. Observe, then, how in creation and man, there is an agreement between the need and cry, and the provision, e.g., seed and climate, eye and light, hunger and bread, thirst and water, the breathing frame and the vital air, and the manifold necessities and supplies which are like prayers and answers in every place and through all time. If it be so in the lower wants, shall it fail to approve itself in the higher? Shall God have regard to the animal necessities and turn a deaf ear to the cries of the soul? The ear which hears the young raven's cry cannot be deaf to the sobs and prayers of human hearts. And let us thank God that He has made the soul so that when it is truly wakened by Himself, none but Himself can satisfy its need. If there are such breathings of desire in human spirits there must be an object and end for them. The word is nigh thee, even in thy heart, and then the living Word Himself is near who answers it: "Why weepest thou? whom seekest thou?"

2. But it may be that your trouble is that you feel unable to lay hold of Him. Then the question still comes with its own answer. Ask yourself of your pain, and see if there be not in Him the remedy you seek. Are you oppressed with the burden of guilt? Here is forgiveness from His hand in a way which should meet your heart's desire. Is life a battle to you, with daily cares, troubles, and temptations, others leaning on you, and you without strength? There is one who comes to help the fallen that they who wait upon Him may renew their strength. Is it that you feel the loneliness of life when lover and friend have been put far from you, and the world outside is bleak and bare? There Christ stands at the door and knocks — "If any man open, I will come in."

3. It is by putting such questions as these that we learn the fitness of God's answer to our heart's cry, and find it all in Jesus Christ. It is the way God Himself has taken in the Bible; for what is the Old Testament, with its utterances of want and longing desire, but a pressing of the question, Why weepest thou? and what is the New Testament but the unveiling of Him who answers the question, Whom seekest thou? And when He comes in person what is His earthly life but a touching of the deep chords of man's nature, that He may awaken him to a consciousness of his misery and sin, and then assure him of His power to save and satisfy? And what is this life but a questioning us of our heart-sores and losses, with strength and comfort interspersed like pledges which make us say, Lord, to whom but to Thee? in order that He may prepare us for the answer when the weeping of the night gives place to the joy of the morning? "I will come and take you to Myself."

III. SOME THINGS WORTHY OF NOTICE IN THE RECOGNITION WHICH FOLLOWED.

1. That Christ reveals Himself to the heart before He discloses Himself to the eye. He stood at first beside Mary as a stranger, led her to review her past, and seek and find Him in her sorrow; and then He removed the cloud which had come between, and appeared as the risen Saviour. It is this method which explains to us the gloomy hours and long questionings of some who are seeking Him: "Oh, that I knew where I might find Him!" We wonder that God does not show Himself and speak out. But He means to deepen the sense of need, and to make the revelation of Himself more blessed, "Whom having not seen we love."

2. That Christ makes Himself known in the way of duty. Some make comfort the guide of their spiritual life. But this recognition of Christ came to one who had no comfort, and who was scarcely seeking it. She came to Christ's grave because she could not stay away. Grief, loyalty, love, drew her there, and she had her reward.

3. Christ's way of revealing Himself. A human historian would have constructed a long speech, but Christ used a single word — so simple, so natural. It is like Him who has distilled His mercy into short Bible words — Immanuel, Jesus, Saviour, God is Love, — making it small that it may enter feeble hearts, as He makes the drops of water small to visit the blades of grass. The single word was a name. It spoke of personal knowledge and interest. We read that "God counts the stars and calls them by their names;" but it is something greater in Him that He calls by name the children of men: "Jacob whom I have chosen; the seed of Abraham my friend." "He called His own sheep by name." It was at the name that she turned and knew Him.

4. In this way of recognition, we have a hint of how Christian fellowship shall be restored in the world beyond death? This great Friend, who carries all other true friendships in His heart, named Mary from beyond His grave, to bid us hope and trust that He will meet and name His friends on the heavenly threshold Christ surely first as well befits Him, but afterward they that are Christ's, and ours.

(J. Ker, D. D.)

1. Woman has had many reasons for weeping since the fall.

2. Jesus went to His death amid weeping women, and on His rising He met a little company of them.

3. The first words of a risen Saviour are to a weeping woman.

4. He who was born of woman has come to dry up woman's tears.

5. Observe the wise method followed by the Divine Consoler.

(1)Magdalene is to state the reason of her weeping. Often sorrow vanishes when it is defined. It is wise to chase away mystery and understand the real cause of grief.

(2)He helps her also by coming nearer to her grief in the second question. She was seeking Him. He was Himself the answer to His own inquiries.

6. In all cases Jesus is the most suitable Comforter and comfort. Let us put this question in two ways.

I. IS IT NATURAL SORROW?

1. Art thou bereaved? The risen Saviour comforts thee, for He —

(1)Assures thee of the resurrection of the departed.

(2)Is with thee, thy living Helper.

(3)Sympathizes with thee, for He once lost His friend Lazarus; yea, He Himself has died.

2. Are thy beloved ones sick? Sorrow not impatiently, for He —

(1)Lives to hear prayer for healing.

(2)Waits to bless them if they are dying.

3. Art thou thyself sick? Be not impatient, for Jesus lives —

(1)To moderate thy pains.

(2)To sustain thy heart under suffering.

(3)To give life to thy body, as He has done to thy soul.

4. Art thou poor? Do not murmur, for He —

(1)Lives, and is rich.

(2)Would have thee find thine all in Himself.

(3)Will never leave thee nor forsake thee.

5. Art thou of a sorrowful spirit? Do not despond, but see —

(1)Where His sorrows have brought Him.

(2)How He came to the sorrow, and how He cometh still. What He does in His consoling ministry, and imitate Him by cheering others. Thus thou shalt thyself be comforted.

II. IS IT SPIRITUAL, SORROW?

1. Distinguish. See whether it be good or ill. Is it

(1)Selfish? Be ashamed of it.

(2)Rebellious? Repent of it.

(3)Ignorant? Learn of Jesus, and so escape it.

(4)Hopeless? Believe in God and hope ever.

(5)Gracious? Then thank Him for it.

2. Declare. Tell Jesus all about it.(1) Is it sorrow for others? He weeps with thee.

(a)Are loved ones abiding in sin?

(b)Is the Church cold and dead?(2) Is it the sorrow of a seeking saint? He meets thee.

(a)Dost thou miss His presence?

(b)Hast thou grieved His Holy Spirit?

(c)Canst thou not attain to holiness?

(d)Canst thou not serve Him as much as thou desirest?

(e)Do thy prayers appear to fail?

(f)Does thine old nature rebel?(3) Is it the sorrow of one in doubt? He will strengthen thee. Come to Jesus as a sinner.(4) Is it the sorrow of a seeking sinner? He will receive thee.

(a)Dost thou weep because of past sin?

(b)Dost thou fear because of thine evil nature?

(c)Art thou unable to understand the gospel?

(d)Dost thou weep lest thou grow hardened again?

(e)Dost thou mourn because thou canst not mourn?Conclusion:

1. He is before thee: believe in Him, and weeping will end.

2. He accepts thee: in Him thou hast all thou art seeking for.

(C. H. Spurgeon.)

A Hindoo woman said to a missionary, "Surely your Bible was written by a woman." "Why?" "Because it says so many kind things for women. Our pundits never refer to us but in reproach."(C. H. Spurgeon.)

It is said that gardeners sometimes, when they would bring a rose to richer flowering, deprive it for a season of light and moisture. Silent and dark it stands, dropping one fading leaf after another, and seeming to go down patiently to death. But when every leaf is dropped, and the plant stands stripped to the uttermost, a new life is even then working in the buds, from which shall spring a tender foliage and a brighter wealth of flowers. So, often, in celestial gardening, every leaf of earthly joy must drop before a new and divine bloom visits the soul.

(Mrs. H. B. Stowe.)

A prudent and pious lady observing her husband dejected by some misfortune which had befallen him, to such a degree that he could not sleep, pretended in the morning to be disconsolate herself, and gave way to lamentation and to tears. As she had spoken cheeringly to him the evening before, he was astonished and asked the cause of this sudden grief. Hesitating a little, she replied that she had been dreaming, and that it seemed to her that a messenger had come from heaven, and had brought the news that God was dead, and that all the angels were weeping. "Foolish woman," said the husband, "you know right well that God cannot die!" "Indeed," said the wife; "and if that be so certain, how comes it that you are now indulging your sorrow as immoderately, as if He really did no longer exist, or, at least, as if He were unable to set bounds to our affliction, or mitigate its severity, or convert it into a blessing? My dear husband, learn to trust Him and to sorrow like a Christian. Think of the old proverb, 'What need to grieve if God doth live?'"

(J. L. Nye.)

She, supposing Him to be the gardener. —
1. It is not an unnatural supposition; Mary was mistaken here; but if we are under His Spirit's teaching we shall not make a mistake, for if we may truly sing, "We are a garden walled around," &c., that enclosure needs a gardener.

2. Neither is the figure unscriptural; for in one of His own parables our Lord makes Himself to be the Dresser of the vineyard.

3. If we would be supported by a type, our Lord takes the name of "the Second Adam," and the first Adam was a gardener. Thus also Solomon thought of Him when He described Him as going out with His beloved for the preservation of the garden, saying, "Take us the foxes," &c. "Supposing Him to be the gardener," we have here —

I. THE KEY TO MANY WONDERS in the garden of His Church.

1. That there should be a Church at all in the world; a garden blooming in the midst of this sterile waste. "Ye are of God, little children, and the whole world lieth in the wicked one." We understand its existence, "supposing Him to be the gardener," but nothing else can account for it. He can cause the fir tree to flourish instead of the thorn, and the myrtle instead of the briar.

2. That the Church should flourish in such a clime. This present evil world is very uncongenial to the growth of grace, and within are elements which tend to its own disorder and destruction if left alone; even as the garden has in its soil all the germs of a thicket of weeds. The continuance and prosperity of the Church can only be accounted for by "supposing Him to be the gardener" Almighty strength and wisdom are put to the otherwise impossible work of sustaining a holy people among men. "I will water it every moment; lest any hurt it, I will keep it night and day."

3. That ever we should have been placed among the plants of the Lord. How is it that we have been kept there, and borne with in our barrenness, when He might long ago have said, "Cut it down: why cumbereth it the ground?" Who could have manifested such infinite patience? I know not, except upon this ground, "supposing Him to be the gardener."

II. A SPUR TO MANY DUTIES.

1. Joy. Surely it must help every little plant to drink in the sunlight when it is whispered among the flowers that Jesus is the gardener. "Supposing Him to be the gardener," He will make the best of you. You cannot be in better hands.

2. Valuing the Lord's presence, and praying for it. We ought whenever the Sabbath morning dawns to pray our Well-beloved to come into His garden and eat His pleasant fruits. It is our necessity that we have Christ with us, "supposing Him to be the gardener"; and it is our bliss that we have Christ walking between our beds and borders, watching every plant, training, maturing all.

3. Yield ourselves up entirely to Him. A plant does not know how it ought to be treated. Happiness lives next door to the spirit of complete acquiescence in the will of God, and it will be easy to exercise that when we suppose the Lord Jesus to be the gardener.

4. Bring forth fruit to Him. If Jesus is to bear the blame or the honour of what we produce, then let us use up every drop of sap and strain every fibre, that we may produce a fair reward for our Lord's travail.

III. A RELIEF FROM CRUSHING RESPONSIBILITY. "Supposing Him to be the gardener," the Church enjoys a better oversight than mine; all must go well in the long run. He that keepeth Israel doth neither slumber nor sleep. A certain man of God in troublous times became quite unable to do his duty because he laid to heart so much the ills of the age. Then one said to him, "Mr. Whitelock, are you the manager of the world?" No, he was not quite that. "Did not God get on pretty well with it before you were born, and don't you think He will do very well with it when you are dead?" That reflection helped to relieve the good man's mind, and he went back to do his duty. While this relieves us of anxiety it makes labour for Christ very sweet. "Supposing Him to be the gardener," I am quite willing to work on a barren rock, or tie up an old withered bough, or dig a worthless sod; for, if it only pleases Jesus, the work is profitable to the last degree.

1. In dealing with the souls of men, we meet with cases which are extremely difficult. Some persons are so fearful that you do not know how to comfort them; others are so presumptuous that you hardly know how to help them; others so fickle that you cannot hold them. Some flowers puzzle the ordinary gardener: we meet with plants which are covered with prickles, and wound the hand that would help them. These strange growths would make a great muddle for you if you were the gardener; but "supposing Him to be the gardener," you can go to Him and say, "Lord, I do not understand this singular creature. Oh, that Thou wouldest manage it, or tell me how."

2. And then, again, plants will die down, and others must be put into their places, or the garden will grow bare; but we know not where to find them. We say, "When yonder good man dies, who will succeed him?" Let us wait till he is gone and needs following. "Supposing Him to be the gardener," the Lord has other plants in reserve which you have not yet seen: the Lord will keep up the true apostolical succession till the day of His second advent.

IV. A DELIVERANCE FROM MANY GLOOMY FEARS. I walked down a garden where all the path was strewn with leaves and broken branches and stones, and I saw the earth upon the flower-beds tossed about: all was in disorder. Had a dog been amusing himself? or had a mischievous child been at work? No; the gardener had been doing it for the good of the garden. It may be it has happened to some of you that you have been a good deal clipped lately. Well, if the Lord has done it our gloomy fears are idle. Supposing Him to be the gardener, then —

1. The serpent will have a bad time of it. Supposing Adam to be the gardener, then the serpent gets in and mischief comes of it. So, if we are afraid that the devil should get in among us, let us be always in prayer, because Jesus can keep out the adversary. Other creatures intrude; caterpillars and all sorts of destroying creatures, How can we keep them out? There is no protection except one, "supposing Him to be the gardener."

2. What if roots of bitterness should spring up among us to trouble us? Who is to prevent this? Only the Lord Jesus by His Spirit.

3. Suppose the living waters of God's Spirit should not come to water the garden, what then? We cannot make them flow. All, but the Spirit of God will be in our garden, "supposing our Lord to be the gardener." The pleasure of the Lord shall prosper in His hands.

V. A WARNING FOR THE CARELESS.

1. There are many to the Church what weeds are to a garden. Take heed; for one of these days, "supposing Him to be the gardener," "every plant which My heavenly Father hath not planted shall be rooted up."

2. Others are like the branches of the vine which bear no fruit. "Supposing Him to be the gardener," He will fulfil that sentence: "Every branch in me that beareth not fruit He taketh away."

VI. A QUIETUS TO THOSE WHO COMPLAIN

1. Certain of us have been made to suffer much physical pain; others have suffered heavy losses. Take the supposition of the text. The Lord has been pruning you sharply. Be quiet until you are able to say, "The Lord gave and the Lord hath taken away," &c.

2. Especially I speak to those who have suffered bereavement. The best rose in the garden is gone. The gardener came this way and gathered it. Dry your grief by "supposing Him to be the gardener."

VII. AN OUTLOOK FOR THE HOPEFUL. "Supposing Him to be the gardener," then —

1. Expect where He works the best possible prosperity. It is our unbelief that straitens God.

2. Expect Divine intercourse of unspeakable preciousness. When Adam was the gardener the Lord God walked in the garden in the cool of the day; and "supposing Him to be the gardener," then we shall have the Lord God dwelling among us.

3. Expect He will remove the whole of the garden upward with Himself to fairer skies; for He rose, and His people must rise with Him.

(C. H. Spurgeon.)

If Creation itself was a mediatorial act; that "God created all things by Jesus Christ"; then Jesus is the true Gardener.

1. Every flower that blows was once a thought in the mind of my Saviour; and every wave of loveliness that charms me began in Him, passed on, at last reached my heart as its strand, and broke there. All the blooms of all the gardens owe their life to Him; and all the lights of science are hid in His "treasures of wisdom and knowledge." He plants God's gardens, He waters them, He gives the increase. Flowers, like sweet wonders, blossoming in our hedge-rows; shy flowers that look out from the green darkness of a Devonshire lane; flowers that waver like a rich mist of beauty all round the shafts of the forest; flowers in every strip of moss that softens the wayside stone; flowers under every leaf you lift in some rustic tangle; flowers that tesselate every inch of the upland moor; small flowers such as those which only a magnifying glass can show; and great flowers crowning stalks thirty feet high; flowers that blaze mile after mile in the rolling prairie; flowers about which strange birds dart like live jewels in the tropical day; land-flowers that seem delicate as coloured light, and fine as woven air; sea-flowers, in gardens that lie like worlds of enchantment under the great southern oceans, on floors where no mortal can ever stand, but of the existence of which science is sure; "Crimson weeds that spreading, flow, Or lie like pictures in the sand below," in the pools left between sea-side boulders. All these are witnesses to Christ. Oh, yes, He is the Gardener — Gardener of the wild landscape, Gardener of the trees as well as of the flowers. Trees of the orchard, of the wood, of the stately forest, of the shadowed avenue, of every zone, are all of His plantation. And as I muse in the solitudes of nature on these aspects of His perfection, think of the infinite delight He must feel in creating flowers, and the tender kindness He shows in giving them; think of Him "walking amidst the trees of the garden," and think of Him for ever calling into life the million marvels of the green wilderness, I have larger and more exalted thoughts of the Saviour who "wore the platted thorn" for me, and feel that these revelations of His glory enlighten and animate my faith.

2. But He cultivates other gardens than these. "Devout Magdalene," meditates Bishop Hall, "thou art not much mistaken. As it was the trade of the first Adam to dress the garden, so it is the trade of the Second Adam to dress the garden of the Church. He digs up the soil by seasonable afflictions, He sows in it the seeds of His grace, He plants it with gracious motions, He waters it by His own Spirit, He weeds it by wholesome censures. Oh! blessed Saviour, what is it that Thou neglectest to do for this selected enclosure of Thy Church? As in some respect Thou art the True Vine, and Thy Father the Husbandman, so also in some other we are the vine, and Thou art the Gardener. Oh! be Thou such to me as Thou appearedst to Magdalene! Break up the fallows of my nature, implant me ever with Thy fresh grace, prune me with meet corrections, bedew me with the former and the latter rain; do what Thou wilt to make me fruitful."

(C. Stanford, D. D.)

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