But Mary treasured up all these things and pondered them in her heart.
1 John 3:3), and made her life a life of reverence and prayer. It was good for her to think much of the purpose God was about to accomplish through her instrumentality; she would be the better fitted for that holy motherhood by which she was to be so highly honored, and by which she was to render so inestimable a service to her nation and her race. The fact that she did keep and dwell upon these solemn and sacred mysteries may remind us of -
I. THE THINGS THAT ARE MOST WORTH KEEPING. These are not moneys that may be kept in the bank, nor jewels that may be treasured in the cabinet, nor parchments that may be guarded in the strong box; they are none other than Divine thoughts which we can hold in our hearts. And of these there are Divine revelations. They may be of his holy purpose, such as Mary's heart held; or they may be of his own character or disposition toward us his children, such as we may learn and hold; or they may be revelations of our own true selves, of our character and our necessities and our possibilities; or they may be of the way by which we can approach and resemble God. There are also Divine invitations - to return from our estrangement, to draw near to his throne, to accept his mercy, to walk by his side, to sit down at his table. There are Divine exhortations to duty, to service, to self-sacrifice. And there are Divine promises, of provision and protection and inspiration here, of blessedness and enlargement hereafter.
II. THAT WHICH CONSTITUTES THEIR SUPREME VALUE.
1. They pertain to God himself, and therefore connect us with the Highest.
2. They affect us, ourselves - our character, our inner life, our essential being.
3. They bring us into harmony with all things; for he that is right with God and true to himself is adjusted to all other beings, and is ready for all other things.
4. They render us fitted for life anywhere and in the distant future; so that death will be a mere incident in our history, not concluding our career, but only opening the gate into other and brighter spheres.
III. THE DANGER WE ARE IN OF LOSING THEM. There is a plausible philosophical theory that a thought once received into the mind cannot ever be wholly lost; once there it remains there, though it may be in the far background, unperceived, unemployed. But, as a matter of practical life, we know too well, both from testimony and experience, that the best and highest thoughts may escape our view; they may be only too easily lost sight of and disregarded. Neglect, or an engrossing interest in lower or in more exciting subjects, will make them invisible, ineffective, useless. It is a most pitiable thing that in every generation there are multitudes of souls that once welcomed and cherished the loftiest conceptions and the noblest aspirations, to whom these thoughts and hopes are now nothing whatsoever; they are gone from their mind; they have not been wisely "kept," but foolishly and culpably lost. Therefore -
IV. THE WISDOM OF A REVERENT MEDITATION. We do ourselves the truest service when, by pondering on them, we keep sound and whole within our hearts the great thoughts of God. The power of continuous meditation is one of the faculties of our human nature; but the rush and strain of modern life constitute a powerful temptation to let this faculty rust in disuse. But as we love ourselves truly and wisely we shall resist and overcome the temptation. All souls that would do their sacred duty to themselves must think well and much on the things they know. If they would truly and thoroughly understand that of which they speak, if they wish Divine truth to have its own purifying and transforming power over them, if they aspire to build up a strong and influential character, if they wish to be "no longer children," but men in Christ Jesus, they must ponder in their hearts the doctrines they count in their creed, the language they take into their lips. It is the truth we dwell upon that we live upon. - C.
And pondered them in her heart.
(Bishop Samuel Wilberforce.)
(A. G. Mercer, D. D.)
(A. G. Mercer, D. D.)
(T. Manton, D. D.)
(H. G. Salter.)Psalm 63:5, 6); it conveys the strength of them to our souls.
(H. G. Salter.)
(T. T. Lynch.)
(T. Swinnock.)— 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.
(H. F. Beecher.)
THE VIRGIN MARY TO THE CHILD JESUS,
Sleep, sleep, mine Holy One!
My flesh, my Lord I what name?
I do not know A name that seemeth not too high or low,
Too far from me or heaven.
My Jesus, that is best I that word being given
By the majestic angel whose command
Was softly as a man's beseeching said,
When I and all the earth appeared to stand
In the great overflow.
A light celestial from his wings and head
Sleep, sleep, my saving One.
The slumber of His lips meseems to run
Through my lips to mine heart.
And then the drear sharp tongue of prophecy
With the dread sense of things which shall be done,
Doth smite me inly, like a sword.
(Mrs. E. B. Browning.)
THE MOTHER MARY.
Mary, to thee the heart was given,
For infant hands to hold,
Thus clasping, an eternal heaven,
The great earth in its fold.
He came, all helpless, to thy power,
For warmth, and love, and birth;
In thy embraces, every hour
He grew into the earth.
And thine the grief, O mother high,
Which all thy sisters share,
Who keep the gate betwixt the sky
And this our lower air.
And unshared sorrows, gathering slow;
New thoughts within thy heart,
Which through thee like a sword will go,
And make thee mourn apart.
For, if a woman bore a son
That was of angel-brood,
Who lifted wings ere day was done,
And soared from where he stood;
Strange grief would fill each mother-moan,
Wild longing, dim and sore;
"My child! my child I He is my own,
And yet is mine no more."
So thou, O Mary, years on years,
From child-birth to the cross,
Wast filled with yearnings, filled with fears,
Keen sense of love and loss.
(H. W. Beecher.)
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