Sermon 2927. Love at Leisure
A SERMON PUBLISHED ON THURSDAY, MARCH 16, 1905.
DELIVERED BY C. H. SPURGEON,
AT THE METROPOLITAN TABERNACLE, NEWINGTON, ON SUNDAY EVENING, DECEMBER 3, 1876.
"Mary, who also sat at Jesus'feet, and heard His Word." Luke 10:39.
MARY was full of a love to Christ which could be very active and self-sacrificing. I have read to you of her pouring the preciousbox of spikenard upon our Lord for His anointing. She was, therefore, one who not only waited and listened, but she servedthe Lord after her sort and fashion. If she had been simply contemplative and nothing more, we might, perhaps, have consideredher somewhat of a one-sided character-and while pointing to that which was good in her as an example, we might have had tocomment on her deficiencies. But she did more than sit at the Master's feet. Beloved, if we ever serve the Lord as Mary did,we shall do well.
Now, since she was able thus to serve, she becomes a safe example for us in this other matter of restful faith. The portionof her life occupied in sitting at her Master's feet may instruct and help us. I feel I can safely hold her up to you as anexample in all respects and the more so because of the particular incident just now before us where she received the Master'sexpress commendation. He also praised her for bringing the box of ointment but, on this occasion, He praised her, too, sayingthat she had chosen the good part which should not be taken from her. He could not have more conspicuously set His seal ofapproval on her conduct than He did. I am not going to say much about her, but I want to speak to those of you who love theLord as Mary did, to try if I cannot entice you for your own rest and for your own encouragement into following her examplein this particular incident, namely, that of sitting at the feet of the Lord Jesus Christ. I have already said you can seethat the example is only part of her life-one side of it. At another time I may take the other side and exhort you to alsofollow her in that, but for this next hour or so, I want you to leave out the other side of her character and stick only tothis. Consider it well, for I am persuaded that this is the true preparation for the other-that contemplation and rest atthe Savior's feet will give you strength which will enable you afterwards to anoint His feet according as your heart's loveshall dictate.
On this occasion, then, we have only to do with Mary sitting at our Savior's feet. There shall be four heads which you willnot forget-love at leisure sitting down. Love in lowliness, sitting at Jesus' feet. Love listening-she heard His Words. Lovelearning-she heard His Words to a most blessed purpose. All the while she chose the good part.
I. First, then, LOVE AT LEISURE. That is a point which I want you especially to notice. You that have families to feed andclothe know how, all day long, you are busy-very busy, perhaps. The husband is away from early morning till the evening comes.The children have gone to school and the wife is occupied in a hundred household things. But now the evening meal is overand there is a warm fire burning in the hearth. Is it not one of the most pleasant sights of English interiors to see thefamily gathered around the fire to just sit still for a little while to talk and to indulge in those domestic loves whichare the charm of that sweet English word, "home"? May an Englishman never ceases to think of the word, "home," as the mostmusical word that ever dropped from mortal lips! Now love is quiet and still and, I was about to say, careless. Outside ithas to watch its words, but inside it is playful, it is at ease, it disports itself, fearless of all adversaries. It takesits rest. The armor is put off and the soldier feels the day's battle is done. He stands not on his guard any longer. He isamong those that love him and he feels that he is free. I do not know what life would be if there were not some of those sweetleisure moments when love has nothing else to do except to love-those intervals, these oases in the desert of life whereinto love is to be happy and to be loved is to be doubly blest!
Now, Christian people ought to have such times. Let us put aside our service for awhile. I am afraid that even those who arebusy in the Master's work and are not occupied much with lower things, yet overlook the necessity for love to be at leisure.Now tonight, at any rate, you that work longest and toil most and have to think the hardest can ask the Lord to make thisa leisure time between you and Jesus. You are not called upon to help Martha to prepare the banquet. Just sit still-sit stilland rest at Jesus' feet and let nothing else occupy the next hour but sitting still and loving and being loved by Him.
Can we not get rid of worldly cares?We have had enough of them during the six days-let us cast the whole burden of them uponour Lord. Let us roll them up and leave them all at the Throne of Grace. They will keep till tomorrow and there is no doubtwhatever that they will plague us enough, then, unless we have faith enough to master them. But now put them on the shelf.Say, "I have nothing to do with you now-any one of you. You may just be quiet. My soul has gone away from you up to the Savior'sbosom, there to rest and to delight herself in Him."
And then let us try to banish all church cares also. Holy cares should not always trouble us. As I came here just now, I saidto myself, "I will try tonight not to think about how I shall preach, or how this part of the sermon may suit one class ofmy Hearers or that part another. I will just be like Lazarus was, of whom it is written that, 'Lazarus was one of them thatsat at the table with Him.'" You know that the preacher to such a congregation as this may often find himself like Martha,combined with much serving if he forgets that he is but a servant of the Master and has only to do His bidding. You may wellexcuse us. But it must not be so tonight. Whether you are deacon or elder, or preacher, or hearer, you must have nothing todo tonight with anything outside of our blessed Lord and our own hearts! Our love shall claim this time for her own rest.No, Martha, even though you are getting ready to feast Christ, we will not hear the clatter of dishes or the preparation ofthe festival. We must now just sit there at His feet and look up, and have no eyes except for Him, no ears except for Him,no heart except for Him. It shall be love's leisure night tonight!
And, in truth, Beloved, we have plenty of reason for resting. Let us sit at Jesus' feet because our salvation is complete.He said, "it is finished," and He knew that He had worked it all. The ransom price is paid for you, O my Soul! Not one drophas been withheld of the blood that is your purchase. The robe of righteousness is woven from top to bottom-there is not onethread for you to add. It is written, "You are complete in Him" and however frail we are, yet we are "perfect in Christ Jesus,"and in spite of all our sin, we are "accepted in the Beloved." If it is so, O Love, have you not room for leisure? Is notthis thought a sofa upon which you may stretch yourself and find that there is space enough for you to take your fullest ease?Your rest is not like the peace of the ungodly of whom it is said, "The bed is shorter than that a man may stretch himselfupon it." Here is perfect rest for you-a couch long enough and broad enough for all your need! And if, perhaps, you shouldremember, O my Heart, that you have sin yet to overcome and corruption within you yet to combat, remember this night thatChrist has put away all your sin, for He is "the end of the Law for righteousness to everyone that believes" and that He hasovercome the world on your behalf and said to you, "Be of good cheer." You have to fight, but your foe is a routed foe! Itis a broken-headed dragon that you have to go to battle with and the victory is sure, for your Savior has pledged Himselfto it! You may well take your leisure, for the past is blotted out and the future is secure! You are a member of Christ'sbody and as such you cannot die! You are a sheep of His pasture and as such He will never lose you! You are a jewel of Hiscrown and as such He will never take His eyes or His heart off of you! Surely, then, you may take your leisure.
Let us also rest because we have received so much from our Master. Be sure to remember, O heart that would have leisure forlove, that though you have many mercies to receive, there are not as many to come as you have already had! You have greatthings yet to learn, but not such great things as you have already been taught. He that has found Christ Jesus to be his Saviorhas found more than he will ever again find, even though he finds a Heaven, since even Heaven itself is in the loins of Christand he that gets Jesus has got an eternity of bliss in him! If God gave you Christ, all else is small compared with the giftyou already have. Take your leisure, then, and rejoice in your Lord, Himself, and in His Infinite perfections.
As to the Lord's work, we may well take leisure for love, because it is His work It will go on rightly enough. It is His work,the saving of those souls. It is well that we are so eager-it were better if we were more eager. But just now we may lay evenour eagerness aside, for it is not ours to save-it is His-and He will do it. He will soon give you to see of
the travail of His soul. Christ will not die in vain. Election's decree shall not be frustrated and Redemption's purpose shallnot be turned aside. Therefore rest.
Besides, my Heart, what can you do, after all? You are so little and so altogether insignificant. If you worry yourself intoyour grave what can you accomplish? God did well enough before you were born and He will do well enough when you are goneHome. Therefore fret not yourself. I have sometimes heard of ministers that have been quite exhausted by the preparation ofa single Sunday sermon. I am told, indeed, that one sermon on a Sunday is as much as any man can possibly prepare! It is suchlaborious work to elaborate a sermon! And then I say to myself, "Did my Lord and Master require His servants to preach suchsermons as that? Is it not probable that they would do a great deal more good if they never tried to do any such fine things,but just talked out of their hearts of the simplest Truths of His blessed Gospel!"
I turn to the Old Testament and I find that He told His priests to wear white linen, but He also told them never to wear anythingthat caused sweat, from which I gather that He did not want His priests in the Temple to be puffing and blowing and sweatingand boiling like a set of Negro slaves. He meant that His service, although they threw their strength into it, should neverbe wearisome to them! He is not a taskmaster, like Pharaoh, exacting his tale of bricks and then again a double tale, givinghis servants no straw wherewith to make them. No, but He says, "Take My yoke upon you and learn of Me, for I am meek and lowlyin heart and you shall find rest unto your souls. For My yoke is easy and My burden is light." Therefore it seems to me thatwith all the work His people do-and they ought to do it so as to pour their whole life on His head like a box of preciousspikenard, yet He did not mean them to go up and down about His service, stewing and worrying and killing their very livesout of them about this and that and the other!
They will do His service a great deal better if they will very often come and sit down at His feet and say, "Now I have nothingto do but to love Him-nothing to do but to receive His love into my soul." Oh, if you will seek after such quiet communionyou will be sure to work with a holy might that shall consume you! First take in the strength by having these blessed timesof leisure at the Savior's feet. "He that believes shall not make haste." He shall have such peace and restfulness, such quietand calm, that he shall be in no hurry of fear or fright, but he shall be like the great Eternal who, with all that He does-andHe works up to now and guides the whole universe which is full of stupendous wonders-yet never breaks the eternal leisurein which His supreme mind forever dwells!
Well, if we cannot keep up such leisure as that, at least let us have it tonight. I invite you, persuade you and entreat you,Beloved Mary and others like you, to do nothing but just enjoy the leisure of love and sit at Jesus' feet.
II. The second thing is LOVE IN ITS LOWLINESS. Love needs to spend her time with Christ. She picks her place and her placeis down at His feet. She does not come to sit at the table with Him, like Lazarus, but she sits down on the ground at Hisfeet.
Observe that love in this case does not take the position of honor She is not a busy housewife, managing affairs, but a lowlyworshipper who can only love. Some of us have to be managers for Christ-managing this and managing that- but perhaps loveis most at home when she forgets that she has anything to manage. She leaves it to manage itself, or better still, she truststhe Lord to manage it all and just subsides from a manager into a disciple, from a worker into a penitent, from a giver intoa receiver, from a somebody, which Grace has made her, to a nobody, glad to be nothing, content to be at His feet, to letHim be everything, while self sinks and sinks away. Do not let me only talk about this, Beloved, but let it be done! Loveyour Lord now. Let your hearts remember Him. Behold His robes of love, all crimsoned with His heart's blood. You shall takeyour choice whether you look up to Him on the Cross, or on the Throne. Let it be as suits your mind best tonight, but in anycase say unto Him, "Lord, what am I, and what is my father's house, that You have loved me so?"
Sit near your Lord, but sit at His feet. Let such words as these be upon your lips, "Lord, I am not worthy to be called byYour Grace. I am not worthy to be written in Your Book of Life. I am not worthy that You should waste a thought on me, muchless that You should shed Your blood for me. I remember now what I was when You did first deal with me. I was cold, carelessand hard towards You, but very wanton and eager towards the world, giving my heart away to a thousand lovers and seeking comforteverywhere except in You. And when You did come to me, I did not receive You. When You did knock at my door, I did not opento You, though Your head was wet with dew and Your locks with the drops of the night. And, oh, since through Your Grace Ihave admitted You and You and I have been joined together in bonds of blessed union, yet how ill have I treated You! O myLord! How little have I done for You! How little have I loved You! I could faint in Your Presence to think that if You didexamine me and question me, I could not answer You one of a thousand questions You might ask me. Your book accuses me of negligencein reading it. Your Throne of Grace accuses me of slackness in prayer. The assemblies of Your people accuse me that I havenot been hearty in worshipping. There is nothing, either in Providence or in Nature, or in Grace, but what might bring someaccusation against me! The world itself might blame me that my example so little rebukes it and my very family might chargethat I do not bless my household as I should." That is right, dear Brother, dear Sister. Sink! Go on sinking. Be little. Beless. Be less still. Be still less. Be least of all. Be nothing!
Lift up your eyes from your lowly place to Him who merits all your praise. Say to Him, "But what are You, Beloved, that Youshould have thought of me before the earth was? That You should take me to Yourself to be Yours and then for me, should leavethe royalties of Heaven for the poverties of earth and should even go down to the grave, that You might lift me up and makeme to sit with You at Your right hand? Oh, what wonders You have worked in me and I am not worthy of the least of Your mercies!And yet You have given me great and unspeakable blessings. If You had only let me be a doorkeeper in Your house, I had beenhappy, but You have set me among princes! If You had given me the crumbs from Your table, as dogs are fed, I had been satisfied,but You have put me among the children! If You had said that I might just stand outside the gates of Heaven now and then,on gala days, to hear Your voice, it would have been bliss for me! But now You have promised me that I shall be with You whereYou are, to behold Your Glory and to be a partake of it, world without end." Do not such thoughts as these make you sink?I do not know how it is with you, but the more I think of the Lord's mercies, the more I grow downward. I could weep to thinkthat He should lavish so much on one that gives Him no return at all, for so it seems to my heart that it is with me. Whatdo you think of yourself? What is your faith, your love, your liberality, your prayers, your works? Dare you call them anything?Do you imagine that the Lord is pleased with your past? Would He not rather say to you, "You have bought Me no sweet canewith money, neither have you filled me with the fat of your sacrifices; but you have made Me to serve with your sins and weariedMe with your iniquities." So we sit down again at His feet and from that place we would not wish to rise. Love's leisure shallbe spent in acts of humiliation. We will bow at the feet that were pierced for our redemption!
III. But now, in the third place, here is LOVE LISTENING. She is down there in the place of humility, but she is where shecan catch each word as it falls, and she is there with one purpose. She wishes to hear all that Christ has to say and shewishes to hear it close at hand. She wants to hear the very tones in which He speaks and the accents with which He deliverseach precept. She loves to look up and see those eyes which have such meaning in them and that blessed Countenance which speaksas much as the lips themselves. And so she sits there and she looks with her eyes toward Him as a handmaid's eyes are to hermistress. And then, with her ears and her eyes, she drinks in what He has to say.
Now, Beloved, I want you to do that. Say in prayer now, "Speak, Lord, for Your servant hears." And then with your ears open,hear what He says by His Word. Perhaps there is some text that has come home to your soul today. Hear it. Hear it well. Itwould not be much use for anyone to try to preach a sermon in the center of the city in the middle of the day. If you stoodnear St. Paul's Cathedral with all that traffic going by and all that rumbling, roaring and shouting, why, the big bell, itself,might speak and you would hardly hear it! But when it is night and all is still, then you can hear the city clocks strikeand you might hear a man's voice even though it was not a very strong one, if he went through the streets and delivered amessage with which he had been entrusted. Well, our blessed Lord often takes advantage of those quiet times when the man hasa broken leg and cannot get to work, but must be still in the hospital. Or when the woman is unable to get about the houseto attend to her ordinary duties, but is so helpless that she cannot do anything else but think. Then comes the Lord and Hebegins to bring to our remembrance what we have done in days past-and to talk with us as He never has the opportunity of doingat any other time. But it is far more blessed to find time ourselves, so that the Lord will not need to afflict us in orderto get us quickly at His feet! Oftentimes the Good Shepherd, in caring for the sheep, "makes us lie down," but He is gladwhen we come of our own accord that we may rest and listen to His Word.
Listen to what He is saying to you by Providence. Perhaps a dear child is sick at home, or you have losses and crosses inbusiness. It may not seem to you as if these things come from your loving Lord, but they are perhaps the pressure of His handto draw you to His side that He may tell you His secret. Perhaps it has been mercy that has come to you in another way. Youhave been prospered, you have been converted, you have had much joy in your family. Well, the Lord
has a voice in all that He does to His people, so listen tonight. If you listen you will be obliged to say, "What shall Irender to the Lord for His benefits to me?"
Listen also to what the Spirit says in your soul. Listen, for it is not till you get your soul quiet that you can hear whatthe Spirit of God is saying. I have known such a clatter of worldliness or pride, or some other noise in the soul of man,that the still small voice of the Holy Spirit has been drowned to the serious detriment of the disciple. Now, I hope you havereally done with all your cares and left them outside the Tabernacle tonight, that even the cares about your class in theSunday school and about your preaching engagement tomorrow, and everything else, have been put aside and that now you arejust sitting down at Jesus' feet and listening. While you listen in that fashion, in lowly spirit at His feet, you are likelyto hear Him say some words to you which, perhaps, may change the whole tenor of your life! I do not know what God the Lordwill speak, but, "He will speak peace to His people." Sometimes He speaks in such a way that a turbid life has become clear.A life of perplexity has become decided and distinctly happy. And a life of weakness has become a career of strengths. Anda life that seemed wasted for a while has suddenly sprung up into eminent usefulness! Keep your ears open, Mary! Keep yourears open, Brother, and you will hear what Jesus Christ has to say!
But now let me say, while you are sitting and listening, you will do well to listen as much to Him as to what He has to say,for Christ Himself is the Word and His whole life is a voice! Oh, sit down, sit down and listen! I wish I had not to talktonight and could sit down and do it for myself and just look up at Him, God over all, blessed forever, and yet Brother tomy soul, a partaker of flesh and blood! This very fact, that He is Incarnate, speaks to me! That God is in human flesh speakscomfort to my soul, such as no words could ever convey! God in my nature! God become my Brother, my Helper, my Head, my All!Could not my soul leap out of the body for joy at the Incarnation if there were nothing else but that revealed to us?
Now let me look up again and see my Lord with His wounds, as Mary did not see Him, but as we now may-with hands and feet pierced,with scarred side and marred visage-tokens of the ransom price paid in His pangs and griefs and death. Is it not amazing tosee your sin forever blotted out and blotted out so fully, and blotted out by such means as this? Why, if there were not anaudible word, those wounds are mouths which speak His love! The most eloquent mouths that ever spoke are the wounds of Christ.Listen! Listen! Every drop of blood says, "Peace." Every wound says, "Pardon.
Life. Eternal life."
And now see your Beloved once again. He is risen from the dead and His wounds bleed no more! Yes, He has gone into Glory andHe sits at the right hand of God, even of the Father! It is well for you, dear Brother or Sister, that you cannot literallysit at His feet in that guise, for if you could only see Him as He is, I know what would happen to you- even that which happenedto John when he saw Him with His head and His hair white like wool, as white as snow, and His eyes as a flame of fire, andHis feet as if they burned in a furnace. You would swoon away! John says, "When I saw Him, I fell at His feet as dead."
You cannot sit at those feet of Glory till you have left this mortal clay, or until it has been made like unto His gloriousbody! But you may in faith do so-and what will His Glory say to you? It will say, "This is what you shall receive. This iswhat you shall share. This is what you shall see forever and ever." He will say to you-even to you who mourn your insignificanceand in lowliness sit at His feet-"Beloved, you shall partake of the Glory which the Father gave Me, even that which I hadwith Him before the world was. Soon, when a few more moons have waxed and waned, soon you shall be with Me where I am."
Oh, what bliss is this! Never mind Martha's frowns! Forget her for the moment and keep on sitting at Jesus' feet! She maycome in and grumble and say that something is neglected-tell her she should not neglect it then, but now your business isnot with plates or pots, but to do as your Master has permitted you to do, namely, to sit at His feet and listen to Him!
IV. So I close by saying, in the fourth place, that here is LOVE LEARNING. While she listened she was being taught, becauseshe sat at Jesus' feet with her heart all warm-sitting in the posture of lowliness she was, as few could hear them-hearingwords so as to spy out their secret meaning. You know the difference between a man's voice at a distance, saying something,and his being very near you. You know how much the face can say, the eyes can say and the lips can say-and there is many adeaf man that has heard another speak though he has never heard a sound-he has known the meaning by the very movement of thelips and the gleams of the countenance. Ah, and if you get into such near fellowship with Christ as to sit at His feet, youwill get His meaning! When the letter kills others, you will see the secret meaning that is hidden within and you will rejoice.
She got at His meaning and then she was hearing the words so as to drink in the meaning. "They sit down at Your feet," saysthe old Scripture, "everyone shall receive of Your words." Beloved, that is a great promise-to receive of His Words. Somepeople hear the words but do not receive them-but there sat Mary where, as the words fell, they dropped upon her as snowflakesdrop into the sea and are absorbed! So each word of Jesus dropped into her soul and became part and parcel of her nature-theyfired and filled her very being!
What she learned she remembered. We see love learning what she will treasure up. Mary never forgot what she heard that day.It remained with her forever. It seasoned her whole life. The words of her Master were with her all the days she was watching.All the days she was waiting, she was waiting after they had been spoken. They kept her watching and waiting till, at last,love's instinct told her that the time was come and then she went upstairs where she had put away the choice ointment forwhich she spent her money. She had laid it up and kept it till the time should come-and just before the Savior's death andburial she fetched it down, the gift which she had hoarded up for Him-and she poured it out in adoration.
As she sat at His feet, she resolved to love Him more and more. Love was learning to love better As she had listened and learned,the learning had crystallized itself into resolves to be, among women, the most devoted to Him. Perhaps, little by little,she had laid aside this great price which she had paid for the spikenard. Be it as it may, it was dear to her, and she broughtit down when the time was come and put it all on Him with a joyous liberality and love. Well, now, I want you to learn ofJesus after that fashion and, by-and-by, when the time comes, you, too, may do some deed for Christ that shall fill the housein which you dwell with sweet perfume. Yes, shall fill the earth with it, so that if man scents it not, yet God Himself shallbe delighted with the fragrance you pour, out of love, upon His Son!
We are going to have Communion. Here are the emblems of His blessed body and blood and I hope they will help us to have nothingto do but to think of Him-nothing to do but to be lowly in His Presence-nothing to do but to listen to His words and to drinkin His teaching.
But there are some here that do not love Him. It may be that God will lay you low by affliction in order to bring you to thefeet of Jesus. Perhaps He will allow disaster and disappointment to overtake you in the world, to win you to Himself. If anyof you have had this experience, or are passing through it just now, do not trifle with it, I pray you, for, while we arein this life, if the Lord comes to us to remind us of our sin, He does it in the greatness of His mercy and in order thatHe may bring salvation to us! It will be quite another thing, in the next life, if you die unrepentant and unforgiven. Thenyou may, indeed, dread the coming of God to bring your sin to remembrance! But while you are here, if the Lord is so speakingto you, incline your ears and listen to His voice, however harshly it may seem to sound in your ears. Even if He should stripyou, be glad to be stripped by Him. If He should wound you, and bruise you, willingly give yourself up to be wounded and bruisedby Him. Yes, even if He should slay you, rejoice to be slain by Him, for remember that He clothes those whom He strips, Heheals those whom He wounds and He makes alive those whom He kills! So it is a blessed thing to undergo all those terribleoperations of Law-work at the hands of the Most High, for it is in that way that He comes to those whom He means to bless.
I cannot preach to you, for the time has gone, but do you know, I think one of the most dreadful things that can ever be saidof man is that he does not love Christ> I should be sorry to enter on my list of friends the man that did not love hismother-no, I could not call him a man. Dead is that heart to every noble sentiment that loves not her that bore him! And yetthere might be some justifiable cause to excuse even that. But not to love the Christ, the God that stooped to bleed for man-thisis inexcusable! I dare not tonight utter, as my own, what Paul said, but, very pointedly and solemnly, I would remind youwho love not Christ of it. Paul says, "If any man love not the Lord Jesus Christ, let him be anathema Maranatha"-cursed atthe coming. Sometimes when I think of my Lord and my heart grows hot with admiration of His self-denying love, I think I couldalmost invoke the imprecation on the head of him that does not, would not, could not love the Christ of God! But better thanthat I will ask His blessing for you and so I say, "Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do!"
Here our sermon closes. And may God's blessing rest on it.
EXPOSITION BY C. H. SPURGEON: PSALM 63; LUKE10:38-42; JOHN 12:1-8.
I will read the 63rd Psalm first, as somewhat representing the state of heart into which I would we could all come tonight.
Psalm 63:1. O God, You are my God. Read that sentence how you will, it is unspeakably precious. If we say, "O God, You are my God,"it brings out the possession which the Believer has in God. If we say, "O God, You are myGod," it shows the greatness of thepossession which we thus have in having this God to be our God forever and ever. And if we say "O God, Youare my God," itleads us to think of God and not of His gifts as our chief good.
I, 2. Early willI seek You: my soul thirsts for You, my flesh longs for You in a dry and thirsty land, where no water is;to see Your power and Your glory, so as I have seen You in the sanctuary. Long after the old times over again-for those timesof Heaven upon earth-those special seasons when the Lord made the veil between us and Heaven to be very thin, indeed, andallowed us almost to see His face. "To see Your power and Your glory, so as I have seen You in the sanctuary." Well, then,let us go to the sanctuary again, or make the place where we are a sanctuary. Even the stony pillar may mark the site of Betheland every spot may be hallowed ground.
3-5. Because Your loving-kindness is better than life, my lips shall praise You. Thus will I bless You while I live: I willlift up my hands in Your name. My soulshall be satisfedas with marrow and fatness; andmy mouth shallpraise You with joyfullips. Satisfaction, absolute satisfaction! Satiety of every desire, full to the brim to the running over only because Godis our God! We need nothing beyond that to make our mouth praise with joyful lips.
6, 7. When I remember You upon my bed, and meditate on You in the night watches. Because You had been my help, therefore inthe shadow of Your wings will I rejoice. If I cannot see Your face, the shadow of Your wing shall be enough for me, for theyshall shelter me from all harm and I will, yes, I will rejoice. Under the wings we are near the heart of God and he who knowGod's heart of love must be glad.
8-10. My soul follows hard after You: Your right hand upholds me. But those that seek my soul, to destroy it, shall go intothe lower parts of the earth. They shall fall by the sword: they shall be a portion for foes. All our sins and all other thingsor beings that are the enemies of our soul! Christ has overcome and He will leave them upon the field.
II. But the king shall rejoice in God; everyone that swears by Him shall glory: but the mouth of them that speak lies shallbe stopped. Now a short passage in the New Testament about Mary, the sister of Martha.
Luke 10:38-40. Now it came to pass, as they went, that He entered into a certain village: and a certain woman named Martha received Himinto her house. And she had a sister called Mary which also sat at Jesus' feet, and heard His word. But Martha was cumberedabout much serving, and came to Him and said, Lord, do You not care that my sister has left me to serve alone? Bid her, therefore,that she help me. Agitated, distressed Martha was afraid that something would go wrong with the dinner. She had too much onher hands-too much on her brain. That led her to blame her sister, Mary, and to try to get the Lord to blame her, too. Thereis a strong tincture of self-righteousness in Martha's speech.
41, 42. And Jesus answered and said unto her, Martha, Martha, You are careful and troubled about many things: But one thingis necessary and Mary has chosen that good part, which shall not be taken away from her. I shall not tell her to leave Myinstruction, said our Lord, or to get up from the position which she occupies. No, you may go about your work, she is honoringMe as much as you are, if not more. This did not mean that Mary was perfect, or that Martha was wholly to be condemned. Bothneeded to learn much from Jesus and Mary was more in the way of it. Still Martha was doing good service. But you will seethat Mary could do something for Christ, too, when the time came.
John 12:1, 2. Then Jesus, six days before the Passover came to Bethany, where Lazarus was which had been dead, whom He raised from thedead. There theymade Him a supper, andMartha served: andLazarus was one ofthem that sat at the table with Him. Martha served-shehad not given that up. She was a wondrous housewife and she did well to keep to her occupation. Lazarus had been dead andhad been raised again. But he was not the center of interest-"He that raised him up was there."
3-7. Then took Mary apound of ointment of spikenard, very costly, and anointed the feet of Jesus and wiped His feet with herhair: and the house was filled with the odor of the ointment. Then said one of His disciples, Judas Iscariot, Simon's son,which would betray Him, Why was not this ointment sold for three hundred pence, and given to the poor? This he said, not thathe cared for the poor; but because he was a thief and had the money box; and he used to take what wasput in it. Then saidJesus, Let her alone: against the day ofMy burying has she kept this. Somebody or other always seemed to object to Mary! IfMartha does not do it, Judas will. To be found guilty of excess of love to Christ is such a blessed criminality that I wishwe might be executed for it! It were sweet to be put to death for such a crime! It was that that Christ died of-He was foundguilty of excess of love.
8. For the poor you always have with you; but Me you have not always. It is not every day that you can do something personallyand distinctly for Christ, Himself, and therefore, whenever the occasion serves you, be sure to be there to avail yourselfof it! True, you can serve Him indirectly by aiding His poor saints. Still, something for Him-for Him, Himself-should oftenbe devised as Mary devised this service that day.