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the assiduous service of a devoted affection. But sincere as the affection of these women was for the Saviour, it was' greater for the heart of Mary Magdalene than for all the others. They took measures carefully, in buying aromatic spices and perfumes to embalm Him, to do all that was necessary to honour their Master ; but Mary Magdalene thought of Him. They waited therefore the most fitting time, and arrived at the sepulchre at sunrise. But Mary Magdalene's heart was altogether empty, except of grief at having lost Him whom she loved so much, and she was at the sepulchre whilst it was still night.
The Lord was already risen, and the great stone rolled away before the entrance into the sepulchre. She did not understand the meaning of what she saw, but went to Peter and John. These two, to see what had happened, ran to the sepulchre that they supposed carefully guarded. John looks into the sepulchre and sees the linen clothes in which Jesus had been wrapped, left there upon the ground. Peter, arriving directly after, enters in and sees the linen clothes also, and the napkin in which the Lord's head had been wrapped, folded apart. All spoke of calm and quiet; nothing indicated hastiness or precipitation. It seems that Peter was astonished at what he saw (Luke xxiv. 12), and hardly knew what to think of it. Then John, in his turn, entered; he saw and believed, but his faith was built upon what he saw, and not upon the word. They knew not the scriptures which declared that this must happen also. Alas! Jesus did not possess their heart, nor the word their understanding. They go to their own house ; they look no further; they are astonished, John at least convinced ; divine intelligence did not enlighten them, love for Christ did not move them ; they went to their own house.
PROPOUNDING TRUTH BEYOND
FAITH IS CARNAL. EVERY utterance of divine things should be the offspring of faith. When I speak of any truth beyond my faith, it is no longer from God or towards Him that I hold it; I must then direct it to man.
Man's mind is attempting to define the mind of God. Faith sees God, and when I see anything in the word, I must either see it as it is with God, or I must see it as suited to man. It is simply an action of faith or an action where there is no faith. This was the difference between Cain and Abel's offerings. Each of them offered, led by a sense of duty, but Abel offered in faith, and Cain did not. Abel had God before him, and therefore offered with the sense of what was due to Him. Cain felt it right to offer, did much to acquire a valuable offering, but failed entirely, because he had no faith ; that is, he had not God simply before him in his offering: he was thinking more of how he could produce an offering valuable in the eyes of man, than of one suited to the nature and character of God, to whom he offered it. This is always the difference between doing a right thing in faith, or without faith. It is apparent even in the way one speaks of a truth. If God be before me, I must speak of a truth, and think of it, as it would place me before Him. When I have faith, God is before me, and He excludes everything else. When I have not faith, though essaying to do a right thing, man is necessarily before
as well as Abram, that it was a right thing to be in the land, but though he did not leave Canaan, he shewed that he had not faith, for he considered only for his own advantage, in order to gain a desired end.
The ten spies had not faith, though they could speak well of the land ;
Surely,” they said, “it floweth with milk and honey,” yet man and his
greatness were more before their eye than God.
Thus a man may commend a truth, though he has not faith in it; that is, he is not before God in the possession of it; hence his exposition and commendation of it always lack evidence of his possessing it, for he does not insist on an immediate and valorous apprehension of it in power; and thus there is something which discourages the hearers from a distinct purpose to enjoy it, and to act on it.
When man is before one, the exposition must suit man. The spies were the appointed and accepted guides of the people, but ten of them were carnal and had man before them instead of God. They can describe the goodness of the land, but as they have no faith, they discourage the people from going up to possess. They had not possessed in faith themselves, and they impart their own unbelief to the people. The more man is before the mind of any one when speaking of divine things, the more the carnal mind