The Moral Glory of the Lord Jesus Christ - Part 1


      It is the Moral
Glory, or, as we speak, the character of the Lord Jesus, on which I
meditate in these pages. All went up to God as a sacrifice of sweet
savour. Every expression of Himself in every measure, however small,
and in whatever relationship it was rendered, was incense. In His
Person (but surely there only) man was reconciled to God. In Him God
recovered His complacency in man, and that too with unspeakable gain;
for in Jesus, man is more to God than He would have been in an eternity
of Adam innocency.

      But in this
Meditation on the Moral Glory of the Lord Jesus, it is most surely but
a small part of that wondrous subject I affect to have reached. I may
give occasion to fruitful thoughts in the souls of others, and that
will be good.

      The Lord's Person I
assume-God and man in one Christ. His Work I also assume; that
suffering service, or blood-shedding, accomplished on the Cross,
whereby reconciliation is perfected, and wherein it is preached for the
acceptance and joy of faith.


      "And when any will
offer a meat-offering, his offering shall be of fine flour, and he
shall pour oil upon it, and put frankincense thereon; and he shall
bring it to Aaron's sons the priests; and he shall take thereout his
handful of the flour thereof, and of the oil thereof, with all the
frankincense thereof; and the priest shall burn the memorial of it upon
the altar, to be an offering made by fire, of a sweet savour unto the
Lord." -Lev. 2: 1, 2.

      The glories of the
Lord Jesus are threefold-personal, official, and moral. His personal
glory He veiled, save where faith discovered it, or an occasion
demanded it. His official glory He veiled likewise; He did not walk
through the land as either the Divine Son from the bosom of the Father,
or as the authoritative Son of David. Such glories were commonly hid,
as He passed on in the circumstances of life day by day. But His moral
glory could not be hid. He could not be less than perfect in every
thing- it belonged to Him, it was Himself. From its intense excellency,
it was too bright for the eye of man; and man was under constant
exposure and rebuke from it. But there it shone, whether man could bear
it or not. It now illuminates every page of the four evangelists, as it
once did every path which the Lord himself trod on this path of ours.

      It has been said of
the Lord-"His humanity was perfectly natural in its development." This
is very beautiful and true. Luke 2: 52 would verify this. There was
nothing of unnatural progress in Him: all was orderly increase. His
wisdom kept pace with His stature, or age. He was the child first, then
the man. By-and-by, as a man (God's Man in the world), He will testify
of the world that its works are evil, and be hated by it; but as a
child (a child after God's heart, as 1 may say), He will be subject to
His parents, and under the law, and as one perfect. In such conditions
He grew in favour with God and man.

      But though there
was progress in Him, as we thus see, there was no cloud, or perversion,
or mistake; in this he distinguished Himself from all. His mother
pondered things in her heart; but cloud and indistinctness, nay,
darkness itself, beset her mind, and the Lord had to say to her, "How
is it that ye sought Me?" But with Him, progress was but one form of
moral beauty-His growth was orderly and was seasonable; and, I may add,
that as "His humanity was perfectly natural in its development," so was
His character entirely human in its expressions: all that displayed it
was common to man, as I may say.

      He was the tree
planted by the rivers of waters that bringeth forth his fruit in his
season (Psalm 1.); and all things are only beautiful in their season
The moral glory of the child Jesus "shines in its season and
generation; and when He becomes a man, the same glory only gets other
seasonable expressions. He knew when to own the claims of His mother,
when she made them; when to resist them, though she made them; when to
recognize them unsought (Luke 2: 51; Luke 8: 21; John 19: 27). And, as
we afterwards track Him, He knew Gethsemane in season, or according to
its character; and the Holy Mount in its season, winter and summer, to
His spirit. He knew the well of Sychar, and the road which led Him to
Jerusalem for the last time. He trod each path, or filled each spot, in
that mind that was according to the character it bore under God's eye.
And so on occasions which called for still more energy. If it be the
defilement of His Father's house, He will let zeal consume Him; if it
be His own wrong at the hand of some Samaritan villagers, He will
suffer it, and pass on.

      And all was perfect
in its combinations, as well as in its season. He wept as He was
reaching the grave of Lazarus, though He knew that He carried life for
the dead. He who had just said, "I am the resurrection and the life,"
wept. Divine power would leave human sympathies free to take their full

      And it is
assemblage, or combination of virtues, which forms moral glory. He
knew, as the apostle speaks, "how to abound and how to be abased;" how
to use moments of prosperity, so to call them, and also times of
depression. For, in His passage through life, He was introduced to each
of these.

      Thus, He was
introduced for a moment to His glory; and a very bright moment it was.
I allude to the transfiguration. He was high in His honours there. As
the sun, the source of all brightness, there He shone; and such eminent
ones as Moses and Elias are there, taking of His glory from Him, and in
it shining with Him. But as He descended the hill, He charged those who
had been with Him, "the eye-witnesses of His majesty," not to speak of
it. And when the people, on His reaching the foot of the hill, ran to
salute Him (Mark 9: 15),- His person still reflecting, I believe,
though faintly, the glory which it had lately borne,-He does not linger
among them to receive their homage, but at once addresses Himself to
His common service; for He knew "how to abound." He was not exalted by
His prosperity. He sought not a place among men, but emptied Himself,
made Himself of no reputation, quickly veiled the glory that He might
be the servant; the girded, not the arrayed one.

      And it was thus
with Him a second time, after He had become the risen Jesus, as we may
see in John 20. He is there in the midst of His disciples, in such a
glorious character as man had never borne or witnessed, and never
could. He is there as the Conqueror of death, and the Spoiler of the
grave. But He is not there-though in such glories-to receive the
congratulations of His people, as we speak, and as one naturally would,
who was finding Himself returned to the bosom of friends and kinsfolk,
after toil, and danger, and victory. Not that He was indifferent to
sympathy: He sought it in season, and felt the want of it when He did
not get it. But He is now, risen from the dead, in the midst of His
disciples, rather as a visitor for a day, than as in a triumph. He is
rather teaching them their interest, and not displaying His own, in the
great things which had just been accomplished.

      This was using a
victory indeed, as Abraham knew how to use His victory over the
confederate kings a harder thing, as some have said, than to gain it.
This, again, was knowing "how to abound," how "to be full."

      But He knew "how to
be abased," also. Look at Him with the Samaritan villagers in Luke 9.
At the outset of that action, in the sense of His personal glory, He
anticipated His being "raised up," as He actually was afterwards (Mark
16: 19; 1 Tim. 3: 16; the Greek word is the same); and in the common,
well-known style of one who would have it known that a person of
distinction was coming that way, He sends messengers before His face.
But the unbelief of the Samaritans changes the scene. They would not
receive Him. They refused to cast up a highway for the feet of this
glorious one, but forced Him to find out for Himself the best path He
could, as the rejected One. But He accepts this place at once, without
a murmur in His heart. He becomes again (borrowing the word from Matt.
2.) the Nazarene, seeing He was refused as the Bethlehemite, and He
fills this new character on this side of the Samaritan village, as
perfectly as He had filled the other character on the other side of it.

      Thus He knew "how
to be abased," and just so do we again see Him in Matt. 21. He enters
the city as Son of David. All that could set Him off in that dignity
surrounds and accompanies Him. He is in His earthly honour now, as He
had been in His heavenly glory on the holy hill It was His without
robbery; and when the moment demanded it, He can wear it. But the
unbelief of Jerusalem now, as the unbelief of Samaria before, changes
the scene, and He who had entered the city as her king has to leave it,
to seek a night's lodging, so to speak, where best He could find it.
But there He is, outside Jerusalem, as before He had been outside the
Samaritan village, knowing "how to be abased."

      What perfection! If
the darkness comprehend not the light of His personal or official
glory, His moral glory shall only find occasion to shine the brighter.
For there is nothing in morals or in human character finer than this
combination of willing degradation in the midst of men, and the
consciousness of intrinsic glory before God. We see it in some of the
saints beautifully. Abraham was a willing stranger in the midst of the
Canaanites all his days, not having a foot of land, nor seeking to have
it; but when occasion served, he would take headship even of kings,
conscious of his dignity in God's sight, according to God's own
counsel. Jacob would speak of his pilgrimage, of his few and evil days,
making himself nothing in the reckoning of the world; but he would at
the same moment bless him who at that time was the greatest man on the
earth, conscious that, under God, and before him, he was "the better,"
the greater man of the two.

      David would ask for
a loaf of bread, and ask for it without shame. But, with all that, he
would accept the homage due to a king, receiving the tribute of his
subjects, as in the person of Abigail. Paul was bound with a chain, a
prisoner in the palace, and would speak of his bonds; but at that same
moment he would let the whole court and high estate of the Roman world
know, that he knew himself to be the blest man, the only blest man, in
the midst of them.

      It is this
combination of willing degradation before man, and conscious glory
before God, that gets its highest, brightest, nay (when I consider who
he was), its infinite illustration in our Lord.

      And there is still
further moral beauty in this knowing how to abound, and how to be
abased, how to be full, and how to suffer need; for it tells us that
the heart of him who has learnt that lesson is upon the end of the
journey, rather upon the journey itself. If the heart be on the
journey, we shall not like these accidents and difficulties, the rough
places and the hilly places; but if it be on the end, it will in
proportion overlook such things. It is surely a secret rebuke to some
of us to trace all this.

      But there are other
combinations in the Lord's character that we must look at. Another has
said of Him, "He was the most generous and accessible of men." We
observe in His ways a tenderness and a kindness never seen in man, yet
we always feel that He "was a stranger." How true this is! He was "a
stranger here"-a stranger as far as revolted man was filling the place,
but intimately near as far as misery or need demanded Him. The distance
He took, and the intimacy He expressed, were perfect. He did more than
look on the misery that was around Him, He entered into it with a
sympathy that was all His own; and He did more than refuse the
pollution that was around Him,-He kept the very distance of holiness
itself from every touch or stain of it. See Him as exhibiting this
combination of distance and intimacy in Mark 6. It is an affecting
scene. The disciples return to Him after a long day's service. He cares
for them. He brings their weariness very near to Him. He takes account
of it, and provides for it at once, saying to them, "Come ye yourselves
apart into a desert place, and rest awhile." But, the multitude
following Him, He turns with the same readiness to them, acquainting
Himself with their condition; and having taken knowledge of them, as
sheep that had no shepherd, He began to teach them. In all this we see
Him very near to the rising, varied need of the scene around him,
whether that need be the fatigue of the disciples, or the hunger and
ignorance of the multitude. But the disciples soon resent His attention
to the multitude, and move Him to send them away. This, however, will
in no wise do for Him. There is immediate estrangement between Him and
them, which shortly afterwards expresses itself by His telling them to
get into the ship while He sent the multitude away. But this separation
from Him only works fresh trouble for them. Winds and waves are against
them on the lake; and then in their distress He is again near at hand
to succour and secure them!

      How consistent in
the combination of holiness and grace is all this. He is near in our
weariness, our hunger, or our danger. He is apart from our tempers and
our selfishness. His holiness made Him an utter stranger in such a
polluted world; His grace kept Him ever active in such a needy and
afflicted world. And this sets off His life, I may say, in great moral
glory; that though forced, by the quality of the scene around Him, to
be a lonely One, yet was He drawn forth by the need and sorrow of it to
be the active One. And these activities were spent on all kinds of
persons, and had therefore to assume all kinds of forms.
Adversaries,-the people, a company of disciples who followed Him (the
twelve), and individuals; these kept Him not only in constant, but in
very various activity; and He had to know, as surely He did to
perfection, how to answer every man. And beside all this, we see Him at
times at the table of others; but it is only that we may still notice
further various perfection. At the table of the Pharisees, as we see
Him occasionally, He is not adopting or sanctioning the family scene,
but being invited in the character which He had already acquired and
sustained outside, He is there to act in that character. He is not a
guest simply, under the courtesy and hospitality of the master, and
therefore He can rebuke or teach. He is still the Light, and will act
as the Light; and thus He exposes darkness within doors as He did
abroad. (Luke 7: 11).

      But if He thus
entered the house of the Pharisee again and again, in the character of
a teacher, and would then, acting as such, rebuke the moral condition
of things which He found there, He entered the house of the publican as
a Saviour. Levi made Him a feast in his own house, and set publicans
and sinners in His company. That is, of course, objected to The
religious rulers find fault, and then the Lord reveals Himself as a
Saviour, saying to them, "They that be whole need not a physician, but
they that are sick; but go ye and learn what that meaneth, I will have
mercy, and not sacrifice; for I am not come to call the righteous, but
sinners to repentance." Very simple, but very striking, and full of
meaning, this is. Simon the Pharisee objected that a sinner should
enter his house and approach the Lord Jesus; Levi the publican provided
such as these to be the fellow-guests of the Lord Jesus. And
accordingly, the Lord in one house acts as a reprover, in the other,
discloses Himself in the rich grace of a Saviour.

      But we are to see
Him at other tables still. We may visit Him in Jericho and Emmaus. (See
Luke 19 and Luke 24) It was desire that received Him on each of these
occasions; but desire differently awakened-awakened, I mean, under
different influences. Zaccheus had been but a sinner, a child of
nature, which is, as we know, corrupt in its springs and its
activities. But he had been just at that moment under the drawings of
the Father, and his soul was making Jesus its object. He wished to see
Him, and that desire being commanding, he had pressed his way through
the crowd, and climbed up into a sycamore tree, if he might but just
see Him as He passed by, The Lord looked up, and at once invited
Himself into his house. This is very peculiar,-Jesus is an uninvited,
self-invited guest in the house of that publican at Jericho !

      The earliest
strivings of life in a poor sinner, the desire which had been awakened
by the drawings of the Father, were there in that house ready to
welcome Him; but sweetly and significantly He anticipates the welcome,
and goes in-goes in, in full, consistent, responsive character, to
kindle and strengthen the freshly-quickened life, till it break forth
in some of its precious virtue, and yield some of its own good fruit.
"Behold, Lord, the half of my goods I give to the poor; and if I have
taken anything from any man by false accusation, I restore him
fourfold." At Emmaus, desire had been again quickened, but under
different conditions. It was not the desire of a freshly-drawn soul,
but of restored saints. These two disciples had been unbelieving. They
were returning home under a sorrow that Jesus had disappointed them.
The Lord rebukes them shortly after He joined them on the road, but so
orders His words as to kindle their hearts. When their walk together
ends at the gate of their dwelling, the Lord makes as though He would
go further. He would not invite Himself as He had done at Jericho. They
were not in the moral state which suggested this, as Zaccheus had been;
but, when invited, He goes in-goes in just to kindle further the desire
which had here invited Him-to gratify it to the full. And so He does;
and they are constrained by their joy to return to the city that night,
late as it was, to communicate it to their fellows.

      How full of various
beauty all these cases are! The guest in the house of Pharisees, the
guest in the house of publicans, the guest in the house of
disciples,-the invited and the uninvited guest in the person of Jesus,
sits in His place, in all perfection and beauty. I might instance Him
as a guest at other tables; but, I will now look only at one more. At
Bethany, we see Him adopting a family scene. Had Jesus disallowed the
idea of a Christian family, He could not have been at Bethany, as we
see He was. And yet, when we get Him there, it is only some new phase
of moral beauty that we trace in Him. He is a friend of the family,
finding, as we find to this day among ourselves, a home in the midst of
them. "Now Jesus loved Martha, and Mary, and Lazarus," are words which
bespeak this. His love to them was not that of a Saviour, or a
Shepherd, though we know well He was each of these to them. It was the
love of a family friend. But though a friend, an intimate friend, who
might whenever He pleased find a welcome there; yet He did not
interfere with the arrangements of the house. Martha was the
housekeeper, the busy one of the family, useful and important in her
place; and Jesus will surely leave her where He finds her. It was not
for Him to alter or settle such matters. Lazarus may sit by the side of
the guests at the family table, Mary may be abstracted and withdrawn as
in her own kingdom, or into the kingdom of God within her, and Martha
be busy and serving. Be it so. Jesus leaves all this just as He finds
it. He who would not enter the house of another unbidden, when entered
into the house of those sisters and brother will not meddle with its
order and arrangements and in full moral comeliness this is. But if one
of the family, instead of carrying herself in her family place, step
out of it to be a teacher in His presence, He must and will resume His
higher character, and set things right divinely, though He would not
interfere with or touch them domestically. (Luke 10: 38-42)

      What various and
exquisite beauty! Who can trace all His paths? The vulture will have to
say, it is beyond even the reach of his eye. And if no human eye can
fully see the whole of this one object, where is the human character
that does not aid in setting off its light by its own shadows and
imperfections ? We none of us think of John, or of Peter, or of the
rest of them, as hard-hearted or unkind. Quite otherwise. We feel that
we could have entrusted them with our griefs or our necessities. But
this little narrative in Mark 6, to which I referred, shows us that
they are all at fault, all in the distance, when the hunger of the
multitude appealed to them, threatening to break up their ease; but, on
the contrary, that was the very moment, the very occasion, when Jesus
drew near. All this tells us of Him, beloved. "I know no one," says
another, "so kind, so condescending, who is come down to poor sinners,
as He. I trust His love more than I do Mary's, or any saint's; not
merely His power as God, but the tenderness of His heart as man. No one
ever showed such, or had such, or proved it so well-none has inspired
one with such confidence. Let others go to saints or angels, if they
will; I trust Jesus' kindness more." Surely, again I say, this is
so-and this occasion in Mark 6, betraying the narrow-heartedness of the
best of us, such as Peter and John, but manifesting the full,
unwearied, saving grace of Jesus, verifies it. But further: there are
in Him combinations of characters, as well as of virtues or graces. His
relationship to the world, when He was there, exhibits this. He was at
once a Conqueror, a Sufferer, and a Benefactor. What moral glories
shine in such an assemblage! He overcame the world, refusing all its
attractions and offers; He suffered from it, witnessing for God against
its whole course and spirit; He blessed it, dispensing His love and
power continually, returning good for evil. Its temptations only made
Him a conqueror; its pollutions and enmities only a sufferer; its
miseries only a benefactor. What a combination? What moral glories
shine in each other's company there!

      The Lord
illustrated that word that is among us, "in the world, but not of the
world"-a form of words which, I suppose, has been derived from what He
Himself says in John 17: 15: "I pray not that thou shouldest take them
out of the world, but that thou shouldest keep them from the evil." He
illustrates this condition all through His life; for He was ever in the
world, active in the midst of its ignorance and misery, but never of
it, as one that shared its hopes or projects, or breathed its spirit.
But in John 7. I believe He is eminently seen in this character. It was
the time of the Feast of Tabernacles, the crowning joyous time in
Israel, the antepast of the coming kingdom, the season of ingathering,
when the people had only to remember that they had been in other days
wanderers in a wilderness, and dwellers in camp. His brethren propose
to Him to take advantage of such a moment, when "all the world," as we
speak, was at Jerusalem. They would have Him make Himself important,
make Himself, as we again speak, "a man of the world." "If thou do
these things," they say, "show thyself to the world." He refused. His
time had not then come to keep the Feast of Tabernacles. He will have
His kingdom in the world, and be great to the end of the earth, when
His day comes; but as yet He was on His way to the altar, and not to
the throne. He will not go to the feast to be of the feast, though He
will be in it; therefore, when He reaches the city at this time, we see
Him in service there, not in honour, not working miracles as His
brethren would have had Him, that He might gain the notice of men; but
teaching others, and then hiding Himself under this, "My doctrine is
not Mine, but His that sent Me."

      Very peculiar and
characteristic indeed all this in And all this was some of the moral
glory of the Man, the perfect Man, Jesus, in His relation to the world.
He was a conqueror, a sufferer, and a benefactor-in the world, but not
of it. But with equal perfectness do we see Him at times distinguishing
things, as well as exhibiting these beautiful combinations. Thus, in
dealing with sorrow, which lay outside, as I may express it, we see
tenderness, the power that relieved; but in dealing with the power of
disciples, we see faithfulness as well as tenderness. The leper in
Matt. 7 is a stranger. He brings his sorrow to Christ, and gets healing
at once. Disciples, in the same chapter, bring their sorrow also, their
fears in the storm; but they get rebuke as well as relief. "Why are ye
fearful, O ye of little faith?" He says to them. And yet the leper had
but little faith, as well as the disciples. If they said, "Lord, save
us, we perish;" he said, "Lord, if thou wilt, thou canst make me
clean." But they are rebuked, while he is not, just because there was a
different thing before the mind of the Lord, and justly so. It was
simply sorrow in the one case; it was the soul as well as the sorrow in
the other. Tenderness, unmixed tenderness, was therefore His answer to
the one; faithfulness must form part of the other. The different
relationship to Him, of disciples and strangers, at once accounts for
this, and may show how perfectly He distinguished things that came very
near each other, but still were not the same. But further, as to this
perfection. Though He Himself rebuke, He will not allow others lightly
to do it. As in earlier days, Moses may be humbled by the Lord, but the
Lord will not allow Miriam and Aaron to reproach him. (Num. 11, 12.)
Israel in the wilderness will be chastened again and again by the hand
of God, but in the face of Balaam, or any other adversary, He will be
as one that has not seen iniquity in His people, and will not suffer
any enchantment to prevail against them. So the Lord Jesus will
beautifully and strikingly step in between the two disciples and the
rebuking ten (Matt. 20.), and though He sent a word of warning and
admonition to John the Baptist, as in secret (such a word as John's
conscience alone might understand), He turns to the multitude to speak
of John only with commendation and delight. And still further, as to
this grace in distinguishing things that differ. Even in dealing with
His disciples, there did come a moment when faithfulness can be
observed no longer, and tenderness alone is to be exercised. I mean in
the hour of parting, as we see in John 14: 16. It was then "too late to
be faithful." The moment would not have admitted it. It was a time
which the heart claimed as entirely belonging to itself. The education
of the soul could not go on then. He opens fresh Secrets to them, it is
true, secrets of the dearest and most intimate relationships, as
between them and the Father; but there is nothing that is to be called
rebuke. There is no such word as, "O ye of little faith!" or "How is it
that ye do not understand A word that may sound somewhat like that, is
only the discharging of a wound which the heart had suffered, that they
might know the love He had for them. This was the sacredness of the
sorrow of a moment of parting, in the perfect mind and affection of
Jesus; and we practise it ourselves in some poor manner, so that we are
at least able to enjoy and admire the full expression of it in Him.
"There is a time to embrace," says the preacher, "and there is a time
to refrain from embracing." This is a law in the statute-book of love,
and Jesus observed it.

      But again. He was
not to be drawn into softness, when the occasion demanded faithfulness,
and yet He passed by many circumstances which human sensibilities would
have resented, and which the human moral sense would have judged it
well to resent. He would not gain His disciples after the poor way of
amiable nature. Honey was excluded from the offering made by fire, as
well as leaven. The meat offering had none of it (Lev. 2: 11); neither
had Jesus, the true meat offering. It was not the merely civil, amiable
thing, that the disciples got from their Master. It was not the
courtesy that consults for the ease of another. He did not gratify, and
yet He bound them to Him very closely; and this is power. There is
always moral power when the confidence of another is gained without its
being sought; for the heart has then become conscious of the reality of
love. "We all know," writes one, "how to distinguish between love and
attention, and that there may be a great deal of the latter without any
of the former. Some might say, attention must win our confidence; but
we know ourselves that nothing but love does." This is so true.
Attention, if it be mere attention, is honey, and how much of this poor
material is found with us! and we are disposed to think that it is all
well, and perhaps we aim no higher than to purge out leaven, and fill
the lump with honey. Let us be amiable, perform our part well in the
courteous, well-ordered social scene, pleasing others, and doing what
we can to keep people on good terms with themselves, then we are
satisfied with ourselves and others with us also. But is this service
to God? Is this a meat offering? Is this found as part of the moral
glory of perfect man? Indeed, indeed it is not. We may naturally judge,
I grant, that nothing could do it better or more effectually; but still
it is one of the secrets of the sanctuary, that honey was not used to
give a sweet savour to the offering

      Thus, in progress,
in reasonableness, in combinations, and in distinctions, how perfect in
moral glory and beauty were all the ways of this Son of Man!

      The life of Jesus
was the bright shining of a candle. It was such a lamp in the house of
God as needed no golden tongs or snuff-dishes. It was ordered before
the Lord continually, burning as from pure beaten oil. It was making
manifest all that was around, exposing and reproving; but it ever held
its own place uncondemned.

      Whether challenged
by disciples or adversaries, as the Lord was again and again, there is
never an excusing of Himself. On one occasion disciples complain,
"Master, carest thou not that we perish ?" But He does not think of
vindicating the sleep out of which this challenge awakes Him. On
another occasion they object to Him, "The multitude throng thee, and
press thee, and sayest thou, Who touched me?" But He does not need this
inquiry, but acts upon the satisfaction of it. At another time Martha
says to Him, "Lord, if thou hadst been here my brother had not died."
But He does not excuse His not having been there, nor His delaying for
two days in the place where He was; but instructs Martha in the
wondrous character which His delay had given to that hour.

      What a glorious
vindication of His delay that was! And thus it was on every like
occasion; whether challenged or rebuked, there is never the recalling
of a word, nor the retracing of a step. Every tongue that rises in
judgement against Him, He condemns. The mother rebukes Him in Luke 2;
but instead of making good her charge, she has to listen to Him
convicting the darkness and error of her thoughts. Peter takes upon him
to admonish Him: "This be far from thee, Lord; this shall not be unto
thee." But Peter has to learn, that it was Satan himself that in Peter
prompted the admonition. The officer in the palace of the High Priest
goes still further, correcting Him, and smiting Him on the cheek. But
he is convicted of breaking the rules of judgement, in the very face
and place of judgement.

      All this tells us
of the way of the perfect Master. Appearances might have been against
Him at times. Why did He sleep in the boat when winds and waves were
raging? Why did He loiter on the road when Jairus's daughter was dying?
or why did He tarry where He was when His friend Lazarus was sick in
the distant village of Bethany? But all this is but appearance, and
that for a moment. We have heard of these ways of Jesus, this sleep,
this loitering, and this tarrying, but we also see the end of Jesus,
that all is perfect. Appearances were against the God of Job in
patriarchal days. Messenger after messenger seemed too much,
unrelenting, and inexorable; but the God of Job had not to excuse
Himself, nor has the Jesus of the evangelists.

      Therefore, when we
look at the Lord Jesus as the lamp of the sanctuary, the light in the
house of God, we find at once that the tongs and snuff- dishes cannot
be used. They are discovered to have no counterpart in Him.
Consequently, they who undertook to challenge or rebuke Him when He was
here, had to go back rebuked and put to shame themselves. They were
using the tongs or snuffers with a lamp which did not need them, and
they only betrayed their folly; and the light of the lamp shone the
brighter, not because the tongs had been used, but because it was able
to give forth some fresh witness (which it did on every occasion) that
it did not need them.

      And from all these
instances we have the happy lesson, that we had better stand by, and
let Jesus go on with His business. We may look and worship, but not
meddle or interrupt, as all these were wrong in their day-enemies,
kinsfolk, and even disciples. They could not improve the light that was
shining; they had only to be gladdened by it, and walk in it, and not
attempt to trim or order it. Let our eye be single, and we may be sure
the candle of the Lord, set on the candlestick, will make the whole
body full of light.

      But I pass on. And
I may further observe, that as He did not excuse Himself to the
judgement of man in the course of His ministry, as we have now seen, so
in the hour of His weakness, when the powers of darkness were all
against Him. He did not cast Himself on the pity of man. When He became
the prisoner of the Jews and of the Gentiles, He did not entreat them
or sue to them. No appeal to compassion, no pleading for life is heard.
He had prayed to the Father in Gethsemane, but there is no seeking to
move the Jewish high priest or the Roman governor. All that He says to
man in that hour, is to expose the sin with which man, whether Jew or
Gentile, was going through that hour.

      What a picture! Who
could have conceived such an object! It must have been exhibited ere it
was described, as has been long since observed by others. It was the
perfect Man, who once walked here in the fulness of moral glory, and
whose reflections have been left by the Holy Ghost on the pages of the
evangelists. And next to the simple, happy, earnest assurance of His
personal love to ourselves (the Lord increase it in our hearts!)
nothing more helps us to desire to be with Him, than this discovery of
Himself. I have heard of one who, observing His bright and blessed ways
in the Four Gospels, was filled with tears and affections, and was
heard to cry out, "O that I were with Him! "

      If one may speak
for others, beloved, it is this we want, and it is this we covet. We
know our need, but we can say, the Lord knows our desire.

      The same preacher
whom we quoted before, says, "There is a time to keep, and a time to
cast away." (Ecc. 3: 6.) The Lord Jesus both kept and cast away, in the
due season.

      There is no waste
in the services of the heart or the hand that worships God, be they as
prodigal as they may. "All things come of thee," says David to the
Lord, "and of thine own have we given thee."

      The cattle on a
thousand hills are His, and the fulness of the earth. But Pharaoh
treated Israel's proposal to worship God as "idleness," and the
disciples challenge the spending of three hundred pence on the body of
Jesus as "waste." But to give the Lord His own, the honour or the
sacrifice, the love of the heart, the labour of the hands, or the
substance of the house, is neither idleness nor waste. It is chief work
to render to God.

      But here I would linger for a moment or two.

      Renouncing Egypt is
not idleness, nor is the breaking of a box of ointment on the head of
Christ waste; though we thus see, that a certain kind of reckoning
among the children of men, and even at times (and that too frequent)
among the saints of God, would charge these things as such. Advantages
in life are surrendered, opportunities of worldly promise are not used,
because the heart has understood the path of companionship with a
rejected Lord.

      But this is
"idleness" and "waste," many will say: the advantages might have been
retained by the possessor, or the opportunities might have been sought
and reached, and then used for the Lord. But such persons know not.
Station, and the human, earthly influence that attaches to it, is
commended by them, and treated almost as "a gift to be used for profit,
and edification and blessing." But a rejected Christ, a Christ cast out
by men, if known spiritually by the soul, would teach another lesson.

      This station in
life, these worldly advantages, these opportunities so commended, are
the very Egypt which Moses renounced. He refused to be called the son
of Pharaoh's daughter.

      The treasures of
Egypt were not riches in his esteem, because he could not use them for
the Lord. And he went outside of them, and the Lord met him there, and
used him afterwards, not to accredit Egypt and its treasures, but to
deliver His people out of it.

      I follow this a little here, for it is, I feel, important to us.

      All this
renunciation, however, must be made in the understanding and faith of a
rejected Lord; it will otherwise want all its fine, and genuine, and
proper character. If it be made on a mere religious principle, as that
of working out a righteousness or a title for ourselves, it may well be
said to be something worse than idleness or waste. It then betrays an
advantage which Satan has got over us, rather than any advantage we
have got over the world. But if it be indeed made in the faith and love
of a rejected Master, and in the sense and intelligence of His relation
to this present evil world, it is worship.

      To serve man at the
expense of God's truth and principles is not Christianity, though
persons who do so will be called "benefactors." Christianity considers
the glory of God, as well as the blessing of man; but as far as we lose
sight of this, so far shall we be tempted to call many things waste and
idleness which are really holy, intelligent, consistent, and devoted
service to Jesus. Indeed, it is so. The Lord's vindication of the woman
who poured her treasure on the head of Jesus tells me so (Matt. 26.).
We are to own God's glory in what we do, though men may refuse to
sanction what does not advance the good order of the world, or provide
for the good of our neighbour. But Jesus would know God's claims in
this self-seeking world, while He recognized (very surely, as we may
know), His neighbour's claim upon Himself.

      He knew when to
cast away, and when to keep. "Let her alone," He said of the woman who
had been upbraided for breaking the box of spikenard on Him; "she hath
wrought a good work on me." But after feeding the multitudes He would
say, "Gather up the fragments that remain, that nothing be lost."

      This was observing
the Divine rule, "There is a time to keep, and a time to cast away." If
the prodigal service of the heart or hand in worship be no waste, the
very crumbs of human food are sacred, and must not be cast away. He who
vindicated the spending of 300 pence on one of these occasions, on the
other would not let the fragments of three loaves be left on the
ground. In His eyes, such fragments were sacred. They were the food of
life, the herb of the field, which God had given to man for his life.
And life is a sacred thing. God is the God of the living. "To you it
shall be for meat," God has said of it, and therefore Jesus would
hallow it. "The tree of the field is man's life," the law had said, and
accordingly had thus prescribed to them that were under the law-"When
thou shalt besiege a city a long time, in making war against it to take
it, thou shalt not destroy the trees thereof by forcing an axe against
them; for thou mayest eat of them, and thou shalt not cut them down to
employ them in the siege: only the trees that thou knowest are not
trees for meat, thou shalt destroy and cut them down" (Deut. 20). It
would have been waste, it would have been profaneness, to have thus
abused the food of life, which was God's gift. And Jesus in like
purity, in the perfectness of God's living ordinance, would not let the
fragments lie on the ground. "Gather up the fragments that remain," He
said, "that nothing be lost."

      These are but small
incidents; but all the circumstances of human life, as He passes
through them, change as they may, or be they as minute as they may, are
thus adorned by something of the moral glory that was ever brightening
the path of His sacred, wearied feet. The eye of man was incapable of
tracking it; but to God it was all incense, a sacrifice of sweet
savour, a sacrifice of rest, the meat offering of the sanctuary.

      But again. The Lord
did not judge of persons in relation to Himself,-a common fault with us
all. We naturally judge of others according as they treat ourselves,
and we make our interest in them the measure of their character and
worth. But this was not the Lord. God is a God of knowledge, and by Him
actions are weighed. He understands every action fully. In all its
moral meaning He understands it, and according to that He weighs it.
And, as the image of the God of knowledge, we see our Lord Jesus
Christ, in the days of His ministry here, again and again. I may refer
to Luke 11. There was the air of courtesy and good feeling towards Him
in the Pharisee that invited Him to dine. But the Lord was " the God of
knowledge" and as such He weighed this action in its full moral

      The honey of
courtesy, which is the best ingredient in social life in this world,
should not pervert His taste or judgement. He approved things that are
excellent. The civility which invited Him to dinner was not to
determine the judgement of Him who carried the weights and measures of
the sanctuary of God. It is the God of knowledge that this civility has
on this occasion to confront, and it does not stand, it will not do. O
how the tracing of this may rebuke us! The invitation covered a
purpose. As soon as the Lord entered the house, the host acts the
Pharisee, and not the host. He marvels that his guest had not washed
before dinner. And the character he thus assumes at the beginning shows
itself in full force at the end. And the Lord deals with the whole
scene accordingly; for He weighed it as the God of knowledge. Some may
say, that the courtesy He had received might have kept Him silent. But
He could not look on this man simply as in relation to Himself. He was
not to be flattered out of a just judgement. He exposes and rebukes,
and the end of the scene justifies Him. "And as He said these things
unto them, the scribes and Pharisees began to urge Him vehemently, and
to provoke Him to speak of many things, laying wait for Him, and
seeking to catch something out of His mouth, that they might accuse

      Very different,
however, was His way in the house of another Pharisee, who in like
manner had asked Him to dine. (Luke 7) For Simon had no covered purpose
in the invitation. Quite otherwise. He seemed to act the Pharisee too,
silently accusing the poor sinner of the city. and his guest for
admitting her approach. But appearances are not the ground of righteous
judgements. Often the very same words, on different lips, have a
different mind in them. And therefore the Lord, the perfect Weighmaster
according to God, though He may rebuke Simon, and expose him to
himself, knows him by name, and leaves his house as a guest should
leave it. He distinguishes the Pharisee of Luke 7 from the Pharisee of
Luke 11, though He dined with both of them. So we may look at the Lord
with Peter in Matthew 16. Peter expresses fond and considerate
attachment to his Master: "This be far from thee, Lord; this shall not
be unto thee." But Jesus judged Peter's word's only in their moral
place. Hard indeed we find it to do this when we are personally
gratified. "Get thee behind me, Satan," was not the answer which a
merely amiable nature would have suggested to such words. But again, I
say, our Lord did not listen to Peter's words simply as they expressed
personal kindness and goodwill to Himself. He judged them, he weighed
them, as in the presence of God, and at once found that the enemy had
moved them; for He that can transform Himself into an angel of light is
very often lurking in words of courtesy and kindness. And in the same
way the Lord dealt with Thomas in John 20. Thomas had just worshipped
Him. "My Lord and my God," he had said. But Jesus was not to be drawn
from the high moral elevation that He filled, and from whence He heard
and saw everything, even by words like these. They were genuine words,
words of a mind which, enlightened of God, had repented toward the
risen Saviour, and, instead of doubting any longer, worshipped. But
Thomas had stood out as long as he could. He had exceeded. They had all
been unbelieving as to the resurrection, but he had insisted that he
would be still in unbelief till sense and sight came to deliver him.
All this had been his moral condition; and Jesus has this before Him,
and puts Thomas in his right moral place, as He had put Peter. "Thomas,
because thou hast seen me, thou hast believed. Blessed are they that
have not seen, and yet have believed." Our hearts in such cases as
these would have been taken by surprise. They could not have kept their
ground in the face of these assaults, which the good will of Peter and
the worship of Thomas would have made upon them. But our perfect Master
stood for God and His truth, and not for Himself. The ark of old was
not to be flattered. Israel may honour it, and bring it down to the
battle, telling it, as it were, that now in its presence all must be
well with them. But this will not do for the God of Israel. Israel
falls before the Philistines, though the ark be thus in the battle; and
Peter and Thomas shall be rebuked, though Jesus, still the God of
Israel, be honoured by them.

      Angels have their
joy over the repentance of sinners. "There is joy in the presence of
the angels of God over one sinner that repenteth." It is happy to have
this secret of heaven disclosed to us, and to read one illustration of
it after another, as we do in Luke 15.

      But there is
something beyond this. The joy there, though in heaven, is public. It
utters itself, and has companionship. Very proper that it should be so;
very proper that the whole house should share it, and find it a common
joy. But there is something beyond this. There is the joy of the Divine
bosom, as well as this joy of heaven. John 4: 27-32 gives it to us, as
Luke 15 gives us the public joy of heaven. And this joy of the Divine
bosom, I need not say, is the deeper thing. It is full, silent, and
personal. It asks not to be raised or sustained by others. "I have meat
to eat that ye know not of," is the language of the heart of Christ, as
He tasted this joy. The glory was filling the house, so that the
ministers of the house must stand by for a time. The Shepherd had but
just brought home the stray one of the flock, having laid it on His
shoulders rejoicing, and as yet the joy was all His own. The household
had not been called to rejoice with Him, when the woman left Him a
saved and happy sinner. Disciples felt the character of the moment.
They would not trespass. The fat reserved for the altar, the richest
portion of the feast, "the food of God," was spread, and the disciples
were silent, and stood apart. This was a wondrous moment- not many like
it. The deep, unuttered joy of the Divine bosom is known here, as the
public ecstatic joy of heaven is known in Luke 15.

      But He that could
be thus feasted was weary betimes, and hungry, and thirsting. This is
seen in the same chapter, John 4; as again in Mark 4. But there is this
difference in the two cases: He finds sleep for His relief and
restoration in Mark 4. He is independent of it in John 4. And why was
this? In Mark 4. He had gone through a day of toil, and in the evening
He was weary, as nature will be after labour. " Man goeth forth to his
work and to his labour until the evening." (Ps. 106) Sleep is then
provided for him, to restore him to his service when morning returns.
Jesus proved all this. He was asleep on the pillow in the boat. In John
4 He is weary again, hungry and thirsty too He sits at the well, like a
tired traveller, waiting till the disciples came from the neighbouring
village with food. But when they come, they find Him feasted and
rested, and that too without food, or drink, or sleep. His weariness
had had another refreshment than what sleep had brought Him. He had
been made happy by fruit to His labour in the soul of a poor sinner.
The woman had been sent away in the liberty of the salvation of God.
But there had been no woman of Samaria in Mark 4, and He has therefore
to use the pillow in His weariness.

      But how true all
this is to the sensibilities of our common humanity! We all understand
it. The Lord's heart was merry, as I may say, in John 4; but there was
nothing to make it merry in Mark 4. And we are taught to know (and our
experience sets to its seal that the word is true) "that a merry heart
doeth good like medicine, but a broken spirit drieth the bones." (Prov.
17: 22.) So that the Master can say in the one case, "I have meat to
eat that ye know not of," while in the other, He will use the pillow
which care for His weariness had provided.

      How perfect in all
its sympathies was the humanity the Son had assumed! Surely, indeed, it
was the common humanity, apart from sin.

      "Touched with a sympathy within,
      He knows our feeble frame."

      But again. There is
a temptation in the time of confusion to cast up all as hopeless and
gone; and to say, it is endless and needless to be still
distinguishing. All is in disorder and apostacy; why then attempt to

      But this was not
the Lord. He was in the confusion, but not of it, as He was in the
world, but not of it, as we said before of Him. He met all sorts of
people, in all sorts of conditions, heaps upon heaps, where all should
have been compact together; but He held His even, narrow, unsoiled and
undistracted way through it all. The pretensions of the Pharisee, the
worldliness of the Herodian, the philosophy of the Sadducee, the
fickleness of the multitude, the attempts of adversaries. and the
ignorance and infirmities of disciples, were moral materials which He
had to meet and answer every day.

      And then the
condition of things, as well as the characters of persons, exercised
Him; the coin Of Caesar circulating in Immanuel's land; partition walls
all but in ruins; Jew and Gentile, clean and unclean, confounded, save
as religious arrogance might still retain them after its own manner.
But His one golden rule expressed the perfectness Of His passage
through all- "Render unto Caesar the things that are Caesar's, and unto
God the things that are God's." The remnant in the day of captivity, a
like day of confusion, carried themselves beautifully, distinguishing
things that differed, and not hopelessly casting all up. Daniel would
advise the king, but not eat his meat: Nehemiah would serve in the
palace, but not suffer the Moabite Or the Ammonite in the house of the
Lord: Mordecai would guard the king's life, but would not bow to the
Amalekite: Ezra and Zerubbabel would accept favours from the Persian,
but not Samaritan help nor Gentile marriages: and the captives would
pray for the peace of Babylon, but would not sing Zion's songs there.
All this was beautiful; and the Lord, in His day, was perfect in this
remnant character. And all this has a voice for us; for ours is a day,
in its character of confusion, not inferior to these days of the
captives, or of Jesus. And we, like them, are not to act on the
hopelessness of the scene, but know still how to render to Caesar the
things that are Caesar's, and to God the things that are God's.

      All His moral
beauty becomes a pattern to us. But then we see Him stand in God's
relationship to evil also, and that is a place which, of course, we
never could fill. He touched the leper, and He touched the bier, and
yet He was undefiled. He had God's relationship to sin. He knew good
and evil, but was in Divine supremacy over it; knowing such things as
God knows them. Had He been Other than He was, these touches of the
bier and of the leper would have defiled Him. He must have been put
outside the camp, and gone through the cleansing which the law
prescribed. But nothing of this kind do we see in Him. He was not an
unclean Jew; He was not merely undefiled, He was undefileable; and yet,
such was the mystery of His person, such the perfection of the Manhood
in company with the Godhead in Him, that the temptation was as real in
Him as was the undefileableness.

      But we pause. Our
place towards much of this needed, though mysterious and deeply
precious truth, is to receive it and worship, rather than to discuss
and analyse it. [His death, I may here take occasion to say, was the
perfecting of His moral glory, of which I speak. (Phil. 2.) Of coarse,
I know it Divas a great deal more than that also. But, among other
things, it was that.] It is happy, however, to one's own spirit, to
mark the Yearnings of some souls, who give you the impression that it
is Himself that is before them. We ofttimes traffic with truths in such
wise as in the end leaves with us a rebuking conviction that we did not
reach Himself, though so occupied. We find out that we had been
loitering in the avenue.

      The Lord was "poor,
yet making rich,"-"having nothing, and yet possessing all things."
These high and wondrous conditions were exhibited in Him, in ways that
were and must have been peculiar-altogether His own. He would receive
ministry from some godly women out of their substance, and yet minister
to the need of all around Him out of the treasures of the fulness of
the earth. He would feed thousands in desert places, and yet be Himself
an hungered, waiting for the return of His disciples with victuals from
a neighbouring village. This is "having nothing, and yet possessing all
things." But while thus poor, both needy and exposed nothing that in
the least savoured of meanness is ever seen attaching to His condition.
He never begs, though He have not a penny; for when He wanted to see
one (not to use it for Himself) He had to ask to be shown it. He never
runs away, though exposed, and His life jeoparded, as we speak, in the
place where He was. He withdraws Himself, or passes by as hidden. And
thus, again, I may say. nothing mean, nothing unbecoming, full personal
dignity attaches to Him, though poverty and exposure were His lot every

      Blessed and
beautiful! Who could preserve under our eye such an Object, so perfect,
so unblemished so exquisitely, delicately pure, in all the minute and
most ordinary details of human life! Paul does not give us this. None
could give it to us but Jesus, the God-Man. The peculiarities of His
virtues in the midst of the ordinariness of His circumstances tell us
of His Person. It must be a peculiar Person, it must be the divine Man,
if I may so express Him, that could give us such peculiarities in such
common-place conditions. Paul does not give us anything like it, again
I say. There was great dignity and moral elevation about him, I know.
If any one may be received as exhibiting that, let us agree that it was
he. But his path is not that of Jesus. He is in danger of his life, and
he uses his nephew to protect him. Again, his friends let him down the
wall of the town in a basket. I do not say he begs or asks for it, but
he acknowledges money sent to him. I say not how Paul avowed himself a
Pharisee in the mixed assembly, in order to shelter himself; or how he
spake evil of the high priest that was judging him. Such conduct was
morally wrong; and I am speaking here only of such cases as were,
though not morally wrong, below the full personal and moral dignity
that marks the way of Christ. Nor is the flight into Egypt, as it is
called, an exception in this characteristic of the Lord; for that
journey was taken to fulfil prophecy, and under the authority of a
Divine oracle.

      But all this is
really, not only moral glory, but it is a moral wonder- marvellous how
the pen that was held by a human hand could ever have delineated such
beauties. We are to account for it, as has been observed before and by
others, only by its being a truth, a living reality. We are shut up to
that blessed necessity. Still further, as we go on with this blessed
truth, it is written: "Let your speech be always with grace, seasoned
with salt, that ye may know how ye ought to answer every man." Our
words should prove themselves as thus, always with grace, by
ministering good to others, "grace to the hearers." This, however, will
often be in the pungency of admonition or rebuke; and at times with
decision or severity, even with indignation and zeal; and thus they
will be "seasoned with salt," as the Scripture speaks. And having these
fine qualities, being gracious and yet salted, they will bear witness
that we know how to answer every man.

      Among all other
forms of it, the Lord Jesus illustrated this form of moral perfectness.
He knew how to answer every man, as with words which were always to his
soul's profit, whether men would hear, or whether they would forbear,
but at times seasoned, nay, seasoned highly with salt.

      Thus, in answering
inquiries, He did not so much purpose to satisfy them, as to reach the
conscience or the condition of the inquirer.

      In His silence, or
refusal to answer at all, when He stood before the Jew or the Gentile
at the end, before either the priests, or Pilate, or Herod, we can
trace the same perfect fitness as we do in His words or answers;
witnessing to God, that at least One among the sons of men knew "a time
to keep silence, and a time to speak."

      Great variety in
His very tone and manner also presents itself in all this; and all this
variety, minute as it was as well as great, was part of this fragrance
before God. Sometimes His word was gentle, sometimes peremptory;
sometimes He reasons; sometimes He rebukes at once; and sometimes
conducts calm reasoning up to the heated point of solemn condemnation;
for it is the moral of the occasion He always weighs.

      Matthew 15 has
struck me as a chapter in which this perfection, in much of its various
beauty and excellency may be seen. In the course of it, the Lord is
called to answer the Pharisees, the multitude, the poor afflicted
stranger from the coasts of Tyre, and His own disciples, again and
again, in their different exposure of either their stupidity or their
selfishness; and we may notice His different style of rebuke and of
reasoning, of calm, patient teaching, and of faithful, wise, and
gracious training of the soul: and we cannot but feel how fitting all
this variety was to the place or occasion that called it forth. And
such was the beauty and the fitness of His neither teaching nor
learning, in Luke 2, but only hearing and asking questions. To have
taught then would not have been in season, a child as He was in the
midst of His elders. To have learnt would not have been in full
fidelity to the light, the eminent and bright light, which He knew He
carried in Himself; for we may surely say of Him, "He was wiser than
the ancients, and had more understanding than His teachers." I do not
mean as God, but as One "filled with wisdom," as was then said of Him.
But He knew in the perfection of grace how to use this fulness of
wisdom, and He is, therefore, not presented to us by the evangelist in
the midst of the doctors in the temple at the age of twelve, either
teaching or learning; but it is simply said of Him, that He was
"hearing and asking questions." "Strong in spirit, filled with wisdom,
and the grace of God upon Him," is the description of Him then, as He
grew up in tender years; and when a Man, conversing in the world, His
speech was always with grace, seasoned with salt, as of one who knew
how to answer every man. What perfection and beauty suited to the
different seasons of childhood and manhood!

      And further. We
find Him, besides this, also in various other conditions. At times He
is slighted and scorned, watched and hated by adversaries, retiring, as
it were, to save His life from their attempts and purposes. At times He
is weak, followed only by the poorest of the people; wearied, too, and
hungry and athirst, debtor to the service of some loving women, who
felt as though they owed Him everything. At times He is compassionating
the multitude in all gentleness, or companying with His disciples in
their repasts or in their journeying, conversing with them as a man
would with his friends. At times He is in strength and honour before
us, doing wonders, letting out some rays of glory; and though in His
person and circumstances nothing and nobody in the world, a carpenter's
son, without learning or fortune, yet making a greater stir among men,
and that, too, at times in the thoughts of the ruling ones on earth,
than man ever made.

      Childhood, and
manhood, and human life in all its variousness, thus gives Him to us.
Would that the heart could hold Him! There is a perfection in some of
the minute features that tell of the Divine hand that was delineating
them. Awkward work would any penman, unkept, unguided by the Spirit,
have made of certain occasions where these strokes and touches are
seen. As when the Lord wanted to comment on the current money of the
land, He asked to be shown it, and does not find it about Himself.
Indeed, we may be sure He carried none of it. Thus, the moral beauties
of the action, flowed from the moral perfection of His condition within.

      He asked His
disciples in the hour of Gethsemane, to watch with Him; but He did not
ask them to pray for Him. He would claim sympathy. He prized it in the
hour of weakness and pressure, and would have the hearts of His
companions bound to Him then. Such a desire was of the moral glory that
formed the human perfection that was in Him; but while He felt this and
did this, He could not ask them to stand as in the Divine presence on
His behalf. He would have them give themselves to Him, but He could not
seek them to give themselves to God for Him. Thus, He asked them again,
I say, to watch with Him, but He did not ask them to pray for Him. When
shortly or immediately afterwards, He linked praying and watching
together, it was of themselves and for themselves He spoke, saying,
"Watch and pray, that ye enter not into temptation." Paul could say to
his fellow-saints, "Ye also helping together by prayer to God for us:
pray for us, for we trust we have a good conscience." But such was not
the language of Jesus. I need not say, it could not have been; but the
pen that writes for us such a life, and delineates for us such a
character, is held by the Spirit of God. None other than the Spirit
could write thus.

      He did good, and
lent, hoping for nothing again. He gave, and His left hand did not know
what His right hand was doing. Never in one single instance, as I
believe, did He claim either the person or the service of those whom He
restored and delivered. He never made the deliverance He wrought, a
title to service. Jesus loved, and healed, and saved, looking for
nothing again. He would not let Legion, the Gadarene, be with Him. The
child at the foot of the mount, He delivered back to his father. The
daughter of Jairus He left in the bosom of her family. The widow's son
at Nain He restores to his mother. He claims none of them. Does Christ
give, in order that He may receive again? Does He not (perfect Master!)
illustrate His own principle-"Do good, and lend, hoping for nothing
again"? The nature of grace is to impart to others, not to enrich
itself: and He came, that in Him and His ways, it might shine in all
the exceeding riches and glory that belong to it. He found servants in
this world; but He did not first heal them, and then claim them. He
called them, and endowed them. They were the fruit of the energy of His
Spirit, and of affections kindled in hearts constrained by His love.
And sending them forth, He said to them, "Freely ye have received,
freely give." Surely there is something beyond human conception in the
delineation of such a character. One repeats that thought again and
again. And very happy it is to add, that it is- in the very simplest
forms this moral glory of the Lord shines forth at times-such forms as
are at once intelligible to all the perceptions and sympathies of the
heart. Thus He never refused the feeblest faith, though He accepted and
answered, and that too with delight, the approaches and demands of the