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THE THREE MARYS.
BY S. K. P.
“Now there stood by the cross of Jesus, his mother, and his mother's sister, Mary, the wife of Cleophas, and Mary Magdalene.” So runs the language of Scripture, simple and concise, but what a world of meaning it contains ! Mary, the virgin; Mary, the wife; and Mary, the abandoned woman; the highest and the lowest; the most exalted and the most degraded, are linked together by the sensible and common-place woman, and all are grouped at the cross of Christ. What brought them here, these three types of woman? The virgin, the wife, and the lost one? We must seek the answer in their distinctive titles. Mary was the mother of Jesus. Sympathy for her Son drew her to witness a scene, that, else, could not have been borne by a mother's eye. She knew her Son must die, and with a heroism belonging only to the martyrs, accompanied Him to the place of torture, to watch every sigh and count every groan; knowing that, though unable to reach Him by any actual interposition, she might yet, by the force of the soul's sympathy, sustain and cheer her fainting child. Her looks are directed to Christ alone. She sees not the instruments of torture, the jeering soldiers, nor the insulting crowd. They are unnoticed in her intense sympathy with the Sufferer. She feels only His pain, and even as she supported Him in infancy, so would she now enfold Him in her arms, and, with infinite, tenderness and pity, soothe this His dying agony.
Mary, the wife of Cleophas, has followed to minister to Him. Material aid is what she chiefly brings. Her love is the kind that shows itself, not so much in suffering with, as by ministering unto. She is the warmhearted, sensible, and practical woman, and, if any thing she can give or do will relieve the Sufferer, she is ready to beste
But what shall we say of Mary Magdalene—the impulsive and impetuous Mary-she who bathed His feet with her tears, and would have embraced Him in the garden? Like a lioness her young, she watches at the cross. Every stroke of the hammer thrills her frame, every nail penetrates her nerves, and every insult of the crowd sends the blood rushing through her veins. Scorn, and indignation and rage, are in the glances she throws upon His murderers, and the ruthless soldier trembles at the lightning eye of that once proud beauty; for he feels, if shehad her will, the cross and the tormentors would be swallowed up, and the unresisting victim free to walk the earth at His good pleasure. Gratitude, and love and veneration, are mingled in the alternate look with which she regards the Saviour-He who protected her from the censure of the Pharisees, restored her to society, and sent life and hope into her soul. But, as her inability to help Him rushes on her mind, Mary Magdalene bows her head and weeps; she feels that the heart that once broke for sin, must now break a second time for Him, the victim of sin.
So are grouped, by the Apostle John, the three Marys of undying fame. The trinity of Marys, we may call them; three in character, but one in love to Jesus, the God-man. All women are represented by them, and as the Virgin encompassed the Lord of heaven and earth, so is all womankind included in the world-embracing name of Mary.
ST. PETER'S VISIT TO EARTH.
From the German of GERLE.
BY THE EDITOR.
One day, Peter appeared before the Lord, and besought him for a brief leave of absence. He said he wished to make a visit down to earth to enjoy himself with his friends, as it was just then the Lent season.
The Lord said: “Eight days I give you—enjoy yourself as is customary for Christians on earth to do, and see that you return at the right time.”
Thus Peter descended and came to his friends, by whom he was received in a very friendly manner. One conducted him to another, so that in the free enjoyment of good things, he nearly forgot his native heaven, and only thought of it again after a month had passed, when, one day, he felt badly from extravagant enjoyment. Then he returned to heaven. When he was asked, in a friendly way, why he had remained so long over the time, he answered the Lord: “We had a pleasant time—the fruits of the earth were cheap and good-every thing was so abundant, that the people danced and sang for joy. Yes, amid all the delight, I nearly forgot to return.”
Then, said the Lord: “Tell me, Peter, were the people very thankful to me in their abundance and joy? Did they honor me because I opened my bountiful hand in blessings over them ?”
Peter shook his head, and answered: "Truly, throughout the whole land, no one thought of Thee, except one aged woman whose house was burnt up—she cried so mightily to Thee, that all the people laughed at her.”
Then the Lord directed Peter to resume his place at the gate, where he attended to his office of keeping it.
The next year the Lord gave him permission again to make a visit to the earth, and allowed him to remain a whole month. Peter was glad; and as he descended, he made up his mind to remain several months on the earth among
his friends. But when he reached the earth, he found every thing quite different from what it had been before, and on the third day was glad to start back again.
Then the Lord asked him: “How is it, Peter, that this time you return so soon?”
Then Peter said: “Since I was on the earth the last time, every thing is changed. It is not so happy a place as it was the year before. There are
neither fruits nor vegetables—every thing is dried up—the people are ne
nearly dying from hunger; and with all this, pestilence, war, and all manner of tribulations prevail
. The people no longer live in joyful extravagance, but sit silently in their houses, and spend their time in sighing and weeping. Therefore, I did not wish to tarry any longer-all was so changed and dreary.”
Then the Lord said: “Tell me, Peter, since the people are suffering such great and sore afflictions, is it still so that no one asks after me?”
And Peter said: “O no, Lord, all sigh and cry unto Thee. Young and old fall down in prayer and confession before Thee, beseeching Thee to forgive their sins, and to make them again partakers of Thy love and good
And, since they pray so heartily, I would myself intercede for them, That thou wouldst turn away Thine anger from them, and put an end to their sufferings."
Then the Lord said: "Behold, Peter, when I open my bountiful hand and give the people peace and plenty-give them health and fruitful
years -so that every thing is abundant and cheap, then they forget that from me cometh every good and perfect gift. They rush into all manner of sin ; array themselves on the side of Satan against me, and lead such profligate and thankless lives, that my gifts are all turned into injury to them, and their blessings they turn into curses. Hence it is necessary for me to shut my hand of blessing, and send them want and wo, tribulation and sorrow, and by these means bring them to reflection and repentance. Behold, Peter, and you will see that such a cross is true medicine to them; and thus the sufferings of this life may be the means of leading them to prepare for a better life to come.”
Years of observation have convinced us that want of prudent foresight is a prolific source of want and misery. When the Scriptures tell us to take no thought for tomorrow, it does not mean that we shall not act with some wise reference to the needs of to-morrow. It only does not wish us to think about the future with such consuming care as to unfit us for present duties. We are not to load the probable cares of the future on the present, but only to attend properly to present duties in the faith that no future wants shall destroy us.
This is something quite different from the careless kind of living in the present which has no eye for the future. The same Scriptures commend the wisdom of the ant, which lays up its stores in the summer in prudent anticipation of the needs of the winter. Yet, how many human beings are careless and even wasteful when plenty is around them, and act with no prudent reference whatever to more pressing seasons, which they may be sure are before them.
That this is a general folly at the present time, must be plain to all. Men whom the change in prices favor, whose peculiar business is unu
nusually profitable, seem to be mad with extravagance. It does not seem to occur to them that a change may come over the spirit of their dream.
They that are wise, will be warned that just now is the time for cautious and economical living. Be not too self-complacent under the shadow of your gourd, which has so suddenly grown up over your head. It may wither as suddenly as it grew.
If ever there was a time, it is now, when economy ought to be preached from the house-tops. Believe it, there are many articles, now triple the usual price, which you do not absolutely need, though you may have been long accustomed to have them. “ You have money to buy them?” Very well; but you may need that money for necessaries shortly.
We speak not a word for miserliness. No, not a word. We speak only of useless expenditures. We say the times demand frugality and economy. "The people are spending recklessly. The extravagance of the day is deplorable. With a war on our hands of sueh gigantic proportions as to tax all our resources, the people not only do not curtail their expenses, but they launch out in a campaign of extravagance unprecedented in our history. Never before were such sums squandered for the gew-gaws and fooleries which please the eye and flatter the vanity of the snob classes of our people. Jewelry in the most vulgar profusion dangles about the person, and clothing of the most extravagant character makes absurd the gawkey individuals who imagine they are adorned by it. In the table, in travelling, and in various other ways, is money also most recklessly squandered. This cannot continue. Its end must be wide-spread bankruptcy and great suffering. Will not the thoughtful and well-balanced part of the people set their faces against these extravagances ?”
Young men! Accept a friendly word. You are surrounded by bad examples on every hand. There are hundreds of young men in our cities and larger towns, and even in the more quiet country regions, who spend all they earn, as fast as it becomes theirs. Their wages pass out of their purses, they know not how. But any reflecting observer can easily tell how. They have a kind of irresponsible feeling which induces them to live wholly in the present, and they care not to lay some foundation for future business life, and the probable needs of a family.
Every young man ought to intend, some day, to enter into business for himself. This is just as much a Christian duty as it is a dictate of common worldly prudence. Our fathers, when they were young, intended this much, and they prepared for it. We are not yet old, and yet we can remember the time when every young man was expected to have some nucleus with which to begin life for himself when he was ready to do so on his own account. This has been done; it can be done; it ought to be done. It can be done, too, without the least meanness or closeness, such as belongs to the spirit of a miser. It can be done by simply avoiding that foolish and useless extravagance into which so many
ung men of the
present generation are thoughtlessly drawn. Every young man can do it, and be liberal towards the Church, the Sunday School, and objects of benevolence generally. Indeed, it is the very means which will enable him to be liberal towards all enterprises which look to the general interests of society and the Church of Christ.
We do not wish to make old men of young men.
We wish to repress nothing of their lawful, youthful enjoyments. We only wish them, while they live cheerfully, also to live earnestly and for some purpose. We wish them to feel their responsibility for the talents and opportunities which God has graciously intrusted to them. We would impress on their minds the fact that they can do good in the world, and that to do this it is necessary, first of all, that they do good to themselves.
Instead of aiming to be a “fast young man,” aim to be a firm young man. Lay your foundations well, and build thereon a life of usefulness and honor. If you have not yet, you may as well begin on New Year's day as at any other time.
Flowers are fewer than at first,
And the way grows drearer,
We are drawing nearer.
We are drawing nearer;
To our sight grows clearer.
And lay down to slumber ;
All their graves may number.
Fruits we've failed to gather ;
Jesus and each other?