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off from the kingdom. There is no one human being now upon the face of the earth, that we can rightfully exclude from its exercise : still less, any one now present in the house of God. For should there, for instance, be any one here, who has hitherto neglected-yes, not only neglected, but actually despised—this great salvation, we cannot say whether the benevolent love of our divine Lord may not have led him hither this morning that this word may be fulfilled : “Other sheep I have, them also I must bring; and they shall hear my voice, and there shall be one fold and one Shepherd.” Yes, this may be the day that the love of Christ may touch some sinners' hearts. Oh! that it might be thus—that the Spirit of love would put an honour upon his own ordinance, and bring them this day into the Shepherd's fold.

Besides, however, this love of benevolence, which our Lord has to his sheep, who are yet wandering far off from him, there is a love of complacency, or a love that takes pleasure in those upon whom this affection is fixed. This is the love which our Lord bears to those whom the Holy Spirit has actually brought within the fold, and given to them “those fruits of faith, which are by Jesus Christ, to the praise and glory of God.” This was the love that he bore to this family at Bethany. Their graces were different; but they were all those in which our Lord took delight. He loved Martha's desire to honour him, by her active zeal in his service, though he gently reproved her for her over-anxiety. He loved Mary for her spirituality of mind and readiness to receive instruction, evidenced by her sitting at his feet and hearing his word. He loved Lazarus also, as one of his true and faithful disciples, although his particular graces are not made known to us.

And here we may notice, in proof of this general complacent love, that although, in the first verse of this chapter, Mary takes the precedence, the town being called the town of Mary and her sister Martha ; that in my text Martha is placed first ; for it is said, “ Jesus loved Martha, and her sister, and Lazarus.” As if the Holy Spirit, when dictating this narrative to St. John, would make known to his followers to the end of time, that they are but one family; that He, who “is not ashamed to call his people brethren,” has a brother's love for them all. That wherever He sees his own image, though that image be reflected in a different manner in different Christians, that image he loves; and this not only with a love of benevolence, but with a love of complacency.

What a most blessed truth it is! Let us for a moment dwell upon it, that our hearts may be more affected when we approach His table. Come then, my beloved friends, to Bethany, and view this happy dwelling, with this inscription over the threshold, “ Now Jesus loved Martha, and her sister, and Lazarus.” What an inscription it is ! especially when we think of the different parties : on the one hand Jesus, the Son of God, “the brightness of his glory, and the express image of his Person:” in his Divine nature “the high and lofty One who inhabits eternity;" and his human nature, also, “holy, harmless, unde

filed, and separate from sinners.” He, the one who loves; whilst those who are thus favoured are poor, dying worms – creatures of a day, “ driven before the moth;" having nothing of their own to recommend them; yea, worse than nothing, an evil heart ever prone to depart from the living God. Well may His love be called a love passing knowledge; for who can fathom the depths, or reach the heights, of that Divine benignity which led him to visit the family at Bethany, as a friend and a brother. And yet this love of Christ is no fabled passionno mere sentimental imagination. It is a truth beyond all contradiction, that Jesus loves his people ; that though we cannot fully comprehend it, the Son of God, taking our nature upon him, has a love that joys with their joys, and sympathizes with their sorrows; yea, a love so strong, that it leads him to the grave of his friend, that he may there"

weep with those that weep, and mourn with those that mourn. And it is a love, my friends, of which

you may individually partake. For that which


is spoken of this family of Bethany, may be equally said of all the members of his mystical body. Whilst they who are yet afar off are loved with a love of benevolence, the Lord's delight is in them that fear him, in those that hope in his mercy.” “He taketh pleasure in his people, he will beautify the meek with salvation.”

Allow me to ask, If it has hitherto been the desire of your hearts to be partakers of this love? Has this thought frequently dwelt in your mind, the religion of Christ is the religion of love? Without it the highest gifts are nothing ; so much so, that if any man love not the Lord Jesus Christ, he is under this heavy malediction : “Let him," says the inspired Apostle, “be Anathema, Maranatha ;” that is, accursed at the day of the Lord. If you have not hitherto thought much of this love, let me recommend you this day to draw near to the Saviour, and to habituate yourself to that study of his word, which may unfold his excellencies. And if it is your desire, as we trust it is with many of you, my beloved friends, then

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