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away.” This, My Brethren, shall be your portion; this shall be the end and recompence of your faith. This shall then be the portion of all, who now wash their robes, and make them white in the blood of the Lamb.
GOOD WORKS THE FRUITS OF FAITH AND LOVE.
MARK, xiv. 8.
She hath done what she could.
The portion of Scripture, from which these words are taken, contains an Incident, which is distinctly and separately related by three of the Evangelists; and which on this account may seem deserving of particular notice; especially when we find two of these writers expressly reciting our Lord's own declaration, that “ wheresoever the Gospel should be preached throughout the world,” there this incident should be circumstantially recorded. We
We may reasonably expect that the consideration of an Incident, thus peculiarly recommended to our notice, will furnish us with some interesting and profitable remarks. I therefore purpose, in humble dependance on the Divine blessing, first to give a short statement and explanation of the Incident, itself, and then to draw from it some instructive Inferences.
1. The Incident here recorded comprizes the Conduct of a certain woman on a particular occasion, together with the Treatment which she received, first from some of the persons present, and secondly from Jesus Himself.
Her Conduct is thus related in the third verse of the chapter. “ Jesus being in Bethany, in the house of Simon the Leper, as he sat at meat, there came a woman having an alabaster box of ointment of spikenard very precious, and she brake the box and poured it on his head.”. According to the custom of those times, this action, though contrary to our ideas and practice, would be deemed a mark of attention and respect. To anoint the guests and to furnish them with perfumes was a compliment, the omission of which was regarded as a want of hospitality, and a mark of disrespect. Thus on another occasion, when another woman in the house of Simon the Pharisee, had anointed our Saviour's feet with ointment, we find him thus addressing the Pharisee in proof of his incivility, and of the woman's attention to him. “ Mine head with oil thou didst not anoint, but this woman hath anointed my feet with ointment *." • You did not pay me even the * customary token of respect due to one
* Luke vii. 46.
o whom you had invited to your house : but - this woman has supplied your omission, 6 and by anointing my feet with ointment, • has testified her veneration and affection « for me.'
Thus it was with the woman in the text. It does not indeed appear that our Lord had experienced any want of civility in the house where he now was, or had not been treated with every mark of attention and respect; but this woman was anxious to shew some additional and singular proof of her own individual regard and personal admiration of him. Therefore she brought this alabaster box of ointment of spikenard, very precious, and broke the box, and poured it on his head.” Such was her Conduct.
Let'us now see the Treatment she received; and first, from some of those who were present. We read at the fourth verse, “ and there were some that had indignation within themselves and said, Why was this waste of the ointment made ? For it might have been sold for more than three hundred pence, and have been given to the poor : and they murmured against her.” These persons, not having the same affection and veneration for Jesus, which the woman had, found fault with her Conduct. Not entering into her feelings and motives, they regarded the use which she had made of the ointment as un
necessary and extravagant. They said that it was wasted ; and pointed out a way in which it might have been far better, and more usefully employed. In short, they « murmured against her." They openly vented the indignation which they felt at her Conduct, and reproved and censured her for it. We find indeed from St. John's account of this transaction, that Judas was one of the persons who urged this objection, and recommended that the ointment should have been sold, and given to the poor : but “this he said,” pursues the Evangelist, “ not that he cared for the poor, but because he was a thief and had the bag, and bare what was put therein *.” His objection was dictated merely by a feeling of selfishness and avarice: He found fault with what the woman had done, merely because it interfered with his own corrupt and covetous purposes. He considered not the affection which she shewed to Jesus, nor the respect which he owed to his master. His own private and selfish ends were crossed ; and therefore he blamed the woman, and invidiously joined with the rest in murmuring against her.
But while such was the Treatment which she received from these persons, what Treatment did she receive from Jesus? He reproved those that found fault with her. He defended her conduct, and graciously ex
* John xii. 6.