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Luke viii.

hath never forgiveness, but is in danger of eternal damna-
30. Because they said, He hath an unclean spirit.

19–21. 31. There came then his brethren and his mother, and, standing without, sent unto him, calling him.

32. And the multitude sat about him, and they said unto him, Behold, thy mother and thy brethren without seek for thee.

33. And he answered them, saying, Who is my mother, or my brethren?

34. And he looked round on them which sat about him, and said, Behold my mother and my brethren!

35. For whosoever shall do the will of God, the same is my brother, and my sister, and mother.

Many reasons might induce the mother and brethren of our Lord to dissuade him from the course he was pursuing. It appeared before, that they said, He is beside himself. They knew not the purpose for which he came into the world, and they perceived that he was incurring the enmity of the chief priests and elders. They “wist not that he must be about his Father's business.” But he would not "give place to them, no not for an hour.” He was doing the will of God. And he is led, by the occasion, to pronounce a solemn blessing on all who live with a like design. For whosoever shall do the will of God, the same is my brother, and my sister, and mother.

It is strange that this should be so uncommon. We might imagine that it would be the


of all, in their respective stations and circumstances, to do the will of Him who made them. We might suppose that all, at least, to whom He is revealed, must set this object before themselves. But

But expe

rience shows the contrary, Few consider, in their ordinary habits, or in the business of their lives, what is the will of God, instead of considering the prospect of worldly advantage, the inclinations of their own hearts, or the practice of others.

Great, however, is the encouragement which these words convey. Jesus looked round on those which sat about him, and said, Behold my mother and my brethren! Now those who sat about him were those who had been convinced by his miracles, and were learning truth from his doctrines. In this they were doing the will of God. Compared with the rest of their countrymen, they were in the condition of those who now make the gospel not only the religion which they profess, but the rule which they follow ; who “ hear the word of God, and keep it.” And these are exposed to various trials, and have many difficulties in their way. .

Here, then, is their consolation. The Saviour of the world, the Son of God, has a tender concern for them; looks upon them in the light of the nearest relationship: and will assist their weakness and confirm their strength, with the regard of a son and the affection of a brother. With this assurance, how confidently may they depend upon him, and address him in their prayers! And what a dignity is thus attached to them! Whether that dignity be acknowledged by their fellow-men or not, --it commonly is, for consistent adherence to the will of God commands respect,—whatever be their condition here, they are united in close alliance with Him who is “God over all, blessed for ever.”

A time, however, will arrive hereafter, when the value of this alliance will be more universally recognized. Who that looks forward to the reality of a judgment to come, will not desire that in that day Christ Jesus should acknowledge them as his own ?-should say of them, Behold my mother and my brethren! But we cannot assume such relationship then, merely because we shall then need it. We must establish our title to it now. And that title is, that we do the will of God. No other claim will avail, not even such as might seem most clear and undeniable. And this is the will of God, " that we believe on him whom he hath sent."

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MARK iv. 1-20.

1. And he began again to teach by the sea side : and there was gathered unto him a great multitude, so that he entered into a ship, and sat in the sea; and the whole multitude was by the sea on the land.

2. And he taught them many things by parables, and said unto them in his doctrine,

1 See John vi. 29.

3. Hearken ; Behold, there went out a sower to sow :

4. And it came to pass, as he sowed, some fell by the way side, and the fowls of the air came and devoured it up.

5. And some fell on stony ground, where it had not much earth ; and immediately it sprang up, because it had no depth of earth:

6. But when the sun was up, it was scorched; and because it had no root, it withered

away. 7. And some fell among thorns, and the thorns grew up, and choked it, and it yielded no fruit.

8. And other fell on good ground, and did yield fruit that sprang up and increased; and brought forth, some thirty, and some sixty, and some an hundred.

9. And he said unto them, He that hath ears to hear, let him hear.

10. And when he was alone, they that were about him with the twelve asked of him the parable.

11. And he said unto them, Unto you it is given to know the mystery of the kingdom of God: but unto them that are without, all these things are done in parables :

12. That seeing, they may see, and not perceive ; and hearing they may hear, and not understand; lest at any time they should be converted, and their sins should be forgiven them.

God is here represented as acting in the way which our sense of fitness and justice recommends in ordinary life. Unto them that are without to the great body of the Jewish nation) all these things are done in parables ; that seeing they may see, and not perceive, and hearing they may hear, and not understand. This people, in general, had shown itself insensible to all those means which God had employed to convert and enlighten them. He had instructed them, but they had not learnt: he had warned them, but they had not listened: he had stricken them, but they had not repented: he had blessed them, but they made him no return. Therefore, as a father discards the son, whom after repeated trials, he finds incorrigible : or as a benefactor withholds his hand, when former kindness has been abused, and gifts inprovidently squandered: so did God see fit to withhold his grace from those, on whom it had been so long bestowed in vain.

Such is the force of that awful declaration of Isaiah, to which our Lord alludes, as having its accomplishment here. (vi. 9.) “And he said, Go, and tell this people, Hear ye indeed, but understand not; and see ye indeed, but perceive not. Make the heart of this people fat, and make their ears heavy, and shut their eyes : lest they see with their eyes, and hear with their ears, and understand with their hearts, and convert, and be healed.” It is not for such that the infinite blessing is designed, of faith and repentance here, and hereafter, everlasting glory.

13. And he said unto them, Know ye not this parable ? and how then will ye know all parables?

14. The sower soweth the word.

15. And these are they by the way side, where the word is soun ; but when they have heard, Satan cometh immediately, and taketh away the word that was sown in their hearts.

Some hearts are no more prepared to receive the word which the sower soweth, than the way side, the common pathway, beaten and hardened by every passenger, is fit to receive seed. What

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