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poured it on his head as he sat at meat. But when his disciples saw it, they had indignation, saying, To what purpose is this waste? For this ointment might have been sold for much, and given to the poor. When Jesus understood it, he said unto them, Why trouble ye the woman? for she hath wrought a good work upon me.
For ye have the poor always with you; but me ye have not always. For in that she hath poured this ointment on my body, she did it for my burial. Verily I say unto you, wheresoever this gospel shall be preached in the whole world, there shall also this, that this woman hath done, be told for a memorial of her.
Then one of the twelve, called Judas Iscariot, went unto the chief priests, and said unto them, What will ye give me, and I will deliver him unto you? And they covenanted with him for thirty pieces of silver. And from that time he sought opportunity to betray him.
From the account of John (x11. 3.) it appears that she who thus expressed her gratitude to Jesus, was Mary, the sister of Lazarus, whom he had raised from the dead, and that the censorious remark proceeded from the traitor, Judas Iscariot. His language affords an instance of that species of narrowmindedness, by which nothing is considered useful, except as it directly supports life, or relieves absolute want. Our Saviour's reply shows that such was not his principle. He did not approve the spirit, which would excuse itself from honouring a benefactor, on the plea that gratitude would be too expensive. Frugality is indeed a virtue ; but there is a point, to which if it be carried, it loses that character
and assumes the opposite; destroying hospitality and the charms of social life, narrowing the mind, and fixing it, with disgraceful keenness of perception, on the smallest gains. Much has the command of our Lord been insisted on, “Gather up the fragments that remain, that nothing be lost;” and rightly; for that care of temporal concerns, which from present abundance wisely provides against future need, is a duty sanctioned alike by reason and scripture. But while we impress that precept on our minds, let it be remembered that he from whom it came approved the munificent demonstration of gratitude, made to him by the sister of him he loved.
See the grateful sister bending
O’er her much-loved Saviour's form;
From her heart burst pure and warm.
Doth she bless her heavenly Lord,
To the light of life restored.
Who shall blame the kind oblation,
Perfumes rich, profusely shed ?
Shall her grateful fame be spread !
Through the dark mine richly strewed;
Of the Christian's gratitude.
INSTITUTION OF THE LORD'S SUPPER.
MATT XXVI. 17. Now the first day of the feast of unleavened bread, the disciples came to Jesus, saying unto him, Where wilt thou that we prepare for thee to eat the passover ? And he said, Go into the city to such a man, and say unto him, The Master saith, My time is at hand; I will keep the passover at thy house with my disciples. And the disciples did as Jesus had appointed them ; and they made ready the passover. Now when the even was come, he sat down with the twelve.
And as they did eat, he said, Verily I say unto you, that one of you shall betray me. And they were exceeding sorrowful, and began every one of them to say unto him, Lord, is it I? And he answered and said, He that dippeth his hand with me in the dish, the same shall betray me. The Son of man goeth, as it is written of him ; but woe unto that man by whom the Son of man is betrayed ! it had been good for that man if he had not been born. Then Judas, which betrayed him, answered and said, Master, is it I? He said unto him ; Thou hast said. And as they were eating, Jesus took bread, and blessed it, and brake it, and gave it to the disciples, and said, Take, eat; this is my body. And he took the cup and gave thanks, and
gave it to them, saying, Drink ye all of it; for this is my blood of the new testament, which is shed
for many, for the remission of sins. But I say unto you, I will not drink henceforth of this fruit of the vine, until that day when I drink it new with you
my Father's kingdom.
We may acquaint ourselves with the feelings, to perpetuate which the Supper of the Lord was instituted, by contemplating an assembly of his disciples, in subsequent years, when time had dimmed in their memory the image of their Lord, and what once were facts transacted in their presence, had assumed the colder form of doctrines. But imagine them gathering in Jerusalem for the celebration of the service which he instituted, around the table at which he once presided, repeating the words he once spoke. They raise to their lips in turn that cup of which he had said, “This do, as oft as ye drink it, in remembrance of me.” And is not their master then among them; and do not they once more hear his voice, and see the look of benignity with which he said on that memorable night, “I will not leave you comfortless ; I will come unto you: yet a little while and the world seeth me no more, but ye see me?” Yes! at such moments must that prediction indeed have been verified. At such moments may we yet experience its truth. As we engage in the service of Christian communion, the intervening centuries vanish, and the Saviour and his disciples rise before us; we hear the professions of the ardent Peter; we see the affectionate John, leaning 'on his master's breast. Often let us seek their presence, and gaze, delighted, on the living “ Image of the Invisible God.”
According to thy gracious word,
In meek humility,
I will remember thee.
Thy body, broken for my sake,
My bread from heaven shall be ; The testamental cup I take,
And thus remember thee.
Gethsemane can I forget ?
Or there thy conflict see, Thine agony and bloody sweat,
And not remember thee?
When to the cross I turn mine eyes,
And rest on Calvary,
I must remember thee:
Remember thee, and all thy pains,
And all thy love to me;
Will I remember thee.
And when these failing lips grow dumb,
And mind and memory flee, When thou shalt in thy kingdom come,
Thou wilt remember me.