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was led to these words, my beloved friends, as expressing the real desire of my heart, for every one who entered within these walls, that they might be partakers of that true peace which the Lord alone can give,—a peace comprising these blessed qualities, reconciliation with God, an approving conscience, a contented mind, and a loving heart. This is my sincere desire, not only individually for all who enter this consecrated temple, but that their own dwellings may be the habitations of peace ; yea, that in every heart the God of peace and love dwell. Whilst this was the immediate
my selecting the text, I had this further object in view. It seemed an appropriate introduction to the narrative, which St. Luke and the other inspired Evangelists, and more particularly the beloved disciple St. John, have given of a family whom the latter Evangelist thus mentions: “Now Jesus loved Martha, and her sister, and Lazarus ;', each member of the family enjoyed this unspeakable blessing. This narrative affords us a very delightful display of true religion
may dwell. cause of
in one of its most interesting forms, as it appears in domestic life.
Here it is that, as far as our present state will admit, the greatest portion of real happiness will be found. For, as it has been well observed, " The first sure symptom of a mind at ease, is rest of heart, and pleasure felt at home.” Having,
, then, on the last Sabbath, opened to you
the above salutation, let me now request your attention to a house, not visited by the disciples only, but by our Lord himself. And
purpose, if the Lord permit, to continue it to the end, let me entreat your prayers for His gracious aid when privately meditating upon it, that the truths he
enable me to deliver in the congregation may be to the glory of his name, and to the edification of His people.
May he now grant us His blessing; may the Spirit of God so assist us, that the word may come with power to every heart.
We are told, at the thirty-eighth verse, “ It came to pass, that he entered into a certain village : and a certain woman named Martha received Him into her house."
These are the first words which are recorded concerning this highly favoured family. It exhibits to us that pleasing trait which is so observable in the Lord's people—that their dwellings are not closed, up by narrowminded selfishness, living for themselves alone, without regard to others; but, as the Lord enables them, their houses as well as themselves are devoted to his service. Not to dwell upon the hospitality of Abraham, or of others of the Old Testament saints, you
will bear in mind the words of Lydia, when “the Lord opened her heart to attend to the things spoken of Paul.” After she was baptized, and her household, she besought the Apostle, saying, “If ye have judged me to be faithful to the Lord, enter into my house and abide there, and she constrained them.” So it is said of St. Matthew, that when our Lord had called him, by His grace, to be one of his disciples, he made a feast for his fellow-publicans that they might have the opportunity of seeing, and hearing, that blessed Saviour from whom he had himself received spiritual life. So Mar
tha, the member of this family, who have had the charge of the guests, when he entered into the village where she lived, “received him into her house." I would request you, my beloved friends, particularly to notice this trait in her character, since we shall seldom find much of the enjoyment of the privileges of the Gospel, until the Lord has said, “ Peace be to this house,” or until the abode of a Christian is a place to which the Saviour often resorts.
There may be, in the present day, a preference to what is termed “a Gospel ministry,” from its being more generally accompanied with a life, and spirit, and earnestness with which even the natural man may be pleased. There
may also be a regular attendance upon the public ordinances of the house of God from a greater refinement in selfrighteousness; that is, from a secret selfapprobation in being a member of a church to which persons of decided piety belong ; and yet, notwithstanding this attendance, the heart, alas ! may remain unchanged. But when in the family circle, and in the spirit that pervades the domestic intercourse, there are unequivocal proofs that Jesus has been received into the house—in those dwellings you will most frequently find the privilege of having such a guest, “ The Son of peace will be there."
May, then, all your habitations, as the Lord enables you, be like Martha's : “ May you receive Him into your house."
The narrative then proceeds to mention, that Martha “had a sister called Mary, which also sat at Jesus' feet, and heard his word.” If Martha, in receiving our Lord, merits notice, Mary's conduct calls for special regard. Remark then her posture, and the purpose for which she took it! She “sat at the feet of Jesus, and heard his word.” Here we may behold her confidence in our Lord, her reverence for him, her humility, the spirituality of her mind, and her ready zeal in profiting by the opportunity then afforded. The Son of God was condescending to pay them a visit, and it was only a passing visit; she embraces the opportunity, and, in the lowly posture of a humble