"Great is Truth, and mighty above all things."—1 Esdras, iv., 41.

Does the New Testament bring promises of new dignity and of larger liberties for woman? When thinking women make any criticisms on their degraded position in the Bible, Christians point to her exaltation in the New Testament, as if, under their religion, woman really does occupy a higher position than under the Jewish dispensation. While there are grand types of women presented under both religions, there is no difference in the general estimate of the sex. In fact, her inferior position is more clearly and emphatically set forth by the Apostles than by the Prophets and the Patriarchs. There are no such specific directions for woman's subordination in the Pentateuch as in the Epistles.

We are told that the whole sex was highly honored in Mary being the mother of Jesus. Surely a wise and virtuous son is more indebted to his mother than she is to him, and is honored only by reflecting her superior characteristics. Why the founders of the Christian religion did not improvise an earthly Father as well as an earthly Mother does not clearly appear. The questionable position of Joseph is unsatisfactory. As Mary belonged to the Jewish aristocracy, she should have had a husband of the same rank. If a Heavenly Father was necessary, why not a Heavenly Mother? If an earthly Mother was admirable, why not not {sic} an earthly Father? The Jewish idea that Jesus was born according to natural law is more rational than is the Christian record of the immaculate conception by the Holy Ghost, the third person of the Trinity. These Biblical mysteries and inconsistencies are a great strain on the credulity of the ordinary mind.

E. C. S.

Jesus was the great leading Radical of his age. Everything that he was and said and did alienated and angered the Conservatives, those that represented and stood for the established order of what they believed to be the fixed and final revelation of God. Is it any wonder that they procured his death? They had no power to put him to death themselves, and so they stirred the suspicions of the Roman authorities.

We owe the conquest of Christianity to two things. First, to Paul. Christianity never would have been anything but a little Jewish sect if it had not been for Paul. And the other thing is—what? The conquest over death. It was the abounding belief of the disciples that Jesus was alive, their leader still, though in the invisible, which made them laugh in the face of death, which made them fearless in the presence of the lions in the arena, which made them seek for the honor and glory of martyrdom, and which gave them such conquest over all fear, all sorrow, all toil, as can come only to those who believe that this life is merely a training school, that death is nothing but a doorway and that it leads out into the eternal glories and grandeurs beyond.

I think that the doctrine of the Virgin birth as something higher, sweeter, nobler than ordinary motherhood, is a slue on all the natural motherhood of the world. I believe that millions of children have been as immaculately conceived, as purely born, as was the Nazarene. Why not? Out of this doctrine, and that which is akin to it, have sprung all the monasteries and the nunneries of the world, which have disgraced and distorted and demoralized manhood and womanhood for a thousand years. I place beside the false, monkish, unnatural claim of the Immaculate Conception my mother, who was as holy in her motherhood as was Mary herself.

Another suggestion. This thought of Jesus as the second person of an inconceivable trinity, a being neither of heaven nor earth, but between the two; a being having two natures and one will; a being who was ignorant as a man, and who suffered as a man, while he knew everything as God and could not suffer as God—this conception is part of a scheme of the universe which represents humanity as ruined and lost and hopeless, God as unjust, and man as looking only to a fearful judgment in the ages that are to be. I believe that thousands of people have lived since the time of Jesus as good, as tender, as loving, as true, as faithful, as he. There is no more mystery in the one case than in the other, for it is all mystery. Old Father Taylor, the famous Methodist Bethel preacher in Boston, was a Perfectionist, and when he was asked if he thought anybody had since lived who was as good as Jesus, he said: "Yes; millions of them." This is Methodist authority.

What made Jesus the power he was of his time? In the first place, there was an inexplicable charm about his personality which drew all the common people to him, as iron filings are drawn by a magnet. He loved the people, who instinctively felt it, and loved him. Then there was his intellectual power of speech. Most of the sayings of Jesus are not original in the sense that nobody else ever uttered any similar truths before. Confucius, six thousand years before Jesus, gave utterance to the Golden Rule. And then there was the pity, the sympathy, the tenderness of the man. And then he had trust in God— trust in the simple Fatherhood of God, that never could be shaken. Jesus taught us, as no one else has ever done it, the humanness of God and the divineness of man, so that, standing there eighteen hundred years ago, he has naturally and infallibly attracted the eyes, the thought, the love, the reverence of the world.

When it is dark in the morning, and before the sun rises, there are high peaks that catch the far-off rays and begin to glow, while the rest of the world still lies in shadow. So there are mountainous men, not supernatural, but as natural as the mountains and the sun— mountainous men who catch the light before our common eyes on the plains and in the valleys can see it, who see and proclaim from their lofty heights far-off visions of truth and beauty that we as yet cannot discern.




Matthew i.

16 And Jacob begat Joseph the husband of Mary, of whom was born Jesus, who is called Christ.

17 So all the generations from Abraham to David are fourteen generations; and from David until the carrying away into Babylon are fourteen generations; and from the carrying away into Babylon unto Christ are fourteen generations.

Saint Matthew is supposed to be distinguished from the other Apostles by the frequency of his references to the Old Testament. He records more particulars of Jesus than the others do, far more of his birth, his sayings and his miracles.

There has been much difference of opinion among writers of both sacred and profane history as to the paternity of Jesus, and whether he was a real or an ideal character. If, as the Scriptures claim, he descended from heaven, begotten by the Holy Ghost, the incarnation of God himself, then there was nothing remarkable in his career, nor miraculous in the seeming wonders which he performed, being the soul and the centre of all the forces of the universe of matter and of mind. If he was an ideal character, like the gifted hero of some novel or tragedy, his great deeds and his wise sayings the result of the imagination of some skilful artist, then we may admire the sketch as a beautiful picture. But if Jesus was a man who was born, lived and died as do other men, a worthy example for imitation, he is deserving of our love and reverence, and by showing us the possibilities of human nature he is a constant inspiration, our hope and salvation; for the path, however rough, in which one man has walked, others may follow. As a God with infinite power he could have been no example to us; but with human limitations we may emulate his virtues and walk in his footsteps.

Some writers think that his mother was a wise, great and beautiful Jewish maiden, and his father a learned rabbi, who devoted much time and thought to his son's education. At a period when learning was confined to the few, it was a matter of surprise that as a mere boy he could read and write, and discuss the vital questions of the hour with doctors in the sacred temples. His great physical beauty, the wisdom of his replies to the puzzling questions of the Pharisees and the Sadducces, his sympathy with the poor and the needy, his ambition for all that is best in human development, and his indifference to worldly aggrandizement, altogether made him a marked man in his day and generation. For these reasons he was hated, reviled, persecuted, like the long line of martyrs who followed his teachings. He commands far more love and reverence as a true man with only human possibilities, than as a God, superior to all human frailties and temptations.

What were years of persecution, the solitude on the mountain, the agonies on the cross, with the power of a God to sustain him? But unaided and alone to triumph over all human weakness, trials and temptation, was victory not only for Jesus but for every human being made in his image.

Matthew ii.

1 Now when Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judea in the days of Herod the king, behold, there came wise men from the east to Jerusalem,

2 Saying, Where is he that is born King of the Jews? for we have seen his star in the cast, and are come to worship him.

3 When Herod the king had heard these things, he was troubled, and all Jerusalem with him.

4 And when he had gathered all the chief priests together, he demanded of them where Christ should be born.

5 And they said unto him, In Bethlehem of Judea:

8 And he sent them to Bethlehem, and said, Go and search diligently for the young child; and when ye have found him, bring me word.

9 And they departed; and lo, the star, which they saw in the east, went before them, till it came and stood over where the young child was.

11 And when they were come into the house, they saw the young child with Mary his mother, and fell down, and worshiped him: and when they had opened their treasures, they presented unto him gifts; gold, and frankincense, and myrrh.

12 And being warned of God in a dream that they should not return to Herod, they departed into their own country another way.

13 And the angel of the Lord appeareth to Joseph in a dream, saying, Arise, and take the young child and his mother, and flee into Egypt; for Herod will seek to destroy him.

14 And he arose, and departed into Egypt;

19 But when Herod was dead, behold, an angel of the Lord appeareth in a dream to Joseph

20 Saying, Arise, and take the young child and his mother, and go into the land of Israel.

These sages were supposed to be men of great learning belonging to a sect called Magians, who came from Arabia. There was a general feeling that the king of the Jews was yet to be born, and that they were soon to see the long expected and promised Messiah. Herod was greatly troubled by the tidings that a child had been born under remarkable circumstances. The star spoken of was supposed to be a luminous meteor the wise men had seen in their own country before they set out on their journey for Bethlehem, and which now guided them to the house where the young child was. Notwithstanding the common surroundings, the wise men recognizing something more than human in the child, fell down and worshiped him and presented unto him the most precious gifts which their country yielded. Some have supposed that the frankincense and the myrrh were intended as an acknowledgment of his deity, as the gold was of his royalty.

To defeat the subtle malice of Herod, who was determined to take the child's life, Joseph was warned in a dream to flee into Egypt with the child and his mother. The wise men did not return to Herod as commanded, but went at once to their own country.

Matthew ix.

18 Behold, there came a certain ruler, saying, My daughter is even now dead; but come and lay thy hand upon her, and she shall live.

19 And Jesus arose and followed him.

2 And behold, a woman, which was diseased twelve years, came behind him, and touched the hem of his garment:

21 For she said within herself, If I may but touch his garment, I shall be whole.

22 But Jesus turned him about, and when he saw her, he said, Daughter, be of good comfort: thy faith hath made thee whole. And the woman was made whole from that hour.

23 And when Jesus came into the ruler's house, * * *

24 He said, Give place: for the maid is not dead, but sleepeth. And they laughed him to scorn,

25 But when the people were put forth, he went in, and took her by the hand, and the maid arose.

Matthew xiv.

3 For Herod had laid hold on John, and put him in prison for Herodias' sake, his brother Philip's wife.

4 For John said unto him, It is not lawful for thee to have her.

5 And when he would have put him to death, he feared the multitude, because they counted him as a prophet.

6 But when Herod's birthday was kept, the daughter of Herodias danced before them, and pleased Herod.

7 Whereupon he promised to give her whatsoever she would ask.

8 And she being before instructed of her met, Give me here John Baptist's head in a charger.

9 And the king was sorry: nevertheless for the oath's sake he commanded it to be given her,

10 And he sent, and beheaded John in the prison.

11 And his head was brought in a charger, and given to the damsel: and she brought it to her mother.

12 And his disciples came, and took up the body, and buried it, and went and told Jesus.

Josephus says that Herodias was niece both to her former husband, Philip, and to Herod, with whom she at this time lived. Herod had divorced his own wife in order to take her; and her husband Philip was still living, as well as the daughter Salome, whom he had by her. No connection could be more contrary to the law of God than this. John, therefore, being a prophet and no courtier, plainly reproved Herod, and declared that it was not lawful for him to retain Herodias. This greatly offended Herod and Herodias, and they cast John into prison, Herodias waited her opportunity to wreak her malice on him, counting John's reproof an insult to her character as well as an interference with her ambition.

At length when Herod celebrated his birthday, entertaining his nobles with great magnificence, the daughter of Herodias danced before them all, with such exquisite grace as to delight the company, whereupon Herod promised her whatever she desired, though equal in value to half his kingdom. Salome consulted her mother, who urged her to demand the head of John the Baptist. By the influence of Herodias, Herod, contrary to his own conscience, was induced to put John to death, for he feared him as a righteous man.

It must have been a great trial to the daughter, who might have asked so many beautiful gifts and rare indulgences, to yield all to her wicked mother's revenge. But these deeds were speedily avenged. It is said that Salome had her head cut off by the ice breaking as she passed over it. Herod was shortly after engaged in a disastrous war on account of Herodias, and was expelled from his territories; and both died in exile, hated by everybody and hating one another.

L. C. S.

In regard to the charge against Herodias, which is current among theological scandal-mongers, there is not a moderately intelligent jury of Christendom (if composed half of men and half of women) which, after examining all the available evidence, would not render a verdict in her favor of "Not Guilty." The statement that She "paid the price of her own daughter's debasement and disgrace for the head of John the Baptist," is an assertion born wholly of the ecclesiastical, distorted imagination. Not even a hint, much less an iota of proof, to warrant such an assertion, is found anywhere in history—sacred or profane. While some anonymous writer of the early Christian centuries did put in circulation the charge that John the Baptist was put to death at the instigation of Herodias (without implicating her daughter's character, however), Josephus, on the contrary, explicitly declares that his death was wholly a political matter, with which the names of Herodias and her daughter are not even connected by rumor. Says Josephus: "When others came in crowds about him (John the Baptist), for they were greatly moved by hearing his words, Herod, who feared lest the great influence John had over the people might put it into his power and inclination to raise a rebellion (for they seemed ready to do anything he should advise), thought it best, by putting him to death, to prevent any mischief he might cause. . . . Accordingly he was sent a prisoner, out of Herod's suspicious temper, to Macherus, the castle I before mentioned, and was there put to death."

Now, the jury must remember that Josephus was born in Jerusalem about 38 A. D., that he was an educated man and in a position to know the facts in this case, owing both to his prominent position among the Jews and to his study of contemporaneous history. But that, on the other hand, the anonymous writers who bring Herodias' name into the transaction, are not traceable further back than the fourth century of our era, and that even they do not bring any charge against her character as a mother.

E. B. D.

Matthew xv.

21 Then Jesus departed into the coasts of Tyre and Sidon.

22 And, behold, a woman of Canaan cried unto him, saying, Have mercy on me, O Lord, thou son of David; my daughter is grievously vexed with a devil.

23 But he answered her not a word. And his disciples besought him to send her away.

24 But he answered and said, I am not sent but unto the lost sheep of the house of .Israel.

25 Then came she and worshiped him, saying, Lord, help me.

26 But he said, It is not meet to take the children's food, and to cast it to dogs.

27 And she said, Truth, Lord: yet the dogs eat of the crumbs which fall from their master's table.

23 Then Jesus answered and said unto her, O woman, great is thy faith: be it unto thee even as thou wilt. And her daughter was made whole from that very hour.

Peter had a house in Capernaum; and his wife's mother lived with them; and Jesus lodged with them when in that city. It is hoped that his presence brought out the best traits of the mother-in-law, so as to make her agreeable to Peter. As soon as Jesus rebuked the fever, she was able without delay to rise and to wait on Jesus and his disciples. These displays of the power of Christ in performing miracles, according to the text, are varied, in almost every conceivable way of beneficence; but he wrought no miracles of vengeance, even the destruction of the swine was doubtless intended in mercy and conducive to much good—so say the commentators. He not only healed the sick and cast out devils, but he made the blind to see and the dumb to speak.

The woman of Canaan proved herself quite equal in argument with Jesus; and though by her persistency she tired the patience of the disciples, she made her points with Jesus with remarkable clearness. His patience with women was a sore trial to the disciples, who were always disposed to nip their appeals in the bud. It was very ungracious in Jesus to speak of the Jews as dogs, saying, "It is not meet to take the children's food, and to cast it to dogs." Her reply, "Yet the dogs eat of the crumbs which fall from the master's table," was bright and appropriate. Jesus appreciated her tact and her perseverance, and granted her request; and her daughter, the text says, was healed.

We might doubt the truth of all these miracles did We not see so many wonderful things in our own day which we would have pronounced impossible years ago. The fact of human power developing in so many remarkable ways proves that Jesus's gift of performing miracles is attainable by those who, like him, live pure lives, and whose blood flows in the higher arches of the brain. If one man, at any period of the world's history, performed miracles, others equally gifted may do the same.

Matthew xx.

20 Then came to him the mother of Zebedee's children with her sons, worshiping him, and desiring a certain thing of him.

21 And he said unto her, What wilt thou? She saith unto him, Grant that these my two sons may sit, the one on thy right hand, and the other on the left, in thy kingdom.

Zebedee, the father of James and of John, was dead; and he was not so constant a follower of Christ as his wife; so she is mentioned as the mother of Zebedee's children, which saying has passed into a conundrum, "Who was the mother of Zebedee's children?" Scott in his commentaries gives her name as Salome. Whatever her name, she had great ambition for her sons, and asked that they might have the chief places of honor and authority in his kingdom. Her son James was the first of the Apostles who suffered martyrdom. John survived all the rest and is not supposed to have died a violent death.

A mother's ambition to lift her sons over her own head in education and position, planning extraordinary responsibilities for ordinary men, has proved a misfortune in many cases. Many a young man who would be a success as a carpenter would be a failure as the governor of a State. Mothers are quite apt to overestimate the genius of their children and push them into niches which they cannot fill.

Matthew xxii.

23 The same day came to him the Sadducees, which say that there is no resurrection and asked him,

24 Saying, Master, Moses said, If a man die, having no children, his brother shall marry his wife, and raise up seed unto his brother.

25 Now there were with us seven brethren: and the first, when he had married a wife, deceased, and, having no issue, left his wife unto his brother:

26 Likewise the second also, and the third, unto the seventh.

27 And last of all the woman died also.

28 Therefore in the resurrection, whose wife shall she be of the seven? for they all had her.

29 Jesus answered and said unto them, Ye do err, not knowing the Scriptures, nor the power of God.

30 For in the resurrection they neither marry, nor are given in marriage, but are as the angels of God in heaven.

Jesus reminded the Sadducees that marriage was intended only for the present world, to replenish the earth and to repair the ravages which death continually makes among its inhabitants; but as in the future state there was to be no death, so no marriage. There the body even would be made spiritual; and all the employments and the pleasures pure and angelic. The marriage relation seems to have been a tangled problem in all ages. Scientists tell us that both the masculine and feminine elements were united in one person in the beginning, and will probably be reunited again for eternity.

E. C. S.


Matthew xxv.

1 Then shall the kingdom of heaven be likened unto ten virgins, which took their lamps, and went forth to meet the bridegroom.

2 And five of them were wise, and five were foolish.

3 They that were foolish took their lamps, and took no oil with them:

4 But the wise took oil in their vessels with their lamps.

5 While the bridegroom tarried, they all slumbered and slept.

6 And at midnight there was a cry made, Behold, the bridegroom cometh; go ye out to meet him.

7 Then all those virgins arose, and trimmed their lamps.

8 And the foolish said unto the wise, Give us of your oil; for our lamps are gone out.

9 But the wise answered, saying, Not so, lest there be not enough for us and you: but go ye rather to them that sell, and buy for yourselves.

10 And while they went to buy, the bridegroom came; and they that were ready went in with him to the marriage: and the door was shut.

11 Afterward came also the other virgins, saying, Lord, Lord, open to us.

12 But he answered and said, Verily I say unto you, I know you not.

In this chapter we have the duty of self-development impressively and repeatedly urged in the form of parables, addressed alike to man and to woman. The sin of neglecting and of burying one's talents, capacities and powers, and the penalties which such a course involve, are here strikingly portrayed.

This parable is found among the Jewish records substantially the same as in our own Scriptures. Their weddings were generally celebrated at night; yet they usually began at the rising of the evening star; but in this case there was a more than ordinary delay. Adam Clarke in his commentaries explains this parable as referring chiefly to spiritual gifts and the religious life. He makes the Lord of Hosts the bridegroom, the judgment day the wedding feast, the foolish virgins the sinners whose hearts were cold and dead, devoid of all spiritual graces, and unfit to enter the kingdom of heaven, The wise virgins were the saints who were ready for translation, or for the bridal procession. They followed to the wedding feast; and when the chosen had entered "the door was shut."

This strikes us as a strained interpretation of a very simple parable, which, considered in connection with the other parables, seems to apply much more closely to this life than to that which is to come, to the intellectual and the moral nature, and to the whole round of human duties. It fairly describes the two classes which help to make up society in general. The one who, like the foolish virgins, have never learned the first important duty of cultivating their own individual powers, using the talents given to them, and keeping their own lamps trimmed and burning. The idea of being a helpmeet to somebody else has been so sedulously drilled into most women that an individual life, aim, purpose and ambition are never taken into consideration. They oftimes do so much in other directions that they neglect the most vital duties to themselves.

We may find in this simple parable a lesson for the cultivation of courage and of self-reliance. These virgins are summoned to the discharge of an important duty at midnight, alone, in darkness, and in solitude. No chivalrous gentleman is there to run for oil and to trim their lamps. They must depend on themselves, unsupported, and pay the penalty of their own improvidence and unwisdom. Perhaps in that bridal procession might have been seen fathers, brothers, friends, for whose service and amusement the foolish virgins had wasted many precious hours, when they should have been trimming their own lamps and keeping oil in their vessels.

And now, with music, banners, lanterns, torches, guns and rockets fired at intervals, come the bride and the groom, with their attendants and friends numbering thousands, brilliant in jewels, gold and silver, magnificently mounted on richly caparisoned horses—for nothing can be more brilliant than were those nuptial solemnities of Eastern nations. As this spectacle, grand beyond description, sweeps by, imagine the foolish virgins pushed aside, in the shadow of some tall edifice, with dark, empty lamps in their hands, unnoticed and unknown. And while the castle walls resound with music and merriment, and the lights from every window stream out far into the darkness, no kind friends gather round them to sympathize in their humiliation, nor to cheer their loneliness. It matters little that women may be ignorant, dependent, unprepared for trial and for temptation. Alone they must meet the terrible emergencies of life, to be sustained and protected amid danger and death by their own courage, skill and self-reliance, or perish.

Woman's devotion to the comfort, the education, the success of men in general, and to their plans and projects, is in a great measure due to her self-abnegation and self-sacrifice having been so long and so sweetly lauded by poets, philosophers and priests as the acme of human goodness and glory.

Now, to my mind, there is nothing commendable in the action of young women who go about begging funds to educate young men for the ministry, while they and the majority of their sex are too poor to educate themselves, and if able, are still denied admittance into some of the leading institutions of learning throughout our land. It is not commendable for women to get up fairs and donation parties for churches in which the gifted of their sex may neither pray, preach, share in the offices and honors, nor have a voice in the business affairs, creeds and discipline, and from whose altars come forth Biblical interpretations in favor of woman's subjection.

It is not commendable for the women of this Republic to expend much enthusiasm on political parties as now organized, nor in national celebrations, for they have as yet no lot or part in the great experiment of self-government.

In their ignorance, women sacrifice themselves to educate the men of their households, and to make of themselves ladders by which their husbands, brothers and sons climb up into the kingdom of knowledge, while they themselves are shut out from all intellectual companionship, even with those they love best; such are indeed like the foolish virgins. They have not kept their own lamps trimmed and burning; they have no oil in their vessels, no resources in themselves; they bring no light to their households nor to the circle in which they move; and when the bridegroom cometh, when the philosopher, the scientist, the saint, the scholar, the great and the learned, all come together to celebrate the marriage feast of science and religion, the foolish virgins, though present, are practically shut out; for what know they of the grand themes which inspire each tongue and kindle every thought? Even the brothers and the sons whom they have educated, now rise to heights which they cannot reach, span distances which they cannot comprehend.

The solitude of ignorance, oh, who can measure its misery!

The wise virgins are they who keep their lamps trimmed, who burn oil in their vessels for their own use, who have improved every advantage for their education, secured a healthy, happy, complete development, and entered all the profitable avenues of labor, for self-support, so that when the opportunities and the responsibilities of life come, they may be fitted fully to enjoy the one and ably to discharge the other.

These are the women who to-day are close upon the heels of man in the whole realm of thought, in art, in science, in literature and in government. With telescopic vision they explore the starry firmament, and bring back the history of the planetary world. With chart and compass they pilot ships across the mighty deep, and with skilful fingers send electric messages around the world. In galleries of art, the grandeur of nature and the greatness of humanity are immortalized by them on canvas, and by their inspired touch, dull blocks of marble are transformed into angels of light. In music they speak again the language of Mendelssohn, of Beethoven, of Chopin, of Schumann, and are worthy interpreters of their great souls. The poetry and the novels of the century are theirs; they, too, have touched the keynote of reform in religion, in politics and in social life. They fill the editors' and the professors' chairs, plead at the bar of justice, walk the wards of the hospital, and speak from the pulpit and the platform.

Such is the widespread preparation for the marriage feast of science and religion; such is the type of womanhood which the bridegroom of an enlightened public sentiment welcomes to-day; and such is the triumph of the wise virgins over the folly, the ignorance and the degradation of the past as in grand procession they enter the temple of knowledge, and the door is no longer shut.

Matthew xxvi.

6 Now when Jesus was in Bethany, in the house of Simon the leper,

7 There came unto him a woman having an alabaster box of very precious ointment, and poured it on his head.

8 But. when his disciples saw it, they said, To what purpose is this waste?

9 For this ointment might have been sold for much, and given to the poor.

10 When Jesus understood it, he said unto them, Why trouble ye the woman?

11 For ye have the poor always with you; but me ye have not always.

12 For in that she hath poured this ointment on my body, she did it for my burial.

13 Verily, I say unto you, wheresoever this gospel shall be preached, there shall also this be told for a memorial of her.

Matthew xxvii.

19 When Pilate was set down on the judgment seat, his wife sent unto him, saying, Have thou nothing to do with that just man: for I have suffered many things this day in a dream, because of him.

24 When Pilate saw that he could prevail nothing, but that rather a tumult was made, he took water, and washed his hands before the multitude, saying, I am innocent of the blood of this just person: see ye to it.

25 Then answered all the people, and said, His blood be on us, and on our children.

55 And many women were there beholding afar off, which followed Jesus from Galilee, ministering unto him;

56 Among which was Mary Magdalene, and Mary, the mother of James and Joses, and the mother of Zebedee's children.

61 And there was Mary Magdalene, and the other Mary, sitting over against the sepulchre.

It is a common opinion among Christians that the persecutions of the Jews in all periods and latitudes is a punishment on them for their crucifixion of Jesus, and that this defiant acceptance of the responsibility is being justly fulfilled.

Matthew xxviii.

1 In the end of the Sabbath, as it began to dawn came Mary Magdalene and the other Mary to see the sepulchre.

2 And, behold, there was a great earthquake: for the angel of the Lord descended from heaven, and came and rolled back the stone from the door, and sat upon it.

3 His countenance was like lightning, and his raiment white as snow:

4 And for fear of him the keepers did shake, and became as dead men.

5 And the angel answered and said unto the women, Fear not ye; for I know that ye seek Jesus, which was crucified.

7 Go quickly and tell his disciples that he is risen from the dead; and behold, he goeth before you into Galilee; there shall ye see him.

8 And they departed quickly from the sepulchre with great joy.

9 And as they went to tell his disciples, behold, Jesus met them, saying, All hail. And they came and held him by the feet, and worshiped him.

10 Then said Jesus unto them, Be not afraid: tell my brethren that they go into Galilee, and there shall they see me.

Among the witnesses of the crucifixion, this melancholy and untimely scene, there were some women who had followed Jesus from Galilee and had waited on him, supplying his wants from their substance. Affection and anxious concern induced them to be present, and probably they stand afar off, fearing the outrages of the multitude. Words cannot express the mixed emotions of true gratitude, reverence, sorrow and compassion which must have agitated their souls on this occasion. We find from John, who was also present, that Mary the mother of Jesus was a spectator of this distressing scene.

When Jesus was brought before Pilate, he was greatly troubled as to what judgment he should give, and his hesitation was increased by a warning from his wife, to have no part in the death of that righteous man; for she had terrifying dreams respecting him, which made her conclude that his death would be avenged by some unseen power.

E. C. S.


Mark iii.

31 There came then his brethren and his mother, and, standing without, sent unto him,

32 And the multitude sat about him, and said unto him, Behold, thy mother and thy brethren seek for thee.

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

34 And he looked round about 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 of the same texts found in the Book of Matthew are repeated by the other Evangelists. It appears from the text that the earnestness of Jesus in teaching the people, made some of his friends, who did not believe in his mission, anxious. Even his mother feared to have him teach doctrines in opposition to the public sentiment of his day. His words of seeming disrespect to her, simply meant to imply that he had an important work to do, that his duties to humanity were more to him than the ties of natural affection.

Many of the ancient writers criticise Mary severely, for trying to exercise control over Jesus, assuming rightful authority over him. Theophylact taxes her with vainglory; Tertullian accuses her of ambition; St. Chrysostom of impiety and of disbelief; Whitby says, it is plain that this is a protest against the idolatrous worship of Mary. She was generally admitted to be a woman of good character and worthy of all praise; but whatever she was, it ill becomes those who believe that she was the mother of God to criticise her as they would an ordinary mortal.

Mark x.

2 And the Pharisees came to him, and asked him, Is it lawful for a man to put away his wife? tempting him.

3 And he answered and said unto them, What did Moses command you?

4 And they said, Moses suffered to write a bill of divorcement, and to put her away.

5 And Jesus answered and said unto them, For the hardness of your heart he wrote you this precept.

6 But from the beginning of the creation God made them male and female.

7 For this cause shall a man leave his father and mother, and cleave to his wife;

8 And they twain shall be one flesh:

9 what therefore God hath joined together, let not man put asunder.

The question of marriage was a constant theme for discussion in the days of Moses and of Jesus, as in our own times. The Pharisees are still asking questions, not that they care for an answer on the highest plane of morality, but to entrap some one as opposed to the authorities of their times. Life with Jesus was too short and his mission too stern to parley with pettifoggers; so he gives to them a clear cut, unmistakable definition as to what marriage is: "Whoever puts away his wife, save for the cause of unchastity, which violates the marriage covenant, commits adultery." Hence, under the Christian dispensation we must judge husband and wife by the same code of morals.

If this rule of the perfect equality of the sexes were observed in all social relations the marriage problem might be easily solved. But with one code of morals for man and another for woman, we are involved in all manner of complications. In England, for example, a woman may marry her husband's brother; but a man may not marry his wife's sister. They have had "a deceased wife's sister's bill" before Parliament for generations. Ever and anon they take it up, look at it with their opera glasses, air their grandfather's old platitudes over it, give a sickly smile at some well-worn witticism, or drop a tear at a pathetic whine from some bishop, then lay the bill reverently back in its sacred pigeon-hole for a period of rest.

The discussion in the United States is now in the form of a homogeneous divorce law in all the States of the Union, but this is not in woman's interest. What Canada was to the Southern slaves under the old regime, a State with liberal divorce laws is to fugitive wives. If a dozen learned judges should get together, as is proposed, to revise the divorce laws, they would make them more stringent in liberal States instead of more lax in conservative States. When such a commission is decided upon, one-half of the members should be women, as they have an equal interest in the marriage and divorce laws; and common justice demands that they should have an equal voice in their reconstruction. I do not think a homogeneous law desirable; though I should like to see New York and South Carolina liberalized, I should not like to see South Dakota and Indiana more conservative.

Mark xii.

41 And Jesus sat over against the treasury, and beheld how the people cast money into the treasury; and many that were rich cast in much.

42 And there came a certain poor widow, and she thew in two mites, which make a farthing.

43 And he called unto him his disciples, and saith unto them, Verily I say unto you, That this poor widow hath cast more in than all they which have cast into the treasury:

44 For all they did cast in of their abundance; but she of her want did cast in all that she had, even all her living.

The widow's gift no doubt might have represented more generosity than all beside, for the large donations of the rich were only a part of their superfluities, and bore a small proportion to the abundance which they still had, but she gave in reality of her necessities. The small contribution was of no special use in the treasury of the Church, but as an act of self-sacrifice it was of more real value in estimating character. Jesus with his intuition saw the motives of the giver, as well as the act.

This woman, belonging to an impoverished class, was trained to self- abnegation; but when women learn the higher duty of self-development, they will not so readily expend all their forces in serving others. Paul says that a husband who does not provide for his own household is worse than an infidel. So a woman, who spends all her time in churches, with priests, in charities, neglects to cultivate her own natural gifts, to make the most of herself as an individual in the scale of being, a responsible soul whose place no other can fill, is worse than an infidel. "Self-development is a higher duty than self-sacrifice," should be woman's motto henceforward.

E. C. S.


Luke i.

5 There was in the days of Herod, the king of Judea, a certain priest named Zacharias, and his wife was of the daughters of Aaron, and her name was Elizabeth.

6 And they were both righteous before God, walking in all the commandments and ordinances of the Lord blameless.

7 And they had no child; and they both were now well stricken in years.

8 And it came to pass, that, while he executed the priest's office before God—his lot was to burn incense when he went into the temple of the Lord.

11 And there appeared unto him an angel standing on the right side of the altar of incense.

12 And when Zacharias saw him, he was troubled, and fear fell upon him.

13 But the angel said unto him, Fear not, Zacharias: for thy prayer is heard; and thy wife Elisabeth shall bear thee a son, and thou shalt call his name John.

14 And thou shalt have joy and gladness; and many shall rejoice at his birth.

15 For he shall be great in the sight of the Lord, and shall drink neither wine nor strong drink; and he shall be filled with the Holy Ghost.

Luke was the companion of the Apostle Paul in all of his labors during many years. He also wrote the Acts of the Apostles.

He was a Syrian, and became acquainted with the Christians at Antioch. He is called by Paul "the beloved physician." Luke opens his book with the parentage and the birth of John. His father, Zacharias, was a priest, and his mother, Elizabeth, was also descended from Aaron. They were exemplary persons. They habitually walked in all upright course of obedience to all the commandments. They had no children, but in answer to their prayers a son was at last given to them, whose name was John, which signifies "grace, or favor of the Lord."

While Zacharias ministered at the altar, an angel appeared to him to tell him of the advent of his son. The vision was so startling that Zacharias was struck dumb for a season. The same angel appeared soon after to Mary, the mother of Jesus, with glad tidings of her motherhood. She and Elizabeth met often during that joyful period, and talked over the promised blessings. John was born about six months before Jesus, and is sometimes called his forerunner. Elizabeth and Mary were cousins on the mother's side.

Soon after the angel appeared to Mary she went in haste to the home of Zacharias, and saluted Elizabeth, who said, "Blessed art thou among women; and how comes this honor to me, that the mother of my Lord should cross my threshold?" Mary replied, "My soul doth magnify the Lord that he hath thus honored his handmaiden. Henceforth all generations shall call me blessed."

When Elizabeth's son was born, the neighbors, cousins and aunts all assembled and at once volunteered their opinions as to the boy's name, and all insisted that he should be named "Zacharias," after his father. But Elizabeth said, "No; his name is John, as the angel said." As none of the family had ever been called by that name, they appealed by signs to the father (who was still dumb); but he promptly wrote on the table, "His name is John."

Luke ii.

36 And there was one Anna, a prophetess.

37 And she was a widow of about four-score and four years, which departed not from the temple, but served God with fastings and prayers night and day.

Anna having lost her husband in the prime of her life, remained a widow to her death. She resided near the temple that she might attend all its sacred ordinances. Having no other engagements to occupy her attention, she spent her whole time in the service of God, and joined frequent fastings with her constant prayers for herself and her people. She was employed day and night in those religious exercises, so says the text; but Scott allows the poor widow, now over eighty years of age, some hours for rest at night (more merciful than the Evangelist). She came into the temple just as Simon held the child in his arms, and she also returned thanks to God for the coming of the promised Saviour, and that her eyes had beheld him.

41 Now his parents went to Jerusalem every year at the feast of the Passover.

42 And when he was twelve years old, they went up to Jerusalem after the custom of the feast.

43 And when they had fulfilled the days, as they returned, the child Jesus tarried behind in Jerusalem: and Joseph and his mother knew not of it.

44 But they, supposing him to have been in the company, went a day's journey: and they sought him among their kinsfolk and acquaintance.

45 And when they found him not, they turned back again to Jerusalem, seeking him.

46 And it came to pass, that after three days they found him in the temple, sitting in the midst of the doctors, both hearing them, and asking them questions.

47 And all that heard him were astonished at his understanding and answers.

49 And when they saw him, his mother said unto him, Son, why hast thou thus dealt with us? Behold, thy father and I have sought thee sorrowing.

49 And he said unto them, How is it that ye sought me? wist ye not that I must be about my Father's business?

50 And they understood not the saying which he spake unto them.

51 And he went with them to Nazareth, and was subject unto them: but his mother kept all these sayings in her heart.

These texts contain all that is said of the childhood and the youth of Jesus, though we should have expected fuller information on so extraordinary a subject. Joseph and Mary went up to the feast of the passover every year, and it was the custom to take children of that age with them. They journeyed in a great company for mutual security, and thus in starting they overlooked the boy, supposing that he was with the other children. But when the families separated for the night they could not find him, so they journeyed back to Jerusalem and found him in a court of the temple, listening to, and asking questions of the doctors, who were surprised at his intelligence.

It is often said that he was disputing with the doctors, which the commentators say gives a wrong impression; he was modestly asking questions. Neither Mary nor Joseph remembered nor fully understood what the angel had told them concerning the mission of their child; neither did they comprehend the answer of Jesus. However, he went back with them to Nazareth, and was subject to them in all things, working at the carpenter's trade until he entered on his mission. It was a great mistake that some angel had not made clear to Mary the important character and mission of her son, that she might not have been a seeming hindrance on so many occasions, and made it necessary for Jesus to rebuke her so often, and thus subject herself to criticism for his seeming disrespect.

Luke xiii.

11 And, behold, there was a woman which had a spirit of infirmity eighteen years, and was bowed together, and could in no wise lift up herself.

12 And when Jesus saw her, he called her to him, and said unto her, Woman, thou art loosed from thine infirmity.

13 And he laid his hands on her: and immediately she was made straight, and glorified God.

14 And the ruler of the synagogue answered with indignation, because that Jesus had healed on the Sabbath day, and said unto the people, There are six days in which men ought to work: in them therefore come and be healed, but not on the Sabbath day,

15 The Lord then answered him, and said, Thou hypocrite, doth not each one of you on the Sabbath loose his ox or his ass from the stall, and lead him away to watering?

16 And ought not this woman, being a daughter of Abraham, whom Satan hath bound, lo, these eighteen years, he loosed from this bond on the Sabbath day?

17 And when he had said these things, all his adversaries were ashamed: and all the people rejoiced for all the glorious things that were done by him.

Jesus was teaching in one of the synagogues on the Sabbath day, and saw the distress of this woman who attended worship; he called her to him, and, by the laying on of his hands and by prayer, immediately restored her; and being made straight, she glorified God before all for this unexpected deliverance. The ruler of the synagogue, who hated the doctrines of Jesus and envied the honor, tried to veil his enmity with pretence of singular piety, telling the people that they should come for healing other days and not on the holy rest of the Sabbath, as if the woman had come there on purpose for a cure, or as if a word and a touch attended with so beneficent an effect could break the Sabbath. Jesus' rebuke of the malice and hypocrisy of the man was fully justified.

The Sabbath-day-Pharisees are not all dead yet. While more rational people are striving to open libraries, art galleries and concert halls on Sundays, a class of religious bigots are endeavoring to close up on that day, all places of entertainment for the people. The large class of citizens shut up in factories, in mercantile establishments, in offices, and in shops all the week, should have the liberty to enjoy themselves in all rational amusements on Sunday. All healthy sports in the open air, music in parks, popular lectures in all the school buildings, should be encouraged and protected by law for their benefit.

Luke xviii.

2 There was in a city a judge, which feared not God, neither regarded man:

3 And there was a widow in that City; and she came unto him, saying, Avenge me of mine adversary.

4 And he would not for a while: but afterward he said within himself, Though I fear not God, neither regard man;

5 Yet because this widow troubleth me. I will avenge her, lest by her continual coming she weary me.

6 And the Lord said, Hear what the unjust judge saith.

7 And shall not God avenge his own elect, which cry day and night unto him, though he bear long with them?

The lesson taught in this parable is perseverance. Everything can be accomplished by continued effort. Saints hope to acquire all spiritual graces through prayers; philanthropists to carry out their reform measures through constant discussion; politicians their public measures by continued party combat and repeated acts of legislation. Through forty years of conflict we abolished slavery. Through fifty years of conflict we have partially emancipated woman from the bondage of the old common law of England, and crowned her with the rights of full citizenship in four States in the American Republic.

The condition of the woman in this parable, bowed to the earth with all her disabilities, well represents the degraded condition of the sex under every form of government and of religion the world over; but, unlike her, women still, in many latitudes, make their appeals in vain at cathedral altars and in the halls of legislation.

E. C. S.

The sentiment concerning the equality of male and female, which Paul avowed to the Galatians, is perfectly in accord with what "Luke" reports of Jesus' own custom. It will be remembered that the chief adherents of Paul accepted only this report (and this only partly) as worthy of credit; and therein we find the statement that many female ministers had accompanied Jesus and the male ministers, as they wandered (in Salvation Army fashion) "throughout every city and village preaching." It is true that we now find a qualifying passage in reference to the female ministers, namely "which ministered unto him of their substance" (Luke, ch. 8, v. 3). But this is, plainly, one of those numerous marginal comments, made at late date (when all the original manuscripts had disappeared), by men who had, doubtless, lost knowledge of women's original equality in the ministry; for Ignatius of Antioch, one of the earliest Christian writers, expressly affirms that the deacons were "not ministers of meats and drinks, but ministers of the Church of God."

Although this is well known, our modern theologians seem to have been unable to avoid jumping to the conclusion that, whenever women are mentioned in the ministry, it must be only as ministers of their substance, either as a kind of commissaries, or, at most, as kindergarten officials. It is manifestly true that the early Church was immensely indebted to the benefactions of rich widows and virgin heiresses for the means of sustaining life in its fellowship. Thecla, Paula, Eustochium, Marcella, Melanie, Susanna, are but a few of the women of wealth who gave both themselves and their large fortunes to the establishment of the ethics of Jesus. Yet Paula's greatest work (from men's standpoint of great works) is rarely mentioned in Christendom, and it is significant of the degradation which women suffered at the hands of the Church that the time came when Churchmen could not believe that she had performed it, even with Jerome's acknowledgment confronting them, and consequently erased the word "sister" accompanying the name Paula, substituting therefor the word "brother!"

Paula founded and endowed monasteries, won to the Christian cause allegiance from one of the noblest families of Greece and Rome, and originated within the monasteries the occupation of copying manuscripts, to which civilization is indebted for the preservation of much precious literature; but her most important service to the Church was her co-labor with Jerome in the great task of translating the Jewish scriptures from the original Hebrew into Latin. It was Paula who suggested and inspired the undertaking, furnishing the expensive works of reference, without which it would have been impossible, and being herself a woman of fine intellect, highly trained, and an excellent Hebrew scholar, revised and corrected Jerome's work; then, finally, assisted by her brilliant daughter, Eustochium, performed the enormous task of copying it accurately for circulation. It was the least that Jerome could do to dedicate the completed work to those able coadjutors, and it is an amazing thing to find Churchmen still eulogizing Jerome as "author of the Vulgate," without the slightest reference to the fact that, but for Paula's help, the Vulgate would not have come into existence. But until men and women return to more natural relations, until women cast off their false subserviency, thereby helping men to get rid of their unnatural arrogance, nothing different from the injustice Christendom has shown Paula can be looked for.

E. B. D.


John ii.

And the third day there was a marriage in Cana of Galilee; and the mother of Jesus was there:

2 And both Jesus was called, and his disciples, to the marriage.

3 And when they wanted wine, the mother of Jesus saith unto him, They have no wine.

4 Jesus saith unto her, Woman, what have I to do with thee? mine hour is not yet come.

5 His mother saith unto the servants, Whatsoever he saith unto you, do it.

7 Jesus saith unto them, Fill the waterpots with water. And they filled them up to the brim.

8 And he saith unto them, Draw out now and bear unto the governor of the feast. And they bare it.

9 When the ruler of the feast had tasted the water that was made wine, he called the bridegroom.

10 And saith unto him, Every man at the beginning doth set forth good wine; and when men have well drunk, then that which is worse: but thou hast kept the good wine until now.

John was distinguished among the Apostles for his many virtues, and was specially honored as the bosom friend of Jesus.

He is supposed to have lived in the neighborhood of Judea until the time approached for the predicted destruction of Jerusalem; then he went to Asia and resided some years in Ephesus, was banished to the Island of Patmos by the Emperor Domitian, and returned to Asia after the death of that Emperor. He lived to be a hundred years of age, and died a natural death, being the only Apostle who escaped martyrdom. John alone records the resurrection of Lazarus, and many things not mentioned in the other Gospels.

Probably Mary was related to one of the parties to the marriage, for she appears to have given directions as one of the family. As Joseph is not mentioned either on this occasion or afterwards, we may suppose that he died before Jesus entered into his public ministry. There was no disrespect intended in the word "woman" with which Jesus addressed his mother, as the greatest princesses were accosted even by their servants in the same manner among the ancients. Jesus merely intended to suggest that no one could command when he should perform miracles, as they would in any ordinary event subject to human discretion.

The Jews always kept a great number of water-pots filled with water in their houses for the ceremonial washing prescribed by law. Commentators differ as to how much these pots contained, but it is estimated that the six contained a hogshead. The ruler of the feast was generally a Levite or a priest; and he expressed his surprise that they should have kept the best wine until the last.

John iv.

5. Then cometh he to a city of Samaria, which is called Sychar.

6 Now Jacob's well was there. Jesus therefore, being wearied with his journey, sat thus on the well: and it was about the sixth hour.

7 There cometh a woman of Samaria to draw water: Jesus saith unto her, Give me to drink.

9 (For his disciples were gone away unto the city to buy meat.)

9 Then saith the woman of Samaria unto him, How is it that thou, being a Jew, askest drink of me, which am a woman of Samaria? for the Jews have no dealings with the Samaritans.

10 Jesus answered and said unto her, If thou knewest the gift of God, and who it is that saith to thee, Give me to drink; thou wouldest have asked of him, and he would have given thee living water.

27 And upon this came his disciples, and marvelled that he talked with the woman, yet no man said, What seekest thou? or, Why talkest thou with her?

As the Samaritans were not generally disposed to receive the Jews into their houses, Jesus did not try to enter, but sat down by Jacob's well, and sent his disciples into the town to buy some necessary provisions. The prejudices against each other were so inveterate that they never asked for a favor, hence the woman was surprised when Jesus spoke to her. They might buy of each other, but never borrow nor receive a favor or gift, nor manifest friendship in any way.

But Christ, despising all such prejudices that had no foundation either in equity or in the law of God, asked drink of the Samaritan woman. He did not notice the woman's narrow prejudices, but directed her attention to matters of greater importance. He told her though she should refuse him the small favor for which he asked because he was a Jew, yet he was ready to confer far greater benefits on her, though a Samaritan. The living water to which Jesus referred, the woman did not understand.

16 Jesus saith unto her, Go, call thy husband, and come hither.

17 The woman answered and said, I have no husband. Jesus said unto her, Thou hast well said, I have no husband:

18 For thou hast had five husbands: and he whom thou now hast is not thy husband: in that saidst thou truly.

19 The woman saith unto him, Sir, I perceive that thou art a prophet.

28 The woman then left her waterpot, and went her way into the city, and saith to the men.

29 Come, see a man, which told me all things that ever I did: is not this the Christ?

39 And many of the Samaritans of that city believed on him for the saying of the woman, which testified, He told me all that ever I did.

40 So when the Samaritans were come unto him, they besought him that he would tarry with them: and he abode there two days.

41 And many more believed because of his own word.

The woman could not understand Jesus' words because she had no conviction of sin nor desire for a purer, better life; and as soon as possible she changed the subject of the conversation from her private life to the subjects of controversy between the Jews and the Samaritans.

John viii.

2 And early in the morning he came again into the temple, and all the people came unto him: and he sat down, and taught them.

3 And the Scribes and Pharisees brought unto him a woman taken in adultery; and when they had set her in the midst,

4 They say unto him, Master, this woman was taken in adultery,

5 Now Moses in the law commanded us, that such should be stoned: but what sayest thou?

6 This they said, tempting him, that they might have to accuse him. But Jesus stooped down, and with his finger wrote on the ground, as though he heard them not.

7 So when they continued asking him, he lifted up himself, and said unto them, He that is without sin among you, let him first cast a stone at her.

8 And again he stooped down, and wrote on the ground.

9 And they which heard it, being convicted by their own conscience, went out one by one, beginning at the eldest, even unto the last: and Jesus was left alone, and the woman standing in the midst.

10 He said unto her, Woman, where are those thine accusers? hath no man condemned thee?

11 She said, No man, Lord. And Jesus said unto her, Neither do I condemn thee: go, and sin no more.

The Scribes and the Pharisees concocted a plan to draw Jesus into a snare. They concluded from many of his doctrines that he deemed himself authorized to alter or to abrogate the commands of Moses; therefore they desired his opinion as to the fitting punishment for an adulteress. If he had ordered them to execute her, they would doubtless have accused him to the Romans of assuming a judicial authority, independent of their government; had he directed them to set her at liberty, they would have represented him to the people as an enemy to the law, and a patron of the most infamous characters; and had he referred them to the Roman authority, they would have accused him to the multitude as a betrayer of their liberties.

John ix.

And as Jesus passed by, he saw a man which was blind from his birth.

2 And his disciples asked him, saying, Master, who did sin, this man, or his parents, that he was born blind?

3 Jesus answered, Neither hath this man sinned, nor his parents: but that the works of God should be made manifest in him.

A prevalent idea of the Jews was that, in accord with the ten commandments, the sins of the parents were visited upon the children. This is recognized as absolute law to-day; but it by no means follows that all afflictions are the result of sin. The blindness may have resulted from a combination of circumstances beyond the control of the parents. The statement does not disprove the law of transmission, but simply shows that defects are not always the result of sin.

John xi.

Now a certain man was sick, named Lazarus, of Bethany, the town of Mary and her sister Martha. 3 Therefore his sisters sent unto him, saying, Lord, behold, he whom thou lovest is sick.

5 Now Jesus loved Martha, and her sister, and Lazarus.

6 When he had heard therefore that he was sick, he abode two days still in the same place where he was.

17 When Jesus came, he found that he bad lain in the grave four days already.

20 Martha, as soon as she heard that Jesus was coming, went and met him: but Mary sat still in the house.

21 Then said Martha unto Jesus, Lord, if then hadst been here, my brother had not died.

22 But I know, that even now, whatsoever thou wilt ask of God, God will give it thee.

23 Jesus saith unto her, Thy brother shall rise again.

24 Martha saith unto him, 1 know that he shall rise again in the resurrection at the last day.

25 Jesus said unto her, I am the resurrection and the life:

28 And she went her way, and called Mary her sister, saying, The Master is come, and calleth for thee.

29 As soon as she heard that, she arose quickly, and came unto him.

32 When Mary was come where Jesus was, and saw him, she fell down at his feet, saying unto him, Lord, if thou hadst been here, my brother had not died.

35 Jesus wept.

36 Then said the Jews, Behold how he loved him!

41 Then they took away the stone from the place where the dead was laid.

43 And Jesus cried with a loud voice, Lazarus, come forth.

44 And he that was dead came forth.

It appears that Jesus was a frequent visitor at the home of Mary, Martha and Lazarus, and felt a strong friendship for them. They lived in Bethany, two miles from Jerusalem. Many Jews came out from the city to express their sympathy. Martha did not fully understand Jesus; she considered him as a prophet who wrought miracles by faith and prayer in the same manner as the ancient prophets.

The grief of Mary, the tears of the Jews, and his own warm friendship for the sisters, affected Jesus himself to tears and groans. In appealing to Divine power, Jesus wished to show the unbelieving Jews that his miracles were performed by influence from above and not by the spirit of evil, to which source they attributed his wonderful works. Many who were said to witness this miracle did not believe.

After this Jesus again rested at the home of Mary, where she washed his feet and wiped them with the hair of her head, and then anointed him with costly spices from an alabaster box. He then went up to Jerusalem to attend the passover.

John xx.

The first day of the week cometh Mary Magdalene early, when it was yet dark, unto the sepulchre, and seeth the stone taken away from the sepulchre.

2 Then she runneth, and cometh to Simon Peter, and to the other disciple, whom Jesus loved, and saith unto them, They have taken away the Lord out of the sepulchre, and we know not where they have laid him.

3 Peter therefore went forth, and that other disciple, and came to the sepulchre.

4 So they ran both together: and the other disciple did outrun Peter, and came first to the sepulchre.

5 And he stooping down and looking in, saw the linen clothes lying; yet went he not in.

6 Then cometh Simon Peter following him, and went into the sepulchre, and seeth the linen clothes lie.

7 And the napkin, that was about his head, not lying with the linen clothes, but wrapped together in a place by itself.

8 Then went in also that other disciple, which came first to the sepulchre, and he saw, and believed.

9 For as yet they knew not the Scripture, that he must rise again from the dead.

10 Then the disciples went away again unto their own home.

11 But Mary stood without at the sepulchre weeping: and as she wept, she stooped down, and looked into the sepulchre.

12 And seeth two angels in white sitting, the one at the head, and the other at the feet, where the body of Jesus had lain.

13 And they say unto her, Woman, Why weepest thou? She saith unto them, Because they have taken away my Lord, and I know not where they have laid him.

14 And when she had thus said, she turned herself back, and saw Jesus standing, and knew not that it was Jesus.

15 Jesus saith unto her, Woman, why weepest thou? whom seekest thou? She, supposing him to be the gardener, saith unto him, Sir, if thou hast borne him hence, tell me where thou hast laid him, and I will take him away.

16 Jesus saith unto her, Mary. She turned herself, and saith unto him, Rabboni, which is to say, Master.

17 Jesus saith unto her, Touch me not; for I am not yet ascended to my Father: but go to my brethren, and say unto them, I ascend unto my Father, and your Father, and to my God, and your God.

18 Mary Magdalene came and told the disciples that she had seen the Lord, and that he had spoken these things unto her.

Mary appears to have arrived at the sepulchre before any of the other women, and conversed with Jesus. Though the disciples, in visiting the tomb, saw nothing but cast-off clothes, yet Mary sees and talks with angels and with Jesus. As usual, the woman is always most ready to believe miracles and fables, however extravagant and though beyond all human comprehension. Several women purposed to be at the tomb at sunrise to embalm the body.

The men who visited the tomb saw no visions; but all the women saw Jesus and the angels, though the men, who went to the tomb twice, saw nothing. Mary arrived at the tomb before light, and waited for the other women; but seeing some one approaching, she supposed he was the person employed by Joseph to take care of the garden, so asked him what had been done to him. Though speaking to a supposed stranger, she did not mention any name. Jesus then called her by name; and his voice and his address made him known to her. Filled with joy and with amazement, she called him "Rabboni," which signifies, "teacher." Jesus said unto her, "Touch me not."

This finishes the consideration of the four Gospels—the direct recorded words of Jesus upon the question of purity; and all further references should harmonize, in spirit, with his teachings, and should be so interpreted, without regard to contrary assertions by learned but unwise commentators.

E. C. S.

Is it not astonishing that so little is in the New Testament concerning the mother of Christ? My own opinion is that she was an excellent woman, and the wife of Joseph, and that Joseph was the actual father of Christ. I think there can be no reasonable doubt that such was the opinion of the authors of the original Gospels. Upon any other hypothesis it is impossible to account for their having given the genealogy of Joseph to prove that Christ was of the blood of David. The idea that he was the Son of God, or in any way miraculously produced, was an afterthought, and is hardly entitled now to serious consideration. The Gospels were written so long after the death of Christ that very little was known of him, and substantially nothing of his parents. How is it that not one word is said about the death of Mary, not one word about the death of Joseph? How did it happen that Christ did not visit his mother after his resurrection? The first time he speaks to his mother is when he was twelve years old. His mother having told him that she and his father had been seeking him, he replied: "How is it that ye sought me? Wist ye not that I must be about my father's business?" The second time was at the marriage feast in Cana, when he said to her: "Woman, what have I to do with thee?" And the third time was at the cross, when "Jesus, seeing his mother standing by the disciple whom he loved, said to her: 'Woman, behold thy son;' and to the disciple: 'Behold thy mother.'" And this is all.

The best thing about the Catholic Church is the deification of Mary; and yet this is denounced by Protestantism as idolatry. There is something in the human heart that prompts man to tell his faults more freely to the mother than to the father. The cruelty of Jehovah is softened by the mercy of Mary.

Is it not strange that none of the disciples of Christ said any thing about their parents—that we know absolutely nothing of them? Is there any evidence that they showed any particular respect even for the mother of Christ? Mary Magdalene is, in many respects, the tenderest and most loving character in the New Testament {sic}. According to the account, her love for Christ knew no abatement, no change—true even in the hopeless shadow of the cross. Neither did it die with his death. She waited at the sepulchre; she hastened in the early morning to his tomb; and yet the only comfort Christ gave to this true and loving soul lies in these strangely cold and heartless words: "Touch me not."