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Lord, Behold, here is thy pound, which I have kept laid up in a napkin: for I feared thee, because thou art an austere man: thou takest up that thou laidst not down, and reapest that thou didst not sow. And he said unto him, Out of thine own mouth will I judge thee, thou wicked servant. Thou knewest that I was an austere man, taking up that I laid not down, and reaping that I did not sow: Wherefore then gavest not thou my money into the bank, that at my coming I might have required mine own with usury? And he said unto them that stood by, Take from him the pound, and give it to him that hath ten pounds. (And they said unto him, Lord, he hath ten pounds.) For I say unto you, That unto every one which hath shall be given; and from him that hath not, even that he hath shall be taken away from him. But those mine enemies which would not that I should reign over them, bring hither, and slay them before me.
And when he had thus spoken, he went before, ascending up to Jerusalem.
Let us also hear and fear. Our Lord is gone, and has received his kingdom. He has delivered to us our stock, to be improved in his service: let us be animated to diligence in it; for proportionable to that diligence will be our reward. Let us remember we labour for ourselves while we labour for him; as all the progress we make in wisdom and in goodness renders our own souls so much the happier, and will render them so to all eternity. Blessed servants that have the applause of such a Master, and share a reward as liberal as that conferred on a faithful steward, who should be made governor of a province containing ten cities.
Let us beware of a slothful neglect of our stock: let us beware of those hard thoughts of God which would discourage us from pursuing his service. Above all, let us take heed, that we do not proudly and insolently reject the government of his anointed Son, and either say with our tongues, or declare by our actions, We will not have this man to reign over us: for if we do, we speak a word against our own lives. He will be glorified by us, or upon us. And oh, what shall we do, if in that dreadful day he should bring us forth as the helpless prisoners of his justice, and command us to be slain in his presence! How can we withstand his power! or to the
horns of what altar shall we flee for sanctuary? O Lord, our flesh trembleth for fear of thee, and we are afraid of thy judgments. (Psalm cxix. 120.) May we never be the miserable objects of them; but having faithfully served thee here, may that be to us a day of honour, reward, and triumph, which shall be to every presumptuous rebel a day of shame and terror, of dreadful execution and eternal destruction!
MATTHEW XXVI. 6-13. MARK XIV. 3-9.
AND the Jews' Passover was nigh at hand and many went out of the country up to Jerusalem before the Passover, to purify themselves. Then sought they for Jesus, and spake among themselves, as they stood in the temple, What think ye, that he will not come up to the feast?
Now both the chief priests and the Pharisees had given a commandment, that, if any man knew where he were, he should shew it, that they might take him. Then Jesus six days before the Passover came to Bethany, where Lazarus was which had been dead, whom he raised from the dead. There they made him a supper in the house of Simon the leper, and Martha served: but Lazarus was one of them that sat at the table with him. Then came Mary unto him, having an alabaster box with a pound of ointment of spikenard, very precious, and anointed the feet of Jesus, and wiped his feet with her hair. And she brake the box, and poured it on his head, as he sat at meat; and the house was filled with the odour of the ointment. Then saith one of his disciples, Judas Iscariot, Simon's son, which should betray him, Why was not this ointment sold for three hundred pence, and given to the poor? This he said, not that he cared for the poor; but because he was a thief, and had the bag, and bare what was put therein. And there were some disciples that had indignation within themselves, and said, To what purpose is this
JOHN XI. 55-57, XII. 1—11.
waste? for this ointment might have been sold for much, and given to the poor; and they murmured against her. When Jesus understood it, he said unto them, Let her alone: why trouble ye the woman? for she hath wrought a good work upon me. For ye have the poor with you always, and whensoever ye will ye may do them good: but me ye have not always. She hath done what she could: for in that she hath kept this ointment, and poured it on my body, she did it to anoint me aforehand to my burying. Verily I say unto you, wheresoever this gospel shall be preached throughout the whole world, this also that she hath done shall be spoken of for a memorial of her.
Much people of the Jews therefore knew that he was there and they came not for Jesus' sake only, but that they might see Lazarus also, whom he had raised from the dead. But the chief priests consulted that they might put Lazarus also to death; because that by reason of him many of the Jews went away, and believed on Jesus.
We see how happily Mary improved by sitting at the feet of Jesus, and what evidence she gave of her having chosen the better part. (Compare Luke x. 39, 42.) Like her, let us with humble thankfulness bestow our very best on him, who has given us that and every thing else. She gladly poured out her choicest ointment on him, whose name is to every true believer far more fragrant than ointment poured forth. (Cant. i. 3.) How does her generous love shame those who grudge every expense in the cause of Christ!
When we are relieving the pious poor, we are, as it were, anointing the feet of Jesus: we are indeed performing a service far more acceptable than any thing of this kind could in itself be. Let us remember that we have the poor always with us; and that they are permitted to continue among us that we may do them good whenever we please. Far be it from us to imagine that what we so spend is waste. Let all who would not share in the guilt and punishment of Judas abhor the vile hypocrisy of making a pretended concern for the poor a cloak for an opportunity of enriching themselves with their spoils; than which nothing can be more infamous, or can have a directer tendency to mingle the consuming curse of a righteous and almighty God with all that a man possesses.
The Pharisees conspired to kill Lazarus. What a mixture was this of cruelty and folly! What was his crime? or what could their hope be? From what death could not Christ have delivered him? or from what tomb could he not again have recalled him? Yet something like this is the madness of all who hate and persecute others for being the trophies of the Redeemer's victory and grace.
But let not his servants fear; their Redeemer is strong, the Lord of hosts is his name. (Jer. 1. 34.) His work is perfect; and the day and hour is approaching in which his triumph over all his enemies shall be so complete, that his friends shall be for ever secure, not only from being destroyed, but from being alarmed by them.
JOHN XII. 12-19. MATT. XXI. 1-9. MARK XI. 1-10. LUKE XIX. 29-40.
On the next day much people that were come to the feast, when they heard that Jesus was coming to Jerusalem, took branches of palm trees, and went forth to meet him, and cried, Hosanna; blessed is the King of Israel that cometh in the name of the Lord.
And it came to pass on the next day, when they drew nigh unto Jerusalem, and were come to Bethphage and Bethany, at the mount called the mount of Olives, Jesus sendeth forth two of his disciples, saying unto them, Go your way into the village over against you; and as soon as ye be entered into it, ye shall find an ass tied, and a colt with her, whereon yet never man sat: loose them, and bring them hither unto me. And if any man say unto you, Why do ye this? Thus shall ye say unto him, The Lord hath need of them; and straightway he will send them hither.
And the disciples that were sent went their way, and did as Jesus commanded them, and found the colt, even as he had said unto them, tied by the door without, in a place where two ways met: and they loose him. And as they were loosing the colt, the
owners thereof that stood there said unto them, Why loose ye the colt? And they said unto them, even as Jesus had commanded, The Lord hath need of him; and they let them go. And they brought the ass and the colt to Jesus, and they cast their garments upon the colt; and they set Jesus thereon, and he sat upon him. All this was done, that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the prophet, saying, as it is written, Tell ye the daughter of Zion, Behold, thy king cometh unto thee, meek, and sitting upon an ass, and a colt the foal of an ass. These things understood not his disciples at the first: but when Jesus was glorified, then remembered they that these things were written of him, and that they had done these things unto him.
And as he went, a very great multitude spread their garments in the way; and others cut down branches off the trees, and strawed them in the way. And when he was come nigh, even now at the descent of the mount of Olives, the whole multitude of the disciples began to rejoice and praise God with a loud voice for all the mighty works that they had seen. And the multitudes that went before, and that followed, cried, saying, Hosanna to the Son of David! blessed is he, a king, that cometh in the name of the Lord: blessed be the kingdom of our father David, that cometh in the name of the Lord. Hosanna in the highest! Peace in heaven, and glory in the highest!
The people therefore that was with him when he called Lazarus out of his grave, and raised him from the dead, bare record. For this cause the people also met him, for that they heard that he had done this miracle. The Pharisees therefore said among themselves, Perceive ye how ye prevail nothing? behold, the world is gone after him. And some of the Pharisees from among the multitude said unto him, Master, rebuke thy disciples. And he answered and said unto them, I tell you, that if these should