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in His kingdom. It was perhaps to give warrant to the certainty of his written testimony; but it was surely to reveal also the deep and divine mysteries of love which lie hid in the incarnation of the Eternal Word.

This was indeed a great and wonderful sight. God taking man into His bosom—a man leaning upon the bosom of God. As the words of our Lord were miracles, and His miracles words of grace, revealing ministries of His spiritual power, so we may find in this, as in all His acts, a significant and symbolical character. Let us see what may be implied in it.

1. First, we here see, as by a parable, the love of the Son of God in the mystery of His own incarnation. He, being God, took our nature upon Him;

“ not by conversion of the Godhead into flesh, but by taking of the manhood into God.” In His person, one and indivisible, the two natures are united. Our infirmity leans upon His might, our manhood

His Godhead. In Him it is sinless and divine. And now in the bosom of the Father, “ above all principalities and powers, and every name that is named, not only in this world, but also in that which is to come,” the man Christ Jesus is exalted. There is a Man in the bosom of God. Our nature is in glory. As we say at the altar, in the end of our Christian sacrifice, “ For Thou only art holy, Thou only art the Lord, Thou only, O Christ, with the Holy Ghost, art most high in the glory of God the Father.”


2. But, again, we may see here His love in the salvation of His elect. When He took our manhood into God, it was that He might take us also unto Himself. The glorious body of the Word made flesh is the centre of His mystical body, and to it He joins us one by one.

We who were by nature dead in trespasses and sin, outcasts, and without God in the world, He gathers together from all ages and all lands unto Himself. The Word made flesh, though in visible presence revealed always in heaven alone, is always present upon earth, and He has been perpetually, and by manifold ways, gathering His elect into His bosom. They who, from righteous Abel until the hour of His passion, had departed in His love, waited in the world beyond the grave until He should break up the unseen gates of hell, and go before them into the paradise of God. They who have since that day believed on Him, through the words of apostles, the writings of evangelists, the witness of His Church, the inspirations of His grace, the sacraments of His love, He has gathered in from the world into His visible fold, and within the visible circuit of His presence, ever nearer and nearer to Himself.

What mean His own words ? - Come unto Me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest :” and again, “Him that cometh unto Me, I will in no wise cast out :” what are these but invitations to come and to share the rest and the portion of St. John ?

What, for instance, is the state of those blessed servants, who, from their regeneration, have been kept from falling into sins which separate the soul from His presence ? Of such St. John is an especial type, in his love, pureness, and perseverance. They have a calm, undoubting, unfearing confidence in the love and care of Christ; a quiet content and still strength, which others seldom attain. Such people have few cravings, no eagerness, a satisfied desire, and a restful spirit. The world thinks them languid and slow of heart; but their stillness is the surface of a depth, and their slowness the calm of an intense perception of their Master's love. They have no need of stirs and excitements, of strong words and vehement impulses; there is within them a vivid consciousness of love kindled from the bosom of their Lord, and returning to Him again.

And so too, though in another manner, with penitents. It is not without meaning that, after He rose from the dead, He shewed Himself first, not to the disciple who leaned upon His bosom,

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but to the sinner who had washed His feet with tears. And she who first would but anoint His feet, afterwards was made bolder by His compassion, even to anoint His head. It is a divine seal upon the Gospel, that the special parables of love are the penitent son and the lost sheep. It is for them He seems to lay up all His tenderness - for the weak and the wounded, the famished and desolate. The father falls upon the neck of the returning wanderer : the shepherd carries the lost sheep upon his shoulder. What are all these to teach us, but the divine tenderness of our Lord to penitents ? After years of wayward and wilful disobedience, of headstrong and guilty provocation, of sullen and stubborn rebellion, when at the last they turn, He will embrace them in perfect love. They, too, know the calm and rest of His intimate presence. Their past life seems to have hurried by them like the riot of a tempest, or to be dispelled as the anguish of a frightful dream. They know what they have been, its horror and its peril, its iron bondage and its stifling misery. It is still so near, real, and vivid, that it affrights them to gaze upon it; but they have a consciousness that they are safe. An almighty power hangs between them and the past; there is a fence about them which nothing can break through ; they are in a pre

sence within which no evil can force its

way. There they have found peace at last, a consciousness of inexhaustible compassion, a taste of everlasting love.

But there are others who may be truly said to share the portion of St. John; I mean, the

; afflicted, whose afflictions are sanctified. The solitary and the sorrowing find there an unearthly rest : they carry their griefs and lay them on the bosom of the Man of Sorrows. He bears both the mourner and his burden, and in the depths of His presence shews him the interpretation of his affliction. In the heart of His divine sorrow all stands revealed. We laid on Him the necessity of sorrow, and He changed our penalty into our purification. He became the chief among the sons of affliction, that He might found an order of mourners, to be His own especial followers and friends. It is by sorrow that they are enrolled within the company of His truest servants, and in the nearest approaches to Himself. And the signs of this approach are, patience, rest, and consent in all our crosses, by a will conformed to His.

To take one more example. What is communion with Him in the Sacrament of His body and blood, but a leaning on His bosom in especial nearness ? All His mystical body, in heaven and in earth, all devout and holy souls who have been

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