They have taken away my Lord, and I know not where they have laid Him. — John xx. 13. HOW often since the weeping Mary uttered the words, "They have taken away my Lord, and I know not where they have laid Him," has the same cry come again from a sorrowing heart ! How many Christians have fallen asleep at night in such calm trustfulness, such vivid consciousness of the presence of the Heavenly Friend, that death could hardly have been a more wholly leaving of the soul and body in the hands of the dear Master! Yet, after a night of quiet rest, these very Christians have awakened in such spiritual dulness and dimness that the lonely heart has cried out almost in despair, " They have taken away my Lord, and I know not where they have laid Him ! " How blessed for such mourners is the thought of the resurrection ! Jesus is risen once for all. 12

178 OUR ELDER BROTHER. He is not now merely present for the few followers who could see Him with their mortal eyes, but in every land and in every place. We may close our eyes, an unwelcome film of dulness or doubt may shroud them, but He is there, ever present and at our side. He is it not with us only when our souls glow with devotion and we are

almost lifted out of the body by the sense of His nearness and abounding love! He is around us and within us in the mists of the early morning, when we, groping, seek Him in our blindness and find Him not. Perhaps He is looking with especial tenderness on His darkened, fumbling children, grieving for the lost joy of the eventide. We may change ; our bodily or our spiritual eyes may be open or closed; but the Lord Jesus knows no alteration, no alienation. He is eternally the same. Let us comfort ourselves with these cheering thoughts on such dreary mornings, and begin anew our daily duties, counting no appointed path too narrow, since there, where He has fashioned our way, we can follow His footsteps in humility and patience and love ! We cannot expect to be like the saints in the ew Jerusalem, who need no sun nor moon, for the Lord God is their temple and their light. Let us accept gratefully the gleams of heaven that come to brighten our earthly journey, sure that if it be

RISE . 179 onward and upward, it must end in the perfect day. Let us not sit weeping at the grave of our lost spiritual joy, perhaps the deep sense of acceptance of our early discipleship. Let us rather turn to the loving Lord at our side, who is leading us, as it seemeth Him best, to His Father and our Father, His God and our God. Those devoted women who were early at the sepulchre, with the natural longing to do some-

thing more for the body of the dear departed, have their kindred spirits in our own days, How our hearts cling even to the poor fleshly tabernacle in which our friend has dwelt ! God has wisely doomed that body to a great and awful change. We must put it away from us. Some heathen nations have tried to set this change at defiance ; but no voice comes from the dry lips, no light of love brightens the dull features. Were it possible to keep near us the unchanged faces and forms of the dear household companions whose souls are in heaven, how tantalizing, how agonizing, would be that bodily nearness, when hand gave no response to hand, and for the throbbing heart there was no answering throb in the cold, silent corpse ! Thanks be unto God, the dead body must be put out of our sight, and our fond hearts can only find their treasure in heaven. Even Christians will "seek the living among

180 OUR ELDER BROTHER. the dead." How many eyes full of tears look down on the mound where the silent sleeper has been laid, rather than up to the heaven where he is rejoicing! How many mourners willingly linger in the churchyard to indulge and perpetuate their grief! Let them rather accept their affliction, and, leaning on God, who alone can support them, go forward as cheerfully as may be, like penitent, disciplined children who bow to the Father's will! Yet not even the poor graves of our departed should be neglected. Who would not be pained to hear the name of the departed lightly or disrespectfully mentioned? Who would not be

wounded to see his garments, his books, his favorite possessions handled like ordinary things of earth? "The grave is but his wardrobe locked." We know "he is not there." Yet let us pay due respect to the resting-place of the body which has been the dwelling of one who has been dear to us. Let us beautify that last earthly home, if we will; but let us remember "He is not here," is its appropriate inscription. When we think of our own departure, let it not be with any gloomy associations of the cemetery and the silent tomb. Let us rather look rejoicingly forward to the time when, free from care and temptation, we "shall be ever with the Lord ! "



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