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to his doctrines, had seen their glory and excellence, had felt their transforming influence. They therefore desire to follow him to the cross, that they may lose none of his lessons; that their piety may be animated, their hopes fortified, their faith confirmed. They behold, it is true, Jesus betrayed, accused of blasphemy and sedition, condemned to the most infamous punishment, and led to the cross amidst the maledictions of the priests, the scoffs of the great, and the reproaches of the people. But all this is insufficient to shake their faith, for they are able to look beyond this exterior of humiliation and suffering to that majesty, that “ brightness of the Father's glory,” which is obscured for a little time, that it may re-appear with greater lustre. Instructed in the scriptures by him who is the subject and the end of them, they knew that “ Christ was to suffer these things, and thus to enter into his glory." They see in these sufferings the fulfilment of those prophecies which predicted them, and in his death that perfect sacrifice of which all those under the law were but types and shadows. They have “known and believed that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of the living God;" and this faith, founded on a deep and enlightened conviction, nothing can tear from them.
Do you not desire, my brethren, a faith like this, which can uphold you under the most mysterious aspect of Providence, which will make you cleave . to Jesus, and follow him through evil as well as good report? Like Mary, “ seat yourselves at the feet of Christ,” that you may learn and love the truth, and then you will persevere in it.
2. These holy women teach us to follow Jesus with lore. Ah! with what attachment to him were
they not animated! If the least susceptible heart is touched and moved at merely reading the life and doctrine of the Saviour, whose precepts and whose conduct displayed only charity and love, judge what impression Jesus Christ himself, speaking and acting, must have made upon these pious females. A
Master who opens his mouth only to pronounce . words of peace, of hope, of consolation; who “ went
about doing good ;" who presents truth only that he may lead his hearers to happiness : if there be a spark of feeling in the heart, must not such an object excite it to a flame that nothing can quench? Such was the effect produced upon these holy women. That lively sensibility with which this sex is endowed, was purified, was ennobled, was augmented, while directed entirely towards religion and its Author, and produced a complete and unalterable devotedness of soul. Touched with the excellence of his heavenly doctrine, with its inseparable connexion with our dearest interests, with the infinite blessings resulting from an intercourse with the Saviour, they open to him their hearts, and with them all the resources which the state of humiliation that he condescended to assume, rendered necessary. He is poor, and they supply his wants ; hungry, and they give him to eat; thirsty, and they give him drink; he has not where to lay his head, and their houses are opened to him; they leave Galilee, their country, to “ minister unto him:" and, having thus displayed towards him during life those attentions which an active and warm sensibility inspires, they come to his cross to show their sympathy and their grief. Mary Magdalene, and you who divide with her the last duties of affection, you “ have loved much.” For this love you have been recompensed
by the Saviour; and in the perfection of this sentiment in the heavenly world, you now find your
3. These holy women display an exalted courage and magnanimity. Behold the apostles of Jesus Christ, the companions of his labours, the witnesses of his miracles and his virtues, and who, from the habitual and intimate commerce in which they lived with him, ought to have acquired the most inviolable devotedness and the most heroic courage : how far inferior are they to these pious females! They are terrified, they fly, and abandon Jesus. One single one dares to follow him, at a distance, to the house of Caiaphas; but it is only to deny him, to blush at being called his disciple! and this is the same one who had declared that he would follow him to prison and to death! What Peter promised, without fulfilling his promise, Mary and her companions executed ! · And yet, how many temptations had they to combat! how many obstacles to surmount more than the apostles! Besides the dangers that were common to them with all who showed themselves attached to Jesus Christ; besides the consequences that the flock might apprehend when the shepherd was so cruelly treated; besides this, how many obstacles were placed before them by the weakness and timidity of their sex, and by the maxims of the world! What rashness ! to expose themselves thus to an unbridled soldiery and a furious populace! What indecorum! to display before a whole nation their attachment to a man condemned by the voice of the people, as well as by the sentence of the governor, and who is now about to terminate his life by an infamous death! What fanaticism! to divide the ignominy of the cross by the tears they would be
geen to shed; and to attach this ignominy to those connected with them! These would be specious reasonings; nay, they would be delicate and strong temptations to ordinary souls : but Mary and her companions are not ordinary souls. Animated by that faith which subdues the world, and by that love which casts out fear, they overcome all these obstacles, they brave all these dangers. They have too profoundly impressed upon their hearts that sublime lesson of their Master, to fear not them that can only kill the body, but who cannot kill the soul, not to prefer the reproach of Christ before all the blessings of earth; and these hearts, which were entirely devoted to their divine Master during his life, resolve to display their devotion to him till his last sigh, and at the foot of the cross, and thus show themselves faithful even unto death.
Christians, these models of faith, of love, of courage, interest you all ; and in the number of those who hear me, there is not a single person who cannot, and who ought not, to draw from them both objects and motives of imitation. I wish, however, to excite in those of the same sex that salutary emulation, which the example of these holy women is so well calculated to inspire. The zeal which the Saviour employed for the instruction and salvation of this portion of our race; the care which the Evangelists have taken to transmit to us circumstances relative to this part of his ministry; his conversations with the Samaritan woman, with Magdalen, with the sisters of Lazarus, with many others, which have been preserved to us; these and similar considerations oblige us sometimes to direct our addresses to a class of our hearers, not only equally precious in the eyes of God, equally destined to im
mortality, but whose influence on society is also so great. Let me then address myself to persons of that sex whom the Saviour chose to hear some of the last accents of his voice. Let me present them with some general considerations to imitate the touching example of these holy women, and, like them, to devote themselves to God; and to seek that degree of elevation to which religion conducts a soul that directs to it all its energy and sensibility.
ļ. Let me then urge you by the superior advantages you possess for the cultivation of piety. With how many temptations do men meet, from which you are exempted! In mingling with the world, a thousand snares are spread before them, to which you are strangers. Society has placed around you numberless mounds and barriers, which do not encompass them. And will you not improve these salutary restraints? Ought they not to have a tendency to prevent you from wandering from your God and Saviour?
Besides, the Creator has endowed you with greater warmth of feeling and sensibility of heart; qualities so favourable to the reception and cultivation of religious impressions. And can you then hear unmoved, of the love of your God, and the grace
of your Redeemer? Can you waste all the tenderness of your hearts on earthly objects, and neglect infinite excellence and perfection? It has been eloquently and truly said, that “if Christianity were compelled to flee from the mansions of the great, the academies of philosophers, the halls of legislators, or the throng of busy men, we should find her last and purest retreat with woman at the fireside; her last altar would be the female heart ; her last audience would be the children gathered round the knees of a mother; her last sacrifice, the