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for the Holy One, bletsed be His name, has heard my prayer that we should find Thee and Thou us.' Peter forthwith, with the help of the other two, who had let their oars rest idly on the water, turned the boat so that it lay alongside the one from Magdala. Jesus now rose, the mother sank on her knees, but the sick woman tried with all her might to break away, and to throw herself into the water on the far side of the boat. The boatmen, however, and John, who had sprung over, held her by the arms, while her mother buried her face in the long-plaited hair of her child. Her tears had ceased to flow, she was lost in fcilent prayer."
When she looked on Jesus her whole body was violently convulsed. As Jesus fixed His eyes on her, His look seemed to break the sevenfold chain in which she lay bound. Her convulsions ceased; she became quiet, her face became calm, the wildness of her eyes left her, and profuse sweat burst from her brow and mingled with her tears. The healed one Fank down on the spot where her mother had been praying, and muttered, with subdued, trembling words, to Jesus, " O Lord, I am a great sinner; is the door of repentance still open for me?"
"Be comforted, my daughter," answered He, "God bas no pleasure in the dtath of the wicked; thou hast been a habitation of evil spirits, become now a temple of the living God."
The mother exclaimed,—" Thanks to Thee, Thou consolation of Israel I"
Jesus continued, " Return now quickly to Magdala, and be calm, and give thanks to God in silence."
This attempted Gospel supplement, by an able, uninspired author, gives us an interesting creation of his fancy, and shsow, too, how very weak all efforts to imitate the matchless style of the Bible must appear.
Mary Magdalene was for centuries taken to be the same woman as the "great sinner," who anointed our Saviour and washed His feet with her tears in the house of Simon the PbariB3e (Luke 7: 36-50). Her name has from this fact been given to the many institutions for fallen women. Great as the blessed fruits of these Magdalene hospitals have been, it has come to be justly questioned whether this theory is
not incorrect. "She whose name was mercifully spared has borrowed a name that is emblazoned in the saddest and noblest charities of Christendom. And yet at first sight nothing would seem easier than to separate them. The one is of no certain city; the other of Magdala. The one is a nameless and sudden apparition,' a moment seen, then gone forever'; the other is always mentioned by name, and becomes a constant follower of the Lord. The one is pure; the other impure. The one is healed of a mental disease; the other is cleansed from moral taint. The one is the companion of honorable and pious women, and assumes a public place beside the Saviour; the other shrink* into a privacy that shuns the public gaze.
"Not only are these well-marked distinctions, but each has a sufficient history of her own. There was no need to find a preface for the Magdalene's, nor a close for the sinner's Each is rounded off and complete. For the poor woman that wept at Simon's, that story is all we care to know. She had sinned, and was forgiven. Let the happy life pass into friendly obscurity. Let her 'go in peace,' and let the music of that peaceful heart steal out like the nightingale's song in the twilight and from the shade. As for the brave and tender woman that watched the sepulchre, her life does not commence for us till Christ has swept the chords of it with His wonderful words, and the devil has left her free to minister to Him who is the devil's lord. But somehow the two have grown together into one, and art and legend have helped in the confusion, and century has passed down the tradition to century, till it has entered into the very heart of the Church. However it has happened, associations have gathered around the union too deep to bealtogether displaced. Hospitals will still be raised lor the worst of human maladies, and bear the • Magdalen's name. Correggios and Titians of the future will paint the Magdalen's penitence; a Magdalen will still stand for the most pathetic type of a woman's travail and sorrow; and frailty, shame and dishonor will still fling their shadow on the Magdalen's life. If we are to conceive her as she appears in the Scriptures, we must release our minds from these powerful associations of centuries."
The pious ministry of woman shrinks from ostentatious parade. The trumpets of popular applause are never sounded for her as for man. Her many gentle ministries performed amid the privacies of the family, and the bearing of comfort and hope to the suffering, remain unreported by the press. With uncomplaining meekness, and often with unrewarded zeal, she goes about doing good to Christ ia the person of His needy and afflicted people. The humble group of Galilean women, who ministered to C h 'ist in their way, performed as great a Gospel service as did the apostles. Mary the mother of Jesus, Mary the mother of James the Less, Mary Magdalene, Mary and Martha, the sisters of Lazarus, Mary the mother of John, whose surname was Mark, Joanna the wife of Chuza, Herod's steward, and many others, ministered to Him of their substance. It is said that Jesus " went throughout every village and city, preaching and showing the glad tidings of the kingdom of God; and the twelve were with Him, and certain women, which had been healed of evil spirits and infirmities, Mary called Magdalene, out of whom went seven devils, which ministered to him of their substance." (Luke 8: 1-3.)
Not all of these women followed Christ from place to place. Sime, like the sisters at Bethany, were needed at home. Only those who had few or no pressing home duties to perform, and possessed special aptitudes for this kind of service, were called to the itinerant work. They evidently were persons of considerable culture and of some means or "substance." With willing miuds, yet doubtless often with weary bodies, they walked many miles, with Chiist, from place to place; their inventive love and womanly tact ever devised plans to render Him comfortable. Now perhaps • in procuring and preparing food, then making or mending some garment, but ever intent to accord Him their tenderest and most helpful sympathy, joining Him in many a prayer, breathing the heavenly atmosphere around Him, and all the while experiencing how much more they received than they gave. At leDgih they start with Him on His last jiuruey; when "mauy women followed Jesus from Galilee, ministering unto
Him, among whom was Mary Magdalene." It was a long weary journey afoot, from sixty to seventy miles. Again they go along to minister to Him. They are with Him as He passes through Jericho, Bethany, and over Olivet. Amid the whirl of festive excitement at Jerusalem, and the schemings of the Jews to arrest Him, Mary Magdalene could have been with Christ but little the last few days. But along with the other women, through what anguish must she have passed!
At length the sentence goes forth. The day of crucifixion has dawned. The narrow streets of the city are thronged with a stream of curious and cruel people on their way to Calvary. Will these Galilean women venture among such a ribald mob! Surely, this is no place for women. Come what may, they will be near their Lord at all hazards. Somewhere in that crowd the timid group try to press along, perhaps in sight of their insulted Lord, His face inexpn ssibly sad and covered with blood, His exhausted body sinking under the weight of the cross. On C-ilvary they perhaps tremblingly stand on the edge of the multitude. Perhaps they hear the hammer strokes on the spikes as they are driven through His hands and feet, and every stroke pierces their hearts. At length they see the Saviour's bleeding form lifted above the crowd, and the cross put in its plaie. To the last they keep their place, in sight of the agonizing, bleeding Saviour. Tney hear His cries of anguish, and see Him drop His h"ad and die. Among this ia. 1 group Mary Magdalene is a prominent figure, as she is in all these delicate ministries. Were these women at His burial? Very likely, and saw that His grave-clothes were procured, and with gentle hands soft'y tied the napkin around His fare and laid His head properly. They saw how and where His body was laid. What now? Go home and weep? It is all over now. What can unprotected women do in a city full of such cruel people? The next day was the Sabbath. In the temple many were sinking psalms who yesterday cried, "Crucify Him!" Night dews fall on the blood stains of Calvary.
Meanwhile the women go to some bazaar and buy "sweet spices, that they might come and anoint him" "while it was yet dark." Early on the third dav they go to Christ's tomb to anoint His corpse. Thus must they lavish their fragrant love even on the mortal remains of their Saviour. The grateful Magdalen, in her loving haste, reaches the tomb first. It is she who hastens back to meet Peter and John, and, perhaps with tears, tells them, "They have taken away the Lord." Now let the men seek Him. No; she weeps as if her heart would break. Among this group of women the Magdalen's name is mentioned first. She reached the grave first. To her Christ appeared first. In the intensity of her feeling, but for the gentle prohibition of Christ, she would have prematurely clung to His risen body. He chose her as the messenger to the disciples, saying, "Go to thy brethren and say unto them, I ascend uuto my Father and your Father, and my God and your God."
Was ever another woman made the bearer of such a message? Where do we find such a pathetic sight as that of this woman, whose wailing love searched so eagerly for the dead body of her Lord?" A.nd all the while her tears were falling like the rain, till through the wailing sobs she heard a sudden sound, a tone, a word, that brought up all the past. There was a flash < f memory that revealed Magdala, and the blue Sea of Galilee, and the day when lie passed and healed with a word the poor demoniac, and looking up, she saw Him in that one gentle word He spoke, that old familiar Mary, to which in answer sprung unbidden to her lips the quick Eabboni."
A Slight Difficulty.
BY MARGARET H. ECKER80N.
When the minister pitched his tent in Acadia he was prone to judge the people from their surroundings, as if rose-bushes must needs shelter stingless insects, and pellucid pools gold-fishes; for the place was so sequestered and peaceful, it seemed that its denizens must, to complete the harmony, be singularly gentle and child-like.
Down at the cross-roads stood the village known as "Arcady Corners." It was a drowsy little hamlet, containing some dozen houses and the inevitable store and smithy, while standing to one side in a treeless, unfenced common was the venerable structure known as the "Arcady Church." Its exterior view was depressing; it had blindless windows and an uncovered stoop, while the absence of spire gave it the look of au overgrown schoolhouse. The paint on its sides was off in spots, and the shingles on its roof had the appearance of having withstood the storm of years. Just north of it stood a row or old lean-to sheds, while on the common Widow Blivins staked her cow, and somebody's geese wandered to and fro solemnly gabbling and cropping the scanty herbage. The minister felt an ugly sinking of the heart, as he stood in the pitiless glare of a July noon scanning this Lord's barn. He put aside the suggestion it hinted at of unconverted pocket-books and parsimoniousness, and was fain to think it a matter of oversight anl thoughtlessness.
He had come to Acadia from a growing town where he had preached in a handsome church, substantially built and nicely decorated, and had numbered among his hearers critical intellects and fashionable men and women; but the incisive truths that burned in his heart and were uttered from his pulpit displeased some, who clung tenaciously to the follies of the world and yet, by a strange anomaly, desired a crown and harp in heaven when their coil of life was unwound. And so it happened that, betwixt their desire for a more soothing gospel lullaby and his soul's " woe is me if I speak not the truth," the tie that bound them as pastor and people was severed. At a meeting of Clasais some deputies from rural Acadia heard him preach, and were beset by a desire to have him come and labor amongst them. Urgently they pleaded with him. As for inducements, their salary could not rightly be classed as such, and there were no educational advantages within Acadia's boundaries for the minister's young family, but if his Master had opened to him this field of labor, he could not carelessly turn from its fields white to the harvest. So, with his fores and penates, he journeyed to Acadia.
There were rejoicings amongst the Acadians upon this event, so many of them had grown so heartily tired of their previous pulpit incumbent. Few denied that he had not tried to serve them to the best of his ability for the past twelve years, but then his ability was small. Witness the empty pews, the non-accession of members, the prevailing indifference. So they made common cause against the poor little man, going softly about with his suit of rusty black and his small, stereotyped smile. The anxiety to give bread to a numerous family and decently clothe them had grooved wrinkles in his thin face, woven nets of crow's feet at his temples. How to make one dollar do the work of two was oftentimes a distressing question that darkened his faith and clouded his mind, even in its devotions.
He saw by unmistakable signs that his influence was waning, but still strove piteously to shut his tearful eyes to the fact. The difficulties under which he labored were perplexing. Some of his members were at swordspoints with others, and between the opposing factions the poor man viprated like an oscillating pendulum, anxious to offend neither, and fearful to deal plainly with them concerning the pettiness and lack of Christian love that gave hirth to and nourished the discord. Meantime his life was embittered, and in his timid efforts to please both and keep himself out of trouble, he quite laid himself open to misinterpret: tion of motive and was called unreliable. Vainly he strove to breast the current, while he clung with the tenacity of a feeble nature to the skirts of an unwilling congregation. But the man in him was not extinct, for when at last continued complaints came to his ears and he heard that by his "hanging on" to the church he was robbing it of life, he rose equal to the emergency, resigned his call and went forth with a deeper, more childlike faith in the Father he tried hum
bly to serve—the One who saw the end, while he only saw the way!
People now were given to making free comparisons between the former and the present minister. "I just reckon he's a man as Miss Cox can't govern," said Josiah Hart's wife to the better-half of Elder Box. Mrs. Box, tall, sallow and saddened by chronic dyspepsia, nodded her head vigorously. "I tell you, if Box had thought for one minute he'd be the Cox creetur that poor old Karnes was, he'd never have used his influence to git him in Arcady Church. He was on the lookout for a man who knows his own mind."
"Yes, yes, Lizzie," said Mrs. Hart decisively, " and one as can see through folks!" "Yes, that's just it, Miss Hart. I says to Box only yesterday, says I, 'Elder, as a church we need such a man to see through Harriet Cox, and set her down in a Christian way once fur all I'"
"Just so, Lizzie; I do hate to see anybody, specially a minister, taken in a bundle of contraptions. If somebody now would only open his eyes and tell him what an onchristian, purse-proud, domineerin' creetur she is, on the start!"
But alas, the opening of one's eyes is not always a painless operation to the subject. If in gaining knowledge we are to incur expulsion from Eden, we would fain be content with a lesser wisdom. It certainly did not add to the minister's pleasure, through words and barbed shafts, to be made aware that a trouble inimical to its prosperity coiled its chilling folds in the church where he had looked to find souls sweet and humble, rich in grace, concerned above all to do justly, love mercy, and walk humbly with their God.
Winter in Acidia came early, and was a long, snow-bound season. Tbe crops all harvested, the fruits garnered, the royally-tinted leaves swept by pitiless winds from the trees, the pools and streams filled, the air Dipping—then the Acadians got down sleighs and cutters, and made ready for snow-storms. Winter waa the farmer's leisure time, and the season of rural festivities for the young. But the one important event, barring weddings, was the annual Donation party.
"I b'lieve into donations," said the thriving owner of the store at the "Corners." "Yes," he continued, rubbing his oily palms, "the gospill must be supported!" Backed by the knowledge that at such times he always gave a dozen yards of bleached muslin, to be used in the manifold exigencies of his minister's family, he felt free to expatiate on the subject.
"That it must," said father Possum, thinking of the barrel of smallish potatoes already sorted out for his gift, "and I guess the most on us kalkalate to do our share!" Mrs. Gilham, an elderly widow, who was buying "a pound o' your middlin' tea" at the counter, nodded her astute head. She always made it a religious duty to attend the donation party, eat a generous supper, and convey home ample portions of cake, in return for which she left a pair of knitted blue yarn mittens to keep warm the clerical fingers '• I think, to give what is useful is best," she said in her shrill treble. "Exactly, madam," said Silas with his benevolent smile, "my sentiments exactly. Yes, gentlemen, Mrs. Gilham has hit the nail squarely. Can I sell you anything more this morning, madam?
Old Amos Tupper, the chief sot in Acadia, who was sitting lazily by the stove with his frowsy old head bent, had a sudden inspiration to speak. "Say what you will," he quavered, "parsons is fortunit men, a salry allers comiu' in steady without their havin' to dig an' delve fur't, and folks besides allers ready to give to 'em out of their own little basket and store. I wish to the Lord I was a minister!"
"You preach a pretty good sermon just bain' what you are," said the widow austerely. His jaw fell, he winked dismally at Silas and subsided into his usual vacuity.
The time having been set for the donation, a bevy of women met at Mrs. Hart's to arrange matters. "What shall we bring, generally speakin' for the supper ?'' asked some one.
"Just the same as we always do," answered Mrs. Cox. "Some of m must be sure to bringa roast turkey, and there ought to ba three or four biled hams."
"Folks ginerally calculate to eat considerable at sich times," said Mrs. Hart, '• and the more there's left, the better it is fur the dominie's folks. Mrs. Rames used to set great store by what was left. What is it you're g>in' to say, Miss Box?" A look of intelligence passed between the two women, that Mrs. Cox's black eye caught. "Them two has hatched up some plan, I'll be bound," wa3 her mental conclusion."
"Well, ladies," began Mrs. Box, "what I want to say is this: A week ago Friday night I was to Jordanville to Elder Greg's donation party. He's the new Methodist minister there, I suppose you know. Everything went offbee-yutiful, and what I was going to speak of particilar, they had an oysterstew that everybody liked amazin'. I don't know how many I heered speak about that stew. Now, some of us hev bin thinkin' the matter over, an' we think 'twould be a good idee to hev an oyster-stew to our party.'' There was a visible start. Common as are these luscious bivalves in Gotham, they were a rare treat in Acadia then.
"I, fur one, would just like to know who ever is goin' to pay to feel a hungry crowd with eysters ?'' queried Mrs. Gilham.
"mm. Box, of course," answered Mrs. Cox, loudly, '■ beiu' she wants 'em, shs must nvsan to tupply 'em; as for the coffee—." Mrs. B>x crimsoned. "They at Jordanville—^ she began. "As I said about the coffee," went on Mrs. Cox, as if Mts. B>x bad no existence, "I will give two pounds of the best Java—in fact, we only use the best, and some one most give another."
"As I began to explain when somebody broke in on me," said Mr*. Box, with decision, "they at Jordanville paid for them oysters out of the donation money."
"We'd best have eysters," said Mrs. Gilham, "there's no sense ia letting them Jordanville Methodys get the best o'nsl"
A pretty way to do things," said Mrs. Cox. "Now J say, ef Miss Box or