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the women who were to be forbidden to speak in the church. It seems at first sight a singular exception to the divinely ordained plan for proclaiming the glad tidings of a finished redemption. Yet, a little reflection will show us, that it is not exceptional, but the very order of arrangement that is repeated in every generation of the world, The fact is the same that exists in the case of a vast majority of Christians ever since. We first hear the story of the cross, the sepulchre, and the throne, not from the lips of a man who stands as an ambassador for Christ; but from the lips of a woman, a pious mother, sister, or nurse, who pours into our infantile hearts this wonderful tale of love and mercy. Some, it is true, are left to an early orphanage, and some to a godless parentage; but even of these the general fact is true that the first knowledge of Jesus is learned, not from the lips of men, but from the lips of women.
This is a fact of deep moment in the divine ordering. This linking of the family with the church, this intertwining of the household of flesh with the household of faith, and this interlacing of the roots of the good olive tree with the olive plants of the vineyard, is a most precious and important fact. It thus brings the gentle heart of woman in living contact with the gentle heart of childhood, and leaves impressions of religious truth that are never effaced, and are often the means under God of leading the soul to Christ.
It is, under God, to the prayers and perseverance of Monica that the church owes Augustine. It was Judith the step-mother of Alfred that first moulded his heart, and prepared him to be one of England's saintliest monarchs. Bishop Hall records his indebtedness to his mother in terms that place her beside Monica. Halyburton acknowledges his great obligation to the early religious training of his mother. The mother of Doddridge, the mother of the Wesleys, have come down to us linked with the piety of their illustrious children. The agency of the mothers of Newton, Cecil, and Claudius Buchanan, in the conversion of their sons is well known. Indeed. Christian biography is crowded with memorials of God's seal on the patient piety of praying mothers. John Randolph declared, “I believe I should have been swept away by the flood of French infidelity, if it had not been for one thing—the remembrance of the time when my sainted mother used to make me kneel by her side, taking my little hands folded in hers, and cause me to repeat the Lord's prayer.” One of our Western Missionaries states that during a revival in his field, a scoffing infidel was at length brought to his knees, and the first cry that burst from his quivering lips, was, “God of my mother, have mercy on me."
Hence we have in these first appearances a pre sentation of the mission of woman. She is first
to utter to the opening soul the story of the cross, and utter it in tones which, though earliest heard, are latest forgotten or effaced. This story is first heard, not from the pulpit, the press, or the lips of man, but from the lips of woman, in the sweet cradle-hymns that soothe the young nursling to sleep, as the mother sings, “ Hush, my babe, lie still and slumber;" in the simple songs of the nursery, when the lisping tongue of childhood is taught to say, "Jesus, tender shepherd, hear me;" in the story of that babe of Bethlehem, cradled in the manger, and that gentle and crucified man of Calvary, whose sufferings make the young lip to quiver and the eye to fill, with such deep emotion; and in those musings of heaven that fill the child's heart, as it learns that Jesus has there tenderly fold. ed the little babe that died, and that in that bright home above the stars, there is no night, no sorrow, and no tears. These are the deep, indelible tracings of holy things on the human heart. The boy may become wayward, and the man wicked, he may learn to scoff at religion, and grow hoary in sin; but let an hour of sickness or sorrow come upon him, and the world grows dark; and then, like the vision of an angel, there will rise in his heart the image of his mother; he will remember the time when her soft hand was laid on his head, as he knelt beside her in prayer; he will remember when that hand, then thin and pale, was laid
feebly but fondly in his, as, with her dying lips, she commended her boy to God, and prayed that she might meet him in heaven; and in those hours of solemn and tender memories, the hard heart will melt, and the unbidden tears will gush from the eyes of the most obdurate, at the sweet remembrance of a mother's love and a mother's piety.
The mission then of mother, wife, and sister, is one of high and solemn import, and one, the neglect of which must draw after it fearful guilt. If she tells those who ought to learn from her of Christ, the wretched babble of worldliness and sin, and leads them not to the fountain that flows from the riven Rock, but the broad, deep, rushing current of worldliness, her guilt must be heavy indeed. It is a fearful crime for a Hindoo mother to bring her child, and commit him to the waters of the Ganges, and yet that unconscious babe may pass from the turbid waves of the river to the rest of heaven. But the worldly and godless mother, with a deadlier cruelty, brings her child to a stream, whose end is in the abyss that is bottomless. Hence it becomes us to remember as we see the women hastening to tell first the news of a risen Redeemer, that we have here presented to us what is woman's mission still, to be the earliest to tell to the opening soul the story of a Saviour. 2. The Salutation of Jesus, "All hail.”
The words of salutation that we find in every language are beautiful evidences of the fact that, amidst all the ruins of the fall, there is yet remaining in the heart of man much of natural kindness. They imply in their very structure, the existence of sorrows and danger ; but they also imply that there is a power that can comfort and protect, and in many cases they are really, in form, a kind of ejaculatory prayer. Never was the word of salutation more significantly uttered than when it came from the lips of Jesus. It was then, in very deed, a benediction. The Greek word used here, is well rendered by the phrase, "all-bail.” Hail is a verbal form now nearly obsolete, though substantially retained in the word “hale,” healthy, in a different spelling. It means literally, all-health, all kinds of health, bodily and spiritual, and indicates a condition necessary as a prerequisite to any rejoicing.
But the noteworthy fact is that this benediction came to them, not when they were seeking it, but when they were only intent on their duty. They were obeying the commands of the angel, when they enjoyed the appearance of Christ.
Thus is it also with the mourning Christian. Obedience is the pathway to blessing. If a Christian is mourning an absent Lord, and has lost his hope, instead of sitting down in repining sorrow,