April 9 - Morning
"And there followed Him a great company of people, and of women, which also bewailed and lamented Him." — Luke 23:27
Amid the rabble rout which hounded the Redeemer to His doom, there were some gracious souls whose bitter anguish sought vent in wailing and lamentations — fit music to accompany that march of woe. When my soul can, in imagination, see the Saviour bearing His cross to Calvary, she joins the godly women and weeps with them; for, indeed, there is true cause for grief — cause lying deeper than those mourning women thought. They bewailed innocence maltreated, goodness persecuted, love bleeding, meekness about to die; but my heart has a deeper and more bitter cause to mourn.
My sins were the scourges which lacerated those blessed shoulders, and crowned with thorn those bleeding brows: my sins cried "Crucify Him! crucify Him!" and laid the cross upon His gracious shoulders. His being led forth to die is sorrow enough for one eternity: but my having been His murderer, is more, infinitely more, grief than one poor fountain of tears can express. Why those women loved and wept it were not hard to guess: but they could not have had greater reasons for love and grief than my heart has.
Nain's widow saw her son restored — but I
myself have been raised to newness of life. Peter's wife's mother was
cured of the fever — but I of the greater plague of sin. Out of Magdalene
seven devils were cast — but a whole legion out of me. Mary and Martha
were favoured with visits — but He dwells with me. His mother bare His
body — but He is formed in me the hope of glory. In nothing behind the
holy women in debt, let me not be behind them in gratitude or sorrow.
April 9 - Evening
"Thy gentleness hath made me great." — Psalm 18:35
The words are capable of being translated, "Thy goodness hath made me great." David gratefully ascribed all his greatness not to his own goodness, but the goodness of God. "Thy providence," is another reading; and providence is nothing more than goodness in action. Goodness is the bud of which providence is the flower, or goodness is the seed of which providence is the harvest. Some render it, "Thy help," which is but another word for providence; providence being the firm ally of the saints, aiding them in the service of their Lord. Or again, "Thy humility hath made me great." "Thy condescension" may, perhaps, serve as a comprehensive reading, combining the ideas mentioned, including that of humility.
It is God's making Himself little which is the cause of our being made great. We are so little, that if God should manifest His greatness without condescension, we should be trampled under His feet; but God, who must stoop to view the skies, and bow to see what angels do, turns His eye yet lower, and looks to the lowly and contrite, and makes them great. There are yet other readings, as for instance, the Septuagint, which reads, "Thy discipline" — Thy fatherly correction — "hath made me great;" while the Chaldee paraphrase reads, "Thy word hath increased me." Still the idea is the same.
David ascribes all his own greatness to the condescending goodness of his Father in heaven. May this sentiment be echoed in our hearts this evening while we cast our crowns at Jesus' feet, and cry, "Thy gentleness hath made me great." How marvellous has been our experience of God's gentleness! How gentle have been His corrections! How gentle His forbearance! How gentle His teachings! How gentle His drawings! Meditate upon this theme, O believer. Let gratitude be awakened; let humility be deepened; let love be quickened ere thou fallest asleep to-night.