Mark 16:9

Robert Hawker

"Now when Jesus was risen early, the first day of the week, he appeared first to Mary Magdalene, put of whom he had cast seven devils."–Mark xvi. 9.

My Lord! I have often found occasion to stand amazed at the wonders of thy grace, as set forth in thy blessed word. Every thing manifests that it is altogether free and undeserved; nothing, in the objects of it, having the least tendency to call it forth into exercise; no, not even our misery: for though our misery afforded an opportunity for the greater display of it, yet thy grace was long before our misery, originating as it did in thine own everlasting love. Every circumstance connected with the manifestation of thy grace calls forth astonishment. The greatness, the continuance, the unceasing nature of it, notwithstanding all the undeservings of the objects of thy rich bounty; all tend to excite astonishment in my soul. But, Lord! when at an time I behold abounding grace shewn, where there have been abounding transgressions ; and, as the apostle expresseth it, "where sin hath reigned unto death, that there more eminently grace should reign unto eternal life;" my soul is overwhelmed in the contemplation; for here I discover, as upon numberless other occasions, that "thy thoughts are not my thoughts, nor thy ways my ways." Will Jesus, this evening, graciously tell me, why the poor Mary Magdalene was first blessed, before any of the disciples, with the sight of her risen Saviour? Was it to teach her, and all poor:sinners like her, that "where sin hath abounded, grace shall much more abound?' Was it indeed to encourage every poor broken-hearted sinner, long exercised with the power and temptations of Satan, that it is to such more especially that Jesus hath an eye, that he knows their sorrows, and will assuredly relieve them? Did my honoured Lord mean, by this wonderful act of grace, to shew that he will take yet delight to inhabit that I precious soul out of which more he hath cast seven devils, than where legions of evil spirits have not been, suffered so long, and so powerfully to triumph? Am I, blessed Lord, authorized by this gracious act of thine, so to construe thy wonderful love? Shall a poor Magdalene, who only ventured, while thou wast upon earth, to fall at thy feet, behind thee, weeping, be first blessed with a sight of thy Person after redemption-work was finished, before the beloved apostle who lay in thy bosom at thy table? Oh! thou dear, thou gracious thou condescending Lord! what am I to interpret of this kind act of thine, but that the heart of Jesus yearns over poor sinners, and can and will administer consolation to them in their most desperate circumstances? Yes! thou dear Lord! such hath been thy mercy, love, and grace, in every act. Rebellious angels are passed by, and fallen man calls forth thy pity! And among men, thy grace is shewn, not to the wise, and noble, and self-sufficient; but to the poor, the needy, the maimed, the, halt, the blind. Yea, Lord! thy grace is frequently manifested to tempers the most unpromising, to stubborn and rebellious persons; whilst those who are wise in their own eyes, and prudent in their own conceit, starched in the ceremonies and forms of religion, live, and it is to be feared die, without the knowledge of salvation by Jesus. Hence the young man in the gospel, who thought himself from his own goodness just ripe for heaven, shall go from thee sorrowful, while Jesus will take up his abode in the heart of a Magdalene, which had before been occupied by seven devils! Oh! for grace "to comprehend with all saints, what is the breadth and length, and depth and height; and to know the love of Christ, which passeth knowledge, that I may be filled with all the fulness of God."

Robert Hawker

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