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TH-E FLIGHT INTO EGYPT.
SWEET STORY OF OLD
A SUNDAY BOOK FOR THE
"Jessica's First Prayer," Bede's Charity," &c.
WITH TWELVE, FULL-PAGE COLOURED ILLUSTRATIONS BY
R. W. MADDOX.
THE RELIGIOUS TRACT SOCIETY,
56, PATERNOSTER ROW.
I. THE MANGER ... ... ... ... .. ... 5
II. TIE WISE MEN FROM THE EAST ....... ... 14
III. THE FLIGHT INTO EGYPT ..... .. ... 22
IV. THE FIRST FEAST AT JERUSALEM .. .. ... ... 29
V. JESUS AND JOHN THE BAPTIST ... ... ... ... 35
VI. THE TEACHING OF JESUS ... ... ... ... ... 40
VII. THE NOBLEMAN'S SON AND THE DAUGHTER OF JAIRUS 47
VIII. THE UNMERCIFUL SERVANT ... ... ... ... ... 56
IX. THE TRIUMPHAL ENTRY INTO JERUSALEM ... ... 63
X. THE BETRAYAL AND TRIAL OF JESUS ... ... ... 68
XI. THE CRUCIFIXION ... ... ... ... ... ... 76
XII. THE RESURRECTION OF JESUS ... ... .. ... 82
XIII. THE FIRST EASTER SUNDAY ... ... ... ... 90
XIV. THE ASCENSION OF JESUS ... .. ... ... 98
LIST OF ILLUSTRATIONS.
THE FLIGHT INTO EGYPT .. ... ... ... Frontispiece
THE ANGEL APPEARING TO THE SHEPHERDS ... ... o1
THE FIRST VISIT OF JESUS TO JERUSALEM ... ... 30
JESUS AND THE DAUGHTER OF JAIRUS ... ... ... 52
JESUS TEACHING THE DISCIPLES BY MEANS OF A LITTLE
CH ILD ... ... ... ... ... .. ... 57
THE UNMERCIFUL SERVANT ... ... ... ... .. 59
THE ENTRY INTO JERUSALEM ... ... ... .. 66
SIMON COMPELLED TO CARRY THE CROSS ... ... .. 77
JOHN LEADING MARY TO HIS OWN HOME ... ... 79
THE WOMEN AT THE SEPULCHRE ... ... ... ... 85
THE REMORSE OF JUDAS ... ... ... ... .. 9
JESUS APPEARING TO THE DISCIPLES AT THE SEA OF
GALILEE ... ... .. ..... ... 99
SWEET STORY OF OLD.
B AR away from England there is a land called
Palestine. If we were to get into a ship,
and sail over the sea, it would take many
days and nights before we could reach it.
Or if we went to France, and travelled
part of the way by train, still we should
be a long time, and we should be very tired before we got
there; for it is more than two thousand miles from us. Yet
thousands of people go there every year, from all parts of the
world. And when there were no railways and no ships,
thousands of people went there, walking all the way, and often
begging their food and lodging for the night as they went
6 THE SWEET STORY OF OLD.
along. Nearly seven hundred years ago an army of thirty
thousand children gathered together, and started off for
Palestine, hoping that the sea would open for them when they
came to it; and not all the tears and sorrow of their fathers
and mothers could hinder them. They marched as far as
the sea, and then some wicked men took them on board seven
ships; but five of the ships were wrecked, and the two ships
that escaped carried the rest of the children to Egypt, where
they were sold as slaves.
Now why do so many thousands of people go to Palestine ?
It is only a small country, full of hills and valleys, with
little rivers and brooks running over rocky beds. All along
the western side of it there is the beautiful blue sea called the
Mediterranean Sea. The winter is short, and it seldom rains
except in the autumn and winter; so under the bright sunshine
the plains and fields are covered with lovely flowers-lilies, and
roses, and tulips; and in the gardens grow oranges, and grapes,
and figs. But there are other countries more beautiful than
In this beautiful little country there came to pass the most
wonderful event that ever took place in this world of ours.
You must try to think of it, and remember it with all your
mind and all your heart. It is greater than the greatest battle
that was ever fought, and better than the most splendid dis-
covery that was ever made. From the time the world began
until now nothing else so great, or so wonderful, or so important
has ever happened. It is nearly nineteen hundred years ago-
how long a time that seems! nineteen hundred years since
a working man, a carpenter called Joseph, lived in the little
town of Nazareth, in Palestine. He had just taken to him a
STHE J2AN1GER. 7
wife called Mary, when there came an order from the King of
Palestine that every man must go to the city of his forefathers,
where his name was kept on the city registers. Though Joseph
and Mary lived in Nazareth, they belonged to the city of David,
called Bethlehem, which was a long way off. They were poor
people, and must walk all the way, lodging at night anywhere
that they could find shelter. The roads were full of travellers,
some riding on camels, and some on mules or asses, and others
on foot like themselves. They were hurrying here and there
to their own cities, very angry and very discontented, because
they were to take an oath to obey the great Emperor of Rome,
and to pay a tax to him, which was against their law. But the
Emperor of Rome was very strong, and the King of Palestine
was very weak; so these Jews were compelled to obey
But Mary and Joseph were neither angry nor discontented.
It was a long and toilsome journey; they had rough mountain
roads to walk along, and swollen rivers to cross; and the nights
were cold, and sometimes they would hear the growling of
bears and the yelping of wolves as they passed along the
rocky valleys. But Mary was the happiest woman that ever
lived in our world. No words can tell how happy she was.
As she went along she would sing many of those hymns which
are called Psalms in the Bible. Only a few months before she
had made a hymn of her own, and that she would be sure to
My soul doth magnify the Lord,
And my spirit hath rejoiced in God my Saviour.
For He hath regarded the lowliness of His handmaiden,
And, behold, from henceforth all generations shall call me blessed.
8 THE STWET STORY OF OLD.
Joseph's heart, too, must have been full of solemn gladness; for
he knew that God had chosen him out of all the men in the
world to take care of Mary, and of the child that was to be
born at Bethlehem.
It was late in the day when they reached Bethlehem, and
they climbed slowly up the steep road to the little town. But
when they reached the inn they found there was no room for
them in it, so crowded it was with travellers come to take the
oath to the Roman Emperor. Perhaps it was only a little inn,
because it was no more than six miles from Jerusalem, which
was the capital of Palestine, and usually travellers would not
stay there for the night if they could push on to the great
These inns are not houses like those in England ; they are
only yards with a wall round them, and against the inside of the
wall are built little rooms, where the travellers sleep, while their
camels and mules and asses lie in the yard. Joseph went
about seeking for an empty room, but they were all full; and
he was not a rich man, who could pay some one to give up a
place to him.
At Bethlehem the inn was outside the town walls; and as
soon as night came the gates were shut, for there were many
rough people travelling about. He could not get into the town,
and there was no room for them in the inn.
Where could he find a place for Mary to rest ?
She was far away from home, with no friend near her
except Joseph. It was impossible to go back, and it was
impossible to walk six miles to Jerusalem. Joseph must have
been troubled as he was turned away from one room after
another. But before long he found a cave in the rock close by
THE IMAGERY. 9
the inn, where the travellers were used to store their hay and
corn and fodder for their cattle, to keep them dry from the
heavy night-dews. It was a dark, rough, lonely place; there
was no bed in it but the fodder for the cattle, and that lay
upon the hard ground. But Mary was glad to find a shelter.
"Fear not," perhaps she said to herself, "for thou hast found
favour with God."
Now a little way from Bethlehem, down in the valley
under the town, there was a field where some shepherds were
watching their flocks by night. There was something to be
afraid of from bears and wolves ; but they were most afraid of
robbers, who might lie in wait to steal their sheep; for the
bad Jews were travelling about as well as the good Jews, who
kept God's commandments. So the shepherds stayed in the
field, keeping careful watch over the fold in which they had
gathered their flocks together. Perhaps they lighted a fire of
wood before the gate of the fold, and sat there talking to one
another of the bad times that had come to Palestine, when
every man had to pay a tax to the Roman Emperor. The
night was cold, and the glittering stars hung in the sky like
little lamps, far brighter than they ever are in England. All
was silent, except perhaps now and then a lamb would bleat
as it nestled closer to its mother. The town of Bethlehem
stood on the top of the hill not far away; but there was no light
to be seen, no sound to be heard from it. Only the shepherds
were wide awake, watching, listening, on the alert lest any
strange thing should happen to their flocks.
And a marvellous thing came to pass.
For all about them shone a light, far brighter than the
sun, brighter than lightning, and it did not flash and pass
Io THE SIVEET STORY OF OLD.
away like lightning. Never did the sun or lightning shine
with such a strange splendour; for it was the glory of the
Lord that shone round about them; and an angel stood in the
midst of it, an angel of the Lord. The shepherds were sore
afraid; but before they could grow so terrified as to be unable
to understand what he said, the angel spoke to them.
Be not afraid," he said; and the fear passed away from
their hearts. They could look up to him and listen.
For, behold," the angel went on, I bring you good
tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people. For unto you
is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ
the Lord. And this shall be a sign unto you : Ye shall find a
babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, and lying in a manger."
And suddenly, as the angel finished speaking, the shepherds
saw all the sky above them and around them, as far as they could
see, full of angels with bright and shining faces, thousands upon
thousands, a multitude that no man could number. Some say
that all the angels left heaven that night to visit our poor little
world, and to shout for joy. And all the multitude of the
heavenly host sang together, praising God, and saying-
Glory to God in the highest,
And on earth peace,
Good will toward men.
When they had sung this song together with their sweet and
clear and happy voices, the shepherds watched the glorious
company going away from them into heaven. And as soon as
the last sound had ceased, and the last gleam of their shining
faces was lost to sight, they began to speak eagerly to one
another, all speaking with one mind.
TH NE PPAIGT HESEHR$
THE MANGER. iT
Let us now go even unto Bethlehem," they said, and see
this thing that is come to pass, which the Lord hath made
known to us."
They were no longer afraid of robbers or wild beasts
attacking the fold; they were too eager to find the babe lying
in a manger to think of their sheep. What a strange thing to
find a babe lying in a manger! Even the poorest woman in
Bethlehem would have some little bed to lay her baby in. Yet
never did the angels sing together for joy at the birth of a child
as they had sung this night. They must go at once, and with
haste, to find this wonderful babe.
And as they drew near the gate of the dark and silent town
they caught sight of a little glimmering lamp in the cave that
served as a stable for the inn. It was the place where Mary's
little child had been born that night, and she had dressed
Him in the swaddling clothes she had carried with her on her
journey from Nazareth, and laid Him down to sleep His first
slumber in the manger which held the cattle's food.
This is what the shepherds saw when they came to the
entrance of the cave: a new-born child, wrapped in baby
clothes, a manger for His cradle, and lying on a little bed of
fodder. A poor man and woman, dressed like country people,
were watching Him; alone and friendless, strangers in a
What was it the shepherds had just seen in the field ?
A mighty angel of the Lord, and a glorious company of the
heavenly host filling all the sky, and singing glory to God.
The shepherds might have expected to find a baby, born in
the king's palace in Jerusalem, and laid in a cradle of gold, with
many servants watching round about Him. But this child was
12 THE SWEET STORY OF OLD.
born in such a lowly place, that the poorest mother in the world
may have a birthplace for her baby as good as the manger in
the cave at Bethlehem.
The shepherds told Joseph and Mary all that they had heard
and seen, and then they returned to their flocks glorifying and
praising God. They did not keep these things a secret, but
made them known abroad, speaking to all their friends and
neighbours of their strange vision of angels, and of the birth of
the child, as the angel of the Lord had told them. And all that
heard it wondered at these things that the shepherds said ; but
Mary kept them in her heart, and thought over them every day
and every hour as she nursed and tended her little new-born
Now eight days after the child was born, Joseph and Mary
gave Him the name of Jesus, which means a Saviour, because
" He shall save His people from their sins."
The angels rejoiced over the birth of Jesus; and Jesus says,
" Likewise I say unto you, there is joy in the presence of the
angels of God over one sinner that repenteth." Even young
children sin; but they may repent, and Jesus, the little child of
Bethlehem, will save them from their sins.
Once in royal David's city
Stood a lowly cattle shed,
Where a mother laid her Baby
In a manger for His bed.
Mary was that mother mild,
Jesus Christ her little Child.
THE fIANGER. 13
He came down to earth from heaven,
Who is God and Lord of all,
And His shelter was a stable,
And His cradle was a stall;
With the poor, and mean, and lowly,
Lived on earth our Saviour holy.
And through all His wondrous childhood
He would honour and obey,
Love and watch the lowly mother,
In whose gentle arms He lay.
Christian children, all must be
Mild, obedient, good as He.
For He is our childhood's Pattern,
Day by day like us He grew;
He was little, weak, and helpless,
Tears and smiles like us He knew;
And He feeleth for our sadness,
And He shareth in our gladness.
And our eyes at last shall see Him,
Through His own redeeming love;
For that Child so dear and gentle
Is our Lord in heaven above;
And He leads His children on
To the place where He is gone.
THE WISE MEN FROM THE EAST.
HEN Joseph and Mary left their home in
Nazareth they knew they would be a long
i time away, so most likely Joseph took his
carpenter's tools with him, for they were too
b poor to live many weeks without work.
w ^/ > They did not remain living in the cave,
for very soon there would be room for them in the inn. Or
perhaps one of the shepherds might ask them to bring their
wonderful child to his house, and make their home there.
They were no longer lonely and friendless; for those persons
who heard of the angels singing at the birth of Jesus certainly
became their friends.
Six miles from Bethlehem is the great city Jerusalem.
There the king lived in a splendid palace, and many noblemen
lived there, and the high priest, who was almost as great and
powerful a man as the king himself. There were many beautiful
buildings, but the most beautiful was the Temple, which was
the only place in all the world where the Jews could offer a
sacrifice to God. It was built of snow-white marble, with roofs
THE WTISE MEN FROM THE EAST. 15
of cedar and parapets of gold, which glittered and sparkled in the
sunshine, and could be seen many, many miles away in the clear
air of Palestine. The Jews loved the Temple more than any
other spot under the sky, and they hardly expected God to
hear their prayers anywhere else; though men and women like
Joseph and Mary knew that He heard them everywhere.
When the baby was nearly six weeks old, Mary and Joseph
carried Him up to Jerusalem to present Him to God in the
Temple. Mary also had to make an offering after the birth of
her child ; and, because they were not rich enough to buy a lamb
and a turtle-dove, they bought two turtle-doves only, though
Mary would have given all the treasures in the world for the
dear child that had been born her son. This shows how poor
they were; for doves are so plentiful in Palestine, that they
cost very little money.
After Mary had made her pitiful little offering, and as
Joseph was about to take the child to present Him to the Lord,
a very old priest, called Simeon, came into the Temple, God
having put it into his heart to go there just at that time. Long
ago God had promised him he should not die until he had
seen Christ the Lord; and now he took the child Jesus into his
arms, and blessed God, and said, Mine eyes have seen Thy
salvation." A very aged woman also, named Anna, who spent
all her life in the Temple serving God, came in at that instant
and gave thanks likewise unto the Lord, and spoke of Him
to all the good Jews who were looking for salvation in Jeru-
salem. How many things Mary would have to think of when
she went back to her new home in Bethlehem!
Now about the time that Jesus was born there were some
wise men, in a far-off country, who every night watched the sky
16 THE SWEET STORY OF OLD.
to see how the stars rose and set; and they saw a strange star
hanging lower in the air, as it seemed, than any others, like a
bright little lamp held by an unseen hand. They believed in
those times that every king had a star of his own; and after
they had watched it a little while, and consulted one another
about it, they said :
"This is the star of the King of the Jews. He is born at
this time. Let us go to Palestine and worship Him."
So they made ready for a long, long journey. They took
servants and camels, and they carried rich gifts with them, such
as would be worthy of a king's son. They had sandy deserts to
cross, and rough mountain roads to go over, and rivers to ford;
but they went on day after day, going, of course, to Jerusalem,
which was the chief city of Palestine, and where the king lived.
Where else was it likely that the King of the Jews should be
Perhaps they expected to find Jerusalem in a pleasant stir-
every'face happy, and music ringing through the streets because
their great King was born. But when they asked eagerly,
"Where is the King?" no one knew of any other king but
Herod, whom everybody hated. "A King has just been born,"
said the wise men, "a King of the Jews; and we have seen His
star in the east, and are come to worship Him."
Then all Jerusalem was troubled. Only a few persons knew
about Jesus, and they had been careful to keep the secret of His
birth. For Herod was a very cruel king, and they were afraid,
that, if he heard of the child, he would have Him slain. But, now
that these wise men had come from a country far away, with their
rich presents, asking for the new-born King of the Jews, every-
body was in trouble lest King Herod should do some very cruel
THE IVISE AMEN FROMf THE EAST. 17
thing. He was very cowardly, and so suspicious that he had
put to death even his own wife and three of his own sons.
They might well be afraid of what he would do now.
It could not be long before Herod heard of the wise men,
and then he was troubled. No child of his had been born lately
in his palace, so he thought this new King must be one who
would take away his crown and throne from him. He gathered
together all the chief priests and scribes, whose business it was
to know of such things, and he asked them where Christ should
be born. They were terribly frightened, for they did not know
what he meant to do. Many of them were expecting the
birth of Christ at that time, but most likely not one of them
knew of the child at Bethlehem, whose mother was only a poor
woman from Nazareth, and whose supposed father was a
"He will be born in Bethlehem," they answered King
Herod; "for it is written, Out of thee shall come a Governor,
that shall rule My people Israel."
Then Herod let the chief priests and scribes go, and they
went back very gladly to their houses. But he sent a servant
to bring the wise men to him secretly, for he did not want the
priests and scribes to know what he was going to do. The
wise men went to the palace, thinking that at last they were
about to see Him who was born King of the Jews. But they
saw only an old man, looking very miserable and anxious, who
asked them earnestly what time they first saw the star. It was
King Herod, and they told him, for there was nothing to make
them suspicious of him. He spoke kindly to them, because he
knew they could serve his purpose better than any of his own
18 7HE SIVEET STORY OF OLD.
Go to Bethlehem," he said; my priests say the King of
the Jews will be born there. Go and search diligently for the
young child, and when you have found Him bring me word
again, that I may come and worship Him also."
How glad the wise men were to hear their search was
almost over! As soon as they heard what the king said they
went away, and gathered together their camels and servants,
and their rich gifts, and set off at once to Bethlehem. The sun
had set as they went through the gate of Jerusalem, and lo!
the star which they had seen at home in the East shone in the
sky above them, and went before them as they journeyed down
the steep road into the valley, and up again the steep road to
the little town of Bethlehem, until at last it stood over the roof
of the very house where the young child was. There was no
need for them to ask any one where they could find Him that
was born King of the Jews.
There was room enough for the wise men in the inn which
had been so full when Joseph and Mary came to Bethlehem.
They unpacked their rich gifts, rejoicing with exceeding great
joy as they saw the star shining steadily over the roof of the poor
little house, which was probably not far away from the inn. It
did not shine on the roof of any large and grand dwelling,
neither were there any servants about this new-born King; but
the wise men did not regard that. The day's work was over,
and Joseph would be at home, and Mary was there, happier,
both of them, than any one had ever been before, or has been
since. They were living like other poor people in a little place,
with scanty furniture, and working for themselves and others all
day long. But the child was there, and the little place was like
a palace to them.
THE WISE MEN FROM THE EAST. 19
When these rich wise men saw the young child with Mary
His mother, they fell down, bowing their heads to the ground,
and worshipped Him, kissing His little feet. It did not signify
to them that the baby-clothes He wore were coarse, and that the
roof that sheltered Him was poor, and His only servants were
His mother and Joseph. This was the King of the Jews
whom they had come so far to seek, and they opened their
treasures as if they had found Him in a king's palace, and
offered to Him gifts such as they would have given to a king-
gold and frankincense and myrrh. They could return to their
own land now, satisfied.
But it was too late to go back to Jerusalem that night, so
they lodged in the inn; and during the night they had a warning
from God in their dreams that they should not return to Herod.
So when they set off in the morning, instead of passing through
Jerusalem on their way home, they went another way into
their own country.
Now Joseph and Mary were richer than they had ever ex-
pected to be. They had enough money to live even in Jerusalem,
where the child Jesus, as He grew up, might be sent to the best
schools, and go every day to the Temple to worship His Father-
God. Mary, too, could go often to the beautiful court set apart
for the women in the Temple, and listen to the silver trumpets
blowing and see the smoke from the altar of incense rise up
towards heaven. And Joseph, on the Sabbath days and feast
days, when no work was done, might pass many a solemn,
happy hour there. The rich gifts of the wise men had made
this possible to them.
But, after the wise men were gone, behold, the angel of the
Lord, who had appeared to the shepherds in the field, came to
20 THE SWEET STORY OF OLD.
Joseph in a dream. Perhaps the wise men had told him and
Mary that Herod himself was coming down to Bethlehem to
worship the child, as they had done. But this is what the angel
Arise, and take the young child and His mother, and flee
into Egypt, and be thou there until I bring thee word; for
Herod will seek the young child to destroy Him."
It was night, but there was no time to be lost. The angel's
words were very urgent-" Arise at once," he said. It was well
now that they had money enough and to spare. For the first time
in her great happiness Mary felt the prick of fear and sorrow.
It was a terrible thing to think that any one should wish to kill
her little child, the dear child whose birth had been sung over
by angels, and whose star had brought the wise men from the
East to worship Him. But she must not delay; they must
steal away before the little town was astir, when the townspeople
could see which way they went. Joseph carried the treasures
the wise men had brought, but she carried, pressed close to her
beating heart, the greatest of all treasures-her little child
So in the night, when little children are sleeping safely in
their cots, and little birds are lying in their nests covered by
their mothers' wings, and little lambs are gathered into warm
folds, Jesus was being carried along stony roads, under the cold
light of the stars; and His mother trembled and was afraid.
Many, many times in the world's history mothers have had to
flee from danger, with their helpless children in their arms,
frightened at every sound, and fearing every moment that death
would snatch their dear ones from them. But now they know
that God's own Son passed through the same peril, and that
THE WISE 1MEN FROM THE EAST. 21
Mary bore the young child Jesus in her arms, feeling the terrors
that they feel.
Jesus, tender Shepherd, hear me,
Bless Thy little lamb to-night.
Through the darkness be Thou near me,
Keep me safe till morning light.
Through this day Thy hand has led me,
And I thank Thee for Thy care;
Thou hast warmed me, clothed me, fed me,
Listen to my evening prayer.
Let my sins be all forgiven;
Bless the friends I love so well;
Take me, when I die, to heaven,
Happy there with Thee to dwell.
THE FLIGHT INTO EGYPT.
EROD was waiting in his palace at Jerusalem
for the return of the wise men from Bethle-
"hem, intending to destroy the life of the child
Jesus, though he had told them he meant to
Sgo and worship Him as they did. It was
not long before he knew that they were not
coming back to bring him word where they had found the young
child. He had been king many years, and no one dared to dis-
obey him. Now he thought the wise men were mocking him,
making little of him, as if he had been some poor common man.
He was exceedingly wroth. All these many years he had been
giving way to his cruel and jealous passions, and they had grown
so strong they were his masters. It was a horribly cruel thing
he did now.
Herod could not be sure where Jesus was to be found, for
no beautiful star would guide him to the house. Perhaps it was
very soon after Mary and Joseph had fled away with Jesus
in the night; and the sun was shining like other days, and the
men went to their work, and the women were busy about their
THE FLIGHT INTO EGYPT 23
houses. Some of the little children were playing in gardens,
and some were crawling about the floor indoors, and some
were in their mothers' arms, or lying on their mothers' laps,
just as usual. In the little town of Bethlehem, and round about
it, there were many homes where there were babies not yet two
years old. Suddenly and secretly, making as little stir as
possible, lest the child Jesus should escape, there came a band
of Herod's soldiers, and slew all of them, in spite of their mothers'
cries and prayers, and the resistance the fathers made. All.
through Bethlehem there was a bitter cry heard, lamentation
and weeping and great mourning; the mothers weeping for
their children, and refusing to be comforted.
I hope Mary did not hear of this as she carried her baby
safely away; for then indeed her heart would have been full of
sharp sorrow. For, like all sweet and tender-hearted mothers,
as soon as she had a baby of her own, she would love all other
little children dearly ; and she had been long enough in Bethle-
hem to see and love those little ones who had perished now for
the sake of her own dear Son.
But King Herod did not feel any happier or safer, though
he made sure that he had destroyed the child who was born King
of the Jews. A dreadful disease took hold of him which no
medicine could cure, and his life became such a burden to him
that once he tried to kill himself. His mind was full of terrible
thoughts day and night; he hated God and man, and was
afraid of both God and man. He died one of the most miser-
able and most wicked men that ever lived.
All this time the baby Jesus, with His mother and Joseph,
were safe in the land of Egypt. After they fled from Bethlehem
they would soon fall in with a band of travellers going down to
24 THE SWEET STORY OF OLD.
that country; for merchantmen were always passing to and fro.
And when they arrived there they found plenty of Jews like
themselves living in Egypt. The gifts the wise men had
brought to Jesus supplied all their wants; and Joseph could
work as a carpenter as well in Egypt as in Palestine. Yet still
they were strangers in a strange land ; and when Mary taught
her little child to walk on Egyptian ground, we may be sure she
wished herself at home in Bethlehem or Nazareth ; for the Jews
loved their own country with a greater love than any other nation.
At last an angel came again to Joseph in a dream, whilst
they were in Egypt; and this is what he said :
Arise, and take the young child and His mother, and go
into the land of Israel; for they are dead which sought the
young child's life."
Here were good tidings indeed! If Joseph had wished
ever so much to return to his own country, he would not have
done so till God ordered it, as He had ordered him to flee away
fronl it. But now they were to go, and they could go safely
and gladly. Very likely they thought they would live in Jeru-
salem; but when they reached Judea, the southern part of
Palestine, Joseph heard that Archelaus, the son of Herod, had
begun to reign in his father's stead. There had been a dreadful
tumult also in Jerusalem, and Archelaus had sent his soldiers
into the beautiful Temple, and had killed about three thousand
people there. This might well make Joseph afraid of taking
the young child and His mother anywhere near to Jerusalem.
What God had given him to do was to take care of them. What
was he to do ? Must he go back again with them to Egypt ?
But Joseph was not left long in uncertainty. God again
told him what to do in a dream, and said he must go on to the
TIE FLIGHT INTO EGYPT. 25
north part of Palestine, which is called Galilee. Now in Galilee
was his own city, Nazareth, where he and Mary had lived before
Jesus was born, and of course they would go back very gladly
to dwell among their old friends. Their relatives were living
there too, with children who grew up like brothers and sisters
to Jesus. Next to going to live in Jerusalem it was good to live
in Nazareth; so that after all their wanderings were over, Mary
and Joseph settled to stay in their own home very happily.
Galilee is the most beautiful part of Palestine; and the
small city of Nazareth lies in a lovely valley surrounded by
many little hills. If you climb up the ridge of the hill on which
the town is built you can see the beautiful blue sea under the
sky in the west, and away in the north a high mountain with a
crown of snow. Very often, when Jesus was a boy, He would
climb up these hills, gathering the lilies of the field as He
passed along, and thinking of them in their beauty, and watch-
ing the ravens as they flew by, seeking their food from God, and
keeping no storehouse and barn. He saw the grapes growing
on the vines, and the figs coming before the leaves on the fig-
trees. The tares and the wheat and the bramble-bushes Jesus
looked at thoughtfully, and at the sun rising and setting, some-
times with red clouds about it, telling Him what sort of weather
it was going to be. Sometimes He felt the wind blow and the
rain beat against Him, and the scorching sunshine burnt His
hands and face. The great eagles flying across the solitary hills,
looking out for their prey, He saw ; and serpents, and scorpions,
and vipers, full of poison, lurking under stones and in dusky
places, He found. For Jesus was never afraid to be alone, far
away from any sight or sound of man; He never knew what
26 THE SW EET STORY OF OLD.
But He loved to be at home, too. He was always watch-
ing and thinking about what was going on around Him. He
played with the other children in the market-place, and made
pipes like theirs to make music with, piping to them and
dancing with them. He saw His mother sweeping her house
diligently, and mending the worn-out clothes, and making the
beautiful coat without seam, which she spun and wove for Him.
He watched her putting the leaven into the meal, and leaving it
till all was leavened alike; and He saw His father night after
night light the candle and put it on a candlestick to give light
unto all the house. The merchantmen who came to the town
with goodly pearls, or any other merchandize, He noticed as
they passed by; and very often He would go out with the
shepherd-boys, when they led their flocks of goats and sheep
to the pasture, and help to separate them, sending the goats
away higher up the hills, where the food was coarser.
Did Jesus go to school ? Of course He went to school with
His little playfellows and cousins. The Jews were very careful
that all their children should learn to read and write. He
would learn to read those books which we call the Old Testa-
ment, and the hymns He learnt you will find in the Book of
Psalms. He sat often in a hot schoolroom, amid a crowd of
schoolfellows, when it would have been pleasant to be out on
the hills watching the birds fly to and fro. The boys would
quarrel and fight around Him, vexing Him with their idleness
and naughtiness. He was in all points like them, excepting one.
I will tell you what that one point was.
Jesus in many things when He was at school was like other
children. He must have had accidents sometimes; perhaps
He broke a bowl in going to the fountain for water, or tore
THE FLIGHT INTO EGYPT. 27
His beautiful robe which His mother had made. He was like
all other children in these things. But He was never guilty of
The mother of Jesus was the most blessed woman that ever
lived; for never once had she to find fault with her child. He
never gave her a moment's pain, or made her heart ache by one
careless or unkind word. Joseph never had to frown upon Him
for disobedience, or to lift up his voice in anger against Him.
His schoolfellows never heard Him say a word that was wrong,
and in play He was never harsh and quarrelsome. If He was
angry it was only against cruelty, and falsehood, and evil-doing,
and He was always eager to forgive.
There was one time of the year when Jesus was left alone,
living very probably with His aunt and cousins, whilst His
mother and Joseph went up to Jerusalem to the Feast of the
Passover. I think this would always be a trouble to Him.
They would be away several days, perhaps two or three weeks,
and oh! how eagerly He would watch for them to come back
along the road which ran up the valley Mary must have loved
the Temple very much to leave her little Son for its sake,
though she would hasten back again with gladness, thirsting to
clasp her arms around Him and hear His voice again. Then
she would tell Him how glorious that "house of prayer" was,
the house of God, the Temple of the Most High, until Jesus
longed for the time when He should be old enough to go up to
Jerusalem with His mother and Joseph.
At last the time came when they thought Him old enough
to cease to be a child, and to take upon Himself some of the
duties of a man. Usually Jewish boys had to be thirteen before
they were allowed to do this; but Jesus was only twelve. How-
28 THE SWEET STORY OF OLD.
ever, He knew so well what His duties were, and He loved God
and His service so ardently, that His mother and Joseph and
His teachers thought it right to keep Him back no longer. So
when the time for the Passover Feast came He went up to Jeru-
salem with the band of travellers from Nazareth who were going
to keep the Feast.
Jesus Christ, my Lord and Saviour,
Once became a child like me;
Oh that in my whole behaviour
He my pattern still might be!
All my nature is unholy,
Pride and passion dwell within;
But the Lord was meek and lowly,
And was never known to sin.
While I'm often vainly trying
Some new treasure to possess,
He was always self-denying,
Patient in His worst distress.
Let me never be forgetful
Of my pattern any more;
Idle, passionate, and fretful,
As I've often been before.
Help me by Thy Word to measure
Every word and every thought,
Thinking it my greatest pleasure
There to learn what Thou hast taught.
THE FIRST FEAST AT JERUSALEMir.
r was a happy time all through Palestine.
The spring was come, and the fields were
"covered with flowers; the orchard and gar-
dens were full of fruit-trees in blossom; and,
though the nights were still cold, through the
day the air was soft and sweet, and not
too hot. As the little band from Nazareth passed through
each village, new pilgrims joined them, until they grew into
a great company. They must have been three days on the
road; but everywhere the people were very kind to travellers
going up to the Feast, and there was no fear of not finding a
welcome and a shelter when they stopped for the night. There
were plenty of boys of thirteen and fourteen going up to Jeru-
salem for the first time ; and those amongst them who felt how
solemn and important a time it was in their lives would gather
round Jesus. They were all going to cease to be children.
Until now, when they had done wrong, they had felt they were
sinning against their parents; but when they did wrong in the
time to come they would be sinning against God. That was a
very solemn thing to think of.
30 THE SWEET STORY OF OLD.
And it was at this time probably that Mary told Jesus of
the wonderful things that had happened at His birth; of the
angels singing Glory to God at Bethlehem; of the old priest,
Simeon, and the very aged woman, Anna, in the Temple; of
the wise men who worshipped Him as the new-born King of
the Jews; and of the flight into Egypt, when King Herod
sought the young child to destroy Him. It was time for Jesus
to know these marvellous things, now His childhood was over,
and Mary had kept them all in her heart as she watched Him grow
up beside her. Perhaps she told Him before they left Nazareth,
or as they were on their way, or the day they reached Jerusalem.
We do not know when or how she told Jesus, but a great change
came over Him at this time. For from this time He knew that
He was not the Son of Joseph, who had been so true and kind
a father to Him. No; He was the Son of God; and the
Temple He was going to enter was His Father's house, the
house of prayer for all nations. There was no need for Him
to go into its courts with sacrifices for sin, as the other pilgrims
would do, for He had never sinned. He was separate from
sinners, though He dwelt among them; though even His
tender mother, who ministered to Him, was sinful, like all other
human beings. He had come into this dark and wretched world
to save it by being Himself a sacrifice; and, having made His
soul an offering for sin, He would claim it for His own, even the
uttermost parts of the earth for His possession.
When the great company of pilgrims reached the top of
Mount Olivet they would catch the first sight of the beautiful
city of Jerusalem, with its splendid palaces and the Temple of
white marble glistening in the sunlight. For the first time
Jesus saw His Father's house. Perhaps He lingered, and let
jq l I s
THEFISTVIIT F ESS O JRUAL M
THE FIRST FEAST AT 27ERUSALEAL 31
the crowd pass by, gazing across the deep valley which lay
between Him and that glorious Temple. The pilgrims went
down into the valley chanting their hymn, I was glad when
they said unto me, Let us go into the house of the Lord. Our
feet shall stand within thy gates, 0 Jerusalem!" But oh!
what gladness there would be in the heart of Jesus! Perhaps
there was no hour of such perfect happiness to Him again.
Joseph was still alive, caring for Him and protecting Him;
and His mother was at His side, as they went up into the
Temple, pointing out to Him eagerly all the splendour and
the wonders of the beautiful place. It was His Father's house,
and here was His true home.
But the Feast was soon over, and the morning came
quickly for going back to Nazareth. There was a great
number of people returning to the many towns of Galilee; and
the crowd and confusion in the narrow streets of Jerusalem were
very great. Though Jesus was not with them, Joseph and Mary
were not troubled, supposing He was somewhere in the crowd,
with His companions or His cousins. But when they halted
for the night, and still He was missing, then a great fear would
fill His mother's heart. She could never forget the massacre
of the children at Bethlehem; and though there was no king
now in Palestine, she was afraid of the Roman Governor, lest
he should hear that her son was born King of the Jews. As
soon as daybreak came she and Joseph started back to Jeru-
salem, asking all the persons they knew if they had seen Jesus.
It was the third day before they found Him in the Temple
sitting in the midst of the learned priests, listening to their
teaching, and asking them questions. It was a strange sight to
Mary and Joseph, glad as they were to see Him. All the
32 THE SWEET STORY OF OLD.
people that heard Him were astonished at what this young
boy from Galilee answered when any priest asked Him a ques-
tion; and His mother and Joseph were amazed to find Him
there, forgetful of everything else, forgetful even of them.
This was a trouble to Mary; she could not bear that Jesus
should seem to forget her. So she said to Him :
Son, why hast Thou thus dealt with us ? Behold, Thy
father and I have sought Thee sorrowing." His mother's voice
brought back the thoughts of Jesus to her, and to His earthly
home in Nazareth. His mind had been so full of thoughts of
His Father-God, in whose Temple He was sitting, that for a
little time He had forgotten them.
"How is it that ye sought Me ?" He asked. "Did you
not know that I should be in My Father's house, about My
Father's business ? "
But even His mother did not understand Him. From
that time He was to live amongst people not one of whom
could understand Him. He left the Temple, and went away
with them, going back through the roads He had trod so
joyously a few days ago, and came again to Nazareth, to go on
with the old life, among His old neighbours. Though Jesus
knew now that He was the Son of God, the King of the Jews,
He was subject to Mary and Joseph, obeying them as if He
had been their son like other children.
It was soon time for Jesus to choose a trade by which He
could earn His own living; and it is certain that He chose to
be a carpenter, like Joseph. For all His childhood had been
spent in a carpenter's shop; and for hours together He had
watched His supposed father at work. Even if He had not
been a poor man He would have learned some handicraft; for
THE FIRST FEAST AT JERUSALEAL 33
the Jews thought it a religious duty to know how to work with
their hands at some trade by which they could get a living if
necessary. So for the next eighteen years did Jesus work like
other workmen, in His neighbours' houses, or in a little work-
shop, where they could always find Him. Joseph died, and
His mother was left a widow; and He had to maintain her as
well as Himself. It was a quiet life, but not a lonely one;
a common life it seemed, like any of our lives. It was His
custom to go to the synagogue every Sabbath day, and most
likely He went up to Jerusalem every year; but those were His
only holidays. He lived exactly as we do, bearing the same
cares and troubles, seeing the same kind of changes in all
around Him. Sometimes He watched beside sick and dying
friends, or followed their bodies to the grave; sometimes He
saw His old friends and schoolfellows married; and sometimes
people came to tell Him they had a child born to them. Many
a blind man He led along the road, and many a deaf person He
cheered in their dull lives. He was eyes to the blind, and feet
to the lame; and the blessing of him that was ready to perish
rested upon Him. But the people of Nazareth did not love
Him or honour Him. Only a few of those who knew Him
best-a very few, not even His brethren-saw that there was no
fault in Him.
Jesus, who lived above the sky,
Came down to be a man, and die;
And in the Bible we may see
How very good He used to be.
He went about-He was so kind-
To cure poor people who were blind;
And many who were sick and lame,
He pitied them, and did the same.
34 THE SWEET STORY OF OLD.
And more than that, He told them, too,
The things that God would have them do;
And was so gentle and so mild,
He would have listened to a child.
But such a cruel death He died!
He was hung up and crucified !
And those kind hands that did such good,
They nailed them to a cross of wood.
And so He died!-and this is why
He came to be a man, and die.
The Bible says He came from heaven,
That we might have our sins forgiven.
He knew how wicked man had been,
And knew that God must punish sin;
So, out of pity, Jesus said,
He'd bear the punishment instead.
JESUS AND JOHN THE BAPTIST.
SHEN Jesus was about thirty years old, a
prophet called John the Baptist began
preaching in Palestine. He had lived many
years in desert places, far from towns and
villages, and was dressed in rough raiment
Sof camel's hair, fastened round him with a
leather girdle. All these years he had been praying and
thinking and studying the books in the Old Testament; and
now he began to teach very earnestly, "Repent ye, for the
kingdom of heaven is at hand."
The news of this strange prophet soon spread through the
country, and thousands of people flocked to see him and hear
him. He was dwelling in the wild, beautiful country close by
the river Jordan; and here, when the people came in crowds,
confessing their sins, he baptized them in the river, as a sign
that they repented and intended to lead a new life. Even
some of the Pharisees, who thought themselves better than
other people, and the Sadducees also, came to John's baptism; but
he told them they must bring forth fruits meet for repentance,
or they could not escape the wrath to come.
36 THE SWEET STORY OF OLD.
All through the summer people came to be baptized in
Jordan; and John told them, "There cometh One mightier
than I after me, the latchet of whose shoes I am not worthy to
stoop down and unloose. I indeed have baptized you with
water: but He shall baptize you with the Holy Ghost." But
as the winter drew near the numbers grew fewer. John had
gone up the river towards Galilee, until he was only about
twenty miles from Nazareth; and now one wintry day he
saw Jesus coming towards him. John's mother and Mary the
mother of Jesus were cousins, and very likely they had seen
one another in Jerusalem at the feasts. Certainly John the
Baptist knew how good Jesus was, and that He had no sins
to repent of; and when Jesus came to be baptized of him he
felt more than ever how unworthy he was even to stoop down
and unfasten His shoes like a servant.
I have need to be baptized of Thee," John said; "and
comest Thou to me ?"
But Jesus knew that John had been sent by God, and
that the kingdom of heaven was at hand. There was no king
crowned yet for that kingdom. So He answered, Suffer it to
be so now." And He and John went down into the shallow
water on the side of the river, and John baptized Him with the
water as he had baptized all the other people. But as Jesus
came up again out of the water, lo! the heavens were opened
unto Him, and He saw the Spirit of God coming down like a
dove, and lighting upon Him; and lo! a voice came from heaven,
saying, This is My beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased."
When a king is crowned a few drops of precious oil are
poured upon his head, and he is said to be anointed, that is,
set apart, and raised above his brothers and all his people.
ESUS AND YOHN THE BAPTIST. 37
The word Christ means anointed; and when the Spirit of God
came down like a dove, and lighted upon Jesus, He was
crowned King of the new kingdom of heaven, which John the
Baptist had said was nigh at hand. The kingdom and the
King had come now, if the people would only receive the King,
and enter into the kingdom.
So Jesus was no longer to be Jesus of Nazareth, the
carpenter; but Jesus, the Christ. He went away by Himself
into the wilderness, and was amongst the wild beasts there,
whilst He thought over what He was to do for His new
kingdom, and how He should persuade the people to enter
into it. I believe the wild beasts were as tame with Him
as the tamest creatures are with us. For forty days He was not
hungry, any more than if He had been in heaven, where they
hunger not, neither are thirsty. But it was a sad and terrible
time for Jesus Christ, for He went through a great battle of temp-
tation; so that, when we are tempted to sin, He is able to help
us, having been tempted in all points like as we are, yet without
sin. We cannot help being tempted to be idle, or passionate,
or untruthful; the sin lies in giving way to the temptation.
When these forty days were ended Jesus Christ went back
to the place where John the Baptist was. John knew now who
He was; and when he saw Jesus Christ coming unto him, he
said, Behold the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of
the world." John the Baptist had two of his followers with
him, and he said again to them the next day, as Jesus Christ
was passing by, Behold the Lamb of God!" and they, when
they heard it, followed Jesus Christ. These two, whose names
were John and Andrew, were the first disciples who followed
Him. But He chose ten others at different times-twelve
38 THE SWEET STORY OF OLD.
altogether-to live with Him, and go about the country with
Him, learning how He taught the people to enter the kingdom
of heaven. These were His twelve apostles, or messengers,
who were to carry His message to other people in other
countries when His own life was ended. Three of them
drew nearer to Him than the rest, and became His constant
companions; their names were James and John and Peter.
But one of them, instead of learning to love Him more and
more, became a thief and a traitor; he was called Judas Iscariot.
What was the message Jesus Christ brought from God,
which He wanted His disciples to learn and carry to all people ?
It was this: "God so loved the world, that He gave His only
begotten Son, that whosoever believeth on Him should not
perish, but have eternal life. For God sent not the Son into
the world to judge the world; but that the world should be
saved through Him." When Jesus Christ spoke of God to the
peopJe, He called Him "your Father which is in heaven." He
said, Your Father which is in heaven makes the sun to rise
and the rain to fall; "your Father sees what alms you give ;"
"your Father hears you when you pray in secret;" your
Father knoweth what things you have need of before you ask
Him;" "your Heavenly Father forgives you." And when Jesus
Christ taught His disciples to pray, this is what they were to say :
Our Father which art in heaven, Hallowed be Thy name.
Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven.
Give us this day our daily bread.
And forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass
And lead us not into temptation, But deliver us from evil:
For Thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory,
For ever and ever. Amen.
"JESUS AND YOHN THE BAPTIST 39
No one had ever taught the people like this before, and they
were astonished at it. The kingdom of heaven is a Father's
kingdom, and the law of it is love. God is love; and if we
love one another God dwelleth in us."
Great God, and wilt Thou condescend
To be my Father and my Friend?
I a poor child, and Thou so high,
The Lord of earth, and air, and sky!
Art Thou my Father? Canst Thou bear
To hear my poor imperfect prayer?
Or wilt Thou listen to the praise
That such a little one can raise ?
Art Thou my Father? Let me be
A meek, obedient child to Thee;
And try in word, and deed, and thought,
To love and please Thee as I ought.
Art Thou my Father? Then at last,
When all my days on earth are past,
Send down and take me, in Thy love,
To be a better child above.
THE TEA CHING OF JESUS.
FTER Jesus had chosen His disciples there
came a day when great multitudes of people
gathered about Him to hear what He had
to teach. So He called His disciples to
Him and sat down on the side of a moun-
tain, under the blue sky, and looked round
upon the multitudes. There were scribes and Pharisees there :
scribes, whose whole work it was to write out the words of
God's Book, the Old Testament; and Pharisees, who thought
themselves, and were thought by others, to be holier and
wiser men, men nearer to God than any others. There
were rich people, who seemed to have life full of good things;
and young people, who were merry and in high spirits;
and strong people, who did not know what weakness and
sickness are. But beside these there were the poor, and the
sick, and the blind, and the sorrowful. Jesus Christ knew what
was in all their hearts. There was one wish which every one there
had; every heart in that great multitude felt the same desire.
All of them, like all of us, wished to be happy. And now
THE TEACHILVG OF JESUS. 41
Jesus Christ opened His mouth to teach them who were the
Do you suppose He said, Blessed are the Pharisees, who
think themselves better than any others;" Blessed are the
rich, for all men speak well of them;" "Blessed are the
young and the strong and the merry ;" Blessed are the high-
spirited; and blessed are they who take care of themselves ?"
Did our Lord Jesus Christ call any of these persons happy ?
He looked round about Him, with His heart full of love
and pity and compassion, knowing that every other heart had
some secret dissatisfaction; and then, thinking perhaps of the
proud Pharisees who were deceiving themselves so dreadfully,
Blessed are the poor in spirit : for theirs is the kingdom of
heaven." He knew that it was not what they called happiness
that was needful to them, but to be blessed by God. And if
any of us have God's blessing, we can no longer be happy by
indulging in any pride of spirit. As soon as the Pharisee was
blessed by God he would never think himself wiser and holier
than other men, but he would know he could do nothing
of himself. He would feel in his inmost soul how poor and
sinful he was, and then he would be able to enter into the
kingdom of heaven.
"To this man will I look, saith the Lord, even to him that
is poor and of a contrite spirit, and that trembleth at My
word." The proud in spirit cannot find a wayinto the kingdom
Blessed are they that mourn: for they shall be comforted,"
said Jesus. There were many sorrowful and mournful people
in the crowd, and He spoke tenderly to them. It was a
42 THE SWEET STORY OF OLD.
strange word to say. Those who were merry and laughing
seemed happy, and the weeping and sorrowful seemed unhappy;
but they were nearer to God's comfort, because they needed it
most. Even children know how blessed it is, when they are in
trouble, to climb up on their mother's lap, and feel her arms
around them, and hear her gentle voice speaking words of
comfort: it is better than merry games and noisy laughter.
So it is with God, who comforts those who mourn, even as a
mother comforts her little children.
Blessed are the meek: for they shall inherit the earth."
Not those who take care of themselves and always seek to be
first, or those who are passionate and easily offended, are the
happiest people even in this world. Often those who strive to
place themselves first are put back to the last, and those who
take care of themselves are not cared for by others. You know
that passionate and fretful children are never so happy as those
who are kind and meek. All the days of a mild and gentle
child are pleasant and peaceful; and if a grief comes it soon
passes away, and is forgotten; but a proud and fretful child is
always in trouble, and even play brings some offence and
bitterness. "A man's pride shall bring him low; but honour
shall uphold the humble in spirit."
Blessed are they that do hunger and thirst after righteous-
ness : for they shall be filled." It is a pleasant thing to be
hungry and thirsty when we sit down to a plentiful meal. How
sweet and good every morsel tastes But how soon the pleasure
of eating and drinking is gone, and the food becomes dis-
tasteful to us! And the kind of thing that we hunger for is
always changing : the boy does not care for what little children
are fond of, and the man has no taste for what the boy enjoys.
THE TEACHING OF _ES US. 43
The most precious thing you possess is of no value in your
grown-up sister's eyes; it would not make her happy if you
gave it to her. But those who hunger and thirst after righteous-
ness will never weary of it, and it will never lose its value. To
do right, to be right-think how blessed that would be If
you really and truly desire to be a righteous child, you shall
have your desire; and to-morrow you shall be still stronger
to do what is right, and from day to day you may hunger and
thirst after righteousness with a pleasant and blessed hungering,
and you shall be filled.
Blessed are the merciful: for they shall obtain mercy."
The Pharisees who were listening to Jesus Christ would have
said, Thou shalt love thy neighbour, and hate thine enemy."
But Jesus says, Be full of mercy : love your enemies; forgive
as you would be forgiven." For though we were enemies and
rebels against God, He had pity upon us; nay, He so loved
us as to send His only Son into the world to save us from our
sins, and bring us back to Him. There must be no hardness
in our hearts; for our Heavenly Father is not hard to us, but
abundant in mercy. Every act of love makes us more like
Him, and draws more of His love into our hearts; just as
when a little well is emptied it fills up again from the great
hidden fountains of water, and the water is fresh, and clear, and
sweet. So those who show mercy obtain mercy, and know
something of the blessedness of God Himself.
Blessed are the pure in heart: for they shall see God."
All the people thought the Pharisees very pure ; for they were
always purifying themselves, and washing their cups and pots,
brazen vessels and tables, not simply to be clean, but fancying
they served and honoured God by doing so; whilst all the
44 THE SWEET STORY OF OLD.
time they were far from God in their hearts. And their foolish
hearts were hardened, so that they could not see God when
He came to them in Jesus Christ. How sadly Jesus Christ
would look upon them as He said, Blessed are the pure in
heart;" not in outward things only The moment we begin to
have evil thoughts in our hearts-either thinking too much of
ourselves, or feeling jealous, and envious, and unkindly of
those about us-then the thought of God grows dim, and
we grow a little blind to what is good. As long as these evil
thoughts remain in our hearts the blindness goes on, getting
worse and worse, until at last we really cannot see what goodness
is; and we call bad things good, and are miserable, not blessed.
But God can cleanse the thoughts of our hearts and open our
eyes so that we may see and serve Him.
Blessed are the peacemakers: for they shall be called the
children of God." It seems as if Jesus Christ thought this
the highest blessedness; for look what the blessedness is. The
pure in heart are to see God; but the peacemakers are not
only to see Him, but to be His children. Is it possible for
weak creatures like ourselves to make peace ? How often,
every day, things go wrong, and we get troubled There are
many little troubles that gnaw away the very root of peace.
But think! in how many little ways even children can make
life go on smoothly and peacefully Yes; each one of us can
be a peacemaker; if we are poor in spirit, and meek, and
merciful, if we hunger and thirst after doing right, and keep our
hearts pure before God, we could not fail to make peace.
When peace is broken, try to find out how it has come to pass;
and if you ever make it again, then you shall be called a child
of God. For the Son of God came to bring peace on earth,
THE TEACHING OF JESUS. 45
and to reconcile us to God and to one another. This is the
beginning of Jesus Christ's Sermon on the Mount. One idea
runs all through it.
The righteousness He came to teach does not depend upon
anything outside of us. It is not anything we do which can be
seen and heard of men. If we do our righteous deeds, as the
Pharisees did, to be seen and heard of others, our Father in
heaven will not look at us, or listen to us. We may pray to
God with our lips, and read His book, the Bible, with our eyes;
but it will be all in vain, and He will say to us, I never knew
you; depart from Me, ye that work iniquity." It is in the
inmost heart, the secret spirit, where we must be righteous;
there where no eye but God's can see, and no ear but God's can
But how can sinful hearts become thus right before God ?
Jesus Christ has told us. He says, If a son shall ask bread of
any of you that is a father, will he give him a stone ? or if he
ask a fish, will he for a fish give him a serpent ? or if he shall
ask an egg, will he offer him a scorpion ? If ye then, being
evil, know how to give good gifts unto your children, how much
more shall your Heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to them
that ask Him ?"
Just as you, being hungry, may ask your father for bread,
so, if you wish to be good, you may ask God for His Holy
Spirit. That strange, mysterious life in us which we call our
spirit can be filled with the Holy Spirit-the same Spirit which
was in our Lord Jesus Christ, so that we may have the same
mind that was in Him, think the same thoughts, wish for the
same things, feel the same love, and look forward to being
made altogether like Him. This is being born of God.
46 THE SWEET STORY OF OLD.
Gracious Spirit, dwell with me-
I myself would gracious be;
And, with words that help and heal,
Would Thy life in mine reveal;
And, with actions bold and meek,
Would for Christ my Saviour speak.
Truthful Spirit, dwell with me-
I myself would truthful be;
And, with wisdom kind and clear,
Let Thy life in mine appear;
And, with actions brotherly,
Speak my Lord's sincerity.
Tender Spirit, dwell with me-
I myself would tender be;
Shut my heart up like a flower,
In temptation's darksome hour;
Open it when shines the sun,
And His love by fragrance own.
Holy Spirit, dwell with me-
I myself would holy be;
Separate from sin, I would.
Choose and cherish all things good;
And, whatever I can be,
Give to Him who gave me Thee.
THE NOBLEJALn 'S SON AND THE DAUGHTER
OF JAIR US.
OW Jesus Christ had all the power of God
dwelling in Him, therefore He could do
whatever He wished. This would be a
terrible power if He had not also had all
the love of God dwelling in Him, so that
He never chose to use His power except
for the good and comfort and the teaching of His people. He
went about doing good. He could heal all kinds of diseases;
and the poor sick folks in all the towns and villages He visited
flocked around Him to be cured. The blind came to Him, and
He opened their eyes; and the first thing they saw was His
kind and beautiful face. The deaf came, and the first sound
they heard was His sweet and gentle voice. We may be sure
they never forgot it. Sometimes the ailing people were
troubled about their sins, and then He told them their sins
were forgiven, as well as their sickness taken away. So many,
many persons living in Galilee became His friends and dis-
ciples; and wherever He went great crowds gathered about
48 THE SWEET STORE Y OF OLD.
On the eastern side of Galilee there is a beautiful lake,
often called the Sea of Galilee. All the country round it was
wonderful for its beauty in the time of Jesus Christ; almost
every kind of tree and flower grew there, and fruit was to be
found all the year round. There were many villages and
towns, but the chief one was called Capernaum, built on the
shore of the lake.
In this town, Capernaum, there lived a nobleman, whose
son was very ill of fever. He was a rich man, and could have
all the most clever doctors to see his child, but they could not
cure him; and the fever grew worse, until he was afraid his
boy would die. At last it seemed certain that he must die very
soon. Now at this time, when the nobleman was full of grief
and dread, some one told him that Jesus Christ, the prophet
from Nazareth, was staying at Cana, a town about twenty miles
away. He could do wonderful things, they told him, and at
Jerusalem He had been working miracles, so that many people
believed in lim. Why not go to Cana and beg this prophet to
come down and save the dying child ?
It was a hard thing to leave his son so ill as to be likely to
die whilst he was away, but there was no other hope, and the
nobleman did not think Jesus Christ would come if he only sent
a servant to ask Him. He supposed he must go himself and
beg and pray of Him to come down to Capernaum. He must
have torn himself away from the side of his son, wondering if
he should ever hear his voice again, or see the light of life
shining in his eyes. Poor father! it was about midday when
the people in Cana saw this great nobleman and his servants
ride through the streets. There was not one person in the
town who did not know where Jesus Christ could be found;
THE NOBLEMAN'S SO-. 49
and the nobleman was very quickly led to Him, and he
besought Him that He would come down and heal his son, for
he was at the point of death.
Now Jesus Christ knew that the nobleman had not much
faith in Him, and that he only thought of getting his son healed
of the fever : he had not thought of that sickness of the soul
which we call sin, and he did not ask Jesus Christ to save him
or his son from that.
Except ye see signs and wonders ye will not believe," He
said to the nobleman, who perhaps had thought that this prophet,
dressed like a poor man, and living among poor men, would be
only too glad to work a miracle for a nobleman. But now he
became more urgent, thinking of his dying boy, and fearful lest
he and the prophet should arrive too late.
Sir," he cried, "come down ere my child die."
Then Jesus Christ saw how full the heart of the poor
father was, and how hard it was for him to think of anything
but his child's danger. He did not suppose Jesus Christ could
do any good unless He went down to see and touch the child;
and oh! if it should be too late!
Go thy way," said Jesus Christ; thy son liveth !"
There was something in the voice and face of Jesus Christ
that set the father's heart at rest in a moment. All his fear fled,
and his grief. The dear child at home was healed-that he felt
sure of. He stayed all night at Cana, perhaps to see and hear
more of Jesus Christ; and the next morning he started on his
And as the nobleman went along the road leading down to
the Sea of Galilee there came to meet him some of his servants
bearing glad tidings, which they supposed would take him by
50 THE SWEET STORY OF OLD.
surprise; and the words they spoke were the same Jesus
Christ had said to him the day before.
Thy son liveth !" they said, joyfully.
At what hour did he begin to amend ?" asked the noble-
man, not at all surprised.
Yesterday at the seventh hour the fever left him," they
It was the same hour when Jesus Christ had said to him,
" Thy son liveth !" He went on home, thinking and wondering
at His mighty power which could heal the child of his fever
without seeing him. And oh! the gladness of finding his son
well again Then he believed in Jesus Christ, not merely as a
worker of miracles, but he believed that He was the Son of
God, the King of Israel.
I will tell you of a still more wonderful work which Jesus
In Capernaum there was a synagogue: the synagogues
were the buildings in which the Jews worshipped God, and read
the books of the Old Testament, and listened to the teaching of
their Rabbis. The synagogue in Capernaum had been built by
a Roman soldier, who loved the Jews; and Jesus Christ had
healed a servant of his, who was ill. In this synagogue Jesus
Christ was wont to teach on the Sabbath days; and among
those who were there listening to Him we may be sure there
would be the nobleman, and his son, and all his house, with
many other people who believed in Him.
In every synagogue there were rulers, to see that the
worship and teaching were done properly. Now one of the
synagogue rulers in Capernaum, whose name was Jairus, had
an only daughter, just twelve years of age. Most probably this
THE DAUGHTER OF JAIR US. 51
girl was taken suddenly with an illness, which seemed likely to
cause her death. Jesus Christ had been teaching the people
all day on the shore of the lake; and when it was evening He
had entered into a boat with His disciples, and gone across to
the other side, which was only a few miles away; but no one
knew exactly where He was, and Jairus could not send to Him
to come and heal his daughter. So all night long the father
and mother watched the dying girl, their hearts almost breaking
with grief, for she was their only child, and if they lost her they
would be left alone and childless all their lives.
They knew Jesus Christ very well, for they had often
listened to His teaching in the synagogue, and they had seen
and heard of His wonderful works. One Sabbath evening,
when the sun was set, all the sick people in Capernaum had
been carried to the door of the house where Jesus Christ was,
and He had healed them all. But now when they wanted Him
He was gone away, and their, little daughter might die before
they could find Him.
In the morning there came a little gleam of hope to them,
though their child was lying at the very point of death. They
heard that the boat was coming back again, with Jesus Christ
in it. We may be sure Jairus started off immediately, leaving
the poor mother watching beside the girl. Jesus Christ was
down on the shore, with a great crowd of people about Him;
but Jairus pushed his way through the throng, and when he saw
Jesus Christ he fell down at His feet, and besought Him greatly.
My little daughter," he said, "lieth even now at the point
of death: I pray Thee, come and lay Thy hands on her that
she may be healed; and she shall live."
Now Jesus Christ knew Jairus and his wife and his little
52 THE SWEET STORY OF OLD.
daughter, and He went with him at once; and a great number
of people followed, thronging Him. Among them was a poor
woman who had been ill twelve years, and who had spent all
her money, and suffered many things of many doctors, but was
no better, and rather grew worse. Jesus Christ stopped on the
way to heal her; and while He was speaking to her, some one
came from the house of Jairus with a very dreadful message to
the poor father :
"Thy daughter is dead," he said; "trouble not the Master."
We may think how the mother had been watching her
child as she grew fainter and fainter, and had listened eagerly
for the sound of Jesus Christ's voice coming to save her. But
He did not come; and at last the girl, her only child, was dead!
He who had saved so many others was too late to save her
beloved little daughter. It seemed worse than if there had been
Jairus, too, when he heard the dreadful message must have
felt it was too late; Jesus Christ was too late to save his child !
But Jesus Christ, who was speaking to the poor woman, over-
heard the message, and before Jairus could say a word or
utter a cry He said to him quickly:
Be not afraid; only believe."
But it was a hard thing to believe that anything could be
done now; and as Jairus followed Jesus Christ towards his
house perhaps he was almost as much afraid as he was believing.
A sad sight met them as they reached the house. Already
there were a number of people gathered together weeping and
wailing, and making a tumult, as if a great noise would
comfort the poor father and mother. When Jesus Christ
was come into the house He was displeased at all this
JESUS AN THE DAGHTER O JAIRUS
THE DA UGHTER OF JAIR US. 53
show of sorrow, for many of those who were there were not
"Why make ye this ado, and weep ?" He asked; "the
damsel is not dead, but sleepeth."
And now it was plain that they were not real mourners, for
they laughed at Him, and scorned Him, saying they knew she
was dead. So He put them all out, and choosing three of
His disciples, Peter, and James, and John, to be with Him, and
taking with Him Jairus and the mother, He entered into the
room where the young girl was lying.
Yes; she was dead! The mother knew it, and now the
father saw his little daughter lying there dead! But Jesus
Christ was standing beside her, and He stooped down and took
her cold hand in His, and He looked down on her with His
loving eyes. Then those who were about Him, watching and
keeping silence, heard Him speak to the dead girl.
Damsel, I say unto thee, arise !" were His words. And the
girl's eyes opened, and she saw her Saviour's face bending over
her; and at once she rose up, not only alive, but well, as if she
had just awoke from a deep slumber. And Jesus Christ com-
manded that something should be given her to eat.
Who can tell how astonished and happy the father and
mother were ? But Jesus Christ charged them strictly that no
one was to know it. Probably the girl herself was not to be
told ; for it would make her life a mystery to her. It was better
for her not to know that she was different from other girls,
having died and come to life again. It had been but a deeper
sleep than usual to her.
So Jesus Christ would have us think of dying as falling
asleep. What we call death He calls sleep; and sleep, which
54 THE SWEET STORY OF OLD.
comes to us every night, is a little like death. We lay our head
down on the pillow, our eyes close, and our hearing grows dull,
and we forget all our knowledge. We can no longer take care
of ourselves, and we do not feel either love or sorrow. Your
mother comes to your bedside, and looks down on you, and
covers you up with warm clothing, and kisses your sleeping
face; but you do not see or hear her, or feel the touch of her
Death is like sleep. It is as if you were living in a strange
land, very lonely and sad, and you fell asleep one night; and in
the morning you awoke up at home, in your own home, with
your father's face smiling on you, and all your brothers and
sisters gathering round you to give you a kiss of welcome. So
we shall wake, and be like Christ, for we shall see Him as
"Glory to Thee, my God, this night,
For all the blessings of the light.
Keep me, 0 keep me, King of kings,
Under Thine own Almighty wings.
Forgive me, Lord, for Thy dear Son,
The ill that I this day have done;
That with the world, myself, and Thee,
I, ere I sleep, at peace may be.
Teach me to live, that I may dread
The grave as little as my bed:
Teach me to die, that so I may
Rise glorious at the judgment day.
THE DAUGHTER Of JAIR US. 55
O may my soul on Thee repose,
And with sweet sleep mine eyelids close;
Sleep that shall me more vigorous make,
To serve my God when I awake.
0! when shall I, in endless day,
For ever chase dark sleep away,
And hymns with the supernal choir
Incessant sing, and never tire?
Praise God from whom all blessings flow:
Praise Him, all creatures here below:
Praise Him above, ye heavenly host:
Praise Father, Son, and Holy Ghost.
THE UNMERCIFUL SER VANT.
ESUS CHRIST not only went about doing
good, but He taught His people how they
could be good. The kingdom of heaven is
inside, in our hearts, not outside of us, in
the world. Jesus Christ said if we wished
__ to do wrong in our hearts only, that was
sin, even if we kept from doing wrong outwardly.
He had a way of teaching people so that they never forgot it.
Often when some one came and asked Him a question He
answered it by telling them a short story, called a parable. If
you will listen very carefully, I will try to make you understand
one of these lessons given by Jesus Christ to His disciples.
You remember He chose twelve of them to be always with
Him, going about the country with Him, hearkening to what
He said, so that when He was gone they might go on teaching
like Him. These twelve disciples fancied Jesus Christ was
going to be a king of the Jews, like other kings of this world,
and reign in Jerusalem; so every now and then they used to
dispute as to which of them would be first and greatest in that
JESIIS TEACHING THE DISCIPLES BY MEANS OF A LITTLE CHILD.
THE UNMERCIFUL SERVANT 57
One day they had been walking through the country to
Capernaum, and on the way they had been disputing very
hotly. Perhaps Peter and Judas Iscariot had been the most
angry with one another. Jesus Christ had gone on before
them, as He did sometimes, to be alone. They found Him in
the home in Capernaum, and they went eagerly to Him to ask
Who is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven ?" they
Then Jesus Christ looked upon them sorrowfully, but very
What was it that ye disputed among yourselves by the
way ?" He asked.
But as they saw the look on Jesus Christ's face they were
ashamed, and could not speak. They held their peace, and
some of them were perhaps stealing away. So He called all the
twelve to Him, and sat down, and called a little child who was
playing about the house to come to Him, and set him in the
midst of them. Then He took the child into His arms, and
taught them their lesson. This was part of what He said :
"Verily I say unto you, Except ye be converted, and
become as little children, ye shall not enter into the kingdom of
"Whosoever therefore shall humble himself as this little
child, the same is greatest in the kingdom of heaven.
And whoso shall receive one such little child in My name
Take heed that ye despise not one of these little ones;
for I say unto you, That in heaven their angels do always behold
the face of My Father which is in heaven.
58 TIE SWEET STORY OF OLD.
"For the Son of man is come to save that which is lost.
How think ye ? if a man have an hundred sheep, and one
of them be gone astray, doth he not leave the ninety and nine,
and goeth into the mountains, and seeketh that which is gone
"And if so be that he find it, verily I say unto you, he
rejoiceth more of that sheep than of the ninety and nine which
went not astray.
Even so it is not the will of your Father which is in
heaven that one of these little ones should perish.
Moreover if thy brother shall trespass against thee, go
and tell him his fault between thee and him alone: if he shall
hear thee, thou hast gained thy brother."
These words made Peter think of the hot dispute there
had been among them on the way; and he came nearer to
Jesus Christ to ask Him a question.
Lord," he said, how often shall my brother sin against
me, and I forgive him ? till seven times ?"
But Jesus Christ wished to teach them that they must not
count how many times they forgave each other; they must be
always ready to forgive. So He spoke a parable to them.
The kingdom of heaven," He said, is likened unto a
certain king, who called his servants, and began to take an
account of the money they had received for him from his people.
And when he had begun to reckon they brought to him one of
his chief servants, who owed him an enormous sum of money,
more than he could ever pay; for he had spent it on himself
instead of paying it into the king's treasury. Then, forasmuch
as he had not the money to pay, the king commanded that he
should be sold, and his wife, and his children, and all that he
THE UNMERCIFUL SERVANT.
THE UNM1ERCIFUL SERVANT 59
had, and payment to be made. The servant therefore fell down
on his face, and worshipped him, kissing his lord's feet, in great
anguish at the terrible words he had spoken.
"Lord!" he cried, "have patience with me, and I will pay
The king knew that that was impossible, so great was the
sum owing; but as he looked down on his servant lying at his
feet and saw his dread, he was moved with compassion, and as
they were about to bind him with chains, he bade them loose
him, for he would forgive him all the debt.
Now the servant felt himself richer than he was before the
king began to reckon with him; for he had owed this great
debt then, and it had been all forgiven him, without any pay-
ment at all, so great a favourite he was with the king.
So with his heart lifted up he went out of the king's palace,
and quickly found one of his fellow-servants who owed him a
very little sum of money; and he laid hands upon him, and took
him roughly by the throat, saying, Pay me that thou owest."
And his fellow-servant fell down at his feet, and besought
him, as he himself had besought the king a little time before, in
great dread and anguish.
Have patience with me, and I will pay thee all," said his
He knew that he could pay him if he would wait a little
while, for the debt was a small one; but he would not have
patience with' him. He went and cast him into prison till he
should pay the debt.
"So when his fellow-servants saw what was done, they were
very sorry, and came and told unto their lord all that was done."
Then the king sent his officers to bring his servant back
6o THE SWEET STORY OF OLD.
again into his palace, where he was reckoning with his servants.
And after he had called him, he said unto him :
thou wicked servant, I forgave thee all that great debt,
because thou besought me ; shouldest not thou also have had
compassion on thy fellow-servant, even as I had pity on thee ?"
And the king was wroth, and delivered him up to the
tormentors, to be cast into prison till he should pay all that was
due unto him to the uttermost farthing.
"So likewise," said Jesus Christ, "shall your Heavenly
Father do also unto you, if ye from your hearts forgive not
every one his brother their trespasses." But if ye forgive men
their trespasses your Heavenly Father will also forgive you."
This was the answer of Jesus Christ to Peter's question,
" How often shall my brother offend me and I forgive him ?"
It was a parable, and part of the meaning is this. The king is
God; the king's servants are ourselves; the great debt the
servant could never pay are the sins and follies we are guilty of
against G'od; the little debt of the fellow-servant are the few
and little wrongs other people may be guilty of against us. If
we are not willing to forgive that little debt, how can we hope
that God will forgive our great one ? And we must forgive
them in our secret hearts, for the kingdom of heaven is within
us, not outside of us.
Jesus Christ was often grieved with His disciples, but there
was only one time when He was much displeased with them.
He had been talking with some people called Pharisees who
hated Him, and who had come to ask Him a very hard question.
As soon as the Pharisees were gone, some women, who knew
where He was, brought their little children, even their babies,
for they wanted Him to touch them all, and bless them, so that as
THE UNMERCIFUL SERVANT. 61
they grew up they could say to them, "Jesus the King blessed
you when you were quite a little child, so you must be always
good." But the disciples spoke sharply to the women, saying
they ought not to bring their children to trouble Him, when
great people like the Pharisees came to ask Him questions. It
may be that Jesus Christ saw the poor mothers stealing away
again ashamed and disappointed, for He was much displeased,
and said to His disciples:
Suffer the little children to come unto Me, and forbid
them not, for of such is the kingdom of God. Verily I say
unto you, Whosoever shall not receive the kingdom of God as
a little child, he shall not enter therein."
Then the mothers brought their little children to Him, and
He did not touch them merely, but He took them up in His
arms, and put His hands upon them, and blessed them.
This is the only time that Jesus Christ was much displeased
with His disciples.
I think, when I read that sweet story of old,
When Jesus was here among men,
How He called little children as lambs to His fold,
I should like to have been with Him then;
I wish that His hands had been placed on my head,
That His arm had been thrown around me,
And that I might have seen His kind look when He said,
"Let the little ones come unto Me."
62 THE SWEET STORY OF OLD.
Yet still to His footstool in prayer I may go,
And ask for a share in His love;
And if I thus earnestly seek Him below,
I shall see Him and hear Him above,
In that beautiful place He has gone to prepare
For all who are washed and forgiven;
And many dear children are gathering there,
For of such is the kingdom of heaven."
But thousands and thousands who wander and fall,
Never heard of that heavenly home;
I should like them to know there is room for them all,
And that Jesus has bid them to oome.
I long for the joy of that glorious time,
The fairest, and brightest, and best,
When the dear little children of every clime
Shall crowd to His arms and be blest.
THE TRIUMPHAL ENTRY INTO JERUSALEM.
OU think, very likely, that every one loved
Jesus Christ, and believed on Him, and
wished to enter into the kingdom of heaven.
But it was not so. He had many friends
and disciples, but He had also many enemies.
His friends were mostly among the poor,
who had not much power; but His enemies were among the
rich and powerful. Especially the priests belonging to the
beautiful Temple hated Him, for they thought He was come to
take away their place, and to deprive them of their riches, for
they were very rich, and they had become so by wrong means.
Then there were the Pharisees, who hated Him bitterly,
because He told them very plainly of their sins. Now they
thought themselves very much better than other people; so
much so that they called other people accursed, as if God did
not love them. They loved to pray where they could be seen
by many persons; and when they gave to the poor they had a
trumpet sounded, so that every one should say, How much
64 THE SWEET STORY OF OLD.
money that Pharisee is giving away! God must be very much
pleased with him." But Jesus Christ called them "hypocrites,"
that is, persons who were only pretending to be good.
Jesus Christ knew how much they hated Him, and He knew
how they made plots to kill Him; but that did not make Him
afraid or revengeful. He had power to destroy them; but He
had too much love even for His enemies to wish to destroy
them. He blessed them that cursed Him, and prayed for them.
Only because He was true He told them that many woes would
come upon those who did not repent of their many sins.
Once again, and for the last time, the Feast of the Passover
came. It is in the spring, at the same season as our Easter.
Not far from Jerusalem, about two miles away, there was a little
village called Bethany, where some of Jesus Christ's dearest
friends lived. They were a brother and two sisters-Lazarus,
whom He had raised from the dead, and Martha, and Mary.
Their house was like a home to Him, and he stayed with them
three or four days before the first day of the Passover, which
began at sunset on Thursday night.
It was the Sunday before the Passover-for the Jews' Sab-
bath is on Saturday-that Jesus Christ started from Bethany to
Jerusalem. A great number of pilgrims thronged about Him-
His friends, most of them; and partly that He might be better
seen among the crowd, He rode upon an ass in the midst of
them. The news that Jesus Christ was coming soon reached
Jerusalem, and another band of pilgrims came out to meet Him,
plucking branches of palms and olives as they went along; and
at the sight of Him they broke out into shouts of joy and
singing. The whole multitude began to rejoice and praise God
with a loud voice for all the mighty works that they had seen.
THE TRIUMPHAL ENTRY INTO JER USALEM. 65
Blessed be the King that cometh in the name of the
Lord," they sang; "peace in heaven, and glory in the highest."
Hosanna! hosanna!" was the great shout of joy, which
even the little children joined in. But the Pharisees were very
angry, and said, Behold, the world is gone after Him!" Then
the great multitude spread their garments in the way, and others
strewed the palm branches in the way that Jesus Christ would
ride along; and so they went on into Jerusalem, crying, Ho-
sanna in the highest!" until all the city was astir, everybody
asking, "Who is this ?" And the multitude answered, "This
is Jesus, the Prophet of Nazareth in Galilee." But the people
living in Jerusalem did not think much of a prophet who came
The next day, when Jesus went up to Jerusalem from
Bethany, He went early in the morning and entered into the
Temple. Now the chief priests had made a market in the
Temple courts for selling the animals that were offered in sacri-
fice, and for changing money from Roman coins into Temple
coins; and they made a great part of their riches by this market.
But the noise of the bleating of lambs and cooing of doves, and
the ringing of the money on the tables of the money-changers,
and all the tumult of a market was not fit for the Temple of
God. Besides, the people were often cheated and charged too
much; so that a poor person coming to offer a sacrifice had to
pay very much more than it was worth. So Jesus Christ
cast out all them that were buying and selling in the Temple,
and overthrew the tables of the money-changers, and the seats
of them that sold doves, and He said to them :
"It is written, My house shall be called the house of
prayer, but ye have made it a den of thieves."
66 THE SWEET STORY OF OLD.
And when the chief priests heard it, they gathered together
and sought how they should destroy this prophet, who was
taking away their riches.
By the time the Temple court was clear the blind and lame
people who were in Jerusalem heard where Jesus was, and they
went up into the Temple to Him, and He healed them all.
The children who were with their fathers, when they saw Jesus
Christ, began again to shout, Hosanna to the Son of David!"
even in the Temple. They were filled with joy and gladness
by the wonderful works they saw Him doing, and by the thought
that once more there would be a true King of the Jews; and
all the Temple courts rang with their shout, Hosanna! Ho-
sanna in the highest!" But the chief priests, who had never
felt disturbed by the noise made in the market, were sore dis-
pleased by the cries and shouts of the happy children. They
had not dared to say anything to Jesus Christ when He drove
the buyers and Sellers out of the Temple, for they knew that He
was doing right; but now they came to Him to complain of the
Hearest Thou what these say ?" they asked.
Yes," said Jesus Christ; "have ye never read, Out of
the mouth of babes and sucklings Thou hast perfected praise ?"
Is it true, then, that Jesus Christ loves the praise that little
children can give to Him ? Does a mother love the kisses that
a little child can give her ? They are the sweetest things she
can have from her darlings. And if children can do nothing
else for Jesus Christ, they can praise Him, and give Him
thanks, and think of Him with gladness in their hearts. This
is perfect praise to Him, and as sweet to Him as kisses to a
... ...... ... .. .
"THE ENTRY INTO JERUSALEM.
THE TRIUMPHAZ ENTRY INTO ERUSALEM. 67
One there is above all others,
Best deserves the name of Friend,
His is love beyond a brother's,
Costly, free, and knows no end:
They who once His kindness prove,
Find it everlasting love.
Which of all our friends to save us
Could, or would, have shed his blood?
But the Saviour died to have us
Reconciled in Him to God.
This was boundless love indeed !
Jesus is a Friend in need.
When He lived on earth abased,
Friend of sinners" was His name.
Now, above all glory raised,
He rejoices in the same.
Still He calls them brethren, friends,
And to all their wants attends.
O for grace our hearts to soften!
Teach us, Lord, at length to love;
We, alas forget too often
What a Friend we have above.
But, when home our souls are brought,
We shall love Thee as we ought.
THE BETRAYAL AND TRIAL OF JESUS.
T was Sunday when Jesus Christ entered
Jerusalem in triumph, with all the people
"shouting "Hosanna!" and on Monday and
Tuesday He went there again, showing
Himself openly in the Temple, although
) He knew the chief priests and Pharisees
were going to crucify Him. He had no fear; but they were
afraid to take Him, lest there should be an uproar among the
people; for there was no fault to be found in Jesus Christ, and
if they were not very cunning they could not put Him to death.
On Tuesday evening, as the sun was setting, Jesus Christ left
the Temple, His Father's house, for the last time. He was very
sad, and as He went back to Bethany He told His disciples that
it would soon be destroyed, and not one stone be left upon
another of that beautiful building. All Wednesday He stayed at
Bethany, passing the quiet hours with His dear friends Lazarus,
and Mary, and Martha. His mother was there, too, and His
disciples, and many of His relatives; and He tried to prepare
them for what was coming. But they did not understand that
their beloved Lord could be taken by wicked hands, and killed.
THE BETRA YAL OF JESUS. 69
The worst enemy any one can have is one who pre-
tends to be a friend. Such a man we call a traitor. Now
there was a traitor among the disciples; you know his name-a
name hated by all-Judas Iscariot. This man was also a thief,
and fond of money. He stole away from the rest of the disciples,
and went secretly to the chief priests, and bargained with them
to betray his Master to them at some quiet place and time, when
very few people were with Him. They were glad to have his
help, and they promised to give him thirty pieces of silver : it
was not much money, and perhaps Judas Iscariot was disap-
pointed. But he knew that Jesus Christ would not hide Himself
from His enemies, but would let them seize Him whenever
they could ; for He was willing to be crucified.
It was on Thursday afternoon that Jesus Christ and His
friends left Bethany, and went up to Jerusalem to eat the Pass-
over Feast. He loved His mother and all His friends dearly;
but He would not have any of them except His twelve disciples
to eat the Feast with Him.
It was a very sad and sorrowful supper. Instead of shining
upon glad and happy faces, the lamplight fell upon faces that
were full of care and trouble; and when Jesus Christ said that
one of them-one of the very twelve who were sitting at the
table with Him-was going to betray Him, then there was a
feeling of terror and dismay. "Who was it ?" they all cried.
And then they asked Him, each one of them, Master, is it I ? "
"Master, is it I ?" Even Judas Iscariot dared to ask Him;
and Jesus Christ said to him, What thou doest, do quickly."
And the spirit of evil entered into him, and he left the supper-
table, and went away to fetch the Temple guards and the soldiers
to seize his Lord.
70 THE SWEET STORY Of OLD.
When this sad Feast was ended, Jesus Christ left the house,
followed by the eleven disciples, and, going just a little way out
of the city, He came to the Garden of Gethsemane-a favourite
place with Him, for there were beautiful olive trees growing in
it, and quiet spots where He could rest and pray. He took
Peter, and James, and John with Him to one of these quiet
places, and told them to watch whilst He went alone to pray.
And He was in a great agony : it seemed as if His soul was
dying. Such an agony human spirits, such as ours, can never
feel. So terrible was it that even Jesus Christ, the Son of God,
cried out, 0 My Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass
from Me; nevertheless, not as I will, but as Thou wilt."
Now Judas Iscariot knew the Garden of Gethsemane ; and
when he found the house empty where they had eaten the Feast,
he followed Jesus Christ there, with a great multitude of men
with swords, lest His disciples should fight in order to protect
Him ; and they carried lanterns with them, for they were afraid
of losing Him among the dark shadows of the olive trees. But,
to make quite sure of no mistake in seizing Him, Judas gave
them a sign, and it was the dearest, fondest sign of love.
Whomsoever I shall kiss," said Judas Iscariot, "that same
is He; hold Him fast."
But, instead of watching with their Lord, Peter and James
and John had fallen asleep, for their hearts were heavy with
sorrow; and Jesus Christ hadjustwakened them for thethird time,
and was speaking gently to them, when the great multitude of
His enemies came upon them, and Judas Iscariot ran to Him,
crying, "Master! Master!" and kissing Him again and again
to show quite plainly that this was Jesus of Nazareth, whom
they were seeking. Oh! how cruel! how base! how hellish
THE BETRJA YAL OF I ESUS. 71
must have been the heart of Judas Iscariot when he betrayed
the Lord with a kiss!
In the Psalms there is a verse, Kiss the Son, lest He be
angry, and ye perish from the way, when His anger is kindled
but a little." But Judas Iscariot was not afraid to kiss Him in
order to deliver Him to His foes. He knew Jesus Christ so
well that he was sure of meeting with no vengeance from Him.
He had so much trust in Him and His mercy that he was not
afraid of His power. Do you know why Jesus Christ did not
use His power to deliver Himself from His enemies ? Because
if He had saved Himself He could not have saved us. Selfish-
ness is our greatest sin, and if there had been one little grain of
it in Him He could not have destroyed it in us.
Peter was awake now, and saw Judas Iscariot kiss his
Master, and the soldiers laying their hands on Him to take
Him; and he quickly drew a sword and rushed at the crowd,
and smote a servant of the high priest and cut off his ear.
Then in the midst of all the tumult Jesus Christ healed the man
-His last kind miracle-and bade Peter put his sword into its
sheath, saying, The cup which My Father hath given Me,
shall I not drink it?" All the disciples, even Peter and John,
at this terrible moment forsook Him and fled; and the band of
men from the chief priests led Him away in their midst, back
through the city gate, and along the midnight streets, to the
palace where His chief enemy lived-an old priest, called Annas.
And Peter and John followed Him afar off; and when Annas
sent Jesus Christ to the high priest, they went in after Him, to
see what would be done. It was in the middle of the night, and
very cold; the servants had lighted a fire in the court, and
Peter stood with them warming himself, whilst John ventured
72 THE SWEET STORY OF OLD.
to go into the very place where the high priest, Caiaphas, was
examining witnesses-false witnesses-against Jesus Christ. One
of the maid-servants said to Peter, as he stood in the firelight,
" And thou also wast with Jesus of Nazareth He was very
much frightened, and answered, I know not, neither under-
stand I, what thou sayest." Then he slunk away from the
light, and went into the dark porch by the door; and as he
stood there he heard a cock crow, for the dawn of day was near.
It was strange that hearing the cock crow did not make
Peter remember what he had said to his Master only a few
hours before. Jesus Christ had told His disciples that all of
them would be frightened that night, and would be scattered
like sheep without a shepherd; and Peter had boasted that,
though all the rest should be frightened, he would not be so.
Then his Lord had said to him, Verily, I say unto thee, that
this day, even in this night, before the cock crow twice, thou
shalt 'deny Me thrice." And Peter had spoken the more
vehemently, If I should die with Thee I will not deny Thee
in any wise." Now he stood in the dark porch, half hiding
himself, and the cock was crowing; but he was too frightened
to notice it. Then the woman who kept the door, looking at
him in the dim light, asked him, "Art thou not one of this
man's disciples ?" And he answered, shortly and angrily,
" I am not."
By this time the high priest and the council had found that
Jesus Christ was worthy of death, and He was brought out
bound with cords into the court, to which Peter returned after
answering the woman at the door. It cannot be that Peter saw
his Lord was there; for when a man, who was a kinsman of the
servant whose ear he had cut off, said to him, Did I not see
THE TRIAL OF yESUS. 73
thee in the garden with Him ?" Peter began to curse and to
swear in his terror, saying vehemently, I know not this man of
whom ye speak." Then Jesus Christ turned and looked upon
him ; and he, lifting up his eyes, met that look of love and pity,
and the words that his Lord had said to him flashed like light-
ning across his mind. He crept away out of the high priest's
palace, with his Master's pitying face before his eyes; and
when he thought of it he wept bitterly.
There was no King of the Jews at that time ; the Romans
had conquered them, and a Roman governor called Pontius
Pilate ruled over them. The chief priests had no power to put
any one to death ; so they were compelled to take Jesus Christ to,
Pontius Pilate. They told him that He was trying to make
Himself king, and was stirring up rebellion among the people.
They were in great haste to get Him crucified, for this was
Friday morning, and the next day was the Sabbath, and no one
could be put to death on the Sabbath day. So very early in the
morning they led Him away to Pilate's judgment seat.
A vast multitude of people gathered together before Pilate's
palace; but most of them were citizens of Jerusalem ; for the
friends of Jesus Christ, who came from Galilee, were strangers
in the city. The chief priests and their servants went about
among the crowd, provoking them against Him, and telling them
that He was a deceiver, and threatened to destroy the Temple,
which was the dearest place in all the world to them, dearer
than their own homes. So when Pilate, after questioning
Jesus Christ, came out on the high terrace before his palace, and
said, I find no fault in Him at all," there was a great uproar,
and all these angry people began crying out, "Away with Him!
away with Him !"
74 THE SWEET STORY OF OLD.
But Pilate was reluctant to condemn Jesus Christ, in whom
he found no fault; and there was a custom that at the Feast of
the Passover the Roman governor should release any prisoner
whom the people chose, whatsoever his crime might be. There
was in the prison a man who was condemned to death as an
evil-doer, a robber and a murderer. He would let them choose
between Jesus Christ and this robber. His name was a very
strange one; it was Barabbas, which means, the Son of the
Father." There was the true Son of the Father, Jesus Christ,
who had lived a perfect life ; and there was this false Barabbas,
who had been both robber and murderer. The people must
choose one or the other to be delivered from death, set free, and
sent to live in their midst again. Which name will they cry out
-Jesus of Nazareth, or Barabbas ?
Not this man," cried they all, "but Barabbas! "
Why, what evil hath He done ? asked Pilate.
At that there broke out a great tumult, and they cried the
more exceedingly, with loud voices, Crucify Him! crucify Him!"
And Pilate saw that he could not release Jesus Christ, for the
Jews cried out, If thou let this man go, thou art not Caesar's
friend: whosoever maketh himself a king speaketh against Caesar."
Caesar was the Roman Emperor; and when he heard that, he
was afraid, and, to save himself, he delivered Jesus Christ to be
crucified. So he took water and washed his hands before the
multitude, as a sign that it was not he who did this dreadful deed.
I am innocent of the blood of this just person," he said;
"see ye to it."
His blood be on us, and on our children !" answered all
Then they led Him away to Calvary.
THE TRIAL OF JESUS. 75
There is a green hill far away,
Without a city wall,
Where the dear Lord was crucified
Who died to save us all.
We may not know, we cannot tell
What pains He had to bear;
But we believe it was for us
He hung and suffered there.
He died that we may be forgiven,
He died to make us good,
That we might go at last to heaven,
Saved by His precious blood.
There was no other good enough
To pay the price of sin,
He only could unlock the gate
Of heaven, and let us in.
Oh, dearly, dearly has He loved,
And we must love Him too,
And trust in His redeeming blood,
And try His works to do.
THE CR UCIFIXION.
THINK that John, whom Jesus Christ loved
most of all His friends, had stayed as near
Sto Him as he could until now, watching
Him with a loving though almost break-
ing heart; but when he heard the terrible
doom, "Take Him away to Calvary," he
hastened to the place where Mary, the mother of Jesus Christ,
was lodging, that she might come and look upon her Son
once more, and hear the last words He had to speak to her.
Perhaps she was better prepared for this sorrow than His
disciples were; for when He was a baby the old man Simeon
said to her in the Temple, "Yea, a sword shall pierce through
thy own soul also." Now the hour was come; and this was
sorrow such as no other woman ever suffered.
Just as in London there used to be a place where men were
put to death by law, so, just a little way outside the city gates
of Jerusalem, there was one special spot, called Golgotha, or Cal-
vary, where men suffered death. Amongst the Jews they were
slain by stoning; but the Roman punishment was crucifying.
SIMON COLIPELLED TO CARRT THE CKoSS,
THE CR UCIFIXION. 77
Jesus Christ must have passed by Calvary, for it was close to
the high-road ; and we may well believe that He had often spoken
words of love and pity to the poor wretches hanging upon the
cross, and dying a lingering death. It was a shocking sight for
His loving eyes to look upon. But now He was to hang there
Himself, stared at by the passers-by, and mocked by His
enemies. And His companions in death were two thieves!
So feeble was He that He could not bear His cross Himself
as He was taken away to Calvary; and the soldiers seized a
man, called Simon, who was coming into the city from the
country, and compelled him to carry the cross; and when they
reached Calvary they offered Jesus wine to drink, mingled with
myrrh; but He would not take it because it would have made
Him sleepy and heavy. There were some words He had to
say yet, which would comfort and help others as long as the
world lasted. When they raised the cross on which they had
bound and nailed Him, and put it into the hole they had dug for
it in the ground-a time of very great pain-He cried, Father,
forgive them; they know not what they do !"
Yes; even the chief priests and Pharisees did not know
what they were doing, for had they known it they would not
have crucified the Lord of glory. Pilate did not know; and
the Roman soldiers, who sat down to play at the foot of the
cross, thought no more of Jesus Christ than of the thieves
beside Him. They parted His raiment among them, and cast
lots for the robe, which His mother had woven in one piece,
without a seam; and they mocked at Him, and placed over His
head the accusation which Pilate had had written in three lan-
guages, This is Jesus of Nazareth, the King of the Jews ;" so
that all who went by or stood round read it, and jeered at Him
78 THE SWEET STORY OF OLD.
as the King of the Jews, with a crown of thorns upon His head,
and a shameful cross for His throne. His mother and His
beloved disciple John stood at the foot of this throne. Only a
few days before John had asked Him if he might sit on His
right hand or His left in His kingdom; and now he had ven-
tured right through all the crowd of foes to the foot of His
cross. Mary heard the people shouting in cruel mockery,
"Hail, King of the Jews!" and some saying, "He saved
others; Himself He cannot save. If He be the King of Israel,
let Him come down from the cross, and we will believe in Him.
He trusted in God; let Him deliver Him now, if He will have
Him: for He said, I am the Son of God." She knew that He
was the Son of God; she could never forget that. Even the
thieves on His right hand and on His left, where John and his
brother James had asked to be, threw the words in His teeth,
crying, If Thou be Christ, save Thyself and us." But by-and-
by one of the thieves said to his fellow, Dost thou not fear
God, seeing thou art in the same condemnation ? and we indeed
justly, for we receive the due reward of our deeds; but this
man has done nothing amiss." And then he lifted up his dim
eyes to the face of Jesus Christ, and prayed, Lord, remember
me when Thou comest into Thy kingdom." Even amid all His
pains the heart of Jesus Christ would rejoice over this one
sinner who was repenting; and He answered the dying thief,
" Verily, I say unto thee, this day shalt thou be with Me in Para-
dise." His mother heard those words of her Son, that He would
be in Paradise that day; and surely they would comfort her!
But He could not have her linger there through the long
and terrible hours. The sun had risen high, and was beating
down pitilessly on His agony; and He knew there was a great
.i . .-. ... ..
JOHNLEADNG M\RY O Hi OWNHOME
THE CRUCIFIXION. 79
anguish of spirit coming upon Him, worse than the pains of
death. Perhaps she could not bear any more sorrow, and she
might die of a broken heart at the foot of His dross. John was
standing beside her, close to Him; and He said tenderly to her,
"Woman, behold thy son and to John, Behold thy mother '
He was leaving her, and henceforth John was to be to her all
that He had been. At once John obeyed Him, leading her
away to his own home; and she also went meekly, ready to
obey her Son in this hardest thing; for she knew that He was
going to die amidst a vast throng of enemies.
Now a great and fearful darkness came over the sky, and
the sun withdrew its shining. Many of the crowd, the chief
priests and Pharisees among them, hurried back to the city,
leaving Calvary less thronged and more solemn; for, in that
strange mysterious night coming at noonday, there were few
who would stay to mock and jeer. And a great mystery of
grief and almost of despair came over the soul of Jesus Christ;
He felt as if God His Father was hiding His face from Him, and
would no longer listen to His cry. This is how sinners feel
in their hour of calamity, when they have lost all hope of for-
giveness. And Jesus Christ suffered this, the most bitter
anguish. He could not bear it; His heart was breaking, and He
cried with a loud voice, My God, My God, why hast Thou
forsaken Me ? "
The time of death was come, and He said, "I thirst."
Then one of the soldiers ran and filled a sponge with vinegar,
and lifted it on a reed to His lips, and when He had tasted it He
cried again with a loud voice, "It is finished!" All His anguish
was over; all His work was done. He had given His life for
our salvation; He had poured out His soul unto death. He
Eo THE SWEET STORY OF OLD.
was entering into His kingdom, and He had opened the gates
of it to all who should believe in Him.
Father," He said, "into Thy hands I commit My spirit."
And He bowed His head and died. Then the centurion, who
was in command of the Roman soldiers, exclaimed, Truly this
was the Son of God!" And those who had remained at Cal-
vary were greatly afraid, and returned to the city beating their
breasts, for the earth trembled under their feet, and the rocks
were rent, and the darkness had now lasted three hours.
All His friends, and the women who had followed Him
from Galilee, stayed till all was over, though they stood afar off,
for fear of the Jews ; but now they went slowly and sadly away,
full of grief and awe, for Jesus Christ was dead; though strange
signs which they could not understand had accompanied His
Lo! at noon 'tis sudden night!
Darkness covers all the sky!
Rocks are rending at the sight!
Children, can you tell me why?
What can all these wonders be?
Jesus died on Calvary!
Nailed upon the cross, behold
How His tender limbs are torn!
For a royal crown of gold
They have made Him one of thorn!
Cruel hands, that dare to bind
Thorns upon a brow so kind!
THE CR UCIFIXION4 81
See, the blood is falling fast
From His forehead and His side!
Hark! He now has breathed His last,
With a mighty groan He died!
Children, shall I tell you why
Jesus condescends to die?
He who was a King above
Left His kingdom for a grave,
Out of pity and of love,
That the guilty He might save.
Down to this sad world He flew
For such little ones as you.
Come, then, children, come and see;
Lift your little hands to pray;
" Blessed Jesus, pardon me;
Help a guilty sinner," say,
" Since it was for such as I
Thou didst condescend to die."
THE RESURRECTION OF JESUS.
OW the saddest time in Jesus Christ's life was
over. The head that was crowned with
thorns, the kind hands that had been nailed
to the cross, the feet that had gone about
doing good all were dead. Mary was
weeping bitterly in Jerusalem ; but the
other women who had followed Jesus Christ, and watched
afar off till all was over, came to see what would be done
with the body of their Lord. Calvary was near to a garden,
and in this garden there was a grave hewn out of a rock,
like a little chamber, wherein no one had ever been buried; for
the owner of the garden, Joseph of Arimathaea, a rich man,
had made it for himself. He was one of the chief priests, but a
good and just man, who had not consented to the wicked deed
they had been guilty of; and, perhaps to show them that he
believed in Jesus Christ at the very time they had slain Him,
he went to Pilate, the Roman governor, and begged the body of
Jesus. Till now he had been secretly the disciple of Jesus, for
THE RESURRECTION. 83
fear of the Jews ; but when every one else was most afraid of
saying he was a disciple, Joseph of Arimathaea grew bold.
Nicodemus, too, who had been only a secret disciple, came
forward openly, and, with Joseph, had the body of Jesus taken
down from the cross, and carried it to the new tomb in the
garden-hastily, for the Sabbath was near, when they must not
touch a dead body. Then they closed the grave with a large
and heavy slab of stone. The women, who were watching, saw
where they laid Him; and they left Him there and went
back into Jerusalem to keep the Sabbath.
If Joseph of Arimathaea had not begged the body of Jesus
from Pilate, it would have been taken down from the cross and
buried in a common grave with the two thieves that were
crucified with Him. This was what the chief priests and
the Pharisees expected; but when they heard what Joseph and
Nicodemus had done they were troubled; and the next day
they went together to Pilate.
Sir," they said, "we remember that that deceiver said, while
He was yet alive, After three days I will rise again. Com-
mand, therefore, that the grave be made sure until the third day,
lest His disciples come by night and steal Him away, and say
unto the people, He is risen from the dead, so the last error shall
be worse than the first."
And Pilate said to them, You have a guard; go your way,
make it as sure as you can."
This guard was of Roman soldiers, and they were set by the
grave of Jesus to watch it diligently. But, to make it more sure,
a seal was laid upon the stone that closed the tomb, which would
be broken if it was stirred only a little. Then the chief priests
went away, satisfied that no one could break in and steal away the
84 TuHE SWEET STORE Y OF OLD.
body which lay within, wrapped in clean white cloths. It was
a very joyous Sabbath day in Jerusalem, a great feast day, and
all the enemies of Jesus Christ were full of triumph. But His
disciples and friends were sad at heart, and met only in secret,
for fear of the Jews. His mother, Mary, was with John in his
own home, mourning over her Son, for it was as if a sword had
pierced through her heart; and no doubt John comforted her as
much as he could. There was another woman, called Mary
Magdalene, who was full of passionate grief, and could hardly
wait for the Sabbath to be over, so that she could hasten back
again to the garden where the body of her Lord was lying.
Some of the women who believed in Him and followed Him
were rich, and they had bought costly spices and ointments for
the real burial of Jesus Christ as soon as what we call Sunday
morning was come. But they waited and kept holy the Sabbath
day, according to the fourth commandment.
The women could not all lodge in the same house, and they
had made an agreement among themselves at what hour they
should meet, to go together to the garden. But upon Sunday
morning Mary Magdalene and two other women, called Mary
and Salome, set off before the appointed time, while it was yet
dark, so eager were they to get to the tomb where their Lord
was buried. Perhaps they saw a sudden light, like lightning,
over against the garden, and felt a shock of earthquake ; if so,
they would stand still a minute or two, frightened. But all was
quiet again directly, and the morning began to break, and the
little birds to twitter, and the flowers in the garden grew brighter
as the dawn came. So they went on, saying to one another,
" Who will roll away the great stone that is in front of the tomb ?
Shall we be strong enough; or must we wait for help ?"
1liE WVOMEIN AT THIE SEPULCLRE.
THE RESURRECTION. 85
But what had caused the lightning and the earthquake ?
The Roman soldiers had been watching over the grave all night,
and were glad to think the morning was near at hand, and
they could go back to Jerusalem; when behold! suddenly they
all saw an angel, whose face was bright and dreadful like
lightning, come down from the dark sky, and they felt the rock
behind them tremble and shake. And the angel rolled back the
stone from the door of the tomb, and for fear of him the soldiers
became like dead men. They saw only the bright and terrible
face of the angel; they did not see the Lord quit His grave.
Now when the women reached the grave they found the
stone rolled away, and they thought in a moment that the chief
priests had stolen away the body of Jesus to bury it in a
common grave with thieves and murderers. This was a very
shocking thought to them. Mary Magdalene ran back at once
to tell John and the other disciples. They have taken away
the Lord," cried Mary, when she found Peter and John, and
we know not where they have laid Him !"
The other two women, Mary and Salome, went on into the
grave hewn out of the rock, to make sure that the Lord's body
was not there. No; there was no lifeless body there lying
ready for the burial they were going to give to it. But an
angel was sitting by the place where it had lain, and, as they
looked on him affrighted, he spoke gently and joyously to them.
Fear not," he said, "for I know that you seek Jesus, who
was crucified. He is not here; He is risen. Come, see the
place where the Lord lay! And go quickly, and tell His
disciples and Peter that He is risen from the dead ; and, behold,
He goeth before you into Galilee ; there shall ye see Him, as
He said unto you: lo! I have told you."
86 THE SWEET STORY OF OLD.
But though the angel told them not to be afraid, but to
come and look at the place where the Lord lay, which he was
looking at himself with wonder and gladness, they were both
afraid, and they fled from the tomb and the garden, and went
back into the city in fear, but with great joy, to bring the
In the dusky twilight the women probably had not seen the
soldiers, who had fallen down like dead men, and now these men
came to themselves, and all hastened to leave the garden. But
some of them went at once to the chief priests, and told them
what had happened, and they perhaps persuaded themselves that
the soldiers had been sleeping; for they gave them large sums of
money to say that His disciples came by night and stole Him
away while they slept. But the soldiers were afraid to do this,
for if a Roman watchman slept at his post he was put to death.
Then the chief priests promised that if it came to Pilate's ears
they would persuade him to forgive them, and secure them from
being punished with death. So they took the money, and did as
they were taught; and the Jews believe their saying to this day.
Now after the soldiers had fled from the garden John and
Peter came, called by Mary Magdalene; and John outran Peter,
and, stooping down, looked through the low doorway into the
little chamber in the rock. There were the fine white linen
cloths in which Joseph of Arimathaea had wrapped the body of
Jesus, folded up carefully, as if there had been no haste or
violence in the grave. But his Master was not there. When
Peter came up he went into the tomb-the quiet, empty tomb.
Jesus Christ was gone; where he did not know, and no angel
appeared to him as to the women. This was a strange and
marvellous thing-Jesus Christ was gone! They must go
THE RESURRECTION. 87
immediately and tell His mother these strange tidings; and they
went away to find her.
Then Mary Magdalene was left behind alone in the garden.
She did not know what had happened to the two women who
had come with her, and whom she had left quickly when they
found the grave open. She thought only that the body of
her Lord had been stolen away, and she stood at the tomb
weeping. She stooped down, as John had done, to look at the
place where He had lain. Yes, there was the place where they
left Him on Friday evening But the grave was not empty,
for where the head and the feet of Jesus Christ had rested
there sat two angels watching, as if they were waiting there to
speak to her. "Woman, why weepest thou?" they asked.
And Mary Magdalene was so full of trouble about her Lord
that she was not afraid of the angels. She did not even seem
to notice that they were angels, and she answered them without
any sign of terror:
Because they have taken away my Lord," she said, "and
I know not where they have laid Him."
When she had spoken thus to the angels she turned away
from them, and she saw some one standing near her, and she
heard him ask the same question, Woman, why weepest thou ?
whom seekest thou ?"
These last words made her think it was the gardener, who
perhaps knew what had taken place during the night.
"Sir," she cried, "if thou hast borne Him hence, tell me
where thou hast laid Him, that I may take Him away."
She could think of nothing else but her fear lest she should
lose the dead body of her beloved Lord. He had forgiven her
many sins, and she loved Him with a great love.
88 THE SWEET STORY OF OLD.
Mary !" said the voice of the person to whom she was
speaking; and she knew in that instant that it was the Lord.
My Master! she cried, springing towards Him to touch
Him, and to make sure that it was really He whom she had seen
die upon the cross. But though He was risen from the dead, He
was not altogether the same. A solemn change had passed over
Him; but she was too excited to feel this until He said, Touch
Me not! for I am not yet ascended unto the Father; but go
unto My brethren, and say unto them, I ascend unto My
Father, and your Father; unto My God, and your God."
Mary knew she would see Him again, and when He
had vanished out of her sight she hastened to tell the disciples,
saying, I have seen the Lord." Mary Magdalene was the
first person who saw the risen Lord.
But the disciples had already heard that the Lord had risen,
for another party of women had gone later than Mary Magda-
lene and the other Mary and Salome, and found the grave
empty,' and, coming away much bewildered, not knowing
what to do, they saw two men standing beside them in shining
garments; so terrified were they that they bowed down to the
ground before them. Then these angels spoke as if they were
surprised at so many persons coming to the empty tomb.
Why seek ye the living among the dead ?" they asked.
" He is not here, but is risen. Remember how He spake unto
you when He was yet in Galilee, saying, The Son of man
must be delivered into the hands of sinful men, and be crucified,
and the third day rise again."
These women came to tell the disciples, and Peter ran
again to the grave ; but he saw no vision of angels. Then the
disciples could not believe what the women and Mary Magda-