Isaiah 66:13
As one whom his mother comforteth, so will I comfort you. These are the analogies of truth that reach the heart through the life-experience when mere intellectual disquisition is vain.

I. THE MOTHER-IDEAL CREATES THE CONSCIOUSNESS OF TENDERNESS. God is the great Mother as well as the great Father of all flesh. Therefore Christ, who came to reveal the Father, was perfect humanity. In taking, as the Divine Son of the Father, our flesh, he revealed in "humanity" not only perfect manhood, but perfect womanhood too.

II. THE MOTHER-IDEAL REVEALS WHAT TRUE COMFORT MEANS.

1. Sympathy with our frailties and mistakes.

2. Succour at supreme self-cost.

3. Hopefulness even to the last. - W.M.S.







As one whom his mother comforteth.
(vers. 7-13): — The prophet reawakens the figure, that is ever nearest his heart, of motherhood — children suckled, borne and cradled in the lap of their mother fill all his view; nay, finer still, the grown man coming back with wounds and weariness upon him to be comforted of his mother.

(Prof. G. A. Smith, D. D.)

Israel then will be like a man returned from foreign soft, escaped from captivity, full of sad remembrances, whose echoes, however, completely vanish in the mother-arms of Divine love in Jerusalem, the beloved home that was the home of their thoughts even on foreign soil.

(F. Delitzsch, D. D.)

God is Creator, Preserver, Father, but something more.

I. A good mother has a wonderful fund of SYMPATHY; so has God.

II. Motherhood is wonderful in its CONSTANCY; so is God.

III. Motherhood is GRIEVED OVER SIN; So is God.

IV. A mother's love is often REDEMPTIVE; God's love is redemptive ten thousand times more.

(D. J. Rounsefell.)

Helps for the Pulpit.
God will comfort His people —

1. With all the affection and solicitude of a mother. See the mother how she loves, strives, labours, suffers, and sacrifices for her child.

2. With all the long-suffering and forbearance of a mother.

3. With all the forgiveness and consolation of a mother. How ready to forgive her erring, wandering child — and ready to console in trouble.

4. With all the instruction and correction of a mother. God teaches in various ways, and whom He loveth He chasteneth.

5. With all the constancy of a moter.

(Helps for the Pulpit.)

I. THE CONSOLATION PROMISED. "I will comfort you." It is the character of Divine promises that they apply to real cases . they meet the condition and circumstances of man. Are we ignorant? "I will instruct thee." Are we weak? "I will strengthen thee; yea, I will help thee." Are we in danger? "I will deliver thee." Are we disconsolate? "I will comfort you." The discouragements of life are many, trials are various: the fears to which we are subject, and the sins which easily beset us, who can number? These all impair our comfort, and have a natural tendency to sink us in despondency. But the Gospel provides a cordial.

1. This consolation is Divine in its origin. It springs not from creatures, not from earthly good, or from carnal gratifications. The Most High claims the prerogative as His own.

2. It is rational in its nature; not consolation visionary and enthusiastic, but intelligent, consistent with reason as well as according to faith.

3. Free in its bestowment.

4. It is select in its subjects. All are not partakers of heavenly consolation, for all are not qualified to enjoy it. Penitence of disposition is requisite: "Blessed are they that mourn, for they shall be comforted. ' Earnest desire also is implied; for who can be supposed to possess Divine comfort who are indifferent about it, who are living without prayer, or whose petitions are languid and lifeless? "Ask, and you shall receive, that your joy may be full." Holy- watchfulness is likewise supposed; for whoever is careless and slothful must be deceived if he imagine himself to be comforted of the Lord. The Holy Spirit is "the Comforter," but "grieve" Him not; otherwise He with. draws His influence, and all is darkness or delusion.

II. THE MANNER IN WHICH CONSOLATION IS AFFORDED. "as one whom his mother comforteth, so will I comfort you." A stranger may administer comfort, but it is in a distant way; a friend may console us, and this with kindness; a father also, with tenderness still more impressive; but none comforts like a mother.

1. The affection of a mother is warm; she loves her child, loves it as part of herself.

2. The care of a mother is indulgent.

3. The condescension and self-denial of a mother are not small.

4. The assiduity of a mother is unwearied.

III. THE MEANS BY WHICH CONSOLATION IS ENJOYED, "Ye shall be comforted in Jerusalem." The pious Jews were comforted when in Babylon, and during their dispersion among the nations; but their comfort in such circumstances was attended with much affliction: it was when returned to Jerusalem, when resettled in their own country, and among their own people, that their enjoyment rose the highest, and was most regular. This teaches —

1. The importance of separation from an ensnaring world.

2. The propriety of regular attendance on religious worship. It was a high privilege to dwell in Jerusalem, because of attendance on religious worship.

3. The duty of Church-membership. Jerusalem was not only the scat of Divine worship, but an emblem of the Christian Church, and they who constitute this Church are particularly authorized to plead the promise of the text, "You shall be comforted in Jerusalem."

4. It suggests the worth of a right spirit in attending Christian ordinances. The form of godliness is nothing.

(Anon.)

Readers of such writers as Theodore Parker, Frances Power Cobbe, and Chunder Sen must often have been struck with the frequency with which these theists address invocations or prayers to God as the Father and Mother of our spirits. Why should they not? There are surely as valid reasons for our thinking and speaking of God as our Perfect Mother as there are for claiming Him as the Perfect Father of us all.

1. Even if there were no hint or smile to this effect in the Scriptures we should still find it necessary to predicate it of God in order to perfect our conceptions of Him. What these conceptions are will best be understood by a disclosure of their basis. To our thinking, the ultimate source of our knowledge of God is the intuitions of the human heart. The instincts, the qualities, the affections in human nature (though these are at a very great remove from those in God) are the truest indications and interpretations to us of what God is; if the revelation recorded in the Bible be the light (as it undoubtedly is), these things in us are the eye to which that light appeals and by which we see; in fact, if we cannot argue from our own spiritual natures up to God's, then, all metaphysical reasoning and the Christian Scriptures notwithstanding, we have no reliable knowledge of God, faith is presumptuous, worship delusive, and the ground of personal responsibility crumbles away- from under our feet. Further, a philosophical interpretation of the person of the Christ, as well as the Scriptural declaration that man is made in the image of God, warrants the assertion that in a very true sense one of the worthiest conceptions of the Divine nature is that of a fully- developed, completely perfected, human nature. On this ground we believe we are justified in regarding God as our Father; or, to put conversely what this implies, we do right in assuming the fatherly elements in men to be the best index or guarantee of what God is. But whilst the Fatherhood of God is the perfection of our human nature, so far as man is concerned, it is not the crown of our humanity in its totality, that is to say, so far as human nature includes womanhood as well as manhood. God, in the very nature of the case, must gather up in Himself all the essential qualities of the mother no less than of the father. That this is so, is in a measure evidenced by the facts of our human experience. Take, for example, the evidence deducible from the case of a family where the children have been deprived of either parent, say the mother; in this instance, not only do the boys lose the beneficial effect of the softening and refining atmosphere of their mothers presence, but the girls also, however wise and fond their father may be, become prudish and unnaturally grave. In like manner, if the children are left fatherless, both sons and daughters suffer from the loss of their father's sobering, restraining influence, while the daughters especially miss the strengthening force derivable from acquaintance with his life and character. Yes, that child only is rightly trained and fully educated who has had the good fortune to know both the gentler sway of a mother's and the severer rule of a father's nature. We see, then, that in actual life only that parentage is normally complete which is the blending of the two complementing sides, the fatherly and the motherly. And since of necessity the ideal in heaven cannot be less perfect than the actual on earth, and since, moreover, God is the source whence all the phases of our humanity have sprung, we may reverently address God in our prayers as being both the Perfect Father and Mother in whom we confide.

2. Nor is this idea of the Divine Motherhood as unserviceable as at first sight it may seem. It may be urged as affording one practical way of escape from the beautiful but blinding web, so to say, which the thoughts of many are busily weaving. It not unfrequently occurs that men, whose scientific tastes or pursuits change rather than destroy their hold on religion, find their thoughts of nature, life, and God taking a purely pantheistic colouring. To highly imaginative minds, to devout poetic temperaments, this habit of deifying everything is not a little fascinating. If God be thought of as He who is nature itself, then the more sensuous sides of our being will be appealed to and quickened, we grant, as will our intellectual needs in many respects be met and fostered. But the deep hunger and thirst of our more human natures will be unappeased, the more spiritual and practical cravings of our personal life will be slighted and wronged. For how little will such a pantheistic faith, beautiful as it is, and true in part though it be, serve and console the heart when it is beset with agonizing doubt or disheartened by the strength and shame of its sin, or well-nigh crushed by a fatalistic sense of the hard, merciless rule of the inevitable! Nature in some of her moods is anything but pitiful. Besides, what does a religion of this kind avail for those who have not been endowed with a lively imagination, or with poetic insight, or with mental vigour; what will or can it mean to those whose ideas and impressions of life are chiefly toned and tempered by poverty or pain or thankless toil, or misery or crime? With such an abstract God as this, we shall feel ourselves before long like to one wearied, oppressed with all the recherche elegance of a palace, and yearning for the real and simple comfort of a home. See now the remedy the truth under discussion affords. Let it be granted that God is the stun total of all the beauty and order, and music and life of the universe, but then surely He is more than this. He is the source and crown of all the human affections that have scattered themselves like so many sun's rays throughout the fatherhoods and motherhoods, and childhoods and friendships of the world. These intensely real elements in our,, experience must have a living background m" God from whom all things issue. He that made the ear, shall He not hear; He that made the eye shall He not see J" and shall not He who bestowed on us so personal and potent a divinity as our mother, "the holiest thing on earth," be Himself equally personal and motherly?

(J. T. Stannard.)

Homilist.
I. A DIRE NECESSITY. Comfort.

II. A DEPLORABLE INCAPACITY. — We are helpless as babes.

III. AN ABSOLUTE IGNORANCE. A babe does not know its griefs. It can only realize a sense of discomfort. Its complaints are often unmeaning, foolish, needless. In this way many of us live and die.

IV. A CONSIDERATE COMFORTER. What a charm there is in the mother's voice! So in the Divine voice of the Holy Spirit He comforts —

1. With the solicitude of a mother. How a mother loves, strives, labours, and sacrifices for her child.

2. With the forgiveness and consolation of a mother.

3. With the instruction and correction of a mother. A good and wise mother will instruct and correct.

4. With the constancy of a mother (Isaiah 49:14, 15). God loves to the end.

V. AN IMPORTANT MEANS. "Ye shall be comforted in Jerusalem." The promise is not without limitations. This expression means that the consolations of God come to those who are in His Church, who are in Christ Jesus. This is the place for us to rest in.

1. It is the place which He has appointed.

2. The place where He delights to dwell.

3. The place where His spirit is poured out.

4. The place where, by our own acts of devotion and hearing, we derive peace and rest.

(Homilist.)

Is not the highest use of human relationships to reveal God? Are not the genuine king, judge, friend, father, so many mirrors in which the Divine character is, in some degree, reflected? And if this be true of all other human relationships, especially of those most natural and elemental, is it not emphatically thus in the unique, peerless one of mother Indeed, since there is need of all human relationships combined to reveal God, it is most clear that this one cannot be omitted. And if even idolaters have ever fell they must select the best material at their command to adumbrate the deity they worship, we may surely lay our hands on this highest thing we call motherhood, to illustrate something of the attributes and the ways of "our own God." His love transcends all motherhood. It is a relationship marked by —

I. CLOSEST INTIMACY. The child's life, especially at its beginning, is a part of its mother's life. Supported by maternal sustenance, watched by maternal wisdom, embosomed in maternal love, the child has more from its mother, and owes, more to her, than science can analyze or poetry,, describe. Thus intimate is Gods relationship to us. "We are His offspring.

II. INTENSE INDIVIDUALISM. In two aspects there is an individualizing element and habit in motherhood that is on the very surface of the relationship, and that yet is one of its profoundest realities.

1. The mother individualizes her child. So both the Old and New Testament revelation, and indeed all His dealings with us, discover how individual all men arc to God.

2. Then, the child individualizes its mother. "Our own God."

III. UNWEARIEDNESS OF CARE. The devotion of a mother is not that of hours, but of days — not of days only, but of nights also. It is not exhausted when its object has passed through infancy, but is active and anxious over its youth; yearns fondly, even when it can accomplish little, over its manhood or womanhood; lives and reigns in the heart till the mother herself dies; and — who can tell? — perhaps may still watch and guide and bless from the world of spirits. All human history gives emphasis to the question, "Can a woman forget her child?" Others may degrade and desecrate the meaning of the word "love," by saying profanely, "I loved once." The mothers of the world are the monuments of the perpetuity — one had almost said, of the eternity — of love. Yet the highest authority says, they may forget, yet will not God.

IV. SACRIFICIALNESS OF LOVE. Probably all true love is sacrificial. Anyway, it is beyond contradiction that a mothers love is. Conclusion:

1. Lessons for parents.(1) Here is a word of instruction for those who, whether as fathers or mothers, are not fulfilling the highest duty of their relationship, namely, revealing God to their children.(2) Here is a word of consolation. Motherhood means a life of sacrificial, often unhonoured, often unrequited love. But what if that love is revealing God? What if it is fulfilling some of the functions of the Cross at Calvary? Is any endurance too heavy, any toil too irksome, any anguish too keen, if thereby God's heart is unveiled as it never otherwise could have been?

2. Remonstrance with sinners. The most heinous sins are sins against love. All transgression against this God of Divine motherliness, is such sin. It is folly to rebel against the God of all wisdom; the rebellion will ultimately he thwarted. It is madness to rebel against the God of all power . He must reign till His enemies be made His footstool. But it is darkest sin to rebel against "the God of all comfort."

(U. R. Thomas, B. A.)

1. God comforts like the ideal mother. The only perfect mother is in the mind and heart of God. And He comforts as that image might be expected to comfort and would be capable of comforting.

2. God comforts as the mothers comforted of whom the prophet spoke. No mother is perfect, but every true and good mother is a great consoler. God comforts.

(1)Naturally.

(2)Personally.

(3)Lovingly.

(4)Practically.

(5)Broadly.

(6)Constantly.

(7)Effectually.

(S. Martin.)

The Bible is a warm letter of affection from a parent to a child; and yet there are many who see chiefly the severer passages. As there may be fifty or sixty nights of gentle dew in one summer, that will not cause as much remark as one hailstorm of half-an-hour; so there are those who are more struck by those passages of the Bible that announce the indignation of God than by those that announce His affection.

1. God has a mother simplicity of instruction. A father does not know how to teach a child the A B C. Men are not skilful in the primary department. But a mother has so much patience that she will tell a child for the hundredth time the difference between F and G and between I and J. She thus teaches the child, and has no awkwardness of condescension in so doing. So God, our Mother, stoops down to our infantile minds. God has been teaching some of us thirty years, and some sixty years, one word of one syllable, and we do not know it yet — f-a-i-t-h, faith. When we come to that word, we stumble, we halt, we lose our place, we pronounce it wrong. Still, God's patience is not exhausted. God, our Mother, puts us in the school of prosperity, and the letters are in sunshine, and we cannot spell them. God puts us in the school of adversity, and the letters are black, and we cannot spell them. If God were merely a king, He would punish us. If He were simply a father, He would whip us. But God is a mother, and so we are borne with and helped all the way through. A mother teaches her child chiefly by pictures. God, our Mother, teaches us almost everything by pictures. Is the Divine goodness to be set forth? How does God teach us? By an autumnal picture. The barns are full. The wheat-stacks are rounded. The orchards are dropping the ripe pippins into the lap of the farmer. Does God, our Mother, want to set forth what a foolish thing it is to go away from the right, and how glad Divine mercy is to take back the wanderer? How is it to be done? By a picture.

2. God has a mother's favouritism. A father sometimes shows a sort of favouritism. Here is a boy — strong, well, of high forehead and quick intellect. The father says, "I will take that boy into my firm yet; or, "I will give him the very best possible education. There are instances where, for the culture of the one boy,, all the others have been robbed. A sad favouritism; but that is not the mother's favourite. I will tell you her favourite. There is a child who, at two years of age, had a fall. He has never got over it. The scarlet fever muffled his hearing. He is not what he once was. The children of the family all know that he is the favourite. So he ought to be; for if there is any one in the world who needs sympathy more than another, it is an invalid child. Weary on the first mile of life's journey; carrying an aching head, a weak side, an irritated lung. So the mother ought to make him a favourite. God loves us all; but there is one weak, and sick, and sore, and wounded, and suffering, and faint. That is the one who lies nearest and more perpetually on the great,, loving heart of God. There is not such a watcher as God.

3. God has a mother's capacity for attending to little hurts. The father is shocked at the broken bone of the child, or at the sickness that sets the cradle on fire with fever, but it takes the mother to sympathize with all the little ailments and little bruises of the child. If the child has a splinter in its hand, it wants the mother to take it out, and not the father. So with God our Mother: all our annoyances are important enough to look at and sympathize with.

4. God has a mother's patience for the erring. If one does wrong, first his associates in life cast him off; if he goes on in the wrong way, his business partner cuts him off; if he goes on, his best friends cast him off. But after all others have cast him off, where does he go? Who holds no grudge, and forgives the last time as well as the first? Who sits by the murderer's counsel all through the long trial? Who tarries the longest at the windows of a culprit's cell? Who, when all others think ill of a man, keeps on thinking well of him? It is his mother.

5. God has a mother's, way of putting a child to sleep. You know there is no cradle-song like a mother s. The time will come when we will be wanting to be put to sleep. Then we want God to soothe us, to hush us to sleep.

(T. De W. Talmage, D. D.)

Christian Age.
A mother comforts —

1. By her presence. It is always to her children a benediction — a comfort.

2. By her love. Of a mother's love the child becomes deeply conscious as she strokes gently his fevered brow, or lifts upon him the light of her loving eyes.

3. By her food. She knows their needs and their tastes, and she gives nourishing and satisfying food.

4. By her words. There are three different kinds of experience common to men in this life which seem to require the presence of our mothers, and in each of these God has promised to be near us.

1. When troubles come.

2. When we are sick.

3. When death is nigh.

(Christian Age.)

Broadly we may state the contrast of these relations in two well-known and exceeding precious Old Testament sayings . "Like as a father pitieth his children, so the Lord pitieth them that fear Him. For He knoweth our frame; He remembereth that we are dust." "As one whom his mother comforteth, so will I comfort you." The father pities, the mother comforts, her children. The father in his strength stoops in gracious kindliness to succour them in their need; the mother holds them in a warm, eager embrace to comfort them in their pain. So we come to speak amongst ourselves of the father's hand, but always of the mother's arms. The father leads by the hand; the mother soothes and carries in her arms. Jesus did both. He was in His own person the perfect revelation at once of the Father-God and the Mother-God. He took God's little ones up into His arms, laid His hands upon them, and blessed them — blessed them with the double blessing of hand and arms. We find it easy to speak of the Almighty Father, but we are conscious of a dissonance of thought in saying the Almighty Mother. Almightiness is not an attribute of motherhood. But "everlastingness is; and the "everlasting arms are the arms of the Mother-God. There is, therefore, the rare insight of truth as well as rich beauty and pathos in Isaiah's imagery, "As one whom his mother comforteth." The glorious prophecies of evangelical blessedness which Isaiah proclaimed had reached their close. The final results to faithful and unfaithful of the revelation of the grace of God mingle in the last two chapters. As we read especially Isaiah 65:17-25 and Isaiah 66:10-13, we feel that this figure of the Motherhood of God touches the climax of the writing. The prophet's swift imagery halts here. It has no farther flight. The evolution of a mother is the vanishing-point in nature and art, where human comfort melts away into the infinite comfort of the Divine.

(F. Platt.)

several great Oriental scholars believe that in the earliest times the Semitic religions had a goddess, but no god. The matriarchal state of society came before the patriarchal. Whatever historic value this opinion may have, there can be little doubt, to a careful reader, that much of the Old Testament imagery and poetry, which seek to cheer the hearts of men with promises of Divine comfort, can be best realized as we read into them the idea of the Motherhood of God. There is a New Testament reference to those wilderness ways in which the children of God were led in ancient days which at least suggests a lingering recognition of this idea. The margin of Acts 13:18 reads — and the reading has considerable support: "About the time of forty years He bore or fed them as a nurse beareth or feedeth her child." Much more definite, however, is Deuteronomy 32:11: "As an eagle stirreth up her nest, fluttereth over her young, spreadeth abroad her ,wings, taketh them, beareth them on her wings: so the Lord alone did lead him.' We scarcely need to remind ourselves that it is the mother-eagle that fluttereth over her young, and beareth them in safety on her broad pinions whither she will. A similar fidelity to nature should always be borne in mind that we may interpret the inner meaning of the well-known psalms of comfort, which tell us of a hiding-place and a refuge beneath the shadow of God's wings, or under the covering of His feathers (Psalm 18:8; Psalm 57:1; Psalm 61:4; Psalm 91:1-4). It is of course the mother-bird that gathers her brood under her wings, and hides them in warmth and safety beneath her fluffy feathers. Nor can we ever forget that when our Lord was leaving the great city of human sorrow He had yearned in vain to comfort, when He strove in His anguish of weeping to leave some picture in the mind of her people of the infinite wealth of the Divine tenderness of comfort to which they had been blind, the passion of the great mother-soul within Him could find no more perfect imagery than that familiar to them and their fathers in the psalmists of Israel: "O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, thou that killest the prophets, and stonest them which are sent unto thee, how often would I have gathered thy children together, even as a hen gathereth her chickens under her wings and ye would not! All nature is plaintive with an instinctive mother-cry, from the bleating cry of the lost lamb to the lonely cry of the lost child of the Mother-God. And instinct should count for something in interpreting the God whose children we are. The lad dying of fever in some rude, rough shanty at the gold diggings, or tossing in thirst in the hospital of a far-off foreign port, cries in his delirium for his mother. It is his deepest instinct. It wasalways his mother's touch which brought coolness to his brow, and his mother's voice that had a witchery of comfort in its whisper in the old village home. And in that other sickness of the mind, in the soul's day of fever and fret, it is a true spiritual instinct we obey as our lonely or wearied spirits cry aloud for the arms of the Mother-God.

(F. Platt.)

There are glimpses here and there in the writings of St. Paul, revealed by subtle delicacies of speech, which more than suggest that the Motherhood of God was a flitting presence of grace and tenderness in his thought. We recall how when he wrote to the Thessalonian Church, he turned for a time from ministering the needed tonic of rebuke to the sweeter ministry of the comfort of hope. Our version reads: "Them also which sleep in Jesus will God bring with Him." St. Paul wrote: "Them also which have been laid to sleep by Jesus will God bring with Him." "Laid to sleep by Jesus." There is a picture in the words — a homely and familiar one. The day is done. The tiny feet of children, which all day long have pattered to and fro within the home, are tired. As the darkness falls their prattle grows drowsy. Then they are hushed to sleep in the mother's arms, and laid in their cradle-bed until morning. We see it all. We are God's children of an older growth. While it is called day we spend our strength in toils and journeyings. As the shadows lengthen we grow aweary. It is time to rest. In the arms of the Mother-God, who stoops over us in the Saviour's condescending ways, we arc put to sleep, and laid in stillness to rest "until the day break, and the shadows flee away." Perhaps even more literally than we thought, our dead "die into the arms of God."

(F. Platt.)

There are old lessons of the love of God we may learn in a fresh light as we interpret them through the thought of the Motherhood of God.

1. The intensity of the Divine self-sacrifice grows keener through it. All love gives itself, but its climax of self-renunciation is motherhood.

2. The sense of the inalienableness of the Divine love is deepened also by the thought of the Motherhood of God. Does a mother's love ever die? When every other love expires, it lives its secret life. Its patience is. infinite. A mother may forget. Her motherhood may prove false. But it is not likely. It is the most unnatural thing in nature. It is as if the sun should rise in the west, and set in the east. A lioness will fight to the death for her whelps, and the she-bear for her cubs. It is the first and last instinct creation knows. But let nature have denied herself, let her have given the lie to her primal instincts, let the stars have gone backward in their courses, and all the settled order of the universe have returned to chaos, yet even then, saith the Lord, will I not forget thee

3. Possibly also the Divine yearning over the wayward and prodigal may find a fresh setting in the idea of the Motherhood of God. When a father's love does not easily forgive, because his sense of justice and order and true discipline in the family, of which he is the responsible governor, are hindrances, the mother's love deviseth prevailing persuasions, and intercedes with tears. And in unknown depths of a common love of the prodigal the justice and the mercy somehow meet and are reconciled. Evangelical theologians arc ever conscious of two elements in the character of God, whose nature and whose name is Love. The law of righteousness and the ministry of mercy are always present. And the problem of their reconciliation is the problem so much profound and noble thought has striven to solve in the doctrine of atonement. They arc both true. The Lord our God is one God; but He is Father-God and Mother-God. We wonder at times whether the prodigal son of our Lord's parable had a mother. It is not difficult to suggest reasons why, in an Oriental country, where the position of woman is so different from her place in our own, the father's love should wisely be Christ's type of the Divine. But there is a fragment of further meaning hidden in the story for these who remember that the prodigal may not have been motherless. Certain it is that, if his father climbed to the house-top to gaze expectant in the direction of the far country, his mother crept into her chamber alone to pray. As the father commands, "Bring forth the best robe, and put it on him," the mother's eyes are homes of silent tears. And who shall say that the rejoicing of the home-coming was not tenderer in the mother's heart, and that tender joy the last balm of healing to the prodigal son?

(Ibid.)

The Rev. John Watson (In Maclaren) — he told me the story himself — was once in a Roman Catholic church in Italy. Before the altar to the Virgin knelt a woman, her lips moving devoutly- in prayer, her eyes alight with wondering worship and love. As she was making her way to the door, after ending her devotion, Dr. Watson asked her in Italian some question about the points of interest in the building. The woman seemed pleased to find an English visitor (or perhaps I should say a Scot) who could converse in her own language, and the two fell to chatting about the scenery and show-places of the neighbourhood. By and by the conversation turned upon the differences between the Roman Catholic and Protestant religions, especially in regard to the fact that Protestants do not address prayers to the Virgin. "Don t you ever pray to the Mother of God?" she asked. "No," said Dr. Watson, very gently, "for it seems to me that all you find which is holy and helpful and adorable in the character of that. most revered and beautiful of women — all that, and infinitely more, I find in her Divine Son." "Yes, sir," she said,, wistfully. "I understand that for you, but you see you are a man, and you don t know how a woman needs a woman to pray to." "And although I should be the last man in the world ever to become a Roman Catholic," said Dr. Watson, when telling the story, "you'll believe me when I assure you that I hadn't the heart to add another word."

(Coulson Kernahan.)

At a summer resort a clergyman and a lady sat on the piazza of the hotel. The lady's heart was heavily burdened, and she talked of her sorrows to the aged minister, who tried to lead her in her hour of need to the Great Comforter. His efforts seemed to be in vain; the lady had heard all her life of the promise that if a tired soul casts its burden on the Lord it will be sustained, no matter how heavy that burden may be, but she seemed to lack the faith to thus cast herself upon the Lord. A half-hour afterward a severe thunderstorm came up in the western sky. With the first flash of lightning the mother jumped out Of her chair and ran up and down the piazza, exclaiming: "Where is Freddie? Where is Freddie? He is so terribly frightened in a thunderstorm I don't know what he will do without me." In a few moments afterward her boy came running up the walk, almost breathless, and his face plainly showing the great fear that was in his heart. "Oh, mother," he exclaimed, "I was so frightened, I ran just as fast as ever I could to get to you." The mother sat down and took the frightened child into her arms. She allayed his fear and quieted him, until his head rested calmly on her loving heart. The good clergyman stepped up gently, and, putting his hand on the mother's shoulder, he whispered: "As one Whom his mother comforteth, so will I comfort you." "I understand it now," she replied, as she looked up with tearful face. "I will throw myself into His arms as a little child, and remember His promise. I never felt the depth of Divine love as shown in that promise before."

(Susan T. Perry.)

In the buried city of Pompeii, that was destroyed by an eruption of Mount Vesuvius, I was shown a place where had been found the remains of a lady and her three children. She had tried to gather two of her little ones in her arms, and the babe was hid on her breast in the folds of her robe. And when the scorching dust came down, every one fled; but the mother could not leave her children, and she died with them. A mother would give her own life to save her child. The Lord is as a mother. He did die to save you! And He now lives to comfort you as a mother comforteth her child.

(W. Birch.)

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