Matthew 9:15
Jesus replied, "How can the attendants of the bridegroom mourn while He is with them? But the time will come when the bridegroom will be taken away from them; then they will fast.
Liberty and DisciplineHorace Bushnell, D. D.Matthew 9:15
Moods of Religious LifeR. Tuck Matthew 9:15
Putting Ourselves in Position for GodH. Bushnell, D. D.Matthew 9:15
Right Response to CircumstancesHorace Bushnell, D. D.Matthew 9:15
Spiritual EspousalsE. de Pressense, D. D.Matthew 9:15
The Joy of the Jesus CircleA. B. Bruce, D. D.Matthew 9:15
At CapernaumMarcus Dods Matthew 9:1-17
Consistency in DiversityJ.A. Macdonald Matthew 9:14-17
Human Disfigurings of the Church's Order and DisciplineP.C. Barker Matthew 9:14-17
The immediate connection of our Lord's words should be noticed. His answer is sufficient for the occasion, but it carries deeper and wider applications. Whenever the soul is full of the felt presence of God, it can go by itself, in gladness and freedom, without any fastings or forcings of will. But when the sense of God's presence is lost, the soul should gird itself up, in sacrifice and self-discipline, to win back the lost blessedness.

I. THE BRIDEGROOM'S PRESENCE, AND THE STATE OF FEELING AND CONDUCT SUITABLE TO IT. The disciples had Christ present in human body. We envy them the material realization; it was a bridal-time. And yet the inward sense of Christ's presence is a higher and better thing. (Illustrate from Longfellow's 'Footsteps of Angels.') Though we have, as we say, only the spiritual presence of Christ, we are not left without both inward and outward signs of the reality of that presence. Inward.

(1) Rest of soul;

(2) freedom from doubts and fears;

(3) communion of spirit with spirit. Outward.

(1) Vigour and energy in the efforts to live a right life;

(2) pleasure in scenes that help to communion with Christ;

(3) love of the brethren.

What is suitable to the Bridegroom's presence? No mournings; no lastings; no forcings of will. The soul is moved freely by inward inspirations. We should feel the "liberty of love;" a quiet, intense joy, finding expression according to disposition.

II. THE BRIDEGROOM'S ABSENCE, AND THE STATE OF FEELING AND CONDUCT SUITABLE TO IT. "Then they fast." Illustrate, condition of disciples between Ascension and Pentecost. For us Christ is never absent in fact; he may be in feeling. Though matter of feeling only, we are not left without signs of the absence. Especially in lost impulse to goodness. (Illustrate, failing vitality in the body.) What is suitable to the Bridegroom's absence? Apply to those who feel the Bridegroom is gone, and:

1. Do not even mourn. (Illustrate, John Bunyan's 'Holy War,' Mansoul hardened.)

2. Only mourn. Mansoul sorrowing.

3. Fast as well as mourn. Mansoul putting away its evils, sitting in sackcloth, and sending messages after the lost prince. Are we jealous, as we should be, about keeping ever with us the sense of the Bridegroom's presence? - R.T.

Can the children of the bride-chamber mourn?
"The children of the bride-chamber," how much this name tells us as to the spirit that reigns in the Jesus circle. Like a wedding party. This bliss was not an accident, or an affair of temperament. It was the natural effulgence of the new life imparted to those who joined the society of Jesus. Christ was a man of joy. He had(1) the joy of his vocation.(2) The joy of one whose religion is an original thing, a fountain of fresh intuitions of truth. Sweet after the routine of religious mechanism. Into these joys of Jesus the twelve more or less entered.

1. They had the joy of fresh religious intuitions.

2. The joy of spiritual freedom.

(A. B. Bruce, D. D.)

Let there be liberty in God while there may; girding up in ourselves, by forced exercise and discipline, when there must; let the soul go by inspiration when the gale of the Spirit is in it, anti when it has any way stifled or lost the Spirit, let it put itself down upon duty by the will; when the Divine movement is upon it, let it have its festal day with the bridegroom, and when the better presence fades or vanishes, let it set itself to ways of self-compulsion, moving from its own human centre.

(Horace Bushnell, D. D.)

We may figure in a certain coarse analogy, that we live in a city having two supplies of water for its aqueduct: one upon high ground back of it, whence the water runs down freely along the inclinations of the surfaces; and the other in some lake or river on its front; whence, in case that fails, or the ducts give way, a supply is to be received by forcing, or the dead lift of the pump.

(Horace Bushnell, D. D.)

With Messiah begins the holy union between the soul and God, so often declared by the prophets. The first hour of spiritual espousals must needs he one of joy. A sorrowful moment will soon come; there are sure tokens of it already in the malice of the rulers of the hierarchy, ready to break forth on every occasion.

(E. de Pressense, D. D.)

The navigator of a ship does nothing for the voyage, save what he does by setting the ship to her courses, and her sails to the wind. A seed must have position, else it cannot grow; if it is laid on a rock, or buried in sand, or sunk in water, or frozen up in ice, it will be inert as a stone; but in good warm soil, and sun, and rain, and dew, it will quicken easily enough, because it is in position. A tree will die out of position, a clock will stop out of position, a plough wants holding, a saw wants guiding, a compass wants setting; nothing in the world works rightly that has not position given it.

(H. Bushnell, D. D.)

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