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MARTHA AND THE MARTHAS.
The key to the second volume of the Lady's Closet Library, must be taken from the fact, that pious females, who have not exactly the spirit of Mary, are usually ranked with Martha. · Indeed, they regard themselves as Marthas, and are somewhat doubtful whether they have really “ chosen the good part, which shall not be taken from” them. It is, therefore, because these who are not very, like Mary, class themselves, and are classed, with Martha, that I bring under her name,
“ The Varieties of Female Piety.” Many of its varieties are almost as unlike her, as she was unlike her sister : but all of them, so far as they are
occasioned by faults or defects of character and temper, require the same treatment which Martha received from Christ; — tenderness enough to prevent despair, and reproof enough to check presumption.
Martha's faults are not the only faults, which the Saviour rebukes and chastises, in all whom He loves. His object is, to have all his real disciples conformed to His own image ; and, therefore, he contends against whatever, in each of them, is most unlike himself. Whatever had been the besetting sin of Martha's character or spirit, his rebuke,—“Martha, Martha !" would have been equally pointed and unequivocal. It applies, therefore, to all those varieties of piety which, like hers, leave some doubt upon all minds (the possessors not excepted) of its present reality, or of its future issue. The rebuke bears directly, not indeed upon all imperfection, but upon all impru
dence and oversight, negligence and self-will. Accordingly, it is applied to themselves, by many pious females, who never went Martha's lengths in ill-temper. There are meek and amiable women, who feel instinctively that they have more of Martha, than of Mary, in their character. Some of them, although not bered about much serving,” are yet so cumbered about something, that their hearts are almost divided between God and the world. Others, again, although not “careful and troubled about many things,"are yet so absorbed with some earthly good or evil in their lot, that it is very doubtful to themselves, whether heavenly things have any real place in their affections. Others, again, have so much to contend with, either from temperament or condition, from trials or temptations, that they are almost the creatures of circumstances, and vary in their feelings with all the variations of their health or prosperity. They are
“Every thing by turns,
It would be easy (and as useless as easy) to depict these faults and defects. It would be still easier, and more useless, to condemn them. They can only be reproved with effect, by what can cure them effectually. Nothing but the remedy provided for them in the Gospel, can bring home their sin or folly to the heart. It is only when we see, from the designs of Grace, and from the character of Glory, what we ought to be, and what we may be, that we acknowledge, even to ourselves, what we really are. It is when confronted with the Image of Christ and the Image of the Hea.. venly, that we become alarmed at the "earthy" features of our own image. No light, but the light of eternity can expose our faults fuily