The Magdalene s Touch.

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UPPER CANADA TRACT SOCIETY Jesus saith unto her, Touch Me not ; for I am not yet ascended to My Father : but go to My brethren, and say unto them, I ascend unto My Father, and your Father; and to My God, and your God. S. JOHN xx. 17.
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  The Magdalene s Touch.UPPER CAADA TRACT SOCIETYJesus saith unto her, Touch Me not ; for I am not yet ascended to My Father : butgo to My brethren, and say unto them, I ascend unto My Father, and your Father;and to My God, and your God. S. JOH xx. 17.HERE we have Christ actually putting a person away, if notfrom His presence, yet, at least, from close contact withHim ; and assigning, as the reason, a consideration of time, that theperiod for such contact was not yet arrived, Touch Me not ; for Iam not yet ascended to My Father.The very word yet, 1 leaving the plain and blessed inference, that,when He was ascended to the Father, then she might touch Him,even as she wished. And not she only ; but all His brethren : for,carrying on the word, and also the argument, to them, He says, Butgo to My brethren, and say unto them, I ascend unto My Father, andyour Father ; and to My God, and your God. 1So that, if language is to be taken in its proper sense, the date of the Ascension of Christ is the commencement of a degree of nearnessto Him, and of intercourse with Him, which was impossible, or (whichwas the same thing) which was prohibited during the period thatHe was upon earth, and after His Resurrection.And this is, itself, a wonderful fact, that we can, and may drawnigher, and cling more closely, and enjoy more really, the presence of Christ now He is in heaven, than we could have done had we seenHim, and had we met Him, as Mary did, in His material Body, inthat garden.And yet, I repeat, what else can be the natural conclusion, whichevery man must draw, from those words, * Touch Me not ; for I amnot yet ascended to My Father 1 ?I am aware that there are two interpretations sometimes given tothis passage, which rather alter the signification.Some understand the words, Touch Me not, 1 to mean, * Hold Menot ; do not detain Me 1 ; as though our Lord s intention was to say,* Do not keep Me now. I am only a passenger upon his way. I ammounting to the skies. 131  EASTER DAYTo this view, the one, but the fatal, objection, is, that the srcinalconstruction of the sentence, in the Greek, cannot carry the sense.Others have considered the scope of the passage to belong,altogether, to a yet future state. Do not embrace Me thus here ;hereafter, we shall be together in a different, and a glorified condition, then there will be time and opportunity for such lengthenedintercourse ; but, now, Touch Me not ; for I am not yet ascended toMy Father. To which the answer must be, as we have already seen, that ourSaviour s words assuredly implied, that, as soon as ever His ownascension to heaven should have taken place, immediately, from thatmoment, the privilege to * touch Him would begin.In order to understand the real character of the transaction, wemust recollect what was the particular purport of those * forty dayswhich our Saviour spent upon earth after He rose from the grave.It was to give abundant evidence to certain chosen witnesses, thatHe was indeed * risen. It was to identify His risen with His crucified Body. It was to show that the body was at once material, andyet spiritual : material, for it ate and drank ; and spiritual, for itwas not subject to the usual laws of matter. It was to show that allHis sympathy, and all His love, and all His interest, in His people,remained unimpaired. It was to commission His Apostles ; it was toempower His Church.But, all the while, this little circle of forty days was only ahalting-place in the midst of the Ascension. It was never meant forprotracted converse and tender intimacies.And, accordingly, He, who never put any one away from Him inall the thirty- three years before His death, now separated this womanfrom Him * Touch Me not.Strange it must have sounded in her ears, * Touch Me not, whenshe, herself, had been allowed once, not unreproved only, but vindicated and commended in the act, to stay, as long as ever she liked, atthose very feet, * washing them with her tears, and wiping them withthe hairs of her head !  But little cause had Mary for this disappointment, or mortification, when, instead, He gave her, at once, that high mission, morethan all personal delight, Go to My brethren, and say unto them, Iascend unto My Father, and your Father ; and to My God, and yourGod/But we have to do with the warrant, which the text gives us now,that Christ is ascended for real communion ; and to find out whatthe measure of that communion is.For, whatever it was that Mary did whatever that action wasmeant to express and to convey that may we now do and express,32OUTLIES O THE LESSOSseeing that His own appointed time for it is already come ; and thatHe has * ascended to the Father.For, remember, that to Christ s own feeling, the circumstance of the invisibility of His presence would make no difference.I often think that it may be so with the spirits of the departed.To them, death may make no separation at all. To us, indeedeven if we believe that they are still about us, still the fact that wecannot see them must make a great change. But, to them, if theyare still about our path, and about our bed, there will be nochange, in this respect, at all not a shadow of separation in anysense.Certainly, our Lord feels just as much present with His peoplenow, as when His bodily eye saw them, and His natural voice spoketo them. Therefore to Him it is just the same, now, as if anybodyreally touched Him. But to us, it is an exercise of faith to realisethat. But to Him there is no alteration at all, since He was uponthe earth.ow the act of Mary of touching Jesus whatever that touchwas must have been expressive, first, of the faith she had, that herown Lord and Saviour was again at her side, for, as she saw Him,she said simply, that one most beautiful of words, Master !Thomas, too, when he touched, felt much the same. And ourSaviour s repulse to Mary speaks only and exactly the same language  as does the attitude of Thomas. Both exalt the spiritual powerabove the natural touch. The soul s embrace of the unseen in both,is made greater than all bodily evidence. * Blessed are they whichhave not seen, and yet have believed. 1Therefore they, whose hearts can now lay hold upon Christ, andrest upon Christ, as their own dear, loving, ever-present Saviour, theyare in a better and happier state than either Thomas or MaryMagdalene !It was the action, too, of adoring love. Our Saviour s wordsstrikingly united these two feelings, as meeting in that higher touch,to which He directly led her now.Touch Me, He virtually said, Touch Me in your heart, when Iam ascended.Do you say, * ay, but Thou wilt be too lofty then ! How shall aworm, like me, touch Thee, even in a thought, when Thou art exaltedto Thy glory a King of Kings, and a Lord of Lords ?*I am Thy brother still, He says, ot a thread of fellowshipwill ever be broken, for I ascend unto My Father, and your Father ;and to My God, and your God. Observe how the order runs. * First Mine ; then yours. Yours,because Mine. You enter into My Sonship. Union with Me makesVOL. vij. C 33EASTER DAYyou His child. My Father, and your Father, my God, and yourGod. Some persons ask, Can I see Christ in too much endearment?Can I go forth to Him too lovingly ?ot if, at the same moment, you feel that He, who knocks sogently at your heart who speaks to you with a voice so nearly audiblewhose accent is so tender, that you almost hear Him pronounceyour very name is still He, to whom a name is given which isabove every name ; that at the name of Jesus every knee shall bow,of things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth.
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