Faith's Ivory Palaces.

1866 95 By-and-by all the Lord's garments will smell of myrrh, aloes, and cassia, by reason of the greetings of His people. God will have anointed Him to the throne "with the oil of gladness;" and they will welcome Him out of their "ivory palaces." (See Psalm xlv.)

That dear woman, whose memorial is in the gospel all the world over, began this greeting while Jesus was still in humiliation (faith in her overlooking the flesh, the disallowance of men, and even the cross itself in the sight of the resurrection and the kingdom).

Beautiful and precious faith! a faith that could talk of life in the midst Of death, of glories and crowns in the face of degradation and scorn, and which thus raised and gladdened the heart of Jesus when full of approaching paschal sorrows.

Against the day of His burying she had kept that ointment. She knew Him as appointed to death, but she knew Him as appointed to resurrection also. And she comes in the faith of "the sufferings of Christ and the glories that were to follow," to make Him glad out of her ivory palace. (Matt. xxvi.)

Love did an acceptable service afterwards. It came to bury the dead. It brought its spices to the tomb. It wept with them that wept. It died with Jesus. "Let us also go," it said, "that we may die with him." But this was not faith. Faith looked beyond, the grave; love looked into it.

Different measures of light will separate disciples from each other, but not from their common Master. This woman, Mary, the sister of Lazarus, was not at the tomb afterwards. Her richer knowledge of Christ kept her apart from such a journey and such a task. She could not have been there. Faith, or light and knowledge, forbad her. But Magdalene and others are there, and the angels and the Lord of angels will meet them there, though Mary cannot.*

[*I am aware that some distinguish this woman from the Mary of John xii. 1-8. It may be so, but it makes no difference as to my purpose in referring to it here. If different, neither the one nor the other, we may be sure, was at the sepulchre.]

Oh the sweet and sure truth which all this illustrates in days of distraction like these! Disciples are now separated, through divers measures of light and knowledge, like these women of faith and love; but those who, though in the place where faith would not have them, are yet where love had sent them, shall know something of heaven and of the presence of Jesus.

Well to know the meltings of pity over sorrow according to love, and well to know the gladdenings of hope over sorrow according to faith. But the spices of the women at the tomb were but as grave-clothes; the box of spikenard of the woman of Bethany was an ivory palace. Faith used it in anticipation. The humbled Jesus was then to faith the anointed King, and faith was saying, "while the king sitteth at his table, my spikenard sendeth forth the smell thereof."

I may add, the wise men of the east had ivory palaces for the Babe at Bethlehem, their faith treating Him as the King of the Jews, the enthroned God of Psalm 45. Beautiful faith that was indeed, and somewhat kindred with hers who anointed the despised Galilean at Bethany. They greeted the Babe, she the Lamb appointed for the slaughter, out of her ivory palace. (Matt. ii.)

It will be an easy thing to greet Jesus in the day of glory. All will do it then. (Psalm 45:8.) But to have done it thus at the opening and close of His humiliation, at Bethlehem and at Bethany, was excellent faith indeed.