XCVII. The Stone.

JOHN xi. 39. “Jesus said, Take ye away the stone.”

GOD never performs an unnecessary act. Jesus, though
omnipotent, never spoke an unnecessary word nor per-
formed an unnecessary deed. Our Heavenly Father never
does directly what He could do through others. In view
of this permanent law of the universe, I call you as Chris-
tian men who love your dead brethren, to come with Jesus
to their grave and consider the stone at the mouth of their
sepulchre. He will bring them to life; but He says to
you—” Take away the stone.” Let us consider some of
the stones it is possible for us to remove.
I. The stone of indifference. Your friend has no care
for religious subjects. Make him feel that nothing is so
foolish, so ruinous as to ignore God and the spiritual
world. Show him that you are sensible and quick to all
that pertains to the great surrounding and underlying
spiritual realm.
II. There is the stone of scepticism. Men doubt and
hesitate, and this is better than indifference. Doubt means
some attention; doubt means that the soul has not settled
on wrong. Let your faith help your brother’s scepticism.
Show him that Jesus has patience with the bruised reed
and the smoking flax.
III. Another stone is unbelief in Christ because of un-
belief in Christians. Search your own soul. You may be
truly Christ’s, and yet there may be something in your dis-
position or manners, that perpetually perplexes onlookers
and keeps the force of the Gospel from their hearts.
IV. The heaviest stone is the indulgence of some vice,
and no vice so stands in the way of the progress of the
Gospel as the vice of intemperance. Give your earnest
efforts for its removal. Watch yourselves. However safe
you may be, watch for others.
C. F. Deems, D.D.