Matthew 23:37

How often would I have gathered thy children together? - Matthew 23:37

Only the greatest artists can make immortal pictures from simple domestic scenes. To detect the imperishable and the infinite in the common and ordinary, and to preserve it in such a form as to arrest the ages, this is the mark of consummate power. But how characteristic of Jesus - a broken bottle skin, a patched garment, a handful of girls shut out of a village feast - these are the subjects which He painted into never-to-be-forgotten pictures. Lord, give us childlike hearts that we may see the secrets that are hidden in common things!

But how this image arrests us! Who has not heard the cluck of the hen when danger was threatening her brood? She is quicker to detect its proximity than her callow young; and she must needs insert herself between it and them. Ah, how often does the rush of life drown the call of Jesus to come under His wing for rest and safety!

Bunyan says that the hen has a variety of calls, some six or eight. Jesus also calls us for different purposes - sometimes to nestle near His heart for fellowship; sometimes for rest. Sometimes He calls us to feast on some rich dainty, to which He has directed us in the Word; and sometimes to hide in the shadow of His wings till dreaded evils pass us by.

Oh that we more often heard and obeyed that warning note! Probably there is never a temptation nor trial which is not thus anticipated and preceded. When passion overcomes you by a sudden rush, you must not impute your failure to any lapse in your Saviour's care. He called you, but you could not hear. "How often!" Who can enumerate the many, many times when we have been summoned by Jesus nearer to Himself, but would not?