GOODWILL, THE GATEKEEPER
’Goodwill.’—Luke 2. 14.
’So in process of time Christian got up to the gate. Now there was written over the gate, Knock, and it shall be opened unto you. He knocked, therefore, more than once or twice, saying, May I now enter here? when at last there came a grave person to the gate, named Goodwill, who asked him who was there?’ The gravity of the gatekeeper was the first thing that struck the pilgrim. And it was the same thing that so struck some of the men who saw most of our Lord that they handed down to their children the true tradition that He was often seen in tears, but that no one had ever seen or heard Him laugh. The prophecy in the prophet concerning our Lord was fulfilled to the letter. He was indeed a man of sorrows, and He early and all His life long had a close acquaintance with grief. Our Lord had come into this world on a very sad errand. We are so stupefied and besotted with sin, that we have no conception how sad an errand our Lord had been sent on, and how sad a task He soon discovered it to be. To be a man without sin, a man hating sin, and hating nothing else but sin, and yet to have to spend all His days in a world lying in sin, and in the end to have all that world of sin laid upon Him till He was Himself made sin,—how sad a task was that! Great, no doubt, as was the joy that was set before our Lord, and sure as He was of one day entering on that joy, yet the daily sight of so much sin in all men around Him, and the cross and the shame that lay right before Him, made Him, in spite of the future joy, all the Man of Sorrow Isaiah had said He would be, and made light-mindedness and laughter impossible to our Lord,—as it is, indeed, to all men among ourselves who have anything of His mind about this present world and the sin of this world, they also are men of sorrow, and of His sorrow. They, too, are acquainted with grief. Their tears, like His, will never be wiped