"Come, you yourselves apart into a desert place, and rest awhile" (Mark 6:31). The hour of noontide rest was a special one of old in Palestine—when the laborer suspended his toil; when the oxen were unharnessed from the yoke, and the ploughshare reposed on the upturned furrow; when the Caravan of Pilgrims, as they may be seen to this day, gathered under the shade at some well, eating bread and fruit, with their burdened camels moored around. In a diviner spiritual sense that noontide rest is about to be mine. "Come," is the Savior's gracious invitation, addressed to His disciples of old—"Come, you yourselves apart, and rest awhile." "This is the rest with which He causes the weary to rest, and this is the refreshing." Let the world be for a little time shut out—its cares hushed, its duties and business suspended; as with my fellow-communicants I repair to the Well of Living water, the Fount of Gospel mercies "springing up unto everlasting life," and there "rehearse together the righteous acts of the Lord" (Judges 5:11).

Let me note, as its chief and divinest feature; it is rest in the fellowship of the Great Master. It would have afforded little joy or refreshment to His disciples if they had been sent away to that desert place alone. This brief season of suspension from work would have been divested of all its blissful peace and holy gladness, had they been unaccompanied by their Beloved Lord. The consciousness of that Presence and Love and Sympathy was all in all to them. They did not heed the passing away of the splendid vision of the Transfiguration Mount, when in their descent in the grey mists of early morning, "they found no man, save Jesus only" (Matt. 17:8). The summons from the Table of sweet communion on Zion, to the mysterious gloom of the Kedron and the Olive Garden, had sufficient music and heart-cheer to them, from one word embraced in it—"Arise, let us go hence." "And when they had sung a hymn, they went out (together) to the Mount of Olives." A subsequent night of unrecompensed toil on the Sea of Galilee was all forgotten in the morning's joyful recognition—"It is the Lord!"

So is it with Master and disciple still. That Feast of love has its holiest, sweetest, most consecrating thought in this, that it is "the Lord's Supper." It is the presence of the King which makes it, in the truest sense, a Communion. "There," is His own promise, "I will meet with you and commune with you from off the Mercy Seat." If Your presence, O Savior God, goes not with me, carry me not hence! May I be able to say, both in the prospect and retrospect, "He brought me to His banqueting house, and His banner over me was love." "Truly our fellowship is with the Father, and with His Son Jesus Christ."

We have need of such "quiet resting places" in the Pilgrim journey; breathing-times amid the din and turmoil and harassing cares of the world. Let me now leave its soiled garments, its coarse wearing drudgery, behind me in the outer court; and unembarrassed and unencumbered, enter with sacred footstep to be 'alone with Jesus.' Many are the circumstances and seasons when the choicest of all His sayings is applicable—none more so than regarding this "Feast in the desert,"—"Come unto Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest!"