THE damsel who received the head of John the Baptist gave it to her mother.

"And when his disciples heard of it, they came and took up his corpse and laid it in a tomb." But Herod's conscience troubled him, and when he heard of Jesus and his wonderful miracles, he said, "It is John, whom I beheaded; he is risen from the dead."

Now when the twelve apostles returned from the tour on which they had been sent, they told Jesus all that they had done, and what they had taught. Then he said "Come ye yourselves apart, . . . and rest awhile." For so many were coming and going that the weary disciples and their Master could not get time even time eat. So they got into a boat, as privately as they could, and went over to the northeast shore of the lake. There they sought a quiet retreat in one of the grassy glade among the mountains not far from Bethsaida. It was now about the time of the Passover, which was celebrated every year at Jerusalem. Jesus did not attend this feast; for at the one held the year before the Jews had tried to kill him, and he well knew that they still thirsted for his blood, It was now in the springtime of the year and no doubt the place to which our Lord and his disciples retired was made beautiful by fresh leaves and bright flowers. Yet we may easily imagine that the Saviour would be sad while thinking of the Passover ceremony at Jerusalem. The Passover lamb was a type of Christ, and he knew that as the blood of that lamb was shed to save the first-born from destruction, so his blood would soon be required.

But Jesus and the twelve did not have long to remain alone; for when the people saw them depart, they went on foot along the shore, and crossing the Jordan at the head of the lake, soon found the Lord whom they sought. Jesus had so much compassion for them that he began to teach them again, and to heal all who were sick. But the people, had been a long time without food, and were so faint and weary that Jesus did not want to send them away fasting. So he commanded his disciples to have the men sit down in ranks, upon the grass, by hundreds and by fifties. Now all the provision they had there was five barley loaves and two small fishes, which was carried in a basket by a lad. When the men were all seated on the greensward, Jesus took the bread, blessed it, broke it, and gave it to his disciples, who passed along the ranks and gave to the hungry people. Just so has heavenly truth, our spiritual food, been given to inspired men, who have imparted it to the people; and as Jesus blessed the bread, so the Holy Spirit attends the word of God, and makes it soften the hearts of those who will receive it.

Now there were about five thousand men, besides women and children, who were fed; and when they had all had enough, Jesus said, "Gather up the fragments that nothing be lost." And when they had done so, they had twelve baskets full of the food that was left. Just so the grace and mercy of God are sufficient for all who will come to him and receive his blessing.