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The miserable wretch finding it impossi-: | rus, as if, by this wicked action, they could. ble to procure any relief for himself, was have destroyed bis evidence. Nay, they desirous of preserviug his thoughtless rela still had a more lively proof, in the resur: tions from the like distress; “Then he said, rection of Jesus himself, which they were I pray thee, therefore, father, that tbou so far from being able to deny, that they wouldst send him to my father's house : for bribed the soldiers to spread that senseless I lave five brethren ; that he may testify tale, that his disciples came by night and unto them, lest they also come into this stole him away. So true were Abraham's place of torment.” Luke xvi. 27, 28. / words, that they who believe not Moses This also was a petition that could not be and the prophets, which testify of Christ granted. It is too late to hope for relief, and his eternal redemption, would not when the soul is cast into the bottomless pit. be persuaded, though one rose from the They may learn, said Abraham, the cer- dead. tainty of the immortality of the soul, from the books of Moses and the prophets, if | There is not a more awakening and alarm they will give themselves the trouble to ing example than this parable, through the peruse them attentively. To which the whole gospel : it is drawn in such lively miserable object replied, that the books of colours, that many in allages of the church, . Moses aud the prophets had been ineffecə have considered it not as a parable, but as tual to him, and he feared would be so to a real bistory; but however this be, the imhis.. brethren. But if one actually arose portant truths delivered in it are equally from the dead, and appeared to them, they clear and equally certain. They are designwould certainly repent, and embrace those ed to describe the difference between this offers of salvation they bad before slighted. state and a future, between the children of “Nay, father Abraham; but ifone wentunto this world, and the children of light, the them from the dead, they will repent.". But former having had the portion of happiness Abraham told him, that in this he was greatly here; but that of the latter being reserved mistaken: for that if they refused to believe to a glorious one bereafter. the evidence of a future state, contained in the writings of Moses and the prophets, the Having thus reprimanded the Pharisees, testimony of a messenger from the dead he took occasion to speak of affronts and would not be sufficient to convince them. I offences, described their evil nature, and 6If they hear not Moses and the prophets, their dreadful punishment. “ It is impossineither will they be persuaded, though one ble (said he) but that offences will come ; rose from tlie dead." ... 9.42. B . but woe ünto him through whom they come.
. 10 perseil) li biti?.. .... It were better for bim that'a mill.stone were This truth asserted by Abrahanr, hás hanged about his neck, and he cast into been abundantly proved by undeniable facts; the sea, than that he should offend one of from whence it has appeared, that those these little ones.” Luke xvii. 1, 2. That who will not be convinced by a standing is, the children of God, the followers of revelation, will not be convinced though the Lamb, "must meet with disgrace, reone rose from the dead. These very Jews, viling, inndiopersecution here; but woe to whom our Saviour spoke, were remark- unto those who revile and persecute them, able instances of this truth; they were fully they had better undergo the worst of temassured that another Lazarus was, by the ponary judgments, than the awful one which power of Christ, raised from the dead after shall ensue, : • he bad lain several days iủ the tomb; a facta blodė si . 59 wbich they were so far from being able to He spake also against a quarrelsome temdisprove, that they attempted to kill Laza- | per in his servants, especially in the mini
sters and teachers of religion, prescribed a 1
CHAP. XXV. seasonable and prudent reprehension of the 'l. fault, accompanied with forgiveness on the Our Lord is applied to in behalf of poor part of the person injured, as the best means Lazarus. - Cures ten Persons of the of disarming the temptation that may arise Leprosy, in Samaria, and restores from thence. « Take beed to yourselves ;
· Lazarus to Life. If thy brother trespass against thee, rebuke him; and if he repent, forgive him. And SOON after our blessed Saviour had if he trespass against thee seven times in a finished these discourses, one of his day, and seyeu times in a day turn again to friends, named Lazarus, fell sick at Bethany, . thee, saying, I repent: thou shalt forgive a village about two miles from the countries him.” Luke xvii. 3, 4. .. :
beyond Jordan, where Jesus was now
preaching the gospel. The sisters of LazaIt should be observed, that this discourse 'rus finding his sick ness was of a dangerous on forgiveness, uttered at a time when the kind, thought proper to send an account of pharisees had just affronted him, by calling it to Jesus; being firmly persuaded, that: him a false teacher, sufficiently proves low he who had cured so many strangers would truly he forgave them all the personal readily come and give health to one whom injuries they had committed against him ; il he loved in so tender a magner, « Lord and should be a powerful recommendation. (said they). Behold be: whoin thou lovest is of that amiable virtue, the, forgivepess of sick:' tliey, did not add, come down and.. injuries.
heal him, make haste and save him from
| the grave; it was sufficient for them to re-.' But howeyer beautiful these discourses of late their necessities to their Lord, who was our Saviour appeared, when examined with both able and willing to help them from attention, they seem to have staggered the their distress..... .! faith of his disciples and followers ; perhaps they still imagined, that he would shortly
When Jesus heard that, he said, This erect a temporal kingdom, and distribute
sickness is not unto death" This declara- , among them the rewards they expected for
tion of the benevolent Jesus being carried their services.--If so, they might well de
to the sisters of Lazarus, must strangely sire their Master “ to increase their faith :” surprize them, and exercise both theirs and as discourses like these bad a very different
his disciples faith ; since it is probable, that tendency from what might naturally have before the messenger arrived at Bethany, been expeeted from one who was going to
Lazarus had expired. Soon after Jesus poestablish the throne of David, and extend sitively assured his disciples, that Lazarus his sceptre over all the kingdoms of the was dead...!! ; .' . ,' earth; but, however this be, our Saviour. The Evangelist, in the beginning of this told them, that if they had the smallest de account, tells us, that Jesus loved Martha, gree of true faith, it would be sufficient for and her sister, and Lazarus; and that after overcoming all temptations, eyen those he had received the message, he abode two! wbich seem as difficult to be conquered as days in the same place where he was. His the plucking up trees, and planting them is design in this might be to intimate that his in the ocean. “If ye had faith as a grain of lingering so long after the message came, inustard-seed, ye might say unto this syca- did not proceed from a want of concern for mine tree, Be thou plucked up by the roots, his friends, but happened according to the and be thou planted in the sea, and it should councils of his own wisdom. For the length obey. you.” Luke xvil. 6. . '. ; of time which Lazarus lay in the grave, put .
u . :
ve put i
his death beyond all possibility of Joubt, sleep. The disciples understanding his removed every suspicion of fraud, and con- discourse, in a literal sense, replied, “ Lord, sequently afforded Jesus a sit opportunity if he sleep, he shall do well;" bis distemper of displaying the love he bore to Lazarus, is abated, and he, in all probability, is reas well as his own divine power, in his un covering. It would be therefore, bigbly doubted resurrection from the dead. His unseasonable in us, to take two days' joursisters, indeed, were, by this means, kept ney only to awake him out of his sleep. a wbile in painful anxiety, on account of Thus they discovered their fears, and hinted their brother's life, and at last pierced by ) to their Master, that it would be far safer the sorrows of seeing him die ; yet they to continue wliere they were, than to take · mustsurely tbink themselves abundantly re- | a hazardous journey into Judea.
compensed, by the evidence, according to the gospel, from this astonishing miracle, as / They were, however, mistaken : for the well as by the inexpressible surprise or joy Evangelist informs us, that he “ spake of they felt, when they again received their his death, but they thought that he had brother from the dead.
spoken of taking of rest in sleep.” Jesus,
therefore, to remove any doubt, said plainly Two days being thus expired, Jesus said to them, “ Lazarus is dead. · And Lam , to his disciples, “ Let us go into Judea glad for your sakes, that I was not there again.” John xi. 7. . His disciples were (to the intent that ye may believe.") I am. astonished at this proposal, and the recol. 1 glad for your sakes, that I was not in lection of his late danger in that country, Judea before he died; for had I been there, alarmed them; “ Master ( said they) the and restored him to his liealth, your faith in Jews of late sought to stone thee : and me, as the Messiah, must have wanted the goest thou thither again ;'. Wilt tbou great confirmation it shall now receive, by hazard thy life among those who desired your beholding me raise him again from the nothing more than to find an opportunity | dead. of killing thee? “ Jesus answered, Are there not twelve hours in the day? If any | Having thus given his disciples a proof of man walk in the day, he stumbleth not, his divine knowledge, and of the designs of: because lie seeth the light of this world : | Providence in the death of Lazarus, our : But if a man walk in the nigbt, he stum blessed Saviour added, “ Nevertheless let bleth, because there is no light in him." | us go unto him.” Thus Jesus who could John xi 9, 10.
have raised Lazarus without opening his',
lips, or rising from bis seat, leaves his place By this he intended to inform his dis- of retirement beyond Jordan, and takes a ciples, that those wbo lived by faith, and long journey into Judea, where the Jews acted under the infallible influence of the
lately attempted to kill him; because his divine Spirit, could not stumble; whereas being present in person, and raising Laza- ; those who followed the directions of unen rus again to life, before so many witnesses lightened nature, were liable to perpetualat. Bethany, where he died, and was so error.
well known, would be the means of bring.'
ing the men of that place, as well as others, Jesus having removed their groundless
who should hear of it even in future ages, apprehensions, and strengthened their
to prepare them for a resurrection to eterfaith, that he might clearly explain to them
nal life; an admirable proof, as an emblem the cause of his going into Judea again,
of which, he gave them in this great miratold them, “ Our friend Lazarus,sleepeth ; but I go that I may awake him out of
Jesus having thus declared his resolution of that village, that Lazarus was not only of returning into Judea, Thomas conceiving dead, as he had foretold, but had now lain nothing less than destruction from such a in the grave four days. The afflicted sisters journey, yet unwilling to forsake bis Master, were overwhelmed with sorrow ; so that said, “ Let us also go, that we may die with many of the Jews from Jerusalem came to hiin." Let us not forsake our Master in this comfort them, concerning their brother. dangerous journey, but accompany him iuto Judea, that if the Jews, whose inveteracy
It seems the news of our Lord's coining we are well acquainted with, should take
had reached Bethany, before be arrived at a way his life, we also may expire with
that village ; for Martha, the sister of Lazahim.
rus, being informed of his approach, went
out, and met him, but Mary, who was of a The journey to Judea being thus resolved more melancholy and contemplative disposi. on, Jesus departed with bis disciples, and tion, sat still in the house. No sooner was in his way to Bethany passed through Sama she come into the presence of Jesus, than in ria and Galilee." And as he entered into a an excess of grief she poured forth her comcertain village, there met him ten men that plaints, “ Lord (said she) if thou laust been were lepers, which stood afar off: and they here, my brother had not died.” If thou hadst lifted uptheir voices, and said, Jesus, Master; complied with the message we sent thee, I have mercy on us. And when he saw them well know that thy interest from beaven bad he said unto them, Go shew yourselves unto prevailed, my brother had been cured of his the priests. And it came to pass, that as | disease, and delivered from the grave. they went, they were cleansed.” Luke xvii. 12, &c.
Martha, doubtless, entertained a high
opinion of our Saviour's power; she believed Among these miserable, objects, one of that death did not dare to approach his prethem was a native of the country, who per. sence; and consequently, if Jesus had arrivceiving that his cure was completed, came ed at Bethany, before her brother's dissoluback praising God for the great mercy he tion, he had not fallen a victim to the king bad received; he had before kept at a dis of terrors. But she imagined that it tance from our Saviour, but being now sen was not in his power to heal the sick at a sible that he was entirely clean, approached distance; though, at the same time, she his benefactor ; that all might have an oppor seemed to have some dark and imperfect tunity of beholding the miracle, and fell on hopes, that our blessed Lord would still do his face at his feet, thanking him, in the something for her. " But I know (said she) most humble manner, for his condescension that even now whatsoever thou wilt ask of in healing him of so terrible a disease. Jesus, God, God will give it thee.” She thought in order to intimate, that those who were that Jesus could obtain whatsoever he deenlightened with the knowledge of the truth, sired by prayer; and therefore did not found ought, at least, to have shewn as great a her hopes on his power, but on the power of sense of pietyand gratitudeas this Samaritan, God, through his intercession. She, doubtasked, “ Were there not ten cleansed ? but less, knew that the great Redeemer of manwhere are the nine? There are not found kind had raised the daughter of Jairus, and that returned to give glory to God, save this the , widow's son at Nain, from the dead ; ; stranger.” Luke xvii. 17.
but seems to have considered her brother's.
resurrection as much more difficult; probaJesus and bis disciples now continued bly because he had been longer dead. their journey towards Bethany, where he was informed by some of the inhabitants ! But Jesus, who was willing to encourage
this imperfect faith of Martha, answered, the grave of her brother, followed her to 6. Tby brother shall rise again.” As these that great Prophet, who was going to rewords were delivered in an indefinite move all her sorrows. Thus the Jews, who sense, with regard to time, Martha un came from Jerusalem to comfort the two derstood them only as an argument of con mournful sisters, were brought to the grave solation drawn from the general resurrection, 1 of Lazarus, and made witnesses of his reand accordingly answered, “I know that he surrection. shall rise again at the resurrection, at the last day.” She was firmly persuaded of that As soon as Mary approached the great . important article of the christian faith, the Redeemer of mankind, she fell prostrate at " resurrection of the dead," at which im- his feet, and in a flood of tears poured out.' portant hour she believed her brother would ber complaint, “ Lord, if thou hadst been rise from the chambers of the dust.' And here, my brother had not died.” No won.' here she seems to have terminated all her der the compassionate Jesus was inored at hopes, not thinking that the Son of God so affecting a scene : on bis side stood Marwould call her brother from the sleep of tha, pouring forth a flood of tears, at bis death. Jesus, therefore, to instruct her in feet lay the affectionate Mary, weeping and this great truth, replied, “I am the resur. lamenting her dear departed brother: while rection, and the life." I am the Author of the Jews, who came to comfort the afflicted the resurrection, the fountain and giver of sisters, unable to confine their grief, joined that life they shall then 'receive; and there. the solemn mourning, and mixed their fore can, with the same ease, raise the dead friendly tears, in witness of tbeir love for the now, as at the last day." “ He that believeth departed Lazarus, and in testimony to the. in me, though he were dead, yet shall he justice of the sisters' grief, for the loss of so live ; and whosoever liveth and believeth in amiable, so deserving a brother. Jesus me, shall never die. Believest thou this?" | could not behold the. affliction of the two To which Martha answered, “ Yea, Lord ; sisters, and their friends, without having a I believe that thou art the Christ, the Son share in it limself; his heart was melted at of God, which should come into the world.” the mournful scenes, “ he groaned in spirit, I believe that thou art the true Messiah, so and was troubled.” long promised by the prophets, and therefore believe that thou art capable of perform
To remove the doubts and fears of these ing every instance of power thou art pleased
pious women, he asked them where they to undertake.
had buried Lazarus ; not that he was igno
rant where the body of the deceased was Martha now seemed to entertain some
laid : he who knew that he was dead, when confused expectations of her brother's im
so far distant from him, and could raise. mediate resurrection : and leavivg Jesus in
him up by a single word, must know where the field, ran and called her sister, accord
bis remains were deposited ; to which they ing to his order, being willing that both
answered, “Lord, come and see.” The Mary and her companions should be wit
Son of God, to shew us, that the tender nesses of this stupendous miracle.
affections of a human heart, when kept in due bounds ; that friendly, sorrow, when
not immoderate,' and directed to proper Mary no sooner heard that Jesus was come, ends, is consistent with the highest sanctity than she immediately left her Jewish comfor- of the soul, joined in the general mournters, who only increased the weight of her ing. He wept, even to the time that he grief, and flew to her Saviour. The Jews, was going to give the most ample proof of who suspected she was going to weep over his divinity.