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By his weeping, the Jews were couvinc- he:prayed for his resurrection, to convince ed that lie loved Lazarus exceedingly ;) the spectators that it could not be effected, bat soine of them interpreted this circum- without an immediate interposition of bis stance to his disadvantage ; for according to heavenly Father. “ Father (said he) Itbank their mean way of judging, they, faucied, thee that thou hast heard me, and I knew that he had suffered him to fall by the stroke that thou hearest me always ; but because of death, for no other reason in the world, l. of the people which stand by, I said it, that but for want of power to rescue him. And they may believe that thou hast sent me." thinking the miracle, said to have been John xi. 41, &c I entertained no doubt wrought on the blind men, at tbe feast of thy einpowering me to do this miracle, of tabernacles, at least as dificult as the land therefore did not pray for my own sake; curing an acute distemper, they called the Iwell knew that thou hearest me always. former in question, because the latter had I pray for the sake of the people, to convince been neglected. “Could not this man (said them, that thou loves me, hast sent me, and they) which opened the eyes of the blind, 1 art continually with me. have caused, that even this man should not have died ?”
After returning thanks to bis Father, for,
this opportunity of displaying his glory, Our Lord, regardless of their question, “ He cried with a loud voice, Lazarus come but grieving, at the hardness of their hearts, forth.” This loud and efficacious call of the and blindness of their intidelity, groaned Son of God awakened the dead; the breathagain within bimself, as he walked towards 7 less clay was instantly re-animated ; and he the sepulchre of the dead. At bis coming who had lain four days in the tomb, obeyed to the grave, he said, “ Take ye away the immediately the powerful sound.stone. To which Martha answered, Lord, he that was dead caine forth, bound hand by this tinie he stinketh ; for he hath been and foot with grave-clothes ; and his face dead four days ;" or as the passage may be
was bound about with a napkin ; Jesus, better rendered, hath lain in the grave four saith unto them, Loose him, and let him ; days. She meant to intimate, that her bro go.” John xi. 44. It would have been the ther's resurrection was not now to be ex | least part of the miracle, had Jesus by his pected. But Jesus gave her a solemn re powerful word unloosed the napkin whereproof, to teach her that there was nothing with Lazarus was bound : but he brought impossible with God ; and that the power
him out in the same manner as he was lying, of the Almighty is not to be circumscribed and ordered the spectators to loose bim, within the narrow bounds of human rea- that they might be better convinced of the son. “ Said I not unto thee, that if thou miracle ; for, in taking off the grave-clothes, wouldst believe, thou shouldst see the they - bad the fullest evidence both of his glory of God ?" i. e. Have but faith, and I death and resurrection. For on the one will display before thee the power of Omni- ! hand, the manner in which he was swathed potence.
must soon have killed hiin, bad he been
alive when buried; which consequently The objections of Martha being thus / demonstrated, beyond all exception, that obviated, she, with the rest, waited the Lazarus had been dead several days, before great event in silence; and in pursuance of Jesus called him again to life: besides, in the command of the Son of God, took away | stripping bim, the linen offered, both to their the stone from the place where the dead | eye and smell, abundant proofs of his puwas laid. Jesus had, on many occasions, trefaction ; and by that means convinced publicly appealed to his own miracles. But them that he had not been in a delirium, being now to raise Lazarus from the dead, I but was really dead.
On the other hand, by his lively counte- | What do we ? for this man doeth mapy nance appearing, when the napkin was miracles. If we let him thus alone, all men removed, his fresh colour, and his active will believe on bim; and the Romans shall vigour, those who came near and handled' | come and take away both our place and bim must be convinced that he was in per nation." Jeho xi. 47, &c. fect health, and had an opportunity of proving the truth of the miracle, by the The common people, astonished at: his closest examination. There is something miracles, will, if we do not take care to exceeding beautiful in our Lord's behaviour prevent it, certainly set him up for the on this occasion ; he did not utter one up Messiah; and the Romans, under prebraiding word, either to the doubting sisters, tence of a rebellion, will deprive us both or the malicious Jews, nor did he let fall of our liberty and religion. Accordingly one word of triumph or exultation. “ Loose they came to a resolution to put him to him, and let him go ;" were the only words | death. we have recorded. He was in this, as on all other occasions, consistent with bimself, 1. This resolution was not, however, una a pattern of perfect humility, and absolute nimous; for Nicodemus, Joseph of Arisell-denial.
mathea, and other disciples of our Saviour,
then members of the council, urged the Such was the astonishing work wrought injustice of what they proposed to do, from by the Son of God at Bethany: and in the the consideration of his miracles and innoresurrection of Lazarus thus corrupted, and cence. But Caiaphas the high priest, from thus raised by the powerful call of Jesus, a principle of human policy told them, that we have a striking emblem, and a glorious the nature of government often required earnest, of the resurrection of our bodies | certain acts of injustice in order to procure from the grave, at the last day, when the the safety of the state. “Ye know nothing same powerful Mandate which spoke Laza at all, nor consider that it is expedient for rus again into being, shall collect the scat us, that one man should die for the people, tered particles of our bodies, and raise them and that the whole nation perish not.” John to immortality.
xi. 49, 50. Such an extraordinary power displayed
The council having thus determined to before the face of a multitude, and near to
put Jesus to death, deliberated for the fuJerusalem, even overcome the prejudices of
ture only upon the best methods of effectsome of the most obstinate among them :
ing it; and, in all probability, agreed to many believed that Jesus could be no other
issue a proclamation, pronising a reward thai the great Messiah so long promised ;
to any person who would deliver him into though others, who still expected a temporal
their hands. For this reason our blessed Prince, and therefore unwilling to acknow
Saviour did not now go up to Jerusalem, ledge him for their Saviour, were filled with
though lie was within two miles of it; but indignation, particularly the chief priests and
returned to Ephraim, a city on the borders elders. But this miracle, as well as all the rest
of the wilderness, where he abode with he had wrought in a confirmation of his mis
his disciples, being unwilling to go too sion, was too evident to be denied; and,
far into the country, because the passover, therefore, they pretended that his whole in
at which he was to suffer, was now at tention was to establish a new sect in religion,
| hand. which would endanger both their church and nation. " Then gathered the Chief
ramuan Priests and the Pharisees a council, and said,
CHAP. XXVI. trophe in such a manner as might tend to .
the reformation and profit of his bearers. The great Prophet of Israel foreiels the He informed them, that the prelude to this
Ruin of the Jewish State, and Enforces final destruction would be an universal dismany important Doctrines by Pärable. tress ; when they should passionately wish He blesseth the Children as Emblems of for the personal presence of the Messiah to the heavenly and Christian Teniper and comfort them, but would be denied their Disposition.
request. “ 'The days will come, when ye
shall desire to see one of the days of the W HILE the blessed Jesus remained in
Son of man, and ye shall not see it.” Luke V retirement on the borders of the
xvii. 22. He next cautioned them against wilderness, he was desired by some of the
those who shall recommend different ways. Pharisees to inform them when the Mes
of escaping the awful catastrophe, but are siah's kingdom would commence. Nor was
utterly unable: “And they shall say to: their anxiety on that account a matter of
you, See here, or see there ; go not after surprize ; for as they entertained very ex
them, nor follow them. For as the lightalted notions of his coming in ponip and
ning that lighteneth out of the one part. magnificence, it was natural for them to be
under heaven, shineth unto the other part very desirous of having his empire speedily
under beaven, so sball also the Son of man erected. But our Saviour, to correct this
bein bis day. But first must he suffer many mistaken notion, told them, that the Mes
things, and be rejected of this generation.” siah's kingdom did not consist in any exter
Luke xvii. 23, &c. nal pomp of government, erected in some particular country by the terror of arms, 1. The coming of the Son of man shall be and desolation of war; but in the subjection sudden and unexpected. He will come of the minds of men, and in rendering them in his own strength, and with great power; confornable to the laws of the Almighty, he will throw down all oppositions, destroy which was to be affected by a new dispen- bis enemies with swift destruction, and sation of religion, and this dispensation was establish bis religion and government upon already began. It was, therefore, need | the face of the earth, as suddenly as lightless for them to seek in this or that place ning darts from one part of the heaven to. for the kingdom of God, as it had been the other. But before these things come to already preached among them by Christ and pass, he must suffer many things, and be his apostles, and confirmed by innumerable rejected of this generation. miracles. “The kingdom of God, (said be) cometh not with observation. Neither Notwithstanding this sudden destruction shall they say, Lo, here, or lo, there; for
and calamity that was to overwhelm the behold the kingdom of God is within you."
Jews, he told them their stupidity would be Luke xvii. 20, 21.
equal to that of the old world, at the time
of the deluge, or that of Sodom, before the Having thus addressed the Pharisees, he city was destroyed : “ And as it was in the turned himself to bis disciples, and, in the days of Noah, so shall it be also iv the days hearing of all the people, prophesied the of the Son of man. They did eat, they destruction of the Jewish state ; whose con- | drank, they married wives, they were given stitution, both religious and civil, was the in marriage, until the day that Noah enter. chief difficulty that opposed the erection of ed into the ark; and the flood came and his kingdom. But because love and com- destroyed them all. Likewise also, as it passion were eminent parts of our Saviour's was in the days of Lot: they did eat, they temper, he mentioned that dreadful catas- drank, they bought, they sold, they planted,
they builded, but the same day that Lot | In the same city was also a widow, who, went out of Sodom, it rained fire and brin having no friends to assist her, was absolutestone from heaven, and destroyed them all: ly unable to defend herself from injuries, or even thus shall it be in the day, when the procure red ress for, any she had received. Son of man is revealed. In that day, he in this deplorable situation she had recourse which shall be upon the house top, and his to the unjust judge, in order to obtain satisstuff in the house, let him not come down faction for some oppressive wrong she had to take it away: and he that is in the field, lately received; but the judge was 30 abanlet him likewise not return back. Remem doned to pleasure, that he refused, for a ber Lot's wife.” Luke xvii. 26, &c.
time, to listen to her request; he would not
give himself the trouble to examine her case, A more proper exaraple than that of Lot's thougbthe crying injustice pleaded so powerwife could not have been produced; for if fully for this distressed widow. She was not, any of his bearers, through an immoderate however, intimidated by his refusal ; she love of the world, should be prevailed on, incessantly importuned him, till by repeatin order to save their goods, after they were ed representations of her distress, she filled admonished from heaven of their danger, by bis mind with such displeasing ideas, that the signs which prognosticated the destruc- he was obliged to do her justice, merely to tion of Jerusalem; or if any of them, free himself from her importunity. “Though through want of faith, should think, that (said he to himself) I fear not God, nor rethe calamities predicted to fall on the nation, gard man; yet because this widow troubleth would not be either so great or sudden as he me, I will avenge her, lest by her conhad declared, and did not use the precautiontinual coming, she weary me.” Luke xviii. of a speedy flight : they might behold in 4, 5. Lot's wife an example both of their sin, and of their punishment. He added that those Tbe sentiment conveyed by our blessed who were anxiously desirous of preserving Saviour in this parable, is very beautiful. life, from an attachment to its pleasures We hence learn, that the cries of the afflictand vanities, should lose it ; whereas those ed will, by being incessantly repeated, make who were willing to lay down their lives in an impression even on the 'stony hearts of his cause, should preserve them 'eternally. wieked men, who glory in their impiety, and “ Whosoever shall seek to save his life, shall laugh at all the precepts of justice, virtue, · lose it ; and whosoever shall lose his life, and religion : and, therefore, cannot fail of shall preserve it.” Luke xvii. 33.
being regarded by the benevolent Father of .
the Universe, who listens to the petitions of Having foretold the destruction of Jerusa his faithful servants, and pours on their lem, our blessed Saviour spake the follow- heads the choicest of his blessings. : ing parable, in order to excite them to a constant perseverance in prayer, and not to be « Hear (said the blessed Jesus) what the 80 weary and faint in their minds, as to neg. unjust judge saith: and shall not God avenge ·lect, or wholly omit this necessary duty. | his own elect, which cry day and night unto
bim, though he bear long with them? I tell There was in a city, said the Saviour of you, that he will avenge them speedily." · the world, a judge, who being governed Luke xviii. 6, &c. As if he had said, if by atheistical principles, bad no regard to this man, though destitute of the fear either the precepts of religion, and being very of God or man, was thus prompted to es. powerful, did not regard what was said of pouse the cause of the widow; shall not a him by any man : so that all his decisions righteous God, the Father of his people, - were influenced merely by passion or interest.. avenge on the wicked, the many evils they
. have done unto them, though he bear long | judgment, justice, and truth, and to devour
with them ? Certainly he will, and that the houses of distressed widows, and helpless in a most awful manner.
orphans. But how different was the behavi
our of the humble Publican? Impressed with Our blessed Saviour, havingthus enforced a deep sense of his own unworthiness, he tlieduty of prayer, in this expressive parable, would not even enter the courts of the asked the following apposite question, temple ; but stood afar off, and smute upon • Nevertheless, when the Son of man his breast, and in the bitterness of his soul, cometh, shall he find faith on the earth ?”— | earnestly implored the mercy of OmnipoAs if he had said, notwithstanding all the tence ; “ And the Publican standing afar miracles I have wrought, and excellent doc off, would not lift up so much as his eyes trines I have delivered, shall I find, at my unto heaven, but anote upon his breast; second coming, that faith among the children saying, God, be merciful to me, a sinner." of men, there is reason to expect? Will not Luke xviii. 13. most of them be found to have abandoned the faith, and wantonly ask, " where is the Specious as the Pharisee's behaviour may promise of his coming ?" .. '
seem, his prayer was an abomination to the
Lord ; while the poor Publican who confes... The blessed Jesus next rebuked the sed his guilt, and implored mercy, was jus
self-righteous Pharisees. But as these par tified in the sight of God, rather than this ticulars are better illustrated by their op arrogant boaster. posites, he placed the character of this species of men in opposition to those of the hum This parable sufficiently indicates, that ble; describing the reception each class met all the sons of men stand in need of mercy ; with from the Almighty, in a parable of the both the strict Pharisee, and the despised Pharisee and Publican, who went up together Publican, with the whole race of mankind, to the temple, at the time when the sacrifice are sinners : and consequently all must imwas offered, to direct their petitions to the plore pardon of their benevolent Creator. God of their fathers.
We must all ascend to the temple, and there
pour forth our prayers before the throne of The pharisee, having a high opinion of grace ; for there he has promised ever to his own righteousness, went far into the | be present, to grant the petitions of all who court of the temple, that he might be as near | ask with sincerity and truth, through the the place of the divine residence as possible. Son of his love. Here he offered his prayer, giving God the praise of his supposed righteousness; and These parables were spoken in the town bad he been possessed of any, he would of Ephraim ; and during his continuance have acted properly, “ God, said he, I thank in that city, the Pharisees asked bim, Wbe. thee that I am not as other men are, ex ther he thought it lawful for a man to put tortioners, unjust, adulterers, or even as this away his wife for every cause ? Our SaPublican, I fast twice in the week, I give viour had twice before declared his opinion tythes of all that I possess.” Luke xviii. 11,1 of this particular, once in Galilee, and once 12.
in Perea ; it is therefore probable, that the
Pharisees were not ignorant of bis senti. Having thus commended himself to God, ments, and thatthey asked the question then, he wrapped himself up in his own righteous to find an opportunity of incensing the peoness ; and giving the poor publican a scorn | ple against him, well knowing that the ful look, walked away, perhaps to trans. Israelites held the liberty which the law gress some of the weightier matters of the law, I gave them of divorcing their wives, as one ·