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no more thought of seeing her brother raised presently by Jesus, than her sister Martha had.
“ When Jesus therefore saw her weeping, and the Jews also weeping which came with her, he groaned in the spirit, and was troubled.” Here are in this joint weeping of Mary and her friends the tokens of a deep sorrow, arising from the death of Lazarus, and a despair of ever seeing him again, before the resurrection at the last day. Their grief so far exceeded the bounds it ought to have done, when Jesus, who had already given such demonstrations of his power, was with them, that he “groaned in spirit, and was troubled."
Ver. 34. “ And said, Where have ye laid him? They said unto him, Lord, come and see." "Jesus himself first makes the proposal of going toward the sepulchre by asking the question ; " where they had laid him.” There appear no where any intimations that they had hopes of seeing Lazarus alive again.
They go toward the sepulchre, ver. 38. “ Jesus-cometh to the grave. It was a cave, and a stone lay upon it. Jesus said, Take ye away the stone. Martha, the sister of him that was dead, saith unto him, Lord, by this time he stinketh: for he has been dead four days.” Need I here remark, that these are the words of one, who knew her brother was dead? She expresses herein such a want of all hopes of seeing her brother alive again, that Jesus reproves her, and says:
“ Şaid I not unto thee, That if thou wouldst believe, thou shouldst see the glory of God ?”
Now with what deliberation, and with what solemnity of address to the Father does Jesus proceed to this great work, that the minds of all the company might be attentive, and observe!
Ver. 41–44. “ Then they took away the stone from the place where the dead was laid. And Jesus lift
And Jesus lift up his eyes and said, Father, I thank thee, that thou hast heard me. And I knew that thou hearest me always: but because of the people which stand by I said it, that they may believe that thou hast sent me. And when he thus bad spoken, he cried with a loud voice, Lazarus, come forth. And he that was dead came forth, bound hand and foot with graveclothes : and his face was bound about with a napkin. Jesus saith unto them, Loose him, and let him go."
There is no occasion for remarks here: he who was dead came out with burial clothes upon him, with all the tokens of a corpse buried by his friends ; so bound, that in a natural course he was not able to move; and he was ordered
to be unloosed by others, not being able to help himself; that all might see the tokens of life, strength and vigour, by the actions of walking.
Is there any reason to doubt after this view of this relation, whether this was a real miracle; and whether they who were present must not be sure it was so, and report it as such, as John has done ?
But we will proceed a little further. All present are represented as persuaded of it. For “ many of the Jews, which came to Mary and had seen the things which Jesus did, believed on him:" that is, believed him to be the Messias. “ But some of them,” being wicked, malicious men, “ went to the pharisees, and told them what things Jesus had done.” And the pharisees considering the greatness of this work, and that such things as these would tend to bring “ all men,” great numbers of people, to believe on him, “ from that day forth they took counsel together to put him to death,” ver. 53.
That this thing was no imposture, but a real miracle, appears finally from hence; that not long after this, (by which time the pharisees might have enquired into the matter, and got evidence of the imposture, if any could be had,) Jesus comes publicly to Jerusalem, enters into the temple, teaches there boldly from day to day, spends several days at Jerusalem, and in the neighbourhood, at Bethany itself, the place of this action; and lives all this time in the most public, open manner at the near approach of one of the Jewish principal festivals, when there was a general resort thither from all parts. He celebrates moreover this great feast with his disciples in Jerusalem. And supper being over, he goes into a garden, an usual place of retirement, with his disciples : whither the officers of the high priest come to apprehend him, to whom he voluntarily surrenders hinself. Whereupon he is examined and tried before the couucil, and before Pilate, but not one imposture of any kind is proved or charged upon him.
I MIGHT conclude here, but I am willing to add a few observations on the propriety and beauty of our Lord's action, and of the evangelists' relations.
St. Matthew informs us, that when the ruler came to Je sus, he was discoursing to the people. “While Jesus spake these things unto them, behold, there came a certain ruler to him-saying, My daughter is even now dead, but come
and lay thy hand upon her. And Jesus arose and followed him," Matt. ix. 18.
Jesus is always ready, never unwilling or unprepared for the performance of any good work : but immediately hearkens to the call, and proceeds without delay from good and useful discourse to great and useful works.
Not only the disciples, but those also that were hearing him, go along with him: “And much people followed him, and thronged him,” Mark v. 24. As he is going, a woman in the crowd, who had a long and grievous infirmity, secretly touches him and is healed. " Jesus, perceiving that virtue had gone out of him," instead of omitting the notice hereof, and hasting along to Jairus's house, lest the case should become too desperate and beyond his reach ; but knowing that all things were in his power, stops, turns hiin about, and asks, “Who touched me?"
How sedate is his temper! He is not exalted with the thought of the honour done him by a ruler of a synagogue, who had earnestly besought him to heal his daughter. He is not in any haste to proceed to his house, lest the opportunity of showing his power in the family of a ruler in Israel should be lost: but stands still, inquires who touched him; hears the poor woman tell her case, and confirms her cure, by bidding her “go in peace.”
Jesus was now going to Jairus's house, whose daughter was by this time dead. And there was no way left for him to help this ruler; and perform his request, of laying his hand on his daughter, that she might live, without raising her up from the dead. As he is going to this surprising awful action of giving life to the dead, virtue issues forth from him through his garment, and heals a long and obstinate disease. How great is Jesus here! How transporting the idea the mind forms of him !
When he came " to the ruler's house, and saw the minstrels and” others “ making a noise, he said unto thein : Give place, for the maid is not dead, but sleepeth,” Matt. ix. 28. What modesty! what humility! “ They laughed him to scorn," supposing him to speak of natural sleep. Yet he corrects not their mistake. Nothing can draw out from him any word that has the appearance of boast or vanity.
I shall by and by give a like instance of modesty in St. John's history of the miracle of Lazarus. He who reads such passages as these in these evangelists, the one originally of so sordid an employment as that of a publican, the other an illiterate fisherman, may be assured, they did not
invent, but that they drew some real character : there not being, I believe, another such example of modesty to be found in any author ancient or modern; how well soever skilled in historical facts, or however renowned for greatness of genius and fruitfulness of fancy. The humble modesty is equal to the miracle. Such things as these do they write, in the coolest terms, the plainest manner. They subjoin not a fulsome, or any other set encomium. They have not added a passionate exclamation, or so much as a hint of special observation. But the attentive reader, when he pauses and reflects, finds his heart glowing with an ardent affection and zeal for him of whom they write. Nor can he help being transported with the thought of the unparalleled, unaffected honesty and simplicity of the evangelists.
“ But when the people were put forth, he went in, and took her by the hand, and the maid arose.” How simple ! and yet how truly great is this narration of St. Matthew!
I cannot leave this story, till I have observed the wondrous propriety of our Lord's action throughout the whole of this affair; which was so public, so diversified with incidents, and so various in its circumstances. So soon as Jairus comes to him, he goes along with him, in order to perform the useful work he had desired of him. As he is going, a woman is healed by a secret touch of his garment. He asks, “ Who touched me?” The disciples tell him, that was a strange question. Still our Lord insists upon it, that somebody had touched him. He then looks round him, but points out no person : is only silent, till the woman comes, and trembling reveals the whole matter. And what a lustre has this delay of Jesus in the way to Jairus's house thrown upon his character ! What a discovery has it made of his knowledge and power! When he hears it reported to the father, that the damsel was dead, he bids himn“ not fcar, but believe.” When he comes to the house, he directs all things with the highest propriety, by clearing the house of strangers, that it might be quiet; taking in with him, “ into the room where the young woman lay,” the properest persons that could be chosen out of his disciples. and out of the whole multitude that was there.
In the history of raising the young man at Nain it is said: “ And when the Lord saw her, he had compassion on her, and said unto her, Weep not. And he came and touched the bier, (and they that bare him stood still,) and he said, Young man, I say unto thee, Arise.”
On ordinary occasions Jesus could not work a miracle without being first sought to, lest thereby a suspicion should
have arisen, that he had chosen objects within his power. But here the meeting of the corpse being perfectly casual, he had an opportunity of showing both his power and his goodness, without being sought to. And he wisely and graciously lays hold of it, as soon as it offers. How glorious is Jesus here! Travelling with his disciples he meets a dead man, carried forth to burial. And he on the sudden, without any previous notice of the case, without any prior preparation, raises the dead man to life.
“ And he delivered him to his mother.” The highest propriety! He was moved by compassion to perform this work, and he delivers the raised person to her, to whom his life was the greatest comfort. Not to say further, that she would best know, whether it was her son or another, that was restored to her: and that instead of making a show, and calling upon the multitude to admire the action : he barely delivers the young man to his mother, as if he had only performed an ordinary piece of kindness.
In the history of raising Lazarus, there are these things very observable, Jesus had declared to his disciples a design of going to Bethany. Before he sets out from the place where he then was, he says to them: “Our friend Lazarus sleepeth; but I go that I may awake him out of sleep.” Here we have again a like example of humble modesty, with that I observed before in the account of Jairus's daughter. These low soft terms does he use concerning death, and raising to life: the one he terms sleep, the other awaking him out of it; as appears from what follows. “ Then said his disciples, Lord, if he sleep he shall do well. How beit Jesus spake of his death: but they thought he had spoken of taking of rest in sleep.” Jesus was obliged to let them understand what he meant. “ Then said he unto them plainly, Lazarus is dead. And I am glad for your sakes, that I was not there, (to the intent you may believe,) nevertheless let us go.” When Jesus spoke in the low and ambiguous term of sleep, he added : “ But I go that I may awake him out of sleep.” But having now said plainly, that Lazarus was dead, he does not say : But I go to raise him to life: only intimates in general, that there would be some new proof given them to confirm their faith; studiously avoiding every thing that had any appearance of boasting. The modesty here is rather greater than in the former case.
There Jesus had to do with a mixed multitude of strangers. Here he is talking with his own disciples. Yet he forbears to say beforehand in plain terns, that he should raise Lazarus to life.