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'speaking, he might have raised Lazarus by a secret inward volition. Because the people were not so much as dreaming of a resurrection, they must have been surprised when they heard our Lord pray for it. The cry, « Lazarus come forth," must have astonished them more, and raised their curiosity to a prodigious pitch. But when they saw him spring out alive, in perfect health, that had been rotting in the grave four days, they could not but, be agitated with many different passions, and overwhelmed with inexpressible amazement. [John xi. 44.] And he that was dead came forth, bound hand and fout with grave-clothes, and his face was bound about with a napkin.' Jesus saith unto them, loose him, and let him go. It would have been the least part of the miracle, had Jesus made the rollers wherewith Lazarus was bound unloose themselves from around his body before he came forth. But he brought him out just as he was lying, and ordered the spectators to loose him, that they might be the better convinced of the miracle. Accordingly, in taking off the graveclothes, they had the fullest evidence both of his death and resurrection. For, on the one hand, the manner in which he was swathed must of itself have killed him in a little time, had he been alive when buried ; consequently, it demonstrated, beyond all exception, that Lazarus was scveral days dead before Jesus called him forth. Besides, in stripping him, the linen might offer, both to their eyes and smell, abundang proofs of his putrefaction, and, by that means, convince them that he had not been in a trance, but was really departed. On the other hand, by his lively countenance appearing when the napkin was removed, his fresh colour, his active vigour, and his brisk walking, they who came near him and handled him were made sensible that he was in perfect health, and had an opportunity to try the truth of the miracle by the closest examination.
Considering the nature and circumstances of this great miracle, it might have overcome the obstinacy of prejudice, and should have put to shame the im pudence of malice. Wherefore, we cannot help being surprized to find that the cry, “ Lazarus come forth,” did not produce on all the people present an effect some way similar to that which it had on Lazarus. It raised him from the natural death, and might have raised the stu pidest of the spectators from the spiritual, by working in them the lively principle of faith.
Every reader must be sensible that there is something incomparably beautiful in the whole of our Lord's behaviour on this occasion. After having given such an astonishing instance of his power, he did not speak one word in his own praise, either directly or indirectly. He did not chide the disciples for their unwillingness to accompany him into Judea. He did not rebuke the Jews for having, in former instances, maliciously detracted from the lustre of his miracles, every one of which derived additional eredit from this incontestable wonder. He did not say how much they were to blame for persisting in their infidelity, though he well knew what they would do. He did not insinuate, even in the most distant manner, the obligations which Lazarus and his sisters were laid under by this signal favour. He did not upbraid Martha and Mary with the discontent they had expressed at his having delayed to come to the relief of their brother. , Nay, he did not so much as put them in mind of the mean notion they had entertained of his power ; but always consistent with himself, he was on this, as on erery other occasion, a pattern of perfect humility und absolute self-denial.
This miracle was too remarkable not to produce the most important effects in the minds of the beholders. Some of them, struck with this instance of divinc power and benevolence, yielded to the conviction, and acknowledged him as the true Megsiah ; but others, desirous of ingratiating themselves with the rulers of the nation,
or perhaus, feeling the sanic envy and antipathy against Christ as actuated their superisrs, weni their way to the Pharisees, who resided, in great numbers, at Jerusalemn, and reported to them what wonderful things Jesus had done in their presence. Immediately upon this, the chief pries!s and Pharisees called a solemn council, in which it was deliberated what should be done to stop the progress of the Galilean prophet; and as malice, if openly avowed, is apt to disgust even the most wicked of mankind, they thought it proper to cover their designs by the pretext of consulting the public safety ; and resolved to persecute Jesus, lest the people should receive him as a temporal Messiah, and the jealousy of the Romans be thus excited, to the destruction of their civil and religious liberties. The members of the assembly were not, however, unanimous in their resolution of putting Jesus to death. Some of them, who were bis disciples, particularly Nicodemus and Joseph of Arimathea, urged the unlawfulness of that which was proposed, from the consideration of his miracles and innocence. But the high-priest, Caiaphas, treated Christ's friends in the council with contempt, as a parcel of weak, ignorant people, who were unacquainted with the nature of government, and did not consider that it was sometimes expedient to commit acts of injustice for the public good. Ye know nothing at all, nor consider that it is cxpedient for us that one man should die for th people, and that the whole nation perish not. Caiaphas undoubtedly said this from a principle of human policy ; nevertheless, the evangelist assures us that his tongue was directed by the inspiration of God, with which he was honoured, though a wicked man, in consequcnce of his possessing the office of the high-priesthood. And this spake he not of hiinself, but being high-priest that year, he prophesied that Jesus should die for that nation ; and not for that nation only, but that he shougather together in one the children of God that were scattered abroad. The majority of the council having now resolved to put Jesus to death, he retired to a city called Ephraim, which was in the borders of the wilderness ; but with the exact position of which we are not acquainted.
An important lesson, to endurc with patience the contradiction of sinners, is incul. cated by the whole life of Christ, but especially by the last recorded transactions. Here we learn that the more the blessed Immanuel employed himself in contributing to the comforts of mankind, the more cruelly was 'he persecuted by his enemies. Let no one, therefore, of his followers account it strange when they meet with similar treatment ; but, seeking only the honour that is of God, commit their cause into his hands, and look forward with plea sing hope to that decisive day, when every secret thought shall be manifested, when the righteous shall shine forth as the sun in the firmament, and when the wicked shall be clothed with shame and everlasting contempt.
FROM THE RESURRECTION OF LAZARUS, TILL OUR LORD'S PUBLIC ENTRY INTO
Our Lord describes the nature of his coming---exhorts his disciples to constancy in prayer
by the example of the importunate widow, and instructs them in the proper spirit in which to address the Deity by the parable of the Pharisee and publican---the Pharisees, enquire Christ's opinion concerning divorce--- Jesus blesses little children---the young man whom Jesus lored--Christ points out the difficulty of a rich man's entering the kingdom of heaven---the parable of the labourers in the vineyard---Christ foretels his own sufferings the sixth time---teaches Zebedee's children that they must expect to suffer for his sake, and exhorts his disciples to beware of worldly ambition---passes through Jericho, where he cures blind Bartimeus, and visits Zaccheus the publican--the parable of the nobleman's servants who had received every one a pou nd---Christ is anointed by Mary when he sups at her house at Bethany---he makes his public entry into Jerusalem, and laments the fate of that city.
HILE Christ resided in the little city of Ephraim, the Pharisees pressed him with enquiries concerning the coming of the kingdom of God, of which they entertained very high but mistaken opinions. Without enquiring into their motives, he informed them that Messiah's kingdom does not consist in any pompous outward form of government, to be erected in this or that particular country with the terror of arms and the confusion of war ; but that it consists in the subjections of men's wills, and, in the conformity of their minds to the laws of God; to be effected by a new dispensation of religion which was already begun.
Having thus spoken, he addressed his disciples ; and, in the hearing of the Pharisees, prophesied concerning the destruction of the Jewish state, whose constitution, both religious and civil, was the chief obstacle to the erection of his kingdom ; for the attachment which the Jews had to their constitution was one great spring of their opposition to Christianity, and of their cruelty to its abettors. He told them first of all, that before this event took place, they and the whole nation should be in the greatest distress, and that they should passionately wish for Messiah's personal presence to comfort them under their affliction, but should not receive such a favour. (Luke xvii. 22.] And he said unto the disciples, the days will come when ye shall desire to see one of the days of the Son of man, and ye shall not see it. He next cautioned them against certain deceivers, who should pretend to be Messiah, and promise de
liverance to the people, and that they might the better distinguish between these wicked men and the Christ of God, he intimated that, after having lurked awhile in private, they would endeavour to collect forces by the diligenoc of their emissaries,
And they shall say to you, see here, or see there ; go not after them, nor follow them. My coming will be sudden and powerful. For as the lightning, that lighteneth out of the one part under heaven, shincth to the other part under heaven ; so shall also the Son of man be in his day. But first musi he suffer many things, and be rejected of this generation. And such shall be the dreadful stupidity of your countrymen, that as it was in the days of Noe, so shall it be also in the days of the Son of man. They did eat, they drank, they married wives, they were given in marriage, until the day that Noe entered into the ark, and the flood came and destroyed them all. Likewise also as it was in the days of Lot; they did eat, they drank, they bought, they sold, they planted, they builded. But the same day that Lot went out of Sodom, it rained fire and brimstone from hceven, and destroyed them all. Even thus shall it be in the day when the Son of mun is rcvcaled. The Jewish people shall be sunk in the same carnal security, and shall suffer the like exemplary punishment, at the time when God reveals to thie world, by the more public diffusion of his gospel, the person who was foretold by Daniel under the denomination of the Son of inan. In thai day he that shall be on the top of one of those flat-roofed houses which have two staircases, one within, and the other without the house, und shall have his stuff in the house, let him descend by the outward staircase in the most expeditious manner, and not come down into the house to take his property away ; and he that is in the field, lct him likewise remember not to return back to his house to recover any article of property. Remember Lut's wife. Whoever shall seek to save his life, by remaining in the city, shall lose it; and whosoever, by fleeing to the country, shall seem as if he wished to lose his life, shall preserve it. And the whole of this awful affair shall be so especially directed by the providenco of God, that I tell you, in that night there shall be two men in one bed; the one smil be taken away captive by the conquerors, and the other shall be left in the possession of his liberty. Two women shall be grinding together ; the one shall be taken, and the other left. Two men shall be in the field ; the one shall be tuken, and the other left. And they answered and said unto him, Where, Lord, shall all these dreadful calamities take place; and he said unto them, wheresoever the body is, thither will the eagles be gathered together. As eagles find out and gather round a carcase, so wherever wicked men are, the judgments of God will pursue them; aud, particularly, in whatever part of the land any number of the unbelieving Jews are, there will the Romans, the executioners of divine vengeance, be collected together to destroy them. The expression appears to be proverbial, and in this instance very beautifully applied ; as the Romans bore in their standards the figure of an eagle, and as a species of fowl that fed upon carcases was reckoned, by the antients, as belonging to the family of eagles.
When times of awful calamity approach, God is the refuge of his people ; and it is by prayer that they commit their cause to him, and claim his gracious protection, Christ, therefore, now delivered to his disciples a parable, to teach them that they ought not to desist from praying, though the blessing might be long delayed. There was, said he, in a certain city, a powerful and wicked magistrate, who paid no regard to the approbation of God or of man. A poor widow in the city, having been grieyously oppressed, came and related her story to him, and often entreated him for justice in vain. However, she continued her applications, and at length, by mere importunity, prevailed. And shall not God avenge his own elect who cry day and night unto trim, though he bear long with them? He will; as many of you will witness who shail survive the destruction of Jerusalem, and as will be more fully seen in the resurrection of the last day. Nevertheless, when the Son of man cometh, shall be find faith on the earth ? This question is understood to imply, that before the second coming of Christ, infidelity should greatly abound. And that many shall say, where is the promise of his coming ; for since the fathers fell asleep all things continue as they were from the beginning of the creation.
In the company of Jesus there were certain vain persons, who were confident in their own righteousness and despised others. To these he delivered a parable, i17 which he represented two men of very different characters going up to the temple to offer their adorations to the Deity. The first was a Pharisee, a man of the strictest sect of the Jews, and in the highest reputation for sanctity. He advanced beyond the crowd of common worshippers, and in a tone of voice which evidently indicated his self-sufficiency, began with thanking God that he was free from the vices of other men, especially of a publican who was at that time in the temple ; and concluded by enumerating the many virtues which adorned bis character, the frequency and severity of his fasts, and the strictness with which he applied the tenth of bis property to the support of the Mosaical establishment. The other character whom our Lord pointed out, was that poor publican whom the Pharisce had insulted, even in his prayers. He, 'conscious of innumerable imperfections, remained at a greater distance from the most holy place ; and, without presuining so much as to lift up his eyes to heaven, smote upon his breast, in unaffected agony, saying, God be merciful to me a sinner. God, who knows the secrets of the heart, and who delights in a broken and a contrite spirit, looked down upon this man with approbation ; he received the blessing which he desired, and went down to his house justified rather than the other ; for every one that exalteth himself shall be abased, and he that humblerh himself shall be exalted.
This parable teaches us, among other things, the wonderful subtilty with which pride insinuates itself into the mind : so that, whilst we express our gratitude to God for having kept us from the practice of open and notorious sins, we must take an especial care, lest, by ascribing any thing to ourselves, we offer before him the sacrifice of fools.
A very prevalent disposition among the Jews in the time of our Lord was that to indulge themselves very freely in vice, whilst they pretended a great regard for the commandments of God: thus while, in conformity with the injunctions of Moses, they abstained from commerce with abandoned women, they equally gratified their sensual appetites by frequently divorcing their wives on the most trivial pretexts, and marrying immediately to those who had more strongly attracted their regard. For this species of perfidious debauchery they were more infamous than any of the surrounding nations. The Pharisees hoped that on this subject they might ensnare our Lord, so that either he should irritate the people by condemning one of their favourite rices, or else should expose himself to reproach as a friend of dissolute manners, When, however, they asked him concerning the lawfulness of this kind of divorce, he referred them to the early history of the human race, and said unto them, have ye not read that he which made them (the Creator at the beginning made them male and female. And said, for this cause shall a man leave father and mother; and shall rlecve to his wife, and they twain shall be one flesh Wherefore they are no more twain, but one flesh. What, therefore, God hath joined together by this indissoluble bond, let no. man put asunder. They say unto him, why did Moses then command to give a writing of divorcement, and to put her awny. He saith unto them, Moses, because of the hardHe88 of your hearts, suffered you to put away your wives : but from the beginning it