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what face can ye deny the resurrection of the body, when ye see Lazarus after four days' death, rising up out of his grave ? And if Lazarus did thus start up at the bleating of this Lamb of God, that was now every day preparing for the slaughter-house, how shall the dead be roused up out of their graves, by the roaring of that glorious and immortal Lion, whose voice shall shake the powers of heaven, and move the very foundations of the earth ?
With what strange amazedness do we think that Martha and Mary, the Jews and the disciples, looked to see Lazarus come forth in his winding-sheet, shackled with his linen fetters, and walk towards them! Doubtless fear and horror strove in them, whether should be for the time more predominant. We love our friends dearly ; but to see them again after their known death, and that in the very robes of the grave, must needs set up the hair in a kind of uncouth rigour. And now, though it had been most easy for Him, that brake the adamantine fetters of death, to have broke in pieces those linen ligaments wherewith his raised Lazarus was incumbered, yet he will not do it but by their hands. He that said, “Remove the stone,” said, “ Loose Lazarus." He will not have us expect his immediate help, in that we can do for ourselves. It is both a laziness, and a presumptuous tempting of God, to look for an extraordinary and supernatural help from God, where he hath enabled us with common aid.
What strange salutations do we think there were betwixt Lazarus and Christ, that had raised him; betwixt Lazarus and his sisters, and neighbours, and friends! What amazed looks! What unusual compliments ! For Lazarus was himself at once: here was no leisure of degrees to reduce him to his wonted perfection, neither did he stay to rub his eyes, and stretch his benumbed limbs, nor take time to put off that dead sleep wherewith he had been seized; but instantly he is both alive, and fresh, and vigorous; if they do but let him go, he walks so as if he had ailed nothing, and receives and gives mutual gratulations. I leave them entertaining each other with glad embraces, with discourses of reciprocal admiration, with praises and adorations of that God and Saviour that hath fetched him into life.
CHRIST'S PROCESSION TO THE TEMPLE.
NEVER did our Saviour take so much state upon
him as now, that he was going towards his passion: other' journeys he measured on foot, without noise or train; this with a princely equipage and loud acclamation. Wherein yet, O Saviour, whether shall I more wonder at thy majesty or thine humility; that divine majesty which lay hid under so humble appearance, or that sincere humility which veiled so great a glory? Thou, O Lord, whose “chariots are twenty thousand, even thousands of angels,” wouldst make choice of the silliest of beasts to carry thee, in thy last and royal progress. How well is thy birth suited with thy triumph! Even that very ass whereon thou rodest was prophesied of; neither couldst thou have made up those vatical predictions, without this conveyance. Oh glorious, and yet homely pomp !
Thou wouldst not lose aught of thy right; thou, that wast a King, wouldst be proclaimed so: but that it might appear thy kingdom was not of this world, thou, that couldst have commanded all worldly magnificence, thoughtest fit to abandon it.
Instead of the kings of the earth, who reigning by thee, might have been employed in thine attendance, the people are thy heralds; their homely garments are thy foot-cloth and carpets ; their green boughs the strewings of thy way; those palms, which were wont to be borne in the hands of them that triumph, are
strewed under the feet of thy beast. It was thy greatness and honour to contemn those glories which worldly hearts were wont to admire.
Justly did thy followers hold the best ornaments of the earth worthy of no better than thy treading upon; neither could they ever account their garments so rich, as when they had been trampled upon by thy carriage. How happily did they think their back disrobed for thy way! How gladly did they spend their breath in acclaiming thee! “Hosanna to the Son of David; blessed is he that cometh in the name of the Lord.” Where now are the great masters of the synagogue, that had enacted the ejection of whosoever should confess Jesus to be the Christ? Lo, here bold and undaunted clients of the Messiah, that dare proclaim him in the public road, in the
In vain shall the impotent enemies of Christ hope to suppress his glory; as soon shall they with their hand hide the face of the sun from shining to the world, as withhold the beams of his divine truth from the eyes of men, by their envious opposition. In spite of all Jewish malignity, his kingdom is confessed, applauded, blessed.
“O thou fairer than the children of men, in thy majesty ride on prosperously, because of truth, and meekness, and righteousness: and thy right hand shall teach thee terrible things.” In this princely, and yet poor and despicable
pomp, doth our Saviour enter into the famous city of Jerusalem ; Jerusalem, noted of old for the seat of kings, priests, prophets: of kings, for there was the throne of David ; of priests, for there was the temple ; of prophets, for there they delivered their errands, and Ieft their blood. Neither know I whether it were more wonder for a prophet to perish out of Jerusalem, or to be safe there. Thither would Jesus come as a king, as a priest, as a prophet : acclaimed as a king; teaching the people, and foretelling the woful vastation of it, as a prophet; and as a priest taking possession of his temple, and vindicating it from the foul profanations of Jewish sacrilege. Oft before had he come to Jerusalem without any remarkable change, because without any semblance of state ; now that he gives some little glimpse of his royalty, “ the whole city was moved.” When the sages of the east brought the first news of the king of the Jews, “Herod was troubled and all Jerusalem with him ;" and now that the king of the Jews comes himself
, though in so mean a port, there is a new commotion. The silence and obscurity of Christ never troubles the world ; he may be an underling without any stir: but if he do but put forth himself never so little, to bear the least sway amongst men, now their blood is
the whole city is moved: neither is it otherwise in the private economy of the soul. O Saviour, while thou dost, as it were, hide thyself, and lie still in the heart, and takest all terms contentedly from us, we entertain thee with no other than a friendly welcome; but when thou once beginnest to ruffle with our corruptions, and to exercise thy spiritual power, in the subjugation of our vile affections, now all is in a secret uproar, all the angles of the heart are moved.
Although, doubtless, this commotion was not so much of tumult, as of wonder. As when some uncouth sight presents itself in a populous street, men run, and gaze, and throng, and inquire: the feet, the tongue, the eyes, walk; one spectator draws on another; one asks and presses another; the noise increases with the concourse, each helps to stir up others' expectation : such was this of Jerusalem.
What means this strangeness? Was not Jerusalem the spouse
of Christ ? had he not chosen her out of all the earth ? had he not begotten many children of her, as the pledges of their love ? how justly mayest thou now, O Saviour, complain with that mirror of patience, “My breath was grown strange to my own wife, though I entreated her for the children's sake of my own body!" Even of thee is that fulfilled, which thy chosen vessel said of thy ministers, Thou art "made a gazing-stock to the world, to angels, and to men.
As all the world was bound to thee for thy incarnation and residence upon the face of the earth, so especially Judea, to whose limits thou confinedst thyself, and therein above all the rest, three cities, Nazareth, Capernaum, Jerusalem, on whom thou bestowedst the most time and cost of preaching, and miraculous works: yet in all three thou receivedst not strange entertainment only, but hostile. In Nazareth they would have cast thee down headlong from the mount; in Capernaum they would have bound thee ; in Jerusalem they crucified thee at last, and now are amazed at thy presence. Those places and persons that have the greatest helps and privileges afforded to them, are not always the most answerable in the return of their thankfulness. Christ's being amongst us doth not make us happy, but his welcome. Every day may we hear him in our streets, and yet be as new to seek as these citizens of Jerusalem! “Who is this?"
Was it a question of applause, or of contempt, or of ignorance ? Applause of his abettors, contempt of the Scribes and Pharisees, ignorance of the multitude? Surely his abettors had not been moved at this sight; the Scribes and Pharisees had rather envied than contemned; the multitude doubtless inquired seriously, out of a desire of information. Not that the citizens of Jerusalem knew not Christ, who was so ordinary a guest, so noted a prophet amongst them. Questionless this question was asked of that part of the train which went before this triumph, while our Saviour was not yet in sight, which ere long his presence had resolved. It had been their duty to have known, to have attended Christ, yea to have published him to others; since this is not done, it is well yet that they spend their breath in an inquiry. No doubt there were many, that would not so much as