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SECT. cxxxix.

John

zarus is dead.

118

Refleclions on the sickness and death of Lazarus.
His disciples therefore, not apprehending his

12 Then said his meaning, immediately said, Lord, if he sleeps sleep, he shall do well.

disciples, Lord, if he naturally and quietly, as thou seemest to intiXI. 12. mate, he will probably recover; and there is the

less reason for thy running the hazard of going

thither to heal bim.
13 But Jesus spake this concerning his death, which

13 Howheit, Jesus for many apparent reasons he chose to represent but they thought that

spake of his death : under this gentle imaged; but they thought that he had spoken of takhe had spoken of his taking rest as a living man ing of rest in sleep.

does in a common sleep. 14 Then Jesus therefore, that he might not hold 14 Then said Jesus

unto them plainly, Lathem any longer in suspence, or leave them un

der a mistake, said to them plainly, Lazarus is 15 indeed dead. And, as I could not have per

15 And I am glad
mitted this to have happened in my presence, 1 for your skinse that
am glad on your account that I was not there ; the intent ye may be.
that you may inore confidently believe in me, and lieve); nevertheless
may find your faith confirmed by a farther let us go unto him.
markable display of my Divine power, in some
respects exceeding any thing you have yet seen :

but let us now go directly to him at Bethany.
16
Then Thomas, who was also called Didymus,

16 Then said Tho..
said to his fellow-disciples and brethren in the mas, which is called
apostolic office, Since our dear Master will ex- low-disciples, Let us
pose himself to so much danger among bis in- also go, that we may
human enemies in Judea, let us also go, though die with him.
it be only that we may die with him ; for what-
soever he may suffer, it is infinitely better we
should take our portion with bim, even in death,
than that we should desert such a friend in an
article of the extremest danger.

re.

IMPROVEMENT.

Ver. How happy was this family of Lazarus in which Christ was

5 so frequent a guest ! how happy Lazarus and his sisters, who 1,3, 14 were so peculiarly beloved by him! Yet sickness and death invaded

that

d For many apparent reasons he chose pulchre, and to command him back to life to represent under this gentle image.] Our again;" but, avoiding all parade and ostenLord might choose the expressions of La- tation, he chooses the simplest and bumzarus sleeping partly out of tenderness, as blest expression that can be thought of.being least sbocking, when he spoke of so This fine rcmark (which Mr. Blackwal! dear a friend; as Homer, when he repre- makes in bis Sacred Classics, Vol. I. p. sents Antiochus as reporting the death of 297) is admirably illustrated, in a great vaPatroclus to Achilies, used the word asilet, riety of particulars in the present story, by he is folien, rather than he is sloin : (Iliad. the ingenious Dr. Lardner in his Vindication Jib. xviii. ver. 20.) And it may also be of it. He has treated the subject with a farther considered as an instance of our candour and rectitude of heart cqual to the Lord's modesty: he does not immediately accuracy of his critical skill, and eren say, He is dood, and I go by my al. equal to that malignity and baseness of soul mighty power to burst the bonds of the se. with which Woulston attacked it.

Reflections on the sickness and death of Lazarus. 119 that family ; and this excellent man, as it should seem, in flou- SECT. rishing circumstances (ver. 19), and perhaps too in early youth, CXXXIX. was snatched away, on a sudden, by what appeared a very untimely stroke. The friends of Christ must be sick, and die, as well as others; and no man knoweth either love, or hatred, by all that is before them under the sun; (Eccles. ix. 1.) Let us therefore judge nothing before the time; (1 Cor. iv. 5.) This sickness and death of Lazarus was for the glory of God : and may all our personal 4 and domestic sufferings be so! “ To this, O Lord, may our life be consecrated, and to this may our death be subservient ! We shall not then feel our dying pangs in half their bitterness, when our hearts are inflamed with a zeal for thy glory, and when we see that even those pangs are promoting it.”

Our Lord delayed his coming to this dear friend in his extremity; 6 and perhaps it occasioned, not only many an anxious, but many a suspicious thought, both to Lazarus and bis sisters ; yet the intent of this delay was both gracious and important. Let us not limit vur Divine Master as to the time or manner of his appearance for us : let us not censure him if it be for a while put off. It is to exercise our faith and patience, and to make the mercy more signal and more welcome.

At length a resolution is formed to go into Judea ; though but 7,8,15 a little while ago the Jews had assaulted bim, even in a sacred place, with burning malice in their hearts, and the instruments of death in their hands. But when Providence called, none of these things could move our blessed Redeemer, neither counted he his life dear unto him, that he might finish his course with joy. (Acts xx. 24.) May we shew the like intrepidity of soul in his service ! walking in the day, that we may not stumble, and taking 9, 10 all proper opportunities of performing the duties of life while the season of it lasts; and then, when the night of death comes, it will close our eyes in peaceful slumbers. The repose of the breathless 1 1 corpse, insensible of alarms, and sorrows, and cares, will be a lovely emblem of the sweeter repose of the soul in the arms of Divine love, till ere long Christ shall come to awaken us out of our sleep by that general resurrection of which this of Lazarus was a figure and pledge.

Let these glorious thoughts and expectations animate us to all the returns of affection, duty, and zeal. Let them teach us the temper of Thomas when he said, Let us go and die with him. « Blessed Jesus! how much better is it to die with and for thee, 16 who art the resurrection and the life, than to prolong these wretched days of absence, meanness, and affliction, by forsaking thee when thou art leading us into danger !"

SECT.

120

When Christ came to Bethany Lazarus was buried four days.

SECT. CXL.

Our Lord raises Lazarus from the dead after he had been buried

four days. John XI. 17–46.

SECT. cxL

JOHN XI. 17.

John XI. 17.
T -HEN Jesus, according to the resolution he THEN when Jesus

had declared to bis disciples (ver. 7, 15), de- he had lien in the grave Joùn parted from the country beyond Jordan, where four days already. XL. 17. he had continued for some time, and went to.

tards Bethany; and when he came near the vil.
lage, be found that his friend Lazarus was dead,

and that he had been now four days in the tomb. 18 Now Bethany, the place where Lazarus had 18 (Now Bethany

was nigh unto Jeru. lived, wits very near to Jerusalem, being but

salcm, about fifteen about fifteen furlong's off" (or somewhat less than furlongs off.)

two miles); so that he was well known in the 19 city, and had many friends there. And

many

19 And many of the of the Jews who direlt there, when the fune- Jers came to Martha ral was over, came to Martha and Mary', that them concerning theis they might comfort them concerning the loss of brother.

their beloved brotherc. 20 And Jesus was no sooner come into the neigh

20 Then Martha, as bourhood, but presently the news of his ap- Jesus was

soon as she heard that

was coming, proach was brought to the afflicted family that went and met him: buł hid so long been impatiently desirous to see him. Mary sat still in the Martha therefore, as soon as she heard that Jesus was coming, immediately went out to meet him : but Mary, who was mourning with her friends in private, was not as yet informed of his

approach, and (still] sat weeping in the house d. 21 Then Martha, being told where she might 21 Then said Mar. meet with him, and having hastened to the place, tha unto Jesus, Lord if

thou said unto Jesus, Lord, we have been much surprised at thy delay, and cannot but be exceed.

ingly

house,

3 Many of the Jeros, &c.] It might be and were now with them." The word one reason why Jesus delayed his coming ledaiwv, Jens, to be sure includes persons till the fourth day, that he might meet a of both seres.-See also Raphel. Not. er. great number of them, is, for wise purposes Xenoph. p. 137. he determined to make this miracle very c Thui they might comfort them, &c.] public.

Many ceremonies used by the ancient Jews 6 Come to Vartha and Mary. I The ori. in mourning for the dead and in comforting ginal has it to; 3. Ta; wipo Mapsav rah the mourners are collected by Dr. Lightfoot Mreçar; but the learnell Rerius, in his (in his Hor. Hebr. on this place); but the Niles on Valla on this text, has produced mention of them here would be tedious, incontestible authorities to vindicate our rather than ed fying. corsion here, and to shew that there is no d Sat weeping in the house. ] She pro. need to render or paraphrase it as Beza bably sat on the ground, which was the and Woifius would do, " That the men posture of mourners. Compare Job ii. 8. caine to join with those female friends who Ezek. viii, 14. and Mat. xxvii. 61. bud before attended the mourning sisters,

That

exi.

On meeting Martha he declares her brother shall rise again. 121 thou hadst been here, ingly troubled at it, that thou didst not imme. Sect, my brother had notdiedo diately take notice of the message that we sent

thee; for, surely, if thou hadst been here, my Joha dear brother had not died, but would have been x ei, given back to thy prayers, which in so many

instances have been successful even for the re22 But I know, that covery of strangers. But even now I know, 22 even now whatsoever that whatsoever thou shalt think fit to ask of God, thou wilt ask of God, it shall assuredly be granted; and I am satisfied God will give it thee.

that God will give [itthee, however great the
favour be, if there be any method to repair the

grievous loss we have sustained. 23 Jesus saith unto Jesus, beholding her distress with a compas- 23 her, Thy brother shall sionate concern, says to her, Martha, do not rise again.

abandon thyself to overwhelming grief; for I
assure thee that thy beloved brother shall rise

again from the dead. 24 Martha saith un. Then Martha, conceiving some secret and 24 to him, I know that he trembling hope from these words, yet desiring resurrection at the last some farther confirmation of it, says to hiin,

Lord, I well know, and stedfastly believe, that
he shall rise again in the general resurrection at
the last day (compare chap. v. 29, and Luke
xiv. 14.) but the distance of that leaves me still

under a load of sorrow.
25 Jesus said unto Jesus then said unto her, I am the resurrection 95
her, I am the resurrec. and the life (comparc chap. v. 21, and Dent.
tion and the life: he
that believeth in me, xxx. 20.) by me the general resurrection shall
though he were deal, be accomplished, and by me a most glorious and
yet shall he live;

happy life shall be given to all my people, and
be maintained even to eternal ages: he there.
fore that believes in me, though he be dead, yet
he shall ere long live again, and his re-animated
body shall be again united to that soul which in
its separate state continues its dependance on my
power

and faithfulness; and even at present I
can loose the bonds of death, and though thy

brother now is holden by it, I can recall bim 26. And whosoever when I please to life: And every one that is 26 liveth, and believeth in now living, and believes in me, shull never die e:

death

day.

me

e That is living and believes in me, shall Heb. ii. 11), and with which Christians never die.] The sense that I have given in are said to be come to the heavenly Jerusa. the paraphrase appears to me the most lem, to the general usseinbly and charch of consistent sense that can be made of these the first-burn, &c. (Hen), xii. 22, 23); remarkable words, and the equivalent pase and to be raised up wuh Christ, and mode sages : John v. 24. and viii. 51. And a lo sit together in heavenly plaers in Christ very sublime and important sense it is, per- Jesus. (Eph. ii. fs.) Sve litring. Obsery. fecily agreeable to the height of sentiment Suci. lib. 11. cap. 7, 59--18. To renand language with which Christ is said der the words before 15, as Mr Jassey elsewhere to have abolished death, and to would do (Pernac. Sacra, p. 8.)

" Wnohave destroyed the devil (2 Tim. i. 10. ayd eyer, while he lives, bevieves on me, shail

not

29 As soon as she

1 22 Martha declares her faith in Jesus as the Messiah. SECT. death shall be so disarmed and transformed that me, shall never die. cxl. it shall hardly deserve the name; the better part

Believest thou this?
John of him being immediately conveyed to immor,
XI. 26. tal life and glory, and the body only sleeping a

while in the dust, till I come to awaken it to
everlasting vigour and joy. Dost thou, Martha,

believe this to be true? 27 And she says to him, Yes, Lord, I firmly be 27 She saith unto lieve every thing thou sayest; for I am fully per, lieve that thou art the

him, Yea, Lords I be. suaded that thou art the Messiah, the Son of Gad, Christ, the Son of God, who was to come into the world, and has been so which should come inlong promised, expected, and desired; and that to the world.

all power therefore must belong to thee. ES And Martha having said these [words], and 28 And when she

testified her faith, Jesus inquired for her sister; had so said, she went and presently she went away, and called her sister Mary her sister secretMary as privately as she could, whispering in her ly, saying, The Mas

ear, and saying, The Master is hard by, and calleth ter is.come, and calletą 29 for thee. And as soon as she heard [it] she immediately arose, and, having left the company beard that, she arose

that were about her, came forward with the quickly, and came uo30 utmost eagerness to meet him. Now Jesus

30 Now Jesus was was not yet entered into the village, but still con- not yet come into the tinued in the place where Martha met him, wait- town, but was in that ing there for Mary's coming.

place where Martha 31 The Jews then who were with her in the house, 31 The Jews then

attempting to comfort her under her sorrow, see which were with her
ing that Mary arose up hastly and went out of in the house, and com-
doors, followed her, saying, Surely she is going to saw Mary, that shie rose
the sepulchre of her brother, that she may weep up hastily, and went
there, which will only aggravate and renew ing, she goeth unto the
her sorrow; let us therefore endeavour to dis- grave, to weep there,
suade her from it. And thus, by their going
after her, they were naturally led to be eye-wit-

nesses of all that followed.
32 Then Mary, when she came to the place where 32 Then when Mary

was come where Jesus Jesus was, and saw him, was so far from being

was, and saw him, she afraid to avow her regards to him (compare fell down at his feet, John ix. 22, sect. cxxx), that she fell down at

saying his feet, and embraced them with the greatest

respect,

to him,

met him.

not die for ever, or eternally." is both were dead, who are yet spoken of as
obscuring and enervating their sense, and believing in Christ; and is, I think, na
(as I have shewn elsewhere, note I on John contemptible proof of their remaining in a
iv. 14. Vol. VI. p. 163, and notes b), c, on state of activity: but the doctrine is so very
John viji. 51, 52. Vol. VI. p. 542, 543) is plain ia scripture as not to need the aid of
grounded on a criticism which cannot agree such consequential arguments.
with the use of the phrase in question in f She is going to the sepulchre, that she may
parallel passages. Compare Mat. xxi. 19. weep there.] How customary this was among
sect. cxlix.- The opposition between this the ancients is particularly observed by
and the preceding verse plainly shews that Elsner, Observ. Vpl. I. p. 330.
the former refers to the spirits of those who

& Jestus

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