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came with her, he groaned in the spirit, and was troubled.” Here are two just grounds of grief and concern, namely, the excess of sorrow and mourning of Mary and her friends for the loss of Lazarus; and secondly, the tokens which she and the rest gave of want of faith in his power to raise him up after his death. For Mary says to him; “ If thou hadst been here, my brother had not died;" which implies her doubting his power to raise him up: which was a great fault in her, considering the proofs he had before given of his power; considering all the appearances from heaven in his favour, and all the other evidences that had been given that he was the Christ. It was also just matter of concern, that the faith of the people with her was so far from answering the proofs he had given of his power.
The occasion of his last groaning was thus: “ And some of them said, Could not this man which opened the eyes of the blind, have caused that even this man should not have died? Jesus therefore again groaning in himself, cometh to the grave.” Here also was another sign of want of faith in his power to raise dead Lazarus; which showed, they did not fully believe him to be the Christ, though he had given more than sufficient proof of it. It is also highly probable, that our blessed Lord was now touched with the thought of their continued future unbelief, and the miseries it would bring upon them. As they had not admitted a full conviction of his character from the works they had already seen him do, so he foresaw they wouid not be convinced neither by the great work he was now going to do in raising Lazarus to life, but would after all persist in their obstinate malice and unbelief. And supposing Jesus to have really done those things which are told of him in the gospels, I think no one can deny, but that the hardness of heart which was in that people was matter of just grief to any wise and good man.
Secondly, observe,' says the author, p. 40. • that John says, it was with a loud voice, that • Jesus called Lazarus forth out of his grave.—Was dead Lazarus deafer than Jairus's daughter, or the widow's son?' &c.
It is necessary, when a miracle is wrought for the proof of the character or divine mission of any person, that it appear to be done by him, and not to be a casual thing. It has been common therefore for all the prophets and extraordinary messengers of God to make use of some external action at the same time that they performed a miracle, though that external action was in itself of no real virtue. When the red sea was to be opened to give a passage for the children of Israel, o God said to Moses: Lift up thy rod, and stretch thine hand over the sea, and divide it," Exod. xiv. 16. And when they had passed through, “ God said unto Moses, Stretch out thine hand over the sea, that the waters may come again upon the Egyptians,” ver. 26. The “ stretching the hand” did not divide the sea, but the divine power that accompanied that action. Nevertheless the action was of great use to convince the people, that the dividing or returning of the waters, which immediately followed thereupon, was not a casual natural event, but that God was with Moses their leader. The same thing may be said of any other external actions made use of by Moses, or other ancient prophets. Jesus in like manner, when he intended a miracle, sometimes laid his hands on the person to be cured; or else said, Be thou clean, be thou healed, or used some such other words; that the people might be assured, that the cure was wrought by him, and might believe that God had sent him. For this reason, when he raised Jairus's daughter, “ he took her by the hand,” and said unto her, “ Damsel, arise." And when he raised the widow's son at Nain, « he said; Young man, I say unto thee, arise." And when he raised Lazarus," he cried with a loud voice, Lazarus, come forth.” There is no absurdity in the loudness of the voice. It well became so solemn and awful an event. When he raised Jairus's daughter, there was no occasion for a loud voice; she being raised to life in the chamber where she lay, where there were no more than five persons present. But at Laza. rus's grave a loud voice was not at all improper, when there was by a great multitude of people, that all might know Lazarus was raised to life by Jesus. Whether Jesus spoke with a loud voice when he raised the widow of Nain's son is not related, and we are under no obligation to conjecture. I think, Jesus might speak in what voice he pleased upon such great occasions as these. There can be no cavils formed, but what are at first sight unreasonable.
• Thirdly, because that a miracle should be well guarded against all suspicion of fraud, I * was thinking to make it an absurdity, that the napkin, before Jesus raised Lazarus, was not
• There are other places also, in which our Lord is said to have been angry or grieved; the cause or occasion of which grief or anger appears plainly to be the same with that
here assigned by me of his groaning, Mark iii. 5. 'And when he had looked round about on them with anger, being grieved for the hardness of their hearts;"-See Mark viï. 12. * taken from his face, that the spectators might behold his mortified looks, and the miraculous
change of his countenance from death unto life,' p. 41. This wise objection is repeated again in the Jew's letter. "But however this was, they (the spectators could not but take notice of • the napkin about his face all the while; which Jesus, to prevent all suspicion of cheat, should * have first ordered to be taken off, that his mortified countenance might be viewed before the • miraculous change of it to life was wrought,' p. 51, 52. • The napkin over Lazarus's face is one proof that he was supposed by his friends to be dead, when they buried him. Do not all civilized people out of decency cover the face of a corpse with a napkin, or some such other thing, as well as the other parts of it? If any one had been sent into the sepulchre by Jesus, before he commanded Lazarus forth, it might have given ground of suspicion that the person had been ordered in to see whether Lazarus was alive, and capable to come out of himself, and concur with the command pronounced to come forth. Or it inight have been pretended, that he went in to daub his face with some juices that might make him look like a mortified corpse. Any meddling with the body beforehand might have caused some suspicion, but now there was none at all. And the napkin is a circumstance I am very glad St. John did not forget. It very much corroborates other proofs of Lazarus's real death.
· Fourthly and lastly, Obscrve St. John says, ver. 45, “ that many of the Jews, who had seen • the things that Jesus did here, believed on him; and some of them,” ver. 46, who “ did not • believe, went their ways to the pharisees, and told them what things Jesus had done in this « pretended miracle, and how the business was transacted,' p. 41.
It is true, that some went to the pharisees, and told them what things Jesus had done. But it does not follow that they were persons who did not believe. They did not indeed believe Jesus to be the Christ, as many other Jews did hereupon; but they believed the miracle, and knew it, and went and told the pharisees of it. That these persons told the pharisees of a miracle done by Jesus, is evident from the speeches of the pharisees upon occasion of the report brought them, ver. 47. “ Then gathered the chief priests and the pharisees a council, and said, What do we? for this man doth many miracles.”
Mr. W. goes on, p. 42. • Whereupon the chief priests and Pharisees were so far incensed as, • ver. 53, “ from that day forth they took counsel together to put him to death; and ch. xii. 10, • consulted that they might put Lazarus also to death. Jesus therefore” (and his disciples and • Lazarus fled for it, for they) ver. 54, “ walked no more openly among the Jews, but went 15 thence into a country near to the wilderness" (a convenient hiding place) “ and there con** tinued with his disciples;” otherwise in all probability they had been all sacrificed.'
I must take leave to observe, that it is no where said that Lazarus absconded or fled for it: nor is there any account of the Pharisees having at this time any design against Lazarus. Afterwards when Jesus came again to Bethany, we find that Lazarus was then at hon.e. And many of the Jews came thither, “ not for Jesus' sake only, but that they might see Lazarus also, whom he had raised from the dead. But the chief priests consulted, that they might put Lazarus to death; because that by reason of him many of the Jews went away and believed on Jesus,” John xii. 9, 10, 11. Lazarus therefore did not abscond, but was at Bethany; and the miracle wrought on him was so certain, that many for that reason believed on Jesus. And the reason why the Pharisees consulted that they might put Lazarus to death, was not because any imposture was detected, but because the miracle was too clear to be denied, and induced great numbers of the Jews, even followers of the Pharisees, to go away from them, and believe in Jesus.
But this retirement of Jesus with his disciples into a country near the wilderness is judged so mighty an objection, that it is repeated again in the Jew's letter. «Why did Jesus and his • disciples, with Lazarus, run away and abscond upon it ?- Is there not here a plain sign of guilt
and fraud ? Men that have God's cause, truth and power on their side, never want courage and • resolution to stand to it,' p. 44.
The judgments of men are surely very unfair and unequal. When any of the first Christians are observed to have been too forward in exposing themselves, they are represented as a company of mad men, and hot-headed enthusiasts. Jesus now for avoiding a dangre is taxed with want of courage and resolution;' nay his retirement for only a very short time is termed, ' a plain sign of guilt and fraud.' Thus the desire of serving a present low purpose prevails over
all the regards of justice and equity. So hard is it, (as Socrates a observed) though you are • free from all fault to escape unfair judges.' . “ But wisdom is justified of her children."
It might be sufficient here to remind men of Christ's returning in a short time to Bethany again, and appearing publicly at Jerusalem, and teaching in the temple. But let us at present observe only this history of his raising Lazarus from the grave. “When Jesus heard of the sickness of Lazarus, he was in the country beyond Jordan, John x. 40, and when he proposed to his disciples “ to go into Judea again,” they remembering the attempts of the Jews against him, endeavour all they can to divert him from the journey. « His disciples say unto him, Master, the Jews of late sought to stone thee, and goest thou thither again ?" chap. xi. 8. Jesus then argues with them, that they need not apprehend any danger to him as yet." These things said he, and after that saith unto them, Our friend Lazarus sleepeth, but I go, that I may awake him out of sleep,” ver. 11. They from thence take occasion to argue again, that then their journey to Bethany was not needful: “ Then said his disciples, Lord, if he sleep, he shall do well.” After that he tells them that Lazarus was dead, and declares his resolution to go to Bethany: “ nevertheless let us go unto him.” Whereupon Thomas filled with a kind of indignation that Jesus should have no more concern for himself nor them, than to expose them all to certain death, but at the same tiine sensible of his duty to follow him, says to his fellow-disciples : “ Let us also go that we may die with himn,” ver. 16.
So that our blessed Lord, when he was in a place of safety, resolved to come to Bethany nearJerusalem, for the sake of Lazarus: and herein showed great courage and resolution. And what is there, I pray, blameable in his retiring again to some distance from Jerusalem, when he: bad performed the business for which lie came into its neighbourhood ?
nem unto him.”
than to expose themsinles: Let
Answer to the Jewish Rabbi's Letter.
We are now come to the letter of Mr. W.'s Jewish Rabbi, whom Mr. W. calls his friend, and says his letter 'consists of calm and sedate reasoning,' p. 55. I on the other hand can see no reason in it. But the reader shall not need to rely upon my judgment. Therefore I will transcribe some parts of it, and then make some remarks. The argument of the letter is, that the Btory of Lazarus's being raised is an imposture; or else the Jews could not have been so wicked, as to be on that account provoked against Jesus and Lazarus.
• If there had been an indisputable miracle wrought in Lazarus's resurrection, why were the chief priests and Pharisees so incensed upon it, as to take counsel to put Jesus and Lazarus to • death for it?' p. 43. .
The reason is very evident; because that by reason of it “ many of the Jews went away,” deserted the proud Pharisees, “ and believed on Jesus," John xii. 10. :; "If,' says he, historians can parallel this story of the malignity of the Jews toward Jesus .. and Lazarus upon such a real miracle with thing [things] equally barbarous and inhuman in
6 any other sect and nation; we will acknowledge the truth of it against our own nation: or if - such inhumanity, abstractedly considered, be at all agreeable to the conceptions any one can .. form of human nature, in the most uncivilized and brutish people, we will allow our ancestors
in this case, to have been that people. And he promises to make it out as foolish and - wicked an imposture as ever was contrived and transacted in the world—that it is no wonder • the people by an unanimous voice, called for the releasement of Barabbas, a robber and murderer, before Jesus,' p. 46, 53, 54.
* * Χαλεπον δε και αναμαρτητως τι ποιησανίας με αγνωμονι XPITT, TEGITUYEIY. Apud Xenophon. Memor. l. 2.
Or perhaps, there was no indignation in his mind, but
only a warm affection, which disposed him to go with Jesus, and to call upon the other disciples to do so likewise, whata ever the danger was.
: The demand made of a parallel of the malignity of the Jews against Jesus, upon such a real miracle, is very idle, because there never was such a public miracle done by any other for so pure a doctrine. But if this Jew or any one else will produce an instance of such a miracle done by any one, who also taught the same spiritual heavenly doctrine that Jesus did, and nothing else; and who conversed and taught as publicly as Jesus did; and spoke the truth to all without fear or favour: I will show he had an ignominious death, or else wondrous escapes and deliverances by manifest interpositions of Divine Providence.
But though an instance of equal malignity cannot be shown, because there is no other character equal to our Saviour's in innocence of life and greatness of works; yet the Jewish nation will afford an instance, which I am very sorry is so near a parallel. Moses was the greatest prophet, and meekest man, they ever had among them, except Jesus, and they often inurmured against him. “ And Moses cried unto the Lord, saying, What shall I do unto this people? They be almost ready to stone me," Exod. xvii, 4. When they should have gone to have taken possession of the land of Canaan, “ All the children of Israel murmured against Moses and against Aaron. All the congregation bade stone them with stones," Numb. xiv. 2-10. that is, Moses and Aaron, Caleb and Joshua, or at least these two, the only persons that stood by Moses, and his brother.
This people were to a man obliged to Moses, who had brought them up out of a state of servitude. Nor had they any just ground of complaint against him, whilst in the wilderness, for God says: “ Ye have seen what I did unto the Egyptians, and how I bare you on eagles wings,” Exod. xix. 4. The blessings Moses proposed were far more agreeable to carnal minds (such as the Jews and most other men's are) than those promised by Jesus. He engaged to raise them to a state of independency in a land flowing with milk and honey. The time set for this event according to Divine promise was now come. And he had performed many great miracles before them, and yet they rebelled continually against God and this his servant. Nor did any of all this congregation, except Caleb and Joshua, believe God, as Moses tells them expressly. Deut. ix. 23, 24. They are called by the Psalmist a “ stubborn and rebellious generation," Ps. lxxviii. 8. “ They believed not for all his wondrous works,” ver. 32. Not that they disbelieved the works themselves : they knew them, but though they saw the works of God, they were not obedient. .
“ Thou knowest,” says Aaron to Moses, “that this people is set upon mischief,” Exod. xxxii. 22. As they were then, so they continued to be; and slew the prophets which God sent to them. They are upon record in their own writings as the most obstinate of all people, Ezek. iii. 5, 6. They are said to have “ changed God's judgments into wickedness more than the nations," ch. v. 6. One would think these, and many other such things, were recorded on purpose to prevent such an objection as we have now before us; or to help us to answer it, if any should be so unreasonable as to make it.
Why should it be thought strange that this people, who would have stoned Moses, and who slew many other prophets, should also conspire against Jesus? especially considering that they abounded now as much as ever with all kinds of the worst wickedness, except idolatry; (if we may credit Josephus, and other writers of this nation) and were now disappointed in their fondest expectations of worldly power and splendour. I will transcribe here an answer of Origen to a like objection of Celsus, proposed in the person of a Jew. • Well then, sirs, how will • you (says Origen) answer such questions as these, if put to you by us? Which are in your • opinion the greatest iniracles? those which were wrought in Egypt, and in the wilderness ? • or those which we say were wrought among you by Jesus? If in your opinion those are greater “than these latter: is it not hence apparent, that according to your custom, you may despise * the less, who disbelieved the greater? since you think those ascribed to Jesus less than those • former. But if those, which are related of Jesus are equal to those written by Moses :
*Το,τι ζελεσθε, ω ετοι, προς τας πευσεις ημων αποκρινεσθαι; ποιαι δυναμεις μειζες, όσον επι υμετερα υποληψει ειναι υμιν φαινονται, αι εν Αιγυπλω και τη ερημω, η α εφαμεν ημείς πεποιηκέναι τον Ιησεν παρ' υμιν ; ει μεν δε εκειναι μειζες τατων καθ' υμας εισι: πως 8κ αυτοθεν δεικνυται, ότι κατά το ήθος των τοις μειζοσιν απιςησαντων εστι και το των ηττoναν καλαφρροTELY; TOTO yap utoa au baretat TEPI WY YOLLEY Trepi 1958' Er de ασαι λεγονται περι το Ιησε ταις αναγεγραμμέναις υπο Μωύσεως,
τι ξενον απηντησε λαω κατ' αμφοτερας τας αρχας των πρασματων απισBντι; αρχη μεν γαρ νομοθετιας επι Μωϋσεως ην, εν η τα αμαρτηματα των απιςων και των αμαρτανόντων υμων αναγε. γραπται. αρχη δε νομοθεσιας και διαθηκης δευτερας κατα τον Iησον ημιν γείονεναι ομολογειται. και μαρτυρείτε δι' ων τω Ιησο απιςειτε, ότι υίοι εσε εν τη ερημω απισσαντων ταις ειαις επιÇarelais. Origen, contr. Cels. I. 2. p. 206, 207., . .,
is it any thing strange, that the same people should be equally unbelieving upon both oCcasions ? For the beginning of the law was by Moses : and in that are recorded the trans« gressions of the unbelievers and sinners among you. And the beginning of the second law • and covenant is allowed to have been given unto us by Jesus. And by your unbelief in Jesus - you make it appear, that ye are the children of those who did not believe the divine appearances
in the wilderness.' - Any man may perceive, that a prophet is the most unpopular of all characters. For he is to “ cry aloud and spare not; to lift up his voice like a trumpet," Isaiah lviii. 1. and show men of all ranks their transgressions and their sins. " Moses at first supposed his brethren would have understood, how that God by his hand would deliver them," Acts vii. 25. But when he endeavoured only to reconcile two of them, and “ said to him that did the wrong, Wherefore smitest thou thy fellow ?” what a smart reply did he meet with? “Who made thee a prince and a judge over us ? intendest thou to kill me as thou killedst the Egyptian ?" Exod. ij. 13, 14. These were his apprehensions then; but when he was forty years older, and knew the world better, and God appeared to him and told him, he would send him to bring forth the children of Israel out of Egypt: after divers fine excuses, which are not accepted of, he in a modest way positively refuses to go. “ And he said, O Lord, send, I pray thee, by the hand of him whom thou wilt send,” Exod. iv. 13. Nor does he yield, till the anger of the Lord is kindled against him. So hazardous and difficult was this office, that God sometimes promises a prophet, as a special favour and a most necessary, qualification, together with a commission, boldness of countenance to execute it. “ As an adamant harder than flint,” says God to Ezekiel, “ have I made thy forehead : fear them not, neither be dismayed,” Ezek. iii. 9. And Jeremiah he made a “ defenced city, and an iron pillar, and brazen walls against the whole land," Jerem. i. 18.
It is a very unjust way of judging: such an one suffered, or was hated and opposed; there. fore he was a wicked man, or an impostor. If we will pass a judgment on men, we should examine their conduct, as well as the treatment they meet with : otherwise we are in danger of being unjust to the memory of some of the best men that ever were. Solomon says, “ A just man falleth [into trouble] seven times, and riseth up again,” Prov. xxiv. 16. And his father David : “ Many are the afflictions of the righteous; but the Lord delivereth him out of them all,” Ps. xxxiv. 19. Many were the afflictions of our blessed Saviour, but he was delivered out of them all, if ever man was; having been soon raised up from the grave, and seated at the right hand of God.
Solomon says again : “ An unjust man is an abomination to the just: and he that is upright. in the way, is abomination to the wicked,” Prov. xxix. 27. Which last observation is confirmed by divers heathen writers of good knowledge in human nature : « That a man can no sooner be . an enemy to all vice, and walk in the ways of virtue, but he becomes the object of hatred.'a Socrates who had been pronounced by the oracle of Apollo the wisest man, and who has since had almost universally the character of the best man among the Greeks, was put to death by his countrymen the Athenians, a people more renowned for civility and good humour than the Jews. He was always apprehensive of suffering, and sensible of the danger he incurred by opposing the evil practices of men. He goes so far as to tell the Athenians: • It is impossible for any
man to be safe among them, or any where else, who honestly and courageously opposes vice • and injustice. He says also that he had chosen a private life as best suited to answer his design, and that if he had been in the magistracy, and taken the course he had done of instructing and admonishing all people, he had not lived so long. And Cicerud observed in his
2. 1. 3. init.