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And then let them go on, and consider more. He showed them sufficient proofs, that he was what he claimed to be: works which might make them say, "When Christ cometh, will he do greater things than these? works which might lead them to be convinced, "Truly this is the Son of God." What more could be alleged, than he did allege? He gave all the evidence which could be required, he gave the only proof which is possible, when he said,
37. If I do not the works of my Father, believe me not. 38. But if I do, though ye believe not me, believe the works: that ye may know, and believe, that the Father is in me, and I in him.
In this way, at many former times, God had declared the divine commission of his servants. Thus Moses had shown that he acted in the name of God thus Elijah, and Elisha his successor, had been sanctioned; and now God, who "had in times past spoken unto their fathers by the prophets," thus proved that he " spoke unto them by his Son." But their hearts were hardened, and their eyes closed against truth.
39. Therefore they sought again to take him : but he escaped out of their hand,
40. And went away again beyond Jordan into the place where John at first baptized; and there he abode.
41. And many resorted unto him and said, John did no miracle; but all things that John spake of this man were
42. And many believed on him there.
The belief of some, and the unbelief of others, are alike an example to us now. Both parties saw the same works, both heard the same words. But some believed, and others believed not. Where was the difference? In their minds, in their hearts. How could they believe, who "loved the praise of men more than the praise of God?" How could they believe, who "loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil?" And how can any believe, to any good effect, while a love of the world, and the things that are in the world, perverts their reason, and blinds their moral sight? It is because men are not really willing to do the will of God, that they do not so acknowledge the truth of his word, as to make it the rule of their thoughts and practice.
Yet, O Lord, "to whom shall we go?" Believing or unbelieving, death will find us, and we shall enter upon an everlasting existence. Open thou our hearts, now while it is time, that we may see the wonders of thy law, and lay hold on eternal life, as thy unspeakable gift, through Jesus Christ.
THE SICKNESS OF LAZARUS, BROTHER OF
JOHN xi. 1--6.
1. Now a certain man was sick, named Lazarus, of Bethany, the town of Mary and her sister Martha.
2. (It was that Mary which anointed the Lord with ointment, and wiped his feet with her hair, whose brother Lazarus was sick.)
3. Therefore his sisters sent unto him, saying, Lord, behold, he whom thou lovest is sick.
4. When Jesus heard that, he said, This sickness is not unto death, but for the glory of God, that the Son of God might be glorified thereby.
5. Now Jesus loved Martha, and her sister, and La
6. When he had heard, therefore, that he was sick, he abode two days still in the same place where he was.
This chapter introduces us to the character and domestic interests of a family which deserves our close attention. It is distinguished by this peculiar honour, that Jesus loved Martha, and her sister, and Lazarus. Surely those must be regarded as truly blessed, who obtained the love of the Son of God, the Saviour of the world! Whatever may be thought of such a distinction now, the time will arrive when no other will be prized. When "this world pass
eth away, and the lust thereof," blessed are they of whom it may be said, He who is " coming in clouds and great glory," he who is seated "on the throne of his glory," is he who loveth them.
If we are sensible of this, we shall examine into what we know of the character of this family, and consider how far it is open to our imitation.
The blessedness which they were enjoying, as distinguished by the love of Jesus, had its commencement in their faith.
They perceived the character in which he came, and acknowledged the object of his coming. One of the sisters says to him, in a discourse which soon follows, "Lord, I believe that thou art the Christ, the Son of God, which should come into the world."
Now there were but few to whom grace to perceive this was given, during the sojourn of Jesus on earth in his state of humiliation. Some said, "He deceiveth the people;" others said, "Shall Christ come out of Galilee?" And the multitude, we may suppose, pursued their usual concerns, and paid little heed to the subject. These, howAnd what was still more ever, saw the truth. important, they acted on it. For this too was not the case with all. We are told that "
many believed on him, but because of the Pharisees they did not confess him, lest they should be put out of the synagogue. These were not of that party.
They confessed him openly, and received him wil
1 John xii. 42.
lingly. When the purposes of his ministry carried him to their neighbourhood, theirs was the house to which he used to resort with his disciples. And the opportunity of instruction which they thus enjoyed, was neither lost nor thrown away. Martha, indeed, on one recorded occasion, "was cumbered about much serving;" was too busily occupied in the duties of hospitality to profit by her divine visitor. But "Mary sat at his feet, and heard his word." And the blessings which she was conscious of, the debt which she owed to Him who had taught her to "choose that good part" which should be her's for ever, this debt she was eager to repay by all the means she had : by zealous fervent love. It was that Mary which anointed the Lord with ointment, and wiped his feet with her hair.
Now the Lord Jesus is no respecter of persons. That which attracts his love, is the character. And where there is a character like that of Mary, and Martha her sister, and Lazarus, there also will his love be still bestowed. Ask yourselves, then, What think ye of Jesus? Do you recognize him, as Martha did, to be "the Christ, the Son of God, who should come into the world?"
Concerning this, however, you have no hesitation. But is this belief any more than an inward conviction; a conviction not manifested by your life, not evidenced by your practice, not tending to make you 66 a peculiar people, redeemed from all iniquity, and zealous of good works?" Do
Luke xii. 38; John xii. 1.