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ple and he writes," I saw the dead, small and great, stand before God."3
But though all shall alike arise, all shall not rise to the same destiny. "All that are in the graves shall hear the voice of the Son of man, and shall come forth: they that have done good, unto the resurrection of life, and they that have done evil, unto the resurrection of damnation." therefore, shall hear the same voice, but not all in the same tone. Jesus had loved Lazarus, for he had received him in his true character, and had adhered to him as "the Christ, the Son of God, which should come into the world." Therefore when Lazarus awakened from his sleep, and light returned to his eyes, and his mind regained its consciousness, the first object which his eyes and his mind would rest upon, was his friend, his divine benefactor, commanding those around him to loose him from his bands, and set him free in, the enjoyment of life and liberty.
But consider for a moment how grievous his case would have been, if instead of joy, misery had awaited his resurrection. He did see around him those whom he most valued: the sisters to whom he was so dear, and the many friends who had shown their interest in him, and had "come to Martha and Mary to comfort them concerning their brother." But suppose these circumstances changed. Suppose that Lazarus had revived, only to be separated from all that he loved; only to be given up to the power of his worst enemy; only
to be consigned to a place of darkness and despair, where no voice was heard but that of remorse and agony only to know that he was "shut out from the presence of the Lord and the glory of his power," and to dwell in " the blackness of darkness for ever.' We cannot justly picture to ourselves the horror of such a resurrection.
Yet such will be the resurrection of the ungodly and the sinner. They will be called forth, not by a friendly voice inviting them to "enter into the joy of their Lord:" but by the summons of a judge, who makes a difference "between the righteous and the wicked; between him who serveth God, and him who serveth him not."5 They have not done the will of God, they have not "heard the word and kept it :" and therefore will not see before them the countenance of one who is to them as a father, or a brother; who has more than all the tenderness of the nearest earthly relationship but of one who is " ashamed of them,' who "never knew them," even though they might have called him "Lord, Lord." The kingdom of heaven is not theirs, nor their society "the spirits of just men made perfect:" their portion is "everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his angels, where is weeping and gnashing of teeth."
It is needful to bring these thoughts before our minds, that we may use the present time as Lazarus and his sisters did, and secure to ourselves the
5 See Mal. iii. 18.
6 See Matt. xii. 48. Mal. ii. 33.
7 See Matt. vii. 28.
favour of our judge, now that "we are in the way with him." Provide, in this your day, for a blessed resurrection. Do not so live here, that you may rise to see other redeemed souls entering into the mansions of eternal glory, and " yourselves thrust out." Do not so live here, that when you rise again to another existence, you must be excluded from the presence of all that is holy, pure, and happy, and take your place for ever among “the angels that sinned." Accustom yourselves now to hear the voice which shall say at last, Come forth. Know it here, when it calls you to repentance and to righteousness, and ye shall know it in the end, when it calls you to "stand before God." Be his believing and obedient ple here, and ye shall not "die eternally."
THE COUNSEL OF CAIAPHAS THAT JESUS
JOHN xi. 45-57.
45. Then many of the Jews which came to Mary, and had seen the things which Jesus did, believed on him.
46. But some of them went their ways to the Pharisees, and told them what things Jesus had done.
47. Then gathered the chief priests and the Pharisees a council, and said, What do we? for this man doeth many miracles.
48. If we let him thus alone, all men will believe on him: and the Romans shall come and take away both our place and nation.
Observe the nature of this inquiry of the chief priests and Pharisees. They do not consider what they ought to do, but what it was their interest to do. They could not deny, that this man doeth many miracles. Why then not recognize him as the Christ? Why not follow up the natural impression made on the less prejudiced people, who said, (chap. vii. 31,) "When Christ cometh, will he do more miracles than these which this man hath done?" For this reason, and no other; that in such case they must resign their pre-eminence, and all belonging to it. Therefore the miracles could not have their proper effect upon them any more than light upon an eye which is diseased. So afterwards, when the apostles began to proclaim their message, and to confirm it by like works of power, the elders of Israel conferred among themselves, (Acts iv. 16, 17,)" saying, What shall we do to these men ? for that indeed a notable miracle has been done by them is manifest to all them that dwell in Jerusalem; and we cannot deny it. But that it spread no farther among the people, let us straitly threaten them, that they speak henceforth to no man in this name."
After all, what is this, but ordinary practice?
To see the truth, and not to follow it. Why does one man worship wealth? another pleasure? Why are multitudes living as those cannot and must not live, who are heirs of the heavenly kingdom? Is it that they have no belief in a world to come, that they expect no future difference between those who serve God and those who neglect him? Not so: but because present things have an influence over them which they cannot resist, and which nothing but the Holy Spirit can enable them to subdue.
49. And one of them, named Caiaphas, being the high priest that same year, said unto them, Ye know nothing at all,
50. Nor consider that it is expedient for us, that one man should die for the people, and that the whole nation perish not.
51. And this spake he not of himself: but being high priest that year, he prophesied that Jesus should die for that nation;
52. And not for that nation only, but that also he should gather together in one the children of God that were scattered abroad.
Caiaphas here spoke the language of a worldly man. He first imagines to himself a danger which had no reality. The Romans shall come, and take away both our place and nation. Jesus might have taught his heavenly truths, and all men might have believed and followed him and the Romans would have offered no interruption to the disciples of a master whose "kingdom was not of this world."