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to the lovers of JESUS CHRIST, but a fleep, and á nefeething
one too. Thus it is said of Stephen when he died, that he
fell asleep." CHRIST indeed died, but believers only fleep.
And " those that fleep in Jesus, (says the fcripture) will God
bring with him." “ Our friend Lazarus fleepeth.” For
though he be dead, I fhall raise him from the grave so foon;
that his dying will be only like a person's taking a short sleep.
“Our friend Lazarus feepeth, but I go that I may awake
bim out of sleep." By this time, one would imagine, our
Lord's disciples should have understood him : But how un-
willing are we to believe any thing that we do not like.
“ Then faid his disciples, Lord, if he fleep he shall do
well." Oh fearful, and flow of heart to believe !. How fain
would they excuse themselves from going into Yudea, for fear
of a few stones! By this way of talking, how do they in effe&
impeach their blessed Mafter's conduct, and under a pretence
of preserving his perfon, fofter, and as it were plead for their
own (though perhaps undiscerned) cowardice and unbelief?
That charity, which hopeth and believeth all things for the
best, teacheth us to judge thus favourably of them. For,

« Howbeit Jesus fpake of his death : they thought that he
:bad spoken of taking rest in sleep.” The great and compas-
fionate High-priest knowing and remembering they were but
duft, throws a veil of love over their infirmity; and at dength,
verse 14.“ Saith unto them plainly (for if we wait on Jesus,
we shall know his will plainly, one way or another) Lazarus
is dead." And even then, left they fhould be fwallowed up
with overmuch sorrow, he immediately adds, verse 15. " And
I am glad for your sakes that I was not there, to the intent yė
may believe," or have more faith, or have that faith which
you already poffess increased and confirmed. A plain proof
this, that all Jesu's delays to answer prayer, are only te
strengthen our faith.

"Nevertheless, fays our LORD, let us go unto him." This was a fufficient hint, if they knew how to improve it, that he intended to do fomething extraordinary, though he would not tell them directly what he intended. For the Lord Jesus will keep thofe whom he loves, at his foot, and dependant on him. $. Let us go unto him.". He ftill speaks as though they were his equals.1 Oh that Christians in general, Oh that mi5


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hilters in particular, would learn of him their great exemplar, to condescend to men of low degree ! Well, the secret is now out. JESU sohas faid unto them plainly, Lazarus is dead. And what reception does this melancholy news meet with? With great condolance, especially from Thomas ; for verse 16., Then said Thomas, who is called Didymus, unto his fellow disciples, let us also go and die with him ;" i. é. ac*cording to some, with Lazarus, with whom, it may be, Thomas had contracted an intimate acquaintance. But granting it was so; fhall I commend him for this passionate expression ? I commend him noi. Surely he spake unadvisedly with his lips; “ Let us also go and die with him.” As though there was no comfort henceforward to be expected in the world, now his friend Lazarus was gone. This was a great fault, and yet a fault that many of God's children run into daily, by mourning for their deceased relations overmuch, like persons that have no hope. But this infirmity ought not to be indulged. For if our friends and dear relative; are dead, Jesus, that friend of finners, is not dead. He will be better to us than seven fons, and will abundantly supply the place of all creature-comforts. But I am more inclined to think that the word him, refers to Jesus his dear Master; and if so, he is so far from being blamed, that he spake like a good soldier of Jesus CHRIST. Let us also go, that we may die with him. If our dear master will go into Yudea, and hazard his precious life, let us not any longer make such frivolous excuses, but let us manfully accompany him ; and if the Jews should not only be permitted to stone, but also to kill him, let us also go and die with him, we cannot die in a better cause. This was a speech worthy of a christian hero, and Thomas herein hath set us an example, that we should follow his steps, by exciting and provoking one another closely to adhere to the blessed Jesus, especially when his cause and interest is in any immediate danger. This exhortation, it seems, had a proper effect. They all went, and as far as we know, chearfully accompanied their glorious Master 11

How their thoughts were exercised on the road, we are not told. But I am apt to believe they were a little discouraged when they came to Bethany. For e44: When JESUS ecame, whę


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found that Lazarus had lien in the ghave for four days alteady." And what would it avail them, to come so many miłes only to see a dead man's tomb? But how wisely were all things ordered by the blessed JESUS, to manifest his glory in alie most extraordinary manner, that not only his disciples might haver their faith confirmed, but many also of the Jews might beds lieve on him., This Bethang", it seems, vesse 18./16wwas nighi unto Jerusalem, about fifteen furlongs off;" oro about cowo miles; and Martha and Mary, being what we may cabb people of fashion, and devout likewise ; many of the devout, and we may suppose many of the wealthy Jews came from the metropolis, as well as other adjacent places, verse 19- to Martha and Mary; not to pay an idle, trifling, butya serious, profitable vifit, to comfort them concerning their brother." This was kind and neighbourly. To weep with those that weep, and to visit the afflicted in their diftreffes, is one effen tial branch of true and undefiled religion. And how sweet is it when we visit surviving friends, that we have reason to think that their departed relations died in the Lord! And we can therefore give them comfort concerning them: For « blefled are the dead, that die in the LORD, even for faith the Spirit, for they reft from their labours.” Tbistandofuchu... like arguments, no doubt, these visitors made ufc of toboomads fort Mariba and Mary. And indeed they stood in much need of consolation. For we have reason to suppole, from our LORD's answer, “This fickness is not unto deather but witte glory of God;" that they had entertained thoughts of the recovery of their brother. But who can tell what these two holy fouls must feel, when they found their brother did notiv recoyer, but was dead, laid out, and now finking in the filent hi grave!, What hard thoughts, without judging them, smayı, we; suppose they entertained concerning Jesus. Think oe not that they were ready to cry out in the language of the propbes, & Thou hast deceived us, and we are deceivedur" But man's extremity is JESU's opportunity. In the multitude of the forrows that they had in their hearts, the news of; CHRIST's coming refrefhes their souls. Somebody or anotherall commendably officious, privately informs Martha of it. " Whoo as foop as the heard that Jesus was come (without .. making any apology to the company for her rudenessiji went.



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and met bimb Bot Marys fat still in the house." But why fol. Mary & I thought thou had been molt forward to attend on Jesub, and thy fifter Murtha more prone to be reun bereds about the many things of this life. Why fietest thou hii? te mayo

xibe the news was brought only privately to Marthaoffor? it is plain from verfe 3ift, that the Jews who were in the house knew not of it ;) and Martha knowing how our LORD had, chid ber once, was resolved he should have no reason on the fame account to chide her any more; therefore when the news was brought, she would not so much as stay to inform her filter, but went out to see whether it were true or not, and if so, as the eldest fifter, she would invite the blessed Jesus in How happy is it, when Christ's reproofs for past negle&ts," excite our future zeal to come out and meet him! Such re19 proofs are an excellent oil. Or, it may be, the news reached! Mary's ears, as well as Martha's, but being overcome with forrow, she thought it too good news to be true, and therefore fat still in the house. O how careful ought believers to be, az to cherish and maintain, even in the midst of tribulation holy confidence and joy in God! For the joy of the LORD" is a believer's strength., Whereas giving way to melancholy and unbelief, raises gloom and vapours in the mind, clouds the understanding, clogs us in the way of duty, and gives the enemy, who loves to fish in troubled waters, a very great vantage over us.

Mary, perhaps, through the prevalence of this, and being also naturally of a fedentary difpofition, as fat ftill'inf the house," while her fister Martha got the start of her, and went" out to meet Jesus. And how does the accost him? Why, in a language befpeaking the diftrefs of a burdened and disór_97 dered mind. For fbe said unto Jesus, verse 21, “ LORD, if thou hadft been here, my brother had not died.” Here is :3 a mixture of faith and unbelief. Faith made her say, “LORD, if thou hadft been here," my brother had not died.” But uno"} belief made her confine CHRIST's power to his bodily prefence, Besidesyv here was a tacit accusation of the blessed Jesus of unkindness, for not coming when they sent unto him the message, "LORD, he whom thou loveft is fick. Once the 'iz charged Jesus with want of care ; « LORD, carest thou not, that my fifter hath left me ta ferve alone P” Now she taxes. VOL. VI. H


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with want of kindness. If thou had been there';" as much as to say, if thou hadît been to kind as 'to have come when we sent for thee," my brother had not died" and by faying thus, the does as it were lay her brother's death tô JESUS Christ. Ohow apt are even those whom“JESUS loves in a peculiar manner, to charge him foolithly ! How uften does the enmity of our desperately wicked hearts rise against CHRIST, when we are under the aflicting hand of his providence! Are not the very best of us frequently tempted, in such circumstances, to fay within ourselves at leaft, Why does God thus cruelly deal with us? Why did not he keep off this stroke, seeing it was in his power to have prevented it? How should we be ashamed and confounded before him upon this account? How fhould we pray and labour to be delivered from this remaining enmity of the heart, and long for that time, when mortality thall be swallowed up of life, and we shall never feel one single rising of heart, against a good and gracious, and all-wise and glorious Redeemer, any more? However, ta do Martha justice, the pretty well recovers herself, verse 22. “ But I know, that even now, whatfoever thou wilt ask of God, God will give it to thee." Whether these words imply an actual belief of our Lord's divinity, is not certain. Tome they do; because we shall

prefently find, that she did believe our LORD was the Son of God, and the Messiah which was to come into the world. Therefore when the said, the knew that whatsoever he asked

be understood as referring to God the Father, under whom the LORD JESUS acled as Mediator, though equal to him in respect to his

eternal glory and godhead. This mystery we may well fup2 pose her acquainted with, because Jesus had been frequently preaching at her house, and consequenily, had opened that mystery unto her. O what a blessed thing must it be to have such a Mediator ! such an high-priest and interceffor at the Father's right-hand, that whatever he asks the Father in our behalf, he will give unto us!

I give unto us ! Jesus takes this kindly at Martha's hand, and pafles over her infirmity. For if the LORD is was exact, to mark every thing that we say or do amiss, alas ! who could abide ? He only calmly says, unto her, verse 23. Lo Thy brother fall sile again. itu bisa berie



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