Sidor som bilder

indeed I have lost my brother, still I retain my confidence in Thee, and my persuasion of thy power.”

Ver. 25. There is something inexpressibly grand and awful in the declaration of Jesus, which presently follows; “I am the resurrection and the life;" or, as it is said in the book of Revelation, “ I have the keys of Hades and of Death ;" that is, I am the Lord of Resurrection, and can recal the body to life when I will; I am also the Lord of life, and my true servants, though they should have died bodily, shall live spiritually in Hades; and every one that liveth in faith and obedience to my word, shall never die, but shall live with the just in Hades till the day of judgment, and shall then enjoy life everlasting in heaven t. For through Jesus alone can men partake of the resurrection to life eternal. To him is given the power to raise up whom he will; and through his sacrifice of himself upon the cross, the sins of them that believe in him shall be forgiven, and they shall live in that blessed state which alone deserves the name of life. Whether they die, or whether they live, in this world, they shall equally enjoy that happiness which is to come. • Chap. i. 18.

+ See chap. v. 21, &c.

Ver. 27. What is concisely called believing in Christ, is more fully declared in that profession of Martha, “I believe that Thou art the Christ, the Son of God, which should come into the world." As soon as Martha had privately informed her sister of Jesus's arrival, Mary arose without delay, and came to him before he had yet entered the village, and fell down at his feet overcome with sadness, affection, and veneration; and it is remarkable that the first words she addresses to him, are the very same that Martha had used before *, “ Lord, if thou hadst been here, my brother had not died.” Some might perhaps take occasion to cavil at this repetition; but in truth nothing could be more natural, if we only suppose them to have been the actual expressions, which the two sisters had repeated to each other while they sat at home regretting the absence of Jesus t.

* Ver. 21.

+ A repetition of the same kind occurs at the second and thirteenth verses of the twentieth chapter, where Mary Magdalen says, “ They have taken away the Lord out of the sepulchre, and we know not where they have laid him." It is of the same kind so far as it is the repetition of a subject strongly pressing upon her mind, to which she gives utterance in the same words ; but it differs materially in this, that it is the expression not of two distinct persons, but of one individual.


With minds so impressed, each might be expected to accost their beloved Master in the words, which frequent repetition had rendered most familiar to them. And this may be ranked among those little circumstances, which, instead of invalidating the truth, give an additional grace and air of authenticity to the narration. To the same effect may be noticed the company of Jews, who attended, to compassionate and solace the two sisters; their following Mary, whom they supposed to be going to weep at the grave of Laza- · rus; the tears which were shed by all present ; and the sensibility of Jesus, who was melted at the sight, and wept. The observation also of the Jews, that if he were indeed the Messiah, as his former miracles seemed to testify, he might surely have prevented Lazarus's death, is not without its effect in this interesting scene.

To understand rightly some of the particulars which follow, it should be known that the bodies of the Jews were not buried, like those of our own nation, secured in coffins, and let down into deep pits ;

bound hand and foot with grave clothes, and their face was bound about with a napkin ;" or at other times they were “ wound in linen cloths with spices;" and in this condition


but were

[ocr errors]

they were deposited either in sepulchres hewn out of the rocks *, or in niches cut in the sides of the caverns with which the country abounds, the entrance being afterwards closed with a large stone. So situated, the body of Lazarus would be exposed to view as soon as the stone was removed; and at the call of Jesus would be able to sit

up, while the attendants loosed the cloths confining his limbs, and covering his face. The address of Jesus to his Father is eminent for its simplicity, and for its kindness. For he knew that God always heard him; but he uttered it for the sake of those who were present, “ that they might believe that God had sent him.” And accordingly we are told, that“ many of the Jews which came to Mary, and had seen the things which Jesus did, believed on him.” And well they might; for if the mere narration of this miracle be so strange and impressive, what must have been the effect of the transaction itself, when he that had been dead, and four days in the grave, heard the voice of his Lord, and arose,

and came forth? Yet were there not some, who believed not? who resisted this evidence

one who arose from the dead?” who went to the pharisees to urge on their evil designs

* Maundrell's Journey from Aleppo to Jerusalem, p. 14.

even of "

against Jesus ? It is true that the common translation gives some countenance to such an opinion. But a more just interpretation of this passage would be—“Many therefore of the Jews, namely all * those who had come to Mary, believed on him, believed Jesus to be the Messiah. And (for so it should be rendered) some of them went to inform the Pharisees :" To inform them of what? That the miracle which Jesus had wrought, was a most unequivocal proof of his divine power, in consequence of which they were bound to acknowledge him as their Messiah.

The following verses shew how worldly-mindedness can sear the conscience sof men, making them reject the offers of salvation itself, when it stands in the way of what they conceive to be their temporal interests. The Pharisees did not pretend to deny the reality of Christ's miracles, or the necessary inference of his being their promised Messiah; yet smarting under the reproofs they had received, or fearing to lose their consideration, and feigning an apprehension of insurrection, which

* Πολλοι ουν εκ των Ιουδαιων οι ελθοντες (not των ελθοντων) προς την Μαριαν, και θεασαμενοι α εποιησεν ο Ιησους, επιστευσαν εις αυτον τινες δε εξ αυτων απηλθον προς τους Φαρισαιους, και ειπον αυτοις α εποιησεν ο Ιησους. (Ver. 45 and 45.)

« FöregåendeFortsätt »