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Had he gone immediately upon his death, the reality of his restoring him to life might have been suspected. By remaining some time where he was after he was dead, he seems to have taken the wisest method to manifest the glory of God, and his own authority from him.

When he came to Bethany, as it was in the neighbourhood of Jerusalem, he found

many of the inhabitants of that city of their acquaintance, who had come to console the two sisters of the deceased. So that Lazarus's death and burial were public matters.

How natural is that saying of each of the sisters to Jesus ; “ Lord, if thou hadst been here, my brother had not died !” How void of all art, and plainly indicating their persuasion that he was dead, and that they had no hope of ever seeing him again in this world!

Our Lord was so affected with their sorrow, and, as it would seem, with the thought of mortality and human woe, that he could not refrain from mingling his tears with theirs upon the melancholy occasion. In which there was surely nothing weak or unbecoming.

Their full persuasion of their brother's death appears still further by that remark of

one

one of the sisters, even after Christ had told her he should rise again ; that he had been in the grave (ver. 39.) four days, and that his body must be in a putrid state, and therefore that it was impossible to recover him to life.

Our Lord's groaning, or fetching deep sighs, may have been occasioned by his sadness and concern, that his friends and others should distrust his divine power in this instance, after he had given them such displays of it in so many others. Perhaps also the thought of the ruin that many would bring on themselves and their country, by their unbelief and obstinate rejection of him, might occur at the time to his benevolent mind.

The manner in which he wrought this great miracle, has something very striking and peculiar in it.

His miraculous works were a proof of his being extraordinarily favoured of God; that God in an especial manner (John iii. 2.) was with him, and that he was his messenger, and had his authority as a divine teacher from him. This he often declared himself: (John v. 36.) “The works which the Father hath given me to finish ; the same

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works that I do, bear witness of me that the Father hath sent me.

And he himself, in the passage I am about to repeat, gives us ground to believe, that although he did not always openly pray to God for his assistance, yet in secret, in his own mind, he always did it, before he exerted any act of a divine power, .

But being now about to do a thing so un, common and awful, in so public a manner, as the restoring life to a man who had been four days dead and buried ; he lifts up

his heaven, and adores God in a solemn act of praise and thanksgiving, humbly acknow, ledging that it was from him that he received the power of doing the miracles he had already done, and had no doubt of being assisted now in that which he was about to perform. (ver. 41, 42.)

* And Jesus lift up his eyes, and said: Father, I thank thee that thou hast heard me. And I know that thou hearest me always : but because of the people which stand by, I said it, that they may believe that thou hast sent me,'

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d. I thank thee, O Father, that thou hast granted my request, and wilt enable me to perform

this mighty work. I know indeed that thou always grantest my desires at such seasons : but I have thus openly prayed to thee, and acknowledged thy goodness, that those who hear me may be convinced that I speak and act by thy power, and with thy commission.'

The loud voice which Jesus used, was highly proper to call the attention of all present to the awful spectacle he was going to exhibit to them.

When, suddenly, he that had been dead came forth, with the clothes about him in which he had been wrapped, and with all the marks of a buried corpse ; so that he was unable to walk or see, till assistance was given him and the bandages removed.

We are told that Spinosa, a famous atheist of the last century, was so struck with the marks of candour and veracity, that he candidly owned that the writers of the New Testament were sincere and in earnest, but only deceived and mistaken in the accounts they gave of the miracles of the Gospel.

And he would sometimes confess to his intimate friends, " that if he could believe the fact of Lazarus being raised from the dead, he would give up his system, and embrace the Christian religion.”

This person had perplexed and bewildered himself in the web of his own unfortunate metaphysical inquiries, till he lost all distinction of the creature and the Creator, and could find no thread or clue to guide him out of it; though otherwise a man of unblameable life, and possessed of many good qualities.

But all whose understandings are not darkened by unhappy prejudices or vicious practices, will see and own the ground of unquestionable evidence which we here have, not only for the fact of Lazarus being raised to life, but of all the other works of divine power done by Christ and his apostles, recorded in the Gospel history; for the truth of which, we have stronger proof than of any other ancient history, or distant events, to which we give credit, and justly, without any scruple.

And the effect at the time that our Lord raised Lazarus to life was not inconsiderable: but many of the spectators from Jerusalem, as we are told, were fully persuaded by it, that Jesus was the Messiah, and believed on him. They might not all immediately and openly declare their adherence to him: neither in his lifetime does he seem to have required

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