« PreviousContinue »
and said, Father, I thank thee that thou hast heard me. And I knew 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. And when he thus had spoken, he cried with a loud voice, Lazarus, come forth. He that was dead came forth, bound hand and foot with grave-clothes ; and his face was bound about with a napkin. Jesus saith unto them, Loose him, and let him go.
. Then many of the Jews which came to Mary, and had seen the things which he did, believed on him. But some of them went their ways to the Pharisees, and told them what things Jesus had done.
The feelings of sympathy and affection, sacred in themselves, are sanctioned by the religion of Jesus. It may be difficult, and it can be but of little use, to say what train of thoughts passed through the bosom of our Lord, and to account curiously for his shedding tears for an event which he was about to reverse. It is enough for us that he was by a friend's grave, with others weeping around him; and when the fountain of tears, thrilled by whatever secret impulse, burst forth, we acknowledge there our Saviour, in all the loveliness of human feeling, but untainted with human sinfulness; the model to which every emotion, and every thought should be conformed, as he was conformed to the will of his heavenly Father.
Many, we are told, of those who came with Mary, believed on him; and well might they yield their faith, when they saw the tenant of the tomb for four days, come forth, a living man. But for us it is sufficient to pause where Jesus paused and wept. Powerful as was the evidence afforded by the raising of the dead to life, the evidence of those holy tears speaks more impressively. Tears are the language of truth. An impostor never wept, at the moment of perpetrating a deception.
“ See how he loved !” exclaimed the Jews,
See how he loved, who travelled on
See how he loved, who, firm, yet mild,
See how he loved, who never shrank
See how he loved, who died for man;
Such love can we, unmoved, survey ?
SECTION X X X.
JESUS REBUKES THE SCRIBES.
MARK, III. 19. AND they went into a house. And the multitude cometh together again, so that they could not so much as eat bread. And when his friends heard of it, they went out to lay hold on him ; for they said, He is beside himself. And the scribes, which came down from Jerusalem, said, He hath Beelzebub ; and, By the prince of the devils casteth he out devils. And he called them unto him, and said unto them in parables, How can Satan cast out Satan? And if a kingdom be divided against itself, that kingdom cannot stand ; and if a house be divided against itself, that house cannot stand ; and if Satan rise up against himself, and be divided, he cannot stand, but hath an end. No man can enter into a strong man's house, and spoil his goods, except he will first bind the strong man, and then he will spoil his house. Verily I say unto you, all sins shall be forgiven unto the sons of men, and the blasphemies wherewith soever they shall blaspheme; but he that shall blaspheme against the Holy Ghost, hath never forgiveness, but is in danger of eternal damnation. Because they said, He hath an unclean spirit.
There came then his mother and his brethren ; and standing without, sent unto him, calling him. And the multitude sat about him; and they said unto him, Behold, hy mother and thy brethren without, seek for thee. And he answered them, saying, Who is my mother, or my brethren ? And he looked round about on them which sat about him, and said, Behold my mother and my brethren. For whosoever shall do the will of God, the same is my brother, and my sister, and mother.
The rebuke of Jesus to the scribes, was well merited by the perverseness with which, since they could not deny his miracles, they evaded the acknowledgment of his divine commission, by ascribing to the agency of demons, works which bore the impress of the Spirit of God; as though the powers of darkness could be employed in the destruction of their own empire,—the strong man assist in the spoiling of his own house; as though works of beneficence and holiness could proceed from an evil source.
A beautiful instance is afforded immediately after, of our Saviour's custom in applying every circumstance to the improvement of those around him. - Whosoever” he exclaimed, “shall do the will of God, the same is my brother, and my sister, and mother.” Well did he express in these words, the warmth of affection, which united him to his disciples. Can we not endeavour to cherish similar feelings towards him? By the contemplation of his character, by meditation on his life, his words and actions, can we not learn to feel towards him, more than we now do, as indeed a friend and brother? Thus has he permitted us to regard him: and who, that values what is lovely, will relinquish the affectionate title thus conferred ?
Who, as the brethren of the Lord,
May his affection claim?
A parent's honoured name?
The pure, the humble, the sincere,
Whose hopes are fixed above;
And ardent filial love;
Who to the Saviour's word of grace
With grateful warmth attend,
Their brother and their friend.
For these, in dark Gethsemane,
His bitter tears were shed;
He bowed his patient head.
Brethren of Jesus, may we share
The love that filled his breast,
Then enter to his rest.
DEATH OF JOHN THE BAPTIST.
MARK VI. 14. And king Herod heard of Jesus, (for his name was spread abroad,) and he said, That John the Baptist was risen from the dead, and therefore mighty works do shew forth themselves in him. Others said, That it is Elias. And others said That it is a prophet, even as one of the prophets. But when Herod heard thereof, he said, John, whom I beheaded, is risen from the dead.For Herod himself had sent forth and laid hold upon John, and bound him in prison, for Herodias' sake, his brother Philip's wife ; for he had married her. For John