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goeth to the grave to weep

there.” For this expression of sorrow at the grave was customary not only among the Jews but among other nations. To restrain her grief, therefore, or to give her some consolation when there, they followed her. They were thus brought unexpectedly into the presence of our Lord; and this, under circumstances which prevented their prejudices operating upon them : for we are told that “when Mary was come where Jesus was, she fell down at his feet, saying unto him, Lord, if thou hadst been here, my brother had not died.”

The sight of her Lord brought her brother's death so painfully to her remembrance, that her sorrow quite overcame her. With feelings, therefore, in which poignant grief and lowly reverence were united, she fell down weeping before him.

The original word which is used to express this, is generally employed to describe the most doleful

It is the same as is applied to Peter, when it is said, “He went out, and wept bitterly.”

sorrow.

This mournful sight deeply affected the visitors, and they also wept with her.

Thus softened by their grief, their former prejudices did not rise; but when they saw our Saviour first groaning in spirit, then earnestly asking, “Where have ye laid him," then actually weeping, his tender compassion at once drew forth their astonishment. They said, “Behold how he loved him !” and thus were drawn to the grave; and there witnessing the restoration of Lazarus from the dead, many of them were brought to believe in Jesus.

I know not whether I have set forth these various links of providential circumstances so as to enable you to follow me. First, the time selected by our Lord for his arrival near the town; then, it being so ordered that Martha only knew of his approach ; then her leaving him for a short space to tell her sister, whilst he remained where Martha met him ; then, Mary suddenly rising up and coming to Jesus, and the Jews, under a mistake, immediately following her, coming into our Lord's presence at a season which drew out their affections towards him, and thus led them to accompany him to the grave.

I know not, my beloved friends, whether this train of minute events has presented itself to your minds ; but I have set it before you with this special view: that your faith, in the particular providence of God, may

be the more strengthened : for it is this belief in this providential direction of events, united with the gift of his Son, that in times of trial will be the means of communicating solid peace to the heart.

For it is this confidence that will assure you of this most consolatory truth, that your most trying dispensations are the result of the union of His wisdom, power, and love ; without whom “not a sparrow falls to the ground," and by whom “even the

very

hairs of our heads are numbered.”

I would here, therefore, more especially address those who have been called to suffering; and I would request of them to consider the various circumstances connected with their own trials, and to notice if there have

not been marks of design in them? Whether you have not discovered the hand of an Almighty Friend, so ordering events, that whilst they seemed to the external eye, as in this case, only to arise from the natural course of human action, they were not evidently ordained by Providence for

your

ultimate benefit. Surely, if you refer to past events you will discover this; for the chain of providence which is visible in this history, is not peculiar to it. What is the history of Joseph from the day that his brothers sold him into Egypt, until the settling of Jacob and his sons in the land of Goshen ? What, I say, is this history but a display of the same overruling hand ? or what, it may be asked, is the book of Esther but a similar manifestation of the secret guidance of our heavenly Father ? That book is the more remarkable, that although the hand of the Lord is so visible, the divine name does not once occur in it.

I dwell the longer upon this subject, since it is our belief in the particular providence of God, that will give us a more childlike confidence in the sympathy of our Lord : and this sympathy, let it be remembered, is not of that mere sentimental kind which evaporates in a few tears, which some will shed upon reading a novel, or romance, or at the performance of a tragedy: but it is active sympathy; or that which affords positive relief in the hour of trial.

To this sympathy I would now invite your attention. The evangelist mentions, at the thirty-third verse : “When Jesus therefore saw her weeping, and the Jews also weeping which came with her, He groaned in the Spirit, and was troubled, and said, Where have ye laid him ? They said unto him, Lord, come and see.

Jesus wept. Here one feature in our Lord's sympathy is particularly discernible ; namely, the different course he took in comforting Martha and Mary. Martha's grief, though great, was not so deep or of so tender a character as Mary's. For upon coming to meet our Lord, she was able to converse with him : therefore he speaks to her words of comfort. He first says, “Thy brother shall rise again ;"

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