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criminal procrastination-when your master's coming to you would have as much the character of a disappointment as it can have to a Christian, may be the hour, the determined hour of your Lord's appearing. It was when even the wise among the waiting virgins slumbered and slept, with loosened garments, and, if with lighted, yet with untrimmed and dimly-burning lamps, that the cry was heard piercing the midnight silence, “ Behold the bridegroom cometh ;” and so it was that the sound which should have been to them one of unmingled joyfulness,—the fulfilment of eager expectation, struck upon
their senses almost like an unwelcome alarm, at least as startling, when first they heard it, as it was delightful. “ Therefore, be ye also ready, for in such an hour as you think not, the Son of Man" may come,-watch, for ye know not what hour he cometh. Let every day you pass upon the earth be spent as you would desire to spend your dying day,—as you would labour to spend it had a summons and a token come from your Almighty King, the Arbiter of life and death, that that night your soul and your account would be required of you. Give all diligence that, whensoever your Lord shall come, “ ye may be found of him in peace, without spot and blameless." Labour while it is day, lest haply the shades of a premature night involve you, and shorten even more than you think the season, already short, during which alone any man can work. And ” whatsoever your hand findeth to do” in the work of religion and of God, “ do it with your might," assured that there is no work in that “ land of for: getfulness,"—that “ house of silence,” to which, at all events, you are hastening with rapid pace, and into which you may suddenly descend by a single and an unexpected step.
JOHN, xii. 9-13.—“ Much people of the Jews therefore knew that he
was there; and they came not for Jesus' sake only, but that they might see Lazarus also, whom he had raised from the dead. But the chief priests consulted that they might put Lazarus also to death; because that by reason of him many of the Jews went away, and be lieved on Jesus. On the next day much people that were come to the feast, when they heard that Jesus was coming to Jerusalem, took branches of palm-trees, and went forth to meet him, and cried, Hosanna: Blessed is the King of Israel that cometh in the name of the Lord.”
AFTER the performance of that magnificent miracle by which Jesus crowned the series of his mighty works performed before the commencement of his passion,--the resurrection of the dead and buried Lazarus, our Lord retired from the curious gaze and inquest of the multitude, to a sequestered village on the borders of the desert,-remote at once from the acclamations and the persecutions which so incomparable a display of his omnipotence had prepared for him. In the commencement of this chap ter, we find him, after that interval of modest and meditative privacy, re-appearing in the spot which, not long before, he had glorified with that miracle of miracles ; and the principal part of it is occupied with an account of the way in which the different feelings produced in different individuals by the extraordinary event in question expressed themselves,-feelings which, so far from having been extinguished, seem only to have been kindled into intenser fervour by the sudden disappearance of the Mighty Man of Wonders from their view, and the anxious suspense and eager curiosity respecting him which that disappearance had occasioned. In so many successive scenes, offered in this chapter to our contemplation, we have vividly depicted the gratitude, the curiosity, the admiration, the malignity, which were excited by the recollection of that stupendous achievement in different classes of persons, according to their different tempers and different circumstances, and all of these emotions displaying themselves in the intensest conceivable forms and expressions.
The first scene of this kind presented to our view, is the picture of gratitude and love visibly embodied in the conduct of that beloved family of Bethany on whose behalf the miracle had been performed; the eucharistic banquet provided for his ho
pur, at which the next conspicuous station to his own was assigned to Lazarus, the living trophy of his grave.compelling power,—the assiduity of Martha's ministrations, the fragrant effusion of Mary's lowly and exuberant affection.
The next among those most natural and striking pictures of excited feeling with which this chapter abounds, is the delineation it affords of the popular curiosity excited by the tidings, that Jesus and Lazarus, the author and the subject of so marvellous a transaction as that of which the bare rumour had transported them with utter amazement, were to be seen together at one house, and seated at one festal board: “Much people of the Jews, therefore, knew that he was there,"—Bethany, as you know, being so nearly adjacent to the city, that the tidings of the longsought and expected Prophet's arrival at the former might in a very short space of time be conveyed to the latter, and circulated there. Moved, therefore, by that deep-rooted and powerful principle of our nature of which every one among us knows by experience the nature and the intensity, and which impels us to expect, to seek, to find a gratification so poignant and peculiar in beholding those who have done or who have suffered extraordinary things, - they came not for Jesus sake only, but that they might see Lazarus also, whom he had raised from the dead." The curiosity of these gazing wonderers, though Jesus, the doer of the marvel, occupied an important share in it, seems chiefly to have been attracted by him who was the subject of the miracle, -by him who, not in a figure, but in marvellous