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God, that the Son of God may be glorified thereby.” Every step we have hitherto taken has manifested this glory.
To-day still brighter beams, softened indeed by his sorrow, are presented to us. For we are to. day permitted to meditate upon one of the most consolatory parts of his characternamely, his sympathy with his people : not only visiting them in their trials, but actually weeping with them. “JESUS WEPT." Oh what a sentence is this! The shortest, but among the most touching, which the inspired volume contains.
It is related of a celebrated ancient artist, who desired to paint the human countenance suffering under various degrees of sorrow, that when he came to the highest point of grief, or to that sorrow which is felt by the most tender of all relations, he put a veil v over the figure of the sufferer ; thus to express that there was a sorrow which imagination might possibly conceive, but which no art of man could fully describe. If he was sensible of his incapacity, when desiring only to draw the human countenance, what must
be felt when the grief of our Lord himself is the subject ?
These words, “ Jesus wept,” have such an unfathomable depth in them, that whoever is blessed with any spiritual discernment, will consider that if they do not exactly resemble “the Holiest of holies,” into which the high priest alone was permitted to enter, and that only once a year; they bring to his remembrance another sacred place ; the spot where Moses stood when he heard a voice saying unto him, “ Put off thy shoes from off thy feet; for the place whereon thou standest is holy ground.” Instead, therefore, “ of darkening counsel by words without knowledge,” in attempting to unfold this sublime sentence, I purpose
to call your attention to the verses connected with it. May the spirit of truth so be with us, that by his Almighty power and grace the remembrance of the tears that Jesus shed may so endear him to every heart, that in the day when there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain,” you may be among that blessed company
who shall see him
and face to face.”
The first subject to which I would call your attention in these verses, is this—The display they afford of the secret providence of God, and of that overruling power which He exercises ; so ordering every minute circumstance, as most effectually to accomplish his own purposes.
The raising of Lazarus from the dead, as it was among the last of our Saviour's miracles, so it was to be among the greatest. It was to be blessed to the family he loved, to his own disciples, and to many of the Jews who had come to Bethany. Yea, more than this, - it was to be a source of consolation to his afflicted people to the end of time. Still further,-it was for the assurance of his church till he shall appear, that the same voice that reached the grave of Lazarus, and restored his sleeping body to life, would revive their slumbering dust, and bring them forth with bodies “ fashioned like unto his glorious body, according to the working of his mighty power, whereby he is able to subdue all things to himself.”
Such being the Lord's design, every thing was most wisely ordered for accomplishing it.
In former lectures I have referred to our Saviour's conduct, “in abiding still two days where he was after he had heard that Lazarus was sick;" that by thus deferring His visit, his Almighty power in his restoration might be more completely manifested. But in the verses before us there is a still more minute providential arrangement. This may
seen, in the first place, in the selection of the time for his arrival at Bethany, when many of the Jews had come from Jerusalem to Martha and Mary, to comfort them concerning their brother : thus affording them the opportunity of meeting with him. Next, in so ordering it, that some person who had seen our Lord, informed Martha, and her only, of his approach before his actual arrival : for had our Lord gone at once to their dwelling, or had the tidings been communicated to Mary, the Jews who had come to visit them, being prejudiced against him, might have left the house; or, at least, have declined going with Mary to
see Jesus. But mark how the providence of God draws them to him. Martha only heard of his approach ; for Mary, overcome with grief, “ sat still in the house ;" probably in an inner room, as mourners generally do. Hearing of his arrival, Martha, according to her natural ardour, without giving any information to her sister, went and met him. Strengthened and comforted by the words our Lord had spoken to her, “she went her way, and called her sister Mary, saying, The Master is come, and calleth for thee.” This, it is mentioned, she did secretly, that the Jews who had come to comfort her might not put any hindrances in her way, but allow her at once to come to her Lord, and partake of the consolation she had herself enjoyed.
As soon as Mary received this intelligence “she rose quickly, and came to him ;” our Lord still remaining in the place where Martha met him. The Jews however who were with Mary mistook her intention. “ When they saw that she rose up hastily and went out, they followed her, saying, She