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that we may
his absence must considerably increase their distress; for Jesus abode two days where he was, yet he knew everything which was transacting at Bethany: and he said unto his disciples, Our friend Lazarus sleepeth. The disciples, taking this for a favourable symptom, said, Lord, if he sleep, he shall do well: thereby intimating that the Lord had no need to expose himself to his enemies by going to him. Then said Jesus plainly, He is dead: nevertheless, let us go unto him. Thomas said, Let also go,
die with him. Maria. Did he want to die with Lazarus?
Aunt. No; but with his Master, whose death he considered as ineyitable, if he went near Jerusalein, where the Jews had so lately sought to stone him. It was four days after the death of Lazarus before our Lord arrived at Bethany; and it was custoinary with the Jews to inter their deceased friends before sun-set on the day of their death. Many of the Jews from Jerusalem were come to condole with the mourning sisters. But Martha no sooner heard that Jesus was coming, than she left the company, and went to meet him. As soon as she saw him, she thus addressed him: Lord, if thou hadst been here, my brother had not died; but I know that even now whatever thou askest of God, he will give thee.
Lucy. Did she expect. her brother would be restored to life?
Aunt. Her subsequent answers shew she had very little hope of that; most probably she meant with regard to their own comfort and support under the affliction. But Jesus said unto her, Thy brother shall rise again.
Maria. What did Martha say to this?
Aunt. She said, I know that he shall rise in the resurrection at the last day. Jesus replied, I am the resurrection and the life: he that believeth in me, though he were dead, yet shall he live: and whosoever liveth and believeth in me shall never die. Believest thou this? Martha answered, Yea, Lord, I believe that thou art the Christ, the Son of God, who should come into the world. And she went
George. I don't understand our Lord's words; for those who do believe in himn die; and how can the dead believe?
Aunt. Our Lord meant by this to administer consolation, not only to Martha, but to all his people to the end of time. They die indeed like other men; but those who have believed in him, though their bodies lie in the grave, their souls live in heaven : and those who are dead in sins (as we all are by nature), by believing in Jesus are made alive to God.
Lucy. Mary lost the benefit of this conversation.
Aunt. But she had the satisfaction to know that Jesus had not forgotten her; for her sister came to her, and said, The Master calleth for thee. And she arose in haste, and went out: for our Lord was still in the place where Martha first met him. The Jews that were with Mary followed her, su pposing she was gone to the grave of her brother to weep.
George. Did they not hear what Martha said to her?
Aunt. No; for Martha called her secretly. When Mary came to Jesus, she addressed him as her sister
had done before. Jesus seeing Mary, and the Jews who were with her, weep, sympathized with them, and wept also. Thus was our compassionate-Saviour touched with the feeling of their infirmities! It might truly be said, agreeably to the language of Isaiah, chap. lxiii. 9, In all their afflictions he was afflicted. Now these things, my dear children, are written for our instruction, that we may be encouraged, under all our distresses, to come to him for support and consolation. See Heb. iv. 15, 16. But, to return :-Jesus said, Where have ye laid him? They answered, Lord, come and see. And they came to the sepulchre, which was a càve, with a stone at its mouth. Jesus bade them take away the stone; to which Martha objected, alleging that by this time the body must be in a state of putrefaction, as he had been dead four days. Jesus reminded her of what he had said, that if she would believe, she should see the glory of God. When the stone was removed, our Lord, with eyes lifted up to heaven, addressed himself to God, saying, Father, I thank thee that thou hast heard me; and I know that thou hearest me always : but because of the people who stand by, I said it, that they may believe that thou hast sent me.
Maria. Why did our Saviour address God on this occasion ?
Aunt. Because the Jews had repeatedly ascribed his miracles to the power of Satan: our Lord therefore made this appeal to bis Father in heaven, that it might appear that he performed them by power from above; and that the Father thereby bare witness to him, and authorised all those declarations
of his own dignity and authority, which the Jews called blasphemy,
Lucy. I could paint to my imagination all the people waiting the event with solemn expectation !
Aunt. Probably they did not yet expect our Lord would raise him to life: what then must be their surprise, when Jesus said, Lazarus, come forth ! Death obeyed him who hath power over the grave, and delivered up its captive. And Lazarus came forth in his grave-clothes. Jesus said, Loose him, and let him go. The greater part of the spectators were convinced, and believed in Jesus; yet there were others who would not be persuaded though one actually rose from the dead, but were the more enraged, and went and reported the matter at Jerusalem.
George, Pray, aunt, let us follow them to Jerusalem.
Aunt. We will, George, at our next meeting.
George. PRAY, aunt, what was the consequence of the report of Lazarus being restored to life?
Aunt. The pharisees and chief priests called a council, in which they came to this determination, that if any man knew where Jesus was he should disclose it, that he might be apprehended: and from that hour they sought all opportunities to put him to death. Our Lord avoided their fury for a time, by retiring to a little city called Ephraim, in the borders of Samaria, not far from Jericho, where he continued a few days with the apostles. Six days before the passover, our Lord went to Bethany.
Maria: He would be an acceptable visitant to Lazarus and his sisters.
Aunt. At supper Martha served, but Lazarus sat at table, Mary, to shėw her gratitude to her beloved Lord, took a pound of very costly ointment, and anointed the feet of Jesus, wiping them with the hair of her head; and the house was filled with the odour of the ointment. Judas Iscariot complained of this as extravagant, saying, Why was not this ointment sold for three hundred pence, (which, in our money, would be nine pounds seven shillings and sixpence,) and given to the poor? But Mary was commended for this action by her divine Master.
George. Did Judas mean by this to shew his good-will to the poor?
Aunt. It appears that his regard to the poor vas only a pretence; but, having the charge of the bag, he wished to increase the stock, that he might have the better opportunity to purloin; for, we are told, he was a thief. When the Jews found Jesus was at Bethany, they flocked thither, not for his sake only, but that they might see Lazarus. The chief priests, finding that, by means of the resurrection of Lazarus, many believed on Jesus, consulted together that they might put Lazarus to death.
Lucy. Was ever any thing so absurd ! for the same power that raised him once could raise him again.
Aunt. It shews the extreme depravity of human