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with nothing but ocular demonstration, as of all erroneous principles the most dangerous, and the greatest obstacle to the mind's improvement. The illiterate man, unimproved by study and by conversation, thinks that nothing can be of which he hath not seen the like: From a diffidence perhaps of his own ability to examine evidence, he is always jealous that you have an intention to impose upon him, and mean to sport with his credulity: Hence his own senses are the only witnesses to which he will give credit. I am persuaded that nothing hath so much contributed to spread infidelity among the lower ranks of people, as the fear of discovering their weakness by being over credulous, and the use which artful men have made of that in firmity.

But to return from this digression to my subject. It was our Lord's intention, that the miracle of Lazarus's resurrection should be complete and unexceptionable in all its circumstances: He continued therefore at Bethabara till the man was dead; and he seems to have made delays upon the road,

to give time for the report of his arrival to be spread, that a multitude might be assembled to be observers and witnesses of his intended miracle. Lazarus had been dead four days when our Lord arrived; a space of time in which, in the warın climate of Judea, a general putrefaction was sure to take place, and render the signs of death unequivocal. Martha, one of the surviving sisters, met our Lord upon the road, at some little distance from the town: She accosted him in terms which rather indicated some distant doubtful hope of what his compassion and his affection for the family might incline him to do, than any expectation that her wishes would be realized. "Lord," said she, hadst thou been here, my brother had not died: But I know, that even now, whatsoever thou wilt ask of God, God will give it thee.' She presumes not to ask him to raise her brother; it was a thing too great to be abruptly asked: She indirectly and modestly suggests, that were Christ to make it his request to God that Lazarus might revive, Christ's request would be granted. It was our Lord's practice, - - of which I pur

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pose not at present to inquire the reason (it is a subject by itself which would require a close investigation), — but it was his constant practice, to exact of those who solicited his miraculous assistance, a previous belief that the power by which he acted was divine, and that it extended to the performance of what might be necessary to their belief. To Martha's suggestion that God would grant the resurrection of Lazarus to Christ's prayer, our Lord was pleased to reply with that reserve and ambiguity which he sometimes used, in order to throw the minds of his disciples into that state of suspense and doubt which disposed them to receive his mercy with the more gratitude, and his instruction with the more reverence and attention: 66 Thy brother," said he, "shall rise again;" not declaring at what time his resurrection should take place. Martha, not satisfied with this indefinite promise, nor certain of its meaning, and yet not daring to urge her request, and afraid to confess her doubts, replied know that he shall rise again, in the resurrection of the last day." A resurrection at the last day was at that time the general


expectation of the Jewish people. Martha's profession, therefore, of an expectation of her brother's resurrection at the last day, was no particular confession of her faith in Christ. Our Lord therefore requires of her a more distinct confession, before he gave her any hope that his power would be exerted for the restoration of her brother's life. 66 I," said Jesus," 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's answer was little less remarkable than the question: "She saith unto him, Yea, Lord; I believe that thou art the Christ, the Son of God, which should come into the world:" As if she had said" Yea, Lord, I believe whatever thou requirest of me. Although the sense of thy words is wrapt in mystery which I cannot penetrate,-although I have no distinct understanding of the particulars which you propose to my belief, nor apprehend how it is that the dead die not, yet I believe that you are the Messiah promised to our fathers-the Emmanuel fore

told by our prophets; and I believe you are possessed of whatever power you may claim." But let us return to the particulars of our Lord's requisition. Martha had already declared her belief that God would grant whatever Christ would ask, although his request should go to so extraordinary a thing as a dead man's recovery. Jesus tells her that he requires a belief of much more than this: He requires her to believe that he had the prínciples of life within himself, and at his own command; and that even that general resurrection of the dead in which she expected that her brother would have a share was a thing depending entirely upon him, and to be effected by his will and power.

I," said he, " am the resurrection and the life." Since he had the whole disposal of the business, it followed, that he had the appointment of the time in which each individual should rise; and nothing hindered but that Lazarus might immediately revive, if he gave the order. But this is not all: He requires that she should believe, not only that it depended upon him to restore life to whom and when it pleased

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