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in Winter) to the time of his last going up to Jerusalem, a little before Easier, they make no mention at all of any Journeys or Movings from thence; and yet from this Country (according to St. John's Account) it was, that Jesus afterwards came up to Bethany, and raised Lazarus, and then ' went into the Country near the Wilderness, into a City called Ephraim, and there continued with his Disciples. And therefore, since these Evangelists, for the avoidance of Prolixity, thought not proper to take notice of what pafs'd in this Interval of Time, they could not (with any Justness or Propriety) introduce into their Gospels an Account of the Resurrection of Lazarus.
But there is a farther Reason, which k some learned Men have given us, for their Silence in this respect. They tell us, that (according to an ancient Tradition) Lazarus lived thirty Tears after his being raised from the dead, and that, the latest of these Evangeli/ls, writing but fifteen Years after our Lord's Ascension, they might "think it a needless matter, to mention a Miracle concerning a Person, living so near Jerusalem, whenothe Fame of it was so great, and so many Witnesses living to attest it: nor can Z 4 they
1 John xi. 54, * Grotius and Wbitby on John xii.
they suppose, but that, in point of Prudence, the Evangelists declined mentioning this Story, for fear of exasperating the Jews, and giving their Rage and Malice a fresh Provocation to cut off Lazarus. However this be, 'tis not improbable (what the generality of Commentators tell us) that St. John, observing the Method of the,former Evangelists, and in what Particulars they had made an Omission, might, at the Request of the Asian Bishops, undertake to supply their Defects. •This is no And indeed, whoever will give himObjecti- self the trouble to compare his History
cainst w*tn t^iat °f tne otner Evangelists, will Sr; John, find this Notion in a great measure verify'd. For, (not to mention any other Particulars of this sort) l the Miracles of our Saviour, (recorded by St. John) antecedent to his Resurrection, are in all but eight. 1. His turning fVater into Wine at the Marriage in Cana of Galilee. 1. His telling the Samaritan Woman the Secrets of her Life. 3. His healing the Nobleman's Son at Capernaum, 4. His curing the lame Man at the Pool of Bethesda. 5. His feeding five thousand Mjm with five Barley-Loaves and two Fishes. 6. His walking upon the Water, and calming a Storm at Sea, 7, His
giving 1 Defence osScript. Hist. p. 64.
giving Sight to the blind Man, by anointing his Eyes with Clay: And, 8, lastly, His raifing Lazarus from the Dead: All which Miracles are omitted by the former Evangelists, except the jth and <Jth, and these two St. John ieems to have recorded, chiefly to introduce a moral Discourse, which our Saviour took occasion to make to the People, and whereof the former Evangelists had taken no notice. And therefore the Silence of the former Evangelijls is not a stronger Qbjection against the History of Lazarus, than it is against many other Facts, recorded by St. John j or (to speak more properly) than it is against his whole Gospel. His Gospel indeed he wrote in an advane'd Age, but, m according to the Account of some, not many Years after the death of Lazarus, at the most, when a whole Generation was alive, who must frequently have seen Lazarus, and been acquainted with the Story of his Resurrection, had it been true, and able to stiame and confute the Historian, had it beenfal/e.
The Truth is, n all the Evangelists have omitted many things, which the others, one or more of them, have recorded y
"» Vid. Wlitby in John xi. ■ Defence of Scrip. Hist. p.M. *
corded; even St. John himself ° confesses, that his own Gospel, though it supplied the Defects of the former Evangelijls in many reipects, left the History of Jesus still unfinilh'd. It was submitted indeed to their own Judgement and Discretion, out of the infinite Variety of Miracles, which Jesus wrought, to choose, each of them, liich, as seem'd to them the most material: And if, upon the whole, the good Providence of God has so order'd th€?matter, that there is enough recojdta'to lay the Foundation of a reasonable Faith, we ought to be contented, and not busy our selves in .. ^enquiring mjnutely, why this Miracle was^cordcd, or this Person made the Subject of it, rather than another? why p The Defien of a Miracle is, not so
raised much for the profit of him, 6n whom it these Per- is perform'd, or of his Friends and~Re-> fonsmore lations, who are interested in his Wel*JtK,a )' farc^ as jt jg to attefl- the divine Mission of him, who works it, and to give Authority to the Message and Doctrine,/ which he delivers; and, to this purpose, the raising a Day-labourer is as conducive, as raising a Prince, and opening the Eyes of a blind Beggar by the Way-, side, as curing a powerful Magistrate, or a wealthy Merchant.
• John xx. 50. I Lardner's Vind. p. 36.
"J ar us however, whose Daughter was railed, was, both by Character and Office, a Person of Eminenee among the yews; and, considering the Perverseness and Obstinacy of many other Rulers of the Synagogue, this might be a Motive with Jesus to distinguish him by so divine a Favour. Lazarus, we know, was his peculiar Friend; and, as his Affection, no doubt, was deservedly placed on him, the fame Reasons, thatengag'd his Love, might prevail with him to express it in so wonderful a manner: And as to the Case of the Widow of Nam's Son, this the Scripture has set off in such moving Colours, as deserve a more particular Observation. * The parting with a beloved Child, is, at any time an Affliction, which, in tender Mothers, stirs a very sensible Concern; but when Time and Acquaintance have endear'd their Conversation, when we have not only enjoy'd the Diversions of their Childhood, but the Promises of their Youth, and begin to conceive just Hopes of their Attainments and Prosperity, this adds a considerable Weight to the Blow. But that, which here drove it deeper, is, that this "young Man was the only Son of his Mother \ no Remnant left behind to mitigate, or to supply the
Loss • ? Stanhope's Epist.and Qosp. vol. 3. J Late vii. 1 %•