« AnteriorContinuar »
eluded him to be dead, and accordingly were carrying him to his Funeral, how could 'Jesus (supposing him to be an Impostor) know, or so much as suspect, that he Was only in a Lethargy; or if he suspected that, how could he tell far* ther at what precise time the Man-, would wake out of it? a What then are we to believe in this Cafe? Why, that Jesus needlessly offer'd himself to a publick Trial, without the least Prospect os' Success. The Company met him accidentally upon the Road, but no-body asked or challenged him to raise this Man to Life. It was entirely his own offer; and thereupon he either did, or did not, suppose him to be dead. If he supposed him to be dead (as he had a-> bundant Reason) he must needs know (upon the foot we ate now arguing) that it was not in his Power to raile him. If he did not suppose him dead, but hop'd that there might be some Mistake in the Matter, the Hazard of being disappointed, in presuming upon a Caso^ which scarce happens once in a Century\ added to this farther Hazard, that (evert presuming this to be the Cafe) the Mart might not possibly awake upon his touching the Bier, and calling upon him A a to
* D«se;jce of Spvij t.Hist.. p. \6.
to arise, makes the Chance against him to out-run all reckoning. of fa- The like is to be said in the Case of n'"" h Jarus's Daughter. b Here a Person of ter"g Note requests of him to go and heal his Child, which was at the point of death: before he could get to the House, a Messenger comes and acquaints the Father, that flie was actually dead. Upon this change in the Case, Jesus is so far from excusing himself, (as he had a fair Opportunity,) that he offers, of his own accord, to go forward, and tells the Father that he would raise her; c Be not afraid, lays he, only believe, and/hejhall be made whole. Whatever the Case of the Child was in reality, 'tis certain, • both by the Message of the Servant, and the Appearance of Things, when he came to the House, that Jesus had all the reason in the World to believe her dead. Here then is an Impostor making a bold and desperate Pujb, which must either ruin him at once, or establish his Reputation for ever. He undertakes to raise a Person to Life, who, he was assur'd, was dead. If she was dead in good earnest, he was undone; his only Hopes rested upon a bare Possibility, that there might be some Mistake in the Case: Upon these Hopes he goes, and
* Defence of Script. Hist. p. 17. * LwJeviii. 50.
when he comes to the House, luckily finds that there was a Mistake, and more luckily still, that himself was the only one that perceived it. What now does he do? why, instead of improving this extraordinary Accident to his own Ad vantage, he takes away (as much as in him lies) all possible Pretence for a Miracle, by declaring plainly, that the Person was not really dead, as they supposed, but asleep, and wanted only to be awaken'd. Here certainly is such a Bundle of Absurdities, as no Man of common Sense can ever be supposed to incur. Had Jesus been an Impostor, or had the History, we are now examining, been a Forgery, instead of these modest Expressions, give place, for the Maid is not dead, but Jleepeth, we had had some such vaunt* ing Speech as this; "Ay! the young "Woman is really dead, and your Lau mentations are well grounded 5 but "let me only look upon her, and lay "a few Words over her, and depend "upon it, you will see- her alive again, "and as well as ever." Whereas our Saviour, in what he fays, is so far from boasting of his divine Power, that he seems rather desirous to conceal it; and, for that reason, makes use of a Word of a softer Signification, (as he does elleA a a where
where d in the Case of Lazarus) to denote that Death, which he came to remove, with the same Facility, as another Person might be awaken'd out of Jeep. why And indeed 'twas owing, in a great christen- measure, to the Humility and Modesty
Jp!remhSCr of Jesus' that> instead of ordering Men sikncc. to proclaim his Works, we find him so frequently desiring them to conceal them. In the present Case however, he might have some Regard to the Character of Jams, as Ruler of the Synagogue, and, by this Advice of Silence, dispense with his speaking publickly of a Miracle, which might possibly draw the Malice of the Scribes and Pharisees upon him, as well as upon himself. In the Case of his raising Lazarus, we find, that e because, by reason of him, many of the "Jews wf away, and believed on yefiis, the Chief Priess consulted, not only how to destroy Jesus, but to put Lazarus likewise to death; and much of the fame Design might have been expected (which our Saviour by this kind Caution endeavour'd to prevent) if it once came to their Knowledge, that so great a Man, as a Governor of the Synagogue, by the miraculous Recovery of his Daughter, had forsaken the Religion of his Ancestors,
4 John-x.1 4, &>c 'John xii. 10, II.
ftors, and was becomg a Convert to the Christian Faith. But to proceed.
When Lazarus fell sick, f the Evan- The Cafe geliji informs us, that Jesus was not with ofLazahim, nor did he fee any of the Family,' until he had been buried some Days j that when Martha and Mary met him, their Behaviour was such, as might naturally be expected from Persons under the most sensible Concern for the Lois of so near a Friend; that when he saw their Sorrow and Concern, and the People, that came to comfort them, lamenting" their Lois with Tears, himself .was likewise moved with Compassion, and Wept', that when he-came to the Grave (it was a Cave, and a Stone laid upon it) and order'd the Stone to be taken away, Martha interposed, as knowing her Brother to have been too long dead, to be fit to be seen ; but that, after a short Prayer to God, he called upon Lazarus with a loud Voice, whereupon he, that was dead, came forth, bound hand and foot with Grave-Cloths, and his Face was bound about with a Napkin. In this Light have the Evangelists represented the whole Transaction, and wherein I pray is the least Shadow of Fraud or Collusion?
A a 3 Jf
f John x*. \