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been four Days buried, there wanted any Proof of his being dead; they none of them thought that Christ was only a pretended worker of Miracles, for, how' unwilling soever they were to own him for their Mejfias, by long Experience they were convinc'd, that he was a Person mighty in Word and Deed.
Some few of the Company (as the History tells us) who were not convinc'd, even by this Miracle, went to the Chief Friejis and Pharisees; but what was it that they told them? "That they had "detected Jesus in an Imposture, and "found out how the whole Business of "this pretended Resurrection was trans«* acted?" .Quite otherwise, as appears from what themselves said, when, in Consequence of this Information, |hey were assembled in Council, ° What do we do, for this Man doth many Miracles; if we let him thus alone, all Men will believe on him, and the Romans shall come and take away both our Place and Nation, and thereupon they resolve that both he and P Lazarus should be fut to death.
The Romans shall come, and take away Why the our Place and Nation, was the fublick ;^f so and specious Reason given for the fan- emafd guinary Measures taken against our Sa- gainst yiour, but it was far from being the true *'
* John xi. 47, &c, I Chap. xii. 10.
one. The Jews, indeed, were very impatient of the Roman Yoke, and, upon all Occasions, prone enough to Rebellion: But, so far was our Saviour, either by Example or Precept, from giving any Disturbance to the Civil Government; so far from affecting any secular Dominion among them; that we find him very frequently strictly charging the very People, that he cur'd, not to divulge the Miracles he had wrought, ^ on purpose to discourage the pernicious Conceit, which had then obtain'd among the Jews, that their Mejfiah was to be a temporal Prince. Here then was the true Cause, that raised their Malice and Indignation against him,-,war. a Defeat given to their Expectations, in a Doctring abhorrent to their corrupt Notions. For it was a fad Disappointment and Mortification to them, after the fond Conceits, they had so song cherifh'd, of a temporal Deliverer in the Person of the expected Messiah, to be put off with one, who made so little Figure in the World himself, and who, instead of raising his Followers to any Eminence of earthly Honour apd Dignities, made it his Business to beget in their Minds a just Contempt of the World, and all the ■ fading
? Vid. JVbitfy in Matth. ix. 30.
fading and perishable Glories of it. And whoever considers the prodigious Force of worldly Interest upon the greatest part of Mankind j how much they are under the Influence and Impression of temporal Motives; and what Regret and Impatience they discover, when they meet with any thing, that controuls their ungovernable Lusts and Passions; will not wonder, that a Doctrine of so much Purity and Simplicity, as our Saviour came to establish, mould meet with so much Opposition from such a corrupt Generation of Men, as the "Jewish Rulers were. s Had he indeed taught no Doctrine at all, or no Doctrine contrary to the Opinions commonly receiv'd, his healing the Sick, and raising the Dead to Life, would questionless have every' where gain'd him a great Esteem, and a general Consent, that the Power, by which he was enabled to do such Miracles, was Divine: But when the Case was so, that they could not acknowledge the Hand of God in these Things, without acknowledging, at the lame time, the Truth of a Doctrine, to which they had an irreconcileable Aversion; it is easy enough to conceive, how this might have the Effect which we find it had, of blinding their Eyes against Conviction, arid
.'Defence of Script. Hist. p. 3$.
of putting them upon contriving the Destruction, both of Jesus himself, and of every one else, who was instrumental in supporting his Authority among the People. why he And if such was the Rage and Maretir'd lignity of the Jewi/b Rulers against him, their wrio can tnm^-li strange, that an innoMalicc. cent Person should endeavour to take care of his own Life and Safety, and prudently avoid (as much as was consistent with Justice and Honour) the bloody Designs of wicked andoutragious Men. 'A time there was indeed (and that near approaching) appointed in the Decrees of God, when he was to be offer'd up on the Cross for the Sins of the World; but till that time was fully accomplim'd, he was to be preserv'd, not by any miraculous Interposition, but by the ordinary Methods of Providence. Had he summon'd his Legions from Heaven, and overthrown his Enemies by a visible Exercise of his sovereign Power, "How then (as he himself observes) should the Scriptures have been fulfilled, that thus it jhould be? And since, for this Reason, it was improper for him to employ his miraculous Power for his Protection, what had he to do, but to decline, for the present, the Storm that was gathering,
; t)cfence of Script. Hist. p. 40. ,* Jthn xti. 1, 10.
ing, by retiring into a Place more private than Jerusalem. In this Retirement, however, his continuance was not long; for the next News we hear of him was . at Bethany, in the House of Lazarus, where he was entertain'd at Supper publickly, in the Presence of a great Number of the "Jews, who came, not only for "Jesus's Jake; but that they might fee Lazarus also, whom he had raised from the dead.
Bethany was a Village w about two NoFraad Miles distant from Jerusalem, where, ijj-thif x within six Days the Passover was to be from his celebrated. Here our Saviour (whose 4te"-ASiDesign was to be at the FeaJlJ took upom' his Quarters, and, during this short interval, went every Day to Jerusalem, where he appear'd in the most publicfc and frequented Places. The first time of his going thither, 1 he was met, upon the way, by great Throngs of People, who, with loud Acclamations, and other publick Marks of Honour, ufher'd him into the City. After this we find him in the Temple, "driving out the Buyers and Sellers, disputing with the Scribes and Pharisees, rebuking them sharply with his Parables, and exposing them openly in his Discourses to the People.
"John xi. 18. » Ibid. xii. i. '_ Ver. 12.
* M.itth. xxi. i 2.