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PART" branches of palm-trees, and went forth ta
" meet him, and cried, Blessed is the King " of Israel, that cometh in the name of the « Lord. The people
The people therefore that were !" with him, when he called Lazarus out of “ his grave, and raised him from the dead, " bare record. For this cause the people met
him, for that they heard, that he had done “this miracle. The pharisees therefore said among themselves, Perceive
ye, prevail. nothing? behold, the world is
gone " after him.” Is it possible to disown, that Christ made his entrance to Jerusalem as related by the evangelists? must we look upon, as fabulous, the concourse of people who met him with olive branches and loud acclamations? can we separate so notorious an event from the important circumstances which are blended with it in the evangelical relation ? and can one offer a more natural reason of such a concourse and triumph, than the refurrection of Lazarus, of which many were witnesses, and which the whole multitude already believed ?
As to myself, after so many proofs of every kind, one added to another, I would only ask, of whosoever is not thoroughly satisfied, what then would convince him of the certainty of a resurrection? I would entreat him to ruminate within himself the circumstances, and proofs which he would submit to; and to consider well the means, which he would make use of in order, first to be assured of his death, and afterwards of his resurrection. And I am tho
roughly convinced, that after having wearied CHAP. himself with reflection, he would never be able III. to set either of them in so clear a light, as then death and resurrection of Lazarus; and this truth, which seems unfatisfactory to him, will exceed every thing which his imagination would strive to substitute in its stead.
Lawful and necessary consequences of
such a miracle, which proves the
M I then to blame in representing to a so
ber and prudent mind, first, the manner in which the divine providence facilitated the examination of the christian religion in the relation of a single miracle, which invincibly proves, that Jesus Christ is the Mefliah, fince he publicly declared, that he wrought the miracle to demonstrate it, and that he was the resurrection and the life, (that is to fay) the principle of both, and consequently God, since before he performed it, he ascribes' to himself these divine qualities, and requires us to positively believe, that he is endued with them? Is not the whole proved if Christ is the Meffiah and God? and after this is there any
Part thing more incumbent on us than to listen to IV. and obey him?
Am I to blame in representing to him, in the second place, how inexcusable he would be, if he persisted to deny a miracle, the truth of which is so obvious, and so effentially connected with a great number of circumstances, which cannot be doubted, without fapping the whole foundation of history ? Am I to blame in demanding of him, whether he takes prudence for his guide, when he inclines rather to expose himself to eternal misery, than to credit so authentic a fact? or whether 'tis making a proper use of his reason to continue thus sceptical on various points of religion, after being convinced by this single proof, that all his doubts are groundless; since they are all here ultimately and radically confuted ?
But is it possible, he may fay, that the resurrection of a man buried for four days, happening fo near Jerusalem, should not convert every body? I answer *, that many were affected with it, and believed in Chrift; but that this faith, if fincere, was not the effect of the external miracle, which was only the occasion of it; that the people were prepared to believe, as appeared by the hafte they were in to meet him, and by the acclamations with which they received him, when he made his entrance into Jerusalem, but that they were obstructed in the pursuit of their inclination by the faction of the priests and pharisees, who
poflessed As has been mentioned John chap. xi. 45. and ch. xii. 11.
possessed the principal authority in religious Chap.
way the deep counsels of the heaven-
" Tho' Jesus had done so many miracles be“ fore them, yet they believed not on him: « That the saying of Efaias the prophet might “ be fulfilled, which he spake: Lord, who hath “ believed our report? and to whom hath the
of the Lord been revealed? There“ fore they could not believe, because that “ Efaias said again, He hath blinded their
eyes, and hardened their heart; that they
+ Chap. xii. 37, &c.
PART" should not see with their eyes, nor underIV. stand with their heart, and be converted, w" and I should heal them. These things said
Efaias, when he saw his glory, and spake " of him.”
This is sufficient to filence every body. It was foretold, that the Jews would be incredulous, and would behold the greatest miracles without being affected; and that through blindness of heart they would make no use of what seemed the most probable to move them: wherefore it would have been a prejudice against Jesus Christ, if most of the Jews, struck with the evidence of his miracles, had believed ; for the prophets had foretold the contrary, and assigned to the almost general incredulity of the Jews, in respect to him, as a mark to know the true Messiah.