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tions about the place where the souls of these persons had been, between their death and their being raised up again; and particularly the soul of Lazarus. • that of Jesus's friends should go to hell, will not be But the thought, 'borne with. And if Lazarus's soul had been in 'dise, it was hardly a good work in Jesus to recall it,-to the para'troubles and miseries of this wicked world,' p. 34. Suppose Lazarus's soul to have been asleep, or in paradise, or in heaven itself, it might be a very good work in Jesus to recall it into this world for a time. It was much for the spiritual benefit of many, who might be induced by the great miracle of raising him to life, to believe in Jesus, and receive his doctrine, which, when heartily embraced, is fruitful of the greatest benefits. Nor could the soul of any good man be unwilling to return for a time to the troubles and miseries of this wicked world, how grievous soever, in order to serve the great design of saving his fellow creatures; for which end Jesus his Saviour descended from the height of glory he had with the Father, took flesh, and underwent the troubles and sorrows of this mortal life. And it might issue in the end to the advantage of Lazarus himself; as no man can doubt, who believes a future judgment, and that Jesus will preside therein, which is the doctrine of the New Testament.
ANSWER TO MR. WOOLSTON'S SIXTH OBJECTION.
6. AND lastly, Let us consider the intrinsic absurdities ⚫ and incredibilities of the several stories of these three mi'racles, p. 36. As to Jairus's daughter, and her resurrec⚫tion from the dead, St. Hilary hints that there was no such 'person as Jairus;-and he gives this reason, and a good 'reason it is, why he thought so, because it is elsewhere in'timated in the gospel that none of the rulers of the syna'gogues confessedly believed on Jesus,' John vii. 48, and xii. 42.
St. John's words in the last quoted text are these: "Nevertheless, among the chief rulers also many believed on him, but because of the pharisees, they did not confess him, lest they should be put out of the synagogue." This text is no ways to our author's purpose. The rulers here mentioned by St. John probably were members of their great council at Jerusalem, or of the lesser councils in some other
In loc. Matt.
cities: but Jairus was the ruler of the synagogue. But supposing Jairus to have been one of that same sort of rulers which St. John speaks of, here is no inconsistency. Jairus might believe in Jesus and come to him to heal his daughter, and yet not publicly "confess him to be the Christ."
But why did Jesus say, this girl was but in a sleep?' p. 36. Mr. W. had before affirmed this: Jesus himself says, she was but asleep.' And it is true that our Lord, "when he came into the ruler's house, and saw the minstrels, he said unto them, Give place, for the maid is not dead, but sleepeth." But by this our Lord did not intend to deny that she was expired, but to assure them in a modest way, that she would be raised up as it were out of sleep. That this is our Saviour's meaning, is most evident from his use of these same expressions in St. John concerning Lazarus. See John xi. 4, &c. Lazarus's sisters sent to Jesus to inform him that their brother was sick. "When Jesus heard that, he said," to his disciples," this sickness is not unto death," that is, to his final death, to a lasting death. (So the words must be understood, because, according to St. John, Lazarus did actually expire and die of that sickness.) "But for the glory of God." Afterwards St. John says: "These things said he, and after that he saith unto them, our friend Lazarus sleepeth, but I go that I may awake him out of sleep. Then said the disciples, Lord, if he sleep he shall do well. Howbeit Jesus spake of his death. Then said Jesus unto them plainly, Lazarus is dead." Where in formal express terms St. John assures us, that by sleep our Lord meant death. No critical reader will doubt, that this is the meaning of Christ's words, which he spoke of Jairus's daughter. Nor will any lover of virtue endure to be robbed of a singular instance of such charming virtues as humility and modesty. Instead of these modest expressions, "Give place, for the maid is not dead but sleepeth:" had Jesus been a juggler and impostor, as is pretended, or had this history been a forgery, we had had some such silly boasting speech as this: Ay! the young woman is really dead, and your lamentations are wellgrounded: but let me only look upon her, and say a few words over her, and depend upon it, you will see her alive again, and as well as ever.
If he were going to work a miracle in her resuscitation, ' he should not have called death SLEEP; but if others had 'been of a contrary opinion, he should first have convinced 'them of the certainty of her death,' p. 36, 37. That is, Jesus b Vid. Grot. in Matt. ix. 18.
should have spent time, and taken pains to convince them of what they were convinced of before, and were so positive in, that when they understood him to say the maid was not expired, but only sleeping in a natural sleep," they laughed him to scorn.'
It follows in our author: And why did he charge the 'parents of the girl not to speak of the miracle?' There might be many reasons for this, and those founded not upon the falsehood or uncertainty of the miracle, but on the certainty and greatness of it. This prohibition then was partly owing to the humility and modesty of Jesus, who, instead of ordering men to proclaim his works, often desired them to be silent about them. It was partly owing to prudence, that he might have opportunity during the short time his ministry was to last, for teaching men the will of God, and for instructing his disciples; that he might avoid the suspicion of setting up for a ruler and governor, or attempting any disturbance; which suspicion might have arisen in men's minds, if the concourse of men to him had been too
These prohibitions therefore may be understood to be only temporary or for the present. Thus our Saviour forbid his disciples to speak of the transfiguration on the mount, "until the Son of man be risen from the dead," Matt. xvii. 9. It was not long before he was to be taken out of this world: and then they on whom he wrought any miracles might speak freely of them, without giving any occasion to suspect his designing a temporal kingdom, to the prejudice of the civil government then in being.
Besides, though the parents of this maid were to be silent of this miracle, here were many others that might speak of it. All her friends who knew she was dead, were witnesses of her resurrection, when they saw her alive again.
And rather than suspect any bad design in this prohibition, which is so contrary to the whole character of Jesus; I would conceive that he might have some regard to the character of Jairus, as a ruler of the synagogue; and since he was an honest man, who had entertained a faith in Jesus for working so great a miracle, he by his advice of silence dispensed with his speaking publicly of the miracle, which might have been much to his prejudice, and was not at present absolutely necessary. This I am sure is more consonant to the meekness and goodness of Jesus, upon many other occasions, than any suspicion of fraud or imposture. And why did he turn the people out of the house be'fore he would raise her?' p. 37. Why, perhaps, partly for
the reasons of silence just mentioned. If many had been actually present at the raising her up, they might have been more excited to spread abroad the miracle, and thereby make too great a concourse; which might have given umbrage, and been a handle to his enemies to charge him with innovations in the state. Another reason is this; that no more might thrust into the room where the young woman lay dead, than those he took with him; that there might be no disturbance in the house; that the persons he took along with him, might have no interruption of any kind; that they might be sedate and composed, and attend only to the work he was about to perform before them; and that they might have a near, clear, distinct, and full view of it; and that they might afterwards (his disciples especially) report it to others, upon the fullest assurance and conviction.
There were the parents of the young woman, and three of our Saviour's disciples, which are witnesses enough of any action; and being with our Lord six in number, might be as many as could have, in the room where she lay, a clear sight without interrupting each other. Five close witnesses, at full ease, are better than forty witnesses in a crowd and confusion. This action then of our blessed Lord in clearing the house of hired musicians and other people, is no exception in the least to this miracle.
There is still a reflection of Mr. W.'s relating to this miracle to be considered, which he places under one of his former observations; which I passed by then, only that it might be considered here in its proper place. And it is 'not,' says he, p. 27, impossible, but the passionate screams ' of the feminine by-standers might fright her into fits, that 'bore the appearance of death; otherwise, why did Jesus 'turn these inordinate weepers out of the house, before he 'could bring her to her senses again?' If Mr. W. by the 'feminine by-standers' means any persons different from "the minstrels and the people making a noise," [Matt. ix. 23.] which Jesus saw when he came into the house; and would insinuate, that these persons by passionate screams might fright her into fits;' this is mere fiction, and contrary to the history of this event. This young woman was near expiring when her father left her, and when he came to Jesus he says she was then at the point of death. position of the father must have been owing to the nature of her case, which he had seen before he left her, and not to any passionate screams which he could know nothing of. Besides, who make passionate screams when people are well, and in no danger? And if made when persons are
desperate, would rather be of service than otherwise. These screams then to fright her into fits and an appearance of death, are mere fiction, and an invention of the author against the history.
If by passionate screams Mr. W. intends the lamentations. of the minstrels and other people making a noise, whom Jesus found in the house: I should have thought Mr. W. might know very well, that it was not possible they should hurt the young woman; unless they could fright her after she was dead. If her friends had not known she was dead, they would not have suffered these musicians to enter their house, and make lamentations, and put them to charge without any occasion. The music of these minstrels is alone a sufficient proof she was dead. But there had before come some from Jairus's house, which said, "Thy daughter is dead, why troublest thou the master any further?" Mark v. 35.
I think I have now considered all the objections against the history of raising Jairus's daughter.
As for the story of the widow of Nain's son,' says Mr. W. p. 37, 38, excepting what is before observed of the 'shortness of the time in which he lay dead, and of the un'fitness of his person to be raised, I have here no more
fault to find in the letter of it.' These objections I have spoken to already. But under one of them Mr. W. placed some objections to the circumstances of this story, which I will now consider. He then says, p. 28: And who knows but Jesus, upon some information or other, might suspect this youth to be in a lethargic state, and had a mind to try, if by chafing, &c. he could do what successfully he did, bring him to his senses again: or might not a piece of fraud be concerted between Jesus, a subtle youth, and ' his mother and others; and all the formalities of a death ' and burial be contrived, that Jesus, whose fame for a 'worker of miracles was to be raised, might here have an
opportunity to make a show of a grand one. The mourning of the widow, who had her tears at command, and Je'sus's casual meeting of the corpse upon the road, looks like contrivance to put the better face upon the matter. God forbid, that I should suspect there was any fraud of this kind here; but of the possibility of it, none can 'doubt.'
To all this I answer, that the character of Jesus and his doctrine prevents all suspicion of so vile a thing as that of contrivance. His doctrine is as holy and excellent (to say no more) as that which the best men ever taught. He is