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did here, believed on him; and some of them," ver. 46, who "did not believe, went their ways to the pharisees, and told them what things Jesus had done" in this pretended 'miracle, and how the business was transacted,' p. 41.
It is true, that some went to the pharisees, and told them what things Jesus had done. But it does not follow that they were persons who did not believe. They did not indeed believe Jesus to be the Christ, as many other Jews did hereupon; but they believed the miracle, and knew it, and went and told the pharisees of it. That these persons told the pharisees of a miracle done by Jesus, is evident from the speeches of the pharisees upon occasion of the report brought them, ver. 47. " Then gathered the chief priests and the pharisees a council, and said, What do we? for this man doth many miracles."
Mr. W. goes on, p. 42, Whereupon the chief priests and pharisees were so far incensed as, ver. 53," from that day forth they took counsel together to put him to death;
and, chap. xii. 10, consulted that they might put Lazarus also to death. Jesus therefore," (and his disciples and Lazarus fled for it, for they) ver. 54, " walked no more
openly among the Jews, but went thence into a country
near to the wilderness," (a convenient hiding place,) “and 'there continued with his disciples;" otherwise in all pro
bability they had been all sacrificed.'
I must take leave to observe, that it is no where said that Lazarus absconded or fled for it: nor is there any account of the pharisees having at this time any design against Lazarus. Afterwards when Jesus came again to Bethany, we find that Lazarus was then at home. And many of the Jews came thither, "not for Jesus' sake only, but that they might see Lazarus also, whom he had raised from the dead. But the chief priests consulted, that they might put Lazarus to death; because that by reason of him many of the Jews went away and believed on Jesus," John xii. 9, 10, 11. Lazarus therefore did not abscond, but was at Bethany; and the miracle wrought on him was so certain, that many for that reason believed on Jesus. And the reason why the pharisees consulted that they might put Lazarus to death, was not because any imposture was detected, but because the miracle was too clear to be denied, and induced great numbers of the Jews, even followers of the pharisees, to go away from them, and believe in Jesus.
But this retirement of Jesus with his disciples into a country near the wilderness is judged so mighty an objection, that it is repeated again in the Jew's letter.
did Jesus and his disciples, with Lazarus, run away and ' abscond upon it?-Is there not here a plain sign of guilt and fraud? Men that have God's cause, truth and power on their side, never want courage and resolution to stand ' to it,' p. 44.
The judgments of men are surely very unfair and unequal. When any of the first Christians are observed to have been too forward in exposing themselves, they are represented as a company of mad men, and hot-headed enthusiasts. Jesus now for avoiding a danger is taxed with want of courage and resolution;' nay his retirement for only a very short time is termed, a plain sign of guilt and fraud.' Thus the desire of serving a present low purpose prevails over all the regards of justice and equity. So hard is it, (as Socrates a observed,) though you are free from all fault to escape unfair judges.'" But wisdom is justified of her children." It might be sufficient here to remind men of Christ's returning in a short time to Bethany again, and appearing publicly at Jerusalem, and teaching in the temple. But let us at present observe only this history of his raising Lazarus from the grave. When Jesus heard of the sickness of Lazarus, he was in the country beyond Jordan, John x. 40, and when he proposed to his disciples" to go into Judea again," they remembering the attempts of the Jews against him, endeavour all they can to divert him from the journey. "His disciples say unto him, Master, the Jews of late sought to stone thee, and goest thou thither again?" chap. xi. 8. Jesus then argues with them, that they need not apprehend any danger to him as yet. "These things said he, and after that saith unto them, Our friend Lazarus sleepeth, but I go that I may awake him out of sleep," ver. 11. They from thence take occasion to argue again, that then their journey to Bethany was not needful: "Then said his disciples, Lord, if he sleep, he shall do well." After that he tells him that Lazarus was dead, and declares his resolution to go to Bethany: "nevertheless let us go unto him." Whereupon Thomas filled with a kind of indignation that Jesus should have no more concern for himself nor them, than to expose them all to certain death, but at the same time sensible of his duty to follow him, says to his fellow-disciples; "Let us also go that we may die with him," ver. 16.
· Χαλεπον δε και αναμαρτήτως τι ποιησαντας μη αγνωμονι κριτη περιτυXE. Apud Xenophon, Memor. 1. 2.
Or perhaps, there was no indignation in his mind, but only a warm affection, which disposed him to go with Jesus, and to call upon the other disciples to do so likewise, whatever the danger was.
So that our blessed Lord, when he was in a place of safety, resolved to come to Bethany near Jerusalem, for the sake of Lazarus: and herein showed great courage and resolution. And what is there, I pray, blamable in his retiring again to some distance from Jerusalem, when he had performed the business for which he came into its neighbourhood?
ANSWER TO THE JEWISH RABBI'S LETTER.
WE are now come to the letter of Mr. W.'s Jewish Rabbi, whom Mr. W. calls his friend, and says his letter consists ' of calm and sedate reasoning,' p. 55. I on the other hand can see no reason in it. But the reader shall not need to rely upon my judgment. Therefore I will transcribe some parts of it, and then make some remarks. The argument of the letter is, that the story of Lazarus's being raised is an imposture; or else the Jews could not have been so wicked as to be on that account provoked against Jesus and La
'If there had been an indisputable miracle wrought in Lazarus's resurrection, why were the chief priests and pharisees so incensed upon it, as to take counsel to put 'Jesus and Lazarus to death for it?' p. 43.
The reason is very evident; because that by reason of it "many of the Jews went away," deserted the proud pharisees," and believed on Jesus," John xii. 10.
'If,' says he, historians can parallel this story of the 'malignity of the Jews towards Jesus and Lazarus upon 'such a real miracle with thing [things] equally barbarous ' and inhuman in any other sect and nation; we will acknowledge the truth of it against our own nation: or if 'such inhumanity, abstractedly considered, be at all agree' able to the conceptions any one can form of human nature, ' in the most uncivilized and brutish people, we will allow ' our ancestors in this case, to have been that people.-And ' he promises to make it out as foolish and wicked an imposture as ever was contrived and transacted in the world that it is no wonder the people by an unanimous voice, 'called for the releasement of Barabbas, a robber and mur'derer, before Jesus,' p. 46, 53, 54.
The demand made of a parallel of the malignity of the
Jews against Jesus, upon such a real miracle, is very idle, because there never was such a public miracle done by any other for so pure a doctrine. But if this Jew or any one else will produce an instance of such a miracle done by any one, who also taught the same spiritual, heavenly doctrine that Jesus did, and nothing else; and who conversed and taught as publicly as Jesus did; and spoke the truth to all without fear or favour: I will show he had an ignominious death, or else wondrous escapes and deliverances by manifest interpositions of Divine Providence.
But though an instance of equal malignity cannot be shown, because there is no other character equal to our Saviour's in innocence of life and greatness of works; yet the Jewish nation will afford an instance, which I am very sorry is so near a parallel. Moses was the greatest prophet, and meekest man, they ever had among them, except Jesus, and they often murmured against him. "And Moses cried unto the Lord, saying, What shall I do unto this people? They be almost ready to stone me," Exod. xvii. 4. When they should have gone to have taken possession of the land of Canaan," All the children of Israel murmured against Moses and against Aaron. All the congregation bade stone them with stones," Numb. xiv. 2—10, that is, Moses and Aaron, Caleb and Joshua, or at least these two, the only persons that stood by Moses, and his brother.
This people were to a man obliged to Moses, who had brought them up out of a state of servitude. Nor had they any just ground of complaint against him, whilst in the wilderness, for God says: "Ye have seen what I did unto the Egyptians, and how I bare you on eagles' wings," Exod. xix. 4. The blessings Moses proposed were far more agreeable to carnal minds (such as the Jews and most other men's are) than those promised by Jesus. He engaged to raise them to a state of independency in a land flowing with milk and honey. The time set for this event according to divine promise was now come. And he had performed many great miracles before them, and yet they rebelled continually against God and this his servant. Nor did any of all this congregation, except Caleb and Joshua, believe God, as Moses tells them expressly. Deut. ix. 23, 24. They are called by the Psalmist a "stubborn and rebellious generation," Ps. lxxviii. 8. "They believed not for all his wondrous works," ver. 32. Not that they disbelieved the works themselves: they knew them, but though they saw the works of God, they were not obedient.
"Thou knowest," says Aaron to Moses, " that this people
is set upon mischief," Exod. xxxii. 22. As they were then, so they continued to be; and slew the prophets which God sent to them. They are upon record in their own writings as the most obstinate of all people, Ezek. iii. 5, 6. They are said to have "changed God's judgments into wickedness more than the nations," ch. v. 6. One would think these, and many other such things, were recorded on purpose to prevent such an objection as we have now before us; or to help us to answer it, if any should be so unreasonable as to make it.
Why should it be thought strange that this people, who would have stoned Moses, and who slew many other prophets, should also conspire against Jesus? especially considering that they abounded now as much as ever with all kinds of the worst wickedness, except idolatry; (if we may credit Josephus and other writers of this nation;) and were now disappointed in their fondest expectations of worldly power and splendour. I will transcribe here an answer of Origen to a like objection of Celsus, proposed in the person of a Jew. • Well then, sirs, how will you (says Origen)
answer such questions as these, if put to you by us? Which are in your opinion the greatest miracles? those 'which were wrought in Egypt, and in the wilderness? or 'those which we say were wrought among you by Jesus? If in your opinion those are greater than these latter is it not hence apparent, that according to your custom, you may despise the less, who disbelieved the greater? since think those ascribed to Jesus less than those former. But if those, which are related of Jesus are equal to those written by Moses: is it any thing strange, that the same people should be equally unbelieving upon both occasions? For the beginning of the law was by Moses: and in that are recorded the transgressions of the unbelievers and sinners among you. And the beginning of the second law and covenant is allowed to have been given unto us by
* Το, τι βέλεσθε, ω ετοι, προς τας πεύσεις ήμων αποκρίνεσθαι; ποιαι δυναμεις μείζες, όσον επι ὑμέτερα ὑπολήψει εἶναι ὑμῖν φαινονται. αι εν Αιγύπτῳ και τη ερημψ, η ἁ εφαμεν ἡμεῖς πεποιηκεναι τον Ιησεν παρ' ὑμῖν; ει μεν δε εκειναι μείζες τετων καθ ̓ ὑμας εισι πως εκ αυτοθεν δεικνυται, ότι κατα το ηθος των τοις μειζοσιν απιζησαντων εστι και το των ήττονων καταφρρονειν ; τετο γαρ ὑπολαμβάνεται περὶ ὧν λεγομεν περι Ιησε· ει δε ισαι λεγονται περι το Ιησε ταις αναγεγραμμεναις ὑπο Μωυσέως, τι ξενον απηντησε λαῳ κατ' αμφοτέρας τας αρχάς των πραγματων απιςεντι; αρχη μεν γαρ νομοθεσίας, επι Μωυσέως ην. εν ἡ τα αμαρτήματα των απίτων και των αμαρτανόντων ὑμῶν αναγεγραπται. Αρχη δε νομοθεσιας και διαθηκης δευτερας κατά τον Ιησεν ἡμιν γεγονεναι ὁμολογεῖται. Και μαρτυρεῖτε δι' ὧν τῳ Ιησε απιτειτε, ότι υιοι εσε εν τη ερημι απιςήσαντων ταις θειαις επιφάνειαις. Origen, contr. Cels. 1. 2. p. 206, 207.