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their graves, by the roaring of that glorious and immortal Lion, whose voice shall shake the powers of heaven, and move the very foundations of the earth!
With what strange amazedness, do we think, that Martha and Mary, the Jews and the disciples, looked to see Lazarus come forth in his winding-sheet, shackled with his linen fetters, and walk towards them! Doubtless, fear and horror strove in them, whether should be for the time more predominant. We love our friends dearly ; but to see them again after their known death, and that in the very robes of the grave, must needs set up the hair in a kind of uncouth rigour.
And now, though it had been most easy for him, that brake the adamantine fetters of death, to have broke in pieces those linen ligaments, wherewith his raised Lazarus was encumbered; yet he will not do it but by their hands. He, that said, Remove the stone, said, Loose Lazarus. He will not have us expect his immediate help in that, we can do for ourselves. It is both a lazi. ness and a presumptuous tempting of God, to look for an extraordinary and supernatural help from God, where he hath enabled us with common aid.
What strange salutations do we think there were, betwixt Lazarus and Christ that had raised him; betwixt Lazarus and his sisters and neighbours and friends! what amazed looks! what unusual compliments! For Lazarus was himself at once: here was no leisure of degrees to reduce him to his wonted perfection ; neither did he stay to rub bis eyes, and stretch his benumbed limbs, nor take time to put off that dead sleep wherewith he had been seized; but, instantly, he is both alive, and fresh, and vigorous : if they do but let him go, he walks so as if he had ailed nothing; and receives and gives mutual gratulations. I leave them, entertaining each other with glad embraces, with discourses of reciprocal admiration, with praises and adorations of that God and Saviour that had fetched him into life.
CHRIST'S PROCESSION TO THE TEMPLE. Never did our Saviour take so much state upon him, as now, that he was going towards his Passion : other journies he measured on foot, without noise or train ; this, with a princely equipage and loud acclamation. Wherein yet, “O Saviour, whether shall I more wonder at thy Majesty, or thine Humility : that Divine Majesty, which lay hid under so humble appearance; or that sincere Humility, which veiled so great a glory?
Thou, O Lord, whose chariots are twenty thousand, even thousands of angels, wouldst make choice of the silliest of beasts to carry thee, in thy last and Royal Progress. How well is thy birth suited with thy triumph! Even that very ass, whereon thou rodest, was prophesied of; neither couldst thou have made up those vatical predictions, without this conveyance.
O glorious, and yet homely pomp!
Thou wouldst not lose aught of the right; thou, that wast a King, wouldst be proclaimed so: but, that it might appear thy kingdom was not of this world, thou, that couldst have commanded all worldly magnificence, thoughtest fit to abandon it.
Instead of the kings of the earth, who, reigning by thee, might have been employed in thine attendance, the people are thy heralds. Their homely garments are thy footcloth and carpets; their green boughs, the strewings of thy way. Those palms, which were wont to be borne in the hands of them that triumph, are strewed under the feet of thy beast. It was thy greatness and ho. nour, to contemn those glories, which worldly hearts were wont to admire.
Justly did thy followers hold the best ornaments of the earth worthy of no better, than thy treading upon ; neither could they ever account their garments so rich, as when they had been trampled upon by thy carriage. How happily, did they think their backs disrobed for thy way! How gladly, did they spend their breath in acclaiming thee ! Hosanna to the Son of David: Blessed is he, that cometh in the name of the Lord. Where now are the great masters of the synagogue, that had enacted the ejection of whosoever should confess Jesus to be the Christ? Lo here bold and undaunted clients of the Messiah, that dare proclaim him in the public road, in the open streets. In vain shall the impotent enemies of Christ hope to suppress his glory: as soon shall they with their band bide the face of the sun from shining to the world, as withhold the beams of bis Divine truth from the eyes of men by their envious opposition. In spite of all Jewish malignity, his kingdom is confessed, applauded, blessed. O thou fairer than the children of men, in thy Majesty ride on prosperously, because of truth and meekness and righteousness: and thy right hand shall teach thee terrible things.
In this princely, and yet poor and despicable pomp, doth our Saviour criter the famous city of Jerusalem ; Jerusalem, noted of old for the seat of kings, priests, prophets : of kings, for there was the throne of David; of priests, for there was the temple; of prophets, for there they delivered their errands, and left their blood. Neither know I, whether it were more wonder for a prophet to perish out of Jerusalem, or to be safe there. Thither would Jesus come as a King, as a Priest, as a Prophet : acclaimed, as a King ; teaching the people, and foretelling the woeful vastation of it, as a Prophet; and, as a Priest, taking possession of his temple, and vindicating it from the foul profanations of Jewish sacrilege.
Oft before had be come to Jerusalem, without any remarkable change, because without any semblance of state; now, that he gives some little glimpse of his royalty, the whole city was moted. When the Sages of the East brought the first news of the King of the Jews, Herod was troubled, and all Jerusalem with him; and now, that the King of the Jews comes himself, though in so mean a port, there is a new commotion. The silence, and obscurity, of Christ never troubles the world; he may be an underling, witnout any stir : but if he do but put forth himself never so little to bear the Jeast sway amongst men, now their blood is up; the whole city is moved. Neither is it otherwise in the private economy of the soul. ( Saviour, while thou dost, as it were, hide thyself, and lie still in the heart, and takest all terms contentedly from us, we entertain thee with no other than a friendly welcome; but when thou once beginnest to ruffle with our corruptions, and to exercise thy spiritual power in the subjugation of our vile affections, now all is in a secret uproar, all the angles of the heart are moved.
Although, doubtless, this cominotion was not so much of tumult, as of wonder. As when some uncouth sight presents itself in a populous street, men run, and gaze, and throng, and inquire ; the feet, the tongue, the eyes walk; one spectator draws on another, one asks and presses another; the noise increases with the concourse, cach helps to stir up others' expectation : such was this of Jerusalem.
What means this strangeness? Was not Jerusalem the Spouse of Christ? Had he not chosen her out of all the earth ? Had he not begotten many children of her, as the pledges of their love? How justly mayest thou now, O Saviour, complain, with that mirror of patience, My breath was grown strange to my own wife, though I entreated her for the children's sake of my own body! Even of thee is that fulfilled, which thy chosen vessel said of thy ministers, Thou art made a gazing-stock to the world, to angels, and to men.
As all the world was bound to thee for thy Incarnation and residence upon the face of the earth, so especially Judea, to whose limits thou confinedst thyself; and therein, above all the rest, three cities, Nazareth, Capernaum, Jerusalem, on whom thou bestowedst the most time, and cost of preaching, and miraculous works. Yet in all three, thou receivedst, not strange entertainment only, but hostile. In Nazareth, they would have cast thee down headlong from the mount : in Capernaum, they would have bound thee: in Jerusalem, they crucified thee at last, and now are amazed at thy presence. Those places and persons, that have the greatest helps and privileges afforded to them, are not always the most answerable, in the return of their thankfulness.
Christ's being amongst us doth not make us happy, but his welcome. Every day may we hear him in our streets, and yet be as new to seek as these citizens of Jerusalem ; Who is this?
Was it a question of applause, or of contempt, or of ignorance? Applause, of his abettors; contempt, of the Scribes and Pharisees; ignorance, of the multitude ? Surely, his abettors had not been moved at this sight; the Scribes and Pharisees had rather envied than contemned the multitude, doubtless, inquired seriously, out of a desire of information. Not that the citizens of Jerusalem knew not Christ, who was so ordinary a guest, so noted a Prophet amongst them. Questionless, this question was asked of that part of the train, which went before this triumph, while our Saviour was not yet in sight, which ere long his presence had resolved. It had been their duty to have known, to have attended Christ, yea to have published him to others : since this is not done, it is well yet that they spend their breath in an inquiry. No doubt, there were many, that would not so much as leave their shop-board, and step to their doors or their windows, to say, Who is this? as not thinking it could concern them who passed by, while they migkit sit still. Those Greeks were in some way to good, that could say to Philip, We would see Jesus. ( Saviour, thou hast been so long amongst us, that it is our just shame, if we know thee not. If we have been slack hitherto, let our zealous inquiry make amends for our neglect. Let outward pomp and worldly glory draw the hearts and tongues of carnal men after them : Oh let it be my care and happiness, to ask after nothing but thee.
The attending disciples could not be to seek for an answer, Which of the prophets have not put it into their mouths? Who is this? Ask Moses, and he shall tell you, The Seed of the Woman that shall break the Serpent's head. Åsk our father Jacob, and he shall tell you, The Shiloh of the Tribe of Judah. Ask David, and he shall tell you, The King of Glory. Ask Isaiah, he shall tell you, Immanuel, Wonderful, Counsellor, The Mighty God, The Ézer: lasting Father, The Prince of Peace. Ask Jeremiah, and he shall tell you, The Righteous Branch. Ask Daniel, he shall tell you, The Messiah. Ask John the Baptist, he shall tell you, The Lamb of God. If ye ask the God of the Prophets, he hath told you, This is my Beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased. Yea, if all these be too good for you to consult with, the devils themselves have been forced to say, I know who thou art, even that Holy One of God. On no side, hath Christ left himself without a testimony; and, accordingly, the multitude here bave their answer ready, This is Jesus, the Prophet of Nazareth in Galilee.
Ye undervalue your Master, ( ye well-meaning followers of Christ: A Prophet? yea, more than a Prophet? John Baptist was so, yet was but the harbinger of this Messiah, This was that God, by whom the prophets were both sent and inspired. Of Nazareth, say you ? ye mistake him: Bethlehem was the place of his birth, the proof of his tribe, the evidence of bis Messiahship. If Nazareth were honoured by his preaching, there was no reason he should be dishonoured by Nazareth. No doubt, he, whom you confessed, pardoned the error of your confession. Ye spake but according to the common style : the two disciples, in their walk to Emmaus, after the Death and Resurrection of Christ, give him no other title. This belief passed current with the people, and thus high even the vulgar thoughts could then rise : and, no doubt, even thus much was for that time very acceptable to the Father of Mercies. If we make profession of the truth according to our knowledge, though there be much imperfection in our apprehen. sion and delivery, the mercy of our good God takes it well; not judging us for what we have not, but accepting us in what we have. Shouldst thou, () God, stand strictly upon the punctual degrees of knowledge, how wide would it go with millions of souls !
for, beside much error in many, there is more ignorance. But herein do we justly magnify and adore thy goodness, that, where thou findest diligent endeavour of better information matched with an honest simplicity of heart, thou passest by our unwilling defects, and crownest our well-meant confessions.
But oh the wonderful hand of God, in the carriage of this whole business! The people proclaimed Christ first a king; and now they proclaim him a prophet. Why did not the Roman bands run into arms, upon the one? why did not the Scribes and Pharisees and the envious Priesthoo mutiny, upon the other? They had made decrees against him ; they had laid wait for him; yet now he passes in state through their streets, acclaimed both a King and Prophet, without their reluctation. What can we impute this unto, but to the powerful and overruling arm of his Godhead ? He, that restrained the rage of Herod and his courtiers upon the first news of a King born, now restrains all the opposite powers of Jerusalem from lifting up a finger against this last and public avouchment of the Regal and Prophetical Office of Christ. When flesh and blood have done their worst, they can be but such as he will make them. If the legions of hell combine with the potentates of the earth, they cannot go beyond the reach of their tether : whether they rise or sit still, they shall, by an insensible ordination, perform that will of the Almighty, which they least think of, and most oppose,
With this humble pomp and just acclamation, O Saviour, dost thou pass through the streets of Jerusalem to the temple. Thy first walk was not to Herod's palace, or to the market-places or burses of that populous city, but to the Temple; whether it were out of duty, or out of need : as a good son, when he comes from far, his first alighting is at his father's house ; neither would he think it other than preposterous, to visit strangers before his friends, or friends before his father, Besides that the temple had more use of thy presence : both there was the most disorder, and from thence, as from a corrupt spring, it issued forth into all the channels of Jerusalem, A wise physician iqnuires first into the state of the head, heart, liver, stomach, the vital and chief parts, ere he asks after the petty symptoms of the meaner and less-concerning members. Surely, all good or evil begins at the Temple, If God have there his own, if men find there nothing but whole. some instruction, holy example, the commonwealth cannot want some bappy tincture of piety, devotion, sanctimony; as that fra. grant perfume from Aaron's head sweetens his utmost skirts. Contrarily, the distempers of the temple cannot but affect the secular state. As therefore the good husbandman, when he sees the leaves grow yellow, and the branches unthriving, looks presently to the root; so didst thou, O Holy Saviour, upon sight of the disorders spread over Jerusalem and Judea, address thyself to the rectifying of the Teinple.
No sooner is Christ alighted at the gate of the outer court of his Father's house, than he falls to work, Reformation was his errand :