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should be put to death; and they only waited a favourable opportunity, in the absence of the multitude of his friends and followers, to take Him prisoner. He therefore no longer went about openly among the Jews, but retired to a part of the country near the wilderness, where. He continued for a time with His disciples.
I dare say you wonder why the chief priests and Pharisees were so' enraged as to desire to take away the life of our Lord for preaching the glad tidings of salvation, and performing miracles of mercy. The reason was, that they thought the people, delighted with His holy character and extraordinary power, would proclaim him King of Israel, as they had endeavoured to do once before, which they feared would provoke the Romans, who kept them
in subjection, to take
away and laws altogether, and enslave their whole nation: they therefore wished to get rid of this danger as soon as possible, by destroying Jesus. How they succeeded in their dreadful purpose you will hear by and by, but at present we must think of the awful circumstances attending the resurrection of Lazarus.
He was in his grave, in the stillness and silence of death, when the voice of the Son of God was heard, and reached the ear that was deaf to every other sound; the eye which was closed to every other object, now opened to behold Him who is the “ Resurrection “ and the Life," and Lazarus came forth to mingle once again with the living.
We cannot read the account of this miracle, without thinking of that day
when we are told “ all that are in the
graves shall hear the voice of Christ, " and shall come forth,"some to eternal happiness, some to everlasting misery.
When we die, our bodies are put in the grave, but they are not to remain there for ever. A day will come when, at the voice of the Lord Jesus Christ, they shall rise again from the dead. At that day, He will not be alone, in the humble form of Jesus of Nazareth, but he will appear as our great Judge. Assembled angels will surround His throne of glory, all nations shall be gathered before Him, and He will pronounce the final sentence which is to decide for ever the fate of every creature.
In one instant will He make the di. vision which is to separate for eternity the righteous from the wicked; those who have been His faithful servants and
children, and those who have lived far from Him. You who read, and I who write this, must be present at that awful moment. But, my dear children, if you try to love and obey God now, you need not be frightened at the prospect of the Day of Judgment, for it is only unrepenting sinners who will be punished. The same Lord who is their severe Judge, will be your pardoning Saviour ; - the same hand which holds the sword of justice against them, will be outstretched to save you; - the same voice which condemns them will welcome you to everlasting joy.
“ Come, ye blessed of my Father, “ inherit the kingdom prepared for you “ from the foundation of the world."
Matt. xxv. 34.
THE WISE AND FOOLISH VIRGINS.
BEFORE our Lord finally left his disciples, he told them several other beautiful parables, one of which you shall now hear.
He said that the kingdom of heaven, or our condition under the Christian religion, might be likened to certain young virgins who had been invited as bride's-maids to a wedding, which it was the custom in those countries to celebrate by night. The bridegroom usually conducted his bride home