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highly favoured subjects of his friendship at Bethany. The sight of the sorrowing sisters at the tomb of their only and dearly beloved brother, his friend Lazarus, excited the tenderest sympathies of his soul, and drew tears from the eyes, and groans from the heart of Jesus. "Behold how he loved him," exclaimed the by-standers. Let us not think it beneath the dignity of the eternal Son of God, to have shared in the sorrows of such a scene; rather let us rejoice, that we have an High Priest, "who can be touched with the feeling of our infirmities, and that in all our afflictions he was afflicted." Was not this event recorded to encourage us to present all our cares and trials before him. The cry, "Lord, he whom thou lovest is sick;" will not, cannot, be unnoticed by him who wept at the grave of Lazarus; for, though he has changed his place, he has not changed his nature. As Man, he can still sympathise with his people in all their sorrows and afflictions. As God, he is ever able to extend his all-powerful arm, and give the wished-for aid.
They also that seek after my life lay snares for me; and they that seek my hurt speak mischievous things, and imagine deceits all the day long.-Psalm xxxviii. 12.
WHERE shall we find the person to whom these words are so applicable, as to Jesus. From the manger to the cross, he was constantly encircled by men who were plotting his destruction. If we trace the line from Herod, the Tetrarch of Galilee, to Pilate, the Governor of Judea, we find that the enemies of Jesus were neither few nor weak. We see marshalled against him, kings, priests, and governors; Pharisees, Scribes, and Sadducees; the learned and the wealthy; the noble and the peasant; the Jewish nation and the Roman soldiery. No scheme that malice, iniquity, or falsehood could devise or suggest, was suffered to escape; all were pressed into their service, and made to bear against him. Every stratagem was resorted to, that they might entangle him in his discourse, to form an excuse for seizing his person. At one time, the Herodians are sent with the question," Is it lawful to give tribute to Cæsar, or not?" and though they preface their inquiry with Master, we know that thou art true, and carest for
no man, for thou regardest not the person of men, but teachest the way of God in truth," yet he discovered their hypocrisy; and who but must admire the Godlike wisdom that sparkles in his bold reply? We next behold the Pharisees approach with cautious step and flattering tongue, to ask his opinion of the laws enacted by Moses for divorcement. On the other side, the Sadducees appear to present their queries touching the resurrection of the dead. However artfully their plans were laid, they could not surprise or deceive Infinite Wisdom. Their next scheme is to present before him a woman guilty of adultery, hoping, from the known kindness of his character, that he would pronounce her pardon, and then they could accuse him as a violator of the commands of their great lawgiver, Moges, who ordered all persons guilty of such offences to be stoned to death; but he, who knew what was in man, could foil his adversaries, whilst he pardoned the trembling penitent. "Let him that is without sin, first cast a stone at her," sent home to their conscience, proved the wisdom and Almighty power of him with whom they were contending. Yet still his enemies spake against him, and they that laid wait for his soul, took counsel together.
For I have heard the slander of many; fear was on every side; while they took counsel together against me, they devised to take away my life.-Psalm xxxi. 13.
Ir is not infrequent that the envious and the profligate are found speaking in terms of reproach of characters whose public and domestic conduct are a beautiful portrait of all that is honourable, amiable, and truly worthy of commendation. Yet persons will never be wanting who can truly appreciate and highly esteem the fair edifice of moral excellence, and bestow the just tribute of respect it deserves. It is possible for men to be so far deceived by personal prejudice, or swayed by the false opinions of others, that they not only view with indifference, but even treat with contempt and scorn, persons, to whom the Searcher of hearts will one day say, "Well done, good and faithful servant, enter thou into the joy of thy Lord.” Examples of these facts are not wanting, but we no where behold so striking an illustration of this truth as in the reception the Holy Jesus met with from the men amongst whom he tabernacled. It must be confessed, that in the most perfect of the human race there are defects and blemishes, to which even the
eye of friendship cannot be blind, yet in Jesus there was a freedom from all evil either in principle or practice. He could be weighed "in the balance of the sanctuary," and not found wanting either to God or man. His actions, when measured by the just standard of God's law, are pronounced perfect. Yet he, who was purity itself, was not exempt from slander, but was called a gluttonous man, and a wine bibber; a friend of publicans and sinners, an hypocrite, a man of sedition and strife, a Sabbath breaker, and a violator of all the laws of Moses. In scorn, they say, this fellow, and that deceiver, thou art a Samaritan; a race of men held by the Jews in the most sovereign contempt and hatred. By some, he is accused of disloyal and traitorous conduct toward the rulers of Jewry; others pronounced him guilty of blasphemy; and, to crown the whole, they declare him to be a devil; yea, Belzebub, the chief of devils. Blessed Jesus, thou didst, indeed, hear the slander of many. Every action was viewed through a false medium. Thy acts of mercy became an occasion of offence, and called forth the hatred of these selfdeceived men, and thy whole conduct was vilified and spoken of in the harshest terms of disapprobation and scorn. Yet those ancient slanderers and perse