Verse 57. "Had given a commandment" - Had given order; entolhn, positive order, or injunction, and perhaps with a grievous penalty, that no one should keep the place of his residence a secret. This was their hour, and the power of darkness; and now they are fully determined to take away his life. The order here spoken of was given in consequence of the determination of the council, mentioned ver. 48-53.
CHRIST'S sympathy and tenderness, one of the principal subjects in this chapter, have already been particularly noted on chap. xi. 33. His eternal power and Godhead are sufficiently manifested in the resurrection of Lazarus. The whole chapter abounds with great and important truths, delivered in language the most impressive and edifying. In the whole of our Lord's conduct in the affair of Lazarus and his sisters, we find majesty, humanity, friendship, and sublime devotion, blended in the most intimate manner, and illustrating each other by their respective splendour and excellence. In every act, in every word, we see GOD manifested in the FLESH:-Man in all the amiableness and charities of his nature; GOD in the plenitude of his power and goodness. How sublime is the lesson of instruction conveyed by the words, Jesus wept! The heart that feels them not must be in the gall of bitterness, and bond of iniquity, and consequently lost to every generous feeling.
On the quotation from Virgil, on the 50th verse, a learned friend has sent me the following lines.
My dear Sir,-I have observed that in one part of your Commentary you quote these words of Virgil, Unum pro multis dabitur caput; and you are of opinion that Virgil here recognizes the doctrine of atonement. There is a passage in Lucan where this doctrine is exhibited more clearly and fully. It is in the second book, v. 306. Cato, in a speech to Brutus, declares his intention of fighting under the standard of Pompey, and then expresses the following sentiment: - O utinam, coelique Deis Erebique liberet, Hoc caput in cunctas damnatum exponere poenas! Devotum hostiles Decium pressere catervae: Me geminae figant acies, me barbara telis Rheni turba petat: cunctis ego pervius hastis Excipiam medius totius vulnera belli.
Hic redimat sanguis populos: hac caede luatur, Quidquid Romani meruerunt pendere mores.
O, were the gods contented with my fall, If Cato's life could answer for you all, Like the devoted Decius would I go, To force from either side the mortal blow, And for my country's sake wish to be thought her foe.
To me, ye Romans, all your rage confine, To me, ye nations from the barbarous Rhine, Let all the wounds this war shall make be mine.
Open my vital streams, and let them run; O, let the purple sacrifice atone, For all the ills offending Rome hath done! ROWE.
A little after, v. 377, Lucan portrays the character of Cato with a very masterly hand; but he applies expressions to a mortal which are applicable to Christ alone.
Uni quippe vacat, studiisque odiisque carenti, Humanum lugere genus.
The golden mean unchanging to pursue; Constant to keep the purposed end in view; Religiously to follow nature's laws; And die with pleasure in his country's cause, To think he was not for himself design'd, But born to be of use to all mankind. ROWE.