by T. De Witt Talmage

T. DeWitt Talmage
John 11:44

My Bible is, at the place of this text, written all
over with lead-pencil marks, made in December, 1889,
at Bethany, on the ruins of the house of Mary and
Martha and Lazarus. We dismounted from our horses on
the way up from Jordan and the Dead Sea. Bethany was
the summer evening retreat of Jesus. After spending
the day in the hot city of Jerusalem, he would come
out there almost every evening to the house of his
three friends. I think the occupants of that house
were orphans, for the father and mother are not
mentioned. But the son and two daughters must have
inherited property, for it must have been, judging
from what I saw of the foundations and the size of the
rooms, an opulent home. Lazarus, .the brother, was now
the head of the household, and his sisters depended on
him, and were proud of him, for he was very popular
and everybody liked him, and these girls were splendid
girls. Martha, a first-rate housekeeper, and Mary, a
spirituelle, somewhat dreamy, but affectionate, and as
good a girl as could be found in all Palestine. But
one day Lazarus got sick. The sisters were in
consternation. Father gone and mother gone, they feel
very nervous lest they lose their brother also.
Disease did its quick work. How the girls hung over
his pillow! Not much sleep about that house, no sleep
at all. From the characteristics otherwise developed,
I judge that Martha prepared the medicines, and made
tempting dishes of food for the poor appetite of the
sufferer, but Mary prayed and sobbed. Worse and worse
gets Lazarus until the doctor announces that he can do
no more. The shriek that went up from that household
when the last breath had been drawn, and the two
sisters were being led by sympathizers into the
adjoining room, all those of us can imagine who have
had our own hearts broken. But why was not Jesus there
as he so often had been? Far away in the count ...

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