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12The disciples said to him, “Lord, if he has fallen asleep, he will be all right.”

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12. If he sleepeth, he will recover. 313313     “Il sera guairi.” Replying that sleep will have a salutary effect on Lazarus, they thus endeavor indirectly to dissuade Christ from going thither. And yet they do not craftily or deceitfully turn aside Christ’s words to suit their own purpose, on the pretense of not understanding what he said; 314314     “Comme faisans semblant de n’entendre point ce que Christ dit.” but, thinking that he spoke about sleep, they gladly seize this opportunity of avoiding danger. Augustine, and many writers since his time, speculate about the word sleep, alleging that the reason why it is applied to death is, because it is as easy for God to raise the dead to life, as it is for us to perform the customary act of awaking those who are asleep. But that nothing of this sort came into the mind of Christ, may be inferred from the constant use of the term in Scripture; and since even profane writers usually apply this word Sleep to Death, 315315     “Et mesmers veu que les autheurs profanes transferent coustumierement ce mot de Dormir a la Mort.” there was unquestionably no other reason why it came into use, but because a lifeless corpse lies without feeling, just as the body of a man who is in a profound sleep. Hence, also, sleep is not inappropriately called the image of death, and Homer calls it the brother of death, (κασίγνητος θανάτουυ.) Since this word denotes only the sleep of the body, it is prodigiously absurd to apply it — as some fanatics have done — to souls, as if, by being deprived of understanding, they were subject to death.

But I go to awake him. Christ asserts his own power, when he says that he will come to awake Lazarus; for, though, as we have said, the word sleep does not express the facility of the resurrection, yet Christ shows that he is Lord of death, when he says, that he awakes those whom he restores to life.




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