Now a certain man was sick, named Lazarus, of Bethany, the town of Mary and her sister Martha.…
An invalid of twenty years, whose sufferings were extreme, was one night thinking of the reason of this long-continued affliction. Suddenly the room filled with light, and a beautiful form bent over her, saying, "Daughter of sorrow, art thou impatient?" "No; but I am full of pain and disease, and I see no end; nor can I see why I must suffer thus. I know that I am a sinner; but I hoped that Christ's sufferings, and not mine, would save me. Oh! why does God deal thus with me?" "Come with me, daughter, and I will show thee." "But I cannot walk." "True, true! There, gently, gently!" He tenderly took her up in his arms, and carried her over land and water, till he set her down in a far-off city, and in the midst of a large workshop. The room was full of windows, and the workmen seemed to be near the light, and each with his own tools; and all seemed to be so intent upon their work, that they neither noticed the newcomers, nor spoke to one another. They seemed to have small, brown pebbles, which they were grinding and shaping and polishing. Her guide pointed her to one who seemed to be most earnestly at work. He had a half-polished pebble, which was now seen to be a diamond, in a pair of strong iron pincers. He seemed to grasp the little thing as if he would crush it, and to hold it on to the rough stone without mercy. The stone whirled, and the dust flow, and the jewel grew smaller and lighter. Ever and anon he would stop, hold it up to the light, and examine it carefully. "Workmen," said the sufferer, "will you please to tell me why you bear on, and grind the jewel so hard? I want to grind off every flaw and crack in it." "But don't you waste it?" "Yes; but what is left is worth so much the more. The fact is, this diamond, if it will bear the wheel long enough, is to occupy a very important place in the crown we are making up for our king. We take much more pains with such. We have to grind and polish them a great while; but, when they are done, they are very beautiful. The king was here yesterday, and was much pleased with our work, but wanted this jewel, in particular, should be ground and polished a great deal. So you see how hard I hold it down on this stone. And, see! there is not a crack nor a flaw in it! What a beauty it will be!" Gently the guide lifted up the poor sufferer, and again laid her down on her own bed of pain. "Daughter of sorrow, dost thou understand the vision?" "Oh, yes! but may I ask you one question?" "Certainly." "Were you sent to me to show me all this?" "Assuredly." "Oh! may I take to myself the consolation that I am a diamond, and am now in the hands of the strong man, who is polishing it for the crown of the Great King?" "Daughter of sorrow, thou mayest have that consolation; and every pang of suffering shall be like a flash of lightning in a dark night, revealing eternity to thee; and hereafter thou shalt 'run without weariness, and walk without faintness,' and sing with those who have 'come out of great tribulation.'"
Parallel VersesKJV: Now a certain man was sick, named Lazarus, of Bethany, the town of Mary and her sister Martha.